Giving Thanks

by Kelsi in , , ,


We just returned from four days together in San Diego. Four days of no iphones, no Instagram, no news. We took photographs with a point and shoot camera instead of our phones. We just enjoyed time together that looked like this...

And this...

It felt so good to create some space and limit the amount of "input" I was exposing myself to so I'm going to keep it going. I deleted Instagram from my phone so I wouldn't be tempted throughout the day to pick it up and just mindlessly flip through. Instead of NPR and the NY Times, I've been listening nonstop to On Being. I've been trying to write a post about Krista Tippett and On Being for several months (and I mentioned it back in September). I still can't find the right words, so again I'll just urge you to start listening.

On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.

From here.

I am thrilled to be hosting Thanksgiving this year and am ready to put our new kitchen through its paces. At this very moment I have the house to myself and while I listen to the new Kings of Leon album, chicken stock is burbling next to me. By the way I'm head over heels for my Miele induction cooktop. One of these days I will give you a full report on the kitchen...

If you have never made homemade stock before, it is so easy and the reward is rich. You can always trust Pamela Salzman. Find her basic chicken stock recipe here. I love PCC which is where I do nearly all of my grocery shopping and in the freezer section in the meat department you can find organic chicken backs/bones and even chicken feet which are stellar for stock and all super affordable.

If you've made stock before, you know that as soon as it starts to boil a pretty unsightly foam appears on the surface which you are supposed to skim off. If you've never made stock it looks like this very un-Instagram worthy photo...

A cool trick I learned from a cooking class at The Pantry awhile back, is to put the bones in the pot, cover with water and bring to a boil and just let the bones boil for 10 minutes to bring out all the impurities. After 10 minutes, pour it all into a colander and rinse/clean the bones in cold water. Put the bones back in the pot and fill with clean water and begin your stock. Not only do you not have to fuss with trying to get all the foam out but it results in a beautifully clear looking (and tasting) broth. After it has cooled and I've skimmed the fat, I freeze my stock in these containers...

stock container.jpg

Next up on my to do list is pie dough.


I come from a line of epic pie bakers. My grandmother used to make her crust by feel, a scoop full of flour, some fat, a little salt, a little water. That sense was not passed down to me, but I took one of the very first Pie Ninja classes that Brandy taught when she opened The Pantry. She completely demystified the seemingly impossible feat for many of making a pie with a flaky butter crust. The world needs more pie. If you're intimidated, again you can trust Pamela Salzman. Find her apple pie recipe here. She'll even show you how to make the crust, roll it out and get it into the dish...

Also, it's good to know that flour goes rancid quite easily. Fresh flour pretty much has no smell. If you open up your bag of flour that has been sitting in your cupboard for several months and it has a distinct smell, it is bad. You might even think that that smell is what flour is supposed to smell like. Dump it. If you live locally, find Stone-Buhr flour from the good people of Shepherd's Grain at PCC. Also if you are like me and don't often use AP white flour, you might want to store it well sealed in the freezer to prolong its life.

Stone Buhr flour.JPG

With all that has gone on in the last few weeks, I am hopeful, and I am grateful. If anything I think many of us have replaced a sort of complacency with a new sense of ownership in our lives asking ourselves, "What can I do?" Where to begin? Open your mind and your heart and your eyes to others around you. When you are waiting in line for your coffee, or sitting alone at lunch, whatever it is, resist the urge to look down at the device in your hands and instead lift your head up and appreciate the humanity that surrounds you.

With immense gratitude, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And hell yes REI. #optoutside