Opening the Door to Autumn's Harvest


For the next two weeks here at Redeeming the Table, we will be opening the door to all things Autumn.  This is from recipes to pinterest findings to meal plannings and more.  I have a guest post in store and would love to hear from you in the comment section on how you open the door to Autumn's Harvest as well.  

I simply adore this time of year as summer is passing and the crisp air sets in with the aroma of stew wafts in the air.  If you do too, join me and don't forget to add in your thoughts and ideas to share as the days pass.

Day 2: How to Make Scrambled Eggs (Visual Recipe)

Day 3: How to puree your own pumpkin & make a 'better than Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Day 4: Four Time Saving Ways to Feed Your Family Well (Guest Post)

Day 5: How to Make Homemade Almond Milk

What is your favorite part(s) about Autumn?

How to Fill Your Home with Peace



These days entering into the first week of Advent, I've been thinking about how life can be filled with busyness leading to the 25th.  The to do lists are endless.  I ask myself, "How can I fill my home with peace looking toward the hay strewn manager? How do I fill my own heart with this peace, to know this peace?"

Returning from Thanksgiving, Ben & I began discussing what traditions/festivities/practices we wanted to incorporate into our family breath.  One of our values is not to add more busyness for the sake of keeping a tradition, simply because we've done it before, or feel like we "need" to do.  How does this month differ from the other 11 months out of the year?  How do we add value & meaning for our girls, without making us go crazy from doing something  

For me, it's about those tired sojourners making their way to a shanty stable, where the lowly Shepherds were the first to receive the announcement from God on High.  It's about finding ways to lead my girls there, others there & myself there.  It's living in anticipation of what is to come.  Oh, I've never quite known this reality of what's to come.  How my soul longs for what is to come.  How we live in the here but not yet.  

It's that our hearts were never designed to long for this broken place.  Hearts constantly trying to find our way back to the garden, where ultimate peace lay.  

The baby.  

Years of waiting.  Finally, the shepherds, the wise men, Mary & Joseph, Simeon & Anna the prophetess see the fulfillment of the promise, spoken moons before, as the gate to the garden was sealed shut...for then.  

They lived in the here but not yet.  

Our hearts, our bodies, our being lives in this tension, as we wait for the coming King to redeem it all.  The tension being that we still live here.  How then, do we find the Sovereign amidst the broken fragments?  How do we find the peace amidst the chaos?  Do we see the mercy laying like dew on the morning grass of our children saying "thank you" and searching for their sister's blankie to comfort?  

Are you adding tradition upon tradition because that's what you "feel" you need to do, while adding more "busyness" to life?  Are you feeling like you lack traditions & practices in your home, thus feel a failure?  Do what you love & that will spread to your children.  As my friend Logan realized, if we are not loving the ones whom we've been given to care for, all to create "hospitality" for others, is it really hospitality?  


Tips for Creating & Cutting Traditions

1. Write down all that you have done in the past.

2. What are essential items in your mind, the ones you value the most.

3. Make an A, B, C list, with 'A' being important & urgent, 'B' being important but not urgent, & 'C' being not urgent & not important.  

4. Those in the 'C' list might be writing a Christmas letter.  It's nice to do, but not urgent or important.  Again, this depends on your family.

5. Know your stress level, your spouses' stress level, and your children's.  

6. Grace. Just because you've done something (like baking cookies) every year, doesn't mean you need to do it this year.  Life has a way of not going as planned, and we don't need to make this season about squeezing into pants two sizes too small.  It stops us from breathing.  

7. There are a slew of Advent, Christmas, holiday traditions to do, one doesn't need to look very far.  Our jobs are to follow the bright shining star.  Release yourself from anything that doesn't fall in line with that journey.  


Two Years Ago: Intensely Chocolate Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Strawberry Shortcake

My little girl loves Strawberry Shortcake.  Well, the dessert, but mainly the cute character I grew to love at the same age.  I'm sure if her and I were the same age, we'd probably be friends as we share similar affinities.

Growing up we would regularly eat strawberry shortcakes in the summer.  My dad was (and is) the fruit king.  It wasn't uncommon to find heaping amounts of peaches, nectarines, plums & cherries all at the same time in June & July, with a couple of trips to the market throughout the week.  It's no surprise my younger brother at age three consumed two whole watermelons in one sitting at our church's watermelon bust.  Frequently on a Sunday evening, my father would begin cutting up fruit for the BIG fruit salad as we sat around like seagulls awaiting our victory.

When it came time for strawberry shortcakes, I was designated strawberry huller.  I must say that I am a veteran strawberry huller.  I don't mess around with the huller device, but a small paring knife, removing the stem & inner middle (not just chopping off the top--isn't that a crime?).  Unfortunately, our idea of shortcakes was the spongy prepackaged cakes.  It's interesting that I wasn't completely fond of them as a kid.  However, when I would taste various versions of biscuit shortcakes in former years, they were either dry, or felt like gravy should be the topping.

I had put off the search for a while, then shortly after Ben & I got married I came across this recipe thinking that it might just be the summer to redeem the strawberry shortcake.  And folks, this is it.  The lemon poppy seed version was first made two weeks ago, while I normally stick to the original cream version.  They're reminiscent of flaky, creamy English cream scones, except with more cream.  And this isn't time to watch your figure, but completely indulge in summer goodness of sweet, seasonal strawberries, flaky cream shortcakes & billows of freshly whipped cream.  A perfect end to a fourth of July meal.  You could easily make the original version (directions below) or put a spin on it with the lemon & poppy seed.  Whatever you do--these should be on your menu this weekend (also try Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad).  What are some of your fourth of July food memories?  Don't forget to take part in the free giveaway!

A year Ago: Daydreamer


Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine.  You can easily make these shortcakes as plain, by omitting the poppy seeds & lemon juice, and using 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream instead.  Another option for the lemon poppy seed shortcakes is by using half strawberries & the other half blueberries.


For Shortcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tb baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tb poppy seeds
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For Strawberries:
5 cups sliced strawberries
1 - 2 Tb granulated sugar

For Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 Tb granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Shortcakes Directions:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and toss throughout the mixture.  Cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the largest butter is the size of peas.  Add the poppy seeds and mix around lightly.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the cream & lemon juice.  Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry.

Gently knead by hand five or six times to pick up any dry ingredients remaining in the bottom of the bowl and to create a loose ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic to chill for 20 minutes.

While dough is chilling, Heat oven to 425.  Remove dough from fridge & cut (using a sharp chef's knife or bench knife) and cut into 9 squares.  Space apart on parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush each shortcake with cream & sprinkle coarse sugar on top.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  When done, let cool at room temperature.

Strawberries:  While shortcakes are baking, slice strawberries and place in bowl, along with one tablespoon of sugar.  Mix together and allow to macerate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Whipped Cream:  In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer with a chilled whisk, add cold whipped cream.  Beat on high until it begins to thicken.  Add vanilla & sugar, then continue beating till billowy, soft peaks form.  **If you want lemon whipped cream, then add 2 Tb of lemon juice in place of vanilla.