Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Yikes. I was just about to post a long, ponderous blog when Brian ordered me to bed. Hmmph! ORDERED!

(Secretly, I like it that he doesn't want to go to bed alone. As much as I bug him... I think he needs me! Ha!)

Good night!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grand opening - get out of the heat and put up your feet at Maeg's House Day Spa.

It's July, alright! Well, almost. July's going to be a very busy month, but I love being busy - because time just flies by! And as much as I enjoy my life, and want to savor it day by day, I've got to say that I HATE this hot weather! So if the month of July flies by... that's fine with me. :)

Our garden is going gangbusters on us - I've been giving away tomatoes left and right, and the next day there are more to pick. But the real problem is the cucumbers! I've tried and tried to grow zucchini, thinking of all the things you can cook with it, but I've never been able to get the plants to go beyond the flowering stage. Never have I gotten one zucchini. So THIS year, I decided that simple was BEST. I'd just plant tomatoes and cucumbers.

I didn't even dream that we'd already be getting this many cukes! What the heck can you do with cucumbers besides slice and eat? And maybe sprinkle salt on top? You can't bake, saute, or cook with cucumber - what was I thinking? Maybe this is a sign from God that I should open a place called "Maeg's House Day Spa". I could charge a couple of dollars for women to put their feet up in my quiet living room with a box fan blowing cool air toward them (on their choice of three settings - low, medium, or high!) and cucumber slices on their eyes. Sound good? Hmm. If only I could guarantee that Bo wouldn't bark...

If anyone out there has any ideas of what I can do with all these cukes, I'd be much obliged. On the other hand, if anyone wants a few, give me a buzz!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A quick summer meal idea, to jog your culinary creativity.

I love cooking in the winter. Soups, stews, roasts, potatoes, hot bread: I love cooking these things. A pot of stew simmering on the stove and a fresh loaf of bread is so comforting.

We don't eat those things in the summer. They're too hot. But there are things I love about cooking in the summer, too. I like picking herbs on our deck and I love fresh food from the garden. It's easy to throw a meal together in the summer.

Here's a meal I like to make every now and then.

Chop some tomatoes. (This is good for tomatoes that are wrinkly, or a little old - still good, but maybe not great for eating fresh.) Mix with a little olive oil and salt, and maybe some minced garlic, and spread onto a baking sheet.

Throw the tomatoes into a HOT oven - 450-500 degrees - or, since the oven is currently outlawed, onto a hot grill.

Meanwhile, grab some herbs. I can't tell exactly what's all here, but I see basil and chives and maybe some rosemary. Whatever.

Chop the herbs finely and set aside. You can see I also grated some Romano cheese and added some parsley for garnish. I'll use these later.

After about ten minutes, the tomatoes have softened and gotten some nice color. Scrape them off the pan and be sure to get the brown stuff. That's got a lot of flavor.

Mix the tomatoes with your herbs, and set aside. If the mixture cools off while you cook, you can just microwave it before serving.

Now, cover two chicken breasts with a couple layers of plastic wrap -

And pound the crap out of them with a dijon mustard jar.

Dredge the chicken breasts in a mixture of Parmesan cheese (the stuff in a can), flour, and seasoned salt.

Heat some olive oil and a little butter in a pan for a couple minutes, and when it's nice and hot, throw in the chicken. Cook over medium heat for about four minutes per side. (Only flip once!)

Meanwhile, trim some green beans. You can saute them in the same pan, once the chicken is done.

After the chicken's rested for a couple of minutes, spoon some hot tomato sauce onto a plate, top with the chicken, add more tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese.

Easy and frightfully delicious.

Brought to you by summer.


Life lesson learned from a dog, who thankfully does not have an eternal soul and therefore is good for teaching me these things.

