Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf

As a child, I hated meatloaf (sorry, Mom).  It always seemed dry, bland, and cumbersome to me, and so to make it palatable, I would drown it in a sea of ketchup (sorry, Dad -- he was always a tad grossed out by my ketchup obsession).  Now that I'm a bona fide grown-up, however, I can totally see the upside of meatloaf.  Though unfortunately named (because, really, who wants a loaf of meat?), it is an inexpensive, filling dish, generally easy to slap together on a weeknight, and it has all kinds of potential to be healthy and a great source of protein at the dinner table.

My favorite meatloaf incarnation bears little resemblance to the dense, oatmeal-studded loafs of the late 70s.  Inspired by a recipe I saw in the New York Times years ago, this meatloaf is equal parts spinach and turkey, making it a true nutritional powerhouse.  You start off by simmering garlic cloves in olive oil.  They become brown and caramelized, and then you chop these little golden nuggets and mix them into the meat, where they add the most complex, lovely flavor.  You also sear the loaf in this homemade garlic oil before baking it, adding more oomph to the flavor profile, as well as a delicious, savory crust.  Bonus: you're left with a good quarter cup of leftover garlic oil, which is a phenomenal base for a salad dressing or a veggie sauté for another meal later in the week. And because old habits die hard, I stir together a quick glaze of ketchup, dijon mustard and honey to go over the top.  Some things about the late 70s were oh-so-right, were they not?  Ketchup and meatloaf are a natural combo, even my Dad would agree.  

A few final notes: 
1) This is an ideal recipe to make in a heavy, cast iron skillet if you have one.
2)  I don't have to tell you this, but the best part of meatloaf is the leftovers.  The next day, a slice of this between two pieces of soft bread with a dab of mayo is a total comfort food childhood throwback in the best possible way.
3)  Unlike the meatloaf of the 70s, this is not a quickie weeknight meal, unless you prep your garlic oil and spinach ahead of time.  But if you have the time to spare, this recipe is worth it.  Or make it on a Sunday and let the leftover sandwich make your Monday a little more delicious. 
4) No matter how you slice it (ha!), meatloaf just doesn't photograph well.  I promise this dish is more appetizing than it appears.

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf
Adapted from Troy and Nancy Dupuy, New York Times, August 2004
Serves 4
6 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh baby spinach, well rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Pinch cayenne
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1. Place garlic cloves in small saucepan, add enough olive oil to cover them, and place over very low heat. Cook about 40 minutes, until garlic is tender but not browned. Drain garlic, and reserve oil. Chop garlic into small pieces.
2. Place onion in a sauté pan over low heat. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add spinach leaves and salt, and stir until spinach wilts. Line a small baking sheet with several thicknesses of paper towel, and spread spinach mixture on towel and refrigerate to cool.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine turkey, thyme, pepper, egg, breadcrumbs, cayenne and cooked, chopped garlic cloves; mix well.
4. Remove spinach from refrigerator, and chop. Add to mixing bowl, and mix well by hand or on low speed by machine. Form into loaf shape.
5. Stir together ketchup, dijon mustard and honey in a small bowl.  Set aside.
6. Heat a heavy skillet, preferably oven-proof. Add a little of the garlic oil and sear loaf top and bottom until lightly browned. Sides can be seared but only if you have a very large spatula to turn loaf easily. 
7.  Remove the pan from heat, and use a spatula to cover the top and side with the ketchup glaze.
8. Place skillet in oven or transfer loaf to shallow baking dish, then place in oven. Bake about 50 minutes, until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven and serve, or refrigerate and serve cold. Reserve remaining garlic oil for another use.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mama Ring

In my world, it seems like everyone and their sister is pregnant right now (something to do with being in my mid-thirties, perhaps?).  I love seeing all the newly popped little bellies, as well as the gorgeously huge round ones.  I love vicariously discovering all the new doodads and contraptions that have been invented even in the last 3 years since little J's birth (a least one killer new kind of a baby carrier and some serious advances in convertible cribs come to mind).  And I love all the ways we can pamper and fete the mamas-to-be among us as they do this physically grueling work of perpetuating our species.

