*KISS* from a strangerWhile I have read a trio of books by writers on writing this past month while soaking in the tub a couple times a week, ( the only place I aalow myself to induldge myself lately), trying to keep at least my head in the game. One reminded me to basically --- Keep it simple stupid.
on simply putting one word
after the next until you finish your story.”
Janet Evanovich ~ How I Write
Yep, that about sums it up. Thanks for the smack to the back of my head Ms. Evanovich, point very much taken.
The weekend's food recap will be posted soon along with an interesting recent developement.
If it’s Monday …
It must be food! (Thanks to everyone for NOT pointing out that last Monday’s food pics were a bit on the, erm, lite? side. Long story short – no comment.)
So I tried something a little different this past week, I planned a bit ahead in the meals department. I normally do, but this time I took it one step further and did some of the cooking and prep work ahead of time on Friday.
It worked out pretty well, allowing me more time to be relaxed in the short space that is our weekends.
And a beautiful weekend it was, frosty nights and fairly warm, very sunny days, just the way I like them.
Saturday morning Hubster arrived after stopping downtown to pick up bagels for our breakfast. He and I had ours toasted with my homemade roasted garlic hummus, Swiss, tomatoes, arugala and red onion. Boy Wonder had both of his toasted, one with cream cheese blended with chopped jalapenos and black olives and the other with just the chopped black olives and jalapenos, tomatoes and Swiss.
Boy Wonder worked until nine PM so Hubster and I had a late lunch. Me; leftover carrot, potato, ginger cream soup and Hubster had some skinless chicken thighs that I grilled and seasoned along with the boneless chicken breasts I grilled for the chicken pot pie. They are seasoned quite simply with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, cracked pepper and curry powder. Simple and tasty.
I usually load up the whole grill to have it on hand in the fridge for snacks, sandwiches and to put on salads.
After we were shocked by the appearance of Charlie Parker who had been MIA for three weeks, (he ate and then slept for three hours!) we had chicken potpie when Boy Wonder returned from work and watched the movie, Thank You for Smoking, terribly politically incorrect and VERY funny.
I start by following the recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook and tweak it to my liking. My mother always added a small jar of pimentos so I added some chopped bits of the yellow, red and orange peepers I had roasted as well as some roasted garlic. Because what doesn’t taste better with roasted garlic? I made BW his own smaller pie because he likes his with broccoli and chicken only and the Hubster and I had the traditional, carrots and baby peas in ours.
We skipped dessert because it was so late and we were so full but that turned out okay as we had Saturday’s dessert for Sunday breakfast! I had made a bread and butter pudding on Friday from a recipe that I got from, The Take Home Chef, ‘s website.
It was made using croissants, which I bought from Dunkin Donuts, and I tweaked the custard by adding cinnamon, nutmeg and orange extract. I also used dried cranberries instead of raisins. I knew as I was following his recipe that there was way too much custard in comparison to the bread and ended up with baking a dish of plain custard in the oven alongside the bread pudding --- but who’s going cry over extra custard? Um, NOT me.
The bread pudding was topped with a rich brandy sauce to which I added fresh ground nutmeg and it tasted quite like this elusive sauce my Great grandmother use to serve on her apple dumplings. Thanks Grandma Nelson!
This bread pudding should come with a health warning. (Or as William H. Macy would prefer; a skull and crossbones! See that movie.) It uses nine whole eggs and nine additional egg yolks along with 3 cups of heavy cream and three cups of whole milk.
The brandy sauce only used four egg yolks.
But just in case we were not taxing our arteries and heart enough, I cooked up a pound of bacon to go with it!
To counter the effects of breakfast, at least psychologically, BW and I had salads with feta, and tuna. Hubster ran efficiently on nothing but bread pudding until dinnertime.
Dinner was the New England Pot-Roast I made on Friday and it hit all the right comfort zones on the way down. Betty Crocker got that one right and needs no further tweaking at all. If you haven’t made a pot-roast which includes rubbing the roast with an entire jar of good horseradish after browning it and before roasting --- you must try it.
After dinner we watched some television and found the most amazing thing by accident. On HBO they were broadcasting a boxing match that had been fought earlier in the day in Manchester England. Joe Calzaghe vs. Sakio Bika.
I haven’t had this much fun watching boxing in forever. We were shouting, laughing and the twelve rounds just flew by.
Calzaghe is a ballsy, showman with hands like lightning. As BW says, American boxing right now is like watching junior high kids slow dance. Lots of hugging and rocking that never leads anywhere. Bika was a bit of a dirty fighter but it just added to the excitement and Calzaghe took it in stride and adjusted his fight instead of going for the sympathy and whining we often see.
