Category Archives: Winter

Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes

We just returned from a family getaway.  Ben had planned a surprise adventure for our family for the earlier part of January.  Unfortunately for us, we needed to reschedule to do a bit of a tornado hitting his work staff all at once, leaving Ben to tend to work.  We stayed on Discovery Bay between Sequim & Port Townsend.   The place we stayed had a kitchen, so it made meals so much easier and healthy.  There was also an indoor pool, which Tayers thought was the “big adventure,” and whenever we drove somewhere she would cry out, “I want to go on the big adventure!”

Our family time was relaxed, filled with laughter, reflection, and many joyful moments.  It was the probably the best family vacation we’ve ever been on (and I hope many follow suit).  We also experienced some breathtaking sunrises (the kind you wake up just to make sure you don’t miss it). 

I played my guitar, read, and wrote a personal mission statement, as well.  This little break helped clear my head, refocus and evaluate who I am and what I, Kamille, am called to do in this life.  It was good, so very good and yet so simple too.  It’s kind of like these Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  They aren’t fussy, pretty straightforward and simplistic.  Yet, sure to dance on your palate in such a way, which leaves you looking forward to the next time you get to eat them.  I have some great things in store for Evangitality this year and I hope you will continue to join me or better yet, add to the discussion:)

A Year Ago: Banana Macadamia Praline Scones

Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes (printable recipe)

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed & peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment and put the sweet potatoes in an even layer on top. Add the coconut oil and thoroughly coat, using your hands, the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, combine lime juice, lime zest, additional 1/2 tsp salt & cilantro. Once sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a serving bowl and pour the lime/cilantro mixture over them while hot. Gently mix to combine and serve.

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Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder

 

We ate this at my in-laws house over Christmas and I loved it. If you were to step in my mother-in-law’s (Cherie) kitchen, she would be the first to boast of her ineptitude in the kitchen. However, I think she’s much harder on herself than anything. So I’m here to boast of her dish and give it special spot on my recipe wall of Fame. It’s simple, quick, tasty, you can forgo the small pan to toast the nuts and make it in one pot. Plus, it has cumin, fits our eating plan & did I mention tasty? Try it.

 

A Year Ago: Posole & Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls

Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder (printable recipe)

My sweet mother-in-law made this for us while we were visiting during Christmas. I made a couple changes…mainly increasing the amount of cumin, because lime/cumin/pepper flakes are divine.

Ingredients:

1Tb olive oil or coconut oil

2 Tb blanched slivered almonds

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tb + 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 – 1 tsp red chili pepper

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 lb sausage (pastured-raised)

1 can coconut milk (full fat)

1 lb of trimmed green beans, or broccoli

Juice of 1 lime (or two if you like)

Directions: In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tb olive oil or coconut oil over low-medium heat. Add slivered blanched almonds and
toast. Constantly stirring the almonds to avoid burning (it doesn’t take long to toast). Transfer the almonds to a small bowl and set aside for later. In a large saucepan, add the remaining Tb of olive or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions, stirring until they get a bit soft. Add the garlic & stir (about 20 seconds). Add all spices, ground cumin, cumin seed, coriander, paprika, and red pepper chili flakes. Now, stir constantly for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The goal is to toast the cumin seeds and cook up the spices. It will get a bit dry and that’s okay–just keep stirring.

Add the sausage & salt to the pan and thoroughly stir the onion/garlic/spice mixture into the sausage. Continue stirring occasionally until the sausage is completely cooked. Pour the coconut milk in, stir. Add trimmed green beans and stir around. Turn the heat to low and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how soft you like your green beans). Squeeze fresh lime juice over it and stir. Add the toasted almonds and serve.


Thankful with Sweet Potato Goodness (& so much more)

The words that penetrated my soul the most, “my sons were hungry and the only thing I could give them was water.” This was part of a guest speaker’s story. She was a small Honduran woman, measuring a mere 4 feet and 9 inches, but she made up for it with tremendous heart & conviction. Her name, Danubia Orellana Lopez, and she is apart of the Agros village of Brisas del Volcan.

