Saturday, December 27, 2008

After the Holidays Cooking

You wanna be polite - no, you reassure your image in the mirror, you don't look too much like a cookie monster gone pudgy. So every meal has been prefaced and chased by a cookie or four, so what if sugar is now your main food group, you still can (barely) squeeze into the winter jeans, even if those are your "comfort" sized ones.

Green Split Pea Soup - no time like the present to start edging your way back towards the colorful food groups - and I mean the ones without the sugar crystal decorations!
2 TBS olive oil
2 onions chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
2 lbs ham hocks (2 should be enough)
diced ham (if you want more meat than what the ham hocks will impart)
4 bay leaves
12 cups of water
1 lb. Split Peas
1 tsp. thyme
In Large soup pot, heat olive oil over high heat - saute onions,carrots,celery until veggies begin to brown. (I also added a potato to this). Add ham hocks,bay leaves and water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours. Take out ham hocks, shred meat and discard bone and fat, add meat back to pot along with split peas that you have rinsed and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours or until peas dissolve and thicken soup. (Soup may be refrigerated for several days or frozen). In my case, this will feed me,Mom and a few friends that would not be able to understand this recipe nor identify half of the ingredients if they saw them in their frig. For them, this will be the first real food they have had since relatives took pity and invited them home for real food at the holidays.
Recipe developed by cookbook author Marlene Sorosky Gray.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ItalicLet it snow,let it snow,let it snow.... for those of you not in the know, there is a lot of (for us Rentonites) snow out there, and they say that it is just going to keep on comin' tonight. Soooo, make sure you have yourself bundled up if you are venturing off to loved ones homes tomorrow, Christmas Day, and that you pack extra Christmas cookies in case you get lost or stuck. That way, you have something to eat and you can crush them up and leave a trail in case you decide to venture out into the white stuff in search of further sustenance or assistance.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Destination #3 There is a house where Santa stays - all of only a few more days, but it is right smack in Downtown Renton, so you shouldn't miss him!
Friday 19th 5-7, Sunday 1-4pm
Have your photo taken - you're never too old - and ask for that special gift that only Santa can bring - he he!
Dear Santa - I would like a Townie 21 from Ghys Bike Shop this year. I have tried to be good. Remember, I leave cookies!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Toy Story

What would Christmas be without toys? Even adults need to have some special toys every now and again. Alan Hirsch,storyteller,researcher and collector of toys, gave a hands on presentation about the history of toys today at the Renton Historical Museum, the last of the programs, alas, until the new year. If you thought this was for just the kids, you were dead wrong. Many of the items that Alan showed had a past of up to 2,ooo years and some began as tools or weapons and then somehow evolved into harmless playthings that most of us would recognize today. I mean, did you know that before a man named Duncan introduced the "Yo Yo" to the American market in the 20's, it was called a "bandaleros" in Greece, and used to stealthily bonk the head of a passing enemy while you sat overhead,hidden, in a tree?

Everyone who came was touched by the beautiful creativity and simplicity of a time when we had to make our own "cartoons" (the toys that animatedly move when you move a stick or twirl a ball), or could play an innocent trick (the exploding outhouse that uses a mouse trap) or just marvel at human ingenuity (Jacob's Ladder that little Meera is playing with in the picture above). My mother whispered to me several times that she recognized many of the toys as ones she had played with back in the late 30's, when she was young. The joy of toys spans generations.For just that hour, we were all satisfied with such handmade entertainment and wondered were such toys could be found yet again.
Crime Log - Tonight, at 6ish on S. Third, the lovely ladies that work at the Hair Salon walked around the block to their car when a tall, bald man whom they had seen throughout the day in front of their store, knocked one of them down and ran off with her purse and all of her earnings for the day. They immediately called the police, who were on the spot pronto and a kind couple with their two grandkids stayed with one of the ladies to keep her company while two more police vehicles cruised the area for the thief and questioned the victim about the crime.
Be careful during this holiday season and please - notify the police immediately if you notice anything suspicious.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

$5 Dollars is all you need for this Gift this Season...
Girlfriends on S.Third has the best deal in town - a cheerful mug filled with gorgeous, longlasting flowers and greens for a mere five dollars -how can you beat that, I ask ya!? These here are mine, but I left a lot of good looking stuff behind the other day, because I'm known to be generous to other poor shoppers, like yourselves at this time of year. So, hurry up - you can afford one for yourself at this price - or for your workmate,Mom, kitchen table, or a "just because" somethin' for a worthy soul.
920 South Third Street

