Ah, the best laid plans...
My heart desired nothing more this morning than simplicity: to sit down at my computer, quiet my mind for a moment, and then connect with the writer side of myself and put to paper (or to screen, in this case) my thoughts in order to see what essence or mischievous imp wanted to be unleashed.
But alas, things wouldn't go quite as planned, as our water heater decided to fritz out this morning just a little bit, in turn placing my attention onto it and putting the kibosh on any free-flowing stream-of-consciousness thoughts.
Instead, those thoughts would be replaced by looking frantically for the receipt (and the warranty) from the company that replaced the water heater just a little over a year ago, followed by phoning that company for a repair man; waiting for said repairman; wondering what the cost of this repair would be; and finally waiting for the repairman to finish up and be on his way, but only after adding a few new digits to our credit card balance for the no-longer-under-warranty labor cost.
And now, with all of that said and done, the task at hand is to sit down and write something worth reading.
Now, if today's little glitch would've been the first in a while, then I don't think it'd really be worth mentioning—things break down, things need repair.
Welcome to homeownership, welcome to adulthood.
But today's little hiccup was actually the fourth in a line of home appliances needing repair over the past three or four weeks; and somehow, their fritz-outs have always coincided with a writing day.
Funny how that happens...
Anything else in need of attention?
Speak now or forever hold your peace. Please.
So perhaps I'll take this as a sign for a topic; a push in the direction of giving a little thought to keeping ones “stuff” together when one's surroundings seem like they'd like to come apart, at least a little.
You know, it's funny; even though my irritation has reached a bit of a crescendo with this particular issue-of-the-week, I feel like over the years I developed more of a sense of humor about this type of stuff, and seem to bounce back a bit quicker, and not get too wound up.
Certainly when I calculate what we've spent over the past 3 or so weeks on these various repairs, it's more than the “zero” we would've preferred to have spent; but it is what it is.
But getting back to breathing, and finding my way to connecting to my quieter “inner” self, after dealing with whatever has to be dealt with, has gotten easier, which is nice.
It's actually kind of surprising, and I suppose the blessing in all of this is that now I can see some growth within myself because of these little experiences.
Perhaps mellowing comes with getting older, and maturing more with age.
All I know is that I'm grateful for it, for the bounce-back, and for allowing my desire to connect to something productive and “greater than” rather than focusing on the hiccup and keeping it at the forefront, and potentially chewing on it much longer than it needs to be chewed on.
Seeing these distractions, annoyances, troubles, or difficulties that come at us take a back seat to the more positive and soul-enriching things, is quite refreshing, and needed.
And for me it just means that it's nice to come back to “quiet”, quicker; to take in my surroundings and the light that makes up the beautiful day, and imagine, playfully, a comforting pumpkin and roasted garlic cream pasta dish with sage-rubbed chicken that would be a perfect fit for this autumn season, and giving that more precedence than the bump in my road, or the trouble or distraction.
Because it's better.
It benefits everyone more to put attention on that.
So here's my positive spin on the whole thing: that with so many of these daily-used appliances having gotten some repair and attention recently, they should be good to go for a while again. And that's nice; that's the silver lining.
But if there's anything else that isn't telling me at this very moment that it's about to go a little haywire, then I suppose when it does, maybe after this little examination I can just exhale and say “Ok, here we go again...” and let it just flow on through.
I suppose practice makes things a little easier, even in the area of attitude and outlook.
And I suppose that whatever good it is that can provide us with a quicker bounce-back to a more joyful place within is worth experiencing, isn't it?
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Pumpkin and Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Fettuccine with Grilled Sage-Rubbed Chicken
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, slices in half lengthwise to create 4 thinner cutlets
• Olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Black pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves, plus 1 tablespoon, divided use
• ½ – ¾ package fettuccine (16 ounce package), cooked according to package instructions, and held warm
• Pumpkin & Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce (recipe below)
• Shaved parmesan, for garnish
-Add the chicken cutlets to a medium-sized bowl, and drizzle over a little of the olive oil; add the garlic, a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped sage; using your hands, rub the sage and the seasoning into the chicken, and allow it to marinate for anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours.
-Place a grill pan over medium-high heat, and once hot, drizzle in a little oil; add the chicken breasts in (work in batches if necessary) and grill until golden-brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side; allow them to rest on a plate for a few minutes, then slice into strips and hold warm.
-To assemble your pasta, add the cooked fettuccine into the warm Pumpkin & Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, and using tongs, toss to coat the pasta well; add some of the pasta to a bowl and top with some of the sliced chicken, and garnish with some parmesan shavings and a sprinkle of the remaining sage.
Pumpkin & Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients:
• 3 heads garlic
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 (15 ounce) cans organic pumpkin (puree)
• 1 ½ tablespoons organic, natural chicken base (I use “Better Than Bouillon”)
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• Pinch salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
• ¾ cup half & half, room temp
• ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
-Preheat your oven to 400°.
-Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic; drizzle each with a little oil, plus a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, and wrap each head tightly in a square of foil; roast the garlic heads for 45 minutes.
-Once roasted, unwrap the heads to allow them to cool so that you can handle them; once cooled, squeeze the roasted garlic from the papers, and using your knife or a fork, make a paste out of it; set it aside for a moment.
-Place a large heavy-bottom pan or small pot over medium-low to medium heat, and add in the butter; once melted, add in the pumpkin puree, along with the roasted garlic paste, and stir to combine; allow the mixture become warmed through for a moment or two.
-Next, add in the chicken base, as well as the Italian seasoning, a small pinch of salt and the black pepper, and stir to combine and incorporate.
-Add in the mascarpone cheese, and gently stir that in until it melts into the puree; next, add in the half & half, and stir to blend that in.
-Turn the heat off, and finish the sauce by adding in the grated parmesan, and stir; check your seasoning to see if any additional salt/black pepper is needed.
-Use immediately; or, allow the sauce to cool completely, and then keep in a covered container in the fridge for several days, if making ahead.