:)

drove somewhere.

drove somewhere.

eating fresh tomatoes.

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Filling up that pitcher..

August 28, 2009

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creativity.

I’ve always been told the metaphor about the pitcher. If the pitcher is empty, it can’t very well fill up any glasses. If the pitcher is full of negativity, that is all you  have to pour out. This is the truth with people as well. When people are empty or drained from the day to day, it is nearly impossible to be able to “fill up” anyone else. Some people replenish their souls by sports, or meditation, therapy, or alone time…however, cooking and eating may be one of the most soul-refreshing activities I know…

love.

love.

However, being able to cook and communicate with people, especially loved ones, through food is one of the most spiritual and intimate activities there are.

Last night we were invited to the retreat of a wonderful person, Cathy,   who gave me absolutely what I’ve needed for the past few weeks.  Ten people gathered for food, wine, laughter, gossip, and healing.  I was also REALLY impressed that most of the items on the menu were home grown – increasing the soulfulness and the love that was shared by all. I walked through her steamy kitchen to find baskets and baskets of fresh green beans, tomatoes of every shape and size, mozzarella, onions, chives, mushrooms and just love.

Cathy and I had a moment at one point of the night where we were on the same plane of thought. We both ‘got it’ and appreciated both the energy going in and being taken out of the event. I feel as though in the past few weeks, months, or what have you, I have been walking around with heavy shoulders, scarred tissue, and shallow breath. Last night was filled with healing all around that really has me feeling better today than I have in a long time.  Last night is both a blur as well as something that I will remember always. It is something that cannot be artificially put together…however I hope that I will be able to have more experiences like these in my life.

Today I am continuing the soul-healing with lots of tea, socks (because its august and chilly & rainy), and breathing. I made an

therapy.

therapy.

absolutely delicious lunch for myself…I seared salmon with a balsamic vinegar glaze spiced with cumin and pepper…added in there a gifted home grown tomato with a little olive oil and red onion and mopped it all up with some amazing crusty garlic bread. I am filled up physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

When I was regretfully leaving Cathy’s house last night, she repeated to me that she was so happy that ‘I got it’ and that she’s comforted to know that I’ll be O.K. as long as I have a kitchen.

She has no idea how right she is.

Summer

August 26, 2009

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As I am applying for my Master’s degree, my mind has been clouded with deadline nerves, qualifying test score anxieties, and wondering if I will be able to actually complete what I need to complete by October 1st.

I found out last week that I am going to have to take the Praxis I test to qualify for the degree program that I am applying to. So I have bought several books and I have been burying my nose deep into them these past couple of days. I am hoping to re-coop all of the knowledge that I have managed to repress by Sept 9th (Test Date) when I will be put through the grammar, reading, writing, and math ringer.

As I sat relearning all of my previously forgotten grammar rules, I remembered that while this is a very stressful time in my life, it is still summer! So I do have those few hours of warmth after dark for only a couple of weeks more…but at least I have them!

I have decided to make a ‘to do” list for myself to complete before the end of the summer time, but hopefully this list will be exponentially less stressful than my OTHER ‘to do’ list. :)

Make S’mores. Read in the grass. Have a fire. Make sangria. Drink said Sangria. Grill Arepas. Smell like suntan lotion. Dig in the sand. Nap in my hammock. Eat italian ice. Iced Tea. Wear flip-flops for as long as possible. Pick flowers. Get flowers. Take a nap with the windows open. Dream. Drive with the windows down as much as possible. Watermelon. After dinner walks. Grill pizza again. Anchor beer.  BBQ. Visit my farmers market. Eat tomatoes like its my job. Corn. Sit outside at a restaurant. Sidewalk Chalk. Look at the stars. Air dry my hair for as long as possible. Breathe. Craft. Read. Relax. Drive somewhere. Crab cakes. Make my own salsa. Chili Cook off with Lee. Take it slow. Lemonade.

Soulful Cooking

August 11, 2009

For me, there may not be anything more soulful than cooking. I am currently not the most spiritual or religious person that I know…but I find such peace from cooking and creating in the kitchen. I imagine those who have the potential and talent to meditate would find the same kind of peace that I have found in the kitchen. While I am cooking, I am in my own world…I am focused, I don’t have to talk to anyone, be insecure, overwhelmed, or under anyone’s direction. I can just be. I can promise you, that under no other circumstance in my life so far can I be all of those things.

I actually look forward to coming home from a full day’s work/play and spending an hour or two in the kitchen.

My Top 10 most souful kitchen activities (not in any specific order)

  1. Eating from the pot/pan
  2. Deglazing a pan – I swear this may be my number one. After browning up the bottom of a pan, and adding wine or stock to it…basically pulling off all of the beautiful pieces of flavor and incorporating all of that energy into your dish.
  3. texture, taste,  and aroma of: molasses, rice, sea salt, olive oil, flour, bread baking, corn on the cob
  4. kneading dough
  5. sound of heated oil crackling
  6. cracking eggs
  7. using a wooden spoon
  8. Mopping up the plate/bowl with bread.
  9. flour.
  10. Watching your loved ones enjoy the meal you’ve created.

After feeling sort of lost yesterday & today..I retreated to my kitchen for some much needed cooking therapy. I created a new spin on Chicken Cacciatore with boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in, cooked by my crock pot. :) It’s still cooking right now, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Ingredients

  • 5 Chicken Breasts (can be frozen)*
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup wine (whichever you prefer..red or white..I used a nice dry pinot grigio since thats what I had on hand)
  • 3oz tomoto paste
  • 1 Cup-or-so of mushrooms chopped coarsely
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatos
  • about 7-8 oz chicken broth
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T oregano
  • 3 T fresh basil (to add to finished dish)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Prosciutto (optional) **

Combine all ingredients into bowl of crock pot, mix,and cook for 4-6 hours.

*To put a little crisp on the chicken, I browned half frozen breasts in a pan with some olive oil in a pan first..just to put a little extra flavor on it. I then removed the chicken and placed back in crock pot, and added the white wine directly to the chicken pan to deglaze and rubbed all of the goodness off, and poured into crockpot. We’ll see  how it turns out!

**you could POTENTIALLY put some prosciutto in a skillet and brown first and add to the crock pot for a little added smokey-ness and flavor to the dish..I didn’t have any in stock in my fridge so did without tonight.