Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Hi Everyone.

I know it's been a while. I haven't had much to say since I've been sick.  Oh, not to worry. It's nothing serious--just an ordinary cold. But I do my best to make the most of it. I whine and complain as if it were pneumonia. But here's the thing:  Mommies do not get sick days. I have to get up, make food, wash clothes, tend to boo boos, and even play games and read stories even when I'm unwell.

Caroline has been sick, too. It's different for her, though. She has spent the last three days lying on the sofa doing absolutely nothing besides reading, watching DVDs, or playing with her iPod Touch. Part of me envies her. 

Poor me.

Caroline is not a patient invalid. She cries and says her throat hurts from coughing and she thinks she is going to die. I'm not sure where she gets this over-emotional dramatic thing. Hmmm.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cookery Nook

I wanted to write a post about my favorite cookbooks, but I couldn't decide which ones to choose. I have so many favorites! I finally decided to tell you about just three books from the long list and save the others for another time.

We'll begin with Faith Gorsky's An Edible Mosaic. Like Julia Child seeking to please her epicure husband, Gorsky learned to cook authentic Middle Eastern cuisine after marrying a man of Palestinian and Syrian descent. She began documenting what she learned in her delicious blog, also called An Edible Mosaic. Gorsky thoroughly describes ingredients and procedures, making it easier for cooks new to Middle Eastern cuisine to produce delicious fare. In addition to offering great recipes, An Edible Mosaic is a beautiful book. It has stunning photographs and each page has a border of Middle Eastern tile art. I also really appreciate the binding of this cookbook; it stays open to the page I want.

Featured Recipe:  Chicken Kebabs (Kebab Dajaj)
Preparing the chicken spice mix takes some time (it has twelve ingredients!), but the result is delectable! All three of my children like this one. That's saying something.

Sadly, I think my second selection might be out of print. When celebrity chef Rick Bayless travels with his family, they somehow end up in kitchens all over the world. Bayless and his daughter Lanie wrote Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures together. In it, they tell stories of their travels to France, Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, and Bayless's home state of Oklahoma. The recipes are mouthwatering, and the Baylesses' instructions are easy to follow. One of the reasons I have long admired Rick Bayless is that he has clearly made an effort to maintain family unity in the family-hostile restaurant business. This book is an example of the Bayless family creating something wonderful together. It might be difficult to find this one in a bookstore, but your public library may have it.

Featured Recipe:  Chicken in Mustard Sauce
This recipe is a simple way to knock the socks off of guests.  It is so very yummy, but not hard to make. My children all like it, too, but I have to call it "Chicken in Yellow Sauce" since they won't eat mustard.

I like to entertain, but I get overwhelmed by all the tasks that require my attention at the last minute. One way to minimize that pressure is to prepare the food and clean the kitchen ahead of time. The Best Make-Ahead Recipe cookbook from America's Test Kitchen helps me to receive my guests with a sound mind. As is typical of America's Test Kitchen, these recipes are accompanied by extensive explanation, but home cooks do not need to be intimidated by what appears to be a lot of instructions.  The recipes are not really that complicated. I especially appreciate the storing and serving instructions: how to bake immediately, how to bake after refrigeration, how to bake after freezing, and so on. Some recipes also come with instructions for making enough for a crowd.

Featured Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
These are scrumptious! Enchiladas do take some time to assemble, but none of the steps is difficult. I've made these many times for my family and for guests.  

I will revisit this topic in future posts. It's been fun telling you about three of my favorite cookbooks. What cookbooks do you like? Tell me in comments.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dear Husband!

Today is my husband's birthday!  As part of my celebration of his life, I am dedicating today's post to his honor.

I met Paul when I had just completed a seminary degree and was working at the library that the seminary and the undergraduate college shared.  He was a new faculty member at the college.  He and I began spending time together within a few months of meeting.  During our casual dating phase, he and I had a minor disagreement on an insignificant matter that I can't remember now.  In the course of that conversation, he said something that amazed me, "You're right," he declared, "I'm wrong."

His willingness to admit fault and to change direction astonished me.  It gave me a glimpse at a rare trait that I seldom see in others and never see in myself: a marriage of humility and teachability. 

I don't like anyone to know when I am wrong. I either insist that I am right (even when everyone knows I'm not) or I spin my position into something resembling correctness, as if thinking about the issue in another way would be reasonable.  Paul does not do this, but he is instead humble enough to admit when he is wrong.   I so admire him for this. 

Since he is humble and willing to admit when he is wrong, Paul is a teachable man. He regards correction as a blessing since it enables him to learn and to grow.  He is daily becoming a better man, because pride does not get in his way.  This uncommon characteristic serves him well in both his professional and personal lives.  Whereas I always dreaded student evaluations, he welcomes them as a tool for improving his teaching.  It also makes him a good husband.  He never fights with me just to be right.  He always listens to my side, admits when he is wrong, and gently corrects me when I am wrong. 

This is just one of the ways he has been a good influence on me.  I still bristle when my mistakes are on display, but I am more willing to take notes than I used to be. God often uses marriage as a tool for helping us learn and grow, and he gave Paul to me as an example.  I am so grateful.

Do you know someone with a noteworthy trait that you admire?  Please tell me about that person in comments.

Happy birthday, Honey!