Sunday, August 30, 2009

July--Make a New Dish

First off, I apologize because I didn't take a picture of any of the delicious foods I made. I did, however, find a few pics of the same foods online, so I'll post those. Originally this month, I was going to do a little photography. But, I didn't really have time to improve/practice anything. Then, I realized that I had made alot of new foods and tried alot of new recipes for a little get together I had at the end of the month. So, then I realized July could be making a new food instead of photography (don't worry photography will come later on).

For my book club meeting, I made lots of food (probably more than necessary) that I had never made before. I was going to post recipes of them, but I realized that will take up alot of space, so if you want recipes for any of the things I list, let me know and I'll send them to you.

Here's the delicious feast I had, at least the ones I made, (those that ate it, feel free to comment on whether or not you actually thought it was delicious or not):
Mango Chipotle Salmon Dip (on the back of the Salmon Creations package)
Salmon Croquettes
Cucumber Sandwiches
Toasted Ravioli
and Oreo Truffles (Pic later in post)

I also made some other things for my family:
Tuna Croquettes
Crunchy Chicken Chunks
Parmesan Crusted Chicken

And even though it was a recent recipe I did that wasn't in July, I also made spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce and sauteed mushrooms, yellow squash, and zuchini. (It was delicious, but I really needed to put some meat in there though.) I think everything I made was delicious, although I think the fried (toasted) raviolis got a little over cooked/burned, so the ones I ate weren't the best.

My favorite thing I made was the oreo truffles. Those were amazing and so easy too! I had gone to a family friend's eagle court of honor, and they had made these truffles. My little sister at a bajillion; in fact, I think what she said was something like she could now die happy and she wanted a lifetime supply of them. I obviously had to ask the lady for the recipe so that I could at least partially fulfill my little sister's wish of having a lifetime supply. My brother later told me a girl in his Home Ec class made these and called them snowballs. I will leave you with this recipe:

1 pkg. of Oreo cookies, finely crushed (I would use a food processor or blender to get it really fine)
1 pkg (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
2 pkgs. (8 sq. each) Baker's Semi-sweet chocolate, melted (or you can use candy melts chocolate)

Mix the crushed oreo crumbs with the cream cheese until well-blended. Then shape into 1-in. balls (about 42).

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and place on the waxed paper. Garnish with sprinkles, oreo cookie crumbs or drizzle melted white chocolate (that's what I did). Refrigerate until hard.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Old Soul

My mom has told me several times that I am an "old soul," and that I was 30 years old ever since I was 5. Let me explain: Basically, I have been more mature and knowledgeable than others of my own age. I don't mean this to be boastful, because sometimes I don't like being more mature; it makes things more difficult. It's true, I am an old soul, and there has been several occasions in which I have known this about myself. There have been times where I have given helpful advice or counsel to others even though I had never been through that experience myself. I try not to get caught up into petty, childish problems because I know it's not worth it. And even though I admire this about myself and it helps me sometimes, there are other times when I don't like it.

My maturity makes it difficult to make friends with those of my age. I've almost always had friends who are older than me (or younger, mainly because I feel like I have to protect/take care of them). Even now, the majority of my friends are older than me, and sometimes I feel like my age is holding me back when I'm with them. Because although I act more mature and older, I don't actually have the years of life experience to back up my wisdom.

My old soul also makes it hard to date and find someone I like. Granted, there are other reasons why I probably don't date, but it is also hard to find a guy I could potentially like/go out with. I'm not completely opposed to asking a guy out, but I'd want to ask someone I'm somewhat interested in. But, with my maturity level being higher than most guys my age, most every guy in my ward is not what I want. I want an equal, someone who is just as mature and intelligent as me. I'm really not finding that guy in the rather slim pickings of my branch.

Maybe I'm just being too picky and snobbish. Perhaps I should open up more and be more willing to go out/meet/become friends with a guy that isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Who am I to judge and determine that he isn't mature/smart from the limited interaction I have had with him (although I'm pretty sure you can tell right off the bat for many)? But again, here's where my old soul gets me in trouble. I feel like if I already can tell it's not going to work out, my old soul says, "Why bother trying? It will only be a waste of time."

I don't quite know what to do because sometimes I can't have fun because I'm too mature for my own good. I'm trying to not let myself judge others too quickly, but it's hard. My old soul gets the best of me and thinks it knows better (and perhaps it does). Hopefully, by the time my age catches up to my soul, I won't feel quite so out of place.

