UPDATE: The winner is Lindsey Hepler! Thanks everyone for entering, and congratulations to Lindsey!
THIS THIRD WEEK OF AUGUST HAS BEEN a night on Nashville’s walking bridge, traffic whooshing by on the distant interstate, a ferry boat passing beneath, my head against Tim’s shoulder while I tell him, “You know, if I lived a thousand years on the planet all by myself, I’d never figure out how to build a boat like that,” and us moving to the other side of the bridge to keep watching it, following it, mesmerized by the turning showboat gears like little children looking at a train; a twilight picnic next to soccer practice, SUVs dropping off and picking up preteens, moms calling out I love yous to their running kids just as the golden hour fades; spiders’ webs so big, constructed around our back door overnight, that I shriek when I see them, even though the streets are sleeping in the early-morning sunrise; long-distance phone conversations with wise voices; surprise hydrangeas; oven disasters that send us to share dinner on the front porch (also covered in spiders’ webs, for the record, because those spiders! they are something!); and, along with these things, a whole lot of good meals to eat.
We’ve had Kathryn’s buckwheat almond cake (but with peaches!), smashed potatoes to use up our pantry stash, Erin’s brilliant einkorn tortillas, fresh tomatoes on homemade bread (recipe soon, we hope!), peach crisp adapted from the brilliant David Leite, pesto to use up our basil, cucumber water to use up our cucumbers, and, this morning for the third time in the last few weeks, this berry date smoothie.
We’re calling this a berry date smoothie with a kick because it’s the kind of smoothie that starts off sweet and then surprises you, almost burns you, as the hot, hot kick of cayenne hits the back of your throat. You want to reach for a glass of water when it hits, but then the rest of the smoothie comes instead, and then you want to say, “Do it again!” and so you take another swig. Like a lot of things in life, it starts off good and then gets bad and then it’s good again. Life’s full of ups and downs, my friend Jacqui texted me last week. Ain’t that the truth. Friends who love you, friends who betray you; new opportunities, new losses; ups and downs; highs and lows; the crazy burn replaced by the sweet, sweet comfort.
I guess I’ve been tasting that sort of comfort this week, as what felt like empty hands became, just like that, remarkably full ones. I’ve looked at Tim so many times these last few days and been overwhelmed by his kindness and patience and ability to sit on the sofa for hours with me, talking without feeling bored. I’ve looked at my life of freelance hours and been awed that this introverted girl gets to work from home. I’ve been stunned by the real—not theoretical—comfort of a God who is Father and Friend and Shepherd and Lover of my soul.
And the thing I keep thinking when I think about these things and I think about this smoothie is how I didn’t grow up wanting the kick of cayenne. I’d avoid spicy things at all costs. But somehow, somewhere along the line, once I’d tried hot foods enough to know what comes after that initial shock, once I learned to trust through the hot moment for what comes next, I stopped being afraid. It makes me wonder about the changes being worked in us, each of us, hot moment by hot moment, discomfort by discomfort. You start off afraid, but your toe is pushed in, and you’re braver. Then you’re scared again, but Providence pushes you deeper still. Suddenly, one day, you’re the girl craving curries; suddenly, one day, you’re the girl prone to trust.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
So the giveaway! Let’s talk about it! Lifefactory sent us some of its glass travel bottles recently, and we love them. BPA-free, glass, silicone sleeves, easy-grab lids and dishwasher-safe cleaning. We’re thrilled to host Lifefactory’s giveaway of one 16-ounce bottle (as pictured in this post) here. The Rafflecopter widget explains how to enter. Contest ends Tuesday morning at 12 a.m.
**Only restrictions are US delivery only. Sorry, everybody else!
Food Loves Writing Lifefactory Giveaway
A Berry Date Smoothie with a Kick
Makes four-and-a-half cups of smoothie, for about two large or four small servings
All metaphors aside, feel free to adjust the cayenne to your tastes—Leave it out if you like. But even if you’re brave with spices, start off slow and add more. You’d be surprised how far a little heat can go.
4 cups raw goat’s milk (or 2 cups kefir, 2 cups milk; or your milk of choice)
6 medjool or 8 to 9 deglet noori dates, pitted
Just under a cup of blueberries
Just over a cup of strawberries
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (even 1/8 will give a kick, so only go higher if you like spice)
1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
2 probiotic capsules, like these (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a high-powdered blender like a Vitamix. Taste and adjust if you like before pouring.