Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something's Fishy

Last night, we met some friends in a little town north of here for a fish boil.  Having never been to a fish boil, I wasn't sure what to expect.  It takes place at an orchard that was started in the late 1800's.  They originally had peach trees, then added cherry trees and now also have a market, plus the fish boil.  The woman who owns it is "Aunt Bea".  Not THE Aunt Bea, but Aunt Bea none-the-less.  Here are some pics from the event:

The market has homemade pastries, pies, and produce, 
besides the typical souvenir shop fare.

Homemade jams and jellys

 The pot of boiling water that the potatoes, onions
and fish will go in.  
Did I mention 6 pounds of salt, too?

 Two handsome young bucks

 Aunt Bea giving the history of the farm

 When everything is fully cooked, they throw 
kerosine on the fire so the fish oil at the top 
of the pot will boil over.

 Some of the other guests

 Aunt Bea and her helper taking the baskets of food
out of the boiling water.

 Dinner is served--potatoes, onions, and fish.
They also had cole slaw, bread and other amenities.

 Cherry pie and ice cream for dessert

 They have a huge herb garden on the property.
The field of lavender

The only disappointment was the bathroom situation.
I hate portajohns.

After dinner, we drove a little farther north to our friends' cottage in the little town of Pentwater.  My family used to go camping there when I was a child.  We also stayed at the marina in our boat when I was a teen.
It's changed a lot since the 60's. 

 We decided to walk through town.

 The whole town was heading to Lake Michigan to watch the sunset.

 One of the older houses in Pentwater

 Cute little street on the way to the beach
Unfortunately my camera battery died and I didn't
get any pictures of the beautiful sunset.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mental Pause

The other day I was making my to-do list and wrote down "Clean Flores".  I knew I had spelled floors wrong, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to spell it.  I knew "flour" wasn't right (that's used for baking), so I had to resort to the dictionary.  Unfortunately, this isn't the first time this has happened.  Some days I feel like I'm losing my mind.  Thankfully, at my age, I can blame it on menopause, right?

Does anyone else out there over 50 ever have this problem?  (Someone please answer "Yes".)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grilled Vegetables

This is a great recipe for summer.  You can use any or all of the vegetables in the recipe.  I just happened to have zucchini, mushrooms and bell peppers around, so that's what I used.  You can easily vary the amounts to accommodate however many you are serving.  Also, you can serve this at any temperature, so you can make it ahead if you need to.

Grilled Vegetables

3 red or orange bell peppers, seeded and quartered
3 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
12 button mushrooms
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, trimmed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat grill.  Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup olive oil.  Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill the vegetables until crisp tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 minutes for the peppers, 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, and 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions.  Cut the zucchini into 1/2 thick slices.  Toss in a serving dish.

In a small bowl, whisk the last five ingredients together with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Have you ever wondered why we dream what we dream?  I have the most vivid dreams some nights.  In my most recent one, I dreamed our neighbors were staying with us for a few days while they were refinishing their floors.  Their seventeen year old son went into our refrigerator and opened up 18 (why 18?) yogurts and took one bite out of each one.  I came unglued in my dream and had my hands around his neck, shaking the tar out of him, screaming, "Why did you do that?"  It's a little scary that I would get that upset over a few yogurts.  (If it had been chocolate, I could understand.)  I hope it's not a sign of some pent up aggression that's building inside of me.

If I ever crack, point the psychiatrists back to this post.  It may explain things.

Friday, July 22, 2011


One of my 80+ year old patients showed up today with a pink highlight in her blond hair.  I couldn't quite believe my eyes.  I tried not to stare, but I had to keep looking at it to verify what my mind was telling me I was seeing.  I wasn't sure whether to comment on it or pretend I didn't notice.  I chose the latter.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ham and Cheese Salad

At first glance, a ham and cheese salad doesn't sound all that good.  But this recipe is my go-to recipe on a hot summer evening.  It's cool, refreshing and so easy.

Ham and Swiss Salad

1 16 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice) and chilled
8 cups Romaine lettuce
2 cups cubed ham
2 cups seedless green grapes
4 oz. Amish Swiss cheese, cubed

1/2 -3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
2 cups low-fat sour cream  (You can substitute 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup of plain yogurt to save calories.)

(You can vary the amounts of any of the ingredients to your liking.  If using canned pineapple in it's own juice rather than pineapple in syrup, you may want to add a tablespoon of sugar or some sweetener to the dressing.  Also, vary the amount of juice to get the consistency that you like for the the dressing.)

Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl (or you can plate it).  Whisk dressing ingredients together.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.  Serves 4 (main dish) to 8 (side dish)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Must Have Kitchen Gadgets: Part 2

The microplane herb mill.  I love this gadget.  My daughter gave this to me for my birthday and it's amazing.  It's awesome for most herbs.  You just stuff your herbs into the base, put the top on and twist it back and forth.  Out comes your perfectly minced herbs.  However, I think I prefer to cut my basil with scissors as the mill seems to crush the basil. It's available at Williams Sonoma for $19.95.

