cooking, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

W4D

For a while, I wanted to write a blog about food.  More specifically, to help answer the age-old question, What’s for Dinner? (W4D) A place you could go, desperately searching for an idea. You could see what others came up with and made for dinner.

Here is what I cooked for dinner last night.  Okay, I didn’t do it all.  Mr. Right grilled the Albacore Tuna.  We would usually use chickpeas and sunflower seeds, however, that Albacore was calling our names.  For a warm summer night, it was a perfect choice.

20160725_173853-1_resized

No one really mentions, in addition to becoming famous, an eye doctor, a mom, a mechanic, a refrigerator repair person, an architect, a solider etc….. you still have to know how to make and prepare meals and put them on the table for your family every single day of your life.

I’ve always maintained that if I was Scrooge McDuck rich, I would pay someone to come up with ideas.  I would still cook.  I like the cooking part.  By the way, if you happen to have canvas bags of money tied with rope, and have a dollar sign stamped on the front, one would think one would have enough moolah to hire a kitchen cleaner upper & person to wash dishes?

There are two girls in my life that help make dinner more, well, beautiful and delish. We have our own W4D exchange.

food is essentialWe live far, far away from each other.  E-mail  is how we share.  A couple of times a week,  we exchange emails about food.  Glorious Food.  Idea of what to make or bake.  Sharing the cookbook we found it hidden in or what food blogger offered up the inspiration. We tell each other, “didn’t have leeks, so I substituted purple onion” “fresh berries aren’t in season yet, used frozen”.  If we are really in a pickle, we explain, ” help! 20 people around age 25 coming over for a gathering…. what do I feed them?” And somehow, as if by magic, the two other people swirl ideas around and share 2 or 3 ideas/solutions each.

The subject line, W4D grabs our attention.

We are honest in our sharing.   What worked well for lefties (left overs). First go round, needed more salt, will add for lefties tomorrow.  The “secret” ingredient to an amazing sammy (sandwich), refrigerator pickles.   What we fell in love with and that dreaded moment the person sitting across from us, took a polite “no, thank you bite”.

Like life and all of us, it’s a rather glorious hodgepodge  of fancy, easy, quick, 24 hour marinade, bake it and take it, slow cook, grill and blend.  We just share what we made and put it out there.  Yes, we have food preferences.  We sort of don’t get into those.  If you are vegetarian, just substitute chickpeas for the albacore tuna.  No soap box, no explaining, no time to judge, just move on people.  The goal is to get flavorful, beautiful food on the table, consistently.

We don’t have to explain, why one husband won’t eat weeds (fresh herbs not cut small enough) or why some don’t eat sugar or dairy …. You get the picture.  We just talk about what we made.

Let’s face it whether or not we have a passel of kiddos to cook for or a tired hungry boyfriend or cooking for one,  tasty food needs to be put on the table on a regular basis.

Excellent, high quality food that is worthy of our families, nourishing their bodies and feeding their souls.

We share pictures. Here is the first good size tomato I have ever grown.  Eating tonight!20160725_110507-1_resized

We share results.

too salty/needed more salt/fresh thyme was the secret

too time consuming/ very time-consuming, so worth it

very messy/hardly no clean up/used every pan & bowl in the place

clean plates all around/ lots of food left on the plates, had snacks later

putting this into the rotation/tried twice,  ripped up recipe and tossed, said good-bye

All that to tell you, I found a great recipe for a Nicoise Salad dressing. Minimalist Baker shared it on her food blog.  Note:  Make extra dressing.   After I par-boiled the potatoes and beans I covered them in dressing (used as a marinade) and let chill.  20160725_123512_resized

3 Tablespoons minced shallot, 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (fresh was amazing) chopped , 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, s & p, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Whisk or use immersion blender.  

When you have good friends who talk about food, it’s not called bragging, it’s called sharing.

…I grew the tomato, beans and thyme.  I gathered the eggs and steamed them today.  Nicoise Salad……… clean plate club members!20160725_174050-1_resized

In this together, friends.  All of us have a need to feed our family and friends excellent quality food. They are worth our time and energy.

Sweet Peaches!  We are worthy of great food.

What’s For Dinner in your neck of the woods?

