Tuesday, August 31, 2010

an ode to angels

the softness of sarah

Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God's love, commit me here.
Ever this day, be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide. Amen.
the strength of sarah

an angel walks beside us

Angels live forever far beyond our days on earth,
 and every soul receives an angel guardian at birth.
Invisible, these angels never leave us, day or night. 
They know our fears and whisper, "Things are going to be all right." 
They give us strength and purpose, keep our hope and courage strong. 
They fill our minds with wisdom and our spirits with a song. 
And when the time in this world comes to reach our journey's end,
our angel walks beside us like a kind, familiar friend. 
And as we leave behind the only place we've ever known,
we see our angel's smile at last and hear
"You're home...you're home."
the serenity of sarah

Let brotherly love continue. 
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 
Hebrews 13: 1-2
the sorrow of sarah

Angel in Biblical Hebrew is mal'ak, and the Greek word aggelos, meaning messengerAngels are sent by God to bring the truth, especially the big truths, to specific people in critical situations.  God's message can be a warning, or be a comfort in times of danger or fear.  There is more going on than the careless eye can see, so God's messenger points it out.  Since God is way too much for us to take, the messenger is sent in God's stead, like a diplomatic envoy.  Angels are not here to be meddling fix its, but rather our helpers in responding to the truth.  Angels guide us in the way God wants us to go in a specific situation.  We can just blow them off, but people usually find themselves responding instantly with some amount of trust, comfort or awe.  Angels can celebrate and have joy, and presumably have other emotions as well.  They don't negotiate unless God tells them to.  By sticking to God's given task instead of asserting themselves, they are good examples of humility.
the legion of our angels

Angels are among the unseen in "All that is seen and unseen."  They don't decay or die since they are spiritual beings.  They exist to praise God and to bear the message and task for which God sends them, including to us humans.  They can think and hold conversations and they have their own identity.  They appear to all people of all religions, and those with no religion, when God wants them to listen.
Christ and our guardians

While Scriptures give no definite figures, we are told that the number of angels is very great (Daniel 7:10, Matthew 26:53, Hebrews 12:22)  It appears that all angels were created at one time.  No new angels are being added to the number. 
Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it OK
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
or a beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless
and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the Angel
far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reveirie
You're in the arms of the Angel;
may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line,
and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting,
you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference,
escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
in this sweet madness,
oh, this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the Angel
far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reveirie
In the arms of the Angel;
may you find some comfort here
You're in the arms of the Angel;
may you find some comfort here.

This song is from the City of Angels soundtrack.  I probably played it during my massage sessions thousands of times for my clients and it always soothes and comforts.  Our angels are everywhere; we just need to believe and ask for their guidance.  We can emulate their unconditional comfort and support to everyone we encounter everyday.  My personal guardians are Metatron and Sarah.  I encourage you to find your angel and spread your wings.  Listen closely as they whisper in your ear.  Embrace their assistance.  Hold them in the light with love and bless them. xo

Monday, August 30, 2010

end of august


We enjoyed a delightful weekend with the family.  I can't believe it was the last one in August.  This has been a fantastic summer and I will treasure the memories made this season.  My ipod played Yanni's End of August today, perfectly capturing my mood.  Wayne trimmed and cleared the hedges at the Sawyer home while I painted the border in back so our project is winding down.  Once the tenant moves out we only have one more level to gussy up.  That place is really coming along nicely and I look forward to bringing Uncle Steve there to see all the improvements.  On Sunday, we had a nice breakfast at Egg Harbor Cafe in Downers Grove with Mike and Margarita.  I always get the Sir Dugan frittata and add avocado; my favorite.  I wonder who Sir Dugan is...They really spruced up the downtown with new condos and a cute grocery store called The Lemon Tree.  Downers Grove was under construction for many years and lost many businesses and patrons but it finally came around and looks fantastic.  

randy jackson and jimmy fallon doing bruce

We grilled a dozen pub burgers for the family and enjoyed their company all day.  Mike washed three cars while he was here and Margarita and I read our books in the garden together.  I helped Darcy pack some things for her first day at Lewis and we watched most of The Runaways with Steve for a bit.  Then he got called out to rescue his buddy for the rest of the day. He has a big heart, as do all the boys.  Thumper had another tick so we performed emergency aid while she shivered.  Now she is in heat so she will be overly affectionate and whiny the next two weeks.  I made a pretty fruit salad including watermelon, orange, strawberries and blackberries.  Top it off with a little granola and this is a great treat to have while watching the Emmy Awards.  I was so impressed with the opening number.  Very Bruce Springsteen meets Glee. 
emmy awards opening act glee style

