O is for Onions

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I was nearly nine when my oldest sister got married. One of my favorite things to do in the following years was to visit her. At one point, she and her husband and firstborn lived in the woods in a little cabin down a steep ridge. They didn’t have electric or indoor plumbing and when I would visit I’d have to haul my bags down the exhausting 75 steps that were built into the hill. I thought it was delightful and longed to live in a cute little place like that when I got married, too.

One day when I was visiting Betsie asked me what I wanted to do that day. I promptly replied that it had always been a dream of mine to make noodles. She assured me it would be a long process, but if I wanted to spend my time in the kitchen with her then she would be happy to oblige.

That day in the kitchen was a happy one – full of laughter and talking and reminiscent of when she lived at home and we cooked together nearly every day. What stands out in my mind the most though is when we were making supper to go along with the noodles we’d fashioned.

Betsie made venison burgers, then began chopping onions to go along with them. It wasn’t long until both of us had red, stinging eyes, so I asked her why in the WORLD anyone would go through such misery just to have onions to eat. She explained that since her husband liked onions she served them regularly. When I vehemently declared that when I got married and had my own kitchen I would never cook with onions, she laughed and said I might change my mind when I fell in love. I found that hard to believe.

That was far more than half my lifetime ago, and yet I’m still often amused by little ol’ me when it comes to what I’m willing to put up with in the kitchen to provide a tasty meal.

And onions? Well, I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve actually prayed that my (future) husband likes them because I enjoy cooking with them so much. So, I bid adieu to my emphatic declarations of childhood and conceded that my sister really was right after all.

N is for Nutmeg {A to Z Challenge 2018}

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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}

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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.

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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}

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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….

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?