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  • Walnut Cilantro Pesto

    March 28, 2010

    So then, the other day I made some Walnut Cilantro Pesto and I thought I’ll bet this is something y’all would like.  And so I called to invite you over to have some with a little happy hour beverage, but you weren’t home. So, sorry I missed you, but here’s the recipe.

    Super super simple.

    You will need walnuts, cilantro, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic and salt.  You can add a few other spices if you want, because after all, it is your pesto.


    Sean was my food stylist and he added the butter knife to the pesto tableau, which I think is a nice touch.

    I always add a drop or two of liquid smoke because I like a subtle smoky flavor to most things.  A dash of cumin and chili powder – the golden spice combo in my opinion – is a nice touch too. Some recipes call for jalapenos, but I say ix nay on the alapenos hay.  Jalapenos are wonderful, I love’em, but I don’t think they belong in Mediterranean influenced dishes.

    So then.  Dump about a half cup or so of walnuts into your food processor along with “some” fresh, course-chopped cilantro.  By “some” I mean a handful. And by “handful” I mean some. Or 2/3 cup or so.  Next add maybe 1/4 cup of olive oil.  You can drizzle in more as the food processor is running to get the consistency you want.

    After that I grate in some fresh Parmesan, about 1/4 cup. More if you like.  Do not use that sprinkle stuff that comes in can, never ever, anywhere, ever.  I’m not a food snob, but no to that.  Next add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and and 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, although I sometimes use the powdered stuff.  Then grind it all up until you achieve the consistency of peanut butter, vibrant green peanut butter.


    Now, how to serve this stuff?

    I don’t really care much for pesto on pasta; I really prefer it just served on crackers or toasted garlic bread with a nice glass of Merlot. I also like to spread it on a fillet of Tilapia, roll it up and bake it – even though it has cheese.  Some food snobs people think you should never ever mix cheese and fish, but hello! Fillet-o-Fish has cheese food product and everyone knows that FOF is a delicacy.  I like to tell the story of how when I was pregnant I craved McD’s Fillet-O-Fish and one time I went through the drive-through and ordered one, ate it, drove around the building and ordered another one. Yes, I know that relates to nothing heretofore but I’m in the mood to share.


    And here’s the final dish.

    Many thanks to Sean’s Food Styling for making this post possible.

    The Year of the Blonde

    March 24, 2010

    Last year was the year of The Brunette. This year, it is apparently the year of The Blonde. What can I say brunettes, the times they are a’changin’.

    Last year, Sean was in love with his teacher Ms. Vicky, who is a drop-dead gorgeous Latina.  I must say, Sean’s taste in women is exquisite, much like that of his own father who didn’t find anyone exquisite enough to marry until he was 41.

    Ms. Vicky’s daughter was also in Sean’s pre-K class and every day Sean would come home from school talking about the two lovely brunettes.  He would sometimes compose a letter to mail to one or the other; other times he would draw a picture for one of them and stuff it into his backpack to take to school.  The television commercials would have you believe that women want flowers or diamonds. No. They want pictures drawn in crayon which have been folded seven times and maybe have milk stains.

    Be that as it may, kindergarten has brought in a whole new crop of babes and this year Sean has had his eye on two girls who by description, are about the same – Christie Brinkley in miniature — bright, beachy, athletic, long blonde hair.

    The other day, as we drove home from school, he chattered about the two girls and how he was trying to decide which one he should like to marry.  I asked him what he liked about Kate and he cited her slim shape, her long “silvery” hair and that she was smart.  I told him that I thought it was good to know what you wanted in a mate and that those were some good qualities.

    I also said that I thought I would grow my hair out long, just like Kate.  He said, no, he didn’t think that that was a good look for me, that I was “too thick” for that kind of hair.  Okay. Very well then.

    When I asked him what he liked about Maddie, he named the same things – she has a slim shape, long silvery hair, that she is smart, and she is the fastest girl in the whole school.

    A fast girl in kindergarten is fine, a fast girl in high school, not so much.

    “And she includes everybody,” he added.

    I had to sigh. Oh that every kid was taught to include everybody.  Wouldn’t our schools (and world) be a better place?

    I was delighted that Sean recognized that including others is a wonderful quality in a person — something to appreciate and admire and something to which he should aspire.

    Spring Break

    March 21, 2010

    Last week was Spring Break and I was doing springy breaky things, like wandering around East Texas  taking advantage of the hospitality of nice people who are willing to take in a family of three, one of whom is always pointing her annoying camera at something or somebody.

