Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lazy Cook – Carrot Salad

This recipe is the is so simple, you’ll wonder why you did not think of it yourself.  It comes from a wonderful cookbook called, Olives and Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox.  I like to make this as a side dish when we serve burgers.

Ingredients

4 large carrots, grated or julienned

1/2 cup plus 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Directions

1.  Combine carrots, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl.

2.  Allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in oil and parsley.

4.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

5.  Serve, or let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours.

I like to use cilantro for this recipe.  If I cannot find organic cilantro, then I will use parsley.

Last week was a very busy…crazy is more like it.  I had a little trouble keeping up with the daily blogs.  School starts for the big guys next week.  We have another busy week to get things ready.  I will keep you updated.

Stay well my friends.  I will talk with you soon.

Motherhood Redefined

“Until you have loved an animal, part of your soul will have remained dormant.” – Anatole France

Being a mother is one of the most important things in my life.  As a matter of fact, it ranks number two on my list.  My marriage is number one.  I have always wanted to be a mom.  I never imagined I would become a mother to everything that resides in my home…including my pets,

Having animals was not part of our family plan.  It happened because of the boys.  They loved animals and wanted to experience them.  My husband and I talked it over and finally agreed to a pet.  Our first pet, was a cat named Jack.  He was a rescue cat.  He was not the sweet cat we hoped for.  Jack used to chase the children up and down the hall and pounce on them.  He was unpredictable with his aggressive behaviors.  We ended up giving Jack away.  Hubby and I thought Jack would be better suited in a family without young children.

A while later, we noticed a neighbor dog wandering our street.  She was an older dog and very kind.  She was constantly escaping from her home.  We knew the people who owned her.  My husband and I talked and thought we should offer to care for her.   Surprisingly, they said yes.  The dog’s name was Tipper.

Tipper became part of our family quickly.  She was a very sweet dog, but had severe separation anxiety.  Her anxiety was so bad, she would try to escape from our home every time we left.  A neighbor suggested another dog, as a companion.  We adopted Daisy.  She was a lovely little dog and gave Tipper the companionship she needed.

My husband and I had a learning curve with our dogs.  Neither of us grew up with dogs so we did not understand their needs or how to meet them.  It was frustrating when they did not follow our commands.  Unlike children, dogs do not talk.  We had difficulty knowing how to communicate with them.

Over time, things got better.  We read books, talked to friends with dogs and slowly got the hang things.  Tipper sadly she died just prior to the birth of my little son.  Daisy, our little dog, was crushed.  No longer did she have a playful buddy to hang out with.

I never expected to become so attached to my little dog.  I do have great compassion for animals, but did not realize how much a person can feel for them.  After my little son was born, Daisy and I would hang out all day with the new baby.  I began to enjoy her company.  I have never felt as skilled to care for Daisy as I have for my children, but slowly my skill level increased and so did my love for her.

When people used to refer to me as Daisy’s mom, I thought it sounded silly.  I was not her mom.  But over time, I realized that the things I would do for her were the kind of things I do for my children.  I found myself concerned if she would not eat, bought high quality food, and made sure she was not alone for too much of the day.  When we went on vacation, I worried she would be lonesome.  I began to think of her as more than just a pet.

Recently, Daisy has undergone surgery to take out tumors.  They looked terrible and I told my husband we needed to have them removed.  She also needed to have several teeth extracted, due to dental decay.  It was an expensive, but necessary for a healthier life.

She seems to be recovering well, but the worry for her during the surgery was hard.  Daisy had to have 13 teeth removed due to decay.  When the doctor told me about her dental extractions, I was horrified.  I  did not realize the extent of Daisy’s health issues.  The guilt has been terrible.

As Daisy rests at my feet, I am reminded of who I am.  I am a mother.  My mothering spirit is not just for my children.  My concern goes to our fish, our snake, and most of all to my little recovering dog.   I love my little dog and if you call me her mom, I won’t mind.

Photo Friday – Fish Attack Restaurant

Sometimes a hidden jewel can be found right outside your door.  In this case, I am talking about a fabulous restaurant.

A while ago, a friend of mine posted an amazing photo of a meal she ate at a local restaurant.  The photo, was of a whole fish, displayed in elaborate fashion.  She mentioned the restaurant she ate at saying, “it is my favorite hole in the wall” place.

The restaurant is called Fish Attack.  It is located  around the corner from my neighborhood.  I drive by the place everyday and yet never have stopped by.  It is in a strange area and  is very unassuming from the outside, but once you open the door, you realize you are in for a treat.

My neighbors and I often complain about how our area of town is lacking great restaurants.  We have plenty of the chain places ( Chilis, Outback, Islands) but nothing with fantastic food to brag about.  That is until now.  Since I visited the Fish Attack, I can now say my little neighborhood has the best sushi in San Diego.

The interior of the restaurant is small and dark, but nicely decorated.  There is a large sushi bar and one or two chefs who visibly prepare the food.  The waitress staff is friendly and know their customers on a first name basis.  I mentioned my friend who recommended the restaurant and my waitress knew who she was.

