Play Time!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”
— George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish playwight

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Soulful

“The most beautiful people wear their hearts on their sleeves and their souls in their smiles.”

— Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) (83BC – 30BC)

Roman politician & general under Julius Caesar

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Ahhhh, Compassion

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

— Dalai Lama (1935 – )
14th Buddhist spiritual leader

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See the Beauty

 

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

— Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) Celebrated German-born Jewish diarist,
noted for documenting life in hiding from the Nazis with her family in an Amsterdam attic

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National Cheese Day

For National Cheese Day, you can celebrate with your favorite cheese and crackers or a charcuterie board, or a great grilled cheese sandwich.

I will also suggest a terrifically tasty Roasted Cream Cheese. (Yup… BBQ grill or oven.) You can serve it up in soooo many ways, you will love this for the summer and beyond.

 

 

Roasted Cream Cheese
1 pkg cream cheese
Olive oil spray or melted bacon renderings
Favorite BBQ dry rub seasoning

Open the cream cheese block, keeping it on the foil wrapper. Spray oil (or brush bacon fat) on top and all 4 side edges. Then liberally sprinkle the seasoning over the fat. Use the foil wrapper to invert the cheese, seasoned side down, onto an oil/fat coated spot in an oven- or grill-safe container (such as a pie plate). Use a sharp knife to cut ½“-deep, angled slices across the top. Turn the pan a bit and cut another row of slices, creating a crisscross pattern. Spray or brush oil or bacon fat on the cut side of the cheese and liberally sprinkle with BBQ seasoning. Bake in 275°F oven (or closed grill) for 30-45 minutes.

Use this as a base for a fabulous bacon-caramelized onion jam, or drizzle it with a favorite Thai sweet chili sauce or a hot sauce, or simply serve it as is with crackers, warmed Naan dippers, or anything else! You can also totally mix this up by replacing BBQ seasoning with blends that deliver a totally different taste treat…. Try an Italian herb blend, or Asian spiced sea salt, or Everything Bagel Seasoning. Ooh-la-la! You can also garnish the roasted cheese with toppings that work with your seasoning, such as warmed marinara for your Italian herb blend. Another treat is a favorite chutney and a generous sprinkling of crumbled, cooked bacon. The options are endless!

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Steak Out!

 

June is National Steakhouse Month… ooh-la-la!

 

 

 

 

I can taste a perfect steak right now. Bits of crispy yumminess on the outside and tantalizingly tasty succulence inside. Little is more mouthwatering than the intoxicating aromas that waft from the sizzling steaks on a great steakhouse grill.

For the very best flavor, texture, and healthy beef, choose your favorite place that serves top quality, grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free steaks. Welcome to summer… a perfect time to celebrate the art of the great steak!

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Ahhh, Truth!

“The trouble with too many people is they believe the realm of truth always lies within their vision.”

— Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
American statesman; 16th President 1861-65; assassinated following Civil War

 

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Dress Pretty

 

June 1 is National Wear a Dress Day… to celebrate wearing dresses. Be sassy, sophisticated, or silly. Of course, some people wear them better than others. My hubby has perfect legs for skirts, so when he chose to dress as Minnie Mouse to me as Mickey, I had no problem making him a snazzy little red and white polka-dot number, with shoes, pantaloons, and a petticoat to match.

 

 

 

Hmmm… Whatever your reason, skip the jeans today and go for lovely.

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Believe!

Image by Jorge Vasconez

 

“Do not despair when the sun sets with sadness, for each new dawn delivers defiant radiance, even when the sun shrouds herself in clouds.”

— Cathy Burnham Martin (1954 – )
Author: “The Bimbo Has Brains… and Other Freaky Facts” 2017

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Philosophers and Kings

“There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.”

–Plato (427-348 BC)
Greek philosopher

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Live Well

Image by John Hain

 

 

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

— Robert Byrne (1930 – 2016)
American author

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Truth Beyond Opinion

“Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil. There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend to only one that errors harden prejudices, and truth itself ceases.”

