Monday, June 10, 2013

June 1-2: Weekend Blessings

Far too often God blesses me without me even being aware of it; caught up in my own self-absorbed ways, I find more to complain about than thank God for.

1.  I spent a great deal of my weekend finishing a classroom scrapbook.  I make one every year, (inspired by a friend who also made a scrapbook for her classes), but this year is different.  This year, I have truly grown attached to my students.  Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed my 8th graders the last two years for various reasons.  But this year I haven't had to deal with some of the hurdles of the past years, namely behavior issues.  With that out of the way, it's freed up plenty of time for us to interact more and get to know each other.  We've laughed together, played games together, and teased each other incessantly.  These moments have endeared my students to me.  So as I hurriedly pasted the pictures into the book, I thought back to every moment and thanked God for these children who have filled my life.

2.  Earlier today, I had the bitter-sweet pleasure of attending a tea-party going away party for a friend of mine who I've grown to love here in Bangkok.  She is moving on to Mongolia to continue her missions' work as a consultant.  I admire her passion for people, her adventurous spirit, and her tenacity for social justice -- all qualities I wish I fully possessed.  But God has blessed me with her friendship these last couple years, and I am thankful.  I have so few friends that are outside the ICS community and she is one of them.  While I love my job and the people I work with, I sometimes feel like I might go insane if my entire life in Thailand is tied to my job and the people therein.  So it is a great relief to hang out with people who don't know my students or the unique life an international school affords.  This tea party gave me the respite I so desperately needed.  I was the only ICS teacher in attendance, and furthermore, I only knew two other people, besides the guest of honor.  Ordinarily, I tend to withdraw in groups like this where I don't know people, but this time God gave me a taste of my old social-butterfly ways and I eagerly - if not successfully - navigated small talk for three hours as I made new friends, and chatted up old ones, all without the slightest unease of talking to strangers.

3.  Tied closely to #2, I cannot talk about a going away party without mentioning the guest of honor.  Her name is Natasha (originally from the UK) and she has lived in Thailand for about as long as I have, working with World Vision.  Well, her job is taking her to Mongolia as a consultant after a 3-week holiday back in the UK.  She has truly been a blessing to my life for several reasons:  she adds a fresh/different perspective to my teachery life, she understands the crazy busy lifestyle that happens in Bangkok but is still up for an adventure, and of course, she has a cool accent. ;)  It is bitter sweet to send her off, but I am excited for what she's going to be doing in Mongolia and beyond.

4.  After the tea party, I made my way down the street to my favorite coffee place of all time, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and walked in a completely empty shop.  This was awesome because it meant that I didn't have to wait in a line for soy chai, AND that I had my choice of seats.  Since I had grading to do, I wanted a comfortable chair with a view that adequately distracted me from my papers.  Yes, I'm not the most focused grader in the world.

5.  And what could distract me better than a traditional Indian wedding complete with the groom riding in on a horse, dancing in the streets, and hand-held drums and tambourines.  The sight would have been grander if I could see it better from my window.  Sadly, people kept blocking my view and I was too embarrassed to walk outside to observe the wedding first-hand since I'm not an actual guest.  So all this means is that I need to be invited to an Indian wedding...This was a first for me, but I sure hope it's not my last!

6.  The wedding eventually moved inside and I got through half my stack of papers before I gave up and decided to head out.  It was also 8pm on a Sunday in downtown Bangkok and I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour.  I had to go to Villa and chose the one down the street instead of the regular one I go to in Paradise, and I was blessed greatly for this small choice of venues!  At first I couldn't remember what I wanted to get at Villa, so I wandered through the aisles...and what did I find?  Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  The cereal I had been looking for since Christmas had finally popped up in a random store downtown.  I didn't even care that it was $7.25 -- I bought it on the spot.  But there were more treasures to be found hidden away.  My mom always told me to "look with your eyes; not with your mouth," and after going through the milk aisle twice and about ready to give up, I find one of three lone quarts of Silk vanilla soy milk.  This is the perfect companion to my favorite cereal. :)  On top of these two fantastic things, I came across the Ben & Jerry's freezer and Half Baked was buy one get one free!  Not a hard choice considering one pint alone costs $13.

GOD IS GOOD.  Even when I don't think about needing a 'break', He showers me with blessings in one weekend:  great food, great company, and a great view of a wedding.  Thank you Lord.  I just hope I am able to recognize more of Your blessings for what they truly are. <3 br="">

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dinner with Lissa round 2!

This simple recipe is several weeks old, but probably one of my favorite "new" things to make.  It's also fairly healthy!
Good meat can be hard to find in Thailand at a reasonable price, which is why I've adjusted much of my cooking to exclude beef, chicken, or fish; instead I like eating zesty veggies and carbs of all kinds--unashamedly I might add!

This time, my meal used avocado as the main ingredient:  Avocado-salsa bowls, open-faced egg-avocado sandwich, with tortilla chips on the side.  I got the idea for egg-avocado sandwiches (and simplified it) from here:  Egg and Avocado Sandwiches

1 avocado, medium-large size
1 red tomato, large, diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/8 cup yellow and red bell pepper, chopped
Cilantro finely chopped (to taste)
1 hard-boiled egg
Paprika (sprinkled to taste)
Bread of choice (I used Spinach sweet bread)
Tortilla chips

Avocado-salsa bowl and open-faced avocado-egg sandwich.
    • Cut avocado in half length-wise and remove the pit
    • Carve a shallow bowl into both sides of the avocado and put the extra avocado in a small bowl
    • Remove the shell of the boiled egg and dice egg before placing with the extra avocado
    • Mash together the avocado with the egg and set aside
    • Combine the tomato, onion, bell peppers, and cilantro in bowl to make the salsa
    • Scoop the salsa into the avocado 'bowls'
    • Place the avocado-egg mixture on bread (optional: toast the bread before putting the avocado-egg mixture on top), and sprinkle paprika on top
    • There you go -- it's time to eat!

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Dinner with Lissa

    I'm not big on recipes -- I rarely use them and this is the first time I've actually written one -- nonetheless, here's something I made for dinner tonight.  Let me tell you, it was delicious. So without further adieu, here's my Tree-top Chowder:

    1/3-1/2 cup Chicken shredded
    1 cup Broccoli separated
    1 cup Cauliflower separated
    1 can Cream of Broccoli
    2/3 cup Soy milk
    1/2 Onion diced
    3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
    1/8 cup of green, red, and yellow bell pepper each
    1 Potato sliced
    1 tbsp Olive oil

    Salt, Black pepper, Parmesan cheese, and Kraft grated cheese:  garnished to taste

    • Cook chicken thoroughly in medium sized pot then shred into small pieces
    • Add can of Cream of Broccoli and milk to pot with chicken
    • Add half cup of fresh broccoli and cauliflower each
    • Let simmer for 20 minutes
    • In pan, saute garlic and onions in oil, then add potato slices
    • Add remaining broccoli and cauliflower and allow vegetables to saute thoroughly
    • Add chopped bell pepper to simmering chowder in pot
    •  Dish the sauteed vegetables into bowl, add chowder on top
    • Garnish to taste with Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and shredded cheese
    Note the different stages: sauteed veggies, chowder added, garnish added :)
    Easy and delicious!  I didn't actually add salt to the chowder because there was salt already in the cream of broccoli, and I prefer the natural taste of the veggies.  Of course, every measurement is completely optional!  I never pay much attention to measurements in recipes, especially when it comes to veggies, so feel free to use whatever is in the vegetable drawer (but it wouldn't be a Tree-top Chowder without the broccoli and cauliflower!).