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March 29, 2010

Garden Update

Basil

Just a quick garden update. Things are going well. The tomato plants are beginning to look like tomato plants. In fact many of them are getting their distinguishing features now and don't look so much like each other. We'll have some broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant seedlings soon. The seeds I germinated are sprouting already. I can't believe I started this all from seed, I get kind of giggly about it when I see them growing so well.

Rice Nut Loaf - Non Meat Loaf (Vegetarian)

Another book I get many recipes from is Nikki & David Goldbeck's American Wholefoods Cuisine.  It's been around awhile, since the 80's, I think. One of the best books I have used to introduce non meat entrees to my family. This recipe is so popular at our house, the book opens to this page.
Rice Nut Loaf


Rice Nut Loaf


1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup chopped nuts, I use raw cashews or pecans
1/2 cup chopped sunflower seeds
1 large onion, chopped
about 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, about 1/2 lb
1/2 tsp salt
pepper
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350

Combine all ingredients and pack into an oiled 9-inch loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes until firm. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; unmold and slice. Serve with Brown Gravy or any tomato or mushroom sauce.

This is a good dish to serve someone who is thinking about eating vegetarian more often. I served this one with mash potatoes and herb gravy. I steamed three red potatoes and a half a head of cauliflower in a shallow pan. I used low sodium vegetable broth to make the steam. The broth reduced some while steaming. When the potatoes were tender, I just mashed everything in the pan together and added about a tablespoon of coconut milk to make it a little creamier.

Stuffed Focaccia Bread

I made this last night. It's good right out of the oven, but I think it is better if wrapped and chilled overnight and warmed a little before serving. I brought it to work today and it got some good responses.

This is from one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, Blossoming Lotus-Vegan World Fusion Cuisine. I don't think I should post this recipe, not sure about the copyright issues. But, I would suggest anyone wishing to prepare some awesome vegan meals to buy this book. I think it cost me $20 a few years ago. There is a great glossary of terms and different vegetables, grains, fruits, etc., bean and grain charts, and some cooking skills tips. There aren't as many pictures of the food as I would like, but lots of beautiful pictures of peaceful places around the world. So, I am not sure if this is what the bread should look like, but it's fine with me.

The bread is made from spelt flour and a little cornmeal. I mixed some fresh herbs in olive oil and let them sit for about an hour then combined with the flour and cornmeal. The filling is made from yams, chopped red pepper, onions, garlic, one jalapeno, and fresh cilantro.

Shiva Shakti's Himalayan Stuffed Bread
Blossoming Lotus-Vegan World Fuision Cuisine, Page 98

March 28, 2010

Forbidden Rice Salad, Vegan Mac & Cheez

This is a creation of Morgaine's Kitchen Witchery. She was enjoying her lunch and thought I'd like to try making it too. Not unusual for people to email me about their lunch. My friends know what a foodie I am.

This is a great meal, high in iron and whole grains. The black rice contains more vitamin B, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc than white rice. When she gave me the recipe she told me what she added, but didn't remember the measurements. That's OK, I understand 'some of.' Here's how I did it.

Forbidden Rice Salad

1/2 cup Forbidden Rice
1/2 cup Bhutanese Red Rice
3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth

Cook as directed on rice package or just as you cook rice, bring it to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover and simmer about 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cool slightly.

1/2 medium to large pineapple cut into small chunks
1 small bunch green onions sliced
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 medium diced red pepper
1 Serrano pepper, seeds removed, diced

Fresh chopped herbs:
If you need to measure, I would say I used about a Tablespoon of each of these:

thyme
sage
basil
parley
cilantro

Toss all the ingredients into the fluffy rice with a little flax oil and a tablespoon of Agavi.

This is going to work with me for lunch tomorrow. It's a whole meal in one bowl and  loaded with great flavors. My husband said "It's an adventure in one mouthful." Thanks for sharing Morgaine.
 
It was rainy today and I wanted something warm. I made some Vegan macaroni and Cheez. It's warm and creamy and dairy free.
 
