Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday 13: Oh, Canada!

Tomorrow, July 1, is Canada Day. As you may (or may not) know, I was raised in Canada by wonderful Canadian parents--! wasn't born there (that was Northern California), but happily reared in Beautiful British Columbia. Super, Natural British Columbia. It was lovely, and I still (very much) enjoy going to B.C. to visit family.

In honor of Dominion Day (which is what I remember calling the holiday as a child...), I thought I would post 13 images of Canadian "things" for my Thursday 13. It's a pretty random collection, but I found all of them on two of my favorite internet places--Etsy and Pinterest, and they're all items, frankly, I wouldn't mind having! (Well, except for the last one... not sure *anyone* needs that! But I had to include just for the humor factor. Or, I should say, humour factor!)

Enjoy these images, and happy Canada Day to you!

Canada boots (Roots, eh?)

Tartan high-tops (RCAF plaid)

Well, if you didn't know much about Canada, you would now think it's all about maple leaves, geese, mounties... there is of course much more to it than that... much, much more!

When you think of Canada, what do you think of?

To play along with other Thursday 13s, go here. And have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mushroom asparagus salad; or, would you like a little salad with your cheese?

This concoction was born of that inevitable "What's in the fridge?" moment meeting the "I'm craving X" moment. This lucky day, those two statements lined up nicely. "X" = asparagus and goat cheese, and I had some arugula and languishing mushrooms... voila! Salad happiness. (As I looked at the picture above, however, it did occur to me that this salad--like so many I come up with, is really a vehicle for the cheese. I won't deny it.)

Sauteed mushroom and asparagus salad with chevre
Serves one
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1.5 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Saute the mushrooms and asparagus over medium-to-high heat until cooked through and even slightly seared.

Toss with:
2 cups washed and stemmed arugula
3 baguette slices, toasted and quartered (remember, my quick diy crouton method? It works!)

Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Crumble a quarter-cup (or more, I won't judge) of chevre over the top of the salad, season with salt and pepper to taste, and...

And, because this recipe is so short, some added entertaiment seems warranted. You MUST wait for the last word of the song. Please. Do it for me.

Ten Word Tuesday

It's not the falling down, it's the getting back up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Common Miracles, week seven

Inspired by a blog post (100 things to love about summer, how great is that?) I read this weekend, and of course happy to play along with Chel's Common Miracles project, I am focusing on SUMMER as my Common Miracle this week.

Because summer does seem to have arrived, finally. Today was hot and humid and not particularly sunshine-y, and normally I would be kind of ticked off at the weather, this early in the season. But it was WARM, and it feels like we've been waiting forever to get to WARM. So I'll take it. No complaining!

And while today didn't go exactly according to the "summer plan," house-and-yard-work-wise (we've been aiming for mornings of work and afternoons of play), Seth and I did get quite a bit accomplished, and I got to flex some of my flexibility muscles, which sometimes need a little added flexing.

But my favorite aspects of summer are coming along swimmingly... long evenings when you want to stay outside until the last bit of dusk disappears. Eating supper under the cherry tree (by which I mean, supper = cherries). Seeing that some part of the lawn needs a little extra water, so setting a sprinkler on it for a little while... and seeing one of the dogs attack the sprinkler! Watermelons with that special "thunk." Salads that have as much fruit as greens, if not more. Bare arms. Brown bare arms. Wheat waving in the breeze, just about to turn golden. Looking forward to play time parceled out over the next few days, for Seth as well as me. Enjoying every second with my boy, knowing he'll be gone a little longer this next time around and wanting each moment to be perfect--in full knowledge that it won't be, can't be, but in a way, it still is. Even in its imperfection, it's exactly what it needs to be. Om.

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.” –Pema Chodron

Come play along with Common Miracles!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inspirational reading

Iattacked my feed reader over the weekend, catching up on a number of posts I didn't have time to read during the week...

