Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas at Heartbeet Farm

Gary in recent years had observed, with plate tectonically cumulative anxiety, that population was continuing to flow out of the Midwest and toward the cooler coasts.... Gary wished that all further migration [could] be banned and all Midwesterners encouraged to revert to eating pasty foods and wearing dowdy clothes and playing board games, in order that a strategic national reserve of cluelessness might be maintained, a wilderness of taste which would enable people of privilege, like himself, to feel extremely civilized in perpetuity.

- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Gary, we stayed right here in SE Minnesota and joined Anita out at the farm where she was staying while Joe & Becca were away in South Carolina visiting her family for the holidays. We also played games for hours.

And Gary, was our Christmas dinner pasty enough for you?

Shepherd’s pie

Glazed Carrots

Granny’s white dinner rolls with lemon curd and strawberry jam (homemade)

Cranberry wassail

Don’t you love the colors, too, Gary? I used blue potatoes (grown here on the farm) but when you cook and mash them they turn a pale pinky-purple shade. The red plate, the orange carrots? Perfect match. (We glazed the carrots in cast-iron on the Beast.)

P.S. I agree. Although the pie tasted great, it looked pretty icky.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bambi come home

The most recent issue of Notes From Toad Hall and Critique should be in the mail to people on our mailing list (getting on is no more than a click away)

On the last page I said I would post some photos Anita and I have taken of lawn ornaments around Minnesota this fall and winter. But I’m not sure how to post them here along with my rambling comments, so if you care to see more you’ll need to go to Facebook.

Here’s one pic along with my remarks from the last page of Notes:

Final Notes (Holiday Issue 2009)

If you exit a city or town anywhere in Minnesota and drive through the countryside on a slow road in minutes you’ll spot cement cows lounging in a front yard, or deer poised watching the field, or black silhouettes of bears climbing trees. I guess I’ve seen some in town, too. I ridicule lawn ornaments: What? You need to be reminded of what lives in your back yard with tasteless inferior imitations? The same with Christmas decorations. That aesthetic violation is everywhere. Blow up Santas and elves, garish flashing, pulsing lights. While I’m in full-lung cry, I ignore the small exceptions I make for myself: Margie, why the white terns in your garden? Where’s the shore, anyway? And what of that concrete toad sitting among your hostas?

While reading The Architecture of Happiness (see Gift List) I recomposed myself in a way I hope leads to more generous acceptance of rampant yard ornamentation.

Botton thoughtfully observes: “…at its most genuine, the architectural impulse seems connected to a longing for communication and commemoration, a longing to declare ourselves to the world through a register other than words, through the language of objects, colours and bricks: an ambition to let others know who we are – and, in the process, to remind ourselves.” “Breadth of choice leaves us free to determine that particular works of architecture are more or less adequate responses to our genuine psychological needs. We can accept the legitimacy of the rustic style, even if we question the way [tenants of a certain complex] attempted to inject it into their homes. We can condemn the gnomes while respecting the longings which inspired them.”

Applied more broadly, don’t these embellishments tell us that people want to remember that deer are graceful and cows nourish, that they’d like to believe and celebrate a story with a happy ending?

I think I know what’s wanted – the real story with true connections. So this year I’m gonna let my neighbors be and not say a word against their cows or lights. So Peace, Come Emmanuel, Glory and all that beautiful lasting stuff. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the spirit of the season

I was shopping the other day and overheard a woman on her cell. I was intrigued enough to listen for a minute:

"…you should lock them in the bathroom. Chain both of them to the toilet until they’re potty trained.”

"… TORTURE! They’re torturing you. What goes around comes around.”


I was in a fabric store.

I live in Minnesota.

I don't think this is related to anything specific?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Gift List from Toad Hall

