Musing with Max

Musing with Max

January 26, 2014

A Winter's Tale

I've always liked winter. Have never been one of those people who get all depressed when the temperatures start to drop and just dream about the return of Summer and think about palm trees and beaches. You'd think I would be, considering that I grew up in Miami where it is always Summer. Yet that was the problem, it was always the same. There is a rare day here and there during the winter months when the temperatures might plummet to 50F or some such horror and then the residents go crazy, pull out the heavy coat and proceed to complain all day long...for that one day because the next day it's back to 80F. So when I moved to the Northeast I was ecstatic, I was going to get four seasons which are very well defined here and as far as I'm concerned, make the world go round, there's always a change. At first I especially looked forward to Winter, I could wear beautiful coats, scarves, hats, gloves, boots...and Winters here are pretty temperate, it's not New England. Except for this year. Single digit temperatures day after day after day for practically the entire month of January with strong winds which brings it into the minus category, and snow, snow, snow. Everywhere I look
I see this.

It's a blinding sea of white,

yes, beautiful but enough already. I'm tired of wearing my clunky snow boots and trying not to slip on the ice.
Not to mention the getup I throw on every morning to walk Max in 8 F weather, not to mention Max's misery at having to wear this
and the way his paws hurt when he walks on the ice

because he doesn't have any booties, at least not yet. So what to do to cure those Winter blues...I know, make soup

Mushroom Barley, adapted by me.

Soak some dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes, chop coarsely and set aside. Saute some chopped onion in bacon fat until translucent, add about 1/2 cup of barley, shaking the pan around until coated with the fat. Add 4 cups of broth (any kind) or water and cook covered until the barley is tender, about one hour, Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt & pepper, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of cream depending on how thick you want it to be. Heat through, eat and warm up.

Then finish it off with some hot chocolate made with chocolate from Spain.

and stare out the window at the turkeys on the front lawn.

Bring on February!

January 20, 2014

In the beginning....

Leave it to Jane. As we Were.

Me at 6 months, my Mom was worried about my hair...or lack of. No prob in the eating department, obviously. I was an 8 lb. preemie, according to her she spit me out, same story for my brother who was also a preemie...or maybe her doctor couldn't count so well. Either way, look at that nose. And yes I had pierced ears, they were done on day's a Cuban thing.

January 13, 2014

Forever Flowers in the House

Sometime back I wrote about my aunt and her talent and love of gardening. That, however wasn't her only talent. She was also very crafty in many other ways. She loved to draw, embroider, made quilts, refinished furniture, sewed and made all manner of artsy crafty stuff. When I got married and you were still allowed to throw rice at the newlyweds to send them on their way she made this:

What is this you ask? It is a rosebud made out of satin, inside this rosebud was a little pouch made of tulle which was filled with rice and meticulously folded and tucked into the rosebud, she made hundreds of them (well, maybe 100, I had a small wedding) and filled several baskets with them and placed them throughout our house where we held our reception. When Frank and I were making our exit, she handed everyone a rose, once it was thrust forward the pouch would open and out came the rice. It was such a hit that she was asked to do it for a myriad of weddings afterwards. Since she was such an avid gardener and loved flowers so much, a lot of her projects involved flowers which she would dry in any way she could think of. Here is what she did as a remembrance with our wedding invitation,

which hangs on my bedroom wall. When Jane announced that the FITH party was on for this Monday I thought; Hmmm, I'd like to attend but I have no flowers in the house. With all the storms, snow, sleet, ice, rain, wind and plummeting temperatures there is absolutely nothing out there, the stores have slim pickings and my yearly Christmas poinsettia turned into a spindly nothing very quickly. But then I remembered, I have my aunt's and my mother's books!

in which I will always find flowers, so there are always flowers in this house.

January 5, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside

Winter has hit with a vengeance. We've had significant snowfall several times already accompanied by plummeting temperatures all making for quite the winter wonderland.

Which makes Max think about going outside even though he is properly outfitted

but when you gotta go, you gotta go

and go

and go

until I pull him back in because I'm freezing out here. Luckily these days we are able to work remotely, so on Friday morning when we woke up and looked outside at the several inches which had already accumulated

as it continued to come down steadily covering everything in sight

we thought it best to stay indoors and work from home sweet home.

This turned out to be a bit of a day off to some extent, for me anyway. Frank is a programmer, he has his computer with him all the time and all his "stuff" that he needs to work with is in it. I on the other hand am an office administrator which translates into running around the office administrating. Yes, there's a lot of things I can do on my computer from home but not a lot. So while I sit there monitoring my emails and taking random calls from others who are working remotely and are equally almost taking a day off I do other things. Like what you ask. Well for one, I redesigned my blog, because as cute as the little paw print background was I felt it was time we showed a little more grownup sophistication and a little less clutter. So back and forth I go trying this trying that trying the other thing, changing Max's picture, the background, the font, the background again, the layout, the width, the layout again, the background; and on and on until I've run out of ideas...and I think I'm satisfied. Opinions please? Unless they're negative, then keep them to yourselves thank you. Then 3:00 PM comes around which means time to sign off, I'm officially done for the day. Hmmm, think I'll take down the Christmas tree because even though I always like to leave it up until epiphany on January 6th this year it falls on a Monday which means a whole other week before I can take it down and frankly, it is starting to wilt and I need to get all this stuff out of here and put away. So I very methodically remove all the ornaments, beads, lights and put them in their little boxes, Frank comes down and hauls the thing out the front door while trying not to kill himself on the slippery snow covered porch and steps. We sweep up the tons of pine needles which I'm sure I'll be finding until June and it's time for dinner.

Short Ribs stew, adapted by me.

Take about 8 short ribs, season with salt, pepper and some Herb's de Provence

brown an all sides in some olive oil. While the meat is browning chop up an onion, mince some garlic and cut a couple of carrots into chunks. Remove the meat as it browns onto a plate. Saute the onion, garlic and carrots in the same pot adding more olive oil if needed. Once the vegetables have softened a bit add a tablespoon of tomato paste, stir into the vegetables and return the meat to the pot. Pour enough beef broth to cover the meat and bring it to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for a couple of hours until the beef is tender and falling off the bone and the sauce has thickened

Make some polenta

Serve stew over polenta

and get ready for wild card weekend.

Colts 45, Chiefs 44! Yes!