do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear that sound?  It is a droning, whirling sound in the background.

I am smiling.  That is our ice cream maker.  It is helping me to make Rosemary infused Pear Sorbet for dessert tonight!

When the electricity goes out, don’t you just praise heaven when you hear that distinctive sound of the refrigerator.  You miss it when it is not humming away. At this moment in time, there is molasses, gluten-free cookie dough chilling in our refrigerator.   You can’t decorate a gingerbread house without having something to nibble on?  gee whiz.

I love the sound of my kitchen aid.   Good things always happen in that machine.

20141219_082618Here’s is the behind the scenes magic of said gingerbread house.  Been like this since last night.  The “glue” read that as royal icing is hardening.  Tonight it will be ready for us to decorate it up, real fancy.  ha ha

I have dog cookies cooling on the counter.  I adore how I can get the dog to bark on command.  Oh, and Mr. Right taught her how to whisper bark, too.  It is adorable and worthy of a fresh cookie.

The hum of the dryer is on going in the background.  Even the sound of the vacuum.  We have a real tree on the deck and artificial trees indoors.  Yep, you even have to vacuum up artificial pine needles.  How’s that for realistic?  ha

Is it me, or does everyone just love listening to the movie “Elf”?  I just sort of fell in love with Buddy and he makes me feel better about life.  No, we don’t own movies.  I just love catching it on television when I flip through now and then.

20141218_113959I love plotting and planning and gift giving.  I am trying out a gift wrapping idea for next year.  Instead of making to: and from: tags, I want to use initials.  I like it.  I think everyone knows  who they are.   When Mr. Right wraps gifts he uses a knife to cut the paper exactly.  That tearing sound gives me the shivers.

Hang on…… okay, that is better, Muppet’s Christmas music is blaring from Spotify.  Gee, don’t you kind of wish you invented Spotify?.  Oh, if you did and you are one of my followers, tip of the Santa hat to ya!  Love Spotify.

I adore the sound of the letter opener, slicing open the envelopes that arrive each day.  I just know there is a happy greeting card or picture inside those colorful, sometimes glittery envelopes.

I am knitting.  What was a Christmas gift has gently morphed into a Happy New Year gift.  Read that as knitting is not my forte.  I can still remember the sound of my mother in law’s knitting needles.  She was an accomplished knitter and boy could those needles fly.  click, click, click, click.

I am madly in love with the sound of a full dishwasher, swishing away.  Not having to wash all those Christmas dishes is a dream.  I hope it was a woman who invented the dishwasher.  Geesh, love that thing.  I fancy my Christmas dishes.  I think every single new bride should choose Christmas dishes.  That way everyone can give the happy couple a piece to use every single year.  One month of happy, cheerful, delightful dishes.  Yep, if I was in charge of the world, I would gently suggest everyone have a couple of Christmas dishes.  No, not paper.  Something nice and happy and uplifting.  Look at me, changing the world one dish at a time.  hachristmas dishes

When I am done typing, yes, I can hear the keys tapping out a rhythm, I am headed over to plug-in the iron.

20141206_164813 (1)Date night is tomorrow!!!  I am ironing my dress today.  I am laying out my jewelry, stockings, shoes, beautiful black velvet shawl.    We have been plotting and planning and looking at the tickets for some time now.  The Messiah concert production at the breathtaking Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, will indeed be full of sounds.  Such a treat and we are so looking forward to it.

My all time favorite  sound of the season is……….. the rustling of dresses, shoes hitting the floor, ladies and gents uncrossing their legs, people using the hand rests to push themselves out of the seats, men readjusting their belts and ties, the sound of an entire room full of people getting from a sitting position to a standing position.   The standing for the Hallelujah chorus.

Hallelujah!

 

crabby can be a good thing

I had to share………just had to.

Right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the busy month of December, we took a time out.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We  gave ourselves a mini vacation.  Did you know, you can find Peace on Earth, right on the Oregon Coast?  We have steeled away in the month of December, years past.  It is truly magical.   The roar of the ocean somehow managed to quiet our souls. If all the stars align, I highly recommend taking a December time out.  Replenished what we are in need of, fills our empty pitchers and is time well spent.

I am one thankful girl.  Vacation in December is decadent.  It feels lovely.  Here’s a secret:  we save and roll our loose change all year-long…………. that pays for our December vacation get away, like this one.  So right smack in the middle of what is usually a very cash depleting month, we pay cash for everything, yep even gas and spending money and enjoy a vacation.  GOD BLESS the coin jar.  Yes, Virginia it does add up.

