Friday, February 10

homeless joe

is there ever someone very random who is constantly on your mind and you're unsure as to why? well if you've ever been in the same boat i am, its quite interesting how someone can capture a majority of our thoughts...

when i worked at the bank of america building downtown on peachtree street i had to park in an outdoor parking lot near a little restaurant across the street from our building. there, many homeless people would come and ask for money and whatever else you may have in your hands. one man would walk me to work a few times a week. in rain he'd ask if i wanted him to hold my umbrella, and most other times he'd just say "good morning miss ali" and walk in silence with me and made sure no one else bothered me. it wasnt till this became our routine that i asked him his name to which he replied, just call me homeless joe.

he never asked for money or anything actually. i would make sure to wrap up my AM phone convo with my mom so i wasn't rude if joe wanted to chat. on the days i would bring in a case of diet coke for my desk, i'd give him a few and if they were cold, he'd be especially thankful and a few times i went outside of my comfort zone and gave him money he never asked for. he promised he'd earn it so from that day on when it was time for me to leave work on the days that i saw him he'd jump out in the middle of the street and put up his hands and stop traffic and wave me out of my lot saying "come on miss ali" and id smile and wave as he waved back. my joe actually met homeless joe as well one night when we were going to the fox for a musical. he waved us down and joe and him shook hands as we chatted. homeless joe let us know where there were still parking spots left down the street and sure enough, he was right.

as my job wrapped up, i saw less and less of joe until one day i didnt see him anymore at all. it often has me wondering what he's up to and maybe thats why he's been on my mind a lot lately. every other monday on my way back from grady, i drive the long way home, down peachtree with hopes that i will see homeless joe. he may not recognize me in a different car now and 2 years later i'm sure we've both changed. my prayer list still has homeless joe, praying that wherever he may be he is okay and part of me hopes i'll never see him again because surly he's moved on to bigger and better things...

i guess the point of this lesson for me was something that i was reminded of in discipleship class this past week. we are not to pass judgment on the circumstances of others.

"and not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" ~Romans 5:3-5

if anyone sees an overly gracious, tall, sweet, homeless man down on peachtree, ask him if he's homeless joe and if so, be sure to tell him miss ali says hello.

Wednesday, February 8

Tuesday, February 7

can you believe this?!

found some great old photos on my external hard drive that i couldnt get to work for ages...until today...and boy how things have changed!

holy bundt cakes!

these are the cutest and most amazing "bang for their buck" calorie wise! cooking light has put together a great buttermilk bundt cake recipe that i have indulged in many times before! the hardest part is finding the proper cake pan. see below the cute little mini cake pans i found at foxfire in greenville with pig. online you can get these from amazon as well. i only bought 4 of these and then rotated them through the batter--took longer but was much less expensive! 

buttermilk bundt cakes
what you need...

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup powdered sugar

what to do...Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 18 mini Bundt cups with baking spray. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and 12 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rind. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool 5 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Dust tops of cakes with powdered sugar.

Monday, February 6

benkwith breakfast wonders!

so these are now affectionatly called benkwith breakfast wonders. if you like breakfast casserole (you know, the sausage, eggs, etc in a big pyrex) these are even better! we had them when we were busy getting spoiled in colorado on new years day morning! they were so good and are such a great idea for when you have guests! we had them this past weekend when thomas & sallie were in town! they are also able to be frozen and microwaved/oven heated back up to normal temperature.

benkwith breakfast wonders....
what you need...
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
pint of 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup bisquick
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb jimmy dean sausage browned & drained
salsa (optional)

what to do...
put the sausage in the bottom of 24 muffin cups. beat eggs...add bisquick, salt, and half & half. pour mixture over the sausage in each muffin cup. top with salsa if you wish. sprinkle cheese on top. bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, February 5

a great twist on pasta salad

if you know me, you know i dont love mayo and am always trying new ways to cut it out and get something different for pasta salads and slaws. here is a great recipe i just made for this past week's lunches. its a great side and you can take out any parts that you may not want to add for whatever reason. i left out the grapes, bacon, and nuts and it was still great!
broccoli, grape, & pasta salad
what you need...

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled (optional)

what to do...
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.