Month: November 2013

The Must List

snow

Nick and I live in an 800 square-foot house farm house. It’s much bigger than the tiny houses that I often find myself dreaming of for a vacation home, but it can feel small, especially when we let it get cluttered by stuff. This inevitably leads to semi-yearly purging where we throw away, donate, sell and gift until our space feels under control again.

I’m feeling the need to purge again. As I was thinking about what I might get rid of, though, I struck me how hard it is to let go of things sometimes. I don’t know why really. If I think about it happiness is achieved through living a meaningful life – a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which I grow as an individual and contribute beyond myself. Growth and contribution: those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff.

If that’s the simple, unsexy truth, I needed a list…a “must list” if you will…of the things I must have to live a meaningful life. My hope is that this list will help me distinguish between the physical things in my life that support happiness and meaning and those things which don’t (and by definition can be let go of).

Here goes…

Carry’s Must List

  • I must eat healthy food at every meal
  • I must exercise consistently
  • I must meditate daily
  • I must spend time exercising my creativity (e.g. writing, taking photographs)
  • I must grow as an individual (e.g. through meaningful experiences)
  • I must build impactful, loving relationships with friends and family
  • I must contribute to others
  • I must be grateful and thankful every day

 

What do you think? Would you have the same things on your list? What would you add?

Photo:  Arek Olek

A slow-food vegan Thanksgiving

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I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few holidays without baggage. It’s a low-commitment gathering that says, let’s just break bread together and enjoy each other’s company.

One of the things I would change about the meal though, if I were hosting it, would be the way it’s served. Instead of having every dish available at once and piling food on your plate until it is grotesquely full, I would serve the meal in courses. Small plates brought out one at a time. It would be a meal to linger over and enjoy.

Nibbles
Herbaltinis or champagne
Toasted marcona almonds

First course
Mixed greens with carrots, apples, & pickled beets

Second course
Roasted Brussels sprouts with pistachios and capers

Third course
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with sautéed leeks and mushrooms drizzled with sage brown butter
Kale with cranberries, fennel, and walnuts

Fourth course
Raw apple crumble
Sweet potato apple pie ice cream
Espresso and mulled wine

Four courses sounds like a lot of work for a hostess, but I think it can be done pretty easily:

It would be simple enough to make the gnocchi days or weeks in advance. They can be frozen, uncooked, until you are ready to drop into boiling water. The desserts and sage brown butter can also be made several days in advance. The morning of, I’d make the two salads, prep the sprouts for baking, and sauté some leeks and mushrooms.

Cocktails and toasted almonds would be available for everyone as they arrived. When we were ready for dinner, I’d pop the sprouts in the oven and serve the pre-plated salads. After a 30 minutes, we’d be done with salads and ready for the sprouts. Mmmm… The gnocchi cooks in about 2 minutes, while you heat the pre-cooked leeks and mushrooms and sage butter in the microwave. Serve that with the alongside the kale salad. Finally, dessert comes out of the fridge and freezer for a nice finish to the meal. Mulled wine or espresso would be nice with this dessert, to contrast the cold crumble and ice cream.

What do you think? Could you pull this off? What else would you serve?

And in case you missed last year’s menu, it’s a bit more traditional.

Not for eating

Mushroom season has been epic in the Northwest this year. We didn’t find anything edible on our jaunt to Wallace Falls today, but we did find plenty to shoot!

Digital Dip

hammer

It’s impossible to travel in simplicity circles and not read about people who have cut themselves off from email or facebook or the internet in its entirety for long periods of time. They take drastic steps like this because they are overwhelmed by their technology. It serves us in many awesome ways, but sometimes it takes over our lives.

One of the things that creates an unproductive environment in my life is my smartphone. All those distracting lights, beeps and buzzes are causing me to lose sleep and not be as focused on the present moment as I’d like. Time to drop the metaphorical hammer.

As of today, I am turning off notifications for app updates, syncing data, new emails, fresh social media activity, and text messages. No notification is sacred.

My phone is there to empower me, not enslave me.

Photo: OndraSoukup