09 December 2013

Fall Faves!

     I realize that it is the 9th of December and that Christmas is only 16 days away (!!!!!??), but I am still processing my very eventful fall season. New and cozy smelling babies, savory turkey dinners, fall romps, birthday escapades, the iconic (to me, at least) smell of a leather saddle, scrumptious baked goods, hot and sweet coffees, and lots of friendly faces in between. I have had quite an autumn.

     I'm still in the midst of my job search and it has been going très sloooooooowly. It seems not many people are hiring in positions that are suitable for me. Yet, I know that I am in this little city for a reason! I am choosing to trust that God has it under control as I continue to fill out my applications, send emails, and write cover letters. My cover letters, by the way, seem to be gradually waning on the creativity and eloquence scale...whoops. 
     Anyways, I did capture some little moments this fall and looking at them makes me smile. Here are some snippets and wee stories to go along with them. 

1. Exam day breakfasts. When Lester has his big block exams, I try to make something special and sweet in the morning to fuel brainpower. As I said, this is purely for Lester's educational success and not an excuse for me to make indulgent brekkies. ahem. 

2. Okay, this one is kind of a lie. I do not-cannot- bring myself to drink green smoothies errmorning when I could instead be eating something of the carby variety. But, alas, I think it's quite cute how our smoothie cup sizes correspond to our real-life sizes. hehe.  

3. Fall decor! Earthy tones and old library vibes. I went on a jog along the Detroit River one afternoon and picked up this lil' assortment. It was a tad awkward in the elevator ride back up with my fellow residents, probably because I didn't care to explain why I was bringing dead plants to my apartment. #noshame 

4. Morning quiet times and Yankee Candles. Amen. 
4. Windsor skies. Sometimes this town surprises me. 

4. That time(s) I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte with all the trimmings. #dontholdthewhippedcream

5. Baked goods-The joys that can arise from overripe bananas!

6. Late summer produce? Yes please. Tomates farcis. 

5. Went on a cozy date with a cute date! We tried a new Italian place downtown and I had braised short ribs. GIRL, WOW. Luscious and saucy and splendid. 

And now I am hungry. I think I shall go make something with eggs in it. Can I just ask you, how amazingly versatile are eggs?! SO VERSATILE!, you say. That's right my friend, so I am off to eat some. Have a lovely week and trust that God is in control. 


19 October 2013

Kindly Yours

Tuesday morning, Lester and I got back from an absolutely loveeeeeeely Canadian Thanksgiving in Toronto. This was mostly due to the arrival of a tiny (TINY) newborn bundle of joy named, Casper. That's right, there is a new babe in the fam, and he is utterly delectable.

We spent much of the long weekend lounging about the house holding Casper, taking a billion pictures of Casper, googling over Casper's little feet and his hands and his nose and his little cheeks, and his teeeeeeensy fingernails! At any given moment someone was either plunging their face in Casper's general direction or hovering over his soft, slightly bumpy, head inhaling his adorable little bebe smell. I do believe that Casper was squeezed and hugged and coddled probably more than he preferred. However, seeing as we complied with his NEVER PUT ME DOWN rule, I am thinking he will forgive us.

I was also reminded this past weekend of the blessing of community. Instead of having a typical Thanksgiving dinner, the family invited their church fellowship group over to break bread. Over thirty people filled the house that Saturday evening, and as we all gathered in the kitchen to pray, I smiled. We were warm, out of the rain, and about to dive into a delectable feast. Yet,  I think our little hearts were actually contented because we were surrounded by one another. I personally did not know many people there that night, but still, to be a part of a meal, a celebration, a Thanksgiving with others, made my little cup runeth-over. My sister-in-law invited two friends who were far from family, and I can only imagine how much of an unspoken gift it was to them. To be welcomed into a home full of yummies and love, when they didn't seem to have much of their own yummies or loves nearby. That is hospitality and kindness in a very basic form.

While watching the news can be scary, downright devastating, I  sometimes find myself thinking about the wonderful blessing that people can be to one another. Experiencing community afresh,  being inspired by creativity, camaraderie, and sincere encouragement causes me to lift up my face to the heavens and thank my God. It is truly true as true can be that, it is not what you have around you, but who you have around you.

I even got to end my little Toronto jaunt with one of my besties from university! I hadn't seen her for a few months and it was so so lovely to see her little face again. We started our meetup off with a cheesy little Danish pastry, (but of course) and walked through the rain, over a huge and beautiful bridge, to attend church together. Simple, but perfect. Love you M!! 

