Saturday, July 26, 2008


Okay, so I am sorta stuck on beets. It's like I have just discovered them. I've always liked pickled beets on salad, but that's really the only way I ate them. One of the reasons I like them is that beautiful color. I can't think of any other food that is such a dark, rich, merlot.

Color in food has always been important to me. I don't know when I learned it, but somehow I have always known that a plate with deep colors of food was a healthy, well-balanced plate. Just think about the foods with deep, rich colors----the green of asparagus, broccoli, beans, leafy vegetables, garden peas, zucchini, limes and kiwi; the orange, yellow, and golds of fruits, squash, sweet potatoes, rutabagas; the purple of eggplant and grapes; and the reds of tomatoes, strawberries, and beets. Then, there are the whites that, while filling, aren't quite so nutritious---white potatoes, rice, white breads, and pastas.

A nutritious plate will be a beautiful plate, full of those dark rick colors.
This is a nutritious plate:

And this:

Beets are a storehouse of good nutrition, and that rich, red color--well, it reminds me that color is a great guide to good nutrition. I'm trying harder to make my plates the most colorful in town! And, I'm looking for new ways to prepare those beets!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Night with Friends

When we want to try out and tweak new recipes, we like to invite food-lover friends to join us. I enjoy having other opinions and suggestions, and I must admit I enjoy having an appreicative audience, too. This was one of those nights. I've been on a salmon and root vegetable kick. See previous post. Anyway, our friends joined us. They brought a wonderful salad and fresh peaches to go along with my blueberries for dessert..

This was a stay-in-the-kitchen dinner. To get us started, I prepared fresh figs with Maytag blue cheese, and I rolled out my beet fritters with sour cream, capers, and green onions again. Here's how that plate looked.

Then, we tried the Copper River salmon again, and I tweaked it a bit. I made the fresh relish that I pictured in the previous post, and it was wonderful. We also had the rutabaga fritters with sun dried tomatoes. One of my guests does not like rutabagas or beets, but he ate both tonight and raved about them.
The Copper River salmon won't be available long, but we have enjoyed it twice now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Copper River Salmon

Do you know about Copper River Salmon? Ohmygosh! One taste of this firm red fish, with its rich and nutty flavor, and you will understand why food lovers relish the three to four weeks that fresh Copper River salmon is available each year.

The Copper River flows in the state of Alaska. Almost 300 miles in length, this wild rushing river empties into Prince William Sound at the town of Cordova. Salmon that originate in these pristine waters are challenged by its length and its strong, chill rapids. Consequently, Copper River salmon are strong, robust creatures with a healthy store of natural oils and body fat. These qualities make the salmon among the richest, tastiest fish in the world. Fortunately, fatty Copper River salmon is good for you, as it is loaded with Omega-3 oils---you know, the good stuff.

For several years, the chef at our club, who was a master with fresh fish, had Copper River salmon flown in during May and June each year. It was always a treat that we looked forward to with much anticipation. Hubby is not generally a salmon man; but even he enjoyed those special servings.

Well, that same chef now works for Sam's Club, believe it or not. He catered a cooking school and dinner party last weekend to which I was invited, and he told me that he had Copper River Salmon at Sam's---major shock---and he would call when he got another shipment in. I got that call, and I ran by today. His case was full of those beautiful, red, glistening fillets, and I came home with a two-pound one. Hubby was skeptical---won't be fresh, will be too strong, will smell up the house, yada, yada. What does he know!

Anyway, I rushed home, cut that big fillet into five portions, and began the prep---sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil rubbed all over. Then I slipped them into my very hot iron skillet--with a few drops of EVOO---and seared them three minutes on one side, then two minutes on the other. Then, I slipped them into a 425 oven for about five minutes. While they were cooking, I whisked up a mustard horseradish vinaigrette to serve over the top. With the salmon, I had rutabaga fritters with raisins and some roasted tomatoes I had in the frig. Not bad for Thursday night dinner. Hubby even had seconds.
I'll get more of that salmon tomorrow! I might do something that looks like this:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Boys or Girls?

I happened to run across an article today titled Is it Harder to Raise Boys or Girls? You can find it here. We were a family with one of each, so as I read that article I began thinking about my own experience. While I noticed definite differences between our son and daughter, indeed almost opposites, I was never sure whether those differences were gender based or birth-order based or even personality based. I just knew that both were challenging.

However, this article makes some important points, and the author concludes that boys are more challenging early on, and girls become more challenging beginning in the preteen years. Yep, that's my experience, too! The good news is that both children grew up and became wonderful adults.

