Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My favorite salad dressing

Next to a good Caesar Salad, Pacific Rim Salad Dressing is my very favorite dressing. We came upon this years ago. In fact, the original recipe was published in the December 2001 issue of Bon Appetit.

It is the best dressing to go with seafood, be it salmon, scallops, shrimp, etc. Tonight we had grilled salmon and Romaine lettuce with Pacific Rim Dressing. It is worth the try.

Pacific Rim Salad Dressing

Juice of one lime

2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 Tablespoon lemongrass, minced

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)

2 garlic gloves, minced

1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce ( we always use Sriracha)

1/2 cup olive oil

I large head romaine lettuce, torn in bite-size pieces

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine lime juice and next 7 ingredients in processor. While processor is running, add olive oil slowly and process until thickened.

Place lettuce in a large bowl. Add dressing and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

We always use Gourmet Garden Lemon Grass in a tube. Because we don't have a large Oriental community near us, this works very well and is much easier to find.
This salad with grilled salmon and a bottle of French Marsanne Viognier..it just doesn't get much better.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh My Mind..

.."you were always on my mind" oops, sorry Willie! There were several news items this past week that have been on my mind.

Did you hear about the new study that drinking scalding hot tea causes esophageal cancer? It seems the hotter the tea, the more chance you have of getting this cancer. How about coffee? It seems coffee does not fit into this plan. Strange, very strange to me. Actually, I don't know too many people who drink scalding hot liquids.

My friends and I have gotten into Skyping. Do you Skype? It is a webcam that is set up on your computer and then you can dial up your friends and see each other and laugh together. I think it makes it much more personal if you can see facial expressions when you are talking. Our daughter and grandchildren also Skype us occasionally and it is a very nice way to keep in touch since we see each other infrequently.

Anyway, Connie and I were Skyping on Saturday afternoon when....BOOM! At first I thought a golf ball had hit our house and then I quickly realized the space shuttle Discovery had just broken the sound barrier and was coming in for a landing at Cape Canaveral. How exciting, and my friend, Connie, in Iowa, was able to hear it also. We couldn't have planned it better.

Well, Bay Hill golf tournament is over and Tiger comes out the winner with one stroke at the last hole and walks away with $1,080,000. That amount of money is absolutely amazing. Zach Johnson from Iowa walked away with $480,000, coming in third. He is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and all of Iowa was cheering him on. Great job, Zach! The Trout volunteered at the tournament for 4 days, gone from home 12 hours each day. He enjoyed it, especially wearing this sharp cap they gave him. He was wielding his power by telling the crowd to quiet down and making sure all important people felt important. What a job!

Well, it's time to go to Curves and get some exercise and then catch up around the house. It looks like it will be a beautiful week in Florida, mid 70's and NO SNOW! That was for all my Midwest friends. Sorry, I just had to do it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Family Tree and Pictures

In recent weeks, I have been doing some genealogy research. Or, I should say, I have been doing some posting to my family tree and have been fortunate to receive a lot of help from friends and family members as to information, names and dates. I have now taken my paternal grandmother's history back to 1680. What I find so amazing is that it tells me that my ancestors at that time came from Transylvania and Russia. Wow! I have work to do to go back even further than that.

The problem, or excitement, of working on a family tree, is that it can be very time consuming to the point where your eyes are hurting looking at the computer screen. It just makes me wonder how people did it years ago, before computers. I know as a very young adult, I sat down with my father and a large poster board and together we did a little tree making. It ended up being rather confusing, but I still draw information from it today.

The problem is, one branch leads to another branch and WOW it does get very interesting. Now, The Trout, I know, would like me to start recording his information and I do have a lot of it thanks to a cousin who did all this research and gave it to him years ago. It just takes time and believe me, I spend enough time on the laptop.

In conjunction with this, I have a heavy burden lying on me--photographs. I wish we had bought a digital camera many years before we did. Now we have boxes of some-what organized photos and slides. We don't even have a slide projector anymore. And then we got into videos of our trips abroad. We have one of the most delightful scenes at Juliet's balcony in Verona, Italy, where I am asking The Trout (wherefore art Thou?) Surely, someone besides me will find this humorous someday? ...hmmm, doubtful!

I have this wonderful photo album that belonged to my grandmother. Her name is in the front and the date Christmas, 1906. Even the price, $2.25 is written in the front. Surely, that was a very lot of money in those days.