    Our first stop was my friend Amy’s lake house where we stayed for a couple of days just hanging out and eating Oreo’s and watching the children do dangerous things. Don’t ask. There was fire and fish hooks. That’s all I’m saying.


    The weather was lovely and sunny and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen prettier clouds or bluer skies. The Dogwoods are in bloom. I think they are Dogwoods.  They could be Red Buds, but then shouldn’t their buds be, you know, red? Anyone?


    This a bloom off a lace magnolia tree.  At least that is what Amy says and I think she asked someone, so it must be true.  These big showy flowers grow on spindly skinny little limbs and from a distance, it almost appears as they are floating in mid-air.


    This is the view from the porch at the lake house early in the morning. Amy and I got up early to sit outside and drink coffee and watch the sun come up over the water. AD doesn’t get up early or drink coffee and that is the only thing missing in my marriage.  I might ask Amy to marry me.

    After we wore out our welcome at Amy’s place, we went over to the other side of the lake and hung out with some other folks where Sean had even more children to play with and I had even more things at which to point my camera.


    This is Checkers. I asked him if I could put his picture on the internet and he said it was okay. Checkers is a good old dog.


    This is a ginormous Sycamore tree, although you can’t really appreciate the scale from this photo. It’s white bark sparkled so pretty in the sun.  I never could figure out a way to capture the grandness of this big old tree.


    Here are some carefree children who spent a whole day happily playing in a pile of dirt. Better’en Disney World. And cheaper too.

    The next day was the official first day of Spring and it turned freezing cold and snowed.

    And that was the end of Spring Break.


    March 12, 2010


    This was the view out my front door last night around 6pm.  Just as the sun began to set, a rain storm rumbled through leaving behind this rainbow ~ a nice way to end the day.

    Nikon Goeth Before A Fall

    March 11, 2010

    One day last week or so, we got a bright and sunny day in the middle of what has been a long season of persistent gray and dreary.  So, when I picked Sean up from school I suggested that instead of going home, we should stop off at the local nature trail and go exploring.  And I could take pictures.

    Yes, I had an ulterior motive.  Or, as I like to think of it, I had a plan with something for everyone.  I got to play with my camera and Sean got to pretend to be Bear Grylls.  And unleash some of that explosion-sound-making-Ninja-karate-chopping-little-boy energy into the pseudo wilderness.  Okay, that part was really for me too if you’re keeping score.

    When we had gotten to the point furthest away from the car, he pointed to a log that had fallen across a shallow stream and asked if he could try to cross it.  I estimated that the worst thing that could happen is that he would fall in and get wet.  I told him he could give it a try if he wanted but that he should consider that if he fell in and got wet he would have to walk back to the car wearing wet clothes and shoes and that would not be very comfortable.

    It was a risk he was willing to take, and frankly, I thought it was a good choice. A risk where the worst outcome is a little dirt or discomfort is a risk worth taking.

    Aaaaand he fell in.

    But he did not fuss or complain other than to say he was disappointed that we had to cut our adventure short. I helped him up the side of the muddy creek embankment and we headed back to the car to change clothes.

    Sidebar:  If you are a new mom, here’s a little tip for you:  Always always keep a bag of clothes in your car with at least one change of clothes for your kiddo – pants, shirt, undies, socks and shoes, a light jacket or sweatshirt, wet wipes and a few plastic bags for the dirty clothes.  The bag of extra clothes I keep in my car has been a lifesaver many times over.  I usually keep clothes in the bag that we don’t mind parting with because on more than one occasion, we’ve had to outfit other children.  Just remember to change out the clothes seasonally.

    As we were approaching the parking lot, Sean turned to me and challenged me to race him to the car and he took off running.  Not one to decline a challenge, I hugged my camera to my chest and trotted after him.

    I watched him running ahead of me, coppery brown hair sparkling in the afternoon sunlight, his colt-like legs striding long and graceful.  It made me feel happy.  And I thought that it just doesn’t get any better than this.  “C’mon Mom!” he turned to yell at me as he continued to sprint towards the car.

    In the weird slow motion time warp that is my mind I wanted to warn him to watch where he was going, to not run while looking back at me, because I could see that he was heading towards a row of parking stumps and I imagined him stumbling over them and crashing his perfect and precious form into the cruel pavement.

    The impending scene played out so slowly in my head but so quickly before my eyes that I couldn’t make my lips form words of warning.  But at the last second, he turned and loped easily over the parking stumps.

    I, on the other hand — who apparently can’t trot and have a complex thought at the same time — I began to stumble over air. My upper body got ahead of me and I began list forward as I was trotting along.  I’m a little top heavy to begin with but with the added weight of my Nikon around my neck aiding and abetting the laws of gravity, I went down hard on the pavement — knees, then hands and camera.

