February 28, 2010

I've had some luck lately in my never-ending quest to find quick and easy (and inexpensive) recipes that I can cook, eat and save for later. I have found 2 soup recipes that I would like to recommend. My usual drill is to cook soup on Sunday night, divide it into containers...and voila! I have lunch during the work week and a quick dinner or two if I get home late and don't want to start cooking from scratch. I swore off Lean Cuisines in 2008 and haven't looked back.

So...here are my recs, both of which I got from AllRecipes.com. If you want a more comprehensive look at the recipe, plus reviews from other folks who have made it, check out their website.


  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen diced carrots
  • 4 cups tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups farfalle pasta
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
**I added green beans!**


  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the chicken, onion, garlic and butter or margarine. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Add the carrots, tomato vegetable juice, water, macaroni and seasoning.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the spinach and cook 5 more minutes. Serve hot with the crackers.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 98 | Total Fat: 2.8g | Cholesterol: 6mg



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder


  1. Heat oil in large stock pot; add tortilla strips and fry, stirring until golden. Once golden remove tortillas and place on paper towel, lined plate. Try absorbing as much oil as possible.
  2. Place onion and bell pepper into stock pot, over medium heat, and cook until soft.
  3. Add garlic, stir in flour and gradually stir in chicken broth.
  4. Add cooked chicken, frozen vegetables and chili powder and cook until thickened.
  5. Sprinkle with tortilla strips before serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 235 | Total Fat: 9.9g | Cholesterol: 38mg

Happy Cooking! And please share some of your favorite recipes with me. I'm always looking for something new, easy and healthy!

February 21, 2010

Jesus Calling: February

This devotion was from February 17 of Jesus Calling:

"I am the Risen One who shines upon you always. You worship a living deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Your relationship with Me is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as I invade more and more areas of your life. Do not fear change, for I am making you a new creation, with old things passing away and new things continually on the horizon. When you cling to old way and sameness, you resist My work within you. I want you to embrace all that I am doing in your life, finding your security in Me alone.

It is easy to make an idol out of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life. Although each day contains twenty-four hours, every single one presents a unique set of circumstances. Don't try to force-fit today into yesterday's mold. Instead, ask Me to open your eyes, so that you can find all I have prepared for you in this precious day of Life."

This evening, at Grace DC, we sang "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" and it brought tears to my eyes because I was so thankful--so thankful that it can be so simple. Look at verse 3: "Just from sin and self to cease"--we are called to stop focusing on ourselves and out problems all the time and invited to focus on our relationship with Jesus! He already knows the outcome--so it is our part to pray and trust.

  1. ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to take Him at His Word;
    Just to rest upon His promise,
    And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
      Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
  2. Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to trust His cleansing blood;
    And in simple faith to plunge me
    ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
  3. Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just from sin and self to cease;
    Just from Jesus simply taking
    Life and rest, and joy and peace.
  4. I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
    Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
    And I know that Thou art with me,
    Wilt be with me to the end.

February 16, 2010

Kern's Birthday

Kern's actual birthday is on February 21st, but because of recess, a lot of our friends were going to be out of town this coming weekend, so we decided it was best to celebrate early! Due to the massive amounts of snow DC has received over the last 2 weeks, the location of choice was easy: Top of Hill. It wasn't crowded at all and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

My first friend in DC
Kern and me
Carolyn and me
Natalie, Katie, Laine and Allison
Kern, Clay and Bob (Rat Pack pose minus one person)
Patrick, Jordan, Clay, Bob, Buck and Kern
Dear girls! Laine and Allison
An excerpt from Kern's birthday "thank you" email:

"I want to thank everyone from the top of my head for the cheer and merry-making to commemorate my birthday...I have three friends that often remind me to never sulk or wallow in self pity. Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Graham Nash once told me, "Don't be angry, don't be sad. Don't sit crying over good times you've had. There's a girl right next to you. And she's waiting for something to do." The little things like this keep me going. That and the tremendous friends I have met here over the last year.

So again, thank you. It was a wonderful party. There was a rose in a fisted glove. And the eagle flied with the dove."

So I think that means the party was a success!

February 14, 2010

Christ's School of Discipleship

My pastor in Jackson, MS at First Presbyterian Church, Ligon Duncan, has started a Sunday Sermon series entitled "Christ's School of Discipleship." He made some excellent points and I would like to share them. It's easy to get caught up in striving for ease in this life--it is the goal of advertisements, celebrities flaunt it--and we want it. I often forget that I am fighting a battle-day in and day out. If you would like to read the entire sermon, please click here.