This just went up today. It's a tough job picking the books (mostly) that meant most to me in 2009. Lots of good ones left out. I AGONIZE over choice. Denis always tells me to keep a list and work on them throughout the year. Much easier, he says. But I say, why do that when you can leave it until mid-November and then stagger to the office with a mile high stack, and be frantic about scanning covers and writing succinct helpful summaries that aren't pathetic repros of jacket blurbs and give yourself migraines?? No question there.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Am wondering why I’ve broken or damaged so many things lately and when this unusual trend is going to stop. When we were in Chicago on one of our last days there, I went to see Aunt Ruth who was only three days into her new life at the memory care center. (see a previous post) It was dark by the time I drove home through rush hour traffic. And in my defense, I think I was a little teary and a little dreamy thinking about old age and all, and probably not paying as much attention as I should. At one point everyone was gridlocked and stopped at a railroad crossing, I was about three cars back from the track, but still behind the yellow line. Suddenly they all rushed forward and the red lights started flashing and the bell started ding-dinging and you could see a commuter train coming and there I was sitting alone at the head of the line. I thought, “Okay, I’m safe, I think. I’m okay. I’m okay. I’ll just sit here” when I heard a thunk - the gate had come down on my rear and I swear I was BEHIND the yellow line. So what corrupt little official from the IDOT thought up THAT little traffic plan? I sat there and sat there, sweating and writhing, expecting some brutal cop to arrive any second, with the gate resting on my trunk afraid to do ANYthing and thousands of people behind me laughing and looking at my license plates. “Ooooo, she’s from Minnesota. What a moron! Don’t they have TRAINS in Minn-eh-so-da? Could that be Brett FAVRE!” The train looked like it had stopped and I couldn’t stand it any longer so I hit the accelerator and rocketed across in front of it. So, okay, there was a little bump and a scrape. But I didn’t care. I fled hoping I could turn the corner and never see that stupid track or all those stupid people again. When I got back to Marsena’s I snuck out with the flashlight to check the damage. Is it soooo bad if all you did was put a scratch down to the metal that’s maybe, oh, eighteen inches long that can easily be repaired with a little clear nail polish, plus it’s the only scratch you’ve ever put in your fairly new car, not counting the time I backed into a cement girder and tore off the front fender? I don’t think so. And besides, the LAST person to do damage was someone ELSE who won’t be named who backed out of the garage and BROKE OFF the side view mirror. I haven’t done that. I rest my case. And although I was going to confess other things in this post, I’ll just say that I did break my new glass teakettle, which I only had four days, and which I secretly spent a lot of time finding online but not THAT much money, and which looks like I shot it with a tiny bullet, because it’s getting late and I need to go to bed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Held tight

Sunday afternoon. A fir tree is in the stand relaxing its branches and filling the living room with so much fresh pine resin I’m almost comatose. We ran out to a tree lot after church and I chose the second one we banged on the ground. Walked around it and I said, that’s it. I usually take so long looking at so many and I get so tense and confused by this silly little decision that I give up and grab the next one and don’t even notice it is worm-eaten on one side, with a broken tip and crooked trunk. But this one is perfect. The Vikings are kicking Chicago. And so, ya, I complained loudly last August when He signed. Being a capricious, adulterous fan, I now consider Favre my own. I can’t even remember, did he play for the Packers? Anita and I have put candles in all the windows. Denis is unusually chatty. A good day.

In all, a good weekend. We drove those eight hours north to the Canadian border and spent Thanksgiving with our son and daughter-in-law. Love them and their little house bursting with color, canned goods, and the sounds of children. (True, the sounds could be a collapse of desperate howling as easily as laughing. Not unique, hey?) They have a new little one – Ava Lou. She’s only two months old but already knows the most important maxim of life – it is much nicer to be held close in someone’s arms for hours on end than to lie cold and unprotected in a crib. Much nicer.

On Wednesday night we arrived in time to watch Anson at hockey practice, which is serious business up there. Although he can’t manage an upright side-scrape stop, (falling down and hitting the boards works for now) he skates with such fierce enthusiasm

it’s scary.

We didn’t eat the turkey on the big day. The only turkeys were the decorated cupcakes Micah made for the kids. It was pig and fish for us. Jerem deep-fried fresh walleye – nothing like it - and grilled a porketta roast. It’s an odd thing that the few Italians who settled up there long ago and are almost extinct now left behind a tradition of deboning and rolling a pork roast in so much garlic and spice you could smell my breath from the far end of the Metrodome. Micah made the rest of the meal – all good, but her bread. Give her flour and yeast and she will turn it to gold. I guess I did do the apple cranberry pie. Oh. And Denis did the olive cheese plate. All good.

Got home last night and we plan to stay put forever. Not leaving home again. Ever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where am I

Past three weeks. For five years Marsena’s been caring for The Great Aunt, almost 89, and she can’t do it anymore. Her margins are gone. Plus she needs to find work. Denis and I have been here now almost a month. Helping make decisions. We’re so grateful there’s a beautiful memory care place The Aunt loves – she’s been there for respite care and can’t say enough good about it. The food! The comfort! The staff! Alzheimer’s makes you look at someone you know and love and even though you tell yourself this is not the person she used to be, nor is it the person she will be someday, you still get heart-sick, worried, even annoyed and you hate like anything to get drawn into petty arguments and corrections about whatever and yet you do. Or at least, I have. In my head, anyway, I’ve told her off. Sorry.

