Learning, Life

Seeing God in a flawed, human marriage.

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At the end of this month Tal and I will have been together for 7 years. Together for 7, married for 2. Tal has seen me through my Donovan, Dandy Warhol, and Daft Punk phases, and I’ve seen him through his Rancid (however I’m not sure if he ever liked the music, he did wear the shirt), rainbow suspenders, and Radiohead phases. It’s been good, beautiful, messy, painful, hard, easy, tragic, silly, mellow, stressful, fun, and amazing. The coolest most miraculous part however of being in this union with Tal is what it’s taught me about God’s love, selflessness, and grace.

When you see the analogy of Christ being the bridegroom and his church being the bride you can go one of two ways. You can be afraid that the bridegroom won’t find you attractive, won’t sacrifice himself for you, and won’t love and accept you, or you can run into his arms knowing that he definitely finds you attractive (he made you!), he gave himself for you, and that he loves and accepts you. So with that base here are some of the things in my marriage which have revealed Gods love for me.

A lot of people nowadays wait until there late 20s to settle down, and they do this for a lot of reasons, but one I’ve heard a lot is because they want to really “know” who they are (ask any 80 year old if they ever really knew exactly who they were… Lol, it’s a hard task to get done before 30!), and I think underneath that belief is the belief that they don’t want to or won’t be able to have the grace to see someone through that searching phase of their lives. Meaning, we don’t want to have the grace to let someone grow. We think if we wait until we’re 30, that person won’t change and neither will we (as if!).

I think God gives grace for growth. Tal and I have been together since we were 15 and 16 respectively… We’ve needed a lot of grace to grow. I’ve seen God pour out grace upon grace to me as I camp in different areas of my faith, as I walk as far away as I can, and as he gives me grace to love Tal through his changing, too. In 2009 Tal and I tried to live in Vancouver on minimum wage and an 18 year olds wisdom, needless to say, it didn’t end well. I was fickle. I needed grace. I hated my life after giving it a good, long, hard, ehem 5 weeks, and I knew I needed to go home and reconnect with God. Tal upon hearing this (me in tears sitting at a fountain in front of a business building on Burrard, him coming to visit on his 20 minute break from working at American Apparel on Robson) shares with me that he’s apathetic towards Christ and his salvation. Hmm. So I feel like I’ve received this divine wake up call to reconnect with my saviour, and he is further away than he’s ever been. Grace for growth. Tal had immense grace for me as he had already been renting a place and making good friendships out there, and now his girlfriend was moving home. A lot of his coworkers (with the exception of one “if you really love her you should follow her” (thank you so much Tals coworker!!!)) told him to dump me, that he deserved better, but he loved me, so he had grace for me. He did end up moving home a few months later. It was the strangest time, but a good time. I experienced companionship with God, and the distance I needed from Tal in order to have the time (we were together, however, through this entire season, and I’d see him on weekends).

Imagine if God had peers. Here God is loving all of humanity, and cherishing his children who have accepted his gift of salvation, and we’re still being human. We’re not perfect by any stretch. Don’t you think his peers would be saying, “dump them man, they’ve caused you so much heartbreak, you deserve better”? But he loves us! He’d reply, “I love them, I can’t imagine not having them, I want to be in communication with them, I’m going to give them grace to grow.”

Sometimes in a relationship you really hurt each other. You lie, you hide, you are selfish, it’s really gross, but I think we should all just stand up and admit it. In a marriage though you love someone so much that you are selfless when they’re being selfish and you have grave when they’re being graceless, trusting that when you’re selfish and graceless they’ll do the same. The thing about the the biblical marriage analogy is that in that marriage God is perfect and we’re a mess, but through Christ we have been made righteous enough to be in a union with God. In human marriage we’re both learning to love and live our faith through the Spirit, but we still do crumby things to each other. There are big things, and small things, and love, selflessness, and grace can cover them all.