Inside the photo album are many pictures with no names and dates. I recognize this one below, because it is my father's mother on the right, Susanna, and the other lady is unknown. I find that I do not write names and dates as often as I should on the back of photographs either. I like to think I am somewhat organized, but doing this is greatly lacking in my repertoire of things to do.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's Called Golf

My day was so exciting! The Trout left early this morning for Orlando to play security guard on the 17th hole of the Bay Hill Golf Course. A group of us arrived later as spectators. I never in my wildest dream imagined that I would enjoy watching golf so much, but the last three years have proven to me that this is a wonderful sport to observe.

Of course, the day was beautiful, enough clouds to make the sun enjoyable even though the temperature did reach 83 degrees. We were sitting at the 9th hole and at one time, a golf ball came flying and landed 3 feet from my feet from where I was sitting. So exciting! And then, of course, you gotta love him, Tiger Woods played very near to where I was sitting. This guy has a talent that is so great, I just admire him and love to see him play in person.

The Trout gets to get back each day through Sunday, but I will be watching the Golf Channel on TV. The Bichon does not like being alone so long in her old age, even though she got so many treats from a neighbor who took care of her. The child that never leaves home, but that's okay!

So, don't disturb me while the golf game is on TV. I will be totally absorbed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here's a laugh for you!

Just a touch of humor today. I have been hesitating posting this for some time, but then today I thought, "hey, there are a lot of senior citizens out there, some more senior than others, and sometimes you just have to laugh at your life."

Let's clear something at the start, this story is not about me. Now, that that is in the open, let me tell you a true story of 3 ladies in their 70's. They had not seen each other in quite a few years, so two of them flew down here to Florida to visit the other one living here.

I have had two friends, in the past, come down here and do the same kind of visit. We laughed continuously and had a great, great time.

Anyway, back to the story. These 3 ladies went to the movies and got a large container of popcorn to share. Pretty soon, one of the ladies had a corn husk caught in her upper denture. She worked at it and worked at it and finally with a simply flip of her fingernail, the upper denture went flying under the seats in front of them.

So, now you have 3 ladies in their 70's, a dark movie theatre, and they are down on their hands and knees searching for an upper denture in the dark. Needless to say, the giggling started and as we can only imagine, one of the ladies wet her pants because of the intense laughter that they were trying to stifle.

The denture was found, a sweater was found to wrap around the second casualty and they giggled their way out of the movie theatre.

They get home, and husband finds out the story and he cannot keep it to himself, so soon it is spread all through the neighborhood. You know, the incident is not as funny as the fact that it could happen to anyone in those senior years!

Occasionally, I think of this story and it just makes me laugh and laughter is the best medicine in the world. Have a good day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Today is our grandson's 10th birthday. Happy Birthday, Josiah David. Grandpa and I are so very proud of you. We were lucky enough to live near you for the first 4 years of your life and got to know you very well.

Now we are enjoying watching you grow and playing piano. You have a sense of humor that will one day be read on paper for many to see. I just hope you don't outgrow those fantastic hugs you give so willingly. Have a great day, sweetheart. I love you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It was a good morning!

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to open up the computer and find a message from my friend, Mary, at One Perfect Bite. She had an award for me. This award comes with this message attached: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

I want to send this award forward to:

Heidi at The Milk Man's Wife

Cathy at Wives with Knives

Britt-Arnhild at Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods

Christina at Knitting Mania

Lynda at Food, Fun & Farm Life...in East Africa

These gals have wonderful blogs that I enjoy daily. I hope you take a few minutes to visit them. Thanks again, Mary. I so enjoy you daily!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It was excellent!

I so enjoy reading many blogs and so often I find recipes that speak to me and this one was one of those recipes.

It has everything any one brought up with German food would love. Potatoes, onions, garlic, bacon, parsley. This was so wonderful that the Trout and I immediately started talking about the next time we will make it again. It is so worth the try and a wonderful compliment to any meal. These flavors are all so very German, we really enjoyed these potatoes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bottle Brush tree

Moving to Florida from the Midwest 10 years ago, I found so many new plants and trees that were unfamiliar to me. One tree that I always found very beautiful is the Callistemon rigidus or the Bottle Brush Tree.
When all the soft, bristle-like needles fall off the tree, the ground turns red. The problem arises when there is a car parked underneath the tree. They get everywhere and make a mess.

Friday, March 20, 2009


It is now official! It is Spring and the days are getting longer.

"With the calm patience of the woods I wait, For leaf and blossom when God gives us Spring!"
--John Greenleaf Whittier

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It was a magical day

As my immediate family knows all too well, I have a very unreasonable fear of heights. I have been rescued by the Trout from the wall surrounding Rothenburg, Germany, threatened to jump off a ski lift when it stopped at the very peak of the run (I felt jumping would be less painful) and can't walk to the edge of anything without feeling my legs collapse.

