gratitude journal, printable coloring pages, downloadable coloring sheets, adult coloring book

What’s going on in your heart right now?

 
It seems like we’re all so busy these days. If “busy” is the answer nearly every time you’re greeted by a friend, do you wonder what it would take to answer differently? My friend Merritt and I have been wrestling with that question too.

We want to live authentic lives connected to our hearts and with a sense of calm and rest in our souls. The only way we know how to do that is to just stop, find gratitude, and rest.

That’s why we co-created the gratitude journal and coloring pages. To give you a moment to put “busy” away. To offer you an opportunity to pause, create, rest, rejuvenate, and respond to what’s brewing in your heart and soul.

 
It contains 14 pages total with 11 pages to journal, color, and explore. You’ll find abstract and natured inspired (hand illustrated) patterns to color.

We hope you’ll journey and journal along with us as you write and color through these topics: faith, friendships, creation, heart, hope, and gratitude. Each topic begins with a Scripture prompt.

printables, coloring pages, adult coloring book, gratitude journal

If you feel so moved, we’d love to see your process (or completed pages) on social media with the hashtag #WhatsNotToLove.

And since it’s almost Valentine’s week we want to know — are you feeling gratitude or loneliness? Merritt and I would love to know. Share with us in the comments below.

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Community Building - Inspiration from around the Web!

The internet’s a strange place but it’s lovely at times too. Grateful for those of you who blog, share recipes and ideas, and call us to live wholeheartedly. Here are some of my favorite reads from this week:

[1]

Allison says, “If you’re already planning to do some crafting this Valentine’s Day, invite over a few friends and make a party of it!” Couldn’t agree more. She even shares a list of great craft projects for a Valentine’s Day.

[2]

Kris shares really meaningful thoughts on the helicopter crash in Hawaii and the missing Marines. “When the weight of hopelessness presses in, when fear and doubt and trepidation wrack our hearts, we are told to return to our place of strength, our place of refuge and protection–to be kept in the custody of the ONE who is Hope.”

[3]

I’ve loved Joy’s blog for a really long time! Here’s her recipe for turmeric tonic that helps with inflammation. I used to make a variation of a turmeric drink recipe with milk — but, WOW, it tastes much better with water and lime (or lemon) juice, like Joy suggests.

[4]

“Because we are experiencing less meaningful human and divine connection, we are emptier relationally, and we try harder and harder to fill that loneliness with even more noise and stimulation.” Michelle asks herself, “[Am I] feeding my isolation and sense of meaninglessness with that which, in the end, only isolates and fragments me further?” And instead of just asking questions — she offers an insightful idea to help find “the real you” in the midst of all the noise!

[5]

Melissa knows how to make awesome vegetarian taco “meat” with quinoa and black beans. Taco party anyone?

[6]

If you’re in a weird rut and find yourself seeking identity in all the wrong places, this devotional is for you. Oswald always says it well and he presses us to decrease self-reliance and increase utter reliance on God, to place our confidence in God himself, not in his blessings, and seek our identity in him instead of roles we might play.

[7]

Julie’s recipe has absolutely made our month!! You should see my husband’s smile when I bring him one of these chocolaty mug cakes. I told him how easy they are to make and he replied, “I don’t want to learn how to make these because I’m in awe of the magic that happens when you go into the kitchen and come back, seconds later, with hot cake. It’s just plain crazy!” We’ve been enjoying these tiny cakes with a scoop of ice cream after dinner. I omit the hazelnut spread and substitute the flour for GF Bisquick mix and add a drop of vanilla. I split the batter between two smaller mugs.

What’s Inspiring You Lately?

Have a favorite blogger that shares meaningful posts that you’d love me to check out? Share their name or blog link in the comments below. (It can even be your very own blog.) Maybe I’ll even future them in my next ‘Fellowship Finds’ post. <3

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Carrot Squash Soup Recipe | Kitchen Fellowship

Soup & A Thank You

This squash soup tastes like candy. Delicious, healthy candy. I made a huge batch, popped half in the fridge for lunches this week and half in the freezer. Nothing better than a creamy bowl of soup on a snowy Michigan day!

