Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One of You Better Include, "Receiving Notification of a New Pillowbook Entry" in Your List of 5

I love stuff like this...
Neil Pasricha is the author of and The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things. Both the website and the book honor the quirky, the fun, the simple acts that can inexplicably make our day (Really, who doesn't love getting a trucker to blow their horn or get pleasure from roasting the perfect marshmallow?). No introspective stuff today; instead, just a celebration of pillows, books, and sweet potato cornsticks.

A Few Reviews:
“1000 Awesome Things might be described as optimism for the rest of us. Sunny without being saccharine, it’s a countdown of life’s little joys that reads like a snappy Jerry Seinfeld monologue by way of Maria Von Trapp.” – The Vancouver Sun

“Strangely heartwarming… perfect for rainy days.” – The New Yorker

“Laugh-out-loud funny, tinged with just enough sarcastic nostalgia…” –

“Honors the little joys of life.” – USA Today

“Consumer angst has turned western civilization into a morass of grumpy old men moaning about shoddy battery life of iPhones or the annoying omnipresence of accident claims adverts when you just want to watch a daytime quiz show. So sometimes, it’s nice to remind yourself of life’s sweeter side and the pleasures to be had from the small things — like peeling the thin plastic film off new electronic gadgets or sneaking your own cheap snacks into the cinemas. 1000 Awesome Things deserves its recent Webby Award; life really is awesome after all.” – The Guardian

A Sampling (But, I would love to hear your thoughts...come up with 5 and please share:)):
#940 Terrible businesses run by children
#939 Hot cream and a straight razor on your neck at the barber shop
#938 Sweatpants aka track pants aka jogging pants
#937 The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk
#936 Perfect parallel-parking on the first try
#935 Eating cookies like Cookie Monster
#934 Adrenaline
#933 The first scoop out of a jar of peanut butter
#932 Wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals
#931 Intergenerational dancing
#930 Finally getting a piece of popcorn that’s been stuck in your teeth all day out
#929 Your colon
#928 Eating foods you loved when you were a kid
#927 A really cold glass of water on a really hot day
#926 The Runaway Truck Ramp
#925 Watching ‘The Price Is Right’ when you’re at home sick
#924 Glass
#923 Doing anything that makes you feel like a caveman
#922 Getting a trucker to blow their horn
#921 Snow days
#920 Getting the eyelash out of your eye
#919 Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row
#918 When you’re really tired and about to fall asleep and someone throws a blanket on you
#917 The moment at a concert after the lights go out and before the band comes on stage
#916 The sound of scissors cutting construction paper
#915 When there’s leftover cake in the office kitchen
#914 Surprise two-ply
#913 Having a whole row by yourself on the plane
#912 Hanging your hand out the window of a car
#911 Getting served breakfast in bed
#910 When you arrive at your destination just as a great song ends on the radio
#909 Bakery air
#908 Peeling an orange in one shot
#907 When your favorite sports team is in the big nationally televised game
#906 Drinking a glass of cold water right after eating ice cream
#905 Using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower
#904 When you manage to squeeze enough toothpaste out for one last brush
#903 Picking scabs
#902 Roasting the perfect marshmallow
#901Flipping through the entire bank of posters at the mall when you need to kill time
#900 Multitasking while brushing your teeth
#790 Seeing someone laugh in their sleep
#789 Putting potato chips on a sandwich
#788 The first squeeze from a new tube of toothpaste
#787 The extra time you get when the clocks roll back
#786 Getting recognized for doing something you love
#785 Falling asleep in the backseat of a car late at night on the drive home
#784 Celebrity baby names
#783 When you know all the buttons to speed through the automated telephone system
#782 Mixing cookie batter with your bare hands
#781 Guys who wear no shirts at cold sporting events
#780 Squeezing through a door as it’s shutting without touching it
#779 Getting into a bed with clean sheets after shaving your legs
#778 When someone unjams the photocopier for you
#777 Reading the nutritional label and eating it anyway
#776 When you’re watching one of your favorite movies and you realize you don’t remember how it ends
#775 When someone holds your keys and wallet in their purse
#774 Discovering those little tabs on the side of the aluminum foil box
#773 Watching your odometer click over a major milestone
#772 When you spilling something on your shirt and it doesn’t leave a stain
#771 Waking up before your alarm clock and realizing you’ve got lots of sleep time left
#770 Grabbing the cereal bowl with both hands and slurping up all the sugary milk

