Simple Sundays

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Time for another one of my favorite musical pieces.  Today I’m sharing Dvorak’s “Going Home”.  I have many fond memories of growing up in Texas, fishing with my dad and dangling my feet in the cool water of a river.  Enjoy this day and the music of life!  Peace.

Spice It Up!

It’s finally Friday and I’m featuring a favorite recipe for a casual weekend dinner.  I first made Picadillo when I found the recipe in, of all places, a Suzanne Somers diet cookbook.  It is so delicious.  I’ve served it to family and guests over the years and never had a negative response!  I’d love to know if you try it!  Pair this with a good Cabernet, some warm tortillas and perhaps a crisp green salad for a delicious meal!

 

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Picadillo

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, fionely chopped

1 large bell pepper, finely chopped

1 large can chopped tomatoes with puree

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound pork

3/4 cup good balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons capers, drained

Garnish:

Sour cream, chopped cilantro (fresh), shredded iceberg lettuce, a wedge of lime, shredded Montery Jack cheese, chopped scallions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers.  Cook until they are brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, garlic, cumin, and coriander.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the meat.  Brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it into tiny pieces.

Add the balsamic vinegar and capers.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Serve in bowls with garnish of your choice.  Enjoy!

Lights!…Camera!…ACTION!!!

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Last week I alluded to the fact that there would be news in regard to The Permanent Tourist.  I think it fitting to share a very special announcement today, my daughter’s birthday.  I don’t know where 22 years have gone but we’re celebrating her all week!

Eddie Budd and Me

I am so very proud to announce the beginning of The Permanent Tourist Podcast and YouTube channel.  It’s time to grow and I’m in just the right place to do that.  The most amazing team players have shown up, cast their vote of YES where this project is concerned and we’re about to launch in a big way.  Producer/Director/Co-Host, Eddie Budd brings his expertise as a film producer and director to the table as well as a life long love for radio broadcasting.  Eddie’s company, Neauregard Entertainment keeps him busy behind the camera for such shows as NCIS New Orleans and Preacher.  In his own words he describes himself as “Director and assistant director of film and television.  Former chef and award winning craft mixologist, lover of wines and women!  Traveler and writer”…how good is that?

Tony Cimino and Me

Anthony, “Tony” Cimino joins our team as Co-Executive Producer which includes all facets of The Permanent Tourist You Tube Channel, Podcast, Blog and Webpage.  Tony has produced over 100 live stage performances as Executive Director of Murfreesboro Tennessee’s Center for the Arts.  A graduate Of Loyola University, Tony has worked both behind and in front of the camera.  He hosted a restaurant review show, produced by award winning producer/director David Silvian which aired on Public Radio, WYES, in New Orleans.  A talented actor, singer and dancer, Tony brings so much talent to this project! I can’t wait to work with him.

Sky and Me

Sky Lee is the next team member.  As Production Coordinator she’ll work closely with Eddie Budd, learning the business from the ground up.  And there’s me…Executive Producer and Host.   The Permanent Tourist is my baby.  I am so thrilled to see what is happening with it now.  I began this journey on St. Simons Island, GA in February of 2013.  I’ll be finding interesting guests and locations to share with readers and listeners.

As my readers know I am passionate about all things culinary and any of the arts.  I live in the perfect place to capitalize on that as well as the rich culture here in New Orleans and on the North Shore.  Our show will tape at various restaurants throughout the area.  We will enjoy a meal with wine as we talk with restaurant owners, chefs and a special guest on each show.  Artists, musicians, authors, local celebrities and so much more.  The world is our oyster and we’re moving forward!  So get ready!  I’ll announce the first show as soon as we’re ready to fly.  We have four on the schedule already as the excitement and momentum builds.

Simple Sundays

Get a cup of coffee or tea, sit back and relax while you enjoy one of my favorite works by the composer, Faure.  “En Priere” is such a beautiful piece for flute and piano.  It has a feeling of nostalgia, sweet and romantic.

Wishing you a wonderful Sunday doing whatever brings you joy!  Lots of good news and announcements coming up in the week ahead. I’m beginning to “Get” why I moved to this amazing place. Peace!

 

The Thought That Counts

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One of my goals, as I return to blogging on a regular basis, is to share experiences I have survived and grown as a result of.  The question I have been asked repeatedly is…”How are you surviving what you are doing?”.  Many people have told me they couldn’ t possibly have been a caregiver for both a father and husband for three years.  My answer is that I can’t imagine having done anything else.  No, it wasn’t easy, but love sees us through the most challenging of times and this certainly has been one.

