Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Did This Happen? ♡

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Aubs, one-on-one. She is growing way too fast, and toys have been replaced by lots of girl-talk, acrobatics in the pool and artwork that is beginning to look pretty special. On top of all this, she's turned blonde from the summer sun and has grown about three inches taller. Can't forget that she separated the yolks from the whites, all by herself, and then cooked our brunch. Side? Sliced avocado. Even food choices have 
become "grown-up". 
Watercolor By Aubs
"G'ma, why do you say 'I like!'?" Here, she referenced my repetitious comment, as she painted the trees we observed from our perches at the picnic table. After a quick explanation, I can only emphasize again...

I LIKE! Well, actually, I LOVE my Sugar!

Saturday Randoms ♡

Relaxed. Right? Even Mambo and Fiona are savoring the moment. I love this picture of Joe and Christian, as they watched a brave few of our group jump into the cold water. "No Pooches Allowed"

"But G'ma, there are jelly fishes in the water," said Chloe. "No, Sweetie; really, it's okay. There are no jelly fishes." 

Maybe she felt little minnows tickling her toes. Didn't matter; she ultimately went in. Sweetness. ♡

A Special Kodak Moment ♡

Hunter Captured His New Minne Find
Hunter clearly possesses an eye for photography... and at only six years old. I've often thought to buy him his own "real" camera; but this new little tradition of ours is much more fun. About an hour into each of our visits, at just about the time I start shooting, he'll ask if I remembered to bring "his" camera. He'll shoot about twenty or thirty very interesting shots, sometimes asking us to pose for him. His results are terrific and inspirational, too, in the infectious glee they impart.
"Smile, G'ma!"
Last Saturday, he ran across the field to excitedly tell me, "G'ma, I just have to show you this special place. You'll LOVE it!" Off we went, hand in hand, each with our camera in tow. You know, I've got happy chills running through me, as I again feel that moment.
"You too, Sunshine!"
We sat on the rocks in a place I had really never seen before at Minne, and we chatted and laughed throughout our photo shoot.

Tradition ♡

Not long ago, I mentioned threats by New York's powers that be to close Minnewaska State Park. No need to link to that thread; it has become a moot issue. In our tri-county area, Ulster has won in the numbers category for tourism. Minne plays a huge part in this victory. And so, our family's tradition of meeting to celebrate life and nature in this special locale is saved, along with the park.

Traditionally, Christian has always loved to give action gifts; I've been a grateful and fortunate recipient, in the past. But, not to steal Dawn's thunder here, this post is about the fabulous little surprise gathering C planned for her birthday. Out came friends and family, as well as cameras - who can resist photo ops in such a gorgeous setting? "G'ma, did you bring 'my' camera, too?" asked Hunter. Tradition... and more to follow in my next post about Hunter's rich talent in this arena.

Birthdays can be tough on Dawn, for very personal reasons. But I detected a lot of in-the-moment glee on her face, last Saturday. My Son plotted, planned, shopped and baked, before taking on the task of manning the grill. With C and their gorgeous babies in tow, her lovely brother and his lady in attendance, and a couple of close friends with their own families... well, certainly the positive aspects of her life were accentuated.
Toss in gourmet delights from all, a long hike around the lake, a swim in its chilly waters, rock climbing for the kids, a killer ball game to make any Yankee fan proud, great conversation and camaraderie till sunset and what do you have? Hmmm. I'm guessin' a traditional Happy Birthday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Peachy!

Kramer is right about the short season. But his Mackinaw peaches can't possibly compare to this Primo Blanco version!

Red Jasmine Rice Salad - For Dawn♡

The original idea came from this website. I just now realized that the post is two years old! Well, it still holds interest for me. Thanks, Shauna, for a fantastic site, chock full of awesome GF ideas. Here's what I did with my version of this fragrant salad:

In preparing the rice, I skipped the anise and ginger. These particular flavors do not appeal to all; and this is for a crowd. The garlic is an amazing enhancer.

My veggies include an entire bunch of steamed, cut, shaved and saved (a few spears) asparagus; shaved and rolled cucumber; and halved cherry tomatoes.

My dressing is a lime vinaigrette, made with EVOO, Modena (GF) balsamic, safe mustard, fresh lime juice and ground pepper.

My garnishes are wedges of lime, saved spears and garden chives. I'll top it with chunks of avocado, upon serving, and offer a dish of crumbled goat cheese, as well.

Be sure to cool the cooked rice thoroughly, before tossing with other ingredients.

-Healthy...GF... Buon Appetito
Happy, Loving Birthday,

Inspiring Partners-In-Pen ♡

Everywhere - Everyone Inspiration
SARK  states that land letters equate to "missiles of love". But blah, blah, blah bloggin' is pretty cool, too, in allowing us to utilize the power of a virtual pen to express ourselves.

Coz K has blogged of her formative years and our many land exchanges under our noms de plume, H.O.G.S. The name comes from my amazing Gran/K's Great, who used to reinforce glimmers of my own creativity by saying, "Honey, you have hands of gold." I thought it only right to share the legacy with my next-generation Coz, so talented in her own right.

Finding myself in K's online words in the company of her G'pa (Gran's offspring) and others is a great honor. Whatever the means, I'm forever humbled and grateful for the loving expression. I extend for the taking Cape-sized hugs, special H.O.G.S. love.... and heartfelt thanks for the inspiration you generate, as well. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just Trust Me

Info Here

Neuroses And Such

So, I'm reading EAT PRAY LOVE... well, to be more accurate, I'm skimming through it. About fifty pages in, I became annoyed by the author's style and concept. If nothing else, it assures me that neuroses of all degrees run rampant in the human race. No denial here. I've got a few doozies of my own that qualify me as a member of this particular club. However, a year-long trip to three countries is not in the works. My reality. 
Just have to deal.

My privacy issues are totally questionable. Two acres of property are not enough to secure my safety net. Poor Joe. When I'm not adding new sections of fence, he's searching for baby trees. Check out the amazing row of spruces above, planted just a couple of years ago... each about a foot tall. Hey, my Hero doesn't just transplant them... he Miracle Gro's them to the nth degree. Thanks, Honey.
Then, there is my more serious case of arachnophobia. LOOK! I'm working on it! Yes, I acknowledge the itsy bitsy spider's amazing talent. There is something to be learned here, for any decent weaver or knitter. But that's where it ends for me. When I.B.S starts to move, I'm out of here. Makes me think of my Dad, who used to run to my aid upon hearing my youthful screams, as he proclaimed, "Get out the shotgun; Nicki has seen a spider." Thanks, Daddy... my first Hero.

Other issues? You don't want to know. There's absolutely no humor in them. Therefore, without knowing how the story ends, I do wish for Author Gilbert to find whatever helps her, as well as a suitable Prince and his soothing lovepotion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Classic Kermit Et Al

Off to the Smith-
sonian go Jim Henson's original puppets. This is what they looked like before they became Muppets. He crafted the originals when just a teen. If only imagination could be bottled and sold. 
How wonderful. 

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending."  Jim Henson 

Au Gratin

What to do with excess summer breads and dry cereals taking up an entire freezer shelf? "Condense," say I. 

Today's clean-out resulted in a bowl full of crumbs that include the following varieties:

Potato rolls, wheat buns, 7-grain bread, Kaiser rolls, bakery fare, low-cal slices, unsweetened Special K and Chex. 

Back To The Freezer
I let my Cuisinart do the work, controlling the mix to include both fine and coarse crumbs. Tossed together, they'll create great flavors and textures on or in many dishes.

Skinless, Bone-In, Oven-Baked Chicken Breast Au Gratin
Bon Appétit


Saved from the harsh rains, this
 beautiful and delicate flower, a
 Perennial Hibiscus, measures 
8"  in diameter.

Best Wishes To Classy Elin

“Forgiveness takes time,” she said.
 “It is the last step of the 
grieving process.”
Elin Nordegren, from first interview

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sea Salad - A Rice Cooker Experiment

Warm Rice Cooker Sea Salad For Two
After my most recent (link) episode with Chinese food, I've been leery of touching the stuff. I don't miss it, exactly; but I do miss my weekly dose of brown and white rice. Soooooo, I'm back to cooking it. On Christian's recommendation, I purchased a Panasonic 3-cup (link) rice cooker, sized perfectly for me and Joe. I've been experimenting. Here's a recipe for today's resulting dish.

Rice Cooker Sea Salad

Chop reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, saving the liquid

Finely chop 1/4 large or 1 small sweet onion

Cut about 12 oz. fish into chunks... I mistakenly took out one steak each of halibut and mahi mahi... but anything goes. Season with garlic powder, paprika and freshly ground pepper

Put all of the above plus some EVOO into the cooker and start, covered

Watch closely; it cooks fast. I stirred it a couple of times and then removed fish, as soon as it tested done... you don't want to overcook to rubbery. Some tasty juices were created.

Now, cook your rice of choice in the amount needed, as per cooker instructions. I used long-grained, white jasmine, today. Be sure to use that saved tomato water. YUM.

