Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peppers-Twice Quinoa * Gluten Free *

Last week's leftover roasted peppers inspired this dish. If I had whole ones remaining, I'd have put the quinoa salad in the pepper, for a prettier presentation. I store the peppers in their own juices, with no oil added, making for a flavorful, natural additive to so many dishes. For this:

Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a simmer; cover pot and turn off heat. Go run errands. When it has finished absorbing the liquid, it is ready for the addition of EVOO, freshly ground pepper, lemon juice and chives. Give it a stir. Plate with alfalfa sprouts and roasted red peppers. For dressing:

Using immersion blender, combine low-fat, plain Greek yogurt with yet more peppers and their juices. I prefer this dressing on top of the salad, so as to appreciate each ingredient's flavor and texture; however, you can toss the whole shebang in it, if you so choose.

Bon Appetit!

More Back To Basics: Gardening Withdrawal

Sure, sure, I have lots of house- plants. There is just something special, though, about having one or two freshly harvested ingredients to toss in or on the dish-of-the-day; and philodendron leaves just do not cut it. Sprouts! Why did I stop sprouting? Kicking off with the easy-as-pie alfalfa variety seemed a logical reintroduction. Whenever one can produce a mountain of anything out of a two-tablespoon molehill of something, it's gotta be worth the effort. My morning egg whites have gone sprouty, as has my lunchtime salad and my dinner whatever. Now, it's onto other varieties.

All of the above said, I have learned something new and important, since my last go at dark gardening. If "lupus" enters your vocabulary in any way, shape or form, this article is a must-read:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do You Luv 'Em? Have You Missed 'Em?

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" has begun its seventh season on HBO. Only two episodes have aired, preliminaries to the exciting return of the "Seinfeld" crew. Catch up at HBO On Demand, if necessary.
Info here: CYE*Article*Link.
Photo Credit: Reuters

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy!

It's hard to believe that Ike is eleven years old today! Didn't he just come home to us yesterday? Jeesh; that means I'm eleven years older, too! One day of "just going to check out Airedale puppies" resulted in having this fantastic pooch join our family. He's half-brother to the late, great Samson, Brian's first Airedale.

Lovable, friendly, and always ready to play, he's been an amazing Little Buddy. We are celebrating his longevity, too, as none of our pooches have made it beyond the age of ten. We are so excited about this and hope to celebrate lots more birthdays with him. The following photo demonstrates his sweet disposition at the introduction of Mambo, when Ike was eight; bonding was instantaneous.
Sure, he's achy and pain-y, but fish oil and MSM tablets are easing his discomfort and allowing him to be up for a good deer chase at any given time; albeit, soccer and snowshoeing have sort of been replaced by this:


If you've been here for a while, thank you, and I hope you'll remember SteveCollins, to whom I've occasionally dedicated words and photos. The link provided is to his Aunt JeanAnn's blog, maintained until several months ago. Steve hit a roadblock, so to speak, in his physical recovery. The profound news, however, remains in the amazing grace he and his entire family exhibit in their continuing strength, as they wait and pray for a breakthrough.

Several of Steve's gracious family members, including his Nana, have put together a beautiful cookbook. It contains "real" down-home, easy recipes for success, to be made and enjoyed for Steve. Mine arrived yesterday; it is spirited and super! Buy one for yourself, or for a holiday stocking stuffer, teacher's gift, etc. If interested, please send a check for $23.50 per book (includes shipping) to:
Steven J. Collins Trust
c/o Karen Collins
500 Hilda Street
East Meadow, NY 11554

Thanks for your time!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey, NY, Keep Joe Smilin' Through October!









