“So, why Montana?”
Since making the decision to attend the University of Montana Law, my husband has been asked that question many times. As I mentioned in last week’s post, this Fall will mark a huge change in our lives as we move back to Montana so my husband can attend law school.
I say “back” to Montana because even though I’ve never lived there, my husband was born and raised in Helena and is, through and through, a Montana boy. After living in the same house for 19 years, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and spent 8 years in military service; 4 active duty (which included two 7-month tours in Iraq), and 4 IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve). After leaving active duty, he attended college in Northern Virginia where he will graduate with a degree in Government this May. (The story of how an uppity freshman got hitched with the high and lofty senior will perhaps be for another time….) Thanks to Uncle Sam and the GI bill, he will be able to attend law school for, let’s just say, a very affordable rate.
To be honest, many of his fellow classmates have gone on to attend some pretty smokin’ law/grad schools: Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and Columbia are the names of just a few (you may recognize them). Academically, he had always been on par (or above… he won’t tell you that, but I will) with the rest of them, and had the smarts as well as the pedigree to get into those kinds of top-ten schools. However, as he began mulling over his options, he realized more and more that he wants to go home. Not just home to family, but home to the state and the community that raised him; home, to invest back into the world that invested in his life growing up; home, to the place that brought joys and trials that crafted his character; home, to the mountains that made him who he is today.
His dream is to practice law, with an emphasis in land and water rights. He wants to protect the small family farms by helping them stay in business, and enable local ranchers to retain access to water and sustain their herds. He wants to be a spokesperson for the little guy and a reasonable voice in the political arena. Though a degree from a top-tier law school may be prestigious and note-worthy for himself, he believes that a local education from local people who know the local needs will serve the local community better.
This was not an easy decision. To be honest, it takes a lot of humility to turn a blind eye to the lure of high institution rankings and monetarily promising post-law-school job opportunities (ie, in the six-digit arena). My husband really struggled with this, and honestly wavered at times. But in the end, his heart won over his pride and I am so. proud. of him. And I truly believe the Lord has blessed his decision, because literally 2 days after he made the final decision to attend U of M, the national law school rankings were published and U of M jumped THIRTY spots. 30! It was another confirmation of where we know we need to be, and I believe a divine blessing on my husbands decision.
All this is to say that I think to some extent, we owe it to our hometowns. I know not everyone can/will/wants to return home after education or military service or what not (heck, I’m from Oregon and I’m obviously not going home to where I was raised, because I’m kind of married now). But I do think there is something to be said for returning to give back to the communities who have given us so much. We left home, got a college education, had experiences that have improved us as people, and now are even more equipped to be a contribution to the world from which we came. Even if you grew up in a difficult place, how much more are you now prepared to return and change it for the better?
In Helena MT, the Filling Station Creperie is run by a local Helenan who studied cuisine in France, then returned to run one of the best breakfast restaurants in town. This crepe recipe is slightly modified from his original authentic French crepe recipe that my father-in-law was able to get (because my father-in-law can befriend anyone and knows everyone in town).
I absolutely love my flat whisk; I use it for everything.
It’s not a deal breaker, but I HIGHLY recommend using a cast iron pan for this. If you don’t have one, you need to buy one. It’s a must-have for every kitchen.
I don’t know how other famous bloggers photograph themselves in the process of making amazing food… I’m convinced they just have a professional photographer or paparazzi who follow them around, snapping away. Because this is what happened to my poor crepe when I tried to get an “action” shot, and I pulled something in my hand that still hurts, and didn’t even get a picture. Oh well.
Fold each crepe in half and keep under a clean dish towel to keep warm…
The fixings!! Above: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, unsweetened greek yogurt, and powdered sugar. Not pictured: fresh lemon, pure maple syrup, and applesauce.
Assembling my funky one-handed-action-picture-taking-fail of a crepe.
Voila. (Because crepes are French).
– Fresh fruit/berries
– Peanut butter/honey
– Unsweetened Greek yogurt
– Pure maple syrup
– Lemon juice
– Powdered sugar
– 4 eggs
– 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
– 1 cup flour
– 2 Tbl olive oil
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 2 tsp sugar
– Butter, for the pan
1. Beat eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl, then add buttermilk and mix well.
2. Add flour, olive oil, salt, vanilla, and sugar and mix well.
3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium/high heat until a drop of water dances on its surface. Grease it with dab of butter, and re-grease every 3 crepes or so. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the hot pan, and turn and tilt the pan to spread it evenly. Flip when the top is no longer glossy, and the underside is brown. Remove when both sides are brown, approximately 30-45 seconds on each side.
4. Fold in half, and stack under a clean dish towel to keep them warm.
5. Fill with desired toppings, roll up, and enjoy!