Friday, April 30, 2010

Being kind

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

Sometimes, being kind can be so hard.  Whether its to myself, my kids or the homeless person on the freeway off-ramp.  And yet, the times when I practice random acts of kindness, I know, in a small way, it changes things.  The greatest affirmation I ever got for doing things for people, however small, came when my youngest daughter got an award from school for random act of kindness.  More is caught that taught when children are concerned.  They observe everything...they're not so good at interpreting things but kindness, in my opinion is outside of interpretation.  Kids just know, people just know, when you're being kind.  This song is on iPod and sometimes it just haunts me....

"Hands"


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own

And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters

I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own

And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes

We are God's hands
We are God's hands
(Jewel)

So in light of the song and the quote, my challenge is to anyone who's listening to be kind, and to practice random acts of kindness....you never know, it just might change the world =)

I hope you've had a beauty-filled week.

Ciao.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recipe of the week: Healthier macaroni and cheese

I don't know anyone, kid or adult, that doesn't like macaroni and cheese. So, when a friend emailed me and asked me to come up with a healthy version, I was happy to!  I've been making healthy fettuccine Alfredo for years so I figured that this wouldn't be too hard.  I think that the next time I make it, a combination of cheddar and pepper jack would be wonderful (but only if you like spicy).  Anyway, this is what I came up with.  Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables and you've got a meal. Of course if you want to serve meat, chicken or fish on the side that's great too. A Vorte Sante!


Healthier macaroni and cheese

2 tbsp butter
1/4 c flour
3 c skim milk
1 1/2 c shredded cheese (I used 1/2 cheddar 1/2 jack)
1/4-1/2 c shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1/2 tsp salt
1 box cooked pasta (I used whole grain medium shells cooked without salt or fat)

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Gradually add milk; stir well. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add 1 1/2 cup cheese and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in cooked macaroni. Spoon into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Offense

I am part of a wonderful group of women who are doing a book study.  We're going through 'When the Heart Waits' by Sue Monk Kidd.  We go rather slowly and  have incredible conversations about what we're reading.  We're all on the journey of discovering who we really are and trying to live authentically.  Yesterday we were talking about being offended.  The Bible says not to be easily offended.  I know I have been guilty of being easily offended more than a few times.  One of the gals said "offense is just an invitation to a conversation".  Wow.  That caused a major paradigm shift.  What if next time I'm offended, instead of getting all upset and defensive I just open up a dialog?  Hm.  What if? 

Well, that's my pondering for the day.  I thought someone might relate.

I hope you're having a beauty-filled day.

Ciao.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe of the week: Vegetable walnut pasta

This is a recipe that I originally found on a box of pasta, but as always I have modified it. It's super easy and I thought you might enjoy it. If you don't like broccoli or artichoke hearts you could easily substitute zucchini, spinach, or green beans. (Or anything else you like). Just adjust the cooking time, especially if its spinach...I'd add it as I was tossing the pasta so its not mushy. Like I've said before, I believe in playing with your food...see what you like and let me know if you try it. A Votre Sante.

Vegetable walnut pasta

Ingredients:

1 lb Farfalle or other pasta
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil and herbs, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into fourths
3 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated if possible
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips (you can use 1Tbsp dried, but fresh is much better)
salt to taste
black pepper, freshly ground to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toast walnuts in a small skillet for 1-2 minutes until slightly brown. Place in large bowl. Add sun-dried tomatoes, including some oil from tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and artichoke hearts.
Cook pasta, according to package directions. (Add broccoli the last 4 minutes) Drain, add pasta and broccoli to bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and serve. Serves about 4. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recipe of the week: pizza crust

I figured since I posted pictures of the pizza I made last night, I should share the recipe for the crust.  I've been making this crust for many years.  It always comes out good.  I make all kinds of different pizzas.  Plain cheese, bar-be-que chicken, pesto pizza with vegetables.  We had a pizza night and I doubled the batch and then made small balls of dough so each person could make their own individual pizza and we cooked them on the grill.  As always, I recommend you play with your food and make it fun.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Pizza Crust

