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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Live for today, for tomorrow is promised to none

A friend of mine opened his wife's underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper - wrapped package:

'This,he said, isn't any ordinary package.' He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box. 'She got this the first time we went to New York , 8 or 9 years ago. She has never put it on, was saving it for a special occasion.

Well, I guess this is it.

He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral home, his wife had just died.

He turned to me and said:
'Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion'.

I still think those words changed my life. Now I read more and clean less.

I sit on the porch without worrying about anything.

I spend more time with

my family, and less at work.

I understood that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through.

I no longer keep anything.

I use crystal glasses every day...

I'll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it..
I don't save my special perfume for special occasions, I use it whenever I want to.

The words 'Someday....'and' One Day....' are fading away from my dictionary.

If it's worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do
it now....

I don't know what my friend's wife would have done if she knew she wouldn't be there the next morning, this nobody can tell..

I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends.. She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels.

I'd like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favorite food.

It's these small things
that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come..

Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.

Live for today, for tomorrow is promised to none..

If you got this, it's because someone cares for you and because, probably, there's someone you care about.

If you're too busy to send this out to other people and you say to yourself that you will send it 'One of these days', remember that 'One day' is far away... or might never come.....

No matter if you're superstitious or not, spend some time reading it. It holds useful messages for the soul.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Time For Baking

Pumpkin Pie, originally uploaded by THE Holy Hand Grenade!.


1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell, edges fluted high
1 (1 lb.) can pumpkin (2 c.)
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. honey
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
In large bowl blend together pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Beat in eggs, honey, milk and cream. Pour into pie shell. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) until knife inserted 1-inch from pie edge comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. (The filling will set as pie cools.)

Via Flickr:
Pumpkin pie, as made by the photographer for his family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunsets Of My Life

"I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you." November 5, 1994: From the letter in which Reagan announced his Alzheimer's diagnosis — five years after leaving office.

My heart has been very heavy for the past few days now after receiving a phone call from a relative of a person in my past. I was told that her sister has been given 1 year to live, but now I have received another phone message from a call I missed last night that reports a sudden turn for the worse with the doctor's wanting to "pull the plug" on her kidney and that the end will come within the next few days.

This saddens me as she is just 44 years old and the mother of three children -- two of which are grown but one that is still a teenager and has been "floating" for a year now during this period of her mother's illness (surgery and then chemo).

It has set my mind to remembering this special sweet lady. I will always remember her smile and the happiness in her voice no matter what she was going through. It has my heart crying knowing that she has been struggling for so long trying to hold on and that her battle is being lost.

That was the worst part of the care I gave to my in-laws for 6 years knowing I was losing a battle, one that I saw as not winning. Then I was finally able to come to terms towards the end in understanding that they were so tired and their body was giving out even if their spirit was strong to the end. I always tried to keep them comfortable and happy or pleasant in talking to them, getting them to reminisce about things they enjoyed. I find I do that even now in working on the personal care floor at the hospital.

So it is with these thoughts that I tie together recent pictures of sunsets here in Fort Benton, MT. They are true masterpieces and my youngest (Avery) and I could not help but keep saying "wow" while shooting these. I am thankful and hope to have many more sunsets to enjoy with my family. I am still saying a prayer for my friend. Her name is Sherri (she lives in Georgia) -- say a little one for her too if you don't mind.

Cattails To Eat Or Not to Eat?

I took some sweet pictures of my two boys, Avery (11) and Wynston (14) spreading cattail seeds along the reservoir after my return home late in October. We decided to take a walk and found the miniature horses by the fence to pet, played with the farm cat, Tiger, and then took some pictures of the setting sun.

It is good to get out of the house and enjoy simple things where the kids can play no matter what ages they are.

Now, onto the title of this blog. Eat cattails? I told my kids I would have to be very hungry to think about trying the following recipes I found on a site on the computer. Here they are if you would like to sample some in a few dishes:

Cattails can be use for food, when grown in clean water and soil.

Cattail Stir-fry

Gather your cattail leaves/shoots and pull off the tough/fibrous outer leaves until you reach the tender white inner core of the cattail heart. Wash them thoroughly and cut into roughly 4” pieces. Put a healthy amount of high-heat cooking oil in the bottom of your skillet. Put in your burdock root slices into the hot oil, which are cut diagonally about 1/8” thick, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add chopped spring onion, carrots that have been cut into long strips (julienned), and the chopped burdock petioles. Cook about 3-5 minutes and then add cattail shoots, minced garlic, and minced ginger (you could use a small amount of wild ginger). Cook for about 3 minutes. Then add a few splashes of sesame seed oil, some black sesame seeds, chopped red cabbage, some finely chopped wild greens (we used sow thistle greens) and a lot of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/soy sauce/tamari/shoyu. Cover and let cook for about a minute. Serve with Nettle/Sesame Powder sprinkled on top.