Today I will attempt to make a couple of new recipes found on Laura's Best Recipe link.  The main meal is Chicken Chile Tortilla Soup and for dessert Blueberry Scones.  I prepared her Cranberry Scones in the past and they were delicious, so I am looking forward to trying this one. 
Chicken Chile Tortilla Soup

3 large ripe tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
6 TBSP olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 cascabel chiles, wiped then stemmed and seeded - toasted
2 large pasilla chiles, wiped then stemmed and seeded - toasted
1 chipolte chile w/ TBSP adobe sauce
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
6 6-inch corn tortillas
1 medium Haas avocado, ripe but still firm
1 cup queso fresco, shredded or cut into small cubes
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
roasted corn - removed from the cob
4 jalapenos, roasted and sliced
1 lime, sliced into wedges for garnish
cilantro leaves for garnish
1 ripe tomato, chopped for garnish
sea salt  and pepper

Cook the chicken in a crock pot until tender and save the broth for recipe.
Preheat oven to broil.  Remove cores from the tomatoes and lightly score the skin.  Place on broil pan and broil (rotating often) until the tomatoes are nicely roasted (blackened skins) about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Turn oven temperature to 350.

 Heat the chicken broth in a medium sauce pan to a simmer.  Place chiles in a bowl, cover and pour some of the heated chicken broth over the chiles to allow them to reconstitute - about 25-30 minutes.  After they are soft, tomatoes should now be cool.

Cut tomatoes into quarters.  Place them along with the chiles, cumin seeds and the broth used for soaking and the garlic in a blender until just coursely chopped.  If necessary, add a touch more broth and continue to blend until smooth.  Using a strainer, strain tomato mixture into the sauce pan with broth.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer (never boil) for about 20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and heat.

Make tortilla strips.  Place tortillas in a stack and slice into triangles.  Cut each remaining stack of triangles into 1/4 inch strips.  Place all strips in a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt.  Gently toss strips until they are covered lightly with oil.  Spread the strips on a baking sheet so they are not overlapping and bake until crispy and golden - about 10-15 minutes.  Stir lightly during baking for even baking on all strips.

Assembly:  Slice avocados into equal slices.  Place 2-3 slices in the bottom of a soup bowl.  Place equal parts chicken, queso fresco, corn and tomato and tortilla chips in the bowl, then gently ladle the broth into the bowls and serve.  Optional:  roast jalapenos until soft and skin is slightly blackened - slice and serve a few slices into each bowl.  Garnish with fresh cilantro. 

Blueberry Scones with Lemony Glaze
by Chef David Lawrence

for the scones

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board
5 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 lemons
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and very cold
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops

for the glaze

1/2 cp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 lemon,  zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or by pressing it between your fingers until the mixture resembles course meal and the butter is about the size of peas.  Using your fingers, gently toss the blueberries with the flour mixture.  Place in refrigerator to keep the butter cold while whisking together the cream and the eggs.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pout in the eggs and cream.  Using the tines of a fork and working from the outside of the flour mixture, gently start incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not to smash the blueberries.  The key is not to overwork the dough, just bring it together.  It will be crumbly, but that is exactly what makes it a moist and tender scone.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out into it.  Gently knead the dough and pat it out into a 6-inch rectangle.  Using a knife or a pastry bench scraper, cut the dough into 4 equal squares.  Cut each square in half on the diagonal to make 8 triangles.  Carefully transfer the scones to the prepared sheet pans.  Brush tops with remaining cream.

Bake until lightly golden brown and firm to the touch, about 15 to 18 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice and confectioners sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl (Purex glass measuring cup) Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter.  Nuke it for 30 seconds on high.  Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps.  Cool the scones slightly on a wire rack then drizzle artfully over the top of the warm scones. 

Variation:  To make Cinnamon Chocolate Scones, substitute 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in place of the lemon zest and 1 1/2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate chunks for the fresh blueberries.

