Monday, September 19, 2011

Life Lesson #15

Never leave anything that resembles food out where Daisy can spy it or possibly find it because she will find it. I had bought an interesting looking pasta and left it on the counter...not thinking there would be any smell to it or appeal to it at all in it's plastic wrapper. This little past resembled rice, or a small risoto but it was called Italian Macaroni. I was thinking of making a soup with it, but Daisy had other plans. It ended up trailed all through house like Hansel and Gretel had used it in the woods. Daisy snatched it off the counter and opened it in the family room, but then wandered the entire house (all 4400 sq ft of it) with bits dangling from her jowls I'm quite positive. Later all that dried pasta seemed to be a bit upsetting and there she was pacing the floor in the bedroom until I got up and came down stairs with her, after a few trips outside (thank goodness for that one) she was ready to settle in for the night, though I was wide awake by then. So the moral of the story is to always close the kitchen door when away from the house, also be sure to put non removable (by Daisy at least) objects in all the chairs and on all the couches. And don't believe that poor pitiful me look as you go out the front door, it's all an act.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beyond Excited! Life Lesson #14

After several weeks of nothing but bad or sad news I've had two terrific news days! On Friday we were told our first great grandbaby is a Boy and he will likely have my hubby's name in his, how terribly exciting. Not to rush our lives away but come on February!

My other news is kind of a longish story...Sunset Beach, NC, our favorite vacation spot and home to our wonderful little vacation home (actually it borders on Ocean Isle and Sunset), had a lovely old swing bridge. We always enjoyed it, enjoyed even the wait when it was open to allow for taller boats to pass along the intercoastal waterway. Sadly the bridge was removed for progress and safety reasons I suppose; and a new high tech and very high bridge installed.
A group of energetic old bridge lovers formed the Old Bridge Preservation Society and were able to purchase the bridge and have it moved to a site off water but near where it was originally and are proceeding to make it a park like setting and using it for educational purposes and museum type purposes.
A couple of years ago my second oldest grandson and I had our own special beach grey misty morning we were heading to the beach and were stopped by the opening of the bridge. We pulled over and I whipped out my ever ready camera and took a couple of pictures. I really loved one of the pictures I snapped that day, enlarged and printed it and framed it in my beach home.
When I bought tee shirts from the OBPS this summer they were delivered to me by a member of the board, as I had had to order them and I missed the time frame to go by the bridge to pick them up. Well this nice lady, brought them and I showed her a framed rendition of the picture I had taken that grey misty day with my grandson. She loved it and I sent it to the facebook page of the OBPS for her. After showing the picture to two professionals she wrote me that they had said it was wonderful and one of the best they had seen. So now they have asked my permission to turn it into notecards and things for the purposes of fundraising for the bridge. I am so honored to be able to contribute to the OBPS by allowing this. I suggested a journal and they will likely make framed pictures too. Hmm, just thought about tea towels, will have to write her that pads? placemats?
It's the little things in life that can just make your day. I have my fingers crossed that they can make a few dollars using my picture and perhaps be able to contribute to their work on restoration and setting up the park like setting for the bridge. I think maybe this could be Life Lesson # 14, always carry your camera because you just never know.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Soup Recipe

I found this one in a Cookbook called Tidal Tastings, I bought it at a flea shop in Sunset Beach. They were selling them to raise money for schools in the area. This recipe is attributed to Jayne Mathews. I've made this one three times already, it's easy, it's comforting and it's really good, it passed the Tom test so you know it's a winner.....a great way to get spinach into your family.

Comfort Soup
I pound ground chuck
2/3 cup fresh grated Parmeggiano Reggiano
salt and pepper
mix those and form into small meatballs, small bite size, makes quite a few.
drop those into boiling chicken broth, at least 2 twelve ounce cans or use a large box of broth,
and let boil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cook a half a box of frozen spinach in a small amount of water, if you use a whole box
it just seems like too much spinach I think. I used a strainer to strain it, then squeezed out the
excess water and dropped the spinach in the broth with the meatballs.
Then drizzle in one beaten egg...let cook until egg is all cooked and dispersed, swirl as it cooks.
Serve with a nice crusty bread. So easy, so good. Quick ingredients, takes no time at all. I even
did a quick cook then put it in a small crock pot on warm until supper time so I could walk away
and leave it. These meatballs are surprisingly good and with only the few ingredients. I was amazed.