Danubia was the speaker at the Agros International fundraiser dinner Ben and I attended at the end of October.  It seemed fitting that we attended just days before we plunged into doing this 30 day challenge.  Agros is an amazing organization, who seeks to empower people in Central America & Mexico through micro loans to purchase land.  Many of these people, like Danubia, lived in the slums and had to wake up at 2:30 am to walk 2 hours to get to the farm (to which she & her husband worked for someone else), work an 18 hour day and only get paid $.40 a day.  She recalls the times when payday arrived and the owner of the land wasn’t there to pay her & her husband.  Those were the days when all she could offer her children was water to fill their bellies.  She also recalled a time at the age of 14, when her mother only had 3 eggs to feed the 14 kids….I am truly blessed.

I can’t imagine that world.  To feel absolutely defenseless and unable to give your children a basic necessity.  Agros seeks to extend both physical means to these people who are willing to work REALLY hard to till their land; but, also give them emotional/spiritual means.  They come in to teach the people how to cultivate the land, how to educate themselves, how to make financial deals, etc.  What Agros does, is tell these people like Danubia, that if they are willing to want something more, then they can have it.  More importantly, what Agros does & says to them, “You are worth it!  You have value!”

Danubia spoke of telling her mother that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.  Her mother said, “Danubia, people like us don’t dream, because our hearts just get broken.”  After Agros came in to empower Danubia, her family & community, she and other women worked together to make the men realize that they are just as important & valuable as them.  And you know what, after the women worked just as hard, the men realized that these women, their women, had dignity & value.

When I think about what Evangitality means–this is it.  This is the global representation of it.  It’s finding value, dignity & worth in each individual, because they are created in God’s image.  It’s empowering them by giving them a hand up, and not a hand out.  It’s not entitlement, because there are many people who choose to stay in slums so they can keep their TV or refrigerator.  Instead, it’s for the people who want something more, who want to dream.  Life without dreams isn’t a life worth living, and Danubia knew this.

Walking back to the hotel that night, I told Ben, “You know, the poor in America aren’t that poor.  They still get assistance.  They’re not putting their children to bed without food.”  It has made me more thankful than ever.  And that’s why I give thanks before my meals.  I thank God that I have more than enough to fill my family’s bellies.  So when I’ve been cranky during this 3o day challenge, or hear people whining about, “Oh, I ONLY get meat, vegetables, limited fruit & nuts, and eggs,” I’m reminded of Danubia’s words, “my sons were hungry and the only thing I could give them was water.”  Oh how I have nothing to complain about, and everything to give thanks about.

I’m thankful for simple meals too.  So simple it seems almost too good to be true.

A Year Ago: Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Sea Salted Caramel Frosting &   Oatmeal Carmelitas

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Goodness (printable recipe)

This is for one sweet potato, but you could easily increase the amount and play with the ingredients.  If you’re not a cinnamon fan, sub some nutmeg (but go easy on it) or add some smoked paprika.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

1 tsp coconut oil

dash sea salt

2 Tb pecans

sprinkle cinnamon

Directions: Bake a sweet potato on 350 for 30 minutes or so (check a source, I’m that person who pops it in and doesn’t worry about it).  Do this the day before if you’re having it for breakfast.  Remove the skin and cut up the sweet potato into chunks.

Heat up coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add the sweet potato & salt.  Stir around letting it get a bit golden, about 3 minutes.  Add some chopped pecans & a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Cook for an additional 1 minute or so.  Serve and enjoy!


Roasted Chicken

This morning marks the beginning of week three of Lean & Green Challenge (via Jogo Crossfit Gym).  I must report that the lady writing on Paleo day two is quite different from the one writing in front of the computer today.  There are some areas that are still the same.  For instance, walking into the grocery store and seeing the lovely pastry bat it’s eyelashes at me is a bit tempting.  However, what’s most noticeable is my overall health.  It’s not just physical energy, but mental energy.  So when you hear that phrase, “you are what you eat;” well, I think there’s something to it.  My mental state seems to be at its peak.  I don’t want to attribute it all to how I’m eating, but I truly believe what I’m putting in is making a difference to thinking more clearly.

