Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recipe Wednesday

I made this recipe when my friend Susan ( came for dinner recently.  She is usually my guinea pig for new recipes.  It was very, very tasty.  I am not one that likes to cook while guests are here, so next time I will do it ahead to the point of sautéing.  The recipe is from Cuisine at Home magazine.

By the way, I am hosting our Annual Yoga Brunch next week.....any ideas for a good, make ahead brunch dish?
Greek Chicken Roulades with white-wine reduction
Look for chicken breasts that are at least six ounces in weight - - they’ll be big enough to hold the filling when pounded thin and rolled. 

Calories: 389 
Makes 2 servings
Total time: 30 minutes

12 pitted kalamata olives, divided
3 Tbsp. fresh bread crumbs (I used whole wheat, seasoned canned ones)
3 Tbsp minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest (a Meyer lemon from Susan’s tree!)
2 gloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each), trimmed of fat
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cornstarch

Dice 6 olives; set aside. Process remaining 6 olives, bread crumbs, tomatoes, zest, garlic and oregano in a food processor until minced.

Using a meat mallet, pound chicken between plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Spread olive-tomato filling on chicken to within 1/4 inch of the edge of pounded chicken breasts. Roll up chicken to enclose filling, starting at one short end. Use toothpicks to secure chicken rolls.
 Sauté roulades in oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, 4 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate. Add onion to the skillet; sauté 2 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth. Bring mixture to a boil; add diced olives and chicken rolls.

Cover skillet; reduce heat. Simmer chicken rolls 10 minutes; remove chicken to a plate. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch; Add cornstarch mixture to liquid in the skillet. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Simmer for 1 minute. Slice rolls; serve with sauce.

Per service with sauce : 389 cal; 10g total fat (2g sat, 6g mono, 2g poly); 102 mg chol; 770 mg sodium; 19g carb (2g fiber, 5g total sugars); 45g protein; 3 mg iron; 64 mg calcium.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home Again..............

Here I am back in my rural abode.  When I awakened in the night (or should I say “when I was awakened” by cat walking on my hair!), I could hear some wild animal howling and I thought how the night before in Maine I probably would have heard fire engines or ambulances.

If I were wealthy would I have both places?  No, at age 68 and single, my thinking has changed.  I would love to get another little house, as I am not really an apartment dweller, with a yard for the dog and cat, and a little garden.  I have reached the time in life where I would like to be near my daughter and her family.

So each day when I walk here, I savor my surroundings like a sponge, so I can recall them when I am not here.  I grew up in the mountains so have a particular affinity for them, but have found that being near water is a huge draw too.  I love to watch the sea birds, boats and all.

Here is the view from the walking trail by my house in New York.

 And here is the dog, Grayling, dressed for hunting season.

And here is the park in Maine that I walk to each morning.

Friday, November 25, 2011

From Maine

I am here in my “other” place with my family.  It amazes me that I have had this little apartment for two years.  I am the senior tenant, not only in longevity, but also in age.  And where did those two years go?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving…..delicious meal, good company.  The only mishap was that the dishwasher broke.  I had said to my daughter, Julie, the day before “Wow, this is a workhorse, what brand is it?”, since they do two full loads a day vs. my possibly two loads a week.  Poof, the next day, having received that compliment, the machine bellied up.  I left them last night with dishes piled sky high.  It reminded me of a Saturday Evening Post cover that I had on my refrigerator for years……..a woman sitting in a kitchen, looking totally exhausted, with dishes piled all around her.  You could see into the living room, the husband sitting in a big old strata lounger, puffing a cigar, watching football on TV.

Today I rearranged furniture in my apartment.  This is a little something I do all the time that has driven a few men in my life bonkers.  I just get bored with the same old, same old, so need a little change.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned in this two room space, but I was too tired to put it back in its original state.  Maybe next time.
These are my granddaughters………….Zuzanna, “Zuzu”, 3 ½, and Ramona “Mony”, 1 ½.  I will introduce the boys next time.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone.  I have been having trouble with the wifi here so haven’t posted much.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An Autumn Saturday

I have put off raking leaves for several days now…..too cold, too wet, too windy, are the excuses that I have concocted to avoid this task.  I did send for a leaf tarp which came today.  It is just a 7’ X 7’ tarp with handles at the corners.  I do wish I had gotten a bigger size, but it works very well and in a few hours I was able to make a major dent in this dreaded task.

I remember as a kid loving to rake leaves.  I would go out with my friends and we would make a whole house layout with the leaves and then “play” house.  I don’t remember making huge piles that we would jump in not do I remember burning them.  My father had made these large compost bins where they were deposited, if my memory serves me right.

As a young married, living in suburban New Jersey, I remember inviting our Manhattan friends out on a nice autumn weekend, and they would rake leaves as though it were a unique country experience.  We would then wine and dine them for their efforts.  It was really fun.
But then came the advent of the “leaf blower” and the whole neighborhood would be buzzing for days with these machines.  They finally did put a ban on commercial landscapers doing it on Sundays.  I would never own one of these.

