Crybaby Ranch

  

 

 

Crybaby Ranch **** by Tina Welling

  

 

 

I’m joining Jain with my edible book review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!

 

 

 

This book stars Suzannah, who realizes her sense of self has been defined through her relationships with others:  wife, stepmom, daughter. She finds pleasure and satisfaction through her love of beads as she dabbles on the weekends when she isn’t teaching school. Suzannah’s jewelry-making becomes a catalyst for changes that take place in her life.

 

 

 

 

“Saturday morning opens like a meadow in springtime, about to flare with bloom and birth. That’s the way the beginning of each weekend feels, even this one in the middle of January, even when memory proves weekend after weekend turns out pretty much the same. Still, possibility nests in the tall grasses. And if I keep alert I will not step on any eggs.”

 

 

 

 

When her stepson leaves for college, she discovers her mother has Alzheimer’s, and also realizes she has been “inflicting a good marriage on a reluctant husband.” As these relationships fall away and change, she rediscovers herself through her love of jewelry making. 

 

 

 

 

“Some men ended their marriage by bringing home floozies, expensive cars, drunken friends, empty pay envelopes. My husband brought home pineapple pizza.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a moment of courage and inspiration, she moves from Ohio to Wyoming:

 

“I was looking for life itself. Here, where the land thrusts upward and the wild animals abound, the world pulses with aliveness. I need the majestic doses to stun me into wakefulness after marriage to Erik.”  

 

 

 

 

  “Something about birds’ nests intrigue me. The intentional gathering of supplies for one. The deliberate downiness of its interior. I am reminded of my connectedness to other living things as I, too, prepare a home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I sit at the table on a bench I found weathering behind my shed, and I read by the pin-up lamp on the wall, hung just below the shelf that holds my books and the bird’s nest and a jar of wildflowers.”

 

 

 

 

 

“I look at my new home and feel so thrilled I could gnaw on a porch pillar. I look closer; the base of the left pillar looks as though some woodland creature has beaten me to it. I give the post a gentle push. I don’t think the roof will cave in anytime soon, but the supports are sadly deteriorated. The front step sags on one side. I prop it with a flat-topped stone and stand back to admire my first home improvement.”

 

 

“I sure don’t want a man in my life, but I’d feel more secure if I could install one in my house, because propping boards with a handy stone is the outer limits of my renovating skills.”

 

 

Bo Garrett enters the picture (aka The Marlboro Man). Bo is the former owner of Suzannah’s cabin, who’s neglected to tell her that the appliances were not included in the sale. Suzannah’s welcome to “borrow” the appliances when Bo is not using them himself, cooking in his former, and her new, kitchen. As a result, he comes up with an arrangement where they share meals. They slip into a comfortable co-existence. 

 

 

 

 

There were lots of food references in this book–Bo cooks eggs, ham, potatoes, soup, beans. . . here is one where Suzannah has a drop-in visitor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe for Glazed Lemon Bread Here.

 

 

 

 Suzannah visits her mother to give her father a much-needed break for a week.  Her mother has developed a fear of moving air–fans, and breezes, since she last saw her, so her plans of walks on the beach and picnics, all have to be scrapped.

 

 

 

 

 In an effort to entertain her mother, Suzannah decides a matinée will make for a fun afternoon, since her mother always loved the movies with popcorn.  A disastrous movie experience begins:

 

“My mother’s seat won’t stay down unless she sits in it. I can’t get this idea across to her. My hands are full, so I try to hold her seat down with my left knee…”

 

 

 

 

“In a commanding voice that sounds just like my real mother, she says, ‘I’ll pay you any amount of money, but please, let me go now.’ Heads turn. I smile at the strange faces in the half-light and wish the room would fall darker. ‘I don’t know you and I don’t want you touching me.’ She shrinks from my arm. No one would believe this woman is ill. She sounds sane and cultured. And wealthy and kidnapped.”

 

 

“In Florida, I seem to unconsciously assume an army nurse facade. Nothing shocks or dismays me. My mother put her used underwear in the dishwasher beside the silverware. The army nurse cheerfully sorted clothes from dishes and washed everything over. I should offer a name to this inner soldier of mine: Agatha, the army nurse. Even-tempered and nonjudgmental, Agatha absolutely loves her work.”

 

 

 

 

“As usual since Mom’s illness, I am enveloped in pastry wrap, buffered, smiling, unshockable. Suzannah en croute. But I am aware, too, of a sodden center, enlarging as my time here goes by, gaining heaviness, solidity.”

 

 

 

 

Brie en Croute. . .  Lots of variations Here, I settled on strawberries preserves since I had some on hand (anything in puff pastry is good :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

“All at once, I realize that I have learned the most about gaining independence and strength through dependent and weak people. Erik and my mother. In my heart, I thank them. I remember a long ago talk with Bo when I wondered why the strong must be in service to the weak. I think now I know the answer. It is in the gratitude for the lessons they teach.”

 

 

 

 

Stumbling on his book was a happy accident…it was on the $2 table at my bookstore, and after thumbing through it, I snapped it up. I think you’ll enjoy reading about Suzannah’s new life, as she navigates her way through her new relationships and old ones.

 

Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup with Crumbled Stilton

  

This recipe came to my inbox by way of RealAge.com back in the fall. It’s a great and easy recipe for a healthy and tasty soup which is sweet and savory. Roasting the pears and the butternut squash, caramelizes their sugars, enhancing their natural sweetness. Balancing that sweetness are the leeks, tomatoes, garlic, and salt & pepper. You can find the recipe Here.

 Here are the veggies and pear drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper ready to roast in the oven.

 

And here they are 45 minutes later, roasted in all their carmelized-goodness.

Add your roasted veggies to 4 cups of chicken stock. Time permitting, I like to make my chicken stock when I have a chicken, so I can control the sodium (and know there is no added MSG) and freeze it for later.

 The recipe calls for pureeing it in a blender in batches, but I used my immersion blender in the pot and it is done in 5 minutes, quick and easy with less clean up.

 Add some blue cheese crumbles and some walnuts. . .a little crumbled bacon doesn’t hurt either :)

I’m sharing this recipe at Foodie Friday and am including this soup as part of my Food for Thought Edible Review, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera, from my book  All Over Creation,

For the purpose of my book review on Saturday, this recipe will be named Promiscuous Squash Soup…the Free Dictionary defines promiscuity* as a mixture of diverse or unrelated parts or individuals; a hodgepodge, which is appropriate considering the  combination of unlikely ingredients in this soup !

( *in addition to having indiscriminate sexual partners which apparently squash are prone to do :-)

Stop by Designs by Gollum for more Foodie Friday Fun.

Spring Tulips from Fitz & Floyd

 

 

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday Party…

 

 

 

I’m sharing my Fitz & Floyd Tulipe d’Or…nothing says Spring like Tulips!

 

 

 

 

I found this tulip runner at Home Goods that’s a fun complement to this pattern. 

 

 

 

 There are four different colors in these salad plates…rose, blue, peach and periwinkle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The mugs are all the same, two colors of tulips on one side, periwinkle and peach on one side, and rose on the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to springing forward this weekend! Head over to the Porch for other inspiring tablescapes.

Outdoor Makeovers

 

 

No personal metamorphosis from me this week. I thought I’d share this site that you may or may not be already aware of:

 

  MyHomeIdeas.com

 

If you’re not already familiar with this site, I recommend you visit to see Design Tips, Idea Houses, Entertaining Ideas etc.

 

 

 

 There are some amazing Before and After Outdoor Transformations HERE.

 

(I’m yearning for Spring, so I have been fantasizing about spending more time Outdoors.)

 

This Before and After had some appeal to me since we’re lake dwellers

 

Lake Cabin Before

 

 

 

Lake Cabin After

 

 

 

The details about this transformation can be read about HERE. Certainly a job for professionals and not for the faint-of-heart!

