mysecondcupofcoffee


Cooking with Katie

It’s been well over a month, since I have been able to be in the kitchen and cook a meal… a full meal, complete with dessert! I have been jonesing to say the least. I got my fix last night (written on Tuesday, Oct. 18)

I haven’t been grocery shopping in forever and a day, but I new what I had in the pantry so I searched my Pinterest stores to see if I could find a recipe to fit the bill. After much debate, I finally landed on
Homemade  (Just Like Chick-fil A) Chicken Nuggets
Honey Rolls
Homemade Honey Mustard 
and… Peach Cobbler

Now that you know the menu, let me tell you there story.

Katie was with us yesterday so she helped me cook. This in an of itself is pretty awesome because we always have a good time when we are together. Add to our hilarity a small kitchen, four new recipes, uncooked meat, raw egg, and hot grease and you have a recipe for comedy!

*you should know that no one was hurt in the making of the new sitcom.

We began with me prepping the nuggets and Katie making the honey mustard. She doesn’t like uncooked meat at all; it grosses her out, hence why she opted for the slightly more challenging of the two projects. However, in the midst of making the mustard, she realizes that it calls for some Dijon mustard, which isn’t in the Fager kitchen. So, after a few moments debate, she decides to wing it and add more honey and more “other” mustard to make up for it… turned out AWESOME! (Also, we found out later that grilled cheese dipped in this honey mustard is da’ bomb!)

Once the honey mustard was complete, she tackled the peach cobbler. This was a bit odd as well considering the recipe calls for fresh peaches and we only had canned, but Katie tackled it anyway with great gusto! (She did everything right, but the cobbler turned out a bit odd. I’ll have to work with that recipe to make it better…)

During this time, I worked on the Honey Rolls. Super easy, super good! However, next time I make them I’m going to let them rise the entire time the receipt calls for. The only reason I didn’t was because my growling stomach wouldn’t allow me to.

The came the best part of the evening… Frying the chicken nuggets. The recipes tells you to soak the nuggets in an egg/milk solution, then roll them in the breading then fry them. Katie opted for the frying part as touching both raw egg and raw meat horrified her. We had a great system going and it smelled awesome in the kitchen! However, since my kitchen doesn’t as of yet play host to a deep fryer, we were frying the chicken in a frying pan full of hot grease. Anyone who has fried anything like that before knows that splattering grease is a real and present danger. About half way through the frying process, Katie’s wrists were splattered with grease and she was ready to be done with that so …. drum roll …. she opted to switch me spots and handle the raw stuff! I was amazed! Though there were some shivers and a few “blahs!,” she didn’t once complain and completed the task! I say again, I was AMAZED!

We then settled down to a delightful dinner and “Lie to Me,” a new TV show that Katie introduced us to.

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Pobre Dinos!


No-Rise Pizza Dough

I have a deep love for cooking, … though (on a slight rabbit trail) I don’t care for fancy cooking at all. I respect the art and enjoy eating it, but I just have no great love for the making of it. I follow a lot of foodie blogs that make awesome fancy food, but I have no tug on my heartstrings to make such dishes. I like cooking (or baking) pretty food, fun food, and comfort food. It brings a lot of joy to my heart. All that being said, those who can make fancy food and do it well, I tip my hat to you!

Wow. Let me find my way back to my main trail (Bye Bye Rabbit Trail!). Ah, here it is! But let me start again…

I have a deep love for cooking, but I lack much-needed patience. So when I was craving homemade pizza one day, I grew annoyed quickly because every recipe I could find required a certain amount of rise time for the dough. I don’t like to wait. That started my search for a good no-rise dough recipe. I found one that I liked after a bit of trial and error.

Here is the much-anticipated (by only one person) NO-RISE PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE (original recipe)! Enjoy, Sis!

REAL INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 packet (or 1 Tablespoon) of yeast
  2. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  3. 1-2 Tablespoons refined sugar
  4. 3 Tablespoons (canola, olive) oil
  5. 3-4 cups all-purpose flour

ACTUAL PREPARATION:

Proof the yeast, add the sugar and oil. Mix in flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth. Press out into shape on a pizza stone. Add toppings, place in a cool oven. Cook at 375* for 20-25 minutes.

MY NOTES:

1) if you aren’t using a pizza stone, spray pan with cooking spray

2) this dough has a slight tendency to stay oily; I only add 2 TBLS

3) adding spices directly to the dough is really yummy; play with what you like “until it looks right”

4) you cook time will vary; I usually cook it for 30-35 minutes


Thankful

News and I have a love/hate relationship.

I listen to The Today Show each morning, but by the time I really start paying attention they are to the light and happy news, well past the sad or difficult news. I used to be great about reading through at least the days headlines, if not skimming a couple dozen articles each morning before I dove into work. I should do this more. Per this mantra, I was browsing a bit today on some newsie websites and stumbled across this article.

This article did two things to me. First it reminded me of how painfully unaware I have let myself become. Just a few months ago I would have been far more knowledgeable on the current culture in the Middle East or the myriad of other news that is happening around the world. I don’t like this complacency about myself.

The second thing it did was break my heart. Her punishment seems barbaric to me… 90 lashes!?  That is something they did 1000 years ago, not today! I’m so grateful to live in a country that I this feels barbaric! What would it be like to know that if you are arrested for a crime, a punishment option is flogging? I can’t wrap my mind around it… can you?


Why couldn’t it be “follow the butterflies?!”

Catchy line to lead to a profound story… How Butterflies Saved My Life.

Let me start at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start). My family goes on a vacation to the Smoky Mountains every Fall. It’s called TAFFY (Time Away for Family and Yahweh). What you need to know, however, is that prior to all of us kids getting married, we were allowed to bring a significant other. My brother brought a girlfriend; I brought a boyfriend (my sister has been married ever since we started TAFFY, so this didn’t really apply to her).

