Straight from the Scullery

narrative baked at 350 and served directly.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Pulling Positive Out of the Shadows

Drama was meant for theatres...not for every day life. I think my threshold has almost reached capacity. For example, the driver behind me at the light this morning: FYI, the reason I didn't GO this morning right when the light changed had to do with the oncoming car from the left who appeared to be (and was) running a red light. Perhaps, Impatient Driver, next time you're behind someone who doesn't go from 0 to 70 in .23 seconds, you might recognize the fact that had I been urged on by your honking instead of paying attention as I am supposed to, I would have been plowed over by a maniac from the left. 

The drama created all around us on a regular basis is wearing everyone down. I know because it's wearing me down, and I'm usually one of the last to go! Time for a no-phone, hot bath with pizza and champagne night.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Narrow it Down

2018 has been a year for reviewing things I already have rather than just plowing forward into something new. It is a practice I planned to form a habit around and have it become a part of who I am. Of course that could all go out the window at any time....I am constantly challenged with reminders that this is actually a "thing" I am working out internally, and it happened again last night.

In fact, I heard the reminder coming out of my own mouth. The listener was taking it in and actually paying attention (it was one of our children, so he was stuck with me at the dinner table). And as I heard myself saying it, I thought "ohhhh yeah, that's actually really good advice across the board. Hm." We all learned some basic lessons when we were younger (for some of us that goes back a few decades, for others, are a few years closer to young), sometimes they come back around and smack us in right in the face. This particular lesson I was reciting was picked up back in English 101 as a basis for creating credible and cohesive research papers.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Heroine of Rocky Ridge Farm

February 7, 1867

For many women I know, one of the most iconic figures of our childhood was the feisty little pioneer girl who set out into the great frontier with her family from the big woods of Wisconsin, heading across the frozen Mississippi River in their covered wagon with high hopes and their faithful bulldog, Jack. Laura Ingalls Wilder served as our heroine and our champion, working hard to make ends meet, struggling to hold back when her sharp tongue threatened to get the best of her, and teaching us some of the greatest moral lessons of our lives. Laura taught us to be kind, to be grateful, to be resourceful, and above all, to find the silver linings that surround us each and every day, despite the circumstances.
Born in the small town of Pepin, Wisconsin on February 7, 1867, Laura and her family’s adventures spanned Missouri, Kansas, and Minnesota, finally setting in the Dakota Territory where Laura became a teacher at the age of 15, and met and married the love of her life, Almanzo Wilder.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Grandmother of Europe

January 1, 1877

During her reign, Queen Victoria mothered 9 children...a lot by any standard, let alone for a woman who didn’t much care for being pregnant. The Queen’s children grew up (as children have a tendency to do) and worked themselves into the royal fabric of the entire Old Continent. Her great-great grandchildren include Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II of Greece, King Michael I of Romania, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Not a shabby lot. When she ascended the throne in 1837, she was excluded from becoming the ruler of the Kingdom of Hanover, because according to the laws of the day girls don’t get to rule things. (Hanover ended up getting conquered by Prussia about 30 years later, which then got “unified” with the German Empire a couple years after that, but that’s another story…)  Undaunted by the exclusion, Queen Victoria proposed to her husband (he surely couldn’t ask her...she was the queen for crying out loud) and proceeded to make such an impact that an entire era was named for her. Throughout her reign, Queen Victoria survived not one or two, but six assassination attempts. During the Victorian era, the British Empire included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and India. On January 1, 1877, the queen was proclaimed the Empress of India. Not bad for never having set foot inside the country!

Queen Victoria also had a appetite for potatoes, and had them cooked for her in any possible way a chef could dream up. Perhaps she would have liked these hometown faves:

Potatoes Fit for a Queen

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 large russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup milk (or to desired consistency)
2 cloves of garlic, mashed with a press

If the picky ones are home, I will peel the potatoes before cubing them, but if I want all the health benefits, I just scrub them and dice them up. Boil the diced potatoes for approximately 10  minutes, then drain the water. Add the rest of the ingredients, allowing the butter to melt completely as you’re mixing it in. Be sure the garlic is mixed in well and dispersed so that no one bites a whole chunk at one time.

Mash all the ingredients together and serve immediately. Serves 4

Monday, May 22, 2017

Veruca and the Voice of Reason


My husband listens to the radio every morning during his workout. On a normal day, I get the nutshell version over coffee and school lunch making. This past January, however, one frosty, dark morning had a slightly different twist. On this day, the workout was cut short and the wooden stairs coming up from the basement creaked beneath his feet a few minutes early. The light in the bedroom clicked on and sent me hiding under the pillow.
“There’s going to be a food truck festival here in the spring!” he exclaimed, knowing how absolutely thrilled I would be. I love food. I love food trucks. I love festivals. Plans were set in motion straight away.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Run Your Own Race

I was lucky to spend this past weekend visiting one of my kids up in her cute little college town. We celebrated her birthday, went to the movies on campus (if you’ve never seen ‘The Book Thief,’ make time to – and have your tissues close at hand), did some rearranging in her room, and hung out with her friends. The culminating event for our weekend was a half marathon we’d signed up for months prior, and her roommate would be joining our adventure. I have run my share of races; neither of the girls had ever attempted this distance before.
Training for each of us was….so-so at best. The girls were on track with a lot of discipline and excitement surrounding it until spring break hit. I was my usual self, running shorter distances and totally ignoring the best laid plans. Not smart, but not unheard of in the running world.