Summer Pasta Salad Creation

Hello there!  I shouldn’t be typing right now, because my right wrist/hand has a bit of a SNOTTY little attitude today!!  I’ve been trying to let it rest, but if I’m not typing I’m writing.  Doing neither of these is really not an option, so I really don’t know what else to do.

Anyway, I’ll make it brief.  I decided to do something a little different on the blog today.  Today, I’m sharing my new summer recipe.  First, of course, you know there’s a short back story, so let’s dive in.

It’s HOT, right?!  I don’t know if it is where you are, but where I am it is STINKING HOT!!!!  I told my sister the other day that hell is simply NOT an option.  This Tennessee summer is quite the deterrent, if you know what I mean.  I am what you might call a “summer SNOB”.  I turn my nose WAY up at  the summertime.  I don’t like to step foot outside during the day.  You heat up immediately, and cooling off takes way too long.  The only things about summer that get my attention are the sundresses and sandals (because if I MUST go out in the heat, at least I can be cute, lol).

So today my sis and I were discussing our lack of eating desire during the summer.  Who wants to slave over a hot stove or reach in and out of an oven when it’s 90+ degrees outside?  Not me!  So I went to the grocery store today trying to find something “cool” we could eat.  I had a pasta salad in mind, but I had no idea how to make one, and I didn’t have a recipe readily available.  So, I made one up:


Kraft Caesar Vinaigrette with Parmesan dressing

1 can of chunk white chicken breast (I think I’ll use shrimp next time, but the chicken works.  Tuna would probably work, as well.)

Garden Rotini Pasta

Grape tomatoes

Banana peppers

Boiled eggs

Shredded carrots

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:  Cook the pasta, and boil the eggs.  Drain and cool the pasta, and add all the ingredients.  There’s no special order; there’s no special amount.  I just sliced the eggs, cut the grape tomatoes in half, and cut the banana peppers up a little.  I,also, heated the chicken, just a touch, and added some Italian seasoning to it.  Just do what ya like!!!  My only “complaint” is that I can’t taste the dressing as much after the pasta salad has been in the refrigerator, so I’ll add some more dressing.

Any other suggestions?

You have to know that this was a real experience for me, because I am SO NOT a creative cook.  I was pretty proud of my little concoction, though.  🙂

I’m looking for more summertime recipes that require minimal STOVE time.  If you have any favorites, please share!

Talk to you soon!

P.S.  Cool summertime drink ideas would be great, too!  Ok, that is all!



Journey to LA LA Land – Part I – Motivation to Move Forward

On Friday June 25th, I boarded a plane in Tennessee and set out on a journey to Los Angeles, California – I affectionately refer to it as LA LA Land.  I thought about chronicling this journey on the blog prior to leaving, but time got away from me, so I decided to share upon my return.  Here is a little back story:

I visited L.A. for the first time, as an adult, in April 2004.  My friends, I was smitten.  It was love at first sight.  I’m not even sure I know why, really.  It was big; it was challenging; it was a stretching of my faith.  The creative atmosphere just seemed to scream “EXTRAORDINARY“, a far cry from the ordinary life I’d been living.  As a child, I dreamt of life beyond the borders of mediocrity.  When I stepped foot into L.A., it was as if I’d somehow crossed my own personal borders.  The taste of it was intoxicating, and I wanted more.

As God would have it, I visited again just a year later, in April 2005, and once more a year and 9 months after that in January 2007.  With each visit, the feeling was exactly the same.  With little conscious effort, I grew more comfortable with the abundance of freeways and cars to clog them; I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and saying farewell at the end of each excursion proved to be quite the unexpected challenge.  It was obvious LA LA Land had captured my heart, but why?  What does it all mean?  Was the Lord calling me to move to this place?

On June 25th, I prepared to journey there once more in hopes of finding out.

This was my first solo voyage to L.A., and the trip fell into place with very little effort on my part.  I flew on a buddy pass given to me by a dear friend a year earlier.  I was welcomed into the home of a young lady who’d never laid eyes on me before.  She trusted the word of one of her friends (whom I’d met here in Tennessee) and gave me a place to lay my head during my visit.  Another dear friend gave me a very unexpected financial blessing that went a long way toward the cost of my 5 day rental car.  All I could say was “WOW”.  I was now prepared to “go view the land”.

