Friday, September 28, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...our little neighborhood park, the chance to walk to it for a change of scenery, and the fact that neither kiddo minded that it was a hot afternoon to get out.

Starting this week with fingers crossed that soon- soon- it will start feeling like it's autumn. Happy Monday.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

More Stubborn Than Summer

We've been talking about it for weeks- the first official day of Autumn- and it finally arrived. Yes, my favorite season, arriving on a day when our highs are in the mid-90s, seemingly just to argue that it is not Fall at all... in fact, stubborn Summer seems be quite comfortable riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight where it is... still.

Too bad for Summer, though, because I happen to be even more stubborn.

So despite the heat and intense (albeit lessening) sunlight, we did a little decorating with some foraged Osage oranges and acorns. We made a sweet potato pie (a growing autumnal equinox tradition). We talked about the upcoming holidays for this very festive, meditative, energetic-yet-winding-down season. We read It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for the first time this calendar year at bedtime. We eyed the cattails and plotted their demise (this chick of ours loves to see those fluffy seeds fly!). And Mama's highlight of the day? The first box of apples, all 38 pounds of them, fragrant, crisp, and marked for butter and sauce, made their appearance in our kitchen this morning, straight from the co-op.

As I sit, a big pot simmers away the first batch of chopped up autumnal orbs, which will swiftly be put through the food mill, poured into the crock pot, and simmered all night with spices and honey for a straight-to-the-bones fall-is-here wake-up call in the morning!

Welcome, Fall... it may not seem like you're really here, but I believe in you... and I missed you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Makin' Dinner

When 4 o'clock rolls around over here, we dance a fine line between tempers, hungry bellies, siblings, and making dinner...

...and that delicate dance usually results in some Sarah McLachlan on the iPod, some creative chopping/stirring/dancing, an end-of-summer-type soup, and a chilled glass of Chardonnay for one tired Mama.

End-of-Summer Soup
Makes enough for lots o' people, or leftovers for a few days for a family of 4

1 3-4 lb butternut squash
2 carrots
2 small yams (aka young sweet potatoes)
1 large yellow onion
2-3 TBS good olive oil
~2 quarts good chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of nutmeg, smoked paprika, and coriander
shot of brandy

Roughly chop onion and toss into a large stock pot with olive oil and salt. Allow onion to tenderize while peeling and chopping the rest o' the veggies. When onion is tender, toss in carrots, yams, and butternut squash. Add spices and chicken stock. Bring to boil, then simmer until largest chunks of squash and carrot can easily be smashed with the back of a spoon (about 20 minutes). Turn off heat and allow veggies/stock to sit for about 15 minutes. Puree in batches in blender (making sure to allow for steam to vent while blending by covering opening with towel to prevent explosions!) and put puree back into pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with garlic croutons and a sprinkling of black pepper and paprika. 

Sausages or ham usually accompany this soup for us, along with smiles and requests for seconds. A great go-to for those end-of-summer, beginning-of-early-fall veggies that fill fridges and counter tops. Also, a quick fix to that evening funk (and the dance that follows).


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dinner Out

For our anniversary, we decided to eat out for dinner. The atmosphere was excellent, the ambiance exceptional, the company refreshingly relaxed, and the glaze on the grilled chicken had everyone licking their plates.

It was a good night out.

Sticky Apple Juice Chicken Glaze
Makes enough for around 8-10 drumsticks

1/2 container of frozen apple juice concentrate
(or around 2 cups of apple juice)
1/2 C apple cider vinegar (we use raw unfiltered)
1/4 C soy sauce
1 TBS honey
2 tsp onion powder

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and allow to reduce gradually until glaze coats the back of a spoon. Place in heat-safe bowl and toss with fresh, hot grilled drumsticks to coat. Serve immediately.

Enjoy outside, with a crisp breeze and hungry babies.

Eight Years

I remember our first kiss like it was yesterday.

I remember meeting each of your family members for the first time, and introducing you to mine.

I remember the first time I called you 'My Boyfriend.'

I remember the goofy dates, the long distance, the calls, the outings, the times together, and the time apart.

I will never forget that walk around campus that ended at the Century Tree.

For the life of me, I can't remember much about that walk in the church that ended with you standing beside me, but I will always remember the words we spoke to each other, and I will always remember that you'll always be beside me.

There has been a lot since then; hard stuff, scary stuff, and so so much more that I will treasure forever...

...and eight years is only a drop in the bucket when you are spending them with your match in every way.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...a weekend away, and how true it is that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Happy Monday.