Sunday, October 23, 2011

Simple Things....Simple Recipe

Today was one of those days that made me remember how important "simple things" can be.

I got up this morning and did my usual routine of breakfast for Kevin and Lucy and myself, dressed Lucy and did her hair before I dressed for Church.

I went to Ingelside this morning, and listening to the beautiful music I was moved by the melodies and the blend of voices lifted in praise. It was a beautiful service.

Kevin decided to give me a "day off" from my caregiver duties, and so after church I headed for one of my favorite places - Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. They have a nice little Cafe there that serves soups, sandwiches and all kinds of "forbidden fruit". Those cheesecakes, scones, muffins and cupcakes really called my name, but I managed to resist and get a cup of chicken soup and a small square of veggie quiche.

I took Ashlyn with me to the bookstore today to let her pick out a couple of books to read. I am trying to encourage her to do more reading and less TV watching.
I love spending time with her, she is such a sweet child. Melanie joined us after spending some time with Aaron, and the three of us enjoyed several hours of reading and conversation. Such a simple thing, but so relaxing and rewarding.

I think we all forget sometimes how it is those "simple things" which really do the most to lift us up and fulfill us. Going to church, spending time with family, taking time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, listening to beautiful music, and just taking some time out to RELAX!

After the girls left the bookstore, I remained to read for a while, before going to Bonefish for some AHI Tuna sashimi, and a cup of crab soup...delicious. I know Kevin loves the AHI also, so I picked up a to go order for him before driving home.

I had a totally lovely and relaxing day which will give me the "steam" I need to get through the next six days! I have read numerous times about how everyone should have a "sanctuary" area in their home...a place, if it is just a corner of a room, where you can go to relax, meditate, listen to music or read. I think that is probably a great idea. We remodeled our Master Bedroom a couple of years ago.
It has a beach theme. The walls are painted a soft aqua, and the trim is a snowy white. The floors are a light wood and I have shells, paintings I have done of the beach, and a sign that says "welcome to the beach." It is a peaceful, relaxing room.
I can lie in my bed and look at a painting I did of the Gulf while were visiting Okaloosa Island. We had french doors put in that lead to a large screened porch we also added. Kevin painted the floor, and then added a beautiful compass rose in the center. It is amazing!
I enjoyed watching the children play on the beach so much this summer..their simple games, sand castles and hunting ghost crabs are sweet memories I will not soon forget. This painting was of Liv as she ran up and down the beach attempting to fly a butterfly kite. I hope she remembers this time too!

Take time every day to remember the small blessings of life. Sometimes the day to day can seem overwhelming. Sometimes the burdens are so heavy we feel we may crumble under the weight...but it is at those times that we must step back and take time to remember the good times....the simple things. Create a "sanctuary" in your home. It may just be a favorite chair, or a corner near a window where you can watch the birds, but make sure you have a special place in your home where you can relax and enjoy thinking about the simple things.


COOKING LIGHT provided this updated version of an old classic

Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thume
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 (8 ounce) package presliced button mushrooms
1/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fat free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 cup (about 2 ounces) canned fried onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Place beans into a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Place beans in a large bowl, set aside.

Heat a large skilled over medium high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme to pan; saute 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; saute 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until almost all liquid evaporates. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cook l minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture to green beans; toss well. Place green bean mixture in a 2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish .. combine fried onions and grated cheese in a small green bean mixture evenly with fried onion mixture.

Bake at 425 for 17 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

8 servings...calories 173

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