life in the basement has come and gone. we loved living underground, but are excited to practice maintaining a home. join me as i journal chapter two of our life, as we save up, look forward, and plan for a home in the city. as we seek after our great God to glorify Him daily, join in as we figure out what it means to radically pursue Him in "everyday life"

28 September 2011

what's for dinner tonight

so after several weeks of crazy/busy/travel/fast food/take out/etc, i've had a hankerin' to cook. there is something so soothing about frantically buzzing around the kitchen, cooking and chopping and stirring and checking and all. while nathan grilled us some dinner last night, i had been thinking all day about coming home and getting to work. while at publix yesterday, i saw some flank steak on sale, which made me think of this awesome aprons simple meal that i made a few months back, so i wanted to make that. then, today, while sitting with ash, we were watching some of my all time fav- food network, and, while i don't know who it was that was cooking, she made these awesome looking cheesy jalapeno grits. i wasn't thinking grits of course, i was thinking of making the same thing with quinoa! then, i decided that since it seemed to be a tex mex flair, i'd go with some safe black beans as a side. all of this turned out so yummy, i just had to share! i also made my yummy peanut butter bars for dessert, to share with the ladies at agnes and then for nathan and i to enjoy while we caught up on up all night & modern family.

needless to say, it was all a success. dinner was yummy, the time in the kitchen was soothing and refreshing, and the dessert was a perfect finish. now, we sit on the couch, ready to reply our shows, while anxiously listening to the end of the braves game.

here's the recipes, in case you were wanting!

spicy steak:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 big tbsp spicy montreal steak seasoning
a good dash of lawrys
1 piece of meat (i used a little less than a pound of flank steak)

combine first 4 ingredients in a medium size bowl, then smush the steak in, coating both sides in the goodness. allow to sit for 10-30 minutes. i grilled this in my le creuset cast iron grill for about 15 minutes. perfectly juicy and a nice little crunch. VERY spicy though.

cheesy jalapeno quinoa:

1 jalapeno, chopped in chunks
1/4 c. butter, divided
1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
shredded cheddar cheese

saute chopped jalapeno in 1/8 c. butter. add quinoa and stir until coated, so flavor gets on each little piece of quinoa. add in about 1 c water and cook 20-25 minutes, checking and adding water when dry. right before serving, add in cheese to taste, and rest of butter, stirring well. this was a great companion for the spicy steak, as it added some relief from the heat.

peanut butter bars:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour (i use 1/2 c. whole wheat & 1/2 c. all purpose)
1/2 c. oats
1 tsp. baking soda
dash of salt
1 c. chocolate chips (i used white choc. because that's all i had)

combine butters & sugars, then add egg & vanilla until fluffy. combine dry ingredients, then add in. put chocolate chips in last, or you can sprinkle them on top. bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes in a greased 9x13 pan. let cool 10 minutes then add icing:

2 tbsp peanut butter
good dash of milk
1-2 c. powdered sugar

combine until good consistency & color & taste. i know, real helpful, but you'll get the idea. pour over bars. if you let it sit & cool for a little while, it will firm up and you can cut them to put them on a platter.

enjoy! what do you like to cook?

Update: You asked for some pics, so here you go! I don't have a finished shot of the meat because we had to hurry out the door, but trust me, it was SUPER yummy!

27 September 2011

unreached: the algerians

i know i have missed the last few weeks, but i wanted to join together today to pray for the arabic-speaking algerians. they are one of the absolute least reached people groups, and need much prayer for workers to come. located in north africa, the algerians live- of course- in algeria. they are mostly sunni muslims, although there is a strong presence of a berber muslim fusion religion. the algerians number somewhere close to 24,912,000, with only .23% of those professing to be believers. while there has been some missionary activity in the last two years, the majority of the people are still without a knowledge of the one true Savior.

how can we pray for these people?
pray that God would awaken a desire in people to go here.
pray that God would give missionaries new ideas on how to share the gospel with the algerians.
pray for churches to be planted among the berber algerians, and for muslim algerians to be open to hearing about the gospel.

father, be with the algerians now. God would you please stir up courageous people to proclaim your gospel among these people? they are so many- why are there so few believers? lord, please bless those that are already working among them- give them creativity and wisdom as how to share you with those who need you most.

iphone 5! iphone 5!

it's official!! woo hoo!!

mellocreme pumpkins

i have a bit of an obsession.