Vegan Macaroni and Cheez

This was a great rainy day comfort meal. I say was as it was gone after the pictures were taken. I guess that's a sign it was good. If I want to serve this for more than two people, I had better double this recipe.

1 1/2 cup Elbow noodles, wheat free (3 c cooked) I used shells this time.

Vegan Cheez Sauce


1 1/2 cup Soy, rice, almond, or oat milk.
2 TBL rolled oats
2 TBL Tahini
2 TBL Nutritional yeast
2 tsp Shoyu, or to taste
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Prepare the pasta to al dente.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare the Vegan Cheez Sauce by placing remaining ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and heat over low heat until sauce thickens, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes. Add to cooked pasta and mix well.

Place in well oiled casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and broil for about 6-7 minutes.

March 27, 2010

Bob's Smile

This was at the high school so it was probably 1999. Bob joined the navy his senior year. Civil Air Patrol for four years before, he earned the Billy Mitchell Award award which got him in at a little higher rank.

Jamie Oliver's - Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver has gone to Huntington, VA, a city that was rated the most unhealthy in the US to teach some of the people how to eat and to try to change what they are feeding the children in the elementary schools.

I saw the show and I am very excited to watch the reactions and the outcome. He has gone into an elementary school kitchen to try to improve what they feed the kids. None of the kitchen staff could see what was wrong with feeding children pizza for breakfast and warmed up precooked burgers, pizza, and chicken nuggets for lunch every day. There was absolutely no fresh food in their kitchen. Gone was a grill because they never use it. They don't have an oven. Everything they feed the children is processed and frozen food. They did have a steamer that they used to plump up some dehydrated processed meat into an edible food like substance. They are not given forks and knives because they are "dangerous" and don't need to use them with the food they serve. It's all finger food or food that can be eaten with a spoon. So they are also not learning to use forks and knives.

He went to the classrooms and brought some vegetables for the children to identify. None of those kids new what any of the vegetables were until he mentioned ketchup. Then, they knew what a tomato was. They didn't even know what a potato was. The mashed potatoes served to them at the school were made from dried up things called potato pearls, made from chemicals and some potatoes and water, looked like soupy glue. They all knew what a burger, chicken nugget, and pizza was though. This is what our children are eating every day in the US. This is some scary stuff, "The generation that will die before their parents."

He has found a family, all of whom are extremely overweight, who are willing to learn and let him teach them how to cook and prepare whole foods. The family has a sixth grader who is on the verge of diabetes and a four year old little girl who is on her way too. The first thing he did was bury their deep fat fryer in the back yard. He also set up a kitchen in the town where he can teach people how to cook for free.

He was successful with this effort in London in the school system. I used to enjoy watching him The Naked chef a few years ago and wondered what happened to him. Nice way to surface!

I set the DVR to record this show, this will be fun to watch.


GO JAMIE!

March 26, 2010

Weeds, Soup, and Music

The weather was mild today, we are on the road to Aberdeen tomorrow, and it might rain Sunday so we hit the garden for a couple hours this afternoon, pulled some weeds and turned some grass. I found some healthy spinach plants that made it through the winter. I think there are about ten plants that are alive and well. I cleared their areas of weeds and gave them all a trim. There is a nice bowl of spinach ready to clean and use in our meals this weekend. We harvested something in March. What a trip!
Spinach
One of last year's artichokes.
It has a beauty all it's own even tired as it is. It was a nice shade of pink last year.
After messing around in the mud and weeds, we went to a little coffee house around the corner, "The Intermission." We've been in a couple times before. They have a nice seafood chowder and it's close. It was getting close to a feed mom moment for both of us. 

When we got there we discovered it was a young musician's hangout on Fridays. Seems it was open mic night. The little place was getting filled with young people, some of them carrying guitars, drums, and keyboards. We got some of their seafood bisque, warm bread, and a coffee. Dinner out was only $15. We found a quiet table in the back room where we could watch and listen. We were two of the very few people over 25 years old.

The first young man played a song he said was popular before he was born, but liked it a lot. He played A Day in the Life by the Beatles. Then he played an Elton John song Levon. When he introduced the Elton song, he said it wasn't one of the popular ones, but he liked it. It was popular when I was their age. :-) (Oh no! I had it on an 8-track tape.) There were lots of musicians and singers in the crowd. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't think many of those young people had heard either of these songs well enough to sing them. What a treat for us though, having a nice meal with a lot of young people playing music we know and love. I wondered since it was a local crowd if any of those young adults were some of the kids at our house when they were five or six for a birthday party. Could be, it's a small town.

 Sunset in the Garden

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 25, 2010

Compost & Recycling

This was a pretty interesting article about what not to compost or recycle. I was surprised at a couple, I would of and probably have thrown walnut shells and rice in my compost pile. I won't anymore. Apparently they come with the wrong kind of bacteria and attract pests.

Walnuts: These contain juglone, a natural aromatic compound toxic to some plants.
Rice: Cooked rice is unusually fertile breeding ground for the kinds of bacteria you don't want in your pile. Raw rice attracts varmints.
 

Tranquility

Tranquility
by: Anonymous
Think of a day when we all will see,
When the world will unite and we will be free.
Show all compassion and you will see,
That everything must come back as three.
Once you open your heart to the world,
you will realize that we can be free.
Do what you feel is right,
And embrace love and peace with all your might.
Walking behind Tam O'Shanter Park

March 24, 2010

Family - Bob & Kaylee

Bob & Kaylee
Christmas 2009
Bob, my oldest young man, will be 29 next Thursday, yep, April Fool's Day. He is off to Afghanistan April 25. I have been pretty calm about it so far, I've known this was coming since November. The negativity has been trying to sneak in lately. Love my garden! (even if it is just weeds right now)

He did a tour in Iraq already about four or five years ago. He came home in 2006. I have some practice keeping the fear and anger to a minimum. I stopped watching the news regarding the action in Iraq. I did go to a war protest, that helped me feel like I was doing something. I kept lots of flat rate mailboxes handy and sent one off about every two weeks. I was lucky enough at the time to have had a strong woman placed in my daily life who's son had already been there and back. Being around her strength certainly helped.

So here we go again. Now I have one son in prison and the other off to war. My friends have told me many times that God never gives me more than I can handle. Geez! my higher power definitely thinks I can handle a lot. Some of my friends call this God's sense of humor, I am not so sure I can appreciate the humor of these situations right now.

Lupe told me last year that the reason he works in the garden was to relieve stress. I thought about that when planting last year. He was right. When we are out in the garden working the dirt, listening to the birds, and feeling the sunshine, and catching a colorful sunset, I do find there has been some time passed that I didn't think about anything but what I am doing. It helps me 'live in the moment.' Today a bird actually let me talk to him for awhile today without him flying off. 

Back to the family, I found another one of my favorite photos in our collection. Here we are waiting for Kaylee. We waited all weekend, then she made her appearance right after I finally got on the train to come home on Monday. She's grandma's girl I guess, doing things in her own time, her own way.
Bob, Marty, & Grandma Debbie waiting for Kaylee
March 2004
Grandpa Scott is there too, someone had to take the photo.  

Kaylee & Bob June 2009
San Diego 
Love those matching eyes and smiles.

Family - two of my men

I was browsing our photos on the hard drive yesterday. I found a happy memory. This was 23 years ago. Dad and his new baby, Marty, getting to know each other for the first time. I guess my husband was a cute young thing back then. This was a happy day!

Garden 2010 - Time to weed and plant.

The sun shone again today, I'm waiting for Scott to get home so we can go do some weeding and planting. Yesterday we spent some time finding the dirt, weeding and turning. May not look like much, but we have some spots to plant now. While working out there I thought, "Now, why aren't we letting them till our portion? Oh, yeah, they'd mow over our plants already growing." I really don't mind the work, it is very pleasant and peaceful out there. It just seems like we have such a long way to go. But, the weather has been pretty mild and some things can be planted as we weed. It's a very nice way to spend the evening together.

Path weeded near the onions and leeks
 The peas seem to have taken hold
It was kind of rainy and windy right after we planted them, I was a little worried. But looks like they are happy.

I am bringing some lettuce seeds out with me today, they can handle the weather. I have some salad green seeds called Mascara lettuce and Amaranth Greens. They're pretty and probably a nice addition to our summer salads.

I did get kind of lucky today, the electricity went out at work about 40 minutes before my usual quitting time. I went right home and spent some time in the basement nursery. I set some broccoli, cauliflower, and two types of eggplant to germinate. I transplanted all the sage and the rest of the basil into separate containers. I was thinking the plants would outgrow the room I have in the basement for them. But, the rotation is going along nicely. What I don't plant, my friends are happy to take and plant in their own gardens. I love this, giving food away already.

March 23, 2010

March 21, 2010

May Peace Prevail

Garden 2010

Well, we got what we wanted done in the garden yesterday, that's a good feeling. I did get some exercise out there yesterday. When I woke up this morning parts of me reminded me I did some twisting and bending I haven't done in awhile. But it was good. The weather was fairly nice and we enjoyed our afternoon out there, as always.

The garlic is in the ground. I think it's funny how it looks so big and strong with the other seedlings in the basement, but small and helpless out here. That will change.

We built a structure for the sugar snap peas to climb. The pea starts from my basement garden are way at the bottom of this fencing. There are about forty of them. Soon I hope to show you a picture of a curly green wall.

This will end up being a very good Before picture of one of the sections of the garden. Soon it will be busy with people planting all kinds of beautiful things. It's really fun to see all the different garden styles and the creativity of the various gardeners.

Breakfast & Dessert - Green Banana Pancakes, Fruit Medley Bread Pudding

I haven't talked about breakfast much. Most days I eat fruit, just fruit. I get up earlier than my husband and make a full blender of whatever fruit I grab that morning: bananas, melon, pineapple, mango, oranges, kiwi's, sometimes papaya, whatever is in season, and almost always an avocado. Avocados are very versatile as well as beneficial. Besides creating a creamy texture, the avocado helps to give me a fuller feeling as I go through the morning. Most of the time the only thing I add to the fruit is a little filtered water to help the blending. Sometimes I will add some leftover coconut milk, but usually just fruit and water. I drink half of the pitcher and leave the other half for my husband.  I drink about three cups of blended fruit every morning. I try to eat at least three more servings of fruit throughout the morning.

This morning we had cooked fruit. I made my version of a green banana omelet from a recipe out of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks from the Blossoming Lotus. They call it a green banana omelet. I make it a little thinner than they do and call it a pancake. It does have kind of a fluffy omelet consistency. I have served it as an omelet with julienne carrots, celery, green onions, and nut cheese made from cashews just as in their Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook.

I served them today with a fruit compote I made by combining some frozen peaches, pears, a few blueberries, and raspberries. About six cups of fruit total. Any combination of fruit can be used. I still have a little fruit in my freezer from last summer. Almost farmer's market time again, Woo Who!

I sweetened the fruit mixture with about 3 TB of pure maple syrup and added about a half tsp of lemon juice. I let this all cook down on a medium low heat until it was bubbly. I didn't cook it too much so some of the fruit pieces remained.

Banana Pancakes with Peach, Pear, Raspberry Fruit Topping

I call mine Green Banana Pancakes

5 or 6 green bananas.
1/2 cup spelt flour or your favorite whole grain flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Cut the ends off the green bananas and score up the sides. Place the scored bananas in a 3 qt pot, cover with water, boil until you can easily poke a fork through them, approximately 20 minutes. Drain the water from the bananas and allow them to cool a few minutes.

2. Remove peels (which should come off easily) and place bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork or masher. Add flour and baking powder to bananas and knead into a dough. Separate dough into 4 pieces. roll into balls. Pat the balls into small round patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

3. Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat until hot. Pour a small amount of oil onto skillet and fry pancake/omelet on one side until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on both sides.

These can be prepared with sweet or savory toppings. I think it's great fun to have pancakes and be eating mostly fruit. I can't believe I like to buy green bananas now. I used to buy them green so the boys didn't eat them so fast. If  I came home with five pounds of bananas my boys could and would eat that many in a day, maybe two, if I was lucky. Now that I like using them for cooking, it seems they are hard to get in the store that stay green. I usually buy them green the day before I want to make these. Most the time they are getting yellow the next morning, but they are still firm enough for this recipe. I have also made this with very ripe bananas, just skipping the blanching part and mashing them the way they are.

This next dessert is a vegetarian dessert. I used some of the fruit mixture above on the banana pancakes and used the rest of it in a bread pudding. I bought some homemade whole grain bread at the produce store yesterday and we won't eat it fast enough as bread before it goes bad. So, I made some bread pudding with the remaining fruit, about four slices of the whole grain bread, some free range egg whites, and a cup of oat milk, a dash of salt, and no additional added sweetener. I topped it with roasted almond slices and a little orange zest. Then poured a little Cashew Coconut cream over the top.

March 20, 2010

Rona Yellow Robe

Two of my favorites from this talented woman.


Sage

I like the sage, it looks so happy when it's reaching for the sun. The tray looks like happy little dancing plants.

Coconut Lentil Soup with Quinoa

I made this Coconut Red Lentil Soup from the 101 Cookbooks Journal. I like that site, it's pretty easy to find something quickly by ingredient. That's kind of how I like to look for recipes. What's in season and what do I already have in the kitchen to work with?

I did replace some of the ingredients in the recipe to what I had to work with. I used coconut oil instead of butter, brown and red lentils instead of peas. I didn't have any raisins, but I did have some dried cranberries, they worked out very well. I also combined some low sodium vegetable stock with the water. I think 7 cups of liquid was a little too much. I like a thicker lentil soup, almost like a stew. Next time I make this, I will cook the lentils in just enough water to cover. I wasn't happy with the consistency for awhile. I did steam some quinoa to serve with it and I just threw that in the pot of soup. It thickened up just right. It's more like a meal now. Served on collard greens, it is a whole meal.

The recipe did suggest roasting the curry in a frying pan before using. I have never done this. OH MY GOODNESS, what wonderful things that did for my kitchen. Between that aroma of the roasting curry and the freshly grated ginger my kitchen smelled like the little Indian restaurant in town. These lentils really had some nice flavors.

Dirty Knees

Took advantage of the gorgeous spring weather yesterday. Went to lunch and walked the lake with friends. I took some onion starts out to the garden, fifty of them. It was warm, quiet, and peaceful. I cleared the weeds from a bed in the garden and while doing so I also uncovered lots of healthy green onions I planted last fall, little gifts. Today is supposed to be just as nice. I'm hoping to get the peas in the ground. We don't have any plans this weekend, playin' in the dirt is our top priority.

March 19, 2010

Gardening is cheaper than therapy

I had a gloomy feeling yesterday. I don't know if the first week of daylight savings time has caught up with me or maybe I am just tired. Work is going well, but it is a big meeting week. Lots of time in and out of the office so I feel a little scattered at times. I've been learning more about the issues of our country, the healthcare reform issues mostly this week. In an effort to engage in some of the things my husband is interested, I became interested. Each article I read or fact I learn leads to another and becomes a labyrinth of reading material and I get deeper and deeper involved. There are some scary things going on in our country and I need to do more to understand how I can help make a difference. Yesterday I just had to back away from it as I was getting this increasingly heavy feeling in my heart. It was a overwhelming feeling of doom, fear, and anguish. Guess what? Just a short time in the garden and the doom and gloom had melted away.

