For you, from me, with love - 2/12

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A blend of old and new offerings around and about that I've been dipping into this week, plus an announcement. Enjoy!

(Please note: Actions taken from hyperlinks on this blog may yield commissions for me.)

Oh, yes (the announcement!): I've got a Good News-letter! Each week I'll send you an awesome original photo, something cool to read/watch/listen to, and a quote to ponder. May I visit your inbox? Sign up here.

Give: Seeking a creative (and free) way to love on your significant other for Valentine's? Good Morning, Love is the co-brainchild of Winnie Kao (of the Your Turn Challenge).

Learn: Pee when you need too. (At least, that's my takeaway from Jill's much more eloquent post on self-compassion.)

Watch: A brand-spankin' new Simon's Cat, called "Butterflies."

Listen: On Being's Krista Tippett talks with poet Mary Oliver.

Eat: My #newrecipeaweek (that was so, so yummy): Grilled Aged Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Pistachio-Sage Pesto.

Sing-a-long: I met Isaac Hayden in Nashville last week. Stunning voice. Mad guitar skills. Find him and his debut album here. And give one of my favs a listen:

Read: The Summer of Letting Go, by Gae Polisner.

Insight: From Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, by Mark Nepo.

In very real ways, we're drawn to what we need to learn. Often, it waits like a quiet blessing that we can easily ignore or just as easily open ourselves to, like that small wildflower. But for the soul to blossom, we must accept our deeper, humbler destiny. For the wildflower doesn't become rich or famous for blossoming. It doesn't live forever or become the greatest flower of all time. The wildflower's reward for trusting what it senses but doesn't yet know is to become what it was born to be — a flower whose inevitable place is realized in a small moment of Oneness, as it joins with elements that were here before it came alive and which will live on once it dies. This is the reward for every seed growing in the dark with no sense of what it will become. As a soul on Earth, this is all we can hope for, to feel the light and being of all time course through our veins while we blossom.

In the kitchen


Tried out two new recipes yesterday, and one former #newrecipeaweek that's turned into a house staple.

Let's touch on the latter first.

About a year ago, I tested out this Food52 recipe:

The Splendid Table's Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove

These are seriously the best refried beans ever. And — bonus! — they make your house smell amazing. You can turn them vegan by eliminating the butter at the end (which I've done numerous times simply because I've forgotten to add it), and they taste just as good.

On top of being super yummy, this recipe makes a ton, and results in week-long leftovers. I can't praise them enough. I will note, I like my beans smooth so I give them a whirl around with my immersion blender before serving.

Now back to the actual newbies.

My friend JL's latest book, Vegan Pressure Cooking, came out earlier this month, and I've been slowly trying a recipe here and there in my InstantPot. Yesterday I cooked up a double batch of her Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats — and they're quite delicious. If you're a pressure cooker user, check out her book. Steel cut oats have become my winter breakfast go-to because they're easy to batch cook and refrigerate.

And finally ... gluten-free, vegan (if you replace the honey with agave or maple syrup) chocolate chip cookies.

What makes them GF and vegan? A chickpea and peanut butter base.

No, I'm not joking.

A friend sent me the recipe through Pinterest and I thought I'd give it a try. I'd played with black bean brownies in the past and had success with those, so, why not?

It's got seven ingredients: chickpeas, vanilla extract, all-natural peanut butter, honey, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.

And our verdict (mine and my husband's)? Not bad.

They are not ooey-gooey, sink-your-teeth-in traditional chocolate chip cookies. But they're also decent in the cookie-replacement realm for those who need options.

I would try them again and make them a little smaller (I got 10, when the recipe said I should get 14), and I think I would sprinkle a little flaked salt on top for a tiny bit extra flavor.

Anywho, that's all for now. Whatcha been cooking in your kitchen?