Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Plans...Hopes and Dreams

Plans…Hopes and Dreams

Growing up in Europe with Advent has always been so special to me.  
I remember our readings took place when it was already dark outside and we would read by favorite!! 

They weren’t nights rushed with Christmas deadlines and demands by the outside world, but they were quiet moments carved into the evenings leading up to Christmas morning.  I would describe them as soft, tender memories likened to that of a quiet dusting of a midnight snow fall.

I think I especially loved it as it was such a visual of the anticipation of Jesus’s birth!!

Advent is defined as follows:  “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.  It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”.

I don’t know about you, but every time Christmas rolled around, I looked forward to the Christmas commercials.  You know which ones I’m talking about.  The ones with perfect homes, perfectly dressed hostesses with aprons that matched their shoes, happy children before the feast…which we all know is not reality…at least in our home…and a perfectly fat, glazed butterball turkey on the large oval platter with no nasty prep dishes anywhere in sight!!

Somehow, I bought into it.  I found myself  t h e r e…striving for the perfect tree that everybody happily agreed on.  I wanted everybody to want the same thing I had envisioned.  I would cringe at the thought of colored lights. Handmade ornaments from the children would be “re.arranged” behind the ones of “real” beauty.  You know, the ones that were all the rage at the time.  No matter how hard I tried, I would find myself trapped in a scene that would give Chevy Chase a run for his money!!

There were pick.up trucks that broke down at the Christmas tree farm, a purchased tree that was the comfortable home to thousands of flying beetles, falling trees that somehow toppled down in the wee small hours of the morning…crushing the gifted ornament with my husband’s brother’s cremated ashes {who thinks of these gifts anyway??!!}and the infamous trip…traveling away from home and forgetting the diaper bag.  You get the picture. 
NIGHTMARE situations, in my book...far from what I was striving for.

All this to say, it’s easy to get discouraged and disheartened when things we plan end up being much less wonderful and much less full of delight than what we had hoped and dreamed for.

Reality is harsh at times, and the idea that things are insignificant when we selfishly pursue our own interests is TRUE, but it is entirely possible to gain true JOY in this life, with a deep purpose when we humbly submit our most cherished hopes and far.fetched dreams to Jesus!!

Advent hones us in.  
It re.focuses and brings into view that which is important.  
It offers incredible hope for tomorrow.

Mary anticipated her ADVENT.
She, too, was a momma…with a heart…just like us.  She looked forward to the arrival of her Son.
I have often wondered how she nested… 
How she planned. 
I wonder how she hoped… 
How she dreamt. 
And once she delivered God’s gift…
I wonder what she was thinking as she rocked the Savior of the world.
I wonder about the lullabies she softly sung into the same ears that would hear the aching, desperate prayers of all mankind.
I wonder how she would gently stroke and pat the tiny back that would one day carry the weight of the world.
I wonder if her heart beat full of fear for what was sure to come as it would beat against the same heart that would one day be broken for the lost and for the fragile in this broken world.

She H A D to know that her plans, her hopes and her dreams were shattered and would be forever altered the very minute the angel appeared to her…and I’m pretty sure this was not her plan and most likely a world away from how she had envisioned it, don’t you think?

As I was looking at ADVENT, I was re.reading Luke 1 and as soon as the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth, Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.” “May your words to me be fulfilled.”

Again, she H A D to know that while nothing was going according to her hopes and dreams…she would indeed be given the strength to rest in Christ…where she would find her greatest significance.  It would be in Him that she would find true fulfillment.
She was willing to lay down her “perfect” plans, hopes and dreams as she laid that little tiny baby in the manger.

