Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a Challenge

Today I was on my way to Yoga class and a little bitty bit hungry.  Everywhere, there were signs, signs, signs, on all the food joints, in the windows, on the marquis, even staked in the ground out front.  Donut shops - I counted two within one block.  Lots of sandwich shops, hamburgar joints, quick drive thru mexican food, taco stands, pizza joints, drive-ins, drive-thrus, quick stops, on every block, everywhere you look - signs with these huge VALUES.  You can get a LOT of food for your money these days!  But what are you really getting?   The signs advertise FREE tots with a supersized burger meal, FREE biggie drink with sandwich, $2.99 delux valu meals,  FREE frosty wtih combo meal, etc. etc. etc.  Oh what to do? What to do?



No, not really - I almost never starve. I'm almost always hungry!  And I eat a lot for my 120 pounds.   But I can easily pass these offerings of value right on by.  I can wait until I get finished with my yoga class and go home and fix something really special for my lunch.  And I can even do it fast if I need to.    Something that I'll feel good to eat and will make my body feel good to eat.  Something that won't break my pocketbook either.

I used to eat all that stuff.  Thirty pounds ago.  I used to feel crummy too.  Two years ago.   I hurt all over and walked like I was 90 years old.  I didn't sleep well and even my fat hurt.   I was on all sorts of pills.  Pills for pain, pills to sleep, pills for anxiety.   My doctor put me on a diet.   I started reading about food.  I went to a B.E.S.T. doctor and he told me to start eating one extra vegetable a day.  I didn't even know how to do that.  So I drank a V8 juice.  Which, by the way, was a really good idea. 

So this is your challenge.  Start the same way I did.  Eat one extra vegetable a day.  Maybe you don't eat any vegetables in a day.  So adding one will be a huge improvement in your diet.  Just do that one thing.
And we'll take it slow from there. 

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Monday, March 8, 2010

bull riding event

Saturday night was a date night.  Larry and I met our friends Kim and Don at the Railhead in Forth Worth for Barbeque.  The best barbeque I have ever put in my mouth is served at the Railhead.  But we've actually found another Railhead location- a newer version of our beloved Railhead in Fort Worth near our old house.  This one is in Hudson Oaks - and a LOT closer to us in Weatherford.  On tuesdays and saturdays you can get  a half a roasted barbequed chicken and this incredible salad that is NOT on the menu in Fort Worth.

 Me, I 'm not much on potato salad or cole slaw - unless I'm the one what made it, so this salad is right up my food combining alley.  And it has all my favorite stuff in it.  I mean, meat and potatos are just about the worst thing you can eat at the same time, but we Texans seem to eat a lot of things that way.  Steak and potatos, chicken fried steak and mashed potatos, fried chicken and potatos, hamburgars and french fries.

The other choice at the Railhead, of course, is their unbelievable barbeque pork  ribs.  Fall off the bone tender - you really don't ever want to get full - they are craveable, so since we discovered this new Railhead near our own neighborhood, we frequent there as often as we can.  Unless it is a tuesday or a saturday, I order a large salad with toasted pecans, feta cheese, and balsalmic dressing, with a pound of ribs and a Blue Moon.  Coldest beer anywhere, and they serve this new wheat beer my neice turned me on to - the Blue Moon - maybe it isn't new, but it is new to me - served with orange slices - my new favorite.  It's just not as good at home - I tried it, and it needs to be served to me by a nice smiling waitress in that cold frozen scooner that's almost too big for my hands.  I pick it up with two. 

So we had tickets to the Bull Riding event at the Will Rogers Coliseum.  Smelled just like you would expect a Bull Riding event to smell.  Like dirt and pee, sawdust and poop, beer and cinnamon rolls, all rolled up together to make a big ole' Bull Pie odorific one of a kind memorable you'd know exactly where you were if you had a blindfold on kind of experience.

