My website is back up!!! Thanks to my wonderful web master! Please let me know if you see this post and I’ll be up and running again!
It’s Valentine’s Day. I often wonder about traditions. Today I’m researching flowers and why we give them to our loved ones on this special day. I found the term “floriography” on Martha Stewart’s beautiful website. It’s a tradition started in Victorian England when flowers were delivered to express a love interest to a lady fair. I found the photo I’m featuring above on a site that talks about the flower artistry of Rebecca Louise Law. Ms. Law adorns the most unusual places with flowers! Can you imagine the glorious fragrance?
I love this bouquet in a heart shape! Colorful and capable of being dried and preserved to be enjoyed for years to come. Somehow the flowers don’t seem to wasted in this form. I hate watching cut flowers wither and fade away. It’s always so sad when it is time to dispose of them. This bouquet can live on!
I also love unusual containers! Isn’t this a lovely arrangement? The more unique the combination and presentation the better! I hope you’ll enjoy and celebrate love today and everyday! We don’t have to wait for February 14th to send a message with flowers!
Growing up in Houston, Texas, I always looked forward to the “Azalea Trail” each spring. Now I have a mini azalea trail in our new backyard. Our home is situated on an acre of land the back part of which is full of huge azalea bushes, camelia and holly. That’s what we’ve uncovered thus far. I love nothing better than getting my hands in the soil and planting a garden so I’ve got lots of plans for both the back and front yard.
For now I’m enjoying the pop of fuschia as blooms add a spark of color to a gray February day. It’s peaceful….something very important in my life these days. Did I mention we’re adding a chicken coop so we can have fresh eggs? I’ll be sharing that project with you and all of the outdoor plans as things take shape. In the middle of the back part of the yard we’re putting a quiet little Zen garden for meditation and alone time. On the inside we’re still unpacking boxes. I have a goal of unpacking and organizing/storing 3-4 boxes a day. I used to have a lot more stamina than I do now so I pace myself and know I’ll be here for years to come. There is nothing to hurry for! When I realized that being in a rush about everything is a sort of fear that time is running out it made me stop and think about relaxing and letting life show me it’s plan. There is something comforting about letting go.
It’s Monday! You have a blank canvas! What will you fill it with?
I have loved being back in the proverbial blogging saddle this past week! I’m hearing from readers and friends for the first time in months. My creative spirit is coming to the fore again. Thanks to all of my readers for being patient with me! Life is coming together here in our new home. I’m looking forward to continuing my adventure and sharing it with you! In the meantime, sit back and relax….listen to this wonderful music and have a peaceful Sunday!
I have a very dear Facebook friend and fellow author, Amy Weaver. Amy, lovingly known as Bubs by her husband and close friends, writes a wonderful food blog, “Bub’s Kitchen”. Over the past months I haven’t felt much like cooking. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in November. Unfortunately it has settled into both of my hands and wrists….as well as other joints, but not being able to use my hands has been a huge issue! I began looking for menus that are delicious and easy and I found them from “Bub’s”! Having ideas to go to for good, healthy menus has been a God send.
So, when Amy posted about making spaghetti with a white wine, garlic and clam sauce yesterday, not only did I make it for dinner….YUM….I asked her if I could share it in my post today. Her YES was a big relief! I think you’ll love this recipe and enjoy Amy’s site as well! Here’s the link: https//.bubskitchen.com. Please let us both know when you try this delicious dish!
Spaghetti and Clams in a Garlic, Wine and Butter Sauce – Amy Weaver
Before I became a pescetarian, I hardly ever put seafood and pasta together. I always stuck with cooking, or ordering, beef bolognese, which is too bad. Seafood is a great compliment to pasta, especially shellfish.
I’ve never been a huge clam fan, but lately, I’ve given them a chance, and I’m glad I have. They’re becoming one of my favorites to work with and this recipe is in my top 5 pasta dishes.
If you’ve never cooked clams, please, don’t be intimidated. They practically do the work for you, so give them a try.
You can use any size of clam you want for this recipe, so don’t worry if you’re local seafood store only has one kind to choose from.
Let’s get started.
First, soak your clams in cold water for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Why, you ask? As clams breathe they filter water. When the fresh water is filtered, the clam pushes sand out of their shells. After 20 minutes, the clams should have released any sand in their shells.
Also, get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.
While the clams are in a happy ice bath, and water is getting to the boiling point, let’s get everything else going.
Chop one large shallot and three to four cloves of garlic.
Now, sauté the shallot and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.
Now add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. By the way, if you don’t have a hand held lemon/lime juicer, get one. The amount of juice you get from using one is way more than squeezing it with your hand.
Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.
Now add one can of clams.
I bet you’re saying, “What??? CANNED clams?”
Yes. Canned clams.
They add more clam flavor to the dish. If you don’t want to add them, you don’t have to. Also add one bottle of clam juice. This is a clam pasta dish, so you want all the clam flavor you can get. Just trust me.
Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottled can juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.
Once you have it like you want, it’s time to add the clams, but first, put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and turn the heat up to medium-high. You can cover them, if you want, but I like to keep them moving. By moving them around, you can see which ones are opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. The reason I do this is so they don’t overcook while the others open.
Some will take longer, so be patient, and keep them moving around. Once you get most of them out of the sauce, and you see a few still are not opening, just toss them. If they don’t open, they’re not good.
