Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein

1 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 pound chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 sweet red pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1 small onion, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
4 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil. Add chicken pieces and cook through. Add vegetables.

Saute until vegetables are tender. Add garlic powder and crushed red pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, chicken broth, soy sauce, and ginger. Add to vegetables and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for about two minutes until sauce is thickened.

Add spaghetti noodles. Serve.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Berry Pie

Berry Pie
1 No Fail Pie Crust
5 cups berries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

Prepare pie crust and chill. Combine berries, sugar, and flour.

Divide pie crust in half. Roll one half into a circle large enough to fill pie pan. Transfer crust to pie pan. Add berry mixture Roll out second half. Place on top of berry mixture. Crimp edges. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

No Fail Pie Crust
4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water 1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. In separate dish, mix water, vinegar, and egg. Combine mixtures. Chill 15 minutes.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cans chicken broth
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped celery
1/2 - 3/4 cup chhopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked diced chicken
8 oz home style egg noodles, cooked (Country Pasta Homemade Style)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat chicken broth and bouillon together. Add carrots, celery, and onions. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add cream of chicken soup and milk. Add cooked chicken and noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On Helen

I was cashiering that day. An older couple came through my line. As they placed their items on the turntable for me to ring them up, the man barked orders at his wife. He was so impatient with her. Then, he turned to me and struck up a friendly conversation like nothing had happened. He asked about my day, how school was going--just the usual small talk. But intermittently, he would turn to his wife and growl at her some more. She was loading the bagged groceries back into the cart. "Helen, be helpful," he snapped. Helen wasn't even fazed by his harsh tone. I kept my friendly smile on, but deep inside, I hurt for Helen. What could possibly drive this older, hardly gentle gentleman to treat his wife with so much disrespect? I don't know Helen, but she deserves to be treated better than that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

On Surviving

If I can just make it through today, then tomorrow will come.

If I can just make it through this week, then the weekend will come.

If I can make it through this semester, next semester will come.

If I can make it through this year, next year will come.

Then what? How long do you have to wait for it to be ok? Obviously, you're always waiting, always thinking somehow the next part is going to be better. But is it? Is it better if you're still waiting for that better part to arrive? That's why life is a battle, from beginning to end.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On Catering

When a very good friend of mine asked me to cater a meal for a meeting he was hosting, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to use my skills for something big. He said I'd be feeding 12-15 people, which is bigger than I've ever done on my own, though I knew I could handle it.

He requested a traditional Sunday roast beef dinner. Over the six days I had to plan, my mind frequently reviewed the menu and everything that would happen on the big day. Roast, potatos and gravy, carrots, corn, and, of course, my incredible dinner rolls. Chocolate crinkles for dessert. Perfect.

Preparing the meal was so exciting for me. Chocolate crinkles first, so they'd be out of the way. Bring the roast to room temperature. Cover with carrots, onion, water, salt, and pepper. Pop it in the oven. Make roll dough. Let rise. Dishes. Rest for a few minutes. Check roast. Looks awesome! Punch down dough. Form rolls. Let rise. Check roast. Still awesome! Peel 14 potatos. Oops. Cut finger. Boil potatos. Boil water for corn. Make lemonade. Set roast out to redistribute juices. Pop rolls into oven. Make gravy. Mash potatos. Plate up. Serve. Breathe sigh of relief. Listen to seven happy men talk about how great the meal is. Dishes. Success.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Waiting

Life Left To Go

Sometimes the edge serves
As more than a friend
Than you thought it would be
And the pages you write
In your journal each night
Are your only release
And the mask you put on
It's like words in a song
But there's more to be seen
And the failures you see
Don't seem failures to me here at all

I'm begging you no
There's more life left to go
I'm begging you please
Cause I don't want you to leave

Alone as you walk
Through a crowd and its awkward
Like nobody sees
And you can't help but wonder
Would anyone come after you
If you'd leave
So a pain grows inside
And a fear comes alive
Like you'll never be free
But there's no pain you feel
That I know love can't heal here at all

I'm begging you no
There's more life left to go
I'm begging you please
Cause I don't want you to leave me

To leave me here on my own
There's nothing to run from
There's nothing but fear inside you
I just hope I can find you
And tell you that I know you'll smile again

I'm begging you no
There's more life left to go
I'm begging you please
Cause I don't want you to leave

Monday, January 31, 2011

On Pressure

All is Said and Done
Vertical Horizon

I need you to hear me
I want you to feel this
It should be clear as fear
And plain as day

I’m not going to bend now
You’re not going to break me
You’ll never be hard enough to scratch my face

I wanted to fill you
I tried to belong here
With all of the ghosts and faded headlines
But I couldn’t read you
No you wouldn’t let me
You always pull away
From the ones you can’t define

Are you tired
Of holding up the sky
Teaching birds to fly
You’ve done it all your life

Oh baby are you sad
When you see the sun
‘Cause then you’re not the brightest one
When all is said and done
And honey all is said and done

I need to move through this
The waiting just kills me
Whatever you do is on you
I’m washed clean
No don’t be alarmed now
The story’s ending
These aren’t open arms
They’re just waving you away


I need you to hear me
I want you to feel this
It should be clear as fear
And plain as day


Are you tired
Of running for your life
When there’s no one left behind
Just the chaos in your mind

Oh baby are you sad
Each day you greet the sun
You know you’re not the brightest one
When all is said and done

You've reached the end of the day. It's time to wind down, breathe a sigh of relief, and say to yourself, "Self, you were awesome today." But it's not that simple. You accomplished everything on the day's "to do" list, but somehow that's not good enough. "Self, that's not acceptable. You should have been better."

It's hard work to give it your all everyday--painful, even. When you try your best, but you don't succeed. When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep. When the tears come streaming down your face. Could it be worse?

Yet you stand there, holding up the sky, ready to break under the pressure. If you let go, it will all come crashing down. This is your battle, from beginning to end.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water

Alfredo Sauce:
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. Italian seasonings
1 tbsp. garlic powder

Pizza Toppings:
1 pound cooked chicken, diced
1/2 cup sliced olives
1 small onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the dough for the crust, combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water. Stir until combined. Add remaining flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Let rest for 10 minutes. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Use your fingers to press the dough and form it to the shape of the pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the crust starts to brown.

While the crust bakes, make the Alfredo sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine butter and flour to make a roux. Add salt and pepper. Slowly stir in milk so sauce is smooth. Add Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings, and garlic powder. Remove from heat.

Spread sauce over the crust. Add pizza toppings. Bake about 10 minutes longer, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.