Monday, February 22, 2010

Outside My Window

Whenever this Sarah Buxton song comes on the radio I can't help smiling when it comes to this part:

Outside my window I hear a church bell ringin'
Nobody fightin' over what hymn they're singin'

As the wife of a church musician, I think that kind of world would be quite nice, indeed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Day Off

I had the whole day off today.

The whole day.

No morning teaching. No afternoon teaching. No evening rehearsals or gigs. Nothing.

I read my Bible, went to the gym, watched a chick flick while I tidied up the house a bit, practiced my violin, and generally enjoyed having a relaxed day where I could wear my jeans with a rip in the knee. The late afternoon found me wandering at the mall, not looking for anything in particular but just checking out the Presidents' Day sales. Most stores had some pretty great deals going on. I hemmed and hawed about this purchase, but ended up buying these wool shorts from GAP:

Originally priced at $49.50, I snagged the last pair (which happened to be my size) for $7.78. Not bad.

Here comes the part about my mall experience that's actually blog-worthy:

1) I overheard a woman on her cell phone in H&M saying, "Have you ever had squirrel before? I had it for dinner last night. It's so delicious. Tastes like rabbit. I shot it in my backyard and cooked it up!"

[Allow me to remind you all that this was not taking place in rural West Virginia; I live just north of Boston. Also, I'm glad she wasn't looking at me, because I'm sure a look of shock, horror, and revulsion flashed across my face. At least I wasn't the only one appalled; all the nearby shoppers were turning and staring at this woman!]

2) While looking at something in American Eagle, I heard a voice just behind me interrupt my thoughts, asking me, "Excuse me miss, can I jump you real quick?"

"Uhh... what?"

"Could I just tell you real quick that our jewelry is buy one get one half off..."

"Oh. Okay, thanks."

[Hey American Eagle, customer service is great, but maybe you could teach your employees that, when accosting a shopper, the words "Can I jump you real quick" aren't the best to use - even if what they mean by that is "Can I have a moment of your time to give you a little spiel about our latest deals?"]

Who knew shopping could be so filled with bizarre experiences.

Parisian Love Ad

Thanks once again to Ashleigh, I present this cute, creative ad that aired during the Super Bowl. I like it.

Vegan (or not) Pizza

I made the most delicious [almost] cheese-less pizza on Friday night. I used pesto sauce instead of tomato sauce for this pizza. If you're looking for a vegan recipe, make your own vegan pesto (there are lots of good recipes out there). If you're not vegan and/or are being lazy like I was, you can buy Trader Joe's pesto sauce to cut a few corners, but it has parmesan in it. If you're a cheese lover, you could put mozzarella on this pizza, but I always prefer my pizza without.

For this pizza, I just spread a whole wheat crust with pesto sauce and a little roasted garlic, then topped it with fresh baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped artichoke hearts, sliced red onion, and cashews.

Using cashews as a pizza topping had never occurred to me until a recent trip to Spokane, WA to visit a friend. We shared a pizza that had toasty cashews on top and it was delicious. That pizza was the inspiration for my own version.

Try it... you might like it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Muffin Recipe

I ran across this recipe awhile ago, but didn't get around to trying it until this week. While I wouldn't necessarily say that these muffins are "guilt-free," they are low-fat and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats, of course). And they're delicious!

(photo from

Since I already had my blender out to blend the oats into oat flour, after setting the oat flour aside I whirled the applesauce in my blender along with a ripe banana, and then reduced the amount of turbinado sugar since bananas are so naturally sweet. I ended up with moist, chocolatey muffins - more of a dessert than a breakfast, really!

Here's my slightly modified version:


1 cup applesauce
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup (or a little more) oat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semisweet dairy- and gluten-free chocolate chips (or use regular if you're not concerned about being vegan or gf)


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 8 paper liners in muffin tin.

2. Using a blender or food processor, grind oats into oat flour. Set aside in a medium bowl, and add cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Combine applesauce, banana, oil, sugar, and vanilla in blender.

4. Add applesauce mixture to oat mixture; stir. Stir in chocolate chips.

5. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20–22 minutes, rotating the pan a half-turn after 10 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are firm to the touch.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ad

I didn't get to watch the Super Bowl yesterday due to an orchestra rehearsal I was in all evening (I know, lame), but I did take some time this evening to watch the much-discussed Focus on the Family advertisement featuring Tim Tebow that aired last night.

My favorite article I've read about this subtle pro-life ad is actually one written by a pro-choice author, Sally Jenkins for The Washington Post. She delivered a solid defense of the 30-second ad that's both powerful and humorous.