I want to thank you! For reading, interacting, and for being okay with minimalist styling of my food pictures. When I first started with Kitchen Fellowship I knew I didn’t want it to be a “foodie blog” (nothing wrong with those — I love great foodie blogs). Spending my time meticulously styling food shots isn’t for me. Yes, this space is about food, but is more so about the fellowship that happens in the kitchen and around the table over a meaningful meal.

So thank you… for gracing me with your presence week by week even though my food photos are sparse, to say the lest. The sparsity allows more time for camaraderie, restoration, and real conversations that matter.

Carrot Squash Soup Recipe

INGREDIENTS
1 acorn squash (slightly larger than a grapefruit)
3 carrots
1 can navy beans (you could use what ever type beans or lentils you like)
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup apple sauce
half of a small yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter (or butter substitute)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
olive oil
salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375*. Wash squash then carefully cut it into 4 or 5 pieces so it will fit in a casserole dish with a lid on. Put 1/2 inch water in the casserole dish and bake squash for 60 minutes.

Wash and peel carrots. Place them on a baking try, drizzle a little olive oil over them and sprinkle them with salt. Pop them in the oven after the squash has cooked for 20 minutes. Let the carrots cook for 30 to 40 minutes until they’re somewhat tender when you stick a fork in them.

About 10 minutes before the squash and carrots are done, melt butter in a large sauce pan. Sauté onions in butter until they are soft and translucent. Drain and rinse beans. Add them to pan along with the spices, salt, and apple sauce. Add chicken or vegetable broth.

Carefully remove squash and carrots from oven. Chop carrots into medium pieces. Add to soup. Carefully scoop squash from the skin into the soup. I generally use a pot holder to hang onto the hot squash (there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d type). Stir and mash up soup. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the soup until smooth.

Want a topping treat? Stir a drizzle of maple syrup into homemade whipped cream and add a tablespoon or three to the top of your bowl of soup.

What’s Your Favorite Winter Time Soup?

I’m looking for more soup recipes so send them my way: alysa@kitchenfellowship.com or leave a linked recipe in the comments below!

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Kitchen Fellowship in 2016

“Align your work with what you believe you should change about the world.” — Barrett Brooks

For me that’s helping you erase loneliness and find fellowship, community, and restoration one meal at a time. I’ve dreamt up several ideas of how this will take shape in the New Year. Wanted to run them by you; in addition to blog posts, here are the loose plans thus far:

Live Online Workshops

It was wonderful hosting the live holiday hospitality workshop for you all (it’s been watched 218 times; you lovely people!!) and I plan to offer more workshops. They’ll help us grow, learn, and press into camaraderie, fellowship, and good health — together!

Topics I’m thinking of offering so far:

  • How to Organize Your Recipes for a Healthier Year [+ menu planning too]**
  • Organizing Your Pantry & Kitchen [making cooking easier + more enjoyable]
  • Empathy: The Care & Keeping of Community

**Download your free recipe organization pre-planning checklist here.

Kitchen Fellowship Boxes

This coming year I’d love to experiment with different ideas to bring folks together for kitchen fellowship. One thought I had was to put together boxes of goodies for you that contain most of the items you need to host a small, meaningful gathering with a craft or kitchen-y project. Sort of like all those “subscription box” services you see out there but with super sweet handmade touches and the mission of fostering and enriching community.

Retreats & Get Togethers

I’m unsure how this will come together but “retreats” has been on my someday-list for Kitchen Fellowship for several years now. Praying over this – that wonderful opportunities materialize this year so we can experience solace and restoration together around the table. I’d love to host several weekend getaways that make space for sole renewal, friendships that transform, and food that nourishes.

And for those of you who are local, I plan to continue on with the Arts & Eats Mini-Retreats that I host here in my home with my friend, Kristi.

Causes

Suicide prevention, community development, and orphan care are near and dear to my heart. I’ll be praying for ways I can make an impact and give back with my time and income to these causes this year.

How Can I Serve You?

What ways can I help you through Kitchen Fellowship this year? What are you looking for when it comes to community, hospitality, sharing meals, cooking, fellowship? “It’d be really awesome if you could _______!” Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below or send me an email at alysa@kitchenfellowship.com. Looking forward to meeting you where you are!

