Blueberry Donuts

Well we are at the end of the first week of the 2nd Annual Paleo February but as usual, we couldn’t let January go out without a bang. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we made almost the exact same thing as last year right before Paleo February. I guess knowing that you’re going to be eating healthy for a month just calls for donuts. So this past Saturday, we said goodbye to January with blueberry donuts. Which are actually just the Pioneer Woman’s Apple Fritters but with blueberries instead of apples and a slightly modified glaze (aka shake some ginger into it).

Normally, I don’t like blueberries but somehow wrapping them inside a donut or a muffin helps me choke them down, if you know what I mean.

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I was actually good this time and mixed the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Normally, I just skip right over this because it means one more bowl that has to be washed post-donut coma.

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We combined all of the ingredients and then began worrying that we would not have enough donuts to eat. A legitimate concern in our household but we resisted the urge to double the recipe.

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Before I put the blueberries in, I decided to test the oil and see it was hot enough. Clearly, no. “Quick Boil”? Not so much.

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While the donut was relaxing in the luke-warm oil sauna, I decided to get the glaze mixed up and realized that we were out of confectioner’s sugar.

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So I sent the faithful husband out to get emergency confectioner’s sugar from the closest grocery store. (He does not seem to mind last-minute errands when it results in tasty donuts for him.)

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Huzzah! Powdered sugar mission is a success and the glaze is saved.

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Finally, the oil is heated to a cooking temperature. Getting the oil to exactly the right temperature for frying sweet confections is an art that I am still trying to learn. I have mastered too hot and not hot enough but just right seems to elude me.

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I waited to add the blueberries until I knew the oil was the right temperature because I used frozen blueberries and I didn’t want them to sit in the batter too long before they hit the oil. Side Note: I love my cookie scoop. It is so useful when you like to bake. I use mine all the time.

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Fun fact: Unlike apples, blueberries will explode out of the donut while you are frying them making them kind of look like monsters with lots of eyes. (I suspect because they were frozen.)

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Success. A happy golden brown. We have attempted donuts not a few times, so I have come up with a pretty good system from processing them after they come out of the fryer. I put some aluminum foil under a cooling rack and use it for cooling and drying after they are glazed. So much easier to clean up.

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We added some ginger to the glaze inspired by a different donut recipe we tried a few months ago. Just a hint of ginger seems to go really well with the sweet cakeyness of the donut.

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Well, this is what happiness on a Saturday morning looks like to us. What about you?

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#5Faves: Entertainment Edition

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that the blog has come back to life this week. My last two posts have been serious topics so I thought it was time to post about something fun. I also had several things that I thought were so awesome that I just wanted to tweet incessantly about them which made me realize… 5 Favorites… it the perfect avenue for these things. So here I am linking up with Jenna. Apparently doing things in fives is a theme for me this week.

1. Adam4d.com

I rediscovered this comic again and I love it. Sometimes he’s sarcastic, sometimes he’s serious, and most of the time I think he’s right on target. It is kind of like a Christian hybrid between the Oatmeal and xkcd. Try to imagine that or just go to the website to check it out.

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2. O Happy Fault by Audrey Assad

Catch this one now, because it is only going to be online for a few more days. I can’t describe it better than they did, so here’s their description:

“O Happy Fault” is a visual meditation- story and song woven together into one beautiful short film. Live concert footage and narratives alternate in a prayerful rhythm.

After I watched it, I listened to her song “Humble” for a while on repeat. So true and convicting.

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3. Selma

I haven’t actually seen this one yet but I’ve read and heard so many good things about it that I definitely want to see it before it leaves theaters. I think it is especially pertinent to the conflict that is bubbling up in our culture today. One review that really resonated with me was this one.

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4. Agents of Shield/Agent Carter

If you’re like me and just can’t wait the 4 or 5 months between each new movie in the Marvel Cinematic universe, then you need to check out these two shows. Andy and I binge watched Agents of Shield over our Christmas break and loved it. Normally we’re too sensible to binge watch things but Agents of Shield sucked us right in. Our Agents of Shield spree set us up to get right on board when Agent Carter premiered and we’ve loved that as well. I linked to Hulu instead of the ABC page because I can never get the ABC website to work for me. Agents of Shield is up on Netflix now, so it is the perfect time to get caught up before the season resumes in March.