Probably like most people internet addicts, I have the blogs and sites that I subscribe to organized by topic: Daily Reading (the ones I really don't want to miss), Crochet/Craft/Quilt, Information (technology and trivia), Work (this is very vague and encompasses everything from marketing to social media), Writing, Design, Food... etc. You get my drift... some weeks it can add up to too much information, and I end up flipping through pretty quickly to see if anything catches my eye (and/or needs to be pinned to Pinterest, of course!). But there are always a number of sites that, when they update, I look forward to seeing what's been added. Always.

As I went through my Inspiration folder of feeds, a number of posts popped out to me this weekend as sites that I've wanted to share for awhile... so my reading round-up this week is specific to inspiration. These individuals all write from the heart, and, for a few of them, their circumstances at times boggle the mind; how they move on and through life seems remarkable at times. That being said, there's a lot more to each person/post/site than just the sum of their struggles; it would be insulting (in my opinion) to assume inspiration based on their circumstances alone. Oh, a big heaping bowl of tribulation? Must be inspirational... not their style, and mine either.

You won't get to know any of these blogs by just reading once, but maybe you'll see a bit of what drew me in, and be inspired as I've been.

Pray for Ian. I first started reading of Ian's accident soon after it took place, when he'd survived but had a very long road ahead. Since then, Ian and Lara have gone on to get married and settle into life together; sadly, Ian's dad, a real source of strength for both of them, passed away rather quickly after a cancer diagnosis, but before he could witness their wedding. Their faith is constant and heartening, even in the face of Ian's continuing medical issues.
Wedding post 1
Wedding post 2

Aubrey's blog. This one came my way rather recently, the wife of a friend's former co-worker... and her struggles with her cancer diagnosis are real and persistent. But her desire to look outside herself and her current health issues is also persistent, and inspiring. Her recent post included two poems, this one stood out to me:

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
-Wendell Berry

Every Day Is Awesome. I first discovered Paul Overton's blog when something he wrote (I think maybe even on a different site he sometimes contributes to) seemed quite controversial and everybody (i.e. kottke, etc.) linked over to the post, where the comments got wild and inflamatory, as only happens on the internet. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember what that issue was about. (It must have been about gender; that's what seems to get people riled up.) But I subscribed to the blog, and have really enjoyed his writing over the past few months I've been reading. This post about humble confidence and this other one about his daughter are both recent posts I enjoyed.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. I love this woman and her take on what it means to serve God in a foreign mission capacity. She and her family are in Costa Rica and her honesty is heartening and bold. This most recent post about sending her son to live with her sister over the summer made me smile and also gave me a little heartache for her.

Zen Habits, Leo Babauta. This is one of those biggy blogs that have been around for a while and everyone seems to know about, he gets quoted by a lot of people, linked to, etc. He also takes a lot of heat for his approach to things, his minimalism, his celebrity for being a minimalist, etc. Doesn't everything have a backlash, really? Anyway, I can't say I agree with him 100% of the time, but that's not really the goal... he's thought-provoking and inspiring to me to break out of ruts of thinking and doing and experience life in a very present way.

Katherine Arnold Wolf. This dear woman suffered a brain-stem stroke about three years ago. I found out about her blog in much the same way I found Ian's--word was spreading about her tragedy, and prayers requested. The internet sure has proved a powerful way to spread the word about good and bad stuff. Katherine's approach to her recovery has been remarkable, but even as she continues to improve she is also frustrated by the struggles and the slowness of her progress... of course.

Her site has links to her background story, and essays marking the one-, two- and three-year anniversaries of her brain-stem stroke.

Here, also, is Katherine talking about her journey, last fall:

Leah Dieterich. I can't remember when I first heard of the THXTHXTHX site, but I've enjoyed her daily postings for a number of years. Leah set out to write a thank-you note every day--not just to a person, but to a place, a thing, something that stood out to her in the course of her day. They are very often humorous, and always put me in the mental place of looking for thanks in everything around me. I'm thrilled that she's even gleaned a book deal out of the project--THXTHXTHX is now available to purchase!

