Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry "Baking" Christmas

I apologize for being MIA lately, but between graduation, moving, and a sudden change of plans, Ross and I have been busy working on our most wonderful and challenging baking project yet. ;-)

A blessed Christmas to you all! 

P.S. Yes, that's a bun in the oven.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Port Holiday Festival

Today I had the pleasure of singing with Christ the Servant Lutheran Church's young adult choir - New Song - at Bellingham's Holiday Port Festival

My dear friend Molly

And Matt! Both of whom we had the pleasure of working with at Lutherwood. 

And Cindy, our wonderful director, who seemed to be looking at someone else's camera. Oh well =)

Singing was fun! We went through some Christmas songs, a few spirituals and our bests from the year. It was an early performance and therefore it was quiet, but we had a nice crowd. A woman came up to me after to thank us for singing about the true meaning of Christmas, it was sweet. 

Then we got to check out the Gingerbread House Contest!!!! 

Took pictures of some of my favorites, such as Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. 

That was for Ross - Angry Birds - I wish there was no such thing as an Angry Birds app. Or a tanks app. Or a chess app. Or any of the many things Ross gets sucked into... ha ha. 

Santa's Ranch - LOVED the raw sugar detail on the Triscuit roof, really make it sparkle.

A Yuletide Yurt! 

The Lorax 

The Red Cross (where I volunteer instruct from time to time) 

And my personal favorite - HOGWARTS CASTLE! There's the castle, the Quidditch pitch, the Whomping Willow and the Forbidden Forest!!!! I LOVE IT! I'm such a nerd, but I love that too. 

I ended the day with a lovely sunset walk with Molly at Boulevard Park. The weather couldn't have been better, and someone was playing their fiddle on the rocks outside, it was simply magical. I will miss Bellingham so much! 

In other news, I am done with my graduate project, just need to present it next week and then get a nice printed, bound copy made. Then graduation is a week from tomorrow!!!

So we're just packing, trying to figure out how on earth to pack for life at Holden, and waiting for our families to arrive in a week to celebrate and help us move. Thanks family!!! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011



I hope you got to celebrate with something delicious looking like this (or perhaps nothing like this!) and with those that you love. We sure did miss our families but enjoyed a quiet day with just me, Ross, and Bryan - a friend of Ross' from school and camp. 

Our special bird came from Cedarville Farm where he lived a good life until this past Tuesday when he came to us. We had decided that buying our turkey from Mike at the farm was very important to us because it aligned with our Christian eating ethic - like supporting a good local farmer who we had developed a relationship with, and the manner in which this turkey was raised had a positive impact of the people who cared for it and the environment, and was healthy for our bodies. 

The turkey needed a brine, so we added 3 cups of salt to 3 gallons of water and soaked him overnight in a 5 gallon bucket. It took a complete rearranging of the refrigerator, but we made it work. The next morning after a quick rinse and dry he was ready to roast! 

We sprinkled the bird with paprika and placed him in an oven bag, stuffed him and left him to roast for about 3 hours. 

It couldn't have turned out better. 

After a 30 minute cool I got to carving. While I was cutting into the breast I started hear this strange sound, it was a faint "gobble gobble." I started freaking out, but then it stopped. I kept carving and then heard it again! I thought I was losing it... then I realized the dishwasher was making some weird squeaking noises. Whew, close one! 

The result was incredible. Delicious, moist meat with a nice, subtle salty flavor. 

I used all the drippings to make a gravy: just put the drippings in a pot, brought them to a boil and added some organic corn starch to thicken. So simple, and the result was delicious! 

Stuffing - with apples, carrots, celery, onions and cranberries. 

Potatoes, also from Cedarville Farm

Organic sweet potatoes with brown sugar, cinnamon and vegan marshmallows. 

Green bean casserole - and the only thing that came in a can were the fried onion pieces for the top. I made a simple roux, sautéd mushrooms and onions with the fresh whole green beans, mixed it all up and baked it. 

We have so much to be thankful for - a wonderful meal, each other, graduation is coming up, we get to travel and be home with family for the holidays, we have the opportunity to live and serve at Holden Village soon, and new adventures to come. 

Thank God for good food, friends, family, farmers, cooks, and eaters alike. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christian Eating Principles

My graduate school project is getting closer and closer to completion, and while researching I was struck by this set of principles offered by John Barclay and I felt compelled to share them with you. Perhaps consider theses are you prepare for Thanksgiving next week. 

Principles: “The first was that all food consumption must be done in orientation and thanksgiving to God; the second, that any food consumption must take into account the effects of that eating on others.”

What does this mean? 

“1. Although the Christian faith imposes no universal rule regarding which foods may or may not be eaten, food is not a non-issue for Christians, but is liable to raise a number of acute and serious questions concerning Christian obedience.

