Thursday, July 31, 2014

a midsummer dream

During my high school and university years, I was fortunate to spend my summers simultaneously working part time jobs to support my education AND attending one or two English literature/creative writing classes for extra school credits.  Back then, I looked at summer time as an opportunity to experiment and explore...taking jobs that were not in my realm of studies but peeked my curiosities (fashion) and classes that honed my writing skills (studying Shakespeare and Chauncer to fill my summer reading requirements).

You can say I had a lot of drive and was a bit of a keener.  Even though I had a few weeks of vacation to relax at the beach with my family or friends, for the most part, summer was a time to transform myself.  There were times when I actually looked forward to going back to school just so I can show how far I've grown and what I've proudly accomplished while others were working on their tan.

A bit of that feeling still carries with me today.  As we approach midway through a busy summer of trips, cottage and swim camps, I still have that slight nagging feeling like we haven't accomplished enough.  What have we learned this summer? What have we done?

As I ponder these thoughts, I look at how my kids glow in the pleasures of being outside splashing in the water, or how windblown crazy their hair get after a ride on their motor bikes, or the dirt accumulated under their fingernails from playing in the yard.  Yes, they still continue to upkeep their reading and arithmetic skills, and have accomplished graduating to higher levels with their swimming programs, but their greatest accomplishment this summer is making lasting memories that we too, created when we were kids. Cultivating new interests (like diving), visiting new places and meeting new friends without the pressure of schedules or competition.

As adults we have created a society that now suffers from decision fatigue and I think many of us long for those summer moments when we laid on the grass doing nothing but pointing out shapes made by the clouds. Or skipping rocks along the water.  A simpler time.  

I think there is plenty of time for our kids to grow up, when they too, will be inundated with overwhelming choices and decisions to make. Until then, I'll squash all those nagging feelings I've been having and appreciate that my dreams for this summer have already been realized...each day being with my family has been such a joy and gift...

...and we're barely half way there.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
Makes 4-6 servings

After weeks of indulging and consuming lots of BBQ meat, it's nice to occasionally switch to lighter fare to break the summer menu.  This recipe is great for those quick dinners that are light but still fulfilling...on those nights when you'd rather enjoy the beautiful outdoors than spending it sweating in the kitchen or over a hot BBQ.

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup of butter, softened
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Black of white pepper (to taste)
  • 4 fillets of tilapia (or any white fish of your choosing)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Add parmesan, bread crumbs and mayonnaise to the butter until well mixed.
  • Gently stir in the garlic, thyme and pepper.
  • Place the tilapia fillets in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Top with the parmesan crumb mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked. (if you wish, you can broil the fish for about 1 minute to toast the crumb topping.
  • Serve (with rice or sweet potatoes).

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