How To Practice Hospitality As A Single Person

Though it may be a gift more abstract that some, we all recognize hospitality when we feel it. An extra-warm welcome at an event. A guest room stocked with all the random things (shampoo, toothpaste) that you constantly forget to pack while traveling. A table where there is always more of what you are eating. No, please, take seconds. The more I settle into my full-fledged "adulthood" the more I value hospitality. I've also grown to realize that it isn't always as easy as I want it to be.

Wild Alaskan Salmon and Spinach Soubise

In all those years of working in my Dad's landscaping business, I never imagined that wild Alaskan salmon would make its way into "things clients give my father." Those divided tins of popcorn? Yes. Popsicles on a hot day? Of course. Even designer men's clothing (for some reason all the wealthy clients seem to have either gained or lost a tremendous amount of weight and have a small Brooks Brothers thing going on in the backs of their closets with button-down shirts that no longer fit them, and they've largely determined that giving them to my Dad is probably the most logical step before The Salvation Army). Usually client-gifts of this sort are confusing, not terribly useful, and serve as funny anecdotes for years until I round them into an article or blog post. But last month a client of my father's returned home from his "annual fishing trip to Alaska" and with him brought a king's ransom of wild salmon caught, gutted, and vacuumed sealed in the presence of grizzly bears by an arctic river.

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

A cheesecake recipe on a Monday, Rachel? Seriously? Um, yes 'seriously.' You do realize that this is a cinnamon roll cheesecake recipe and that cinnamon buns + cream cheese + breakfast, and that you should always eat breakfast on a Monday? You see my logic? Also, let's be honest: cheesecakes take a little bit of forethought due to all that cream cheese buying and overnight chilling. I want you to be prepared. I want you to make this Friday night so that come Saturday morning, your brunch situation can get serious real fast.

Have Some Good News: An Oasis of Gentle Things

Hi, Friends! It's the weekend, hallelujah. Not that this week was bad personally, but what with the world and all, I feel like we just need a good, clean Monday. Try this week all over again. Do it right this time. Still, life keeps moving on (you know, like the Ben Rector song...he has a baby named Jane, you know...that's one happy thing!) and peaceful things lean close. I've got a cinnamon bun cheesecake chilling in my fridge awaiting a photo shoot and taste-test, some 'sweet autumn' clematis and wild passionflowers to gather from the roadside and arrange into some sort of massive, trailing arrangement. There is a whole weekend stretching out before me without terribly much scheduled and I bought the most perfect pair of lounge-about pants for exactly $9.99. But let's also deal in honesty: it is hard to see so much hatred, terrorism, anxiety, anger, and negativity simmering in our country and the world. This blog isn't the place where we dwell on those things. This is a place to celebrate the strong and fragile beauties of the everyday, the peace of common ground, and the joy of serving others. In that vein, I've gathered a list of links to all the most beautiful, brave, and inspiring stories and things I've found this week. Ready, get set, go read away! I've carefully curated this list of links to raise your spirits, bolster your heart, and help refresh your weekend so that you can pour into the lives of others. Enjoy!

  • Why not start with this clip about a band of entertainers, magicians, musicians, artists, and dancers with a mission to help refugee children let themselves play again?
  • Follow that with this video of the organization "Random Acts" as they bless a wheel-chair bound little girl with the chance to achieve her dream of being a ballerina.
  • Listen to an episode of 'Sounds Good,' while washing the breakfast dishes. 'Sounds Good' is a good-news podcast highlighting the makers, dreamers, and creatives working for a positive impact on the world around them and has swiftly become my go-to podcast for listening.
  • Come to love B.J. Novak even more when you hear that he plans to stare at the eclipse without any special glasses.
  • Be alternately weirded out and awed by the ability of these native people to stride across the sea bed to hunt.
  • While wasting time on Youtube, any fellow 90's kids out there will be thrilled to know that Disney released their first episode of the DuckTales remake which you can check out here.
  • Learn how to make crazy beautiful (and naturally violet-colored) lemonade with Love & Olive Oil's "magic butterfly pea lemonade" recipe. Yes, I went and ordered some dried butterfly pea blossoms after watching this. Bet you won't judge me after you see the post.
  • Turn on this fiery, hope-filled, grace-flooded new album by my friend, Daniel Ethridge. I'm not just saying you should listen to it because he's my friend. I'm saying you should listen to it because it will refresh your soul.
  • While you're listening to the album, I bet you'd have fun baking (or at least drooling over pictures of) Hummingbird High's white chocolate and raspberry sheet cake

There you go! Happy weekend, my loves. I hope you are able to relax and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Keep your heads high, keep your hearts true, and look for the helpers. Cheers to the weekend!

Honeysuckle Ice Cream

Did you grow up in the South? I did, though I never dreamed honeysuckle ice cream could exist. I grew up with those barefoot, firefly summers. With ice-cold well water and games of four-square in the middle of my neighborhood street. I would get tough feet every summer, able to run on asphalt and rough aggregate with minimal discomfort. It wasn't a terribly unique childhood, but it was a fantastic one and summer was the prime part.
Though autumn now has my deepest affection, there is still a freedom and childlike happiness that comes with the long golden days of late summer.

Cilantro Poblano Pesto

When you think about pesto, you probably think about basil and garlic and Italian food. I know I do. It's just sort of synonymous with the whole idea of pesto, because obviously that's what people usually mean when they say "Hey, want to make a whole pile of rosemary toast with pesto and roma tomatoes on top?" They're probably homesick for Italy (even if they haven't been yet, which I swear is a thing) and so they probably mean basil. But when my boss sent me home with a pan of poblano and jalapeno peppers that a friend had given her and told me to find something to do with them, I started to have deeper thoughts about pesto: maybe it didn't have to be Italian. Maybe we could make a Mexican pesto. Maybe we could make a cilantro and poblano pesto.

Chilling With Agua Fresca

Agua fresca - ever heard of it? Once upon a time this summer, my sister and I had the chance to spend a weekend in NYC. While there we clawed the secret of the best tacos in SoHo out of Google and accordingly wandered downtown to Tacombi where my mind was forever changed about what a chorizo taco could be. I had always thought chorizo tacos were a bit of a cop-out. No real taco-enthusiast would want them.