Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolve to make one person happy....

Sydney Smith
Resolve to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.


 This is a special time for me, and many in my family.  When I was growing up in Flushing, NY, actually East Elmhurst,  News Years Eve was a special day and night.

                              It was my grandparent's anniversary.

Every year on new Years Eve the family went  to my grandparents house.  Actually it was my great grandmother's house, and until I was 7 years old, it was right next door.  Later on, we moved to LI and made the trip into East Elmhurst every week for Sunday dinner.  But New Years Eve was a party.

There was a big dinner, at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and then at about 5 or 6pm until midnight, the table was filled again with food, and homemade pies, and we were allowed to stay up late.  And again, there was food just before, and at midnight, cold cuts and snacks, and all sorts of appetizers, and finger foods.  There were relatives and friends, some who traveled from other states to be there, and some just stopping by, came to wish them a happy anniversary, and neighbors stopped in just to say hello, and sometimes drop off more food, and stay for a bite.

Every year it was different people, depending on whether anyone had other plans, except for the core of the family, of course.

When we were very young, we thought the WHOLE world was celebrating with them.  And when we were older we continued to laugh at that.....knowing by then what that day was, for most of the world.  But for us it was special, in a different way.

My "Irish twin" sister (we are 11 months and 3 weeks apart, and actually there is nothing Irish about us.  But Italian, on my father's side, and German/English on my mother's side), and my brother, for as long as he could stand, and eventually our baby sister, and whatever cousins were there that night, would sit in my grandmothers bedroom upstairs in the old Victorian house, with the radio, and listen to the years music count down with Cousin Brucie.  And Sing.....It was such a carefree time.

Later on, after my great grandmother died in 1963, my grandparents moved out to a little house in Smithtown.   We still made the trip from Levittown, every Sunday for dinner, and of course, spend New Years Eve with them.  But the party was smaller, friends and relatives were older, and could not always make that long trip.  Some had moved away, children and cousins were teens, and often had their own plans, but our family still went to be with them..and listened to the music count down, and watch the ball drop, and have cold cuts before midnight, and eat homemade pies.  And wish them a happy Anniversary, along with the rest of the world.

My grandparents, of course, are not here any more, but New Years Eve continues to be, for me, their Anniversary, above all else...and now, instead of parties, I find it a time to reflect.... and plan...and make an effort to live life more consciously in the coming year...hopefully, improving as years go by....and hopefully, make someone happy everyday.

Oh, and I still Sing on New Years Eve...

What do you do on new Years Eve?

No matter what you are doing, have a safe weekend everybody...

See you later,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh well...

Well, the Giants are in trouble...NOW not only do they have to win, but someone else has to lose too, so we will see...and the way they have been playing, makes you wonder what would happen if they DID end up in the play-offs!

So we got our first winter snow....

About 20" or so.  The hardest part is clearing paths to get to the animals..I didn't even open the chicken house today..they have everything they need so they are ok for a day or 2 until we can get to them...

We had an "emergency" visitor last night.  My sister (my baby sister..), who is a State Aid in a VA Nursing Hospital, was on her way home at 11:30pm, and knew she was not going to make it home, so she made a detour here, and stayed the night.....she had to work today too, so did my son...

Tonight will be the real trick, because they say it will be sister gets out of work at about 11-11:30pm, and my son said he does not know what time he is going to come home tonight (the place he works at had no power until this afternoon) here's praying they both make it home safely...

See ya later,

Stay warm...(and safe)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football??

It is a little after 4pm, and the animals are fed dinner.... the chickens are closed for the night...I probably won't open them tomorrow... and then I can finally go watch my much Loved NY Giants...if they win this one they have a spot in playoffs....Jets lost, but they are ok....

We will be all tucked in, the house is warm, the animals are fed, although the horse ( a Vermont breed...) is standing outside her stall covered in snow right is how she likes it...( and I will still have one more hay feeding later tonight..maybe I will make it a little earlier).

I didn't ask her to pose..she had her nose in the bucket...nothing can tear a mare away from her food....

                                                                 White out!

I am making soup tonight, with a grated home made noodle.  It is generally a chicken soup, but I am using a turkey stock I had in the freezer.  It is flavored with nutmeg and served with a Parmesan/Romano mix of cheeses.  My grandmother made it all the time...

See ya later..have to go watch some Football...


Friday, December 24, 2010

Ahh..It's That Time of Year Again...


