Monday, March 21, 2011

Gal Pals

My friend Katelynn will hate me for using that term.  OK... girlfriends.  Long lasting friends.  Sisters of a different mother.  Soul sisters (no wait - that implies that we all have rhythm, and after all these years together, that is still not verified).

Friends for almost 20 years.

We all used to live in the same neighborhood in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, when our kids were all very small.

I remember meeting Kris at a neighborhood gathering when she was pregnant with her second daughter - who is now a sophomore at Michigan State.

I will never forget Judy, walking around the neighborhood in her wedding dress with Brad, grinning from ear to ear.  And I distinctly remember looking down at my 10 year anniversary ring as they rounded the corner on our block, thinking that time flies by much too quickly.

There used to be 4 of us that got together about once a year to celebrate the good things in our lives, bitch and moan about the bad things, and hopefully take a new perspective away from the weekend along with a couple more pounds and a worsened liver.  (We're "foodies" who literally feed our culinary cravings to the nth degree, and love good wine pairings with said food with a passion the likes of which I've never witnessed elsewhere.)

Our 4th, Kelly, has not been with us for our weekends for a few years now.  In our minds, we've pretty much left her behind.  We used to get together and talk about grade schools and babysitters.  Now, we all have kids in high school, college, and applying for grad school - and we're able to appreciate the more grown-up things in life.  I know Kelly has kids in high school, but I wonder how she is doing.  Kelly drifted away from us a few years ago and no number of phone calls, emails and letters would keep her from leaving our little group.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not pompous enough to believe that we couldn't be replaced as her girlfriends and confidants.  But there is always something to be said for longevity, for people that "knew you when," and for people that can call your bluff because they know your history.

Maybe that's it.  Maybe we know too much.

I don't give a lot of advice in this blog for obvious reasons.  Psh - I don't know anything special.  But I do know this:  Keep your girlfriends forever.

Love you guys.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me Jane...

Guess what I've discovered?  Free books on the internet!  Everything from Jane Austin to Charlotte Bonte to Mark Twain to Charles Dickens.  You can even read them...  ON YOUR PHONE!   Why do I think that is just SO cool?!!  Is it because I love quality free stuff THAT much?  Yeah, probably.  

So I checked out Jane Eyre last night, only because a new movie version is about to be released.  I saw the preview when we saw The King's Speech and thought, "that doesn't look like the other Jane Eyre movie I've seen.  They are probably screwing with it somehow."  It looked sinister and much darker than the movie I had seen years ago.  So I picked up my laptop and started reading.

I am 4 chapters in, and I have to say I'm hooked.  I guess classic writers are classic for a reason.  

So who's in?!  Who wants to be in my on-line-classic-novel-book-type-club?! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Too many holidays, so little cooking time

So the mufuletta sammach for Fat Tuesday was a huge success.  (For those of you who don't know, a "sammach" is an endeared sandwich - one that for whatever reason, means more to you personally than other 'sandwiches.' It's a thing.  I know.)

Now, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  You know what that means, don't you?  Corned Beef and Cabbage!!!  

I do love CB&C - once a year.  You would think my mostly German digestive system could handle it more often than that, but sadly, no.   And doing a  photo spread on the making of this particular holiday standard doesn't appeal to me like the rare, under appreciated mufuletta sammach.

But the St Patty's Day festivities have begun.  Uptown Normal hosted their inaugural St. Pat's Day parade.  Sadly, I had to miss it because I had an appointment to get my hair cut (and you DO NOT miss an appointment with Marla unless you want to look like a shaggy yak for 6+ weeks.  Her schedule is more than tight.)  And our ex-compadre from the office, Evan, and his band - Emerson - is playing a CD release concert at the Castle Theater on Thursday - St. Pat's Day.  

Hopefully, I will have lots of good photos to share in the near future.  Happy St. Pat's Day, everyone.  
And Happy St. Joseph's Day too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Preparing for Fat Tuesday

I've mentioned before that I am no Pioneer Woman.  Ree has is all going on.  She blows Martha Stewart out of the water.  (check her out at Anyway, she comes up with these incredible recipes and illustrates the making of them with beautiful photographs.

This is my VERY feeble attempt at the same, including someone else's recipe for a muffuletta sandwich, and my lackluster photos.

Being a New Orleans traditional dish, said muffuletta sandwich is for Fat Tuesday.  But wait.  This is Sunday.  Ahhh...  The dressing for the sandwich has to be made one or two days ahead of time.  This encourages the ingredients to mingle...  to say, "Hey.  How you doin?"  Then sure enough, 24 to 48 hours later, they give birth to a lovely burst of flavor.

That being said, this is what you start with, sans the kalamata olives that I forgot to purchase.  I am anxiously awaiting Hannah with said olives, so I can introduce them to the group.

I also have a couple new gadgets that I have share.  If you like garlic the way I like garlic, these are pretty cool.

The garlic cloves are rolled around in the round tubey looking thing.  It take all the papery stuff off of the cloves.  Then you place the cloves in the divided thing, put the top on it and spin.  The divided thing has two tiny razors at the bottom that slices the garlic into delightful, paper-thin pieces.  Yum.

But I digress...

This is the dressing, in progress.

Oh Hannah....   Where are you with my missing ingredient?  While we wait, let's take a look at who is keeping me company while cooking today.

Caz, in her usual spot my the heating vent.

Lilly, in hers.

The squirrel outside the window.  Lots of people would move a birdfeeder so squirrels couldn't reach it, but these little grey rodents are just as entertaining as the birds.

What bird will do this for your enjoyment?!

I decided to chop up the rest of the celery while I wait.  Every time the dogs have an inkling there is a possibility of food hitting the floor, this is where they are:

Back to the sandwich.  Here is a photo of the bread wheel for the sandwich.  I placed it next to a gallon a milk so you could determine just how freaking huge this thing is going to be.

So the finished product won't be put together for a couple days, but it should look like this: