a whole new look for The Chatty Mommy!
i am so excited to announce the new Chatty Mommy blog!!!
please stop by to check it out.
her buttons change when you hover over them! love!!
i had so much fun working with Rachel on her new design.
i created a new header, social buttons, menu buttons, post divider, and more!
stop by my web design place; the creative arcade
to see what's new and what i can help you with :)
i believe God gives us gifts, and puts it on our hearts to be passionate about and want to use these gifts. and because of this there are times we want to be in many places at once. it's hard to be patient. i was a part of a bible study that i had to subtract. i honestly wish i could be in bible study while learning how to code an HTML 5 image slider, while auditioning for a film, while playing with my son, while sketching, while knitting, while filming a difficult role of a schitzophrenic woman or maybe she's on the verge of craziness because she feels the full force of life fiercely ripping through her dream of what life was supposed to be, while sipping hot cocoa, while feeding the hungry, while journaling, while spending girl time with my amazing daughters, while watching 50 incredible must see but i haven't seen movies, while rocking babies in the nicu, while running barefoot down the shore, while reading every classic book ever written, while having a delicious glass of valpolicella with the most incredible man (my husband the surfer guy) who introduced me to the sweetly intoxicating red from Italy, while sheltering the homeless, while riding a bike with a basket of flowers, a bottle of wine, and a baguette from the market to my Italian villa, while sharing the word of God with the whole wide world, while marking and rehearsing a difficult scene with Matt Damon or Leonardo Dicaprio, while designing a beautiful blog for a sweet friend, while having a picnic in the grass staring at the puffy white clouds with my family, while singing in church, while sipping tea, while dreaming.
are these my plans? no, that's the sure way to make God laugh; tell Him your plans. no, these are dreams and a daily todo list that blinks in my head. sometimes i get to do a few of these things. we'll see what God has in store for other days.
we can't do it all at once, but all of these are desires of mine every single day. and it is agonizing at times to choose. and agonizing to wait for others. i chose to cancel bible study, the homework was dry, Brockman was not happy with the childcare, i just wasn't getting much from this particular curriculum/group. for now i will study with "she reads truth" God knows i need to be in His word, there's just different ways for each one of us. has this happened to you? have you had to drop something that was supposed to be good for you? i think it's good if we live true to ourselves (not easier) but better constantly improving, learning, learning... learning.
i don't know if anyone still reads my lonely blog, but if you are i hope i have helped or inspired you in some way today.
...and then the next day i want to learn how to surf while taking photos of old city architecture, while studying under renown acting coaches, while spending a month in Tavarua watching my husband catch his favorite waves, while enjoying an anisari yoga class, while digging deeper into Ephesians, Psalms, Proverbs and the life of Paul, while spending weeks and weeks with my mother, while watching a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis....
i can't tell you how thrilled i am! i had so much fun auditioning! <--i know! can you believe it?
i spent a lot of time preparing for this little part and glad i did,
it really helped in the audition room.
it's just a little indie film, but i am so happy to be cast!
off to a great start!
tomato and goat cheese tart, individual shepard's pie, pepperoni pizza monkey bread, and more!
Grilled New England Seafood "Bake"
Ingredients 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish 1 small garlic clove, minced Coarse salt and ground pepper 8 ounces red new potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced 1 pound skinless cod fillet, cut into four equal pieces 8 ounces frozen uncooked medium shrimp (peeled and deveined), thawed 2 ears corn, quartered 1 lemon, thinly sliced 2 hard rolls, halved
Directions Heat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine butter, dill, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Fold four 14-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil in half, forming 4 rectangles. Assemble packets: On one half of each of four folded pieces of heavy-duty foil, dividing ingredients evenly, arrange potatoes in a single layer; top with cod, then shrimp. Place 2 pieces of corn on the side. Season with salt and pepper. Add a dollop of the butter mixture and two lemon slices. Fold foil over ingredients, and crimp edges tightly to seal. Place packets on grill, with potato layer on the bottom. Cook, rotating (but not flipping) packets occasionally, until fish is just cooked through and potatoes are tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from grill. Slit packets open, and transfer contents to serving bowls. Garnish with dill sprigs; serve with rolls. Image and recipe source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food July/August 2007
Chicken Enchilada Pasta
ingredients 12 ounce package dried jumbo shell macaroni 3 large green and/or red sweet peppers, chopped 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion 1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 cups chopped cooked chicken 16 ounce can refried beans 3 Tbsp taco seasoning mix 2 10 ounce can enchilada sauce 8 ounce shredded Mexican-style four-cheese blend 1 cup sliced green onions 2 cups nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips, crushed (2 oz.) Avocado dip and/or sour cream
directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse; drain and set aside. 2. In skillet cook sweet peppers, onion, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp. salt in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, taco seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each of the cheese and green onions. 3. Divide filling among shells. Spread 1 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange shells atop sauce. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce. 4. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions. Serve with avocado dip and/or sour cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Image and recipe source: Better Homes and Gardens, October 2010
Individual Shepard's Pie
600g lean organic beef mince (ground beef) 1 brown onion, finely diced 3 large cloves garlic, minced 2 cups beef or chicken stock 1½ tablespoons tomato paste 1/3 cup Worcester sauce 3 tablespoons HP sauce 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves Salt & freshly ground black pepper Olive or canola oil for frying For the topping: 3 large cloves garlic, whole, skin on 5 evenly-sized large floury potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into halves 2 tablespoons Natural Greek yoghurt 1/3 cup milk 50g Parmesan, finely grated A few extra fresh thyme sprigs Extra Parmesan for topping and serving
Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Place garlic cloves onto a small baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft on the inside (test with a small , sharp knife) remove and allow to cool then squeeze out pulp and discard outer paper.
Fill a medium-large pot half-full with cold water, add a good pinch of salt then add in the halved potatoes. Bring to the boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-high and cook at a high simmer until potatoes as fully soft in the middle when tested with a knife. Note: to ensure really creamy mash, always make sure your potatoes are thoroughly cooked, if they remain even ever so slightly firm in the middle you’ll never get them smooth, as you’ll just end up with tiny lumps dotted throughout the mash.
Drain potatoes, tip them back into the pot and using a potato masher, break up the cooked potatoes, then pass through a Tamil sieve or the finest setting on a potato ricer until totally smooth. Add in the milk, yoghurt, cooled roasted garlic pulp, and grated Parmesan and whip together to combine thoroughly along with a very good seasoning of salt and black pepper. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle (the one I used measured 1cm/0.4”) and set aside until required.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, deep frying pan or saucepan. Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to sauté over medium heat for a further 5-7 minutes before adding in the beef, break the mince up using the end of a spatula and combine all together. Fry until meat has browned then add the stock; tomato paste; HP sauce; Worcester sauce, fresh thyme leaves and stir all together. Cook for 30-40 minutes to infuse all flavours together and sauce has thickened. Fill baking dishes (this quantity will fill a single dish measuring 24 x 18cm/7 x 9.5” or 4 smaller 10cm/4” ramekin-style pots).
Pipe mashed potato onto top of meat filling, sprinkle with a little extra grated Parmesan, a seasoning of black pepper and a garnish of a fresh thyme sprig, then bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until top of piped potato is golden brown. Serve hot with extra grated Parmesan (optional). Serves 4
Ingredients All-purpose flour, for rolling 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 1 tablespoon sour cream 1 teaspoon grainy mustard Coarse salt and ground pepper 2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3/4 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if large, or plum or beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick, or a combination 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or basil leaves
Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12-inch square; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Spread sour cream mixture evenly over pastry. Fold over 1/2-inch border on all sides and press edges to seal. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and slice 1/4-inch thick. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are very soft, 5 minutes. Arrange leeks evenly over sour cream mixture on pastry. Top with tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake until pastry is golden brown and crisp, 25 minutes. Let cool slightly. Top with goat cheese and herbs before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
ingredients Nonstick cooking spray 12 ounces chicken breast strips for stir-frying 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced 3/4 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper (1 medium) 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1 1/2 cups purchased salsa 4 6 inch corn tortillas, coarsely torn 3 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3/4 cup) 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or chopped (optional) 1/2 of an avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped (optional) Corn chips, baked tortilla chips, or broken taco shells (optional)
directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl toss together chicken, garlic, and chili powder. Add to hot skillet. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside. 2. Add canola oil to skillet. Add onion and sweet pepper. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach. 3. Coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/2 cup of the salsa in the baking dish. Top with half of the tortilla pieces, half of the chicken mixture, and half of the vegetable mixture. Pour half of the remaining salsa over the vegetables and top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers once, except do not top with the remaining cheese. 4. Bake, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado, and/or corn chips. Image and Recipe source: Better Homes and Gardens
Seared-Chicken Salad with Green Beans, Almonds, and Dried Cherries
Ingredients 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 6) Coarse salt and ground pepper 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 1 tablespoon apricot jam 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 5 ounces baby arugula 1 head radicchio, cored and shredded 1/3 cup dried cherries 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Directions In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high; season chicken with salt and pepper. In two batches, cook chicken until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, slice chicken crosswise. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches salted water to a boil. Add green beans; cover and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water until cool; drain well. Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, jam, mustard, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss arugula and radicchio with all but 1 tablespoon dressing. Divide salad among four plates; arrange chicken, green beans, cherries, and almonds on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing; serve immediately.
Ingredients 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 4 Tbsp butter 2 lbs pizza dough (I used this recipe because it makes enough for two pizza) 6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you'll need ~48 pieces) 48 slices of Turkey pepperoni (from 1 package) 2-3 cups marinara sauce, warmed, for serving
Instructions Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown.
Remove from heat and let sit. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter. Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (~2/3 of an ounce, a kitchen scale makes this very easy).
Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella. Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low - there will be 1+ Tbsp leftover - and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal). Repeat until all of the dough is used. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400. Bake for ~35 minutes, until the top is very brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.
i love back-to-school and office supplies so much half the time i don't even know what something is for, however, i want it... like a columnar pad?!! i guess it fits well with my paper obsession and calendar addiction.