Friday, August 30, 2013

Suits.


Confession: I haven't been blogging lately because I've been dedicating my free time to something else... A tv show. Yes, I know... That's lame. Who does that? (And if you're a LOST fan you know you've done it. You can't watch one episode and just stop watching. So stop judging me.)

No, I am not going through LOST again. This show really isn't comparable to LOST. But I'm hooked, and I can't help it. You probably haven't even heard of it before... but let me tell you about it. Alright, enough build up...

I'm addicted to the show Suits. I can't stop watching it. A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that her husband and her had been watching it. I hadn't even heard of it before but was kind of in the mood for a new show since fall tv hasn't started back up for it yet, so I went for it. It's a show about attorneys. I'm not normally the lawyer show kind of girl... but I am now. One of the main character is a guy who kicks butt and takes names... you know the type? The other main character is a guy who is a genius and never went to law school or passed the bar but is faking it. Good tv, right? I'm. hooked.

Anyway, I just wanted to apologize. I'm sorry I haven't blogged much lately. I'm almost through seasons 1 and 2 and there are only 3 seasons so I'll be back shortly. (P.S. If you want to get hooked with me, you can watch it streaming on Amazon Prime. Confession: I might have paid for Amazon Prime just so I could watch this show. If you're quick, you could finish all of the seasons in 2 weeks and it'd be free because your first 2 weeks of Amazon Prime are free. Just sayin.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Try-It Last Week...

I tried quite a few new recipes last week. A lot of them were winners so I thought I'd share them on here. (Side note: I realized I don't really blog about my baking/sweet/dessert recipes that I try out. I try one probably once a week or so, so I thought I'd showcase them on here more frequently.)

Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Burgers. I had my family over to celebrate my mom's birthday last week. This recipe was a hit with all eight people who tried it. My mom described it as having an "explosion of flavor." That's pretty good, I'd say. If you're looking to try a new fancy burger recipe... this should be the one.

Summer Potato Salad with Apples. I was looking for a side that would go with burgers but that was a little different than your standard fries, beans, etc. Potato salad isn't that out of the ordinary but this recipe had a bit of a twist that I found refreshing - it had apples in it! It also used very little mayo so it was on the healthier side. I'd recommend it. (The most exciting part? I got to use my own chives that I've been growing... so. cool.)

A Very Giant Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. My mom requested something with peanut butter and chocolate for dessert so I decided to go with this recipe. I saw it on Pinterest probably a year or so ago but hadn't had a chance to try it yet. We liked it! It's a good recipe if you're looking for something with traditional flavors in a not-so-tradtional format. (Unless tarts are something common in your household... unlike mine.)

Almond Bark Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Balls. These are a family favorite that I took to work the other. They aren't the most appetizing looking things in the world but they are possibly one of my favorite cookies ever. And they are so easy... Two thumbs up - fo sho.

And lastly... The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. We had a big family birthday celebration the other night. I was looking for something that could feed about 20 people so I opted for a sheet cake. I was shocked how much the family raved about this recipe. I served it thinking it wasn't really anything special... but they would disagree. My grandma was in town and she convinced me to add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to the recipe. Not sure if that was the secret weapon, but we'll say it was for my grandma's sake. If you're looking for a quick and easy recipe that will feed a lot of people... look no further.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

26 Things I've Learned at Age 26.

(26 year old me. Nothing grand. But that's me... relaxing on the couch... after I made this list of 26 things.)

A lot of bloggers I follow make these lists... (Lists? What? I don't have a thing for lists...) These lists of things they have learned. Some of my favorites are 30 Things I Have Learned At 30 by Gimme Some Oven and These Things I've Learned In Thirty Years by Joy the Baker. I turned 26 the other day and I'd like to make my own list. Maybe I'm jumping the gun a bit. Seems like the trend is to wait until you're 30 to write a list. But I've always been a bit mature for my age. (Ha!) These thoughts aren't anything grand. Some are obvious. Some aren't substantial. Some are stretching. But they are all me.