 

 

This one of my favorite Before and Afters that has me yearning for weather for Outdoor Entertaining

 

 

 

 

 

And After

 

 

 

 

This is one of my favorite Outdoor Party Ideas featured in Southern Living.

 

 

 

 

For more details of this Party Transformation go Here.

 

MyHomeIdeas.com has a Spring Cleaning Giveway that you can enter daily between now and April 30th! To enter click Here.

 

 

 

For more  Inspirational Metamorphoses, head over to Between Naps on the Porch.

Short Cut Cheese Fondue

 

 This is my Foodie Friday contribution this week.

 

 

In the mood for Cheese Fondue, I found a recipe of Tyler Florence’s at Food Network. Then, I stumbled on this at the deli counter at the grocery store.

 

 

 

I thought I’d give it a try, since I didn’t have any Kirsch and didn’t want to buy a bottle. The ingredients are practically identical to the Food Network recipe. The package was $12.99, so definitely a money saver when you consider the price of cheese. The directions called for heating it over medium heat, stirring as it melted.

 

 

 

 I chose summer sausage, bread, steamed broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and a chicken & prosciutto tortellini for dipping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 It melted easily, had a good consistency, and great flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 If you can find this at your market, I recommend it. 

 

 

Some might call it fondue, we called it dinner :-)

 

 

 

Visit Designs by Gollum for other Foodie Friday Fun.

 

South of Broad

 

 

 

 

I’m joining Jain in her bi-monthly edible book review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!

 

 

South of Broad ** by Pat Conroy

 

 

It’s been 14 years since Pat Conroy’s last book came out (Beach Music). I really, really, REALLY wanted to read this book. I looked forward to it…pre-ordered it. 80 or 90 pages into the book, I began to think, I don’t identify with these characters, or even LIKE them so far (the book has 512 pages). Nothing much changed through the course of the book for me. I struggled to finish it. I resisted pitching it off the Cooper River Bridge when I was in Charleston in January, but just barely. This book read like a soap opera there was so much drama:  suicide, rape (male & female), mental illness, murder, alcoholism, adultery, and AIDS. (I’ve come to expect suicide, rape and family dysfunction from Pat Conroy, but the psychotic killer put this over the top.) I feel like this is sacrilege, only giving this book two stars, but this book was a huge disappointment for me.

 

 

 This book spans twenty years, starting in 1969 and ending with Hurricane Hugo. I’ve included this video with Pat Conroy that was on Amazon’s website, that gives a brief synopsis.

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Charleston Receipts Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benne Wafers Recipe

 

 

  

  

 

 

I thought I’d focus on what I do love about South of Broad. And that is Charleston. The FOOD, gardens, architecture, and history. We went there on our honeymoon twenty-five years ago. Since it’s only a three-hour drive for us, we try to get away for a weekend once a year. We like to park our car when we arrive and walk once we get there. We eat, drink, and shop our way down King Street. I decided to include some of our favorite places as part of this Edible Review.

 

 

 

 

 

This was a crab cake recipe from Magnolia’s Cookbook, one of our favorite places to eat in Charleston.

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Read the History of She-Crab Soup HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 We also like to eat at Cypress.  At the very least, have an appetizer at the bar upstairs before we make our way to dinner elsewhere. The lights in the floor change colors (which are the lights in the ceiling in the restaurant below). It took me a couple of visits to realize the colors were changing.

 

 

 Fodor’s has this to say:

 

“From the owners of Magnolias and Blossom comes a renovated 1834 brick-wall building with an urbane contemporary decor. Rust-color leather booths, a ceiling with light sculptures that change color, and a “wine wall” of 5,000 bottles keeps things interesting. The cuisine is high-end Southern-American, with fresh local ingredients accented with exotic flavors, notably from the Pacific Rim. Try fabulous salads, like the hearts of palm and baby greens with local goat cheese topped with a walnut vinaigrette. The duck is a good entrée choice, as is the fillet cooked over hickory wood and topped with a Madeira wine sauce. Executive chef Craig Deihl consistently creates simple yet elegant fare, and you can do the same with his cookbook called, of course, Cypress.”

