February Potato Salad

She brought the dish to every luncheon, picnic, potluck dinner. Gail’s potato salad was a huge hit, and made its way into the Welcome Wagon cookbook. Her secret was bacon.

Is there really anything that is not made better by bacon ?

8-bacon_egg_potato_salad

Eileensbakeryandcafe.com

The full bowl of new red potatoes with creamy dill dressing was always topped by crumbled bacon.

But that was not the secret. While the potatoes were still warm, she added a few tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease. It made all the difference.

I’ve made it her way for many years since then, with pretty positive results.

There is no real recipe, it tastes a bit different each time, but the technique is constant.

When the forecast here was for several days of sun and springtime temperatures, I set out for the new red potatoes.

It is one of the many times that I have built a meal around a side dish.

It didn’t matter if we were to have BBQ, simple sandwiches or fried chicken, I was determined to find a main course to complement that potato salad.

It’s not just for holidays, picnics and parties.

It’s a dish that deserves to show up on ordinary days.

Thanks, Gail.

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Civil Wars

Remember when Facebook was fun ? It seems so very long ago.

What started exclusively for college students, expanded into a global phenomenon, has evolved into something that is anything but social.

kristen_wiig_caricature_by_lufreesz-d319pth

“Gah”. Kristen Wiig caricature by lufreesz.

We all learned so much that we didn’t need to know about those “friends” during the tumult of recent elections.

Some of these friends and acquaintances go back to the high school years, decades ago. Maybe we didn’t really know each other, we surely never discussed our politics.

Or maybe, time and life experience have altered our world view in very different ways.

Debates turned into verbal battles, honest opinions were ridiculed, comments were ugly.

The smart ones left, or took to “unfriending”.

I still have an active account, using it for simple birthday greetings, to keep connected with distant relatives.

But eliminating so many from my daily feed has allowed me to keep my peace of mind.

 

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Bed Bath Beyond

bedding

Pinterest image.

What are European Shams and why do we need them ?

It was a simple question that I could not answer.

When did bedding become so complicated ?

I grew up with chenille, and a down-filled feather bed.

My first purchase was a wildly floral polyester cover for a dorm room twin bed.

From there, I moved into the comforter set era that included pillow shams and dust ruffle.

I recently settled on new bedding after a frustrating walk through annual “white sales”.

It’s important to find what I really like….I don’t want to have to go through this again too soon.

 

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The Gift of Stress. How Lobsters Grow.

With very few words, this post and brief video has been viewed almost 1000 times, more than any other on this blog.  It might say something about the level of stress in ourselves, our families, our world.  Time for a reminder.

 

A brief but brilliant way to look at dealing with stress.

1-coastal-lobster-decorative-painting-original-art-coastal-luxe-lobster-by-madart-megan-duncanson

Courtesy. FineArtAmerica

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Chicken. Day #4.

I promised I’d throw it out this morning. I just could not do it.

Something in the genetic code will not allow it. (Thank you, Grandma.)

I can’t waste leftovers. That $5. rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club is making its 4th appearance at dinner tonight.sams

In line with what could be called “Super Bowl Food”, I used the 4 lb. bird to make BBQ pulled-chicken sliders on Sunday.

We have become fans of those amazing Hawaiian sweet rolls, and I keep finding ways to use them.

Simmered in the BBQ sauce from a recipe in a previous post, the sliders were a big hit, and we ate them for 3 days. No complaints.

On Day 1, I realized there was just too much meat for the amount of sauce, so I set aside an entire breast portion to use in another form, freeze for later, or discard by today.

Early this morning, I went to the frig, and hesitated.

There was this copycat Alfredo sauce recipe I’d seen a while back…using heavy cream, butter, garlic, parmesan, etc., all ingredients which I had on hand.

So I took that half chicken breast piece, discarded the skin, diced it and proceeded to make the sauce. I modified the recipe as I went along, adding fresh mushrooms, sweet onion, red pepper flakes, wine.

I boiled some pasta, buttered a casserole dish. Topped it all with bread crumbs, melted butter, more parsley, and it went into the oven.

Half an hour later, I sampled. It might be one of the best tasting things I ever assembled.

It’s what’s for dinner.

And nobody will mind the 4th day of chicken.

*****************************************************************************

Basic Alfredo Sauce: Melt 1/4 cup butter, blend in 8 oz. heavy cream, 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese. Add minced garlic clove, fresh chopped parsley.

 

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Diamonds

A reblog.   Happy February !

Those diamond ads. diamonds-demotivator

It’s that time of year.

I wonder how many couples break up just before Valentine’s Day ?

The pressure to “gift” is even more extreme than what it takes to turn those rocks into the gem that we all crave.

Or do we ?

They are the other cartel. Known as the DeBeers Group, these 12 companies own 85 % of the world’s diamond market. They have been manipulating supply and demand since 1888.

Diamonds have never been rare. They stockpile the inventory, releasing them as they see fit to create the illusion.

When sales were tanking in Europe after WW II, they set sights on the American market. With the N.W. Ayer agency, they developed the words that were named by Advertising Age as the slogan of the 20th century:

 A Diamond is Forever.

Also not true. They are hard to scratch, but given the right impact, will break against a hard surface.

And of course, on a symbolic level, they never guarantee a forever relationship.

The print ads might be even more nefarious than what we see in video. Many are done in fine white print on solid black, to align with newspaper and magazine format.

shovel

frog diamonds-hammer-drill-small-89505

Just a few samples.

I rather like the parody ads below, that make more sense to me.

I’m especially partial to the Lucy in the Sky ad, which reads

“Picture yourself in a Van by the River…

while she owns your condo and brand new sports car.”

vanbytheriver

Ramen

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Obvious Child

“I’m accustomed to a smooth ride
Or maybe I’m a dog who’s lost its bite
I don’t expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don’t expect to sleep through the night.”

From Obvious Child, a 1990 song by Paul Simon, part of the album The Rhythm of the Saints, recorded in Brazil and featuring the drumming collective Olodum.

It features what might be called Paul Simon’s intentionally vague metaphors, the reason his lyrics are so very layered.

It inspired a 2014 romantic comedy film of the same name. The film stars Jenny Slate as a brutally candid stand up comic who brings her most raw, personal issues to her act, until she faces a breakup, job loss, and pregnancy from a drunken one-night stand that turns out to be something much more.

Some critics called it the most honest depiction of abortion since the 1972 episode of “Maude”, which came one year prior to Roe v. Wade. No matter what you believe, the movie delivers a sensitive portrayal of the challenges in this situation for a 20-something modern woman, with comedy, without judgement.

A Kickstarter campaign helped writer/director Gillian Robespierre get her first feature film to the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.

“The cross is in the ballpark.”

 

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