Resolutions and Thai Hippie Bowls

June 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I’m a recent convert to the Mennonite denomination, but as far as I can tell (and this is what sold me), potlucks are one of the core faith values. The church I usually attend in Seattle doesn’t regularly have them like most other Mennonite churches (you’re going to have to forgive my sweeping generalizations in this post, and apparently the overuse of parentheses), so the young adults have taken matters into their own hands and created a bi-monthly potluck group. Google doc organized and always deliciously themed…what’s not to love? But I digress. At a recent potluck, we were doing some ice-breaking and were sharing resolutions that we had made for 2012. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I despise New Year’s resolutions. The only good one that I have ever made and stuck to was when I only ate bread at home that I had made myself. Best. Year. Ever.

So, I made one up on the fly. But now I think I’m going to stick to it. And here’s where you come in…I resolved to write 10 of my own original recipes by the end of the year worth sharing. One has been in the works for quite some time and needs some tweaking, but as we approach the 7th month of the year, I figured I had better get a move on it. So until that one is ready (is the suspense killing you?), here’s my first recipe for the blog world. Drum roll…

Thai Hippie Bowls- serves 6

3 cups quinoa

4 1/2  cups water

1 T olive oil

2 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 T dried basil

1/4 cup onion

1 crown of broccoli, broken into florets

2 red peppers, sliced thin

5-6 carrots, peeled and diced

2 cups snap peas

Peanut Sauce:

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups canned coconut milk, I used lite.

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 t cayenne pepper, or more if you like things spicy

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup agave nectar


To make peanut sauce:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth. Pour into saucepan and heat over very low heat while you prepare the rest of the meal. Stir occasionally.

To make quinoa and veggies:

In a large soup pot, heat 1 T oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion with salt, pepper, and basil for about 2 minutes. Add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until water is absorbed and you can see the white rings around the quinoa.

While quinoa is simmering, prep your veggies. Listed above are the veggies I used, but honestly you can use whatever you like and/or have on hand. Put a small amount of water in another large pot and turn to medium-high heat. Add your veggies, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt, and steam until they’re a desired doneness. I like mine to still have a little bit of crunch, about 6-7 minutes of steaming.

When everything is finished cooking, serve the quinoa, veggies, and sauce separately so people can build their own bowl. You can also include some toppings for people to add on like diced cucumber, sprouts (for extra hippie-ness), or sesame seeds.

I forgot to take a photo of the final dish. I’ve also been studying food styling recently, but for now you’ll have to deal with this photo from my crappy cell phone camera. You’ll also have to trust that my housemates loved this dish based on their expressions in the photo.





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Ahhh, retreat

June 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Pender Island is probably not the destination most think of when they plan their trip to the San Juans, but it’s where my housemates and I ended up at the end of May for our retreat. We drove to Vancouver to catch our ferry to the island, but first spent some time on Granville Island. Memorable moment: having my plate of Thai noodles dive-bombed by a thieving seagull.

First stop: Granville Island hammock store

Vancouver, B.C.

After arriving on Pender and a wind-y drive through the darkness, we discovered a lovely home waiting for us that had the best back deck with a hot tub and a view. My “routine” involved waking each morning and drinking coffee while alternating between staring at the view, napping, and reading the 3 books I devoured over the course of the week.

This was the view from inside the house, relaxing in the recliner.

Other activities for me included knitting and re-visiting “Planet Earth.” Saturday was our busiest day when we ventured to the Farmer’s Market around lunchtime. Chatting with the locals and listening to a bluegrass band over lunch taught us that the island’s pub was the place to be that night. We also met Maya, a wiener dog that we would run into again at our next stop…Morning Bay Vineyard.

Enjoying a warm afternoon on the lawn.

It was a lovely afternoon listening to live music and wandering through their art show. We learned several more people’s faces that we would see again at the pub that night. Our favorite character ended up being an 86-year old woman who had come out that night for a piece of cake and glass of wine by herself. She ended up joining some hipsters at their table and once the band started playing she got those orthopedic sandals flying around the dance floor and took off her cardigan to reveal some arm tattoos. A local man of questionable sobriety informed us she had only gotten the tattoos 2 years earlier. Cheers to Shirley and a beautiful space to reconnect with myself and housemates.

House love, and jello

After 3 ferry rides the next Tuesday (Pender to Victoria, to Port Angeles, from Bainbridge to Seattle) we arrived home happy to see other housemates, the chickens, and a blossoming garden…but sad to be away from Pender’s laid back beauty.

The first harvest

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No, MY Dad is the Best.

