Friday, July 19, 2013

#7QT: Be Our Guest!

Happy Friday! Mi amore has a biostats test this afternoon, mi familia is going to the lake house this weekend, and I am... hot. Or wet, since those are the two weather forecasts in New Orleans. At least my sperrys are getting properly used.


I have officially emptied every single box* in our apartment! HOORAY! Dance party time!

*Except for the book boxes.

Which is to say, I still have stuff to put away.


I'm really enjoying my writer's workshop. Here's this week's activity on writing outside your comfort zone.

Listening to and reading the words of the other ladies in the class, I think this could be our anthem:

This, too:
"Writing is a vocation and, as in any other calling, a writer should develop his talents for the greater glory of God. Novels should be neither homilies nor apologetics: the author's faith, and the grace he has received, will become apparent in his work even if it does not have Catholic characters or a Catholic theme."—Piers Paul Read, Author of "The Death of a Pope"
H/T Ignatius Press

If you're a lady and looking for awesome Christian fellowship and great prompts, Elora is the best; she'll be taking names for the fall session soon!


On Thursday, Will had a classmate over for dinner and a study party. He texts me around 5:20 p.m. and asks me to have dinner ready around 6 p.m. Luckily for me, they don't actually show up until after 6:30 p.m.

I'm currently in a "use what we have" phase of cooking, in an attempt to push my culinary creativity and be budget saavy. This worked in two ways: I still went to the store to pick up a pound of ground beef and a bag of chopped mixed vegetables ($5-ish), and then used what I found in the fridge and cabinet.

And then I had a panic attack, because I thought I had waaaaay more spaghetti sauce than 1/2 container. So I added 1/3 container of water and swish-swish-swish to retrieve the rest of the sauce, and then added 1 can of diced tomatoes (including water), plus 2/3 the bag of mixed vegetables.

Meanwhile, I am cooking ze pasta and the ground beef (separately). Once the beef was cooked and drained and put back into the big ole frying pan, I added the spaghetti sauce concoction, which was warming up too slowly. I fixed that. (Remember to stir.)

I added in a variety of spices; nothing scientific, and not a lot of any of them: sage, thyme, salt, onion. It still wasn't thickening up, so I added a half-ish cup of flour, and then dumped a decent amount of parmeson cheese in too. That made is extra delicious, and is my favorite part of the recipe.

In the two minutes I had, I grated some delicious hard cheese my MIL bought us from Whole Foods. Perfecto. Pasta was al dente by the time two hungry graduate students arrived, and the spaghetti sauce was hearty and hot. And cheesy.



I am probably overly-proud of myself for this dish (see last entry and excessive detail), but I am a perfectionist and worry waaaay too much over how the food is going to turn out. This just gave me a much needed confidence boost in trusting my culinary instincts, novice that they are. Will could eat the same thing every day: chicken (or fish), rice (or fried spaghetti), carrots. I need more variety, so I am working on that.

My next challenge: black beans. Have any good recipes, people? I am also thinking I need to dive into some Creole recipes with red beans and rice, which would satisfy both our nutritional wants.


I'm also in a baking mood. Liz pointed me to this recipe from The Kitchn - upside down cake using ANY FRUIT YOU WANT. Move aside, pineapple! I'm thinking peach and cherry upside down cake is sound delicious right now.

But first, banana bread. I have two overly ripe bananas begging me for some love. Smitten Kitten has a jacked-up recipe which caught my eye.


A "few" links I've enjoyed this week:

Carmelite nuns asking permission to die; martyrs are born - what a lovely, beautiful, faithful story

Hunter S. Thompson's (fantastic) cover letter - hilarious, honest, candid

Maya Angelou reading from her new children's book on fear - audio and pictures; I just love it

A Catholic nun who has gone to over 4,000 houses inviting Catholics back to mass - inspiring and humbling

Irving Babbitt - an important man; very influential in my intellectual development

21 tips for survival mode - I keep re-reading this, and all I take care of is myself, my husband, and my in-womb bebe... for now!

Young Evangelicals Are Getting High - high on liturgy and history and deep theology

Kevin McCormick's First Album (!!!) - So. Good. I've heard the man play live; I mean it.

A Step Into the Open - so much grace here, and honesty.

We're Getting a Calvin and Hobbes Documentary - AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! NO WORDS!!!!!!! JUST PUNCTUATION!!!!!!!!!!!

Photographic Series Showing What 200 Calories Looks Like in Different Foods - I mean, pretty cool.

just don't say it: About Your Past - Amanda's awesome series; I especially love/ needed this post

My Mother Regretted Her Abortion - amazing essay published at The Atlantic

Actors That Should Play Disney Princes In Real Life - Um, yes.

My nesting update. - As exciting as it sounds (with pictures!!)

Finally, everyone, announcement: check out The Mirror Magazine - an awesome new publication for women, and oh hey, I am a co-founding writer. Like The Mirror on Facebook too, and follow us on Twitter!

(You're welcome for the larger font. I just didn't want you to miss the links. Wink.)


And now, the question of the day - Emily Dickinson said, ‘Forever is composed of nows.' What would you do if you weren't afraid? These women answer that question here.

Talk to me, geese. Happy Friday!! Join Jen and the gang here.


  1. Loved the sound your recipe and linking up to your magazine. Glad I found your blog on 7 Quick Takes Friday. :)

  2. Yes I DO have a great black bean recipe. Are you ready?

    Buy the bag black beans and cook as they say in terms of time, overnight soaking (important step!), and amount of water EXCEPT after you've soaked them, cook them in a slow cooker. Put on low in the morning before you leave for work and they'll be ready for dinner.

    To the pot add:
    a ham hock, bacon, diced ham or some type of pig meat and bone if you have it
    chopped onion
    fresh grated ginger (or dried, if it's all you have) - about half a piece? maybe more...but trust me, this is the most important part.

    We serve over brown rice with cheese and hot sauce. Voila!

  3. You did a great job pulling together a last minute dinner! Way to go!

    I've been looking for a black bean recipe, too. My mom makes a black bean dip which is yummy as a side. Rinse the black beans, add a can of corn, add oil, 1 tsp apple vinegar, salt & pepper to taste. Could serve it with grilled or baked chicken and rice!

  4. The description of your spaghetti sauce actually made my mouth water. Great job!

    As for a black bean recipe: Delicious. I don't think I've ever made anything from her sight that I've been disappointed with.

    1. I am bookmarking that site!! Kayla, I knew you would appreciate my excessive food detail. ;) #preggoproblems

  5. Oh my gosh, upside down cake with ANY FRUIT!! You've spoken the magic words. Rhubarbs, strawberries, pineapples, oh my!