Archive for the ‘HEALTH’ Category

Boars, Bucks and Hoppin’ John!!
January 3, 2013

Hope your holiday season was like mine…fairly peaceful, lots of good food and wine, family, laughs, interspersed with, ummm…disagreements, about what would and would NOT fit into a car as we headed south . I may have mentioned before that I travel in the non-light fashion. I carry my house with me…it’s sad, I know, but there are things I just NEED for Christmas!

And the seat in the picture is the front passenger seat….the rest of the car: fully packed. What’s in the white bakery box?

Yep…even a buche de noel made it down. And it arrived, miraculously, in one chocolatey, yummy piece.  It is the season of miracles after all.

See? This was from Sugarbaker’s in Catonsville…it was soooo good…..chocolate and raspberry….

Let’s face it….things that go pop and have people wearing funny hats at dinner, is just plain old fun.

Found a great furniture store in Ashville(such a cool town)…called Dwellings.

I could literally have spent all day here..happily.

Fell in love with a vintage dresser there….the orange is adorable!

NO, this did not come home with me…it wouldn’t fit in the car. Alas.

Also really loved this lamp….very tall. No, it’s still at the store too! I think)….

But this little guy did come home with me…Jonathon Seagull!

Love this little guy…..

I must have liked this a lot…took a picture of it…..

And this…..snap. Can one have too many mirrors?

Saw this handsome fellow outside an antique shop in Cashiers, NC….great little town with some amazing shops!

I realized that, once again, I packed badly when it came to my own clothing…these I found at a shop in Highlands NC…they saved the day, and my ears!

My fav ornament this year…Harry the hedgehog. Isn’t he a cutie?

I could see the Christmas tree from my bedroom window…. it was a nice feeling.

Hung out at a coffee shop in Cashiers called Buck’s Coffee…actually I could move in there and be pretty doggone happy.

Never get tired of a mountain view like that….

Made a killer batch of pimiento cheese(and by killer, I don’t mean people got sick after they ate it!)….

And this was a new recipe I tried…Hoppin’John Risotto with greens, sausage and Parm…..it was truly….amazing.

I want some right now!  And how was your holiday??

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Oh the fob of it all….
December 19, 2012

 

My keys, after being overnighted from NC….don’t they look happy to be home?

I was down in North Carolina this past weekend, a place I love to visit…and on my way back home as the Southwest pilot announces we are getting ready to land, I start packing up and checking where my keys are. Not in my handbag. My keys…the only working fob set to my Toyota…is in…that’s right, North Carolina. Ouch.

That meant renting a car at the airport to get home…chi-ching…leaving the car at the airport..chi-ching…but the real cash register sound came the next day, when the very nice lady at Toyota gave me the news that the smart fob that opens the doors to and starts my car…will cost $500 smackeroos to replace…CHI-CHING!  Um, no thanks.

But she also advise me to try inserting the non-working fob…that you never can tell, they might communicate. So we drive to the airport, turn in the rental, fully prepared to one-car it for a day or two until the keys can be sent to us…find the car, open it with the laser key in the side of the fob, stick it in the (fob hole?), say a little prayer and it starts. Who says there aren’t little miracles?

But like the rest of you, my heart has been heavy with the horror in Connecticut. In North Carolina Saturday morning, I got up and made some tea, and then thought…this morning those parents woke up…if they slept at all…and the horrible reality came crashing back that sleep relieves for a little while. That it really did happen. That their child, or sister, or mother…was gone, for good. It was real.

There are no words to capture the terrible nature of that day…we in the news business have struggled with that all week..at least I have. There are no words. So we just try to pass along the information we have in the most tasteful way we know…but know, it breaks our hearts too. We are also parents who send children to school, assuming we will see them at the day’s end. I only hope that something good can come from the heartbreak….surely something will. Won’t it? Otherwise how can anyone bear it?

I’m off work next week like many of you to celebrate Christmas…I wish for all of you a safe family around you, some good food, some laughs, and a nice present or two. And lots of love…hold them close. I think we will all hold our families closer this Christmas.

 

Sputnik, Clafoutis, and watermelon salad….that’s what been happening in my world!
July 16, 2012

Softshell crabs Linwoods style on creamed corn bed, with béarnaise sauce….

