I Toldja I Was Gonna..

And I did! I made Pomegranate Jelly! Yay Me!

I missed my opportunity to become a young farm wife, but perhaps I still have time to become an old farm wife. I've always loved overalls. Do you know where I could get some aprons and a chicken coop?

Have I mentioned I made Pomegranate Jelly? For the first time in half a century? It's taken me way too long to dive into this. The jelly looks so pretty cooling on the counter. Can't wait to spread it on some toast on toppa Mr. Last's Famous Nut Butter.

What? You've never heard of Mr. Last's Famous Nut Butter??

Well, let me tell you about it. Mr. Last's Famous Nut Butter is an amazing heart-healthy blend made purely of almond and pecan goodness -- no added salt, sugar, oil or other ingredients -- and it needs no enhancement. However, you/I can enhance a plain old crust of bread with Famous Nut Butter (and, soon, pomegranate jelly) and tranform toast into an Exquisite Treat That You Can Eat and Call a Meal. Add your hot beverage of choice and you are likely to begin purring.

I told you we were into Recreational Cooking around here. I blame it on the specialized power tools Mr. Last has introduced to the kitchen in recent months: a stand mixer, a food processer, and a commercial juicer. Kinda paradoxical how simple eating leads to the acquisition of advanced machinery to increase the ability to simplify, but there you have it.

I have not been quick to embrace the machinery, mostly because I loathe disassembling and cleaning specialized parts. I begrudgingly tried my hand at the stand mixer when I made pie crust a while back. A few weeks later Mr. Last unleashed the juicing potential hidden inside some lingering pomegranates that were withering on the counter, and I began to take baby steps toward the kitchen. His encouragement and patience with my messes is key to this whole adventure.

Time will tell whether or not the aprons and chicken coop are a good idea.


The Reason for the Season

Day after T-Day, in the kitchen, after errands and chores.

Mr. Last: I'm making a turkey sandwich. Want one?

Me: Yes, that sounds good...Wait!...ummm...I'll make my own.

Some people spend the day after Thanksgiving shopping until they drop but the highlight of my day after is leftovers. And I try to stop eating before I drop.

Did you know that "turkey sandwich" is decoded differently for different people? One of us likes small slabs of white meat with dill pickles and mustard on sourdough bread cut on the diagonal, while someone else likes bite-sized bits of dark meat slathered with cranberry sauce on cranberry walnut bread with no cutting required. We make our own sandwiches just the way we like 'em, thankyouverymuch.

Long ago we learned "mouthwash" means antiseptic medicinal flavor for one of us while someone else likes the tingle of minty-freshness. We keep the two different varieties on the bathroom counter.

You say toe - mate- toe, I say tah - motto.

The holiday season is so full of details that can make our differences stand out in greater relief. Take note of the differences but beware of them growing into irritations that can snowball into disconnection. In our household we keep things in balance by allowing everyone to make their own sandwich, and by having two bottles of mouthwash on the bathroom counter. It's not likely that everyone can have everything they want but figure out how little differences can be resolved in your household, and proudly declare (in your best French accent):

"Vive la différence!"



What else can you say on this national day of gratitude?

Oh, OK. I am thankful for a day that started with Baked Pumpkin French Toast:

photo & recipe from here
 And then the house filled with the smell of butter and onions and celery and sage while I made bread stuffing for the turkey (which is roasting as I type).

Mr. Last and I very much enjoy Recreational Cooking (yes. that's what kids are calling it these days.), so immediately upon the heels of my popping the poultry in the oven, he began chopping and cooking onions, peppers, and spices to add to our weekly batch of beans. This week it is Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans. With extra Spicy.

Tomorrow I'm trying my hand making a batch of Pomegranate Jelly.

I repeat: we very much enjoy Recreational Cooking.

So have I mentioned there are only two of us in this household?

Yeah. So we have to pace ourselves on the Recreational Eating.


On that note, I'll leave you with my fine photographic documentation of Thanksgiving 1974:


The Cat in the Hat Comes Back


His love for hats began in infancy...



Persimmons & Popcorn

We get pretty excited when surprises like these show up in our "goodie box". Because -- to tell the truth -- it is not likely that these would show up on our ordinary grocery list.

I always thought persimmons looked like miniature pumpkins and I I was afraid they would smell and taste like squash, too. I enjoy squash, but I want my fruit to taste sweet and delicious. And the Fuyu persimmons ARE sweet like honey and crunchy like an apple; they don't smell (or taste!) anything like pumpkin.

The popcorn came to us dried on the cob and although the kernels can be stripped off the cob before popping, I'm lazy. I throw the cob in a brown paper bag and into the microwave. The kernels pop themselves right off the cob with next to no work on my part.

I set the microwave for 5 minutes but stay there to turn it off when the popping slows (about 3.5 minutes in our microwave).

We also got another batch of pears this morning in the goodie box and we'll be snacking on fresh slices with cheese later this afternoon.

Apparently, this post (and our mid-November snacks) is/are brought to you by the letter "P".


Memories of California Sunshine

For those who may be shivering in the Intermountain West right now:


The Breath of Hades

It is early November in California (and everywhere else). The leaves are beginning to turn and a few are falling. Yesterday morning there were gray clouds gathering and a stiff breeze coaxing more leaves off the trees.

I gathered my library books, put on my ruffly grey sweater and walked out into the autumn day.

By the time I returned from my errands I was cursing and sweating because what looked like a refreshing breeze turned out to be a hot wind off the desert. The outdoor temperature was 85 degrees Fahrenheit plus a stiffling wind factor of plus 5 to 7 degrees...

Am I complaining? Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

And I'm blaming Al Gore. Thanks for the Internet, Al, but I really don't appreciate the global warming thing.

Oh, we could blame it on LA NIÑA (Spanish for "THE" NIÑA), but what fun is that?

Cry for me, Argentina. I know you feel my pain. (It's 90 degrees in Buenos Aires today).

Good thing I got an extra hour of sleep last night. Remind me sometime to tell you how I feel about Daylight Savings Time...


Harvest Pixie

Pure magic how she captures my heart over and over:


Public Service Announcement

What's wrong with this picture?

I drove up to the ATM today and it dispensed the exact amount of my money that I requested.

 I always count before I drive away. And you should, too.

But if I ever ask for $100 and the machine dispenses three bills we are all in deep trouble because there is NOT ONE SINGLE COMBINATION of any three bills that will make 100 dollars.

I'm just sayin'...


A Woman of Few Words

That's one thing I've never been accused of. Yet I blogged less in October than ever before. Hmmm....I guess I've been preoccupied.

They say you always remember your first love.

Long ago and far away I read a new stack of novels every week (thank you public libraries). Novel-length stories require commitment and constancy that I was willing and able to give back in the day. No desultory reader was I. I burnt a lot of midnight oil and sat in many a tub of tepid bath water finishing "one more chapter" (often finishing the entire book before I came back to the real world). 

But somewhere amidst child-bearing and family life my attention span became fragmented. Nonfiction, predominately in the form of newspaper columns or magazine articles interspersed with an occasional paperback bestseller, seemed all I could manage. My busy life required most of my brainspace, leaving only enough room for bits and pieces so I got away from novels or, perhaps, novels got away from me.

Until lately.

Last week I was absorbed by "Jamesland"; this week it's "The Stone Diaries." I am reluctant to lay the book down, and eager to return to it at the earliest opportunity. I walk around in a cloud wondering what will happen next in the lives of imaginary people.

My first love has returned.

Welcome back.