Thursday, December 24, 2009

Salami Wrapped Snacks

First let me wish you all Happy Holidays~!

A friend of mine sent me this message,
and I feel it says my wish for all of you better than
I can put into words.

christmas card picture 1

I wish you joy, I wish you all the pleasures The world has to give,
Pleasures of a pure heart
And soul I wish you the exhilaration Felt atop mountain peaks,
I wish you the cool comfort Of a shaggy, shady oak
I wish you the thrill Of watching your children
Grow up and blossom Into a loving, caring maturity I wish you all the passion
That a love for the ages, A nurturing, spontaneous love,
Can generously give I wish you never know loneliness,
Never know pain and sorrow To excess or extremes,
And if you do, It gives birth to future joys I wish you good health Of mind, body and spirit,
That your journey through life Be a peaceful one I wish you friendship
The kind that supports you, Sustains you,
And makes you stop to smile I wish you love and friendship,
Comfort and peace, I wish you joy!

christmas presents

Because I love all things Italian, I asked my Italian friend to write
me the Italian full he did, Thank you Gio.

Ti auguro la gioia di avere sempre qualcuno con cui dividere ogni cosa... Mostra tutto…
Ti auguro di avere dei bei ricordi cui ritornare col pensiero nei brutti momenti…
Ti auguro una tra le migliori piccole gioie quotidiane:
aprire un libro che ricordi bene, lasciarne le pagine, leggere le prime parole famigliari…
Ti auguro la primavera e la meraviglia di constatare che è sempre migliore di quanto avevi osato sperare…
Ti auguro la felicità di un regalo da un bambino:
- un mazzo di denti di leone appassiti, - una caramella succhiata a metà - una rana - un bacio …
Ti auguro che tu possa, anche se solo una volta nella vita, vedere qualcosa di infinitamente raro, strano e bello…
Ti auguro la malinconia di un giardino in inverno e, dopo mesi d’attesa, i piccoli, verdi vegetali della primavera…
Ti auguro di rimanere affascinato dall’infinita varietà della vita animale…
Ti auguro la fiducia di una creatura selvatica, conquistata con pazienza e amore…
Ti auguro che tu possa non dover comprare l’amore al prezzo dell’umiliazione…
Ti auguro che tu possa sempre trovare le parole giuste per mantenere al loro posto gli spacconi e avere abbastanza forza nelle ginocchia per camminare con dignità…
Ti auguro che tu possa avere un cuore pieno d’amore e giudizi accorti…
Ti auguro la gioia di essere desiderata, e di trovare il regalo perfetto, sentire il profumo della terra, dal prato aperto…
Ti auguro lettere: con una calligrafia che riconosci immediatamente, con una calligrafia che non vedevi da anni…
Ti auguro lettere piene di elogi, piene di incoraggiamenti: lettere di gratitudine e di amore.
Ti auguro lettere sciupate, macchiate di inchiostro, scritte tutte storte coperte di baci.
Ti auguro la felicità di dimenticare il passato e di trovare nuovi inizi.
Ti auguro la felicità delle idee, l’eccitamento della ragione, il trionfo della conoscenza, lo schiarirsi della vista, l’acuirsi dell’udito,
il protendersi verso nuove scoperte, il trarre piacere dal passato così come dal presente.
Ti auguro la gioia della creatività.
Ti auguro felicità… ma non la felicità che si ottiene chiudendo fuori il mondo.
Nemmeno quella di rinnegare il tuo sogno per amor di agiatezza.
Ti auguro la felicità di fare quello che fai nel migliore dei modi.
Di correre il rischio di tentare, di correre il rischio di dare, di correre il rischio d’amare.
Tratta la felicità con gentilezza: è un prestito.

Christmas isn't only about the Christmas cookies ...

Someone shared this little tidbit of a snack with me
and I'm going to share it with you.

Seriously I had my doubts, I thought its going to be "okay"
Yawell it was beyond okay, it was GREAT.

Salami Wrapped Snacks


Thinly sliced salami
Thinly sliced havarti cheese with dill
Chicken in a Biscuit.

Layer as shown in the photo.
Fold and eat.

Small bite, big flavor, nice crunch.


Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season.

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

La Creme de Soupe de Champignon

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats 
Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Le Creuset
 Voting is now open. I sure hope you'll vote for me!  
I'm # 27 and #28  
 Voting will end on December 19th.  


