Have you ever wished for less accessibility? Less opportunities for your boss to contact you in the middle of your vacation; less chances for your ex to send you snap chats; or less possibility of receiving a message from that guy who got your number from a friend and can’t take a hint? Recently I find myself resenting my iphone. The anxiety I feel when it’s not sitting right next to me is surprising and I’m beginning to resent the fact that I hear my text noise everywhere I go (thanks for that one iPhone). I am disappointed by the fact that ignoring a text is considered rude. I hate the false sense of bravery the screen provides and the off-color comments that come through my device. I’m disappointed in the dates and break-ups that fit into a limited number of characters on my cell. Today I’m feeling wonderful but I’m also feeling a yearning for privacy. I’m wishing for the days when your phone started ringing and you had to guess who was on the other end. I miss the time before everyone was available 24/7.
I truly believe that cooking is good for the soul. When I’m at my lowest of lows I always seem to find myself in the kitchen measuring out the details of a complicated and intimidating recipe. There’s something so comforting about dicing an onion, hearing the sizzle as your ingredients fall into a hot pan, and the smell that seeps into your home as your dish comes together. When things get stressful, you can be certain I’m in my kitchen finding peace in a recipe.
These past two weeks have been full of much soul-searching for me. And, as is my pattern, I started to cook. This soup from Smitten Kitchen hit. the. spot. It was the perfect amount of effort and was forgiving enough that my mind could stray from the recipe while I was cooking. The earthiness of the mushrooms is amazing and the beef broth is a refreshing change from my normal chicken or veggie stock.
Whether you’re looking for an escape from a too-long-winter or you’re trying to find a way to cope, this recipe hits all the right notes. I’m already plotting my next soup… Maybe this one. Or this one. This looks amazing as well (and would be much more fitting for the weather in Phoenix right now than a hot soup).
mushroom & barley soup adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced to bite-sized pieces (I used a mix of oyster and cremini)
- 1/2 cup barley
- 6 cups low sodium or salt-free beef broth
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak your porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water and set aside while you prep the rest of the soup
- Heat oil in a large pot and add your onion and carrot. Saute for 10-15 minutes until your onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds (until it becomes fragrant). Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes – until the begin to release their juices!
- Add your barley and toast until it begins to take on a bit of color. Pour in your broth, sherry, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes until the barley is cooked through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan for extra deliciousness.
I recently started spending a lot of time with someone who loves to read. I’ve always been an avid reader but I absolutely read in waves. Sometimes I’ll take in 5 books in a month then I won’t read anything for a year. Generally reading a book that I don’t like is what sparks the drought.
However, being with someone who has a passion for reading encourages you to power past the not-so-great books and keep searching for the ones that have an impact on you. I’m always looking for recommendations so I thought I’d share some of my most recent reads with you.
1) Stiff – I was SO INTO THIS BOOK. I read it really quickly and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Mary Roach delves into the world of human cadavers and the various ways they are used (or disposed of). Not only was this book incredibly eye-opening (I had no idea there were so many uses for us once we kicked the bucket), but also hilarious. Roach has such an approachable style of writing and I found myself running through pages and laughing out loud at her footnotes.
2) Bossypants – I think everyone has recommended this book. I thought it was a really great read but it left me wanting a bit more of a cohesive story. I felt like the chapters jumped pretty abruptly from subject to subject and while I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tina Fey’s life, I wish it was just a bit more focused. I’d still recommend it as a total girl-power, success-story book.
3) Pulp – THIS WAS TOO GOOD! I bought it because I loved the cover (I do this a lot…) and was not disappointed by the story. Charles Bukowski creates a surprisingly seamless story that centers around a drunk private detective and manages to include aliens and other surreal elements without writing a cheesy story. The writing is simple to digest and this is yet another quick read. I can’t wait to read more of his work.
4) All Marketers are Liars – I always try to mix in business and marketing books. Seth Godin is a genius and I feel like I learn so much every time I read his books. If you’re a business owner or a marketer, this book is a must read. Godin breaks down some pretty revolutionary marketing concepts then teaches you the best practices for using them.
