Monday, June 30, 2014

Loving on Neighbors

Image: Chris Dlugosz, Nextdoor
Moving to a new neighborhood? Jordan and I have done quite a bit of moving in the 2 years we've been married (that's a story for another time). One thing I was so excited about once we moved to a real neighborhood and out of our apartment was getting to know our neighbors. We did some of the following things with our apartment neighbors too, and in some ways, got to know them better because we all lived in the same tiny space. But, there is just something about a street, ya know? It's where I take Reaghan on a walk almost every day, so I see people from time to time and it just feels unusual to me to not reach out. 

I love to get to know the people living next to me. I have yet to experience someone reaching out to us, and I honestly don't expect it. We even had a newborn for the first month of living in our house, and no one even came by! I think that's normal, but I also think deep down everyone is hoping that someone will welcome them to the neighborhood. I thought it was just me, but recently we had a couple over for dinner who expressed they were shocked we were the only ones to really welcome them when they first moved in. This confirmed to me the need for a welcoming face in a new place. This seems so obvious! But it can be very intimidating in a culture where we are used to pulling into our garage and never saying "hi" across the street.

Here are ten ideas to get you started loving on your neighbors: 

1. Bake cookies and attach a handwritten note
2. Offer to pick up their mail while they're out of town
3. Bring them a meal the first week they move in
4. Prayer walk.... even if you don't know the people, prayer is one of the best ways to care for another person
5. Pray over "for rent/sale" signs and those who might be moving in
6. Have kids? Offer to host a play date or take a walk to the park!
7. Have them over for dinner or games
8. Ask questions!
9. Keep your lawn mowed and your garbage can off the street. Don't block their driveway and let them know when you'll have more than a few guests over! (Also known as being polite) 
10. Ask for their phone number 

What about you? Do you know your neighbors? Many of my friends want to get to know those living around them but struggle to think of ways to do it. I hope this simple list is helpful and would love to hear ways you reach out to those who you share a fence with!

Loving on Neighbors is part of a blog relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Faves

1. I’m seriously obsessed with this new blueberry peach galette recipe. It’s perfectly sweet with just the right amount of tart. No joke, the inspiration for this recipe came to me while standing in line at Office Max. Thrilling stuff. My husband and I ate it for dessert, then ate it the next morning for breakfast. Have you tried it yet?

2. There are no words. Except that I died laughing…then promptly came back to life to show my husband and all my pregnant friends. This girl's youtube channel is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Not that I've watched all her mommy parody's or anything.... 

3. Crystal and Titus come home from East Asia!!!!!!!! You guys, my sister and brother-in-law have lived overseas for TWO YEARS serving university students with Cru. We are over the moon excited they will be moving back to Dallas this weekend. Let the Reaghan snuggles begin. 

4. We are also spending the weekend attending a marriage conference at our church. Hence, packing madness. Babies just come with a lot of....stuff. And magically all of it is absolutely necessary. Why is this kids suitcase bigger than mine?! Diva, I tell you, diva. 

5. I woke up Thursday morning craving muffins, and found this Paleo-friendly recipe on Pinterest. I love that they had several versions of the recipe you could try, including pumpkin and banana. We made the apple spice version and subbed 1/4 cup of raw honey for the stevia powder which we don't have. They were so moist, and the closest to "real" muffins I've had so far since cutting out refined flour and sugar from our diet. I was very surprised at how fluffy and not-coconut-flour-ish they were. Give them a try! I'm sure they would be just as good even if you used regular flour. 

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth Blog today. What are your friday faves?

Friday Faves is part of a blog 
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Responding to Him and Staying Home

I’ve always felt that I should be going. The one having the adventure, the one to tell the nations about Jesus. I’ve had the opportunity. It was hard, draining, exciting, uplifting, challenging, worth it. I wanted to live abroad with my husband a couple years ago. Part of me still does. Part of me thinks that’s just CRAZY now that we have a baby. Part of me just doesn’t know. 

All of me knows that God’s plan for me has been far greater than anything I could have ever planned for myself. I also know that loving the world from home is an option, and it’s not second best. God has given me the task of responding to Him by loving the world from my home, here in America. There are two ways I see this playing out in my life and I want to encourage you in case you find yourself saying good-bye often to all the people who seem to be going while you seem to be staying "home." 

1. I can pray. I can pray every day. In fact, since the missionaries in Bologna began a prayer chain this past semester, I have had a reminder in my phone every day to prompt me to pray for them. I pray for Italian friends, the ones raising support to go, my own heart, and the country. This is a simple thing to do and yet can not be underestimated. 

Jordan and I pray each night for places like India, East Asia, Greece, Mexico, Kenya, and others. We can keep the world before us and look for opportunities to play a role while being faithful to our neighborhoods and sphere of influence here in America. 

2. I keep in touch. Would it not speak volumes to you if a friend kept in touch with you even though they lived thousands of miles away? It certainly spoke to my heart when I received a gift from an Italian friend for my daughter, and I want to do the same for them. It means a lot to receive letters from our Compassion kids, so we make an effort to write back to them as well. The years that we've been able to afford it, we've sent Christmas care packages to missionaries overseas. Even just a simple email to let someone know you have not forgotten about them can make all the difference. 

Another Cru staff woman with Giada, our Bolognese friend

Responding to Him and Staying Home” is part of a blog relaunch series entitled 
"31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Pep Talk for the Faint of Heart

Many of my friends desire to cook well prepared, healthy meals for their family, but struggle because of the intimidation factor. Let's cut the intimidation factor OUT. I believe it keeps people from experiencing the adventure of cooking. There will be days you throw out dishes that were a disaster (I've had plenty) and days you stumble upon something great. 

Give yourself time to learn. It took me years to learn what I have and I'm still learning every. day. You're not going to become the next Julia Child over night, or even in a few weeks or months. Strive to be you in the kitchen, not some pro-version of some fancy cook you wish you were. That being said, be inspired by those who are worth looking up to in the cooking world. My personal heroes: David Rocco, Ree DrummondJenny Rosenstrach, and most importantly my dad. My dad is an incredible cook and taught me most of what I know from just watching him when I was growing up. The tips and tricks I learned later I would tell him about and he'd affectionately say "yeah, I could have told you that. Just ask your good ol' dad."

Food brings people together -- it offers joy and gives the cook an immense amount of excitement to create something. It brings me joy to know that a friend is enjoying my labor of love. Food offers a chance for conversation. Questions to be asked. Friendships to be made. 

On that note, I want to share a simple recipe I know anyone can throw together! We unintentionally gave up store bought dressing years ago, and rarely eat it unless we are out and about. At home, we like some variation of this best. 

Simple Vinaigrette
I originally discovered this dressing at my favorite local restaurant in Denton. I asked the waitress what was in it and she gave me the ingredients. This is my own rendition of how I imagine this family owned tearoom whips it up. 

1 tablespoon honey 
1 clove garlic, minced 
½ cup olive oil
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar) 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Combine in a small mason jar and give it a shake. Serve over your favorite bed of greens.

“A Pep Talk for the Faint of Heart”
 is part of a blog 
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kitchen Table Makeover

We were gifted with a wonderful kitchen table when we got married. We both loved the wood that after several generations still looked new. There was one small problem with it: I'd been staring at the indented design since we got married wondering "how can I stop crumbs from collecting in those cracks?" I knew I could fill them in with a simple wood filler but I was hesitant, fearing I'd ruin the whole thing -- which I did not want to do since we received it for free from family!

As with many of the projects I take on, one day I just decided to bite the bullet and do it, not fearing the outcome. Well, it came out.....okay. I'm not thrilled with the results but I'm not repulsed by them either. I'm sure this is making you want to try this at home. It actually works well with our decor since it's not perfect, and I rarely like the "perfect" look when it comes to decorating our home. If that's your style and you have said crumb-collecting problem in your kitchen table, I suggest you give this a try. ;)

top left: a full picture of our kitchen table
top right: design a.k.a "crack problem"
bottom left: wood filler I picked up at Home Depot
bottom right: squeezing wood filler into the cracks

The whole squeezing filler into the cracks thing didn't really pan out for me. It was just a lot of work. I discovered that squeezing it onto the putty knife and filling in the cracks that way was a much easier route (see top left picture below). 

As you can see, the wood filler filled up those cracks nicely! Well, you can't really see, since this is an iPhone picture and I made it into a collage, so....just take my word for it. I bought a sample paint from Lowes. Valspar, in "Belle Grove Antique White." I mixed it with about a cup of grey paint I got from a friend a while back, which heightened the antique look.

I've also been really into chalk paint lately, but um, have you seen the prices for chalk paint?! Not in our I improvised and made a paste of spackle and water. Mixed it up well so there were no clumps and then added it to the paint mixture and stirred it up. Easy trick to get the chalk paint affect for less! Then I got to work painting!