Please begin by reading Luke 9:23-27.

Here are some highlights of the sermon:

"Self denial is at the very heart of Christian discipleship. You cannot be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and also choose not to deny yourself because self denial is at the very heart of Biblical Christianity. Self denial is part and parcel of the practice of being a Christian disciple, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry once said that self denial is the first lesson in Christ’s school. That is, when the Lord Jesus saves you from your sins by His grace and by His blood, when you by faith are united to Him, the very first lesson He begins to teach you is self denial and He never ceases teaching you that lesson. That’s why Calvin said it a little bit more strongly than Henry. Henry said that self denial is the first lesson in Christ’s school. Calvin said its the sum of the Christian life. Can you imagine that? That you can sum up the Christian life in these two words deny yourself. Deny yourself the sum of the Christian life.

I. Deny self.

The first of the three distinct parts of Jesus charge is that we are to deny ourselves. If anyone is going to follow Me, if anyone is going to be a Christian, if anyone is going to be a follower of Christ, if anyone is going to be a disciple of Mine, Jesus says, let him deny himself. We are to deny self. What does that mean? It means to renounce anything that challenges or trumps our allegiance to the kingdom of God. It means to renounce anything that challenges or trumps our allegiance to the kingdom of God. We are to renounce our yearning to possess things if they trump our allegiance to the kingdom of God. We are to renounce our desire for power if it challenges or trumps our allegiance to the kingdom of God. Were to renounce the favor of men if it costs us loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to renounce human glory if it vies with or diminishes the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are to seek first the kingdom. We are to deny ourselves.

II. Take your cross daily.

And then look at the second thing that Jesus says Take up your cross daily and follow Me. If you’re going to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re going to deny self. You’re doing to take up your cross. What does that mean? To be ready to bear afflictions in this life knowing that God prepared them beforehand. Are you bitter about your afflictions in this life? Are you bitter about your afflictions, especially the afflictions that beset you daily from which you cannot escape? Those afflictions are going to be with you until the day the Lord carries you home. How do you respond to those afflictions? Jesus says, Take them up. Take them up daily.

You know its interesting to me, there’s no part of the Christian life that doesn’t entail self-denial. You think about it. Self-denial is a part of every aspect to the Christian life, forgiveness especially because to forgive requires self-denial. When someone has wronged you, what is your tendency? What is your temptation? You want to taste their punishment upon your lips. You want them to be set straight. You want them to get what they deserve. You want them to get their comeuppance. You want them to feel the pain that they’ve made you to feel. And if there’s ever going to be any forgiveness in a relationship what does it require? It requires you setting that aside. And what is that? Self-denial - and taking a step toward someone who has wronged you. And then it entails believing that the Father is working in your affliction.

The second thing I want you to see is this those who refuse to deny themselves and instead seek their own satisfaction will never find it. Those who refuse to deny themselves and instead seek their own satisfaction will never ever find it. Those who seek for their own self-preservation and their own self-interest in this life, those who seek primarily for their own satisfaction will be utterly thwarted. Jesus promises it. Look at what He says verse 24 Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Jesus is saying that the only way to experience, to gain, true life is giving yourself away, is giving your life away, is losing your life, is denying yourself. Those that live for themselves never ever get the satisfaction that they seek.

III. If we fail to deny our selves in this life, we will lose our souls.

But here’s the last thing I want you to see my friends. If we do not go the way of self-denial, we will lose our souls, for there is no temporal gain that can compare to the loss of the soul. Look at verse 25. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses or forfeits himself? What does it matter to have ease and comfort and popularity and beauty and prestige and success and power and money and influence without true life? What does it matter? And what are we investing ourselves in?

It’s not just about forgiveness, is it? Its about our stewardship. I must say that I look at our houses and then I look at the houses of our parents and I often ask myself that question, What do our houses tell us about ourselves in comparison to them? What do we really care about? What’s most important to us? Is the kingdom most important to us, or is our ease most important to us? The Lord Jesus Christ tells us that selfishness causes the soul to contract but love makes it expand and enriches it and fills it to overflowing with assurance and peace and joy. That’s why Jim Elliot could quote the old Puritan saying, He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. That is the Christian algebra of self-denial. You see in the end, its not denial of self equals loss of satisfaction and so we grin and bear it for Jesus. Its denial of self does bring real and often lifelong lasting depravation, which then becomes an eternity filled with satisfaction that we could not imagine. And sometimes even that satisfaction bleeds back into this age so that we enjoy foretaste of that glory which fill up every void which has been left in our life by the self denial.

