Friday, July 31, 2009

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much."

What is Success ?
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often,
and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction. —Bessie Anderson Stanley, 1904

First, I would like to THANK YOU. Thanks to each and everyone who has been reading my blog. It is kind of odd writing for an anonymous audience. This feels as vulnerable as when my art is open to the public for viewing in a gallery. My art and these writing come from my heart. My art is created from deep personal experience so it gives me great pleasure when someone connects with me. We are all the same inside more than many wish to admit. If we spend our time looking for how we are different then that is what we will see. I choose to see where we can connect. With some more than others there is a magical connection that creates friendly electric fun.
So Sublime ;~)

I know you are out there somewhere. The counts of viewers has been increasing. This is wonderful even though I have no clue who you are. It is exciting that you return again and again to spend time with me on my pages. If you would be so kind, it would help me a lot to know what you would like to see more often in my pages.
Do you make any of the recipes I share with you?

Your comments, criticism, observations are most welcome. Please feel free to make helpful suggestions. There is no need to leave a name if you wish to remain anonymous.

I will be busy for the next few days yet I want us to stay connected so I am leaving you with this offering until we meet again.

This recipe is fast, easy, great for a gathering. I make this for the student at Buffalo State College gallery openings and also at Savannah College of Art and Design. The platter was cleared at both institutions so I am sure your gathering will enjoy it as well.

This is the recipe I have on the platter of my previous blog.


2 pkgs. crescent dinner rolls (I have used store brand also with great success)

Press crescent rolls onto pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees until brown. Let cool.

Mix next 5 ingredients together. Spread on cooled crust

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese (buy the 1/3 fat of fat free if you wish)

2/3 c. mayonnaise ( again less fat quality brand is fine) I'm using Smart Balance Omega Plus

1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt or low fat sour cream

1/2 tsp. dill, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. season salt

(I've used 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing instead of the above spices)

Here is the fun part where you make your own choices. You are making edible art so think color, texture, flavor, crisp, crunch...

Shredded broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, radishes and onions,tomatoes desired amount of each then sprinkle shredded vegetables as desired.

I add shredded cheese over the top choose either low fat mozzarella or a cheddar blend for more color. Cut into smallish serve portions.
Over wrap and store in the refrigerator to chill.

To make ahead, I bake the crust a day before, spread the chilled cream mixture and top with fresh vegetable closer to serving time to keep crust crisp.

Have a great weekend with your family & friends. Looking forward to seeing you soon ;~)


Mary Poppins (40th Anniversary Edition)Flirty Aprons Women's Original Cocoa Lime Apron"He could smell her crackling white apron and the faint flavour of toast that always hung about her so deliciously."
Pamela Lyndon Travers (9 August 1899 – 23 April 1996) was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, popularly remembered for her series of children's novels about the mystical and magical nanny Mary Poppins.

'The Apron is not a modern invention; in fact it is the most ancient of all garments. In the 3rd Chapter of Genesis these words are written: "and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." '

Please do not stop reading just because I mentioned the Bible. All cultures have creations stories and explanations for what seemed supernatural. My focus is on the Apron as the perfect emblem of my Identity. As I mentioned in an earlier writing, my mother had breast cancer when she was thirty-five years old. Our young family (photo in previous blog ) was experiencing the natural turmoil that any family suffers when the primary care giver is confronted with what is perceived as a terminal illness. My mother's illness was coincidentally going on at the precise years of identity growth into my self awareness.

"The self is a key construct in several schools of psychology, broadly referring to the cognitive representation of one's identity. The earliest formulation of the self in modern psychology from the distinction between the self as I, the subjective knower, and the self as Me, the object that is known." James,W. (1891). The Principles of Psychology, Vol.1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1890)

"Current views of the self in psychology diverge greatly from this early conception, positioning the self as playing an integral part in human motivation, cognition, affect, and social identity." Sedikides, C. & Spencer, S. J. (Eds.) (2007). The Self. New York: Psychology Press

As I little girl I LOVED to play being a MOMMY. Some of my favorite toys were my Budding Beauty Vanity

and Little Hostess Buffet sorry no youtube on this one ;~(

If you stopped laughing long enough to keep reading you may be interested to know that I still have both of these items in my possession. Sorry to say the toiletries have been consumed, however, the dish service is all in good condition for the Hostess Buffet.

