Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Very Merry

It is 7:02 AM on Christmas Eve and I am sitting alone in the kitchen. The Christmas Tree is lit, the kitchen holiday lights are on. Yesterday's very heavy, very wet snow is practically melted away although from the color of the sky this will be rectified. If you have ever lived where it snows you know the color I mean – that grey white color which blends perfectly into any existing snow giving the impression that we are just a giant snow globe covered up in a heavy blanket of white.
The weatherpeople have promised a white Christmas here on the Coast of Illinois.

I am holding them at their word.

I want a snow covered Christmas.
I know people are traveling and weather can be dangerous. My parents are getting older and are just waiting to take a nice slide on a patch of ice. I don't even have the required fixings for French Toast. But I don't care.
Its Christmas and I want a blanket of snow.

Why this sudden selfishness?

Well. This is the first year my little family won't be all together on Christmas. Our girl is off to spend the holiday with her special person. And that's okay. We love him like family. His parents are delightful and I know his mom will take good care of 'our' girl. Plus we got him for Thanksgiving...

I keep telling myself its okay that she is away. I remember very well that first Christmas I spent with Rob's family. It was different, and slightly weird but wonderful all the same because he was the person I wanted to be with.
And that's how it should be.

We raise our children to become self sufficient adults and want nothing more than for them to be happy.

And really, that's the best Christmas present I could ever hope for.

I would like to leave you all with a paraphrased quote from musician Peter Mayer, spoken during his Stars and Promises concert earlier this week:

Home is where you go to find peace, love, joy, hope.
May each of you be that place...

Happy Holidays

the Coast of Illinois

Saturday, December 9, 2017

If All the Kids Ate Kale Ice Cream....

I admit it.

I am a 'foodie'.

I love food – eating it, reading about it, shopping for it...

Okay, that last one may be an exaggeration, although I have been known to drag people to farmer's markets while on vacation in hotel rooms where there is no hope of cooking that artisinal, heritage, kombucho-tomato-peach hybrid.


and I immediately pin-it, make a list, plan meals for the next seven months and spend way too much money at the grocery.

All to forget where I hid the list and wind up making my famous ground beef and broccoli with garlic salt.

I do pride myself on actually being somewhat ahead of the game:

Greek yogurt? First person to request it at our local market.

Hummus? Tried making my own with garbanzo beans and peanut butter for some vegetarian friends in the late 80's.

I even made borscht way back in 1979, long before it was politically trendy to be associated with Russia.

But all buzz about 'overnight oats'?

I have resisted whole-heart-healthily. There was nothing about 'overnight oats' that appealed to me. Oats, milk, fruit mixed and placed in the fridge for twelve hours, then eaten cold???

Sounded like the fixings for a container of cement at worst and a soggy bowl of cold soggy grain at almost worst.

I am that person who barely pours milk on regular cereal, let alone marinate my flakes in it.

Frankly, oatmeal in my opinion is best hot, and as cookies.

It took Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman of Food Network fame, to convince me to attempt 'overnight oats'. Her pleasant, sweet optimism as she poured heavy cream, fresh chopped strawberries, half and half, brown sugar and oats into a mason jar, tightened the lid, shook it up and place it in her perfectly organized refrigerator gave me hope that if I too gave 'overnight oats' a try, my morning would greet me with a lovely pink sunrise over a beautiful field of horses.

This is what my breakfast looked like: 
There is not a photo filter in the world that could improve on this picture.

I concede, I did not use a mason jar and I did not have fresh strawberries. And while I did have heavy cream in the fridge, I opted for slightly lighter almond milk and a splash of half and half with blueberries and banana standing in for the fruit component.
You can never convince me that there is some special Mason Jar Alchemy that magically turns this pile of goo into a creamy bowl of deliciousness.
And its ice cold.

I took a couple tastes straight from the fridge before dumping my Rubbermaid container into a bowl and microwaving for a few minutes.

Which succeeded in putting the missing component of heat into this messed up experiment and turned the cold bowl of goo into a warm bowl of slightly banana scented plaster. And since I was short one monkey with a broken leg in need of casting, or a fracture in the New Madrid Fault line in need of shoring up, I tossed the entire mess into the trash and opted for what may be the new breakfast trend: 
Peanut butter and those fantastic cookies Southwest Airlines passes out with Pour Over coffee on the side. That's right, I am that person...

Rob took the trash out later that day and commented on the heftiness of the bag comparable to the actual amount of trash in the can.

I kept my mouth shut and read up on SEVENTY TWO INGENIOUS WAYS TO USE KOHLRABI. 

*Those 'Southwest' cookies are made by belVita. They boast a hefty dose of protein to keep you full all rolled into a delicious cookie. This is, in fact, true.

***I am very excited to announce that Coast of Illinois will be included in an upcoming list of Best Blogs to Follow in 2017! by Wendy Dressler. And if you are a blogger go on over to my Because Friends tab for info on her Guest Posting Sites guide.
You can find Wendy at****