McCall's Cooking School: Beef, Zucchini and Cheese Casserole

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Elder Arcilla's coming over today for his goodbye dinner (he's leaving next Wednesday). I decided to make McCall's Cooking School's Beef, Zucchini and Cheese Casserole. I first made this in May of 2010 for Elder Nelson's birthday and I had no idea how it would taste. It was a bunch of different things combined together and I was pretty leery about it. But it tasted REALLY good, hence why I'm making it again. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

First Layer
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed {I used 2 cloves and minced them instead}
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper {We used grounded black pepper and used as much as we wanted}

Second Layer
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 lb zucchini or summer squash, chopped
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles {I used Yellow Hot Peppers instead}
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese  {I'm in love with cheese and just put enough to cover the whole layer}

Third Layer
2 large eggs
2 cups cottage cheese
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper slices and scallion brushes (optional) {I just used the red pepper slices}

1. For this casserole, select lean ground beef (also sold as ground round or ground beef with 20% fat). It has the perfect moisture and fat content for this dish. Prepare first layer of casserole: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper.

2. Stir ground beef mixture with a spoon while it cooks, breaking up large chunks of meat. Continue cooking mixture until the beef loses its pink color. Drain off and discard any fat. Using a slotted spoon, place beef mixture in a 2-quart casserole.

3. Prepare the second layer or the casserole: In a 3-quart saucepan, bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling over high heat. Add chopped zucchini and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Pour zucchini and water into a colander. Drain zucchini well and return to saucepan.

4. Mash zucchini with a portable electric mixer or a potato mashed until zucchini is broken up. Add chopped green chiles, chopped onion and the butter; mash until thoroughly combined. Spread zucchini mixture over beef layer in casserole; sprinkle zucchini mixture with Cheddar cheese. Preheat oven to 350F. {I didn't like using the electric mixer because it just made a huge mess. I used a potato mashed instead.}

5. Prepare the third layer of the casserole: Place eggs in medium-sized bowl; beat with a wire whisk or portable electric mixer until light. Fold in cottage cheese and parsley. (If desired, reserve some parsley to sprinkle on top of casserole.) Spoon cottage cheese mixture over zucchini and Cheddar cheese layer in the casserole.

6. Sprinkle cottage cheese mixture with Parmesan cheese and place casserole on the center rack in the oven. Back for 35 minutes or until casserole is thoroughly heated and top layer is set. Garnish with red pepper slicces and scallion brushes. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

The Simple Things

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I`ve been catching up on my favourite blogs and I came across this really cool project from Simple As That. The project is called "the simple things" and basically all she does is capture a photo each week of something simple in her life that made her smile. I LOVED that idea and thought it would be a pretty cool project, especially since I believe in finding joy in the small and simple things. Under my page la vita e bella, life goal #22 is to finish a 52 weeks photo project. I was planning to start it on the very last day of school and to take pictures of things that stood out to me each week. I love the idea from Rebecca's blog so I am going to try that theme instead. Wish me luck!

To join Rebecca and Simple as That on their search for the simple things you can find the instructions by clicking here. Check out her blog by clicking the button below:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Today I made it a goal to finish my profile. I started it such a long time ago that my tag line was still "I'm 18 and I am a Mormon". Hahaha, I'm turning 21 and I haven't finished! I thought it was a perfect opportunity to feel the Spirit as I shared my testimony with others. Now I am just waiting for it to be published. Updates to come!

As for media is SO HARD! My sister and I have been watching our movie collection every opportunity we get to and now she's watching my favourite movies without me. My whole family is also constantly watching something so I'm kind of stuck trying to hide from it all. It's not as easy as the first time I did it. And I went on Facebook today too. Oh man. I had to check the Toronto LDS Institute page because I had to help someone start an LDS Single Adult least I can say it was done because of church purposes.

P-Day with the Elders

Monday, March 26, 2012

My brother, Elder Arcilla, is going back home to Germany next week, so we planned to go out together on his 2nd last P-Day. We ended up going shopping at Eaton's Centre because he wanted some new clothes for when he gets back home.

We met up with them at the Stake Centre but they were still busy emailing home. Laura and Jared decided to continue watching The Vow. I started watching it over their shoulder. I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT MY MEDIA FAST -.-" It's a lot harder to do media fast this time...there are just so many shows I am into and I've been addicted to movies lately; plus everyone keeps contacting me about YSA things and other photography gigs so I am kind of stuck on the internet :/ But I am blogging, hoping to talk about Spiritual things (except I'm blogging so often now it's like I am breaking my fast -.-")

You can't eat at a restaurant without turning your garbage into something!

For some odd reason Jared pulled out his head massager...

...And we tried it on Elder Silva

...And on Elder Kerr. LOL at their face expressions!

ROFL, this is my favourite picture.
I felt so self-centered because I thought I looked so good in the men's hat and sunglasses from H&M.
I somehow caught Elder Arcilla in the background wearing a bowtie on his head. HAHAHA!

My Elders at Yonge & Dundas Square :)
Elder Baconawa, Elder Kerr, Elder Arcilla, Elder Jameson, Elder Silva, and Elder Silva

We were going to take an "Abbey Road" photo, but we did a jumping one instead.
This is pretty darn epic.

