Where Faith, Food and Life Converge

Month: June 2015

Monday Mondays 6.28.15

Monday Mondays 6.28.15

News-wise, what a week, huh?  Sometimes it makes me want to be 11 years old again and oblivious to life beyond my own four walls. Beheadings. Murder rampages inside a church. Sweeping Supreme Court decisions. Suicide bombs inside a Muslim mosque. All I can think […]

The Importance of Creation

So… you think maybe I’m talking about Creation, as in, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and Earth.” Well…. yes. And… no. The other day, I turned into kid again for a while.  No, my wrinkles didn’t go away, and I can’t climb trees with […]

Monday Mondays 6.22.15

Monday Mondays 6.22.15

I receive A-Poem-A-Day delivered to my email inbox, well, every day.  I’ve been getting them for years, because as a homeschooler, it’s always good to have a little culture in school, and also because it seems not many people read poetry much any more.  I don’t always read all of the poems (ones about bugs or deep sadness just don’t do it for me) but sometimes I see a little more beauty in the day because of the daily poem I read, or make a connection to the past based on the poem.  Today’s poem was interesting to me, because even a hundred years ago, someone was bemoaning the fact that there wasn’t as much time to relax as in days past.

A hundred years and we’re still wishing we had more time in the day.

Which can be a good thing… or a bad thing.  Sure, we cram so many activities into our daily routines that we don’t stop to smell the roses. (Bad thing.)

On the other hand (good thing), I think this is uniquely part of the larger American story.  Somewhere in our DNA is this need to strive to do more, be more, think more, create more.  It’s served us well as a nation, so while we might all want a little more time off, it’s truly kind of great that we are a nation of do-ers, rather than watchers. So next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by your to-do list, remember that you’ve been blessed to live in this great land, where you can accomplish what you set out to do.  Now…. go kick some butt this week!  Be great, because you ARE great!

Leisure

Amy Lowell, 18741925

Leisure, thou goddess of a bygone age,
When hours were long and days sufficed to hold
Wide-eyed delights and pleasures uncontrolled
By shortening moments, when no gaunt presage
Of undone duties, modern heritage,
Haunted our happy minds; must thou withhold
Thy presence from this over-busy world,
And bearing silence with thee disengage
Our twined fortunes? Deeps of unhewn woods
Alone can cherish thee, alone possess
Thy quiet, teeming vigor. This our crime:
Not to have worshipped, marred by alien moods
That sole condition of all loveliness,
The dreaming lapse of slow, unmeasured time.

 

 

 

 

There’s only One way to become a New Creation

I normally shy away from bringing up issues that have the potential to cause dissent.  Things that might be deemed politically correct, or “too” religious, or accepted by the wider culture we live in.  Except, the other day I was out running errands, and while waiting […]

Monday Mondays 6.15.15

    It seems that summer is here.  While I’m a weirdo in that I actually LIKE the heat,  It’s a great time for nature to show off its stuff.  For instance, our bees are filling up their comb again. So much so that we […]

Give Someone a Hug Today

jacknmom

This is our 2nd son.  He’s in the Air Force overseas, and this picture was taken last May before he shipped out to his first duty station.  He’ll be deploying to “the sandbox” a month from today. For OPSEC purposes, that’s all that can be said, but suffice it to say, this is one of those “trust in the Lord with all your heart …” experiences for me.  It’s been a year since we’ve seen him, at least, in person.  We Skype fairly frequently, but virtual hugs via an online video chat don’t pack the same punch.  Physical touch is so important, isn’t it?  If you think about it later today, give someone you love a hug, because it matters. They matter.  Make sure you show them!

Because of said deployment, it will be the better part of another year until I can hug this guy with my own two arms.

I guess because the anniversary of D-Day took place last week, and there was a surfeit of military movies and documentaries on television, such as Saving Private Ryan, I wondered how old our military is today.  During World War II, when Saving Private Ryan took place, the majority of our fighting forces were under the age of 25.  Today, that hasn’t changed all that greatly; 43% of active military is under the age of 25.  My husband & I watched a documentary about D-Day the other evening, and some of the “men” who served in WWII lied about their age; many were only 17 when they invaded Normandy.

Our son isn’t 17, but to me, anything under 25 still seems awfully young.  I can’t imagine how mothers sent their sons off when they barely had whiskers on their faces to shave. Or how family members made do with communication prior to the 1990’s, when the digital world made “instant” access much more available.  I think about my grandfather, who fought in France and Austria during World War II, close to the same age as my son, To receive mail on either end took about a month.  My grandmother had kept bundles of letters (from my grandmother to him, and him to her) and a letter sent on October 18th, might only be referenced in a November 15th letter.  That’s a long time (at least by my standards) to be out of touch, I feel so blessed to have virtually immediate contact with my son via Skype, Skype instant message, Facebook Messenger, Magic Jack phone, etc… Even snail mail or a package arrives in about a week’s time.  And I know, because I can track its every movement online.

So I am counting my blessings that I live in this day and age where I’ll be able to know from day to day, rather than month to month that he’s alright.  {Thank Heaven for small mercies, right?!?)

Notwithstanding, a real hug, especially before he leaves for that dusty, sandy, arid part of the world, would be better than any other gift I could ask for.