I love James Beard. 
He's one of my absolute favorite chefs.

I have over 500 cookbooks.
His book American Cookery, is one I reach for time and again .
Don't think I have a big head about my collection.
I know there are people out there with thousands.
And my mom keeps me humble by
reminding me with a couple of credit cards
she could outdo my collection in a matter of minutes.

This was the one book I got from my Granny.

Until today,  I hadn't noticed her handwriting there on the page.
She is one of my favorite "comforts"
Makes me smile and remember.
I love her script.
Sharon is her daughter and my mother.
My mother is another favorite "comfort"
: )

On with the food yes?


Cream of Mushroom Soup

black and white mushrooms


1 pound mushrooms
1 quart chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sherry or Cognac (optional)
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco (I say optional)

I also added:

and a dash of nutmeg


Mushrooms. I used white button.That's what I had in the frig.
Note that this is only a base recipe, use any and all mushrooms you like.
More mushrooms the better, a variety of shrooms
will add depth to the flavor of your soup and different textures are a good thing.

It's recommended 
you clean your mushrooms 
with a dry towel, 
or a mushroom brush.

Remove the stems, set those aside.
As for the mushrooms,
mince them. slice them...

Mr. Beard wants you to melt equal parts butter, and or olive oil
and flour, add mushrooms saute, add broth, cream and season.

I say,
instead of the roux,
(yes I dare to disagree with the master of all things culinary)
do the butter/olive oil.
lightly saute the shallots and garlic,
 deglaze with sherry.

Toss in the mushrooms,
add pinch of salt,
cook until they are softened.
set aside.

oh hey those mushroom stems?
Add those to your chicken stock. I use what two or three cups if that?
You want to steep these in the broth, until the mushroom flavor is imparted.
40 minutes or so.

Strain the mushrooms using cheesecloth.
Pour the strained liquid into the stock.

Grab your mushrooms....
Into the stock they go...
Add your cream...
*if you choose to skip the roux,
use enough stock to barely cover the mushrooms,
then add the cream.

Let it sit on low for a bit. 
Garnish with parsley, pinch of nutmeg. salt. pepper.

On a cold wintry Sunday afternoon, there's nothing more comforting for me ...

Note from the Cook:
Do your sauteing and deglazing in a heavy bottomed dutch oven/soup pot. I love and use Le Creuset
Then all you have to do is add your home made chicken stock and cream to the cooked mushrooms,
 with no major clean up, it can all be done in one pot.

While you're at it ...

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Le Creuset

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vietnamese Beef Pho

Pho'd out yet?

Culinary peer pressure happens.

I saw the rush of Vietnamese Beef/Chicken Pho recipes
from the Daring Cooks
being published all ova the place.
Like a little wannabe I ran to the store like a dog looking for a bone.


My Pho is a little less traditional because ...
  • I live in a small town.
  • Things like Thai Basil and good fish sauce well,
  • that makes me laugh, I was lucky to find star anise.
  • I'm not a picky eater but I like what I like.

Which may make this very "unpho".


It tastes damn good.

Let me give you the link to the
original recipe I found over on Jaden's page
"Steamy Kitchen"
[yeh click that]

Actually I found 23456574556 recipes.
Hers is based on a cookbook I happen to love.

I know.
How lazy am I...
She does all the work of
laying out the recipe and I say here click the link.
Hey, I'm all about credit where credit is due
not a copy and paste cheat.
She's well worth the click and has a cookbook
recently published you can find it on Amazon
yeh click that too.


I made a few changes.
I went to the grocery store and the guy
tells me his flank steak is frozen.
I opt for another cut and he says well,
I can't use the meat slicer because I'd
have to sterilize it we're slicing hams for people
right now. They only have one? okay okay I'll be nice.

[charring vegetables for stock is new for me. i like it ]

I ended up running to a butcher who operates out
of a gas station. Really. True story.
His flank is frozen too.
BUT he'll thinly slice whatever I want.
Instantly I like him.
Shrugging my shoulders I say what the hell, I'll have the filet mignon.
That's right people. FILET MIGNON.
I figure what it cost me for that was equal to a pig n jig. : )
OMG, in the pho, it was melt in your mouth.

