A Personal Note

I’ve been considering several potential posts, but all of them revolve around an event in my life and rather than telling it in bits and pieces over several posts, I decided to do one post about it, then do several reflective posts. It will be easier this way. So. Diving in.

A little over a year ago, I received a letter in the mail from my school.  Not a totally unusual occurrence, but I had no idea what it was about.  I only got through the first sentence before stifling a scream.  The letter read:

“Dear Student:

We would like you to consider a semester abroad studying in Canterbury, England…”

And that was the beginning of one of the biggest adventures of my life.

It’s been a dream of mine to travel, particularly to Europe.  There are just so many places to see.  So many adventures.  The little bit of travel I had done, family vacations, China, Seattle, they had only made me fall deeper in love with traveling.  But it was something that I really saw as unfeasible, something that wouldn’t happen for a long time.  It would cost too much, so I’d have to wait.

So when this letter showed up in my mailbox, in was not even an answered prayer, but it was a dream come true.

Getting to live in England for three months was amazing.  Those three months probably rank up as the three best months of my life.  I traveled more than I have ever traveled, made some incredible friends, experienced things I couldn’t have imagined, and grew exponentially.

Basically, I lived with a family in Canterbury, England for three months while studying at Canterbury Christ Church University. As a part of the curriculum, we were bussed to a different location every week that corresponded with something that we lectured on.  On the weekends, I usually travelled with friends or on my own.  I ended up getting to London about 5 times.  The places we visited included Bath, Eastbourne, Margate, Wales, Paris, Rochester, Bruges, and Dover.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have gotten to have had this incredible experience.

And now, with this knowledge, we are ready to proceed. 😉

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hello again.

Life gets busy.  And certain things get put on the back burner – like this blog.  🙂 

So to catch up…

Life mostly consists of three things – school, work, and family – mostly kitchen management.  Drake and I officially manage dinner and keeping the kitchen clean, and I do much of the meal planning and making of the main dish, while Drake often helps with sides.  It keeps me busy!

I think I have mentioned before that I was blessed with a job at a small salon in town.  I recently passed my one year anniversary there, and I have really been enjoying it.  I clean, answer the phone, and do other secretarial work.  Sometimes there’s time to study or read, which I always enjoy.  Often there are fun people I get to meet.  Today there was this ADORABLE four year old that helped me for a little while.  She was so sweet.

School.  School.  School.  That’s the other one.  So my midwifery school is going well. I am hoping to have it done in about a year, and then I can figure out where I want to go from there.  At this time, I am pretty sure that I don’t want to continue with midwifery, but I still want to stay in the alternative health world.  I am currently thinking about naturopathy, but we’ll see where I am in a year.  Who knows what will change!

So those are the big three.  I haven’t been doing much trying of knew recipes, or creative cooking, just because I have been so busy.  Mostly I am just trying to get a dinner that works with my food restrictions onto the table. 

Oh, and food restrictions…so I think I have written about not being Primal/Paleo anymore.  I started incorporating more grains into my diet earlier this year, and helped me feel better. Now I am avoiding red meats, dairy, and caffeine, which my doctor has me doing to speed healing.  It has pushed me to try new things.

A few weekends ago, my cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents came and visited.  We all had too much fun.  Love all of you – I am so blessed to have you all!

Aaaand last night we started dance lessons!  Drake and I danced together. So much fun. Looking forward to more dancing.  😛

Well, that is all for now.  See you around!

~Allison

What’s Up?

So.

I’ve been gone again.

Busy.

Life happened.

I’ve been working.

Doing school.

Helping at home.

Catering my cousin’s bridal shower. (Loose use of the word “catering.”)

Attending my first birth.

Photographing my first birth.

Taking the knife to my closet.  (The old ugly stuff has to go!)

So.

First things first.  I am working at a fun little salon in town two days a week, four hours a day, as a receptionist, and cleaning.  Actually, this is the first week I have worked two days.  Which I am really excited about.  I like it.

School and life it pretty much normal, so not a whole lot to say about that, except that I’m loving school, as usual.

The shower went well.  It was great to see everybody up north.  For the dessert at the shower, I made mint chocolate brownie bites, lemon poppy seed cake, and Mom made coffee punch.  Yum.

Last night, my good friend had her sweet baby, and I was blessed to have been invited to the birth, and it pleased God to have all the circumstances happen exactly right so I could go!  I am so blessed to have gotten to be there, and it was wonderful.  She had asked me and another young lady to take some photos during the birth, which I found quite enjoyable.  What a blessing to record that special moment!

My closet has been getting too full. Not just that, but after doing the Botkin ladies’ beauty webinar, I have really been thinking about what I am wearing, and trying to look nice.  To be honest, some of my old clothes aren’t really nice.  So I have decided to start paring down my closet, then filling it with things that look nice and that will look good on me.  I emptied a whole bunch yesterday morning, which made me surprisingly slightly apprehensive?  anxious?  teary? not quite sure which.  But the first cut is the deepest, right?

