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Sunday, December 21, 2008

BRRRR! WELCOME WINTER

First heavy snow of the 1st day of winter. I love to watch the silent fall of snow. It does not have the slushy sound of rain. It falls gently and covers over everything in a beautiful clean blanket. Yes it is cold and yes it becomes a pain to clear out the driveway but yet it is still a sight to behold. While it was snowing outside I made my husband one of his favorite soups. After he came in from shoveling the driveway, he warmed himself with this healthy and delicious soup. I thought I would share it with you.










French Onion Soup

6-8 medium onions peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tsp salt
4 Cups of beef broth
1/4 cup dry sherry
8 thick slices of Italian bread
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8 Thinly sliced Mozzarella Cheese
Melt butter in a large pot add onions and saute' until golden. Add flour, salt and stir until blended then add sherry. Stir. Pour in broth. Bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Toast bread slices. Place toasted bread in oven proof tureen or individual bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Pour soup over bread, top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Brown under broiler until cheese begins to melt, serve immediately.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

DELICIOUS HOT CHOCOLATE

On a cold day's night what is more comforting than a hot cup of chocolate? It warms you all over. I like to make my own hot chocolate from scratch. Just boil some milk and add semi-sweet chocolate pieces in to the boiling milk. Whisk to melt the chocolate and voila you have the best hot chocolate ever. It is thick and foamy. For extra flavor I dip a peppermint candy cane in my cup to savor the taste.

Friday, December 19, 2008

COME IN FROM THE COLD




I like this cream of corn soup with a light and delicious corn bread on a cold day. They are easy to make. If there are any left over corn bread I usually warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to have it with jelly or honey in the morning with my breakfast.




CREAM OF CORN SOUP

1 Can of corn kernels, drained
2 Medium size potatoes, cubed
1 Medium onion, chopped
1/2 Cup water
1 packet (cube) of chicken bouillon
2 Cups of Milk
1 tablespoon of margarine (butter)

In a large sauce pan combine all the ingredients except the milk. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or till corn and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk and cook for about 1 more minute. Turn of the heat. Once the soup is cooled put it through the blender in batches and return it back to the pot. Warm it up and serve. If desired, garnish with chopped chives or snipped parsley or bacon bits.

CORN BREAD

2 Cups cornmeal
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp salt
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup plain yogurt
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 Large egg

Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease 9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SEASON'S GREETINGS


Any holiday is a cause for celebration in all faiths. Some people may not understand the true meaning of the celebration by making it difficult for themselves. They think they have to buy the perfect gift, bake the perfect pie etc. and have to buy the biggest tree and decorate it to the hilt. To me a holiday is a good time to reflect on what it stands for. What are we celebrating and why? After that the rest seems secondary. A little gift bought with thought has more meaning than to give something expensive and useless. It is easy to buy and give any gift when one has the means, but it is more meaningful when given by one without the means. The latter is done with sacrifices and and purely from the heart. Holiday is a time to gather with family and good friends. Give time to those who are lonely, feed the ones who are hungry.
I wish everyone who reads my blog a very happy, healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BLACK FRIDAY

I've observed that a lot of people aren't very sure of the meaning of the term "Black Friday". It is a relatively new phrase, generally used to describe the day after the Thanksgiving Holiday which always falls on the last Thursday of the month of November. The next day (Friday) is coined "Black" because it is a day retailers make their sales profits which they inscribe in their accounting books. The entries are almost always in black ink as opposed to red ink (deficit/loss). Some States in the Union may have a different take on the word but it is usually related to the same idea of throngs of shoppers looking for sales and bargains, thus creating a happy ending for retailers and the economy. Although "Black Friday" may have great connotations for retailers, the recent fatalities on this day have really put a damper on humanity. I can not get over the fact that people became so greedy that for a few dollar savings a human life was lost. What a disgrace, what a shame.! Has humanity lost all its values? Shame on those people in their "Greed Stampede" that took the life of an innocent person. As a result, I am adding "mourning" as an another explanation for "Black Friday" in the name of humanity.