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Over the years various people have come into my life not only as friends but as teachers.  I am a very open minded person and have always worked and done my best to reach out and learn whatever I could from someone.  I believe the most important lesson anyone has ever taught me is the importance of positive thinking.  The fact that “Thoughts are Things” has been proven time and time again yet so many of us continue to allow our minds to wander aimlessly, captured by random thoughts, feelings, emotions….a sort of mental clutter that really has no place in our lives.  It is not who we really are.  I have spent hours in silence, turning my thoughts off and allowing a calm peace within me to fill the space in which random, mindless thoughts had been running wild.  And YES! you can control your thoughts.  Or you can be the victim of them.  Being able to work through the difficulties my family has faced has been a challenge for each of us in our own way.  My choice has been to realize the thoughts are not who I am and I have the power to release them and simply be the space through which they flow.

You may be scratching your head now and thinking I’m a bit off but this technique has served me well.  It is how I survived the loss and dealt with what each day brought into my experience.  I will never be the same person I was prior to 2015 when our lives were turned upside down.  I have learned to let go and, let me tell you, being a control freak most of my life made that quite a task for me!  The moment I realized I had absolutely no control over what was happening other than my response to it was a life changing event.  I had the choice to flow with what was happening or I could make myself miserable fighting against it.  And I also had let go and allow both my father and my husband to make their choices and to respect those choices.  Boundaries were created and we worked together to make life as pleasant as possible.

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Just as thoughts are things, we are our choices.  By practicing the exercise of quieting the mind and listening to the silence our choices will be made clear.  Answers flow in the softest voice, a whisper of knowing what the right choice is.  When I feel a sharp twinge in my solar plexus at the thought of something I now stop and listen.  That feeling is a warning!  It’s saying look at what’s happening here, don’t rush, don’t push, take your time.  The peace that comes from that is so calming and filled with love.  Practicing the same habit of stopping before speaking has also served me well.  To stop before reacting and look at whether our words are necessary or not is so powerful.  We become conscious of life rather than pawns or victims of it.  We begin to experience a flow in all areas of our lives and this flow opens our hearts to the pureness of love for ourselves and everyone we come into contact with.  I, personally, began to feel a connection with everyone  as our home filled with hospice workers, medical equipment, pharmacy delivery services and friends who stopped by to help.  I could sense the connection we all shared in the care giving.

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Life is about change.  I would not have chosen the sadness and loss but I had to accept it.  And I had to choose how I handled all that happened on a daily basis.  I am no saint, I have a temper and I get frustrated.  But by doing my best to control my reactions and let things be what they were I survived well over a year of very difficult challenges.  I have a sense of peace now that I have never experienced in my life.  I believe it stems from the fact that I truly and deeply loved for the first time.  I will never look at the people in my life the same after experiencing profound loss.  Each person has a uniqueness and a loving core, whether they have activated it or not, that I connect with.   A friend talked with me a few months back and spoke of what an honor it was to have the opportunity to care for my dad and for “Mr. T”.  She said that I was walking them home.  Tears flowed during that conversation but she was right.  The entire time created a depth of feeling in me that nothing can replace.  Life has a new perspective now.  I am thankful for each new day and I work to do my best no matter what I am faced with.  This is how I handled all that had to be done.  And this is why I now have a firm I CAN attitude.  Life is a gift and love is the power behind everything that is authentic, good and pure.  Many doors are opening for me now that I never could have imagined before 2015.  I’m working on my visioning book and creating what I want my future to be, knowing that I will have to go with the flow if the Universe has something else in mind.  Speaking of visioning books, that’s a whole blog post in itself!  Stick around and watch what happens.  I hope my experiences may benefit my readers as I work to be the change I would like to see in this world!

Simple Sundays

I love Sunday mornings.  Quiet….hot French press coffee with chicory and soothing music.  The music I am sharing this morning is a personal favorite.  Thomas Tallis’ “Fantasia on a Theme.

Over the past few months I have searched for entertainment that would stimulate my mind and distract me from a bitter reality.  I have always subscribed to The New York Times  Sunday newspaper for home delivery but it isn’t available in our area and I don’t want to get dressed and drive to the Whole Foods in Mandeville to get a copy.  I am an avid crossword puzzle fan.  Mr.T always kidded me because I work puzzles in ink….just as my grandmother taught me to do.  I so missed my weekly puzzles that I went on-line and ordered a book of New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzles.  Little did I know it would be almost three inches thick!!!  I hear the laughter in my ear as I type these words and it makes me smile to think my lovely husband is getting a kick out of my crossword ritual…still!

