The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: recipes (Page 1 of 2)

Pandemic Potpourri #4

As mentioned before: herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality. In other words, this space is reserved for escaping/managing Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!


From bloggers I follow:

laura c's purple orange lily

Laura C’s Purple-Orange Lily.

Nature’s melding of my all-time favorite purple color with an injection of an emerging orange-craziness!

Roseanne's tote bag using my African Fabric scrap block

Roseanne’s finished tote bag.

She did a great job incorporating the scrap block I sent her just for fun & friendship into something functional!


From the kitchen:


And then there’s always ice cream – what’s your favorite?

tillamook ice cream

Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

A huge splurge but really needing a treat in this heat!


He will be the sure foundation for your times.

Isaiah 33:6a


Virtual Brownie (Muffin) Sharing Circle: Susan's Single Step

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

 Some of you may remember my VBSC posts (#1, #2 and #3).

In keeping with the spirit, if not literal brownie connection, of these Virtual Brownie Muffin Sharing Circle visits, today’s installment features a recent post by Chef Susan Nye.
On her blog, Susan freely shares a plethora of tried & true, homey & experimental recipes and meal suggestions along with a huge helping of good storytelling. I often peruse her recipes looking for something new and interesting to try, but more often than not, I find myself drawn to the tales and thoughts she shares along with those recipes.

Begin with a Single Step & Rhubarb-Walnut Muffins

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
From Tao Te Ching by Laozi

I need a new word; one that combines sad and angry. Three mass murders in eight days created this mix of emotions. These most recent crimes are on top of the tens of thousands of annual gun deaths and injuries. Foot-dragging politicians talk about mental illness, video games  and the need for more information. Then, if history repeats itself, they will do nothing. No study group will be formed. No funding will be provided. The outrage will subside. The moment for action will pass until the next crisis.
While I am sure that common psychological or sociological threads can be found, let’s face it – each crime is perpetrated by an individual. Some are fueled by hate, some by despair. Some are part of a larger criminal enterprise; others are powered by extremist religious or political fervor. Some are the product of mental illness, drugs or alcohol abuse. Some perpetrators were bullied. Others are bullies. There is no one root cause, no single, elusive answer. Gun violence is complex. There is a long list of explanations for each terrible crime. However, there is one constant, one common denominator. Regardless of the crime – mass murder, drive by shooting, burglary gone bad or family violence turned deadly – easy access to guns makes it possible.
We will never make any progress, if we don’t take a first step. The vast majority of Americans want sensible gun control. And yes, my definition of sensible may be different from yours. But again, we will never get anywhere if we don’t take a first step. We need to make the effort. We need to try. The step can be small. It can be a compromise. We just need to take the first step … and then another and one more after that. Eventually, what is now very imperfect will become a little less so.
This morning I made muffins. I find peace in the Zen of everyday activities. Simple tasks, done one after another, are grounding. Recipes, no matter how complex, are nothing more than taking one step and then another and another to make something. Something you can share. Something that makes the day a little better or brighter or at least keeps you from going hungry.
I measured flour, baking powder and spices. I preheated the oven. I chopped rhubarb and nuts. I whipped butter and sugar, added eggs, vanilla and sour cream. The dry ingredients gradually joined the wet, followed by the rhubarb. Not done yet, I scooped the batter into muffin tins and then slid them into the oven. All told, I guess it took about a dozen steps.
Fifteen minutes later, they were golden and delicious. However, if you arrived at my door hoping to find a big breakfast, an all-encompassing solution to your morning hunger, it wasn’t there. Only muffins, one piece of what could become a more comprehensive feast.
A friend did come over. I took two more steps; brewed coffee and heated milk. We sipped lattes and ate a few of the muffins. We had a lovely chat about writing and freelancing and making a living as well as life and a few other things. Progress of a different sort was made.
Although some may lead you astray, most steps take you at least a little closer to where you need to be; closer to a more perfect imperfection. If the life of one child, one teenager, one man, one woman can be saved by taking the first step, isn’t it worth the effort? Isn’t it worth a try?

Here’s to a safer tomorrow and bon appétit!

Rhubarb-Walnut Muffins
A neighbor gave me an armful of rhubarb the other day so I made muffins. They are delicious as a little something to nibble with coffee or tea. Or include them in your next brunch – maybe you refer to it as a comprehensive solution to morning hunger. Enjoy! 
Makes 36 muffins

Susan Nye's Rhubarb-Walnut Muffins

Susan Nye’s Rhubarb-Walnut Muffins


4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
12 ounces fresh rhubarb, cut into small dice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Put the flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the walnuts and whisk again.
Put the sugars and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat until well combined.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Gradually add the rhubarb and continue beating until just combined.
Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with batter.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool the muffins on a rack for a few minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yeah, it's a hot summer…

"Luscious Lavender," poem by Annika Perry

“Luscious Lavender,” poem by Annika Perry


A sight for sore eyes, no? Thank you, Annika for giving me permission to share this as part of my little oasis offering to my readers – not that any of it will actually cool us down or offer any solutions to the state of our Global Warming Reality…but, well, we’re all entitled to a break.
While my forays into the medicinal properties of lavender are legendary, pushing the boundaries of application (remember my ‘loaded brownie’ recipe confession?), there is also the purple presence of this flowering herb to consider.
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno headstone, Ft. Logan

A shortened stem leaning against Ma’s headstone before Dad passed away.