I would love to hear who inspires you. Let me know in the comments. (Tis true, I am always up for a new blog find, though the reader is full!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday night grateful moment

Ah, Friday night. Thanks for coming along, right on time! We all really seem to need you around here, especially this week. Actually, every week...

The thankful list this week includes, but is not limited to, the following:

The boy is home! Seth had a week filled with a trip, friend time, a lot of texting, hanging out... you know, the usuals for a 14-year-old boy... Always so so good to see him! (And I'm looking forward to putting him to work in the yard, too!)

I had a quick, safe road trip down to Portland to visit my friend Jen, and lunch with a few of her besties. It was a lovely time, and I'm glad I went; I'm so thankful for good friends. Jen and I have known each other since the summer of 1986. (We saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off on July 4, 1986. I thought you'd want to know. And it was raining. Really hard. So this weird weather we've been having? Maybe not so weird after all...) It's been great getting reconnected the past few years. God bless email. And texting. And Facebook (most days).

I'm grateful for the doggies. I haven't mentioned them in a bit, but I do adore them. Even when they bark in the night... they are always so glad to see me when I come out the back door to work in the yard, give them their morning bones, just say hello. They accompany me around the yard, watching over me as I pick flowers or strawberries. Chief loves to lay down near me and just watch me weed or whatever. He is especially "around" if I have a hose in my hands, for sure. He just loves a good water squirt!

I'm grateful for energy to get things done. I have definitely discovered I'm a morning person the past few years. Up and at 'em early, then chill out for lunch, maybe a siesta, and then get back at it. That is my ideal day... and I'm truly blessed to get to live a lot of days like that. But one of the keys for me is to get at it early. Zoom zoom.

I'm grateful for all the summer food. Nectarines, blueberries, the ever-present strawberries, asparagus, there's even a zucchini ready to pick from the garden! Basil is clippable, as are chives and mint and oregano. The potatoes are blooming, which seems hard to believe, and I've already replaced the radishes with okra. Here comes July with tomatoes and peppers and cabbages... yum.

I'm thankful for our home. It's not perfect, and this week it's not really even that clean... but it's ours and it's comfortable and it's ours.

This week, and every week, I'm grateful to live in a community where people step forward when needed and help each other out. Whether it's a common cause, or just a one-to-one interaction, I know this takes place every day, in small ways and in big ones too. This makes my heart very happy.

Last week I showed a few of the wordy Pinterest pieces that I was grateful for. This week I'm going to show the color. Here are a few images I've found recently that make me so glad to live in a colorful world.

And, of course, I wouldn't be ME if I didn't insert a little word into my color choices too... proving you CAN indeed have it all. Color + (the right) words = inspiration indeed!

Here's hoping your weekend brings you more rainbows than rain, and plenty to be grateful for.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Modified chopped Cobb salad

Some days I just crave a big salad with lots of meat. And I don't mean "meat" in the animal sense, although I'm certainly not opposed to a little chicken, or a steak salad... But most of the time, I'm wanting more than just a few greens with dressing. What I'm looking for is to fill up on a big bowl of my favorite ingredients, and right now those ingredients scream SPRING! (I should say, SUMMER!, since the warmth finally arrived in all it's glory!)

Recently, my salad bowl ended up with the following:

Modified chopped Cobb salad
Serves 2 (or if you're me and you've been working in the yard all morning, just me)
1.5 cups asparagus, roasted and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped into eighths
4 baguette slices, toasted and cut into quarters (to act as croutons, and they worked quite nicely)
1 spring onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup blue cheese
Dressing of your choice: I like a light olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, but blue cheese or ranch would also be yummy...

I tossed all these ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for a (precious) few minutes to let the dressing soak into the baguette.


If, like me, upon typing "Cobb," you wonder where that name actually came from, and should it always be capitalized...  check this out. Good to know.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ten Word Tuesday

Perfect summer sky--one blue crayon missing from the box. -Evelyn Lang

Monday, June 20, 2011

Noticing the Common Miracles around me... (week 6)

When I look at nature, I often see some pretty UnCommon Miracles... such beauty and intracacies...

The nasturtium leaves especially have been catching my eye lately...

The color is intensified if I use the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone...
looks like my fertilizing of the lawn really "took" last week!

My Mother's Day ladyslipper (the boys got me two years ago!) bloomed in time for Father's Day.
I love those green stripes so much.

I was just finishing picking from the magical and miraculous strawberry plants last night (see below), and looked up to see the sky doing it's summer thing. The last couple of days, it finally feels like summer... a miracle!

Apparently our strawberry plants mean business. So far we've picked every three days, and averaged 10-15 pounds each time. Amazing. Not tired of strawberries yet...

Lately it's been the littlest things that seem miraculous:

Downloading rather random podcasts and finally listening to a devotional one a week later and having it be exactly what I needed to hear, right that moment.

An appreciative word from my husband.

A text from Seth.

Finding pleasure in weeding the garden.

Noticing the kind ways that people can, and often do, treat each other.

Color... being in the most colorful season is just lovely. The peonies are done, but here come the daisies! And nasturtiums! And pincusion flowers!

To see other Common Miracle participants, go to Chel's blog and learn how her project started.

What Common Miracles have you noticed lately?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday night grateful moment

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you,
it will be enough.
-Meister Eckhart

This week I am especially grateful for my family, and for the support and love they have given me my whole life. The more I observe people's behavior over the course of a life, I see how it is shaped from the beginning; how powerful those early influences of family are. Coming from a place of love and security really is the kind of jumping-off point you'd wish for every child. I *do* wish that, for every child...

On this Father's Day weekend, I am grateful for my dad, who has been such an encourager over the years. He believes in his kids and isn't shy of saying so. I have (mostly) always appreciated that about him. (The mostly is more a reflection of my adolescent years, when I'm pretty sure I wasn't appreciative of *much*!) You can always count on my dad for a good game of hearts or dominoes, really anything competitive! And he's a good one for a joke too... Grandpa's already been an inspiration to Seth in that way--ha! He's accomplished a great deal in his life, and his artistic eye is one that we all admire and aspire to. Thanks for being such a great dad and grandfather, Pa.

I'm grateful for my husband, and his constant love. I do not take that for granted. (Funny story: I was describing to him an actress we both know, from Battlestar Galactica, who then played a small recurring role on Burn Notice... I said I thought she was gross. He said, "Well then, I think she's gross too." How great is he?!) (She's actually quite stunning. But also gross.)

I'm grateful for a communicative and affectionate son. We had just *the best* week together. I hesitate to say that, lest it jinx the rest of the summer... but it was pretty darn good. He knows how to make a mom (and stepdad) feel loved.

Oh, that sunshine. So grateful that we seem to be seeing an increase in the rays. Beautiful. I have the blinds up in my office, and even though the glare on my computer screen annoys me a bit, I am just so happy having the sunshine streaming in behind me.

And in that sunshine, I was blessed to have lunch with some lovely ladies today, girlfriends I've been lunching with on a monthly basis for a few years now. We sat on our deck and ate salads that had ingredients from our garden--not a lot, yet, but a few! And visited and laughed and told stories and caught up in general. You know, the good stuff. I am grateful for friendship.

I'm so thankful to have so many beautiful strawberries in our small patch. I think we picked almost 15 pounds this week, Seth and I. That hardly seems possible, and is definitely more than we need for breakfast eating... so we're eating them at every meal!

I am always so grateful for color, for everything from the cherries turning from yellow to red right outside my window, to the pansies and daisies and little green nasturium leaves... I try to imagine what my life would be without sight, or without color, and that just makes me all the more grateful for color in my life.

I'm grateful for all the different kinds of people and personalities I come in contact with. So many different permutations... I know sometimes the temptation is strong to want everyone to be "just like me," or at least have a few similarities... it's true that makes things easier, sometimes (but how about that person who's Just. Like. You... and drives you crazy? You know the one I'm talking about!), but so often the people that push us, make us all uncomfortable, those are the ones that are NOT like us, and can really help us grow and stretch. Darn them.

