Shauna Niequist Book Reviews

Shauna NiequistIt’s no secret how much I love Shauna Niequist.

I’ve written multiple posts (see below) about her latest book, Bread and Wine, but haven’t mentioned her first two very much. That’s about to change.

I’m weighing in on all three of Shauna’s wonderful books at Kindred Grace today!

My cousin introduced me to Shauna Niequist (pronounced KNEE-quist. I’ve been saying it wrong for the past six years…) while we were in college. Shauna’s debut memoir, Cold Tangerines, had hit her campus by storm. I, having migrated to the Midwest for school, which has a two-year delay on anything popular, was still in the dark about this engaging author/speaker. I devoured Cold Tangerines and then was one of the multitude who waited impatiently for all of her subsequent work. Her style is easy to digest (though the message is chewy) and addicting like chocolate – you’ll always want just one more bite.

Read the rest of the post here.

If you’re a Shauna fan (or want to learn more), read these posts!

Recipes from Bread and Wine:

Shauna Niequist’s Chocolate Mousse

Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports Primitive Roads (with no extra cost to you!)

Gathering

Sometimes good food photos just don’t happen. Despite the fact that I didn’t have time (or the lighting) to take pretty photos of this delicious dark chocolate mousse, the recipe needed to be shared.

Our Bread and Wine group/book club/study (not sure what to call it) met on Wednesday for another wonderful evening of fellowship around the table. I was in charge of the sweet ending to our Italian meal. My default desserts are generally heavy on the gluten, which doesn’t work for a couple of wheat intolerant gals, so I was going to go with sorbet to finish off the evening until I perused the recipe index of Shauna’s book.

GatheringI love meeting and eating around the (mismatched) table with these women!

Just the name, Simplest Dark Chocolate Mousse, had me convinced, then I looked up the recipe and was further convinced by the short ingredient list: dark chocolate, honey, and heavy whipping cream. Not only was this absolutely gluten-free, but it was easy too!

The honey offered a pleasant sweetness to the mousse but didn’t compete with the intense chocolate flavor. If you weren’t a huge dark chocolate fan, milk chocolate would certainly work.

A dollop of freshly whipped cream is the perfect foil for such a rich dessert. I waited until just before serving to add big clouds of lightly sweetened whipped cream to the tops of the mousse. The chilled mousse has a fudge-like consistency. If you wanted a lighter texture, take the mousse out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

I doubled the recipe to feed our 10 person group and had one serving left over to feed my hubby after youth group. Shauna suggests putting the mousse in juice glasses, but I don’t have 10 of any type of glass except for mugs and tea cups. So, I opted to serve the mousse in my pretty tea cups.

Mousse in tea cups

My baking sheet isn’t the prettiest background but worked well to corral all of these tea cups in the fridge.

Simplest Dark Chocolate Mousse

         adapted from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

  • 1 quart chilled heavy cream, divided
  • 2 (12 oz) bags dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey

In a saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 1/2 cups cream, chocolate chips, and honey until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling, beat 1 1/2 cups cream to soft peaks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Fold cream into chocolate mixture in two additions.

Divide mousse among 12 glasses or ramekins (or teacups!). Refrigerate until set, about two hours.

Before serving, beat the remaining cream to firm peaks. (I always add some vanilla and powdered sugar to the cream intended for whipped cream). Spoon whipped cream on top of each mousse.

Serve plain or with berries.

Yield: 12 servings

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My People plus Bread and Wine Discussion Guide for Part One

My People

My trip to New York last week was more than just a week with family (which was wonderful). It was a time to be with my people, as Shauna Niequist would call them. The Ideals, my Bible study group from when I lived in California, decided to have a Fall retreat at my parent’s place and there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to a. go to New York again and b. spend time with some of my favorite women! It was refreshing to laugh, study Psalm 31, and do autumnal things together, even if it was just for a few days.

I’ve never been one to have a large group of friends, just a few really tight ones. Maybe that’s why I really resonate with Shauna when she talks about “her people” in Bread and Wine. They are the close ones. They are in the muck and mire of your messy life – cheering, crying, correcting.

My People 2

Since I like consistency, I struggle with the fact that some friendships are seasonal. Not seasonal in a flaky way, but seasonal because life circumstances change. Aside from my one life-long friend, I met my first people in college. Kayla, K, Nat, Brit – these women did life with me in a very formational time. One of the worst parts of graduating and moving back to California (I attended William Jewell College) was knowing they wouldn’t be  daily part of my life. Even though I keep in sporadic contact with them, I know God gifted them to me for a specific season.

Getting older doesn’t make the seasons in friendship easier. I’m thankful that despite another geographic gap, my California people are still my people from afar. I could call (most likely text since I hate talking on the phone), or email them for any reason and I know they’d be there with prayers, ears, and a virtual hug. However, it’s important to be known where you are, too. Finding your people isn’t easy. And it takes time. I fee like I’m in the in between, loving and missing my people (who will always be my people) and in praying for people in the present.

