Weekend Links

Start your weekend off right with this weekly series! Here are your Weekend Links!

Guys, I have been doing a lot of work on the ol’ blog. I have rebranded, which ended up being a BIG project. I have a new direction and so much energy! I can’t wait to share with you some of the big things I have in store, including this new Weekend Links series!

Here are a collection of fun things I’ve discovered this week! Enjoy!

  1. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I can’t think of a more adorable couple than Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Gaines shared their Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake recipe with People Magazine this week. So yummy, so adorable.
  2. Speaking of Valentine’s Day, here’s a note for my husband. In lieu of flowers, I will accept a bouquet of these rose cupcakes. I worked in an office where people traveled internationally and it was a tradition to bring back candy from wherever you went. THAT is how I fell in love with rose flavored things. Am I alone in this? Srsly, I need those cupcakes.
  3. Have you bumped into the recent internet obsession, hygge? Basically, hygge is a Dutch word that means you allow all things cozy into your life, especially at wintertime, but there is a lot of chatter right now about what hygge is/is not. The New Yorker article “Is This Hygge?” by Susanna Wolff gave me a chuckle.
  4. And, as someone who works from home, The New Yorker article “I Work from Home” by Colin Nissan was funny but also a little too accurate. I’m wearing slippers. When did I put on these slippers? I can’t remember.
  5. I just finished reading The Husband’s Secret (affiliate link) by Liane Moriarty this week, and I really enjoyed it! I kicked off 2017 by reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (affiliate link), which was a heavy read. I wanted my second book to be an entertaining page turner that I couldn’t put down. The Husband’s Secret did not disappoint! I was hooked to the very last page!
  6. Are you wanting to memorize more scripture this year? I love this new series by Carried Away Ministries, 11 Bible Verses to Grow in Your Faith in 2017. Each scripture verse helps delve deeper into a different name of God. There’s even a freebie printable notecard!
  7. And lastly, an encouraging link for all you mamas in the trenches. You’re not alone.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I am given compensation. I only promote products that I would use myself. Thank you.

Cold Brew Coffee

Have you tried cold brew coffee yet? The cold brew method is much less acidic than iced coffee, which allows notes of the sweeter dark chocolate flavor to shine through. My cold brew coffee recipe is quick and easy enough for a busy weekday morning. Perfect for daily coffee drinking, this only takes a few minutes to throw together the night before, about the same amount of time it takes to set the programmable coffeemaker. In the morning, just filter and enjoy cold over ice.

Oh coffee, should I compare thee to a summer’s day?
(…except it’s February, so how about I compare thee to the hope of a spring morning?)
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

But how thou rough grounds in cold water doth create terrific cold brew,
which I enjoy very most after the rough winds of May have blown through.

(Uh I think I just heard Shakespeare roll over in his grave. Sorry, Billy.)

As a warm chinook blew through Kansas at the end of January and melted all the snow, I started dreaming of mornings on the back porch (I don’t have a back porch) with my feet up (with a one year old, ha) and with a glass of smooth homemade cold brew coffee in my hand (I didn’t know how to make cold brew).

So I thought I would maybe try to bring about this dream in the one area I have control over, and thus began my journey to achieve the perfect glass of cold brew coffee. In February.

I have spent a lot of money on cold coffee over the years, for better and for worse.  My problem is that I’m a bit of a coffee snob.

I have always been a picky coffee drinker.  I like it very strong and fresh and prefer it to be made with filtered water instead of our hard mineral water in Kansas. And with my face hidden, I admit that I don’t drink coffee at our local beloved roastery because I think that the flavor is inconsistent, and it bothers me.

New York City is one of my favorite places in the world to wander, but I have to tell you that I had nothing but horrible iced coffee on my last summertime trip there.  I dragged my family into every deli advertising iced coffee just to spend $2 on yet another stale, extremely bitter slosh that I inevitably tossed after just a couple of sips. I eventually came to realize that what I was buying was probably yesterday’s unused coffee poured over ice. Ew.

I do like Starbucks iced coffee. I have a friend who is a professional barista at Starbucks, and I asked her about why the Starbucks iced coffee is so yummy. The reasons? First, it only has a shelf life of 12 hours. If it sits any longer than that, they toss it. Second, Starbucks brews the iced coffee double strength to account for the ice melting.

But this post isn’t about iced coffee.  It’s about cold brew.  What’s the difference you ask?  Well, essentially, just the temperature it is brewed at and the length of time it takes to make.

Iced coffee is brewed hot, normally in a drip coffee maker, and it’s much more acidic but can also have a fuller body taste due to the hot brew processes. Cold brew coffee is never hot. Instead, the cold brew process allows the water and coffee grounds to come together over time (12 hours or so) in a cold refrigerator, which results in a much more caffeinated and sweeter coffee with notes of dark chocolate.

