Bacon Blueberry and Maple Cupcake

Image from The Copper Hen Instagram

Today calls for some serious foodie play. Usually by this time in the week the baking triumphs of the weekend have run out – the cookie jar is empty and everyone is looking a little forlorn. So to bring joy back to our home I am going to try my version of this fabulous looking cupcake which appeared many moons ago on The Copper Hen’s Instagram account. My man and I visited this place last year and developed a major crush on their food vision. I even love the name- The Copper Hen Cakery and Kitchen. You can read my previous blog post about our visit here.

So I am going to gather some maple syrup, some blueberries, bacon and the best baking ingredients and create this little number. Yum.

Home at Last

It is the end of a busy week. The week my eldest kiddo finishes school. Exams are just around the corner. This week has been about dinners, specials services, awards, speeches and some ‘controlled’ dressing up and fun. Do I remember my year 12 end of year celebration? Yes. Was it meaningful? Probably not in the way it should have been.

I have been thinking about what you tell your child on the cusp of 13 years of schooling coming to an end. What do we as parents want for our kids as they move onto the next thing, a new chapter, a new independent life? As always it is easy to reflect on all the things I don’t want him to do – don’t get caught up in the freedom and allow it to take you on its own journey. Be present, be mindful and be intentional. With your time, emotions and actions.

Hopefully what we have provided for our kids is a home. A safe, refuge from the challenges of life, in a world that is humming at a rapid rate. A place where grace, love, hospitality and generosity can be experienced. A place of joy, sorrow and forgiveness – a home. As they leave home to do the next thing, they need to know that home is still there, for them. But they are now in the business of creating their own ‘home’. I hope that home for him, for you and me  home is like Josh Garrels song, Home at Last. I leave you with the lyrics and a link to the song here:

Who is that at the end of lonesome roads
All of us hope there’s a home
Place to rest where wounds get dressed
The table’s full the sound of laughter in the halls

Light the fire gather round
Join together sing it loud
Raise the glass and joyful be
Home at last one family

We’re all orphans looking for an open door

Hard times come no more
Come on up to the house of the Lord
Father adopts us all

Light the fire gather round
Join together sing it loud
Raise the glass and joyful be
Home at last one family


Image from stemwomen

There is nothing new about giving voice to the myriad of obstacles facing women each day – women at work, in leadership, in education. The simple fact that I am a woman brings me immense blessing, joy and opportunity. But as history attests it also brings with it considerable challenge, sorrow and disadvantage.

By being a woman I am different to half of the population. 
And by being woman, that difference means I am unconsciously fighting for opportunity and experience every day. 
By being a woman I am working hard to have my voice heard in the midst of the testosterone mumbles and rumbles.
By being a woman I am facing  a strong media force that populates, stereotyped images of what a ‘woman’ should look like everyday.  
And I am battling against a mentality that men do things better  – in the workplace, in the church, in life.

Jared Mauldin, a senior mechanical engineering student at Eastern Washington University wrote an open letter that outlined the reasons why his female colleagues would never be equal. By being a woman in STEM there were disadvantages for her, simply by being a woman.

His intentions appear to be genuine. He wants more men to see the issues and name them. You can read Mauldin’s letter here. In essence he doesn’t say anything new. He just happens to be a man, a young man saying it as it is. This gender thing is complicated. It is a circus and we are all a part of it. I take this young man’s letter to be a small but important part of a journey that we are all in, to make things better, fairer and more equal for everyone.

Looking good

Image from here.

I heard a woman talking the other day about how she looked good. Really good. From a distance.

The strange thing is that we all look good from a distance. All the unsightly ugliness tends to blend from afar. Our shape and form is less clear, that hair that is not in place, the wrinkles and creases, the odd love handle is obscured when we are a few blocks away.

But as you approach not only do the physical blemishes draw your focus but up close you know more of me – my smell, my demeanor, the tone and sound of my voice, the language I chose to use, my gestures. And each one of these characteristics reveal me, my heart. Up close I am looking less good.

Many of us, women especially keep others at a distance. Relationships stay safe that way. You don’t ever get to know the real me – the good, bad and ugly- and I don’t have to reveal it to you. We look good from a distance. We play safe but there is no real investment, no real love, no opportunity for grace, wisdom to serve or need for forgiveness and acceptance. The reality is that no one looks good. Up close we are a fuzzy mess of failure and disappointment.

