Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A rant about art...something about pearls and swine

I'm feeling particularly irked today, maybe angered.  I'm not sure how to explain it, let me tell you the story.  It's about something I tried to do to be nice, that seems to be under appreciated, maybe insulted as well.  I know that some people do not understand art, and the value of original pieces, but even so, this seems very strange to me.
I get that we did not use the form board, and construction paper with sand and glue with a crepe paper ocean, I did something so much nicer, and feels like they really wanted only the construction paper deal.

With all the excitement and accolades of yesterday I was greeted today with a request to darken the rainbow, so really the un-natural style was wanted.  So it would be the focal point, ummm okay I can do that.  But then the compliments that were cut out, she wants to put on pretty fish stickers and stick back on the painting. ***Blink, blink***
Huh? really? are you sure? Stickers on an original piece of art?
I kid you not, really... I couldn't make this up if I wanted to.
So, here is where I would like to add in some expletives, and apologize to my auntie and my mother (God rest her soul), and then ask, WHAT THE H***!!!!

So, when you travel through art museums, and art shows, is that what you think of doing when you bring that piece into your home?

Mine was the first birthday of the year, and here is what my "board" looked like.

It's nice, I have a great picture of it. I can see all the comments and appreciate them. I don't need to hang it on my wall.  It's here for me to look at if ever I need or want to.

So for this latest birthday I was supposed to do a Hawaiian theme, and the beach with water was brought up, and then I got the brilliant idea of making something that would actually be kept, not thinking that the card board thing would have been kept. Silly me.

So I created this instead. (Minus the fish and butterfly of course, but this was how it was presented since it was to be the "board" for this person )

And when it was presented, rather than first sticking the notes all over her body like she does to us, we just applied them directly to the board.

Silly me, we should have gone and continued with what had been done before.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - Prague Counterpoint

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Prague Counterpoint by Bodie Thoene 
Book 2 of the Zion Covenant Series

Page 145

"He reached into his pocket and pulled something out...something."  Skies stood up in the place where Walter Kronenberger had drawn his last breath.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Provençale Chicken Supper & French Women Don't Get Fat

Provencale Chicken Supper

Provençale Chicken Supper

slow cooker meal that was delicious, but I needed to cook my dry beans more first.

Usually I'm not a slow cooker during summer person, but this year I've decided to try and keep the heat down as much as possible.  The slow cooker does not heat up my house like cooking over the stove does. So this recipe brings me to thinking of all things french.  One of the books that I like is the French Women Don't Get Fat. It seems to be pretty much a reminder to eat intuitively, exercise should be incorporated into your day without feeling like it's a chore, eat breakfast, drink water, relax more.  All those things we know we need to do, but can have difficulty figuring out how to manage them.  Let me share a small secret with you, the slow cooker does help me not stress so much about dinners.  I like to walk, and I've been biking to work when I can.  Here's the thing, I like her stories, they make me feel like I've traveled to the city of Paris.  I find it amusing and interesting.  What ever else you feel about the book, the recommendation to make your own yogurt was a good one.  I will always appreciate that little change I made in my life.  I will leave you with some recipes that I was able to get.

French Women Don't Get Fat

Stuffed Cornish Hens
Serves 4

When I grew up, the holidays always meant lots of visitors and a series of requisite celebratory meals, mostly at lunchtime. This easy dish was always on one of the menus. Mamie was usually busy (what else during late December?) and would make the stuffing in advance so lunch could be ready in less than an hour. The recipe serves a family of four for lunch in style, but double the ingredient portions and obviously you are ready for a full table with guests.

2 Cornish hens (or poussins)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 cups water
2/3 cup brown rice
1/2 cup mixed nuts (pine nuts, walnut pieces, whole hazelnuts)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon parsley, freshly minced
1 teaspoon dry herbs (chervil and savory or rosemary and thyme)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. For stuffing: Bring water to a boil. Add rice and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and mix well with remaining ingredients. Season to taste and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Rinse Cornish hens, dry the inside with paper towels, and season. Add stuffing loosely and truss hens. Reserve remaining stuffing in aluminum foil.
3. Put hens in baking dish and brush them with melted butter and other seasonings. Put in oven and baste 10 minutes later with chicken stock. Continue basting every 10 minutes. After the hens have cooked for 20 minutes reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and put the remaining stuffing in a small ovenproof dish. Roast the hens for another 20 minutes. Serve (half a hen per person) immediately with a tablespoon of stuffing on each side of the hen as garnish.
N.B. For a wonderful tête-à-tête romantic dinner, serve one hen each with a vegetable then dessert. I have prepared it successfully to my husband on Valentine’s Day. While the hens are in the oven, you have time to concoct a little dessert, et voilà, you can pop a cork of bubbly, sit for candlelight dinner and have your husband serve dessert.
Hot Chocolate Soufflé
Serves 6

