April 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Finally started my veggie garden.
It’s been months, well, a year, in the making, er, thought process. But I finally did it. I took a maddock and ripped up the whole yard on the south-facing side of our home. It sounds like a lot, but, given that our yard is pretty tiny it wasn’t too bad. I had to add lots of garden soil and compost to the solid red clay that we have everywhere here in NC, and probably still need to add more! The clay is helpful in retaining moisture when amended, but it’s a pain to grow things in! Kind of like trying to grow plants in wet concrete. Sort of.
I tried growing some veggies in containers last year and that worked out pretty well. But I’m so excited to actually have a decent amount of ground to work with this year. I started by transplanting rosemary and lavender from last year’s containers to create a sort of hedge from the front yard garden, then planted 9 baby lettuce plants. Eek! Love!
They looked a little rough at first (see above photo) but now, two weeks later they’re showing signs of new growth. So exciting!
Beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers are definitely in the works for this year. And more. There’s always room for a little more.
March 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A new beginning.
When I was younger I always said summer was my favorite season. No school, play all day, what more could a girl want? My mom always used to say that spring was her favorite season. Now I understand.
Today I woke up to rain and clouds, too cold to do anything outdoors. I spent time with The One who made it all, read His word, spoke with Him. Before I knew it, the sun had come out and the birds were singing. Spring.
I hadn’t checked on the garden in weeks, but after inhaling some of the warm, damp spring air on a walk, I had to take a peek.
Oh my goodness, things were growing! This shouldn’t come as a shock to me, but every spring I am awed by the new beginnings I get to witness. Fresh starts. New growth. Shoots of green pushing out of seemingly dead wood. Buds waiting to burst into showers of color. Dirt pushed away, making space for new stems.
God’s glory is shown everywhere in His creation. As an artist is revealed through his masterpiece, God is revealed through His creation. The more I draw near to God, the more I see Him everywhere.
Spring illustrates to me an image of myself and who I am in Christ. I was dead. But I am alive now. I have a new life through Jesus Christ. When I first believed, I was made new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
And I receive His mercy, grace, and a fresh start daily.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Spring illustrates God’s faithfulness to me. Though the winter is dark, cold, and seemingly endless, He is faithful. He will not leave me. How many times have I sat in the dark spiritually, waiting and whining? May I hold to the promise of spring in those times. God is faithful. His promises are true. Spring is coming. He is coming back. He will make all things new.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”
In winter, I hope for spring. In this life, I hope for what is to come. A new beginning. A new heaven and earth. God dwelling with us.
In the meantime, I need to garden. I am called to work for my Lord. To cultivate. To use the gifts and tools that God has given me. His Holy Spirit. His word. And through me, He grows things. Things in me. Character, a heart for Him. Through His Holy Spirit in me, I invest in people. I share His story, His true story of grace, with everyone I can.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Spring is now my favorite season. It offers a promise. New, fresh starts. Growth. Change. A new beginning. It illustrates my almighty God to me. He is making me new. He is making everything new.
February 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday was kind of a tough day.
And gosh darn it, it’s not spring yet. I am so ready for some genuinely warm weather.
Last night was the kind of night that my feet were cold, and I wanted some hot soup for dinner. OK, I’m honestly kind of tired of soup (and winter) and I’m ready for grilling out on the patio in my bare feet. But, I had half a bag of lentils, three carrots, an open carton of vegetable stock, and half an onion that needed to be put to use.
This is my mama’s recipe, and I don’t really know where she got it. But I love it, and it makes me think of her. Another reason I wanted soup when I didn’t really want soup.
I hope you love it, too.
Lentil Soup | “Lentils Monastery”
- 1 dry cup of lentils (Rinse them)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 onion (Or half of a big onion if that’s what you have on hand, like me.)
- 3 carrots (Recipe calls for 2, but I had 3 so I put them all in there and it didn’t mess anything us.)
- 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (Please don’t use water, makes it bland. But, OK, you can if you must!)
- 1 teaspoon of marjoram
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes, and their juice
- 1/4 cup of cooking sherry (Promise me you won’t skip this step. OK? It makes the soup.)
