Joie de Vivre Schedule Tip #4

With a Treat for Taking a Break …

The Tip
Seb and Max with Egg.

It’s “Picnic Monday” around here today. That’s what we’ve long called the day after Easter Sunday, when we always look forward to cruising on the intended overflow from generous holiday preparations. This year we’re actually both back at work instead of basking in an extended weekend, and it’s not even sunny enough to eat outside in our spring-blooming garden. But at least what’s for lunch and dinner is already taken care of, and we’re still savoring all the fresh family memories for a lasting sense of sweetness that takes both my mind and heart on a picnic.

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Casual Recipe for Caramelized Strawberries and Oranges

To Refresh and Delight Both Your Eyes and Taste Buds …

Oranges and Strawberries.

This spectacular and naturally sweet combination of fruits can easily adapt to serve and please you year-round, depending on what’s currently in season. Just combine and/or replace one kind for the other as needed. And if caramelizing sugar either freaks you out or is a step you don’t have time for at the moment, you can always easily dress the arranged fruit with only a tablespoon of sugar stirred to dissolve in the Grand Marnier with a little fresh lemon juice for balance. Then the reserved orange juices could always embellish flutes of sparkling wine for making mimosas to keep everyone in high spirits!

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Joie de Vivre Schedule Tip #3

With a Treat for Gathering It All Together …

The Tip
Carrots and Leeks.

Back in the last century, but really not that long ago, American families felt lucky enough to have even one car. Since the dad usually took it to work every weekday, while the mom managed everything else on the home front, that meant grocery shopping (and family chores) could only happen on Saturday. Stores weren’t open at night or on Sundays, and you had to make sure to stock up and menu plan for the whole week.

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Joie de Vivre Schedule Tip #2

With a Treat for Dividing and Conquering …

The Tip
Chopped parsley.

Looking down the predictably long list of everything you might need and want to accomplish even in one day — let alone week, month, year, or life — can easily prove overwhelming. As a result, we often resort to hiding behind distractions and procrastinations, instead of consciously moving through each moment in a way that can serve our intended purpose. But by dividing everything into manageable categories to first think about and then do as separate blocks, we reliably boost both our available energy and probable success levels. I certainly spent decades first learning and then practicing this critical lesson in the restaurant business with all the trial-by-fire demands in line work and kitchen management responsibilities.

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Casual Recipe for Creamed Leeks and Potatoes

To Celebrate Spring Baby Vegetables …

Diced potatoes.

What could be more heavenly? These are just the basic proportions, so feel free to double the recipe. I always do! And besides simply reheating any intentional extras later, just to keep things lively, you can always combine them with good broth to simmer and then purée together for an instant version of that comforting classic, leek and potato soup. Ta da!

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Joie de Vivre Schedule Tip #1

With a Treat for Focusing on Fulfillment …

Asparagus Prosciutto.

In a recent blog post, I addressed the power in learning how to make mindful daily choices that respect and conserve our time, energy and resources, while also supporting and reflecting our true priorities to make room for an expanded sense of creativity, connection and fulfillment. Whew! That’s both a mind, mouth and heart full. But in the past year, I’ve discovered the most effective way to honor these worthy intentions is to first carefully define and then establish a dependably regular work and personal life schedule. What I like to call a “Joie de Vivre Schedule,” that provides a strong yet harmoniously balanced and flexible framework to best serve my purpose with respectful boundaries for all involved.

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Casual Recipe for Asparagus and Prosciutto Plus

For a Palate Pleasing Treat …

Meyer Lemon and Rosemary.

There’s nothing new about just wrapping slices of prosciutto around asparagus spears. But when you further embellish such ready companions with these quick additions, this classic combo evolves from delicious to simply divine. We had it the other night as a first course before hot bowls of creamed leek and potato soup, but you could easily make a meal of it. And for a further match made in heaven, might I suggest a loaf of Meyer Lemon Rosemary bread from Petaluma’s own Della Fattoria to round things out nicely?

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Life Can Always Intervene

But Our Daily Choices Are Still More Powerful Than We Might Realize …

Daffodils.

I recently ran into a culinary colleague I hadn’t seen in quite a while. He had read how the unexpected changes in city regulations had suddenly and no longer allowed me to teach classes in my professional home kitchen about a year ago, so he wondered what I was up to now.
“After all these years of working so hard as a chef, are you starting to think about retirement?”
Without even considering the question, I immediately blurted out,
“No! I’m currently focused on fulfillment instead.”
(Who said that?) It just came out of my mouth. And a few days later in a rare moment of personal consumerism, I actually bought myself an inspiring fulfillment necklace (instead of the classic retirement gold watch) to wear in recognition of this energizing realization.

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