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5. The Big Bang Theory

I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone in America who has a TV that hasn’t heard of this show but I’ve watched it since I was in college and Andy is so much like Sheldon that its ridiculous. I got a new season of it for Christmas and we’ve have had a great time watching it this month. (We don’t have cable so we don’t get to watch it on the regular anymore.) One night we were laughing so hard that we could barely breathe. There are not many things out there that will do that for me.

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5 Pieces of Advice for College Students

My favorite college campus. Recently, I started a new job at the university where I work. When we moved here, I was lucky enough to get a job in the IT department at the same school Andy is attending. Although my undergrad work is in Computer Science and I do love technology, long-term I wanted to do something that allowed me to work more directly with people.

Long story made short, I now work as a Student Success Advisor for the undergraduate students. My new position, in addition to teaching my first year studies class last semester inspired me to think about what is really important during a person’s time in college. So, here’s my two cents on the matter. 

1. Take school seriously.

If you take the traditional route and move out to go to college right after high school, it can be amazing how much freedom you now have. It can be easy to forget that what keeps you there is passing your classes. Taking courses is an essential part of college; without classes, you have to go home. If you pay a little attention, you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn and do.

2. Don’t take school too seriously.

Now that I’ve reminded you that the school part of college is important, I’m going to tell you that your test, it isn’t the end of the world. Should you work hard? Yes. Should you want to do well? Of course. However, it can be easy to think that your life is going to end RIGHT NOW if you mess ONE THING up. When campus starts closing in on you, and all you can see is tests and papers, take a step back and breathe. Get some ice cream or read the news. One glance at the global poverty statistics would remind me that there are much bigger things in the world than my term paper. It is good to remember that now and then.

3. Try new things. 

Most colleges work really hard to offer new and fun experiences to their students. Take advantage of them. You might find out that you love square dancing but hate sitting through musicals. Who knows? You won’t unless you actually give them a chance. Be spontaneous. For most traditional students, college is a time when your schedule is wide open. Take those opportunities to have fun. Decide to go to the beach Friday afternoon on a whim. You can. Go for it.

4. Learn how to be a leader.

College is the perfect environment to hone your leadership skills. Generally speaking, every four years the entire student population turns over which means that almost every student leadership position on campus is going to come open during your time as a student. In the wider world, leaders can get entrenched for years and years without ever giving you a chance to break in. That is rarely the case on a college campus. Even if leadership is new or scary to you, don’t let that stop you from giving it a try.

5. Figure out who you are.

This is probably the most important of all and it isn’t something that you will be over when they hand you a diploma. During my time in college, I learned that my faith is an integral part of who I am. I realized that I am a person that is going to be unsatisfied if I’m not actively working to make the world better in the lives of people around me. My journey in this area is far from over, but it would be a tragedy if I never took the first step. Thinking about who you are can be hard because you are forced to question your beliefs but it is so so worth it. I would not be the person I am today without taking the time to ask, “Why do I do/believe this?” Going away to college moves you away from home and family and allows you to reflect on the question with less bias than you would have before. It can be scary when you’re in the middle of it but keep pushing through.

What do you think?

 

Just Perfect

Yesterday I was thinking about perfection and the way that God demands it. Ironically, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit that would make them “like God” they lost their perfect goodness. Ever since, humanity has balked at God’s desire for perfection in our lives. Or at least, I know I do. Why would God want me to be perfect when I’m not? It seems like a non-sequitur from our Just As I Am theology. We deeply desire to be accepted for who we are, and when we realize that a Holy God wants his children to be perfect it seems like he wants them to be something other than who they are.