The sun was shining and the air was warm yesterday. When Scott got home from work I suggested we go out to the garden plot to assess what work we want to do this weekend. The weather is supposed to be nice, in the 70's today and tomorrow. I am hoping to get the onions, garlic, and peas in the ground. We spent an hour and a half in the garden pulling up the tired plants from the winter and pulling some weeds around the plants that made it through. So, the gardening adventures begin. There's lots of work to be done, but some of my garden babies will get a new home this weekend. I am so looking forward to being out there.

I also kind of made a friend. A little frog sat in his burrow and let me pull the weeds around him in the leeks. He might not have appreciated me there, but he didn't go anywhere. He just sat there and let me work around him. I almost hurt him as I first noticed him in my hand when I pulled up some weeds. I set him down and he just hunkered down in a little hole and watched me work.

We had some winter survivors. Many of the spinach plants are alive and hearty. There are green onions, leeks, kohlrabi, and celery that made it through the winter just fine. The kohlrabi was big and beautiful, but the bulbs were pretty woody. I gave away some leeks and onions to a little boy about four years old who's family will have a garden plot as well this year. This is their first year in the community garden and they looked about as excited as we were to play in the dirt and watch the gardens grow. He got some vegetables his first day out there. That was pretty fun.



First sunset in the garden this year. Looking forward to lots more.

~~~~~~~~~~~

March 17, 2010

The locavore in winter: Survival tips from Mollie Katzen | MNN - Mother Nature Network

The locavore in winter: Survival tips from Mollie Katzen MNN - Mother Nature Network
Mollie Katzen shares her tips on eating well before this year's crops take off.

The Garden of Peace

When life gets you down and the turmoil is great.
Visualize a lush green meadow with a wide opening gate.
Enter the gate with a noble and pure heart. Let your soul be your guide.
Before you enter the gate there are two trees side by side.
At the tree on the right hand side, leave all your baggage of anger and mistrust.
At the tree on the left hand side, leave all your envy and negativity. It will turn to dust.
Once you are cleansed, you now may enter the garden of peace.
Here in your heart, the anxiety will cease.
The garden is as long and wide as you wish it to be.
You may wish to walk that garden for hours or for years, the fence only you can see.
Take a deep breath, enter in unburden yourself! Bathe yourself with the divine light.
Walk and gaze upon each flower and see how God shines so bright.
Some people may need to walk that garden their whole life.
That garden is always there when we are in strife.
There is never any night in that garden of peace.
It is in that garden the turmoil will cease.
Be strong! Take a walk in your garden today.
Each flower will bless you with a golden ray.
© A.Pell  22/08/2004
 

March 15, 2010

Dairy Free Raspberry Ice Cream

I was fooling around with some frozen raspberries and my blender. And something nice happened.

Dairy Free Raspberry Ice Cream


1 can coconut milk
1 quart frozen raspberries (I still have some from last summer in the freezer) Set about 3/4 cup aside
1 small ripe avocado
about 1/4 cup agave syrup, you can use whatever sweetener you want; some Stevia leaves or powder, honey, maple syrup, none
about 1/4 tsp vanilla
dash salt

Blend all of the above except 3/4 cup of the raspberries in the blender until smooth. Pour it in a bowl and stir in the raspberries so there is some whole fruit in the ice cream. Put it in the freezer for awhile.

This has a nice creamy consistency, just like you want in ice cream and without the animal fat. I was just playing around because I wanted something sweet and had the raspberries in the freezer. I am sure you can use any kind of fruit or flavoring you want to.

March 14, 2010

Flexitarian: Seafood/Mullosc chowder

Went to the beach this weekend and took an empty cooler in search of fresh seafood. Found some! I made what I am calling Mullosc chowder with fresh clams, oysters, and smoked mussels. I just did my weekly shopping at the produce stand yesterday so I had plenty of vegetables to play with too.

Mullosc Chowder
1 red onion, small dice
3 shallots diced
3-4 small cloves garlic
4 stalks celery, diced
3 small carrots grated
1 red bell pepper diced small
1 leek, quartered and sliced
1/2 fennel bulb diced (Use some of the fresh leaves for garnish)