So do me a favor, please… Hug someone today and be grateful they’re in your arms…

Books that Changed my Life, Pt. 2

Several weeks ago, I asked you what books have changed your life.  I listed a few of my favorites, but like Lay’s potato chip commercial betting that you “can’t eat just one,” I can’t pick just one book – or even three or five – that are […]

Monday Mondays 6.8.15

  ir·ri·ta·tion ˌirəˈtāSH(ə)n/ noun the state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or angry. synonyms: annoyance, exasperation, vexation, indignation, impatience,crossness, displeasure, chagrin, piquenoun the state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or angry. synonyms: annoyance, exasperation, vexation, indignation, impatience, crossness, displeasure, chagrin, pique   a cause of this. plural […]

Fried Egg Salad

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I’m pretty much up for trying most foods unless they involve mushrooms. I know, I know. I hear all the time how positively uncivilized I am because I dislike them. And – trust me – I’ve tried to like them. But… I just don’t.

So when my husband and I were in Atlanta a few months ago, and I had a whole day almost all to myself, I browsed quaint little stores and galleries, took in a movie, and ate interesting things in interesting restaurants. Poor sweetie, he had to attend a conference and breathe stuffy air, listen to Muzak, and eat the mandatory carb-laden menu. I, however, was able to seek out the stores and restaurants frequented by the locals and not the tourists. As it happened, we were in Midtown, close to Piedmont Park and some really wonderful shops and eateries.

One I couldn’t help but notice was The Flying Biscuit. With a name like that, the open windows, reggae music floating toward the sidewalk, and the smell of homemade biscuits, I knew that The Flying Biscuit would provide my dinner that night.

They had all manner of tasty and unique items, but I am naturally a salad girl. I like fried food and steaks and casseroles and things like that on the very rare occasion, but show me a unique spin on salad, and I’m so there. When I saw Fried Egg Salad on the menu, I knew it was for me. People I’ve told about it had trouble disguising their “ewww” factor when I told mentioned a salad that came with fried eggs, but gosh darn, it was actually quite amazing. As I ate it, I knew I would have to try to recreate it at home.

Once home, Googling “fried egg salad” didn’t yield a thing, so I looked at the menu online and went from there. The menu describes the salad as: Two farm fresh eggs over medium, oven-roasted rosemary potatoes, and crisp turkey bacon on a bed of field greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and drizzled with spicy chipotle aioli. While I can’t say that it tastes exactly like the real deal, it’s close enough that I don’t have to get in the car and drive for hours just to get my fix.

I think the concept of a semi-runny egg flowing out over lettuce might put some people off, but really, it’s not uncommon to see eggs in a salad.  Um, egg salad anyone?  No, really, think Cobb salad or Chef salad, which both use chopped hardboiled eggs as an ingredient.  Or… Caesar salad, made properly and from scratch uses raw egg in the dressing.  So it’s not a long leap to add fried eggs now, is it?  The runny egg yolk sort of acts as an emulsifier with the rest of the dressing, and the salad as a whole has a very creamy, yet fresh mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel.

One of those words I’ve picked up from watching Food Network or Cooking Channel cooking competition shows….  Judges use words and phrases like… mouthfeel.  Amuse bouche. Umami.  Flavor note.  Graininess. Each of them is something I now know only because of TV.  Julia Child may have introduced Americans to souffles or Coq au Vin, but a whole new lexicon has opened up because of Food TV.  16 year olds know what these mean, and I had to wait until I was in my 40’s to learn these terms.

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Darn TV. Now I can’t enjoy my food, I have to understand it too!

But here’s something you don’t have to understand – this salad is good.  I mean, just, good.  Like that whole, sometimes breakfast for dinner is good, you know?  Pancakes or waffles instead of soup or a meat and 3?  Yeah, this is better than waffles for dinner.  It’s… the best of breakfast and dinner and healthy and fresh, all wrapped up into one odd but delicious meal.  Try it.  Or, get Mikey to try it.  And if he likes it, then chances are you will too…

Fried Egg Salad

(makes 4 dinner size salads)

2 bags mixed spring greens
1 lb. turkey bacon
2 – 4 T butter
salt & pepper to taste
8 eggs

For chipotle aioli:

6 T mayonnaise
2 t chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 t minced garlic
1 t freshly chopped cilantro
5 T freshly squeezed lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor, or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Place into a small zip-top baggy and refrigerate until ready to use.

For roasted potatoes:

2 lbs. baby red or Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 medium onion
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 t thyme
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dice potatoes into 1/2″ cubes, skin on. Dice small onion. Place both in an oven-proof dish. Chop rosemary and thyme. Toss together with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden and tender. Set aside.

For Balsamic Vinaigrette:

(makes 1 C)

1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup or honey
1/4 t onion salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
Pinch dried mustard
1/2 C olive oil

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the syrup/honey, garlic powder, onion salt and pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly.

For the salad:

Cook turkey bacon in a skillet until desired crispness. (I like mine crispy, kind of like croutons, but my husband likes his a little less cooked, so it seems more like real bacon. If you’re throwing caution to the wind, feel free to use real bacon!)

Use the same skillet to fry the eggs. Add a bit of butter if necessary. Eggs should be cooked to “over easy”, which means that the white is fully cooked, and the yolk is slightly runny. Check out Alton Brown’s recipe and technique for cooking eggs “over easy.” Having the egg yolk slightly runny enhances the vinaigrette; it sort of emulsifies and makes the dressing very creamy.

Assemble the lettuce into 4 bowls. Divide the potatoes between the bowls. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette. Top each bowl with a couple strips of bacon, and two just-fried eggs. Cut off a bit of one corner of the zip-top baggy, and generously drizzle the chipotle aioli over the eggs. Serve with some homemade biscuits and strawberry jam!

 

How to Climb to the top of a Mountain without Plunging to your Death – Or, Pay Attention to your Surroundings

I can’t say that I claim expertise status on this one, but I did recently hike in Zion National Park to the top of Angel’s Landing, which has had its share of deaths, so perhaps I can at least make the case for a little experience instead. When […]