{30 days} of thankful : day 14, or whatever

i didn't plan to take a break from posting while on Christmas vacation. in fact, i had been excited for how easy it would be to write about being thankful, when i would be spending nearly a week celebrating Christmas with 8 of my very most favorite people on the planet. but, alas, to my parents' frustration, their wireless network has been down, and it was never very tempting to leave everyone's company by the beautifully decorated tree and the warmth of the blazing fire to type {i find myself being thankful for the non-working wireless, sorry mom & dad}.

so, i spent the last week soaking up the blessings and being effortlessly thankful.

thankful for delicious dinners and playing {lots of} games; for singing Christmas songs at my old church; for thoughtful handmade gifts and the constant car noises of my nephew; for a late night conversation and afternoon walks; for catching up with old friends and delighting in a friend's pregnancy. i am thankful for rest.

and i probably won't ever forget my oh-so-effective reverse psychology on Cahya that resulted in some of the sweetest smiles and hugs ever! {"whatever you do Cahya, don't give me a hug" resulted in a grin & open arms that quickly wrapped themselves around me. ahh!}

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 13

there aren't many things i'm more thankful for than the people in my life, and certainly at the top of that list is my sweet mom. she celebrated her 60th birthday this week {she makes 60 look great, doesn't she!}, so i'd like to take a moment to share my heartfelt thanks for mom.

she is the kind of person who, when i called her on her birthday, was excited to be making sweet potato casserole for our christmas dinner, even though she doesn't really like it herself. she is a selfless person, who enjoys finding ways to help and serve all kinds of people: whether her family, her 6th grade sunday school class, her many friends, and the at-risk boy she tutors in reading. she is the person who waves and talks with every Publix employee, and befriends random neighbors whom she meets on her early morning walks. the kind of person that most people think of as one of their best friends.

my mom is hands down the best cook i know. famous for her sour cream coffee cakes and eager to bring a meal to anyone in need, she is also very patient with my phone calls with cooking questions about poaching eggs or baking times or, well, pretty much anything.

thanks, mom, for EVERYTHING, always.

with love,
katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 12

molly, this one is for you. you bring light to my life. you are a young woman of great beauty + strength, perseverance + courage.  i learn about trusting the Lord through your life.

to those of you who {sadly} don't know my sister, she is brilliant, compassionate, and hands down one of the funniest + cleverest people i know of. and it is in this spirit, that i say thank you for bringing laughter to my day, with re-sharing this ridiculously silly video.

also, if anyone needs another laugh, well, a monkey riding a dog {please read the short article!} just might do it.

- katie anne

{30 days} of thankful : day 11

"shalom is the presence of the goodness of God. it's the presence of wholeness, completeness"
                                                                                          {rob bell, velvet elvis}

this Christmas, this year, we have peace. not the absence of struggles, brokenness, or trials. it's not just about eliminating busyness and streamlining our schedules. as we were reminded at church, we can have peace because we can know the Person of Peace, Jesus.

when the angels appeared to shepherds on the night Jesus was born, they proclaimed peace on earth {luke 2.14}. Jesus healed a woman from 12 years of bleeding, and His words to her were "go in peace" {luke 7.50}. He desires us to live in peace: with God, each other, + within ourselves. and He has made the way: Himself.

but how easily i can forget. i get focused on my job or the things i lack {in the scheme of things, i lack nothing}, my state of being can feel shaken by circumstances, in spite of the reality that my life is rooted + grounded in the Prince of Peace.

i am thankful for this reminder, this truth. and for the freedom that i experienced today.

peace be with you.
katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 10

i am so thankful for renewed creativity.

maybe grad school took it out of me. or my deadbeat job. whatever the cause, it feels like the last few years have been pretty dry for me, creatively. but, during the last several weeks, i've been inspired. the vibrant, wild bittersweet growing around our yard lured me outside on chilly days, clippers in hand, with {successful!} hopes of making wreaths and decorative arranagements.

my knitting needles have also been busy, and i learned the hard way that stockings are far more difficult than i imagined. and today, i'm working on actualizing my vision for Christmas garlands. {next up: making the second stocking. fingers crossed it'll be finished by Christmas!}

- katie anne

p.s. if you are wanting some crafty inspiration, i am currently LOVING this site, which is where i borrowed the stocking pattern i used.

p.s.s. i also made a little something-something for my sister's puppy, which will be joining us for Christmas. but, for the sake of surprises... i'll have to keep it a secret for now :)

{30 days} of thankful : day 9

it's no secret that my job is a frustrating disappointment. i have unthinkable amounts of time without anything to do, and most of the work i do isn't actually counseling. more days than not, i'm thinking and trying to plan a way out of this job. and maybe even out of the profession of counseling.

and then, yesterday {for the first time in quite some time}, i actually got to do therapy with two sets of clients. and both sessions went really well. it felt good to dig deep and see that the skills and gifts are still there to help others in this way. to get a glimpse of why i chose this profession. and then today, i got an email from a grad school colleague, who shared a simple, but powerful affirmation of my gifting as a counselor. i can't quite put words to how much all this meant, especially in light of the months of doubting my career, my calling, myself in all of this.

for these reminders and the truth they contain, i give thanks.

i don't know what the future holds for me in my career and work situation. these events don't actually change anything, and yet, i am changed by remembering the hope + purpose i once felt. hold onto it.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 8

what i am about to write gives me the chills. and teary eyes. a miracle happened yesterday, is happening today. and it is great cause to give deep thanks. a baby boy is coming home to his family for the first time today. but first, let me give you some background, so that you, too, can marvel at the goodness and mystery of God this Christmas season.

amy was my discipleship leader my first year at Doulos. i remember meeting her for the first time in my interview, only to realize that i had been to her house before :) from day 1 of truly knowing her, she was a woman who spoke and prayed truth and grace into my life. she is one of the women who has lived out the difficult beauty of waiting on and trusting in the Lord, for many things near and dear to her heart. like having children.

although i haven't seen her in person in a few years, her story grabs my heart every time i hear and read it. after a few years of infertility, she and her husband adopted... and got pregnant at the same time! two miracles, two precious lives. fast forward a couple of years to 2011, she and her husband open their hearts to adopt again, only to soon find out that the same birth mother is pregnant again. God surely places His desires in our hearts. then something happened to actually take this adoption to court. for a few months, after this baby's birth. oh, i can only imagine the heartache. waiting on this baby, hoping in the Lord's promises, and ultimately letting go and entrusting this child to the Father. lots of disappointment, confusion, and raw honesty. and yesterday, this child was placed in the care and family of my friends, to grow up in a loving, Christ-centered home, and today he went home to his new family.

as i type this, i can't help but think of the Christmas story, of the gift of a baby boy, of God's steadfast love and faithfulness to His covenant.

truly there is much to be thankful for, including a glimpse of glory today.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 7

well, i missed a day. but, that's the beauty of doing this for myself, right? so, moving on ...

today i am thankful for ... a comfortable, warm home {and a repaired washing machine}.

   ... dinner in the oven

   ... and this man to enjoy it all with:

katie anne

{photo taken by our dear friend tahni from joyeuse photography}


{30 days} of thankful : day 6

this {monday} was a difficult day to muster up gratitude. {is anybody else noticing the strong correlation between going to work and struggling to be thankful?} half a day later, i'm still having a hard time with this. i realize that this kind of day is the real challenge, to be thankful when there aren't many things in front of me that are easily seen as good.

as i've mentioned recently, there's a lot around me that is broken. i took my car in this morning for repairs; my washing machine is now taking 6 hours to wash a single load of clothes; clearly, everything about my job feels broken, including the lives of the clients i meet with.

today, i struggle to give thanks for ... the ultimate reality that life is about much more that we can see with our eyes. that we can have confidence in God's promise to restore that which has been broken. that Christ is already in the process of "making all things new" {revelation 21.5}.

i have 3 colorful butterfly prints hanging on my office wall. a 17 year old young woman remarked today that they are her favorite insects. when i asked her why, she told me about a time while in a wilderness program when she got to watch several caterpillars grow and transform into beautiful butterflies. for a brief moment, we marveled together at the imagery of new beginnings, of new life, that we see in butterflies. i am thankful for that shared moment, and for the wonder of new life.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 5

yesterday was a day of full of babies: baby dedication sunday at church. meeting + holding our friends' 2 week old sweet baby boy for the first time. and dinner with more good friends and their 4 month old girl. she is at the wonderful age of starting to smile and interact, which is just plain fun.

last sunday, we got a bit overwhelmed by the number of people around us who are pregnant and who have recently had a baby. it took us a few minutes to be able to even think of other young couples we know who AREN'T new or soon-to-be parents. don't get me wrong, i am thrilled for all of our friends, beginning the journey of parenthood and treasuring tiny toes + noses. there surely can't be many things as or more joyful + precious as new life. and at the same time, it can feel difficult at times to feel left out of this new stage of life, to be "behind schedule" compared to those around me.

and yet, today i am thankful for ... the great gift of new life + beauty + God's creativity evident in the babies and pregnancies all around. and for the feeling of little baby hands wrapped around my finger.

   ... and i am thankful for the grace to move beyond comparisons with others' lives, and to find joy + peace in where our lives are right now, to enjoy uninterrupted nights of sleep, easy trips out of town, and date nights out. to keep on waiting {for a while!} until that next step of life is right + good for us.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 4

today i am thankful for ... sleeping in until 9:15 {and staying in my pj's until about 1pm}

   ... taking a walk beside Mechums River {or, more correctly, trespassing by Mechums River}

   ... tim's reminder that i don't have to get too angry about rick perry's 'strong' video, because God's justice will judge those who misuse the name of Jesus for political gain and oppression. whew. because i was getting angry.

katie anne

{30 days} of thankful : day 3

yesterday was a great day. a day of rest and being filled back up, to overflowing. a respite from the previous week, for sure. a day of fellowship with friends. i took a sick / mental health day off from work, and was able to rest, have a good workout at a new gym, take care of some much-needed tasks around the house, enjoy being creative, and get a good great haircut.

i am most thankful for ... the Christmas party for those of us in positions of leadership and service at our church. we were served a lovely + tasty dinner, connecting with friends, and laughter. we also shared a time of intentional encouragement and thanksgiving for one another, which was amazing and life-giving, both to receive words from others and to hear words spoken over others. it was a rich time of recognizing the part each of us play in the big picture of God's kingdom.

  ... also, we got a picture of ourselves {which doesn't happen too often}!

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 2

today i give thanks for : 

His mercies are new every morning.

breakfast! with tim! on a clear, crisp december morning!

sipping hot apple cider + knitting while tim watches thursday night football to close out the day.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 1

my hunch was spot on.

i had a feeling a few days ago, when i decided to embark on this challenge to turn my heart toward gratitude, that this might be difficult. the phrase "a sacrifice of praise" came to mind. what i didn't expect, though, was how quickly i might be challenged. last night and today were discouraging in some ways, which i won't get into now, and my heart isn't all bubbly or happy, or really even wanting to focus on gratitude. but, it was definitely good for me to think about the things i can be thankful for as i moved throughout my day.

today i am thankful for ... my friend Sue, who works at our CSA pickup site. she responded to my grumbling about the windy, cold rain by gently reminding me that at least it wasn't colder, like a night last year when the rain turned to ice on the produce waiting to be taken home. (she also gave me a good deal on apples!)

    ... and for the rabbit hopping alongside my driveway when i got home, no doubt seeking shelter from the storm.

    ... and for phone calls with BOTH of my sisters today !!!

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful

a thankful heart prepares the way for you, my God.

this line from an old Waterdeep song keeps finding its way into my mind these days. that's not the natural direction of my mind + heart these days, as i more easily find myself tired + overwhelmed, in disbelief at how time is quickly flying by, apathetic about work, and trying to find the spare time for a trip to the grocery store. {oh yeah, did i mention worrying about car insurance after hitting a deer and continually bandaging my leg from a recent dog bite?}

and then on sunday, God's abundant grace took me off guard when i least expected it, and definitely did not deserve it. yesterday was a rare, busy day for our church, that came at the end of a busy week + overnight trip to NC. after getting to church early for a meeting, i was whole-heartedly resistant + negative about the idea of going to the evening baptism + dinner service. but i went. more out of obligation than anything else. and there, in the midst of a dunking pool + very random potluck dinner, my heart was nourished with songs of hope and refreshing conversation with good friends, who know my stories, struggles, and joys.

i can only conclude that there is much to be thankful for, even on the days i cannot seem to muster up much gratitude.

i was thinking about all of this on my drive to work this morning. and i remembered a time during a really difficult season of life when i had this tiny notebook in which i wrote 3 things everyday. they were 3 things to be thankful for, 3 good things. some days, those things were tiny, seemingly insignificant things. and yet, that practice, a tiny notebook that recorded when i heard a great song on the radio and had someone say hello on a sidewalk, it was part of what carried me through.

so now, december 2011, in the midst of a jam-packed + busy season and in anticipation of Christmas, i want to renew that practice of thankfulness, to open my eyes to the goodness around me, and to share that with you. i know this whole "30 days of ..." is no original idea of mine: i've seen many people blogging or facebooking about such things {and it is difficult for me to copy others' ideas}.

the challenge: to record something for which i give thanks each day for 30 days.

i am hopeful for how my heart will change during this season of thankfulness. i desire new eyes to see goodness + beauty around me. i expect to need grace for the process.

katie anne


roasted chicken + letting go of labels

this past summer marked the end of nearly 8 years as a vegetarian for me. i had been wrestling with and mulling over that decision for a while, going back an forth between the part of my identity as a vegetarian and my desire to focus more on whole, local foods instead of proteins that were processed and had lots of food miles. i've loved being a vegetarian for many reasons, and making major changes is really difficult, so i spent many months tossing around the idea of dropping the label of vegetarian without doing anything about it. the moment that marked the change was born out of hunger (not the visit to nearby Polyface Farms that i had envisioned). we were in the midst of our 3 weeks in between leases and couldn't really face another meal of quinoa, veggies, and scrambled eggs; so after a quick trip to the Organic Butcher and a rather lackluster baked chicken + veggie dinner, well, what am i ?!

am i a partial-vegetarian (like i was from age 12-21)? a whole-foodie? a conscientious eater? a locavore? i'm not quite sure where i fit (although for simplicity, i still identify as a vegetarian in many situations to make things more straightforward). i focus on eating healthy, whole foods that are primarily locally-sourced and now include pastured poultry and eggs. my food choices are impacted by my consideration of taste and enjoyment, health, the livelihood of farmers in my community, and the environmental impact of agriculture (petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides and oil used to transport food thousands of miles: no thank you). i'm not trying to be a food snob, rather someone who recognizes that my choices aren't made in a vacuum.

two weekends ago, i roasted a whole chicken, born + raised + slaughtered on the farm of our dear friends, the Lykoshes. they have a pretty incredible story about leaving their comfortable life in boulder, co, a couple of years ago (along with their 4 young boys) to follow God's call to start a farm in central va. they would be some of the first people to tell you how difficult farming is, but despite the challenges, they farm with integrity and passion. their chickens are fed soy-free feed and roam around their farm, living out the fullness of their chicken-hood. the Lykoshes. also, they taste damn good (or "beyond good" to use tim's words).

                                        i am {a little too} happy holding a raw chicken!

{Roasted Chicken Recipe}
* for a 3-4 lb whole chicken. total prep + roasting time = about 4 hours, mostly hands-off, leaving plenty of time to watch football with your husband + prepare the rest of your meal.

step 1. brine the chicken. {cook's illustrated has the sciency background + directions here}
 * in a very large pot, fill with 1 - 1.5 gallons of cold water. add 1 cup table salt + 1 cup sugar per gallon. stir vigorously until salt + sugar are dissolved.
* place the whole chicken in the brine solution, making sure it is completely submerged.
* put in the fridge to let the brine do it's thing {1-2 hours should be about right}
* call your mom to tell her you survived holding a raw chicken. and kinda liked it.

okay, i'm still a little wary of raw meat. 

step 2. the rub {adapted from here}
*combine: 2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp paprika, 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.
* roughly chop a small-medium white onion.
* when the chicken is done brining, preheat oven to 450F.
* on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet {apparently not a glass dish. mine cracked in half}, rub extra-virgin olive oil on the chicken, followed by the rub inside + out. stuff the onion inside the chicken.

step 3: the roast
* roast for about 1 hour, and let the bird sit for 15-20 minutes before carving.
* check the chicken after 25 minutes, and call your mom to get her opinion. follow her suggestion to make a foil "tent" if the spices are getting too brown or smoky. rotate the pan once. baste with juices, if you have a baster.
* ENJOY! {and then make sure to save the carcass to make stock!}

                                          {silly picture of my chicken-happy self}

katie anne

{if you're interested in learning more about food choices, eating locally, and the impact of industrial food systems on people and the environment - check out a couple of my favorite books: the omnivore's dilemma and in defense of food by michael pollan and animal, vegetable, miracle by barbara kingsolver, as well as my recent post about tomatoland}


keep walking

lately it seems that nearly everyone i talk to is waiting for something. whether it's news about a job interview or a medical procedure, the arrival of a due date (i am surrounded by lots of first-time pregnant ladies), or for depth to develop in friendships; i think we can all agree: waiting is hard. i found this poem several months ago, while anticipating the unknown future after tim's graduation. i'm encouraged to continue walking in faith, focusing more on the here+now rather than the future. i'm relieved to name the fear that can well up within me, when i start trying to figure out the future, which is not for me to grasp. it's always apparent afterward how much growth and beauty comes from waiting... and the challenge is to live out that hope in the process.

keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
don't try to see through the distances,
that's not for human beings.
move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move.
today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
don't open the door to the study and begin reading.
take down a musical instrument.
let the beauty we love be what we do.
there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

katie anne



tomatoes are EVERYWHERE: from caprese salads to ketchup on your french fries; thick slices on sandwiches and pureed for my homemade pizza sauce; they form the basis for many favorites like spaghetti with marinara and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. in salsa? in a pie or crumble? fried green? there is certainly no lack of creativity and variety.

my favorite part of tomatoes is the variety, which you absolutely won't see in a supermarket and sadly will have to wait until next summer's farmer's market to appreciate. they run the spectrum from deep purple to ruby red, orange, yellow, and (some of my favorites) mr stripy and green zebras.

i'm in the middle of reading a book that i can't not share - TOMATOLAND by barry estabrook. in the words of the quote on the front cover: "If you have ever eaten a tomato – or ever plan to – you must read Tomatoland" (ruth reichl). so, i'm going to take some time to share what is uncovered in this book. it's difficult to read (i've cried), but ignorance is not an excuse for participating in slavery, human trafficking, and untold human abuses (not to mention assaults on the environment). my hope is that as you read this, you will be encouraged to take some time to think about the impact your food choices have in the big picture. i recognize that everyone can't afford (or even find) local and/or organic food; however, i believe that those of us who can have a responsibility to work toward positive change for people (and the earth) that can't fight for that themselves. and in the process, maybe our taste buds will thank us, too. my hope is that the more we know, the more we are empowered to make decisions that will bring freedom and life (and FLAVOR!), not just near-sighted cost-saving choices about what we eat.

{the book}

Estabrook chronicles the tomato industry in Florida, which provides most conventional "market fresh" tomatoes year-round (as opposed to California's industry, which provides most tomatoes for canning and has more regulations protecting workers & controlling pesticide use). these tomatoes are picked as underripe, hard, green orbs able to survive being moved and shipped for thousands of miles. they turn reddish when exposed to ethylene gas (it's a hormone that tomatoes naturally excrete in the ripening process. this artificial process gives color but sadly not flavor), and have a shelf-life of about 3 weeks. the Florida Growers Exchange has uber-strict standards about size, smoothness, shape, and color... but notably absent from that list is a consideration of flavor.

the companies that grow tomatoes operate things by hiring Crew Bosses, who in turn hire the actual farm workers. many of these people are migrant workers, often undocumented, following the lure of making decent money to send back to their family in Mexico or Central America. despite their illegal/undocumented status in the US, these are HUMAN BEINGS. made in God's image, just like you and me. there are no excuses for how these people are often treated in the large agribusiness world. between 1997 - 2009, over 1,000 men and women have been freed from slavery in 7 cases. not slave-like conditions or hard work, but human trafficking. slavery. in our nation in the 21st century. for more information about a really amazing coalition of people fighting for better treatment, check out the Coalition of Imokolee Workers (and consider letting YOUR grocery store know that you care).

these folks are also regularly subject to intentional and neglectful exposure to lethal pesticides, including methyl bromide, an extremely toxic chemical that has been phased out by most nations, but is still permitted for tomato and strawberry farming. I find it hard to quite understand pesticide exposure, but one worker in the book described it as being "Just like somebody had taken a big old can of Raid and looked at me and sprayed it right in my face full blast and never stopped until it got empty" (p. 63). this pesticide has been linked with severe birth defects (limbless babies) and infant deaths. horrible, just horrible.

fortunately, there is hope. there are (a few) men and women fighting through law and education and housing to protect basic human rights in agriculture. there are organic and local farms that pay living wages and either don't use pesticides or use them safely. several fast food and food industry businesses have signed on to the CIW's Campaign for Fair Food (incl. Mickey D's, Burger King, Whole Foods, Yum! Brands; sadly few grocery stores).

this issue goes beyond tomatoes: this is just one example of the hidden abuses that are beginning to be brought to life... and how our small choices have big impacts.

katie anne

sources: Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook. Andrew McMeel Publishing: Kansas City, 2011.
              and THIS article also by Estabrook
photos: tim padalino at the charlottesville city market. 2010.



there is a tantruming kid in the waiting area outside of my office. i've never heard anyone wail NNNOOOOOOoooo" in quite the same way, with such volume and variety. he's probably about 4 or 5, and he is out. of. control. i don't know enough about this child to really know what is going on with him, but one thing is for sure: he is unsteady, ungrounded, flailing at life.

this past weekend, i was that kid. no, i wasn't screaming and yelling and disobeying everything my mom said. but, in my heart, i was flailing around, unsteadied and overwhelmed by things around me. it hit me this morning during breakfast - my eyes have been on the frustrating things in life: job, not going anywhere for labor day weekend, planning an event for church... the list could go on for a while. i've been short tempered and selfish, my vision is short-sighted.

{wow, the kid just left. it is unbelievably quiet in here now ... crazy as it sounds, it was hard to fully appreciate his volume until he left. oh no, just kidding. he's back.}

like this screaming kid, if i'm not grounding myself in something secure and firm, then i will be rocked by everything that comes my way, like a boat at sea. this weekend, i lost sight of God's goodness as my foothold. so the reminder this morning that He sees and knows me, and has my good in mind was life-giving {and attitude-changing, for sure}.

