Monday, October 31, 2011

"Healthy Is the New Skinny"

I am not endorsing everything (or every picture) that this campaign puts out.  As a Christian I believe that ultimately I must find my identity in Christ and look to Him to define me.  But I AM agreeing that this is a serious issue that needs to be addresses in our culture. 

Post this video on your facebook or blog or twitter and share the message with others.  Let's reclaim the definition of beauty.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update on Pizza (with pictures)

I posted last week about our chevre mushroom pizza and wanted to follow up since we made pizza again today for lunch.  This time I snapped a couple pictures with my phone so I could upload them.  I rarely make a recipe unless I see a picture of it (I know that other people feel similarly).  My goal is to get better about taking pictures of what I bake/cook.  This will probably be easier in a couple weeks when my new phone gets in.  For now, I'm working with a very limiting camera phone and my own very limiting creativity.

More information on the dough:  This week I made the dough on Saturday night and put it into an oiled zip-lock bag which was then put into the refrigerator (this step takes the place of letting it rise the first time).  This morning before we left for Church, I pulled the dough out of the fridge and transferred it from the zip-lock to a mixing bowl.  The bowl was then covered and the dough rose while we were gone.  It worked out well because when we got home from Church, lunch was already halfway prepared.  :)
We're trying to set a pattern of being ready to host guests after Church.  Of course, we just moved here and we're just getting to know people at our Church, but we'd like to have our home/meal prepared so that we could invite people over after Church if the opportunity arises.  It creates an interesting challenge for me to find a meal that could easily be "expanded" if we had guests and need to stretch the food.  But at the same time, we don't want to be wasteful and prepare food that will go uneaten.  This is where the pizza dough came in!

Since it was just Caleb and I only used about 2/3 of the dough that was prepared for our pizza (we really could have used 1/2 of it).  The remaining dough was put back into the zip-lock and I plan on using it to make breadsticks later this week.  That way nothing was wasted and we'll have homemade breadsticks without the hassle of making them right before dinner.  I'll probably pair the breadsticks with homemade soup or salad (depending on the weather).

From the pictures it clear that we did one side white bread and one side with a marinara sauce.  I whipped up the sauce when we got home because we didn't have any pizza sauce on hand. 

Before the oven

Ready to eat!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Journal Entry October 25th, 2011

Disclaimer:  You might not understand this post.  I'm not asking you to.  :) 

"Talk to me," he says.

The words don't come.

But the tears do.

My heart and my bathtub are full.  There are words I wish to say.  And yet, I can't.

He takes my hand.  And the tears come again, for a new reason.  This man, this husband of mine is infinitely patient and kind.  In the words of another, "he is more patient with me than I am with myself."

I retreat again into my journal and my books and my Bible.  He stays near, but gives me the space to simply be.  I look over.  He sits at the kitchen table with his Bible open, seemingly unaware that I'm watching him.  My eyes go back to my papers.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see him glance up to check on me.  We sit silently.  Each of us half-engaged in our books; each pretending that we don't realize the other one watching.  It's a delusional game.

The gulf between us seems oh-so-wide.  It's not anger or frustration.  We didn't get into a fight.  We're just learning what it means to co-exist.  And learning that God is working on that other person so we need to step back and let Him work.  That's hard.

I bridge our emotional-Grand-Canyon by taking the few steps from the couch to the kitchen table.  He looks up with bright eyes, hoping that I'll have words to explain.

I don't.

As he wraps his arms around me, the tears come again.

I cry because I hurt.  I cry because I am loved and yet so undeserving of it.  I cry because I'm aware of my shortcomings and how un-Jesus-like I am.  I cry because this-thing-called-'marriage' is smoothing out all my rough edges and I know that I still have so much further to go.  I cry because this world is not my home.  And I am so very ready for the world that is my home.

He loves me.  Of this am sure.

And I'm pretty crazy about him too.  ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

come into my kitchen: chevre mushroom pizza

***Click here to read an update on this post and see pictures!

Alright, so the disclaimer to this recipe is as follows:  my family doesn't really follow recipes very well.  It's a lot more of how it "looks" or "feels" than what is actually written down.  Hopefully yours will turn out well!  :)

This is our basic recipe for pizza dough.  So delicious!  It's a family favorite (and we're Italian, so that gives this recipe bonus points or something).  On our honeymoon, they had this amazing chèvre (goat cheese) and mozzarella pizza on the cruise boat.  I think Caleb and I had it at least four of the seven days!  When we got settled here in Biloxi I decided to try to recreate it (and at the same time make a few changes/additions to the recipe!).  This is a "white bread" pizza so it doesn't have sauce.  Enjoy!  :)

Pizza Dough:

1 tablespoon (1 packet) yeast
3/4 cup of warm water (NOT hot water)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups of flour
olive oil

Dissolve the yeast into 3/4 cup of warm water and let sit covered in a warm place.

Warm the milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool completely.  If this is too warm, it is kill the yeast and your dough won't rise.

