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Posts from the ‘The Kitchen Sink’ Category

Still in the North Woods

Still in the North woods.  No, not still as in moonshine.  Dashing your hopes for a moonshine recipe? Merely still on vacation.  Still “up north”, as we say in the Midwest.   We are among the fortunate to be owners of what we fondly call “the cottage”, a beautiful, old summer home built around 1889 and later purchased by my great grandmother.  (See photo in my post, “Risky Business”) No doubt, she was a feminist in her time.  A single parent, her husband having left her, she became an osteopath around the turn of the nineteenth century. Imagine a woman in medical school in those times!  Now, five generations later, it is shared by four families, which, in reality, are thirteen families.  My grandmother, an only child, had four of her own, and then it went on from there.  Now my cousins and siblings take loving care of this grand old place to preserve it for us and the next generation.  I have no horror stories of rivalry over time-of-use, mistreatment of the property, or any other nonsense.  The system runs quite perfectly.  This is usually the only time of year that myself, my siblings, and our families get to see each other, and this is a wonderful place to reunite.

What a hectic week with a grand project for the summer.  The walkway to the back door, made of flagstone, had heaved over the years and had actually become dangerous for my aunts and uncle, all in their eighties.  So, our fourth of the family offered to replace the walkway with a brick pathway.  Not as in pay someone to do it, but do it ourselves.  It is now done and is quite beautiful.  It was a labor of love, emphasis on the labor, with most of the crew in their sixties.  I know the aunties and uncle will be quite pleased.

As a result, I tried to keep the crew well-nourished with tasty things to eat.  One morning cherry-orange scones, another morning Irish soda bread. and yesterday I had a request for a breakfast of fried rice, using the left-over brown rice from the night before.  The sizeable skillet-full was gone in no time.  Tonight it was our turn to cook.  There are twelve of us, three who are vegetarians, so we decided on polenta with a mushroom ragu, barbecued pork tenderloin, actually tasty turkey burgers, broccoli (cooked to perfection, as in bright green, not army green), and a crisp, green salad.  All seemed to find something to please the palate.

Below find two I Phone photos of the nearly completed project.

 

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Yikes!

Up here in the Northwoods and my laptop seems to have died!  An hour away from the nearest Best Buy!  Writing at any great length on my I Phone will be interesting.  I have a great salad to tell you about. A Japanese noodle salad with mango-chutney dressing. Oh, here comes my techie guy. Of course! A simple solution. He performed a hard shut down, rebooted it, and here I am. Whew! I am back on line.

The Rest of the Story

The other half of a very enjoyable weekend, aside from the art fair,  was that we made it into a mini-vacation.  The car was packed from top to bottom and end to end with photos, tent, and display.  We could barely squeeze in a few necessities, as in a change of outfits. We arrived two days early to kick back and chill out.  We are lucky enough to have a cottage that has been in the family for five generations and soon to be six. ( More about the sixth at a later date.)  It has an amazing wrap-around porch that looks out on Green Bay.  There was a chill in the air (5o degrees) when we awoke because it is June in Wisconsin.  The cure for that is to slump down in a captain’s chair on the porch, cup of steamy coffee in hand, and gaze out at the diamonds glittering on the Bay.  It’s a guaranteed blood pressure-reducer.

Groceries were purchased for breakfasts and lunches only.  It was a vacation, after all, and neither of us had any intention of cooking dinners.  Since television was invented, there has been a sacrosanct rule that no TV will cross the threshold of our cottage.  Horrors, you say!  Actually, I never miss it.  We played scrabble and gin rummy, listened to the Milwaukee Brewers’ games on the radio, and just generally relaxed.  Time flew by and suddenly it was Sunday, the day of the art show.  On Monday morning we headed for home, taking small byways instead of the Interstate.

“Wait!”, I said, as we were nearing home,   “I have a totally brilliant idea!”  Last week we discovered a bar and restaurant, Tello’s, in Port Washington where we had gone to listen to some blues outdoors.  I am usually a purist when it comes to margaritas, on the rocks, with no fancy blending.  Well, Tello’s makes an amazing mango margarita, on the rocks, with a salted rim.  Yum!  It was still Happy Hour when we arrived with Happy Hour prices for drinks and food.  Well, $4.95 for a gigantic burrito with a side of rice, and it was delicious.  One wouldn’t expect delicious for that price, but a true story.  A wonderful end to a wonderful weekend.  Plan a get-away, even if just for a night.  It refreshes the soul.

 

 

I  love responses to my posts.  Don’t be shy!  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.

Risky Behavior?

Practice what I preach, right? Take a Risk!  Take on a new challenge!  Enrich your life!   I did just that this past weekend.  I participated in a small, juried art fair in Menominee, MI, a sweet little town with a pretty harbor on Green Bay.  Yes, Green Bay as in Green Bay Packers, of which I am a huge fan, and have been since I was old enough to sit on my dad’s lap and cheer along with him as we watched that tiny TV.  Well, I cheered and he yelled at the set.  But I digress.  Choosing, developing, matting and framing photos to name just a few things… We had lists upon lists of things to do and get.  It has been crazy busy, but lots of fun.

What risk, you ask?  Firstly, submitting an application to a juried art fair is putting myself out there – the risk of not being accepted.  Then, crossing my fingers that some of my photos will be taken home and hung on someone’s wall.  Some did go home to be hung, I hope, in a place of importance.  I have to say the best part of the whole experience was meeting scores of new people and receiving quite a few sincere compliments about my work.  I must admit to having had a few misgivings and more than a little stress beforehand.  However, all was for naught!  It was amazingly enjoyable, and it will be repeated.  I hope to do more this summer.

So, you need not take on such a large project to take a risk.  Attempting anything new always has an element of risk attached to it.  Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to?  The satisfaction gained from learning a new skill, studying a new language, taking an art course, entering a quilt show…  Well, it is amazing how much pleasure it brings into one’s life.  Don’t delay.  Take that step before you change your mind.

I  love responses to my posts.  Don’t be shy!  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.

 

 

It’s Open Season On Farm-to-Table Produce

Finally!  Our farmers’ market is open!  I eagerly await its arrival all through those cold, dreary days of Wisconsin’s winter.  I envisage dark-green Swiss chard with beautiful red and yellow stems, crisp sugar snap peas, leafy Romaine, baby spinach, just-picked tomatoes… It’s what winter dreams are made of.  If you haven’t had a tomato sandwich with Hellman’s mayo, lettuce and  tomatoes on a good, crusty bread, you are totally missing out on one of the greatest pleasures.  Of course, it goes without saying that fresh produce is so much healthier than produce that was picked before it was ripe and shipped across the country.

We have a wonderful, bustling market in our little town every Saturday morning from June until October, with visitors traveling some distance to purchase freshly picked fruits and vegetables (nothing better), crusty breads, jams and jellies,  organic chickens, sweetly-scented soaps, hand-knit goods, cut flowers and  fresh flowers to plant, creamy cheeses…  The variety is endless.  Outdoor seating at a cozy cafe offers a perfect opportunity for  people-watching … serious shoppers in and out quickly, parents with babies and toddlers in tow, doting grandparents not far behind.  Mostly I look forward to visiting with long-time friends over a steamy cup of coffee.

Of course, there is the ritual of scoping out every vendor to find the best produce at the best price.  We walk from one end to the other before making our purchases, but always seem to gravitate toward our favorites.  I do best shopping with someone who will be the voice of reason because I do go a little crazy.  So, it’s always a challenge, but a lovely challenge, to use it all within a few days.  In June the variety is smaller – limited to vegetables and fruits that thrive in cool nights and warm days.  Later on in the summer, the bounty will be a sight to see and eat!

I  love responses to my posts.  Don’t be shy!  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.

Hoof and Mouth?

“So, you are going to Hoof and Mouth today?”, my husband quizzes me.  That goofy sense of humor  always sends our daughters and me into giggles.  Well, yesterday was “Hoof and Mouth” day, or more correctly, “Hand and Foot”.  It’s actually a card game in the canasta family that I have recently come to learn with new and old friends.

Canasta evokes ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­cherished memories of countless hours spent “playing cards”with my grandmother.   Canasta transports me back to my childhood, to summers that seemed to last forever.  Now they seem to whiz by in the blink of an eye.   Sitting on the screened porch at the cottage, we perched in two captain’s chairs with the fabric slightly worn and sagging a bit for comfort, at a card table covered with some funny old, quilted plastic.   That was the birthplace of all the card games I have come to enjoy.  It seemed my grandmother knew every card game ever invented; I don’t think a game existed that she didn’t love.  Canasta, samba, cribbage, gin, bridge… It is a treasured gift from her because it is a way to make connections with others.  Anything from quiet to raucous conversations usually accompany card games, as we share daily or even life-changing moments.

Confidences from children that they may not otherwise have stopped long enough to tell.  Quiet moments with a spouse by the light of a propane lantern after the children are tucked into their sleeping bags.   A familiar game of cards with a parent who is in the thralls of Alzheimer’s, but still remembers that game.  A once-a-month bridge group that keeps those friendships alive.  Card games are not just games, but so much more.  If you haven’t thought of cards in this light, now is the time to start a tradition of your own with grandchildren or other important people in your life.

I encourage responses to my posts.  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.)

Diving In – Head First

Here I go…diving head-first into the world of blogging at the urging of one my daughters.  Why “booming back” you ask?   Because baby boomers are booming back with a vengeance. We are not, as Dylan Thomas wrote, going “gentle into that good night”.   When I was a young adult, literally, sixty-somethings groused at me from their couches about how OLD they were. I couldn’t envision ever being THAT old.  Of course, I knew deep down inside that it was inevitable, but I pledged never to complain about my age and never to become an old couch potato.  Each year more than 3.5 million baby boomers turn 55.  We are more interested in staying healthy and being active than past generations.   We have gym memberships, enter marathons, travel to parts unknown, learn foreign languages, take classes at universities, learn to play musical instruments…   The list of possibilities is endless.  So…I plan to blog about cooking and eating healthfully (but deliciously), finding activities to challenge the mind, and discovering interests that bring joy and pleasure.  In three little words, enriching your life.  So look for blogs to entice you into trying new foods with recipes, ideas for new “learnings” and new ways to bring pleasure and hopefully joy into your life.  I encourage your thoughts and reactions to my blogs.  New ideas are also welcome.  Please respond!

Cooking and baking are two of my passions.  Fall to spring is the season for cruciferous vegetables.   You may ask, as I did, cruciferous what?  A small article in a magazine piqued my interest.  After researching several vegetables in that family, I discovered so many health benefits that I found a place to start.  I promise…delicious recipes only!

I encourage responses to my posts.  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.)