Monthly Archives: July 2013

An easy summer grill-mate – kabobs…or is that kebobs?

Fourth of July this year was supposed to be a hot day in my corner of the world. It ended up somewhat overcast, but I had a barbeque to plan and needed things we could cook on the grill, rather than in the oven. We had one other couple joining us for dinner that night. It’s easy to find meat to grill. I needed a carb. We’d thought about corn on the cob, but the pickings were slim at the store.

So I fell back on a camping favorite-kabobs (or is it kebobs?). I picked up some canned whole baby potatoes and green and red peppers. Soaked the kabob sticks in water for a couple hours, then skewered the potatoes and chunks of peppers on the kabobs. My friend, who’s amazing at opening a cupboard and finding a meal, made a concoction of olive oil, garlic, and basil and we brushed the kabobs with that.

In only a few minutes on the grill, we had a delicious carbohydrate to go with our pork tenderloin and turkey sausage. Add in some homemade coleslaw and strawberry shortcake for dessert, and it was a yummy evening.

A couple more notes about the kabobs. Cooking these made me realize how much I like grill-singed peppers. I’m going to have to start playing around with cooking them on the BBQ. Also, you can add chunks of chicken to the kabobs for a full meal on a stick.

So for us, this American holiday was a nice, relaxing evening with friends. Until about 9PM, when all the fireworks started up. It was three hours of flashes and skyrockets, and war-zone level noise.  But it’s only one day a year. And we walked next door to see our neighbor’s three-year-old daughter’s eyes aglow as she watched the pretty sparkles in the air.

Pure magic. 🙂

Train Travel as an Indoor Sport

by Theresa Scott

Earlier this week I had the chance to travel by train. We passed some of the loveliest bays where the tide was out and the mudflats stretched on for at least a mile. We passed acres and acres of tall green trees—some close to the tracks, some in the distance. I found viewing islands and water and forested land relaxed me and slowed my pace for the day. In a nice way.

And what a chance to see birds! Long-legged herons dotted the beaches, their gray feathers blending in with the gray and taupe sand. Bald eagles were a rarer sight. I saw one on this trip, and he was soaring lazily along an air current. Crows and hawks hang out on the beaches too, looking for snacks and chatting with kin.

There were not many people on the long stretches between cities. For mile after mile, we passed beaches and saw only one or two people at a time. Of the folks we did pass, it seems that trains going by are an invitation to give a friendly wave.

It struck me that the train is actually a small community of core workers who are responsible for serving a larger, mobile community of passengers who whirl through the train orbit and then spin off to other universes (train stations) to do whatever it is they must do, and who may never return. If you work on a train, it must be like having a ton of unfinished stories told to you every day as the train roars past the trees and water and towns.

As a passenger, I found it to be a relaxing experience. If you find yourself looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience this summer, or if you are pondering a day-trip or a short trip somewhere, you may enjoy taking a train to your destination. If the scenery doesn’t entice you, perhaps chatting with the other passengers will entertain you. Or, you can always look at the birds.

Crazy World -It’s a Wonder I’m Sane

My life has been nuts for a while now. May 2nd is when I can trace it back to for this wild run. That’s the day I got a new client and life hasn’t slowed down since. He’s lucky I like him since the other lawyers on the case are driving me over the edge. I’ve also had two dental surgeries since then as well as another case that has about 7 lawyers I’m dancing around with- who have no sense of boundaries- emailing me at 8:45 pm on weeknights, on Saturdays, Sundays, etc.

So, this chick here (me) who’s brain is running at 99 miles per hour for weeks says (at her office today), “Tomorrow is backyard fence day. I don’t know what to talk about.”

My paralegal asks, “What about Arby? Have you talked about Arby?”

I’m like, “What? Huh? Why would they care about Arby?”

My brain starts spinning about this lawyer who is a friend and has been for like 30 years and I’m wondering what in the heck I’m supposed to say about him and what she even means and she goes silent so I’m really losing it trying to figure out what to type for this post.

So then she starts talking about this bakery near Arby’s office and says I could write about it. Well, heck, I’ve never even been in it, what was I going to say about that?

Brain still in overdrive, I’m thinking my head just might explode and then, then, then…

THEN! LIGHTBULB!! He’s over the backyard fence!!!!! The back of his office abuts the back of mine and he’s always saying we need a ladder to pop over the fence and visit each other.

So, is it any wonder I’m sane? I work with a woman who made me go through all these mental gymnastics when she could have merely said, “Arby’s office is over the privacy fence and so is the bakery. Why don’t you tell how he’s always asking you to climb over and visit? Or how he says he’s going to do that?”

See how easy that was? Geez.

For you who celebrate Independence Day, have a wonderful one!! As for me, I’m going to rest my lil ole brain.

A Smelly Weekend

This weekend my house has been filled with a pungent aroma I never imagined I would smell in all my 37 years with my husband. The aroma is that of garlic, something he totally hates the smell and taste of and thus something I never use, although I love the flavour. I’ve known him walk out of restaurants and dinner parties because of it, and it’s one of the main reason he doesn’t like going out for meals. So you can imagine my surprise, nay, shock at him asking me to buy several bulbs of it when I did the weekly shop Friday.

160px-Garlic_Bulbs_2Had he blown his mind, lost his marbles, decided to be adventurous after all this time? None of these things. We grow a lot of our own vegetables and Dave had read in a gardening magazine that a spray made from garlic will get rid of black and green fly, something our broad beans, one of our favourite veg and the only one we freeze, are suddenly plagued with. He decided to give it a go.

Now, there is a lot of sense in this idea as it is well known around the Mediterranean that garlic keeps away the mosquitoes and probably why a lot of it is used in continental cuisine. Indeed, it is probably this fact that led to the ancient practice of hanging bulbs of garlic around your neck, in windows and doorways to keep away evil spirits and vampires. I haven’ t seen any vampires whilst abroad so it obviously must work!

The recipe for this spray consisted of mashing a whole garlic bulb in a pint of water. I told him not to put all the water in the food processor, just a few drops and top up after, but no, he put the whole pint in the machine and switched on. The garlic and water overflowed the bowl, spilled over the work surface, sprayed the walls, dripped down to the floor, and even into the dishwasher. Great! And guess who was left to clean up? Yup, me!

Dave’s second attempt proved more successful and the mixture is now fermenting in the garden shed ready to be mixed into a gallon of water next weekend and the plants sprayed.

The house smelled of it all weekend but he didn’t dare moan. In fact, he commented that it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, and thankfully Saturday was a pleasant day and I could leave the doors and windows open. This brought me a rather enjoyable after effect as, sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine as I read my book, the fountain bubbling in the pond, wafts of garlicky smells drifted across the lawn from the kitchen, bringing back lovely memories of holidays abroad, and if I shut my eyes I could imagine I was back in Greece again for a few minutes.

800px-Broad-beans-after-cookingI’ll let you know if this stinky concoction works but what I am left wondering is if the beans will be infused with the flavour of garlic – something I’ve dared not mention to him. The taste will tell!