We found our seats and they were good ones - right near the action.  Just in time, the announcer started talking though we couldn't understand a word through the speaker system in the arena.  His words were garbled and loud - every once in a while we could make one of them out.  So we just watched as each contestant tried to stay on the backs of those crotchety old bulls for the precious desired eight seconds so they could be scored.  These cowboys were named Austin and Justin, and Rigger and Roper and Tuffy and Roughy and the last names were about the same.  I mean, do you think their parents named them those perfect bull rider names or are those nicknames?   They were like movie star names or something.  And crazy.  I don't know who is crazier.  A Bull Rider, or the clowns that help refocus a furious bucking bull.

Talk about a score!  When it was over and the winner had recieved his belt buckle and his brand new saddle (Larry suggested it was weird for a bull rider to get a saddle for a prize and we all agreed)  Anyway,  Don had scored these precious "back stage" upstairs coveted go up the elevator to the famous bar for important people tickets, so we went, finding the elevator finally, past the guards that were carefully screening people that tried to go up, turning people away right and left, past these folks that were envying us for that coveted ticket Don held in his hands.  We were feeling somewhat superior having these important tickets and excited to have this "experience" and go up to the famous upstairs bar and viewing area.    I can't really describe what we found there.  Kim and I went to the bathroom and when she opened the door to go inside, there was a brick wall.  Huh, is it a practical joke or something?  We opened the door next to it and found the real bathroom.  OK, so THAT was weird.

Then the bar had these plywood covered tables with folding chairs around them - they sort of needed tablecloths or something - like they had just cleaned up after a wedding and it was time to go home sort of feeling.  The bar had lots of people all bunched up in line to order and this most peculiar painting behind it.  I  mean, tell me what you think this is?  There just has to be a  good backstory here.  Once I find out what it is, I'll be sure to share it with you.

But this is weird don't you think?   Like outer space weird.

there's no music playing, no sound at all, but there are all the superior people around us that had the same superior special upstairs passes.  There was a concert going on below, we could see it through the glass windows, but we were behind it - we could see the back of the band, and it was silent.  We could watch the people down below enjoying themselves packed up in front of the elevated stage in the middle of the arena, watching the concert.  I never did find out who was playing. 

So, we drank our fancy drink in our fancy plastic cups and with a bewildered look at each other and a few photos taken to commemorate the moment, we left, onward home to the real world and art that makes sense.

BTW, a kinda cool thing - When we got off the elevator, there was a young couple that were being turned away because they didn't have the coveted special ticket.  So, when they turned away all dejected, Don went over to them and handed them his pass upstairs and then walked away.  Hopefully they found it a stimulating experience and knew exactly why there was a painting of a two legged horse butt with an eyeball on the wall behind the bar.
Anyway, I thought it was a nice gesture.  Don't you?  We should pay it forward whenever we can.

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!
So, My girlfriend Kim came out here sunday afternoon with her cool husband Don and their two kids, Dharma and Zoe. 

Don bought a new/old tractor that he and Larry wanted to do some tinkering on, so they spent the day in the garage contemplating parts and pieces, wishing for the owners manual, and for a warmer drier day so they could go dig something.  I sort of wanted to get on that old rusty back hoe and do some digging too, but the weather was too cold and wet and icky to do anything but stay inside with my girlfriend and cook something delectable.

So that is what we did. 

We spent the day working on our evening meal, and then spent an hour and a half sitting at the table enjoying the fruits of our labor, along with a fabulous bottle of cabernet sauvignon called Jade Mountain.  I'll buy that again if I can find it again!

We drank champagne while we cooked. It's always a time for celebration when Kim and I are together.  This day, we celebrated our good health and happiness.  We took a break and put on our chicken boots and went out to the coop to feed  the chickens some veggie scraps, and collected a few green eggs for the dessert, which called for a half dozen egg whites.

We listened to old albums on my old record player. We wore our houseshoes. We laughed a lot and drank more champagne.  We roasted spice nuts and every twenty minutes, we stirred the nuts. The beeper would beep and we'd say "Time to stir the nuts".  I guess you had to be there, cuz it was funny.  We played with my new Jack LaLane juicer and tried all sorts of juices. We juiced everything!  We compared the Jack LaLane juicer with the Dr. Weil juicer - more on that later.