Oh, by the way there is also "Cyber Monday" which is a new term for a busy retailing day on the internet. I only hope that the internet shoppers will not start an online stampede.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I love Thanksgiving holiday for what it stands for. To me it signifies the grass roots of our country, being an American and love of this land. When we sit around the table with my family I look around and find so many things to be thankful for. To see my husband sitting besides me, to see my parents around and I am thankful that I am alive and able to prepare yet another Thanksgiving meal. I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WELCOME AUTUMN





















I like autumn. Its colors, it's scents always have a special place in my heart. To see the sun light thru these colorful leaves brings me joy. I only wish that the season would last longer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Some years ago we were invited to a Halloween party. I don't like to be mainstream so my husband and I came up with this idea that we should wear costumes that were not going to be scary. We decided to be Raggedy Ann and Andy. We were a hit among the children. Little boys and girls came up to us and pulled our hands and we went along with it. It was so sweet. It was much better than being scary. (although a friend of ours really scared us when he came to the party dressed as an accident victim).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

I use my hair dryer daily. To search for and untangle the cord was becoming a hassle so I came up with this idea. I placed a loop towel holder on my bathroom wall next to the vanity mirror. When I am done using my hair dryer I hang it on this holder. No more tangled cords and lots of space in my vanity drawer.

Don't throw away the perfumed inserts you receive in the mail from magazines and fliers. Place them open in your dresser drawers. They do not permeate the clothing but they certainly keep your dresser smelling fresh.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NATURE'S WONDERS

Believe it or not these are mushrooms. I found them in my back yard. From a distance I saw something that looked like a big white ball. I thought it was my neighbor's soccer ball. I went to look at it closely, I could not believe my eyes. I had to call my husband to have him verify that what I saw was really a mushroom. We removed them from the ground with gloves and a shovel. The huge one measured 7" x 5". I did not measure the small one because it seemed so puny compared to the other. Later we found out that the large one is aptly named "Giant Puff Ball" or "Calvatia Gigantea". I couldn't identify the smaller one. The big one was attached to the ground with a cord like structure. My instincts immediately told me that anything this big cannot be edible, and anyone in their right mind should handle them with great care. After researching around I found out that I was right. Nevertheless it was an experience to behold.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

FALL FLOWERS



























These are my last roses of the season. I love autumn but feel sad that the colorful summer flowers are being replaced with the fall flowers. However, look at these beautiful Montauk Daisies that are bursting out of their blossoms to welcome autumn. I cut the last three hydrangea blossoms and placed them in a little vase to enjoy in the winter. They dry up quietly in a vase without loosing their shape or color for a long time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

DREAM CATCHER


The legend of "Dream Catcher" goes back to OJIBWA Nation. Well what is a "Dream Catcher?" I've seen them in different places and wondered about the story behind it. Here it is . Native Americans of the Great Plains believed that the air is filled with good and bad dreams. Historically dream catchers were made by tying sinew ( tendon) strands in a web around willow tree frame and they were hung in the "tepee" or lodge and on the child's bed. According to this legend, the good dreams pass through the center hole to the sleeping person. The bad dreams are trapped in the web, where they perish in the morning. The original dream catchers were intended to dry out or collapse as the child grew older. Today you can find all sizes with different ornamentation, but the circular shape remains the same.Now you know the history....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A VERY GOOD IDEA

A friend of ours stopped by the office today and mentioned that he quit his current profession and dedicated himself to protect children on the Internet from undesirable content to which they may be unwittingly exposed. His new company is called "My Internet Doorman. com" . What a great idea. The best part he explained was that his company monitors the Internet so that the parent doesn't have to. He has a family of his own and he is wary of predators. Something that is essential for the times. .. Anyone who has children should consider having this service.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

FALL FLOWERS



I picked these flowers this morning from my garden and put them in a pitcher to welcome Autumn. Mums are great at this time of the year. I stuck some old dried flowers in between them. To dry the flowers, first I hang them up side down and wait until they are air dried and then I put them in a vase without water. When I am making arrangements I can place them between fresh flowers. Depending on its species they could last for a year or more without loosing their general characteristics.

