I am currently blogging about everything. Jump in where you are and thanks for coming by!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In which I take a vacation from Facebook

I tend to be a person who edits herself. Oh, not when I am speaking, no. Things, often very, very inappropriate things come flying out of my mouth at an unseemly rate. I once knocked over an unopened can of coke as I was ringing up the youngest, cutest professor at the bookstore of my hubby's law school. I apologized and urged him to be careful opening the can. He said, "Ah, if it gets on my tie, you mean I might have to take the darn thing off?" I said, "Yes, but what if it gets on your pants?"

So, in my writing, I tend toward careful editing. Its practically the only chance I get to think about what I am trying to say.

I have had some bad Facebook experiences with people who could perhaps use a bit more of an "editorial process". It started with everyone going bananas about Health Care reform. I posted links to several independent sources that pointed out, "Why no, Obama is not going to kill your grandfather." I want to debate the issues; I don't want to rehash the scare tactics. This began a 27 post reply process from many people I have known for years. Most of them were posting about their own trials and tribulations with insurance companies or the difficulty they have had getting insurance at all. However one of my friends, let's call him D compared my friend N's dying of AIDS (due to his inability to get quality health care or insurance) to D working to repair people's computers for free. What the what? We took a wrong turn down the free-market expressway with that one, baby. Somehow adding a non-profit component to the healthcare system is like you working on computers for free? And that won't work? Well, thanks for clearing THAT up. We can all rest easy, apparently to get rid of AIDS all you need to do is reboot and trust the invisible hand of the market.

Ted Kennedy's passing brought out a whole 'nother level of vitriol I was unprepared for. You know, when Nixon died, I would no sooner have trashed him to all of my friends than I would have travelled to his grave to dance a jig. Sure, Nixon was not my favorite president, but when someone dies you do not begin the wretched smack talk. I was raised to believe in basic civility. So after the last tasteless and horrific "joke" about his passing I decided to take a break. I'll be back. The lure of the "Crack"book is strong, but I won't be on as often ever again. It's a time drain and not necessary to my life. And apparently it brings out the crazy in a lot of people that I love. If I wanted that, I'd just go to a family reunion...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What do I do all day?

Somebody recently said my Facebook posts were looking awfully domestic lately. I immediately felt kind of sad and defensive. Here is a list of things I do every day.

*Clean things
*Feed people
*Run errands
*Watch the Daily Show

What could I be blogging about other than my "domesticity"? I am a stay at home Mom. I go to church almost every week. I volunteer at my daughter's school. I bake bread, I have recently taken up quilting. I buy organic foods at a co-op. I made a lot of my own baby food and my kid wears cloth diapers. Am I a tie-dye wearing hippie mama? No. Am I a calico-wearing quiverfull churchy mama? No. Am I a crisp shirted Martha Stewart perfectionist mom? Hahahahaha. No. Am I a modern day June Cleaver? No. Am I a "Yummy Mummy" with perfect hair and nails? Nope...

I'm just me, the same old Suzanne, now with two kids. I have frizzy hair and I rely on jeans. I am an intellectual who never finished college. I am a sci-fi loving nerd girl. I am a red lipstick loving diva. I am a reader and a poet. And of course, I am a very busy woman. I have to clean-up after and feed my kids so I try and make that as interesting as possible, teach myself new cooking techniques, create recipes, learn to bake. I haven't figured out a way to make the cleaning more fun but maybe soon. If I had more time or less children maybe I'd take up painting, or go back to acting, or do more with my writing. But I *do* have two kids that I love with all my heart. I just can't love them with all of my twisty-twirly brain. So, with no time to learn a new art, I apply my rather prodigious ambition to the domestic arts. In essence I am a multi-tasker, keeping myself and the kids amused, fed, educated and maybe, sometimes, on a good day, inspired. I make my kids laugh, they make me laugh. They teach me things, hopefully I am teaching them. Meanwhile the earth keeps turning, the dishes pile up, the sun goes down and another day ends. My sphere of domesticity leads me to think about things, why does bread love salt as we learn in King Lear, when I know now that salt kills yeast? Baking bread is chemistry and poetry, keeping the rainbarrel full and I am a meterologist. Reading the kids books; I am an early learning specialist. Applying bandaids and dispensing antibiotics; I am a nurse. I write thank you cards and christmas lists. I forge letters from the Tooth Fairy. I am still my husband's girlfriend and his best friend and I have a circle of long time friends whom I love and cherish. I am the big sister and the oldest daughter and the granddaughter that loves to watch the Oscars.

I am always me, the girl who could never settle down.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Florida Lobster and Stone Crab

The prices for these delicacies will be going way down this season, as supply is far outstripping demand. If you live where these items are sold, I suggest stocking up as they freeze beautifully. Also ask the fishmonger if they are fresh or previously frozen foods. Those of you living in Florida, this is the ultimate in "eat local" treats. The Stone Crab is not even killed to harvest the claws; talk about sustainable fishing! Each crab has one claw removed, which it then regenerates. It has its other claw to eat and protect itself with until next year. Florida lobster is also abundant. So eat up and protect our local fisherman in this economy, and enjoy some delicious, nutritious seafood!

Grilled Florida Lobster Tails

Cut along top and down the middle of tail with kitchen shears. Pull meat up and rest it on top of shell, rinse meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Top with a light seasoning blend such as Adobo and a small amount of butter. Grill until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. You can also add a bit of Florida Key Lime juice as tails cook.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eggplant Eggstravaganza

I belong to an organic food buying co-op. Every Tuesday the kids and I go to the Health Food Store and pick up a big box of farm fresh goodies. I usually pick up towards closing time, when the give away box is pretty full. The give-away box is where people put stuff they don't want or can't use. For weeks there we got an extra head or two of collard green. Who gives away collards? People who don't know to cook them with bacon fat apparently. Anyhow, this week I scored some extra red peppers and Ellen told me if I came back tomorrow I could have an extra eggplant.

