Friday, May 25, 2012


Nanna's Kitchen has been quiet this week because I was with my honey in Dallas at a wire convention.  I had no idea making wire is so complicated!  How in the world did people come up with the ideas to be able to take a rock with minerals and end up with wire that makes our modern lifestyle possible.  Wow!

I spent most of the time in the very nice room at the new Omni Hotel.  Of course, I took pictures!  I did go through the exhibit hall with my honey and attended a session on Washington politics and what is coming that will affect the wire industry.  It was very interesting!

Generally, when we go out of town, it is difficult to find gluten free food that is worth eating. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover a wonderful gluten free menu at the restaurant in the hotel.  And the food was nutritious and delicious!  They even had gluten free bread with its own toaster and butter on a baker's rack on the opposite side of the buffet from the regular breads.  And yes, I took pictures of dinner and lunch with my phone!

The hotel was downtown where there were all kinds of interesting things to take pictures of like the Gap billboard promoting their new t-shirts by actually displaying real t-shirts on the advertisement.

The Hotel Room

I took pictures of the hall (unusual carpet) and room, including how they made the bed to use for reference for our guest room.

Yes, that is a TV in the bathroom mirror! 

The view from our room:

The restaurant we enjoyed is Texas Spice.  We ate dinner on the patio and the weather was perfect.  The food was amazing and creative.  The appetizer was served on a board with a piece of butcher paper and included crackers, honey with pieces of honeycomb, mashed cherries in stone ground mustard, bread & butter pickles, sliced chorizo sausage and aged cheddar cheese.  Everything was made there or purchased from a local source.  It was an unusual appetizer but really tasty.

I had delicious shrimp and grits with asparagus and chorizo for dinner.  It tasted like the grits were in a cheese custard.  Yum!

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was how they served things on and in unusual containers.  The water was served in this chilled lidded jar. And the yummy pecan pudding was served in a small lidded jar.

My delicious gluten free pizza lunch:

We also like to check out local Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives when we take trips.  Not far from the hotel was Twisted Root Burger Co.  It was a fun place to eat and the buffalo burgers and fries that we had were delicious.  They had signs like, "Your mamma doesn't work here. Clean up after yourself!"

Downtown Dallas:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Those who seek Him...

And without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

This verse was next to my keyboard when I was working in our church office.  I had just come from a very difficult time in my life where I felt like I was constantly being disciplined by God and punched about by people and life.  I didn't feel the love!

Then I came across this verse during my personal Bible study time and it became a beacon of hope for me.  I had to have faith and believe in God and keep seeking Him.  I was doing pretty well until my dad died unexpectedly.  I was back at square one and it took a while to get back to faith, belief and seeking.  

God was so faithful in bringing me along in my journey of grief.  Satan tried to get me to believe that God was done with me. I had such a rebellious attitude towards God because He took Dad home before I was it was up to me.  Really?!  I'm so grateful that God is patient!  He knew there were still things in my heart and mind that needed to be exposed to the light of His truth that sets us free from the lies of the enemy and the pull of our own sin nature.

The rewards have been great and shown to me in unexpected ways.  God's love is amazing!

Air Purifier

I was randomly watching TV one afternoon and came across the Dr. Oz show.  He was showcasing healthy products and this light bulb was one of the products he recommended.  He said it was available at Lowe's for $17.  I've looked at air purifiers before, because we have so much wind which fills the air with dust and allergens, but they can be pricey.  

I went to Lowe's and found that the light bulb is only $7.  That's a cheap air purifier!  I put it in the kitchen lamp because it's central to where we spend the most time in the house.  I can honestly say that the air in the kitchen feels like air after a spring rain.  I guess it works!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wait and seek...

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:25

Waiting for God is possible when you know Him and that He has purpose for your life.  I love the promise in this verse that if we wait for God and seek Him, He will be good to us.  God believes in rewards! But, this is not name it, claim it theology.  This is talking about lining up with God's will.  He determines how He is good to us.  We can't manipulate Him or make Him give us what we want.  We must wait for and seek Him in humility. 

Remember - God knows ways to reward us that we can't even dream up!  Trust Him!

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas
This recipe is from Martha Stewart
Serves 4

salt and pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6-8 oz each) - I used some shredded braised chicken that I had in the freezer.
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 Tbsp minced canned chipotles in adobo
1 can (14 1/2 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz)

In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 inch salted water to a boil.  Add chicken.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 5 minutes; remove skillet from heat.  Let chicken steam, covered, until opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a medium bowl; shred with two forks.  Set aside.

