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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Chicken or the Egg?

At ten o'clock last night, my roommate Amy commented that I'd been in the kitchen cooking since she walked in the door at 5 p.m. She was wrong, but that's only because her knowledge was limited. I'd actually spent those five hours in the kitchen, plus a couple preparing Easter lunch for my Mom and Dad.

I had a really nice Easter this year, especially compared to last year. My parents joined me for church--it's always fun for me when they get to experience a little bit of my world. The music at church was amazing yesterday. At one point, I was sitting there thinking about how I wanted to jump out of the pew and dance and clap and shout with praise to the Lord. I wonder if anyone else at church feels that way. Instead, everyone just sat there with their legs folded and hands neatly clasped while the choir, orchestra and some soloists belted out beautiful hymns and praise music. Is it too much to ask for Southern Baptists to employ a little charisma when we worship the Creator of the universe?

Lunch yesterday was one of my favorite dishes--Cranberry Chicken. You've heard of "Engagement Chicken"? Well, let's just say that Cranberry Chicken is the new "Engagement Chicken." It's become a favorite dish among my circle of friends, after Natalie introduced it to the group. I made it for my parents yesterday, and they loved it. Someday, I'll hook me a man with this entree. The recipe is below and I've decided to rename it:

The "New" Engagement Chicken

4 (5 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup white wine or white cooking wine
1 cup stuffing mix
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup melted butter

In a baking dish, lay chicken pieces two inches apart. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of chicken. In seperate bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, white wine, and 3/4 of stuffing mix. Spread over chicken pieces, competely insulating pieces. Distribute the remainder of stuffing mix on top of chicken, along with cranberries. Follow with melted butter. Bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until meat thermometer tells you the internal temperature of chicken is between 180 and 190.

Serve it with some parmesan cous cous with toasted pine nuts, and a spinach, mandarin orange, feta and walnut salad. Make your own citrus balsamic dressing using the reserved mandarin orange juice, a splash of balsamic, and a little olive oil. Add a packet of Splenda if you want it a bit sweeter.

After lunch, I spent some time filing my taxes, and was rather disgusted upon finding out that Uncle Sam is keeping more money this year than he did last year. Evidently I've stepped up into a higher tax bracket, yet my salary is still at the low end of that bracket. This translates to Mary Anna getting taxed more for just slightly more money than she made last year.

Don't get me wrong---I'm not one of those Americans that feels like the government isn't entitled to any of my money. I like the quality of Tennessee roadways (have you ever driven on Alabama roads?) and I know that good asphalt doesn't come cheap. But when TurboTax laughed in my face at my piddly refund, I got mad.

Single, childless people get the shaft from the government. Others get a tax break for being married, for overpopulating our earth, and for combining their double-incomes to purchase homes and cars and stuff that most singles have difficulty affording. Logically, it costs two people much, much less to live---especially with things like rent/mortgage and utilities. The burden of responsibility is shared with two paychecks. In my case, my living expenses account for almost three quarters of my hard-earned cash flow. They say that single people in their mid-twenties account for a millions of dollars in disposable income in our marketplace. Which one of my friends has millions of dollars in their checking accounts? My millions belong to my landlord, Nashville Electric, Nashville Gas, and Metro Water.

Suffice to say, heavily taxing singles is poor policy. Dad told me to write a letter to my congressman.

Around 4:30, Mom and Dad left for home, and I began to prepare brunch for Monday night. Each girl in our Bible study has shared her testimony and prepared us a meal in her home for the past six weeks. It's now my turn, and I'm very excited. It's been since 2005 since I've shared my testimony to a Bible study, and I have grown immensely since then. The journey so far has not been replete of both peaks and valleys, but "He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it."

But, before I testify, we break bread. Or, in this case, we'll break sausage pinwheels with hashbrown casserole and ham tarts. I also made homemade strawberry muffins, and they're gorgeous. We're having fruit-n-yogart parfaits for dessert.

Not that it has anything to do with Bible study, but the majority of my girls will stick around tonight to watch the season premiere of The Hills on MTV. I. Cannot. Wait.

One last thing... Em is back in the blogosphere! Take a mid-morning break with some Oreos and Milk!


Blogger thesciencegirl said...

This post has made me hungry.

Yesterday, church was great, and because I go to a pentecostal church, there was charismatic praise and dancing, which often makes me feel restrained in comparison because my praise is usually a little quieter. :) It was pretty awesome though.

And I agree with you about young singles being overtaxed. I feel like I pay an exorbitant amount of money in taxes, considering how little I make.

11:21 AM

Blogger emmysue said...

I can vouch that this is the most amazing dish ever. Nat and I have been cooking it often. In fact, you can plan on tasting it again tomorrow night as I host book club!

PS - In response to your comment about dancing in church, Mother Teresa would say you should be the change you want to see in the world. That's all I'm sayin'. :)

9:05 AM

Blogger Sarah said...

Don't know if you remember (prob not) but "He, who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it" is my life verse!! I got hooked on it a long time ago via my dad and his favorite musical artist Michael Card. Check out his song sometime; I think you'll enjoy.

I miss our Bible Study. :(

xoxo to you!

9:18 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

Indeed, tax laws are completely unfair. Would you be in a favor of a flat tax?

The chicken sounds amazing!

12:34 PM


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