Looking good is really a heart thing. It is allowing people to know us and inviting them into our space, our world and our community.And that is not the random gal down the road who ‘looks’ like she is doing it hard. It is inviting them to love us, the unlovely. It is you and me. We are the unlovely.

The invitation to look good is there for you and me. We need radical surgery of the heart. Thank goodness God gave us a way in JC. The ultimate, good looking heart surgeon.

Ditch the Bucket List

Where did this idea of a bucket list come from? I don’t recall it being a feature of my youth. Possibly it is a ‘thing’ for older people who feel the speed of time and age catapulting them into an vortex of regret and no return. I confess the notion of a bucket list has always sat uneasily with me – No…I don’t want to go parachuting or climb  Everest, or kiss on the top of the Empire State Building or learn Japanese or run a marathon. Not really. So why the  big hurrah with the bucket list?

I think it is a sign of discontentment. (If you want to think more about this idea there is a good series here.) It is a symptom of this world not being good enough, this lifestyle or season we find our self in not meeting our expectations, so we have something bigger and better to look forward to. A holiday, an experience, a new skill learned. But the reality is none of this dreamer activity will save you or me. I suspect it makes our desire for more stuff, more people, more experience insatiable. Our bucket will be never be full in our own strength.

The bucket list points to humankind’s inability to be the source of our own contentment. Sure a few activities and fun people make life really amazing. But there will always be that nagging feeling of life not being enough, without something bigger, something divine. It is a God thing.

Pretty powerful

Image from Bobbi Brown

In 2013, Bobbi Brown  launched the Pretty Powerful Campaign for Women & Girls, a global initiative dedicated to funding nonprofit organisations that strive to empower women and girls through education.

I love that she celebrates beauty in all its weird and wonderful ways. Age, race, style know no bounds. How can you help other women and girls in your local area to celebrate and connect to this idea of a pretty powerful campaign? I have been thinking a lot about these ideas.

You are pretty and powerful. Don’t you forget it.

You can make these too….

Is it too warm for crumpets? I think of crumpets as warm weather food, laden with butter and honey and a hot cup of tea. But I urge you to think outside the square and try this little beauty.

This is not my first time making a crumpet. I think I played with an old school Women’s Weekly recipe back when I was a wee girl. But this recent find has convinced me it is worth the effort. Look out for some larger ‘crumpet’ rings in your local home store. If you have the standard metal egg ring at home that will do as well.

Dry Ingredients:
450gms bread flour
3 teaspoons yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons  salt

Liquid Ingredients:
650ml warm milk
an extra 100ml milk with 1/2 teaspoon Bi Carb soda added

1. Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly and make a well.
3. Pour half the warm milk and mix.
3. Add remaining warm milk and beat until smooth.
4. Cover bowl with a tea towel or glad wrap and allow to double in size.
5. When doubled add the extra milk/bi carb mix and beat until combined.
6. Leave batter for 40 minutes.
7. Heat frying pan and grease crumpet rings and pan.
8. Spoon in mixture and allow to cook until holes form on the surface and the top dries out. (Keep heat on medium – this may take a little time so be patient.) Turn crumpet over and cook until set.
9. Place crumpets on cooling rack.
10. Crumpets can be toasted to serve. They keep well for a2 days in the fridge or a great in the freezer.

* Don’t skimp on the time in step 6, as you need the second resting time to get really light and airy crumpets.
**If you cannot find crumpet rings use your old school metal egg rings – you will just have smaller crumpets.
*** I am sure you could adapt this recipe to use in your Thermomix.

R u ok?

Image and words from Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage is not always loud and brash. Courage won’t always talk about itself. It will do its work. Quietly. I found this thought for the day on twitter via @nicolechard. And it is perfect.

Some days are harder than they are meant to be. And this takes you by surprise. You know?

There is a lot of awareness and media about mental health this week. Ask that person, you know who she or he is – r u ok? Hopefully they will have the courage to try again tomorrow. To get through the day, again. May your words and gentle acts of kindness make the world a better place.