Day before yesterday. It’s time to move to assisted care. AR is angry and terrified. Any kind of change has always been a phobic catalyst. In these later stages of Alzheimer’s it’s worse. She’s lost the ground of who she is and what she can do. She’s saying dreadful things about Marsena. Doesn’t want to see her again. Threatening to have her “agents” on the east coast rescue her. She wants to go back to Mass. She HATES Autumn Leaves. She doesn’t want to see anyone. Her heart is broken, ours, too. We haven’t found ways to comfort her. Sorting through the remainder of her things is sad. The accumulation of possessions – how they’re too much at the end of life. But perhaps this is inevitable even when you clarify and eliminate, there’s still stuff. The staff at Autumn Leaves are saying give time, give time. Transition sometimes takes a few weeks. We hope so, we hope so.

Yesterday. Watching the Vikings play. Ah, love that Brett. Denis is under an afghan and drinking coffee. Marsena is downstairs doing a little work on the apartment, it helps her to be busy. We’ll be helping with more of that tomorrow. Denis is feeling worse today, sadder. I’m better, so that’s good.

Today. When I’m sick with a bad cold I drown in hot lemon tea with honey, so soothing. Today Psalm 103 is lemon honey. God’s love: forgives, heals, redeems, crowns with love and compassion, satisfies, works righteousness, justice, is great, from everlasting to everlasting. Praise for the soul. Praise for God. Haven’t seen The Aunt for three days, the staff advised letting her settle in first. We pray and pray.

Later. I went for the first visit. I'm scared. I observed her a moment, watching her in a comfy chair, her feet up, watching TV with others, (something none of us could do all day, which annoyed her no end). I saw her laugh. When I touched her, she looked up and beamed, “I was praying someone would come by to cheer me, and here you are! Where’s Marsena?!”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Port Grim, Tasmania

I was deeply interested by the contrasts in this BBC news report, and the inexplicable, unpredictable response of humans. It seems there is a question to be asked: what explains or predicts human happiness? Can one be “happy” in a poisonous environment? Obviously, yes. I love clean air and pure water and think I can’t live without it, but perhaps we need exuberance, human laughter, shared community more than a perfect atmosphere?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaving. Leafing?

After days of rain and gray and even a day in which four inches of snow fell last week, (it’s all melted now) the sun has made the trees on our street blaze with glory. In a strange letting go the above maple tree often drops all its leaves at once. On a windless day in less than three hours it can cover everything beneath it with a layer of radiant yellow. I marvel every time and Denis and I yell at each other to COME LOOK! Then the tree recedes to gray to dead black for winter. Until one day in March, or maybe April, we will waken and notice what didn’t seem to be there just the day before, the faintest haze of color, a sort of burgundy from thousands of buds that wakened while we slept, and then we realize they were sneaking up on us, resting, growing all the while.

Denis has been in Lake Zurich for a week staying with our daughter and Aunt Ruth. I’m going to them tomorrow, hoping to bring a bit of “home” with me. It’s been a hard week with unwelcome sorrows for them. What am I saying? Is sorrow ever welcome? It’s during such times, even though I reject the prosperity gospel, I’m most tempted to pray that God will bring health, wealth, and personal happiness to our immediate family and everyone I love. But in countless ways I’ve found this to be not the pattern or desire God has in mind for us. Again and again, God comes to us in the wilderness, when things look dead or dying, when we are without hope or a way forward, he comes saying, I am your “hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place.” And as if all this comfort is not enough, and in case we don’t really GET it: He ends with, to you I’ll be “like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” (Is. 32:2) It fascinates me that each of these scenes represent precarious, uncertain, life-sucking, unwelcoming places. So we turn to Him certain, that in our own sinful and saddened dispositions we will find shelter and hope, and it may not be the kind of shelter or rescue we expect, but we keep reminding ourselves that one day, one day, everything will be restored to the glory God intended for it to have. Just like that maple tree that is fiercely blazing its heart out my window today. Only, it’ll be forever. I like that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Insect invasion

Thanks everyone for tips on getting rid of fruit flies. We tried the plastic bag with mashed fruit, but the flies didn’t want to get in there. The overturned slightly propped up glass dish with a bit of bait underneath attracted a few, but transferring the flies to a killing field without losing them was too much for me. Obviously, the funnel and jar was a bust. Someone suggested a can of cheap beer mixed with detergent - the soap breaks the surface tension so when their little feet hit the liquid they are just sucked right in and quickly drown. That was the trigger. I’ve seen how they love red wine, the little drunken sots. So instead of beer, I just poured the wine in a glass, added a squirt of detergent, and it worked. I sent dozens and dozens of flies to their graves. It’s over now, anyway. The weather is cold and they have disappeared.

