Tag Archives: childhood

Epilogue.

1 Aug

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It’s a Tuesday and I’m in a dress and my running shoes. More specifically, I’m un-showered after a 4-mile run, but undressed and redressed to address my need for quick breastfeeding access. (You got all that, there will be a test later.) I’m sitting at my computer trying to eek out an hour of creative flow time while Stella is at her ‘one day a week’ daycare and Wren cries and wiggles out of her swaddle for the 100th time. ‘Why aren’t you napping? You grow when you nap, if you want to start talking and running (because that’s definitely next) shut your eyes and buy your ticket to dreamland. Mama needs 5 minutes. (Actually more in the day to week range but who needs the truth).’ I hate this post even before I write it because it means one of my favorite ladies is no longer strolling the earth, championing Jazzercise and keeping Bartles & Jaymes in business. Shirl you were you, every day, simply put and we were all better people to know you. You also gave birth to one of my favorite people so there’s that too. I love you and hope you know, wherever you are, (I guess you’re everywhere now) that you made a lasting impression.  The sky has officially gained a star. #ShirleyStrong

I can’t say I’ve been privy to a lot of tragedy. I’ve had a steady flow of anti-luck, are you kidding me, yep that just happened, deep disappointments, important people vacating without reason and 2nd places, but in the end it doesn’t come close to the pain of losing someone you love and need desperately to stick around. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to those who are going through it. There is a natural division of those who understand and those who are waiting to. As a Mom, now somehow caught up in FB groups and mom circles that detail every horror known to man, the world seems and is I guess, so much more fragile. The transparency trap of wanting to know, wanting to be prepared has become less attractive than the ‘ignorance is bliss’ ilk that was the standard for so many generations before us who didn’t or couldn’t connect with every single person in the world. (I mean where was secondary drowning and hand foot & mouth disease when we were growing up???) They say after you have kids, you know what’s it’s like to have your heart walk around outside your body, and that is precisely how it feels. I think (and secretly hope) it goes both ways though. As a parent, I hope my girls will forever rely on me as a barometer for direction and advice. Remember me when they’ve done something they shouldn’t, but need help navigating out of. My Mom did that for me and both of Shirl’s girls still need her in their 30’s so that is a parenting victory to be celebrated. (Tangent/sidebar – I hope I gather a couple of those. These terrible twos are seriously terrible. If I have to tell myself to pull it together, she’s 2 one more time…)

As a bona fide fixer, it’s difficult to grasp the finality of death. What do you mean that’s it?! It’s annoyingly selfish. It makes the world feel like a shallow pool we’re all just breast stroking through for 2 minutes. She had so much left to do. She was the life of the party and always a perfect person to drink a glass of something with. Truthfully I’m filled with emotions I can’t articulate. I think of her, I think of my best friend, I think of how much of Shirl is tied into my own childhood, and then I get pissed that life has moved on, and the reality of time has taken hold. How did we already get to the last chapter, we were just in the middle of the storyline a year ago?!

The only thing I can think of to make it a little more palatable, is to live happy. Amidst bs, traffic, bad news, fights, lost friendships, toddlers, financial struggles,  __________ etc. etc. We must all live happy. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s up to all of us to dig in, find it, celebrate it and then rinse and repeat. Shirl did and so maybe the silver lining is the constant reminder that it’s the only way, no excuses. As the ever-wise Rumi said, “Look past your own thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.” Sure that was the 13th century, but it’s transcendent so get on board.

Luella Says, I pledge to live #100HappyDays,

 

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Who wants to join me? www.100happydays.com

 

 

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Hearty and Homemade.

11 Oct

 

When I was in grade school, every year around this time we would take a field trip to a local apple orchard. We would see how the fermentation process worked, taste all the various flavors of cider and be allowed to tour the grounds and see the rows and rows of apple trees. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We would finish the day in the pumpkin patch picking out small gourds and pumpkins to take home to our parents. It was such a simple time.

Every year when Autumn weather starts to set in, I think of those childhood field trips to the orchard. It dawned on me, what a perfect inspiration to build a menu of good eats from! How decadent would eating outside in the splendor of an orchard or vineyard be, with your closest friends, homemade food, candles lighting the table, full-bodied wines and stars illuminating the sky? I intend to find out.

