Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last Day at QuicKutz

(By Daniel)

My last day at work was actually about a month ago, but moving to the other side of the world has kept us pretty busy, so I am only getting to writing about it now. QuicKutz is a scrap-booking company for which I worked for about 5 years while going to BYU. I worked in the tool department, quality assurance, and fulfillment during that time, so I got to know lots of great people there. On my last day, I brought the camera with me so that I could remember people. I thought that the pictures came out really well, so I'm putting them up for everyone to see. I guess if someone doesn't like their picture I don't have to worry because I'm too far away for them to come after me. Take a look for yourself. This first one is Marriner breaking plates.

Next is Stacey and Kris, my supervisors.

These next two are of the sanding room (where we took the rough edges off of metal dies). This was my favorite place in the world and I miss it dearly (yeah?). Chani is the one smiling in the back.

Here we have Brad in the sanding room. Great guy, but he doesn't know a thing about sports--he actually thinks Utah has a good football team.

And here is Christine.

Here is Jackie; in the breaking room we referred
to her as the mean one.

The next two are of Crystal and Steven. I must have been very lucky to have caught Steven at work--it is a rather rare occurrence.

This is Mo: she was having a good day
until I pointed the camera at her.

Nona was gracious enough to let me take a picture, but she didn't share her pudding.
(I actually didn't ask her for any and she probably would have shared had I asked)

Winding down, we have Chris in shipping, where he is supposed to be (not snatching CDs from the breaking room).

And there's TJ; ladies, you'll have to wait till he gets back from his mission. Has he found out where he is going by the way?

Last of all there's . . . Me!

(I was acting like I was working)
I hope that everyone has been respecting my employee of the month parking space rules this past month.

Seriously, I had a great time working at QuicKutz. Anytime you spend that much time in one place, it can get boring, so I am glad that I had some good people to work with. I hope no one is too upset about that Utah comment, or their photo for that matter. I just wanted to get Brad going. I actually root for Utah when they aren't playing BYU. If anyone is upset about their picture . . . tough; I did the best I could, and I think you look spectacular.

(disclaimer: sorry to those whose picture that I didn't get. I tried to get as many people as I could. Perhaps you are happy that I didn't embarrass you online)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An End and a new Beginning

Hey everyone. Sorry it has a been a long time since our last post and I know that many of you are wondering about how Seoul, South Korea is. Well, it is wonderful. But maybe we should start from the beginning...or should I say the end...or the end of the beginning...

The last week in Provo was really very stressful and hectic for us. Because storage units were almost none existent at the time, all our moving plans were pushed back until the last week. But, we finally got all of our junk out of there and the place clean the day before we were supposed to leave for Seoul. We had a few delays on our trip. We left San Francisco for Incheon about 4 hours later then planned because there was some problem with the the plane's auxiliary power. Anyhow, we made it Seoul. We were greeted at the airport by my uncles and a big van to carry all of our bags. (6 from us and 2 from my mom.)

Things have been hectic for us here as well, since we needed to find an apartment, get Daniel ready for his classes at Seoul National University, learn the subway and bus system, get a cell phone (they are called hand phones here), get the internet, open a Korean bank account, and all the necessary supplies to start living on our own in a foreign country. But, despite the hardships of these past 2 weeks, we really like it here in Seoul. On one of our walks we took around our apartment complex, Daniel and I discussed how the nightlife in Seoul is very different than that of Washington DC. It feels much safer here to be out at night. There are so many people out and about (I think it is because Korean people like don't go to bed until after 1:00 in the morning), shopping, and eating, going to noraebangs, etc. It is a very vibrant city!

I did set up a new blog site for our experience in Korea. The new site is I will be blogging on that site from now on until we get back to the USA and then I will resume our old blog. I need to figure out some things on Wordpress though, so the site might be changing a lot each time you visit. So, this is a new beginning for It is finally here. I thought that we would never get to Korea, and here we are....

