Page 71: Valentine’s Weekend 2016

I first wrote of my love of Valentine’s Day earlier in the month. I believe in love. I believe that it is a powerful and healing force. I also don’t believe that love is only for people who have squishy, lovey dovey feelings at each other. I think that love begets love—in action and in feelings.

So on Saturday, I had some of my best lady friends and their best lady friends over for a Galentine’s Day brunch. We ate a lot of carbs, listened to this playlist, gave one another gifts, read to each other, talked about the hard stuff and the cheap stuff and it was wonderful and lovely. I got barely any photographs because I was having too much fun.


And a lot of people asked me for the recipe for the frittata that I made. Which is sometimes hard for me to do as I barely follow a recipe. I mostly just follow my instincts. But I remember everything exactly this time. So if you’re interested in a recipe with no photographs to back up the lovelieness of this dish and you’re willing to just trust me, here you go!

Galentines Day Brunch Frittata
(Served the 11 people at my house with about 25% leftover)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
2 or three large handfuls of fresh spinach
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
light sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded itallian cheese blend
10 medium-sized eggs
¼ cup half-and-half
1 ½ tablespoon seasoning of your choice. I used McCormic’s Belgian Style White Ale spice blend (which I love because of the combination of citrus flavors and bold pepper).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

I used my 12” cast iron skillet—it’s important to use an oven-proof skillet, however. If your oven-proof skillet is smaller than this, I recommend scaling back on the eggs because that will create a more veggie-dense dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Over medium high heat, warm olive oil and add sweet potatoes. Cook for several minutes until they just begin to soften and brown. Add in onions and red peppers and stir to coat with oil.
Once onions begin to sweat and soften, stir in spinach. It will feel like way too much spinach but once it begins to cook down, it will shrink up considerably. Stir in nutmeg, salt, and red pepper flakes and turn off heat.
Stir the mixture around so that everything appears evenly distributed throughout the pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, and whatever seasoning you would like.
Slowly, pour the egg mixture over the veggie mixture in the pan. Do not stir! Sprinkle the feta over the top and quickly move the pan into the oven.
Bake at 350*–checking at 30 minutes for doneness. The frittata is done when it begins to brown around the edges and when you shake the pan and the center barely jiggles. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to ensure that the eggs are all set up.

After that, my husband and I cleaned up only the most important food items, packed our bags, and drove to Wichita where he’d booked a room and I’d made dinner reservations.

I don’t foresee the rest of our Valentine’s Day celebrations going so extravagantly but between me recently moving to a work-from-home position and our house being in a not-that-relaxing, there-is-so-much-to-be-done state of affairs, Ryan thought it might be best for us to just get out of the house for a night. Which was the right move, if you ask me.

I was/ am obsessed with this grey chair. I want one just like it at my house.


Funny story, though! As soon as we walked into the hotel lobby we found that not only were we staying here but also hundreds of young teenagers! Someone thought that Valentine’s Day Weekend would be the perfect time to book a bunch of teenagers into a fancy hotel for a youth conference!

I had to be very active in recognizing that my expectations are my own business. Maybe I expected to not have screaming kids outside of my door all weekend long—I didn’t run that by anyone else. It’s not their fault I had that idea. They had other ideas. Ryan and I put ourselves into their positions. Being a kid at a youth conference was one of my greatest joys in my childhood and we were going to let them enjoy it. I didn’t stick my head out of my door and scream “shut the hell up already!” even one time! With that perspective shift, I was able to laugh with them instead of scream at them. I’m proud of that.

Also, since we are usually stay-at-home on Valentines Day people, we didn’t realize that my favorite restaurant was going to transform into a seriously expensive, extra fancy place for the weekend! It is no exaggeration to say that we ended up spending more than either of us had ever spent on a meal, before.


I was really proud of the way that we rolled with the punches, though. Rather than getting upset and anxious, which is my natural way, we found a way to just go with it, enjoy ourselves, and not stress at all. And in the end, you know what? We had an excellent time! And our entire dinner was decadent and inspiring (I ate a grilled salad, you guys!!). There wasn’t a single part of it that I didn’t love. The place was packed, too. God bless those servers.

Then, because we weren’t quite ready to go back to the room just yet, we stopped at the hotel bar.


The next morning we slept in so late and watched tv and took long showers. We went to brunch and then to stall going home, we went out for more coffee, and stopped at a bookstore where I found this beautiful copy of Flannery O’Connor stories. I’d given away my original copy so I was really excited to find this magnificent replacement.IMG_7411IMG_7419IMG_7420IMG_7443


And now it’s back to every day real life. It was such an exciting weekend! It was a constant exercise in c’est la vie.