One of the things about vacation that I adore, is getting to be a little “loose” with our eating habits.   While pizza used to be one of my top 5 food choices of all time, the last time we chose to have pizza was back in August.  That was a long time ago, in pizza years.  sigh.   So we have been talking about, planning, talking some more, dreaming, drooling for a few weeks now about what else……………… pizza.  Okay, and all the other fun stuff you get to do on vacation.  Pizza seems so easy to dream about.  Is it me, or do other human beans dream of pizza?

We chose to indulge in our dreams by way of Pizza a Fetta in Canon Beach, Oregon, one of the top 50 pizza places in America. The best little place ever. The aroma was mouth-watering. We even walked by the place early in the day and read the outdoor posted menu.  (Don’t you wish every restaurant in America would post their menu?  We really appreciate that.) You could smell the pizza from outdoors.  swoon.  SWOON.  Yes, that amazing. We made our choice. We talked about it all afternoon.

When you conscientiously decide to have pizza, you make it an event.  No, you don’t call it in, drive by, grab it to go and bake at home and eat off a paper plate.

This is food that is worthy of your being.  We are so worth amazing food that is well thought out and prepared.  I want to say it tasted like it was made with love, however that might be stretching it a bit.

This pizza is worthy of sit down at a table, have real conversation (cell phones were left in the hotel) while waiting, red checkered table cloths, real plates and the table set with flatware.  This is the real thing.  Real ingredients, thoughtfully chosen, each pie crafted with heart and soul. The wait staff was friendly and welcoming.  They made each diner feel as though their choice was the perfect choice.  The small restaurant was spotlessly clean and decorated for the season with a snow scene in the window and cedar garland with lights hung outdoors.

crab pizza 2014The time had finally arrived.  We walked in, were seated at a perfect small table. We could see the chef tossing dough for a crust, stretching, gently forming. We placed our order.

The wait……………..

All at once it was placed in front of us, about 8 inches off the table, on a little stand. Eye level, who am I kidding, nose level. A FEAST for the senses. We both looked at it and memorized it. The HUGE chunks of fresh crab. Yes, that’s right. We ordered Crab Pizza. That first bite was an amazing sensation. Hot, chewy, wood fired toasted crust, seasoned perfectly, The cheese, oh the cheese.

 

Actually, two kinds of cheese, mozzarella & Asiago were nestled atop a beautiful Montrachet sauce.  Thinly sliced Roma tomatoes were dancing with green onions, parsley and cracked pepper. …..wait for it…………..the crowning glory of this amazing pizza was generous amounts of fresh Dungeness crab.  There was not one slice on the pan that you didn’t want as your first choice.  Each had more than enough huge chunks of crab to make it the perfect slice.

We indulged.  We left no pizza behind.  ha…………..read that as this girl was glad to have on stretchy polka dot pixie pants.

I follow this one blogger who says she writes to experience life twice.

Writing about this pizza was as close to eating and enjoying every single bite of the actual pizza.  A good thing to do, while the laundry swishes away on the first day home from vacation.

ps.  I “borrowed” this picture off of Google images.  No, we did not have cell phones at our table.  Gasp, we were actually in the moment.  And oh boy, did we enjoy those moments.

 

 

Mr. Right

As you may have surmised, Mr. Right doesn’t like to talk about Mr. Right.  He doesn’t actually like me to talk about Mr. Right.

special day plateWhen you write a blog, some 840+ posting later, you feel as though you should mention that it is your better half’s birthday.

So instead of talking about him, I think I will talk a bit about me.

I have been plotting and planning for a few weeks, now.  You know the perfect gifts?  Thoughtful gifts he won’t buy for himself, yet will be so tickled to receive.  (no, I can’t spill the beans, he reads this blog, duh)  I found his birthday card in FEBRUARY.  Glory bee, I still remembered where I hid it.  yippee.

So, my guy woke up to fresh home-made Apple turnovers and the perfect pun, birthday card.

Yesterday, I fluffed and puffed, me.  Hair cut, dyed, highlighted.  facial.  manicure & pedicure (sassy Dorothy Red Shoes, sparkle red!).  Yes, every year the day or two before his special day, I make an effort.    I polish the apple.  Here is the deal, we have been on this ride for 33 years.  I want to remind him that he made a good choice.  When he walks through that door tonight, I want to be calm, dressed (no, not in leopard print yoga pants), lipstick on, garnished appetizer plate out and dinner ready to go.  (que his favorite country music CD)

Today, I am baking homemade crackers to go with some olives, cheese & smoked salmon for an appealing appetizer plate.

Also, one of his yearly gifts is baking as I type and is another homemade treat of goodness.  I will tell you tomorrow.  Don’t want to foil the surprise.  ha

Today, I am finishing wrapping some gifts, hanging balloons, getting out the special day plate and making a sumptuous dinner of his choosing.

The dog will be brushed and the table will be set with all the best we have.

I am making an effort.

Yes, indeed.  You see kids, that’s how marriages/friendships thrive.  They are a LIVING thing.  You’ve got to feed it now and then.   You have to make an effort.

No, I don’t wait until the day before, “oh yeah, what do you want on your birthday”?  His birthday dessert choice is homemade.   He is of value to me.  I make plans.  I make the effort. I want him to know without a doubt that he is the that important.

Every single year, without fail.

No, I don’t make plans to celebrate next weekend.  We change our world around so the special day IS the special day.  

When the boys lived at home, I included them in the secret plans.  Each year they made cards and we wrapped presents and helped with the dessert choice of the birthday person.  I was teaching them to be thoughtful and think ahead.  Birthday’s are not a last-minute thing.  You know when they are just around the corner.  Get out there people, buy some napkins, get a special day plate, hang a few balloons………..yes, it is that important.

Now, I will say that December birthday’s can be tricky.  However, in all my years of budgeting and planning, I figured out to make all those things happen a month or two before the budget crushing month of December rolls around.

DSCN0650He is the best husband a girl could wish for.  He makes my world “work”.  He holds my hand when I need it and even for “no apparent” reason.

A while back, someone said to me, “I started reading your blog, and I thought you were always talking about your boyfriend.  I didn’t realize you were married.”  One of the nicest compliments I have ever received.  I try my darnedest, to treat him with respect and giddy school girl love, just as I would a boyfriend.

He doesn’t complain too loudly at glitter in decorations.  He doesn’t complain too much about twigs in decor around the house.  He finishes (and likes) “honey-dew, lists”.  He wipes down the car door jamb on my side.  That way, I have never gotten slush or dirt or grim on my pant leg or dress.  How’s that for thoughtful?  Oh sure, he stands before I sit at the table, he opens all the doors for me, he offers his handkerchief when I am in need.  However, he does the boyfriend stuff, too.  He hangs out in girl stores (jewelry or gift shops) even when he is the only boy.  He plans trips and finds interesting restaurants to try.  He sends me funny texts and calls me during the day.  He makes sure there are no stupid appointments planned on Valentine’s day.   He tells me my hair looks nice (even when we both know it is a little more “joyful” than usual). DSCN5339 - Copy

He is an amazing Dad and if you can believe this, an even more amazing Papa.

He is the best boyfriend in all the land.  I wish there was a contest.  He would love to win a lifetime supply of double-bladed razors or Rice A Roni!

He makes our family better.  He makes my world twirl.  He makes me a better version of me.  How could I offer any less to him?

So, if you run into Mr. Right today, quietly without fanfare, whisper a very Happy Birthday to him.  He will pretend like it doesn’t matter.

It does matter.

He matters to me.

20140802_142253Man, I love that guy.

 

 

 

say “cheese”

One of the things I adore about the holidays are …………..drum roll…………….wait for it……………………….. SNACKS.

cheese ballI adore snacks.  I love a good cheese ball.  I love the idea of little nibblies to whet our appetites.  Having a couple of cheese balls made and flavors melding in the refrigerator, is a lovely feeling.

You can grab your homemade cheese ball, add a box of crackers, tie on a sprig of evergreen with a piece of red and white bakers twine add a jaunty cheese spreader,  there you have it.  Instant hostess gift.

Dreary Sunday afternoon, chilly, damp, game on the television?  Set a cheese ball on a jaunty holiday platter, surround with some divine crackers (homemade or store-bought), add a sprig of fresh Rosemary,  toss on some veggies and TA DA. Instant goodness. spread happiness

About 2 years ago we gave up dairy.  Now, don’t get your holiday panties in a knot.  If there is cheese sprinkled upon our baked potato at a friend’s home, no we don’t SCREAM, WE DON’T EAT DAIRY!  We are polite, civilized guests.  Of course we eat what our host has provided.  If there is a bit of cheese in a ravioli at a restaurant, we don’t send it back.  We just choose not to consume dairy on a daily basis.

One of the things I discovered, it is not the actual cheese ball that I was missing.  Oh sure, that flavor is wonderful.  It was the holiday “act” of nibblies.  Let’s face it, a cheese ball on a festooned platter of goodness, just hollers holidays.

May I offer up an amazing, delicious, go back for seconds and thirds recipe that will not only fulfill that need for a holiday treat, but will satisfy our choice to stay dairy free?

“Cheese” Ball 

2 cups cashew pieces, soak overnight  (purchase in the bulk foods section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup filtered water

2  probiotic capsules (use the powder, discard the capsules)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon real salt

6 grinds of cracked pepper

2 full teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

Combine soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water and probiotic in food processor.  Scrape down.  Blend until smooth.