26 Things I've Learned at Age 26.

1. There is no use in stressing out over what you wear. Once you get wherever you are going, it really won't make a difference.

2. Be patient. Don't spend your life living in the future. (I have to remind myself of this daily and still struggle.)

3. Believe the best about people... even when it's hard.

4. You will have different friends at different stages of life and that's ok. If you lose touch it doesn't mean you love that person any less or that you don't value their friendship, it just means that life is changing.

5. "Enjoy the friendship." (This one is from my momma.) Just because a boy is cool doesn't mean that he has to be yours. Just enjoy the friendship and if something more happens... the great.

6. Don't worry about who pays for what. If someone wants to pay for your ice cream, let them. And if you want to pay for their dinner, then do. It'll all even out in the end. And if it doesn't, that's ok too because one person got to be generous and one person got a accept a gift.

7. It's ok to not have plans on a Friday night. It doesn't mean that you're not loved or even liked. Soak up the down time.

8. Don't be afraid to love on people too much. No one has ever gotten upset for feeling too loved on.

9. The world is a fallen place. If you're not moving toward God, you're moved backwards. (Yes, I basically just quoted a Ben Rector song.) Take this seriously and don't let yourself be fooled.

10. More complicated doesn't always mean more tasty when it comes to baking. Box mixes, especially for cakes and brownies, are nothing to be ashamed of.

11. Don't give up on something if you're not good at it right away - you'll get there.

12. Regularly re-try food that you think you don't like. Things might change.

13. It's ok if you don't embrace every new bit of social media - there will always be something new and you'll never be able to keep up. Ain't nobody got time for that.

14. Get good at asking questions - this will take you further than you think.

15. Sing at the top of your lungs in your car whenever possible. So what if people can see - it'll probably make their day. If not, they were grumpy to begin with so no harm done.

16. Talk about what you love. Not in the "hey, my opinion is superior so you should listen up!" kind of way but in the "this is great so I'm going to put it out there for the world to know" kind of way.

17. Your family loves you more than anyone in the world - treat them like the special, wonderful people they are.

18. Curly hair isn't the devil I thought it was.

19. If you are at Red Box and you choose a movie that you've never heard of, 9 times out of 10 you'll regret it. There's a reason you haven't heard of it.

20. Comparing yourself to others does you no good - you either feel bad about yourself or think you're better than someone else and neither are good things.

21. Communication is key - enough said.

22. You can rarely control your circumstances but you are in control of how you react to them - choose wisely.

23. Be real with people - there's no use in acting like you've got it all together because no one does.

24. Laughing is a special thing... don't slow down as you get older.

25. Handwritten notes mean more than texts, e-mails, wall posts, and tweets combined. They are absolutely and completely worth the time and 40-some cents spent to send them.

26. God's plan is always better than mine. Always.

There you have it. I have learned a lot and have a lot yet to learn...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Everybody deserves a birthday...

Ok, so everybody actually has a birthday. Every year, in fact. But I've decided everyone deserves a birthday. A day to be showered with love and attention - it's one of the greatest things ever. Yesterday was my birthday... and it was quite the special day.

video
I woke up to a video from two of my wonder friends. They wanted to be the first to wish me happy birthday and they were.

I got to work to find my desk decorated. One of my co-workers brought me a donut. Another one gave me a card that had a $20 bill in it and it said, "I appreciate you. Lunch is on me." Another co-worker brought in two of my favorite snacks: homemade Chex Mix and peanut butter cookies. Another co-worker brought me some vegan chocolate chip cookies (and they were actually good!) And of course I received lots of happy birthdays and well wishes.

61 people wrote on my Facebook wall. 2 people tweeted at me. 18 people texted. 3 people sent me videos. And 1 person actually called me. (Clearly we are shifting to a different age where texting and social media are the thing.)

