Bacon Zucchini and the Big Fight

I’m sad to say that Christian and I had a pretty big fight yesterday.

It all started on Saturday when we decided we wanted to make chicken fingers, spicy macaroni and cheese and some sort of vegetable for lunch on Sunday.

We went to Publix and decided on zucchini for our vegetable. At some point that evening I mentioned that we could use up some of the bacon we had bought for a previous recipe and put it in the zucchini. I was excited about this idea, because it revealed some sort of creativity on my part, something I’ve been hoping will appear as I cook more. Christian said that instead, we could put the bacon in the macaroni.

Fast forward to Sunday after church. I’m shredding cheese for the macaroni while Christian washes up some dishes. I asked him if he wanted to get together the other ingredients for the macaroni.

“Sure,” he said. “Should I start on the bacon?”

“Oh,” I replied, forgetting I hadn’t filled him in one what I was thinking. “I’d rather just make the macaroni according to the recipe. And I really want to put all of what’s left in the zucchini.”

I was chopping up cheese, so I couldn’t see his face. He didn’t respond. I thought nothing of it.

A few minutes later the bacon came up again, and I realized maybe I’d missed something.

“Are you really disappointed?” I asked him.

He nodded and proceeded to defend his idea that the bacon should go in the macaroni.

In the end, we put half in the bacon, and half in the macaroni.

So ended The Big Fight.

(When it was over, he said, “Do you realize how funny this would sound to someone else? That we actually fought about bacon? And it wasn’t even a fight?”)

Turned out that putting bacon in both was a good choice. It enhanced the macaroni, and it made the zucchini delicious. Not that I was surprised – can you really go wrong with bacon?

I think this was the best zucchini I’ve ever made, and I was especially excited that I came up with the idea myself. It’s a small start to cooking independence, but maybe it’s a sign of better things ahead.

Bacon Zucchini

6 slices bacon
2 large zucchini
1/2 sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt
pepper
water

Cut bacon slices in half. Drizzle olive oil in large saute pan and heat on medium setting, then add bacon. Let bacon get crispy on both sides. Put paper towel on plate and use tongs to place bacon on plate to cool. Discard bacon grease, leaving a little bit in the pan.Turn heat off.

While bacon cools off, cut zucchini into thick slices, then into quarters. Dice onion and garlic.

Crumble bacon into pieces and add back to saute pan along with onion and garlic. Turn to medium heat.

When onions are soft, add zucchini to the pan. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the pan (enough so that the bottom of the pan is covered). Add about 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper.

Stir frequently and let cook for 8-10 minutes, or until zucchini begins to soften.

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Without Words: The South Carolina State Fair

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The Great October Blog Purge (Part 3)

I’ve been pleasantly surprised how unsubscribing from only 10 blogs in the last two weeks has really helped out in Google Reader. In fact, this week it was very difficult deciding which ones to let go. I think next will be even harder!

For more information on the Great October Blog Purge, check out the last two weeks of the purge.

This week, it’s a variety of blog genres – and, surprisingly, no personal finance blogs.

Cranky Fitness :: I’ve been interested to realize that I don’t enjoy reading fitness blogs as much as, say, personal finance blogs. I guess I have a broader range of knowledge about fitness than I do about finance, and it’s easier for topics to be less applicable to me since people differ so much in their fitness needs and wants. That said, Cranky Fitness is a refreshing read from women that covers a lot of different issues. They also have some great giveaways!

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar :: This one is going the same way as The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks – not because it isn’t funny, but because 1) I don’t need any more encouragement to be a grammar nerd and 2) It doesn’t encourage me like, say, personal finance blogs (can you tell I really like personal finance blogs?). If you are a stickler for appropriate diction, this is your blog.

Flowerdust.net :: I subscribed to this blog after hearing numerous other blogs I read refer to it. Probably my only beef with it is that she doesn’t capitalize her sentences, but that’s minor compared to the depth of thought she puts into her writing. The real issue with removing this one from Google Reader is mostly that I have other blogs that I’ve been reading longer that are just as encouraging and thought-provoking, and really, I don’t have that many thoughts to be provoked in one day.

Owen Strachan :: I don’t even remember how I found Mr. Strachan’s blog, but he writes a lot of issues in Christianity. I think he’s an excellent writer, but his posts are sometimes long, and I feel like I never have time to read them. It makes me feel guilty. Then I remember I’m not obligated to read every blog post published online.

