Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Free Breakfast

My mom sent this great coupon over to me! Reserve your free Chick-fil-a breakfast before they are gone!


See you at the James Island Chick-fil-a at 7 am Tuesday, September 6?! Cole and I will be there!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Folly Beach

Cole and I decided that if we weren't evacuating for Irene, we might as well go to the beach! We witnessed the biggest waves I have ever seen, and a drop-dead gorgeous sunset! I don't think the pictures do either one justice, but they are still pretty awesome. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home with all our baggage!

Cole and I  just got back from a long day at school. We got to school at 6:00am this morning, which means we woke up in the 5s, and just walked in the door a few minutes a go! Whew!

Somedays, like today, we pack our lives away. It was so humorous getting out of the car that we had to stop and pose for a photo. 

The first thing I did was put on my PJs. I wish my work for the day was done, but honestly I am quite far from that! Someone do a little pleasure reading, movie watching, magazine reading, or creative cooking for me tonight :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School but Not by the Pool

Molly and I hosted a Back to School Party for the girls in our class! We were excited to see everyone and wanted to connect after our 3 month short summer. Originally planning to have a get-together by the pool, the weather forced us inside. 

It was so fun having you all over! We have such a great class.

Our menu was margaritas, lime-infused water, fresh fruit with lime sauce, ham and swiss hawaiian rolls, cheese wafers, sun-dried tomato and pesto cheese torte, black bean dip, fresh salsa, and mini key lime pies.

Thank you for all for coming!! I am blessed to have you as friends. 

What I learned from a cooking class

Katie, Alicia, Molly, and I had a wonderful time attending Coastal Cupboard's Shrimp and Grits Cooking Class. I can't imagine a better outing... time with my girlfriends, a meal that was out of this world, and some really great cooking tips!

We each had a Groupon so the class was only $10...This included shrimp and grits lunch (and these shrimp weren't just any shrimp...they were Magwood's shrimp...my favorite), dessert, two glasses of wine, time with friends, and a cooking class... now, that's a good deal!
Molly and Alicia
Katie and me
All of us with the chef
I would love to post the recipe, but I believe I could make the meal in the time it would take me to type it! I don't think I am up for it. And, I am not sure that is even kosher?!

But, here are a few tips I picked up...
1. Nuts are best kept in the freezer.
2. Grapeseed Oil Spray is much better than other cooking sprays. It is a lot more concentrated than the average olive oil ones, so you can use less, and less = healthier.
3. Wondra flour- really fine flour that you use to thicken up soup, gravy, stew, and sauces. It can be found with the regular flour in any grocery store.
4. Grits are much better when cooked with 1/2 chicken stock, 1/2 milk instead of all water.
5. Quickest and easiest way to chop a bell pepper. Check out a youtube video here.
6. The real difference between iodized salt and sea salt. If you are watching your salt consumption (or should be), sea salt is best to use because it is more "saltier" than the processed iodized salt. And again, less= healthier when it comes to salt.
7. A reminder of how much I love sweet and salty- we made a Caramel Sauce with ice cream, garnished with a pinch of sea salt. I thought about Starbuck's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate...yum! Speaking of Starbucks, check out this interesting video here

And, a new wish list...
1. Water Infusion Pitcher I got a great deal on this one from BB&B.
1. Herb Chopper like this one.

I had a blast with you girls!!

Looking for a place to give?

Here is a list of a few of my favorite organizations, and a little blurb about each, that I believe are gospel-centered and whose work is only made possible through donations.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 says, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

1 Chronicles 29: 9-16 says, "....For everything in heaven and earth is yours....Wealth and honor come from you...But, who am I that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand..."

Water Missions International- Water for Africa Project- This is a locally based international ministry that seeks to provide clean and safe water to places around the world. The core of their work is aimed at sharing the "Living Water" message.

Donate Fuel to MAF- Their mission is to share the love and message of Jesus to isolated parts of the world through aviation and technology.

DesiringGod.org- Online resource library that is free, available, and beneficial to many believers! John Piper and his staff are famous for this quote that I believe sums up their ministry well: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Joshua's Way- Another local ministry, founded by Cole's dear late uncle, that reaches cross-culturally both here and abroad to impact lives "to know and to do".

Samaritan's Purse- I think you all probably know about this one!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Small Dose

Have you all been enjoying this weather as much as I have?! It has been so nice not to have to get up at the crack of dawn to get a morning run in outside. Whew! 

School started today!! It was so fun to see all of my friends. I can't believe I am a third year already!

