3/27/13

Downtown Tour

Earlier this year, Ingrid, a family friend of Eddie's, came into town on business. We got to spend a Saturday afternoon showing her a little bit of Atlanta with my sister-in-law and her fiance (aka my future brother-in-law-in-law? Too much, haha.)
After meeting up for a sushi lunch, we headed to Piedmont Park. During a month when all it did was rain, rain, rain, Ingrid was here for a gorgeous winter day. We were all craving a little sunshine so we spent an hour or so just walking around the park and talking.
Next, we explored Virginia Highlands and visited a gelato shop that was new to Eddie and I. Even though it was freezing outside, I totally loved snacking on the chilly chocolate and lemon dessert. Yum. Good call, Travis.
Our last stop was Atlantic Station, an outdoor shopping area in Midtown. We walked around the shops and meandered over to the arch as the sun began to set. It would be pretty impossible to show someone the whole city in one afternoon but I think we showed Ingrid a few good spots. Plus, we all got to talk and really catch up which was sweet.
Have you ever shown anyone around your city? Where did you take them?

Steph

3/25/13

Birthday Weekend Recap

The weekend started off with date night with my man! We had a gift card to Longhorn Steakhouse (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) and finally got to use it. One burger, a steak, two sides of fries, and the biggest chocolate dessert known to man later, we were quite happily stuffed. I love spending time with this handsome guy!
The rainy Saturday morning started off with sister/puppy cuddles and tea. Eddie had his BAM (business as missions) group so I spent some time with my favorite women, snuggling, talking, and trying not to fall back asleep.
Once the rain wore off, my Mum and I headed over to the Marietta Square Farmers Market. We walked around the booths, got a few things, and discovered a Parisian restaurant that's hidden on the back side of the square. Turns out the restaurant is owned by an older French gentleman and has been there for 26+ years. I love stumbling upon places like this! We ended up having a little pre-birthday meal, just my mom and I. 
My love got me a new laptop for my birthday and I'm in love with it! I can do so many things in a fraction of the time that it would've taken on my old laptop, just because it was so outdated. It would literally take me hours to edit photos on my old one so I avoided blogging and posting photos. No more! Thank you, baby :)
The message at church on Sunday was pretty much an extended version of this post that I wrote last week. Such a good word at the perfect time and I'm so thankful for the way the Lord works. Thinking about the theme of suffering this week as it leads up to Easter. 
After church, some of the family got together for  brunch to celebrate my birthday! My mom gave me my old charm bracelet with a few new charms. Looking through all the charms brings back so many memories!
I love that the whole weekend was full of family time, a lot of rest, and so much good food. Perfect birthday weekend! So thankful for my 24 years and excited to see what happens this coming year!

3/23/13

Video: "You're Beautiful"

I walked down the aisle to the original version of this song and accidentally stumbled upon this version of it last night. Love it. I'm so thankful that God made us creative creatures. Even more thankful for Him. Enjoy, friends.

"When we arrive at eternity's shore, where death is just a memory and tears are no more, we'll enter in as the wedding bells ring, your bride will come together and sing, you're beautiful."

3/22/13

Chai Tea + Coffee Infused Marshmallows

A while ago, I came across a recipe for Earl Grey infused marshmallows. Uh, yum! A few weeks later, when all my people were out of town on vacation, I decided to make some version of the marshmallows happen. I decided to use chai tea and experiment using coffee, too. I used the same marshmallow recipe as in this past post and tweaked it a bit, switching out the required cup of water with a cup of tea or coffee.
I attempted to make both flavors simultaneously, which was not the best idea. Trying to blend one flavor with one hand while whisking with the other resulted in less than fluffy coffee marshmallows. The chai turned out fantastically, however, because they were whipped well enough. Moral of the story: go for one flavor at a time and err on the side of over-whisking!
Overall, this experiment was a definite success! Both flavors taste and smell amazing. The chai marshmallows smell of star anise, cardamom, and, as my sister would say, Christmas.  Not bad. I ended up dipping the coffee flavored marshmallows in chocolate which was a total win.
The final product is quite sweet and dense so I paired them with unsweetened black tea. I'm sure they would be amazing in hot cocoa, too! I'll definitely be experimenting with different flavors in the future...different teas or spices. Cinnamon marshmallows anyone? What flavors would you try?


