Sunday, November 20, 2011

Notspa restaurant update

I learned that you have to choose your breakfast or it is automatic...........I called in biscuits and gravy- big fluffy biscuits and super-charged flovor in sausage gravy!!!  and the best personal pan pizza I ever had,  really-  except the ones I cook-  hot melty cheese crispy on the edges.  lightly browned crust and good sauce!

home on tuesday!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Foodie at the notspa.......

Here I am at the notspa.........yes, still incarcerated at the hospital.  Same story, day 8.  Love my doctor for being conservative, but Come On Man!  I want to go home.  I have been watching hours of the Chew, food Network and even a few reruns of Julia Child- laugh out loud.......But what is the fun of watching food shows if you can't go try what you just watched?  I want to get flour all over my kitchen floor and sauce on my ceiling.  Hubby is amazed at the one man wrecking crew I can create in a kitchen.  what I would not love to be Mario Batalli and have 15 "Sue" chefs cleaning up after me!

so let's talk about Hospital food.  The former food boss of the Salina Country Club is now in charge of the hospital kitchen and I have to say- the food is good.  I love the moist and gooey chocolate cake-the best. And being kansas skinny girl I eat one with every meal and they weigh me AFTER  I eat! Naahaa!
being here 8 days, I have completely circulated through the main menu.
Breakfast, breakfast is bad, tasteless scrambled eggs and oatmeal not from Ireland- but I have not invested a lot of time in my breakfast choices-  My best- a coke with pellet ice, cashews and a Russel Stover chocolate at 5:00AM.
But, fear not, lunch and dinner have been tasty.  Hot turkey sandwiches with gravy over white bread and mashed potatoes-  It had flavor! Goulash like elementary school, a cool chicken salad on croissant, chunky chicken noodle soup, Beef and noodles,  Chicken and noodles, meatloaf and from the menu of our country club.....the double bogie.  ~An open face steak sandwich on garlic toast with  battered onion rings.  That is not your typical jello and soup meal.
I miss my heavy hand with garlic- beware you Twighlight fans.........I miss my organic Hawaiian sea salt.  I miss Watkins beef stock.  But if you ever need a Grandma, I just want Kansas soul food- come to the hospital cafeteria.  There is something healing in noodles.........
I have had carry out.  Sonic makes the best chocolate milkshakes!  I got a Chipotle burrito, laCasita enchiladas, Carolina BBQ and Marcia bear's homemade chili.  I got 100 pumpkin balls with whipped cream that I finally turned over to the nurses, cookies, chocolates, cheeze-its.
Food is healing, familiar, personal.  Food is my stress reliver, especially when I cook it.  choppin broccoli.......being here so long is stressful, but at least I can enjoy the meal- even when I eat dinner at 5:02pm.  Maybe that means I get to eat twice!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Up not as early...... looking forward to no bubbles today..........The kind people of the night did not wake me up so early today.  :)  per doctor's orders..........
Being stuck in a small room, thank God for the window, it has made me think of so many things.  What is trust?  I trust that you will finish that homework assignment,  I trust you will pick up the cleaning, I trust you will tell so and so to come by at 5, I trust that my new car will work and has gas in it.  Those trusts are more like expectations.  I trust/expect that my lights will turn on and my refridgerator is working.  I trust/expect that when I send a letter it will get through our Postal Service.
But the kind of trust that you have to hang on the edge and you have no control over, is the trust I am talking about.  I trust that God is hearing our prayers and will seal up this lung.  I trust my Dr. knows everything and chooses the best care for me.  I trust that my nurses know what they are doing.  I trust that I will get better and go back to work.  When you are in relationships you have to put out that kind of trust.  The kind that if it doesn't work, you will be hurt and singed and it will be hard to get over.  Life has expectations and it has trust.  Trust takes guts.  It takes the conversations with yourself  "should I give over to that possibility?" But when it works and you have that trust, it is all so worth the worry.  That complete and peaceful feeling that yeah, I trust in you or I trust in that and I feel safe.  That's what I have with my husband, my mother, Dr. B and all the rest of my friends and family that have come to me in my hour of incarceration. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

be spontaneous?

