Staying Home on a Saturday Night…

Honestly, staying home on Saturday night isn’t unusual for me.  Oh sure, sometimes I get an idea in my head and actually go out and *do* something, but I tend to spend the afternoons out instead.

Today, I got all the errands and shopping done a wee bit earlier, so I was home to enjoy the afternoon sun flooding the kitchen with the a/c running since it was hot, while cooking a pot full of plum and orange blossom preserves, and when the time was right, I poured myself a glass of chilled chardonnay…which leads to…

The Top Five Favourites

1.  A glass of wine.

What I pour depends on my mood.  I will happily drink red, white, rose, sparkling, and even slightly fizzy.   And it’s while I was drinking a glass of wine today that I remembered how much I love…

2.  Simple dinners.

Dinners that require one pot, one bowl, a limited amount of utensils, and not a lot of time.  Like pasta.  Tossed with olive oil, a little garlic, a little pepper, and a lot of grated Pecorino Romano.

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3.  Salvaged pieces.

I was down in Venice early in the week and walking down a street that wasn’t really a street…it was a sidewalk with houses on either side.  It’s one of those tightknit spaces called a ‘Place.’  But it was a Place with so much character and so many great details…including these doors that someone had at the entrance to their yard.

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4.  Words with Friends

Yes…I play games on my phone.  There aren’t many, but my list does include Words with Friends and Candy Crush Saga (damn you!).  I see it as a way of keeping my mind agile.  And where else would you be able to use the word ‘Za’ on a regular basis?  Those Z’s are worth 10 points!

5.  Learning to accept the imperfect.

I am forever the Perfectionist.  I’ve been that way as long as I can remember.  I have a hard time accepting that life isn’t perfect, things aren’t perfect, people aren’t perfect.  Slowly (and I mean slowly) the concept seeps into my brain.  Today by the wrapping of a present for a friend…I see it…the imperfect…and appreciate it.  Like it, even.  I thought this paper was larger than it was for what I needed to wrap.  It wasn’t.  But I made it work.  I didn’t try to make it perfect.  I tried to make it work.  I think I succeeded.

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Home Improvements…

…and other ways to betterment.

Okay…I guess it isn’t officially a home improvement if you don’t own a home and you’re not the one doing the improvement.  Apartment perks?  Whatever it is…I think I like it.  Or at least I will after the plaster has been replaced, the holes filled in, and a new coat of paint brushed on.  

My apartment building has a new owner.  Someone who actually has intentions to bring this building into the 21st (if not very late 20th) century.  But this isn’t going to be pretty.  I’m trying to look ahead and not be too annoyed by the mess, noise, and inconvenience in the meantime.  

Today, for instance.  It’s new window day.  I’m hoping the new four out of five will be installed before the crew leaves today.  I know the fifth one won’t be done for awhile.  So far, they’re still working on the first two.  The kitchen and bathroom.  Supposedly, the two in the bedroom will be easy peasy pop out and pop in affairs.  

I have quite the gaping hole in the kitchen.  The upside will be not just a new window, but a new and bigger window.  Considering how much I love the late afternoon light that comes in that window, I think I’ll be a happy camper once it’s in.  But for now…this is what I have:  

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I also have three cats in various states of freak-outted-ness.  Suki and Lucky have pretty much stayed under the bed (though I can’t wait to see what happens when the men are working in there).  Lucky occasionally forays out long enough to pad her way to the edge of the kitchen with a ‘WTF?’ look on her face and when the nail gun goes off or they start hammering away, she goes tearing down the hallway and scurries under the bed again.  Holly, on the other hand, is completely unfazed.  There is an awful lot of noise going on in my bathroom, a strange man in there, with another strange man hanging in the window, and she’s sprawled flat out in front of the door, like she is every day.  

Before the mess and noise ensued in my kitchen, yesterday I found an excuse to use the Cousances dutch oven I picked up thrift shopping a couple of Saturdays ago.  I’m not sure why I crave soup so much in the Summer, but I do.   I also made ricotta yesterday morning, so the base of this soup is the whey.  You can easily swap out chicken or vegetable stock.  

Carrot and Ginger Soup 

Serves 4

2 1/4 cups whey or vegetable stock

2 cups water

8-10 medium carrots, cut in chunks

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 medium red potato, cut in chunks

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cup milk

In a large pot, add whey, water, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium high, add potato and leave on a low boil under carrots are tender.  Turn off heat.  With an immersion blender or regular blender, blend soup until smooth, gradually adding milk.  Additional salt and pepper to taste, if you like.  You could also top with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yogurt.  

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