Thursday, September 27, 2012

can't have sick roomies...

My poor lil roommate is sick!! That is correct. She is unwell which clearly means it is my civil duty to provide nourishment to assist her in healing and being well again! (Clearly a hardship for me... not.) Knowing how miserable she's been feeling, I searched our fridge and it just so happened we LITERALLY had everything we needed for a hearty chicken soup - just the ticket to kick whatever cold bug she seemed to catch.

Check it out:

I only have a couple pictures, but to be completely honest, they don't really do justice for how great it turned out. 

I found onions in our pantry. Carrots, celery and herbs were just waiting to be used in the fridge. I don't cook meat too terribly often, so when I do, I try to make the most of it - last night I grilled some chicken breasts and had a couple left over, so I tore them up and used them as well... So, all in all, I used:

-one onion

-a bunch of carrots
-some celery
-dill and parsley
-grilled chicken breast
-a can of Swanson's reduced sodium chicken broth

(I'm such a fan of liberation, that sometimes I 'ex-nay' the measurements just to be a rebel... feel free to do the same, it really is freeing AND this soup is just fresh and delicious. I prefer my soups heartier, so I throw ample amounts of anything of substance and am more stingy on the broth and such - to each their own! Literally!)

I started by sautéing the onion in my Dutch oven, (first I put some organic olive oil in the pot while it heated up - is anyone else as crazy about the smell of sautéing onions??? Or is it just me?)  Shortly thereafter, I started sautéing the carrots and celery in my cast iron skillet. (Don't ask me why I did them separately, sometimes I just do things a little backwards.) 

(I bought the beets with the next meal in mind... that's right, this is a double post!) After getting everything started, the soup came together super quick. Really, the most time-consuming part was the chopping!

Throw it all together and you've got the mixings to heal your roomie! (Fingers crossed...)

NEXT, I saw a post about grilled cheese... yep, the famous American staple... and thought I'd put my own little spin on it. Unfortunately, I don't keep bread in the house (my body doesn't like it as much as my palette does...) so I had to borrow a bagel thin from said sick roomie - this was even easier to put together as the soup.

You will need:
-goat cheese

It's best if you have your beets already cooked as they're pretty crunchy raw. Butter your bread (or bagel, in my case). Throw one slice butter-side-down on your hot skillet. Layer arugula, beets, and goat cheese and top with the other slice of buttered bread. Flip when first side is golden. 

Slice to see the pretty insides. Consume. And enjoy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Melleray Abbey

I thought it would be beneficial to my heart to visit a monastery. Our church has been encouraging fasting, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice what we'd been learning. 

It was a great experience... but I think it was a bit too much all at once. The monastery has a rule of silence in the dormitory. I thought I'd practice fasting from food as well and created some fruit smoothies to bring with to ensure my blood sugars didn't drop too drastically. 

My goal was to spend time reading and praying and just be still, but I ended up sleeping a lot. 

New Melleray is an abbey located just outside Dubuque. The building is gorgeous. 

The dormitories were very simple. 

Across the street was a cathedral and cemetery with names dating back to the mid-1800's. 

I thought I'd be a considerate daughter and pick up some caramels my mom had mentioned she liked...
do you know how hard it is for a foodie to stop eating for nearly three days straight?
I demolished them - I really should have known to purchase them upon my departure. 
I would have to say that all-in-all, the intent of visiting the abbey was great, but that my expectations were a bit too detailed. I think in order for me, personally, to find the peace of mind and heart I was looking for, I really need a weekend or so in the wild. Some hikes and good food. I'm glad I was able to visit and know what I could expect if I visited an abbey again in the future. 

I very much appreciated the reverence that was displayed for different aspects of tradition. The silence was to devote full attention on the Word and to prayer. The old Latin hymns were beautiful as well. I also realized how much I need authenticity  in my life. In every aspect of my life. I appreciate bodies of believers who dare to go against the grain to really connect and lose sight of the mundane that can often be found in tradition. 

Again, it was a great experience, but very much different than what I'd expected.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012


There is just something about this time of year that just makes me so nostalgic. 

It's been getting chillier and all I've been wanting to do is snuggle up with a blanket, cup of tea, and a good book... not to say that this is much different than most of the rest of the year, but lately, the urge has been something I can't subside. 

I found all the ingredients in my cupboard to make a chai latte, only one of my very favorite things. :)

There were additional bonuses too though! My house smelled AMAZING by the time it was brewing!!

What you'll need:

-Black Tea, I use Republic of Tea's English Breakfast

-cinnamon sticks
-cardamom pods
-coconut milk

I took about two cups of water and brought it to a boil. I then lowered the heat to a simmer and put two tea bags in the water. I let them steep for about 15 minutes with the cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. (So wonderful to be running around the house doing laundry and such, knowing that at the end of that I'd have THIS to sit and enjoy.) Once I had all my laundry and household things to a point where I didn't need to tend to it anymore, I added enough coconut milk to create the light brown color I like best for my lattes - yours might be lighter or darker and that's just fine!) Add sugar to taste. Collect your book and blanket. Snuggle up and enjoy.