23 March 2011


I read a blog earlier today that discussed how we create our own circumstances....like attracts like, so what we send out to the universe is what it gives us back. This has got me thinking about the energy I send out ~ how it affects other people and how it comes back to me.

I try to be patient and kind; to be generous with every resource at my disposal, whether it's my time, cooking a meal for someone, knitting a gift, or just listening when someone needs to talk. In turn, I have found myself surrounded by like-minded people.

My love, Mike, has an exceptionally kind, brilliant, beautiful soul, so I know I must be doing something right. I have many wonderful friends who are at least - if not more - passionate about living in a way that benefits others and creating peace and sanity in the world.

On the flip side of this, I have been experiencing some troubling health problems lately that seem to have become chronic.

Is this a reflection of poor choices I've made with people or diet? Does it indicate a need for a lifestyle change? Should I cut down on this, ramp up on that? Should I search my mind and heart for clues or look to my body for answers? I think a healthy amount of introspection can only do me good...

22 March 2011

On Writing

It always catches me off guard when I realize I've gone a long time without writing anything. That's funny in a sad way....I mean, of course I haven't been writing! When is the last time I even opened up my blog page and attempted to write, right? WRONG! The thing is, for some reason the longer I go without writing the harder it is to begin again.

The mental excuses come pouring out of me....who cares? nobody reads this anyway! I'm just feeding some ego-driven urge to impose my thoughts on...well, nobody, actually! What do I have to write about? I haven't really cooked anything exciting lately ~ nobody wants to read about my failed attempt at a birthday dinner...who cares that the salmon was a bit dry or that, since I was out of butane, the top of my creme brulee was practically burnt to a crisp by a camping stove?

Oh, and another good excuse ~ I've been too busy! Tell that to my facebook page, which sees more of my time lately than anything or anyone else on any given day...not that I'm all that concerned with it, but work has been slow lately so I've taken to just leaving my page open all day whether I'm actually "there" or not...yeah...

I was thinking this morning about what I would write today ~ I was determined that this would be the day I updated with a new entry. I had all of these really good ideas...came up with some clever lines I thought would make it more interesting...and promptly forgot them by them time I got to my laptop.

So here it is, a random blog bereft of meaning. No photos, experiments or updates on my various craft projects (which have also suffered from neglect.)

But you see, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter who does or does not read this. Sure I'd like to think maybe someone does, but that's not the point. I'm not sure of what my point IS, exactly, but I do know that I do this for me. I'm free to call it a contemplative exercise ~ usually with pictures, but sometimes not ~ or I could call it a hobby. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that I keep coming back to it as frequently as I can and try to make sense of the loose ends in my mind...and maybe entertain, amuse or inspire someone else along the way.

10 March 2011

Quite the week

We've got quite a week of dining going on around here and I haven't cooked a single meal! I tried to think back to Monday and I can't seem to remember what we did for dinner but I'm pretty sure I haven't cooked since Sunday....

Tuesday I was at my mom's and she made a pot of Texas chili and served it up with some fresh cornbread...YUM! Wednesday we went to Rose of India for dinner. Mike is English and there was a meetup going on...not that we really need an excuse to go out for Indian food...it's a favorite!

mmmmm...Chicken Tikka Masala...

Tonight (Thursday) we're forced (get out your tiny violins) to go to
Cafe Lily in downtown Decatur...I know, such torture! but we have a groupon that expires TODAY! What else can we do?

Tomorrow night I'm staffing at the Shambhala Center so we'll probably grab a late bite after that, and as far as I know I'll be there all weekend as well...my kitchen is going to miss me (hopefully you and Mike will too)...

07 March 2011

Catch-Up post, aka Fish Stew

Before the flour shenanigans of the weekend commenced, I tried a new recipe I found on Food Network Canada for Mediterranean fish stew and let me tell you, it was fantastic!

I made this Friday night and it was good then - the flavors really popped! The fresh fennel and orange zest were lively, interesting and oh so very tasty, but when we had the rest of it on Sunday, OH MY!

The flavors had time to really mingle, and simmering it for a couple of hours softened up the veggies very nicely and broke down the proteins in the fish so that all of the delicate qualities came together even more nicely than they did the first time around.

One thing I did differently Sunday was to use fresh cilantro and more fresh orange zest as a garnish, which added a whole new dimension to the already wonderful flavor. Kudos to Michael Smith on this lovely dish!

I also made fresh loaves of french bread to go with the stew, and for Sunday's meal with guests over, I made some fresh garlic butter to go with it...such an elegant touch and SO easy! All you need to do is let your butter get to room temp, then add fresh garlic and some fresh lemon zest and voila...your meal goes from ordinary to extraordinary in an instant!

Random flour experiments

I haven't been cooking as much lately as I'd like, but over the weekend I learned an important lesson: Flour matters!!! I made two different things, both which called for all purpose flour, and having run out I substituted it with Bread Machine flour...turns out, they don't produce the same results at all!

First I made a quiche, which turned out quite nice ~ delicious, even ~ except I wasn't wild about the crust. I'm pretty sure I did everything right as far as making it - I used very cold butter and ice water, didn't over process, minimal rolling, etc., but I believe that using the wrong kind of flour affected its overall quality.

It looks good...


but the crust turned out less flaky and more thin and crisp than I would like...if I had any doubt as to whether or not the flour was the culprit here, my experiment with shortbread confirmed it!

The only variation I made in the recipe I found for Chocolate Espresso Shortbread on the Vanilla Garlic blog was that, again, I used bread flour instead of all purpose and the results were, well....disappointing may be an understatement.

The BF was very nice about it and even went so far as to say he would eat them, and our dinner guest obligingly downed a couple of them herself, but I didn't like them very much at all - they turned out very thin and crisp (texture-wise, not unlike the pie crust, come to think of it) - definitely NOT what I expected!

I couldn't even bring myself to photograph them, which is very rare - I snap pics of pretty much everything I cook. I will make these again because the flavor combination is lovely and I can see how, when properly made, they'd be wonderful with a nice coffee...I'll report back once I do...