During the season of overindulgences—Christmas, New Year and all the festivities in between—there is in our home a succession of store-brought, traditional goodies: Bûche de Noël (yule log), marrons glacés (glazed chestnuts), the 13 desserts of Christmas in Provence. This is not to say that the holidays don’t bring out the baker in all of us, but whether it is to give as gifts or to maintain tradition, people do load up with holiday sweets from pastry shops (as I can attest from seeing from the window of our Paris apartment the annual long lines of people outside the pastry shop across the street). When I grew up, however, come New Year’s Day, and there was a home-cooked chocolate ritual. Our big festive meal was on New Year’s Eve, which left New Year’s Day as a quiet, family "recovery" day. (I appreciate some reverse the big meal day… or have one both days.) Anyway, for us, breakfast was well… late (especially for those of us who went partying after dinner), and limited to a piece of toast and a cup or two of coffee. Lunch was mid afternoon and usually made up of leftovers or an omelet, but the first dinner of the year was marked with a special dessert. The simple meal at the end of a week of overindulgences consisted of a light consommé, some greens, cheese, and the chocolate treat. There were no guests, plenty of time, and Mamie was ready for the flourless soufflé. She is a chocoholic and it would be unthinkable to start the year off without chocolate. So, what better way to end the first day of the New Year than with one of her favorite chocolate desserts as both a reward and I’m sure good-luck charm?

1 cup milk
1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 1-quart soufflé mold by lightly buttering it, dusting the insides with sugar and tapping out the excess. Place mold in refrigerator.
2. Pour the milk, cocoa powder and sugar into a heavy saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over moderate heat while stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook while stirring until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly.
3. Separate the eggs and stir the egg yolks into the warm chocolate mixture. Stir in the butter.
4. Beat the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add the salt and beat until stiff. Whisk half of the egg whites mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whites gently with a spatula. Pour the mixture in the soufflé mold and smooth the top.
5. Bake in the lower-middle shelf of the oven until puff and brown for about 18 minutes which will give you a soft center. Serve at once with softly whipped cream.

Red Mullet with Spinach en Papillote
Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 fillets of red mullet, about 2 ounces each
1 lb. spinach, washed and dried in a salad spinner
4 teaspoons shallots, peeled and sliced
8 slices of lime
4 tablespoons of crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) into squares large enough to cover each fillet and leave a 2-inch border all around. Lightly brush the squares with olive oil. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Put the spinach in the center of each square and top it with a tablespoon of crème fraîche. Top with two fillets and add one teaspoon of shallots, two slices of lime. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Fold up the edges to form packets. Put the papillotes on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve at once by setting each papillote on a plate.
N.B. You can use sole or snapper instead of red mullet

Pappardelle with Spring Veggies
Serves 4

12 ounces pappardelle
1 lb. green asparagus
2 cups fresh peas, shelled
2 tablespoons of shallots, peeled and minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup roughly chopped parsley
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut off end of asparagus and blanch in salted water until just tender (about 5 minutes). Blanch peas separately for about 1 minute.
2. In a heavy saucepan, gently sauté the shallots in olive oil until they begin to turn gold. Add peas and asparagus and cook for a few minutes.
3. Cook the pappardelle in boiling water, drain and pour into saucepan. Add pine nuts, parmesan and parsley and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Croque aux Poires
Serves 4

4 slices of brioche
2 ripe pears
2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon butter
1. Peel the pears and cut into small cubes. Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté the pear cubes for 2-3 minutes.
2. Arrange pear cubes on brioche slices. Cover with honey and almonds. Put under broiler for two minutes watching carefully. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
A yummy dessert also wonderful for a weekend breakfast or brunch.

Magical Leek Broth

Serves 1 for the weekend
Ingredients 2lbs leeks

1 - Clean the leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut of the ends of the dark green parts, leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of pale greens. (Reserve the extra greens for the soup stock)

2- Put the leeks in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.