Life is beautiful...
and so are you! xo

Thursday, August 26, 2010


flower soon to be zucchini

Boy does today feel like Friday!  It's the first day in over a month I did not leave my home to go anywhere - just stayed home and cleaned.  I have been keeping up with the gardens and rearranging things here and there.  Yesterday I removed this four foot tall weed that looked so cool but then it attacked me - I felt like a ton of needles pierced my arm and paid no mind until later when I noticed my whole arm was loaded with cuts.  What is that all about?   I trimmed all the seasonal foilage and removed the brown and deadened leaves so things look fresh for a little while longer.  I am slowly planting a few mums.  Out of the dozen I planted last year, only one came back.  My aunt told me to plant them in spring, so I'll wait until then.  Meantime, I need to plant a few just for the season.   I can feel a certain silence around the area as all the kids and teachers are back at school.  The air is cooler so we know what that means.  My beloved summer is winding down. :(

baby from mongolia

Early in the day I stopped by my dear friend, Mary, and admired her renovations at the home in Hinsdale, very similar to her homes in Michigan.  We caught up on our families and I continued my journey to see Big Daddy and Bo, then met Wayne for lunch at La Notte Due in Berwyn.  Afterward we strolled hand-in-hand around the neighborhood admiring some of the unique homes.  Later we watched a movie called Babies where four infants from around the world were followed by the writers for the first year of their life or until they began walking.  It was quite interesting and I enjoyed hearing all the cute newborn sounds again.  The funny thing I noticed was how I admired the two babies from Mangolia and Africa more than the modernized Japanese and American babies.  They just seemed to connect with our world more naturally.  It makes me want to pull out the DVDs of our boys and recapture those precious moments. 

I hope you all have a pleasant day enjoying this perfect weather here in the Midwest. 

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take ~
 but by the moments that take your breath away.  xo

Monday, August 23, 2010

super sammich

our first home

When we first married and lived in our home on Christiana in Brighton Park, we had a ritual every Saturday morning. We fervently cleaned our cute little Georgian top to bottom while listening to classic rock tunes and the new smooth jazz station.  Bombhead (Wayne's dad) would stroll over the two blocks with their dog, Lady Gubzie, and we would shoot the breeze and enjoy each other's company.  I prepared a light lunch that included a little soup and salad and either a tuna or super sammich (must be pronounced like a south sider!)  I was a vegetarian for seven years and prepared some awesome recipes from the Fit for Life book.  Today I will share how to make this delightful meal as I finally collected all the necessary ingredients without someone eating an item on me.

100% whole wheat or multi-grain bread
avocados - ripened, not mushy
dill pickles and/or cucumbers
alfalfa and/or gourmet sprouts
mayo and/or spicy mustard

You can toast the bread, or not.  Spread a light layer of mayo on one slice, mustard on the other.  Peel avocado and cut in slices around the pit, layering on bread. Layer pickles or cukes (or both), sliced tomatoes and top with alfalfa sprouts.  Cut in half and enjoy a healthy, tasty treat that will give your appetite satisfaction.
my alien flower finally bloomed

This is the perfect time to take advantage of all the garden goodies so try to obtain the ingredients from local markets or your own home garden for the healthiest benefits.  Make sure not to use any white flour bread - only grains.  The avocados are perfect for protein requirements.  It's a nice alternative to the fast food burgers, don't ya think?

Live life to its fullest, Laugh a lot, and Love yourself and those who need it the most.   :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

to accomplishments!

Today I was thrilled to be able to stay home and prepare a feast for the family.  We decided to celebrate all the accomplishments we made this month and the whole brood will be here this afternoon to join us.  I scored on some gorgeous porterhouse steaks at a great price so they are marinating while I prepared the rest of my love food. 
Wayne keeps saying that's a lot of beef, woman,  but we are celebrating today. I hope he's not referring to me - SCREAM!  Besides, whatever they don't eat today could be leftovers.  The dogs will be very happy with all the bones. Avocados were on sale so I decided to make guacamole and this time added orange juice just like Jamie.  One day this week I will share my recipe for super-sandwiches using avocados.  I finally bought my sprouts (not all stores carry them) and came home to find all the whole wheat bread is gone, so I'll share this recipe another time. 
My salad includes a variety of greens from the garden, spinach, bok choy, celery, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes and carrots.  Someone finished off the salad supreme so we can't embellish with this delightful spice today.  I have about eight salad dressings that I discovered so they can pick and choose their favorites.  I prefer olive oil and balsamic vinegrette, but found my champagne dressing was in stock so I'll indulge in that one.
I tend to plan my menu based on items that are on sale and this weekend they had broccoli and cauliflower - cook until tender, drain, then add a stick of butter and season with salt.  Easy, peasy.
I want to keep things simple so no mashed potatoes, just baked.  They can top them off with butter or ranch dressing if they choose.
This is the spread so far.  I went in the garden to clip some flowers for my tables.  That's the best part of the season - bringing the beauty indoors as well as adoring their beauty outside (hard to stay there very long with those darn mosquitos.)
I prepared an old favorite dessert my mom used to make.  It has to be the simplest treat in the world.  I bought four rolls of Pillsbury biscuits and after opening the containers, take each biscuit and make a hole in the middle with your thumb (after awhile I did this with one hand) and quickly fry in a skillet of oil.  I repeat quickly for they cook very fast and you don't want to burn them, especially when working with so many.  Turn them over and scoop out onto a big bowl of sugar, coating each side to your liking.  I made 20 this way and 20 with a sugar/cinnamon coating.  They are very light and hit the spot after a heavy meal (unless Wayne eats them all before dinner.) Another thing you can do is add cinnamon to your sugar bowl for coffee.  I do this for Thanksgiving and keep it ready for whenever Mike visits, as he is the only one who takes sugar in his coffee.  Just a little sweet something.

