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Archive for 2012

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Sep
25
2012

Love Those Spouts!

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I didn’t go completely vegan tonight as I added a TBSP of butter to my sauteed Brussels Sprouts.  They were so delicious.  The Hubs and Ben had steaks and baked potatoes with their spouts and I had a baked yam. Nothing added just a tasty baked yam.  We do love spouts and found this recipe years ago and have made it so many times…always a hit.

  • Dice about 1/2 onion (I used a red onion)
  • Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • a pound of sprouts trimmed and sliced as for slaw
  • Pink Himalayan salt to taste (but any salt will do)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender and add sliced sprouts. Cook stirring constantly until sprouts change colors. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

bs2

Sep
20
2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And fries the nerves.

As of today my husband has been away 40 days.  Quite a few important things have happened since he was last home.  I turned 53.  Our middle daughter moved to Ottawa.  Our 35th wedding anniversary came and went.  Many, many tears have been shed.  There have been sleep filled days and sleepless nights.  And if all goes well I will pick him up at the airport 7 hours from now.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know this hasn’t been the roughest time of my life for sure. Not even close.  But it has been trying.  I think I shall never agree to move a child any distance alone again.  I haven’t talked about that week from hell but I think now that my husband is on his way home, I can talk about it without crying.

Hannah is our middle daughter, fourth child and has been in love with Canada since she was about 12.  Since her cousin introduced her to hockey and she was immediately in love with all things Canadian.  She is now 24 so this move has not been on a whim.

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Doesn’t she look happy?  At this point in the trip we were smiling to keep from crying.  In public.  The trip, as I have said, has been in the planning stages for many years.  And Hannah has saved her money, kept a 4.0, applied and was accepted to Carleton University in Ottawa (GO RAVENS!) for the Fall and Winter semesters.  All her financial aid transferred without a hitch.  She got in the dorm she requested (miracle), all but one credit transferred (REAL miracle) and so tickets were bought, bags were packed and off we went August 28th.  The day before her 24th birthday.  We had flights to Burlington, VT because I wanted to rent a car in the US and Ottawa is just a 4 hour drive.  Our trip to Burlington was smooth and uneventful.  We arrived on time.  Our luggage however, did not.  Well, two pieces of the 4 we checked arrived.  It’s okay we said.  This happened to Dad once and they will deliver it tomorrow to our hotel in Ottawa.  So off we went to our first night spent in Burlington, with plans to drive on to Ottawa the next morning and surely our luggage would arrive that evening (Wednesday) if it didn’t beat us there.

We both knew in the back of our minds that things had just gone too smoothly.  We kept asking ourselves and each other what was going go wrong.  We didn’t want to jinx ourselves but come on, for real??? TOO smooth for comfort.  But we woke up on Wednesday morning, Hannah a year older and anxious to celebrate her birthday in her new country.  So off we went.  We get to customs and immigration at the border.  And again, smooth as silk.  All the papers were in order. Hannah had done her homework on this.  The border patrol was even duly impressed with her thoroughness. So student visa in hand, border patrol happy to give us passage, we were back on the road.  But before we get going, let us call home to check on Ben since Hurricane Issac was threatening.  Oh, did I not mention a hurricane headed for home?  Yeah.  Icing on the cake.  Huh?  Phones don’t seem to want to work.  Oh well.  We will check the setting when we get to our hotel.  Probably don’t have something set correctly for international calls.  No biggy. Oh and I can’t talk to my husband because they are moving his rig and he has no communications.  Yay.

Still, all in all, a very uneventful trip.  Could have been SO MUCH WORSE.  You have to tell yourself that.  Constantly.  And knowing that is true doesn’t really help in that moment.  But we arrived at our hotel, without getting too lost in the big city.

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Lovely hotel.  Middle of Ottawa and not far from Carleton.  Perfect.  Almost.  Canadians don’t  really understand the amount of air conditioning that I require but that is just a small thing really.  Comparatively.  The front desk clerk, who we quickly were on first name basis with (Alex) assured us that he would ring us the minute our luggage arrived.  We got ourselves cleaned up and set out for a birthday supper for Hannah at The Black Tomato.  WONDERFUL food if you are ever in Ottawa.

Now I am going to be honest, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur in my memory.  When I say I was stressed, I am not kidding.  I will spare you all the details and bumps in the road but let’s just say we didn’t have any cell phone communication until I bought two disposable Canadian cell phones.  Verizon did everything they possibly could to rectify the situation to no avail…until after I was home.  We drove BACK to Burlington on Friday and picked up our two, beat to hell and back, pieces of luggage that had been to four different airports, in three days, none of them Ottawa.  Let’s see…Detroit, Montreal, Laguardia and finally to Burlington.  When we found out they were within driving distance we said “KEEP THEM THERE!” we will come and get them.  So, when Hannah got out of orientation on Friday afternoon.  We set out for Burlington.  Yes that was August 31st.  And what weekend is that??? RIIIIGGGHHHT…Labor Day weekend.  So we spent nearly 3 hours at the border waiting to cross.  Bright side: by 11 p.m. we had the missing luggage in our possession.  Oh, I didn’t say, all of Hannah’s prescription medication was in one of the lost bags.  Uh huh.  I didn’t know she checked it and she didn’t know not to.  That will never happen again.  While we are in the states, we try again to get the cell phones working.  Nope.  Okay, we can’t worry about that any more.  No more energy on something we can’t fix.

