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Archive for November, 2010

Phobia of the Week #10

The last phobia of November!

Bibliophobia: This phobia refers to the fear of books.

Ohhhh, this one just hurts. Seriously, who could be afraid of books? The heart… the heart, it breaks! ūüė¶

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So here I am after a marvelous Thanksgiving! I hope yours was splendid, too. Last time we spoke, I was getting prepared for the Fearful Food Face Off. But I have a confession to make. There is no such thing as a Fearful Food Face Off. I would have no way of judging who would win, and really don’t care anyway.

So, in all seriousness, I think my dishes were a success! After spending all day before Thanksgiving baking, it had better be. Originally, my goal was to make everything by myself with no help. Aka, I would not resort to asking Mighty Mom¬†for assistance¬†unless I was truly in dire circumstances. That was what would make it more of a fearful challenge. I’ve made¬†easy things like cookies and cakes and ramen noodles on my own before, but never something as important as some dishes to bring to Thanksgiving. So this time, I would do it all on my own, and sink or swim on my own. But, like I said, that was the goal.

What actually happened is another matter. I didn’t make it five minutes! Mom was cooking alongside me, and oh-so-available for questions. For goodness’ sakes, this was for Thanksgiving dinner and I didn’t even know what al dente meant in the recipe for my macaroni and cheese! I knew it meant cook it right, but how would one go about that? I have since learned it means in practical terms tender and soft when you bite it, but not too soggy. I am very glad I didn’t have to figure it out on my own, as my mom was picking up things that were wrong with the recipe as we went along that I would never have caught.

Here’s what the finished product looked like:

It looks gross, but those are panko bread crumbs on top. Adds a lovely texture and crunch. It was half-devoured by the time we left and my uncle said it reminded him of No Nonsense Nana’s cooking when he was little. So I call this one mission accomplished. Here is the recipe if you are interested: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

The one thing I made almost entirely myself was Herbed¬†Monkey Bread. Funny name, good stuff! I love bread. All kinds. I love working with dough. So this one was super fun to make! It’s basically a yeast dough with all these cool herbs like thyme, parsley, and rosemary spread onto it. Plus parmesan. Parmesan makes all things well. Unfortunately, I got the recipe out of my local newspaper, so I don’t have the recipe to share. But here’s a picture to make you envious:

Last but not least was pumpkin cheesecake. After making it, I understand why it received so many votes! Good job, voters! Quite yummy, although quite rich. And probably one of the most difficult to make. It ended up being a little too soggy, but otherwise, I think it was swell. Oh, forget talking. Here’s a pic:

And the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-pumpkin-cheesecake-recipe2/index.html

All-in-all, each were edible and 2 of the 3 recipes were definite keepers. I really do like cooking, and maybe one of these days I’ll have as¬†much knowledge and know-how as Mighty Mom and won’t need her help at all. Until then, I’ll learn by the side of one of the best cooks I know.

I absolutely loved working beside her in the kitchen. It’s one of those small things in life that mean so much. She let me do enough so that I could call the dishes my own, but she was also available for guidance if I needed it. It was a wonderful feeling to work side by side, and have something of my own to contribute for Thanksgiving dinner. If you haven’t done it before, I highly recommend it.

Would I call this fear conquered? Yes and no. I brought some things of my own for Thanksgiving, so yes. “No” because I didn’t make it without any help no matter how it turned out as planned. Ah, well. There’s always next year!

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Even though they don’t know it yet, the other cooks in my family are in a face off. They are involved in an epic battle that will distinguish baking from cooking, tasty from delicious, and women from girls. This battle will¬†be a battle for the centuries. It is the always dreaded,¬†always challenging, FEARFUL FOOD FACE OFF.

Not really. But it was a wonderful alliteration, don’t you think?

It’s only fearful because it made it onto The List at spot number four: Bring a few things of my own for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, hypothetically speaking, what’s wrong with a little competition? Naturally, I would be going into it as the underdog. Having never brought anything of my own for Thanksgiving and with very little experience in the kitchen, one might assume an almost automatic disqualification. But, hypothetically, what if I were to triumph in a grand display of underdog power never seen since the likes of Susan Boyle stepping onto the¬†stage?

What? It could happen. I literally cooked for about six hours today. I made bread rolls, yummy macaroni and cheese, and delectable pumpkin cheesecake. And, if I may say so myself-they were fearfully and wonderfully made.

If I were in a hypothetical competition, what might my hypothetical competition look like? Theoretically, of course, let’s take a look:

No Nonsense Nana: As the supreme matriarch of the family, No Nonsense Nana is the projected winner and all-around favorite for this holiday season. With over twenty five years of experience in the kitchen, she might just be the hardest to take down.

The Aunt Attack: Though somewhat unassuming, don’t let this capable cook fool you! The Aunt Attack has proven herself worthy time and again in the kitchen, and has won her name for her signature move:¬†the coming up from behind in a silent attack. She could¬†be the one to beat.

Mighty Mom: Mighty mom has had a love for baking since she was a teenager. While she has always been a good cook, lately she’s upped her game by watching Food Network. With new moves from last year, she could be a real contender.

No Nonsense Nana will be pulling out all the stops this year with a Turducken. The Aunt Attack is planning on bringing her A game with homemade rolls. Mighty Mom is bringing a lot to the table (pun intended) with the classic green bean casserole, apple pistachio salad, and pumpkin pie. Lookout! Lizzie (*ahem*, me) will be one to look out for (weren’t expecting that, were ya?) with her Herbed Monkey Bread, paprika-infused Macaroni and Cheese, and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Who will take home the win? Will it be the favorite? The sly and cunning Aunt Attack? The seasoned pro with new tricks up her sleeves? Or the unassuming rookie?