And this, my friends, brings us to the fraught and controversial topic of the "push present".  A push present, for the uninitiated, is a gift given to a new mama by the father of her child shortly after the birth as a subtle way of saying, "Hey, thanks, babe, for pushing (or otherwise expelling) our child out of your body.  That looked kinda rough.  Here are some earrings, since the only pain I had to endure was that of you crushing all of the bones in both of my hands during your contractions.  You rock."
In our era of conspicuous consumption, this is a tradition that has spiraled a little out of control, as evidenced by this 10-karat monstrosity famously received by Rachel Zoe after her strangely weight-gain-free pregnancy.
image via Glamour Mag
While I find something odd about spending approximately four to five college tuitions on such a gift (a la Rodger Berman, above), I do love the idea of a special, sentimental something being given to a new mama from the new papa.  And jewelry is always a safe bet, as it fits no matter your size, and is such an inherently sentimental thing in and of itself.

The time right after giving birth is a physically and emotionally rigorous one.  You're dealing with severe sleep deprivation, your boobs being someone's sole food source, and a litany of pains and discomforts ranging from night sweats to sore nips to things are that are just unmentionable on this weblog.  And while some women claim to have never before felt more beautiful than during that time after giving birth, I myself felt somewhat haggard, mush-bellied and intermittently sobby, even while sporting that new mama pride and glow.  I can't think of a more perfect time to receive something that says, "you are special, I am proud of you, and here is something beautiful for someone who deserves to be adorned."  This trinket needn't be major, or over-the-top expensive, or fancy or otherwise Rachel Zoe-esque; it only needs to be simple, from the heart, and given with gratitude and love.  And I think I have the perfect thing...
St. Kilda Lil' Mama Ring
I've posted this ring before, but recently came across it and fell in love all over again.  The ring is delicate, sweet, and sentimental without being overly precious. It comes in a variety of metals from sterling silver to gold to platinum and is available with or without a tiny diamond set in the side, so the Lil' Mama ring can suit almost every price range.  And I truly think almost every mama would adore this ring; proven by the fact I pinned it on Pinterest the other day, and within 15 minutes it had been liked 24 times and re-pinned 84 times as everything from a wish list item to a mother's day gift for someone's own mom. Ha!  I love it!  I also love how it is thin and delicate enough that it could be the foundation of or addition to a sentimental "stack"...
via Simple Lovely, who talks about collecting a stack of meaningful rings here
More than anything, this post is born from the awe and love I feel for all the mamas around me right now.  Whether they are at the beginning of their journey (tired and trying to figure what they can and can't eat), nearing the end (a certain someone on the hunt for an organic crib mattress this week, I'm talking to you, you gorgeous goddess) or on the night shift doing 2am feedings and still having a smile and a joke in the morning, you all inspire me and make me proud to be among your mama ranks.  And grandma and nana, you are the original inspirations, and I love you and am grateful for you. I'd like to place a ring on each and every one of your hard working fingers!  Here's to the mamas!  xoxo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Power Breakfast

I go in phases with my morning meal.  One non-negotiable element is that the day must be kicked off with a big, bold caffeine hit in the form of either a steaming mug of homemade, organic, double-strength coffee or a delicious skim latte procured at one of my favorite neighborhood spots.
Some people need to eat first thing as well, but I'm not one of them.  Ideally, I like to sip water for the first 20 minutes or so after I wake up, then move on to my caffeine fix, and maybe I'll start thinking about food after that. I love a big, eggy breakfast for a treat and I'll order a Benedict-y thing or happily prepare a veggie scramble or a pan of poached eggs for a Sunday breakfast, and the husband's potato hash with a fried egg on top is to die for, as are some of our egg sandwich creations.

However, on a weekday, all that eggy-ness can be a bit much.  So, I tend to go in cycles: steel-cut oats or Kashi Golden Goodness make frequent appearances in the rotation, as does Greek yogurt with fruit and honey.  But lately, I've stumbled into a stellar breakfast routine that has me feeling like a superhero in the mornings, so I thought I'd share it with you.

This all started with my obsession with L.A. in Bloom's Date Shake, which is a complete and fabulous breakfast unto itself.  However, in a new year's bid to take the best possible care of myself, I wanted to scale back on the fat and sweetness of that smoothie, and add a super-nutritious punch.  I haven't had Amazing Meal in the house in far too long, so I recently brought it back into the rotation and am so glad I did.  Amazing Meal is an organic, raw blend of superfoods and greens in powder form, which you add by the scoop-full to your smoothies and shakes.  Each scoop packs a powerful blend of antioxidants, probiotics and protein, and starting your day with Amazing Meal seems to ensure a lasting, robust energy for hours to come.

