Top 5 Tuesday…And My 5 Fave Comfort Foods (with recipes)

New post this week from my good friend Jennifer over at All Things Messy…Comfort Food Favorites! And she very sweetly shared my mom’s chicken & dumplings recipe. You should definitely try it if you are so inclined. There are a few recipes that are deeply connected to childhood memories, and this is definitely one of them for me. My mom made them a lot growing up…and it is a fantastic recipe! Still one of my faves.

Also, Jennifer’s Minestrone Soup & “Drunken Beans” recipes look pretty fantastic, so they are for sure going on my list to try very soon. So if you need some comfort food inspiration for the upcoming cold months, check out her great post!

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Hello hello my blogger friends! It’s been a crazy week, full of adventure, new beginnings and tons of change in our lives here!  When there’s a lot of change happening, I tend to resort back to what’s normal, what feels good.  Are you like that too?  When the changes come, I hole up in my house and try to go back to what I know…my creature comforts.  For me, of course, that’s always going to be food! As if there was any other answer.

This weekend a friend of mine was on Facebook saying how she was making her mother’s chicken and dumplings recipe, and it hit me!  First, ask said friend for a helping of those dumplings…next, make more of my own comfort food!  Your favorites might not be the same as mine, but I know that most of us always go back to those comforts.  I’m hoping you…

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I Have no Idea

Very excited to share this blog with you today! One of my very best friends, Kimmy, started her first blog. She is sweet, kind, funny, wise…pretty much all around awesome. It’s gonna be a great blog. 🙂 Check it out and give her a follow! Welcome to the awesome, crazy, fun world of blogging, my friend!

Who Am I? A Journey to Self-Acceptance

Wow, I have no idea how to navigate a blog site! I am so behind when it comes to technology. I even get my awesome husband to download music onto my phone for me…I know, that’s bad, but really, when do I have time do that kind of stuff? So, why am I even trying to write a blog? To be honest, I have NO IDEA! I want you to know that I don’t know a lot of things(shocker, I know!) but I thought perhaps if I would take the time to write(or rather type) out my thoughts about who I am and where I am in life right now it just might help me figure some things out. So, this is my attempt, albiet in a weird way to help me accept who I am and where I am in life right now. Please don’t expect much brilliance, good grammar,(wow…

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In the Gray: 5 Things You Need to Know About Liberal Christians

There is so much about this that I identify with. A thoughtful, brave post from my friend, Tina.

Tina Bausinger

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I stumbled across David Schell’s excellent article, “Unacceptable: What it’s like to be a liberal Christian in a sea of conservatism” and I experienced a feeling very similar to when I first read Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist: a feeling of coming home.

It’s been a tough time getting here. For years, I have felt left out, hiding in the shadows with my feelings of never quite fitting in with any church I joined, and never quite being able to pinpoint why.

This last year has been one of self-exploration. I’ve read more books on theology in the past year than I have in my whole life. Far from thinking I’m alone, I continue to find companionship and acceptance from others.

David Schell’s article tackles many of the problem areas I’ve discovered in my years “the gray.”

1. First of all, that it’s a possibility to be both Liberal and…

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Top 5 Tuesday…5 New Pumpkin Recipes

Top 5…Wednesday…?? Lol! Well, any day is a good day to get new pumpkin recipes for Fall! While I too agree that Starbucks has jumped the gun a bit in releasing the Pumpkin Spice Latte early, my fall, pumpkin-loving heart cannot resist dreaming of delicious, cooler days, and I am loving these recipe ideas! Pumpkin Snickerdoodles? Yes PLEASE! Will definitely be trying a few of these when autumn is in full swing! Enjoy these great recipe ideas from my girl Jennifer over at All Things Messy!

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Why can I always remember it’s Tuesday to write the “Top 5” list but ALWAYS forget when Friday rolls around to write a “Foodie Friday” post??!!  These are the things about myself that drive me batty people, batty!

Anywho…fall is coming quickly upon us (unless, like me, you live in the oven they call Texas, then maybe another month or so before those temps start to drop), and even if the leaves aren’t turning yet there’s still another way of knowing it’s coming…that’s right!  Pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbucks! Of course, they cheated a bit and released them a bit early this year.  Maybe they were really just being merciful and gave them to us to get us through those last weeks of hot weather.  No?  It’s just greedy consumerism?  Well, ok, either way I’m so glad they’re here – and I’ll get it in a frappuccino form if that…

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Sundays That Inspire!

Hello lovely readers! I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend enjoying the final, lazy days of summer. Welcome to this week’s Sundays That Inspire in which I link you up to some things that encouraged, challenged, inspired, and just made me smile this week.

