28 November 2012


v. to fly (Italian/Latin)

Last week Scott got some stuck CDs out of the Disco for the first time in maybe 2 years. The magazine was being held hostage by the changer and the player wouldn't recognize or play the CDs. ;.(

Here is what we found in there:
  • Legend - the best of Bob Marley, disc one
  • The Beatles LOVE
  • 50 First Dates soundtrack
  • My beloved Gipsy Kings Greatest Hits CD
Sadly/surprisingly enough we didn't find my Santana CD. ;.(

Now back in 2004 I fell in love with spanish music and dancing and food after a week in Miami.  I dragged my husband and friends to ballroom dancing where we learned many dance steps that none of us have probably used since then (except for when I was doing Zumba).

A few months later, my good friend Bob gave me the Gipsy Kings CD, and while I didn't understand most of the words being sung, I was moved by a couple of the songs on the CD. Specifically Volare. It was such an uplifting song and I found it hard to sit still while listening to it.  

This week I was reunited with it and I have listened to at least 17 times in the past 2 days! (And several more times while translating it this evening!)

I didn't know exactly what it was about the song that moved me - probably the passion in the singers' voices, but tonight I know. I did some research like I did with other songs that have touched my soul. (La Mer, Usuahay) and here's what I found.

"Volare" was originally called ""Nel blu dipinto di blu" (English: In the Blue, Painted Blue) and was written and sung by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno in 1958. 

The Gipsy Kings really do this song right...and they were cool enough to leave the chorus in Italian.

Volare (Fly)

Pienso que un sueno parecido no volvera mas (I think, that a similar dream will not return)

Y me pintaba las manos y la cara de azul (I was painting my hands and face blue)
Y me improviso el viento rapido me llevo (and suddenly  fast winds lifted me up)
Y me hizo a volar en el cielo infinito (and made me fly in the infinite sky)

Volare, oh oh (Flying, oh, oh!)
Cantare, oh oh oh oh (Singing, oh, oh, oh, oh!)
Nel blu dipinto di blu (In blue, painted of blue)
Felice di stare lassu (I'm happy to be up there)

Y volando, volando feliz  (And flying, happily flying)
Yo me encuentro mas alto (I found myself higher)
Mas alto que el sol (higher than the sun)
Y mienstras que el mundo (and while the world)
Se aleja despacio de mi  (moved slowly away from me)
Una musica dulce Se ha tocada solo para mi (A sweet music was playing just for me)

Volare, oh oh (Flying, oh, oh!)
Cantare, oh oh oh oh (Singing, oh, oh, oh, oh!)
Nel blu dipinto di blu (In blue, painted of blue)
Felice di stare lassu (I'm happy to be up there)

This song made my heart soar before I knew the words. It also made me want a Chambord margarita by the pool. Please give it a listen and let your heart soar!

24 November 2012

Nuts for Fall

More to Come

Bumper Crop

The leaves are falling and so are the pecans. These 2 trug tubs have been filled to the brim and we've given away a few gallon sized bags to friends and family already. Love reaping the free food from our back yard. Last year we weren't so lucky. Right after I took the picture above, I spent about 30 minutes raking leaves and collecting more pecans and that red tub is now full. I'm guestimating that we will probably fill at least another trug full...

17 November 2012

Who Needs Pie?

When you've got fritters?

Today we spent most of the day in Ripley, OK - believe it or not.  Heh! Emi had a basketball tournament there.

I don't get to watch most of the games....can you guess why?

At the Game

Sure, they are cute with their curly hair and brown eyes, but sometimes I'd like to watch Big Sis for just a moment.

After we got home and I loved on my sweet little Gracie for a bit, I got busy with a Mexican themed dinner  -  chicken taquitos from the store, white beans with rotel and cilantro and home made guacamole.  I used the jalapeno I found in the garden along with a few home grown grape tomatoes and it was yummy. Even David ate some and he claims he does not like avocado.

