Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bible and James Earl Jones

Is it bad if I admit to never having sat down and reading the Bible from cover to cover?  Sure, I've read the stories in church, Bible study and all those Sunday schools.  But sitting down and starting with page 1 and reading through all the way until the very last page?  Nope, never did it. 

Well, now I can say I've read ALL of half of the Bible, the New Testament specifically.  Just last week I finished the 14 CD edition of The New Testament, as read by James Earl Jones.  I don't know about you, but I could listen to James Earl Jones read the dictionary and not be bored.  In fact, when I purchased this jewel at Half Price Books, both my mom and David laid dibs on being the next to listen to it.  It was a fine choice if I do say so myself...

Now, I just need to find the Old Testament and listen to it...though I can't seem to find a version read by James Earl Jones.  I suppose I'll have to settle for someone else.  Phooey.

If you're a little rusty on your biblical reading and want try listening to it this way, I would highly recommend this version!

*This will probably be my last post for two weeks as I'm getting married on Saturday and don't intend to take my laptop with me on my honeymoon.  Please hang in there, there will be recipes, book reviews and wedding pictures coming soon!  In the meantime, I'll leave you with this engagement picture.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

You guys know how I love me some Twilight...well, this is just another installation.  This book is a full-on depiction of one of the "newborns" in the Eclipse novel. 

Bree Tanner is a young girl turned into a vampire by the vindictive Victoria.  Victoria needs an army of newborns, which defined are simply newly-changed vampires.  The reason newborns are so valuable in this storyline is that when a vampire is in the early stages of their second life, they are much stronger than vampires that have been around a few or hundreds of years.  This is because they still have some of their own human blood flowing through their veins.  Weird, huh?  However, this does not mean they are not as crafty, guile or, far from it.

Throughout this novella Bree learns about her new life and the difference details of vampire lore almost everyday.  She soon learns that vampires don't sleep in coffins all day, the sunlight does not destroy them, garlic is no big deal, etc.  You begin to feel Bree's thoughts and emotions and follow her train of logic.  She has an intense survival motivation.  Towards the end of this novella she even begins to feel an emotion akin to love...

This is definitely a good, quick read if you're into the Twilight series...though you might be a little lost if you haven't read or don't intend to read Eclipse.  The two parallel each other within the plot lines.

One of my friends, Kelsie, recommended that I read this book because she feels differently about Bree's character now.  Before, at the end of Eclipse, you're just relieved that Bella is OK and the newborns are all destroyed.  Now...and I have to agree with Kelsie...I'm kinda sad that Bree dies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breakfast Bites

David was wanting me to make him some of my famous blueberry muffins...

OK, so it's not my famous blueberry muffin recipe, it's Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten's famous blueberry muffin recipe.  Regardless, I made him some using my brand-spankin' new cupcake pans and silicone cupcake holders.  Somehow I forgot to take a pic...I really should have because they turned out fantastic and pretty in their little cups.  Oh well, to refresh your memory on this recipe click here.

When we bought the blueberries that I used for the above muffins, we also happened to purchase some ripe raspberries.  So, I figured while I was in the kitchen...why not try this recipe?  My Individual Raspberry Cobblers ended up slightly more crispy than PW's.

However, they were G-O-O-D.  Both David and my mom gave them two very big thumbs up!  While there's fresh berries out there, be tryin' this recipe!  These are definitely a new Dave's Fave!

Lastly, while I was in a baking mood I decided to whip up two loaves of banana bread.  Here they are going my two beautiful new loaf pans on top of one of my new cookie sheets...

And here they are cooling on one of my new cooling racks.  Woot woot for wedding gifts!

If you need some good breakfast treats, try any of these recipes.  I made all of these in one evening and froze all the extras so that David can gradually make a dent in these baked goods.  He's a very happy fiancé right now...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicken and Pasta with a Kick!

I found this recipe on Souffle Bombay's website about a month ago and felt the need to try it.  She calls it "Rainforest Chicken and Pasta," but I'm just going to call it "Chicken and Pasta with a Kick" because I didn't exactly follow her recipe.  I simply used what was in my kitchen and since I've never been to a Rainforest Cafe, I can't say whether or not the flavor is similar.  Honestly, when I made the dish I simply wanted to utilize these babies from our garden!

Aren't they cute?  My cherry tomato plant is exploding with tons of these cuties and I'm lovin' it! 