While chicken is cooking, make sauce; in a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium.  Add garlic, cook until fragrant, 1 minute.  Add flour, cumin and chipotles in adobo, cook, whisking 1 minute.  Whisk in broth and 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly. 5 to 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer 1 cup sauce to bowl with chicken; toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour 1/4 cup sauce into bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, wet aside.  Stack tortillas and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 1 minute.  Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture; roll up tightly and arrange, seam side down, in baking dish. 

Cover with remaining sauce and top with cheese.  

Bake until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving. 

My honey decided to plate the spicy slaw in a creative way with a measuring cup.  I'm so proud of him! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hope in Him...

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
therefore I have hope in Him."

Lamentations 3:24

The word portion in this verse has a double meaning - smoothness, flattery, allotment, inheritance.  He is all we need so He becomes the source of our hope during those difficult times and proper perspective in the good times.  

Take some time and think about what it means to you that He is your portion: (Webster's Dictionary)

smoothness - freeing from what is harsh or disagreeable (in us): polishing, minimizing in order to allay anger or ill will, to free from obstruction or difficulty, to free from irregularities

flattery - soothe, bequile, to raise the hope of, to display to advantage

allotment - to give as a share, portion, role, or lot

inheritance - the acquisition of a possession, condition or trait

Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

These stuffed peppers are so yummy!  Here are the ingredients:

4 bell peppers - red, yellow or orange (green peppers are too bitter)
1 lb grassfed hamburger
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin
can of Rotel
1 cup brown Minute rice
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Wash peppers and cut off the tops, taking out the seeds.  Place peppers upside down in a steamer and steam until softened - about 10 minutes.  Note: I made a half recipe which is why you will see two peppers in the pictures.

Brown the hamburger with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the cumin, Rotel and rice to the browned hamburger.

Add the cottage cheese and the cheddar cheese and stir well to combine.

Place steamed bell peppers upright in a sprayed casserole dish and stuff with meat mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

If you forget to add the rice - um...yeah, I did - just serve the stuffed peppers on a bed of rice. It works!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New every morning...

This I recall to my mind,
therefore I have hope.
The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

As I was finishing up a Precept Bible study on Lamentations, I ran across these verses again.  The older I get, the more I appreciate and am so thankful for the fact that God's love and compassion for me won't ever stop and won't ever fail me.  I can realize the newness of them every morning, which tells me that He is there when I wake up, eager to show me how faithful He is.  I think I need to pay more attention to Him!  


 Did you know that watermelon is very good for you?  Look at these facts:
46 calories per cup
20% of daily vitamin C per serving
17% of daily vitamin A per serving
potassium - helps maintain blood pressure
lycopene - helps with heart disease and some cancers
Toasted watermelon seeds provide fiber, protein and magnesium.

So, how do you pick a good watermelon at the market?

Heavier melons mean juicier slices.
Pick a melon that is symmetrical in shape.
Look for a creamy yellow spot - that means the fruit ripened on the vine before it was picked.

I'm glad that small watermelons are available now.  My honey and I have a hard time eating all of a large melon before it goes bad. 

This information was taken from an article in the June 2012 Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A woman who fears the Lord...

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil 
all the days of her life.
Her children rise up and bless her;
her husband also and he praises her, saying:
"Many daughters have done nobly,
but you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:10-12, 28-30

I want to encourage the wives and moms that read this blog with these verses.  This weekend was very humbling for me and my eyes were teary most of the weekend because of the praises I received from my family.  My honey read verses 10-31 of this passage to me, inserting my name as he read. It was so precious!  I really was almost overwhelmed by the wonderful spoken and written words from my children.  I felt very loved and appreciated.
I know that I am SO not perfect and that I still have a lot to learn from the Proverbs 31 woman.  I also know that any praise I received this weekend is solely due to the work of God's grace in my life.  Here's the encouragement for you and me - God does reward those who seek Him and diligently and purposely obey Him. 

My honey also spoiled me with a delicious breakfast omelet with hashbrowns and peaches on the patio.  Later, for dinner, he fired up his smoker and fixed a delicious dinner of smoked rib eye steak, baked sweet potato and peas.  Yum!  God provided the background music with a wonderful rain.  It was a good day!


Friday, May 11, 2012

A lovely rainy day...

We don't get many rainy days, so I am loving the drizzle this morning and appreciate God watering my gardens.  I plan on doing laundry and ironing while I watch movies that would put my honey to sleep...such a lovely day!

