I’ve Got to Have a Plan, Jeeves!

My roughly sketched plan for the year is as follows…

1. Practice driving a lot.

I haven’t kept up with the driving goal I set for myself, so now I am going to try to start thinking of practicing my driving as my job for the next few months.

2. Buy my first car!

3. Get my driver’s license by May, if possible.

4. Go on a trip with friends.

I will be going on a trip with friends in May, and we will be driving to our hours-away-destination. This will be my first time going on a road trip where I actually have to help with the driving, which is part of the reason I want to get my license by May.

5. Apply for jobs. (EEK!!!)

I’ve been pet-sitting for years now (since I was 12), I had a summer job at a farm last year, and now I am ready to take the next step and look for a job that will be a little more long-term.

6. Get a job. (I hope!)

7. Start college classes. (Once again, EEK!!!)

8. When/if things don’t go according to plan, don’t freak out.

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I had gotten a few butternut squash from someone a couple of months ago. I hadn’t used them yet because we don’t really eat butternut squash in my family, so I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Serendipitously enough, I came across this recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup while flipping through an issue of Williams-Sonoma catalog (one of my favorites) and decided to make it the first recipe I cooked this year.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jar (2 lb.) butternut squash puree

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 small bay leaves

3 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup crème fraîche

1/4 tsp. ground coriander (optional)

1/4 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger (optional)

Fried sage leaves for garnish

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree, apple, broth, bay leaves and salt and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add the crème fraîche. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot until smooth. Stir in the coriander and ginger.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with fried sage leaves and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

I did make a couple of changes to it. I didn’t want to make puree with my butternut squash, so I decided to use Williams-Sonoma’s recipe for Cream of Butternut Squash and Apple Soup as a guide. In that recipe you are supposed to chop the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes, so that’s what I did for my soup. I also used sour cream instead of crème fraîche, and I skipped the sage leaves and pepper (I am not a pepper person).

Here’s how it turned out.

Delicious butter, check!

The onions are under way.

Add butternut squash and apple, check.

Broth and bay leaves added.

Sour cream added.

Blended and, oh, so smooth!

Voila!

Recipe Review

This soup turned out to be pretty thick and didn’t have as much apple flavor as I was expecting it to have. Overall, I liked it, but if I ever make it again I would definitely add more chicken broth and more apple.

Star Rating:

2 1/2 out of 4

The Pain Was Worth It in the End

I love skiing.

There’s just something about gliding down a snow covered slope that fills my heart with a sense of easy peacefulness.

A couple of weeks ago I went on a ski trip, but I wasn’t planning on skiing; I decided to give snowboarding a try. Not so much because I wanted to… okay, not at all because I wanted to, but because my generous sister was going to let me use her old snowboard, which would mean I would be saving money by not renting a pair of skis.

This was my second time snowboarding. My first time was last year. But that only lasted for an hour, because we mistakenly got to the ski place right before they were going to close, so I was basically starting from the beginning all over again this year.

Last year I had liked the idea of trying something new; I thought it would be fun to know how to snowboard. So for that hour that I spent boarding, I had fun. This year was a different story. This year all I wanted to do was go skiing. It had been a while since I’d been skiing, and I missed that peaceful, easy feeling (no pun intended). I didn’t want to have to put so much effort into learning to snowboard. I didn’t want to work, I just wanted to have fun.

I had been trying to ignore how I felt about boarding, but once I got to the top of my first hill of the season, I wasn’t able to ignore my feelings anymore.

I had cheerfully gotten all of my gear on and walked to the hill where I sat down in the snow to put on my board. It was at that point that my cheerfulness turned to anxiety. The hill was far too steep for my liking. I did not want to go down that hill. But with encouragement and instruction from my sister I managed to make it down the hill safely.

It turned out that not only did I not want to snowboard because of the afore mentioned reason, but I was also somewhat afraid of snowboarding. Skiing had come pretty easily to me. I mean, sure, I’ve taken some falls over the years, but for the most part I have felt in control while skiing. With snowboarding I feel a complete lack of control.

What I am most afraid of is hurting myself. I have this scary picture of myself loosing control, falling off a ledge somewhere and breaking some part of my body. I have never broken a bone to date and I do NOT want to start now!

Well, I didn’t break anything. Thank goodness. I did however take my fair share of spills along the way, and with those came plenty of sore muscles.

The scariest moment was when I twisted my knee after panicking and throwing myself to the ground in a lame attempt to rescue myself from what I thought was inevitable disaster. According to my sister, it was not inevitable disaster. She seemed to think that my reaction to my imagined impending danger was quite comical. And after hearing her recount the event in the way only she can, I could see why.

It was after the knee incident that I had the last of my meltdown that was gradually coming on at the top of the first hill. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cried. I was feeling sorry for myself. My sister gave me a much needed pep talk during my meltdown. One of the things she said to me was, “You’re so much braver than this.” I remember feeling surprised to hear that. I think my response to her was, “no, I’m not.” But I think maybe I am. I’ve been feeling so completely the opposite of brave lately, but I did used to be brave. And I still am brave sometimes, I just need to remember that I can be.

Something popped into my head after that exchange with my sister. It was the title of my blog: Setting the Bolder Course. I realized this was an opportunity for me to be bold and I couldn’t let it slip away.

During my sister’s pep talk she told me that I could have fun snowboarding, but I needed to change my attitude.

Well, I did change my attitude. And I did have fun!