So, with God's help, His abundant love for me, comfort for me, reassurance for me, refining of me, I hope to become a person who offers genuine kindness, relief and comfort to others. Thank You Jesus, that I can know Your Father because of the cross. That has changed everything.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, mes amis!
Kindly yours,
coco xoxo

01 October 2013

A Early Autumn Meal

The wee city of Windsor seems to have no regard for the whole "seasons" idea. The weather man has cheerfully forecasted a high of 76 degrees Fahrenheight or 24 degrees Celcius for today. Ladies and gentlemen, it is October 1st. Now, to clarify, I am not complaining.  I am merely noting that this is not how I understand the concept of fall. Where I come from, the wee leaves do, in fact, fall from the spectacularly colored trees. The breeze does, actually, begin to bite. And I do, indeed, where my delicious knit scarves and buttery leather boots.

Not to worry though, the cheerful weather has allowed me to take (short. very short.) jogs along the river. It has allowed me to meander through farmers markets and enjoy the fruits and produce in the dazzling Mid-Western sunlight. 

BUT. The thing is, my birthday happens to come at the end of this fine month. I have always associated my birthday month with the smells and sights and sounds of autumn!  So, with those thoughts in mind and a few lonesome potatoes on my counter, I found myself making soup a few afternoons ago. 
Even though all I had was potatoes, carrots, onions and a few sparse herbs, I was determined for fall my friends. And so my creamy potato soup began. 

Peeling my little potatoes was difficult, because we have a peeler that does not peel. I did it the old school way with a wee pairing knife. It was kinda cool, because I felt like a wood-carving cowboy. 

Then I diced little baby carrots and tossed them with salt, pepper, and cumin! Into the oven they went for roasting.

What's a soup without the classics? I chopped some onion and minced my garlic.

Carrots roasted and onions sautéed, it was time for some simmering.

The one thing about potato soup is, it screams "Garnish me! Garnish me!" And well, when you hear that call, my friends, you must heed it. I fried up some deliciously crispy bacon and chopped a bit of scallion. Oh, and there may have been be some luscious sour creme in there, as well.

And that is how I managed to simulate fall on a near 80 degree, late September day. No leaves were falling nor were my feet tucked in toasty boots, but there was soup. And where there be soup, there be coziness. After all, that's why we love so much. It's a time of complete coziness. 

Stay cozy and stay classy my friends!

30 September 2013

What is that?

Recently, my husband (whoa!! still not used to writing/saying that!) and I started a Bible reading plan together. To be honest, I was less than excited about reading through some of the old Testament books. Some of them are sooo long and sooo dry, I thought to myself before we began. Yet, every morning as I settle in and read about the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their often CRAY lives, I find myself utterly intrigued. And heartbroken. And laughing. And on the verge of tears.

Today, for instance, I read about the reuniting of Jacob and his estranged (and quite hairy) twin Esau. After some extremely sneaky and tense family affairs (which resulted in Esau wanting to kill Jacob, by the way) the brothers are reunited. One would think, and indeed one of them did, that there was going to be some blood at this bizarre reunion. And yet, after 20 years of hostile separation, what happens when Esau sees his rascal of a little brother walking before him? He runs to Jacob, and hugs him.


Can you imagine the emotions of those two twins? Driven from eachother because of deceit and violent anger in their younger years, now seeing each other again as grown men with wives and children and households of their own? I found myself desperately wanting to join in on this emotionally charged hug that that went on in the ancient dusty desert. Though the tears of those brothers fell thousands of years ago, I was reliving their bittersweet weeping as if it were happening right before me.

And so I sat there dazed on my couch. And I thought about the love and graciousness of God. How unfathomable God is. How much He loves us and desires that we know Him. How much He wants that we be blessed by His guidance and reassured by His presence and even His correction. How He substituted His only Son for us. How, because of Jesus, we can know the Father. I'm not even sure how to describe God, but I can tell you; it is the best thing in the universe to be loved by Him.

I can see myself in Jacob. Fearful after my mistakes. Pride, arrogance. And yet, what does God do when He sees my face? He begins to run.


What kind of grace is that? What, I ask you, is that?

24 September 2013

Breadcrumb Hand Syndrome (B.H.S.)

             Sometimes all you need is a simple little meal. In our apartment, that usually means something is getting pan-fried. And, quite frankly, I do not mind me a little pan-fry. Recently, however, our dining routine took an unexpected turn. No pan frying occurred and, moreover, there was none a female chef to be found. Rather, another pair of hands was dredging and breading and baking. The peculiar talents of a lesser-known chef. Believe me you, I was quite intrigued to see what would come of this venture. But as this tall figure took to his trout, I slowly watched a meal emerge.

It was fascinating, and a tiny bit humorous, to see how this fine fellow dealt with Breadcrumb Hand Syndrome (B.H.S.). His technique was simply to cease all usage of the compromised hand. 

Additionally, another unforeseen shift took place. It turns out that this chef is very energy conscious. Instead of using the entire oven to cook four filets of trout, he opted for the...TOASTER OVEN. I know, I was also flabbergasted. Would it all fit? Would it cook our precious fish properly? Would my toast be trout-y in the morning? 

