Posted at 5:59 am , on April 16, 2019
If I knew that making Play Dough was so easy, I’d have saved a whole lot of money when my kids were little! For a few dollars you can make gobs of this classic creation with simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand and are always available at Alameda’s Grocery Outlet.
This is a “recipe” that’s not meant to be eaten, but it is non-toxic and edible, if you don’t mind a whole lot of salt. It takes about 10 minutes start to finish and my Grands (ages four and almost seven) basically made it themselves, with a bit of direction on the amounts and assisting with the stirring on the stovetop. I laid the ingredients and measuring utensils out in the order of adding so they could be in charge. What fun!
This would be a fun project for a child to make for a birthday or holiday gift for a friend. You could buy containers for the play dough, a rolling pin, mini-sized chef’s hat and apron, and cookie cutters at a dollar/discount store and arrange in a basket. There is nothing like seeing the joy and pride in a child’s eyes when they have created something all by themselves!
Posted at 6:41 am , on April 10, 2019
Dawn arrives with a familiar ache.
One year, a decade, a lifetime
It never changes
You are missed so much.
You have missed so much.
Birthdays and graduations
Weddings and babies
Kids, grands, great-grands
I feel you still.
Whispers in the wind
Light playing on wave crests
The sway of my own boat.
Sail on, Sailor.
I’ll walk the beach
You’ll fade away
Until next year.
Footprints in the sand.
John Benson, May 9, 1942 – April 10, 1982
- John Benson (in orange jacket) sailing Belfast Lady on Opening Day on the Bay, circa late-1970s.
Written for the To Live and Write in Alameda 2019 “Flash Lit February” Challenge 6. We had three days to write a poem or short story (of 500 words or less) or draw a piece of art to the theme “Footprints in the Sand” and submit.
Posted at 5:06 am , on April 9, 2019
My dear friend Kat Ott Davis passed almost two years ago, but she is always in my thoughts and heart when I cook. She was an exquisite artist and designer … painting, jewelry, displays, clothing … and brought that creativity to her cooking. Anyone who had the honor of being invited to a meal or gathering at her home was treated to so much more than just “food.” It was always a journey of flavors and aromas as Kat explained the history of the ingredients and why she chose the combinations of herbs and spices in each course.
She taught me to make these sauteed mushrooms and they are so good that I could eat them as is, in a bowl. Usually, I smother a piece of beef with them, but they would also be absolutely delish served over sauteed greens such as baby bok choy or swiss chard for a vegan dish. They can’t be rushed … it’s all about the slow cook so the liquids thicken and the ‘shrooms carmelize.
These simple ingredients are always available at Alameda’s Grocery Outlet and total cost is about $5.00 (not including the wine … which happens to be on sale during their huge 20% off promotion!). It should serve four, but if you love mushrooms as much as hubby and I, then it’ll barely feed two.
Posted at 3:25 am , on April 4, 2019
“Amy! Dinnertime! C’mon home!”
“Coming, Mom!” Amy yelled from the dense bushes in the park’s far corner.
“Gotta go. See you tomorrow. We’re having lasagna. I’ll bring you some in the morning.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Tommy answered. “But thank you. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Amy tossed in bed that night, worried about Tommy all alone in the corner park across the street. No one but she knew he was there. Four days ago he ran away from the foster family he’d been living with for the past year and no one had reported him missing. It was summer so the school wasn’t aware, and other than Amy he didn’t have any friends. He was quiet and kept to himself, learning at an early age that it was the best way to survive the foster system.
Posted at 3:37 am , on April 2, 2019
This ain’t my mother’s meatloaf! My mother was not a great cook, as I’ve mentioned before, and meatloaf in my childhood was dry, bland and smothered in ketchup. Not this one. My husband and father-in-law are major meatloaf connoisseurs and I’ve made many versions over the years. One of my fav’s was a recipe from my ex, who wrapped the ground meat around a sausage before baking. It was always moist and delish! But this meatloaf was absolutely the best ever, according to the men who know and love their meatloaf. I served thick slices with fresh green beans sauteed in lemon infused olive oil and sea salt and Yukon gold potatoes boiled and rustic mashed with skins on and lots of butter. Comfort food at it’s finest!