So after last week when I fell in love with lemon sage fritters, I got the urge to make apple fritters for the family. I googled for a recipe and of course, Pioneer Woman had a recipe and so I had to try hers. Ree has never steered me wrong. We deviated from the recipe right off the bat with the omission of the 3 tbsp sugar (listed under the 1/2 C of sugar (?)) and also, we used Sunrise Apples instead of Granny Smith because that's what we had on hand.

Apple Fritter Batter

Oh, and instead of glazing the finished fritters or dusting them heavily with powdered sugar, we used a drizzle of caramel. Oh my!

Apple Fritters

I sure had some happy campers in the house tonight!

Apple Fritters

16 November 2012

Corn-Fusion Cooking

Wednesday night after work I was scrambling around the kitchen for a healthy meal to cook after I had text-suggested to Scott that we have pizza for dinner. I thought better of that suggestion when I got home and wanted to unwind from the day in the kitchen. Previously when gathering groceries, I envisioned making a Mexican type salad with roasted corn but I got hung up on what to use for dressing.

Can you picture me staring up at the selection of ready made dressings in Walmart? Scott had to circle back (twice) to retrieve me in the dressing aisle. I ended up selecting 3 bottles that I thought I could make do with...

So, anyway, I had some ground turkey, corn on the cob, spring salad and cilantro.  Once in the kitchen I decided to go Asian (it's in my blood!) and try to make something similar to Swiss Chicken Salad that's been in my repertoire since high school (something we served in the Frusen Gladje deli).

Swiss Chicken Salad

chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
olive oil (back then we used spray Pam)
garlic minced or pressed (back then we used garlic powder)
soy sauce
apple, chopped into bite sized pieces
celery, chopped into bite sized pieces
sour cream

Saute the chicken breasts in olive oil and garlic and soy sauce. Once cooked, let the chicken and sauce cool in the fridge (or freezer) while you assemble the rest of the salad (this step can be done ahead and it's always a good thing to have swiss chicken at the ready in the fridge). Chop up the apples and celery and place into a big bowl, then add pecan halves and grapes and the cooled chicken with a dollop of sour cream. Mix well and serve with buttered bread (or not). Yummy! I have served this for friends and family for years and there are always suggestions on more ingredients to add (like pineapple). I have never deviated, actually, except for the subbing olive oil for Pam and real garlic for garlic powder (made it more healthy).

I didn't have any celery or grapes on hand so I couldn't make Swiss Turkey Salad (but that sounds delish too!) and I wanted roasted corn in the salad. So I coated the corn with toasted sesame oil and salt and put it in the oven and then started cooking the turkey in canola oil with garlic and soy sauce.

Asian Turkey Salad

Asian Sesame Turkey Salad

ground turkey cooked in olive/canola oil, pressed garlic and soy sauce and cooled
sesame roasted corn cut/scraped from the cobs (I used all 5 cobs that I had on hand)
spring salad mix
pecans (from my back yard!)
carrot slivers
diced bell pepper
lemon juice
1 package of crunched up ramen noodles

Dressing: a mixture of Kraft's Asian Toasted Sesame Anything Dressing and Olde Cape Cod Toasted Sesame Ginger Soy (fat free) dressing plus I added some toasted sesame oil, pressed fresh ginger and the juice of a lemon to bring it all together.

[Note: I did not have any Annie's Naturals Shiitake & Sesame Vinaigrette on hand or I'd have gone with that - so good!]

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy to your heart's content. Crunchy, savory and healthy...

15 November 2012

Epic Fail(s)

Recently we've had a couple of incidents that I'd like to share with you in charge of little ones (yours or others) so you don't make the same mistakes.

