Summer Colds, Books I Cannot Put Down and the Beauty of Pressure Cookery

I’ve been a little silent online lately. We’ve been ravaged by wicked summer colds. I’m entering my third week of congestion but I am getting better. I think for me it is mainly sinus right now. As soon as the mowers come out and grass clippings fly, I am in trouble. But we’re all on the mend, thankfully!

I just finished reading the most amazing book recommended to me by my friend Roxanne. It is “The Lotus Eaters” and is a debut novel by Tatjana Soli. The story takes place during the Vietnam War and follows the experiences of one of the few women photojournalists as she grows and matures during her time in Vietnam amidst the chaos, the killing, the suffering, the discovery of love and the delicate albeit fragile yet enduring beauty of that time and place. There are so many passages I want to quote and share with you. I must go back and highlight as Tatjana Soli’s prose is immensely exquisite even when she is describing the most horrific of events. I had a hard time putting this book down and I eagerly await her next novel.

I’ve always had an interest in Vietnam, our time there, the reasons, the justifications, the inner machinations of it all. It’s a scar that even as we hurtle down the road of time putting more distance between us and those events, it’s always there, always painful, always prompting questions – the most prominent of all being, “WHY?” I don’t think we’ll ever truly grasp the why of it all. I’m not sure we really can. It won’t change anything. It cannot bring back those lives we lost, nor can it change those lives that were irreversibly altered. But hopefully we’ve learned something from that experience. I hope. Although with this war we are in right now, I’m not so sure. Things are so different and yet so very much the same. I’ll be commenting more on this book soon. If you get a chance to read it, let me know. I’m curious as to what you think of it.

My mom gave me an 8 quart electric pressure cooker. I have been making good use of it. In fact, it’s pretty much all I have been using for my cooking. I’ve made Chicken Chipotle, Chicken Biryani, West Indies Pepper Pot Stew, chicken broth, elk roast and elk broth, Chicken Quinoa so far – just to name a few things…  The flavor explosion and intensity is amazing. It’s a timesaver yes, but the quality, the taste, the nutritional value that I’m getting out of the food I cook in there is awesome. I’ve been freezing broth and dishes left and right. LOVE it. I’ve also been making lots of Roasted Cauliflower Soup – at least once a week. That, I admit, I’ve been making on the stove. I notice our grocery bill has gone way down which is very nice. I love that you can just throw everything in there, start it up and let it work its magic.

Oh! Before I forget, I read about adding Cardamom to coffee in The Lotus Eaters and decided to try it! It’s fantastic. I have been doing it now every day since reading about it. It is delicious and healthy. You just use a smidgen but it definitely adds a special “je ne ce quois” to the coffee. There is a plethora of health benefits to Cardamom – as with many of the spices/herbs we typically cook with. I love learning about the merits of spices in our diet. So if you get a chance, try it and let me know what you think! I also found that it helps clear up my congestion! I started feeling better when I added the Cardamom to my coffee. I usually store my Cardamom in the fridge to keep it fresh and I buy my spices at Penzeys.

It’s been a relaxing time lately. I admit. Stress levels have tapered off quite a bit (thank the Lord). I’m doing more reading than writing although I am working on my poetry – which as you know – is my first love. I plan to start submitting more of it once I get through my edits. I’m excited about this.

I’m still working out with the kettlebells although my intensity has been slightly less than I would like due to my cold. But I feel stronger this week so I’m hoping to ramp it back up again.

We’ve been watching “Anne of Green Gables” at night – just an hour of it at a time before bed. It’s a thing we try to do at LEAST yearly. Same with the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice”. I’m fortunate to have a husband who enjoys watching them as well. He just “gets it”. He always has. 🙂  My other go-to things to watch are “Gilmore Girls” which we both adore and “The Road to Avonlea”.  It’s like sipping chicken soup while curled up in a homemade afghan before a crackling fire. It is that comfort factor that hugs the soul.

I hope this week finds you all doing splendidly! What are you reading currently? What are you working on? How are YOU doing, my friends?

Smiles! 😀







0 thoughts on “Summer Colds, Books I Cannot Put Down and the Beauty of Pressure Cookery

  1. First, it’s good to see you back! I hope you are feeling better!

    Second, I hear you on the reading piece. Sometimes I feel like my mind craves input instead of output. That’s why I’m thrilled to have blogs like yours to come to!

    Third, I can’t wait to read some of this poetry! 🙂

  2. Congestion sucks. It must be a pretty bad year for it because it seems to be happening all over to so many people. I love hearing about the cardamom in the coffee, too. My homemade curry blend is pretty heavy on the cardamom 😉

    And also, I love hearing about your adventures with the pressure cooker. Are you modifying regular recipes or are you using a cookbook designed for the pressure cooker? Either way, this West Indies Pepper Pot sounds mouthwatering.

  3. I am not sure how I missed this post. I have been offline and not writing as much. I am so sorry that you had such a long stretch of illness. Summer colds are more of an insult than winter colds. I love to read about your cooking…you try things that are so unusual to me.

    I downloaded The Lotus Eaters, and plan to start it this week. I look forward to sharing my impressions with you and Roxanne.

    I hope you are having a lovely weekend with your family!

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