Luxury Problem

IMG_6672I _almost_ feel bad because of what I’m about to do: lament the summer vacation’s being over. Gone are the days of daily swimming, crafting whenever I felt like it, no parents rep responsibilities, actually no responsibilities period, beyond being with the kids and catering to everybody’s culinary and recreational whims. Sigh.

It sounds like a lazy time, reading through that first paragraph, and some days were certainly slow-paced enough to call them lazy. Not that we actually did _nothing_ that much. There was swimming, playing, reading, cooking and baking, and I actually managed to finish sweet A.’s sheets, check ‚em out: IMG_6659Doing the math makes me realize what took so long. I was going to have the project finished by mid July, and I was done with the crochet part by then. But: Darning in threads in 60 crochet flowers (4 apiece) takes time, and is extremely tedious work. I was done with that by early August. Then there was the color sequence to figure out. Thankfully, I had help with that:IMG_6638Once that was done, the flowers pinned to the sheets, there was the step I dreaded even more than darning in threads: stitching the flowers to the bedsheets.IMG_6691I don’t know why I don’t mind knitting or crocheting for hours but find sewing so painful – but it is what it is. Some days, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I guess that qualifies as lazy all right ;-)). But in the end, the flowers were in place and the pins back in their glass jar, so. IMG_6731Now all I need to do is pack up the sheets and send them on their way so A. and her husband can have sweet dreams in them :-).

I saw less of some friends over the vacation weeks than I would have liked, and more of others than I would have thought, and, oddly, I did not miss the city one bit. I’ve been back for a couple days now, and although I appreciate the restaurant and organic foods situation, as well as being able to hit the stores for my kids who managed to grow over the six weeks like you wouldn’t believe, I can’t help wishing I was back at the cottage and packing up the swimming gear,IMG_6676goofing around with my baby girl

or baking with my boy

Instead, this morning my husband took the red-eye, the kids trotted off to school heaving long-suffering sighs at having to be up at the ungodly hour of 7 a m, and I have a translation to sink my teeth back into. I also am really and truly all by myself for the first time in weeks.

Although the heat called for a lot of fruit and salad, cooking did occur. For instance, I made a somewhat unorthodox quiche-like affair with store-bought puff-pastry dough:IMG_6441Leeks, chanterelle mushrooms, cashews, cheese, eggs and cream, and no crust to prepare – that was one easy dinner right there.

My new favorite salad is this:
IMG_4868It’s boiled green beans, blanched and seeded tomatoes (great for using up tasty, over-ripe ones that have become too squishy for regular salad), a chopped shallot and olive oil. Salt and pepper. Lovely as a side dish for barbecuing, or with a pasta dish, or all on its own.

Also worth mentioning because it’s such an old favorite of mine I had all but forgotten about: the Taco Salad :-). Our friendship stems from my healthy-diet-be-damned, happy-hour-after-work-heavy advertising days in the Nineties. Every once in a while, it’s a very happy Tex-Mex indulgence, even though I wash it down with iced tea instead of Margaritas, these days.IMG_6207.JPGIt’s easy enough to make, if you want to try.

Tempting Taco Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into strips

5 tomatoes, cubed

1 can chili beans

1 can corn

1 store-bought salsa

1 bag corn chips

large handful of grated cheese

1 container sour cream

200 g ground beef, browned in olive oil with a chopped shallot, a handful chopped cilantro, seasoned with chili flakes, cinnamon, cumin, salt, sugar and pepper

After browning and seasoning the meat, layer (in a glass bowl for a better visual, if you have one) from bottom to top:

shredded lettuce

meat

chili beans

corn

salsa

sour cream

tomatoes

cheese

one half of the chips, crumbled

Decorate with a row of whole tortilla chips all around the rim of the bowl and sprinkle with pepper. Serve with extra chips & salsa, queso if you’re so inclined, and guac.

There. Now my lunch-break is officially over, and I’m hungry. Go figure!

Have a great week everyone, and smile at a picture my kids took after I failed to clean up after myself like I usually scold them for doing:IMG_6671No worries though, my legs are still their regular shape :-).IMG_E6727To Berlin-based readers, happy first day of school, and to everyone, enjoy another week of this spectacular late summer.

 

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