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Family visit & Thankfulness

27 Nov

We recently had J’s family visit us for a week.  We had a great time getting projects done around the house –wahoo!  Then to top off the goodness, Chloe came to visit for a long weekend. We had a great time catching up and being silly. I love girl time.

Here are some pics from the visit.

 

In other news, I am learning to be thankful for the many blessings that we have.  It’s been a year of personal and spiritual growth for us. We have experienced personal loss and health scares that can only be described as…difficult.  Other friends and family members have experienced difficult times this year as well.  With Thanksgiving tomorrow and a birthday creeping up on me, I’m thankful for another year and looking forward to more.

 

 

Baltimore trip!

23 Jun

I recently visited a best buddy, Chloe and her hubby Matt who live in Baltimore. I had a fantastic visit and wanted to share some pics!

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Their apartment building! Fun fact–if you watch House of Cards it’s filmed on a street in Baltimore. For the second season they filmed on this street. I have touched the same street as Kevin Spacey–weird.

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Beautiful murals and chandeliers in their 1800’s apartment–so cool.

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Street art, art from the Baltimore Museum of Art, lanterns in a Turkish restaurant.

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Gluten free bakery and a restaurant attached. We also had dinner at the restaurant. It was completely gluten free and awesome!

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Haha! We didn’t get any good photos together only blurry silly ones!
Baltimore, I miss you, can’t wait to go back!

Life is Good.

21 Sep

I have been terribly slack on updating the old blog. In fact, I shouldn’t be doing it right now since there is so much to do but whatev.. I have a beautiful piece of furniture that should be on this blog. It was painted months ago, but do I have the energy or attention span to photograph it? Nope. I will get to it soon.

I need to start documenting more of our lives because I’m convinced one day my memory will be completely gone. So when I’m in my 90s (if I make that long) I hope to have this as a memento of when I was young, energetic, and so on.

This is an incredibly busy season of our lives right now. I started working for USC this August teaching a class. It has been an incredibly fun and stressful time. I remember back in 2005 being so excited to start my social work career–I was ready to change the world! Seeing students takes me back to those days, with all the good and bad. Eight years later, my thoughts of how I change the world are quite different but the passion is still there. It is good to be reminded why this is what I do. I’m still in love with my profession. The good and the bad. J makes fun of me when I listen to The Social Work Podcast in the mornings..I can’t help it, I’m a nerd at heart.

During this season, I am feeling very blessed. Many of our friends are getting married and having babies, or their careers are starting and/or blossoming. It’s just a very peaceful, fruitful time. It’s one of those time that God is very obvious and throwing his blessing around (I think this is always happening, but sometimes it’s just harder to see). I’m grateful that I can take a step back and savor the here and now before it whizzes past us.

Tybee Island fun

4 Aug

We headed to Tybee Island, GA last weekend for a little getaway. We don’t really get the opportunity to go away very often. Time is the main issue. J works 6 days a week so going away is a luxury. We had a great time! We didnt realize how important it is to just have some alone time away from the daily routine..it was amazing.

Tybee is pretty small and an older beach town. There are mainly family owned businesses on the island, which we loved. The river inlet runs behind where we were staying so kayaking is pretty popular. We really didn’t have much time to do much but bum around and eat which was okay by us. 🙂

We stayed in a little studio shack called the Love Shack. It is owned by the owners of the Beachview B&B. It is located behind their house. It was reminiscent of being in Europe and staying in homey locally owned properties. It was incredibly quiet and private. We were able to use the owner’s beach bikes which was fun. The morning we left we were invited to the main B&B for a free breakfast before we hit the road. The food was yummy and the main B&B is gorgeous. Both locations are in the historical district so it’s pretty quiet and not full of spring break type activity. We would highly recommend this place.

There were storms rolling in and out all weekend which was great because it cooled off the beach and made for some great photos.

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Visit with college buddies & chocolate pie!

10 Jun

Our friends Linsey, Stephen, and their adorable daughter Leland came to visit. We were so excited to visit and show them Greenville. We had a great time. 🙂 Seeing loved ones from home makes me homesick. Linsey was my college roomie and first friend I had at Central. We both transferred into the photojournalism program our junior years and became best buddies. I remember our shared love for Incubus ( mmm Brandon Boyd…hahah) and of course photography! We have been best buds ever since. I can’t believe this was 10 years ago!! Wow.

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I also have another amazing dessert to share. I got this idea from a friend of a friend, who is now my friend ( yeah, I just typed that). She came to our small group with this amazing chocolate tofu pie. Needless to say I was intrigued because it was delicious.

I found a similar recipe online and tweaked it a smidgen. Also it’s a great platform for trying a new yummy grain free/ gluten free crust recipe. I made this pie twice now and each time it was amazing.