[fennel, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, mr. coriander was late for the party]

I used lo mien noodles.
I used spinach instead of basil.
Green onions instead of white.
Purple instead of yellow.
Green peppers and mushrooms because I wanted to.
I let my stock sit over night,
in the frig after simmering.
Which made it easy to skim off the fat.
Come to think of it wouldn't the scum
stick to the fat? Making for easy removal of scum?
Call that an afterthought, more like an after question.
Charring, not Charo. I used the broiler.
Top shelf and door semi open.
Lime is good, I liked lemon best.

Maybe my dish is more like a Japanese Hotpot.
Honestly I'd eat this every night
with a basic beef broth and a little sesame oil.

I love winter I do.
But I miss the warm summer light for photographs.

KAT! Yes you! C'mere.
Don't look at the beef.
Don't look up.
Look down.
Do you see????
I know. Right?!


You can make this.
Vegetable broth baby.

It's a cold rainy night.
Dancing with the Stars is on tonight,
paying tribute to Michael Jackson.
I have a bowl of nice warm soup.
And to think I spent the last month
eating lean cuisines. What was I thinking?
I dunno I was child free and didn't have to cook.
Don't say I it. I already know.
My frig is filled with vegetables.
I promise.

If only someone would bring me
an ice cream bar and a kiss...

it'd be a perfect night. : )

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Sunday, October 18, 2009



It's funny how lessons remain ever present.
I'm watching what I say to someone at work,
and well the same words flow to personal life.

This week its about trust and respect.
We show it in action.
Its the only way.
Words are too damn easy.

And I think to myself let my actions always
reflect my heart, where it counts the most.

It's been an interesting Fall.
Snow before the leaves are done falling from the trees.
Reminded me to not waste a second.

I'm not a fan of getting sick.
But I don't mind it.
I know when I need to slow down.
So does my body.

In two weeks I have another show
up at the Coho, up on the north shore.
She wants food.
Leave it to me to come up
with a new approach at the last minute.
I'll be hustling to get this done.

Food shots are great, but c'mon,
who's going to buy a fabulously photographed
plate of calamari for their kitchen wall. right?

Mostly I just want to wish all of you a
wonderfully peaceful Sunday....

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On the Subject of Being...


You are not what happens;
you are the space in which it happens.
You are not your thoughts; they come and go.
You are the vastness in which these thoughts appear and disappear
because underneath all your thinking there is the stillness of pure being,...
pure consciousness, the timeless dimension of yourself.

Eckhart Tolle

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Subject of Giving...

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
~Mother Teresa


One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Be True..

At the heart of each of us,
whatever our imperfections,


there exists a silent pulse
of perfect rhythm
which is absolutely
individual and unique,

and yet which connects us
to everything else.

~George Leonard

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Personal Boundaries......ain't always easy.

I'm making it a practice to re-post this frequently.
And it's been a while.
Its the most important contract I've ever written for myself.
And a promise I intend to keep.
We cannot be all things to all people, there are times
when we
for sanity's sake have to pull back and self care.
Sometimes we do have to draw the line, or ask for a time out.
Why people react so strongly when we do is beyond me.
I suspect ego has much to do with it, and a need to control the outcome.
When we set a boundary, we remove that control as well as the outcome.


"When we set a boundary, we let go of the outcome."

The purpose of setting boundaries is to take care of our self. Being forced to learn how to set boundaries is a vital part of learning to own our self, of learning to respect ourselves, of learning to love ourselves. If we never have to set a boundary, then we will never get in touch with who we really are. ~Robert Burney

I will not apologize for setting my own personal boundaries.
I will not apologize for doing whatever it takes to enforce those boundaries.
I will not apologize for doing whatever it takes to protect my emotonal well being.
I will not apologize for keeping out those who are not healthy.
I will not apologize for taking time to think before I speak.
I will not apologize for telling someone their behavior is not acceptable to me.
I will not apologize for deciding what behavior is and is not acceptable.
I will not apologize for stepping back from a situation in order to evaluate my feelings, however long that takes.
I will not apologize for setting strict boundaries when I need and sticking to them.
I will not apologize for asking for space when I need it.
I will not apologize for taking responsibility for the way I allow others to treat me.
I will not apologize for cutting someone completely out of my life if I feel they don't respect my boundaries.
I will not apologize for not believing everything I'm told.
I will not apologize for letting your problems, your dysfunction be yours.
I will not apologize for not being able to be all things to all people.
I will not apologize for loving myself enough to set boundaries even if it means I risk losing people in my life because of them.

