Proof

PROOF: The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true. Thanks Wikipedia for the definition. I had a three day weekend thanks to an impromptu snow day today (#10 in case you were counting with me). A lot of things happened this weekend. Fun things and very stressful things. But all of these things proved something.

1. Proof that a brother is a built-in best friend. My brother and sister-in-law traveled 5 hours from Chicago to St. Louis this weekend to be with Nick and I. The drive really stinks especially after a full work week but they did it. After years of arguments and torturing one another as kids, Aaron and I get along really well at this point in life. He makes things fun. He goes after what he wants and works hard to get it. He is a built-in best friend that I am glad to have.

IMG_1787

2. Proof that fun can be had without spending money. Nick and I had a rough plan set for this weekend when my brother and sister-in-law arrived. Go to the city! Do a brewery tour! Go to a rooftop bar! When we were thinking about heading out, Nick said that it was tradition for us to play a card game called “Oh Hell,” that we always play when we are together. This card game turned into 7+ hours of games at Nick’s apartment. We turned the afternoon into our own mini-Olympics, while watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in the background. It was free and it was a ton of fun. Putt-Putt, Darts, Flip Cup, Corn hole, Oh Hell, Spoons, Dizzy bat…what a fun and free afternoon. I play games a lot at work with my kids but sometimes forget that games are a lot of fun for 20 and 30 year-olds, too. Here are some shots captured during those 7 hours.

IMG_1816 IMG_1814 IMG_1782 IMG_1741

3. Proof that things are going to go wrong, but sometimes those wrong things can turn out semi-OK. Friday when driving to Nick’s for the weekend, my car had a breakdown. Three different lights came on the dash and I had trouble accelerating. When I got off his exit and had to sit at 10 different red lights, my car almost shut off at each one, sending me into a panic. I called my parents and then I allowed tears to streak down my face as numerous cars beeped and then passed me. After a weekend of self-diagnosing with Nick and Aaron, and trying to figure out the best course of action, I decided to take it to a Chevy dealership in Nick’s town. I was going to drive the hour back to my place Sunday night to start the work week and then drive back to Nick’s town some night after work when hopefully my car would be fixed. I rented a car and I was prepared to do this, as much as it pained me. Come 4 pm on Sunday it started to snow! Something told Nick and I that a snow day might be in order. A few short hours later, my district called off and I was able to stay at Nick’s for the night and the remainder of today. My car was fixed after a day in the shop and a hefty labor bill, but I didn’t have to drive all the way back and forth and I barely needed the rental car. Car problems happen to everyone, Nick reminded me. This its true and at the end of the day, God caused things to work out. I am thankful for this and for a brother, parents and boyfriend who helped me through the whole situation.

4. Proof that a coffee and some time spent in a bookstore can make any day, a good day. The snow day also gave me some quality time to browse around in Barnes and Noble with a hazelnut macchiato in hand. I found a few cute books to use in therapy, finished “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion on my Kindle (highly recommend it!) and did some people watching. I also spent a large amount of time in the greeting card section. I found a simple card that read “We make a living by what we get…We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill is given credit for this saying that reminds me this week to give my all. Give my all at work and give my all in relationships. I am happy to be moving forward into the week!

cards 1

Advertisements

Quinoa? Key-mwhat?

snowstorm

Side Note: Today is my 8th snow day. I doubt that I would have time to post twice in the past two days otherwise. Above is my car and parking spot. I’ve shoveled out twice in the past 18 hours. 

Southwestern Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I have been attempting to make a new recipe each weekend. Nick usually whips up breakfast for us and I feel obliged to at least make one meal. Otherwise, we test out many of the restaurants in his Fairview Heights neighborhood (Thai, Italian, Sushi, Mexican…Yum!) and I beg for ice cream each night. Weekend meals deserve to be more special than the mundane things we eat all week when we are apart, right?