The juice is to be drunk (reheated or at room temperature to taste) every 2 to 3 hours, 1 cup at a time.

For meals, or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, 1/2 Cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if you wish.

This will be your nourishment for both days, until Sunday dinner, when you can have a small piece of meat or fish (4 to 6 ounces - don't loose that scale yet!), with 2 vegetables, steamed with a bit of butter or olive oil, and a piece of fruit.

Pitty those who don't love the sweet taste and delicious texture of leeks. Eventually, you probably will.  If not, follow the example of my cousin in Aix-enProvence; after the birth of her two sons, she needed to shed a few pounds but didn't love leeks. A Neighbor suggested hiding the leeks among other flavorful and healthful ingredients. This Provencial version is known as Soupe Mimosa (Mimosa Soup).

Mimosa Soup
Serves 1 for the Weekend

1 head of lettuce
1/2 lb carrots
1/2 lb celeriac
1/2 lb turnips
1lb leeks
1/2 lb cauliflower
1/2 C chopped parsley
2 hard boiled eggs chopped

1 - Clean and chop all vegetables in rough pieces and put them in a pot, except for the cauliflower and parsley. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cook for another 15 minutes.

2- Pass all the cooked vegetables through a food mill.

3- Serve the soup in a bowl and add parsley and pieces of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Eat 1 Cup (at room temperature or reheated) every 3 hours or so all day Saturday and Sunday until Sunday dinner when you can have a small piece (4 to 6 ounces) of fish or meat, 2 steamed vegetables with a dash of butter or olive oil, and 1 piece of fruit. Somewhat less liquidy and magical than the leek soup, this soup is nevertheless an effective and tasty alternative.

Both versions are so good, and such an adventure for most palates, that you will have a hard time seeing them as prison rations. Especially if these tastes are new to you, jot your impressions of flavor and fragrance on the next clean page of the notebook in when you have recorded your last three weeks. In time, this exercise will intensify your pleasures, and you may want to keep a regular diary of your gastronomic experiences, including some wine notes (just as serious oenophiles do).

Apple Tart Without Dough
Serves 4

The following recipe for an apple tart without a crust is less sweet - lower in calories - but more nutritional than what one finds in pastry shops, delis, or supermarkets.  Homemade versus prepared food: a universe of difference. Read labels and start avoiding foods whose ingredients sound like chemical weapons.

4 medium size Golden Delicious apples
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 cabbage leaves
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dots of butter

1- Peal and core the apples, cut into quarters, slice each quarter into thirds and sprinkle with lemon juice. Place the apples on the cabbage leaves, shaping the slices like those on a small tart.

2- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle almost all of it on the apple slices (leaving enough to cover the dots of butter). Add small dots of butter and cover with the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You don't need to eat the cabbage leaves, though you can; they are for presentation and don't affect the tart. And yes, after your three months, you can go back to having a slice of the real thing with a pate brisee crust.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pot Sticker & Dim Sum; you know, to protect the "innocent"

I think my doggies need undercover names, names to protect the innocent, well...if they were innocent.  These are nick names given to my little barking duo by my brother-in-law, one of my brothers-in-law (you'll just have to guess).

This summer has been a while in coming, but now that it's here, I'm afraid it came with a vengeance.  This inferno is just starting and we have another three months or so to go, I'm so excited, really....still not convinced? Me either. 

I am having a difficult time finding a way to bring comfort into our home with this raging inferno going on outside, and I'm too cheap to let the air run all day.  This is where the issue begins, I'm convinced.  I leave the air off, or leave it to only come on if it get's 80 or 85 in the house while I'm away.  Lately this has been an issue.  My doggies are alone all day here in their kennel, and once I come home they wake from lethargy to spin in circles and  bounce up and down to get outside which is a quick trip because after they get into that heat they beg to come back in.  This is when the mischief happens, and I miss it because I'm changing, or just stripping in our room instead of hanging out and watching the water bowl.  Except for this week, when I was on the phone talking with Melissa.  This is when I found the offender, and how the puddle of water ends up on my kitchen floor instead of staying in the bowl.

Dim Sum, yep, the never in trouble always good and cute dim Sum.  She was the culprit. Tossing water out of the dish like a crazy woman.  It was cute, except for the friggin' mess she keeps leaving on my floor. 

