Sunday, March 27, 2011

How to Make My Dad's Goulash

When I was growing up, my Dad did the cooking. He always made great food and he always made too much of it! A couple of weeks ago, Michael and I were spending the afternoon at Barnes & Noble and as usual, while he was looking at some web design or something magazines, I was looking at cooking magazines.
And I saw a recipe for Goulash.
It made me want some.
But not the Goulash that was in that magazine.
I wanted my Dad's Goulash.
So, I called him, and found out that it's actually one of the easiest things in the world to make!

Here's how.

1. Get some good ground beef.

2. And this stuff:

Some pasta (use any kind you want), a can of diced tomatoes, and a lot of Mrs. Dash.
Oh, and a chopped green bell pepper and an onion.
3. Brown the ground beef and mix in the pepper and onion, douse in Mrs. Dash in the skillet.

4. Stir in the can of diced tomatoes.

5. Boil pasta. Drain.

6. And mix it all together. Throw some shredded parmigiano reggiano on top, and enjoy!

I served this with salad. And, any opportunity I get, I make something ahead that Michael can eat, or I can take for lunch or whatever.

Yum. Try this. It's quick and easy and (pretty) healthy and it tastes good. Reasons enough, right?

So. Hi. It's been 2 weeks. Sorry about that.

Remember me?
The author of this poor, neglected blog?

Things have been a little busy around here for the last two weeks. I'll use that excuse because it never seems to go away and it always seems to apply. So, there.

Now, I flip through my pictures so I can remember exactly why the last two weeks have been so busy.

1. We had a "visitor."

One of Michael's friends' sons was doing a "Flat Stanley" project. So, I took Stanley around my little world.
You know, Wegmans, and work.

I did have the wisdom NOT to send this one. :)

I'm guessing Mrs. So-and-So's 2nd grade class wouldn't appreciate that...
2. Press Club Stuff.

I don't think I've ever been to the Press Club three times in a one week period before, but it has happened over the last two weeks.

I had the pleasure of sitting at the head table for a luncheon, I went to a class on search engine optimization (I also had dinner before that with some good friends from out of town who were in town being tourists), and I went to a lunch with Helen Thomas.

3. Brokaw's little issue.
Brokaw has a little tumor. We don't think it's a big deal, but it is something that has to be taken care of. It is going to cost a small fortune, but it's Brokaw, the priceless puggle. So, it is what it is. Surgery is scheduled for April 7th. I was hoping we could be done with this by now, but that didn't work out. B-dawg HATES going to the vet. He gets very nervous, hence the thundershirt. (Even though, when this picture was taken, he did not yet realize where we were going, so he was smiling, soaking up the sun..)

Then, once he realizes he's going to have to get on the big, giant, silver slab...

The whining, shaking, and hair loss ensues.
Then, when it's over, I get this face:

And... for those of you who want to actually SEE the "tumor" (ick) here you go...

4. Trip to Roanoke
Last weekend, I spent two days and nights in Roanoke. It was two very long days, but the trip went very well. While I was there I got to see my second family, the Grooms', and see my good friend and former roommate, Jess. I also got to stop by my first TV station for like 10 minutes to say hi to the 5 people I know who still work there.
So, it was personally a very encouraging trip for me, on top of a great trip work-wise.

Roanoke will always have a special place in my heart. It was where I had my first job, my first apartment. Where I first fell in love and had my heart broken. Where I was first a member of a church as an adult. I formed friendships that have lasted, for real, more than 10 years. I love that place, and I always love visiting! It kind of feels like home!

I actually enjoyed the opportunity to go to a traditional church for services. Love Rainbow Forest Baptist Church!

Loved seeing my best friend in the world's picture on the wall of missionaries. I'm so proud of Ann, and I so envy her commitment to spreading God's word. Ann, I look up to you, no pressure! :)

I loved getting a pound of Sinful Delight, a flavored coffee that I actually still like, from Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea. Ironically, I worked there to save money to go visit Ann in one of her previous tell-the-world-about-Christ journeys, in Slovakia!