2. A critical question concerning food is whether it can be eaten in thanksgiving to God, whether its orientation is ‘to the Lord’. Good consumption is not a neutral issue for Christians, nor an ‘unspiritual’ matter beneath their moral radar, but as much a part of their Christ-orientation as every other dimension of life.

3. It is central to Christian discipleship to consider the effects of one’s practices on others, to look beyond one’s own legitimate rights and freedoms to see how others are affected. Even food – what we eat and how and where we eat it – can have serious knock-on effects on others, unintended, perhaps, and unexpected: but it is our responsibility to know those effects and to weigh them.

4. Food-taboos are not in principle un-Christian; abstention may be a necessary way of honoring the Lord. In particular, if food consumption causes harm to others, if it damages the weak or humiliates the poor, it is Christians’ responsibility to impose upon themselves a contextually relevant food taboo.”

So what is our Christian responsibility in the face of the impending and current environmental crisis? 

Barclay, J. G. (2010). Food, Christian identity and global warming: a Pauline call for a Christian food taboo. Expository Times, 121(12), 585-593. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Famous Bowls

Oh man - it's my last month in grad school - as in graduation is one month from today!!!! That means I am in full-on project writing mode. I've been busy, trying to take it easy when I can and writing furiously the other times.

This means that my darling husband Ross has been doing most of the cooking and cleaning around here lately, which I LOVE (thank you honey!!!), but I honestly haven't spent much time in the kitchen in the past week.

One meal we worked on together that was out of this world, however, was our very own version of those KFC Famous bowls! <--- Please click on that link for a hilarious video. But you know what I mean - those commercials that keep cropping up on Sundays during football games for KFC's Famous Bowls. Now I wouldn't say that they looked good, but the idea of them with my own local & organic twist, now that sounded amazing. And we tried the happy lamp to help with the lighting in the pictures... it totally overdid it. But I'm not skilled nor willing to spend time with photoshop right now, so here goes!

Famous Bowls 
20 organic mini yellow potatoes 
1/2 medium organic onion, chopped 
1 cup organic corn, frozen or canned 
2 slices Hempler's local bacon, chopped
2+ leaves organic, local kale 
2 organic chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup cheddar cheese 
Salt, pepper, garlic, al gusto 

Start with oven roasting mini yellow potatoes for 40 minutes at 400F. They were just coated in canola oil and sprinkled with garlic powder and pepper. 

Cook up the bacon in one pan, then use the bacon grease to saute the kale in. In another skillet, saute the onions and chicken until cooked thoroughly. 

As the potatoes roast and the bacon sizzles, you can chop up the kale, and nuke the corn in the microwave or heat in a saucepan on the stove. 

Then let the fun begin! Start with a layer of sauted kale in the bottom. 

Then add those cute mini potatoes! 

Then the chicken and onions. 

Layer on the corn. 

Finally, top it with the bacon and the cheese! 

They. were. AMAZING. 

Ross added ranch dressing to his, while I layered on Frank's Red Hit Buffalo Sauce. We were both raving at our delicious creation! 

Take that KFC! 

Oh, and hopefully see you soon? I honestly don't know when... but I'll be back. Wish me luck on finishing everything up! 

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! 

This year Ross and I decided not to carve a pumpkin. Instead, we carved peppers! 

Those beautiful peppers I got from the Farmer's Market

To make your very own Jack-O-Pepper you need these local and/or organic ingredients:

2 large orange bell peppers. 
1 cup cooked brown rice 
1 cup cooked black beans (canned are fine) 
1 green or poblano pepper
1/2 medium onion 
1/2 cup shredded cheese - cheddar or pepper-jack 
1 Tbsp canola oil 
Seasonings al gusto 

Slice open the top and clean out the guts just like you would a pumpkin. Save the top. 

Chop the green pepper and onions into small pieces and saute with the oil. You could also add mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Be creative! 

After the onions are translucent add the rice and beans, mix together and cook until hot. Add any seasonings you want here - garlic, cumin, chili powder, s&p. 

While the stuffing is sauteing you get to carve your peppers! 

Carve then anyway you like, keeping the openings reasonably small.  

Then stuff them! Fill with alternating layers of stuffing and cheese.

Take care to place the black beans in the mouth and eyes for a dramatic effect. 

So creepy! 

Cap them and place them upright in an oven safe dish and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes... 

or until its hot and the cheese is all melted. It kinda looks like his brains are falling out! 

Then enjoy! We put some tortilla chips on the side, and I definitely added a lot of hot sauce to mine! 

Happy Halloween! Be safe! 

I met nearly every one of the goals I set for myself in October! The only one I didn't really get into was meditation. I like meditation and prayer in conjunction with yoga, but not on its own.