Saturday, April 30, 2011

I got engaged in El Salvador!

I thought it was just a walk on the beach to go swimming. At 11:00 in the morning, and with my friends Cara and Sarah along for the trip, I certainly wasn't expecting a proposal! But, alas, my amor had spent his free hour in the morning, while we girls took a quick walk to town, creating this message with the rocks that are oh-so-pleniful on this black-sand beach in El Salvador. When we headed out for our swim we took a detour to walk along private property (it was easier than the rocks, and Daniel assured me it'd be fine.)  Turns out he had planned for the guard to kick us out...conveniently in front of his "Marry Me". I didn't notice it at first, honestly.  But when he took my hands in his and I felt them shaking, I knew.  
He had to ask me twice, because my initial reaction was a series of, "Oh-my-gosh-are-you-kidding-me-really???"  I hope the my tears conveyed my joy a little better than my verbal responses.  :) 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Subtly Moving Towards Domesticity

For having a mother who cooks gorgeously, I'm sort of a novice in that area.  Oh, I've had a few short-term relationships with culinary endeavors--mostly thanks to some great friends in Mexico--but I never managed to develop routines, habits, or skills in the kitchen.
This doesn't help a girl out when she needs to, say, plan a birthday party for her boyfriend.  My idea of having a mix-and-match pasta bar was basically shot down (for logistic and practical purposes) by my mother, who was here visiting me at the time.  She revamped the menu, spent most of two days in the kitchen, and helped me realize that I may have been a little hasty in confidently proposing to feed about 40 people without having ever done such a thing in my life.
Here are some things I learned:
1.  Appetizers can, and should, be prepared ahead of time. Those dips and bowls full of random goodness don't just get thrown together minutes before guests arrive (even if it appears that easy!).  They take thought, time, and effort (and a whole lot of ingredients brought from the States!)
2.  You should maybe have some stand-by recipes to turn to.  Thanks to mom's delicious repertoire of Italian dishes, I was saved from what could have been a disaster and a bunch of hungry guests.
3.  Although all my go-to grocery stores have entire aisles devoted to tomato sauces, pastas, and cheeses, it's quite possible that the ONLY store to carry penne pasta or ricotta cheese is the overpriced american imports store.
4.  It's high time I learn my way around a kitchen.

And so, this leads me to my newest (and hopefully not short-lived) routine.  Something I just deemed, "Domestic Thursdays".
Daniel has class on Thursday nights, leaving me generally very available (read: often bored).  Lately I have also been holing myself up whenever possible to avoid spending money before spring break travel plans.
SO, hungry and unable to shop, last week I rummaged through my random bits and leftovers and created Quinioa, Lentil and Veggie stuffed peppers!
On Saturday (yea, ok, not a Thursday), I whipped up some Zucchini fritters with Dill Tzatziki sauce!
Zucchini Fritters!
And, finally, tonight I just had to use up the mountains of packages of spaghetti that were leftover after the party last month, so I recreated my mom's Spaghetti Pie (a party favorite) and made it a vegetarian version.

All in all, I'm quite happy with how things are turning out... although I know I have a long way to go.

(check out my Pinterest page for links to some of those recipes I mentioned!)

Friday, April 01, 2011

A little insight for your April.

"God continually introduces us to people for whom we have no affinity, and unless we are worshipping God, the most natural thing to do is to treat them heartlessly, to give them a text like the jab of a spear, or leave them with a rapped out counsel of God and go. A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to Our Lord."
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 1st.)