Thursday, February 28, 2013


(This post is a result of conversations I have had recently and maybe a lack of sleep
but I strive for honesty and rejoice in moments of personal revelation.)

What is your potential?
How do you measure one's potential?
IQ tests?
Assessment or aptitude tests?
Is there a scale or 
gauge one can use?


Potential is not something that can be simply 
exists in each one of us.

What image comes to mind when 
you think of 

A baby about to take her
first step?
 A student upon graduation?
A young couple exchanging vows?

Is there a timeline on one's potential?

Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first 
book at 64.
Grandma Moses began painting at 76.
Rachel Carson published Silent Spring at 55.
Julia Child was 49 when her first 
cookbook was published.

can occur any time
at any age.

Personal moments of greatness
can take an all too familiar shape 
and get overlooked.

In the midst of a disagreement with
your spouse you stop
to really

When a child misbehaves
you give her a hug
calm reasoning
rather than

Preparing a nourishing meal
for those you

Helping a stranger in need.

If you get stuck in the
mind set that 
takes a 
"better now or never"
"the clock is ticking" stand...
you have successfully 
placed limitations upon
If you believe that
then you have
also inadvertently put restrictions
on others and may be
missing out on all they have to 

Reaching your full potential...
your definition of greatness...
in every aspect of life
is something to strive for
until your last breath.

Our society often looks to the
young for innovation
and out-of-the-box

Thomas Edison applied for his last patent
at age 83.

We look to the young
in matters of physical

Fauja Singh retires from marathon running
at age 103.

I ask you...
is your clock ticking?
Is your time to shine
coming to a close?

resides within you.

Your potential for greatness
never diminishes.

So breathe.
right now.
Take a deep inhale
and a slow exhale
and feel the 

Because no matter how old you get
you will always be
a child.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


a meat substitute
made from vital wheat
gluten flour.

When I first started on this vegan path
substitutes were the furthest
thing from my mind.
I remember trying
fake hot dogs
some things just shouldn't or can't be
a hot dog is one of those things.

Then bad memories
would remind me
that I really didn't miss 'em that much...
finding a hair in one (gag as I type)
a cockroach in a bun (eeew)
gristle encounters.
I will stop right there before I
make myself puke.

But I have journeyed down this road
for almost a year now
and I have found myself longing for
hearty winter meals like
pot roast with roasted veggies

Tofu can only take you so far.

Then I heard about
I started gathering some info on my own
and through Heather's guidance
at Whole Food Kitchen
Post Punk Kitchen.

When I saw a recipe for that stew
I had been dreaming about...
it was love at first sight.

Hard to figure out how to pronounce
but a breeze to make.
Mix simple ingredients together.
Form into 5 inch sausage links.
Wrap in foil and
steam for 40 minutes.

The unveiling.

It smells like Italian sausage.
It looks like Italian sausage.
It slices like Italian sausage.

Tonight it will be joined
with some carrots
and potatoes 
and celery
and a savory sauce
to create a good old-fashioned
where the taste will be decided.
Thank you Post Punk Kitchen
for satisfying my craving
and for making me
that I never have to say
to the things I love.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

birthday eve

The scene began as it does
in many homes:
the five o'clock hour and 
nothing had been started for 
My sister Sue mentioned
how her friend made
her a 
chickpea noodle soup.
She raved.
So did her 3 year-old grandson
and that's what really sold me!
I began my search at
that 5:05 hour
and found this in the process.

Chocolate Yogurt Bundt Cake
(Post Punk Kitchen)
oh yeah...
it's vegan.
Yeah, yeah...
I have all the ingredients.
A pre-birthday celebration
began to form in my 
wee little conniving mind.

Back to the soup.
Ran a search 
and there it was...
so many.
Turns out this is the vegan's
answer to
Chicken Noodle Soup
with promises to cure 

"See those footprints in the snow? Now notice where one set disappears?
That was when soup was carrying you."
Isa Chandra Moskowitz PPK

She had me at hello!

One problem
kind of a big deal...
no chickpeas...
and no, I will not run to the store
or send Joey (love those new drivers)
because somehow that is beneath me.
I will.
I can.
I know I can
"make do."