In this together, folks.  Please share what you are cooking for dinner tonight with a friend. I promise they will love getting fresh new ideas.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

Advertisements
food review, Uncategorized

honor food

Today, I have a treat for you, yes you,  my super terrific, wonderful readers.  I have a guest author.  (Between you and me, I gave him an A+ and a Gold Star sticker.)

It is my pleasure to introduce to you our oldest son, Dustin.  His gifts, talents, palpable energy and generous spirit make me puff up a bit when I type his name.

My “kids” never, ever cease to astound me.  When your adult children end up being humans that you (and others) would love to go to a long lunch and end up talking for 2 hours, you get this sneaky suspicion that you did something right.

I have a favor to ask, if you like today’s post or have something to add in the way of conversation, PLEASE share.   Please leave a comment. Please share on social media.  Please share with your friends.   Please add to this conversation.  It is a topic near and dear to our hearts.

We would love for this topic to be the springboard for conversation around your dinner table tonight.

 

Honoring the ingredients and the guests

 

I am not a chef.  My wife is a chef.  She has spent countless hours in schools and kitchens and classrooms perfecting her art.  She is a master in the kitchen and gives back to the epicurean world by empowering countless classes of students as a culinary arts professor at a community college in a rough part of town.  She inspires healthy eating, or creative cooking, or passions hidden deep down inside of people.  Some of these passions have been repressed by years on food stamp programs or eating unhealthy, cheap food.  The gift she selflessly gives away every day is amazing.

My mom is a food writer and aficionado of not only healthy eating and living, but of ingredients.  She has a wealth and breadth of knowledge about so many foods and ingredients, herbs and spices that it boggles my mind.

So with all of this in mind, it’s humbling beyond belief when someone tells me, of all people, they liked the food I cooked for them.  It’s an even more powerful statement when I’m told that some humble, meager dish is one of the best things this person has ever eaten.  It’s truly a one of a kind experience to know I honored the ingredient and the guest.

Let me back up.

I’m son #1.  Call me Dustin… yeah that’s a good internet name.  Dustin….  I’ve known the author of this blog for almost 34 years now and am finally brave enough to submit a piece of work as a guest author.  I have been interested in food as long as I can remember but that interest has changed significantly in recent years as I have evolved from a creature of habit to one of exploration and expectation.

I have only informal culinary training but have passion for good food that transcends almost any other passion in my life.  I love ingredients.  I love food.  There are so few things I don’t like it’s incredible and yet I’ve only tried a tiny portion of the number of tasty things out there!

Currently, I’m taking steps to lift my pop up restaurant off the ground (shameless plug incoming) find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/prixfixemobile   Creating a pop up has taught me a few things about people and ingredients and I’d like to share them with you.IMG_3695

First, you bought too many daikon radishes.  Yep, that’s something I’d like to pass on.  You bought too many and now you’re stuck.  They smell terrible, they are taking up a lot of room in your fridge and quite frankly, you made the one thing you were going to make with them and now you are stymied.

You have to be aware that this is your golden ticket to do one of two things.  Create something amazing or let it rot.  When we started out, I spent WAY too much of our precious few dollars making sure we had enough food.  Never mind that we are serving 4-7 course meals, I damn well wanted to make sure everyone had full portions of everything.  I think we needed maybe two cups of daikon pickles for a Vietnamese dish we were doing and I bought three HUGE daikons.  By the time we finished eating those things I was sick of daikon.  That’s a sad thing actually.

I LOVE daikon and I should have used the opportunity to dial up 1 of a 100000 different recipes out there to honor my ingredient and try to push its boundaries.  Honor the farmer, the trucker, the buyer, the seller and the hundred people along the way that brought that daikon to your fridge!   Try to only grab enough for what you need, but if you wind up with too much, EXPLORE!  Use the opportunities presented to you for good and expand your universe!

Next, people will eat bugs if you cook them right.  It’s true.  We served a very traditional Mexican dish at one of our dinners called Chapulines.  For those that don’t know, its grasshoppers roasted and spiced with chili.  We made tacos out of them and they were excellent actually.  Point of order here, I didn’t want to eat them, cook them or serve them, however my partner vetoed me.