Enjoy your Sunday!  Hold those you love closely…tell them you love them.  It matters!  Peace!

Summer Fare

 

Eating Well

 

SUMMER SQUASH AND CORN CHOWDER

One of my favorite parts of blogging is sharing my passion for good food.  Dishes made from scratch, well maybe a few exceptions, using fresh, seasonal produce…locally grown.  As any of my regular followers know, I rarely follow a recipe.  I may take a glance at one to get inspiration but that’s about it.  When you have cooked for as many years as I have you innately know a thing or two about what flavors blend to create a delicious meal.

I love yellow crookneck squash.  It isn’t available all year so I make use of it as often as possible while it’s in season.  We have several local farm stands and farmer’s markets that we take advantage of year round.  Since Louisiana is warm most of the year our growing season is longer than other parts of the country.  I am still in search of a direct connection with a local farmer.  You can be sure that when I find one I’ll be posting about them….singing their praises and using their produce exclusively.  I might even be found in their fields helping tend the plants as they grow.  I feel strongly about eating healthfully, especially since I realize how important to practice daily “self care”.

So I took at look at the pile of yellow squash on my kitchen counter and thought how easy it would be to make a yummy summer soup.  I’m pretty sure this would be delicious warm or slightly chilled.  The recipe called for one ear of fresh squash, which I did not have on hand so I substituted a cup or so of Trader Joe’s delicious fire roasted corn from their vast frozen section.  I make a trip “across the pond” to Metairie and shop weekly and may be one of the most vocal supporters of TJ’s opening on the North Shore.

Without further ado….here’s the recipe:

4 large yellow crookneck squash, cubed

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pink salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 box organic vegetable broth

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 1/2 cups frozen fire roasted corn or one ear of fresh corn, kernels cut off

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Saute the squash and shallots in olive oil until just tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the salt, white pepper, broth, thyme and parsley.  Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for a half hour.  Remove the cover and puree the mixture with a hand held blender or food processor.  Add the corn and heavy cream and heat through for five minutes or so.  Ladle the soup into bowls and crumble goat cheese and extra chopped parsley on top of each serving.

This recipe makes enough soup for 4-6 servings.  If you are serving it chilled you might consider a dollop of creme fraiche in place of the goat cheese.  A simple butter lettuce salad with fresh, sliced tomatoes and french vinaigrette dressing completes this delicious meal!

 

For Mr. T

It’s been months since I posted as The Permanent Tourist.  I haven’t communicated with readers for quite sometime because I’ve always based this blog on positive and happy subjects.  2018 has been a very rough year for my family.  First with the loss of my father on February 1 and then my precious husband, known as Mr. T to readers, on May 25th.  My mind has been in such a blur I could not have put words together to make even a short post.  And it was a very private time for my family. I felt like Tom took part of me with him but, slowly, I’m coming back to life.

We bought a lovely family home in Louisiana and spent as much quality time as we could together before hospice stepped in for both dad and Tom.  I cannot say enough about the amazing folks who work with Heart of Hospice.  They helped us with care and prepared us as best they could for the inevitable transitions of these two amazing men.  I can now say that I understand the term “Widow Brain”.  It’s an unbelievable fog that descends on the mind after great loss.  Putting one foot or one thought in front of the other seems an impossible task.  Losing my sweet husband and my father within months of each other is the most painful thing I have ever survived and, believe me, there have been days when I thought I wouldn’t.

Tom worked right along side me as I began this blog five years ago. He even came up with the name in his creative way. He had that side to him many didn’t know, but I did. He never ceased to inspire and support me.

These two men were my biggest fans.  Dad always encouraged me to write and keep this blog going as did Tom.  So here I go…..it’s time to get back into the blogging groove!  I may not produce daily posts but the ones I do share will be interesting and introduce you to this wonderful place we now call home.  Life must go on and joy must replace great sorrow.  Join me on all of the new adventures that are beginning to flow into my life now!  It’s a time to rediscover joy and happiness, to celebrate love and, hopefully, a local radio station that wants a great new show!

Simple Sundays

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Simple Sundays

It’s a lazy, hazy Louisiana summer day.  The cicadas are chirping and everything has shifted into slow gear with the holiday weekend beginning.  Sharing this lovely piece with you today!  I’m still on track with my health/wellness coach and 8 pounds lighter just paying attention to timing…magic!

Let peace reign today and live In Joy!