Black-eyed Pea and Bacon Hash

Black eyed peas and bacon hash

Nothing makes me more optimistic than the first page of a new journal. The world shimmers with promise and wonder as I survey the tidy lines, mustering a sentence worthy of the white space. My handwriting that first entry is notably neat, the prose aiming for profundity (though frequently missing). I’ve amassed dozens of first journal entries since I began writing them at age eight. Unfortunately my perfectionism predates my passion for writing; I saw anything but daily journaling a failure and often ripped out a month’s worth of entries because I skipped a single day.

I’ve matured a bit since my journal-purging years. I can even return to a blog after 33 post-less days and refrain from deleting the entire site. Continue reading

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Indiana Corn and Potato Chowder

Indiana Corn and Potato Chowder

For a Hoosier prone to homesickness, September is the hardest month to live in Texas. You crave yellowing leaves and orchard apples and nights smelling of bonfires. Instead you get singed grass and sweaty clothes and swimming pools that feel like stagnant bathwater. Mums wilt in grocery store entrances. People sip pumpkin spiced lattes while sweat beads on their brows. Families go to football games in tank tops. Your Midwestern mind is troubled.

Which is why this weekend felt (oddly enough) like Christmas. Continue reading

Risotto with Bacon & Peas + Homemade Chicken Stock

Risotto with Peas and Bacon

What’s for dinner?

It’s a question I have either asked or answered most of the days of my life. I still hear it in our raucous little voices, our bodies bursting down the hallway to the chair where our mom sat reading the latest Karen Kingsbury novel or (quite possibly) “resting her eyes.” Her answer could make our day (Ham and cheese casserole!) or summon a terrible sense of dread. (Meatloaf. Ugh.) These days Jason is usually the one doing the asking, his variety of inflections—hopeful, dubious, confused—usually reflecting the aromas currently emanating from the stove. Continue reading