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Hot weather food

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hot weather arrived this weekend. It blew in on a fierce southerly wind and began drying up everything in its path. It also brought out the dread Mayflies - which any entomologist will tell you is really a dear fly - but we know better. These are biting flies and they usually show up sometimes after May 12. If you are going to put in a garden around here you better have it mostly done by May 12 because after that those wicked little pests will chew and chase you right back indoors. They hate shadow and cool so they won't try to fly into your house, but they love warmth and sunshine. In a few weeks the snake doctors (You call them dragon flies) will be out and put an end to the torment but by then it's really too hot to be doing anything but weeding and harvesting in the garden.

Even though we get snow and ice in the winter, this is TheSouth and we know heat. The only difference between Virginia and Mississippi is the number of months that qualify as Summer.

So it's all about what to make when it's 90 degrees outside with 90% humidity. I had been wanting to try a new breadcrumb crust from the McCormac spice people called Crusting Blend,

on baked pork loin so I cranked up the oven on Saturday. (it was very good, btw)

Needless to say, the upstairs bedrooms that night were hot hot hot. Our house is naturally very cool, especially downstairs, so we don't have A/C. Don't need it most of the time but then ... I also don't bake in the summertime. We grill out often. I have a number of quick fry recipes and then there are the no-cook ones - like tuna fish salad. Which I made last night with a dash of dill pickle relish along with the ubiquitous mayo (I prefer the olive oil mayonnaise) onion, celery and chopped hard boiled egg. Placed in large dollops onto spring mix greens it made the most delicious summer supper.

So. What are your favorite no-cook recipes and foods for eating in the hot hot hot summertime?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 5/3/2010 12:37PM

    Well, I like sushi any time of the year.

Have you ever tried peanut noodles? They can be awesome -- even healthy if you get the right recipe!

Unfortunately, most of our living space is on the second floor, and it heats up really quickly. If I don't run the AC when it gets to 75, we just can't sleep comfortably. And unfortunately my kitchen is on the same floor.

Hmm. What else? Puts thinking cap on but I guess not up to that at the moment. Salads, of course.

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MSLZZY 5/3/2010 10:06AM

    I bake a large beef roast, then grind the leftovers and make sandwiches by adding a little Miracle Whip, chopped onions, Mrs Dash and seasoned pepper. Yumm!
Good recipe, BTW! I think our little grocery store carries the seasoning. I'll have to check.
Stay cool!

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EDWINA172 5/3/2010 9:15AM

    I love tuna salad also. I use light mayo or Greek yogurt, dill weed and onion. I also do chicken in the crock pot every weekend. (I know its not a no-cook recipe, but I eat it cold during the week.) I put 6 pounds of chicken breast in the crock pot with 1/2 cup chicken broth. After about 8 hours I remove the chicken and shred it with a fork. We eat it on pita or by itself with BBQ sauce. No need to warm it up at all.
Thanks for sharing your recipes.

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PLAYBLUES22 5/3/2010 8:24AM

    Thank you so much for the link to McCormick nice ideas emoticon

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    One thing I like to do is in the am or in the later evening, I'll cook up (I know - sorry, this isn't technically 'no cook') some chicken on my George Forman grill and then use it for the next 2 days in salad and sandwiches.
Or (again a tiny bit of cooking) I'll boil a few eggs to leave in the fridge for the week to use in salads and sandwiches.

Fruit salad is always a great dessert!!


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The Merry Month of May - and that red polka dotted bathing suit

Saturday, May 01, 2010

If I were in charge of the world, there would be at least 3 Mays every year - and maybe even as many as 5. May in Virginia is so beautiful I could weep. May skies are so blue your eyes sometimes have to blink. And Scarlet Tanengers flicker their redness across that blue background on a daily basis. May mornings are often crisp like some juicy fruit and are perfumed with roses and honeysuckle blossoms and every now and then, the rare swamp sweet bell, which is like a buttery lily of the valley. May afternoons are usually only warm but even when the temperature climbs into the 90s they don't feel brutal because the ground is still cool from winter's frosts. May evenings chirp with frogs and insects and lilt with owls' calls. I always manage to take time off in May.

May is also the month my son was born, so there is a sweetness to it that stirs up memories of that long ago day when we all got to meet face to face. And do you remember Julie Andrews in Camelot, singing "Tra La, It's May, the lusty month of May" ? Yeah.