There is a kind of excitment at this time of the year, as we look past this last week in anticipation of a coming new year...a reflection of the past year, what worked for us, and what didn't.  And there is a "looking ahead"..that we do almost as instinct, at this time of the year.

There are last minute projects to wrap up, many people are off from work and school now, so there may be relatives to see that you haven't seen in a while, or traveling to do....

The past year was a trial for many, to say the least, and we all wonder if things will improve, or prove to be more of the can only hope for the best, and plan out what we would like to see come to fruition for ourselves, and our loved ones, and look forward with a positive mind...

Every year we all have a chance to make plans to grow, as individuals, partners, parents, general, as human beings.  To make ourselves better, more thoughtful, understanding of others sufferings and triumphs..perhaps thinking less of ourselves, and OUR rights, and putting ourselves in the places of those who may think differently, and/or live differently, then we do...("walk a mile in their shoes".. )

With that in mind, I have a list of books to work on..they should get me through the beginning of the winter anyway...I am book crazy and always am adding more books to read dream is to have a house with enough rooms to have one room, or some other fair sized space, just to use as a library.. I also ALWAYS have a pen in my hand, and generally either a pad or at least a piece of paper..I carry a small note book in my bag, just in case i get some sort of idea, or thought, or even a thought to page goes in those small notebooks..when the idea is used the page comes out...

 This should get me started..and OH I already forgot to add one (how could I!) 

Baked Explorations - Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

I am also working through Dorie Greenspan's 2 books, "Baking, From My House to Yours", and "Around My French Table".  (I can't say enough about this book.  Every recipe is a winner, and I know I will be going back to this one often.)

Winter is upon us, and it is time to think about our next moves..our next gardens, our next projects, healthier living and eating, maybe theres a job change ahead for us, or a move, new friends, or travel to a far off place... or some new venture...

Time for sitting by the fire with a good book, and glass of wine, (if you so choose) or a good cup of tea...

Earlier this week they had said this area might get snow Sunday night, so my son and I ran all over this week to pick up pet foods, and things we might need to hold us over if we do, like I can bake to my hearts content...and of course cheese and milk... the basic staples, so we would't have to run out. HAHA! NOW they are saying we will probably not get anything but's weather...wait a few minutes, it will change!

But because we were so well "prepared" ahead of time, and whether or not we do get any is still cold outside, and now we don't have to go out for anything besides taking care of the animals, and bringing in wood... I am pretty excited about that because the past couple of weeks have been hectic, and I feel like we were out more then in, so I am looking forward to just spending time around the house reading, and cooking, and just relaxing together.....I remember when our sons were young, and we would go camping, we always tried to have everything we needed for at least the first 3 days, so we wouldn't have to get in the car for anything!  Those peaceful cool mornings with a hot cup of coffee, and fresh eggs, and toast were even more peaceful knowing we didn't have to rush off anywhere..

So today I have been starting sour dough starter, and will make some bread (a fruit filled bread), and bake a batch of Dorie's cookies...

So see ya later, maybe by the fire.

Where ever you are, or are going, or whatever you are doing, have a safe weekend....


Saturday, December 18, 2010

How I Grow Christmas Cactus...

this is how I grow them......

I find they are pretty easy to grow.  I put them outside in the spring when it starts to get warm (after danger of frost) I set them on a plant stand on the east facing side of our covered porch.  They get sun in the morning, into part of the early afternoon, and then are shaded for the rest of the day.  I ONLY water them if they are very dry..otherwise I let the rain do it. (and even though they are cactus, I have seen them sitting in deep water, but I do drain them after a few hours)

Before it gets cool, sometimes in the end of August (it depends on the weather) I bring them in and put them in a southern window. They start to bud almost immediately.  I rarely ever change pots..although I may add some dirt to the top but not too deep.  I let them get nice and crowded..There have been times when I thought they were dying only to have them spring to life.

I have to say this is my favorite one although I was pleased with my new red one this year too.

I have one other one that is a dark pinkish, that I grew from cuttings I got from one of my sisters.  They do not have any flowers yet..they seem to bud and bloom in the early spring...These I might pot in bigger pots next spring, since they were only leaf cuttings and in small seedling pots.

More later...I have been baking cookies and the farrier came busy day.

See ya later,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I am so Bad....

Well I did it again..just can't seem to stop myself!  After reading Girlichef's review of Nigella's new Book "Nigella's Kitchen", I had to run on over to amazon and order it...
It wasn't the first review I have read about it, Confessions of a Cardamon Addict wrote about it too, as have others, but after reading even just one more review, I was just moved to order it...Girlichef's pictures were so yummy I wanted to eat the page....(so were the Cardamon Addict's pics..and they both showed different things)

So to make myself feel better about ordering yet another cook book ( and my list is growing) I am adding some pictures of the flowering cactus in our "mud room" area...

