Monday, April 29, 2013

new meals...

I've been reading the book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
It's a journey with food in your kitchen with your host Tamar Adler.
It's a joy to read....and it'll be read and re-read.  I may loan it out, if you ask nicely.

It's inspired me to get back into the kitchen.  I don't know about other cooks, but I ebb and flow from eating well to eating not so well, to getting too much takeout.  It all seems to spiral together with sleep, exercise and my general well being.  When I'm exercising, I like to eat well, and I sleep well, when one of those gets out of kilter, everything thing goes.

So I'm back on track.  At least this week.

I've learned how to poach an egg.  Super fun.

I remembered that I love to bake bread...and all I need to do it take time to mix up some dough (with some spent grains for texture) and then I can bake it fresh every day.



I was wondering what to make for meals this week when I made it to the chapter on veggies.  I was reminded of the joy of oven roasting them.

On Saturday, I roasted beets, carrots and parsnips.  (Not pictured: beets)

Saturday night I enjoyed beet salad with walnuts and goat cheese.

Yesterday I roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

And, per Tamar's recommendation, I popped the core of the cauliflower and the thick stems of the broccoli in some water and simmered until they were mushy.  I knew I would use it for I let it cool and popped it in the fridge.

Imagine my joy as today's weather was damp, rainy and a bit chilly.  It had soup written all over it.

I made cream of broccoflower soup.

Here's the recipe.

In a soup pot add some olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic.  Heat it slowly.  I added a splash of water so I wouldn't burn the garlic.  When the garlic was tender, I pulled it out.
Meanwhile I was enjoying my new blender as I blended the cauliflower and broccoli remains.
I added that to the soup pot and brought it to a boil, then reduced to simmer.
When it was warm I added some milk, some Parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked pepper.
When that was all mixed in, I tasted it and added some salt and a pat of butter....(that was to make up for the skim milk)

When it was done I added some of the oven roasted cauliflower for texture and garnished with parm and parsley.  Super delicious.

Here's to more fun inspired and kitchen created.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

hand prints = heart prints

So, I have to say...being an Aunt is a super cool thing.  Being invited into a family and being offered the title of Aunt, is an incredible blessing.  Yesterday I spend the afternoon with Anna, she's 5.  
What didn't we do?  

After a solid lunch of chicken fingers, smiley potatoes, carrot and celery sticks and some chocolate milk, we were ready to roll....but too full for dessert at the moment.  

We played with Marley, we played with her toys without her when she got bored and then we took a nail painting break. 

Who knows why mom doesn't let her paint her nails...mine came out fabulous!  Green with pink spots and blue with pink spots....for the Monsters, know, like Sully.  

This was the salon after we finished:

Finally, we were ready for dessert....Individual Fruit Pizzas, you can get The Pioneer Women's recipe: here! I used the sugar cookie from a dear family friend, Ellen, Z.  (thanks!) 

Here's the clean slate:

Here's one that's finished:

Here are the ones we made for ourselves and for Gammie and PopPop.  

After that, we decorated the cake for the youth Sunday school class:

There wasn't much left after Sunday school and the donut hour....which is good because I would've polished it off at home if it had come home with me.  

We looked at sno-globes and dusted them, too, since they were too dusty to look at.......oops!  We played with Marley (again).  

We played Uno and checkers and then it was time to go.  

It was a full afternoon with lots of giggles, a few surprises when chasing the cat and each other, and a few things different in my house after she left.

I got to clean up the 'salon'.

The bathroom looked like this:

(Who has time to hang towels on the rack, right?)

It may be hard to see in this photo, but it contains the hand print of a 5-yr-old.  :)

The bathroom may have been the highlight of the day.  I loved seeing the hand print and knowing that a little person had spent the afternoon at my place.

I stopped and prayed and gave thanks for parents, who see this every day.  For parents who hear the pitter patter of feet up and down the hallway and the squeal of giggles while the cat scampers around the corner.  For parents who don't get a word in when hearing about dance and the mall and the cat.
For parents who love unconditionally and for the tiny hands that they hold when they cross the street.  For parents who have empty nests and those who welcome us home when we just need a bed and a roof over our heads.  For parents who struggle.  For parents who are doing college visits with their kids.    For new parents and expecting parents.  You all are awesome, thanks.  Gracious God, be with parents when patience runs thin, when tempers flare, and when words are shouted.  Be with kids when they stomp up the stairs, slam the door and keep quiet through dinner.  Be in the lives of families through the gift of community in neighbors, friends and faith communities.  In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Until the next post . . .

Friday, April 19, 2013


Ready to wind down after a wonderful day off....

Sleeping in.

A short run.

Random fun purchases at the Thrift Shop.  

Tasty lunch from Corropolese Bakery.

Quality time with my beautiful neice, Eva!  (and got to see her mom & dad, too!)

Bottled the Hefeweisen.  

Enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal of locally caught fish with the love of my life.  

Registered for a fun 5K-ish. 

Relaxing with a purring cat as we listen to the rain fall.  