If you know me or our kids or have read this blog for any length of time, you know that David is a very spirited young man. He's very VERY. (You read that right.) We know he can't handle sugar like his sisters can, and that he is naturally wound up and ready to go. While that can be good, most of the time it gets him into trouble. So, we had a theory that maybe David was one of those special ones who becomes very calm with the introduction of caffeine into the system. I had discussed this with a friend of mine who suggested we try Mountain Dew because her son would not drink coffee. We thought, "What the hay?" and before Aubri's birthday party on Sunday we gave David a shot of MD. He rather enjoyed that.

We let him know it was a special experiment and not to tell his sisters (that was a fail too) because he knows he's got more energy than all of us put together already. So, anyway, he lost his marbles at least 3x times during the party and was totally inconsolable at the beginning of the party. I can't recall what it was that didn't go his way, but he was in his chair in the fetal position crying about it while his cousins tried to console him. It was ugly and I had compassion because it's the first time I've ever witnessed someone of the opposite sex experience full on PMS. Poor guy!

And Monday at school he was "difficult" after having a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast.  Now, we know about diet and behavior and ADD. My family consisted of 5 kids very close in age and we were put on the Feingold Diet instead of meds in order for us all to have a chance at survival. (We were also put on cod liver oil instead of health insurance but that's a story for another day.) I still don't know how my parents got through it all but I'm sure there was some collateral damage. But we are busy parents and sometimes a bowl of cereal is better than nothing, right? We are not entirely convinced that David has a syndrome/disorder because he CAN be good after having sweets...

After the fail with Mountain Dew (seriously, what did we expect?) we decided to try coffee.  A quick shot of coffee (with milk and a tiny bit of sugar) before class to calm the nerves. This morning Scott administered the caffeine to the boy and he had a record - nay - banner day at school today. He was very good at transitioning and when things didn't go his way, he said "Ok" and went about his business. (!)

We are amazed and happy with the outcome of the 2nd experiment. I think we'll try coffee with Vanilla Coconut milk and or xylitol to get rid of the sugar altogether. We're not suggesting the boy never get sugar, but if you happen to be the one pushing the sugar (I'm looking at you, Grandma Babe!) then you will need to sit with him until he comes down from his bad trip!

The 2nd epic fail involved the baby. The night of her birthday party, about 6 hours after David lost his ever-loving "Do the Dew" mind, she claimed her tummy hurt. I had her try to poop to see if that helped and then put her to bed. Just prior, I had put her mattress pad protector on David's bed to protect his mattress (obvs) and proclaimed loudly that Aubri is a champion of her bladder, like a camel and she "never had accidents" and so her mattress was left unprotected. We watched a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead and then I checked on Aubri to make sure she wasn't choking on vomit (the things that go through a mom's mind) and she was sleeping like a baby around 11pm. 

At 1:20 am Aubri knocked on our door and then came in asking Daddy to wipe her. I thought she asked him to wipe the blood off of her (stupid zombie shows). He got up to help her in the bathroom and soon realized the horror of the situation. She had obviously suffered from the Human Brew and soiled her bed in the worst way possible. She had to be hosed down and I found it difficult to snuggle with her afterwards knowing what unholiness had occurred. We actually put her in a PullUp leftover from long ago.

The bed was a total loss. There is no way to clean up that much excrement when it's soaked in. We dropped the mattress, sheets and a couple of rugs that had likely absorbed a fair amount of pee/poop over the last year - at the dump. Oh, so funny now that I've typed it out.

We had needed to get Aubri a full sized mattress as the bottom bed where she sleeps in the bunk bed configuration is a full sized frame and she's had a twin bed. It was on the list to get and it moved way up in priority Monday morning.

We traced back the probable cause to the green onions that were in her mid-afternoon bowl of Baked Potato Soup. Big sister failed (she had her part in this too) to rinse the onions before chopping them and garnishing her little sister's bowl. Aubri had serious onion breath after that snack and still, the next morning as she snuggled up with me.

