Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrating first family engagement!

Katie and Rich ~ Katie's graduation at Middlebury, '09
 My niece is engaged!  I'm eating it all up like it's my own engagement again...and spending a lot of time with my sister Ellen, (Katie's Mom)... makes it even "more real"!  I remember when she first met her now fiance, Rich... (Katie was all of 16, I think) ~ she told me he was a male version of herself???  Seeing them date since Sophomore year in high school, through college, backpacking in Europe, and now both in DC planning the next stage of their life (career, school, etc.) - they took their budding romance to the next level, and so happy that's where it is for now, not planning a wedding - just happy to be engaged and enjoying the thrill of their commitment and current (pick list) status!!! 
Welcome to the family Rich,  we truly are enjoying your engagement, too!
I LOVE this fun picture of Katie and Rich!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SMILE... "Your on Candid Camera"!

Candid  Camera... I can't help but automatically think of my sister Sheila and how we would laugh till we cried at this show... and the funniest was explaining an episode to others, the words could not get out of our mouths without laughing SO HARD.  Sorry, but "America's Funniest Home Video's" just does not cut it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Having a husband home...

Phil's been out of work due to a shoulder injury, similar injury to a rotator cuff - it's been oh so painful and he is NOT good with too much time on his hands.... and it NOT being fly fishing season (although he's fished through the cold of winter many times, but won't dare with his injury)... he's had to find other projects he can do in between PT!   His recent project - I'm just thrilled with... converting our VHS tapes into DVD's! Not only do they take up such less space, I'm thrilled to have them organized on DVD's! Our first... our wedding video! BTW... having been married almost 24 years, you can't imagine how many people have passed away since our wedding! Lot's of Gene as a baby...

He's also doing other projects... playing a lot on his guitar, organizing his music files... as I said, it's very strange to have him "home" so much...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Harry For Hire!

Forever grateful for a great friend (can't say old... long time) who worked for 3 days and did an amazing job in our kitchen ...
I'm endorsing Harry, who lives locally and I can't imagine any construction job he can't do!

Harry with my folks!
Let me also include that my step-father, 75 years young worked with Harry for 3 days, and 2 days prior...  after years of volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and many other electrical, plumbing and construction projects, he is simply amazing!  Mom in the middle... tirelessly organized, cleaned, and kept the crew in shape... The kitchen is under way, in a few weeks time the counters will be installed! 
Thank you everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project Kitchen...

I'm NOT good about some change, or disruption... so having a new kitchen being installed is way more stressful for me than most... although the end result will be worth it! Doing the demolition with over 2 feet of snow outside does not make it any easier either...but once it's out the door, it's just curb side trash!!! Growing up we were ALWAYS doing something at home, there was always a project going on - maybe it brings back memories... but nothing happens without going through the process of a mess... We're excited and grateful, but in the interim, my nice Sunday meals are put on "hold" - I mean, look - NO STOVE!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bereavement Protocol...

I've been to many Shiva visits, Jewish Funerals and many wakes and Christian Funerals (primarily Irish Wakes).  I find myself going into "auto pilot" on the correct custom and bereavement protocol... my husband is Jewish, he seems to know protocol at Christian wakes too... but it took us both some adjusting. At one of my first Jewish funerals, I brought flowers, having no idea it's not a Jewish custom, in fact it's never observed, they don't believe in cutting something "alive" to honor someone dead. The tradition for flowers in a Christian funeral home was from years ago before it was standard to embalm a body and the flowers were to help disguise odor from a decaying body. Of course that is not the situation anymore, but the expensive and elaborate flower arrangements are expected. My husband is still not comfortable to go up to an open casket, the Jewish faith never has an open casket, and their casket is generally a simple pine box, no screws, nothing elaborate. If you've ever been to a house when they are sitting Shiva, you'll frequently notice the mirrors are covered, the primary reason is because prayer services take place there and one must ensure that no one faces a mirror during prayer. The other reason is to emphasize that a mourner avoids vanity during the Shiva, focusing on their loved one rather than themselves during this period.

I just came from a Shiva visit tonight, it's comforting to go to the home of the recently deceased and greet the family, I'm as comfortable doing it as going to a funeral home -  different customs and protocol interest me, I'm forever learning and feel comfort when different religions bring people together vs. a wedge from threat or indifference.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ina's "Potato-Fennel Gratin"

One thing I love about being stranded home during a snow storm is getting to watch some of my favorite shows.... Food Network for sure and Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite... She just made "Potato-Fennel Gratin"

It's a must to make soon, if I had the ingredients now, it would be started...
Thank you, Ina! 
When the roads are clear...I'm out getting the ingredients!

Potato-Fennel Gratin ~ 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

2 small fennel bulbs
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 pounds russet potatoes (4 large potatoes)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (1/2 pound)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.
Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.
Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


You either love it or not... let's face it, it does not look all that appetizing, army green colored food is usually not so pretty.
I think it's the reason I cook a ham, so the bone can be made into soup... ham, a popular food around Christmas and New Years always lends itself to a delicious pea soup - and a shortage of finding dry peas in the store! I'm cooking a pot right now, first of the season, house smells delicious and with some crusty bread ~  OH. SO. GOOD.