Really?

I rarely, if ever, rant about anything in this blog.  In fact I have made a point of not delving into politics or religion on-line.  My beliefs and affiliations are my business, they are private and I respect the privacy of others.  I’m seeing things on social media that are very disturbing, however.

I am a proud American.  I have deep beliefs in a higher power.  I am respectful of our flag and our country.  What I am seeing in the posts lately are so concerning to me.  If you have read the teachings of Jesus you know he talks about loving one another.  He speaks in terms of our all being as one.  He tells us to approach life with the joy and innocence of children.  To come to him as children would.

The separation that I see beginning in our wonderful country is so concerning to me.  If we are all one, as Jesus says, then how do we draw lines and create boundaries?  Who do we leave out of this formula?  Someone who is gay or of a religion other than the Christian faith?  How do we ever achieve “oneness” if we set up so many rules, regulations and expectations that it becomes impossible.

Tolerance is the word that comes to mind.  And LOVE, the one word that encompasses everything we are to be.  Love one another……I don’t believe this separation of people based on race, religion or sexuality is what was meant by this all important part of scripture.

Rant done!  It’s Tuesday!  Have a wonderful day……and I now step off of my platform.

Simple Sunday

 

I chose “Dancing With The Wind” for today’s musical offering.  It’s a lighthearted piece composed by Omar Akram.  The photos are beautiful, Spring flowers and clear blue skies.  While you enjoy the day make time to go outside and bask in the sun or walk in the rain, depending on the weather where you are.  Take time for yourself, to do something that brings you joy.  And remember to keep it simple!

Simple & Delicious!


 

This is one of my favorite “go to” menus for entertaining in the summer.  It’s beginning to heat up outside!  I hope you’ll try and enjoy these recipes.  I’d love your comments as well!

Mojitos

Baratta Cheese with Heirloom Tomato “Jam”

Paella

Fresh Organic Arugula Salad

Crusty French Bread with Olive Oil 

Ice Cream Sundaes

Sangiovese Wine

mojitos

Mojitos

These are so delicious and easy!  In a pitcher combine 1 1/2 cups white rum; 1/2 bottle mojito mix; 1 1/2 cups blueberry/blackberry juice….fill to the rim with club soda, stir ad serve over ice with mint sprigs.  Refreshing and delicious!

burrata-sauteed-tomatoes-681x1024

Baratta Cheese with Heirloom Tomato “Jam”

I got the idea for this recipe from a fabulous blogsite:  www.in sock monkey slippers.com, and am sharing the bloggers picture.    I expanded upon it a bit, it was delicious served with slices of french bread I toasted.

1 ball Baratta Cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small basket mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 pinch of organic raw sugar

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, well drained

1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

While the cheese reaches room temperature, begin making the tomato “jam”.  Place the tomato halves in the olive oil and simmer over low heat.  Add the garlic and sugar and continue to simmer until the tomatoes are breaking down.  Add the white wine and capers to the pan and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.  You’ll have a thick mixture that is so yummy.  If you like, you may season with a good sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Pour the tomato “jam” over the cheese and sprinkle with the fresh basil.  Place toast points around the platter and serve with the mojitos.

paella

Paella

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

2 small andouille sausages, about six inches each, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled, leaving the tail on

1 bag littleneck clams

1 bag “Spanish” rice, with seasoning (this is a shortcut that you can pass on and use regular rice with a good pinch of saffron)

2 – 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 can halved artichoke hearts, drained

1 can chopped tomatoes (16 oz.) drained

1/2 cup chopped, flat leaf parsley

Fresh orange slices for garnish, if desired.

In a large skillet, that has a fitted top, heat the olive oil.  brown the chicken and the sausage, drain and set aside.  Place the chopped onion in the pan and saute for five minutes.  Add the garlic and return the chicken and sausage to the pan.  Add the canned, drained artichoke hearts, tomatoes, rice and broth to the pan.  Cover and simmer on low heat for one half hour.  Remove the cover and add the shrimp and clams, pressing them down into the rice mixture.  Cover and simmer for twenty minutes.  If all of the liquid has not absorbed, bring the heat up a bit and simmer uncovered for five minutes.  Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and orange slices and place the pan in the middle of the dining table for serving.  Casual and so yummy!

arugula salad

Fresh Organic Arugula Salad

I love the peppery sharpness of fresh arugula.  This is so simple, just toss the arugula with a mixture of 2 tablespoons good olive oil, 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, a bit of dry mustard, sea salt and pepper.  A bit of parmesan cheese, shaved and sprinkled over the top adds a tasty zing to the salad.

pain

Crusty French Bread with Olive Oil 

Not a necessity, but always good on the side for those who indulge in bread from time to time!

Ice Cream Sundaes

Another indulgence!  I usually opt for Ben & Jerry’s because, what can I say, it’s the best!  We love a scoop of “Late Night Snack” with a scoop of “Heath Bar Crunch”, drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes…..delicious!

Wednesday Word

I love this word!  Serendipity…things that happen by chance.  Have you ever dreaded going to a social event only to meet a new friend or even the love of your life?  Serendipity….life’s rewards that come unexpectedly.  Finding something good without looking for it is another definition.  When you go the extra mile simply because you love your work or situation you never know what the surprise will be.  I love knowing that the unexpected can happen.  Free your mind, erase your expectations and be joyous!  When you realize how much your mind can get in your way with thoughts that are negative or reactions that repeat time and again because you are programmed by years of events you’ll feel like a door has opened and new experiences can begin!

Public Speaking 101

My debut in the public speaking arena in the New Orleans area is today.  I’ll be making a presentation on the Culinary History of Louisiana to a group of avid history buffs.  I have really enjoyed all of the research and have learned so much about how Louisiana came to have such a rich and varied offering of delicious foods!

I never realized what an impact so many different groups of settlers had on the food we enjoy today.  Originally the French, then Spaniards, Germans, Acadians, African Americans, Italians and those who settled here from the Caribbean.  Each of these groups of people brought their country’s cuisine with them and integrated it into what has become one of these most extensive offerings of culinary delights of any state in this country.

African slaves brought their native dish GOMBO.  Originally Gombo was an okra stew.  Meat and seafood were added as years passed until the dish became what we know as Gumbo.

The Italian immigrants introduced their “red gravy” to the New Orleans area creating quite an impact on the already established Creole cuisine.

The whole state of Louisiana has various specialties introduced by settlers.  Germans brought dairy farming and sausage making while Acadians shared their delicious one pot meals.  Jambalaya is actually what the Spanish would call Paella.  Of course each of these dishes has evolved and the flavors updated as various cooks have had their way with recipes passed down through families.

A visit to Louisiana is a must!  Not only is the state beautiful but the food is unforgettable!  We really do let the good times roll here.  So do come visit and don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Simple Sundays

One of my favorite musical artists is Willie Nelson.  I grew up in Texas and cut my teeth on Willie Nelson as a young adult.  What a character and what a talent!  I saw him in concert once in Denver.  He gave so much to the audience…he gave his all.  Very few breaks, all of his favorites and such a presence on stage.  His passion for the music he makes was palpable.  He performs “Just Breathe” with one of his talented sons who is following on the path his father set forth.  Sometimes a bit of good country music and especially if it is by Willie Nelson is just what a Sunday morning needs!

Finger Foods!

I am sharing this menu from 2014.  This has been a rough couple of weeks with Mr. T in and out of the hospital and further testing going on.  There are days, I have to admit, when I don’t feel like cooking, writing or anything else, but The Permanent Tourist remains a healing focus for me personally!  Thank you to all of my readers!  New menus coming up soon!

Saturday evenings usually find us tired from working in the garden and ready to relax.  Mr. T and I love to entertain, having a couple of friends over for drinks and a few appetizers is just the ticket for warmer evenings.  I found a recipe on the internet for “Bang Bang Shrimp”, the appetizer made famous by Bonefish Restaurant.  Of course, I had to do some tweeking, making the final recipe nothing like what I began with….it’s just something I do.  Anyway…the result was so delicious.  We paired it with some yummy bruschetta and a bowl of pistachio nuts.  Rum drinks seemed in order and “Dark and Stormy’s” filled the bill.  It was actually just the two of us when I did the test run this but I’ll be preparing it for friends very soon!  Enjoy! (Note:  the shrimp recipe is also gluten free…always a plus for me!)