I had been dating this guy for a few years and he had been to TAFFY with us several times. It was a very serious relationship; most people thought we were headed down the aisle. But things started to get rocky in the relationship during the Summer. Those rough times, however, didn’t prepare me for the break-up that he initiated days before TAFFY. I was heartbroken, devastated. I didn’t want to go to TAFFY, I wanted to stay home and wallow. But as that wasn’t an option, I went to TAFFY and wallowed. I did what was expected and had an o…k…a…y time, but I was still heart broken.

Then two wonderful things happened; two things will be in my memory until the day I die.

I was laying on the couch in the den one afternoon, wallowing in my heartache and trying to not think when my Dad walked down the stairs. I must have looked pathetic with tears streaming down my cheeks onto the couch cushion I was leaning against. He didn’t say anything, he just came and sat down by me and pulled me into a hug. I started sobbing even harder. Through all this female angst, my Dad didn’t say a word. He just stayed with me, hugging me, for a half hour. When I finally calmed down, he pulled away enough to look at me and he smiled and said, “It will get better. God’s got a plan.” Then he got up and walked back upstairs.

I stayed on that couch for another hour thinking about what he had said. It was something so simple, something I should have thought of myself. But it took a Dad’s wisdom to guide me. My heart wasn’t healed because of what he said, but it wasn’t bleeding anymore.

Then came thing #2; what I like to think of as the fruition of what Dad had promised.

The next day a few of us went hiking. Most of our hiking group ran on ahead, but Dad and I hiked together.  As the hiking photographer, I had my camera with me, but I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was around me. Then, something really cool happened. A butterfly fluttered around me for a moment and then landed lightly on a leaf about three feet from me. Instinct kicked in and I lifted my camera to take a shot of the beautiful creature all the while thinking that it was a long shot as there was no way the insect was going to stay still long enough to let me take a photo. Much to my surprise, however, she did stay still! I took a few shots and then though, “oh what the heck,” and tried to get a bit closer thinking that as soon as I took a step, she would fly away. But she didn’t. Instead, she started to open and close her wings, beaconing me closer. Ever step toward the lovely lady I took a few shots just in case she scampered away, but every step closer, she only seemed to pose even more, slowly opening and closing her wings in a mesmerizing way.

Two feet from her, * click click click *

One foot from her, * click click click *

Leaning in, * click click * finally coming within six inches of her * click! * I was able to take photos so close to her I could see the feathers on her wings! After giving me at least 20 close-ups, she gracefully flapped her wings and lifted from the leaf and fluttered away…

I looked at my dad in amazement. Things like that don’t happen on hikes! If you see wildlife, it’s from a distance. Birds, insects, bears… NOTHING let’s you get that close! My dad was watching the whole interaction, smiling. He winked at me and we walked on.

Now buckle up, because this story is just starting to get good.

After that first encounter with my butterfly, Dad and I kept hiking up the mountain both lost in our own thoughts. We had accepted that the butterfly experience was amazing, but not giving it too much thought. Then about 10 minutes later, a different butterfly, this one of bright yellow with black trim, fluttered around me twice, then landed deftly on a nearby flower. I thought, ‘who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky twice,’ and proceeded to start this shooting process again! And it worked, I got within inches of her and she merely flatted her wings gracefully as if posing for each shot. Dad stood back and smiled a knowing smile. Another hiker was walking by and saw this scene. He had a camera with him so he started shooting to. He stepped closer and closer and, seeing this, I stepped back thinking that I had plenty of shots; I might as well let this guy get a few. Ladies and gentleman, this hiker did the exact same thing that I did in his approach, but he wasn’t within six feet of her when she fluttered away!

This scenario didn’t play out once or twice that day, but rather, this happened at least 10 times that day! A butterfly would flutter by me, settle on a flower or leaf or tree, pose for as many shots as I wanted, and then take off. I would be within inches of the creatures, but any other passersby couldn’t get within five feet! People were marveling at this entire experience!

Then came the point where I had no choice but to accept that this was God talking to me. Dad and I stopped off at a cove on the train; it was part of a creek bed and it made for a nice snack break. We had hiked this trail many times before and new the cove well. Never before had I seen the sight that awaited me. In the cove that was usually void of any creatures at all were at least 200 midnight blue butterflies swirling in flight, landing on stones, dancing in elaborate tangos in the air! I stopped and stared, not quite sure if I could believe my eyes. After shooting at last 50 shots of the scene from afar, I looked back at my Dad and said, “Should I risk it?” He laughed and said, “Go for it!”

So I did… I took slow, quite step after slow quite step closer to the cove closing the dozen or so feet of space between me and the delicate creatures with painstaking stealth. As I drew nearer however, I realized that my stealth were for not, the closer I got the more I realized that these creatures were here for me and they weren’t going to leave without saying hello. So I took a deep breath and stepped into their midst and watched in amazement as they swirled around me with beauty and grace… it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Once I caught my breath I began snapping photos of my experience so as to never forget the moment and the uniqueness of the event.

There is no way to place into words what that experience looked like. Only Dad was able to see the full scope of what happened to me that day and he seemed to know from the beginning that God was talking to me, telling me it was going to be okay, that He had bigger and better plans for my life. I have always known that there was a God, but to have him speak so intimately to me was both awe-inspiring and humbling…

Butterflies don’t allow human beings to be within inches of them outside of butterfly sanctuaries, it just doesn’t happen. But it did that day. Much like a butterfly enters a cocoon only to gain new life, I too was free of the cocoon of my past and able to be free to live the life God had in mind for me.