My new favorite power smoothie:
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon almond or peanut butter
1 medjool date, seed removed
1/2 a ripe banana
1 scoop Amazing Meal Chocolate Infusion
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 cup ice
Blend and serve.  Amazing!

I don't typically eat lunch until about 1:30 or 2 when the little man is down for a nap and I've finished whatever dealing I set out to accomplish during the morning hours, so I need breakfast to fuel me for a good five hours or so. As phenomenally nourishing as this smoothie is, the warmth and crunch of toast and the extra oomph of some whole grains are what make my new favorite breakfast complete.  Right now I'm loving Ezekiel bread for its ability to pack a carb-y punch without being doughy or heavy.  Ezekiel products are made completely of sprouted grains and are filled with tons of protein and fiber, but they can still scratch your morning toast itch, and that is brilliant.
What's your favorite brekkie lately?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Long Hair Love

Getting a haircut has been on my to do list for about a month now, but lately I've seen some photos that make me think that I'm going to scratch it right off and hold out for awhile.
via The Sartorialist
via Sous Style
via The Goodwin Project
With no office job to report to these days, I'm asking myself if I actually need to dutifully schedule my quarterly trim.  Why not embrace my true inner hippie and let the long hair flow for awhile?  This is how I used to roll...
SMJ circa early 90s... holy shnoikes, how was that twenty years ago?  Shocking.
And more and more it seems like women of my current age are pulling off the long locks with lots of style and sophistication (see above).  I think the key is to keep your hair as healthy as possible, to avoid the dry and droopy look that long hair is prone too when you let it go too natural.  These are some of my favorite products for taking the best possible care of long, flowing curls...
curl cures
So, I think I'm going for it (if only because scheduling a hair appointment/babysitter/etc. is too much for my mid-winter self to want to accomplish at the moment)... the path of least resistance can be beautiful, and everything that's old is new again.  My goal is to rock the hippie hair with a polished mid-thirties style this winter.  And if that doesn't work, there's always my favorite hat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Fave Side: Edamame and Sweet Corn Succotash

I love Joslyn Taylor's gorgeous, eloquent lifestyle/design/mama blog called Simple Lovely, and while perusing it I have also checked out her side projects: Operation Simplicity and Raising Foodies.  I'm particularly drawn to the latter, which concerns trying desperately to cook for and nourish picky eaters, a subject with which I am intimately entangled at the moment.  As I scrolled through Raising Foodies for the first time, I came across her recipe for Edamame and Corn Succotash and knew immediately that I had to give it a whirl.  It looks like the perfect weeknight/winter side/veg option: a frozen bag o' this, a quickly chopped up that, and you have a restaurant-quality side at the ready in about five minutes.  Yes, please.
Here's the exceedingly simple recipe:
1 bag frozen organic sweet corn
1 bag frozen organic edamame
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons butter
1 marinated roasted red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Completely thaw the corn and edamame. Saute the shallot in butter. Add corn and edamame and saute until cooked through. Dice red pepper and add to the pan, cooking for a few more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
* I also added a heaping teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of paprika to my dish as I was feeling creative.  All were great additions and probably ones I will use again in the future.

It was love at first sight between this recipe and me, for a few reasons: there is almost no work involved, anything with shallots is gold, a side/veg rich with protein (from the edamame) is always a good thing in my book, and there was the slimmest margin of a prayer that my picky guy would eat this (he has been known not to flatly reject edamame and sometime deigns corn acceptable). 

Unfortunately, he was not into it, but the husband and I most certainly were.   I served the succotash alongside spice-rubbed, pan-seared, bone-in pork chops and jasmine rice for a special weeknight dinner, but I think this would make a fabulous veggie entree with a great salad on the side, and also would stand up alone as a side to a meat dish without any starch at all.  I'm thinking I'll eat the leftovers for lunch today with a fried egg on top and a little shaved sharp cheddar.  This is a dish that can wear a lot of hats, and for something so low-maintenance, it's incredibly elegant.
I think the husband said it best, "... you shouldn't call this succotash, because it really doesn't suck, it's delicious.  I think you should call it awesome-tash."  There you have it.  Serve some awesome-tash with dinner tonight!  Even your toddler might like it... just don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Just when I was feeling particularly smug about the lack of mid-winter sickness in this house, I suddenly got a cement-block head and serious case of the sniffles.  You may remember that during Baby J's first winter and the one after, all of us were basically sick as dogs from October through April.  Things have certainly improved since then, and we had seemingly made it all the way to January without much more than a round of stuffy sinuses right around Thanksgiving.  Please remind me next time I say, write or think that to find the nearest, largest piece of wood and knock on it one hundred times.  I really don't want to tempt the gods who dole out the winter bugs around here.