So, to recap:

  • rinse off your veggies/onions (especially if you are eating them raw)
  • no Mountain Dew for kids, anywhere, ever...(but it's ok for mom and dads)
  • always use a pad
  • never say "never"

14 November 2012

Speaking of Sage

I was, yesterday... I found some sage advice (actually more of a cool quote) in that inflight magazine as well. It was a beautiful story about forgiveness (The Heart of Darkness) and the quote that stuck with me most was this:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
(Nelson Mandela)

Ain't that the truth?

"Nursing a grudge means holding onto anger, and prolonged anger spikes heart rate, lowers immune response, and floods the brain with neuro-transmitters that impede problem solving and stir depression."

Whoa! I know it's not an easy thing to do but it's the only way to go on with your life and let the "offenders" (sometimes it's just a perceived offense where none was intended and people will take that with them to their graves) go on with their's as well.

I pray that everyone who reads this will find it in their hearts to let go of past hurts and resentment and come back to life again, becoming more optimistic and freeing yourself from that dreadful resentment.

13 November 2012


So I kept the pounds at bay with all of the pavement pounding I did while in Manhattan. Lucky for me too because we hit some really great spots.
OK, now that I've listed the places I ate at while in NYC, I'm thinking there's no way possible I walked off enough of that food. Especially if you consider the extras that popped up here and there, like 3/4 of the Billy's Bakery cupcake that Stacey opted not to eat and I gladly snarfed down. And the yummy bar pizza that I was greeted with on the night of the Nor'easter. So I guess I should be glad we didn't do a weigh in and weigh out on this trip.

Anyway, I am glad to be back home in my comfy little kitchen where I can create snacks and meals to satisfy me and my family. On the flight back on Saturday after I finished the crossword puzzles and sleep would not come, I read the SWA magazine and came across a mouth-watering recipe...

Caught My Eye

I really wanted to make these savory fritters on Saturday night, but I had competing needs. I really wanted to shower, unpack, do some laundry and spend some time with my sweet little Gracie - before the family got home from the basketball tournament - and then spend time with them afterwards. So this tasty treat had to wait until Sunday evening after I cleaned up from the birthday girl's lunch (Baked Potato Soup, Iceberg Wedge Salad and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.)

Lemon and Sage
Looking good already, even without the zest (which was already in the fritter batter)

While the kids were outside enjoying what was left of the sunlight (and the start of the evening if we're being honest), I got busy preparing the fritter batter and emulsifying the aioli.

2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 tsp coarse salt
1 egg yolk
1 C + 2 TBSP canola oil

Preparation: With a mixer combine lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add egg yolk and blend. While continuing to blend, with the mixer running slowly, add oil a little at a time until emulsified.

Garlic Lemon Aioli
This lemon-garlic aioli was tangy and a perfect accompaniment to the savory lemon sage fritter...
FRITTERS (makes 40)
1 pound ricotta
4 eggs
1 C all purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP chopped fresh sage
1 tsp kosher salt
zest of 2 lemons
oil kosher salt
grated pecorino

Preparation: With a mixer, cream ricotta and eggs. Blend in flour, baking powder, sage, salt, and lemon zest. Chill batter for thirty minutes. Fill a pan to 1-1/2" depth of vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees. Fry tablespoon-sized balls of batter until cooked through, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lay fritters on paper towels to dry and sprinkle with salt and grated pecorino. Serve with aioli.

Sage Lemon Ricotta Fritters
Crispy and golden outside and creamy in the middle... (they do look a bit like mushrooms in this pic)

And today I promised to make banana nut bread with the 4 overripe bananas and pecans from the back yard. I kept my word and that was a nice before bed snack.

Guess I better devise a workout plan, huh?

11 November 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby (Girl)

The leaves changed when I went to NY and it's all of a sudden Autumn in Oklahoma!


I approve!

Today we celebrated Aubri's 4th birthday. Can you tell she was tired of smiling for the camera?

Fake Smile
Birthday card from her lola....

Happy Birthday!
She requested a birthday cookie and so she got.... 

