Weekend Grace, Football and Holiday Edition

by Edie Wadsworth on September 1, 2014

Y’all.  Can I tell you how much I love long weekends?  And long weekends which involve a lot of football?  It’s my love language.  I don’t know how to properly convey to you the excitement that rattles through the air around these parts when football season starts.  We’ve been nervous for days about our young Volunteers but they did us proud last night.  Rocky Top never sounded so good! All 467 times we heard it.  :)

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via Southern Living, the 10 commandments of College Football

It was a pretty good weekend to be stranded with a stress fracture because, well, FOOTBALL!  It also lends itself to reading and writing nonstop, which has become my life.  I’m in a walking boot for a few weeks and I must confess that I did ask my dear orthopedic surgeon friend why in world cam walkers didn’t come in the shape of cowboy boots.  He asked me why in the world I continue running when I end up with a stress fracture or torn muscle every other year.   I told him about how I’d likely land myself in a funny farm in a straight jacket without running, in which case we agreed that a cam walker for a few weeks isn’t so bad after all.

I hope your football teams had a great weekend too and that you’re enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation!

If summer was for monster cookies, then fall is for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.  I never want to face a weekend without them again.  Try them, gentle friends!

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It’s also about time for soups to come on strong at our house so if you haven’t stocked your pantry yet, see my pantry stocking post.

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 It’ll help you get organized enough to get dinner on the table AND it’ll give you a good start on making Italian Sub Soup, the world’s best chili, and one of my personal favorites—chicken pot pie soup.

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For a my favorite early football season fashion, I’m ALL about white jeans.  Stitch Fix sent me a great pair of white skinnies and I have a feeling I’ll be wearing them out for fall.  (Stitch Fix is like Christmas every month.  Find out more here!)  And don’t worry about the supposed rule of no white after Labor Day.  White is for all year round, my friends.  I hereby declare it!  Also, plenty of wristies from Noonday and some cowboy boots will make your fall fashion complete.

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And I’ve been pinning away, looking for great tailgating recipes, fall fashion, and anything related to boots and hospitality.  So follow me.  At your own risk!

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I’m sending out a quick newsletter tonight with a few updates on the writing process, the books that are getting me through, and a family story or two.  Subscribe now if you haven’t!

One last thing not football or fall related.  My friends at Collard Queens have made as finalists for Southern Living’s Put a Bowtie On It contest.  Click here to vote for them in the comments section of the post.  THANK you!!

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I hope to make your meal prep and planning easier by helping you get all the stuff you need for a season of great cooking.  And there’s no better time to embrace cooking at home than fall.  I can hardly contain my excitement! Football food, tailgating, soup, chili, pumpkin everything.  It’s gonna be good, y’all.

Welcome to the well stocked pantry!  (This was originally part of my ebook but has been edited and expanded.)

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

Okay, I’m not saying I’m a hoarder but what I’m saying is—I like a well stocked pantry. My sister hoards paper products  so it runs in the family. At this very moment, she’s probably got 120 rolls of toilet paper. And I could be underestimating here.

But then, who am I to talk, I just bought a case of chicken stock and 14 cans of tomatoes.  And more chicken stock is being added to my grocery list as we speak because as a girl heads into football season, there’s two things she can’t get enough of—her favorite SEC team (Go Vols!) and chicken stock.  There’s Rocky Top chili and Italian Sub Soup to make, dear ones.  I do not want to be caught with my orange and white checkered pants down.

(If you’re more interested in Game Day fashion than Game Day food, visit my friend Melanie, who has attended to all your orange attire needs.)

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

Okay, drum roll please. I almost hate to tell you this because every time I tell someone about my chicken stock, they start hoarding it too and then I can’t get it at my grocery store.  This is not a word of a lie—I drove to 3 different stores in my little town last week in order to get my chicken stock.  Which is why I always buy all they have, be it a carton or a case. Because this brand is amazing. I wish they were paying me to say that, but they aren’t.  It’s better than homemade stock, in my humble opinion. It’s dark and rich and full of tasty goodness. I use it ALL the time in almost everything I cook. I get very nervous when the stash gets low. If you ever wonder what to get me for Christmas, you can never go wrong with this chicken stock. Or something from Tiffany’s. Either one is fine.

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

Kitchen Basics stock—chicken in bulk, a couple beef (I don’t love the vegetable or seafood stock but you might!)
Tomatoes–28 oz cans of San Marzano and 14 oz cans of fire roasted, tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara, spaghetti sauce, Rotel

Canned Beans–black, pintos,garbanzos, cannelini, white northern, chili beans

Dried Beans—navy, pintos, lentils, black
Grains–I keep jasmine, brown rice, wild rice, long grain, risotto, quinoa. Pasta–lasagna noodles, fusilli pasta (I use this for my lasagna soup), macaroni, orzo, spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, barley
Soups—cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of whatever’s on sale, tomato,

Oils–I buy olive oil in large vats, canola, peanut, coconut, sesame, chili oil
Vinegars—red wine, balsamic, distilled, apple cider, rice wine Sauces–chili sauce, Sriracha, cholula, Sweet Baby Ray’s, Country Bob’s, local honey!!!!, maple syrup, various hot sauces, every kind of mustard this side of the Atlantic

Peppers and Olives–chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, roasted red peppers, black olives, green olives, kalamata olives
Bread Crumbs—panko, regular and eye-talian
Jellies and Jars–pepper jelly, apricot, marmalade, pesto, jalapeños, pepperoncinis, pickles, hot cherry peppers

Misc—canned artichokes, canned pumpkin
Nut Butters–I have about 5 varieties of peanut butter, almond butter, and of course,  Nutella.
Nuts–Trader Joe’s has a superb selection of nuts and we keep every kind imaginable on hand.
Dried Fruits–I always keep jumbo raisins, dried cranberries and dried Tart cherries for my cherry chocolate chip cookies!

Don’t forget the onions, potatoes, garlic, and shallots.

There’s no end to the yummy goodness that can be made and shared from a well stocked pantry. Buy in bulk and watch for sales, especially buy one, get one free.  I’ve always got my eye out for pantry items that are on deep discount.

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

With a well-stocked pantry, you eliminate the first road block to cooking. If you have things on hand, you’re much less likely to give in to the temptation of eating out. Your family will be happy and well nourished with good, home-cooked meals and you will be like super woman.  Only without the corset.

Click here to print this list!

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

To make the labels, I just print the words I want in my favorite font (Champignon) on card stock or even regular computer paper, cut them to size and then tape them (with packing tape) onto the containers.  I usually resize the font to 150 ish to get the size I need.   This is a great job for an eager (younger) helper!  I got my containers at Walmart and my local grocery store.

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

The Well Stocked Baking Center is coming next week!

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Something More Than a Miracle

by Edie Wadsworth on August 25, 2014

I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. ~Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

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It was a crisp October day when we stood on the back porch of our brand new house looking out on this near perfect landscape.

We could hardly believe that this was the exact same place we had stood nine months earlier and watched our house burn to the ground.  We were overwhelmed with gratitude at how these ashes had turned to beauty—not just how God has raised up a house, but how He had once again raised  hope in our hearts.  We wanted this house to be a house of blessing.  We prayed that maybe we’d even be able to adopt another child.  We went so far as make an appointment with an attorney because we had always felt this sense that our family wasn’t finished—that we wanted to raise a son together.  I would dream about “him” and in my mind, I knew just where I wanted the nursery.  More than anything else, I wanted the chance to raise a child without the added pressure of working a high stress job.

I already had a name for him.  John Elijah Wadsworth.  We’d call him Jack after C.S. Lewis.

While my dreams for another child were bubbling over in my heart, we kept on living our life.  We homeschooled our girls.  We lived hard in these rooms—cooking, sewing, crafting, reading, learning.  And a few months into enjoying our new place, my husband’s son moved across the country to live with us and get his life back on track.  He moved into our guest room with his oversized backpack, his barrel o’ monkeys mustache, and his heartache.

Those early days were long and hard.  There were so many tears.  There were days we weren’t sure we’d make it.  And we were often unsure if he would.

There was that fight in the garden when he yelled and I cried.  There was that time he ran off and we worried we’d never see him again.  There were those times I should have reached out and didn’t.  All the mistakes, the misunderstandings, the failings.   And then there was that day we made salsa in the kitchen—the first time I thought that maybe, just maybe this was all gonna be okay.  There were those hundreds of meals he and I cooked together.  The food that tastes so good that you know it had to be made by someone who loves you.

And then there was that day.

The one I couldn’t have prepared for in a million years.

The day he left.

I stood outside and watched him load the last of his things.  I promised myself I wouldn’t come apart.  I was so happy for him—that he’d come this far, that he was standing on his own feet so well.   And that’s when I saw the miracle.  God had given me another child to love.   Not one born of my flesh but one so stitched into the fabric of my heart that he will never be anything to me but a son.  I told him how grateful I was for him—how he had so blessed us by being here.   I told him I couldn’t love him anymore if he were my own.  I watched him drive away and cried for two hours straight.

Turns out God answered my prayer.  There was no cute nursery to decorate.  There were no baby blankets to wash.  But the sacredness of this life intertwined in mine is no less a miracle.

And to think I almost missed the  grace of God because it came dressed up like a wayward boy.

Maybe I’m finally learning that grace almost never looks like grace at first glance.

 

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Weekend Grace

August 23, 2014
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I’m over summer.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  We’re heading out on the boat today to meet some friends for a delicious (and greasy) lunch at a nearby marina.  They make THE BEST homemade fries.  But, after that, the dog days are dead to me.  As a matter of fact, I’ve already started knitting hand […]

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The (small) Kitchen Appliance I Never Want to Be Without

August 20, 2014
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I hate to even mention this to some of you who live in the northwest or midwest or northeast and have really short summers but here in the South, all we can think about is fall.  It’s been summer since April here and we’re over it.  AND?  It’s almost football season (Glory Hallelujah!) which means […]

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A Pep Talk For Your Inner 7th Grader

August 18, 2014
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“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”~C.S. Lewis I spoke at a women’s conference last weekend, which besides being a wonderful place of inspiration and creativity, can be the scariest place on earth. A conference where 550 women descended with their cute shoes and their cool […]

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The One Thing You Can Do

August 15, 2014
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“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” She comes into my office and I barely notice. I sit at my desk too numb to even think, nearly hopeless, while my coffee goes cold. I’m glued to the screen.  I scroll […]

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Around the Table

August 13, 2014
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“How to announce the return of comfort and well-being except by cooking something fragrant. That is what her mother always did. After every calamity of any significance she would fill the atmosphere of the house with the smell of cinnamon rolls or brownies, or with chicken and dumplings, and it would mean, This house has […]

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Mom Failures, Mom Guilt, and How I Find Peace

August 11, 2014
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Sometimes all I see are my failures as a mom. She left a note by my computer that said, “Mom is tired.  Mom is always tired, but it’s okay.  She’s writing a book.” And just like that, I’m a complete mess.  All choked up, tears dripping on my computer, thinking back on the last few […]

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S’mores Bars

August 6, 2014
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Well.  I can’t give you a good reason why we’ve been friends all these years and I’m just now getting around to sharing this recipe.  It’s a good one—one that we make it several times every summer, in between all the actual s’mores making and the monster cookies. My peeps LOVE these and once you […]

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How We Made the Most of Summer

August 5, 2014
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Capri Sun provided free product for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. Well.  Here in East Tennessee there’s only a handful of summer days left.  I think we went ALL  in.  I feel equal parts rested and spent. As sad it I am to see summer fading, I’m […]

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Clear Eyes, Full Heart

August 4, 2014
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My eyes couldn’t take it all in last night. It may have been the most beautiful barn in the world, surrounded outside by an abundance of hydrangeas, lantana, and gorgeous urns full of summer’s bounty.  The stained concrete floors, the rich wood walls and ceilings, the antler chandeliers, and one hundred pairs of the world’s […]

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07: The Life You Love Manifesto|A Life of Service [Podcast]

July 21, 2014
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This is the last installment of a 7 part series on Creating the Life You Love.  Today we’re talking about the  pinnacle of what it means to live a happy and fulfilled life—living a life for others.  Hope you’ll tune in and if it’s helpful for you I hope you’ll share it with your friends. […]

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‘Round Here in July

July 14, 2014
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Well, it’s been a whirlwind, in the best kinda way.  We’ve had lots of company, lots of good food, lots of fun and sun, and a whole lotta laughs.  The only thing we’ve been short on is sleep, as far as I can tell. I can say that this morning I feel a little like […]

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My Not-So-Pinterest Life {and a memoir giveaway}

July 1, 2014
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I met Emily in person last year at Allume.  I’m pretty sure she’s part angel.  I know you’ll love her, too.  I am honored to welcome her to the blog today as she launches her memoir Atlas Girl into the world.  I continue to be in awe of people who tell their stories with courage […]

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