I forgot to add...I added the juice from half a lemon and half a jar of cannelini beans to this soup, then serve
it with a nice rustic bread, either fresh or lightly toasted in the toaster or oven (butter it and broil it).
My husband really enjoys this soup so it goes in the TOMFOOD category.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recipe and Life Lesson #13

I'll start with this recipe from this wonderful "old" cookbook. It can no longer be found except in flea markets, junk shops, antique shops etc. I love it, it's one of my very favorites. It has signature dishes from cities all over the US including my home town, Springfield, Illinois. The dish I made today is from St Paul, Minnesota. I'll list the recipe followed by my small changes. It's excellent and my husband will enjoy it for lunch today as the university does not yet have their food service in place so he's been coming home, a bonus for me...well mixed blessing, means I cook two meals a day instead of one. I sometimes enjoy that and sometimes don't, I'm sure all you ladies can relate to that one! This is so easy to prepare.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice (I used a mixture of different rices)
1 large onion diced
2 large fresh mushrooms, diced or 1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained (I used a whole package of fresh mushrooms, sliced)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
8 cups hot chicken broth (I used 3 cans...Campbell soup size)
salt and pepper to taste...go easy...broth often is salty
1 cup half and half or light cream (I used about 3/4 cup low fat milk and about 1/4 cup evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons sherry or dry white wine

Add rice to 2 cups salted water, simmer until rice is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Saute onions in butter, add mushrooms, only takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook them until soft. Stir in flour a little at a time, add chicken broth (I didn't heat it, just from the can, added slowly). Do not let any of this brown. Stir in cooked rice, season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat through, add half and half or milk etc. Add sherry and heat through but do not boil.
It can be prepared to the half and half point, then set aside as needed then reheat once half and half and sherry are added.

Now I've had a "revelation" about this soup. I am going to make chicken palliards...slice a boneless, skinless, chicken breast in half with a good sharp knife, layer between sheets of plastic wrap and pound it to 1/4 inch thick...dredge it through egg white..whip them until they just begin to froth, then dredge through Panko bread crumbs to which you've added salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of poultry seasoning, then fry them up in a very small amount of canola or other vegetable oil (only lightly cover the bottom of your skillet) until nicely browned. I will do that, then I will warm up a good portion of this gets really thick...then I will drizzle that over my palliards, serve that up with a nice fresh veggie, steamed. smart eh?
The soup made so much that I can get probably 4 meals from it for two people. I had to keep adding milk as the entire cup of flour makes it really thick. We can add this soup to the TOMFOOD fact everything I make is pretty much in that category...TOMFOOD means he'll eat must be heavy and fill up those long legs.

Life Lesson #12
Stay in touch with old friends. My girls (now 37, 42 and 43) had a wonderful friend all through junior and senior high school. We moved away and though there were visits until about mid 20's the years and marriages, jobs, and family obligations slipped in the way of continuing that beautiful old friendship. This week their friend passed away, we don't know what happened to him. So young. We knew so many in his family and his wife's family. I cannot even imagine their grief. The memories of him are so vivid, he was so delightful, so full of life and from all reports turned into one fine adult with a nice family. It saddens me to think we know nothing of the last 20 years of his life and did not know his children. It's a life lesson to stay in better touch with those we really have cared about and shared so much with in our lives. I did stop by his work the last time I was in town but had just missed him, that was 2 years I really wish I had seen him, seen pictures of his children, had a chance to catch up.
I've had so many memories of this kid and my girls hanging out together, laughing, getting in trouble, being kids, they have been swirling in my head. He was one of those kids you just enjoyed...he was so charming, so funny, so onery.
I know that I am guilty of losing touch with many of my friends too, this has served as a reminder to me to keep in better touch with all those I care about. I think really good good friends are so rare, we must cherish them better. I will really miss just knowing that this young man was a part of this world.