BUT, I made a terrible discovery after painting the table. The cracks were STILL visible!!!!!

So....I filled it in a little more, painted again, and let it dry. Last step was to wax it. The wax seemed to make the filled-in-cracks a little more visible as well. Oh goodness...... some projects just don't happen the way Pinterest makes it out to be.

Anyways, it looks quite nice with the placemats, water, etc on it. ;)

OH yes, and I forgot to mention that I distressed it a bit with a very light sanding paper. It matches our hutch perfectly, and to be honest, my decorating style is definitely the imperfect pieces that people are throwing out anyway. This is TOTALLY up my alley, imperfections and all. 

“Kitchen Table Makeover”
 is part of a blog 
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blueberry Peach Galette

I don't know about you, but to me, peaches just taste like summer. As I was making this dessert I reminisced about all the peaches I ate last summer when I was pregnant. My Bradley instructor gave us food charts to track how much protein we were eating each week. (For you preggos -- that's 80-100 grams a week!) The chart also had categories for how much water I was taking in, the yellow/orange fruits and veggies I was eating, among other nutritious things! I never had any trouble fulfilling my weekly requirement of yellow or orange. If I ever had a pregnancy craving it was either yellow peppers or fresh fruits. But most of all, the baby wanted peaches. 

The first time I made a galette was the Apple Gazette from Dinner: A Love Story. I had never even heard of it before. A galette is a French pastry.... or just a fancy open faced pie. It sounds so much more complicated than it is ;) I love it because it's easier to make than a pie. Pies are tricky. I've never been able to get the crust evenly cooked without some measure of stress. 

Serves: 4

Prep:10 minutes 
Cook: 40 minutes 


frozen pie crust, thawed 
5 peaches peeled, sliced and pitted
1/2 cup sugar  
3/4 cup blueberries 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice + zest of one lemon 
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 egg
1 individual size turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 400f. 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Gently place your peaches in the water, letting them boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath of cold water and ice to cool and stop the cooking. The skins should just slide right off, so remove them fully. With a paring knife (pictured below), slice up the peaches and pull them off the pit. If you're having trouble and they don't come right off the pit, just use your knife to cut them into chunks. 

Thaw the pie crust in the fridge so it's easily manageable. Carefully lay the crust evenly over a round 9" pie dish. In a separate bowl, mix together peaches, sugar, blueberries, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. 

Pour this heavenly mixture onto the pie crust and gently pull up the sides of the crust and lightly pinch them together. If your crust is still a bit cold it'll be easier to work with than one that is at room temperature. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash over the crust. This will make the crust a beautiful golden brown and give it a little crispness. Sprinkle just a bit of the turbinado sugar over the egg washed crust. 

Dab coconut oil over the fruit mixture like so....

....and pop that baby in the oven! Set it at 400 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and cook for an additional 15 minutes. 

Yummmmmm!!!!!!! Seriously, there are no other words. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or skip it and dig in with a fork right away! Who needs plates when there's so much gooey goodness?!


“Blueberry Peach Galette”
 is part of a blog
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, friends! Just popping in to share five fun things that made this week great. Let's get into it:

1. Reaghan is 7 months old today!! 

I can’t believe how FAST she’s growing. She’s saying “dadadadada” all day long, screaming with excitement, and showing loads of interest in her feet. I couldn't wait until her 6 month birthday to start giving her solid foods. We have started really slow, with chicken bone broth, probiotics, and soft boiled egg yolk. We've had some baby food fails thus far including...wait for it....avocado and sweet potato! I kid you not, the child hates them both. Those are like, the traditional first foods, right?! Anyway, this week we gave carrots a shot and she fell in love! She's thoroughly enjoying carrots with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

2. The Boba 4G -- making groceries and other errands a snap for mothers everywhere. 

As usual, I did an insane amount of research on baby carriers before I took the plunge. We were gifted with a Boba wrap before Reaghan was born and she did great in it for the first 3 months. Around 3 months, she turned a corner and had a serious aversion to it, banging her head on my chest every time I tried to put her in it. Not cool. So, we opted for their newest soft structured carrier. They get rave reviews, and I now know why. They come with an infant insert, making it less expensive than the Ergo, where you need to purchase the insert separately. They are literally the exact same model otherwise. My favorite part? It honestly feels like I’m carrying close to nothing when I put her in it. You mamas know this is fantastic when you're used to 16 pounds of chunk sitting on your hip. 

