New Moon Eve on a Monday

In college, my one friend Kelly in particular and I would go early to secure the spot at the bar in front of the touchscreen game. It was a big black box that usually sat at the corner and for a couple of quarters, you could play a semi long game (depending on skill level) while sipping on a long island or gin and tonic.

Her game of choice was Photo Hunt and mine was Monster Madness. I would try Photo Hunt from time to time and it was fine, but the strategy of Monster Madness was where it was at for me. All that being said, I played my fair share of the former which compared two somewhat identical pictures and you had to find the differences: tapping the screen, circling out of place mis matches and then seeing if you got them all at the end.

I am currently sitting at our dining hall table and looking across the room at the moment….

On the piano are five clear plastic boxes with a name and marvel character on each one. A cajon is where the piano bench would be if we had one and there is a pickle jar lid on the floor to the right of the bottom of the right side of the piano: nearest to the leg that has a decent chunk chipped out of the wood. Next to the piano is a party cart where three board games, a dominos case and a bingo roller are stored at the bottom, bowls and wine bottles stored in the middle and where the coffee and tea kettle sit on top. On top of the piano? Glad you asked… the tea jar, whose lid is off, next to a honey pot that looks like a beehive, in front of the cubby where the Starbucks “Been There” mugs go, a basket of household reference books and cookbooks, a few wooden bowls and serving platters…

Above that… a portrait of the St Louis sky… a photo of a morning coffee mug… mounted silver tray… and hanging basket

To the farthest right… our family plates on top of the antique record player cabinet. And just tucked behind the plates – noticeable yet irrelevant – a whisk; the mothers day gift given to me from Ellen.

What I just described is not only my true front and center – the snap shot of my reality – but it is also the quintessential Photo Hunt photo with so many things that could be different, missing or shifted.

Today? A day to reallocate, sort and organize. Weekend cleaning and set up moved a lot around, indirectly effecting every room of the house to where all rooms are directly effected. Laundry piled in the kitchen, odds and ends for filing and tucking, clean laundry for closets and happy plants. The house is not messy. It is bustling.

The main thing I am thinking about is how to collectively pool all we have – all these wonderful good, nice things we have – to make the best place to work, the best place to sit, the best places to rest, the best places to play, the best places to eat. One of the tricks to big family / small house living is resisting the urge and shaping the expectations to give everybody their own everything. Consolidating and maximizing are big words for me and today is thimble and thumb stitch pulling so that tomorrow (which coincidentally is a new moon) can be focused on threading it all through and pulling it together.

It’s a big week for me creatively and I plan to make the most of it. The kids and the dogs are good. The house is good. The rain is fine and the grey is whatever but life is good. The naps are good. Yoga Nidra is good. The sound of running water is good.

With that, I suppose I do need to shift gears to moving around again. Putting some music on and getting an hour of work into the next go round before school pick up.

My husband is a “fly on the wall” lover of coding who is being used in some leadership roles as tech oversight. I am in the room next to him, a former analyst, and totally in love with my life co worker. <swoon>

Ok. Bye for now. :)

Send wine

Saturday Curried Rice @ A Cold, Gray Day of Spring Organizing

The cat just came and sat down next to me on a pile of jackets that are sorted into degrees of warmth / protection / heaviness. David and I just had lunch on the Adirondack chairs outside – him taking a break from organizing the trailer and shed, me taking a break from the hall closet / laundry room sorting going on (ya know – the kind of sorting that makes you decide where your vases are going to go).

I fixed us a little lunch of what we had in the fridge; playing with some of the Asian flavors I brought into the mix this week.

All in all, it was a lunch of yellow curry rice mixed into a hearty blend of bite-sized green beans, apple, onion, mushrooms and sautéed’ bok choy. I added the tiniest bit of broth after the veggies were cooked (done in oil, soy sauce and 1 tsp of red pepper flakes) and stirred in about a spoonful or two of coconut milk.

For the first time in my cooking (at least that I am making mental note of), I paid special attention to the color of the dish. My decision to mix the rice into the veggie mix was because of the fact the yellow curry was put into the water when I made the rice. So the rice was this vibrant yellow color and the veggie mix was a dull but happy brown.

Paying attention to color.

If that can matter in cooking, where else could that matter?

Deep thoughts for you. Here’s a picture of lunch. Back to my beach blankets, outing bags, and picnic / outdoor play equipment. Spring / Summer, I am ready for you. You inspire even my rice. :)

Saturday Curried Rice named not just for the day I made it but for the notion that it is made from what veggies you have left from the week before shopping day :)

Southerner Approved Red Beans and Rice Recipe

One of the articles I read about teens and chores and making sure you are turning out respectable human beings into the world mentioned having “your teen make dinner for the family”. This makes a lot of sense to me. It is helpful but also practical in that there is a high likelihood of willingness and them being able to cook for themselves.

Mulling this over, my marriage to a southern boy has inherently come with a wifely mandate of monthly red beans and rice. Red beans and rice legit never goes bad in this house. It is consumed and consumed again until it is gone and – who loves it the most? Aria.

So, Aria – our 14 year old, who is virtual on Wednesdays – agreed to learn how to make red beans and rice. And not just any red beans and rice. I am teaching Aria how to make the red beans and rice recipe we have been iterating on. (Yes, we have agile recipe development in this house.)

This is the current version I have captured for our household red beans and rice. Try it out :)

Oh – and here’s our playlist she made from our roadtrip this summer you are welcome to enjoy while you cook up some red beans! We did.

Prep

Chop 1 yellow onion, 1 green pepper, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 celery stalks and set aside in a bowl

Chop up a package of andouille sausage and set aside in a bowl

Get out Worcesterhire sauce, 2 quarts of broth, your spices and your mustard (we use spicy brown or stone ground)

  1. Heat 2 – 3 T olive oil on medium high in a pot
  2. Add chopped veggies to pot
  3. Stir chopped veggies up so they are covered in oil
  4. Add as least two shakes of liquid smoke to the veggies – more if you want it smokier. Stir it up.
  5. Lower heat to medium and cover while you do the next step
  6. Add 1 T Worcestershire sauce and 1 T fancy mustard to the sausage and loosely mix
  7. Add sausage mix from step 6 to translucent veggies and give it a good mix
  8. Add 3 T taco seasoning, 1 tsp celery salt, 1 tsp salt and give it another good mix
  9. With the base of veggies and sausage mix all working well together, add 4 cans of drained red beans
  10. Add 2 quarts of chicken or veggie stock
  11. Taste the broth and see if you want to add a little bit of sugar. Not proud of this move, but we like it with a twist of sweet
  12. Bring to a boil, pray over it ya know and then lower to simmer for 30 – 45 minutes

Make your rice to complete the dish. Enjoy. :)

I like a little bit of shredded cheese in mine :)