Category Archives: Food

Friday 5: birthdays, chocolate chip cookies, and Rod Stewart

me with my dad in May 2008

1. Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. True to form, his card is late (what happened? I used to be so good about mailing cards on time!) but I will call and wish him a happy birthday.

2. Today is also my nephew’s birthday. How can it be that the little 2yo boy who stuck his fingers in our wedding cake is now a husband and father?

3. I finally took the cat in for her annual appointment (only running 4 months late on that one). The veterinarian and the technician and I all agreed that she is part-Abyssinian, which explains her gorgeous caramel coloring. I doubt it explains her perfect behavior throughout the exam, but I was glad for that, too.

4. This morning my friend ~P~ is coming over to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a national treat in China).  Last Saturday, I was at her house learning how to make a few easy, healthy dishes. I think I have the better end of the deal!

5. I’m in love with the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook CD collection. Unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for buying CDs just because I like them.   :(   But at least the next time someone asks me what I’d like for a gift, I can actually name something!

Friday 5: Broken Blogger and Mmmmm…. brownies!

1. Blogger has been broken when it comes to making comments (or even reading). So if you haven’t heard from me and you usually do, that is probably why! It’s not for my lack of trying to comment.

2. It drives me crazy to not be able to comment on your posts! I’ve read some great ones and Blogger renders me “speechless.”  Grrrr…

3. The house is still for sale. We haven’t had anyone in to look in the past 12 days.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover the feelings I’m going through.

4. It’s definitely been a week for comfort food.

5.  Betty at http://glimpseintomidlife.blogspot.com/ asked me to share my homemade brownie recipe. Here it is:

4  squares (1 ounce each) of unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup of shortening (a little more if you like really fudgy brownies)
2 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups of Sugar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional — I leave them out)

Using a large saucepan on the stove, slowly melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla and eggs (stir quickly so eggs don’t cook!) then the sugar. Sift in the flour to avoid lumps, stir thoroughly. Add nuts if desired.

Transfer batter into a 9″ X 13″ X 2″ greased pan. Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick. Let cool before slicing with a sharp knife. Brownies should be moist and fudgy (esp. if you are a bit generous with the shortening).

What is your favorite comfort food?

Today

SederAfter a week of ups and downs, where joyous shouts are followed by thoughtful ceremony, where meaning is found in simple, everyday items — parsley, salt water, wine, and egg…

A week that takes us through our own understanding of things like freedom and faith and sacrifice…

A week that culminates (for me) in a glorious morning that cannot be hidden by rain and clouds, as sadness and darkness turns to joy and light:

Sunrise

A morning like any other and yet like no other morning before or since…

New Life springs forth and glory is revealed!

HAPPY EASTER!

Sharing 42 out of 276 (pictures, that is)

My BFF came for a visit over the weekend.

Red Fox Inn

Peanut Soup at the Red Fox InnWe had a lovely lunch at the Red Fox Inn: peanut soup and crab cake sandwiches. Yum!

This historic inn located in the town of Middleburg has been in business since 1728.

___________________________________

We spent the better part of one day exploring Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryAcross the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry is the C&O Canal and Towpath. The Railroad and the C&O Canal were in competition with one another. In the end, the trains were faster and cheaper. The C&O Canal Towpath is now a lovely trail for hiking and biking.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry is nearly the half-way point on the Appalachian Trail.  It is also the site of John Brown’s fort.

This town changed hands 8 times during the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryIt’s a long way up these steps to the place where Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently about the view… but it’s worth it.  Along the way you will pass a church that escaped shelling during the Civil War by flying the British “Union Jack” flag, proclaiming that it took no sides — neither North nor South. You will also pass a church that did not have the same luck.

[click to embiggen]

Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock at Harpers FerryAbove is the spectacular view (from Jefferson Rock) that so moved Thomas Jefferson:  the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers amongst mountains and rocky valley.

Here is where we could travel southward on the Appalachian Trail, if only we had time…

The Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry

But it is time to leave Harpers Ferry.