It’s probably some other kind of cosmic justice that made me feel a tickle under the sleeve of my shirt the other day. Thinking my nerve ends were a little jumpy, I scratched. A few seconds later, again, a sensation like tiny feet running up my arm. Then something pinched me hard. That's when I knew it was no nerve end. A bug was crawling around inside my sleeve. Screaming, I threw my shirt off in the living room, not caring about anything except salvation from the creepy thing that was biting me. I know Denis thinks I’m totally crazy, and was glad it was only the two of us. I ran upstairs and shook out my shirt over the bathtub and an EARWIG fell out. It BIT me with its ugly dangerous pincers. I KNEW it. I forced myself to pick it up in a tissue, squeeze it to death and I took it back to show Denis. I made him look because even though he said he believed me, I knew he didn’t. And there it was.

I’m glad I don’t know any state secrets, cuz if threatened with earwigs, cockroaches or centipedes I would tell all and not be sorry.

Friday, October 9, 2009

"The Scent of Slow"

Today this arrived in my inbox. I'd almost forgotten that I'd written it and when it came, I read it again almost as if I didn't know the author or remember that fine quote from C.S. Lewis. Comment is a weekly on-line (and print) magazine aimed at this generation of students, but appreciated by a much wider audience. It is published by Cardus, a Canadian think tank. Go here to figure out why they'd include my voice among artists, scholars, and professionals of one sort or another. Perhaps I fit their desire to "integrate the broad wisdom of the biblical narrative of brokenness and restoration." If so, I'm humbled and honored to be among them and to dialogue with this generation of college and graduate students.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Fall is really here. I know because this week the population of fruit flies in our kitchen has multiplied to desert sandstorm levels. I can’t approach the sink unless I have a kerchief tied around my face to keep from breathing the little devils. Denis is really aroused by them and has been trying to erect little killing stations. Last night he had an inch of red wine (why not since they’ve been diving in and drowning themselves in droves) in a wine glass covered with a piece of press and stick plastic wrap with a tiny hole punched in the top. On my last check before bed I noted they weren’t finding their way in so I set up a trap with an old kitchen funnel. That didn’t work either because the aluminum funnel was dinged and bent from years of banging around in the utensil drawer. Why do I keep it? Well, you never know when you might need to pour a bottle of almond extract into a teeny jar. Okay. I don’t know! I threw away three garlic presses last year. Anyway, the funnel didn’t fit tight to the rim of the jar and they flew in, drank and laid eggs and did whatever fruit flies do and then crawled out. This morning there was only one fly floating in wine. Denis was again, quite agitated and sensing I might be embarrassed if some important person stopped by and choked on flies. He doesn’t seem to be aware that every one I know and respect doesn’t take out the garbage every other second or pour bleach down the disposal ten times a day or keep a toothbrush from air drying in the bathroom (that’s where they hung out last year, and I agree it’s a little sick), well then if you’re like me in October you’re going to have fruit flies. But anyway, Denis was rigging up another system and this time he found a larger funnel made of plastic (no dings, still smooth, kept in case of need to siphon cider vinegar from bathtub to gallon jug) and decided he remembered I used mashed banana bait a long time ago. (I must have 20 frozen bananas in the freezer waiting for inspiration) So, banana mixed with red wine, a funnel, jar, plastic wrap. Last check: two drowned, one swimming, one crawling, one thousand sitting on sink, sill, and stove.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Living with blind spots

It is no longer “OFFICAL.” It’s been fixed and it was so easy. I just let our webmaster know and he changed it. He took the word out. So look at the top of the page. You are reading “The Blog of Notes From Toad Hall.”

My daughter-in-law sent a message the other day. Subject: “call me dumb.” (No, she’s not dumb. Nor am I. I don’t think…)

“So, I was looking at your blog today and something has always looked a little funny to me. I finally figured it out today. In your title the word "official". You have it spelled “offical.” Is that an alternate spelling or intentional? More curious than anything.”

