I've been missing my blog lately. So often I get a thought in my head and instead of letting it worm itself out through a quick post it lingers – trapped in my brain like a cat stuck inside a bedroom. I go about my daily work, taking care of the baby, working on edits for the book, testing recipes, writing for The Natural Beauty Workshop, and all the while I can feel it – a pair of furry little paws thumping away at the door. Let me out. Let me out! LET ME OUT!
So I decided to take a little break from my break and write a blog post (or three). Today's subject? Gratitude. Turkey Day is coming and it's one of my all time favorite holidays. It's going to be a little hectic this year with thirteen guests and one time-challenged host, but I'm sure it will all work out. I've asked my family to go heavy on the contributions so that Scott Bobleo and I can keep our end of the deal as simple as possible. We're making a turkey with all the trimmings but leaving sides, desserts, drinks, and hours d'ourves in the hands of the potluck gods.
There were a few moments this week when I felt so severely overwhelmed that the words "let's just cancel Thanksgiving" crossed my lips. Between book deadlines creeping closer and my little bundle of joy becoming more and more demanding, getting through a full-time workweek seems to have become a 24/7 endeavor. No matter what I'm doing, whether its cuddling the baby or even taking a shower this little voice in my head is constantly scolding me. "You should be working", she says. She's a real tyrant, and she can make all the good in my life feel awfully heavy.
So gratitude. Gratitude is that thing that keeps all of those other feelings (the dark and desperate kinds that tend to crop up when one is faced with a mountain of work) in check. Gratitude is the difference between breaking down in tears when your baby JUST WON'T TAKE A NAP AND I NEED TO GET THIS ARTICLE FINISHED and taking a deep breath and realizing that you were waiting to be inconvenienced by your very own baby for years. He's finally here, so I try to remember to be thankful for him – inconsistent sleep patterns and all.
Gratitude is what keeps me from giving up on the things I've worked really hard to cultivate: this blog, my book, my job. Right now I've got more than I feel I can handle, and I'm sorely tempted to box one of them up and ship it to Abu Dhabi. Then I remember how lucky I am that all this work is finally paying off. That gives me just enough energy to hope that if I stick it out eventually we'll find a way to make the pace more sustainable and less maddening.
Gratitude is what I feel for my friends and family who have helped support us through the hardest and happiest six months of my life. Our little guy will be six months old on Thanksgiving. So no, we're not going to cancel. We're going to celebrate.
Though the blog has been on hold, my appetite has not. We've eaten a shameful amount of takeout over the past two months, so much that I found myself craving greens with a serious passion. I had to have 'em. Collards, kale, spinach… if it's green I'm all about it. When I made up a batch of brussels sprouts I thought they were so pretty that they deserved to be shared.
Maybe you'll make a batch for your own Thanksgiving celebration. I'd be grateful if you did.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Raisins and Bacon
Makes about 10 servings
- 12 ounces bacon
- 2 lbs. brussels sprouts
- 1 red onion
- 12 ounces bacon
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Cut the brussels sprouts into thin slices. This is easiest to do using a food processor with a slicing attachment or with a hand-held mandolin slicer. Slice the red onion in half, and then into thin slices as well. Toss the brussels sprouts and red onions together in a large heatproof bowl.
- Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat a large skillet (cast iron if you have it) then add the bacon. Fry the bacon in the pan until it becomes crispy, stirring occasionally along the way.
- Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and into the bowl with the brussels sprouts and onions. Toss the ingredients together, then add one or two tablespoons of the bacon grease to the bowl. (Just enough to lightly coat the vegetables.)
- Spread the mixture onto two baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat mats. Roast them in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes, until the sprouts are cooked to your liking. I prefer them to be nearly burnt, but you might like them to be a little greener.
- Transfer the brussels sprouts back into the mixing bowl. Add the raisins, toss together, then add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Taste, and add more if needed.
- Just before serving, squirt the sprouts with a little lemon juice.