So… here I am after a long day of classes thinking it would help me feel better if I blogged about a recent dinner party.
It is not.
I hate the way I feel right now –things that used to bring me joy now feel overwhelming and taxing. I’m pouring all my energy into teaching and barely get a response from students. I’m overwhelmed by a few projects I’m involved in. And the current state of the kid’s school district is overwhelming, to say the least —right now, I’m waiting for the 5th grader to get home after school, and his bus is again late. I’m not taking 5-10 minutes late. We’re talking 40-50 minutes. This poor kid came home the other day simply exhausted, and it’s heartbreaking.
Everything feels so challenging and draining again, and I can’t decide if this is just how life is for me now or if it’s something else.
I’m just tired, and everyone I talk to is tired.
When I say “everyone,” I mean that one friend I talk to (she knows who she is) because, frankly, I barely have the energy to speak to anyone else.
Gosh, this is coming across as pretty doomy and gloomy, and well, frankly, that is how I usually feel by the end of most days.
Don’t get me wrong! I do squeak out moments of joy throughout the week. Today, I helped a student with a programming problem, and when I saw that light bulb go off in their brain, it made my heart happy. Another student reached out on Teams, and we worked through a problem they were having on their website. When we figured it out, I could literally feel the excitement through the chat window.
My hour at the gym also brings me joy daily. It’s exactly what I need it to be –an hour that’s planned by someone who isn’t me. I get to disappear for that hour with no emails, no questions, no kids, it’s for me and me alone, and I am currently holding on to that hour for dear life. There is no doubt it helps keep me sane
And then there’s the dinner party I hosted this past Saturday. I poured my heart and soul into this meal, and it was so much fun! I absolutely love the creative outlet of putting together and executing a menu. This one was a winner too!
Cocktail: Aperol Spritz
Appetizer: Roasted Vegetable Crostini with Honeyed Ricotta
Salad: Fig, Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad
Main: Chicken Piccata with Spinach and Mushroom Risotto
Dessert: Orange Soaked Bundt Cake with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Frankly, this may have been the best one I’ve done yet. We all devoured everything. Seconds were asked from the cocktail all the way down to dessert. Even the kids enjoyed most of it!
First up, the Aperol Spritz.
This is such an easy cocktail, and it’s refreshing, especially for a citrusy-based meal. It’s basically 1 part Aperol, 3 parts Prosecco, and a splash of seltzer. I garnished it with an orange slice perfectly.
It’s hard to pick a favorite course, but it would be this appetizer if I had to! First, I roasted root vegetables with a duqqa-like mix.
Then I combined ricotta cheese with honey, smeared it on top of some homemade crostini, and topped it with the veggies. It was a hit!
The salad course is always fun for me. I love taking things in season and using them to build a dish. Right now, figs are everywhere, so that’s the direction I went in. The combo of walnuts, pear, goat cheese, and arugula was perfect! And I brought the whole thing together with a super simple vinegarette made with olive oil, lemon, honey, and dijon mustard. We paired this course with a Sauvignon Blanc.
For the main course, I wanted something simple but elegant. Chicken Piccata came to mind, but instead of pasta on the side, I paired it with a mushroom and spinach risotto.
By this time at night, I lose my natural light, so the photo quality goes down. Sorry about that.
Anyway, on to dessert! Inspired by this recipe from FineCooking.com, I made an orange-soaked Bundt cake and paired it with some homemade vanilla ice cream. This may be the best dessert I’ve ever made!
The flavors were a perfect ending to the meal!
Okay, see, now that I got to relive the dinner part again, I’m smiling ear-to-ear. It was a much-needed night where we just hung out for a few hours, cooked together, laughed together. Even the kids stuck around. Actually, they hung out so long that I had to kick them out. Sometimes you just need adult time for sanity.
Anyway, I just wanted to share. I’m back at the maybe-I’ll-start-blogging-again impasse. This happens every few months. I’m sure it corresponds with my current state of mind.
*sigh* If only there were more hours in the day.