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Sunday Chores: It’s All About Perspective

danceinthekitchenAbout ten years ago I was in a supervisory meeting and was asked how I was feeling about my life in general.

I was happy. Deeply happy. My son was at, what I thought then, was the perfect age (around 7 or 8 years old). My career was both paying the bills and meaningful. I was single, but content going home to my own space, and feeling safe when I closed the door. I had time to concentrate on the spiritual elements of my life, and I took the time to be creative; painting, singing, writing, playing.

It’s been a long ten years.

Shortly after that I entered into one of the most difficult and enlightening relationships of my life. It fundamentally changed my perception of the world, it challenged me to re-think what it was I really wanted and expected from relationship. Most importantly, it made me even more deeply grateful for the simple life I had as a two-person-parent-and-child household.

During the past ten years, my son remained at what I always thought was the perfect age. As his birthdays passed,  I remained in tremendous awe of watching this person unfold and grow into who he was meant to be.

My needs changed, and my career became a source of grief. I left a place that had a piece of my heart and started over. I started over again after that, and then one more time until I found what I needed.

Ten years. A decade. The wheel has turned full circle.

I’m happy.

My son, towering over me is doing all of the things that a young man his age should be doing; asking to take the car out on dates, goofing around with the guys, getting his grades in order, and excelling in a sport that has the right people watching.

How can mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning and making mothering a priority be considered cumbersome now? I just can’t see it that way.

Even though my thoughts upon waking were a list of must-do’s today; cooking so there is food in the house for my long week of shift work, cleaning so home feels like home, not a shelter,getting my taxes in order, and of course, the creative finances of a single income home.  These are all chores of a charmed life, and I am grateful.

Wishing you enough peace and joy in your heart that you can clearly see your blessings, even it they’re dressed in an apron and sweeping the floor.

 

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Waiting, Hope, Endings & Beginnings

Christmas may be celebrated with gifts, food, drink, carols and time spent with loved ones, but it begins with Advent.

Advent Vespers
Advent Vespers (Photo credit: holisticgeek)

As my minister preached the sermon this first Sunday of Advent, he took us back and reminded us of our own Christmas’s past;

The first year you were married. The last Christmas you spent with a loved one. The first Christmas you lived away from home and drove for hours to get back to spend time with your family. The very first Christmas memory that you have from  your childhood.  The  very first Christmas you spent with your sweetheart….

Christmas can be a season of great joy, and it can be  season of  unfathomable loneliness, sadness, when hope is all that you have, and it’s pretty hard to find.

Advent is the beginning of the Christian calendar, and it is a season where the beauty of light breaks the long season of darkness. As with all beginnings, there is mystery, and a tangled bundle of emotions that must all be held in our hearts just as they are, intricately and infinitely bound to the others;

Waiting.

Hope.

Endings.

Beginnings.

This Christmas as with all others, I will remember my own Christmas’s past; both the joyful years , and the years I cried alone on Christmas eve with my kiddo tucked in his bed waiting for Santa, and the house filled only with  a roaring, vast, silence.

This year has been one of great change. I have survived endings and beginnings and yet I wait with hope for one more great blessing.

As the season of Advent begins, I wish you the strength to see beyond the endings, be patient in the waiting, and the courage to live with hope for the new beginnings which are sure to follow.

 

 

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A Quieted Mind

rest your mindThis morning I woke completely relaxed and unfettered by worries about what was on my to-do list.

I know exactly what I need to help shake off the skin of every-day-working-and-doing-it-all, and yesterday I got exactly what I needed.

Yesterday  it was tequila in the form of margaritas (slurpies for adults), and the resulting shenanigans that helped me unwind from my ever busy self.

Lately I’ve been busier than I have in a long time. I’ve neglected my Creative Self, and it’s starting to pull at my conscience. It’s little voice is whispering, “I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere until you feed me“.

Thank you Creative Self for being so insistent and relentless in your will to survive. I need you.

When my mind is quiet, when I wake relaxed, and take my morning coffee on the patio in the still morning, that is when I hear my heart whisper. That is when my intuition finds its footing, and gathers strength.

I am a woman who fully trusts her intuition, and nurtures her creative spirit, even if it takes a little misbehaving and fermented agave a la frozen concoction maker.

Looking forward to the celebrations that will mark my 40th birthday, I’ve decided to listen to the whispers of my heart, and snuggle up with what makes me happy.

My wish for you on this Sunday, and every day, is that you find some quiet time to listen for those beautifully, bittersweet murmurs of your heart.  I hope that you hear what they tell you, and aren’t afraid to act on them.

If you need some courage, may I suggest  a little bit of  tequila and some Jimmy Buffett….

 

 

 

 

 

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She Promised Herself

Promise-to-self

Sunday evening. Time to snuggle in by the fireside, and build ourselves up for another week darlings. Stir up a steamy, rich, cup of cocoa and set your intentions on self-care and joy.  You and I definitely will not be broken….

