Friday, March 23, 2012

Corn and Broccoli Calzones

Normally I stay away from these types of posts.  I never really attempted to cook until I got married.  I made valiant efforts in college occasionally, but I mostly lived off of Pasta Roni and sandwiches.  Needless to say, cooking is new territory for me.  Therefore, I feel highly unqualified to post recipes or any such nonsense. 

However, since I already shared my…ummm… interesting relationship with food, anything out of the ordinary is quite a big deal for me.  My hubeeba and I also try to make an effort not to eat a whole lot of meat (sometimes) and this is actually a great meatless recipe that is healthy and super filling.  So I come to you bearing Corn and Broccoli Calzones!


1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Flour, for dusting
20 oz. prepared whole wheat pizza dough (mine is store-bought)
2 teaspoons oil (I use olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 475* F.  Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine broccoli, corn, mozzarella, ricotta, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir until fully mixed.
Should look vaguely like this.  MUST use bright blue mixing bowl for optimal success.

3. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into an 8-inch circle.  Place a generous 3/4 cup filling on one half of each circle, leaving a 1-inch border of dough.  Fold top half over the filling.
I don't have a rolling pin, so don't judge my "circles".

4. Fold edges over and crimp with a fork to seal.  Make several small slits in the top to vent steam; brush each calzone with oil.  Transfer the calzones to the prepares baking sheets.

5. Bake the calzones until browned on top, about 15 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.
I sprinkled with cheese, obviously.

I did get this recipe from somewhere, but since I don't remember where anymore, I don't feel bad about not giving credit!  That's how I roll.  Anyway, each one of these puppies is only about 200ish calories, so it's really easy to turn into a healthy dinner. 

That's all, folks!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Hard Middle Ground

The biggest thing I learned in college is that there are a lot of bad things going on in the world and a lot of good people trying to change that.  I grew up in small-town Missouri, and sure, I knew bad things existed.  I saw the children on TV and sponsored a child for a few years when I was a preteen.  But for better or for worse, I was also incredibly sheltered from real injustices.

My town had (has?) an active KKK clan that sent a threatening letter to our high school band director after he paid tribute to Rosa Parks during a concert.  Needless to say, I had zero friends growing up who weren’t from white, middle-class families.  All the bad things on the local news happened in Kansas City, a good 35+ minutes away, and were therefore of no concern.  My youth group participated in the 30-Hour Famine, but I only went to play games and flirt with boys.

Then I moved to Chicago, more specifically to Albany Park, one of the most diverse areas in the entire nation.  I learned about human trafficking not just overseas but here in the US, about homelessness and political wars and racial/economic injustice.  I was overwhelmed with information and overwhelmed by a desire to help.

My dream was to go serve in an orphanage after I graduated.  I loved kids, and wanted to be somewhere where my actions could be most useful.  The college even linked to a 6 month internship at an orphanage in Zambia, and I was sure that was where I was headed.  Then I fell in love. 

As things got more serious between me and the HH (handsome hubbeeeee), I slowly realized my dreams needed to change.  He didn’t want to go to Africa; he wanted to go to Portland.  He wanted a big house with a nice yard, nice cars, and nice things, while I felt all of those things were inherently evil in some way. 

Fast forward and here I am, living in Portland, occasionally catching myself dreaming about the house I’ll someday own.   I work at a job I hate just to bring home a paycheck so I can pay off debt and go out to eat every once in a while.  My education pushes me to be revolutionary, while society pushes me to just blend in, and it is incredibly hard for me to live in the tension.

The sad truth is, I don’t think I would have been any happier in that orphanage.  I would have gained life experiences and perspective, sure, but joy?  I doubt it, simply because it’s not where God was really calling me, I only wanted to go so everyone (including God) would see how helpful I was and how much I loved them/Him.

It’s so much harder to love people from my comfort zone.  I feel like if I was shoved into the unknown, I would love and depend on people because I had nowhere else to turn.  But now I have a TV, a constant companion, even a cat for goodness sake.  Instead of inviting people over for dinner, I can watch reruns.  Instead of volunteering downtown, I could go for a hike or write a blog post (ha). 