                        "He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; i shall not be shaken."
                                                                                                          {psalm 62.2}

katie anne


september and an ode to baking trays.

dear september,
      i'm glad you are here. august has been a busy and, well, interesting month to say the least.  like many east-coasters, i experienced my first earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks {c'ville is a mere 30 miles from the epicenter}. we had visits from both sets of in-laws, celebrated Tim's 27th birthday {complete with the first layer cake i've ever baked}, and took a weekend trip to the desert to visit my sister. work has gotten busy. not great, but for now i'm settling for busy at work.

and so, in honor of september's beginning, i am sharing a toast to my rimmed baking sheet. no real connection, really. just an excuse to share some of the many ways i enjoy my baking sheet with you. please don't get too bored already.

b l u e b e r r i e s / b l u e t s

earlier this summer, our CSA was selling 10-lb boxes of low-spray blueberries. um, yes please. i bought two boxes, but only because i have a small freezer. we'll be eating tasty blueberries all winter long, thanks to the ease of freezing berries. simply spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, put in the freezer for a few hours, then transfer to a gallon-sized freezer bag. easy enough! just make sure to remove any stems or mushy berries. use frozen berries in baking and smoothies or thaw overnight for an antioxidant-rich breakfast topping.

t o m a t o e s  |  h e i r l o o m / g r a p e / y e l l o w

for some reason this summer, i have not had an appetite for raw tomatoes. so, i had to turn to some of my favorite food blogs for some inspiration in using the overabundance of tomatoes we have had this month.

item 1: roasted grape / cherry tomatoes are delicious on pretty much everything, from salads to sandwiches to quinoa dishes. did i mention they are also super easy? step 1: rinse and pat dry. step 2: slice in half. step 3. toss lightly in olive oil and salt. step 4: slow roast at 300F for about 30-40 minutes. that is it. and they keep in the fridge for several days.

item 2: roasted tomato soup from here. yum. i served it with quiche and homemade bread. and once again, thanks to my baking sheet for once again serving up roasted veggie goodness, which this time, got blenderized. {those are some of the yellow tomatoes i mentioned earlier. so sweet and good.}

h a z e l n u t s / f i l b e r t s

sadly, no picture here. but seriously, freshly roasted hazelnuts are beyond good. again, the process is really simple: heat the oven to 325F. spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30ish minutes. keep an eye on them - they will fill your kitchen with their earthy aroma and the skins start to crackle and loosen up when they are ready. once done, let them cool for a bit, and if you're up for an annoying, but satisfying challenge, rub the skins off with your hands or a clean kitchen towel. eat 'em straight; on cereal {our favorite, with fresh fruit and greek yogurt}; on salads; or even ravioli pasta salads. aaaand, you're welcome.

enjoy! autumn is on it's way!

katie anne


a mid-summer tart.

around the time that tim and i started dating, we discovered a tart cherry tree in the front yard of my rental house {as well as some heavily laden cherry trees on the property of a rather eccentric abandoned building that we definitely partook from}. the result: a version of this tart, which we lovingly named our early summer tart. our favorite version included our tart cherries and local blueberries and peaches.

 i love my memories of sweating in the hot summer kitchen making dough, while tim stirred the "gelatinous fruit" over the stove and then sharing the results with friends, neighbors, and in-town visitors. we had a business plan to slang pieces of our hyper-local tart downtown for an exorbitant price after the bars let out, but failed to make that happen. hmm... now that i think about it, we could use a little extra cash these days.

last Saturday, we had our HOUSEWARMING PARTY! sadly, we took no pictures, but our little house was overflowing with new and old{ish} friends, colliding circles that remind me what a small city we live in, a few shrieking toddlers, and lots of delicious potluck dishes. we had so so much fun - it was good for our souls be surrounded by friends and to be thankful for our far-from-perfect life here. it was a neat realization of how settled and at home we are here in charlottesville. my heart has expanded for the people i've met here so far, and it's hard to think i've only been here for barely over a year.

it felt only right to share our favorite fruit tart, with the local fruit bounty of the heart of summer. and amongst all the desserts, every last bite was gobbled up!

* i prefer to make the dough a day or so in advance; since it needs to chill and rest in the fridge for at least an hour, roll out, chill again, bake, and then cool, the prep time really adds up. you can even bake the crust a day ahead if needed. feel free to use your favorite tried-and-true, but i prefer all-butter crusts, which is what you'll find here.

for the crust {from rustic fruit desserts}: makes 2 pie/tart crusts
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 Tbsp evaporated cane juice {or sugar}
* 1 cup {2 sticks} cold unsalted butter
* 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
* 1/2 cup ice water {or more, as needed}
* 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar, and then place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to let it get very cold. {tip: at any point in the process, if the dough starts warming up, let it rest and chill in the freezer for several minutes and then resume. not sure why, but cold is good.}

Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to flour mixture, tossing to evenly coat. Using your hands {my preference}, pastry blender, or food processor, cut the butter into the mixture until the dough becomes coarse and crumbly. The butter should be pea-sized.

Combine the water and lemon juice, then drizzle about half of it over the dough, using a fork to combine. You want the dough to be "shaggy" - not very wet - but able to hold together when squeezed. Add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, as needed {I added all of the water + lemon juice}. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn the dough out on the surface. working gently, fold the dough over itself a few times until combined, avoiding overworking. divide the dough in half, shaping each half into a 1-in thick disk. wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. {storage: if wrapped well, the disks will keep in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months. just remove disk from freezer and let thaw overnight.}

after chilling, roll pastry dough out on a floured surface to fit 9" or 10" tart {or pie} pan. place it gently in the pan, and make sure to fill in any holes in the dough. let it chill for 30-60 minutes {see, i told you prep time is long}. preheat oven to 375. when ready to bake, cover tart pan with foil and use pie weights {or dried beans} and bake for 35-40 minutes. remove foil and weights, and bake for 10-15 more minutes. let cool before adding filling.

for the filling {adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant}
* 5 cups of the fruit {or combinations} of your choice, fresh or frozen, cut into bite-sized pieces. this time of year, i use yellow or white peaches, nectarines, and/or blueberries i froze earlier in the summer. tart cherries are also delicious.
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water.
* 2 Tbsp. water
* zest of one lemon {optional - really good with blueberries}

heat 2 cups of the fruit, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over med-low heat. stir occasionally and use your spoon to crush some of the fruit to release some of their juices. when the fruit has softened {5ish minutes}, add the cornstarch mixture. simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. if anything starts sticking, dial the heat back for a bit and stir well. turn the heat off and gently fold in the remaining fruit. pour the berry mixture into the baked tart shell. if you have more patience than me, let cool for an hour {it'll be easier to cut and serve, but i confess, you can't beat a scoop of ice cream over a still-wam slice}.

serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or dollop of fresh whipped cream. any leftovers will keep best covered in the refrigerator.

katie anne

* sad disclaimer: we cannot seem to find any pictures of the many tarts we've made, and as i mentioned, we didn't take any pictures at the housewarming party. trying to work on the photo-thing, i promise.


hope deferred

the writer of the Psalms says that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." my favorite author, perhaps more accurately, says that disappointment feels to her as if she took a swift kick to the stomach. {sigh} it's been that kind of a week.

let me start at the {semi} beginning. about a month ago, i took a new position with my agency with high hopes of this being a rewarding, challenging, growing job. this was especially exciting since my job last year - my first post-graduate school job as a real counselor - left much to be desired. oh, and i should mention at the outset that me getting this job was pretty much the reason we decided {and were able} to stay in charlottesville. big decision, lots of things seemed to really be falling into place. i was excited.

and then, my job description changed to take me off of the crisis intervention team to be an "independent assessor" with the task of helping prevent Medicaid fraud. also, during the first week of the assessment center being open we had exactly ZERO appointments. none. then one of my co-workers resigned. bleh. let's just say, i felt discouraged like a punch in the stomach. WHAT IS THE POINT HERE?!

I'd like to say there's a happy ending here, but at this point nothing at work is changing and so that leaves me to walk this road right now. and i wonder, what does it look like to be a hopeful, life-giving woman in the midst of disappointment? to be freed from bitterness, resignation, and constant frustration?

to begin with, i believe that remaining a soft, hopeful woman requires honesty with ourselves about where the disappointment is coming from and the longing that is underneath it. not like "my boss is terrible and work sucks and now my life is miserable." instead, i think our hearts need to reflect something along these lines: "gosh, i feel so let down. i desire for my work to be meaningful - to build relationships and participate in the restoration of people's lives. i've worked hard for my education and in past work experiences to have positive opportunities, and i hoped this job would be a space to grow and help others as a counselor. it is so sad that things have changed and that right now, my job is not only unsatisfying but also doesn't have much purpose or meaning. i want so much more."

it's taken me a few weeks to utter those words, and even so, i keep having to remind myself of this to get out of self-pity and frustration. so now what?

this is the part i'm still learning and figuring out. it will {hopefully} look like lots of prayerful moments seeking the face of the One who alone can satisfy my heart more than the perfect job ever could. it will include asking the Father for enough trust to believe that He fully knows and cares for me and the desires I have for a meaningful vocation and will provide a means to live out those desires. and in this time, i hope to have eyes to see and soak in the beauty and truth and love around me to carry me through this disappointment.

this daily bread looks like lots of different things. this week, it's included holding a dear friends 2-day old daughter and marveling at her toes and nose and at the strength of her mother; encouraging words from a friend; seeing a rainbow {yes, cheesy example - but it was so neat!} on the way to hang out with some amazing ladies; laughing with a coworker; and hanging pictures in our house. these are my invitations to remember God's faithful and strong love and that one day i'll experience the fullness of His love and beauty.

and until then, i will hope.

katie anne


composting [part 1]

i started a compost today. yep! i don't know about you, but sometimes i think i know how to do something - or that i've even done it - when really that's not the case. like composting. sure, i've kept my kitchen scraps in a container to use for composting, and maybe once or twice dumped them on the compost pile. but, no, i've not really composted - i just provided my broccoli stems, egg shells, and apple cores for molly to compost when we lived together.

the idea of composting just feels right: a little alchemy to transform kitchen and yard waste into nourishment for a garden, which will hopefully complete the circle by feeding us. fortunately, it wasn't too hard to turn my ideas into a new project.

so, to start, i read and re-read the composting chapter in my "garden anywhere" book and did a little online searching; scrounged our yard for materials to make a "box" [definitely using that word loosely]; called molly to consult; and began. the toughest part was deciding on a spot, so i chose one that would get partial sun and is close to the edge of our yard. [funny little side story here- right behind that spot is a train track, about 40-50 feet from our house. our landlord mentioned trains go by about 2-3 times a week. i'm thinking she meant per day - as i write, the third one in just a few hours is passing by. adds character to living in the country, i say]. but, i figured that out and found some wood and bricks lying around to form my box... and the rest, well, here it is:

here's what i learned: first, seek to have your compost mimic the forest floor and it's variety of plant matter. also, the bacteria that make a healthy compost need carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. for carbon think brown [dead leaves, sticks, woodchips, cardboard, news print]; for nitrogen think green [grass clippings, kitchen scraps, weeds]. meat, dairy, citrus, oils = no good. and the ratio of carbon : nitrogen is important. 3:1 is probably good. not too wet, not too dry, mix it up every so often [my book recommends once every 1 to 6 weeks, in other words, nature affords a whole lot of grace here].