Still the movable hospital bed, with my own flannel sheets, zebra blanket, snoopy (my travel assistant for 40 years), everything in my bathroom from home, one pair of UGGS, notebooks, paper, pens, magazines, lotions sea salt spray, treats, cardigan sweater, robe, 5 pairs of pajamas, neck roll pillow, Cokes, socks, Harry Potter t-shirt, perfume, my chiropractor, and massage therapist have been here...............Just like the movie the Quiet Man..........I need my things around me- since I may be here a while.........
Dr. B says I look mahhhvulous...........

Slow leak in my tire.........pppffffsssssttttttttt................
tiny tear in my left upper lobe that is slow to close
Sick, wet tissue paper Cystic Fibrosis lungs
spontaneous pnuemothorax
that means your lung all of a sudden pops and then collapses
This is the third time it has happend to me-3..........

Is this the new every 4 year, slow your ass down plan?  We don't know. Do I feel bad? no,I feel really good and strong this time- except I have a 6 foot tube tied into my chest.  Which give me the heebie jeebies.  I about freaked my darling husband out when I thought I accidentally pulled it.- it was fine, but he got out of the room really fast just in case of emergency :)  My, baboo..........

but this "spontaneous" part of this lung issue puts me in a spin.........I am not spontaneous,  unless it is a teachable moment.......I plan my attack, my recipes, my shopping, what I am wearing the next day, what errands I am running, lesson plans, vacations, retirement, parties---they are all planned ahead.  I try to be romantic and spontaneous but even that is hard.  I am a woman of tradition and doing it the way my mother, aunts and grandmother did it---SPONTANEOUS PNUEMOTHORAX IS NOT MY TRADITION! AAARRRRGGGGGG  (picture Kermit the Frog yelling that). I like that order, I love that TV shows are on the same time each week,  I love that classrooom "oh  we have to go to lunch at 11:46 feeling"-  there is comfort in knowing ahead. Write it on the list and then cross it off!!
 -  but there is adreneline in being spontaneous...............
maybe spontaneous is a good mixture, maybe this is the universe saying- Well "Miss plan-all-out",  it doesn't always work that way, but maybe I shouldn't hate the spontaneous-  maybe I should take a different route, go out to eat just because, call a friend you haven't in a long time, try not to control and plan it every second. do something that is not on my list........................but maybe,  hhmmmmm, I should look at a different list,  maybe I should get out that bucket list...............

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I am not at the spa

Sometimes it is nice to get away.  From work, from laundry, from bills, from it all.  It may just take an evening in the bubble bath with a glass of wine.  Sometimes you can go to the spa at Aveda.  Well I am not at the goddam spa..............I am at the hospital.  Friday 11-11-11 at 11:11am, weighing 111pounds I checked in with slightly deflated left lung.  Talk about deflated, that is how I felt, knowing what is ahead. This is the third time this has happened to me.  Good news bad news...........good news I am educated in my care, bad news  I HAVE NO CONTROL!  someone takes me to the bathroom, helps me shower, makes my dinner, gives me my pills, gives me my breathing treatment in the wrong order and I have to ask for a Coke.  Being fiercely independent this part is a kick in my gut and a lesson in patience.  but what this moment has given me also is a moment to stop and think about when I am so bossy and I control my environment so craftly, how do the other people and kiddos feel when I do?  do I need to give them more choices?  do I need to not do so much?  Thinking about it from the other side..........after a 2 am morphine shot.

The health report...........My left lung has a small leak.  Bubbles are not good when you have a leak in your lung.  I am hooked up to a litlle vacuum on the wall. It goes everywhere I go- I named it Argyle...  It keeps my lung inflated.  But it shows a little bubble.
Bubbles are bad when you are on a vacuum.  I am on IV antibiotics and steriods.  I will be on the mend and strong in a few weeks.  but pray for patience, for me, for Kelly, for my parents...........

watch for the hospital foodie update.....................

Monday, July 18, 2011

When a plan comes together.....