1/2 lb, 1/2 bunch asparagus spears, bias cut

2 TB coconut oil
1 TB dried dill
1 TB Savory
Sea salt to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

2 doz little neck clams steamed, coarse chop
1 doz small oysters, coarse chop
1/2 doz smoked mussels

5-6 red potatoes, diced

I sauteed the onions, leeks, and shallots in the coconut oil, adding the salt and herbs as they cook. When they were tender I added the celery, fennel, and garlic. After a few minutes I added the chopped red pepper and grated onion. I covered the vegetable mixture with 2 cups vegetable broth and 2-3 cups water. To this I added the clams, oysters, and mussels and brought to just a boil then simmered for about 30 minutes.

I thickened the soup similar to the way Morgaine did the other day in her soup. The diced potatoes were cooked in a separate saucepan just covered in 1 cup vegetable broth and water. When the potatoes were tender, but still firm, I took them out of the water and set aside.

When the water and potatoes cooled a bit, I put some of them in a blender with the water they cooked in until it was creamy mixture. I poured this mixture into the soup pot and added the rest of the cooked diced potatoes. I had some nice slender baby asparagus, I thought would be nice to add so I put that in last as it doesn't take too long to cook. I let this all simmer for about 20 minutes. I added the chopped parsley at the end.

This is a nice creamy, seafood chowder,without adding any cream. My husband just said, "Man this is good" and finished the model in this photo before I was finished typing this.

We caught the sunrise this morning too. The whole day was this good!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 13, 2010

Mother to Son

Spending the morning watering my garden babies, transplanting some tomato seedlings into larger pots, off to the produce store, then home to make a salad and pack some weekend supplies. Oh yeah did my taxes, yuk this year.

We are headed to Aberdeen to see Marty this time. He has been moved to another facility. A little farther drive than Shelton, two hours, it's at the coast and near a couple little port towns. We can make a nice trip out of it, spending the night on the coast, taking a walk on the beach in the evening and in the morning. Walking on the beach at sunrise is my favorite. I'm hoping to buy some fresh fish in the marina. I'm bringing an empty cooler.

Stafford Creek 
Mother to Son
Langston Huges
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 12, 2010

Changes & Gifts

New & Improved bifocals and reading glasses. Very fitting a month before another birthday. I thought it kind of funny when I went to visit an old friend, who is only a year older, and he had reading glasses in every room. I now have a pair for work and a pair for home as well as the bifocals. At least I have them. I am grateful to be having those birthdays too considering where I've been and where I could be.

Friday and looking forward to a stormy weekend. Going to see Marty in a different location. He is now in Aberdeen, WA. I used to go through there to Ocean Shores quite often for conferences, events, and retreats with friends. Ocean Shores, a place on the coast I love in the winter. I like to get up early and go out to the shore and watch the fierce winter wave action. We will make it a nice weekend, stopping off in Westport overnight to relax and explore the wildlife.

I must say, we have really made some good use out of these drives and spent some quality time together while visiting the various locations our son has found himself in. For four months we went to Astoria, Oregon to visit him most weekends. Added to all the court dates, we were there sometimes twice a week. We got to know Astoria so well some people thought we lived there. We found the The Blue Schorcher Bakery Cafe. Astoria has a great farmer's market. A very nice place to have a Sunday morning walk or lunch made with local ingredients with musicians playing in background. We packed some food and ate lunch and dinner along the river in many beautiful places. Our trips to and from Shelton have been peaceful and we found many places to wander in the woods and take some nice photos. Now, we will be off to Aberdeen every other weekend. It's about a two hour drive, but a very beautiful drive.

 Near Shelton, WA

Yesterday I received a piece of treasure in my email box. My granddaughter, six years old Monday, decided to cut her hair and give it to Locks of Love. Her mom sent me the event in photos. I'm a proud Grandma! What a gift we have been given in her.