Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Sista-hood..and making the gumbo….
August 14, 2012

This was the 3 sistas in Uganda this spring….we look a little tired, and I think we were!

When my sisters and I get together…even if we haven’t seen each other for months…it’s like we were together yesterday. I know those who don’t get along with their sisters…it’s more like they’re competitors, who just happen to have grown up together and share the same parents. I can never understand that, just because I are so close, and we always have been really. I can’t even remember being in a real argument with them…maybe a little tiff when we were younger, but today…never.

This crew is familiar with seafood, but not cracking crabs, Maryland
style…

So when the sisters, my niece and her daughter came for a visit, it was a whole houseload of female…plus my daughter came over to spend a couple of nights with us too….yeah…girls. Lots. We had an amazing crab feast on the back patio, with corn, wine(no beer, sorry)…a lovely, …girlie evening.

I did a pretty good job on these but we had 6 leftover crabs.
They were not wasted…

And some of the leftover crabs came in handy….But that leads me to a cookbook my sister brought me…

Crazy Sista Cooking….great gumbo recipe inside!!

My older sister Audrey(she hates it when I call her that…older sister) brought me Lucy Buffett’s new book…Lulu, as she is known, is the sister of the famous Margaritaville singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet…she has a well-known seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores. First stop at the stove: gumbo!!

Lucy’s Summer Gumbo…

Lulu says it takes courage to take the roux to the color of mahogany, and yet not burn it(’cause if you do you just have to start over)….no likee.

Just keep stirring until your arm falls off….

Honestly I didn’t get there. I chickened out right at the end, and figured  it was dark enough, at least a light mahogany.

Add the chopped onions(and later the green and red peppers) and
saute in the roux. MORE stirring.

The recipe doesn’t call for chicken…but gumbo is what you make of it…

these are chopped chicken pieces….

And to me, it’s not gumbo without some sausage…andouille or kielbasa…

Note the queen made vegetables underneath the sausage!

Fat and Juicy…good stuff….

One does need some refreshment during the day long process of gumbo…Lulu suggest bloodies…I concur. And Fat and Juicy-here…is amazing…smokey, horseradish…yum.

Getting ready to add the chicken and sausage….the shrimp
right at the end….And

And…the finished product.

Sorry this isn’t my picture, but I forgot! (bloody Mary’s??)

Just in case you want to make this amazing gumbo for yourself…here’s the recipe from Alabama food. Really, I think it was the best gumbo I’ve ever made…and that’s saying something. Piece of advice…get a couple of sous chefs(husbands, daughters, friends) to help do the chopping and sauteeing…makes it so much easier.

Weekend Getaway…Relaxing in Rhode Island!
July 10, 2012

This pic personifies Rhode Island…stone walls and hydrangeas…
I’m in heaven!!

OK, a couple of weeks ago…I attended a wedding in Bristol, Rhode Island, a charming small town on the water. But rather than fly up Saturday morning…go the the wedding and back home Sunday(what a schlog)…decided to make a long weekend of it.

Classic gray shingle cottage right on the bay…(no the big
house on the right was not a part of the deal!)

You know I’m a hopeless fool for VRBO….my go-to website for vacation places to stay. And in Bristol…there was one especially charming choice. I fell in love with this precious cottage a mile out of downtown. The owner lives in a (larger, obvie)house to the left, closer to the street. Big shade trees, private dock….it was amazing inside and out. Take a tour…

Honestly, I think it was this little screened porch that
sold me…look at the view!

Living room to the left, staircase leading to loft bedrooms…
adore the light.

Seaglass blue everywhere…

The owner has such a nice eye for details….

My view reading under the tree….sigh. Heaven.

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea….

Bristol is a town that really does it up for the Fourth of July…they have a huge parade, and the stripe in the road lets you know the parade route.

Classic front porch of a house on High Street, as one neighbor told me,
“the nicest street in town!”….It was pretty sweet…

Blueberry stuffed French toast at a sidewalk cafe….yumsters.

And lobsters galore, naturally….

Keep in mind, you can drive to Bristol in about 8 hours….and Southwest Airlines, bless them, fly nonstop to Providence…so Rhode Island in general is a great weekend getaway…just up the road a ways. All the Rhode Islanders said they’d love to have you!!

Preakness week wrapup….check.
May 21, 2012

Just hangin’ with Cam Newton and Torrey Smith….look how happy I am.

