Thursday, May 28, 2009
Nor am I in the mountains, although they do beckon.
A roller coaster ride might once have quelled my adventurous spirit...
...as would have a trail ride up into the Rockies.
But that's not me this week. No. My vacation this week has been here. At home.
And I am enjoying ever single minute of it--even if it has included laundry, housecleaning, and a little gardening. But the best part of all, it has included writing, writing and more writing.
I get enough of air travel and road trips and hotel rooms in my everyday work world. I'm a very happy camper sleeping in my own bed at night.
And the best part is this! Because I worked solid this fiscal year without taking many vacation days, I get to do it again at the end of June and beginning of July--for TWO weeks this time!
I could get used to this.
Are you going anywhere on vacation this year?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I could talk about the power of books and how they often help us reach our dreams. Instead, I just want to reiterate the power of the message. Diabetes didn’t stop her. People saying she couldn’t, didn’t stop her.
I have a nephew who was diagnosed with Diabetes at age three. He graduated from high school this past weekend. He’s met with a number of obstacles along the way. I was proud to hear him say this weekend that he has a goal—to be an engineer for the government, likely something to do with the military. If all goes as planned, he'll be in school in Arkansas this fall. My heart warmed when he told me that. You see, my nephew comes from a military family—his father and both of his brothers have, and are, serving our country. With his Diabetes, he cannot. As an engineer, however, he can.
I bought my nephew a book I often buy for graduates, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss. I inscribed it with my own message. I’m not sure if it will have any impact at all, or if it will guide him anywhere along the path that is set out before him—probably not at all like how Nancy Drew was a catalyst for Sonia Sotomayor. But the words and the message are there, and perhaps, the power of books and words, and the desire to do what is in your heart, will prevail.
Good luck, Rhett. I believe in you and love you. And congratulations, Judge Sotomayor, on each and every one of your accomplishments.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Or, was. Obviously, I'm not sleeping as I type this.
Have you met my Muses yet? Yes, you have met one of them but not the other. Let me officially introduce them both to you now.
But, sh, because, as you know, they are sleeping.
Clio is on the left. She's been with me since last Thursday. As you can see, she and Calliope are now best buds. It didn't take long at all. Calliope came a few weeks ago and she thinks Clio is her toy.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I suppose as technology grows, so goes how we greet and connect with each other. I found every small "good wish" for the day refreshing and exciting, and very soon, I was on the bandwagon, myself.
I sent Mother's Day greetings to co-workers, my sister, a friend who lives out west, and my daughter. Of course they are not my mother (I called her!) but they are mothers, all the same, and it's nice to acknowledge this special day, from one mother to another, on this day.
I loved how most of the messages reflected wishes for having a quiet and peaceful day. I suppose that is what most of us want at times. Peace and quiet, relaxation, and time to leisurely do what we want. My mother said that to me, as well. She chose not to go to lunch with my father and my aunt, taking their mother to lunch, because she simply wanted to do what she wanted, today. I think that's pretty darned cool.
Today, I chose to sleep late, linger over the Sunday morning paper with coffee, try out a new recipe for Tortilla soup, and well, yeah, do a few chores, like laundry. Later I'll mow the lawn. Still, it's my choice and I'm doing it at my own pace, and it is truly peaceful and relaxing. (oh yeah, and I'm still in my jammies! I love that.)
So here you go, all you mothers out there, have a moment or two of peace on me today. Enjoy.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
In my soup pot!
Actually, this weekend I hosted two events. One, the annual informal Derby get-together with my kids and grandkids where I just make a lot of snacks and things for munching. The other, my daughter hosted a Silpada Jewelry openhouse this afternoon at my house--which meant she hosted and I did the food prep. That's okay, it was great having them all here.
After everyone left late this afternoon, I took stock of the leftoevers. Knowing that I'm leaving out of here at 4 a.m. tomorrow to catch a flight to New Mexico, and will be gone a week, I contemplated what to do with all the fare staring at me from table and fridge.
Of course, I always have the answer to leftovers--make soup! So that is what I did. I only used one ingredient from the pantry (besides salt and pepper) everything else was a leftover or something that needed to be either used up today or frozen (if possible, some things are just not freezable!)
So here is what went into the soup pot:
First, some olive oil for sauteing leftover vegetables on the veggie tray. Those vegetables consisted of: celery, peppers (red, yellow and green), cucumber, carrots, and a few grape tomatoes. I sauteed those for a little while with salt and pepper, then added about a cup of water to simmer.
Next, a glance into the fridge--some leftover taco meat and onions, left from a layered taco salad the day before. The meet and onions was tossed into the pot.
Next, a 32 oz can of petite diced tomatoes followed by about two cans of water. Bring all to a boil, simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
Next, there were about 4 cups of leftover Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad left. Dare I toss that into the mix? Of course. I waited a bit until the vegetables were tender and blended with the tomatoes, the added to the soup.
Finally, I noticed a half bag of baby spinach. Knowing that would not last until next Saturday, I tossed that in last and simmered.
All I can say is, Yum. It worked. And now, instead of tossing all of those leftover ingredients, I have a pot of wonderful soup that I'll freeze in several smaller containers for future lunches.
I love when I make something out of nothing. (smile!)
Saturday, May 02, 2009
This one is a tradition on Derby Day at my house.
Katherine Doll’s Cheese Torte
Serves 8 to 10
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup minced baby spinach
1 ½ t. chutney (I use Major Grey’s)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 c. mayonnaise
½ cup pecan pieces
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
Combine 4 ounces of cream cheese with the minced spinach in a bowl and mix well. Stir the chutney into the remaining cream cheese in a separate bowl. Combine the Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pecans, onion and
Layer half of the Cheddar cheese mixture, the spinach mixture, the chutney mixture and the remaining Cheddar cheese mixture in the order listed in a 2 cup mold or container. Chill, covered for 8-10 hours.
Invert the mold onto a platter lined with additional baby spinach. Garnish with grapes and strawberries. Serve with assorted party crackers.
For a spicier torte, add 1 minced garlic glove to the Cheddar Cheese mixture. You may substitute ½ cup drained thawed spinach for the spinach cream cheese layer, omitting the 4 ounces of cream cheese (but I never do that because, what is spinach without the cream cheese????)
So, today, I doubled the recipe and made two. One for today and another for tomorrow!
p.s. Son and daughter-in-law are here, still waiting for daughter and grandkids...
Hot Artichoke Dip and those famous meatballs that everyone makes.
First, let's talk about the dip. The recipe is oh, so simple.
1 reg. can of artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup of Miracle Whip (I use light)
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
That's the standard recipe. I also add, 1/2 t. of red pepper flakes, I clove of garlic, minced, 1/4 t. each of black pepper and paprika.
Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. I made mine last night, so I'll reheat to hot and bubbly before serving.
For the meatballs, I start with a 2 lb pkg of frozen meatballs. I could only find Italian yesterday so it will do. Teriyaki work well, too. Pop the meatballs into a cold crockpot. Add one 12 oz jar of Heinz Chili Sauce and an equal part of grape jelly. My secret ingredient is to also shake in a few dashes of Liquid Smoke. Let these babies cook on high for a couple of hours, turn down to low and let simmer until serving time. Sometimes I add more meatballs to the sauce the next day. (and I'm also hosting a jewelry parting tomorrow with my daughter, so that is likely what I will do!) If I need more sauce, a little more grape jelly, ketchup, chili pepper, Liquid Smoke, etc., and you're set!
The next recipe, Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad, will be posted in a while on SisterWriters. Come see!
Okay. (sigh) I've been up for a while.
Cleaning. Food prep. Cleaning some more. Crap! I forgot to take a shower yet. What time are the kids coming? What time does the party start?
Did my son really say last night he and his wife are coming EARLY? Before NOON?
Oh, okay. So maybe they will have to WATCH me clean. And perhaps my son can help me drag that cabinet to the garage...
Did I mention I'm STILL behind on my current manuscript? Like, past deadline? I hope my editor isn't reading...
At any rate, today I plan to post about Derby food. Yes, I'll post some recipes here and over at SisterWriter's today.
I think. Stay tuned!
(okay, please forgive the cross-post between here and sisters, but as you can see, I'm racing toward the finish....)
Friday, May 01, 2009
The first leg of my trip from Rapid City, South Dakota to Minneapolis was lacking in Derby flair; however, as I neared my gate in Minneapolis, I already felt like I was home. Why? Because of the hats and hatboxes!
Whether they were first time Derby goers, or a regular Derby party-er, they all had smiles on their faces and were excited to be heading to Louisville.
I was simply excited to be heading home.
I'm off work today, being that it's Kentucky Oaks Day and the fillies are running, and that the organization I work for claims Oaks Day as an official holiday. I'll be cleaning and preparing some food for tomorrow, when my family will come in to watch the race and eat. It's a semi-tradition and we have a lot of fun. So, cooking is on my agenda for this afternoon. I'll share more about that later today or tomorrow.
But back to the hats. Here's a snippet of what I observed en route yesterday.
And of course, my favorite part... the Derby gals giving away Bourbon ball candy once we land in Louisville! Yum...