Last weekend, my mom and her sisters came into town for my cousin Lauren's baby shower. It was fun celebrating with her! We had quality Williams girl-time with them, my other cousin Saragayle, my sister Marian, and myself. This picture is of my aunt May-May (soon to be grandmother) after she gave this beautiful hand-sewn quilt to Lauren. We all were amazed at her handiwork and asked "How long did this take?" She answered, "I don't exactly remember; I had it finished 5 years ago!!" She has been praying for a baby for a while :)  So excited about getting a new baby in the family! 

Cole made me these awesome milkshakes this week. Here is how our conversation went: 
Me: Cole, do you want to go downtown and walk tonight (we often do this in the summer)?
Cole: Haven't you already worked out today?
Me: Yes
Cole: Do you mind if I finish my reading and we can do it tomorrow night?
Me: not at all!
Cole: Ashley, do you want to go get ice cream from Harris Teeter and make Oreo milkshakes?
Me: Uhhh...
Cole: Come on, haven't you already worked out today?
Me: Yes, I have! And, that sounds delicious!

Good alternative to a walk, huh?!

We are off to DeBordieu for the weekend. We plan to relax, read, exercise, walk on the beach, and go to Brookgreen. Maybe we will even see a turtle nest hatch!

I had a blast this past week attending the Charleston Bloggers Social and got to meet some fun girls!  I met Amanda, Kim, Christina, and ChristyAshton and her friend are heading this new blog up called The Belles of Saturday. Whether you are in to football, food, or fashion, you will like this one! 

It has been fun to see a few new followers on my blog too! 


So, in the meantime, check out their blogs! Enjoy the weekend!

(Not so sure what is going on with my fonts! I will leave this problem for another day.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Favorite Kitchen Item

Marian gave this kitchen gadget to me at my kitchen shower because she knows how much I like cherries!!
Cherry Pitter
It works like a charm and is a must have if you want to put cherries into a fruit melody!

Most of the time I prefer to eat fruit salads plain to enjoy the natural sweet and complex flavors of the fruit, especially in the summer when fruit is at season's peak. Other times, it is fun to spice it up a bit. This is especially useful for a brunch or even a light dessert.  Here are my favorite sauces for fruit salad:

Sour Cream Sauce
Beat 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until creamy. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Orange Sauce
Over heat, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tbs cornstarch. Gradually stir in 1 and 1/2 cups OJ until smooth. Stir constantly. Bring to boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 tsp grated lemon rind. Cool completely.

Lime Sauce

Whisk 1 cup water and 1 Tbl cornstarch well, then whisk in 1c sugar, 1 to 2 tsp lime zest, 1/4c fresh lime juice. Cook on low, whisking for 10 minutes until thickened. Cool. 

See my previous post My New Favorite Kitchen Tool to see a great way to serve fruit salads!

Pleading with God

In my daily reading through the Bible this week (see my commitment to reading the Bible this year here), I have learned more about prayer. In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham pleads for the town of Sodom to be spared. Because of their overwhelming wickedness, the city deserved this punishment. But, out of concern for Lot, Abraham intercedes before God through fervent and persistent prayer. His boldness changed God's mind so that God agreed to spare the city if only ten righteous people could be found. Wow! What an encouragement that God listens to and answers prayer! He desires for us to be a praying people.  I am guilty of sometimes subconsciously thinking that my prayers don't matter, especially if life's steps are already determined. This is wrong! It matters that we ask, plead, and wrestle with God! It sure did in this case. This is especially encouraging to me since Cole and I have been reading Operation World and praying big things for the nations (see post here).

Here are some other examples in the Bible that I have found, although I am sure there are plenty more. Moses pleads before God to have mercy on His people and as a result, held back the hand of God from consuming the nation in wrath (Exodus 32:7-14; Psalms 106:23). Psalm 106 is a great one and says, "So he said he would destroy them- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them." Another example is Peter in Acts 12:5-12. This passage says that because prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God, Peter's chains fell off and he was led out of the prison by an angel of God!  

I don't know all the theology behind these passages at all, but what I do know is that God hears our prayers. Prayer works! I also experience personally that not only does prayer change God's mind, but most of all it changes mine! I always get a new perspective on things when I spend time in prayer. Get on your knees in His presence. 

One of my favorite prayers is Ephesians 3:14-21

4 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family 
in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches 
he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power that is at work within us, 
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Remember this quote by William Lee. "It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are: nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they are; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be -- which God cares for. Fervency of spirit is that which availeth much."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sale Time

Believe it or not, my friends, the summer is almost over! For me, this means school starts, fall weather comes, and....IT'S SALE TIME!!

One of my favorite boutiques is Gwynn's in Mount Pleasant. If you haven't been before, you should check out their website. This upscale department store has everything, including the best lines in clothing, cosmetics, gifts, and home accessories. They even do all their alterations in-house. Gwynn's is a bit pricey...pricey enough where I walk in and say, "People would actually spend that on one item...unbelievable!" It is especially expensive for my newlywed clothes budget....except for twice a year, August and January. These months mark the end of one season and the beginning of next. In order to change over the store merchandise, they start discounting at 50% and taper down to 70%, then 70% plus 30%, and then 90%. Very nice and expensive clothes become affordable, and comparable to what I can find in a consignment shop.

How convenient that I work next door!!!

Since I earned a small scholarship for school this year (yay!! and finally!!), Daddy rewarded me with some money to go shopping! Check out these steals deals I picked up when I shopped during the 70% plus 30% sale last week. (Usually I find a pair of shoes or two, but no luck this year.)

 I racked up!!! Aren't these great items?! Thanks Daddy :) 

I am one to buy nicer things and keep them forever, which is why I love Gwynn's. Everything is first class and I usually need some help with style :) Seriously, I still wear clothes from 9th grade. I take special efforts to keep things looking nice. On the other hand, my sister's clothes personality is a bit different. While she loves nice clothes too, she would rather buy trendy pieces at much less cost and have more of them. I find myself in basics a lot, but she always looks right in style. What is your clothes/shopping personality? 

I try to keep the mindset of these verses when I do shop because I am tempted to be materialistic....But, an adventure is fun every now and then, and everyone needs clothes to wear right?! 

Luke 12:22-23 "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; 
or about your body, what you will wear. 
Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."

1 Timothy 6: 6-7 "Godliness with contentment is great gain. 
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, 
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 
where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves 
do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, 
there your heart will be also."

If you decide to venture out, my favorite person that works in women's clothing is Casey. She is super cute, attentive, honest, and likes a good deal too! Maybe I will see you there in January....I have to keep myself out of there until the next deal comes around!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cooking with Bourbon... and other things

I owe you this update on the weekly menu from last week. Actually I owe you two posts, but I haven't finished the one on my priorities yet. Stay tuned!

Click here for the What is being served on our table this week and here for Priorities

First up was the Basil Pesto Turkey Panini on Ciabatta with Cheese Sauce. It was a great and fast one!
Notice the cheese sauce
 You could make this sandwich any way you choose, but this time we used ciabatta bread, Boar's Head turkey, provolone cheese, baby spinach, and basil pesto. After grilling, we dipped them in the cheese sauce. Other ideas: You could mix the basil pesto with mayo to make a creamy pesto sauce. You could use ham instead of turkey. You could add bacon. You could leave off the cheese on the sandwich since you are dipping it in cheese :)
Turkey Panini
The worst part about paninis (how do you make this word plural?!) is cleaning the George Foreman. Usually what happens is that I dread it so that I leave it sitting out on the counter for a few days...until my wonderful husband catches on and decides to clean it for me. Clever huh?!
Basil Pesto in the food chopper
We used the leftover pesto on a variety of things. See my post on Pizza To Die For to see how we use it on pizza.

Below was our anniversary dinner!! I'll be honest, the picture looks a little bland, but it was one of the best meals we have cooked. 
Baked Grouper (in lemon, parmesan, butter, and panko), Onion Risotto, and sauteed squash and zucchini.
However, the picture of the dessert is worth a thousand words!! OMG!
Glazed Peaches and Yogurt Ice Cream
Seriously this was the best dessert I have cooked. It is restaurant material for sure! Don't let this peach season go by without giving it at try. It is super easy so if you want to please, make this!!! (Click above on the name for the recipe). 

Since I had leftover bourbon from the dessert above (I was able to buy a pint for about $4.50), I decided to make a few recipes I had saved that called for the ingredient. We enjoyed Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin last Tuesday. Tonight I am making Grilled Chicken with Bourbon Peach Butter. And today, I went to a lunch cooking class at Coastal Cupboard with a few girlfriends (more to come) and our dessert was ice cream with a caramel and bourbon glaze. I am going to make it soon! See a theme?!

