Recipe for Happiness

I was thinking today that my recipe for happiness at the moment is one working heat source, one almost finished book, one bowl of tomato soup with crackers, and three dogs.  Or this of course:

How did you cook up some happiness this week?

63 thoughts on “Recipe for Happiness

  1. I’m plotting my Christmas cookie list (imagine that). I tend to stick to a lot of old reliables that I know well to avoid last minute stress. But I may be tempted to try a new one. I’ve always promised myself i’ll stop the minute it stops being fun.

    Lots of times I’ll be sitting quietly next to my husband and I turn to him and say “I’m thinking about cookie recipes right now.” And he says “I know.”

    I had a really lovely Thanksgiving with the in-laws in Ohio. I got to snuggle my brand new niece, everyone in the family was on their best behavior. 😉

    Right amount of family time and alone time (running is a great hobby for that). And kids even got to see Santa light the Christmas tree. I think this may be the last year the six year old believes. So that’s special. It’s hard to know if my older son on the autism spectrum knows or cares Santa isn’t real. But after the tree lighting he kept saying “yes Santa! Yes Christmas!” So I think i’ll have after least one Santa buddy for a while longer. 🎄

    1. My daughter is 10 and fiercely determined to continue believing in Santa Claus. We’ve been letting it ride because we figured that her friends and classmates will tell her. And I’m more concerned with how she’s going to react in May when she turns 11. She wants a Hogwarts letter and thinks her house will be Ravenclaw.

      1. My boy is 10 and while watching TV yesterday said “this advert almost makes it seem like parents are the ones buying the presents not Father Christmas”. Then he made the emoji puzzled face. You know, holding his chin like he was thinking about it. I said granny does not like that kind of talk. She insisted on Father Christmas until I was at least 30.

  2. My big brother arrived here Friday evening, flown in from Sweden to go with me to a Within Temptation concert yesterday (Saturday). He had approximately 1 ton Swedish candy with him (because seriously, Dutch candy…nah), and I got hugs and we’ve laughed a lot and talked about everything from guilty pleasure-music to possible wedding plans between him and his girlfriend and which books we think the other should read and serious questions like democracy, gender equality and why people are so damm stupid sometimes. Aaand of course, the concert yesterday! Which was wonderful. Don’t know how she’s managing it, but that lady sings better every time I hear her. I forget to listen to their music a lot nowadays because I’m lazy and use Spotify for mixed playlists, but everytime I hear Within Temptation, or Sharon den Adel’s solo album from earlier this year, I’m reminded why she’s my favourite vocalist and main vocal inspiration. <3 <3 <3

    All in all, the weekend has been great. 🙂 I wish my brother could stay longer.

  3. I worked at my artists’ cooperative shop Friday and Saturday and sold lots of beautiful locally handcrafted items to people who were happy not to be at the mall.

    Not happy that my cat Harry Dresden is still really sick and staying at the vet. Would very much like good news on that front that WOULD make me happy.

    1. Thinking of you and your little Harry Dresden — it’s so worrying when they get sick, and so hard to worry.

  4. Thanksgiving was fairly pleasant, and clean up is done, so now we are down to the exciting turkey sandwiches and holiday movies stage of the weekend. Sending good wishes for equally relaxed and satisfactory culinary/media experiences to all.

    1. As I mention below, Hallmark Christmas movie bingo is a winner. Google and you’ll find a choice of cards to print, including some with pictures instead of words.

  5. Yesterday happiness was a row of mini chocolate eclairs and a free day with hot tea, knitting and comfort watching Leverage, love the Future job

  6. Our adopted 7-year-old cat started playing like a kitten with a six-inch stuffed orangutan from IKEA which dropped on the floor by accident, so we went back to IKEA to buy five more in case the current one was decimated too soon.

    While there, I found that they have a large one as well — even cuter, and I had to have it. Even better, when I got to checkout, it was 15% off on a holiday sale. I may end up bopping it around on the carpets myself, it brings me that much joy. I don’t know exactly what its name (Djungelskog) means; possibly it has something to do with jungles, but IKEA usually names its products things that mean stuff like “Lucy” or “riverbank” so who could say. I just know I’m finding my inner monkey.

  7. [groan] Your choice of cartoons this week is SO appropriate for me. Like the old joke: A guy goes up to a hot dog vendor/guru/yogi and says, “Make me one with everything.”

    I cooked. I have to, if I wish to eat, except… there are these snacks and sides that (in moderation) are good for my low salt, low-ish carb, sort-of low-ish calorie diet. Moderation. I should see if I can get some of that on Amazon. I don’t think Walmart sells it – that’s where I got the Bark Thins Dark Chocolate Coconut With Almonds with which I practiced immoderation last night.