Here's a weird quirk about me and my cooking habits, I hardly ever cook with chicken breasts.  I like to cook with chicken tenderloins because they're smaller and faster to cook.  I rarely want to eat an entire chicken breast myself when I have 2-3 sides or the entrée is not entirely the in this dish.  So, you'll see me always utilizing chicken tenderloins when chicken breasts are called for.  Plus, since I've been cooking for David, he says he actually likes the tenderloins better as well.  It's a win/win situation for us!  Anyone have any typical substitutions like this?

Here's my version of this recipe...

Chicken and Pasta with a Kick
(adapted from Souffle Bombay)

1 box of whole wheat thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
8-10 boneless chicken tenderloins
1 cup corn (off the cob is best)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 scallions, chopped (white and green) (I didn't have any of these this time, but I will use them in the future!)
Olive oil
3 tbs paprika
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
few dashes of red pepper (optional)
1 tbs Cajun spices

In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper (if using).

Coat chicken tenderloins in seasoning, set aside.

In a medium bowl combine corn (saute if fresh corn with a bit of butter/oil and Cajun seasoning in a skillet until crisp tender) scallions and tomatoes. Set aside.

Grill the chicken tenderloins until cooked flipping once. Let the chicken rest for a couple of minutes, then slice it down.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.

Toss pasta with olive oil and Cajun seasoning to taste (toss in any chicken juice from slicing the chicken as well).

Place chicken slices across the pasta, cover the chicken with the vegetable salsa and serve.


This was soooo good!  David gave it a big thumbs up, so we both highly recommend!

Quick question...does anyone have a tasty recipe that calls for about a cup of fresh blackberries?  When our pastor and his wife came over for dinner the other night Sadie brought me over a big ol' bowl of her freshly picked blackberries.  I've eaten a few straight, but want to make something tasty with the rest.  Suggestions are more than welcome!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Less Than Three Weeks...and Counting

So, we're looking at less than three weeks here...crazy that I'm still not that nervous!  Maybe it's because everything is coming together so perfectly...

For example, last week David's cake topper came in the oil pumping unit.  It's actually a small toy and is battery-operated.  I can't wait to see what our cake baker says when she sees it!  The last time I talked to her, she was excited to see what David came up with.  I think she is going to laugh herself silly when she sees what she has to work with!

On Friday night, my mother and I made a semi-last-minute trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up some items I was still needing.  Ribbon for my cake, the ring bearer pillow and thread to hem my bridesmaids' skirts were the items we were after...but, when we got there we discovered ALL bridal items were on sale, 50% off.  Sweet!  I found some flutes for $50 that I bought for just $25. 

Now, I don't know if it's just me, but that has been one of the wedding items that the price has just floored me on.  Everywhere flutes and servers appear to be priced anywhere from $50-$300.  Ummm, excuse me?  It's a couple glasses and a cake server...where's the extra "umph" causing the 500% mark-up?  Regardless... 

Unfortunately, Hobby Lobby didn't have the matching servers, but hopefully in the next couple weeks I can find a deal on those.  Honestly, that's all I have left to purchase (other than wedding party and parental gifts, of course).  How exciting is that?

This past Saturday, David and I had engagement pictures taken and judging from the sneak peek I received today...they're going to be fabulous!  My photographer's blog is here.  Hopefully, he'll post some of us soon and you'll see what I'm talking about...

I'm loving engaged life, and every day we're getting closer and closer to married life!  I can't wait!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Books Transformed Into Movies

This past Wednesday my friend Susan and I went to go see the summer blockbuster of 2010, Eclipse!  We absolutely loved it!  Here's a pic of how dorky we were in the theater...

I brought Susan's copy of Eclipse back to her and she had bought us tiny lunch pails with our respective "teams" on them.  That's me on the right, Team Jacob, and Susan is a die-hard Team Edward on the left!  And of course, we had to watch the movie in style, up in the Warren Theater balcony.  So, that's our dinner menu you see underneath the book.  We both always get the same thing, the chicken penne Alfredo.  Sooo bad for you, but we only go to the Warren every once in a while!  A splurge from now and then can't be that bad, riiiight? 

If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend!  Tons of great action and I feel that this movie stayed closer to the storyline than the previous two have.  Other Twilight readers agree?

Moving right along, there are two movies that I canNOT wait to see.  Of course, these are books that I've enjoyed and encourage you to read before the movies are released. 