My husband and I told the waitress staff we were up for the best they had to offer.  They picked out our meal.  Fish Attack prides itself on having incredibly fresh fish for their sushi.  As a matter of fact, it was the best fish I have ever had.  Truly a melt -in-your mouth type of experience.

We started off with the Hawaii Poki, which was raw tuna with a spicy house sauce and avocado.  Divine.  Even if you do not like raw fish, I know you would love this dish.

Next was Sashimi, which was a plate of three fresh-cut fish: yellow tail, salmon and tuna.  Each bite was a delight.  The fresh fish is really amazing.

Our next dish was the Fish Attack house special roll: a sushi roll with eel, snow crab, avocado, cucumber, tuna, yellow tail, salmon, wasabi tobiko, and sprouts.  fantastic!  The secret of this wonderful dish is the dipping sauce.  Spicy and flavorful.

To finish of the meal, we ended with the Mochi green tea ice cream.  The ice cream is frozen in a small ball shape and cut open like an orange for a nice display.  This treat is small, but yet just the right amount of sweetness after a great meal.

Amazing how such a fabulous place could be so close to my home and yet go unnoticed.  This is why I love photo friday.  Because it makes me think outside the box and try things I would normally never do.

Need a great reason to visit San Diego?  The Fish Attack may be it.  Fabulous food, great service and reasonably priced…it is worth a  visit.  Check out the menu at www.fishattacksushihouse.com .

Thanks for joining me for photo friday.  Talk with you soon my friends.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Brain, Child – Magazine

This week for Wednesday, Words of Wisdom I decided to pick a magazine.  It is called, Brain, Child – The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. 

Magazines for mothers, usually focus on five basic things:  how to decorate a house, how to cook amazing meals, how to maintain personal relationships (self, spouse, friends), how to look great, and how to raise fantastic children.  Over and over, magazine after magazine, they all offer the same thing.  But I am happy to say, Brain, Child is different.

I discovered Brain, Child by accident.  About a year ago, I was sitting in the children’s book section of Borders.  My young son was busy running around, as we waited for the store’s story hour to begin.  I decided to browse through the parenting section, located conveniently by the children’s books.  As I glanced through all the topics, a book caught my eye.  It was called, This Is Not How I Thought it Would Be, by Kristin Maschaka.

At that time I was full-blown in the middle of my mid-life something and the book’s title rang true.  I decided to buy the book.  This is Not How I Thought it Would Be,  is part-memoir and part how-to for remodeling motherhood to get the life you want.  Although, the book is not my Wednesday Words of Wisdom choice this week, it is worth reading.

The author of the book, Kristin Maschaka, is the past president and a national spokesperson for Mothers & More.  After I read the book, I briefly joined the Mothers & More organization.  As part of my membership, I  subscibed to Brain, Child.  I canceled my Mother & More membership, but held on the magazine subscription.

Brain, Child focuses on motherhood and parenting issues.  It is called a, “a magazine for thinking mothers.”  The magazine is set up in article format.  There is a brief marketplace section in the back, but no ads.  I do not know when the last time you have read a magazine with out ads, but let me tell you it is terrific.

There is a tremendous variety of topics the magazine covers.  There are fictional stories, informational articles and humourous essays.  Although the magazine is intended for mothers, fathers will like it too.  Several articles are written by men and for men.

Founded by two mothers, with journalism backgrounds, Brain, Child was created to be a  literary magazine.  The high quality articles are what make the magazine great.  I like that I can read an essay or two and get my brain going.   If you love reading, you will enjoy Brain, Child. 

To find out more about Brain, Child contact www.brainchildmag.com.

Enjoy reading!

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,

It has been two years since we met and I thought it was time to talk.

I became friends with you a couple of years ago, because of my sisters.  They both were your friend and thought you and I would get along.  It was an innocent introduction.  I had no idea what to expect.

At first, I was confused.  I did not know how you and  I were supposed to relate to each other.   I told you all my personal information and started to tell people about you.  It seemed everyone already knew you.  I was surprised how popular you were.

When we first met, you did all the talking.  I would simply login and read all the conversations you were having with people.  I was amazed how everyone would share such personal things with you: thoughts, photos, ideas, even prayers.  I wondered if you and I could ever have that kind of relationship.

After a while, I began to realize how hip you were.  Friends from all over the world started to be in contact with me, through you.  I started to hear from old college buddies, former bosses, distant relatives, roommates, and work friends.  The list of people you knew was endless.  I was so impressed.

I cannot tell you the glee I felt in our early relationship days.  Everyday for months I was in touch with someone who had been gone from my life.  It was like Christmas.  New surprises and rekindled friendships.  It was pure bliss.

As my list of Facebook friends grew, so did my confidence is talking to you.  Soon I was posting my happenings, photos and ideas.  I started to ‘like’ things you recommended for me.  I became involved in other people’s lives, by reading what they had to say.