So, that’s what’s been going on.  I’ll be hoping to post a full post about the shower tomorrow when I process the pictures, or at least in the very near future.  So look for that.  In the meantime, here are some photos of the closet-cleaning!

 

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The first pile to go

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One side of my closet, after the first clean-out (hopefully not the last)

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Fun new hairstyle I tried, and wore all day, and it didn’t give me a headache!  Which made me SO HAPPY!  (I usually get a headache when I where my hair pulled back, usually at the base or near the base of my head.)  What do you think?

My Reading Nook and an Amazing “New Food”

I discovered an amazing “new food.”

It’s not totally new, since I am familiar with all the ingredients.  But the combination is new.

Are you ready?  Two words:

Stuffed Onions.

That says it all.

They are one of the most amazing things. Ever.  So simple and delicious.

I hadn’t really thought of onions as a side dish on their own until recently, when Mom was chatting with someone at the grocery store who would just serve sautéed onions with dinner, as a side.  I wanted to try that sometime – a big pile of onions.  Mmmm…

Then the other night I had some time, and I remembered the stuffed onion recipe that I had seen several years ago (I know, I know) in a cookbook I own, and I had to try it.

I altered the recipe a bit, since it originally called for bread, and I didn’t want to add any.  Well, really since I wanted to eat an onion.

They are SO TASTY.  The outside is a baked onion – cooked plain, not to talk it down – and the filling.  Oh the filling.  It is a combination of the centers of the onion that have been scraped out of the onions that have been sautéed, along with some bacon and cheese.  Delicious.

Stuffed Onions
Adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast (an AWESOME cookbook)

3 large onions (mine were very big), peeled
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2-3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack, which was very, very good)
1/2 c. chicken broth.

Preheat the oven to 400*F. (See note)

Using a melon baller,  hollow out the centers of the onions, until the sides are about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (I just hollowed mine until the cave in the middle looked sizeable).  Place the onions in a pan (I had to split mine into two pans – an 8×8-inch pan would work, as well as a 9×13-inch pan.  Whatever your onions fit comfortably in).  Pour the chicken broth in the pan (not inside the onions), and cover the pans with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the onions are soft when pierced with a paring knife.

Meanwhile, chop up the onion middles that have been scooped out.  Fry the bacon over medium heat until started to get crispy.  Add the onion, and sauté until soft, 10-15 minutes.  Drain off the fat.  Right before you stuff the onions, mix the cheese into the filling, reserving some to top the onions.

Pour the chicken broth out of the onion pans (reserve this, especially if it is bone broth!  It is now onion flavored).  Fill the onions with the filling, and top with cheese.  Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.

Notes:  The original recipe had you bake the onions (before they are filled) at 450*F.  I baked two of my onions at 450*F, while I baked the other one at 400*F.  The one that I baked at 400*F had a much better color, and I liked how it came out more than the other two.  Either temp should work.

Next time I think I will stir some parsley flakes into the filling.  I was going to this time, but forgot. 🙂

 

On Thursday I cleaned up my room.  This wasn’t just a straighten-up-the-stuff clean up, but a real cleaning.  Going through drawers, and relocating accumulated junk stuff that has just been sitting around for WAY to long, and just needed to be put away.

(Really, there is a point to this.  Just bear with me.)

I cleaned out my vanity and moved it downstairs.  In the corner where it used to be I put a chair and a small table.  It is my new little reading nook! A comfortable spot to do my schoolwork.  Drake and I are sharing the chair, so I get it part of the week, and he gets it the rest of the time. I am really enjoying it!

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My cozy reading nook

 

Have a lovely Lord’s Day!

~Allison

Cupcake #3 and a Few Other Photos

I finished cupcake #3 earlier this week.

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I think it’s fun.  It turned out a bit furrier than I thought it would, but I still like it.

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You can’t see it real well in these pictures, but you can still see the blue part of the cupcake really well, which helps give it shape.  It doesn’t look like the abominable cupcake in real life.

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I took these photos yesterday, since I was planning to post then.  I decided to post them anyway.

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Lucy being cute in the sun.  Just love her!

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Working on a presentation for school.  The mug was full of tea – I’m fighting a NASTY cold.  I had to include this photo, because I liked it.  Not completely sure why. 🙂

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The grain-free graham crackers I was stuffing myself with.  They weren’t half bad, although next time I am going to change a few things.

Look Who I Did School With Today!

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I brought these little cuties in to “help” me with my school work.  They slept on my lap for awhile, then I put them on a blanket beside me, and they continued to sleep their, with a brief interlude of getting cozy.

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Isn’t this one cute? (It’s a girl)

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A little later – sweepin’ (sleepin’ with a soft L)

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Somebody woke up!

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Lucy doesn’t enjoy the kittens “invading” in her territory