The next morning I stopped by on my way to story time at the library with the kids. She gave me 4 eggplants! I already had a HUGE eggplant at home. I managed to give away 2 eggplants to some friends at the library. I made a terrific batch of eggplant parmigiana, but now I still have 3 eggplants at home? What do I make now? I'd love to make some hummus and some baba ganoush, but finding tahini in our town is kind of like finding real breasts in Los Angeles.

I wish I knew some good eggplant side dishes, as Lee caught 4 lobster yesterday and we have some lovely grouper that will be our entree tonight. Today I research, but if anybody out there has any good ideas I'd certainly love to hear about them!

Brandy sent me a good Eggplant Parmigiana recipe, so without further ado...

Eggplant ala Brandy

Cut eggplant into rounds. Dip each round in a dish with beaten eggs, then roll each round in a pie pan with seasoned bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Put eggplant pieces on a cookie sheet, bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Make your usual sauce, and boil pasta while they bake. Serve with a salad and dinner can be done in 20 minutes! I love that this parmigiana isn't fried! I felt like you could really taste the eggplant flavor. Each round was served on pasta, topped with a bit of sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blueberry Oatbran Muffins


1 2/3 C. fresh blueberries
2/3 C. of sugar
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. oat bran
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Use muffin cups or grease muffin tin well. Mix berries with sugar, oil and eggs until mixed. Stir in dry ingredients just until moist. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes on rack, loosen sides of muffins and take them out of the pan. Makes 6-8 muffins.

Now for the alternatives. If you do not have oat bran, use 1/2 C. of whole wheat flour or oat flour. Oat flour can be made by buzzing some whole oat meal in the food processor for a few seconds. I have also used strawberries in this recipe. Canola oil can be substituted for the vegetable oil. Also I use a scant 2/3 C. of sugar in the mix and add a dusting of sanding or sparkling white sugar (a coarse grained sugar) on the tops of the muffins before baking. It adds a lovely crunchy, shiny top.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Night's Dinner: A Festival of Antioxidants

Leftover "Soup"er Green Soup
Baked Salmon Patties
Sauteed Spinach
Fresh blueberries (for dessert)

The green soup is kind of a family legend at this point. Any green vegetables (and curiously always leeks) make it into the soup. You boil all your gorgeous green veggies in chicken or veggie stock, along with onion and carrot for sweetness. When everything is nice and soft, add salt/pepper to taste and blend it all together with a stick or immersion blender. Sometimes I top it with a little parmesan cheese or perhaps a spoonful of pesto. Any green herbs that take your fancy can be added as well, fresh towards the end of cooking time, dried herbs go in at the beginning. Examples of green veggies I have used include kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, peas, green beans, leeks, and green onions. This soup is wonderful for veggies that are starting to get a little past their prime. Alternatively, if you have some cooked broccoli left over from dinner the night before it can be thrown right into this.

The salmon patties were a HUGE gamble, but one that paid off. I loooove salmon so much, it's kind of sick, but I worry over environmental concerns associated with farmed salmon. Wild caught salmon is very expensive... unless it is canned. Canned salmon is kind of dicey in how you prepare it. You don't want it to taste canned or "off". These salmon patties went together very easily, and baked up beautifully. I think all the fresh ingredients, especially the lemon juice added a nice flavor and kept things moist. Recipe is included at the bottom of the post.

I sauteed the spinach with diced yellow onion in bacon fat I have been saving in the fridge. Yeah, I did, and your grandmother probably did too. Maybe she just kept an old Crisco container on the back of the stove filled with "drippings". One tablespoon of the stuff won't kill me, and it won't kill you either and it adds silky, yummy, clingy fat and a lovely smokey flavor. So there.

Salmon Patties (found this on about.com, but it was uncredited)


1 can (16 ounces) salmon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
cold water
2 med. eggs, beaten
dash pepper
1 slice bread, fine crumbs
1/4 cup finely minced celery (with leaves)
2 tablespoons finely minced green onion
1 tablespoon finely minced bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola)

Preheat oven to 350°. Drain salmon, reserving liquid. Discard skin, but save bones. Flake salmon lightly, but well, with a fork. Crush bones and mix with the salmon.
Add the lemon to the reserved salmon liquid and enough cold water to make 1/2 cup liquid; add to the salmon. Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Form into 4 patties. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

** I used three 6 oz. cans for a total of 18 oz. of fish. I lacked bell peppers, added diced carrot. I lacked green onions, subbed in green shoots from a sprouting onion growing in my garden. I was also missing celery entirely. I could have used some celery seed spice, if I had any. I crumbled up fresh bread to make crumbs but it kind of disappeared. I added in 1 tablespoon of seasoned bread crumbs also topped patties with those crumbs to add some "crunch". Also re-reading this recipe today I never saw that it called for baking powder at ALL! Apparently you won't miss it. Hm. Next time I will lightly oil the pan as the patties kind of stuck a little.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to school

I went back to school "shopping" in my kid's art box. It is a three drawer plastic cart that holds various arts/crafts items, which at any given time can be markers, ribbon, glue, macaroni, tin cans, balloons, straws, sticker, crayons or small twigs. It is usually some simmering polyglot of all of the above. Many hours later I had retrieved enough pencils to last her through till college, a gallon size bag of markers and all of the pens I can never find when I need to take a message. You can see some of my haul here. Now all she needs from the store is a plastic pencil case, back-pack, 2 folders and some glue. Yay!