Friday, August 18, 2006

Pluck

The post that I had planned for today must wait. Pluck is down. Why does that matter? Because my post has several imbedded links and the sites I want to link to are on Pluck. (Pluck is my RSS reader, in case you were wondering.) And why does that matter, you ask. Because dummy here doesn't have all the blogs I refer to in my Favorites and I can't remember everyone's address! So, until Pluck comes back online it will just have to wait. And it was a good one too! Really!

Another Day

After my meltdown the other night (for which I humbly apologize), I started wondering how many other women strive for perfection based on society's ideal as presented in magazines and television. We buy these glossy magazines picturing gorgeous homes and dream that, some day, we'll have a house that looks just like that. With the big kitchens and classy bathrooms. French doors that lead out to a secret garden with a pond and waterfall. Beautiful garden plots with not a weed in sight. Show-stopping gladiolus that win blue ribbons at the fair. Mile-high Lemon Meringue pies and Paella. We can do it! Hell, here's the recipe. And it gives us step-by-step instructions for putting in that pond and waterfall. All it takes is time, back-breaking labor and money.

And then we look around at our homes and our yards and our gardens. We look at our too-small kitchens and our worn out carpet. We see the bugs are eating the lettuce and the weeds! Oh my - the weeds! Instead of beautiful terra cotta patios we have grass beaten down by dogs and kids. Our garden paths are rabbit runs. Reality seems to pale in comparison to those glossy magazines.

Thank God for the internet and people who share their accomplishments, no matter how small. Like Natalia's Financier that she loves but could never find in Denver, so she made it her own self. (I thought she was looking for a banker!) Or Tanna's Fougasse bread that she thinks didn't come out quite right, but is so happy to be finally baking in her newly remodeled kitchen after a horrible leak completely destroyed her old one. Thank God for Kate at My Kitchen Garden as well as Farm Girl Fare showing us her garden plots gone to weeds or dug up by dogs. But, look there! Look at that volunteer basil. How cool is that?

Thankfully I've stopped buying those stupid magazines. Now my role models are people like Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. Although I'm completely jealous of her great pictures, I could care less about making tarts or cakes that are so beautiful they make your heart skip a beat. And Joe Pastry who weekly makes some kind of bread and a dessert. We never get to actually SEE these items because he is busy analyzing his weekly projects right down to the molecular level. No pictures, but by God you're gonna learn something! Then there's Janet from The Old Foodie. It's hard to describe what Janet writes. She's a foodie who loves history, and where she gets her information is a total mystery to me. But it's interesting to see the way cooking has evolved. The girls over at Go Fug Yourself have taught me what style really is with side-splitting humor. And The Waiter who, through his gentle dialog, teaches us all about how to live a good and balanced life.

There's so many more, but you get the picture. Life is full of changes, some for the better, some for the worse. I guess its what you do with them that matters. And quite frankly I don't know anyone who lives in a perfect house with a perfect yard and garden. Or has the time OR the money to do all that crap. And at my age the back-breaking labor part is definitely out.

Maybe I should buy me a red hat. I'll wear it pulling my weeds.

Note To Self

Note to self: Never post when you're tired and have been drinking wine.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blog Overload

We just got done eating a wonderful meal - basically completely from our garden. Tomatoes, onion, garlic and shrimp in a wine reduction sauce. It was great. But, after dinner, DH wanted me to "blog" about this delicious dinner. And I am really fighting this notion.

I use an RSS feed reader to keep up to date with my blogs. The only trouble is I have literally hundreds of blogs that I subscribe to. What that means is every day that the author posts to their blogs, my reader picks it up. Of those hundreds of blogs I subscribed to, I only religiously read a few. And they're not all food blogs, by any means. Waiterrant is one of my favorites. As is Everything is Wrong With Me by Jason Mulgrew. Not to mention Opinionista. Or Damn Interesting. Or Go Fug Youself. What I'm trying to say is that there is not enough hours in the day to read everything of interest. Kinda like "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine.

I used to subscribe to "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine and it used to drive me crazy. Those beautiful pictures of the perfect garden; or the perfect kitchen; or the perfect meal. And then (as if that wasn't enough) I started subscribing to Martha Stewart Living. What a beautiful magazine. What scrumptious recipes! Where BHG left off, MSL picked up. It was meant to inspire me to greater achievements. What is did was make me depressed about the way I lived.

Don't get me wrong, I don't live in a hovel by any means. But, I just couldn't - didn't want to - make my home into the showcase that these magazines endorsed. True, with MSL their intent was to inspire you to be more that you thought you could be. But, who has the time! I work full time, am a grandma (full time) and try to keep my house in a semi-semblance of order. Kinda like every other woman I know.

