I found myself sipping lots of tea this weekend. These sayings on the tea packets are like those chocolate advent calendars for kids. I cannot wait to open them and see what words of wisdom are inside! I get a boost from them…how could you not?! I needed a bit of a boost and something to keep me going. My mind wanted to accomplish 1,000 things and my body simply said no. So I listened (for a change).
This was the first full week back at school…and that full week felt like one year. I am always hopeful that the week that it will fly by. And it *did* but by the time the week was over I was still spinning like the Tasmanian Devil! I had a little send off meal midweek for Sweet Z who was headed out of town to take care of some important business. You know…the usual…just defend a dissertation and be steps away from becoming a PhD…no biggie. My mission was to come up with a healthy, tasty, meal that can be ready in a short-ish amount of time. The result?
It was juuuust right. I also threw together a batch of dark chocolate brownies to send along as well. I was nervous because it was a new recipe to me. I usually try to use a standard and ‘safe’ recipe for occasions such as this. I suppose I was feeling a little adventurous. I am so glad I took that walk on the wild side -
This weekend found me in a recording session. It was a little Latin tune that I played trombone on. The recording is now in Australia. Now that is cool! On the drive home over the mountain I found the week catching up with me. I couldn’t outrun it and by the time I got home I was a sniffly, sneezy, tired mess. I had hit a wall. To help me climb over this wall to a healthy and happy side I made a curried butternut squash and lentil soup.
So what happens when you saute some onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic and ginger? The smell of this cooking up is intoxicating. (Better than my strawberry vodka….trust me!) Add to that some curry powder, lentils and water. What, water you say?! But won’t that make the soup flavorless and dull? I was skeptical about the water thing too. But the fresh ginger, garlic and curry powder packed such a punch I didn’t miss the vegetable/ chicken broth. I also didn’t miss the sodium either! But the real star of this dish was the drizzle of cilantro oil. It started here:
And ended up with this:
I also found an a-maz-ing recipe for garlic bread. Note: I went fairly heavy on the garlic. I wanted that garlic to knock the sniffles and general yuckiness out of me. I didn’t care if I oozed garlic out of my pores for days. I took a ciabatta roll (courtesy of King Arthur) and halved it. I melted some butter with minced garlic (do me a favor and chop it up yourself…please and thank you). To that I added some basil, oregano, dill (yes, that is right), and garlic powder to the mix. I also would have added some cayenne pepper but forgot it. You let it sit to get firmed up again and then smear it on the halves of the roll. Put them together, wrap them in foil, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Stick the herbed up roll halves under the broiler for a few minutes. This bread will knock your socks off…and perhaps everyone else who is within a 5 mile radius as well!
This morning found me up early and fidgety wanting to make an apple walnut flaxseed bread. Wait, am I a strange person for waking up and immediately running recipes through my head? Hmm.
Hear me out if this recipe sounds way too healthy for you. First I swapped up some ingredients. I used a cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of all purpose flour. I ground up the whole flax seeds (to max out the healthy oils, etc.) and added 2 Tablespoons of the ground flaxy goodness to the dry ingredients. I used 1/4 + 1/8 cup of packed dark brown sugar vs. the 3/4 cup the original recipe called for. I thought the bread was great! Not overly sweet or too dense from the wheat flour. The apples (local Zesta apples btw) just scream fall to me. Add in some cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg and it was a happy marriage of flavors! Next time I might add in some candied ginger for a little kick.
I was realizing today as I was happily working away in the kitchen how much I need to be in this room of my house on a regular basis. It is a calming space. I can sing, dance, make messes, try out new recipes and that is pretty amazing. Where else can you really be carefree? I was so lost amidst the craziness and wild roller coaster ride of the week (and this was a pretty easy week!). It wasn’t until I started chopping vegetables up for that soup yesterday and finished with the apple bread today that I was able to fully relax. To breathe. To think. To remember that I should be enjoying every moment of every day. Thanks, life…you are pretty amazing! Have a great readers!