Life is like a trumpet.  If you don't put anything in, you won't get anything out.

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?  Katherine Graham

  If you put your mind to anything, accomplishments are always possible.  Happy days to you. xo

Friday, August 20, 2010

shoveling coal

shoveling coal

As I frequent the nearly a century-old home in Brighton Park, I often feel the energies of those who lived in this dwelling.  When I work in the hallway or the basement, I feel a strong presence of people who put a lot of effort in maintaining this home yet it is not a hard, laborous feeling, but rather one of a labor of love.  I've been told the Grandpa would take a ventilated garbage can grill and smoke the homemade sausages already stuffed in the kitchen and then they would hang them in the front hallway on strings.  I browse through the tool shed and find unique contraptions and do-dads used for various chores around the house - masculine types - and wonder what did they do with this one?  This was a true man cave. Wayne refers to the other basement room as the coal shed and when I inquired about this he explained that prior to 1973 the home was heated with a coal burner.  A truck would dump a roomful of coal to the house and the boys would painstakingly use a wheel barrel to bring it through the basement window where Uncle Steve had the task of shoveling it in piles in the coal shed room, which was always filled to the hilt.  They added the coal throughout the seasons to keep the home warm.  I was mesmerized by this story and all the work that went into it, yet, that must be what I was feeling.  I can just imagine the assembly line.
forest green color

The basement was so spotless you could eat on the floor and I found out they often ate in this room because it was much cooler down there.  We picked Uncle Steve's brain about how things were done in the old days and he was very informative.  They all loved that home and I feel those strong vibes even today as I hang around it. When Wayne was a few years old, he remembers his Grandpa had pulleys and cranes in the front of the home to lift it back into shape when it began to cave in.  He filled the underneath with stones and cement and it is still in perfect condition.  Can you imagine that?  What a production it must have been.  It gives me greater appreciation of the efforts made in the past and when I painted the front stairs an inviting forest green, I noticed it had been that same color green a few coats ago.
magnolia for front door

clouds for basement

Today Mercury turns retrograde, which means the universe will give us pause for reflections on people, places and things of our past.  I usually notice the effects a week early and that must be what I was feeling all week.  My new learning projects include installing a broken window pane with wood putty after scraping out the broken glass and applying Artscape window appliques.  The latter is not exactly a new endeavor, for I did this to a couple bedroom windows; however, this time I have a dozen individual panes to decorate. 
peace and tranquility

I have been giving massage more often lately and still enjoy it.  This has been a bustling summer, filled with vacations, visits and various projects.  I can feel the shift in the season, especially when I organize the schedules, pay tuition and order books for the boys.  This is my cue to get ready for change.  My garden is still growing so there is still time to enjoy its beauty and the weather is still hot. I know how quickly time can pass and will pay attention to the days a little more closely as I realize another season is just around the corner.   We must make an effort to sit still a little more often now that the hustle and bustle is waning. 

If I love with my spirit, I don't have to think so hard with my head.

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.

Don't say "but."  That little word is the difference between success and failure.  Henry Ford said "I'm going to invent the automobile," and Arthur T. Flanken said, "But..."

