gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: cooking

Gratitude

0

IMG_1362

I was reading the fall edition of The Magnolia Journal, which is themed “Gratitude” for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and it came at a very apropos time in my life since I’ve recently received some medical news that has been a bit of a shock and definitely not welcome. When things like this happen it is so easy to fixate our minds on that one facet of our lives and forget about all the things we should actually be grateful for.  So I am mindfully trying to make an effort to appreciate the positives in the face of adversity, with a little help from Joanna Gaines.

I am, of course, a fan of the show, along with the millions of others who have been inspired by the stunning transformations that she, Chip, and their team churn out season after season. And not to mention the effervescent love between Chip and Jo…I mean, will we all be lucky enough to find that kind of love?? One can only hope!

IMG_1361

In her article on gratitude, Joanna outlines some basic everyday activities in which she has found a sense of pleasure, and even comfort, that I can identify with. Cooking for her family is one. While I don’t have a family of my own, I did enjoy cooking for my parents when I lived at home. I also like cooking with/for friends. I even like cooking just for myself, even though it can be hard to sit down and eat by yourself after putting love and energy into crafting a nice meal. There’s something about it that just feels unnatural…a good meal is definitely better when in the company of others. Cooking can feel therapeutic and productive, not to mention its visual and palatal benefits that result from the finished product.

Driving is another thing Joanna mentions as being a source of relaxation for her, and I can absolutely relate to this one. I don’t always love driving around town when I have to deal with traffic and the constant stop and go, but even then it can be nice to just be in my own head space for a while and listen to music. I LOVED driving when I lived in Williamstown, MA in the Berkshires because every view was just so darn beautiful. The Berkshires are not big mountains, in fact I think they may technically be considered hills, but they are majestic nonetheless. I found any excuse to drive to surrounding towns simply for the scenic drive. I remember driving 45 minutes to the nearest Starbucks one fall evening to get my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. When you have just the right tunes going while on a scenic drive, you can be transported to another place. I don’t have a car now that I live in Chicago and I have to say I do miss driving. But I certainly wouldn’t want to drive in Chicago traffic…

IMG_7708

Gardening and laundry, a couple other activities Joanna mentions as bringing her solace, I haven’t quite mastered. I don’t like getting dirty or coming across the unexpected worm, and I find laundry to be quite tedious. BUT, I found her article so helpful in serving as a reminder to look for joy in little things we do every day and to be grateful that we are even able to do them in the first place. Some other things I would add to the list of things to be grateful for (aside from the obvious family & friends), are random encounters we have everyday – like witnessing two strangers on the subway trying to make a genuine connection, or seeing two people on the street laughing together and wondering what’s so funny. These encounters might not directly pertain to us, but they remind us of the connectedness between people and the importance of these connections, because we are all linked in some way. Not only that, these encounters remind us of our place in this web of connections and that our place is so small (which can be both scary and comforting). And that there are far more devastating issues than those we face, which is humbling. I am constantly reminded of this in Chicago where homeless people lining the streets is a sight on practically every corner and L ride; or take the recent weather-related tragedies that have devastated peoples’ lives… We should also be grateful that we were born into privileged circumstances, all things considered. And taking a look back at all that we’ve accomplished and realizing – damn, how did I do all that?? – is a good opportunity to recognize our worth.

We have to try to remind ourselves that somehow everything will be OK even when it’s hard to see any good in a situation. Things have a way of working themselves out that is usually impossible to understand while we’re on the struggle bus. Especially when we’re faced with an impending obstacle, or a potentially life-altering development, we have to try to remember that there are so many things for which to be grateful regardless.

 

Advertisements

Healthy eating

0

I moved to Chicago six months ago and I’ve lived in three different apartments since I’ve been here. The first one was an Air B&B, so the kitchen was not really my own to use. The second apartment was a sublease for three months, and the other two people in the apartment had lived there for a few years before I moved in, so I almost felt like an intruder on their space. Again, I did not use the kitchen frequently to cook meals for myself. I moved to a third apartment at the beginning of the summer, and thankfully, it feels a lot more like my own place. SO, I’ve started cooking again after a hiatus and many nights of unhealthy (although tasty) microwave meals.

I’m not a super adventurous cook, despite loving flipping through cookbooks to get ideas. One of my favorite things to make is simply pasta, along with my own sauce that usually includes vegetables or seafood. I mean I did grow up in Italy after all, so I think having a love for pasta (even though it’s a carbs guzzler) is perfectly understandable and acceptable!

This weekend I made pasta with zucchini and swiss chard. In addition to its light and fresh taste, it was a feast for the eyes because I think vegetables are just so darn pretty. It was a perfect little summer meal if you ask me 🙂

 

 

A Thanksgiving celebration

0

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, perhaps even my favorite day of the year. Although I’m not always proud to be an American, Thanksgiving is one thing I appreciate about America. Here is documentation of our Thanksgiving this year.

DSC_3723

Because I think cranberries are so pretty when they’re cooking…

DSC_3725

DSC_3726

Only three gourds since we’re a small family – one for each of us.

DSC_3732

DSC_3736DSC_3737 Loooveee pumpkin pie…DSC_3738

The beauty of food

0

IMG_1965 IMG_1902 IMG_1810 IMG_1776 IMG_1696 IMG_1673 IMG_1543 IMG_1533 IMG_1495 IMG_1450 IMG_1443 IMG_1435 IMG_1374 IMG_1245 IMG_1233 IMG_1039 IMG_1038 IMG_0804 IMG_0794 IMG_0793 IMG_0640 IMG_0136

Labor Day

0

images

Labor Day is a film about loss, one of the hardest things that we face in life but also something that we all inevitably experience. I know it hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but there were definitely aspects of it that I really appreciated. I thought the cinematography was beautiful and captured light and intimacy very nicely. At times the plot felt like inorganic and like it didn’t flow, but the film did have some redeeming qualities as it went on. The character development was good, especially of Frank and Adele, and watching their relationship blossom was touching. Food and the art of cooking was a nice addition to the film, which is something that I personally always enjoy. There is something about cooking and the way that it employs all the senses that is almost seductive and I thought the way the film portrayed food was captivating. There were elements of fear and suspense as the plot revealed itself and I began to feel sympathetic towards the characters who at first seemed unlikeable and emotionless. The plot takes place over the course of a few days, Labor Day weekend, but the present is intertwined with flashbacks from the past, which make the film feel longer than just a few days. This also allows you to get to know the characters better than you would otherwise. The sense of loss is the most prominent part of the film and it can genuinely be felt at times throughout the whole film, which is heartbreaking but very relatable since it is an inevitable part of life and something that affects all of us in varying ways. There was, of course, also a sense of hope at the end and it did have a happy ending, but it shows you how life is a journey with many hardships and only some rewards.