Well, we went to Disney yesterday, Epcot, and it was a perfect day. We met up with our friends from Wisconsin, Jim and Laurie, and had an absolutely enjoyable time. The highlight of the day would be the experience of "Soarin'". You are strapped into a seat similar to an airplane seat and there are thick metal handles beside your knees that you cling to. And then, they move you up toward the movie screen and the soaring begins. It is as if you are in a glider flying over California. You just miss getting hit by a golf ball slicing through the air at Pebble Beach, over the mountains, wine country and on and on. I am shutting my eyes a lot and keep telling myself, you are not flying, you are sitting and will not fall. I got through it and it really was so much fun. Did it cure my fear of heights? I really doubt it.

The Flower Expo at Epcot started yesterday and it was magnificent. We walked through all the countries and had dinner in Germany at the Biergarten. It felt so very comfortable being able to speak German again with our darling waitress from Berlin. And, of course, the food was wonderful but I still prefer my red cabbage recipe from last week.

We volunteer at Disney every fall for the golf classic and one of our payments for volunteering are tickets to Disney. It just made it all the nicer to know we had worked for this day and were rewarded generously.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I love The Barefoot Contessa

Tonight we tried one of Ina Garten's salads, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. It was very nice and we probably will make it again. The cider and vinegar takes a lot longer than she says to boil down, but it was a very different salad than we had ever eaten. We had it with a piece of grilled salmon, but we both knew ham would be excellent with it.
The strangest thing keeps happening. I keep e-mailing Ina and telling her that The Trout and I would love to come to dinner at her home in The Hampton's, anytime, but for some reason, she just doesn't write back. It is very disappointing because we could be there anytime. Wouldn't it be fun, with her Jeffrey driving up in his BMW just as the cocktails are being served......dreaming......

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We have lift off!

The sky was starting to turn dark. I headed outside with the laptop to watch the progress of the Discovery launch. Soon, lots of neighbors starting coming out of their homes. And then...lift off and we could actually see it. It was so great! I think the best part was having the computer with me and hearing what NASA was saying.

One day real soon, we will make the trip to Cape Canaveral to see a shuttle flight up close.

Jim and Laurie

Late last evening, our friends, Jim and Laurie, from Wisconsin, arrived for a week's visit at their time share at Disney. They came to see us first and spent the night. We have known them since 1981 when we met at a Newcomers meeting and have been fast friends since then.

We slept in this morning, had breakfast and talked and talked and then we had a traditional corned beef and cabbage and red potatoes dinner with them. I had also baked some Artisan Bread and we all thoroughly enjoyed the meal and friendship we shared.

Now they are off to Disney where we will meet them to spend all day Wednesday with them at Epcot. I have been to Epcot once many years ago and the Trout has never been there, so we are looking forward to a fun day.
Enjoy your week, Jim and Laurie, and we'll see you on Wednesday.
Fingers crossed, the Discovery shuttle should be launched this evening but right now it looks pretty cloudy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Azaleas at home

I believe I told you that we had two hard frosts in Florida this winter and things are very slowly coming back to normal. I am missing my hibiscus which were hurt. They'll eventually be back. I frequently pick the blossoms and arrange them with some of my rosemary to make a lovely centerpiece. Will have to wait on that and right now, the very fragrant rosemary still looks lovely.
We have a hedge of azaleas along side the garage. They also survived nicely. They are so fragile and yet so beautiful. God really did an extraordinary job on flowers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

German Red Cabbage

Most of my childhood memories revolve around German foods that my mother and grandmother baked or cooked. Many years ago, I sat down with my mother and told her despite the fact that she did not use recipes, I needed to know the measurements so that I could duplicate these recipes. With her heavy German accent, we were able to get things on paper, try out the written measurements and correct if need be. I then composed a small cookbook for myself so I will always have these recipes near.

Then back in the 1970's, I was asked to teach a German cooking class at the local career college in the small town where we lived. Being German food which is certainly a lot different than quick Oriental cooking, I had to lay out my plans and buy double to start one dish at home, start another dish at school, and then finish the dish I had started at home at school. Work, yes, you betcha!

I had two small daughters at the time and now when I think back on it, I am amazed how busy I kept myself. I was very fortunate to stay home with the girls and not go to work until my youngest was a junior in high school. Therefore, I did a lot of cooking, baking and sewing at home. In fact, I even sewed myself two Dirndl dresses with aprons to wear to these classes. Oh how I wish I could fit into them now, 30 years later. I still have them, but know that I will never be able to wear them again. Too much German food has passed by my lips since then.

At Christmastime, I met a neighbor and we started talking about food. I found out she loves German red cabbage and does not know how to make it. I told her, one of these days, I would make some and bring it to her. So, today is the day.

