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Posts Tagged ‘Great soup recipes’

1

Today I decided to deep clean the house before the holidays. Rick would tell me it is clean, but I believe the level on which most male animals rate cleanliness is often below the standard we women might use. To him “clean” is there isn’t a pile of trash on the floor with rodent presence and he has fresh underwear in his drawer. For me, this is not adequate for company.

Aside from the dust that settles minutes after I spray it away, Boo, the Queen of Cats, leaves evidence of her presence everywhere she travels. White fur floats through the air, covers furniture, and generally attaches itself to anything and everything. Last week my mother got up from the cat’s chair and the back of her black pants looked as if they needed a shave. Yes, yes, the cat has her own chair. I know. Not one penny did she provide for it, but if it had her name engraved on it it couldn’t be more hers. I’m rolling my own eyes. It’s a nice chair at that. IKEA would be proud to know that one of their own has been put to work in such a fashion. On top of the chair is the queen’s pillow, which if not whisked with the tape roller every day begins to look like Santa’s beard.  When we have to put her chair into use when extra company arrives she circles whoever is seated in it like Indians might a wagon train. In a particularly feisty mood, she might even make a swipe at the occupant before retiring to a corner and fixing them with an icy feline stare. Nice.

I have tried to find a groomer in our area who caters to cats. Seems the words out cats aren’t fond of water and groomers have chosen to stick with canines who for the most part are easier to manage. Where we lived previously was on the route of a wonderful mobile groomer. The truck rolled down the driveway every three months to freshen up the cat and trim her nails. This, I have to say, was never a procedure Boo looked forward to with any enthusiasm. So much so that if the truck turned into the driveway and she wasn’t crated she could be located hiding under the bed precipitating a pursue and capture routine Laurel and Hardy would have been proud of.  For those of you too young to know who they are please find a search bar.

I’ve had a string of animals since I got my first cat when I turned thirteen. While in Home Depot last weekend I ran into a man with a “goldendoodle”. What a gorgeous creature she was and blessed with the sweetest disposition. Goldendoodles are part standard poodle and part golden retriever.  Brought to mind the 80’s at my house and a golden retriever answering to Barnaby. Barnaby was my husband at the time’s dog at heart. That being said, he didn’t listen to anyone in the household but him, and at that not him very often.  The dog was enormous even by retriever standards. From the time we brought him home from the breeder the dog was prone to eating wooden door frames or sticking his head in the trash can distributing the contents everywhere if left unsupervised. Nothing was off limits when unattended including my expensive shoes or newly purchased leather love seat. Realizing as the days passed Barnaby needed some fine tuning when it came to behavior we enrolled him in obedience school at the local junior college. After the best efforts of the staff on hand it was determined he was not going to be an honor student. I believe when the last class concluded and I loaded the rambunctious Barnaby and his “diploma” into the back of the station wagon the staff breathed a collective sigh of relief. It became obvious leaving him in the house wasn’t an option. Once when left to his own devices after a dinner party he consumed an entire coconut cake a guest had kindly brought to share for dessert. Outside being the only obvious solution a huge dog house was purchased with a lovely padded bed for him to lie on. Not the sharpest pencil in the box I can still see him sitting with rain teeming down his face next to the dog house when I came home from work.

I love all animals, but Barnaby and I had issues. Holes, in particular were number one on my list. Our lovely yard was often put to the test when Barnaby found himself with time on his paws while we were at work. Even when I was home he could be seen digging furiously behind the fruit trees by the fence hoping to tunnel beneath it to freedom. Not alone in the yard most days, our more obedient and far lazier Shih Tsu would sit patiently at his side until the tunnel took shape. No matter how many times I filled a hole, another would show up to replace it. Sigh. On returning home on many days I would find the two doggie pals seated on the front step waiting for their evening meal after roaming the neighborhood. Thankfully they were friendly dogs, and the worst thing that ever came from such behavior was fatter bellies because of extra treats handed out by well-meaning neighbors and an occasional request to pick up a deposit one or the other animal left on a neighboring lawn.  Once after consuming an entire box of crayons I got interesting calls from around the block from people finding Technicolor dog droppings in their yards. Hmmmmm. Talk about having an m.o.

When even pouring cement beneath the fence line didn’t work we had to find Barnaby a home. The people who signed up were retired from their jobs and their children grown. They devoted all their time and affection to making the rest of Barnaby’s life full of doggie smiles. I got a Christmas card with a picture of the three of them in Santa hats each year for a while and am happy to know he found a forever home.

In between changing sheets and doing the floors I whipped up this soup. Really good on a chilly night.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

16 oz. bulk Italian sausage, mild
8 slices crisply cooked bacon, cut in fourths
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
32 oz. chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
4 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
1 1/2″ square chub of hard Parmesan cheese
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Additional Parmesan for garnish

Brown sausage in stock pot. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. Discard fat in pot. Add olive oil to pot over med-low heat. Add onion and cook 6-8 mins. until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 min.

Add broth, water, potatoes, red pepper flakes, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, bacon and sausage to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook 20 mins. Add spinach to pot an continue cooking 10 mins. Whisk in cream and heat through.

Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 4

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3
I attended high school in Southern California. During the summer months teens piled in cars and headed towards the border in search of entertainment. Tijuana,  T.J. to those of us who frequented it, was a popular hang out once school let out.

Things were much different then. Parents were far less custodial either due to the fact there were less bad things happening or people were less informed. Surely all the predators and rapists didn’t show up in the last three decades, but somehow we weren’t as afraid and certainly teens not chaperoned in the manner they are today. Honestly had my mother known half of what I was up to at that age her hair would have grayed long before it did.

