Cornwall

 Have you ever been to Cornwall, England?  This is a region of England I wasn't too familiar with, and truth be told, was never much on my travel radar until this article in Bon Appetit magazine.  And now, after reading this article, in addition to rereading Joanna Goddard's nostalgic posts about vacationing on the Cornwall coast, I've definitely added it to my "must see" list.  The blustery bluffs, rocky beaches and salty sea, the abundance of fish and chips and English accents, just to name a few of my favorite things!

Ever been?  Doesn't it sound quaint and lovely?

What's a destination that you'd like to visit that was an unexpected addition to your list or somewhere that surprised you?

image/bonappetit

Salad Savvy: Pea Prosciutto Salad

I saw this in Bon Appetit a few months ago and bookmarked it for a later date.  Last week, I finally had the privilege and guys... So. Damn. Good.  I rarely crave a green salad unless it has a ton of stuff in it (nuts, seeds, fruit, cheese, crunchies...the works!).  As a result, I find that unusual salads really appeal to me, perhaps for creative mix of flavors, textures, and ingredients.  This pea, snap pea, prosciutto, and arugula salad was in a word - delightful!  Salty prosciutto, sweet peas and snap peas, bitter arugula, tangy mustard, and sour lemon juice, it may seem like a strange blend of ingredients, but it just works!

image/bonappetit

Today Was A Good Day

Today was a good day.

Today there was sunshine.  Endless blue skies, not a raindrop in sight.  Pure, unadulterated spring sunshine.  “Cumulus clouds!” my daughter chirped excitedly.  “No stratus clouds today!”  I smile as I hear her recall snippets of my former first-grade-teacher-self.

“Let’s walk to the library!” I announced triumphantly. Roughly a mile there and back, sky free of stratus clouds, why not?  I was feeling adventurous.  Eager break our afternoon rut and imprint a fond memory onto their tiny brains in lieu of yet another day playing Calico Critters dollhouse or watching a repeat letter of the day announcement on Sesame Street.  

Just past the school we encountered the hill.  My out of shape mommy brain overcompensated the terrain of our expedition, it’s just a little hill I chided myself.  After all, this is a hill that rises and falls effortlessly when traversed by car, I barely register the extra horsepower in my Subaru.  Turns out, not the case by stroller-- correction, double stroller.  Two kids weighing 30 and 35 pounds respectively.  That and the five pounds of granola bars I packed in case of emergency suddenly felt like anchors as we began our ascent.  

“Why are we going so slow?!” she whined.
“Sweetie, this is a big hill,” I breathed, feeling my body comically move to a 90 degree angle against the handlebars in order to push us forward.  
I imagined what passersby vehicles must be thinking.  Oh...come on! Is the stroller really that heavy?  I found myself silently wishing for a honk of encouragement, complimentary or otherwise.
“Keep going Mommy, we’ve got a long way, this hill is still going!”
“Uh huh,” I agreed, gulping in breaths, pushing us steadily upward as we summited our hill.
My son gleefully kicked his dangling feet in the front seat, unperturbed by Mommy’s slow pace.  

Once the hill plateaued, sweat perspiring on my forehead, I felt a surge of energy.  A renewed spirit and lightness of foot, despite my aching legs.  We came upon swarms of fat yellow dandelions sprouting up out of the pavement.  I could’ve kept moving, I could’ve rolled right by, but I felt the urge to stop and savor this moment.  Kicking on the stroller break, I knelt beside them, their eyes wide with curiosity as I gently picked a fluffy stalk for each.  Exhaling a full breath, I showed them how to blow the seeds into the wind and make a wish.  I smiled through staccato bursts of warm breath on my face, their seeds spiralling into the wind and each other's hair while making sweet silent toddler wishes.

We made it to the library, swapped out our books and headed home, traversing the same path downhill and to our little local park.  I resisted the urge to pull out my phone and document,  shelving my desire to snap a photo or capture a brief video clip for my 1 Second Everyday montage.  