Went to many sites before deciding on
Vegweb's rendition
because I had most of the ingredients.
 2/3rd's anyway. 
Cannellini Bean and Rotini Pasta Soup

This was a slam dunk!
Best Rockin' Vegan Soup by far!

1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 mini (but large-ish for mini) peppers, chopped
red, yellow, orange
1 32 oz. vegetable broth
1 T tamari or soy sauce
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 t Italian seasoning
salt and peppa to taste
1 can diced tomato
1 can cannellini beans
1 cup rotini (broken in half as added)

Saute onion, carrots, and celery in a little water
in the bottom of your soup pot
add garlic and peppers
until softened a bit
add broth and soy and seasonings
let simmer until tender
add tomato and pasta and beans
simmer until all is done and

Served with a sweet kale and vegetable
complete salad in a bag from Costco
and a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Bread.

Rudy told me to make another batch
right away so we would have it for
lunches all week--
that good!

Let us not forget what brought me
on this path...
(oh yeah...and a birthday)

Setting the scene:
The eight o'clock hour.
Bellies full.
Watching Live Free Die Hard
on a very large screen.
Anyone want a piece of cake served with fresh sliced

I was being praised as
a hero in my own home.

I had three
count 'em...
yep, three pieces.
Need I say more?

as I packed my hubby's lunch
of leftover soup and PBJ
I added a slice of cake...
only this time I added the chocolate ganache
(PPK again)
that I whipped up this morn
for a birthday

I don't know if you know

I'm kind of a big deal.

(around these parts anyway!)

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Monday, February 25, 2013


As I paint
I am keenly aware
of how much
we have
been given

We didn't have much time between
surgeries and holidays
and my father-in-laws passing
to really plan on what to do
with all of his belongings
that weren't needed
or wanted
by someone we knew.
Much of it remains in storage.
Storage we are paying for
and therefore
anticipating a warmer day for a major
garage sale.

A large portion came here
as added storage to our own stuff
that needs to be 
Let's face it
during our 30 year marriage
we have been pretty good at
so we are now experiencing
stuff overload.

As paintings came off the walls...
trinkets (I just couldn't live without!)
stood temporarily
on my dining room table...
extra chairs relocated
to make room to paint...

I have enjoyed space.

in all that excess
this weekend
an extra-special delivery
A result of going
to Best Buy
without mom.

I wish I could say our
old set died
but that is not the case...
this is a simple case of
bigger is better
under the guise of
technology changes and enhancements
that give our home
a theater experience
without ever leaving our 
living room.

How exciting.
(sarcasm in case you didn't pick
up on that)

After a few choice words...
followed by a late night viewing
of Flight
(a flight that crashed right there on the floor
in front of me...I swear!)

In a moment of weakness
I said 
"Since this room is used 90 percent
of the time for watching
television anyway...
why shouldn't we make it as entertaining
and enjoyable as
Or something to that effect.

The end result has been filled
with mixed emotion.
Rudy would have taken it all back
because he's a smart (brave) man
(slow...but smart)
he lives under the rule
happy wife...happy life.
James is in heaven
especially while watching
The Walking Dead...
we actually had zombies walking around our
living room!
well Joe is a lot like me
filled with misgivings.
Truth be told...
I think he liked our old set better
and he was hoping mom would 
put a stop to the insanity.

Now the question
dancing through my head...
How long is one allowed to return items...
that have been very slightly used?
Items that were agreed upon
in a moment of weakness?

Don't just sit there...
help me out with this one!
Joe is looking for a calm
voice of reason.

Remember Rule #21...
When in doubt call Uncle Ed!?
Expect a text...

Saturday, February 23, 2013


In a recent post I mentioned
how a soft white trim paint
is a kinder and gentler choice
for an older home.
I then compared it to
diffused lighting
after fifty.

Let me show you what I
meant by that.

Pay special attention to the 
freshly painted 
Looks great at a glance.

let's take a closer look...
The entire time I painted
I was on my knees
having a conversation
with God.
Some may look at those
nicks and dings
and cracks
and want to replace all the floorboards.

 like me
wonder how they got there.
Imagine the lives that put them there
and say a prayer of thanks
for providing
for blessings.

