Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family and Food Link-Up: November Edition

Last year, we were living in New Orleans. I had the task of feeding our family while taking care of a new baby and satisfying two sets of taste buds. I often found myself trying new recipes to stretch our food budget. I like to try new recipes while Will often prefer the tried-and-true recipes.

It's not that my husband is a picky eater as much as he is a particular eater; and I knew I made a bad dish when he would only eat a small helping and declare himself full. Please. You are a human garbage disposal for carbs and chicken.

I discovered skillet meals in November of 2013 - how delightful! Throw in food; it cooks. Stir in more food. Leave it to simmer. A few more ingredients and a few more minutes later, and within 30 minutes, a warm and filling meal that would last us many days. {Fortunately, we both like leftovers!}

This is a personal favorite of us Baldwins - Skillet Chili Mac

  • 1 T safflower oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz/ 2 cups+ dry small pasta
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2+ cups sharp cheddar shredded cheese
  • 12" skillet pan
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Can opener
  • Measuring cup + spoons
  • Wooden spatula
  • Serving spoon

1. Oil in pan; skillet on stove (medium-high heat to start)
2. Cut up onions. Try not to cry.
3. Cry. Onions are the worst. Mince garlic, if you can even see what you are doing. {Don't mince garlic and cry. You might cut your finger, like someone I know.} Or open up that jar of minced garlic!
4. Mm, saute away, onions. Add in ground beef. Break it up as it cooks. Stir in chili powder and salt.
5. Once cooked, drain any excess fat/ grease.
6. Back to the pan! Stir in garlic and brown sugar until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
7. Now, the real skill: opening cans. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water and small pasta (I like shells)... I often put in more pasta than 2 cups - adjust your water, if need be. Just know what your pan can handle!
8. Cover and cook, stirring often at a steady simmer (12-15 minutes).
9. Stir in rinsed beans (if canned), frozen corn, 1 cup of cheese; you can also add in 3T of flour if the sauce needs to thicken.
10. Turn off heat - sprinkle 1+ cup of cheese on top and replace lid (2-4 minutes).

This meal re-heats well, and is a very happy meal! Enjoy with avocado slices and your favorite green vegetable (we like green beans with this dish - aesthetically, and taste-wise!).

Bon appetit!

Back from Iraq: Religious Persecution in the War Zone - Jillian Kay Melchior Speaks

Jillian and I went to college together; we took writing classes together in the journalism program. She is a year ahead of me, and we continue to be on friendly terms. I love hearing her updates and am excited to share this speech her gave at our alma mater about her work in Iraq.

(She went to China for a year too - such an amazing journalist!).

Follow her on Twitter!

Monday, November 17, 2014

St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Me

Happy feast day to my patron saint, whose name I took at Confirmation - St. Elizabeth of Hungary!

'St. Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor' (1895) by Marianne Stokes

I wrote on her choosing me - "Saint of Hungary and the Homeless" - may she continue to intercede in my life!

Do you have a patron saint? How did he or she choose you?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Wrote and The Writ

"The Wrote and The Writ" by Johnny Flynn

They're taking pictures of the man from God
I hope his cassock's clean
The burden of being our holy fellas
Your halo'd better gleam, better gleam

What of all those wayward priests?
The ones who like to drink
Do you suppose they'd swap their blood for wine
Like you swapped yours for ink, for ink

You wrote me, oh so many letters
And all of them seemed true
Promises look good on paper
Especially from you, from you

The weight of all those willing words
I carried all alone
You wouldn't put your pen to bed
When we hadn't found our own, our own

Your sentences rose high at night
And circled round my head
The circle's since been broken
Like the priest before me is breaking bread

I'm being asked to drink the blood of Christ
And soon I'll eat his flesh
I'm alone again before the altar
Shedding all my old regrets

The last of which I'll tell you now
As it flies down the sink
I never knew a part of you
You didn't set in ink, in ink

The letters that you left behind
No longer shall I read
Your blood's between the pages
And I can't stand to see you bleed

And I'll soon forget what was never there
Your words are ash and dust
All that's left is the song I've sung
The breath I've taken and the one I must

If you're born with a love for the wrote and the writ
People of letters your warning stands clear
Pay heed to your heart and not to your wit
Don't say in a letter what you can't in my ear

{{Music as poetry}}

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

#5Faves: Snack Attacks

I am a snacker. I am all about the mini-meals! If I don't eat every few hours, my low blood sugar kicks in, and either I become Sleeping Beauty or the Monster from the Black Lagoon. So what are my five go-to snacks? Glad you asked.

 For protein, I love apple slices, a colby jack cheese stick and Almond Nut-Thins (Hint of Sea Salt).

If you're looking for a new apple to try, I bought SnapDragon apples this week - new from New York, recently "bred" at Cornell University! Wonderful crunch, sweet and firm texture. Related to the Honeycrisp (delicious), and quite a worthy cousin.

For salty + sweet, I love a toasted english muffin topped with peanut butter, with a side of banana or apple slices.

For sweet, Chobaini greek yogurt - easy add ons include fruit (if not already on bottom), flax seeds, chia seeds. If you're extra decadent, I like a handful of Raisinets on the side too. The greek yogurt has protein in it too! {Plain greek yogurt is one of the few foods I can stomach during bad nausea.}

For a crunch, carrot sticks, celery sticks and hummus. Popcorn is a fun crunch too!


For texture, cut up tomatoes with mini (fresh!) mozzarella balls. Olive oil + vinegar optional; sometimes, I add avocado slices as well for more color.


What do you like to eat? Are you a snacker or do you only eat three squares a day?

Linking up with Jenna @ Call Her Happy!