 

 

My favorite menu item is Sashimi Tuna & Oysters with cilantro-lime glaze and pineapple wasabi.

 

 

 We also try to have Sunday Brunch at High Cotton.

 and lunch or dinner at

Slightly North of Broad or SNOBS

 

 

Fodor’s Review of SNOBS:

 

“This former warehouse with brick-and-stucco walls has a chef’s table that looks directly into the open kitchen. It’s a great place to perch if you can “take the heat,” as chef Frank Lee, who wears a baseball cap instead of a toque, is one of the city’s culinary characters. Known for his talent in preparing game, his venison is exceptional. Many of the items come as small plates, which make them perfect for sharing. The braised lamb shank with a ragout of white beans, arugula, and a red demi-glace is divine. Lunch can be as inexpensive as $9.95 for something as memorable as mussels with spinach, grape tomatoes, and smoked bacon.”

  

 

 

We seem to be creatures of habit and frequent our favorite places. I’ve always wanted to follow this Appetizer Crawl Guide that I saw in Southern Living.

 

 

McCrady’s is listed in the App Crawl Guide. We’ve had several great meals there. Feast your eyes on their food images when you click on McCrady’s link. Here is a quote from Executive Chef Sean Brock:

 

“Food should be a treat for the emotions as well as the palate, at once comforting, exciting and entertaining. We like to surprise and delight our guests with familiar flavors presented in unexpected ways.”

 

Here is a perfect example:

 

 

 

 

This is a GREAT Magazine. There is an article in the February Issue:  Chefs’ Night Out. Charleston Magazine is full of recipes, restaurant reviews and dining guide, as well as home and garden features.

 

 

Places we have stayed:

 

We love the Jasmine House. We just stayed there with a group of friends for a 50th birthday celebration over New Years.  We stayed at the Elliot House Inn (currently closed for renovations) on our honeymoon, and several times since then. It is next door to 82 Queen. It’s also right down the block from Poogan’s Porch, which has a great Crabcake Benedict, available on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Two roof top bars that are fun to visit for happy hour–the newest is the Pavilion Bar on top of the Market Pavillion Hotel on East Bay Street. The roof top bar at the Vendue Inn has a harbor view. The Vendue is also a great place to stay… the milk & cookies in the lobby before bedtime are a nice touch.

 

This is something that sounds like fun that we have never done, where you can enjoy gardens and architecture first hand…

 

“Experience the intimate charm and elegance found only beyond Charleston’s private garden gates and historic thresholds”:

 

Historic Charleston Foundation’s 63rd Annual Spring Festival of Houses & Gardens

March 18 – April 17, 2010

 

and if you need another reason to visit, there is always The Spoleto Festival, May 28th – June 13th, 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This passage is vintage Pat Conroy and is found in the prologue:

 

“I carry the delicate porcelain beauty of Charleston like the hinged shell of some soft-tissued mollusk. My soul is peninsula-shaped and sun-hardened and river-swollen. The high tides of the city flood my consciousness each day, subject to the whims and harmonies of full moons and rising out of the Atlantic. I grow calm when I see the ranks of palmetto trees pulling guard duty on the banks of Colonial Lake or hear the bells of St. Michael’s calling cadence in the cicada-filled trees along Meeting Street.”

 

 

 

 

 Hope Springs Eternal…I loved Prince of Tides and enjoyed Beach Music. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that it won’t be another 14 years before Pat Conroy’s next novel.

The Girl She Used To Be

  

 

 

I’m joining Jain in her bi-monthly edible book review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!

 

 

 

The Girl She Used To Be **** by David Cristofano

 

The Girl She Used To Be has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author.

  

 

 

 

This  page-turning story is told by Melody herself, who is swept into the Witness Protection Program (WITSEC) along with her parents at the tender age of six. The program fails her parents, and twenty years later she’s still on the run from mafioso Tony Bovaro.