But today’s leaf raking turned out not to be a dreaded task at all, but a very pleasant one.  It was a beautiful day and I would stop and contemplate the beauty of the mountains.  No one was around, as most of my neighbors are weekend people and were not here.  The hunters (first day of rifle season) had yet to exit the mountains.  It was a good day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Misc. Friday........

I am going through a bit of “blog block” as I read everyone else’s and find them so good and interesting.  This is also why I have such trouble when I take art classes as I will invariably sit next to someone who is fantastic and become totally paralyzed.  But I am going to continue on with my blog and get in the cadence of it………..

Recently, in the November issue of Country Living a wrought iron candle chandelier was highlighted for $16.95.  I have always wanted one, mainly as the lighting in my dining room is via lamps only, there is no overhead light.  I ordered it ( and it came in a day.  It is very well made and very much a bargain for $16.95.

Did I mention that my ceiling is 12’ at its highest point?  Did I mention that I live alone and that when I want something done I get impatient if I have to wait for help, so take it on myself?  I have completed many a death defying act because of this impatience.  Well, this proved easier than I expected although I did have to stand on the next to the top rung of my 8’ stepladder.  Here is the result……………..

Can't you just see some holly wrapped around the chandelier for Christmas?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Are You Reading?

In my old Gray Zone newsletter, I would always list what I was reading.  I love to read, always have.  As a kid, it was my great escape. As a parent, I always read to my daughter.  We would go to the library a couple of times a week.  She in turn reads to her kids all the time and her oldest (age 8) can usually be found under a table, or in a corner, reading.

Recently I started reading mysteries.  Many of my friends read these and I see shelves and shelves of them in the library.  I started with Louise Penny and read all hers, but could see as time went on, there was a publisher there pushing her to quickly get out another one.  Her last one wasn’t as good as the others. 

Someone recommended Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge mysteries.  These got tiring after awhile as Ian never seemed to grow, even though he had had a breakdown after WWI.  The interesting part about these books is the time period which, was pre DNA and forensic technology, so the mysteries are solved on clues alone.  I would love some good mystery recommendations.

I usually have two or three books going….a non-fiction, a fiction, and something light to read before I go to bed.  Right now I am reading Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi, Gail Levin’s Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography and Charles Todd’s The Red Door.  The library just called and said two books I had requested are in - In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje and The Newton Letter by John Banville.  This will keep me occupied in Maine next week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to Keep Up...

I am not really a “Facebook” person but I belong to Facebook.  I originally joined as my daughter ( had posted pictures of the grandkids.  I must say I look upon it more as an anthropological study.  It surprises me that I have even started a blog.  And yet if you took my computer away from me, I would go through total withdrawal.

The one thing that fascinates me about the technological world is that one can carry on their social life while at work.  Recently I was walking in a park in Maine and a public worker was mowing the lawn, a young man.  He stopped every two minutes to text.  Not yet being a Maine taxpayer, I just observed, but had I been one, I might have said something to him.  Or the other side of this is someone who hadn’t gone to work because they were sick (a migraine no less) and yet I saw several Facebook postings from them on that day.  I guess if it doesn’t affect me directly, I shouldn’t care.  It is just when I think of these incidents compounded, it gives me pause.

Years ago, I worked with a man who had been out on disability for several weeks, possibly longer than necessary.  One day he gets a call from the boss who says he would like to come and visit him.  “Sure” he replies.  “When would you like to come?”  “We are right around the corner from your house now” was the reply.  This was when cell phones were just out and few people even had them.  My colleague quickly got down off the ladder as he was painting a room and retreated and reclined on the couch.

As one gets older, it takes time to get used to new things.  My biggest fear is that if I don’t keep up with things as they come along, I will be in big trouble down the road.  Plus I don’t want my grandkids to call me a troglodyte.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still Adjusting to the Time Change

After walking across my head for half an hour, the cat finally arouses me, in a bit of a rage I might add (me, not the cat – he is quite pleased).  It is 4:30 AM!
As I sit down with my cereal and coffee to read, I look out and see the moon.  Now, if I didn’t know it was 4:30 AM, I would think it was the middle of the night…but slowly the day unfolds.  I actually love the very early morning, I just don’t like to be awakened in such a fashion.
I love the morning to read, which I do for about an hour.  Usually yesterday’s paper but since there was no mail yesterday, I settle for an old New Yorker from October that a friend gave me.  A wonderful article by Atul Gawande on having a coach(es) help you to top your skills.  Gawande called in a retired colleague to help him better his surgical skills; he highlights a teacher who had coaches help her better her teaching skills.  Gawande is a wonderful writer and always seems to be thinking of ways to make things better, i.e., “The Checklist Manifesto”. I highly recommend any of his books.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How I got started............

Back in 2004, I started a monthly newsletter called The Gray Zone.  The title not only referring to the mop on top of my head, but also that hazy area I found myself my 60's, not feeling old, but not feeling young either. Not ready to launch into the elastic waisted polyesters, but also not wanting to wear jeans with a fly 1 1/4" long! "The Gray Zone".
I had quite a following.  The newsletter included my musings as well as books I was reading, good food I was making, and movies I was watching.  As time went on, I spent less and less time on the newsletter and monthly became bimonthly, then quarterly, etc.  Yet, I still found myself composing articles in my head as I walk each thus, I am starting this blog.