food

Let’s Get Pancakes

“Let’s get pancakes” I said. “It will be fun.” I said.

That was a few days ago when Snooze AM Eatery brilliantly marketed their National Pancake Day celebration on my Facebook feed. Those damn targeted ads. They work.

So when my phone buzzed at 6 am with one of my friends texting she was sick and wouldn’t make our breakfast date I almost rolled over and went back to sleep. Then I couldn’t find a comfortable spot in my bed and my alarm kept buzzing back from snooze singing to me, “It’s time to get up in the morning.”

I got out of bed. It was still dark out. Let me repeat. It was still DARK out. I never wake up when it’s dark out. Sorry folks, I just don’t.

I got dressed, kissed my sick husband on his feverish forehead and left the house.

As I walked to the garage I noticed a thread of bunny tracks in the snow across the driveway. A sign of life in the glistening powder that was gifted to us last night. Tiny animal prints reminding me that we share our yard with other little creatures.

I got in my car, turned on the heat, drove the twenty miles to get a delicious breakfast. Heat in my car. A beautiful thing on a frosty morning.

As I drove the sun came up, turning the sky from dark to pink to blue. Shivering trees brushed the sky, reaching up their branches into the promise of another appearance from the sun.

I never wake up early enough to see the sunrise. I should witness that beauty more.

We sat down to warm coffee with rising cream in those perfectly crafted yellow mugs  and placed our order.

And then our waitress brought us these.

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Giant.

Giant pancakes. We started laughing. I thought we ordered off the special flight menu for, you know, National Pancake Day.  The tiny pancakes. I guess I was wrong.

Beauty in abundance on my plate(s). In white flour and caramelized pears, in strawberry jam mixing with sausage, and white chocolate mixing with coconut flakes. Beauty in pools of syrup and perfectly weighted forks.

Beauty in enjoying time with friends. Beauty in feeling productive before 8 am. Beauty in frequenting local restaurants that give back to their communities.

And later, tonight as I thought about this post, I asked my friend, “Hey silly question, did you take a pic of all those pancakes this morning?”

Of course she did. It’s so great when you have friends who get you. Who snapchat their food and document culinary adventures so I can share them with you.

Today reminded me that it doesn’t take much to be delighted. Mix up your routine. Watch the sunrise. Order the pancake or two.

You can always take home the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

 

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Giving Light – Kelsey H.

Version 3

Follow Kelsey’s Blog Here.

Hi! I’m Kelsey. I’m a dietitian by day and baker by night. I love to create and photograph food, read books I can’t put down, sing whenever I can and do pretty much anything outside. I’m currently living in Okinawa, Japan with my husband and fun-loving dog.
Here are the five things I find beautiful right now and always. Enjoy!
1. Okinawa, Japan
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The beauty of this island that I live on never ceases to amaze me. For those of you who need to brush up on your geography, Okinawa sits about 1,000 miles south of mainland Japan and is, therefore, very tropical. On the outside, Okinawa is beautiful because of the numerous white sand beaches overlooking turquoise waters, surrounded by colorful coral reefs with all kinds of tropical fish. The sunsets are phenomenal (as are the sunrises, when I’m awake to see them) and we frequently see rainbows arching across the sky. On the inside, Okinawa is beautiful because of the culture. Okinawa has a rich history with many traditions and holidays, the locals are always so helpful, accommodating and polite and the food is absolutely phenomenal too. We have enjoyed learning and experiencing this beautiful island and will truly miss it when we can no longer call it home.
2. Food
Food is beautiful to me. As a dietitian, it is beautiful because it provides vital nutrients to our bodies. As a chef and baker, it is beautiful because of all the dishes I can create with it. As a food blogger, it is beautiful because of all of the ways it can be described. As a food photographer, it is beautiful because of the many colors, focal points and textures it provides. As a lover of food, it is beautiful because it is exciting, comforting, memorable and, most of all, delicious!
3. Friendships
friends

I’ve been friends for over 10 years with all of these beautiful ladies!

 

Out of everything on this list, I think friendships are the most beautiful thing. They fill my life with laughter, adventure and love. Even though location, age or just life in general can change, friendships always remain constant. I love that I can pick right back up with my high school and college friends, even though we only see each other one or two times a year. I cherish the friends that I have here in Okinawa because they have become my family, when all of our families are just so far away. Most importantly, I know that any one of my friends, both old and new, would run to my side if I ever needed them, and that, to me, is the most beautiful part of it all.