He took the time as we are both apt to do, to research the bejeezus out of preparation methods, reliable, ethical and sustainable sources for the bugs, and how to best present the final dish.  In short we took the time to get to know more about grasshoppers as food than I ever cared to.  The end result of serving grasshopper tacos to 18 people dressed to the nines and expecting anything but grasshoppers, was only one of the 18 tacos coming back uneaten.  IMG_3670

There is a craft to honoring your ingredient by knowing it.  The more you know the better you can honor it.  Anyone can eat a bug because it’s a gross out extreme type thing to do.  Honoring the ingredient lets you serve a room full of people carefully crafted works of art that no one is afraid to try.

Lastly, (for now) whether you are cooking or eating, trust that the person you are connecting with over food has your best interest in mind.

This may come off a little rant-y, however even with my limited experience behind the stove, I’m already really, really tired of special requests.  If you choose to go to a seafood dinner and you have a shellfish allergy, trust that you’ve made a bad choice and are not honoring the chef or their ingredients.

Immerse yourself in the experience that is eating food that someone else prepared.  You can sense, feel and taste their culture, their influences and their art when you let go and just eat what the chef made for you.  Give ten chefs ten pieces of tuna and tell them to sear it and serve it, chances are you’ll get ten distinctly different pieces of fish, each honoring the guest by having had love, time, experience, effort and personal touches poured into them.  If you know you don’t like one particular thing, don’t order it!  If you still want whatever it is, then just pick out the part you don’t like!

By the way Millennials, I’m looking at you.  You’re not special, just eat it.  You’ll like it.  Taste buds change.  If you don’t like it, at least you can say you tried it, and move on.  No one wants to make you something special just because you freak out at your beans touching your pork chop which by the way also touches your salad which you specifically ordered without tomatoes because thinking about tomatoes makes you itchy but you can tell there were tomatoes near your plate because while not itchy.. well….,  you have a small rash over there near your butterfly tattoo….  I’ll show you butter flying… at your head….!

Conversely, if you are cooking and you chose to use pre-tubed garlic, get out!  Who doesn’t have time to chop garlic?!?!  Your guests can dump boxed pasta into water and pour some jarred tomato product over it, but can they craft a quick marinara from scratch?  It takes seconds to learn, minutes to cook and years to perfect, but it honors the guest you brought to your table.  Don’t take short cuts when the better way takes mere moments more.IMG_3451

In conclusion, find ways to honor your guests.  Find ways to honor your ingredients more and find ways to up your food game.  It’s a short life, do you want the last thing you ate to be a yellow sponge cake filled with processed HFC “crème” or a Chioggia Beet salad with first press olive oil, cracked tellicherry pepper and French feta cheese?

Live well, eat better and raise a glass once in a while!!!!!

 

 

date night, great marriage, haPPY, state fair

Fair date

Here.

You know, when the teacher calls out your name (and inevitably pronounces it wrong, again, sigh) you raise your hand politely and say, here?   There would always be one smart alack boy who would say, “present”.  Once or twice someone trying to be “kewl” would answer, “Yo”.  Back in the day, the teacher would look over their glasses and give the “teacher stare”.  It usually didn’t happen twice.

Yes, I am here, present and accounted for.  Fall has finally shown up in neck of the woods.  I am roasting vegetables for our hippie bowls tonight.  Ah, the flavor and aroma of fall.

Oh, I have been writing every single day.  However, just not feeling the vibe of pushing that “publish” button.

Writing helps me work through the days.  The last couple weeks have been full of stuff.  You know, the stuff that happens with twists and turns and we call it life?

“The Truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”  C.S. Lewis

People in my circle are hurting.  Change is in the air.  I am here to tell you change is tricky and a fickle gal.  Being a friend who is a better listener than “you should do this” type of friend, takes will power on my part.  Oh, I have brilliant ideas!  I want to help and fix and share.  This season we call life, it is best if I just fine tune my listening skills.  Nobody likes a know it all.  sigh.  In case anyone out there really LIKES a know it all,  I am really good at it.  Just whistle.

I needed a break, we both needed a break.

I was asked on a date.  Yep, Mr. Right said those magical words any girl who grew up a couple blocks from the State Fair will tell ya……………Would you like to go to the Fair?

Boy howdy!  Boyfriend asks girlfriend on a date to the Fair?  Yes please.   Hand holding and eating and walking and giggling.

