Couldn’t get it off my mind, so I made some!

A quick conversation with my buddy Bill in Boston about Cioppino. Cioppino is an Italian Seafood Soup, and one of my favorites things to eat. So Bill wants to know how it’s made, and how he thinks that he could make it with Marinara sauce.

I had to look into this theory, as I thought he was off his rocker. I was right. Nice try Bill, I couldn’t find any recipe that used a jar marinara sauce in their soup. Not sure if I would trust it if I did find one.

Cioppino is not a difficult thing to make. The more I looked at different recipes, the more I wanted to make it. Next thing I know I’m at the grocery store and staring at the clams and mussels. Darn you Bill, you got me thinking, and I wasn’t satisfied until I had made my own batch.

From all recipes I looked at, I liked Giada De Laurentis’ best. She uses fennel bulb, and lots of white wine, and a big can of diced tomatoes. It took less than an hour to prep and make. I think I spent more time scrubbing the clams and mussels than anything else.

It was light, and fragrant. It had big fresh flavor, and a slight heat from red pepper flakes. Add a piece of French bread, and no one spoke, we just slurped our soup and munched our bread, and laughed at each other as we pulled the mussel shells out and used them as makeshift spoons.

It was a fun meal, unexpected, and different from what we usually have on a Monday night.

Barefoot, in the kitchen, and happy

There is something about cooking that makes me happy.

Grating, chopping, stirring, slicing, simmering, and serving.

Roasted chicken thighs on potatoes and onions with rosemary and lemon. A beautiful Sunday night meal.

Getting nerdy, roasting fresh pumpkin, adding goat cheese, eggs, cream, herbs…putting together a quiche. It turned out more like a savory cheese cake. I ate two pieces, it was so different. Light, but so full of rich flavor.

The family Sugo. A meat sauce with wonderful herbs, fresh oregano, thyme, and rosemary from my garden….Also with Lots of garlic, and sweet Italian sausage.

My favorite part of the day, dancing around the kitchen barefoot, the music up loud, stirring my sauce, making something good for my family.

It’s Fall in S. Texas?

It is officially Fall on the calendar, but Mother Nature has other ideas. High 90’s with 70% humidity. Oh so much fun.

We can’t let that inhibit our Fall planning, festivities, or cooking.

So at the S.Texas Grocery store, HEB, had all the pumpkins on display. Bumpy pumpkins, smooth pumpkins, white pumpkins, yellow pumpkins. All so fun.

Inspired, and wanting something comforting I made a wild rice and mushroom soup in my instant pot. I am finally figuring that contraption out. I really likes this soup, and my family finished it off quickly.

Then, I had to bake, so scones were in order.

It’s not sweater weather, we are still in shorts and running the AC, and the weatherman says we don’t have anything remotely looking like a cool front on the horizon. Oh well. Until November, we will just have to stay cool, and enjoy the pumpkin displays in the Air Conditioned Grocery Store.

Grateful today

Image from Pinterest.

Yesterday was a hectic whirlwind of activity. Vacuum, mop, dust, Grocery store, laundry, and a Pork Shoulder done in the crock pot, with my first attempt at Naan bread. Everything came together like a symphony.

I love a full day, and climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets. There is a definite feeling of well being and sleepiness.

You might be thinking….”Wendy, you worked all day! What are you grateful for?”

I guess I’m grateful that I can. I have the physical, and mental ability to get things done. I’ve always enjoyed that moment, when the house is clean and I sit for a moment in pure satisfaction….even knowing it will soon be dirty again, but for now it is clean.

Cooking

Cooking it does soothe my soul.

Creating something that brings our little tribe around the table.

The silence of the first few bites.

Medium rare perfection.

I’m grateful today for sleep, energy to prepare a meal, good grill pans, time around the dinner table with my husband and youngest son, and a great butcher at my grocery store. What a fabulous filet!

Blustery Saturdays

Blustery Saturday’s are for fresh baked bread and chicken soup. The chicken is bubbling in the pot, and the bread is on it’s first rise. The challenge today is finding a warm spot in the kitchen to let the dough do its thing.

Today, I’m so grateful for dough that came together so nicely. There is something very tranquil about making a comfort meal. It’s comforting to cook, and it’s comforting to eat.

