Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hummus and Hyperbole

I love hummus.

I have my friend Goose and lovely sister M to blame for this. Goose brought it to the house once when we were cooking together but it was entirely new to me, so I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Then, later, when my sister suggested we make some from the recipe of one of our fave bloggers I was prepared.

My life has never been the same! I love it as a sandwich spread, vegetable and chip dip, and even straight off of my fingers. It's that good.

As a vegetarian it's a great source of fiber, protein, and happy fats*. It's definitely become a staple in my diet, and now Kris's as well, over the past year and we both love it. I liked buying it from the store at first, but that can get expensive and it's very easy to make. Just throw together some chickpeas, tahini, water, lime and salt and you've got a little taste of awesome in your blender!

*My special term for healthy, non-animal fat

When we first moved here to Cowtown I started shopping at a local Kroger, which I love dearly. One day, while moseying through the produce section I saw them. These cute little green bean pods with....

Could it be?

Fresh chickpeas????

I've always used the canned, light brown colored chickpeas but heaven help us all! They had fresh chickpeas! I grabbed a big bag and filled it with 2 pounds of the little lovelies and made my way to the register. It caused a bit of a flurry because the girl at the checkout desk had no idea what they were but I finally got through the line and back home. After unloading groceries I turned on some good music, plopped down on the couch, and started shelling. I was almost done when Kris got home from work and ya know, he's probably never come home to a giddier me. I'm just tellin' the truth. I finished shelling, boiled them lightly, and then proceeded to make the most amazing hummus the world has ever seen. Seriously. We probably ate half of it that night. It was green, as opposed to the typical brown, fresh tasting and we had tons of it. For the next month or so as we would run out I would go back to the Kroger and replenish our stock. Each and every time they were confused about what my fabulous beans were but I still waited patiently.


One day I returned to Kroger and they were gone. No where to be found.

Little chickpeas! Where are you?

Gone, my friends. Gone.

It was devastating but we made it through. We went through a couple weeks period of salsa making and it was good, too. The days of fresh salsa were days of mourning but then I decided that enough was enough! We're not too good for canned chickpeas and I need hummus in my life again. Salsa and hummus can be friends, right? So I marched on over to the Kroger, bought a can of chickpeas and made more hummus with a fierce resolve. K was excited, I was excited, and Gershwin was under my feet trying to catch the things I drop. Don't worry, it's normal. This hummus was going to be wonderful, I tell you! It's the same recipe! It's the same food processor! The same maker! Great hummus to the rescue.

That hummus sucked, y'all.

It was watery and weird and brown like normal people hummus. It just wasn't the same. I even went back and added sun-dried tomatoes which is one of my favorite hummus add-ins but it just wasn't right. Since that terrible day in September we've only had one or two little containers of plain brown hummus from Aldi in our fridge. We've had a ton of fresh salsa and I'm working on perfecting my recipe, so beauty has come from pain. But where has the hummus gone? Kroger, why must you do this to us?

So, this dorky blog post is here for one reason. This is my formal plea to Kroger...

Please, for the love of produce, bring back the chickpeas!!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gentle Leading

My life has changed tremendously this year. In the past 12 months I have accomplished and achieved so much more than I ever really dreamed possible. I sang a senior voice recital, graduated early with my Bachelor's degree, cared for a tiny human, planned a wedding, wrote endless thank you cards, married my sweetheart, moved to a new place, got a "grown up" job, and finally got a dog! None of these without tremendous help, of course, but God has certainly done much with me.
(That last one may seem trivial to some, but hey, I waited 22 years for that puppy!)

I've grown and been challenged. I've worked and learned.

But here I am, in my little Seminary duplex, selfish as ever.

I plan our monthly budget and pay our bills and enjoy contributing to our little family in that way. Kris is working so hard on his Master's degree and I enjoy being able to help lighten his load in any way I can so the bills and housework are my big tasks. I feared having the responsibility of the ever-looming budget in my hands but it has really opened my eyes to so much and made me more thankful than I knew I could be.

We are provided for.

Every single month.