Friday, September 19, 2008

SIDNEY POITIER

Sidney Poitier has been my all time favorite actor. I watched most of his movies with great pleasure. "To Sir With Love" came out when I was in high school, oh how I wished I had a teacher like him. I must have watched that movie five times. Another great movie was "Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner" . This one I've seen four times and each time I learned more about humanity and love as well as the discourse that some people bring to life. "The Defiant Ones" was another movie that he excelled in. Well what about "In the Heat of The Night"? Powerful movie. In "Cotton Comes to Harlem" he brought south to north with such power I cried most of the movie. In "Lilies of the Field" his charm engaged not only the nuns but me in the audience. There are so many other movies to remember, "A Raisin in the Sun""Edge of the City", "No Way Out". In all of his movies, what ever the theme might be, he was graceful and charming. He spoke in a very precise way, enunciated his words carefully. He had a boyish shyness about him that is very appealing. Recently I found out that now he is in his 80's and is a great grandfather. I guess years can pass quickly but greatness will always remain.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MUM'S THE WORD!!!!!











This is a Turtle Head flower. They take a long time to blossom but they are beautiful. Do you see the bee sapping the nectar? Bees love this flower.





















Thursday, September 11, 2008

FOLLOW THE BEET

BEET SOUP

1 Bunch of beets washed, peeled and cut-up
2 Large cloves of garlic halved
2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 1/2 Cups of water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-3 Sprigs of cilantro or parsley

Put all in a pot and boil approximately for 30 minutes or until beets soften. Working in batches, puree in a blender. Garnish with cilantro. Can be eaten warm or chilled.It is delicious and healthy. Enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

JERSEY TOMATOES

I love tomatoes, especially when they are home grown. They are very tasty and juicy. Heirloom tomatoes are special. They are big. Some people call them "ugly" but there is nothing ugly about them. They are beautifully delicious. They need lots of sun and ripen slowly but they are worth the wait. On the other hand, cherry tomatoes are first to ripen and they are as sweet as their elders the heirlooms. Then there are small round "patio tomatoes" . They grow in a pot on the patio if you don't have a garden to grow them in. They are cute and sweet but in one bite they are gone. Lets not forget about the plum tomatoes they are the mainstays. You cannot go wrong with them, they are fleshy and very good in sauces. The beefstake tomatoe is aptly named-its thick, sweet and juicy. We certainly had our share of tomatoes this summer. Any tomatoe with any name is in my list of best edibles. Tomatoe is a fruit and after many debates in NJ it has been declared as such.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

VAN CAT

I remember my great aunt petting a beautiful white cat with silky hair on her lap for hours. The purring was endless. Obviously the joy was mutual. But I felt sorry that this cat had two different colored eyes. Auntie told me that the beauty of this cat was her eyes. There was nothing wrong with her.

She was a special breed called VAN cat. They come from the city of Van in the eastern part of Turkey. Van cats have mostly long white silky hair. They are energetic and playful. They are born with grayish eyes but within a month their eye color starts changing and after forty days the color of their eyes becomes permanent. The colors of the eyes can be both blue/turquoise or both amber or one eye blue/turquoise and the other eye amber.

Aside from being so docile, they love being in a family. The more they are loved the more they retun love.

They are very fond of water. It has been said that this is the only breed of cat who can swim and play with water. Van cats can be easily trained. One other trait they have is to test their food with their paw to see if it is the right temperature.
Van cats are a protected breed. There is a special house built for them in Van University.

Although I am a dog person and will always remain loyal to my Ginger's memory I wouldn't mind owning a beautiful Van cat if I could get one. They are fun, clean and intelligent. I will always remember the rolling purr my aunt's cat made when she was with her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SUMMER PASTA SAUCE


This simple sauce is a breeze to make and there is no cooking involved. It is very refreshing.
Grate 2 large tomatoes on the large section of the grater in to a bowl (discard the skins), using the garlic press add one large clove of garlic, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and a few leaves of chopped basil. Stir all together. Pour over your favorite pasta and enjoy. Grating cheese is optional.

SUMMER COOLER SOUP


I enjoy this cold soup in hot summer days. It is easy to put together and there is no cooking involved. Excellent for vegetarians. All the ingredients are coarsely cut up.

4-5 large ripe tomatoes , 1 medium bell pepper, 2 stalks of celery, 1 medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 medium cucumber and 4-5 leaves of basil

Put everything in the blender (or use a hand blender in a bowl) and blend until smooth, add 2 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Cool in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Hot sauce can be added for extra zest.

END OF SUMMER FLOWERS



























Friday, August 15, 2008

A ROSE IS NOT JUST A ROSE
































When we cut these roses they had the dew on them, we did not alter their natural state.