I have to eat and drink to stay well, so we had a home cooked meal prior to going to the Fair.  (very responsible of us, uh?)scone booth

I really don’t know what happens.  Why on earth you are hungry the moment you step sconeon those Fair grounds.  We headed straight to the Scone booth.  Fresh hot, burn your hands hot,  biscuit dough stuffed to overflowing with butter and raspberry jam.  Yes, it was a treat for me.  Yes, I will have another one next year.  Yes, it was worth the wait.

Then we “did” the Fair.  You know, Pig Palace with 1 day old piglets and mom.  Not sure what a mom pig is called.  Um, We got to see them all sleepy and happy.  pig palace

We did a few cow barns and then went into the “Animals of the World”  building , not sure what the heck that even means.  I saw my first Zedonk.  Zedonk 1Really, I had to look really close at his legs.  They sort of looked painted on stripes.  Nope, they were real.  Along side 12 or 13 other little short people who were pointing and asking questions, I was right there.  It is super easy to blend in with kids.  They don’t question anyone looking and learning.  Ever notice, kids don’t judge?  Everyone is learning and figuring it all out.  Yes, even the cross between a half donkey and half zebra.  um.

The Hobby Hall called to us.  I am always intrigued and fascinated about what people collect.  Oh sure, there was the usual owl collection, salt and pepper shaker collection. I think there has been someone collecting Troll dolls ever since I started going to the fair 49 years ago.  Or maybe it is the same person?  This year I saw a corn on the cob collection.  Seriously.  A laundry detergent box collection.  wow.  There was the usual Barbie doll collection, nativity collection and the clock collection.  What caught my eye and interest was hanging on the wall.  All behind glass, pinned and properly aligned….. a Pendleton Wool plaid shirt collection.  Seriously.  Oh, I have so much to say.   However, I am the girl who collects rolling pins and flying pigs and white animal creamers so, best just to keep my mouth closed.  The uniqueness (is that even a word?)  makes it so, we can’t stop smiling through the entire stroll through the building.

Hungry?  Why yes, yes I am.  I am thinking Gigantic HUGE deep friend onion rings would be perfect.  Oh wow.  No one needs deep-fried onion ringsonion rings.  However, for some strange and wonderful reason, the boyfriend bought them.  There is NO WAY we could possibly eat those 8 HUGE onion rings of deep-fried goodness.  Oh, I guess there was a way.  So good.  So bad for you.  So worth it.

Grange pictures4H building, flowers and fruits and vegetables and a 1,600 plus pound pumpkin.  And the voting.  We had to vote for our favorite grange display.  The entries have gotten smaller along with the popularity of the grange itself, however, still amazing and wonderful and oodles of work.  We love choosing our favorite and casting our secret ballot.

The quilts and fine arts building.  Oh, the quilts.  You know I liked that part.  Yes, we got to vote on our favorite there as well.

The canned foods and basket weaving.  The baked goods and crochet.  The cross stitch and sewing.  Having been a winner in years past (I won a BLUE ribbon for my peanut brittle when I was 12 years old) I can appreciate how much talent, effort, work, trial and error went into all those entries.  Everyone should enter the Fair, once in their life.    No doubt about it, the act itself teaches respect.

popcorn bagHungry, again?  Why yes, yes, I am.  A freshly made bag of popcorn will hit the spot.  All that salt and “butter”.  The thin paper bag with red and white stripes decorating it.

Walking back to the car, hand in (salty, grease covered) hand with your boyfriend.

For one night, all is right with the world.

Uncategorized

soul food

I just finished reading, “The Apple Orchard” by Susan Wiggs.

It is the perfect end of summer read.  A book to read for the sake of relaxation.

I found myself picking it up so often, that 425 pages were eaten up in 3 or 4 days.  Wonderful entertainment to escape our daily, real life, sometimes with not so pleasant issues.

I recommended it to a friend.  She asked, via text,  “What’s this book about”?

I replied via text.  (I mention that because, it is supposed to be short, concise answers not an entire paragraph.)

Well written, fluff,  relaxing, family, sisters, running an orchard, food, mystery, a touch of romance, autumn, harvest………worth your spare time.

After finishing the book, a feeling of goodness has stayed with me.