When I was a little I had a "dress up drawer" full of old pink and blue 1950's crinoline prom gowns that were given to me for my tea parties. I would invite my friends over to select a dress, a play fur stole, beaded evening bag and high heel shoes. We would play for hours with my kittens who would obligingly wore baby doll clothes dress and bonnet. After the teas party we would stroll the kitties up and down the street in a leather baby carriage.

Boston Brown BreadMakes 1 loaf
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing
1 1/2 cups brown-bread flour, combine equal parts of wheat and rye flour and cornmeal.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup dried currants, craisins, raisins or dried cherries

Generously grease a 1-quart pudding mold or 1-pound coffee can.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the molasses and milk. Fold in the currants.

Fill the mold or coffee can with batter. It should come up about two-thirds of the way. Cover the top with foil and tie securely with a string to make it airtight.
Place in a deep baking pan and fill the pan with boiling water, to come halfway up the side of the mold.

Place in the preheated oven and allow to steam for 2 hours, checking the water level after 1 hour. Add more boiling water if needed. Check by sticking a skewer into the bread; it will come out clean when done. Remove string and foil and allow to cool for 1 hour before unmolding.

Serve with cream cheese, spread can be flavored with lemon, orange zest or fruit preserves, fresh Tupelo Honey could be be nice too. Add lemon verbena to freshly made Sun Tea for a real summer tea party ;~)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou (American Poet, b.1928)

Of all the places people would want to linger the radiology office is not likely to be high on anyones list. Coffee, tea, television, art work, magazines, newspapers, even free chocolates candies do not erase the stress on peoples faces. We wait before the actual screening then we wait again for our results. I was among those who waited yesterday.

After being greeted at the front desk I was given a form to complete and a gadget that would light up informing me when to report to the next desk. This is the type of buzzer I've carried while waiting to be seated at a restaurant, somehow, this time knowing what was going to happen soon I was not enthusiastic for mine to light up.

Waiting gives me an opportunity to doodle in my sketch book, write a daily journal entry, compose a new to do list, more doodles and time for my favorite past time people watching...

Women of all sizes and ages are in this waiting area. It was easy to spot the ones who are on break from work dressed in professional attire or uniforms. Two young "mommy type" women are together giving each other moral support. Going with a friend, "buddy system" always looks like a good idea. As for me, I have always traveled this path alone for my mammograms during the past 23 years.

A strong, very tall, older woman wearing white socks with her sandals kept conspicuously to herself. A few women sprinkled around the room wore brightly colored, thin strap, high heeled sandals that accentuated their brightly painted toenails. These women all seemed to have selected an over sized handbag that matched perfectly to their sandals. They put in a lot of effort to look good just to get a mammogram.

I wondered what they thought of me. My usual Golden Halo, neutral look, nail lacquer on neatly trimmed toenails. I was clean, neat, barefoot in Birkenstock sandals carrying my notorious blessing basket. Clearly I was dressed to be on the move...

One thin older woman stood out from the crowd as she was wearing a winter weight, water resistant jacket, heavy weave long black slacks, winter black closed toe oxford shoes and what appeared to be an ill fitting wig. I had the distinct feeling she had been here before.

I did something that was unusual among this group. I SMILED !!! Into each face that dared to lock eyes with me, I smiled ;~) The kind of knowing, understanding smile that reaches across age, nationality, language barriers right into the heart.

You know what happened ? They smiled back at me.

I have a habit of doing this quite frequently. I smile at people everywhere I go. A smile has a wonderful, disarming, way of making a connection with anyone open to receive positive energy from me.

After what seemed like an eternity of doing small yoga poses, stretches, deep breathing, praying for myself and the other women this day to get good news I finally had my "pictures" taken, got dressed and moved to the final waiting room. One of the young, buddy system, mommy type woman was detained.

Over ten women had entered this room and gone while she was still waiting...
She inquired, yes indeed, they had her screens she would be called when they were ready.
"Go back to the room and wait." she was instructed. The other young mommy type returned to be with her in the final waiting room. In disbelief she rationalized, " There must be something wrong with the woman in front of me, in the room where they have my screens."
I smiled and assured her they liked her so much they did not want her to leave.

