Sunday, September 29, 2013

Make a Wish

If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer.
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!  Come in!
-- Shel Silverstein
I am a wisher.  I wish on an assortment of items ranging from the first star of the evening to fallen eyelashes.  I've blown my share birthday candles and dandelion seeds -- both with reckless abandon.  I don't even worry about the extra years or the resulting yellow flowers. 
I contemplate what I would do if a magic fish arrived at my house to grant me three wishes.   Whether my wishes come from a flamboyant blond genie or a fish, I need to be prepared.  I avoid wishing on monkeys' paws, though.  That's just common sense.  I do believe a touch a pragmatism to be helpful from time to time.
I believe in two kinds of magic:  good and bad.  The bad kind of magic compels me to jump over sidewalk cracks, avoid walking under ladders, or spilling salt.  The good kind of magic turns caterpillars into butterflies or a seed into a flower faster than I can say bippity-boppity-boo!
I believe in luck.  The kind of luck that sends me searching the meadows for a four-leaf clover.  (Tearing the leaf of a three-leaf clover to make it look sort of like a four-leaf clover doesn't have the same results.  True story.)  Shiny pennies.  Tootsie roll wrappers with stars.  Fortune cookies. 
And I dream.  I unapologetically dream.   Come join me. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From the Garden - Recipe for Tomato Basil Salad

I love cooking with fresh veggies from the garden.  So, I keep my eyes open for recipes that use ingredients that ripen at the same time.  This is one of my favorites from the summer garden.  My husband and I were at Aunt Dorise's and Uncle Don's house when we had his wonderful Tomato Basil salad.  This is one of those salads where you can alter the quantity of ingredients to your own personal taste.  But, I've worked to put some portions together as a starting point.
  • 2 cups vine-ripened tomatoes (in one or multiple varieties).  Half the cherry or grape tomatoes, slice/chop larger tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 peeled cucumber either thinly sliced or diced (if you do not have cucumber on hand, this ingredient can be left out). 
  • 6-8 freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2 red onion cut into thin slices
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese; crumbled
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Place cut tomatoes with their juice into a bowl.  Add sliced cucumber, onion, basil, and feta.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is a salad that tastes best when it is made fresh before eating.  It loses some of the crispness of the cucumber and onion if it sits in the oil and vinegar too long.  If you do want to make the salad early, combine all the ingredients except the vinegar and oil.   The oil and vinegar should  be added just before serving.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Slowing Down and Sustainability

I work as a paralegal in a fast-paced law firm.  There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish everything on my to-do list.  I'm one of those folks who needs the reminder that we are human beings, not human doings.  Sometimes the most important thing I can do is be still.  This week the universe  decided to slow me down.  Again.  I've spent the last two days home sick. 

Instead of billing hours for the firm, yesterday I visited the doctor, watched my chickens free range, pet my dogs, annoyed my teenage daughter (not hard to do), took several naps, looked at the garden my husband's been tending, hugged my sweetheart, and watched the stars.  The world is a beautiful place.  I still woke up sick the next day.  But, it was nice to slow down.
I think there is a lesson in here for me.  I need to slow down before I get sick.  I need to take more summer walks and take less work home.  That being said, I'll be working this weekend to make up the lost hours.  But, the billed hours will softened by some herbal tea on the back porch, quiet time in nature, and time with my beloved.  Maybe by finding balance I can actually prevent some of the illnesses I've been fighting.  I think that living a balanced life may be yet another form of sustainable living.