Working Woman!

Goodbye [f]unemployment and hellloooo once again to the working world!

I am very excited and thankful to say that after many months of being jobless, God not only blessed me one job opportunity, but TWO – a part time position with Beloved International as their Operations Master [working title!] and a full time position with Spark Program as their Redwood City Program Manager. Both of them are amazing non-profits that work with children and both of them are working hard to make a difference in the community!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been working full-time, whether that’s at a job or even with my busy college schedule, and I’m a little nervous but also extremely pumped to start doing so many things again. Granted, it’s going to be quite the transition though especially since my mornings will now start at 6AM and not 9AM…..and I will now have to share my gym space with the rush of other people ending their work day. Boo. But all good things must come to an end so that new good things can begin 🙂

So on my very last day of freedom before I get back into the work force, I’ve been reflecting on what it’s been like these past few months, what I’ve learned, and what I’m excited for in this next chapter of life. It’s pretty nuts to see how abundantly God provides in His perfect timing and how he does not waste a single thing – not even unemployment!

 

God’s Sovereign Timing 

God really really knows exactly what I need and exactly when I need it. I mean, I was looking hard core for 5 straight months and nothing! But now that I have a job and other things in my life that are happening at the same time, I see why the Lord withheld work from me until now and dang, am I grateful. Being unemployed gave me time to spend with Matthew before he left for military training and allowed my schedule to be more flexible in being able to talk to him during his variable training. Being unemployed allowed me to consider finally moving home, be closer to family, and ultimately look for [and find] a job up here in NorCal. And now, just as Matthew is about to leave for Ranger School where we will have about 2-3 months of complete silence, I am able to focus on these new job(s) and have something to distract me from the lonely reality of life haha. Totally kidding but also a little serious. Hang out with me, guys.

I gotta admit that there were times that I grew very discontent with the season I life I had been given, and at times even discontent just from trying to understand why I was discontent! But it is so reassuring to know that the Lord’s plan are infinitely better than my own and that He knows why He kept me in that period of unemployment.

 

God’s Abundant Provision 

The Lord owes me nothing, not even a job, but the fact that he would provide two amazing jobs is beyond me. God could have easily given me an a job that had nothing to do with my career and that would have been sufficient, but instead he abundantly provided me with jobs that are both with non profit organizations working to resolve issues in our community that I am deeply passionate about. Even my position within each of these non profits is exactly the type of work I want to. Again – God’s very abundant provision!!

In a society that tells you your success in finding a job is based on how hard you work or how good your resume looks, I thought that the more presentable my resume was and the more jobs I applied to, the more likely I would find a legit job. But I literally sent like the exact same resume to I think over 50 companies and didn’t hear back from any of them except Spark. What was the difference? I believe that it was the Lord. I believe that He kept those other 49 companies silent so that His plan to have me at Spark would unfold and ultimately, all the glory would go to Him because it belongs to Him.

 

There is More to Life Than a Job. Or Whatever It Is That You’re Looking For. 

I can say this confidently because I remember clearly what I felt when I was still looking for a job and know how I feel now that I have secured a job. I thought that once I found a job, I’d feel more secure, more confident, more content. But as I’m approaching work, I still have a lot of fears, uncertainties, financial concerns…you name it. Honestly, not that much has changed because my purpose in life – to make Christ known and to reach the lost – has not changed one bit. The way it looks or the environment may be different but God remains the same and his calling for us as believers remains the same.

It’s not just a job though. God has reminded me time and time again that only his love is able satisfy completely and only when we are living our lives according to the calling He has given to us will we really feel complete. I learned that through relationships, through school, and even through accepting my own body image. There is much more to my life and your life than that next thing you’re looking for, I promise 🙂

 

There is Joy in Every Season

Regardless of the circumstances that the Lord gives to you – whether it’s joy or hardship or uncertainty – there is great, great joy to be found in the Lord simply because He is the Lord. Just like how people can always magically find the bad in every circumstance, when we have Christ, we are able to find the joy and the hope in every thing because we know that ultimately, it’s not about us but it is about Him.

 

About 8 years ago, my small group leader made me memorize a Psalm and to this day, the Lord continues to make clear to me in my life everything that David, the Psalmist says.