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A Woman Like You

Pin-up

It’s time to wind-down the weekend with a glass of your favourite spirit and a great song. Pour yourself  a glass, turn the lights down low, and click on the link….

A beautiful Sunday evening to you my darlings….

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Savoury Sunday; Antipasti II Croquettes

Arancini
Arancini (Photo credit: L.Richarz)

I’m back just like I promised last Sunday my sweet little darlings. This is the second of three Antipasti Savoury Sundays. Last week I gave you a delicious shrimp and pea puree recipe. This week I send out all of my culinary love and have decided to share a Croquettes recipe that we enjoy.

No mater where I go, there is always a local version of croquettes – the perfect savoury food to pop in your mouth, with just enough staying power to get your through a long, lingering afternoon of sunshine and friendly frolicking.

This is a long, slow recipe to make, so turn on some music, enjoy a nice glass of wine, and look forward to sharing these with your friends.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

Arancine Rice Croquettes

Ingredients

1) 3.5 cups water

2) 1/2 tsp chopped saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 minutes.

3) 1.5 tsp salt

4) 2 cups Arborio rice

5) 2 eggs

6) 2/3 cups grated parmesan cheese

7) 1/4 tsp ground  black pepper

For the filling;

1) 3 tbsp. olive oil

2) 5-6 oz  ground beef/pork or a mixture of the two

3) 1/2 onion

4) 1 small carrot peeled and diced

5) 1 small celery stalked finely chopped

6) 1 cup tomato sauce

7) 1 tbsp. tomato paste

8) 1/4 cup cooked peas

9) 1 cup flour

10) 1 cup fine bread crumbs

11) 2 eggs

12) Olive oil, or preferred oil for deep-frying ( I prefer grape seed oil).

Method

Rice Mixture;

1) In a saucepan combine the water, saffron and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil.

2) Ad rice, stirring well. Turn heat down to low, covering pan to cook rice until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through (~15 minutes).

3) Cool rice mixture for a few minutes, and then add eggs, cheese and season with remaining salt and pepper.

4) Spread rice on baking sheet and cool until cold, but do not let it harden (1-2 hours)

Arancine Filling;

1) Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute meat, onion, carrot and celery until cooked through (~15 minutes)

2) Add tomato sauce and paste. Cook until thick (~30 mins)

3) Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

4) Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Putting it all together;

1) To shape the croquettes, use a spoonful of rice to make a 1-2 inch ball.

2) Make an indent in the rice with your finger, and add some Arancine filling.

3) Smooth the rice over the filling.

4) With bread crumbs, flour, and lightly beaten eggs  in their own, separate bowls, dip the croquettes one at a time first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Place croquettes on lined baking sheet and refrigerate  for at least two hours, and up to a day. This makes frying easier as the raw croquettes are much more firm and don’t fall apart when frying.

5) When you’re ready to fry the croquettes, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and heat up your oil in a sauce pan.

6) With a skimmer, place the croquettes in the oil, and let them fry until golden brown. A few times during the frying process, lift the croquettes from the oil. This allows the inside to cook without over cooking the outside. Place fried croquettes on lined baking sheet and slip the sheet into the oven to keep warm.

***

 

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Savoury Sunday: Antipasti I Shrimp & Pea Puree

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy (Photo credit: zilverbat.)

Insufferable foodies be damned, one of my favourite meals is informal, with lots of delicious, healthy nibblies set out among chilled bottles of wine. Delicious food and wine paired with excellent company cannot compare with any other dining experience on the planet.

Today, for savoury Sunday, I offer up a the first in a trio of Antipasti recipes sure to please. Intended to be savoured  during long, winding, conversations at least one of these will be guaranteed to please.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

Shrimp with Pea Puree

Ingredients

1) 3 cups water

2) Salt

3) 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled  peas

4) 4 tbsp. olive oil (plus some more for drizzling if you like)

5) 16 medium to large peeled and deveined shrimp ( ~3/4 lb)

6) Flour for dredging shrimp.

7) 1 minced garlic clove

8) 1/2 cup dry white wine

Method

1) Bring water to a boil  and add salt to taste.  Add peas, reducing heat to medium and simmer until tender.  Drain peas, reserving the cooking liquid.

2) In a blender or food processor add peas, 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Blend until smooth. Add more cooking liquid if needed and add salt and pepper to taste.  (this puree can be made ahead of time and can be gently reheated prior to serving. You may need to add more liquid if reheating.)

3) Dredge shrimp in flour to coat.

4) Warm remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute or two without browning. Add the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink (2-3 minutes). Add the wine and let it come to a simmer.

5) Divide pea puree in small glass bowls. Place two or three shrimp on top of pea puree. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley if desired and drizzle with olive oil. Serve Immediately.

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