Hannibal of the A-team always said,  "I love it when a plan comes together."  That's how I felt after I made chicken artichoke risotto this week.  After a tough week I took the night off and decided I needed some therapy.  That means risotto night.  There is nothing like stirring and thinking, add some more broth, stirring and thinking.  To me risotto is a metaphor for life.  You know going in, it probably will take a while to be just right.  You have to keep working at it, coaxing it, never walking away from it- or it could be ruined. Constantly monitoring and adding things just at the right moment. And then when you think it will never be finished, all of a sudden it is perfect.  You add just the right flavors and wa~la...You sit down and experience joy, and this time, in a bowl. 
     When I sat down in my newly rearranged living room, I said to my self..."Self, you are amazing.  Did you know you were such a good cook?  Pat yourself on the back for this one."  I think we all need to take a moment and remind ourselves we are amazing.  Whether you can create risotto from scratch, deal with death, manage a household, run kids back and forth, work full time, go to school or whatever you do,


Marg's chicken artichoke risotto recipe

2 quarts chicken stock
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Cup arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
1 cup cooked chicken
1/2 bag frozen artichokes
Lemon zest
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley and thyme

Bring the stock to a boil and keep hot. In a 3 quart saucepan, combine the butter, olive oil, and shallots and saute over medium low heat until shallots are translucent. Add the rice and toast the rice for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Add the white wine and continue stirring until the wine has evaporated. Add the hot vegetable stock, just enough to barely cover the rice and continue stirring until all the liquid is evaporated. Repeat the above step until the rice is cooked al dente, about 15-30 minutes total cooking time, add salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken, artichokes, lemon juice and zest.  Stir. Add cheese and herbs and a little more broth if needed.  Sit back, eat and tell yourself you are amazing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

summer roll success!

Kelly says they tasted like we were at a restaurant. Fresh and cool.  We made the peanut sauce- wowo! and then dipped the rolls in a combination of peanut sauce, hoisin and rooster chili sauce I think I will name my Asian restaurant Mr. Fong's.
Here is the recipe.  Courtesy of Food Network Magazine- two things I learned- don't skimp on the shrimp and roll them as tight as you can.  0h and don't use broken rice papers...........


For the Sauce:

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons red curry paste

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

For the Rolls:

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

6 black peppercorns

12 medium shrimp (unpeeled)

1 ounce rice vermicelli

1 cucumber

3 scallions

8 8-inch-round rice paper wrappers

1/2 bunch mint

1/2 bunch basil

1/2 bunch cilantro

4 Boston lettuce leaves, torn


Make the sauce: Grind the peanuts in a food processor. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook 1 minute. Add the fish sauce and cook 1 more minute. Add the ground peanuts and cook, stirring, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken broth and hoisin sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Make the rolls: Fill a saucepan with water and season with salt. Add the vinegar, sugar and peppercorns and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and simmer until pink, 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel the shrimp, then halve lengthwise and devein. Cover and chill.
Cook the rice noodles as the label directs, then drain. Cut the cucumber and scallions into matchsticks and toss with 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. One at a time, soak a rice paper wrapper in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds, then lay on a cutting board and pat dry. Arrange 3 shrimp halves across the middle of the wrapper; top with some noodles, herbs, cucumber, scallions and lettuce. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up into a tight bundle. Cut in half; serve with the peanut sauce.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Let it wash over me

Summer is a time for lazy days, early walks and salad meals and grilling.  I have not been lazy.  I feel like a hummingbird going from one flower to the next knowing there is a frost coming and I may miss the good juice. I have been too busy. I have had 3 extra people living at my house last week, I taught art class and I have not had time to cook for me.  But summer starts today.  My husband and I are cooking real spring rolls and having a vietnamese feast.  I have never made them but when I eat them they make me happy.  Happy is what I want, I want to slow down and savor.  4th of july is almost here-  Summer is half over, as the teacher point of view.  But that means I just need to make the most of my slow time.  File this, organize this, do this.........sometimes my brain won't shut down.  I need to take a message from Buddha and meditate for a minute.  or take a message from my mother and "tomorrow is another day, Scarlett"  The pile will be there tomorrow1

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sour Chery Poundcake

My sister Amanda brought over some amazing, melt in your mouth, sour sweetness from a tree, sour cherry poundcake.  My husband ate most of it, but the bite I did get- I knew I had to recreate.  Kelly and I had picked cherries a year before and they had been sitting in our freezer.  We are in the cleanout your freezer for summer mode so we found them way in the back.  6 eggs, 3 sticks of butter, a brick of cream cheese and 31/2  cups of sugar later, we have pound cake.  The recipe says to bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes............It was hardly done at that amount of time- so keep it in for at least 10 more minutes.

