Monday, March 7, 2011

Mommy's Birthday

Today would have been my mom's 57th birthday. It marks the 5th birthday she's not here to celebrate--which is hard to believe.

On her 52nd Birthday she had to work the night shift. We shared an apartment; so I decorated the place in yellow streams, a 'Happy Birthday' sign, and I made her a confetti cake. Since she would be getting in so late, I left a note asking her to wake me up when she got home.

I'll never forget how excited she was to have someone celebrate her. I saw her tear up a little, and I knew it made it her so happy that I tried to leave the streamers up for a long time after. But my mom was a big about decluttering, so she had me take them down after a week.

Looking back I'm glad I had grown to be a little less selfish at that point, enough to be able to celebrate the woman who gave me birth. I was only (newly) 21 and got caught up in my own world pretty often, but God gave me the inspiration to do something special that year.

A couple of weeks later, I went to Los Angeles for the first time. It was my Spring Break trip that I saved up for. My mom was so proud of me for traveling and seeing the world that she bragged about me to (what felt like) everyone she met. I was her daughter that traveled to visit friends, and I paid for the whole trip myself!

I brought her back a key chain and seashells. Both of which I now have in my possession. My mom was able to carry that key chain (a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star with 'Pat' on it) for a month. Then, at the end of April we had to say goodbye.

I think about that last month of her life often. I remember all of the kid feelings of being embarrassed by my parent, I remember all the times we giggled, the times we fought, and I remember, especially in that last month, how supportive she was of my decisions in life.

Now, 5 years later, I'm married, I'm moving to LA, I have seen so much more of the world than she ever dreamed of, and I am happy. I am really, really happy.

It hurts so much at times that she hasn't been here for any of that, but all of her support and encouragement is still with me today. I am very much the person and the dreamer that I am because... she told me I could be that person.

I often think on how losing my mom so young has shaped me as a person. I ask questions like 'would I still have met and married Jayson if it had not happened?'. But the key I need to remember is to not dwell on how her death has affected me, but how her life influenced mine.

So happy birthday, Mommy; and thank you. Not just for giving me life, but for shaping who I am in every sense.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup

So my latest blogosphere obsession has been Cupcakes and Cashmere! I already got a few recipe, clothing, and design ideas from Emily (the wonderful blogger)---not to mention the desire to return to NOLA after seeing her Mardi Gras pics!--- but when I saw this entry with this recipe linked to it, I knew we had to try it.

So last night, after a cloudy, chilly, event packed day (that started by thinking two men were breaking into my house...long story), I grabbed my ingredients and through this in the pan.
*I used turkey sausage, and want to try a spicy turkey sausage in it next time.

Rule #1 in cooking:
Always have something to read to help pass the time.
(Rule #2 is always have a chair or somewhere to sit in the kitchen to do said reading)

It immediately smells wonderful, and the kale soaks up all the broth to make it extra tasty and take away any bitterness.

Finished product!

We did decide that next time we think we will try to add 1 more can of beans, just to make it a bit more dense.

Warning if you try this recipe at home: the creator didn't give a lot of specific instructions; so please go into it willing to try different things, make stuff up as you go along, and be okay if it doesn't turn out perfect...though I'm pretty sure that's hard to do with this one.


P.S. also want to add, this was such a simple and pretty quick recipe. a lot of times soup take a little more effort... not this one. so enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homemade Granola

I hear homemade granola is the new fondue (spread it around).

Tonight, I made my first batch.

"Sarah, aren't you down and out with the Mono right now?" you ask. Why yes, yes I am; and I am stir crazy! Don't worry, I didn't cough on this batch once. 100% safe to eat, and extremely delicious.

I went off of the Barefoot Contessa recipe here on the Food Network page (thanks to Kate for suggesting it), but I changed several things. We aren't a coconut house; so that was out. I used dried cranberries instead of cherries, and I added 1/4 C of brown sugar to really set it off. (I also added a bit more honey just to make sure it was all coated really well).

When making any recipe online, many of you probably know you MUST check the comments other people post about their adventures in making it. If you didn't know that, let me go ahead and give you a run down of the important things I learned before I ever turned on my oven.

  1. Set your over at 325 degrees F, instead of 350!
  2. It should take you 25 minutes to bake this. For the first 20 minutes, DON'T have the fruit in with the granola! Add the fruit when you have 5 minutes left on the clock!
  3. You can add or subtract whatever you want to this recipe, and it will still probably turn out delicious.

I made it, and I love it. I immediately put it on a little cup of ice cream that Jayson brought home from the place he volunteers.

Here are a couple of pictures:

So is there anything I would change? I think if I could go back I would have like some honey and cinnamon on the cranberries as well, but all in all this was perfection!