I decided to lay aside my anxieties and observe. 

It helped that he wore a shirt that I approved of. It says, I love my wife. Indeed, chef, indeed.

This rogue chef's techniques paid off. Within the hour, I was sitting and enjoying a deliciously tender trout with a deliciously cute chef.  Ça plane pour moi, mes amis, that works for me.

Bonne semaine! xox

13 September 2013

An exploration and it's acquisitions

A few days ago, I had a girlie lunch: a bright and beautiful salad. You see, as a woman of five feet and one biddie inch, I do not have much surface volume to space out my lady curves. For fear of turning into a little snowball, I sometimes make my self a teeeensy bit of a lighter meal. My husband, who is exactly one foot taller than me and has the metabolism of Michael Phelps during his Olympic training regime, can afford to eat basically anything. Not I, dear reader, not I.

What exactly did I put in this deliciously healthy little salad? I started with a little bit of leftover whole wheat pasta, added some crunchiness with raw almonds (next time I will toast them!), mixed this with a bunch of baby spinach, and nestled a wee hard-boiled egg in the corner. I salted and pepper-ed it, dressed it with a little bit of honey-dijon, and voilà!

After savoring this lean little lunch, I decided to venture out into my new city. I soon came to the conclusion that Windsor is unique to me because of its blending of the urban and suburban. At times, I felt as if I was walking along the tree-lined streets of central New Jersey (and, yes, green does exist in New Jersey) and then suddenly, upon reaching the end of the street, I would realize that I was in the downtown core of an actual city! I am beginning to greatly appreciate this aspect of Windsor. 

Of, course, whilst on my little jaunt, I began craving something sweet. As I marched along, I wandered east-ward and found myself in the primarily Middle Eastern neighborhood of the city. I was properly slack-jawed over the sheer number of Middle Eastern bakeries surrounding me. I popped into the nearest bakery and bought six cookies for only three dollars. A definite win, I should say. 

I then made my way towards Blak's Bakery, on Langlois Avenue. As their website states, the bakery has been owned and operated by the Blak family since 1918. I do love me an establishment with some history. 

Unfortunately, my arrival at Langlois Avenue was a bit later in the afternoon and many of their items were already sold-out. I did manage to procure myself a little square of cherry tart, though. And, after I had scampered home and enjoyed dinner with my husband and sister-in-law, I revealed my tiny treasures. My husband made some High Mountain Taiwanese green tea and we sat down to taste the little gems. 

I was a tad caught of guard by the tang of the cherry tart, but I enjoyed how it melted into the buttery crust upon first bite. The cookies, likewise, surprised me. I am normally a crunchy cookie lass, but I also revel in a soft, chewy number. These were neither! I quickly found a common feature in all six cookies: crumbly and studded with nut flavor. I am thinking that the dough was mixed with almonds or walnuts, creating a cookie that was much less moist than I am accustomed to. Yet I found that with a sip of my tea, these cookies were a lovely match! As I savored the last bite of my cookie, a toasted almond/walnut flavor lingered on my tongue and I believe that is where the biggest flavor burst of these cookies lay. After our munching, I decided that I will be returning to both establishments. I also decided upon another verdict, dear reader. An afternoon started with a salad, should always conclude with a cookie.

12 September 2013

DT Windsor Farmer's Market!

            It's been incredibly hot here in Windsor lately, which is frustrating for me mostly because I am fixing to burn my "Pumpkin Spice" candle. One does not burn a Pumpkin Spice candle in 91 degrees.

           Anyways, I recently became involved in the Down Town Windsor Farmer's Market. I keep having these moments where I say to myself, I have found my people, I have found my people! Who else would talk with me about micro-greens, pea shoots, and native apple varieties! Oh, the joy.

              Alas, the morning of market day, I woke up around 6 a.m. and made my way over to Charles Clark Square. As I walked along the river, I had one of those random moments of appreciation. The city was peaceful, quiet and cool. The water rippled gently along the shoreline, and Detroit sat motionless across from me. I walked up to the square around 7a.m., to find a short line of vans and trucks pulling up to the curb. Vendors were carting baskets of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens of incredible color across the market. I soon met the general manager, Steve Green (aptly named, I believe), and was immediately put to work. As I greeted the vendors, I asked about their goods and their farms and their interests. Talking to the baker, the ladies selling about 7 varieties of lettuce, the fishmonger (from whom I bought the freshest and tastiest trout!) among others, was simply fantastic.


Seriously, the Down Town Windsor Farmer's Market is truly a wonderful little place. Besides providing residents with organic fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, baked goods, and even coffee (!) at extremely affordable prices, the market is becoming one of Windsor's gathering places. It is lovely to see all types of Windsorites from the city's diverse neighborhoods, coming to enjoy a morning together...whilst munching on some delectable item, of course. My advice: Put the pumpkin candles down, people, and come visit the market this Saturday :)