This is an old homestead
we live in.
Families before mine
gathered here.
Played here.
Lived here.
Maybe died here.
A door stop was needed
at this northern spot
where the front door once swung.
That entry had been changed
before we arrived
to the east side of the house
but I have seen pictures
of our home with this
as the front door.


Some belonging to others
and some that are all mine.
An original piece of hardware.
This register has seen a lot of action
in the winters.
I can still see my now 26 year old
with a blanket tucked into the edges
all around him 
waiting for the furnace to turn on
and fill his makeshift tent
with warming air
first thing in the morning.
It has looked like this since we
purchased our home in 
I loved it then 
and I love it now.
Other than getting a fresh coat of
paint every 10 years
I see it as 

It got me to thinking
how forgiving 
can be.

Covering flaws.
Hiding little secrets.
Like a concealer for blemishes.

That's when it hit me
there on my knees
that's how God is.
He sees beyond those flaws
and sees the true beauty
He created.

Painting with white
 as He does...
making everything


Another reason to give thanks
and praise.
On my knees...
is exactly where I am supposed
to be.

Happy Weekend to all!

Friday, February 22, 2013

~this moment~
A simple moment from my week
that conjures up
Happy Honkin' Friday! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The boys weren't feeling
well the last time
we talked.
Mom was feeling
The sun was shining
after all.

I gave the plants a
sun bath
and started to look
That can be dangerous in
I was noticing those things we tend to
ignore in December...
dust, chipped paint, scuff marks.

I have been wanting to paint
for some time now
but what can I say
I procrastinate.
As I said earlier though
the sun was shining just right
this day
and my energy was
off the charts.

Don't think about it.
Do it.

I went right to the local hardware
and got the paint sample that
had been in my
drawer for over a year.
A color that is timeless...
because, like I mentioned,
I don't paint too often.
An easy living color
because we will be living with it for 
a very long time.
A color for all seasons
because it has to look good
with a Christmas tree
and Fourth of July banners!

So I decided on...
drum roll please...
Shaker Beige
 to be precise.

My goal is to finish one room 
before moving onto the next.
Starting with the living room
and hearing my bro-in-law, Ed's voice
in my head...
"A job well done is a job done right."
Which when it comes to painting
two coats.
I don't know about you,
but that second coat is so tedious compared to the 
first...when you see immediate
improvement and newness of color.

Two coats will
yield a truer color...or so the 
paint specialists have told me.
Suck it up...
Two it is.

and floorboards and
stairway trim.
So much trim.
Who knew?
Not to mention I started with
a bright white...
changed my mind 
and had to re-paint...
with a softer, kinder white.
Older homes prefer that...
believe me.
It's like diffused lighting
after fifty...

With living room done
and foyer waiting its second coat
I am feeling somewhat 

And now the boys are feeling better.
(thanks for asking)
Homeschool resumes.
As have all the duties associated with
and I will squeeze in painting.

But wait...
I have an idea.
A perfectly, wonderful, devious

Maintenance 101.


I tend to take these projects on
all by myself.
I feel like the job will only get done 
 if I do it.
A trap we mom's often fall prey to.
Not today.
Today, I will wiggle free of that assumption
and allow my boys the 
of painting...rolling... trimming...
right along side of me.

Who's learning something new today?
That's who!

Enjoy your beige day!
Shaker Beige.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

tea will make you feel better

When one isn't feeling
as good as one should
a proper tea
is called for.
Sure I could zap a mug
in the microwave
but where is the art in that?

a proper
(or as proper as I'm ever
going to get!)

Get that kettle whistling
prime the pot.
You do that by swishing 
some of that hot water in a clean pot
and letting it sit
for a bit.
After about 3 minutes
empty your pot 
and drop in your tea of choice
Yorkshire Gold
is my favorite blend.

Fill the pot with that
boiling water
Or in tea terms...
let it steep.

And if you own a cute tea cozy
now would be the time
to put it on
your pot.

(I found this set at Target for
a mere $7 on Christmas clearance!)

Some like their tea strong...

Pour to your preference.
But before you do...
try this little trick
mom taught me.

