Monday, April 25, 2011

family, camping, and a little bit of full circle

This weekend, I travelled with my cousin Jill, her husband, and her two young children to Savannah to do some Easter-weekend camping. We rode bikes, went to the beach, ate ice cream, toured Savannah, looked at stars, found Easter eggs, laughed, sat on picnic tables, reminisced.

Jill and I were quite close when we were young. Her mother and my mother are sisters and have always been close on two fronts: 1) they are numbers four and six out of seven children, and 2) they are the only two of those seven siblings to move to Maine. Both sisters had three children close in age, and so, our two families were close. Every year the Burdets and the Robisons spent two weeks over July 4th camping at Lily Bay State Park in Maine.

I give you this background knowledge not because I think my family history is interesting to you, but because it provides the backdrop to our camping trip down here. At least ten years since we've camped together in Maine, it was time for Jill and I to throw an impromptu reenactment. Swapping pine trees for live oaks (Spanish moss most definitely present), we had fun catching up, tenting out, and playing with the kids.

All the while I was struck by how Jill reminded me of her mother, my aunt. And so I couldn't possibly be shocked when she noticed the same in me. "You act just like your mother," she said. "I look at you and I see Aunt Martha." And even though I know a lot of women my age who would insist that this is their worst nightmare, in that moment I knew that things were exactly as they ought to be. I may feel like a wayward soul drifting in this corner of the world, but I still reflect the image of my mother.

Things are feeling a little 'circle of life' over here. Sorry 'bout that. But its nice to feel a little bit of home when you're so far away. Its nice to feel grounded for a moment, when in the grand scheme of things you feel anything but.

Me and my mama back in December:

Savannah, camping, hanging out was awesome. I loved the break. And hey, leaving my cubicle wasn't too bad either....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

this is thursday night

As you may know, I've been looking to join a yoga studio. My flexibility is right up there with a 2x4, and for my overall health and well-being I hope to change that. In addition to the flexibility/physical factor, I am pulled towards the introspective nature of yoga.

Last night I found a Meetup for a free yoga class (tonight at 7pm), and coincidentally also found a Groupon for one month of unlimited yoga at the same place. Coincidence? Even though I just used that exact word to describe it, I think not. I signed up for the Meetup and bought the Groupon ($35). I'm so in.

If you think the most unbelievable part of this post is over, think again. Tom accompanied me to yoga tonight for his first ever yoga class. If you know Tom, you'll know this was no minor deal. Meat eating, beer drinking, meditation-shunning Tom most definitely put his all into child's pose, breathing deep and reaching tall tonight.

And lest he felt that an hour and a half of yoga compromised his Tom-ness, he made a sharp right into Publix on the ride home to pick up a six-pack. When we got home, he cracked a beer and threw some meat on the grill. No side dishes to placate his lady. No salad, vegetables, or even rice. Two pork chops, one steak, Lawry's seasoned salt and Montreal steak seasoning. For dinner: a plate of meat and a side of beer.

Tom might not want to go back to yoga, and I sure could use some veggies at my next meal, but right now? Right now things feel just right.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

food, books, and growing food

A {random} Wednesday list.....

1. I've got babies!

Of the green variety, that is. The tiniest members of my garden are already growing and coming to the surface. Basil, spinach, and even one pea sprout. Thankful, excited, and hope there's more to come.


2. Following my sister Laura's suggestion, I got Freedom by Jonathan Franzen out of the library. Looking forward to sitting down with it as soon as I hit 'publish post.'

3. I am enjoying my dinner. I had to write those words down, because as I write Tom is enjoying a complimentary feast at Fogo de Chao. Complimentary as in he didn't have to pay, and since I'm sitting here you can gather that I wasn't invited. To compound matters further, he keeps texting me beautiful pictures of food that I can only dream of one day eating.

And yet.... this pasta with fresh mozzarella and basil is enough. And enough is all I need right now. Comfy couch, fresh meal, cold glass of water, and a good book.

4. Puppy.

Nope, he's not mine. Though I did babysit him on Sunday. Tom's sister got three month old Dakota this weekend, and I remembered how absolutely tiny, cute and lovable puppies are.

{I'm also realizing that my pictures are becoming more and more blurry. Do you know why my camera may be having trouble focusing? Its been happening for a week or so.}

Do you recognize the Eeyore in the photo below as Barley's favorite toy?? Ohhhh the jealousy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mint Pesto: A twist on an old classic

You may remember that I bought some mint at the farmer's market last weekend. And as much as I wanted to convert all of it into some tasty mojitos, I decided to refrain from such an indulgence. Instead, I made this mint pesto from Martha Stewart. 

