The balance

January 24, 2012

Creamy White Beans with Garlic and Herbs

I’ve always had the best of intentions. An organized pantry. A well-stocked freezer. A weekly dinner plan. A Sunday morning power hour to prep the week’s dinner ingredients. After returning to work eight plus months ago, those best laid plans took a back seat to cans of diced tomatoes mingling with near-empty containers of couscous and cashews, a mish-moshed freezer that could lend to a batch or two of these, mid-week grocery store detours for the essentials, and Sunday morning power naps to counter 6 am hunger cries. I’m officially convinced, loyal readers. Babies change everything. (Baby? Our kiddo is well into the double digits. Thirteen months. Wowza.) And so we modify those plans. We evolve. And semi-type A-ers let ourselves off the hook, loosen the pony tail, and come to terms with the fact that there will always be laundry and dust bunnies and milk-stained playmats. In the end, memories of time well-spent with my family will far outshine the fulfilled intentions, the validation of an orderly pantry or perfectly balanced meals or sparkly floors. I’m not discrediting the importance of a kept home and healthy meals. These are valid and good and necessary. But in the end, it’s about the balance. It’s about trusting in the fact that not having it all together doesn’t mean you won’t have it all. Perspective and attitude are just two of many life lessons Caleb has already taught me in his young life.

With all that said, I assure you we’ve been eating. I’ve cut myself some slack with regard to photographing and writing. Much as I truly love to do it, it’s time consuming. And at the end of the night, after we’ve managed to pull off dinner for the three of us and prep clothes and lunches for the following day, the allure of a glass of wine and tivo queue oftentimes shines brighter than the screen of my mac. But I’m taking the balance attitude to heart and following Kyle’s instructions to allow myself a little more me-time now and again. I’ll raise a glass to that, and hope to fall back on the comfort of this creative outlet when I feel inspired to do so.

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Winner, winner shrimp dinner

March 29, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes, Feta and Breadcrumbs

I’ve come down with a major case of blogger’s block.

I’m inspired to cook, uninspired to talk about it.

Perhaps my brain is muddled with reminders that the end of this wonderful little thing called maternity leave is looming. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome a return to the working world (And people talk! Adult people talk!), but I dread the “first day of school” (aka the first day of daycare). He’ll be fine. Momma’ll be sobbing. Returning to work also means I have to wear real clothes again. Like, with collars and without elastic waists. (Imagine that.) And I’ll have to fix my hair. (The horror.)

Long gone will be the days of coffee to the tunes of Sesame Street, mid-afternoon errand runs when we’re feeling brave (read: Caleb’s rested, changed and very well fed), and lots of carefree mommy-and-me time. They’ve been wonderful and truly cherished, but welcome will be the days of a new routine. We’ll be busy and I’m certain there will be times my head is spinning with to-do’s and to-go’s and help-me-Lord!‘s but that’s life and we’ll manage. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. I’m looking forward to what the future has in store.

So about this shrimp. In anticipation of hectic weeknights I’ve had an eye out for recipes that require one pan and minimal hands-on time. This one fits the bill. It’s jam-packed with some of my favorite things and good for the body and the soul. Winner, winner shrimp dinner!
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Spiced Lamb Sliders

July 26, 2010

Spiced Lamb Sliders with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

I’m not a huge red meat lover. Aside from the occasional fillet or burger, I’m content to forget about beef. But lamb. Oy. It makes me swoon. And drats, I’m not the only one, it seems. Last year I could count on finding a decent stock of ground lamb or lamb shoulder at my local grocery. Nowadays I’m engaging in purse battles with Neighbor Nelly over the last lingering loin. It’s become somewhat of a hot commodity. Who told you it was so good?

I already gave you the run down on this lamb ragu, forever ago in March. And since, there’s been hearty lamb stew and fall off the bone lamb shoulder and ack! no photos to prove it. But believe me when I tell you they happened and they were glorious and ack! no photos to prove it. I can only test Kyle’s growling stomach for so long. At times I think he’d like to chuck my camera against a wall. Plus, not everything makes for pretty pictures. So yeah, hearty lamb stew and fall of the bone lamb shoulder, both of which resembled…I digress.
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A roasted tomato pie

June 7, 2010

Roasted Tomato, Olive and Fontina Pizza

I was craving margherita. Simple, bright and basil-y. Trouble is my basil’s not quite there yet and the local tomatoes are far from ripe, if they’ve even made their green appearance. So to spare myself the mealy, bland grocery store tomato imports I decided to impart big flavor on, well, mealy, bland grocery store tomato imports. This works if, like me, you’re too impatient to just wait until July and August when Ohio tomatoes make their grand and glorious debut. Roasting is the simplest way to elevate any vegetable to new and glorious…well, you know what I mean. These would make for a great twist on margharita, but I decided to shake it up a bit with some Italian fontina and green olives.

And by the way, do you have a pizza stone? No? Well get thee one, pronto. I’ve tried various pizza “pans”. Ones with holes and vents and special powers but nothing comes close to creating crispy bottoms like a stone. You can see in the photo that ours is nearly black from use. Ok, so we eat a lot of pizza.
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Look, I made dinner!

May 26, 2010

Seared Salmon with Lentil Tabbouleh

So look, I’ve been busy. Though not busy cooking, unfortunately. Is May practically over? What happened? Where? Who? Huh? Yeah, I can’t really tell you where May has gone because I’m done near stumped myself. (Wasn’t I just describing this Spring blooming scene, like last week?) And this little ol’ blog has sort of been pushed to the back burner. My Google Reader is out of control with unread feeds. My to-make list is stained with coffee cup rounds, having been used as a coaster and not for weekly inspiration.

While I can’t explain this out of control time-space continuum we’ve experienced, I can tell you I’m tired of take-out. And peanut butter toast. And Annie’s mac and cheese. Oh, and ice cream for dinner. Yes, that happened. Well, we’re both tired of these things. Kyle, fearing the worst, doesn’t bother to ask what I’m making, but instead asks where he’ll be stopping on the way home from work. May, is this a sign of what’s to pass in the coming months? Please say no. I miss my kitchen.

It wasn’t a difficult decision. That is, what to cook when the opportunity finally presented itself. We were both craving fresh and healthy. Though anything that didn’t come out of a box, take-out bag or (eep!) frozen carton totally qualified. This fit the bill perfectly.
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