5. Our Epic Fight
The day after I got back from the trip to Roanoke, Michael and I got into a big, nasty fight. I'm talking, I stormed out the door on my way to work, early, two days in a row, without eating breakfast together.

I don't even want to share with you what made me so mad because it is soo ridiculous and immature. I'll just tell you that it sucks to think you've learned a lesson, and then realize, yet again, that you are an idiot, and haven't learned jack. This week was filled with much sadness, anxiety attacks, space between us, tears, and deep conversations.
In the end, I think we're closer than we were before, which is the whole idea of marriage, but wow. It sure is tough some times. Glad that part is over, and now we're on the same page again.
6. Just Regular Life Stuff.
You know, like taking care of my man...


Shopping (bargain hunting, of course)...


and delivering meals, church lady style...

I also said goodbye this week to my little brother, Chris, who really is Sgt. Brown in the US Army.
He's headed to Afghanistan for the next YEAR which makes me this ultimate mixture of proud and heartbroken and worried sick.

Note, old picture from his boot camp graduation a few years ago. I doubt that dress currently fits!
Please keep him in your prayers. Thanks.

I could not do all of this without lots of this:

But, I'm going to have to figure out a way to do it with fewer of these:

Because all that weight I lost because of stress and depression and what not last year?
Well... let's just say, I'm apparently fat and happy now!
Yesterday, I had to take that trip to the mall.
You know the one.
The one where you break down and buy one pair of black pants and one pair of jeans in your old size.
Even though you don't want that size hanging in your closet.
Even though you hate to spend money on that size.
But, you do it because stuffing your ham-like thighs in non-fitting pants every single day of the week is a little uncomfortable.
I will lose this weight.
I know this.
In the meantime, I refuse to feel like a sausage.
So. There.
I said it.
I did it.
And, of course, I also bought myself a cute shirt as a "prize" for having to deal with this.
You feel me girls??

And, today, it snowed.
I don't know what in the world that is all about. Because it is Spring. And there are Cherry Blossoms (I think we're going to go next weekend to take the yearly photos, etc.). And snow is just wrong. And Winter has now officially over-stayed its welcome.
So, we stayed home from church today. Even though I haven't been in a MONTH because of all this work travel. And M didn't make it last weekend because of the thing I'm not talking about that led to the epic fight.

We had "church" at home. Just us. Singing Hillsong songs off of YouTube, and watching our Pastor's message from last weekend.
And, you know what?
It was awesome!
We had a great conversation about going "all in" individually.
And, I'm about to do my part, and send an e-mail.
You're all caught up!
I think I'll do a small cooking post, then I'm done. For now.
Hopefully the next two weeks will there will be less drama, and more blogging.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

An Old Love Letter

Good Saturday morning, everyone!
I had a great time at Chili's with the girls last night.
And, a good night's sleep after that.

Now, it's 7:35am, and I'm up with my coffee in my comfy white chair. It's quiet in here, except for the Weekend Today Show in the background. Side note: I can stand the weekend version so much more than that Monday-Friday mess...

I was about to write in my journal, which is really just a million "pages" files on my MacBook. I often look back at what I was writing a year ago, or two years ago, or so.
Today, I searched "March" and found a love letter I wrote to Michael in March, 2008.

How fun!! I thought I'd post it here.

March 2, 2008

My Dearest Michael,

Do you not know how I think of you? Early, often, and with a smile.

It’s Sunday morning. Early. And you are on my mind. My bed is warm, my house is clean, my dog is sleeping, my coffee is perfect and the only thing missing from this perfection is you.

Perhaps it was that good night call. It’s always a pleasure to hear your voice but it is especially sweet knowing that we are both in the bed - about to go to sleep. It feels so much more like we’re in the same place than when we talk and you’re going down and I’m getting up.

I felt you this weekend. Since I saw you last, you’ve just kind of stayed in my heart. Never far from my thoughts or my dreams. But this weekend was special. Even though you are so far away physically, I felt you close in my heart.