Calzaghe has been fighting for nine years and at 35, holds a record of 42 wins, (31 by KO) no losses and the World Super Middleweight Championship Belt.
He is looking to fight Bernard Hopkins who is currently retired but considering fighting again. He said he would gladly travel to the states for the fight and we would gladly cheer him on. BW and I will be following closely and if that fight happens we are so there!
2006 Dawn Marie Kelly all rights reserved
Is her head supposed to spin around like that?
Packing up a house that you’ve lived in for eleven years, really makes you confront all manner of demons.
Especially if you spent some of those years going through the break-up of a marriage, a divorce, re-finding yourself, a new partner and marriage.
It’s too late for me but might I suggest for anyone else out there who might do this sort of thing at a later date, do not do this without the aid of a trained professional!
I know I tend to exaggerate on occasion. Right. Fine. At every opportunity, but I am dead on serious with this bit of advice, trust me.
Sixty-four years from now when I leave this earth, the Boy Wonder will need the help of an exorcist to go through all my crap because I am NEVER moving again.
Over these last six years since the Hubster arrived we have rented dumpsters/skips at least four times and filled them to capacity and had them hauled away.
The amount of crap that I am hauling to the dump during this process is astounding. Add to that the bags of clothes I’ve donated and the bins of stuff going into a yard sale and I have only one thought --- why the fuck do we have so much stuff?
I am now convinced that attics, garages and basements are the devils work. You don’t have to actually deal with anything. Just shove it into a box and put it aside to be promptly forgotten.
On a sunny note, I found an Amazon Rewards Certificate for $25 that hasn’t expired yet.
Yay for me!
And just so you know that I haven’t completely lost touch with the outside world --- Damn, this whole Foley fiasco is pissing me right the hell off!
2006 ~ Dawn Marie Kelly~ all rights reserved
Sawdust, cooking, sex and dancing in the dark
We are all so painfully aware of the constant whinging I do about the stress of this relocation business, but please also understand that I fully get that I put the stress on myself.
Hi, I’m Dawn and I have totally surrendered my power over to the situational black comedy that is my life. Now where are the damn donuts?
While awaiting delivery of said, (evil but delicious) donuts let’s go over a couple of my latest self-crazy observations shall we?
Oh please, stop rolling your eyes; you know you enjoy every bloody minute of the irrational chaos I create for myself. If for no other reason, it makes you feel better about yourself. And I’m okay with that, we all have our special gifts and this one is mine, so relax and enjoy the show.
And have a donut, that way you can at least smugly say that you are saving me from my inner obese self.
As if it hasn’t been hard enough these past two years with The Hubster living and working in NY six days a week and trying to fit in all our intimacy and coupling in a brief 38 hours --- eight to ten of those spent sleeping, now we have all this, packing, tossing, painting, sanding, windows out, windows in, shutters on, flowers out, flowers in, business on top of it.
So with all we are doing to prepare to put the house on market, that pretty much gives us two hours on Saturday night for dinner and, erm, um, stuff and two hours Sunday morning over bagels, coffee and e-mail, to confirm our couple ness.
My awkward contribution revolves around food and making sure the house is spotless and ready for the next step of the teardown, rebuild assault project on the list.
Yes, I fully get how idiotic it is to clean on Friday before the assault and then spend Monday cleaning the remains of the assault’s mess, but I digress as this is supposed to be about the mess I create in between.
So there I am doing my best impression of the perfect wife while I have The Hubster in audience; cooking, bringing tea and snacks, cooking, folding laundry, cooking and cleaning the kitchen every two minutes because of All THE BLOODY COOKING! All while wearing some flattering outfit for Hubster’s benefit and trying not to cover it in food and sludge.
When we finally sit down to dinner on Saturday night I am ready to talk about all those things that have been ruminating inside my blonde head all week and are now ready to be released with the help of the requisite bottle of red wine.
I am sure it would be better served if they didn’t all run together in a hyper escalated blur, but there you have it and major props to The Hubster for at least trying to keep up.
But in the middle of the madness sometimes for no apparent reason like this week, we end up dancing and I cannot for the life of me allow myself to be led. So again, major props go to The Hubster for allowing me to lead, (I know no real dancing with stars dances) and again, for at least trying to keep up.
And woman friends, let it be said --- Never underestimate the worth of a man who finds your silliness as equally as attractive as the rest of you. It the most liberating thing I know.
