LMAO and Other Euphemisms

I was born with the sitting gene.  I come from others with the sitting gene.  Some productive, some not so much.  I’m really good at sitting.  Really good.  Some people get antsy and need to get up and move around.  Some can barely sit for any length of time.  Not me.  I can sit and sit and sit.  Thing is, I’m usually very productive while I sit.  I work long hours at my job and remain focused far longer than most, usually forgetting to take my break unless I need to go to the bathroom.  While it may make me a wonderful employee, it doesn’t exactly promote a balanced lifestyle.

During one of my sitting escapades, probably in my car on the way to work, I began to wonder about euphemisms.  (One of the down sides of sitting is I usually have plenty of time to think.)  One of my favorites is “laugh my ass off”.  I laugh quite a lot.  You might say it’s my stock in trade.  Since I’m at work so much I try to keep it fun and laughter goes a long way.  Unfortunately my ass does not appear to be affected by the ongoing laughter.  You might say I have a slow comedic metabolism.  As long as I have good comedic timing, I can live with it.

Then there’s “work my ass off”.  Who thought that one up, anyway?  I work and work and the only affect on my ass is that it is wide and flat – like my work chair.  I use the expression all the time, regardless of it’s inaccuracy. The coiner of that phrase must not have been much of a sitter.  Maybe they meant gardening or hay mowing or something. Not much sitting in those jobs.  Unless you have a garden seat or use a machine to mow. I might be ok at that.  At that point I might as well be in my desk chair.  Hmm…

Oh, and lest I forget, there’s the ever popular “chew my ass off”.  This one is saved for those special occasions when one is afraid of being chastised to a degree that is anything but comfortable, OR has already felt the sting of such verbal lashings.  Rarely fun.  And not effective in the least, darn it.  Still, if that would work, I’d put myself in the line of fire daily until my posterior was much smaller.  I am more than willing to suffer emotional pain to bring about a shapely posterior.  A shapely posterior of a less chair-like shape.

Obviously, none of these techniques will work as an ass reducing regimen.  I suppose it’s time I tried exercise.  Not as much fun to say, but still exercising my ass off just might work.  Regardless of their accuracy, I suppose I’m glad we use these silly sayings.  If we didn’t what would I have to think about while I’m sitting?  Or now, while I’m on the treadmill.

Make it a Food Network Weekend

So I’m working a lot right now.  When I say a lot, I mean 12 hour days.  And my husband also has a lot of overtime available at his job.  It’s great for the old bank account (especially as we have one daughter in college, graduating this summer and one daughter getting married this summer and one son potentially going to college next quarter, but don’t get me started on the son).  Only one problem with all that potential gain; since we’re not at home to cook, we eat out a lot.  Hmmm….kind of makes it harder to bank the gain.

Sooooo…I made last weekend a super cooking weekend.  I figured if I could get lots of food ready to go, we would be less inclined to nickle and dime ourselves out of the cash.

I had (still have) a lot of tomatoes from my step-mom’s garden.  After roasting two large pans of those, I looked for more recipes to use up these wonderful fruits of the season.  I found Tyler Florence’s Roasted Tomato Soup, delicious and easy.  I’ve never made fresh tomato soup before and was amazed at how tasty it was.  I like it so much, I made more the next day and froze it.  I just left out the fresh basil and cream and will add those when we’re ready to eat it.

The next wonderful find was Cheesy Vidalia Onion and Tomato Pie.  This is an Emeril Legasse recipe and I have to say, he never fails to please.  My husband was skeptical, but took one bite and wanted more.   It wasn’t hard, just a bit of prep time.  I hate to admit that I could not find fontina cheese anywhere and settled for an edam.  Not to be a food snob, or anything, but the poor girl in the deli made the mistake of assuming that fontina is normally  smoked.  Uhm… no, honey.  Italians everywhere like theirs unsmoked.  Maybe for sandwiches, but you’re missing the whole foodie thing if you think pre-sliced, mass marketed, smoked fontina is the standard.  Unfortunately, I may have left her with the impression that I was less than impressed with her food knowledge.  (God, I’m such a snob!)

Then, because I was kind of tomatoed out, I remembered I had 5 ears of fresh white corn in the spare fridge.  (I needed one ear for taco salad the weekend before, but they had them 6 ears for $2.00, so I bought 6.  I’m a sucker for a “deal”.)  Anyhow, I found Ina Garten’s Cheddar Corn Chowder and lo an behold I had all the ingredients in my kitchen.  This is a super yummy delicious chowder, rich but not too creamy.  I only made a half-recipe and it was a good sized pot of soup.  I’d need a crowd to make the whole recipe.  Or a larger freezer.  Anyhow, this gave me sever lovely hot lunches this last week.  Still a bit left, but it may have to go in the freezer.  Then I can remember its’ wonderfulness in a week or so.

