Breakfast Boredom

For a couple of months, I’ve been bored with my breakfast choices. How could this be? I have majored in breakfast recipes, and I have all kinds of choices besides my recipes. I have cereal in the cupboard. I have oatmeal. I have cottage cheese and yogurt and all kinds of fruit available. Nothing excites me.

As you know, I like sweet stuff for breakfast. Scones, muffins, pancakes, etc. All low-fat and sugar free, of course. So when the boredom started creeping in, I thought about switching to savory for a while. And then Helen posted her breakfast casserole recipe. Turns out I had all the ingredients in the house, except I had bacon instead of sausage. So I tried it. I ate it once for breakfast. It was really really good. But I didn’t like it for breakfast. It turned into a lunch item for me. This kind of recipe is really good, because it gives you the basic proportions of things to make it really tasty, but you can vary the add ins. I did add a few mushrooms to it.

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Maybe its okay to not be excited about breakfast. Maybe its part of getting older. I’m not as hungry in the morning as I used to be. I’m experimenting with just having my coffee, and then having breakfast a little later.

Okay, its not in the breakfast department, but I tried another new-to-me recipe, and I LOVED it. It was via Biz’s blogwon ton soup. I used to love won ton soup. This was another recipe that is so useful because it gives you the basic ingredients/proportions, and again, you can vary the ingredients. To me it was just the right taste–a delicate flavored soup, with plenty of hearty ingredients. I used broccoli, and I couldn’t find the mini pot stickers (I thought it was brilliant to use pot stickers for the won tons,) so I got regular sized ones at the stores. I just did my own math, and made three big dinner sized servings for myself. They came out to 225 calories each.

Tonight I am going to try Biz’s idea of lasagna soup. This time I’m just using the basic idea/proportions, and doing my own thing–making my Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce as the base, and adding chicken stock to make it soup. Then I am going to use my edamame noodles (I’m determined to find a good use for those!) and I will just top it with some mozzarella cheese. This can’t help but be yummy.

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A Ridiculously Early Spring

We usually have one warm week in February. I look forward to that, because traditionally that is when I can give the big dirty dog a bath. This year, pretty much the whole month has been warm. As a result, this is the earliest I can remember having blooms in the garden. And the dog has not been washed yet. Having some water pressure difficulties in the new “wet studio.”

The violets are always the first sign of spring.

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The paperwhites have come and gone, and now these little cluster daffodils are blooming.

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This is the Henry Lauder Walking Stick. Its putting on a good show this year. It always has something interesting going on with it.

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The first camellia. At least the first one that the Queen has not eaten.

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The forsythia. It might look a little sparse, but I am very proud of this bush. It was one of the first things I planted when I moved here (almost 30 years ago!) and it was in complete shade. So by the time we moved it a couple of years ago, it had about given up. It has made a good comeback, and I am excited to know that it will thrive in its new place.

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The bridal veil bush is showing off before the flowering almond!

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And hyacinths and larger daffodils are starting to make an appearance.

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MLG was here yesterday and cleaned up all the debris from the big windstorm we had last week. With it looking so tidy, I am encouraged to go out and do some more weeding and clean up. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tidepools

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In the past month, tide pools have become a common theme in my current artwork. How did this happen, I wondered? One piece started out as an “improv” color work rug, and then turned into a stylized tide pool. The other was a small quilt originally inspired by someone’s outer space art! As I worked on it, I realized that it was more tide pool than outer space. Both were projects that I took with me on my recent trip to Anaheim.

 

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This is the second year we have gone to Anaheim, and the second time we have visited Crystal Cove before the rug hooking retreat started.

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Thanks to encouragement from my rug hooking friend, Mary Lynn, I even rolled up my jeans and got my feet wet, walking cautiously over the rocks.

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Crystal Cove seems like a place where you step back in time. It is clean and not over crowded. And if you walk down the beach away from the restaurant and the cabins, you come to the tide pools.

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The water is so clear, you can see the little hermit crabs scurrying along the bottom of the pool.

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When my brother, sister, and I were kids, our dad would occasionally take us to the tide pools. Of course, they were different tide pools, since we lived in Northern California, and Crystal Cove is in Southern California. The tide pools were magical–little microcosms of the sea, full of all kinds of interesting sea life–sea anemones, the occasional starfish or sea urchin, and of course, my favorite, the hermit crabs. I loved our trips to the tide pools.