Blessings to you all.  Hoping you find peaceful moments, moments of joy and time with loved ones.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crossfire Sermon

Here's last night's may look different on paper, due to the work of the Spirit, but in essence, it is the same. 

3rd Sunday of Easter
April 17, 2013
John 21:1-19

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

So much in this text…where do we focus?
On the fact that the disciples were fishing….
And at least one of them was fishing naked….
Or the fact that Jesus appeared to them, again helping them to fish….
Or that Jesus sat and ate with them, as sign of his physical presence with them…
Or that Jesus invited Peter into a moment of forgiveness and grace…and unconditional love? 

Tonight, I’d like us to focus on the fact that they went back to fishing. 

The disciples went back to what they know…they were fisherman, so they fished.  In the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection….being lost, confused, frightened or just lonely, they went back to what they knew….and that was fishing. 

So do we….

On Monday, tragedy struck in Boston.  I had received a facbook message from Darrell at 1pm that he had finished the marathon in under 3 hours!  He was very excited!  

At 3:43 pm I received a text message from him that read “We are okay and in hotel room.”  I texted back, thanks…did you mean to text someone else?  I had thought in the business of post-race celebrations and crowds that he was just trying to get in touch with friends or family at the end of the race. 

I was wrong.  It was a response to the bombs that went off at the end of the marathon route. 

There was fear, tragedy, and heart ache…in Boston that day…

Monday evening and Tuesday all around the world, runners went running.  We put wore race jerseys to work, we put on sneakers, we hit the trails we hit the streets, we ran. 

Runners went back to the familiar…to run for those couldn’t because they were injured or afraid. 

There is comfort in going back to what we know.  Surrounded by people, places and faces that bring us comfort, joy, and give us places to laugh and cry.

We live in a broken world.  I feel like I don’t even need to say that out loud….because we know this to be true. 

Violence, hatred, war, sickness and death. You can see this on 24 hour news channels, get tweets about the latest news, read about it on facebook….we hardly need to say that we live in a broken world because it is displayed before us everywhere.   

Yet, we, like the disciples are called, claimed and sent into this world. 

On Sunday, not only did we have two baptisms at the late service, we also welcomed in new members….So we baptized and people affirmed their baptisms….

As the babes were washed in the baptismal waters and marked with the sign of the cross we prayed these words… We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give your daughters and sons new birth, cleanse them from sin, and raise them to eternal life. 

Sustain Greyson Paul and Molly Jane with the gift of your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever.  Amen. 

I can say that Molly Jane did not have a happy look on her face…..It’s as if she knew that her life as a baptized Christian would not be an easy one….how telling. 

Later in the service as we welcomed in new members…we prayed for God’s blessing:

We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth,  cleanse us from sin, and raise us to eternal life. 

Stir up in your people the gift of your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever.  Amen

Sound familiar?  As we affirm our baptisms, we continue to pray for God’s blessings upon us, because we know the world in which we live. 

But the good news is that this is a place to where we can return time and time again…to be splashed with this water, fed with God’s word, nourished with the body and blood of Jesus Christ only to be sent back out into the world to be beacons through which God’s light may shine. 

Even in the midst of tragedy and despair, we are called to be the light of the risen Christ in our world…here and now. 

So maybe the challenge for us….is how do we make that happen? 

How are we living our lives, proclaiming our faith and showing the light of the resurrected Christ to others in our day to day lives? 

Yes, how are we living our lives?  Proclaiming our faith?  Showing the light of the resurrected Christ to others in our day to day lives? 

Each of us does so in a different way….whether through a listening ear, or a comforting hug, saying please or thank you, spending the night at Trinity during a family promise week, bringing in food items or sharing your time at the food pantry, tutoring someone, mowing someone’s lawn, speaking up for someone who is being bullied. 

How many more can I name? 

This is our call…our vocation...

I want to share something from the 1954 Evanston Assembly of the World Council of Churches: 

“The time has come to make the ministry of the laity explicit, visible and active in the world.  The real battles of the faith today are being fought in factories, shops, offices, and farms, in political parties and government agencies, in countless homes, in the press, radio and television, in the relationship of nations. 

Very often it is said that the church should ‘go into these spheres’; but the fact is, that the church is already in these spheres in the persons of its laity.”

1954….things haven’t changed too much, have they?  I think the only thing to change is add the internet….to places where the real battles of faith are being fought today….

Our vocation is to be the light….be the church in the world….. not take sermons out to the world but to be the light of christ be who we are…the church….in the places we already are.  The classroom, the stage, the sports fields, the office, our homes, the grocery store, wherever we find ourselves is where we are called to be the church. 

But the good news, friends, is that we are already in those spheres….we are already active and a part of the world around us.  And by living in the light of an empty tomb, by being present with others, serving others and giving voice to the voiceless, we are letting Christ’s light shine around us. 

May this place continue to be a place where we are forgiven, fed and nourished and sent, so that our light may shine before others…and glorify our Father in heaven. 

And now, may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

buffalo chicken dip is just the beginning...

We gathered around tables this evening for dinner followed by worship.

It was around the table, that I was blessed with the community of faith and the joy of family.