We really miss all of you guys and we want to definitely stay in touch! Thanks so much for all of you who helped us move out of our apartment in Provo! See you guys later!

Monday, August 6, 2007

A little knowledge

The other day, I ran into this book at Costco:
Everyone Poops, written by Japanese author Taro Gomi, is a humorous biological children's book about a very natural process that everyone does: poop. I couldn't help myself, so I read it. It is really rather charming and cute. At Costco, you can buy this book as a set with The Holes in Your Nose, The Gas we Pass, and All About Scabs. I enjoyed it because Maya is learning to potty train right now and I don't pass (no pun intended!) a day in which I explain what we are supposed to do in the bathroom. I really think that I will go back and buy that set.... for Maya of course. ;)

It is done

I just finished the 7th book in the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling and it was really good. I came into the book with mixed feelings. I started the 7th book later than most people, since I wanted to read through the 5th and 6th books in their entirety before I began the 7th. Then because of that, I went to watch the 5th Harry Potter movie. I was sorely disappointed. Note to self: do not watch the movie right after finishing the book. Anyway, I was curious and read some reviews about the 7th book. A lot of people really liked it and a lot of people really didn't like it. There were a lot of criticisms about the book and the lack of developed characters. But, I for one, believe it was well done. Albeit, there were some odd parts, but this is J.K Rowling's story, not mine.

I read this article online about the Atheistic leanings of the Harry Potter story (thanks to a friend), but did anyone else find the ending had a lot of Christian symbolism in it?

Monday, July 30, 2007


Each child with their unwavering curiosity and bold truthfulness can only be described as innocent. Just the other day, Maya shocked me yet again (I have recently been shocked by her ability to form complete sentences and a whole slew of "innocent" misdeeds). She likes to play at the kitchen sink and "wash" things. Well as she was doing that one evening, I sat down at our dining table to make a note of all the things that would be needed for our upcoming camping trip. I looked up lost in thought, and vaguely noticed Maya crawling off of the chair by the sink. I barely noticed her walking over to me with purpose, and I definitely didn't notice that her little hands were concealing something until it was too late. She looked at the notepad I was writing on, took a quick glance at me, and before I knew it, she poured a cupful of water onto the table. I was quick enough to save the paper at least. I was so shocked. This was definitely a calculated act towards me. But it was not out of malicious intent. Only out of her curiosity to see what would happen and how I would react. *sigh* ahhh...the innocence of childhood.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Four years is not nearly long enough

Two days ago Daniel's little sister, Hana, got engaged to her longtime sweetheart, Benji. That night, they came over to our apartment to announce the news we all knew was inevitable. As they were recounting the story and showing us the beautiful ring, I couldn't help but let my mind wander. It was taken back four years to the night when Daniel and I had gotten engaged. As Hana couldn't help smiling, I remember that I too, was all smiles as I knew that I was going to marry the most wonderful man. A cell phone ring brought my thoughts back to the present and I saw Daniel sitting there talking with his future brother-in-law. I saw a man who is smart and capable and who loves me with all of his heart, and more if he could. My eyes shifted back to the happy engaged couple and as I saw them snuggle and looking into each other's eyes with anticipated excitement, I knew that the love between Daniel and I had grown.

As I look at our Maya or as I feel the comfort of just being near Daniel I know that our love has matured. We have grown together as we faced both the good times and the bad, we've grown closer and more aware of each other and we have fallen even deeper in love with each other's better self. You see, we were once like Hana and Benji, excited and feeling like we could never love this person more than now. But, because of a miracle, we love each other even more, and I know that that love will grow even more, and I thank God over and over for that.

Happy Anniversary Daniel!

and Congratulations Hana and Benji! I hope that you will find as much love and fulfillment as we have found in being together!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Realization

Disclaimer: This post may contain offensive material to some, so read at your own risk.
Disclaimer 2: When I talk about "sushi" I am only referring to the maki, futomaki,and nigiri types (the more well-known). I realize that sushi is the coverall term for many different types.