3. Exersaucer/jumpy bouncy thing

I'm not really sure what the name of it is, but let me tell you, it's a gift from Heaven. Actually it was a gift from one of Jordan’s coworkers. Come to think of it, it might be around 10 years old, but it’s still in AMAZING condition! I love putting Rae in it while I finish my make up or while I cook dinner. It lives in our dining area so I can look at her from over the bar in our kitchen. I love the way she lights up and jumps like crazy when I wave and talk to her while I cook. 

4. Jesus Story Book Bible

Reading this to Rae each morning has seriously ministered to my heart! Believe me, this is not your average children’s Bible. It’s beautifully illustrated and profoundly worded. It tugs at my heartstrings every morning when I read Reaghan a story for our “breakfast and Bible.” 

5. Just Brakes 

Random, I know. I honestly don’t know the first thing about caring for cars. Just ask any of my guy friends about the numerous comical (not so comical when you’re stranded on the side of the road?) car blunders I’ve found myself in over the past…….decade. I’m really hoping these “guy friends” aka my staff team don't throw me under the bus here. 

I stopped into Just Brakes this week to get my oil changed, wipers replaced, and have a general health check done on my car. They started off their amazing customer service by telling me I was a great customer when I called an hour after I missed my appointment (mommy brain is real, people!) When I arrived, they truthfully told me the cheaper wiper blades work just as well as their more expensive counterpart. Two points for JB. If this wasn’t enough, they marked off my frequent buyers card twice giving me a FREE oil change next time I come in!! This is the second time they have done this AND they also gave me a coupon for $20 off the work I need to have done next time around. CRAZY. I left singing praises and kissing my baby after that extremely positive interaction with car men. I mean, car men – they’re usually pretty mean to me. So this was a major win. 

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth Blog today for her High Five for Friday!

“Friday Faves” is part of a blog 
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How I Made Kombucha

Since having a baby naturally, our life has been an ever-revolving door of information concerning health, natural living, etc. etc.  Well, it didn't take me long to learn about Kombucha, a fermented beverage that turns sweet tea into a carbonated probiotic drink! (healthy soda=yes please!) Kombucha has many health benefits including detoxifying the body, promoting digestion, healing the gut, and improving the immune system. 

Dealing with some very normal but annoying post-birth health drama, I wanted to get my hands on this stuff. And being the frugal-do-it-yourself-girl that I am, I wanted to find a way to save money while doing it. Another priority was to find a method that could be done EASILY. I started this experiment talking to several friends and doing a lot of research. I found several websites that all seemed to have differing instructions, so I tweaked them a bit to fit my preferences. I wanted to share this how-to project with y'all as it can be easily recreated by anyone!

- approx. 14 cups filtered water
- organic white sugar
- organic green or black tea
- SCOBY (stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) very high school science experiment...I know ;)

- old t-shirt, cheesecloth, coffee filter, or clean towel
- rubber band
- funnel
- 8 jars for bottling (these are commonly used)
* don't use any metal in this project as it will effect the chemistry negatively. 

If making your own SCOBY:

- bottle of original flavor Kombucha (I used Synergy Kombucha)

How to Brew:

1. First of all, you'll need a SCOBY. If you have a friend who makes their own Kombucha, you can get one from them. You can also buy them online from Amazon or places like this

But if you're like me, you drive to Natural Grocers and pick up a bottle of plain ole Kombucha and make your own! I got the original flavor, poured it into a mason jar, covered it with an old t-shirt and let it sit in my pantry for about 2 weeks. (You can see this in the picture above) Just let it sit and the SCOBY will grow. You'll want it to be about 1/2-1 inch thick. 

Here is a helpful video on how to do this. 

2. Once you have your SCOBY, bring 8 cups of filtered water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar with a wooden spoon. Steep 8 tea bags in the warm water. Let it sit until just cool, but not much longer to protect the tea from growing any mold. 

3. After the tea has completely cooled, remove the tea bags and pour the tea into your 1 gallon jar. Fill with 5-6 additional cups of filtered water. 

