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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Fall Lovelies

It’s a cool night. I sit by the window, snuggled in a sweater, listening to the soft rain tapping on the roof and dripping past the porch. No matter how dreary it can be, I love this season. It reminds me of Scotland and urges me to cook soup and drink chai. Both of which happen to be among the most delightful nourishments in the world.

This delicious recipe, featuring chicken stock, potatoes, and veggies, can be found here.

soup

This beauty of a beverage can be found here.

chai

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Zest for Life

Over the past few weeks I have been working my way through My Life in France. Julia Child’s scintillating memoir was written with the help of her grandnephew just a few months prior to her death. Though the film Julie & Julia has led to a greater awareness of Child’s life work, she has always been a decidedly inspiring character, both in the kitchen and in life.

I was initially intimidated by the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but once I jumped in, I realized how truly simple they are. They are wholesome, made with real, fresh ingredients, and simply explained. Though Julia’s dishes seem impressive, they really are quite easy when you tackle them with “courage of conviction.” She makes it a breeze to approach the kitchen with vim and vigor.

After reading My Life in France, I’ve come to understand that Julia Child’s life was much the same. From the outside, it appears that her life was completely extraordinary. Living abroad for so many years, writing an authoritative cookbook, becoming a tremendous TV hit–it all seems rather incredible. And yet from the inside, within her memoir, I can see how simple her life really was. She gave her full energy to thoroughly enjoying every day. Though her adventures seem fantastic, they were merely the product of her zest for life.  She had no fear in confronting whatever came next, no matter how overwhelming or enormous it seemed to be. Disappointments, though real, were interpreted as speed bumps rather than devastating disasters. Above all, she had fun.

There’s a lesson there. I hope to view my life as Julia Child viewed hers, as an adventure to be embraced with total and hilarious enthusiasm.

julia

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Morning Coffee

It’s been a busy week.  Between work, writing projects, getting together with friends, cleaning out clutter, and whatever it is we do with our days, it feels like time is flying by.

My parents are moving to a new, smaller house. They had a garage sale last weekend and I also got rid of a lot of things. But because they have less space to store all of my childhood relics, I’ve been having to decide what to do with some of them. Because our apartment is small,  and we value our open space, we generally have a one-in one-out policy. This means that if we acquire new stuff, something has to leave. On Sunday I absolutely purged and re-arranged the whole place, which created both a huge bag of Salvation Army items and an effective workspace for me. Unfortunately, I also brought back the heat, since I took the opportunity to put away my summer clothes in bins.

Clearing away clutter is tough. But I’ve realized lately that I don’t want to be defined by my Stuff, nor do I want to cling to it as if it will save my life someday.  Regardless of all the little things filling my house, I have no more or less security because of them.  I want to value my relationships and my time.  Stuff takes on symbols of relationships and time, but it is not a substitute for it. And I must prioritize. I can throw away scraps of paper and keep long, heartfelt letters.  I can get rid of that thing that I bought at that thrift store and never wore, while still treasuring the friend who was with me when I bought it.  Above all, I want to enjoy my life without being weighed down by clutter and the guilt that comes with keeping it and with getting rid of it.

I’m so thankful for what we have.  But sometimes the little things like cake with my morning coffee do more for my soul than anything that sits around collecting dust.

cake

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For Saturday

I finally found a fictional character who most closely replicates my style of cooking.

 

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Mellow Fruitfulness

My quick getaway to visit The Erratic Artist was truly sensational. We talked and laughed incessantly, in near proportion to how often and how much we ate.  We celebrated God’s provision and enjoyed the blossoming of new and old friendships. I returned rested and re-energized. (When sand and sushi are involved, refreshment typically results.)

I arrived home where my darling husband and dog greeted me with open arms (or paws, in Sadie’s case).  Also there to greet me was a refrigerator full of old food.  Most notably, there were some very ripe strawberries and blueberries that were quickly heading down the path of no return. A rescue mission was summarily undertaken, and they were transformed into a delicious late-summer treat, complete with a splash of heavy cream. Find the recipe here.

staub

delish

Fall is my favorite season, and though today’s high is a whopping 96, I eagerly anticipate cool breezes, crunchy leaves, and pumpkin pie. Here’s to, as John Keats put it, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

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Today is my brother Stephen‘s 21st birthday. Instead of celebrating it surrounded by family and friends, purchasing a drink for the first time, he’s celebrating it in the fields of Lesotho. He’s training in an agriculture program which will help him, in turn, lead an agricultural program for two years in Uganda, where he’ll be teaching young men how to treat their soil well and feed their families abundantly.

We’re proud of him for his work in missions and community development. But we miss him.

Last night my family all got together for a little celebration of Stephen’s life and his birthday. We had my husband’s amazing beer bratwursts and grilled burgers, along with potato salad and lady peas that were fresh from the farmer’s market. Chocolate chip cookies, which Mason warmed up on the grill, were the perfect finish.

To close the night, we took a group photo to send to him. The first one was fairly normal.

normal

Then we got a little crazy. This is a more accurate representation.

whoa

Godspeed, my dear brother. You’re far away for this birthday, but you’re as near to our hearts as ever. We miss you and promise to feed you as much as you can eat when you return.

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Neighborhood Hope

So I live in the city, in a wacky, diverse, creative community.  This neighborhood has seen its better days, but it’s been through plenty of worse ones.  It’s scrappy and tough, and it’s determined to make it. We do our best to give it encouragement and support during our time here.

Tonight was “Fondren after Five,” a first Thursday event when retailers stay open later, host live music, and serve free wine and cheese. Mason and I took Sadie along with us as we greeted dear friends, ate a delicious cinnamon roll, checked out the salsa club, picked up the latest copy of BOOM, and listened to old-time music.  It was a fun night.

We support our neighborhood.  It’s not the coolest or the nicest, but it has a spark of life and community that is completely unique.

Fondren

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