Monday, October 11, 2010

Cook. Eat. Read.

My favorite part of being a "temporary" housewife: cooking.  Each day I wake up, to coffee already made by my husband, and sit at the kitchen table looking over my many cookbooks.  I have discovered an entire new world of food, kitchen gadgets, appliances, ingredients, etc.  I have spent most of my life being an extremely picky eater, but thanks to Conor, I am quickly expanding my palate.

At one of my bridal showers, all of the guests game me their favorite recipes put together in a cute box.  I'm slowly making my through this box, the cookbooks I've acquired over the years, online recipes, friend's recipes, and my own mother's concoctions.  Growing up, I sat at the counter in my mom's kitchen watching her cook.  While also doing my homework, I would help her out between math problems and reading assignments.  And during my trips home, you will still find me sitting at the same counter and sometimes I'm even teaching my mom a trick or two.  However, I have developed her bad habit of rarely planning meals in advance and having to make daily trips to the grocery store.  But on a positive note, this has become a fun activity I look forward to.  I have also become a professional and finding great deals and things I love on sale.  If you've ever been to a grocery store with me, you'll know this was never my strong fact, I rarely even looked at the prices.  Those days are no more.  Next, I need to become a coupon queen!

I am finally back in a city with a whole heaven.  I could literally spend all day in there with the fresh and local produce, the incredible seafood and meat counter, and most importantly the cheese selections!  Ever since Conor took me to Purple Cafe, a great restaurant and wine bar in Seattle, I have been obsessed with speciality cheeses.  We are both slowly learning what we like and what goes with what.  Finding great parings between new cheeses we discover and wine/fruit/crackers is sort of a new hobby of ours.  The great possiblilties seem endless!  I used to think that only red wine went well with cheese, but oh no.  I could not have been more wrong.  Champagne (and other sparkling wines) is absolutely delicious with the right cheese selection.  Each new cheese I try is a new surprise.  Lavender goat cheese?....incredible!...who would have thought!  The other great thing about my new whole foods: the wine bar.  Yes, it's true.  I can have a nice glass of wine while doing my grocery shopping.  Now I haven't actually partaken is this activity yet, 'cause I'm sure it will lead to many unnecessary grocery purchases and a late afternoon nap (although this still happens sometimes).  But one of these days I will belly up to the bar and enjoy the complete whole foods experience. Maybe even tell Conor about it when he gets home... on second thought... better keep that our little secret...

Planning meals has become an adventure in and of themselves, and lately I've been having a lot of fun with some theme nights!  Examples: Italian Night: italina cheese board, italian wine (usually chianti, montepulciano, or sangiovese), homemade pizza or pasta, caesar salad, and spumoni.  South Carolina BBQ: cornbread, corn on the cob, pulled pork sandwiches, and sweet tea.  The finishing touch is a Pandora station made special for the evening.  I love to cook!...and eat!  Nothing beats a night at home with the hubby and delcious food and drink.

In between all the cooking and eating, I have been reading.  When Conor bought me a kindle for our honeymoon, I don't think he had any idea that reading can become an expensive habit.  But it has.  For some reason, having a kindle makes me read more.  That and the fact that I am no longer planning a wedding and therefore all of my previous reading material is gone.  I have always loved to read...and write (I hope to write a book someday) and finally have the time to do it.  I took some extra english classes in college and loved them.  I feel like I can sometimes miss so much symbolism and meaning when reading a novel on my own.  But with a professor and peers you get so much more from a book.  I have therefore decided that I need to join a book club.  I usually try to balance my for-fun reading material with something that has a litte much substance and literary value.  There is just something about crawling into bed a night at night and finishing that last glass of wine or having a cup of tea while cozing up with your favorite book.  That makes for a perfect ending to an evening. 

Since the honeymoon, my reading list has included:
Roses by Leila Meacham
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
The Last Summer by Ann Brashares
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto (series) by Stieg Larsson
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Currently reading: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

All of these books were good, but my two favorites were Roses and The Help.  I recommend they be the next books you read.  And please give me suggestions, after the Hunger Games series I don't know what I'll read next...


  1. Very fun blog! Davey and I are very into whole foods and wine and cheese too. :)

    I started a book club for our church in South Bend and have been having a lot of fun with it. My favorite so far I think was Children of Men by P.D. James - a little slow at first, but beautifully written. We also liked Life of Pi by Yann Martel (though it's a bit gruesome at parts). My mom read The Help in her book club, and has been trying to get me to read it since. :)

  2. Laura,

    I was very impressed with your blog and your writing. I am excited for you to write a book! I am a big reader too, and have some suggestions for you, because I have read a lot of the books you mentioned, and have loved them. Therefore, I think you may like these books...

    Little Bee
    Strength in What Remains-Tracy Kidder
    The Spirit Stills the Storms-"Sam" Lien Le (this author is from Spokane and it his story about his escape from war torn Vietnam).
    The Book Thief
    Bel Canto-Ann Patchett
    A Thousand White Women & The Wild Girld-Jim Fergus
    Anything Jodi Picoult-LOVE her!

    I know this is a lot, but these were some of my favorites. I would love to be updated about the books you have read recently and would recommend. I love reading and and I am sure my book club would appreciate the suggestions as well!
    Take care-
    Lauren Garske

  3. Thanks to you both! I will look into the books and begin reading soon. It's nice to have the support and know that people are actually reading this, 'cause I really enjoying writing it!