Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Womans Day and the Nylon Ceiling

In the wee hours of the day I scrolled through my social media accounts to catch up on some of the longer articles I saved to read. It's March 8th " Woman's Day" in March Woman's Month! Wear red today. Well why? At first I was charmed by the cute and empowering tidbits, then I wasn't. February was Black History Month. I thought about the history and the social dogging of the black culture. How the media still wants us to be wary and afraid of our black neighbors and friends. As an artist/quilt maker, I admit, I am jealous of the "person of color" label. I want to be a person of color it sounds better than vanilla.

LeadvilleTwins Quilt by Sandra Townsend Donabed

Recently at a family gathering I was puzzling about an interview our son had. I was intrigued with what impression he made. What do men see in other men to hire? What qualities do they knowingly seek out? Is it an unspoken language that they share in order to give a young man a start. Man's responsibility to man? A Handshake...
I realized that women don't have the same language to hire or get hired. Why don't we feel the same responsibility to each other? To monetize our skills and efforts to further ourselves and our families? The glass ceiling still exists but what about what I'm calling the "Nylon Ceiling". Meaning how do other women measure  and support each other for success? We don't, we're stuck without a positive language to value our backbone and talents. We're using a language quantified by men, high school, and the media. Where are the working women emoji's?
Back to March being woman's month. It implies that we were compromised too and need our own month to be exonerated from a historical period of mistreatment. Ironically women have had to change and will continue to change to succeed.
I was myself yesterday, will be today, and tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I'll still be myself next month too. Still ready to express the words and practices needed to support and create a better environment for working women (and men).
Today I'm thinking of my dear departed friend Helen,she had some words, and her brilliant daughter struggling to get through college and into grad school with bare bones support. I applaud her tenacity and her future. Power on ladies!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March - In Like a Lion & Cauliflower Stuffing

Last weekend we had a record warm day, this weekend a record cold. I was all about a salad and thinking spring until 
the temperature dropped shifting quickly back into soup mode. Craving a good turkey gumbo and a warm kitchen finds me cooking the turkey that will eventually become gumbo. I really can't see cooking a turkey without all the accessories, stuffing, squash, and potatoes, then soup to keep us fed for a week. I love stuffing but I don't want to be stuffed into my "I can't wait"  for summer clothes. I like the idea of adding cauliflower into my stuffing but the true test will be passing it by my mister who takes his job as the food police quite seriously.

Cauliflower Stuffing
1 medium cauliflower washed and cut into small 1/2" florets.
1 medium onion cut into a 1/4" dice
2 stalks of Celery cut into a 1/4" dice
1/4 c. butter
1 c. reserved cauliflower cooking water
1 t. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. salt
4-5 slices toasted bread cut into 1/2" cubes or 2c.of your favorite herb stuffing.
1. Cook prepared cauliflower in 4 cups water over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until tender. Reserve 1c. of the cooking water for the stuffing mix.
2. In a small saucepan on medium heat melt the butter and add the prepared onion, celery, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes until soft.

3. In a large bowl combine the stuffing, reserved cooking water, sauteed vegetables and cauliflower. Stir until the breadcrumbs soften and everything is evenly mixed.  

4. Stuff your Turkey.* Note: this recipe stuffed a 15lb. turkey. Roast your turkey at 350 oven for 25 minutes per pound or 31/2 - 4 hours.

Extra stuffing can be cooked along with the chicken or turkey in a buttered casserole dish for 35 -45 minutes.

I loved this stuffing its a keeper!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Quilts and the Power of Suggestion

The power of suggestion is a beautiful thing. My Mister is sick. A winter cold is chasing him. Only time and a little TLC is going to fix it. What to do, what to do. Make him a cup of tea with honey & orange peel then tell him it will clear his head. Next break out a quilt to cover him. The idea of a quilt covering you is far better than a plain blanket, just as making your own  cup of tea isn't nearly as satisfying a cure. 
Next I suggest a nap as I quietly plan to race over to my studio to quilt. See everybody feels better! 

It's a grey, blue, brown, cold winter's day. This quilt reminds  me of the colors outside today.
Welsh #6 © Mary Walter Quilts


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sharing a Table Sharing the World

I am not Chinese! Yet in anticipation of the Chinese New Year I gleefully headed to the Asian market knowing that there would be a well stocked assortment of specialty foods available. I was not disappointed. 
More than 25 years ago I inherited a job in a small Chinese restaurant from a friend who was leaving town. Despite my culture coma the owner Rose Lee took me under her wing  introducing me to the intense art of Dim Sum. She taught me, fed me, and showed me how we all can share a common language around the table. This is what happened in my kitchen. Thank You Rose Lee!



