Recipe Testing with The Yellow Table

DSC03301This past week I had the privilege of recipe testing for The Anne Watson Carl of The Yellow Table, a New York City based cook who is self publishing her first cookbook this coming Christmas! I learned of Anna’s blog through my sister’s friend who is a good friend of Anna…so I feel like I practically know her personally! 

Several months ago, Anna invited readers, family, and friends to recipe test and I eagerly volunteered. Anna’s recipes are delicious and sure to be enjoyed by everyone who cooks and creates from her cookbook! She is passionate about sharing life together around the table, and I was able to do just that while testing these recipes. Not only did my husband and I benefit, but we were able to have impromptu company to share in the tasting part of the testing. And that, I really like: cooking and have company.DSC03312Along with a panini and burger recipe, I tested a Lamb Tagine dish, something I’ve been intimidated to try for a long time, so I’m glad I got to do it finally! DSC03358DSC03298DSC03335It was a busy week, and I had left the testing to last minute so some of it had to get done late when I got home. It was a true taste of what Anna has been doing for the last year! In the picture above I am really enjoying myself and happy to be cooking despite it being eleven p.m. and my expression!

My only regret is that I wasn’t able to complete all of the four recipes given to me to test due to the lack of ground lamb readily available in our area. And is there a story for that. In brief, we searched our city for a butcher with ground lamb and made a second unsuccessful stop at a specialty South African meat shop. Think indigenous South African taxidermy everywhere. I, being on a mission to get this ground lamb or else, walked right past a stuffed (from the shoulders up) giraffe. A. real. one. It was huge and impossible to miss. But missed it I did and walked right past to plead for one pound of ground lamb. Just. One. Pound. But alas, there was none. And my husband, who later told me he couldn’t look at anything or anyone else in the eye because this giraffe was staring at him, pointed the poor guy out to me before we left the shop. I stopped and said, “Really? Seriously? Where?” And two feet away…how peculiar. DSC03324DSC03349My amateur photography doesn’t do the experience and recipes the justice they deserve, but I still wanted to chronicle the process as I’ve been looking forward to it for months!

Thank you to Anna and her team for the honor in inviting us to take part! I hope it is a help!

 

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I’m Gonna Read Instead

Read InsteadI’ve seen this poster floating around the internet these days and when I have, I tell you, I’m off the internet in a flash and reading, or gardening, or creating. Because this is a wonderful message about what summer (and winter) is for. (The irony is that I had to see it on the internet to be inspired in the first place.)

Summer is the best time to read instead of internetting….facebooking….blog reading or writing…It’s the best time to be out walking…exploring…swimming…instead of being inside so much. And this is coming from a rainy-day lover! So for me, it’s either “Get out” or “Read instead”.

I hope it’s a wonderful summer for you too! What have you been up to? No wait, don’t tell me! Go outside…or start reading Harry Potter, a classic, cookbooks!

Photo credit: BOOK/SHOP

 

 

 

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Pizza At Home 101

DSC03200Even before our honeymoon to Italy, where we had a steady diet of amazing pizza for lunch and dinner most days, we were pizza lovers. My parents can make a mean pizza, so I grew up with an almost weekly tweaking and tasting of this wonderful food. It can also be one of the easiest, most cost effective meals to make at home.  This is how we do our pizza at home. Our’s is pretty straight forward, often changing it a bit each time.

Preheat oven to….ummm…about….450? 475? See, I never know. Something high. You can’t go wrong.

ONE- Let the dough (pre-made or homemade) come to room temperature (this way it won’t spring back on you when rolling out)

TWO- Flour a large surface and roll out dough with a well floured rolling pin. Roll until very thin (the dough will always puff up a bit when baking).

THREE- Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and fit dough to pan using fingertips.

FOUR- Sauce: Using an immersion blender, puree a can of whole or crushed tomatoes (It’s easiest to just sit the immerse blender in the can itself). Add some olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and a pinch of salt.

FIVE- Spread a ladleful of sauce on the dough. Then cover with toppings (we do fresh mozzarella, turkey or regular sausage, peppers, onions, basil, spinach, goat cheese in various combinations; my mom makes a great white pizza with swiss chard and Romano cheese). Drizzle with olive oil.

SIX- Bake until crust is crisp (about 15 minutes). Then, mangiare! Eat!DSC03194These pictures where taken by my sister, Laura, on our recent vacation to Connecticut.

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Lately

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This summer has been really, really enjoyable. We’re settling into our new place and making it our own. These instagram images are a good taste of what summer has been like so far. Sweet, quiet, warm, creative. Now that I am only teaching part-time at the college I have all of Tuesday and Thursday’s to do other things. It’s wonderful to be able to spend an entire day cooking, reading, helping others, errand running. I’m grateful for this unique season of more time. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.45.58 PM

We now have a potted garb garden with basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and lavender. Most of which I use regularly. The lavender I need to harvest (any suggestions), but I walk by, pick a bud and smush it between my fingers to enjoy it’s relaxing aromatic aromas. Mmmm…

And then I have taken on a few little DIY projects. All of which I will share once they’re done…the trick it to not bite off more than you can chew, but oh, that is oh-so-tempting! DSC03292Our homemade pizza 101 coming up!

 

 

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Ode To Providence

DSC03153This church; it was the very first Baptist Church in America. College Hill; where it is located within quaint, colonial Providence. It was truly breathtaking.

