Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Journey

I spent a few days at the ocean this week.

What is it about the soothing ebb and flow of the waves? What is it about standing where the sky meets the sea and sand that calms the heart and opens the mind?

Whatever it is I am grateful for it.

I am seeking peace and grace in my life. I have stopped asking why. I am coming to the end of one journey and tentatively beginning another. Where the journey leads is not the point. Where the journey ends is not the destination. The journey itself is the road to finding myself.

One evening I walked for a very long time on the beach. I let the surf crash over my feet. I watched young lovers walk hand in hand secure in their right to a loving future.

I drew in the sand.

And I watched as the never ending waves washed away my words.
And I cried.
And when I was done crying I brushed the sand off myself and walked on. A new journey with no destination in mind other than grace and peace.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear God And An In Season Strawberry Dessert

Dear TBHITW (Jim),

If I could sit across the porch from God, I'd thank Him for lending me you.

Love, me.

Strawberries are in season right now here in the Northeast. What could be more wonderful? I spent today, a glorious day filled with light and azure skies, picking strawberries with my grand littles.

I give you a  refreshing, light, and oh so good dessert; perfect for entertaining or transporting to a neighborhood BBQ.

Strawberries with sweetened cream: serves a crowd

24 fresh strawberries
One eight ounce package of lite cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (optional)

Wash and dry the berries. Slice the stem end off the strawberries so that they can sit upright. Then, make an X in the pointed end of each berry. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until combined.

Scoop the cheese mixture into a piping bag. Pipe the cheese into the center of each cross cut strawberry; filling all the way to the top. Finish with a flourish. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of finely chopped nuts. Serve Chilled.

As always, Bon Appetite.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Going To Be Okay Because and Pappardelle's Pasta

It has been 10 months since TBHITW (The Best Husband In The World) passed from this life into another.

Ten months of the most intense feelings I believe any human being can experience. Loss, loneliness, quite introspection, rivers of tears and oceans of fears.

As I reflect back on the last ten months I realize that I have learned more about myself in this time than I have in my entire life.

I have learned that everyone has their own journey.
I have learned that everyone carries with them their own sadness. And sometimes regret. (I have a few, but then again too few to mention) Someone should put that line to music.. (wait a minute... sorry, I was just channeling TBHITW's humor)
I have learned to speak more softly. And with more kindness.
I have learned to listen more closely.
I have learned that I am stronger than I thought.
I have learned that love never dies.
I have learned that I am going to be okay. I am going to live.

I am going to be okay because today:
I laughed. At myself.
I smiled.
I did not get impatient in the grocery store line.
I talked with a good friend about very real stuff.
I forgave a good friend about really big stuff.
I began planning a party and was (and am) excited about it.
I looked at pictures of TBHITW and did not cry - I smiled at the memory and gave thanks for them.
I worked in the garden and was happy.
I looked up at the sky and gave thanks for the sun, the clouds and then the gentle rain.
I began making plans for MY future.
I am cooking again and planting again and eating again.

Recently I ate some of the best pasta I have ever eaten in my life and for the first time in a long time I ate  with gusto. I then promptly went online and ordered more.

Pappardelle's Pasta. OMG.

I discovered Pappardelle's Pasta by accident. A few weeks ago (or a few days.. time seems to blend) I attended the NJ Food and Wine Festival with my good friend Judi. It was a beautiful day, perfect for tasting local wines and food. Pappardelle's had a booth set up with their pasta wares and on a whim I bought a pound of their Lemon Chive Angel Hair Pasta.

A few days later I found myself rummaging about in my pantry trying to decide what to make for my dinner. A boiling, salted pot of water later, a few drizzles of olive oil and some shavings of fresh parmesan and I was in heaven.

If you are a pasta lover, want to become a pasta lover, think pasta is over rated or are bored with your grocery store's offerings, run, walk, google, click, do whatever you have to do to experience this eating nirvana. Pappardelle's offers a wide assortment of flavored orzo, dried pasta, fresh pasta and sauces in addition to a gluten free line. I promise on my name "The Good Cook" you will not be disappointed. Like I said (with my mouth full) OMG.

And this is how I know I will be okay. Not only will I be okay, I will survive. I have friends, I have family, I have a love in my heart that death cannot steal. And I have my passion for truly exceptional food back.

Bon Appetite.

A Cook's Notes: Pappardelle's did not pay me or offer me any compensation for writing this post. IN FACT - they don't even know I wrote it. Their pasta is just that good.  Look for more recipes in the future as I develop, taste and whisper thank you to the pasta gods more recipes featuring Pappardelle's Pastas.
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