I went to dinner with my family at my favorite place - Oklahoma Joe's. We went to a nearby park and opened presents. It was pretty special...

Then I headed to a softball game with some of my friends. And afterward they took me out to ice cream. This is Bailey - she is great.

As if that wasn't enough tonight a 20 of my friends gathered just for me to do one of my favorite things - play sand volleyball. We ended the evening eating pizza - they tried to get the restaurant to sing me happy birthday, but they wouldn't, so they did it instead. Pretty great...

I'm not saying all of this to say, "Hey, check me out! I have friends!" I'm saying all of this to say - I am overwhelmed with how loved on I've felt over the last couple of days. Everyone deserves to feel this way... What a birthday.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Try-It (or don't...) Tuesday: Easy Chicken Curry.

(I normally think "keep calm..." posters are dumb... but I liked this one. A lot.)

A few weeks ago I met my parents for lunch at this little bakery in north Kansas City called Le Monde. I don't go there for the baked goods (although their pastries are pretty tasty...), I go there for a soup. It's a chicken curry soup and it's a-ma-zing. I had had a rough week at work and I thought the perfect remedy would be two of my favorite things: my parents... and this soup. I was right. I left lunch completely filled up in all of the right ways. 

(Le Monde... I love this place.)

(Maybe the best soup I've ever had in my life. That's not a dramatic statement at all... Seriously though.)

Since eating that I'm still craving curry. I love me some curry. As you know, I made curried chickpeas earlier in the week. P.S. I know I had a whole blog post dedicated to the curried chickpeas, but I've gotta be honest... they weren't good. I threw the leftovers away. So after the curried chickpea incident my craving for curry was not satisfied and I was on the hunt. I was looking to make something quickly the other night so I searched "easy chicken curry recipe" on Pinterest and found a recipe...

I made this recipe for Easy Chicken Curry. Y'all... it wasn't good. Strike out number two! Maybe I did something wrong because my end result looked different than their picture and normally I'm pretty spot on... but maybe not. Then I got to thinking... Why am I looking for another curry recipe? I already have a few curry recipes that I like. I have this bad tendency of thinking that even though I've found something great (as far as recipes go), there may be something out there that is a little bit better than what I've found. I'm calling it quits for better curry recipes. At least for now... Before I stop liking curry because I've forced so many bad recipes on my self, I'm going to stick with the staples below.

Chicken Curry In A Hurry. So good... and it's not lying when it says "in a hurry." It's quick and tasty.

Mulligatawny. You can make Pioneer Woman's version (which I've never actually made before but should...) or my friend Jessie's/my version that was based off of PW's version.

Le Monde's Chicken Curry Soup. They are so small they don't even have a website. But if you're a Kansas Cityan, you should go. Like now. 

Keep calm and curry on! (Ok, yeah, that's cheesy. I take it back.)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Herb Garden? Check!


Remember at the end of May when I made a list of things I wanted to do this summer? Gotta be honest... this summer has been busier than I expected. (What a shocker, right?) I didn't quite have all the free time that I anticipated so I haven't been able to work on this list like I thought. Let me give you a little update.

1. Play lots of sand volleyball. I've played just about every Tuesday night this summer. I'd say this one is complete.
2. Grow my own fresh herbs. More to come on this in a second.
3. Buy a mandolin and make healthy chips. Nope.
4. Decorate our kitchen. Nuh uh.
5. Bake with rhubarb. Hasn't happened.
6. Invite people over for dinner more regularly. Pretty sure I haven't had a single person over for dinner since I made the list.
7. Ride bikes. Nope.
8. Learn how to use my camera with my aunt Cindy. We did this once but then... (say it with me now) things got busy.