4. With very clean hands, place the SCOBY along with any remaining Kombucha tea into your gallon jar. 

left: tea bags steeping
middle: what my SCOBY looked like after two weeks. A soft white/brown disk
left: the brand of tea I used, just the cheapest organic green tea I could find 

5. Cover your jar with an old t-shirt/cheesecloth/whatever you're going to use to let it breathe, and secure it with a rubber band. You want to let it sit for between 8-14 days, which will allow time for the tea to ferment. Basically the SCOBY eats away at the sugar in the tea, creating the probiotics and enzymes that make this drink so amazing! I kept mine on top of the fridge to make sure it was in a warm place. Warm environments will allow the tea to ferment quicker than cool environments, so you may need to adjust the time depending on where you live and what time of year. 

After day 8 I tasted my Kombucha and I liked it! The end result yielded a very mild Kombucha tea, definitely lighter than the ones I've tried from the store. I'm excited to try it with black tea, and even let it ferment longer to see how it affects the flavor! The longer you let your tea sit, the more vinegary the taste will be. The less time it sits, the more sweet. It really is all about you when it comes to the flavor! 


A friend actually donated a ton of old Kombucha bottles to me for this project. I am sooo grateful because this made it even easier and cheaper!

To bottle your Kombucha, place a funnel inside your bottles and use a measuring cup or spouted bowl to pour. You can just pour it in straight from the gallon jar, but this tends to make a huge mess, and you don't want to waste any of this tea!

Make sure to reserve about 2 cups of tea along with the SCOBY and keep it in a mason jar just like the first step. At this point you can go ahead and brew up a new batch. If you can't get to it right away you can keep the reserved tea + SCOBY in the fridge and the SCOBY will be "dormant" for up to 3 months. When you want to make another batch, just take it out and use!

The finished product, flavored with pear juice

Flavoring your tea: 

The easiest way that I've found to flavor my tea is to purée some fresh or frozen fruit and add it to my bottles before pouring in the finished tea. You could also just pour some fruit juice in! Fill the bottles about 2 inches high with your juice or purée. Come to think of it, you actually don't need to purée the fruit at all, just cut up a few slices and plop them in! Do whatever works best for you. 

So far I've tried fresh strawberries, frozen mixed berries, frozen mango, and organic pear juice. My favorite has been strawberry by far! So light and refreshing :)

Here are some helpful links if you want to learn more:
Easy How To for Beginners (video under "more views")

What about you? What's your favorite flavor of Kombucha, whether store bought or homemade? Do you have any other tips or tricks for making this at home? Any questions? Would love to hear! 

"How I Made Kombucha" is part of a blog relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Paleo Chili (Or Half Hearted Paleo Chili)

I made this meal first when I was looking for a paleo-friendly version of chili. I decided to bring dinner to my parents neighbors who just had a baby girl. As a side note, Jordan and I have been half hearted Paleo people for the past few months for many reasons, but in my case because of Reaghan. I say "half hearted" because we haven't followed the strict diet. We do try to follow some of the guidelines of no grains or dairy on a mostly consistent basis (can you tell we are fair weather Paleo people? ;))

Since breastfeeding Reaghan I've noticed that dairy has been the culprit of her excessive spitting up. Knowing that many of my nursing friends have babies with dairy and gluten sensitivities, and not knowing this new mom personally or whether her baby did as well, I wanted to provide her with a hearty meal that would be safe to eat and provide leftovers because let's face it, when you're nursing a baby you want to eat everything in sight.

Heck, I don't even know if she's nursing her baby, but I guess it doesn't hurt to cover all your bases! I ended up with this recipe by skipping the beans that are traditionally found in chili. Not too complicated. 

This would work well with ground turkey if needed. I have made it this way before and it was still very good. I will say that beef is more flavorful...but that probably goes without saying!

Per my husband's request, I made this as his lunch for the week. This makes a double batch so there was plenty left over for multiple days and for me to eat from as well. I was reminded about it and wanted to share it with you!

Serves: 4 with leftovers

Cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil or olive oil)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 red onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning*
2 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, with juices 
salt and pepper to taste

*skip the store bought stuff -- it's filled with chemicals. Here's the recipe for a homemade version I've been using for a while and love!

Melt your cooking oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon, allowing it to brown. Meanwhile chop your onion, carrots and celery. Season the beef with taco seasoning, stirring so the spices start to sizzle. Once the beef is mostly cooked through, add the veggies and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil for about a minute, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1-2 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Taste it and add any additional salt and pepper or taco seasoning to suit your taste preferences.

Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, sour cream, chives, cilantro, cheese, you name it! (This would obviously not be Paleo, ha!)

Go a little further and jump completely off the Paleo bridge by adding a can of kidney beans to this recipe if you like! Let me know how you like this easy dinner!

