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Around the Table

Instagram

#aroundthetable

Have you ever snapped a shot of your dinner or dessert? This month focus not just on your good food, but capturing the wonderful people you’re eating with as well. Use the hashtag #aroundthetable.

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Last Meal?

This time of year always has me thinking about my favorite foods. Which leads me to the question:

What would be your last meal?

Is there a story behind it? Want to leave a recipe in the comments?

For me, I’d have to say Roy’s BBQ (a whole in the wall establishment in Hutchinson, KS), the Ribs and turkey… with my mom’s sausage soufflé’ and my wife’s cake-batter cookies. And maybe a pumpkin beer to go with it… Wow, I think I just described the most unhealthy dinner ever. It would definitely be my last meal- cause it could kill me. Haha.

PS Ask this question on social media and see what kind of responses you get!

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Printable Placemat

 

Someone actually gave us some artfully done paper-placemats that we’ve used on occasion (with the way our kids can destroy a table, a paper-placemat isn’t a bad idea once in a great while…)

So Betony Coons designed a printable placemat for this season’s holiday meals.  Enjoy this “one-last-thing” to worry about!

 

Click here to view as an 11X17 printable pdf –>
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“Breaking Love”: Story, Lyrics, Painting, Chord Chart

“Breaking Love”

Painting above by Betony Coons

THE STORY OF THE SONG

I wrote the “Breaking Love” as a communion song for our church community (Atlas Church in Greeley). It’s the raw picture of being inspired, moved and motivated by one who gives all of himself so that we might survive and thrive.

I find this as the best reason for why I would give of myself sacrificially to others- family, friends, even enemies. I come to that table of bread and wine in order to fill back up after engaging my life in that kind of Love. I love others because I was first loved so well. – Tim

If you’d like to see a video of us singing this song live head to: http://giantsandpilgrims.com/breaking-love-live-at-crescendo-espresso-bar-music-cafe/

Breaking Love
by Giants & Pilgrims

C                                                                   F

You and I have a history before mine starts

C                                                                      F

You and I share a heart since mine gave up

F

And your love is my blood

G

And your love is my blood

C

You remind me of why I break my hands

You remind me of why I move my feet

F

You remind me of why I give a damn (why I change my plans)

F                                                                   C

You remind me of the breaking love I need

C

You remind me of everything poured out

You remind me of my identity

F

You remind me of why I call this home

F                                                                     C

You remind me of the breaking love I need

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme Roast Chicken

I took my wife to see Alton Brown, a Food
Network personality, last Christmas

(yes, we are foodies… obviously).

He asked the audience,
“What’s the most important item for cooking you have in your home?”

People shouted out “Oven!” “Sink!” “Hot pads!” “Fridge!” “Chocolate!”
While he replied, “No… Nope… No…”

Then he stopped and said, “It’s the table”. He talked about how too often we are taking Instagram pics of what we’re eating, glorifying the food in a sense, rather than who we are eating with. Family, friends, breaking bread together… that’s what the glories of food and cooking are all about.

So here’s a wonderful recipe you can share around the table. It’s been one of Betony and my favorites this year. Sing the Simon & Garfunkel song together as you make it… and don’t forget the gravy.


INGREDIENTS:

1- 4-1/2 lb whole chicken

2 tsp dried rosemary

1-1/2 tsp ground or dried sage

1-1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 bay leaves

5 tbsp olive oil, divided

4 small russet potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced into wedges

8 large shallots, peeled

1-3/4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

6 tbsp butter

minced parsley

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Rub chicken inside and out with salt; mix rosemary, sage, thyme and a generous amount of black pepper and rub some of herb mixture inside chicken. Place 1 bay leaf inside cavity and tie up chicken. Brush chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with remaining herb mixture. Place chicken in a heavy roasting pan and arrange potatoes and shallots around chicken. Sprinkle veggies with remaining oil and remaining herb mixture. Add remaining bay leaf and toss to coat.

3. Roast chicken 1 hour 15 mins. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a platter and tent with foil.

4. Pour pan juices into a measuring cup and spoon off fat. Add enough stock to make 2 cups. Add vinegar to roasting pan and set over burners to bring to a boil; deglaze pan and reduce to a glaze. Add stock and reduce to 1/2 cup. Lower heat and whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time; season to taste and stir in parsley.

Recipe from “The Bon Appetit Cookbook” by Barbara Fairchild

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Thank You Notes

My mother has always taken me to task when it
comes to writing thank you notes. I asked her to share her heart on this here in our November almanac.
Betony has also designed a thank you card you can print from home, if you want to let my mom take you to task in her thank you note challenge too.

On Thank You Notes

by Dianne Coons

“When I was a little girl, I have fond memories of my mother writing thank you notes at the kitchen table while drinking coffee with LOTS of cream.  I got to draw pictures for my grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends that were included in her letters.  I thought at the time it was much fun.

However, as I got older and had to write my own notes…it became a drag.  Mother was insistent!!  Today, I know why.