I had been in her seat before; waiting... while the other women were permitted to leave. Fortunately, after extra "pictures" they allowed me to leave then also.

This young woman really needed a knowing, loving smile today.
She smiled back at me too. I hope she got to leave soon also.

Just then they called my name. I jumped up, quickly following my doctor to my pictures.
The doctor assured me " All Clear". I shook her hand saying thank you and ran out of the door with a light feeling in my heart knowing I had done something good for myself.

Prevention and early diagnosis is the best cure.

Odd story how bad things can be a blessing in disguise.,2933,532557,00.html

I feel like celebrating with Eggplant

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

2 medium eggplants
Kosher salt
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Italian Herbs - oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, and crushed rosemary.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg beaten
1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1 Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. I leave the peal on for extra fiber and color. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.
2 While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce.
In large sauce pan heat olive oil, saute garlic, add squeezed can tomato, season with salt, pepper Italian herbs to taste, continue to heat while you prepare the eggplant.
3 When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10x15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.
5 Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.
6 Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8.

"To be remembered simply as a good and decent man...

"My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it." Senator Robert F. Kennedy was eulogized by his brother, Senator Edward Kennedy, in a brilliant speech, closed with the above quote.

At a time when most of my high school, college peers were having fun, experimenting with life, finding themselves... I hung around older people listening to their life stories. Often called an "old soul" I've seemed to have the end in mind from the beginning. Instead of reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, I was reading books like, On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford. At Canevin High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. I took classes, On Death & Dying. Never quite sure why I always have a place in my heart for children who lose their mothers to death, last summer as I was packing my studio/ life to attend graduate school in Savannah, I found out why.

When my older brother was 5, I was 2 1/2 years old and our youngest brother was six month old, our mother found a lump in her breast while she was taking a bath.
Fifty years ago, C-A-N-C-E-R was a really scary word, a virtual death sentence. Our mom was whisked away to the hospital for a total mastectomy on her 35th birthday January 8th, 1959. After an extended stay in the hospital she had 30 days treatment of radiation. You have to know that the radiation was not pin pointed at a tumor site at that time, rather, it was liberally sprayed in the direction of her then missing left breast.

Rice Family Christmas 1959

Last August my older brother shared with me that he was told, "Mommy is going to die within two years from cancer." I have no memory of my mother being in the hospital at that time, however, now I have a understanding of my " fear of abandonment " issues. I am sure just as sibling share toys, treats and chicken pox; my brother in his 5 year old way told me our mother was going to die. The affects this knowledge has on my life story is food for another day.

Today I am going for my annual mammogram. Yesterday afternoon I called for an appointment thinking I would not have to go until the Autumn. Much to my surprise they have an opening for today. I said, YES !!! Mammograms have been a part of my yearly check up since I have been 29years old. Thankfully, aside from a few scary times when they wanted to do a second screening, "Just to be sure." I have not had to deal with breast cancer. I'll let you know what happens today. Why not make your own health check up appointments if you have been putting them off. Early detection is the best cure ;~)

Speaking of cure, let's make Chicken Soup. It is good for everyone except the chicken ;~(

A whole chicken, plopped into a pot with water and lots of seasonings, is the key element. Simmer away until the chicken pulls off the bones; dump the bones and return the chicken to the broth along with selected ingredients.

Soothing Chicken Soup
1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lb.), rinsed
slice 1 large onion
slice 3 stalks celery
slice 3 medium-size carrots
mince 3 cloves garlic
4 sprigs parsley
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/4 pound whole wheat noodles
Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper

Place chicken in a 6- to 8-quart pan. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley, bay, thyme, coriander, pepper, allspice, and 2 quarts filtered water. Cover, and bring to boiling over high heat; reduce heat and simmer gently until chicken is no longer pink at bone in thigh (cut to test), about 1 hour total. Remove pan from heat; lift out chicken and set on a plate. Discard parsley. If making ahead, let broth cool uncovered, then cover and chill until cold or up to 1 day. Skim or lift chilled fat from broth and discard.
When chicken is cool, pull meat from bones. Discard bones and any skin. Tear meat into bite-size pieces. If making ahead, cover and chill meat up to 1 day.
Cover soup, and bring to a boil on high heat. Add noodles; cook until tender to bite, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through, 3 or 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 14 cups. Serves 6 to 7.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unexpected Pleasures

