Tag Archives: Wendy E.N. Thomas

Lesson 1537 – Making Dinner Like a Mom

 

Everyone is home for the summer, yup that means that we have 8 adults living under one roof.

I like to make evening meals that even those who come in late can still enjoy. But having so many people causes some conflict at dinner time. In the family mix we have vegans, vegetarians, and Neanderthal meat eaters.

What’s a mother to do?

So like a mom, I came up with a rotation solution that would be acceptable for all. During the week we would have:

  • 2 meat dinners
  • 2 vegan dinners
  • 3 vegetarian dinners

Everyone’s happy.

And then like the tricky mom that I am (and always will be), I decided to help my family out in its quest for a healthy diet and I quietly changed the schedule to 1 meat dinner a week and the rest vegan/vegetarian.

And I didn’t tell anyone.

No one has noticed (and as none of my kids read my blog because “We live through what you write about” they still won’t know after this post goes live.) In the past few weeks, I’ve substituted tempeh for chicken strips in fajitas, cashews and cauliflower for meat in curry, portabella mushrooms in stews, TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) in chili, sloppy joes and even, like last night’s dinner, in lasagna.

Yup this is vegetarian lasagna. I sauteed a yellow pepper, mushrooms, onions and vegetarian crumbles to which I added some olive oil and a packet of Fajitas spice. Combines that with cheeses, layered with noodles and sauce and voila! A dinner even meat-eaters will eat.

Oh us tricky, tricky moms.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1536 – Flag Cake Made Wrong

 

 

Flag cake. It’s been a part of all my kids’ childhoods since early on.

So easy to make (especially when you’re busy managing 6 little kids) and yet so dramatically memorable, so literally finger licking good. A tiny pretense of being good for you.

Helpers standing on chairs pulled up to the kitchen counter. Red Stripes becoming straighter over the years as little hands grew and developed coordination.

Every. Single Fourth of July – flag cake sat patiently, a shining jewel at the end of the table, waiting for us all to end our meal so we could finally pay it the proper attention it deserves. Continue reading

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Lesson 1535 – Knitting When Trump Is President

When the Trump administration moved in, like many others , I began spending  many (too many) hours of my nights watching the evening news – rotation after rotation of people discussing the latest political bombshells. Reports on leaks. A lie followed by more. Yet another forgotten Russian meeting.

One can’t watch that kind of constant chaos without having some kind of release. I needed to do something to do with my hands and knitting sounded like just the ticket. Think about it, when you imagine knitters, you think of calm – amiable women sipping iced drinks in the comfortable shade of trees, sharing stories while efficiently knitting baby blankets.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Howto Knit workshop where I learned how to cast onto my bamboo needles (if I’m going to knit I want wooden needles.) I was taught a knit stitch and then when I had that one down, how to purl. I have been knitting off and on since then. It’s something that appealed to my inner granola-wannabe. I had visions of knitting hats and mittens for my family – a way they could wrap my love around and be warm. Continue reading

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Lesson 1534 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 4

Charlotte’s Web Chapter 4 Loneliness

The next day (after Wilbur’s unexpected burst of freedom) was rainy, dark and dreary. The rain upset Wilbur’s plan to go out and dig a new hole in his yard.

After all Wilbur has his entire day planned out. Breakfast, napping, digging holes, talking to his friend Templeton the rat, and even standing still from three to four where he would think of what it was like to be alive, and to wait for Fern.

But the rain put a damper on those plans. Wilbur couldn’t find Templeton and the little pig began to feel lonely.

“One day just like another,” he groaned.  “I’m very young, I have no real friend here in the barn, it’s going to rain all morning and all afternoon, and Fern won’t come in such bad weather. Oh honestly!”

And when Wilbur is given his breakfast, he realizes that he doesn’t want food, he wants love. He wanted a fiend.

Wilbur ties to make friends with the mother goose, but she is too busy taking care of her clutch of eggs.

Next he tries one of the lambs who replies that she will certainly not play with a pig. “Pigs mean less than nothing to me.”

Wilbur goes to sit down. He sees Templeton and asks the rat if he would like to play?

“Play?” replies Templeton “I hardly know the meaning of the word.”

Friendless, dejected and hungry, Wilbur throws himself down in the manure and sobs.

Lurvey reports that something is wrong with the pig

“Give him two spoonful’s of Sulphur and a little molasses.”

Day turns to night and Wilbur doesn’t know if he can endure the awful loneliness anymore.

In the darkness, he hears a small voice “Do you want a friend Wilbur?” it said. “I’ll be a friend to you. I’ve watched you all day and I like you.

 

Chapter 4 Lessons Learned

 

Even if you have plans for the day, unexpected things can still happen which will mess things up.

Lesson Learned – Always have a plan B.

 

Sometimes you just have to endure the rain to get to the sunshine on the other side.

Lesson Learned – After every dark night, there is a dawn.

 

Wilbur has an obsessive relationship with his food. He knows the textures, the different flavors.  It’s fair to say that he lives for food, but because he is so lonely, Wilbur can’t eat. Clever pig.

Lesson Learned – It’s true, sometimes you don’t want food, you want love.

