Monthly Archives: August 2014

Beside Quiet Waters

I recently traveled inside the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. It is an area that is truly off the beaten path and so very beautiful in its solitude.

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http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/offbeatenpath.htm

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. – Psalms 23:2 (NIV)

©2014 So Very Telling

My Coat of Many Colors

The country singer Dolly Parton released an original song back in 1971 titled “Coat of Many Colors”. In it she told the true story of how her family was so poor that her mother had pieced together a little coat for her to wear to school. She thought the coat was beautiful and she could not understand why other children made fun of her coat after her mother had so lovingly made it for her.

On a recent trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I toured Dolly’s museum inside Dollywood. This is a picture of the actual coat her mother made.

Coat of Many Colors

This song touches me greatly as I too have suffered through the laughter of children making fun of me for a skirt I wore to school. I thought I was wearing the newest fad, but unfortunately I had the skirt turned wrong. The slits were supposed to be on each side, and I mistakenly wore the skirt having the slits to the front and back. I had felt so stylish in that outfit, but the children’s whispers and laughter changed all that. It’s amazing how people find such joy in making fun of others and it is also amazing how long one remembers the laughter.

When my son was in elementary school, I purchased a bargain shirt for him. It was what I (as his mother) thought was a very stylish shirt. When he wore it to a school event, he was told he was wearing a scarecrow shirt. That’s when my son experienced his own version of a coat of many colors.

Even though the years may fade the hurt of these episodes, the criticism of others never truly goes away. It is embedded in us and if we are fortunate, we allow these events to make us stronger and remind us to be more compassionate towards others.

Wouldn’t it be a better world if we all had freedom to wear our individual coats of many colors without others’ judgments?

©2014 So Very Telling

Please Don’t Go

Cats don’t like to go on vacation; our cats always stay home while we are away. Cats also don’t like it if their caregivers go on vacation. Recently, when we were packing for a four-night trip, our male cat Pepe seemed to think if he continued to sit on my suitcase that just maybe we would give up and stay home!

Please don't go 2

©2014 So Very Telling

Simply Salmon

I have made several versions of salmon croquettes over the years, but my most recent combination of ingredients has become a favorite — and it’s so simple!

Salmon Croquettes 1-2

Simply Salmon Croquettes

Makes 5 small patties (approximately 3 inches in diameter)

Ingredients

1 six-ounce can premium skinless and boneless wild Alaskan salmon

2 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup dry one-minute oats

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Olive oil or non-stick spray

 Directions

Open and drain the can of salmon. Clean any bones or skin if necessary. In a mixing bowl use a fork to break up the salmon into a flaky consistency. In a separate small bowl, break eggs and lightly beat. Add eggs to the salmon. Mix the eggs and salmon together until well blended. Add the curry powder, black pepper, salt (if wanted) and dry oats into the salmon mixture. Mix until well blended. With clean hands, shape into approximately 3 inch diameter flattened patties. Place on a plate and put into the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of two hours. (These may also be mixed up a day ahead and left in the refrigerator.) 10-15 minutes before serving, place the chilled patties on a skillet coated with olive oil or non-stick spray. Cook on low to medium heat until the patties reach a golden brown color.

Promptly remove and serve while still warm.

Serving suggestion – Delicious served with brown or black rice and a green salad

©2014 So Very Telling

Crème Brûlée French Toast

CremeBruleeToast-1-2

I modified a Crème Brûlée French Toast recipe to eliminate the need for butter and half-and-half. Having made the original recipe several times, this modified version is healthier without compromising taste.

Ingredients

Olive oil or non-stick spray (to coat approximately 13 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 2-inch glass baking pan and a smaller glass baking pan to hold any additional bread slices)

1 ½ cups brown sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons water

Ciabatta bread loaf (purchased at grocery/bakery)

8-9 large eggs

2 cups almond milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

¼ cup Grand Marnier

¼ teaspoon salt

 Directions

Coat glass baking pans with olive oil or a non-stick spray. Mix brown sugar, maple syrup and water together over low heat just until blended. Smooth a layer of the sugar mixture over the bottoms of the glass pans. Cut ciabatta loaf into slices approximately ¾ inches thick. Arrange the slices on top of the sugar mixture in one layer. Squeeze as tightly as needed to create one layer.

Whisk together the eggs, almond milk, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt. When combined pour evenly over the bread, making sure to allow enough for the smaller ‘leftover’ pan. Cover pans and chill for 8-24 hours.

Oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. Bring bread to room temperature before baking.

Bake the mixture uncovered until light golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve immediately with maple syrup and/or fresh fruit.

Makes 4-6 servings

©2014 So Very Telling

Oh No Eyelashes

Eyelashes3

A few minutes ago I finished applying mascara to my eyelashes. I am thankful to still have my eyelashes. “Why is that?” you might ask. Applying mascara to my lashes was not on my radar when I was a young girl many years ago – but cutting off my eyelashes was. I don’t know what possessed me to do it. I suppose it was a lazy summer day and I must have been really bored. Whatever the reason, I took a pair of scissors in hand and (since I still have my eyes today) I suppose I must have closed my eyes tightly as I proceeded to cut off all the lashes that I could manage as my small hands maneuvered the large dressmaker scissors. After completing the procedure, I had felt especially accomplished and then tried to get my little sister to let me cut hers off too. She didn’t like the idea (thank goodness) so that was never done. All was fine until I sat down for the family’s dinner that day. My dad made the comment that something about me looked strange. Then my sister spilled the beans. She told my mom and dad that I had cut off my eyelashes and that I tried to convince her to let me cut hers also. Needless to say, I received a lecture as to how dangerous that was and that I was never ever to try such a thing again. Since that day I have let my eyelashes grow – and the longer the better!

©2014 So Very Telling

Cats and Mats

IMG_3813 Edited

The last few weeks have been quite an ordeal for Prissy, and really for the rest of us – my husband and me, and Prissy’s three siblings. One evening Prissy appeared to suddenly become very ill. When the other cats ran downstairs as they always did for the night, she stood alone on the stairs, almost like a statue, staring at me. At that point, I felt that something was really wrong. Since the vet’s office was already closed, we took her to the local animal emergency clinic. After initial x-rays showed her stomach was blown up like a balloon, which was indicative of a possible blockage, and after questioning the young vet as to how comfortable she felt in performing the exploratory surgery, we decided to go ahead with emergency surgery. At this point, my husband and I were very concerned for Prissy, but also very relieved that we had earlier decided to purchase pet insurance for all four cats, making the emotional decision not also a pricey one. Since the surgery was to be performed just after midnight, we reluctantly went home at the vet’s suggestion, and tried to get some sleep. The vet assured us she would call us after the surgery was completed. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. the home telephone rang. The tone of the vet’s voice immediately made me think that the surgery must have been a success. She proceeded to inform us that she had found a piece of a foam exercise mat in Prissy’s intestines. We had noticed that some of the cats were beginning to chew on the exercise mat a few weeks prior and had already thrown the mat away, but unfortunately our actions were too late to prevent Prissy’s problem. Apparently the foam mat had stayed inside her for a number of days and had finally lodged inside her intestines and ultimately causing her this immediately serious issue. Prissy had to continue her stay in the emergency clinic the following day and night. When we did bring her home, she had to be separated from the others because of her stitches and the fear that the others might try to bother them. She also wore an ‘Elizabethan collar’ in order to prevent any tampering of her own. For the next week Prissy was kept in a bathroom and had no contact with the others. We visited her several times a day to feed, medicate and give her some human affection, but she was basically in isolation for a week. After Prissy’s trip to the vet for removal of the stitches, we thought her ordeal was over — but not so fast. Once Prissy was home and we opened the door to the pet carrier, she was not greeted with an adoring welcome home by her siblings. Instead they hissed and growled and I honestly thought there was going to be a fight. How could it be that these loving cats who had been together since their birth now were treating Prissy like a stranger? Over the next few days, we tried many things, including the seemingly ridiculous suggestion of pouring tuna water on all their heads so they would all have the same scent. For several days Prissy continued to be partially isolated from her normal routine. She was able to see the others, but a windowed door kept her physically away from them. As time went by, it seemed that Pepe was going to be the best chance for some type of mediation. We began to divide Pepe’s time between Prissy and the other two. That was a success. Finding a way to transition Prissy back with the other two still presented quite a challenge. I’d like to say that the drama is all over, but it is not. There is still some hissing and slapping going on between the other two and Prissy. We still keep Prissy separated from them overnight. But things are getting better. At this point I do not believe there will be a serious fight between them. I had no idea that a week’s separation could have resulted in such a secondary issue, but I do believe the drama is almost over. As I finished this last sentence, I have just heard growling in the distance … oh the joys of cat ownership!

©2014 So Very Telling