26 September 2011

cupcake crawl: hospital edition

so my friend ash has been having some complications with her pregnancy that has landed her in bed rest in the hospital for a while. without sharing too much of her personal business, suffice it to say, her, charlie, and baby rhett could use your prayers. she is stable and so is rhett, but they will continue to monitor her and rhett until he makes his appearance.

so, what does a good best friend take to her friend in the hospital? well, when that friend is me, CUPCAKES! i texted ash and let her know that i was coming and needed her help for the blog, and she said she would be happy to! so i stopped by southern poundcakes, this great bakery near my office and the hospital, and grabbed a half dozen little cups of happiness and headed on over. our friend lauren was there too, so the three of us chatted and rated and ate some sugary goodness. 

here's what we thought:

altogether, we gave southern poundcakes an average rating of 80.33. not bad! i think their mini poundcakes are my favorite, but the cupcakes were fun & happy.

for an update, you should know that ash got discharged from the hospital tonight- hurray! big answer to prayer, although we continue to pray for ashley and rhett as they continue the journey towards full term. pray that God would keep rhett nestled inside of ashley until His perfect timing.

hang in their rhett, and stay well ash!!

21 September 2011

what i know for sure...

for today's post, i wanted to share with you an email i sent to ash today. i know that we serve a mighty big God who promises us mighty great things, and loves us in a mighty strong way. join me in praying for ashley and charlie and baby rhett today, asking that our Father would just overwhelm them with His presence and His love.

ashley told me that she might do a blog or at least a journal, and she loved how oprah uses the phrase "what i know for sure." what i know for sure, is that God is in control.


girl, i just want to start by saying that i have been so impressed, so challenged, and so convicted by the amount of faith i have seen in you these last few days. i cannot even imagine what you are feeling, thinking, and living through. your peace, your faith, and your confidence i know is a blessing from the Lord and a result of your clinging to Him. 

while i don't know what to say, i know these things:

God is all powerful- "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. "- 2 cor. 4:7-10

God wants to root you in His love even now- "and i pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - eph. 3:17-19

God is in control- "therefore i tell you, do not worry about life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. are you not much more valuable than they?"-matt. 6:25

God can be your joy even now- "though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."-1 peter 1:8

God is your hope even now- "To them God has chosen to make known among the gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is CHrist in you, the hope of glory" - col. 1:27
"we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."- 1 timothy 4:10
"set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1 peter 1:13

God is good and wants the BEST for you- "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." - romans 8:28

God is your foundation & firm ground- "therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." - 1 cor. 15:58

God has already prepared you for this- "for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us."-eph. 2:10
"being confident in this, that he who bega a good work in you will carry it on to completion until teh day of Christ jesus"-phil. 1:6
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godlieness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."-2 peter 1:3

God has a plan for you, for Rhett, and for your family- "for i know the plans i have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."-jeremiah 29:11

God is your confidence- "but blessed is the man who trusts in the lord, whose confidence is in Him. he will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. it does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. it has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." - jeremiah 17:7-8

God is going before you to prepare the way- "i will go before you and will level the mountains; i will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. i will give you the treasure of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." -isaiah 45:2-3

God is with you- "yet i am always with you; you hold my by my right hand. you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory."- ps 63:23-24

This is happening in God's time- "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of me, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end" -Ecc. 3:11

God is your peace- "therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."-romans 5:1-2
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your equests to God. and the peace of God, whcih transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"-phil. 4:6-7

God has made you a conqueror of all of this- "what shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? as it is written, 'for your sake we face death all dong; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." - romans 8:35-37

God cares about you- "cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you" -1 peter 5:7

God is your strength even now- "my flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" - ps. 73:26

God is your refuge- "bus as for me, it is good to be near God. i have made the sovereign Lord my refuge; i will tell of all your deeds." -ps. 73:28
"it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man" - ps. 118:8

God is knitting Rhett together in your womb- "for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, i know that full well." -ps. 139:13-14
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born i set you apart; i appointed you as a prophet to the nations" -jeremiah 1:5