 

Wilbur is so lonely that he cries, feels dejected, and wants to give up.

Lesson learned – Loneliness is very, very  painful. If you know someone who is lonely, reach out to them. Today.

 

Wilbur tries to make friend with the goose, a lamb, and a rat. None of them want to be his friend.

Lesson Learned – there are times when you are better off not being friends with some people.

 

Something appears to be wrong with the pig, so he is given medication.

Lesson Learned – it’s important to figure out *why* you are in pain or are sick. Medication can’t fix everything.

Bonus lesson – If you’re hurting, try to tell someone so they will know best how to help. Don’t have someone give you tummy medication for a broken leg.

 

Wilbur hears a small voice in the darkness telling him that he has a friend.

Lesson Learned – Never, ever, ever give up.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1533 – Barcelona – Day 4

Day 4 in Barcelona was probably my most favorite day and the one I come back to every time I talk about our trip.

Rosemarie and I had decided to take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Spanish food. It was a 6-hour class that began with a tour of the open market across the street.

The cooking classes are very popular and in this particular school, they usually have between 20 – 25 people in each class. Because we were there in the off season, for this class Rosemarie and I were joined by Joyce who was vacationing from Singapore.

Yup 3 people in a 6-hour cooking class. We got to talk, ask questions, and bond with each other over wine. It couldn’t have been a more perfect experience.

After we had signed in, the chief took us across the street to enter Barcelona’s open market. Trust me, this ain’t no New England farmer’s market. In Barcelona they have a HUGE area where stalls (some look like permanent stores) are strategically positioned according to what they sell. This section is meats, that one is seafood. Over here is produce and look, there’s a stall with spices and salts. On the perimeter are small restaurants that cook breakfasts and lunches using only the freshest food from the market.

The colors, the food, the smells, the carnival atmosphere – it was so very alive and fresh.

Honestly, if I lived in Barcelona, I’d go every day to the market with my wicker basket in tow in order to get the best foods for my meals.

Of course not only does the market provide a veritable feast of foods, it also provides a feast for the eyes. I saw fruits that I had no idea what they were. Sea Urchins split open and served with a slice of lemon and a tiny plastic fork. Vibrant berries, slices of dark red and pink meat, dark brown coffees, glazed nuts, red colored tins of paprika. It was definitely time to take out the camera.

 

 

 

 

Don’t get too excited, these are skinned rabbits.

 

 

These meat and cheese cups are very popular.

 

Remember these shrimp, they will play a part later in the story.

So many things to learn about and try!

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1532 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

 

 

From the top level of a bus, you get a different view of the city below. We drove by this monument and both Rosemarie and I had had enough wine to be able to giggle at it.

And then you see works of art like this, whose sole job is to simply reach for the heavens.

Barcelona meets the ocean. It explains the emphasis on seafood, as well as sights like this.

That iron wrought fence? Designed by Gaudi (his influence is everywhere.)

These little guys can be found everywhere. Barcelona has a very strong “Feed the birds” vibe to it.

After riding the bus for hours, one can work up another appetite (hey, when in Rome as they say.) We stopped at a cafe near the waterfront for tapas (small plates.) Olives to the Spanish are like beer nuts to Americans. At many restaurants, they put out a plate of them when you sit down. They taste like butter, but be careful, unless they are stuffed, you have to deal with the pit.

We decided to try this flatbread (Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic) tapas. Crispy, oily enough, salty. It was perfect.

And of course, I was still in search of Cava and Sangria. This particular restaurant had it. We ordered a pitcher. Great decision. As the waiter poured our drinks, we exhaled the last of New Hampshire’s winter gloomy coldness from our lungs and toasted to our adventure.

And so with the sun shining down on us we ate the olives of Spain and partook of their heady spirits.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1531 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

We were told by our walking guide the first day to get whatever was the “meal of the day” that was listed at local restaurants. It’s fresh, made with in-season ingredients and is usually very reasonably priced.

Who were we to argue with advice like that?

After we left the museum, we got back on the bus and then got off in the more modern part of the city. The difference in structures and history is like night and day – very metropolitan. It didn’t take us long to find a restaurant with an advertised meal of the day.

The only thing was that we had gotten there around 12 and for the most part, lunch is served around 2:00. Still we managed to convey what we wanted  (by doing a lot of head shaking and pointing) and were pleasantly surprised at the wine that is usually considered part of the meal.

It turned out that our meal was a type of paella (although this used pasta instead of rice) which is the national comfort dish and like everyone’s grandmother’s red sauce has it’s own secret recipe. This one had seafood which included those teeny, tiny clams that explode with fresh, sweet, beach flavor on your tongue.

Once again though, if you drink enough water and wine, eventually you have to use the restroom. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to flush this toilet.

Before we left the restaurant, wouldn’t you know, I found another chicken on their menu board.

Art and color is everywhere in Barcelona. It’s not unusual to walk by a building and see something like this mosaic, put there apparently, just because someone could.

Now that our bellies were full (but not bursting – you never have so much at a meal that you are uncomfortable) and we had gotten our wine on, it was time to get back on the bus to continue seeing the city looking down from the open deck.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family