Since we’ve been married I’ve gone through a couple of seasons of depression. They last a few months, and I really become a pain in the neck to deal with. Our marriage structure is that Tal is the breadwinner and I am the homemaker, and that usually works really really well for us, but when I’m depressed? I stop cooking, I stop doing laundry, I stop cleaning, and I spend money. There was a time last year when the fridge was empty because I hadn’t shopped and all we had really was pancake mix. I made pancakes for dinner every night for two weeks. We didn’t have milk or eggs either, so it was pancake mix and water. Every working man reading this that would admit that he’d need supernatural grace to put up with me through these seasons, raise your hand. Well Tal was given that grace for me. He’d come home, shower in our dirty bathroom, eat his soggy pancakes, cuddle me, and go to bed in our unmade bed. He just loved me through the whole thing. He knew I was acting out of character, but he loves my soul, and so he nurtured me through it all. God gives us grace for situations like these. Tal became immensely selfless when I was being incredibly selfish.

How many times in the Bible does God reveal his selfless love for us? Even in the time of the brutal law of Moses he had grace for the ones who lived by faith!

Last summer Tal and I experienced a hurdle in our marriage that we never thought we’d have to jump. It hurt. There was a lot of anger. There was also a lot of supernatural grace again. Within 20 minutes or so of everything coming to light, we had grace for each other… And I know this wasn’t my own grace or Tals own grace because for some humans this situation would be a deal breaker in a marriage. It was like this curtain of grace fell on to both of us and we were able to not look so much at the physical situation but at our souls and what our actions were saying about how we were feeling, how did our actions show the health or lack of health of our marriage, how did the situation reveal who we were? Yea, there have been consequences and repercussions of all of it, but within days Tal and I were closer than we had ever been in 6 years.

This is another really cool thing about God that I’ve learnt through marriage. God wants us to reconcile ourselves to him, and so he shows this reconciliation over and over and over to us in our lives. Every horrible situation we’ve been through, God turns into a beautiful story. Even last summer, when we were steeped in pain, we came out more honest, closer to God, and closer to each other than we’d ever been! God restored intimacy to us and intimacy to Him! Beautiful.

That grace that fell on us is not even an eye drops worth of grace in comparison to the grace God has poured out to us. I’m letting that sink in. That miraculous grace I experienced a year ago, is nothing compared to the grace God has for humanity.

This has been heavy, here’s something a little lighter, but just as beautiful!

Have you ever read Song of Solomon and imagined God was the “he” and you were the “she”? Please do. If you’re not sure about how much God loves you, it will blow your mind.

Song of Solomon 7:4
(This is the he speaking to the she)
You are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

So the Bible has this beautiful expression of love between a man and a woman, and then we read that the love between a man and a woman is symbolic of the love between God and us! When you’re standing at the alter with your future spouse it’s not difficult to love them right? You love them! You want to spend the rest of your life with them! How come we can’t seem to see that this effortless love we often feel for our spouses (sometimes there is effort, I know, we’re humans) is poured out to us from God in WAY larger amounts!? It’s like we believe “God loves me, but…” But that’s not truth, if you’ve accepted the salvation of Christ, died to your “self” and are walking in the Spirit, you are righteous and perfected in Gods eyes, we’re covered in the blood of Christ, he looks at us and says “you are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you!”

Lets stretch our imaginations a bit, because why would we have them if we weren’t supposed to use them? The other day I was texting Tal (our primary form of communication when he’s away) and I was saying how lucky I felt to have a husband that worked so hard for me, then without skipping a beat Tal replied, “I’m the lucky one.” I immediately felt like God was trying to teach me something. I was saying I was lucky because of everything Tal has done and is doing for me, and he says he’s the lucky one because… I’m sitting at home waiting for him? No, he’s says he’s the lucky one because he loves me! This is where the stretching comes in — we’re always thanking God for everything he’s done for us and how amazing his salvation is, and how lucky we are to know him, and I imagine him saying, “I’m the lucky one.”

