Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fish Dish - GF, of course

My hubby and I thought it would be a good idea to eat more delicacies of the sea. Neither of us are big seafood fans, but we do enjoy an occasional shrimp cocktail. So off to the store I went, and picked up a salmon steak and a package of four talapia fillets.

The last time I made fish for dinner, it was pretty awful. As a matter of fact, it was so terrible, neither of us wanted to eat it. My efforts to ask if anyone knew a tasty way to cook fish gave me no help, so I did a search on google to see if I could find something that sounded good.

Let me give a background before I go on. When I was growing up, we used to eat fish. But the fish we ate was fresh. Someone would come up with the idea to have fish, and we would go in the cellar to get the poles, dig up some worms, walk out to the pond and catch enough fish for all of us to eat that night for dinner. I learned how to clean and skin a fish from my dad, and was pretty good at it. We had two ponds on the farm. One of them was stocked mostly with bass, sunnys and blue fish. There were snapping turtles in there too. A friend of the family would come over and catch them to bring home for soup, but we never did that. I was scared of those things. They were nasty! Back to the point - I grew up eating freshly caught - fresh water fish.

For a couple of years, I lived by the ocean in NJ. This is where I learned that not all fish are alike. I found out about the enormous salt water cousins with light meat and dark meat. They made a different tasting meal altogether. This was a reminder of a taste that I do not like. Salt water fish has a strong flavor. You must choose your fillets wisely. Since I do like cod, talapia was a logical choice. And salmon is a must-serve at restaurants and is super good for you, so that was a given.

I found an easy recipe that I tried and it worked on both cuts of fish. I modified it a little to conform with the supplies in my pantry. Here is a fish dish to try, if you are afraid to make fish.

1 TBSP Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 TBSP dried Thyme
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
teeny pinch of salt (optional)
1 Salmon fillet (enough for two people) skinned and deboned
1 TBSP unsalted butter

Combine garlic powder, thyme, Old Bay and salt in a bowl. Coat the seasonings on both sides of the fish. Heat skillet (that is large enough to lay the fillet in) with the butter until melted and starts to get bubbly. Place fillet in skillet and cook for several minutes, then flip. Tip pan so the butter stays around the fish. Continue to cook, flipping to each side once more, so the outside gets golden and crusty. Fish will be flaky and tender. Serve hot with chili sauce and lemon. Goes very well with flavored rice or seasoned potato wedges (think fish and chips).

Making it this way will not smell up the house, like it would if you used oil. And the crispiness will allow you to enjoy it like a fish fry, only without soaking it in grease. So if you decide to give this a try, when you go to the store, make sure your fish is fresh. Ask the guy behind the counter for help. Stay away from anything that smells fishy. Or get out your poles - I'll teach you how to clean 'em!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simple pleasures - pt 2

I have been on a cleaning spree. Some may call it spring cleaning. Some may say it's the result of having the afternoons off so you gotta do something with your time. I call it pride of ownership. My house is not the biggest place out there, but it suits us well and we have made it our own since we bought it in 2003.

When I was little, my mom did everything she could think of to get me to keep my room clean. In general, I was not all that interested in putting my clothes away or dusting. I was more into being outside or helping out my dad with his chores. As a result, my messes would get stashed in the closet or under the bed. Not so good for me, I had three older siblings who taught her all the tricks, and she always knew where to find the messes that I was always trying to hide from her, and would put them in a big pile in the middle of the floor and told me to "clean it up" as she walked out of my room. Ok, ok, I surrender.

Every now and then I would get inspired to clean up and redecorate when an awesome poster would come in the new Tiger Beat or Dynamite magazine, or if I just had that itch to throw things out in order to make room for something new and fabulous.

My first simple pleasure of the day is to spend the one minute it takes to make the bed in the morning. I drag myself out from the comforts of our toasty warm blankets and make my way to the coffee pot. By the time my honey is up, I am ready to straighten out the linens and pop my handmade teddy bear-ess on the pillows, complete with her hand crocheted shawl and ribbon flowers adorning her hands, feet, collar and ears. It's kinda like putting a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. I am finding it to be a pleasure to walk into this special room and see it be so neat and pretty.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Simple pleasures - pt 1

A few weeks ago, I heard about a book authored by Robin McGraw (Dr. Phil's wife) which has been out for a number of months now called "What's Age Got To Do With It?". I was interested but hesitated looking for it since it sounded like it was for "old people". I certainly do not want to think of myself as "old" you know. If I read that book, then I am placing myself in that category. That is so far from accurate, but I stayed away from the bookstore for that very silly reason.