Make sure and check back later this week to find out! Hypothetically.

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Phobia of the Week #9

Bathmophobia: This phobia refers to the fear of stairs or steep slopes.

And you thought all those people that used the elevator were just lazy! *Pshaw.*

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Your Turn #4

With Thanksgiving this week, I was wondering…

Which Thanksgiving dish of one of your relatives are you least looking forward to? (Don’t worry, they won’t know you said anything.)

Which Thanksgiving dish of one of your relatives are you most looking forward to?

Feel free to answer either one of the questions, and/or both!

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With a grand (haha) total of six votes, I will be making for Thanksgiving dinner 2010…

Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Here’s how it went down:

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie: 1 vote

Croissant Bread Pudding: 1 vote

Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake: 4 votes

Make sure and check back later this week as I face off against three fabulous matron cooks. Rolls, macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin cheesecake, here I come.

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When blogging about the Thick-Skinned Critique a few weeks ago, I began thinking about that phrase, “thick-skinned.” Recently I found¬†I need a thick skin when it comes to my writing.¬†I need it because there are going to be plenty of people with plenty to say-some of it mean. But I can’t let it get to me. I also need a thick skin because when someone tries to genuinely help me or my writing, I can’t¬†get defeated¬†when they say it needs some work.

So I got to thinking. If it’s¬†beneficial to have a thick skin in writing… might it also be beneficial in other areas of life? What about fear? Yeah, I decided. It would be nice to have a thick skin when it comes to fear.

What does a thick skin mean? A thick skin means not much can penetrate. A thick skin towards fear means not letting the economy determine what you believe about the future. It means ignoring someone who says, “You’ll never make it.” It means shutting off that child of doubt within you that cries “wolf!” every time something new happens. It means not letting anything but God’s Truth penetrate, because everything else is just an arrow from the devil aimed to hurt you.

Let’s be real, Christians. One of the devil’s best tactics is fear. He’s no dummy. He knows what frightens us the most and where our greatest weaknesses lie. So what are we doing letting him sneak up on us like we don’t know he’s coming?¬†As God’s kids, we should know better. God’s children have never been immune to fear.

What was it that drove Abraham to conceive Ishmael with Hagar instead of waiting for the son the Lord had promised him? What was it that made Jonah flee straight into the belly of a whale? What was it that prompted Peter to deny his best friend three times?

The devil may not be a dummy, but he is a loser. Our Jesus has triumphed. Our God is greater, stronger, and smarter. Still, we live in a sinful world and unfortunately still stumble.

Fear, I think, is at its greatest when it can catch us unawares. At that moment in the middle of the night when its cold hands¬†can grab¬†hold of our throats in a warm bed and sound sleep. That’s why I think the¬†recession threw us for such a huge loop. We had¬†become comfortable, and it caught us unawares.

¬†Another thing that causes fear is change. Some are more flexible than others when it comes to change, but flexibility doesn’t matter when it’s your kids on the line. The job you’ve had for 15 years. Your health. For my own family right now, we’re facing a lot of change. For my dad, it’s looking into writing a resume for the first time in twenty five years of owning his own business. For my mom, it’s watching her kids grow up after being a stay-at-home mom for the majority of her life. For me, it’s just trying to figure out all this “grown-up” stuff and what it means.

But what if we stopped listening to the devil’s lies? “But what if it isn’t lies? What if what I’m afraid of really happens?”, you ask.¬†Good question, but here’s another one for ya:¬†was that inward¬†question your Heavenly Father speaking, or was it something else? As a child, I knew I only had to start worrying when my parents did. I learned early on when my parents said not to touch the stove that they were right when they said it. I didn’t always listen, but I learned to take heed when panic or concern came into their faces.

As adults, we still have a Father to look to. If he’s starting to look worried, that’s when we¬†should be worried. Just like when we were¬†little and¬†about to run in front of a car but caught sight of Mom’s face, so, too, can we look to God. Here’s the cool thing, though- are you ready for it? Never will you look into the face of Almighty God and see him quivering with fear.

Never will you see him scratching his head or pausing in worry. You may hear God say, “Slow down,” “Wait,” or “Yes, things are changing,” but you will never catch him pacing heaven about what to do with your problem. Instead, if you ask him and really pay attention, you’ll probably feel peace you’ve never known. You’ll probably see him smile and say, “What are you worried about, child of mine? I¬†got you.”¬†

If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies isn’t freaking out, then why are we?

The problem is, most of us don’t go to God seeking his opinion before¬†making our own. We actively listen to that whisper of fear until it encircles our hearts like a snake, constricting every last drop of hope. What if we started by not only going to God with our fear, but by listening to what he says about it? By observing his face when we tell him what it is?

So we won’t be caught unawares by fear. We know it’s coming, so we will expect it. When it comes, we will be prepared to fight it. We will fight it by, “Not worrying about anything, but instead praying about everything. By telling God what we need, and thanking him for¬†all he has done.” (Paraphrase, Philippians¬†4:6.) We will learn to develop a thick skin when it tries¬†to invade our lives¬†again. Because it will keep trying.

A thick skin to fear and other lies like it, an open heart to the Word of God. It’s the only way to live.

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