#1: Try 100 new recipes.
Friday evening, we had our friends Ted and Amy over for dinner, along with their three kids. I got the idea for the entree from one of my co-workers, who mentioned she had recently made enchiladas for the first time. So I went to (where else?) Allrecipes and found a good-looking version that used chicken and a sour cream sauce. (I do want to try making them with the typical red sauce eventually, but these just seemed a little bit more special, which is what I was going for.) They were super easy to make, and they were a big hit! The kids liked them too, which was a huge relief to me because I'm just not used to cooking for kids, so I wasn't sure about spice levels and things like that. Skylar, Ted and Amy's oldest, even called the enchiladas "yummy" and asked for seconds! One of the best compliments for a cook, in my opinion. Anyway, since we were doing enchiladas for dinner, we kept the theme going and had Mexican cinnamon brownies for dessert. I've had the recipe in my collection ever since I first started baking on my own, so...about 20 years, and I had never used it! (OK, it hasn't been that long...that would mean I started baking when I was 4...but I have had the recipe for a very long time.) So I dusted it off and gave it a try. We served the brownies with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream (credit goes to Tom for that wonderful idea), and they were, if I may borrow from Skylar, "yummy" as well! Oh, and I almost forgot...it's the first time I've made brownies from scratch as opposed to making them from a mix. And honestly, I didn't think there was very much difference, apart from the cinnamon. It was still nice to know they turned out well, though!
#85: Volunteer at Jeff Street once a month.
This month's visit was a little different. See, our church had a class in Biblical counseling this past Saturday, and Tom and I were planning to go to it, but when I realized that it was the last Saturday of the month and we still hadn't been to Jeff Street, I asked Tom if he wouldn't mind going to the class by himself, and I could just drive over to the church and meet him later. (Besides, if anyone at church gave me grief about being late, I could honestly tell them I was helping the homeless...) It's the first time I've ever been to JSBC without Tom, and I was pretty nervous. It's not exactly located in the best part of town, and most of the visitors are men. Being a young, middle-class woman in that environment is nerve-racking, to say the least, especially if you're alone. I have been hit on more times than I can count while volunteering there, even when Tom was right by my side and my wedding ring was clearly visible. I'm definitely not bragging about that, by the way; I'm just trying to make the point that some of the men there don't appear to have very much respect for women. (I'm trying really hard to rein in my inner sociologist here by not talking about upbringing and cultural norms and the like). I got to work in the kitchen again this time, handing out toiletries and cups of coffee. Around 11:30, a group from Boyce College showed up with 140 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and two huge trays of fried chicken, and I got to help distribute that. But I think my favorite part of the morning was getting to meet Mike, Moses, and Reggie, three JS residents who are in the Fresh Start program. Their conversation was respectful and just downright pleasant. And the three of them, along with Danny and the rest of the JS staff, made absolutely sure that I was never left by myself with any of the guests. It was amazing to see the difference between these guys and the ones I mentioned earlier. That difference, my friends, is the Gospel. It is the love and righteousness of Christ permeating every aspect of life. And it is real; these three guys are living proof. I feel blessed just to bear witness to it!