Cattail-Wild Rice Pilaf
This recipe can be made with brown rice, but the wild rice adds a special dimension to it.
1 cup dry wild rice (4 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
½ cup chopped green onion
2 cups cattail shoots, sliced (about 30 cattails)
2 tsp salt
½ cup slivered almonds
1. Cook the wild rice until tender.
2. Sautee onion and cattail shoots in sesame oil until tender and translucent.
3. Mix the rice and the sautéd cattail shoots and onion together.
4. Add salt and slivered almonds.
5. Serve hot.

Cattail Wild-Rice Soup

1 cup dry wild rice (4 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
½ cup chopped green onion
2 cups cattail shoots, sliced (about 30 cattails)
2 tsp salt

1. Cook the wild rice until tender.
2. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot sauté onion and cattail shoots in sesame oil until tender and translucent.
3. Add the cooked wild rice, salt and 4 cups of chicken broth or other soup stock of choice.
4. Simmer together for 15-20 minutes and serve.

Cat-on-the-Cob with Garlic Butter

30-40 cattail flowerheads, peeled
Garlic butter:
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup freshly chopped wild greens (or parsley or other fresh garden herbs)

Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, oil, salt, fresh garlic and parsley together until smooth.
Note: If using salted butter, eliminate the salt from the recipe.
The olive oil makes the butter nice and creamy and spreadable, even after refrigerating. I like to make a batch of this to keep handy in the fridge. You can also make a larger batch ahead to freeze in small containers when the greens are in season.

1. Boil cattail flowerheads in water for 10 minutes
2. Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, salt, fresh garlic and parsley together until smooth.
3. Drain the cattail flowerheads and slather them generously with the garlic butter.
4. Eat them just like miniature corn on the cobs.

Cattail Casserole

3 cups cattail flowerbuds, scraped off the “cobs” (about 40 flowerheads)
1 egg
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup milk
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 cup grated cheese

1. Cook cattail flowerheads in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
2. Scrape the flowerbuds off the cob to make 3 cups.
3. Beat egg together with spices, milk and breadcrumbs.
4. Combine cattail flowers with the egg mixture.
5. In a greased bread pan or small casserole dish, spread half of cattail mixture on the bottom.
6. Add half of the grated cheese, spread the rest of the cattail mixture over, and top with the rest of the grated cheese.
7. Bake at 350° until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Sweet Treats

Had to do some reminiscing of my trip to Tennessee by showing some photos of my visit to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

I joke a lot to my kids and husband that if I ever win the lottery (of course, have to buy a ticket first) that I would bring this franchise to Montana.

Loved the packaging they had going on for Halloween, but the extra frosting on the chocolate creme filled doughnuts was a little too much for my taste.

I can remember as a child, if the 5 boys and I were good at church on Wednesday nights, then we would get to stop and get a dozen doughnuts to take home to eat.

Also, there were several field trips while in school to one of the stores where the doughnuts were made. We would each get a paper hat and watch the conveyor belts going with the glaze fall covering each one as it rolled on by. Of course, we got to sample 1 doughnut a piece at the conclusion of the visit.

As a teenager, I would go out with a girlfriend shopping or to a movie and then end up dropping by the drive-thru for a dozen when the light on the building would be lit reading "HOT". Those were the days!!!

Here is my friend, Twila, acting as if she is going to grab the lot of doughnuts in the box. I believe I sent this as a photo message to my son, Wynston, while we were there so he could join in on the fun.

I Blinked . . . Where Did October Go?

Can't believe I haven't blogged since late September and now we are into November. This year is just flying by so fast.

We did a major move from the big town of Great Falls out into the country just past Fort Benton, MT late in September and then I set out to find a job, put my new home together, and catch a plane for a week in Nashville, TN. No wonder I have been having back spasms on a regular basis here lately -- thanks to my kids for rubbing them out and then stretching is helping also.

I had a quiet no thrills visit to Nashville which is just as I wanted. Got to spend some sweet time with friends and see the changing of the leaves. I love FALL!!!

One thing I did miss was snapping a photo of the leaves on the trees by the Missouri River here in Fort Benton. I literally did blink and they had all blown away. I will just have to be on top of them next year and do lots of picture taking then.

I couldn't help but take tons of photos of my friend, Kathleen's place in Nashville. Her back yard would be a photographer's dream for taking photos of kids and couples. Her style in decorating her house truly fits her personality as well -- Primitive Americana.

This type of decorating is defined as: Americana country decor consists of shades of reds, whites and blues. These country decor accents can have stars and strips, or simple symbols and words like “Love, Faith, Hope…” to name a few. Americana quilts make excellent wall hangings, throws, table cloths, chair covers, the sky is the limit of what you can do with a beautiful Americana quilt.

(These are called Jewel Tea Autumn Leave Pattern . . . My Aunt Ruby in California used to be crazy in collecting dishes like these as they reminded her of her childhood years when a vendor would come by horse drawn wagon once a month out in the country and sell her mother a piece. My friend Kathleen collects them as well because she loves the pattern.)

It was a pleasure going for a visit to the South. My heart has two homes -- the South and Montana.