Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tender Ribs and Happy Tuesday

Well, remember when I said I was going to write my happiest moment each day on here? Did I do it? No...but Eileen over at "Just the Two of Us" has been great about it!

So what has made me the happiest today is getting a good nights sleep. It doesn't happen very often anymore. I wake up lots..have trouble going to sleep, etc. Feeling really rested makes me very happy and energetic.

Yesterday, I was happy cause I marinated some pork ribs in Yoshida's, wrapped em in foil after adding 1/2 cup water.. and threw them on a baking tray in a preheated 400 degree oven. I lowered the temp to 350 after 10 minutes and continued baking for 90 minutes. Took off foil, brushed more Yoshida's on, and cooked for about 10 more minutes. They were tender and delicious. We had baked sweet potatoes with grated nutmeg on top..and some leftover spinach/beet salad. Delicious.

Also...Anne Martin Rolke and her hubby [of Sacatomato ] welcomed their new arrival Eva! Babies always make me happy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pimp for a day!

My friend and fellow Sacramento blogger is trying to win money for the Sac Children's Home so please visit her blog, click on the thumbs image. You'll be transported to "blog interviewer" where you can click on the thumbs up. Do it everyday..tell your friends..post it on your blog.

Here is the link to Lori's blog http://www.hahnathome.com/

Hey, while you are here...will you click on the Sac Top 25 over in the link lists on this page?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Leah Cookin Fried Chicken

I've been wondering about Leah Chase..she lost her famous "Dooky Chase" New Orleans restaurant due to Katrina. I hear it is open again. I always loved seeing her cook with Julia Child..or with Martha. Check out the video:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/into-the-fryer/

Friday, October 26, 2007

and the beet goes on.....

I picked up some organic beets (purple and orange) and some fresh baby spinach. What to do, what to do?

With some help, I decided to make a roasted beet salad over fresh spinach. Nice.

I roasted the beets at about 400 for about 40 minutes...after drizzling olive oil/salt and pepper over the top. I am into grey salt these days. I then put the beets in an impeccably clean kitchen towel and rubbed off the peels. I'll just be saving that towel for beets now. :) I chopped up the beets into 1/2 inch squares. I guess I could've peeled em first...but what would be the fun in that?

I washed and dryed the spinach leaves and cut off any long stems...and threw the beets on top.

I made a vinaigrette from some De Cecco extra virgin olive oil, some lemon, thyme, salt & pepper...and tossed some blue cheese crumbles on the top. Would rather have used Feta..but didn't have any. Poured a bit over the top..tossed it very well...and it was fabulous! Served it with a lemon/rosemary roasted chicken.

I just love beets! Here are links I love: http://www.ehow.com/how_3093_cook-beets.html and Meals for Four..under $15.00 http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/list_value.html I am partial to the "Roll Your Own Burrito Night". If you shop somewhere other than Whole Foods, you can probably do it for $13.00 for four!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Give it to Elaina...she'll eat anything!

I accompanied my son and DIL to a photo shoot he did of a newborn and her family yesterday..in Vancouver. I got to watch Elaina..make sure she didn't run into the equipment. These are friends of the kids'..so it was comfortable (except their house was like a furnace inside).

My son is a perfectionist...and the pics turned out great! I'll ask him to send me a few and I'll share them. My DIL has some great photo ideas as well..so they make a great team. They are both off to their "regular jobs" today.

Anyway..after the shoot we set off for downtown Portland to return the lenses he rented. We decided to eat dinner, thereby avoiding rush-hour traffic. We picked Serratto...a white tablecloth Italian spot in the Nob Hill district...and only a block away from City Market!! Well, we sat in the bar and got the happy hour small plates. Turns out, Elaina loves cured meats, artisan cheeses, olives, calamari, fettucine with short rib ragu, baby back ribs, and ceasar salad!!

A great meal...spot on service, wonderful atmosphere. We will go back again next time I am in town.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Guess What?

It is raining in Portland. Shocker, I know.

The first day I got here, we hit the pumpkin patch first thing. It is in Helvetia..owned by that family of little people from TLC...know what I am talking about? Well, if you do, they were there. They have quite a spread...we figured in the 6 weeks their pumpkin patch is open, they make $120,000 on the wagon rides alone! The film crew was there as well...it was fun to watch them move an outdoor porta potty so it wouldn't be in one of the scenes for the tv show. We had fun, Elaina had a blast...and we went to breakfast at Black Bear Restaurant. Their neighbors came along and it made for a lively meal.