This past week has honestly been a whole lot of the P word for me. You know, that big old party over on Northern Parkway that we call the Preakness….you know the one. The picture above is one of my fav moments there…Once I heard the Raven’s Torrey Smith(who is really the nicest young man in the world…seriously sweet) say Cam Newton(once an Auburn Tiger and now the Carolina’s Panther’s hotshot new quarterbackk) was in the Under Armour tent…nothing was gonna keep me away. Creepy obsession? Maybe. One woman asked me was he dreamy…me: “Yes, the dreamiest.” And also very nice…and they were both dressed like a million dollars!

My lemon yellow hat this year…..

Found my hat at Hats to Hose, on Reisterstown Road….they always have some gorgeous chapeaus…and because I had waited until the last week to go pick one….there was only  a few yellow ones(I wanted yellow to go with navy) left…and two were too small for my huge cranium. But this one really worked….I loved it! As for shoes?

J. Crew comes through again….

Picked these from J. Crew…and they were remarkably comfortable, even for clomping around the infield of Pimlico. THe only danger in shoes like these, is the tip-over…you unwittingly place your foot on uneven ground, and….over you go. At best, you’re embarrassed, at worst, you end up with a sprained ankle. Neither happened to me.

Ha-ha….beat you again Bodemeister!

And my Twitter pal I’ll Have Another is on his way to the Belmont! Who knows, maybe he’ll be the first triple crown winner in 34 years. In one tweet, he said, “Got my hooves crossed for a good run today.” Is he cute or what?  I just love that horse.

My mega pill carrier…

Several people in the newsroom have had some fun at Donna’s expense, regarding her industrial size pill carrier. It is indeed my first foray into the pill organizer world that my Mother in habited for many years. But when I found this one at Target before I went to Uganda…it solved my vitamin problems. That’s the only diff between Mom and me…she carried prescription meds, and mine is full of vitamins. Sigh.

Why, why, why mix your peanuts????????????

And just a little nudge to companies that ship things to people. If you send me biodegradable packing peanuts, I’ll compost them. If you send styrofoam peanuts, I’ll recycle them. If you mix them, I’m mad. And here’s why. It took me a good 30 minutes to sort through them all to pick out the ones I can compost. So why do that to your customers? Why? Just pick one, and I’ll deal with it. Mix them and I biodegrade. So stop it.

Bacon and chocolate, beef belly, and gardens…did I leave anything out?
April 23, 2012

Project side garden....underway. I need more rocks!

OK, let’s see what’s been going on….I’ve been working on a little garden on the side of my house. It doesn’t get seen much really, so I’ve never given it much love. But when a huge Black Walnut tree came down last summer there, the area was just… so…nude, really. SO I bought a tall crepe myrtle that I intended to get in the ground last year. Ok, let’s make it THIS year. And once that was done( I hired someone to dig the hole for me) I was inspired to create a stone border and get some other things in the ground. Almost there, but still need more rocks!! But one of my neighbors has this garden thing down to a science.

I love the rhubarb in the pot...such a nice contrast....

And this morning, I paid a visit to the courthouse, where my daughter was determined to fight a “turning right on red without making a complete stop” camera ticket. “

I know I stopped before I turned. I’m fighting that ticket!”…..Oh my little activist. But what she(and probably others) didn’t know…is that the police don’t just have still pictures of your offense. They have actual moving video. So when she’s called up, and presented with video evidence of her heinous crime(in which she clearly doesn’t come to a complete stop)…really, what can you say? But just for her taking the trouble of showing up, the judge cut her fine from $75 to $35. I guess that’s worth a visit.

The charcuterie is housemade, and freaking fabulous....

Ok, best new restaurant find. I’m really psyched about this place, because I went there on a Groupon(which has fooled Donna a few times)….But the Blue Grass Tavern in Federal Hill, is the real foodie deal. It’s on the corner of Fort Ave. and Hanover…nice atmosphere, and the food was just sooooo good. And they had something on the menu I’ve never seen before. Beef belly. Pork belly…plenty…but never beef belly. The waitress  described it as a cross between pork belly and a pastrami(she had me at pork belly). I’ll just say this…if you go, order it if it’s on the menu. Just stop deliberating and get it. And I noticed at the end of the meal, they also have pimiento cheese, which was too late to order, but next time…next time.

Just plain yum.

