pen rainbow

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mini-Post Thursday—What A Dame

Tweeted by Elizabeth Taylor on July 22 last year...

RIP Elizabeth

"Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind.  I love you."

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home

Rockin' Roller Coaster Museum — DisneyWorld
Music for the Soul

Oh, man—I triple❤ this new album by Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, called Rare Bird Alert.  Git yerself over to that iTunes link and listen to these songs!  They're really great.

Jubiliation Day is hilarious, about a guy breaking up with his girlfriend:

You know you're right
We should stay in touch
I'm walking away
This is your new email address, right?
Cheatin' psycho dish-throwin' ho dot. nut

Best Love is a beautiful ballad elegantly performed by a shiny new bluegrass penny, Sir Paul McCartney.  Wow, exquisite.  I swear he sang this one for Linda.  Listen for hints of Wings in the last few bars.  In the beginning lyrics, I can picture Linda & Paul driving their convertible down the hazy California coast highway.

Things were nice in California
Loved our trip out to the coast
Did I say your mother phoned us?
You are my best Love

You look good in fancy dresses
Wish we bought that one that day
I even like your old ex-boyfriend
You are my best Love

You, featuring the Dixie Chicks, is like caramel—smooth, sweet & delicious.

Steve Martin's mastery of the banjo soars along with the heavenly voices and instrumentals of The Steep Canyon Rangers in Yellow-Back Fly.

This is serious good music.  It'll put the wind back in your sails.

My SIGG bottle
A Better Water Bottle—SIGG Reusable Aluminum Bottle

It's time to switch to something better than recyclable plastic bottles.  We're throwing a lot of them away.  According to the, an environmental services company that addresses end-of-product life issues, more than 2.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2008.

"Although the amount of plastic bottles recyled in the U.S. has grown every year since 1990, the actual recycling rate remains steady at around 27 percent."

Besides that, it takes energy to produce all of those bottles in the first place.  According the non-profit, environmental Clean Air Council—827,000 to 1.3 million tons of plastic PET water bottles were produced in the U.S. in 2006, requiring the energy equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil.  Crap.  76.5 percent of these bottles ended up in landfills.  That is a gigantic load of plastic crap dumped onto the ground.

So, what are we going to do instead?  Reuse, that's what.  Here are some very hip beverage bottles that are a blast to carry around, as well as to use.  The Swiss company, SIGG, has been making household and sports items since 1908.  Take a look!  The cost is $21.99 for the .6 liter (20.3 oz.) bottle, which is what I take with me for a 3-mile walk.  They go on sale for around $15, and they have design collections, including my favorite, the Yoga Mojo group and a pretty neat line for kids.  Sizes range from .3 liter (10.1 oz.) to 1.5 liter (50.7 oz.).

Tuesday's Cupboard—Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
i ❤ Southern food

In celebration of my sister's move to Gainesville, Florida, this Spring, I'll be showcasing Southern things that I love, starting with Louisina Red Beans & Rice.

I've already reviewed a great book that takes place in Florida called, Swamplandia, by Karen Russell.  Be sure to check it out.  It's a fun read—and it has a red alligator!

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
Troi's spicy version adapted from 2 recipes: EatingWell Magazine &

Prep time:  1 hour
Serves 4 to 6

1-1/2 c. brown basmati rice (or white basmati)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet yellow onion (Vidalia, Maui, etc.)
4 tsp. jarred, chopped garlic (or, minced fresh garlic)

1 c. chopped celery, including leaves
1 c. diced green bell pepper (1 lg. bell pepper)

1. 5 pounds lean Cure-81 spiral-sliced ham (or less, between 1.25 & 1.5 lbs.), chopped into 1" cubes
3 15-oz. cans red kidney beans or pink beans, drained & rinsed

1 tsp. M&B Spices Cajun Spice Mix (or your favorite Creole/Cajun spice mix)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. green Tobasco
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (to taste; remember, the ham adds saltiness)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 c. water

Cook basmati rice in rice cooker, as directed.  This should take about an hour.  While the rice is cooking mise-en-place:

  • onion & garlic (put in a bowl together)
  • celery, green pepper, ham (put in a bowl together)
  • 1 can of red beans, mashed with a fork (in a bowl)
  • 2 cans of red beans (in a bowl)

About 15 minutes before the rice is done cooking, assemble the red bean & ham stew.  Heat oil in a soup pot over med-high heat.  Add onion & garlic and sauté until onion is tender & translucent, about 3 mins.  Stir often to prevent garlic from burning.

Add the mashed & whole beans, ham, celery & green pepper, Cajun spice mix, green Tobasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red wine vinegar, & 2 c. water.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened, and the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes).  Serve in shallow bowls topped with a 1/2 c. scoop of cooked rice & a glass of cold chocolate Silk soy milk.

1 can mashed red kidney beans

2 cans red kidney beans

1.47 lbs. Cure-81 sliced ham

1 c. celery with leaves, chopped

Yummy seasonings!
crockpot version
Except for the rice and the olive oil, put everything into a crockpot.  Set on high for 5 hours.  About an hour before the stew is done, cook the rice as directed (I use a rice cooker).  Serve in shallow bowls topped with 1/2 c. scoop of cooked  rice & a glass of cold chocolate Silk.

yummy side
Corn bread & honey-butter

Mix equal amounts of softened butter with your favorite kind of honey.  Set aside.

Mrs. Cushing's Corn Bread (an old recipe from Steve's grandmother, Ethel Mills)

2 T. melted butter — Put it in a square, 8"X 8" non-stick baking pan & set it in a preheated 425°F oven while you quickly mix up the batter.  Gotta be quick (5 to 10 minutes)!  Watch your butter so that it doesn't burn.

In a bowl, mix together the following:

3/8 c. sugar (a scant 1/2 c. of sugar)
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 egg, beaten (I use 1/4 c. egg substitute)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. flour (I use 1/2 c. whole-wheat + 1/2 c. white flour)

Pour into hot pan with melted butter & bake for 20 - 25 mins.  Remove & cut into squares with a knife that will not scratch your nonstick pan.  Serve with honey-butter.  Enjoy!