back to blogging and life transitions (and eating good food)

After intending to break from this blog only while I was in Northern Ireland, I found it a bit harder to get back into after breaking the habit. Free time normally spent on the computer blogging and wasting time has now been spent job searching and life searching. My life has been full of transitions since graduating High School seven and a half years ago- I’ve not had much consistency with my day-to-day lifestyle for much longer than a year at a time since then. And so I begin again. Here’s to the beginning of more transitions and a new season.

I have a slew of ideas written down for future posts on here, and that is something I intend to keep consistent again. So, with no further ado, here is my Sunday CSA post a week and a few days late.

watermelon, broccoli, apples, grapes, cherry tomatoes, basil, an heirloom tomato, romaine, green onion, zucchini, avocado, jalapeños, and kale

WHAT a haul this was! My mouth was watering as each item got put into my bag, and then I didn’t know what to work on first. Apples have long been one of my favorite foods, but I haven’t had them consistently in a few years. I have been savoring them over the past week; shared one the day I got them, had one for snack at work a few days later, and the last is still sitting in my fridge, probably to be enjoyed tomorrow. I wanted to savor the grapes for just as long, but it was impossible. They were quite definitely the best grapes I have EVER eaten. Nice and crisp and a delicious sweet flavor with a slight hint of tartness. They lasted all of two days, and it was hard to not eat them all in one go. The broccoli and zucchini got sauteed into a delicious stir fry with carrots, potatoes, and just a hint of salt and pepper. I love sauces with my veggies, but they really do taste the best at their plainest. Those cherry tomatoes have been too good on their own and have been snacked on consistently. The heirloom tomato was great on bread with cheese and more homemade pesto from the basil. Still working on perfecting my version of that recipe. The romaine got given to Jeremy to enjoy with his lunches. I tried to be a fan of green leafy things but I’m starting to allow myself to give up that dream. The kale got cut up and there was every intention to use it in a stir fry with salt and pepper and olive oil and lemon juice and feta, but that never did happen. It will be part of tonight’s dinner- veggie burgers with the rest of the heirloom tomato and the last half of the watermelon. The avocados are sitting on the counter, ready to be used for baking a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. The poor jalapeños are still sitting in the bottom of my fridge. I love spicy food but I do not like the taste of jalapeños. Any suggestions? I’ve not done any looking in to that, and they haven’t gone bad yet.

Lots of good food, but getting back into the swing of things and finding new recipes for the food just didn’t happen this week. I was supposed to have another pick up this Sunday, but I will be out of town, so I’ll have no more CSA fruits and veggies for another two weeks.

Have any of you tried baking with avocado yet? I am really looking forward to making my cookies again, and I remember them going well the first try, which is nice. I still would like to find a better science for figuring out what temperature to bake avocado goods on and how long they should be in the oven- particularly cake-type items. Any suggestions?

Happy Tuesday!

August 22 edit- I’ve linked this post up with this week’s CSA link party at inHerChucks … you should check it out!

Qu Mei Gua le

(That pinyin may be entirely wrong. I tried.)

I am home, after 20 hours of travelling. I arrived at my house around 8:00 last night, and here I am, tired but awake at 6:30am. I’ve actually been awake since around 4:00am. 3 hours of sleep last night. 4.5 cumulative hours of sleep during that 20 hour travel period. Yes, I am tired. And I am craving Chinese food. But I’m home, and I’m safe, and it was easy getting back to the states. So, no complaining!

This blog isn’t finished yet, I’ll update it again within the next 2 weeks or so, so please keep checking back! I want to get my bearings together and tie some strings in one last post, and upload more pictures. Until then, please check out the scrapbook page of New Day’s site. You will find updated pages that have lots pictures of what I did with the kids during my last week. Hopefully that can satisfy any of your curiosity until I post again and upload my last batch of pictures. Some have already been updated, the link for the third picture album has all new pictures, as of a few days ago. Enjoy!

Music makes the people come together

Yes, that title is a Madonna quote. Silly me, quoting Madonna. But you know what, it’s true. Music is an entirely universal language, it can cross boundaries that speech, poetry, sports, or touch are able to cross. Last night, Sarah (the preschool teacher) invited Jovy and I over to her house for dinner. We got to meet her 2 year old son, and we ate some wonderful homecooked hot pot. Afterwards, her neighbor was out with his guitar and we sat around in a circle outside and Sarah played some, and then she brought out her Ukelele and we played some songs together, there was singing involved, and I even took the guitar and played and sang them some Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), hooray for that!

But none of that was the best part. The best part was towards the very end of our time there, she started playing Amazing Grace. And we all sang it together, in both languages at the same time. I can’t really think of very many other moments in my life that have amounted to the beauty of that one.

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Before I left the states to come here this summer, my friends at work surprised me with money to bring here and spend on the kids. I can’t begin to describe how ecstatic I was about this.

About two weeks into my trip, I had a random dream that we took the kids to the Beijing Wildlife Park. On Friday, my friends from work in Pennsylvania made that a reality.

So, Friday morning, 10 kids and 11 adults piled into two cars and drove to the Beijing Wildlife Park. It started out a bit overwhelming, as in two of the kids cried when they saw the horses, and half of the kids cried when we saw the monkeys. Yeah … horses and monkeys and uncontrollable crying and some freaking out.

But, the kids did all eventually calm down. And they had a great time seeing the monkeys and giraffes and wolves and deer and bears and peacocks and lions and chipmunks and racoons and tigers. They got to see lions jump through rings of fire and bears walk on balls. We even all piled into one of these:

safari truck

And once in that safari truck, we took a trip through many different animal habitats, and watched bears stand on their hind legs right infront of us to eat raw chicken above our heads, and hand fed cabbage to many different kinds of deer and pigs, and all in all had a wonderful time.

We also went out to eat at a restaurant in Beijing. Just chew on that for a bit … 10 kids at a restaurant. Haha. It really was great times. And the people at Lookaway are amazing for helping it all to happen!

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And, as some side notes, my pictures are updated. The pictures on Facebook are the ones I have edited and picked my favorites. I also put the names of the kids and some comments on those pictures so you know the context. The pictures on Photobucket (album one, album two) are unedited, and every single picture I’ve taken is uploaded onto those photo albums, and it’s up to you to fish through them as I’ve left no context, no names, and there are at this point over 350 of them. Enjoy!