Tag Archives: food

Not seizing the day

The declaration has been made–I am going NO WHERE today. I am doing NO FAVORS for anyone this week. I am limiting all interaction to the minimum.

The past week was a marathon of helping others so today I will  help me. I will rest and regain my equilibrium. I will do laundry (9 loads of clothing plus numerous loads of bed linens and towels). I will clean the fingerprints and smudges from all the surfaces in the house. Since it rained last night, the leaves are too wet and will NOT be raked today. Later in the week for that chore. Same thing with grocery shopping. Our pantries are low, but we can survive a couple of days on what is there.

Our kids were here from Wednesday to Saturday, in and out, as they also spent a day with the other grandparents. Judah did a great job of raking leaves for me, but they are falling faster than any 6-year old can keep up with. He even raked up one last pile before they left Saturday afternoon while Terry and I were serving that memorial luncheon at church.

About that luncheon, it was a huge success. The deceased’s family was pleased with the hospitality they received from our little group. The Italian food was perfect for a group of 65 and there were enough leftovers for the pastor to deliver dinner to a local women’s shelter. I came home and baked cookies for Sunday’s coffee fellowship as all the cookies and pastries for the luncheon had been  devoured with requests for the recipes. The leftovers from coffee fellowship were then given to the lady in charge of that evening’s chili/cornbread supper when the church would be decorated for the Advent Season. So much food for so many people. It’s a pleasure to be able to serve in this manner.

This week I return to my normally scheduled routine–two days at Columbia to spread some cheer and begin handing out Christmas stickers to children who do not live in a place where there is an abundance of anything except misery. Our pastor used his pasta delivery adventure in yesterday’s sermon, telling the congregation about the neighborhood where the home for women is located. He told the people about how comfortable his life had become in his suburban neighborhood and his feeling of safety in the areas he travelled. Then, his mission to deliver dinner to a group living on the fringes, made him aware of the disconnect between his life and that of others in Fresno. YES! Just what I keep trying to get people to notice.

But for today, I am not taking on the world. Or even my little corner of it. I am being as quiet and still as is possible and resting up for the next busy weeks of holiday frivolity.

Twice baked on a hot day

Twice-baked potatoes are a favorite of ours. Since my Cuisinart died, though, I have been making an easier variety that I call “smashed potatoes.”  

I use four very small Yukon gold potatoes since it’s just the two of us. I bake them in the microwave, and since they are small it takes only a few minutes. 

While the potatoes cool enough to handle, I line a baking sheet with parchment. I chop a couple of green onions, cube a quarter cup of butter (or a bit more), get out bacon bits and shaved  Parmesan cheese. 

After setting the oven to preheat to 400 degrees, I smash each potato as flat as I can (on the parchment covered baking sheet) and top with the prepped ingredients in the order I listed. The potatoes bake a second time for about 20 minutes in that hot oven. 

I did this operation early this morning as the weather forecaster is promising 106 degrees today. The potatoes can be eaten for lunch with leftovers stored away for another meal tomorrow. 

If we’re going to eat…

…someone has to go grocery shopping. In this household that is pretty much my job. Get the food, unload the food, cook the food. Terry does the cleanup. But first, let’s talk about ‘getting’ the food.

Thinking about this all came about due to that last post about my CSA box and the changes being made there. We pretty much eat only organic produce and the CSA box is the best source for that. Whole Foods is the next best place, and I go to our local Whole Foods about once a week. Sometimes twice. During the summer months I will hit up the farmer’s markets and some local growers. Last week The Ladies Who Lunch took a short trip south to a blueberry farm. I bought a crate of blueberries, most of which went into the freezer.

My favorite farmer’s market is in downtown Fresno on Wednesday mornings. Right now, until June, I am busy on Wednesday mornings with Bible study and school chaplain duties. I’m hoping that the apricot grower will still have some fruit by the time I get there next month. But I digress. Back to grocery shopping.