Ok,….I ate this weekend at a restaurant I haven’t been to in several years. Not for any particular reason, but Linwoods just isn’t on my beaten path…and I just haven’t thought about it. How sad for me…had the most amazing meal there Saturday evening…my first soft shell crabs of the year, served on a creamed corn puddle, with pickled green beans.

Watermelon salad…love the composition of it, hated to mess it
up, but I did!!

And a watermelon salad with feta cheese and little scoops of cucumber sorbet on the top. So pretty…so delicious.

It’s a French classic….for a reason.

But you can’t always eat out, and I had a big bowl of fresh cherries from Whole Foods at half price that needed a home….so I made a cherry clafoutis(pronounced kla-foo-tee’). The recipe I use is from an old French cookbook I’ve had for probably 25 years, but there are plenty of other versions around….one of which I will provide below. But it’s a delicious eggy dessert that can accommodate almost any fruit…I added blueberries to the one above. And dead easy. This recipe from Williams-Sonoma is pretty close to mine…

Saved from the trash….now to be recycled. Sigh.

OK, I know some consider me a recycling freak…and maybe that’s true, because I spend part of my time here at work saving bottles and cans from the trash bins, and walking them over to the recycling bins. You know who you are, people.

I know, I know…what was I thinking???

And this Sputnik looking light fixture I won at an auction two years ago at Center Stage…it’s been sitting in their development office ever since. I went down last week, to finally take it home(and do what with it I still don’t know)….but I forgotten how big the damn thing really is. Probably 40-50 inches in diameter. So there I was on a super hot day, struggling with this thing on Calvert Street, trying to get it in the car without damaging it. Guess where it is now? That’s right, back in the development office. I’m coming up with plan B.

Spring, spring everywhere….
June 6, 2012

I heard this little chirping the other day…ground level chirping…looked thru the bushes…and I saw this….

Oh no, baby Robin!

Yep, a little baby Robin, out of the nest just a little early. OK, I flip out, and immediately start googling how to save baby Robins. Answers, mush up worms and berries, and feed them to baby. So I do.

Yeah, I know. And in a pretty green bowl, too.

Then I read further. That you should feed them every 15 minutes(who can do that?)…and even further….that you should leave them alone and let the parents take care of them….that they won’t come around with you dithering about. So…I stopped. I don’t know what happened after his initial meal of worms and berries…but he was gone the next day. Fingers crossed for you, little buddy.

Isn’t this pretty? Totally unplanned…

And nature is at her very best this time of year….this picture above is just outside my house. Absolutely none of it was planned…it just….happened. OK, this was planned…

Who doesn’t love the sound of water…

I made a water feature for the front garden from  a fire pit, a pump, some stones, and one water plant. And surrounded by ferns and hostas, it’s just the most soothing noise when you’re leaving or returning home. And the birds adore it too. SO dead easy.

So Original!

And how cute is this in the garden…using a vintage toy as a planter. Just adored this when I saw it the other day(and wished I had that kind of imagination)…And this past weekend I was in Talbot County( Tilghman Island), for the Heritage Garden Tour. Saw some really kick butt gardens that made me feel pretty guilty about some weeds I left growing at home….here are some things I loved.

Look closely…see the chandelier over the chair?

In the same garden…using bushel baskets as chandeliers…
brilliant, and so perfect for the Eastern Shore!

Perfect use of old barnacled buoys by a front door….

But my fav view was when I got back home, over the Bay Bridge Sunday afternoon…Yeah.

A perfect G & T with Hendrick’s Gin…cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Duly chastened….and back on the case!
April 16, 2012

One of our neighbors in Chucktown....dig the placement of the hazard marker!!

I just got an email from a blog reader who said,” I know you’re busy, but I live vicariously through you and miss more regular posts! I always learn some about new fact, or tidbit, trends and trendy spots.  I love your travel advice and suggestions and the food chat and photos – oh, how I miss the food chat and photos! .  C’mon, Donna, you’re killing me here!”

 

My favorite bridge....to the Holy City...

Tout mes excuses!! And while my excuses aren’t bad really….let’s just get with the program. I just got back from the Holy City(someone here in the newsroom with initial GS–ok, Gerry Sandusky–asked me if I had been in Israel, as I tweeted something about being in the Holy City). I just gave him what I hope was a suitably scathing look, and informed him that here in the U.S., Charleston SC is the Holy City, because of all the church steeples that dot that city skyline.