So, as we face our own disappointments and maybe our less than stellar plans, hopes and dreams, I challenge you to find joy and meaning in the unplanned, in the uninvited, in the undesirable and in the unexpected as you anticipate celebrating life’s greatest gift…the birth of Jesus…

It’s described as a SILENT NIGHT.  Pure, messy, chaotic yet PERFECT!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Classic Boursin {the perfect little hosteess gift}

Happy December!!
One of my very favorite things to come up with every year is hostess gifts!!  They need to be simple, beautiful and budget.friendly.  This year's is one of my favorites to date.  The Classic Boursin cheese spread is an old favorite, but the packaging is a new obsession of mine.  The tin, the grey, the WHITE, and the wreath is just so lovely and Christmassy...minus the green and red.  BUT, if you need the green and red, a  velvet red bow and a sprig of greenery would be perfect!!

 Classic Boursin

Lisa Pearson

½ cup salted butter, room temperature
2  8oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature {full FAT}
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Start by blending the butter and the cream cheese together until it is nice and creamy. 
Add the spices and mix well.
Serve at room temperature with a few different kinds of crackers.

Sprinkle a bit of dill weed on top for a festive presentation!!

{I like using fresh garlic in this recipe, but to make it super fast and easy I opted for the granulated garlic this time!!}

I placed the Boursin into two small paper soup containers, then packaged two different kinds of crackers into crisp cello bags.  The cheese spread will keep for quite a while in the fridge and the crackers will stay fresh for a long time, too!!  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mimi's Rustic Veggie Soup

One of the very best things about hospitality is the ability to love those that enter your home.  They may enter through your back door, the garage or through the front door...but they are entering your home and it is the perfect opportunity to lavishly bless them!!
I am sure we can all think back to at least one time in our life when we have entered a home with feeling fearful, discouraged, defeated, tired or anxious and we leave feeling incredibly full of hope, inspired, re.energized, refreshed, encouraged and loved after spending time with them.  There is a time for texting, face.timing, phone calls and messenger...but there is just something about spending time together!!

Years ago, after work, I drove home after getting some rough news. My mom was already at our house.  She met me at the door, hugged me tight.  No words were exchanged...just tears.  My welcome said it all.  "You are so loved and I am right here with you."  That simple message spoke volumes to me.  Hospitality comes in all shapes and sizes.  There are seasons of being on the receiving end and times to be on the giving end. What season are you in?? 

Mimi’s Rustic Vegetable Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, scrubbed, cut small
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, cut small
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, cut into chunks {Heat in microwave for 4 minutes for easier cutting!!}
In a large stock pot, heat oil a bit.  Add carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper. And garlic to pan and sauté vegetables.  Add sweet potato.

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
16 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 large can of golden hominy, rinsed and drained

Add tomatoes, zucchini, squash, broth, water, and hominy.  Simmer and serve.

Enjoy with crusty bread and citrus salad and a fun fizzy drink.

When I make this, I double the veggies and stick them in a SOUP KIT.  I put all of the veggies in baggies and freeze them.  It makes a great dinner to take to someone in need.  I include the recipe and the rest of the ingredients for them to "throw and go".  I think that smelling a soup cooking in your home is sometimes just what the DOCTOR ordered.  ANNNNDDDD, they are only having to wash one pot.  That's a lot of bang for the buck, in my opinion!!

"Beloved, let us love one another..." I John 4:7

Thursday, July 21, 2016

{Fresh &Simple} Pesto Pasta

Frozen Tortellini is the perfect thing to keep on hand, in my opinion.  It also just happens to be the perfect summer salad to serve all by itself or as a side dish to go along with bbq chicken, burgers, steak etc.  The possibilities are endless.

The other reason I love is is that it can be made ahead and served as a salad or made as a hot dinner.  It can be served with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and a sprinkling of cheese or it can be dressed up for a fancy schmanzy dinner with fresh grilled shrimp garlic roasted artichokes and expensive cheese.  ANYTHING ANYWAY!!!

Fresh & Simple Pesto Pasta
Lisa Pearson

1 20oz. package Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini
½ cup pesto
½ cup chopped julienne sliced sundried tomatoes in olive oil
½ cup Kalamata olives
½ cup fire roasted yellow and red peppers
½ cup garlic roasted artichokes
½ cup red onion sliced

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Rinse with cold water.
Place in large serving bowl
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir together gently ad chill.

