Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sweet Angels

I wasn't sure if I was going to write about the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Everywhere I turn whether it's tv, radio, Facebook, at work, etc. - people are talking about it. My thoughts would just add to the noise. But as my heavy heart carries me in this Christmas season, I can't help but feel like I should say something.

I think the moment I learned of that horrific massacre will always live in my mind. I remember the moment I learned about the terrorist attacks on 9/11 as if it were yesterday. I don't think this will be any different. I had just come from a really fun lunch with my co-workers and was scrolling through twitter and began seeing the words 'school shooting'. The more I learned, the sicker I felt. The sadness only grew the more we as a nation learned about that day.

Immediately this caused a huge national conversation. Is this about gun control? Is this about mental illness? Is this about religion and prayer? Is this about media sensationalizing events like this to only encourage more mass shootings? I don't think it is my place to tell you my opinions on any of those topics. These are all important topics that need attention but I think we are going about it the wrong way. The 22 year old version of myself would have been shouting at the top of her lungs about what she thought was right and would argue with anyone who came across her path that disagreed. The girl I am now knows that no matter what I post on Facebook or shout at someone - my opinion will not sway someone else, and more importantly those words won't make anything better. So what do I do?

I don't know if there is anything I can do that will make this world better. I don't know if there is anything I can do that will change a damn thing - except ask you to do one thing: be kind and open your heart. Instead of arguing on Facebook or twitter about gun control, do something nice for someone. If everyone took a few minutes out of each day to do something nice and show love - maybe this world can change. Random acts of kindness shouldn't be a thought but an action. I found a great example on Pinterest of someone actually putting words into action. (Click here to read about it.)  What if we all just showed kindness and love a little more each day? Could that love and light move and grow around the world - and maybe, just maybe reach the person that needs it the most? I don't know. But I will try. I hope you will too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zucchini Casserole

 Early in the fall, when the zucchini was still in season, I came across a quick and easy zucchini casserole recipe from My Recipes.

8 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup of diced onions
1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
2 large eggs lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste

It called for simple ingredients and easy cooking. Something I thought I could manage. I started by putting the rice in the rice cooker. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but if you often eat rice and don't have a rice cooker - you're crazy. Even I don't screw up the rice when I use it. It makes perfect rice every time. So as the rice began cooking, I chopped zucchini and diced onions and boiled them together in the chicken broth for about 20 minutes in a covered pot. I was a bit nervous that the 1/2 cup of chicken broth wouldn't be enough, but it somehow did the job.

While the zucchini and onions boiled down, I began combining the remaining ingredients starting with the rice and sour cream.

I added in the bread crumbs, eggs, and slightly mashed zucchini, onions and cheddar cheese.

Once combined together, I put the mixture in casserole dish, lightly sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.

I sprinkled the Parmesan cheese atop the casserole right before it went into the oven.At this point, I was really nervous that this dish would be creepy and weird. The combination of ingredients and the texture freaked me out a little.

But it turns out I need to focus on my self-esteem while cooking because when that casserole came out of the oven, and I sneaked a little taste, all my previous worries went out the window. Although embarrassing, I'm a big fan of rice-a-roni. This casserole dish is rice-a-roni on steroids. Scrumptious!

I served this yummy casserole along side a baked pork chop. GB was quite impressed. I wish the zucchini was still in season at Christmas time here in Michigan because I think this would be an awesome side dish to bring to family events.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Back in Action

Wow. My life has changed dramatically since the last time I was around. If you were a frequent reader of Kiss My Smash in the past, then you would know I would post anywhere between 3-5 times a week sharing my most recent crafts, recipes, and homemade household items to name a few. In September of this year, my life changed. I changed jobs and went back to school. I mentioned my initial reaction to going back to school in the Going Back to School post. I am so blessed that I have a great job and was able to go back to school. I tried my hardest to focus on the good things I have in my life and how lucky I was when so many people don't have jobs and can't go to school. But I didn't always succeed. I whined. I whined a lot. When my new schedule commenced, typically on my fourth 12 hour day in a row, I cried. Or, if not tears I had some major attitude. I was just tired. Mentally tired. I worked as hard as I could during the day to learn everything there is to learn about my new job, then had to work twice as hard at night in class. My brain was fried. After the first four weeks of this, my birthday rolled around. Typically, I have a countdown as my birthday approaches and I'm ridiculously excited. This year was completely different. I had the birthday blues. If I had been able to skip my birthday all together, I would have. Maybe I'm starting to feel old, maybe my brain was just on overload, or maybe I am just starting to value other things in life, but I definitely felt differently about my birthday this year.
 As time went on, I was able to adjust, and stop crying. I was even lucky enough to take a week off and travel to Costa Rica with GB for the nuptials of my friend, Bee. That was an incredible experience. It was my second visit to Costa Rica, and I can promise, it won't be my last.
Last week was my last week of classes and I can now truly value my down time when I can create and craft and read a book without feeling the nagging guilt of homework to be done. This week I will share with you the few things I was able to do over these past few months. You can look forward to some yummy recipes and even a botched child's dragon costume. 
I want to thank you for being patient with me as I took some time to take care of myself and do the things I had to do. I also want to thank GB for his patience and understanding with me. I really have a great guy to call my own. Check back tomorrow for our regularly scheduled programming.