Haha, ok there is a story behind this photo.
We originally planned to have Laura, Jared, and I, plus all the missionaries carry copies of the Book of Mormon and read it on the subway, just to see if anyone would come up to us and ask us about it. Then when we got to Eaton's we were planning on going to the Apple store and take photos of us with the Book of Mormon on every Mac desktop, laptop, and iPad. It didn't happen though. But we pulled out the Book of Mormon on the way home and they tested each other on scripture mastery instead XD

So yeah, it's been a pretty fun day. The Elders are way funny. I talked to them mostly about serving a mission since my papers were open and I was asking for advice. The only Elder we didn't know from the group was Elder Jameson, but we had a pretty fun time getting to know him while we were dissing everything at Hollister (LOL). Then all of a sudden he's like, "what are your names by the way?". When we told him he's like, "Ariana and Laura Limas. Hmm, oh wait! I've heard about you guys!" HAHAHAHAHAHA, Laura and I were like "uh.....what?" He was companions with both Elder Wray and Elder Kinikini and he said Elder Kinikini told him about us when we sent him the Christmas card (LOOOOOL, we made fun of Kinikini's name in that card XD). Then on the way home I was talking with Elder Kerr about how whenever we see the Elders on the bus we act super happy to see them so everyone else knows how cool they actually are. Then he says that he has talked to some people on the bus who knew me and they would be all like "Oh yeah, are you the guys from Ariana Limas' church?" or "I went to school with Ariana! She's pretty cool" or "yeah, I've been to your church for her debut party". ROFL, I was pretty flattered. 

I honestly cannot wait to serve a mission! These guys are too awesome!
Oh yeah! One of the workers from Hollister came up to us and was asking what we were doing and if there was a convention at the mall or something. Elder Arcilla was like uhhhh, no, we're missionaries and it's our day-off today. I wanted to laugh at the guy for being so hyper. And even on my way to meet the missionaries, I heard these two old ladies talking about Mormons. I was running late so I didn't stop but I wanted to bud in and say "I'm Mormon!", since one lady was confused and the other lady seemed to know more about us and tried explaining our beliefs. 

Woot! Mormon represent!


I've been making a few changes here and there on my blog. Do you like my new header? I drew it myself ;) The inspiration came from my talented cousin, Marissa. Her old blog header was one she drew with all the things that described her. I thought it was a great idea and decided to try one myself. So you have:
- The Temple: because that's my goal

- My passions/interests: Softball (bat&ball), Baking (huge cupcake), Travelling (suitcases), Reading (books! notice how i included Comics, The Work and the Glory, and The Book of Mormon, representing different sides of me), Parties (the mask in vase, also showing my love for themed parties, decorating, and planning), Orchids (my favourite flower), Music (the keyboard), Dance (the silhouette ballerina), Photography (the camera), and the knowledge I know that I am a daughter of a King (the crown on top of the ballerina).

- On the right end you have a cartoon drawing of me. Ha-ha!

- The flags were to go with the theme of my new and fun background!

- The 3 stars represent my Filipino-ness (3 stars on the flag)

I've decided that I want a nice signature instead of constantly copying and pasting:
- Ariana Rae Limas ♥
live well . laugh hard . love big .
So check below for the brand new one! Only difference is no date. Let me know what you think of the new updates :)

Semi-annual Media Fast: Spring 2012

I started my Media Fast by opening with a fast to help me be receptive to the Spirit throughout the week so I could ponder about the questions I want answered during General Conference.

After church I saw Pres. Burns and I ran up to him and hugged him. The following conversation happened:

Pres. Burns (with a  sneaky smile on his face): So I saw someone's online application.  
Me: Huh? What do you mean?  
Pres. Burns: I hear someone is going on their mission.  
Me: you  mean my papers are open?! 
Pres. Burns: Yes! Your dad opened yours and Jared's on March 11th!

Oh my goodness. I started shaking him and squealing all over the place! People kept asking me about my papers and I kept saying my dad was going to open them "soon". Turns out they were already open!! I was so excited! Pres. Burns was laughing at me for my excitement and then he says, "it doesn't mean anything until it's filled out!" I replied, "I know, but it means that I can start!". Haha, I am so excited!

Last night I decided to log in to check out what the application looked like. Man oh man did it take my breath away. It's all so real now! I am in the beginning process of filling these papers in..I can't believe it! It's so awesome! I noticed though, however, that they asked about my ability to speak other languages and how I would feel about serving my mission in a different language. This leads me to GENERAL CONFERENCE QUESTION #1: Do I say I want to learn a new language or not?

I know it sounds pretty simple, but I think it's a lot more complex. I have always been interested in learning words in different languages, but English is still my only expertise (obviously). I can understand Tagalog, but it takes me a while to speak it. I studied French for 6 years, but I am not fluent in in. I can pick out certain words here and there, but I can't carry on a conversation. I've always been interested in ASL and I am slowly learning, but I'm not an expert yet. The reason this is my dilemma is because I only know how to bear my testimony in English (and I must say I'm pretty good with my words when I'm feeling the Spirit). I know that whatever language I will be assigned to speak the Spirit will help me learn, but I don't want to end up being frustrated (like I usually was with French). I often am a positive thinker and think I can do things when sometimes I clearly can't. However I also think it will be a wonderful challenge to fully depend on the Lord and the Spirit in learning to teach and bear my testimony in another language.

