Monday, May 18, 2015

I received a copy of Ally's Cookbook to read, cook from, and share my thoughts with my wonderful friends.  This Southern cook was nervous with the worldly content of exotic flavors. How would I ever be able to create this enlightening look into recipes of magic from other countries?

I opened the book to first get a glimpse of the back story of this Artist creating culinary delights on a canvas of originality and staying with the integrity of the representation of the areas she chose. I wanted to know more about this Boho lady that just makes us all smile with her imagination.

From her background of the hills of Appalachia in the tiny kitchen with her Mother, to all the women who have influenced her and whom she gives a lot of credit for her zest of building a recipe to award winning accomplishment, one, when reading, begins to embrace the tale of this woman with heart and can share with her the educational success she's had, her world carpet ride to adventures that make us all feel we have been there with her. You will be so involved with her story line of life that the recipes will be a wonderful topping on an inspiring story.

My Collection of salt and pepper shakers are now filled with the spices that she put together that everyone can make. I love spices and with these combinations from pages 3,9,10,15,16 and Page 22, and combinations from Caribbean Seasoning Mix to Harissa, I have rubbed, sprinkled, dabbed and marinated more food in one week than I usually make in several weeks. I took all the spices out of my cupboard to see what ingredients I would be missing in making these. How delighted I was when I realized I had almost all the ingredients I needed for her recipes.

I made several of the spices, tasted them and then went back and doubled some of the recipes, put them in baggies in the freezer and will be gifting them as presents. The toasting was simple, the directions easy to follow and I started becoming very secure in being able to make Ally's dishes easily.

I loved the Kind David Buttermilk Cucumbers and did the cucumbers without the pomegranate.  Funny thing happened while I was making these wonderful tasting cucumbers, it called for plain Greek yogurt and making the buttermilk sauce, in my eagerness, grabbed strawberry yogurt and not wanting to waste food, I kept those and refrigerated and then made another batch the right way. Both were delicious so I may make it with Strawberry Yogurt again.

Of course, being a down home Southern cook, I had to try her way of cooking Pinto Beans, Page 29.  Her Bohemian Fresh Herb Pinto Ham Beans passed the tasted test. I now will make them Ally's way.

Included are pictures of my salad with her spices, the cucumbers, and Pinto Beans. My lunch guest loved the spices so much, I gifted her with some.

Over time, many more dishes will be made with Ally's Kitchen Cookbook and I will post my excited attempts of recreating with my own flair.

Thank you Dr. Alice Phillips.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dark Clouds Looming.

I am taking another vacation from social media and hopefully only a week. Strange things have been occurring this week and I need to deal with them.

My sister, Linda Ellis, always had that extra sense of something happening, happened or will happen, and I only have a small inkling of it. My Grandmother always seem to know ahead of time the happenings coming so we think it rubbed off on us.

Linda left us in October after a horrific battle with Small Cell Lung Cancer and for some reason, this week, she has appeared many times in my dreams and my son even had a strange dream with her in it. He said every time he would look at his shed in the dark (In his dream), she would be in the door way. He turned on the lights and she was still there. She said, "The only way I will leave is if you delete me."  Wow!  Now to try to interpret that.

In my dream, she is very frail but really working at cleaning and when I told her to slow down, she said she had to get her house in order and so happy it was coming together.  I told her she needed to get our Dad  to help her.  She laid down on the sofa to rest and My Mom from the bedroom told me not to fold her clothes that I had just started doing.  The only people alive in my dream were my Dad and me.  Now, to interpret those cryptic messages will be a task.

I had asked her before she passed if she had any messages for my son and me and she said, "Just be careful". I wanted her to elaborate but also skeptical about going into it any deeper.

For the craziest of reasons, this week has had such a gloom and doom feel and I am not sure what this is from. The weather, being so cloudy, could be a contributing factor. I, always trying to be one step ahead of the game, have started getting all my papers in order, trying to set some budgets so as to not stress, and just making sure that my daily mantra of, "I trust you, Jesus" is said every day.

Prayers for the well being of my family and me will be so appreciated and when this cloud moves on, I will be hopefully here to continue my family meetings with you.