We tithe, pay our bills, fill our pantry, and somehow are still able to make extra payments on our school loans. (Yay for the Dave Ramsey plan!)

But still, I feel so selfish.

I know that I can't save every orphan, give to every charity, adopt every sad-faced animal, and feed all the hungry. I really do know that. But my heart won't stop hurting for them. Our tiny 2-bedroom duplex is like a mansion compared to what the people in the Masese slum in Uganda live in. This beautiful young lady writes about it here...

And the clothing that I wear? The places that I shop? I can't even begin to write on my opinions on Fair Trade because it's so overwhelming.

The point is that where do I even start to weed out the selfishness that we live in every day. When I get to talking to K about this he agrees...I have so many ropes pulling me in so many different directions and I just don't know which way to go, which thing to be passionate about. Is it really ok for me to be an animal rights driven vegetarian without also committing to remove from my closet anything that comes from a company proven to use children/slave labor?? And what about the children in Eastern Europe with Down Syndrome? What can I do for them?

The problem is that this world that God has blessed us with is so full of sin that it's completely impossible to not be swimming in it.

So, in an attempt to begin with babysteps, here is the plan that we have come up with together. This Christmas, instead of buying a single thing for each other, we are each choosing an organization to support. God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and we believe that gives us a responsibility to give to others. I'll be making a donation to a charity or organization of Kris's choosing and he'll do the same for me. We don't need a single thing this Christmas...God gave us His son and still provides us with plenty. My hope and prayer is that this little step will be used by God in pointing us to His big plan for all our many thoughts and dreams.

The reason for this post is to (hopefully) get some feedback/encouragement from others in my quest to live a Jesus-loving world-changing life and to help collect my thoughts. Also, so that I can share a charity that has become very special to me....take a look at my Christmas present and see if you can fight the tears...and the love :-)

Here's the main page...

And a more specific one...


Monday, September 27, 2010

My Encounter with "The Grim"

Disclaimer: If you don't know what a grim is, then you need to read through the first 3 Harry Potter books and then come back to this post. Wait. You don't have the time for that? Well, darn. In the world of Harry Potter The Grim is a vision of a giant black dog. If you see one it means that you'll die in the next 24 hours.

I consider myself to be a fairly cautious person. That is to say, I don't just go walking around by myself after dark just waiting for trouble to tap me on the shoulder. But sometimes your husband has to study, your dog needs a walk, the weater is lovely, and suddenly you find yourself out and about at 9:30pm without a care in the world!

I mean, you do, don't you?

Well, last night I found myself in such a predicament. The weather just called me to go on a walk! Autumn has (briefly) hit Cowtown and Gershwin and I were rarin' and ready to go. I put on a sweatshirt, leashed up Gershwin and we were off!!

It was truly a beautiful night but I'm not stupid. Really. I promise. When I take G for walks after dark I'm very aware of my surroundings and constantly looking over my shoulder.
Come to think of it, I probably look insane. But that's beside the point.

So last night I'm walking along and I come to the point where I need to turn right at the end of the block and begin making our way back home via the next street. This part is particularly scary when alone because to my right is bright and shiny school housing...and to my left is...well, it's not. Let's just leave it at that. So I'm checking behind me and all around me for crack dealers and I make it safely around to the next street where school housing is on either side of me. Sigh. What a relief.

A moment later I heard several dogs barking and I briefly glanced over my shoulder to check that all was clear.


A huge black dog quite a ways behind us was causing the commotion. I realized that getting scared would only get me in trouble so I stayed calm and kept walking with the thought that the dog had no interest in me or Gershwin and he would go along his merry way. I turned around again several seconds later only to find that the dog was closer and was now jogging toward us. My heart rate was soaring but I'm not stupid...the last thing I would do is run from it and give it reasong to think that I was afraid. So I just picked up Gershwin, steadied my breathing, and looked ahead. I noticed a man and woman walking toward us that I see frequently on walks so that calmed me a bit. Ya know, if the dog tries to eat me and G then at least someone will see us and try to come to our rescue.

