comfort

I’d like to say that I’ve been living it up these past couple of days.  Partying like it’s my business.  Living life to the max in New York City.  Or something like that.

But—really—I consider you guys my friends.  And—really—friends are honest with each other.  Right?  Of course. 

Honesty says that I’ve been cozying up with a box of kleenex, becoming best buds with dark cherry herbal tea, and sleeping till past 8 o’clock.  Yes, it’s true.  I have fully surrendered to the common cold. 

It’s funny how despite it all, I still end up in the kitchen with my apron on.  A wooden spoon in my hand.  Flipping through the pages of a Cooking Light cookbook until landing on Vegetarian ChiliI can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now than cook and eat comforting food.  Chili is my comfort food.

As is cornbread. 

I love this recipe both because it’s (a) amazingly delicious and rustic as well as being (b) completely healthy—I use stoneground cornmeal, whole wheat flour and olive oil to make this bread.  The small amount of sugar and oil help to keep this bread moist and soft, providing you with a slice that’s delicate enough to be crumbled lightly over chili, firm enough to be toasted and spread with butter & jam, and healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast.

I heart this cornbread.   😀

+ greens, garden fresh yellow tomatoes, black olives and olive oil. 

Psychologically, vegetables always make me feel better when I’m sick. 😉

Tell me, tell me.  What is more comforting than sipping on tea, sitting near a campfire, holding a bowl of hot chili and savoring a slice of cornbread straight from the oven? 

Comfort to the max. 😀

Question: What is your favorite “comfort food” to make and to eat?

weekend post: my most favorite of things

Thank you all for the get well wishes!  I’m still not feeling completely myself today, but at least I was able to do everything that I had set my plans—and my heart—on doing.  I can tell that my immune system is hard at work fighting something off, and I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.  😀

Today was filled to the brim with a few of my most favorite of things.  It all started with an early morning walk.

And a bowl of your basic oatbran.

This bowl of creaminess was filled—and topped—with warm, sweet bananas.  With a sprinkle of walnuts and chia seeds.  Plus a drizzle of fresh maple syrup.

A short breezy morning walk + a warm, filling breakfast + a hot cup of coffee = just a few of my most favorite of things.

Next on the list: hitting up a farmers market with my sis.  My best friend (aka, Nicole from Simple Moments.) 

We ooohed and ahhhed our way through thai basil, fresh organic kale, peppery radishes, and rainbow colored heirloom tomatoes.  It was nearly impossible not to buy everything in sight.  I’m sure you understand. 😀

And I also spent some time with my fur-nephew Stitch.  He desparately needed a manicure, which is a two-woman job. 😉  Nicole held him, while I snipped away.  He’s such a sweetie-pie, and just acts all upset and hurt vs. scratching or biting.  The poor little guy gave me the saddest look, with an expression that said, “I thought you loved me.”

The post-manicure kitty treats seemed to make up for any hurt feelings. :mrgreen:

 Spending time with Nicole + spending time with Stitch + hitting up a farmers market and feeling 100% inspired to continuously eat fresh and local = just a few of my most favorite of things.

My dad is convinced that everything tastes better when it’s cooked over an open fire. 

I’m convinced that he’s right.

Dad built a gigantic tripod, complete with a chain link to attach a cooking pot. 

Dinner over an open fire.  It felt so early American.  Completely primitive.

On the menu: split pea soup!

 And crackers for dunking.

My bowl was filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth. 

 But wait!  No campfire is complete without s’mores.  It would be so wrong not to bring out the graham crackers, the fluffy marshmallows and the dark chocolate squares.

Step 1: toast a marshmallow.

Step 2: Redo ‘Step 1’ as necessary.

Step 3: Top the toasted ‘mallow with a square of dark chocolate.

Step 4: Ooze together. 

Dad’s s’more—obviously—came out perfect.

Step 5: Enjoy.  Each.  Bite. 

Don’t be afraid to get all messy.

A campfire + Split Pea Soup cooked over a fire + ooey, gooey s’mores = a few of my most favorite of things.

Twas a deliciously wonderful Saturday.  In every sense of the word. 😀

Goodnight World!!

Question: What were a few of your favorite things about today?

Dad’s Day

Happy (day after) Father’s Day!

Yesterday was full of gifts…

Family….

Corn on the cob….

Fire pits…

Al Fresco chicken sausages with sauteed onions and peppers on a whole wheat roll…

After-dinner walks…

And homemade eclairs…

It was so much fun just relaxing away a Sunday evening with family and some good ol’ campfire chit-chatter.  This should happen more often. 😀

I contribute a lot of my enjoyments and personality to my Dad.  And since it is Father’s Day after all, here are seven things I think you should know about my Dad…

1. He tries not to take life too seriously.

2. He loves the great outdoors.

This was the first overnight hike I ever did in New Hampshire and I was instantly bit by the hiking bug.