Holiday Destination - idea #2 This Saturday,11 am, "Toy Story" by Allan Hirsch, free program, at Renton Historical Museum. Get into the mood of the season with stories about unique toys from all over world, and play with them, if your inner child allows.
You could also give a gift to the Museum. Volunteers are always welcome (the photos are of the party thrown by the museum for its helpers-we get great treatment!). Or, even a small donation of $5-10 could help Sarah Iles, Collection Manager (pictured in the top,right corner) with her many projects. Grants are the only way she gets money earmarked specifically for her work - so if you donate, choose from the list below and indicate to the museum that is were you want your holiday gift to go.
*Restoration of Broken Negatives (helps also create archival prints)
*Custer General Store Ledger(it's water damaged,poor thing)
*Jean's Wave Neon Sign(broken tubes)
*Recording Hygrothermograph(measures temp and humidity in storage areas)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Destinations - idea #1

In our fair little town there resides a unique adventure in shopping or creating, perfect for this festive time of the year. Uptown Glassworks on Main has the most amazing collection of hand blown orbs of light and wonder - tree ornaments of every color and swirl. For those who want to make memories as well as their own piece of art, you can call and sign up for your own "Blow-your-own" experience or on Friday,Dec.12th there will be a fully catered dinner with prime rib and all the fixin's (plus alcohol!) but reservations are a must,so you should call soon for this $70 per person date at the glass gallery. And besides all of the holiday bustle, this store, housed in a beautiful 100 yr old building downtown, is just so lovely to stroll through at any time that you should stop by whenever the season. Kerry Cole, the Gallery Director has created a mini-wonderland of color and light making this a necessary destination to ,help get the holiday juices flowing. 10% discount on your purchases for mentioning this blog!
Uptown Glassworks 230 Main Ave.So. Downtown Renton (425)228-1849

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tree lighting and Holiday Hulabaloo

Renton at the Piazza - it's beginning to get that special holiday "glow". Come tomorrow from 2-7pm, that is Sat.,Dec.6th, for some holiday good cheer - cider and caroling and roasted chestnuts - oh my! The official lighting of the trees begins at 5pm and with Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves arriving for the ceremony. If you've been watching your cookie intake, maybe Santa will let you sit on his lap. It all ends at 7pm, so don't miss out on your chance to start getting into the holiday swing of things! S.Third Street, between Williams Ave.S. and Main Ave.S.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Call for Coffee -still on!

Jet City thought that they would be gone MONTHS ago- but somehow, they are still there. The rumor is until December's end - so you have until then to still stock up on your fav espresso drinks from the hands of Mike,Brandie,Deb,Paul or occasionally Zac. Open at 7ish,close at 7pm -bags of beans on hand for you to brew at home or give away. This is an amazing place of community - I speak from dear experience. This is a shout out to all of my peeps there- you know who you are and I have a lotta love for ya.

Bye Bye Autumn and Halloween

This is the last time I can give kudos to the great decorations that I witnessed in these last few weeks-this being the very last day of November and the letting go of our autumnal leanings and full on into the Winter holidays that are so evidently here. This is Dave and Evan surrounded by all the scary yard art that sprung from their own imaginations and hard work(ie:all handmade) - isn't that cool? I love the pumpkins and fall leaves and I will miss them - that and the ability to get dressed up and blame the urge on Halloween.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Ode to Joe of Calico (Cheesecake, that is!)