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment;that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." from the "Conclusion" to Walden Henry David Thoreau

Living in Savannah for nine months brought about a plethora of opportunities to meet interesting people in unexpected places. One rainy spring day as I was out on my daily walk around Savannah I met in interesting character in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on East Harris St.
Poised among the usual tourists who gather at the trolley stop in front of the church I met middle aged man who had red hair and a beard. Ivan was making roses using palm fonds he had picked from the top of the native palmetto trees earlier in the day. Many street vendors in Savannah quickly fold the palm fonds into rose forms which they sell to tourists for a few dollar donations. This rainy morning business must have been slow as the man was willing to share with me both a bit about his life and the technique to make the roses for myself.

Ivan was a proud to tell me he was Viking, that he hailed from the Ukraine and that he had come to America ten years ago. He settled in Savannah because the winters were warmer when he had to live on the streets. I was fascinated to meet Ivan that day as I had been researching about Udmurt people of the Volga were "the most red-headed men in the world"). The Greek historian Herodotus described the "Budini", probably Udmurts and Permyak Finns located on the Volga in what is modern-day Russia, as being predominantly redheaded.

I gave Ivan a few dollars for his roses and for sharing his knowledge to make more roses for myself. He laughed when I suggested we could work together making and selling these roses on the street. Then an odd thing happened when I shook his hand to say goodbye.
He tilted my hand slightly, then said, " Nice diamond."

Today's recipe is in honor of Ivan the Viking and Strawberry Blonde's

Chocolate ganache cake, fresh strawberries, homemade Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

3 cups strained good-quality whole-milk yogurt

To make 3 cups of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth, scoop 6 cups of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

1/4 to 1/2 cup raw sugar (I like tart yogurt so I use less sugar)

1 teaspoon or more pure vanilla extract (I like to scrape in some real vanilla bean)

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla.

Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Makes about 1 quart.Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Monday, July 27, 2009

The soul selects her own society... Emily Dickinson

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.
Emily Dickinson

Lately, I have been in a reclusive mode. Over a week ago I filled my car with gasoline, yesterday, while out for a drive I noticed the tank still registers on FULL TANK !!! Sometimes I am in a very social mode when I can't get enough of people, events, crowds, happenings...
Now, I am healing, finding comfort from working in my studio making aprons. While making my aprons I am wishing wellness and good thoughts to the people who be the future caretakers of my aprons.
I never imagined graduate school would turn out this way, however, no experience can be deemed a bad experience, if, one takes it as a lesson in life. My reaction to leaving graduate art college was more like the quest that propels a prisoner of war to search for escape rather than a student leaving an institution of higher learning. At first I was in shock, soon my disbelief changed to pure adrenaline. This energy sustained me as I pushed my petal to the metal driving from Savannah to Pittsburgh in twelve hours. Each mile behind me fueled my euphoria all the while envisioning the comfort of my own home in Clarence, NY. The next day, exhausted but safely home, I entered the back door to silence albeit the snoring of our twelve year old Pomeranian. Crawling beside Chewie, laying my exhausted body on the kitchen floor, Chewie reached up to smell my face. Half in disbelief that I had returned he licked my ear, put his head calmly on my chest, then went back to sleep. I was HOME !!!

Comfort Food that is good for the body and the heart.

Low Fat Dark Cocoa Pudding

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
equivalent of 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Combine cocoa powder and cornstarch in medium microwavable bowl or 1-quart glass measure. Gradually add milk, stirring with wire whisk until well blended.
2. Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes; stir. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 1-1/2 minutes.
3. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon, if desired. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. "
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)

For the past few days I have been having great fun playing in my studio again. My friend invited me to share a table with her at the Women's Gifts Arts and Crafts Festival in Buffalo, NY .

I have been designing and sewing Aprons that will be for sale soon. My designs are a hybrid between functional and costume. They can be worn as a functional apron or to dress up an outfit for a touch of panache.

Since I was a little girls I have enjoyed designing and sewing fabrics together creating a unique look. When I am sewing my mind has the joy and freedom of being a WWI Flying Ace doing aeronautic tricks in the sky. Since I have become very proficient with Fiber Reactive Dyes to make my own color palate and patterned fabrics I prefer to use my own fabrics when I sew clothing items. All of my pieces have at least one pocket. I LOVE POCKETS.