Well, last week, I got an e-mail from Borders offering a coupon for 40% off any book in a store purchase. I printed it out. I made a mental note of the two days it was good for. I stuffed that coupon into my purse and went about my business. The day came and I decided to go take a look at the book for old people. Been there? I know, how silly.

Let me interject something here. Robin is well into her 50's but you would never know it by looking at her. The cover of the book has her slim body in a black outfit and she is wearing massively high heels. Not a pair of shoes for a tall girl like me. You may as well be wearing pointe shoes on stage to get a higher heel raise. But, I had to admit, her appearance is great! OK, maybe the book isn't quite so taboo. Curiousity won over and I bought the book at 40% off. That was a price I could let go of for a book about aging. Silly. *Sigh*

Very unlike how I usually am, I wasn't eager to share my new purchase with my hubby. As a matter of fact, I would read it wide open so you couldn't see the cover and when it was put on the side table, it was covered over with my knitting basket, or with another book. I didn't want anyone to see it but me. I could still return the thing if I wanted to...I have a week to decide about that! Silly.

I read that darn book in two days, and I am not what people would call "a reader". I would rather rent a movie or documentary before sitting down with a boring old book. But this one was different; it was just wonderful! Robin gave tips and advice and life experiences which spanned decades. Anyone at any age can benefit from this book! And thanks to her insight, I have decided to take on some simple pleasures in my daily routine, of which I will share over several posts. I have nothing to be embarassed about. This adventure is not so silly afterall.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cleaning spree

I must clean the house.....
I must rearrange the living room.....
I must reorganize the closets.....
I must be loosing my mind! What is THAT all about?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Today has been a day of nugget discoveries. You can go along on your day to day routine and everything can be the same ol' same ol'. But every now and then, you have a day where you hear something that you can relate to, or something happens that sparks your brain into deeper thought. That happened today and I would like to get it all down before it's forgotten!

Here's the first nugget:
When you think about the word team, think about what it stands for. Together Everyone Achieves More. It is not about one person having a crew under him or her trying to get them to get a job done. It is about everyone ebbing and flowing with the common goal in mind, using their strengths and abilities to bring benefit to all, both within the group and beyond. This takes trust and relationship. It takes work. But is a better way than going it alone. TEAM.

The next nugget:
This nugget has to do with worry. At my church, last weekend's message was about worry. This is certainly something we all battle during these unstable times. Today, I heard another brief message which confronted the topic. I will give my take on what I heard. Let's start with the Scriptures:
Prov 15:15 "All the days of the oppressed are wretched; but a cheerful heart has a continual feast."
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 16:33 "These things have I spoken unto you, so that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."

What does this have to do with worry? Your heart and mind will not be peaceful when you are worrying. We have the ability to capture our thoughts and determine what we will entertain in our thoughts. What is thought about most will be evidenced in our speech. How often are we saying things that agree with what God's Word says? How often are our words opposite of what the Word says? I know, these are tough, eye-opening questions and if I apologize to anyone who may have been receivers of any destructive words from my mouth. Let's take it one step further. If our words go so far as to be agreeing with those of the devil, why would we want to believe them, since he is the father of lies? Hmm.

"But I can't control my thoughts.", you may say. Really? What if your pastor, or someone, who is very important to you and who you wish to impress knocks at your door? My guess is, suddenly, you would be able to pull yourself together, wouldn't you? You may even muster up a "God is good" or a "praise the Lord" in a conversation with them. You can take control of your thoughts. Don't pull that destructive excuse on yourself.

There is a close bond between worry and fear. Fear will not help you in a situation. It will bring on a flurry of thoughts that can escort you down a path of destruction. Have you ever worked out a scenario over and over in your mind? One that usually doesn't even come to pass? I have done this very thing many times. Worry causes such activity. Here's what hit me most - we worry because we fear that a situation will not pan out the way we want it to. Worry is selfish. Worry breaks down relationships. Worry is not of God.

Jesus clearly stated that His peace is superior to the way that the world offers peace. I found it interesting (and I never thought about) that Jesus points out that the world offers peace, although it is a counterfeit version of true peace. The world can be at peace when everybody is getting what they want or having their way. This peace is contingent on selfishness and from the beginning of time it has not delivered. Thank God He offers His true peace to us as a gift! If we believe God, and that what He says is true, then we can find and walk in peace in any situation that comes at us in this life. Hallelujah!