When the Cheesecake sign went up at the corner of Third and Main, I began to salivate. How long we Rentonites have waited for some great deserts in our little burb. The last week in Oct. brought not only Calico Cheesecake, but it's two sister establishments, Cafe Lure and the Tapestry Bar into our midst. Now we have a new breakfast destination and a bar with eight rotating taps, apps and a full dinner menu. Whew! That's a mouth full!
Calico Cheesecake, the brainchild of owner and head chef, Joe Kennedy, began around the corner on Houser in 2003. He began with a few local accounts (Melrose,The Met),word of mouth grew, and he was doing business. But he always wanted "his own piece of the pie" (don't you mean,ummm,cake, Joe?), and so when the space became available he and sous chef, Willie Dzul, picked up their other tool set and went to work. The store front was almost completely gutted and redone into the beautiful, interconnected trinity of eateries you see today.
Calico offers Joe's renowned cheesecake and Mukilteo brand coffee, but you can wander over to Cafe Lure through the connecting door and sit down to a full menu of good ole' American cuisine with a twist/nod to such flavors as the Southwest, France and Asia. Head a little further and you can sample from a full bar (only top shelf in their well drinks!) and great beer on tap. Though the Tapestry Bar also has it's own menu of more "pub grub" fare and tasty apps like clams and mounds of garlic fries, all menus are available wherever you end up sitting.
"People are never subtle about their food here," shared David Spooner, server and Marketing go-to guy at Calico. "Their response is just over-the-top." Momentum for the eatery is quickly being built by word of mouth. Joe Kennedy has a reputation for putting together a mean plate of food - whether it be sweet or savory. "Delicious food on adorable plates" is the best comment left by a customer so far to describe the experience that awaits you at the place that Joe made right here in our little ole' town.
919 South Third Street
Hours: (425)572-5931
Calico Cheesecake Tu-Sun 11-9 Closed Mondays
Holiday cheesecake flavors: Cranberry/White Chocolate,Caramel Apple,Pumpkin, Sherried Eggnog
Cafe Lure Tu-Fri 11-3, 5-9 Sat-Sun 9-2 Closed Monday
Tapestry Bar Tu-TH 4-10, Fri-Sat4-12 Sat-Sun 9-2 Closed Monday
Current Beer on Tap!!!
Arrogant Bastard,Diamond Knot XIPA,9LB Porter,Spaten Optimator,Snoqualimie Copperhead, Alpine Pilsner,Lagunitas IPA,Scuttlebutt Amber Pints /$4.75, 22 oz Imp.Pint $6-$6.25
Cheesecakes take time to make so order your goodies in advance so no one is disappointed this holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Revisiting bread pudding

In these hard times, we are all thinking again about recycling,reusing,conserving, budgeting - a generation or two ago that was the norm, and no food scrap went begging. So that's where the bread stuffs come in - take your left overs, or that great day old stuff you see for cheap in the market and make this time honored/traditional recipe of bread pudding. Most bread pudding recipes are always talking crap about how great it tastes to make it with french bread or Challah, the wonderful Jewish egg bread that comes in the lovely shape of a braid. I don't know about you - but those are far more upscale carbs than I have hanging around on the average day, and it just seems, well, sacrilegious to go out and buy great bread to then just tear it up into little pieces. This stuff is supposed to be made with day old cast offs. Lovely deals you happen to find on a good day at the market, or in my case, a whole pan of homemade bran muffins that somehow got, well, a little singed.
PS- to AH - yes, I do put my bread pudding in a water bath/bain marie :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Renton's Own Santas

Today, I met some wonderful women who every year provide Christmas for families of all persuasions,ethnicities,and religious backgrounds. Last year, it was 110 families, but even they had to scale down this year and will be providing clothing, food and toys, wrapped like only Santa would, for 65 lucky homes. These mostly female volunteers work through the auspices of St.Anthony's /St.Vincent de Paul located right here in the heart of Renton. They are retired gals, mostly, who gather from all corners NEW goodies to give to families that would otherwise go without. Much they give from their own pockets - and one key member is battling Chemo treatments while still at the helm of this truly selfless endeavor. They have a few items still left on their holiday list. Times are hard, I know - but if you feel at all like giving locally - maybe a little could go here.Remember, only NEW items, please.
Wrapping Paper, Diapers size3,4,5 ,Diaper Wipes, Footballs/Basketballs/Balls of any type,Makeup Kits for little girls and older,Anything "Hannah Montana", Anything "High School Musical",Bikes(they need 2 more), Gift Cards are always appreciated. Special thanks to Torreros Restaurant for providing their space to assemble the gifts! Contact Pat Kissinger 425-228-6240

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Roger Fernandes-Storyteller Extraordinaire

On November 11, the "guru" of the Coast Salish Culture came to speak of the power and history of story and myth to a crowd of avid listeners this past Nov.11 at the Renton Historical Museum. Roger is a consultant for the museum, as well as at the Burke Museum and currently has artwork displayed downtown at the Seattle Art Museum where are a Salish exhibit is being featured.