I love purple, it’s refreshing and mysterious all at the same time. It’s also a shared favorite color with my late Ma…
This color has a history with my family, interwoven into the fabric of our lives. Some of those threads include what I named early on as being Bruno’s Purple Giants – irises that were originally planted in our Boulder garden the first spring after we moved there (Fall 1969) and have been in the family ever since. Transplanted clumps bought from the local farm down the road, Long’s Gardens, they took to the earth and exploded into tall stems loaded with hugely fragrant, deeply lavender-purple gems.
As me and my bro grew up, married and moved into homes of our own, tubers were dug, shared and planted with each successive garden.
my flower child michelle

My flower child Michelle (notice unflattened iris stem to right of hat)


One such bed lined the front walk to our first home during our kids’ growing up years where specimens routinely grew taller than a kindergartener. Notice Michelle’s purple slicker? It rained that day back in 1992.
When she came home from school (kindergarten), the normally taller Bruno’s Purple Giants irises were slightly flattened by the intense spring storm…except one battered stem.
My flower child, Michelle, surrounded by a walkway of towering purple delights – yummy memories – and an image oasis for this mom to savor.
Last summer, while finishing the distribution of Dad’s estate and getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell, I angsted over a nagging reluctance to give up the remnants of the family tubers which had been growing in a corner of their neglected garden. Because hubby and I have not owned property since selling our home in 2009, it wasn’t in the best interest of those tubers to be dug up and then not transplanted. As much as I wanted to keep with tradition, it just wasn’t feasible.
Wouldn’t you know, my flower child Michelle, now all grown up, came up with a plan. At the end of her trip to meet with us to celebrate Joe’s b-day and help with the cleaning of the house and such, we dug a few up, packed them dry in brown paper bags and buried ‘em in her suitcase. Her thinking being, she could at least plant them at her (and her husband David’s) place in MI to get established there. Given the fact that those poor tubers were disrupted from their normal growth cycle, it was dicey, but worth a try. Imagine, those Bruno’s Purple Giants replanted in yet another family garden and available for us to dig a few for whenever hubby and I do settle into a home of our own with a place to garden.
Someday.
And that’s another oasis for me to think on – hope is as refreshing as a drink of cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

~~

On another note – yes a little pun – please enjoy this classic and appropriate to the theme of this post video, Summer in the City by one of my fav groups* back in the day. It brings back memories of summers in Chicago as a kid growing up before we moved to Boulder…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=158&v=U5bUmx-hk-c

*for a cool – pun intended – interview with John Sebastian, click here

Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle #3

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

Inside view of my 'loaded brownies minus one ingredient'

Inside view of my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’


This edition of the Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle answers the question presented in the first VBSC post: What exactly is the missing ingredient in my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’?
In a word: Lavender. In a story?

—Ooo-La-La Lavender Brownies—

was the number one fav vignette of my little list* for 2012. Since then, I figured out the proportions to be 1/8 cup crushed dried lavender buds added to the Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix, using a large egg in the prep. (see recipe here)
Personally, if I eat more than two, I’ve found that they don’t settle so well on my tummy…kind of reminiscent of their alluded to ‘cousin’ edible. Continue reading

Kitty’s Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalms 34:8

Yes, you read that right, this second VBSC post brings Kitty to the table. Her human of choice is writer and yarn (he)artist, L. Marie, a native Chicagoan. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to write, submit manuscripts and encourage others pursuing the writer’s path.
Actually, she encourages others, period. Skilled in crochet and knitting, she often yarns-up gifts for those she feels need a little unexpected lift or surprise.
Case in point, a few days ago, I discovered the owl featured in the photos below roosting in our snail mail box. I’m sure Kitty is relieved that she has one less ‘friend’ she’s obliged to share brownies with, but I’m touched at the thoughtfulness of my blogger buddy.
However, ‘owlie’ does not yet have a name…heck, (s)he doesn’t even have a gender designation. Soooo…if any ideas come to mind, please mention suggestions in the comments below along with any other thoughts this post may inspire.  
UPDATE: L. Marie and I have decided that “Owlie” fits him just fine.

Don’t forget to take a peek at L.Marie’s blog and maybe try out the brownie recipe at the end of this, her guest post.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. Many thanks to Laura for inviting me to participate in her Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle. And thank you to Heather who wrote the original post that inspired Laura.

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .


Actually, Kitty, who is sitting here staring at me, feels she was the inspiration behind the sharing circle, because she’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Less crime, more altruism—that sort of thing. In fact, she thinks it should be renamed the Kitty and Friends Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle, since she coerced invited two friends to join her in a photo op.
Though she doesn’t consider me a friend (more like a slave, really) she expected me to do all of the brownie baking while she did all of the tasting.
When it comes to brownies, I’m not much of a baker. A year ago, I made a box recipe that was supposed to be kindergarten easy. But the brownies turned out dry and about half the height they were supposed to achieve after baking.
Picture 3

Ginger and her son, Johnny


 
My good friend Ginger makes great brownies. I’ve known Ginger for many years. Not only is a she a great wife, and mother to three offspring (two of whom are in college), she is also an administrative assistant at Covenant Classical School in Naperville, Illinois.
As if her life weren’t busy enough, Ginger also deals with Celiac disease. I’ll let her tell you about that.
 
 
 
Continue reading

Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle #1

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

Dizzy loves her brownies!

Dizzy loves her brownies!


One morning after baking a batch of my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’* I sat down in front of the computer with my cuppa joe in one hand and a bit of warm brownie in the other. Settling into my blog-reading I noticed over at dinosaursdonkeysandms that one of Dizzy’s suggestions for helping someone with anxiety was baking them brownies. (Dizzy’s favorite gluten-free recipe is here).
How serendipitous. Not that I was experiencing any sort of anxiety at that moment, but I got to thinking why not spread some brownie-induced happiness with Dizzy and her blogger friends? So in the comments, I offered a virtual brownie to any and all who needed one that day.
Dizzy always makes me smile, even when she’s cranky, which isn’t very often (and she and Heather have lots they could choose to be cranky about dealing with MS).
I credit her for inspiring me to begin my very own Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle (VBSC) series. Maybe knowing that will make Dizzy smile… Continue reading

Boneless Country Style Ribs Aren’t Really Ribs & Pork Butt is Really Pork Shoulder

I love it when I find meat newly reduced in the ‘Manager’s Special’ bin, especially when the ‘sell by’ date is that very day.
This weekend at Bi-Lo, there was a 1.7 lb pack of Boneless Country Style Ribs on sale with an added $2.00 off sticker attached that called out to me: cook me, I’m yours!
So I did.
The funny thing is, each time I pick up Boneless Country Style Ribs (which isn’t all that often) I have to remind myself how to cook ‘em.  They’re boneless, so do I still do the slow & low technique on them? (Yes) And what kind of ribs are Country Ribs anyway, they don’t look like ribs? (They aren’t)
Even more interesting is to discover they are cut from the Pork Butt. Okay, but (!) Pork Butt is really Pork Shoulder…why the identity confusion over a piece of meat? Who knows the answer to that one. Continue reading

Fish Taco Dinner

I have to admit, back in the late ‘90’s the idea of ‘fish tacos’ made me gag. Thinking it was a dish of fish spiced up in the traditional cumin-oregano-chile-garlic manner slathered with cheese and tomato salsa, well, it didn’t entice my appetite; besides, why bother?
It wasn’t until middle daughter and newly-inducted-into-the-family-son-in-law prepared fish tacos for us one visit to Nashville in 2013 that it dawned on me: fish tacos are their own beast! Continue reading

Strings, Strength and Soup

Well, I hit a wall on my grant progress shortly after our son left on Wednesday.
The energy of juggling regular meals, avoiding each other’s space when all three of us (both hubby and son are over 6 feet tall, so figure three adult bodies) were camped-out inside our homey 1100 square foot rental, balancing rest and relaxation with a few jaunts here and there, and just the comfy, constant companionship of each other’s company must have triggered my resolve to focus on the grant regardless by squeezing in very productive ‘me times’.  (Now how’s that for a sentence?)
I admit, I panicked.  After all, my goal is to have all but the Budget Section finished sometime within the first full week of December – which is right around this weekend’s corner. Yikes. So what did I do to allay that panic?

Took a walk. No good.
Took a shower. No good.

Cleaned up the kitchen. No good.
Cleared out the leftovers in the fridge. No good.

Stayed up all night staring at the computer monitor hoping the words would come. No good.
Downed two, yes, two, pots of coffee in the hopes that would help the above. No good.

Then it hit me…It’s all about the music.

I picked up the Prisloe and began playing.  Way good. Continue reading

Simply Asparagus

Simply Asparagus: Easy, Yummy, and Healthy

½ bundle fresh asparagus, rinsed and snapped
3 or more large garlic cloves, peeled
~ 1T butter, cut into thirds
Place all in small glass microwave container, cover.  Zap on high for ~ 1-2 minutes.  Remove from microwave while still slightly crisp. Enjoy fresh, lightly buttered, steamed asparagus with garlic tidbits.
Serves ~ 2-3
La Crema ChardonnayNOTE: It’s hard to find a wine that goes well with asparagus, but Sonoma Coast’s La Crema Chardonnay fits the bill!

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