I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty versus utility lately. Is taking the time to hand-make something worth it when I can easily buy something similar the store? Sure, the smell of freshly baked bread is lovely, but is it necessary? A hand-made quilt is special, but can’t I purchase one, too? I wonder about things like this, I suppose, because I wonder if what I do is worth it.
I think we all feel that way about our work: we want to know what we do is valuable.
These thoughts lead me to two main questions: Why is it that I have a desire to make, to create? And is that unnecessary or even a frivolous use of time?
In a plastic world where I can place an order on Amazon and have it delivered less than 48 hours later, where we can order lattés on our phones, and where entire ready-to-assemble meals can be shipped to my doorstep, why should we create our own?
Oh, it’s been awhile since I posted last. We had an unexpected visitor last month. You might have heard of him – Hurricane Matthew? We had a lovely impromptu visit with some of our best friends when we evacuated to Tallahassee, but it’s taken weeks to get back to normal. When you think your house is going to be destroyed and you pack up all your important papers (both of the government issued and the child drawn varieties) as well as heirlooms and favorite things, it takes forever to put everything back.
But our house was spared. We lost a few trees, a fence, and a large dose of our sanity, but we are thankful.
That brings me to the theme of this post: thanksgiving. This year, in light of the hurricane that nearly hit us head on but bobbled east at the last minute, we have much to be thankful for. It’s easy to grow weary of driving around the massive piles of debris that FEMA has yet to pick up, but this storm could have absolutely devastated my town.
Isn’t “muffin” a nice word? It sounds so wholesome. Especially when we pair it with a fruit or vegetable: “I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast.” “Let’s bake some blueberry muffins!” “Zucchini muffins? Yum!”
It just sounds healthy and cozy.
The problem is that most muffins are really cake masquerading as breakfast food.
My former go-to blueberry muffin recipe is delicious but has almost equal amounts of sugar and flour. There are roughly 400 grams of sugar in the batch, which means one little muffin would send you skyrocketing past your recommended sugar allowance for the entire day.
It’s the first day of autumn, and we made a bento box to celebrate! Some of my bento boxes are a bit fussier, but for this one, I wanted a bento box that uses the convenience of store-bought foods without sacrificing nutrition. This is a simple box that anyone can easily put together in minutes – you just need some cookie cutters.
You can find fun lunch ideas as well as coupons for healthier products like the ones featured here, Honest Kids and Rudi’s Organic Bakery, as well as Applegate and Annie’s, at Rock the Lunchbox.
The sandwich is made out of Rudi’s Organic Bakery Spelt Bread and nut butter with a squirrel cookie cutter. Little acorns are single slices of bread smeared with a bit of peanut butter for the tops and a chocolate covered sunflower seed for the stems.
I usually make my own sourdough bread that only uses flour, salt, and water, but I like to keep some store-bought stuff on hand for convenience. I like buying the frozen type loaves because they are generally healthier, but they can be dry; that wasn’t the case with Rudi’s. It’s soft, organic, and tastes great. We tried their gluten free bread, too – it’s not quite as good as the regular stuff, but it’s not bad at all.
Now that the school year is in full swing, I’m using my crock pot almost every day. One of my favorite things to prepare in it is curry – it’s easy, flavorful, healthy, and inexpensive. I love curry powder, low heat, and time makes magic out of simple vegetables and chick peas.
This recipe comes to us by way of The Kitchn (link below). It’s really easy and makes a ton. We fed 6 adults the first night, and our family of four the second and still had a bit leftover. Feel free to halve this recipe if you want a more reasonable amount.
This dish is a great vehicle for toppings – serve over rice and top with green onions, cashews, cilantro, sriracha, lime, Greek yogurt, or all of the above. If you want wine, serve with a dry riesling – the sweetness complements the spicy curry nicely.