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Thanks to ricotta cheese, my life is now richer. No wait, it’s really thanks to Modern Family. Or my friend Sherrie. But actually, it’s because discovering new things creates a domino effect of ideas and inspiration that impacts every corner of our lives.

I’m sure there was some inciting incident that caused me to recently start watching the TV show Modern Family. There must have been, as I like to keep the number of television shows I watch to a minimum, lest I get sucked in and forget to make time for things like reading and making a living. But somehow I accidentally started watching it, and as the rest of the world already knows, it’s hilarious. In addition to making me giggle (a lot), the show also features fairly regular family meals, during which the entire cast gets together to eat homemade foods.

I used to make homemade foods! I love cooking, but I’d recently let my and my husband’s schedules get in the way. Not anymore! I started using my crockpot to make dinners for him when I would be busy, made myself homemade soups and learned how to make applesauce in the crock pot.

Oh man. I'd watch ten new TV shows if it kept resulting in new lunch ideas.

Oh man. I’d watch ten new TV shows if it kept resulting in new lunch ideas.

THEN, I thought of my friend Sherrie’s amazing homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. Yes. I should make that. But I was already at the store, not at home where the recipe was, so I just bought all the types of cheeses I thought might be in it, including ricotta, which I don’t believe I’ve ever cooked with.

Sherrie’s recipe doesn’t call for ricotta, so it sat in my fridge until last night when I was trying my latest batch of applesauce that turned out to be kind of a bummer. On a whim, I heated it up and stirred in some ricotta. It was…[sigh, hand clutching chest] amaaaaaazing. It was so amazing, I’m not even kidding you, that I decided not to do the evening work I had lined up for myself. I just took the rest of the night off to bask in the glory of ricotta cheese and look up new recipes.

What was the result? Besides making another version of mac and cheese for lunch today with ricotta in it? I have gotten so much done today. Before lunch, I generated more story ideas and cranked through more emails than I have in one sitting in a very long time. I really needed that night off. Thanks to the relaxation, I was refreshed. Thanks to the fact that new discoveries breed new inspiration, my brain has been coming up with all sorts of new ideas, which has actually been benefitting my work all week. And thanks to Phil Dunphy, my husband and I just shared a delicious lunch today.  So here’s to always being on the path of discovering new things, big and small.

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