I fell in a hole


I fell in a hole. Again.

I guess the good thing is that I’m familiar with the sensation and can kind of brace myself when falling, and then keep myself calm while I’m down there looking for the way out.

I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but I suspect it had a lot to do with a combination of biochemistry (I have been struggling with anemia for several months now), and the stress of having to go to the dentist and have a root canal on a tooth that had already had one years ago, and the waning sunshine and returning rains. I just ran out out of the ability to navigate around the hole and resist the pull.

Anyway, I’m slowly pulling myself out of this one. After spending a couple of days of sleeping as much as possible and not much else, I knew I was on the way out Sunday night when I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited about my cooking project for today (cream of broccoli soup — recipe coming, I promise!). I don’t doubt that the brief return on sunshine on Sunday helped as well.

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Another factor is that I have so many ideas, I feel a bit overwhelmed when I sit down and try to get stuff done. I am having some trouble finding a way to streamline much of my blogging work. I always feel like I’m just barely making my self-imposed deadlines and sometimes even missing them. When I’m tired or stressed (or tired AND stressed), it’s harder to stay positive in the face of what can sometimes feel like failure. The failure to keep up with the schedule that I created to support my goals. The failure to find the easy way around the tedious parts of the work. The failure to instantly be a super star blogger.

“The deepest fear we have, ‘the fear beneath all fears,’ is the fear of not measuring up, the fear of judgment. It’s this fear that creates the stress and depression of everyday life.” Tullian Tchividjian

I know (today) that I will eventually will sort it out. It’s like a kind of puzzle, and I love puzzles. And one of my greatest work-related skills is the ability to do more in a day than others because I’ve created a streamlined process. So, I just have to keep reminding myself that I will eventually find the right system for this new career.

I also know that I will find my way out of this hole, just like I’ve done in the past. And I know that I will fall into another hole in the future. And another. And probably another. But, with each hole I exit, I gain more confidence in myself. Which, for me, is quite comforting when I need it most.

Veggies!


First, a quick check in on last week’s veggie plan. It went great! Frittata? Check! Tomato sauce? Check! Sautéed kale? Bean salad? Salsa? Check. Check. Check!

We didn’t make a roast chicken or a pot roast, as our dinner plans with a friend was postponed. But carrots and potatoes store well, and now that we have some fennel, that’ll make a perfect pot roast!

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Friday Faves


Swedish Corningware

It’s no secret I have an obsession with serving dishes and cookware. We host parties and game nights at least once a month, and sometimes more often, and I’m always looking for more plates and bowls to serve snacks in.

But I don’t just use these fun pieces for parties. Nope. Most of them also get daily use for my own snacks, or storage for fruits and veggies.

One of my all-time favorite finds is this 1975 Country Festival Corning Ware dish. It didn’t have the lid, but that’s OK. It’s not going in the oven. I found it at the local Sutter Care at Home Thrift Store, which isn’t a place I visit very often. But every time I do, I find something I love.

I just adore these little birds and flowers. They bring me a kind of simple joy that I cannot really describe. I’m not kidding. Even in my darkest funk, I get a little glow of happiness when I see them on the counter.

Do you have any favorite dishes? Is this a silly thing to get excited about?

Veggie Day


OK, so normally Tuesday is Veggie Day, but I wasn’t feeling very well on Tuesday, so I pushed it off until today.

First, let’s check in on how things went veggie-wise last week. No new or exciting kitchen creations. Oh well. We were out of town for a long weekend, so there weren’t many dinners at home last week.

Pretty much everything went into the freezer (celery & broccoli), pantry (onions), fridge storage (beets), or put on display (pumpkins).

Or got eaten (tomatoes). Nothing fancy. The green tomatoes were made into a jar of salsa. The orange cherry tomatoes were washed. Both were taken on our trip to Redding and enjoyed there with Eric’s mother and step-dad.

Veggie Day
 
This week’s haul:

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • green onions
  • kale
  • shelling beans

It’s definitely starting to feel like autumn here, but we’re still enjoying the end-of-summer produce, as you can see from this photo.

In addition to the huge bag of veggies, I also bought more tomatoes! Tomato season is drawing to a close, and I don’t feel like I have enough jars of tomato sauce on the shelves for winter. These’ll get roasted and canned tomorrow. I’ll even take photos and share them here once it’s all done.

End of summer tomatoes
 
And, because I have some cash in my account again, I also splurged and bought some more of these little cuties. These little orange cherry tomatoes are my all-time favorites. So sweet and delicious. Like eating candy.

Orange cherry tomatoes
 
This week’s veggie plan:

Frittata: We’ve got some great wild caught salmon in the freezer, and I love cooking it up in a frittata with baby potatoes, a diced carrot, and whatever else is on hand. I think this one will have some sautéed kale, zucchini, and topped with little orange cherry tomatoes and finely chopped green onions. Stay tuned for the recipe!

Tomato Sauce: Years ago, a friend shared this fabulous SmittenKitchen recipe for roasted tomato soup, and ever since, I’ve made a point to cook up and can as much of this soup recipe as possible, to enjoy over the winter. I don’t always use to make the soup, though. It also makes a wonderful pasta sauce. I just love having several jars of it on hand to use for quick winter dinners. So far, I have six jars. This weekend I’ll be making six more.

Sautéed Kale: We like including greens with our breakfast of black beans and eggs. It’s a great way to get some extra vitamins in, and they’re delicious. I just rinse and chop the kale and add it to a pan with some bacon fat, chopped onions and garlic, and sauté until softened. Yum!

Bean Salad: I’ve seen some intriguing recipes for bean salads, and plan to try one of them out with these shelling beans. They’re black coco beans, so I think they’ll make a pretty dish with the orange or yellow tomatoes and green onions.

