Friday, May 28, 2010

We Must Be Doing Something Right!

Because the plants are HAY-UGE!!! We think we're going to have to pull up some of the squash plants because they are so big it's not even funny. We'll still get plenty of squash, even if we pull out half the plants!

This week:

And, this is last week! Can you believe the difference? It's astonishing to me! Wow! And, this is organic, no fertilizer, no pesticides! I'm so proud of JD and me being able to do this! Yay!

Some more "close-ups" of this week. Sorry I didn't get more detailed pictures of each vegetable, but it was raining, and I don't like to get wet, and I had to go to work.

Have a wonderful long weekend!!! I'm seeing my mom and dad this weekend and could NOT be more excited!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am not a big fan of bugs. Especially mosquitoes. But they sure seem to love me. I am also not a big fan of bug spray. It leaves me feeling sticky and medicated. I know that it's poison that I'm spraying on my body and that does NOT thrill me at all. :/

John David and I are big fans of being outside, especially in the summer. I mean, I can't garden, bike ride, have cookouts, lay in the hammock, go to the park, or play disc golf INSIDE, can I?

So, this is the latest homemade item I'm going to try: all-natural bug spray that I can make at my house. Yay! I found this amazing site that has numerous ideas, which I'm going to list below, but I want to know what you all think. Which one should I make? Please comment and let me know. Or, if you have any of your own suggestions, I'm up for those, too! :)

  • Blend of essential oils:
    1. Mix the following essential oils in a 4 oz. container: 20 drops Eucalyptus oil, 20 drops Cedarwood oil, 10 drops Tea Tree oil, and 10 drops Geranium oil.
    2. Add 2 oz. of a carrier oil (such as Jojoba). Mix well.

  • Mint-based bug spray:
    1. Place 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of either catnip, spearmint, or pennyroyal (all in the mint family) in a spray bottle.
    2. Add 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1 cup of water.
    3. Shake well.

  • Herbal insect repellent safe for use on the face:
    1. Blend 4 drops each of sandalwood, cajeput, and lavender essential oils with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil (such as extra virgin olive oil).
    2. Mix well and apply as needed.

  • Vodka Mist Insect Repellent:
    1. Mix the following in a spray bottle: 50 drops Jojoba, 50 drops Lavender, 25 drops Eucalyptus lemon, 25 drops Lemongrass, 25 drops Patchouli, and 25 drops Catjeput.
    2. Add 1 fluid ounce of vodka.
    3. Mix well.
    4. Apply jojoba oil before spraying the repellent on the skin.

  • Natural insect repellent lotion:
    1. Place 2 ounces distilled water in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Slowly drizzle in 2 ounces of olive oil while beating quickly with a wire whisk.
    3. After the oil is mixed into the distilled water, stir in 120 drops of citronella essential oil.
Of course, after you all help me decide, I'll post pictures and such of the process of making it and updates after I use it to let you know how well it keeps those gross bugs away!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas.

Here is one of my favorites to make. You may remember me talking about it in this post. But, I thought I would put up my pictures and step-by-step instructions just to show how easy it is.

Cast of characters: 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese (pre-shredded or shred yourself, you decide. I'm in it for the ease of preparation), 1 rotisserie chicken, 2 containers tomatillo salsa verde (30-ish ounces total), 2o corn tortillas (soft taco size), a container of feta cheese, half a red onion, and cilantro (not pictured, sorry. I remembered it was in the recipe at about step 5, so I couldn't go back and take another "cast of characters" picture.). Oh, and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Take your rotisserie chicken and pick off all the meat. Don't use the skin, just the meat. This is the most time consuming part (and, if you have an amazing husband, like I do, it takes half the time because he helped me).

Ta da! Chicken. About 3 cups or so.

Now, chop up the onion and put it in a plastic bag or tupperware container. You'll need it later.

Let's get started layering. Spread a 1/2 cup of salsa on the bottom.

Top with 4 tortillas (cut them up so they cover the salsa).

Top with a large handful of chicken.

Top with 1/2 cup or so of Monterey Jack cheese. (Don't touch the feta, yet.)

Top with another 1/2 cup of salsa.

Repeat the above process until you've run out of chicken. Finish that layer (top with cheese), then top with remaining tortillas, remaining salsa, and finally the remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Here's what it looks like:

Cover with aluminum foil, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Take off the aluminum foil after the 30 minutes and continue to bake, uncovered, for 15-20 more minutes.

When it's finished baking, sprinkle the onion, whole package of feta, and a large handful of chilantro (chopped) over the top. Mmmm...My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Now, I made this on Sunday night for the finale of LOST. I pre-made it then took over to my friend Jennifer's house to bake. I forgot to take a picture of the finished product (oops). So, here is the picture from Williams-Sonoma's website. Here's the recipe, as well.

Enjoy! It's so good and easy. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So I was going to do this amazing blog post on Sunday about what Ekklesia is. We met at a local park, and I had it in my mind that I was going to take these amazing Pioneer-Woman-inspired photos that perfectly captured the beauty that is my community. Really, it was going to be wonderful (not to mention totally crazy because I CAN'T take amazing pictures like the Pioneer Woman, but still, I like to build things up in my head).

Then, I rushed out of the house and forgot the camera. Darn it. Guess that post will have to wait. In a couple weeks, we're all taking a camping trip and having a good ole fashion field day (you know, with water balloon fights, sack races, egg races, etc.), and I am DEFINITELY going to bring my camera then. I'll get that post done. I promise. Because I know some of you want to know what we do at Ekklesia. Well, there aren't really words (which is why I've stopped trying to explain us), but I hope to capture what we are with my camera.

