Thursday, March 19, 2015

BON APPETITE - A WEEKEND TREAT: Shrimp and Sausage Jambayala

One of my favorite places to visit is New Orleans, and one of my favorite dishes to eat there is jambalaya. There are three different versions of jambalaya: city Creole jambalaya, rural creole jambalaya, and Cajun jambalaya. All of them have slightly different ingredients and different approaches to making them. Some of them do not use tomatoes; many of them use combinations of meat such as shrimp, sausage, ham, or chicken. My favorite is shrimp and andouille sausage.

2 (4 ½ ounce) cans deveined small shrimp                                       
1 cup sliced andouille sausage (or diced ham)
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup peeled and chopped onions
1 cup finely cut green peppers
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 ½ cups canned tomatoes
1 ½ cups shrimp liquid and water
1 cup uncooked rice
¼ tsp salt                                                                                            

1 bay leaf
½ tsp thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne
¼ cup finely cut parsley
[Optional: 1 cup okra]

Drain shrimp and save liquid. Cook sausage in butter in deep heavy skillet and removed. Cool slightly and cut into slice. Return it to the pan and add onions, green peppers, and garlic. Cook until onions and peppers are tender. Remove garlic and discard. Add tomatoes, shrimp liquid and water, rice and seasonings. Cover skillet. Cook slowly 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally. Add parsley and shrimp. Heat, but do not boil. Serve at once on toast or with biscuit if desired.

Makes six servings. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

St. Patrick's Day - When Everyone Is Irish!

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States is the only day when everyone is Irish. It’s a time for wearing green, reveling with friends, drinking beer—often also green—eating Irish food, watching parades, and generally celebrating Irish culture, heritage and traditions. 

St. Patrick’s Day was officially declared a Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century in honor of St. Patrick. It was observed by many (Christian) religions because it commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century to wealthy Roman Christian aristocrats. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland where he spent six years there working as a shepherd.

After making his way back home by escaping to Gaul, now France, Patrick became a priest and studied for fifteen years before returning to Ireland in 432. According to legend, St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.

The first organized observance of St. Patrick’s Day in the British colonies was in 1737 when the Charitable Irish Society of Boston gathered to honor their motherland. During the American Revolution, George Washington, realizing his troops had a morale problem and in acknowledgment of the valiant Irish volunteers who served in his army, issued an order declaring the 17th of March to be a holiday for the troops in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Throughout the years and throughout the United States, cities with Irish populations continued to celebrate the special occasion with parades and festivities. Even the White House celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, starting with President Harry Truman.

So to everyone, whether you are Irish or wannabe Irish, I lift my glass of ale and wish you this Irish blessing:

These things, I warmly wish for you
Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o' sun, a bit o' cheer.
And a guardian angel always near.

To your good health—“Slainte.”

Saturday, February 21, 2015

WINTER: Albert Camus, French Author, Journalist and Philosopher

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~~Albert Camus, French Author, Journalist, and Philosopher

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Beyond the Sea - by Thomas Love Peacock

Beyond the Sea
Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
My heart is gone, far, far from me;                           
And ever on its track will flee
My thoughts, my dreams, beyond the sea.

Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
The swallow wanders fast and free:
Oh, happy bird! were I like thee,
I, too, would fly beyond the sea.

Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
Are kindly hearts and social glee:
But here for me they may not be;
My heart is gone beyond the sea. 

--Thomas Love Peacock

Peacock's Biography

Thomas Love Peacock was born in1785, in Dorset, at Weymouth. He was the son of a glass merchant, who died three years after he was born. He was raised at his grandfather's house in Chertsey, by his mother. Despite the fact that his formal schooling ended before his teens (he never attended a university), it is important to note that he read widely in five languages throughout his lifetime.

When he could no longer support himself without working, he took a job in 1819 with the East India Company. The next year, he married Jane Gryffydh, daughter to a Welsh rector. Peacock's daughter later married George Meredith, also a literary man.

Peacock mixed with many of his contemporary Romantic poets. He often openly criticized them, but this never gave him much trouble. His best known work is his satirical prose. His novels consist chiefly of witty conversation with sparse action. The characters were often burlesque, but subtle imitations of famous men of his day.