 

 

Melody:

 

When I was born, my parents assembled a string of vowels and consonants so magical, so rhythmic and haunting, that the human form had yet to be married to such beauty. When I was six, it was taken away. And because of my ineptitude and innocent inability to keep a secret, they took it away again when I was eight. And at nine. At eleven. Twice at thirteen.

  

  

  

“Just be quiet, keep to yourself, and stay under the radar and the government will give the best thing they have to offer:  You get to live. The price is an existence of tedium. You have just become irreparably average. You are not special. You are not unique. You are not a prime number.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Every eighteen to twenty-four months like clockwork, Melody gets bored with her surroundings and calls the U.S. Marshal assigned to her with a claim that she has been found and threatened…again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Melody discover she has been assigned a new Marshal, Sean, who is less likely to be manipulated, but does try to appease her with Orange Hostess Cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melody’s opinion about Sean:

 

 

 

 

Melody explains why she’s so passionate about math:

 

My interest–okay, obsession–with math is genuine, and has been since the first time I was ripped away from the life I loved. I buried myself in numbers and word problems where an answer was certain (or at least in the back of the book) and I knew I’d found something that I could count on.

 It’s rigid. It’s firm and unyielding. It never lies.

 

  

 While under Sean’s protective custody, Melody’s hotel room is broken into by none other than Jonathan Bavaro, Tony’s son. Jonathan, professing that he’s that not there to hurt her, convinces her that she has a better opportunity to start over with him.  It’s a temptation she can’t resist.

 

Melody: 

 

The Bavaros have destroyed my life, killed my parents, sucked every ounce of hope out of me. I want to hate Jonathan–I want to destroy him–but I can’t. Despite the fact that he’s some vague threat to my life, he’s also the only person who has any authentic interest in me, in who I am.

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan: 

 

In fact, we are identical except for one thing:  You would give anything to be who you were meant to be, and I would give anything to be anyone but who I was meant to be.

 

 

 

 Jonathan begins to wine and dine Melody…

 

 

 

 

 Just as Melody begins to relax with Jonathan, Sean has followed her trail and she is picked up by the Marshals Service again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She manages to give the marshals the slip and Jonathan comes to her rescue. This pattern continues until ultimately she withdraws herself from WITSEC permanently, realizing she is nothing more than a pawn in the government’s war against the Bovaro family.

 

Melody:

 

I open my eyes and realize there is no way to turn this around. Before, there was one good guy and one bad guy; now I’m lost in a world of distrust and corruption and the odds of my survival have slipped to about one in a thousand. The only person left I can trust myself–and I have no idea who I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were lots of drool-worthy Italian Food and Seafood Scenes to choose from in this book. I have been on a mussel kick lately so the passage above leapt off the page at me.

 

 I found a quick and easy mussel recipe in Tyler’s Ultimate Cookbook…(you may have gathered by now that I am a Tyler Florence fan :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan’s grand plan is to take Melody to meet his family:

 

I’m going to show my family what a nice woman you are, how you are no threat to them, and —how you are a person. Not some file of incriminating evidence they’re trying to erase or a rat spilling his guts to the cops, but a real human being with feelings and emotions

 

 

 

Melody observes the Bovaro’s driveway with trepidation:

 

 The driveway is long, with a string of vehicles parked on it, all large, all American, each with seating for eight–if you include the trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things don’t go quite like they hoped…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually read this book about a year ago when I saw an interview with the David Cristofano on Joshilyn Jackson’s blog Faster Than Kudzu. I finished it and put it on the shelf, rather than ‘swapping’ it, thinking I’d loan it my sister-in-law, who reads with the speed Jain does. Then I forgot about it. (Sorry, Leigh!) I ran across it again a couple of weeks ago in an effort/failed attempt to organize my books and remembered all the wonderful food passages.