Perhaps I just need to find an older man. Now where to find one... Can I buy one at Target?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lemonade Can Be Delicious

We've all heard the cliche, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." (I'm sure you've heard other twists on it too, but let's not go there.) Although this saying gets used so much that it has become just empty, meaningless words, if we get down to the main message/point of it, it is helpful to us. Really what it comes down to is if something happens to you in your life, you just need to accept it and have it help you, not hinder you.

Sometimes it's easier or makes us feel better to sit there and complain about our circumstances or wallow in self-pity about various trials in our lives. Believe me I know, I'm not above it at all. Happens to me a lot. I think that when things happen in our life that is unwanted or makes life difficult or that are beyond our control, we need to desperately find the silver lining in the cloud or else we'll just be miserable. And who wants to live their life miserable all the time?

I know many people, however, choose instead to keep dwelling on the negative and keep complaining about their lot in life. While all of us feel this way occasionally, a few seem to take it to the extreme. They analyze what they (or someone else) could have done differently or if they hadn't had been at this place or at that time. I think playing with what might have been is a fruitless endeavor. It doesn't get you anywhere, and you don't get anything out of it apart from becoming more upset. A better use of your time would be to find a solution to the problem, to find a way out or to move beyond your current troubles.

Now, I'm not saying you should just be happy all the time and just suck it up. Everyone goes through a grieving/mourning/questioning process when faced with conflict. This is human nature. But, the key is to not dwell too long in this period. Doing so would only make things worse.

Sometimes, when faced with a rather difficult set of circumstances, we tend to reach a stalemate in our progress. We don't quite know what to do or how to handle it, so we are stuck. This is when we need to actively search for the good or the lesson we should be learning from the trial. Only then, once we realize why we are in the situation and what to get from it, can we move on and become a better person. It's hard, yes, and it might take you some time to figure out, but once you do, your life will be better.

Don't fall into the trap of self-pity and self-wallowing. Again, it will get you nowhere, and it will only set you back farther in the grand scheme of things the longer you focus on the negative.

I apologize if this sounds rather preach-y. I mean this as much for myself as my readers. I've just realized that when I dwell in the negative and get complain-y, as I'm want to do, it only makes things worse for me. I too am trying to be more positive when faced with my trials. I hope, and pray things will get better, and then realize if I don't do anything about it, it won't get any better.

Life can make some sweet, delicious lemonade, but it is we who have to squeeze the lemons to make it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quest To Replace Old Blue--Finale (AKA Thank you Obama and my fellow taxpayers!)

Previously on The Quest, our heroine had decided on a car, but had held off buying it because of lack of funds. With the knowledge of what she wanted, her only obstacle was money. Will she finally be able to replace her once trusty steed with something a little more shiny? Will she like it? Find out in the final installment of The Quest to Replace Old Blue:

Well, it's been almost a year since I first started looking/thinking about buying a new car. It has been almost 9 months since I had sold Old Blue, and while juggling schedules to arrange cars between my family was a small annoyance occasionally, it wasn't too bad. I was fully prepared to keep it up, too (my family, probably not).

Then, recently, Congress decides to pass a bill for a "Cash for Clunkers" program. I had always planned on trading my family's Expedition, which my brother used and lovingly referred to as "The Beast" (you can't tell in the picture, but the driver's side window was guerilla glued shut, and the leather inside was all torn up) to help me in buying my car. But with this program and talks of it running out of money, now was as good a time as any to buy my new car. I had a sizeable amount of money saved up to put a reasonable down payment on the car.

The timing/decision-making process to buy the car now rather than later literally took a day. On a Tuesday, I had heard about how the program was running out of money and discussed with my family that night about purchasing my car sometime that week. My dad and I went to the dealer on Wednesday after work and negotiated a price. Then Thursday after work, we finished the paperwork, made the trade, and drove off the lot in my new Beauty.

It happened so fast, and believe me I (and my family) was scrambling around the house/emailing/faxing to get all the right forms and necessary paperwork. (The government requires a bunch of extra papers, e.g. a year's proof of insurance, a year's proof of registration, etc., for the CARS program.) The whole experience of negotiating and working out the loan/financing was enlightening (car salesmen really are tricky folks).

So, it's official; I have purchased (well ok, started making payments) on my first car. I haven't christened it yet, but I'm open to suggestions (perhaps New Blue?). (The car is Glacier blue; it's kind of hard to tell in the pictures.) I feel I need some more time with it to really know and understand it. We need some more time to get to know each other. But, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.