Monday, January 23, 2017

The Motivation to Create

Picking up a needle, a paintbrush, or pencil comes easier to some more than others. The recent Global Woman's March motivated knitters to make the now symbolic pink pussy hat, including my cousin Lynne. The only hurdle was that she hadn't knit anything in years. Fortunately I remembered the sage advice of our dear departed friend and knitter Bobbi who always told us when reading patterns "Just do what it says". With that in mind we began. After a few false starts and 6 hours of stressful knitting the hat was taking shape. 

Lynne Knitting

Lynne went home to continue knitting with a deadline of the next afternoon! She knit well into the night and was up early the next morning to finish. By 2:00 the next day we were back at it, teaching her how to cast off and sew up the sides.

This mindful version of a hat was for her son to wear while marching in Washington DC the next day. She finished it and he wore it! 

I was impressed by her motivation to outfit her grown son with a pink hat and his willingness to wear it!
It is not a new concept for women to unite and create for the  support of common goals and thoughts of making a difference. 

The march is over but the reasons we marched are not. 
I would like to see these hats worn again. Worn on any random day driving down the highway, on the train, or gathering places to remind us what motivates us to create and make a difference in our own and other people’s lives.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Susanna's Cha Cha Cha Chicken Soup

My Sister-in-Law Susanna spent some time living in Mexico when our kids were young. When she arrived home for a visit they learned a few new Spanish words and we all benefited from her excellent cooking. She shared a dish of sauteed fresh tomatoes, cabbage and cheese served in tortillas. This soup is inspired by Susanna's memorable dish she shared with us from her travels more than twenty years ago. Thank you Susanna!

Susanna's Cha Cha Cha Chicken Soup
serves 4-6

2 T. avocado oil or olive oil
1 lg onion chopped
20 cherry tomatoes
1 small head of cabbage
2 C. cooked chicken breast diced
4 C. Chicken stock
1 C. cooked brown rice
1 t. cumin
1 t. sea salt 
1-2 t. Chipotle chili in Adobo sauce finely diced or 1-2t. chili powder
1 T. fresh cilantro
1 scallion diced
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese

1. Saute chopped onion in the oil on medium low heat, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, cook for 5-7 minutes until tomatoes soften.
2. Cut the cabbage in half, removing the core. Cut into a 1" dice. Add to the tomato and onions. Cook until softened 5-7 minutes stirring often.
3. Add the cumin, salt, chicken stock, chicken, rice, Chipotle or chili powder to taste. Simmer another 15-20 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Add the chopped cilantro. 

4. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with cheese and scallions.

Cooks Note: This is an easy soup to take on the go. Ladle into wide mouth pint jars. Garnish with cheese and scallions.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gimmie 10 Chinese Chicken Soup

After a good day of teaching I want  a soothing home cooked meal. The only problem is that I'm the cook! Driving home from my studio I do a mental inventory of the fridge. No, no,  and still no too much work. I want yummy and easy while still sticking trying to my New Year's diet resolutions. Oops, did I mention the birthday cake we had in class today, it's only January 15th. Chinese Chicken Soup it is!

10 Minute Chinese Chicken Soup
Serves 4 

4 C. Chicken Stock
8 dried Shiitake mushrooms 
9 Oz. pkg fresh Chinese noodles
1 C. cooked chicken diced
8 baby bok choy
1 t. ginger juice
2 t. sesame oil
2T. soy sauce 
1 Scallion finely chopped 

1. In a small heatproof bowl cover the shiitake mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water.
Let steep for 8- 10 minutes until soft.

2. Start a saucepan of boiling water to cook the noodles following the package directions.They cook quickly usually in 2-3 minutes, drain when cooked, reserve.
3. In a soup pot heat the chicken stock to a low boil. 

4. Roughly chop the bok choy and add to the chicken stock with the diced chicken simmer for 3 minutes.

5. Add the cooked noodles, ginger, 1t. sesame oil and soy sauce. 

6. Reserve the water the mushrooms soaked in. Slice the shiitake mushrooms into thin strips discarding the hard stems. Add the reserved mushroom water and the sliced mushrooms to the soup. Stir.

7.  Ladle the soup  into bowls garnishing with the chopped scallions and a few drops of sesame oil if desired.


Cooks Note: There are many possibilities of foods to substitute if you don't have everything on hand. Peas or spinach instead of baby bok choy. A scrambled egg or tofu in place of the chicken. Cooked brown rice or ramen noodles can be substituted for the fresh noodles.