For example I had a friend who’s older sister had a hard top convertible. What adventures we had the summer her dad bought her that car. There were no seat belts back then, we all rode commando, if you will. I rode in the back usually, as my friend always called “shotgun”. Tucking the roof in the trunk we often headed up to the swimming areas in Mt. Baldy on a hot summer afternoon. There was a stretch of road leading up to the mountains featuring a series of sea serpent like bumps. People with any sense approached this area with caution, but at that age we didn’t fall under that umbrella. Flooring the car we headed into the bumps full throttle. The first few bumps we flew over and maintained control but on the third bump the car landed hard and I found myself airborne, catapulted from my seat in the back into a pile on top of my friend in the front now on the floor. The only thing I remember clearly about that moment was seeing Marie, still in a seated position, floating above the steering wheel. Good Lord, it’s amazing I ever made it past sixteen. Both shaken and stirred we pulled to the side of the road and sat there for a while until Marie regained her composure. Marie had to explain to her dad how the axle got bent and all our allowances went toward its repair. After that we used extreme caution when traversing that area of highway having gained a new respect for the road.

During those summers between tenth grade and graduation we visited San Diego and Tijuana often. The first time I ever entered Mexico and walked into the dusty border town I was impacted by the poverty evident everywhere you rested your eyes. Blocks of cardboard box homes are the first thing visible as you approach the downtown area. Initially I thought this was a dump but was told people were living in these makeshift shelters without benefit of electricity or plumbing. Children, barely out of baby shoes, were hawking Chicklets and other small items to the tourists on street corners to make money to take home to their families. I don’t believe I ever left T.J. without leaving a little money behind to help boost the economy. Usually a bouquet of huge paper flowers, a sombrero or a felt bull came back across the border with me. Our boyfriends drove down to Tijuana to get their cars tuck and rolled at any of the myriad of body shops lining the back city’s back streets. It was cheaper down there to get the job done. More than one story floated around about someone coming back with upholstery stuffed with cow patties, but I never confirmed any of them were true. Adults flocked to the touristy stores to scoop up deals on leather and silver items. While seated at a table enjoying a taco at an outside stand, street vendors would stroll by encouraging tourists to purchase a lovely lace tablecloth or hand crafted bags. The taco was likely to turn on you at some point, I know many times they did for me. Once I ate a piece of watermelon from a corner stand and it revisited me for two days.

The furthest south I ever ventured in Mexico was Ensenada while on a three-day cruise party cruise. Ensenada has a well lived in look to it. Graffiti decorated most of the walls in the area we were docked . A group from the ship went into town in search of a little adventure. Dancing at a local club until it closed we ended up around 4:00 a.m. (I was young then – now that would be when I was getting up not going to bed) in a rather rowdy establishment serving food and drink what appeared to be 24 hours a day. Mostly populated by residents, people spoke in rapid Spanish, though our waitress spoke to us in fairly decent English. Being the only “gringos” in the place when the word came up in the conversations in adjacent booths we assumed they were probably about us.  In due course we were served surprisingly delicious steaming plates piled with beans, rice and various entrees which we washed down with Mexican beer. Revisiting that statement there should be nothing particularly surprising about getting good Mexican food in Mexico. Latkes maybe, tamales not so much. Our dishes remained on the table long after we were done, allowing the copious flies circling them a chance to grab a quick meal. A loud fight broke out towards the back of the room with one drunk participant thrown across the bar. From the looks of things we deduced it was time to say “adios”. God, as they say, watches over drunks and fools so with his help we somehow managed to get back to the ship  before it sailed without being robbed or worse. I think of this because of the recent Olympics in Rio. Rio is a far cry from Tijuana and many more dangers lurk in the dark corners. There’s a movie called “City of God” which really highlights the seriousness of the situation with child gangs in Rio. Might have been better for a couple of them if they’d stayed closer to home. It is easy for me to say this now, I realize, but most probably at their age I would have ventured out myself.

Well, it’s over now. Medals have been won and athletes are scattering around the world returning to their homes victorious or at least satisfied they had been included among such an elite group of competitors.

This soup is just the best. Rick says he could have it every night. I used a leftover pork loin that had been basted with a soy based marinade. I’m sure most pork loins would work equally as well.

Napa Cabbage and Pork Soup

1/2 of a Napa cabbage, chopped
2 onion, quartered
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
3 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger
9 cups chicken broth
1 cup green beans, halved
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 cup thickly sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups leftover thinly sliced pork loin
Cooked white rice

Place all ingredients in large stock pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 1 hour. Serve over rice if desired.

Serves 4

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final

Several times during my relationships it has been suggested by a partner a move to Florida might be a great idea. For me, that would be a negatory. There are a number of reasons why I won’t live in Florida. Not that it isn’t beautiful or doesn’t have a lot to offer. Warm weather, long strands of sun bleached beaches, gorgeous waterfront homes, endless golf courses. What’s not to like? Hmmm let’s see, alligators, bugs the size of migs, energy sapping humidity, hurricanes, and Zika. Need I go on? My only visit there was in early spring. The man I was dating at the time had parents who retired in the Miami area. The plan was to stay with them in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days before boarding our cruise ship on to Key West and then to Cozumel. Our days were spent on whatever beach struck our fancy, taking time out to mill through the myriad of tourist luring shops along the boardwalks. Nights we ate at local restaurants and sat outside in the cooler evening air enjoying a cocktail or just looking at the stars.

On our second day there I noticed something crawling along the wall I first mistook for an animal. Upon closer inspection I realized it had wings and a plethora of legs. My fascination with the insect turned to horror when I realized it was no longer on the wall, but now seated on the rim of my glasses. I’m not a bug person. Never would I have signed up for any science course involving catching insects and pinning them on boards to study them. The very thought has goose bumps parading up and down my limbs.

When I lived in Arkansas, unused to the heavy humidity prevalent there in the summer months, I spent the first few weeks concentrating on getting oxygen to my body. For those of you who saw the movie “The Abyss” picture the scene where they have to breathe in oxygenated liquid. Though Ed Harris didn’t actually breathe in the pink liquid, live rats were actually subjected to such an ordeal during filming and lived to gnaw through another hole in the wall afterwards. I know just how they felt.