I am so glad to be back home with my family.  It's been a long week away from them.  I think the weather followed me back from New York because soon after I got home, it got cold and rainy... I don't mind though because I am HOME and also, it's November!

I was reviewing some of the pics I took from the plane for David (he's got a split career in Aviation and Acting in his future) and I found this lovely one I captured on our ascent from LaGuardia. So beautiful and peaceful (made even more so with my foam ear plugs).

What I imagine it looks like on the way to heaven....
I hope you've had a wonderful weekend and that you are enjoying Autumn where you are, friends!

10 November 2012


On the first morning of November, I got into the car and this song was playing:

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you wanna go
I'm your vehicle, woman
But I'm not sure you know
That I love ya (love ya)
I need ya (need ya)
I want ya, got to have you, child
Great God in heaven, you know I love you
Oh, you know I do

* Vehicle by Tom Jones

I thought Beulah was speaking to me through the True Oldies Channel (99.7FM) and it was comforting.

When I was leaving the airport today guess what song was playing?

Late Night

Sadly, it was not with David Letterman...but we did get close.

We dined at Angelo's Pizza tonight and that area - near Times Square - makes me very sad...

Lots of lost souls and unhappiness and bright lights.  The first bit of sadness was a very scantily clad young girl clutching onto a young boy for warmth as he talked on his cell phone. I saw 2 young Asian girls being carried/dragged by a group because they could not stand up by themselves. I also saw a young man passed out on the corner and when we came back by, 6 police officers were cuffing him. It was a bit too real tonight. This is the NY that they didn't show us on Friends, Mad About You, Seinfeld and Sex and the City. Well, maybe on that last one...

It wasn't a totally depressing day, just for a few minutes before dinner. Earlier in the evening after class, we took a cab ride to The Carlyle to meet up with a friend of mine and her daughter before we went to the Met.

Cab Ride to The Carlyle
Mr Cab Driver (Lenny Kravitz) was playing in my head until the cabbie opened the door to spit in the street ...gross!

Cosmos with Rebecca @ Bemelman's
Cosmos at Bemelman's (in The Carlyle)

That was a nice time, catching up with friends, while listening to wonderful piano player. And the Met was nice too.

And this morning Christina and I hoofed it over to Rockefeller Plaza to try to get on the Today Show. This is a picture of us and the very artistic sign I made yesterday in preparation for our big moment. We not only got on camera, but we were there when Taylor Lautner came out to greet the crowd!!! That was a nice surprise! I am not a big Twilight fan, but if I were, I'd be on Team Jacob.



We had lunch at the Plaza Food Hall too.

Tsaziki, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush with Pita Chips

It was a packed and fun day exploring the city, looking at art, eating wonderful food and catching up, but this girl is ready to be home.

Catch you on the flip side!

08 November 2012

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Soup Man
The Original Soup (Nazi) Man

No soup for you!
No soup for you!

Crab Corn Chowder
My Crab Corn Chowder

Guava Margarita
Guava Margarita
Tapas - Spanish Olives - Smoked Salmon with Asparagus, Tofu Cream Cheese and Dill - Duck Confit with Chickpeas
Not pictured, Yuca fries

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
My hotel lobby was decorated while I was in class...

Harry Winstons
Harry Winstons Looking Festive

07 November 2012


That's how I would describe today in Manhattan.

Class started off as normal with a nice Mocha picked up from Dean and Deluca on the way (and a croissant from the hotel).

More learning, yada, yada, yada...

Lunch at Obika again.

The Nor'easter hit and brought wind and snow and rain. I was cold and soaking wet by the time I got to my hotel. My UGGs were soaked through and my hair was plastered against my head. I squeaked up to my room, peeled off my wet clothes, rubbed a towel on my wet head and put on dry clothes.

Then I met my friends for Happy Hour downstairs...

06 November 2012


Tonight I have elected to stay in my hotel room instead of heading back to Rockefeller Place to keep up with the election results. It's way too cold out there and I'm already settled into my nice warm Angry Birds footed pajamas. It was exciting to be there last night though!