I have realized that for the past 5 or so years, I have basically lied to myself. I have let my own self pride cloud my vision, and what's worse I have hurt others around me.....until I saw this:
I ran into this little cartoon from "toothpaste for dinner" awhile ago and it started me thinking. Do I really love sushi as much as I claim to other people that I do? Or do I tell them that sushi is the best, only to fit their (and my) stereotype of what an Asian should like to eat? Or is it because I am known to like unusual foods (sushi being an unusual food)? Whatever the reason may have been, when I first ate sushi (when I was 12, in Korea) and found that it was not bad, that it was actually good, I felt proud of myself that I had yet another exotic food to add to my expanding repertoire. Sushi became an invaluable tool to me as it became more and more popular here in the United States. In conversations about weird foods, I could wield sushi and fell my opponents as I proved to them that I was the most "well ate" person in the group. As time passed sushi morphed from a food that I had eaten and thought good, to one of the best kept secrets of Asian cuisine. My speech slowly became praises and odes to those little rolls of rice, fish, and seaweed. I even scoffed at people who had decided to turn up their noses at sushi (and fish in general) before they even tried it. NOTE: I firmly believe that you should try the food before you go around saying it's disgusting. But, I wasn't being honest. Though I did like sushi, I didn't like it as much as I lead on. I actually like kimbap (the Korean version of sushi) better. I had eaten kimbap all my life and I find the unique combination of seasoned vegetables, egg, and sometimes cooked meat and fish a lot more satisfying to the palate then it's Japanese counterpart. Cooked fish has a lot more flavor then raw fish, trust me. Plus, you don't get to eat kimchi with your sushi at a sushi house, unlike eating it with kimbap.

What I do like about sushi

1. Aesthetically pleasing. They are little masterpieces!
2. Texture of raw fish. My favorite sushi, is nigiri sushi (the little rice logs with a piece of raw fish laying on top). I really enjoy the texture of the raw fish more than the actual taste.
3. The whole sushi eating experience...very Japanese.
4. The Inari sushi. Fried tofu, stuffed with seasoned rice...yum^^

What I don't like about sushi

1. Much blander than its Korean cousin, the kimbap.
2. Too expensive. I don't like shelling out $14 for 4 pieces of rather small sushi(and I don't care how rare the fish is).
3. I never feel that my hunger is completely satisfied.
4. Accidentally putting too much wasabi in my soy sauce.

So after coming to my new found realization and liberation, I often wonder why so many other people claim that they absolutely love sushi and must live with it or die. One reason could be that they are Japanese and feel it a national duty to love sushi (or they really do love their native foods :)), another reason could be that some people are somewhat faking it like me, just to be in the "in" crowd of exotic food eaters. Either way, there are a lot of other seafood options that are much more tasty then sushi.

ok, so if you don't take my word for it, let us go to a more scientific source....

In the April 2007 edition of National Geographic the cover displayed a dead swordfish caught in some trawling nets with the headline "Saving the Sea's Bounty." The article talked about how we are basically depleting fish populations by over fishing. One of the examples the article uses is that of the majestic blue-fin tuna. There used to be vast migrations of enormous schools of these fish but now they can hardly be seen anymore due to over fishing. The reason: the buttery undersides which are in popular demand in sushi bars all over the world. Now, I wholly agree that we need to have fish as part of our regular diet, but this is ridiculous! Fish have like a million eggs each time they spawn (albeit, most get eaten by predators), but we are eating them faster than they can reproduce! It is a reality that they could be fished into extinction. Why? Because too many Europeans and Americans are crazy for sushi.

Whether the craze is real or just a fake (as my post had been talking about) it is sad to see the fish populations depleted. Not only do the fish pay the price, but so do all the millions of fisherman and woman in third world countries. Ok, enough with my environmentalist kick that I am on.

