Peace in a Generous Heart

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

This morning we rose to snowfall! How wonderful it is to be trapped by the snow on a Saturday morning. With the kiddies visiting their grandparents, our house was as quiet and peaceful as the snowfall.

When I finally rose, after 11 hours of sleep (hurray!) I found a generous offering on our kitchen table. Hubs made my favorite breakfast (eggs over easy with cheese, avocado, ham & hotsauce) and served it up like a regular Bed and Breakfast proprietor. Did I tip the chef? You bet I did.

The only thing I could feel after a restful night, a peaceful morning, and a full tummy was gratitude. How generous we were to one another. Some days feel so busy that generosity slips away. 3 kids, 5 schedules, 4 meals, and at least 4 car rides to someplace each day doesn’t always leave room for generosity.

Or does it?

The spirit of generosity can be kept alive if I make the effort. And so I shall! Generous hearts bring nothing but peace to the heart and mind. So here’s my plan– to be conscious and make the effort. To keep generosity alive each day.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Mushroom Soup

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on

Yesterday morning I moseyed my way over to Wegman’s in the morning with LM3. The store had a killer selection of mushrooms (do they always?) I saw them all there on the shelf, like a group of friends, and I could feel my body grow with excitement at the onset of an opportunity. They had:

  • oyster mushrooms
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • baby portobellos
  • white mushrooms
  • cremini mushrooms

YUM! I grabbed them all.

I don’t really have a go-to recipe for mushroom soup, but I always search online for anything creamless. I like to add cheese as a garnish, but working in too much heavy cream, milk, or even mascarpone cheese turns me off. That being said, I try to pack in flavor in other ways.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on

For this soup experiment, I did not use a recipe! I used chicken broth as the base and tried to create a ton of flavor with some spices (thyme, salt, pepper, marjoram), veggies (onion & celery), oil (truffle and olive), and butter before bringing them all together with my immersion blender. (Note: my dad got me an immersion blender a few years ago when I got into making soup and it has been a REAL GAME CHANGER! I totally recommend.)

This soup doesn’t take much time to make, but I was looking for a place of peace, so I took my time.

A long time ago (I may have been in my twenties?), a family member asked me to chop an onion and then proceeded to tease me for slow chopping. I think the rhetoric dispensed went something like,

“You don’t know how to chop an onion?” or “How long does it take to chop an onion?” or “Today, junior!”

I’m one of those people who didn’t learn how to deflect negative behavior as a kid. I didn’t know how to make a joke or say something clever in the situations that warranted such. Instead, I felt uncomfortable and then tortured myself later, trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

Thankfully, that’s not the case today.

Today, I carefully, slowly chop my onions because it feels good. Because I like the smell, the feel, and the precaution I take so I don’t lose a finger. I like being in my kitchen, feeling present, working and dreaming about how the flavors will come together. I feel peaceful bringing ingredients together in new ways and lean into that.

This week, making mushroom soup brought me to a place of supreme peace. Making it, eating it, sharing it, and scraping the bowl at the end.

What brought you peace? Share the peace!

Peace in Cauliflower Rice

There’s a veggie with the word “flower” in its name: no wonder I love you so!

All the people in my family enjoy cauliflower, so I’m always on the prowl for a new way to cook it.

First off, I’d like to say that I never heard of cauliflower rice before. I assumed it entailed chopping up some cauliflower. Make it small like rice, right?

Assumption confirmed.

There is nothing special here. Cauliflower rice is just super small, food processed rice. I used a good old fashioned knife and took out all past aggressions on one head. It was kinda messy but ultimately easy and glorious.

Then I found this cute recipe on the Primavera Kitchen blog site and thought, ok this looks easy enough.

Truth: it was a little watery— but don’t worry, Primavera Kitchen blogger, Olivia. This was not because I followed the recipe correctly. I added too much stock because I think I read the lines wrong or assumed, “this looks like it could use more stock.”

Nope. Wrong. I was wrong.

Then, the recipe says to add soy sauce to taste. Well, who does that? What does it mean? It means I will add too much or too little. In today’s episode, I didn’t put enough. So, that’s ok, but probably I’d use a full 2 tablespoons next time.

My usual go-to when something isn’t salty enough is to add parm. I didn’t do that tonight but wonder if there is a different cauliflower rice recipe in the world that includes parm. That is a likely objective next time I’m recipe browsing.

All said, I paired this dish with chicken and Hubs ate two servings. A note to my unbeknownst reader: Hubs says he’s off carbs for a few weeks, so he could have eaten more of this than was originally served to him because he was hungry. Or at least hungrier than usual.

I thought the dish was awesome. I remain about 70% sure I overcooked it by about 3 minutes. I’d love to blame the children for that one, but everyone was oddly avoiding my cooking endeavors— which meant a peaceful night for Mommy in the kitchen. So, it’s more likely that I got distracted by something, which (full disclosure) was probably the peppermint bark my neighbor left in the mailbox the other day. Thanks for that!!!

All said, I ate more of this dish than I probably needed to, but feel confident I consumed all dietary antioxidants required for the day. Amen to that. I feel more peaceful already.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Beef Bourguignon

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I love Ina Garten. She is my favorite chef and while I don’t buy any cook books for the house, I have three of hers. (Make It Ahead is my favorite book, simply for the practicality of it. BRAVO, Ms. Garten, BRAVO.) The cookbooks have mostly been gifted, and they are gifts that have kept on giving. I think Ina has three new books I haven’t even purchased. How time flies.

Every year at Christmastime, I sit down with my Ina books and choose between her recipes, deciding what my family might like and what I can actually handle from a somewhat beginner’s cooking perspective. This year, I thought a Beef Bourguignon would be awesome. It sounded rich, hearty, savory, and kind of Christmasy for reasons I can’t describe.

I got into my head that I would make the dish, but then I completely forgot to snap a photo of the recipe or hark back to it from my phone once I made it to the grocery store.

So, what usually happens is EXACTLY what happened: when I sat down to start cooking, I was missing about half the ingredients:

  • cognac
  • red wine
  • pearl onions
  • beef broth

Wow, Mommy, way to go, I thought.

But I had beef, carrots, chicken stock, mushrooms, thyme, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. When I did the math, there were more ingredients that HAD in the house than those I DIDN’T. Talk about the pot being half full! I decided to go for it and cook the dish, not necessarily half-assing it, but half-correctly making it.

Someone told me once that the BEST inventions are actually mistakes, so WHY NOT ENCOURAGE A MISTAKE?!!?!?!?

I didn’t light the kitchen on fire with Cognac like Jennifer Garner nearly did. But I made maybe a beef stew sort of thing that was delicious. It awarded me some peaceful time in the kitchen: chopping, stirring, simmering, and tasting along the way. I was thrilled to have a dutch oven for the process and plan to try the recipe again with more of the correct ingredients. Note: the dutch oven was also a gift that keeps on giving. I use it for all my soups, meatballs, stews, and more. It is a staple in my house I’m so thankful for (wink: you know who you are!)

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!