It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sandwiches: The finale

I couldn't believe I left off two sandwiches on my list in the last post.  So, with no big ado, here they are to conclude this topic, at least for now.

Grilled cheese-perfect comfort food, especially good with a cup of soup.  Should be on white bread with light coat of mayo and American cheese.  Spread soft butter on both sides of sandwich and toast in toaster oven, flipping half way through.   As a child this was always my favorite sandwich, and is still high on the list.

Grilled Ruben-I've never made one of these, but they are good.  My only restriction is that the corned beef (or pastrami, what ever they use) has to be thinly sliced and used in proportion to the sauerkraut so you don't have a big blob of meat.  Should be toasted and served with a pickle.  I like the ones from McAllister's Deli.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sandwiches, plain and simple

The sandwich really is simple, isn't it?  Just bread and some fixins in between!  It is a simple thing, but I find them so delicious!  As I recently enjoyed a BLT I decided that I needed a list of my favorite sandwiches, so here goes (note that the only specification here is that I do not ever use a thick sliced bread since too much bread takes away from the flavors of the fixins).

  1. BLT-that's bacon, lettuce, and tomato.  Use white bread and just a very thin coat of mayonnaise.  Romaine lettuce has the best flavor and fresh tomatoes, if in season, make it most tasty. Yummy with plain potato chips.
  2. Fried baloney-use white bread, toasted.  Mustard and a slice of American cheese is all you need, just make sure to put two slices of the baloney (not bologna) on the sandwich.  Comfort food all the way.
  3. Pimiento cheese-can be on either wheat or white bread.  Homemade is best, but it should be made with cheese that is grated from a block, the pre-grated cheese in a bag doesn't mix well.  It has to be made with Miracle Whip.  Store bought is okay, just make sure there are no creative ingredients in it. Have with a glass of sweet tea.
  4. Turkey-can be on wheat or white.  Best made with the turkey left over from Thanksgiving, preferably just a few hours after the big meal.  Use a thin layer of mayonnaise and a thin layer of spicy mustard.  I prefer the white meat, topped with fresh spinach.  Best eaten with another helping of your favorite side, if there is any of it left over.  The sandwich makes a great snack, too.
  5. Ham and cheese-bread can be wheat or white, make it with a thin layer of sandwich spread and mustard.  Any kind of cheese is good.  Toast in a toaster oven, mmmm good. Anything will go good with this one. Drink a glass of cold Coca-Cola with it, too.
  6. Chicken or tuna salad-I'm lumping these two together because often you can't tell the difference until you taste.  I'm picky about the chicken, no bones or yucky tasting chicken, and I prefer white meat.  A local store makes it with rotisserie chicken and that is excellent.  In either case the ingredients should be simple, no grapes, apples or onions in either one.  Bread can be wheat or white.  Just add lettuce and tomato and it is done.  These go good with fruit salad.
  7. PBJ-I don't eat this too much any more because it isn't very filling.  But it is a good sandwich.  Drink a glass of really cold milk with it.  Pretzels and a banana are good sides.
The simple things in life are the best!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nandina Berries: The Sequel

This is the last post about the nandina berries, I promise!  I decided I needed to do one more post to wrap them up, so to speak.

Here they are from April to January; it's been fun to watch them turn from tiny white buds into the beautiful berries of the late fall/early winter season.

April 19
July 8
November 16

December 2

December 20

January 18

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This was suppossed to be a Chocolate Velvet Cake.  I've made this cake numerous times; it has a load of ingredients and is a four-handed operation to make not to mention that it is a delight to eat.  This afternoon all went well until the very end.  About ten minutes before it was to be done it started to overflow the bundt pan.  Of course, I had not put a pan under it so it just overflowed into the bottom of the oven and onto the electric baking element.  There was a lot of smoke, but the smoke alarm didn't go off, thankfully!  I opened windows and pulled the overflowing pan out.  This picture is what the ill-fated dessert looked like after it cooled and collapsed into the pan.  What a mess, ugh, and worse yet no scrumptious cake for dessert! I have no clue what made it rise so much in the pan and then overflow. 
I was irritated, but what do you do?  Just accept the fact that sometimes things just don't go right.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Tricycle: The Sequel

The modified tricycle

I've posted several times about the tricycle that Jaydon very cleverly modified (retro-fitted so to speak) by removing the seat. Now he has one more creative modification.

