Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Where I'm From

I am from hand-me-down books, from jiffy cake mix and peanut butter toast every morning before school.

I am from that old cabin in the woods, the one with moth-eaten curtains and a washtub for a bathtub and the tire swing that twirled and thumped the ground instead of taking flight.

I am from the treehouse in the willow in the field, the pansies growing in pots on the pathway to the door.

I am from hiding the pickle ornament in the Christmas tree and smooshed freckled noses, from Gertrude and Andrew and Johanna and Terese.

I am from the last-to-hear-its and the terrible-joke-makers.

From 'eat your bread crusts-- they'll make your cheeks rosy' and 'your face will freeze that way'.

From twilight bike rides and caught fireflies and pinky promises in forts under the pine trees. 

I am from Saturday evening Catholicism and Sunday morning chocolate chip pancakes and finding God in the forest as much as you find him in church. 

I'm from the dairy state, from hearty stock that populated it, from spaetzle and spritz cookies.

From shared smuggled popcorn under the covers after bedtime, from a Grandfather I've never met but whose nose and tenacity I share, they tell me; from the whispers between sisters on a trampoline under the stars.

I am from the boxes of photos on the top closet shelf, from the case of dusty VHS tapes that bears my name, from roots and from wings. There is where I am from. 

Where I'm From is a poetry project inspired by George Ella Lyon. If you'd like to write you own, this template is a great starting point. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In the kitchen: summery grain-free 'pasta' salad!

A few years ago, I dated a guy who made the world's most delicious pasta salad. I know, I know-- you're wondering if I have perhaps recently lost my mind, because let's be real: pasta salad, while decent, has never been one of those holy-buckets-I-shall-eat-this-on-the-daily kind of foods. But for whatever reason, this guy made a mean pasta salad, and that year, we ate it pretty much weekly and I deemed it the perfect hot-weather food. (I also may have been trying to bolster the ego of a cute boy who was trying to impress me with his cooking skills, but I promise it was delicious nonetheless.) That relationship is now over, but most importantly: I left it with the recipe for the world's tastiest pasta salad, and today, I'm going to share it with you.

Um, except, minus the pasta. 

What the what, Mary? is what you're saying right now, I can only imagine. Except remember how I don't eat grains anymore? So pasta is out. But it's still a balmy 100+ degrees outside, and the last thing I want to do every night is cook something hot in my already sweltering kitchen, and thus I had to take my beloved recipe, remove the pasta, and make it even tastier. Lucky for me (and you!) I figured it out, and can safely say I'll be nom'ing on this long after shorts weather is over. 

Not-your-ex-boyfriend's pasta-less salad! 
(wordy name, delicious dish.) 

  • 1 c. black olives
  • 1 c. chopped mushrooms
  • 2-4 tomatoes
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 1-2 green peppers
  • 1/2 c. marinated artichokes
  • 2 T. italian dressing base
Chop your veggies. Chop your mozzarella. (hide your kids, hide your wife) Toss all into a bowl, sprinkle with italian dressing base, pour a little of the olive oil from your marinated artichoke hearts into the bowl (you can always just use regular olive oil here instead!), stir. Stick that baby into the fridge to marinate for a few hours, as it only gets better when it gets colder + marinated. Enjoy! I like to share it with people I'm trying to impress, or just go to town eating it for every single meal every single day of this heat wave, forever and ever amen. 

(Note on the servings: feel free to adjust number of ingredients as necessary-- I like to make just enough for one Mary to enjoy as a few meals juuust before I get sick of eating leftovers... or enough for one Mary & one cute boy :))

Just in time for the 4th of July: what are your favorite easy summertime dishes?