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A three step process.

16 Oct

Step one: Steal underpants.
Step two: ?
Step three: Profit.

Wait.  Not that one.  This one –

Step one: Get your hands on a oh-so-lovely and oh-so-in-season butternut squash.
Step two: Peel, cut into french fry-like pieces.  Place on cookie sheet, spray with non-stick spray [or drizzle in evoo if you prefer], season.  [I use pepper and a little garlic salt.]
Step three: Bake at a high temp – oh, around 425 or so.  Turn every so often.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  [That’s a guess.  I bake until they are browned and can be picked up as a solid fry without being all soggy.]

Okay.  Four steps –

Step four: Eat!

I’d forgotten about the joy of butternut squash fries until last night.  I would almost *almost* take them over a regular french fry.  You won’t even realize it’s squash you’re eating … and it’s oh so delicious.  I dip mine in ketchup like I would a regular fry.  Try it – let me know what you think!

A perfect fall day.

15 Oct

Not today.  Today is rainy and gloomy.  I shut my alarm off unknowingly in my slumber and went back to sleep this morning because it was so gray.  [Then I showered and served lutefisk at the Lutheran church in Blooming Prairie for a couple hours.  Uffda.]

But Sunday – Sunday was the perfect fall day.  There was a little chill to the morning but the sun came out to play later and stayed around for most of the day.  It was a fall festival afternoon at Red Oak Grove.  Farmer Tom pulled a crowd of us on hayracks to the woods where we had a bonfire and a nature scavenger hunt.  Fun.

The fun continued at Farmer John’s down the road.  Paige, jD, Lauren and Elliot came over and we went in search of the perfect appa.  [That’s Elliot-speak for pumpkin.]  We explored the fields, the silo slide, and then came back to the parsonage for chili and pumpkin dessert.  The perfect fall day all around.


Lauren captured this photo and I just think it’s the best. Of his own accord, Elliot grabbed both of our hands and we started walking together. For cute times a million.

photo 1 photo 2

Friday Favorites.

6 Sep

Are you ready?  For the weekend?  For a post of awesome internet things?  Both?

Here we go –

What’s this?  Only a timeline of the Back to the Future movies which, you may or may not recall, are my favorites!

The minute it gets cool again, this is on my menu – vegan quinoa sweet potato chili.

Maybe some pesto guacamole too.  I could get behind that.

I learned about a new app today.  Voxer is essential a walkie talkie for your phone but the person you’re talking to doesn’t necessarily need to listen in real time.  The message is waiting whenever you’re ready.  I’ve been voxing [what a fun new verb] with my banana friend, Krissy, who is back in the hospital with a blood clot in a vein in her brain.  It’s hard for her to text or type an email since it hurts to even open her eyes … and so we vox Adam Sandler movie quotes and beauty tips back and forth.  [And it’s free.]

Talking about poor Krissy reminds me that these are in the fridge.  I will bake them and mail them to her family.  [When I’m too far from friends to actually lend a hand or give a hug, I mail cookies.  It’s my default.]

Okay.  Enough messing around.  It’s time to get serious.  Have you ever … [long dramatic pause]

drank egg coffee?  I first heard about egg coffee when I was on internship in Dawson and remember being appalled at the thought.  However, then I read this article about egg coffee on The Kitchn in regards to coffee drank at the Minnesota State Fair.   I think it’s about time I tried. Want to come over and drink coffee made with eggs?  I’ll save you a twix bar chocolate chip cookie.

That’s all for favorite links.  This weekend I’m off doing one of my favorite activities – taking confirmation kids to camp!  jD and I planned the retreat together again [second annual!] and it should be a great time for both his students and mine.

Friday Favorites.

19 Jul

First, it’s Friday.  That is my favorite.  Tomorrow is Saturday [Bavarian Festival in New Ulm?  I think so.] and then it’s Sunday.  After worship on Sunday, I drive north.  To Bayfield.  Where I get on a car ferry that takes me to Madeline Island for my week long continuing education course at the Madeline Island School of the Arts.  I can barely contain myself.  It’s going to be a dream.

But, in the meantime –


I made homemade strawberry fruit roll-ups and they were super yummy.  A little time consuming but worth the effort.

I devoured Where’d You Go, Bernadette? this week.  I think this one review from the Washington Post sums the book up perfectly –

Warm, dark, sad, funny – and a little bit screwball … This is an inventive and very funny novel that gets bonus points for transcending form.

What book is up next?  Well, I loved watching this story unfold this week – the story of J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym being uncovered mysteriously with a now deleted twitter account.  The Cuckoo’s Calling might be calling to me.