It’s something I struggle with every single day.  I feel like I either can’t or don’t love Jesus enough when I’m stuck in my comfortable bubble.  Sometimes I get mad at God because He called us here and I don’t know what to do with the calling. 

But I know He’s here, teaching me something.  I have a feeling it has a little something to do with patience, politics, and money, and a lot to do with faith.  For now, I’m trying to find peace with Him in the midst of consumer chaos and trying to find the courage to believe He’s got something worthwhile up ahead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Haley's Here!

Today is a good day!  My sister and best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!  Generally speaking, I think newborn babies are creepy and wrinkled and look like aliens, but for some reason this one is an exception. :)

Today is by far the hardest day to be away from my family, and looking at all the pictures being posted of this little baby makes my heart ache.  I've pretty much just sat here all day glued to my phone and Facebook waiting for someone to post another picture.  But I get to go see her in a couple of weeks, and I'll get some time with her all to myself!

I waaaas really hoping she'd be a redhead, because redheaded little girls are possibly the cutest thing ever invented, but I guess she'll do. :)

So proud of my sister and excited for her and her husband as they begin a brand-new phase of their life together!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Money has always been just a little bit of a game to me.  I know that’s sounds slightly insane, but it’s true.  I Love with a capital L any sort of puzzle or game, and turning money into a game has allowed me to succeed.

Ok, so I can’t really say I’m succeeding yet, what with those nasty loans hanging over my head, but –sad as it is- I didn’t know better with those, and I’ll never make the same mistake again!  But because of those poopsters, I’ve had to get creative with our income so that our biggest priority can be to get rid of them.  We’ve already paid over $11,000 since Septemberish, so I’d say we’re doing just fine!

Anywho, I shared before that our grocery bill is one that hits us the hardest.  I don’t know why, I just have a really hard time saying no when the HB wants late-night ice cream or I become a chocolate goblin and absolutely positively canNOT live another second without it.

So, I’ve turned it into a game to help motivate me!  February is the first month that I started keeping track of every single trip to the grocery store, and therefore being more proactive about saving.  I looked for more coupons and sales, and tried to limit myself.

The good news is that over the entire month, I saved a total of $127.97 using a variety of tactics, and averaged 31% savings every single trip!  The bad news is that I went to the store a total of...  15 times.  Oy.  That’s almost 4 times a week, and sometimes I even went twice on the same day!  Obviously this is something I need to be more aware of…

Anyway, I’m going to keep updating this every month to hold myself accountable, and hopefully be a wee bit of a braggart when I get things more under control!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's Done is Done...

A couple of weeks ago, I worked Monday and Tuesday and then had an entire week off because of a holiday and the family I work for having visitors.  As the days passed, I found myself with less and less to occupy my time with, and I’m sorry to say I turned to a dark place.

Friends had been trying to convince me to just give it a try; it might spark my creativity or help me get through long days of boredom.  I tried to stay away because I knew what a slippery slope these things can be.  Finally, even my husband asked me why I wouldn’t just give it a shot, and I gave in:  I signed up for Pinterest.

Needless to say, I am now a converted addict, and it has indeed sparked my creativity in many areas, from working out to cooking to filling my free time.  One of the first things I saw on there was a crochet pattern for a scarf, and I used to crochet when I was a kid, so I called up my mom and asked her to send my old hook and some yarn, and off I went!

Considering the only projects I made as a kid were blankets that gradually shrunk to half their size by the time I finished, like this \  / , I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I found the original pattern here.

A couple of things I’d do differently:

1.       Count more carefully.  Some of the “bumps” ended up in funny places because I didn’t pay a ton of attention as I counted.
2.       Use a softer yarn.  I was so excited to get started that I didn’t even consider this, and now I get slightly itchy wearing this…
3.       Try a different color.  I did white because it’s safe and goes with everything, but I’m somewhat of a color monster, and I think I would have liked something more… well… colorful!

By the way, I know posting this makes me a complete nerd, and also that spring has (unofficially) sprung and I’m out of season.  But I was excited to create something like this, so I’m sharing anyway!  Not bad for the first time in 10ish years, right?  RIGHT??? :)