This is a cactus I have had for, oh, probably over 25 years.  Many times I thought it was near death only to have to give me as many as 23 flowers in once stand.  It was even knocked out of it's pot once and stuck back in (they thought I wouldn't notice...) It is an apricot, and changes colors as it ages..sometimes being more pink mixed with the apricot, and even sometimes streaked with yellow.  It was an ordinary plant bought in front of a grocery store many years ago.  It was just such a different pretty color.

This one is a surprise to me.  I JUST got this one and did not expect it to flower this season...

Come spring I will find them some new pretty pots, and give them a summer outside on the porch....

I have a habit (besides collecting cookbooks) of collecting plants..sometimes they work sometimes not..

I have 2  Plumeras (the flowers they make Hawaiian Leis out of) for a couple of years now. They are about 2 1/2' tall, or maybe closer to 3', and have not flowered yet...being tropical in nature I am wondering if they will having to be brought in every year ...I am also wondering what I am going to do with them when they get taller! 

I also just got 2 Dragon Fruit plants..also tropical, and I understand they ( in the ground in their natural setting) can grow to 4-5'!!  What was I thinking??  If and when they ever get a flower I will put it is a nice cactus like flower...(It actually reminded me of the Prickly Pear Cactus flower) I am wondering how these will do, as they really did not have any root ball on them (they appeared to be cuttings) when they came.  I do know that cactus and tropicals CAN sometimes be grown from a cutting, but the instructions for planting that came with them, kept mentioning the root we will l about them as well..

Oh, and last summer I got 2 Pony Tail of which may already have died (it was weaker right from the start so we'll see what happens) The other is thriving...

Don't ask me why I keep picking tropical plants..I have been doing that since High School, trying to grow tropical fruits in my bedroom!!  Maybe I am supposed to be in the tropics!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's cold out there!  With an ever so light dusting of snow.  But nothing compared to what the Mid west got over the past couple of days!  Guess it is their turn this year..last year was brutal for us.  Since we are having January February temps now, do you suppose that means this winter will have a LONG January....into February... "January thaw" stretch?  One can only hope...

Today is Tuesday's With Dorie and the item is Apple -Coconut Family Cake, which looks really good, but I just baked an apple pie, and there is Still some left...I'll let the guys finish that tonight. I will probably bake it when I can take it down to my sister's place.

I am going to make Beef Daube (French Fridays with Dorie)'s a good night for stew, and I think I will make some gougeres to go with..trying to keep in the French theme...

Be back later.....


Monday, December 13, 2010

Busy day before the cold....

It is a busy day for me.  I need to take care of some of the outside chores left before it gets cold tonight...and do all the laundry I can, while I can (our drain pipe runs around the back of the house....when it gets too cold, I have to be careful water doesn't freeze in the pipe.) This is January/Feb weather down here on LI!! 

Once I get some of those tasks out of the way I am going to continue my Blog roll moving project.

I have been using My Yahoo for a long time, but I have so many blogs on it that it doesn't always download them I would sign up on email too.  So what I have been doing in the evenings, is moving favorite blogs off My Yahoo and putting them on this blog...I may still keep some of the emailing since I get the recipes right to my mailbox.

There are just so many good ones..I Love variety in food..I always husband used to joke that we never ate the same thing twice...but that wasn't always true..I did have to make concessions for favorites, and for the kids favorites...he was a good one to cook for..he was not fussy and would try anything...

These days, my sons are older, and not always now there is less to cook for.  My cousin, Judi, always says she always wanted to open a bakery..I said..sure..a bakery with at least, soups and sandwiches...maybe small casseroles...but she is WAY up there in Rochester, and I am WAY down here on LI......and lets face...I am at a stage where I want to relax!!

Probably be back later....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rainy Rainy Sunday...

 The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Well, I had a nice post all ready but not yet posted, and I left the computer one ONE minute and it crashed and I lost it..that'll' teach me not to save!!

The choice this week on French Fridays With Dorie, is her "Go To Beef Daube..which is a French beef stew.

But since it is supposed to get really, really cold I think I will wait until Tuesday, and give my son a nice hot hearty meal when he gets home (he works out doors all day) is not supposed to climb out of the 20's here! And be windy too so it will feel a lot colder...