High humidity along with encouraging lush foliage and steamy weather, also promotes a healthy insect population. While in Arkansas I became familiar with tics and chiggers for the first time, and welcomed a flea population in my back yard so resistant to spraying it necessitated wearing cowboy boots to mow the lawn.

Wasps and alike, as I’ve mentioned before are number one on my list of insects I could do without. As a child I recall going to Mill Village, Nova Scotia to visit my grandmother’s relatives. Mill Village is a quaint little town originally sustained by logging and lumber. Aunt Olive, as I called her, though in truth she was my grandmother’s cousin, lived in a beautiful old family home overlooking the Medway River. Aside from running a small ice cream parlor towards the front of the property, Olive manned the switchboard for the local residents. Often when we enjoyed a meal at her enormous mahogany dining table she would leave to connect neighbor to neighbor and catch on the local gossip.

Olive, a widow of some years, was a magnificent cook. Pastries came out her kitchen as delicate as angel’s wings, and her breads and biscuits were without fault. Standing in her brightly lit country kitchen you were surrounded by wire baskets of fresh eggs, lines of canisters, and brimming bowls of fruit and vegetables picked from the massive garden lying beyond the gate leading to the pasture. Twice while visiting she asked me to accompany her to get honey for the biscuits. The first time I accepted. Being a kid and not the sharpest pencil in the box, I didn’t connect the dots, honey…..bees. Aha. Hand in hand we stepped through the tall grass in the pasture. Olive, a woman rarely short on words, kept the conversation flowing as we moved closer to a line of stacked white boxes. As we approached the boxes Olive stretched her arm across my chest and instructed me to remain where we stood. Reaching in her apron she pulled out a white hood and pulled it over her head.  Securing the hood and draping it over her shoulder she approached the boxes. In one hand she had a sprayer of some sort. Holding it up she depressed a nozzle dispensing steam around the boxes as she stepped forward. “Bees are quieted by the steam”, she told me while reaching inside the nearest box to bring out a long board dripping with sweet honey. Wow. I saw the bee before it stung me but there was little time to react. The steam may have calmed the majority of the hive but I’m here to say there were a few deserters that were absolutely pissed off. A second sting quickly followed the first and my fat little legs were on the move. As delicious as that honey tasted on Olive’s flakey biscuits I never accompanied her again to gather more and would happily have done without the first batch and the two itchy welts I paid for the privilege of eating it.

It would be an odd world without insects so I have found a way to coexist with them enjoying them from a distance. Our yard is a haven for butterflies, an insect I have made total peace with along with the ladybug. However, I could do without all the aphids who insist on attacking my plants. There you go, balance in all things.

If made as written this soup will make you sweat. For the faint of heart substitute regular diced tomatoes for the tomatoes with chiles.

Spicy Mexican Zucchini and Sausage Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 1/2 oz. can of kernel corn, drained
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 large zucchini, sliced thin and quartered
1/2 cup smoked sausage sliced thin and halved
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
2 Tbsp. salsa verde
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coriander
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Lime slices for garnish

Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and yellow and cook 6 mins. until soft. Add garlic and continue to cook for 1 min. Add remaining ingredients through chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Cook partially covered for 50 mins. Serve topped with cheese and sliced limes.

Serves 6

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final

Well, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are warming up to make some Super Bowl history. Tickets are going for as much as $7,000 for the choice seats, and as low (if you consider it low) as $3,000 for the nosebleed seats. At that price guaranteed my face will not be captured on the stadium camera. Whoa. Up until the last few years the Super Bowl passed without much fanfare for me other than enjoying the delicious food available at the myriad of Super Bowl parties I’ve attended. For some reason, perhaps self defense, several years ago I found myself sitting in front of the TV with Rick on a Sunday afternoon watching whoever was on the field. Being a curious being by nature, before long I was asking why this was happening, or what that penalty meant. Over time I began to notice without asking I knew what was going on and actually had begun to be familiar with players names and nuances of the game. Oh-oh. Now I have not gone so far as getting a paint roller and decorating my body or dying my hair to support my team (the 49ers) but I do look forward to Sunday afternoons to see what they’re going to do once they’re suited up. Along with Rick I suffer their defeats and cheer their successes. This year proving to be more the former than the latter for our Bay Area team.

Rick of course could coach the team far better than those actually paid to do the job. I know this because he says so about fifty times whenever they’re screwing up. Sometimes I become involved in appreciating the color combinations of the uniforms (for example I like the lime and blue of the Seahawks). When I admire such things out loud he throws me a look like “you are such a girl”. Why yes, I am, thank you. One day I got to commenting on the various sizes of behinds facing the screen and he simply threw up his hands and rolled his eyes. What?

The amazing salaries these athletes command blows my mind. I can see the logic, however, in gathering all the goodies while they can. The tremendous beating applied to their bodies during every game cumulatively amassed over the years must be painful when it catches up with them. Also, they live with the knowledge that one bad tackle or fall could result in the end of their career leaving them to fall back on hawking insurance or staring dreamily at the model most likely decorating the other side of their bed. As they probably net more in one year than most of us do in a lifetime I am not going to worry about where their next hamburger is coming from any time soon.

It’s not a game for lightweights. I heard a commentator say the other day they are taking the edge off of the game with all the restrictions imposed to prevent or at least diminish player’s chances for head injuries. At one time players hit the field with leather helmets and far less protection so I would suppose it might feel that way to those longer in the tooth. No matter how protected these players are the chance remains for injury or long-standing health problems. I would assume players signing up are either intensely passionate about the game or what it will bring to them financially to play it.

Sometimes when I watch how the players behave on the field it is reminiscent of boys in elementary school. Football seems to bring out the child in the man with all the posturing and dancing going on when a touchdown is made missing only the “neener neener” to make the picture complete. All the testosterone and team rivalry mingling on the artificial turf makes it not surprising fights break out and an extra elbow or unnecessary kick is thrown in on occasion once a player is down. The exchanges going on between the players when in formation waiting for the play to begin might be an interesting share. Somehow I don’t think they’re exchanging recipes or asking one another how the wife and kids are doing.