As these thoughts are crossing my mind I can hear The Grim dog getting ever closer. When I was still a decent distance away from the couple coming toward us the dog was on my heels.
The dog was sniffing me and tripping over my flipflops.
Yes. Go ahead. Freak out.

I very calmly said to the married couple, "UMMMM...Could you puh-lease tell me what kind of dog is following me?"
Smooth one, Becca. Not "Could you make it go away?" or "SAVE ME!"
I'm just a little curious as to the identity of my future-murderer is all. Please, just indulge my curiosity. Pit Bull? Viscious T-Rex? Monty Python's Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?

I stopped walking after asking my stupid question and then there he was. A MASSIVE greatdane/lab looking mix walks around in front of me with the most curious, innocent expression and begins to sniff Gershwin.
I would like to add that at this point I was holding Gershwin up around my chest with his feet hanging around my waist. Beast-dog Grim was tall enough that all he had to do to sniff Gershwin was lift his head. And I'm not exactly the shortest girl around, either.

The walking couple was fantastic! It just so happens that he works for security and knew that they have a dog pen where they keep stray dogs that are found in school housing areas. They take care of them there until they can find the owner. They slowly approached The Grim while I stood there trying to control my freak out. Gershwin just looked at him reverently. I think he dreams of being that ginormous. Dream on, baby.

It turns out that The Grim was ridiculously gentle and probably saw us from a distance, got curious, and decided that Gershwin was too cute to resist checking out. Don't worry, Grim, you're not alone. Curiously enough, he looked very well cared for, hada nice collar, and was probably a very well cared for guy that just jumped a fence. I stood there while the walking lady held The Grim's collar and petted him while her husband called security to have him picked up. They told me to keep on walking, they had the situation under control. By the time I was at the end of the block security was there. Talk about quick service!

I managed to make it home before I broke out in cold sweats.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE big dogs. But when one runs at you, after dark, on a cold windy night and trips over your flipflops while sniffing where no one wants to be sniffed...well, that's pretty blasted scary.
So today I am thankful for lovely neighbors, a husband who listens to the whole story and says "awww" and "yikes" in all the right places, and a God who protects me from myself and Giant-Beast-Grim-Dogs.

Praise the Lord. Absolutely anything could have gone wrong but all The Grim wanted was to bust out of his backyard and be curious. The only concern I have now is how I'll spend my last evening on earth...ya know, since I saw The Grim I only have 24 hours to live.
Any suggestions???

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven"
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Yes, Solomon, there sure is!

I enjoy taking part in many different activities and hobbies. I like to sew, read, knit, explore, go on walks, scrapbook, travel, learn about history, sing....etc.
However, the two hobbies* that are most consistent in my life are reading and knitting. I started reading...well...when every American public school kid did. In Kindergarten! But, unlike a lot of kids, just couldn't get enough of books. I liked playing outside with my siblings and friends, watching tv, playing with dolls and the like but a new book is what really tickled my fancy.
*(I'm not including the hobby of "singing" in this count because it is a more serious endeavor for me these days)

So the point is that I like to read, right? And I would rather read than do anything else?

Well, my senior year of high school I defied the 17 year-old girl norm and started knitting. I still read, of course, but this was an entirely new fascination for me. I just couldn't get enough! I knitted like crazy my whole senior year and enjoyed having handmade things to give to family and friends. When I started college, however, knitting sort of fell to the back burner. I just didn't have the time. I picked up reading again instead of knitting because it was easier to keep up with a book over long periods of time. I took an entire semester to read Pride and Prejudice. That's how serious this business thing was. After a short while I adjusted to the college life and started knitting again.

So ever since I picked up knitting I've had two fun hobbies that I bounce back and forth between. I'll knit like a fool for several months and then out of the blue (and often in the middle of a project) just can't stand the sight of it any more.
Enter reading!
Suddenly I'm entranced by some book or other and when it's finished I pick up another, and another, and another! Then, after several months or so (is this starting to sound like a pattern yet?) of reading voraciously I don't want to touch another book.
Enter knitting!

See the pattern?

This is my life. A series of systems and patterns. Seasons if you will. I'm aware that it's a little boring, yes, but I love it.