One sentence, in particular has stayed with me.

The art of creating in the kitchen is good for the soul.

I fell head over heels in love with that sentence.  I know making Apple Kraut and allowing20150811_115644 it to mellow on the counter for five days, makes me smile and fills my soul with the goodness to come.

I adore making amazing food and sharing a sneak peek to Mr. Right.  In the hopes that his stomach will growl 20150812_174723and he will find his way home much quicker on that day.

I try and take mouth-watering pictures to pique his interest.

I constantly wish for a “Willy Wonka” type of cell phone.  One you can send smells and aromas via magical little particles.

I want to send him the amazing aroma of cipollino onions browning slow and low in a black iron skillet.  I want to send Mr. Right  the vibrant color of my Chihuly Salad along with the tang of lime in the air. 20150812_145520-1Here’s the thing, for the most part we take this stuff for granted.  Day in and Day out I cook.  We all cook.

I don’t want to be afraid of what people might say.  I really honestly don’t care that people talk about me like I am a housewife from the 50’s.  “nobody cooks from scratch anymore”.

I do.  I do it every single day.  My husband is worth the effort.  I am worth the effort.  Our dog is worth the effort.  It goes with out mentioning our children and grands are so worth the effort.

I adore my husband.  I am thrilled to come up with amazing food that he likes and enjoys.

Doing so, does indeed feed my soul.  Then in turn, his soul is fed by the food made by my hands.

Oh, and don’t forget, I find it a privilege to cook and bake for my friends.  It is my sincere pleasure to share with our friends.  Wait, don’t think I am like a 25-year-old, just learning to bake and wanting to make friends.  Giving away everything to anyone.  I like to trade like anyone else.

I adore baking rolls and sharing.  However, after several attempts or invitations for sharing a meal at our home, if it is not returned, I am okay with that.  I won’t push my cooking, baking, soul food onto others.

There is something of value about soul cooking. It nourishes the people that I adore and love.

Baking and cooking for our family is something I value.  I take great pride in the job I do.

No, it is not popular to say, I made this ravioli from scratch.

No, it is not popular to say, I made this apple crisp from scratch.

No, it is not popular to say, this soup, pie, bread, Almond Milk, salad, kraut, rice and beans………..are all from scratch.

While it IS popular to say, I bought it at a big box store.  So much easier and cheaper.  I am busy.  I don’t have time to cook or bake……………..

I don’t want to fit in.  I thought I did, once.

I am old enough now, not to believe that for one moment.

When I send a picture of falafel patties waiting to be gently cooked and edges made brown and crispy, the moment he gets home………..I know he will be eager to join me at the dinner table.

May the food on your table tonight feed your heart and soul.

cooking, sewing

nude food

20141117_202316I recently read a blog post from a gal who said:

My children’s school, like many others in Australia, has weekly “nude food” days when children are asked to bring lunch in reusable containers without any wrappers and packaging.

I love that they are teaching awareness, health, environment …… and on and on.

You just know my brain was swirling and twirling.   I read the article & promptly ordered my food grade/safe polyurethane laminate  from http://www.wazoodle.com

I must say, the order was placed and before I even once wished it was here, it was.  Super speedy service.  love that.

20141117_202329I ordered lime green.  They offer oodles of food safe colors.  It was $9.95 a yard.   I will use cotton fabrics for the outside of my nude food sandwich keepers and snack bags.   I made a small snack size bag, however, I am thinking a larger snack bag will be perfect for car trips.

Last night,  I found myself in the sewing room.  I wanted to try out the new fabric.  A bit different from what I am used to.  However, I got the hang of it pretty quick.  I LOVE that the plastic if food grade safe.  That is HUGE in my world.  Trying to rid our lives of plastic is quite tricky. Toxins are bad mojo and if I can figure out a way to be exposed to less and less, than my family wins.

I am so grateful to have learned about this safe product.

I used scraps of cotton fabric that I had.  However, You KNOW I am going to have to find some Frozen theme fabric to make sandwich holders for the grandgirlies.  Oh, and probably something a bit more manly for Mr. Right to take to work.

20141117_202338Here’s to our health and wellness.   Here’s to super easy peasy sewing projects that will make great gifts you feel good about tucking into a stocking (minus the sandwich, ew).