Since cooking really is the most Zen-full thing I do, as it only comes out right if I completely surrender myself over to it, kind of like sex, I’ve decided that I will share the weekend’s efforts --- the cooking, not the sex you pervs! --- with you all on Mondays.
And since this just came to me today – starting next week, I’ll include pictures.
Saturday’s dinner was clam sauce over pasta --- simple, yet incredibly yummy and satisfying.
Sunday morning, bagels brought in and piled with my homemade roasted garlic hummus, red onion, arugula, tomatoes and Swiss cheese.
All day Saturday and night, I had 5 lbs of sweet onions caramelizing in the crock-pot and made a batch of French Onion soup for lunch on Sunday. I did cheat and have The Hubster bring in a bakery loaf of rye to float on top of the soup and beneath the bubbling Swiss cheese. Still --- Very yum!
Of course, sometimes, like this weekend, I run out of steam, call a pass and order in Sunday night.
It had been a while since we had ordered in from our fab fave Thai place and somewhere between the steamed dumplings and red curry I let the guilt of not cooking slip away.
Happy Monday everyone!
2006 Dawn Marie Kelly all rights reserved
Photo Credits go to The Boy Wonder this week!
Sometimes the Mourning Comes before the Death
Is it me, or is the world more loony tunes than usual lately?
What happened in Colorado yesterday gets scarier the more the facts emerge and then today in Florida, more madness and a gunman still on the loose.
Then there’s good old Keene.
I’ve have become even more loathe to venture outside my own doors. I only go out maybe twice a week to run a couple errands and I try to be sure to write them all down and organize the trip for maximum efficiency and least amount of travel.
Seriously, this town has become a nightmare to be out and about in so I stay home.
When I first moved to Keene it was undergoing a makeover on its main street. They added a tree lined center meridian, wide sidewalks and renovated and celebrated the old brick storefronts. They lowered rents in order to attract privately owned clothing boutiques, coffee houses and the like. Restaurants could get permits to have small tables outside.
New annual events were nurtured to bring families down at every chance. The art on main festival, Pumpkin Fest, First Night and music festival as well as the tree lighting ceremony every year the day after Thanksgiving. They renovated the old Colonial Theatre and have a full roster of events to choose from starting in September through April.
It was lovely and focused and flourishing. Until the last four years. Somehow, the good old boys on the council lost their focus and added the Home Depot, Target, Price Chopper, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steak House, Chili’s, Party Palace, Michael’s Crafts, Pier One, Bed, Bath and Beyond and the Border’s Book Store.
The Pumpkin and music fest live on and the shows at the Colonial haven’t changed in three years.
While they had us distracted with all that hoopla in the middle of the wetlands that is just beyond my neighborhood, they were moving in three new corporations on the outskirts of town just to the north.
The traffic in town has exploded and people are angry. It seems everyone driving in this town are pissed off and hold a grudge against everyone else. I try to time my trips for just after everyone gets to work and school and before people start taking lunch breaks.
How sad is that?
No one knows anyone anymore but more disturbingly; nobody seems to want to know anybody anymore.
I use to describe Keene as a small city that feels like a town. Now, it just feels like a small city. It’s lost its community and become a cold place.
Maybe in time the neighborhoods will develop their own little communities the way big cities do, but for now, all sense of community is gone and I am very saddened by it.
Saddened to know that what I will miss most about Keene when I move to NY had already left before me.
The good news?
There’s a community in NY who can’t wait for us to get there. Talk of shared trails for ATV’s, snowmobiles and horses, bartering for goods and services has already begun and we aren’t even there yet.
Yep, this move has got me tied up in knots of stress that sometimes stills my waters but I feel the winds of change and it’s very refreshing.
Of course, making sure the liqueur cabinet is well stocked at all times helps too.
2006 Dawn Marie Kelly all rights reserved
Guess who’s back, back again …ANGEL’S BACK! Tell your friends.
Okay, so I truly wish I could tell you all, (all three of you), that I was off on an opulent and grand adventure that was not to be missed. If that were true, I probably wouldn’t have been able to not blog about it.
Or perhaps I took a planned sabbatical that I forgot to tell you all about and then while being so incredibly engrossed in said sabbatical that I completely stopped reading all blogs in general, let alone actually write in my own, BUT, alas as I bring a very lengthy and somehow worthy run-on sentence to a close, that is unfortunately, not the case.
If I then told you that I have spent this last six weeks vacillating between packing, paint ready-ing, panicking and rocking back and forth naked in a corner whilst sucking my thumb, would you believe me?
Well, good on you. You know me all too well then.
Anyway, that being said, I am back.
