Beau Knows…Ravioli

There I was, in a pickle. And when you’re in the kind of pickle I was in…the my-ravioli-makers-have-all-fallen-through-and-I-only-have-six-days-to-photograph-and-compile-a-National-Ravioli-Day-post kind of pickle, you call the most knowledgeable local food guru you know. In my case, this culinary angel was Amanda Cannon. In less than ten minutes, I had a “very handsome” ravioli maker to photograph. Boomtown! 

When I arrived at Amanda’s cozy cottage, I was greeted by a mischievous black cat, “Bad Kitty”, who led me to the door while offering intriguing conversation. Chatty cat-hy. Amanda prepared a cup of coffee for me, introduced me to her boyfriend, Beau, and left.
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bsomecIMG_0297bsomecIMG_0279 bsomecIMG_0313 bsomecIMG_0333bsomecIMG_0316bsomecIMG_0353 bsomecIMG_0364Once the milk was heated for the ricotta, Beau added apple cider vinegar to create the milky, curdy separation. <–Clearly I’m a pro now. After a few moments, however, Beau realized that he accidentally used light cream instead of milk. In his defense, the two cartons looked very similar. Waddayagonnado? He started the ricotta again from scratch. I’ve never tasted fresh, warm ricotta before but his was deeeelicious.bsomecIMG_0272bbsomecIMG_0340collagebsomecIMG_0306 bsomecIMG_0311 bsomecIMG_0322collagebsomecIMG_0357It’s awesome watching someone in their zone…doing something they love. There was joy on Beau’s face, there in the kitchen. In the chopping, the mixing, the cooking, the mishaps and even in the cleanup. A chat about this sort of thing was brought up when he noticed that I took a photo of the dirty wooden spoon in the sink. In my effort to explain why I saw this as photo-worthy, I recalled the book “The Sun My Heart” by Thich Nhat Hanh. There’s a section in the book that discusses dish washing. It’s quite transformative, but here’s the gist: “…the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them…. If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully.” Since reading this book I try to find those beauties in my daily life; in my job; in my chores. Folding warm clothes, shoveling the (constantly falling) snow, making my bed, hand dryers, rainy days, rush hour traffic jams…you get the point. I have countless photos of my sink. It’s not just a sink full of dirty dishes. It’s proof that I just made epic pumpkin pancakes for two happy kids that sit full-as-ticks on the sofa. It’s evidence of the existence of the last 2 hours of preparing a feast for my friends. It’s beautiful, really.

Beau’s history, naturally, is different from mine but his time in the Army offered circumstances that led him to a similar philosophy: “Embrace the Suck” as he put it. When he found himself in really awful places and less-than-desirable conditions, he would remind himself that even that would have a say in who he is and will become as a man. He is no doubt a stronger human for taking life, and all that it has thrown at him, in stride.
bsomecIMG_0319bsomecIMG_0330bsomecIMG_0281bsomecIMG_0284 bsomecIMG_0295 bsomecIMG_0372bsomecIMG_0376 bsomecIMG_0384 bsomecIMG_0386 bsomecIMG_0396bsomecIMG_0435c bsomecIMG_0421 bsomecIMG_0400collage bsomecIMG_0429bsomecIMG_0351Ravioli stuffing was ready. The dough was ‘resting’ (shhh!) in the fridge and the clouds parted to reveal the beautiful, blue, Saturday sky. The cats, Bad Kitty and Bijoux, were becoming increasingly vocal as aromas of sun dried-tomato white sauce poured out of the kitchen. It was time for the exciting part, noodle stretching! (That may or may not be what the process is actually called.) A familiar kitchen tool appeared (the bench scraper/knife) followed by a new one: the pastry cutter/crimper. All this newness was so.exciting. And I’m not exaggerating. Beau demonstrated the crimper but also explained how a drinking glass can easily be substituted. The sauce on the stove was turning into a mouthwatering, gravy-esque thickness. At this point, he was doing the traditional kitchen dance that occurs just as everything begins to come to the end of its cooking cycle, all at the exact same moment. So there’s Beau, with a strainer full of ravioli over a sink full of dishes with cats circling his feet like two inverted vultures waiting for a noodle to fall to it’s death. And there I was, standing there with my camera in hand. Laughing. Ha! Sorry, Beau.bsomecIMG_0409 bsomecIMG_0426bsomecIMG_0441 bsomecIMG_0447 bsomecIMG_0451 bsomecIMG_0452 bsomecIMG_0476 bsomecIMG_0485 bsomecIMG_0496collagebsomecIMG_0499 bsomecIMG_0506 bsomecIMG_0508 bsomecIMG_0510 bsomecIMG_0513 bsomecIMG_0515 bsomecIMG_0524 bsomecIMG_0530 bsomecIMG_0535bsomecIMG_0577 bsomecIMG_0575 bsomecIMG_0572 bsomecIMG_0566bsomecIMG_0567 bsomecIMG_0555 bsomecIMG_0570bsomecIMG_0610bsomecIMG_0584