Anyway, if you are tempted to try sushi, by all means go for it. It is good, but come over to my house and I will make you some kimbap ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Summer Lovin' (thus far)

So, just as I promised I am back to post up some pics of the other things we have been up to this summer! Because of our awesome new digital camera we have a ton of pictures. I picked just a few and made collages for your enjoyment (hopefully :))

1. Graduation:
Daniel and I both graduated this April with our Bachelors degrees from Brigham Young University. I got my bachelors of arts in Linguistics with a minor in Editing and Daniel got his bachelors of arts in International Relations with a minor in Math (smarty pants!) We were so happy to be done....for now.

We had lots of support from family and friends, we are so truly blessed! Here are some pics of the family at our family barbecue to celebrate our graduation. We didn't get pics of everyone but we want everyone who was there to know that we love all of you! Daniel's dad, aunt, and dad's girlfriend, Kathy came up from New Mexico for our graduation. Two of my aunts came down from Salt Lake also to celebrate with us. Daniel also had an aunt and uncle come to the barbecue as well. And the farthest traveler? My cousin from Korea. He flew in from Korea that week to see our graduation and also to study English here at UVSC (actually that was the main reason, but he came in time for my graduation).

2. Hogle Zoo:
Our poor Maya, her second birthday fell right on finals week and we weren't able to do a lot to celebrate. So at our family barbecue we celebrated Maya's birthday along with our graduation (she even got her own little cake). We later took her up to Hogle zoo with Hana and my cousin from Korea, Young Shin, and my mother-in-law. I think that Maya liked the giraffes the best. In the pics, check out the huge iguana above Daniel and Maya, and also the white alligator (there are only 10 in the whole world!)

3. Belliston Family Reunion:
Over the Memorial day weekend we got to attend the annual Belliston Family Reunion. This year the reunion focused on Daniel's grandpa's 75th birthday. We spent Saturday down in Nephi visiting all the important places where he and their grandma grew up. We had a wonderful picnic in the park, and dinner back in Provo. Then on Sunday we all met at Uncle Carl and Aunt Michelle's new house for a wonderful lunch.

4. Visa and Passport pictures:
At the end of August we are leaving for Seoul, South Korea for 16 months. Daniel received a Fulbright Grant to do economic and political research there. Well, since we found out the news, we have been working hard to get all the necessary preparations taken care of. That meant we had to take lots of passport and visa pictures. My mom and dad also needed to get their passports renewed. So here we are. Would you issue us a visa to enter your country?

5. Random Pictures:
Here are a couple of collages of just some random pics that we took. Location: Utah Lake, Daddy's B-day party (my parent's house), Rock Canyon trailhead, Temple Square, and just here at home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Hunt for the Elusive Grayling

Hey everyone, sorry it has taken me so long to post. Since my last post so many things have happened that it is almost overwhelming to talk about. So for this post I will only talk about our camping and fishing trip and I will just post pics later for the other things we did.

This weekend Daniel, Maya, and I went up to the Uintas for a family camping and fishing trip. Daniel is on the hunt for the elusive grayling. This is a fish that he wants to catch. One of a few that he hasn't caught yet. Being the avid fisherman that he is, he searched and studied long and hard where he could actually catch these fish. He found that there are a few lakes up in the Uintas, past Heber City and Kamas, where there are grayling along with brook trout, another fish he has yet to catch. So Thursday night we made preparations and we left Friday, right after Daniel got home from work. We drove right up to the Uinta national forest and we couldn't believe how beautiful the scenery was. We also saw a ton of wildlife as we drove. We saw like a million mule deer (so many that we were afraid that we would hit one of them), yellow-bellied marmots, and my favorite--sandhill cranes.

here are just two pics of the sandhill cranes (and their babies) that Daniel took--for your sanity and mine^^