The fans are fascinating as well. Rain, snow, heat, or hail the sit in the stands faces painted, team colors displayed, beer in one hand rubber hands covering the other. If their teams is doing well they’re fully engaged and if they suck they’ll let them know that as well.

Since our team will not be represented we will be on hand to watch those who are stuffing ourselves with chile con queso at half time and cheering loudly along with the rest of the nation. When life seems to be full of chaos it is nice to see one thing still on track.

This soup is an easy meal to make, and truly is a meal in itself only needing a nice hunk of crusty French bread to round it out. Note: You want your veggies fully cooked but not mushy.

Tuscan Cauliflower and Potato Soup

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, hot
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced
3 medium red potatoes cut into large chunks
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Asiago Medium cheese
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed and broken into pieces
1/2-1 tsp. black pepper depending on taste
Salt as desired

In large skillet cook sausage, onion, mushrooms, and garlic until sausage is no longer pink. Drain on paper towels.

Place potatoes in microwave and cook on high for 4 mins.

In large pot cover cauliflower and potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked but still slightly firm.

Add sausage mixture and continue cooking for 6 mins. Whisk in cream and then add cheese. Cook and stir until blended. Add spinach and pepper (I add more pepper if needed) and cook until spinach has just wilted. Taste before you salt as cheese will add salt to pot.

Serve with additional cheese if desired.

Serves 4

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2
In the morning paper, yes I still get real paper paper, there was touching story about a horse named Raphael recently relocated to an animal rescue in our area. The article detailed the 12-year-old quarter horse’s journey from Juarez, Mexico and his life prior to being rescued. There are few things that will move me to anger more quickly than the abuse of any creature, human or otherwise, who is unable to defend themselves. As the story unfolded it said the equine had lived in forced labor most of his life in Juarez under the heavy hand of a master who beat him and cared little, if at all, for the animal’s well-being. Had it not been for a well-meaning tourist intervening after seeing the horse kneeling in the street unable to go on Raphael would have ended his days with that yoke around his neck. The yoke, never removed, had to be extricated in pieces. The leather had insinuated itself in the horse’s skin over years of wear. Makes me cry.

After much red tape, several wonderful vets, and caring volunteers Raphael, purchased for $200 from his owner in Juarez, has finally found a loving home in which to spend his remaining years. According to the article he follows his new caregivers around like a puppy, happy for any attention they can spare or an apple or two. Tortilla chips and other fast food items were his diet staples until coming to the U.S. leaving the animal both unhealthy and underweight.

Sometimes we humans are sorrowful creatures. I have to rekindle the fire I have for our more admirable traits after reading such a thing. However, the random acts of kindness will have the glow going in no time and I’ll be back to singing our praises again.

On the subject of animals, we had an incredible thunder and lightning storm pass through here night before last. Boo, the Queen of Cats, needed a therapy session once it was over. She traveled the area between the bedroom and the living room meowing loudly and requiring much reassurance the world, as she knows it, was not about to end. It rolled over us leaving much debris and piles of leaves strewn in its path. I spent a good part of the morning sweeping leaves, depositing them in the already full bin out front. Living up here in the tall trees nature takes over most of the time making it futile to try to keep everything pristine. Part of the beauty of living here is that it is a natural setting, but if you let it go too long catching up the leaves will always be three steps ahead of you.

I have given some thought to the upcoming holidays. Christmas is to be at our house this year. Not to bring the subject up before we’ve even carved pumpkins. I saw my first Black Friday ad yesterday, which struck fear in my heart. Each year the holidays seem to creep up on me a little bit earlier than the year before. In our family we’ve really limited the spending we do among the adults. Little “I love you’s” serve nicely. Particularly as the younger members of our clan are growing up quickly and asking for gifts of a far more expensive nature then when they were younger. A doll or a box of Lego’s used to be the perfect choice. These days they have moved on to electronic watches and cell phones which require a far deeper reach into pockets than in years before. We’ve learned to collaborate on these pricey items, each of us tossing something in the pot. Works much better than trying to handle it alone, especially with nine photos lining our grandchildren album.

This soup is one of my favorites. I haul it out about this time each year. It is a full meal really, not needing much to accompany it but perhaps a slice of crusty bread.

Hearty Crockpot Pepper Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
4 small yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 15 1/2 oz.can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, with juice
1 6 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. hot paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 small chub of hard Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 pkg. Boil in bag white rice
Croutons (optional)

In large skillet brown meat with onion, garlic, and chopped peppers. Drain.

IMG_8889

Spray bottom of 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add meat.

In large bowl combine all remaining ingredients but rice and croutons. Pour sauce ingredients over meat. Mix well. Cook for 8 hrs. on low. Add corn. Cook for 1 hr.

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1
Politicians are on the move once again. Mud bombs are being fired in all directions with Donald Trump leading the parade. He actually went so far as to give out Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number on national television. Graham reacted by creating a video of his smashing his phone in a variety of ridiculous ways which went viral. Really? Reminds me of a bunch of kids on a playground slinging insults at one another. Actually, I’ve seen kids play better together. I wish they’d stick to the issues rather than getting personal. I remember a counselor saying once that when involved in a debate or an argument, “Stick to the subject when having a disagreement. Do not attack on a personal level.” Words are something not easily taken back once they’re thrown out there. The impact of a verbal onslaught can be equally, if not more, damaging than slapping a person in the face.

It’s not that I disagree with everything Mr. Trump stands for, but definitely I stand on the opposite side on how he delivers his opinion and where he draws the line on expressing it. You cannot say a man so versed on running a business has nothing to contribute to the conversation, but he definitely seems to have boundary issues.

Hearing someone voice an opinion, even an unpopular one is at least taking a stand. I view this as better than having an opinion about how to fight the bull but sitting on the fence waiting to see if someone else is going to jump into the ring, pick up the cape, and take a stab at it.