    Thanksgiving the Holiday is over, for which I am very thankful. Turkey doesn’t seem to be a low-sodium fowl, for which I cry foul. I can live without stuffing (I didn’t) or creamy mashed potatoes (I didn’t). I drew the line at green bean casserole (well, a dotted line, anyway) and had sufficient willpower to toss the gravy (into the refrigerator. I might yet change my mind.) Oh, and the dessert was cinnamon Apple Stuff (pie filling – they didn’t fool me!) The toilet ate that. Now the confession. I didn’t cook any of that. It came pre-cooked from the supermarket in a box, six pounds of food, only re-heating needed.

    I supplemented that mess with four pounds of French Canadian Pork Dressing. I could eat a pound of that where I could only eat half a pound of the store-bought salty meal.


    Food did not soothe the inner man this past week. Strangely enough, work did. I wrote procedures and printed same, carried out inspections and generally excelled at my job. I put up a fiber optic Christmas tree and set presents for all my cow-orkers under it. (What? Macy’s had their parade – it’s Christmas season, officially!) The presents didn’t cost a buck apiece, so I get to be Santa and Bah-humbug at the same time. 🙂

    Wish inner peas to any who seek them…

  8. We had a good Thanksgiving. My friend and I both had no plans so she asked me to do a potluck meal with her. Then my sister and her husband asked if they could visit over Thanksgiving. And it was a nice time.

    But for 6 senior adults (over 60), we spent an immoderate amount of time cooking to have a sort-of traditional meal (the caviar/leek tartlets and sweet potato Moroccan salad not so much) and then had enough left overs for a family of 10. And while it was pleasant, it was a ton of work for food that at best is not spectacularly good for you or had much wow factor. And for that amount of work, I want spectacular. So I am thinking next year I am giving traditional a pass and maybe even cooking a Thanksgiving meal a pass (way to go, Gary) although the friendship gathering is nice. I just don’t want to spend the once a year I see my sister in the kitchen.

    Although that might have saved our relationship since by the second day she was here, almost everything I said or thought was wrong in her opinion (older sister. And in retrospect, I did not see her sneak off for a cigarette and while I encourage her to give up cigarettes, I have specified she has to have started at least a week before she comes to visit because she turns into the worst witch imaginable). Over all though it was good and I kept my head down and found ways to avoid confrontation.

  9. I’ve just realized my big happy this week happened on Thursday: I’m definitely hugely thankful for it. I had a phone call from a friend who became very seriously ill in the summer. We met twelve years ago, when she and her husband and I were the only guests in a B&B on a small island for a week. We’ve kept up sporadically, although all communication had to be via her husband, which was frustrating. I knew he was very ill, although he wouldn’t talk about it, or get any treatment. Apparently, he wouldn’t even tell Irene what the diagnosis was. She became worn out with caring for him, and went into a nursing home for a rest, but then became very ill herself and had to go into hospital: perforated bowel plus septicaemia. She was put into a coma, and given only a 2% chance of surviving.

    I knew some of this because John had emailed all their friends; but then he said it was too much to keep updating us, and asked for space, so it took a while for me to realize it had been weeks since I’d heard. When I rang, there was a message from Irene’s brother to say John had died, and Irene was still extremely ill.

    So to hear her voice – so alive and amazingly upbeat, considering – on Thursday was amazing. She’s still recovering, but has obviously come a long way. I’m hoping we can see more of each other.

  10. Over the many years of Thanksgivings we’ve had the good, bad and ugly but never a scary till this year. My granddaughter spent the holiday in the hospital in Pediatric ICU caused by an infection and breathing problems. My DIL spent all the time with her at the hospital carving a little niche for herself in the hospital room. There both home now and recuperating, my granddaughter with massive quantities of antibiotics and my DIL with a large glass of wine. We’re all so relieved. Our son brought his other two children in to see their sister and stopped by here for a subdued Thanksgiving meal and then on to the town’s bonfire before going home.

    Jessie, I have to chuckle at your discussion of you and your sister. I couldn’t ever imagine spending two whole days with my sister. I’d be tearing my hair out, she absolutely has no filter and can blurt out some really nasty and cruel things and think she is being funny. Of course when it is directed at me I have no comeback until many hours later when it does no good.

    1. You mentally hum to yourself and say “Hummm, Hummm….I’m not listening. I’m not listening. Hummm.” Enough white noise in your mind and almost anything is bearable.

  11. I had a nice but quiet Thanksgiving. I made a fairly traditional T dinner with turkey, stuffing, onion pie, gravy, cranberry sauce, and roasted asparagus and mushrooms. I was gong to gave a salad too, but there was too much food already and I didn’t miss it at all.

    I have leftovers in the freezer (some of which will be my Christmas dinner) and turkey soup simmering on the stove as I type. It smells delicious and is making me feel hungry already.