I’m always amazed by how fast fear runs to greet you when you decide to venture beyond the borders of your comfort zone and take a stroll down a road less traveled.  I touched on this in my May 30th post about my morning walk, remember?  Well in case you ever wondered, the road I mentioned that looked “impossible to travel” was this journey to LA LA Land.  If you missed that post, you can click here to check it out.

Anyway, fear made his debut appearance on my journey in the Atlanta airport where I awaited a connecting flight.  I wasn’t cleared from the stand-by list for the 10am flight to L.A., and for some strange reason this minute delay sent me into a tizzy!!  Suddenly, I found myself in a panic, feeling crippled with fear and wanting to call off the whole trip.  The fact that my luggage made the earlier flight and was already half way across the country made absolutely no difference to me.  I wanted OUT!

Seriously….  It was just a simple trip to Los Angeles, right?  Or was it?

What in the world was happening to me?  This is the trip I’d been waiting for.  The sea of bodies in Hartsfield-Jackson airport seemed to overwhelm me like an ocean wave.  My body trembled slightly, chilled by anxiety.  This sudden fear was unbelievable!  It was as if the curtain had been raised, and I had suddenly succumb to a bad case of stage fright.  As my emotions exploded within me, my adversary seized a golden opportunity to taunt me, tempting me to squash it all and retreat to my comfort zone.  I almost agreed with him until I remembered that he only speaks lies and is the father of them.

I fought back tears of fear and frustration as my dear friend on the other end of the phone simultaneously checked the airline’s employee website for stand-by availability on upcoming flights and attempted to talk me down off of the ledge that had become my new home.  I’m certain she prayed frantically on my behalf, as well.  She knew turning back was not the flight pattern I was scheduled to take that day.

I had a pretty full agenda for my time in California.  Although I was excited about each item on the list, I found myself dangerously willing to chunk my divinely planned itinerary.  However, as I contemplated walking away from it all, the Spirit of the Lord continued to highlight only one of the meetings I had scheduled.  Only one….

As God would have it, I had plans to meet a woman named Kenya the day before I was scheduled to fly back home.  Kenya is the co-worker and classmate of one of my cousins, and she reads this blog.  This woman experienced great loss a few months ago, and hearing her story grabbed my heart.  I was honored that she wanted to meet me.

I didn’t tell her this when we met, but in that moment of panic, during those wobbly first steps outside my comfort zone, Kenya was my motivation to move forward.  For a brief moment in time, I was chosen to be the arms of God, sent to embrace one of His daughters as she mourns.  To me, it was the most important item on my LA LA Land agenda, and I was honored to complete the task.

God knew how to get me to California.  He knew my feet would ice over, so He placed the heart of one of His daughters on my “itinerary” as motivation for me to plow past fear and leave my comfort zone behind.  I’m so glad I did.  Meeting Kenya was rewarding on so many levels.  She may say that I blessed her that Tuesday afternoon, but the blessing was poured out on me that day, for sure.  God used my sweet sister in Christ to remind me of who He’s called me to be.  In the midst of all the “things” I had planned to do, she was a picture of what’s truly important to the heart of the Father, His children.  I believe that He would send me all the way across the country just for her, because He loves her that much.  Quite possibly at least one purpose of this trip was my test to see if I would go.

So, is that all there is to my “California calling”?   Good question.  As I reflect upon my visit to LA LA Land, one thing I noted was that my words from earlier in this post still hold true.  With little conscious effort, I grew more comfortable with the abundance of freeways and cars to clog them; I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and saying farewell at the end of THIS excursion proved to be quite the unexpected challenge. But does that mean I’m supposed to live there today?

My visit awakened many things within me.  It encouraged me, once again, to stand against fear (and showed me that I know how to do just that.).  It challenged me to keep reaching for the extraordinary life, one led by the Holy Spirit.  And it cemented within the depth of my soul and spirit my identity in Christ – who I am as His daughter and my assignment as His servant.  Since then, many things are beginning to stir in my spirit.  Will LA LA Land be the place I call home?  All I can say, today, is only time will tell.

I promise to keep you posted.  Agreed?!   Until next time…

P.S. For me, Californ-i-a, whether naturally or symbolically, represents the land beyond the walls of ordinary.  To choose to journey beyond the walls of ordinary serves well to stretch our faith, to challenge our current existence.  What is your “California calling”?  What is that “place” outside your comfort zone that beckons you to come?  Will you take the step?

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