Here’s the beach I walked to almost every day, over a long boardwalk out over the marsh…you have to know the code to get on the boardwalk, which is why the beach there is never crowded… http://youtu.be/sJ8Jpv3W2CQ

We also had baby gators..so cute....while small anyway...

My daughter with Esmerelda, the dog who lives down the street....

Fish tacos at Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island...yes that Poe....

Pistachio gelato on King Street...with some of the best shopping and eating you'll ever want....

Shop window of Blue Bicycle Books, also on King Street....a literary kitty!

Classic....just classic, and so Charleston.

My two fav purchases....

Adore the dress above with the cute bow in the back and beading…and the grey-green topiary was the subject of some spirited discussion about hauling it back in the car…but as you see, I won.

If you're looking for preppy(and pricey)...look no further than M Dumas.

M. Dumas is really pronounced Doo-Mahs’……but in fun, we call it Dumbass. Quietly of course…quietly.

Dumas ties look like sherbets.....

More Topsiders and in more colors and styles I never imagined.

I did say the place was prep, right?

Soft shell crab at hot new restaurant called The Grocery...soooo delicious!

But Cru Cafe is still our go-to restaurant....so charming, and the food is so inventive. Best mac and cheese in town, hands down.

This was the view I woke up to every morning....the beautiful salt marsh.

And alittle bird right outside always called first thing, “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger“..seriously it does! If you have never heard a bird say “cheeseburger“(they really do) listen carefully to this video I took, on the little porch right outside my bedroom….http://youtu.be/gBYbJbWa4H8

Yep, the drive home was as fabulous as it looks...

But this was the view home, on a 10-1/2 hr drive that should have taken 8…horrible traffic, and fast food french fries. Just keeping it real, ya’ll.

Bunkbeds, mosquito netting, and lots of kids….
March 28, 2012

Our deluxe accommodations at Sozo...no screens on windows
but we did have mosquito netting. That's my nephew in the orange shirt...

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Uganda looks wise…but I didn’t think the countryside would be as lush and gorgeous as it is. We arrived around 1:30 am at Sozo…I wish you could have seen the van after it picked us up, in a pitch black parking lot at Entebbe airport. Seriously, no lighting at all , except the headlights of other cars pulling out…9 people getting off flights with mountains of luggage…trying to squeeze all of us and our stuff in and on top of the car(well, the luggage on top, us inside!). I would have taken a pic but…..Our dorm room was spartan but clean, and the mattress were super comfy(thanks Allen for buying Eurofoam!)…and it was all strangely comforting. at night..the sounds of crickets, and occasional barking fits from the dogs that are let loose only at night in the compound(more on how animals are seen in Uganda later), and the whirr of the fans.

From the top floor of the orphanage, which is really a big house which Sozo now rents, there is a great balcony…from which I shot this:View from Sozo

Laundry day(which is almost every day) at Sozo. They now
have a washing machine(which they adore)...it used to be done
by hand, but drying is still sunshine.

But it’s a really happy atmosphere inside the walls of Sozo Children…kids laughing and yelling, like schoolyard, really. They also do plenty of work here, and help with the laundry, the cooking, cleaning….and there’s always plenty to do. But they LOVE, love, love to play games. Look what happened when I drew a hopscotch board on the patio: Hopscotch Ugandan style!

Two days we went to the Kabalagala slum, to help out at the Rays of Hope school…which is day school for 300 children, who otherwise might never see the inside of a schoolroom.

Three boys share a book at Rays of Hope school...

We handed out breakfast to these kids, who were soooo incredibly patient. Other kids who are not enrolled in school are occasionally dropped by a parent who are just hoping they can get something to eat(and they do)….here’s what it looks like at breakfast time: Breakfast at Rays of Hope

Tons 'o cups to fill with hot milk and sugar...

We took turns getting up at 4 am(yes really) to help get the kids'(who also get up at four) breakfast ready to be served…they leave for school between 5:30 and 6. It’s a pretty simple meal…buttered bread, some fruit or peanuts, hot milk with a spoonful of sugar in it(that’s the way they like it), maybe a boiled egg. And then we would fall back into bed. zzzzzzzzzz…..