The raspberry preserve and mango chutney dressing was different but good! To make: Combine 1/2 cup each chicken broth, white wine, raspberry preserves, and mango chutney. Simmer approximately 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. I brought it to room temperature to use it as a salad dressing. It was a little thick, but tasty. My mom has used this dressing to cover chicken on a spinach salad, which I think is a better fit. It also tasted great as a sauce on the pork (see below). 
The White Bean, Mushroom, and Asparagus Cassoulet was a good vegetarian dish. I doubled the homemade breadcrumbs and added an extra can of white beans. The breadcrumbs would be great on other things too. I never got around to Thursdays dinner because somehow I forgot Cole had Bible Study (and they feed him there!!). Later in the week, we ended up stuffing miniature biscuits with the leftover pork and using the raspberry mango salad dressing instead of the Blackberry Basil Butter as planned. I will definitely use this combo again. These biscuits would be a perfect hor d'eouvre. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

A New Commitment and My Favorite Bible Story

Since reading the book Radical (see my post on this book here) and several other events, I have been convicted that I have never read the entire Bible. Oh, but have I attempted! It's the usual new year's resolution until I get to about Leviticus and decide that reading the Bible, much less in year, is just too lofty a task. Sound familiar?

Well, all excuses aside, this time is it! I have prayed over this decision and am now 100% committed. I have put off every excuse that I have used before, and there are lots, and am counting them all as loss compared to knowing Jesus, my Lord and Savior, through reading of His Word (Phil 3:8).  I started the last week in July, so hopefully by our anniversary next year it will be complete! Cole is doing it with me too. With any commitment of this nature I need accountability and encouragement, and he is so great at that! After looking at 1,000,000 a few plans, we decided that the ESV Bible Reading Plan fits us best.

On that note I guess I should give you my updated reading list:

1. Heaven is For Real
2. And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
3. Radical by David Platt
4. The Moon and the Mango Tree by Pamela Ewen
5. What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp
6. Desiring God by John Piper
7. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
8. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (on book 4 of 7)
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
11. Peace Child by Don Richardson
12. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (just got it from the library so this is my next one!)
13. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
14. Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
15. Operation World
And now... 16. The Bible. 

I can't believe I read this many books on a regular basis, but have never completed the Bible?!

Operation World is a prayer guide that gives you all the information to pray specifically and intentionally for a nation of the world each day. Cole and I want to mimic God's passion for the nations and develop a deeper burden for the lost people around the world. We believe that prayer can impact the nations for Christ, so we want to be a praying unit that pleads before God on behalf of the church, the lost, and the poor. We want to pray boldly for the purposes of God to be accomplished. We want to believe that God answers big prayers and see them be answered. We want to be sensitive to the Spirit's calling on our lives as we pray for the world. This book has been instrumental so far in helping us do that! Click here for their website where you can order the book or sign-up to receive daily emails. I encourage you to check it out!

So, The Bible and Operation World are both books that will be on my list for at least a year!

One of the books of the Bible I am reading this week is Luke, and I came upon an account of one of my favorite Bible stories. It is the story of the sinful woman with the alabaster jar. You can read the account in Luke 7:36-39, Matthew 26:6-13, and in John 12:1-8. This sinful woman takes oil in an alabaster jar and pours it over Jesus' body, washes his feet with her tears, and wipes his feet with her hair. This oil was special and only used for solemn acts of pure devotion and would have cost nearly a year's worth of wages. The disciples see this as a waste, but Jesus calls it a "beautiful thing". I love this woman's undivided devotion to Jesus as she bows to Him in awe and thankfulness. May I not forget to sit at the feet of Jesus and truly worship Him for who He is as I take on the task of reading through the Bible. May I be like the lady with the alabaster jar, knowing that I do not deserve Him, be able to feel the presence of God and honor Him. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Three everyday reasons why I love where we live...

1. I just ran all of my errands in 50 minutes!! I went to the post office, bank, gas station, UPS, and publix...yes, all in 50 minutes!! How convenient!

2. Yesterday I cleaned our place... every room really needed it, so I did a deep, spring clean. Once I committed, I had completely finished in a few hours time! Not to mention I can plug the vacuum cleaner in one outlet and vacuum our entire apartment! Who needs a house keeper when its this easy?!

3. We have a full time staff here who keeps the grounds. I don't even have to think about watering outdoor flowers, mowing grass, and blowing off the hallways. What a blessing with both of us in school! I am tempted when I hear the blower in our hallway very early in the morning to get frustrated, but then I remind myself that thank goodness that is not on my to-do list for the day! The staff always has beautiful flowers planted and now we have knock-out roses and black-eyed susans. This morning I went out with a pair of scissors and clipped a few blooms for my table (of the flowers I never have once picked out, planted, or watered and in flower beds I have never cleaned out and sweated in). Lovely!

Because I was dreading errands, cleaning, and wanting a garden this week...I decided I needed a change of attitude, needing to see the glass half full and appreciate the daily blessings in my life!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...