To serve hot or at room temp, spread rice on a platter and cover it with the fish mixture. Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. I topped with chopped garden chives and pimento olives. This is a very flexible dish; you can crumble on your favorite cheese and whatever else you'd like.

-Healthy...Buon Appetito.

The Story - Chum

"Well, I'm not letting this stop my twilight swims, near a sandbar, in the rain, after I cut my foot on a shell."  CJS
As a twenty-something-year-old, Christian thought it cool to take Florida Gulf swims at dusk, against my loud protests. So, why does his (today's) reference above still make me shudder? Well, an Arizona tourist captured a series of photos depicting the attack by a great white on a seal. This happened last Friday on the exact stretch of remote Cape Cod beach that we hang out on, between Head Of The Meadow and Race Point. The food chain. A given. Bound to happen. A common occurrence in nature. But... close enough to shore for the taking of some very graphic shots. This Mom simply has no sense of humor, when it comes to such a topic!

The story, as I see it, does not lie in the unfolding of what is natural, but rather in the fact that there was nary a seal to be seen close to Cape shorelines, as recently as fifteen years ago. Now the protected population has grown to the point of beaches being closed due to great white sightings. 

Signs depicting "Don't Go Near The Seals" keep humans at a distance, when thousands of them rest during low tide. Newer signs warn tourists to "Swim With Caution". Recent signs close beaches, such as those in Chatham, where the growth of the seal population has been astounding.

JAWS Humor Ended. It was just a matter of time. 
Here is the article, with photos. 
(Blog title credit goes to Coz Nicole T.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Bloody True! Newlyweds...

Multitasking Monday

There is a price to be paid for playful weekends; so, this day was to be a very busy one.
Dreary Day-
Lights On
Washer Filling
Dryer Spinning
Vacuum Whirring
Stovetop Cooking
Coffee Brewing
Computer Searching
Music Blaring
Water Running
Shower Waiting


Power Outage
All Things Cease
Nothing Working
What To Do?
Switch, Switch, Switch
  We Rely On You!

Bananas 'n' Blues

Vendor Version
As promised, here's the technique for concocting Banana Whip. Serve it with blues for lots of potassium and antioxidants. 

 Simply toss frozen chunks of ripe banana into the bowl of a food processor with some cinnamon and whir till contents reach the consistency of soft ice cream or frozen yogurt. The natural gum content in the fruit acts as a thickener. Using this method, the result is firm enough to withstand a topping of warm sauce, easily made by microwaving berries with a few drops of water and a tiny bit of maple syrup. Add chopped nuts,
 if desired.
And Mine
This can also be made using a juicer, if you own one. The (link) vendor selling this delight was using a powerful Champion-brand model. Not in our area? Please check out his website for more fabulous,
 healthy ideas.

Top with whatever you please. You'll need one 
small-medium banana per serving. 
-Healthy... Mangi Bene

Summer Fairs

Saturday's gloomy skies drove us out to see what was doing in our neck of the woods. Sleepy Wurtsboro was hosting a rather unsuccessful street fair.  Ellenville's Blueberry Festival, on the other hand, was hopping. Please check out the recipe for Banana Whip 'n' Blueberries, posted separately. Upon leaving this location, we spotted a wonderful celebration for another Joey; we extended welcoming vibes of endless appreciation.
We then headed into the Hudson Valley's Ulster County, home to the beloved Shawangunk Mountains. Joe obliged my desire to shoot by pulling into a dangerous park 'n' view space, where he found a photo op, as well. 

Our ultimate destination, the Ulster County Fairgrounds, could not be missed; the aromas of ribs and sauces were heavy in the air.... the  Hudson Valley Ribfest was in progress. Rib-loving Joe was thrilled to attend this event for the first time. We were in for a real 

As Joe found a parking space, I remained enthralled by the Gunks' Ridge, spotting the Mohonk Mountain House, in a long distance. If ever you've perused CMI, you've met this amazing landmark before. So, focused and entering the fairgrounds backwards, I never noticed what song was being played... till Joe got my attention by saying twice, "Nick, Neil is here!" Yep. "Sweet Caroline" (without the "whoa, whoa, whoas") was in the air. That Mr. D. follows me wherever I go.

Okay, the Ribfest. We had no idea! People from all over the states had come to compete for trophies and monetary prizes, but mostly for the prestige of the win. Elaborate tents, portable kitchens, smokers and grills were set up in serious, competitive fashion.
 The contenders' entries were for judging only and not for sale. Former prize-winners were selling their goods for consumption; attendees had many choices. Joe's was "Butch's", whose product was proclaimed by my husband to be the best ribs ev-ah. I cannot attest to this fact; I'm so not into swine.