dinner for two.

Tonight I made orange curried chicken and mashed potatoes. Nate said it's probably his favorite out of everything I've cooked so far this month. Both require few ingredients and were very easy. Check out the recipes!
Orange Curried Chicken + Mashed Potatoes
Orange Curried Chicken
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinless
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl combine the marmalade, curry powder,and soy sauce. Mix together. Place chicken pieces, cut side down, in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon marmalade mixture over chicken.
  3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, spooning sauce over chicken several times. (Note: If sauce begins to stick to the baking dish, add an additional 1/4 cup water).
  4. Remove chicken from baking dish and skim fat off of the sauce. Serve sauce hot with the chicken. Serves 4. (Nate used the extra orange sauce on his potatoes as gravy.)

Ultimate Creamy Mashed Potatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Generous dash ground black pepper
  1. Heat broth and potatoes in 3-quart saucepan over high heat to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving broth.
  3. Mash potatoes with 1/4 cup broth, cream, butter and black pepper. Add additional broth, if needed, until desired consistency.
  4. For an interesting twist: Stir 1/2 cup sour cream, 3 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (reserve some for garnish) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives into hot mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Serves 6.

caffeine appreciation.

I went out to my car over my lunch break today to get quarters. It was warm (but not too warm) and I opened the passenger door and sat with my feet still in the parking lot. I have a bag of change stowed in my glove box. All silver coins (I weeded out the pennies and store them in a jar on my kitchen counter). Eight quarters, easily recognized by their size and ridged edges.

I've spent the morning bouncing my eyelids. I think you can sometimes get away with that working at a Christian company. (I am very suspicious of people who work with their doors closed.) You know, when people walk by they think you're reading or praying, but I feel pretty convicted about sleeping on the job so I decided to head down to the cafe for a diet Pepsi. I prefer diet Coke, really, but I'm not stuck up about. I stood and contemplated my options: a 99-cent 20-oz. drink or a $1.10 32-oz. drink. Even though it kills me that I could buy a 2-liter for the same price as either of these, I went for 32 oz. This is going to last me all afternoon. I've been a diet soda drinker since I went back to drinking soda after a four-year hiatus from 8th-11th grade. I returned to diet. I'd rather eat my calories than drink them.

90% of my cup is diet Pepsi, and 10% is root beer. The effect I'm going for is diet root beer. It's rare to find a place that actually serves it, but a few squirts of regular root beer into a diet cola does the trick. It's a fetchal treat. Nate and I have been into fetchal treats lately and that's part of the reason I have a bag of coins in my car. You can get a vanilla cone at McDonald's for 69 cents, or sometimes we walk down to a convenience store called Jack's near his house and buy Now and Laters (for him) and Tootsie Pops (for me), and sometimes Skittles or pretzel M&Ms. Then we walk home by a different route in the dark and feel safe even in the absence of streetlights until we return home and feast, thankful for employer-provided dental insurance.

Today is Downtown Employee Appreciation Day in Nashville. I'm not really sure what that means, except I think the mayor is saying "thank you" to some of the 62,000 people who work downtown. And there is free food for employees who make it down to Church & 5th Ave. early. Who is getting in on this? I mean, I don't know about the rest of us, but I have work to do today. Please bring some of those snacks up to the 7th floor.

We did get a nice "I appreciate you" e-mail from the big man, but let's be honest—I was slightly disappointed to not find an ice cream cake waiting on my desk when I walked in this morning. (Seriously, I've been dropping hints about an ice cream cake since February.)

Tonight is date night. It's a surprise but I know it will involve being outside because Nate told me to dress warmly. First though, I'm making orange curried chicken for dinner. Cooking is a lot more fun that I imagined. I rarely made real meals before Nate moved here, and now this weekend we are having biscuits and gravy for Sunday breakfast and buffalo chicken sandwiches while we watch the Titans play the Broncos Sunday afternoon.

Great Links!


stir fry.

Nate cutting peppers. (I try to give him the most manly cooking jobs.)
Nate and I made dinner tonight: shrimp stir fry.



2008 Nissan Versa

I have a car! With the exception of getting more coverage with my auto insurance, this fiasco is over!
Nate and I went to Chili's last night for burgers to celebrate.
My first "grown up" car. I'm still trying to figure it all out.
I might have driven to work this morning with the back wiper going. :)
Even though the wreck and everything following wasn't a lot of fun (read: wasn't any fun), it ended well. Nate kept me from losing my mind and impulse-buying something much less desirable or reliable.