This may also be served warm…just rinse the noodles with warm water after cooked.  Add grilled shrimp and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with crusty bread and a flute of champagne!!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

A {simple} BAGEL BAR

Well, here we are right in the thick of celebrations!!  Graduations are over and now we are having bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties and everything else in between.
Friends ask me quite frequently how I keep up with everything and honestly, the answer is THIS:
That means, delegate things out, keep paper products on hand...and there is nothing wrong with the dollar store.  :}
Those days of doing everything by myself are way over and doing things up ahead of time will save you time, energy and looking like those stress pencils from the 70's!!

I will be the first to admit that I rely on my freezer space BIG TIME.  If things are sealed well, it will save you a trip to the bakery or the grocery store on "the day of".

For this bridal shower, I skipped the decorations and kept it super sweet and simple.  The bride and groom were planning on honeymooning in France, so I decided to use the tablecloth I had along with my FRENCH hydrangeas...and candles, of course.  That was it.  No streamers, balloons, and other spendy things that usually get tossed after a party. 
I had a frame for the bride and the groom's engagement picture that was a gift and a sign that was also a gift...but I am telling you it was so relaxed and FUN!  

Keeping the Brunch easy peasy was the BEST!!
I bought the bagels fresh earlier in the week and cut them into quarters, wrapped them in individual cello bags, tied them with a string, put them all in a bag and froze them.  It does take a bit of time, but it beats dried out bread, and as mentioned before, there is no running to the bakery that day.  It's a  The leftovers have been great for grab and go this week.
For the condiments, I put out a large block of cream cheese early in the morning so it would soften.  COLD CREAM CHEESE is impossible to spread and doesn't taste good, in my opinion.

For the condiments:
I had everything washed, chilled and ready to go on the tray which saved tons of time. Purchasing prepared jars of things saves time, too.  It took minutes to arrange on the platter.
This is what I included:
red onion
green olives
fresh chives, chopped on the side and on the platter for the "pretty factor"
red leaf lettuce for decoration and as a healthy addition
thinly sliced cucumbers
sliced Provolone cheese
sliced Swiss cheese
sliced cheddar cheese
thinly sliced tomatoes
roasted red and yellow peppers
fresh rosemary sprigs
avocado slices...which I forgot to put out

So, if you are wanting to host an easy celebration, this is definitely a fun way to is also a great thing to take as a meal for someone in need...or a morning picnic at the beach.
Have a very HAPPY 4th of July!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Homemade{nut free} Pesto

Homemade {nut-free} Pesto

Lisa Pearson

2 cups fresh basil leaves {smooshed into a measuring cup}

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of three cheese blend or just Parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a blender or in a food processor.  Just blend until ingredients are incorporated. You are not making baby food. :}

And since we are crazy.insane about picnics anytime, anywhere...these little ditties got wrapped up in parchment paper and twine...and we went on a lovely picnic at the Pittock Mansion...a favorite from our dating days.

...and our little grandbaby love just happens to adore adventures and picnicing, too!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

{mimi's} Instant Baby Oatmeal

There is  just something  nostalgic and hugely satisfying about making your own baby food!!  I know. I know.  Who has time for that???  You do!!  This takes minutes to make, is quite inexpensive and is packed with good.old.fashioned nutrition minus all of the preservatives and chemicals.  Your baby, and family will thank you!!

Mimi's Instant Baby Oatmeal
Lisa Pearson

12 cups old-fashioned oats, divided {gluten-free if needed}

1 cup C&H brown sugar {less, if desired}

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup dried apple sure to get the tiny apple pieces to avoid possible choking hazard

Blend 6 cups oats in the blender...kinda like a rough chop

Add blended oats to large mixing bowl with the rest of the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and dried apples.

Place 1/4 cup dry mix to small glass jars with lids.
For older children and for adults, fill larger glass ramekins with 1/2 cup dry mix.
For on.the.go...fill paper soup containers with desired amount of dry mix and forget about having to wash the dishes.