So, with all this cooking, my husband requested meatballs.  I was a bit miffed that he wasn’t satisfied with all the lovely veggie dishes I had prepared, but he is a guy.  I decided I didn’t feel like making spaghetti and found this recipe for Swedish Meatballs from Alton Brown.  Dee-lish.  My son, who has a history of being a picky eater, loved them.  My only warning is, if you’re using bullion cubes for the beef broth, maybe use fewer cubes for the liquid.  I had to add lots of onion power and actually broke down and added sugar, it was so salty.  Of course, the directions did not call for bullion, but that’s what I had.  Next time….I’ll plan ahead.  I made up a bunch of mashed potatoes and the boys were happy.

Soooo….if you’ve needed some ideas of what to make, here’s a few.  After all that I made packaged brownies.  Hey, even wonder woman needs to cut a corner now and then.

The Days of Wine and Sheltons

Earlier this year my life changed – drastically and for the better.  The thing is, you never know when it will come or how gears will shift.  And you don’t know how one small choice will lead to so many other things.

It started with Blake York.  I could have walked away without ever talking to him, but after seeing him in a play, I decided to ask him how to find out about auditions.  If I hadn’t, I would not be writing this today.  Auditions were less than two weeks away and I needed a monologue and sheet music.  It was terrifying, but I did it.  If I hadn’t….but I did and that changed everything.   Needless to say, I was in the play.  I met several wonderful people and remembered how natural and exhilarating it is to perform.  And I walked away from the play with friends.  People, like myself, unafraid of making a scene or being amazingly silly in front of complete strangers.  No judgment, just fun.  A little frightening to someone who has kept herself guarded for a very long time.  But these people welcomed me with open arms and happy hearts.  I have smiled a lot since March.

And all this leads me to Adam and Sue Ann Shelton.

They are a large part of the fun.  They laugh with me and seem to like exactly who I am.  They seek me out, just as I seek them.  We share a love of good wine and great food.  And I benefit from their wonderful lack of inhibition.  I haven’t had this much fun with friends since…..I don’t remember when.  But soon they will be moving.  Jobs did not work out.  Still, if they hadn’t come to Washington, even for this short time, my life would be the poorer.  They make my heart happy.  Sometimes I laugh just thinking about them.  And so, while I mourn that they will not be available for wine nights or karaoke as often, I will always thank God for these days we have had.

If I hadn’t talked to Blake, and taken the plunge and auditioned…..  Thank God I made that one choice that led to so many wonderful times.  If you have a passion, please follow it.  You never know where it will lead.

And hey – if a plane can fly to Oklahoma, so can I.

Living in a State of Want

I find nature to be very stabilizing; it makes me think about my life and beyond myself.  Lately it’s been the sound of rain that has me thinking.  Thinking that I’m in my warm and comfortable house with limited concerns, plenty to eat and drink.  And still I live in a state of want.  I want new clothes, new shoes, new flooring.  There’s always something I want lurking in the back of my mind.  Sometimes it’s right in the front.  And I have to ask myself, why am I never just content with my life as it is?  Is it because our American culture is trained to want more?  Is it the natural human condition?  Or is it just my own mental wiring that I am always planning and thinking of what to achieve next?  Problem with the last thought is that I don’t appear to be alone in my want.  It’s unnecessary want.  I dont’ want for food, clothing, shelter.  I want for more. 

Of course, the rain making me intraspective, I also think about the people who want in the real sense of the word.  As I sit in my warm, dry home, I wonder about those less fortunate than me.  There are people living on the street, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, just trying to stay dry and warm.  And our winter promises to be very wet and cold this year, so how bad is it going to be for them?  For me, it means inconvenient commutes and paying a bit more for my electricity.  For them, it can mean extreme cold, frostbite, possibly even death.  It’s humbling that I spend so much of my time “wanting” when I really want for very little and have the means to have all I need and ways to make more and earn what I want.

So here’s what I want now.  I want to be more aware of the needs of others.  I want to give more and shop less.  I want to spend more time being content and thankful for what I have and spend less time allowing my imagination to run wild with what more I would like to have.  And I know I can only change the world a little.  But then, what more do I want?

Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone (Neither Can Woman)

While it may true that bread alone won’t satisfy our dietary needs, there are a lot of great breads that require very little added to make an amazing, soul satisfying meal.  In my book, the best breads are chewy, have some decent air bubbles, and are not pre-sliced.  I’ve found a wonderful supply of such bread at a French style bakery in Cashmere, Washington, Anjou Bakery .  Their bread reminds me so much of the bakeries that littered Paris like Starbucks in Seattle.

A few weeks ago my husband and I stopped in there and came home with a loaf of their Wenatchee white and another of their Wenatchee white with kalamata olives.  Amazingly, there was a small bit of the Wenatchee white still left in my bread drawer today, so I decided to make an Italian classic, Panzanella. 