What do you do when the weather traps you inside?

I’ve got Lamb Shanks, on a cloudy day

Oh, maybe that’s supposed to be Sunshine, but I’ve got Lamb Shanks and I’m super excited for dinner.

Once I get the polenta ready, we will have a rainy day feast.

Everything is so brown outside. Brown grass, brown bushes, brown plants…..why not appreciate something brown like Braised Lamb Shanks in a Red Wine braising sauce. Lots of love, rosemary, oregano, and garlic went into this dish.

When I cook, I cook.

What do you like to cook?

Gotta cook

I don’t like this Springing Forward silliness. 

So how shall I console myself?  I will cook. 

After a rainy Sunday of tax return preparation, rain, laundry, and Springing Forward…..I’m cooking. 

Steak, a really nice ribeye. 


Mushrooms in red wine reduction with lots of Garlic. 


I have a salad ready to chop and serve. 

But. I might need a little sweet. So I made cupcakes with Salted Carmel butter cream frosting. 


Wendy officially has too much time on her hands to get this much done on a Sunday when we lose an hour. 

Get to vs. Have To

I’m so grateful today:

I got to wake up.

I get to breathe.

I got to play with my dogs.

I got to worship.

I got to pray (especially for my friend who hates me and thinks I’m the most terrible person made, yes…I prayed for you today.)

I get to drive a car.

I get to live in a time of TV, Internet, and Ice-cream.

I get to write a blog post.

I get to be alive in this time of freedom, and prosperity..tenuous as it is.  

I get to clean my house.

I get to cook for my family.

I get to be here.  

I get to help people!  Even if I don’t get credit, I get the joy of it!

I get to give blood, for free till July 6th anyway.

I get to help my neighbors.

I get to be a friend.

I get to express my opinion, even when it pisses people off.  But that’s kinda fun…I’m not sorry about that, pissing people off… or for expressing my opinions.  I will express my opinions, like them or not.  Your response is not my responsibility.

I get to be here, and it’s all good.

Aren’t you glad that we live in a time of ‘get to’ instead of ‘have to’?  

It makes you smile, yea.

 

 

What do you enjoy?

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in my musings on the rest of my life.  What do I enjoy, and what do I want to do?

I don’t want to go into happiness.  Happiness is a state of being, a balance of attitude, will, circumstance and emotion.

It’s midnight on a Monday, I can’t sleep, but I’m not ‘unhappy’.  If it was Sunday 2 am and no sleep, I could be profoundly unhappy about that.  Capricious, I know.

What puts a smile on your face, a sigh in your breath, a contentment to your soul?

So….what is it?

For me, I love to sneak up on the day.  The thought of waking up before the sun to watch it rise, brings profound enjoyment.

Great conversations with witty, intelligent people keep me going for a long time.

I’ve recently discovered I adore Zumba!  It is the biggest kick to learn new routines, and have fun while working out.  I just grin from ear to ear with sweat pouring down my face.

Random acts of kindness to strangers…I was at the grocery store, and in the parking lot there was a man struggling with putting the groceries in his truck and a rambunctious toddler.  He got the groceries in, but was wrangling the little girl into her car seat.  I put his cart up for him when I took mine to the cart rack.  When I walked back he thanked me and had a huge smile on his face.  It was a little thing, but It was nice, it did us both good, and cost absolutely nothing.

Preparing a special meal means enjoyment for me.  Taking time to put love in my food for my family.

Writing holds a special place in my heart.  I enjoy putting words together, expressing myself as simply as possible.  The last two years on WordPress has been a blast, and I’ve come a very long way since my first post!

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So many people don’t understand me at all.  I’m not sure why, I’m pretty simple.  But when I find someone who ‘gets me’, oh my word, am I over the moon!

I enjoy laughter.  I found a funny “Friends” snippet between Chandler and Joey.  I laughed till I had tears running down my face! My husband had no clue why I thought it was so funny, I must have needed that laugh.

 

Well I guess in light of all this I need a job where I can get up early, cook, talk to great people, laugh, and be kind to strangers.

I’ll be down at the IHop filling out my application when the sun comes up.

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What do you enjoy?  What makes you smile?