When I feel stuffy, bleary, queasy or otherwise under the weather, my go to meal is, not surprisingly, a hot bowl of soup.  Said soup is hopefully easily prepared, nutrient-packed and, above all else, comforting.  And around here, nothing is more universally comforting than some good old Italian peasant food.  Pasta e Fagioli (translation: pasta and beans), is about as traditionally Italian and comforting as it gets.  Versions of this soup vary widely from region to region in Italy, so it is a perfect soup to take your own license with depending on what ingredients you may have on hand or according to your mood.

Normally, I'd include more vegetables in the base of a soup, but I wasn't in a chopping mood, so I kept this one to onions and garlic.  Traditionally, pasta e fagioli is a vegetarian dish, but I was craving the salty punch of pancetta, so I threw it in the pot.  I kept this soup incredibly simple: just those two aromatics, the pancetta, some herbs, tomatoes, beans, pasta, and stock.  After chopping the onion and garlic, the rest of this soup mostly involved opening cans and stirring; perfect for my energy level (low) and my need of near-instant comfort food (high).

I encourage you to use this recipe as a jumping off point for your own pasta e fagioli creation: add carrots and celery if you're feeling it, leave out the pancetta if you are a vegetarian or otherwise not down with pork, use a different shape of pasta, or leave out the red pepper flakes for a milder dish... make it your own!

However your soup turns out, I can guarantee you'll create the perfect bowl of winter comfort food to nourish your soul and cure what ails you.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. pancetta, minced
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 15oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dried pasta (I love using orecchiette, but elbow macaroni or ditalini would be more traditional choices)
Parmesan cheese for garnish
1) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta, onion and garlic and saute, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
2) Add the tomatoes, rosemary, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, as well as the beans and stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.
3) Add the pasta to the soup and simmer until the pasta is cooked, about 10-12 minutes more. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fashion Fun

Happy MLK Day!
Today I'm so excited to announce a new collaboration with Stilista Boston!
Stilista is a Boston styling agency where a staff of talented fashion stylists is available for hire to renew and refresh your look and your closet.  Stilista offers services ranging from personal shopping to complete closet overhauls.  They also have a fantastic blog written by their team of stylists, and I'm flattered to be guest blogging for them about "mom style".  My first post, about the infamous and much feared Mom Jean, went up this morning!  This is a time of life where our personal style, as well as our budgets, priorities and body shapes are flux, so moms have unique style conundrums to solve, and I'm thrilled that I'll have a chance to address these periodically on the Stilista blog. Please check it out, and I'd love to know if you have any pressing mom style questions or topics you'd love to see discussed in future posts.  
Also on the fashion/Stilista hook-up front: Boston friends, Stilista's Marisa Meloski would like to extend a special invitation to you to attend a private shopping party at Madewell on Newbury Street this Thursday, January 19th.  From 7 to 9pm Marisa is offering her styling services, and there will be cupcakes and huge deals (two of my favorite things in life) as well.  I attended Marisa's July event at Madewell and found my favorite and most-often-complimented top of the summer for $4 (you can barely get a latte for $4 these days, people! I'm talking serious scores here!).  The event is a lot of fun and a great way to catch a peek at coming spring fashions while scoring deep deals on winter ones that, let's face it, still have several months of use left in them before the warm weather blesses us with its return.  Please come on out and enjoy!  And thank you, Marisa!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pondering: Backyard Chickens

