summer cooking

I had a chance to catch up with myself this weekend. I went for a long morning ride through Ahwatukee Saturday morning, managing to return to do the hills a second time through for good measure. Just like running, it always takes me 20 minutes to find my groove. My muscles stretch out a bit, my cadence falls into the right place and my shoulders relax. The first morning light is my favorite time to be swimming, riding or running. There is such potential to a new day that starts with a heart-pounding workout while watching the sun rise.

tomato feta tart

I found some time in the kitchen too, which was also long overdue. A girlfriend decided to throw a tomato-themed dinner party. Her husband’s garden was overflowing with tomatoes and they didn’t know how they’d use all of them. I could have suggested making and freezing the best marinara recipe on earth, but instead I graciously accepted the invite and brought along a few tomato creations of my own:

phyllo dough tart

Phyllo tomato and feta tart

cheese, tomato corn muffins

Spicy cornbread muffins with diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese

Several of you have asked how I am feeling post-trip, and honestly — I’m doing great. There was some initial shock to my system, which is par for the course after two weeks in Africa. I’ll never be able to reconcile that the biggest news in Mozambique is poor families dying of HIV and the biggest news in the United States (in the same week, mind you) is Paris Hilton going to jail, being released from jail, and oh wait! There is the CNN helicopter again. She’s returned to jail.
Rather than throw my hands up and cry over such foolishness, instead I chose to celebrate the good. I took two friends to Mozambique who’d never been to Africa before. I know without a doubt, their friends and families are more connected to the issues of the poor abroad than ever before (as are mine).
As for those “stars” who can’t seem to get their DUI butts out of trouble, I highly recommend mandatory hard labor in an African orphanage (although I’m not sure I’d really want them around the kids.)

So, I’m not living in poverty. And I’m not returning to rehab for the third time before my 20th birthday. Life in this in between world is pretty darned good.