Friday, May 29, 2009

Florida Wins

Here's some pics from our beach trip Memorial Day weekend - a BEAUTIFUL beach day on Monday!


Also, we have the best dog ever!! Everyone should get a ridgeback!


The farmer's market has been really great recently! Sweet Georgia peaches, Florida mangoes, oranges, the best tomatoes ever... I LOVED the "Zesty Zucchini Quesadillas" I made the other day with fresh zucchini and amazing sweet peppers! (recipe below). Most of the fruits and veggies are grown further south, but the grapefruits were grown right here in Panama City with no pesticides.


Excerpted from Your Organic Kitchen, by Jesse Ziff Cool.

A favorite appetizer in her restaurant (Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park, CA), these quesadillas are the perfect way to use abundant zucchini and tomatoes. Serve as a light lunch along with a tossed salad.

Zesty Zucchini Quesadillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce (optional)
4 whole wheat or white flour tortillas (8″ diameter)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 cups (8 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Stir in the cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the tomato, lime juice, chili powder, and hot-pepper sauce, if using.
Spread one-fourth of the zucchini mixture evenly on one half of each tortilla. sprinkle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons pine nuts and one-fourth of the cheese. Fold the tortillas in half. In a a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the quesadillas for 5 minutes, turning once, unti the cheese is melted.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges and top with a generous amount of the tomato mixture.
Makes 4 servingsPer serving: 444 calores, 18 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 31 g fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 561 mg sodium
McKay's alterations: I used one whole sweet pepper (the kind in the picture). I sliced my zucchini julienne because I didn't have anything with which to shred it. My cumin and chili powder are packed, so I only seasoned with salt and pepper (plenty of seasoning for really fresh veggies). I used whole wheat pitas instead of tortillas. I omitted the pine nuts. I sprinkled the tomato mixture inside the quesadilla rather than on top.
I think my modifications made it better, no offense to the chef, though! :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Win at Food

I love how Rob describes food. I really appreciate that he has good taste (and loves other things that I'm not really a fan of too... hot wings, huge burgers, Church's fried chicken... you get the idea). But these are some of my favorite Rob foodie-isms

Rob's previous "best food he's ever eaten" (the portabella mushroom burger from Carl's Jr) was replaced by a dish at Nava Restaurant in Atlanta where he described it as "so good that I dropped my fork."

When elaborating later on his new favorite dish he said his entire body was paralyzed because the tastebuds drew all the attention like "when one person in an office full of cubicles wins the lottery and is yelling and celebrating and everyone else stops their work and stands up to see." What a fantastic visual picture!

Every time we go out to eat we compete to see who can order the best dish. Usually Rob "wins at food" because he does not get swayed by the pretty words and interesting descriptions and flavor mixes (like me). But really we both win because we get to try each other's dishes - of course! You can't go out to eat with my family and not trade bites! You should try it - see if you can "win at food!"

Big Tetris Game


So, this is what it looks like when you move overseas - they lay out all your wrapped items and boxes and fill the crates like a tetris game! It's really kind of neat. My favorite is the one where John is holding up Terrence as he wedges a bundle to make a tight fit!

This is our loveseat.
My flowers.

All sealed up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Miss Our Stuff

We're constantly dealing with missing our stuff. It's like when the power goes out and you keep thinking of things you can do then immediately realize you can't do it. Right now, it's kind of funny... and kind of not.

We went to the beach and realized our beach towels, chairs, umbrella, and sunscreen are packed in a box. We saw an ad for bar-be-que and realized we gave away our propane tank to the movers. I wanted to paint my nails and realized I threw away all my colors but one. I got sunburnt and realized all my lotion is gone. We thought about doing a project to take up some time and realized we got rid of our concrete mix. Gus' nails are super long and the grinder is packed. Rob wanted to check a leak in his truck and realized all the tools are packed. I wanted to mail a letter and realized anything to do with that is in a box. We are supposed to give back our cable modem and realized the movers packed it. The squadron asked for Rob's pilot training and IFF gradesheets - we have no idea what box those are in! We haven't even seen our boxes.

Yea, it's funny... and not.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cafe 30A

Friday night, Rob and I went out on a date. He is so dreamy! We had both lost our appetites for a while with all the stress (but are unable to determine the amount of weight lost because our scale is in a box somewhere) and recently gained said appetites back.

We went to Cafe 30A, between Rosemary Beach and Seaside (for those of you in the area) and YUM! This place gives me confidence that my tastes are not unreasonable! Of course there’re many good local places in Panama City, but sometimes one just craves nice food.

Well, Café 30A did not disappoint! The menu caressed me with its beautiful descriptions of appetizers, salads, and entrees. Then, the server demonstrated his prowess by wooing me with his foodie words towards his favorite dishes. Oh wow! I’m so happy!

Rob and I started with the quail that had these creamy buttery grits that made me not want to stop eating it. Really. We also started with a tower of ahi tuna layered with avocado, alongside a wasabi cream sauce and asian slaw. This one was right up my alley. Score!