(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lucky Little Labradoodle

Fiona flew in to totally surprise our... Grandkids and nicely round out the canine population in our family. There is some sweet lovin' going on here; wouldn't you agree? xo

Photo Credits: DMS

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Exceptionally Bright Day

The sun shines brilliantly today, as it should; it is the day that gifted me my Dad. His favorite chocolate cake with chocolate icing is on the menu, sometime today, as his birthday is honored. Forever loved, forever missed and forever guiding me.
"I closed my eyes and I could make it real and feel it one more time." ND

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still-Sizzling Sixty

Joe, are you reading? November MSG... working on that bucket list... not to worry, we'll be rested up from U2 by then!
Bruce is having a birthday today...


Repetitious, I know; my apologies!
This beauty opened to 8" across...
I just had to share. xo

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Okonomiyaki... My Way

'Tis the season to get back into the kitchen and try at least one new recipe per week. Ah, the challenge is grand, but the ingredients remain consistent, my faves for fall.

Okonomiyaki, somewhere between a pancake and a pizza, looks interesting, (link) JapaneseStyle; but wild horses couldn't convince me to touch that salty topping or mayonnaise finish. Here's my version:

To a basic batter (1 c. unbleached flour; 1 cup water; 1 egg; season as desired), I add spaghetti squash, cooked al dente (just pierce and nuke on paper towels...quickly split open to stop cooking and cool); roasted red peppers (the kitchen smells amazing); shrimp (buy them at Sam's for such recipes; they work); lots of chopped chives and fresh tomatoes, still thriving in my garden; and.... and whatever else strikes me, between now and the pan. My Way dressing consists of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, mixed with spicy mustard and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pile on a few more chopped chives, after dressing.

A couple of hints for success:
Anything goes; do them your way!
Load the ingredients into the batter.
Spread them thin, thin, thin on your griddle.

Bon Appetit.
Next-Night Spaghetti Squash... just heat and eat

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This question has come up twice in one week: "Why is the text so small on my blog?" I do use a small font for posting. That said, all computers have the option to enlarge to your comfort level. By going to "View" on your menu, you'll find your choices. Please let me know if this continues to be a problem, so that I may alter my own choice of font size. As always, thanks for stopping by.


Photo Credit: Brian (Please left double-click to enlarge)
These were taken at nighttime with a deer cam in Bri's backyard woods.
Check out the spots still remaining on Little Bambi! Love these.... especially so because they are not eating my Purple Asters! Thanks, Bri. xo

Using Our Waiting Rooms

This is a great read; humorous, but so on target... a great refresher course in what we all learned before the age of two. Please enjoy:

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Did anyone watch last night? The case of Ryan Widmer was too perplexing for words. The feedback from other viewers is very interesting. As a juror, I would not have been convinced of his guilt:
My heart bleeds for the loss of such a beautiful bride; but I'll watch carefully to see what is presented in the groom's defense:

Confusion Lives Here

What a crazy season! With camera in hand and Mambo by my side, I took my morning stroll through our gardens. I encountered some serious confusion. More monsoon-related oddities revealed themselves. Rhododendron blooms of May and Day Lily flowers of July have made a reappearance next to the (normal) Purple Aster Lilies of fall. Mambo agreed that you sure can teach an old dog new tricks! Y'all have a dreamy day. xo

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Beautiful Part Of Our Soundtrack

We saw them in concert before Brian and Christian were born; we were all sooooooo young! We played this album for the boys, till it was worn out; the music is now on my iPod. Mary recently had to drop out of a performance at our local Bethel Woods; sadly, we knew why. Our Grandkids still laugh hysterically when we act out "Boa Constrictor". We are so appreciative of the gifts. RIP, beautiful Mary Travers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And While I'm On The Subject... Happy New Year

In my previous post, I alluded to my rich heritage; and that it is. My parents handled the confusion of it all rather well (smiling here), as they worked out the man-made issues created for them. When I was very young, my Dad introduced me to "The Jazz Singer"... the early, Al Jolson version. It helped him to explain a bit of what he and my Mom had gone through, just to be life partners. I had a tremendous thirst for knowledge, via his stories. When art imitates life.... well, we identify.

