It’s the middle of February. Classically a time of year when folks lose interest in all their healthy intentions. How are you doing with your healthy goals?
One of my ongoing goals is to eat greens in as many meals as possible. To be totally honest, I have realized that this usually means spinach, which is maybe a bit lopsided (or, maybe I am treating my mild anemia naturally with food!) when there are so many delicious kinds of greens in the world. But! I still think it’s a win when I find ways to eat something dark green at every meal of the day—including breakfast.
I’m going to say what maybe some of you have also thought: Christmas has been making me a little nervous since last January. Christmas is a season of joy and light and life! And cookies. And parties. And desserts. And indulgence with family and friends.
Friends, it’s time for some bitter truth about Thanksgiving. Hang on to your tri-corner hats.
Thanksgiving is next week.
It’s next week!
How did that happen?
My feelings about Thanksgiving have changed pretty significantly since I was a kid.
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
Several months ago, I watched the movie Mr. Holmes. I admit, although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books have so far aggravated me, I love film representations of the infamous Sherlock.
A rather nondescript moment in this movie introduced a tradition into our family, an activity which we love and which helps us pass the time in all kinds of settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.