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Penny’s Weekend Garnish

This Week on Pennies on a Platter
This section highlights the recipes posted this week on Pennies on a Platter and other updates to the blog, if any.

Avocado and Mango Salsa – My usual favorite salsa, Pineapple-Mango, better watch out as this new one has entered the picture!

Death by Chocolate Trifle – Reposted with a better photo and a tightened recipe.  One of our favorite desserts.

Tropical Chicken Quesadilla – Another new best-loved dish that will grace its presence on our table for many more times to come.

Dug Out from the Archives
Let’s dig into the archives and reconsider some of the older recipes on Pennies on a Platter that we ate this week. (Some of which I plan to re-post with new photos and better directions in the near future.)

Pizzelle – My aunt’s birthday is this Monday and while I’m in town visiting she asked that I make these delicate Italian cookies into waffle cups so she can serve them with ice cream to the class she teaches.

Caught My Eye
I love reading other blogs and websites, and often bookmark their recipes, products or reviews. These are a few that top my list from the week.

Eisy Morgan – My friend, Ashley, who blogs at Eisy Morgan is celebrating her 30th birthday next week with a round of giveaways each day, Monday through Friday.  Check out more information by clicking over to her site.  Friday’s giveaway is the big one!

Vegetable Polenta Lasagna – This great recipe idea comes from my food-blogging friend, Elly, over at Elly Says Opa!  Although she’s Greek, she experiments with many other ethnic dishes, such as this lasagna.  I’m a fan of polenta, lasagna and vegetables so we can’t go wrong with this one, right??  It looks amazing!

Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper and Kalamata Olive Man ‘n Cheese – I’ve mentioned Kevin at Closet Cooking before and how much I love his blog.  Well, here is another recipe from his site that caught my eye early this week.  There can never be too many versions of mac ‘n cheese and I can not wait to try this one.

My Life as a Pastor’s Wife and Food Blogger
Want more insight into my life as a Pastor’s wife, mom, friend, relative and food blogger? Then, read on! If not, ignore this section. :) This is a place for me to write what’s on my mind and journal some of the crowning moments of my week.

Allow me to use this space to share the details of one of my most frustrating days this week, specifically, Tuesday, April 12.  I was catching a morning flight to Chicago with my 16-month old toddler son.  This son of mine is a busy boy, so I was already nervous about flying alone with him, hoping we would get lucky with an open seat instead of him sitting on my lap.  We were running a little behind as I became caught up in conversation with a neighbor on the way out the door.  My friend was patiently waiting to drive us to the airport. 

About 20 minutes after the time I planned to leave for the airport, we finally drove out of my driveway and arrived to the parking lot about 1 hour before my flight was scheduled to take off.  (Yikes, cutting it close!)  I had luggage to check and a lot to carry on since it was going to be a long flight and my toddler would need to be entertained and fed.  Yes, I was already panicking a bit when we drove into that parking lot, but panicked even more when it took about 5 more minutes to find a spot.  Then came the REAL hyperventilating panic-mode when we walked into the terminal to find that the line for checking luggage was not necessarily very long, but was very very very slow.

We waited and waited.  Minute after minute flew by until we were almost within 30 minutes of take-off when I decided to jump the line and ask one of the clerks at the desk if I should let them know my flight was taking off in about half an hour.  She gave me a big sigh and (wish I could say politely) said “We will get to you when we can. We’re dealing with a flight cancellation.”  At first I worried that my flight was cancelled, but quickly knew it wasn’t after rechecking it’s status.  Then, I got back in line and waited my turn.

By this time everyone in line was grumpy.  Finally, it was our turn to check in.  I gathered up our luggage, my friend pushed Judah up in his stroller, and I went through the touch-screen instructions on the kiosk.  Then I saw it.  A message that made me shake in my pants: “Your luggage is not guaranteed to be on your flight because your check in time is within 30 minutes from take-off.” What!?  I started shaking.  (I’m a wimp.)

It was very frustrating to me that I asked the clerk earlier of any implications of checking in within 30 minutes of my flight, and she failed to mention the one “little” fact that my luggage might not make it.  If I knew that, I would’ve tried harder to bat my eyes and maneuver my way up in the line.

What seemed to take the clerk forever to check me in and print out a boarding ticket for Judah, finally passed and we took off running to the dreadful security lines.  The officer who checked my ID knew I was running late so kindly advised me a shortcut through the security.  As good as his intentions were, it sort of back fired because although the line he told me to get into wasn’t that long, it was also the handicapped line and the one the airline staff uses.  So, when it was my turn to walk through the airport screener, a lady in a wheelchair popped up and went ahead of me.  Of course, I was fine with that but still very nervous about making my flight.  Then, a flight attendant came and jumped ahead of me in line.  When one more flight attendant showed up, I took the chance and politely asked if she could wait and go after me explaining that I was about to miss my flight.  She was great and let me through.  :)

After pushing through the car seat, stroller, diaper bag, messenger bag and three more bins of items like my jacket, computer and phone, Judah and I walked through the scanner.  I quickly belted Judah back into his stroller, grabbed my things and threw my laptop back into my messenger bag only to find that I couldn’t locate my shoes!  I’m standing there barefoot, and none of the bins that just went through had my sandals in them.  Finally, one of the security guys found them for me and pushed them through the belt.

By now, my flight was almost ready to take off and I took off running to my gate.  Of course, it had to be one of the farthest gates to get to in this airport.  Imagine me running while pushing a stroller with a diaper bag on one shoulder, a messenger bag on another, and then a large convertible car seat in my arms.  Yes, it is possible.  When I finally reached the gate, just about everyone had boarded.  Judah and I were the last to get on.

I asked the flight attendant if there were any open seats so that Judah could sit in his car seat (a MUCH easier way for him to travel).  But, I was quickly informed the flight was full and every seat was taken.  Right then and there, I embarrassingly broke down and cried.

It is always a bad feeling to board a plane when you are carrying a toddler in your arms.  No one makes eye contact with you because they do not want you to sit next to them when you have a baby.  I walked all the way to the back of the plane and finally chose a seat next to a lady who looked like she would be understanding and not hate me.  God is good.  This lady was the biggest help on my flight and so sweet to both Judah and I.  The lady sitting on our other side was a different story, but she at least kept her distance and slept most of the flight.

Let’s fast forward to Chicago.  After a long flight that surprisingly seemed short (thanks to the lady next to me and the flight attendant who offered to walk Judah up and down the aisle) we arrived in Chicago and headed to the rental car station.  I got my keys and walked all the way to the opposite end of the airport to drop off a few things in the car so that I could manage carrying our luggage from the baggage claim.  Well, I guess I could’ve save my steps because my luggage didn’t make it.  Judah’s little Thomas the Train suitcase arrived, but my suitcase was no where to be found.  I encountered a few unhelpful airline workers then finally ended up in the office where I was given my claim form and a promise to receive my luggage the next morning from FedEx.

That same night, at 11 PM, the airline called me and woke me up to tell me they would not be delivering my suitcase the next morning and instead would have it to me an extra day later.  :(  They told me I could spend a whopping $50 to cover my essentials and they would reimburse me.  Again, I was frustrated.

To make this already long story a little shorter, I survived the two days without my luggage by mooching off of my little sister’s clothes and make up.  Then, I used the $50 to buy me a new outfit and Judah some diapers since I had all of his other essentials in my diaper bag carryon.  So, all in all, this frustrating experience actually ended up just fine once I could take a step back, breathe and recoop.  Sure, there were some deadlines I missed because I didn’t have my laptop charger with me, and I ran a toll booth without paying because my iPass was also in the suitcase I didn’t have, but Judah and I are alive and well and we just spent an amazing 4 days with his grandparents.

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