O LORD, you have search me and known me! 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it completely. 
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. 
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me and your right hand shall hold me. 
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day for darkness is as light with you. 
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 
You eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them
the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them. 
– Psalm 139:1-16

 

He knows me. He knows my thoughts. He knows His plans for me. What a comforting and beautiful truth no matter if I’m employed, unemployed, healthy, sick, rich, poor, anything!

 

This was a little longer than I expected…haha but I guess this was really more for me to process more than anything. Pray for me that I wouldn’t make a complete fool out of myself tomorrow and that I can continue to exemplify Christ in my workplace!

 

– Juang

[Foodie] Vanilla Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

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Hey there guys!

Not gonna lie, this past week has been a bit of a rough one. Missing Matthew, missing home, missing working, missing friends. It’s hard when it really gets to you all of a sudden but even in just that week, God showed me how quick I am to look to my own needs instead of to His goodness. When my eyes are focused on me instead of on the Lord, it’s insane how fast my heart grows bitter and I start worrying about everything. How silly of me to fret when I have an all-knowing, all-mighty, all-loving God who knows me and his plans for me better than myself.

I memorized this a long time ago, but I need to meditate on it more often. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalms 139:13-16

So as I’m getting over this funk, I decided to make some pancakes for dinner because breakfast for dinner always brightens my mood! Why not?! Some good homemade pancakes make everything a little better. My good friend Meghan re-introduced me to the wonder of lemon and poppy seed as a dynamic duo and I’ve been meaning to make a pancake version with them ever since.

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Meghan also introduced me to the wonder of substituting maple syrup with Agave nectar – PURE GENIUS. Add some diced strawberries on top of those bad boys and you are rockin’ and rollin’!

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My roomie usually responds very positively to basically all food that I make for her but when she had a bite of these pancakes, she went buck wild crazy over them. I’m talking jumping up and down, making yummy food noises, snapchatting it to everyone, making a whole stack disappear in 30 seconds – the whole nine yards.

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And I gotta admit, these are one of my better creations. So grab those aprons and give them a try! They’re perfect for any Saturday brunch, morning breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, and pretty much any occasion you can think of 🙂

 

Happy munching!

Juang

 

Vanilla Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • One Cup of Flour
  • One Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • One Giant Pinch of Salt
  • Two Eggs
  • Three Fourths Cup of Whole Milk
  • One and One Half Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • Two Tablespoons of Coconut Oil, melted plus additional for
  • One and One Half to Two Tablespoons of Poppy Seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps! We don’t like lumps. And then mix in the coconut oil, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
  4. Use coconut oil to grease the pan. Drop in about two tablespoons of batter per pancake and cook on medium-low heat. Flip the pancakes once little bubbles start popping up.
  5. Top generously with fruit like strawberries, blueberries or blackberries and agave nectar/maple syrup.

 

The Juang Family Reunites

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Oh gosh I never appreciated having the whole family together until this year when my sisters grew up and left for college while I stayed down in Irvine after college and my parents became empty-nesters up in the Bay. No more family trips to different places, no more family trips down to visit me. Boo. Guess you never know whatchu got till it’s gone!

That’s why being able to visit home and my sisters up in Davis was such an incredible blessing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to enjoy a full week at home with the fam and it was….just so good. I didn’t realize how much I needed it and it really felt like God just refreshed my entire soul.

My parents wanted to me get home by Thursday night so that I could wait in a ridiculously long line with them for the opening of 85C Bakery near our house….which I could easily go to whenever I want in Irvine. But it was good to see them happy over little pastries 🙂

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I even got to go shopping with Mama Juang and see how vastly different everything in Palo Alto is. The Apple store at Stanford Shopping Center is literally the largest store I have ever seen with my own two eyes.

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Spending time with Vera and Djebbie brought me so much happiness I don’t even know how to put it in words. These two ladies are practically family to me. I would literally move home just to be closer to them because God has truly blessed me with these two sisters who have been there for me ever since our diaper days. The princess, the powerhouse and the problem apparently we have been named!