That would be “ah-fickle” rhymes with “ah-pickle.” Why has no one told me til now? For almost two years?! (See how I can make this your fault?) This has to be a case of the brain seeing what it wants to see. I think it’s also called scotoma or blind spots.

I prefer to think it has nothing to do with stupidity, but I can’t be sure of that. I’m uncertain because it is rare when I notice my own impairments and personal flaws. It’s shocking to be told, you are frowning. No I’m not. You are. I don’t feel frowny. I’m not frowning. So I sneak a look at myself when I’m not looking and sure enough. That’s my default pose. But I can explain, it’s just my serious concentrating look, I’m not mad at you.

Every Sunday we are led through confession. During that part of the service, I try to be present – though I can drift off, thinking about who knows what – maybe we should ask Ron if we can borrow his live squirrel trap, or some other weird thing – and suddenly, arrgh, I’ve missed that part of the service altogether. But when I stay present sifting my heart, listening and looking, not only for the OBVIOUS, but for blind spots - I know it’s not quite the same as letting the webmaster know there is a misspelling in the title of your blog, but, okay, there’s some faint connection - that in talking to God about all the stuff I do that I can’t even name cuz I’m not even in touch with it (lurking as it does in my blind spot) God can and DOES have enough mercy to spread over me. I’m relieved that even in my know-nothing condition, I don’t need to completely despair or obsess about it - I have forgiveness and confidence in the mercy of God. I’ve learned it from coming back again and again to this piece of knowing Jesus:

“Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we

may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Through this window

I like to think who lives behind that window, and that shade, and that one and that one and it takes about fifteen seconds and a knock on the head to stop that kind of mental hashish. Where we live, a small Midwestern city, there are 2,454 people per square mile so it’s a conceivable pastime. Out this way, Manhattan, for example, has the highest population density of any city in the US at 66,940.1 people per square mile. That was in 2002. Looking down from the top of the Rockefeller Center jams my brain.

While on vacation I try to maintain some bits of reading here and there for sake of nourishment and grounding. Jerram Barrs’ Through His Eyes is doing that for me. Are you with me yet? It’s okay if you’re not.

I was thinking about the stories behind all those windows. It’s good we don’t know them all, being finite and what not and came to this:

The story of Tamar is a shocking story, but events like these in her story happen every day in all of our cities, in every country on the face of this earth. Some of the people involved in these shocking events are Christian believers, and yet God does not abandon them. Each one of us who reads Tamar’s story knows that we have made choices and done things to other people that have been seriously wrong, and yet God has not turned away from us. The truth is that God has no other people to love and to honor – and to forgive than people who are sinners.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Hudson

Today our plans were ruined by Ahmadinejad. Well sort of. Circle Line must have known as we headed up the Hudson past the Statue, Ground Zero toward the UN Building that we’d be turned back by the Coast Guard because of high security. We had decided to take the three hour harbor cruise around the island of Manhattan. I liked that. Getting the Big Picture. Well, Big-ger. Sometimes I’m handicapped by little parts. I like Big Pictures, that’s why when we see a Miramax movie, I always poke Denis and say, I like that when the skyline of Manhattan lights up.

I’ve never been close to the Statue and like a lot of things in real life she’s bigger and more beautiful. As we approached the United Nations we could see that all along the river the East highway had been shut down, and then a smallish boat with a gun mounted on its bow approached to turn us back. I said she didn’t look very threatening could we just go on, but John pointed out she had a lot of friends with bigger guns who could be there in seconds and who were. Capable of. To get in our three hours of paid tour the captain back-tracked and took us the other way up to the north end of Manhattan where, due to the Rockefellers having purchased all the land, you can get an idea of the green hills and palisades that used to exist that Henry Hudson fell in love with centuries ago. We also passed the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge and John told us that his grandmother used to live just up the hill and swam there as a young woman.

John just looked up Ahmadinejad’s speech and if you didn’t have a context for him and his words, you could agree with quite a bit of it.Very weird.