"Tebow's 30-second ad...has provoked "The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us" to reveal something important about themselves: They aren't actually "pro-choice" so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post-Roe v. Wade, and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical."
"Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikinis selling beer is the right one. I would like to meet the genius at NOW who made that decision. On second thought, no, I wouldn't."

I appreciate the way the author addresses the role of guys and fathers in the issues surrounding abortion:

"You know what we really need more of? Famous guys who aren't embarrassed to practice sexual restraint, and to say it out loud. If we had more of those, women might have fewer abortions. See, the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to not get the sperm in the egg and the egg implanted to begin with, and that is an issue for men, too -- and they should step up to that."

You know, abortion is an issue that is at once both simple and complicated. Simple if you believe that life begins at conception, and abortion is killing of innocents. But complicated because it is women whose lives are changed forever by unplanned pregnancies - young girls who will never finish high school, never go to college, never be able to provide all they dreamed of for their children should they decide to keep them and raise them. And we are a society without enough support systems in place to help those girls succeed when they make the decision to keep their babies. And it is women who live with the guilt, to a far greater degree, should they decide to terminate their pregnancies. Because women are the ones with uteruses (uteri?). Any article that calls men to step up to the plate and accept a greater degree of responsibility wins points in my book.

"Tebow's ad, by the way, never mentions abortion... It simply has the theme "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." This is what NOW has labeled "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning." But if there is any demeaning here, it's coming from NOW, via the suggestion that these aren't real questions, and that we as a Super Bowl audience are too stupid or too disinterested to handle them on game day."

An interesting article, all in all - worth reading.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pop Music

Me (singing to myself absentmindedly in the kitchen): "Aaaaaaare you in? Living in sin is the new thing..."

Nathan: What in the world are you singing about?

Me: Sorry, it was on the radio and it got stuck in my head.

Nathan: Living in sin? What kind of lyrics are those?

Me: Um, what do you think pop music is about?

Nathan: Oh, right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Today marks a year since I became a vegetarian, and it's been such a positive change in my life that I thought it merited a post.

I hardly ever get headaches anymore.

I have more energy.

I feel better.

I've become more aware of issues surrounding the treatment of animals, and that awareness has led to more compassion and a greater sense of responsibility as a Christian to care for God's creatures and the planet he gave us.

I've only gotten sick once all year, and that was a mild little cold that only lasted a day or two. (I deal with sick children all the time since I'm a teacher, and not catching all the colds and flus has been fantastic! I used to get sick pretty frequently.)

I've lost weight (if you want to know how much, you can ask me), even though I have less time for exercise now than I used to.

I've learned a lot about nutrition.

And of course, I think vegetarian/vegan food is really delicious.

I actually eat an almost-vegan diet, since I'm lactose intolerant, and I've never liked dairy or eggs anyway. I do think that choosing to be vegan is a really admirable thing, but it takes such a high level of commitment to keep to that kind of diet when you're out at a restaurant or at a friend's. I avoid animal products when I'm cooking for myself at home, but I haven't made the leap to real veganism, although maybe someday I will.

I realize vegetarianism isn't for everyone. My Dad, for example, now adheres to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for health reasons, and has never felt better. He eats meat but can't eat grains, and rarely eats fruit. So I'm not trying to claim that it's the best for everyone, or that it will work miracles for you like it has for me (although it might).

But I'm a happier, healthier person than I was a year ago, and I think that kind of lifestyle change is worth mentioning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Military Policy, Foxes, and Chickens

Nathan and I have been talking about Obama's call to repeal current UCMJ laws regarding homosexuals in the military. I said I could understand it as an issue of discrimination - why should homosexuals be prohibited from serving their country because of (from their perspective, although I understand that some religious stances disagree on this) who they are? Conversely, I also understand the position of many in the military who believe Obama's action, should he succeed, would weaken the military or misdirect military priorities to a political agenda in a time of war. Nathan looked at the issue in part from a standpoint of practicality and appropriateness when it comes to the logistics of life in the barracks. We discussed the various scenarios:

Sarah: You could put gay men with lesbian women.

Nathan: But then the gay men are still with each other, and likewise for the women. If heterosexual men and women sharing quarters is inappropriate, then that would be, too.

Sarah: Oh, right. Well, you could put the gay guys with the heterosexual women... No wait... You could put one gay guy... with the men... No... Hmm. I guess you could put one gay guy with one lesbian woman and create hundreds of individual barracks and showers. Man, this is as complicated as that logic problem where you have to get the fox, the chicken, and the grain across the river but you can't leave the fox alone with the chicken or the chicken alone with the grain!

(Nathan cracked up laughing at my comparison!)