The mini-series depicting King Tut’s short time in power viewed this week. I wouldn’t give it an “A” but it was entertaining enough to keep us tuned in through all three episodes. It certainly highlighted the perception that politics can be a dirty and backstabbing proposition is not a new concept. Tut, whose death remains a mystery, died at nineteen. According to the story his trusted advisor married the widowed queen, also Tut’s sister, and erased all memory of the former boy king from the records. Tut was buried in his gold sarcophagus in a lessor tomb, and remained unheralded until he was unearthed in 1922 thrusting him into the limelight. If not for this, he would have remained insignificant in Egyptian history books. What is known of him was gleaned from what was written inside the tomb he was buried in.

I have a total fascination with the Egyptians. Rick being from there and his knowledge of the area only adds to my curiosity. Such a rich and interesting culture. The Pyramids of Giza. Those amazing edifices standing the test of time in the middle of the desert are no less miraculous today than when they were erected. How on earth those huge stones came to piled in such a way with such precision of alignment. Wouldn’t I love to have been a fly on the wall during their construction to understand fully how these structures came to be. Pharaohs and their families were buried in the pyramid chambers. Their possessions were entombed with them, to be used in the afterlife. Servants, alive and well, were also sealed up with their masters to serve them as they transitioned from life on earth to the heavens to join with the gods. Hmmmmm. Being handy with a duster or throwing together a pot of fava beans might have been hazardous to your health back in those days.

Politics has continued over the years to hold hands with corruption in most cultures. The U.S. is no exception. Headlines repeat themselves as politicians from this state or that are uncovered dipping their hands in the till or twisting the law to suit their own purposes. It’s discouraging to watch as these people we elect are handed the reigns to our country often guiding it in the wrong direction.

Having a woman in charge might be interesting. I hope to see this someday, maybe even this time. We do seem to be stuck in the Bush/Clinton syndrome. Passing the baton down the line from one family member to the next. Somewhat reminiscent of Robert and Bobby Kennedy had they survived to fulfill the prophecy. John Kennedy’s assassination is one of two days, the other being 9/ll, where I have perfect recall of where I was the moment the news unfolded. When President Kennedy was shot, I was home from school lying on the couch nursing a good case of bronchitis. All day I sat, blanket under my chin, watching as the various news anchors related the events as the day progressed. The Kennedy’s, not unlike the pharaohs, suffered the burdens of public service heavily.

If you compare pictures of men assuming the presidency before they take office with those taken after they leave, it is obvious by the aging occurring during their time served the office extracts it’s pound of flesh for the privilege of holding it. Personally you have to admire anyone stepping up to the plate even if they strike out once they take the bat in their hand. No matter what decisions you make someone out there is going to think you’re an idiot, or worse. A tough hide would be helpful I’m sure to field all the complaints and rising and falling popularity polls associated with holding the office. This, not to mention walking around being a desirable target for someone with terrorist intentions or an unbalanced mind. Somehow I don’t feel all the wonderful food coming out of the White House kitchen would balance all the stuff sitting on the other side of the scale.

Looking at all this I’ve decided not to run. Although a woman and a Canadian at that might really shake up the oval office. Have a great day.

A friend shared this recipe with me. I wasn’t sure how I would like it, but as hot as it is outside it was surprisingly refreshing.

Tomato Orange Soup

2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups rich chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
4 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place tomatoes cut side down on foil. Bake for 25 mins. until skins are charred. Peel off skin and discard.

Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 min.

Add broth, orange juice, tomato paste and thyme. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking uncovered 40 mins. Add remaining ingredients except sour cream. Allow to cool slightly. Use emulsion blender or blender to puree. Return to pot and keep warm. Swirl sour cream on top when serving.

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2
Have you noticed every time you search for a product on-line, the item you’re searching for begins showing up in the ads in your email account, and every other site you frequent? Hard to overlook. If not the exact item, other items “you might like” show up expanding your search parameters to like merchandise. What annoys me about this is if you happen to be looking for a gift for a member of your family sharing the same computer, they too are privy to the pictures spoiling the surprise. Truly we are being tracked for everything from our taste in clothing, our viewing preferences, what coffee we enjoy in our cups in the morning, and who we follow on Twitter. Our TV forwards intel to our service provider on our viewing choices, our frequency of viewing, and our pay channel electives.

Grocery store or pharmacy receipts, besides providing us with proof of purchase for our items send information to the store’s computer tracking whether or not we prefer Florida’s Own to Minute Maid, if we buy 2-ply Charmin or 1-ply Quilted Northern. These preferences in turn are reflected in the coupons we receive when rewards are issued. Little escapes the voracious appetites of information gathering software. Should we purchase a house, our information is farmed out to insurance companies, moving companies, and any other company benefiting by somebody making such a move. Reached 65? If so, mail will begin to come in offering you inexpensive disposal options, cremation perhaps or The Neptune Society. Life insurance companies names will appear on envelopes in your mailbox with insurance available with no medical questions asked for those over 60.

Back in the day information was gathered at a much slower pace. The IRS, the DMV, your medical facilities, all had your basic data but it was gathered more slowly, kept on cards or in banks of file folders. Today it is at your fingertips. Want to know where that old boyfriend is? Google him. If he’s out there for a small charge you can find out what he’s up to these days and who he is up to it with most probably. Truly it is an information highway, and we are all blips on the screen.

I prefer a little more anonymity. Not that I’m planning on knocking off a bank, or have anything to hide. So much transparency makes me squirm a bit like a specimen on a lab slide. An oversized eye observing everything I do. Somehow to me it feels as if someone had broken into my house and rifled around in my lingerie drawer. I suppose I will have to get used to it. Certainly it’s not going away anytime soon.

