Monday, August 28, 2006


I love Lincoln Continentals

When I was 24-years old my grandmother left me her Lincoln Continental when she passed away. My dad sold it before I got the chance to decided if I would like to keep it or not, which I would have even though that would have not been prudent. I used the money to spend a year at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before leaving the U.S. four friends and I decided to rent a car and drive eastward stopping off at various parental homes so that we could spend some time with our respective families. When we got to the car rental dealer in Denver we discovered that we had somehow ended up reserving a Lincoln Continental. What the heck? It was roomy enough for four women and a dog to travel cross-country. We got our first speeding ticket in Nebraska.
And, just last week a Lincoln Continental saved my butt (and my feet) when a family of seven was cruising the scenic byway of Southern Colorado in their Lincoln and stopped to pick up my friend Diana and I. We had just completed a nearly twelve-mile hike up St. Charles Peak and were facing a six-mile walk home on the roadway. Wonder of wonders they made room for two stinky hikers by piling on each other’s laps and delivered us right to our campsite. As they were pulling away from the curb the teenager in the front seat said to her mother, “She was begging,” referring to the fact that Diana was on her knees with her hands clasped together as they drove by, an act that won sway in our favor. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, Lincoln Continentals, and friends who are willing to drop to their knees and beg.

Today’s Lunch
Campers Delight: Rice Noodles with Veggies, Chicken, and Peanut Sauce.

Precook an assortment of your favorite vegetables. I used onions, yellow squash, red pepper, fresh basil, and carrots. Purchase a pouch of pre cooked chicken that is found in the tuna asile, a bottle of peanut sauce, and rice noodles. If your grocery store has an Asian food section you might find these items here or you may have to visit a health food store or Asian market. Once in camp boil a pot of water and dump the noodles into the hot water, cover, and set aside for five minutes or until tender. Heat the chicken, veggies, and sauce in a separate pot. Drain the noodles and dress with sauce.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Bad Advertising

Right across from the Bob Hope Airport sits the Burbank Hilton. The hotel has seen its better day, but it is still well run with a good tea available in the lobby, comfy beds, a decent exercise room, and a wonderful restaurant called The Daily Grill. The restaurant sells itself short by the posters advertising its fair in the hotel elevators. I bet it appealed to travelers in the 1950s, but large platters of steak with a backdrop of dark wood paneling gave my traveling companions and me a stomachache. They were so bad that we almost didn’t eat there except for the fact that we were so tired from our day’s work we had no other choice in the industrial section of town where the hotel was located. I ordered a side of grilled veggies and my companions ordered the chicken casadia and a salad. We were not expecting much, but to our delight it was some of the best food we had during our trip. It just goes to show you that you can judge a restaurant by its elevator advertising.

Today’s Lunch
Pesto on Pumpkin Toast

Pick the leaves from basil stems, enough to equal two cups. Place in food processor with 3/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until ingredients are incorporated with one another, but not pureed. Store in a glass container in the fridge. You can make pesto with any herb--dill, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, or sage.

The spelt pumpkin bead made by Ursula at the farm; someday I’ll weasel the recipe out of her.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


A High Capacity for Love

Meep is a a golden-eyed cat that came to live with us about six years ago. She was given this name when she became a part of our family because this is the only sound she can make. She is a very odd looking cat who is knock-kneeed in back, pigeon toed in front, and her belly practically drags the ground when she walks. Meep was found in an alley in Vegas at about the age of four by a friend of mine’s sister. She traveled about for a while with the sister and various other rescued dogs and cats in a large house trailer eventually landing on my friend’s doorstep. At my urging my friend adoptied Meep. I convinced her that a cat would be the perfect companion while she was finishing her PhD thesis. I turned out to be very wrong on this point. My friend found that Meep was not the cat she was supposed to have (she does have a very nice cat now named Minky). Meep possesses many qualities that noncat people use as reasons to hate cats. She was stinky (due to an inner ear infection caused by a very bad case of mites), a clothes sucker (probably from being abandoned as a kitten before she was weaned), an obsessive butt pusher (all cats like to show you their backside as a way of saying they like you—Meep is extreme), a very active snuggler (she spoons), and she has a coat of long hair that becomes dreaded no matter how much you brush her (meaning expensive shavings once a year). It wasn’t working.
I then learned that the farm was looking for a house cat to keep down the mice population, so I volunteered Meep for the job. She turned out to the world’s worst mouser. I thought Vegas would have been good training, but apparently not. She would sit by the wood stove and wait for a lap nary batting an eye at the mice that scurried right under her nose and still possessing all those cat qualities the farmers also found her lacking in charm. Meep also developed a series of heath problems. She has fatty liver disease developed from malnutrition as a kitten. The mites ate away one of her eardrums so she is continually fighting a lowgrage infection in her inner ear that also makes her seasick and very resistant to being picked up. She had a broken femur that at some point was pinned badly and she developed bladder stones. In farm culture cats like this are drowned. She came to live at our house.
Over the years most of her ailments have been taken care of with the help of a team very understanding veterinarians. Meep has one quality that makes her very, very special. She has an undying capacity for love. She expresses her feelings in her very cat like way. After all she has been through she loves nothing more than to rub your ankles, look at you with her golden eyes, and meep her little brains out telling you how swell she thinks you are for being her human.

Today’s Lunch
Strawberry Gazpacho

Mix 1 20 oz can of diced tomatoes, 3/4 cups strawberries roughly chopped, 1 grated cucumber, 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled with chopped boiled egg as a garnish.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


On the Road to Nowhere

After years of snubbing car camping (not to be confused with road tripping) as an inferior form of backpacking, I’ve now decided that it is ok. Car camping enables you to pack all kinds of food that you might not otherwise take in the backcountry like goat sausage and beer. When in the mountains my husband and I have developed a habit of driving our small front-wheel drive car to places that it really doesn’t belong. Having a packed cooler, a camping stove, and sleeping bags provides comfort when you realize you could blow out your struts at any moment.

Today’s Lunch
Mediterranean Salad

Mix your preferred amounts of lettuce, green olives, hard cheese, fresh basil leaves, and steamed green beans. Dress with Rosemary Vinaigrette: (My husband adapted this recipe from The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates.) In a jar with a tight-fitting lid combine 1 tsp rosemary, 3/4 cup flax seed oil, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1/4 tsp sea salt. Shake well. Add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and shake well again. Best if served chilled.

Note: Two ingredients in the dressing recipe may be new to you. Xanthan Gum is a powder made from the dried cell coat of a microorganism called Xanthonomonas campestris. It is often used to replace the gluten in yeast breads and as an alternative to thickeners such as gelatin or cornstarch. Raw vinegar is not pasteurized. Pasteurization (subjecting the vinegar to heat,) destroys heat sensitive vitamins and enzymes. Most vinegars are pasteurized for esthetic reasons to keep sediment from forming. Both raw vinegar and xanthan gum are available at most health food stores.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Mommy is in the Beer Tent

This and other phrases are one of the many that bloggers are asked not to repeat. I make the same request of others, but the requests are respected with varying degrees. This must be how politicians and movie stars go through life. I won’t say who mommy is, but the line is simply too good not to use. Particularly when it is heard while sitting in the river at a bluegrass festival.

Today’s Lunch
Stuffed Zucchini

It is that time of year when the zucchini takes over our lives. You will need leftover cornbread. Here is one of my favorite recipes adapted from The New Southern Basics by Martha Phelps Stamps. Sorry Tim O’Brien I do use sugar (Cornbread Nation, Tim O’Brien, 2005.)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 by 9 inch pan. Mix 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal, 1/4 cup sucanat, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp paprika. Melt 2 tbsp butter and stir into 1 cup buttermilk. Add to dry ingredients and mix into the dry ingredients. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Stuffed Zucchini
Cut one large or three small zucchinis in half and scoop out innards. Roughly chop the scooped zucchini and set aside. In a large skillet melt 3 tbsp coconut oil. Chop one 1 large onion and 1 clove of garlic or three fresh buds if you are lucky enough to have fresh garlic around. Add to oil with a shake of salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Add 1 tbsp thyme and basil and the chopped zucchini. Sautee for ten minutes and add 2 cups of crumbled cornbread. Mix. Add stuffing into zucchini hulls and bake at 350 for a half hour covered with foil. Remove foil and top with your favorite cheese. I used Swiss and bake ten minutes more or until zucchini is tender.

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