Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite soups of the season. It's easy to make and it tastes delicious.

2 Medium Size butternut squash (cut lengthwise and seeded)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Stalks of celery
1 medium size onion, chopped
2 ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears (or apples) diced
1 Tsp. ground cumin 
1/2 Tsp. ground cloves
1/2 Tsp.  dried crushed rosemary leaves
3 Cups of chicken broth
2 Cups of water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a tray with foil. Rub 1 tbsp oil on the squash and place on foil face down in lined tray. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until very tender. Cool until easy to handle and scoop squash from  skins and place in a large bowl. Discard skins.  Sautee onions and celeryin a pot  for 10 minutes, stir in spices,  add  diced pears, squash, broth and water. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Using hand held infuser blend squash mixture  until pureed.   Enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I didn't feel like cooking last night and we decided to have  one of our favorite meals we call "Nightbreak" or breakfast in the evening. Why have breakfast only in the morning, right..??.  My husband and I enjoy breakfast at any time of the day. To me  "Nightbreak"  also translates into taking a break from cooking.
  In this plate I have freshly baked  biscuit,  a dog in blanket (biscuit dough wrapped around a hot dog and baked), soft boiled egg, string cheese, Gruyere cheese, fig jam, orange marmalade. We had freshly brewed tea to go with this meal.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


While my parents were staying with us I had to cook  fast and nutritious meals for all of us.  Having octogenarian parents I thought I'd make comfort foods that they've enjoyed in their earlier years. This is a simple recipe and all the ingredients are right from the pantry.

 1 Box uncooked pasta /penne, elbow or bow tie  will work
 1 container cottage cheese (12 oz.)
 12 ounce  finely shredded cheeses (Monterey Jack, Colby, Cheddar & Mozzarella) * (can be substituted with cheese of your own choice)
 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs (plain or flavored)
 1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside in a bowl.
Combine all cheeses in a large bowl and using an infusion blender process them until smooth.  Add this mixture to pasta and stir well. Pour this mixture into a well greased baking dish. Combine Parmesan cheese with bread crumbs and oil in a small bowl and spread evenly over pasta mixture. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or heated through and the top is browned.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


After a prolonged absence from blogging I'm finally getting back into the groove to resume writing, cooking and taking photos. I've missed my dialogues with my fellow bloggers and Internet friends. No, I was not on vacation; I just  had a very dark cloud over my head for a while. My survivor instinct in me pushed me to test the limits of my ability to cope with everything that was thrown my way and I never let anything get me down. We lost my mother-in-law and her sister-in-law (my husband's aunt) on consecutive days in July. Two weeks after that,  my mom collapsed in my arms and was in the hospital in critical care. Soon after she came home,  her house  along with four other houses on the block  was flooded by hurricane Irene. I went to rescue my elderly father and and mom in the eye of the storm to bring them to my house. I went under lose electric wires and around fallen trees in a rain storm so severe that I couldn't see the hand  in front of me but I made it safely back home with them. The next day I had to take my mom back to the hospital because she had brisued ribs as a result of the her rescue by the fire department and she was in excruciating pain. We spend six hours at the emergency room. The next day I had to roll-up my sleeves and start the clean-up process at their home. Below are the pictures I took the day I entered their house and this was the mess I encountered in their kitchen and their living room.  The black muck you see in the picture is what the flood water left in the house, pure mudd and a horrible smell!!! I was able to hire an environmental clean-up company who worked five days to clean-up and dry out their house. After demolishing the walls and the floors for two days,  they brought in 12 huge dryers and 2 huge dehumidifiers to dry for three more days. The sound of those machines operating at the same time was deafining...
While the house was being dried we were not allowed to go in, but that didn't stop me from sneaking in to get something for my mom or dad for whatever they needed. Running between my house, their house, work and stores I had no time for anything else except to get a wink of sleep. In between all this, we had to make another trip to the hospital emergency room in the middle of the night for my dad this time. Thank God,  his was just an indigestion but surely gave us enough scare to call an ambulance. Being a regular at the ER has its advantages like getting to know the emergency doctors and nurses by their first names bases and they get to know you. They offer you a chair to sit down or a cup of coffee to drink  in the middle of the night.
Later in October after what I had hoped would be the last ER visit my mom collapsed in my arms again necessitating another trip to the ER. When the ambulance arrived we were  ready to answer all the questions about her medication. This time we spent ten hours at the emergency room and my mom was admitted to critical care yet again.
Lets not forget that I had to go to work in between these episodes of emergency hospital visits, house renovations.  I also had to cook for five people when I got home, all while continuing to suffer neck pain, headaches and ear aches from a previous car accident. Oh, I forgot to mention that during mom's illness we had to hire a home health aide for her and my father. Later we realized that she was lazy as a daisy and had a lot of demands,  not to mention that she didn't cook. We had to let her go few days after mom & dad moved to their home. Now we have a lovely lady attending them who is also quite a good cook.
The light green apparatus is the dehumidifier

              As you can imagine, all their furniture, appliances, rugs,  floors, utilities even the small appliances had to be replaced. Anyone who has had a similar experience will understand what it is like to start a new ...
I don't want to bore you with all the little details of my experience but I could say that I learned a lot during these 72 days. First I learned about myself, I learned  who my true friends are and those who are not.

             The pictures below should give you an idea of what I accomplished by the end of this journey. I lost 17 pounds and  I'm tired but I'm also very happy that I was able to do all this for my parents. This experience has enabled me to re-connect and spend quality time with them, which is very precious to me when they are at this stage of their life.  I tried to do what was best for them in their new-old home to spend the rest of their lives comfortably and happy.

 As they say "Now you know the rest of the story".

Monday, November 14, 2011


No,  this is not a corny deer statute that we planted in our back yard. He is  part of  a deer family who is visiting our back yard veryday and eating everything in sight.

Here is the rest of its family watching me taking their pictures from the house. They are adorable animals with their white tails and huge eyes. However, they love my flowers and plants and they eat them ferociously. They come from the woods across the street from where we live. Last  Christmas evening my husband and I started to believe in Santa Clause again when we saw a small herd of deer across the street in the nearby church parking lot. We thought that Santa had parked his sled there.