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Showing posts from July, 2010

Gazpacho

Every summer, since I started this blog, I've posted photos of my gazpacho soup recipe. Of course, there isn't really a recipe, so every year the soup is different and the only commonality is that it's:

1) cold 2) tomato based
After that, all bets are off. Yes, yes, each year I google gazpacho soup and read through several recipes. Then I contemplate actually following one of the recipes. But that's as far as it gets. 
What really happens is that I check the vegetable bin in the fridge and go from there. This year things got a bit out of control and the gazpacho became a clearing house for every bit and bob that needed to be used up or cleared out before it either withered or turned green and slimy. 
Now that sounds yummy, doesn't it?!

What I started with looked like this. Now, that's not so scary is it? The only ingredient that was even mildly questionable was the remnants left in that bag of broccoli slaw. But its only fault was that it was beginning to look a bit …

Book Drift

Perhaps it's the season. We're well into summer, QVC just hosted their Christmas in July weekend, it's hoter than Hades in most parts of the country, and we're at the point when autumn is starting to look pretty enticing, but we're not yet ready to get out of the pool. I think the word I'm looking for is: ennui.
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en·nui [ahn-weeahn-wee; Fr. ahn-nwee]    –noun a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satietyor lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced anunbearable ennui. (credit: dictionary.com)
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I'm sure that the manifestation of this state takes on many different forms. For me, it has manifested into a troubling state that I call book drift.

As you know, I am an avid patron of the Evergreen Library. I constantly use their online catalogue to order books …

Hummingbirds in Action

Recently I installed a hummingbird feeder on the deck after I saw how my potted plants were attracting these delightful little birds. Not only do the birds love the feeder, or rather the sweet nectar housed in the feeder, they've become quite territorial about who gets to feed there, thus providing endless entertainment. In the pictures above, you first notice the bird highlighted against the white pot. However, if you look to the right edge of the picture, you'll also see another hummingbird approaching the feeder.



As the birds became more comfortable with the feeder and my presence, they became bolder in their approach.


Most of the time the hummingbirds are in flight and darting around so quickly that it's difficult to actually see them. Part of their increased comfort level is that they now take the time to perch on the feeder while they feed instead of darting in quickly, and then flying away.


This brown one, called a Rufus (I've been told) is incredibly territoria…

Farmer Suzanne - The Fruits of My Labor

I have branched out. I started out modestly with a couple flowering pots on the deck. I moved on to the red geraniums in the flower boxes under my living room windows. I guess it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at edible plants.


I started with a single rosemary plant.


Which quickly became seven assorted herbs. The basil gets harvested most frequently because it's just so delicious when added to my vodka tonic with lemon. The basil and lemon combination add a refreshing twist to an otherwise standard cocktail.

However, I've also begun branching out and experimenting. This morning I created a fines herb omelette, using marjoram and thyme, which made a plain egg dish so much more interesting.


I guess it was only a matter of time before I gathered my courage and tried my hand at vegetables. Tomatoes, anyone?


Actually that pot  in the far corner also contains a cucumber and acorn squash plants, which my brother John assures me will not grow in such a small bit of …

Book Review - Blind Hope

I am in love with this book. I read it last month as part of my morning devotions on the deck. Each morning I read one of the short chapters and more than once found tears in my eyes as I reflected on how this young woman's journey mirrored my own relationship with God.

Here's a synopsis from the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch website:


An unwanted dog and the woman she rescued.
An inspiring true story told through the engaging voice of Kim Meeder, Blind Hope reveals poignant life lessons Laurie learned from her ailing, yet courageous canine friend.  Reaching out to save a dog in need, Laurie, a Crystal Peaks staff member, soon realized that the dog was saving her.
Despite the blindness of her dog, and her own heart, Laurie uncovered what she really needed most: authentic love, unconditional trust, and true acceptance — faults and all.
Laurie and her dog, Mia, both learned to follow the lead of a master they couldn’t see.  In the process, Laurie discovered the transforming power of God…

Kitchen Gadget Giveaway!

Stacey Ballis is running a cool kitchen gadget giveaway over at her blog Polymath Chronicles in honor of the launch of her novel: Good Enough to Eat.

