Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's a Dog's Life

Oh I just wanted to post this picture of my Daisy that I found the other day. She's such a great companion, an all around "good dog". I must confess though, I did complain to Tom today as I ironed black pants and shirts that I am a bit tired of white dog hair on everything and slobbers, on a white shirt I had to get a wet cloth and rub the dried Daisy slobber off it....she likes to walk under the clothes as they hang on my indoor dryer thingamabob. Here in Dubai we do not have clothes dryers, or at least not here in this Villa.
Reminds me we got the new magazine today called Inside Out and it shows pictures of homes on the Palm Jumeriah...oh my goodness, talk about fancy schmancy. I'm not sure I could live that fancy...then again...I could think about it.
We saw the movie this weekend about Mark Zuckerman who founded Facebook, it was called Social Network. It was an interesting movie and how weird to be worth 25 billion dollars and be only 24 years old. We can't even conceive of that kind of money. As it is we feel rich and we're no where near that kind of money. I'd like to think if I had it, that I could do some good in the world, I don't know what exactly but something good. I know a really nicely done homeless shelter in my home town would be nice, also a nice women's shelter, though I think both places need to require that recipients of their services pay back with their own services to the shelter, either by cooking, cleaning or gardening to help keep the place up. Wouldn't it be nice, even in one town in America to see NO homeless folks on the streets and to have a really nice women's/children's shelter for those abused in their own homes and wouldn't it be really nice to see abuse disappear? I wonder if some sort of rehabilitation services for both shelters would work.
I know my Dad was raised from age 13 to 18 in the Odd Fellow's and Rebecca's Orphanage in Oklahoma, and he had to work on their farm, I don't think that hurt him any...but what did hurt him was the loss of his father to a ruptured appendix and then the poverty of his mother which forced her to place her six children in the orphanage. He had very mixed feelings about that part of it and thus mixed feelings about her. This was back in the 30's and I can't conceive even what that must've been like then for her or for him or his siblings. Only one of the six children is alive today, my Uncle Davey, I think he's 86 now and what a treasure. I should ask him a few questions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Plum Cake

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living and is delightful for a quickie dessert or to take to my stitch group.
Plum Cake

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for skillet
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for skillet
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 ripe medium plums, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron); dust with flour, tapping out excess or a square baking pan or a large pie pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk.
Pour batter into prepared skillet, and smooth top. Fan plums on top, and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

I like to use demerara sugar for the top and I just butter a large glass pie plate for the cake. It's nice served warm with vanilla ice cream or just with tea at stitch group.
I hope everyone visits Martha's website for all the wonderful ideas she so generously shares there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup and Life Lessons #6 & 7 & 8

Have you ever been invited to go somewhere and think "oh I'm not sure I want to do that" but then you go anyway as you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings because you're an old stick in the mud? Well next time I have that I'm not sure feeling, I'm staying in. My stitch group, eight of us I think, decided we'd go as a group to Dragon Mart way out in the middle of the desert and we'd shop then have lunch. So my expectation was we'd be back by 1 or 1:30...well at 3 we were finally underway and they wanted to stop at yet another place, the Outlet Mall and I felt like an idiot begging them to do it another day or drop me at a taxi ...and I was the one who sat on a bench and did a lot of waiting, still with my old arthritis rearing it's ugly little head all the time I got really worn out between 9:30 and 3. Life Lesson # 6 Never go shopping with 7 other women! Thus by that night I started getting a sore throat and next day even worse and next day the full blown cold! I know I just wore myself out. You see Dragon Mart is gigantic, like maybe a mile long? not sure...but I know we covered a lot of area. As soon as we got back I went to bed, straight down for a nap, crashed, boom, out like a light! Then woke up sick. So now I have that nastiest of nasties a cold. So what do I do for a cold, well when I can gather my wits about me which I think I just did, I make a pot of Chicken Noodle Soup. Homemade of course.

