It should be illegal to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Okay, rant over. Please don’t judge me. It’s just that I love love love fall. The leaves, the pumpkins, the colors, the apples. I love apples. There are so many fun things to do with apples. And because I love to share, I thought I would combine two of my loves for some weekend inspiration. Here are two easy apple recipes we’ve enjoyed this season. Inside Out Caramel Apples Apples Caramel Sharp Knife Melon Baller Gather your apples (how many is up to you!) Slice them in half and use a melon baller to scoop out seeds Fill with caramel (you can cover the whole half with caramel-a matter of taste). I soften it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to spread. Chill for about 20 minutes in the fridge Cut into slices and yum-inside out caramel apples. No sticky on the outside, but the same goodness as those (healthy, I tell myself) caramel apples! Super Easy Crock-Pot Applesauce 8 medium or 20 small apples (mix) 1 strip lemon peel 1 tsp lemon juice Cinnamon Stick 5 tsp brown sugar Chop apples; add to Crock-Pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low 6 hours, stir occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick, mash to desired consistency. Store up to 3 weeks in the fridge. Easy apple recipes! Have an awesome weekend!
The other day, I had lunch with a friend at Olive Garden and had the best soup-mushroom porcini. It was soooo good (the company was fabulous, too). I went home to Google a copycat recipe (because, really–can’t everything be found by Googling it?), but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. So I grabbed a recipe from a blog and tweaked it to make it my own. It was perfect for a cold fall evening. Creamy Mushroom and Potato Soup 8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, diced 1 potato, chopped 8 green onions, finely diced 1 clove fresh garlic, minced 1/2 cup butter 6 cups broth 1 c. heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons thyme salt and pepper to taste Heat 2 cups broth to boiling, then add 1/2 cup mushrooms and chopped potato. Turn off heat, let stand 30-40 minutes. In a large pot, melt butter. Add onion an garlic, saute just until soft. Add remaining mushrooms and saute until soft. Add 3 tablespoons flour and cook 1 minute. Add remaining broth slowly, then add broth/mushroom/potato mixture. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook on medium-low 20 minutes. Add cream and Parmesan cheese. Serve warm with crusty bread. Yum!
I’ve been trying to find out the truth lately. About where and how and who I was born to. I’ve had that best friend call all the men with his name in the state he was last known to live in. And the truth is, the welling inside of me to have an answer has been so great lately that I’ve told only a few. And I wonder about how it could turn out, and should I keep looking and what does he look like? And is she telling the truth, am I getting the answers from her that are truth? And the Greatest Truth resonates deeper than any honest answers about him ever could: I have been loved from before the beginning. Even though she isn’t well and he isn’t present, the Truth is greater than any answers I could find on any website or through any phone listing or even on ancestry.com. And why can’t I remember that I’m surrounded by people that remind me of that truth and speak it to me and live it out? Even if I never find him, or I do and the truth is not what I hope for, I will not become unloved. That’s the truth.
Me: I realize that if I don’t surrender it and forgive, my life will be a big cycle of resentment and hurt. So I’m working on moving on. Dealing with things as they come, though-trying not to ignore the issues. A balance, I suppose. I feel like, especially since turning 30, that relationships are kind of falling into place, that they’ve adjusted a little bit and I’m figuring out boundaries, where to challenge and where to back off. It’s all because of counseling and my willingness to allow God to change me. I’m more comfortable with “me”, but I hope I don’t want to become content with that forever. You know? Happy with who I am, but always being challenged to change what needs to be changed, too. Her: I was just talking about that last night with my husband in our devotions. I said if there was one thing I could do it would be to allow my current self to go back to my 20-something self and talk to her for a whole weekend. Tell her life is messy, marriage is messy and relationships are not always what they say they are. To tell myself to enjoy non- responsibility now before it gets too serious. Me: Do me a favor–when you go back to her, go back to me too. Tell me I said to just stop trying to please people, spend more time with my babies, and love me for me. Let me know what she says. Her: Okay. I am going to get them together for a party and then lay it all out for them. ******************************************************************************************** Here’s what I’m learning: when we aren’t real, we miss out. Isn’t it easier to be fake? We’ve all seen those kinds of people- someone asks how they are, and they start talking about their kids, their job, or the best answer: I’m fine. What does that mean, anyway? We need to move beyond fine. There is a time and place to keep things private, but in our closest relationships, “fine” should be off-limits. Are you struggling? Let’s talk about it. Then let’s challenge each other to move on, to forgive, to grow. Are you excited, anxious, anticipating? Let’s have coffee. But let’s not leave it there. Because when we open ourselves up to others, we give them permission to ask, to call, to pry, even. If it’s better for you to stay home and sulk, do that. But I promise you, you’re missing out. You lose. Being real, what we lose when when we aren’t, is significant.
The day I was born, I am told it was snowy (Alaska, so a given). It was early. And that it was the day my mother’s only daughter came into the world. Today when I woke up, it was rainy. Cold and windy. A Tuesday, so probably better than a Monday birthday. My sweeties have been pretending to forget what today is, but no doubt remembered when they opened the fridge door and saw the cake Dad made (complete with frosted flowers. Impressive.) I have a family member who often speaks in terms of “I worked hard to…”, “I’ve earned the right to…”, “I’ve done a lot to be…”. Honestly, it gets old. The idea that we should bow down and honor this person does not sit well with me. When we are young and we have a birthday, it is all about us. When my brothers and I were younger, we awoke to candles in our pancakes, a home-baked cake, and balloons on our bedroom floor. It was our day. Then we grow up. We get married. We have our own little sweeties and experience the season of making it all about them. When I woke up this morning, the 4 year-old was sleeping as close as possible to the curve of my back. I sat up in bed and reminded myself of the date. I stepped over baskets of laundry, made school lunches, complained about the cat and her odorous presence, picked up crayons, and handed out yogurt for breakfast. I also admired the freshly painted bathroom, a birthday gift from a friend. I looked at the cards lined up on the counter and counted my blessings. I went to work and smiled at the streamers on my desk, the coffee a co-worker brought, the homemade card from a group of preschoolers. I thought about last Friday, when I had a rare girl’s night out and we laughed our selves silly until we left Wal-Mart at 11:30. And sometimes we think we deserve more. The world didn’t stop spinning on the day I was born. It won’t stop turning today. Dinner will still need to be made, homework checked, sweeties tucked in after one more drink of water and one more back rub and one more story. Whatever we think we deserve, we probably don’t. Walking around with a sense of entitlement will destroy us, friends. If we are waiting for a bedroom floor covered in balloons or the next big “thing” or the masses to fall at our feet as we walk to Starbucks for our double shot espresso, our hearts are in the wrong place. I’m going to enjoy this day and be blessed by it, not because I deserve it, but because it’s my gift. Unearned, given by a God who sees my imperfections and gives to me anyway. ~Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. (Westminister Catechism)