Combine the yeast mixture and the milk mixture in a large bowl.  Add flour.  The amount of flour you need depends on where you live and what the weather is that day, so I always start by adding about 3 cups (it's easy to add flour later if the dough is too sticky).  Turn onto counter and knead for a few minutes.  If dough is too sticky, add flour.  If it is too dry, add a little bit of olive oil.

Place dough in clean bowl (I always put about a tablespoon of oil and rub it around the sides of the bowl).  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 25-30 minutes or until dough has doubled.

Press into well oiled pan (it makes enough to fill a 13x9, I think) and let it rise again for about 10-20 minutes.

Bake in a hot oven (about 450 degrees) for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Add toppings and sauce.  Broil on high for a couple minutes (until the cheese is nicely melted)

Pizza Toppings:  (all measurements are approximate - let your tastebuds and personal preferences guide you!)

1-1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms (sauteed with garlic and olive oil)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
1 - 2 cups chèvre (found in the deli section of the grocery store)
1 - 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning

I started by brushing a thin coat of olive oil.  Then I sprinkled Italian seasoning across the top along with Parmesan cheese.  I put on the vegetables next, then the chèvre, and ended with the mozzarella cheese.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

just this :)

Today I am writing a long letter to update my doctors at Mayo.  I really should have done this about 3 months ago, but it's been a little crazy in my life!

Writing this update is interesting.  I am remembering back to the times when I have been the sickest and remembering times when my soul felt completely starved.  There were days that seemed hopeless.  My emotional bathtub was constantly overflowing.  Just getting out of bed was a struggle.  I was not only waging war against my body, but against my mind.  When you're in constant pain for months on end, your mind considers things that otherwise would have seemed ludicrous.

Am I healed?  Well, no.

Have I found grace to keep pressing on?  Yes.

Does that make it all better?


I still have about 50 bajillion questions to ask God someday.  My theology and my mind have been stretched as I've sought answers to the endless parade of questions in my mind.  My eyes still well up with tears when I think about those dark, dark days.

Psalm 23 says that God will be with us when we walk through "the valley of the shadow of death."  Some translators have said that it could also be translated: "when I walk through the valley of deep, deep darkness."  That's how it feels some days.  And it is something that few people can understand (truly, no one can exactly understand your situation as each one is unique)

I have a new sensitivity for theologies of suffering.  When someone else I hurting, I resist giving them the "pat Christians answers" that stings one's soul like lemon juice in a papercut.

Some days I think about the "friendly fire" in Christianity.  When our own people are wounded and aching, why do we inflict more pain?

That's all I have for today.  Nothing profound or new; just some reflections on living a hurting life.

p.s.  As I was digging through all my papers from Mayo I found some wedding planning stuff.  :)  It's fun to remember that even at that "low point" my mom and I were planning for the future.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

required saturday morning listening (Kick Drum Heart: The Avett Brothers)

Mr. Mays and I ran errands this morning and shopped for living room furniture.  This is my wake up and go music for Saturday mornings.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

currently reading: My Lobotomy

Title:  My Lobotomy - A Memoir
Author:  Howard Dully (with Charles Fleming)
Genre:  Biographical Non-Fiction
Pages: 304

As a psychology major, I've been interested in this book for awhile.  Each time I saw it on the shelf of Barnes and Noble or another bookstore, I made a mental note to look for it at the library, but never followed through on that idea.  A few weeks ago, Borders was having a huge going-out-of-business sale.  And guess what was one of the few books still left on the almost-bare shelves?  This one!

I started reading this on the flight to Tampa for our honeymoon.  And I finished it a few days later on the cruise.  It was a fairly quick read, although it took a little bit for me to adjust to the style of writing.  It is written as if Dully is narrating it, which made it a bit hard to follow at times.

Dully describes the events leading up to and the events following his lobotomy.  At the age of 12, Dully was  admitted to a hospital where Dr. Walter Freeman performed an "ice-pick lobotomy."  This essentially means that Freeman took a "knitting needle" type object and poked it through Dully's eye socket and rotated it around in his brain for a few minutes.  Dully did not "qualify" for a lobotomy (a procedure which  is no longer valid in the medical world - it does more damage than good).  Freeman was eager to have a patient to work on and Dully's step-mother was eager to have her step-son "altered" or forced to move away.  Dully began a journey to find out about his lobotomy (and why is was ordered) which was documented by NPR.

This book is chilling.  The account is so personal and you cannot help but sympathize with Dully.  I could not help but wonder how Dully slipped through the cracks of doctors, teachers, social workers and government workers.  Dully wrote multiple times that no one ever taught him responsibility and that he had never learned a skill.  Didn't any of the people around him see that?  This made the book personal to me.  I was forced to ask myself, "Are there people standing right in front of me who are just as in need of help as Dully was?"

I really appreciated the ending where Dully wrote about being a victim.  He wrote that while horrible things happened to him, he saw that we were all victims at some levels or another.  I thought that this was an appropriate ending to the book as it was a challenge to all readers and as it issued freedom for Dully - he no longer needed to live in the shadow of his past.

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