We made the beds with fresh sheets still warm from the dryer. We watched Public Television - a show on Italy. We drank more champagne.

And that's how we spent our day - doesn't it sound like the best sunday afternoon ever?
SO, here is our menu. Just get a load of this.

Sockeye Salmon with spiced nuts served
on top of
slow cooked carmelized onions with
red cabbage, apples,
flaked coconut and craisins.

Aside some 'roasted just long enough' asparagus
 with fresh garlic and some of that unbelievable olive oil I brought back from San Gimignano, Italy.

And some very large, very beautiful scallops that we soaked in a mixture of balsalmic vinegar, ginger and garlic, then wrapped in bacon with water chestnut slices and baked until they were  crispy on the outside and tender juicy on the inside?

And what dessert took six egg whites to prepare?.....
a drum roll  please,

Kimy's Ghirardeli chocolate mousse with fresh,
only slightly sweetened whipped cream,
chocolate covered 
espresso beans.

You can't believe how good it was.

really a taste of Heaven. 
 I love pretty food.

chow, ciao  for now


Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Rachel the Roofer

I posted this photo on my facebook and one of my galfriends said this.
"Rosie the Riveter has nothing on this gal - Rachel the Roofer - you GO girl!"
Isn't that funny?   I laughed out loud at that comment.

Lots of work still to do on the old Shady B Ranch, and a sunny day is too good to pass up.  So saturday afternoon Larry and I went to work on one of our many projects - the roof of the garage.  It took me a while to get my "roof legs", but eventually I forgot I was walking around on a slanted surface high off the ground, until Larry said to me - "Hey, you're walking instead of scooting on your butt."  And at that minute, I had to start scooting again.  It's like awareness hit me and the fear set in all over again and I lost my balance - feeling magnetized, drawn to the edge where I will fall off head first.  I'm not very good at heights.  But man, give me that nail gun.  HOOO-AHHHH - I'm a nailgun kinda gal. 

Lately our projects have been indoors as  the rain has been steady around here, so it was oh so good to get outside and feel the sun on our backs.  Our ponds are full, the bar ditches flowing, the pastures are soggy,  and the horses stay covered  in  mud.   I stopped worrying over my floors indoors - it is pointless until the weather turns.  But it promises to be a lush and wonderful spring, and  for me and most of the folks I know around here, it can't come soon enough.

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh, how wonderful it is to have girlfriends.

My friend Christy came up with this fabulous idea to start blogging our lunch experiences.

She and Kim and I love food. Good food. And the BEST food, we find, comes from our own kitchens. But so many times, we just want to meet somewhere and be fed, served, taken care of, while we laugh and enjoy something scrumptious.

So, this blog Christy is writing, and the name of our trio, is chow town chicks and you can follow what we’re up to on this site.  go to Chow Town Chicks here on blogger.

Each of us has a bit of a different spin on what we want to write about and search for in our quest.  Christy is looking for value, for the economy conscious women out there, wanting the same things we all want, but wanting a good price to get it.
Kim, I would say is our veggie head. While she likes a good steak as much as any Texas gal, she prefers the lighter fare with good color and lots of well prepared veggies. As for me, I would say by far, am the biggest eater of our trio. I can really put it away.  While Christy and Kim are brilliant chefs in their kitchens, I can put together a pretty good plate myself, but enjoy more than anything just EATING good pretty food. And I eat a lot of it.

A few years ago, when I wanted to shed a few pounds and was feeling well, basically, crummy, I started really thinking about WHAT I was eating, and educating myself on how food works in my body and what was IN the food I eat. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and now I’m pretty particular about what I put in my mouth. So I plan to share some of what has worked for me, in terms of good food. Both in restaraunts and in the food we choose to serve in our homes.

So, yesterday was the first Chow Town Chicks luncheon.  Christy found this place online, in Fort Worth on Magnolia Street, called Lily's Bistro on Magnolia.   We were greeted by a smiling face and directed to a table we had already spotted in a sunny window, sort of private and special. Our hostess overheard our glee (yes, it was glee:), and accommodated our wishes immediately. It was noon too, and the restaraunt was busy, which is a really good sign of a well run establishment. Cha ching, one glass toasted already! Within minutes we had another smiling face at our side, taking drink orders and brought us a wine menu to peruse.