As we ate baked potatoes topped with toppings galore...we enjoyed the buffalo chicken dip on them, too!

We thought about the many uses for this amazing are a few.

Topping for a baked potato.
Put it in a quesadilla.
Put it in an omelet.
Eat it with tortilla chips.
A nacho topping.
Put it in a wrap.
A tasty schmear on a burger....or a bagel.
Have it on some know, chicken and waffles with a twist?
Put it in a bread bowl.
Eat it with celery and carrot sticks.
Use it to make mac 'n cheese.
Put it in a crepe.
Put it on a pizza, top it with just a bit of mozzarella, and when it comes out of the oven top it with some blue cheese and diced celery :)
As the hollandaise sauce on your eggs Benedict.

These are just a few.... if you have some other ideas, please share!!

And enjoy.

PS.  Here's the recipe I used:

3 cans cooked chicken
3/4 C. Franks Hot Sauce
1 block of cream cheese
1 block of Neufchatel cheese
2 C shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet I heated the chicken and hot sauce.  When they were warmed through, I added the 2 blocks of cheese.  When that was fully mixed, I added 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese and mixed thoroughly.  At that point you can put it in a crock pot for 3 mins, or bake it for 20-30 mins at 350.  I added the last 1/2 cup of cheddar as a topping at the end.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm not really sure how to blog tonight, it may be more of a stream of consciousness post as I think and pray and weep over the events that occurred in Boston today.  

So many thoughts, as a runner, I know what it's like to prepare for the big race.  While Boston has not been on my radar or plan, I understand the training, preparation, rest, nourishment and mental prep that goes into preparing for a distance race.  For those who did prepare for this day my heart goes out to you.  I can't imagine how the events of the day impacted your run (whether you finished or not.)  I give thanks that Darrell and Tim (friends of mine who were in the race today) and their families are safe.  That's the most important thing.  

As I began to see the coverage on the news, I was able to watch the video from the finish line only once.  Tears came to my eyes as runners were shaking and falling due to the impact of the explosion.  As reports came streaming in from friends and family I wanted to keep checking the facebook posts....and then I became overwhelmed.  The mixed blessings of social media and the web is our instant access to just about everything and everyone. I turned on the tv and went for the Food Network.  I needed to take a step away from all the information pouring in.  It would have been possible to watch coverage all afternoon...but I knew that would not be a good choice.  Don't get me wrong, it was great to know that friends and family were safe and that people were posting ways to reconnect in the city and places to go for help.  But to just read and get sucked in, just isn't healthy either.  Because as much as our online community is supportive....we need to connect to the ones we see face to face.  (I realize I'm blogging part of online community....and I do see the value in that, but I also want to stress and emphasize the face-to-face communities in which we live.  

I was truly thankful for the Stewardship Committee meeting tonight.  We gathered to talk about church things, but we began in prayer.  We were the presence of the risen Christ gathered together, in the midst of tragedy, to talk, to shed tears and to struggle with our lives of faith in a world with violence.  We talked about how what shakes us up in an event like this is our lack of safety.  That in places we once felt safe, that is what has been taken away....and that is a scary place to be.  

Just yesterday in my Sunday school class, we talked about how real it is to struggle with the situations that we face in our day to day lives, even in light of the empty tomb....and that even walking in the promise of the resurrection, we struggle to understand why these things happen.  I shared that sometimes all we can lean on are those words of hope and promise.  Yet today, it is hard for me to do so.  And so today, I give thanks for the gift of community.  That some of us gathered together for a meeting and were able to voice our frustration, anger and fear and pray because of what happened in Boston today.  

There are no answers...although some will come at some point.  I continue to pray that as we grieve and mourn and begin to pick up the pieces that we are able to do so in light of the empty tomb, the promise of the resurrection and the words of grace and forgiveness.  There is so much hurt in Boston this night and our world every day.  May we continue to seek God's presence in our lives and let that light shine so that others may see it and know of the love and grace God has for each and every one of us.  

So take time this day and in the next few, to do things or be with people who help you to see the light of the empty tomb.  Hug your kids, talk with your neighbors, be together offering words of forgiveness and grace.  You, too, will be the light of Christ to others.  

Blessings of love and peace to all...

Let us pray,
Gracious God, this brings tears to my eyes. Wrap your arms around those who are hurt, those who are dying, those who are rescuing, those who are still trying to connect with loved ones, those who are scared, those who are safe and those who turn to violence.  We are all in need of your love, grace, healing and forgiveness.  Amen.  

P.S.  This was a blog post....which reaches out to a community online.  I'm still struggling with how to balance online and face-to-face community.  Yet, if this blog speaks to you and you feel connected, comforted, challenged, touched....I'm thankful.  I encourage your thoughts, responses, questions, comments or concerns.  But I also challenge you to think off-line, and to connect with people face-to-face, as well.  Wherever your groups of support, the gym, the coffee shop, your dining room table, the grocery store....engage with others, talk to each other....continue to build community.  

P.P.S.  Somehow Marley knew it was important to be close tonight...