Tag Archives: meals

Cook

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I am not an exceptional cook, but I like to be in the kitchen, and I have a few good recipes that I can count on.

From my Mom, I have the ability to make a good pot roast, an excellent boiled dinner, and a wonderful rhubarb crisp. I crimp pie crust the same way Mom did, but the recipe is my own. Mom’s apple pie used to be my favorite, and she often included it “just for Cindy” in her holiday baking.  Her tastes changed as she got older, though, and her apple pie got sweeter and sweeter over the years. At the same time, I was sweetening things less and less. Toward the end, I could barely tolerate her apple pie, and would manage to choke down one slice, just to spare her feelings.

I have altered a few childhood favorites, to better suit my own tastes. I add broccoli to my macaroni and cheese. Also, I make a white sauce and add extra sharp cheddar cheese to it, rather than just stirring in the milk, butter and cubes of cheese as Mom did. For goulash, I use Italian sausage instead of ground beef. I add finely diced carrots and onions to my split pea soup with ham.

Ethnic foods have been a big interest of mine, and I have by turns gained knowledge of Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Indian cooking. I learned vegetarian cooking from the Seventh Day Adventists back in the 1970’s, when I was boycotting beef for one reason or another. Their reasons for vegetarianism were religious, not health-based, and the recipes I came away with were loaded with fat, calories and cholesterol. I still love the Special K loaf and pecan burgers that they taught me how to make. My friend, Sue Knisley, taught me how to make home-made noodles, when she visited me on the island many years ago.

Cookbooks have been a source for other good standards. My chicken and dumplings recipe comes straight from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book that my mother gave me before I was married. Two favorites, Basque chicken in red wine with olives and peppers, and sauteed chicken breasts in Dijon mustard cream sauce, come from The Supermarket Epicure, a large paperback cookbook that I bought on sale many years ago. My best bread recipe is the Fitness House Bread from Home Food Systems. Second in line is the crusty round loaf from Artisan Breads in 10 Minutes a Day. My best soups, when not thrown together ad lib with whatever is handy, come from This Good Food: Contemporary French Vegetarian recipes from a Monastery Kitchen.

Bachelor living lends itself to another whole series of meals. Scrambled eggs with cheese, hot buttered noodles with broccoli and parmesan, a fried hamburger smothered in cauliflower or cabbage, or – more often than I care to admit – cold cereal with sliced bananas and milk can make a fine dinner, when dining alone.

 

I’ve Got Nothing

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On this thirteenth day of November…which just happens to be Friday the 13th, too…I have nothing to write about.

I don’t even have a current photograph, as I’ve been arriving home after dark these days. We’ve had several days of strong winds here on Beaver Island, and most of the leaves are on the ground. The photo that I’m posting was taken two years ago, sometime in November of 2013.

I may not have admitted that, if I had more to say. Having been very shy for most of my life, silences in the middle of conversations are not comfortable for me. They bring me right back to childhood, to those long, excruciating voids when I knew I should speak, but didn’t know what to say. I knew that if i opened my mouth, I’d say something terribly stupid. Even if I had something planned, not completely foolish, to contribute, I often couldn’t force myself to speak.

I’ve overcome my shyness, mostly. Still, give me much of a pregnant pause and I’ll chatter on about almost anything, just to keep the conversation going. I’ll tell more than folks want to hear. I’ll tell things that are really nobody’s business. I’ll admit to things I could have kept hidden. I’ll state right out that the photo is a sham.

Maybe I am, too, only thirteen days in to this thirty-day challenge, and already nothing to write about.

Stubbornly, I forge on.

News about my job at the hardware store is not really “subject matter,” but self-indulgent chatter. If I had a husband, he would be duty-bound to listen to the minutiae of my day…no one else should feel obligated.The same goes for updates on my little dog, details about what foods I’m preparing and/or eating, and information about how busy, stressed, tired, sleepless or sleepy I am.