On the road again,



Fall has descended on the city. The nights are cool and crisp, and I am very happy to have the air conditioner off in my house. Tomorrow is a big day:
1) finish business with this lady's insurance company
2) return my rental car
3) talk to my insurance about upping my coverage
4) buy a car ... I'm getting a Nissan Versa
5) dinner with Sam + Anne
6) Bible study.
Oh yeah, and I'm working all day too. I'm tired just thinking about all of that! Tonight I'm dreaming of more sleep. 5:10 a.m. always comes too quickly.


photo friday.

Yesterday evening, Anne practiced her portrait skills with Nate and me. We walked around Belmont's campus and I think the photos turned out really great. So for those of you who don't know Nate, here's the reason I no longer blog every day. :)

View more pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/alyssareeves/NateAlyssa#



This week has been a blur! On Monday, Nate had the day off so he surprised me by coming up to the office to take me to lunch. Also, insurance called me to say they've deemed my car a total loss. Then they gave me my options: cash and keep the car, or a little more cash and insurance takes my car. Nate and I bought our plane tickets back to Kansas in November. November 17-21. Looking forward to the trip!

For the past several weeks, every Tuesday night has been group dinner night. It's so great having Sam and Anne in town, and we get to see them several times a week. On Tuesdays, Anne and I have been taking turns cooking. One week, I cook for four; the next week, she cooks. Sam, Anne, Nate, and I enjoy each other's company before Kairos or Bible study. Last night I made brown sugar meatloaf, California blend vegetables, and crescent rolls. It's a lot of fun. Then we went to Bible study; the women are going through Beth Moore's study of Daniel while Nate and the rest of the guys do their own thing.

Tuesday as I left work at lunch, I noticed my car was shaking. It got worse at red lights so instead of driving home, I stayed at the office. I did drive it home after work and it was a little scary. I popped the hood and everything underneath was dancing. I called insurance and told them I'd like a rental car, so they set me up with a reservation at Enterprise. I don't know what's going on in this city, but every Enterprise (including the airport!) was out of cars!

Nate took me to work on Wednesday and after persistent calls to Enterprise, I got a co-worker to drop me off there after work. (I know their slogan is "We'll pick you up," but it's not totally true. They won't pick you up if you are 10 miles away, or if they are really busy.) So I decided I'd just go sit in there and let them stare at me until they gave me a car. Fortunately I went up to the counter and right away they pointed to a car in the parking lot and said I could drive it. A Mercury Grand Marquis. It's a boat, but it drives well. V8! It has some get-up and a CD player. I had to retrain myself to get out the driver's side because for two weeks I've been used to scooching over to the passenger side to exit. I'm hoping to find a new (used) car this weekend. Leaning toward a Nissan Versa or Nissan Sentra. One Sentra we found in my price range is red … I think I would like any color except red.

Last night was the autumn equinox and a full moon. They call it a Super Harvest moon because it's not very often that a full moon falls on the first day of autumn. You could also see Mercury. Nate and I went to Centennial Park to walk the loop and throw his Frisbee in the moonlight. I could barely keep my eyes open by 9 p.m. So I guess it's pretty appropriate that I'm driving a Grand Marquis to compliment my old-lady sleep habits. ;) 

Tonight my friend Anne wants to practice doing some portrait photography because she's going to take some senior pics for someone, so Nate and I are going to be her models. :) I made caramel apples last night using honeycrisp apples, which are literally the size of grapefruits. I'm taking them to Sam and Anne's tonight; we're going to watch the latest episode of The Office—the final season begins tonight.

A beautiful blur.


weekend update.

Nash and Jeff
Is this weekend over already? Sweet weekend. Friday after work, Nate and I went to the zoo to see the new flamingo exhibit. Also on display were storks. Their habitat had been closed during my previous visits because of the effects of the May flood. We stood and watched the storks and were fascinated. Really fascinated. Have you ever seen a stork? The flamingos were humorous and very loud! A little girl informed her dad that she was going to ask Santa for her "very own meerkat." For dinner we made French bread pizza then watched Gran Torino.

Abbey and Will
Saturday Nate and I went to Lipscomb University to play HORSE on some outdoor basketball goals. It was beautiful outside. A van full of international students emptied into the parking lot as I sank a three, and they all started clapping. :) haha. We checked out an old bookstore across the street and then headed to the public library on Thompson Lane. I was going to get a library card (I've lived here a year and don't have a library card!) but the lady working the desk wouldn't give me one because my driver's license doesn't have my current address and I didn't have a utility bill or something with my address on me. We reshelved the books and movie we were going to check out and headed home. I felt slightly defeated.