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Finally finally I got to visit my sisters up in Davis – literally cow country. My twin sisters have faithfully visited me every year in college and I was extremely bummed that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do the same with them once they went off to college because of work. Yet another joy of being unemployed is I get to run around and visit whoever I pleased whenever I please!! Heheh.

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They bring me so much joy. Truly, I am the luckiest sister in the world to have these two lovely seastars!

Adventures abounded immediately as Isabel took me for a tour around Davis….in 95 degree weather. Thanks lil sis. But right after Angela brought me to her favorite place on campus that sells the best ice cream sandwiches of all time. We pigged out and then poured our hearts out to each other about how God has been growing and challenging us over the last few months.

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I got to see visit their fellowship, their dorms, their favorite foodie spots, meet all their friends and future roomies, use up all their meal swipes and spend time with my two favorite weirdos.

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For the first time in almost half a year, our whole Juang family was reunited in one place when my parents drove up to spend the day with us in Davis. As an early birthday celebration for Papa Juang, we went on a walk through the Arboretum at Davis and saw an entire flock of baby duckies! Definitely a first time experience for us and they were so so cute!

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Mama Juang told us to open our eyes for the picture but apparently only two of us got the memo.

image_7So pretty much, this was a fantastic week and I love love love our Juang family 🙂 Already counting down until we are able to reunite again!!

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Juang

 

[Foodie] Banana Applesauce Pancakes

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Happy Belated Easter!

While everyday is a day that we celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross and how he conquered over death, today is a day set aside to really celebrate the life we have in Christ! Just like Pastor Peter said, today is the exclamation mark! No Easter Bunny or egg hunt – only the empty tomb of the risen King who has been raised to life so that we we may also know what it is like to have true life. Thank you Jesus for all that you have done for us who no where near deserve it. You are too good to us.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Our apartment woke up super early this Easter Sunday to make it to Early Rise service at Berean and wanted to take advantage of the extra time we had to eat breakfast together. I’ve been wanting to make a fancy breakfast/brunch for awhile and what better occasion than the celebration of the resurrection of Christ?!

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Not gonna lie, most of the time I decide what to make based on what I have lying around my kitchen. I had a bunch of bananas that desperately needed to be used and a bunch of apples I bought to try and be healthy. Boom. Homemade applesauce and banana pancakes.

The applesauce makes this pancake healthier, but just as delicious because it acts as a substitute for something less healthy. IDK what it’s substituting but I don’t care because I don’t miss it.

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We gobbled these up so fast for our apartment Easter breakfast with special guest, Helen Han!! Pancakes, omelettes, great company, a great God, and a momentous day. So thankful for these girls and the unity that we have in Christ.

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Because of his death on the cross, we have died to our old life of sin. Because he has conquered over death, we can have new life in Him. What a glorious day, what a glorious cross, what a glorious empty tomb. He has indeed risen and He is truly alive!

Happy [Belated] Easter Sunday from our apartment to you!

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In Him Alone,

Juang

 

Banana Applesauce Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  1. One Cup of Flour
  2. One Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  3. One Big Pinch of Salt
  4. Two Tablespoons of Sugar
  5. Three-Fourths Cup of Milk
  6. Half Cup of Applesauce
  7. One Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  8. One Egg
  9. Half Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  10. One Ripe Banana (Two if you like them super banana-y)

DIRECTIONS

  • Mash banana. Set aside.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, egg, and cinnamon.
  • Combine the flour mixture in with the wet ingredients. Mix in the bananas.
  • Pour the batter into a lightly greased pan on medium-low heat. You can make big pancakes or small pancakes – whatever your belly desires!
  • Wait until the sides have become semi-cooked and there are some bubbles on top before you flip them over. Let them sit for about a minute before serving it for everyone to enjoy.
  • Top generously with your favorite additions (syrup, butter, fruits).

Adventures Across America

Hello friends! I’m sorry I’ve been super MIA on posting anything. It’s been quite hectic this last month preparing for Matthew’s training and the long trek over to Georgia. But it’s good to be back after conquering six day road trip over eight different states across the glorious US of A. As sad as we both were to leave each other and start the ever agonizing long-distance status, we had such a blast and a blessed time together that it made saying bye not as horrible. But only by a little 😦 Anyhooo!! I wanted to take y’all on the journey with us and recap our adventure across America!

