Archive for the tag “cooking”

a boston taxi??

“i love your blog, if you need a boston taxi, call me!”

you gotta love those spam comments…but when their numbers start reaching great heights you know it’s time to come and clean out the old blog…they are a bit like cobwebs…which actually very recently caused a bout of laughter in my life during the rosary before my grandmother’s funeral…yes, my grammie passed away 2 weeks ago…and there was a long, silky translucent web hanging over the head of one of my mom’s friends as we said our hail mary’s…of course the baby, being the baby, has a rather loud voice when it comes to such things…and couldn’t restrain himself from saying rather loudly “there is a COBWEB hanging from the ceiling!!” thank you, baby. seen and noted.

 

that baby. he drives me crazy. but he is a joy.

he is still one of my favorite faces to photograph.

and as i’ve sort of been moving towards this photography business thing…i like to keep looking at this face…so that my priorities remain focused on what’s important.

mamas have all sorts of mama dreams. for their children. for their marriages. for their lives. but when a mama has a dream for herself it can get lost. it can seem selfish. especially when *gasp* there are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling…

but as i sit here writing this…on the FIRST day of a NEW year…in a hotel room…6 hours away from home….while we patiently wait now for my dad’s mama to pass away….things get shifted around inside head and heart….life is short. life is but a shadow. and as the matriarchs from both sides of my family fade away into eternity i feel their strength. i feel their faith.

and i am excited about a lot of things again. like knitting. and my very own homemade granola.

and not worrying about the wonky format of this post…..

xoxoxox. friends. praying and wishing you the best today because it’s new year’s and always…just because.

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laugh often

at yourself.

and then use a good. free. photo editor.

joining nadja, i did this self-portrait thing.

you should try it too.

focus on your assets (because we all have them).

mine: lip gloss and new haircut.

the sun and its damaging effects is a lot like a good piece of cheesecake. all is fine and well in the moment. but later it’ll bite you in the butt. or in my case: the forehead.

don’t i look younger? though. with this short little cut.  it’s amazing what a new hairdo will “do”.

i had something else in mind. but my sister-in-law/hairdresser nora, sat me down. let me tell her what i wanted and then proceeded to tell me “that’s fine. but i am still going to do whatever i want.”

ok then.

so it was shorter than i intended. but so perfect for summer.

and eating good cheesecake.

and it is a breeze to wash.

and these days i am all about easier ya know.

today in the shower i didn’t even shave my legs all.the.way. i cheated and measured right about where my capris would “show”.

i wanted to hurry up and get out.

i had a lot on my mind.

like how i desperately needed to get to the library. and to the store to buy more borax.

i love borax so. much. it makes things so white. and clean.

i really am this boring interesting in real life.

oh. and speaking of love: there was this desert flower. it was blooming in my grandma’s front yard. all yellow and bright like the morning sun.

and these grilled pita. veggie pizzas. so easy. and so good.

and of course if one is truly living well there has to be sewing.

red work to be exact.

i have great plans for more roses like this one. but i can’t say them out loud. or they’ll never happen. so that’s all for now.

and. finally. for that sweet minnesota mama. and because i pretty much had all of the “blonde” cut off of my own head:

so there was a blonde. and she went to see a ventriliquist perform. he didn’t “notice” her in the audience and began telling dumb blonde jokes (as part of his act). everyone laughed but she became offended. stood up. and told him how she felt. upset that everyone stereotypes blondes as dumb. and stupid. he apologizes profusely. and she says to him: “shut up. i am not talking to you. i am talking to that jerk who is sitting on your lap.”

i am still laughing at this one.

my cheeks hurt. and i am outta here.

i hope your days too are filled with lots of meaningful conversations. good food. creative endeavors. and any(or even all) of  the millions of beautiful things and moments there are to be had.

xo.

the here. the now.

 

life.

it all happens so fast. the morning rush. breakfast. dishes cluttering a clean sink. kids in and out. up and down. noise. laughter. sunlight. papers scattered everywhere. skateboards. shoes by the stairs.

a daddy long legs spider in someone’s bath towel. which becomes drama enough that he wants you to be in the bathroom with him while he bathes. just in case the spider crawls into said bath with him.

he’s no sooner out of the water and he wants to make a volcano.

but she needs her hair braided.

and then the big boys are making plans to go to boxing tonite.

but i had dinner plans with my mom.

my sister-in-law calls. she wants to go to dinner too.

two invitations for one night?

and i can’t do either.

because there is just too much to be done.

and all i really want to do is: sit in my favorite chair. enjoy my fruit salad. do a little embroidery. watch the little people play catch. and wait for my daffodil to bloom.

waiting for your first daffodil to bloom is a lot like waiting for a baby to be born. you know something beautiful is so close. but it’s just not quite ready yet.

we are such impatient creatures.

and life really is so beautiful. here. and now.