Bo is finally, finally all better from his surgery. The other night, we looked at the incision and the last bit of it had finally turned from the angry red color we've been seeing to a normal brown. And it seems like the energy that he didn't expend (or wasn't allowed to expend!) during his recovery was just being stored up until the moment he was finally better. When we jog with him in the mornings, he runs double-speed from one sniff-spot to another, zig-zagging back to us and then off again. It's nice to have him back. :)

I'm not condemning myself here, but I realize that my actions were a big reason why Bo's recovery took so long. I didn't leave the cone on him during the night because I felt bad for him. I felt bad shoving his medication down his throat, so my frustration (when he wouldn't eat it wrapped in ham) just made the experience more stressful for both of us. I felt bad when he wanted to run and play, so I took him on longer walks - which only irritated the incision. Bo didn't know why he had to take it easy on exercise, or why he had to take medication, or why he had to wear the cone. And he didn't like any of it. But I knew why those things were necessary, yet I didn't follow through because I felt bad.

God doesn't do that for us, and I'm so thankful. God doesn't spare us from consequences or even spare us from pain that He knows will strengthen us and grow the spirit of Christ in us. Even though I don't have children yet, this experience with Bo taught me that a loving parent does what's best for their child, even when they feel bad about it.

I'm thankful that my parents disciplined me. I'm thankful that they sometimes allowed me to go through experiences that I hated because they knew it was what I needed. As sorry as I felt for Bo, I imagine I'd be even more sympathetic toward my child. But I hope I will be a parent that does what's best, like my parents did.

Right now, Bo is out on the deck. He sees something off in the woods that he wants to chase, and he's whining and fussing for me to move the chairs and let him go. But I know it's not a good time for him to go roaming around the neighborhood, unattended, even though he so badly wants to. I've got to tell him no, not right now. And I just did. :)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The best thing about summer (that I can think of right now).

I think of some new "favorite summer thing" every week. This week, it's caprese salad with fresh garden tomatoes and avocados. My brother- and sister-in-law made this for us while we were in the Bahamas and I couldn't wait to make it again with summer produce.

It's the easiest thing in the world and relies in NO way on your cooking ability. In fact, it's so easy that I look the liberty of not posting process shots!

Slice and layer one avocado, one large tomato (or two medium), and one ball of fresh mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the tomato lightly with kosher salt. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil (I like to grow purple and green basil - it's pretty in a salad). :)

By the way, you may want to serve yourself a smaller portion than pictured. This was Brian's plate.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Back to basics.

I realize I haven't been blogging much lately, and if I have any remaining faithful readers, I do apologize.

The first reason for this is because the past few weeks have sort of been different. I haven't felt like doing much beside complaining, and that is simply gross. I'm disgusted with it. I have no business complaining, yet whenever I determined to write a positive blog post during this time, it somehow wound up as a vent.

So I'd delete it.

Anyway, in summary, we've nursed Bo through a vasectomy recovery (and are still trying to figure out how to help him heal), gone to visit Michigan for a brief yet blessedly refreshing weekend, and discovered once again that no, we are not pregnant. (If you asked Brian, he didn't think for a moment I'd be pregnant this month, but can you blame me for wondering? :) And by the way, we are not trying, so please, don't pity me!

The second reason is that once I pulled out of this funk, I realized that I need to get back to basics. These are:

1. Praying for Brian.
2. Taking care of Brian (cooking a decent meal and keeping the house reasonably clean).
3. Doing a good job with work.
4. Staying healthy.

These are the very simplest of priorities, and I need to get back to doing them well. The largest reason for my recent funk was the anxiety I was feeling about not doing anything right. That was before I realized I may have been trying to do too much.

Superfluous things include library books and Facebook and blogging and while I enjoy keeping in touch with the world, I've got to "set aside the weight that so easily besets me". I've got to focus on the basics. So yesterday I spent a half hour setting up a system that effectively blocks me from Facebook and other timewasting sites during the weekdays.

(Ever so fortunately for you all, I did not add Blogger to that list.)

I also dumped a bag of unfinished books back into the library book return bin before our trip. I reckon I don't have the self discipline to do just a little of something wonderful... I end up making it my whole day.

I don't plan on stopping the blog. I'll pick up speed again, don't worry. But although I may be blogging a little less, I hope to start living better.