So a lot of people ask why we decided to drive instead of fly to Georgia and it’s a two part answer, really. 1) It’s no secret that Matthew loves his car so obviously, he wanted to have it with him.  2) It’s more convenient for him to have his own car there to drive to and from base and also to church!

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In order to prevent any road-rash damage to it, he taped up his ENTIRE front bumper. Aiyiyi. But it turned into a fabulous artsy fartsy moment for us and we decorated it to give it more personality! But having me decorate and draw also kept me busy so he could work on his car in peace hehe. Very smart, Matthew. Very smart.

 

DAY ONE – CALIFORNIA TO PHOENIX, AZ

We left right after Member’s Meeting at our church, Berean, and Matthew was so thankful that the church was able to pray for him and send him off. Beyond anything, we’ve seen how much God has blessed us with the most fantastic and supportive church family – even as Matthew is all the way across the country! We had to book it since it would take us 6 hours to make it all the way to Phoenix, Arizona AND we realized half way through that we would be losing and hour [almost] everyday.

Seriously, there’s nothing more I could ask for than to spend the entire day [times six] with no one other than my best friend. All our weirdness came out very quickly after being cooped up in a car together for a few hours.

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Yeah….forget everything you knew about Matthew. He’s a strange one.

Just before we left California, we stopped by this cool little BBQ place off the highway called Rebel BBQ. BTW, Yelp seriously became our best friend on this trip and it never let us down. This place was no exception and we shared a bomb BBQ Brisket Sandwich with a yummy side of Mac and Cheese!

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Food coma hit me like a ton of bricks as soon as we got back on the road and I accidentally knocked out. Oops! Which did not help Matthew stay awake very well BUT he woke me up and we listened to John MacArthur sermons until we got to Phoenix safely and in one piece! Praise the Lord for making it through the first day!

 

DAY TWO – PHOENIX TO EL PASO, TX

One thing Matthew absolutely would not budge on was working out every. single. day. Guess that’s what I get for dating a committed military man! We found a quick place to grab some breakfast grub and it turned out to be this fresh, hipster place with a giant, pink throne outside.

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After being on the road for a little bit, we found the most awesome Jamaican place to get some jerk chicken and fried fish for lunch. It surprises me a little each time Matthew says he loves Jamaican food but it’s always a foodie adventure trying it out!

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We had 4 more hours to go until we got to our next stop in El Paso, Texas so….I got a little sleepy and fell asleep again. Which caused a domino effect of Matthew getting tired, us pulling over so Matt could chill, us exploring on the rocks nearby, me forgetting my phone after we had driven off, us having to turn back around after 10 minutes on the road, us taking an extra 5 minutes trying to find an exit to turn around, finally getting my stuff, us taking a detour at The Thing out of frustration.

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So it ended up being a good thing! We paid the $1 to see the mystery creature and if you ever pass it on Route 10, you should, too.

We crossed through New Mexico [the Land of Enchantment!] in one swoop and got to the infamous Texas!

 

DAY THREE – EL PASO TO MIDLAND, TX

Today was a seriously adventurous day! After uhh *ahem* sneaking *ahem* into a gym, we worked up quite an appetite and got some goood comfort food at a place called Ripe. It was our first time eating in Texas so we had some high expectations since everyone always says Texas does it bigger and better. This is very true.

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Sweet potato fries, turkey pesto and tomato sandwich, caprese burger, and a raspberry limeade. Our bellies are more than satisfied!

I wanted us to be a “fun” couple so I looked up what adventures we could get ourselves into in El Paso and wanted to go to this Mission Trail that looked pretty cool. Turned out to be more of an adventure than I bargained for….I almost navigated us across the Mexican border [which was funnier to me than to Matthew] and then I got us lost and almost navigated us across the Mexican border again. And then we finally found the mission but Matthew was more interested in doing donuts with his car in the empty lot next to it. No more trying to be fun for us.

