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Friday, November 25, 2016

Fall Food List

Otherwise known as the fall food bucket list.

I figured since it is the day after Thanksgiving I should probably write this post. Because soon people are going to say it is not fall anymore. I like to hold onto fall as long as possible. And I have to say that I'm a bit in denial about Christmas this year. But that's to be expected, Thanksgiving is my favorite.

Earlier in the autumn season I started creating a list of recipes I wanted to make or try for the first time. I wrote with the good ol' pen and paper a list of warm deliciousness.

Fall

Pumpkin soup - Marshall's Abroad - not yet
Chicken Chili - Smitten Kitchen - not yet, but may be bumped to winter
Acorn Squash - Buzzfeed's Tasty Kitchen
Sweet Potato Waffles - Joy the Baker
Pancetta, White bean, Swiss Chard Pot Pie - Smitten Kitchen - not yet, again may be bumped to winter
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Pin - not yet
Apple Cheddar Scones - Smitten Kitchen

Bonus:
Pumpkin Scones - adaptation of  Joy the Baker
Pumpkin Pie bites - Pin
Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars (with Sea Salt)
Pumpkin Cheesecake (with homemade whipped cream)

So... it looks like I haven't made much progress but when you are only cooking for one and you start to get tired of an item after two days...I'm doing pretty good. That's all I'm saying.

I don't mind having pumpkin items into December, so I will probably  keep chugging along on this list. Bonus are all recipes that came up and fit in the category. This year we did a twist on the classic desserts for Thanksgiving, which you can see from the pecan bars and the cheesecake. I may have to add Butternut Black Bean Chili to the list as I'll be making it for Tuesday night's dinner group.

** links coming soon! But feel free to comment with questions!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When Life is Rough, Buy Flowers

Life can be incredibly rough. And there are seasons to life. Life can get messy, especially when both hard and wonderful are thrown into the mix. I don't believe that hard and wonderful are mutually exclusive, but I do believe that some things are down right awful while others make us giddy with joy and delight.
There have been quite a few things that although my world is not "rocked" but them, my life does seem spiked with the bitterness of hard. I'm not even sure if that sentence make sense, but I think it's as accurate as I am going to get to what it feels like. It's the needle that stings and then you stop feeling it, but you know that it happened.
Last week after another sting, I was shopping at Costco. I needed a few things for a Wednesday night dinner party. The combination of tiredness from work and emotional tiredness from both the weekend and emotions at work led me to buy way more fruit than I can eat before it goes bad. I knew this, but let it happen because I honestly couldn't fight one more self-inflicted decision. And then I passed the flowers.
I stopped to look at them, decided it was frivolous, especially with all that was in my cart and walked on. Then I turned around and looked at them once more. I could do the $10, but not the $15 or the roses or... I walked past again. In my head once more, No I really want flowers. So I went back and chose the most colorful, the most wildflower like, and the least fake. Great qualifiers, right?
But I think that my soul needed them. It needed to be able to arrange them in a vase, or two. It needed to know that God created the simplest thing for a short amount of time for enjoyment. And my soul needed to be reminded that death and loss are natural, but so is blooming.
It's natural, special and to be enjoyed.

Friends, may you rise to meet the hard and truly enjoy the delights of life. I'm working on it too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dutch Lunch

A few years ago I worked for a company with Dutch origins. They were going through some transitions and I was as well. It was the perfect match for a summer job and there were a few things that happened which made me appreciate it that much more. One of those being lunch. Or as I came to call it, Dutch Lunch.

The people I worked with were all Dutch, they all spoke Dutch, and made me wish I knew Dutch! {To this day I still wish I knew Dutch.} I found it wonderful and fascinating, the ways in which they interacted within the office.  The most noticeable difference {besides the emails written in Dutch} was the way that lunch was done.  We would all, yes all, sit down together at the conference room table and eat the sandwich fixings from the refrigerator.  We ate on real plates, with real knives, and drank from real glasses.  

Sandwiches were done the Dutch way, open face.  There were multi grain bread loaves which were sliced for lunch {yes, in the office with a real bread knife}.  Then the choice of meat or cheese was put on top and eaten. There was mustard in the office, but I don't think I saw anyone use it.  It usually took 3-5 slices of bread to be satisfied. Then for dessert, nutella would come out and lavishly be spread on the multigrain bread. It all balanced out, between chocolate goodness and multi grains, right?

Everyone sat around the table and the whole office took a break.  It did take the place of having a "lunch break," but I didn't mind. If I really needed to I could have left. And I got off early enough that it didn't really matter.  When needed, people seemed to take care of their business and meetings at their most convenient time.

I think one reason I loved it and was enamored by this new lunch concept was that it was simple. It was simple, delicious, and not altogether unhealthy.  Would I have enjoyed a fruit or veggie thrown in? It would have been nice.  Did I love the new tradition of lunch?  Yes, even more.

I was completely spoiled by it. And not just because I was provided food, here in Silicon Valley that's all too common. It was more than the food, the mind was nourished with the body. There was easy conversation and banter, relationship. I taught and was taught about culture and customs and life over the simplicity of lunch.