April 25, 2016

Homemade Taco Seasoning

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... And so continues the 22-year love affair with Mexican food - albeit sometimes Americanized Mexican, as a Guadalupan friend is sure to remind me when she reads this.

For the past few months, I've been avoiding starches and added sugar, and a few weeks ago, I was deeply saddened to discover that my favorite Mexican seasoning mix contains copious amounts of both, along with some chemistry book ingredients that I can't even pronounce. Shame, Old El Paso, shame.

And of course, as would only be my luck, I discovered this after I had cooked a pound of beef in it.

April 11, 2016

Apartment Unpacking Meal: Zucchini, Squash, & Mushroom Side Dish

Hello, Hanlin family!

Two weeks ago, Jacob and I helped some friends of ours move into a new apartment, about 5 minutes from me now instead of ten (yay!) - the same friends at whose wedding he and I met. 6 p.m. to almost midnight on Monday was spent hauling things from one apartment to the other. Some of our other friends brought extra cars and a few trucks, and were a tremendous help - we had everything out of the old apartment by the end of the night. And, I was personally pleased to discover that my new vehicle can hold much more than I originally anticipated.

Anyway. On Tuesday evening, Jacob and I returned to help Tim and Amalie bring some sanity to their new place. Boxes. Boxes everywhere. Amalie and I unpacked and put away the kitchen, and the guys worked their back sides off on the rest of the apartment. It was fun! At least I thought so. Amalie and I joked that I'll be quite comfortable coming over to cook since I now know where everything is in their kitchen.

I figured that providing dinner for us on Tuesday was one more thing Tim and Amalie shouldn't have to worry about, so I took care of it. Plus, they had already fed us pizza the night before. I made my famous salmon recipe - linked at the end of this post - with a side of sautéed vegetables, the latter thanks to a suggestion from a friend. (Thanks, Erin!) She suggested the idea of courgettes (zucchini) and yellow squash, and I added a few other things as well.

So here goes.

April 5, 2016

4 great books I've read lately

Salutations, Hanlin family!

It saddens me that with adulthood (at least in my own experience) comes a dreadful lack of time to sit back, kick one's feet up, and read a book simply for pleasure. Luckily, I've happened upon a man, quite by chance, who shares the same appreciation for reading, so we've lately been making time for a good book or two.

Gals, find one like him.

Anyhow, here are a few good books I've read in the recent past:

1. Out of the Silent Planet (and the subsequent books) by C.S. Lewis.

This is the first book in Lewis's cosmic (space) trilogy, the latter two being Perelandra and That Hideous Strength. Though I never noticed it, these three seem to be some of Lewis's lesser known books, and I forgot just how good they are! I decided to read through the first one again a few weeks ago, and I ended up devouring it wholeheartedly, followed by the sequels.

Apparently, the whole trilogy sprung from a conversation between Lewis and his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, and according to the latter, Lewis said to him that "there is too little of what we really like in stories. I'm afraid we'll have to write some ourselves." And so they did. Lewis ended up winning the bargain with Out of the Silent Planet and went on to write two more books to the series, and Tolkien's The Lost Road was never finished.

April 1, 2016


Hello, Hanlin family!

Guess who's back (back back). Back again (-gain -gain). Hanlin's back (back back). Tell a friend (friend friend)... Okay, I'll stop.

Surprise! I vlogged a bit over the past month. Welcome back to my little YouTube world - I hope you enjoy it.

March 28, 2016

12 Mother Angelica Quotes We Should Take to Heart

Mother Angelica, the foundress of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) passed away yesterday - on Easter Sunday - at the age of 92. How incredibly fitting that this servant of God, who was always so obviously bubbling over with joy, left for her true home on the day the Church celebrates the joy of Christ's Resurrection.

If any of you dear readers are unfamiliar with Mother Angelica, here is a wonderful post from EWTN recounting her life and accomplishments. Working in Catholic media, I personally owe her a huge debt. The company I work for, Ave Maria Communications, owes its apostolate to the call she issued in the 1990s. This is the article my boss wrote.
"A soul that trusts God is invincible."

March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday

Father, creator of unfailing light, give that same light to those who call to you. May our lips praise you, our lives proclaim your goodness, our work gives you honor, and our voices celebrate you forever.

The splendor of Christ risen from the dead has shone on the people redeemed by his blood, Alleluia.

~ Psalm-prayer and antiphon from the Divine office of Easter Sunday

Happy Easter, Hanlin Family!

March 16, 2016


*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Excuse me whilst I take a virtual dust cloth to this wee blog o' mine.

Today I'm stuck at home with a broken car, so I thought I'd write y'all a little update. It's been a while since I logged in here.