always.

happy week-ending, friends. enjoy your here. and now.

crab and cream cheese stuffed wontons

these are e.a.s.y.

things you need:

-wonton wrappers

-imitation crab meat

-1 pkg. cream cheese

-1 sm. bunch of green onions

-paprika

-ground pepper

-ground and/or fresh ginger

-salt to taste

-garlic powder and/or fresh garlic

-olive oil

what to do:

soften cream cheese in microwave. approx. 45 to 50 seconds. or on the stove. medium heat until soft. but not burnt!

mix softened cream cheese with a spatula.

add paprika. ginger. pepper. garlic powder. a pinch of salt.

dice crab and green onions.

on a cutting board assemble the won tons by adding approx. 1/2 t. (or more) of cream cheese mixture. a bit of crab and onions to the “paper”. pinch together-using the cream cheese as “glue” so that it is is snug, but not completely closed on top. you’ll see the ingredients peeking out a bit. avoid overstuffing.

(while you are assembling the wontons you can prep the pan with just enough of the olive oil to barely cover-but not completely-the bottom of the pan to fry them in, but be careful not to burn it!)

fry the wontons so they appear toasty/crisp in the olive oil. adding more garlic powder. ground ginger and pepper. to your desired taste. you can easily flip them over a few times to cook both sides.

the nice thing about prepping them in this assembly line way is that you can make them to suit the tastes of all the members of your household! we do different “fold” for the one that are made with or without something. my girl has her signature fold. they look like little dumplings.

picture repeat. just for the recipe’s sake!

we’ve been

way down deep.

“I will begin in March of 1944,” Miss Arbutus said at last. “As many of you remember, my dear father, Lucas Ward passed away that month. He was the last member of my family, and I had spent the previous ten years of my life taking care of him. We were very close, and I was more grief-stricken than I can say. I had no family, no husband or children who needed me. I was the last Ward left in Way Down, and I could hardly bear the emptiness. So I fell into a deep depression.

“In fact, I found it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. I felt I no longer had a purpose in life. That was the state I found myself in as summer approached. I knew that I could not go on this way. I wanted to die.”

…………….

“From the time I was very young, I have had vivid dreams, and in this time of trouble, they were even more so. For three nights in a row I heard a young child crying for its mother. It was a very troubling, touching cry, and in my dreams, I searched and searched, but to no avail.

“Finally, on the fourth night, as I drifted into dreams, I slipped way down deep inside myself for answers. And there I found the other me. Let me explain: I have learned that inside each of us are two beings. One is the conscious self, the one we present to the world. And the other is the wiser self, the one who slumbers in the heart with the wisdom of the ages.

“That night the wise one told me that a treasure lay waiting for me. And she would show me where it was. I mistakenly supposed that she was going to take me to the legendary treasure of Way Down, and I was thrilled. But suddenly I found myself in a strange place away from here.

“I was on the top of a mountain right under the stars. Before me was a weather-beaten house with a large porch, and on the porch were seven children sleeping in the moonlight. But I had eyes only for the smallest one. I knew I had found my treasure……

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 and :

de-cluttering.  catching up on laundry. grading papers. and doing tons of other glamorous activities.

 like oohing and aahhing over new pillowcases made out of thrifted sheets i’ve been holding onto forever.

 and eating outside.

and inside.

it seems all i ever do is cook!

oatmeal cookie recipe is here. h/t barb. and i have to add that my husband said those were, and i quote, “the best cookies you have ever made.” 

entertaining guests.

and finally, trying to finish up the back of that quilt with a little bit of his own art. embroidered by me.

he so loves that he is a part of it. and i do too.

well, that’s it. nothing earth shatteringly important to report. but that is ok.

we are so blessed. God is SO good.

signing off to say my prayers. for all those poor people suffering in haiti right now. and, well, everywhere…

good nite friends.

for better

 

first of all i am overwhelmed by your kindness. sometimes when i write what is on my mind and it is something that goes deeper than the usual light-hearted banter i try to keep going here, i worry that maybe i have revealed too much. but then you gals go over the top with your super encouraging thoughts and words. and for that i thank you.

relationships. whether they be friendships or familial seem to follow the same cycle of  a marriage. you get the for better or for worse. if you are willing to stick around.

and since i have already shared the for worse part of my week i thought i would end it by sharing the for better part.

first of all it was a sun-shiny week. we are enjoying unusually warm-spring-like weather. blue. blue skies have made lots of time outside possible and enjoyable.

 it was a great food week. my girl picked out a few recipes she wanted me to make and we got all the ingredients together-thanks to a thorough list and one trip to the store. excepting the quick jaunt to a corner liquor store-wherein i thought we might get mugged- to buy a tiny bottle of rum for those yummy chocolate balthazars. so named for the dark-skinned wise man. they are really just semi-sweet chocolate. confectioners sugar. walnuts. grated orange peel and rum. we added the coconut because we can’t ever seem to leave a recipe alone without adding our own two (cents)sense. we even entertained the idea of adding nutmeg because, well, because so many things taste better with just a pinch of nutmeg!