When you think about it, it’s not too much of a stretch. God made us to be in communication with him, but then because of sin, we couldn’t, and he wanted us so badly to be able to come to him! That desire for communication for us was so strong that he sent his Son to die for us, in hopes that we’d accept that gift and run to him. When we accept Jesus and run to God, he’s the dad in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), he’s the groom when he sees his bride coming down the aisle, he’s “the lucky one.” This is so beautiful to me, goosebumps and teary eyes.

Marriage is hard, but beautiful, so is a walk with Christ. Regardless of how hard it is, however, we are being drenched in love and grace. We fall down, we make mistakes, we hurt each other, and God turns these into something beautiful, just like how he turned the story of humanity into a story of reconciliation.

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Food, Learning, Life

Food for thought. Direct evidence that cookies make me sick.

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You know how sometimes you hear health-food information and claims and you’re like, “yea…. even if that’s true…” and then you go on to state a bunch of reasons why it doesn’t pertain to you, or even matter to you? Like, “I don’t even care if its unhealthy, I love it and I’m eating it anyways!” Well I have now directly experienced a tummy ache as a result of eating 3 small chocolate chip cookies, let me fill you in on the rest of the story.

I haven’t been baking any treats (besides muffins, healthy, low sugar ones) for the past couple of weeks. I had been having bad acne and heartburn and started to think that maybe it was a combination of sugar and dairy in my diet. So I’ve been slowly cutting that stuff back, or out completely, but the first and easiest step was not baking anymore. I replaced my noon and three o’clock cookie time with apples and bananas, and I really haven’t felt deprived at all. I told myself the only reason I was baking so much was because Tal loved it and needed it for work, but he hasn’t complained once (doubt he’s even noticed) that his lunches are cookie free now. Anyways, so we’re rolling a long, and my acne is getting better, my heartburn is gone, and Tal has had this strange dairy awakening (“Carmen, don’t you think it’s weird that we’re the only mammal to drink another mammals milk? Let alone the only mammal to drink milk past infancy?”) but, yesterday when Tal was sick on the couch and I was in the middle of a chocolate craving I buckled and decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

They turned out kinda weird because I only had this organic whole wheat stone ground bread flour, but as Tal said, “they’re strangely addictive.” So we both ate a few.

Here are the results from the cookie experiment that we didn’t know was going to be an experiment until the results presented themselves:

1. Immediate tummy ache
2. Sugar headache within 30 minutes
3. TMI warning! Weird poop within the hour
4. Gas
5. Two new pimples this morning
6. More gas

Now, could this have been the result of something else I ate? Yes, totally, but seeing as everything else I’ve been eating has been pretty normal and the cookies were the only thing that came out of nowhere… I’m blaming the cookies. Call it bad science, call it what you will, but I’m calling cookies “treats with side affects.”

Have I learnt my lesson? I hope, but probably not. I have a feeling that this will be a lesson I’ll have to learn and relearn for the rest of my life.

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Learning, Life

Sunrise.

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For the past week I have been increasingly enjoying the sunrise. Each new day begins with such a beautiful, majestic, but yet still quiet display of Gods power. I’ve been taking my cup of coffee and a chair from the living room and putting it front of my east-facing kitchen window to watch the sun come up over the mountains, and it is truly breathtaking.

This morning it was more than beautiful though. My mom heard God say to her that He really was our only hope, in worship last week. She emphasized as she told me and the congregation about it, that it wasn’t a desperate thing (“you’re my only hope!!!”) but more of a realization of how really He is everything, and our lives (as children of God saved by the blood of Christ) should pour out of that realization. He’s our only hope, our only song, our only peace, our only understanding. This morning as I watched the majestic sunrise I had that confirmed to me by God. He was displaying his power and beauty, in something that happens everyday. “I’ve given you the sun today, keep your eyes on me, I am ruler of everything, I will sustain you, I will bring you peace and hope.”

