Have you seen it?
I recently stumbled upon it myself. It’s a YouTube video that’s gone viral- almost 50 million views!
Why so popular?
It’s obvious there’s a number of us who feel the same way.
It’s about being present.
Over the past couple of months, things have unravelled. Not in the literal sense but domestically, yes. I could build a small retaining wall out of laundry. I’ve recently discovered a stash of half-eaten cashews in my bed (gross). And my office is so cluttered there’s only a teeny, tiny trail to my computer.
On top of it all, my kids have been out of control.
We’re all feeling it.
Even the cat’s got an attitude.
Life: I’m off balance.
If you have approximately 4 minutes and 59 seconds you should watch this video. It’s a bit didactic and borderline corny, but I liked it. A lot. I felt inspired to get back on track.
“So look up from your phone, put down the display. Take in your surroundings, make the most of today”- Gary Turk
Jake was off from school recently, and I wanted to do something special. No phones. No social media. No computer. Just the two of us. The plan was to go to the bookstore, but oddly enough he found a bag of artichokes rolling around in the back of the car (oops- forgot about those) and wanted to play with them instead.
So, that’s what we did.
I’m pretty sure stuffing artichokes was not his preferred activity of choice, but it didn’t matter. He peeled the leaves, smacked his trains around with the artichokes, and squirted lemon juice all over the place. Our stint lasted all of 15 minutes before he bolted on to the next thing.
He was perfectly content playing nearby while I finished up.
About the artichokes…
Growing up, we ate steamed artichokes with vinaigrette for dunking.
Sometimes, usually at family gatherings, we would feast on the glorious stuffed version. In fact, the last time I had a stuffed artichoke was at Easter. What a treat! Every Italian family seems to have their own version of this classic dish. The most common ingredients include breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and lots of garlic!
Begin by grabbing a large bowl and fill it with a splash of water and some lemon slices. The fancy term for this lovely spa bath is called ‘acidulated water.’ Anytime you cut an artichoke, it begins to oxidize or turn brown very quickly. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to prevent this. Toss the artichokes into the bowl as you work.
To prep the artichokes, remove the stem at the base of each one.
You can either save the stems for another recipe or discard. Then, have a look at your artichokes. Strip away any dry, small (or) ratty looking leaves. Most recipes will call for snipping the pointy tips but I wasn’t in the mood (it makes no difference to the flavor- just don’t poke yourself!).
The next step is to make the filling.
Get yourself another bowl and add the breadcrumbs and cheese. I like to use seasoned breadcrumbs for flavor. To that, add some fresh parsley and garlic. I use my zester to grate the garlic directly into the bowl. Coat the breadcrumbs with olive oil, mix it up, and you’re good to go.
To assemble, splay out the artichoke leaves and stuff each one with your breadcrumb mixture. Place them into a deep casserole dish or Dutch oven and add water and/or a splash of white wine to come halfway up the sides. As the artichokes cook, some of the stuffing will fall into the liquid creating the most delicious sauce. I throw in a knob of butter to thicken it up.
Simmer the artichokes on the stove and then pop into the oven to finish cooking. They’re ready when the leaves are tender, about 1 hour.
(In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of wine and clean up those pesky breadcrumbs you’ve managed to get all over the floor).
You are going to love these…
I don’t think I’ll ever stop checking my phone, quit the iPad or cease my social media activities altogether.
My kids watch TV and I’m 100% OK with that.
We live in the digital age, and to be honest, I like the friendships I’ve established online. They’re important to me. It’s about finding balance. Teaching my kids about balance. And taking the time to be present.
Because once in a while, it is nice to look up.
- 4 artichokes
- 3 c seasoned breadcrumbs, regular or whole wheat
- 1 c ground parmesan cheese (the good stuff!)
- ½ chopped parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- olive oil
- coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
- splash of wine (optional)
- small knob of butter
- 2 lemons
- parsley leaves, to garnish
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grab a deep casserole dish with lid or a Dutch oven.
- Into a large bowl, add a little water and some lemon slices. Anytime you cut an artichoke, it begins to oxidize or turn brown very quickly. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to prevent this.
- To prep the artichokes, slice off and discard the stem. Strip away any dry, small and ratty looking outer leaves. Toss the artichokes into the lemon water as you work.
- The next step is to make the filling. Get yourself another bowl and add the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic. I use my zester to grate the garlic directly into the bowl. Coat the breadcrumbs with olive oil until it looks like wet sand. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, splay out the artichoke leaves and stuff each one with your breadcrumb mixture. Once you get close to the center heart you can stop stuffing. Place them into your baking dish and add water and/or a splash of white wine to come halfway up the sides of the artichokes. Don't forget the butter!
- Simmer the artichokes (lid on) and then pop into the oven to finish cooking. They're ready when the leaves are tender, about 1 hour.
- To serve, spoon that gorgeous sauce right over the top and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs, if you'd like.