My Kinda Sorta Maybe Not Really Cassoulet Recipe

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Autumn is here, and along with it brings some of my favorite foods – beans. Warm, hearty, inexpensive(!) peasant food. My mom was a Francofile through and through. After visiting Paris one year in the eighties, she came back determined to recreate a wonderful cassoulet that she claimed she ate almost everyday while she was there. My recipe is a variation on her recipe. There’s no fancy duck or goose confit in it, it’s not finished off with a topping of browned breadcrumbs, and I’ve updated it by adding squash and spinach to get more veggies in. Nevertheless, it’s hearty, it’s beany, it seems frenchy, and most important of all it makes me think of my mom.

My Kinda Sorta Maybe Not Really Cassoulet

Ingredients
1 pkg great northern beans, soaked
2 carrots, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
Half a head of garlic, chopped
One small zucchini, diced
One small yellow squash, diced
Half package of spinach
2-4 fennel spiced sausages, sliced
2 slices of chopped bacon
~ 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
~ 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
Bay leaf
Ground mustard powder
Parsley Patch seasoning (or garlic powder)
~ 1 tsp Pappy’s Seasoning Salt
~ 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
A large dash of turmeric
~ 2 tbsp Chicken bouillon
6 cups of water
~1 cup or so of white wine

Instructions
Put everything except the greens and wine in stockpot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are soft, about an hour and a half. As the water cooks down add the wine. Add more garlic and the greens toward the end.

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Who Says that Bigger is Always Better?!

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My elderly father is in the process of downsizing into a small studio, as he no longer requires a lot of room.  I have been investigating ways to decorate small spaces, and came across this photo on a number of different websites. I absolutely love it!  It’s so elegant! The size and shape of the room, even down to the large window and high ceilings, are very similar to my dad’s.  I can’t wait to transform his tiny abode into a lovely and luxurious space like this one.  I’m thinking we will be able to find a lot of items and furniture similar to this at Ikea. If he gives me permission, I will post before and after photos. I’ll keep you posted!

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Take two deep breaths and call me in the morning

So I’m stressed out. Really stressed out. Nothing in my life that is earth shattering, but just a bunch of little things that all add up. This month is particularly busy for me. A new job where I’m still in learning mode, packing and moving my elderly father to a new apartment (closer to me, however, which will decrease some stress in the long run!), hosting Thanksgiving, having a house guest…stuff like that. I literally do not have one free day off this month for relaxing. Today I was supposed to go to my monthly dinner group and I snapped. Running over to my dad’s to fix his computer, going to the laundromat, battling the crowds at the store to get groceries to make my appetizer course. My head was pounding, I was in a hurry, my chest was tight. All of a sudden I couldn’t take it anymore. So I cancelled on my dinner group (which sucks and is flaky, but oh well) and decided to take this afternoon and evening off. I need some ME time. Accordingly, I will reflect more on this subject at a later date. As for now I’m off to take a bath and listen to my “Shanghai Girls” audiobook. The world is just going to have to go on without me… In the meantime, here’s a very helpful stress management link for you all who may be feeling the same way:

http://m.helpguide.org/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.helpguide.org%2Fmental%2Fstress_management_relief_coping.htm

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Deux – Game and Performance 1983

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The dormant seed has germinated

So I am completely and utterly in love with stitching. I suppose the tendency was always lying dormant inside of me. I remember carefully and methodically performing “surgery” on my beloved stuffed dog at the tender age of 7. Or was it 8? Well, you get the picture. Okay, okay. So that wasn’t exactly embroidery or needlepoint or cross stitch per se. But it WAS stitching. And I loved it. Anytime one of his little seams would start to come apart, I eagerly came to the rescue with my needle and thread. Fast forward 30 years. My friend inherited this incredible collection of vintage hand embroidered handkerchiefs a relative or someone or other had made. She said they were cool, she supposed, then tossed them aside. I gasped in horror. “Do you want some of them?’, she casually asked. Oh hell yeah! I hand washed them, ironed them, coveted them, keeping them safe from harm in my dresser drawer. Fast forward another 5 years (yes this has been a slow evolution). My boyfriend and I are thrifting maniacs. During our hunts for treasure, I kept being instantly drawn to these unloved, callously cast aside, abandoned embroidered dishcloths and tablecloths, needlepoints of monarch butterflies, an Aries ram, a geisha, a framed, heartfelt declaration: “I Love You” obviously hand drawn and stitched in the Seventies, a vintage framed embroidered version of The Three Little Pigs. The list goes on and on. I was officially hooked. So now, I have taken the logical next step, to start creating my own works of art. My first casualty? A prefab coin purse with a blackbird and some flowers. I suck. The pieces I have collected make it look so easy. Reality? It’s not as easy as it looks. Well not yet anyway. I laugh in amusement and horror at my messy, fumbled attempts at a simple continental stitch. Stray threads and gnarled stitches abound. Some stitches too tight and some stitches too loose have made the canvas all distorted. It’s a trainwreck. But that’s okay, because I am IN LOVE….

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Oh I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer Weiner…

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I saw the Weiner-mobile for the first time in my life the other day. I felt like a little kid, all excited and stuff! It’s funny how jingles can really stick with you forever and conjure up memories from long ago.

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Street Score #901 F.A.

Yay! I have been wanting a sewing machine for awhile now, and the powers that be smiled nicely down upon me. 🙂

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