A dear friend of mine is battling a cancer that has left the doctors with no hope. She is our pastors wife, a mother of two young children and a beautiful soul. My heart has been breaking daily for her. It seems as though I am so weak that the only things I have are distractions. If I distract myself I don’t have to think about it, and when I’m not distracted, it’s all I can think about. Of course I can’t do this on my own, and yet my head is trying to. God is telling me that He is the only source of hope. I don’t have to distract myself I just have to keep my eyes on the sunrise.

Yesterday my mom shared a link to a sermon that dealt with times in your life when everything is falling apart (listen to it here) and the point that was highlighted to me was that the Bible is riddled with struggles, riddled with sudden miraculous works of God, and that although there were lots of struggles, all of those struggles had an end. Every struggle has a beginning a middle and an end. We’re in the middle and it’s hard, and I need to pray for perseverance, trusting that God will and always has worked things for good, even if I don’t understand them. I need to continue through this hip deep mud, staring at God and praying for perseverance. I can distract myself, but it won’t get me out of the mud. God is the only one who can pull me up and out and into hope, and when he does, it will more than likely be suddenly.

Praise God!

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Food, Learning, Life

Food for thought. Recipe. Pizza two ways. What does that have to do with anti-individualism?

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Yesterday as I was walking home from my one day a week job I was thinking about how I was going to prepare dinner. I knew I was going to make pizza, but I wanted something a little different, so I started brainstorming different types of pizza, then I chose two (I thought of a roasted vegetable curry pizza with goat cheese, pesto pizza with roasted cauliflower and cashews and several others, but I’ll make those another time). I chose a very traditional margarita pizza and then a not so traditional red cabbage over garlic beschamel pizza. I am delighted to say that these both turned out beautifully, and I’m very excited for leftovers, I may just eat them for breakfast.

Now what does this have to do with individualism? Maybe first, what is individualism? Well I’m going to paraphrase a definition, but for a complete definition click here. Individualism is basically the belief that the person is more important than the social group that the person is in. So in essence, I am more important than my family. There is a strong emphasis on self-reliance and not interdependence. So what’s wrong with that?

A lot.

My first introduction to individualism was actually indirectly. I was 5 or 6 years old and we were driving in the car, my mother, brother, and I. My mom used to (and still does) listen to Christian talk radio (which I’ve grown to enjoy) so that was on in the car. As a 5/6 year old, I think I’d have rather been listening to music or something else. So anyways, being a rule follower and a respecter of my parents, instead of complaining I told my mom of an invention that I thought would be really cool! What if each seat in the car was partitioned off from each other, so that each person could have their own radio and could listen to whatever they wanted? I wasn’t imagining iPods back then, I was thinking more of plywood barricades between the seats with a radio built into them. My mom saw the danger of this and responded by saying, “how would we talk to each other?”

A life example of this happened to me yesterday. As I was walking up to my job I put my headphones in and enjoyed some music, but I noticed that when I had my headphones in nobody smiled at me, or said hello, probably because they saw I had my headphones in. On the way home I decided to do an experiment and see if people said hello if I didn’t wear my headphones. Guess what? My walk home was filled with hellos! I experienced how individualism can isolate you, whereas choosing not to put myself and my enjoyment over community resulted in experiencing a greater depth of community.

Now this is a very elementary experience of this. I have read about how individualism has infected marriages, the economy, family, nearly every facet of our lives, and it’s not good. So, what should we do? Combat individualism in our own life! And I say we combat it with PIZZA.

Pizza is one of those foods that are fun to share. I serve it on a big board and we just dig in. It results in a greater feeling of community than individual plates. It’s sharing one big plate! What would be even greater is to make the pizzas with a bunch of friends or family, and then eat them together from one big board, that, my friends, flies in the face of individualism.

If you’re more interested in this topic, there is TONS of information out there! Learn more, and educate the people around you.

Pizza Two Ways

I think you’ll enjoy this recipe, I had a lot of fun creating it, and eating it.

