Late Autumn Sun: Part I

Autumn here in the American Mid-West has been lingering wonderfully.  We haven’t even had a killing frost yet.  My days are mixed with substitute teaching and writing my masters thesis on sustainability activism.  I like the combination of being out and around and then having days at home to write and think and enjoy the sun streaming in my apartment balcony door.  Do you have favorite places to enjoy the sun in your current abode?

Southern Food, Missouri Style

Another goal for the vacation ( I know, I know, people who have goals for vacation are a little weird!) was to eat some southern food, and I have to say, I hit the jack pot on BBQ!  The first was sampled at Ole Planters restaurant in Hannibal, MO.  It was very tender pork, quite sweet, and melted in your mouth.  Another choice was catfish in a sandwich, and the rhubarb berry pie with real whipped cream?  Yum!

Carmelized brussel sprouts, really!

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m trying to psyche myself up to eat more veggies this week.  I had this a while ago: Romaine lettuce with bosc pear slices, ranch and toasted pumpkin seeds, pork tenderloin and carmelized brussel sprouts.  I got the idea for the sprouts from some other blog I think.  Carmelizing something involves butter and sugar and way more heat than I would believe either could tolerate….a very interesting experience!  I think I’ll try carmelized onions next! As for the salad, it didn’t taste as wonderful as I’d hoped.  What’s your favorite salad combination?  I’m open for ideas!

ps  Oh, I almost forgot to mention the sweet potato…a veggie that tastes like dessert!


Several people have mentioned feeling a craving for more healthy food after the holiday sugar rush!  This was my supper about a month ago: flounder topped with Italian bread crumbs, sauteed zuchinni, a salad of mache, tomatoes, and cucumber topped with Wishbone Robusto Italian dressing and a few Kashi fire roasted vegetable crackers.  I like my crackers to have a lot of crunch, and these taste interesting while having some whole grain and fiber in them.  A lot of people don’t think much of zuchinni, but if you don’t over cook it, and you season it with some dried oregano and lots of coarsely ground black pepper, each bite can help your taste for something pure green and gardenish grow with every bite!  Speaking of green, mache is supposed to be the new up and coming salad green, according to this, or at least someone is hoping it will.  I remember trying to grow this from seed one year and not having much luck, so when I saw it at the West Ames HyVee, I decided this was my chance to give it a taste.  It’s a very small, tender leaf, more sweet like Boston lettuce.  It’s also called Lamb’s lettuce…again….soft, sweet…..and actually, not enough punch for my salad.  I’m not quite an arugula person, that’s a little too strong for me, at least as a lone green, but if you like your lettuce to stand up and talk to you at all, you might not like mache.  On the other hand, it is supposed to be loaded with vitamins, so it might be worth mixing in with some Romaine lettuce next time.

Anyway, hope this encourages you to try something new, eat something green, create a feast for your eyes, and think about spring!

Happy New Year!

Ok, it’s -17 F here this morning….ACTUAL temperature.  With the windchill, it’s something like 30 below.  I think it’s going to be a nesting day….maybe I’ll have to have a beach party or something.   I wish I was tiny enough to join kitty under the lamp…at least she can close her eyes and pretend she is at the beach!

Thanksgiving Table Setting

Gosh I love holidays, especially when I don’t have to do all the work.  That probably sounds really bad, but it’s meant to convey how happy I was at Thanksgiving this year.  Back in Indiana, I exhausted myself with trying to make holidays work.  As I get older, I really enjoy slipping off to the side and just watching.  What a treat!  Maybe my parents felt that way about my holidays…if so, then it was worth it!  But…this year my sister had the bulk of the holiday burden at her house, and I  loved watching things get cleaned up and arranged for a house full of company.  I especially loved watching her pull out all sorts of wonderful serving dishes  and silverware to set this beautiful table!

Let the reliving begin!

I absolutley LOVE photographs, because they help me remember and relive happy occasions.  So, well……Thanksgiving was wonderful, and while getting ready for the next holiday…I’ll relive some Thanksgiving holiday here!

This is probably my favorite photo of the holiday.  Friday night we went downtown Peoria for the Yule Walk.  One stop had the balloon man, and my nephew’s daughter who is at the perfectly magical age of 4 1/2, asked for a Rudolph balloon sculptured head thingie.  I loved seeing the evening through her eyes!  Being Rudolph was absolutely divine!

Ok, slow connection this morning and I’ve got to get out the door to work.  More to come!

Fall Idiosyncracies

fall girl

Seems like I am never quite ready for fall when it arrives and every year I am surprised again by the little quirky things that have to be dealt with, like:

figuring out whether or not you need a coat or a sweater and if so, whether you should have long sleeves or short sleeves underneath the outer garment, having to pour hot water into the coffee mug in the morning because the cupboards get chilly over night, fumbling back and forth between hot/cool and defrost/vent/heater/airconditioning in the car, having to allow extra time in the mornings to defrost or defog the car windows, wearing a scarf and gloves and then trying to remember not to leave them behind at meeting, needing to use my inhaler when I walk outside in the chilly air, trying to remember that it could still be late when I wake up even though it’s still dark outside, AND the perennial kicker – getting a slow start on the day and then not having as much light at the end of the day as you’d like.

Ahhhhwellll, I’ll adjust pretty soon hopefully!  How is your fall going? (or spring, depending on what hemisphere you inhabit!)