    The village I live in is having their Christmas parade later this afternoon, followed by a visit from Santa Claus, and hot cider for everyone who attends. I will walk up to see the parade and may even stay for the hot cider, if it’s not too cold. I don’t really need it as I have a half gallon of cider in the fridge and can heat it up quite easily, but in the spirit of things I might indulge anyway.

  12. Canadian Thanksgiving is long over but I talked to my brother in California twice this week and connected with both of my nieces at their parents’ before they went back to work/school. I email them regularly but talking on the phone is a rare treat. They are both strong and thoughtful young women and I love them both dearly. Spent a happy Saturday am craft fair shopping with a close friend. We didn’t buy much but we always enjoy each other’s company and seeing what people are making/selling. I have started my Christmas cookies – two batches of shortbread dough mixed, rolled and stored in the freezer, ready to bake in a couple of weeks. I tend to make the same recipes every year since friends and family enjoy them. However, this year, I’m going to add Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal drop cookies back to the line-up after an absence of several years.

  13. Hahahaha. That pic sums up today. After many years of not attending, I went to a Body, Mind, and Soul Fair with a good friend, and her good friend. It was wonderful and quite uplifting with all the Yoga, Nia, reiki, vegan cosmetics, and more. I ate savory chicken pie and I bought a milk tart. I ate the milk tart in stages, at home.

    Then there was Saturday. I’ll try to post some pics and vid. I went to the SADTA Ballroom and Latin American dance finals. Wow. It’s totally different watching this type of dance in person as opposed to on TV. Props to every single camera person and director that gets it right.

    I may’ve made 4 new friends over the course of this weekend. This is WONDERFUL.

  14. Our son got married the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Despite drama preceding, the day itself was lovely. ‘Nough said.

    Most of my large family stayed in town a couple days, lunching and bowling and exploring and cooing over our daughter’s chihuahua, who was in a heaven of infinite treats.

    Thanksgiving our car acted up en route to Illinois, so we turned around and had a quiet, multi-nap day at home – followed by Hallmark Christmas movie bingo.

    Family and laughter and naps. That was this week’s winning recipe.

  15. I have a Christmas Tree!! My daughter came for Thanksgiving and helped me put it up. It was so much fun talking about the ornaments and where I got them. I collect antique prisms and icicle ornaments plus every year I would buy one extravagant ornament to add. She and my son-in-law also planned and cooked the dinner. They are excellent cooks and love to cook so we had an eclectic menu. Puerto Rican carne guisade, a cajun creamed corn, shaved brussel sprout and lettuce (NOT romaine!) salad and a german apple tart/cake/pie – we could never agree on exactly what it was other than delicious. I got to skip chemo this week also, so I have felt well and my energy level was much higher.

    Back to my normal schedule next week but since I am doing so much better than anyone predicted I don’t even mind!

    1. I have been hoping you were doing better but did not want to ask in case things were going slower than you wished. All my best to you and have a spectacular Christmas. Everyone here is rooting for you.

    2. Oh, thank god.
      I was going to ask if anybody had heard from you, telling myself you were just busy with holiday stuff, and then read this, and I’m so HAPPY for you. And relieved.
      I was worried. Keep checking in, please. You are important to us.

      1. Yes, I am doing really well. Have had some issues with blood count and have had to have a white blood cell shot a couple of times to bring my count up enough but since I was “supposed” to need to get my affairs in order the first of the year, I am doing terrific! Actually planning now on what I am going to plant in my garden in the spring. As always things can change fast, but by gosh, I am not going to go easy! Merry Christmas everyone!

  16. The only problem with that cartoon is that the very best brownies are along the edge, so you get some chewy and some soft – it’s a balancing act but an important one.

    Great Thanksgiving here in LA with friends. It rained Wednesday night so cleared the air of the particulate matter associated with the Woolsey fire, and made my Thursday morning walk on the beach just gorgeous. So much so that I walked Friday, Saturday, and this morning, just to enjoy the beautiful weather and some first rate people-watching.

    And then we got to see “Dear Evan Hansen” last night, which was pretty much worthy of the hype. Some small quibbles with the plot, but more than made up for by excellent music, great performances, and a creative stage setting.

    On that last point, I Instagrammed a photo of the stage from our very high-up seats, and this morning the *designer* commented on my photo! His credits also include Hamilton so he is a Very Big Deal. And he commented on my photo! There’s some happy for you.

    1. Are you aware of the all-edges brownie pan? My husband loves his, although he uses it more often for enchiladas and lasagna.

