Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hello, Hello

Guess I better give another update seeing as it's almost been a month since my last one. What have we been doing? Well, if that picture gives you any clue, we are pretty much obsessed with Gnomeo and Juliet and either watch it, quote it, or joke about it at least once a week. Thank you Netflix Instant Streaming!

Our time as of late has been filled with getting to know more friends in our ward, playing with babies, sampling the food at local restaurants, attempting to run on a semi-regular basis, and playing with local "frienterns" (as we are so called at our internship).

We had a French night recently, filled with crepes, quiche, baguette and cheese, and a watching of the amazing Le Roi Soleil. 

We've been missing our family and friends in Utah and have pretty much decided that we'd like to move back there after my internship is over. First off, the weather here is hot and humid and we haven't even gotten in to Spring or Summer yet! Seriously, there were a couple nights last week that neither Michael nor I could sleep very well because everything was wet in our apartment. We'd experience wet cold, then wet hot. Yuck! Also, we just can't imagine starting the new "grown up" phase of our lives without family nearby. That really is the most important thing. 

We've been dreaming/scheming about buying our first home! I check for updates on homes for sale at least once a week. We're hopeful to find something during this year of 2012. 

Internship is going well and is super busy as usual. I'm just a week or so away from the halfway mark. My caseload increased a lot a couple weeks ago and I kinda almost had a major freakout, but then things leveled off and I'm really feeling like I know what I'm doing here. It's nice to just get in a normal rhythm and really enjoy and focus on patient visits, which is the most important thing. I'm not so worried about documentation as it comes more naturally now. My biggest task ahead is prepping for my midterm evaluation which requires 25 memorized songs, 2 books read with reports, a clinical report for Utah State, and a plan for the 2 major projects that I have due at the end of internship. Lots of work, but goodness nonetheless.

Other than that, we're just putting along as usual. Enjoying life and coming upon our 3rd anniversary. Has it really been that long? I can honestly say that we are just as silly and happy as we were the first day of marriage. It's a good life we have!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Easy Shrimp Etouffee

It's officially 2012! And what better dinner to make on New Year's Night than Shrimp Etouffee? I've been wanting to make etouffee for quite some time now, but have been putting it off mostly because I didn't know of a good recipe that was also simple, fast, and easy. This recipe is most definitely all of those qualities.

I'm amazed how authentic this tastes. I'm hoping in the near future to actually make an etouffee recipe from scratch with a roux, more butter, and maybe even a shrimp stock, but for now this will most definitely do! I might just have to go out and buy some crawfish, seeing as we are in the South and all, and make some Crawfish Etouffee!

Apart from waiting for the rice to cook, this takes all of 10 minutes to make. Talk about a fast weeknight dinner. I love it. And I'm sure you'll love it too. Especially if you're up for a little Cajun flavorful goodness. And who isn't?

Easy Shrimp Etouffee
(adapted from

2 tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup medium Pace Picante Sauce
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
parsley, for taste and color
1 lb. medium raw shrimp (peeled, deveined)

  1. Melt butter in large skillet and saute garlic until fragrant. 
  2. Add cream of mushroom soup, Picante sauce, and milk.
 Mix well until hot, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add crushed red pepper, parsley, and stir until well combined.
  4. Add raw shimp and cook until shrimp are white, about 2-3 minutes. (Do not overcook shrimp).

  5. Serve over hot rice.
Makes about 4 servings

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Here's the original ball that drops every year in Times Square in New York. Pretty cool. 

Michael and I had a really fun celebration with some friends from my internship, and others. We played Kinect, drank some Butterbeer (yay for Harry Potter non-alcoholic beverages), ate good party food, and rang in the New Year with silly (but authentically New York) 2012 sunglasses. And Michael and I, of course, shared a kiss or two. 

I love the New Year and what it symbolizes. I actually gave a talk in church today on the topic of Hope. How perfect of a topic for the New Year. It gave me time to think back on last year and what has changed, what was unexpected, what was accomplished, and to look forward to 2012 with a "perfect brightness of hope". 

I referenced to one of my all-time favorite messages from General Conference history. This particular talk was by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in October of 2006, titled "Sunday Will Come". I'm going to share my favorite quote from it, as I used to have this printed out and stuck up on my wall in my bedroom as a reminder to keep my head up, and always remember that there is hope. It's long, but SO good.

"I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross... On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.

But the doom of that day did not endure.

The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind. And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence."

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."

Post about the Black Family's Hopes and Dreams/Resolutions for the New Year to come soon!