After a while, I began to realize I was becoming addicted to you.  Daily visits to chat with you, became hourly.  I looked for approval by searching for the little red light at the top of the screen.  I started searching for more people to become friends with.  Some people I hardly knew.

I started to feel smug and began posting my opinions about life.  Soon my postings became rants, telling people how I thought things should be.  There were words, harsh words and some down times.   My ego got the best of me.

But then I wised up and realized you were meant for fun.  Being friends with you could bring real joy to my life.  I began to listen to what my friends were posting.  I gave positive feedback, added humor and became involved.  The more I commented on other people’s lives, the more they commented on mine.

It felt good.  I was lonely sometimes, home alone with the kids.  Because of you I became part of other people’s lives.  Even the ones who were very far away.  It made me happy.

My writing skills began to improve and my inner goofiness was released.  Because of you, I gained confidence.  I gained so much confidence that I signed up for school and started a blog.  Your friends told me I could do it and they were right.

I just wanted to say thank you, Facebook.  I know a lot of people do not like you.  But many of us do.  You have given me a voice in the world.  But most of all, you have made me realize what life is really about…connections, family and friendships.

So that is all I wanted to say.  I don’t know if you and I will always be as close, as we are today.  Things could change and I may be too busy in the future to say hello.    Daily chats may not be possible.  But no matter what I want to know, I am glad we met.  And I will always ‘like’ you.

Lazy Cook – Asparagus Soup

Asparagus is a springtime vegetable, but I came across a bunch on sale in the middle of summer.  I thought it would be a great choice for this weeks lazy cook blog.  I make this easy soup all the time, but usually only for my husband and I.  The recipe comes from my cookbook, Vegetarian Meals for People-on-the-Go, by Vimala Rodgers.

Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup leeks chopped (or green onions)

2 Tablespoons butter (or butter substitute)

4 cups vegetable broth

2 pounds fresh asparagus

3 red potatoes (with skins), chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 fresh ground pepper

Directions

1.  Snap off end of asparagus stalks and discard.   Break remaining stalks into smaller pieces.

2. In a large pot,  sauté leeks in butter until soft.

3.  Put all ingredients in the large pot and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

4.  Puree at soup in blender.

5.  Stir well and serve.

If you have never done a purée of hot soup, be careful.  The heat causes the soup spatter very easily and you could get burned.  Puree the soup small batches at a time, just to be safe.  I sound like a Mom right?

Always good to know you are reading, even if it is the lazy cook blog.  Thinking of you all the time.

Have a fantastic week.  Talk to you soon friends.

Freak Out

“Ok. Ok. I’m going to freak out right now.” Johnny Depp

Well, it has been a tough day.  I am exhausted.  Today has been the worst case of ‘freaking out’ I have had in a long time.  What has caused me to lose my sanity today?  We went to the mobile phone shop.

Today is my oldest son’s birthday.  Happy birthday Old Boy!  We agreed, today was the day my son would get a cell phone.  I have been fighting the battle phones for two very long years.  Today Old Boy won.  Not only did Old Boy win, but so did Tall Boy and my husband.  Everyone got new cell phones.

My husband has been discussing getting the boys cell phones for a long time.  I have been ignoring him.  I hate the idea of the boys having their own phones.  It freaks me out.

I woke up today stressed out, because I knew we were heading to get the phones.  My oldest son has an Ipod.  He is obsessed with that thing.  We do not have a gaming system at home.  So he goes on the Ipod when ever he can, mainly to play the games.  It drives me insane.  He is a really good kid, watches almost no TV, but he tries to play that thing all the time.

The big boys are thrilled…and I mean thrilled.  This is the biggest thing that has ever happened for them.  My husband thought he and I should get new phones too.  We got Droids.  It does not look like a phone.  I miss my old phone.  My husband is so happy.  I am not.  Everyone is buzzing around the house talking about all the cool things the new phones do.  I am moping.

Sure having a smart phone can be fun, but I do not want to have a family where everyone is talking on the phone to other people, but not amongst each other.  That would be my worst nightmare.

My husband reminded me how I did not like getting my first cell phone.  Now I want the old girl (all phones are girls) to come back.  The funny thing is, this new phone stuff is really my fault.  When I went to the blogging convention recently, I noticed everyone had a smart phone.  I called my husband and told him, “I need a smart phone.  I look like a dork with my old-fashioned phone.”

Now I feel bad to have ever insulted my sweet old phone.

I am returning the smart phone.  It’s not me.  Not that I am not smart mind you. but I need something without all the bells and whistles.  Something that actually looks like a my old friend.

I wasn’t meant to live in this era.  I am not a techno-gadget kind of girl.  I do not want to read books on a computer screen or receive birthday cards through email.  I like hearing someone’s voice, not getting little messages in my phone.

Maybe I will feel better in a few days.  The shock of the new situation will wear off and I will realize how fabulous it is to have a family of mobile phone users.

Uh huh.  I think I better practice up on my breathing skills to stay calm.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  It is going to be a rough ride.