Yes, there is the email and a text, and for practical reasons (like letting them know you received their gift), it works great, but nothing takes the place of a handwritten note.

During this Thanksgiving month when we sit at the table and remember all the things for which we are thankful, take a minute to send a personal note to others and share why you are thankful for them.”
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Thanksgiving Music Playlist

          When I choose music for a Thanksgiving playlist a couple of things are at play- theme and feel. I search for songs that deal with the theme of “thanks” for sure, but I also try to choose some of the classic American music of the past, like The Platters or Elvis’ gospel music or Bing Crosby. The result is a warm sounding, roots kind of playlist with lots of gratitude in the lyrics.

Now Thank We All Our God • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Amazing Grace  • Elvis Presley
Give Thanks  • The Platters
A Mighty Fortress is Our God  • Chris Rice
Shenandoah  • Chanticleer
Homeward Bound  • Simon & Garfunkel
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  • Vince Guaraldi Trio

I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For • Bing Crosby

One Voice  • The Wailin’ Jennys
We Gather Together  • Quicny Choral Society

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Almanac Adventure: Dinner Club

Items needed:

  • A favorite cookbook with a good diversity of recipes
  • A group of adventurous friends you like to hang out with
  • Time one evening a month

I’ve had the privilege to be a part of lots of groups in my life: book clubs, Bible studies, prayer groups, singing teams, etc. But none have given me quite as much joy as our dinner club.

Last year (yes, we’ve done this a full year) Betony and a friend asked a bunch of folks to do this: Buy a specific cookbook (we’ve used The Bon Appetit Cookbook edited Barbara Fairchild). Then every month each couple or person is in charge of making one recipe “full-on” from that cookbook. No substitutions or skimping out. If it calls for a crazy exotic ingredient, buy it! The rule is you have to follow the directions as close a possible.

Before divvying up the recipes a “theme” is chosen by the group.
We’ve done summer picnic as a theme (Asian ginger fried chicken, best-ever egg-salad sandwiches, an avocado salad, peanut butter chocolate brownies…) or back to school this last September
(meatloaf, gourmet mac & cheese, homemade applesauce, white chocolate moose oreo pie…) You get the idea. It’s seasonal but open for lots of creativity as menus are chosen.

Then everyone brings their salads, main entrees, sides, cocktails, and desserts together for an epic evening. We usually take turns hosting (and highly involved to easier recipes are rotated as well.)

What a time around the table this has been with people. It’s such a treat for “foodies” and people looking for great company. I hope it continues another year.
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Table Altar for Thanks: The Tree of Life

Artist and “space creator” Gregg Nordin was commissioned for our Almanac this month to provide directions on making a “Thanksgiving altar”!

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Thankfulness is a tricky one. Often we wait for moments of joy in order to have something to be thankful for. When things work in our favor, or when we get something we have been longing for. Some promotion, some purchase. We experience a momentary spike in joy and we are grateful. But all to soon the feeling can fade.

The truth is, gratitude and the practice of thanksgiving is what produces joy. Not the other way around. Thankfulness acts like new glasses that allow us to see the joy that is currently in our lives. Especially gratitude in the small things, the details; “Golden light of the morning sun,” “The feel of new socks.” “Warm Cookies”, “Harmony of birdsong outside my window.’

Thanksgiving slows us down and enables us to see. And when we can see… we no longer try to hustle for what we already have.

Purpose

The purpose of this interactive centerpiece is to provide a single gathering place for all the amazing things that bring our life to life. This exercise will not only remind us of the best parts of our existence but also allow us to share them with those around us.

Items needed

  • Colored Paper (preferably heavier weight like card stock)
  • Sticks / Branches 
  • Markers
  • Box or vase for base (fill with rocks or gravel for stability)
  • Small paper clips or clothes pins   

(You may want to assemble this interactive centerpiece early on in the month so you can daily add to it in preparation for Thanksgiving.)

The first part of assembly will require a short walk amongst some trees. Search for some fell branches that will work well with your table size and bring them home. Next you will need a base for the branches to rest in. Fill with rocks or sand to provide stability. Next take the your colored paper and with scissors cut out pieces shaped like leaves. Cut enough that everyone participating can use at least 2-3 per day. 

Every day take a moment or two to pause and think of the things you are grateful for. Everything from the big things like family and health. To the small things like the pools of melted butter on hot pancakes. Take those things and write them on a leaf. Give the leaf a small fold down the middle and then attach it to the tree. 

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Watch over the coming days as the centerpiece of dead branches comes to life. You may just notice a similar change in yourself as you become aware of all the things that fill you with joy.  Gratitude brings things to life.

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Gregg Nordin

Life_Spaces@icloud.com

“Breaking Love” Live at Crescendo Espresso Bar + Music Cafe

While on tour in the mid-west this last July Giants & Pilgrims were recorded singing “Breaking Love”. The owners of Crescendo are amazing people and you should hit them up next time you’re in Madison, WI. They filmed this after our concert there.

Our theme for the November Almanac is “table” and this song embodies the spiritual dynamics of the table very purposefully. Enjoy!