I've been in a reading season for a while now. While I was planning the wedding knitting was too much for my brain. (Just ask me about the dress I started despite the fact that my brain wanted to read. Ugh) So I am on the second of a 7 book series right now( No, Malissa, not Harry Potter) and I just lose it. I'm sick of reading! I need some sort of textile centered hobby!
Oh yeah! I can knit! How convenient!

So, now that 2 people in the universe have read my ramblings, let me introduce you to the new loves in my life. Are ya ready?

Could these two delightful patterns be more wonderful?? I certainly don't think so.
Christmas is just a few months away so please excuse me while I go and knit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not quite sure...

Well, I'm not quite sure how this happened.

Ya see, on July 6th, for our one month anniversary, K and I expanded our family.

Here he is on that fated day...

He was certainly the cutest ball of fluff that our amazing local shelter had. And believe me, I know. I had been stalking them for weeks. Seriously.

But I'm not quite sure what happened. Ya see, he started changing a little. Here's some proof.

See! The little bugger grew. And started making friends. (That particular friend is named "Sheep". Go figure.)

There he goes again! Growing! I just am not quite sure how it happens....

Here he is, eating carrots out of his Cone of Shame. Pitiful kid. That'll teach ya not to lick the glue off your hiney!

And final, definite proof that this baby is changing.

Look at that precious puppydog! He's getting bigger everyday. No kidding.He's 3 and a half months old. Eats like he's a starved Ethiopian dog. Loves carrots and apples. Lives for walks and belly rubs. Thinks it's funny to steal and eat our shoes. Is currently in an obedience class. Chews his paws and knees. Attempts to herd us like sheep in our little home...

And he keeps us smiling. :-)

I'm just not quite sure how he grew so fast!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paula Deen Raspberry Limeade Cake

So I've decided to try blogging again.

Not because anyone reads it, but because I think it will be therapeutic.

So, Cake.

There is whole buttermilk in my refrigerator right now, which of course means that it must be a good cake! Well here's the story.

On Thursday I went to the hometown and a fantastic friend came by to drop off a wedding gift. She had gotten the world's most fantastic deal on the PD teakettle we registered for! However, she felt bad for spending so little money so she threw in 2 PD cookbooks too! Such a great gift! The first recipe in the book was a Raspberry Limeade Cake. It looked heavenly, but
what's even better is that K LOVES raspberries and I LOVE limes. So that pretty much makes this our perfect cake. I gathered the necessaries from the local Super Target, told the boy to go away and practice so I could surprise him (no objections on his part), and got to baking.

Here's the stink of it though. I am a terrible baker. I will cook 'til the sun goes down, but baking? It's not my forte. However, I am very willing to learn if presented with a fabulous cookbook. I can't look at the pictures without salivating so I'm just gonna have to learn to bake.

So after calling my brother-in-law for advice on which KitchenAid attachment to use, I was off!
Until. I realized. This is a 3 layer cake. I have only 2 pans. So I call K, who is at the Apple Store, next to the Williams Sonoma!
"Hey! Could you stop at the Williams Sonoma and get me a 9" circle cake pan?" (because that's what the recipe calls for)
"Sure thing!"
He's great, I know. So he gets home with the cake pan. And I realize. My pans are 8". Not 9".
"How much do you love me and cake?"
"Could you take this back and exchange it for an 8" pan? Ya see, I messed up..."

And he did it!
See, I told you that he's great!

So, after those set backs I was off again. I baked and I baked. I made filling, I made icing! I called my sis-in-law because I've never made a layer cake! I slaved and sweated! I watched my dog play with his new sheep and I laughed! It was truly a fun experience.

So, before I show the pictures, here's what I learned.
1. If the cake looks too soft, that means it will fall apart.
2. Levelling the top is harder than it sounds.
3. Don't take the filling all the way to the edge. Red filling + white icing = a big mess.
4. Baking can be fun and rewarding!
5. Husbands don't care if the cake is leaning, or if the top layer is in 3 pieces as long as it tastes good.

So here are the pictures of the Paula Deen Raspberry Limeade Cake!