Neither of the two choices of appetizers were appealing to us – the Gorgonzola Fries or the Fried Dill spears. Hmmmm, what’s that about? Fried appetizers? So our very accommodating waitress suggested we try this Tzatziki Medley. And what a GREAT suggestion this was. It was a ginormous plate of two different kinds of tabouleh, which is a bulghar wheat salad. One with fresh veggies (Kim loved this one best) and a lemon vinaigrette. The OTHER one, (my favorite) was called Bulgher and Berries. Oh my, it had cherries, and cranberries, and banana chips, and pistachios and cilantro, with a citrus vinaigrette. All was served very appetizingly on a plate with crisp lettuce, and a fabulous chunky cucumber sauce. Oh yea, and triangles of fried pita bread, which was wonderful, but weird - I mean, yet another fried thing?(NOT Christy’s favorite) BUT when we asked about it – whether it was baked or fried (there was some question) – our waitress offered to bring us some plain pita instead and brought a generous portion of that for us to nibble. Christy is happy.

I could have stopped there.

I asked for the waitresses favorites and the good news is that she had a lot of them. I always like a wait –person that is familiar with the food they are serving. I think it is important for restaurants to have their employees taste everything they prepare so they are well informed about the menu. I mean, this is what they DO – the restaurant, I mean – and their employees need to know what it tastes like!

I went with the salmon. Served with their signature “Lily’s Rice”. Now, here is where my food choices come in. Often I will choose something based on what it comes WITH. I spent quite a long time studying the menu – I always do. And nothing on it had any accompaniments that weren’t a starch – as a matter of fact – they were either gorgonzola waffle fries or rice. Neither has any appeal to me. Now if it was sweet potato fries even (which would certainly have been more appealing even though it is still a starch),  brown rice or even wild rice, but it was white rice, with a veggie here and there and pretty bland. The salmon I ordered was glazed, which would have deterred me from ordering it had the menu reflected this very important detail. It was very very sweet and overwhelmed the flavor of the nice pink salmon on my very prettily plated dish.
  I usually don't order anything with sugar, and NEVER eat high fructose corn syrup if I can help it.  Usually I can.  Help it, I mean.

Christy’s burger won the taste test. It was a piled high hamburger with gorgonzola cheese exploding out of it. But the meat part was not as savory as I would have liked even though it was generous,  and the bun, while being beautiful and very very fresh, was sweet, sort of like a waffle is sweet, or a pancake with maple syrup. One or two bites and that was enough of that - it just didn't marry well with the rest of the flavors - not for long anyway. It was too overpowering. You would think the gorgonzola would be the dominant flavor, but it was very mild cheese, even though it LOOKED right.

So then, for the veggie sandwich.   Kim’s sandwich was just dull. It was beautiful and big and the price was right, but the fries it came with were warm, not hot, soft, not crunchy, and the cheese, which was generous, was that same mild gorgonzola. Again, weird. Plus an overabundance of some pepper mixture.  VERY spicy, which is OK for me, but again, it was too overpowering.  The bread was fabulous though.  A very flavorful, fresh rosemary flavored bread.  Just right.  Carmelized onions or maybe some warm roasted red peppers would have made this sandwich a hit with all of us. Either of these sandwiches could have been split easily - they were very very large for lunch specialties.

OK, so the food was actually good enough to try again. I will ask more questions next time. Everything was served beautifully - with thought and care - attention to detail - which is important to me.  The service was impeccable and actually quite delightful. The waitress was engaged in what she was doing - looked us in the eyes and appeared at all the right moments.  The hostess even came to check on us from time to time and made us feel at home and we were never rushed. And the appetizer was what I call “crave-able”. We’ll be back for more of that.  I even took the leftovers home and we had that marvelous salad with our eggs this morning.  Scrumptious.

Next time,

Nona Tata’s – just down the street.

I can hardly wait.

chow, ciao for now

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!