Infused Marshmallows
adapted from thefoodnetwork.com
Total time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Yield: about 4 dozen large marshmallows

Tools
hand mixer
flat pan or container (for larger marshmallows, use a smaller, deeper dish. For mini marshmallows, use a large pan or baking sheet. I used two small tupperware containers)
pizza wheel

Ingredients
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup tea or coffee
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
nonstick spray

Combine confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray pan or container with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the inside of the container. Return remaining mixture to the bowl for future use.

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup of the chosen tea or coffee in medium sized bowl.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup of liquid, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, about 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.

Combine sugar mixture with the gelatin mixture and, using a hand or stand mixer, whip on low until incorporated. Continue to whip on high until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. (I completely forgot to add the vanilla and it turned out fine!)

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared container, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Once the marshmallow has set, flip the container over onto a cutting board. I had to slide a knife around the edge of the marshmallow before it finally popped out. Using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture, cut into 1-inch squares (or into shapes or whatever size you like). Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Steph

3/21/13

Tea + Truth: Knowledge of the Word


Tea of the day: Tae Kwan Yin Oolong via Davids Tea. I love watching the deep green leaves unfurl back into their full size. I've been reminded this week of how much more subtle the caffeine in tea is versus that in coffee. It's more energizing in a way that's less jolty.

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"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:2-9


Meditating on these verses during my quiet time today. I feel like lately I've had the tendency to over emphasize the leading of the Spirit in my life while under emphasizing the knowledge of the Word. Yes, the Spirit plays an important role in our walk, but knowing the Word is just as vital. We have to know the promises that we've been given and the unshakable truths that define who we are in order to combat the lies of the enemy. How will we know a lie from the truth if we aren't well versed in the Word?

An applicable example of this in my life is my view on suffering and uncertainty. When I feel discouraged or alone, the enemy would love to convince me that God has left me to face the world by myself and that he has no plan for my life. But the Word has something different to say. It says that the Lord will never leave me (Ps. 9:10, 94:14).  It says that He made me intentionally and for a purpose; that He goes before and behind me (Ps 139). It reminds me that God is always good and works everything for my good (Romans 8). He will even use the suffering and frustration in this life to make me stronger, more mature, and whole (James 1:2-4). There is absolutely nothing that can separate me from Christ. Not a single thing. And God, who gave his only Son to get me to a place of reconciliation with Him, wants to not only give me this reconciliation and new life but also every good thing (Romans 8) because He loves me that much! And this is just scratching the surface.

In light of even this small handful of truths, the enemy's lies fall flat. He doesn't have the power to condemn me (Romans 8:33-34) and, with this knowledge, I can remind myself of who I am in relation to God: His child, dearly loved and unforgotten.

Worship love: Take Back- Will Reagan & United Pursuit
"For how could He who did not spare His own Son not freely give us victory against the darkest of night..."

Steph

3/20/13

Springtime!

Today marks the official first day of Spring! To celebrate, I thought I'd share a few old film photos of mine from a couple of years ago. I so love tulips! The flowers have already begun to bloom in Atlanta and more and more green is popping up all over the place. The birds have returned from their winter break and wake Eddie and I up in the morning with their singing (I enjoy this a little bit more than Eddie does, haha). My favorite thing about Spring is the new life that it brings. I'm so ready for my garden to be in bloom again and for the weather to get a little bit warmer. I've missed being able to hang out on the porch in the sunshine! 

Hope you all have a beautiful first day of the new season!

Steph