we are trying our hands at some calligraphy, which can be rather addicting. especially when writing on beautiful hand-stamped cards given to me by jaimie for her pay-it-forward gift.

i never said this publicly but my gift from jaimie was on my doorstep when i came home after our looonnggg thanksgiving trip. that woman has a special place in my heart because she included some chocolate truffles in her package and i can’t say enough about what those truffles meant to me after spending a million hours on the road. in the same vehicle. as my husband and children. not to mention how empty the fridge and cupboards are when one has been gone on vacation. (also my husband is now a serious truffle connoisseur. i bought him some for Christmas. but somehow he only ended up “getting” 4. i won’t publicly say what happened to the rest of them!)

speaking of the pay-it-forward i need to complete my end of the deal before february so if you are interested in receiving a handmade gift from moi and doing a pay-it-forward yourself-say so in your comment and the first three people to do so will be “it”.

my zebra chair is getting a new outfit. that muslin is just a quick cover to make sure all the measurements are correct before cutting into the “real” fabric which is oh-so-pretty.

some daffodils and dandelions i saw during my walk yesterday for all my sweet snow-bird friends.

blue boy handwarmers that are causing me almost as much anguish as the boy himself. i have already taken them out twice. and i am hoping the third time will be the charm. i think it is because i keep starting and stopping. scatter-brained knitting i call it.

and that cheesy-garlic-oregano-basil bread i made with the beef bourguignon is scrumptiously yummy. soft. tasty and EASY. i have been cheating and using my bread maker lately because i cannot tell you how quickly my family devours homemade bread. the other day i made 3 loaves in one day-mostly because i was sending the boys with rations for their trip to rendezvous. if you’d like the recipe it goes something like this:

1 1/2 c. of warm water

3 Tbsp. light olive oil

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. basil

1 1/2 tsp. oregano

4 1/4 cups better bread flour

2 Tbsp. organic cane sugar

2 1/4 tsp.  (or 1 packet) of active dry yeast

add all ingredients (in exact order) to bread machine. and select the pizza dough/or dough only setting. once the dough is has finished its cycle i take it out and set it in a greased bowl. cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while it doubles. or in some cases even triples! which is great if you have hungry kids like i do.

this particular recipe makes about 4 small foccacia type “crusts”. i rolled them out rather small to fit on my pizza stone. leaving a little bit of room for expansion. lightly brush the crust with olive oil. (if you are using a stone-it MUST be pre-heating in oven @ 350 degrees before you place the bread on it. bread only takes about 20 mins. when placed on the highest rack. you never remove the stone from the oven (this is something i learned the hard way). you should pull the rack out enough so you don’t burn yourself, dust the stone slightly with cornmeal, place the rolled dough onto the stone, add your cheese. and put it in to cook!

this makes the best pizza dough too. you can make it with a creamy white sauce or regular pizza sauce and top with your favorite toppings. if you have any problems whatsoever with this recipe please contact me. because it really should be easy. and it should make you feel like a chef.

we could talk variations. like adding milk to the water solution. or even half and half. or using butter instead of olive oil. but i don’t want to bore you with too much foodie talk…..i’ve already been so long-winded in this post.

and i’ve a long day ahead of me. off to the mountains i go. again. it seems that all these boys keep gravitating toward the hills and so we follow suit. i’ve got to pack some knitting. and can’t wait to get my hands on some julian pie…..

take care and have a wonderful weekend friends.

almond butter leaves

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because we have all decided that cooking with butter is a wonderful thing and i don’t want to bore you with all the gory details of my sick family i will share with you this bit of baked loveliness we made before things went south. 

almond butter leaves. they were soft. yummy. buttery. and for the second batch we added a teaspoon of pumpkin spice which was really just wonderfully fallish.

i can’t tell you much about doubling this recipe because we made it twice.  some of us are still so enthusiastic about baking that we don’t mind doing things twice. there is actually less fighting about who gets to measure what this way too! but that’s just here of course. your children might get along perfectly lovely whilst baking.

oh, that’s right, i was supposed to be giving you a recipe….

almond butter leaves

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1/4 t. vanilla

1/4 t. almond extract

3/4 c. flour

1/2 t. baking powder

-pinch of salt

1/4 c. milk

*optional 1/4 c. finely chopped nuts

heat oven to 350. grease and flour pan. (we were super generous when we did this step). in a large bowl combine all ingredients. blend on low-speed 1 minute, scraping bowl often. beat on medium speed 2 minutes. pour batter into prepared pan. bake 20-22 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. cool in pan 5 minutes; turn out onto cooling rack. cool completely. makes 6 leaves.

i’d kindly like to thank and acknowledge the nordic ware  company for their sweet maple leaf muffin pans and this recipe!

these are the kind of leaves i wouldn’t mind scattered all over my yard! they are actually nourishing. (and yes, the dirt and chicken poop could be a minor deterrent.)

petit what?

so we are having guests over for tea tomorrow and my daughter, with a gleam in her eye says to me, “can you make petit fours?” and i said, “petite what?”  there is a link here if you want a good laugh. and laugh i did when i saw what making those little goodies entails. perhaps one of these fall days when i have 10 extra hours to spare. i will traipse into my gourmet kitchen-where i have all the ingredients on hand- and make them. i hear they freeze pretty well too.

ha! who am i kidding? those kinds of things never last around here. my boys are worse than ants when it comes to sniffing out sweets. besides i am ready to take it down a notch. i am ready to reveal a part of myself to this guest that i’ve yet to do. i hope it doesn’t ruin our friendship. it is still in the new-ish stage and i am so nervous. but i just. can’t handle anything extra right now. God is giving me the grace to be humble enough to say i can’t make petit fours. not now. maybe not ever. and my piano is dusty.

i find it so ridiculous that i never judge people when i go to their houses but for some reason i do the oddest things when people are coming here. things that don’t normally bother me suddenly bother me. like we celebrate halloween. do they? what if they are offended? should i wipe down the washer and dryer? they are dusty too. but they are in an enclosed porch…should the boys do school? does the house look Catholic enough? wait a minute…are we catholic enough? it’s crazy, i know. but it’s really not me. it’s mrs. hyde. she thinks that way.

but we are going to forgive her. because remember she didn’t have coffee today. so she’s tired. and the last thing she wants to do is stay up all nite talking about making petit fours…..they sound so delicious.

and now if you’ll excuse me, i am going to go and watch the soloist. i love robert downey jr. my husband looks so much like him. (in my mind). it’s about battling demons. and i’ve been doing a bit of that lately myself.

toodles.

i will

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post those recipes. i promise. some are from my collection that i often tear out of magazines and file away for the times when i am in a cooking rut. i  tweak them a little bit so that everyone will eat what is made. i found another one today for chocolate pumpkin spice bread. doesn’t that sound interesting? that is a combination i’d never thought of .

summer is still flirting with us. taunting us with farmers markets and such. a little bit of thrifting with the little ones was on the agenda today and we came home tired and hot. it has been in the high 90’s again.

my heart says enjoy it while it lasts. my head, on the other hand says keep moving with the “schedule” we’ve got going or we’ll get behind. it is awfully tempting to take days off to go and do.

but it is getting darker earlier. and my night owl habits are fading fast. my autumnal body-clock says bedtime at 9 o’clock. but then sometimes i wake up at 1 or 2 a.m. for a little reading. the confessions have me mesmerized. i highly recommend it to anyone who has never read it before. the translation i have is excellent.

well, that’s it for this saturday evening post. i want to enjoy the last little bit of daylight outside. dreaming of my fall garden. and thinking about where the spring bulbs should go…..

at ease

with my role in our home. as educator. chief cook and laundress. the list maker. chore enforcer. walk taker. nurse. story-teller. lesson planner. etc. etc. for the job-description is without end. but you know that. all too well probably. or else you wouldn’t be reading this.

i am at ease with the fact that this rhythm of our days plays out more like a pitch pipe than a symphony. and i can sit at a table with the middles on either side of me while we discuss tom sawyer. the littlest one counting buttons on the floor at my feet. the teenager, seated at the computer watching a discovery streaming video on the magna carta with a slight mowhawk, a large screw in his mouth because he wants to “chew” on something (i thought they outgrew the putting things in their mouth stage…) and i can laugh. i can laugh because at this very moment. these very moments. this is who we are.

we are a homeschooling family. i got that a few weeks ago when going back and forth about sending said teenager to real school-imagine that coupled with the ideas he already has about hair and such. whether or not we are “holy” enough. reading enough. doing enough foreign language or science  i don’t know. none of my kids are building a spaceship from scratch so far. no one has won the state championship spelling bee. and true glimpses of their inner holiness is awfully rare. but that’s ok. i am at ease with that too. because life is always beautiful. it’s just the way you look at things that make it so.

and finally, i am at ease with me.

“the conflict between what one is and who one is expected to be touches all of us.” ~m. shain

at least for now. and that is purely something heaven-sent.

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my small successes this week: yummy pumpkin spice bread and creamy potato chicken soup. a new knitting stitch or rather some clarity as to what i was doing wrong. patience with my husband’s decision to let the chickens free range. a change of heart after prayerfully considering some things that would take us outside of the home during our school week. exciting meals planned and shopped for to last us at least into next week.

so what are your successes ? we all have ’em. no matter how small.

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