My love of aprons began when I was little. I used wear an apron like my mother and my grandmother to set the table, help make Sunday dinner, to be with the women in the kitchen.

I loved wearing an apron all day dancing, playing and have fun feeling dressed up.

When I put on my apron in my studio it is like putting on a "thinking cap". My mind calls me to work when I wear an apron but it is more fun than that.

As a Batista at Coffee Bay in 2001 I was issued a plain black apron with three pockets in the bottom front. This apron easily made the transition from cooks apron into artist apron when I worked in the college studio. Frequently, I wore the apron as I left the studio when I drove home. It felt comfortable wearing the apron into the store as I ran errands on my way home. People often asked me for help finding products or to make a decision on the purchases. My aprons are design to be functional without the institutional look of a ubiquitous apron.

After I work in my studio I enjoy using my creative energy in my kitchen.

Whole Wheat Pastry Crust

Chill utensils and all ingredients.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift together
1 C sifted stone ground whole wheat flour
1/2 C sifted stone ground whole wheat pastry flour
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt

Cut in 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil till largest pieces are pea-size.
Sprinkle 4-5 T cold water over mixture
1 T at a time, tossing with a fork after each addition, till moistened just enough to hold together. Add less or more as needed.Quickly form into ball, working dough as little as possible.Lightly sift flour onto large piece of flattened waxed paper or baking parchment.Place ball in center of waxed paper or baking parchment and roll to 1/8" thick.

I cut slices of fresh washed free stone peaches, I leave the skins on for extra fiber
Add about 1/4 cup instant Tapioca to thicken the liquid as the fresh fruit pie bakes
season with Cinnamon, either raw sugar or honey to taste I use much less than the 1/2 cup that most recipes call for. For extra color, taste and sweet without sugar layer fresh strawberries, blueberries or cherries between the slices of fresh peaches.

I rolled out the extra pie crust sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese, cut the dough into 1" strips then baked until crisp. Dip these crackers strips into Jalapeno Jelly. Great with a glass of wine.

Enjoy ;~)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

" Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground "

" Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground Mother Earth will swallow you, lay your body down. " Crosby, Stills, Nash : Find The Cost Of Freedom Lyrics Songwriters
Crosby Stills Nash : Find The Cost Of Freedom

Bowe Bergdahl, who is from central Idaho, has been held by the Taliban for the last two weeks. In the 28 minute video that was released on the Taliban's website, the 23 year old soldier is seen talking about how he was captured. He says he was lagging behind while on patrol, but the U.S. Military says that information is under investigation.

How much longer will we spend American lives and dollars to fight in countries where we are not welcome.

Bigger government, higher taxes, protecting other counties to the point of not being able to defend our own boarders, abandoning our industry in search of cheaper products is not the way to a brighter future for America.

Too many Americans are brain dead by mindless television dancing stars, talent shows and reality shows while our nation slips behind in education, longevity, and employment opportunities. Pray, send good thoughts or what ever you can do for this young service man being held captive. Pray for our nation, be an informed voter, elect statesmen and women who will work for the good of the country not further their own greed and corruption. How much further can we go in the wrong direction before we say this is enough?

We may not have the control over what we want in our nation, however, we do have control of what we eat and whom we eat it with. I healthy meal to share with family and friends. Here is an excellent colorful salad I created last night to go with my baked Haddock and homemade Parmesan garlic biscuits.

Fresh Colorful Salad

1/2 small head Nappa Cabbage cut into strips
1/2 small head Red Cabbage remove core, cut into thin strips
1/3 large Red Onion remove top, bottom and outer peel, slice into thin strips
2 Ears of Fresh Corn (cook 3 mins per ear in the microwave on high) remove husk & silk after cooking, cut corn from cob when cool enough to handle.
1/2 Red, Yellow and Green Pepper, seed & cut into small pieces
1 Tomato seeded and cut into small chunks
2 lines zest some of the peel into the salad, cut lines in half, insert fork, turn and squeeze the juice from both limes.
Fresh Parsley greens chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sprinkle of Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Toss together in a large bowl. Make is small batches to enjoy fresh, refrigerate leftovers to enjoy the next day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it.”
John Lennon quotes (English Singer, Songwriter and Political activist, member of the "Beatles", 1940-1980)

Heart warming story of a zoo keeper who finds a red kangaroo joey abandoned by it's mother. Not being able to reunite the helpless baby, then weighing less than one pound with a head smaller than a mans thumb, the zoo keeper took on the task of being it's Mother.

