State of the Onion

Mr. Speaker of the Sprout, Mr. Diced President, members of Watercress, distinguished zests, and fellow Asparagus:

Lettuce reflect on the past year. On the past 52 leeks. We’ve been peeled down to our inner layers, put on the chopping block, and pushed to the boiling point. But we must not lose hope! We must bloom where we are planted – and hope for good jobs with a higher celery.

Together, we can make grape things happen. But if it is to be, it is up to pea. Remember, tomato is the first day of the rest of your life. People say I don’t carrot. But of course I do! I am not just in charge of this country produce stand. I am this country produce stand. And what came first? The chicken or the eggplant?

It begins with our youth. But, kids these days. They think they’re so radicchio. I have a message for the young ones: If you want to ripen up, it’s about thyme you made hard work a priority. Don’t let yourself go rotten.

And then there’s marriage. Less people are diving into a parsnip. People carry too much cabbage. They say, “I don’t know who I yam. I want to toss in the salad.”

We can turnip things around, but we have to do it together. We must not give up. There’s a lot more left to stew.

First day back

*Note: Poor photo quality courtesy of the iPhone

Today I woke up earlier than I have in a long time. 6:45 am to be exact. I took a shower. Made sure I had my work laptop. Put a can of salted almonds and some vanilla nonfat yogurt into an old shopping bag from Guess Jeans (who knows when I last shopped there?) Stuffed a bag full of mismatched workout clothes just in case I had time to hit the gym. Made sure I had some other nursing mother necessities. Found an outfit that fit me. And off I went – back to work after 12 weeks.

I stopped at my usual Starbucks, drove through the school zones, heard the morning radio shows and shuffled along with traffic as though I had never left. As though that precious, life-changing, beautiful day 12 weeks ago was but a dream. But, thankfully, it’s not a dream. And as “ordinary” as this morning may have felt, our lives are more full than they’ve ever been. Full of love.

I treated myself on the way.

And a dear friend brought me a treat to brighten my morning.

Just when I was feeling homesick, I glanced over at my whiteboard and saw a beautiful piece of home: artwork from my precious first born left over from his visit to my office:

After a long day, I drove home in the “ordinary” traffic to greet my extraordinary family.

What a wonderful welcome home.

My Favorite Things (this week) Vol. 3

My Favorite Things (this week) is a fun way to share the little, big, amusing, beautiful, interesting, and sometimes just plain helpful things that I run across each week. There’s no formula to the pickin’. Just random things that make me smile. And smiles are made to be shared. See more Favorite Things here.

1. Personalized Baby Block from Craft-E-Family

This nifty little block was given to Kate as a gift when she was born. I think it’s such a cool keepsake, featuring all sorts of information on each side: her birth stats, place of birth, first initial, who the gift is from, etc. Plus, it’s a classy little decor piece for her baby nursery. Love it.

2. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries

We probably eat these on average, once a week. The perfect compliment to grilled chicken, meatloaf or burgers, these sweet potato fries are easy, fresh, delicious and healthy. For an added treat, you can top them with brown sugar and salt fresh from the oven – but I prefer just a bit of sea salt for a more natural flavor. I used to peel sweet potatoes, cut them up and make them myself, but once I found these jewels, I’ll never go back. Yum!

3. This sweet boy.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=fu342LPmm0k]

I fell in love with him this week during American Idol. What a cute little sweet pie! He made his mama proud and his voice is like an angel.

4. This commercial.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Fy3WGPzT0]

It just made me happy. What can I say.

5. And just in case you didn’t see them the first time, these Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

*Note: See all my “Sweet Saturday” posts here.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. There’s just something about a soft, sugar-sprinkled, peanut butter cookie with a half-melted Hershey’s kiss in the middle. I haven’t found a good recipe for them in awhile – and until today, I haven’t had a good one on file. Past recipes have resulted in blah cookies that aren’t soft or fluffy enough. Or the flavor was too bland or not peanut buttery enough for my taste. But I’ve finally doctored one to my liking.

I think you’ll like it, too.

Here’s my Sweet Saturday Peanut Butter Blossom recipe:

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Salted Butter
Heaping 3/4 cup of JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Bowl of sugar (for rolling dough)
24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Cream together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.

3. Stir together flour and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.

4. Shape into 2-inch balls. Roll in sugar and don’t be stingy. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

 

 

5. Bake for 9 minutes and check on them. If any part of the cookie is slightly light brown, remove from oven.

6. Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

 

 

7. Enjoy with cold milk in a fancy glass. The fancy glass part is important.

 

Nonsense makes sense

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss

One of the harsh realities of adulthood is just that: reality. We realize that things are not always perfect. That people don’t always kiss and make up. That the world, though beautiful, has patches of darkness.

The reality and responsibility that come with growing up can jade us, squelch our creativity – and put us in a restless rut. But I have a theory: when the world doesn’t make sense, perhaps we need a little more nonsense. More play. More fantasy that breaks us from our usual routines and lets us look at life in a different light. This kind of thinking not only makes for more joyful moments, but it allows us to – as the good doctor quotes above – “laugh at life’s realities.” It enables us to find fun in the not-so-fun and colors in the grays.

A small example: My good friend, Dave, was washing dishes the other night. Instead of dreading the chore or resenting his (very pregnant) wife with her feet up on the couch – he indulged in a moment of nonsense.

“If this scrub brush was alive (ala Toy Story),” he pondered, “what would be it’s favorite thing to clean?”

He continued,  “Probably the cups used for hot chocolate with marshmallows, since you always get that crusty chocolate/marshmallow mix around the rim.” And suddenly, there was a little magic in the mundane.

The thought isn’t new. Making games out of chores and lemons out of lemonade is an age-old concept – but it’s the young-aged that are best at it. Which is why I’m about to scoop up my 2-year old and have him help me make nonsense out of laundry.