New post up at the new blog.
New post up at the new blog.
Along with moving to Chicago, I am moving to a new blog. Check it out.
For everyone who’s wondering where I’ve been at, I’m knee deep in sorting through all our stuff for a big moving sale this weekend and then for the move itself. So I may not get back to posting regularly for a few weeks. But I will give some updates here and there. Wish me luck!
This is my dog, Maki. Her name is Machiatto, like the coffee drink, but we call her Maki, like the sushi. She is a little ball of crazy, half chihuahua and half boston terrier. We feed her every day at noon, and this is what her bowl looks like when we first feed her (please note that there are three different types of kibble: round, square, and triangle).
This is the bowl after she has finished eating. Yeah. My dog does not like the round kibble. Apparently the square and triangle kibble are too amazing to even bother with the round. Yeah.
Should I file this under vegetarianism?
Summer = watermelon.
But sometimes I get a little over-excited about watermelon season and start to buy watermelons before they’re really at their peak. This happened a couple weeks ago when I bought a seedless (seedless was my first mistake) watermelon. It was definitely not juicy enough to warrant summer watermelon excitement. So what do you do with an entire non-juicy watermelon that no one is going to eat? I first considered just tossing it…until I found a recipe for watermelon granita.
Watermelon granita is like watermelon sno cone but way better. It’s a good way to get rid of a watermelon but it’s a little time consuming for my taste. That’s why I got my husband to make it. 🙂
Here’s what he did:
Chop up the watermelon.
Then blend it.
Then strain it.
Then add the zests and juice of two limes. After you use them up the limes look like this.
You also add a sugar syrup mixture. Stir it all together and stick it in the freezer. After two hours the granita will start to get slushy. After that point, you need to stir it every half hour or so. If you don’t stir, it will just turn into a rock of watermelon ice, so stirring is essential.
I forgot to get a picture of the final product so here’s one I found on teh intarweb.
Feed to little children and they will eat it like this…
…and scream very, very loudly if you take it away from them.
Watermelon Granita (from Grow Organic, Cook Organic)
Cut the watermelon into quarters. Discard most of the seeds, scoop the flesh into a blender and process the watermelon quarters in small batches.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small pan, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup into a bowl. Allow the syrup to cool, then chill until needed.
Strain the watermelon puree through a sieve into a large plastic container. Discard the melon seeds. Pour in the chilled syrup, lime rind, and juice and mix well.
Cover and freeze for 2 hours until the granita mixture around the sides of the container is mushy. Mash the ice finely with a fork and return to the freezer.
Freeze for a further 2 hours, mashing the mixture every 30 minutes until the granita has a slushy consistency.
Perhaps it is a southern thing, or maybe just an American church thing, but every church I’ve ever been to has a team of “greeters” – people at the church on Sunday mornings with the specific task of saying “hi” to everyone who walks in. Several churches we have gone to have the specific goal of having each person who comes in be greeted three times before they get to their seat.
I’m not going to name names, but Brad and I used to go to a church where people would greet you by asking “How are you?” By the time I said “Good, and you?” they had already turned to greet someone else. So my response turned into “Good, and….oh.” It was as if they didn’t realize they had just asked me a question. In this same church, greeters were always men and only ever shook hands with the men. I don’t know how many times I stuck out my hand to a smiling gentleman only to have him look straight through me as if I weren’t there and then shake Brad’s hand with gusto and move on to the next person. Suffice it to say, we don’t go to that church anymore.
Okay, I’ve got my criticisms out of my system…maybe, we’ll see. What I really want to talk about has to do with this verse:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:16
I think this verse has a lot to do with having real conversations with people. I kind of hesitate to use that word – real – because I heard it a lot in college, as in “We need to be real with people.” Maybe it’s still a useful word, even if slightly overused.
So what does all this have to do with living in community? It would seem that God calls us to share openly with those in our communities both the good and the bad things we are going through. When someone asks us “How are you doing today?” it should be an invitation to a conversation rather than a simple greeting. We need to be open to rejoicing and mourning when other people in our community are in the midst of one or the other. In the past and in some cultures still today, people built deep relationships with the people who lived near them. They watched each other’s kids. They built each other’s houses. They shared tools. They farmed together. They cooked together. They absolutely depended upon each other for survival, and so they were intimately intertwined in each other’s lives.
Personally, I’ve never lived in a community like that, but somehow I miss it. I have this desire deep inside to share life with other people, to talk about things that matter, to smile when I’m happy and cry when I’m sad. I feel like it is a need ingrained in me to be able to drop by a friend’s house without having to make an appoitment a week ahead of time and to have people who feel like they can do that with me. From what I’ve seen and heard from other people, that desire doesn’t just exist in me. I think that these kind of close relationships are a basic human need.
Friends who have been to the middle east describe a wonderful spirit of hospitality. Everyone is invited in for tea. Greetings are just the beginnings of conversations that can last for hours. There is no watching the clock or rushing to the next appointment. You rejoice together. You mourn together.
Obviously the community that Jesus and the New Testament authors described isn’t an easy thing. It isn’t easy to mourn with someone. It isn’t easy to resist the busyness of the world in order to make room for someone who needs a real friend right now. It isn’t easy to let other people know about your worry and pain.
To have community, however, we need to know one another intimately. We need to be able to have those wonderful, joyful conversations and those difficult, painful conversations. I don’t think that God made us to live life alone. We truly, deeply, really need one another.
Saturday night, Brad offered to make dinner, and I’m never one to turn down that offer! He’s actually a much better cook than I am because he’s more meticulous and pays more attention. I already had the meal planned out, so that was a bonus.
I had been reading about homemade pesto from lots of online friends, and since I got a basil plant at the farmers market a few weeks ago I wanted to try it out. Though my basil plant is flourishing the most out of all my plants, I still didn’t have enough fresh basil leaves. I pulled the largest leaves off the plant but wanted to leave the little ones and let them grow. My goodness! Fresh basil smells and tastes delicious! I added a bit of dried basil leaves.
The basil goes in the food processor – I guess I am using that a lot more than I used to – along with olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts, but I prefer pine nuts), garlic, Parmesan cheese (please, not from the green can), and salt and pepper. Then…whir.
And…ta da! Pesto goodness. So much better than the jarred stuff. Fresh and light and tasting of summer. Pour the pesto on any kind of pasta and enjoy. You can also spread a little bit of pesto some bread, add cheese and make the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
Basil is actually my favorite herb because it is so good on everything, from pasta to sandwiches to breads…I’m very glad that I can grow my own and enjoy it all summer long. I’m hoping to make a lot of this pesto-y good stuff and can it for the winter months when I’m craving summer flavors. That’s the goal any way. I actually have a list of things that I want to stock up for winter, and I’m hoping with the move and everything that I will find time to get the canner out.
Pesto (recipe from allrecipes.com)
In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper