Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Greek Yogurt + Dill = Happiness

It's amazing what I've learned to do in five minutes.  I can load the dishwasher (or, since it's been broken for a week, I can hand wash a sink full of dishes), sort and start a load of laundry, or catch up on email.  Today, I realized, I could also make a super yummy dip that is actually pretty healthy too. 

I found a recipe for dill dip years ago, and the first time I made it I accidentally screwed up the proportions and it turned out wonderful!  It's a great way to use fresh dill which you can find all over the place right now.  The walnuts really add something I think.  The best thing about this recipe?  You can make it in five minutes.  Maybe less if you move fast.  I made it this morning while my daughter played with her toys.  If you've had a one year old, you know that five minutes is sometimes all you have.

Five-Minute Summer Dill Dip (adapted from Real Simple)

It really makes a difference what kind of yogurt you use for this recipe.  We go through vats of greek yogurt in this house, so it's always around.  If you don't keep it in stock, then you can probably pick up a single container just for this recipe (I like Chobani's 0% greek yogurt, a 6 or 8 oz container should be fine).  According to this recipe calculator 1/8 of this recipe (which would make up a hefty snack) has only 3.3 grams of fat and more protein than carbs.  Pretty good I'd say.

1 cup fat-free greek yogurt
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Chop. Mince. Mix. Eat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

But no oranges...

My aunt's house has orange trees in the backyard.  I remember that first season that they yielded fruit, and we all grabbed ladders and picked fresh oranges for breakfast.  I remember my little cousin scrambling up there in his cartoon briefs and t-shirt and me and the others all standing on the grass squinting up at him, collecting the nubby fruit in large baskets and lugging them into my aunt's kitchen.  I don't remember if the oranges were particularly sweet or not, but I was about 16 and it was the first time I had ever picked my own breakfast.  It made quite the impression.

To me, my aunt and uncle had the ultimate luxury-- a sprawling house in a quiet neighborhood with a prolific garden.  I dreamed, when I was younger, of having a place like that.  It is somewhat funny, then, that I live in a tiny apartment in a noisy borough of New York City and my garden is at the moment an overgrown postage-stamp-sized jungle.

The roadside grove near my aunt's house... as if the yard wasn't enough.

But, despite my lack of citrus trees, I am pretty happy with my lot.  I remember when we first saw the apartment (which incidentally I was not terribly crazy about, being on the ground floor it is not exactly flooded with light) it took only one look at the yard for me to decide instantly that I had to live here.  Land in this city is quite hard to come by, and the thought of having stewardship of even a few square feet thrilled me and threw me into a haze of daydreams.  I imagined a vegetable patch, flowers climbing up the fence, an herb garden in pots leading up the backdoor.  I imagined barbecues with friends and mornings spent with coffee just listening to the birds start their days.

None of this has happened yet.  It will soon I hope.  We are working towards the daydream.  There's no room for an orange tree, but where there's dirt there must be plants (the weeds sure seem to think so).  We're looking for inspiration. 

What is the one thing you would plant in a small space?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

At first...

Remember summer vacation?  That feeling of delicious freedom when your time was once again your own, and all the books you wanted to read and the lakes you've been dying to swim in are suddenly yours to explore.  The summer is stretched out in front of you and life feels full of possibilities.

That's how I feel right now.  I often feel this way at the start of a creative project.  And this place, this virtual, interactive journal is a project I'm excited about.  It's a creative time in my life-- I'm no longer in the corporate world (hallelujah!), I've started writing and cooking again, and I have a new little daughter who is teaching me to see our little bit of Brooklyn in a new light.

We're almost settled here.  The yard is almost ready, the apartment is almost baby-proofed, and now I'm back to creatively finding ways to live in relatively tight quarters.  That's something I'll be talking about a lot here.  I am, admittedly, a clutterholic and a sentimentalist-- I need my stuff.  But, as my fabulously understanding minimalist husband (let's just call him Mr. Minimalist) encourages me, it's all about editing.

I wouldn't trade our cozy apartment for a three story house.  It's home.  It's where we brought home our daughter.  It has exposed brick, and a working fireplace, and actual greenery outside our windows.  It even has a bit of earth outside that we're making into our own little Eden.  It's exciting, making this place a home, discovering the joy of small spaces and small moments.

Thank you, dear whoever you are, for spending a few minutes with me.  Leave me your thoughts.