Jesus says, If you’re My follower, you will deny yourself. He’s not saying, Deny yourself and you’ll be saved, else were all in trouble. He’s saying and you know this, by the way, because He’s just preached about the cross and then He speaks about self-denial He’s saying, If you have become a Christian by My cross and by Gods grace, the life that God is calling you to is a life of self-denial, a life that you can only live because of the Gospel, a self-denial that you can only practice because of My grace.

And He’s saying, Come, die with Me daily. Live for Me daily. Deny yourself daily and I will satisfy you in ways that you could not possibly imagine, now and forevermore. It is an adventure worth beginning."

February 08, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010

The Washington, DC area experienced a snowsaster over the weekend. Beginning on Friday evening and not letting up until Saturday evening, approximately 26 inches of snow fell on our city.

On Thursday evening, I tried to go to the grocery store, but to no avail. Parking was nearly impossible and upon entering the store I found there were no shopping carts or baskets. The lines went from the cash registers in the front of the store to the seafood section in the back. People were hoarding everything from cheetos to frozen pizza to milk. I had to meet a repairman at my house so I left empty handed because I did not have enough time to stand in line.

Work was cancelled on Friday. This was convenient because I was able to move my 7pm haircut appointment up to 10:30am and check that off my list. From there, I tackled the grocery store again to find similar conditions as the night before. Thanks to my trusty list and cool head I made it out in about an hour and a half. Fortunately my next West Wing DVD had arrived on Thursday, so Kern and I spent the early part of Friday evening completing the next disk and made a fantastic homemade pizza.

Before the blizzard began, we walked down to 413 E Street and watching figure skating with our friends and played with Cooper, Katie's new puppy. The blizzard began at 10:30pm...

The next morning, the ladies of Lexington Place invited people over for breakfast (from now on I may refer to their house as Snowah's Ark) and I ended up staying over there all day...watching a movie and playing in the snow and sliding down the slide Mary Ellis, Holly and Ben created in the backyard.

Mary Ellis at the top of the second part of the slide.

Our new friend: Snowbama! He likes to snowboard...

Snowpile! Stephanie, Mary Ellis, Holly, me, Natalie and Erin

Even the snow plows had a warning message: BLIZZARD!

The National Mall

Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Castle

View from the Senate side at sunset.

February 07, 2010


Happy Birthday, Allison!

To celebrate Allison's 23rd birthday, we went to Vapiano in Dupont Circle. This was my first experience at Vapiano and I loved it! As soon as you enter the restaurant/bar, the hostess hands you a CHIP card.

The food and drinks are all in a huge square in the middle of the restaurant and there are different stations--insalate, pasta, pizza, antipasti--you are free to walk up to any counter and order your food, at which point the chef asks you to scan your card over a small touch pad. At the end of the night as you exit, the hostess scans your CHIP card and you pay for your total. Genius! This eliminates the hassle of dividing the tab, people forgetting what they ordered, and allows freedom to come and go easily. Once you order, they give you a pager that vibrates when your food is ready.

Vapiano was packed on Thursday night. We had a great time celebrating Allison's birthday!

I got bruschetta!

3 fun Ladies! Allison, her Aunt Diane and her mom, Debbie

All of 506: Emily, Allison and Cathy

February 03, 2010

"Emily Makes Kid Say Whoa!"

For those of you having trouble viewing the video, click here for the direct YouTube link.

February 01, 2010


Kern here. Where my people at! Where my people at! Make some noise! Everybody scream....Always wanted to say that. Anyway this is my attempt at teaching Emily how to upload and embed video. Much success! The only problem we ran into is the sideways video. Couldn't figure out how to rotate footage.

Not bad for the first try. What you see is Emily, in front of the Capitol, on sled, trying to take out small children. And topping it off with some lame cheerleader move. But she was doing work on the sled.

In closing, we come to the portion of the program where I plug my blog. It will launch February 21. Buyer beware. I've got my safety off and I'm makin withdrawals. So remember, check ya boy @ www.setfiretoreason.blogspot.com. No one is safe.
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