Today we are headed downtown to pick up some camera lenses...and we'll eat at Byways Cafe. It was featured on Food Network...Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

So much for my Weight Watchers this week. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pre-Elaina

Left..Mike & Jer goofing off (pre-wedding)


I love this pic of Mike and Jenn at their wedding reception. Look at this happy, gorgeous couple. They got married on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon. The wedding was a blast! We stayed in a beach rental [as they did with their entire wedding party] with my sis and nieces.
A great time was had by all. Jer came too..but he brought his dog Sava..so he had to stay in a dog-friendly motel room at night.


Duh..er, um

So I was thinking I should post something. Nothing is coming up for me. I think I'll go read some of my favorite blogs in order to get some inspiration...like the ones I have linked up in the left-hand column.

I just added "The Passion of Dale".

Oh,...I have not mentioned my happiest moments the past few days..but I see that Eileen over at Just the Two of Us is stayin on top of it!

I am just really happy to be alive...no shit. And of course, I'll be seeing my son, my DIL, and my GRANDBABY tomorrow. Mike works at Intel..but he has become quite the photographer on the side. He has now built a studio in his house..and he tells me he has rented two lenses to take some "portraits" while I am there. Damn...I wish I had gone to my hairdresser last week. Oh well. I am so proud of them. They totally share the parenting duties..when she works, he has the baby. When he works, she has the baby..and when I am there...I have the baby! Mike is also getting his degree in Business Admin..so he is busy. I don't know how they keep up...and I'll be a grandma again in December! [that's it though...Bob Barker will be happy to know they are getting spayed and neutered after this one].

They love it when I come visit...I cook, we laugh, we eat, we play... and just have a good ole time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Portland Food

I am headed to Portland on Sunday morning. I must see my granddaughter at least every two months..if not, I get the shakes. :)

I also love to try new places to eat when I am there. Portland has some fabulous dining options. I always check http://www.portlandfood.org before I go, to see what everyone is talking about. Where should I take the kids this time?

He's Alive

Christmas 2006.. 6 years after surgery. Jer, Me, Mike


Left...two years before surgery.


Below..two weeks after surgery.

When I got to the coronary ICU,my son was breathing on his own. There was a nurse in his room 24/7. He had tubes everywhere..and the tips of his fingers and the bottoms of his feet were dark purple. I was told that he had a staph infection..in his heart..and the heart was throwing toxins back into his bloodstream which ended up looking like blood blisters on his extremities. He was thrashing about, the right side of his face was sagging. His older brother, Mike, had arrived from Portland hours earlier, and had just left to go to his motel room..a block away.

The nurse told me that they suspected that Jer's aortic heart valve had been severely damaged and that he was too ill for surgery.. to replace it. He further explained that if the strong antibiotics that they were giving him (thru IV's) decreased the infection throughout his body, they might be able to operate. I asked how this happened to him.

The nurse explained that Jer admitted shooting meth..sharing needles. The staph infection came with that activity. The infection had caused Jer to have, perhaps, up to 8 strokes... which had affected his right side. I was told that his prognosis was poor. They didn't know if the antibiotics would work. Apparently, Jer had been dying in a seedy motel room for several days. When he was brought in, he had dried feces all over his lower body and had not eaten for at least 5 days. He was literally found in the motel room, by someone who came over to do drugs with him. This person took him to the ER..and carried him in.

I was speechless. I cried. I looked down at my second-born, just 26 years old. I whispered in his ear..."you fight this Jer, you'll get a new heart and a new life".

I sat by his bed for a few hours and then went over to the motel. I'd be there for the next two weeks...Jer was there for 6 weeks.

About 13 months later, he and I were standing in a copy center in Sebastopol, CA. The guy behind the counter had a big scar down his chest..like Jers. Jer asked him what happened. The guy says.."I got an infection in my heart..they don't know what caused it". Jer said, "I know what caused it. You were shooting dope, right?" The guy looked shocked. Jer showed him his chest. They both agreed that shooting dope was the end of a really bad life... and the beginning of a much better one.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scarey Times

It was nearly 6:00 a.m.,,,, I was getting ready to go to work at a psychiatric hospital in Sonoma County. I really did love my job, and my house...I had worked there as a case manager for almost three years. The phone rang early that morning...and it scared me This time, it was a stranger saying to me, "your son, Jeremy, is near death. We are looking at putting him on life support. We suggest that you get to our hospital as soon as possible, as he is in critical condition". Then she said, "call Dr. Pthata", he is the heart surgeon at St. Patricks (in Missoula, Mt.) That was the voice mail I received after getting out of the shower. I called Dr. Pthata...left a message, and he called me back right away. He said, "we don't expect your son to make it through the night. You should come right away".
I called my friend, Trish..who picked up the airline ticket for me. Getting to San Fran airport from my West Sonoma home was no easy task. She agreed to take me to Petaluma, where I would get the bus to San Fran... then a flight to Salt Lake...and then a flight to Missoula, Mt. I was horrified, so sad, and guilt-ridden.