Please share what you have done today to make healthier choices.  I would love to  steel borrow your smarty pants ideas, thanks.

Enjoy your healthy lunch.

ps.  No sandwich was harmed during my picture-taking.  I just used two pieces of bread and put them back when I was done. ha

20141117_202409

food review, grateful, haPPY, thankful

last supper

No, not that last supper.   No, not the one in prison either.  I read on-line, the most requested last meal from death row inmates was a steak dinner.  Really?  Do we the tax payers foot the bill  if they choose Alaskan King Crab, Kobe Beef, Maine Lobster and Black Forrest Cake from Germany, to be flown in to say, Arkansas?  Do they get a menu to choose from?  Or is it really their choice on what they would like for the last supper? Sometimes, my brain swirls and twirls and I think of these things.   Would you have Pop Tarts, Funyuns &  Doritos?  That food is going to kill you anyway.

This will give you nightmares……..Timothy McVeigh chose 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.  Just yuck, the whole thing, the guy and the choice.  Gives me the creeps.

I read where Julia Child had requested, as her final meal,  French Onion soup.  She debated and thought about it quite a bit.  She decided that if made properly, the combination of deep layered broth, perfectly cooked onions, cheese and bread would be ideal as a last supper.  She was in her 90’s  and yes was served the meal before she passed on.  I would like to think she was happy with her choice.  Not too salty, bold with flavor, a touch of excellent cheese and the perfect chunk of artisan bread.

My last supper meal choice as been made.  (don’t you love it, when you figure out something and don’t have to worry about it every again?)   I am thinking I will be 92 or 93 and living in a fancy “hip” senior living resort.  I am saying resort, because I want to go swimming every single day.  I also would enjoy a lovely view when I have a daily Cappuccino.

Local Ocean signI have ordered this meal and enjoyed it five or six times, so I have really done my research.  Yes, that good.   Actually, we were there again a couple of days ago.  Birthday girls get to choose Birthday dinner!  We managed to get a table.  The view is breathtaking.  local ocean 4The service is both efficient and excellent.  The food is noteworthy.

And yet, it is a Fish Market.  Actually, when we thought about it…..three of our very favorite places to eat are first, Fish Markets and then they somehow have by necessity evolved into restaurants.  Apparently, we like our seafood fresh!

As we dined, we noticed a gal helping a man maneuver an empty 25 gallon container with a dollie through the back gate.  Less than 10 minutes later, they came back across the street.  The 25 gallon container was FILLED TO THE TOP with fresh caught Crab from one of the just docked boats.  He was pushing the dollie back through the gate to the restaurant kitchen.   It was a moment to remember.  We just sat and watched.  That is as FRESH as seafood gets.  We were so lucky to be dining there and to see that “behind the scenes magic” taking place. Local ocean crab cakes and frizzled onions

Local Oceans Seafoods & Bay Front Restaurant.

Located in Historic Newport, Oregon with view of the harbor and Yaquina Bay Bridge in the distance.

Roasted garlic soupRoasted Garlic & Dungeness Crab Soup  (creamy clam base, fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese)

Dungeness Crab Cakes  (they are light and the flavor melts in your mouth)

Fizzled Onions (crispy circles of goodness)

table

Do you have a last supper choice?  Have you researched it well?  Would you be so kind as to share?

cooking, empty nest, fresh, wellness

food fast

refrigerator 3I’m hungry.  Oh, every mother/wife/aunt/godfather/uncle/babysitter on earth has heard that once or twice.  I bet, most of you have actually seen someone in your family, stand with the refrigerator door open, their arm draped over, gazing into the big huge box.  What is there to eat?

It took some adjusting when the empty nest really was empty.  It was a trick to learn to cook for two normal eating adults, as opposed to two normal eating adults and two ravenous teenager boys.  One bowl of brown rice with veggies and cashews and almonds and pumpkin seeds could feed three to four average adults or ONE teenager.   Portion sizes needed to be adjusted.

I have a couple of friends who are cooking for one these days.  That is tricky, too.    Here’s the thing, no matter how many at your dinner table (YES, set the table, even for one. ) Make it an event, worthy of your time and your health and wellness.  We all are worthy of a meal made with pure goodness.   Even if you are too “busy”.  Oh, how I loath that word.  If you are too busy, adjust your schedule.  Let go of some things that are not worthy of your time. You are not too busy to plan a few days worth of meals.  Make extra, it will get eaten.

