Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pretty Eats

Have you ever used Foodgawker?

It's a great way to find new recipes. The page organizes links to websites of good recipes, and it is done in a beautiful and searchable way, with new recipes added ridiculously often and counters for how many readers have liked and viewed each one. Since vast numbers of new links to recipes are added daily, they tend to fit well in the season we're currently in. The search categories are helpful, including 32 such as 'beef,' 'bread,' 'breakfast and brunch,' as well as searching by keyword, excluding by keyword, and searching by the submitter of the recipe. You can also look at recipes from the most recent day, or week, or month, favorite ones, or just a great heap of them altogether.

I use this page a lot, and in the last week we've found and used a number of recipes, including the delicious Ham and Baked Bean Soup, which I made on Thursday and we've eaten once or twice a day since then.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Almost the Holiday(s)

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and my news feed and conversations with people and work with my student and everything I hear on the radio and everyone's decorations are all about Thanksgiving. Which makes sense. I myself am currently starting a giant batch of roll dough for the bajillion dinner rolls I am making to contribute to my Mom's Thanksgiving dinner, and we'll be driving there tomorrow to spend the whole day and celebrate.

But I'm also preparing for Christmas, hence the pictures in this post. We will have my husband's parents here for several days, and will be celebrating early Christmas with them on Sunday, so all kinds of shopping and food prep and festive things have been going on. My husband also just gave me a super early Christmas present: a schmancy new iphone, which is like magic to me. My old one was sufficient but simple, and this upgrade is a treat. :) It's a 2-for-1 holiday weekend, and there was much rejoicing.

Lights are strung across walls and around windows

Boxes that have been arriving, and some wrapping supplies
Our stockings, simple and practical with a little pretty on them.

Close-up of embroidery on his stocking

Close-up of trim on mine

I love getting out and using for the first time this lace doily my mom made. Cheap candles and votive holders found thrift.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Still alive, and it's Thanksgiving week

Yep, still alive and thriving over here. Just not as good at posting things as I used to be; sorry.

It's almost Thanksgiving, which means I've been married for almost 4 months to my favorite fellow on earth, and it also means it's going to be easy for me to write something here. All I have to do is list some of the things I'm thankful for and ta-da! How simple and how perfect for the week we are in.

1. I'm (still) so thankful for this man. Being with him is both natural and unbelievable, and this new life together is both simple and full of things to learn. Fraser gives to me every day, somehow, and sometimes (like when we go shopping) even wants to give more than I want to let him. I love when I can surprise him with something delicious smelling when he walks in the door from work. And when he comes up with a great idea like "let's drive to Spokane this afternoon!" And when he tells me I am not allowed to go to work because I'm so sick. And when he reaches out for my hand when we are walking somewhere - even if mine is in my pocket already. He makes me laugh, and can stop my tears, and his laughter is one of my favorite things.

2. I'm grateful for our wedding photographer Chris Walker and the great job he did. Here's a sampling of our photos.

3. I'm thankful for cooking: for the spacious kitchen, the beautiful pots and pans, and the full cupboards I have. I like baking late at night, and making quick scrambled eggs on a late morning, and steeping tea, and chopping up onions so precisely and small, and leaning down over a pot or fry pan to breathe the fire and life that is simmering there.

4. I love this book we've decided to work through (over the next few years, probably. It's 300 recipes, after all!). Thanks to whichever roommate or relative or friend happened to leave this behind and left it for us to inherit! The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia.

5. I'm thankful for fabric and needles and thread and irons and patterns and the Joann's store. Currently working on our stockings. And I'm not very good at it. And sometimes frustrated. But I will one day have cute stockings to post a picture of, I'm sure. Not to mention, to put presents into. :)

6. I'm happy to have family - so much family, and more all the time, it seems. Thankful for my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, who have been part of my world since before I could understand who they all were. Thankful for the siblings who've been best buds and good competition and tagalongs and little shadows and adorable frustrating hilarious human beings. Thankful for a new set of parents and grandparents, and their love and welcoming, and for a new sister and brother and the different surprising perspectives they give me on life, and things, and my husband. And thankful for all the kids who call me Aunt Bobbi, and the new ones who will someday. They steal my heart over and over.

7. Electric heaters. No explanation necessary.

8. Paychecks.

9. Winter sunlight. I'm about to take a walk to do a few errands, and thing that'll perk me up just about as much as I need for the rest of the day, and the week.

10. Chocolate chips. Seriously, when there isn't a good solid chunk of chocolate bar to grab, a handful of these little dudes is pretty much the best thing I can think of. I'm off to raid the cupboard and pop one at a time as I head out to do those errands.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Keep Moving: in which I ramble


The word keeps coming to me. I'm trying to piece together all the ways this word applies to my life right now, and (because I'm me and think about things like a total nerd and over-analyzer) what metaphorical, theological, philosophical meanings i

t can have as well. It's still kind of early in the morning for deep thoughts, though, so Laura at least will be relieved to know I'm not going to write an in-depth treatise on anything right now. This is just some pondering, wandering, wondering thoughts and tiny epiphanies about Life.