SO, this afternoon, I baked an Apple pie, and roasted some Cauliflower, in garlic and oil, to mix with pasta, red pepper flakes and Parmesan...yum...for Lunch.

And what else is there to do on a rainy day besides cook, read, or surf the web....and if there is any time left wedge in an old movie...and that's what I did (didn't get to the movie though), and I added some new blogs to my list at the right.

29 Black Street
Cannelle et Vanille
"Goodbye House, Hello Home"
Life's Too Short to Not Eat dessert First

And I moved the blogs I follow onto the front page. There's so many good blogs out there.. I just can't help myself..I Love these Blogs....Some of these kids are amazing...

I took some rainy pics earlier in the day but didn't get them on the computer yet...

See you later...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

how often does THIS happen?....

It's 12-11-10

How often does that happen??  Seems like something special should happen today...

A busy day...much more rushed and busy then I had planned.....but yet somehow DID plan for it and I am still rushed...traffic is horrendous and take twice as long to get anywhere...'tis the season....

(no snow here yet but this is so pretty....)

Have a safe day everyone...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh the Promise of the New to Come....

It's that time of year.

Everyone is hurried, worried, and busy...cold, and happy all at the same time.

But it is also the time of the year to get a jump on making plans for the coming year.  I wonder what I can do to make next year more peaceful, more relaxed, more productive.

I am lining up books to read and projects to start.

This is my list so far (I say so far because I am addicted to books...I can't seem to stop buying them!)

This year, I am reading:

-Heat (Bill Buford) About learning the tricks of the trade in the restaurant business..with insight and humor.

-The Art of Non-Conformity (Chris Guillebeau) If you feel you never fit in, or travel to a differnet drummer, this book aims at giving you the tools (or at least the incentive, or the ideas,) to live differently

I have been knitting for a very long time.  I have done sweaters, scarves, blankets, lace, hats, mittens (never gloves)  Last year I wanted to learn how to knit socks.  But most tutorials on socks are so this point in my lfie I do not need complicated....I finally found a book on another way to knit socks...

-Socks from the Toe Up (Wendy D. Johnson) I am determined to learn this..maybe it will be my first project besides planning the garden next year.

-Of course I am also reading and cooking through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table and I just ordered Baked Explorations  ( Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito) (who own a Brooklyn based Bakery) to also cook through

-and my big creative project for the year-and this for me will be a tough one, is to work my way through-

-A Writer's Book of Days (Judy Reeves) This is not a new book, but it is what has been considered an ideal writing coach..  I am not sure, yet whether I will post what I do as exercises or just write about them...there is an assignment for every day. I might also during the year check out some of her other books.

These are my book projects. (for I said..I am addicted to books...)  Of course there is also that bathroom project.  Our plumber is going away this week, to Hawaii to visit his daughter, and won't be back until the end of the that is a bit on hold for now...

so for now-here is a pic of my sweet Lass ...from this fall

and here are some Fall pics from our driveway .....towards the park..

back by the stall (looking towards the house....I hope to be able to add more pictures..our camera is old but serves a purpose..for now.  Of course at the present moments the back is COLD and bare looking.....Here comes winter which has been early for us in S Eastern NY this year!  Maybe it will be over quick...

Until then..see you later

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Look What I Found...

I hope this link works. I have found another Blog to read off Cozy Little House...All About Jane's Ranch.

She is an amazing writer, and on a new venture/life change, living on a ranch in CA.  I hope to, not too long from where we are now, also being able to write about, maybe not a ranch, but a small farm....that would be put everything I have learned to good use.. (but for me that might involve the we'll see)

All About Jane’s Ranch: The journey of a woman as she leaves the city and awakens her inner country girl.

This blog is also listed on my favorite blogs....

See ya later,

PS..yesterday was Cookie Day!  I mixed up some dough, but didn't bake them yet..more on that another time...

And I think I am joining Baked Sunday Mornings (My Baking Heart also on my blog roll list)  (using the book (Baked Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito), as well as Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan, for French Fridays)
I have been collecting and cooking from Cookbooks since I was in high School  (well, no, actually I got my first cookbook at age 7) and Dorie Greenspan's French cook book is so good that I want to cook every recipe in it...

This is what winter is for right!??  Cooking and Baking!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Changes and Choices...and Giving Back...

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 —Robert Frost

Life is full of choices.

We find ourselves at a cross road with every decision we have to make.  Some are small decisions and some are life challengingly huge...

There are no wrong choices, only different ways to get to the same place.  Some maybe easier then others.