All things grow with love; animals, children, friendships, romantic relationships... Like John Lennon said, "You can't just accept it then put it in the cupboard... " Who are the people I value in my life? Do they know how important they are to me?

Our culture values getting to the top, being important, celebrities and rock stars. Too often people climb to the top of the ladder only to find they put the ladder against the wrong wall. It is sad to read about top business executives who kill themselves at their desk because of bad business deals, of stars who die surrounded by people who exploit them for their money and fame while they are painfully lonely for someone to love them for who they are. Success is good, powers is great, having money is wonderful especially if you use it to spread goodwill. Most of us will not be rich or famous in the eyes of the world, however, we can treasure the richness of lives surrounded by family and friends.

It has been a cooler than usual summer in Buffalo. Today is chilly, overcast with rain expected in the afternoon.
Here is recipe for warm you home that makes enough to invite others to join your table ;~)

Vegetarian Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chili peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn

I think of meat as a condiment, saute a bit of ground beef, pork & veal mix until brown,drains well and store in the freezer to add in for flavor and extra protein if you wish.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chili peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man on the Moon

Where were you when Appolo flew? July 20, 1969

It was time when we ate dinners together as a family. Most of the families in our neighborhood attended church together on Sundays. We were proud to be Americans, to fly the American flag on our homes or in our yards. I grew up in Greentree, a suburb of the South Hills in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a suburb of homes built in the 1940' & 1950's for the proud men and women who returned from WWII anxious to fill their homes with the families they dreamed of having while they fought to keep America strong and free. I didn't know I lived in what would be called a detested suburb. To me Greentree was a small town where everybody knows your name. We had a local library, Girls & Boy Scout troops, Little League Baseball, parades and community swimming pool. We rode our bikes for exercise and transportation. Most of us were a healthy weight just from playing games and sports outside.

My family gathered around the television with pride and chills as an American was the first to step foot on the moon. We had the pride and ambition of winners. We were a country of makes who took pride their products. I still believe enough of us have the American spirit that made this country great. Our economy is down right now but we need not be defeated. This is a time for Americans to take stock of what we still have, decide what values are important to you.

While you are acessing your attitude of gratitude why not eat dinner tonight as a family without the television of cell phones on. Here is light easy to prepare meal you can make together.

Cruchy Chicken Salad

3 packages (3 oz each) chicken-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
4 cups shredded Chinese (napa) cabbage (1 medium head)
4 cups red cabbage chopped fine
4 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 cup rasins
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup sesame-ginger dressing
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup wasabi peas
3 tablespoons sesame seed, toasted*

In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups water to boiling over high heat. Break apart noodles before opening soup packages. Stir 2 of the seasoning packets and all of the noodles into boiling water. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until noodles are tender; do not drain.

In large bowl, toss noodles, cabbage, chicken, carrots and onion. In small bowl, stir together dressing, sugar and remaining seasoning packet. Toss dressing with salad.

Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour. Stir in wasabi peas and sesame seed just before serving.
*To toast sesame seed, sprinkle in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium-low heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until golden brown.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) is one of the greatest English mystics. When she was 30, she suffered a severe illness and, believing she was on her deathbed, had a series of intense visions that ended on 13 May 1373. She recorded these visions and then reflected on them in theological depth 20 years later in Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love – the first book written in English by a woman.

Here is an young man with amazing courage and faith that God knows what he is doing and has a plan even when we don't have a clue.

Nick Vujicic

What can I say after this story? Better today to share this recipe and let you get on with your day.

Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Salad
Here's a great make-ahead dinner--and leftovers are welcome for lunch the next day. If you make it ahead, don't add the salt and pepper until just before serving. That way, the salt won't render the vegetables soggy and the pepper won't lose its bite. Make It a Meal: Scoop up this salad with warm corn tortillas.
3 each large ears of corn, husked
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded red cabbage (see Tip)
1 each large tomato, diced
1/2 cup minced red onion
1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add corn, cover and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife.
2. Meanwhile, place pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
3. Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the corn, pine nuts, beans, cabbage, tomato and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy !!! See you tomorrow ;~)
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Puppy has a BBQ fork stuck in the soft spot in his head lives two days in the woods hiding before veterinarian removes the fork to save Smokey.