__________________________________

We had a busy weekend…

Not only did we visit Middleburg and Harpers Ferry, we managed to visit two wineries and attended a Guinness St. Patrick’s Day party.
Thank you, SuperDad, for being our designated driver! :D

Jake & the Burtones
KCINNOTX actually liked Jake & the Burtones (above) better than The Acoustic Burgoo (below), but being up near the front and actually being able to hear them clearly might have influenced her impressions. The Acoustic Burgoo

On Sunday, we traveled into The City for a museum and a foot-killing, pain-filled tour of the monuments.

World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial (Atlantic)
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

[click to embiggen]

Vietnam War Memorial,
a.k.a., “The Wall”

[As with all pictures, click to embiggen]

statue of soldiers near Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial
Gratuitous heads of school children being photographed by their leader, left in photograph for perspective.

(Below) View from the Lincoln Memorial toward Washington Memorial. The Reflecting Pool has been drained for maintenance since October 2010.

Korean War Memorial
I very much would like to see this Korean War Memorial at night,  on a dark, rainy day or a foggy, misty morning. The statues portray soldiers sweeping through field and brush in miserable weather. Our beautiful, sunny Spring day did not do this memorial justice.

Not that I’m complaining about the weather!

early cherry blossoms

In another week or two, the Tidal Basin will be filled with the reflection of Cherry Blossoms. For now, there is the promise of blooms in bud and a haze of pink on the distant trees.

Speaking of promise… here are a few photos from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. His message is appropriate for today’s world:
words of FDR

soup kitchen line, FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

It was a wonderful weekend.

I treasure our friendship and I especially appreciated the good times together (and the good weather!) while taking my mind off other things.

Tomorrow I’ll be “flying the friendly skies.”
I’ll be silent from blogging for a few weeks while I am visiting my mother. She had cancer surgery last week and I am going to be her post-surgery caregiver.

Ten on Tuesday

Since I’ve been lax on posting lately (don’t worry, it’s about to get worse), I thought I’d steal this meme from Jen. When in doubt, meme!

1.  What condiments are always, always in your fridge?
Ranch dressing, ketchup, mayo, various mustards (we’re exciting that way)

2.   How do you like your steak cooked?  Your burgers?
Medium well for both

3.  What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
These have to be fresh from the garden! For years, I hated tomato unless it was in ketchup form. Now I can appreciate a garden-fresh tomato, sliced and eaten plain (although I’m told a dash of salt is nice) — second favorite is a tomato, mozzarella, and herb salad with olive oil.

4.  What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out?
My kids cheer if I serve ramen with a can of pork’n’beans. We call it “grub.”  Tuna noodle casserole is a quick second, as it literally only takes 15 minutes to make.

5.  What’s your favorite snack food lately?
Roasted almonds, made with just a tiny bit of coconut oil and sea salt

6.  What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
Weekend breakfast? That implies something fancy… I don’t do fancy. Typical Saturday breakfast for me is old-fashioned oatmeal with wheat germ and blueberries.  On Sundays, I’m lucky to get a cup of coffee before heading out the door to church.

7.  What’s your favorite thing to grill?  How do you do it?
I prefer to leave the grilling to my husband, who prepares lovely garden-fresh veggies all summer long, but I’m happy to grill pork chops with some garlic salt and herbs.

8.  What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite? ~I suppose if you don’t care for either, make something up!~
We usually buy a big bottle of Frontera cab/merlot blend for about $8-9.

9.  Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.
My husband likes a traditional gimlet (2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Rose’s lime juice) but I prefer a margarita (1 oz tequila, 1 oz triple sec, 1 oz lime juice — Rose’s if you prefer it sweeter, regular lime juice otherwise) served over ice.

10.  How do you like your eggs?
Cooked  ;)

Thankful Thursday Thirteen

Friendship

Shanghai juicy dumplings

Pea leaves

Shanghai lo-mein

The after Christmas party

Baby, it’s cold outside…

Susie is once again hosting the (6th annual!) blog Christmas Party. This year she changed things up a bit and is hosting it after Christmas, but I like to point out that there are 12 days of Christmas so really, it’s right on time! At least that is my excuse when the cards get sent out in early January…

I’ve been laying low for the past few days.  The house is not perfectly cleaned, but the cat has warmed a spot for you on the living room sofa.

