Wednesday, December 17, 2014

quote | true mystics

I have come to believe that the true mystics are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self…. If they are wise, they treasure the rare moments of solitude and silence that come their way, and use them not to escape, to distract themselves with television and the like. Instead, they listen for a sign of God’s presence and they open their hearts toward prayer.
Kathleen Norris

Thursday, November 13, 2014

eat | bagels

so i have this obsession. 
with bagels.

the chewy, denseness of a bagel drives me insane. and the cream cheese. jesus christ! i won't even get into that...

unnaturally, i needed to make some for myself ever since my obsession began earlier this year during our bike tour. since we are guided by zero waste living, i haven't been able to get myself to buy bagels because they usually come in a plastic (non-recyclable) bag. so months ago, i said i would make my own and i've finally gotten around to it. 

i looked around briefly for a recipe and found chow's and trusted it rather immediately for one reason: because they did the work by "baking nearly 100 bagels"... and they're "confident that [their] recipe produces the best in the west." awesome! i love their confidence.

the first time i tried the recipe, i rushed the process. the bagels came out a do you say...small and overcooked. the flavor was nice, but the experience of biting into a chewy bagel was lost. and that's at least 50% of the experience. below is chow's recipe, but structured and written in a way that made a little more sense to me.

step-by-step instructions

step 1
ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of water (100°F-105°F); 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

place water in measuring cup and dissolve yeast, put aside.

step 2
ingredients: 4 cups of bread flour; 2 tbsp malt syrup; 2 tsp of salt; 4 tsp granulated sugar

combine and mix these ingredients together. then add the yeast mixture until the dough is "stiff, smooth, and elastic." since i do this all by hand, it takes about 8 minutes or so, to incorporate everything. i found the dough will be dry and somewhat stiff when it's ready for the next step.

step 3
shape the dough into a ball, place it into a large oiled bowl (i drizzle a little canola oil into a stainless steel bowl), and roll it around to coat the dough ball. cover the bowl with a damp flour sack and let it rise for about 20 minutes (i put the damp cloth right on the dough). place the bowl in a warm place in your home. after this first rise, it should be "noticeably puffy and spring back when you poke it." 

step 4
prepping your station
  • heat oven to 425°F (or 400°F in a convection oven) and place a rack in the middle of the oven. 
  • get something (a pot or shallow pan) that will hold about 2-3" of water and bring it to a boil. reduce it to a simmer and cover until the bagels are ready for their hot bath.
  • use a silicone liner (to reduce waste) and place on a baking sheet
  • set a metal cooling rack on another baking sheet, near the simmering water (you'll put your bagels on it after you fish them out)
  • get a small bowl of water ready for making bagels
step 5
get the risen dough on a clean and dry surface. divide it into 12 equal pieces. (i cut mine with a serrated knife.) place the dough pieces under that same damp cloth to keep it from drying out. 

step 6
get one dough chunk and roll it out to about 9 inches. moisten the two ends, overlap them, and press to join. (i found i needed to shape the ends so they form one cohesive uniformed circle.) widen the hole the size of a quarter. place it back under the damp cloth and let it rise for about 10 minutes. it won't get a ton bigger. repeat to the rest of the dough chunks.

step 7
by the time you're done with the 12th one, your first few will probably be ready to go in for their bath. stretch out the dough to maintain a hole (the size of a quarter). then place 3-4 into the simmering water. (you will likely need to raise the temperature of the water to maintain a simmer.) let them bob around for 30 seconds on each side. fish them out and place on the cooling rack. i used my iphone timer to help keep track of time. 
(ps. the oil in the pic below is remnant of the oil from the first rise.)

step 8
ingredients: 1 tbsp water; 1 egg white; toppings of your choice

whisk together the water and egg white and brush the egg wash all over the bagel. then, (the fun part), sprinkle with toppings of your choice. i used coarse sea salt and sesame seeds. 

step 9
place bagels on the lined baking sheet about an inch apart and bake for ~20-30 minutes. but rotate the pan after 15 minutes. (if you have a convection oven, you do not need to do this because the heat is even.) i highly recommend keeping an eye on your bagels to determine when it's time for them to come out. when it's a beautiful caramel color, it's ready!

step 10
cool down for ~30 minutes. i guess this is for letting the bagel continue cooking internally and for the outside to form a chewy crust. then EAT!