3. He loves good food as much as I do.  :mrgreen:

4. He continuously encourages me and motivates me to keep working towards what I love.

5. He knew that it was important to keep his family staying active.

As kids, my brother, sister and I were constantly going on hikes, going kayaking, bike riding, walking, etc.  I didn’t exactly appreciate it all of the time when I was small, but all those memories are some of the reasons I love staying active today.

6. He understands the joy of a good long run.

10k race, fall of 2009

7. He’s always there when I need him—as a friend and as a Dad.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad!!! 😀

Summer, Beans and Life’s To Do List

Yesterday may as well have been the first day of summer.  Officially, it’s actually June 21st.  However, I consider it summer when the fire pit is brought onto the deck and dad takes out the roasting sticks. 😀

I also consider it summer when I take that first bite into the sweetest corn on the cob.  This was so fresh, it didn’t even need butter.  Just a lil’ salt.  Yes, my friends, summer is official. 😀

The entire night was filled with other such summer foodie favorites.  First there were salads, followed with the corn cobs and then there were the roasted Al Fresco Sweet Italian Chicken Sausages (my favorite flavor…it’s spicy by the way, not sweet, contrary to what the name might make you think.) 

There’s something about cooking your own food over an open fire and then eating it outdoors too.  It always tastes amazing. 😀

Especially when blanketed inside a whole wheat roll and piled high with sauteed onions, green bell peppers and ketchup.  Ah-mazing. 😀

Of course the night didn’t end there.  We moved on to more summery things, like campfire singing (that would be mom 😉 ) and making deliciously oeey-gooey hot s’mores.

BEFORE

AFTER

I think I ended up with more chocolate on my face than I did in my stomach. :mrgreen:

Here are some updates…

The Baked Beans came out amazing…really, really simple and really, really delicious.  Seriously.  They were sweet but not too sweet.  And they came out thick but not too thick.  Pretty much perfect.  It was a great recipe. 😀  And I’ll be posting it next week when I make a batch for us.  I was going to double it and keep some, but decided against it just in case it made an overwhelming amount (wouldn’t want it overflowing in the oven!)  Stay tuned though…it’s on my meal list for next week along with homemade skillet cornbread. 😉

Life’s To Do List is complete…yay!!  I can’t wait to work on these throughout my life and add more to the list as I go (but the rule is that I can’t erase any of these ideas unless I actually do them!)  Oh, and you’ll notice that some are going to take a lot of time to achieve, some are difficult, and some are downright simple.   I like to have goals that are both challenging and achievable to keep me motivated. 😉

Life’s To Do List

  1. Run a marathon.
  2. Hike all of the 48–4,000 ft. mountains in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
  3. Watch the Red Sox play (and hopefully beat) the Yankees.
  4. Read John Adams (my dad says every American should read this book.)
  5. Plant a tree on earth day.
  6. Give a random person an umbrella in a rainstorm.
  7. Try every cheesecake flavor at the Cheesecake Factory (I’m well on my way to completing this one…haha.)
  8. Take a yoga class.
  9. Learn how to make at least one pottery dish.
  10. Pass the Dietetic Internship.
  11. Pass the RD exam and become a Registered Dietitian.
  12. Attend a cooking class.
  13. Do something special for someone who will never find out.
  14. Go scuba diving.
  15. Be able to do an unassisted pull-up.
  16. Make Julia Child’s version of beef bourguignon.
  17. Spend the entire day at a spa.
  18. Be registered as an organ donor.
  19. Throw a party for someone.
  20. Adopt an animal from the shelter.
  21. Go to one of my favorite bands’ concerts.
  22. Run 5 miles in 5 different states.
  23. Host a dinner party.
  24. Go horseback riding along the beach.
  25. Earn a Masters Degree.
  26. Spend a week being entirely selfless by serving others.
  27. Eat a croissant in front of the Eiffel Tower.
  28. Be able to run Summit Hill (it’s a steep road in New Hampshire, and so far I have been unable to make it—someday I’ll arrive prepared!)
  29. Swim in the Pacific Ocean.
  30. Order something completely new that I’ve never tried before at a restaurant (falafel sandwich, maybe?)
  31. Visit New York City.
  32. Try wine tasting.
  33. Read the entire Bible in one year.
  34. Carve a pumpkin.
  35. Have the ultimate “girls only” weekend trip with Nicole and my mom.
  36. Grow my hair out long and donate it to locks of love.
  37. Run through a sprinkler while out running on a hot summer day.
  38. Pull an all-nighter (24 hrs of being awake.)
  39. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  40. Travel cross country in a Volkswagen bus while sporting a Peace! Shirt…yes, I’m serious.
  41. Buy an icecream from a traveling icecream truck.
  42. Learn how to swim (the ‘doggy-paddle’ doesn’t count…ha!)
  43. Give blood.
  44. Ride a motorcycle.
  45. Own a goat farm.
  46. Fly in a plane.
  47. Learn how to change a tire.
  48. Land a job that I love.
  49. Cook my way through an entire cookbook (Julie and Julia, anyone?)
  50. Help someone else achieve something that’s on their own “life’s to-do list”.