Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chili Corn Chowder

So, how did the Chili Corn Chowder turn out? Well, let's first talk about the shopping and cooking (notice, I did not say meal preparing) process!

Jamie Oliver's app claims to help me put a delicious meal on the table in about 20 minutes. However, Jamie must not know where I live and who lives with me (little girl who likes to be with mommy all the time). I do appreciate that Jamie believes that "together, we can make a great meal".

Let's talk about the Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals App for a second. I've only made one recipe, so keep that in mind, but I'm super impressed. It tells you all the ingredients that you need, allows you to create a shopping list and tells you the supplies that you'll need (which I didn't check first, oops). The best part is the actual step-by-step cooking instructions that include vibrant pictures of each step, and sometimes Jamie even talks to you while you are cooking. Really amazing.

Shopping list:

frozen corn--got it

potato--in the Czech Republic, no problem

vegetable broth--had to call Connie to ask if I could even get it, what it is in Czech (starts with z ends with ovy)

onion--already had one

celery--have only seen it one time in the Czech Republic, and I found it at Macro--30 minutes away; no celery in this corn chowder

fresh red chilis--I got something that was probably more like a small red pepper

butter--no problem

fresh thyme--no fresh thyme at Albert this time, so I went for the dried kind (used google translate in the store to find out what it is in Czech, but didn't have to because the word is very close)

scallions--I wasn't even sure what those are, so I looked them up on google images and found something that looked close, but when I translated the Czech on the label, it said onion bunch (hmmm).

cheddar cheese--just bought some at Macro for a pretty good price; although, you can get it at Albert, you just pay more than one would want to pay for cheddar cheese

sour cream--already had it

olive oil--no problem

black pepper--got it

sea salt--I brought over a huge tub of kosher salt that I'm still using


Like I said, the app's instructions are awesome. Jamie's voice even comes on a few times to give you helpful tips. Every direction has a picture. However, Jamie never had any tips for the little girl that was hitting my butt with a block (like a drum, not like a spanking). I didn't even realize for a few seconds because I was so focused. I also had to deal with: "I wan seee". Cecelia is a talker (I know--shocking), and at one point I made a really scary noise--then, I had to say I was sorry to her!

The only other issue is that the recipe uses a hand blender (who has one of those?). This is used to make the chowder chowdery. I could have used our blender, but it broke that morning (Dear European manufactures, please do not create blender parts out of a flimsy rubbery material. Sincerely, the girl who is embracing life here!) Instead, I used my food processor but had to do it in three stages.

Needless to say, the meal was not on the table in 20 minutes.

Now, for the most important question: how did it taste?



Pretty AMAZING if I do say so myself. Everyone scrapped as much as they could out of their bowls--Cece LOVED it--she just has a harder time getting that last spoonful out of her bowl. Everyone was smiling!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Community and Cooking

The other day, I watched this video that was posted on a blog that I follow: Nomad. The video stirred two things in me: one really important and one important in a different kind of way.

This video, along with a conversation that Brian and I had the other night, brought about a significant epiphany in my life. For the last year, I've been learning more about what this video is saying--more about living in community. Both in a very practical sense and a very deep sense.

When we lived in Charlotte, I felt like our life was much like this video illustrated at the beginning (church far away over there, live here, work far away over there, friends there, etc). Don't get me wrong, we had a great church, great jobs, and great friends--we just had to drive about 30 minutes to reach them (in a few different directions).

Now, I live in Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic. There are some things that are hard about that. Some are things better shared over a cup of coffee, but one of the challenges is cooking.

Stay with me, I have a few different points I'm trying to make here:). Cooking. The real truth is that I wasn't much of a cook in Charlotte, NC. I just don't love it. So, I'm more of a meal preparer than a cook. Well, then, I moved here and while things can be found, one has to be a little more creative and cook a little more from scratch. Not my things when it comes to that meal preparing thing.

So, I watched this video the other day. The true epiphany for me (which I discovered while talking to Brian the other night) is that this is more the life that I've always dreamed of having--this life, the one in Frydlant. That has a lot to do with the fact that Brian and I are doing ministry together, which is a level of really living life together that is truly incredible . It also has a lot to do with the fact that we are living in community. Church, work, shopping, and dear friends are all within walking distance (think Europe walking distance)!

Like I said, there are hard things about living overseas as a missionary, but I know one thing that I DON'T want. I don't want to look back at this time in my life and think, I was living my dream, and I didn't enjoy it, embrace it and really LIVE it.

So, how does this all relate to cooking/meal preparing? Well, I have decided rather than cry when I'm in Super Target the next time (well, actually there might not be a thing I can do about that), I'm going to LIVE life in my community and enjoy shopping here. How, you might ask? Well. I'm also hoping to get a little help from this great recipe app that I downloaded.


And, I'm going to shop at the local grocery store, doing my best to find the ingredients or being really creative--hmmm. So, Cece and I went on a walk to Albert today in search of the ingredients for Chile Corn Chowder.



How did it go? Well, I didn't find exactly everything I needed, but I think it will work. I'm making it tonight, so we'll see.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Rumbolds, an Inspiration!

Cece and I went on another mother-daughter adventure last week. Brian was in Romania with Dave, Josiah Venture's President, so I decided to take Cece on an adventure to visit another JV missionary family, the Rumbold's.

The Rumbold family arrived on the field one month before we did. They live on the Eastern side of Slovakia--about a five hour drive away from us. They are literally the only Americans (that they know of--besides one 80 year old man) in the city where they now live. Talk about an inspiration. They are amazing.

The parents are two of the calmest people with five kids that I have ever met. Totally taking this whole cultural transition in stride, even the kids laugh about things that they are faced with. For example, the two oldest boys went to their first day of school with their backpacks full of books (sounds reasonable to me); however, in Slovakia, the custom is for the students to leave their backpacks at home, and bring flowers to their teachers the first day. One of the boys said, "hey dad, how about tomorrow when the rest of the kids bring their backpacks, we'll bring flowers?!"

I have never seen a picture of a family that expresses the heart of a family more than this one (I stole it from their blog).


Cece would like to join this family, I think!





After all, they have a trampoline! :) Cece and I went with them to an English camp follow-up meeting. The oldest kids all sat ever so quietly against the wall, Cece joined them:


Seriously, an inspiration!