Brussels Sprouts. Who knew? I don’t know what I thought, but it wasn’t this. I felt almost as stupid as the person quoted in Jay Leno Headlines – “Buy your meat at the store so animals won’t be tortured.” And speaking of that – how does that tiny corn that comes in Chinese food grow? Really low to the ground? Or what? We didn’t buy these stalks today on one of our ‘every now and then’ trips to Whole Foods Market but now I wish I had. We may have to go back. We did treat ourselves to plump, succulent sea scallops, a nice batch of fresh arugula and some fine baby bok choy. Steve seared scallops to perfection (don’t you love the aroma of browning butter?) and I made an arugula and cannellini bean salad I found on the internet. The salad was so good I want you to try it. If you, like I, adhere to a low sodium diet, here are some staples for your pantry: Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted tomatoes (canned no salt added); Eden Organic Beans (many varieties no salt added); Pacific or Imagine Low Sodium broths (chicken, vegetable and beef); sesame and Mongolian hot oils; rice vinegar; unsalted butter. I am always on the lookout for low sodium treats and staples and highly recommend http://sodiumgirl.wordpress.com as a great low sodium cooking site! Sodium Girl is rockin’ my kitchen. Now I am going to go back and buy that stalk and roast these in the oven like french fries. Right Sodium Girl? Now go hug your cook, thank God for our wonderful country filled with bounty, and send a donation to our brothers and sisters in Haiti!
3 years ago today, in the dark, early morning hours, my Mom awoke and begged to be taken to the hospital. The pain she suffered from osteoarthritis and sciatica had intensified in the weeks prior to Christmas, rendering her, if not bedridden, pretty much confined to her room. During the day on New Year’s Eve she watched Patch Adams with Sydney, ate a tiny bowl of our traditional green chile, and went to bed very early. As we watched the paramedics gently load her small, frail body into the ambulance I could only think of how cold it was outside and wish I had bundled her better. I had no thought that she would never return to the home and family she loved. In the hospital she was quickly medicated into a foggy, if pain-free, state. Later in the morning she awoke enough to note that it was New Year’s Day. After assuring that she was settled in and I was ‘on the case’ Steve came home to cook black-eyed peas. It is, after all, a strong Southern tradition that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring good luck all year long. Not eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day – well you might take your chances but not our Mama. Steve and I are both born of strong Southern Mamas and we have probably eaten black-eyed peas on 1/1/19– or 20– whatever, our whole lives. Peas cooked and rice cooked, Steve delivered the steaming and oh so delicious concoction to the hospital. Mom was awake and alert enough to be most grateful. She ate what she could, hugged him and thanked him for remembering the tradition. Before falling into another drug induced (and hopefully pain relieving) sleep, she reminded me that Gerald Ford “will be buried tomorrow.” Mom loved big, fancy state funerals and asked me to promise that I would be sure she woke up in time to watch. Sadly, she couldn’t shake the pain killers enough to watch that funeral, and two days later we kissed her goodbye. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for three years. Her room is pretty much as she left it on that cold morning and we still talk about her a lot. I am finding it only slightly easier to remember her with laughter instead of tears. I am looking forward to 2010. I’m grateful to God for each new day. I pray each day that I will live the day fully, to His glory and always in a way that would bring her pride. But Mama, you will have to forgive me for this – I no longer eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day.
It started with Doug Kershaw. Remember? The Rajun Cajun? Our friend Don called up in December, 1979, and invited us to the Kershaw dinner show at the old Turn of the Century in Denver. He would treat. It would be a celebration of mine and Billie’s birthdays – mine on the 8th and hers on the 24th. We eagerly accepted. The next year Steve countered with an invitation to dinner at the Brown Palace. He would treat. Tonight we are off on our 31st such celebration – always in December – always hosted by whoever didn’t host the prior year. And destination always a surprise. The Rattlesnake Club. Tivoli Deer. The Augusta. The Palm. Elways. Mortons. Café Giovanni. The Fort – Food and Drink of the Early West – and the opportunity to have your picture taken (as we did in 1994) in outrageous animal hats. The list goes on. We have visited many elegant places now gone. We so loved the Briarwood Inn in Golden we visited it twice. One year Don booked rooms at a fancy casino in Central City and the sleepover was born. A B&B in Salida, Colorado. A B&B in Downtown Denver. Denver’s victorian Oxford Hotel. Of course the sleepovers are followed by brunch. Are we indulgent? Yes. Is this the most precious of celebrations among four longtime best friends? Yes. Do I look forward to it as much tonight as I did in 1979? Yes. And Don is host so, as Sydney used to say “I can’t know” where we are going. I only know we are deeply blessed to embark on this holiday tradition one more time.
Brookie (shown here in Minnie Mouse Halloween regalia) was recently rattling on about her new puppy Raven. She was telling us about Raven eating the tv cable, chewing the furniture, and ‘nipping’ on her in the bed while she was trying to sleep. She loves this puppy but held back no emotion when she finally blurted out “I am not a chew toy.” After I was able to stop laughing I thought that this could be the new “I’m not your punching bag.” Or “quit picking on me.” Or “who died and made you king.” Try it. Let me know how it worked. I am not your chew toy.