    Sometimes when you fall, you know its coming and you think to yourself, “Uh oh, I am going to fall down.” This wasn’t like that. The space of time between realizing I was going to fall and realizing I was on the ground was deleted from the history of the universe.  It never happened. I was here and then there and the space between here and there was neither here nor there — it wasn’t ever there.

    I was so focused on saving him from stumbling, that I crashed and burned myself before I knew it. Oh, if ever there was a Christian analogy.

    I heard my camera hit the ground with an awful crisp metal crack.  The lens filter went flying and as I was splayed out face down out on the pavement trying to figure out what the heck happened, I heard it somewhere off to the side circling and spinning like a penny on its edge before it came to rest.  That was not a cheerful sound.

    My hands were encrusted with parking lot pebbles and grit and felt like they were on fire. My jeans had clean scissor-like slits ripped in both knees which exposed a river of bright red blood. I couldn’t think clearly enough to decide whether to dig gravel out of my hands first or to see about the fate of my camera.

    I felt very old and stiff.  And humiliated.   And I wanted to cry. Not because I was hurt, because I would heal (although it takes a lot longer than it used to) but what if I had busted my camera?  That thought was too agonizing to process.

    Miraculously, due to the amazingly sturdy magnesium alloy construction that is Nikon, my camera was fine. No busted glass, no worse for the wear. And that is why I chose Nikon – I knew this would happen sooner or later. I have a long history with dumbassery and the scars to prove it. If there is a point to this story, and I’m not sure there is, it is this: Buy Nikon.


    See what a nice crisp picture a Nikon can capture as it’s bashing into concrete?

    As for me, I am not made of magnesium alloy, and I didn’t get off as easily as my camera.  Sean rushed back to me and helped me up, pausing only to marvel over the coolness that was my bloody knee.  He clapped his hands and then gleefully rubbed them together like a mad scientist and suggested that we should head home where he could “doctor me up”.

    And so he did.  When we got home, I was instructed to wait in the bathroom until he could find his doctor kit. After scrounging around in his toy box, he returned to attend to the wounded.

    I sat on the edge of the tub while he donned surgical gloves and dabbed at my knee with a wet paper towel.  He listened to my heart with his stethoscope and gave me a shot in the thigh, just in case.  He very gently put on a dollop of “Neopesporverin” and then two or seven band-aids.  And then offered to share a Tootsie Pop with me.

    And I have to tell you — that memory alone is probably worth the price of a scraped knee.

    The doctor is in.

    Rebuilding, Redefining and Fancy Restaurants

    March 9, 2010

    My hard disk died a week or so ago.  I knew it was coming. It had been complaining loudly and moaning and groaning for quite some time and then one morning, it gave one last long gasp.  The skies went dark and the blue screen was torn in two.

    And I didn’t even care. In fact, it was liberating. The death of my PC was a sweet release in a way.

    I was cut off from my on-line world except for my iTouch — which is a good device for lurking to some degree, but not much for participating. That teeny tiny keypad is not very useful for 50-year-old eyes.

    The fact of the matter is that for some time now, I’ve been feeling like Forrest Gump in that scene where he is jogging down the highway out in the desert with all those people following him and he just stops. He’s been running hard for five years and one day, he just stops.  He doesn’t really know why.  It just seems right.  He turns and tells all the people that he’s tired now and he’s going home.

    That’s sort of how I’ve been feeling about blogging lately, just sort of called away, feeling like it’s time to slow down, be quiet, do something else, invest elsewhere.  I don’t plan to stop completely, I don’t think so anyway, but I’m going to take away some of the time and energy I give to this blog and invest it in my photography and elsewhere.  Is that called balance? I don’t know.

    There’s probably a bit more to it than that, which I don’t fully understand, but I feel like I’ve entered a new season of life and I don’t know to what degree blogging fits in. We’ll just have to see.

    So there’s that…

    This morning Sean and AD were at the breakfast bar and for some reason we were talking about fancy restaurants and how they are different from the kind we frequent.

    I told him fancy restaurants usually have table cloths, flowers and a waiter who brings you a menu.

    Sean added, “And they usually have hang down lights at the table too.”

    I said yes, that was often the case. I thought that was an interesting observation and tried to think of any fancy restaurants we might have taken him to where they had hang down lights (which in the design world we call pendant lighting) but I drew a blank.

    “Just like at Panda Express!” he said.

    I like the size of his world right now, where Panda Express with its hang down lights is a fancy restaurant.