Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Bruces!

We wanted to give a little shoutout to our good friends Terry and Ellen Bruce who are....PREGNANT!! About 8 weeks now and we are so excited for them. Please keep them in your prayers, too, because along with preparing for their first child, they are also building their first home, expected to finish in August (Ellen's due date: November 11).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homeade Nutella

The Ruggieri family is very much in love with the Italian delicacy, Nutella. Well, thanks to Mama Beahm, we received an article from the News & Record titled "the Nutella love." So, we decided to try our hand at this yummy chocolate-hazelnut confection. Here is the recipe we used:
Homeade Nutella
2 cups raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbls hazelnut oil, more as needed (I couldn't find this, so I used Walnut Oil)
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a rimmed cookie sheet and roast until they darken and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp towel and rub to remove skins.
3. In a food processor (large one if you have it), grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter, scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes. (*really do this for a while to make sure it is smooth)
4. Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. The finished product should have the consistency of peanut butter; if it is too dry, process in a little extra oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove to a container, cover and refigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refigerated. It will keep for at least a week.

Here is a shot of our first attempt:

We don't have a large enough food processor so ours was a little crunchy.
Try it if you want, it was certainly delicious!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Twas the night before Madness

My friend Tim told me that the opening day of the NCAA tournament was better than Christmas morning for him. I love Christmas morning, so therefore I can't say I am as excited about tomorrow as being with family on Christmas morning, sharing gifts, eating egg/cheese cassarole, etc... but I will say I am excited for this basketball filled few weeks. I think I would compare the NCAA tournament more to that last round of fireworks on the 4th July. I mean, the regular season has been great, just as a fireworks show always is. But it isn't until the finale, that last round of fireworks all in a row that makes you go "Wow!" That is pretty much the way I feel about these first and second rounds. Call me a basketball nerd... but at least my wife feels the same way! :)

I am predicting a lot of upsets this year. This year had numerous different #1's. From UNC, to UCONN, to PITT, to Wake, to Duke even... no team clinging to that top spot for long. So it is really wide open this year. Last year all the #1's made it, but this year I don't think it will be that way. I think there are too many good teams sitting there in the middle that can get hot, and a handful of teams at the top that are all worthy of that one shining moment. And that's the madness of it all.

Good luck to all this year's competitors in the annual Beahm family Bracket! Last year's winner was Dad, thanks to a KU National Championship! Will he repeat, or will a new champion arise? Perhaps even a new Beahm will be crowned champion? (watch out, she knows her college basketball!)

Enjoy the tournament everyone... and GO HEELS!

- MB

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mom's Pizza

So, if you know the Ruggieri's well, you know of a little tradition we call Pizza Sunday. Every Sunday, mama Ruggieri made (and still makes) fabulous and delicious pizza for the fam. Delicious is an understatement, really. Homeade crust, sauce, the works. I made it once before while living in Charleston, but it just didn't turn out well and I got discouraged. Two years later, I thought I'd try again...someone has to carry on the tradition! On Sunday I tried my hand at a second attempt, and this time it wasn't too shabby! This one was made on a pizza stone (which Mom didn't use) and with organic tomato sauce (we shop at Trader Joe's), but all in all, I am encouraged to keep trying...and Michael has no problem with that!

Thanks Mom for the great SECRET family recipe!! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God's Ways Are Not Our Ways

I was reminded of this when reading my Experiencing God Day-by-Day devotional a few days ago...I wanted to share this with everyone because especially at times like this it is hard to keep our focus on God's sovereign power. Here it is:

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.''
-Isaiah 55:8-9

Rarely does God do something exactly as we think He will. Our problem is that we try to second-guess God, saying, “Oh, now I know what God is planning to do!” Moses experienced this as he learned how God was going to deliver the Hebrews out of Egypt. God told him He would harden Pharaoh’s heart. Yet, the result was not what Moses anticipated. Rather than allowing the Hebrews to leave, Pharaoh increased their hardship. Rather than becoming a hero among the Hebrews, Moses was despised by them for bringing greater suffering. Moses returned to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?”(Exod. 5:22). Much of the frustration we experience as Christians has nothing to do with what God does or doesn’t do. It has everything to do, rather, with the false assumptions we make about how we think God will and should act.

Have you ever done the will of God and then things seemed to become worse? Moses completely misunderstood what the results of His obedience to God would be. When things did not turn out as he anticipated, Moses became discouraged. God had told Moses what to do, but He had not told Moses what the consequences would be.

It is foolish to attempt to do God’s work using your own “common sense.” God does not eliminate your common sense, He consecrates it. He gives you His wisdom so you can understand His ways.

As you look back on God’s activity in your life, you will recognize the supreme wisdom in how He has led you. As you look forward to what God may do, be careful you do not try to predict what He will do next. You may find yourself completely off the mark.

~Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby's devotional truly touches my heart everyday. It is one of my two favorites, along with the classic My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. If you are desiring a closer relationship with our Lord check these out!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Joe comes to Boston

Joe (Lynn's brother) came up to Boston to play in the Doug Flutie basketball tournament this past weekend. Michael and I met up with him on Friday night and stayed through the games on Saturday. We enjoyed an evening in Boston's North End (our Little Italy) showing Joe around town. We shared with Joe our favorite dessert location, Mike's Pastry, which is an iconic pastry shop. Joe fell in was much like our Grandma Ruggieri's kitchen of pastries!

Joe has always been a role model for me (Lynn) in basketball so it was fun to watch him in action on had been 9 years! Michael and I were the team's official fans. Although they went 4-0 in the "regular season" they lost in the first game of the playoffs. Overall, it was a fun weekend for us having Joe in town.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shoutout! ASU Alumni Blog

If you are an Appalachian State alum, then you probably know about the Alumni blog, "What's hAPPening?" It is a great way to stay up to speed on ASU events, sports, etc...

Well, our fabulous wedding and ASU alumni picture (below) made the blog post for today.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Beantown Visitors

On Saturday, we had an NC/Westover reunion in Beantown as our friend Micah O'hare came up to Boston from Vanderbilt for a Spring Break service project. He had the day off on Saturday, so Jill, Lynn and I spent Saturday showing him and his girlfriend Shana around Cambridge and Boston.

We had lunch at a pub in Cambridge called John Harvard's where we watched the UNC-GT game, and then took a stroll through Harvard University. We then hopped on the subway and headed in to Boston to check out the Boston Common, Cheers, and Fenway Park... which Jill vailently attempted to get us in to, but unfortunately security wouldn't allow. So, instead huddled around the Ted Williams statue outside the stadium.

We then headed over to the North End to see Quincy Market, the harbor and grab an authentic Italian meal in the North End. It took us a while to sift through the plethora of white table cloth restaurants in the North End and find a quick, affordable meal that suited a group of winded tourists, but we finally did.

After dinner Micah and Shana took the subway back down to Cambridge where their group is staying, and Jill, Lynn and I hopped on the train back up to Beverly. We were definitely spent from all the walking, but impressed at how much we were able to show Micah and Shana of the city. Lynn and I also really enjoyed being in the city for the first time as a married couple, since most of our time this semester has been spent in Beverly and Portsmouth.


Monday, March 2, 2009

New England Snow!

These are some shots from our New England "Mega-Storm" yesterday and today. They were taken at the end of our street. 12 inches and still coming down!

Book Signing in Portsmouth

One of the nice things about working in an area where I manage books is that I can actually attend some of the events I set up. Friday night was only the second time I have been able to be at a signing I scheduled. It was for our new Portsmouth Firefighting book by Assistant Firefighting Chief Steve Achilles. Steve has been a really fun author to work with, and he is especially well-known in town, which makes publicity a lot easier for me! The event was held at Maine-ly New Hampshire, a quaint local shop that only sells local New Hampshire and Maine items. Owners Ken and Deborah Smith are a hoot and certainly love what they do! Here are some shots from the night:


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Basketball Wound

It is said that a picture paints a thousand words... so I'll keep this post brief. On Friday while playing noon basketball I was on the receiving end of another guy's head while he was driving to the basket. I knew the damage was going to be bad right after it happened, but for the next 36 hours it didn't look too bad. Then I woke up this morning to this. It mainly looks worse than it feels, so Mom don't worry too much.