Rub a bit of butter
(or margarine)
at the spout to prevent

There must be a scientific reason here...
oil water thing I'm sure.

Then pour.
Today's choice...
raw sugar.

If you're feeling the Brit
in you...
(Is there another way?)
add a spot of cream...
All that is left now
is to enjoy
your brew.

Which is best accomplished with
a loved one.
Sitting near a sunny window.
Curled under a blanket.
Watching a good movie.

On our way to feeling

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

cooking with kierstin

It all began with a title 
that could not be 
Easy as Heck Vegan 
Chocolate Chip Cookies
You can find it at!

Add to that tantalizing 
two little girls coming to
grandma jenny's
and it's a given.

My station.

Where the collecting
and measuring of

Kierstin's spot.

On the other side of the sink
where the fun stuff
like stirring
and sampling
take place.

The actual mud pie
was a two-handed procedure
so use your imagination.

What do all cooks do when the
cookies are in the

of course!

Now Kaylee wanted
in on the action.

(ignore the mountain dew did that get in my house?!)

The BESTEST part
of our day...
besides being 

Eating those yummy 
(the dish washing caused the
wardrobe change...
grandma's Beatles tee...which had to be worn

Kierstin didn't like the fact
that I was taking 
ALL the pictures
(such a camera hog)

She did the unthinkable
and turned the
lens on the

and sissy...
and a wee bit of her
little thumb!

That would be a thumbs-up
to a 
very. good. day!

Enjoy yours :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

comfort food :: vegan mac and cheese

Those bleak days of winter
that have you wishing
for snow.
The cold is there.
The wind.
But no sun.
No snow.

Those are the days
that have me looking for
any source of 

Days that have me remembering
the foods from childhood.
Like good old-fashioned 
Macaroni and Cheese.
Not from the box
but like mom used to make.

Minus the 1 pound block
of Velveeta.
My new whole food/ vegan ways
had me turning to the Internet
for options that resembled

Found this winner at a Daiya
(veggie cheese sold in the health food frig)
and admittedly 
I never made it per instructions
Which has me asking...
When is a recipe considered mine?
An original?

 I used the recipe above to guide me
and I have perfected it along
the way.
You know that you have a
when your kids (and hubby)
are going back for seconds...thirds...
mid-night snack!

Macaroni and Cheese
(Almost Like Mom's)

1# (almost) Box Barilla Elbow Macaroni
(prepared per instructions)

In a 3 Quart saucepan
Saute 1 small onion chopped fine
in 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
until soft and translucent
Stir in 2 Tablespoons flour to make a roue
Stir in 3 Cups Soy Milk
whisk to incorporate and cook until it 
begins to thicken.
Season with a touch of sea salt and fresh (generous here) pepper.
Dice 3/4 of a block of Daiya Cheddar.
Add to the milk mix and
whisk until melted and smooth.
Pour into a 2 Quart buttered baking dish
with most of the pasta.
(I reserve about 2 Cups for a
lunch toss the next day
which I will share at a later date)
Mix well.
I like my mac and cheese creamy.
Sprinkle with Paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.
Top with French's Onions.
Bake for 5 minutes more.

Topping option:
Bread crumbs tossed in olive oil
and smoked paprika.
Placed on top before baking.

My family preferred
Fried Onions.

Serve with a garden green and
apple sauce
...and a spot of ketchup
for dipping.

Just like I did when I was
a kiddo.

Just like mom.

Monday, February 11, 2013

winter tea

the day calls for a
pot of tea.

The way of the wind.
A mood.
A cup of warmth
have and hold
on a blustery
such as today here in
the Midwest.

This winter I am
drawn to

A meditative
and warming blend of spices
black tea

Chai cannot be rushed
but why would you want to
when the
process produces a
heady fragrance that fills
your home
and stokes the fires
of a hibernating

Since discovering this recipe
(Beauty That Moves)
I feel I have made it my
A pinch more of that.
A touch less of this.
Until it yields
a perfect blend that
is uniquely

Be forewarned
Once you make
your own
nothing else will do
All will fall short
in comparison.

Mix and mingle with
my latte of choice
Vanilla Soy...
then again
it is all about
personal preferences.

Make it.
Make it your own.

Happy tea time.