Best new guilty treat: Vosges Haut Chocolate “Mo’s Dark Bar“….62% dark chocolate with hickory smoked uncured bacon and smoked sea salt. The guilt is on two levels. 1. That I just paid $7 for a chocolate bar. and 2. That there is something so amazing and I get to eat it! I allow my self a square or two after salad at my desk. It makes the evening at work, just a little smoother. Trust me on this.

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!)….

Working the night shift…
February 23, 2012

Here we are, making tv widgets.....around the clock...

Most of tend to think of people who work shift work, as perhaps factory jobs, where things roll around the clock…or maybe a 24 hour restaurant. My Dad worked over 40 years at a place that made cast iron pipe in Birmingham, Alabama. He would change shifts every two weeks as I remember. Imagine, for two weeks working 3:30am-noon, then two weeks day shift, and then two weeks 8 pm to 3:30 am….it must have been brutal, a continual sort of jet lag.

AC yes, but we didn't have a clothes dryer for years!

That was why we got air conditioning back in the day…he was trying to sleep during the hot summer months with 3 little girls running around screaming outside the windows. Yeah.

And as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I am now on the night shift. Television is also a business, like hospitals or factories, that operate 24-7. And those shifts have to be covered. So I’m working mid afternoon until after the 11 pm newscast. A man I saw at Whole Foods tonight said, “Wow, I see you on the 11 o’clock newscast. I know that’s tough.”

And while there positives and negatives  about everything…here’s the positive I have found in this move.

I have yet to achieve this look....

-I have time for all kinds of appointments! Hair, doctors, yoga class…running errands…You have good quality daytime hours to do things, and when your off hours are at night, many things aren’t open, or you don’t have the energy after work.

nap like a rock star...

Naps. I try to take a little while before I get ready for work to lie down for a little while, and maybe even take a nap…which I love. The nap is a much underrated pleasure.

Muffy!

-Feeding the cats. OK, that sounds truly weird, but Muffy is a grazer, and weighs almost nothing…that’s because  when I feed the cats in the morning, she nibbles and then wanders away, and Baby Girl gobbles everything she left. So now I feed Muffy several times a day, and she is actually gaining a little weight. Score!

People on the night shift. Rod Daniels(who brings in Big Pup Bandit every now and again), Kai Reed, Gerry Sandusky, Tom Tasselmyer, Jerome Chester , Sheldon Dutes…all great people I enjoy being around very much. And working on a shared project….a terrfic 11 pm newscast…is something we all share and craft together.

So it’s all good…much to my surprise, I’m enjoying being on the night shift…more than I ever thought I would. Now what has taken a beating is this blog, because I haven’t quite found the groove that allows me to do it as often. But I promise to put out a blog at least once a week. And maybe I’ll find the time to do more than that.

Someone asked had I deserted the blog for Facebook….no…but a Facebook post takes a few minutes if that, and a blog takes a block of time. If you aren’t on FB and Twitter, I encourage you to try it…you might find it much more rewarding than you think. On Twitter, I’m @donnahamiltontv, and on Facebook Donna Hamilton WBAL-TV. And it’s easy. Really.

Love you Octavia Spencer!
January 16, 2012

Octavia Spencer, Auburn woman, all the way!

Let me just say up front I adored the movie The Help….and I adored equally Octavia Spencer in her role as Minnie. So last night when Octavia won Best Supporting Actress, I fully expected to like this funny and thoughtful Auburn woman’s(that’s right, she’s an Auburn grad who grew up in ‘bama!) acceptance speech, and I did. She referred to Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we celebrate today, saying, “”With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.’

And in truth, most of us who work are “the help” to someone, or some small business or some large corporation…but when you do your job with your whole heart and your best effort, whether you’re cleaning someone’s home(a job that truly uplifts humanity) or a sanitation engineer(ditto) or work in a department store or in an office or on tv…doing the best you can do uplifts all of us, and in the end, I think it lifts you up too. And that, I think, is partly what Dr. King was saying. Happy MLK day everyone…now get out there and uplift someone…or yourself!

 

It’s About Making the Effort…not Perfection!
November 21, 2011

It’s always one dilemma we face at Thanksgiving dinner….what to do with the table (besides throw a cloth on it and slap down some plates and silverware). Here are some ideas that may inspire you to try something a little different this year. The one below I adore…bare, blonde table, dark plates and all those clear wine bottles minus their labels… are so elegant looking. All white candles at different heights make it.

SO simple but so lovely...

Again….not complicated or expensive but original..and so personal with the old black and white family photos…brilliant…and what Thanksgiving is all about. Love the pear place card holders….I may copy that this Thanksgiving. Again, bare table.

A few pears, some old photos, and you're in business!

Here’s another one with no cloth…just runners, which you could buy or make in about 5 minutes from a remnant.

Pretty...love the roses and the colors...

I like this one too…the green cloth and orange napkins are cheery, and most likely not expensive….pine  you can pick from the yard to give a seasonal touch(and free). It’s just all very soothing and seasonal. I would love to sit down at this table, wouldn’t you?  Notice the candles are lit, even though it’s daytime. I really hate candles on a table that aren’t lit.

Very serene, and contemporary....

And remember, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about making the effort.

Tricks for some….and treats for others!!
October 31, 2011

OK, I think this may be my favorite Jack-o-lantern so far this year….violent, well yes, a bit…but come on…it’s Halloween!! And not too hard to do…assuming you have an axe blade you can plant in his little pumpkin skull.

All you need is an evil laugh soundtrack.....Ha-ha-ha-ha....

This one’s good too….

maybe too much work????

And I found a great fun treat for the kids…(thanks Baltimore Sun)…..here’s the recipe.

Halloween pizza!!

This is super easy to make….just needs some storebought sugar cookie dough for the crust, some candy corns, chocolate, and gummy worms….and think how cool your kids will think it is. If they’re not impressed…stop spoiling them.

Wheeee...let's stop doing news and dress up in costumes!!

I was watching the Today Show this morning against my better judgement…their Halloween show is my least favorite. Serously, I really don’t like this show. I know, I know…why do I watch? I don’t know. Heaven forbid something serious happen during this hour…you’d have someone is the costume of a bride or a prince, telling you about something horrible that happened.

But I digress….poor, poor Savannah Guthrie..that girl got the dirty tricks this year. SHe is paying her dues, seriously. While Ann Curry gets to be the adored and beautiful Kate Middleton…

…and Natalie Morales is the glamorous Pippa Middleton

….Savannah is ….wait for itPrince Charles, big ears and all.

I watched her…. thinking that she is a really good sport, but I don’t think she liked it much….The woman below in blue(never could figure out who she really is-do you know?) was complaining about her costume of a pregnant Victoria Beckham, Savannah replied dryly, “Well, at least you’re a girl!”

I feel you sister…and on national tv, too. Maybe next year, you”ll be the princess.

Sweet…and spicy….You asked for it, Stein’s Sweet Potato Soup
October 24, 2011

There was a neighborhood bonfire and soup/stew cookoff this past weekend…and while I didn’t get my offering there in time for the judging…I thought this soup was a real winner…Stein’s Sweet Potato Soup, a recipe from the Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City Utah. But what makes this one different is the addition of chili peppers. Sweet, and spicy…just the way I like it.

Yes, it's just as fabulous as it looks....

 Stein Erikson is a former alpine ski race and Olympic gold medalist….born and raised in Norway…he won the gold medal in the giant slalom in 1952, and was considered skiing’s first “superstar”. But he headed for the U.S., and opened the Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City-here. I was lucky enough to stay there  for Great Country Inns, back in the day. Drop dead gorgeous place(if you are ever in Park City, go see it, and have lunch)….and the food there absolutely rocks it.  Stein was a really interesting guy to interview (and not bad to look at, let’s be honest).

Great skiier....and really nice guy...

But I digress, back to the soup….the recipe is pretty easy really. The most complicated part is roasting and peeling the chili peppers(and that ain’t hard).

Pretty simple, really....

Ingredients are listed on the recipe above. You simply saute the carrots and onions together for a while, add the chicken stock and the sweet potatoes and cook until tender(and I added a bay leaf and a big clove of chopped garlic).

SImmer the potatoes for 20 minutes or so until tender...

When everything is tender, stir in your roasted peeled chilis…

Roast at 400 until blackened, then sweat them in a paper bag. Peel.

Simmer a few minutes, and puree the batch, season to taste. Dat’s it. If it’s still not hot enough for you(and sweet potatoes can take some heat), add a splash of Sriacha or Tobasco. Done. Slurp. Enjoy.

Yummo to the extreme....