 

And now that I’ve successfully made it myself, I am OBSESSED with cold brew. I can’t believe how easy it was!

I will admit, I was completely intimidated by the process at first! I remember when the Pioneer Woman wrote about Perfect Iced Coffee back in 2011. I loved the idea, but I took one look at her gigantic 12 quart container and her cheese cloth filtering system, and I thought NOOOPE. Way too hard. I’ll just drop grab one on my way to work.

That was years ago! Think about all the times I was seriously craving awesome homemade cold brew coffee just to be at the mercy of all those cups of yesterday’s slush over ice. I could have easily made it for myself this entire time!

Alas, it was reading this account of drinking horrible iced coffee in NYC on Jamie Oliver’s site, in his charming accent of course, that finally made me brave enough to give at-home cold brew a chance. I completely identified with that story!

I pulled out a trusty mason jar, my mesh strainer, and a regular coffee filter. I bought the cheapest coffee in the store. I actually just used water from the tap.

And the results were AMAZING. I was so pleased! The cravings of this coffee snob were completely satisfied!

I do have to admit, that this coffee didn’t store well.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED it when it was fresh the first day, but when I tried a sip on the second day it was drinkable but stale. I think that making this in small batches for the next day is best.

INGREDIENTS
-Coffee, coursely ground
-Water
-Cream or sugar, optional to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add coffee to the bottom of a mason jar(or other tightly sealing container) and cover in warm water in a 1:4 ratio. For instance, 2 oz coffee per 8 oz water, 4 oz coffee per 16 oz water, and 8 oz coffee per 32 oz water. (I prefer my coffee very strong. You can adjust this ratio to your tastes. In his post, Jamie Oliver recommends a 1:8 ratio.) TIP: measurements are printed on the side of the mason jar!
  2. Stir contents of the jar to ensure that they are well mixed. Or, shake it up!
  3. Place in refrigerator for between 12 and 24 hours to allow it to brew.
  4. Once brewed, strain using a mesh strainer lined with a basket shaped coffee filter. (This process takes a few minutes, almost as long as brewing hot coffee.)
  5. Drink over ice black or with cream or sugar.

Have you tried cold brew coffee yet? The cold brew method is much less acidic than iced coffee, which allows notes of the sweeter dark chocolate flavor to shine through. My cold brew coffee recipe is quick and easy enough for a busy weekday morning. Perfect for daily coffee drinking, this only takes a few minutes to throw together the night before, about the same amount of time it takes to set the programmable coffeemaker. In the morning, just filter and enjoy cold over ice.  Oh coffee, should I compare thee to a summer's day? (...except it's February, so how about I compare thee to the hope of a spring morning?) Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

The Best Free Personality Test

Remember back in the day when we to buy and read actual magazines? And they always had a fun quiz like ‘What Color is Your Dream Home’ or ‘What You Should Buy Your Boyfriend For Christmas’? (The magazines I would read were fairly innocent. Haha.)

The occasional internet quiz is still a guilty pleasure of mine. Of course I’ve been sorted into a house in Hogwarts (go Gryffindor!). I know what pet I would have as a Disney Princess (dog). The jury is still out on what bangs are best for my face shape.

But, I don’t normally take much stock in whatever insight a computer-run algorithm has into my personality. I’m an ambivert, so I’m almost always borderline on practically every personality test I’ve taken. Even the professional quality personality and career tests I took at the career center in college came up borderline.

I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon this free Myers-Briggs personality test, but I know it was the middle of the night during a particularly crazy cluster feed while I was on maternity leave. I mostly took this free personality test to stay awake.

This test was surprisingly helpful! The results gave me insight into my new patenting role and how it would effect my marriage. It gave a reason for why I was often left feeling frustrated with the work ethic of co-workers. It lent surprisingly clear insight into some of my future goals.

In the morning, I asked my husband to give it a try. I was curious about his results. He came to the same conclusion as I: this test is great!

CLICK HERE TO GET TO GET YOUR OWN RESULTS FROM 16 PERSONALITIES FOR FREE!


Here are my results:

Your personality type: “The Consul”(ESFJ-A)

Strength of individual traits: Extraverted: 52%, Observant: 54%, Feeling: 64%, Judging: 58%, Assertive: 72%.
Role: Sentinel
Strategy: People Mastery

What did you learn about yourself from this test? I’d love to know! 

8 Things that You Need to Know Today About Child Marriage

Two days ago, Save The Children released a new report that analyzed the threat of a child’s education, health, and safety when forced into marriage at a young age. This problem is significant, it’s women’s reality in the 21st century, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Even the most optimistic projections show child marriage not being eradicated until the year 2030.

Two days ago, Save The Children released a new report that analyzed the threat of a child’s education, health, and safety when forced into marriage at a young age.

