Do You Love Your Job TOO Much?

It’s wonderful to have a job that you love. One that makes you happy and productive, with talented people you enjoy working with. A job that springs you out of bed early and pays you well. One that you don’t mind staying late for, giving up weekends for, hanging up your shoes for. One that is more satisfying than a good book, a creative hobby. One that reliably substitutes for family and friends and the potential for a romantic life. One that has taken possession of your life and soul and time and identity. Wait a minute….what?

If some things ring true, see my latest post – Do You Love Your Job Too Much? on Huffington

 

T-Time

T-Time. Not the kind you need clubs for. I’m talking about refreshing tea that is flavorful and iced and always seems to be in my hand during  the hot days of summer. We need to drink lots of fluids but water doesn’t satisfy the taste buds. Tea has enormous possibilities, as I’ve learned over the years. Look beyond the household staples and find a good decaffeinated tea to start with and be creative.

To my basic decaf tea, I’ll sometimes add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the brew. It’s savory and holds up to summer meals. Or, for a bit of citrus flavor, instead of adding a lemon or orange slice, I’ll pick a few leaves of lemon verbena – pictured below – from a plant in my courtyard and add it for a subtle bit of flavor. So delicious for a mid-afternoon respite. Mint, rose hips, lavender with chamomile…the choices are endless.IMG_3004

Lately, I’ve been brewing mint tea in bags. What a burst of flavor! This morning, I added green tea to the mint bag. I find green tea a bit bland, but appreciate its healthy attributes. Putting green tea in the mix is like hiding vegetables in the lasagna for the kids! It’s good for you, it’s in there, but it’s overshadowed by the primary flavor.

A good decaffeinated tea with lots of character won’t keep you up at night or dehydrate you and will eliminate or diminish the need for sweeteners. Who needs sugary soft drinks?

When I put the kettle on for my morning coffee, I fill it to the top to have enough boiling water to make the day’s iced tea. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to make it.

Visit your farmers’ market and local tea shops, or grow your own herbs and spices, and open your taste buds to some new and interesting combinations. Enjoy your T-Time. No clubs needed.

Easy Easy Mid-Week Dinner Lemon Pasta

It doesn’t get much easier than this simple pasta dish. Only the pasta gets cooked and the sauce, made from just a few ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, comes together in less than five minutes. Serve with good crusty bread and a light white wine. It’s perfect as is, but also generous about sharing the serving dish with other ingredients you might choose to add.

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Ingredients:
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, more or less to taste
1 pound dried elbow macaroni (spaghetti also works well)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from those two lemons)

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Preparation:
Put a big pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
Zest the 2 lemons.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, grated cheese, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente, usually about 7-8 minutes. Before draining, scoop out a cup of the pasta water.
Drain the pasta and add to the lemon sauce. Add the basil and lemon zest to the bowl and toss well.

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Add the pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. You might not need all of it. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.

The sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate, but bring it back to room temperature before using.

This dish is delicious as is, but I’ve also substituted kale or mint for the basil. For some more substance, you can add cooked peas and/or cooked diced chicken. It’s the perfect recipe to play with. Enjoy!