My flight from SF to Salt Lake was /cancelled/changed 3 times over the next two hours. In the mean-time, I had talked to the heart surgeon in Missoula, MT, who told me that Jeremy was in critical condition...and on life support. I watched as the Delta Pilot walked forward...to the Salt Lake flight. I intervened...saying "my son is dying in a hospital in Missoula, Mt. If I don't make the connecting flight in Salt Lake, he will probably be dead by the time I get there. I am asking you, to please ask the Salt Lake flight to wait for me..so that I can make it to Missoula..and my son, by 1:00 a.m. The Captain looked at me and said, "I will do all I can."

I got on that flight, and... 5 minutes before landing in Salt Lake, the hostess came to me and said..."grab your bags..you are getting off." Another lady said, "I live in Missoula..can I come too?" We got on a motorized vehicle and made it to the Missoula, MT flight...where the passengers had been waiting for me for 20 minutes". When I got on the aircraft, the passengers gave me a standing ovation...knowing my son was in critical condition..and they had said a prayer for him...it was awesome.

When we got to Missoula, Mt..it was past 1:00 a.m. The woman, from Missoula, who asked if she could accompany me... grabbed her bags and began to go toward her car. She saw me, knew what was going on..and tried to avoid me. I asked her..."are there taxi cabs in this town? I need a ride to St. Patricks Hospital," and she took me.

Okay...long story. More to come.

Staying In Step

Depending on how you scored on the "I might be a criminal quiz", here are some links to prison recipes...and 86 Rules of Boozing (in case you are penetentiary bound).

http://everettnewtonshow.com/prisonrecipes.html

http://mattfischer.com/ramen/?p=460-23k


The 86 Rules of Boozing (and don't forget to stop by and visit "Wino Wisdom")
http://drunkard.com/issues/01-02/01_02_booze_rules.htm


My happiest moment today..and yesterday=my toilet is not in my kitchen, my bedroom, my livingroom, or in my laundry room. It has its own room...where I can go and shut the door.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Are You A Criminal...and just didn't know it?

Take the quiz at http://www.360degrees.org/ I like the theory quiz as well. Thought provoking. Be waawy waawy honest when you answer the questions. You'll find the quizes by clicking on the- dynamic data- section of the circle.

Happiest Moments

Yesterday, my happiest moment was cutting enough fresh flowers from my garden (roses) to make a glorious bouquet to take over to Peck for our second open house. One of my dreams was to have enough flowers growing in my yard to always have bouqets in my house. It makes me very happy.

I was also happy about changing my mind about plans I'd made, and not feeling guilty. This is growth for me.

Side note: Breaking Point, hosted by Ted Koppel on Discovery Channel. If it is run again, watch it. The very best expose and investigative reporting on the failure of the California Prison System...but it applies to almost every prison system in this country. If you don't think it affects you, think again. I recorded it, and saved it. If you've ever wondered why parolees keep going back to prison, and why prison doesn't keep prisoners from re-offending, watch it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jeeves, bring me my gin & tonic...and my self-tanner, straight away!

From Fergus Henderson's "Nose to Tail Eating", Cock-a-leekie Soup.

Tony Bourdain has named a Golden Clog Award in his name, he'll eat anything, and cooks all parts of the animal. Here is his recipe for that soup I had in the line-up a few days back:

Think in a British Accent please..oh and naturally know that 1 kg -=2.2 lbs., 1 ounce=28.35 grams, 16 ounces = 2 cups or 454 grams, or .45 kg.

Serves 8

Ingredient list:

Need 1kg brined beef brisket (brine for up to 10-12 days...brine recipe below)
Need 1 free-range chicken
4 peeled onions
2 carrots
4 cleaned leeks
2 sticks of celery
4 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
fresh thyme, parsley, rosemary

Finishing:
5 leeks, cleaned and sliced across
the smallest dash of duck fat or olive oil
24 prunes, stone-in, and preferable Agen prunes if you can find them

Brine:

400 g of caster sugar
600 g of sea salt
12 juniper berries
12 cloves
12 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
4 litres of water

Bring all of the brine ingredients together in a pot, bring to the boil so the sugar and salt melt. Decant into a container and allow to cool...[be sure to turn around three times to the left while this occurs]. When cold, add your meat, man! Leave in brine for required recipe. Put it in the fridge too.


Okay, whew, here is the rest of the recipe (and have that self-tanner near by):

Place brined brisket and accompanying vegetables (2 peeled onions, 2 carrots, 2 leeks, 2 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, and bundle of thyme and parsley) in a pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then straightaway reduce to a very gentle and english-like simmer, skimming constantly. This should only take about 2.5 hours, so feel free to apply self-tanner before-hand and do it all in the buff. When the beef feels as giving as you do, stop the heat and allow beef to cool off in the broth...oh, and you can now rinse yourself.