First up is my seeester's favorite book, Eat, Pray, Love.  This wasn't my favorite book of all time, but I did enjoy it.  I've known a few people that couldn't get "into" the storyline and I have to admit that I had to push myself through the India section (the middle/second of three sections).  But, if you can get to the last section...very good book!  Here's the preview:

Next up is the one I'm really looking forward to, Water for Elephants


I loved, loved, loved this book and can't wait to see how it is transformed onto the silver screen...too bad we'll have to wait until next year!  Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon are the stars and I'm confident they'll both do a great job. I haven't seen Robert Pattinson in anything non-Twilight related, but hope he has staying power. And Reese? I love Reese. What can I say, other than the fact that, like most girls, I love chick flicks and Reese has certainly earned notoriety in that arena...and will continue to do so in the very near future...

If you haven't read either of these two novels, do so before the movies come out!  You won't regret it!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Girl and Five Brave Horses

Do you remember back when I told you about one of my favorite movies from my childhood?  I had re-watched the movie via Netflix syncing through the internet and our DVD player.  On a sidenote, if you don't have this option, it's pretty nifty and I highly recommend it.  Back to the jist of this review though, I noticed either at the beginning or the end of the movie that the story was true.  This intrigued me, so I googled Sonora Carver... 

Mrs. Carver died on September 21, 2003 at the ripe ol' age of 99.  In 1961 she published a book accounting her life as a diving girl and later was there for the release of the movie, Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, in 1991.  Though, Sonora Carver wasn't exactly thrilled with the movie...  I was surprised to hear this, obviously since I've loved the movie all this time.

You have to order Carver's book through a retailer like Amazon or Barnes and Noble online because it's not actually being published actively anymore, just on an as-ordered basis.  My wonderful fiance made the purchase and I received it just a few short days later.  I give you, A Girl and Five Brave Horses!

I have to say...Sonora was right.  About the movie, Sonora Carver was quoted as saying to her sister, "The only true thing in it was that I rode diving horses, I went blind and continued to ride for another 11 years."  Everything from how Sonora found out about the show, how she joined it, her love affair with Al, Doc Carver's's all incorrectly portrayed.  Sonora had a sister that dived with her...never spoken of in the movie. ::sigh::

A Girl and Five Brave Horses was very informative and I really enjoyed it.  It does not read like a novel, so if you pick it up please don't expect that.  However, I felt like I learned a ton about how this act was put on and how much work went into it.  Sonora is very emphatic in how she words things, no frills.  Everything is stated very matter-of-factly.

Not surprisingly, the horses have a huge role in how the act is performed.  Each of the horses in the act liked to dive, but each one had their own personalities and styles of diving.  It was up to the diver to "know" the horse and how to react to their different mannerisms.  Sometimes the horse would perform an extreme plunge, yet other times a regular dive.  Again, the diver was responsible for knowing how to react in each dive.  The type of dive chosen just depended upon the horse's "mood," I guess.  And when one horse died or had to be retired, a replacement was not easy to find.  It takes a courageous and skillful horse to do this.  The same goes for diving girls, it took a lot of gusto and courage for a girl to jump on the back of a horse as it's galloping by on an incline, then jump off the top with the horse!

If you really like this movie, I would encourage you to read this book too.  Not because I want you to enjoy the movie any less...I certainly will still enjoy it immensely...but, because this act probably piqued your attention initially.  There's a lot of informative stuff packed into this short read and I hope others enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Countdown to the Big Day!

I've been a little high dry these past few days...but, you'll forgive me since my wedding is in ::gasp:: twenty-three days, right?  Now, how did that happen?  It seems like yesterday David was proposing at Christmas time...sheesh, time sure does fly when you're havin' fun! 

This past weekend was out fifth...yes, FIFTH...and final shower up in Kansas.  Phew!  Thank you cards have been my best friend lately...and taken up valuable blogging time!  But, it would appear I'm nearing the end...or should I say the beginning?  After all, David and I are just beginning...

Regardless, I just wanted to throw it out there that I am still alive and well...though slightly I near the wedding day.  Luckily, I only have a handful of items to still take care of (veil, ring bearer pillow, ribbon for the cake, etc.) and those items will do very to stress me very much. 

Throughout this entire process, I have to say that I am so thankful for the friends and family that have showered us with the excitement and joy this occasion brings.  I love it and wouldn't trade any of this for the world!

All of this hoopla is keeping me away from the blogging world more than I would like, but just hang in there with me!  I have a couple book reviews and recipes to come shortly!


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