Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Monday, July 30, 2012


Life is so much more interesting when you add

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Call Me Crazy...but...

Today, I heard a discussion on NPR about the current food shortage in the US.
 There have been major droughts all across the US which, apparently, will cause a reduction in corn and soy crops this year.

This will impact the entire world.

  Even China.

And in the end it means, fundamentally, higher prices for meat...specifically beef.
It takes a lot of corn to get a cow to slaughter weight.

Which may mean that people won't be able to afford to eat so much red meat at home,  and restaurant portions will have to be smaller.

Am I the only one who thinks that is NOT a problem?

The person being interviewed (sorry, can't remember who it was) actually said that the Chinese have moved up the food chain in the last few decades, and now consume more red meat per person than ever before.  

Wouldn't it be better to be lower on the food chain - not only for the Chinese but for all of us - so that we ate LESS meat and MORE vegetables and fruit?

I suddenly see before me the beginning of a solution to the obesity issue that is running rampant in the so-called civilized world.

...and with that in mind, here's what I made for dinner tonight...

Carbonara with Courgettes
Grazie Jamie Oliver

I'm not entirely crazy...there was a smidgen of pancetta, but a little goes a long way.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium green or yellow courgettes
300gr penne rigate
2 large free-range or organic egg yolks
50 ml  35% cream
1 good handful freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
4 thick slices pancetta or lean bacon, cut into chunky pieces
A small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can get hold of flowering thyme)
Optional: a few courgette flowers

Before you start cooking, it's important to get yourself a very large pan, or use a high-sided roasting pan so you can give the pasta a good toss.

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter the courgette lengthwise. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgette at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne.

 Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the package instructions.

To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a very large frying pan, add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the zucchini is coated with all the lovely bacon-flavored oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.

It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgette, bacon and lovely flavors, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straightaway. While you're tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you've managed to get any flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long. 

Beautiful Skin...

I have been struggling recently with my skin.  Not one to have suffered in my teen years with outbreaks, I'm finding that Mother Nature is catching up with me in my Golden Years.

I've tried a lot of topical applications and really thought I was using too-heavy a cream.  I do not have dry skin, and most formulae are composed for those who do.

However, when my daughter came to visit this past weekend, she mentioned that she had been taking Pantothenic Acid for her skin and was more than delighted with the results.

Pantothenic Acid - aka B5
(this happens to be the brand I am using - 1000mg + time release)

According to Wikipedia:
Pantothenic acid, also called pantothenate or vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin discovered by Roger J. Williams in 1919. For many animals, pantothenic acid is an essential nutrient. Animals require pantothenic acid to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), as well as to synthesize and metabolize proteinscarbohydrates, and fats.
Pantothenic acid derives from the Greek pantothen(πάντοθεν) meaning "from everywhere" and small quantities of pantothenic acid are found in nearly every food. 
The major food source of pantothenic acid is in meats. Whole grains are another good source of the vitamin, but milling often removes much of the pantothenic acid, as it is found in the outer layers of whole grains. Vegetables, such as broccoli and avocados, also have an abundance of the acid. 
There are also no adverse reactions known following parenteral or topical application of the vitamin.]
Toxicity of pantothenic acid is unlikely. In fact, no Tolerable Upper Level Intake (UL) has been established for the vitamin. Large doses, when ingested, have no reported side effects and massive doses (e.g., 10 g/day) may only yield mild intestinal distress, and diarrhea at worst. It has been suggested, however, that high doses of pantothenic acid might worsen panic attacks in those with panic disorder by prolonging the duration until adrenal exhaustion.

She left me a bottle of the tablets (horse-pills!) and recommended I take 5 per day (5000 mg) for five days.

I am astonished.

In just three days I can see a marked improvement.

Now the tricky part comes in finding the correct dosage, so after five days, I will reduce by one pill per day until things start going south and then bring it back up again.

I am amazed that use of this supplement is not more widespread as a first-line treatment for acne.  It's cheap, easy to take, non-toxic, and in my, Lindsay and some of her friends opinion, very effective.

Just thought I would share...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Today It Begins

Birthday Resolution
(does such a thing exist?)

To make choices that are the best for me...first.

Being a Cancer/Leo I've lived my life from the outside in it's time to reverse the thinking.

I will practice today and see what this feels like.

For some odd reason, it seems to involve silence.

Having a very strange day today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

38 years today.

Told me were were getting married after just knowing him five days.

The Atlantic ocean stretched between us.

At 19, I left my family, country, friends.

Still the best decision I ever made.

Love you more than you could ever know.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tall Ships and Taller Tales

The Tall Ships arrived in 
Niagara-on-the- Lake this weekend.

bringing with them lots of opportunities to play dress-up

and even more opportunity for playing with guns and fire!

...boys (and girls) with their toys!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Know It's Still Summer...but...

It's been over 100 degrees F here
over the past week...

and I know all I should be thinking about is how to keep cool...

but I just can't help myself...

Hurry up Autumn!
and maybe a visit with V.

all pictures via pinterest

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