While all that is happening, and prior to applying the self-tanner, place the chicken in a pot with its team of veggies (2 peeled onions, 2 clean leeks, 2 sticks of celery, 2 bays leaves, 10 peppercorns, bundle of thyme, some parsley, and 2 shoots of rosemary...fresh naturally). Bring your chickie to a boil, then place a lid on the pan and remove from the heat. Go ahead. Allow to cool in the stock. It will cook again, so no worries.

Go have a gin and tonic and come back for the rest of the recipe...and take a leekie whilst you are add it.

Okay.

Remove beef and chickie from their stocks and cut into pieces so that one could eat them with a spoon. Strain both stocks seperatley, then add the beef stock to the chicken stock to taste. It might be quite salty, so be careful. Taste and add more if you need to.

Finish it now!

Now, in a pot large enough to construct your soup, sweat your sliced leeks in the duck fat or olive oil for about 6-8 minutes. This brings out their "leekie" nature (and brings out the devil in me). Pour on the stock. Add the chopped meats, bring to another gentle English simmer, and let the meat heat through. At precisley 3 minutes before serving, add the prunes just giving them time to puff up (like I do after eating cabbage). Serve in big bowls with rustic bread.

And you thought soup meant opening a can? Come back soon for his recipe for Pea and Pig's Ear Soup. Delicious! Honest.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tumbleweeds

Anyone reading Eat, Pray, Love? I appreciate that she began her journey in Italy..savoring food. Sure she gained 24 lbs, but it was all about allowing herself to experience pleasure. I love that she writes down her happiest moment of the day. I think I'll start doing that. I best do it here, or I probably won't do it.

I went and picked up a pizza from Giovannis for dinner. We got "Da Bronx". It was delicious. Thin crust but charred just right..I could fold it in half and eat it like a sandwich. I had one piece...I can't afford to gain 24 lbs. If I did, I'd be hauled off to Marine World for sure.

I wrote a letter to the CEO of Wal-Mart regarding the lack of customer service at the Florin Store. We'll see if I get a reply. Their website is a kick....pictures of happy, smiling employees just looking to make someones day.

We watched a few episodes of the first season of "House". I love that show. Hugh Laurie is a frickin genious. That's his name, right?

My doc called..my pap was normal. I should hear about the blood work on Monday or Tuesday. I'll be on a cholesterol lowering med by Wednesday...mark my words!

I hope it is fall weather tomorrow. I want to make a big pot of vegetable and lentil soup, light a fire in the fireplace, and watch a good movie. Sher, over at http://whatdidyoueat.typepad.com/ has posted a good lookin bowl of soup..and the recipe.

My happiest moment today: opening my eyes this morning and seeing my cat Simon sleeping with his head on my pillow...oh, and getting to wear my brand new pj's with matching socks. I am a pajama girl.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Customer Service....Hello!?

What has happened to customer service? I am thinkin..is it outdated? Here is an example of shitty "customer service" in the last week:

I had to return a gift at Wal-Mart on Florin Rd: Stood in line for 25 minutes. Saw signs saying that Wal-Mart wants to "please" their shoppers. I watched as the employees totally ignored the shoppers who were wanting to return gifts/purchases, etc. I saw one old man who finally made it to the desk, in his walker, turn in a non-working phone system. The Wal-Mart employee said to him, "take it back, find the right one, and come back"...never making eye-contact with this customer. He says, "do I have to stand in line again"? She smirks, treats him like an idiot, and says, "didn't I just say to come back to me?" This perks my interest! I say, "no, you did not just say, come back to me. Your instructions were ambiguous at best and you are rude as hell!"

I finally got up in the line, to meet the WalMart employee, who is supposed to care about my experience at the store. I put my receipt down, and put the returned item on the desk. The Wal-Mart employee never looked me in the eye, never said thank you, how are you, etc. After the return transaction was complete, she yelled "Next" She never once said, "thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart", it was more like, "you can kiss my ass for shopping at WalMart".

I hate shopping at WalMart. I will suggest to my relatives and friends to avoid shopping there. Home Depot is just as bad. Shop Local...whenever you can! I love to shop at The Nuggett, Corti Bros, Taylors Market, Italian Importing Company...and any locally owned Ace Hardware Store. Hell, Raley's is owned locally, but customer service sure ain't what it used to be.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Joy of Walking

videoI could not resist sharing this. She looks into the camera and waves, at the end. The kids sent it to me so I could see for myself. {it's "old", as she is 18 months old now and quite the little runner!}

I will see them in 12 days!! Portland or Bust!