God loves you, deeply- "may your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." - ps 119:76

God wants to be the answer for all your fears- "but now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you o jacob, he who formed you, o israel: fear not, for i have redeemed you; i have summoned you by name; you are mine" -isaiah 43:1

God can do more than we can dream- "Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church in in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!"- eph. 3:20-21

praying for you even now,

20 September 2011

cupcake crawl: the cake house

so a few weeks ago, i stopped by the cake house on my way home. i had tried to stop by before and couldn't find it, so this time, i was glad to be able to locate it and get there before they closed. 

i must say, i was a bit let down.

when i walked in, the store was kind of cool because you could see the whole kitchen. it was decorated with cupcake knicknacks. i waited a bit for the woman in front of me to make her selections, then i made mine, pretty much getting one of everything that they had left.

carrot cake

traditional cake- tasted just like a publix/walmart/kroger cupcake. couldn't decide if that was a good or a bad thing

pink lemonade cupcake- by far, mine and nathan's favorite

red velevet

the remains :)

all in all, we gave this place a 70. good for the stockbridge area, but not our favorite.

britt's shower

last sunday, we had brittany's baby shower! it was such a sweet celebration of anticipation for little ella. we can't wait to meet her. 

we had the shower at ashley's house, and enjoyed an array of appetizer type foods and our cupcakes- which were quite a hit!

chillin' in the fridge

ash and i team-efforted the corsage- ash made the roses out of baby washcloths, then i arranged them together in this. and we taped it, yes, like scotch tape, together. ha!

ash and jamie made these awesome cookies, which we topped with our leftover candy ellas. beautiful!

the awesome cupcakes!!

our little girl punch- complete with teething rings :)

our food table- yummy, huh?

little lincoln- he was the last one we celebrated!!
the glowing mom and i- congrates britt!

me and ash with our creation

yes, we matched :)
it was a great shower and we can't wait to meet little ella!

13 September 2011

strawberry cupcakes

so this weekend, in the midst of packing for my trip and watching my awesome husband play baseball, we helped host a baby shower! and what a cute one it was! while i plan on blogging on all the little details tomorrow, i thought i should start with the cupcakes ash and i made. they were pretty much awesome, i’m not going to lie!! while we are all about cake pops, based on the logisitics of the weekend we recognized that we wouldn’t have time to assemble something to our level of perfection. plus, with all the showers we do for our lifegroup, we like to mix it up- the first shower we did a three-tiered cake, then the cake pops, so we opted for cupcakes. inspired by none other than pinterest, we went for some fun cupcakes with a sugar cookie on top. we divided to conquer and ash made the cookies and i made the cupcakes, then we helped each other assemble.

so saturday night, after a long day at the baseball field, i got to work. and i lost the site i got the recipe from, but if you want it, i have it saved.  i liked this recipe because it had 1 1/3 cup of fresh strawberries- yum! and an interesting addition- strawberry milk! of course, most nesquick and what not versions of strawberry milk have HCFS in it, so i found the cute little horizon milks that are all organic!

the strawberry milk

yum fresh strawberries going in the food processor to make puree!

so sometimes my baking is all about improvising. while i went to the store the day before to get everything i needed, somehow i forgot that i needed more sugar?! so, i combined what i had- i'm sure this is a baking nono, but i mixed some organic cane sugar, some demerera sugar, and some brown sugar. it works, right?

the color was almost perfect, but i added a few drops of red food coloring because i wanted to ensure that the cupcakes turned out bright pink.

i tried out a new buttercream recipe, and we loved it!

this turned out awesome- and super fluffy!

my perfectly pink strawberry cupcakes.

i colored my frosting gray by using black coloring, but just a bit. then, using a star tip, i piped on the swirl.

then, sunday morning, once i got to ash's, i melted down some white candy melts and put them in a zip loc bag with a small tip and piped "ella" the sweet baby girl's name. now even though i only made 30 cupcakes, i made about 60 ellas, because, since they were made of chocolate, they were super fragile. i wanted to make sure i had enough in case some broke, and i thought we could definitely use some elsewhere.

the finished product!
look forward to tomorrow's post on the shower!