Warm wishes for a happy weekend. xo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

lush and lovely

apricot roses

This is a lovely time for gardeners when all the flowers and crops are in full bloom and produce their fruits.  As I strolled with my pups this morning I took note of how beautiful all the gardens were in the neighborhood.  The colors are so vibrant and fill my heart with all their beauty.
newbie rose from seeds

I discovered this newbie rose planted from seeds of another rose.  Steve diligently took a lot of time to collect seeds last year in the hopes something would grow and sure enough it did! 
stevie's sunflowers

The dwarf honey bear sunflowers have burst into bloom and the bigger plants will do so in a few weeks.  Last year they started showing their sunshine the beginning of September. 
dahlias ~ sunflowers ~ zucchini

This area of our garden does the best for showing off and this is the best year yet.  The dahlias have close to 100 blooms between the pink and yellow, the strawberries are ripening and the little purple things are so cute.  The yellow flowers to the right are going to be zucchini so I am excited to make zucchini breads.  Better get the flour, sugar and walnuts ready!  Recipe forthcoming in the very near future.
cactus ready to bloom

This cactus amazes me.  She was in a pot given as a gift from Janet and Sarah and I transplanted her into the ground for she looked all dilapidated and wilty.  Lo and behold, she loves her new digs and was informed that is how cacti get in certain seasons, then they sprout back to life in the warm weather.  This summer was perfect for her.  She has at least four blooms ready to burst.
spider plant with babies

This is my spider plant given by Janet and Sarah about 10 years ago and look at her grow.  She has so many babies and I have given many plants to others in years past.  I think I will name her Meerkat after the matriarch Flower who had the biggest family in the meerkat world.

I must share this new plant for she has constantly bloomed and brought so much beauty to our home entrance.  I placed finch food to attract the little critters but have not seen them around yet.  If nothing happens by next week, I'll move it somewhere else and see if that works.  Our birds do not visit us that often anymore.  Maybe they are visiting Bourbonnais for a while, for the folks there have a lush and lovely garden that I would want to hang out at.
infertile clematis

Last but not least, I am sharing my extremely lush clematis.  She has an enormous amount of foilage and is about 15 - 20 years old, but does not bloom any flowers for me.  I was told not to trim the branches after the season, nor in the spring, so I will try one more approach to encourage her blooming.  If not, I thank her for gracing my home just as she is. 

My Aunt Diane and Uncle Bill are celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary today.  They just recently planted two clematis and they seem to like their new home, so whenever I visit I will greet the clematis with my nicknames for them ~ Bill and Diane.

flowers from our garden

These are just a few photo shares of my happy garden this year.  Have fun today and try to enjoy the glorious weather.  It won't be long and we'll be bundling up and sitting in front of our fireplaces.  xo

Monday, August 16, 2010

home sweet home

this is me

I am paying homage to butterflies because on our road trip a tremendous amount kept flying into the Jeep and met their maker.  We finalized all our whirlwind endeavors and are embracing the comforts of our home, sweet home.  The traffic flowed smoothly but the miles were rough.  The last time we drove to Quincy we came home to a flood and the interim three weeks were spent restoring all the damage from same.  We had a few hours sleep in the last two days. This trip sealed the efforts, bringing us full circle and we completed all our current tasks, enabling a little respite tonight.  We had such a wonderful visit with our Uncle Steve and he is nicely settled in his new home.  Everyone in Quincy waved and greeted us - everywhere - so much so that Wayne asked if we have friendly written on our foreheads.  I firmly believe if love is in the heart and a mission is meant to be, the universe will make it flow.  This proved that theory.  It is a wonderful feeling to accomplish all our tasks at hand and even better when we know the universe has our backs.  Thanks!  Tomorrow I will smile knowing everything we set out to do is done.  Then I will go and get a 90 minute massage and let my body heal. xo

Friday, August 13, 2010

eat pray love

Went to see the new movie, Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts.  She is absolutely perfect for this role.  I read the book a few years back and was enamored with the idea of eating as fuel for the soul.  Liz Gilbert did this on her journey to feed her knowledge of the beautiful Italian language, which was created by Dante with a mix of Latin and Spanish.  I have been trying to learn Italian since I discovered Andea Bocelli a decade ago and deciphered his lyrics which are given in both Italian and English.  My ears thirst to hear the sounds. All the characters in this flick delivered a great performance.  The book and movie are loaded with quaint quotes that we can carry with us on our journey to find the light within ourselves.  I frequent the theatre at Seven Bridges during the day and sit with the geriatrics. It is my escape to relax on my own.  Wouldn't you know I ran into one of my co-workers from Smith, Bucklin from back in the day.  
My day began by running errands and visiting Pops in the city.  I was watering his flowers when he pulled up with this cute smile on his face, knowing he will get his weekly massage.  I brought a batch of my nesting soup for him and brother Bo.  Steve's honey bear sunflowers have bloomed in their garden and look so cute.  I stopped in Brighton Park to check in with Wayne's brother, Bob.  Tomorrow we will finish our window washing project and that house will be ready to roll.  We'll stop by Oak Lawn to visit Wayne's cousin afterward.  We're all excited to have Uncle Steve closer to us.  That major trip will happen Sunday and Monday.  After that we are good to go on all fronts.
Wayne and I stopped by to visit with Danny at Dao and were pleasantly surprised by the dinner we received.  The owner made a new dish not even on the menu yet called Burning Tongue and it was so delicious.  Other patrons kept asking what it was.  Wayne tried a new Thai dish and keeps raving about it.  My pallate is still drooling over the seaweed salad and delicious drinks Dan kept coming my way.  The best was a cucumber, citron, triple sec and vodka concoction, so light, yet potent. 
The skies were extremely dark as we made our way back home to our puppies.  Sure enough, the rains pleasantly poured down, drenching our gardens.  We need this after the heat wave for the last few weeks.  Mother Nature always knows what's best.  Today is Friday, the 13th, the only one in 2010.  Typically, these days have been pleasant for me and today is no exception.  Today I ate, I prayed and I loved.  Try it, you'll like it! xo