Holy cow, it's March. I turned 22 years old on Monday. 22 YEARS OLD. How? Just a few months ago I still looked like this and enjoyed eating sand when I went to the beach.
Life is plodding along on my side of the planet... The mostly-wonderful mostly-organized chaos that has been my summers for the past 5 years is beginning again, and I'm excited for it. I like having things to do. Pet jobs almost every week, outings to various lakes with friends, and hopefully the annual weekend trip to Grand Haven (or Holland, if we take a wrong turn again) with Aemelia. And I've got this fantastic guy keeping me busy. Fantastic is a massive understatement.

February 13, 2016

Celebrate Valentine's Day the right way

Salutations, Hanlin Family!

*I originally wrote this post back in 2012, and have decided to revisit it this year. Thanks to the assistance of my lovely roommate, it has been updated. It's nice living with another writer.

On this the eve of Valentine's Day,  I'd like just to share a few thoughts, but first let me tell you a bit about the man whose life (and death) we will wittingly or unwittingly celebrate tomorrow: St. Valentine.  

Mystery surrounds the life of Valentine, though tradition holds that he was born on April 16 in an unknown year, and the Nuremberg Chronicle (an illustrated Biblical paraphrase printed in 1493) holds his first known biography. The Chronicle tells us he resided in Rome, faithfully carrying out his medical and priestly duties until he was discovered celebrating the marriage of a Christian couple and captured by the soldiers of Emperor Claudius II. When stoning failed to kill him, he was beheaded and buried outside the Flaminian Gate on 14 Feb 269.

During his imprisonment, one of Valentine's jailers learned of the man's medical prowess, and brought his blind daughter to the prisoner. Valentine healed the girl's blindness, and later penned a farewell note to the girl on the eve of his martyrdom, signing it "from your Valentine."  He is venerated as the patron saint of affianced (engaged) couples, bees, and happy marriages.

So what exactly is "Valentine's Day?"

January 26, 2016

Guest post by Nicole Eddy. Get your own goals.

As you may know, I am a massive fan of YouTube. The fact that a person can independently create a masterpiece (or just fumble along as I do) and then publish it for the world to see is fascinating to me - and of course, I've taken full advantage of it on more than one occasion. Over the past two years or so, I've become rather devoted to watching a few channels in particular - Casey Neistat, FunForLouis, and Ben Brown - admiring the cinematography and storytelling in their own vlogs, and using them as inspiration for my own. Recently I discovered Nicole Eddy's blog - she being the lovely girlfriend of Ben Brown. She published a great post in August of this year, and has kindly granted me permission to share it here. (Thanks, Nicole!)

My simultaneously favorite and least favorite things about social media is that people can pick and choose what parts of their lives to share - usually the best parts, and that's all the public sees. I've done it (there are a multitude of things I left out of my video blogs last year) - I'm sure we all have. Sensible users of social media know how to distinguish between things that could or should be shared for the world to see and things that should be left private. She wrote about the hashtag #goals smattering the content of certain internet creatives, and how sometimes people just need to get their own.

Get Your Own Goals
by Nicole Eddy

 "The greater danger for us lies in not setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." ~ Michelangelo

After not being able to ignore this 'trend' any longer of hash-tagging almost every picture with #goals, I feel like it is my responsibility to address the issue from where I stand on this, and fill you in on why it is disheartening to read those comments on not just my content, but comments on other influential people's content whom I follow.

Although receiving comments on posts that hashtag some sort of goals may be considered as a compliment as it means that something right is being done to portray an image that tugs on people's heartstrings, it is at the same time disheartening, when realising that for many people, the symbols that images represent on social media such as 'the perfect body,' 'the perfect relationship' and 'the perfect lifestyle' have turned into real life goals for many who blindly double-tap these images and retweet these tweets. As I said, this is a trend and I understand that for many, it is done in jest, however for a majority of people [who] leave these comments, I really believe that it epitomizes the goals that young, educated adolescents and adults are striving for in life.

January 11, 2016

frosty mornings.

Greetings, Hanlin Family!

These are my favorite types of mornings. So quiet and still. Frost glistens and grows away from metal like icy fingers, and exhaled breath plays in the crisp air for a moment before it disappears forever.

"Be still and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." ~ Psalm 46:10

The world is screwed up - that's not something you need to hear from me. And some people say "God isn't fixing [it]," mocking those who offer prayers for those who suffer, but I think they just don't understand what prayer is really about. Prayer has never been a substitute for action, but that's a rabbit trail I don't want to run down at the moment.

It's mornings like this that remind me to put everything down and be still every so often. It's mornings like these, especially after something like the recent events in Paris or San Bernardino, or what is constantly happening in the middle east, or when I'm just anxious for some indiscernible reason, that remind me that there is someone who still has control - someone who created this world and loves it and died for the people in it. In the beauty and the silence, He says "I got this."

January 6, 2016

a most grand year | 2015

2015 was a good year. So many wonderful things happened. I made a movie about it.

Happy, happy, happy New Year, folks! And thank you for your loyal readership. Y'all rock.