Salsa: Any tomatoes that don’t get eaten with breakfast or snacked on during the day, or made into sauce, will be made into Eric’s fantastic salsa fresca. Probably one of the last batches of the year. Which means it will be enjoyed with much pomp and circumstance.

Pot Roast OR Roast Chicken: While the daytime temps are still in the mid-70s, the evenings are cool and that makes me start thinking about using my oven again. I have both a pork butt and a whole chicken in the freezer. Which one I decide to roast up will probably be determined by how I feel on the day I go pull one or the other from the freezer to thaw. I’m leaning toward the pot roast so I can use up these cute little potatoes and a couple of carrots. But, you never know.

Zucchini: Honestly, we’re about done with summer squash. I’ve been freezing it to include in pasta dishes and soup all winter. If there’s anything left from these, they’ll get added to that stash.

R/W/L/P


Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.

Accidental City
 
Reading
The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans, by Lawrence N. Powell. I’m reading this book very slowly. I want to cherish each and every chapter section. Every page is chock full of great characterizations, story-telling, and amazing details. I try to read a couple of pages every night, and at least once every 10 minutes, I catch myself stopping to really envision a scene Powell is describing. I highly recommend it if you’re at all interested in New Orleans or Louisiana history. Or even if you’re just a history nerd like me who enjoys watching a master historian perform his craft.

Last Tango In Halifax
 
Watching
Last Tango in Halifax. The main premise is that Celia and Alan (center), were sweet on each other at 16 but were separated by a move and a other circumstances, and now, 60 years later, they have reconnected via Facebook. They agree to meet and their old passion is rekindled. Merging their two families together, though, is not nearly as easy. Which is why this show is so fantastic!

Every character is a whole and perfectly flawed person. How they go through the trials of life — and there are many — reveals their own growth (or lack thereof). Watching them sometimes feels like a kind of therapy. I can say that on at least three different occasions, interactions between characters has given me some new insight into things I’ve experienced in the past.

Plus, you know, yay for a realistic romance between old characters! Heck, even the 45 year old daughters Caroline and Gillian get to have realistic love lives.

Listening
Stevie Wonder. Wandered back into the archives, and have been enjoying the pure funkiness of his early-70s work. Something about the social unrest in my timelines is making me faux-nostalgic for the 70s. All those songs I listened to as a naive child have been making more and more sense the older I get and the more I witness the latest incarnation of the same old struggles.

Hohokum
 
Playing
Hohokum, among other things! I just love this game. I love the puzzles. I love the wild and strange landscape. I even love (ok, maybe that’s a bit strong) the music. It’s soothing and so easy to get sucked into exploring every corner and trying to figure out what needs to be done and how to do it. Honestly, I have to limit myself to only playing it once or twice a week. Otherwise, I’d never get anything else done.

What you you reading, watching, listening to, or playing these days? Anything fun?

Tuesday – Veggie Day


pumpkins

This is the beautiful sight that greeted me when I stopped into my CSA to pick up this week’s supply! It’s finally pumpkin season! While other people are feeling enthusiastic about Pumpkin Spice Season, I’m not a die-hard PSS person. But, I do love a good pumpkin pie, or maybe some curry pumpkin soup. And then there were those amazing pumpkin scones I made years ago when I baked. And I’ve been meaning to try my hand at duplicating the delicious chicken and pumpkin curry the local Thai restaurant makes.

So many good pumpkin recipes! So, I guess it’s good that we got two of these little cuties (Baby Bears) in our box this week! I also want to mention how much I love how the two seasons (summer and autumn) overlap quite nicely here in California. Pumpkins AND tomatoes at the same time? Yes, please!

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The contents of this week’s ‘box':

  • 2 Baby Bear sugar pumpkins
  • 2 very large yellow onions
  • 1 pound of heirloom tomatoes (green)
  • 1 pint of mini golden tomatoes
  • 1/4 pound of broccoli spears (the second harvest)
  • 2 pounds of beet (yep, just one very big beet)
  • 1 summer celery
  • 1 teeny Fuyu persimmon with a tiny bruise (a bit of lagniappe)

The goal of these post, in addition showing off the fantastic produce my farmer-friends offer, is to spur me to think about what will get used and how, and maybe even encourage me to make a weekly meal-plan.

So, after a little thinking, my tentative plan is:

  • keep the pumpkins until I have a minute to roast them up
  • put these onions with the rest of the 10lbs I bought last week until I have a chance to dream up my own version of an onion pie, which I’ve been dreaming about for a week or so now
  • talk Eric into using these beautiful green tomatoes in his next salsa batch for a fun variety of color
  • eat these cute little orange cherry tomatoes for lunch tomorrow… if not later tonight
  • steam and add to our breakfast of eggs and beans
  • save the beet with the other beets in the crisper drawer, but sauté the greens up to eat with our eggs and beans breakfast
  • honestly, this isn’t snacking celery, so it’s going to get chopped and frozen for using in soups and casseroles this winter
  • slice and enjoy!

OK, so this ‘box’ isn’t going to be the spark for a fantastic series of cooking posts anytime soon (although it reminds me of others I should add to the list). But, the components will surely show up in future cooking posts. I promise.

And who knows, maybe I’ll feel inspired to make a small bowl of tomato salad tomorrow to enjoy those little orange babies.

Meditation Monday – Hope


Today’s Question of the Day on Shakesville was “What gives you hope?” What a great writing-meditation prompt!

My short answer to the post was:

I find hope when I look for it. Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of hope in the fact that whatever little social media network I visit has a pretty vibrant young feminist community. In particular, I’m thinking of the people on Instagram sharing stories and support. It’s not perfect, but it’s something that makes me hopeful for the future.

My longer (and, technically, shorter) answer would look something closer to this: Me. Continue reading