Wow. What a month June has been! First things first, I can’t thank all of my friends and family enough for your support at my book signing/release party at Parnassus Books. The support was overwhelming and The Outdoor Table was their NUMBER 1 best seller for the month, which was published in The Tennessean! Seriously, so cool!
On top of all of that excitement, we closed on the house Zach built this week (I was the agent), so needless to say, this has been quite the month. We are overjoyed, exhausted, and humbled with all of the blessings that the past few months have brought. Life is not perfect, but we sure our blessed to be living out our passions, even if it does make things complicated and uncertain at times.
Now for a summer sipper, this recipe is sure to cool down during this super hot and humid summer we are already having, at least here in Tennessee. I love a good homemade lemonade, but I don’t love all of the sugar that comes with it. This version isn’t sugar free (it is lemonade after all), but you get some natural sweetness from the blueberries and mint, so no need to overload on pure sugar. Not only is this drink mouthwateringly refreshing, it’s also a gorgeous shade of purple. Add a few fresh blueberries and mint to garnish, and I’m thinking this is the perfect festive addition to your 4th of July spread!
Minted Blueberry Lemonade
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 pint blueberries
- 2-3 sprigs of mint
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups ice
- extra mint and blueberries to garnish
- In a large pitcher combine the lemon juice, blueberries, and mint. Use a masher or wooden spoon to muddle/mash the blueberries slightly.
- In a saucepan combine 1 cup of water and the sugar. Bring to a simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the sugar syrup to the pitcher as well as the remaining 4 cups of water and ice.
- Serve over ice and with a sprig of mint and blueberries to garnish, if desired
Today is the BIG day!!!
Today is the long awaited (at least at my house) release day for The Outdoor Table! This book has been almost two years in the making, and I am humbled and so very excited that today has come. Get one for yourself, and perhaps one for dad for Father’s Day too, it’s filled with lots of great grilling recipes! So, I’ve talked about the book so much on here, and I really hope you’ll buy it, because it truly is a wonderful book. But today I want to share a little bit of the story behind the book…
I’m telling you, if you would have told me 5 years ago that I would author a cookbook, like a real cookbook sold in stores nationwide – I would’ve thought you were totally crazy. This whole cooking journey I have been on has been the craziest ride of my life. There have been some amazing highs, but there have also been some pretty low lows. I’ve spent many days doubting myself and my ability, wondering if I was being completely unrealistic, feeling like I should just get a “real job,” and asking God if all of this will ever to amount to anything?
Contrary to what people might think, I haven’t had this whole cooking journey planned out, it’s been a roller coaster. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God has led me through each door to get to this point. Everytime I considered just giving up, the Lord gave me a little reassurance to keep going. Even if it was a small thing, He would open a door right when I needed it, and I would walk through it.
I have had lots of ideas that didn’t work out, I’ve gotten my hopes up about the possibility of things that didn’t happen, and I’ve tried to force things that just weren’t working. And I will do all of that again I’m sure, but sometimes pieces of the dream actually do happen, and this cookbook is one of those pieces. People always ask me, “so what is your end goal with all of this?” And I have had a hard time answering that question. There are many things I would love to do, but the bottom line is, I’m not driving this boat. I had no idea a cookbook would’ve been part of the plan, but that just goes to show, it’s really not my plan at all. The Lord led me here and, to be honest, I don’t know where I’ll end up next, and I’m [finally] okay with that. His plans have always been better than mine anyway.
I suppose I say all of this to encourage anyone out there who has a dream. If you feel like God is calling you to something, even if you don’t know what the end result looks like, just follow in the direction of that dream. I do believe God places dreams and ideas in our hearts, and if He has a plan for you and you say yes to Him, that’s an unstoppable force. Ultimately, I want this book to be used for His glory. Even if it is a cookbook, the story behind it, is one of redemption and new life. He took food, the thing that could’ve destroyed me through years of disordered eating, and He gave me total freedom. What the enemy meant for evil, the Lord has used for good in my life.
That’s the real story here, and I am grateful and humbled beyond words. He is good, and He deserves my praise every hour of every day.