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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gumbo

I had my friend Cassie over yesterday and we made a huge pot of gumbo. We started with a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few final ingredients. Who knew okra was so hard to come by? We eventually tracked some down in the frozen section at Albertson's, grabbed a bottle of sparkling cider to drink while we cooked and headed home to get started.

We used this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/barbs-gumbo-82288 and added chicken breast and andouille sausage to it. Neither of us had ever tried gumbo, but most of the traditional recipes used all three meats. It was actually a pretty easy project. We took turns chopping veggies and stirring the roux. (A flour and oil base to thicken the stew.) It was pretty much as simple as throwing everything in the pot and letting it simmer after that.

Here's a picture after the last step, adding the shrimp:



The best part of it is that it's so full of chunks of delicious meat and vegetables. It was the first time I had okra and I liked it. It tasted kind of like zucchini but I liked the texture of the seeds. We got just the right amount of spice and everything was super flavorful!

Here it is served over rice. 

We finished off our Southern meal by making these simple New Orleans Beignets: http://www.food.com/recipe/new-orleans-beignets-341667 The batter was about as easy to make as pancake batter and then we deep fried them and dusted them with powdered sugar. 


They came out in lots of funny shapes, but they sure tasted good. By the third or fourth batch, we realized they would be extra good topped with Nutella. I think we each about about 2 platefuls!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

12 Things I'm Loving Right Now

Trusting Jesus
Coral (The color, that is)
1910's Fashion (Think Downton Abbey)
Chevron Patterns
The Hunger Games
Green Tea
Sherlock Holmes
Sunshine
Vintage Maps
Baked Eggs
Kisses From Katie (The book)
The Civil Wars (The band)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My DIY Hunger Games Fashion

Agh! Two blog posts in one day, craziness right? This one is less significant than the first, just some fun makeup and nails I wanted to share. (I kind of want to do this for Halloween now) Inspired by Effie Trinket's reaping day look in The Hunger Games:

Sorry for the not-so-great pics, I was taking them of myself with my phone, so yeah, they're not the best.

My poor little flower just can't compete with hers. :( 

The gold on my lips didn't show up very well in the pictures, and I didn't have an crazy pink eyelashes like she wore in the movie, or these really cool butterfly ones:

My first ever attempt at gradient nails. They came out pretty good if I do say so myself. 

And while I'm on the subject, I may as well give a quick review of The Hunger Games. I wasn't all that interested in it. It's not the kind of book I usually read, but my mom and sister has both read it and were excited for the movie, so during Spring Break, I caved and read all three. Like I said, not really my usual genre, but I liked them. I got through the first one in about a day and half and then spent the next day reading the other two, staying up until 1am just to find out how it ended. The second one, Catching Fire was by far the best; it had the most interesting characters and suspenseful plot. I found the third one a little boring....the characters were just all so traumatized by that point that they weren't doing interesting things anymore. 

The movie was....good. Having the book so fresh in my mind, I noticed every little detail that was omitted or changed, but I think they did the best they could. There's just no way to fit everything that happens in a book into a 2-hour movie. They kept most of the important stuff and the spirit of the story. It was well-cast and well-acted. I was pretty skeptical of Josh Hutcherson, since I only remembered him from Zathura and Bridge to Terabithia, not exactly movies on my Top 10 list. Liam Hemsworth too. You can't have high expectations about someone you've only seen act opposite Miley Cyrus. But I thought everyone did well, and speaking of casting choices......my favorite part of the whole movie.....drum roll please......Stanley Tucci with blue hair! I knew before I read the books that he played Caesar, so I pictured him the whole time. I loved that they expanded his role in the movie and even had Katniss hallucinate him at one point. I definitely enjoyed the fashion; I liked how they made District 12 dress kind of like they were in The Great Depression and there was some crazy cool stuff going with the fashion in the Capital. (I wish they would've showed more of the food though!) Also, Seneca Crane, kind of a non-character in the book, was made way more exciting my his awesome curlicue beard! 



