Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sausage Cheese Bread Recipe - Jason's Favorite!

This recipe is one of Jason's favorite recipes from childhood. When we first got married he made sure that I got the recipe from his mom. It was originally made by a Baareman family friend who lived in Spain. I made it once when we first got married, and again about a week ago. It is definitely very delicious!!!!

Sausage Cheese Bread
(Makes 2 loafs)

  • 1 pound sausage (any flavor or variety - if you want it to be spicy, you can get Hot Sausage)
  • 3/4 cup chopped red pepper (you can substitute a jar of red peppers - drained)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (make sure it hasn't expired!)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 eggs at room temperature
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage (remove casings, if needed) and cook peppers until done, stirring to break up meat; drain, cool. If you use a jar of red peppers instead, just add to the sausage after it has been cooked and drained.

Measure warm water into a large warm bowl. Stir in year until dissolved. Add sugar, salt, seasoning, butter, 1 egg, and 2 cups flour to make soft dough. Knead 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turn to top, cover; let rise until double; about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; divide into 6 pieces. Roll each into 14x4 inch strips. Stir cheese into sausage mixture and spoon down the center of each strip. Pinch log edge together to form 14 inch ropes. Braid 3 ropes together; seal. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes.

 Place on greased baking sheet, cover. Let rise until double; about 45 minutes.
 After it's done rising, bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, then brush with beaten egg. Bake 5-10 more minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

I'm linking up! 

Spring Break 2011!

After a brief blogging hiatus - I'm back! Spring Break 2011 was a lot of  fun - well at least as much fun as it can possibly be when you work half of the week and your hubby is out of the country!

After spending the night with friends on Monday and Tuesday, I left for my parents' lake house after work on Wednesday. Despite all the talk that I had heard about traffic being "awful" during the week of Masters, I was happy to not run into much trouble - I just avoided Washington Rd. like the plague. On the way home, I got to talk to my friend Catie who moved to Virginia after her wedding last November. It was good to catch up with her. I also got to catch up with my friends Julianna and Amy that week. I realized that even though I'm not a great phone talker - I really need to make the extra effort to keep in touch with my close girl friends. I don't live close to most of them any more, and it is definitely worth the time and energy to keep in touch.

When I arrived at the lake house, they had just gotten power back after a storm that had whipped through the area the night before. They were almost going to head back to Atlanta, but luckily, GA Power had come to the rescue about an hour before I arrived. We promptly had s'mores and hung out on the porch.

 Our cousin Eliza came to hang out too for a few days and Stormy and her had a great time together. : )

On Thursday and Friday, we all just hung out by going on walks together, going in the boat, reading outside, playing with the kids, etc. Kristen was there on Thursday, but had to work on Friday. We went to town on Friday to Johnny's Pizza to celebrate her new job! I absolutely love pizza and like to have it at least once a week - so it was really fun to go out with the family. Plus we got these sugar and cinnamon dough balls for dessert that don't look that great - but were delicious!!!!

Headed out for a walk. This was actually one of the scariest walks of my life! There are TONS of dogs around the lake, and normally they don't bother us at all, but this time, since we had Stella and Roxy with us, we probably had on average about 2 big dogs charge us at each house that we passed! Sometimes I really wonder why people don't tie up their dogs, or at least leave them in the back yard! 
 Here's my dad with a big stick ready to protect Roxy who was being attacked by much bigger and scarier dogs! 
 Relaxin' in the boat on a beautiful, sunny day! 
 Me and my sis 
 Mom and her favorite dog - Roxy! Isn't she cute with her paw on my mom's arm? :) She loves riding in the boat with us. But this trip, she fell into the water while boarding the boat and swam under the dock to the sea wall! Luckily my dad was nearby and scooped her out of the water! Needless to say, it took her about a day to get her courage up to go back into the boat! 

 At Johnny's Pizza with Lucas and Kristen 
 Dough balls!  Aren't they so photogenic? 

One of the days that we were there, I spent some time helping my dad try to fix the boat with some recurring problems it had been having. This meant that I had to learn how to dock the boat myself and even drive it onto the boat lift! All of these things were REALLY hard and it took me lots of tries to get it right. Well, we found out later that the reason it was so hard was that one of the engines was not functioning! In their boat, there is a right engine and a left engine, and if one of them is out, it makes it really hard to steer. Well, that made me feel a little better. 

Since the boat was malfunctioning, we spent a LOT of time on the other boat - the kayak. Once the kids found out that I would go with them, I probably went on 3 kayak rides a day, one with each of them. I was quite sore by the end of the trip - but it was lots of fun spending time with them in the beautiful weather. 
By Saturday, I was REALLY excited and ready to see Jason - I hadn't seen him in an entire week! Plus, I was ready to hear all about his trip. My mom and I spent a few hours at the Outlet Mall in Locust Grove before I traveled the rest of the way to Atlanta to pick Jason up. It was great to see him and hear all about the trip. The first thing he wanted to do was take a shower and clean his clothes because he had only been able to take one or two showers (one of them cold) the entire week! Plus, he had set the team record for "lightest packer" so all of his clothes were super dirty by the time he landing in Atlanta. We had a nice dinner with my parents since the kids were already in bed. On Sunday, we spent some more time in the boat - which had been semi-fixed at this point. 

After lots of fun tubing, and hanging out, my family went back home on Sunday afternoon. Jason and I stayed at the lake house on Sunday night because our house in Augusta was still occupied by Masters renters. We enjoyed our time together by going on another kayak ride, sitting on the dock, and watching the final rounds of the Masters. All in all, it was a great spring break! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Ecuador Experience - Coming Home

After four busy, productive days of clinical work and gospel sharing, by Friday morning everyone on our team was pretty wiped out.  Fortunately, we got to take a slow morning because we didn't have any clinics that day, partly because of tiredness but mainly because we ran out of supplies.  Since our flight home was scheduled to leave at 6 am on Saturday morning (which meant we had to be at the airport at 4 am which meant we had to get up at 3 am) we decided that we would drive back to Quito on Friday. And that indeed is what we did.  We turned about a 2.5 hours bus ride back to Quito into a relaxed all afternoon adventure.

The first placed we stopped on the way back was another little suburb of Ibarra called Otavalo.  This little town had this crazy big open air market filled with vendors trying to sell all of their handmade or handcrafted goods to provide for their families.  This was quite a fun and interesting place.  We stepped out of vehicles and walked about a block to the main square of vendors but just before walking to the area, I brushed up on my Spanish bargaining skills to make sure a could get a reasonable but fair deal.  It was great fun!  Everyone wanted to show you the items they had to sell and everyone was trying to get you to look closer at their table of art, clothing, jewelry, or whatever.  This is what the market looked like.

I wanted to get a few things so I had to decide.  Laura likes home decor, and with much appreciated help from the ladies of the trip, I walked away with a beautiful hand sewn table runner as well as a nice handcrafted pair of silver and colored stone earrings (I was particular fond of my bargaining skills for those...big sighs are clutch to closing a cheaper deal!).  I also wanted a to get a little something for myself and since I'm kind of music nerd (a big music nerd) I was pretty much sold when I walked by a vendor who makes pan pipes.  So after a little bargaining, I walked away with an amazing set of colorful, handcrafted pan pipes.  Now I just have to learn to play them!

From there we went back to one of the towns where we held a clinic.  The town, Cotacachi, is known for their leather making and leather artistry.  It was pretty phenomenal.  Just rows and rows of shops up and down the street showcasing  beautiful hand made leather jackets, wallets, and briefcases.  I didn't even know that you could get leather so soft on some of the coats.  But unfortunately, as nice and well crafted as those goods were, they were just beyond my budget.  I did almost cave on a really stylish and soft white leather jacket for Laura, but I don't think it would've fit her anyway.

This is the street with all of the leather artisans

Me by a model of an Ecuadorian fiddle player by a square in Cotacachi

After our stop at Cotacachi, where some of my team members picked up some very nice leather coats, we piled back in our vehicles and continued to drive towards Quito.  Quito is a pretty big city and pretty modern as well.  It has about 3 million people living in it so I learned that there is a worse place for traffic than Atlanta.  You would not believe the amount of crazy traffic in that city.  And there's nothing can really be done about because it is nestled in a valley.  But anyway, we drove to Quito then turned northeast to go to a little town on the Equator, the belt of the Earth.  That was pretty cool.  And in all honesty, all I could think of as we were driving there and I as I was standing on the Equator was, "Wow, I am experiencing the highest angular velocity I will ever experience during my time on this earth."  That is cool. And nerdy.  But true. Here are some pics of Quito and our time at the Equator.

Coming into Quito kind of on the outskirts of the city

Confused!  Am I experiencing Fall? Or am I experiencing Spring? I don't know!

The triple zeros

From here, we went back into Quito, checked into our hotel, then went back into the city to tryout a popular Ecuadorian steakhouse in the "downtown" area so to speak.  It was really good, and I wish I had some pictures of the food and atmosphere, but I left my camera in the room for this trip.  After our bellies were full, we went back to the hotel after battling outrageous traffic and tried to get some precious shut eye before our flight home.  Needless to say, 3 AM came to quickly.  Especially when I could hear some party that was blaring the Macarena song throughout the night.  But the alarm kept beeping and we all dragged out of bed, packed our bags and gear, and began to pack up our stuff in a truck and get into the pouring rain.  3 AM is bad enough.  3 AM in the pouring rain is probably even worse.  But there was no traffic!  We got to the airport, got our boarding passes, got through security, made it our plane, and soon took off for home.  The flight was uneventful.  Just pretty much slept all the way to Houston.  We touched down in Houston, went through customs, and eventually made it back home to the state that had been on our minds all morning, Georgia.