4. Music
I was listening to Christmas music the other night and I found myself not cooking, like I should have been doing, but standing still and listening to the music. I realized that music is beautiful to me because of the way the harmonies blend and fit together so perfectly. It took me back to all of the music performances I had ever been a part of and the beauty I heard and felt whenever we finally accomplished those harmonized moments. It also made me realize how beautifully music fills in the quiet parts of my day. Whether it’s listening to an upbeat song during a workout or Christmas songs to put me in the holiday spirit, the words, songs and harmonies always lighten my mood. Without music, my life would be a quiet, and less happy, place!
5. Running
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My forever running partner.

I have to admit, I don’t always love running. Sometimes it’s boring, a lot of times something in my body hurts and, almost always, my crazy dog is trying to pull me forward or slow me down. So why do I think it’s beautiful? Running is beautiful because it gives me a chance to be outside, which means, while we are living here at least, I get to look at and listen to the ocean. It clears my mind. It makes me realize how powerful my body is and how hard I can push myself. It’s my dog’s favorite thing to do (if only I could snap a picture of his face as we start running) and wears him out, if only just for a little while. Plus, going for a run means I can eat more Christmas cookies!

 

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more about how you can enter the Give Light Giveaway.

Live Together – It’s Prettier That Way

40 fabulous humans.

30 chocolate cupcakes.

5 pounds of ground beef.

5 bags of hamburger buns

4 cans of Manwich.

4 bags of cabbage.

4 onions.

3 bags of potato chips.

3 dozen brownies.

2 types of cheese.

1 massive veggie tray.

1 birthday cake.

No… there are no prices adding up here, but all of this food led to sloppy joes and mounds of coleslaw. This also inspired a beautiful happy heart as I facilitated a house filled with family and friends, laughter and beer. We filled our new home with light, joy and housewarming blessings. I was tickled to see so many parts of life come together yet again. I still get party planning anxiety – sure I can invite people over – but will they come?

They did, and I was happy. Bringing people you love together, who also love you back, is a beautiful thing.

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Before the party, I was at my parent’s house for a brief moment and saw this hanging on their fridge. It caught my eye, and my heart, as my first reaction was asking myself “Has this truly been a good year?” There have been some challenging situations that brought beautiful growth. There has also been immense blessings in the ability to step out in faith, with a little bit of fear, that led me to the deep sense of gratitude I experienced standing in my new kitchen, hungry friends all around me.

This line from the image caught me up too….. ‘Life is always giving back to me what I give out.’

That statement is a little, well, confronting. What am I giving out to the world? Am I sharing blame, hurt, confusion, or guilt? Or am I allowing myself to move through these emotions while understanding that I can give kindness, compassion, empathy, and honest expression of my truth. Can I invite my friends out and about in the hopes that they too will reciprocate an invitation rather than stay home for fear of not being included? Does this juxtaposition make sense to anyone else? For I feel there is beauty in paying attention to what you are giving the world.

No. This does not mean overextend and sacrifice and deplete yourself for the sake of others. Rather, I interpret this as a shocking call to action. Am I living in an authentic way that invites others to be authentic? Am I choosing to share my life, my food, my living room with my friends as I hope others will do with me? Life is meant to be lived together, its prettier that way.

I find it odd that Americans make fun of our propensity for gratitude this month. Sure, we may not remember to be thankful all year, but what is wrong with reminders to stay grounded in gratitude for at least thirty days? Dylan and I have been sharing what we are thankful for each day at the dinner table this month. Maybe we will continue as we move into a new year, maybe we won’t. Either way the practice is grounding when focusing on the present.

I have also chosen to participate in a fun social media project using the hashtag #30daysofreal. I find that gratitude comes with acceptance for me, and there is nothing better than breaking down the fake illusions we often create on social media. The hashtag is meant to portray the good, the bad, and the beautiful in real life – at least for 30 days. Join us if you will. It’s fun.

What are you giving to the world? Is it gratitude, is it authenticity, or perhaps something else?

No biscotti.

New Essie Polish: Frilling Me Softly – SO FUN FOR THE WINTER HOLIDAYS