The trouble with guests…

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” -Benjamin Franklin

My family recently visited some loved ones and had a fantastic time.  It was a seaside adventure and thus travel packing involved various sunscreens, UPF hats, bug repellent sticks, water sandals, sunglasses…you get the point.  This was indoor/outdoor living with a heavy emphasis on the “outdoor” and it seemed that we needed most of these outdoor sundries on a regular basis, as in many times a day.

Being that we live in a major city and host many guests throughout the year, I am sensitive about an unwanted trail of belongings strewn throughout someone else’s home.  Nevertheless, despite our efforts to keep our clutter at bay, after our third day on the island it seems we were beginning to “smell” (although, I still blame the diaper pail).  Thus, our three hot weather items were anonymously removed from the main level of the home and placed in a small ball in “our” bedroom.

All right, all right, I get it.  After all, who likes to see their turn of the century sideboard littered with cafe receipts, eyeglasses, keys, phones, nail files and that bag of snack mix the airline so generously gifted.  That said, should guests need to transport every important personal item up or down to the room in which they are bunking several times a day?   We’ve all been there, either on the receiving or giving end, or maybe both?  So it got me thinking…is there a reasonable solution to this age-old problem?

Brainstorm!!  I present to you the “Guest Box.”  This is not a comment box. No.  Who wants one of those?  Let’s be honest.  Rather, it is an attractive box in your favorite hue that can house a guest’s small, portable and necessary “on the go” personal items throughout the duration of their stay.  A set of these boxes can be stacked  neatly by the door, in cubbies in the mudroom (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those), under a table in the entry way, or anywhere you see fit.  It allows everyone visiting to have a bit of personal space near the hub of the home without them taking that Hansel and Gretel bread crumb approach.  Win, win 🙂

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Benedictine Orange Rice = yum!

My friend passed this recipe on to me after I raved about it when she served it for dinner.  It’s sweet and tangy, wholesome and hearty, yet you can feel the love and how nourishing it is.  She actually learned of it in a monastery during a travel adventure.  Get ready for a religious experience, haha!  Hope you enjoy it!

 Benedictine Orange Rice 

1/4 cup butter and cooking oil (Shelley uses ghee and olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup uncooked rice, brown or white  (Shelley also incorporates quinoa)
1 1/3 cups orange juice, plus enough water to make amount required by rice you are using (see package directions)
1 vegetable bouillon cube (Shelley uses “Better than Bouillon”)
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter in saucepan or baking dish.  Add celery and onions and saute over low heat until tender.  Add rice and saute until all grains are coated with oil and golden brown.  Add orange juice and water and bring to a boil.  Stir in orange peel, salt and raisins.  Cover pan with tight lid or foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes for white rice, 1 hour for brown. This can also be simmered on very slow heat on top of the stove.
Serves 6

[Note from Shelley: After I sautéed everything, I put it in the rice cooker.  I bet it will taste yummy baked.  The quinoa and rice cook at different times, so it came out more like puree, because I had to keep adding water.]