Today was a busy and fun day. After the marathon walking around the city in my heeled boots last night, I opted for my UGGs this morning as I was getting ready for class. I MAY end up leaving New York with a pair of Grey UGGs if they happen to have some on sale at the UGG store in between my hotel and my class! I know they are UGGly, but they are comfy and warm and I NEED some grey boots!

So today after our heads were getting filling up with knowledge, we took a lunch break and checked out Obika Mozzarella Bar across the street from class. Yum!

(Are you getting tired of hearing that word from me yet?)

Panino Speck from Obika

My Pretty Water Bottle

Stina and Nols in NYC

After class we hoofed it over to Central Park to see it in the daylight.

Stacey and Stina in the Park
Stacey and Stina in Central Park

We walked around a bit, snapped a few shots and hit the gift shop. I got myself a Central Park calendar for my office and a bag to hold plastic bags to recycle (something we needed to tame the plastic bags that seem to be multiplying under my kitchen sink). While I like to get souvenirs, I don't like to buy crap that will not be used or appreciated. I like to get things that are mementos of a trip but also fill a need. Thrifty? Maybe not. Rationalizing much? More likely.

I am enjoying Manhattan so far...but I wish my family and my dog were here with me. I talked to everyone, including Gracie tonight and everyone was very sweet and loving except for the dog. Scott said she heard my voice and then she sat down and showed the phone the back of her head. ;.( She's shunning me over the phone! I'm sure my compadre thinks I've abandoned her. The night I left Scott said that Gracie waited by the front window for me to show.

I guess that means I need to bring her back a nice treat too so I can win back her love...

Heading to Class

05 November 2012

Have Fun, Will Travel

Yesterday was a gorgeous Fall day in Oklahoma - sunny and bright - and I hopped on a plane to NYC in the late afternoon. That was hard saying "goodbye" to my family.

Saturday when I pulled my suitcase up from the basement, Aubri saw it and immediately started crying and saying she didn't want me to leave. I was heartbroken. I told her I'd be back to celebrate her birthday next weekend and she asked me to bring her back a pack of gum. That has become the highest priority on my list (aside from training and keeping safe).

Last night we had a layover in Baltimore so we got some beers and some crab cake sliders and planned out the week.

After we landed at LaGuardia (and I swapped my flip flops for UGGs), our shuttle was running 2-3 hours late so we popped out to the curb and immediately got a cab!  We drove past some long lines at the gas stations but other than that, we've seen no damage.

A friend of mine who lives here said that midtown Manhattan was really protected from Superstorm Sandy. Good thing because we are going to see her daughter sing Wednesday night at Toshi's Livingroom.


03 November 2012

Special Agents

Casino Royale

Friday night we were called on a special mission.

My Mission

My parents' church was having a fund raiser for their campus ministry and the theme was Casino Royale.

My sister and her husband joined us on this mission.

@ Casino Royale

Dinner was very nice (chicken with creamy potatoes and broccolini) as was dessert (chocolate mousse and a  chocolate cake with a cheesecake center!!!).  After dinner there was an auction. That was interesting. There was really only 1 item I was interested in - this oil painting - but they started the bidding at 10x what I was willing to part with...

I Wanted This Painting

I told Scott that we might have to uncork the bottle of the wine we pulled at the Wine Pull station (you paid $15 to pull a bottle of wine which may be worth $15 or maybe $50) and try to create a version of the lovely painting.

Casino Royale
Trying to appear elegant....
As you can see, we did take advantage of the open air photo booth....What a fun idea. I wish we'd been more creative like striking more James Bond type poses....

We "gambled" a little at the Black Jack table but to be honest, I was more into these "cards". We brought some of these home for the kiddos.  Aren't they adorable?

Martini and Playing Card Sugar Cookie Treats
Sugar cookie martinis and playing cards...