The final nugget to share:
I was talking to my boss today. She was saying that it is just crazy that the financial world is still in such a fragile state. Banks are still failing. Stocks are still dropping. Everyone is tightening the purse strings. The "stimulous package" is a crap shoot. Our conclusion was that we cannot place our security in something that is like smoke - here today, gone tomorrow. All you can do is do your best, do it with wisdom, and not place your faith in such things.

This discussion reminded me of such an important lesson taught by Jesus. You are probably thinking about it too:
Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Pretty interesting that this message was laid as a foundation to the next point in His message which had to do with overcoming anxiety. I don't think that was an accident. If we are consumed with the status and stability of our pocketbook, then we have set ourselves up for many more woes. You cannot worship both God and money. You just can't.

I really hope that something I have written today helps someone who needs it. I know that these nuggets have meant alot to me!
God's Highest Good to You!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ham casserole in a pan

Here's an easy but tasty dinner that I came up with the other day. I like easy - it only has 5 ingredients!

1/2 pound of ham
1/2 package frozen peas
1 cup of your favorite noodle (I use Tinkyada GF, of course)
4 oz. sour cream
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (or the "cream of" soup of your choice)

Cook, drain and rinse your noodles. Bring the frozen peas to a boil and drain. Cut ham into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients into a large skillet. Add sour cream and soup (leave in condensed form). Mix well and cook on low heat until simmering hot. Serve.

That's it! You can grind some fresh pepper on top or add any other herbs or spices that you like. It's creamy good and a good way to get rid of leftovers!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 more

I couldn't resist posting it...the Museum's 50's living room:

I am glad that my love for the look of the 50's is confined to the kitchen!

Friday, February 6, 2009

the 50's kitchen

Yes, my love for the 50's kitchen was discovered in it's memorialized glory at the Museum of American History.

I have 50's kitchen stuff but mostly not like what is in these pictures. I do have one of the jello molds that you see hanging on the wall. What can I say, copper in the kitchen is one of my weaknesses!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A wonderful gift

This was in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I can appreciate the work behind this quilt but didn't plan on taking its picture until I went up to it and started to look it over. I saw a block on it that was signed by someone who was from Stillwater NY. The history card said there was a church in Malta who wanted to welcome the new pastor and his wife, so the ladies of the church made this for them. It was dated in the mid-1800's but I don't remember the exact year. Each block has a name and town sewn onto it. I have no idea how it wound up in the museum but it was really cool to find something from a town up our way on display down there.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A moment of desperation for one...

...allows an opportunity for an act of kindness for another.

Here's the semi-long story.

As you know, we went to DC for 4 days last week. The trip was just great. Being away is always fun, but coming home is a wonderful thing too.

We flew home Thursday, got off the plane, lugged our bags to where we parked the car and when I hit the remote to unlock the doors, nothing happened. Trying the button a couple more times and noticing that the red light on it was working but nothing was happening, we manually unlocked all the doors. With no alarm going off and no lights coming on, it became painfully obvious that our car battery was dead. Not a good thing to have to deal with ever, especially when you are really ready to go home. A moment of desperation has revealed itself.

What do we do? Stashing everything in the back seat and manually locking all the doors, we figured we would have to walk back to the warm airport, and call somebody for help. I noticed someone driving towards the place where we were parked and told my honey I was gonna ask for a jump. It was a company car with one person it and I flagged for him to stop. He did, thankfully, and I aked him for a jump. "Sure, no problem" was the response. "But we don't have jumper cables." "I do!" he replied. We pushed the car out of it's parking spot, and started chatting idly. Come to find out, he was on the same flight as we were. Five minutes later, we were up and running again. The act of kindness was done.

This scenario reminded me of the story of the Good Samaritan. I think many passed by the man who needed help. I can't help but wonder how many stopped to tell the man that they wished him well. Only one man chose to take action and help the man in his moment of desperation. Of all of them who were there, only one made a difference by acting in kindness.

I'll admit, it was weird to be on the receiving end of the story. I like to be the one who helps those in need, not be the one who is in need. But when the moment of desperation comes, no matter which side of it you are on, an opportunity for an act of kindness is there. We can take it or leave it. What will you do?