I did cross growing my own fresh herbs off my list today though! My mom and I decided to go for it. She had some old mason jars laying around so we headed to a local nursery, bought some herbs, bought some potting mix (not to be confused with potting soil which apparently isn't quite as good for it), then went to work. Ok... it doesn't take much work. We put a little dirt in the jar, put the herbs in, put a little more dirt in the jar, then watered it a bit. Tada! I decided to start with sweet basil, thyme, and chives. I really wanted to grow some cilantro because that's the herb that I cook with more than any other but I guess that's a little more difficult to track down. Hopefully some day. Now the trick will be keeping them alive. That's the hard part.

(Mmmm.... herbs.)

(One of my favorite people in the world... my momma.) 

(A project isn't complete without "two large Diet Cherry Cokes, easy on the ice, please!")

(Possibly the beginning of my green thumb career.)
 But anyway...

2. Grow my own fresh herbs. Complete!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Five Years Ago I Would Never Have Guessed...

(Me and my lovely friend Valeria... almost exactly five years ago.)

I had curried chickpeas for dinner the other night. And as I was eating I thought, "If you would have asked me five years ago if I would be making myself curried chickpeas for dinner, I would have said 'curry what?'" This tangent in my brain got a little deeper and I thought, "Man, things have changed a lot over the last five years. There are a lot of things that I would have never guessed..." Five years ago I was starting my junior year of college. I had just turned 21 and I was thinking at that point that I would be a Spanish teacher or a missionary. I had plans to study abroad, solidify the whole Spanish thing, get married somewhere along the way, and be on my way to what I envisioned to be a "normal life." Things didn't quite turn out the way I expected... and I'm actually pretty ok with it.

So what did I do? I made a list. Why? Because that's what I do.

Things That Five Years Ago I Would Never Have Guessed I Would be Doing Today

1. Eating curried chickpeas.
2. Working at JPMorgan.
3. Being able to speak intelligently about 401(k)s (and not being able to speak much Spanish).
4. Preferring to wear dresses to work over pants.
5. Being interested in management.
6. Living in Prairie Village with two lovely girls that I didn't even know existed five years ago.
7. Living with a cat. (Not to be confused with owning a cat... I doubt this will ever happen.)
8. Having a completely new set of wonderful friends. (I have some of the coolest friends ever and the majority of them I didn't even know five years ago... which is crazy to me.)
9. Loving to cook as much as I do.
10. Going to church in Independence and actually wanting to live there. ("Independence, Missouri? The only good things there are the mall and Fazoli's." That's what five years ago Abby would have said about Independence.)
11. Still be blogging.

Sometimes I get frustrated with life...  because it isn't going the way I planned. But looking back at this list I see all of these wonderful things that if life had gone according to my plan... never would have happened. I'm convinced yet again that God's plan is better than my plan... every. time. And I'm excited to see what these next five years have in store.

(Thanks to curried chickpeas for bringing me this deep moment...)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Food Trends I Wish Would Die.


I try to keep things pretty positive on this blog. But I need to take a moment and vent about a few trends in the food blog world right now that I wish would die...

1. Quinoa. Let's be real folks - you don't actually like this stuff. Someone told you it was healthy and cool so you've convinced yourself you like it. But you don't. It's ok. (While trying to find an anti-quinoa picture I came across this blog... apparently I'm not the only one.)

2. Kale. See above thoughts on quinoa.

3. Anything paleo diet. I'm not a big fan of any diet that's not sustainable. I'd be pretty impressed with anyone who could live on that diet for more than a couple of weeks.

4. Pretty much anything gluten free. I get it, some people have gluten allergies and I love that there are recipes out there for them. The rest of the world that is tricking themselves into thinking gluten is the devil... just relax.

5. Anything homemade that you could get cheaper (and similar tasting) premade. Oreos, marshmallows, graham crackers, those circular shortbread cookies with the chocolate stripes on them (you know, the ones you always got in Sunday school because they were cheap?) Why...?

Now I know... if you don't read food blogs, you could care less about this. Even if you do... you probably still could care less. But I feel like now that I've put my feelings out there, I can move on with my life. Thank you for that. (And thanks to my friend Kruse who helped contribute to this list.)