and, we'll see. i'll do my part and hopefully nature will bring sunlight and worms and bacteria to transform trash into nutrient-rich compost. if nothing else, it's a learning adventure and a chance to get more dirt under my fingernails.

katie anne



we are finally in! ahh... as i've mentioned, this move has been a long, drawn-out event*, but it feels so good to be HOME! here is a glimpse of our new [rental] home:

one of the things that sold us on this cabin is the amount of light that pours in through the big windows - my favorite being the windows by the kitchen sink [as seen in picture 3]... i don't think washing dishes could be more pleasant! you can sort of see one of our remaining sets of unpacked boxes - we're on an unintentional unpacking hiatus, which has meant we've been able to enjoy settling in and living here.

so, in honor of having our own kitchen [and a glorious one at that] and in an attempt to continue eating as much summer fruit as possible, i made these raw peach bars. yum! they are too health-ful to be considered a dessert, but do an amazing job at satisfying a sweet tooth [and aren't bad with an accompanying scoop of vanilla bean ice cream]. and with just 3 steps, they are as easy as pie... i mean, much much easier than pie!

due to a nearly-really-bad camera mishap, i lost the pictures i took of these peach bars. sorry! since i love making and eating fruit desserts, there will be more to come.

summer peach bars.
[adapted from whole living magazine - they used strawberries]

3 peaches
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
4 Tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
a pinch of sea salt

what to do:
* roughly chop the dates. put dates, oats, macadamia nuts, and sea salt into a food processor and pulse until combined well. press the mixture into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
* peel and cut up one of the peaches. in a small bowl, use a fork to mash [doesn't have to be perfect, but it will kinda look like baby food]. spread over the crust layer.
* slice the other peaches neatly [keeping the peel on gives it a nice color, but it's your choice] and neatly layer on top of the peach-spread.
* cut into squares and enjoy! your body will be thanking you for the beta-carotene, fiber, and nutrients included in this treat.

katie anne

- - - - - - - - -
* one thing that repeatedly gives me new eyes and perpective on my live is looking at the lives of people around me. not in the way we often make comparisons, when we're trying to make judgments about good/bad, better/worse. but, more in a way that sees and appreciates the shared challenges we face with others. case in point: my older sister callie just had a much worse, much more expensive, and much more drawn out move, when she journeyed from massachusetts to arizona. to spare you the details, one month later she's finally settling her stuff into her new place, and lost somewhere in the great US of A, her bedframe and mattresses are missing her greatly.


worn out + thankful

today there is much reason to be exhausted and discouraged ... and much reason to be grateful. tim and i have been house-hopping for 15 days now, while we are in-between leases. through the hospitality and generosity of friends, we have had a bed + warm shower, electricity, and encouragement + laughter every single night. God has provided abundantly through the hearts and hands of our community. we are blessed.

and tired. this whole uprooted adventure has gone much more smoothly and enjoyably than i had anticipated. and, then yesterday i about fell apart. i am trying to navigate a new job, while my supervisors are on vacation, haven't had an actual office to work in yet, and just felt d.o.n.e.  i'm really seeing that after this long of "vacation," structure and a predictable routine provide so much comfort and a sense of stability. not that i want to be a slave to those things, but, i'm ready for my own bed and kitchen. for rest.

i'm tempted to think of us as being homeless right now. well, i was thinking that until a week ago, when i met my first clients as a crisis intervention counselor who are, in fact, homeless for all practical purposes. they live part time in a truck and part time in a shed without water or electricity. they are desperate for a change, and in serious survival mode; and yet they manage to be pretty resourceful people. they are a reminder of all the abundance i've been given, despite the challenges of the past few weeks.

so, i'll try my best to choose to let thankfulness reign over discouragement and fatigue, with a heart full of thankfulness to all of the helping hands around us.

katie anne


this i call to mind

lamentations 3.19-25

the thought of my affliction and my homelessness
   is wormwood and gall!
my soul continually thinks of it
   and is bowed down within me.
but this i call to mind,
   and therefore i have hope:

the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
   His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
"the Lord is my portion," says my soul,
   "therefore i will hope in Him."

the Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
   to the soul that seeks Him.


the risk of hope

i've been thinking about hope a lot lately. i've been experiencing hope, too. and you know what, it's risky. it involves waiting. living out of a hopeful place means opening up your heart and mind enough to acknowledge what you want, why you want it, and just how badly you want it. don't mistake me - it is fun to dream, to dream big. but the other day i realized how vulnerable it can feel to open up wide to hope, because we're opening ourselves up to the possibility of not getting what we want or of having to keep waiting for it. in other words, we must be open to the risk of disappointment. no wonder we're often so timid.

this last month has been one full of waiting and hope, each week, it seems, for the next big thing in life: my job, tim's job, a place to live. it's almost hard to imagine how much we've been blessed with recently. I got the new job I applied for, allowing me to finish and say goodbye to my current position. we were asked to lease the AMAZING HOUSE we fell in love with last week... which means that we'll stay in Charlottesville, I will take my new job, and we will get to enjoy a home with a wraparound porch, mountain view total privacy, and room for a garden, all only 15 minutes from downtown c'ville. yayayay!

we're still waiting for tim to find work, which for me, is where the risk of disappointment remains. we have not let fear of that risk take root, instead choosing to remember the blessings we've been granted and the goodness of God in all things. yes, we very much desire for tim to have meaningful, vocational work this year, and at the same time, we trust that God will deal graciously with us if that doesn't look like we hope. if he has to wait for that work to materialize [like i have this past year].

at the end of the day, living with the risk of disappointment means that we live with joyful, thankful, hope-filled hearts... which surely is more life-giving that hardening and protecting our hearts from disappointment. hope is worth the risk.

in hope,
katie anne


a celebration of one

yesterday, our marriage turned one!

