julia child turns 100!

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” ― Julia ChildMy Life in France

If you know me pretty well, you know that I have a lot of respect for Mrs. Julia Child. Bret knows, and he bought me her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for my college graduation. It was the perfect gift!

Julia Child was honest, inspiring, and such an incredible chef. I have read bits and pieces about her life and found that she was one dedicated and lovely woman. It popped out to me that this year, on August 15, 2012, Julia Child (if she were still with us) would have been her 100th birthday! I also read that the last meal she prepared herself before she passed at the age of 93 was her famous French Onion Soup. So I got an idea….

I love writing about food, cooking, and getting creative – so I thought, “I know: this year on August 15th, Julia’s real birthday, I’ll celebrate her life through food and have a “Julia Night”: a dinner party with a couple friends, make Julia’s French Onion Soup, and watch Julie & Julia snuggled up on the couch (and then blog about it, of course)! Fun!” However, my plan didn’t go as I had thought. Unfortunately, I got really sick the week of Julia Night and I had to cancel on my friends and cancel on Julia. It was a huge bummer, but I was determined to still make it happen! So, a couple of weeks ago, the husband and I had Julia Night, just us two, and it was amazing! Even though I couldn’t honor Julia on her actual birthday, I know she would understand. I see the kind of attitude she had from the following quote: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

So, what-the-hell, I was a month late, but Julia Night happened anyway! I cooked her famous French Onion Soup, I broiled swiss and parmesan on french bread, I made Caramel Custards, and we drank white wine. It was a celebration indeed! Here are some pictures of the ingredients, the cooking, and the movie watching:

What a wonderful night! Thank you, Julia. Happy 100th Birthday! And thank you for this truly inspiring quote: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” ― Julia Child

What Julia Child recipes have you tried, or wanted to try? I would love to hear!

xo sarah

tea time

God has blessed me beyond measure. He saved me, He forgave me, He leads me.

Another way God has blessed me is by giving me a great group of girlfriends that have been in my life since Jr.High. They are all so important to me and I can’t imagine going through the hard times and good times without them there.

An interesting fact about us is that we LOVE tea. Hot tea, iced tea, tea lattes, tea inspired desserts, tea pots, tea cups, tea accessories, and especially tea parties! Every year around Christmas time we all get together for a tea party with our moms and its such a wonderful tradition. However, this past year has been a busy one for all of us and we haven’t been able to see each other quite as much as we would like to. We had to remedy that! Thankfully, we got together last Saturday, even though it wasn’t Christmas time, and did a tea party! Also, it was an extra special treat to have our friend Katie come who is visiting from Ireland!

What happens at our tea parties, you ask? Lots of tea drinking, eating, and talking! There is always so much to catch up on, laugh about, and pray for. We shared three pots of tea: thai chai, rose chai, and a black peach tea, YUM! We also had lots to eat: tea sandwiches, salad, mini panini’s, scones, cookies, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries! We probably all gained 5 pounds that day, but boy was it worth it! I highly recommend having a tea party of your own and just have fun with it. If you are not convinced here are some of our pictures:

Because we all pitch in on bringing food to share I was in charge of making a salad and bringing cookies. I decided it would be the perfect time to introduce my friends to my “Theis Family Salad” and see what they thought. This salad recipe is sure to satisfy! I would say it is most reminiscent of an italian chopped salad.

I am proud of this salad for a couple of reasons:
1. I threw it together last minute with what little I had in my fridge and pantry, but it was an instant hit.
2. The first time I made it brought it over to a potluck with a couple of picky salad eaters, they raved about it and actually went back for a second helping!
I hope you enjoy this delicious salad. But like most recipes, I recommend making it your own and using what you have! Chicken would be excellent in this!
RECIPE: Theis Family Salad
Ingredients:
  • Romaine Lettuce and/or Fresh Spinach (generous amounts)
  • 1 can of Black or Green Pitted Olives, chopped
  • 1 can of Artichoke Hearts, sliced
  • 1/4 Head of Red Cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Asiago Cheese
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • EVOO
  • Vinegar of your choice (balsamic, apple cider, red wine, champagne, etc.)
Directions:
(NOTE: When I bring home fresh lettuce and spinach from the market I always chop, wash, and throw it in large ziplock bags before putting in into the fridge. Then when I want a salad its all ready to go!)
1. Toss your romaine and spinach into a large bowl.
2. Individually drain the olives and artichokes in small strainers. Then chop into bite-size pieces.
3. Run your knife through the red cabbage and red onion in thin slices.
4. Chop the bell pepper.
5. Toss all the ingredients together with dressing of choice. I usually just pour a little balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and S&P.
6. Grate the swiss and asiago over the top then sprinkle some red pepper flakes. ENJOY!
I also brought some cookies that I had never baked before, but thought that they would be a great addition. Elana’s Pantry Lemon Lavender Cookies. They were such a great mix of tart lemon and refreshing lavender. I would definitely make them again!
xo sarah

simple pleasures

I love the simple pleasures in life. What girl doesn’t love a little treat every now and then, right?! I especially love when those treats help me make my little apartment more of a home; those are some of the best kind!