Spicy Thai Shrimp

Bruschetta

Pistachio Nuts

Dark & Stormy’s

bang bang shrimp 2

Spicy Thai Shrimp

1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

1 egg white, lightly whisked

1 cup cornstarch

2 cups peanut oil

Toss the cleaned shrimp in the egg white and place in a large baggie.  Pour the cornstarch into the bag, seal the bag and shake well to coat the shrimp.  Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet until almost smoking.  Fry the shrimp in batches until golden.  Drain on paper toweling.

Sauce:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup sweet Thai chili sauce or regular chili sauce, i.e. Heinz

1 teaspoon hot chili oil or Tabasco

Mix the three ingredients in a large bowl.  Transfer the drained shrimp to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Serve on a platter lined with fresh lettuce leaves and garnish with chopped scallions and lime wedges.

bruschetta 2

Bruschetta

1 baguette, cut on the diagonal in 1/4″ slices

olive oil

1 heirloom tomato, diced

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Combine the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat with the oil and balsamic.  Spoon a mound of the tomato mixture on each slice of bread and serve.

pistachio nuts lg

Pistachio Nuts (no recipe needed for this!)

dark & stormy lg

Dark & Stormy’s

Per drink:

1 1/2 ounce dark spiced rum, we like a brand named “Kracken”

Reed’s extra strong ginger brew

fresh lime

Place ice in a highball glass, add the rum and ginger brew, stir well.  Squeeze fresh lime juice into the mixture and also garnish with fresh lime.  Cheers!

Wednesday Word

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about habits I have, words that I use and other things I do mindlessly.  The list is longer than I would like.  I am working to live consciously.  “Beyond Fear”, a book by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The Four Agreements” changed my life a little over ten years ago.  It opened my mind to the fact that we can control our thoughts.  It also made me aware of the fact that, from the time we are born, we are imprinted by our parents, peers, siblings and, especially in today’s world, the media.  When I was growing up there were no computers, iPads and certainly no cell phones.  It was a simpler time.  But still the imprints formed and the awareness I now have of them makes it a bit easier to work not to let them control my life and my thoughts.  It is a matter of consciousness, of thinking before speaking.  I work to make sure whatever I am going to say is necessary.  So many times in the past I simply reacted, not thinking of what effect my words would have on the situation or, especially, on the person involved.  Learning to think before speaking is so important.

I challenge you to look at the IMPRINTS in your life.  Make a list of the things you think about yourself that may not even apply any longer.  We have been imprinted with everything that defines who we are….in the eyes of others.  Our value systems are formed by imprinting.  Think about clearing as many of these imprints out of your life and becoming a sort of empty slate with which to work.  What fun to recreate who you are, how you dress and express yourself.  Be creative….have fun!  Let your inner child go wild with ideas and projects.  You’ll find your life changing in ways you never imagined.  Learn to love and cherish each day as a new adventure.  And if you find your self stuck…get out of the situation that is causing you to feel that way or reinvent yourself within the situation so that you can experience joy and fulfillment.  Make it a great “hump day” today!  Get going!

 

Almost There!

moonflower1-400x533

I’ve been working to finish the first in a five part novella series entitled “Moonflowers”.  There are times when writing is my salvation.  It gives me time to be alone, to create and to literally escape the world around me.  This story came from years of hearing about family who lived in the frontier of New Mexico after the civil war.

moonflowers 3

As a child we spent many summers in the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Taos, New Mexico and the Santa Fe area.  My mother’s family is from this area, it is where my parents honeymooned years ago and a place that holds very special memories for me.  The “Moonflower” series is definitely a work of fiction that spans decades of history from post Civil War to the present time.

moonflowers 4

This is the saga of five generations of women.  What they did out of loneliness and sometimes out of desperation will captivate readers who enjoy women’s literature, history and a bit of the supernatural.  This is a story that will have you waiting for the next four books to be published so that you can find out what happens in the end, if there ever is an end.

Moonflower 2

“Moonflowers”…..the saga will debut as an e-book in about ten days.  There will be copies for giveaways and other news as the launch begins!  I am a bit nervous, very excited and so blessed to have had the loving support of so many friends as family as this project has unfolded!

Simple Sundays

Happy Mother’s Day!  Whether you have little ones, grown sons and daughters or children of the fur variety it’s a day to celebrate love!  I found this lovely piece by Bernward Koch, “Back To Myself” to share with you today!  I wish you all a wonderful day!