The recipe below is a southwestern variation of the stuffed peppers, Mama Anspach usually makes with rice, ground beef and Velveeta cheese. About two weekends ago, I decided to whip these up for our Saturday night dinner. These are super filling and made enough for two meals for both Nick and I. This was also my first time cooking quinoa (pronounced Key-mwah). Took us about 20 minutes of wondering around and then asking an employee to find the small, hardly discernible bag in the grocery store. It was worth it! Enjoy 🙂 stuffed pepper

This picture was taken prior to popping them in the oven and adding the cheese. It shows how much extra filling there was!

INGREDIENTS:

4 large peppers (green, red, yellow, orange..It’s up to you!)

1 pkg quinoa (In the grain section of the grocery store. I bought the kind that requires boiling in water, same as you cook rice. I also bought the kind that included red barley.)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup Ortega mild taco sauce (This adds moisture to the mix so be generous!)

Seasoning to taste (Your preference here. I added tbspn. cumin and tbspn. chili powder for a kick!)

Shredded cheddar cheese ( Generous amounts but your preference also.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the quinoa by the directions on the package (prep is very similar to rice boiled on stove top). Cut the tops and insides out of the 4 peppers so that they are hollow. Boil water on the stovetop and add the 4 hollowed peppers in with the open sides face down. Heat for 15 minutes or until peppers darken in color. Pull out peppers to cool and sit in pan that allows them to sit up right. (I used a loaf pan which held all 4 of my peppers upright!) In large bowl, mix quinoa, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, onion, taco sauce and seasoning. Scoop this mixture into the 4 peppers. (I used my ice cream scooper which made this very easy.) I also had lots of excess filling that I put in the pan to surround the peppers. Add shredded cheese on top of each pepper and cover with tin foil. Heat in oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes. I kept the tin foil on until the last 1o minutes and then took it off to let the cheese melt. Tastes delicious served with tortilla chips and a side of salsa.

What happens on my 7th snow day….

That’s right. Today is my 7th snow day and 6th snow day since returning from Christmas break. I’ve almost had off as many days in the past month, as I have had school! Craziness. When these snow days first started, I was getting antsy. I might be stuck in school until the end of June at this rate. A few teachers in my building promised me that we will get a few of these days forgiven if we make it to 10. So at this point, I am praying for 3 more snow days and forgiveness!

These snow days, however, have given me time to work on some of my ‘hobbies.’ I’ve read two books (for pleasure, not textbooks) in the past 3 weeks. I’ve painted a picture. I’ve tried a handful of my mom’s recipes in my own kitchen. I’ve planned for my speech and language therapy sessions by creating themed weeks (this week should be Pirates week, if we ever have school). I traveled back to PA over the weekend (more on that later). And I’ve wrestled with the idea of starting a blog. Who is going to read it? What will I even write about? These are both questions I’ve pondered, but I’ve decided to quit worrying and just do it.

I was a journalism major my freshman year in college and the desire to write still burns within me. The most writing I do these days are on greeting cards and IEP goals for my speech kids. Hopefully this blog will be a way to share funny little joys from my days as a speech-language pathologist, tasty recipes that I’ve tried and to keep my family and friends in the loop on what I’ve been up to.

For starters, I was back in PA this weekend to attend and help out at one of my dearest friend (and pseudo-big sister’s) baby shower. Sue Lebow, has been a friend since birth and has seen me in my most awkward and annoying phases. She still loves me and I am so thankful for her! In March, she will be giving birth to a baby girl–Molly Moran. I probably will not be back then to see baby Mo so I decided to fly in this weekend to shower her with love ahead of time. This little girl is SO loved. It was also amazing to see my parents, Grandma, aunts and uncles and some of my best friends over the weekend, too. The Super Bowl wasn’t a total disappointment since my mom made crab and artichoke dip and my college friends were around to play a game of Loaded Questions against.

The picture posted is Sue and I at her shower. Baby Mo is growing bigger and healthier! So excited to be an aunt.

A quote that I have been repeating in my head lately reads:

“Take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey.” -Kristi Bartlett

This quote is going to guide my posts. I want to take it all in, one day at a time and be thankful for this beautiful life that I’ve been given. If you read this post, THANK YOU. You are one of my first blog readers. Hopefully you will return again.

Image