It’s interesting when you think of the various methods people deal with stress & anxiety.  There are those that I know who attempt to drown out the noises by numbing the pain with drugs.  I’ve always thought, “well, at least I don’t do that,” but there is something to be said about what I have used to numb the pain.  I never thought I used food as a “way out,” but on Saturday, it seemed like the advise I had given my friend of being mindful, drinking some tea, etc, didn’t cut it.  As I’ve briefly mentioned before here, we’ve dealt with various difficulties with our oldest.  In front of her, there are many obstacles (in terms of developmental delays) most of which, she has no idea; however, as her mama, I’m fully aware of them.  On Saturday we received a letter from a visit we had with a genetic researcher/doctor.  It didn’t leave me with warm fuzzies either, but more of that pit feeling.  You know the pit.  It appears to be an unconquerable wall standing in front of you, and if you look at this way, then that’s what it will be.

It was in that moment, as my stomach turned with that unwelcome old friend “anxiety,” that I wanted a mocha, or something sweet to deal with that moment.  But alas, I knew it was my will versus the wall, and I wasn’t going to let it conquer me.  It didn’t and I found that my soul needed time to be creative.  To let out tears of the unknown, talk with God about it, paint (something I haven’t done in a while) and create, and I found my soul (and stomach) was the better for it.  I’m learning a lot about myself (and my jeans have also noticed–in a good way).  One of those things is my renewed love of cooking, while baking takes a backseat.  This roasted chicken is one of them.  It will definitely earn you a couple of “ooos” & “awws” in the kitchen, while not taking much time standing in the kitchen.  Again, thanks for reading and sharing with me in this journey.  I’m certain that I’m not the only one with that unconquerable wall staring at me, but I’m certain you too can conquer it.

 

A Year Ago: Traditions

Roasted Chicken (printable recipe)

I love roasted chicken, because it appears that you’ve been slaving in the kitchen much longer than you actually did.  Plus, take the carcass and turn it into chicken broth.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
bundle of fresh thyme
coconut oil
3 strips quality bacon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425.  Have ready a dutch oven.  Take your chicken and remove all the insides, clip any nails still attached and rinse with cool water.  Pat dry the outside & inside of the bird.  Be generous in sprinkling salt inside the cavity of the bird, along with ground pepper.  Rub coconut oil on the outside of the bird on the breasts, along with under the breast skin.  Sprinkle salt & pepper under the breast skin & on top of the breast.

Put the bundle of thyme inside the cavity.  Place your whole bird in the dutch oven.  By using a dutch oven, you will not have to deal with trussing the chicken.  Take the wings and tuck them behind the back of the chicken.  Now with a pair of kitchen shears, snip an opening on the fat portion near the birds downside (butt) on both sides, in order to tuck the drumstick ends through the holes (consult picture).


Place the three strips of bacon across the breast and put into the oven, cook for 20-25 minutes.  After 20-25 minutes, remove the bacon and turn down the heat to 350.  Baste the chicken.  Cook for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 (poke it between the drumstick & breast).

Once it hits 165, remove from oven.  If you want to make gravy using the drippings go ahead.  Serve it up & enjoy.  Be sure to use the carcass for some great stock.


Paleo Week 2: Harvest Salad

I told myself that I would not have any obligation to post everyday during this 30 day challenge, and I’m glad about it.  I went to a conference this past weekend (Friday & Saturday) in Seattle.  I was pleasantly surprised, because my expectations were very low.  I went prepared, while carrying around my little strawberry tote bag everywhere, which was loaded with Paleo supplies (celery sticks, nuts, apple slices, hazelnut butter, etc).  I also discovered that club soda is not nearly as awful when your taste buds have been devoid of sugar.  In fact, the soda water was AMAZING!