Yes, it is a beach chair positioned on the back of the trike!  It took him a little while to figure out how to rig it up (I hope this is a sign that we have a future engineer here!) but he got it and off he went. And I love the hole-ey knees in these pants, isn't that the sign of a typical boy?
I'm not sure how much longer the trike will interest him; he got a 24-inch bike for Christmas.  But the trike has served well, as a regular tricycle for a very small boy and then as a creative toy for a big boy. Cameron also likes to play with it, so there must be something special about the red trike! 
As I've said before, kids don't need expensive toys to have fun!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Good advice

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were big things.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Isn't this the truth?  I saw this on some plaques at the bookstore yesterday and thought to myself that this is exactly a thought that I've had many times. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Todays subject: Libraries

I posted sometime ago about my re-discovery of the public library, An Old Friend .   This week I had the pleasure of touring the New York Public Library in a virtual way. 
I’ve shared before that I enjoy reading a blog about preservation efforts in Mississippi.  Thanks to this blog I recently spent my lunch break in the New York Public Library, Mississippi's Connection to the New York Public Library.  The link in the post to tour the stacks almost takes you right into the library, so to speak!  I really felt like I had been there and had to really pull myself back into reality!  I could just imagine going in there and spending an afternoon exploring the library and requesting research materials be brought up out of the stacks.  I was intrigued with the design of the stacks and with the pictures of the old card catalogs. I was reminded that I still miss them dearly although I know the computer is much more efficient.  I would love to have one to put in my sewing room as a reminder of a simpler time.
As I was still dreaming of an afternoon in a beautiful library I remembered that on my last trip to Boston I had visited their public library’s Copley Square central location, Boston Public Library History .  After the New England tour was over I spent two additional nights in Boston so I could have a full day to tour Boston on my own.  My day was carefully planned. By the time I got to the library it was already mid-afternoon so I knew that I had to keep moving or I would not make it to all my stops.   I made a quick trip through the library and I only made this one picture of the Chavannes Gallery. 
They don't build them like this anymore, do they?
I tried to explore a little but didn’t want linger too long (to be honest something about the area where I was creeped me out, not sure why unless it was the realistic mythology creatures lurking on every wall!).      If I ever get back to Boston I would definitely like to take one of their library tours so I could get into the actual library.  Just to note, the BPL was the first library to allow patrons to borrow books and the first library to implement the branch system.
My third library to mention here is the A.K. Smiley Library in Redlands, California,  Smiley Library.   I remember this beautiful library from the years my family lived in Redlands.  I wish I could recall more details; I know I visited the library many, many times.  I do remember the arches and the front entrance as well as it being a grand, old building with the traditional library tables.  It was a very "inviting" place that made you just want to come in and read! The pictures on their website seem to indicate to me that the library may have had some restoration done in the past 43 years since it appears to be in pristine condition. 
I include it here because, due to the current financial situation, the City of Redlands has had to cut off their funding for purchases of new books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials.  New purchases can only be made with funds from their endowment, the Friends of the Library group or through private donations.  How sad that funds have to be cut for something so important to our society.  This library was established in 1894 and the building dedicated in 1898.  I am grateful for this beautiful library that had an influence on my love of reading.

Monday, January 7, 2013

This is winter!  Time for soup, chili, sweaters (or sweats), and evenings with a good book!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter reading

It is definitely winter here, at least for a few days.  I have a winter picture to post but Blogger is having issues with uploading pictures so it will not appear here. I understand why bears hibernate in the winter, I've been off the last week and just hibernated indoors sewing, knitting, and reading.

The reading has been related to my next class which starts on Monday.  I'm delighted because it is American Literature but sad because most of my remaining classes are all business related.  I've always loved to read and seeing a syllabus that pretty much says read this and write this was pure joy! 

One of the first week's readings was Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle.  Strangely, I don't ever remember reading this story.  Maybe I did, but I just don't think I did either.  I do remember seeing a cartoon version that featured Mr. Magoo (remember him, ha ha) when I was about 7 or 8.  Sad, isn't it that I relate a classic story to a cartoon. I can now say that I have read the actual story.  It is well written, easy to read and enjoyable.  I have often been really tired and wished that I could lay down and just sleep for a long, long time like Rip did!  His world had changed while he slept after his encounter with the Old Dutch men playing nine-pins.  But he slips easily into the new world and again finds himself as well liked as before, especially since his nagging wife is no more.
My thoughts turned to thinking back twenty years in our current world.  What if I had fallen asleep in 1993 and woke up today?  In 1993 cell phones were big, heavy devices that we carried around in a bag and they were just a phone, nothing else.  If you had a PC it ran on DOS, I think.  I think lap tops were just coming out and the Internet was still a novelty. I had a Sony Walkman, you either listened to the radio or a cassette tape (CDs were just coming out, too).  Many of the stores that I frequented at that time are now long gone.  Dress styles have defintely changed.  Writing a check for a meal or a puchase was still commonplace, debit cards weren't accepted in many places. September 11, 2001 would have changed the world, too.  I won't even go into the current budget deficit and how different that was twenty years ago.  On second thought I don't think I want to sleep that long, too much change in our world!
It is winter, time to curl up and read and escape into the world of the written word.