Credit goes to NPR what to do with sour cherries........... Domonica Marchetti Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian Style (Chronicle Books 2008)

Sour Cherry Pound Cake
2 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted and halved
3 cups sugar, plus 1/2 cup for marinating cherries
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese or sour cream, at room temperature (I used 1 block of cream cheese)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan and set it aside.
In a small bowl, mix the cherries with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Let the mixture steep while you prepare the batter for the cake. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Set aside. Put the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on medium speed to combine. Add the remaining 3 cups of sugar, a half-cup at a time, and beat at high speed until light and airy, 5 full minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Change the speed to medium and alternately add the flour and salt mixture and the mascarpone or sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated. Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup that collects in the bowl. With a rubber or silicon spatula, fold the cherries into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, 1 hour 15 minutes.While the cake is baking, put the reserved cherry syrup in a small saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Strain and reserve the liquid.- IMPORTANT.  When the cake is done, place the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan. While it is still warm, brush the top and sides with the warm cherry syrup. The cake will absorb the syrup. Let the cake cool to room temperature.
To serve, transfer the cake to a decorative platter or cake stand. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Big Snow!!

I did not know that snowblowers made my husband so happy.  He got a new one and he has done the whole driveway twice!  In some spots three times!  We may have gotten around 9-12 inches and it is not supposed to stop until more snowdays for us, though-  Parent-teacher conferences are tomorrow- can't miss those! Dogs are having fun!
I need cocoa!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow days

~This week I have had three snow days! 3 whole days in row!!  Snow days are simple gifts of time.  To me they are a day that you don't have to do anything if you do not want to.  But of course, I vacuumed, I made bread, I made soup, I organized a drawer, I got to read a magazine, I even "surfed the internet". i took a shower in the middle of the day!  I had time to be bored.  When is a grown-up ever allowed to be bored.  The weather was so bad yesterday that Salina closed the Mall!
~I spent the afternoon with one of my bestest sisters, made breakfast for another.  Husband made the best fire last night and we watched tv together.  Snow days are selfish days, but we all need to put the brakes on occasionally...........Thanks Mother Nature!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Walk

This morning I woke up and wanted to go on a winter walk with the dogs.  No wind, 3 layers of clothes and sleeping bag down coat to my ankles, I ran the dogs when the sun was coming up.  What was I thinking?  Mom says I officially do not have her DNA.  I must have mutated.  I just wanted to be out.  All my friends are training for a marathon so they talk about running.  So I thought I would think about running while I walk.  The brown grass was matted so it was easy to walk.  Hidden trash was visible now- Stella started to roll in what looked something like a meth lab so we turned another direction.  We are scheduled for snow tonight.  The world was so quiet, waiting for the storm.  I wanted to be out in the world before I nest and batten down for the snow...........pray for a snow day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Start anew

After Christmas is the time when I want to take everything down off my shelves and put it away or sell it.  I also want to do that with my personal insides, too.  Winter cleaning  ............. Dusting...... scrubbing......... bleaching....  I seem to want to do that not only to my house but to myself.  Here is my 2011 list of things I want to do....I don't like the word resolutions...............
One coke a day
 start yoga again
become more organized
less TV
read more
listen, talk less
spend less, save more
take more pictures of my food
cook for friends I love
run the dogs
build stamina in my walking
less steriods
play/laugh with my husband
write more letters
ride a horse
buy a new car

Is this too much for 359 days?  If I am authentic and thoughtful~  If I plan out these things, do they become habit?