Thursday, January 19, 2012

A seven-year-old and her current favorites.

I had planned that my next post would be devoted to my thoughts on Jen Hatmaker's incredible new book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. However, my Kindle was proving so distracting to me during this time of work on the manuscript edits of our book that I handed it to friends who were leaving for a twelve-day vacation.

My Kindle is now vacationing in Puerto Rico due to my lack of self-control.

So! I may not have a review of 7 (shortened version: READ THE BOOK. You will not be sorry.), but I will report on another dear-to-my-heart event centered on the same number. My daughter - my first baby - turned seven this week, and I can hardly comprehend it.

Maya requested calzones for her birthday dinner (recipe at the end of this post!), as well as Brussel sprouts - which sounds totally odd unless you've tried the recipe that Megan linked to back in November. It has changed the entire way we view this vegetable, and given me the opportunity to use the phrase, "And here are your birthday Brussel sprouts!", to smiles and cheers.

Miracles. They do happen.

In related news, I've now developed an obsession with taking random raw vegetables, tossing them in olive oil and kosher salt, and roasting them awhile to see what happens. It's WILD around here!

Another new love of Maya's which brings me joy is her recent discovery of Beverly Cleary books. We read Henry Huggins together at our librarian's suggestion, and she was completely tickled at the hijinks of a boy growing up in small-town Oregon in the 1950's. I was delighted as well to relive the memories of my own childhood attachment to the book series - enjoying Henry's attempts to bring his new dog Ribsy home on the bus in a cardboard box; his foray into raising guppies, resulting in his mother's canning jars lining his bedroom filled with multiplying fish; etc. - all through the eyes of my daughter. A quick eBay search scored me a great deal on all six books in the Henry Huggins series, which Maya opened on the morning of her birthday.

She curled up in my lap the other night and shyly murmured that she was a little sad about not being six-years-old anymore. I hugged her tight and we talked about what it means to be nostalgic and I told her that she was just like her mama. Then I hugged her a little bit tighter.

On Saturday there will be a party featuring a pink cake with pink icing and fairy decor. As sentimental as I am about saying goodbye to age six, I'm equally excited to see what seven brings.




* * *
Calzones
(adapted from Allrecipes)

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 T. olive oil
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (or mozzarella) cheese
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
3/4 cup veggies (mushrooms, green peppers, olives, etc.)
1 T. dried basil
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
marinara sauce

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in sugar, salt, and olive oil. Stir in one cup flour and mix until smooth. Add rest of flour and knead for 5-10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes.

While dough is rising, mix ricotta, shredded cheese, pepperoni, veggies, and basil.

Preheat oven to 375. Punch dough down and divide into two parts. Roll each into a thin circle. Spread half of filling mixture over one side of each dough circle and fold other side over. Seal dough by pressing edges with a fork. Place calzones on a baking sheet or baking stone and brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.

Bake for 30 -35 minutes. Slice and serve with warmed marinara sauce.


* * *
Note: Megan I do plan to continue our series of Spirit-Led Parenting discussion posts! The process of getting our manuscript ready has taken most of our focus and attention in recent weeks. Thank you for understanding!

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