Monday, May 17, 2010

Foodie Weekend

One of my friends came to town this weekend for a conference and we made a three-day affair out of the event. Amy got to attend her conference and Katy and I got to cook for her and all hang out together. These two love to talk about food, plan food and especially enjoy food. They both have some food allergies so it makes it even more fun to cook together because we get to discover food in new ways.

This is the menu from this weekend. Hopefully it sounds as good as it tasted.

Dinner: Penne pasta with a garlic, veggie, ground turkey tomato sauce

Breakfast: Katy's Breakfast Burritos (eggs wrapped in a brown rice tortilla w/ almond mozzarella cheese, avocado and salsa)

Lunch: Hot, fresh gluten-free bread with almond butter and jam

Dinner: Brazilian night (black beans, garlic jasmine rice, kale sauteed in olive oil, lemon and garlic)

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothies and eggs

Lunch [Brown bag while attending the conference): Salmon salad sandwich with avocado mayo, apples & carrots

Snacks: Trail mix, cashews, almonds, blackberries

Dinner: Pad Thai w/ asparagus at Noodles & Co.

Breakfast: Egg and toast

Dinner: Garlic baked salmon with an avocado remoulade sauce, asparagus sauteed in olive oil, garlic & salt, spinach salad with chopped almonds, apples, blackberries with a citrus vinaigrette, zucchini and yellow squash veggie medley and crash hot potatoes


Thanks to several great food bloggers for sharing their excellent recipes. One not featured in this list is Elana at We didn't have time to make her chocolate chip cookies or some of her other great recipes, but I utilize her recipes weekly in my daily cooking. It is such fun to be connected across the Internet to great people who cook well. I had my computer in the kitchen most of the weekend as I was referencing recipes and I realized with the iPad in existence, we are just steps away from having permanent computer screens in our kitchens so we can pull up any recipe in our collection of virtual recipes. Can't you see the iPad installed on the front of your kitchen cabinet so all of your recipes are eye level for you? That will be fun!

As far as pictures of all the food are concerned, I didn't snap a single photo. I think I get so absorbed in the cooking that I entirely forget (or I am too tired) to chronicle the event in photos. I will continue to work on incorporating more photos.

Also, after typing out this menu, I realize we consumed a lot garlic this weekend. I think staples in any kitchen include garlic, salt, lemons and olive oil. Those were used in abundance and they made everything taste yummy!

In addition to all of the good food, I pick up little tips and tricks from friends as we cook and experiment together. From Katy, I learned about the art of compiling her breakfast burritos and the way to warm a brown rice tortilla to perfection. From Amy, I learned about adventure as she experimented with several citrus vinaigrettes inspired by the ingredients available to her. From both, I get a delight in good food shared among friends.

Good friends and good food make for a great time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Cleaning Question

I find that the mood to clean rarely strikes me. Mostly I dream--and I've said this before--that I am the displaced daughter of some extremely wealthy person who is now forced to live a Cinderella existence when I'm truly meant to live a life of pampered indulgence.

Cue your tiny violins.

I was built to recline on a chaise lounge all day and have my every need and want supplied by a dozen adoring servants who coddle me all day long, feed me grapes by hand, fan me delicately, and turn my chair every hour or so to capture the full benefit of the view from my tasteful mansion perched on my gorgeous, private island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.


And then I wake up to my dirty floor, my unfolded laundry and my paper piles. Surprisingly, the one time during the week that the cleaning bug usually hits me is Sunday morning. For some reason that is the day I get deep urges to mop the floor on my hands and knees, to fold laundry, to scrub the tub and to dust the light fixtures. Yet, Saturday morning? No such desire.

Saturday morning I want breakfast in bed and then lunch and finally dinner. On Saturday, my fantasy island dream is at full pitch.

I've tried various techniques to overcome this persistent lack of cleaning desire: I play loud music to encourage me to get up and get moving, I set the timer and convince myself I only have to clean for so long, and I've broken up the cleaning jobs into daily tasks so I don't have to do a major cleaning each weekend. Each of these techniques has met with a limited amount of success but not a permanent change.

So a few Saturdays ago, I decided to recreate Sunday morning at my house and see if I get the cleaning impetus to kick in. I opened all the blinds and I turned on General Conference. You know, listening to spiritual messages and basking in sunlight.

And what do you know? Better than show tunes, better than daily cleaning, better than setting a timer, I was suddenly in the mood to clean.

It has something to do with my brain. This oh-so-big noggin of mine always does it best work when it is distracted by an influx of wisdom and light. For example, in college I would be a disorganized, disheveled mess upon arriving at class some days but once the lecture started and my brain latched on to creative, insightful and meaningful ideas, I suddenly could see clearly. Look at my college notebooks and they are filled with scribbles, journal entries, and list after list after list that made sense and order out of what was once a mish-mash in my brain. It seems that what I crave most when cleaning is not only order and light in my environment but also order and light internally. It seems I can't get one without the other.

P.S. And I also like to write blog posts & journal entries in the middle of my cleaning events. So, back to unloading the dishwasher!


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