At the end of each month, I take stock of the previous month. What went well? What did I learn? What brought me a simple joy? These monthly reports are a way to encourage myself to take delight in the littlest of things. I find that Ten Things I Loved allows me to always see the silver lining, even when there are hard moments in a month. And taking joy in the simple things is paramount to how I want to live, making 10 things an invaluable tool for me. Here’s this month’s simple pleasures.
Things I/ We Did
1. Spa Half-Day with Friends I have awesome friends- period. But then they totally went over the top with their awesomeness by treating me to a gift certificate for a spa service for my birthday. So we took ourselves to the spa. We each got a treatment (I went with a facial), had a yummy lunch together and then sat around the pool for a little bit in ridiculously nice robes (says the girl who still uses her collegiate bathrobe which, I kid you not, has a hole in it on one side from my arm pit down to my waist). And the spa we visited? Do you watch Homeland? It’s the spa where Carrie meets her contact during Season 1. We kept hoping Carrie would show up but no luck.
2. Fed the Horses Happy and I love heading to Triple Play Farm to feed the horses. It’s just a whole lot of happy.
3. Silver Linings Playbook Oh, this movie. This movie. I laughed; I got choked up. I loved it. And there was one point where I had to close my eyes because I was laughing so hard I needed to stop or I would pass out from lack of oxygen. So good. Get yourself to the theatre.
Products/ Services I Dug
4. The Body Shop Born Lippy Lip Balm in Plum. So moisturizing for the winter and a nice, natural shade.
5. A word for the year necklace. So I ordered myself a word for the year necklace. I like mine but don’t love it (the way that the O rings are set on the word bar allows the plate to flip very easily so I am just likely to see the backside of my necklace in the mirror as I am to see the front of it), but I still LOVE this idea (born from the fact that I used to have a necklace that said Fearlessness and I always thought it would be cool if Fearlessness was my word for the year) and so I went looking for some good options for you, in case you are interested.
On the Plate
Most of the many awesome foods we had on the plate this month were captured in the Friday Reflections but here are a couple recipes that didn’t make it to the Friday Reflections but should make it to your plates!
6. Lemony Lentil Soup (from Parents magazine)
Ingredients: 3 carrots, chopped (about 1.5 cups); 1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup); 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 dash crushed red pepper (optional), 2 cups dried red lentils (12 oz.), rinsed; 4 1/2 cups broth; 1/2 tsp. salt; 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano; 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary; 1 tsp. finally shredded lemon peel (I actually used more than this), 1 Tbs. lemon juice (I just squeeze a whole lemon in there); freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1. Place carrots, onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper, if desired, in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 Tbs. water and cover bowl with wax paper. Microwave on high 4 minutes.
2. Line the inside of a slow cooker with a liner or coat with cooking spray. Add onion mixture, lentils, broth, and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low heat 5 1/2 hours.
3. Stir in the oregano, rosemary, lemon peel, lemon juice, and pepper to taste.
Ingredients: 2 T. oil; 1 chopped onion; 2 cloves minced garlic; 1 lb of roast chicken- diced (I got mine from the deli of my grocery store); 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes; 1 can of Rotel (tomatoes with chiles); 16 oz. can Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed); 1 1/2 cup water; 2 cubes chicken bouillon; 1/2 t. dried oregano; 1/2 t. coriander; 1/4 t. ground cumin; salt and pepper to taste (definitely wait on salt until it is cooked) Garnish as you wish
1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until soft.
2. Place in a slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for about 4 hours.
On the Bookshelf
8. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta It is the rapture (or not) and people just vanish. How does life go on for those left behind?
9. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty A woman faints in spin class. She wakes up with ten years of memories gone- including any awareness that she has children. It may seem that the amnesia is the worst thing that could ever happen. But what if it is not?
10. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz Linked stories that are so very Junot which is to say brilliant and bold.