Sense of Home Kitchen
I keep my life on a desk calendar. I write down on each block of space what I need to do for that day, appointments, tasks, you get the picture. Some things I record after the fact, unplanned things, maybe just a phone call I made and what it was in reference to, in this way I keep track of time passing. I keep my calendars from years past, they are somewhat like a diary. The other day I was doing some cleaning and came across several calendars. Looking back I can't believe how my life has changed in the past year and a half, improved really. I enjoyed my job as Assistant Director / Children's Librarian at our local public library for twenty years, but quitting has really simplified my life. Every day of my calendar was packed to the gills; meetings (we were in the beginning stages of a building project, there were a lot of meetings that ran into the evening), programs, conferences, both local and national (some of which I had to speak at), and then of course the daily tasks. And on top of all that I had a personal life too! Towards the end I had a stomach ache nearly everyday trying to keep up with it all.
My life is much simpler now, though still very busy. I spend my time in ways I find much more rewarding. The evidence of change is right there on my desk calendar, if I ever start to miss my former life all I have to do is look back on the calendars to remind myself why the change was necessary and good. I love living a slower life. I know that does not seem possible for most of you, it sure didn't for me, I had no idea how I would ever be able to slow life down. Once my husband and I started seriously talking about the possibility, it seemed so obvious. I think when you (we) are in the thick of it, it is just about impossible to see your way to the other side, it takes some serious thinking, and changes. Not all are ready or willing to make the changes. I can no longer buy books, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc. whenever the whim hits me. We don't have all the latest gadgets, fancy phones, cable, etc. that were possible with our full time jobs, but we don't need those things. We now have time to do the things we love, and pursue our goals. Reward enough.
We are attending a party / winter bonfire on Saturday evening and I will be bringing an appetizer of some sort along with some scrumptious looking brownies from a newly found recipe. Temperatures are supposed to be around 5°F. to 10°F., so you know we will all be huddled close to the fire. We will dress warm, the fire will feel good, we will slip inside to warm by the inside fire if necessary, we will be with good friends and family, and we will all be full of delicious food, you can't ask for more than that.
Roasted Garlic, Onion and Red Bell Pepper Dip
~Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appétit 1998~
Makes about 2 1/3 cups
1 garlic head, halved crosswise
1 medium onion, peeled, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 French-bread baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place garlic and onion, cut side down, on small baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until onion is tender and garlic is golden and tender, turning over halfway through baking, about 30 minutes total. Cool.
Char red bell pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in a paper or plastic bag and let stand 10 minutes to steam. Peel and seed pepper. Chop coarsely.
Squeeze garlic from skin. Cut each onion half into quarters. Place garlic, onion, red bell pepper and the next 6 ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Preheat broiler. Place baguette slices on baking sheet. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil (or butter if you prefer). Broil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir dip and serve with toasted baguette slices.