gardens and grilled pizza

It seems an apology is in order.

It’s been three months since our last post, and many have asked what has caused our random bout of radio silence.

There really is no excuse, except that we have simply been busy living life.

We’ve mostly been gardening, both literally and figuratively. We have planted seeds of fruit and friendship, and have been lovingly tending to them as best as we can. The result is a growth that both of us are reveling in.

These are the specific gardens we have been tending to these past few months:

First there was my month in South America — a journey filled with incredible discovery and growth. I saw Machu Picchu for the first time, made friends with every llama I met, hiked among the glaciers and forests of Torres del Paine, tracked a family of pumas, rode a horse for the first time in 20 years, and ate all of the food along the way. [One of these days, maybe I’ll recount a few of my favorite meals...] It was an altogether exhausting and once-in-a-lifetime experience that, while challenging in more ways than one, was something I will never forget.

Then there were my two highly-anticipated girls’ trips, both to Texas. These annual friend forays are the epitome of relational gardening, in my opinion. They are filled with moments, both big and small, that, together, strengthen the bonds I hold so dear — bonds that extend across the country and have held up over time.

With my DC girls, it was a weekend getaway in the Texas Hill Country, preceded by some quality best friend time in San Antonio with the incomparable Bekah. This particular weekend was filled with all things Texas: we ate breakfast tacos every day, sipped on Hill Country wine and beer, shopped at the Wimberley flea market, floated down the river in kiddie tubes, donned our cowgirl boots for Gruene Hall, played some pretty epic games of Celebrity [duh!], gathered around the fire pit for s’mores, and even found time to do a little communal crafting. I’ve spoken extensively about these ladies and their role in our lives, but I seriously cannot exaggerate their capacity for selflessness, surprise, and no-judgement sentimentality. These are qualities I have always loved about them, but this particular weekend together served as a much-needed reminder of their remarkable friendship.

With my Wichita girls, it was a wholly different but no less meaningful meet-up in Austin to celebrate the the birth of Mr. Theodore “Teddy” Fox Stones. Sabine had just taken on the role of motherhood — a role I am now certain she was always meant to play — and Rachel, Julianna, and I raced to her side to don our favorite “auntie” and “friends-in-waiting” caps. We loved doing the same for Rachel and her son, Hugo, in Kansas City last year, and couldn’t wait to replicate that trip, Texas style. A lot stands out to me from that weekend: eating some seriously good food at Elizabeth Street Cafe and Josephine House, scouring the streets for every source of ice cream, grilling and lounging out by the pool, staying up way past our bed times simply because we couldn’t stop talking, and, of course, witnessing Sabine’s endless and endearing maternal love for Teddy firsthand. I could talk about these girls forever and the strong seeds of friendship we have sown. Over time, though, it’s been our shared histories, our supportive natures, our general understanding of one another, and our undeniable love for life and laughter that have ensured a life-long friendship unlike any other. Gosh, I love them.

Another garden we have been tending is our relationships at home. After a month away, I felt as though I had missed out on enough. So we set out to brunch, dine, drink, and reconnect with all of our Denver friends and family, even if it took weeks to get around to everybody. But for all of the gatherings with others, we found that we as a couple also needed to recover from our trans-continental separation. It took multiple board games, afternoon naps, walks around Sloan’s Lake, and Thai food deliveries, but I dare say we’re finally back to some semblance of equilibrium several months later.

Basically the entire month of April…

Finally, of course, there is our physical garden — our labor of love and dream come true. It took some vision and some patience [and a lot of invaluable help from my mom!], but after transplanting vegetables, sowing herb seeds, finding homes for flowers, pulling weeds, building fences, and constructing garden boxes, we finally transformed our once-transitional yard into something exciting… something worthy of anticipation. We’ve since spent many early evenings sitting on our porch looking out at our creation in complete and humble awe.

Watching each seedling grow and thrive has seemed like a perfect metaphor for everything else happening around us. Relationships are back in bloom, and flowers are blossoming around us. It’s a beautiful time, to say the least.

Now all we can do is sit back and watch our gardens grow…

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pizza

pizzaNow that the summer sunshine has made its first appearance, we have been experimenting with some more summer-friendly flavors, such as this amazing “dessert” pizza adapted from a Carla Hall recipe. We love it because it’s simple, not too sweet, and deliciously grilled. We’ve made it twice in the past month — once for ourselves and once in Austin to share with the girls around the pool. I dare say it’s become a hit!

  • 1 lemon, washed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3/4 c. + 3 Tbs. olive oil, separated
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed
  • 2 Tbs. fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 c. ricotta
  • 1 serving of pizza dough [approximately 9-ounces store-bought]
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Prepare lemon olive oil by combining 3/4-cup of olive oil, lemon pieces, honey, and a large pinch of salt in a food processor. Puree until smooth, and strain to remove any solids. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, mint, and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In another bowl, stir together ricotta and 2 Tbs olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough to a shape that will fit your grill. It should be about 1/4-inch thick. Brush the dough with the lemon oil mixture and place directly onto the grill or grill pan. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until grill marks are visible, flip, and brush the pizza again with more lemon oil. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes and remove to a serving platter.
  6. Spread grilled pizza dough with ricotta and sprinkle with blackberries and mint. Drizzle with remaining lemon oil. Cut into slices and serve immediately!


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