Saturday, August 29, 2009

from Malibu to NYC

sidewalk cafe near NYU hospital

Amsterdam Ave from Columbia University

library at Columbia University

Lydia's grad program--School of Social Work, Columbia Univ.
...had to see Times Square and the giant Toys R Us, with vintage Barbies (I had a Malibu Barbie)

but best of all was winning the lottery for front row seats to see Wicked. We entered on a whim, just cause we happened to be walking by, looking for Magnolia's Bakery, as people were putting their names in and the drawing was just a few minutes later. Lydia's was the first name called! We celebrated before the show with yummy cupcakes from Magnolia's.

Great seats--Amazing show!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Gifts of the Jews

Cahill's book is fascinating! It's the second in a seven volume series, The Hinges of History. He offers an important perspective to anyone interested in why we --westerners living at the end of the 20th and beginning of 21st centuries--think the way we do. Got to love a series that has the following as its premise:
We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage -- almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

easy stir fry

guess i'm on a food roll...enjoying cooking for my family and using fresh ingredients. here's a stir fry i make regularly...i use whatever vegies happen to be in the fridge (usually peppers, red, orange, yellow, green, zucchini, red onion or chives, broccoli, carrots, and always 1-2 cloves fresh garlic). sometimes we eat vegetarian, but usually with chicken. i'll put down my best estimate for amounts, though i rarely measure these days.

Chop chicken and all vegetables before stir frying. Cook some rice in a separate pot (I use either wild or brown). While the rice is cooking, start the stir fry.

2 cups skinless, boneless chicken tenderloins--chopped into bite size pieces
1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 medium red onion (you can also use chives)
Over high heat, in a wok or fairly large skillet, quickly stir and cook garlic, onion, and chicken.

Add about 1/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-3 T. low sodium soy sauce
2-3 T. red wine ( I use whatever I have around)

Add vegetables:
1-2 chopped carrots
1-2 chopped peppers (all colors)
1 cup chopped broccoli
1-2 zucchini sliced
Quickly stir and cook. Vegies should still be slightly crunchy when done.
Add 1 t. fresh herbs (I use basil and oregano). If dried, use about 1/2 T each.
Add 1 t. toasted sesame seeds.
Add the cooked and drained rice and stir well for 1-2 minutes. Serve with extra soy sauce if needed (we differ in my family about how much soy sauce to use, so I usually put in less and put the bottle on the table).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

easy italian

thought i was making spaghetti tonight, but instead this dish appeared (mainly because i was out of spaghetti and i wanted to use some fresh vegetables)...the family loved it--we decided it would be good vegetarian too! and you could use whatever vegetables you have on hand (like mushrooms, carrots, or eggplant) and use more or less cheese to taste.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. penne pasta
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped bite sized green peppers
1/4 c. chopped bite sized yellow peppers
1/2. cup chopped bite sized zucchini
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (we like bertolli's burgundy wine marinara)
1 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and add the pasta, garlic, and chives as you are browning. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables (peppers, zucchini). Add the jar of spaghetti sauce, then fill the jar halfway with water and add to the dish (softens and cooks the pasta, which will absorb all the yummy flavors as it cooks). Add the spices (oregano and basil). Sprinkle the feta, mozarella and parmesan over the top. Cover and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes. It's done when the pasta is cooked.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i like...


my summer chicken salad.

3 cups cooked cubed chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 medium granny smith apple, cored and chopped
1/3 cup Brianna's homestyle rich poppy seed dressing. (more or less to taste)

Mix all together and chill. You can add golden raisins as well to the dried cranberries and substitute almonds for raisins. I use the poppy seed dressing (we don't like mayo around here) for a sweet, tangy flavor. You can serve it on lettuce as a wrap or on multi-grain bread with spinache leaves and organic honey mustard. We love it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Because my daughter just spent several weeks in India, some of them with the Missionaries of Charity in the homes for the dying, she and I have had some conversations about faith and bitterness and suffering.

Those who know me are aware that faith for me is difficult. I analyze to death. I don't trust emotions very much. The following series by Richard Beck has been meaningful to me as I struggle: The Varieties & Illusions of Religious Experience

If you only read a couple of the 16+ posts, you will be challenged to rethink or maybe revisit what doubt says about faith. A couple of the most meaningful posts for me are chapter 16--wish and ontology revisited and chapter 8--saints of darkness, where he writes about Mother Theresa's experience of "faith as the experience of 'not being loved' by God. Faith as owning 'darkness' and 'pain' of God."