Line a strainer with cheese cloth (fabric store or Bed Bath and Beyond) spoon mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit over night.

Put cashew mixture in a bowl.  Stir in the thyme, yeast, S & P and garlic.

Divide into 2 balls.  Roll in crushed pecans (option:  add a bit of green herbs for color)

Refrigerate 2 days and serve or up to a month in the freezer.

Say Grace and indulge.  Seriously, indulge.  You and your family are so worth a lovely treat.

grateful garland

20141119_082306paper, scissor & string.   That’s it.   Make one.  Your heart and soul will dance a jig.

Okay, you can use a fancy rotary cutter and buy really fancy schmancy paper and rustic twine.  It is completely in your hands. You can use paper you have on hand, you can use twine from your Mr. Right’s work bench.  You get the idea.

Cut out some paper banner pieces.  Cut them twice as long as you would like to see.  Fold in half & slip over and tape or glue (on the inside) onto a string, yarn or twine.

Lay your project on a table and set a basket of ink joy, jelly roller, colored pencils, pens.  craft portion, done.

You start by writing a few things you are grateful for.  Walk away.

It’s easy, give it a try. grateful

The most interesting thing happens.  Even your Mr. Right will casually pick up a pen and jot down several things he is grateful for.

As you walk by with a laundry basket full of dry clothes, you might find yourself setting the basket down and jotting down the word dryer.  I am GRATEFUL for my dryer as it was 20* yesterday morning.   I would not want to hang clothes outside to dry in 20*.  I am GRATEFUL.

Yesterday, once home from shopping (my least favorite hobby), I was grumpy and grumbling.  I stopped and wrote driving.  I am GRATEFUL that I am able to drive myself.  Heck, I am GRATEFUL that I live in a country where I am “allowed” to drive.

I stopped drinking my glass of juice, set it down, picked up a green ink joy pen and wrote the word juice.  I am GRATEFUL that I am healing with juice.

This morning, I hung up our grateful garland just to snap a picture.   I am putting it back on the table.

By Thanksgiving, I want to have every single space filled with all the things we are grateful for.

I made it two-sided.

We will fill both sides.

Young, old we all have oodles of things to be grateful for.

We choose to live our lives in a state of gratefulness.

I love when I find ways to remind myself just how dang tootin’ lucky I am.

Grateful.

grateful 2

 

 

 

 

so good, lick the spatula, good

Years ago, I found out that I was allergic to MSG.  I read books and did my research.  I learned about 28 different names they use for msg.  I read the hardest read of my life (thank you Dr. Russell Blaylock).   I keep a laminated card in my wallet, in case I get into trouble and I need emergency help.

I removed, what I thought was everything from the “mr. yuck” list.  Every once in a while, I would still have huge welts and my tongue would swell.  What the heck?  I just couldn’t figure it out.

I figured it out last week.

When we lived in Germany, I was introduced to and fell in love with Nutella.  Oh my stars.  An amazing little product of smashed Hazelnuts (my grandparents had a Hazelnut farm and I want my own nut farm, long story) and chocolate swirled together into a lovely concoction of pure joy.  I stopped eating this amazing mixture about two years ago.  Sadly, as I said goodbye to sugar and dairy, I had to say  a fond farewell to this treat .

I found out last week, one of the ingredients they call vanillin, is code for MSG.  Geesh, no wonder, I did not know that. That was a new name for me.

Enter amazing life changing recipe:   I was so grateful a friend pointed out this recipe to me.  I could almost hear the angels singing a heavenly tune.

20141111_084642Homemade Nutella.  (If you use raw almond milk, the entire recipe could be raw.)

If my chair was a bit higher, I would be swinging my legs, giggling while I typed.  As it was, I got to lick the spatula clean.  Oh my goodness, rich, thick, nutty goodness.  Then I licked my fingers.  Yes, rather unladylike, so delightful.

I am sure you can find the recipe on the amazing computer in front of you, however, I will write it quick so you can have a go at making this wonderful little extra in life.

First, soak 1 cup of raw hazelnuts for 10-12 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Put into the food processor or Blendtec.  Blend until smooth, scraping down as needed.  This may take 10-15 minutes as you are looking for a buttery consistency.   Then add 1/4 cup raw agave, 1 teaspoon natural vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 2-4 Tablespoons almond milk.  Blend until smooth and then slowly add the milk.

I put it into a squat little jar and tied a chocolate-brown ribbon around the top.  I wanted it in a jar, so I could “sneak” some now and then just like I used to.

We are in this together.  Here’s to delicious health and wellness!