08 . 28 . 12
An immediacy of regret ricocheted off of every hard surface in the house last week after we accidently clicked “publish” instead of “preview” for the eggplant stack post. An (extremely) rough draft of bubbling thoughts suddenly live, sent to 3000+ inboxes around the world. My heart sank. I wanted to chase after every visitor and beg, “Hey, wait! That’s not what I meant to say!” After reading your kind comments and emails I felt the need to briefly clarify, for my own sake, that I have no desire to leave this space. I have dedicated so much of my soul and time to this adventure with the explicit purpose of reaching, teaching, learning, and growing into the world. Growing into myself. Sharing stories and semblances of a journey to honor the one we each take, individually, every day and the one we share together as human beings. My “lingering concern,” as I so phrased it, about what Happyolks provides is more a matter of how I can use it better. How can I take this utility, this vessel, and infuse it with more light, deeper purpose, and greater authenticity. That is my work. And, I will very much keep working.
But, let’s move on. What I really want to talk about today is Mudita. Have you heard the term before? Mudita is sanskrit for the Buddhist vision of joy, more specifically sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy, or appreciative joy as it’s also translated, is the pleasure and happiness experienced in delighting in other people’s well-being and good fortune. When you genuinely feel gladness for anothers success, the cultivated energy will uplift your own spirit and change the way you live and experience the world. My levels of sympathetic joy have been through the freaking roof lately. Friends and family are starting careers, opening new chapters, changing course, tackling big projects, getting married, having children. My heart feels so swollen with love and eagerness for these folks. The Mudita, sympathetic joy, I have cultivated in witnessing their lives and their passages has elevated my days in more ways than I could possibly describe.
Within this beautiful mess of joy, The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook. The culmination of years of hard work and soul-stretching has brought the world another beautiful artifact of love and passion. I am inspired. I am captivated. I am overwhelmed with happiness for this enormous success. You did it, Sara and Hugh. You really did it. Here’s our gathering, a gathering you both helped make. It is one instance, one night, where the world became a little better because of your grace and dedication. Congratulations, friends. Enjoy the ride! Recipes from film:
Sweet Corn Ceviche
Papaya and Red Quinoa Salad with Mexican Caesar Dressing
Chipotle and Apple Turkey Burgers
*** Music: Old Mythologies by The Barr Brothers. Purchase album here.
** Cookbook giveaway ran 8/28 – 9/7 and is now closed, thank you for all your kind comments.
06 . 20 . 12
We’re here now. With roof, and kitchen. Community. Plans for a garden. It is a wonder to me now that we resisted the temptation to carry on as gypsies forever. The further we let ourselves drift away from the clutter and noise of reality, the more absurd the conventions of our lives always seem to appear. The open road and an empty agenda make few demands of a person – curiousity, patience, willingness, a sense of humor, maybe a toothbrush. Tall grasses, mountains, and the wind gently whisper permission to step out from the rigid set of ideas, requirements, expectations we’ve set for ourselves and make space for new truths and new understandings of what our purpose is on this planet.
It’s easy to romanticize the freedom of it all – no sense of time, place, before, or after. And it’s important. To leave, to get away, to lose oneself to it all. But I think it’s also important to come back. There is an even more profound freedom to be experienced when we recognize that we have the power to create that same sense of adventure, inhibition, and joy in our daily lives. That is my intention. To let myself be free everyday. Wherever I am, wherever I go, wherever I don’t.
Thank you for your love, kindness, and support over the past month as we’ve meandered to our new resting place here in Colorado. Cheers to the next chapter.
* Open fire scramble technique borrowed from “Cooking in the Moment” by Andrea Reusing.
* * Video shot in our favorite parts of Alaska. For more behind the scenes action on our Alaska visit, see here.
04 . 15 . 12
Strawberry Basil Scones
The rope that tethers me to this place, this time, is growing thinner with each day approaching the big move (42, who’s counting). Things feel different, everywhere. My running route, the struggle to find parking on campus, our favorite restaurants, the farmers market, even the beach. It’s as if my mind has begun the emotional preparations for a new normal by disassociating from the old. More frequently now I find myself caught in the ordinary moments with a feeling of being there, but not really there in the ways I once was.
