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We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Cecelia Zook

White Bean and Mushroom Soup Taste Test


Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe review and taste test comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com


Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


What a fun time I had making the White Bean and Mushroom Soup! It was incredibly easy to make and an absolutely delicious starter to a wonderful meal. I made one minor change to the recipe by substituting 3 teaspoons of garlic powder with 4 cloves of garlic. I added the cloves to the cooking sheet still in the shell which we removed prior to adding them in the blender along with the other veggies. Being a longtime lover of mushroom soup, I was shocked to see that this was a completely clean meal. It is gluten and dairy-free and can be made vegetarian or vegan by swapping chicken broth with vegetable broth. It was a very filling soup, so I would recommend having smaller servings. I decided to garnish the soup with fresh parsley, but the soup is so versatile that you could top it with anything like avocado, a dollop of sour cream, or, if you're adventurous, jalapeños. I can't wait to serve this soup at my next gathering! 


Additionally, I have no clue where that stick of butter came from in the ingredient picture. Butter is my most used ingredient so I usually just have it always lying around when I cook. I guess it was just natural for me to put it in an ingredient picture. That should show you how shocked I was that there was no butter included and I always thought there had been - that's how good it is!



White Bean and Mushroom Soup
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Makes 6 Servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Cost: $15, but I used my own fresh herbs. If I purchased fresh thyme and sage, it would be around $23.


Ingredients:

1 pound mushrooms, halved or quartered

2 large sweet onions, quartered

3 cloves of garlic (I like garlic so I put 4 cloves)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided

8-10 fresh sage leaves

8-10 stems + 1 tablespoon leaves fresh thyme, divided

48 ounces chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted for a vegetarian version)

45 ounces canned white beans, not drained (cannellini beans)

Additional salt and pepper for seasoning


Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450F.

Arrange mushrooms, garlic and onion separately in single layer on large baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Toss to coat, keeping mushrooms separate from garlic and onions. Add sage leaves and stems of thyme on top of the mushrooms.

Roast at 450F in oven for 10 minutes.

Toss and roast for additional 15 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves to a large stock pot and simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

When vegetables are done roasting, let cool slightly.

Retrieve 2 cups of the white beans and 1 cup of broth from the stock pot. Add to a blender along with the roasted onions, garlic and herbs.

Cover and blend until smooth.


Notes:

There were about 2 cups of broth and 1 cup of beans left over after taking out some broth and beans to blend with the veggies. The recipe doesn't say what to do with what's left in the pot, so I decided to use this in another meal for dinner tonight!


I learned that some soup recipes have you add the puree back to the extra broth. This wasn't clear in the recipe, so I'm not sure if that's what I was supposed to do. Looking back, I think that's what the recipe wanted me to do.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook