Month: October 2016

Entertaining the Kids: Pumpkin Fun!

It’s pumpkin time! Woohoo! I am not a pumpkin carver. Boo, hiss, say what you will. It is no secret that I’m not a craft lover. Thankfully I have creative people in my life who enhance the creativity in my children. For example my mother, who found this activity on Pinterest. Hurray for grandmas! As it is, I have young children not ready for carving themselves. So this is a perfect option, even for last minute too.

What you need:

plastic/cloth or newspaper

pumpkins

glue stick

crayons

hair dryer

Oh, and that secret ingredient: enthusiasm!

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Place the plastic or cloth on your workspace. This doesn’t have to be fancy. It could be a garbage bag on your kitchen table. Place the pumpkins in go position (on top of your prepared workspace). Tip: Use room temperature pumpkins

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Unwrap and break the crayons in half. My kids liked this part best.

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Use the glue stick around the top of the pumpkin stem to get a sticky surface for the crayons. Place the crayons around in your own artistic color pattern. And hey, if you want to use a pumpkin with a nicer fuller stem than ours, that’s your prerogative.

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When crayons are set, bust out that hairdryer and blow! This could get messy (hence the table cover).

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You’ll naturally find that you need to adjust the hairdryer angle to work the drips, mostly from directly above facing down. We also found that working one section at a time seemed easier than letting the wax harden again as you try to go around.

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Have fun! Then admire your work Picasso!

It’s Here! There’s Still Time to Win!

 

Contest is closed.

It’s here! Hurray! And I’m having a giveaway! I can hardly contain my excitement (enter excited emoji). You know what never mind, enter this:

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No wait! This:

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Don’t worry, that is not the copy I’m giving away.

You might be thinking “Sadie, you haven’t posted a picture of yourself in almost a year.” (I remember because I posted me in antlers for Noah’s birthday.) “What’s with the onslaught of selfies?”

I can’t answer that… I really don’t know what got into me. Just excited about this new arrival I guess. I’m feelin’ it!

I mean, if I would have thought it out, I would have moved that high chair… or done my makeup.

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I would also like to add that at the time of creating this post my babies have had on-going high fevers and I’ve hardly slept in 3 days. It could be clouding my judgment. But really this is about Cooking for Jeffrey, and if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, click here!

Contest is closed

Loving Lately Cookbook Giveaway!

Congratulations Gingy! You won a copy of Cooking For Jeffrey!

Contest is Closed

First, let me start by saying I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received from family and friends recently, specifically with my Facebook page. Thank you so much! For those of you new to Sadie’s Nest, every Thursday I share what I am “Loving Lately”. It could be anything; a drink, a restaurant, …a city! Of course, I am outrageously fond of cookbooks (addicted is such a strong word). I don’t know how many I have, and they keep making more! One of my all time favorite cookbook authors is Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa. She makes everything so approachable, and even more appealing is that the results are always tasty. I read a review on B&N.com that summed it up perfectly, “I have never made a Barefoot Contessa recipe that did not turn out as promised.” And on October 25, 2016 she released a new cookbook! So in honor of my appreciation for my supporters new and old, and my excitement about the new cookbook release: I’m giving away a copy of the hot off the presses, Cooking For Jeffrey, a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook!

Entry rules are easy! Answer this question: How do you prefer to look up recipes? The Internet? Classic print and paper? Do you wing it? Just leave a comment at the end of this post or on the Sadie’s Nest Facebook Page. Only one comment per person please. (Please note I will not be replying… to not mess up the count!)

One lucky winner will be announced on SadiesNest.com on Monday, October 31, 2016!

To participate: You must live in the U.S. or Canada, and must be able to provide a valid mailing address. All eligible entries will be accepted from the time of this post on October 27, 2016 until contest closes at noon (12:00 pm EST) on October 30, 2016. The prize is a copy of “Cooking For Jeffrey, a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten. It cannot be exchanged and has no monetary value. Winner must contact Sadie’s Nest within 72 hours to claim their prize or another entry will be drawn. Good Luck!

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Amazon.com. You may also purchase a copy by clicking here!

 

 

 

Unbirthday Buttermilk Waffles

We all know the Mad Hatter was onto something brilliant with the celebration of the “Unbirthday”. The whole concept is awesome! You only get to enjoy your birthday one day a year, but your unbirthday party can last all year long. That alone is worth celebrating! (Ok, I’ll stop.) The same idea goes for these waffles. They are definitely any day of the week buttermilk waffles… but whipped cream and sprinkles make anything special, am I right? (Caramel sauce doesn’t hurt either.) Of course, you can use any topping of your choice. It’s YOUR unbirthday after all. 😉

As organic as possible:

1 3/4 cup Flour

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking Powder

1 tsp baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Eggs, beaten

2 cups Buttermilk

1/2 cup Sunflower oil (or subtle oil of your choice)

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Caramel sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles (optional, along with any other toppings of your choice!)

Preheat your waffle maker. Lightly coat with non-stick spray. I use a Krups Waffle Maker, you can find it by clicking here.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a bowl and whisk together.

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Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla to dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. (Little lumps are okay!)

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Using a 1 cup measure, scoop the batter onto each waffle grid square.

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Close lid and don’t peak until indicator shows done! (Or according to manufacturer instructions.)

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Remove with tongs or fork.

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Repeat until batter is gone. Serve warm with your favorite toppings! Makes about 12 waffles.

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Happy Unbirthday! (Or birthday… if it just so happens to be!)

 

Unbirthday Buttermilk Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking Powder
  • 1 tsp baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower oil (or subtle oil of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Whipped cream and Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your waffle maker. Lightly coat with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt to a bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla to dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. (Little lumps are okay!)
  4. Using a 1 cup measure scoop the batter onto each waffle square grid.
  5. Close lid and don't peak until indicator shows done! (Or according to manufacturer instructions.)
  6. Remove with tongs or fork.
  7. Repeat until batter is gone. Makes about 12 waffles.
  8. Serve warm with your favorite toppings!
https://sadiesnest.com/unbirthday-buttermilk-waffles/

 

Wayfair, You’ve got just what I need!

You may have noticed a subtle hint in a recent post of mine, My Blogging Space. I participated in a challenge sent out from the media department at Wayfair.com, where they asked bloggers to share their own inspirational spaces. You know, a sneak peek into where all of the magic happens. 😉 If you read my post, you understand that I really don’t have one specific space where I let all of my creativity flow. I’m a like chameleon, I have to adapt to my environment. The situation works most of the time. What is not copacetic is my entertainment center. Ahem.

Current TV Stand

Current TV Stand

 

Aria Entertainment Center (same as featured image) image courtesy of Wayfair.com. I love how much storage this unit has!

Our current solution is a Pier 1 purchase that happened over a decade ago. Originally it housed our radio/CD player and speakers. It was perfect in the little space of our first home. It matched our hefty entertainment center, back when TVs were big and boxy, heavy and square (at least ours still was). Shortly after we moved into our new home we decided to join in with the Millennium and purchase one of those large HD movie style television sets. (Do they still call them that?) And I’ll tell you why, because all of the sudden we noticed the words on commercials were out of the picture, and even more upsetting (to my husband) was that he would actually miss the catch of a touchdown pass.

Flattop TV Stand by Loon Peak courtesy of Wayfair.com

Flattop TV Stand by Loon Peak courtesy of Wayfair.com. They suckered me in with that dish… always need room to store more dishes.

So there we were, forced to purchase a TV set conducive to the rules of new world media. In turn, our “entertainment center” was instantly obsolete. The new TV just wouldn’t fit! So, that fine piece of furniture became a storage piece for my large dinner platters and such. (Really not a disappointment, because they needed a place to go anyway.) And our little shelving unit for our radio became a stand upon which to set our new HDTV. For the record, I’d like to add that our old TV that I kept from college still works, and we’ve gone through 2 of those HDTV sets in less than 5 years. Just sayin’.

Old TV cabinet (repurposed as a dish cabinet, and possibly to be recycled into a wardrobe cabinet for my husband).

 

 

Brackenridge TV Stand by Alcott Hill courtesy of Wayfair.com. It’s basic and simple… it could do the job.

This is what I like about our unit, it shuts. I don’t want to look at all of those movie and video game boxes. We have cable TV, Apple TV, Netflix, and VidAngel via Amazon Fire TV. Yet we still manage to have 10,000 boxes. (Ok, I’m exaggerating. But that’s what it feels like.) I like to entertain, so shutting the door to the chaos and mess is key. I have four kids. Even if I organized those darn boxes on a biweekly basis, they are a disaster within minutes. Oh, a day in the life! As if seeing an orderly stack is an invitation to throw them on the floor. Next I yell, “Put them back!” Then they are thrown inside every which-way, followed by the door slamming shut and an avalanche left waiting to happen.

Saffron Apothecary TV Stand by Wildon Home courtesy of Wayfair.com. I like that this piece has character, I’m drawn to pieces that have something to say.

It is the slamming of the door, repeatedly, that has left it completely off of it’s hinges. Purely cosmetic. Beyond repair. Already been screwed back on several times. It’s just time for an upgrade. So, I got this idea: I’ll appeal to the the Wayfair powers that be! This could get interesting… I have found a few units of interest on Wayfair.com. Clearly I am drawn to the natural wood look, and units that have closing doors. I’d really be happy with any of them. Although, there is one I ❤️ more than the rest.

Aria Entertainment Center courtesy of Wayfair.com

Aria Entertainment Center courtesy of Wayfair.com. I love everything about this. It has style, it makes everything disappear. It’s perfect… It’s also the most expensive, naturally.

The Best Turkey Meat Loaf Ever

I can call it the best turkey meat loaf ever, well because it is; and because I didn’t come up with it. But even if I did, I’d have to call it the same thing, obviously. My goodness, I bet you never knew turkey meat loaf could taste this good. Unless you’ve had this recipe before, then you’re already aware. Thank you Gwyneth Paltrow for putting this recipe in your cookbook, It’s All Easy. Because of you another night of dinner (actually 4 and counting) is better. And I don’t take that kind of thing for granted.

Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy:

As organic as possible:

4 ounces Turkey bacon, roughly chopped

1 medium yellow Onion, roughly chopped

2 large Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp (rounded) dried Thyme

2 Tbsp Olive oil

1/2 cup rolled Oats

1/2 cup unsweetened almond Milk (goat milk is good too)

3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp plus 1/4 cup Ketchup

2 1/2 tsp Salt

1 Egg

Freshly cracked black Pepper

2 lbs ground Turkey

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Combine the turkey bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor.

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Process until minced but stop before the mixture becomes a paste.

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Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until slightly browned and fragrant. I really think this is where a lot of the flavor develops so do it well! Set aside to cool.

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While the bacon mixture cools, combine the oats, milk, Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp of the ketchup, the salt, egg, and pepper to taste.

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Mix that stuff together.

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Add the bacon mixture and the ground turkey and mix well with your hands. Get ’em in there! (But don’t over mix, that’s a meatloaf no-no, just until everything is incorporated.)

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Place the meat loaf on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. and shape into a “rounded rectangle” really to me it seems more like an elongated smushed oval. Maybe that is a rounded rectangle? The point is you don’t want thinned out ends, because you want it to bake evenly.

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Next spread the ketchup in an even layer all over the loaf with a brush or spatula or the back of the spoon. I know, I know, it looks like a bloody mess. It’s not!

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Bake for 45 mouth watering minutes.

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The Best Turkey Meatloaf Ever

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Turkey bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp (rounded) dried Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond Milk (goat milk is good too)
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • Freshly cracked black Pepper
  • 2 lbs ground Turkey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Combine the turkey bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Process until minced but stop before the mixture becomes a paste.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add bacon mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside.
  5. While the onion mixture cools, combine the oats, milk, Worcestershire, 2 tablespoons of the ketchup, the salt, egg, and pepper to taste and mix well with your hands.
  6. Add the sautéed onion mixture and the ground turkey and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.
  7. Place the meat loaf on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and shape it into a rounded rectangle.
  8. Paint the top with the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup and bake for 45 minutes.
https://sadiesnest.com/the-best-turkey-meat-loaf-ever/

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Lately 🚙🍎🍁

Loving Lately: Our Annual Fall Drive

It’s official, because now we’ve gone two years in a row. We turn off the DVD player, take away electronics, set the phones down and tell the kids to look out the window. We spend almost the whole day explaining that the journey is the destination. The venture promised to bring donuts and apple cider, which we probably shouldn’t have mentioned early on… because for the duration the question du jour was “How long ’til we’re at the donuts?”

The day was gray and blustery, a perfect environment to be warm inside the car. It set a dramatic tone for the drive, adding an extra element of excitement. (This is what I am.) Our first stop, before heading out, was lakeside. The waves were really crashing, and one can’t help but get caught up with enthusiasm.

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And I’ll tell you something else. I could never get tired at looking at the tall seaside grasses blowing in the wind. Any season. Monet had his lily pads. I should have a gallery dedicated to grasses.

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After a hearty breakfast we continued north, to try and catch more of the color change. We had no place we had to be, the world was our oyster. Since we weren’t getting off the beaten path, this translates into stopping at those scenic views advertised along the highway. I love those nostalgic bella vistas! (And the kids don’t have a choice.)

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We eventually did make it up through the Leelanau Peninsula, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world. And it was a lovely blend of still green trees with bursts of those that peaked early. It was really beautiful. To give you an idea, a friend of mine captured this shot at Thumb Lake, not too far away, last week with his drone.

Image courtesy of Alex Childress Photography

Being that we couldn’t hold the kids off any longer we did find a picturesque road side stand, Farmer White’s in Williamsburg.

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Farmer White’s served excellent fresh cider, which I confess I really enjoyed. But most importantly, they served donuts.

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It was a nice stop, and it hit the spot. However, we still had daylight and open road. We continued further north and met some of our friends from Petoskey at another roadside gem, Friske’s Orchards in Ellsworth, Michigan. The orchard was huge and offered a lot of entertainment for the kids; such as, tractor rides, a corn maze, tetherball, and a playground; which is awesome; because kids that sit in the car for hours have some energy to burn. A successful color tour if I do say so myself.

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Pantry Black Bean & Sausage Soup

Sometimes you have to rely on what you’ve got. It was one of those times, when this soup was born. Then my family asked for it again. And again. Et Voilà, a family recipe! All you need is a chilly evening, hungry people and a good loaf of crusty bread. There are few ingredients, so quality matters. (Get good Kielbasa! Use good stock!) Honestly, it’s almost embarrassingly easy, but if my family loves it this much, well then:

As organic as possible:

2 1/2 cups Chicken stock

2 Kielbasa sausages, about 12 oz each

4 – 15 oz. cans Black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp dried Onion

1/2 tsp granulated Garlic

1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp dried Thyme

1 Bay Leaf

Rinse and drain your beans. Set aside.

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Cut the Kielbasa into bite sized pieces.

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Add the stock, spices, dried herbs, beans and Kielbasa to a pot. Stir.

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Simmer for about 25 minutes, until the flavors are married. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or pepper as you’d prefer. Serve with crusty bread.

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Enjoy this happy face.

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Pantry Black Bean & Sausage Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken stock
  • 2 Kielbasa sausages, about 12 oz each
  • 4 - 15 oz. cans Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp dried Onion
  • 1/2 tsp granulated Garlic
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the black beans. Set aside.
  2. Cut the Kielbasa into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the stock, beans, Kielbasa, spices and herbs to a pot.
  4. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with crusty bread.
https://sadiesnest.com/pantry-black-bean-sausage-soup/

My Blogging Space

Last week, I was contacted by an associate at Wayfair.com to participate in a blogger challenge to share our home offices, or inspirational spaces if you will. Immediately I was on board. For one thing, I’ve been wanting to share a little more about myself lately, and this seemed like the perfect outlet. For another, the whole idea of it amused me. For those of you that know me at all, you know that I am a stay-at-home mother of four children ages 10 and under. The idea of a private work space sounds like something out of a movie- unfathomable almost; as illusive as my Paris kitchen, not the cookbook though- I’ve got that.

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I have this professional idea of self. This fantasy, where I am diligent with writing, editing, photographing, projecting deadlines, making layouts. I’ve had discussions with my support team (aka my husband) about setting aside a certain amount of evening hours dedicated to my job (aka blog hobby). In reality, I grasp at as many free minutes that I can quilt together to make a post. However, in true to life representation, my home office is wherever I can get it. Thank goodness for wifi and my MacBook Air… and my Nespresso machine because at any hour I can get a good cup of coffee quickly. It helps with my research… and by research I mean catching up with my fellow bloggers, scouring Pinterest and reading cookbooks- usually done in our study.