What you’ll need:

For the crust

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tbsp-ish of honey
  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp fresh herbs of your choice (optional) (I used rosemary)

For the toppings

  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (28oz will be too much so just use half and save the rest for another recipe)
  • drizzle of olive oil + more to grease the pans
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of fresh basil leafs
  • fresh pizza mozzarella
  • 1 strip of bacon (or omit and substitute with 1 tbsp of olive oil)
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 white mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • t tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

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What you do:

  1. Start by preparing the dough. I always activate the yeast first, but do whatever you’re comfortable with. Put 1 cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl, stir in the honey until it dissolves then add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes, until it’s all dissolved and foamy. Add in the olive oil and herbs.
  2. Mix in 1 cup of the flour until it is smooth, then add the next cup. Add the remaining flour about a quarter cup at a time, stopping once the dough holds together in a nice ball. It shouldn’t be too tacky or too dry, just perfect! I think I used about 2 1/2 cups, but it will depend on where you are and what type of flour you are using.
  3. Knead for a bit.
  4. Let it sit in a bowl covered with a tea towel for about 45 minutes. Rise.
  5. While the dough is rising, start preparing the toppings and sauces! Oh, and also preheat your oven to 425* F
  6. In a small skillet start to fry up your bacon or, heat up the olive oil (maybe add a pinch of salt as well).
  7. Once the bacon is cooked or your oil is warmed, add the cabbage, and onions. Cook until veggies are soft. Taste test to check for salt and pepper.
  8. Next mix up your basic beschamel sauce. In a small saucepan add 1 tbsp of butter. Once it has melted mix in the garlic and thyme, then 1 tbsp of flour. This is called a rue. Then slowly, whisking as you go, mix in your milk. Keep over a medium heat and continue stirring until your sauce thickens to a loose sort of custard consistency.
  9. At this point your dough has probably risen (that is if you chopped up all your veggies during the rising time as well), so punch it down and divide it in half.
  10. Roll out both pizza crusts into whatever sort of shape you want them, and place on greased pizza pans, stones, or cookie sheets.
  11. For the margarita pizza, drizzle some olive oil on the crust first, then lay down a layer of the diced tomato. Dot the top with thick round slices of mozzarella cheese and top with pepper. We’ll add the basil after it has been in the oven.
  12. For the white sauce pizza, take your beschamel sauce and cover the crust. Next add the cabbage/bacon/onion mixture, and the sliced mushrooms. Then top with your shredded cheese, and drizzle any remaining beschamel sauce, and place any extra mushroom slices, to make it look even fancier.
  13. Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. I’d check it at 10 minutes, and go from there.
  14. Once the pizzas come out, top the margarita pizza with the basil (either leave the leafs whole, or chiffonade) and slice them both up to serve in the center of your table.
  15. Enjoy!

That’s that. Simple, takes about an hour, delicious, really flexible to what you have on hand, and pretty to look at.

Let me know what you think? Do you have any interesting pizza ideas?

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Food, Learning

Food for thought. Recipe. The Best 100% Whole Wheat Bread.

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I am in love with bread. I think this gluten-free thing is a trend. Lol. Maybe let me explain. I think that we’re eating too much refined flour bread type foods, that’s for sure, and I have no doubt that that’s making us sick, I also think that there is a number of people that are actually allergic to wheat, but is it a huge population of people? I don’t know. People in Europe are doing fine. Anyways, regardless as to what I thought about gluten-free stuff, I decided to see if I was allergic or not a year ago. I went a month without bread or wheat in any form. I hated it, and I also didn’t notice any difference in my life whatsoever, except the absence of bread! Stay away from grocery store breads, make your own, and you should be fine!

This bread recipe is simple, hearty, delicious, and makes two wonderful loaves. I make this recipe twice a month, use one loaf right away, and freeze the other loaf for the next week.