We found an awesome campground right on one of the many lakes on the Mirror Lake Highway. We camped right on Trial lake. It was absolutely gorgeous! We got there around 7:30pm. Just up from us was another campground on yet another lake, Washington Lake. Just up from that campground was the Crystal Lake Trailhead where we went hiking the next day.

here are some pics of the campground we stayed at:

and yes, I helped put our tent up! Here are some more pics of our night at Trial Lake:

We built a fire (well, Daniel built it) and enjoyed a nice rugged meal of tinfoil dinners. Basically, I made two mini meatloafs, placed them on tope of sliced potatoes, and topped them with thickly sliced onions. We enjoyed these with some sliced frenchbread and grapes that we borught with us as well. It was delicious especially after all our travelling and setting up camp. Here are some pics of the food and Maya and I patiently waiting for them to be done.

It was really fun to enjoy nature together. The only thing was that after the sun went down, it was so dang cold. Besides our sleeping bags we brought 3 big blankets to help keep us warm through the night. Daniel and I were both worried that Maya wouldn't sleep at all. She tends to not sleep if she is overly excited or scared. But to our surprise she was the first one asleep once we got her all tucked into her sleeping bag. She was way excited at first to be in the tent. She was jumping all over the place and screaming out of sheer joy! I wonder what the other campers thought :) I told Daniel not to wake me up until after the sun had come out and the place started to warm up. Funny story: so I woke up thinking it was pretty late in the morning since it was light out. Maya was still snoring away and I thought that Daniel had gone out and started the fire. I got up and looked over to where he was sleeping and all I saw was his sleeping bag folded in half (or so I thought). So I commenced getting ready so that I could help him outside and get breakfast started. Then all of the sudden his sleeping bag started to move and I totally freaked out. He was still inside his bag just all curled up and he had cinched up the hood of his bag (he has a really nice mummy bag) so I couldn't see him. He looked at his phone and it ended up being only 5:30 am! He made fun of me and how he thought that he would have to drag me out of my bag and carry me to the car.

So we had a nice breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and ham and we packed up all our stuff ready to go hiking and fishing that day.

Like I said we went to the Crystal Lake trailhead where you could take a few different trails depending on which lake you wanted to go to. Daniel was on the hunt for grayling so he planned that we would go to Marjorie Lake whose trail forked off of the main trail to Long Lake and some others.

here we are starting off on our hike (we had to bribe Maya with licorice for her to follow us):

The hike was absolutely gorgeous. It is like the first part of the Timpanooki trail up TImpanogos. There was still snow in the shaded areas. After a while we came to the fork where we needed to take another trail to get to Marjorie Lake. After taking it we found out that we were the first ones to take this trail since it snowed (and maybe since they opened the trails!). We came to a point where there was so much snow that we couldn't see the trail anymore. But we kept on hiking. Daniel was sure that we could find it (he had a topographical map, so we knew the direction we needed to head). Well we came to a small lake that we thought was Marjorie, but upon looking at the map we realized that we had to hike further. So away we went, not knowing where the trail was exactly, only thinking it was closeby. Well, after about 2 hours and not finding the lake, we determined that we were a bit lost and needed to find the trail again. What an adventure. To tell you all the truth, I was a bit worried, especially since we had Maya. But Daniel knew what he was doing and he eventually found the trail and Marjorie Lake (or so we thought)!

here are some pics of the scenery and us lost:

After we got to what we thought was Marjorie Lake we rested for lunch then commenced fishing. We all wanted Daniel to catch a grayling so that all that wondering off trail would have been worth it. At first the fishing was slow. Nothing seemed to be biting. But, Daniel is a true fisherman, and through some careful observation and a few chanced coincedences, he figured out how he could catch (a lot) of the brook trout he seemed to be seeing a lot of. After he caught his third brook trout I began to wonder how we were going to catch the prized grayling. It seemed that the Brook Trout enjoyed staying close to the shores of the lake, maybe the grayling liked the middle of the lake which could only be accessed by boat. But we enjoyed the fishing immensely. I got so many bites and finally I caught my first book trout! I also caught another one and we had it all the way up to the bank but as Daniel was trying to grab it, it fell back into the lake and swam away. Lucky day. We caught 7 brook trout total (me:1, Daniel:6). It definitely was so much fun. Maya also had a blast running around picking up assorted rocks and tossing them into the lake. She also got a kick out of the huge black ants that were there.