The kids have eaten most of the cookies — and I’m afraid they’ve gobbled up the chocolate-covered pretzels, too —  but please help yourself to a slice of Stollen while I boil water for tea.  The coffee is right over there next to the fridge  if you’d like a cup of java instead; I just made a fresh pot a few minutes ago.

You are welcome to sit and rest and enjoy a cup of something warm, while we talk and listen to the wind chimes sing.

Colorful

Thom participates in a meme called Weekend Funnies

and when a friend e-mailed me the following, I knew this fit right into that meme:

C O L O R IS  GOOD

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my yearly physical.
My blood pressure was high ….

My cholesterol was high ………

I’d gained some weight, and I didn’t feel so hot.

My doctor said eating right doesn’t have to be complicated and it would solve my physical problems.

He said: Just think in colors. Fill your plate with
bright colors. Try some greens, oranges, reds, maybe something yellow, etc.

So I went right home and ate an entire bowl of . . .

And sure enough, I felt better immediately.

I never knew eating right could be so easy !!!

Five Fall Photos

1. Between the boys and girls cross-country races on Wednesday, I stepped over to the fence and took this shot.

Have I mentioned lately that I love Fall? I do.

2. Something had been eating the late summer pea crop. Note that the first sets of leaves have been chomped right off.

We have discovered the culprit who lives under the shed. He has since used his fat body to climb tear down the fence and help himself to the rest of the garden.
I saw his cousin Sunday afternoon in the church parking lot.

Yes, it’s a big fat groundhog.
Click on the pic to get a closer look.

3. I had an absolutely lovely Sunday afternoon. I went out to lunch with 2 girlfriends at a Vietnamese restaurant, and then afterward, two of us continued on to a local winery. What with the wine tasting, the talking, and the glass of wine we each sipped at the table while we listened to a young, local bluegrass group, I forgot to take any pictures! You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was wonderful.

4. Sometimes coming home after a near-perfect afternoon is a let-down, but Sunday evening had a surprise in store — an Autumn evening at the firepit.

5. Farmers Markets in small towns make me smile. Funky produce that looks like a masked bandit makes me smile even more.

Happy Friday!

Vacation, day 5: After the storm

Sunrise on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

With daylight, we could see how well our camping structures had fared through the night.  Others were not so fortunate.

The people who were camping here had left more than an hour before the arrival of the storm. They came back to loss and destruction. I’m not sure how 3 people slept in that tent last night, or if they gave up like others and got a motel room.

Beautiful green pavilion in background -- destroyed

I credit my husband’s wisdom and skill that we still have a canopy, tent and a “screen house.”  I also must credit my oldest son, who spent the entire storm inside the empty, dark tent. He held the sides up, pushing back against the wind.  It wasn’t a fun experience for him. In fact, he was (understandably) angry that we were laughing while he was inside the tent not knowing what was happening outside.  All he could hear was the booming of the wind and our shouts and laughter while he was doing his best to keep the tent from collapsing.

By 7am, we were breaking camp and loading up the vehicles. Everything wet and sandy went into the rig with the bikes and boogie boards. (The canopy, tent, and “screen house” would be set up to dry at home.) Everything dry-ish and clean-ish went into the van.
We said goodbye to the ponies…


click on any picture to enlarge

And then we drove to Ocean City, MD, to find a hot breakfast.  “Bambi” –our GPS– told us to turn left onto Boardwalk. We were driving at the time.

We aren’t boardwalk kind of people, and there really wasn’t any decent place to take a grubby family for breakfast there anyway.  (And by decent I mean inexpensive good food.) But look what we found a few blocks away!

They didn’t just serve donuts and coffee… we were able to get a good, hot breakfast (eggs! toast! bacon! pancakes!) before tackling the long drive home.

It almost made the grouchy ones forgive us for making them ride through the storm at the campsite instead of safely in a building.

And then we drove across  the Bay Bridge.


*Bridge photos taken by the front seat passenger, NOT the driver!

It was scarier driving the other direction on Monday.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!