Sunday, March 27, 2011

Friday Linkage

I know it's not exactly Friday. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time to check out the following links.

This article by Tony Woodlief in Image Journal was a  on a poignant reminder of every person's need for relationships, for security, and for rest.

No matter how early I get up or how late I go to bed, I constantly feel pressed for time. Peter Kreeft wrote a convicting analysis of the interplay between time and prayer.

Seth Godin has a wonderful way of pinpointing widely applicable issues. What's your soft spot?

I'm always fascinated by brilliant twists on traditional recipes. And I adore the color blue. So this post at Balance and Blueberries definitely caught my attention.

Happy Weekending!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pizza Perfect

Pizza is always a good idea. I tackled my mom's pizza recipe the other night. Of course, I can't really eat three pizzas by myself. So I halved the recipe and made just one pizza with a fluffier-than-expected crust. But really, is fluffy crust a bad thing?

I was surprised at how easy and quick this recipe really was. The end result was terribly satisfying. Bonus: leftovers for a substantial portion of the week.


5 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tbl. salt
2 tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 tbl yeast
1 tbl olive oil

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup or very warm water. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. sugar over the yeast mixture to proof it. Let it sit until the mixture foams and increases to 3/4-1 cup.

Combine flour, salt and the 2 tbls. of sugar in a mixer. Add yeast mixture. Mix on low speed. Add remaining water and oil and mix again. I often add an extra 1/4 cup of water at this point.

When flour and liquid are acceptably combined, knead dough for 15 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled.

Grease a cookie sheet. Now, lightly sprinkle the pan with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle just slightly larger than the pan. Place the dough into the pan, stretching and reshaping as necessary. Avoid tearing.

Add sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and vegetables as desired. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is golden brown.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Is In the Air

Lately, I've been a lazy blogger. This has to do, in part, with a schedule that has simply been filled to the brim. Part of it, too, has to do with the changing season. Today is the first day of spring. Seemingly overnight, the dead limbs have become covered with soft gray fuzz and the brown ground has transformed into green grass.

This spring, part of me is full of ideas and half-finished sentences and plans waiting to take shape. Part of me wants to blog about food and books and unplanned adventures.


But a corner of my soul wants to stop moving and talking and doing. Part of me desperately needs to just sit and take in the beauty and new life and warmth as I quietly watch the blossoms and trees and world unfold all around me.

Yesterday I lay on the grass, reading Annie Dillard and staring at the planes soaring far above me. And somewhere between awake and asleep, between the grass and the sky, between late afternoon and early evening, spring came to my soul too.

Questions and anxieties that built up in my mind and heart with the winter snows floated away with the spring breezes. Some questions were answered. Some anxieties were resolved. Some won't ever be. But maybe peace doesn't come through knowing as much as through accepting.

I can't fight the onward march of life and time any more than I can resist the rushing onslaught of spring. But really, who would want to? Sometimes working and striving and talking and blogging do less for the soul than just lying outside on the grass, breathing in the warm March air and welcoming the coming of spring.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Of the Writing of Books...

I have this mental picture of what the ideal journal (or rather, set of journals) must look like. Beautifully bound books, each filled at regular intervals to the brim with eloquent prose, penned in impeccable hand-writing.

I definitely do not meet this ideal.

My journals are kind of a combined smattering of variously bound books and notebooks, a few e-mail drafts, some scraps of loose paper, and some random Word documents buried in my computer archives.

My writing is anything but consistent. I might journal with diligent regularity for a few days or even weeks and then stop, for no apparent reason, for a month, a summer, or an entire year. This could mean something deep. I think it really just means I have a very short attention span.

Every now and then, I pen something resembling eloquent prose. Most of what I wrote is just boring. Some of it is absolute garbage that probably never should have made its way to the light of day. I'm pretty sure I need to have a journal-burning party one of these days.

Anybody who has known me longer than 20 minutes knows that impeccable hand-writing and I will never appear in the same sentence. Or even in the same book. I can barely read my own hand-writing in some of my entries. Isn't that why they invented computers?

    Having confessed all of this, I'll add a positive note. When I took inventory of my possessions as I was moving out in January, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of journals I had created. In a little over five years, I've managed to fill a couple of small notebooks.

    And when I glance back through the journals, while I shudder at a lot of the emotional immaturity and spastic nature of some of the contents, there is some good there as well.

    It's humbling to see how immature and ungrounded I was at times when I felt firmly in control of myself.

    It's gratifying to see tangible ways in which I have grown.

    It's relieving to see places where weeks or months or years of mental or emotional tugging and straining ultimately gave way to peace.

    It's satisfying to see that my recent efforts to make journaling more of a discipline and less of an emotional back-board have been productive. 

    It's a little terrifying to know that in five or six years, I will probably view the present with the same kind of affectionate mortification with which I look at the last five or six years.

    Do you journal? How? When? Why? Do you plan to keep them around forever? Share!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    March 2011 Goals

    February was a good month in a lot of ways. A visit with family over President's Day weekend, time with friends, a job that I love...these are just a few of the things that made February great.

    But February is a short month, and sometimes life gets in the way of goals. So this is how my goals for February went down (or didn't):

    • Although I cooked a lot more than five times, I did not make 5 new recipes. Instead, I stuck with the tried and true. I did make a lot of French bread, along with some other familiar dishes, and was able to improve my bread results substantially. I guess I'm ultimately happy with what has been happening in my kitchen, even though I fell a little short of the specific goals.
    • I did not have time to be crafty this month, so I did not make 5 cards. I have no good excuse. Tragic, but true.
    • I only finished two books, Velvet Elvis and Tipping Point, but I started Pilgrim at Tinker Creek as well.
    • The list of things to accomplish while I'm living in the area is growing, but the items on it aren't happening with any rapidity, I'm afraid.
    • I wrote 6, rather than the hoped-for 15 blog posts.

    March is a longer month and the weather is definitely hinting at the arrival of spring. Hopefully, the longer daylight hours and the warmer weather will motivate me to accomplish more this month!

    March's goals:
    • Try 4 new recipes
    • Finish 3 books
    • Do 3 new things in the area
    • Take more pictures
    • Write 15 blog posts
    Here goes March! What are you goals for the month?