Let me tell you, it’s so comforting for me to put on my baggy, old sweatpants and T-shirt or sweatshirt after coming home from being out all day in the hustle and bustle. The energy of the day seems to somehow cling to the very fabric of the clothes that I’ve been wearing, and taking off that wardrobe in exchange for my “comfy clothes” is a way for me to break from that portion of my day that is more public into a more private, relaxed and comfortable mindset. When I’m in the familiarity of my own home, my own space, I prefer my “comfy clothes” because they are so unassuming and reliably cozy. Certain shoes are the same way, as I love the way they feel when I wear them -no unexpected blisters. Same with my robe, as it’s the first thing I wrap myself in when I’m still vulnerably bleary-eyed when I awake. My first cup of coffee in the morning is a soothing friend as well, as the anticipation of its warmth coursing through my veins, waking me up, helps balance out the darkness of the morning.
As I think about it, none of my favorite comforts are pretentious in any way, really; they are just the things that make my life more enjoyable and full. My ability to lean on my faith is an immense, spiritual comfort; having an intimate, deep conversation with my husband, who is my best friend, is a deep, soul comfort; laughter and moments of precious connectivity and openness that I share with my son as he becomes ever-increasingly autonomous, is the best, joyous comfort that I, as a mother, could ever hope for. Life can be complicated enough on its own at times without any additional effort on my part, and realizing that I can find solace in the simple joys gives me relief.
Uncomplicated, rustic food has been something that I have always found irresistible. I love the accessibility of it. There’s a lot to be said for the “al dente” chewy-ness of perfectly cooked pasta dressed in a silky sauce, twirled onto a fork; the frosty-cold creaminess of real ice cream; the salty, crispy crunch of golden potato chips, or that distinct “snap” of a well-tempered, quality dark-chocolate bar. Nothing fancy, of course, just little simple comforts for my spirit to enjoy. I reach for these things because they’ve been so lovingly provided for my appreciation and pleasure. I’m filled with gratitude that it doesn’t have to take much to experience daily, simple comforts, and that God is so often revealed in them.
What simple comforts do you enjoy?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Linguini in Silky Parmesan Almond Cream Sauce Topped with Sizzling Creole Shrimp
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Linguini in Parmesan Almond Cream Sauce Ingredients: (serves about 6)
1 16 ounce package Linguini
6 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
1½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
4 ounces butter
4 ounces all-purpose flour (about a heaping ½ cup)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
-In a medium pot set over heat, add the almond milk, salt, pepper and garlic, and bring to a simmer; once simmering, reduce the heat to low, and prepare the roux for the cream sauce.
-In another medium-sized pot set over medium-high heat, add the butter; once melted, add the flour and stir to blend and cook for about two minutes until flour is no longer “raw”; next, carefully add the hot almond milk into this flour/butter roux, whisking all the while to prevent lumps and to keep the sauce smooth; allow to simmer on medium-low heat and to thicken for about 5 minutes, whisking a bit to prevent scorching; finish by adding the nutmeg, the lemon zest and juice, and the Parmesan cheese, and stir to combine; check/adjust the salt/pepper, if necessary; set sauce aside and keep warm until ready to serve with linguini.
-Cook linguini according to package instructions, drain well and add immediately to almond cream sauce. (*Shrimp can be prepared while the linguini pasta cooks, if desired.)
Sizzling Creole Shrimp Ingredients:
1 pound raw, medium/medium-large sized shrimp, de-veined and peeled
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or ‘Blackening’ seasoning)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use (1tablespoon for shrimp, 1tablespoon for pan)
-In a small bowl, add the shrimp along with the rest of the ingredients, and toss to coat.
-Heat a medium-sized pan over high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil; once pan is hot, add shrimp being careful not to over-crowd pan, using batches; allow shrimp to sear on one side for about 2 minutes until golden-brown, then flip over, and sear for about another 2 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through; remove from pan and keep warm; repeat process with remaining shrimp.
-Add a generous portion of the linguini with the Parmesan-Almond cream sauce to a bowl, top with 3 (or however many you prefer) shrimp, and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and a lemon wedge.