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The mission was nice but it took so long to get there that we were just ready to keep moving. Even though Texas is pretty great in the cities, in between….there’s really not all that much going on. At least not on the highway we were taking. It was crazy how many abandoned houses, gas stations, even hotels that we saw on the side of the road, which is something we never see in California. It kinda gave us the heebie-jeebies but also gave us a greater look at how other parts of the country could be. Because of all the nothing-ness we saw, we jumped when we saw a billboard ad for Sand Surfing 5 miles up the road. Sand dunes in the middle of Texas?? So random, but we’ll take it!

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It was our first spontaneous adventure and it was a great adventure indeed. The sand dunes were huge, they spread out so far, and since not a lot of people were there, they looked so undisturbed and majestic. We had a blast racing up and sliding down the dunes and we even got a chance to just sit and watch the sun set. In small moments like those, we were reminded of how big and how good God is. How he holds all things, even this random little patch of sand dunes, in his mighty hands. What a good creator we have 🙂

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DAY FOUR – MIDLAND TO DALLAS, TX

Today was only a short 4 hour drive from Midland to Dallas so we felt like we had some extra time to explore this morning, which came in the form of a zoo! I know, I know….we could go to a zoo anywhere BUT this zoo was only $6 a person AND we got to feed giraffes!

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We raced through the zoo and saw lion, tigers, and bears! Oh my! All the animals were so active and the zoo wasn’t crowded at all so we seriously had such a lovely time. Thank you Zoo of Abilene!

Dallas is such a gorgeous city. Maybe it was just because we were missing the city vibe after being out in the country side for so long but it was grand.

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There was no way we were leaving Texas without getting some gooood Texas Bar-B-Q so for dinner, we raced over to Hard 8, where they serve meat market style, by the pound, with an abundance with sides like all-you-can-eat beans, jalapeno cream corn, mac and cheese…..beyond words.

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Afterwards, we snuck around security guards to see the Mustangs at Las Colinas. Huge sculpture of 12 mustangs running across the square through the water.

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Naturally, Matt had to climb on one – even though there was a plaque right next to it asking not to – and do lots of other weird things…

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Hehehe. Anyways, loads of fun and super worth it to visit. Plus we felt super stealthy because we didn’t get caught [even though I’m pretty sure it was ok for us to be there!]

 

DAY FIVE – DALLAS TO JACKSON, MS

Today, was by far , one of the best days of the trip.

We set out from Dallas for Jackson, Mississippi but not before making an extremely excellent decision. There was a billboard on the side of the road for an animal safari and after some quick yelp and google research, we took the last possible exit and decided to take the one hour detour to go.

Best decision ever.

Each person got one bag of feed and when you shook that bag outside your window, the animals came running. We saw deer, bison, buffalo, warthogs, zebras, crazy horned cows, and a camel named Ollie. All of them came right up next to our car and were so close that we actually could pet them! Well…we weren’t technically supposed to…but we couldn’t help it! They were just so cute 🙂

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Matthew and I were literally freaking out the entire time and sometimes when the animals tried to stick their head inside, we really freaked out. Crazy as the experience was, we were even more excited that we got to share this first-time experience together because that definitely made it that much more fun.

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We booked it through the rest of Texas, which was so nice and beautiful to drive through.

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Stopped by Herby K’s for some yummy southern food we’d heard so much about. Definitely thought the GPS had led us to the wrong place when we saw blocks of abandoned buildings like this.

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But we’re glad we kept going cuz it led us to this!

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Both of us were a little bit disappointed it wasn’t as fantastic as advertised but it was still some pretty good grubbin’. Drove straight to Jackson after that and got there around 11:30PM. After a lot of confusion trying to switch from a smoking to a non-smoking room, it was 1:30AM when we finally got settled and…we still didn’t get to celebrate Matthew’s birthday! It was two hours ahead of California so technically it was still April 10th so I sang him happy birthday and gave him his birthday gift. A labor of love by the entire church, indeed, and Matthew is extremely thankful for all of you who contributed to his Book of Letters!

 

DAY SIX – JACKSON TO FORT BENNING, GA! FINALLY!

What a thrilling day 🙂 We finally made it to Fort Benning, GA – Matthew’s military training base for IBOLC (Infantry Basic Leadership Officer Course). He was so nervous and excited at the same time….it really something to see him step onto that base. To see the thing he’s been working so hard and praying so long for finally come to fruition by God’s abounding grace. It gave me great affirmation that this is exactly where God wants him and exactly where God will use him for His kingdom work. Seeing Matthew so happy here made me understand that it was necessary for us to be apart for this short while so that he could do what God has been preparing him to do.

