In the middle of afternoons of persimmon cookie making or when we were out of avocados, mom would run to the local grocery store. She would return 20 minutes later with the magical missing ingredients, a local paper and a copper-foil scrap that was once…a Rolo wrapper. Years later she admitted that those moments were her time to inhale a package of Rolos and drive as fast as she wanted and for once, be free of questions about why the sky was blue or fighting from the backseat of the car, or the tossing of sugary treats onto the grocery store conveyor belt before she could order them put back on the shelves.

I don’t have children. I don’t pretend to have children, even though Winston sure acts like a child sometimes. I have no idea what it might be like to have a grown husband-child in addition to two youngsters. But, in my own way I needed a moment. This morning was supposed to be a typical 20-something brunch full of mimosas and chatter about why women are better than men. But instead, I went out for Rolos.

And on my way to find that foil tube of caramel-filled goodness, I sang at the top of my lungs to my favorite artists. And I zipped through the Pacheco Pass, cutting through the fog and shifting between neutral and overdrive. Yielding to 5th-wheels and having insects smatter my windshield, “Say’s You” carried me into a diner in a roadside town where my family was waiting to share a birthday meal.

It was full of love and light. There was a compassion that enveloped me, and a little boy with an infectious chuckle. I am so proud to be part of that group of hardworking, sweet, loving people. I found every reason to delay my return home. Stopping by Casa de Fruita for champagne and a garlic roaster – the perfect combination of sophisticated domestication and the poor priorities and sass one might expect from a 20-something. I took the long way to the outlets. I stopped for groceries on my way back into town.

And then, for the first time in almost two months, I spent the afternoon dancing around my kitchen. Turkey tacos with homemade tortillas, corn salsa, tomato and chili quinoa and jalepeno spiced black beans from scratch. Turkey sliders with sweet potato chips and cinnamon rolls for the office tomorrow. Garbanzo beans are cooking as we speak for those moments that only hummus can answer to.

I’ll never know if my mom felt this way about her trips to the market, but my rolos sure tasted sweet today.
Welcome 28.


and theres reason to believe…

…that maybe this year will be better than the last.

And just like that, the glow from the Christmas lights that adorn my windows and staircase are making me feel so cozy. The sprint through Thanksgiving and into holiday cheer was almost as fast as my race pace at this year’s Turkey Trot. I had the pleasure of hosting Sir Winston Churchill Warrior for the holiday weekend and now that he’s gone and the house is clean, it’s so quiet and I miss his footsteps on the hardwood floors.┬áMy (not so) secret santa gave me an Advent calendar, which of course started today. Day one was a success; just looking at it makes me smile.

There’s a lot about the next month that I’m not looking forward to – a lot of decisions to be made – a lot of selfish people distracting from what I need to think about and do for me and my future. I honestly have no idea how this is going to play out – not a clue; for once I can’t see the future. I’m really just hoping for someone to take my hand and let me know (with confidence in their voice and in their grip) that I’ll survive my 20’s. This leap of faith is going to be a hard one to take – especially because I’ve seen those leaps end in disaster for the man that I share half of my dna with.

The only thing I really know how to do at a crossroads is cook – it’s calming and makes me feel like I have some sort of control over something in the universe and allows me to focus my attention on other matters for the rest of the week. So, this morning I went to the market and this afternoon I cancelled the meeting that I never should’ve made, and I cooked.

So this week we have breakfast oatmeal muffins and chipotle sweet potato tacos and some of the vegan tortilla soup that I froze from two weeks ago. This weekend I’ll make my very favorite dark chocolate peppermint bark and depending on how low the temperatures get this week, I might restart my hot chocolate addiction.

So very thankful for the week full of friends and wine and a snuggly pup. But the blessed unrest continues, and for now I’m doing my best to keep perspective.

scarf weather

I have no idea where the weekend went.

That is to say that it was exceptionally productive, but also to say that I would like another and would like it delivered with two-day express shipping.

I do know a few things: red cups are back and scarf weather has returned.
Also, that makes it soup season.

Today started like the best Sunday’s always start – at the farmers market, tea in hand. It was unexpectedly cool and the stands had some really pretty produce. I got some of the last heirloom tomatoes of the season and a gluten free treat as a reward for a hard workout later this week.

I spent the rest of the daylight with some lovely ladies, getting home well past the sunset. Regardless, Sundays were made for cooking. I opted to make a butternut squash and quinoa soup with chicken and kalamata olives, and a roasted salad of cranberries, butternut squash and quinoa tossed in maple syrup and ginger. Glorious.

The soup called for a can of diced tomatoes, so in the spirit of learning a new skill I decided to make my own diced tomatoes from scratch. It turned out to be really easy and fun!

To make diced tomatoes, wash the produce and pull the stems. Place the tomatoes in a stockpot and fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes. Boil for one minute, or until skin starts to crack and peel. Ladle tomatoes out of the boiling water as the skin cracks and drop in ice water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, place on a cutting board and peel the skin off by hand. Core and dice, return to the stock pot. Simmer for five minutes before taking off the stove.

After making the diced tomatoes, I went ahead with making the soup according to the recipe. Later this week I’ll make stuffed acorn squash and white chocolate cranberry quinoa cookies. Two hours later, I’ve got seven servings of soup, two servings of salad, and the dishes are clean.

I’m travelling for two weekends this month, with two races and three more events that I’ve got a part in. My next objective will be perfecting a homemade cream of mushroom soup for use in our family recipes so that I can celebrate Thanksgiving in gluten-free peace. After that, it will be creating the menu for Friendsgiving 2013 and finding crafts for my nephew to do during our family time together. Perhaps I’ll put together a tablescape too.