It also must be said that I still miss chocolate, red wine, and ice cream doesn’t sound too bad.  However, despite those non-L&G foods, I think I could see making this as part of our lifestyle.  Not necessarily 100%, but in the high percentages.  I will let you know about next week, because I’m told that come third week–your body feels better than good.  The downside to the challenge during this second week is how my performance at the gym has been low.  When running–my legs feel like lead.  When lifting–my arms feel like noodles.  I’m hoping week three will be better than good.

This salad is probably my go to salad.  My friend Jessica fell in love with it that she went out to get the ingredients that day.  And you can easily make it Paleo by nixing the blue cheese (just make sure the cranberries don’t have sugar with them).

A Year Ago: Roasting Pumpkin

Harvest Salad (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

Head of lettuce (romaine, red leaf, green leaf), washed, dried, & torn into bite sized pieces

1 apple (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, whatever you want–just not Red Delicious)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, Roquefort

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 Tb mustard (regular or dijon)

1 tsp dried basil (crunch it in your hands to release the oils)

Directions:  Pretty straightforward, put the washed/torn lettuce into a big bowl.  Sprinkle the nuts, dried cranberries, & blue cheese on the lettuce.

In a bowl or glass measuring cup, add extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Add the mustard and whisk together.  It should start to combine.  Add the basil.  No need to pour all of it on the salad, but start small and mix to combine.  If you need a bit more, then add it:)


Coconut Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Starting Monday, Ben & I will be joining our gym’s call to partake in the “Lean & Green Challenge.”  Before I divulge into what it entails, let me say that I can already imagine the expression on your face as you continue reading.  And I’m actually looking forward to it (in some respects).  It is a Paleo eating style, which means we will be eating as Paleolithic people.  You got that? Okay, well, it means we only eat lean meats, vegetables, limited fruit, nuts & seeds and good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, nut butters, etc).  That means we will not be eating any grains (containing gluten and gluten-free), dairy, sugars, or legumes (yes peanuts are a part of that).

I, of course, prefaced it with what we can eat, because most people upon hearing what we can’t eat automatically ask, “Well, what CAN you eat?”  The next question, “Kamille, why are you doing this?  What does this mean with baking?” Good question!  Ben and I have been looking at our Family Mission (reading this great book) and our top priority is getting our family healthy.  Ben joined Jogo in March, me in August, my mental health turned for the worse and we want more from life. Friends & co-Jogomates have testified the goodness of doing Paleo.  How aches, pains, intestinal problems, weight around the gut, etc went away after following a Paleo food lifestyle (Robb Wolf), along with regular cardio-exercise.  So really, I would have to ask myself, “Why wouldn’t I join the “L&G Challenge?”

And about baking…well, to be quite honest, I haven’t really wanted to bake much these days.  Maybe it’s a mixture of exercise, lack of time, demands of family?  And maybe I’m just burnt out.  What I am excited about is loving my family in these next 30 days by preparing & cooking food that will be good to their body, help me menu plan (for once anyway) and most likely have a tighter rein on the food budget.  Plus, we have a 1/2 a cow in our deep freezer, so here’s to using it.  One of my recipes is this soup, which puts a twist on an Autumn classic.  The coconut is subtle enough, which is why I didn’t use a whole can (but you certainly could) and plays on the creaminess known to the butternut squash.  The ginger adds bite & spice to make it come a bit alive.  Stay tuned as our family embarks on this adventure, and hopefully share a recipe or two:)

A Year Ago:  Simple MealsJuxtaposition

Coconut Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (printable recipe)

If you want to substitute the water for warm chicken broth, go right ahead, because it would add a greater depth of flavor to it.

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 small onion, roughly cut into large dice

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

3-5 cups water

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp finely grated ginger

Garnish options: olive oil, kosher salt, red pepper chili flakes, cilantro

Directions: Preheat oven to 425.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place butternut squash & onion on parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil, mix around with hands, sprinkle a bit of salt on top.  Roast for about 30-35 minutes, check the squash (a fork should pierce right through).