To Prepare:  Shake container and cover oats with boiling water.   Place lid on container and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cool oatmeal off with a bit of formula or cream and ENJOY!!!

A little side note...we LOVE taking these on morning picnics and hikes.  All you need to prepare is a thermos of HOT WATER!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

{simple} Triple Berry Galette

For last night's bible study in our home, I was wanting to make something warm and yummy since our weather has gone from HOT to cold seems.

What to do when you are short on time?  Grab out the store bought pie dough and frozen berries!!{This is something I keep stocked in our freezer at all times!!}

Lisa Pearson

This recipe makes 2 individual galette

1 package store bought frozen pie dough { Trader Joe's}

4 cups frozen triple berry mix {Costco}

1 1/2 cups sugar

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup flour

3 pats of butter


sanding sugar

Follow directions on pie dough box to thaw.

Preheat oven to 425*

Once dough has thawed, roll it together in a ball and then roll it into a disc using a bit of flour.  I made mine about the width of my hand spread out.
Place on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Mix berries, sugar, zest of lemon, juice of lemon, and flour together and let it sit out until it is pretty much thawed.

Take 2 cups of filling and pile it into the center of your pastry dough.
Fold dough up around the berries as seen in picture.
Put butter in center on top of the berry mix.

Brush dough with a bit of milk and sprinkle sugar on wet dough {this is optional...but!!}

Bake at 425* for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Keep your eye on it...burned berries are really awful and burned pie crust ranks at the tippy top for nastiness!!

Serve all by itself or top with ice cream, whipped cream or BOTH!!!

...and if all else fails...go for the ice cream and french fries!!

LOOK at that happy little face!!

...and our little baby doll who is almost two!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Oh, for the LOVE of white!! Seriously!!
It is my favorite color...and yes, my children ALWAYS reminded me that white was NOT a color...but it is so fresh, clean, and perfect for those that have a hard time in the commitment department.
First of all, many.many.moons ago, I was a young college student on a budget, and then a young wife and momma on an even tighter budget...and when you are thrifting for your HOME, and you want old things to be nice, you grab a can of spray paint or a gallon or two of silky white paint to transform the dated and yucky into beautiful with very little effort.
When our HOMES are simple, we find ourselves less stressed and more relaxed when things start getting crazy busy.  And for me, white has a calming effect.
So, I thought I would break down a few white things in our home so that I could convince you that 
W H I T E 
is definitely the way to go:

White sheets:  It keeps me from having to re-do our bedroom decor on a regular basis.  Every new season comes beautiful new color palettes...that are OH.SO.TEMPTING.  I mean velvetty coral and pink for Valentines???  Yes, please!!  But with the cost of plush King-sized sheets, no thank you.  All I need to do is add a bouquet of coral tulips and a new throw pillow cover and voila.  Trendy, not spendy!!

White towels and wash cloths:  YEP.  You got it!!  It feels like luxury and we have our own spa in our own home.  Sick babies, pets, muddy problem.  Add a bit of bleach to the next load of laundry and will ever know the dirt that was once lurking in your clean pile of freshly folded laundry...unless it is still on the fluff.cycle in the dryer three days later!!

White dishes:  BUT OF COURSE!!  I think all food looks more appetizing and stunning on a white plate.  It keeps your cupboards streamlined and uncluttered looking.  White is easy to mix and match if a plate or two get dropped and the original set has been discontinued.  This also keeps the urge to invest in plates at bay that always seem to be the dangling carrot in front of the hungry little bunny come Easter time.  Don't do it!!

White kitchen {small} appliances:  Again, colors come and go when it comes to kitchen colors.  Save the pops of color for fun dish towels, fresh flowers and spices, cookbooks, fruit and veggies in baskets etc.

Have I convinced you???
Anyhoo, thought I would just get up on my soap box for a bit today.

Have a lovely Wednesday!!