Friday, November 20, 2015

November Meeting for Brush and Palette

November 17 marked a different venue for the B&P monthly meeting. Eleven women gathered in the back room of Artist's Haven to paint still life pictures.

B&P President Elise Lind (shown above) says it is one of her favorite meetings of the year when everyone is invited to show up, paint in their favorite medium, and share camaraderie.

Shown above is Laegan McGee as she was finding the angle from which to paint a still life of a silver service along with autumn squashes and apples.

After just a few hours, here are products from the group after viewing and painting the still life setups.

Trudy Ungaro brought delicious chocolate cinnamon rolls, yet no picture of either her or the dessert bread was snapped on Thursday. This photographer will try to do a better job of capturing the moments of B&P meetings in future posts.

Below is friend Shirley visiting with Julie and me this week at Mesa Manor.  She did not paint, but came along with me Tuesday to help start a small painting group at the Manor.  And she brought us her home made kraut burgers for lunch!  Our art group did not start out with much enthusiasm, but if I keep at it, more residents might likely become involved in a new outlet of mixing colors.  At the least, it spurred conversation.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cardioversion, A Birthday, A Shawl

What do you call a "busy week?"  For just the husband and myself, the week now ending could be called filled with activity, if you consider numerous visits to various physicians and a birthday lunch a bit out of the ordinary.

Yesterday was the husband's birthday; he spent half the morning in the hospital being zapped by electricity through his heart. Actual terminology is cardioversion; he has been in atrial fibrillation for quite a while now, so that is an effort to get the heart beating correctly. This morning he said his chest felt like someone had punched him hard, poor guy. But yesterday the nurse ordered him a full breakfast and asked kitchen staff for a piece of cake since it was his birthday. Cake was not to be found, but the tray came with a cookie that I wrapped up and took back home for his dessert celebration.

Julie came home two days ago, again in the big white bus, for a lunch with relatives. She comes every Thursday now and seems to enjoy being away from the nursing home.  She says she feels like a released inmate when she travels away from there.  I hope she is kidding, I think she is kidding, but I understand.  Julie gets good care there and the staff is conscientious.  I now think of the nurses and activity directors as friends.  The on site social worker even gifts Julie various Word Chum apparel and is very fond of Julie. Julie is easy to like. 

And next week Julie has two appointments with physicians away from the Manor, so we will both take the big white bus to see a GI doc and a surgeon.  Julie will likely have an operation fairly soon to take away some diseased colon, but enough of that.

Frost was on the lawn this morning and it is below freezing during the night hours.  An owl was heard hooting around 6 AM, but he has not appeared in our owl house yet.  Gene says it sounds like a Great Horned Owl, not like the screech owl that lived in our back yard last winter.  We keep close watch on the doggies when they are outside because critters, raccoons and foxes, are coming down from the mountains in search of food.

On the knitting front, I am almost finished with another shawl for Julie.  This one I am keeping back as a Christmas present, along with a purchased flannel lounger in exactly the same colors. Notice Libby is modeling the shawl and not seeming very interested in the process.

About time to get out and to the favorite Mexican food place to get Julie and me some take-out for lunch, then on to the Manor.  I get enough for us so that I can eat with her not only on Saturdays, but also on Sunday after church.  Would that be called left over left overs?  The other lunches during the week, I usually take soup and eat with her in the Garden Room at the Manor while she has a food tray served.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Who? Me? Cook?

"What is your favorite holiday recipe?" asked a columnist who writes for the Grand Junction Senior Beacon.  She asked, also saying that she would like to take my picture and have my favorite recipe in the upcoming November issue, along with several other contributors.  We had just come out of an evening meeting at church last week when she caught me, and I was actually thinking of how quickly I could jump into my pj's and then into a warm bed.  Food was not on my radar when the clock was nearing 9 pm.

Taken a little off-guard by her question, my first thought was of the shockingly pink cranberry relish that Susan Stamberg shared several years ago on the radio.  I had made that, and it was a bit different from what others might share.  Then I gave the old brain a minute more to think and said, "well, it is not my recipe, and err...actually, I don't cook it, because my husband is outstanding in the culinary category, but I can tell you what it is and give you an internet link to the recipe."  By this time, Writer Lady could hardly back out of her offer to feature my favorite holiday recipe. So she went ahead and took my mug shot and wrote down the information.

Here, let me just do a cut and paste job and reveal the Gene Amole Recipe for Thanksgiving Stuffing that my husband makes semi-annually (we like it with chicken in the summer, too.)

from Living The Grand Life
I first started posting this recipe in 2007. Folks seem to like it. We still make it every year. Here it is again so that you can get your shopping list finished. 
Gene Amole was a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. He was a hometown writer who knew the city well and wrote on a variety of topics.
In 1982, he was looking for a Thanksgiving topic. In desperation he published his recipe for stuffing.
In 1998 he wrote about this about his recipe column: "It was a smash. I had more favorable comments about that column than anything I had written previously. Since then, I have reprinted it twice, the last time eight years ago, but I still get a flood of requests each year to send people copies because they had lost theirs."
 And so he printed the recipe one final time in November of 1998.
My wife is from the south and always had cornbread stuffing. I grew up in Denver and was used to a rather plain white bread stuffing. We adopted this recipe as a new family tradition and have enjoyed it for many years. It is a recipe that responds well to variations. I like to use a whole pound of Italian sausage and Texas pecans.
Gene Amole’s Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing

20 slices of white bread (or use a package of dried bread cubes)
6 slices of dark, Jewish pumpernickel (don't leave this out)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sage
½ pound breakfast sausage
½ pound Italian sausage
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 to 2 Granny Smith or Jonathan apples
Handful of cranberries
2 cups thick-sliced mushrooms
¼ lb. butter
2 cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons Harvey's Bristol Cream or jug sherry

Gene Amole’s directions:
Now, relax. It is impossible to screw up turkey stuffing. First, let's assume you are roasting a 15-20 pound bird. You'll need about 20 slices of white bread and a half-dozen slices of dark, Jewish pumpernickel. Lightly toast and cut each slice into crouton-size cubes and put into a large bowl.

It's a good idea to mix spices separately in a small bowl. Combine a tablespoon of Salt with a teaspoon of Pepper and a tablespoon of Sage. Be careful not to use too much salt because there is salt in some of the ingredients. Next, mix the spices and sprinkle them over the bread cubes.

Now, you are ready to go to the stove. Crumble and brown in a skillet a half-pound each of breakfast sausage and Italian sausage. Drain off the grease and remove sausage with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the bread crumbs and spices.

Add a cup each of chopped celery, chopped onion and chopped walnuts. If you are a big spender, use macadamia nuts instead of walnuts. Add three or four tablespoons of chopped, fresh parsley. Peel, core, chop and add one or two Granny Smith or Jonathan apples. I like to mix in a handful or so of fresh cranberries for color. To all of this, add a couple of cups of mushrooms, sliced thick.

The last thing to add is the liquid. Melt a quarter-pound of butter in two cups of canned chicken broth. After it is blended, add two tablespoons of either Harvey's Bristol Creme or jug sherry. Take a little nip for yourself.

You are almost there. Drizzle the liquid over the ingredients in the large bowl. I like a reasonably fluffy stuffing. You can add more liquid if you like. Toss the bread cubes and spices with the liquid until evenly mixed.

Food science no longer recommends stuffing the bird. We make up the recipe and bake it in a ceramic casserole dish. I guess that makes it dressing as opposed to stuffing - whatever you call it, it's good.