Jared and Nathan Lim, two young men in my ward who are currently on their missions, have an interesting experience with this whole language thing (as so I have heard from their family/friends). Jared is very good at speaking and connecting with people by being funny and making jokes. He was called as an English-speaking missionary in Washington, D.C. Nathan on the other hand does not control what comes out of his mouth sometimes. He was called as a Mandarin-speaking missionary in Hong Kong, and now he has to think before he speaks. His family found it funny how that worked out. I'm leaning towards Jared's side just because I am better in expressing myself when I can do it in a language I am fluent in. Plus, it takes me enough thinking before I say anything in much more thinking do I have to do before I speak if it were in a different language?

These are just my thoughts, THUS the reason it is question numero uno at General Conference.

- Ariana Rae Limas ♥
live well . laugh hard . love big .

Work and the Glory quote

Friday, March 23, 2012

The following is one of my favourite quotes from The Work and the Glory volume 6: Praise to the Man.

He laughed. "Let me tell you something, Olivia. If my enemies think I claim to be perfect, they are fools. I am but a rough stone. The sound of the hammer and chisel was never heard on my until the Lord took me in hand. And it has been a painful process at times." 
"Really? Even for you?" 
"Even for me. Not long ago I told the Saints that I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain. The only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else. The faster I roll, the more I strike with accelerated force against such things as religious bigotry, priestcraft, and all manner of evil." His voice softened noticeably. "So it has always been with me, and so, I suppose, it shall always be-- all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there until I shall become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty. I ask for nothing more, and hope for nothing less."
Joseph Smith talking to Olivia Medenhall Steed, page 570.  

How wonderful a quote that is! I thought it would be perfect to share on my blog since it is something I talk about all the time. All the trials and tribulations we face are just tests the Lord puts us through because He wants to perfect us. If we are not tried then we do not gain the experience we need to be perfected unto the Lord. We must not forget that when trials come we need to be steadfast in our faith. The more we live righteously, the harder Satan tries to bring us down. I know that Heavenly Father does not give us trials or temptations that we cannot handle. All we need to do is trust in Him and have faith and we will learn what He wants us to from the experience.

- Ariana Rae Limas ♥
live well . laugh hard . love big .

That's quite the thought there, Emma

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just thought this was perfectly said. Modesty for the win!

Institute - Job

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just some thoughts from Institute

Job 2:6-10...we are taught:
- Satan is real and destructive
- All we have is from God
- Satan is the father of all lies
- Obedience is our 1st priority
- We need the Saviour

Statement: Satan exists. Satan is permitted to afflict man for a period of time. He has great power to destroy me. But as I turn to the Saviour with all my heart, he has no power over me.

I am IN LOVE with the following verses from Job:

 10 But he aknoweth the way that I take: when he hath btried me, I shall come forth as gold.

 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
We watched a part of this video with Elder Quentin L. Cook:

Last but not least, the following is a quote that really stood out to me. Elder Richard G. Scott says:
When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you to blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? ..."This life is an experience in profound trust--trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings. ... To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Proverbs 3:5-7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18-19; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
I LOVE that quote! Everything I share on this post are things that stood out to me in Institute because it emphasizes the things I try to blog about. My teacher, Bro. Mcmullen came up with this really cool analogy:


Diamond = GODHEAD

If you don't get it, this might explain it :)
"You can handle pressure brilliantly.
Burdens that threaten to destroy us can transform us if we trust in the Lord"

God is good. Why not be happy? :)

Such an inspiring story.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

As I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed this morning, I came across this video that two of my friends had posted:

It had me in tears! It is such an inspirational story. I just love how much love you can see between the son and the father. The first thing that popped into my mind when the father helped his son was our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We are all on this journey trying to reach our eternal goals and we are fortunate enough to have a Heavenly Father who loves us and is ALWAYS there by our side, whether it's cheering us on when we are doing well or lifting us up when we are struggling. It is such a beautiful story. Fortunately enough, we happen to be living this story on a day-to-day basis. There are most definitely struggles in my life but I am so grateful for my relationship with  my Heavenly Father that gets me through everything. I'm grateful that I have a Heavenly Father who listens to me and comforts we when I need it, and then quietly brings a burning in my bosom when I know I am doing what He wants me to do. When I think about how much love I have for Him and how incredibly huge His love is for me, it brings me to tears. Not only do I feel so fortunate to have a testimony of His existence, but I feel the need to reach out to those who don't. I can't imagine what it feels like to NOT know that there is a Father in Heaven watching over each and every one of us. All the more reason to share the Gospel and let everyone know that there is a Father in Heaven that loves them and there is a Saviour who is their best friend and loves them too. 

- Ariana Rae Limas ♥
live well . laugh hard . love big .
my lovely chaos © . QUINN CREATIVES DESIGN .