Bread and Wine1

Here’s an expanded discussion guide for Part One of Bread and Wine. (Read the original post if you were wondering why the heck I’m writing a discussion guide for this book).

PS: Shauna talks a ton about her people, especially in What The Table is For.

Digging Deeper into Bread & Wine – Part 1 

And, in case you missed it: Digging Deeper into Bread and Wine- Introduction

Happy chatting!

Who are your people? Have the seasons of your life influenced who your people are?

Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports Primitive Roads (with no extra cost to you!)

Dig Deeper Into Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine1

My cousin introduced me to Shauna Niequist when we were in college. I devoured Cold Tangerines and then eagerly awaited Bittersweet. It’s difficult not to be enveloped by her voice; it’s like having coffee with a long lost pal. Conversation runs deep, touching at the most vulnerable parts of your soul without feeling invasive. Reading Shauna’s books is both inspiring and convicting, sacred and authentic. All of them are a pleasure to digest.

For the next eight weeks, a friend and I are hosting a small group to digest Shauna’s latest book, Bread and Wine. The book is truly meant to be devoured – physically (the recipes are wonderful) and emotionally/spiritually. There’s a great little discussion guide included in the back, but Bread and Wine is much meatier than space allowed for that guide. As I began to read Bread and Wine for the second time, I couldn’t stop the “ooo, I’d like to discuss this and ask someone that” type thoughts running through my head. I realize not everyone loves to dissect their reading material, trolling for discussion topics. However, I DO!

Since Bread and Wine is such a fantastic book to chat about with a group or reflect on by yourself, I wanted to share my expanded discussion guide thoughts with you all. I hope they inspire you to dig deeper into the themes and topics found in Bread and Wine and that maybe they give you the confidence to grab a group of gals to dig deeper with you! I’ll be posting these (as PDFs) once a week (ish) along with some other resources to complement that particular portion of the book.

Today, we’re starting with the introduction.

Here are the PDF’s to all the discussion guides:

Digging Deeper into Bread and Wine- Introduction

Digging Deeper into Bread & Wine – Part 1 discussion guide

Bread and Wine discussion guide, part 2

Bread and Wine Discussion Guide- Part Three

Bread and Wine discussion guide – part 4

Have you read Bread and Wine? What helped you to dig deeper?

And here’s some fun extras…

The Power of The Living Room – a sermon Shauna gave at Willow Creek Community Church about many of the same themes found in Bread and Wine.

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports Primitive Roads.

Annette’s Enchiladas

Annette's Enchiladas

If you read Sunday’s post you know I’m trying to be intentional about inviting people over for dinner, despite how vulnerable that makes me feel. My dear friend Sarah came to visit in March and we took the opportunity to do just that – cook for others and feel vulnerable in the process (well, at least I did…). We decided to make a meal from the recipes found in Shauna Niequist’s new book Bread and Wine and invited some acquaintances who Tim and I were hoping would become friends. Baby steps to community…

Sarah and I made three of Shauna’s recipes and all of them were winners. I shared her Blueberry Crisp recipe (which my mom is now hooked on) and wanted to share another of her delicious recipes that we made – Annette’s Enchiladas.

Annette's Enchiladas 2

Tim and I love Mexican food so I immediately latched onto this enchilada recipe while reading Shauna’s book. I was intrigued by the green sauce and thankful that the enchilada preparation didn’t necessitate rolling.

Annette’s Enchiladas is a casserole style dish with a zesty sauce made of sour cream and chili verde. Corn tortillas are layered with sauce, a hefty dose of cheese, and shredded chicken. Several layers later, some time in the oven, and we had a large pan of gooey enchiladas with a perfect little spicy kick. Don’t forget the sprinkle of cilantro, it really brightens up the flavor!

Annette's Enchiladas 3

Annette’s Enchiladas 

            adapted from Shauna Niequist’s recipe in Bread and Wine

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 28-oz can green enchilada sauce (Las Palmas is recommended)
  • 2 4-oz cans diced green chilies
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 12 corn tortillas (you could use flour)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Simmer the chicken broth in a skillet, and before placing each tortilla in the pan, use tongs to pass the tortilla through the broth for just a few seconds. If you leave the tortillas in the broth for too long, they’ll fall apart, so just dip each one in for a few seconds to soften it before putting it in the enchilada pan.

Mix green sauce with chilies and sour cream. Smooth 1 spoonful of the sauce mixture around the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Layer 4 tortillas over the first layer of sauce. After tortillas, add half the chicken, then one-third of the sauce, then one-third of the cheese. Repeat one more time so there are two full layers.

Finish with a layer of 4 more tortillas, the remaining third of the sauce, and the remaining third of the cheese.

Bake until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let sit at least 15 minutes before cutting. Top with chopped cilantro.

{Like Shauna says, this is indeed comfort food and just as delicious hot as it is straight from the fridge as a midnight snack…}

Serves 6 generously

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