motivation (and soup)

Today (and the last few days, in fact) have been a bit of a struggle. I can’t tangibly define why; it’s just hard to motivate myself, I feel tired all the time, and I know work is piling up. I told a friend earlier today that maybe I just need something to love, and he suggested I go home and write something here. It wasn’t a bad idea. This is supposed to be a labor of love more than anything else, so today, I’m hoping it kickstarts my drive – at least through to the long weekend!

I spent my weekend crossing off the fun parts of my to-do list: writing snail mail to send out, making soup, coloring, doing the bare minimum of laundry, and meeting up with IMG_20160112_225019275 (2)friends. Lately I’ve been a little more excited than usual to send out snail mail because I have acquired these AWESOME postcards! I went to the Museum of Science in Boston to see the Science of Pixar exhibit on New Year’s Eve, and it was very cool. When we got to the gift shop, I explicitly told my friend not to let me buy anything…but then I saw these and couldn’t resist. Not to mention my friend knew she’d probably be getting a few of them in the mail. There’s a little something for everyone – clips from Pixar shorts, sketches, concept art, and film frames.

Along this theme of snail mail, my friend got me Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden postcards that you can color in! I may have spent most of Saturday evening working on one. Here’s the final result:

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I do wish I colored better, but it’s a skill to improve upon. And it’s incredibly relaxing!

So, to the cooking part of the weekend. I made a big batch of roasted celery soup. I found this recipe last year. I was gifted some celery and realized I had never cooked with it. After browsing lots of recipes, I settled on it – and was pleasantly surprised by the result. I’ve been meaning to make it again all year, but now that winter is finally upon us, I figured it was a good thing to have around. I ended my Saturday night with a big bowl of soup and my colored pencils, and have been drinking soup off and on this week.

Roasted Celery Soup (adapted from Food52)
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
8 celery stalks (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1/2 bulb fennel, roughly chopped
2 large whole garlic cloves
3 medium potatoes (I used Gold Yukon, but I think anything can work here), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups broth (chicken or vegetable is fine; I ended up mixing both to have enough)
1/2 cup skim milk (for richer flavor, use light cream or half and half)
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper (and smoked paprika)
Celery leaves and fennel fronds for garnish (optional)

Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, cut up the celery, fennel, and peel the garlic cloves. Toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, place them on a pan and put them in the oven. Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally, for about 35-45 minutes until lightly browned. In the meantime, peel and cut the potatoes and put them into a pot with the broth to cook. Cook until the potatoes are tender (this took about 20-25 minutes for me, but keep an eye on them) and set aside to cool a bit. Once the roasted vegetables are done, add them to the broth. Use a blender to puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot and bring to a boil. Stir in milk, lemon juice, and salt and pepper and check to make sure it’s seasoned to your liking. I also added some smoked paprika to add a little hint of spice to it. Make sure everything is mixed well. Garnish each bowl with the leaves and fronds, and enjoy! It should keep in the fridge for about a week.

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Wishing everyone a happy Wednesday and lots of motivation to accomplish whatever you need to finish before the weekend!

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