Misinformation gets gathered along with viable data. Another person’s information could well turn up on your side of the stack. A ways back I received a call from a bill collector. The man began the conversation by telling me I owed money on a car loan. The car had been repossessed, sold, and money was left owing on it. The original loan holder then sold the loan to this man’s company for collection. I explained that this must be another woman with the same name. Certainly my name is not unique by any standards. I went on to say I couldn’t have acquired the loan at the time he mentioned because I lived out of state during that period of time and had never owned the vehicle in question. Accelerating his threatening tone, he demanded payment insinuating everything from sending a large gentlemen named Guido to my door with a baseball bat to attaching a lien on my property including the loaf of bread in my bread box to my house to exact his pound of flesh. “What part of this information are you not receiving, I asked again?” This time he got seriously ugly. I put Rick on the phone, or as we refer to him, the enforcer. The gentlemen, and I use this term in its loosest translation, never called again.

Scammers are on the make with all this valuable loose information flying around. People tracking these information stealers get one scam cleaned up and another pops up on the radar. Zooming in the scammers break down the firewalls of large corporations slurping up our information like hungry tigers atop an unfortunate water buffalo. Several of the larger stores I frequent have issued notices recently advising me their systems have been breached and information pirated. Yesterday I got a notice someone had tried to dip into my bank account information. Changing passwords regularly and using unusual combinations diminishes the risk, but they’re getting smarter every day.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think there is one. When I lived in West Virginia a lot of people there escaped notice by living in the isolated hollows prolific in “the mountain state”. These shadow people do not fie income taxes, work only for cash, and do not register for anything requiring giving up personal information on themselves thus keeping their secrets their own one generation after the next. An accurate census could not be gathered in the state because these “holler dwellers” exist well below the radar their comings and goings held close to their chests.

Bill Gates was expressing his concerns recently on what our world will look like in 20 years Many jobs will be taken over by software leaving a glut of human workers with not enough jobs to fill. HAL is lurking out there in the not so distant future, not simply captured on film but at a workplace near you. Perhaps all this will pass unnoticed as the rest of us are busy taking selfies.

Albondigas is a soup that is a meal in itself. Serve with rice on the side and let your guests add it to the bowl as they go. Absolutely delicious but if spice is not your thing, this soup is not for you.

Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

Meatballs

1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine ground meats with remaining ingredients mixing by hand until smooth. Refrigerate covered for 1 hr. Roll into balls (about 26).

Cover baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place in oven for 20-25 mins. turning once. Drain on paper towels and refrigerate until read to add to soup.

Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2″
2 large carrots, sliced 1/2″
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 10 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
Cooked rice
Flour tortillas

In stock pot heat oil over medium heat until glistening. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for 8 mins. until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add all remaining ingredients.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 mins. stirring regularly. Add meatballs and continue cooking for 10 mins. uncovered. Remove from heat.

Heat flour tortillas in microwave for 1 min. placing damp paper towel between each tortilla.

Serves 6

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1

A dear friend of the family, Doc, is a veteran of WWII. Navy, to be precise. Often he tells tales of riding in the landing craft onto beaches in the midst of active fire and the harrowing experiences shared with the other brave men he served with. My father was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and my stepfather a highly decorated military pilot. Doc, a retired dentist, has little of his former affluent life left except perhaps the memories. Living on a fixed income he relies on Veterans Hospital for his medical care. It was distressing to him to hear the report recently of how many servicemen and women died while waiting to get appointment to be seen for whatever was ailing them. In light of what these people do to provide us with a safe living environment I would say rather than distressing, disgraceful might be a more appropriate adjective.

Truly I wonder what’s happening to our medical profession as a whole. If you ask most people they will tell you their doctors spend most of the visit staring at a computer screen keying in information and very little time actually interacting with the person sitting in front of them. I write about this often because it continues to dismay me and no matter which doctor I visit the same situation seems to prevail.

For over two months I’ve been dealing with an eye infection. At a dental visit earlier in the year my dentist noticed a half moon anomoly on my dental x-rays. She suggested I bring this up to my primary physician for further evaluation. Making an appointment for a sinus infection, I mentioned the anomaly. The doctor said she didn’t read dental films, so I would need to get the x-ray from the dental office, have the dentist read it and bring the x-ray and the dentist’s interpretation to her office. I did as instructed. Interestingly I had to pay $25 to borrow my x-ray. Didn’t I already pay for this up front? Never heard a thing from the doctor for nearly a month. Finally, I called and asked if she’d had a chance to look at it. After several weeks I heard back saying a CT scan of my sinuses had been ordered to see if anything significant shows up. Following  the scan I got a call from my doctor saying there was a cyst in my sinuses, but a benign cyst, and nothing to worry about. Okay. Curious, I looked this up on the computer only to find if blocking an area in the sinus cavity it can cause problems with both your eyes and your ears.

Just before my eyes began acting up I contracted another sinus infection. A round of heavy antibiotics was ordered. This seemed to address the sinus infection but my eyes were still bright red. Referred to the ophthalmologist he diagnosed pink eye. Swell. For two weeks I was prescribed topical antibiotics and prednisone. Prednisone is an amazing drug with less amazing side effects, but tired of looking like a lab rat I did as I was told. Again no improvement. Another two weeks of topical antibiotics led to ten days of oral antibiotics. Good Lord, I was a yeast playground at this point.

Yesterday I woke up to my usual red orbs and found a puffy swelling below my left eye and to the left of my nose. That’s not good. I called my doctor and was told to come in. Arriving in the examining room carrying her laptop the doctor looked at my red face and swollen eye and asked why I was there. Um, I think I’m pregnant? No. Okay, it might be my eyes.

Looking into both eyes she said, “they’re red”. Yes, thank you I determined that on my own and I don’t have any school loans to pay off. Showing her the swelling under my eye, she said that’s nothing to worry about. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer my face not to look as if I’d sewn a sock underneath the skin if you don’t mind. I’m picky that way. Hmmmm. I went through the history of the whole illness once again even though I would assume it was all there on the trusty computer. What is she doing playing video games on that thing? She suggested a CT scan. Really? I explained I’d just had one a month ago. Oh. She then asked if another doctor I’d seen in the same group had ordered it.  Again does not the computer have any information stored in it? “You ordered it”, I replied. “Oh.” Is it just me?

