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A New Lens and Breadcrumbs

bronze fennel seed head

bronze fennel seed head

“We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.” ― Stephen R. Covey

I’ve been savoring our foggy mornings out in the garden while playing with my new macro lens. It’s a Canon – EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens, if you’re curious. My messy winter garden has never felt so large, strange, and alien to me. Looking at the world through a new lens reminded me of a time that I taught a freshman trombone player how to look at the world a little differently while we were on a band trip in Washington, DC. Six years ago, this month, My Pirate and I drove cross-country to Washington DC in a 24-foot yellow Penske truck loaded down with Evergreen Marching Band’s parade equipment for the Presidential Inaugural Parade. After a year of planning the band trip, we viewed our beautiful country under a blanket of snow in subzero temperatures and saw a meteorite explode on the deserted road in front of us. I’ll never forget the happy relief that washed over me when we arrived at the hotel and were greeted by the marching band students and parents.

fog131

Garlic chive seed head

I remember standing in the hotel lobby listening to our bus driver listing off his complaints and concerns about the itinerary while a fourteen year old girl leaned back on a bench next to us, loudly sobbing with a trombone clasped in her hands. Finally, the bus driver took a breath and noticed her. He turned back to me and asked, “Aren’t you going to do something about her?” “She’s next in line. I’ll address your concerns with the band director,” I replied. And then I turned to the girl, stretched out my arms and she flung herself into them. I listened as she sobbed out her awkward story of woe. When she quieted down, I looked her in the eye and I told her about a game that I play when I’m having a difficult day. I count three things that went well during the day and three things that I’m grateful for. I gave her the assignment to do this exercise everyday of the trip and promised that I’d check in with her. She sniffed and solemnly nodded. fogchive2The next evening, as I was walking the hotel halls checking the noise level during quiet time, she waved me down, beaming. She excitedly ticked off the things that went well and her gratitude list. Then she proceeded to tell me three things that she liked about herself. I gave her a high-five and her chaperone pulled me aside. With teary eyes, her chaperone wrapped her arms around me and whispered an emphatic, ‘thank you!’ in my ear. Throughout the trip, the freshman trombone student tracked me down and ticked off her long happy list with a big grin. What we choose to focus on shapes us. I used to hate winter in my garden because it was cold, wet, and slimy. Now, I’m outside grinning with a camera capturing all the action. Slimy seed heads covered in mist…I’m there! My Pirate recently told me that the garden is a huge mess and I offered to buy him a new camera. The lens we look through shapes our experiences. My camera lens has helped me gain an appreciation for my messy winter garden. breadcrumbs2 My Homemade Breadcrumbs i

nspired by Bon Appetite

I sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs on my garden vegetable dishes to inspire My Pirate to try them.  He’s a meat and potato man at heart, but breadcrumbs help him see ‘healthy’ dishes as gourmet and delicious.  I love to sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of pastas, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables and salads.  Plus, breadcrumbs freeze really well, if you can keep them in the house that long.

  • 4 slices of french or baguette bread, torn into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of Olive, Canola, or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • large pinch of kosher salt
  • tiny pinch of red cayenne powder (optional)

Place your torn up bread chunks, crusts and all,  in a small food processor and pulse them until they are coarse crumbs.  Don’t worry about making them uniform in size because the variation makes the crunch more satisfying. Place your skillet over medium high heat, add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and add the smashed garlic clove.  Remove the garlic clove once it has browned and infused the oil.  Add the bread crumbs and sauté until they turn toasty brown, up to five minutes.  Stay with them because deliciously browned can turn to blackened in the blink of an eye.  (I burned mine while letting the dog out.)  Add more oil if the breadcrumbs dry out too much. Season the bread crumbs towards the end of cooking.  Then cool on a paper towel in a bowl.  Serve.  Store in the fridge for a day and then freeze.  I hide mine from My Pirate in an old Trader Joe’s spinach bag.

Laura Heldreth

Laura Heldreth

Hello! My name is Laura Heldreth and most days you can find me playing in my kitchen and vegetable garden.