Now, add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around.
Add your clams back to the pan and stir.
Time to eat!!
One good addition to any saucy dish is crunchy bread!
My favorite local bread is made by Elmore Mountain Bread.
Man, it doesn’t get any better than this!
(Of course, I added chopped parsley and a little grated parmesan.)
What you’ll need:
2 lbs fresh clams
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup of white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
1 large shallot, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can of clams
1 bottle of clam juice
1 lemon, juiced
1 box of spaghetti
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Chopped parsley (optional)
Grated parmesan (optional)
Crusty bread (optional)
First, soak your clams for twenty minutes before cooking.
Get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.
Chop one whole shallot and three to four cloves of garlic. Sauté them in one tablespoon of olive oil on med heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.
Add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.
Add one can of clams and one bottle of clam juice.
Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottle juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.
Put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and keep stirring them until they start opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. This will ensure they won’t overcook while the others begin to open. Be sure to discard the ones that do not open.
Add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around. Then add your clams and stir one more time.
This is the place we now call home. It is a place I have long dreamed of finding. It’s called Acadian style, but I think it isn’t….not quite. But it does fit into the “French” feeling of our area in many ways. I’m going to show you different aspects of the house, before and after, as we pull things together and make this wonderful place our forever home. I wake up each day and say a simple “thank you” to God and to our wonderful realtor, Jeri Creson. This house is living proof that miracles can occur, if you work hard enough and stay on course. So….here is a before picture of the dining room.
Boxes are everywhere! We finally have moved everything out of storage and are working on three projects. Save and place….store in attic….put aside for HUGE yard sale. When we moved to Louisiana we also moved my parents. We are combining two whole houses….full of STUFF! I’m throwing out and simplifying. But I love this room! I fell in love with it the first day I walked through the door. You need to know that this is a home that began as a two bedroom, cinder block, ranch style home built in the 1960’s. It’s a bit quirky, which I like. It is not a cookie cutter house in any way.
Here is why I refer to it as a bit “quirky”. This wall of windows was the original front of the house. The decision to leave them is one I applaud. I also love the mural that wraps around the room. The former owner used a mural as well as her own hand painting to achieve the pastoral scene. She also painted the oval inset in the ceiling like a sky with clouds. I love it. I love the chandelier….did I say I love this room?
I’m showing you the before so you can be “wowed” by the after in a week or so. We’re busy unpacking, hanging artwork, which this room needs little of, but a bit here and there. It is a delight to go through boxes that have been stored for over a year. It’s almost like Christmas. And I found a wonderful product, thanks to Mr. T. “Restor-a-Finish”. The movers in Georgia did a number on our antique dining room table. I purchased a bottle of this product at our local Home Depot and highly recommend it to improve the surface of any wood furniture that has knicks and scratches. The table is now an oval since adding a leaf and we celebrated our first family dinner around it last night. I am loving life in Louisiana!
This is the causeway. It is the longest causeway in the world! It crosses Lake Pontchartrain, The distance and expanse bothered me at first. Then I realized it is a straight shot, you can almost put your vehicle on automatic pilot and use the time to relax, listen to good music and enjoy the views. When first entering the causeway you cannot even see New Orleans. It is like entering an endless highway suspended over the lake. Even that aspect of the causeway has become a friend to me. You have to get from one side to the other. Yes, there are places one can turn around if need be, but to remain on course is better.
We’ve learned the hardway to check conditions before heading out for early morning appointments. If there is fog or an accident you don’t want to take this route. Sitting for hours while suspended over the lake is not my favorite thing. Especially in bumper to bumper traffic! But I’m learning that “it is what it is”. Life has taken on a different complexion for me now that I am caring for my parents as well as Tom. I have a different “take” on life, if you will. I am literally being forced to take each moment as it comes. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything, as difficult as it is.
This overview will give you a sense of how things are laid out here. The white line down the middle of the lake is the causeway. The area in which we live is referred to as the North shore, for obvious reasons. I like having the option of city life or country life. The city of New Orleans is not so big that one feels overwhelmed by crowds, but a city feeling is there that I feel surpasses some of the larger cities I have visited or lived in. I feel we have the best of both worlds here! It’s a beautiful lifestyle. People who love to celebrate, who parade at the drop of a hat, and care for each other in ways so rare in today’s world. Color me happy! I’m glad we’re here!
A new day is dawning. A time to focus on shining your light for all to see. If each of us let today be filled with love and understanding we can change this world….making it a better place. Join me? Wipe the canvas of your mind clean, take a deep breath and let’s do this!
Hello dear readers! I have taken a very long and unexpected hiatus from blogging, but I’m back! Dealing with health issues and having my laptop that holds ALL of my writing, photos, music…basically my life as a blogger….crash and require a new hard drive has been a challenge. Yesterday was the fourth anniversary for The Permanentt Tourist. Cause for celebration! I’ll be sharing so many things with you over the next few weeks. Today I just want to wish each of you a wonderful relaxing Sunday. Sit back and enjoy the music I’m sharing!
I selected this piece, “Transformation” because it spoke to me and, I felt it reflected so much of what I have been experiencing in my life. I considered using the Beatles “Long and Winding Road” since life has been all too chaotic lately! But I chose this piece since a complete transformation has been necessary for me to keep going! I think you’ll enjoy it!