Cooking


The bad news?

We have a monster leak in the kitchen….and it’s U.G.L.Y.

 

The good news?

The plan for the new kitchen (since we have to gut) is ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a quick look at the current plan.

-Ramsjo Cabinets

-Open shelving for my cookbooks (yay!)

-Wood counters (a nod to our cottage)

– Marble Backsplash

-Farm Sink

-Mixed Hardware Styles

-Sconces to brighten the place up

 

Really, what makes me smile?

1. Getting rid of the water problem, rotten cabinets and all

2. Putting the dishwasher in a location where you can use it and the range (or it and a drawer) at the same time

3. Cabinets that don’t have attack drawers that fall out on your feet!!

4. Hiding the seldom-used microwave

5. FOOD STORAGE (we have none, presently)…oh, let’s just say storage in general while we’re at it ¬†ūüėČ

 

Let the work begin! ¬†Next week will be spent working on the kitchen, if things go as planned (around here, they never do…)

A few nights ago, we had dinner straight from the garden.  What a treat that was!

When BeachBoy got home from work, I snagged my harvesting basket and we headed to the backyard to decide what to have for dinner.  It was like ordering take-out, only better!

(Of course, SOME people couldn’t wait and dug right in before we finished making our selections.)

We settled on squash and beans, and I picked some herbs for our meal plus some extras to make a bit of salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was something amazingly satisfying about creating a meal from the backyard.  It was comforting to know exactly how and where it was grown and that it was safe and chemical free.  It just felt good.

We cooked up the veggies, and I tossed in some leftover pasta and homemade pesto to help clear out the fridge.  Fast. Easy. Satisfying.

It’s amazing, really, how growing your own food transforms the entire cooking and eating experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found that the more I let go in life, the more I grow.  The more I grow, the more alive I feel.

Today was a big day for me.  It was my final day as a teacher.

My whole life, I longed to teach. ¬†And, for 6 years, I loved my job. ¬†But, I found that it was time for me to let go and grow. ¬†It was time for me to reconcile my priorities. ¬†And, right under “1. God” on my priority list is “2. Family.” ¬†It’s a funny thing though, how being a devoted teacher can push things out of whack.

You see, I am the type of teacher who cares for every child like my own. ¬†I’m the teacher who is in the classroom 12 months a year, often as many as 12 hours a day. ¬†I am the teacher who can’t fall asleep at night because I’m thinking about a struggling student. ¬†I’m the type of teacher who takes every grumpy parent’s comments to heart because I just want what’s best for “my” child. ¬†I’m the type of teacher who can’t say, “Well, I’ve tried hard enough. ¬†There’s nothing else I can do.” Imagine, then, how that emotional roller coaster adds up when you have not a house filled with kids but a whole classroom full!

Yes, it was certainly time for me to reconcile my priorities with my energy and emotional expenditures.  So, today, I held my chin up and said goodbye to a classroom of students for the last time.  In so doing, I closed the door on my life-long dream and prepared for a fresh start.

I thought I would be sad today, but instead I found myself excited. It was a pleasant surprise.

You see, these past months, I’ve been studying and preparing to begin a new career. ¬†I will be working from my favorite place (home!) as a holistic health counselor. ¬†I am so excited about my new adventure and the prospect of devoting my energy toward my loving husband that I didn’t even think to be sad today. ¬†And, I think that’s a good sign. ¬†It reminds me that I’m on the right path. So, I’ll continue praying and walking.

I cherish my years of teaching and the ways in which they have prepared me for this new journey.  Now, I look forward to beginning my work with growing families and to helping them discover their own best health and happiness.

In just a few more days, my business website will be up and running, and I can’t wait to share it with you! ¬†I’ve been so busy growing that I haven’t had much time to write lately, and now I will be helping others grow, too!

Spring is here, and it’s raining love!¬†

 Last weekend, I traveled to West Virginia to throw a bridal shower for my little brother and my sister-in-law-to-be.  It was a lovely day filled with even lovelier people, and I wanted to share a few pictures with you. 

Clearly, the bride is the glowing woman second from the left.

The two love birds are to be wed on a WV ranch this June, so we designed the shower with their wedding concept in mind.

As an extra gift to the bride, we had each guest address an envelop for personalized thank you notes we’d purchased for our bride. When you’re planning a wedding, there’s nothing like the gift of time!

It was a casual come-and-go-freely shower, so we kept food handy at the tables.  We were pleased to find that guests actually ate more this way.  Since threats of rain forced us indoors, it also helped with space.

Wreaths at the base of each cake plate held moss, river rocks, daffodils, daisies, button mums, hydrangeas, carnations, and alstromeria.  Each had a little star fish tucked in to represent the honeymoon to the Virgin Islands, as well.

I caught my parents watching happily from the kitchen.¬†¬† Let’s just say they are thrilled with their son’s choice.

The lucky groom is the man in blue. He made us all very proud when he asked this wonderful young woman to be his wife.

I know their lifelong marriage will be a happy one.

I have a very difficult time walking out of a bookstore without a cookbook.¬† Just yesterday, I had to leave two at the store, and it nearly broke my heart.¬† I was without a pen to jot down the names of them, and I was certain I’d never locate them a second time.¬† But, three new books have found their way into my kitchen in the last week, so I’m all smiles tonight.

I’ve fallen in love with the earthiness of Harvest. Sure, many of the recipes are ones I’d list as “common sense,” but others are a fun combination of flavors.¬† Besides, for me, the draw of a book is as much the inspiration it creates as it is the actual recipes.¬† And, this book is full of inspiration.¬† The photography is gorgeous, and as soon as I opened the cover, I felt at home in this family’s kitchen.¬† My favorite line of the book is “Give the bird a good whacking.”¬† How can I resist someone so charming?¬†

Tonight, I tried out the tomato and brie tart recipe in order to use up some overripe friends in my fridge.  And, I promise you, if you can mash butter with your hands

and slice a few tomatoes, you can cook from this book. 

It’s charming, really.¬† You should look it up the next time you’re in the bookstore.¬† For me, it was just the dose¬†of pickmeup I needed to start the new year.

I’ve been craving cranberry bread for weeks, so when I came across this orange-cranberry cookie from Technicolor Kitchen, I knew I had to try it.¬†

Let’s just say that it’s pretty foolproof.¬† For instance, if you are talking on the phone to your husband while cooking, and you happen to…I don’t know…say…leave out the vanilla until the dough is already mixed and add a whole egg instead of a yolk, it will still come out great.¬† That’s just a wild¬†guess, of course.

Orange-Cranberry Slice and Bake Cookies

 

So, as the holiday nears, if you find your focus wearing thin, try this recipe.  It will cover your mistakes.  I love that the longer they sit, the better they taste.

Tis the season to be asked to “bring a finger food.”¬† I have a love-hate relationship with these types of parties. I love the concept of sharing in the preparation. I love to cook.¬† I hate that I stress over it.¬†

BeachBoy’s favorite carry-to-a-party item is bacon chicken wraps, but I’m not a fan of taking the same thing to every party.¬† I’ve tried to explain it to him, but he insisted they’re too good not to take.¬†

Long story short, I actually found myself buying a magazine called, of all things, “Southern Lady.”¬† Yes, you heard me right.¬† I was standing in line at THE grocery store of the south (Publix), when I noticed a magazine featuring appetizers.¬†¬† As I flipped through and saw a few that looked good, I caved and paid the ridiculous price charged by the grocery store.¬†

This weekend, we have to parties requiring a finger food, so tonight I’m getting everything ready.¬†

The first recipe I tried was good, cheap, and couldn’t be faster, so I thought I’d pass it along.¬†

Cranberry Cheese Log with Rosemary and Toasted Walnuts

  • 1 pack softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded¬†Monterey Jack
  • ¬†2 cups chopped dried cranberries (This came out to be just shy of a 6 oz pack. You could make it even easier and just round up.)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (My bush recently died, so I used dried.¬† Sorry, I didn’t measure.¬† I just eyeballed it as usual.)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Mix all bu the nuts.  Chill the mixture.  Form a log and roll in the nuts.

 

This made me wonder:¬† What if I used fresh cranberries and candied walnuts?¬† Hmmm….

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