Funked up Wednesday

I’m off today.  The people, all of them, woke up feeling magically better and headed off to school.  A full day ahead to do whatever I want…..make shortbread cookies, make more of that Beef and Barley soup I like, time to catch up with house things that are bugging me, order a new freaking mailbox….  But, no, I woke up in a funk.  No reason, at all.  Just feeling kind of blah.  So, instead of doing some of those things I wanted to get done today, I’ve eaten all the chocolate sorts of things I shouldn’t have and just generally been a bum.  This weirdness doesn’t happen often but, when it does, it makes me so grateful that I’m generally a happy person.  I cannot even imagine what it must be like to feel this way more often than not.  When these funks creep up on you, how do you cope?  How do you shake it off, if you will?  Truly, I’m curious.

I am going to go make the soup.  Then I’m going to make my shortbread dough (recipe to follow if I can remember how to make it, and assuming the changes I want to make are successful).  I’m thinking that it I might practice a bit of yoga after that.  Only the food portion of this plan seems really appealing now though!  😉

Okay, for the latest book.  It’s an old one and I don’t know why I picked up it but I’m glad I did.

sisterhood

This is probably classified as a teen/young adult book.  Nah, it’s really just a girl book.  Funny and definitely a book that we, ladies, can relate to.  I particularly loved the part about the girls discussing the pants.  How none of the girls thought they’d look good on them.  Because, no matter how gorgeous the girl, most of us only see our flaws.  ALL the girls, despite their different body types ROCKED these pants.  I totally want some!  So the book wasn’t really about the pants.  It was about friendship and how good friends nourish the soul.  I’m going to be reading the next book….because, yes, I did just learn that this is book one of who knows how many.  Maybe that’s what I need to do after this.  Get the second book.

Happy Wednesday

xo

Oh, I got nothin’

I’ve books to tell you about.  Maybe even a couple of kitchen experiments gone very, very wrong.  But, I can’t tell you about them now because I’ve been working.  And all THREE kids are home sick.  And there’s still the drama that used to be the mailbox.  AND the electricians are still here trying to upgrade my kitchen lighting.  I’m fairly certain I smell smoke.  I should be concerned, shouldn’t I?

I’m supposedly off tomorrow so we’ll catch up.  Hope all is well in your world.  Cheers! xo

OH MY! Friday

You might say I had an interesting start to the day.  I was taking the goalie to school.  I turned out of my driveway and saw this:

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Um, yeah, so I’m pretty sure cars aren’t supposed to be on the road like that.  Pretty little high school girl had my giant solid stucco mailbox jump out in front of her car!  Thank God she is fine.  Can’t say the same for the car or the mailbox but as I told her…..who cares!  Seems weird to say but I’d say it was an excellent start to the day.  Because she’s OKAY.  Poor family was supposed to be flying somewhere for the weekend.  They might disagree with me thinking this was an awesome day.  But I doubt it.  (I attended a memorial service last night.  Kind of puts things in perspective, you know?)

It’s supposed to be a nice-ish weekend here weather wise, which is good, I suppose, as I need to clean up pieces of the mailbox from the lawn.  I’m laughing as I write that because what!?  It could be snowing.

Somebody slap me.

Comfort food, that’s what we were talking about.  How about a sausage and tomato risotto?  Excellent comfort food.  Easy to prepare and soo tasty.  Ready?

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Oh, wow, that’s so not a great photo.  Note to self, stop eating while trying to take photos.

Sausage and Tomato Risotto

  • 28oz diced tomatoes
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb sausage, casings removed (I’ve used pork, chicken and turkey sausages successfully)
  • 1-1/2c. Arborio rice
  • 1c good quality white wine (one you would drink, please)
  • 9oz bag of baby spinach (more or less depending on your preference)
  • 1/2c grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • salt & pepper, to taste
In a saucepan, combine the tomatoes and three cups of water and bring to a simmer.  Keep warm.
In a separate medium sized saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil.  Add sausage, breaking it into pieces as it cooks.  When it’s about halfway cooked through, toss in your onions.  Cook until sausage is cooked through and onions are tender.
Add rice and stir.  You’re toasting it here so give it a minute or two.  Then add the wine. Stir until it’s absorbed.
Add about 2 cups of the tomato mixture and stir.  Turn the heat down just a bit to medium low (I’ve a gas stove so this is important as you want time for the rice to get nice and tender.).  When this as been absorbed add the tomato mixture a cup at a time, allowing it to be absorbed between additions. Stir occasionally, don’t want the bottom to burn!  You continue with this until your rice is all creamy, tendery goodness.  On my stove this takes anywhere between 30-40 minutes.
When it’s the consistency you like, meaning tenderness here, turn the heat off, stir in the spinach and Parmesan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Salt and taste, salt and taste.  Trust me on this.
While this dish can be reheated, it’s best eaten right away.  Feel free to drink some of the leftover wine!
career of evil
By now, everyone knows that Robert Galbraith  is a pen name for J.K. Rowling.  I love her.  Loved, loved, loved the Harry Potter books.  I was amongst the fools that went out at midnight to buy the newest ones when they came out.  Yeah, I’m that girl.  Whee!
This is the third book featuring this detective.  I liked the first book but wasn’t crazy about the second.  This one might have been my favorite thus far.   I envy the author’s ability to structure an elaborate plot.  Not many can do what she does.  I’m enjoying watching the characters develop over time with these books.  It’s like visiting with an old friend.  If you’re looking for a new detective in your life, give this a chance.  It’s a hefty size but, for me at least, it was a pretty quick read.
P.S.  I’m thinking of trying to add an index of recipes and/or books.  Any thoughts?  I’m asking because if no one says anything I’ll probably do nothing….chalking it up to my crazy desire to remember what the heck I’ve already told you about for order.