For me, this was my third lucky charms time to hear Roger speak - and the stories just get better each time, as does his expressive way of helping to explain the role of both story and it's teller in society." A myth is a big story that answers big questions - like, "Where do people come from?", Roger explained before relating a version of the creation myth as told in many similar forms by nearby local tribes like the Snoqualmie (whose name means people of the moon) or the Duwammish (the people of the inside).

If you ever have the chance to go hear him - just do, and ask him about, oh Starbaby, or better yet, the story about why dogs check out other dogs butts - that's a good one!

(PS-last chance for stories at the museum-Sat.,Dec.13th at 11 am The Real Toy Story with Allan Hirsch-always draws a crowd!)

Good to have Girlfriends!

When my birthday came around a few days ago, the only one to give me flowers was my friend,Deb - has this wonderful gesture become just a thing of the past, I ask you, dear male friends? Thank goodness someone was thinking kind thoughts of the floral persuasion where I was concerned, because, boy, did I ever appreciate it! Please go see Deb at Girlfriend's, 920 S. Third Street,206-2802. She takes the cutest containers for the season and loads them up with a wonderful flower creation that will truly fit your wallet - give locally this year, people - let's support each other this go around.

Pumpkin Muffinsmmmmmm.......!

I can't help it - I love to bake. Soooo there is going to be some foodies that might appreciate the moment or two that I take to moon over the goodies of the season - like pumpkin muffins. I like to go on the web and look for tasty recipes that contain ingredients that I think are necessary for a tasty baked morsel - in this case (as in many of my ventures in the oven arena), butter and a notion of good spices. I can improvise - no doubt- but I like to see a recipe that calls for more than just cinnamon - I mean, come on guys! When did Allspice and Mace fall off the face of the planet ? Here is the link to these very succulent pumpkin goodies - remember- don't grease the pan, just use the muffin papers and life will be good - real good.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Harvest Moon

There IS a theme here - I know you see it - you catch on fast, you Picaroons. Harvest Moon, an Ambassador of Coast Salish Culture, enthralled us all with her infectious smile and captivating storytelling today at the Renton Historical Museum. After 22 years of perfecting her craft, this member of the Quinault tribe shared personal stories (her brother's childhood name was "poopsie") and tribal legends (the "Why It Rains So Much Here" is popular with travelers to the Rain Forest who complain when it's too wet for them). Wearing a beautiful, handwoven storyteller's hat and shaking her talking stick for effect, Harvest Moon imparted knowledge of local tribal lore and made us all laugh more than a few times.

Harvest Moon was named after the time of year she was born and the lunar cycle. She reminded us that while cedar bark is very important for the intricate weaving she does, and is represented in red on the button blankets worn (also representing salmon, another vital for tribal life),but that cedar is actually,well, rather nasty tasting, so that is Not what is used for smoking salmon or for cooking vessels. She also taught us some vital jargon - nikki tikki tum tum - means "may I have something to eat?" and is best accompanied by a rubbing and patting of the stomach area. Who doesn't need to know that, I ask you?

Harvest Moon is currently working on a CD,yet to be released, entitled"Wisdom Weaving Songs and Legends. She is currently in the LongHouse at the Historical Museum in Tacoma until the end of November on Thursdays and Fridays, 10-12:30 and on one Saturday, November 22. The Renton Historical Museum, through the auspices of the Humanities Inquiring Minds Program, hopes to have Harvest Moon back soon. Don't miss her - the family will ALL enjoy. we can all sigh and breathe freely

Not everyone may have been as thrilled as I was personally with the events of the election On Nov.4, but a lot of us danced up and down like silly school kids when their favorite show theme starts to play - we were that excited ,for once, to see the new presidential-elect on the telly. We could not contain ourselves - and people were embracing strangers and tearfully smiling while experiencing a deep sense of hope that they had dared not believe in until the moment the electoral votes met and surpassed the necessary 270 votes to win the nomination. All hail the new chief -Obama we salute you!
(Pumpkin art by Bob Davis)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why this came to be...

Renton - we live here, some of us love it here - and most of us never find out what in the hell is going on here. Tired of being out of the know-of relying solely on the offchance of hearing a stray rumor? Talk to me - read my posts - help me to help you to hear about what is up in our little town.
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