Thursday, August 12, 2010

nesting soup

produce ingredients

Whenever I spend enormous amounts of time away from my humble abode, I need to reconnect by nesting.  The best way I know is to dust and sweep a bit, but Steve has been covering that base for me.  The only thing for me to do is create a meal for the ones I love.  Today I am making a potpourri version of minestrone soup with a variety of ingredients.  You can pick and choose what you like to your taste.  I am just dabbling bits of items in season.  
canned stuff

1 lb. chuck tender steak,cubed
beef bone
leftover beef au jus; beef stock
home grown green beans
3 variety zucchini
red pepper
habanero pepper
pea pods
mustard greens
bok choy
 Italian plum tomatoes
pidgeon peas
chick peas
navy beans
white beans
lentil beans
black beans
tomato paste
fire roasted chiles
adobe seasoning
salt and pepper

I just browsed through the isles at my favorite grocery store in Darien, Brookhaven Marketplace, and grabbed whatever I thought might make a delightful concoction.  Use your imagination to create your own.
Cut steaks into cubes and brown with the beef bone in a dab of au jus.  Add chopped onion, celery, red pepper, zucchini, habanero and garlic. Simmer until tender.  Chop mustard greens and bok choy, set aside.  Prepare green beans and pea pods by snipping off the ends.  Add tomatoes and paste, stirring frequently.  Add chiles, mushrooms, chopped bok choy and mustard greens.  If you need more water, add to cover all ingredients and simmer in a crock pot.  Add salt, pepper and seasonings to your taste. I used canned beans as a time saver, for authentic beans take all day and I am a little lazy today.  Play happy tunes while preparing and offer lots of love.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

thanks to my readers

free your mind; fill your soul

Just wanted to share my gratitude to those who have read my stories in this blog, especially my followers.  This project began to fill my days when I retired from working outside the home (almost one year ago) and has turned into a tool for sharing what I have learned in the hope that it will make a slight difference in your lives.  It provides a connection with family and friends and lately I found people from around the world are tapping into my thoughts.  I will share some of the places that have perused my site in the last few weeks.  The feng shui tips are very popular with international viewers. 

it's a small world after all...

Australia, Venezuela, Minnesota, Oregon, Israel, California, Portugal, South Africa, Canada, Kentucky, Florida, London, India, United Kingdom, Philippines, Norway, Greece, France, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New Mexico, Connecticut, Indiana, Mexico, Aruba, Ohio, Montana, New York, Finland, Mauritius, Rhode Island, Czech Republic, Serbia, Missouri, Arkansas, Korea, Belgium, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Argentina, Singapore, Washington, Michigan, Belize, Pakistan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Denmark, West Virginia, Germany, Texas, New Zealand, Arabia, Vietnam,  Russia, Nevada, Croatia, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and mostly from Illinois.
my new ornamental from lady di :)

Life is no brief candle to me.  It is sort of a splendid torch that I have got hold of for the moment.  George Bernard Shaw

I think of life as a good book.  The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.  Harold S. Kushner

Follow your dream...If you stumble, don't stop and lose sight of your goal, press on to the top.  For only on the top can you see the whole view.  Amanda Bradley

Life is to be an experience of constant joy, continuous creation.  Be joyful, loving, accepting, blessing and grateful. Neale Donald Walsch

Getting there isn't half the fun... it's all the fun. Robert Townsend

My sincere thanks to all for encouraging me to continue sharing my journey.  xo