River Cottage: A Video Reflection

Not sure it translates in the video above, but I am surprised John’s microphone didn’t pick up the audible buzz of my childlike excitement. Sitting now, aboard my return trip from England, my thoughts reflect on the many blessings that aligned this trip. I first crossed this same pond half-planned and cautiously ready to improvise. Comfort rested in the knowledge that the portion of my soul I can only describe as a “traveler” had surprised me with her returned presence. She was very palpable during my early twenties, but snoozed in my late, allowing me to instead focus on the gift of responsibility – learning to cook, getting married, starting a small business and everything else that fills our days. Yet, she returned, to grace me with her presence, once again. She saw experiences I wanted to have, people I wanted to meet, and I welcomed her return. Hello England.

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Did you bring the camera?

The answer to the question was sadly, no. We forgot the camera.

Feeling the unwelcomed pit of the forgotten in our stomachs, the lush English country-side whipped by the train windows undocumented. We sighed our heads back into the fabric-lined seats and absorbed the news that our journey to experience Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fantastic River Cottage Headquarters would be documented with an iPhone. Survival-style.
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Deliciously Organic, by Carrie Vitt

I’m popping back in mid-week because I wanted to talk with you about a brand new book. A dear friend of mine is celebrating a job well done. Carrie Vitt, author of the inspired blog Deliciously Organic, has created a beautiful cookbook, filled with mouth-watering photos and accessible whole foods recipes. I mean it about accessible. Carrie takes the complication out of organic cooking and baking. Her recipes are easy to read, easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat. She personally created and labored over each recipe, then hired two professional chefs to test the book again. That kind of commitment means one thing – a good book!

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Hello England.

Ten hours on a plane and two & a half on a train landed me in the quaint town of Norwich, England. A nice place to be, made nicer because my husband’s warm arms were awaiting my arrival.

Quickly after John learned he’d be spending a generous month here, I signed up for a visit. For one, John and I prefer togetherness, which requires travel for John’s career. For two, I’ve been oddly craving a trip to England. My first trip to this great country came young, over 10 years ago, a bit lost in the haze of my college nights. The second trip, also long ago, gave me a taste of the English countryside, which I find extraordinarily beautiful. The taste lingered, making me yearn to revisit the green fields, mossy roofs and cobblestone streets of my memories, finally ready to absorb the differences and similarities of the people and things with appreciation, acquired by a bit of age. Plus… I had a bunch of killer restaurants on my list.

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Farmy is my everyday attire.

I adore this photo… John took it. And to me, it’s perfect. The food looks delicious, and I love the plaid in the background because it makes it feel farmy. What is farmy, you ask? About a year ago, while shopping at Anthropologie, I side-glanced the 3-way mirror and with that, decided on my style, which is, “clothes that support my desire to be on a farm at any moment.” I still reserve “classic” for my dressy occasions, but “farmy” is my everyday attire, hands down. Breezy tees, comfortable jeans and the obvious, button down flannel, fitted a bit girly because farmy doesn’t necessarily mean manly. Farmy can even be sexy. What guy doesn’t like a girl in a hot pair of cowboy boots?

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Where my dreams lay calm and bright.

Happy New Year! How were the holidays for ya? John, Todd and I traveled to celebrate my new niece‘s first Christmas. I’m certain she didn’t have a clue, but we had a ball pulling her bright-red new sled around the snowy Chicago streets. The huge smile on her face made us all feel very successful. Honestly, it was one of the nicest Christmas’s I’ve ever had. Relaxing, no travel issues, lots of love and good food. I felt Christmas this year. I hope you did, too.

Due to John’s work, we thought we were going to have to extend our trip in Chicago to include New Year’s, but we didn’t. That last-minute change left us without plans for the holiday, but sometimes, no plans is a whole lot more fun than plans. Instead of lipstick, heels and a holiday party this year (also fun), I made Cumin Lamb Burgers, one of John’s favorite dinners, and we took in a movie (The Fighter – Excellent! Christian Bale is crazy good.) The night hit the spot.

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