Tag: Bread and Wine

Soul Food for Darker Days

It’s here – the darker season. We’ve turned the clocks back. The days are shorter, colder, cloudier.

Halloween is over, but Thanksgiving isn’t here yet.

We don’t have the lovely snow of winter to distract us and the gray days can make us feel a little Eyore-ish.


Hang in there! You’re gonna be ok.


Last Sunday was All Saints Day, when we as a church remember the “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us. At our church we have a time of reflection and prayer as we scroll through pictures of those who have died this past year on the screens. This is a song that our worship leader, Heather Moen sang. It was beautiful and comforting.


Ironically, I was set to post a soup recipe, when I re-read this delightful quote in Shauna’s Bread and Wine that is just perfect:

“Soup is cold-weather-dark-sky food. Soup is peasant food – odds and ends, bits and pieces, a way to stretch a piece of meat or a handful of rice… Soup is the wool sweater, not the little black dress. It’s the cardigan with elbow patches, not the pressed shirt and tie.”

This soup recipe isn’t from her, but is a favorite from Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin Mushroom Soup (I know mushrooms aren’t everyone’s jam, but my husband loves them!)

4 TB butter

1 TB (or less) curry powder

1 lb mushrooms sliced

1 lg onion chopped

1/3 cup flour

4 cups chicken broth

2 #1 cans pumpkin

5 TB honey

salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in lg. pot. Add curry powder and cook 1 min. Add mushrooms & option and sauté.

Stir in flour and cook 3 min.

Sitr in chicken broth and pumpkin

Brind to boil and simmer 20 minutes.

Sitr in honey and simmer 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Can garnish with sour cream.

Makes 10 generous servings.


I wrote a post awhile ago about wanting to hear/see the better stories…the ones that inspire us to something higher. There are three movies based on true stories that I have loved lately. Take a look:

Victoria and Abdul


Goodbye Christopher Robin

And my movie maven friend, Heather, also recommended this one. I read the book and am going to see the movie today:

Same Kind of Different as Me

What have you seen or read lately that has been uplifting? Share in comments?

Have a great weekend!

What are You Longing For? Bread and Wine, part 2

There’s a fire in the kitchen fireplace and candles are still flickering, empty wine glasses wait to be washed and crumbs are on the wooden countertop – evidence of hastily bagged leftovers I urged friends to take as they wrestled into coats and boots to head home after our dinner together.

It’s 9:15 and John’s not home yet, and the snow is piled high outside my window.  The serving platters are empty, but I am full.

Here’s what I did.  Remember my little group of women than God totally orchestrated and drew together around what we thought would be a book study and then it ended up being about so, so much more?  A young single, a personal trainer/professional cheerleader, a stay-at-home mom, a social worker, a pre-school teacher…But “titles” are deceiving! Well, that’s the group that came over for dinner on a Wednesday night recently.  Shauna’s new book, Bread and Wine was our excuse for gathering.


Heather, who’s newly engaged and also a fan of Shauna’s writing, made the Bacon Wrapped Dates and the Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Butter Toffee, and I made the the Green Well Salad, and Risotto because I never had and we have one gluten-free gal and I knew everyone would forgive me if it didn’t turn out.


Before the evening arrived I asked my friends to think about a question from Shauna’s chapter, “Enough” – Have you ever longed for something?  What helped you through that season of longing?  What are things that prompt discontent in you?”

We all (except maybe Heather) loved the bacon wrapped dates, and those who are Risotto vets kindly said I did it “right”.  We over-dressed the salad, and never got around to talking about the specific question I had thrown out, but none of that really matters, like what you watched on T.V. last night doesn’t really matter.

What matters is how we hugged and laughed and said what’s important.  We oohed and ahhed over Heather’s new engagement details.  We celebrated with Molly who was leaving the next day to visit her daughter who’s studying in Italy, and we looked into the eyes of another asking about the Hard Thing.

What do you long for?

We never asked that question, but we answered it with our hearts and eyes and ears all night.

Isn’t “community” one of the answers we’d all give?  I love the way Shauna writes of this:

“We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend.  We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble.  We come to the table because our hunger brings us there.  We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity…The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children…Come to the table.”

This coming to the table takes courage, but like our little band of intrepid women and our couples’ covenant group, and the families we’ve done life with over the past 25 years have discovered, it is the place where God serves up true soul food and your longings are met in Him and through His people.

Come to the table indeed.

Bread and Wine, part 1

First, a Disclaimer:   I was totally predisposed to love Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist’s newest book, coming out in a couple weeks.


Shauna’s mom is a dear friend of mine.  And Shauna’s faith journey has been similar to one of my daughter’s so she’s the one I sent desperate emails to, begging for advice during a clueless season of parenting.

Also, I’m crazy about Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet – her first two books – which I think are lovely and insightful.  Her just-right word pictures and conversational style and authenticity inspire me as a writer.  In fact I love her writing so much that I have this uber paranoia that someday I’m going to write something and it’s going to inadvertently be a phrase she wrote that I liked and swirled around in my brain so much that eventually I thought it was mine.  And she’ll call, and be like, “Uh, Laura…” and I’ll be mortified.

So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let me say that Bread and Wine is totally wonderful, but a little different.  It is a collection of essays about the meals that draw us together and what they can teach us.  Included with almost every chapter is a recipe.

What is different is that it is a smidge more of a food writer’s book than I expected, but don’t let that deter you.  The warm and honest Shauna who reflects on faith and not being perfect comes through.  I definitely think you should buy the book and savor it and throw a party or a shower.  Or bless someone with  a pan of “Annette’s Enchilada’s”.

Many will read Bread and Wine, and as they do, breathe a sigh of Oh, Phew!  I’m not the only one!” as Shauna revisits some of the pain she’s written about in her first two books.  Her authenticity is what draws readers in.  It’s a gift.

However there are also many, many lists of friends and food – a devoted community gathered around lovely meals.  You may read this book and be tempted to think, “Oh, I love Shauna!  I want her life!  But I will never have friends like that or meals that flow so naturally with laughter and meaningful conversation!”


Don’t go there.

Be inspired, but don’t let this book suck you into a comparison game that leaves you feeling like you can only truly exist vicariously through a hip young mama with a life lived large.

Instead, do what Shauna suggests, and celebrate your own.  Use it as a chance to gather some old friends (or invite some new ones) together and crowd into the kitchen, and try out some recipes.

“Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to tell someone you love them and dinner’s at six.  I want you to throw open your front door and welcome the people you love into the inevitable mess with hugs and laughter.”


If you’re not a foodie (or even if you are) don’t take yourself too seriously.  If you get it wrong, be prepared to laugh and figure it’s a good story you’ll tell someday.

If you are a foodie (or even if you’re not), remember it’s not about the food primarily.  The recipes are wonderful, but they’re an excuse and a putter-at-easer…a means to creating a nurturing space conducive to community.  So be intentional.  Make it about more than food.  Use the discussion questions at the back of the book or make up your own.

I’ll share Wednesday about what happened around my table…

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