Around here lately, while Tim has been replacing stair treads, putting up walls, painting the basement, swapping out bedroom doors and otherwise working on this house we're hoping to finish, I've been in charge of keeping us both fed. This…
Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving,
I told Tim the other day,
the best things in life
really are free.
Like sunlight in the morning:
And sunsets at night:
Parks filled with trees:
Views like these:
A day at the lake:
And the man that I love:
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this. Because, as much as I talk about simplicity here, the truth is: I am easily swept away into opinions and concerns that are anything but.
That’s why I’m starting a new series here at the blog (in life?) focused on simplicity—starting with a recipe that’s so easy, it’s honestly ridiculous. Those of you who wanted more Vitamix recipes, here you go! Those of you who don’t have a Vitamix, a regular blender still works.
Behold: time-tested, always delicious, peanut butter chocolate milk.
Listen, it’s not like I never do adventurous things. I mean, you know: I ride roller coasters. I cut 11 inches off my hair. I launch out into self-employment. And hello, there was that mountain in Maine I won’t let anyone forget about. Remember?!
But when it comes to my kitchen and new types of cuisine, even I will admit that I stick pretty close to the basics: American, Italian, sometimes Greek, but pretty rarely anything outside that. And if it weren’t for my friend Stacey, who came over Tuesday night to, at her suggestion, try making Thai food, that would all be exactly the same.
Our plan of attack was simple: pick two recipes, adapt the ingredients to be fully natural, follow the instructions and cook.
I’ve been having a lot of bad luck in the kitchen lately.
I mean, not that anyone’s keeping track, but, in the last few weeks, the handful of times I’ve found to try a new recipe or carve out an hour to cook, the results were unimpressive (OK, with at least one exception). I made a squash and apple soup that had little flavor. I pureed pumpkin from a little $1.50 pie pumpkin at Meijer, and the three loaves of bread I made with it were barely edible—the one with pecans on top was the best, but even it found an eventual demise in the trash can. My version of candied sweet potatoes wasn’t awful, but that’s really the best endorsement of it I can give and, since when did making something not awful inspire anyone toward the stove?
I decided, sometime this past weekend, that there were a few different conclusions I could draw from this: 1) I’ve been picking bad recipes (over and over again); 2) I’ve been eating so well everywhere else that my standards have risen and maybe these OK things are what I would have once thought good? or 3), most troubling, I cannot cook.
Now, if the problem lies in either the first or second reasons, I can wait this out. But if it’s the third? What do I do—give up? It was starting to feel hypocritical even posting here—who am I to be telling you about recipes to try? I should be begging you for help.
But then I saw some peanut butter sandwich cookies and was inspired to give this kitchen thing one last chance. I can’t say if it’s because I was hungry when I saw them or because they are cookies, the first type of recipe I ever made and the kind that has yet to fail me, but I lost sight of every culinary disappointment and knew only one thing: I was making these cookies, and I was making them that night.
Autumn is the kind of season that needs to be savored. I feel like I should apologize to anyone who doesn't live somewhere with a pronounced seasonal change, who doesn't get to watch the greens turn to yellows and crimsons,…