Monday, August 29, 2016

Quand tu Sents ton Coeur se Briser

Omg, almost a month has gone and I've not written a post.  I've had lots of thoughts and I always think I want to post but then I just don't have any time.  In these moments it's best to go with food!

So here is a food post for when you don't have any time to blog or to really cook or do anything but work and take the kids to soccer practice.

You see we've had some pot-luck events of late and I don't have any time to do those either.  So when I'm in this situation I do two things:  1)  I procrastinate on blogging, 2)  I do this simple yummy and mostly healthy recipe.

I call it - Ryan's Mediterranean Quinoa Salad!


*     2 or 3 boxes of Near East Quinoa Blend, I prefer the Rosemary and Olive Oil because Rosemary is my favorite herb and a Rosemary once gave me a great blow job!  But trust me, while there are oils in the recipe there are no body fluids involved (unless by choice).
*     Now remember you are at Wegman's (not some crappy place like Food Lion, Publix, or Piggly Wiggly if you are in other parts of the county).  You can substitute UCrops or Whole Foods for Wegman's if necessary.
*     Now that you are at Wegman's, go to the Tapas bar and get about 0.5 lbs of some type of Mixed Olive and Feta Cheese (antipasto) mixture, some Roasted Red Peppers, and a Green Pepper or maybe some Red Bruschetta.  Btw, that's a mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, and onions not a song by Rush!
*     Go home and follow the directions on the box of Near East Quinoa Blend.  I believe it's 1.75 cups of water and 1 TBS of olive oil.  Bring the water to boil, add the Quinoa and spice mixture, and then the olive oil.
*     Once the Quinoa is soft remove from heat.  If you chose a green pepper or maybe some mixed squash, go ahead and chop that up and add it to the Quinoa now.  The heat from the Quinoa will effectively blanch the veggies while leaving them with a little crunch.
*     Let the Quinoa cool a little on the counter-top.  Btw, you always want to cool things to under 40 degree within 4 hours of the temp dropping below 140 degrees, but you should allow them to cool a little on the counter-top so you don't put undue stress on your refrigerator coils.  I said that just so I could sound handy-dandy.  I really don't know what I'm talking about.
*     Cool the Quinoa in the refrigerator.  A few hours later take the Quinoa out of the refrigerator and fluff with a fork.  Add the olive antipasto mixture, the roaster red pepper and/or the red bruschetta and mix completely.  Put back in the refrigerator.
*     Serve the next day!  It's better when those peppers and olives have had time to infuse the Quinoa.
*     Next day at the pot luck accept unapologetic all compliments for all your hard work and keen sense of food style.  You know all the cool celebs like Gwyneth and J Law eat lots of Quinoa.

You know Quinoa is a very healthy food.  As wiki says (because, remember, I don't have a whole lot of time for this), "quinoa is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and dietary minerals."  But more importantly your friends will think you are hipster chic and uber food forward.

OK, that's all for now.  I gotta go to the gym a get a Kale Protein shake (jk, I can't stand Kale).  I'll try to get some thoughts and reflections out later this week and I got a whole lot of thoughts on this here American election.  Mr. Trump is so rich for humorous analysis.

Take Care,

Ryan   :)

"When you get so down that you can't get up
and you want so much but you're all out of luck
When you're so downhearted and misunderstood
Just over and over and over you could.

Accroches-toi a ton reve!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Like How a Single Word Can Make a Heart Open

We are in the midst of that great American 4 year cycle that is the Presidential election.  I love politics so I love this period every 4 years, trying to read into the polls, anticipate the trends, ascertain where the critical moment occurred that swung the election in a certain direction.  Though I don't do a whole lot of politics here I feel like I may do some commentary as one recent selection made this year just a bit more personal to me.

But for all the emphasis we place on national elections, in my life I've found that what happens locally is so much more vital and impactful.  That county supervisor may determine which road gets fixed, the school board member decides the direction of your child's school, the sheriff makes your streets and neighborhoods clean and safe, your mayor makes sure the roads are plowed when it snows.  Those national politicians move us emotionally but those around us enrich our lives, give it flavor, make us feel whole.

In my life I have been awed by the impact the seemingly little local people make in our daily lives.  Mary, who smiled and said hello to me every night at dinner in college.  Susie who could top over 500 Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas every day before 11 am.  Doug who was irritatingly slow yet his persistence made him the most amazingly efficient and productive custodian I've ever seen.

For the past twelve years that I have been in this community our lives have revolved around dance.  In our little dance community Ma Beth has been a rock.  Transporting so many kids over the years, mending costumes, and just being a smiling face for the girls week in and week out.

Every year we have a big holiday recital.  The production takes months to plan and then execute.  Toward the end the nights of dress rehearsal followed by three shows in two days are exhausting for the girls and the parents.  By Sunday afternoon you are numb.  At the end we all go to Ma Beth's house.  Bone weary you walk into Ma Beth's quaint home, you see her smiling face, and you walk into the kitchen and are greeting with the warmest richest aromas you can ever imagine.  Ma Beth always prepares three pots of chili (chicken, beef, and veggie) and Broccoli Cheddar Soup (proudly adapted from the Panera recipe she always says).   The soup pours life back into your soul and soon your are joyous to be in the company of friends.  One of the parents is a musician and he always has his band at the party.  Soon happy folk and bluegrass tunes are played, the soul is replenished, the heart is happy, the brain is free from care; a rare moment of tranquility.  A rare moment when nothing else in the world matters except to enjoy that moment.

What is even more amazing about this moment is that Ma Beth has been fighting cancer for several years now and has been the caretaker of a husband falling deeper into dementia.

As I listen to this year's speeches I am encourage with hope for the future.  But regardless of the outcome I am amazed by the power of people around me to shape and amplify the lives around them.

This spring Ma Beth entered into the final stages of cancer.  The family was not sure she would make it to the spring recital.  The girls put together a show for her at a local theater.  It was like some kooky episode of the Brady Bunch, some kids were off key.  Other kids choreographed dance numbers that were quite good.  All was beautiful though because all was done in recognition of a beautiful powerful person who everyone loved and whose presence made lives better.  All wanted to let Ma Beth know how much she meant.  She was delighted.

Ma Beth did make it to the spring recital but sadly she passed away a few weeks ago.

I'm not sure why I want to write about her, I surely don't do her justice.  Perhaps in this season of world issues I just want to tell a small story of a small person who made a big difference in her world and the world of those around her and who made us feel warm and cared for on a cold winter's night.