Exciting News!


Hey again!

I want to let you all know about my next adventure. I’m going to Haiti this summer! I’m going to be working with The Apparent Project in Port-Au-Prince and teaching knitting there for about three weeks.

First of all I want to thank you for your prayers and support of my YWAM school last year. It was an amazing experience! I grew so much and got to share my gifts with the people of Japan and South Korea. I’ve shared about it to most of you and if you haven’t gotten the chance to hear about it, check out my blog or send me an email. I’d love to tell you more!

One of the things I really came away from YWAM with is “the travel bug.” My 6 months at home have been great, but I’ve already been itching to go somewhere. After a lot of thought and prayer, I know the next place for me is Haiti. You might remember the benefit event I held 2 years ago, raising about $800 for The Apparent Project. It’s a ministry in Port-Au-Prince run by some friends of my family, Shelley and Corrigan Clay. They went to Haiti a few years ago to adopt a little boy and after seeing the situation, moved there and started the ministry. The idea is to give parents in Haiti the skills and resources to provide stable homes for their children, so they don’t end up in orphanages. These parents work as artisans, making various crafts; mostly paper bead jewelry, most of which is shipped to the US and sold at home parties. Money from the sales of the jewelry goes directly to the artisan who made it.


 Since the earthquake, the Apparent Project has gotten a lot of attention; they’ve even had visits from celebrities including former President Clinton and Donna Karan, who featured some of the jewelry in a fashion line. (It was even seen on Oprah!) I think it’s so cool that none of this was planned when Shelley’s family went to Haiti; God just used them to build this amazing thing! And I love seeing people that are so clearly living out the verse from the Bible to “look after orphans and widows.” (James 1:27)

 I think it’s an amazing program and I’m so excited to go and teach knitting to the artisans. Shelley casually mentioned in a Facebook comment how she would love to have me teach knitting and it got me thinking. Three weeks isn’t very much time, but I’m hoping to develop a curriculum that teaches all the basic skills of knitting. I’ll teach them as much as I can in the short time and hopefully leave them with the tools to continue learning and creating their own patterns. I’ve seen a lot of the work the Haitian people do and I have no doubt that they will work hard and come up with creative and beautiful ideas! I will be communicating with Shelley about getting knitting supplies for the artisans.  I’m thinking about getting in touch with some knitting needle and yarn companies and seeing if they’re willing to donate!


I haven’t booked my tickets yet but I will probably be in Haiti around August 7-28th. If I have time, I hope to teach some dance workshops and help Shelley and Corrigan out with their 4 kids, 2 of whom are adopted from Haiti! And of course, see some of the beautiful culture and people of Haiti. I also get to meet up with my mom and sister on the way home and visit family in New Jersey and see New York City for a few days!

I’m hoping to raise about $2000 for the Haiti portion of the trip: $800-$1000 for airfare and the rest to cover other various travel expenses (checking bags, possibly vaccines and travel insurance, meals while traveling, etc.) I’m hoping to have the money for my ticket by the end of April so I can get my travel plans arranged. Shelley’s family will graciously allow me to stay with them so no room and board charge for me! Any money I raise and don’t spend on the trip I will donate to The Apparent Project. $2000 seems like such a small amount considering the $10,000 God provided for me to go to YWAM last year!
 Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Please consider partnering with me on this exciting adventure. If you can find the time to pray for the people of Haiti, Shelley’s family and ministry and specifically my trip and the new knitting project, it would be so appreciated! If you would like to support my trip to Haiti financially, contact me. It can be done through cash, check or PayPal and can be run through my grandparent’s ministry if you need a tax receipt.

The best way to keep up with my adventures is by following my blog or my Facebook/Google +. If you would like to receive updates via email or snail mail send me your address!

Thank you,
Jessamyn

If you are interesting in learning more about The Apparent Project and what they’re doing in Haiti check out their website and blog: