Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yvette's Spiced Nuts

Your crockpot has a purpose.
A divine calling.
You may think it's your famous taco soup or keeping the rotel dip warm during the football game. Nope.
It's not about the pot roast that emerges fork-tender every.single.time. Nuh-uh.
This calling is far above those things.
Behold. Nuts.

Your crockpot was made for this.

They come out deliciously crispy and the spice blend {a little spicy, a little sweet} is perfect holiday material.
I tripled the recipe to give to teachers. You should too...they might overlook that next time your kid acts a fool in class.

You {in parent/teacher conferences}: Yeah, but Mrs. Jones, remember those Christmas Spiced Nuts? Reeemember?...
{and she'll get all starry-eyed remembering and you'll be home-free.}
The End.

My friend with the prettiest name, Yvette, brought these to our morning bible study a couple of years ago. I've been making and them generously ever since.
My Christmas gift to you:

Yvette's Spiced Nuts

1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup raw, unsalted pistachios (just the nutmeats)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
cooking spray

Use a crockpot over 4 quarts in size.
Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray.
I used coconut oil spray.
Put in your nuts and seeds along with all of the spices and syrup.
Toss well to coat.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours; stirring every 20 minutes or so to keep from burning.
Spread the nuts out on a layer of foil or parchment paper to completely cool, and store in an air tight container.

{Remember: I tripled this recipe to give to 4 teachers - 16 oz jars - and have a little left over for our family.}

Oh my gosh, your house is about to smell like Christmas blew up inside of it.

Ho ho ho.

In other naughty, disobedient, overwhelming, stupid and terribly adorable news, my husband brought home this puppy on trial adoption in direct opposition to my command NOT to bring home any living beings.

He has until Saturday to either (A) poop in the house so epically that I have grounds to throw him out, (B) bite one of the kids or (C) make me hate him in some other unforeseen way.
He has yet to do any of those things and is at this moment giving me some of the most affective "keep me" puppy-dog eyes I have ever seen. Which is really saying something because just a year ago we brought home this girl:

The jury is still out on puppy #2. Waaaaay out. But he's an awfully cute pre-Christmas guest.
In case you're one of those dog-people {I am} little blondie in the bottom photo is a Goldendoodle from my adorable friend Beka at Foxhole Goldendoodles. They are the best dogs on earth I do believe.
And puppy #2 is a Boxer. Oy vey.

Now. Go make nuts.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog-Shaped Hole

I  was sitting down the other day and thinking about 31...(my age...since yesterday.)
I'm this age - this age that seemed foggy and fogey and far off when I was 17 - and I was sure I would have it all figured out by now. You know..."it all" = life. L I F E   The whole thing. All of it. 
L + I + F + E

But, guess what? Wonder of wonders, I do not have it all figured out.
I am actually, quite decidedly un-figured out at this point.
At the ripe-old age of 31. (I know. I'm being ironic. Leave me alone.)

That one time we tried to make challa. 
I don't know how I'm going to balance work and motherhood.
I don't know if I'll ever get to the mission field like I dreamed or adopt a child like I was sure we would.
I don't know how or when or if I will be able to homeschool my children.
I don't know when I'm going to start working out again.
I don't know if our money problems will ever (ever, ever, ever) be solved or even look remotely solvable. 
I don't know if I should really stop eating bread and be thin and miserable or stay slightly-this-side-of-round and continue to eat croissants as I please.

That's the tip of the ice-berg of the Things I Don't Have Figured Out.

Evie as a dreamy version of St. Lucia - a family tradition.

That sort of gets me down. To think about that list. And I do think about it; it nags in the back of my head when I see my oldest struggling with the public school system and I see my best friends adopting children and doing life-changing missions work. I feel The List poking me obnoxiously in the muffin-top when I look in the mirror after my birthday breakfast (chocolatine and coffee with heavy cream thankyouverymuch). I see it blurred through tears in the numbers of our bank accounts when we are discussing the Christmas budget or giving to missions. 

That list lives in my prayer journal. I lay it down - the best I know how - every time I talk to my Jesus...that's what He told me to do. And I get peace, even if it lasts for just that moment. And then...then? I think about the things I do know.

Right now...
I know my children are beautiful and bright and healthy (gloriously healthy) and ready to take in the wonder of this world.
I know that I adore my job and that it is a gift from God.
I know that my dog brings me more joy than I ever thought she would. 
I know that Justin Timberlake music makes me deliciously, deliriously happy.
I know that my husband is solid and loving and strong and he doesn't care that I eat chocolate for breakfast (and that makes me even happier than JT's music...although just slightly).

My 30th birthday surprise party.
I know that I miss writing. I miss it so much. Writing (especially blog-writing) makes me feel like me. You know what's so good about it? When you write you are able to live something twice. And the second time - the writing time - it can be so much clearer what that experience means to you. 
I know that I've got a blog-shaped hole.
I've got a fever and the only prescription is more blogging. 
Yeah...I just went there.

Evie's 6th birthday Nutcracker Ballet Tea

My return to blogging has been less than impressive. It's been spotty and lame. But I'm realizing that I need this place.
So. Here's my birthday gift to myself: time to sit and think and re-live all of the gorgeous moments in life. Time to write and share it with you.

To see blog posts from waaaay, way back visit: She's Star-Crossed