A patient brought me a head of cauliflower one day.  Since my husband hates cauliflower, I had to find a new recipe that he might at least try.  I found this on  (The large amount of garlic masks the smell of cooking cauliflower.)  His reaction when he saw it on his plate was a turned up nose.  Then he took a taste and said, "Not bad."  Translated - it's pretty darn good.

That minced parsley looks amazing.

Roasted Cauliflower

2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Grease a large casserole dish.
Place the olive oil and garlic in a large ziplock bag.  Add cauliflower and shake to mix.
Pour into the casserole dish.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Deer Are Winning

It's a plot to drive me crazy.  The deer have eaten every daylily with the exception of this one.

Every flower has been nipped off.

Unless I want to spray that nasty smelling deer repellent (it repels humans,too), I've resigned myself to the fact that this is how it's going to be for the rest of our days in this house.  I surrender.  The deer have won the war.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bike Time

For the past several years, our town has had a weekend called "Bike Time" for motorcycle enthusiasts.  My parents have gone down to it every year and raved about all the motorcycles and interesting sights.  So, my husband and I decided to check it out tonight.  I can sum it up in a few words:  black leather apparel, bandanas, beer, and the obvious--bikes.

Here are a few pics:

 One of the many beer tents--I didn't see any evidence of a garden.

This motorcycle helmet looks like what the Nazis wore in WWII.
Gotta love the professional sales associate.

The cuisine of my future heart patients.

 Anyone need a leather vest?

I'm so glad I can check Bike Time off my "to do" list.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Basil Harvest Time

I noticed the other day that my basil plant was getting pretty tall.  I decided to cut it down a bit and put some basil away for the winter.  I've done this in years past and it works pretty well.

I cut the basil with scissors into ice cube trays.  Push it down a bit so the cubes are pretty full.

Then I add a little water to hold it together and pop it in the freezer.  Once frozen, I put the cubes into a zip lock bag and put them back into the freezer until the fall and winter.

It's great to pull out a few cubes when making pasta sauces.  It's not the same as fresh, but it's better than dried.  I haven't tried it with other herbs.  Has anyone else?

Monday, July 11, 2011


This started out to be an interesting day.  As I was putting the finishing touches on my hair and make-up, I could hear the rumble of thunder.  The sky was getting darker and I was thinking it would be nice to get to work before the storm let loose.
I high-tailed it to the car and as I backed out of the garage, I was in luck.  No rain.  Unlike Nancy Drew, that teenage detective who "drove as fast as she could without exceeding the speed limit", I lit out of the driveway like the bat-mobile.  I could see flashes of lightning as the dark clouds were rolling across the sky.  Aaargh.  A pokey driver pulled out in front of me and riding on his bumper did nothing to hurry him along.  I was about a mile from work when the skies opened up.  It was a deluge.  I could hardly see as the rain was going sideways.  I wheeled into the parking lot of the HEART Center, got my umbrella, and dashed into the building between lightning bolts.  I failed to dodge the puddles on my way in, so my shoes and my pants (everything except for my thighs, for some reason) were totally soaked.  I arrived only to find the power was out.  We ended up sending all of our patients home and leaving within an hour of arriving.  So much for work.

Another storm blew through a couple of hours later and then the sun came out turning it into a beautiful day.  I decided to cut some hydrangeas to brighten up the kitchen.  These are the first of the season and they are gorgeous.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Grilling at its Best

There's nothing like fresh vegetables and herbs in the summer.  My favorite combination is tomatoes and basil.  Here's a great recipe for tuna using both.

Grilled Tuna with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
2 yellowfin tuna steaks

Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette
1 ripe tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (do not use dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine oil, lime juice, salt and pepper in a plastic ziploc bag.  Add tuna and marinate for at least 10 minutes.  Grill until medium rare (do not overcook).

Combine ingredients for vinaigrette.  Spoon over the tuna.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Must Have Kitchen Gadgets: Part 1

This year "Santa" brought me the best stocking stuffer.  It's a strawberry huller--except I don't use it on strawberries.  I love it for coring tomatoes.  It's the best!  To operate, you press the green button down and push it into the top of the tomato so it surrounds the core.

Release the button and twist.  Voila, your core comes right out.  

You can get it at Williams Sonoma for $7.95.  It's well worth it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


One of our former (exercise science) interns got married last night.  Since my husband had never met this darling girl, he opted out. (It was hard to get him to attend his own wedding, let alone a stranger's.)  The reception was in the cute little town of Grand Haven (see my blog post from 6/5/11--Down on the Boardwalk), and since we had some down time between the wedding and reception, my co-worker Kay and I decided to walk around a bit.  We we're a bit overdressed for strolling the resort town.  We felt like a couple of old ladies trying hard to look hot so we could pick up some young studs.  Anyway, we stumbled into the cutest little shop.  Unfortunately, I was carrying a tiny little purse with no room for my wallet, so I will be making a beeline back to pick up a few things.  These were definitely calling my name.

These are a mirror image of each other.

I wish still we had a dog.  Those collars are adorable.

For the younger, more fashion forward:

 This chain mail outfit is handmade locally.    
I'm not sure where you would wear this.

This is just another reason why I love going to weddings.

For the locals, the name of the shop is Uniquely Stranded.  It's right next to Buffalo Bob's.  The website is