Friday, December 5th, 2014
First, I offer you this article all about picking the very best potatoes for your mashed side dish.
Now that you know what potatoes you need, I am going to give you a recipe for mashed potatoes that will change. your. life. I’m not kidding; I like mashed potatoes, but they wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for how to prepare a potato. But! But! I do like them during the holidays, but I never want to eat them as leftovers. This recipe makes me want to eat mashed potatoes every day and then re-heat them the next day. They are that good.
As with all of my recipes, there are really no measurements. Just add as much of each ingredient as you feel is right. I trust your judgement.
Half and Half (whole milk or heavy cream would also probably work)
First, peel all of the potatoes, chop them up, and boil them until they are tender enough to mash. Once they are all soft and boiled, drain the water and add butter, cream cheese, and half and half. Using a blender, blend the mixture until the potatoes reach a consistency that is fluffy and smooth. Once blended, add as many fresh garlic cloves as you want (more garlic is always better-we used, like, six cloves in our batch). We used a garlic press to mince the garlic, but you could just cut it up really fine or smush it before you add it. After you add the garlic, give the potatoes a sprinkle with some sea salt and mix it up.
These truly are the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. They certainly aren’t healthy, but they will make you happy. And, really, potatoes are meant for happiness not healthiness anyway.
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Nathan and I have been swapping a nasty head cold back and forth for the last few weeks. It has been dismal. I always used to treasure that rare sick day when I got to stay home from school. But, now that adulthood has reared its ugly head, sick days are not so preferable. A sick day just results in being behind in work and school and feeling crappy. Even though all of my sinuses are sore, my ears and throat hurt, and I am nursing a cough, there has been one thing that has consistently made me feel a little better. I’ve mixed up an elixir of sorts (which Nathan won’t drink) that seems to quell some of the dastardly head cold symptoms.
Ginger (I use the minced kind that comes in the jar)
First, boil some water. While the water is boiling, add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, honey, and lemon to a mug. Once the water is boiled pour it over the ingredients in the mug. Give it a stir and drink up. If you are feeling like you really need an extra kick then you could definitely add some whiskey or bourbon (but only do that if you’re in for the night).
I know that there aren’t any measurements and that’s because how much you add of everything is really up to you. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. And, honestly, this does not taste bad. I promise.
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Now that the semester is almost over (and Thank God for that), I will have a little time on my hands. I would really like to use up that time by reading and cooking. With that in mind, I have been compiling my winter break reading list. It started with a lengthy trip to Barnes and Noble. Nathan and I could waste hours in bookstores. While I love brick and mortar bookstores, books are normally cheaper online. So, I present unto you my holiday reading list separated into cookbooks and all other books and all with a link to buy:
1. Thug Kitchen: The team behind this cookbook has a rad website (here), and creates plant based, vegan recipes. Their website liberally uses cuss words and verbal abuse to beat you into healthier eating. Reading their blog is such a kick, and I would really like to get my hands on the official cookbook. Buy here.
2. The Kitchn Cookbook: Also the cookbook product of a blog (here). I check The Kitchn blog every single day, and some of my most used recipes come from their archives. I am particularly excited about this one. Buy here.
3. Death and Co: Modern Classic Cocktails: Full of recipes and knowledge about every drink and alcohol you can think of, this book would make an excellent companion for the curious drinker. Buy here
1. Bread and Wine: I have heard nothing but good things about this book. I read Shauna Niequist’s blog, and her insight about relationships and hospitality is always on point. Buy here.
2. Gone Girl: Everyone is talking about it, and I just want to jump on that bandwagon. Buy here.
3. The Best Yes: A friend mentioned that this book had really impacted her; and, as someone who struggles with saying no, I think it might be a good read for me. Buy here.
Well, there they are. I think that they’ll keep me busy for most of winter break. What are some books that you’re hoping to read?
Monday, December 1st, 2014
As I sit here on my living room couch, watching my dad hang the snowflakes on the tree, (we don’t do ornaments, but our tree is a thing of beauty), and savoring my remaining precious moments at home. I’m trying to memorize the way the stairs creak when someone goes upstairs, the way the soft sounds of the TV trickle into the next room where I’m working, and the way the kitchen is bathed in buttery yellow light. This house is my home. I don’t think it will ever be easy to leave for an extended period of time. I’m thankful that I’ve had the privilege to grow up in a place like this, one filled with happy memories and boisterous laughter and blood and sweat and tears.
It might sound funny to be thankful for those things, some good, and some bad. But right now, in this season, I am working on practicing my thankfulness skills. Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers have been gobbled up. The tree is up, the lights are strung, and the garland greets visitors in the doorway. The Christmas season is beautiful. Sometimes, though, amid the pine and the presents and the people, I think that we lose our spirit of thankfulness. I know I do. It’s far too easy at this time of year to want, want, want, rather than give, give, give, let alone thank, thank, thank.
Right now though, as I sit here, in my home, preparing to go back to the daily grind of school and work, I’m working a little harder than normal to be thankful for this pattern of my world. The back and forth from home to school, and from school to home. Two places where I can be myself. Two beds to come back to at night, no matter what. Parents who love and encourage me, near and far. Siblings who both infuriate me and make me laugh. Friends here and there, each pursuing their own calling, yet managing to keep track of one another despite the hustle and bustle.
Thanks is more than a word and more than an action, it’s an attitude that stretches us to do more and say less and think harder. We certainly don’t live in a thankful world, but I want to do my best to be thankful for something, anything, every day. Little things and big things, happy things and sad things, good things and bad things; they all add something to this whatever place we call home. Let’s rejoice!