N is for Nutmeg {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Untitled-171

I guess with April in full force around us it’s not exactly the right time of year, but it still felt like this delightful winter tradition should be shared with all. Maybe you’ll bookmark it and while sifting through your websites eight months from now with the December wind screeching around you, you’ll see it and try it for yourself.

N is for…

Untitled-201

In the winters it gets dry around here – hands cracking, lips bleeding type of dry. To add humidity to the air sometimes we put a pot of water on the stove to boil in addition to the humidifiers stationed around the house, trying valiantly to do their part.

Around the holidays, we sometimes spice up the water (literally) and that creates the most pleasing aroma that wafts around the house.

There’s no cut and dry list of ingredients that need to be used, but the same ones generally find their way into the pot – nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peels.

With this boiling away on the stove the house is warmer, cozier, more comfortable for the extremities, and welcoming indeed.

Untitled-202

What I Listened to While Blogging:
The silence of an early morning
Where I Blogged:
At my desk
Fun Fact:
The highest-calorie fast food item in the world is a milkshake
Question of the Day:
What is your favorite season?

A is for Alphabet Soup {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Since I missed three letters in the A to Z Challenge, I decided to catch up with them on Sundays. Enjoy!

Untitled-171

As a writer, I’m not sure if I should even confess this, but it might help some other struggling author out there, so I decided to just blurt it out for the whole world to see…

I’ve never, ever, in my whole entire 9,328 days of life enjoyed alphabet soup.

Untitled-192

Yes, that’s right. Folks, I’m a word-lover. I read a dozen or so books a month and write all the time – blog posts, stories, letters, emails, notes… And yet alphabet noodles, which in reality should be the crowning glory of a writer’s diet, are kinda gross. In reality, I don’t think it was the noodles themselves that bothered me, but instead the soup we ate the noodles in. I couldn’t stand it.

Okay, a little redemption here, folks. I do like alphabet pretzels. In fact, if you want to make my little heart happy, you can just let me loose with a whole bag of them. I’ll create words, play with my food, and generally act like a happy kindergartener. And of course, I’ll eat them in the end because they’re delicious.

If you’re concerned, let me just assure you with one last tidbit before I sign off: Even though I disliked alphabet soup, I was always thrilled when we had it. Because yes, I’m a writer. Words in food? What could be better? But eating it? Actually putting it in my mouth? Um… #nothankyou

Untitled-193.jpg

What I Listened to While Blogging:
Movie soundtracks… again
Where I Blogged:

Hanging out in my office
Fun Fact:
Alphabet soup has been around for more than 150 years

Question of the Day: 
Do you like alphabet soup?

M is for…. {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Untitled-171

Marshmallows make my life better. They’re delicious, fluffy, cute, whimsical, and come in all shapes and sizes.

Marmalade – particularly orange marmalade – was something that captured my imagination as a child. See, I grew up with my mom reading Paddington Bear to me and Paddington always ate orange marmalade. (Spoiler Alert: It was better in my imagination than in real life.)

Mint tea is a total sign of summer to me. As children, we’d go out and pick mint and Mom would use it to make iced tea. Pretty much one of the best parts of summer. So refreshing and pleasant.

Mango. I literally just licked my lips when I read the word. If you’re looking for a juicy fruit with vibrant color and the perfect tang, you need look no further.

Mushrooms – thankfully I have a sister who craves them from time to time. She also does a lot of cooking so it’s not unusual to find lightly cooked mushrooms sprinkled with salt and ready to be consumed at the table. The best way to have mushrooms though? Stuffed with cheese. #yesplease

Macadamia nut white chocolate cookies pretty much make my mouth water just thinking about them. They’re soft, chewy, bursting with flavor, and the nuts add the perfect crunch.

Untitled-200.jpg

What I Listened to While Blogging:
I watched a movie (Again? Say whaaattt?)
Where I Blogged:
At my adopted parent’shouse 
Fun Fact: 
Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes
Question of the Day: 
What is your favorite M food?

Folks! I’ve (sadly) missed three letters so far, so to catch up I’m scheduling posts for Sundays. So, check back tomorrow for letter A.

L is for Lentils {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Untitled-171

When it comes to wanting a cozy meal with a Middle Eastern flair, there’s an easy way to make a delicious, mouth-watering meal….

Untitled-198.jpg

Lentils and rice are one of my favorite meals. They’re nice and simple to make, plus nutritious so it’s a win all the way around.

To start, you rinse the lentils off and sort through them to make sure there aren’t any small rocks mixed in. Then you put them in a pot with water – with plenty of room for them to expand – and boil them until they’re soft.

Meanwhile, you sauté onions, garlic, and celery together, dice up some carrots, and then add them to the cooking lentils. Add some cumin, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings that sound good, (ginger is one I like) and enjoy!

They taste delicious on their own, or on top of rice, or paired with flat bread and dill pickles.

Untitled-199

What I Listened to While Blogging:
I watched a movie 😉 
Where I Blogged:
At my brother and sister-in-laws house
Fun Fact: 
Chocolate was once used as a currency
Question of the Day: 
What is your favorite soup?

K is for…. Cabbage? *cue quizzical look* {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Folks! #DreamComeTrue time.

Today I have a vlog for y’all. I know, I know, it’s Thursday, so that’s kinda expected. But! Today’s vlog is different. Today we have a cooking vlog, which is something I’ve literally wanted to do since before I wanted to be a writer. Amazing, right?

There are obviously areas I need to improve in, yet I’m totally excited about this cause it’s my #FirstCookingVlogEver So yay! (And yes, I use hashtags when I’m excited.) Enjoy, folks!

J is for Jamming {A to Z Challenge 2018}

I nearly wrote about Jellybeans today. See, one day a couple years ago our family stopped at a mall that had a delicious chocolate store that was going out of business and so everything was on sale. And when I say sale, I mean it was like a childhood dream come true. There were jellybeans galore, and I, well, might have ended up buying a LOT of them.

Untitled-171

But then I decided to ditch that idea and instead go with…

Untitled-190.jpg

I guess it would make sense to talk about making jams. And I tried that once. I ventured deep into the briars, braved the blistering sun, contented with fussy little sisters (this was a while ago, folks), and emerged hours later with a pitiful bucket of blackberries to show for my labors. And I made jam. Jam that took forever and a day to boil down and work on, then only produced a small amount of gooey goodness. I’m pretty sure I was so horrified by the lack of yield that I simply stashed the jars in the back of the pantry, determined to hide them until I found an occasion suitable to celebrate by eating them. (And, shhhh, we won’t mention if the jars are still back there or not.)

But no. This is actually a different type of jamming. This type of jamming consisted of me lighting the world up with music while working in the kitchen with my little siblings.

I’ve enjoyed dancing around the kitchen with music playing in the background all my life. There’s something about familiar songs filling the house that makes the work seem faster and easier. Back when I was a kid though, it wasn’t always the most peaceful of occasions. See, I had this habit of liking a little bit more excitement than just one measly song playing at a time. So, I would commision my two little sisters to search the house for everyone’s CD players (this was back when those were still the norm), and then we’d line them up on the counter, put a different CD in each one, and let them play at full blast.

Looking back I’m sure this was extremely healthy for our ears (NOT), and there’s just a slight chance that it contributed to the interruptions in our house, ya know, since we were kinda training ourselves to be able to block things out.

Thankfully I don’t enjoy chaos as much as I once did. Although my kitchen time still flies by faster if I’m listening to music or an audiobook that generally happens with earbuds playing softly for me personally.

Untitled-191

What I Listened to While Blogging:
Speaking of nice and calm… This 
Where I Blogged:
My office
Fun Fact: 
The tradition of pairing lemon and fish started in the Middle Ages when a lemon slice was served with fish because it was thought the juice would dissolve any bones that were accidentally swallowed
Question of the Day: 
Do you perfer working with music or silence? 

H is for Hawaiian Food {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Untitled-171

This morning instead of sitting down to blog as planned, I headed down to the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. It was going to be a simple meal, but before I fully thought through what I was doing, I had bacon frying, onions, celery, and garlic simmering, and a pile of purple cabbage, cauliflower, and ginger on the cutting board. I added in pink salt, a few more veggies, water, and coconut milk, and set the burner to low.

This type of soup has been my favorite ever since a trip our family went on five years ago….

Untitled-186

Going to Hawaii was something I looked forward to for a long time. Since we were going to get to go to Pearl Harbor I spent months studying up on WW2, because there’s nothing like seeing places from history in real life to make the past come alive.

I also spent a lot of time imagining and studying the culture, history, and people of the islands. I couldn’t wait to explore the state for myself. Several of my family members had gone six years earlier on a business trip and I’d been invited along, but had declined. (Seriously folks, I used to hate traveling, and besides, I got to visit my new nephew instead.) But after hearing my sister tell tons of stories, I wanted to get to experience it for myself.

What I wasn’t greatly excited about was the food. I figured it’s an island, so seafood would be a staple, and since I’m allergic to seafood….

As it turns out, seafood was a staple. But in addition to the seafood (which my family assured me was delicious), there was also a gigantic amount of other foods that set my tastebuds to dancing and my eyes to grow large with delight.

From the whimsicalness of McDonald’s selling rice and spam (which was delicious, unlike the gross canned stuff you can get at the store), to gas stations selling sushi, to fresh-made smoothies in Sams Club, the whole trip was a delightful experience.

One of my favorite food experiences of all times (and I’ve had a LOT yo), was when we went to a special restaurant in Oahu. The passage of time has dimmed my recollection of exactly what nationality the restaurant represented, but I think it was Taiwanese. We all enjoyed it so, so much, that my family unanimously voted to go back a second time several days later. That’s where we had the mouth-watering soup that I recreated this morning.

Experiencing foods from other countries/cultures is so much fun (most of the time) and I’m thankful for all the wonderful foods we got to try in Hawaii.

Untitled-188.jpg

What I Listened To While Blogging:
This
Where I Blogged:
In my office, watching the snow 
Fun Fact:
Hawaii didn’t become a state until 1959
Question of the Day: 
What ethnicity has your favorite food?