Yesterday was the first big snow of the season here in Omaha, and it was kind of a big deal.
Nope, actually it was all anyone could talk about! The lines at the grocery store were extremely long, as everyone prepped for Winter Storm Dion to unleash his “fury.” Rumors swirled of the potential accumulation amount, and I heard everything from 4 inches to 2 feet. For your information, the final total was a whopping 3 inches.
Given the fact that this storm was all anyone could talk about for 5 days, I was actually shocked at how poorly the roads were plowed. Perhaps the plows on the East Coast are just better?
I was able to make it to the gym to meet my good friend Becca for my Winter Wonderland circuit workout, and then I opted to avoid the slick roads for the remainder of the day. I holed up in the kitchen until dinner time, cooking up a warm, cozy meal, as well as a fun breakfast option for the blog. As I looked outside at the beautiful snowy landscape, I couldn’t help but feel very peaceful.
Since I had nowhere to go, I didn’t feel rushed and decided to simply enjoy my time in the kitchen, listening to a Pandora country music station, as I buzzed around the kitchen. A couple hours later, I decided to throw on a classic Christmas movie to play in the background, Love Actually.
Once again, I forgot how much I love this movie – definitely put me in the holiday spirit! It might have helped that I was testing out a recipe for the blog: Egg Nog French Toast with a Cranberry Strawberry Compote.
The smell of cranberries, nutmeg and cinnamon was in the air, and I may have had one of the most cheesy thoughts that I’ve had in a long time. “This is my HAPPY PLACE,” I thought to myself.
(It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…)
I can’t help but think of one of my favorite classic Adam Sandler movies, Happy Gilmore, when a thought like that comes in my mind. Remember when his “coach” tells him to go to his happy place?
I guess my happy place is a little bit different than Happy Gilmore’s happy place…
I’ve mentioned that the past few months have been a bit rough, in part due to an unexpected change in my career path and in part due to many other factors that I’m not ready to talk about. Perhaps this is dramatic to say, but sometimes I feel like I’m wandering aimlessly through life with no clear purpose. However, when I’m in the kitchen, spending hours chopping vegetables, I truly feel at peace and at home.
(Love lining up my chopped veggies and spices to use when I have the time!)
In the kitchen, there is always a tangible goal, and my hard work is almost instantly gratified by a tasty meal for my family and friends.
While I’ve come a long way since my days of strictly semi-homemade dishes and using weird substitutions like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” I’m still no Martha Stewart. The dish I end up with is never exactly as I pictured it, and sometimes my attempted recipe masterpieces are downright ugly and/or disgusting.
(Watermelon Feta Popsicle…good thing the dog was hungry!)
I seem to be on endless pursuit to become an adequate food photographer….but the pictures STILL have a LONG way to go.
Maybe, I’m just my harshest critic…or maybe I still have a lot to learn. But, the important thing is that every second I spend in the kitchen, all of the doubt, anxiety and unease I’m feeling about my place in the life simply disappears. In addition to the Egg Nog French Toast, I also made a Mexican Sweet Potato Stew for the rents that I can’t wait to share with you!
It felt so nice to sit at the table with my parents and eat the hearty stew as the snow poured down outside. I even enjoyed watching my mother create her own Wacky Food Combo of Cranberry Compote + Sweet Potato Stew.
Yeah, now you know where my imagination comes from.
As it turns out, my other happy place is a bit more obvious: the gym. That’s been my happy place for about 15 years, and I even wrote a brilliant essay for my junior year English class about how the gym is my “candy store.” (I have no idea how that comparison came about…but I’m pretty sure the out-of-the box concept earned me an “A”!). I enjoy going to the gym and find it to be the perfect place to work through my problems, but the kitchen is moving up there pretty quickly as my number 1 spot!
Since the kitchen and gym are my two favorite places, I feel so lucky to have this blog to write about all of my adventures in both of them! Thank you to those who read my rambling words and a big thank you to those that go the extra mile and comment! This blog has been a tremendous outlet for me, especially during the rough times, so I am beyond grateful to ALL of you!
In the spirit of cheesy conversations, won’t you please join in the fun? Tell me about your happy place. My guess is if you are reading this blog, you may have the same place as me!