Always, I'm grateful for words. Words of comfort that can mean so much in a difficult time, words of encouragement to get up and keep going, words of affection, words of promise and hope... I have learned over the years (and with a little encouragement) that words are *just* words, and some people can spin them all "pretty like." So while I do so love the words, they gotta be backed up by actions...

Here are a few word-related images I found or pinned on Pinterest this week:

Gotta remember that one especially...

A few choice words for your weekend, from a cute little boy:

I hope you've had a good week, and that the weekend ahead brings you the kind of rest and peace and activity you're looking for! I will be holding out hope for the sunshine to continue!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday 13: Daybook musings, or would that be fumings?

Is fumings a word? Fuming is, so what's the plural of that? Hmmm.


For today:

Outside my window... Let's see, spin the dial... what will the weather be today... apparently it will be sunny-ish. Last night we had a brief rainstorm, with some wind, capping off a mixed, cool day... but when I checked the forecast for the next five days it is supposed to be all sunny and 70s. I'll take it, if that really happens. Lately the weather forecast seems more guesswork than actual prediction based on anything, but maybe that's just my fuming, cynical self! (Made me laugh just to type that, so...)

As for out my window specifically, the cherries are starting to ripen. I am really looking forward to the cherry crop this year, as there is not a single apricot or plum to be found on their respective trees. The cherries seem to be dropping a lot, don't know why other than maybe the cold? I don't know if that even makes sense, but I do like to blame things on the cold!

I am thinking... that I am not going to get cranked about a sporting event for a long time. (Fume. Fume.) It's just not worth it. I got all worked up about the Stanley Cup (NHL, just in case you're not a hockey fan...) the past couple of weeks, and really was somehow invested in the Vancouver Canucks having a glory moment (Canadian childhood memory moment). And... they were a depressing team, for sure. Even though they got to seven games, which they didn't deserve... I still wanted them to WIN. Sigh.

I am also thinking that I have a lot swirling around my brain about humans and choices and how we treat each other. I'm going to let it marinate for a bit rather than spew forth my opinions, but I did somehow feel the need to mention, since that's definitely what I'm thinking. Which then leads me to...

I am thankful for... second chances, opportunities to grow and learn and make better choices. I am thankful that people I know going through personal difficulties have good support. Good support is something I have been thankful for during my rough patches, and I know it will make the difference for them, as well.
From the kitchen... I am still in asparagus mode, so there's lots of that. And I'm making lunch for a couple of girlfriends tomorrow, so I'm dreaming of things that I know they'll like... Strawberries too, those are proliferating... yum.

In the immediate sense, I have two boys who woke up early and are already working away at designing a logo for their new spy business... is this real or is this still a dream?... hard to say until I get a bit more of my coffee in me. Regardless, they'll be hungry soon and needing pancakes and eggs and such... so THAT will be going on in my kitchen too, aside from the regular oatmeal grown-up breakfast...

I am wearing... clothes for the yard--shorts and a T-shirt, ratty cardigan and flip flops. Later I'll dress like a real person when we go to town--Seth and I both have appointments so we'll act like town people. That takes work in the summer!

I am creating... Finally, I'm putting together the super-colorful granny squares into a hexagonal lap blanket. I like it, and though it's a little slow going getting them all joined, it's fun to see it all come together.

I am going... to enjoy a peaceful weekend with my husband. He was supposed to be gone for work and stuck over the weekend, so this is an unexpected treat, definitely.