I drive through parts of town and see the places I lost myself, the places I really found myself. I see Shaun and I, younger, and the memories made in our relentless itch for growth and exploration. Everywhere there is a cacophony of light and dark, joy and pain, laughter and tears. It feels sorta supernatural. Hard to describe.
Standing at the edge of the shore this morning, I looked up to the clouds barreling across the sky after the good storm we had the past few days and felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude for the time, for the place — for all that it gave, for all that it took away. Four years have come and gone. I’m a different person now. I hope a better one. And it’s time. Time to let new faces and new seasons to teach me more about myself, more about the world.
The strawberries will be missed, California. But I’m so ready for new adventures.
- 2 ½ cups flour (I used a GF blend)
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
tbsp baking powder
- ½ cup cold coconut oil or butter, cut into chunks
- 1 + cup chopped fresh strawberries
tbsp minced basil
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Scoop out or cut in butter or coconut oil. Stir in minced basil and hulled, and quartered strawberries. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the milk. (Cream, half and half, or regular milk would work here too.) Add egg mixture to flour mixture in one pour. Stir together until completely moistened, using your hands when necessary.
Turn out onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with sugar. If you use butter instead of coconut oil, place baking sheet with cut wedges in the freezer for up to 20 minutes before baking. It will make them magically fluffier and more scone-y. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending. Finish with a good dollop of local honey or clotted cream.
02 . 12 . 12
Last week was a mess of skipped beats. I don’t know if there was something going on with the moon or if my tightrope is undergoing some growing pains, but man alive. Unanswered voicemail. Empty gas tank. Wrong books. Forgotten homework. Burned oatmeal. Molding oranges. Tardy client meetings. Parking tickets. Toothpaste explosions. I seriously was banging my head against the keys trying to write something wise, eloquent for the Beet Cake. Nothing.
When we threw Tex, our new foster in the tub this morning after a long, wet walk through the park I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched a million little hairs fling from his back and cling to the walls and fresh towels. Oh dear. In the next few days I’m sure I’ll spot some white wisps stuck on the mirror and chuckle again at the beautiful absurdity of it all. Pure goodness. Pure madness.
Weeks like these keep me humble. They keep me loose. Learning how to ride a bike with a rusty chain is the whole point of being young. You can’t really afford a new one but you make it work. You just keep peddling. Shaun and I have a pretzel shaped magnet on the fridge that reads: “blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” It’s especially appreciated in times like these. I love how we both try to hold each other up to this standard when the circus rolls into town, announced or otherwise. He dragged me out in yoga pants, NorthFace hoodie, top knot, and rubber wellies at 9 pm to hit a bucket of balls on the fairway Saturday night and I tell you what, I’ve never felt more silly and more perfectly human. It was great.
Embrace the skipped beats. Life is nothing, boring at best, without them.
This weekend we took Sprouted Kitchen’s mini calzones for a spin, adding butternut squash, and lemon zest. So, so good. The fact that on my calendar I have “meetup / Sara (SK)” marked for friday makes me think that I’m on track to one day do lunch with Oprah Winfrey. Sara has been a constant source of inspiration as I’ve built and grown into this space. Her grace and encouragement has meant more than I think she may ever really realize.
Keep Reading for Recipe…
For more Happyolks videos, see 1, 2, and 3
(more…) «Blessed are the Flexible»
Squash + Apple Calzones Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
- 1 recipe for Mark Bitman’s easy pizza dough
- 3 cups butternut squash, small dice
- 3 sweet onions, roughly chopped
- 3-4 small apples, cubed
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 3-4 tbs fresh minced rosemary
- zest of 2 lemons
- olive oil
- ghee (clarified butter)
- (optional) goat cheese or mozz.