      1. I’m going to look those up on Amazon. My daughter taught her kids that the crusty brownies were the best, so now she cooks them in a bundt pan. And the halibut is, she doesn’t eat them anymore! She makes these keto brownies with coconut oil and dark chocolate and almond flour and all that, which nobody else will eat, for herself. She claims they’re pretty good. In the meantime, it’s bundt brownies for the grandkinder.

  17. I did all of the shopping and cooking for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pies and best ever apple crumble. Then it was one grand dogs birthday, so son’s girlfriend went all out with decorations and doggie cake and invited other grand dog to party (I think she needs a baby) then yesterday was my daughter’s 38th birthday…more cake.
    Today, I’m recovering from all the carbs by doing the L.A. Times crossword, eating light, drinking extra coffee, and sitting in the sun. It’s a gorgeous day. So quiet, so peaceful, and I really needed some time alone.

  18. Made pizza dough in bread machine. Worked brilliantly. Figured out calories so hubby and I get a decently sized pizza each, with toppings, for 400 calories. Happy-making. Added red wine.

  19. We had a lovely thanksgiving with two sets of neighbors, my brother in law and his permanent fiancé (it’s been 13 years) and our son—daughter is in
    London but returns for Christmas/New years. It was lovely and stress free— we cooked turkeys and two desserts and a couple of side dishes but the other two families also cooked a bunch so it wasn’t overwhelming .

    Then in Saturday’s we hosted a brunch for all our son’s best friends from high school and their families. It was lovely to see how close they still are 4 years later.

    And I got a fair bit of work done so I’m less stressed.

  20. I enrolled TB in a couple of wood turning courses at our nearest Lee Valley Tools. He was pretty excited about that as all of his teaching materials (aka YouTube and some DVDs) have left him with more questions than answers and he’s getting frustrated. Frustration is not conducive to exploring a new hobby.

    I did some outdoor decorating and it looks pretty good. Indoor will have to wait a bit. I’m excited because we are staying home this year. TB had a plan to stay at his sister’s house if we went there for the holidays to avoid some of the drama but his mom and dad are going to be staying there and they will bring the drama with them so we are staying home.

  21. I’ve been very happy being off work for the last two weeks (I work at a NorCal school so we were closed for fire) and not feeling bogged down by all of that shit. I know tomorrow by 9 a.m. at the latest I’m going to be wishing for death again (there will be two weeks of drama and fear and panic to catch up on, JOY, and also having to transfer back to the buttmonkey area of the office where you’re there to be yelled at by the clientele all day), but I’m trying to enjoy feeling like non-shit for as long as I can manage it. And then after four weeks, I get to be on vacation again, so there’s that!

    In other news, I’ve done shopping, relaxation, clearing out clothes from the closet and donating them, hung out with friends, hung out with relatives, reading, crafting. It’s been great. I wish real life could always be like this.

  22. Happiness is having tomorrow off work, because it did not get better last week. Most of the time I really like my job, but thirteen hours in on my seventh straight day on I was not a shiny happy person. Weather + aviation = ARGH.

    More happiness is heading to Belgium on Wednesday to spend in person time with a very good friend. I have planned absolutely nothing beyond my flights, so the entire trip will be a delightful surprise.

  23. There were only tiny moments of happiness this week, mainly when I was holding my 10 month niece or cuddling my boys. My father passed away suddenly, unexpectedly on 11/20/18. So, not a lot of happiness.

    1. So sorry. Condolences. Treat yourself kindly because *shock.* And it’s the right thing to do in our fragile world.

    2. Thank you everyone. Trying hard with the “take care of self.” Managing because of my husband, who is a rock.

  24. My happy was getting to visit kitty Harry Dresden at the vet (the first time I’ve seen him since I brought him in early Saturday morning) and hold him tight. I got lots of kitty kisses, so I think he missed me too. Also, he was back to being his usual wiggly self, instead of the cat I brought in who just sat limply in my arms. If his fever stays down and he keeps eating, he gets to come home tomorrow. MUCH happiness.

  25. Sooooo glad you are feeling better, Salpy! Good News!

    Not much happiness here on the west coast, we lost our passports somewhere in the house. As well as some very good jewellery is missing too. We have an alarm. Have to check if someone was in while we were away. Upset as some of it was from my darling husband. He is such a good man. Most days. He stood up for me with all the sh** going on with his brother & the wife. One day all the drama will be over. Please can it be soon, like yesterday. Of course, now that we have spend a whack of money on getting new passports and the fee for filing lost passports and a pick up fee instead of delivery, (hello, we have a postal strike and we need to get across the border for Christmas!) I am going to find both of them in some crazy place. Or, on the other hand someone has been in here. Grrr.

    Have been eating lots of non-healthy food lately, today back on the healthy track, after I eat another peanut butter cup. Son pointed out DH’s stash last night.

    I did make an delicious marble rye grilled cheese with tomato soup for lunch yesterday. Yum.


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