Now, those children are raising active, aggressive, exuberant, rambunctious little boys who are right on schedule to grow and learn and investigate and challenge the world around them. Parenting is not an easy job, but it is oh, so rewarding!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TT # 18: Ways I Use My Day Planner

I began using a day planner twenty years ago. At that time my days were very hectic. I had two school-aged children; I was working and going to school; and I had a busy social life. I knew I couldn't keep everything straight, so I selected a planner brand , and I have been using the same one all the years. It is like my right arm. I always have it with me. For this Thursday Thirteen, I thought I would list the uses I have found for the planner.

  1. My work schedule. Not only do I list appointments, I also list tasks I completed, phone calls made or received, and decisions made. By studying that planner, I can tell you just about anything regarding my work. (1999: August 25 I served on a search committee)

  2. Personal appointments. Doctor appointments, dentists, meetings with teachers, curch meetings, etc. Yep--I have them documented. (1998: May 1, son had dental appt.)

  3. Children's school assignments. One child was a self starter, and I never had to ask about homework or tests, etc. The other was a procrastinator, so I wrote down when the tests were, what grades he made, really anything about school, so I wouldn't be surprised. I didn't like surprises. (1992: Sept. 24, son's interim report card, B in English)

  4. Church. I documented our attendance and involvement---meetings, chairmanships, practices, programs, children's activities, etc. (1994: August 26, church supper club)

  5. Volunteer work. Hubby and I were always chairing this organization or PTO or civic club, so those meetings were always on the calendar. (1989: April 25, chaired Symphony Gala)

  6. My doctoral program. I went back to school with a husband, eighth grader, and fifth grader at home (yes, it was a family decision), so I marked the weekends I had to be away for class, important assignments, and important dates like dissertation research and defense.
  7. (1991: April 27, to library for dissertation research)
  8. Holiday events. For years, when the children were small, we had all manner of extended family to join us for Christmas, so I always scheduled the arrival of each family member and noted the names of those who joined us. (1994: Christmas Day--left on family vacation to San Francisco)

  9. Dinner parties. I listed guests and menus. (2005: January 10--Solomon Dinner Party, 11 guests, shrimp shooters, rosemary cornbread with figs and cream cheese, etc, Beaujolais Nouveau)

  10. Big parties. We do that, too. I list the events, the number of people who attended, the menu, etc. (2005: Oct. 23, Biketoberfest (biker party) at our farm, 49 attended, hot dogs and trimmings)

  11. Reminders. I wrote reminders to myself to make appointments, to follow up on projects, etc. (1994: April 20, call Thompson's Floor Covering)

  12. Weather. I document extreme weather--storms, hot, wet, cold. (1995: Oct. 5, 6 college closed for Hurricane Opal)

  13. Deaths. I list the deaths of friends or family members. (2005: April 10, my favorite uncle died)

  14. Trips and Guests. (1999: August 11, leave for Vail)

These planners serve as my memory, my reminders, my journal, my diary, my log. I just don't see how a PDA will work for me. How do you use a day planner?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kick-Back Weekend at the Beach

WHO: Five friends
WHERE: The Gulf Coast
WHAT: Weekend Getaway
WHY: Just because
DINNER: Sushi, Shrimp, Salad, Sandwiches at the condo
BEVERAGES: See pics above
MOST INTERESTING SIGHT: wind turbine generator systems shipped in to Pensacola
WEEKEND PHRASE: Get out that 9 mm Glock!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

TT #17 What MBTI Type Are You?

I'm a big believer in the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI). It is a personality assessment that I have used at work and at home. It is helpful for work groups and family groups. When our children were teens, we typed each family member, and it helped us to understand and appreciate each other more. Now, we know why Dad is so meticulous, why Son was so consumed with his friends and social life; why Daughter was so much like her Dad, and why Mom wanted to orchestrate everything and everyone. For this Thursday Thirteen, I want to tell you a little about my type---ENTJ. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly about ENTJs:

  1. ENTJs have a natural tendency to marshall and direct. This may be expressed with the charm and finesse of a world leader or with the insensitivity of a cult leader.

  2. The ENTJ requires little encouragement to make a plan.

  3. ENTJs are often "larger than life" in describing their projects or proposals. This ability may be expressed as salesmanship, story-telling facility or stand-up comedy.

  4. ENTJs are decisive. They see what needs to be done, and frequently assign roles to their fellows. Few other types can equal their ability to remain resolute in conflict, sending the valiant (and often leading the charge) into the mouth of hell. When challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative. Alternatively she may unleash an icy gaze that serves notice: the ENTJ is not one to be trifled with.

  5. "Unequivocating" expresses the resoluteness of the ENTJ's dominant function.

  6. Improvising on the fly is something many ENTJs do very well.

  7. ENTJs are usually well informed, well read, and they enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others.

  8. ENTJs are skilled at persuading others, achieving results, making decisions, and conducting long range planning.

  9. ENTJs, representing only slightly more than 2% of the population, are bound to lead others, and from an early age they can be observed taking command of groups.