After Whole Foods, Target is a great place to get staples, but not produce as theirs is not locally grown. I like Target for the staples because I can use my Red Card and there are often special deals on Cart Wheel so I save quite a bit of money, especially on Terry’s cereals.

A close second to Whole Foods for the organic stuff, and also for supplements, is Sprouts. I have to drive a bit further, but Sprouts carries some products that Whole Foods does not, and often the prices are lower.

Last but not least is a locally owned grocer, Save Mart. This chain has stores all over Fresno, each one a bit different, but they offer some things that I cannot get at the other places. Like individual rolls of Viva paper towels. And Guerrero brand tortillas. Baker’s sugar in a box. Large boxes of Bisquick. Frozen bread dough. Cheap cabernet sauvignon wine. Odds and ends which I don’t buy all that often.

Tonight for dinner we are having beef and noodles with a side dish of almond green beans. The noodles and red wine came from Save Mart. The beef came from Whole Foods as did the almonds and butter. The green beans came in the CSA box. Terry may have ice cream for dessert that I bought on sale at Target.

So, there you have it. Dinner is served.

No cooking

We finally went out to dinner. Wednesday was a busy day for me so I was happy to not think about what to fix for our evening meal and then fixing it. 

We chose a Mexican restaurant that is fairly new and is within walking distance. The weather was perfect at late afternoon as the winds had died down, the sun was shining, but not blazing.  Perfect walking weather. 

Terry ordered tamale verde and enchilada verde. 


I got fish tacos and beans. 


Tonight it’s back to eating at home but be assured it will be a simple meal because today is jam-packed with activities. I’m also planning a picnic lunch for Friday when we are heading to Yosemite as the dogwoods are blooming. 

Let’s talk about some food stuffs

There was a box of puff pastry dough in the freezer that was calling me to do something with it. I had a jar of fresh peach jam in the fridge that was just the perfect match so I make two of these:



I would have made only one, but the two pieces of frozen dough would not separate until thawed, so there were two. We ate one the day I baked them, and saved the other one for another day:



A few weeks ago I attended a tea party/birthday party where a lavender Earl Gray tea was served. Maybe it was because of the pretty cup in which it was served, maybe it was the wonderful company, maybe it was just the day for a cup of tea, but I LOVED that tea. I came home raving about how good it was and saying I should buy some lavender Earl Gray. Terry opened the cabinet where the teas are kept and pulled this out:



“You’ve had this for a long time,” he reported.

“Oh,” I said.

I’m always the one who knows what’s in our cabinets, but this time, not so much. Yesterday and today I made iced lavender Earl Gray tea. It is quite marvelous, especially with peach pastry on a still warm afternoon when summer is waning.


Feeding the hungry in a land of plenty

When I shop at Whole Foods, I have the option of getting a refund for the bags I bring in which to put my groceries or donating that money to a local nonprofit organization. Depending on the organization, I usually donate. Today, I hesitated. The organization for this month’s donations, Community Food Bank, is a good one. They feed thousands of hungry people here in the San Joaquin Valley, the same valley that produces the food to feed the world. Whole Foods not only donates cash to the organization but also provides food stuffs, too. The Community Food Bank, along with numerous charities, is constantly begging the public to donate food and/or money. But, today’s newspaper, The Fresno BEE, (click here to read) brings a story that halts one in their tracks and makes one rethink this pleading for donations.

A local grower has a field of green beans he cannot economically harvest, but he cannot get any local charity to come get the beans, either. The crop will probably be disced under. And yet, the charities clamor for food. Here is free food. Ah, but the rub is that it takes labor to harvest. Although many want to eat the free food, no one wants to do the work to get the raw product from the field. It is a quandary. The Community Food Bank, who feeds thousands, cannot find any workers to go pick the beans. It’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge. I might say that if you want to pick up free food from the distribution center, then you have to be willing to do some of the work it takes to get it here.

I am hopeful that there will be a follow-up to the story. That some agency will step forward with enough manpower to harvest the beans and distribute the crop to those who could use the food. If that happens, I’ll let you know.

