Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life is Charming (roasted garlic)

Victoria Moran says to upgrade your life. She is the author of Living a Charmed Life and she has really awesome, simple ideas on how to do that. One of my favorites is how she views chocolate, Victoria says, "Chocolate is like sex. It can be a sensual, spiritual experience or it can be a criminal act." The criminal act chocolate is the kind that you get at the gas station, eat in the car, and hide the wrappers. She suggests when you eat chocolate, eat handmade, beautiful chocolate that you buy from behind a glass case- of course because it is so expensive you can only have 1 piece. Pick out the special piece, the shop owner will wrap it in tissue paper, bring it home, make yourself a cup of tea, take out a special plate you only use on special occasions, put on mozart or chet baker or whoever relaxes you, and ennnnnjoooooy your beautiful handmade, delicate piece of chocolate. Doesn't that sound so nice? It is with these simple moments or gestures, when we are able to pay more attention and slow down to enjoy, that enable us to experience a truly charmed life.

Today, I was trying to think of other ways we may try to make our lives a charmed one.
I know eating high quality foods is one way. The idea is to do the best you can with what you have in the moment. Chop and I don't have mucho money, and since being out of work to care for Wesley, I see the stretch that buying high quality food can be for people. But by allowing myself to do the best that I can, with what I have in the moment- I have found that we still eat well, spending less money, and find enjoyment in making it work. It isn't always what you eat either, but how you eat it. Do you "plate" your food? Do you drink out of plastic or glass? Do you watch TV or do you listen to music while you eat? How can you make the experience of eating a meal just that, an experience? I've found plating my meals, laying them out so that they are visually appealing is almost as important as how they taste. If your meal looks beautiful, it is more apt to taste equally as wonderful. You may not be able to do it every meal, but do the best you can with the time you have available. As Victoria says, "it's just as easy to pour your morning juice into a stemmed glass as it is to pour it into your kids plastic disney cup."

All this charmed life talk got me reflecting a bit. I have to admit that there have been many times that, though I didn't quite use that term, "charmed" is how I would describe my life. It also occurred to me that nobody really wants to hear anyone else describe their life as charmed. It would be more acceptable for me to say that I am blessed. Being blessed means that God decided that I would have a nice life and therefore it has nothing to do with me, it was God's decision. But I think that it does have to do with us, we can control how we view our lives and how we live them. So yeah, I've thought about how lucky I am (there I go again with it being luck- first god, now a leprechaun), but also how I work to keep it going. Buying fun colored vegetables (how can you feel down eating rainbow chard?) always helps. I also found taking pictures of your life, even if they aren't pictures you'd really want to keep or even hang on a wall, helps to give you a different perspective. Winter on BI is cold, quiet, lonely, windy, and one might even say boring. But when you're really bored, you force yourself out into the wind and cold to take a walk. This is when I bring a camera-my pictures aren't great, I don't have an "eye" for photography, but boy does it look beautiful behind the lens. You can't feel the 9 degree windchill or 35 mph winds, you just see sunshine, peacefulness and beauty.

I thought this could look like a car commercial. If the car was nicer or even newer. Charming.

Roasted garlic makes me love life. There is a restaurant on BI (Winfields) that serves roasted garlic and shaved parmesan with their bread. It is a nice restaurant, and the garlic comes in a whole bulb. It is such a treat, but why not make it at home?

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2 Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

roasted-garlic-1.jpg roasted-garlic-2.jpg
roasted-garlic-3.jpg roasted-garlic-4.jpg

3 Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.

4 Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

Purple rice makes life feel special. This is a dish of many colors.

Roasted Kale (dashed with salt and garlic powder)
Roasted butternut squash (tossed in cinnamon and maple syrup)
Purple rice and kidney beans (finished with feta cheese)

Orange squash in a blue pan. Fun.

Taking a little boy for a cold walk. Special.

Look at the beets! Chata-something beets (I have to look up the name). It always makes cooking more fun when your food looks seuss-ish. Steam the beets and keep them in the fridge to throw on salads (everyone do this except Kristen ;) Toss in a salad with green beans, pecans, and blue cheese- awesome.

Who doesn't like a little cheese filled pasta every once in a while. 4 Cheese Ravioli tossed with roasted butternut squash, green beans, roasted sweet onions, feta cheese, and roasted garlic. So wonderfully delicious.

My boy is always so warm, he "runs hot" as they say. Unfortunately he is never able to wear the sweet cable neck sweater he received as a gift, it is just too much for him. But when you live a charmed life like he does, you dress up for fun, even if its only for a 10 minute photo shoot.


Bethany said...

Oh how I wish you would cook for me.
Your boy is so cute in his cable sweater.
What a sweet, dear lovable face!
Great blog post.
All so true, except I wanted to throw chocolate at you in the beginning! That sort of patience is easier said than done.
But it's right on, the plating, the sitting and eating. The rainbow colors.
I will get chard when I shop next.
I will make a Persephone dish. I will I will.
I grow those stripped candy cane beets. I love them too.
Thanks for the BI pics. Feeds my soul, as do your amazing meals.
You are charming as always.

Stacie said...

I'm so charmed to have found your blog! Since I went vegan I have been a lot braver in the kitchen -because I can't just have that cheese sandwich anymore. You've given me a lot of inspiration to try many new things already. :)Thanks.

natalie said...

I think you do have an "eye" for photography, those photos of the garlic made me want to run right out into the kitchen & roast some up! And the "suess" beets are really neat looking, did you get them at Whole Foods?
And then of course there's the great photos you take of Wes, so real I just want to kiss the computer screen :)

Madeline Rains said...

I'm off bloggin except for checking yours periodically. You are the best! That butternut is scrumptious!!!!!!!!
I love your recipes and photos and boy.

Emily said...

That Wes is looking so handsome in his cable knit! I really enjoyed this post - you are just so good at this stuff! Starting roasting kale because of you and I love it!

Bethany said...

I'm reading this book now, it finally came in for me though ILL. Love it.