German Red Cabbage (Rot Kraut)

1 medium head red cabbage, shredded

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 apple, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar (not Heinz which is too strong tasting)

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

In a deep pot, melt butter over low heat. Add the onions and saute' for a few minutes. Then add the shredded cabbage and the rest of the ingredients. Stir together well. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer. Put lid back on and let steam. Stir occasionally and simmer for almost an hour.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a little chit chat

The guys went golfing at Disney yesterday and then the girls met them at a nearby restaurant last night. The day was so beautiful--84 degrees and lots of sun and blue skies.

All ready to watch the Discovery space shuttle launch last night when I saw on the TV news flash that during fueling they developed a leak and the launch was cancelled. It would have been a beautiful night launch. We have seen several since moving to Florida. We really have to make an effort to get to Cape Canaveral to see one up close and personal. They will be stopping them soon so time is running out.

Our neighbors told us they spotted a cougar in their back yard, lying by their pond and others have said they have seen "large kitty tracks" near the edge of some of the ponds. Well, no more late night walks with the fluffy white thing we call our best friend.

Speaking of our dog, Kippy tore her ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, about 2 months ago. This was her good leg. She had torn the other knee last year and recovered quite nicely. She is 13 so surgery is not an option. So, in trying to help her, we have been lifting her up and down steps and onto the couch (yes, we allow that because she doesn't shed) and because she weighs almost 12 pounds, I have hurt my left thumb in putting all her weight on my hand in holding her. Now, that has developed into what looks like arthritis of my thumb. I have never had joint pains so had to ask someone if this is what it could be. A former nurse neighbor has described how I can make it feel better, so will try wrapping with those Icy Hot pads and see what happens. I have a physical with my doctor in early April and refuse to go in sooner. This is the beginning of those old age pains, is that right?

We've decided to cancel our trip to France this spring. The economy is just too uncertain. It will be hard not going, but we have lots of memories of previous trips and I am thinking everything will be looking better next year.

Have a good day today. I'll be thinking of you all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, brother!

Happy birthday, Corwin! My older brother and only sibling has a birthday today. He has always been the greatest brother any girl could have. He definitely has always heard a 'different drummer.'

He started driving a tractor at age 10 and working on a community farm. Our mother drove him to the airport to take flying lessons and he had his pilot's license before his driver's license. He is a 1963 graduate of the Air Force Academy and had the privilege of having President John F. Kennedy speak at his graduation. He flew F-100's in Vietnam and was rescued after being shot down in August, 1967. He was a pilot for United Air Lines for 32 years.

He has been married for 46 years, father of 4 children and grandfather to 6. He loves hunting and fishing and his Gordon setters. He loves rocking chairs and that is where you usually find him when at home.

He is kind, a deep thinker and the kind of person you want as a best friend.

I love you, brother, and hope you have many more healthy years ahead. I look forward to seeing you soon. Love, your favorite sister

Monday, March 9, 2009

I had such a great afternoon!

Amazingly, since my high school class reunion last August, it has been 7 months of renewing old friendships and I am so enjoying it. Today we had a visit from the Canadians. A childhood friend, Marianne and Bruce stopped by on their way to visit Bruce's mother in eastern Florida. I had not seen Marianne since high school, 45+ years. A year or two ago, we did contact each other by email. (Once again, that amazing computer.)

The short time we had together today, we spent talking about our families and growing up in Iowa and the Amana Colonies. Marianne told me we are related through three genealogical branches which is something I did not know. I knew of two branches. She has me more enthused about getting more genealogical research onto paper.

I apologize for the lack of clarity of the photo, but I just had to post this because this day meant so much to me. We hope to someday visit them in Canada as there is so much that still needs to be talked about and there is so much I need to learn from her regarding my family tree.

It was a very pleasant afternoon and Marianne and Bruce, thank you so much for stopping by to see us. We are both so fulfilled with the day we had.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's been busy

Things have gotten surprisingly busy this week. My volunteering is cutting into my free time a lot and I am making lots of lists so that I don't forget to do something.

I did put together a great salad this morning from my friend, Laurie, from Wisconsin. A Kidney Bean Salad with two cans of red kidney beans, chopped celery, green onions, red or green pepper, a tablespoon sweet pickle relish and 2 hard-cooked eggs. To this add 1 tsp. of Worcestershire, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Moisten with 1/4 cup mayo and you have a very creamy salad that is also good for you. Thanks, Laurie.

We are happy to see that the single sand hill crane that has been walking around here alone does not have a dead mate. We just saw mom and dad and we think the single one has taken off on his own and has not found a mate yet. I was very worried that one of them had been killed.

Tomorrow a friend whom I have not seen since high school is stopping by for a visit. That will be a reunion and I just hope we can squeeze everything we need to say into a few hours.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We went Spanish today!

We took a road trip today for lunch and took our friends Gary and Sue along. We went to a favorite restaurant of ours, Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. It is located just at the outskirts of Tampa and is a fairly quick drive from home. There are six locations of this Spanish restaurant in Florida and we have eaten at three of them. This one, in Ybor City, is the original, started in 1905.

I usually have the same lunch each time because it is so very good. They have a "1905 Salad" that they mix at the table. Lettuce, smoked ham, swiss cheese, tomatoes, lots of Spanish olives, Romano cheese and a wonderful dressing made with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, oregano and lots of Worcestershire sauce. It is so good and addictive. Along with this comes a hunk of warm Cuban bread. I always opt for the Cuban Black Bean soup topped with chopped raw onion. As if this is not enough, we all wanted a pitcher of Sangria that they mixed right at the table also. They add their fruit juice mix, orange and lime slices and Spanish red wine, a small amount of brandy and ice. Needless to say, we emptied the pitcher.

This original restaurant is very beautiful. Lots of Spanish tiles and Moorish influence in the decoration of the inside, especially the ornate doorways and a fountain in one of the courtyard rooms. A very delightful restaurant and usually very busy. It is only in the last 10 years that the restaurant has relented to let women also be waiters. The men are dressing very formally and they are very professional.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A good day

Well, the delivering of Meals on Wheels went well. I can see why this is such a need in our community. Actually, for our town, this is the first time anyone is available to deliver the meals and they are so sorely needed to many individuals.

We could tell as we knocked on the doors and the people answered that they were happy to see us. It was a good feeling that we could help. It only took 2-3 hours out of a Tuesday morning and we did such a good thing.

On a different note, last November, because we were going to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, we bought a turkey for the freezer for only $.79 a pound. That is a good price. On Sunday, the house smelled like Thanksgiving. We had roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and salad. I said NO to pie. It was enough for just the two of us. The Trout did mention pecan pie once, and I told him to forget it. We have been enjoying turkey sandwiches and tonight I made another favorite. Turkey Divan.

Steam broccoli and put in a buttered casserole. Add cut up turkey. On top of this combine a can of cream of chicken soup with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, and a good pinch of curry powder. Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese and on top of this add bread crumbs and butter. (I usually freeze hot dog buns and grate them to make bread crumbs). Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. It was very, very good.

While growing up, we never had casseroles to eat, so this has always been a new trick for me. I rarely make them, but this is one time, when there is left over turkey, I love this casserole.

Golden Trumpets

I have always loved pink and red flowers. Especially in Florida, they bloom all year long. But this time of year, there is a very special tree that doesn't bloom for a long time, but it is breathtaking.

It is called the golden trumpet tree or Tabebvia chrysotricha. I have also read where it is the official flower of Brazil. The leaves all fall off the trees and these beautiful yellow trumpet shaped flowers replace them. For some reason, they are usually planted in a row along boulevards and streets. It is just a magnificent site. Enjoy!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Trial Run

The Trout and I have volunteered to deliver "Meals on Wheels" to 9 homes on Tuesdays starting tomorrow. Since this will cover a part of town unfamiliar to us, we did a trial run today. Made a few changes to make it more convenient and I guess we are all set to start tomorrow morning.

My mother-in-law received this service for several years before her death, and it just seems so right that we pay back all the kindness that was shown her. Wish us luck as we fly through town with the food mobile tomorrow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's Time for Baseball

I have always loved baseball. It started years ago when my friend's mom and dad took us to St. Louis to watch the Dodgers play the Cardinals. This was probably 1961. My friend's dad, Bill Zuber, had played professional ball with the Yankees and other teams in the 40's. He got us right up to the ballplayers and I got lots of autographs of that time. Sandy Koufax, Larry Sherry, Stan Musial, Leo Durocher, and many others.

In high school, since my sweetie was pitching for our team, I managed to get a job as a scorekeeper and was able to go to the away games as well as the home games. The Trout was a great pitcher.

So yesterday, we went to a baseball game. Lakeland is the winter training ground for the Detroit Tigers. We saw the Tigers beat the Mets 7-2. In an amazing game, 3 bats were broken by the Mets. (We suspected termites).

The beauty of the green grass, the brown dirt and the pattern of the ball diamond is just very beautiful to me. It was a great day out in the Florida 78 degree sunshine. In a week we will see the Tigers play the Yankees. That will be exciting as well!!