The Best 100% Whole Wheat Bread I’ve Ever Made

What you need:

  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 6-7 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp dry active yeast

What you do:

  1. Put the warm water into a big mixing bowl and activate the yeast. Once the yeast is dissolved and foamy, add the olive oil, honey, and salt.
  2. Next add the flour one cup at a time, until it reaches a good consistency for bread dough. Not too dry, not too tacky. I always air on the side of less flour when it comes to working with whole wheat, because it is heavier, and I still want a good rise.
  3. I know people say you should always knead bread dough, but I’ve had better luck with this dough when I don’t knead it. Just mix in the flour, mold it into a ball, and let it sit, covered, in the bowl for 45 minutes. Doesn’t necessarily have to double, but it should rise.
  4. Once the dough has risen, punch it down, divide in two, and shape the loaves. Grease two bread pans, and place loafs inside. Cover them and allow them to rise on top of the stove while the oven heats up to 350*. By the time the oven has heated up, the loaves should have doubled in size. If not, don’t worry too much about it, either let it rise 15 minutes or so more, or see what happens when you bake them.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes. You want the bread to be golden brown all over and to make a hollow sound when you tap on the top of it.
  6. Once they are baked, turn out of pans on to cooling racks, and let cool completely before placing them in bags or containers to be stored.

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That’s it. I hope you have success! I love this recipe, as it has never failed on me! Enjoy delicious, healthy, no worries, bread.

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Food, Learning, Life

Food for thought. Poached Eggs over Spinach with Mom’s Orange-Raisin Muffins.

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I haven’t blogged too much recently, or posted too much, but something’s you just have to share, because they’re too good.
Over the past couple months I feel like I’ve been able to allow moderation into my life in a way I never have been able to before. I have grace for myself, and increasingly for others, where before I experienced impatience and a judgemental attitude. In my relationship with Christ it is all or nothing, but in everything else? Moderation, a willingness to listen to Gods direction, and softness.
What does this have to do with food?
Oh, let me tell you!
For a perfectionist as I am, eating healthy meant basically all veggies or nothing, if it wasn’t perfectly healthy in every way, it wasn’t entering my body (with the strange exception of dark chocolate and coconut milk ice cream!) but if I abandoned that way of eating it wasn’t like I embraced this moderate, healthy, whole foods diet, nope, I jumped on the most unhealthy foods I could get my hands on. Most perfectionists will sympathize with this, if it’s not perfect, why bother? Anything less than perfect is failure! So, since God has started working on my heart, first by revealing his grace to me in a more profound way than I ever have experienced before, it has poured into nearly every facet of my life. Shopping isn’t an addiction anymore, eating healthy isn’t a crippling habit, my heart is full of grace from God, and I’m beginning to see that grace pour out. The best thing about all this, is that it hasn’t been a work of my own! Totally Gods work. No will power, or self discipline required! (Before you freak out (self-discipline is a fruit of the spirit!) let me share that for me practising self discipline has not been a holy thing, it has been pride, perfectionism, and extremism). I hope that through Gods grace I am able to get over this, but for now I am incredibly grateful for grace, and allowing His grace to pour into everything, essentially excepting grace for myself instead of always condemning myself! So, with food it has allowed me to accept a more moderate diet with no real rules, just to cook real food, get a lot of fruits and veggies, and not to eat anything processed. (I also am really enjoying the works of Michael Pollan!)
This diet is really yummy. I also really enjoy cooking whole foods, I find the practise of meal planning, grocery shopping, and preparing beautiful meals so fun! It is a creative and peace-making activity for me. I don’t feel like I have to set rules! (This is huge for me, I usually decide what I am going to do and then write out creeds (not joking)! My journals are full of new sets of rules for living – constantly!)
Anyways, as I walk this journey, I figured I’d share some recipes, some stories, some ideas, anything that the Holy Spirit reveals. (Blogging can become dangerous for me (its easy to become an attention addict!) but there is something in my soul that wants to be writing and producing (written or otherwise) and through therapy I’ve learnt that that is part of my character and not a bad thing, all things are good, but if they become bad through the heart, they are bad. So I’ll give it another try!)
Recipe.

