Thursday, March 26, 2009

We're Heading North, to Oregon

Leaving early to visit a dear Niece and her husband in Beaverton. Have dinner reservations in Portland Saturday night on the waterfront (celebrating the 30th birthday of Niece's husband). Sunday we'll all spend the day in Seattle, one of my most favorite places on this planet. Monday, while the kids are working, the husband and I will scout out coastal property; serious negotiations are currently going on between us to retire there - he DEFINITELY wants to, I'm not so sure.

Problem is, I'm very close to my family, he's not (close to his). I don't want to end up living so far from everyone (except the aforementioned Niece) if ever I am alone again (i.e. husband dies before me). I think it's a reasonable consideration. The deal buster: if I can't live near the ocean (like I do now), I won't move. End of discussion.

I've checked the long-range weather forecast for the area and it'll be raining much of the time we're there, with temps mostly in the mid-40s - ahhhhh, my kind of weather. I think I was a duck in a past life.

See you all Wednesday, take care of each other.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taking the Long Way Home

I don't remember who it was that said that the journey is more important than the destination but stopping to smell the roses was just what the Dr. ordered today.

I had a dental appt this morning - a little minor oral surgery and crown replacement - and had planned to go into work afterwards. No big deal. But as often happens, things didn't quite turn out that way and I ended up not making it to work . . . which didn't disappoint me in the least.

Anyway, when all was said and done, I decided to take the long way home. It's about a 20 minute drive from Capitola/Santa Cruz (the dentist) to my house via (the Pacific Coast) Highway One, or 45 minutes to an hour via the back roads. Since it was such a beautiful day (about 70 degs) I got me an iced latte at Starbucks (for when the novocaine wore off), opened the sun roof, put on the "Classic Vinyl" station on my XM radio and took a favorite route through apple orchards, commercial rose growing fields, and rows and rows of strawberries. I take this route when I have a lot on my mind or just need to think (this was also a favored drive of my Mom's and I always feel her near when I go this way). There's a llama ranch along this stretch of road too and a dozen or more were sunning themselves near the fence as I passed. How can people make rugs out of these beautiful animals?????

The sunshine, the music, the smell of the acacia trees in bloom was just what I needed. I even stopped at a flower stand and bought a bouquet of wildflowers to bring home. Violet "the Destroyer" will be pleased.

This was my unplanned day off and taking the long way home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Odds & Ends, This & That

So, today I've made coconut macaroons (husband's fave), fruitcake bars for work (not yo Grannie's fruitcake) and now I'm making corned beef and cabbage. I know, I know, St. Paddy's Day is Tuesday but next Sunday the aforementioned husband is leaving (on business) to Long Beach (Los Angeles) for 4 days so we're having our Tuesday night dinner tonight (will make some Irish soda bread to go with it too - YUM!) We usually make a lamb stew using a few pints of Guinness and have some friends over, but it didn't work out that way this year. Also, the County Fair is coming up and I'm testing new goodies to enter . . .

Hope you are all well, having a wonderful Sunday and are spending it with people you love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Madoff "deeply sorry and ashamed"

Back in the cowboy days he'd already be hanging from a rope - BASTARD!

My question is: where's the money?
Where did all that money go?
How come no one (in the media, judges, attornies, etc.) is asking THAT question?

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Lane Cake, Scuppernongs and Pickled Pig’s Knuckles"

Since I’ve decided to pretty much boycott watching television in the evenings, except for Leave it To Beaver and M*A*S*H reruns - BUT not before I thank President Obama for finally ending The Chimp’s War on Science by undoing a 2001 Bush directive that banned federal funding for stem cell research - I’ve been spending that time baking and reading more.

Also due to my previously mentioned “foodie tendencies” and my current search for the perfect Lane cake recipe, I stumbled upon a Lesson Plan for teachers recently created by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in, where else, New Orleans, Louisiana

In the Lesson Plan's Foreword, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is mentioned as “a classic example of a great Southern novel filled with culinary information.” It was then that I remembered Harper Lee’s character Maudie Atkinson and her Lane cake, the one with the alcohol kick so powerful that another character, Scout, remarks "Miss Maudie baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight" (Shinny being a slang term for liquor).

I dug out my copy at home and sure enough, Harper Lee breathed life into her characters with food, in fact 52 foods - all Southern favorites - are mentioned in the book like ambrosia, fried chicken, collards, peach pickles, turnip greens, crackling bread, etc. No wonder I loved this book so much, I was a foodie before I even knew what a foodie was!!!

Basically, a Lane cake is a type of white sponge cake made with egg whites that consists of four layers filled with a mixture of egg yolks, butter, sugar, raisins (sometimes coconut and chopped nuts), and whiskey. The cake is frosted with a boiled, fluffy white frosting made of water, sugar, and whipped egg whites and typically served (in the South) at birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other special occasions. The recipe was first printed in Emma Rylander Lane's cookbook "Some Good Things to Eat," which she self-published in 1898.

So ya’ll should thank Rush Limpbrain for my foray into the Southern culinary world, if it weren’t for him becoming the Leader of the GOP (couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!) I wouldn’t have turned off the tube and took up reading the book again.

Two guesses what I'm making for dessert at Easter?