Warmly,

Alysa

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traditional thumbprint cookie recipe, thumbprint cookie recipe

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Both my grandmas made lovely Christmas cookies! Pretty sure they each had variations of the thumbprint cookie in their Christmas repertoire, so it was fun to make these in remembrance this year.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (separate the white and yolk into 2 bowls different bowls)
1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup nuts, roasted and chopped (I used pecans but use whatever nuts you’d like)
1/2 cup jam (I used cherry preserves but you can use your favorite)
milk

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

To roast nuts (if they’re not already roasted) place 1 cup of them on a cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon butter. Pop them in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the nuts to coat in butter. Sprinkle with salt and place in oven for another 8 minutes. Stir halfway through. Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough.

With an electric mixer (if you have one) cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy for about three minutes. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and cream together until well mixed. In a separate bowl stir flour and salt together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

If the dough appears too dry, add a splash of milk until the dough comes together. If it seems too wet, add a little more flour (a tablespoon at a time) until a nice dough forms.

Finely chop the nuts. Beat the egg white with a fork until it is frothy. Roll about 18 (1 inch) balls of dough. Dip the cookies into the beaten egg white and then roll them in the chopped nuts and place them on a cookie tray. With the bottom of a cup, flatten each cookie just a bit. With the end of a wooden spoon or your thumb, create a small indent on the top of each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven and use a spoon to re-press the indentations into each cookie. Fill the top each cookie with jam. Bake another 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on tray 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

This thumbprint cookie recipe also looks tasty, mostly because they’re filled with chocolate and sea salt! If you want a gluten free option — you might try Domata GF flour or this GF/Vegan recipe.

Jam Ideas:
Raspberry, strawberry, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, peach, apple butter, lemon curd, fig, apricot, grape, lingonberry, cranberry, etc.

Christmas Cookie Favorites?

What’s your go-to Christmas cookie of choice?

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Cinnamon Ornament Kit Giveaway | Kitchen Fellowship | KF BOX

The Kitchen Fellowship Box

This coming year I’d love to experiment with different ideas to bring folks together for a little kitchen fellowship. One thought I had was to put together boxes of goodies for you that contain most of the items you need to host a small, meaningful gathering with a craft or kitchen-y project. I have a box theme in mind for January/February but wanted to do a “test run” first.

So I created ONE Cinnamon Ornament Kit Box!

What’s Included?

1 homemade potholder
1 jar of cinnamon
1 package of bags
1 spool of ribbon
2 star cookie cutters
6 blank notecards + envelopes
1 cinnamon ornament recipe card
conversation cards
several ideas for snacks to make during the gathering

What’s The Big Idea?

Gather a few friends (or folks you’d like to get to know better) and bake cinnamon ornaments together.

While the ornaments bake — enjoy meaningful conversation. As a group you could use the blank cards to write notes of encouragement to people in your community.

Once the ornaments have been baked and cooled they can be packaged in the pretty, clear bags, tied up with ribbon, paired with a note card and given away to a neighbor, friend, or stranger. (Of course participants can also keep the ornaments if they’d like!).

How to Enter the Giveaway

Leave a comment below, and in your comment say hello/introduce yourself to the person who commented before you. Share a little bit about what’s bringing you joy today. (If you can’t leave a comment – email me at alysa@kitchenfellowship.com and let me know. The comment form has been acting up for a few people lately.)

I’ll randomly pick one winner on Monday, December 14th and will ship it out to you that same day. (This time around it’s for US residents only). Be sure to add alysa@kitchenfellowship.com to your email address book; that’s how I’ll contact the winner.

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iftheholidayshurtyourheart

If the holidays hurt your heart…

…there’s a reason.

Eckhart Tolle says, “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.”

The holidays hurt our heart because we want them to be different. Or like they used to be. Or we harbor unspoken feelings, refusing to bring them into the presence of twinkly lights. We want to be ‘there’ but we’re ‘here’ instead.

What’s your ‘here’?



if_the_holidays_hurt_your_heart

We all have issues but we keep silent.

A good friend told me over coffee, “Sometimes the holidays are hard, but we’re not supposed to talk about that, oh no, we’re not.” That’s the norm. It’s faux pas to mention what’s difficult as we sit ’round the Christmas tree. [Of course she and I talked about it, but you get the idea.]

Have you ever felt that way? That talking about sadness, the divorce, the miscarriage, guilt, the death of a loved one, the addiction — is not party material.

Because the holidays are supposed to be delightful. Right? Magical, whimsical, levity filled days that bring a glow to your cheeks and cheer to your soul.

I’m letting out one, big, fat sigh right about now.

Silence costs us…

The silence, about what effects our hearts, leads to loneliness and isolation even while we sit at packed holiday tables, elbow in the mashed potatoes.

Silence costs listening ears, comfort, camaraderie, and the plethora of hugs you need. No, gestures like that won’t cure the hurt but at least we’ll be surrounded by love and the voice of truth, “You’re not alone.”

This year I’m mourning the family members who’ve recently died and aren’t here to celebrate. For the way family was, for the way I’m still hoping it’ll be. I may have cried into the pie dough.

So, I pray for boldness. I pray that shame and sorrow won’t bind us when we muster courage to speak up. That your family and friends offer you a safe place to land when you share what’s happening in your world.

My heart holds definite gratitude for the friends who’ve been transparent in their, “No, I’m not okay…” truth telling moments this month. I love hearing from them, and I want to hear from you. What’s hurting your heart this holiday? Share in the comments below. This is a safe space for all KF readers to commune with each other and offer support.

And as a final thought — let’s dually hold sadness and peace in our hearts, not because everything is alright, but because Jesus is a bringer of gifts. And those gifts often arrive in the arms of friends and family.

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Authentic Holiday Hospitality Workshop

Download the Holiday Hospitality Planner

*Chat box removed for replay.*

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Crumble Top Apple Pie Recipe

Crumble Top Apple Pie [+ Gluten Free Option]

INGREDIENTS
CRUST
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt + a pinch more
1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons ice cold water
[for gluten free option, omit crust all together]

FILLING
5 to 6 medium apples, peeled, thinly sliced [I like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Empire — be sure to use an apple that’s good for baking]
1/3 cup sugar [I like Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar]
3 tablespoons brown sugar [You can mix 2 1/2 tablespoons Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar + 1/2 tablespoon molasses to make brown sugar]
1 teaspoon all purpose flour [or cornstarch or gluten free flour]
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

TOPPING
1/2 cup sugar [again – you can use Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar if you’d like]
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour [or gluten free flour]
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted [or coconut oil]

DIRECTIONS
Crust – Mix flour and salt together. With two butter knives or a pastry cutter, cut in vegetable shortening and butter until the pieces are pea sized. Add water slowly. Mix with a fork until just combined. It should look “shaggy” and kinda flaky at this point. Using your hands, quickly form dough into a ball. Don’t knead it, just mush it together gently. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.

Filling – Peel and slice apples. Combine with other filling ingredients and let sit for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Topping – In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except butter. Set aside.

Assemble & Bake Pie – Roll out a circle of dough in between two sheets of waxed paper. [Skip this step if you’re using the gluten free option]. Place the dough in a 9 inch pie pan. Roll and form/crimp the edges of the crust so they meet the top edge of the pie pan, all the way around. Using your hands, carefully place a single layer of apples on the bottom of the crust. Continue to add layers of the apple slices, so that each slice appears stacked on top of another, without any space between each stack. Bake the pie on the top rack of the oven for 30 minutes.

Add the melted butter to the topping ingredients and mix until small clumps form. Turn oven to 350 degrees. Remove pie and carefully crumble the topping onto the pie. Place a flat cookie sheet on bottom rack of the oven. Put the pie back in the oven on the top rack and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool for about an hour or two.

Hungry for more reipes like these? Sign up below to receive more posts like this, wise advice for fostering fellowship and restoration one meal at a time, and your free ‘Getting Started with Kitchen Fellowship’ workbook!

What’s your favorite kind of pie? Share with me in the comments below!
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Sign up below and mark your calendars!

I’m hosting a little one hour online workshop [November 12th at 4:30pm EST] to help us all have more authentic holidays. From Thanksgiving to New Years, and everything in between, I want to help you keep things simple and filled with fellowship and restoration.

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And for the Kitchen Fellowship newbies — I’ll also send you my Getting Started Guide to help you begin forming more nourishing connections with those around you. You’ll also receive a regular emails full of simple ideas to help you foster fellowship and restoration in your life. One of the best ways to do that seems to be gathering around the table with delicious food – so I talk about that too.

NOTE: If you’re already on my email list there’s no need to sign up.

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