It pleased me to be in a circle of inspiration with you. You encouraged me Friday to get out - experience life - celebrate Leap day. So I took a stroll through the National Portrait Gallery and I had a great time. Seeing the portraits, reading the descriptions, getting up close and personal and getting lost in the representations of our Nation’s previous leaders, thinking about how in a matter of months, we will elect a new leader - and just the powerful, historical perspective... It was fun, educational and enriching. And I never would have gone if you hadn’t encouraged me. So, thank you.

Then Saturday, it pleased me to hear the smile in your voice as you shared with me that you had been painting. Yes, I could hear your smile! And that sigh - I know that sigh. You sounded inspired and refreshed. I couldn’t wait to get home and see your creations.

As I looked at the two watercolors - “Apple, Cheese & Milk” and “Orange” - I was giddy. Smitten. Another layer of the onion is peeled off and I get to sense your core in a new way. I loved looking at the paintings - but even more, I loved reading your account of how it just flowed out of you. Doesn’t it just feel splendid to be poured out so? Aaahh, Worship. Spirit. Truth. I think it’s a marvelous honor that God shares a bit of what it’s like to create with us. To create something, experience it and then be able to step back and say - it is good.

And I loved the happy accident of the green plate. I think that was my favorite part of all.

I don’t know why I’m writing this in letter form - other than the fact that at the Portrait Gallery I was looking at a bunch of love letters from the 1800s and I thought - what a beautiful form of communication between two people - so sad that it’s gotten lost in our time. So, this is my expression this morning - even though it isn’t written in beautiful Old English and it’s all stuff I think I said on the phone with you yesterday -- there are words on this paper... you know how I’ve been searching for words...

I adore you.



Apple, Cheese and Milk/by Michael Ritter

Orange/by Michael Ritter

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yoga, Interrrupted.

Thursday morning, I was going about my new little routine of doing workout videos while Michael does his bathroom stuff.

I thought I'd try something different, yoga. I put down a folded over comforter as my makeshift yoga mat, since I don't (yet) own a yoga mat.

Somebody was immediately confused.

We often lay blankets on the floor for the dogs to lounge on. So, naturally, Brokaw brings over Elmo to help me with my yoga routine. That was fine. It was kind of cute. Distracting, but still, cute.

Then, a few minutes later (mind you, this is only a 10 minute video, that's all I had time for on this particular day!) I was on my hands and knees, and the curious Puggle brings over his squeaky kong toy, walks underneath me, squeaking. I sat up, indian style, and at that point, Brokaw just plain sat on my lap!!

My workout was done.
My makeshift mat, taken over by Brokaw and his toys.

Who says that doesn't teach you to be more flexible, right?
Not the exercise I planned, but I mean, look at that face!!

Iowa Debrief

Here's a quick look at our super-jam-packed trip to Iowa.
Back to back to back one-on-one interviews with three possible presidential candidates...

We shot our show in front of a fuzzy Des Moines skyline.

Fuzzy, as in I guess it was too cold for me to focus my camera! Thankfully, the show itself was not fuzzy!

A couple more snap shots from our trip...
David and Steve went in search of Mitt Romney on the streets of Des Moines. Thankfully, during this rainy portion of the trip, I remained in the warm, dry car. :)

This was an exciting trip because in many ways, it was the unofficial kick-off to the 2012 presidential campaign season! Tons of media at the church for the event we covered...

And, you know business is getting started when they start hoisting up the giant American flag...

You know you're in Iowa when you're driving along the road and your photographer sees a "farm scene" and asks to pull over to get a shot of it to represent "Iowa." Ha!

I think that's all I have for you guys from the trip. I didn't have time to take that many pictures.

It was great work experience, and, as usual, when I got home, I was glad to be home.
This week has been really busy, too. I'm so ready for the weekend! Tonight, girls' night with some friends from church. I don't think we have big plans for this weekend, so that's nice. My big event will be going to my happy place (Wegmans!) and Costco, to use my coupons of course.

Our prayer team is going to be in the ministry spotlight at church on Sunday, so that's exciting!
Thanks for reading, whoever is still reading. I'm sorry if it's been terribly boring lately.
I know I haven't been posting much deep content lately. I'm not hiding anything. I really haven't had much time for deep thought, let alone deep reflection and writing!

I love you all.