Let me just tell you, anyway, that I finally finished reorganizing the light bulbs at the hardware store. Whether the customer wants compact fluorescent bulbs, the old incandescent bulbs, the new halogen bulbs, or any manner of track, flood, fan, post  or Christmas light, we will now be able to find it with a lot less trouble than before!

Hunters are arriving on the island, to prepare for opening day of rifle season. They come to the hardware for propane cylinders, raffle tickets and other odds and ends. They seem good natured and happy to be here, in spite of the wind and cold rain. That, along with normal Friday business and a run on windshield wiper blades, kept us busy all day.

Allow me to report that my little dog is just as cute and smart as can be. She knows “sit,”  “give me paw” and “stay,” and will actually demonstrate, if there’s a treat in it for her. When she does something that she thinks is really good, like bark at the road truck or number two outside, she expects a reward. If I’m not right on top of it, she’ll dart her eyes back and forth expectantly, from the treat jar to me, and back again…just trying to help me “get it right” without making me feel foolish or forgetful.

As for dinner, I made a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. It took me forty years to learn how to make a less than “army-sized” pot of bean soup. Still, I’ve been eating it all week.

Beyond that, I am busy, stressed, tired, sleepless and sleepy, separately by turns or together in weird combinations. But mostly, I’m fine. Thanks for listening!

Whew!

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I like the four seasons we experience here in Michigan.

Living on Beaver Island, with its wintertime isolation contrasting with summer’s influx of visitors, the season’s are even more distinct.

Labor Day marks the end of our busy summer season. In this economy, business drops off suddenly.

I’m right on top of it! When things slow down, I move instantly into my off-season pace.

Springtime, when things pick up, I’m a bit slower to catch the wave.

Through the winter, with time spreading out before me like a warm blanket, it’s easy to start new projects. Winter menus and New Year resolutions inspire new commitments to exercise. Time in the studio sparks several new creative pursuits. Maybe try encaustic painting…do a little clay work…get back into drawing…teach a class or two. A warm April encourages a whole new aspect in my garden. Why not? Time for writing…sure, commit to a blog. Add pages showcasing my art. And writing. And sure, why not even add book reviews.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of our summer season. Talk of the weather is replaced by speculation on summer business. Gas prices are up; the economy is not. It’s an election year; unemployment is still high. We depend so heavily here on summer’s bounty to carry us through the entire year, it’s always a concern. Will people come to Beaver Island?

They’re coming!

The days are once again punctuated by the blast of the ferry boat’s horn. The restaurants are adding their summer help. Businesses have changed to summer hours. Gift shops are open for the season. The streets are busy with cars and people. The islanders breathe a sigh of relief.

The second sigh is one of exhaustion.

I just finished working a stint of eleven days in a row. Actually, there was one day off squeezed in there, which I used to take my aunt to the mainland for medical tests. Not even considering the 8AM flight or the mainland traffic, a day spent in hospital waiting rooms and medical offices is not a relaxing day. I’m counting it as a work day. So, eleven days, many nine or more hours. Busy! My pedometer, which barely clocks ten thousand steps per day all winter no matter how many walks I add, was marking over double that, just during work hours!

I came home exhausted every night. Dragged myself out to walk the dogs. Put the most pathetic collection of meals together. Read a few meager paragraphs before falling asleep. No exercise program, no studio time, no gardening. No blog.

For my blog entry, I re-posted one of Renee Fisher’s “Life in the Boomer Lane” selections. She is an excellent writer, always thoughtful and often laugh-out-loud funny. It was a wonderful, encouraging post. It covered many issues that have been rolling around in my mind for quite some time. She spoke of those issues much more eloquently than I would have. Still, it felt like a cheat to my commitment. I’ve already quit writing the book reviews, having remembered that – though I love reading, and even enjoy reading reviews – I have always hated writing book reviews. Now I’ve sunk to re-blogging, as well.

Sorry.

When the tempo picks up this time of year, it takes me a while to catch up with it!