a broken record | peach & basil barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

July was a blur. We were away fulfilling obligations of work, family and of home-building contracts, selections and construction crisis management. We have also moved again, to a location more convenient to the bases — the last before our sparkly new home is finished.

You know, I can’t remember fully what happened last month. Some days I’m not positive it happened at all. Maybe it’s a bad thing, maybe it’s a good thing. All I know for sure is that we’re almost settled into a new rhythm. Nearly recovered from the disruption of our usual routine.

I’ve learned it’s not always easy to eat well in a distracted or stressful environment. In fact, such conditions can, and usually do, impact normal eating patterns substantially — “how to deal” is often a question that comes up. Having a great deal of both academic and practical experience, it’s a question I’m intimately acquainted with, and uniquely qualified to answer.

I suppose in some odd way I should be grateful for the many exhausting stretches in our nearly three years together. In overcoming the obstacles, I am provided with the opportunity to hone a coping method: Make sure a nutritious, delicious meal finds its way to the table. Often these meals are quickly prepared or thrown together last second, but they are always good tasting, good for us and dripping with love. Most of the time, the meals are re-purposed leftovers or riffs on a previous recipes.

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fits and starts | chocolate zucchini cakelets with salted chocolate sauce

If yours is a remarkable long-term memory, you’ll recall from previous posts our hands being full since changing not only stations, but states and time zones as well. Between time with our realtor, scouting temporary homes and new training/career adventures — him at his new base, me with the county WIC program at Camp Lejeune — we struggle to find time for much else.

Relaxation is a noun we hope to work into our vocabulary very soon.

In the meantime, I admit it’s an immense relief to once again have a job. However, the terrific news makes for even more frenzy. And after a year of unemployment, a year of being home the entire day to prepare all meals and desserts, re-acclimatization hasn’t come easily.

To the rescue, a bounty of summer zucchini and a handful of basic ingredients I always have on hand.

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quandary solved | broiled chicken with lemon, garlic and caper gremolata

As summer takes hold of the Western hemisphere, we begin to think twice about turning on the oven and filling our homes with more hot air. Instead the masses take to the outdoors, firing up grills in yards across America.

There are times, however, you might find yourself in a position where grilling isn’t an option. You don’t have all the necessary tools, you’re in an area that restricts grills, or maybe you’re all alone but can’t stop dreaming about of grilled food.

I’m holding down the fort here while he makes his way back up from Texas with the trailer, and was struck yesterday with a longing for bricked chicken Would all the hassle be worth it for just one person? Buy charcoal, find a brick to wrap in foil, pounce on the picnic area grill before the hordes of hungry vacationers, sit there by myself as it cooks. It seemed silly.

Maybe you already thought of an answer to my dilemma, but for me the lower-maintenance alternative was a last minute revelation — the broiler. (A true aha! moment.)

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regaining a sense of time, sanity | Memorial Day

It’s a bit surreal sitting in our temporary condo, close enough to the Atlantic to see and hear the waves crashing onto the white sands of North Carolina’s coast.

The initial go-ahead to relocate from Texas was a long time coming. The trip itself a bona fide comedy of errors. The first week here mostly eight and nine-hour days spent driving all over kingdom come with the realtor, ducking in homes, walking lots and staring at a computer screen. Finally now, a respite.

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ceremony and celebration | Gulf beach gumbo

The weekend before last honored his years of aviation training and a shiny new addition to his uniform: gold wings It’s an accomplishment that many who start on the same path aren’t fortunate enough to attain. I am tremendously proud of him, and excited (also nervous) for what’s to come in his career.

Naturally, his parents flew in for a several-day visit. Afternoon walks along the water, AA baseball, flight sims and a tour of his latest aircraft, the deservedly ebullient winging party and a drive into no man’s land for wine tastings kept us busy. Fried pub bites and tap beer, dynamite pizza and sushi, spicy Thai and gumbo, fresh Gulf oysters and Texas-sized peel-and-eat shrimp kept us sated. And then some.

But it’s the pot of shrimp and tilapia gumbo that was most memorable. Instead of our tiny, rented kitchen of chaos, we opted for a butane burner and borrowed cookware, waves crashing up to our patch of sand.

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