However, after some reflection, I don’t think that’s the case. Or, at least our perspective is wrong. God does in fact accept us just as we are, and loves us even when we aren’t seeking Him. As a good and gracious Father, he desires the best for us and wants to see us living the most perfect life possible. When He calls us to holiness, he’s not calling us to be someone different, He’s calling us to the best possible life we can have. Sometimes it is easy to forget that holy is what we were supposed to be all along. 

How often do we desire to live the good life but run away from doing the things that will allow us to live it? I know I do. All the time. Every single day. To be clear, I think that even the perfect life on earth is not going to be constant sunshine and rainbows but it can be full of peace and joy that only comes from God. Trials, tragedy, and temptations will still come but we will be able to face them with the hope of heaven.

Every once in a while I remember that maybe God does know what he’s doing after all. 

14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NRSV)

47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:47-48 (NRSV)

A Sister of a Police Officer Reacts to Ferguson

The internet was ablaze this morning with news and opinions about both Officer Wilson and Michael Brown. It is more than one person can adequately digest. Accusations flying everywhere from news media, religious groups of all stripes, and scores of thoughts being put out there on blogs like this one. So for me to even write anything about this almost seems silly. There are just so many voices out there talking about Ferguson that certainly my words aren’t necessary but so many people are hurting. And I’m one of those bleeding heart kind of people who hurts when people hurt and selfishly writing about it is a release for me. So thanks for listening to my internal monologue therapy.

The feeling that I am hit with as I read all of the information out there is hurt. People across our nation on all sides are hurting in a deep way about what happened and is happening. To say that all of the events in Missouri are just about this one isolated case is simply not true. This case brought the remaining racial tensions in America out of the shadows and into the spotlight. 

There are several things I realized as I continued to browse article after article this morning. I realized that I come to these articles with an inherent bias. I am white, upper middle class person of privilege. I don’t see myself that way, but when I step back I have to acknowledge that it is true. I am employed, own a home and regularly am able to eat way more than I should. Although I really have nothing to do with being a part of it, I am a part of the richer half of the world simply by making more than $2 a day.

Furthermore, I am the proud sister of a police officer. Almost exactly a year ago, my brother graduated first in his class from the police academy. He is a great man and officer who risks his life in the service of others. I get to swell with pride as I read reports like the one below about him. He has been bit, spit on, and probably lots of other things I don’t know about performing job duties.

bryanI’d like to give a shout out to Ofc Bryan Cameron for going “above and beyond” to demonstrate what service means to him. On Friday, Oct 24th, officers responded to a call and learned that the victim was a homeless woman who had been abandoned by her male partner and was left stranded in the Town of Orange. Due to the late hour, there weren’t any social or civic organizations that were able to help, so Ofc Cameron put the female and her small dog up in a local hotel, at his own expense. I wouldn’t have known about it except for that his Sergeant made sure that I knew about it. Way to go Bryan!

I realized that when I read article after article I was able to see Officer Wilson as my brother. I see a scared officer under attack who sees lethal force as his only option. I see a testimony that isn’t iron clad because he went through a traumatic event that makes it hard from him to put all the pieces back together. A good man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time simply doing the best he could to protect his community.

However, I quickly realized that it was important to read the news seeing Michael Brown as my brother too. A good kid whose actions were misunderstood. A good kid who was murdered when he was trying to surrender. A good kid whose death was a result of conscious or unconscious racism. A dear family member who won’t be at the table this Thanksgiving.

Humbly I must admit it was harder to read things that way and that’s where I realized there is a problem. I need to see Michael Brown as my brother too. Innocent or guilty, both men are my brothers, sons of the same Father, bearers of the same image of God. Nothing will really change unless we start there, acknowledging our common humanity and the places we have fallen short.

The overwhelmed feeling starts to fade as I remember that my God is still sovereign and loves us all the same. I am an imperfect human but I have a perfect God who took on flesh and personally felt all of this world’s pain. I can’t heal race relations overnight but humbly I can take steps to find and bridge the gaps in my world.

My heart says, “Come, Lord Jesus. Lord, heal our land. There is so much brokenness here and you can make all things new.”