I’m wrapping up one baby quilt and bought fabric this past week to move onto the next.  I’m thinking stripes. Simple.  Straight-line quilting a la this tutorial.  [Spoiler alert: The fabric has monkeys.  Monkeys. I might need to add an appliqued banana or two.]  And my scrappy gumdrop quilt continues to grow on the design wall.  There is no rhyme or reason to it – only that they are scraps from my scrap egg basket.  [Most people have scrap bins.  I keep mine in an egg basket.]


I’ve been enjoying Endeavour on PBS Masterpiece Mystery every Sunday night.  After being alerted to the joys to Downton Abbey, I’ve become more aware of the awesome programming Masterpiece offers.  Sunday night. 8-9:30pm.

I think that’s quite enough for one Friday.  Happy weekend-ing!

Iced coffee shame.

9 Jun

For me, one of the sure signs of summer is iced coffee.  Granted, in this cool, rainy season we’ve been having, the term summer is pushing it.  But I still have iced coffee in my fridge.


I’ve probably told you before my process; I’m all too eager to share and talk about it.  I follow the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cold press coffee.  A half pound of grounds to a gallon of water.  I let it soak overnight and strain it into a large liquid dispenser that lives on the middle shelf of my fridge.  It’s my coffee concentrate in my 20 oz. insulated kleen kanteen to which I add a bit of water, ice, and a generous dose of vanilla almond milk.  Shake it up, add a straw, and that is my perfect morning.

Every day, you will see it in my hand at church.  I never gave much thought to it; I simply am in the habit of always bringing my own coffee.  Sunday morning, Thursday morning, it doesn’t matter.  Me and my kleen kanteen of icy goodness.

I never thought it might look snobby.

I was at WELCA last Wednesday morning.  Before their meeting, they have goodies in the basement.  I sat down next to dear old Verna who asked if I would like coffee.  No thanks.  I have my own.

That’s right, she said.  You don’t like ours.

Oh, snap.  I think I stumbled over some words about how it is just my habit to always bring my own.  It’s part of my morning routine.  Nothing against their coffee.  [Though, if we’re honest, church coffee? Lacks a little something-something.]  And then I said that in the summer, I preferred to drink cold and not hot coffee.

Cold coffee?  Oh, the horror.

I proceeded to tell her that I cold brewed it.  You mean it never gets hot? she asked.

Nope.  I think she lost interest after that, especially since the ladies across the table had picked up on our coffee thread to reminisce about egg coffee.  And, I think, she just wasn’t quite sure what to think.  Cold coffee.  I hear her saying that in my head like I hear Lorraine McFly telling Marty: Calling boys.  Sitting in parked cars with boys.  I never did that when I was your age.  I never called a boy or sat .. in a parked car .. with a boy.  That’s all in my head.  She wasn’t actually shaming me for cold coffee.  I think it was just something new in her world and for her, why change the life guarantee that coffee will always be hot?  Anything else just doesn’t make sense.

Friday Favorites.

7 Jun

There is lots to love this week, people.  Lots to love.

Let’s start here.  The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said to a Parent.  I came across this one morning and laughed the ENTIRE day about it.  I guess creepy translates to hilarious in my brain.

Continuing, I love Joss Whedon.  I couldn’t even tell you what exactly it is but that he is something akin to my perfect man.  Hilarious.  Red-headed.  You know.  Not only is he the man behind Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, he is coming out with a new movie, Much Ado About Nothing.  I will see it when it makes its way to small-town America but for this moment, read how he invited his own friends to be extras on the film.  He is so swell.

On another Joss note, he gave a commencement address.  It was awesome.  Here’s a taste –

Identity is something that you are constantly earning.  It is a process that you must be active in.

And how about this – my favorite pins:

Happy Friday, friends. 


A Muffin story.

30 May

I ate a muffin today.

Judy, the friend of my administrative assistant, stopped by.  And, like every other time she stops by, she brought us goodies for coffee time.  A banana chocolate muffin today.

Already not a huge fan of banana things except bananas themselves, I sat down at Marilyn’s desk to help her with some computer work and started to eat my muffin.  I was a couple bites in and Marilyn asked how it was.

I replied with some pretty non-committal language.  I mean, it was a good muffin.  It was fine.  It was banana so it would never rank super high on my list.

It’s made with mayo, Marilyn responded.

I stopped chewing.  What? I asked, my mouth still full of mayo muffin.

Mayo.  It makes it super moist.

I don’t care if it makes it moist.  Sour cream and yogurt would also make it moist.  Why not use those?  You don’t put mayo in a muffin!  I don’t care for mayo.  I never have cared for mayo.  And while mayo may belong in that potato salad at the potluck, mayo is not a breakfast food.  Mayo should not be in my muffin.

Now sure, being honest with you, truth is, I couldn’t taste the mayo, but it still took me a while to swallow that bite.  But just the thought of mayo in a muffin …




[This all kinda reminds me of the muffin video my sister and cousin, Sam, can quote the whole length of.  Check it out – it’s funny.]