Panzanella is a referigerator cleaning out dish using up old bread and left over fresh produce.  Why waste what you can use?  In my fridge, I had seedless cucumber, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, basil, flat leaf (Italian) parsley.  Add some grape and roma tomatoes from my counter (I never put tomatoes in the fridge – they lose flavor) and oregano from my herb garden, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh pepper and salt, chop, mix and voila, or prego as Italians would say, you’ve got dinner.  Keep in mind, when I say olive oil, I mean enough to make a vinaigrette, same with the vinegar. 

The wine I chose tonight is a classic Italian grape, Sangiovese, which I found at another Eastern Washington hot spot, Martin Scott Winery .  If you’re in the Wenatchee area, make sure to stop by.  Take your time and enjoy a glass of their great wine while marveling in their view of the Columbia River.  Take a snack and sit a spell, smell the fields of lavendar and take a walk over to their “pond” before leaving.  You’ll be glad you did.

I’m sure you can see why this salad is a fridge cleaner.  If you have a big block of parmaggiano reggiano or peccorino romano, think about rough grating these in instead of feta.  (*)  You can fancy it up by using your veggie peeler to shave off large pieces to sprinkle on top.  Or add pepperoncinis or pickled asparagus or artichoke hearts.  Or maybe squeeze your tomatoes into the dish to give extra juice to soften the bread.  If your bread is really dry, soak it in water for a minute and wring it out well.  Or use fresh lemon juice instead of the vinegar.  Whatever you do, enjoy your left overs and enjoy your life with an easy meal to eat alone or shared with friends, family, and wine. 

Salute!

* (Don’t buy that pre-grated stuff, you don’t know what you’re getting. If you don’t use these cheeses often, you can always keep a small block in your cheese drawer.  If you use them regularly, like my family, you can get them very inexpensively in the jumbo size at Costco.  You won’t be sorry and you’ll find they last forever in that same cheese drawer in a plastic bag.)

Beets Me

Beets, beets, the magical root, the more you eat, the more you…..well you know.

There are many reasons why I love summer; beets are one of them.  I had the joy of raiding my step-mom’s garden this last weekend and came home with a big bag of beets.  So the decision Monday night was what to make?  By the time I started scoping recipes, I was not of a mind to go to the store.  Fear not, I did not give up.  Out came the old standard, the red and white cookbook (you know the one I mean),  and I made Harvard Beets.  Yummy!  They went great with grilled chicken with mango bbq sauce one night and Memphis grilled pork chops the next.  After that I’m going to put up some pickled beets.  They make an amazing accompaniement to a grilled cheese, tomato and onion sandwich.  Talk about a treat! 

Beyond that, I’m still trolling the great internet highway to find the perfect beet dish to make next.  Maybe it will be Emeril’s Roasted Beet and Smoked Sturgeon Salad with Vodka Vinaigrette (intriguing),  or Anne Burrell’s Beet Salad with Arugula Pistachios and Shaved Pecorino (also love arugula).  Or maybe Beets and Carmelized Onions with Feta.  So many great recpes, so little time.   Now I just need a baguette and some red wine, and I’m good to go. 

Speaking of going……I’d better say goodbye.  The beets are kicking in.  I raise my glass to finding joy in beets and everything fresh from the garden; be it yours or a lucky relative’s.  But if it’s beets, you may not want to stray too far from home.  If you know what I mean.

Introduction

So I’m spending the weekend in Wenatchee with my family and I mention to my brother Rick that I’ve been thinking about starting a blog.  Well, when you tell a computer guru something like that, you should expect more than the usual, “Oh?”.  Five minutes later and a new chapter in my life was born.  No more day dreaming, now it’s time to do it.

San Francisco
Riding the Trolley

Let me start with an introduction.  My name is Angela Vendetti.  I am the lucky wife of my husband Tom and mother to our three lovely children, Lorenza, Lucia & Sergio.  I use the term children loosely, as they are all out of high school.  I was a stay at home mommy for many years and even tried my hand at home schooling, but a bit more than 10 years ago I went back to work and re-discovered myself.  I’m much better at busines than I am at home management and gladly moved on to a new chapter in my life.  About 6 months ago I took a chance and auditioned for a Gilbert & Sullivan production at a local theater and was amazed to receive a role.  Work may be my forte, but theater is my passion.  For the first time in many years, I feel like a complete me.  Well, almost.  I have always enjoyed writing but wasn’t quite sure how/where to start.

Those who know me well know that I am seldom at a loss for words.  This outlet will hopefully relieve some of the burden of my local listeneers and give me a chance to share my love for life, food, wine, family, travel, theater, music……  Well.  I hope you enjoy your visits to my world as much as I enjoy posting.  Salute!