Friday, December 2, 2011

Joy Await Thee

My husband has been learning to play the bouzouki lately and yesterday, while I made a pie, he joined me in making what we felt was very good music! The song we are currently working on is performed below in Gaelic by the excellent Scottish band Capercallie. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful Scottish ballads of all time. Enjoy!

What is your favorite Celtic song?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today I'm Thankful For... Special Mugs

Do you have a favorite mug? I do, or rather several. For tea, I love the beautiful posies-and-poppies cup my sister brought me from England. For cappucinos, I love a six-ounce cup with strawberry flowers. And for random beverages--cider, hot chocolate, steamers, chai--I love this recently thrifted mug with a perplexing image of a bird and butterfly. It has thick walls which hold heat remarkably, a nearly-unreadable stamp on the bottom indicating that it was crafted with care, and has lately been filling me with joy each time I use it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seasonal Cooking... Collard Greens

3 for $1! Collard greens! The farmer squinted at me as I pursed my lips, uncertain how to cook this (phenomenally nutritious) seasonal green. How could I resist? We handed him a dollar and walked away the dubious owners of a shopping bag full of green leaves.

Fortunately for all of us our friend D. visited the next day and enthusiastically showed us one delightful way to use them, and we've had them every day since!

How do you use collard greens?

Sauteed Collard Greens

  • Chopped onion
  • Diced Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • More greens than you think you need, washed and torn or sliced

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, then add the greens and the lime, cover, turn down the heat, and let steam until the leaves are wilted but still have great texture.

Serving Suggestion: On whole wheat tortillas with a basil-garlic bean paste and cheese. Outstanding!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thrifted Serendipity

I like the concept of thrifting far more than the actuality, but occasionally I seem to have a day of joy and come forth victorious!

For 79 cents, this lovely Oriental scarf, which will be finding a home as inspiration on my thumbtack board.
What glorious finds have you discovered lately?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Surfeit and Lack

My Thanksgiving weekend was spent basking in leisure, eating wonderful food, and relating with friends and family in several locations. It was wonderful! Highlights included an impromptu foot-stamping jam session with flute, guitar, bouzouki, and harp that resounded through my parent's old Victorian house, all the potatoes and gravy I could eat, and the manifest charms of a cat so sleepy she couldn't hold her head up.

It was lovely, but it is over--leaving me feeling sludgy from unhealthy food, sluggish from lack of exercise, and sullen from too much talking and interaction. Normally this state finds me puzzled and gradually dissipates, only to be restored around Christmas time. But this year I don't want to spend a month and a half of my life under par. So I'm taking action! Peaceful, contemplative action.

This week the McIntyre household will be avoiding sweets and meat, eating lots of veggies, and enjoying simpler meals, to counteract the excess of the weekend. I am also planning to study and read a lot, take naps and hot baths, and forswear the TV and internet in favor of making music, writing, and just sitting to contemplate this constantly-changing life. Pots of herbal tea, my harp, and my yoga mat will be my companions.

There's a balance between surfeit and lack which I want to learn. Life is a series of small moments, building upon each other to create the kind of internal and external structure we present to ourselves and the world. This week, this moment, I choose simplicity.

How are you incorporating your holiday celebrations into your own life?