— John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)
Naturalist & English language philosopher
Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom

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Honor the Fallen

 

“Heroes never die. They live in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.”

— Emily Potter (1975 – )
Australian author & professor

 

 

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Woah!

 

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

— Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953)
Soviet politician and revolutionary; former Premier of the Soviet Union

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National Wine Day

For me, a glass of pinot grigio on ice with some raspberries. Oh, and a side of fresh, salty chips. Ahhh… perfectly balanced “meal.”   LOL! Need I say more?

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National Asparagus Day

 

For those who love fresh veggies, fresh from-the-garden asparagus is a perfectly splendid Spring delight.

 

 

 

 

 

Asparagus spears serve as a beautiful accompaniment to meats and fish.

 

 

 

They are also delightful in a stir-fry with other veggies or a protein such as shrimp or poultry.

 

 

Or… one of my favorites… wrap them in bacon and crisp them up on the grill for a splendid appetizer.

For National Asparagus Day, I share my recipe for Souper Simple Asparagus Soup. Enjoy both the strained “fancified” version or the heartier cheesy variation.

Souper Simple Asparagus Soup
1 sweet onion, peeled & chopped
2 T butter
1 lg bundle fresh asparagus spears, cut small
2 c chicken bone broth or stock
Salt & white pepper, to suit your taste
¼ c half-and-half or heavy whipping cream
Sauté onion in the butter for a few minutes over med heat, just till it softens but does not change color. Stir in the asparagus; cook and stir for 3-4 more minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and let cook another 10 minutes. Blend (immersion or covered container) till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Blend in the cream. Serve, garnished with a few asparagus cuts or tips. Makes 4 servings.

 KISS Tips: For an elegantly smooth texture, you can pass the soup through a sieve before serving. Or, if you enjoy cheese, add up to 1 c shredded Muenster, Monterey Jack, or other melty cheese just before adding the cream. Add some hearty croutons to your garnishes.

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Love and Forgiveness

Image by Scott Broome

“When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues.”

— Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)
French novelist & playwright

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Kindness Counts

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca aka Seneca the Younger (c 4BC – 65AD)
Iberian Peninsula-born Stoic philosopher of Ancient Rome

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National Memo Day

Image by Chris Curry

 

Note to self:

Choose to be better and do better every day… today, tomorrow, forever.

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Do Not Despair

“In all things it is better to hope than to despair.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
German poet, playwright, & novelist

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Why Not?

“The next time you’re in a meeting, look around and identify the yes-butters and the why-notters. The why-notters move the world.”

— Louise Randall Pierson (1890 – 1969)
American author

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Stay Strong

 

“A strong mind always hopes and always has cause to hope.”

— Polybius (c200 – c118 BC)
Greek historian of middle Hellenistic period

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National Pack Rat Day

Do you tend to hoard or collect or squirrel away some unneeded items? I do… particularly old photos, letters, scrapbook items, and family mementos. Today is our day… National Pack Rat Day… Or we could flip it around to National Rat Pack Day and save items that reflect Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr, and Dean Martin. Just sayin’.

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Harmony

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

— Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Indian lawyer, spiritual & political leader, and nonviolent resistance advocate

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International Family Day

As I learned in Hawaii, where my sister has lived for the past 24 years, Ohana is the family you live with, and Ohana is the family you choose. For International Family Day, I thank you for being my family… my Ohana. You appreciate my efforts, you forgive my faux pas, and you love me through it all.

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Tolerance

Image by Steve Leisher

 

“I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.”

— Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011)
British-American author

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Things that make you say, “Hmmmmm…”

Image by Maxim Hopman

Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book” 1774-1776:

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms.. Disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve to encourage rather than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
American statesman; 3rd US President: 1801-09; wrote Declaration of Independence

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and those who love and care as mothers.

“A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.”

— Amit Kalantri (1988 – )
Indian mentalist, magician, and author; from “Wealth of Words”

I am blessed with an absolutely marvelous mother and immeasurably blessed to have her still with us and healthy as she approaches age 94 next month. My sister Deborah took this picture as Mom was enjoying a lobster roll at the Lucky Lobster in Dunedin, Florida in celebration of Mother’s Day. May she enjoy making lovely memories for many more years. Thank you, Mom, for being the very best.