 

 

 I had no idea that an Orange Hostess Cupcake actually exists. I’m like a dog with a bone when I’m on a mission to find something…(much to my husband’s dismay). We happened to stop a couple of weeks ago to get gas and I ran in on the off-chance they would have some. They had ONE Orange Cupcake in the rack, next to rows of chocolate. I was thrilled (yes, I know, they probably make a pill for my condition)…it’s the little things in life :-)

 

 

 

 You’ll have to read for yourself to see what transpires for Melody and Jonathan.  Suffice it to say, the story ends in a way that makes sense, rather than how I would have liked for it to. I’m looking forward to seeing what David Cristofano has in store next!

 

 

 

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain

 

 

 

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain **** by Garth Stein

****(Xanax, and Kleenex maybe required)

 

 

 

 

I’m joining Jain in with this edible book review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!

 

 I HIGHLY recommend this book!  Particularly so, if you are a dog lover and pet owner. Enzo is the narrator of this story. He is the best friend and confidant of Denny, his owner.  In Enzo’s final hours, he looks back on his life, reminiscing– as Denny marries Eve, and has a daughter, Zoe. 

 

 

 

 

Enzo:

I’ve always felt almost human. I’ve always known that there’s something about me that’s different than other dogs. Sure, I’m stuffed into a dog’s body, but that’s just a shell. It’s what’s inside that’s important. The soul. And my soul is very human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The title of the book is explained by Denny’s philosophy about driving:

 

‘Drivers are afraid of the rain,’ Denny told us. ‘Rain amplifies your mistakes, and water on the track can make your car handle unpredictably. When something unpredictable happens you have to react to it; if you’re reacting at speed, you’re reacting too late. And so you should be afraid.’

 

Enzo applies Denny’s driving philosophy towards Eve:

 

I had always wanted to love Eve as Denny loved her, but I was afraid. She was my rain. She was my unpredictable element. She was my fear. But a racer should not be afraid of rain; a racer should embrace the rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 Enzo:

 

I watch too much TV. When Denny goes away in the mornings, he turns it on for me, and it’s become a habit. He warned me not to watch all day, but I do. Fortunately, he knows I love cars, so he lets me watch a lot of Speed Channel. The classic races are the best, and I especially like Formula One. I like NASCAR, too, but I prefer it when they race on the road circuits.

 

I got the biggest kick out of Enzo’s other TV favorites…The Weather Channel: “It’s not about the weather; it’s about the world!”  He watches Sesame Street with Zoe in hopes of teaching himself to read…When they move, he recognizes his new house as ‘craftsman-style’, from watching This Old House. (I’m afraid my dogs are suffering in their television education by comparison. I’m not sure what they are learning from watching American Idol, The Office, Survivor, and Weeds.)

 

 

 

 

 

Enzo’s observations about racing  are many and this books uses racing as a metaphor for life, here are just a few:

 

  • The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles–preferably of his own making–in order to triumph.

  

  • There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

  

  • The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enzo’s observations were so insightful:

 

People are always worried about what’s happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future.

 

 

 

 

 

And humorous:

 

Parking lots are weird places. People love their cars so much when they are moving, but they hurry away from them so quickly when they stop moving. People are loath to sit in a parked car for long. They are afraid someone might judge them for it, I think. The only people who sit in parked cars are police and stalkers, and sometimes taxi drivers on a break, but usually only when they’re eating. Whereas me, I can sit in a parked car for hours and nobody thinks to ask. Odd.

 

 

 

  

 

 Enzo:

I tried to eat slowly, savoring each bite, but I was too hungry and swallowed them so quickly I barely got to taste them. What a shame to waste something so wonderful on a dog. Sometimes I hate what I am so much.

 

Enzo constantly laments his lack of opposable thumbs and his tongue that is “long and flat and loose” and therefore an ineffective tool to communicate with.

 

 

 

 

 

There were not a lot of food vignettes to choose from…just several observations from Enzo about how carefully Denny prepares Zoe’s lunch…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…And by contrast how Zoe’s grandparents (aka The Twins) do not.

 

 

 

 

 

There are a couple of incidents with pepperoncini and Eve’s clueless parents. I was outraged on Enzo’s behalf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enzo:

 

since that time…I have never accepted food from someone I didn’t fully trust.