I saw the press release, and I’ve read the report. I remember sitting in school as a young girl, probably 11 or 12 years old, and realizing that other girls my age in the world were already wives and mothers.

But, I had forgotten.

As I read the stories, it all came back.  I used to know about this!  I still care!

This problem is significant, it’s women’s reality in the 21st century, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Even the most optimistic projections show child marriage not being eradicated until the year 2030.

Who even knows what the world will look like by then.

1. Every seven seconds, or approximately the amount of time that it takes to read this sentence, a young girl between the ages of 10-15 gets married.

How did Save The Children calculate this statistic? The UN surveyed adult women between the ages of 20-25 and asked them about the age they were married. Their survey allowed them to pinpoint the number of child marriages circa 2010. This rate was applied to 2015 global population figures.

2. According to findings, the husband is significantly older.

3. Where is this happening? Too many places. The short list is Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somalia. In the Dominican Republic, 37% of women were married before they turned 18.

4. There are other factors that contribute to young marriage. Finances, for instance. In Nigeria, 40% of the poorest girls are given into marriage by age 15, but only 3% of the richest (which is still outrageous).

5. Countries at high risk for natural disaster areas make up almost all of the top 25 for child marriages.

6. Projections for ending child marriage aim for the year 2030.

7. This is more than a one-off violation of human rights. These marriages perpetuate an endless cycle of disadvantages. She is especially vulnerable to health threats, domestic violence, and rape.

8. Ending child marriage would have a multiplier effect –
improving levels of learning, survival and protection,
and leading to benefits from the individual and community level right up to the national economy and society.

Go, read the report in depth.

8-things-you-need-to-know-about-child-marriage

When you cast your vote in this presidential election, also consider these girls, and wonder if our country’s position as a contributor to global leadership will ever be able to assist in carving out a future for their next generation.

Clean eating?

Last week I wrote about three things that are not in my grocery cart on my food blog, Non-Chef. It actually is the most read thing I have ever written on the internet. Since writing this, I’ve found myself being especially mindful of the grocery store choices I make.

Except, confession: I bought Hot and Spicy Cheez-It crackers to share at a soup potluck.

Confession: I bought peanut butter without checking for high fructose corn syrup. Another confession: I still haven’t checked the label, because I just don’t want to know.

Confession: I bought turkey for sandwiches, which is both meat and high in sodium. It was convenient and delicious.

elizabeth

But, I also want to be clear about this, because through writing, I have a small impact on the internet: I’ve got much bigger concerns than grocery carts and what’s going into my mouth.

The heart of the matter: as a Christian, I’m more concerned about what’s coming out of my mouth.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about recently.

Jesus called the crowds to him and said: “Listen and understand, What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.; -Matthew 15:11, NIV

What goes into a mouth doesn’t make a person unclean?

But, I think, what about cancer? Isn’t there proof that we’re just feeding inexplicable diseases and foreign growths with the bad, unhealthy foods we eat?

What about overeating? What about gluttony? Isn’t that a huge problem in the American church today? There’s no way that’s ‘clean.’

Then my mind goes a whole different direction. What about the dirt and grime off those donkeys Jesus seems to always be riding? Or, shudder, the lack of modern toilet paper in Bible times?  Gag.

I’m no Bible scholar, but I do own and read a NIV Study Bible.  According to the notes at the bottom of the page, Jesus here was addressing the Jewish rabbi’s meticulous rules and regulations that were interpretations and applications of the law of Moses. My study Bible explains that these traditions were kept orally until about the year 200 A.D. when they were recorded in the Mishnah, which is a text that is revered in Judaism today (thank you, Google).

The tradition in question here was the fact that Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating. (Possibly relevant? Jesus had just fed 5,000 people using fives loaves and two fish the chapter before.)

So, the problem going into the mouth is an early concept of germs? Or just plain dirt?

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter as much as the output.

Jesus asked them, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ v. 16-20

elizabeth-1

Ok, last confession: my output-from-the-mouth sucks. The words I have used recently have been somewhere between a face-palm and a foot-in-mouth almost every day.  I think I’ve apologized for rudely snapping at my husband every day in the last week, probably longer.  I know that I’ve been brisk with my family members.

I haven’t murdered, committed adultery, stolen anything, or even lied, but, jeez, I’ve been far from that “little Christ” ideal that Christians are probably supposed to be like. I’m a work in progress.

Am I still concerned about what goes into my grocery cart and therefore into my mouth? Yes. I have an ethical problem with much that is found on grocery cart shelves, and I have a lot more to say about that.

But, the heart is so much more: grace, mercy, love, JOY! abounding and slowly growing in every are of my so-called Christian life.  I have a lot to say about that too.

I try. SO HARD. Many of you do too. So, I pray, like a child, mimicking a translation of a prayer spoken two millenniums years ago: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I take my frustrated fists, turn my palms upward, and open my hands up a little bit, and write a blog post.