So after that lux, relaxing weekend, this announcement! We are moving to a new house this weekend!! With that being said, things might be really quiet around here for the next few weeks while I get my house and my office set up but I promise that when I come back, it will be so good. Thank you for sticking with me though this transitional phase.

What do you think about Valentine’s Day? Did you do anything to celebrate? Tell us about it!


Page Thirty-Seven: Honing Some Skills

So, last week Joy The Baker opened up a contest of sorts on her blog wherein she partnered with King Arthur Flour. There will be four baking challenges and that’s pretty exciting. Winning or not winning, I am not that concerned with it. Is it cheesy to say “we’re all winners”? It might be. I’m leaving it.

Anyway, for the very first session, we were challenged to make this Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread (there’s a recipe on that link). And I did it. And I loved it so much.

I love to cook. You all know this. I feel like I’m okay at throwing together a dinner (though my current rut is driving me bananas) together but baking I struggle with. I am not a perfectionist at all and baking is as much science as it is delicious so we don’t always get along. But I want to get better at it! I want to stretch myself and develop more skills. That’s why I agreed to this challenge. Because we all need a bit of a challenge every now and again.

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So I made this bread and sure, it was delicious. That was a given. I mean, Joy The Baker is the developer of utterly flawless recipes. But what I liked the most was the sense of accomplishment that I felt when it all came together. It’s not easy! I needed Ryan’s help in a spot or two. I broke a dish at one point (sorry, favorite coffee mug). It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t the kind of thing that I would have ever made on my own (it’s hard to talk yourself into doing a project like this when it’s just you and your boyfriend in the house). But it felt so good. And then it felt good to bring it to a friend’s house later that night where we broke this bread, together.

Here’s to accepting our challenges.

xoxo, Lib.

Page Twelve: Breakfast

I am the kind of person who likes to have a pretty intentional breakfast. If I don’t have a legitimate breakfast before work, then I’ll be so hungry at lunch time that I will eat all of the things.


To complicate matters, I have never really been a lover of cereal. In my formative years, I went dairy free for a while and during that time, I just never really developed a cereal-as-breakfast habit. Back in those days, soy milk and almond milk and other dairy-free options weren’t totally available in my tiny town grocery store. So my mom would stock up on boxes of rice milk whenever we went into town and I hated it. I could choke it down if I had to, and I probably wouldn’t mind it as much as an adult but I couldn’t bring myself to pour it on my cereal on the daily. I got real into toast, though. Mostly toast and peanut butter.

These days it’s toast and smashed avocado with a tiny sprinkling of sea salt. That’s my ideal breakfast. A close second is a scrambled egg and sliced tomato with salt and pepper. I don’t tend to steer toward sweets for breakfast unless they have a lot of, I guess, health food components that I know are going to keep me full and nourished. Like extra nuts or wheat germ or dried fruits. Oatmeal, by the way, totally falls under the “sweets” category for me but probably not for anyone else. So this is what I’ll eat in a perfect world. But that world doesn’t exist, today, because payday is tomorrow. Which means that the fridge is getting a smidge low and it’s time to get creative.

There are no eggs, no bread, obviously no avocado. All of the sugar cereal has been on my shelf for, not kidding, a year. So I’m not eating that. No oatmeal. But what’s that way back in my cupboard? Grits. Hmm… grits is essentially cream of wheat, right? And that’s totally a breakfast food. Okay. So, grits. So we’re having grits for breakfast. Like cowboys or something. I’m not really sure of the demographic that regularly noshes on grits for breakfast.

Then I went through my cupboard and pretty much took out a spoonful of anything that would offer me some nutritional benefit.


A spoonful of almond butter for protein, a big scoop of wheat germ for all of the things (I am an enormous advocate for wheat germ, add it to anything you can think of. I even put it on ice cream.), and a drizzle of agave because I want it to be a little sweet but I don’t want my blood sugar to go crazytown bananapants while I’m at work. And then I just threw in a few other things for flavor on whatever whim happened to stop by.

I have to tell you that I’m going to be adding grits to my regular breakfast routine. Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention.

Grits for Breakfast for One

1 c. watter
1/4 c. quick cooking grits
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. nut butter
1 T. wheat germ
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. agave nectar or honey

Bring water to a boil in a small pan, add vanilla extract and grits and stir. Turn heat down to low and continue to stir until grits reach desired consistency.Remove from heat, stir in extras and top with a splash of milk.

What else could we add to it?
Has necessity ever delivered you something delicious?