noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Pizza Floats August 24, 2014

I have an issue with getting started.  Its just plain hard to get going on anything.  My issues shows up first thing in the morning; getting out of bed; putting on my swimsuit to do laps; getting all the necessary car paraphernalia together to go somewhere; sitting down to write something; dialing a phone to call a friend; the full list would bore you.  So today it was not a surprise that it was hard to get myself going EVEN to go kayaking with the hubby.  I normally overcome the getting started issue and did today – thankfully.   This morning paddle was a chance for exercise, enjoyment, and fear facing.


And I found out that pizza floats.


Calvin the dog and I mutually enjoy one anothers company.  He made it clear that he would like to be with me on the kayak.  So, he got strapped into the a dog life vest I recently purchased.  Don’t laugh – today it did just what I needed it to do.

Before the hubby was seated on his kayak, Calvin fell/slid/losthisbalance/jumped out of the boat.   Know that I am not afraid of the ocean, but am afraid of this sting-ray, big fish, gigantic iguana infested intracoastal water.  For the dog, I am afraid of not getting him back in the kayak, and that he might swim away from me in front of another boat or too close to the razor sharp barnacles.  Reasonable Fear.

Calvin went out of the boat twice (the second time followed the pizza sighting).    We did not capsize.  I did not go in.  The handle on top of the dog life vest made it possible for me to pull his soggy 80 lb body onto the kayak.  I Am No Longer Afraid…to kayak with the lab…who whined the entire ride.   I now know if he ends up in the intracoastal, I don’t have to join him.

Halfway through our mostly delightful yak paddle, we came upon a large slice of pepperoni.  Pizza Was Floating, I never wondered before if pizza floats, but I am here to let you readers know – it does.  Pass it on.  Eat it, throw it away, but please don’t put it in the ocean. Yuck.

Dinner tonight – Pizza.  My Adie-foodie-friend shared this recipe via her son who prepared it for her.  It apparently has the WOW factor.  Looks simple enough to make.  I make my own pizza crust because its yummy, easy, & inexpensive.  No special recipe for that part.  Here is the  recipe for Malaysian Chicken Pizza


  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons natural-style chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 (12-inch) Basic Pizza Crust
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions


1. Preheat oven to 500°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.

4. Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

5. Sprinkle cheeses over prepared Basic Pizza Crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° on bottom oven rack for 12 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Note:  This recipe originally ran in Cooking Light September/October, 1991 and was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.



Summer Yum – Just Liquid July 2, 2014

Keepin it real…

Last week, the hubby had  24 hours of a ‘just liquid’ diet.  This was preparation for a middle-age event the following day.  No more explanation needed for folks over 50. We perused the suggested liquid food options, most of them sweet, and set up a plan for the day…night…middle of the night..  Dinner was a large bowl of turkey broth that had been waiting in the freezer since last thanksgiving.  The hubby declared, “This is so good.  Thank you dear.”  EASIEST meal I’ve made in all our married life.

Keepin it green…

Months ago, we added the Vitamix to our kitchen counter.  It has been a source of great joy and delicious liquids.  The number one liquid Vitamix makes at our house is green smoothies.  The other color smoothies IntaJuice, Jamba Juice , etc make are delicious, but we have grown to love the green fruit/veggie breakfast made in our home.  I will admit, I’m not a fan of the brown smoothie.  It looks like p__p.  If I close my eyes, it tastes fine, but the color turns me off.  Red and purple fruit plus green veggies equal brown smoothie.  No thanks.

We’ve experimented and tested a long list of recipes and suggestions.  Below is our favorite liquid green breakfast (with options!)

Going Green Smoothie (SAVOR recipe book from Vitamix; pg 37)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup green grapes (i keep mine in the freezer)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (I buy fresh, which is in abundance here, and freeze chunks)
  • 1/2 medium banana (i also freeze these, but fresh works too)
  • 2 cups lightly packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

NOTE:  if using frozen pineapple, omit the ice cubes

NOTES from Laura: I use mostly frozen fruit because then it takes seconds to throw together.

  1. Mangoes are overflowing here and I often use in places of the grapes or 1/2 mango, 1/2 pineapple.
  2. I substitute kale for spinach or use 1/2 and 1/2.
  3. Also – to keep it simple, I use the Vitamix to blend my spinach or kale with a bit of water, pour into ice cube trays and use those in my smoothies.
  4. This recipe makes 2 tall glasses.  I drink one, pour the other in a glass and JR takes it the next morning.  Just needs a quick stir and tastes great.
  5. I do often add chia seeds, flax seeds, or a little protein powder on occasion.  But the recipe as is – just perfect!

Let me know if you try this green liquid for the first time!  And feel free to share your favorite summer liquid breakfasts.



Day 30: Food Love Stories November 7, 2013

Three Food Love Stories

Key Lime Love

When I turned 40 (yesterday…not really, a few yesteryears ago) my hubby threw me a surprise party.  He planned it via email in one week and no one blew it.  A handmade card from the girls gifted me with “go out with dad and we will stay home alone and pay for your dinner.”  My sweet near 12 year olds offered the gift of bravery and we took them up on it.  JR paid for dinner.  There were 2 calls during dinner which JR took,  passing on the updates from the brave ones.  Of course, they were in on the whole thing.

We pulled in the garage, I opened the door into the kitchen and in 2.5 seconds all of this happened:

  • I noticed the room was pitch black
  • The dog didn’t come to the door
  • The girls would NEVER have all the lights off
  • There was the silhouette of a very tall man dressed in all dark clothing
  • I panicked
  • The lights went on
  • 40 people I love shouted surprise
  • I fell in the doorway.

Horrific fear and delightful surprise slammed into each other.  The next 10 seconds all of this happened:

  • I saw my BFF  sitting on my kitchen stool
  • I went to her and started crying
  • I sobbed, “I LOVE SURPRISES”
  • She laughed and said, “I know you do”
  • I turned and saw all the people and couldn’t say anything
  • Then I saw the table full of everything Key Lime you can think of
  • I indignantly said to my hubby – who pulled off this wonderful surprise,  “Why did you let me order key lime pie at the restaurant?”

He said he didn’t want to blow the surprise over dessert!  It is the best gift he’s ever given me.

Hand Me Downs

When reorganizing my file drawer after moving into our little apartment here, I came across this envelope from my Grandma Rozie (Mother Mary’s mom).  Here’s what was inside:

  • One 4×6 card with a recipe for Never Fail Tomato Soup.  It has a swirly line under the title and this comment:  From Pella’s Choicest Cooking Recipes, green book.
  • “Leanne’s recipe – Delicious” on a Ciba Seeds note page with a recipe for something that has strawberries, yogurt, marshmallows in it and she took it for a potluck in R.Rapids Health Centre
  • 6 newspaper cut outs with recipes for Three Bean Salad, Rhubarb Blueberry Jam, Crock pot Barbecued Roast Beef, Sumi Salad, Creamy Rice Pudding, and Good Moist Coffee Cake
  • A Mutual Telephone Company  ‘tear off and remit with payment’ portion of the bill with a recipe for Penuche frosting on the back.
  • And a newspaper poem.  I’ll just share these few lines:

“All angels don’t have silver wings, Or long gossamer robes of white, Nor do they have haloes,  Of gold that glow both day and night.                                                                       There are those in polyester,  Who hasten to a sick friends’ bed, With love, a bowl of chick soup, And loaf of homemade bread.” 

Foodie language handed down through generations found in an envelope.  That explains a few things I love.

Crunchy Chili and Hard Tack

Michigan in the fall is spectacular.  They have colors there I’ve never seen anywhere else.  Michigan has two of the best things in my life.  1Pyc565026517m

I was just there in soup season, in my sweet spot.  Friday pizza birthday party night was a kitchen that slowly filled up with college students.  They came to celebrate,  meet and be met, and take part in dinner preparation.  I stood in the center of  kneading bread, chopping veggies, grating cheese and thinking, ‘life doesn’t get much better than this for me.’  I laughed when the girls pulled their dough covered hands out of the bowls asking why ‘hers looks different from mine’ and I remembered the missing 1/2 cup of water.  I thankfully handed the many blocks of mozzarella to ‘i want to do something’ helpers.  A meaningful conversation happened by the sink as one shared a piece of her life and learnings so kindly with me.   When it was time for assembly the volume increased around what would go on first, last, on half  or the whole thing.  Evenutally we ate the pizza creations, opened birthday gifts, shared life stories.

A day later, JR and I arrived at the house loaded with groceries once again and started some beans to soak overnight and prepare ingredients for chili the next day.  Prior to church Sunday, we threw ingredients in 2 crockpots and turned them on high.  What smelled good when we returned for lunch turned out to be chili with hard beans.  I took out a pot and poured one crockpot full into it and boiled away.  Even after 2 hours in the crock pot and an hour on the stove the beans were not very done.  Turns out that crunchy chili went well with the missing baking powder cornbread (aka: hard tack).  Yet, this less than perfect food didn’t take away anything from the joy of sitting around the table with my family and their community of delightful friends.   

Getting the food, making the food, eating the food…this is the love language I speak.



Day 27: The Origin of Tea Time November 4, 2013

Final Button 3Most of the people I first met in Florida were fellow dog owners in our Apartment complex.  The dogs gave us a common interest and reason for conversation.  A few of those women have become more than just a fellow dog owner.  I am thankful and know that as we get ready to finish the home buying adventure this week, I will miss seeing them daily.  On one occasion my neighbor Cheryl and I realized we both grew up with Tea Time.  After school or between 3-4 pm, the tea-pot and cookies came out.  Black tea in a favorite mug with milk and sugar was and still is my favorite.

I decided to ask Mother Mary about this topic in my interview and the answer went down a lane I didn’t expect.  Enjoy:

Q:  Tell me about tea time origination?

“It’s from the time of Adam and Eve I am sure….I remember it with Grandpa  and Grandma Mouw, (MM’s Grandparents also called pa/ma) we always had tea time in afternoon.  There was catechism after school then we might walk to pa and ma….they would stop the earthquake for tea time.  It was around 3:00 in the afternoon.  

I guess tea time was part of  family routine.  Grandpa (my Grandpa – Mother Mary’s father), he had breakfast at home, then we brought “lunch” to him in the field at 9/9:30. Lunch was a sandwich with cookies or cake carried in a gallon size Karo syrup tin bucket.  There would be another tin bucket, 1/2 gallon size, that had coffee in the morning and tea milk in the afternoon.  

One of us girls (there were 5 girls, no boys) would walk to the field and find Grandpa.  Geri (the youngest) LOVED it.  Grandpa would be watching and go to the end of the row, park the tractor so they could sit in the shade , leaning against the big wheel, and eat together.  Usually just one of us got to go.  And there was always a dog that went along.  (me:  I love that).  He would come in for dinner at noon.  It was a  big meal,  meat and potatoes or casserole.  Lunch would happen again at 3:30, same routine as the morning.  Supper was a lighter meal, but plenty believe me.  Grandpa came home from the field, did chores and then ate supper.  

Quite often before bed we would have another snack. “

Me:  “You ate a lot. ”

MM:  “Yes, we worked hard”

“Harvesters…as they moved from place to place, my mother would cook those meals for all those men.  We helped.  In the morning we would catch chickens, pluck and fry them,  go to the garden get veggies, bake pies, cookies/cake.  Sometimes other wives would come and help.   That was hard work.  We would do a few days in a row usually for 10-15 men.  The men were harvesting oats.  They would cut, bundle, put them in shocks.  One man owned a threshing machine.  He would run the machine on your property – all would work together to bring in the shocks and put them into the machine.  The oats  would run down into a wagon.  The wagon of oats would go in the granary on the farm.  This was for livestock not for breakfast oatmeal.  Just wanna be clear. ( I needed the clarity…I did not grow up on the farm.  And if I did, I would have run and hidden the chickens).   When they were done they would go on to the next place.  

By the way, Grandpa was thin, and he ate lots of butter, cookies, cake, pie, potatoes, lots of meat, but he worked hard.   We had our own meat – never bought it.  So a hotdog was a rare treat.  I still like them, got to be a good one though.  All this junk you can put on them – No No –  just a bit of relish, mustard, chopped onion and plenty of ketchup.

And I just had to add this extra note because I found it sweet…the original make your own dog/cat food:

“There were always outside kitties.  The kitties and the dog got table scraps  Peelings from potatoes apples and such – went to the hogs.  Kitties would get milk in the barn when Grandpa milked.  I don’t think we ever bought dog food.”

Tea Time when I was growing up happened because MM was intentional about it.  It was a part of her life as a girl, but she incorporated it as a mother because her children were hungry after school, needed a snack, so she would pour us tea.  We would take a breath and tell her a thing or two about our day.

Thanks Mother Mary for Tea Time.  Thanks for the history behind an ordinary, meaningful part of my life and yours.  Would love to have a cup with you on your birthday today, with your favorite cookie out of the Cookie Book!





Day 23: Learning to Speak Food October 24, 2013

Final Button 3

Speaking the language of food now comes naturally.  Speaking that language had humble beginnings.  I will prove that with the first recipe card I received.  It’s for Peanut Butter Toast.

Ingredients:  Bread; Jiff Creamy Style Peanut Butter.

Directions:   Toast 2 or more slices of bread – light brown – spread with p. butter.  Cut into “fingers.” Eat & Enjoy!


For a wedding gift I received my first cookbook, Colorado Cache.  I thumbed through it and put it on a shelf;  Way To Many ingredients.  The directions looked far too serious.  When I did eventually venture into cooking with recipes,  I learned best – the hard way.  Early on, the hubbster mentioned his love for all things pasta, with lots of garlic.  I found a pasta recipe which called for two ‘cloves’ of garlic.  I thought clove was a spice my mom put in apple cider.  Garlic cloves went on my grocery list and when I found this cellophane wrapped box with 2 garlic ‘cloves’ in it, I felt pretty good about myself.  A plastic garlic press wedding gift went into action on those 2 ‘cloves.’  Good thing JR was a fan of garlic.  After sharing my recipe sort-of-success with someone I learned about garlic bulbs.

When you get past basic food language grammar, you enter the world of meal complexity.  Try to make 2 things and get them on the table in the same dinner hour.   I will not share the number of times I spent in the kitchen finishing cooking, baking, or simmering the meal that I had planned for the guests who were eating the finished part of it without me.  Timing and Multiple Menus are Food 301 classes.

How ironic that the first “booklet” I would put together would be a cookbook to encourage and help a friend who was going back to work full-time, didn’t love cooking, yet wanted to be able to  do made-in-the-home-dinner for her family.  It was called:  Making It Simple, Making It Plain, Making It Happen!  The thought really counted in this gift.   Today, I forget where I am and who is around me when I get a new cookbook for my birthday or christmas.  I read them cover to cover thinking about who I would make what for and eager to try new ingredients and combinations.  I really have come a long way.

Tonight I want to share two recipes that are complimentary; are quick to make and bake together so they both end up on the table in the same dinner hour.  They are T1, T2 and Hubby approved.

From Colorado Cache (we eventually became good friends…)

page 270 if you have the book.

Sopa Seca (Mexican Rice)

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large tomato (or one can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 small green bell pepper – diced (or red)
  • dash of crushed red pepper  (or 1 tsp if you like it hot)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:  Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion tomato.  Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring until rice is shiny and hot.  Stir in the remainder of ingredients.  Bring to a boil – then cover and put in the oven for 25 min at 350 degrees.   (NOTE:  the Cache recipe says bake 20 min at 400 degrees, but I have changed it to match the enchiladas and it comes out great! )

Chicken Enchiladas  

From Country Woman magazine May/June 1999


  • 4 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken
  • 8 oz (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

The Sauce Country Woman Uses:

  • 3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tlb chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (or 1 tsp if you like a little spice)
  • 1 can ripe olives

The Sauce I Use:  505 Green Chili (get at the grocery, or Costco sells the big jar)

10 flour tortillas

1/2 cup jack cheese

Directions:  Combine filling ingredients.  If making the red sauce – combine all sauce ingredients in a pot and simmer for 5-10 min uncovered.  Spoon 1/3-1/2 cup of filling down the center of each tortilla.  Roll up; place seam side down in a greased 9 X 13 pan.  Top with Green Chili or Red Sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheddar and jack cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


Day 14: Newspaper Recipes October 15, 2013

Ahhhh…memories of our corner kitchen table.  Upholstered orange and brown benches ran along 2 sides, mom and dad had spinning chairs that were on the other sides.  It was a comfortable  place you would sit and stay awhile.  Unless you got stuck in the corner.  The table at breakfast time had people coming and going.  Mother Mary was and is a lover of early morning so we had homemade muffins, pancakes, eggs, or bread-pudding for breakfast.   Sometimes we had cold cereal or toast but I never remember needing to figure out what to eat.  Dinner time our whole gang sat and shared something home-cooked by Mother Mary.  It is a rare meal that we didn’t care for.  Certain vegetables of course didn’t get the thumbs up, but we ate the required amount because there was always dessert.

On regular occasions a newspaper recipe would surface.  Those didn’t always go well.  If we were told Mother Mary was trying out a newspaper recipe, us rascally kids would make each other try it first and let the rest know if it was safe to eat.  There may have been a time or two the feedback was not shared with kindness.

Sorry mom.

Newspaper recipes have shown up on my personal family dinner table for over 20 years.  However, the main recipe finder has been my hubby.  When living in Boulder CO, the Daily Camera had a weekly section where people would write in for a “Recipe Request” from a local restaurant.  JR cut out a lot of those.  When I would make them, our family voted either: “it’s a keeper” or “you don’t need to make that again.”

Tonight I want to share 2 of my long time favorite recipe requests from The Daily Camera.  These are from restaurants who have stood the test of time and Boulderites are well acquainted with. The first is Turley’s Tomato Parmesan Soup.  Even if we would go to this place for breakfast, I would order a cup of Tomato Parmesan soup because its that good.  It’s also simple to put together!   Just made a batch this past week.  The original recipe is restaurant quantity so I have cut it in half.  I will include the original amounts at the end if you love it and want to make it for a crowd.   Otherwise, this makes about a 5 qt potful.  We had it for 2 meals, I shared with 2 people and still have a bit left over!

Turley’s Tomato Parmesan Soup:  ‘hot, steamy, creamy’ (that’s what the newspaper headline said!  I’ve had this since January 12, 2000)

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp ground rosemary ( I have substituted tarragon or thyme if I’m out of rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 32 oz vegetable stock
  • 1/8 cup Maggi Seasoning
  • 2 – 32 oz cans diced tomatoes ( I can only find 28 oz cans…so I add a whole fresh tomato cut up as well)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Directions:  In a large soup kettle, saute onions, rosemary, and black pepper in butter.  Add flour, vegetable stock and Maggi.  Whisk until smooth and bring to a boil.  Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil again. Keep stirring.  Add Parmesan cheese and whipping cream and remove from heat.  (DON’T BOIL ONCE YOU PUT IN THE CREAM – NOT WHEN YOU REHEAT EITHER!)    Stir and serve.

The second recipe comes from Walnut Brewery.  It has 2 parts – the dip and the dipping vehicle.  Go for both…

Walnut Brewery’s Beer Bread (the paper I have says Wednesday, October 18, 1995!)

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tlb salt
  • 32 oz beer
  • 8 cups flour
  • 2 Tlb baking powder
  •  oil as needed

Directions:  Spray loaf pans.  Mix cheese, green onions, sugar and salt together.  Mix flour and baking powder together.  Add beer to cheese mixture.  Add flour mixture until all thoroughly combined (by hand).  Place in loaf pans and brush tops with oil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Rotate bread and finish baking for 40-45 minutes.  Makes 2 large loaves.    You can slice and toast under the broiler, then cut into strips for dippin – though you don’t have to!

Walnut Brewery’s Asiago Cheese Dip

  • 1 cup Best Food mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tlb shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, dried
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced

Directions:  Reconstitute sun-dried tomatoes in hot water. Combine the rest of the ingredients.   After tomatoes have soaked, squeeze all the water out of them, julienne into fine strips and stir into dip.  Place into oven proof container.  Top with remaining 1 Tlb Asiago cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until bubbly, serve immediately with toasted (or not toasted) beer bread.

Have people over – love them and serve them this tasty food.  

p.s.: original amounts for the soup, just to make it easy for ya.

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 gallon vegetable stock (64 oz)
  • 1/4 cup Maggi Seasoning
  • 4 – 32 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups whipping cream.


wa·ter·shed (noun) 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2. an event or period marking a turning point, a change of course.

Life with Emily and Matt

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stories of a life captivated by an imaginative, creative God.


noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

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noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

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