Monday, December 14, 2009

the greatest commandments.

I've been talking about community for a little bit now, but not actually voiced (typed?) my intentions. Read on.

Columbus has a lot of needs. Columbus has a lot of people. Columbus has a lot of resources. Columbus has a lot of churches. Sound like an oxy moron? One way to bring restoration and community revitalization is to create a sense of community beyond the church pews and free coffee. (Which I know how to make now, by the way. Made my first kraft of coffee in my life on Sunday!) The goal is to bring together a small "community" of people who are passionate about bringing restoration and revitalization to neighborhoods in Columbus.

The greatest commandments, according to Jesus, are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. This means the house will intentionally plan to hold each other accountable for loving God, for loving His world, for loving oneself, and for loving neighbors. We'll commit to spending time with neighbors, building relationships, using our talents where it helps, and creating new talents when ours wouldn't. (I'm sensing a pi-day party...) I would like to not have this be a piece of a particular church, but supported by the Church in the broad sense. And it will probably end up running under the umbrella of a church to allow for donations, grants, and funding allocations from the church. For example, I could apply for a grant to create a community garden, and get neighborhood kids in on the planting and picking. Someone else could give music lessons and we could have a Christmas carol sing-along. We could have a "supply closet" of coats, mittens, bicycles, things that others around us might be in need of.

What would you get behind? What  needs do you see in Columbus?
If you want to talk more with me about this, please do! We don't know exactly what it will look like, but we're in the midst of forming backbones and when the group solidifies, we'll be working on the details.

"Let us live with passionate worldliness in the brilliant and fleeting time of our mortal life, and let our witness to peace grow out of the convictions of our faith, the audacity of our hope, and the generosity of our love. Let us never forget that the community of Christ exists as a structure with four sides open to the world."
 - Charles Marsh, The Beloved Community: How faith shapes social justice, from the Civil Rights movement to today , p.213

 I am currently making an Egyptian lentils dish (kusherie) and if you feel like learning - when lentils are browning on medium heat in a large pan, and you have to add three cups of boiling water - be prepared. Lentils act like Mexican jumping beans! That was a fun few seconds - lentils were flying out everywhere, a foot above the Dutch oven. And yes, I made a note in my cookbook. It says "CAUTIOUS: POPCORN IMITATION" by that step.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You can't always get what you want -

Still in love with butternut squash, and it's still sort-of in season, which means I pretend to like it even more. I made a butternut-squash-spinach lasagna - which is in the background, because that's where it deserves to be. For some reason, lasagna is my kitchen enemy. Oven-bake noodles? Yeah, right. "Easy?" Yeah, right. It tasted okay, but it would never make it in Ben's slice of pie and lasagna restaurant. Something tells me people like their noodles as a part of the lasagna.

However, the silver lining - or orange-lining is that I used the leftover squash to make hash/ diced/ fry-like things. I made them like sweet potato fries, with basil and oregano and some olive oil, and then I also sprinkled some with italian-seasoning bread crumbs. Delicious.

Thanks to all who gave recipes. I only made sugar cookies, but now I have about 15 other kinds that I guess I will have to make for just me. Below, see me working so hard to roll out the dough that I'm blurry! Note the lovely flour towel underneath.. thanks, Grandma!

The table with cookies, decorators, eaters, ... They were impressed by my cooking skills. They would not be impressed if they'd seen meals (or knew that I was trying to make a brussel sprouts and pancetta dish right now, but with bacon instead of pancetta, and vinegar instead of cider vinegar... At least I like bacon!)

Like true Buckeyes, they settled into making sugar cookies into spectacular shapes.

Can I also commend Pandora on their music selections? I mean, I know I'm recommending the artists (and yes, Pandora, you should develop a way to "hide stations") Or develop a "Glee" station.

More will be coming shortly - I have other updates too!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Looking for best Christmas-y (and that's flexible) cookie recipe!

I'm planning a small Christmas cookie party for the girls in my program from Korea - they've never made Christmas cookies before!
Obviously, we'll be making and decorating sugar cookies. And no faux-sugar cookie recipe like I tried last year, no vegan recipe that I've been dying to try, just for fun. This one will just be the tried-and-true good stuff.

But I think we'll need a second recipe, and I'm having trouble deciding which one. The ones I want to make (and yes, these are all real links) are Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint cookies or Macadamia Butter cookies, or Tingalings. I recently received another issue of Cooking Light and it had an almost-infinite number of dessert recipes that I wanted to try. What recipes shout CHRISTMAS COOKIES? Or - what is so delicious that I shouldn't pass it up?

Speaking of Christmas... Whenever I run into movie/ television quotes that I like, I try to remember them whether they're situation-specific or not. (Hey, if I ever get pregnant and go visit the adoptive children of my future unborn children asks if my parents are worried about me, I have an answer... Or if I'm ever out on an African safari and the pride's king has died and the son comes to me for advice and I don't want him to worry, totally covered.) What this also means is that... between the snow and the first Sunday of Advent, I knew it was time to watch Elf.
And I've made a commitment to myself that if I ever ruin someone's life and have to leave them only with a note, I won't be able to resist: I'll have to cram 11 cookies into the VCR just to be able to use the quote.

"I'm sorry that I ruined  your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR."

On a related note, cookie recipes don't have to be skinny enough to fit into a DVD player. So no need to worry about that.