in many ways, it's hard to believe it's been a whole year. 12 months. 4 seasons. 365 days. i was 28 [and a half] when we got married, so needless to say, i spent a lot of years waiting and hoping for my wedding day to arrive. some days i wake up and can hardly believe that marriage came true for me. and to think it's been a whole year of living life as a wife to my best friend, well, some days it almost feels too good to be true. and yet, being married feels so natural, so right that, well, i wonder that it's only been a single year.

i struggled to share my thoughts and feelings to tim in the card i gave him, and i find myself struggling now to do justice in writing to this year we've just finished. it has been such a sweet, fun, growing year. complete with its share of challenges, yes, and still so good i find myself excited for each new year we have together, with all the unknowns in store. i'm thankful for so much: for breakfasts and dinners, coming home to each other at the end of the workday, for how totally cute tim is when i wake him up in the mornings, and how expressive and thankful he is for dinners i make. and, at the same time, i've also seen the ways i'm impatient and selfish, and how my words and actions have the potential to either build him up or tear down. i am walking the road of growing from a fiercely independent woman toward surrendering my will and being more unified, partners.

and in all of this, i can see that marriage is good. and i can hardly wait to soak up each day and week and month that awaits.

katie anne


asparagus ribbon salad

i love food. real food, whole foods, foods that are healthy for my body, the farmers that grow it, my community, and the planet. i'll spare the soapbox, but local, natural foods are where its at. plus, they taste better. the asparagus, strawberries, broccoli i've had so far this season are everything that supermarket produce aspires to be.

in the midst of all my thinking lately, i've found a lot of joy in cooking. i think about food and meals a lot. partly because this year has been a learning experience in cooking for two, not just one, which has made my love for exploration more necessary and more gratifying. i'm still learning to cook enough food for us, and maybe one of these days, i'll cook enough for leftovers!

new natural ingredients, like farro, ghee, & whole grain flours [spelt, oat]; making pestos & sauces & vinaigrettes; learning new things, like what kohlrabi is [and that it's greens are edible and good!]; and made-from-scratch pizza nights are a few examples of what i've been trying and enjoying.

a recent success [one of the best dishes i've made, according to tim] was this lovely asparagus ribbon salad. not only was it delicious, but it was easy and fresh for the longer, warmer evenings of spring when it's a little less fun to stand in front of a hot oven. also, i submitted this picture to my csa and won a $15 credit for produce, with which i bought, what else, more asparagus.

asparagus ribbon salad
[adapted from here]

one bunch fresh asparagus, washed
two handfuls spinach or arugula, washed + dried + roughly chopped
1 / 4 cup roasted hazelnuts*, roughly chopped
parmesan reggiano for serving

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from one lemon
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp finely chopped sweet onion
salt + pepper, a pinch each

  • combine dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl and shake or whisk to combine
  • using a vegetable peeler, shave each asparagus spear into several ribbons, starting from the tip and working downward. the tip is hard to shave, so just do the best you can.
  • put the asparagus ribbons in a medium bowl and toss them gently with about half of the dressing until coated. let this sit for about 15 minutes to soften the asparagus.
  • when ready to serve, add the greens to the asparagus and gently toss. add more dressing to taste if needed. 
  • put on serving dishes, adding hazelnuts, cheese, and ground black pepper. enjoy!

* to roast hazelnuts: place raw nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 F for about 15-20 minutes. keep an eye on them and use your nose to tell when they are done - roasted hazelnuts are fragrant. let then cool for several minutes, and using your hands or a clean towel, rub them together to get most of the skins off. they are great in pasta dishes, salads, cereal, and straight up.

* use leftover dressing on other warm or cold salads. yum!

katie anne


what i can + can't see

i sat down a few days ago to write a very different post. i was thinking a lot about the differences in the things i can see and touch [which lately have basically consisted of end dates to our lease, my job, and tim's new diploma... and very empty pages in my planner starting soon]. don't get me wrong, there is still a LOT that i don't know yet: where tim and i will live in, oh i don't know, 3 weeks and where tim will find meaningful vocational work. but, i'm not quite in the same place today...

because ... I GOT A NEW JOB YESTERDAY! [more on that later]

i'm excited. my job this past year has been okay, but has left me longing for much more from my work. more challenges, growth, meaning. there have been plenty of perks in my job - short hours, the school schedule, not much paperwork - but, i'm not one to be satisfied by lots of downtime. although, playing endless games of war and go-fish aren't too bad.

and even though there's a new, visible part of this next unknown, i don't want to forget what i have been learning, which is that there's much, much more than what i can see, taste, touch. 

i've been reminded in my very favorite book, the allure of hope, that jesus calls us to hope. and hope, you remember, means that we have a vision for something that we can't yet see. so, most of what i have to hold onto right now are things i cannot actually see: so, i am working on remembering and am thankful for a husband and a community of friends who help me with that.

i remember God's promise that my "own ears will hear him. right behind you a voice will say, 'this is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." [isaiah 30.21]  i remember what i once read about shalom not just being the absence of pain, anxiety, or troubles. it is so much more! shalom is the presence of the goodness of God, in the midst of all things. graduations, new jobs, holes in our ceiling, middle school counseling offices. all things. 

and that, my friend, is beyond all that i can see and attempt to control. He is always good, always faithful, always with us.

wait patiently for the Lord. be brave and courageous. yes, wait patiently for the Lord. [psalm 27.14]

katie anne


a beginning of sorts

hi out there.

maybe 'hi self' is more like it, right now.

i confess, part of me feels a bit self-conscious about this new venture into having a blog. but, here goes. we are in a season of change, of hope, and waiting. a season of oscillating between anxiety and trust, loneliness and connection. and yet, my eyes are full of wonder when i see the new ways in which His goodness is present in my life. so, i want to write. to process. to share.

to remember.

thanks for reading.

katie anne