  10. ENTJs, more than any other type, desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem able to communicate that vision to others.

  11. ENTJs are tolerant of established procedures, but they can and will abandon any procedure when it can be shown to be ineffective in accomplishing its goal.

  12. ENTJs have a strong natural urge to give structure and direction wherever they are-to harness people in the field and to direct them to achieve distant goals.

  13. The nickname for the ENTJ is Field Marshall.

I'd be interested in knowing your Type. If you don't know it, you can take a free assessment here. I took it, and my ENTJ showed up again---guess I've not mellowed with age!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Love Summer Suppers

We never know what's for dinner at our house during the week. Hubby and I are easy to please; we usually have whatever's in the frig or something simple. It might be a pimento cheese sandwich, cheese and fruit, cereal, or sometimes a full meal if the cook is inspired.

We went to the farm after work---well, only one of us works now---and I raided the fig tree while Hubby took care of some chores. When we arrived back home, we remembered that a neighbor had brought some okra by last night. Hmmm, sounds like the beginning of a wonderful summer supper. So, we had a little fried okra, sliced tomatoes, and fresh figs. I also had some Maytag Blue Cheese that is so creamy which we enjoyed with the tomatoes and the figs. A little left-over wine, and Voila! Yummy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back Home Safe and Sound

To Tampa and back safely---here are the stats:

Route: Dothan, Bainbridge, Tallahassee, Perry, Cross City, Chiefland, Homosassa Springs,Tampa.

Distance: 348 miles---about 30 miles shorter than the I-75 route; 6 hrs., 15 min.

Highest price for gas: $4.09

Sites visited: Tampa Aquarium (the pic at the top was taken from the third floor observatory toward the harbour); Indian Rocks Beach; International Mall

Fireworks: 15 minutes show, from Channelside, watched from Elizabeth's living room window.

Wake up time: 7:00 a.m. EDT---when Alexander arises, everyone arises!

Best sound: Alexander's giggle

Best sight: Elizabeth's beautiful smile because she finally feels good!

Memorable meals: around the Castro table, with Alexander tucked in for the night.

Wines enjoyed: Red Belly Black, Australian Shiraz, 2005

Best times: girl time with Elizabeth while the guys vegged out in front of the umpteen inch, flat screen, LCD, hang-on-the-wall, surround sound, whatcha-muh-call-it.

A few pics:

Worst sight: it had to do with a man and a thong. I've got pictures.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TT #16 What July 4th Means to Me

As we approach the holiday weekend, I am reminded of the reasons we celebrate and the activities surrounding our celebrations. I've listed some of those below.

  1. Our flag. I love to see the red, white, and blue flag flying.

  2. Merry Old England. I think about England because our dear friends there always congratulate us, the colonists, on the occasion of our separation. Mighty big of them, I think.

  3. Patriotism. I am an American, and I am proud of it. When the going gets tough, we need to pull together.

  4. Fireworks. What's July 4 without fireworks?

  5. Barbecues. All across the country, families and friends will be gathered around grills to prepare their regional specialities.

  6. Hot weather. For us in the south, it's always hot.

  7. Patriotic music. Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful, the Stars and Stripes Forever, This Land is Your Land, and God Bless America always stir my soul.

  8. Water. So many of us head to the lake or the beach for our celebrations. We'll be going to Tampa.

  9. Freedom. That's what this holiday is about, really. It is an opportunity to think about those freedoms we enjoy today.

  10. Our troops. How can we celebrate without thinking of the brave men and women, now and in the past, who fought for those freedoms!

  11. Watermelon and homemade ice cream. Is that just a southern thing?

  12. Family. We just like to be together for special celebrations.

  13. Travel. Many of us travel over the holiday, but maybe this year not as many. Whatever we do, let's be safe.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Alexander, Here We Come!

We're off to Tampa later this week to spend the 4th with the Castros, and we are so excited. Tampa is a wonderful city, and we love to visit. We enjoy the canal and the boats right outside their condo building; the cruise ships arriving and departing just a few hundred yards away; the neighborhood restaurants we can walk to; and the lovely drives and beaches. But most of all, we enjoy seeing our daughter and her family. Little Alexander, at seventeen months, is changing so fast, and we want to see the latest changes. He is saying some words--in Portuguese and in English--and he is expressing himself in so many ways. He will have a little brother by year end, and we are excited about that, too. Alexander, here we come!

Happy July 4th

July the 4th is just around the corner. At our house, we're already getting in the mood. Brooks loves to play with the small flags that I have stored in the umbrella stand next to the door. I keep several American flags along with a couple Brazilian flags. When the Castros come to visit, I display both flags ouside. Anyway, Brooks like to play with the American flags---and that means we have to march. He hands everyone a flag and we have to line up and march through the house. Sometimes he leads; sometimes we do. But he has great fun! Happy July 4th to all!