Some things can never be forgotten. The Lamaze breathing techniques that I learned more than 30 years ago came out of retirement today as I led my daughter-in-law through series after series of patterned-breathing. While my son applied pressure to his wife’s back, I held up my fingers and breathed randomly-chosen breathing sequences with her. It has been a long night and day and still no baby yet. Because I am still at the hospital awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, there will be no regular Friday’s Fresh Five! today.
Archive for August, 2014
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Basil-Corn casserole, best brunch recipes, best side dishes, breakfast casserole, breakfast casseroles, corn and basil, corn casserole, egg and corn casserole, egg recipes, egg recipes for brunch, fresh corn recipes, side dish recipes, summer side dish, Tori Ritchie, vegetarian egg dish on August 26, 2014| Leave a Comment »
A delicate and savory egg pudding showcases two of my favorite summer flavors: sweet corn and fragrant basil. This versatile dish makes a delightful accompaniment for supper or can take center stage as an entrée for a light meal or a Sunday brunch gathering.
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
3 green onions, sliced
2 cups corn kernels (see note)
Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Pinch cayenne, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375° F and butter the insides of a 1½ quart souffle dish or other baking dish.
2. In a sauté pan or frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the green onions. Cook, stirring for a minute or two to soften, then add the corn and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, then stir in the basil and remove pan from the heat.
3. Let cool for a few minutes until the corn is just warm to the touch.
4. In a bowl, beat the eggs well with a whisk, then whisk in the half-and-half and the cheese. Scrape the cooled corn mixture from the pan into the bowl and stir well. Stir in the cayenne if using.
5. Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and bake until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes (if using a baking dish that’s flatter than a souffle dish, start checking after 35 minutes). Serve warm.
Cook’s Note: you’ll need 2 to 3 ears of corn to get 2 cups kernels, depending on the size of the ears. You can use white or yellow corn. You can also used thawed frozen corn.
1. This dish needs to cool a bit before serving so that it can set.
2. Because this is a pudding and not a soufflé, the batter is thin. The corn kernels will sink down to the bottom.
3. I added a generous pinch of cayenne pepper. Next time, I will add more.
4. It did not rise as much as I anticipated it would, even with an appropriate-sized baking dish. I’m going to try baking this recipe in individual ramekins next time; individual basil-corn puddings would be so perfect to serve for brunch.
Posted in About me, Art and Crafts, Creativity, Gift Ideas, inspiration, Kids, Parenting, Photography, Recycling, Uncategorized, tagged 100 Happy Days, baby clothes, capturing moments, Clark Little, inspirational quotes, looking for happiness, photographing waves, precious moments, recycling baby clothes, upcycling baby clothes, wave photography, where does time go on August 22, 2014| 2 Comments »
Then and now. One moment a baby and now soon to be a father. Where do the days go? Have you noticed how precious moments string together to create days that bundle into months that lump into years that stretch into decades. That’s where the days go. They grow and they flow and they circle ’round and ’round. Quick! Grab this moment and hang onto it for as long as you can. It will be gone soon. Sure, there are more moments headed your way, but how many of these will you appreciate and cherish? All of them, I hope.
#1 – Baby Clothes
Because I’m the sentimental type, I saved some of my children’s baby clothes. Not all of them, only the special pieces that were either made or embellished for them or that bring back special memories. I gave my son some of his baby clothes as a gift at a baby shower and it will be fun to see his children wearing them. If you have baby clothes that are sentimental to you, but not in good enough condition to be passed down, you may want to read 10 Ways To Make a Memento Out of Old Baby Clothing.
#2 – A Moment to Remember
Watching 15-month-old Kayden experience the feel of rain and listening to her say “Wow!” is a cute reminder of how there can be joy in simple things and how to truly savor a moment.
#3 – 100 Happy Days
The 100 Happy Days Foundation challenges you to identify, photograph, and share something that makes you happy each day for 100 days in a row. Whether you choose to participate in the program or do it on your own, it is a great way to train yourself to look for happiness.
#4 – Catching the Wave
Surfer and photographer Clark Little photographs waves, shorebreaks, and backwashes. His work is spectacular and his philosophy, “I just went out and did what I did; did what I loved and it just kind of happened,” is what more of us should strive to do. Watch how he got started in this creative endeavour:
#5 – Moments
“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
“The way a book smells when you thumb through it. The way quiet winter air makes you feel like no one else exists. The smell of the woods after a thunderstorm. That split second before your chair tips back. The feeling right before you cry. The euphoria before the heartbreak. That moment when you wonder if they think of you the way you think of them. These things, I live for.”
— Katie Humphreys
“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
Go now and spread joy!
Posted in About me, Creativity, inspiration, Photography, Recipes, Recycling, Travel, Uncategorized, tagged beautiful places to read, bees on flowers, creative recycling tips, gratitude, gratitude and happiness, happiness, inspirational quotes, libraries around the world, peach recipes, peaches, Photography, quote on happiness, Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, upcycled home decor, upcycling on August 15, 2014| Leave a Comment »
During the time it took my camera lens to focus on a vermilion-colored blossom, a bee landed on it, dove into the center headfirst, and then flew off. Hurriedly, I pressed the shutter button. “Did I get the shot or not,” I wondered. On playback, I was pretty happy about getting a decent photo of the flower, but capturing the image of the bee made me even happier. Happiness comes into our lives in different degrees. Grab and appreciate every bit you can get.