Monday, September 21, 2009

On belay

I dribbled dressing on my clean white shirt. Comment has asked me to write more columns. John has made deviled eggs. Even piped in the filling! Denis brought me a pillow. The dog laid her head on my lap and licked my face. We have a new granddaughter. Kelly sent a beautiful poem by Lucy Shaw. Everything is making me cry. And am sorry I haven’t posted more. I think I need this vacation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Toad Hall Breakfast

Breakfast in bed this morning. Denis tea, me coffee. I made us a piece of cinnamon toast and Denis has gone back to sleep, not feeling so well today. The air of quiet on a Saturday morning, having decided to skip Farmer’s Market today as we’ll only be in town through Wednesday…just rent by someone who happens by nearly every morning and stands in our yard below our bedroom window and yells across our fence to Jane, who must be renting a room next door JANE, JANE, JANE, WAKE UP! JANE, I’VE BROUGHT YOU BREAKFAST!

Last night a friend gave me a copy of The Wind in the Willows Country Cookbook and I was reminded of how often Kenneth Grahame refers to the blessing of friendship and the sharing of meals.

It was, indeed, the most beautiful stew in the world, being made of partridges, and pheasants, and chickens, and hares and rabbits, and peahens, and guinea-fowls, and one or two other things. Toad took the plate on his lap, almost crying, and stuffed, and stuffed, and stuffed ... He thougth that he had never eaten so good a breakfast in all his life.

- The Wind in the Willows -

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Those neo-Mexican supper recipies

Okay. I got enough strokes so now I'm posting.

Cucumber-yogurt with Pepperoncini

This recipe was in the current issue of Food & Wine magazine and rather than writing the whole thing out, you can LINK to it. Clever me, duh. Honest, this is so refreshingly good, I’d like to make another batch right now. We reduced the dill. I’m no buttermilk drinker, but in this recipe no one knows they’re spooning up buttermilk. Left over buttermilk, even if it’s pretty sour and undrinkable, is great for pancakes or biscuits.

Stuffed Poblanos

Poblanos are consistently milder and cuz they’re kinda fat. Easier to stuff, but you can use Anaheims also. Then they’re called Chile Rellonos.

5-10 roasted peppers. Go to this site for instructions on roasting or charring. Only, sweat them in a paper bag, not plastic. And if you rinse them under water to help skin, be sure to dry them off before cooking. Another thing - if you do a larger batch you can freeze the extra for later use.

Monterrey Jack cheese – 8 – 12 oz.

Dry the roasted poblanos with a paper towel. Make a small slit on side to remove some of the seeds and ribbing. Tuck a triangle of cheese in the slit. Roll in flour to dust outside. Don’t worry if the “slit” becomes more of a gaping hole. Just kind of wrap the flesh around the cheese and dip them in batter one by one, using your fingers, place on a saucer and slip into ½ inch hot oil in a frying pan. Sauté until golden, turn, about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Eat SOON.


3-4 eggs, separated

1 – 2 T water

3 T flour

¼ t. salt

Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Beat yolks with water, flour, salt until thick and creamy.

Fold whites into yolks.

Tomato and Mint Salad with Pomegranate Dressing.

Yeah! Go to Epicurious for this recipe. Really great company for this menu.

Lazy Flat Enchiladas like my Hispanic Neighbor Taught Me

1 lb ground beef, browned

1 pkg corn tortillas

1 small onion, chopped

1 can green chile (or use fresh, add jalapenos if you want heat)

2 cans cream of chicken soup (Horrors! Sometimes I have stock and can make my own.)

1 can water

1 lb grated mild c

heddar cheese.

1 large casserole dish, oiled

Mix soup and water in shallow dish.

Assemble like this:

1. Dip tortillas in soup one at a time and place in a single layer. Tear them in ½ to make fit, if needed.

2. Sprinkle layer with 2 T ground beef.

3. 1 T. or so of raw onion

4. 1-2 T green chile

5. A little grated cheese.

Repeat until you fill

the casserole. I usually get about 3-4 layers. Pour any remaining soup over the top. Finish with cheese. Bake 350 oven for 30 minutes or until it bubbles.

Café Flan (I could eat this all day, but I’m a Christian. You know?)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

6 T. sugar

¼ t. salt

1 t. vanilla

2 T. instant coffee or espresso (okay, just so you know, this is about the only form of instant coffee that ever passes my lips, and it keeps forever)

3 c. milk, scalded. (about 3-4 minutes in microwave?)

6 T. Kahlua

Whipped cream (Do NOT use COOL WHIP!!)

In mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, coffee, and vanilla. Mix. Gradually add hot milk, stir like heck, Pour mixture into 6 custard cups. Place in pan of hot water and bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until slightly firm. Cool to room temp or chill if you make it a day ahead. To serve, spoon liqueur over flan and top with whipped cream.

Source: Simply Simpatico cookbook