One of the things I love about cooking and writing is there is always, always more to learn, and new ways to be inspired.
We just took a trip to visit my husband’s college friends on Cape Cod, Matt and Heather, and they are super smart scientists who used to live in Oregon. They love good food and they are wonderfully healthy, very inspirational. Case in point: I turned around to see Matt straining what looked like cheese or yogurt from one jar to another. “Are you making your own mozzarella?” I asked (a dream of mine to try one day for the record). “Kefir,” replied Matt. He was making his own kefir.
That is a first for me, but if you are reading this and have made some yourself, complete with your own colony of bacteria in a little cartalidge-y ball that you talk about like they are house guests, color me impressed. And when Heather was laying on the hammock one morning I thanked her for the amazing breakfast of whole grain waffles and mangos, and she said “Oh, you’re welcome. I was actually just lying here thinking about dinner.” Girl after my own heart. Love those kinds of people.
Maybe it was vacation, maybe it was the people we were visiting, or maybe it was just summer itself, but I left feeling very inspired. Here is a short list of what is making me so happy right now:
1. Time With Family – I know it is cheesy, but nothing fills you up like each other. We had an overnight in Boston before we left for the Cape, and since that is where my husband and I worked and met and dated and fell in love, it was surprisingly moving and connected us to our old selves, so nice after baby. We took the kids to the Children’s Museum and Fanueil Hall, and showed them where we worked, then to the Aquarium. Going to try to drink in my kids, at these ages, and my husband, who gets to slow down a bit in the summer.
2. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist – I have been reading this author’s blog and this book while I feed the baby. It is about how food connects us in a deep way, not only because it nourishes us but the act of sharing it creates some of our most intimate and sacred times with the people we love. I love thinking about it in this way, it puts words to my impulses about food and family, and I understand more why feeding the people I love calls me and others so much. She also wrote Bittersweet, about enjoying the pain in life along with the good, and Cold Tangerines, about celebrating life. Her blog is filled with so many great book recommendations too, my Amazon shopping cart grows each time I sit down to feed the baby. But I am so happy I have so much good reading for this summer, and will fill you in on what is great!
3. First Summer Tomato from our garden –
I am so grateful to my father in law, who has planted us a garden for the last few years. Such an amazing gift from such a wise and stoic guy. He knows what it means to us and doesn’t do it for the thank yous but for how it will literally nourish our family, physically and spiritually. And with pregnancies and babies it wouldn’t have happened on my own. He is my model for selfless giving. I ate it with a big bowl of quina, chicken sausages, fresh corn and smoked gouda:
4. This pizza: It is from Stone L’Oven in East Falmouth, MA. It is (are you ready), sweet potato, spinach, goat cheese and balsamic pizza. I die. Cannot wait to recreate at home and hope you do the same. They diced the sweet potatoes really small.
5. The Farmer’s Market – Along with the other 300 million people in the US, I love my town’s farmer’s market. I don’t take any claim for originality for this topic, but my little town just started one. It was hard getting to the one in the town next to us, so it is the first time I have been in a while and I went with the kids and it felt super special. They had maple soft serve ice cream, chocolate samples, and a guy in the gazebo playing Paul Simon. Love it all. I picked up some wonderful margarita flat bread pizzas to take to book club, and some yummy breads. I did not, however, buy any greens. Don’t we always leave with wine and cheese and chocolate when we intend to get vegetables? Next time I will, I promise.
6. Instagram – I know, I am WAY behind on this one. I finally set up my account and it has been crazy fun capturing moments from our trip.
7. My Book Club – we just had our annual meeting on the beach with a bonfire, really heavenly. It was also the first time I have been back since I had the baby. The combination felt really special as did the warmth of all those lovely ladies, asking to see pictures of Andrew and just laughing a ton. Maybe it was the beach or my lack of adult interaction, but it filled me up in a big way. We also make a ton of food at these, and I left with two take away must-make dishes:
***Bacon Tomato Dip: Stir together cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, tomatoes and onion or scallions. Serve with grilled or toasted buttered bread. Really really good, thanks Martha!
***Campfire Cones: Take waffle cones, fill them with mini marshmellows, and mini chocolates like rolos and peanut butter cups, wrap it all in tin foil and stick in/near the logs of a camp fire. Be careful to wrap tightly so cone doesn’t burn. Then take out and all the gooey chocolate mess is SO good.
8. Andrew – this is such a fleeting, special time when you have a young baby. I can’t even believe how happy this little man makes me. His smiles and his coos and his great personality make me excited even for night time feedings. And he always goes right back to sleep.
What is inspiring you this summer? I would love to hear it!!