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Such a happy time 🙂 I’m sorry there aren’t more pictures for this day, but there was a lot going on and I didn’t wanna be the embarrassing girlfriend on base for the first time taking pictures of everything hehe.

 

DAY SEVEN – ATLANTA, GA

Waking up knowing you’re going to have to say goodbye is a pretty terrible feeling. But we tried to make the most of it by enjoying our time together in the city. I’m starting to get the sense that I’m a bit of a city girl because I LOVED Atlanta. Terrible parking. Great people, great food, great things to see and do 🙂

Matthew is a planner and apparently woke up 2 hours earlier to research places to explore and the World of Coca Cola was first on the list.

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It was not as exciting as we had thought but the Tasting Room was beyond belief. We tried so many Coca Cola products from all over the world and even got a free bottle of Coca at the end!

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Made our way over to South City Kitchen for some real southern comfort food and then to Piedmont Park. After taking a walk through Piedmont Park, we slowly and reluctantly made our way to the airport to say our teary and final farewells.

It’s been a week now and….I am so weak, it’s embarrassing. Long-distance dating is not easy but it is sanctifying. God has been teaching us both a tremendous amount even in just this short time about our relationship with each other, our relationship with those around us, and more importantly about our relationship with Him.

Thanks for reading/looking through this extremely long post. I guess this is more for me than anything else so thanks for stickin’ through it with me 🙂

 

Till next time,

Juang

[Foodie] Fruit Tart with Cream Cheese Custard and Mascarpone

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So the countdown has begun for Matthew to head out to training. With that in mind, we’ve been trying out best to meet up with as many couples as possible and at the top of our list was Esther and Lee! It was even better than we had expected as Lee made us a Irish staple – Corned Beef and Hash – which I am already craving again big time. It was seriously such an encouraging time to meet up with a couple that has centered their whole relationship around Christ and has run the race in their marriage.  A huge reminder for both Matthew and I of the importance of keeping Christ our number one goal and how thankful we are to have each other!

Anywhooo! Since Lee made us a comfort food dinner to satisfy our bellies, I made dessert to satisfy our second belly, reserved only for the sweetest of sweets! Esther said to bring a fruit tart so naturally I said…..”I can make that.”  🙂

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I’ve tried to make many a custard in the form of fruit tarts, banana cream pies…and I have been sadly unsuccessful. It’s kinda embarrassing, really, but I always seem to cook the eggs in the custard when you combine the hot milk and….ugh. It’s a hot mess. LITERALLY.

Until THIS recipe! It’s fail proof, delicious, and the fruit makes me feel like it’s nutritious! Strawberries, kiwis, and blueberries – just a few of my favorite fruits. And the kiwi makes this dessert festive enough for a St Patrick’s Day celebration! For the strawberries, I sliced them top to bottom for longer pieces. For the kiwis, I peeled the skin, cut them in half and then sliced them so they’re little half circles. For the blueberries, I just tried not to eat all of them hehe.

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I added a layer of mascarpone cheese and basil for an extra kick which made a world of difference. Plus the basil makes it even more bright, refreshing, and green. But if it’s not your thing, then of course you can just stick to the tradition custard filling that is still really really gooood.

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This even got a stamp of approval from Matthew! When it comes to desserts, that’s a pretty big stamp.

Thankful for sweets. Thankful for a reason to bake. Thankful for encouraging couples who keep it real. Thankful for Matthew. And above all, thankful for Christ.

Happy baking everyone! And especially with this one, happy eating!!