 

 

 

 It was the Zebra.

 

Enzo has a “zebra” moment…I can relate. My dogs have had their own zebra moments :-)

 

 

 

 

Enzo:

 

I suddenly realized. The zebra. It is not something outside of us. The zebra is something inside of us. Our fears. Our own self-destructive nature. The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times. The demon is us!

 

 

 

 

 Since pancakes are Enzo’s favorite food, followed by bananas as a close second, I found a recipe for Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, courtesy of Ina Garten.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 The Zebra is everywhere :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enzo learns from watching the National Geographic Channel that a dog’s next incarnation will be as a man. “Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.”

 

 

Enzo:

 

Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I have to confess, even though I live in the heart of NASCAR country (Charlotte, NC), I am ambivalent towards racing. I do find it great ‘white noise’ for a Sunday afternoon nap. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the racing element to this book. My husband even read it after I finished for that reason.

 

 An aside about the Xanax and Kleenex:  A friend recommended and loaned me this book and I’m really glad I read it. But, it’s not something I tend to pick up at the bookstore, even though I’m a dog lover. I am a wimp when it comes to animal stories and shows. This book begins at the end of Enzo’s life and that, alone, starts the water works for me.

 

You will laugh and cry with Enzo and Denny. This book will make you want to take your dog for an extra walk, give him or her an extra cookie, and forgive them their “zebra moments”. I recommend you RACE to your bookstore or library and get this book :-)

 

Megan’s Birthday Trifle

I’m contributing a Lemon Berry Trifle Recipe for Foodie Friday this week.

The basis for this recipe was a Tyler Florence recipe, Lemon Curd Trifle with Berries. I made a short-cut version with lemon curd in a jar. I went one step further and made Lemon Fondue you can see Here.

Tyler’s recipe called for folding the whipped cream in with the lemon curd. I thought it would be prettier with a separate layer.

I actually made two of these if you’re wondering about the different bowls. It was Megan’s birthday at my husband’s office and he was responsible for providing the “cake”. Megan is not a chocolate fan and wanted trifle.

It’s hard to beat layers of pound cake, lemon curd, berries and whipped cream…

For other recipes to tempt your pallette, visit Designs by Gollum.

Harvest Time by Johnson Brothers (Lottie’s China)

 

 

 

 

I’m joining Susan for Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. 

 

 

Last week with Spring on the Horizon, I had a botanically inspired tablescape to share. This week, our weather has taken a nose dive. Last weekend’s weather was a teaser. Winter is still here, scarves, gloves, and coats are still required.

 

 

 

I am sharing my maternal Grandmother’s (Lottie’s) China Pattern, Harvest Time by Johnson Brothers

Lottie was born in 1901. She was one of nine children and raised her three younger brothers when her mother died. She didn’t marry until she was 26 (an Old Maid in 1927!) She attended Elon College (now University) for one year. She passed away in 1993.

 

 

 

It would probably be more fitting to share this in the fall, given the pattern’s motif and colors. I must confess though, that there is something very comforting and homey I find with this pattern, especially when it is still winter outside.

 

 

I have always been a Brown-Girl. My favorite dress in the first grade was brown. To me, there is something soothing about brown, it feels like home. And partially because of  my grandmother too, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

 

These dishes are lovingly worn and chipped in places. Only three Dinner Plates are left. One Lonely Salad Plate. Three Soup Bowls. Four Bread & Butters. One Oval Platter. And five Fruit/Dessert Bowls.

 

 

 

 

I have fond memories of her preparing breakfast on these plates. She would put on a full spread. A lumberjack would not go hungry :-)

 

 

 

 

 She also was up with the chickens ;-)  Rattling around her kitchen in the wee hours of the morning, setting the table.

 

 

 

 

I have paired her Dinner Plate with a Matceramica Charger underneath.

 

 

 

She handwashed these dishes, and I usually helped dry– so I’m probably partially responsible for some of the missing place settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more tablescaping inspiration head over to the Porch.