What! Wednesday!

Time be a racin’ by!  How was your Valentine’s Day?  And your President’s day? And your Monday and Tuesday?  I have to admit, I’ve done next to nothing since I was last here.  My friend’s father had his biopsy.  They’re not thinking lung cancer which you might think is good news.  But, no.  They’re thinking mesothelioma.  I read too much a teeny tiny amount about it before freaking out and shutting down the computer.  Instead, I told myself to just hold up until the tests came back and tried to comfort my friend and make him laugh.  He seems in relatively good spirits so maybe all of us are in denial.

I joke about these things but truly, they take a toll.  They are a sad reminder of what I and so many others have lost.  I took the long weekend for myself as I said I would.  I watched The Martian and Bridge of Spies.  The Redbox is my friend.  I really enjoyed both of these movies.  The Martian was probably my favorite simply because it made me laugh.  That things blew up was just a bonus!  There was this one part where the character is really, really thin.  I could hear my dad’s voice in my head saying ‘hey, I could’ve played that role’.  Warped humor (making fun of his weight which went from 200 lbs of solid muscle to a bit more than half that)  which was so much a part of the bond between my dad and I.  While this made me sad, it also made me laugh to remember that part of him.  Missed every single day he is.

Enough of that.

How about some comfort food recipes this week?  It’s cold, gray and rainy here this week.  Stay tuned because this weekend it’s supposed to be sunny and a balmy 70 degrees.  For now, I’ve made some more soup.  Again, in the crockpot.  For workdays, people!

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Terrible photo, I know.  Baked Potato Soup may not photograph well.  But, man, is it ever tasty!  That’s what counts, right?

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

  • 5-6 Large Baking Potatoes (I used about 8 medium sized russet potatoes as that’s what I had), peeled and cut into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 32oz carton of chicken broth (I used Swanson’s low sodium broth)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tsp of salt (add more to taste, if desired)
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 c. butter (half stick)
  • 1 c. half and half (yes, you could use milk)
  • 1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded/grated
  • for garnish – chopped scallions or chives, crumbled bacon, extra cheese (I used a blend here) and sour cream (because it’s seriously decadent).
Put potatoes through butter into the crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Uncover and mash together with a potato masher.  I also put about half the soup in a blender and blended it together.  BE CAREFUL IF YOU DO THIS!  When blending hot things in the blender, I leave the top slightly ajar.  Slightly, really, really slightly.  Added blended mixture back in.  Stir in the half & half and cheese.  Serve with your garnishes.  Don’t skip the sour cream, it really does add something wonderful to the soup.  Something other that calories!  Stop talking to M!  He didn’t add it to his (above) tried mine and stole my bowl!  Yes, he is still alive and well.  He got me really nice flowers for Valentine’s day.  I’m a sucker for flowers.
This soup reheats really well and, like most soups, is even tastier later.  I did have to really thin it out, with milk this time, as it had thickened up considerably.  Imagine potatoes doing that!
all the things
I read this.
Not a happy read.  It was a reminder of the challenges that kids, and adults, face growing up.  How hard it can be to find your own way.  To meet expectations.  It’s been days since I finished this and I’m still not certain what I thought.  Or if I’d recommend it.  It was interesting.  And thought provoking.  But, hardly satisfying.  Given what’s been going on in my life, I might have been looking for more of a happy escape.  I wouldn’t say skip it.  It was well written and if you’re looking for something that whirls around in your brain….go for it.  Just prepare yourself, not all books have a neat and tidy ending.  It’s what keeps us going back though, isn’t it?
(I’m posting this in a hurry so apologies if there are all kinds of crazy typos….it was that or nothing today.  Sorry!)