2 3/4 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour or a combo of unbleached and whole wheat
1 pk dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tea sea salt
cornmeal (optional)

In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cup flour, yeast and salt.  Add warm water and oil.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape constantly.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, using a spoon stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  (6-8 minutes)  Divide in half and cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Roll into 13" circle.  Transfer to pan.  Top with sauce and toppings.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 425.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The college journey with Jade 2

This week the college journey with Jade came to a close, or at least a chapter has been closed.  As of Wednesday April 7 she has officially decided to attend Loyola Marymount University.  Our day started off early and a bit rocky.  We left the house by 7:15 am and were making good time until I was rear ended on the 105 freeway at about 8:20.  I was going about 5 mph when we were hit by a Stanley Steemer carpet cleaning van.  The noise was so loud that I thought for sure the back of the car was in bad shape.  Surprisingly, there is barely any visible damage, I haven't had a chance to take it for an estimate yet, so we'll see.  Neither one of us were hurt, (well, my neck hurts a little) but I was shaking for an hour or so and was very nauseous.  We got to LMU about 9:00am, I dropped Jade off, and went to Whole Foods to get some kombucha to settle my stomach.  On my way back, she called to tell me she signed the commitment card!!  I was surprised because the night before she still wanted to visit Occidental. 

Actually, I wasn't all that surprised.  She's felt like she was supposed to go to LMU for months.  As I was driving down Lincoln Bl. over to Whole Foods, I felt like I'd come home.  We used to live in Marina del Rey and in some ways the area has changed a lot, in other ways not so much.  It was funny to see the places we used to shop, the P.O. Box place, where I used to get my hair cut, etc.  I can't tell you how many times I've driven past the hill that has LMU on the side of it.  Who would have ever thought Jade would end up going to school there....its kinda like we've come full circle.

We had a great tour of the campus.  It is gorgeous.  They say the Sacred Heart chapel is the heart of the University, they have about 1000 students for mass each week.  It's bigger (or at least it seemed like it) than most of the other campuses we've visited.  They've got an amazing gym/fitness center that is included in the costs.  There's 2 farmer's markets a week, nearby and I just found out there's a Costco close by!  That will make stocking up on things for her easy.

After the campus visit, we had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.  I drove Jade around Marina del Rey, showed her where we used to live.  We parked at the beach in Playa del Rey and walked along the channel...it was a really good day.  I'm relieved we don't have to do anymore campus visits!  Even though Pepperdine was my first choice, I think LMU is a better fit for who Jade is.

Oh and LMU's mascot is the lion!  Aslan is on the move.

(If you'd like to read Jade's blog here's a link http://jadesayshi.tumblr.com/post/504923273?ref=nf )

Have a beauty-filled week.

Ciao.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A time for everything...

Today has been a sad day.  I said good-bye to a wonderful friend who is moving back to Maine.  It's a painful reminder that things change, people move on.  *sigh*  Last year at this time our dear friends from Minnesota were here and and it was so fun to do things with them during Holy week.  We were all hoping to make it a tradition and unfortunately it hasn't worked out that way.  Grief and disappointment are curious things.  Growing up I don't think I was "allowed" to feel disappointment, the overwhelming message was suck it up and get over it.  Yuck.

Most of us aren't comfortable with grief.  We don't know how to grieve and we just end up stuffing it, at least I do.  And yet life is full of grief and disappointment.  Little things, big things, death, loss of jobs, loss of relationships, kids growing up and moving out.  All of which need to be grieved.  Mackenzie and I had lunch with our friend this afternoon.  After a tearful good-bye, I told Mackenzie it's okay to feel sad.  It's okay to grieve, we will stay in touch with her but it will be different.   I want to do things different...I want my kids to know that its okay to feel loss. I wish someone had told me that sooner. Sometimes when I'm parenting my children, I realize I'm also giving myself a "do-over".  Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.  So as I walk into Good Friday, I'm grieving, and looking forward to Easter/Resurrection day, which will be a time to dance.

My prayer is that we may all find the life of God through Jesus, because He died that we might have life.

Have a beauty-filled weekend.

Ciao.