The good life is having a jar full of rendered duck fat in your fridge.
The good life is celebrating a friend's birthday with a bunch of wonderful people while eating too much and drinking too much on a Tuesday night.
The good life is a Corgi who comes when you whistle the whistle from The Hunger Games.
The good life is coming home after pulling an eleven hour day to find that your partner has made pan seared Brussels sprouts with Parmesan, walnuts, Maldon salt, and said duck fat. These are then served with a glass of Riesling and nothing more.
The good life is having a reliable Internet connection.
The good life is finally painting that wall you always meant to get around to.
The good life is having every season of Sex and the City and Xena on DVD.
The good life is blowing an entire weekend starting and finishing one of the most engrossing books you've ever picked up.
The good life is an entire gallon of Rite Aid mint chocolate chip. And not sharing.
The good life is having friends you have lunch with every Sunday.
The good life is being able to swear vehemently about that goddamn fucking ice cream truck that circles your block and everyone agreeing with you in a rousing "Fuck yes," before averting your collective gaze from the soulless eyes of the ice cream man as he passes by, slowly, intensely, staring into your soul with his nightmare stare one more time.
The good life is disposable income and knowing to put some of it away.
The good life is not having so much crap in your house that Salvation Army workers suddenly flee when you pull up to finally unload.
The good life is not having co-workers who eat your food that you've clearly labeled and left in the break room fridge. Not like those assholes I worked with in college. You motherfuckers.
The good life is actually having stamps when you need them.
The good life is mentioning during a job interview that you're a great pot luck contributor and knowing it actually counts with the crowd.
The good life is being able to purge your home of bad spirits after simple dialogue and not having to call the priest. Again.
The good life is having a book deal that people have faith in.
The good life is when one of your heroes write to you.
The good life is when a squirrel finally commits suicide in the neighbor's yard and not in your vegetable garden. Because seriously? What the hell?
The good life is having so much leftover cheese in your fridge that, yes, you can throw together the most mind-blowing cheese plate for last second guests on a whim. A cheese plate that guests will tell stories about and that you just then bask in the glory of.
The good life is applying yourself and being successful.
The good life is watching a really smashing episode of Doctor Who while you eat bean dip and drink beer.
The good life is having a Moscow Mule served in a proper copper mug.
The good life is waking up at 2 AM for a glass of water and actually remembering you left something toe-shatteringly huge with sharp corners laying in the middle of the floor for some stupid reason.
The good life is when your favorite comic book finally decides to put your most beloved D-List character into a starring role.
The good life is reading through something you wrote ten years ago and deciding that, unlike of the rest of the crap you wrote because what were you thinking?, this is actually pretty damn good.
The good life is a cat who encourages you to rub his downy soft belly.
The good life is blackout curtains in your bedroom.
The good life is a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Of course, the good life shouldn't be kept to oneself. It should be encouraged and taught to others, which is what my friend, Amber Stott, is doing with her nonprofit, the California Food Literacy Center. Her mission? To inspire change today for a healthy, sustainable tomorrow through enduring community food education. What this means is she wants to ensure that people learn to eat in healthy, responsible, and sustainable ways.
Right now their first big initiative is How Your Sandwich Can Save the World. So how can it? It's a way to demonstrate to people - particularly to kids - how a simple sandwich can be an educational tool. You don't have to rework your whole diet for food literacy, just a few quirks and boom you have a healthier meal. Part of this initiative is the Blogger Food Literacy Sandwich campaign. The details? Make a sandwich that's healthy, sustainable, and tastes like sex on a stick. (My words, not Amber's.)
This sandwich? Locally made sourdough from the farmer's market, some homemade Dijon mustard, tarragon vinegar, turkey breast, Gruyere and Buttermilk Blue cheeses. All scrunched together into a lovely pin-striped panini on the panini press.
It's the good life.
Country Gruyere, Blue, Turkey Panini
8 slices sourdough bread
12 slices deli-cut turkey breast
4 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced
3 ounces Buttermilk Blue or other favorite blue cheese, crumbled
1. Sprinkle some of the vinegar onto what will be the inside face of four slices of the bread. On the other four slices spread some mustard over the inside faces.
2. Layer in the cheeses and turkey. Close and set aside.
3. Grease a panini press or skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Cook the sandwiches until the cheese is melted and super-oozy and the bread is nice and toasty. Devour with glee.