Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I like about growing rosemary in the summer

After growing whatever I could in my raised garden beds, I always found rosemary in that same back corner raising another generation of herself. Seriously, rosemary is a strong woman in the garden. I love her rich and glorious scent. Her flavor is simply summer, itself.

Once you find your rosemary has turned into a large bush, it's time to get creative in the kitchen. It's just organic how you find your way with a garden. When one plant starts to take over and you have to cut it back, you find yourself coddling the plant which was the early underdog, the one who just needed a little more sunlight to bloom.  Or maybe a little stake to bolster the tall, skinny sprouts.

But let's get back to the rosemary. It's blooming like crazy this summer. Here are a few ideas you can take to the kitchen right now (but don't expect exact measurements, this is not a chef's blog).

  • Mix rosemary, sea salt and garlic together with some butter. Put it on top of veggies or fish and bake.YUM.
  •  Put some fresh chopped rosemary in a bowl, mix it together with goat cheese and save for later to eat with chopped veggies or crackers.
  •  Put together some skewered chicken/onions/mushrooms/bell peppers to put on the grill. Use rosemary twigs instead of toothpicks to hold the ingredients together while giving them a wonderful flavor boost.
  •  Try some goat cheese with rosemary in your mac n' cheese dish. Add some cooked bacon and figs for a totally rockin', Mediterranean flavor boost.
  • I love taking a two-day old French baguette and cutting it into 1-inch cubes. Throw the cubes onto a baking tray, drizzle olive oil, sea salt and plenty of fresh, chopped rosemary onto cubes. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes and throw onto your Caesar salad. I do this at least once a week.
  • Infused Rosemary Olive Oil: clean the rosemary and then pat dry. Heat 1 cup olive oil at low heat.  Put sprigs of rosemary into glass containers and then add heated oil. Close with bottle top for a week. After that, you'll have a wonderfully flavored, infused rosemary olive oil. Use it however you desire. Give a bottle of it to your next door neighbor. She'll love you forever.
Simple. Clean. Fresh and delish. That's all for now. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Making Cat's Tongues (French cookies)

When you feel like making something special in the kitchen it doesn't have to take very long. Here's a cookie recipe my daughter and I loved for its clean taste and cool name:

Cat's Tongue Cookies (Langue de Chat en Francais)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind (extra)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg.
  2. Beat in the vanilla, lemon rind and flour.
  3. Drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° F for 6 minutes.
These delicate and buttery cookies will have slightly browned edges when cooked perfectly. My daughter and I love them for their sweet and delicate flavor. This cookie is like a designer dress with all the right edges...with the fresh taste of lemony goodness.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

How Writers Deal with Distraction

Managing Time and Interruptions

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes from a paper cut to a teenager who needs to talk right now. Learn when to allow distractions and when to close the door. Learning how to effectively channel the countless interruptions and distractions into something positive is a critical skill for a writer to master.

Writers come from every walk of life and work in various ways to get their jobs done. There are some significant boundaries that all writers need to have in place whether they work in Capetown or Cape Cod, in a high rise office or a back bedroom.

Prerequisite to Writing

Being unfocused isn't a bad thing as long as it is controllable. It is usually a prerequisite to writing, a period of time in which the mind floats, searching for a place to land.

That unfocused, intentional drift is an incredibly important time in which to gather ideas and choose a topic or a poem's direction. Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975, author of Our Town) touches on this sensory ride in his quote, "The stuff of which masterpieces are made drifts about the world waiting to be clothed in words."

Find Your Focus

Clarity is that place where all writers suddenly feel as though a veil has been lifted and pure intention is harnessed. This is where ideas are lined up like horses at the track, ready to blaze straight out of the gates.

Once focus takes hold, the writing journey begins in earnest. George Lucas said it so succinctly, "Your focus determines your reality."

What's Distracting You?

Most writers suffer from the same group of everyday, common distractions:
  • phones ringing
  • email overload
  • home and yard work
  • pets and child care
  • exercise for health
  • time for friends and family
If writing is what you love to do, what is the problem? Most likely, the problem comes from not setting boundaries for yourself.

Get Organized and Set Boundaries

When setting boundaries this includes where and when to write. Writing from a central room in a house with pets and children running around is asking for trouble. Turning off a phone does not make you a bad person.
Simple steps to create order :
  • set up a writing space where interruptions will be minimal
  • turn off the phone (let voice mail take over)
  • allow yourself a set amount of time to read emails, check the news
  • make lunch time a special time for eating, talking, being playful
  • allow yourself a 30 minute time to exercise every day (walk, do yoga, pilates, zumba).
Once you take yourself seriously as a writer, so will everyone else. Creating order is simply creating a space in each day for writing to come first. Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said, "At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammars and dictionaries are excellent for distraction." Now there's a way to regain focus!