Stillwater getaway.

27 May

Last year, right around this time, I stayed at my first B&B in Grand Marais.  I went away to Stillwater this past Thursday thru Saturday for another B&B getaway.  Well, kinda.  Paige and I have joked with our Stillwater synod pal, Karen, for months that we would come to stay at her B&B, aka her house.  This past weekend we finally did.

Our accommodations were lovely at the B&B.  We were welcome to come and go as we pleased and were invited to sample the lovely cereal varieties available.  We were close enough to downtown to take a walking tour, including stops at the now closed theological bookstore, the daily grind for coffee, and the co-op for yummy sandwiches.  We ate dinner out on a patio overlooking the river with our hosts and devoured too much ice cream for our own good on a walk to Nelson’s.  Saturday morning was another coffee shop, relaxing by reading, and a late lunch on the screen porch before our departure.  It was all things lovely.

Eventually, the weekend had to end and we had to depart.  I didn’t even make it to the southern edge of the cities before Paige had to listen to me cry.  The weekend [well, Thursday thru Saturday] was so lovely that I didn’t want to go home.  Go home to Sunday sermon prep.  Go home where life isn’t like a B&B at all, where there are no patios to sit on, or friends to eat every meal with.  Go home and not have a long weekend like the rest of the world. [See screen shot of tweet above.] I think the tears are a symptom – I’m burned out.  I think I’m long ready for a vacation.  A full week off.  Luckily, that’s only two and a half weeks away.  Alaska, here I come.

Friday Favorites.

26 Apr

Yesterday was [finally!] a nice day outside.  Sunshine.  Little wind.  All I could think about was iced coffee and hammocks.  Regardless that the temperature hasn’t yet passed 60 degrees, my coarsely ground coffee beans were mixed with water in giant pitchers on my counter last night, and I have pretty solid plans to take a nap in my hammock on Sunday afternoon.  Iced coffee and hammocks.  Definitely two of my favorite things.  Also –

A vintage Nancy Drew party!  Now granted, it was planned for an elementary crowd.  If I planned a vintage Nancy Drew party for my 30th, would you come?

How fun do these look — Springtime Italian Rainbow Cookie with Lemon Curd.  I’m going on a retreat next weekend and I’m tempted to try these to take a share.  We’ll see if early next week holds the time needed to bake them.  They do look a little involved

DIY Bird Feeders.  I might have to find some time to make these to hang from the trees for my bird friends.

I want to make at least five of these.  Terrariums are the coolest.  I would put a gnome in mine.

Martha does it again.  Travel keepsake boxes to hold airline tickets, photos, and all sorts of things from trips.

And, lastely, a motto for a new week.

What’s in my meal-prepped fridge this week?

21 Apr

I’m so glad you asked.

I just finished cutting veggies, washing fruit, and cooking rice for my week. I haven’t done the dishes yet; those can wait for tomorrow. Or Tuesday. We’ll see.

I started doing my weekly grocery shopping and meal prep a couple Sundays ago and I must say – it is pretty awesome. The Sunday night is crazy and the clean-up sucks. But the rest of the week is pretty low key, clean, and worth it.

I’m only one person. I can’t imagine doing this for a family! Being one, I basically make one main dish and will eat that for one lunch/supper a day. The second meal is typically a salad, and breakfast – dear breakfast – is so simple and yet so my favorite. I also try and cut up a bunch of veggies and fruit to have handy for snacks. Easy peasy, light and breezy.

This week’s main dish: Bok choy brown rice salad with orange sesame dressing. Minus the bok choy. I am making a conscious decision right now to admit failure to you; please be easy on me. When I got home tonight and did a little research AFTER my grocery store run, I figured out that what I thought was bok choy in the florescent light of Hyvee was indeed a leek. I’ve never bought either before. Humor me and agree that they look slightly similar? I know the difference now and will remember FOREVER. [Forever + five years if any of you mock me for it. Then it will be seared in my brain.]

Along with that, I cut lettuce and stored them in mason jars for easy salads. I made overnight oats [old fashioned oats soaked in almond milk, ate cold, is my most favorite food] with strawberries for the week, and baked egg whites in a muffin tin inside a crust of deli turkey meat. I may have bought $8 worth of strawberries which I washed, cut and stored. [I’m a sucker for strawberries. I can’t wait until they’re in season this summer … you know, in early August.] There are a couple new things on my counter too. Apple chips [the most wonderfully simple idea ever – my mandoline has been busy] and date/almond bites.

With that, I’m ready for the week. And maybe, if I travel to Austin tomorrow, I’ll pick up some bok choy to add to my bok choy brown rice salad with orange sesame dressing.

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