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ode to Autumn

I love this time of year.


I've spent the summer chasing the light.
Racing the light some days.


Fishing every chance I get,
photographing every thing I see.


Making the most of days
that bring with them green grass,
bright blue skies and big billowy clouds.


[Until it gets too hot, my days are then spent grateful for central air.]


Sooner than I realize the season changes,
I love the fall.
The crisp wet air.
And the smell.
The smell of rotting leaves that have fallen
from the trees, makes me feel more alive than the warmth of a summer sun.


I know that winter is coming,
and for the first time I feel like summer has lasted to long.
I feel this every year.
I'm no longer fighting for every hour of daylight.


I relish the thought of coming home,
to warm glowing lights by candle or by lamp.
I find my way once again to the kitchen,
and books that have been left to wait on the shelf,
will be read.
The days getting shorter... excites my
innate need to hibernate, to slow down
and settle in.
It renews me in a way I cannot describe.


It is on this night I wish you were here
to celebrate with me the coming of quieter months.

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Be Here. Be now..


"The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly.
Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.
To put it more accurately,
it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—
you usually don't use it at all.
It uses you."

~Eckhart Tolle

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My sweet Hannah,
walked three miles and
did a bit of mindless
wandering with me.
This is a huge deal.


We walked for over two hours,
more than three miles,
when all was said and done.


She let me lead her thru the woods,
down trails she'd never seen.



We got temporarily misplaced
a couple of times and had to reroute.
A few whimperings prompted the occasional reassurances.
I love that she never lets go of my hand.
She is my favorite hand to hold.

Save for one other.


Hannah: Drumming?
Me: Drumline
(Hannah smiles because I know what she means)
Hannah: Boom? Boom?
Me: Boom Boom Boom.
(Hannah smiles because she likes me to say it in threes)

I take Hannah's hand which is holding mine, and make the three beats
so she can feel my words.
I ramble on about music and rhythm.

A few minutes later she prompts me to do it again.

Repeat this 50 times. With me once n a while doing a 1 2 3.
And waltzing in the woods to make her laugh.
She did.


If I lay on the ground to photograph something,
she'll sit down behind me. : )
I photograph all of it.
So we both remember.


This morning
She gets up and goes to the bathroom on her own.
No prompting by me. yay. seriously.

Then comes to the kitchen for juice.
Hannah: dio.
Me: radio, you want the radio?

I go get it thinking she wants music in the kitchen.
We listen to music a lot.
Lately I have it playing in the bathroom
while she takes a bath.


She takes me by the hand and brings me to her room.
She wants the music in her room.
Martin Sexton.
(she has great taste)
If you've ever heard his music, you might understand
why she gravitates to it. I like to say he's autistically pleasing.
(as in.. especially pleasing to her autistic ear)
If that makes sense.


I plug in the ipod, she wraps herself in her favorite blanket
and tells me Bye.

How 16 of her.
I'm smiling.

She comes out a few songs later.
She claps her hands and says push ding.
Which means push swing.
And says walk too.
She remembers.
She knows she did something good.
She's proud of herself.
She should be.

I clap too and say You did good Hannah.
She turns around and goes back to listen to Martin.


I love this girl.




One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Be Brave..

Most of our
would melt
away if
instead of
before them


We should
make up
our minds
to walk

~Orison Swett Marden

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Summer Sightings

WE saw this incredible pair
while driving home from up north
after dropping Hannah off.
What a special thing to see for both of us.


The other car?
They got close then honked.
I was pissed.

One Love. One Peace. Always and all ways.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Willa Mae's First Cooking Video


I'd like to introduce you all to Willa Mae Johnson.
A year ago a friend at the time had done a video blog,
suggested that the rest of us girls done, in that we
should feel comfortable with ourselves enough to do so.
I couldn't help but run with it...and so voila Willa Mae
was created.

You'll be seeing a lot more of her. She does love to cook
and has a very unique style. ha. I hope you all will welcome
her to the world of foodies with open arms.