What happens when we find we made a choice, that lead us in a direction, that at first might have gone in the direction we needed to go, but later on, turned out to take us farther away?  When we are young, we think have all the time in the world, to go off and do whatever it is that strikes our fancy (so to speak) But do we really have all that time we think we have?  After all, "Time and Unforeseen Occurrences Befall us all...", and in that, give us more decisions and choices.

Maybe the choice we make, while not a bad choice, is the "easy way out"?  The choice that meant less decisions to make, because they were all made for us, so we think we will have less mistakes to face, because we didn't have to struggle to climb that mountain, or ladder. And maybe it meant less struggle, or maybe we DID have struggle, but in an easier area of life for us to handle.  Mistakes are really our way to learn, and it might just take some of us longer then others, to realize we have made a mistake, and what to do to correct it.  But if we don't make mistakes how to we grow? 

We are all born with gifts.  Maybe we were given a gift and chose to use it in ways that benefit us, and maybe a few around us, and in that way felt content.  Maybe it could have benefited many, but it was "easier" to just be content....  then to find out who we really are, and how to use use our gifts to benefit others.  And, then, maybe we were just meant to give our gifts in small amounts to those close to us.

As we get older, we might feel we do not have as much time to make the course correction, that we had when we are younger.  You might feel that if you change courses now, it will disrupt everyone's lives around you, and maybe even disappoint some.  But if you feel like that, maybe were not your "real" true self all along.  Or at least not your WHOLE real self...

Some might feel like they have not grown, and that is a regret, or it's too late to change or "too late to do it now", and they might think, "oh well, that's life"...  but is it? 

I recently read about an 86 year old woman who always wanted to live on a farm.  When her husband died a few years before, she decided now was the time.  She didn't "regret" her life with him, or the children she had, but she wanted to live out that goal, fantasy, direction, in her life for however many year she had left. 

So she bought a farm.  At 83 years old, she bought a farm! And collected animals, and grew small crops.  The article didn't spell out how she did this, although I think she seemed to be pretty vibrant, maybe she had help from local kids, or family, I don't know..but she was doing it.  She found a way.  And she was happy and, to herself, finally fulfilled... and she was giving back to her community...

There are countless articles in local papers about people in their 80's, and even 90's, going back to school to learn what they always wanted to learn...or write that book they always wanted to give back in some way to others...So it's never "too" late...

I read these articles and view them as "incentive"...

You are never too old to learn...

You are never too old to make a course correction in life, even if it is a total turn-around from your "past" life...

You are never too old to "make mistakes". 

Just maybe all that living we've done, can help us put those mistakes into perspective, and actually, this time around, learn from them...and GROW...Really grow!

We are all here for each other.  To help each other, encourage each other, learn from each other, hold each other up when we are down....whether it is our family, or our friends, or our neighbors, or even the stranger on the street.

If we are alive, we will always have choices...because that is what Life is about..

At some point in is OUR turn to give back to each other, in some way....if that means a change in direction, then that is what we need to do....whether it is a small change or a huge change....

Maybe a life change can do that....Maybe it is a way to get back to that Path we might have taken....or it is simply a way back after a detour.....back to business after "the scenic route".....or maybe the path we took WAS our correct path, and now it is just time for a change..the next cross road...

So when you feel like you are 'too old', and don't have enough time left, think of those 80 and 90 year old's who are DOING it....Maybe that's what growing is all about.....being true to ourselves, and in the process, giving back to others...because let's face it...

They ...ALL of the people in our lives, whether we knew them or not.....helped us get to where we are today.

No regrets....only choices.....

See ya later,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fritter Day!

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December."
-   J. M. Barrie


It is Fritter Day!  Who knew!?

You can make fritters out of just about anything.

There are sweet ones, and savory ones..but the ones I remember were Corn Fritters.

My dad got paid every 2 weeks.  By the end of the second week we were just about out of everything.  But one thing my mother was able to do, and she did it well, was whip up a fast meal out of  "nothing".

One of the meals she would make, was Corn Fritters, with apple sauce and sausage.  We had the fritters with maple syrup....

It may have been an inexpensive dinner "out of nothing", but it was memories for us (me and my 3 siblings) and one of our favorites.  

I am not big on frying things these days, but in "honor" of Fritter Day, I am going to give my son's a choice;  Ricotta fritters, corn, or apple...

Enjoy your day!
See ya later, 


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rainy December 1st........

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
-  Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay

Well for sure the rain and wind have taken the last leaves off the trees...

HAPPY December everyone......!!