Monday, September 15, 2014

Cool Air and a Clear Head

The cycle of seasons continues to spin, and it's almost Autumn's turn. While I would love to celebrate that with camping, hiking, and sitting-by-a-fire, I'll content myself in this lifestage with walks at the park and hot tea on the balcony in the evenings.

We've been taking advantage of the decrease in temperature by opening our windows at night (three cheers for living on the second floor!) and doing some on-foot exploring that we didn't really have time for last Spring. It's such a blessing that Adam's current job allows for weekends off (except Drill once a month) without the worry of being called in at random.

Last weekend we took a few pieces of furniture back to Adam's parents in Fayetteville, one of which was an upholstered arm chair. It had been the landing place for a square pillow that accompanied our couch and the pillow became homeless in the chair's absence. Because pillow forms are expensive and even my mediocre sewing skills can handle two squares sewn together, I trimmed off the fringe and Brooklyn helped me choose some cute fabric at Hobby Lobby that would go with our kitchen chairs.

The two proper chairs that we have both have cushioned seats - my wicker bench that I love did not. And if sat on in shorts or even a thin skirt, it would leave wicker-marks on the backs of your legs, which wasn't terribly enjoyable. The pillow was a little wider than the seat, but it was also a little flattened, so I made my cover seat-width and wrestled the pillow in --- now it's fluffier, firmer, and the bench has become my favorite seat at the table (just don't look too closely at the bit of hand sewing I had to do in order to close the seam...)

With the shifting seasons, I also tire of whatever same three things I've been making and eating in rotation for the past while - a privileged perspective, I know, but it at least has the effect of inspiring creativity, or, in this case, bringing back childhood memories. The only single-dish meal that I would eat as a kid was Taco Casserole, which has the wonderful bonus of being naturally gluten free.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef. Drain and season (I used half a packet of Simply Organic spicy taco seasoning). In a casserole dish or a couple of loaf pans (which is what I happened to have), layer Fritos, then beef, then as much cheese as you'd like (I was generous with a shredded cheddar jack blend) and repeat once more. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.

This is especially good for company and/or families with picky eaters - you can serve it taco-style with lettuce, tomatoes or salsa, onions, avocados or guacamole, sour cream and whatever else you'd like on the side and let each person assemble their own plate. It also reheats really well in a toaster oven.

My thoughts swirl with the falling leaves and new ideas abound - delightful possibilities dangerously expand, and when I step out of bed in the morning, there's no knowing where I'll be swept off to!

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