Gratitude Journals

I shared a few years ago that I sometimes struggle with gratefulness. I sometimes choose to look at what I don’t have or can’t do, rather than at the hundred other blessings that are right in front of me.

It’s definitely not a new idea that gratefulness takes practice, and that noticing good things in your life leads to greater peace and joy.

So this year, I am writing a gratefulness journal. And I think you should join me! #gratefulNovember

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Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

If you’ve been hanging out here for a while, then you already know how dearly I love Sarah of Well Dined.

She is one of my favorite people on the planet! Sarah has been unspeakably kind and generous to me in the seven years (!) we’ve known each other. She is thoughtful, thought-provoking, and hilarious. She is bold—and I don’t just mean her hair—and she pursues life fully. I am grateful to Sarah for stretching me as a cook, for her encouragement and patience through all of my motherhood woes, and for being the best friend a girl could ask for.

Which is why I am so excited to be cooking from Well Dined for the September Secret Recipe Club challenge!

Months ago, when Sarah joined the SRC, I mentally earmarked this spinach and gruyère strata to make whenever I got assigned to cook from her blog. But…surprise! During one of our subsequent lunches, she mentioned this amazing caramelized French toast she makes, and I knew my life would not be complete without it, so I decided to make that instead. And then, when the assignment actually happened, I got so excited about making some kind of ravioli, which Sarah makes all the time—and we talk about endlessly—that I threw out all my breakfast plans entirely. This somehow turned into the joy of hiding vegetables inside of pasta sauce.

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Beet Hummus

Beet Hummus

Last week, I made these amazing beet burgers. Beets are lovely, aren’t they? I think beets are the most beautiful color in the whole world. But…I have to admit that I really hate to eat them plain. I’ve tried them in salads with goat cheese and soaked in butter and horseradish sauce. But my favorite beets are definitely those diced small and mixed well with other flavors.

As I was contemplating what to do with the lonely, leftover beet in my crisper, I suddenly remembered a batch of beet hummus Dave’s aunt had made at Christmas, and I immediately got excited.

This hummus is a little earthy and a little tangy, and full of gorgeous pink. Eat it with a huge handful of bright, raw vegetables and you will feel like you are on cloud nine.

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A Little Bit of Everything Smoked Salmon Toasts

A Little Bit of Everything Smoked Salmon Toasts

This week, Sarah and I were feeling super laid back. We started our lunch planning at noon on the day of. (Just for context, we typically start cooking around 11.)

Our conversation went something like this:

Sarah: I just woke up. (cut to me, crumbling inside with jealousy)
Me: I have a headache. Let’s make something easy.
Sarah: …pbj?
Me: Same page.

Yet somehow, an hour later, we found ourselves poaching eggs and rubbing sourdough slices with garlic.

Food bloggers be crazy.

This was the most delicious impromptu meal I can think of. We cobbled together ingredients (mostly) from our combined fridges and gardens, and I humbly submit that these open face sandwiches are magic.

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Gruyère and Asparagus Tart

Gruyere and Asparagus Tart

Gruyère cheese has a special place in my heart.

When Dave and I were on our honeymoon, we visited the town of Gruyères. We toured the cheese factory (!) and ate a very winey pot of fondue. Simple and delicious. We went to the castle and admired all of the artwork and the gardens and the ancient armor. And then we wandered down the cobbled streets and decided we needed even more fondue.

Let’s pause to acknowledge the fact that I speak German pretty fluently and French…barely at all. And Gruyères is definitely part of French-speaking Switzerland. Where no one speaks German and very few people speak English.

So. Dave and I found a place to eat, and we were so excited for our dinner! We ordered this interesting-sounding fondue called raclette. 

Haha. Guess what? Racler means “to scrape” in French. And raclette turned out to be a block of cheese under a heat lamp, which we scraped off as it melted and spread it on potatoes. (Dave wishes me to inform you that it was a whole bucket full of new potatoes. A bucketful.) After we conferred very awkwardly with our waitress (language barriers are real!), we laughed it off and ate the simplest meal in the history of our relationship together. Not exactly fondue, but definitely an amusing (and, um, expensive) story!

But my take-away? Gruyères is a simple place for real people. Makes sense that the most amazing cheese in the world is best served simply! Like in this easy and delicious Spring tart.

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Yeasted Waffles

Yeasted Waffles

So it’s Spring, which is a beautiful thing.

Except that my children have been rising with the sun. The very early sun.

Before we go any further, I must come out as strongly against The Morning. Specifically, all of the hours before 8:00 am. I cannot get behind anything that causes me to get up during the 6:00 hour. Especially when that thing is hollering my name repeatedly.

I know all you more seasoned mothers are laughing at me. And the rest of you non-morning people might be sympathetic, or you might be laughing also, maybe a little maliciously, because I was lucky enough to be sleeping in until Spring struck this year, and now you want to welcome me greedily into this evil morning club and say it serves me right and this is only fair.

But whatever. We need a morning solution. We need something (besides children) to wake up for. And that thing is yeasted waffles.

We need these beautiful waffles because they are just waiting to be cooked when we stumble into the kitchen and blearily splash coffee into the enormous waiting mug. We need things that cook themselves with little oversight while we adjust to the daylight.

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Broccolini Melts

Broccolini Melts

Have I mentioned my obsession with open-face sandwiches?

This broccolini melt is so amazing on so many levels. Not only is it full of bright green goodness, for which your body thanks you, but it is savory and cheesy and garlicky and a little lemony…in short, it is delicious. All delis should throw out their tuna melts and serve this instead.

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