Our local Grocery Outlet keeps all of these ingredients in stock, with a nice variety of the ground meat to choose from. Man Cave and New York Style Sausage Company both other 1 pound “tubes” of seasoned ground meat: beef, pork and a combination, with spices already mixed in. This cuts out tons of prep time. If using unseasoned ground meat, I’d add chopped onions, garlic and bell peppers. Not for this easy recipe.
Wrapping the loaf in bacon seals in the juices and adds a smokey flavor and also holds it together nicely for clean slicing. Don’t use thick slices as the bacon won’t cook as well.
Posted at 4:35 am , on March 26, 2019
My weekly menu always builds upon like ingredients in the meals to save space and waste. So when I buy a bag of spinach to use 2 cups for one recipe, there will be other recipes using spinach a well, until the bag is gone. This way I can buy in larger quantities for the week and save some money. (Hubby’s not so thrilled when I buy a big bag of carrots, but they add color, crunch and get hidden in most recipes.)
Alameda’s Grocery Outlet keeps all of these ingredients regularly stocked, with the exception of the turmeric and dried ginger. The mint is in the organic veggie section, along with a nice assortment of other fresh herbs. I baked tandoori chicken thighs to go with, but it would make a full vegan main dish on its own. Total cost was $14 for just the stew; $21 with the chicken. It comes together quickly, but simmering for at least 30 minutes thickens the consistency and brings out the many exotic flavors.
Posted at 10:13 am , on March 17, 2019
My parents were both born in Belfast, Northern Ireland but St. Patrick’s day was never celebrated in our house. Why, you ask? Because we are proud Orange-Irish!
Growing up, my sister Jacqueline and I were NEVER allowed to wear green to school. We would try to sneak out the door and Daddy would turn us about saying, “No child of mine is wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. Go and put on your orange.” No matter how we pleaded about getting pinched, Daddy was always true to his heritage. And I passed that on to my children and grandchildren.
And now, my annual explanation on why this 100% Irish, first generation American, wears Orange on St. Patrick’s Day.
Posted at 4:21 pm , on March 9, 2019
Sonho on the mooring balls at Angel Island. Photo by HBS
It still pains me to say it and I haven’t had the heart to change the countdown on this blogsite yet. It’s not a secret and the choice was made with love, but it doesn’t make it any less hard.
We are not cutting the docklines and starting our circumnavigation on April 16, 2019 as we had planned for so many years.
The reason? Our grandchildren. We adore those three more than anything in the world and we can’t, in good consciousness, leave them alone with their mommy while daddy is away for almost five months. It takes a village to raise that crazy clan and we are needed here to help keep Meghan sane and the kids alive. LOL.
Posted at 5:58 am , on March 5, 2019
I’m a big fan of one-pot meals. Living on a boat, I have very little counter space and the dishwasher is me for the most part so the less items, the better. My prep surfaces are on top of the sink, stove and fridge so I need to stage all ingredients, chop and measure, and be ready to go. This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes and thickens as it sits: serious comfort food!
Our local Grocery Outlet has a nice assortment of gnocchi and I’ve tried several and don’t have a favorite. I’ve made my own gnocchi but it is a pretty big mess and takes time and just the right amount of kneading and boiling to get them just right. And honestly, once you cover those little dumplings with sauce, it’s all good!
The secret in this dish is definitely the roux. It’s important to get the butter-veggie-flour combo smooth, adding the flour slowly and stir, stir, stir to avoid lumps. This creates the base for the meal.
Posted at 7:18 am , on February 26, 2019
Backyard barbecues and potato salad just go together. Everytime I make it, it’s slightly different depending on the guest list, and this is the basic recipe from my Nana. During the warm summer months our family spent many lazy afternoons in their backyard, with Papy barbecuing chicken and hotdogs and Nana making the side dishes and setting the picnic table while my sister and I played on the grass or on the beach. All of these ingredients are stocked at our local Grocery Outlet and you probably have on hand.
Most potato salad connoisseurs will tell you it must be made the night before and allowed to sit to really meld the flavors and I agree. But that’s where the agreements end. There are strong camps for using mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip and certain potato varieties. And then the additions: onion, celery, sweet or dill relish. All I can say is that this recipe is universally loved!