here are some pics of us at "Marjorie Lake":

some pics of the brook trout:

So what about the grayling, you ask. Well, After Daniel had caught his third fish and while I was fishing, he was wandering around with Maya and saw a sign. The sign said that we were at Long Lake! That's right. We never made it to Marjorie or it's prized grayling. That explains why we were only catching Brook Trout (the only fish in Long Lake are Brook). Daniel told me about this discovery as we were packing to leave for our hike back. We both had a long laugh and commenced back for our car. Needless to say our hike back was a lot shorter since we didn't have to wander aimlessly for 2 hours. We were definitely sore, sunburned, and tired, but we had a blast.

I guess the grayling will have to wait for next time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Facing my Fears

Yesterday was the second day of the water aerobics class that I think I am going to participate in this summer. For those of you who don't know, I am very weary of swimming. I don't know where my fear came from. My parents enjoy swimming, and when I was little I remember swimming at Seven Peaks. But since I have gotten older I have had this aversion to swimming pools, ponds, lakes, oceans....

I always feel disoriented when I am swimming since I have to take my contacts off because of the chlorine. So I can't even see anything. Well, I decided that water aerobics would be fun and the class description said that the class is done in the shallow pool. I can just stand up if I need to in the shallow pool right?

Well, anyway the first class was on Monday. I was nervous the whole time, but it was really fun. The interesting thing is that you don't feel exhausted while you are doing the aerobics in the pool, but when you get out of the pool that is when your muscles feel it. Before the class started I asked the instructor whether this was ok for someone like me (someone who doesn't know how to swim and who is paranoid of drowning in 3 1/2 ft. of water). She said I would be fine since I could stand up if I fall over--it is funny how everyone says that to me! She said I could stay by the side and hold on till I feel more comfortable to venture into the middle of the pool. So there I was in a class full of pregnant ladies doing something that I am terrified to do. I decided to go back on Tuesday for my second day. I felt scared and anxious as I entered the pool, but I quickly started to feel more comfortable. I was even able to let go of the wall and really get a full workout! The class is about 90% pregnant. From the barely pregnant to the really pregnant. 8% have had at least one child before, and the remaining 2% are at least married. It is really fun and a very sociable class.

Ok, I know above I said that I don't know why I am so afraid of water. But I do recall one experience that probably contributed to my paranoia (if not caused it altogether). When I was in Junior high my mom enrolled me into a swimming class at the Orem Recreational Center. It was a one-on-one class. The first class I worked on learning to float on my back. Then we progressed to the "dead man's float." That's right, that is what she called it. Basically, she wanted me to feel comfortable floating face down (like how you find dead bodies in a body of water--hence the name). She showed me how to do it and she helped me by holding my stomach up as I tried. It came time for me to do it on my own. I was still a bit nervous. She would count and then at the count of three I was supposed to fall face forward into the water. Well, the first couple of countdowns I wimped out and she had to start another countdown for me. I admit, she was probably getting frustrated that I wouldn't just do it. So, finally at the count of three she just pushed me face down into the water. It is at this point in my story that I would like to tell you yet another story. My dad had told me when I was younger how he learned how to swim. There weren't swimming lessons when he was a young boy. His cousins took him to a lake and threw him in. It was either he learned how to swim pretty quickly, or he drowned. I am still not sure if I completely believe this story, but whether or not YOU believe it is besides the point......I don't learn this way. So when the instructor just pushed me in, I started to drown. she of course pulled me up by my straps and I sheepishly finished the lesson. As soon as I saw my mom I promptly told her that that was my last lesson....EVER!