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My dining room table is most often the space I use. Followed by the kitchen table, especially while assisting the kids with homework. Of course I watch cooking shows in the family room. I can say with some conviction that I really don’t blog while I’m outdoors. Sometimes I wish I had a small desk in my bedroom, which at times feels like my only oasis (until bed time when the kids try to pile in)… but I’d have to move out that all but forgotten treadmill.

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Would you like to know something? Just one month ago there was a sitting room where I have the dining table. And the dining room was where the study is, because it’s a bigger and I love the idea of our extended families having plenty of room to gather around the table. Then I was having a party and I hated the idea of putting my cheese platter in the bat cave with basically no natural light. So in one day I moved everything, every couch, hutch and table by myself. My grandparents lived in this home before we bought it. And I moved it all back the way they had it. Except, they kept their TV where we have the study, and I moved it to the great room… so we would have more room for our family to spread out. But I’ve never been able to configure this room to satisfaction. I traded the couches between the two rooms, and I think it’s a step in the right direction. I really need a new entertainment center (Wayfair are you listening?). I probably won’t be happy until it’s exactly the same as the way it was.

What is that on the cooking channel? I think it’s ice cream in a blender.

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We actually do have a home office, complete with an autographed photo of Mohammad Ali. My husband uses it when he works from home. It’s full of papers that need to be shredded, statements needing to be filed, artwork I need to return to my parents, random items that need to be taken to Goodwill… And the kids school work. What am I supposed to do with all of the graded assignments and art projects? It’s overwhelming! I’m not crafty. I’m not a scrapbooker. But I don’t want to be that mom who has no souvenirs to show their adult children from their childhood. So, I put it in bags! Don’t judge me. I loathe this dilemma, almost as much as the laundry.

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I do like the amount of natural light.

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Just know that I am uncomfortable showing our catch-all. In general, I really try not to embarrass myself.

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And yet, at the moment, I’d rather expose myself than organize this office.

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Which would be destroyed in two minutes anyway.

Thank you Wayfair.com for inviting me to join in this blogging challenge. It was fun!

 

Loving Lately 🧀

Loving Lately: Cheese

Truth be known, I never fall out of love with cheese. Confession: I am a cheese lover; creamy, sharp, firm, sweet, musky… rank, stank, or dank. I’m like part mouse. So I kind of lose my mind in front of a good cheese section at a market. Honestly, I could spend all of our monthly reserves (and then some). And the practical part of me is like, it’s just cheese… wouldn’t you rather save that money for something else? Vacation? Pedicure? Getting your roots touched up? And the answer is no. Because I love cheese. And I never feel guilty about buying food. True story. Because feeding my family is completely justifiable. I wish you could have seen all of the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan that was in our baked ziti last night.

So, on our monthly pilgrimage to Trader Joes (because it is about an hour away) I admittedly got carried away. I allow myself to let loose because anything with the “Trader Joe” label (or Trader José or Trader Ming) gives effort to uphold the following standards: NO artificial flavors, NO artificial preservatives, YES colors derived only from naturally available products, NO MSG, NO genetically modified ingredients, NO partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans-fats), etc. Those kind of things matter to me. (For a full discloser of the Trader Joe policy click here.)

According to cheese.com, cheese was born around 4000 years ago when people started to process the milk of their animals. It is a food made mostly from the milk of cows but also other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. I’ll tell you, it was a stroke of genius. Wikipedia says, “Cheese is a food derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein… usually acidified…” Yadi yadi yada… It’s delicious. There are around 500 different varieties recognised by the International Dairy Federation, but nearly 1,000 identified through other standards, ranging by starters and moisture contents, etc.

Buenalba? What is that? Do I like it? Probably- because it’s cheese. There’s only one way to find out. Emmentaler and Gruyère? I love my Swiss cheeses… Fondue anyone? It is perfect for these chilly evenings! Comté and Brie? A nod to my French heritage. I could finish off that roll of Chevre by myself… with ease… and delight. English Stilton? It’s pear season for crying out loud! It’s always time for Greek Feta. I bought some great American cheddar. And just like that, I’ve been to Europe and back- via cheese. I’m in love. And it never gets old, maybe aged. That’s a cheesy joke.