Add the roasted squash & onions in batches to the blender.  Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of water.  Put a towel on top of the lid to avoid getting burnt by the steam.  Blend until completely pureed.  You most likely will need to add more water along the way.  Continue doing this, until all the squash/onion mixture is pureed; as well as, the coconut milk is gone.

Transfer the puree to a large pot and bring up to medium heat.  Add more water, 1/2 cup portion at a time, until you get the consistency you prefer.  Add ground ginger & freshly grated ginger (using a microplane zester).  Add salt to taste.  If you need a bit of acid, then squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime–taste and if you think it needs the other 1/2–go ahead and add it.

Ladle into bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, along with red pepper chili flakes, some cilantro and a pinch of coarse salt.


Receiving the Gifter

Our church body has been going through I Corinthians since September.  I have to say that it’s been a wonderful & fulfilling process digging through this letter.  It hasn’t been a quick study, which makes me feel like I have bypassed those awkward first couple of dates and now I’m building a relationship.  One thing we as a large body are doing is memorizing this passage in the Lenten season:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Just the night before I was talking to Ben about stuff in my life revolving around this verse.  One of those things was on food and the ability to use it as an idol of sorts, or even use it to snuff other people.  What got me thinking about it was my friend Talia asking us moms at our Thursday morning playgroup about advice on cooking a steak.  I found myself desperately wanting to give my input and mainly so I would continue to be known as the person who is most knowledgeable about food.  I recalled different instances to Ben that I have done this in the past month.

Most of this was due to pride.  However, what got me thinking a bit further was how easy it is to turn on a snobbery about food.  Not only food, but places I will shop, items I will buy, mantras I will endorse.  Food is such a sticky subject when you get right down to it.  It serves a basic need and provides a creative outlet.  It nourishes & sustains; as well as, stimulates & binds.  I love food for all these reasons.  I am convicted by what I choose to buy for my family, trying to ensure quality while maintaining a modesty, if you will, for those who are starving.  I also understand that as you eat more food, your palate broadens and you become more picky about what you will put into your body.

In Bellingham, we have been a “Green” city long before it was vogue.  Composting, buying local, grass-fed, organic weren’t just marketable clichés, but a way of life for many.  And as we’ve been studying the church of Corinth and some of their issues it has got me thinking about how as a Christian our issues may be different, but attitude has not.  In looking at my culture in my town, these “organic, buy-local, free-range, farmer’s market from the Earth” values are good.  It is both the Christian and the non, seeking to be stewards of the Earth.  However, where I feel like I personally have gone astray is when I’ve taken these inherently good values and made them more important than the person giving a gift.  Let me break it down into a simple story if you’re not tracking with me.

My mom said to me about four years ago that she could get some gift cards from her work (due to some reward thing) for Wal-Mart, which could go towards anything I needed for our first child (I was pregnant at the time).  Now, many people shop at Wal-Mart, but at this moment in time, and then, I don’t–due to moral convictions.  However, what I said in response to my mom is what I would define as a snobbery, which is putting my “values” ahead of the person.  I told her that I wouldn’t really want the gift card, because I don’t want to support Wal-Mart and what they stand for.  In my ignorance, I was thinking I was stomping on feet of injustice.  But really–I was stomping on the generosity of my mother trying to give anything she had for me.  I was putting what I would call a good value ahead of the person.  I was lacking love.

It’s exactly as the writer says in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  Whenever I put my own agenda, values, or convictions (even if they’re good) ahead of a person who is created in the likeness of God, I defecate on them, because I lack love.  When I snub off a gift of factory farmed chicken, tasteless steak, plastic made toy, dessert from a box, or even (shall I say it) coffee from Folger’s, if I have let these stand above the person, I have lacked love.

But…I don’t want to end with you (or me) thinking it is never okay to hold to standards we’ve set forth.  For me, I have a standard of eating cake from scratch for instance.  However, if my friend invited us over for dinner and she made it from a box, I’m not going to say, “no thanks,” because of it.  Instead, I’m going to delight that my friend loved me enough to prepare something for me; regardless, if it meets my standards, because she meets God’s standards and that’s what love is.  Because I want to receive the gifter more than the gift (yes I know gifter is not a word).