(ps. i forgot to widen the hole the second time, before boiling, so the holes....disappeared. oops!)

i never thought i'd make my own bagels, but they're pretty easy, fun, and tasty. definitely worth a try. thanks to for all their experimentation, so we don't have to. 

time for a bagel!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

quote | be patient toward all

I want to beg you as much as you can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living; train yourself to it—but take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 31, 2014

quote | change

Change of one sort or another is the essence of life, so there will always be the loneliness and insecurity that come with change. When we refuse to accept that loneliness and insecurity are part of life, when we refuse to accept that they are the price of change, we close the door on many possibilities for ourselves; our lives become lessened…. Life evolves; change is constant.

Jean Vanier

Thursday, October 30, 2014

quote | ambition

When I was young, I longed to be a saint. What was I longing for? I think it was for certainty that my life had been, in the most profound sense, a ‘success’—that great and glorious success that is sanctity. We revere the saints, we imitate them, theirs is the true and lasting glory. Very clearly, this desire is, unconsciously, as worldly as that of the writer who wants to write a masterpiece or the politician who yearns to be prime minister or president. None of these ambitions has the least to do with what Jesus preached—that lowliness, that love for last place, that readiness to die and be forgotten…. To be concerned with oneself in any way, to watch one’s growth in ‘holiness’ or ‘prayer’, to be spiritually ambitious, all this Jesus earnestly sets his face against.

Sr. Wendy Beckett

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

quote | if we really want to...

"Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center. Each one of us can live such a life of amazing power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity, on one condition—that is, if we really want to. There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world."

Thomas Kelly

Sunday, October 12, 2014

one year, today

one year ago, we made vows, exchanged rings, and told each other:
i, liz, take you, samuel, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
then we got to celebrate with our family and friends!

but only three months prior, we got engaged at our favorite park! omg, we look REALLY young, don't we?
i had no idea what kind of journey we would embark on that day. NO idea. but i was content knowing the journey would be with you.

in our lifetime, we get to make millions of decisions that'll effect the course of our lives. the decision to let you borrow my copy of love does...the decision to go to paxti's and rei that one day...the decision to say, "maybe" (and not "no") when you asked to see me again and i was feeling super hesitant...the decision to admit to myself how my affections for you were growing...the decision to say "yes" to another date, and another, and another...the decision to be myself with you always...the decision to say that i loved you. all of those little decisions culminated in a fabulous day of celebration and commitment. i don't regret a single one of those decisions. people have said that you can choose a deeper and more profound love, if you want to. they have said you can be more in love with your life partner than when you first got married. they were right.365 days later from our "i do's," i feel more connection and love towards you than i could've imagined. all of our tiny little decisions to hold each other, share our dreams and ideas, bring up conflict and resolve it, engage, share a whole lotta meals, live out our values, experience life together...all of those have caused me to be more in love with you today than i thought i did on our wedding day. i so enjoy your company samuel! i love and appreciate how you challenge what i think, how you love me unconditionally, how you cause me to grow and learn, and how you've helped instill deeper compassion and humility, how you help me to be me, and how you infuse my life with deep joy. being married to you is a gift! thank you for being committed to know me deeply, and to love me the same.yours forever.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

month 11.5: the sweetest thing

god i love you. 
my affections run deep and the laughter, even deeper. 

it's been a pretty busy month (and a half), and i'm finally taking a deep breath to soak you in. 

we jumped from missoula, to france, to ennis, to the tetons, back to missoula, and then a week of hosting my sister, two girls, and momma. PHEW! 

we went to jb & nino's wedding (OMG, THE BEST FRENCH WEDDING EVER); we spent time with paula and i got to meet your entire french family; we roamed around paris and ate our hearts out; came back to ennis and prepared for our teton crest backpacking trip with mary, then backpacked for five days in an icy-cold paradise that ended in a true white sandy beach paradise; popped back to missoula to do three days of intense apartment hunting and secure a beautiful new abode; you turned 30!!!; then immediately afterward, hosted my sister, mom, and two nieces for a week.

i witnessed your incredible patience, your deep affections for a little someone (ly-di-a!!!), your love for all things jane austen, your physical abilities to (rather easily) climb passes and jump into glacial lakes, your insightful reflections on our experiences and interactions between us and with others, and your ability to keep in touch with people (i didn't realize you were so good at that), and oooooh yeah....your love of the radish kimchi my mom made (it was absolutely delightful to see you eat your heart out with spicy fermented kimchi love). 

and at the end of all of this activity, i felt joyful and fulfilled to be simply right next to you, watching mansfield park (which was far worse than the uk version mini-series of pride & prejudice). haha.

you are my happy place. you are my safe space. you are my deep sigh of relief. 

you are the sweetest thing.
happy 11.5 months of marriage my love.
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