Since then I would go into a pool , but I would never completely enjoy myself. I have always been afraid to really go out and swim around.

So with all of this said I would like to posts some pics of Maya swimming at the Comfort Inn swimming pool with Daniel and Daniel's dad when they (his dad, his aunt, and his dad's girlfiriend) came up to Utah for our graduation. As you have probably figured out I am the one holding the camera and taking the pictures....outside of the pool.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Pablo and Dinner Ideas

Pablo is the newest member of the Dowler family. He is a green anole (or American Chameleon) that inhabits the ten gallon tank in our living room. We first had gotten two Cuban Tree Frogs as a belated birthday gift to Daniel from his mom. She chose to get him a small animal because he loves them and because it would be interesting for Maya. The frogs didn't do well. We had named them Miguel and Sapo and Sapo died not too long after we had bought him. Miguel was doing really well until recently when he stopped eating. We had to force feed him--which involves a credit card and me shoving a cricket into his pryed open mouth. He died a couple of days ago. After Sapo's death we had decided that we should get an anole since Daniel had had some when he was young and Miguel needed a tank mate. We named him Pablo and he has done very well. Maya absolutely loves him. She loves when we take him out (and we have confirmation that he is male--he displayed acts of male agression like doing push-ups when he encountered himself at a mirror in one of his outings) she insists that we put him on her arm and she loves to walk around with him there.

Now for the dinner ideas portion. I was making dinner and I thought that it would be cool to post up every once in a while some ideas that I have for dinner. So I wanted to post up a quick meal that any of you can make.

Spaghetti alla ceci (with homeade garlic bread and salad)

the recipe:
a can of garbanzo beans
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes (however you like it)
italian seasoning (thyme and oregano)
ground black pepper
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
olive oil
approx. 1/2 c. chicken broth
chopped up onions and/or mushrooms

You want to use a skillet or deep pan for the sauce. Heat some olive oil in the pan on medium heat (about 2 tbsp.) with the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the garlic release its fragrance.
Here, you can add the onions or mushrooms or you can just skip these all together.
Meanwhile drain the garbanzo beans and grind them up in a small food processor, add this to the oil and garlic. Next add the italian seasoning (about 1 tbsp. or however much you like). Add the chicken broth and let it cook for about 3 minutes. When the liquid starts to evaporate add the crushed tomatoes. Add the ground black pepper to your taste. let it cook for another minute or so. During all of this you can start to heat up the water to cook your spaghetti.

Also, you can make the garlic bread at this time and preheat the oven to cook the bread. Also, this is a good time to get your salad together.

When you add the spaghetti into the water go ahead and stick your bread into the oven. Set your table.

when the pasta is done you can either add the pasta to the sauce or the sauce to the drained pasta or just ladle the sauce over the plated pasta. Top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

Our dinner that we had tonight!

And proof that it actually was ok.....

Some tips:

1. Try washing the dishes as you are cooking. This really lightens the load of dishes after dinner.
2. If you can spare 5 minutes after your meal, go ahead and do the dishes then.
3. I use a lot of garlic when I cook. So, I mince up a bunch of garlic cloves ahead of time and keep them in a small glass jar in the fridge. This saves a lot of time. Sometimes I even make enough that I have an extra bag in the freezer ready for me when I run out of the fridge supply.
4. If you wash fruits ahead of time then you don't have to bother about washing them when you want to eat them, especially if you don't have a lot of time. This goes for herbs as well. However, do not wash any type of berries ahead of time (for some reason they go bad faster).
5. For those with kids, I usually will dish out Maya's portion before I am completely ready to have dinner. That way her food is completely cooled down and we can all enjoy dinner together.

There are really a lot of things you can do to save time while cooking dinner. We really can eat healthy and have good meals even though we may be working or having homework to do.

Bon Apetit!!!