To enter all you have to do is pre-order her book, which is due in September, and email her a copy of the receipt, and you'll be entered to win a wonderful assortment of very cool, high-end, kitchen tools. The contest is open until Thursday, July 29th.

Good Enough to Eat, looks good enough to read!

Healthy Eating - Monster Turkey Sandwich

Me and my weight issues have entered a stalemate. I am eating healthier and attempting to lose weight to feel better. Easier said than done.

I love food and love cooking, and I've made a concerted effort to use fresh, healthy ingredients when I cook. However, my weight doesn't change. Which would be fine if I just wanted to maintain my weight, but not great if I want to lose weight. How to solve this conundrum? I haven't figure that out yet, but the challenge has inspired me to look for new ways to create healthy meals.





Consider this sandwich. I was inspired because turkey is considered a lean meat, although I am not normally a fan of the processed turkey that you find in the deli section of grocery stores. Too often it's bland in taste  and has an unpleasant slippery texture. However, on a recent supermarket trip, I gave into the impulse to try again in the name of 'diet' and purchased pepper roasted turkey.

The challenge was to create a sandwich using other …

What's Your Morning Routine?

photo credit: http://www.terragalleria.com/images/wallpaper-samples/09.jpeg
Now that I've improved my quality of sleep at night, I find myself waking earlier in the morning. Okay, that might have something to do with the sun rising at 5:30 AM. But I consistently find myself waking at six a.m. every morning feeling refreshed and ready to go.

What to do? In the past, I would have taken Coco outside for her morning constitutional (i.e. outside and back in as quickly as possible), then gone back to bed. Instead, I've developed some lovely new rituals that start my day off right. Allow me to elaborate.... that I'm going to bed earlier, I wake earlier. Not only that, I feel better. To begin with, Coco now enjoys an actual walk. In fact, I've found that I really enjoy walking in the morning, it's quiet, sometimes I take an audio book with me if I'm going on a longer walk, it's cooler, and I often see deer or elk.

Then question became, what to do with myself after …

Oh Lord, where is my job?

photo credit: http://www.phocabulary.com/precipice

Two weeks ago I posted my resume to a dozen of the most popular job sites to see if by casting a wide net I would attract more activity for my job hunt.
The results were simultaneously interesting and disappointing. On the one hand, I did not receive one inquiry from an employer. Which is of course, disappointing since most of these sites tout their ability to get your resume in front of recruiters and employers and often reference the number of people who get hired each week by using their site.
On the other hand, what I did get was email from three 'career management' firms. Each one offered to critique my resume, re-write it, write cover letters, and put me in touch with the thousands of 'unpublished' job listings, all for $2000 - $7000.
While I declined their offers, I did have a very informative conversation with one of the career management recruiters which helped me to clarify the message I was trying to convey in m…

Stuffed Tomatoes - Two Fat Ladies Inspired

Most of you know that I am a huge fan of the Two Fat Ladies TV series  (the link will take you to a delightful video on amazon.com  of the Two Fat Ladies learning to make cocktails at the Dorchester Hotel) which ran on public television years ago. Now that the FoodNetwork has launched the new Cooking Channel, I am thrilled to find that along with a whole slew of new cooking shows, they've revived  many of my favorite classics, The Galloping Gourmet, Julia Child, and yes, Two Fat Ladies.

On a recent rainy Saturday afternoon, I was home watching and marveling as the Two Fat Ladies cooked....a pinch of this, a handful of that, no mention of measurements! On the particular show I watched that day, they made a simple stuffed tomato dish that I just had to try. Which says a lot, since I am not usually a fan of any stuffed vegetable given their tendency to end up as mushy, yucky, messes. See? Just the mention of stuffed vegetables and I turn into a petulant six year old discoursing on w…

July 4th - Happy Independence Day America!

I received the message below in an email from a friend. It was timely because I was listening to Napoleon Hill's classic motivational book, Think and Grow Rich on DVD in my car the other day, and they were discussing how our Founding Fathers had come together against overwhelming odds and sacrifices to put a plan in place to declare and secure the independence of our country. Napoleon Hill used their example as a means to show how goal setting and perseverance can accomplish great things. But it also made me think of what a wonderful country we live in, how the spirit of independence created our country and still thrives today.

Happy Independence Day!!! Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 menwho signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and d…