Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Milk Street Magazine Review

Disclaimer:  I have not been asked by Milk Street Magazine to review its product.  Nor have I received any sort of compensation for trying and/or reviewing their magazine.

Chris and I have been big fans of  Christopher Kimball and the several cooking magazines he has launched.  In the past we have enjoyed Cook's Illustrated for its nearly scientific approach to cooking; Cook's Country for its more homey and American style; and the America's Test Kitchen show on PBS.  After some in-fighting between corporate types within the Cook's Illustrated, Christopher Kimball left and has just recently launched a new company entitled Milk Street.  Of course, being fans, we decided we'd check out Kimball's newest offering.

So far we have tried nearly every recipe offered in the Charter and subsequent first issue.  The approach is very Kimballesque with scientific precision and detailed descriptions of techniques.  The difference in this magazine is that Kimball has taken an even broader sweep into international cuisine and made it completely accessible to the home cook.  Being the international foodies we are, we were very interested to dive in and get cooking. Every recipe we have attempted has been an enormous success and will go into our regular menu rotations.  The entire family has enjoyed trying some entirely new cuisines and are looking forward to what Milk Street has to offer in the future.

Thai Beef Salad May/June 2017

Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage May/June 2017

Japanese Fried Chicken May/June 2017 

Sweet and Spicy String Beans May/June 2017

Chiang Mar Chicken May/June 2017

Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites) Charter Issue

Chinese Chili and Scallion Noodles May/June 2017

We've also tried Fluffy Olive Oil Scrambled Eggs,  Thai-Style Coleslaw with Mint and Cilantro from the Charter Issue and Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake from the May/June 2017 issue.  Thank you for the inspiration Milk Street!

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

On My Heart Today

As often as I consider deleting Facebook it's surprising how many things I come across that show me Facebook can actually be a blessing in many ways.  This morning as I scrolled through Facebook three items popped up which struck and blessed my day.

The first was an article entitled "10 Things My Mom Told Me As a Kid That Give Me Confidence as an Adult".  Amazingly this article is from a secular source but one of the things mentioned was, "I'm Praying for You."  I pray for our kids everyday, but I really don't tell them that.  You know what, they actually need to know that they are on our hearts and in our prayers.

The second item was my daily reminder to pray the Sacred Heart Novena which began yesterday.  I have a really important intention I'm praying for right now and as I scrolled through the promises associated with devotion to the Most Sacred Heart I drew comfort especially from these two: I will give peace in their families, uniting families that are divided and Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.  Such beautiful promises, no?

The final post I took to heart was posted by Doug Barry, founder of Radix and Battle Ready, and who appears regularly on EWTN. This is what he posted along with a picture of him with his daughter when she was a toddler:

This is my adorable daughter, many years ago. She will be married later this year. She is precious to me as are all of my children, including my daughter in-law and soon to be son in-law. They are one of the main reasons I wake up every morning thinking about how I can defend the Catholic Faith. I want them to see a father who is a fighter for what is noble and sacred. I want them to have the experience of a mentor who daily tries to grow, learn and pass on the truth with zeal and conviction. I have made mistakes. I am a sinner. But even and especially in those times I want them to see what it means to persevere, run to God's mercy and get back on the battlefield! I do this for the souls of generations that are to come after me, especially those that God has placed directly in my path such as my children. I am honored to be a father. I love being a father and I love these children that God has blessed me with!!

Wonderfully expressed and so true! This is exactly what I aspire to be as a mother to these children we've been given.  May God give me the graces for it to be so.

Inspired by these three posts I messaged each of our adult children.  I let them know I was praying for them. Specifically, I am offering the Novena to the Most Sacred Heart for them.  I wrote them that I love them, and now, with the help of God's grace, I hope to be the mother God made me to be to each of them.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

What 26 Years of Marriage has Taught Me

Chris and I celebrate 26 years of marriage this week.  We have been married more than half our lives and have known each other since we were 18 years old. We have grown up together and God Willing we will grow old together.  I find that a significantly comforting thought.  Married life is certainly a challenge, especially today when the divorce rate in America hovers near 50 percent and marriage and family are under constant attack in our culture.  Marriage takes real effort on the part of both parties.

26 years of marriage has taught me:

--To put others before myself.

--To give without counting the cost or keeping score.

--To have real gratitude for having Chris as a part of my life.

--To be more patient and forbearing.

--To not always feel like I have to be right.

--To feel awe and wonder at the working of the Holy Spirit in our marriage, especially since we did not start our married life within the Church and only came to our senses about how desperately we both needed God a few years into our marriage.

--To say "I'm sorry" and to say it quickly with no brooding upon whatever wrongs, real or imagined, I've felt afflicted with.  I've found the sooner I say I'm sorry the better I feel.  It always feels like a huge burden has been lifted from me as soon as the words are spoken.

Married love is so much more than feeling in love.  It's more stable. It's more satisfying.  It's more sacrificial.  It's more awe-inspiring.

Today I give thanks for the gift of our marriage.  Living out my vocation as wife and mother has indeed been a most blessed and happy experience.  I pray for God's graces to be continually poured into our marriage and family and that through our vocation we might be invited at the end of all things to the Lamb's High Feast.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

My brother, sister, and I grew up watching Wonder Woman on Network Television.  It was such a great, campy show and for us Linda Carter was the perfect actress to portray the title heroine.

Chris and I had read some mixed reviews of the new movie, but thought we'd go ahead and see it for ourselves. For a comic book-brainless fun-popcorn flick, we really enjoyed it.

This is an origin story and which begins with Diana as a young girl among the Amazons.  Diana's adoptive mother Hippolyta, played by Connie Nielsen, attempts to prevent young Diana from training as a warrior with Hippolyta's sister Antiope, played by Robin Wright.  Antiope, hinting at a dark secret which Diana must not learn, trains the girl on the sly.  Fast forward several years and Diana's training comes to light and is finally approved by Hippolyta.  As her training progresses, Diana begins to realize she has hidden strengths and powers her Amazon sisters do not.

Soon after Diana discovers her new talents she rescues a pilot from drowning after his plane is shot down just off the coast of the mysterious island the Amazons occupy.  After questioning the pilot Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, it is revealed he is a spy fighting against the Germans during WWI.  The Amazons, having isolated themselves from the world, are reluctant to let Steve return to the war and are set against interfering in the war, much to Diana's disappointment. Diana refuses to back down from her desire to help bring an end to the war and helps Steve escape and travels with him to London. In London they are joined by several side characters and embark on a quest to stop an evil German general, a mad scientist, and the war.

Visually, this movie was stunning and I loved the decision to place the origin story during WWI instead of the traditional WWII of the comic book series.  The costumes were amazing and Gal Gadot was absolutely, gorgeously, perfect as the new Wonder Woman.  I enjoyed the plot, but like so many other comic book movies, it did get a tad outrageous toward the end.  Many of the fight sequences were enhanced digitally in post production and I found the use of CGI to be overdone and distracting.  Wonder Woman/Diana Prince was a wonderfully done character.  She was strong, beautiful, heroic, and idealistic. Unfortunately, there is a fairly lengthy scene in which Chris Pine is apparently completely nude (important anatomy is basically covered), some sexual innuendo in the dialogue, and a scene in which the viewer is left with the perception that the two main characters have slept together.  For these reasons, I will not be allowing our teenage daughters or little guys to see this movie, which is a real shame because it was truly fun to see such a strong and virtuous heroine in a contemporary film.

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