My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half now and until a couple of months ago I had been doing all my ironing on a towel laid down on the carpet….not the best! But it was pretty comical:

So after multiple subtle hints, my hubby took me to get the perfect ironing board! It is great quality and has a light blue polka-dotted fabric cover. It is made by Real Simple so you know it has to be good! To top it off, he picked me out some pink peonies from Trader Joe’s. Pink peonies are one of my favorite flowers and they always remind me of my wedding bouquet! Yes, these things may seem silly, but I really felt appreciated and spoiled all at the same time.

Another simple pleasure for me is getting creative in the kitchen. Lately, the weather has been boiling, even in Carlsbad! Bret and I like to cool down with a frosty treat. My special Blueberry Green Tea Slushies always do the trick (and they’re so nutritious)! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 ice cube trays
  • 4 cups of your favorite green tea
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

1. Brew your tea in boiling water. Cool to room temperature.

2. Place 3-5 blueberries in each slot of your ice cube tray.

3. Pour tea into ice cube trays

4. Freeze over night. Transfer cubes into gallon freezer bag once frozen.

5. Place desired amount of “tea cubes” into blender with a bit of water and the honey. Blend to desired slushie consistency and ENJOY!

What are some of the simple pleasures you have been given or like to indulge in?        I would love to see or hear them!

xo sarah

what do you want to be when you grow up?

We start asking children this question at such a young age and it definitely starts off being such a fun question to answer. Like we really need a reason to talk about ourselves, our dreams, and our hopes, right!? However, as time goes on, this question can either get more exciting or become very confusing. For me, the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” has always changed year by year and season by season. Yet, in the more recent past I (so very wrongly) didn’t like the answer I had to give: Right now, I work part time and I am a wife.

I graduated CSUSM in the Spring of 2010 with a B.A. in Human Development with emphasis in Counseling Services. I had so many expectations of what life would be like after graduation, what job I would have, how much money I would make, what a difference I would make, etc.
Well…I don’t have the job I thought I would, I don’t make the kind of money I thought I would, and I definitely don’t even have the capacity I thought I had. I now realize that a lot of those expectations were, in some ways, sorely misguided and, worse, even sinful. When I think about it now, I’m not even sure how often I incorporated God’s desires for my life into my own expectations – that should have been my first thought! For a while now, I have struggled with believing the lie that I need to do one very specific thing with my college degree and that if I do not do that one very specific thing, I have failed.  What it basically comes down to is this: I keep telling myself that what I am doing with my life at this time is not “good enough.”

But God has taught me, through His perfect Word and the encouragement I’ve received from both my husband and my sisters in Christ, that those thoughts are completely bogus and, in some ways, even more misguided and sinful than the expectations they stem from. When I believe those lies, I am also believing that God is not in control, or (worse) that He is in control but He’s doing it wrong – Wow – how little faith do I have!? Just because I’m not yet using my degree in the way I thought that I would, does not mean that I am a failure. It only means I’m not using my degree in the way that I thought I would – plain and simple. For the time being, I have been blessed with a great job where I succeed and grow. On top of that, I would never want to belittle one of the biggest callings I have been given: being a homemaker and a wife to the kindest man I know, which brings me great joy and excitement.

I don’t know why I thought my dreams and aspirations would stay the same forever and ever. Especially when I look back and remember all the things I thought I would be when I “grew up.”

Here are some things I have aspired to do/be as a child & adolescent:

dolphin trainer

artist/oil painter

interior designer

writer

editor

book critic

Here are some things I have aspired to do/be during college:

masters student

marriage and family counselor

social worker

SD County adoption worker

wife

Here are some things I aspire to do/be in the future:

wife

mother

masters student

counselor

teacher

own a french cafe

Pretty all over the place, huh!?

Well, here’s the good news: If I do reach some of these dreams, or if I reach none, I am still a child of God, covered by the blood of Jesus and redeemed for His glory. I can never forget my true identity is secure in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.

I also need to remember that God’s will for my life is GOOD and that He doesn’t waste a single thing. Everything I learned in college and all the experiences I grew in throughout the past couple of years can be used by Him and for His glory! It just might look different than I thought it would. Maybe my Human Development degree was meant to help me in my own marriage, or in counseling my friends in their marriages, or in teaching my children someday. Or maybe none of those things. Maybe cooking meals for my husband will help me grow culinarily and I will open that Cafe someday. Who knows?! Ultimately, my hope lies in the God who saved me. That’s more than enough.

So, here is a picture of me in 7th grade (yes…I looked that good! j/k!). I have obviously grown and changed a lot since then! It was really refreshing to look at this picture and see the answers I wrote down. It reminded me once again that, even now, I will continue to grow and change for the rest of my life and that’s okay because the God who loves us is in complete control.

What did/do you want to be when you grow up? I’d love to hear it!

xo sarah