Here is the recipe:

I would make the crust first or a day before because it needs to be completely cooled before the filling goes in.

1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon water

Place nuts in food processor; grind until fine.
Add melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla and water.
Continue processing till mixture begins falling off sides of bowl.
Press into 9-inch pie pan.

Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Filling:
Approx 13 ounces chocolate chips ( half milk chocolate and half semi sweet chocolate)
1/3 cup Kahlua or strong brewed coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound silken tofu, drained
1 tablespoon honey
Top with favorite berries

The very first thing I do here is place the tofu in a colander to drain it. I let it sit for at least 20 minutes to get the excess moisture out.
Melt the chocolate chips, Kalhua or coffee, and vanilla using the double boiler method. I use a pan filled half way with water with a metal or glass bowl on top. This keeps the chocolate from burning.
Once melted place in food processor with the tofu and honey, blend until smooth.
Pour into cooled crust.
The original recipe suggested two hours cooling/ setting time in the fridge. I have cooled overnight both times so I’m not sure if two hours is enough.
Once cooled place berries on top. I have used raspberries and blackberries. Both were yummy!
You should try this it’s super easy and so good.

Filling Adapted from Alton Brown’s Mooless Pie:
Crust adapted from Food.com

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The good, the bad, and the ugly.

7 May

That about sums up my weekend with food. I have had stomach issues for awhile now and finally sucked it up and went to a doctor this past year. I was given an elimination diet by my GI several months ago. No dairy and no whole grains– sigh. I finally got serious and decided to really stick with it the past 6 weeks. The culprits I noticed are dairy and wheat (and apparently oatmeal which is highly contested in the gluten free world). The dairy is no surprise as I have been lactose intolerant for years. I know what my dairy threshold is. The wheat has been somewhat of a shock. Gluten Is still up in the air.

I ate a cupcake and a flour tortilla this Saturday. Sunday morning I woke up with what can only be described as a wheat hangover. Awful. For the past 6 weeks I honestly thought I might be OK with wheat until Sunday happened.

It’s really all starting to click. Especially when I was doing endurance sports. During that time my wheat/carb consumption was at an all time high. I remember eating a PB&J before a swim workout and getting oddly sick. I’m remembering the stomach cramps after eating wheat based processed energy products during runs…and so on. Damn.

My love affair for all things wheat are over. I’m honestly depressed about it. Good news is that with Gluten Free being a more common issue my options for eating out and such isn’t all that bad.

Another blessing in this mess is that I like to cook and am already familiar with special diets. My mother is allergic to corn, soy, wheat, eggs, chicken, dairy..and probably more things that I missed. I’m just hoping I’m not intolerant or allergic to anything else.

Good news is the recipes in this blog just got more interesting? Creative? Scary? Probably all of the above. Here is my first stab at a recipe I tweaked to be GF/ wheat free. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Zucchini muffins
Adapted from Nancy Creative

Makes 24 muffins

2 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter muffin)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF all purpose flour
1 cup Almond Meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I used a combo of white and milk chocolate- its what was on hand)
Could add nuts if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave baking chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, yogurt, grated zucchini, vanilla, and melted chocolate; blend well. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (optional), and cocoa powder. Then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Spoon into lined muffin cups.

Bake muffins at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Viola!

These were super yummy and I will definitely make them again.

Nostalgia..

22 Feb

J and I were talking at lunch today about Lent and how this is a season for us to die to ourselves to become closer to Christ. One of the ways to do this is reflecting on our marriage and what needs some work. As we discussed this we started doing some reminiscing..I started feeling old, but it was OK. I later found myself looking at old pictures after work and ran across these gems.

I met my husband in 2002. I love love love the fact that we have grown up together. It is such a stinking blessing to reflect back on our silly ways. I was 19 maybe 20 years old in the first photo (yikes). J took me to Grand Rapids for a date night. It was my first time in the big GR. Some random stranger took our picture on this bridge…still not sure what I’m doing with my mouth.

The second photo was taken in 2006, one of our first trips to Asheville. My memory is terrible..so I need to start writing this junk down. Thank you blogging.

When I look at both of these pictures I see a young L&J. Especially J…he looks like such a baby face! I have been so lucky to watch him become the man that is my husband today. We were such kids when we met..seriously. Super selfish, crazy passionate about Indie music (before it was popular..thank you very much), weird piercings (me), refused to wear jeans  (J), a dream to be serious journalists (woah..glad that ended), J’s love for bacon (oh wait, that hasn’t changed) and our stumbling towards Christ in all the wrong ways (oh wait..still learning there).  Ahhh…memories.

J&L--2002

J&L--2006