Friday, May 27, 2011

Ready to Drink Deeply

We are getting ready to spend several weeks out in Colorado at the National Staff Conference.  I realize spend a lot of my life thinking about feeding... feeding our family, feeding our staff, feeding our students (organic muffins, regular muffins and boxed brownies respectively LOL).  I enjoy planning events and programs, mentoring young women and much of the other various activities of ministry.  One think I don't spend much time doing is reflecting.  I spend time reading my Bible and prayer journaling, but not a significant time examining and reflecting.

One thing I love about the conference (every other year) is the opportunity of be fed myself. To drink deeply of Christ and challenged to think deeply about Him. 

One of the speakers coming is Francis Chan.  I knew the name but never read any of his books or heard his talks.  I just watched this video and it just reminded me of what I'm headed for. 

It's a curious phenomenon.. to be really challenged and yet refreshed. But that is exactly what it is.

I'm thirsty. Bring it on.

Love, Carra

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dangerously Yummy Concoction

I have been known to enjoy a good drink now and then... a coffee drink.  I have a friend who drinks coffee black.  Personally I prefer a little coffee in my cream and sugar.  I remember even as a young girl (pre-age 11 but I can't remember any closer than that), I liked the taste of coffee.

Hardly a connoisseur, I would mix the decaf instant coffee with hot water, then add ridiculous amounts of sugar and milk.  In my "library life" where I worked for almost 10 years, coffee became a part of my (every) week.  There was this awesome, cooler than you coffee shop called Coffee Underground.  It was literally under the street level under an Italian restaurant.  They had a delicious ham and brie sandwich that was truly unparalleled. But I digress. CU introduced me to the dangerous concept of the flavored iced latte.

So years later, at least the "ham" part of ham and brie sandwiches are behind me. But a girl needs some yumminess in her life :-) That's where this concoction comes in.

Cream so thick and rich that it pours like syrup. ...ahhhh yum. Well if you take some decaf coffee (brewed, not instant anymore LOL) and you add real cream (about one part coffee to two parts cream) you get a "milk latte."  But the beautiful taste of the iced flavored lattes of Coffee Underground is the flavored part.  My favorite flavor is vanilla. But I just can't do the pre-made syrups like they put in at coffee shops - corn syrup at the vary least are in those.  So what's a latte-loving (yet granola-natural) girl to do?  Make my own!

Natural Vanilla Syrup
  • Sweetener (one cup of honey or natural sugar)
  • Water (about 1/2 a cup)
  • Pure vanilla extract (tablespoon or so)
  • Vanilla bean specks (see below)

I'm currently soaking some vanilla beans to make extract.  This will be my second time around so I happen to have vanilla beans around the house soaking in vodka tucked in the back of the pantry (needs to be dark).  So I took a bean and opened it up and gently scraped out the vanilla specks from it into my syrup.  It is so cool to look into your coffee and see the specks of real vanilla.

Anyway, bring the first three ingredients to a very low boil for about two minutes. Watch it carefully.  Once it's all smooth, add the specks and vanilla extract..  Add to your latte and enjoy!  I introduced my drink concoction to my staff team last week.  Seems to be a hit.  Bet you'll like it too!

Love, Carra