Then…magic. All the chaos gets placed on a plate like the edible masterpiece it is. I even noticed a happy little basil-tomato face smiling up at me…then I ate it! Happy National Ravioli Day everyone! Go indulge yourself in some tasty carbs, wouldya?!bsomecIMG_0588 bsomecIMG_0608 bsomecIMG_0602

Read more about my Celebrating Life series here. And get caught up on the January & February posts!

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Tres-giving

I am not complaining about my bulging waistline. Really, I’m not. It was a labor of love that I would do all over again tomorrow. I am so so thankful that my day was filled with three separate events, each with amazing family and delicious friggin’ food. I paced myself. I did. But as you scroll…you’ll see why there is more of me here this evening than there was this morning.

#1: Harrisonburg: Lunch

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#2: Luray: DinnerfclIMG_1967fclIMG_1960 fclIMG_1962 fclIMG_1963fclIMG_1978 fclIMG_1964 fclIMG_1966fclIMG_1969fclIMG_1984 fclIMG_1979 fclIMG_1971 fclIMG_1972 fclIMG_1974bw fclIMG_1988 fclIMG_1990 fclIMG_1977fclIMG_1987fclIMG_1998 fclIMG_2000 fclIMG_2002fclIMG_2008 fclIMG_1993 fclIMG_2010fclIMG_2020fclIMG_2016

…love comes in droplets...

…love comes in droplets…

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#3: Woodstock: Dessert Drop-in (cakes made by a sweet lady named Peggy Keller)fclIMG_2039 fclIMG_2029 fclIMG_2057 fclIMG_2053 fclIMG_2022 fclIMG_2025 fclIMG_2026 fclIMG_2024fclIMG_2035fclIMG_2041bwfclIMG_2051 fclIMG_2048

Happy day everyone.

18 hours at Smith Mountain Lake

Being fashionably late is kinda Spring’s thing this year. I can’t complain. It really couldn’t have made more of a grand appearance than this passed weekend. Smith Mountain Lake was the spot for the wedding of lovebirds Rahul and Jennifer. The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway was amazing. Here are a few shots from my fine time with some fine folks.

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Oh hay Spring!

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What a good looking family.

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Happy 7th birthday!

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Hey handsome!

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Men in suits cleaning up baby vomit.

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I’m not really sure what’s happening here.

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Easter Funday

It’s really too bad laughter doesn’t burn more than 1.3 calories per minute because I would feel a lot better about all the food I ate today. With my family, you just never know what will happen next. They are fun, loving and down right entertaining. Here’s a glimpse at our Easter Sunday Funday.

Hell-o spring.

Hell-o spring.

There’s no question that my PawPaw is legit.

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Oh yes.

After we ate, we did our annual Easter egg hunt. The adults always try to be extra clever in the hiding spots. See for yourself. Ha!

Egg in broom

…in a broom…

…under this handle…

…tucked in the rocks…

…in Luke’s shirt…

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…in Aunt Brenda’s hair roller…?

Ready. Set. Go!

Mirra found Brenda’s right away!

Ella found one in Brook’s cup!

Score!

…making sure they found all of them…

Eggcellent rewards.

I wanna play!

Once the kids collected their rewards, they hid eggs from the adults…

Get in line.

Be nice kids!

George, doing things his way.

This is serious business.

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...a little friendly competition...

…a little friendly competition…

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Lastly, a little prank that didn’t go quite as planned. 🙂

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Note: airborne plastic egg

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…then she threw a real egg…

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…and it bounced off his arm, and onto her car…

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…but it was still hilarious…

Dinner Rush, Union Station

Cassie, the owner of Union Station, asked me to come in to snap a few photos of her and her hubby’s restaurant. I’ve done photo work with these two before (and here) so I was up for the challenge. I bopped on into Union Station at 6pm Friday evening, right smack in the middle of dinner rush. Cassie said, “Go on back in the kitchen, I warned everyone you were coming.” Maybe I should’ve been warned. If the kitchen were an animal it would be a fire breathing dragon! I feared for my life in the belly of that beast. *aaah!* As hectic as it seemed, it was a well-oiled machine. I later learned that their kitchen staff is the same kitchen staff they opened the doors with, three years ago! Shew.
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