Todays Version of Chicken Noodle Soup
I had leftover already boned chicken pieces in the freezer. I began by cutting up one sweet onion and two big pieces of celery and three garlic toes, those I sauteed until clear in lemon olive oil (find that at Carlucci's either in person or on line at oh it made the veggies smell delicious as they simmered. Then I cut up a big fat carrot, diced it well and put it in a small saucepan with more lemon olive oil and just covered with water to cook through, you see I forgot to add it to the other veggies. I added in six spinach balls, here in Dubai our frozen spinach is formed in the size of tater tots...then I added in Poultry Seasoning, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. You see you need all that garlic to get better...haha....then I decided I would add the juice of half a lemon and six cans of chicken broth and then four little round bunches of tagliatelle, and I crunched those up as I added them. Well then I decided I might like to add some cannellini beans, well the ones you get here in the can still seem to be a bit crunchy so I've got them boiling away while my soup is cooking, I'll add them in a little bit. I think that's all....I did a simple taste, pretty good with that lemon, now I can't wait until everything is all cooked together. I think I've decided to serve that for dinner. I'll also make an egg salad, bacon and basil sandwich, on toasted seeded bread. Yum, sounds good to me. Now, let's see, what did I do with that extra half a lemon, oh yes....I made myself a lemon tea....bring your water kettle to the boil, squeeze the lemon into a cup, add a spoon of honey then the hot water, stir and drink...soothing drink and supposedly Lemon cleans out your system, well let's hope so. Ahhhhh......maybe this will make me feel better fast.

Now if I can get myself really moving I want to try my hand at Malva Pudding. You can easily find it on the internet, my recipe came from My stitch group went out for lunch last week too, but it was just lunch, no shopping but we went to Festival City Mall which is also huge and it was quite a trek to get to the restaurant, oh what was the name of it? oh yes Spurs, it's South African I was someone's birthday so we celebrated with Malva Pudding. It must be the best thing I've ever eaten in the desert category.
Oh I am not such a genius, while I sat right here by the stove and typed, my beans ran out of water before I noticed, well that takes me to Life Lesson #7. Buy really good pans. Mine are Jamie Oliver and I adore them, unfortunately they are quite difficult to find in the states, but never mind that I have purchased them here. Well here's what I did, I salvaged the top layer of beans, well yes, they do taste just a tiny bit smokey but they're fine, I did a taste test, then I put my little Jamie Oliver sauce pan to soak in hot water, I will give it twenty minutes to do that then all I have to do is scrape those beans out that got stuck in the brown/black goo and use my trusty little stainless steel scrubber and that wonderful pan will be good as new in less than five minutes, no kidding, I've burnt stuff before on these wonderful pans and they have always come clean as a whistle. I can remember way back when...I've been known to toss a heavily scorched pan.

......if you're out there Jamie, I do love your pans! Now my soup has that sort of smokey what on earth did you burn smell, but the taste is still to cover it all up and get out my Lysol Linen scented spray and hopefully Tom will be none the wiser to my spoilt beans! I wonder sometimes if Martha Stewart or Julia Child ever burnt something onto their pans?

You see after about 10 minutes soaking in the hot water, I scrape this to one side so you can see how easily Jamie's pans come clean...and now I've had my bowl of soup, I'm still sneezing and sniffling of course but have had good nourishing stuff and I've made a pot full so that will be dinner as well my lunch tomorrow and after that whatever is leftover I think I will freeze for another lunch.

Now Life Lesson # 8 is extremely important, taught to me by my dear most of the time sweet husband...he says "Expect nothing, then you're not disappointed". I did make a huge booboo today by burning my beans and as I dumped the "good" ones into my soup pot I did wonder if I was ruining the whole pot, though I couldn't stop myself from dumping them in, I didn't expect anything and thus my soup is delicious!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Twenty Five Years

For twenty five years I have shared my life and love with this man. What an incredible experience and how blessed I am to have had these years. I can still feel the coolness of that fall day and the warmth of this man as we stood on our front porch amongst our immediate family and a small handful of friends and exchanged our vows. Our wedding was made even more special as Tom took my daughters to love and cherish as his own and he meant it and has stood by his vows.
I wish our wedding pictures were with us today to reflect on, but they're home in the states and we will see them soon. For now some really special memories are with me, at the end of the short ceremony Tom's father turned to my mother and said "it's about time". I always did think that simple loving man was full of wisdom and on this note he was so wise.
My wish to all who read the few words I write is that you too have a love this strong, this secure, this wonderful a marriage, to call your own.