She's not as innocent as she looks
In my naivete I felt that the whole mystery had been solved in this discovery, and I had my eye on her.  I mopped the mess up, steamed the floor and continued on to make dinner and move along with the plans for the evening. 

I was reading quietly, waiting for my hubby to get home, and I ear it...splashing.  Like a doggie was digging in water, but Dim sum was sitting peacefully under the coffee table chewing on her rawhide.  Quickly I looked over to their water dish, and yes, there was Pot Sticker pawing away at the water.  Both of them! The little traitors, taking turns soaking the floor, and creating a lake in the kitchen. 

He looks calm, but really he's just recharging to continue the chaos
I have rethought my feelings of affection for the little monsters recently, now with them both conspiring to wreck my house.  It was bad enough with the continuous shedding and fur that has to be cleaned constantly.  I was also looking forward to a reprieve from cleaning the rainbow of mud that they drag into the house every time it rains, summer is dry after all.  But now there is anther seasonal disaster, water being tossed about my kitchen. 

I gave them both ice cubes to chew on, and chase around the floor. I have now contributed to the puddles of water on my carpet, how crazy am I?

Here are pictures of the Ice cubes from when Pot Sticker was a baby, to show you some of the cuteness that happens with ice cubes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - Eat Pray Love

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 
Page 87

It means, "Speak the way you eat," or, in my personal translation: "Say it like you eat it."  It's a reminder - when you're making a big deal out of explaining something, when you're searching for the right words- to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman food.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spicy Green Curry - Cilantro Shrimp

Spicy Green Curry - Cilantro Shrimp - Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast

Spicy Green Curry–Cilantro Shrimp

  • YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
  • COURSE: Main Dishes
  • Ingredients
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp
    • 1 cup light coconut milk
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
    • 1 tablespoon green curry paste
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • Lime wedges
Nutritional Information

  • Amount per serving
  • Calories: 189
  • Calories from fat: 20%
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g
  • Protein: 27.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 10.1g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Cholesterol: 252mg
  • Iron: 4.3mg
  • Sodium: 517mg
  • Calcium: 53mg 

 Now, I'm not sure what the title of the pineapple recipe is in that book, it's on the same page as the Spicy Green Curry Cilantro Shrimp recipe.  That pineapple dish is one that you should not miss!  My hubby loves this pineapple, it's spicy and sweet, and warm deliciousness.
I know I should have pair mine over Quiona, but we didn't have it avaliable at the time, and I did have rice.  Some days you can't just rush off to the store and get these things. The green curry paste I used was gluten free, so this was a gluten free dinner for us, and it was fabulous!

It's mild enough, but still spicy.  If you like things really spicy you may need to add more, it was perfect for us. The pineapple has honey, curry, maybe cinnamon, and lime I'm pretty sure.  I've also put this over salad greens and it tastes so fresh, the perfect summertime dish.

Monday, June 6, 2011

a bit a of a book review - Hunger Games

Book 1 - The Hunger Games
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone fighting against you?

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death - televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


Book 2 - Catching Fire
Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge.

After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying...

The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games.

Book 3 - Mocking Jay
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12...


This series is not one you can start in the middle and go back to the beginning, you need to read in the order of the books written.  There are so many people's reviews you can read through, and I would suggest it, since everyone looks at things differently, but it is a best selling series for a reason.

Let me explain, I finished reading the Twilight series, and needed more, more action, more adventure, more than reading a book about traveling around the world, or grieving over a lost love could give me.  I read my sister's book that she is writing, and re-writing, and can't wait until she has come up with more, but her series is not finished yet, so I am waiting for it.  In the mean time I still hungered for action and adventure, and to be caught up in the story.  That's when my friend mentioned The Hunger Games, and I took a serious look at reading the book.  Unfortunately I only purchased the first book, and waited to by the others.  I read it through in a weekend, and was impatiently waiting for me next shipment of books to arrive.
These books are well written, character driven, and thought provoking stories.

There will be movies made, and I'm sure that the series will only gain more fervor.

Don't think of this as another love triangle, between a young woman and who she will choose to love. This is a story of war, and what it does to people.  When I first started to read it, I though of the comparison between it and Enders Game, others have made that comparison as well.  If you like action, and suspense, this book series packs it all in there.  I read each book in two days, I was completely captivated.
Now to find another exciting series to read...
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