Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lost Art of Commitment

August Op-ed from Chuck Colson, Western perspective on suffering in ministry and an fascinating book review on marriage all seem to repeat one theme this afternoon--Commitment demands dying to self-interest. None of it sounds very romantic, it does sound honest and filled with truth. Five and a half years of marriage--romance is taking on new dimensions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boys, Boys, Boys

Nate &Joseph(Banga) Graduating from Officer Candidate School in February
Nate & Reuben with their Maternal Grandmother in Chad, last December
Rueben in Chad, Cattle Security??
Dana Halloween 2009, The Roaming Gnome
My little brother Dana will be staring in Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors this weekend.
If there's one thing BOTH sides of our family are good at it's travel. These past few weeks have been no exception. Nate's brothers have gathered from around the globe to spend a few moments together before Joseph deploys for Afghanistan. Reuben has limited time in-country before returning to responsiblities in Chad, we'll be road tripping North to Cedar Rapids where I'll get to spend some time with my little brother. Nate is heading to the west coast. Dana is working on his bucket list (including staring in a Shakespearian play and bumming around Europe) before Air Force boot camps this winter.
I guess we're a military family now but we could never stay in one place to begin with. It helps me appreciate what a great family God has blessed us with! (Auntie Minga was around recently and we can never get enough of her--if only we could get Auntie Melom too!)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Food Revolution Update

'My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life's greatest joys yet we've reached this really sad point where we're turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that's alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don't eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards." Jaime Oliver

Recently I discovered Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Admittedly I've never seen a Jamie Oliver cooking show. Nate & I first noticed Oliver on This Week with Christiane Amanpour (a steady part of our diet around here.) Oliver's story of teaching Britain's & Americans how to cook hit home with me, so did his note that American's spent more on fast food in 2007 than they did on education! This blew my mind.
"We're not talking about gourmet French cheeses and expensive cuts of meats here. . . we're talking French fries, pizzas, burgers, and other food that is absolute garbage." Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution

Personally, I love to cook. Food is a wonderful art form that crosses cultural barriers. It's also an everyday activity that nourishes my family and creates an environment that draws people together. I grew up with a wonderful history of hospitality. One shared by both my parents. Unfortunately, I didn't spend enough time in the kitchen to really learn how to cook from my mother. Maybe because I wasn't interested in traditional American cuisine or I'm just not very patient. It wasn't till Nate & I were developing our own home and culture that I discovered how much I loved global cooking. Having friends who create an excellent environment for people to gather helped. My point--I still have a lot to learn and I'm looking forward to creating more scratch meals from every type of tradition.

Oliver's Food Revolution combines fresh & affordable ingredients, two of my favorite concepts. Adding to the reasons I love it are his recipes from all over the world, and a belief that great home made food is healthy, because it isn't processed and enjoyed in moderation. Regardless of weather you agree with Jamie's ideals, cooking these recipes have been fun and simple. The best part has been feeding it to family and experiencing their enjoyment. Having family around constantly has been my favorite part of Dallas. Feeding them has simply been an inspiring way to get to know them!

Some of our family favorites have been:
Cauliflower Cheese
Best Ever French Beans

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

French press coffee in the morning with Sophia: We have a leisurely, decadent routine that makes us happy on so many levels. The French press, a simply elegant way to make coffee that brings out the best flavors. Compared to other coffee makers it's a little labor intensive, that's why Sophia loves it.

She loves to pour the beans into the grinder, grind the beans, pour them into the coffee pot, wait for the tea-pot to whistle, watch mommy pour in the hot water, set the timer for four minutes (something we learned at Brewed Awakenings.) Then her favorite part of the morning, pressing the coffee grounds to the bottom. She uses all her strength to accomplish this goal and it's adorable. Finally mommy pours in a yummy flavored coffee creamer and Sophia stirs it to perfection.

This morning she commented "You like your coffee this light color, it's the same color as you! "Yes" I replied "but it's as sweet as you!" She's still not convinced it's worth drinking but it's definitely my favorite part!

Jaime Oliver: Food Revolution: Speaking of food & favorites. I ADORE this cookbook. I typically avoid cook books opting for web based recipes. But I'm in the process of working my way through this cookbook. I'll keep you posted. The only problem I can for see is keeping enough fresh herbs on hand! Uncultured Persons, Favorite T-Shirt: My cousin (in-law) did it again! An oh-so comfy shirt that I love to wear at home and around Dallas!

Pho 95 New Favorite Restaurant in Arlington: Moving as much as Nate & I did growing up you learn how to befriend a place, like you would a person. Getting to know it's personality. On the corner of Cooper and Bardin in Arlington is Pho 95. It's not just a whole in the wall it's got style and ambience with great Vietnamese food. But it's not a chain, it's a decidedly local feel especially when it's cool enough to sit outside. My tip-- try the Su Yuen Reisling with the BBQ Pork & Noodles, it's served with fresh veggies, drizzle it with the dressing and watch it disappear. Try their sandwich's or their drip coffee! Vietnam was settled by the French and so the influence show's up in the crusty French Baguette sandwich with and asian twist and iced-drip coffee with sweetened condensed milk! To die for!

Cara Black, Paris Mysteries: Last but not least Cara Black's, Amiee Leduc mysteries have been my standard pool reading this summer. I've devoured four of them. All set in Paris in the 90's Aimee Leduc runs a cyber-detective agency but still manages to get out of the office and find trouble in every nook and cranny of Paris.

I love these books for a couple of reasons. First, she manages to get involved with every type of Paris settler. The Jewish WWII community, the Algerian refugee, the Haitians, you name it she's written a book about their connection with the city and their country. It gives you a feel of the real Paris, not just the guidebook version. Yet Black is still able to capture the essence of the Parisian attitude and French--all while teaching you more about the different neighborhoods of Paris, their history and modern inhabitants.

I love Black's formula for a great novel, her integrity with the characters representing real people. Great writing and daring political plot twists make it a great page turner! Also the last four are now on audio book. They're fabulous.


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