Use Everything as Inspiration for Writing

Viewing distractions as inspiration in some way can help alleviate the feelings of annoyance and impatience. Stephen King said it best when he wrote, "In truth, I've found that any day's routine interruptions and distractions don't much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways. It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster's shell that makes the pearl." Exactly!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trend Spotting - Mustache and All

Trend Spotting Spring 2012
As a bit of a quiet rebel, mostly attuned to fashion with a sense of humor, I love the dastardly mustache trend. But I “mustache” you, could you let go of your serious fashion sense for a moment to allow me this silly, retro-vibed trend spotting?
As I strolled through a local mall recently, I found myself drawn to the one item that has been reportedly flying off the shelves; the black eyeglasses with a mustache dangling from a chain.  I had to try them on and then I had to have my picture taken in them just to show my kids how hipster I can be when pushed to the edge, except no one was pushing!
Not only are the eyeglasses selling like penny candy, but so are the long, black necklaces with a mustache pendant and temporary mustache tatoos.
Some people believe the fingerstache found its way into our youth culture through a popular reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. When the Kardashian sisters drew mustaches on their fingers, they helped raise this comical trend to its current hot spot.
As the Kardashian darlings sported vintage-style fingerstaches, hipsters everywhere found the humor in it and resurrected the old-fashioned mustache to life again, only this time on chains and eyeglasess. Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have also been seen wearing the black, twisted mustache of eras gone by.
When you think about it, fashion moves in cycles from severe to playful, from serious and classy to bright and whimsical.  A trend like this one, a little mustache on a chain really just asks to be laughed at, nothing more, nothing less.
Or could it be more dastardly than that? (Sounds of loud laughter, boots stomping quickly away, and theater fades to black.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So, let's break it down, one step at a time.

What good thing did you do for yourself today? Eat a handful of blueberries instead of chips? Walk/Run the dogs instead of just letting them out for a minute? Put in the workout video instead of the movie you wanted to see?

Mindful Living

Every minute of every day allows us to make a good choice or just cop out. If I make one good choice every day, it's still not enough. I need to make a couple of them every day.

I'm working on taking that up to six good choices a day. Six little steps to good health and mindful living. It shouldn't be that hard.

Six little steps that make a big difference in our lives:
  • Drink more water than I want to. If we drink half our body weight in ounces, we are on the way to better health.
  • Work out 30 minutes EVERY day. This doesn't have to be that hard. Of course I love my 10 minute workouts, but instead of doing three of those every day, I'd rather get my workout done in 30 minutes and be ahead of the game. I love Jackie Warner's 30 minute video and Jillian Michaels' 30 minute workouts. These women are my heros.
  • Play! If I want to do something different, I go to a zumba or yoga class just to keep it all a little more interesting. And when I want wind in my hair, I get on my bike and ride a couple of miles. None of this should be that hard, we should WANT to do this every day, but we get lazy.
  • Juice every day. Juice whatever you have in the fridge that's fresh, like spinach, kale, apples, strawberries, oranges, watercress, broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts, long as they're organic, go for it.
  • Breathe, dammit, breathe! Like when you get up in the morning and do a few stretches, this is your time to be greedy...get your oxygen!
  •  Be thankful, allow good thoughts to permeate your being, no matter where or what you're doing.
And finally, LOVE, love yourself, your family, your life, your situation. If you don't like it, you can always change it, you know?

What's the Next Tech Antique Gotta-Have?

I was reading an ebay story this morning about the guy who sold his not-completely-functioning Walt (Apple's Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone) for $8,000. It made me wonder about our need to keep some things as touchstones while time and technology fly past us at an ever-increasing speed, leaving us feeling as though we will always be caught between two equal desires: one to keep up and one to let go.

Kindle Versus Kindle Fire
Some things become obsolete almost as soon as they are in the hands of buyers. I was given a Kindle for my birthday and then a year later the Kindle Fire was released. I knew right away my original Kindle was going to be re-gifted to one of my kids, which is great for them and also great for me. Now I can focus on the FIYAH. Terrible, but true.

Antique Collectors in the Tech World

This makes me wonder about that Atari my son bought a few years ago in its original box. I remember asking him, "What are you gonna do with THAT dust collector?" I tried not to laugh at his response, "Puttin' it under the bed." 

Who knows what the next gotta-have techtique will be. Wait, is that a word yet—'techtique', as in technology antique? I don't know, but I like it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Music I like Today

Lindsey Stirling in her "Crystallize" video
Sometimes you discover a song you love and other times it's the whole kit and kaboodle; the dancing, the music, the look and feel of the video.

This is what I like about today - Listen to Lindsey Stirling on the violin and watch her move to her own music in an icy wonderland. If you've never seen anyone dance while playing the violin, you really need to sit still for a few minutes and watch her.

I was surprised to discover she is an American. I thought the video had an Icelandic feel to it, but it was filmed in Colorado as she explains at the end of the video.

Another one of her songs I love is called Shadows. Her style is unique and vibrant. So refreshing after years of hearing heavy metal (my sons' music choice at one time) or rap, or the Japanese Pop my daughter plays and sings.

I hope she sticks around for a while, I'd like to hear more!