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Eat What You Want Day

“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.”

— Unknown

Thanks to you all for the multitude of sweet birthday wishes yesterday. I enjoyed a splendid 70th with a few friends who came over for tapas. And Sir Ronald added an ice cream cake.

Since today is National Eat What You Want Day, I will share one of the items I created for yesterday’s birthday tapas spread.

Super Simple Chicken Taquitos
You can also make these with veggies, beef, combinations, or just cheese. Use your favorites!

Leftover chicken, shredded or chopped, seasoned to suit your taste
Cooked bacon, chopped
Sweet onion and/or peppers, finely chopped & microwaved 1 minute
10” soft flour tortillas (or zero carb or other wraps)
Queso or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (seasoned, if desired… see Notes)

Combine chicken, bacon, and veggies; warm slightly in microwave. Cut tortillas in half. Before filling, soften each for 15 seconds in an olive oil-sprayed skillet over low heat. Lay the softened tortilla half on your work surface with the straight edge facing you. Spread a heaping tablespoon of your chicken filling along the straight edge; top with cheese. (I also scatter a few shreds of cheese on the exposed section of the tortilla, as the melting cheese prevents the taquito from unraveling.) Roll up the taquito and place seam-side down on an oil-sprayed baking sheet. Repeat to make as many as you like. Place in 400°F oven for 7-8 minutes. Then use tongs to turn them over (adding more oil spray, if needed). Let cook another 5-6 minutes. Serve with a favorite picante sauce.

KISS Notes: I like to add some sass to the cheese by tossing it with some cumin, chili powder, finely chopped cooked chorizo, and a dash of garlic powder. I stir, then melt them all together. After refrigerating, the combo is perfect for spooning atop your filling. For more kick, include finely diced fresh or pickled jalapeños. To make the recipe extra easy, combine the chicken, bacon, and veggies ahead of time; then simply warm them up a touch before loading your taquitos. You can also deep fry taquitos, if preferred. Corn tortillas are usually fried. By the way, the only reason I cut the tortillas in half is because I want less wrap and more filling. Traditionally, you can simply place your filling on the lower third of a whole tortilla, for which you may prefer to use smaller tortillas.

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Ageless

 

 

“It takes a long time to become young.”

— Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
Spanish painter & sculptor

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To Wealth of Friends

“Awards become corroded. Friends gather no dust.”

— James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens (1913 – 1980)
American athlete and Olympic track and field multi-gold medalist

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Learn, Don’t Burn

Photo by Florian Olivo

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929 – 1968)
American Baptist minister & civil rights activist

Hmmmm… Perhaps only the wisdom of time, age, experience, and hindsight helps us grow and learn to educate ourselves before blindly spewing hatred, violence, and ignorance in unwittingly random directions. Let’s be better and smarter than this. Let’s get it together, America.

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Fun in May

 

We have so greatly enjoyed the visit with my sister Deborah from Hawaii!

 

 

 

 

 

And the Bonfire Taco Party attended by 40+ friends.

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to all who helped with preps and clean up and for the delicious goodies several of you brought to share during the festivities. We had a terrific time and look forward to the next gathering!

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Growth through Friendship

 

“A friend is someone who accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

— William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
English playwright

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We Have the Right!

 

“Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.”

— John G. Riefenbaker (1895 – 1979)
13th Prime Minister of Canada (1957 – 1963)

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Feast, if You Will

“Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.”

— Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD)
Greek Stoic Philosopher

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Overcome Discouragers

Image by John Hain

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember… the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

– Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012)
American author

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National Teachers Appreciation Day

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

— Chinese proverb

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Global Love Day

Image by Gordon Johnson

 

On the first of May, we celebrate Global Love Day. Ah, yes. We all know that we deeply need a whole lot more love, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Peace be with you.

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Let Hope Fly!

 

“True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.”

— From “Richard III” by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
English playwright

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