Monday, March 29, 2010

New Bag!

Here's a bag I finished last week.

Originally, I was making it for myself, but now I think it came out nice enough to try selling it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fields of Grace

I have iTunes playing as I sit in the office crocheting or stitching. It got to "Fields of Grace" several minutes ago. I've heard the song multiple times before - we even sang it with the youth group at Harvest, and I always liked it. Now, however, it struck me in a different way.
I grew up in a pretty conservative Baptist church. The kind where the girls who wear pants to church are frowned upon, the married women are to wear head coverings, playing cards is a sin, and dancing is not allowed in any way, shape or form. This song could never be sung at that church, even without the drums. I suspect that if I wanted to sing it at the church my mom goes to now (which isn't overly conservative), people wouldn't get it. 
It's okay, in a way. I believe that there should be different kinds of churches for different kinds of people, since there is such a variety of personalities out there.
On the other hand, however, I am so glad that I can fathom dancing with and for my Father God; that the image brings not confusion, but tears to my eyes. I am not, by any means, a "swinging on a chandelier" kind of Christian, and I feel uncomfortable at highly emotional churches as much as I do at highly unemotional ones. It is such a relief, though, to realize, after years of being limited by man-made restrictions, that I can 'dance, like David danced.'

P.S. "And nothing, nothing, nothing can take this away from me!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Beautiful Sunday

Yesterday was simply beautiful, in spite of the wind and the rain. In the morning, Shon and I decided to go the United Methodist Church that is just down the street from our house. We are not Methodist, I've never even been to a Methodist church before, and we did not really know anyone who went there, but several people in the area mentioned that the pastor and his wife used to be missionaries in Russia. So we finally went.

Scott and Patty have indeed spent 3 1/2 years doing mission work, but it was in Kazakhstan, not Russia. They did work with the Russian population though, and they did learn the language. Turns out, people had been telling them about us, too, but no one knew for sure who we were or where we lived. They were thrilled to meet us and invited us over for lunch. We both had such a great time!!

It was neat to talk about our international experiences over some hot tea (in southern Georgia!!) and Russian chocolates. It felt like we've known each other forever. 

Yay for new friendships!!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Polenta Wedges with Asparagus and Mushrooms


  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp oil
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup broth
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • chilled cooked polenta wedges
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed

Heat broiler, with rack 5 inches from heat. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Season. Add broth and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in cream and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat, 5 minutes. Pat polenta dry and lightly brush both sides with oil. Toss asparagus with 1/2 tsp oil.
Place asparagus on one half of the hot sheet, and polenta on other half of sheet.
Broil until polenta is golden brown and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, rotating sheet and tossing asparagus halfway through. Serve polenta wedges with asparagus and creamy mushrooms.

This came out really good and quite filling. I was surprised, but one wedge + asparagus and mushrooms was enough for Shon!

P.S. recipe from Everyday Food

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tofu Parmigiana

  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (firm will work, but it's prone to breaking)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce (the original recipe calls for 8oz tomato paste, but it's not enough for us)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4oz shredded Mozzarella (I only had Cheddar)
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp Parmesan and 1 tsp oregano. 

Cut drained tofu into 1/4" slices, coat with bread crumbs mix.
In a skillet, heat oil. Cook tofu slices until crisp on both sides.

 Combine sauce, oregano, basil, and garlic in a small bowl. Cover the bottom of a pan with the sauce. Arrange the tofu in the pan. Spoon sauce over the tofu slices. Repeat. 

Top with Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes.

I served it with spaghetti, lettuce, and garlic bread. 
If you cut the tofu thinly enough, you can't even tell you are eating tofu! It tasted very similar to Eggplant Parmigiana, but I like this version much better, since tofu doesn't seem to soak up oil like eggplant does.

So this was our dinner last night. We enjoyed it!
P.S. The original recipe was found on

Long Road to the Kitchen

In Captivating Stasi Eldridge writes:
"I somehow believed that upon saying "I do," I would be magically transformed into Betty Crocker. I imagined myself baking fresh bread, looking flushed and beautiful as I removed the steaming loaves from  the oven. [...] I had failed."
My housekeeping skills still need a lot of improvement, but, unlike Stasi, I have mysteriously turned into a cook. Not that I had any choice, having married a man spoiled by home cooking from scratch, who also happened to want to gain weight. Us being broke vegetarians and me being Russian didn't help much either. But here I am, with no pages left in my recipe book, having compiled a cookbook for my sister, and having menus for at least one week at any given moment. I even own an apron! Now, I am not a chef by any means. But I'm very good at following recipes!
I figured I could use this blog for saving the recipes I liked, since I can't afford a nice new recipe book at the moment.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring crochet

Here are some of my newly-made items. I really hope they sell, because we could use the money.
Here's the cow purse.

Here's the bunny purse:

Here's the bunny hat:

and the bunny booties (I am NEVER making these again!)

And here are the two things I am working on at the moment.
A baby afghan (the first afghan I ever made):
I came up with the pattern myself!

and a purse:

Sweet Sunday

I am so glad I talked Shon into going to Harvest with me today! I mean, I would have been fine by myself, but I wanted him to come, too. And he ended up enjoying it, even though he said all the physical attention made him uncomfortable. I, however, thrive in it.
It is nice to be a part of something, to know that I belong, to know that I don't have to go all the way to Russia to find people who miss me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring is in the air

I think I always loved spring. I even loved it in Russia, where it came late and brought rain and mud. Here, in Georgia, you just can't help loving it.
I love the robins in our front yard, the daffodils blooming all over the place, those tiny purple flowers that add color to the fields. The sun seems to shine differently, the air smells like change. I can't help bending down and touching the green fuzz of the new grass (Shon says I remind him of an autistic guy he used to take care of). I wish I could draw, write songs, and make movies to convey how spring makes me feel.
And to know that this is just the beginning!! There will be longer days, and hummingbirds coming back to our parts, and lilacs, and sandals, and the feeling that this world is not as hopeless as it often seems to be.