Baby Bangs :: A mom blog, which actually beats out personal finance blogs as my favorite kind to read. The interesting thing about these is that I really have to read them for a long time before I feel like I really “know” the blogger. Unfortunately, this is not a good time in my life for me to get to know bloggers who I don’t actually know. Sad.

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A Wee Little Announcement

To the uber-bloggers who get 20,000 hits a day, this probably won’t seem like a big deal, but today this humble little blog received its 2000th hit on the 40th day of its existence. I haven’t done a whole lot of promotional stuff since the first couple weeks, so it seems like the content is doing its own work now.

Thanks to those of you who read every day, whether or not you comment!

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Friday Fitness Diary: Weight Watchers, Plantar Fasciitis and Epic Fails All Around

OK, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. But it was a difficult week physically on many levels. Weight Watchers ended up not working out, I developed a pretty severe foot problem and I went to the South Carolina State Fair. All things that were not working in my favor…

Why I Like Weight Watchers
I was really worried Monday morning when I tried to calculate how many points a piece of pizza was. Christian and I made a barbecue chicken pizza Saturday (using my garlic basil pizza dough recipe), and because it’s so delicious and somewhat time-intensive, I made an extra pizza to eat for lunch this week. I cut it into six slices and stored it in the fridge, planning to eat two pieces for lunch Monday. Then I started adding up the calories. I used three cups of flour to make the pizza, so one cup was in every two slices. One cup of flour was eight points! That didn’t include the cheese, chicken or sauce that was on top. I finally realized that if I didn’t want to use up all my points by lunchtime, I could only eat one piece of pizza.

I was really disappointed. Because I love to eat.

I went home for lunch and heated up my meager piece of pizza. But as I ate, I really enjoyed it. And instead of a second piece of pizza, I had some grapes, which were a much more accomodating one point.

When lunch was over, I liked that I felt satisfied, but not stuffed. I liked that knowing how many points the pizza was pushed me to find something that was good for me and worth fewer points.

Why Weight Watchers Doesn’t Work For Me – At Least Not Right Now
The biggest issue is that I am not responsible for what I eat most of the time. I buy my own breakfast cereal (because no one else likes what I like) and sometimes I mention to my dad what I want for lunch, but especially at dinner, I’m not the one making it. One night this week my mom, who was really stressed because my dad was out of town, made lasagna. One cup was seven points, and she put at least a cup and a half on my plate. And two breadsticks. I couldn’t turn it down, and honestly, even when I ate it, I was still kind of hungry.

When I’m married and living on my own and I’m responsible for grocery shopping, I think that it will be much easier, and I’m looking forward to trying Weight Watchers again.

It’s Not From The High Heels
About two weeks ago, the area between my heels and the middle of my foot starting hurting a lot. It would hurt a lot in the mornings, and it would hurt when I first got up after sitting down for a long time. I thought it was from wearing high heels to work, so I started wearing flats. It still hurt. Finally, I did some research online and found a much more plausible explanation: plantar fasciitis. It doesn’t actually bother me when I’m running, but the more stress I put on my feet, the more they hurt when I’m not running. I worked out Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, but I took a break until today. I’m hoping to do some light stuff tomorrow and see if my feet start feeling any better over the weekend.

Fried Mushrooms, Elephant Ears and Sore Feet
Needless to say, after deciding against Weight Watchers, taking a break from exercising and finding out my feet have a real problem, I made probably the worst decision ever: going to the S.C. State Fair. Christian and I walked around for several hours, me in very uncomfortable shoes, and we ate approximately 8,000 calories worth of fried food. When we left, I wanted to throw up and my feet felt like they might fall off. However, fried chocolate chip cookie dough is delicious, in case you were wondering.

I’m not going to check in on last week’s goals, because it’s too depressing. Instead, I’m going to make some new goals for next week that are a little more manageable:

  • Exercise three times
  • Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day (I’m working up to eight)

Yep. That’s it. I hope I can come back next week with success stories instead of failures.

How was your week in terms of fitness?

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Love Stories for October: A Truly Long-Distance Relationship

This post is part of Owlhaven’s Love Stories for October. Two weeks I wrote about stained glass windows, and last week I wrote about a difficult period in my relationship with Christian.

By at the end of 2006, God was slowly transforming my heart as well as my relationship with Christian. After Christian’s last final exam that semester, he came to South Carolina to stay and (hopefully) work until he left for Germany the following February. God gifted him with a couple with whom to stay and with a temporary job at the landscaping company of a man from my church, and so after a few weeks of vacation, he started earning some money to put aside while he was out of the country.