Odd that my favorite performer starred in a remake of that movie; sadly, after my Dad had died. He would have loved the movie, with Sir Laurence Olivier as the father and ND as the troubled son who was in love with a Christian. I'm confident, too, that he would have adored Neil's version of the heart-wrenching "Kol Nidre". If ND wasn't a rock star, he could have been a cantor. My "Jewish half" always honors Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; it's a good practice, I think, to assess one's actions before setting on a new and improved path for the year... whenever your calendar begins. More importantly, it makes me feel so close to my Dad.

One Man's Garbage Is Another Man's.....

The above-linked article brought back some fond memories. Although this is the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I am recalling another time of the year. As a child, we always spent the First Seder of Passover with my Russian-Jewish Grandparents. It was a grand celebration, with food to rival that of the Italian half on Christmas Eve. G'ma Sarah cooked every morsel of each dish from scratch. The chicken soup course was presented in a grand manner.... and I'll never, ever forget.... with two chicken feet floating in each bowl. One look from my parents told me to save my questions for later on in the evening. That image lingers, along with the gratitude I feel for my rich heritage.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's Odd About This...

Yet another monsoon-related anomaly has occurred in the great outdoors. During a normal season, these prolific, perennial Hibiscus bloom from August through September. Gigantic flowers often measure a whopping eight inches across! The plants were gifted to me by my sister-in-law about eight years ago, at that time a newly developed possibility for northeastern gardeners. They took hold and have rewarded us annually, since then.

This year, scores of blooms set very late in the season, due to cold temps and.... yep, you've got it.... the rain. As I dug up my annual Hibiscus today to save it from the nighttime chill, I noticed the first rewards of the season from the big beauties. At long last, we have color. The question now becomes, "Will all those buds open before frost?" We'll just have to wait and see. Mother Nature has certainly conjured up some odd situations to test our gardening prowess!

Count My O's: Insalata Calda di OrzO

Cousin Gina DePalma has battled ovarian cancer for 1 1/2 years now. Won't you please join in the fight to eradicate all forms of this sinister disease? No family is left unscathed by its brutality.

Insalata Calda di OrzO - Warm OrzO Salad
Created For O*Foods

1 cup Tri-Color (plain, sun-dried tomatO & spinach) OrzO
3 chopped Sun-Dried TomatOes
Salt to taste

Sweet Onion - finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic - chopped
1 Box Chopped Pomì TomatOes
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Romaine Lettuce
Sliced leftover PollO
Fresh garden TomatO
Chives - the smallest member of the Onion family

Cook orzo with sun-dried tomatoes (ah, the flavor) in boiling, salted water till al dente. While it's cooking, sauté onion and garlic in EVOO till translucent or very lightly browned. Add chopped Pomì tomatoes; season with oregano, pepper and vino; allow to simmer for a quick sauce.

Combine about 1/3 of the sauce with the al dente orzo and let it sit while you begin to slice chicken and prepare remaining garnish items.

Serve with extra, room-temp sauce and sliced lemon, for zip. Delicious cold, as well.

Buon AppetitO!

O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Love Is In The Air

Today kicks off a literal month of wedding anniversaries in our immediate family...

Happy September 16th to Brian and Kelly
Happy October 10th to Mom and Dad, "...where it began..."
Happy October 12th to Christian and Dawn
Happy October 16th to moi and Guiseppe

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Roller Coaster Of Life....

It's a crazy, unpredictable thing....

Believe it or not, just yesterday, I commented to Joe that we had heard nothing of Patrick Swayze in a long while; not a good sign, thought I.

Just yesterday.

Heartbreaker... Done Way Too Soon...

Ah, that movie.... forever embedded in hearts and minds.... that dancing.... those relationships.... his very own songwriting and singing.... that beautiful man and his beautiful wife.... no more words here.... too sad....

Heartwarmer... Changing Of The Guard

Photo Credit: NY*TIMES
Two Champions, one seasoned and one newly crowned, made for one of the best men's finals I've seen in my forty years of loving tennis. Argentina's Del Potro had me crying happy tears right along with him. Federer's grace in relinquishing his title was awesome. As for tennis fans, they are the best, always appreciating just plain great tennis... and may the best man (on this night) win. Rocky, were you watching?


Beautiful Purple Asters shall carpet our gardens in very short order, enhancing tall, ornamental grasses that please the eye right through winter. The trees are green as summer; an anomaly resulting from "Monsoon Season", I guess. Still, a few leaf stragglers find their way down.
'Tis the season.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Inspiring: "Nice people can finish first," said Chris Fowler... he commentated on the beautiful games, sets, match and Open from Kim Clijsters. Kim played against the equally classy Caroline Wozniacki; and what a meaningful win. Congratulations, Momma Kim! All was enhanced by the attendance of beautiful Baby Jada.
A great night for women's tennis.
(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Serena Belies Her Name

No need to post the articles; you've seen the match or the news, I'm sure. Serena is anything but serene. Granted, it was a crappy, uncalled-for call. That said, her behavior was brutally unacceptable. $10,500? Hardly meaningful. Match point, though... that call was correct, in my opinion.

Inspiring? NOT!

*Watch Out, Goalie... Here I Come!*

Gavin goes for it! Photo Credit: Brian

In Monti, Sunday Night Is Doo-Wop Time...

It's hard to believe that Dion released this song in 1958. Many, many years and live shows later, there is no wonder why I still love him. Joe, are you reading? We need to see him again; he's incredibly amazing!

Concession To Fall

Gran's bowl takes on a new look....


Small, formerly-white Hydrangeas take on incredibly different hues, upon drying. Please enjoy with me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Story

Sometime ago, I spoke of a significant book mentor in my life, sadly lost to breast*cancer. Also mentioned in the post*about*Elaine was an all-time favorite book, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. I spoke therein to my taking it on holiday and enjoying it beyond description. As I read the book, it occurred to me that the prose reminded me of a Neil Diamond song, in its flow and beauty. Upon our return home, I purchased a second copy of the book and mailed it to Mr. Diamond's record company, mentioning my thought to have music written for the story. Okay, okay; I know you're making fun of my enormous fan-ship here... laugh, if you must, but my Neil friends understand! Hmmm, wonder what ever happened to that book and suggestion??? Okay, moving along.....

A gorgeous film was made from the story; it starred Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood; ahhhhh..... beautiful.... if it's raining tomorrow....

Also, Robert James Waller, its author, wrote another book (SLOW WALTZ IN CEDAR BEND) in which Neil Diamond was actually mentioned. You're howling now, right?

Today: It is pouring buckets of rain outside; I'm spending far too much time on the Internet, as my Bose pours out fantastic sentiments by even more fantastic artists, to keep me company. When "The Story Of My Life" by Neil played, I thought to look for a video on YouTube. I am astounded by what I have found; there are lots of romantics in this world! Won't you watch, please, and share the coincidental merge of two of my all-time favorites:

More Today

Go Green

Please Link To

An Effect

Piles of magazines once cluttered baskets in my home. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I was tempted by an issue of Family Circle, etc., always well marketed at supermarket checkouts. "Guilty" as charged. Blame it on the economy, if you choose. Personally, I attribute the cutback to Mac.

Quoted from an August 31st NY*TIMES*ARTICLE
"Women’s magazines, which rely more heavily than most on newsstand circulation, were among the hardest hit. Single-copy sales of Ladies’ Home Journal fell 46 percent, Better
Homes and Gardens 35.5 percent, Redbook 23.5 percent, Family Circle 22.5 percent and Women’s Day 22.4 percent. The magazine with the highest single-copy circulation in the business, Cosmopolitan, lost a relatively modest 7.8 percent.

Single-copy sales suffer more than subscriptions during recessions, as people refrain from impulse buys, and higher unemployment means fewer commuters passing newsstands."

My magazine of choice today: TIME*ONLINE

9-11 * Remembering With Sadness *