Food here was carb loaded…lots of potatoes, rice, bread, cabbage(the only green vege we had)…rarely any meat, and no sweets. For breakfast I would eat a banana(plentiful in Uganda) and almond butter, which I toted from home across the the Atlantic. So when we got the chance to eat pizza one day….

Hello lover...come to mama...

We fell on it like starving dogs…not that we were starving really…just hungry for a taste of home, and something different(spoiled Americans!)….

Au Revoir Gallbladder…
March 13, 2012

My view at Mercy Medical Center for a few hours....

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my daughter was quite sick last week…she’s been staying at our house since Sunday a week ago….when she became terribly ill after lunch out(the babies always come home when sick). At first we thought food poisoning? But we all ate the same thing so, that couldn’t be it. Virus? Possible, but the throwing up was so unrelenting. And just the week before she’d had an endoscopy, because of several severe, painful attacks of what we thought was GERD… or gastro esophageal reflux disease. The endoscopy did show inflammation of the esophagus, so she was put on Nexium. And now this.

A call to the gastroenterologist …..who said, “I think we may have overlooked a gallbladder problem.” I was floored. So she went in for an ultrasound…and sure enough, her gallbladder was packed with gallstones. Next stop…surgery.

Baby girl, resting after surgery....

So Friday morning very early(we had to be there by 6:30 and after working the 11 pm news-oy vay)…..and the waiting begins….her surgery was laparoscopic, thank goodness. So we called back to get her dressed and take her home a few hours later. My daughter is saucy, it must be said, and to one nurse who was loudly clapping her hands and saying “Let’s move, let’s move, let’s move! “…she stared at her groggy from anesthesia and said, “Go. Just get out of here“, and waved her away. She has no memory of it now…but it was kinda funny.

A good friend delivered homemade matzoh ball soup...it's amazing....

She’s been recuperating at our house of course, where the supplies are stocked, the sheets are clean, and there’s always help or soup at hand(or most the time). But she’s getting better every day, and just today commented on how great it is to not feel sick anymore. Sore, yes, but not sick. Big difference.

Hendrick's Gin and Tonic for the nurse, please....it's Miller time...

 

Lots of people have asked if it’s common for someone in the 20s to have their gallbladder removed…I don’t think you’d call it common, but it’s not uncommon. Her surgeon at Mercy said it happens a lot more than you’d think. So she’s gonna be fine….and so am I. 🙂

Purple Haze: What the WBAL team is doing this Sunday!
January 13, 2012

Let your purple freak flag fly!!

Saw this car on my drive to work this morning(before you lecture me about taking a picture in my car…I was stopped at a traffic light!), but it made me think, what is everybody doing this Sunday for the Ravens playoff game? Here’s what I’ve found out so far:

J-Fran, in purple as always on Friday...

Jennifer Franciotti, who is the truest Ravens fan I know, is working this Sunday. Before you say, “Awwwww, that’s too bad“, let me add that she is at the game! So the girl is happy, you know? Wouldn’t be anywhere else. At home though, her family is saving her some Buffalo wings and sliders, and a glass of wine for when she gets home.

the I-team's Jayne Miller...also a big fan...

11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller will take some time from investigating, and as a season tickets holder, will also be at the game Sunday. What’s she eating? She tells me she will definitely hit a few tailgates, menu TBA, and probably have a Guiness at the game…depending on how cold it is. “What’s the difference between a playoff game and a regular game?”, she asked me. Not knowing of course, she replied, “At a playoff game, everyone STANDS, all the time!”

Mindy Basara and me....comparing our purplicity....

Mindy Basara will watch the game from home….and she was thinking wings, but their grill has been acting funky, so they may switch to chili…or maybe a complicated buffalo wing dip thing, but she doesn’t have all the ingredients to it. She’s hoping she can con her hubby into shopping for it AND making it. Love that, girl.

And yours truly, as mentioned on Facebook,  is making a Pork Shoulder Braised in Apple Cider..a recipe I saw on the Today Show last week. It looks AMAZING…and I have the pork…just need to score the cider. IF you would like the recipe…here it is!

the lovely Sarah Caldwell sports some purple too....

Sarah Caldwell will also be watching the game from home….I asked her if she was making something special…..she said negatory on that…but you never know. Maybe she’ll change her mind.

John Collins.....a working man...

