Look to this day

Today is “Poem in your pocket” day, one part of National Poetry Month.  This poem always meant so much to me – it was beloved by my Great-grandma Sara and Grandma Sugarplum, and I had a printing of it next to my bed in college.  It seems a worthy reminder in these tense and troubling times that all we have – really – is today and what we do to it.  So from me to you, I hope you look well to this day.

Look to this day
 
Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life.
 
In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power.
 
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory
of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
 
Look well, therefore, to this day.
 
~ Ancient Sanskrit poem ~
 
Do you have a favorite poem?  Share it in the comments!
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My heart belongs to Boston

This is my city.  My library at Copley Square with the beautiful courtyard.  My land of parks scattered with historical plaques and uneven bricks.  My running trails, my ancient subway.  My marathon.

This morning, my mom and I went running for our half marathon training.  We had 10 miles to do – my longest run yet.  When I mapped it out last night, my route had us going along the Charles, through the city – and either starting or finishing at the marathon so we could cheer on the friends and strangers who were taking on those daring 26.2 miles this year.  When she got here today, we decided to scrap that plan – we would instead head downtown and run along the river and then home.  We would cheer on the runners in our hearts and with our steps.  And when we got home, we would head over to see how our friends were doing.  But at the end, we were so exhausted that we stayed in my neighborhood for a celebratory late lunch, and we had just returned to my apartment when we heard the terrible news from Copley Square.

The people who were crossing the finish line at that hour – 4 hours+ into the race – were not elites. They weren’t in it for the glory.  They were in it for charities, to prove something to themselves and to the world.  And the people who were there cheering them on were heroes – the people who don’t just clap for the professional runners who make the sport exciting, but who instead opt to be there for the people who need them most, who need that cheer to propel them across that finish line.

The idea that someone would take this day, this remarkable moment of people coming together and surrounding each other with friendly competition, tributes to athleticism and endurance, testaments to challenges and triumphs – and turn it into a tragedy baffles me.  We are better than this, humanity is better and we can do better.  The pictures of people running toward the blast, helping runners, picking each other up off the ground, prove this.  I am grateful that my loved ones are safe following this terrible violence, but I know there are people still waiting for news or dealing with this tragedy personally.

What we lost today at that finish line was a sense of security, balance, and peace that should come from a unifying event like this.  But what we gained was resolution – we will look after each other, we will carry on, and together, we will take on the evil in the world and drive it out with good because really, there’s no other choice.

Resources:

If you’re in Boston for the marathon and need help, please leave a comment below and I’ll do what I can!

 

Night (and plate) of stars

Long, long ago, in a living room far, far away, I lost miserably on my Oscar ballot.  But I like to think I still won the night with my Oscar-themed menu, with one item from each Best Picture nominated film.  Check below the photos for the specifics on each recipe.

  • Hershey kisses for Amour 
  • 70s-tastic and undercover-disguise ready peanut butter chocolate mustaches for Argo, with some “escape to Canada” Canadian Dry on the side
  • Life of (Pumpkin) Pi(e) dip
  • Southern corn muffins and red pepper jam from Beasts of the Southern Wild (our store didn’t have the ingredients to make hushpuppies!)
  • Southern Comfort in honor of Lincoln (with cranberry and a splash of gingerale = best drink ever)
  • Pigs in a blanket, perfect for eating in front of a football game a la Silver Linings Playbook (note: I never even got to eat one of these despite delivering them in two waves = major party pleaser!)
  • … served with smokey BBQ sauce for Django Unchained
  • A loaf of French bread and baked brie, courtesy of Valjean in Les Mis
  • (Coke) Zero Dark Thirty

Overall, it was a great bash and it taught me that you can never put out the red carpet too early, there’s no such thing as too many little hot dogs… and we need a bigger living room.

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Argo mustaches – made with simple chocolate molds from Michael’s – super fun and a good team activity to try to get everything perfect before it sets!

Pumpkin Pie Dip – based off of this recipe, and I made the pumpkin pie seasoning from scratch!

Corn Muffins – made from store mix, with NH-made red pepper jam (I loooove this stuff)

Pigs in a blanket in the classic style – just get some mini hot dogs, subdivide some Pillsbury crescent roll dough, and cook until the dough is lightly browned.  One thing of dough and one of hot dogs is enough to make two batches to feed a hungry bunch (minus me, since they were all gone by the time I sat down!)

Baked Brie inspired by Les Mis based on my crowd-pleasing recipe from last year.

Special thanks to my sous chef Sara, my partner in crime, Katie, my coworkers who helped me come up with menu items, and everyone else who came to celebrate and talk over Seth Macfarlane’s offensive commentary with us!

The hosts of the evening, on our red carpet

The hosts of the evening, on our red carpet (which we MIGHT have left out for an extra week or so…)

Kitchen Adventures: Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

This simple recipe is great for the end of a busy week and can accommodate almost any ingredients you have around.  Sub couscous for quinoa, add in other veggies, or include other proteins if you have them handy.

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Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 lb shredded Brussels sprouts (I got them precut from Trader Joe’s – one bag will do it!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice – about one lemon worth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • goat cheese (optional, for topping)
  1. Cook the quinoa – one cup of quinoa to 2-3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes for liquid is absorbed.  Let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
  2. Add the oil, onion, Brussels sprouts, salt/pepper, and half the lemon juice to a frying pan over medium heat.  Stir frequently – when the sprouts get bright green, add more lemon juice and bell pepper.  Stir for about 7-10 minutes total, until sprouts are cooked but still crunchy.
  3. Add quinoa to the pan of veggies and mix well.  Serve hot or cold.  (I topped mine with goat cheese crumbles – SO GOOD!)

This made about four salad-sized servings – can’t wait to eat it for lunch later this week.

Enjoy!

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