In a big soup pot (with a lid) saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil with some salt and pepper for about 5 minutes. The onions will start to soften. Add the thyme and marjoram and saute for another minute or two. Add the vegetable or chicken broth, the lentils, and the tomatoes. Bring all that to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered) for about 45 minutes. The lentils will soften. When the soup is ready, add the cooking sherry and heat it through (I usually give it a minute or two to heat through.)
We like to eat our lentil soup with sharp grated cheddar cheese or sour cream on top. Or both.
And I love the leftovers for lunch the next day.
February 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If you follow me on Pinterest, you’re probably aware of (bombarded by, maybe?) my slight obsession with all things “farm.” Farmhouses, farmland, rustic farm-ish decor, chickens, cows, horses… I’ll just stop there.
I was homeschooled and grew up on ten wooded, stream-riddled, garden-covered acres in a house made of logs (built by my daddy) that my parents still own and live in. My childhood was rare and special, and has fed this dream that my husband and I share to own land, horses, chickens, and build or renovate a farmhouse one day. OK, build. Not renovate. Renovation is such a romantic word, but lets be honest y’all, that would about kill me.
Most of the images I’m sharing today are from Garden & Gun (anyone else a big ‘ol fan?!) but I’ll credit all photos accordingly.
Here are some of my “farmhouse living” picks from Pinterest this week.
Just like that…
I mean, we all know I’d probably live outside if I could. OK maybe not live, but eat and play outside in the garden most of the time.
This guy. And maybe a few more.
Yes, yes, and yes.
Let’s have breakfast here.
Makes me want to catch some fireflies in a jar.
Don’t want your photo on my blog? Let me know!
February 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Friday nights are the best.
I mean, right? Really, they are. They’re even better when shared with the best friends. And we’re so blessed to have four of the best friends you could ask for: two young, married couples who we get to just do life with on a regular basis. We love spending Friday nights (or any night, really) with this crew.
Now, I know, let’s talk about the food. Right?
This Friday (otherwise known as, last night) we got to share one of the most crazy good meals I’ve had at The Arrigo’s place. Celeste’s husband Mike is one fine cook, and they served up a laid-back, seafood extravaganza that lasted for hours.
We started with beer and wine, oh… you know, four or five types of cheese, crackers, bread, and lots of pickled olives, peppers, and okra. I could have literally stopped there, but, then came the oysters.
Cooked in the shell on the grill to quite literal perfection served with amazing cocktail sauce, fresh lemon wedge, extra horse radish, and capers. And this couldn’t have come at a better time for me, because last weekend I missed the annual Stumpy Point Oyster Feast. Yeah I was real bummed. To say I ate my fill of oysters on Friday night at The Arrigo’s does not begin to touch the amount of food I consumed.
Completely died. They were so good!
And as if that wasn’t enough (it really could have been, the oysters just kept on comin’!) we had a salad, and a killer linguine pasta dish served with tomatoes and mussels, garlic, and goodness.
And, the aftermath…
Don’t judge me on my food consumption. Girl likes to eat!
February 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It really was perfect, y’all. And not many things are.
Over the weekend my husband decided to try out his new gas grill. It wasn’t freezing outside (thanks, North Carolina!) and we had a fire going in our patio firepit, too. I love a man who can grill and make fires!
We’ve used a Weber charcoal grill for the two years we’ve been in our home, and while we love the added flavor, it makes grilling time consuming and a little annoying. So, with the beautiful new gas grill (a wonderful Christmas gift for my man from my parents) fired up and ready in 10-15 minutes, we were ready for some filets.
I’ve been on a make-your-own-salad-dressing kick lately, so I thought: “Why not a DIY marinade for these juicy steaks?” I had no idea where to start, so I turned to Real Simple. Duh. The first marinade recipe I found turned out to be a winner! And so easy. I modified it a bit from the original recipe because I ran out of red wine vinegar and didn’t have fresh oregano on hand. Oh well!
Rosemary Garlic Marinade
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and soak those steaks (up to two pounds) for at least 30 minutes, covered in the fridge. Voila! Bam! So good. Jason basted the steaks throughout the grilling process with the marinade as well to give it some extra flavor. We were not disappointed with the result!
And to go along with our perfect steaks, we threw some chopped zucchini, sweet onions, red peppers, jalapeños, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper in some tin foil and grilled it alongside the steaks (about 20-30 minutes for the veggies.) The end result was to-die-for. And I even made that recipe up and everything!