Sometimes I thought I had a bad day.

This poor little guy was only twelve weeks old when this happened. Doctor expects him to make a full recovery;~)

It is okay to go off into the woods or our den when we feel like a fork was stuck in our heads.
The important part is that we come back out of the woods like Smokey did, reach out to others and allow them to help us back on the road to recovery.
That's what being human is all about.

It is important to venture out into the world even if there are unimaginable dangers. Enjoy your journey, meet new people, learn and grow from expereincing life out of your comfort zone. Just remember it is healthy to ask for help when life circumstances get beyond your control to help yourself.

Here is a Date Orange Nut Bread to share with people who are on the mend :~)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Spray with Canola Cooking Spray

2 cups coarsely chopped dates (10 ounces pitted)
1/3 cup Cointreau
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, or half honey/ half brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (3 ounces)


Combine the dates and orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until combined. By hand, stir in the dates with their liquid, and the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Enjoy ;~)

Friday, July 17, 2009

2500-year-old Buddhist meditation that builds loving kindness

May I be free of worry
May I be well
May I feel safe and at ease
May I be at peace

simple 2500-year-old Buddhist meditation that builds loving kindness ;~)

It's Friday. That is reason enough to be happy. You can read this blog, be happy that you have the gift of sight.

Take a walk outside today. Enjoy listening to the magnificent symphony of flowers.
Hear the birds of summer calling attention to themselves in glorious color.
Dare to hear the things you normally see and see the sounds that beacon your attention as you travel around during your day.

This weekend in Buffalo stop at the Buffalo Italian Festival

I recommend;
Pastachote' at Russ's Bakery booths
and a thick crust Pizza from Rochester, NY Pizza booth

I can't find the recipe for Pastachote, however, here is my recipe for Chocolate Meringue Cookies especially for Gail ;~)

Makes about 3 dozen
Cook Time: 10 minutes
2 egg whites
dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips, melted and cooled
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:Beat egg whites with the salt, vinegar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in melted chocolate and chopped pecans.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today New Begining...


My friend Maria is going to visit me today. We met in Fall 2002 in a Jewelry Design Class. Maria had gone to college in the 70's, moved to NYC, lived in an apartment with many friends, chose between buying food, riding the subway or walking to work and a new pair of shoes she could not resist. After years of working her way up in a successful career, buying a place for herself in NYC, and working long hours she was asked to train her younger replacement before she left her job.

Always an optimist Maria saw this as an opportunity for her to go back to college. She was in Art Education to pursue her dreams of teaching children to love art as much as she does. Maria and I found a good connection in that class.

I was back in college at age 45 after being a wife and a fulltime mother to our two children. We had moved from Pittsburgh to Buffalo in 1999 for my husbands career. Our children were in college. I kept hearing a voice telling me, " You neglected to do something."
This was my time to see what could happen if I went to college for art classes.

That is where I choose to begin my story; what happened after I went back to college for art classes...

When Maria visits today to tell me about her job interview for a teaching postion I will serve

Hibiscus Sun Tea and Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry or Strawberry Jam fillings

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Makes about 3-1/2 dozen.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, whites and yolks separated and reserved
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
1-1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup jam

Preparation:Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar. Add egg yolks (reserving egg whites for later) and extract. Mix out 1 cup of flour and add salt to it. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add other cup of flour gradually. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight. Also make sure reserved egg whites are covered and refrigerated, too.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Very lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Set counter for the rolling process by setting out low-sided bowl with lightly beaten and reserved egg whites and another low-sided bowl for the nuts. Roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls. Then roll each ball into egg white and then nuts. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Press thumb into each cookie before baking. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Move to wire racks for cooling. Press centers again with thumb. When cookies are almost cool, fill centers with jam. The jams may be any flavor you choose. You can also use lemon curd or icing if you prefer. You can make these with or without the nuts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting Started

Where to begin can be the most difficult part of a new adventure. I am going to jump right in head first into the deep end of the pool. This Blog will be a compilation of my thoughts, adventures, some recipes and thoughts for the day.
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