But, seriously, my weekend was perfect. Saturday consisted of chocolate chip waffles, gardening, mowing (my husband mows, not me, because I can't walk in a straight line to save my life), disc golf, and grilling out. "Heaven on earth" is the phrase that kept coming to mind all day Saturday.

Sunday, Ekklesia met at the park, then we went to a friend's pool. JD and I went to Broadway for youth and brought our "children" (aka Penelope and Capo), and then watched the finale of LOST with Jennifer. Once again, perfect.

Do you ever have those moments where you just look around and want to cry or laugh or dance (or do all three at the same time) because of the beauty and perfection and love that surrounds you? I had that all weekend, but especially sitting under a big tree at a park on Sunday with my community. Wow.

It was perfect.

P.S. Stay tuned because I have a few recipes ready to go, plus I get to see my mom and dad this weekend, and I'm sure we'll do some thrifting and looking for mid-century modern wonders. Plus, I'm scouring the web for recipes for a certain type of homemade "something" (I can't tell you, yet, it's a surprise!). And, of course, the garden update. So, many blog posts are coming. Soon. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...

How does your garden grow? Well, my garden is growing pretty darn good, if you ask me! Here are my updates pictures for this week!

My strawberries are growing like crazy, and it's impossible to keep them weeded because the plants are so thick, so, bring on the weeds! They're not affecting my strawberries, so I'm happy. I'm NOT happy, however, that rabbits and squirrels keep eating on my strawberries. Dumb woodland creatures.

Voila. Here's the garden this week. Look how big my plants are!!




Squash. Oh my, I'm going to have squash coming out my ears. Have great squash recipes, anyone? I'll need suggestions.

Lettuce (in the front) and carrots (in the back)

Tomatoes. I found a flower on one this morning which means we should have tomatoes soon.




Basil. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to get it to look better? My basil isn't as impressive this year as it was last year. Should I just give it more time?


Flat-leaf Parsley


That's it. Really, please, I'm begging you, any suggestions or tips or recipes are encouraged. Please. :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mmmm...pasta salad.

Every time I make this super simple pasta salad, I get asked for the recipe. It's my go-to for cookouts and when I have no other creative ideas and want to make something somewhat "impressive."

Here's the cast of characters: a big package of Buitoni fresh cheese-filled tortellini, Greek salad dressing, a small can of sliced black olives, 1/2 a small jar of roasted red peppers, 1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes, and a green onion.

Put a big pot of water on to boil.

Meanwhile, cut up the roasted red peppers into bite-sized pieces.

And cut the grape tomatoes in half.

Now, cut the green onion up (I use the whole thing, not just the green or white parts. The whole thing is so yummy.)

When the water boils, pour in the tortellini. Let it cook for a minute LESS than it says on the package (it'll be al dente that way, which is perfect for pasta salad).

While the pasta is cooking, drain the black olives and throw them in a big bowl.

Add the red pepper, tomatoes, and green onion.

When the tortellini is done, drain it and run cool water over it for a minute or so (again, I know, I know, it's a big no-no, but it stops the cooking process and cools the pasta down quickly). Pour the pasta on top of the veggies in the big bowl. *Side note: see the Bobby Flay grill pan in the background? DO NOT buy one. They just fill your house up with smoke and don't work that well.* *Another side note: see my iPhone in the background? DO buy one of those. They are amazing! I don't know how I would survive without it. Addicted much? Well, yes, yes I am!!*

Add about 1/4 of the bottle of Greek dressing (To taste. It may be more. It may be less).

Stir it all together, and then put it in the fridge for at least an hour to get it nice and cold before you dig in.

Now, let me say that this is the most versatile pasta salad EVER. Sometimes I add kalamata olives instead of black. Sometimes I add sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh. Sometimes I add artichoke hearts. Sometimes I add regular red or sweet onion instead of green (but I had this one fresh from the garden, so why not use it, right?). Sometimes I get crazy and buy the spinach and regular tortellini mix (green and white) instead of the regular (just white). Sometimes I add pepperoni. See? Very versatile! And, always yummy!

Now, let me ask you all this: what do you think I should add next time I make it? Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yes, that's right, blog readers, I have been slacking on my Tuesday consignment-shopping segment. But, alas, I have not BEEN consignment shopping, so I have had nothing to write about.

I did, however, pick up the $50 from Beverly Hills Bargain Boutique that I made since giving them clothes to sell back in March. Pretty much the easiest $50 I have ever made.

And, while it is not consignment, I did buy this dress in black from Old Navy last week. It is oh so comfortable and for $15 it was an amazing steal!

And, I also plan to go thrifting (you know, shopping at thrift stores, because I know that thrifting isn't ACTUALLY a word) with my good friend Magen in Nashville sometime very soon. Nashville kicks Bowling Green's butt as far as thrift stores go. And, I also hope that I can make a "quick" side trip to Wonders on Woodland while I'm down there (it's my mid-century modern shopping dream, but I'll save that for another post). But, I hope the trip to Nashville produces lots of items for me to buy and lots of good stories and pictures for you, my blog readers.

Thank you for being so patient while I have been such a slacker. I promise to try harder to go consignment/thrift store shopping soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Wordless Weekend Wrap-Up

Disclaimer: These photos are straight out of the camera because my Lightroom trial ended. Boo.