Yesterday, as I walked to the store to buy a dozen eggs for the second time in three days, I started pondering the idea of backyard chickens.  We'll be moving to a new place when our lease is up in May, and we are both hoping that our new home will include a legit backyard for the child and dog to enjoy.  But what if it was also legit enough to include a chicken coop? 
Hilarious "mid-life crisis coop" via Backyard Chickens
We're big egg consumers in this family.  Not only are eggs an inexpensive and easy-to-prepare protein, they are also tops on the list of five to ten things that our son is willing to eat on any given week.  The husband likes to start his day with a couple scramblers, and I love to bake, and often go through two to four eggs a week on my baking projects alone.  A rough calculation reveals that we probably spend about $375 a year on eggs, which is kind of mind-boggling, and I'm not sure what chicken upkeep costs are, but I'm fairly certain we'd come out on top in the deal.  Clearly, I have a lot more research to do on this topic, but I'm intrigued.
Photo via Yummy Mummy, absolutely one of my inspirations for even considering something like this.
Potential pros of chicken ownership:
1) Eggs!  And not your average eggs, but those gorgeous, farm-fresh eggs with the sun-colored yolk and the superior nutritional value.
2) Localvore street cred!  Does it get more local than one's own backyard?
3) Teaching the little man valuable lessons about the cycle of life, responsibility and agriculture.  The other day someone asked him where milk comes from and he said, "the store."  Oh dear.
4) It's very Little House, and I love me some Laura Ingalls, pioneer-worthy projects. 

Potential cons of chicken ownership:
1) Looking at their disturbingly weird little feet. 
2) Chicken poop.
3) More noise.
4) More beings to take care of (some days, the boys and the dog feel like plenty, and do you have to get chicken-sitters when you go away for the weekend?).
Beautiful, backyard-fresh egg recipe from Yummy Mummy.  Seriously, look at that yolk.
Apparently, backyard chickens are all the rage these days, so much so that many cities have enacted laws regulating the practice.  As with anything involving other living creatures, this is not a project to be entered into lightly, and I have a lot more to learn before I can even make a proper pitch about why we should become chicken owners.  And such an endeavor would certainly be a year or so out for us at the soonest.  Still, it is on my radar. 
One more from YM, as sister seriously takes the cutest chicken pics, and I may or may not have a small girl crush on her.
Do you have backyard chickens?  Is it a dream?  A nightmare?
And do roosters have to be involved?  Because I'm seriously outnumbered around here already.
Yours in poultry,
Only Emerson could make animal husbandry look stylish.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Imperfect Perfect

I recently found and fell in the love with the blog Sous Style, which includes in its manifesto a resolution to strive for "the imperfect perfect".  I love this notion.  Perfection is not only illusory and unattainable, the quest for it is a lead cause of insomnia, stomachaches and driving everyone around you up a wall (in my opinion/experience).  And yet, there's something important and energizing about the quest for self-improvement and the notion that if we try hard enough, we can achieve truly great things.  To accept that perfection is a myth seems like an invitation to throw in the towel and stop trying, which is why I love this whole "imperfect perfect" thing.  To me it says that you can be all kinds of fabulous, marvelous, organized, stylish, healthy and generally exceptional, while still shining love down on your inner dork/slob/glutton, and letting her live in peace and harmony with that more shiny, capable you.  To me, 2012 is all about embracing this yin and yang, and seriously letting myself off the hook, while simultaneously challenging myself to grow and do better.  I truly believe these goals can co-exist in an imperfect perfect world.
 What embodies foodie perfection more than a dinner to celebrate 40 years of Chez Panisse?  To me, the wrinkled linen table cloths and wilty flowers from the tables at that dinner scream imperfect perfect.  Are they not just as beautiful and a thousand times more earthily appealing than something starched, pert and formal could ever be?
Gorgeous messy up-do= imperfect perfect.
Kids' art just taped imperfectly/perfectly to the wall in an otherwise very polished kitchen.
I am going to start a new series on the imperfect perfect, ruminating on everything from mom bodies to meal attempts/failures to adventures in discount decorating, to whatever else crosses my path and inspires me in this way.  I love the idea of seeking out the sloppy sublime.
What is imperfect perfect in your world?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nap Time

I deeply love the little man's nap time.
I equally love the utterly chaotic moments of the day where I am chasing, wrangling, feeding, singing and playing, but there is something special about the peace in the middle of the day when he sleeps for two blessed hours.  I love the complete silence... no music, no noisy chores, no talking, just the heat clicking on and off, and the soft padding of the dog behind me as he follows me from room to room. 