When I explained she’d told me the cyst wasn’t anything to worry about, she was surprised to find there was one. I am glad we weren’t prepping for surgery at this point. It was then suggested she refer me to an ear, nose and throat doctor. Good idea says I. Why didn’t I think of that? Does she have a computer so you two can speak? Try to pass on some information so I’m not going in cold.

In the end she told me to stop everything I was doing and wait to be scheduled for an appointment which should take about a month. Ah well, my eyes will go perfectly with my red Christmas dress. Sigh.

This soup was full of vegetables and worthy of a second helping.

SAVORY VEGETABLE SOUP

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 heirloom fingerling potatoes, halved and sliced
1/2 cup whole green beans (cooked)
2 zucchini, halved and sliced thin
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 pkg. Sazon Goya seasoning
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Cooked rice (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Croutons

In large pot saute garlic, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and green beans for 8 mins. Add zucchini and continue cooking for 6 mins.

Add tomato sauce, bay leaves, basil, Italian seasoning, Sazon Goya, peas, salt and pepper to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook at a low simmer for 45 mins.

Remove bay leaves and discard. Serve over a bed of cooked rice if desired.

Top with grated cheese and croutons if desired.

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2
The Internet adds another dimension to our lives. This dimension comes with both perks and pitfalls. For example, while busily bouncing from site to site searching for a great pair of lime green shoes with 12″ heels to go with that new dress, the Internet is at the same time tracking you.

I know this because my birthday surprises were diminished somewhat by the fact Rick purchased them on line. Not the boots, they were fabulous, but it kind of took the SURPRISE!!! out of the surprise. According to him he searched for the best deals on the brown leather boots currently decorating my side of the closet while at the same time ordering the lovely flowers decorating my entry hall. We share a computer. Soon after he hit “place order” the boots began showing up in ads at the side of my email account, on Amazon, below Yahoo, and everywhere else I found visiting. If the boots didn’t show up, floral ads prevailed. Hmmmmm. Very interesting. Now I’m blond, but I do not need to be hit in the head with a rubber chicken to figure out something was afoot (no pun intended). After twenty times of seeing the same boots  might this not have something to do with a shoe box sized box arriving in the mail? “I think so, Watson. I really do.” Also, the flowers were glorious, but I wasn’t totally shocked when they arrived.

I get this from a marketing standpoint. Web business is booming. More and more folks are hitting the “add to cart” button these days thus avoiding the prospect of grouchy shoppers and endless lines prevalent in stores during the holiday shopping season. I’ll be right there with them finger poised.

Apparently not only following our interests, internet marketers track what we buy, how much we pay for it and with that in mind all this data influences the prices we are shown when we search. The time you search can vary the price as well from what I’ve heard. So many different threads influence your shopping experience you probably will be completely unaware are weaving together below the surface of the page you are on.

Whether you shop in the stores or on your computer holidays are getting mighty expensive. A Hallmark card might cost upwards of $5.00. With the price of food, it might be more expedient to mail a loaf of bread with “Merry Christmas” written on the side of it and a gayly wrapped jar of peanut butter.

A friend of mine has nine children. Yes, I said nine. When I asked her how she managed all those kids she replied “every time a new one came along we got a bigger dining room table”. Works for me. Their holiday tradition as far as gifts for their adult children is an ornament or Christmas decoration to use the following year. I’m sure this would be effective for a while but as they get older it might require purchasing a larger tree.

I love to shop for Christmas but with our brood it has become highly impractical to go into debt to say “I love you”. A friend of mine spent over $3,000 on Christmas gifts last year for two children and three grandchildren. All of it went on her credit cards. During a phone call last week she said she just got the bills down to a zero balance and Christmas is here again. I told her to step away from the card and get small thoughtful remembrances instead. Make something, give a gift certificate for a nice dinner out. Be creative.

I’m giving my son a Starbuck’s gift certificate inside a mug. As of this date he is one of their most loyal customers, spending a fortunate on coffee inspired drinks, so this seemed like an excellent idea.

Another thing to keep in mind while pushing through the crush of people in the stores is to watch your purse or wallet. Hackers are getting smarter as technology does. If you set your purse down and look away a thief can extract your credit card information as well as passwords before you drop that pair of mittens in your cart. An easy way to keep this from happening I understand is to wrap your cards in tin foil. Makes sense to me. I’ve already gotten notices from Home Depot and Target that most likely my personal information is floating around out there somewhere. Changing passwords and using passwords not easily detectable are both good ideas but as soon as we figure out how to fool identity thiefs, they figure out a way around it. I guess this is the price you pay for the convenience of having made so many amazing steps forward in the technical world.

On a lighter note I haven’t had a ridiculous “Susie Day” in a while. It seems I was overdue. Yesterday was a rainy drizzly sort of day. Not complaining, we definitely need moisture in California in any form. This morning the sun was attempting to break through the fog and finally by this afternoon it turned into a crisp fall sort of day. Leaves draped over everything in the yard sticking up from planters and covering our patio table and barbecue. Feeling industrious I went out front and grabbed my rake. In the middle of gathering the leaves I noticed one of our trees would soon be seriously encroaching on the upper driveway. Our driveway is the worst thing about our house. It was nearly a game changer when we were considering buying here. You come straight down at a grade and either into the garage or turn to the right. If one car is out and the other in the garage it takes about three tries to get out again. Pain.

Anyhow Rick came out to say he had a headache and was going to lie down. Fine. He uses a C-pap for his apnea so usually closes the door to the bedroom. Out of habit rather than toying with me he locked the door. Starting to get cold outside I swept up the last of the leaves depositing them in the scrap bin. Yea for me. Went to go in and the door was locked. Sigh. Really? Now we’re on the second floor when we enter the house and the bedroom is toward the back. I knocked, rang the door bell, yelled, and generally wet myself trying to get in. Finally a half an hour into my routine Rick opened the door. Good news, he was laughing. I was not as amused. At any rate I’m sure our neighbors thought we were having sort of drama and am surprised someone didn’t alert the authorities. In the future I’ll take a key out with me.

