Friday, May 22, 2009

Foe of Facebook

I've noticed that I am not the only one blogging less lately. Do you think this has anything to do with Facebook? Not for me- we are quite proud to be a Facebook free family. I just can't do it. And I figure people know how to find me here. The thing about having a blog is that people mistake keeping up with your blog with actually keeping up with you. I can only assume that this is also true of Facebook. I can imagine anyone can check your status or send you Starbucks (these are things, right?) and figure they have been participating in the friendship. However, I fear that friendship has suffered quite a lot over the past century as people live farther and farther apart and are more and more independent. It is sad to think that it could be reduced even further, to just knowing what is going on with someone from their Facebook page. No one would really have to respond to anyone, just check their status and know. I mean, if that's how it works. I'm not entirely sure how it works. But I feel that with my blog sometimes. How many more phone calls would I get if I didn't have a blog? I am looking at my caller ID right now, and the last time anyone called our home phone was May 8th. Today is the 22nd. Wait, that can't be right; maybe it is just this particular phone. But I don't think anyone has called since Saturday. My cel caller ID says the last call I received was last Friday. Boo. Wait, I haven't even posted since Monday. Maybe it has nothing to do with my blog! 

On the other hand, I am not opposed to communication via email. I'm a huge fan of email because you can write it and check it whenever you have time, you can save it and come back to it, and you can email at three in the morning when the person to whom you are writing or from whom you are reading is sound asleep. And people know to reply to emails. Well, most people do. But often, there's not much to say about a blog post. I rarely comment on other people's blogs. And I don't expect comments on mine anymore. There's no real obligation. But you do expect a reply to an email. There is an obligation. 

My friend Jessie sent me this hilarious card (from Hallmark) the other day. And I admit I think like this a lot of times. I never want to assume people do read my blog so I often find myself telling someone something that was posted here already. Then, when they are obviously hearing it for the first time, I make a lil' mental note- "not a reader....jerk!"  Well, I'm kidding- about the jerk part. But this card made me laugh a lot. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

No spoilers, just a helpful link

Well, only I would stay up until three in the morning reading blogs about Lost. I do this every year after the season finale. I just become obsessed. It's a pathetic indicator of the fact that I have no life. Or, it just shows how highly intelligent I am that I am equal to the task of taking all that we have learned and speculating about possible explanations. Or, most probably, it just shows how I fixate on things. I truly do. I was just telling someone yesterday how I spent almost four hours ironing on Saturday. It was a wonderful day, really. I laundered and ironed every article of clothing, every table linen, and every bed linen in our entire house. And I did all of this whilst watching Anne of Green Gables. I do so love Anne of Green Gables. I didn't want to ruin the books for the children so I wouldn't let them watch a second of it. It was really so nice to be all by myself with a happy story and work for my hands to do. Anyway, I left one blouse, one of my only pieces of church clothing that is not dry clean only, to hang dry and neglected to iron it. I realized this as my head hit the pillow around 11:30 on Saturday night. I was just too too tired to get up and iron anything else, but I knew I needed to wear it the next morning because I have not made it over to the dry cleaners in a pretty good while. So instead of just wrenching myself from the bed and taking the two and a half minutes it would take to iron the blouse, I fixated on the fact that I needed to iron it for at least thirty minutes before I finally fell asleep. And I slept terribly all night. Yes, I probably do need therapy for that. Anyway, the whole point of my post is for anyone who is like me (not to offend anyone with that suggestion!) and gets a little OCD about things from time to time, and if that thing happens to be Lost, or if you are just intrigued but feel it is too late to get started now, every single episode of Lost, from season 1 until the season finale of season 4 (only the last four episodes of this past season 5 though), is available on abc.com right now for free (click on free episodes, use sidebar of new window to select season and episode). This is a fantastic thing. I should be able to occupy myself quite well by rehashing the events of the previous seasons as I wait for season six- all the way until January!- to see what happens to Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Juliet, Locke, and the lot of them. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Irish Blessing

I don't know why, but I love the Irish. It must run in our family. George has a friend at Home Depot who is Irish and has given him a bunch of CDs with Irish folk music on them. He loves it! He keeps posting his favorites over on his blog. Here is a link to a song (not folk) I promise you will love that is sung by an Irish singer he has recently discovered. 

 Anyway, I have an aunt who sends me at least one or two forwards every day, and I confess that I often delete them without opening them. (I really hope she doesn't read my blog.) I do try to read some of them and even reply to her every now and then to let her know I appreciate her thinking of me. But one can only take so many urban legends, pictures of puppies, and poorly written prayers "for an angel." However, today she sent me one of those that tells you if you forward it you will get some sort of wish come true. I never actually do anything a forward tells me to do. And I actually get sort of mad when they're the kind that tell you if you don't forward them bad things will happen to you or say that you don't care about anything or anyone if you delete it. Maybe our current state of extended unemployment has to do with all those emails I didn't forward? Well, if it does, boy did I just hit the jackpot! Today, I forwarded this Irish blessing to 13 people (and I actually somehow left off two of my closest friends so now that I am posting this, I will have to go back and send it to them so they will not feel left out), and that means my wish should come true in 2 days. Well, 1 day if I send it to the two girls I forgot. So there you go, all of that not forwarding things that has brought us so much grief is now going to be remedied by the forwarding of this one blessing. Also, Bill Gates is sharing his fortune, Oliver North predicted Osama Bin Laden's attack on the US more than 10 years ahead of time, and Atheists are trying to get Christian broadcasting banned from the airwaves. (I love Snopes.) 