We had known about Germany since before we were even dating. As the fall semester ended, though, it became more real. I was thrilled that he would be in my city for two months. Before we had seen each other every 5-6 weeks; now we could see each other every day if we wanted to (and we did).

The last few weeks before he left were difficult. I was glad to have him there, but I knew he would be leaving. I had a hard time living in the moment.

But he did leave. On a cold February evening after church, we said goodbye. He left the next morning.

Strangely enough, the anticipation of him leaving was far worse than when he actually left. I thought I would cry. I felt numb for several weeks, but we discovered Skype. In a matter of moments we could actually see each other, which was more than we did when he was in Tennessee and I was here.

Things settled into a routine. For the first month, he was in Munich at language school, living with a host family that didn’t have Internet. He was six hours ahead and got out of class around noon, which allowed him access to the school’s wireless Internet. I had classes only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so on the other days of the week, I would wake up at 6 or 7 to talk to him through Skype.

Toward the end of March, he went to Bamberg to attend the university there. He had his own apartment, which included spotty wireless Internet, but it was enough. We reverted back to the days of talking on instant messenger, as the connection wasn’t good enough to try Skype. Somehow we got through weeks and weeks of this.

Phone calls were few. There was one on Valentine’s Day. He sent flowers on my birthday.

In March my uncle, who works for an airline, arranged for a cheap standby ticket for me that would take me to Frankfurt. Without knowing what I would do for a job that summer, I set aside two weeks after school got out to go and visit Christian.

As one could imagine, the last days of school were long, but finally, May 12 was there. Amid fears and threats of overbooked planes, I made it to Frankfurt safely after being awake for more than 24 hours.

It was 8 a.m. in Germany, but it was 2 a.m. for me. I fumbled through the airport, trying to find a bus that would take me to the train station where Christian was. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to find it. And what if I did find it, but he wasn’t there?

My fears were unfounded. I walked down a long corridor of kiosks selling German tourist junk, and as I came around the last one, there he was, leaning up against a railing.

I dropped my suitcase and my purse on the ground, stood where I was and wept.

The next two weeks were filled with German gelato, schnitzel (just like from the Sound of Music song), wandering around Bamberg looking for a place that sold an outlet adapter, a train ride to a beautiful castle near the Alps and sweet and precious time with Christian.

I think it was during that time when I finally realized that this was the real thing. Christian cared about me – loved me, even. He kept saying thank you to me for coming to visit; after all, while I had been without him, he had been without everything. I didn’t know why he was thanking me; I was so blessed to be able to go.

And then, almost as quickly as it had come, it was over. Another long flight back to South Carolina, and then two months until Christian came back.

The time after I went to Germany was much harder than the time before, even though it was a countdown until he came back. But I had seen him, and had been reminded of how much I loved being with him, and suddenly it was the real world. Friends, church, family, babysitting – but no Christian.

It was God who held me up through those last two months. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it’s been close to a year and a half since he got back, but at the time, the hours dragged on.

I think the best part about it was that when he got back, a long distance relationship of 400 miles suddenly didn’t seem so long anymore.

And God healed me of a lot of my fears and worries while Christian was gone. I couldn’t call him whenever I wanted to, and much of the time, there was no way for me to make contact at all. Several times he had said he would be online to talk and something had held him up, and I went into a panic. But at the end of the day, there was nothing I could do. I had to trust the Lord.

And even when I was faithless, He was faithful.

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Blog Action Day – Is God Calling You To Sponsor A Child?

I wish I were more on the ball and had realized today was Blog Action Day. Thankfully, Gather Little by Little has written plenty about it, and I was incredibly humbled that he again mentioned the post I wrote about the little girl I sponsor through Compassion.

I have a post in the works about my experience with Compassion for my own blog, but I want to emphasize that one of the things I love about Compassion is that they are a holistic organization. They provide children with food, water, education and clothes, but they also offer them Jesus.

Please go read his post and consider ways that God might be leading you to aid those in poverty. If you’re interested in Compassion, please consider sponsoring a child. I’d be happy to answer any questions. I also have a child packet on my desk right now for a 12-year-old girl from Tanzania named Herieth. If you’re interested, I can either bring it to you (if I know you) or mail it to you.

I’m a volunteer child advocate for Compassion, but I don’t receive anything for publicizing them in this way. God has given me a passion for these children, and I’m so blessed to have people like GLBL help me spread the word.

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