Thursday, May 7, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 5.7.20

  • "Porchraits" - Stay at home, quarantine, shelter in place... (Mostly) everyone, across the country and throughout the world, is doing what they can to help flatten the curve. During this quiet break from what used to be our hurried "normal" --while simultaneously co-exisiting with the very real horrors, failures, and impossible obstacles/choices so many people are facing in the world, my privileged appreciation of this "saturated togetherness" with my family is a jarring juxtaposition. Acknowledging the "upsides" seems insensitive, at best. It feels strange and confusing to experience these mixed emotions and even stranger to try to explain my "struggle" here. See? Weird. In any case, here I am. I am grateful for the slower pace and learning how to fill it with simple pleasures. I think often about how to carry this present-ness forward when we move toward recovery. With the intention of not taking for granted this unique and novel moment of our lifetime, we had family portraits done to mark this time at HOME. Barefoot and on the porch, we sat and smiled as the most lovely photographer (and elementary school teacher from our beloved Dilworth), instructed us on head angles, hand placement, and dress adjustments. Twenty painless minutes later, we were finished. And later that day, after she sent us the files, we were thrilled. If you're in the Charlotte area, contact me and I will put you in touch. (I must also point out that Geneva was an incredibly good sport about this --given the fact that she was scheduled to have her braces removed 4 weeks ago.) Here're a few of my very favorites (so hard to choose).

  • Fresh Herbs - Are you growing your own herbs yet? Raised bed, container garden, pot on the porch... Even if you only have a sunny windowsill to work with, I encourage you to take the plunge. This is a beautiful option from HortikiPlants on Etsy. Fresh herbs add flavor, color, and pizazz. (Yeah. I just used that word. You're welcome.) Your home-grown fresh herbs will also add a level of badassery you didn't realize you were missing in your dishes. For real. You'll love it and so will your family. Well... maybe they won't actually notice. But you will and it will be great.

  • Lemon "Bars" - I love lemon bars. It's the choice I often make when confronted by a bakery display window. The tart, creamy, sweet lemon custard over a buttery crust of shortbread... so good. But, for some reason, I never actually get around to making any. To my delight, Piper made Lemon Bar wedges the other day and they were amazing! She was forced to make wedges instead of rectangles because it turns out that I don't own a square baking dish. Hm. Never noticed its absence before. Anyhoo, they were great. (AND... they came from a box mix.) True story. Trader Joe's Lemon Bar mix is awesome. Don't worry; there was still a lot of butter (in the shortbread crust) and a bit of work involved (squeezing 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, I think) --so it was a lot like "homemade" in the end and they tasted bakery-good. Do you have a no-fail recipe your family loves? If so, let me know. Maybe we (she) will try it next time. But know that they're going to have be really good to outshine the TJ's ones.

  • Squash Blossoms - Have you ever had the pleasure of fried squash blossoms, filled with ricotta or goat cheese and herbs, then dusted with flour and crisped-up in a pan of hot oil and butter? Let me tell you, they are unbelievably delicious. Sadly, they wouldn't travel well for takeout and I'm not ambitious enough to try to make them at home so it will be some time before I enjoy my next plate of this culinary delight. *sigh* In the meantime, I will dream of those ones and enjoy the ones that have exploded in the garden this week --promising the arrival of yellow, crook-necked squash and green zucchini. Yahoo! 

  • Watermelon Rosé Palomas - Surprise! (Not) It's another Half Baked Harvest recipe. This one is for a cocktail that calls for fresh watermelon juice, rosé, sparkling water, and tequila. What's not to love? It's a perfect recipe to bookmark and carry through these approaching summer months. And it's so pretty!

  • Soccer Sisters - As you know, this year was the first that the Jones Sisters got to play on the same soccer team. Before the season/school year was canceled, I got to see them compete in two games. I'm grateful even for that. Before we turned in uniforms this week, they allowed me to take some backyard pics of them. They are very good sports. (Heh. See what I did there?)

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