We stayed more in a more urban area of the city in the Biltmore Hotel. There were murals, and we walked to and from a wonderful italian dinner in Federal Hill, which we learned has something to do about federalism in a not-so-hill-like area of town. Jordan does the research, I just listen. Ish. DSC03122DSC03127And here I would like to write a little letter to Providence.

Dear Providence,

It is no coincidence that you would have my exact dream cottages. I’ll be by to pick it up and plunk it right down in central Ontario any day.

Sincerely,

An all American girl who just can’t shake that all American lookDSC03181DSC03160For each city we have visited since going to Italy, we have walked many a kilometer just to find a bit of gelato. And we did. The perfect antidote to a stroll along the water on a summer night. DSC03185DSC03187DSC03136And this anniversary night was made possible by my dear parents. Thank you both so much!

 

 

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Blueberry Muffins

DSC03038On Saturday morning my sister, Laura, made these fantastic muffins from one of our favorite cookbooks. I ate three of these soft, fluffy muffins. Make them for when you have morning guests next!

GP’s Blueberry Muffins – slightly adapted from My Father’s Daughter

8 tablespoons, unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 egg

1/2cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.

Whisk the butter, eggs, and milk together in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold in the blueberries. Divide among the muffin cups and sprinkle the muffins with a little sugar on top of each.

Bake until toothpick tests clean and the muffins are golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Vacation

DSC03067Life’s been pretty wonderful these past few days. I didn’t realize how wound-up I was until decompressing with my family in their new home on the lake. Having no agenda, no deadlines, and no alarm has been therapeutic. We’re really grateful for the time. And lest I spend a moment longer on the computer on this beautiful day, a few photos from our time so far…DSC02979DSC03056DSC03060DSC03024DSC03048We’re off to Providence, RI tomorrow for a visit with Grandma and an anniversary overnight. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!!

Until soon!

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Baking With Lady Mary

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We will be visiting family and vacationing for a visit that feels long overdue. I can’t wait to squeeze my niece and nephew, talk with my mama over tea, and go for a walk with my daddy; have girl time with my sister and watch my brother-in-law with the kids.

It’s going to be a good time.

And at random today I stumbled across Michelle Dockery’s instagram and thought it was cute. Wouldn’t it be fun to bake with Lady Mary Crawley? Even though she’s a fictitious character, Michelle still has that graceful, smooth british accent, so I’m sure it would be like the same thing.

Enjoy the longest day of the year coming up! We’ll be tickling little bellies, sitting by the lake, and enjoying the New England breeze when it comes.

photos credit: @theladydockers

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What Immigration Looks Like Part 4

DSC02885Maybe I should call this “Part 2 & 3 Repeated” because, friends, we had a bit of a hiccup. Long story-short-ish, we had to withdraw our application in order that I might continue working in Canada easily until I get permanent residency. Everything was fine and Jordan had actually been approved to sponsor me…but we just couldn’t swing me working here in Canada AND waiting 30 months for the New York office to approve my part of the application.

Could we have avoided this? Yes and No. Well, maybe just no. At the time we submitted our previous application we were in between decisions: seminary for Jordan in the States or full time ministry in Ontario. If the former, I would have to apply outside Canada, if the latter, within Canada. So we took a leap of faith and went outside…this way I could still freely visit my family and re-enter EVEN if we stayed inside Canada.

Three weeks ago, Jordan committed to a more long term full-time position at our church, and we’re now settling into a several-year stay here in Ontario. We’re excited! It’s a great thing! We’re grateful to God for his guidance!

But for me to keep working we have to take a difference route. You’d think withdrawing would be a piece of cake, but it actually can take several weeks. The law is a complicated thing, but they sure have thought of it all. Sheesh!

God, in His mercy, allowed for our application to be withdrawn in THREE DAYS (unheard of!) and today, this very day, I am sending off our new application.

Soooo, what does that look like? They keep your previous application, so nothing is sent back to you, so see Part 1, 2, and 3. The same exact process. Original FBI check again, fingerprints, application fees, passport photos, etc. (I even had to get a new shirt at WalMart when I got my pictures taken because of course I was wearing the wrong colored shirt). It’s a great thing we made copies of everything before we send it out.

Sounds sticky…foolish even, but we have learned so much about trusting God’s best for our lives.DSC02910So the last week has looked like this. Concentrating, double checking, re-printing and…DSC02946heading off to the post office once again. :)

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3 Things I’m Loving In Our New Home

DSC02874Today I Googled “what do gargoyles in front of your house represent”. Walking in our new neighborhood–our lovely, quiet, nature-surrounded neighborhood– I pass by not one, but two, homes with decorative gargoyles.

Oddly enough, I had just learned a couple of weeks ago that statues of lions in front of a home is an Italian symbol of having either paid off a mortgage or being wealthy enough to not need one. Hm.

My Google search revealed that gargoyles are not in fact the French proclamation of “Hey, everyone, we paid off our mortgage!” but rather there for the purpose of warding off evil…or acting as a water duct system to avoid damage on 21st century architecture. So, power to our gargoyling neighbors.

DSC02881Naturally, we’re still settling into our new apartment. But here are three things I love so much so far…

1) All the natural light pouring in through the large windows as I cook, grade, or fold laundry.

2) Our little table, that can transform to seat 10, and that it’s by the window.

3) A laundry room

And there is art to be hung, a pantry to be arranged, and clothing to be stored, but we love it so much! Cutting our commute in half has also relieved stress and freed up time for togetherness and enjoying these summer evenings.

All are welcome, so come by and visit!

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