I think that the trip was excellent.  We worked hard and many people heard and saw the love of Christ.  1300 people received medical care and heard the gospel. We were tired but what is better than being poured out for the Lord for His glory?  So, a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of those who supported this trip in any capacity.  The kingdom of God was advanced through your help and our work this week.  Thank you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Ecuador Experience - Clinic Days 3 and 4

Wednesday was our third clinical day, and we woke up to soaked surroundings and to the news a big mudslide had ripped through Ibarra and closed some of the roads that we were going to use to get to our location, an area of Ibarra called Milagro. So after we got all our gear packed up we decided to still go and set up the clinic especially in the wake of this mudslide. We just had to take crazy muddy back roads up the mountain to an old stone bridge that was further up the mudslide wake and therefore was manageable to cross, come back down the mountain and set up our clinic.

Here are shots of the mudslide further up the mountain from out of our little van.  It was wet and muddy.
 This is a better shot of the crazy mud.  On the other side you could see some of the homes that were wiped out in its path so we were glad to brave the treacherous roads to do a clinic.

So after maybe 45 minute ride, we arrived late to our clinic location for the day which was a school.  They had actually cancelled school that day so the kids and their families could come to the clinic.  Needless to say, this day we saw the most patients (about 415) and we got the latest start so it made for a long day...but a very good day!
This is the school.

People and families lining up to get checked in for the clinic

A little pre-treatment consultation

Doing what I love to do!

mmm...Manual Cervical Traction.  Works every time.

The two men are Terry (left behind Sharlotte) and Edgar (right).  These guys were most efficient and organized in the planning and operations of our clinics.

The young clinicians and our translator Johanna

Lunch Break with everyone!
After this long day, we went back home and got ready for yet one more clinical day.  On Thursday we went to another town outside of Ibarra called Cotacachi.  We had rainy bad weather again so this day was a little slower in comparison.  We only saw about 200ish patients that day.  Needless to say after that, we were pretty tired, but we came back to the hotel and had a big dinner with the missionaries and our team.  The missionaries even brought a keyboard from the church for me to play.  So myself and some of the translators led all of us in worship through music.  That was cool!
Our Team outside of the church in Cotacachi

Leading worship for our team and the Missionaries with some missionary interns!

Thursday night was a good night, and we all slept peacefully and were ready for an easier day on Friday in preparation to come home on Saturday.  Those details are coming soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Ecuador Experience - Clinic Days 1 and 2

After our day of recovery and planning on Sunday, we fell asleep to raindrops falling on the hotel roof and grabbed some precious shut-eye before our early get up on Monday morning to set-up and prepare for our first day of medical clinic.  It rained that night, as I mentioned before...and in fact, I think it rained every night or at some point during the day during our time there.  But when we woke up on Monday, it had stopped raining, and I got a neat picture of what the hight altitude precipitation produced.

That's right...we had some beautiful snow covered mountains.  Anyway, we met early at 6:30 for a devotional then had breakfast which consisted of eggs, corn flakes with the crazy good strawberry yogurt to pour on top, and my favorite...Guanabana juice!  Oh, there also was bread and jelly.  After that we met by the entry way and loaded our gear and ourselves into two vehicles and drove off into the mountains to a small village town outside of Ibarra, called Chirihuasi.  This is a small, poor, agrarian village made up of mainly Quichua Indians.  We arrived at a little church and set up shop.  We set up rooms of tarps which served as examination rooms, the pharmacy, the waiting area, and the eye clinic.  By about 8:15 we were ready to go.  Here's some pictures!

This is what the clinic looked like in Chirihuasi.  We are actually in the sanctuary of the church.  The tarp exam rooms are off to the right and the picture is taken from the pharmacy looking over the waiting room.

A cute young Quichua girl

This picture shows the line to get into the clinic waiting room.  When we arrived people were already waiting and we saw patients until like 5:30.

This picture is actually from the place we went on Tuesday which was Atuntaqui, but it shows what the exam room kind of looks like.

  People waiting patiently, and I mean patiently for the doctors in Chirihuasi
That wraps up the first day.  It was a long day and we saw a ton of patients and shared the gospel with many many people.  After the clinic, we broke down all of the tarps, packed up our gear, went back to the hotel, repacked for the next morning, went to sleep and started all over again.  But this time (Tuesday) we went to a small suburb of Ibarra called Atuntaqui.  There was not really a church to set up all of our stuff in Atuntaqui, so we were kind of in the community center building.  The routine was the same so I won't repeat it.  You can just enjoy some pictures from that clinic day!

Our humble little treatment table in Atuntaqui on which I did physical therapy.  Hopefully I can post some pictures of me working later.  Other team members of some of those pictures.

So as promised, proof that I was doing work!

This lady was hilarious.  She thought Brandon and myself were the most beautiful people on earth.  But she was really nice and a great patient.
That sums up the first too clinic days...I'll tell you about the other 2 remaining clinic days tomorrow so stay tuned!


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