Cookbook Review: Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker

One of my resolutions for 2019 is to cook more, both with my family and on my own trying new recipes. Two days into the new year, I thought, “I already go to the library weekly and usually pick up at least one cookbook. Maybe I can review a book every couple of weeks and enjoy the triple benefit of keeping my resolution, spending more time writing, and using social media in a more productive way.” I have to commend past-me for having such an industrious outlook. Past-me decided that five recipes would be enough to get an idea of one cookbook’s merit, and that the copy of Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker I already had on loan would be a fine place to start.

Oh boy, was I wrong. Continue reading

Goodbye, Tomato Time

For the first time in my adult memory, I am happy to report that I am bidding tomato season farewell with a smile on my face.

I have not developed an aversion to tomatoes; on the contrary, I’m a big fan of their versatility and their fresh way of signaling the heart of the summer season. But 2018 marked a departure in my perspective on tomatoes: I enjoyed my tomatoes a hell of a lot more this year than I did in years past because I didn’t spend half of August and September longing for my favorite CSA crop, sweet potatoes. (If you’re curious about what makes second place, it’d be a tie between beets and butternut squash, both of which show up around the same time.) I’m certainly glad they’ve finally arrived, and hope very much to post a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with sage and brown butter soon, but I didn’t let any tomatoes go to waste in the back of the fridge this year while dreaming up autumnal dinners. Continue reading

Relaxing Rituals: Candlelight Meditation

I can’t believe it’s already March! Where did the first two and a half months of the year go? I noted last month that a big part of my life lately has consisted of studying and taking certification exams. I’m sad to say I’m still stuck in the worst of it with a big exam coming up in just a few days. Luckily I’ll have a brief respite from testing after this one, but the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t make it any less painful of a slog! To be honest, I’m certain I’ve only survived the grueling cycle of work, housework and studying for this long with the support of my husband (he is a saint!) and because of the habits I’d been working to build up over the last couple years. If I were to pin my sanity on just one factor, though, I would say I owe a lot of the credit to meditation.

Please don’t imagine, though, that I spend an hour each day, eyes closed and legs akimbo, in peaceful contemplation. My days are as full as anyone else’s, so I don’t think an hour a day will ever be realistic, but 5-10 minutes? Too easy! And five minutes is about all it takes for me to really get focused in the morning or get my head straight to settle down in the afternoon. Continue reading

It’s So Easy Being Green (with Bamboo and Pyrex)

It was my sincere hope to kick off 2017 with weekly blogging, but life just has to get in the way of our favorite hobbies, doesn’t it? January went by in a blur of working, working out, and so much studying for my Network+ certification exam. (Side note: if you find yourself studying for the same certification, Professormesser.com is the best study tool for it!) Unfortunately I still have a very long studying marathon ahead of me, but I hope writing here can still be a relaxing break for creativity when I can’t force myself to look at my books anymore. Continue reading

Life is Garbage: A Reflection on New Year Resolutions

I try to keep things relatively positive when I put things on the internet. This is in part because my life is pretty good by all accounts and doesn’t warrant too much complaining, but also because there is already enough negativity in cyberspace as it is. It occurred to me recently, though, that this isn’t just true of the internet, but increasingly of life in general, especially here in America. Our lives are full of garbage. Actually, I might even go so far as to say that life is garbage. Continue reading

Latte Love: Easy Matcha Latte

Some time ago I wrote about the mind-calming, mood-lifting power of carving out time for a morning latte. While escape from our daily woes might come more easily for you in the form of time stolen for a walk, a workout, some knitting, or a bit of dancing, a morning latte is still what does the trick for me. Since turning the clocks back, though, I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping 8-9 hours a night. This change has unfortunately transformed my typically calming coffee-based latte into a very jittery way to start the day. Luckily for me, a good friend of mine introduced me to a very delicious alternative many years ago: the matcha latte.

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The Little Things

What makes life feel luxurious? I’ve been mulling this over lately and trying to distill some formula for elevating the mundane into the marvelous.

I traveled for work recently and had the good fortune to have a beautiful room all to myself for a couple days. Despite its simplicity–the room only housed a bed, a desk, two nightstands, a television, and a couple chairs on either side of a small table–everything in the room was well-appointed. Each morning I found myself wishing I could linger a few hours longer in the plush, cozy bed, wrapped in a cocoon of soft linens and fluffy pillows. Evenings found me reading in one of the chairs, completely relaxed in its not-too-firm-but-not-too-soft goldilocks comfort. The contentment I felt in that room is a rare feeling for me outside of my own home, but I can’t say that I was surprised. The hotel got right what so many others get wrong: the details, all the little things that elevate the quality of an experience. Continue reading