I know this week the events in Ferguson have been on a lot of people’s minds and hearts, and I encourage everyone to continue to pray for peace and grace, for justice and reconciliation for everyone involved. It has certainly made me think not only about what this means for us as a community of people living in this country together, but also been a cause for self-reflection and how I see and perceive people. Here are few posts I found thoughtful and challenging regarding Ferguson this week.

Ferguson & Me, or Why Should I Care? by Esther Emery

A perfect love casts out all fear. Or so I have heard, from a man with long dreads on a subway train. I am only human as far as I can see humanity in others. And I am ready to be made free. I am ready to live forward into a Kingdom dream, of city streets where Black people walk free.

And a great follow-up from Esther, Choosing Joy, Again, reflecting on finding beauty and rest in a messy, ugly world.

There is such ugliness in the world. Such terror. So much wrong. And around each wrong there are hearts moving, hearts opening, hearts responding.

In Which I Have A Few Things To Tell You About Ferguson by Sarah Bessey

Black lives matter. I cannot even believe I have to write that sentence but there it is. Black lives matter. These young men matter, their lives are sacred. It doesn’t matter if Mike Brown was on his way to college or on his way to the unemployment line – his life had value and purpose. He was loved. His life mattered. Every single black life matters.

On Race, The Benefit of the Doubt, and Complicity by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve been told all of my life that we live in a post-racial culture, that my generation is essentially free of racial prejudice. And from my small, predominantly white town in East Tennessee, that’s an easy enough lie to believe. It’s a lie I want to believe…But wanting to live in a just world is not the same as living in a just world.

And also from Rachel this week over at Sojourners, Not As Helpless As We Think: 3 Ways To Stand In Solidarity With Ferguson

I’ve heard from many of my white friends and readers who say they aren’t sure how to respond to the anger and grief they are watching on TV or hearing from their black friends. They want to be part of the solution but don’t know where start. They may even feel a little defensive when they hear people talking about white privilege or inaction on the part of white Christian leaders. I’m in the process of learning too, but as I’ve listened to people of color whose opinions I trust, I’ve heard them issue several calls to action we can all heed…

If you need a reminder that there are good people out there in the world doing good. Love this story about a pastor in St. Paul who is using a food truck to minister to those who are struggling in her community. “This lunch is free because Jesus is free.”

Over at A Deeper Story, a lovely reflection on our common humanity: We All Face The Sun Together by Tamara Lunardo

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. –Romans 1:20…We’re all here for the same reason: It’s the beauty.

This one made me smile. Words of wisdom. 8 Movie Characters Who Prove Older Really Does Mean Wiser

We have all been overwhelmed with videos on our Facebook and Twitter feeds of friends, family and celebrities who are taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Here are a couple of my favorites this week. First, you need to go here and watch Patrick Stewart take the challenge with more dignity and class than you or I or anyone ON THE PLANET will ever have. The end.

This one, however, is my absolute favorite because it is BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! Yes, my inner Cumberbunny was fangirling HARD when I saw that he had accepted the challenge, and the video is filled with all the wit, charm, and humor we love about him. It is glorious. Watch and enjoy. Also, you can click here if you would like to make your own donation toward ALS research.

Finally, I wanted to pay my own tribute to the late Robin Williams. Like everyone else, I was shocked and grieved at his passing. My heart and prayers go out to his family as they continue to cope with his loss, as they do also for anyone dealing with depression and mental illness. I can only hope this will lead to more open and compassionate conversations and help for those in similar situations. Mr. Williams was a rare and uniquely gifted performer, and we are blessed that he shared that talent with the rest of us. Dead Poet’s Society will always be my favorite of Robin Williams’ movies, and I have included a scene that exemplifies so much of what we loved about him.

The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What a verse it was. Thank you. O, captain, my captain.

Anything you found this week that was interesting? Funny? Inspiring? Would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below! Have a great week, everyone!

Foodie Friday: Dallas Edition

A happy Friday to you all, my awesome readers! So, I am totally taking inspiration from my friend Jennifer over at AllThingsMessy and presenting you with my very own Foodie Friday post…because I too am SO a foodie! Lol!

So, last weekend I went on a trip to Dallas with one of my best girls, Lori (*waves* Hey, friend!), and it was an extravaganza of shopping, relaxing in the hotel hot tub, and foodie HEAVEN. You have no idea the deliciousness that was experienced! It was a fantastic mini vacay that was much needed. But oh my goodness…the FOOD. If you ever find yourself in the Dallas area, you simply must go to these restaurants! We have been a few times now, and they are officially dubbed the Faves, and we go every chance we get.