I am sitting here, thinking about where I am this May compared to previous Mays. I am a little lighter - that's good. And I have some familiarity with yoga - that's good too. I have a week's vacation coming at the end of the month and by hook or by crook or by our family car - I am going to spend some of it at the ocean. And that brings up the question of how will I look in a bathing suit this May? Hmmmm.

I have about 3 weeks till we toddle off to VaBeach or Nags Head or wherever we decide to go. I believe I will see how far below the 160 mark I can get between now and then. I think an image of me in that really cute red polka dotted bathing suit (Not a bikini, please) is what I need to keep before me. I know where that suit is. I could even pull it out and hang it inside the wardrobe door so that every time I get dressed in the morning I will remember what I want to be wearing this summer.

Yes. A cute red bathing suit is just the inspiration I need.

What do you need for your May inspiration?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 5/1/2010 11:00AM

    In TX, by May, you're already getting into the heat of the summer. But here, everything's just beginning to bloom (that would've been over by March in TX!). I won't miss the summer in TX, but I sure do miss the spring. Nothing like a field of bluebonnets.

For me, right now, I am wearing the bracelet I bought myself to celebrate getting thru my plateau (which didn't last long with going away -- I think my body must be particularly sensitive to sodim. Or maybe I'm just kidding myself. Whatever).

But right now I do need a tangible reminder that Hershey's dark chocolate kisses aren't a free food. And my bracelet serves the purpose. I was thinking about blogging about that today, actually.

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ALEXTHEHUNN 5/1/2010 8:02AM

    I love May; it's my favorite month also. However, I think I shall forgo the red polka-dotted bathing suit.

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MSLZZY 5/1/2010 7:41AM

    Blue skies, fresh spring flowers and my growing garden keep me inspired. Have a great day! emoticon

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SHEILA1505 5/1/2010 6:37AM

    Oh wow, Bess - then everyone would have to give me 3 (or 5) sets of birthday gifts, cards, flowers, greetings etc - Oh I do like your ideas!

It is a simply stunning month in Cape Town too - though sometimes we get serious downpours of rain for day after day after day. However .... it is the month the rosy-purple azalea blooms beneath blue-purple tibouchina, next to the double shocking pink and white camellia, opposite the double scarlet camellia, alongside the purple white and lavender (yesterday today and tomorrow) Brunelsia - you get my drift ... a total riot of colour in my garden - oh and lots of leaves are turning orange too just to add to it all.

And ... added to that ... it is sometimes one of the best months for clear skies and tolerable temperatures for tourists - if they hit it lucky

I am a great big fan of May ... and I hope your itsy bitsy teeny weeny (non-yellow) red polka dot bikini does the trick for you


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Rewards of following the path of Love

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thank you all again for sharing this powerful journey with me. I was of two minds about discussing such family stuff here and yet I was unable to hold it all inside. Also - because I did share things with you I felt compelled to keep trying to find the way out of a very sad Monday instead of just staying in TheBluePlace and feeling sorry for myself with Mr.Chocolate and MsCheese, though I will admit, we've had a few meals together this week. Let us hope they have been brief enough that there won't be any dismay on Sunday's weigh-in.

But here is something ELSE that comes from putting down defences, resentments and hurt feelings and looking for the love. It opens your ears and heart so that you can recognize an apology when it comes. Sometimes people can't actually say words but they can make gestures and if you've opened up to that loving possibility - you can hear what's not said.

You have to admit - that's mighty sweet.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 4/29/2010 5:31PM

    How wonderful that is - big hugs

with love

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JUSTDUCKY1405 4/29/2010 4:43PM

    That IS mighty sweet! And thanks for sharing it! I will definitely keep my awareness open to the unsaid gestures of forgiveness!

Seriously... never looked at it that way! Always felt an actual apology had to take place... thanks for allowing me to open my mind up a little more today!

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ALEXTHEHUNN 4/29/2010 9:52AM

    What a wonderful piece.


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EDWINA172 4/29/2010 9:24AM

    Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your feelings with your Spark friends.

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JUGE300000 4/29/2010 8:07AM


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SKINNYPOWELL1 4/29/2010 8:00AM

    Glad your heart was open to feel the love. Hope your have a blessed day. emoticon

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OPAL50 4/29/2010 7:59AM

    Beautifully expressed. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 4/29/2010 7:52AM

    So true! Not everyone can express what they are feeling. Saying "I love you" can be difficult.
Not for me! LUV you bunches! emoticon

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Following the path of love

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thank you all for your kind words yesterday - they were enormously helpful.

I admit it - I was really cranked yesterday - nervous and anxious and sad all rolled into a big ball. The truth is, yesterday was not about food or nutrition or health at all - it was all about family dynamics and old hurts and Other Stuff. The back story isn't too different from that of other families with aging parents - a little dysfunction, a little creativity, a little jealousy, a dash of fun - oh - and half a century of memories. There could have been more kindness, there could have been a whole lot of better choices made along the way - they could have made the decision to move a heck of a lot sooner. Whenever I hear people say "We kept mama home as long as possible I want to shriek "no No NO! Help them move while they can still put down new roots, make new friends, form a new life!" Alas, it didn't happen with mine. At the moment, after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, my parents are living in separate elderly situations about 70 miles away from me. Everything is twice the burden because there are two situations to deal with - two places to visit, two sets of nurses to talk to, two cleaning ladies to get to know.

There are other issues too - sibling issues - division of labor issues - Martha and Mary roles to play, some that fell upon us by chance, some by design. The long and short of it is yesterday looked to be a day of tension and sadness and ...


I don't do tension and sadness very well. In fact I flee from both - oh not in any denial sort of way. I just like to solve my way out of sadness and tension. I hate fights - though I will cary my weight in one if I must. But I would a whole lot rather make it work than be right.

You all know I have been working with finding my Place of Thinner Peace but the truth is, that peaceful place has a lot to do with everything else in your life too. I've been doing the right hand/left hand writing most every day since I first tried it last week and it's been a real eye opener. First off - you have to really slow down and concentrate on what your non-dominant hand is doing ... just to form any letters at all. That's why the first question you should ask yourself should be a polite formality question - How are you?

You have to slow down so much and focus so hard on a physical activity just to answer that your subconscious has an opportunity to let clear emotions float through the clutter of our word dominated organized thoughts. By the time you've scrawled out a "Fine, Thanks" everything seems to be in slow motion.

And yesterday, when I went to that quiet, slow place and asked how I felt, all the truth bubbled up to the surface and when I asked what I could do to help myself through the day, the word LOVE floated to the top - almost like that little triangular answer die in the Magic 8 Ball.


Remember the love.

Act with love

Know there is more love than anything else in the world and all you have to do is pick it up, put it on, accept it's warmth.

And once I did that - everything else fell into place. I could talk about IT to my husband. I could call my sister. I could be gentle with my dad. We had a totally fun day. My mom was home from the hospital and even up and dressed and looking herself again. Even the cell phone worked ... which, if you knew me ... would be the biggest miracle of all! I am singularly cell phone challenged.

So. There you have it. When the BIG UGLY looms in front of you, trying to scare the bejeezus out of you, just remember. There is more love out there than anything else and it's flowing onto you all the time. Just open up to that and suddenly that scary thing will just shrivel up into the big nothing it is and crawl away.

May you feel it today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALEXTHEHUNN 4/28/2010 8:21PM

    You're amazingly insightful and self-aware. I always enjoy reading your posts. I wish you the best possible outcomes.


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MSLZZY 4/28/2010 7:37PM

    Love makes the world go round and keeps the negatives from ruining our lives. Thanks for sharing. May the blessings of love surround you always!

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WEDDWT 4/28/2010 3:13PM

    Bess, I'm glad your yesterday was love-filled.
It always interests me to read about your non-dominant/dominant hand dialogue as I have been doing this for some time. May I be so bold as to recommend a book to YOU, a Librarian?
Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.
She's the author of The Power of Your Other Hand.
Good stuff!
Remaining on that love path along with you,

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JUSTDUCKY1405 4/28/2010 11:52AM

    Beautiful! LOVE it! What an awe inspiring blog!!!

I am curious as to learn more about this left handed emotional surface approach... that's is really intriguing!

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CAROLJEAN64 4/28/2010 9:40AM

    Yesterday, I was invited to a cocktail party at the home of a children's author. I am in Chicago at a reading conference. She is a fascinating person... check her out on (This will relate to your blog, I promise. ) She is working on a project she calls Beckoning the Lovely. As part of that project, she wants everyone at 4:29 PM on 4/29 (Thursday) to text "i love you." to someone special in their lives. Love is the answer!!

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OPAL50 4/28/2010 8:51AM

    Oh I relate. Fortunately, my own parents made their own decisions (with a little help from good communication and active listening) to move out of the family home when it was too much. Both have passed on and my sisters and I feel good about how it all played out. We had our trials, but mostly good.
However, you could have been writing about my husband's family! I feel for them because there are so many emotions involved.
Take care..."keep the FAITH" and LOVE and PRAYERS. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRAVE_FREE 4/28/2010 8:49AM

    You gave me goosebumps. emoticon

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ABBY_G 4/28/2010 8:41AM

    Hello. Just to let you know that I was trying to decide whether to join the Official Mindful Eating Challenge team and saw just the title of this blog, which inspired me (sparked me) to join. Thanks. I'll come back and read the blog (have only read the title so far) when I get a chance. All the Best -Abby_G

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JLITT62 4/28/2010 7:53AM

    My brother & I were just talking yesterday, which is actually a rather rare event. It's not that we don't get along, we do, we're just all so busy with our lives.

We all know it is time for my parents to unburden themselves of the house they have lived in for almost 40 years. Even my parents know this. But no one knows how to get the ball rolling. My sister lives a few miles from them, we're 90 minutes away, and my brother -- who my father would probably actually listen to -- is unfortunately in CA (altho my parents winter there, so they just got back from seeing him even tho he works like a fiend so they don't see him a whole lot).


For me what mostly works is staying in the moment. Traveling is always so fraught with tension. Not so much the actual travel, but the prep work. Yet mostly I felt almost tranquil getting ready last week. Now I just hope I can recapture that tranquility getting ready next week!

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Coping with tensions

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As is so common when there are aged sick parents, our family dynamics right now are very tense. While little frustrations and tensions flutter around the edges of my life all the time, they can be a challenge and fun to work with. The big guys that are sitting on my head right now are Not fun to deal with.

And yet they must be because responding to them with chocolate or butter or something else in the fast fat food category, will not just make me fat. It'll make me sick. So there is nothing for it but to pull out every tool in my bag and use it to the best of my ability.

Today I will be deeper into the scene than other days as I take my dad out to do some much needed shopping. An unplanned visit to the hospital to see my mother and find out what the coming days will look like - she is quite ill but not with something fatal - will be added to the mix. I guess I had better do some serious preparations - yoga, pack lots of water, check in with the inner self, who is probably afraid - afraid to say good bye to parents and afraid of the demands ahead till she has to.

Funny how roiling emotions can make us do such stupid things, say such stupid words, feel such stupid feelings. Wouldn't it be good if we could look at those emotions - nod - acknowledge them, and then put them in a box somewhere to deal with later? Perhaps at Tara?

Gonna be a hard day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 4/27/2010 2:50PM

    My heart ached for you through out this blog! I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to share this with all of us! I am sending big love filled prayers your way! Hang in there! You'll get through this... hugz!

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WEDDWT 4/27/2010 12:14PM

    Sweet Bess, Isn't is something how when certain conditions exist in our lives (kinda like the 'perfect storm') we have the perception that we are not in control? -In actuality we are not in control, but that's a whole different subject-
But as things are stormy right now, remember that you really can still make choices that support the inner you and the outer you in the best possible way. Prayin' for ya.

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CRAVE_FREE 4/27/2010 9:13AM

    I'll say a prayer for you today and I am glad that you have quite the bag of tricks to fall back on as for taking care of that emotional eating (though I feel a little every once in awhile is justified). emoticon

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EDWINA172 4/27/2010 8:44AM

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. I do know (somewhat) how you feel. Both of my parents were ill and passed away a few years ago. My father lived with me for a year before he passed. He was on hospice. Its a difficult situation. You are an adult, but you are their child. I had to be the parent of my parent. That is not the way that nature intended.
Please know that others are praying for you and wishing you well in this difficult journey.

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JLITT62 4/27/2010 8:07AM

    My parents are, thankfully, still doing pretty well. I often feel one of the reasons we ended up in NY, where we didn't want to be, was so I could be near them as they are moving into their mid-80s.

The best thing to do with feelings, really, is to feel them. It can be uncomfortable, to be sure, but in the end, we actually feel better for feeling our feelings (what an odd sentence!). The biggest thing, I've found, is to concentrate on today, not what's going to happen tomorrow. Not that that's easy!

Wishing you peace.

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MSLZZY 4/27/2010 7:18AM

    I'll be thinking of you today! emoticon

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DEBNICU 4/27/2010 7:18AM

    Good luck in the coming days. It is really hard when our parents are ill and having to take care of them. I can relate. My husband and I took care of his parents for about 8 years when we moved them close to our home. Plan ahead so you can continue to take care of yourself and make sure you add some me time in there. I know it is hard but if you don't take care of yourself you won't be there for them. emoticon

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