I love quietly doing the dishes of the morning with the hot water running over my hands and the satisfying clink of the dishes sliding into their places in the dishwasher.  I love carrying the laundry in a wicker basket up and down the stairs (no, I'm not kidding)... as there's something kind of ancient and sacred about the ritual of laundry (although I'm thankful that my ritual involves pushing a button and not beating something clean against a river rock, let's be real).  I love brewing a cup of tea and sitting down to write, and pouring my heart out on the page in the silence.  I love this time alone with my own thoughts; a time to exhale, to refocus, to settle.  I'm also so grateful that on those days where I am really, truly bone tired, I can curl up under a blanket in the silence and close my eyes to rest myself.  I love stirring together a big pot of soup, or throwing great things in the slow cooker, or prepping for dinner at this time of day, when I can really take in all of the ingredients and revel in preparing this food for my family. What I love most of all is the way that the warm afternoon light spills in through our apartment windows and makes everything gold at this hour of the day.

There are days I miss my office life: that quiet, orderly place which someone else cleans, with plenty of intellectual stimulation and hilarious co-workers.  Some days I panic about my lack of a paycheck or forward motion in my career, and what my prospects will be when it is time to go back to that life.  I write this post to return to on days like those, to appreciate all that I have in being at home, and how much I truly love it, and how I want to strive to savor these fleeting days.  This silence is a gift, and I need to soak up every minute of it.

The best part of nap time comes at the end, when he wakes up and leaps from his bed into my arms.  We sit on the couch and snuggle in silence until his little boy engine revs back up again and we're off to the races for the rest of the afternoon.  In those quiet moments where I am holding this warm, sleepy child on my chest, I feel truly at peace.  And that means everything.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fresh Start

I love how the first week of January always feels like the complete turning over of a new leaf.   Some mourn the passing of the holidays into this more Puritan time of year with its resolutions and returns to the gym, but being someone who finds comfort in routine as well as refreshment in new beginnings, this first week of the new year is always one of my favorite times.  I love the notion that we all get a second chance to make good on our promises, and an opportunity to truly turn the page on what was in the past and look freshly towards the future. 

And after a week of an internet diet, I'm cracking up at the change in content as I catch up on my favorite food blogs.  Where a mere seven days ago there was nothing but cheese and cheese and an endless sea of butter and sugar, there is now a forest of kale and green juices as far as the eye can see.  That's all good by me... this dive into freshness and good health is just another favorite part of this time of year in my book.  Here are some of the healthful recipes I've bookmarked to try as we all get back to normal:
Coconut Pumpkin Stew from the GOOP Cleanse

Mango Cardamom Shake, also from the GOOP Cleanse
Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots from Shutterbean
Brussels Sprout and Butternut Lasagna from the Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Redemption Salad from Dinner: A Love Story
Simple Granola from My New Roots
What are you doing to get back on track?  
Or did you never fall off?  
If so, do tell how that's done.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year by the Numbers

2 flights
2 drives
2 countries
4 states
16 hours in the car
20 loads of laundry
1 unintended, but much needed, break from the world of the internet
4 days hosting my lovely sister
4 days visiting my in-laws in St. Louis
3 days back home to visit with family in from Ohio then
4 days in Quebec with dear old friends to ring in 2012 on a frozen lake
2, 228 listens to "Wheels on the Bus" on the ride to Quebec
3 times the husband and I have sworn that we never want to hear "Wheels on the Bus" again
18 pounds of wine, chocolate, cheese and bread consumed
1 beautiful, hilarious, whirlwind holiday season
The little man with "Santa" at the Southwest Terminal at Logan.  Well played, Southwest.
My in-laws' stunning tree.  They never fail to blow my mind with their Christmas tidings. 
Pure, unparalleled Christmas glee on his new "motorcycle".
Romping in the woods in Canada.
Lake Louisa, Quebec... the happiest place on Earth.
Loving Canada and our time away.  Glee all around.
I'd like to say that I return from my holiday refreshed and renewed, but that would be a lie!  I actually feel like I have had every bit of fun I have had in the last two weeks, head to toe.  I'm looking forward to settling in here at home, returning to our usual routine, and bringing in a bit of health and grounding to round out all the heady revelry of late.  2012 has already been filled with so much happy news from family and friends that I can't help but feel like something special is in the air.  So, I plan to ease into this new year rather than take it by storm.  Instead of bounding in with resolutions that are made to be broken, I just want to take the best care of myself and my family, be a little easier on myself, and continue to let the joy rise all around me.
I have big plans for this little blog this year, and hope you'll stick with me for the ride!
Lots of love and cheers to a glorious new year,