For dinner, Nate and I went to La Hacienda Taqueria on Nolensville Rd. It was good. It reminded me of La Fiesta in Manhattan, Kansas. There are a lot of roadside taco stands up and down Nolensville Rd that are probably very authentic, but I'm not that brave. :) After dinner we went to Coleman Park at Nolensville Rd & Thompson Ln to walk and throw the Frisbee as the sun set. So great.

Church this morning. Community group was sweet. Jesus is intimate and involved. Leftovers, naps, and football this afternoon. Nate left for work and Andrea picked me up to go to the airport. Jeff and Abbey returned this evening from Taiwan where they adopted two boys, Nash (3 yrs.) and Will (4 mo.). It was wonderful to meet those boys.

As far as my car goes, I am still waiting to hear on insurance. They are probably getting sick of me calling all the time asking for progress. Someone looked at it on Wednesday to assess the damage and is doing 2-3 days of paperwork. Hoping to hear something tomorrow. I took my car to Maaco on Thursday to get their opinion, and they took one look at it and said, "It's totaled." I wonder if the lady who hit me realizes how much of a pain this is! Ah well.

Looking forward to a beautiful week and the first day of fall on Wednesday! Nashville is great in the fall.


inbox (1).


Look what I found in my inbox today. Not going to lie, it creeped me out enough to change my password. :) Apparently I forgot to sign out on someone's computer (cough, Nate). ;)

Here's the original clip:

The next and final season of The Office starts next Thursday on NBC.



Today I took a half day of vacation so I could have some time to try to get things straight with insurance about my car. I'm waiting on someone to come out and determine how much damage was done. In case it is totaled, Nate and I went out yesterday and this afternoon to look at cars. We found a couple of Nissan Versas; one was manual and the other, automatic. The automatic is a little more expensive, but I didn't know how to drive a stick! So today Nate and I went to a parking lot and he let me drive his car around as he taught me the ins and outs of driving a manual.

We wandered into a store and found a couple of couches I like. Since we didn't have a tape measure, Nate snapped this picture with his phone so we can decide if it will fit in my house. I'm not ready to buy furniture. This is just for future reference.

Tonight I had dinner with Sam and Anne. Then we went to Kairos. Confession: I may or may not have fallen asleep during  Kairos. I am fading quickly! Goodnight!



My car :-(
I guess they design cars to crumple. Mine crumpled well; nothing on the inside smashed in.
Doors won't open, windows won't roll
Rear left window knocked out of place. Won't roll up or down.
The other car. Pretty minor damage.
This morning I was heading over to my friend Anne's house to hang out and stop by Home Depot and look at paint colors for my rooms then have lunch and learn how to cook for two on a budget. It was 9:30 and nice outside. Runners were making their way up and down the sidewalks along Belmont Blvd. To make a dramatic story less dramatic, all of a sudden a car turned left into the side of me.

I was heading northbound and I suppose I had seen it going southbound, but of course I didn't expect it to turn. It wasn't even that it turned in front of me ... it hit me square in the side. The impact jarred me and I'm pretty sure my head hit the side of my car, but not too hard. I braked as my car started to spin and then came to a stop. I called 911 who told me to call another number since there were no apparent injuries. The other number said, "No one is available at this time. Current wait time is 3 minutes." What good does that do me? I hung up and called Anne to come and she did. I couldn't open my doors to get out of the car, so I had to crawl over to the passenger's side. The other lady got out and said she just hadn't seen me there.

We waited for a police officer to come do a report, and then I called my insurance company who took the information. I only have liability because my car is a '97 with 147,000 miles and not worth a lot. They said I have to call her insurance company to file the claim and get an assessor to decide how much damage was done. Her insurance doesn't do claims on weekends so I have to wait until Monday at 8 a.m. I'm very glad it wasn't my fault. I'm very glad no one was hurt.

That was a close one,


free fun.

If you're looking for something fun and free to do in Nashville this weekend, you have a lot of choices. Here are five of them.

Live on the Green: Featuring Five for Fighting and Tonic
Thursday, September 9, 2010 (6:00 p.m.)
Public Square Park
1 Public Square, Nashville

Live On the Green,” a free, environmentally-friendly concert series to take place over six consecutive Thursday nights on the Public Square in front of the Metro Courthouse this fall.