I've been packing up and moving from Jefferson Street, where, once again, I have spent a good year with wonderful people. My belongings are in cardboard and in plastic organizers, my clothing is all in a couple of baskets, and I'm in that place where there's not really a place I can call home.

In 16 days I will be marrying the man who is the kindest, funniest, most encouraging, smart and good-looking person I know. Marrying him. Sometimes this freaks me out, because this is the biggest and most permanent and responsible and forever and hard thing that I will ever commence. This is the biggest move. I have turned to him, and will never turn away. I am moving on to a different phase of life, and can never go back. I am not single. I do not belong to myself. I cannot 'do whatever I want with the future' like people have told me for years. I will spend the rest of my life getting closer to him, helping him do what he needs to, stepping in line with him, moving as he does.

And he with me. He tells me he has changed because of me. When you love someone, you do things differently, for bigger reasons, with more intention, for righter reasons, because being with them just makes you want to. What I want is to always be moving toward each other with the beauty of real grace, and with each other toward God, and with His help outward the rest of the world.

We are all in constant motion. We are all changing with the time, day by day, year by year, becoming more or less like Christ, learning more moves for this Living, broadening our characters and changing in preferences and expanding in thoughts and comprehension of the universe around us.

Moving. Moving on. Moving out. Yet we carry in our bodies and in our souls the all that has come before. I told Fraser I was excited about our new life together - it seems like it will be all new. He reminded me that it's not quite like Eden; we have histories already. And he wants not just the new of the two of us, but all of me that the last 30 years has built.

I must keep moving. I have things to do. Today I go to my job, and continue on the path I've been for a while. I order roses and go see about a marriage license and apply for another job, reaching forward to the new. Today I roll a song over and over in my head, and it colors my thoughts. Today I go to my old house and clear out more of the past, saying goodbye with boxes and cleaning rags and bleach and brooms. I spend time with my sisters, and we pull the past of our solid friendship into the now with our adult lives and point forward into the crazy good of the months ahead.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When your little sister gets engaged

My buddy Ria.

I think she's been my best friend since we were about 4 and 8. As you can see from the photos, we've gotten better about our hair, gone from ice cream cones to the more mature treat of coffee, and have both acquired sparklies. We've kind of grown up. (Also, I just noticed our expressions are almost the same, 20-some years later, in the two pictures. What.)

And now I get to see her marry her wonderful man, just 2 months after I get married. I'm honored to get to stand up there with her, and feel strangely old and young, and so happy I have already cried a few times about this. Congrats to Ria and Jon.

Maria and Jon

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer, Grilling


Windows open all night.
Flowers in my yard.
Farmer's Market music which is almost universally bad but so bad it's good.
Baby plants for sale.
Porch in the sunshine.
That swelling feeling as your skin burns just a little.
Ice cream.
The blackberry bushes coming back with a vengeance.
Leaving the windows down with no fear of a midnight rain. (Or theft, or vandalism, for that matter. This is kind of the safest place ever, too.)
When a dollar buys 3 ears of corn.
Gloves and hand tools and dirt and weeds.
Arm out the window on the highway.
The way light looks on maple leaves. How can they be so green??!
Running in shorts and a tank top early in the morning, and still being warm.
Wanting to eat nothing but fresh vegetables and grilled meat.

It's been a good summer for grilling already. My roommate kindly left her grill here when she skipped town, and my fiance has been buying briquettes and getting quite skilled with lighter fluid, building pyramids of coals, long tongs and shepherding flame. What a guy.

There are so many options. We've done a few things:
Grilled corn on the cob (left a few layers of husk on to keep kernels moist as they cook)
Pork chops (rubbed with salt & pepper first)
Grill potato fries (wedges, sprinkled with some oilive oil, S&P and grilled slow)
Chicken breasts (with a bit of lemon juice, S&P and some chicken seasoning)
Kabobs of onions, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms

Last night we did Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa and it was fabulous.
(ingredients pile)


 (filets soaking up the goodness of lemon and oil and garlic and parsley and basil)

We shared cooking duties, as usual, although he ended up doing more than I. :) I bought some fish the other day & mentioned it as something we should have next grilling. He found this recipe. I grabbed a couple things at the store and made the marinade (which the tilapia sits in for an hour - or 3, if you're like me). He started the grill. I peeled and cut up the mango and he chopped peppers and had the stinging jalepeno hands. I chopped fresh cilantro and reveled in the smell that he doesn't particularly care for; he measured and mixed. And then he grilled the thin filets of tilapia over the hot coals for some perfection of about 2 minutes per side, while I stood close enough to soak up all the smoke, and make small panicked noises when I thought the fish was going to slide through the grill, and poke it with a fork when it was done, just to be sure, and tell him how awesome he was. We make a good team.

Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the finished product. My sister and her fiance arrived and things got exciting. There was a new sparkly ring to admire. The food was all getting done. Hunger happened. Wine was uncorked. So no photographic evidence of the end result, but it did look similar to the recipe photo. I guess our salsa was a bit juicier.

*the only alteration we made to this was I used all fresh herbs, and we used about 1/2 the jalepeno.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

[yep, I am posting] a love poem

In a Love Red Canoe


There is a long canoe

   on the wide sweep of the lake,

dark red on deep blue.


         The woman leans laughing toward

         the man, bending gently to his oars.


With the sun dazzling their eyes

   they know they’ll be on this lake

the rest of their lives.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

carpe diem


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Love that gives

Love gives. God gave His only Son. The Son gave His life. Friends give gifts and time to be with you. Parents give everything for their children. Teachers give because they love their subjct and their students. A man and a woman give up their own lives and names and plans to build a new one together.

When love gives, it creates. It creates worth, it makes new things, and it makes beautiful. The sun gives to the earth, and the earth returns in fruit and green. When God loves, His people are sanctified and glorified. "The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)

Love adorns with gifts, sometimes outward objects like a circle of gold for a finger, and sometimes just by strengthening the beloved with good words: praise and wonder, accountability and correction, and shared stories and histories.

Love, karis, grace, gifts don't take away. They give by adding. They give by building up. Through it we become more who we are meant to be, can have more confidence in who we are. Confidence is a part of faith, of trust, and makes secure, makes steady. We have boldness to stand before our Maker. We know we are not alone. We feel more lovely, and that is based less on ourselves and more on one we trust, and so we don't hide ourselves or go hesitant about our lives. We have rest concerning our future, because love never fails.

Yesterday, it was 100 days to our wedding day. Fraser brought me roses and chocolate at lunchtime, and I made him pie in the evening. We have a long way to go together: may we learn to give more like our Lord in the coming 99 days, and every one after that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The last few months

It's been a long time. I've been busy and distracted and happy and kind of ignoring the rest of the world, and it's all because of this guy I know.

He's my favorite person in the world right now.

And we're getting married.

Sometimes I wonder what I should tell people when they ask about him. Should I tell our entire history from when we met sometime in the fall of 2007 until this very moment, in the manner of those annoying people who describe every moment of the last 3 months when you ask them how summer was? Should I describe how he looks, including his impressive height and and his manner of dressing and the Canadian accent I sometimes laugh at? Should I tell you about the year we went from acquaintances to friends and how I worried he would start liking me too much? Should I talk about the magical Thanksgiving of 2012? Or should I try to find 5 things about him or us and give them as bullet points that will hopefully draw the truly curious in to ask more about us?

And so I wrote nothing about him or us in the last 4 months. A couple highlights of that time? He asked me out and we had our first kindof date at Wendy's on December 1st. He told me he loved me on December 28, and asked me to marry him on February 23rd. I said yes, and now wear this sparkly, sparkly ring that I want to reach into the sunlight at every opportunity. And we are planning a wedding.

Between now and the end of July I'm sure there are way more things to do than we have realized, but we are the most relaxed couple about things I have ever known, and so I don't foresee any stress about it all. :) 

Some things about us:

*My fiance is more generous than any man I know.
*We've seen each other every day since we started going out. That's 115 days, if I'm counting right.
*He's one of my brother's best friends.
*We are about 13 inches apart in height (see pictures for affirmation of this fact)
*He makes me the most secure and happy and confident I have ever been.
*He likes my family, and they like him. Even after 10 days at Christmas together. Amazing.
*We are both a little nerdy. Okay, quite a lot.
*He's a Canadian who likes baseball.
*He loves hockey even more.

*He has one sister and no brothers - yet.
*Awesome moment of my life: hearing myself say Yes of course, and him saying Oh, thank God!
*I am marrying a man who likes shopping at least as much as I do.
*He's really good at picking out flowers.
*He's kind of good-looking, too. :)
*I've never been with someone I can just relax and be comfortable around, without even speaking.
*Cooking is one of our favorite things to do together. Sometimes we joke about how much time we have spent watching pots boil and food fry and standing in front of the warm oven and sitting on the kitchen floor waiting for bread to bake. The day he proposed, for example, I was making apple pie. It took a long time to finish, and we didn't even remember to eat it until the next day.
*He's a writer. And a one-time painter of houses. Working for an economics firm. So clever.
*We're gonna have the best apartment ever. Beautiful, even without all the neat stuff we registered for.
*Sometimes he says I'm cool or that he loves me when I have put no effort at all into impressing him. It's the best. Like, when I ask for a dark beer. Or say that all I want is a hamburger. Or make fun of some hideous piece of clothing. Or mock a country song, or ask to watch Lost, or am awfully practical about something again.
*We are getting married on July 27. And then we are going to live happily ever after.