The Pantry

It seems I may have mastered the art of making of a list, but completing a list…well, that’s a whole different skill set. Here I am at Summer’s end, already preparing for a new school year to begin. I had grand plans for my Summer To-Do’s, but looking back I can’t say I accomplished much on my list. I did manage to take a vacation. It was wonderful, luxurious and actually felt like a genuine vacation. When I stop to think about it, I guess that’s actually a rather significant accomplishment in itself. However, after a week of indulging and imbibing with complete and total abandon of our healthy eating habits, it became clear that a certain household project was in dire need of completion. Health and wellness are important priorities in this household and you are probably aware of my special affection for food, but with my healthy ways in disarray I was feeling a slight disconnection. So, I decided it was time to stock up, make space and seek a little solace in The Pantry.

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In the Meantime

It’s that time of year again. The time I pine for that precious little reprieve known as Spring Break. For a teacher, Spring Break is a most blessed and sacred time in our yearly cycle. However, the meantime, that eternal stretch of time between the here and there, can be a little difficult to endure. This is hardly a new story and I know it’s been told before, but here I am stuck in the meantime, seeking a little solace in the kitchen again.

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Weekend Vibes

We are finally beginning to feel the subtle seasonal shift around here, as summer ever so slowly gives way to fall. That teasing temperature is finally beginning to cool a bit, the autumn winds are blowing and the daylight hours are quickly growing shorter. For the first time, in what seems like forever, the very thought of a hot cup tea or a steaming bowl of stew doesn’t send me instantly into a sweat. At last, the pumpkin and the autumn spice seem nice and seasonally appropriate to use in a culinary exploration. However, with my extra hour of sunlight and an extra hour of sleep, I’m in a sunny sort of mood this morning and craving something sweet. So, I think I will forgo the earthy flavors of fall and revisit the sweetness of the summer fruits with some fancy pancakes for breakfast.

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Focus

I must admit, the past two months have been a little rough for me. Getting to the end of this school year was tough, but I made it. School is finally out and I find myself officially unemployed for the next eight weeks. With this abundance of time laid out before me, my mind begins the arduous task of sorting through the myriad of possibilities…How shall I spend this precious allowance of time? What to do, where to go, who to see? And so the making of the lists begins. There are the To-Do’s, the Should-Do’s, the Could-Do’s, the Would-Like-To’s, the Need-To’s, the Must-Do’s, the Absolutely-Have-To’s and, of course, the I-Would-Really-Love-To’s. There is something about the making of a list that lures you into a false sense of control, fools you into believing you are organized and misleads the mind into thinking you are on top of things. Unfortunately, the reality for me is a cloudy mess of confusion. I seem to be suffering from some sort of attention deficit issue lately and I am experiencing some difficulty in focusing my priorities. Focus…I bet there’s a tonic for that. Some sort of elixir, a natural remedy to cure this particular malady? Naturally, I chose to begin my tackling of the To-Do’s in the kitchen. Lesson #1: When you find yourself in such an unfocused state of mind, it is best to stay out of the kitchen.

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Cultured

Over the past year or so, my husband and I have been exploring this little realm in Foodie Land known as fermenting. Now, through many phases in history, all over the world, people have been fermenting their foods for a very long time. I, on the other hand, am just now discovering this beneficial bacteria-producing way of preserving vegetables and I am quite enjoying it. There is still much to learn, but adding this natural probiotic into my repertoire of plant-based know-how somehow makes me feel somewhat cultured in my culinary pursuits.

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In the Kitchen

Yesterday was another gray and dreary Saturday. My husband had to work all weekend, so we had no outdoor play time on the agenda. With a million-and-one things to be done, I figured it would be a good opportunity to attend to some of those to-do’s still stubbornly lingering on my list. I really needed to tend to the veggies…those sadly neglected winter roots and greens cluttering up the countertop and causing chaos in the fridge. I got up early to keep the hubby company as he prepared for his workday Saturday and I was feeling a little badly about his working weekend predicament. We do look forward to our weekend wandering and it’s always a little disappointing when grown-up responsibilities interfere with outdoor adventure opportunities. But then again, he didn’t seem to mind, there was much to be done and I always find some sort of adventure in the kitchen.

vegetables

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Moving Day

Hey, there. I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the new address. Seek a Little Solace has found a new place in cyberspace and we’re finally settling in. Welcome to our new digs! There are still a few kinks to work out, some broken links and funky formatting, but I think it’s coming along nicely and presentable enough for guests. Won’t you come in and join me for a little housewarming? Perhaps a cup of tea and a little something sweet to celebrate the occasion.

chai-tea-latte

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Traditions

The importance of holiday traditions is very apparent in my profession. As a kindergarten teacher, I spend my days surrounded by that particular joy and magic that only occurs in childhood. For the wee ones, whose little minds have yet to grasp the concept of time, the progression of a year is gauged by the succession of holiday traditions. Turning a page of the calendar does not signify the beginning of another month, a seasonal transition or another phase of this year’s journey around the sun. Turning a page of the calendar means it’s time to move on to the next phase of festivities. These days, it seems the first of December marks the beginning of Christmas, a month-long holiday that has less to do with the winter solstice or the birth of Christ and more to do with candy, crafts and extravagance. As I grow older (a little less young, I mean to say), I find the spirit of the season waning as, one-by-one, I discard my own favorite holiday tasks and traditions all in the name of “simplifying”. What is a tradition anyway? This thing you do to mark an occasion, this custom passed down through generations, this habitual ritual in which you engage simply because your calendar page proclaims the time has come…and so it must be done?

Traditions

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Welcome Autumn

Hello November. And welcome Autumn! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your return. I hope you can settle in and stay awhile, for I do so enjoy your company. I adore your seasonal sensations above all others, you know. Your cool, crisp air kissing my cheeks, the golden glow of your color palette, those wonderful spices of yours that tickle my tastebuds and the warmth of your cozy embrace. Oh, do stay…please? And join me for a cup of tea? 

Chai-Spiced Turmeric Milk

 

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