28 February 2011

don't waste cancer

we found out last week that my step-dad has cancer.  although we weren't shocked, it has still been more difficult than we had expected.  my step-dad is a solid steady rock and an incredible leader for our family.  as i was contemplating the trial that lies ahead for my family it made me long for heaven.  it made me hunger for the moment when this struggle is a faint memory.  it reminded me of 2 corinthians 4:17,

" for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal". 

even though all we can see right now is cancer and suffering that will pass away and what will last is Christ and the treasure that awaits all of us in heaven.  even though, i long for heaven i don't want my family or i to waste this experience by wishing it away.  my mom pointed out that " this has already passed through the hands of our loving God so we can trust that this is what is best for us right now".  those words are true but hard to live out with the scary things of life confront us.   my parents faith during this time is not only encouraging to me but challenging.  this article by john piper also challenges me to redeem, not waste, this season and to trust that it is what's best for my family.  even thought this article is tailored to cancer you can really fill in the blank for any trial that you are currently going through. 

26 February 2011

proto take 2

the locksmith text me this pic yesterday...

can you believe it?  it's the same car we spotted a few weeks ago!  the locksmith stole a side shot so you could see the proto in all it's glory.  look at that custom white duct tape work to the windows.  what a beauty.

24 February 2011

set sail into spring

set sail
set sail by cocoplum featuring leather shoulder bags

i don't have bieber fever (ok i do but it is a mild case) but i am getting the warm weather itch.   it can be difficult to know how to dress in the spring.  in the morning it's freezing toad (according to my lil cousin) and in the afternoon it's hot.  and always windy.  at least that's how it goes here in the 505.  even though the weather is fickle i still love spring.  it always feels like a new beginning and full of life. 

to help soothe my itch, i put together an outfit that could be versatile for spring weather and be suitable for an impromptu sailing adventure, a common occurrence here in new mexico.  a girl has got to be ready.  i love all things nautical.  in fact i don't have a favorite color but rather a favorite color combo.  navy blue and white.  it's simple and classic.

what are you looking forward to this spring season?

22 February 2011


i work for the wic program .  i understand that our prgram isn't perfect but when i saw this fax today i thought this was taking it a little too far.   the weak program.  real mature.

18 February 2011

the oddest picture message i ever recieved

not too long ago i received this text message from a dear, quirky friend...

no words.  just her and a statue of Jesus.  she is so somber too.  it reminded me of someone who can't get close enough or isn't allowed to take a picture with a celebrity so they take an awkward picture like the one above.  why is the obvious question here but who knows is the only answer.  naturally, i saved it as her caller id.

17 February 2011

weekend update- love bird's edition

this weekend was, of course, valentine's weekend.  we aren't big valentine's celebraters per say but we love any reason to make a fuss over each other.  we also love to celebrate what the Lord has blessed us with in each other.  we are newlyweds after all.  as i thought about what to do to remind the locksmith of how much i love him i kept coming back to one thing...westerns.  the locksmith loves western movies, he suddenly becomes 15 years younger and he gets that little kid twinkle in his eye.  i wanted to watch a western film but make it a whole experience.  and what better way to watch a western than under the cover of a fort?  it would sort of be like camping out, like real cowboys.  so friday night i made some fried chicken.  built a fort on our living room floor.  put up some twinkly lights for stars.  and made some campfire orange cakes.  

under the stars

look who decided to make up and join us in the fort

this man also joined us in the fort

my handsome superman eating campfire orange cakes in the fort
monday was actual valentine's day and it was the locksmith's turn to do something special.  he started out right by senting me these gorgeous flowers at work.  i love the purple flowers because they remind me of fireworks. 

don't they look lovely next to my "progression of baby model tooth decay" model?

that night the locksmith decided to cook my favorite meal, breakfast for dinner.  i took a relaxing bath while he slaved over the stove.  he made pikelets with two options for toppings.  i have started a dish collection and i pulled out two of my favorites for our valentine's breakfast for dinner feast. 

the fat finch


  nutella and 'naner say hello to my little friends piklets.

a little piece of food heaven.
pikelets with blueberry sauce.

i felt like a fat finch after such a great meal!

it was a fun to make valentine's day into valentine's weekend.  anything fun  that you did with a loved one or friend?  any valentine's traditions you have?

15 February 2011

pronto proto

this weekend we were driving and spotted this...

check out all the amazing custom white duct tape work around the tail lgihts on the proto. 

say what?!  it's an old ford mustang with half the roof cut off!  i didn't know less head room was something people were looking for in a car.  it sort of looked like the back to the future car. 

not as cool though.  white hot?  i think not.  two points for being original though.  the best part?  there was a sticker on the top of the back window that said "white fang society".  well, you know i will drop the "n"  on that nonsense for sure! 

14 February 2011


"by this we know

that He laid down His life for us...."

- 1 john 3: 16



13 February 2011

weekly menu

here is what for eats this week:
monday- butternut squash with bacon served over pasta & sprinkled with parm
tuesday- vibe sandwiches
wednesday- honey-jalpeno checken with sesame soba noodles. my friend, chrissy, introduced me to this recipe and gave me the hint to double the sauce.  if you have never had soba noodles, be prepared to never want to return to rice again.
thursday- tortilla chicken soup
friday- stuffed turkey burgers

happy eats!

10 February 2011

the world is on fire

you may or may not know that the locksmith and i became a blended family when we married nearly 3 months ago.  we each brought a little one to our relationship.   ok so it's more like canine brady bunch on a smaller scale.  they look a lot alike so we rarely get questions about being a blended family....ok, they look identical.  except bella doesn't have any ears because some mean person cut them off before we rescued her from mexico.  she's a latina so naturally the story of how we got her is very dramatic.  i will save it for another day.

here is my baby, bella rae.

no ears.  there are just little mohawks of hair where there should be ears.

and here is john's love, adeline belle (addie for short).

just look at those ears!  maybe addie's are so big to make up for bella's loss.

now you would think that this may not be difficult to blend two dogs into your family.   intially it was easy, the dogs are best friends so when we first got married it was the-never-ending-slumber-party-with-your-best-friend phase.  they are inseparable.

a few nights ago something happened that divided our girls.  i don't know what happened but it must have been bad because they didn't sleep together.  normally this is the scene at our house around bed time.

two peas in a pod. 

a few nights ago this was the scene... 

they wouldn't even look at each other.  please don't mind my messy room.

what could drive them apart?  maybe bella has ear jealousy.  perhaps seeing addie's full, lucious ears is just too much for her.  addie's blessing is her sister's curse.  addie can't bare the pain of her sister's misfortune. 

whatever it was it made them sleep apart.  and in the morning i woke up to this sight....


my poor addie baby in our closest curled up with a pair of the locksmith's underwear for comfort.  i don't know a pain so severe that it would make me want to curl up with my dad's underwear but it must be bad. 

08 February 2011

this weeks menu

hi!  well this is a busy week for us so i am so sorry i haven't posted our weekend update yet.  never fear, it is in the works.  i just wanted to post our menu for the week in case you are looking for a little inspiration. 

monday- pasta with edamame, mushrooms, greens beans and roasted peppers
tuesday- stir fry with rice
wednesday- lemongrass and coconut soup and salad
thursday- white chili served over baked potatoes
friday- maple mustard baked chicken with veggies

if you have questions don't hesitate to ask!  happy eats!

07 February 2011

@ = around

i am sorry to start monday off like this but i can no longer be silent.  i have got some beef that i would like to settle, right here and right now.  it's the @ symbol.  what person really needs to abbrievate the word at?  it's two letters folks.  is it that much trouble?  t is not a hard letter even in cursive. 

when i was first exposed to the @ symbol at the tender age of 12 i thought it meant around.  it makes much more sense, wouldn't you agree?  around is a longer word and the circle is around the letter a.  how did i finally learn that @ didn't mean around?  i got it wrong on my 6th grade computer 101 test.  but my teacher agreed that it made more sense.  really?  well, then good!  let's start a revolution.  i'll make t-shirts and you start a petition.

i need to calm down.  i need a drink.  quickly, someone get me chocolate milk...

04 February 2011

cookbook club

i always wanted to be apart of a club.  when i was in 1st grade i longed to be in the baby-sitters club.  i mean really who didn't love those girls?  even though they already had a pesky red-headed character, i was confident i was the missing member that they didn't know they were missing.  i even had a baby-sitter's club notebook that i ordered from scholastic.  i wanted to pass it around with my friends as we baby-sat every kid in town and made our millions.  apparently, some parents don't want 1st graders babysitting their kids.  those "responsible" individuals crushed my dream.  however, another opportunity arose to pledge membership to club some 21 years later.  thanks sam's club.  i am kidding.   it's cookbook club.

a few of my friends and had been tossing around the idea of a book club but using a cookbook instead of a oprah's latest pick.  as single ladies, wives, mothers who all busy in the different seasons of life this club seemed a bit more practical.  many of my friends cook, some cook well and the rest of us just cook everything well done.  cooking through a book together would help give us fresh recipes, practice in the kitchen and a scheduled girl's time each month!  last month was the first time meeting.  you may remember me mentioning it.  it was a smash hit. 

we are still new at this cookbook club and sorting out how it works but here is what we have learned so far.  
  • pick a book.  we complied different names of cookbooks and looked through them on-line and at bookstores.  in the end this was the chosen one.  i saw it on a blog and it seemed appealing.  we are all fairly health conscience and this book has mostly healthy recipes but also isn't afraid to use butter.  it also has recipes that feature foods that we hadn't tried before.  sweet.  it also wasn't very expensive.  double points.
meet myra
  • each month we have a coordinator.  this person is responsible for choosing the recipes for the month.  we also have a host, someone who is willing to open up their homes to this crazy little club.  the great thing about alternating is that people will pick recipes you normally would never pick or eat.  you discover, you would eat them on a train, you would eat them in the rain. 
  • at the end of that month we get together and enjoy the recipes that were chosen that month.  we chose to do this portion pot-luck style but might mix it up on occasion.  people sign up to cook one of the recipes at home and bring it to the meeting.  our group is growing so instead of having someone double or triple the recipe we just have someone else make that recipe.  this is nice when there are variations.  such as baked apples three ways, each person picked a different way and we sampled them all.  then we get together and eat and talk and eat and talk!  those that cooked the recipe share tips.  we write any tips or tricks in our copy of the cookbook. 
  • here is what you can do in preparation for cookbook club meetings.  nothing.  some people chose not to make anything until after they have tasted it at the meeting.  or you can make a few or all the menu items for that month.  i choose this option since i have to cook anyway for a hungry locksmith.  i figure it kills two birds with one stone.
this month's recipes include:
  • chicken breast stuffed with chard, gruyere and prosciutto
  • cauliflower "couscous"
  • romaine salad with snow peas, oranges and almonds with orange splash dressing
  • coconut and macadamia macaroons
  • kalamata olive bread
i had the chance to make all the recipes except the kalamata olive bread.  even though the bread looks really good it didn't have a bread machine option and 13 steps sounds a little step for bread.  

here is the chicken recipe.  after gravy soup the other night i really wanted to make the locksmith something that was edible and delicious.  cookbook club and myra come through for me!

first you start off with swiss chard.  i picked rainbow. for obvious reasons.

isn't it beautiful?  so colorful and fun!

the colors could almost be hot pink, orange and yellow.  rainbow swiss chard must have started in the 80's. 

when you are done freaking out about how rad rainbow chard is, roll the chard and slice it.  the add it to a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

add 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of water and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic to the pan.  the chard will wilt in about 2 minutes.  cover the skillet and cook until chard is tender, 3-5 minutes. 

notice the bottle of nail polish remover on the counter.   spi11 recovery is still under way.

after you have pounded 4 boneless, skinless pieces breast with a meat pounder you are ready to assemble your chicken.  grab your chard, 6-8 pieces of prosciutto, and 1/2 cup of gruyere (i used swiss instead only because i already had it on hand).  season both sides of chicken with pepper.  the recipe called for salt which i omitted because i knew the prosciutto would add plenty of salt to the meat.  sprinkle cheese over meat, only covering two thirds of meat, leave the end farthest from you uncovered.  place prosciutto on top of cheese, and chard on top of prosciutto, again leave last third of chicken uncovered.  starting from the end closest to you roll the meat.  tightly wrap each roll in plastic wrap, twisting the ends to create a tight, sausage like roll.  refrigerate for at least 30 min but up to 8 hours.  *next time, i will do this portion in the morning, refrigerate all day then just toss the chicken on the stove top when i get home from work!*

preheat oven to 350 degrees f.  heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in ovenproof skillet. carefully unwrap chicken and place them, seams down, in the skillet.  sear the meat on all sides, about 8 minutes.  if chicken unrolls use toothpicks.  bake in skillet, seam-down until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees f.  let rolls rest 5 minutes before cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.  serve hot.  but don't i always?  *wink*

next, the cauliflower "couscous".  instead of using the couscous grain, you pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it makes small grains. 

sleek leeks, zucchini, and garlic in the mix

cauliflower "couscous" grains

whew.  finished!   
let me just say that this is not a good meal to make on a week night unless you love it when you kitchen looks like this...

and this....

thankfully, my kitchen comes equipped with this...

he came fully trained.  so handsome and helpful.

so my kitchen was a wreck but it was well worth the effort.  the meal was out of this world.  the locksmith asked the next morning if he could have the leftovers for breakfast.  i asked if this made up for gravy soup.  "what gravy soup?" he responded.  gosh, i sure do love that man.   or as he said me this morning, "darn it, i love you".  stop it, i am blushing. 

for tomorrow's cookbook gathering i signed up to make the coconut and macadamia macaroons.  they were so simple.  they came out looking and tasting delightful.  slightly crunchy on the outside but creamy, gooey on the inside.  

it's a mac attack!

i also took the liberty of adding chocolate chips to half of the batter.  i didn't think you would mind.  the time in my life will now be divided as before chocolate chip coconut macadamia macaroons (b.c.c.c.m.m.) and after chocolate chip coconut macadamia macaroons (a.c.c.c.m.m).  they are life-changing.  

would you like to cook along with us?  it's not too late.  buy the book!  after i get the new batch of recipes i will post them and you can cook them and give me your feedback!  come on i know you want to!  laura, carley, rachel,....this book is calling you.  or start your own cookbook club!  i would love to hear about it.

oh no...it's 5:18 pm.  the locksmith and i have a hot date tonight in an hour and i have to finish cleaning the house and shower etc!  i am still rocking my p.j's!  i need to go from hot mess to hotness.  help.  maybe i can gather inspiration from magda.  

do you remember her on there's something about mary?  remember when she lifts the couch with one hand and vacuums underneath with the other?  i need that kind of  crazy help right now.  not in the fashion department or tanning dpartment, just in the speed cleaning department.

have a great weekend!

02 February 2011

my 2nd grade book report

ah yes, my 2nd grade book report.  the second grade refers only to the age but not the quality.  the quality was first grade, if you count comedy as quality.  i had to do a book report about white fang.  let me tell you that i loved that white fang!  (by the way, just one fang?)  i put a lot of passion and heart into that report.  i reached from the depth of my tiny 2nd grade heart and poured out a literary masterpiece.  the words flowed out effortlessly.  it was an in-class book report.  i brought it home to proudly show my mom.  she nearly hit the floor, it was great.  but it was great for one reason...a spelling error on my part-that forever will haunt me.  my book report was not about white fang at all...but white fag.  yes, that's right, white fag.  someone wash my mouth out with soap!  yes, i forgot the "n" in each and every fang.  sigh.  thanks a lot mrs. stevenson for throwing me under the bus on that one!

my mom's favorite line?  " i love white fag.  white fag is brave and strong." 

this post was brought to you by the letter "n".


i love the smell of freshly baked bread.  it makes your home feel more cozy, am i right?  below is the recipe that i use as my "skeleton" recipe.  i am always doing something different to mix it up and keep it fresh.  to be honest i don't know where the recipe came from other than my mom obtained it somehow (you can see her note at the top, "very good!"  this bread is kid-tested, mother-approved.)  i always do some combo of bread flour and wheat flour.  now if we are being honest, and i think we are, this ratio is dependent upon how healthy i feel like being at that very moment.  lately, i have also been adding a tablespoon of wheat germ.  it makes the bread a bit more dense but adds some health benefits and a slight nutty taste.  this recipe is for bread-making machines...i don't mean like you are a beast at turning out bread, i do mean an actual machine.  i cheat at being domestic, i hope you do too.

here's a brief update on other happenings in the coco plum kitchen: as you might remember tuesday was cauliflower and leek soup.  i had first tried this when i was in morocco last october and it was love at first taste.  i recreated the soup when i first got home and it was so tasty.  since i knew we were going to have a mean storm come through i thought this would be the perfect warm-me-up soup.  wrong.  it was a disaster!  not as bad as spi11 but it was bad.  i blame white asaparagus.  at the last minute i thought it might be a nice addition.  nope.  cauliflower and white asparagus are apparently from rival vegetable gangs.  the long (asaparagus) and short (cauliflower) of it was that they do not get along.  the soup tasted and looked like gravy.  the locksmith not only ate a whole bowl but went back for seconds...it wasn't because it tasted good.  this was his sweet way of saying it, "the ingredients you used taste good"  let me translate, "separately they are tasty but pureed into a gravy they make me want to gag".  i love him for going back for seconds and putting the leftovers into tupperware to eat later...by himself.  that soup is no longer my cross to bare.  

how is the weather where you are?  today, in nm, it is one degree!  just one.  it is true that one is the loneliest number. 

in case you can't read the tiny print from the bread recipe here it is:

honey oatmeal bread
1 and 1/2 pound loaf

  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons water (80 degrees f)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/3 cup bread flour (or a combo or wheat and bread flour)
  • 1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk (i use non-fat)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (i usually just do 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon bread machine/fast rise yeast
  1. add liquid ingredients and butter to pan.
  2. add dry ingredients, except yeast, to pan.  tap pan to settle ingredients.  push some ingredients to corner of the pan to form a well.
  3. pour yeast into well.
  4. bake according to your bread machine's instructions.