I am an absolute basil nut, so making pesto with anything but was a little counterintuitive. At least until I smelled the fresh mint again and wanted to devour it immediately. Turns out that mint is the new basil. Side bonus is that I finally got to use the awesome food processor that Tom got me for Christmas.... wait, has it really been sitting unused in my cabinet for over three months??

A note about the recipe: I used soynuts instead of pine nuts to save cost, and the pesto turned out fine. I also didn't measure any of the ingredients - this is one of those 'go with your gut' recipes.

After putting all of the ingredients in the food processor and turning it on for 15 or 20 seconds, I was left with this:
{kindly ignore the unappealing color of this pesto}
I put this pesto on some bread and topped with goat cheese....

Hello fantastic! Hello beautiful day! Hello Friday!

I inserted all those exclamations to convey the power of food over my mood. But seriously, I love this pesto. 

Tip: When your basil {or mint!} is in season and you don't know what to do with it all, make a large batch of pesto. Fill an ice cube tray with the pesto and allow to freeze. Once it is frozen, place the cubes of frozen pesto in a plastic bag so that you have pesto at the ready. Each cube is roughly two tablespoons.

I set up a little station for myself on the couch. I've got my laptop, my Martha Stewart magazine, and my snack (pesto, goat cheese, and cracked pepper and parmesan bread all sitting on a pizza stone). Apparantly, pups named Barley have an  interest in mint pesto too. I spy with my little eye.....

{See how she sneaks in for a smell and then licks her lips? Mmm hmm, I saw that too}

Thanks for reading everyone. Hope you have a pleasant and sunny weekend.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First Farmers Market of the Year

Yesterday I got the good news that I would be able to work from home this weekend (at first I was worried that my boss was playing the worst April Fool's joke in the history of humanity), so I spent the better part of the day working at my desk on my couch. Work wasn't too busy today, and I decided that I could get away for a few minutes and go to the Marietta Square Farmers Market (the first one of the year!).

But first, let me set the mood: It's been gloomy, cold and rainy here in the A for a couple of weeks. I've been working like crazy, and things have been feeling a bit gray. This morning was chilly but sunny, and now temperatures have reached nearly 70 degrees!

Working from home + sunshine + first day of the farmers market = happy Dana!

The goods:

1. Kale $4

This kale is delicious. It is much more tender to eat than the larger kale, and it tastes like broccoli. I wish I  could remember its name, but I can't....

2. Green onions: $2

3. Fresh Mint: $2

After I saw (and smelled) this bunch of mint, I snapped it up faster than you can say mojito party. And as wonderful as a fresh mojito sounds, I think I'd like to do something a little more wholesome with it. Any ideas? I've never done anything with mint (except make mojitos or tea), and I'm open to suggestions.

4. Greek Yogurt $2 per container

This yogurt is out-of-this-world tasty. I almost passed the table by because it seemed a bit pricey, but once I tried a sample I couldn't say no.

Yes, you're reading right: Mango Pineapple Habanero. The other one is Black Cherry and Port Wine. Sooo delicious. I'm going to find the tiniest spoon possible and savor each tiny bite of these containers. Hands down the best yogurt I've ever tasted.

5. Mozzarella Cheese. I'll admit it, I'm feeling a little sheepish in admitting I spent $10 on this container of cheese. But just look at the beauty!

Did I just hear a collective sigh of content pass across the internet? No, just me? I may or may not have a cheese problem, but given the state of the world, I guess my problems could be worse.

Extra: Greyhound Brochure

I've been thinking long and hard about getting a second dog to keep Barley company, and when I saw the greyhound rescue group at the farmer's market today I had to stop and check them out. I really love greyhounds: they are gentle and calm and would be the perfect pet. My concern is that Barley and her energetic self would aggravate a greyhound. What do you think?

I'm not really close to deciding on a second dog, but still like weighing my options. Plus, I like to leave stuff like this around the house to drop not-so-subtle hints to Tom:


Grand total for a pound of mozzarella cheese, two containers of yogurt, a bunch of mint, a bunch of green onions and a large bag of kale is $22 big ones. Not too shabby for a purchase that broke up my work day, supported a few local businesses, and made me insanely happy.

Hope you are having a beautiful weekend!
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