The trip started out with a morning stop at Starbucks for coffee because OF COURSE IT DID. It is, in fact, the only way to start off any roadtrip. Our shopping took us to Sam Moon’s and after looking at EVERYTHING in their kitchen and home decor store (OMG, kitchen gadgets for EVERY FRUIT OR VEGETABLE YOU CAN IMAGINE! Love!), we stopped in the cafe for frozen yogurt for me, a smoothie for Lori, and TRUFFLES. Red Velvet & Irish Creme. Rich, chocolatey yumminess. We split 1 each because there is no way we could have eaten more than 1. But so good!

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The main event of the day though was Maggiano’s Little Italy. This place just oozes Old World Italian charm, from the dark, hardwood furniture to the red & white checkered tablecloths. It’s two stories with a gorgeous staircase leading up to private rooms for parties. (Sorry I don’t have more pictures of the place itself. You’ll just HAVE to go see for yourself! 😉 They have locations around the country, so you can find one near you.) You absolutely feel like this is a place Vito Corleone himself would visit. In fact, as you walk into the bar, there is an autographed portrait of Frank Sinatra. This place is legit, guys.

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They are just as serious about the quality of the food as they are the ambiance. To drink, we got their Strawberry Peach Splash. Light, sweet & refreshing. Then we started out with calamari which, if you don’t know, is fried squid. I know, I was hesitant the first time I tried it too, but when it’s done right, it is delish! Don’t be scared. 😉 This was sweet, tender, melt in your mouth good!

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I had the lasagna which had a combination of hamburger and italian sausage with a sweet, but not too sweet, marinara sauce and it was perfection! I did not want to stop eating it. I had to finish the whole thing! Lori got the Mushroom Ravioli with alfredo sauce. I am not a fan of mushrooms, so this was not at the top of my list, however, she assures me it was spectacular and she loved it. 🙂

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To cap it off, dessert was New York-style Cheesecake with strawberry syrup. OMG, guys, you just DON’T. KNOW. They could not have gotten this more right if they tried. The cheesecake was soft & velvety smooth in your mouth, perfect balance of cheese and sweetness. And the syrup was very light so it didn’t overpower the cheesecake. Paired with their delicious (even if it’s not Starbucks) coffee? 😉 TO. DIE. FOR.

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The next day we spent the afternoon at another of our favorite places, the Angelika Film Center. So much shopping, great restaurants, and an indie film theatre that is just the best! The last couple times we’ve been, we absolutely fell in love with the Trinity Hall Irish Tavern right next door to the theatre. All they need is for the people who work there to all have Irish accents, and you would absolutely believe you were in a pub in Dublin. GORGEOUS, big, dark hardwood bar greets you when you walk in, more dark hardwood tables and benches all around, and an awesome bookshelf on one wall with lots of older, hardback books filling the shelves. Futball on the telly. AND while we were there, they happened to have a fantastic Celtic band playing. Seriously, I could live there. It brings such great joy to my Irish-loving soul every time I’m there.

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If you are a beer connoisseur, they’ve got a huge selection to choose from! For me, though, it’s Guinness on tap all the way. SO much better than bottled or (God forbid) canned, so I have to get it whenever I’m there.

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So many great Irish pub foods on the menu! This time I got the Reuben because I was feelin’ a craving for corned beef. Tender, juicy & flavorful with tangy sauerkraut & thousand island dressing on marble rye, kosher pickle on the side, and “chips.” 😉 Lori got the Shepherd’s Pie, which I had the last time we were there, and I can definitely say, it is delicious, comfort food at it’s best! This is a dish that my mom made a lot growing up, so it always brings back good memories whenever I have it. Beef sauteed with peas & carrots, in a dark gravy, with mashed potates on top served with Irish soda bread. Feeling warm & comfy just thinking about it!

So, we got some dessert while we were here because OF COURSE WE DID. Irish Bash Pie. Creamy, dreamy Bailey’s Irish Creme custard in a chocolate cookie crust, drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauce, garnished with berries. This is a happy, Irish dancing party in your mouth! So good, guys…just, SO. GOOD.

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To top it off, the movie we went to see was The Hundred-Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren…about 2 competing restaurants in France because how could we possibly see anything else on a total foodie weekend! Lol! It was incredibly sweet, funny, and heart-warming. Also you will simultaneously crave Indian and French cuisine…which is confusing…yet somehow, with the movie, it works! Haha! Definitely recommend this one! We really liked it.

So, there you have our 2 days of foodie heaven. I have included links to the restaurants we visited if you want to check them out further.

Maggiano’s Little Italy
Trinity Hall Irish Tavern

Seriously, GO! You will not be disappointed. I would love to hear about your food adventures too! Leave me a comment below! Until next time, friends!