Meterologist John Collinsis working Sunday, so he too, will not be tailgating or baking purple pastries, or throwing a pork shoulder in the oven.(I’ll save you some John).

Lowell Melser.....looking lavender

 11 News reporter Lowell Melser has a little problem…which is kinda hilarious(Chris Daschille laughed out loud when he heard it). Lowell’s wife was invited to a baby shower on Sunday…that starts at 1 PM. And they did not reschedule. Yeah. So, things are a little up in the air…maybe view part of the game at a bar in Canton, maybe pizza in his basement on the BIG screen…you know. He’s keeping it loose(except being a little stressed over the baby shower thingie.)

hope you have a great time on Sunday…that the Ravens win(yeaahhh!)…that no players get hurt…that no one throws rocks, and you all come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Glossing, Balming and Prepping: What I’m using and loving right now….
January 12, 2012

I like to shake it up in the product world…keep it fresh, you know. So here are some of my current favs…..first up, Number Four Super Comb Prep and Protect

Super Comb Prep and Protect

It’s a leave in conditioning spray, that also protects hair color from UV rays….but what I notice is it leaves my hair super manageable. $38….but it lasts a long time…you just use a few sprays after shampooing.

Oh Fredric...you just get it....

Fredric Fekkai’s glossing cream is a long time fav…it uses olive oil to add some moisture back into your hair(I find mine gets much drier in the winter months-yikes, flyaways!). Truly, a little dab will do you…the tube lasts seemingly forever. 4 oz. for $21…

Alpha lipoic acid? DMAE? What?

Derma-e’s Alpha Lipoic Acid/DMAE cream I love, love, love. On Derma-e’s website this good size jar is $22, but at Swanson Vitamins-here(where I get all my vitamins too), it’s only $15…you can compare the ingredients to some of the tres’ pricey stuff at Dr. Nicholas Perricone.

This stuff is just lovely!!

This Speppermint(that’s not a typo) Lip Balm  and Ginger Lemongrass Solid Lotion were sent to me by a company called Rinse Bath and Body-here….I’d never heard of them, but their products are amazing. Rinse is a family run small business in Monroe Georgia…they make all natural, vegan friendly, gluten free products…and they smell good enough to eat(but don’t). And the solid stick lotions are great for travel as they are TSA friendly…no worries about putting them in a plastic baggie. I’m dying to try the Peppofoot Stick.  Lotion stick is $8, lip balm $4. Enjoy!

Lardo….and no, it’s not the name of a mean movie….
January 9, 2012

My lardo, brought from New York Il Buco....

I present for your humble culinary consideration….lardo. Yep…lardo, and it’s NOT the name of a mean movie. Lardo is pig fat(Tuscany’s answer to fatback)…which has been cured with rosemary and salt and  other spices. I first heard about lardoback  in December, on Tasting Table I think….but it may surprise you to know that lardo has been made as early as Roman times. I knew I had to have some….

sometimes it comes in slabs....

At La Quercia Artisan Cured Meats, they call lardo,  Iowa white spread….theirs is made from proscuitto fat, cured with  sea salt, clove, nutmeg, white and black pepper, rosemary, bay leaf, and coriander. But this stuff is not as easy to find as you would think. (La Quercia now has it back in stock)…

But wait...there's no lardo!!

I ordered a package from the famous Murray’s cheese shop, called Hoggy Heaven right before Christmas, purely because it came with a package of La Quercia lardo(along with proscuittos and mortedella from LaQuercia)….but Murray’s replaced the lardo with pate! When I called, really disappointed, they said, “Oh, sorry we’re out of lardo.” Great.

Then I read about a place called Il Buco Alimentari in nyc….which makes their own lardo….placed a pleading phone call to the lovely Jennifer, begging her to bring some down for Christmas. And she did just that….amazing girl.

Pass the lardo, please...yes I said lardo...

Some people use lardo as a spread, instead of butter on potatoes or bread(think meat butter) or pasta….and it is delish this way.

Eggs in lardo....were lovely...

But you can also cook with it. I made scrambled eggs this weekend cooked in lardo…and it gave a subtle, herbal, pig quality to the eggs that was really quite lovely.

One thing I love about LaQuercia is the way their producers raise their pigs…

Pigs living in their natural enviornment....

The pigs are fed no hormones or animal by-products and have access to outdoors and their natural rooting behaviors…kudoes to the farmers.