My awesome things for today: Having a wonderfully kind neighbor who likes to visit and who, yesterday, brought homegrown strawberries; making a recipe passed down from a friend's great-grandmother and being really pleased with the results; sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch at 6:30 in the morning-when it's still a little foggy and a little cool-and watching the neighborhood puppies play as you type a blog entry.
Thank you, Buddy. You are part of Marrowbone's "dazzling intensity."

Sweet Potato Corn Sticks (well, mine were actually muffins...didn't have a cast iron cornstick pan)
Makes: 12 muffins

3/4 c. mashed cooked sweet potatoes (I cooked mine at 410 for 80 minutes)
1/2 c. buttermilk (didn't have so I used Half and Half)
3 tbsp. melted butter (but cooled)
1 egg
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
(Recipe did not call for it, but I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a smaller sprinkle of both nutmeg and ground cloves)

Heat oven to 400. Grease corn stick/muffin pan. Mix together sweet potatoes, butter, milk, and egg. Add remaining ingredients and divide evenly in pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Even if you don't like sweet potatoes, I encourage you to try this recipe. The potatoes make the muffins moist, but not overly sweet. I had mine with baked chicken and a tomato salad and it was delicious. They would, however, also be good with morning coffee ("black" if keeping with Burton tradition) and maybe even some homemade strawberry jam.:)
LAHA - Just mixing things up a, it kind of sounds like "voila"; I suspect this is going to get a 5 avocado yummy rating...looking forward to Lindsey's review and pictures:)

Every school year when May rolls around, teachers (at least the ones I share a room with) seem to fall out of a normal routine and go into “survival” mode. My co-workers and I often preface our conversational to-do’s with, “as soon as school is out.” For example, I have been out of groceries for a couple of weeks (hence the Kitchen Sink Pasta last week) and now that “school is out,” I am going to restock my freezer, refrigerator and pantry. In order to accomplish this to-do and as an out-of-school treat to myself, I plan on going to Trader Joes and Whole Foods (my equivalent to visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot or eating a 5 avocado yummy scale meal-both very awesome). Will I buy some avocados- of course, “now that school is out,” I will be making all kinds of new, interesting avocado dishes.

I hope to make this dish before next week:
Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad with Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad Dressing
Makes 6 servings.

1 large, ripe fresh avocado, peeled, seeded, cut in slices
2 Cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked over, well-drained
2 Cups diced fresh apple (two medium apples; peeled, cored, seeded, diced)
2 Cups fresh mango chunks, diced
5 oz package mixed baby greens, or 8 cups mixed lettuces torn in bite-size
2 Tbsp chopped chives or green onion
2 Tbsp walnuts, toasted*, chopped coarsely
1 avocado and blueberry fruit salad dressing. (See below for the recipe for Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad Dressing)

Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp honey
¼ Cup plain nonfat yogurt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ Cup fresh orange or grapefruit juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper

1. Place chopped avocado, blueberries, apple, and mango in medium bowl and toss with 4 Tbsp tangy dressing; set aside.
2. Toss salad greens in large bowl with remainder of tangy dressing, and distribute evenly on each of six salad plates.
3. Place an equal portion of dressed fruit/avocado mixture on top of each greens serving.
4. Sprinkle with chopped chives and toasted walnuts to serve.
*To toast walnuts, place nut pieces in dry skillet over medium-high heat and stir occasionally for about seven minutes, or until pieces are browned lightly. Remove from heat. Let nuts cool slightly before chopping and using to garnish salad.

Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad Dressing
In medium bowl, mix honey, yogurt, and cinnamon together until smooth and creamy. Whisk in juice; stir in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.


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  2. I love your excerpt from the book! Funny how many of life's awesome things are universal in appeal. In spite of me knowing this-as I read the list I kept getting surprised and thinking, "Oh wow, I think that is awesome too!" What are the odds? I am going to attempt to think of at least 5 more for myself- 1. Finding a top, shoes, or dress at a consignment shop that you love and it fits perfectly (I recently had a very successful visit to Beverly Hills Boutique- so this is fresh in my mind) 2. Two year old little boys lighting up when they see you walk in a room (I could write a 1000 awesome things about my favorite 2 year old!) 3. Getting something for free or close to free at the grocery store (Liza, do you remember my shopping day when I saved a lot more than I spent? Hasn't happened since, but it was awesome) 4. Making a friend laugh at an inappropriate time 5. Pillow Book (I don't want to get in trouble!) 6. Waking up fully rested and refreshed after a night's sleep 7. When a baby lets out a big burp after the first try, so you know that your burping worked (Shout out to my awesome niece, Karson!) 8. A really clean bathtub

  3. Let me see if I can add to Lindsey's list. 1. Falling asleep to the sound of the rain. 2. Laughing so hard you can't breathe. 3. Waking up and remembering you don't have to go to work! 4. Reading my favorite blogs and blog comments. 5. Watching the garden grow after the rain. 6. Children who tell stories their parents told them not to tell (this happened at church tonight).

  4. Lindsey, I did exactly the same. I would get to one that I really loved and think, in seemingly utter surprise, "neat! I like that too." I love you all's picks so much. I remember the day you told me about your coupon/company card deal day and being really excited for you:)! Making a friend laugh at an inappropriate time and children who tell stories their parents told them not to tell make me smile just reading them:)

  5. My "awesome" list (could be different tomorrow . . .):
    1. The library or bookstore-- when there's nowhere else I have to be.
    2. PBS and NPR.
    3. Wine, coffee, and food with kindred spirits.
    4. Baby feet.
    5. A hubby who will watch (and like) Jane Austen movies with me.
    6. Getting real mail.
    7. The last day of school.
    8. The first day of school (school supplies!)
    9. Turtleneck weather.
    oh, and 10. Pillowbook. (seriously)

  6. l. reading a wonderful blog
    2. hearing your just delivered new born baby
    3. the moment you ride a bicycle without any
    4. wading barefoot in a creek on a hot summer
    5. watching a new baby foal stand on long
    wobbly legs for the first time.
    6. pulling your own very first tooth at the
    age of six
    7. Catching lightning bugs on a summer evening
    8. awakening on a cold snowy winter morning
    and hearing your mom say, "No school today"
    9. Finding your favorite pair of white
    sunglasses after presuming they were lost.
    10.The slightly uncomfortable feeling when your first grader's teacher says to you, "Liza told me that you thought my handwriting looks like chicken scratch."

    I could not stop with just 5.

    LOL, Mom

  7. 1. When you get together with old friends and it feels just like old times.
    2. Meeting new people under the best circumstances.
    3. Realizing that you have really good food in the fridge.
    4. When your dog is genuinely happy to see you.
    5. Reading the newest entry of the hippest folk hipstery blog.
    I have about 995 more, but I won't bore you :)

  8. Okay, this post has confirmed it - I really wish we all lived in the same city. I love how writing can give you a glimpse of people that surprises and impresses you. Reading your all's comments brings me such joy - no kidding - even as they make me miss nights of kindred spirits, wine, coffee (especially during Turtleneck weather), Jane Austen movies, catching lightening bugs, "remember when" stories, and getting together with old and new friends under the best circumstances.

    I know we're all kind of spread out, but I would really love for the pillow book community to get together for dinner and conversation sometime!