June 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s an argument heard on playgrounds ’round the world: My dad is better than yours. Adorable, but relax folks, mine’s the best. A quick, but very sincere shout out to my dad on this Father’s Day:

Thanks for my curly hair, which I’ve finally come to love…for the now deeply rooted obsession with parking a car parallel to and equidistant from the parking space lines (and in general a desire to do all things well)…for the love of the earth that runs through me and the interest to see what can come of it…

for the habit of looking at maps before I travel and my deeply rooted faith…

for my deep respect of a good nap and possibly most important…my incredible fashion sense.

I don’t love all of the states in between Washington and Ohio, but I do love you! Happy Father’s Day.

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Love and Light

June 5, 2012 at 5:05 am (Uncategorized)

I have a few things in mind to share with you, but as I’m still not 100% healthy, I’m going to take the easy route today. Below is a modified version of what I shared with our two supporting congregations when the house led a worship service at each. We focused our theme around where the first church was in their lectionary cycle and service themes: “Witnesses to the Light.” Enjoy!

“About a year and a half ago I was sitting in my office at Bluffton University chatting with a coworker and friend about my next life steps. As I reflected with her about all of my interests and options, I once again became very overwhelmed at the thought of leaving my community in Northwest Ohio. I had a great job, lived in a charming little house, was very close to my family, adored my church, and had a very strong support system of friends.  But when she left I remained in thought and eventually landed on my desire to do service. All of a sudden the feelings of “someday I’ll do that” changed and became very urgent. I needed to do this now. As my mind raced through all of the practical reasons not to go now, I felt God answering each worry…and God continues to ease my worries as I find myself 2300 miles from where I was one year ago.

My decision to do MVS was rooted in faith and the belief that God could use even me. The final quote of Rumi’s “Lost in the Call” has become my mantra for this year: “Remember God so much that you are forgotten. Let the caller and the called disappear; be lost in the Call.” And so the biggest challenge this year has been to find ways to experience God’s love and then send that back out into the community as light.

In 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and God’s love is made complete in us.” I have loved the opportunity of this voluntary service experience to establish roots in a community, meet others who have done the same thing or are working on it, and then talk to people who wonder things like “What is a Mennonite?” “Why do you live with 6 other people that you never really knew before?” “Why did you move so far away from home?” “Why do you have chickens?” Answering the questions of fellow food bank volunteers, clients, and coworkers often reminds me of the important responsibility I have to embody God’s love and radiate light. It’s not always easy when I’m up to my ears in sad stories, customer requests, and dry beans. But all I can do is share my story and hope that people experience my presence, work, and listening ear as the love it is intended to be…even if they’re not quite ready to receive it or haven’t yet come to good terms with its source.

My time sharing with you would be incomplete without mentioning the community that we have at the MVS House. My housemates are by far the highlight of the last 8 months. Seattle is beautiful, my job is great, but the times spent with these lovely people are what fill me with love. I see God in the times we spend around the dinner table with one another, weekends when fun memories are spontaneously created, and each time someone opens up a little more about themselves and what life is revealing to them right now. I am so grateful for the home we have created and that I got to be a part of this community. They have given me a lot of love to share.

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From the inside out

June 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm (Uncategorized)

Greetings and happy Sunday, readers. The housemates and I went on a retreat to Pender Island, part of the Canadian San Juans, last week and it was lovely. I’ll post some photos and updates from that soon. But right now I just want to take a moment to remember my mom. She passed away 15 years ago today.

Every year this anniversary kind of sneaks up on me, even though it trails along soon after Mother’s Day. I usually prefer to just spend the day alone reflecting on the positive memories and all of the reasons I admire her so much. But the last few days I’ve been dealing with a very painful ear infection and have had a lot of time to lay around by myself and think. I keep thinking about how much of my life she didn’t get to see and all of the things she may or may not know about me. She died before I started playing clarinet, before I learned French, and before I learned how to cook and bake. Does she know how much of a mentor she still is to me? I still look at her as the embodiment of spirituality, strength, joy, beauty, and love. Oh, we had entered the mother/daughter pre-teen years fighting, but she never stopped being my hero and the captain of my home team. I miss her telling me that she loved me. And in the few moments before she died, when my grandma told me to to tell her that I loved her, did she know that I couldn’t because I was crying too hard…not because I didn’t?

So I’m hurting inside and outside today, and I really just want my mom to take care of me. As a young woman, I’d love to have her guidance on a daily basis. There’s so much I didn’t learn about her, either. But I’m grateful for the people that have stepped in and fulfilled these needs in various ways. So much good has come from a life event that at 11 years old, felt like the end of everything good.

Love you, mom

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