Here are the green beans we got in this week’s CSA box:


Thinking about Easter

Yes, EASTER. It will be here in one month. I just returned from my Sunday School room where I took down Valentine’s decorations and put up Easter things. I’m starting to look at craft projects for the next five Sundays, too. Yesterday my first graders planted seeds and took them home in terracotta pots. They also got to look and feel barley (uncooked) and eat bread made with spelt.

Waldorf Kindergarten Bread

Waldorf Kindergarten Bread

Some of my students really liked it and asked for seconds and thirds. A couple said they didn’t like it, but they did try it. I always tell kids they don’t have to eat anything they don’t like so my students are pretty willing to try anything knowing they can toss it out without admonition of waste. By the way, we had 15 in class. Biggest group yet. Wonder what Easter Sunday will be like?

Getting back to those Easter plans. I wrote and asked our daughter if they had any plans for the week, thinking we might go get the tiny grandkids and have them here for a few days. I also picked up a couple of Easter baskets at Target without any idea how I would use them. I probably would have bought more but they only had two of these:

Photo on 2-25-13 at 1.07 PM

One of the ladies who helps in Sunday School suggested that we make Easter baskets for two of our teenage helpers who do the most fantastic job. We’ve really missed them the last few weeks as they were out sick. I immediately thought of these baskets and suggested she get the grass and any other goody and I’ll get See’s Candy Easter bunnies to go in them.

So, Easter is coming. You got any plans?

More juicing

I am continuing to use my Breville juicer that I bought for my Christmas gift. I really like making my own cranberry juice, especially with apples and basil. The vegetable juices are another matter. I can drink a little, but not much. I’ve tried refrigerating them to have the next day, but it’s as if they are fermenting. Maybe like that kobucha stuff that people drink. That’s not my goal. I want the fresh clean taste of the produce.Last week I got out all the veggies we had around here.

IMG_2742I made two sets of juice, a red/orange with the carrots, apple, IMG_2744fennel, and tomatoes.

And a green one with bok choy, kohlrabi, and chard. The orange drink was very good, the green one was rather nasty. IMG_2745Terry wouldn’t even try it when he got a whiff. The kohlrabi gave it a cabbage-like odor. I think some mint might have helped so I have bought mint to use in my next veggie juice. I use basil with the cranberry and it’s really good. Just got to figure out the right combinations.

It was a vegan & gluten-free Thanksgiving

Our son-in-law’s parents invited us to join them for Thanksgiving. It worked well since our kids were staying with them for a few days to work on some remodeling that the parents were doing. Chad’s parents live in a foothill community about 30 miles from Fresno. The houses sit on acreage, scattered across the hills, and there are lots of places to play and climb. Here are the big kids climbing one of the trees:

That’s Jen on the lower branch. Chad is up there on the left with his brother-in-law in the middle, with the cap. Chad’s sister, Sara, is up higher on a branch on the right, out of the view of the camera. Leeya found a swing hung on a nearby tree, and while swinging, she would call out to her parents, “Be careful up there. Don’t fall.” It was pretty funny to hear her parroting her parents’ admonitions to her.

Leeya also enjoyed some Thanksgiving stickers I had left over from my Sunday School class:

I offered to bring a couple of dishes that I knew would work out for the vegan/gluten-free meal. I roasted a large amount of Brussels sprouts so that there would be some leftovers for my daughter. I’m sure she got up and ate them for breakfast.

A new dish I tried was a Thai spaghetti squash that was very spicy with ginger, chilies,garlic, and cilantro. Those who tried it seemed to think it was pretty good.

Chad’s mom made a vegetable lasagna and vegan pumpkin pie. Jen did a tofu turkey roast, gravy, and mashed potatoes. I also made bruschetta for Chad. Sara brought pumpkin soup.

Today I unwrapped the cheesecloth from all my fruitcakes and rewrapped them for storage. I think they are ready to eat.

Fried okra

Last week’s CSA box contained a bag of okra which made me very happy. I love fried okra. Terry isn’t as enthused about fried okra, but he thought this batch was very tasty.