#1 – The Science of Happiness
Called “An Experiment in Gratitude,” this video of a project from SoulPancake depicts the relationship between expressing gratitude and feeling happy.
#2 – Genius Ideas
Discovering clever new ideas, especially those that involve upcycling, makes me happy. Check out these “31 Genius Ideas For Reimagining Home Decor.” It may be too late for me to build a Lego wall for my kids, but there’s still time to do so for my grandkids!
#3 – Just Peachy
Making homemade peach ice cream is a fun summertime tradition for my family. But after drooling over 62 Fresh Summer Peach Recipes, I’m going to make my family even happier. I’m shaking up my peach recipe repertoire. How does a Crab Salad with Peaches and Avocados sound to you?
#4 – Quiet, Please!
If you love to find quiet places to read, you’ll appreciate the Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Read Books. They include both quaint and impressive libraries from around the world.
#5 – Your Choice
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Go now and spread joy!
Posted in Records, Uncategorized, tagged best pasta salad, best summer recipes, bow tie pasta salad, easy pasta salad, farfalle pasta, lemons, light pasta salad, pasta dishes, pasta salads, pine nuts, Recipes, salads, summer salad, zucchini and lemon pasta salad, zucchini salad on August 12, 2014| Leave a Comment »
The geometry of pasta involves pairing up the perfect shape with the perfect sauce. According to Caz Hildebrand, co-author of the Geometry of Pasta, doing so, ” . . . makes the difference between pasta dishes that are merely ordinary and truly sublime.” In this recipe, the simple lemon and olive oil dressing lightly coats the farfalle pasta, also known outside of Italy as bow-tie pasta. The fragrance and flavors of briefly sautéed slices of zucchini, shreds of fresh basil and Italian parsley, and toasted pine nuts combine to make this recipe “truly sublime.” As a matter of fact, I give it a four “S” rating for Super Special Summer Salad.
Insalata di Farfalle, Zucchine e Pinoli
The Geometry of Pasta
1/2 pound farfalle
3 smallish, firm zucchini (2/3 pound), thinly sliced in 2-4-millimeter rounds
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup pine nuts
Oil for frying the pine nuts
A small handful each of basil and flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely shredded
Grated Parmesan, to serve, (optional)
1. Boil the farfalle until cooked as you would like them, then drain and cool under cold running water.
2. Heat a frying pan until very, very hot over a high flame. Add the zucchini, then 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil, and a little salt. Sauté for a minute or so. When half-cooked, a few nicely browned, add the garlic and cook for a minute more. When still just underdone, turn off the heat, and leave in the pan to finish cooking. The zucchini should be partly coloured, fully cooked but still slightly crunchy, and nicely dry.
3. Make a dressing of the lemon zest, juice, and remaining 4½ tablespoons of olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. To toast the pine nuts cover them with oil in a small pan and fry over a medium heat until pale amber.
5. When the zucchini and pine nuts have cooled to room temperature, toss with the pasta, herbs, and dressing.
6. Best left to stand for 20 minutes before eating plain or with a light grating of Parmesan.
1. Try to slice the zucchini so that the slices are uniformly thick. This helps to ensure that they are cooked evenly.
2. I drained the toasted pine nuts on a paper towel-lined plate. The next time I make this, I will use less oil to fry the pine nuts.
3. Before serving, I topped the dish with some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and I also served some in a small bowl on the side for those who wanted more.
Posted in About me, Art and Crafts, Creativity, Environment and Ecology, Gardening, Health, In The Kitchen, inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized, tagged Acorn Woodpecker, baking failures, bird baths, birds, creative failures, drought, inspiration, life hacks, Photography, quote about doing more, recipes that didn't turn out, saving calories, Trey Radcliff, ways to save calories, William Arthur Ward quote on August 8, 2014| 2 Comments »
“Splish, splash, I was takin’ a bath . . .” sings an Acorn Woodpecker as he splashes around in the top tier of my backyard fountain. Goldfinches stop short of landing on the rim once they eye the big fellow dominating the cool water. Oblivious to other approaching birds, the woodpecker takes a leisurely bath, shaking and lifting his wings periodically. During the drought, my little fountain has become a center of much activity. Small and large birds, butterflies and other insects all make use of the fountain. For their sake, I continue to run it during these times of water conservation. Little water is wasted, as it uses a recirculating pump and is set on a timer. More importantly, my husband adds only bird-safe algaecide to the water. I am ever cognizant that the plants in my garden are not the only living things struggling to survive during the drought.
#1 – Through His Eyes
Whether it’s your people-watching fix, your travel-itch, your appreciation of nature, or your love of photography, you’re bound to find a photograph in this portfolio that mesmerizes you. Take your time as you scroll through the textural and color-rich photographs taken from around the world by photographer, artist, writer and adventurer Trey Ratcliff.
#2 – Unflabby People
GQ Magazine’s article on The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People is a good reminder about how the “little things” add up. If you follow the author’s tips, you could potentially save 10,142 calories a week!
#3 – Nailed It!
We all do it. We all see something on the Internet or in a magazine and say, “That doesn’t look too hard to make.” I’m not going to lie, looking through the photos of Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong made me chuckle. As a tester of recipes for this blog, I’ve had my fair share of creative disasters.
#4 – Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
Imagine 466 pages of life hacks for you to investigate. Some of them are very intriguing as well as clever. LifeTricks is an online community that allows people to post “tricks, tips and life hacks for absolutely everything!”
#5 – Do More
“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”
― William Arthur Ward
Go now and spread joy!