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Good Morning and Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’m having a rather quiet, unproductive weekend full of movies, yummy food, good books, family and the assorted cocktail.  Today is a day to reach out to so many I care for.  Valentine’s Day is good for that, don’t you think?  A remembrance and acknowledgement of those that touch our heart?  For me, that includes all of you.  Thank you for reading my blog, for the sweet comments, the likes, the follows…..for reminding me that we are always surrounded by friendship, love and community. xo

Not so Fri-yay

If you’ve read even a little bit around here you know that Friday’s are a favorite of mine.  It’s crazy busy at work which I adore.  Then, it’s the start of the weekend!  Time to rest and recharge with family and friends.  I’ve picked up The Martian for our dinner and the big people movie…the small humans want to rewatch a Harry Potter movie.  My favorite Chinese place is handling dinner.  Normally, this would be heaven.  Today is not normal.

I’ve a friend that told me Wednesday that they think his father has lung cancer.  He’s in for a biopsy even as I type this.  S apologized for burdening me with this news.  Apologized.  To me.  This breaks my heart.  For so many reasons.  I love that he wanted to shield me from this, from the memories associated with this diagnosis.  I love more that he didn’t.  I quite literally sat in the car and cried when he told me.  What do you say?  How much do you say?  I lost my dad and a dear girlfriend months apart from this wickedness.  I know what that diagnosis means.  I know what “treatment” looks like.  It sucks.  And watching someone you love die, suffer, knowing there’s really nothing you can do….. well, there are no words for that.

For now, I’m trying to stay positive.  He’s had enough tests and there are enough symptoms that I’m also trying to prepare myself.  Prepare my friend.  We agreed that we’d talk after he’s gotten the biopsy results though I did tell him to go ahead and make the docs schedule a PET scan.  I told him that the best thing he could do was be there, spend as much time with him as he can, say EVERYTHING he wants his father to know and ask everything he wants to know right now.  While there’s time.  Life is so very precious.  And all too short.

If you’ve a moment and you’ve a mind to, I wouldn’t mind if you’d offer a quick prayer.  For my friend, his family and all those that will be touched by this.

Life is precious.  Enjoy yours.

Seriously? Another snow day?

crazy!

Penny sent this today.  THIS is why she is my people.  She understands.  Yes, the people are home AGAIN.

And, AND, I STILL have the plague!  Day 8.  BUT, I have internet service once again. Woohoo!  No more having to hot spot off of my phone.  Not as though I live online or anything but funny how you get so used to being able to do banking, check sports scores or just check in with far away friends (this means you, sweet blog readers).

So, how are you guys?  Need any snow?  I’ve maybe three or so inches with more expected.  Originally the said to expect a dusting, no biggie.  Nothing exciting.  They neglected to mention the usual coating of ice underneath.  It’s made for an interesting morning.  I was expecting a full day today with school, work, ballet lessons, hockey practice, etc.  I turned down dinner with girlfriends and tickets to tonight’s NHL game.  Figures that everything would fall apart!  This is someone’s way of reminding me that your supposed to rest when you’ve got the plague.  Party poopers.

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I’ll show them!  I may make another of these!  This is what remained of the second of my favorite pound cake in a single week, about five minutes after it came out of the pan.  I’m pretty sure the kids are hiding it in their rooms…..or maybe that’s just M.  Either way, someone save me a piece of cake, darn it!  A couple of things about this recipe, I tend to only sift twice….once before I measure the initial amount of cake flour (that’s right sift first, then measure – helpful tip is for Katie).  Then, I sift the measured cake flour and salt.  I’ve sifted three times, there’s no difference as cake flour is sifted to start with.  I’m also kind of lazy which I may have mentioned before.  I know, you’re shocked.  My baking times vary wildly.  Insert a toothpick and look for actual crumbs attached to it.  Don’t be me and rush the process because your hungry.  I can HEAR you laughing, Penny.

mitford

I was so excited to pick this up.  Such high marks it received.  Someone explain to me why I fall for that?  It was good.  I finished it.  It was enjoyable.  But, it was just so sweet.  Overly so.  I don’t like perfect people.  They’re so boring! And where’s the story?  The evolved plot.  This is just like a pleasant journey…..it’s fine, it’s all good...but I want drama! Excitement!  Passion!  Intrigue!  I need to keep looking.

This is the first of ten in a series.  Maybe I’d read another one.  But, honestly, I kind of doubt it.  I need something good, something juicy.  Any suggestions?  C’mon, I’m a desperate woman!  Nothing is calling me.