In response to my request for blogger help my sisters, Kelly and Becky, did not let me down. Kelly remembers a Yellowstone Day that was in every way spectacular. Becky does justice (or injustice as the case may be) in a short treatise on meatloaf. If you didn’t check in, I invite your guest blog on Intended to Inspire, So Many Books, or Literary or Entertaining. Mind you I have no idea what I had in mind when I jotted down those topics. If I could remember that I would blog them myself 🙂 Anyway, without further adieu
Kelly on National Parks: Once upon a brisk late-fall day, a strange little Gospel Trio visited Yellowstone National Park. Had we written about it then we would have called it “WhiteStone visits Yellowstone.” But there was no such thing as a blog then – and that was a long time ago – thus I’m going to have a heck of a time remembering what we did that day! But one thing I DO remember was the three of us standing around boiling pots of mud on the ground and, being greatly inspired, bringing forth a song (as we so often did)! The song went something like this: (if you know worship music think “Holy Ground”)
This is thermal ground
We’re standing on thermal ground
Oh, the mud is boiling and where we stand is thermal
This is thermal ground,
We’re standing on thermal ground
Oh, the mud is boiling
And where it’s hot, it’s thermal!
Yes, it was also the day we paraphrased the old Budweiser commercial by putting it into the “Servant Song.”
As best I can remember we sang,
“Brother, let me be your servant
Let me bring a Bud to you
Then one day when you are thirsty
You can bring a Bud to me too!”
The trees were a spectacular display of orange, gold, green and deep red. The buffalo roamed and antelope played. Eagles soared above us and trout jumped in the roaring Yellowstone River
and Becky on Meatloaf
I hate meatloaf – we ate it at least twice a week growing up, filled with oatmeal to stretch it, and watered down ketchup. I will not order or cook a meatloaf; I don’t have to – that is how I learned to fry chicken ’cause I refused to eat the meatloaf (and tuna casserole) don’t cook that either!!!!!
You can read Kelly’s blog at www.doorkeeperministries.com Becky, on the other hand, is under the radar.
My question for tonight is “Do I remember how to do this?’ Or maybe ‘Do I remember why I did it?’ Or maybe ‘Do I want to continue this?’ It’s remarkable how an ambulance, an ER, and a ventilator can reconfigure your priorities. I make notes of things I might like to write about. Then I go back and look at the notes and I think ‘What did I mean by that?’ Here is a sample of my list: Intended to Inspire; So many books; Literary or entertaining; National parks; Wicked witch; Nutcracker; Prairie Home Companion; Meatloaf supper; Health care. How about if you pick one of those topics, write something about it and send it back to me! I’ll publish it and give you full credit! While you are writing (I know you will come through for me) I will keep adding ideas. In the meantime, I will continue to : eat healthy, exercise, watch Brookie grow, worship, get rid of stuff I don’t need and no longer want, work, care for Scott and Syd, hang out happily with Steve, visit on FaceBook, try to write something interesting, and love and pray for all of you. I can’t wait to see what you write. Please don’t let me down. You all know my email address.
It is my nature to approach things with humor. Thus it didn’t surprise me to observe the ‘bent’ of the first blog I wrote after my recent hospitalization. The passing days have given me some pause to contemplate this event in a more serious vein. So doing brought me to a few observations and questions which I throw out here just for the hell of it.
1. I was on the New Mexico trip for a grand total of 6 days. Disregarding road food of potato chips and beef jerky, I ate 3 Mexican restaurant meals and had 2 margaritas in the 6 day period. How did this land me in the CCU on a ventilator? I think I have a lot of questions for my cardiologist when I see him on August 13. I think there is more to this than the ‘dietary indiscretion’ referred to by the hospital physician.
2. A low salt diet isn’t that hard to manage when you are a) a good cook or b) living with a good cook. Pepper and spices are my friends. Also lemons. I really don’t miss the salt.
3. A low salt diet can be hard to manage in a restaurant. So far I have been to Noodles and Company and Applebees (close and quick favorites with my work friends). Noodles has nutrition information and helpful menu suggestions for those chasing low cal, low carb, low fat and/or low sodium. Hurray for Noodles. Applebees has no nutrition information but was willing to hold the Caesar from the Caesar salad and the salt and other seasoning from the luncheon sirloin. I just guessed that my favorite buffalo chicken salad was not going to be good for me! Sunday we will celebrate Reid and Toni’s 6th anniversary at the Melting Pot. Their website notes 2000 milligrams of sodium in the dinner for 2. I hope that means 1000 per person. I can save up.
4. Things that are salty are often also heavy in calories. I am losing weight. 🙂
5. If there is a Penzey Spices store in your neighborhood – run there – don’t walk! These spices are great even if you don’t care about your salt intake and especially if you love to cook. They have so many wonderful varieties and combinations of spices, you will be there a long time! I’m now carrying Mural of Flavor in my purse.
6. I bought the NutriBase Complete Book of Food Counts. There are 3240 milligrams of sodium in Denny’s Farmer’s Slam breakfast. (I don’t eat at Denny’s but I found this alarming for those who do).
7. There is no sodium in wine and very little sodium in non-alcoholic beer. There is sodium in Starbucks skinny latte ( though not enough to preclude this occasional treat). There is no sodium in Celestial Seasonings tea or in coffee. I believe this covers all my favorite drinks.
8. Finally, what if isn’t the sodium? Just a thought.