Category Archives: life

What To Do With Loneliness

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My mom answered the phone in her cheery and way, “Sweety! It’s so good to hear from you!” All I could burst out between sobs was, “I’m so lonely, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this summer.” Two weeks earlier I had arrived to be a summer teen counselor at a large and very beautiful camp in Lake Country Ontario. From the first day everyone was cheerful and welcoming, but with staff and campers numbering over a thousand, I felt totally out of place.

They say when you’re homesick not to call home too much, and I knew that I just had to shake the increasing weight of loneliness I was experiencing. To me everyone looked as though they belonged, had friends, fit in. But oddly enough, once I shared how I was feeling I learned that I wasn’t alone in that feeling…even amongst those who looked on the “in”!

Determined to fulfill my role that summer, I took my loneliness and turned it into something I could give back. I was there first and foremost to counsel, befriend, and serve those high school girls. So that’s what I did. Every time I felt a hint of sadness, I walked with them to dinner. Every time I felt like I didn’t have a place, I went back to the cabin to see if anyone needed to talk. Every time I wanted to pity myself, I threw myself all the more into pouring myself out.

And it was like medicine.

Rather than being engulfed in loneliness I threw myself all the more into giving of myself as Christ did. Oddly enough, I was awarded the girls “Counselor of the Summer” (which is not the point of the story). But at the end of a hard yet rewarding fourteen weeks, I saw how God blessed a small act of obedience by freeing me from loneliness.

The greater the potential for loneliness, sadness, and out-of-placeness, the greater the potential for fruitful, peaceful, joyful living.

photo credit: ignitelight

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Weekend Viewing

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What another lovely week it’s been. While raining most days in our neck of the woods in Ontario this week, it has still been wonderful to get outside for a brisk walk and enjoy every bit of Fall. Jordan and I are pumping ourselves up for winter with the occasional, “We really have to make the most of this winter, ok?” or “Let’s try to remember all the good things about winter….hot cocoa, reading books, fires, snow shoeing…” But for now it’s still cider and apples and Thanksgiving and foliage (sigh). Enjoy your weekend!

Help Stop the Spread of Ebola, spread the word!

A beautiful post on praying into your “marriage mission”

Fall Produce Guide…so beautifully done

How to plan the right amount of food for a dinner party

Killing your $1000 grocery bill, good tips on how to cut back and grocery shop below your means.

The updated British Mini Series Guide

photo credit: 1

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A British Mini Series Update

land girlsCalling all Britophiles! And yes, there is such a term. There are a few additions to the British Mini Series Guide, so be sure to check it out!

The best part about this post, however, is that I’m about to give away the biggest and best secret I know to seeing these series as they come out in Britian. It is legit…I’m sure…I hope, and I just can’t keep it to myself any longer! Visit Simply June to view several recent and popular British series that are listed in the guide and also not listed here (If it’s not listed, it’s because I either haven’t seen it/am not sure of the content, or have and decided to not endorse or recommend it for reasons of preference or content). June is passionate about advocating for victims of violence or abuse, and shares about it here.

Have you seen any recently that you’ve enjoyed?

Enjoy!

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Engagement Anniversary

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On my parent’s anniversary today, Jordan proposed two years ago. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate such wonderful marriages! This is our little montage from the last several years of knowing and loving one another!

2010 (At college, having the time of our lives)

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2012 (First picture after Jordan proposed!)

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2013 (Our first fall as Mr. and Mrs.)

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I am so blessed by this patient and loving man. So worth the wait, such a gift every day.

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Turkey Meatballs

DSC03513This recipe: This recipe for these delicious turkey meatballs is on a now crinkly page in my well-loved GP’s Its All Good. I seriously love these meatballs, and I seriously love this cookbook. Everything in it is comforting and yummy and clean.

Making them again this Fall brought back so many memories from our first apartment and months of marriage. I made these a bunch along with many other recipes I’d experiment with when I didn’t work. I would start dinner at 2pm because wanted to get to know my kitchen, and learn more about food while I had the time.

DSC03500Ground Turkey: I go crazy over ground turkey from Costco. It comes in a four pack that is so easy to freeze right away. I get kind of antsy when I turn the corner and see the ground turkey case. I get excited about freezing meat and I love the potential with this protein! Knowing there in the freezer is almost empowering. Meatballs, chili, burgers, bolognese, lasagna, ahh! I almost try to play it cool when I see the bright orange sticker saying, “$5 off ground turkey”.

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Turkey Meatballs (adapted from It’s All Good)

Serves 4

1 small onion (or several shallots), roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

small palmfuls of fresh sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley (Or use dried herbs. I’ve tried both, and it’s yummy either way)

1 pound ground turkey

sea salt  & pepper

Combine onion, garlic, and herbs in food professor and pulse to very finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and mix together with a large pinch of salt, several grinds of pepper, and the ground turkey. Mix with hands, then roll into small meatballs.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet (the non stick does make things a lot easier). Cook meatballs in batches until browned on all sides (2-3 minutes per side). [If enjoying without sauce, keep turning until entirely cooked through].

If you’re having this with pasta and sauce, bury the meatballs in your sauce while it is heating up or cooking. Make sure the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 1/2 hour).

Enjoy with any pasta and red sauce, or on their own with rice and a hearty green!

Happy Cooking!

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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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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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