I’ve taken to writing in my kitchen.  I’ve found that evenings in the kitchen are a favorite time for me.  I like cooking, having a glass of wine, and writing at my laptop while I sip and wait for the veggies to roast.  The house smells wonderful.  The kids are playing around me and chatting just like they used to when they were so little.  It feels like home.

I decided to roast a few veggies tonight in honor of our first October-feeling day.  It’s actually the 8th day of the month, but it’s the first that’s had a real nip in the air, and it called for some spices and root vegetables. 

A few weeks ago, I found a recipe in an old copy of Vegetarian Times for roasted cauliflower steaks.  I’ve been craving it since then and decided tonight would be a good night to try it out, but when I went to find the recipe again, it was nowhere to be seen.  (I have numerous old VT’s lying around—those and Yoga Journal and Trail Runner and Writer’s Digest and Poets & Writers, and, well… you get the picture.)

Without a recipe, I decided to be experimental, which I’ve only recently become comfortable with in my cooking.  I enjoy cooking but have a secret fear that I pretty much suck at it.  I often don’t enjoy cooking for other people because I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to make a dish fit for Chopped judges, but when it’s just me and my family, I’ve started to get a lot more daring in my endeavors.

I sliced the cauliflower in thin, flat “steaks”, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled on a little curry powder, a dash or two of chipotle chili powder, and a quick shake of red pepper flakes.  Then, I threw in three cloves of garlic for good measure and roasted it for a while in my favorite cast iron skillet.  They came out golden brown and delicious and paired quite nicely with our brown rice and homemade sweet potato pie.  A perfect fall meal.

It occurred to me that we often catch glimpses of inspiration (for me, it was the VT recipe a few weeks ago), and we tuck them away for later.  When we pull them out again, we put our own spin on them, add a flourish here and there and create a little magic for ourselves.  

I love to browse through other mom blogs, Pinterest and artist websites.  Why?  Because I like inspiration and learning from others.  Over the years, I’ve found a LOT of inspiration, and I’ve shared a few bits and pieces here and there, but there is so much more that I have never shared, and that’s a shame.

So… as a public service (and a way to corral all this magnificence in one spot), I’m making a list of inspirational links each week that will spark your enthusiasm, get your creative juices flowing, and encourage you to embrace life just a little more each day.

After all, as Mr. Kingsley said, “All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” 

Here’s our first official list of Happy Links:

Zen Habits:  My friend Rebecca turned me on to this guy’s website.  I really like what he has to say (I told you I was on a Zen kick lately), and I downloaded his podcast this weekend.  The article linked above is about living a goal-less life, something that goes against everything I’ve believed for such a long time, BUT that has made me think ever since.  Hmmmm… I’m completely intrigued by this idea of living by guiding principles rather than goals. 

Just Crafty Enough: Tomato Cage Ghosts– I cannot wait to make these with Harper Lee and Isaac. I love, love, love Halloween and October in general, so this looks like super fun!

Nature Mandalas:  These are like the designs Harper Lee and Isaac and I made in the sandbox on Sunday.  You can get as elaborate and ornate as you like. 

Brave Intuitive Painting:  Artist Flora Bowley’s website is colorful and wonderful and… well, inspiring.  I bought her book Brave Intuitive Painting and have been working on some of my own.  It. is. awesome.

 How To Raise An Artist:  This is a great post on ways to inspire creativity and encourage artistic expression in your little ones. 

Well, that’s my inspiration for the week.  I’ll be back again next week with new ideas and food for thought.  In the meantime, you can also find me on Pinterest (I’m only slightly addicted).  And, as always, come by Facebook and post some of your own inspiring words and images. 

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
-Albert Einstein