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Posts Tagged ‘abundance’

I have a friend who hates to use anything up.

She hangs onto remnants of certain items for years: sheets of scrapbooking stickers, favorite bottles of lotion or body wash, scented candles. When I helped her move a few years ago, my other girlfriends and I nearly had to stage an intervention to convince her to throw away some of that 90-percent-used stuff. It wasn’t that she’d never used it: rather, she enjoyed it so much she was terrified of running out. She perceives a kind of scarcity in the world, at least of these small, often limited-edition luxuries.

I don’t hang onto odds and ends with quite the same tenacity. But I do sometimes freak out if I perceive a scarcity of something I use frequently, which is not easily replaceable. Most recently, it involved journals.

Toward the end of August, I had nearly filled up the Compendium journal I’d found at the Booksmith and realized I needed to begin nosing around for a new one. When I did, I had trouble finding just the right one, which I define as medium weight, lined paper, softcover (the hardback ones are bulky), about 6″x8″ (those pocket ones are cute, but they don’t last me long), with a charming-but-not-twee cover. (My arbitrary list of qualities, of course, created the perceived scarcity in the first place.)

Coming up empty, I signed onto the Compendium website and ordered five journals, reasoning that I would thus be stocked for several months, and I would save on shipping if I ordered them together. (Compendium did not sponsor this post. They don’t know about me, or how panicked I can get when I think I might be running out of journal space.)

Although I still had a bit of room in my current journal, I then panicked that the new stack might not arrive before I took off for Texas to attend my high school reunion. So I did the only sensible thing: I went to Paper Source one more time, and scored a three-pack of lined notebooks from Rifle Paper Co.

Of course, the journals from Compendium arrived right before I left town. I had eight journals to choose from.

journals notebooks stack

Ridiculous, no? I laughed at myself, and then reminded myself to be grateful that I even have this problem. A stack of eight gorgeous journals is a true embarrassment of riches. (I am, fittingly, embarrassed to be telling you this story.)

I have since filled up one of the Rifle Paper Co. notebooks and am happily scribbling away in one of the Compendium journals (sprinkled with travel-related quotes). The stack of spare journals waits in my desk drawer, a comforting promise of abundance, and also a reminder not to take myself quite so seriously.

What about you? Do you use things up or hang onto them? Do you panic when you’re running out of (or about to be running out of) something you love? And do you tend to see the world as a place of abundance or scarcity? I’m especially curious about this last one.

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CSA update

Last month, I posted about the veggie overload caused by our membership in the Brazos River Farm CSA. Since mid-May, we’ve been picking up a box of produce every other week, and then struggling to find ways to use it all. (I’ve given away LOTS of onions to friends and to a local nonprofit – Jeremiah can’t stand onions, and there have been dozens in each box.)

We ate tons of salad (with kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, etc. etc.) in May and early June; then squash/zucchini season arrived and we’ve been eating it grilled, shredded, sauteed, in pasta, on pizza, stuffed and baked, in zucchini bread and even in chocolate chip cookies. (Scroll down for the recipe.) Recently, tomato season – as well as okra, eggplant and pepper season – has arrived. So our kitchen, while still full of squash, is looking a little different these days.

We’re still making lots of homemade pizza; that was on the menu last night, with tomato, zucchini, mozzarella, basil and goat cheese. We’re still sauteing vegetables, tossing them with pasta and topping them with a grate of Parmesan cheese. (I’ve also made several batches of pesto – I use Molly’s recipe.)

I haven’t yet found the energy, frankly, to mess with the okra, and the batch of wee carrots will probably just get peeled, sliced and munched. The tomatoes, however, we are using every which way – so much so that I’ve gone to the farmer’s market twice this week to buy more. I can eat them in pasta, on pizza, on sandwiches, as part of bruschetta (also on the menu for tonight), in soup, in salsa…the list goes on. I didn’t like fresh tomatoes until I started eating them on sandwiches when I worked at the Ground Floor (our sandwiches, if I do say so, were scrumptious). However, now I can’t get enough when they’re in season. Sauteed, roasted, sliced, chopped or whole – mmmm.

And the peppers! Oh my, the peppers. Our last CSA box had at least 20 of them – a few tiny serranos, several jalapenos, some neon-green banana peppers, lots of big milder green chiles and a couple of sweet peppers. What does one do with all that peppery goodness? I knew the hot peppers would overwhelm most dishes, though we do toss ’em onto pizza or eat ’em in veggie burritos. (We’ve become practically vegetarian by default around here, though my chicken-lovin’ husband will never voluntarily give up meat entirely.)

However, I did make a batch of jalapeno soup on an unusually cool, rainy night – it involves jalapenos, cream cheese, chicken broth and milk, and is completely delicious. And after that, Molly came to the rescue again (if you don’t read her blog, Orangette, you really should – if you like food, recipes and general yumminess). Her book, A Homemade Life, has the simplest, most delicious recipe for salsa verde, and I’ve made it twice and used six to eight peppers each time. (I made it again last night – my book club came over.)

It’s not posted online, so I can’t post it in full here, but I will say: Peppers. Cilantro. Garlic. Olive oil. Lime juice (I used lemon, since I had it on hand). Chopped and mixed and pureed and voila! It’s spicy and tangy and delicious.

They haven’t yet come in our CSA box, but I’m also currently obsessed with fresh peaches from the farmer’s market – I made a peach crisp last night, and have been eating them fresh at breakfast, lunch and dinner. (So sweet and juicy; the freshness of Fredericksburg and Abilene-area peaches has ruined me forever on grocery-store ones, I’m afraid.)

We’ve only got a couple more boxes left, before we pack up our lives and head to Boston. I’m hoping to find a farmer’s market and/or a CSA to join there; we’ve so enjoyed trying new recipes with our produce, or adapting the recipes we already love. It’s been a challenge at times, but a rewarding one; it all tastes so yummy and I love knowing I’m supporting a local farmer with my money. (And it’s definitely helped decide the eternal question of what to have for dinner!)

If you’re thinking of joining a CSA, I’d recommend it (though splitting a box with a friend might be a good idea). If there’s a farmer’s market in your area, go check it out – you can get beautiful produce from friendly people, and support your local economy. And to several of you who’ve offered yummy recipes for my produce, I thank you.

Any foods you’re particularly loving this summer?

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