30 November, 2010


No, no... it's not "Folgers in your cup" (I prefer the over-priced sweetness of the Red Cup myself). 

It's become our routine that my husband puts our daughter to bed each night and I get up with her each morning (while he uses the snooze a few more times).  I'm definitely the more "morning person" of the two of us, so this arrangement works out quite nicely.

The added bonus for me is this: my daughter has the cheeriest disposition of any human I've ever met.  You know that Inner Happiness, that feeling of being completely and simply happy in the moment, that elusive happiness most of us adults struggle to hold onto?  She's got more than enough to share... and that's exactly what she does. 

This morning, she slept in until just after eight o'clock - and then I heard her softly cooing to herself in her crib.  I got up, took my shower, made her bottle, and then went into her room.  She was standing up, holding on to the side of her crib - this is how I find her every morning - and when I say "G'morning Grace", she looks up at me with a wide grin, gives a small "hello" of sorts, and reaches her arms to me.  As I pick her up, she immediately nuzzles her chubby face into that sweet spot between my neck and my shoulder.  And she giggles.  And I can't help but giggle in return.

And that is the best part of waking up.

29 November, 2010


As requested by a friend, here is the recipe my parents taught me for the ever-popular and delicious holiday treat: spinach balls.  This is the first recipe posted on this blog and, appropriately, it's an easy favorite.


1 bag frozen chopped spinach (thawed)      
1 box stuffing mix *
2 eggs *
1 medium onion (diced)
1 cup shredded cheese *

* Vegan-friendly alternatives: vegetarian stuffing mix, an egg substitute like Ener-G or silken tofu, Daiya or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese.  Although I can't say how these vegan spinach balls compare with the standard quite yet, I'll be making them for this friend's holiday party in 2 weeks... so I'll let you know once we try them!

To Make:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix spinach, stuffing, onion in a large bowl.
Add cheese, eggs - continue stirring - mixture should clump together.
Form small balls (1" - 1.5" in diameter) with your hands.
Line spinach balls on a greased or non-stick baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until bottoms of spinach balls start to brown.
Serve hot and enjoy with good friends.

25 November, 2010


This Thanksgiving morning I woke up in a house that is starting to feel like my home.  To my husband, it's his childhood home - his parents' house.  To my daughter, it's Grammy & PopPi's house - where she even has her own room.  To me, it's complicated.

Although I don't love the term "in-law", I love the two people who own this house dearly.  They made me feel, from the first moment I met them, like part of the club; and then, shortly after that - in a church pew where my future mother-in-law and I cried tears of joy and held hands - like part of the family.  Or, more accurately, like a familiar extension of my own.

Growing up, every year for as long as I can remember, one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions was making (and eating many!) spinach balls.  Though the name is perhaps less than mouth-watering, this simple 5-ingredient appetizer always garnered a delicious center of attention... and I usually ate way too many of them - fresh out of the oven, chewing with my mouth slightly open to let the cool air combat the steaming, bubbling spinach and cheese.  And when I left home for college, I looked forward to coming back for this and the many other blessings Thanksgiving offered.  And when I graduated college and moved to New York, I made these treats for friends and family there - always to the pleasant surprise of my fellow eaters, most of whom immediately asked how to make them.  Never a year without them, as they reminded me of my parents and my grandparents and made me feel at home no matter where I was.

Late last night, I realized that this year there will be no spinach balls.  And I realized it as, almost, an afterthought.  It didn't immediately upset me by any means, it was just more of a hiccup in my brain while climbing into bed.  But it made me think of traditions.  And family.  And how unexpectedly beautiful and heart-wrenching life can sometimes be.

This Thanksgiving morning I woke up in a house that is starting to feel like my home.  And it doesn't mean that I don't miss my own childhood home, my own parents, only that I am lucky enough - blessed enough - to have more than one home.  It's where the heart is, right?  I wonder sometimes if my heart will explode with all the love that is poured into and out of it.

My mother and father - my whole family, in fact - gave me a love that is both as deep as an ocean and as free as the air.  They taught me how to love fully, openly, with abandon.  And the same breath that says, "I wish I was at home with them today" also says, "I am at home."  And that is a strange and wonderful and heart-wrenchingly beautiful breath.  And I am ever so thankful for it.

And if I really, really need them, I can always make spinach balls tomorrow.