Even if you have all day long to cook, sometimes, well you just don’t feel like creating wonderful meals.  This is where FOOD FAST, comes into play.

I bet like me, you have gone into a wonderful deli or market that has a sparkling clean glass case full to overflowing with bowl after bowl of ready-made salads, marinated vegetables, grilled mushrooms and roasted garlic filling white presentation bowls.  Everything, I mean every single bowl has a garnish to make even the savviest caterer swoon.

That is the goal.  The moment you open that refrigerator door, the light magically goes on and there before you is an array of fresh, colorful jars filled with juice, green onions cleaned and standing tall and perky in glasses of purified water.  A ceramic pitcher of amber-colored sun tea, just waiting to be splashed into a glass.  Everything in there has purpose.  It is not out of date.  The lids are not crusted with one month old condiment drippings.  Everything is worthy of your choice.

I remember growing up, a friend said, you can tell how a person keeps house by the crumbs in her butter dish.    Today, I can tell you how a person values themselves and their loved ones by what is inside their refrigerator.

Right this moment, our refrigerator has a white ceramic bowl of hard-boiled (colorful, free range, organic FRESH eggs I gathered), a big bowl of Quinoa, a big bowl of Four Bean Salad, an enormous bowl of Pineapple Fried rice and enough cut up fresh pineapple to make anyone who sticks their head in there want to have a sample.   There is also a container of Miso soup ready to indulge.  By the time you read this, there will be another big huge bowl of FRESH cut up Watermelon, just perfect for snacking.  I spy with my little eye, a bowl of  Lentils  that were cooked with gobs and gobs of garlic and onions and carrots…. oh my.

refrigerator salad 2I have friends who have big jars of Kimchi fermenting and just waiting for someone to dish up a few spoonfuls.  I have friends who have in their refrigerator, right this moment,  tomato cucumber salad marinating in pure goodness.

Are we going hiking?  No.  Are we chopping wood?  No, We are living our normal life.  We all want the same thing.  Food.  Fast.  Sure, sometimes, we all like to cook a wonderful meal that takes effort and time and thought and planning.  However, there are those times in life, EVERYDAY, where you want to build a lunch for tomorrow or sit down and have a big bowl of already to go, bowl of Quinoa.  We are supposed to be eating 5-6 meals  (not snacks) daily.  We need to have some “timber” available and ready to go.

By making the choice to prepare ahead and fill the refrigerator for you and your family, you are screaming to the world you are WORTH IT.   Heck make a big bowl of something amazing and divide it in half.  Trade with a neighbor or friend.  Ta Da…….you instantly have another worthy, beautiful, luscious choice available.  Make next Friday the salad trading day?!!! (lets all make this Friday, clean out & gussy up our own refrigerator day.  Fill it up people!)

You ask about waste.  What if I make this huge bowl and some doesn’t get eaten.  I say, WAY cheaper than buying fast food take out and paying for it and the medical bills to follow.

pineapple fried riceMake the effort to clean out and “pretty up” the “deli” counter in your home.  Make those shelves sparkle.  Cut up some vegetables and fruit to have ready.  Garnish !  I tell you, garnish that Asian dish with some wooden chop sticks.  Make a beautiful “tree” out of  a green onion for a lunch.  Make an effort.  You will be so happy you did.  The moment you see your spouse or kiddos, reach for fresh made goodness, you will secretly smile.

That moment around 8:30 pm when you need a little something…………you walk over, open that magical door and have to decide which glorious bowl looks better.  You will thank yourself.  You are so worth it.

Having the refrigerator well stocked with food that is worthy of your health and wellness is just good housekeeping.  I am worth it.  Are you?  What do you have waiting, garnished and looking gorgeous ready to dig into?  Do you have a potato or cole slaw salad just waiting to dig into?  Do you have a beautiful quiche just waiting?

A couple days ago a blogger wrote the following statement.  I adore how she phrased my thoughts exactly.

Go out and nourish your body so you have the energy to create the beauty in the world that you are meant to do. 

What is in your refrigerator?