For entrees, we ordered the lobster (the one that I was pretty much drooling at as the server described it). The lobster was seared in the half-shell and left to soak in as much buttery flavor as possible. Then, the three-cheese macaroni rocked my world with its smooth, creamy, and slightly nutty cheeses. Wow. The other entrée we got was the snapper that was really a good dish – it was best though when you got a little bit of fish, sautéed spinach, mushroom, and sun-dried tomato polenta with each bite.

The desserts we decided were average, but earned points for individuality. The better one was banana beignets. Very tasty! How can one make bananas foster better? Fry it! Yeah! The other one – molten chocolate lava cake was eclipsed by my memories of sister-in-law Ashley’s version. Mmm. The ice cream on both dishes was very very good! I think they might even make it in-house. I love when they don’t put that generic restaurant ice cream on desserts! You know, the kind that simply says, “vanilla” on the side. Major points for quality ice cream!

So, those of you who know my tastes know that Café 30A is my new favorite restaurant! Yes, they do exist here!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Things

Okay, this is gonna be a long one. I'm just now reaching a point where I think I can talk about what's been going on with us and not have an overwhelming flood of emotions: denial, anger, sadness, depression, anger, bitterness, faith, trust, love, etc. etc. etc.

Rob washed out of the F-15 B-course.

Our timeline around May 1:
Thursday - boxes packed, living in a sea of cardboard. Sold my Miata.
Friday - our household goods are loaded into crates and drive away from the house on a big truck. Rob fails for a TR item which earns him a progress check for Monday.
Monday - our final checkout of base housing. We frantically clean the last remaining things out of the house. I am sick with stress. Rob fails his progress check.
Tuesday - we learn he is washed out of the program. We are both devastated.
Wednesday - Rob's class graduated.

Things that are ridiculous:
The fail on Friday was the instructor's subjective opinion (don't worry, God has taken away any bitterness).
The fail on Monday is because Rob did not flip one switch.
The fail on Monday is in instruments, at which Rob is usually very skilled.
We considered fighting the decision because his two failed rides had incorrect items on his gradesheet that may have affected the decision.
We had moved out of our house.
Our stuff was on its way to Japan.
I sold my car (which I never would have sold unless I had to).
We sold our washer and dryer.
We sold the treadmill.
We had plane tickets.
We were (and still are) living in TLF - like a hotel on base.
The flying schedule was packed - they were so behind and flying every day - every day Rob flew was another day we could visit family and friends. Otherwise, Rob would have taken another day before his progress check to focus.

Things that are nice:
The squadron has been very nice and done a lot to try and look out for us.
They really did not want to fail Rob. They like us both and that made it harder for them... and kinda makes me feel better.
They worked really hard to give Rob a waiver to skip the FEB (flight evaluation board).
At first, I thought this was a shuffle out of here, but learned later that it is a huge favor because they like us.
We really wanted to fight the decision, but have learned that if it was going to be reversed, they would have already done so. Also, God helped us gain wisdom through many means.
The possible outcomes of fighting it at an FEB would be a very small chance of getting reinstated in the F-15, a 90% chance of going to another airframe, and a small chance of Rob's losing his wings altogether.
The other airframes offered by an FEB decision are according to the needs of the Air Force (which are going in the UAV direction).
Taking the waiver puts people who know Rob and his very good tactical skills in charge of placing Rob in another airframe - preferably a tactical plane.
The DO's wife is letting me borrow her Volvo convertible - sweet!

Things that make us better:
Rob and I certainly got closer amid these events.
God alternated our breakdowns so we could more easily support each other. :-)
Depression is super tiring! And annoying. We're done with that. It's too annoying.
We learned what it is like to grieve and how better to support others when they grieve.
We have had our trust in God tested and emerged faithful. We KNOW He is good.
We knew God had brought us here; we just thought we would stay.
The reasons Rob failed even give us faith that God is orchestrating things.
It has certainly been tough, but we know God has a plan and look forward to maybe one day learning what it is.


Things that answer your questions:
As usual in our military lives, we DO NOT KNOW... so stop asking.
We don't know how long we'll be here in Florida.
We don't know where we'll go next.
We don't know what airframe is in our future.
We don't know when we're going to visit you.

The best thing you can do for us is to continue to pray for peace for us and wisdom for Rob and those making decisions. Rejoice that He's given us strength, maturity, wisdom, growing love for each other, and continued faith in His sovereignty.

Thanks again for your support! And thanks to my parents for the biggest basket of loving, comforting Godiva chocolates I've ever seen! I love you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

We KNOW God has a great plan. But that doesn't mean it's awesome right now.

Job 2:9 "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

Psalm 9:1 "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You!"

Psalm 30:8-12 "I cried out to You, O Lord; and to the Lord I made supplication: What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear O Lord, and have mercy on me. Lord be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."

Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the Lord at all times."

Psalm 40:3 "He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise be to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord."