November In Review

Let’s all assume we’re on the same page. As you can see, I didn’t post very much this month — including promised scheduled posts that never even got written, let alone went live. I had dedicated myself to rebuilding and focusing on discipline during November, and unfortunately I didn’t quite succeed in my endeavors. Different issues arose such that my attention was drawn away from my intentions. I began the month with the intention of writing a novel, and I backed out about 3 or 4 days into the challenge. I have an idea in my head of how I want this novel to read, and I have notes written — notes that are packed away in a box somewhere, waiting for me to find our own place. So, I decided to put that novel back on the shelf until a time in which I’m better able to write it. And do you know what? It’s all okay.

During November I’ve realized that there’s no reason to feel so much guilt over so many things. I have a lot of ideas in the air, and I’ve got a lot of responsibilities that I’ve taken on. So while I may not have shared as much discipline with regards to my writing as I wish I would have, I know that I applied discipline to the areas in which it mattered most. I’m a very family-oriented woman, and I want to enjoy my family life most of all. Most of my work focuses on making life easier so that I can spend more time with my family. I want to be an English consultant because I know it will make that goal much more attainable. For some people it’s about traveling to exotic locations. For others, it’s about fancy, shiny cars, the latest fashions, and all the newest gadgets. For me, it’s about the freedom to sip wine as I write. It’s about the freedom to operate out of a cafe that offers me hospitality and delicious fare. It’s about the freedom to build snowmen with the kids. To blow bubbles. To bake cookies. To laugh. To be a family. So while I may not have been as disciplined as I’d like, I definitely continued with my intention to focus on what matters most.


[Thankful Thursday] Thanksgiving 2011

While I may be going to work today, I’m still bursting with gratitude. Here’s why:

  • I don’t have to work tomorrow — which is Black Friday, the craziest shopping day of the year.
  • I’ll be eating a free plate meal. Mmm, soft, fluffy roll, you are mine!
  • We’ll be celebrating the occasion tomorrow with a full spread (check back tomorrow for a run-down, and perhaps some pictures of items I can prepare ahead of time).
  • My family has a place to live and plenty of food to make us all feel disgustingly bloated.
  • The weather is perfect for turning on the oven all day. In years past, it was a toss up. Usually, we’d have warmer temperatures that left us feeling stuffy and sweaty.

May your plate be filled with delicious, home-made food prepared with love. May your cup be full of a cheery beverage. May you be surrounded by those who bring you joy and comfort. May you have many blessings for which to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!


[Foodie Friday] Apple and Pear Porks

On Saturday I sat in my favorite place and wrote a recipe for that night’s dinner. I’ve made pork with apples before, but I’ve never written down a recipe. So I decided to finally write a recipe based off of what I do and what I like. This time, I added pears to the mix because I’ve seen some really lovely pears at the store these days. It’s fun and festive. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in cooking and chatting that I forgot to take pictures. I assure you it’s beautiful and delicious, though.

Apple and Peark Pork Chops

4 pork chops
2 pears chopped
2 apples chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
salt & pepper to taste

Caramelize the apples, pears, and onions in the butter. Add the sugar and spices, stirring together quickly. Scoop the apples, pears, and onions into a bowl, then sear the pork. Add the sauce back into the pan. Cook until done. Serve with lightly sweetened carrots and any other side(s) of your choosing. We chose macaroni and cheese and soft pretzels.


[Monday Meditations] The Value of Time

Over the past few years I’ve become very conscious of time. I got a fortune cookie once that said: “Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.” I absolutely believe in spending my minutes wisely. I get rather annoyed when I feel that someone or something is wasting my time — it’s akin to stealing in my book. What’s worse is that you’re not stealing something I can replace. We can never get back time once we’ve spent it. This is why I value my time.

As I write this post today, I’m very aware that I have less than a hour before I want this to publish. I know I have about two and a half hours to finish my morning and go to work. In between thought processes, I’m working on other tasks to make the best use of my time. I see little point in staring blankly at the screen as my mind draws blanks. And at this very moment, I realize that no more words need to be written because my point has been made very clear…

Time is too precious to waste.


[Foodie Friday] Lazy Tiramisu

You already know how much I love tiramisu. I’ve had some serious trouble finding the right ingredients around here, though. Luckily, we finally found some mascarpone cheese — even though all the marsala wine’s gone. My husband brought home a couple tubs of that tiramisu mascarpone, which is already flavored with coffee. I decided all it needed was some whipped cream and a base. So, I bought some sliced pound cake and set to work on what I’d like to call lazy tiramisu.

Espresso Extract
2 tablespoons of instant coffee or espresso powder
2 tablespoons of boiling water

Espresso Syrup
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoons of espresso extract
1 tablespoons of Kahlua Mocha (or coffee liqueur of your choice) [I used ChocoVine this time around, actually.]

Mascarpone Mixture
8 ounces of tiramisu mascarpone cheese
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

To make your espresso extract, boil the water. In small container, measure the instant coffee/ espresso powder, then pour the boiling water over it. Stir to dissolve the granules. Cover loosely and set aside.

To make your espresso syrup, heat the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the espresso extract and Kahlua, stirring to combine. Allow the syrup to simmer until the syrup begins to thicken. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until you get stiff peaks. Do not over beat! Quickly whip the tiramisu mascarpone. Then fold in the whipped cream in intervals, carefully folding after each addition. The result should be a thick, creamy, and airy topping for your pound cake.

Brush the slices of pound cake with the espresso syrup. Spread a generous portion of the mascarpone mixture onto the cake. Garnish with cocoa powder, and enjoy!


[Thankful Thursday] A Return to Gratitude Lists

Due to my preoccupation with NaNoWriMo, I’ll be returning to my trusty gratitude list format for Thankful Thursdays. Today, I’m thankful for:

  • Crisp autumn air
  • Gorgeous foliage as it finishes out the last bits of the season
  • Another lovely paycheck in my bank account
  • An uptick in my business
  • And an afternoon (mostly) for myself

Happy Thursday!