This week's line-up:
  • 6:20 pm – Visual Artist
  • 6:45 pm – Hightide Blues
  • 7:30 pm – Five for Fighting
  • 9:30 pm – Tonic
  • 10:30 pm – Hard Rock After Party

Films at the Frist: To Catch a Thief
Friday, September 10, 2010 (7:00 p.m.)
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
919 Broadway, Nashville

Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 film, To Catch a Thief (starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly) is showing in the auditorium at the Frist Center at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville. Best of all, it's free!


Musicians Corner
Saturday, September 11, 2010 (3:00 p.m.)
Centennial Park
West End Avenue, Nashville

This week's line-up:
In Honor of National Service Day
  • Katie Herzig
  • Pico vs. Island Trees
  • Eric Wilson & The Emptyhearts
  • Danny Salazar
  • & more
Musicians Corner is an "outdoor musical epicenter for Nashville" (according to the Web site). The group is envisioning Musicians Corner to be like Speakers Corner in London. Live music will grace the park every Saturday from 3-6 p.m. through October and it's FREE. What's not to love?


12South Concert Series
Saturday, September 11, 2010 (6:00 p.m.)
Sevier Park
3000 Granny White Pike, Nashville

This week's line-up:
12South Concerts is a partnership of 12South area businesses and individuals, in conjunction with the 12South Neighborhood Association and Belmont Hillsboro Neighbors.The concert series originated in 2008 as a way for residents in the 12South community to discover the talents of local artists, and connect with the unique character of local businesses investing in the neighborhood.

Free Day: Adventure Science Center
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Boulevard, Nashville

Take advantage of free admission at the Adventure Science Center on Sunday, September 12 from 12:30–5:30 p.m. This isn’t one of those wimpy freebies either – Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for the kids, and free admission is a rare treat at the science center. This free day is sponsored by Regions Bank. Thanks, Regions!



Today Nate and I went to hit some golf balls at McCabe Park.

I didn't do too bad considering my only experience with golf comes from a putt-putt course. We just practiced putts and chips. There's a long paved trail around the golf course and we walked part of it. Today was such a beautiful day. Looking forward to doing this again in a couple months when it's about 60 degrees.

on par,


how sweet it is.

One thing I love about Tennessee is the seemingly endless supply of sweet potatoes. At Kansas State, they only served them in the dining hall during the fall. Tonight Anne and Sam came over for dinner with Nate and I before Kairos. On the menu was pork chops, peas and carrots, and sweet potatoes. While sweet potatoes are certainly delicious boiled and mashed by themselves, I stepped it up and made a sweet potato bake. Here's the recipe:

3 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes (without added milk and butter)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

In a mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. 

Prep Time: 10 Min / Cook Time: 45 Min / Ready In: 55 Min
Serves: 8
Everyone at allrecipes.com recommended adding little or no sugar. I didn't have time to use cold mashed sweet potatoes. Mine were hot and right off the stove, and they only spent about 30 minutes in the oven. Kroger did not seem to have any pecans, but I picked up some cinnamon almonds (a nut's a nut, right?) and Nate chopped them up and we put those on top. Sweet potatoes are a super food; one baked sweet potato has about 200% of your daily vitamin A and just 140 calories.

Super and sweet. What's not to love?


burlington, day 2

We solved the puzzle!
This morning my sister and I got up and took Daisy on a two-mile walk before church. For lunch, we went over to my dad's and then went back to my mom's to watch a movie. My sister and I put a puzzle together, then my mom and I played Scrabble (she won ... Erica helped her). For dinner we stopped at Sonic. My sister and I each got a Jr. Sonic burger with cheese. They charged us for cheese, but didn't put any on, so we got two more burgers (with cheese) for free. They also gave us some coupons but Mom lost them out the window as we pulled onto the highway.

Before the sun set, Mom, Mark, Erica, Daisy, and I walked down to Conrad Park to hang out. The equipment is a lot smaller than I remember! :)

Mom on the yellow horse
Erica on the white horse
Mark on the brown horse
Me on the black horse
Erica tried to get Daisy to go down the slide, but she wouldn't.

Erica and Daisy
Tomorrow afternoon I am flying back to Nashville. No offense, Kansas, but I can't wait to get back to the city. I thought I had outgrown my ragweed allergies, but it turns out living in Nashville just removed me from the ragweed environment. I've been miserable this weekend when it comes to my sinuses. I forgot to check in for my flight early, so I'm boarding as a B34. Oh well.

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