Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category


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As part of the Reverb10 writing project, I answer, sort-of,  today’s prompt: What (or whom) did you let go of this year?

With both my hands full,

I let fall what cannot fit.

I will come back soon.


This has been such a year of picking up new things. There is so much I want to hold and have and do with these hands of mine (mind of mine, heart of mine).  Each thing I pick up enlarges my capacity, but I am not without limits. I cannot do it all and I will not live forever. Try as I might, some things must fall from my hands. But they’re not gone.  They’re at my feet and one day I will scoop some of them up again and other things will fall.  I am a juggler, hands full, air full, floor full of colorful balls in slow motion.

By LucaP, Flickr Creative Commons

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I’ve been craving a prompt to get back into the swing of writing my blog – just to get ideas flowing again and redirect myself to this project that means so much to me. With my final exam for my (first ever!) college course just a couple days away, I feel a sense that I will soon have back some time to write. In addition, thanks (NOT for the first time!) to my blogging guru for bring “Reverb10” to my attention. You can learn more about the project here, but in a nutshell, it’s a series of writing prompts intended to help you look back at 2010, and create intentions for 2011. I’ve liked the prompts that Amanda has posted in her tweets, and today’s got my writing juices flowing again. Note: I should be studying. *wink* I’m taking this on as my December “blogathon” – but without the pressure to actually post every day, just the prompts to keep  my mind alive to the possibilities.

December 4: “Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?”

Amanda tweeted this while I was standing in a metro station this morning. I pondered a little, and my reply was: “Not deliberatly, but I could say that summer nights on the balcony with wine were the moments most likely to infuse me with a sense of wonder.” She tweeted back, “Say more! Why wonder?” (more…)

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I had a great experience at the Smithsonian Resident Associate’s program Food Writing Class with Monica Bhide. I first came across Monica and her talents as a writer and chef at Svelt Gourmand (and made a little post about it) back during the May Blogathon.

Monica’s class was part honing our food writing skills and part creatively marketing our work to viable sources. The day ended with a fantastic panel discussion with DC area food writers and publicists that has sparked a few writing ambitions in my little heart.

Monica also spent a little time on the subject of recipe development, which inspired me to take my own recipe creations a little more seriously. A few tips I learned from Monica on recipe development:

  • Eat and drink a lot of different things and be curious! Develop your palate by cooking and eating many different things.
  • There’s really no such thing as an original recipe. For a recipe to be yours, you must have at least 4 ingredients different from other similar recipes, and use a different method of preparing or combining them.
  • If your recipe is adapted from someone else’s, say so – there is nothing wrong with working from a proven recipe and adding your own touches.
  • If you tasted a recipe and then figured out how make something very close to it, use the term “inspired by” and credit the place where you tasted it.
  • Get bored with the “same old”, and be willing to try almost anything! (more…)

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This 11-year old presented at a TEDx Talk in Asheville, NC. It’s a little bit adorable and a little bit annoying all at once, but I’m happy that any kid would pick organic farmer over NFL player for his “what I want to be when  grow up” answer.

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From American Institute for Cancer Research‘s summer newsletter- a great story about a fine chef who found the wellspring of her recovery from colon cancer in eating high-quality plant foods and enjoying a variety of physical activities.

Charlottesville, Virginia chef Sarah Lanzman

Sarah Lanzman says she feels better now than before she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer six years ago.

An award-winning chef for 30 years, Sarah started out as a community organizer in Southern California. “I’d make pots of bean stew and different breads to go with them to feed 150 people,” she recalls.

Sarah travelled the world as a student, living in Kenya for a year and learning about African and Indian cuisines. Then she moved to Europe, studying Italian and French cooking and living in Germany for 10 years.

Settling in Charlottesville, Virginia, she and her husband raised three daughters and started Lorelei Caterers. Sarah won awards for best desserts two years running against other area chefs in a city known for its fine restaurants. Sarah and her husband grew 90 percent of the vegetables and herbs they used in catering on their 10-acre farm. [Click here to read the rest of Sarah’s story]

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Kitchen daydreams

I recently posted 25 things I want to do before I die. Number 16 was “Have a well-equipped, spacious, welcoming, and well-worn kitchen where people come together over great food.”
That got me thinking about what this kitchen might look like. I collected a few pictures to illustrate my daydreams…

I love the island and the open shelving of this kitchen. The pots and pans hanging underneath are a nice touch. I also really like the sofa and table nearby. It’s a good use of a small space, and feels welcoming as well as functional. (more…)

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