In 1866, the hardheaded, tongue-in-cheeked Peacock died in his library at Halliford-on-Thames, after refusing to leave his precious books to burn.

NOTE: This biography is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia Thomas Love Peacock; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I'm sitting here watching the Atlantic Ocean and thinking about what is the easier meal to make for dinner. My favorite has always been one given to me by my husband's sister: Sloppy Joes from a recipe my husband liked at Clearfield High School. So here is the ocean for your enjoyment as well as the recipe.


1 lb hamburger
1 chopped onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1 can tomato juice (5/1/2 small)
1 can tomato soup
1 cup katsup
½- 1 TBSP sugar

1 c.water
¾ c. flour
  -blend like thickening for gravy
Brown first four ingredients.
Add next four ingredients, then
Thicken with flour and water.                                       
Mixture will be thick.
Simmer for half-hour.

Saturday, January 10, 2015



Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” If I were to give one piece of advice to a budding writer, it would be to pursue your dreams, but be careful and wary of the critics.

Every writer in their career has experienced a bad review whether it has been on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or on another book seller site. We live in a world where everyone who reads—be it a recipe, novel, back of a cereal box, or the newspaper—believes he or she has the skills and expertise to critically review a piece of written work. These individuals may never have written any fiction or nonfiction in their life. They may never have written a simple letter or read a classic author or an instructional book on writing. But in a world where dissension seems to overshadow the need for harmony and goodwill, you will encounter unpleasant folks who are eager to offer callous comments and opinions. 

When I submitted my first novel, I received a letter from an agent telling me everything that was wrong with my manuscript. This person will never get stars for being positive, helpful, or polite. Needless to say, I was discouraged--since all my life I’ve been a writer and have written for radio, television, education and industry. So what did I do with the manuscript? I shoved it in a drawer to collect dust.

For ten years, I refused to return to novel writing, but instead continued to write short stories, many of which won awards and were published for decent money. Finally, one day, I asked myself: If I can write well enough to write short stories, why was I so horrendous with longer pieces? Or was I? I decided to buy some books on fiction writing and start a new novel. This time, I discounted all the negativity and decided to believe in the beauty of my dreams. Since then, I have four books published in historical and contemporary genres; and I’m working on my fifth.

Along the way, in this often tiring and tedious process, I learned rejection and constructive critique are part of the whole writing process. I learned to receive helpful comments without allowing them to destroy my ego. I discovered I can wallow in a gloomy mood and gobble down a chocolate candy bar when criticism strikes, but only for a brief moment. Then it’s time to move on and use or discard the advice. I also learned a writer should always, always, get more than one opinion of his/her work before deciding to trash it.

Remember to be wary. All criticism might not be noble or valuable. It may merely be from a disgruntled person who selected the wrong book. Maybe the buyer didn’t understand the genre or couldn’t identify with the storyline, characters, or plot. . .or maybe he/she might simply be a self-proclaimed critic who reads a lot of cereal boxes.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bon Appetite - A Weekend Treat: SWEDISH ALMOND LACE COOKIES

Below is my very favorite cookies I learned to make in Sweden when I was an exchange students. It is a delicate, crispy but crunchy cookie that is worth the time to make. Many people prefer not to roll the cookies over a round object, but leave them to cool flat.

                       ALMOND LACE COOKIES

2/3 cup blanched almonds, ground
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour4               

2 tablespoons milk
confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour large cookie sheet. Into a large skillet, measure all ingredients except confectioners’ sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring, until butter is melted and mixture is blended. Keeping mixture warm over very low heat, drop 4 heaping teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheet. Bake 5 minutes or until golden.

Remove cookie sheet from oven and, with pancake turner, quickly remove cookies, one by one, and roll around handle of a wooden spoon, or drape over a rolling pin. (If cookies get too hard to roll, reheat in oven a minute to soften.) Cool. Repeat until all batter is used, greasing and flouring cookie sheet each time.

Lightly dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 2 1/2/ dozen cookies.

NOTE: Mixture will be hard to handle on humid days.