Prepare the dough about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. Sara used whole wheat flour, and I followed her lead. To make this gluten free, you could alternatively use something from the market, I like this. Preheat the oven for 500′. Combine diced butternut squash, shallots, and onions in a heavy bottomed pot with a pat of ghee or butter. Sauté until the onions are soft and the squash is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Toss in the apples and a dash of sea salt. Stir together and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Prepare the dough on a well-floured surface by pressing (see video, pounding with no rolling pin to my name) the dough out into a large-ish rectangle shape. On first go, my dough was too thin — give yourself 1/4″ thickness to work with. Cut into 6 or 8 squares, size depends on how small or large you want to make these dudes. Fill with squash-apple mixture, sprinkle with rosemary and lemon zest. Pull one corner to the other side and fiddle and press the edges to seal everything up. We added goat cheese to a few after the fact, and those were quite good. It’s up to you. Brush sealed calzones with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just slightly browned. Shaun suggests warm marinara for dipping.
Music by Bombay Bicycle Club Fairytale Lullaby
12 . 16 . 11
I love this season. It’s cold. There are lights. There is hand holding. There is fellowship among strangers. Joy elevates the mundane, and cultivates memories to satiate and linger through the early months of another year, a new year. The blankets come down from the closet, there is ample excuse to bake, and we somehow find time, make time to connect.
For no particular reason, there are some days when I am shaken by the absurdity of my blessings. I learned at a young age that the holidays are not all gingerbread and champagne for everyone. I remember that when everyone seemed to be getting out of school and taking time off, my mom’s private practice was just ramping up. While the “other moms” were planning progressive dinners, she was helping the mourning, lonely, and lost to navigate the hardest part of their year.
There can be just as much sadness as there is joy associated with this season. I try to remember this everyday. While I indulge in the sweet embrace of loved ones next week, I know that someone, somewhere, is alone. Someone, somewhere, is piecing together a semblance of celebration after deep, confusing loss.
It’s startling, to witness your own luck. How mind-blowing it is to have so much, again, another year.
Of course there are moments throughout the season that frustrate. Our relatives can make us crazy. You’ll bump into that person from high school you really would have rather avoided. You’ll feel obligated to attend certain neighborhood functions. Your partner will exceed the 50lb baggage limit. You’ll be late to work. Someone will forget to change the roll in the guest room. There will be thousands of crazy, maddening moments and interactions this season.
Remember that someone, just like you, somewhere on this planet doesn’t get those crazy, maddening moments. They have no one to burn the biscuits for. They are trying to understand the meaning of tradition when there is now an empty seat at the table.
Here’s the thing… I want every single crazy moment that comes with this time of year. I know that one year, if I am not so lucky as I am now, that I will cling to the taste and the touch and the sounds of all these moments and how they made my life so rich and full. I want to do the things I don’t want to really do, I want to see the people I don’t really want to see, I want show, express, and appreciate every bit of it.
Roasted Chestnut Spread
- 1 lb Chestnuts
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Roasting and shucking chestnuts is more fun with a partner, so grab a partner and tell them to set the oven to 425.’ As the oven preheats, begin working with the chestnuts by cutting a large x on the rounded side of each shell. Place flat side down on a pan. I cover mine with parchment because it’s a bit “seasoned” if you know what I mean. Pour a cup of water over the cross-hatched chestnuts and roast for about 22-25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, the skins should have peel back a bit by now. Let cool for about 10 minutes before getting started on the peeling process. You’ll need to discard the tough, dark brown shell as well as the thin brown skin that coats the actual soft nut. From all my research, each nut has a different story. Some shells and skins are a nuisance while others come off quite easily. It’s a tedious job, but definitely worth it. Toss naked chestnuts into small pot and cover with 1 1/2 – 2 cups of water, depending on how many nuts you ended up yielding. I usually come out with a few nasty moldy dudes and some that crumble apart when I’m trying to peel, so my best guess is that I have about 8-10 ounces of actual nut when it’s all said and done. Add sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil and stir, allowing to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Let sit in the pot for a bit before transferring to a food processer with the blade attachment. Process for about 5 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water or warm milk to the mixture to help things along. Transfer to a jar or serve immediately with crepes, toast, or apple slices.
Recipe adapted from Jennie. Cowl/Scarf made by Melissa. Find more music by the amazing (22 year-old!!) Ben Howard Here.