Keep your browsers tuned to this same bat station as I have a gagillion things that have been eating at my tiny blonde brain and giving my dark roots a massive headache.
It is in fact, good to be Queen.
Chipmunks & Groundhogs & Possums -- Oh MY!
Thanks, comes in many forms, other than the obvious word or words of course.
Sometimes you go about doing the things you do without any thought of getting a thanks, take Charlie for instance. Charlie Parker, a stray cat who came around singing at night about two months ago.
I named him Charlie Parker because he is surprisingly similar to a cat that went missing on us two years ago this month, Miles Davis. (Beginning to sense a theme here?) Miles came to us as a stray as well. When I was still occupying a cubicle at the Insurance Agency, he turned up outside the building, a gangly teenager, on a Friday afternoon.
He spent the day sleeping in the accountant’s area and we had nearly convinced the owner that we should keep him to help with the mice issue in the basement where the long-term file storage was kept.
Yes, archaic sounding I know, and we all hated going down there, flashlights in hand to pull old files, trying not to notice the scurrying sounds in the corners of the dirt floors.
Oh yeah, I miss that place --- like a pair of jeans that are two sizes too small on a fully booked, cross-Atlantic plane ride. Not that I really know how that feels or anything.
Miles finally woke up from sleeping off the trauma of his being lost in the big world, stretched, yawned and proceeded to walk the length of the entire first floor and into the owner’s office. And shat on one of the files he had piled on his floor.
So there was now NO chance that he had a place to call home at the agency, mice or no mice. “Come five o’clock that cat is back on the street if he’s still in this building!”
It’s a small agency with fewer than 20 people in the building and while everyone was concerned, no one was willing to take him home. Including myself who already had two cats and two dogs.
As it got closer to five and I thought about him being back out on his own with all the traffic on that road, I gave in and called home.
“ Is this where I’m supposed to talk you out of it like when you called about Stinker?” (Way too long a story that!), asked the Hubster.
“Good try, but no, I won’t be able to sleep if I know he’s on the streets alone.”
So home he came.
I named him Miles Davis because he had a surly attitude and a soul patch of grey fur under his chin. It suited him.
When Charlie started coming round he shocked us all with how much he looked like Miles, in coloring as well as having a big head, minus the soul patch and what seem like chubby cheeks. If cats can indeed have such things, as chubby cheeks.
I of course added Charlie to the list of critters that get fed on my front stoop in the evenings.
You know, the skunks, possums and the occasional raccoon.
You don’t feed the critters around your place?
Yeah, my neighbors think I’m whacked as well, so don’t tell them about Varmint Poo Tang, the ground hog that’s been living in the back gardens since last summer.
They all have their place. Mr Poo Tang eats the weeds around the crab apple tree. The chipmunk that lives under the garden shed cleans up the seed the birds spill onto the back deck from the feeder and the skunks; well they are the cutest, most polite little guests of all.
So now Charlie shows up every night between 7:30 and 9 PM depending on his mood and the weather and sits at the front door until I feed him.
I talk to him through the window while I get his food scooped and when I open the door he greets me with squinty eyes and a hiss while leaning in to stick his nose in the food scoop as I pour into the dish.
Then I talk to him a little more while he eats and he returns with low growls in my general direction.
I do wish I could get close enough to stroke his fur or at least apply some flea and tick juice to his back but he’s having none of it so I make do with talking to him in soothing tones and hope that I will eventually where him down. Hell, I have even resorted to petting Ozzy, Lucy and Ichy in front of him so he can see that they survive it.
Then again, I have no way of knowing just how long he’s been out there on his own or where he was previous to that. For now our relationship remains highly dysfunctional and reminds me of my stepfather at the dinner table. That tells you so much about me …
I’ve told Charlie that he doesn’t have to like me but he might want to pretend to tolerate me long enough to relocate to NY with us and become head barn cat as the other three cats are lazy, indoor sloths.
Over the weeks our doomed relationship has remained stagnant as I do my best to gain the affections of this bad boy. Oh, except for the time I so stupidly came at his head with my hand from above while he had his head down eating, thinking I could sneak a scratch in and was promptly rewarded with a scratch of my own.
He’s like a boyfriend I had in my 20s. Not very predictable, worries me when he doesn’t show up some nights and then doesn’t return the love when he is around.
Or does he?
The last time I went away for the weekend, there was no one to feed him for two nights. When I got back Sunday night, I opened the door to put food out and found this.
Oh Charlie. You love me; you really, really love me!
Eat your heart out Sally Field.
2006 ~ Dawn Marie Kelly~ All Rights Reserved