It occurred to me the other day that my blog list is getting kinda like my Better Homes and Gardens. It had grown to monster dimensions. Something that I could no longer keep up with. And I felt guilty about that. Here are all these wonderful people writing these wonderful things on their blogs, and I didn't have the time to read them. Not only were they better cooks/gardeners/craftsmen/writers/photographers than I, but I wasn't soaking up their words of wisdom! What an ungrateful wench.

So, what did I do... I deleted every highlighted entry so I wouldn't feel so guilty about not reading them. I was caught in the BHG trap. Nothing I had or could do was as good as what I was reading.

And then that started me feeling really guilty about my own blog. Instead of this being a place where I could just let my hair down and speak my mind without the worry of social censorship, I started to try and write things I thought the other bloggers might find interesting.

Well, FUCK THAT. I'm not that interesting. I'm just me. I'm not a haute cuisine chef. I'm not a pastry meister. Whereas I might like a "light" supper, that always entails meat of some kind. To just eat a salad for supper... well, that just ain't gonna happen. I made Farmgirl Fares summer in a bowl tonite and it was fantastic. But I paired it with shrimp. And if it wasn't shrimp, it would be steak. I don't care how hot it is, I want my fucking MEAT.

Ok, forgive me (you un-named masses). I just needed to get that off my chest. I wish I could bake like Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venice. Or garden like Kate of Farmgirl Fare. Or keep my house like Flylady. Or plan my meals like Leann Ely (see Flylady). Sorry. It ain't gonna happen. I'm 55 years old. I love my husband, my daughter and my grandson. That's it. The summer rain will fall. The weeds will grow. The grass needs mowed. And another person is calling from jail and wants his bond reduced. Take a number honey 'cause it aint gonna happen today.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's Here!


I finally got my postcard today! It came from Natalia of From Our Kitchen blog. She had such a nice note on it. She's 19 years old, a college student with a passion for photography and baking. She hopes one day to go to baking school.

Thank you so much Natalia! It's a beautiful card and a lovely message. I wish you all the best in your studies. OH - and thank you so much for the scone recipe! I like scones, too and I will definitely give this one a try. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Postcards From The World

Posted by Picasa
Today is the day I received my secret Postcards From The World recipient's name and address. I was so excited! Like Ivonne, I too was concerned that my postcard might not be good enough. (Unlike Ivonne, my photo sucks however.) I was afraid it might not be appropriate to send someone I don't even know a card from a religious shrine. What if they're not Catholic? Or even Christian? What if I offend them with my choice of postcards?

But then I realized that this shrine - although it might be fundamentally Catholic - was a testament to faith everywhere. It's a man-made expression of faith and love in a power greater than himself. Plus it's what West Bend is known for. People from all over the world visit the Grotto of the Redemption by the thousands every year. How could I not send this card to my secret Postcards From The World recipient.

So here you are secret Postcards From The World friend. I hope you like it. Maybe it will inspire you to visit West Bend, Iowa one day and we can meet. Who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Baby, It's Hot Outside!


Man! Is it hot! With a temperature of 96 degrees F and a heat index of 112, you most definitely need something to cool you down while you're sitting outside by the grill. I don't know about you, but when I need something cool and refreshing on a hot summer day, my thoughts always turn to frozen margaritas. So I naturally went looking for a Party In A Bucket frozen margarita mix this past week. I don't know whether you've seen these gems in your part of the world, but I"ve been able to find this product every year - until now. I've checked all the stores in my part of the country and, for some reason, they are not carrying them anymore. I was really bummed.

Basically the Party In A Bucket is nothing more than the margarita (or daiquiri) mix along with some water sold in a bucket to which you add your tequila (or rum for daiquiris), stir and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours until it turns into a slushy, yummy, ice cold slice of heaven. Now what was I going to do?

That's when I remembered this recipe. I'd copied it down from somewhere (or someone) years ago and stuck it in my recipe book. I hadn't made it in a couple of years, but I remembered you mixed it up, poured it into a gallon ice cream bucket and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. And (more importantly) I remembered it was goooooood!

So, here is my own version of a Party In A Bucket. I hope you like it as much as I do. Mix up a batch today and share it with your friends at your next pool party or barbecue.

Frozen Drink
(Not very ingenious, I know. My recipe doesn't have a name - perhaps you could suggest something?)

9 cups water
2 cups dark rum
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade
1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
3 Tablespoons grenadine
1 Tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

To prepare:

Combine everything in a freezer container (I use a gallon ice cream bucket) and mix well. Freeze to desired consistency.

P.S.
This is my entry into Meeta's Monthly Mingle - Beat the Heat. Enjoy! Posted by Picasa