Poached Eggs over Spinach with Mom’s Orange-Raisins Muffins

This is comfort food to me; medium poach eggs, spinach in butter, and muffins that remind me of growing up (because I grew up with them!). My mom is the muffin-master, and yesterday I had the privilege of learning some tips from her and scored two of her all time best muffin recipes! I’m pretty happy about that.
Soundtrack for cooking: Motown, Funk, and Soul (well at least for me)
Poached Eggs and Spinach
What you need:
  • Eggs (enough for as many people as you are serving)
  • Baby spinach* (about three cups raw for each person)
  • Butter (about 1 tsp per person)
  • Vinegar (optional)
*baby spinach is one of those things that its worth to buy organic or grow your own – no use risking salmonella poisoning!
What you do:
  1. Fill a sauté pan about 3/4 full with water and a dribble of vinegar if using. Some people say the vinegar helps keep the egg from separating it when you drop it into the water, but others find the vinegar taste mixed with the eggs awful, so experiment and do what you like! I usually always choose the vinegar option in life, but with eggs, I go vinegar free. Take your eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
  2. Place sauté pan over medium high heat and bring the water to where it’s boiling enough to have small bubbles on the side of the pan. Now, this next part you can do one of two ways, you either take a wooden spoon and circle the water in the pan to create a whirlpool action and then crack your egg as closely as you can to the water, right into the centre of the whirlpool, OR crack the egg into a small ramekin and pour the egg into the water as closely as you can.
  3. Let the eggs poach (you can gently shape them with a spoon or rubber spatula if they separate) for about 3 minutes, 1-1/2 minutes on heat and 1-1/2 minutes off heat. This will give you a medium yolk, if you like it softer or harder, adjust your time.
  4. While the eggs are poaching, melt butter in a saucepan with a couple twists of salt and any other herbs or spices you feel like (I went simple with butter and salt). When the butter has melted, add spinach and stir/cook until just wilted, or longer, I’d just rather air on the side of raw than mushy, but if stewed spinach is your thing, please, by all means!
  5. Spoon, or tong the spinach on to a plate and serve your poached eggs on top. Plate it however you feel looks beautiful or yummy.
Mom’s Orange Muffins
What you need:
  • 1 whole orange (peel and all, cut off end)
  • 1/4 cup liquid + more (the fat in this recipe has been drastically reduced, therefore liquid is used to make up for it, use what you have, juice, milk, water etc. start with 1/4 and use more if you need it)
  •  1/4 cup soft butter (or whatever fat you prefer, I used olive oil)
  •  1 egg
  •  1/2 cup sugar (sugar is bad for you, but as far as I can tell, almost all sweeteners are bad for you, so use what you prefer, honey, sugar, agave, whatever and adjust accordingly – I want to experiment with this recipe more and try to make it low sugar-sweetener or ever sugar free)
  • 1½ cup flour (I used organic whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins or cranberries (don’t buy sweetened or any dried fruit that is loaded with preservatives, it’s just not good for you, regardless of how cheap it is monetarily, you and your families health is far more priceless)
What you do:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375*f and either grease or line a muffin tray. This will make 10-12 muffins.
  2. This part blows my mind! Cut the butt-end (lol) off the orange and place the rest of the orange in a food processor or blender and blend away (yes the peel and all!). Be amazed.
  3. Add fat, liquid, and egg. Blend.
  4. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then pour your orange mixture into it and mix until just combined. The best consistency for these is on the dryer side so, somewhere in between cookie dough and pancake batter, but nowhere near cake batter consistency. Add your raisins or cranberries (or frozen berries, or whatever you have or want).
  5. Fill muffin cups all the way and be generous, build them up a little if you want!
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a small paring knife comes out clean.
So enjoy those if you like. I did, and it was a fabulous breakfast.
Now it is time for me to start my day. I pray that you’re able to see Gods grace and love for you no matter where you sit emotionally, physically, or spiritually, today.
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