 

 

My next “life list” endeavor is to plan a wonderful outdoor dinner party at either an orchard or a vineyard. I can’t imagine an evening better spent.

In preparation, I decided to post some wonderful family favorite recipes that are hearty, healthy and good for the soul. If you are searching for what to cook tonight, look no further.

 

Luella says… Cook and be Merry

WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI

Submitted by Luella

INGREDIENTS:

 (please note I sometimes double this recipe to make enough to have leftovers. It is great re-heated)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1.5 lbs. Cooked Chicken (please see preparation below)

2 Cloves Garlic – minced

14.5 oz. Chicken Broth

1 can (18.75 oz.) Tomatillos (drained and chopped)

1 (16 oz) can Diced Tomatoes

1 (7 oz.) can Diced Green Chiles

1/2 Teapsoon dried Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon ground Coriander seed

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 (15 oz) can White Northern Beans

salt and black pepper to taste

1 lime sliced

Fresh Cilantro for garnish

**Cooked Chicken – 1/2 cup  white wine, 1 Tablespoon of Dill Weed, 1 Chicken Bouillon cube, 1 cup of Water, Fresh squeezed Lemon (half), Minced Garlic, Lemon Pepper to taste**

PREPARATION:

Cook chicken in the wok/large pan first. Combine all the ingredients listed **above  in your wok. Cut the chicken into cubes. Put it on Level 8 for a Wok or Medium-High heat if it is in a pan. Cook/simmer half covered for 10-15 minutes stirring often. Save one cup of the juice to add into the mixture later.

1. Heat Oil and minced garlic until soft.

2. Stir in Chicken broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add chicken and beans and 1 cup of cooked chicken juice to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve with fresh lime and cilantro on the side.

  

MUSTARD ROASTED TILAPIA

Submitted by my sister, Leslie

 INGREDIENTS:

4 (8 oz) Tilapia filets
 
Kosher Salt and ground Black pepper
 
 
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
 
1 tablespoon Whole Grain  Mustard
 
2 tablespoons Minced Shallots
 
2 teaspoons Drained Capers
 
PREPARATION:
 
1. preheat oven to 425
 
2. sprinkle filets generously with salt and pepper
 
3. place in oven proof glass pan
 
4. combine rest of ingredients and mix well
 
5. pour over fish to completely cover
 
6. Cook 15 to 25 min depending on thickness of the fish filets.
 
  
  

 

Southern Style Spare Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Submitted by my Mother-in-Law, Maria

INGREDIENTS:

1 Package of Southern Style Ribs (please note this is an actual type. They are heartier and have more meat on the bones.)

1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce

 1 Reynolds Brown N Bag

 For Dry Rub:

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

PREPARATION:

Cut off fat on bottom of ribs

Pat them dry

Combine ingredients of the Dry Rub and drag and douse the ribs in this so they are covered

Place the ribs into a Reynolds Brown N Bag and poke holes in the top of the bag

Cook at 350 Degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Cut open bag and use 1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce to cover the ribs completely

Put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to solidify the rub and bbq sauce taste

Serve with Garlic Mashed potatoes:

Place 8-10 Yukon Gold Potatoes and 3 Medium Cloves of Garlic  in a pot of boiling water

Boil till tender (10 minutes or so)

Drain the water and add 1/2 Cup Low Fat Milk and 2 Tablespoons of Smart Balance

Whip them and Enjoy!

 

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

Submitted by my Mother, Debra

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts cut into cubes

2 Bacon slices

1 cup diced Red Bell pepper

2 Garlic cloves – minced

4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth

1 3/4 Cup Diced & Peeled Red Potatoes

2 1/4 Cups Fresh Cut Broccoli

1/2 Cup all Purpose Flour

2 cups 2% Milk

3 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

PREPARATION:

1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Crumble and put it on the side

2. Add Chicken, Garlic & Bell Pepper to the bacon grease pan and saute for 5 minutes

3. Add Potatoes & Broth to the pan and bring it to a boil

4. Cover and reduce heat and simmer until potatoes get soft (about 20 minutes)

5. Add brocolli and stir well

6. Place Flour in a bowl and gradually add Milk whisking till it is smooth, add it to the soup and simmer, stirring frequently over Medium heat for 15 minutes. (until it thickens)

7. Stir in Cheese, Salt and Pepper and top it off with the Crumbled Bacon 

 

 

GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Olive oil

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried hot Red-Pepper flakes

1 (15-ounce) can crushed Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup coarsely chopped Fresh Basil

1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)

4 small Italian Eggplants (1/2 pound each)

16 thin slices whole-milk Mozzarella (from a 1-lb block; not fresh)

PREPARATION:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and parmesan.

2. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over moderate heat or Cooks’ note: Eggplant (brushed with 1/4 cup oil) can be roasted on a foil-lined large baking sheet in middle of a 450°F oven, turning over once, 20 minutes. Top with sauce and cheese, then stack and bake 5 minutes more.

3. Trim 1/4 inch off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut each eggplant lengthwise (in same direction as trimmed sides so each slice has skin just around edge) into 4 slices. Brush slices with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Grill eggplant, covered, turning over once, until tender, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a work surface.

5. Spread top of each slice with about 1 tablespoon tomato sauce and top with a slice of mozzarella, then restack each eggplant. Transfer stacks to a shallow baking pan and grill, covered, just until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.

 

BEEF LOAF IN WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE

Submitted by my Mother, Debra

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef

1 Cup Fresh Grated Bread Crumbs

3 Eggs – Beaten

1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley

1/2 lb. Ground Pork

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1/3 Cup Sour Cream

PREPARATION:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pack into a loaf pan and cook it for 1 hour – or until brown on top. Remove from Oven and slightly cool. Serve with Mushroom Sauce.

INGREDIENTS – MUSHROOM SAUCE:

5 Tablespoons Butter (divided)

8 oz. Fresh Wild Mushrooms – Sliced

4 Tablespoons Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet

PREPARATION:

1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of Butter in a small saute pan.

2. Add Mushrooms and simmer over Medium Heat until soft.

3. Remove Mushrooms and set aside

4. Add remaining 4 Tablespoons of Butter to the pan and let it melt

5. Add Flour, Salt & Pepper to the pan and Stir until mixture is smooth

6. Blend in Beef stock and stir until sauce is thick

7. Add Kitchen Bouquet and Reserved Mushrooms and bring to a boil

8. Remove from Heat and serve over Beef Loaf.

 

Ode to Etsy & Grandma Janice.

7 Oct

 

There are certain things you remember from your childhood. Smells, songs, landmarks, old stories; they all serve as reminders of the simplest of times. One of my earliest fashion memories, is of  my Grandmother Janice’s long silver engraved locket. My Grandmother is 100% Swedish and the necklace was a gift from her parents when she was young.

My Great-Grandfather Henning and Great-Grandmother Elsie were both from Småland, which is a province in Southern Sweden. They didn’t meet however until both families had migrated across the Atlantic, worked their way through Ellis Island and set up their homesteads in Providence, Rhode Island. (What a story that is but I will save it for a different post.)

 

 

Anyway, the locket seemed magical when I was young. To me, it represented our lineage, it held secrets from a distant time, it potentially had been passed down from generation to generation. Likely it was my youthful imagination that gave the locket it’s lore but nonetheless it is something I won’t ever forget. When my Grandmother wears it now, as she did on my wedding day in June, it reminds me of my childhood. It brings me back and makes me happy.

I sifted through the vintage wares on Etsy and found some beautiful antique lockets and pendant necklaces. They are absolute STEALS!! (almost all of them) Click on the photos to view all the details.

 

Luella says… Find a Keepsake. 

Vintage Valentine Locket

 

Vintage Givenchy

 

Bird and a Book Locket

 

Emerald & Gold Bird Pendant

 

Antique Gold Black Bow Locket

 

Antique Gypsy Wood Beads

Aqua Locket

 

60's Mod Pendant

 

Antique Black Mourning Locket

 

Silver Multi-Strand with Pendant

 

Antique Peacock Locket

 

Yellow Magnolia Pendant

 

Blue Bird and Copper Locket

 

Antique Georgian Era Necklace

 

Vintage Lace and Copper Locket

 

Antique Rose Gold Pocket Watch Necklace

 

Brass Bird Locket

 

Carved Art Deco Pendant Necklace

 

Copper Key and Locket

 

Start creating a legacy, one piece of jewelry at a time. The best thing about vintage and antique finds is wondering all the places they have been. Now they can become a part of your story.

 

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