Country Captain Soup is something I can remember having years ago. I had a cooked turkey breast, or what was leftover from  a meal, which I substituted for the usual chicken involved and added things here and there to bring it into this decade. It was wonderful on a rainy night.

Crockpot Country Captain Soup Revisited (Turkey)

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large mushrooms, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
4 green onions, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, without juice (omit to reduce heat)
2 cups cooked turkey
8 cups rich chicken broth
3/4 cup cooked snap peas, ends trimmed and vein removed

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and apple to pan. Cook for 8 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Add celery salt, curry powder, ginger, black and white peppers, and salt. Saute for 1 min.

Add diced and Ro-Tel tomatoes to pan mix well.

Spray 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Spoon vegetable/tomato mixture into bottom. Top with turkey. Add chicken broth and mix well. Cook for 8 hours on low.

Cook snap peas in boiling lightly salted water for 6 mins. Drain. Stir into crockpot and cook an additional hour. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

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final
There were two things I liked better about my old phone when comparing it to my recently acquired smart phone. Number one, I understood how it worked, and number two I never lost it. Neither of these can be said of my new phone. Agh.

Whether it was lifted from my purse or I simply set it down some place and it was picked up is left to the universe to unravel. In either case, it has disappeared from sight and I have looked everywhere but the septic tank with no sign of it thus far.

This was not news I was looking forward to sharing with Rick. I tend to be a bit absent-minded about where I put things to begin with so telling him I’ve misplaced a $300 phone isn’t going to make his day. Perhaps I’ll just move and not leave a forwarding address. After alerting our phone carrier of the loss they were happy to report our warranty had run out last week but if I would like a new phone they would be delighted to comply at the price we paid for the original one. Good news! There goes my birthday. Sigh.

Being a scorpio my birthday is coming up. If you could see me now I’m not dancing in place. On one hand I’m glad to be having another birthday, and on the other it adds yet another number, and not a lower one, to my count of years on the planet. Dirt is still older, but I am catching up.

My birthdays are either great or abysmal. They always make me a bit jumpy as they approach because I’m never sure which way the wind will blow. As it falls the day after Halloween pictures of my past parties usually show me in costume as one character or another doing something equally as stupid as I look. Perhaps my love of dressing up stems from having most of my birthday parties growing up costume parties, or simply I find it fun to parade about as Minnie Mouse or the egg half of bacon and eggs once a year. Time permitting I would dig out my old photos and share but if I dug through the cache of photos I have stored in boxes in the garage to locate my Halloween pictures it would be Christmas and no longer relevant.

In the back of my closet downstairs hangs my Halloween stash of costumes. On one hanger an angel, replete with wings and halo, on the next my cowardly lion with one paw missing, and so on. Over the years I’ve shown up as everything from the Goodyear Blimp to Dracula. Armed with an imagination and some basics you can make a costume out of almost anything.

At the various parties thrown in my honor along the way people have shown up in the most original dress. One of the engineers I worked with the 80’s used a head of cabbage to create his walking dead outfit. He peeled and par broiled the outer larger leaves. Then he placed them about his head and covered them with makeup and fake blood. It was very realistic and what a clever idea. You can dress up and eat your costume following the party. Genius.

One friend showed up with his face half white and half black. He wore a black cowled coat and had a hunchback. Contacts of a greenish-yellow covered his normally blue eyes and he carried a cane that blinked. Very effective. One problem with this costume was that whatever he used to create the black half of his face didn’t wash off well. For easily a month following he continued to look ghoulish until he finally returned to normal. Don’t try this at home.

Cossack was my choice of attire on another Halloween. I made the tall furred hat out of the lining of an old coat and lined a cape I found in a thrift store with gold fabric. Add a pair of tall boots and some leggings and there you go. It was great.

If you can avoid uncomfortable costumes, particularly ones where you can’t sit or have long attachments that are likely to sweep the cat down the back stairs when you turn around or impale somebody standing behind you. Boo Peep was an example of this for me. I realize the original was Bo Peep, but I used creative license. I created a wire hoop skirt out of coat hangers and covered it with fabric. It looked great but when I sat down it went up and covered my face. Also it necessitated keeping my bloomers in line as they were visible every time I took a seat. Being that the skirt was made of metal it also stuck me regularly during the night to the point where I removed it and went about in my knickers.

The year I was the angel was the first year we owned our restaurant. In the spirit of the holiday (if you will) we all dressed up for work. Our restaurant, as I mentioned a few blogs ago, had a history. Most of our staff felt there was a ghost or two roaming about, particularly the bar. If so, they had IMG_0837company that night. A live band had the bar moving and shaking. Pumpkins flickered and Halloween drinks were lined up on the server’s trays. I had my picture taken often that night thinking nothing of it. Several weeks later several friends who’d included me in their shots commented on the fact in the photos I appeared to be almost transparent. One photo turning out that way might have been acceptable, but all of them? Don’t know if the universe couldn’t accept me wearing an angel’s costume or the spirits resented having such a being in their midst, but there you have it. Looking at the photos I’d shot for the first time mine showed the same odd occurrence. To add to the mystery of that evening a picture I shot in the bar shown above just before we opened our doors which depicted what looked to be a ghostly spirit shooting out from the computer screen.

To give Hamlet his due, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

This soup is delicious but hearty. If you need to thin it out for a second use use a little milk.

Hearty Potato, Carrot, and Corn Chowder

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup fat-free milk
5 cups chicken broth
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can niblet corn, drained
Crumbled crisp bacon and chopped green onions for garnish

Melt butter in stockpot over med. heat. Add onion, green pepper, celery, and carrots. Cook for 6 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 min

IMG_6839

Add flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 mins. until well blended. Slowly add milk. Add broth, potatoes, and corn. Bring to boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 mins. Use an emulsion blender to blend well. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

IMG_6840

Serves 6

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