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So back to Ottawa we go. We only have a couple of days to spend together so we were going to try and enjoy them.  All and all we had met a few challenges but so far we hadn’t actually come unglued.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we are strong women.  We weren’t going to be broken. By the way Ottawa is a beautiful, clean city and one of the most multicultural places I have ever been.

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Honestly, picture taking was the last thing on our minds most of the time and I didn’t get nearly the pictures I had planned to.  But next trip I will :)

Saturday night we enjoyed another meal at The Black Tomato with one of Hannah’s long time friends and begin to unwind and relax a little.  We had several real, sobbing melt downs during the week but we made it.  We came out on the other side and Sunday I headed back to Burlington for my return home Monday morning.  It was a beautiful drive down through the Champlain Islands and on to Brandon for a very brief visit with my friends there.

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Hurricane Issac spared our area and for that I am thankful though very devastating for so many along the Gulf coast :(

Two more weeks have passed.  Some crying on both sides.  Hannah experiencing some homesickness.  Me missing her terribly.  But this is a chance of a lifetime and I am happy she is getting the opportunity to experience something outside her comfort zone.

So here you have the condensed version of our adventures in Canada.  With Jerry coming home this afternoon, don’t be surprised if I am scarce for a few days.  We have a lot of catching up to do.  My goals for today are: Get myself presentable, get food in the crockpot (meat for the guys ~ veggies for me), pick up over the house, wipe down the bathroom and not burst into tears when I see him.  As much as I have cried over the past three + weeks, I expect to be a bit emotional at his homecoming.  We had all intentions of starting a remodeling project when he got home and had talked about it almost every phone conversation.  But by yesterday’s phone calls we were to the point of  “maybe we will just hang out and do some gardening”.  So I will have garden updates for you but I would imagine the remodel will be for another time. I have missed my husband and he has missed me.  And just hanging out is underrated :)

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,

Susan

Sep
16
2012

Mail is here!

Really good mail.  REALLY good.  My lab results came yesterday.  And if I were to be completely honest, I see them as a gift.  And a call to do better about taking care of myself.  Every one of my numbers was within normal range and some of them, like my good cholesterol, was superb.  So basically, if I would lose this weight, exercise even a little more,  there is no reason I cannot forgo medications for many more years.  And live a long, healthy life.  Happy I have covered.  Healthy I worry a little more about.  I have a horrible family history for heart disease.  And to see numbers like I saw yesterday, well I am fool not to take advantage of them and bring them even closer to ideal.

I think beating cravings will be second in difficulty only to exercise in what ultimately is a change in my lifestyle. Following closely behind will be cooking differently for other people and denying myself what they eat.  But when I compare these things to real difficulties, they seem to fall in to their rightful places among challenges rather than difficulties.  I have done much more demanding things in my life.  Things that push me emotionally take a much bigger toll on me than denying myself a carbonated beverage.  I have to keep a list in my mind of my most difficult days in order to have perspective and prevent myself from wavering from my determination to make changes in my life.  I have faced much more arduous tasks head on, full throttle, completed them without giving up and come out on the other side with most of my faculties. Why should changing what boils down to what I use for fuel be harder?  It shouldn’t be.

My paternal grandmother had more influence on me than probably any other person, including my own parents.  Publicly she was very reserved, refined and just by looking at her you knew she had an handle on things.  She had tremendous resolve.  Nothing scared her.  Nothing.  Not life, not death.  I never heard her say “I can’t”.  She probably said “I won’t” but those times were scarce as well.  She was in fact, a very determined woman.  In private however, she was warm and loving and extraordinarily funny.  I rarely saw her show sadness like my mother’s family did.  She was quiet with her emotions and cried in private.  My mother’s side of the family is where I developed the full blown emotions.  Fully happy, fully sad, fully mad and at times fully berserk.  Never much for doing things quietly or half way, emotions were laid bare for all the world.  Public displays of whatever emotion was called for were commonplace.  Honest, raw emotion.  And painfully bold honesty.  Honest I can be.  And as much influence as my paternal grandmother had on me, I am afraid I am not as reserved and quiet as she was.  I have regretted  that many times.  But baring my soul, being boldly honest about my shortcomings and sometimes brutally hard on myself, comes easy for me.

A dear friend of mine commented to me after reading my previous post: You just put it all out there, don’t you?…I applaud your honesty and your determination. We might want to hold the applause.  This is going to be a struggle of gargantuan proportions.  This isn’t one of those things where I can get into Mommy Mode or Daughter Mode.  Nope this is about me.  And as a daughter, mommy, grandmother I can say it is so much easier to be selfish with myself.  Sometimes I have to be.  My feelings, needs, wants have to take a backseat to what is happening right before me.  We all face situations every day that demand our constant and undivided attention.  Many times we are just too physically exhausted or emotionally drained to even think about denying ourselves that cookie or candy or soda.  We deserve it, right?  Yes and no. Yes we deserve to treat ourselves but no, that isn’t really the best way to do it.

The cravings will come and sometimes I will be in a weak moment and give in.  That is not an excuse then to just fall off the wagon and wallow in the muck.  I must then forgive myself  for that cookie or soda, get back up, brush myself off and determine myself to do my  best to be stronger next time.

I went to a lovely housewarming for a dear friend yesterday and I did partake of a few things I won’t normally eat.  My goal for today is to make another 24 hours without a diet soda.  And without a sweet other than fruit.  To eat a nice lunch, taking time to prepare and sit and eat it, then a healthy supper and sit and eat it.  Giving myself time to enjoy my food, concentrate on the taste, the texture, the aromas and be satisfied with a reasonable portion. And get some housework done so I can plant fall garden in the next few days.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,

Susan

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