So what about you? Read anything good recently? You can follow me on good reads to see other books I’ve read and reviewed (it might just help you stock your bookshelf).
I came across this somewhat unique goal setting idea on some other blogs and was completely inspired. I’m big on goal-setting and I think that the time that has gone by without working towards a goal in my life has been wasted. I love the flexibility of this list and I’m excited to start tackling these. You may notice some repeat goals from those I set on my birthday but I wanted to include them because the timeline overlaps :)!!
My start date for this challenge was 1.11.14 so a few goals are already in progress. I’m still working on coming up with the remainder of my goals but I think I’ve got a pretty solid start. I’ll be updating and blogging as I chug along. Any recommendations for things I should/could add to my list?
Take a family portrait
Call my grandparents once a month (1/34)
Send out Thanksgiving cards to people who have made an impact in my life
Go out a few times a month. Meet new people. Conquer that introverted social anxiety.
Send out Valentines day cards (2014) Send my friends cards for their birthdays (set reminders on calendar for these!) Go on a date (or two)
Go on a hike with my mom
Learn to build a piece of furniture with my dad
Take a photography class with my dad
Ride motorcycles with Sean
Go shooting with Sean
Go to a football game with Brock
Take a mixology class with Brock
Take a cooking class with my mom
Run or walk a 5k with my mom
HEALTH & FOOD
Learn to cook orange chicken
Make a big batch of savory jam and gift it
Master a difficult-to-create dessert (macarons?)
Learn to make kick-ass bread (both sourdough and rye)
Talk to a therapist or life coach
Take a cooking class in a foreign country (France? Spain? Argentina?)
Learn how to bake & ice the perfect cake
Find a way to work out that makes you happy
Read a book about the science behind baking/cooking
Learn how to properly sharpen a knife
Make and use my own chicken, beef, and vegetable stocks
Learn to make an excellent cocktail
Make one new cocktail every week for 52 weeks (3/52)
EXPERIENCES & HOBBIES
Move away from Phoenix
Drive to the country and go star-gazing for a night
Walk a total of 1000 miles through the duration of this project (20/1000)
Watch 100 Ted Talks (5/100)
Take a tango class
Go to Sears Tower (I refuse to call this Willis Tower….)
Visit 6 new cities (1/6) [cottonwood 2.2014]
Print all of my pictures
Shoot a gun
Host a kick-ass party
Take a pole-dancing class
Take a photography class
Gamble in Vegas
Take an art class
Learn to sew a quilt
Learn to fair isle knit
Go to the International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque
Visit the Phoenix Art Museum
Go to a strip club
Sew a quilt with my tee shirts from high school
Finish knitting my mom’s throw
Go to 5 concerts (or shows in dive bars) (0/5)
Do 5 DIY’s from my Pinterest board (0/5)
Buy or make a headboard
Paint a picture (2.2014)
Go on a picnic
Do a cartwheel on the beach
Photograph my apartment
Go to a drive-in movie
Clean up my Facebook friend list
Brush up on my calligraphy skills & use them to make cards for 10 friends (0/10)
Knit a blanket with yarn I spun by myself
Take a weekend trip to Sedona (Feb. 8, 2014)
Take a weekend trip to Prescott
Take a weekend trip to LA
Pet a giraffe
Learn to use In Design
Learn to use Illustrator
Start a floral subscription service
Take a floral design class (Feb. 1, 2014)
Create a Kickstarter for Hoot & Holler
Go to Alt Design Summit
Be the florist for a wedding
Host a floral workshop (May 1!!!)
Style an event
Make 25 flower crowns to brush up on my skillz (3/25)
Pick up three social media clients for my freelance life (1/3)
Finish the curriculum for and teach my Social Media 101 class
Write 200 blog posts (2/200)
Write and deliver a speech
Start a 401k
Spend only cash for 1 month
Go one month without buying any new clothing or jewelry (April 2014)
Create a specific budget and stick to it for at least a year
Invest some of my money
Set a budget for Christmas gifts and actually stick to it
I’m really into Ted Talks. Until I come up with one of my own, I’m going to share the words of this little genius. Hope you’re all enjoying your week!!