I am reading... Seth and I went to the library today, and I was the one who walked away with a small stack of books... It was lovely to renew our cards and look around to see what's new at the library--quite a bit! I got a cookbook: Earth to Table, which looks like a lot of fun and one that I might actually add to my collection; 20 under 40, a collection of New Yorker stories by youngish authors; The Rational Optimist, which looks interesting (if you've ever been called an optimist, and not in a positive tone, you can relate to my interest); and Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google... I'm a big Google fan, so thinking this might be a goodie (I have a feeling if I looked on husband's bookshelf I would see this one already... just a hunch). We'll see. I have too many books on my shelf already, I can't believe I really picked up any more... and I'm listening to By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham on my iPod, so I've got a little fiction going on too, really. By Nightfall is a little melencholy (this is the same author as The Hours, need I say more?), so I'll probably need to do a little palate-cleansing humor (David Sedaris, naturally) afterward before diving into another new audio read. Our library now has audio downloads available on loan, and I'm looking forward to figuring that out. Anything to bring down the monthly Audible bills, eh?

I am hoping... that we have nice weather for some work-related events next week. Nothing like trying to hold a company-wide picnic and everyone stands around with teeth chattering!
I am hearing... the really super-terrific great news that my friend Jen's six-month cancer check found her free free free of cancer! That was especially lovely to hear yesterday.

Around the house... We have had a nice mixture of play and work this week. Seth upgraded his phone, so he is super-incentivized to work for some coin to pay for the data plan. We've worked together on filling in some doggy-digging holes in the yard and reseeding the lawn, some edging of beds, some weeding, a little recycling. And on the play side, a bit of hanging with friends, watching a little Battlestar Galactica, a little strawberry picking (well, Seth probably considers that work, but I think of that as play...), chilling and computing... the usual. Very peaceful. I'm a lucky mom.

One of my favorite things... is sunshine. Have I mentioned that lately? Ha. Longest. Spring. Ever.

A few plans for the rest of the week... well, given that it's Thursday, I'm living for the weekend at this point. Some good stuff on tap for next week, more yard work, a couple of work events and maybe a bit of extended girl time too... good stuff, all around.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

This image has been floating around Pinterest quite a bit and I thought it sounded like a good idea to try... so I did. Yikes. You should have seen me coming down the stairs yesterday... I guess it's a good thing I could actually walk... but it does remind me that maybe I shouldn't go so long between workouts? Maybe try to stay a little more active ALL the time? Hmmm. Wonder when I'll really learn *that* lesson...

Hope you have a lovely Thursday all lined up... what's on tap for YOUR weekend?

To participate in Thursday 13, go here.

To play along with The Simple Woman's Daybook, go here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Potato asparagus salad gribiche

Recently on Pinterest I saw a pinned recipe for "potato salad gribiche," which I had never heard of. The note at the bottom of the pin said that gribiche = a sauce for potato salad made from a hard-boiled egg yolk. That sounded worth checking out to me (the girl with the egg cravings that almost match the cheese cravings), and I had no reason to doubt that definition of gribiche, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

A little research and minor digging around later, and I couldn't find a single recipe that made the potato salad dressing with a hard-boiled egg... every single one (in my initial research, I have since found a recipe that uses cooked eggs) I found called for making essentially a mayonnaise from raw egg. And apparently, I was not alone in that dilemma; many a finer cook than I has searched for said gribiche and come up empty... But somehow, that idea persisted in my brain. And so I had to try it...

The potato salad was a little twisty itself... just the way I like it. I thought the flavors would go well with an eggy dressing... and they did.

Potato-asparagus salad gribiche
serves 6 as a side
2 cups baby potatoes, halved, boiled and cooled
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, roasted and cooled
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
6 eggs, hard boiled, yolks separated from whites and whites chopped up
1 large spring onion, diced fine

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Gribiche sauce, off the cuff
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Mine was still a bit thick, so I added a bit of pickle juice to thin it, and add a wee bit of zip too, though a little more vinegar would have done that trick as well.

Pour the sauce over the salad ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Let sit at least a half hour for flavor development.

I really enjoyed the flavors of this sauce, and felt that it really worked especially well with the asparagus and potato combination. I was a bit gratified to later discover Bobby Flay feels that way as well... hence his Grilled Asparagus Gribiche. And there are other versions out there with the sauce more coarsely chopped that my whizzed up version that I might have to try as well: The Wednesday Chef has a dish, as does Serious Eats (over steak, no less).