Juang

Cream Cheese Custard and Mascarpone Fruit Tart 

Adapted from Red Shallot Kitchen 

INGREDIENTS

  • One Premade Pie Crust
  • One Third Cup of Mascarpone Cheese
  • A Generous Dollop of Honey
  • Two Tablespoons of Chopped Basil
  • One and One Half Cup of Milk
  • One Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • One Package of Cream Cheese (Eight Oz)
  • One Half Cup of Sugar
  • Six Large Egg Yolks
  • Two Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • Two Kiwis, Sliced
  • One Cup of Strawberries, Sliced
  • One Fourth Cup of Blueberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bake your pie crust according to the package directions. It should be until golden brown at 350F.
  2. Mix together the mascarpone cheese, honey, and basil. Spread a thin layer on the bottom of the pie crust once the crust has cooled.
  3. Heat the milk on the stove until just before it has boiled. But don’t let it actually boil!! Then add the vanilla extract and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Mix together the cream cheese, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth and creamy. Slowly whisk in the hot milk in batches until everything is incorporated.
  5. Put the filling back on the stove and continuously whisk  it at medium-low heat until the filling is thickened and slightly bubbling.
  6. Press the filling through a fine mesh (I used a cheesecloth) and then let the custard cool to room temperature before filling the pie crust.
  7. Now for the hard part….let it chill in the fridge for a few hours before layering the fruit on top. Enjoy large slices at a time 🙂

[Foodie] English Breakfast Liege Waffles

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Being unemployed has given me a whole lot of time to start on my long list of baking and cooking adventures which means a lot more to share with ya’ll. And these Liege Waffles are stinkin’ amazing.

Liege waffles are a thicker yeast waffle with a more of a bready texture. Plus they’re  sweet and delicious all on it’s own because there are these magical sugar crystals inside that don’t melt away into the batter but caramelize the waffle. Crispy on the outside but oh so soft on the inside…they’re heavenly.

Anyways, I was freakin’ out when I had these and decided I needed to figure out how to make it on my own.

And hello…..waffle maker!! Any chance to use it makes me a happy camper.

So here we are 🙂

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Yum yum yum.

The original recipe is also delish, but I am kind of a tea fanatic. Honestly. I can’t function in the morning without tea time.

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And these are only the teas I drink regularly…

To incorporate the English Breakfast Tea, you simply seep your tea per usual, except in half or even a quarter of the amount of water in order to get that tea flavor to really pack a punch. I even tried this with Thai Tea, Early Grey and a Vanilla Almond Black Tea!

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A day well spent making and experimenting with these bad boys! And a day well spent remembering to be content in my current unemployment status and reflecting on how God is really growing me through this experience. Learning to put my full trust and dependence on the Lord and his timing has definitely not been a walk in the park, but thankfully he is putting me through the refiner’s fire. Praise praise to the Lord for always remaining the single constant when everything else is is a whirlwind around me.

 

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;

I will sing praises to you among the nations. 

For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 

Psalm 108: 2-4

 

Alright friends, happy eating ❤

Juang

English Breakfast Liege Waffles 

Adapted from The Sugar Hit 

INGREDIENTS

For Sugar Crystals

  • Half Cup of Sugar
  • Two Teaspoons of Maple Syrup

For Waffle

  • One Third Cup of English Breakfast Tea (Lukewarm)
  • One Teaspoon of Yeast
  • Two Teaspoons of Sugar
  • Two Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • Half Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • Big Pinch of Salt
  • Three Large Eggs
  • Fourteen Tablespoons (Two Sticks minus Two Tablespoons) of Butter, Melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. The night prior, mix together the sugar and maple syrup to make the sugar crystals. It should be the consistency of brown sugar. Spread it out fairly thin on a plate and refrigerate overnight. When you take it out, it should break/crumble into pieces.
  2. Seep one bag of English Breakfast Tea in half a cup of hot water. Let it sit until it is lukewarm. Once lukewarm, mix in the yeast and sugar. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt,
  4. Incorporate the tea mixture. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look pretty dry.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated.
  6. Take the melt butter and mix it in small batches  until it forms a dough, making sure each batch is well incorporated.
  7. Let the dough sit and rise for at least one hour or until doubled in size. Gently mix in the sugar crystals and then let it sit for another 15 minutes (I know….waiting is a killer…)
  8. Get your waffle maker nice and hot and bake your waffles according to your waffle maker’s instructions.
  9. Enjoy multiple at once.

[Note] These waffles will make your waffle maker pretty stinkin’ messy from all the butter and sugar caramelizing all over the place so do not neglect cleaning that bad boy out ASAP.