So as any good friend (that I hope to be, even if we’ve never met), I want to share this tangible gift, which comes in the form of creamy, semi-modest, yet flavorful tomatoey (c) goodness.  I have made it a couple times, but the most memorable was for a group of graduating college Seniors for their banquet.  The director of the group had been to many of these banquets over the years and told me this main dish (and the dessert Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries) was the best Senior Banquet meal he had ever had (that’s at least 20 years worth).

Creamy Tomato Sauce with Pasta (printable recipe)

This is an easy gift to give and I doubt many people would refuse it.  It has depth of flavor, creamy, great texture and invites you to serve up another bowl.  Recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tb unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce prosciutto, minced (about 2 Tb)
  • 1 small onion, diced fine (about ¾ cup) [I used shallots this time around]
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tb tomato paste
  • 2 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tb dry white wine
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tb crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can) [I used whole tomatoes and crushed them in the pan]
  • 1 pound pasta (use a short pasta, ziti, penne, or fusilli)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

1.Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and beginning to turn light gold, 8 to 12 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add ¼ cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
2.Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil.  Add pasta and 1 Tb salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
4.Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard.  Stir cream, remaining 2 Tb crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 Tb wine into sauce; season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with up to ½ cup pasta cooking water.  Stir in basil and serve immediately.  Top with Parmesan.


Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

As I’m sure we are all blown away by the wreckage on the news, internet, facebook, etc with the devastation in Haiti, it might makes us wonder about so many things in life.  One thing I’ve been struck by is the certainty of my blessings.  As I sat at the table last night eating dinner with my family, Ben shared about his lunch appointment that day and the first hand accounts of Mozambique orphans.   His client spoke of witnessing a four year old child raising his 18 month old sibling, all the while searching through the garbage dump for food, clothing, & basic sustenance of life.

Both of us looking at our girls with their pretty little heads adorned with piggy tails thinking the same thing…”you girls are blessed.”  Tears start to form as I look at my girls living in that condition and my heart breaks.  My girls who know nothing of trial, or pain, or anything evil.  Their innocence as they eat grilled cheese sandwiches and I think upon my comment about dinner before sitting down, “this is our humble dinner tonight, nothing fancy.”  But this humble dinner would be the feast for those orphans in the dump.

And as I left for a meeting that night, I wept in the car.  I wept thinking of the Haitian mothers who would never hold their babies again.  Little bodies being crushed by falling buildings.  Babies who would never hear their mother’s song, or feel the warmth of her touch, or the protection & love of their father, because they are now orphans.  And what do I do with this anguish?  I cry, I weep, I mourn.  I cry with the mother.  I cry with the father.  I cry with the child.

My friend once asked the question of herself and God.  When am I sinning?  When I laugh at what God cries at.  When I mock at what God scorns.  When I judge at what God is extending grace to.  So in this hour, I choose to cry for the broken, to scorn the flippant, to extend grace…and reflect upon how truly blessed I am.

Today I made this simple, mustard roasted cauliflower.  It reminded me of how something so meager can be very fulfilling.  And how it’s the little things in life, which are the most rewarding.  I hope you will find your little blessings to be thankful for and give blessings to the people in the wreckage.

Mustard Roasted Cauliflower  (printable recipe)

This is a simple meal for simple times and you can easily roast a couple of these slices then store some in the fridge for other uses.  I love the combination of the salt, mustard and sweetness of the roasted cauliflower.

1 head of cauliflower
2 Tb Olive oil (or more)

2T Dijon mustard
Fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 F –  Place the head of cauliflower on a cutting board, and slice it top-down into ¼-inch thick slices, some of which will crumble. Baste cauliflower with plenty of olive oil, dijon mustard and a bit of salt, spread it in a single layer on a heavy sheet pan (or two, if one looks crowded), and roast until golden brown and caramelized, turning bits and slices once or twice, about 25 minutes.