Sunday, November 22, 2015

New Book: The Homemade Kitchen

I'm trying to get / stay inspired. ~I'm hoping to become so inspired that home cooking becomes part of our "normal". As much as I love kitchen appliances and gadgets, I am surprised that I'm not a cook. When I was growing up I was a fairly good baker. I liked trying new recipes that I found in my mother's magazines.

Alas, I have not fulfilled any potential of becoming a cook. I wonder why that is.

Sure, I know how to make spaghetti; you know, boil the noodles and warm the Ragu. I have a friend who doesn't give me credit for cooking when I make my spaghetti. She always looks at me incredulously and says, "You cooked? Or did you heat?" I'm still working my mind around what the difference is. I told her that if my stove, oven or microwave is turned on, it's cooking.

Whenever I want to teach myself to cook I look to books (of course). The thing is,  many of the beautiful books have way too many ingredients. Seriously! Others have beautiful photographs of things that I would never actually make.

I'm guessing you have guessed that my newest book is The Homemade Kitchen, by Alana Chernila. I really have enjoyed this book. You're probably wondering if I've used any of the recipes. The answer is not yet. But I will. I'm taking baby steps.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book is the author shares her personal stories of being in the kitchen.  In her very first paragraph I knew I was reading a book by someone that "gets me".
The world of home cooking can be a challenge to navigate. On one side, we're encouraged to eat real food, cooked at home and blissfully enjoyed....On the other hand, all this focus on the redemptive power of home cooking can feel oppressive and judgmental.
So with that kind of honesty she goes on to say that sometimes she doesn't want to cook either. Though, on the whole, Alana finds something akin to zen in the act of cooking. ~This may sound cliche, like "chop wood, carry water", but Alana's explanation is so simple and so real.
For me, the kitchen is the place where I get to have problems with easy solutions. There are enough problems with hard or no solutions elsewhere in the house and beyond, so I take the easy ones where I can get them. 
The first chapter, Be a Beginner,  is really encouraging, with a reminder that "Homemade food is the opposite of perfection." She tells us to "Take a deep breath and remember that we are all beginners. It only gets harder when we try to prove otherwise."

So, what about the actual recipes? Well, there are a few that I will absolutely try. A few are Stuffed Winter Squash, Easy Coq Au Vin, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake. 

If I remember, I'll share how the dishes turn out.  Give it time, though, I'm no Julie or Julia.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Sometimes it's hard to know how we, as individuals, how I, as an individual, should react when incomprehensible, horrific events take place. It's natural to be frightened when we are reminded that life is unpredictable. Worse, I think, is being faced with the cold fact that there are people that mean harm to others.

There is heartbreak over the Paris attacks. Heartbreak for the Mali hostage taking. Heartbreak for Boston's 2013 Marathon. Heartbreak for the Twin Towers.

These are the horrors of current history, current news. Yet, for many of us, life keeps going.

Sometimes I wonder how that is. Something terrible happens several time zones away and my world is relatively unchanged. If I didn't pay attention (listen to the radio, read the news...etc.) I would not know that life is, in fact, drastically altered.

I don't want to ignore that there are other just as important battles being fought with as much fear, hatred, anger and hurt as the ones we label terrorists. It is incomprehensible.

How should "we" react? How should I alter my actions to mirror my heart? I do not have these answers, but I am seeking them.

I find healing in my faith. I find calm on my mat. I find both become stronger through practice. Through practice, I find peace. In peace, I find serenity. In serenity, I feel joy.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Little Jacob Cuteness

I love to watch a sleeping dog. Jacob is not quite asleep, but the ZZZs are not long away. One of Jacob's favorite places to nap is snuggled up against my leg as we sit on the couch. Sometimes the power of suggestion is too much for me...and I snuggle in for a nap as well.  

So, this is just a short little post to share some Jacob cuteness and celebrate snuggles and naps.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What I've Been Doing

A View of My Porch
I thought I would stop by this little place on the web to say "hello". I've opened this blog of mine every night this week and ended up becoming distracted by all of all the things to look at on the net. Today I spent way too much time organizing my Pinterest Boards. Yes, I actually organized the boards like it was very important.  Which, in my is important. If I have everything pinned randomly then how will I ever find anything? Finding virtual things can take more time than finding physical things.

I've also been reading...I know, I know, I've written more "What I've Been Reading" posts than "What I've Been Doing" posts. So, I will share a little about what I've been doing.  I've been doing lots and lots of yoga. I practiced over 22 hours of yoga in October and 20 hours in September. Tracking my practice helps me stay accountable to myself.

I am stronger than I was in January. My breathing is improved as well (asthma). The thing that is perhaps most surprising (to me) is the emotional benefits. I think everyone knows about the exercise endorphins, but it's more than that. I feel much more centered and calm after yoga.

My mind is completely in the moment while I'm practicing. My only thoughts during the practice are about the pose. Though, sometimes I think "Dang it's hot", but I consider that still "staying in the moment".  The final pose of our practice is Savasana which is restorative. The combination of physical exertion and  meditative savasana brings ease to my mind. It centers me and reminds me that worry is not necessary or even helpful. Everything has its time. It truly is okay to let go of thoughts and worries and putting them aside until it's time to work on them.

So, that's what I've been doing.

Until Next Time,