Monday, March 9, 2015

So long, my sister and friend, till later.

Today I look around and realizing that Linda Ellis's birthday is here brings all kinds of feelings to the front. It's been 5 months and I still find myself starting to say things to her that only she would understand and then I realize she is not here. I say them anyway and hope no one hears me. I miss her and miss that she is missing all the things that are happening. I grinned today knowing that she would love how the house is looking but also knowing it would have been a fight everyday as to how, why, and who would be doing what. She had a very strong personality, was very, very frugal so I'm sure some of the expense would have caused her some moments and us as well. I lovingly remember a blog that I wrote a few years back when we tried to surprise her with some changes she had said she wanted. Wanting them and having them didn't always mean the same to her. She loved change after it was changed but didn't like while it was being changed.
Dad even said that the changes were great but it also said, "Even though these were some of the changes Linda suggested, I bet she would have fussed about it for a month and then you could have done it." He got Linda's personality as well. A pure heart of gold but very firm in what she felt and thought. I think after losing her husband and then losing her girls, her holding onto things around her was a point of knowing the things were hers and she didn't have to lose them and feel that hurt again. We all understood that and let her pretty much be and do as she wished. She helped us all, loved us through good and bad and would call us to task in a heartbeat if we weren't playing the role of life as she saw it. Sometimes it was hard to get, hard to understand and hard to be the bad guys but it was Linda's world and we,in order to be part of the world that she would allow, played our parts.
I miss her, I love her and she will always be that intelligent, silly, woman of conviction, take no prisoners, right is right, wrong is wrong, liars and thieves are despicable, gives her last dollar to a homeless person, yen and yang of a true Pisces with her fish not only sometimes swimming in opposite directions, but fighting for the way each was going, sister of mine. I respect her and know that she is the only one in the family that could have given cancer the fight that she did. She was strong in her faith, in her knowing her body and in her want to live a little longer and that she did.
An inspiration to many, a jester to us all and a friend that was never wavering if she loved you. May she rest in peace knowing she left a void that no one can fill. God bless you, Linda and thank God I had the opportunity to grow up and rise up to things I had no idea I was capable of.heart emoticon
This is the blog I wrote about remodeling for her a few years back. It makes me grin knowing that during this phase, she was probably shaking her head and now is grinning.
"My sister's birthday is coming soon and since she won't accept gifts, I figured out the perfect thing to give her. I called my son and asked if I made a list of all the things I heard her say that she wanted done in the house, would he be willing to do them? He does excellent work and does not charge family members.....yet.
When he said yes, I made a list of things I was sure would please second mistake. The first was when I got my son involved.
Her Internet always runs slow so why not upgrade the modem. A little time in the attic, a few changed receptacles and within a few hours, better Internet service. I did not realize the withdrawal from the Internet would cause such chaos. As she stood blocking her computer, nailing up the door to the attic and rewiring, taking the old modem and hiding it for future use, Maybe that should have been an indication she wasn't happy.
As my son is trying to get around her, making another trip to the hardware store, gets aggravated and tell her that because of not letting him do it the easy way, he was out $75.00 more. This, of course, was not a smart move on his part as now he has gone from THAT person who has invaded her space, to THAT MAN that yelled at her.
Many hours later, everyone is back on the Internet, everything moving along at a better pace. She is now happy and cannot understand why everyone around her is agitated.
The second project was taking the nails from the wall that a mirror had hung from by a chain. He put a new latch on the back, removed the chain, made sure it was done correctly and lo and were we to know she loved that chain. She retrieved it and probably will put more nails in the wall and hang it.
New windows put in the front, new security lights in the trees,
porch being redone. She has now hid his ladder, hid all the light bulbs and said too much light would show everything.
A new faucet is going into the kitchen. She was asked as to which one she preferred. Her reply, "the old one". I explained that this was the identical model but that it just didn't leak. She called us disposable people with no care of quality things.
My son said that he would give her anything she wanted if he could just not have to do anything that required changing anything around her. So tomorrow, I'm sure the old modem will be back, the chain will be back and the satisfaction that she won a pissing contest with a man will make her birthday a very happy one.
..and the beat goes on.