"Paleo Chili (Or Half Hearted Paleo Chili)" is part of a blog 
relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


5 months pregnant. walking on the treadmill. watching cooking shows on the overhead TV. And becoming thoroughly annoyed.

Why do most cooking shows have all their ingredients perfectly measured in clear glass bowls?? Okay, it makes it easier and people want to watch something aesthetically pleasing... I get that. But let's be honest, that's just not reality. At least it's not my reality. When I cook my kitchen looks something like this:

Much of the time I'm half reading the recipe, holding a baby who screeches like a dinosaur (it's a fun stage), making a mistake, practically ruining a dish and then somehow salvaging it at the end. The reason why I know how to make a beautiful meal in the midst of this chaos? My dad.

When I was little, it was one of his missions in life to teach me how to prepare good that brought people together. On any given weekend, our home seemed to have music playing, drinks flowing and people gathered around our kitchen table. He showed me what it looked like to be creative in the kitchen. To let your heart guide that creativity, and let your taste buds do the real work. It was inspiring.

I loved going to the store with my dad and eagerly wanted to help him. I have to admit though, at a young age, my interest in cooking was lacking. I'm not really sure why.... Okay, maybe because I was a kid and had no real need to know all the things he was teaching me. But I watched. I absorbed. 

Fast forward 10 or so years, and I am graduating college, really starting to develop an interest in cooking. Of course, I lived in a sorority house all throughout college and then lived out of a suitcase for a year post-college, so culinary arts wasn't the top priority at the time. But the desire was there. It was growing and gathering up fuel for a time when it could be fully expressed. When I finally moved into my own place, I was single, yet already planning my meals for the week, making menus, and coming up with a system to streamline my grocery shopping. It was only recently that I realized this isn't normal. I hosted college girls in my home and baked large amounts of cupcakes for events. It was all so familiar because all of the sudden, those memories started coming back.
"Naty, squeeze a tomato gently to see if it's ripe."
"Always season a little bit at a time, tasting along the way."
"This bagel is so fresh, you can only get it this way here..."

It was like my dad was living through me as I expressed myself in the kitchen. I didn't even have to think about what I was doing, it was second nature. 

When I got married I started reading cookbooks and food blogs more often. I was finding that a lot of the things that were being taught to beginners were skills I had already been practicing for years. Things like which tools to stock your kitchen with (wedding registry fulfilled--check), how to slice an onion, how to know when pasta was "al-dente," etc. I felt oddly affirmed in my culinary knowledge, yet knew I wanted to constantly be learning more. This need to learn and be inspired by new and challenging recipes has only grown. It was then that I realized it was possible to help others learn how they could cook for themselves. Just like my dad taught me, by living out his love for cooking in front of me every night as he prepared delicious meals that would reel in the masses. 

I hope to share some of his recipes and some of my own as I slowly begin to create them. I hope to tell the stories that go along with each dish, because in my life memories have been made around the kitchen table. I hope to carry on this legacy: that cooking should be fun. It should be an extension of your imagination. There are no wrong answers. 

Joining in with And Babies Don't Keep Storyteller's Link Up (I'm fashionably late to the party ;))

"Legacy" is part of a blog relaunch series entitled "31 Days of Responding to Him" 
Follow along here

Monday, June 16, 2014

31 Days of Responding to Him

I asked my husband if I should keep posting recipes on instagram. So many insecurities wrapped up in that question...yuck! He promptly told me "Why would you ask that? If God is asking you to do something, you just do it!"

Of course. 

So thankful for a husband who knows my heart and desires for me to express my creativity!

So, here I am, "re-launching" a dead blog with a 31 day challenge. Inspired by a few other bloggers (namely, here and here) I thought it was the perfect accountability to get things started off. To tell you the truth, I really can't believe I'm doing this. What have I been afraid of? Saying something that has already been said 500 times. Spending time writing one reading. I could go on....but what matters is that I think this will actually be fun. And I'm prescribing a little more fun to my life this summer. ;)

I've always liked to write and I feel like my mind is constantly reeling a personal cooking show (among other things), so why not give it a shot? I don't promise to write every day (read: nursing mom of a 6 month old with a part time job), but I do promise to get it done, at least before the end of the summer! 

Why 31 Days of Responding to Him?

God has been tugging on me to share in this capacity, specifically focusing on food and community, but I think more will come to the surface as I move along. So, that's what the next 31 days are about -- Responding to Him, His gentle tugging, and sharing that with you.