The more I work on my projects, the more I am reminded of, and enjoy, one of the best memories of my childhood. Taking us to the tide pools didn’t cost my dad anything except his time. Which, looking back, was a very costly and precious gift. My dad was a junior high principal, and on Sunday he usually taught Sunday School and/or preached. To give up his one day off was a very big thing. But it didn’t cost money.

It saddens me when I see parents spending money they don’t have because they think it is the only way to show their kids they care. Its just not true. We were not deprived as kids. We had the occasional trip to Disneyland and other more expensive vacation destinations. But 50 plus years later, our trips to the magical tide pools are still giving me wonder-filled memories, and enhancing my artistic endeavors.

Looking forward to our day at Crystal Cove next year, when new memories will bring back old memories.

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P.S. Thank you to Mary Lynn, for sharing her wonderful photography with me.

 

Happenings

Lots has been happening. Life goes on, even when I don’t blog about it. Here’s a picturama of the past month.

I just returned from a fabulous trip to Southern California. Being a Northern California girl through and through, I am not a fan of driving to southern California. But man, it sure is fun to be down there for a week, wearing flip flops and t-shirts! I went for a week with my rug hooking friend, Mary Lynn, to a “California Getaway” rug hooking retreat.

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Mary Lynn and I go a day early, so we can visit Crystal Cove (where the beach cottage from the movie “Beaches” is located!) We sit in the cafe and eat beignets and watch the ocean. This year we saw a whale!!

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We stayed in the Ayres Hotel, which I thoroughly recommend, and took a shuttle each day to Gene Shepherd’s studio, where we hooked and designed, and were surrounded by beautiful color and inspiration for four days. Gene’s wife, Marsha, is a wonderful cook, and we had delicious lunches served each day. We have already signed up to attend next year.

The “wall of wool.”

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Gene teaching a dying technique:

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Earlier in the month, between rain storms, a new project was underway. J. the contractor was coming back to run the electricity underground from the house to the dog room. MLG had the great idea to add a water line, so I would have a hose up at that end of the yard. MLG got nominated to dig the ditch, which is no easy chore, since the ground here is mostly made up of rocks and roots.

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The dogs were most interested in the new project.

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And the beginning of a new renovation project. This is the old “laundry dungeon.” Its just a small room, about 6’X15′, added on to the side of the house. I don’t know what the original purpose was–probably just a storage room, but at some point the people I rented from added a washer and dryer. The walls were never finished, so all those exposed beams meant there were lots of places for spiders to build their webs. And since I am afraid of spiders, I only knocked down those webs maybe once every two years. Thus, the laundry dungeon.

Anyway, I thought it would have to be demolished when J. the contractor did all that work on my house. The siding and the door were rotting, and there was a huge tree stump growing into the side of it! But he said it could be salvaged, so it will be a “wet studio,” where I can do my dying, and also have a tub for washing the little girls. It will even have a stove for when I need to dye wool. And lots and lots of shelves for storage.

This is a picture after it had been cleaned up a bit, and some work had already been done on it. We added a big 3’X4′ window that I saved from the house re-do, and I also saved the old kitchen cabinet and the leftover granite from the new kitchen!

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This is just a meal I had sometime during the month. But very yummy, so thought I would share. a turkey burger with enough lettuce and tomatoes for each bite. And rutabaga “fries” (baked) with a bit of BBQ dipping sauce.

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Cute dog laying down:

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Cute dog sitting up:

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Getting as close to my lap as possible:

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Miss Bess has not been feeling well lately. She has a probable herniated disk, and is on steroids, muscle relaxers, and pain medication. Hopeful that this will do the trick.

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Yesterday, in the yard. Noah keeping a close eye on the suspicious neighbors up the road:

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And one camellia still blooming!

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Queen Sophie was giving me the evil eye for not including her in this post, so I took a picture of her–she stole Bess’s perch this morning.

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As always, on returning from a trip, I am so happy to get back to “food as normal.” Shopped on Sunday for mostly vegetables and fruit, and yesterday morning I had a marathon cooking session. Surprised even myself. I started out making my “Fabulous Quinoa Breakfast.” Then I started a batch of yogurt. Since I had the milk out, I decided to make some SF chocolate pudding. And then, I decided to go ahead and make the broccoli salad for lunch. And THEN, since I was still in the kitchen, I thought, what the heck, and a made up a batch of taco meat. Half went into the freezer for future taco salads, and the other half I added corn, tomatoes, and onions to, and made some taco soup.

I haven’t made it back to the gym yet, but I am doing my PT exercises and got out for a long walk with Noah and Chloe yesterday. If you want to see more of what I did at my rug hooking retreat, check my other blog!