Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jumbalaya - a new staple recipe

{photo by me}
It doesn't happen very often. You know, when you try a recipe and it turns out so well that you not only know you'll make it again, but you'll make it again next week. When the leftovers are so good that you actually want to eat them. In fact, you may even crave them. Well it happened.

On Tuesdays, I volunteer in the Food Lifeline office.  While I was there last Tuesday, the lovely Stephanie brought in her lunch of leftover shrimp gumbo.  It smelled so good I decided that I needed the recipe, like, right now, to make for dinner, like, tonight.

So Stephanie sent me the Martha Stewart recipe she used for New Orleans-Style Shrimp and Rice. When I left the office, I drove straight to Trader Joe's for supplies.  While it looked and smelled amazing, I can't ever make anything as is, so I tinkered with the recipe and turned it into Jumbalaya.

According to the internet (the most trustworthy source of all) the difference between Gumbo and Jumbalaya is that Gumbo is a stew served over rice, while Jumbalaya is a casserole with the rice cooked in.  I wanted Jumbalaya.  And sausage.  And the results?  Oh yes, it's good.  It's SO good.  It's so good I'm going to make it again, as soon as I'm done with the leftovers, like maybe tomorrow.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

Jumbalaya with shrimp, sausage and brown rice


4 TBSP unsalted butter
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 32-oz box Trader Joe's Organic Chicken Broth
2+ TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1+ TBSP Cajun seasoning (I used Morton & Bassett organic cajun spice blend)
1 TBSP smoked paprika
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 TBSP Crystal Hot Sauce
2 cups brown rice
1 package Trader Joe's jalapeƱo chicken sausage, each link sliced.
1/2 lb (half of package) Trader Joe's medium cooked frozen shrimp

In a large dutch oven, brown sausage and then remove from pan.

Melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add bell peppers, onion, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, paprika, cajun seasoning and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add rice and stir, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, broth, parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Return sausage to pan.

Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and cook until just heated through, about 4 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of parsley, and more hot sauce.

Serves 8 to 10 (or, in my house, 2 with tons of leftovers!)

Yum!  Happy Mardi Gras - all year long!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Selfie no. 29

Today is March 3rd, 2014.  As a response to Meg's month of Selfies, I vowed to take 28 days of selfies, one for everyday in February.  Of course, I started on February 3rd so I had two more to go, ending on March 2.  Today I took another photo and posted to instagram.  In taking on this project I hoped to see myself in a different light, to appreciate myself a little more, to see who I am from the outside.  And while I knew when to stop drawing selfie no. 19, I know that I am not ready to stop taking photos.  

I am a creative person.  I have spent a long time discouraging my creativity, letting all the voices in and out tell me that creativity is not the path to take, that creativity does not lead to success, certainly not to financial security, that others may be able to, but I can't have it.  In letting those voices take over, in letting the world sway my place in it, I have lost myself, my truth, my happiness.  

I have decided to take over again.  I have decided to determine my own place in this world.  If it seems as if I don't have a particular direction right now, know that I have grown hungry for a life filled with creativity.  I've grown hungry for seeing myself in this new light.  

Through this project it has become clear to me that I can easily be my own creative muse.  I may not always, or even often, be a willing subject, but I am always available.  And by pre-determining my subject matter, I can stop making some of the excuses.  This is practice.  This is practice being creative.  This is practice communicating.  This is practice determining my own destiny.  

This is Selfie no. 29. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

note to self

selfie no.19 of selfie no.13.

Maybe all this blog ever was or will be is a reference to someone else saying something better than I feel I can, but isn't everything we ever have to say just a response to someone, something.  We let thoughts, words, images, life settle in on us, and then we respond? We are just part of an eternal conversation. We are just part of everything else.

It is when I stop responding that I begin to self-destruct.  It is when I stop believing that I have something to add, that I am part of the conversation, that I just stop.

I cannot continue at a rate of invisible.  I cannot be without contributing.  I cannot be understood without speaking.

A wise woman once told me to give myself permission to join the conversation. What will it take for me to join the conversation? What will it take?


Every day, I practice breathing. Some days I do it well - I am thoughtful, mindful, just breathing. Some days I gasp for air having let the outside world stifle me, speak for me, take away from my intention, take away from me. Every day that I practice, I get better at being. Every day I set my intention, I am better at being me.

It didn't take long to draw this selfie of me.  Maybe 15 minutes, and then I started editing too much at which point I stopped. Somehow I knew when to stop. But it took me two weeks to prepare. It took me many many excuses. It took me doing a lot of other things instead, washing a lot of dishes, watching a lot of tv, letting a lot of other things force themselves in front, before me, first. And it took getting over a shyness. Looking at myself. 18 days of photos so far. Some days I took many photos, and a few days, I took one, and just posted, acted, did.

It took a lot of days of selfies before I thought of Frida Kahlo with her unibrow and broken back, her sadness and her passion, and her color, her brilliant colors. What is it about her colors that make me so happy in all that sadness?  I close my eyes and see the flowers curl out from her, reaching into her body, her soul, and blooming beautiful petals of color, pulling more beauty out of a broken body, a broken heart.

Mary Oliver asks "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Perhaps I will draw flowers around me, letting them cascade and tumble and reach, sweet peas in the sun.  They will be stronger, rooted deeper for all the days of cold their tiny scratched seeds endured. They will be stronger for all the days of rain falling on them, feeding them, and giving them time, time for intentions and mindfulness and breathing.

Friday, August 30, 2013


I am here. I am thinking new things. considering new changes. taking on new challenges. there will be more to come.
but for now. I am here.

And I am making pie.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Mystery of Your Thirst

I need to learn to read the signs around me more carefully.  Things come to me with repetition as if they are tapping on my shoulder.  It isn't as if I read everything I receive, cataloguing with impressive organization.  It's more as if I skip like a stone across the water of the influx of information rushing at me, finding inspiration in repetition as if the singular would not be loud enough.  Often it isn't.  Even in repetition, I'm still unsure how to interpret the hieroglyphs.

I stumbled on the above today, only hours after reading The Mystery of Your Thirst by Rob Brezsny. I'm trying to figure out if I can see the river or if I know about water.


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