Well, no, I think y'all know none of that is true- yet, these things are still in circulation, so I guess some people don't know. Anyway, I sent it just because I liked the blessing:

May there always be work for your hands to do. 
May your purse always hold a coin or two. 
May the sun always shine on your windowpane. 
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain. 
May the hand of a friend always be near you. 
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Menu

I had meant to post a menu for Cinco de Mayo for y'all, but it completely slipped my mind. And except that I didn't complete the menu for our Mother's Day Brunch until around ten o'clock last night (after several last minute interviews with friends about what I should serve), I would have posted everything for you ahead of time. But, "better late than never," right? I had a lot of help from my sister-in-law who brought yummy cranberry scones, a huge fresh fruit medley, and a yummy sausage and sundried tomato strata. So this is a complete menu, but only the recipes for what I contributed. I opted for two appetizers as the church services were all getting out at different times and I wanted there to be plenty to munch on while everyone waited for everyone else.

Brunch menu-
Sweet and Salty Honey Cheese Spread (appetizer)
Breakfast Bruschetta with Strawberries (appetizer)
Fresh Fruit Medley
Baby Blue Salad
Spicy Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato, and Mozzarella Strata
Cranberry Scones
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Mimosas

Sweet n Salty Honey Cheese Spread - this is from Southern Living and is super easy. My friend Annie had the idea to do goat cheese with bread for something simple and crowd pleasing. My friend Rebekah directed me to this recipe for its sweet, mid-morning compatible flavors. I am sure it would be equally good at a cocktail hour though :)
1 (10.5 oz.) goat cheese log
1/2 c. roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/3 c. honey
1 pt. fresh raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
assorted crackers (or sliced baguette)
-roll goat cheese in sunflower seeds to thoroughly coat. arrange on serving dish with any remaining sunflower seeds and drizzle with honey. garnish with raspberries. serve with crackers or bread.

Breakfast Bruschetta with Strawberries - this is from a blog called Noble Pig. it is super good. you're gonna wanna make this. trust me.
2 ciabatta rolls or 1 loaf (or, I used two baguettes)
butter for buttering bread
2T sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
2T sugar
1T fresh basil, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. sour cream
2T plain yogurt
2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla
- slice baguettes or ciabatta bread and butter one side of each slice. combine 2T sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle a little over the buttered side of each slice of bread. place slices under broiler (about a half foot from the heating element) for 2-3 minutes.
-toss strawberries with 2T sugar, basil, and lemon juice.
-in a separate bowl, combine sour cream, yogurt, honey, and vanilla.
-assemble bruschetta- on each slice of toasted bread, spoon some berries with juice and top with a dollop of cream.

Baby Blue Salad - My friend Marne thought I should put salad with the egg and fruit dishes to "lunch them up." My friend Rebekah directed me to this recipe as a crowd pleasing favorite from Birmingham society. She will laugh when she reads that, "Birmingham society." I found it published online from, where else? Southern Living
3/4 lb. mixed salad greens (or, one head of romaine)
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2 oranges, peeled and cut into thin slices (I used pears- you could use anything)
1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered (I used raspberries- again, you could use anything)
sweet-and-spicy pecans, recipe follows
balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows

Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. warm water
1 c. pecan halves
2T sugar
1T chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
- stir 1/4 c. sugar into water until dissolved. add pecans and soak for 10 minutes. drain pecans and discard liquid.
- combine 2T sugar with chili powder and red pepper. toss pecans in spice mixture to coat. place pecans on lightly greased baking sheet.
-bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring once.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
3T dijon mustard
3T honey
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. olive oil
-whisk first seven ingredients together. gradually whisk in olive oil.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - these are from that magazine and website I love. Y'all know the one. Ssssshhh! I don't think they want me to share these with you. But I pay good money for my subscriptions (except the magazine, my brother-in-law gives that to me for Christmas), and I think that includes occasional sharing rights. The muffins were sort of overdoing the bread situation today, but I always like to give people options. However, most people opted for the scones so I didn't get a whole lot of reviews. Amabel and George gave them the thumbs up though. I just decided to eat one as I was typing, and my vote is.... perfect texture, strange flavor situation with the glazed top being super lemony and the bottom, where the glaze doesn't quite soak in, not being quite lemony enough. Tasty though, and way less trouble than I have come to expect from these guys. Well, since I'm sharing recipes, here's this one. It may not change your life, but if you were itching to try a new recipe for this classic bakery item, here's a worthwhile venture.
3 c. unbleached, all purpose white flour
1T baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3T poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
10T unsalted butter, softened
1c. granulated sugar, less 1T
1T grated lemon zest
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
-adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 375.
-combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt and set aside.
-beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about two minutes, and add lemon zest. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in half of dry ingredients. beat in one third of yogurt. beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated.
-grease muffin tins (or use paper liners) and divide batter between 12 muffin cups (they will be really full, and I didn't quite use up all of the batter in just one pan) and bake muffins for 25-30 minutes. set on wire racks to cool for five minutes before glazing.
-while muffins bake, make glaze in small saucepan by combining 1/4 c. sugar and lemon juice and stirring until sugar dissolves, and mixture forms a light syrup- about 3-4 minutes. brush warm glaze over warm muffins and serve.

Well, I hope everyone had a happy Mother's Day. I know it is a Hallmark holiday. But, even in spite of being coerced by card companies, I am always up for a reason to celebrate. Especially when we're celebrating me :) Cinco de Mayo? St. Patrick's Day? Valentine's Day ?- people just like to eat and drink. And I say hurray for that! I hope to be celebrating more things more often, starting now. I don't know what exactly, but couldn't we all use a little more merriment? I think so. More recipes to come soon.

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