Anyone out there ever had gribiche? Hello, recent Paris people, did you run across this eggy wonder? Do tell!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mexican cabbage soup

Before this dish disappears completely from memory (we appear to have moved into summer eating, it seems, the past two weeks), I want to get it down on "paper" so that I can return to it when the weather cools again. Of course, knowing the wacky weather we've had the past few months, it could be that I'm hauling out the soup pot next week and putting on my wooly socks...

This soup has (almost) endless variations, but the basics are as follows:

Mexican cabbage soup
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup carrots, diced fine
1 cup celery, diced fine

Saute in a large soup pot until onion is translucent and the carrots and celery soft. Then add:

2 tsp. cumin
1 bag of chopped cabbage (oh, the ease of prepackaged salads) (3-4 cups, if you're using "real" cabbage) (I also chop the cabbage a bit more than it comes)
2 (19 oz.) cans of red enchilada sauce
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cans (16 oz.) of Great Northern Beans

Make sure you have enough liquid to cover the soup adequately, to your tastes. We like a more stewy concoction, so tend to go a little shy on extra liquid. But feel free to add extra broth as desired.

Bring the soup to a gentle boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the zucchini and cabbage are tender.

Like all soups, the flavors tend to improve with a little sitting around, so enjoy the leftovers over the next couple of days. Or make ahead, if you're wanting the prepared soup all flavor-ready for guests and such.

As for variations, I have added extra tomatoes (stewed), skipped the zucchini, added green chiles for a little extra heat, and added green and red peppers just because I had them around. All were yummy in their own way...

This soup is a real lunch favorite for husband, and I think it will be for some time (even through the summer months). I hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Common Miracles for a Monday

Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment...
-Thich Nhat Hanh

My most recent Common Miracles include (but are not limited to!):

Riding on the back of the mower while my son drives me through the sprinkler mist.

Huge radishes that slice so thinly into radish salad.

The feeling of sunshine hitting my skin, soaking in.


Basking in the knowledge that morning routines get to be different for awhile.

A song coming back to me, rather by chance, and striking just the right chord. This song did that, just last night.

Everbearing strawberry plants. I'm in awe of them and the bounty we've enjoyed so far this spring/summer.
Seeing friends after 20+ years and having that be like a flash of time (in some ways), and like we've all been through three wars (at least) in another...

Tan lines. I know, it's practically a sin to mention them any more... but to me, THIS spring, it's more than a little miracle to have a couple...

To see other Common Miracle participants and what inspired Chel to start the project, go here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday night grateful moment

This week I'm saying it (mostly) with pictures:

So grateful for my guys.

Thankful for the plentiful peonies, and how long they've lasted in the cool weather!

Thankful for the amazing scent of the mock orange. It stops me as I walk by the bush.

The wonderful contrast in the purple and orange pansies.
I'm grateful for fun color combinations in nature.

A wonderful first crop of strawberries. I'm grateful to have skipped the supermarket berries this year, and waited for that amazing flavor that only vine-ripened berries have.

Kale and lettuce and beets in their rows.
I'm grateful the bunnies don't seem to have discovered the garden... (famous last words!)

I'm grateful for volunteer squash plants (that I can't bring myself to pull up).
They're bigger than the starts we bought and planted weeks ago!

Potatoes in the foreground, onions, cabbages, beans and such in the back.
I'm grateful that even without sun, things are growing...

This is probably the tidiest (most weed-free) the garden will look all year. I'm thankful
I've been able to stay ahead of the weeds... so far. The brown patch is for where corn is supposed to go, but we've kind of decided it's so late that we won't bother this year...
(By the time we have good ears, we'll have frost. Nuts.)

Spring eating... I'm so grateful for the bountiful asparagus. I eat it almost every day!

More peonies and a little salvia too. I'm so grateful for the color.

Wishing you a weekend filled with color and spring-into-summer weather. And love, always wishing you love. And peace. And a good night's sleep... (wish that back for me, too, would you?)
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