In Willa Mae's own words:

Howdy ya'll, Willa Mae hear. In case ya'll ain't herd I'm a lookin' fer me a new man and I's a talkin to Ma and she said ta me...Willa Mae girl iffen yews really want yerself a man thens you needa be able to feed him real good like. Ma said my speshaltee fried spam and corn flake sammiches wasn't gonna land me a man. So here's whut I done. I gots myself up real early like this mornin, barred my Pa's best gun and headed out in ta da woods. It won't long, befur I seen the biggest possum I's ever come across and let me tells yew I's come cross plenty possum. Usually just hits em wit ma truck and jump out and throw em in the back to make stew the next day. So imma crouched down in the bushes watchin that thar possum then I's noticed it won't no possum it was a dang blame pole cat but by then the Old Milwaukees I'd drunk fer breakfast had kicked in and I's needed to cop me a squat so I just went and shot that ole pole cat. After I's done with my bizness I went and got my pole cat and headed back home to skinner up. And wooooooooo doggies did that feller have one heck of a smeller but I'm perfumed up right nice like now, Ma says it'll wear off befer bath time next week. I took my pole cat and deesided to cook me up a casserole, thats fancy cookin. I puts that feller in the pan, tossed in some onyuns and some right nice dandylines and ramps I dug up out in the yard. Ma sed casseroles have a toppin so I put some apple butter my great granny made befur she died 12 years ago and then added some of ma signature corn flakes, I's like corn flakes. Then I's bakes it up fer a few ours till it was smelln beter than the outhouse in July! So I sat it on the table with some Old Milwaukee and yer never gonna guess who came a knockin on ma door sayin he smelled sumpin reall good like and was hankerin fer sum grub! It was Billy Bob Joe Tom Frank Jr. the third that drives the pig manure truck. (I an't never telled nobody but I's think hes mighty perty) So, thets all imma gonna tell you fer now. I's will write more later iffen you really want to know whut happens next. Butt fer now this is Willa Mae sayin' bye ya'll and please watch mah videao on how tew make fryd spam and cornflake sandwiches.



Scrub pigs' feet. Rinse. Put in pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Pour off water. Add salted, boiling water. You should add salt to your taste. Cover and simmer until tender, about 3 hours. Drain and plunge into cold water. Put them into a jar. Cover with hot, white distilled vinegar if desired. They can also be pickled by soaking in a bath of water in which 2 sliced green peppers, 2 sliced onions, 6 peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of salt have been boiled for 10 minutes, and to which the juice of 3 lemons has been added. Let feet remain in desired bath for at least 2 days before eating. The longer they sit refrigerated, the better they taste.

For the desired spices try 6 to 10 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves some pickling spices and 1 or 2 red peppers, depending on your taste. I also suggest you try a few pigs' feet at a time until the desired flavor is reached.

Garnish pigs feet with chopped Clausen Dill Pickles.

Fried Spam and Cornflake Sandwich


1 small can spam
Kellogs Corn flakes
Soft white bread

Thinly slice spam.
Cook in saute pan until lightly browned.
Put mayo on bread slices, as well as spam.
Add corn flakes and put sandwich together.

(it is actually pretty good)

Can also be cooked like a grilled cheese sandwich,
and well better not burnt! ha.



: )

Monday, August 10, 2009

On the subject of race...


My theory is the hearts of men are about alike, no matter what their skin color.

Mark Twain

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dancing, Old friends, Good Music

Okay bud, here's your dance picture. Call it an early happy birthday present. : )
I know I couldn't wait.


some of you know my brother has been taking dance classes.
Many of you know I LOVE to dance. I grew up dancing.
Spent some years running to Duluth Dances and classes
5 nights a week getting ready for competition. I miss it.

so does my body. : )

We were so excited to find a poster that offered dance classes
by a very experienced couple. Unfortunately for us,
but fortunately for them, a new job opportunity
will be taking them to Alabama at the end of the month.

Last night Joshy n I got our giggle on and decided to copy their poster pose.
laughing here. I know. right?

well we had fun trying. 12 shots later, we got something workable.
I'm not the best background remover and the dang ceiling lamp cut off our hands.
But yanno not half bad for a kitchen grab shot using the self timer.

The Eagles had a kick ass band last night,
got to see old friends of mine,
Joshy n I danced all night. Great time, a really really great time.

these pics are a few years old, from Craig and Kasandra's wedding.

As soon as I get sent the video I'll post the band for you,
Craig has an incredible voice. That's not an exaggeration.
Was good to reconnect with he and Kasandra, and a few others.
We all go way back.....good memories. definitely.


I need to be a better friend and pick up the phone every once in a while.

: )

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