Be present.  Be in this moment I reminded myself.  This is the real memory; not the one you captured in a screen. Memorize this, remember this.  The warmth of the sun in the late afternoon stratus-cloud-free sky. The overstuffed bottom compartment of our stroller, bursting with library books selected by sticky, chubby fingers.  The excited purse of little lips and focused faces blowing fuzzy dandelion seeds into the wind.  The delighted giggles as they slid down the slide together, side by side for the first time.

Today was a good day.  

Quote of the Week

"Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder 

image/iamblessed

Weekend Baking: Strawberry Peach Galette

Oh how I do love summer fruit, with stone fruit topping the charts as one of my favorite summer indulgences!  After bringing home a bundle of fresh peaches to accompany our Costco strawberry run, I decided to liven up an ordinary Friday with a fetching dessert - a peach strawberry galette.  

I typically keep frozen pie dough on hand, and once defrosted and rolled out, the only thing left to do was toss the fruit with a dash of sugar and vanilla and voila - galette ready to go!  My husband and I devoured it hungrily as we watched House of Cards.  Excited to make another!

image/babble

Meal Planning 102

It's been a while since I've posted about meal planning, and wanted to follow up with a few tips and tricks, as these are some of my favorite posts on the blogs I read.

I love having a rotating selection of dinner options, I've never been a "Monday meatloaf, Tuesday tacos" kind of gal.  And while as a family we love variety, we also depend on consistency. I've slowly built up an arsenal of meals that are crowd pleasers for myself, husband, and kids.  However, even then, I do find myself getting bored of our usual go-tos, especially as the seasons change, and shepherd's pie just isn't going to cut it in the heat of summer.  I'm always prowling popular new cookbooks (borrowed from the library), blogs, pinterest, and the like for fresh finds to rotate into the mix. Our criteria for a complete meal usually involves a protein, vegetable or two, and occasionally a bread/starch component.

First tip I have to help keep myself grounded and not too repetitive is to keep a dinner diary.  Bear with me, I realize this sounds ridiculously type-A and difficult, but basically it's a journal where I jot down what we eat for dinner every night.  One sentence.  Quick. Easy. Simple.  It's also helpful to remind myself "ooh, I forgot about that...we should try that again!" Or a reminder, "yuck, that was disgusting and way too much work.  Never again."

I typically meal plan on the weekend, looking ahead to the week, and planning meals based around various evening activities that might through a wrench in the actual making of dinner (e.g. one parent working late, one parent out, dinner at my parents' house, etc).  I write it all out and post on the refrigerator.  In a perfect world there is some recipe overlap (i.e. dill for salmon one night and dill for a salad another) in an effort to maximize ingredient use and simplify our grocery list, however that's definitely not always the case.

A few of our go-to Spring/early summer favorites include
+ Greek sheetpan chicken and spanakopita with Greek salad

+ ground pork bahn mi sandwiches (or lettuce wraps) with tamari roasted broccoli

+ BBQ pineapple hard shell tacos (we use fresh pineapple) with caprese salad

+ roasted Sriracha salmon with coconut rice and crispy kale

+ slow cooker Korean beef tacos and roasted veggies

+ homemade pizza on the grill with fruit salad and grilled corn

+ favorite turkey burgers with corn on the cob and carrot salad

+ slow cooker chicken tikka masala with Indian creamed spinach over coconut rice

+ p.f. changs style chicken lettuce wraps with roasted carrots and broccoli 

What are your go-to weeknight meals?

May and June Favorites

+ these chocolate covered banana snacks (organic, non GMO too)

+ this recipe for BBQ pineapple hard shell chicken tacos (I used fresh pineapple)

+ The Hate U Give and Hillbilly Elegy (one fiction, one memoir, both both equally informative reads for our current times)

+ the entertaining show, Catastrophe on Amazon Prime

+ this $8 set of 5 mini digger trucks that have brought my son immense joy in the past week

+ a new hydrating face mask (also available on amazon)

image/freckledandfree