I cleaned out my recipe box and found a recipe for Jerk Chicken that I have had for a while but had never tried.  So I decided to test it out for dinner before I threw the recipe away.  I'm glad I did - it is spicy-sweet deliciousness!  My honey said that it's a keeper.  I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Cilantro Rice
(I can't remember which magazine this recipe came from...)
Serves 6

2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup light-brown sugar, packed
3 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, split (or 12 chicken thighs - 2 per serving / my taste preference)
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (or Gourmet Garden Cilantro Herb Blend - see picture below)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4" dice
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

1.  In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, thyme, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and light-brown sugar.  Set spice mixture aside.

2.  Place chicken breasts between layers of plastic wrap. Pound chicken to a 1/2" thickness. Transfer to a glass baking dish. (You can skip this with the thighs.)  With the spice mixture, rub the chicken pieces on both sides.  Cover with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.  (I found the flavor was better when it was chilled overnight.)

3.  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Stir in the rice and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until rice is tender but still firm, 10 to 12 minutes.  Drain; rinse with cool water.  transfer to a bowl, and stir in the pineapple, cilantro, bell pepper and olive oil.  Season with remaining 1/2 tsp black pepper.  Cover and chill.  (You can also use Minute Rice - follow the directions on the box.  I added the veggies and oil to brown Minute Rice as it cooked and served it hot with the chicken.)

4.  Heat a grill or heavy grill pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken until it is browned on both sides and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. (You can also cook it in a non-stick skillet.)

Serve with the pineapple rice and lime wedges. (Peas go really well with this recipe.)

301 calories per serving

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birthday present...

Birthday gifts have always been a big deal for our family.  And not just any gift will do.  It has to be meaningful...well, at least on my end of it!  Most of the time when I am shopping for a gift, I ask for God's help because He knows that person better than I do.  I am always amazed at what I find. Sometimes, when I forget to ask for His help, I know He has helped me because the circumstances (item, price, etc.) are just too perfect.  It's very humbling...

I was at Lowe's Home Improvement Store buying Mondo Grass for our raised flowerbed and found a table full of beautiful Gerbera Lollipop Daisies in a nice pot for a great price.  I snatched one (paid for it, of course) because it was perfect for a birthday present I was going to be shopping for that day.  And it was much appreciated! 

The pot needed to be wiped down, but all I added was leopard print tulle ribbon that I had purchased at Hobby Lobby at 50% off.  So pretty!

I also purchased a light bulb that has an air purifier built in.  I heard about them on Dr. Oz's show.  He said they were $17 but I found this one for $7 - same brand.  We'll see if it works!  I put it in the lamp in the kitchen since it is centrally located in the area of the house where we spend the most time.

The claim on the back of the box reads:

Positive ions (emitted by TVs, computers, and forced air ventilation systems, etc...) have negative effects like fatigue, increased dust attraction, and greater exposure to airborne germs.  The built-in ionizer in the Healthy CFL helps make the air in your home or office cleaner as it removes germs, dust, mold, and these energy-draining positive ions.

Removes: germs and dust, pet dander, mold spores and cigarette smoke

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In the garden...

One of my favorite hymns since I was a little girl is "In the Garden".

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear; the Son of God discloses.
 And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own, 
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Maybe this song is why I have always loved gardens.  I equate them with God's presence; that, and the fact that I grew up with beautiful flower gardens.  Mom's gardens aren't as big as they once were, but her yard is still pretty with different kinds of flowers and greenery.  

I love to have pretty gardens in my yard, as well, although, I don't really care for planting.  So I have decided to buy more perennials each year, even though they are more expensive.  In a couple of years, I will only have to buy annuals for pots and the rest of my gardens will come back every year. 

Here's a peek at the gardens:

Our "adopted" son gave me the concrete bunny.  It's so cute in the garden.  You will notice other bunnies scattered in the gardens, as well.  I've always like rabbits and these rabbits don't eat the flowers!  I also have several container gardens:

When my granddaughter was here, we bought her a pair of gardening gloves and a little garden tool so she could help me plant some flowers.  She also helped me water in the mornings and learned the names of the different plants as we watered.  She's a good little worker and a joy to have in the garden.

My honey and I have been working on cleaning out the vegetable garden.  Bermuda grass has taken over because we haven't planted anything for a couple of years due to my lack of energy and the drought.  But there is nothing like a home grown tomato!  So this year we are going to plant.  It's tedious work ridding the dirt of the grass, but we have purchased some fabulous black garden dirt from a local provider and I will begin the planting process today, starting with three blueberry bushes. 

I think we need to have some strawberries and zucchini and tomatoes and summer squash and peppers...yum!