I can’t tell you my exact age… or even an accurate approximation other than young… but I remember vividly one of the best meals of my life. It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
My parents were out on one of their date nights and my aunt was babysitting. I remember giggling with her, playing games and then setting myself up in the living room to watch Sleeping Beauty. I remember fast forwarding through the “scary” parts, laughing at the funny parts, and then realizing… I’d been having so much fun I had forgotten… I was hungry. I asked my aunt for dinner. She, not being more than 16, had a limited repertoire and whipped me up a pb&j with tortilla chips. She served me the meal on a platter so I didn’t have to miss a moment of the movie.
I remember biting into that sandwich and thinking that it was the best thing I had ever eaten. I told her, she laughed and we both turned our attention back to Princess Aurora and her Prince Charming.
Over the years I have tried to replicate that sandwich. I have made some good pb&j’s, but none compare to the one I was served that evening. Was it the grape jelly that made it so appealing? Or maybe strawberry? Was it whole wheat or white bread? Could it be that I was using inferior peanut butter? I doubt it… I think the memory of that peanut butter and jelly is filled with love and laughter that cannot be spread onto bread.
Since transitioning from veganism, I have become obsessed with searching for new recipes. Martha Stewart’s are among these… I never really used her recipes, almost all include eggs. I spent my whole lunch break looking through them yesterday and came across this recipe for healthy oatmeal raisin cookies. I’ve never been a huge fan of raisins so I subbed in dried cherries and mmm…mmmm… these are good. Although I doubt they will gain their own space on the food pyramid, they are healthier than your regular cookie and you’d never know it by tasting them.
A few months ago I was looking through a West Elm catalogue and saw drift wood garland for sale. I really liked it, but could not fathom paying $30 for some driftwood with holes and twine… but it did give me an idea. We have a ton of shells, shells we’ve collected on trips, shells that have memories. I decided rather than storing them in a bag in the basement it might be fun to turn them into a garland. I used a diamond drill bit to drill a hole into the top and bottom of each shell, then strung the twin through… and vwala… my very own shell garland. This garland was free and it each shell has its own memory.
This summer my husband and I are taking our first trip to Europe together (yippee). We are beyond excited and have been immersed in travel plans. A big chunk of our journey will be spent in Italy. Now let me tell you… you can only look at photos of Italy and its culture for so long before having some serious cravings! Well I decided to act on my cravings this week… and it definitely paid off. I had the kind of Italian craving that no jar of pasta sauce could fix… it was a homemade sauce I was looking for. I didn’t really have a recipe in mind, so I came up with this on the fly. It was really satisfying. After our trip this summer I can better attest to its authenticity…
Homemade Spaghetti Marinara
1 lb cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 C basil
1/4 C kalamata olive, diced
3 T capers
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic diced
4 T olive oil
1 C of tomato sauce (you can omit this for a chunkier version of the recipe)
1 t red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee onion in olive oil until translucent, add garlic. Once garlic turns golden add tomatoes, capers, basil, olives, pepper flakes and optional tomato sauce. Let sauce simmer for about 30 minutes.
Pour sauce over pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan… Magnifico!
Yesterday I made my first visit to Moutoux Orchard and Farm for my CSA pick up. It was a bit of a drive, but totally worth it! In supermarket shopping you seem so distant from your food. This was the complete opposite, I was able to see the chickens the eggs come from, the fields my cabbage was picked from… The farm uses organic methods and the staff is very transparent, inviting you to look around. And so I did, with a camera in tow I trekked across the farm snapping pictures of this and that….
I was so distracted by the beauty I nearly forgot all my food! All in all I left with a plethora of apples, carrots, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onions, flour, wheat berries, and 3 dozen eggs. A great experience!
I’ve been knitting since I was in high school, but somehow managed to avoid double pointed needles until recently. I had exhausted every object that could be knit with a rectangle… I needed to move on. So I went to the library and took out a book with a hat pattern.
It was actually much simpler than I thought. I had very little trouble and I really like the result… So do Marley and Quinn!
Oh how I love Sunday mornings. Sitting in bed without the nagging feeling that I should be productive. Time to relax, reflect and look ahead. Marley agrees… Don’t you Marley?
Every year we return home to Michigan for the holidays.
Every year upon our return I whine and complain about the cold (“Now I remember why we moved to Virginia”).
Every year we cherish each moment spent with our families.
And every year we treck back to Virginia, looking back, wishing we had more time… More time with the people we love… More time to gaze at the beautiful landscapes…
At this point I don’t remember why we moved to Virginia. It seems I had forgotten… the cold isn’t so bad when you have loved ones to hug and views like these to look upon…
Today I have nothing “present” to write about, as I have spent the day in my head… dreaming. Dreaming of a wonderful summer afternoon spent along the Chesapeake. The cold spell seems endless, and with no 70-degree days in sight, I have decided to live in my memories. One specific memory in particular: Over the summer my husband and I spend a wonderful weekend in Urbana, Virginia, a small fishing village along the Chesapeake Bay. It was a perfectly relaxing weekend spent along the water. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the seasons, but on some long winter days I just close my eyes and make my own summer…
Oh, summer, I’ll see you soon enough. And when I do I will be dreaming of crisp winter evenings like tonight…