Ripe Opportunity

“The stay-at-home edict has pushed so many of us into an external motivation mode that is making us face something that feels like lethargy and meaninglessness…At the same time it’s a ripe opportunity to think about what really matters to us…Doing what’s meaningful — acting on what really matters to a person — is the antidote to burnout…Face what’s happening. What does it mean to me? What really matters to me now? Is there a way I can act upon what’s meaningful to me?” — Daniel Goleman

Calipatria, Imperial Valley, In Farm Security Administration (FSA) emergency migratory labor camp. Daughter of ex-tenant farmers on thirds and fourths in cotton. Had fifty dollars when set out … Photo by Dorothea Lange 1939

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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My chocolate chip cookies look pretty wild, but they are very tasty. We like eating them after dinner while we are watching our large screen. Or I guess they are good for breakfast and a post-lunch snack too. They are cheap to make and cost less than ice cream (depending on what ice cream you purchase).

I have always made “Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.” I even scanned the recipe from the back of the chocolate chip cookie packaging (see below). You put in the whole 12 oz package of chips. Sometimes I use 6 oz of chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and 6 oz of chocolate chips.


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Loubieh Wa Hommus Bi-Ziet Recipe

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Hi! I am going to start adding some of my favorite recipes to my blog. This recipe I adapted from Saveur Magazine. It’s called Loubieh Wa Hommus Bi-Ziet, and in English it means Lebanese-Style Green Beans With Chickpeas in Olive Oil. I first made this in 2011, nine years ago. I made it yesterday, and it’s very delicious. The photo above is before I put the water in it. I trim off each green bean end with scissors. What gives this dish its rich taste is the cumin seeds cooked in olive oil, and the onions sautéed in tomato paste (get some tomato paste in a tube) and paprika. Serve it over rice. Let me know if you try it. I hope you like it.

Here is the recipe:

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Colectivo Coffee Roasters and Cafe

Colectivo on Monroe Street in Madison, Wisconsin, is one of my favorite places to get coffee. When an employee made me a caffeine drink (I can’t remember what he made me!), it looked like this and I almost wept from the beauty of it:

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Ok, so YOU have received drinks like the endless times before—I haven’t! This was my first time!

While sitting-in-the-cafe-writing-Haiku (ewww?), I ate a delicious breakfast burrito:

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This is my son at Colectivo, who, in case you were wondering, could care less about my blog.

What I also like about this Colectivo is how it’s decorated. It’s cozy. There are all kinds of chairs, couches, tables and a fireplace. The glass walls slide open. It’s very pleasant. I know I like it because it reminds me of a loft I’d like to live in.

I am also, unfortunately, obsessed with the bathrooms. I love the design of the communal sinks and paper towel holder.

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Colectivo Coffee Roasters and Cafe
2530 Monroe St
Madison, WI 53711
(608) 630-8930

Naf Naf Grill in Madison, Wisconsin

I like going to restaurants. I walked by Naf Naf Grill on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin and decided to eat there. Naf Naf is called the “Chipotle of Middle Eastern food,” and I agree. The service was excellent and the food was fantastic. I’m on a diet so I won’t be able to go there often but I LOVED EVERY BITE of my falafel hummus bowl:

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They slather hummus on the bottom and sides of the bowl, then put five falafels on top. I choose purple cabbage salad, chopped salad, and pickles for garnishes and fire sauce for the finish. The pita bread was perfect. When you put all of these different tastes in your mouth, they are delectable!

Apple Cellar

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My husband bought tons of apples and told me he put them downstairs in the “apple cellar.” I didn’t even know we had an apple cellar. Turns out he plopped the apples down on top of one of my office tables in the basement!

Update: Now the apples are elsewhere in our basement, in paper bags.

Linie Aquavit @LinieAquavit

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I’m on a diet but my lovely (and smart) dietician built into my diet 4.5 ounces of wine for me to drink one time a day.

We were out of wine. My husband told me he was going to the store to buy some beer.

“Will you buy me some wine?”


Ok. Well, not really ok. 

But then I remembered we have a couple bottles of Linie Aquavit that our friends brought us. I poured myself 1.5 ounces over ice, which in my diet is the measurement I can have of hard liquor.

I said to my husband, “I don’t need the wine anyway! Look! I poured myself some Aquavit!”

He looked at my glass of iced golden Aquavit and said, “That stuff is almost 100 proof! I’ll buy you some wine.”

So he did. I dumped out the Aquavit. But it’s good to know I have a back up.

Our Self-Importance


“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.” –Carl Sagan

Additional info: A Pale Blue Dot

  • Title: [The Earth with the Milky Way and moon]
  • Creator(s): Benda, Wladyslaw T. (Wladyslaw Theodore), 1873-1948., artist
  • Date Created/Published: [1918?]
  • Medium: 1 drawing : charcoal.
  • Public domain illustration from the Library of Congress

Wealthy and Great


Let the wealthy & great roll in splendor & state. I envy them not, I declare it.

I eat my own lamb, my own chickens & ham. I sheer my own sheep & I wear it.

I have lawns. I have bowers. I have fruit. I have flowers. 

The lark is my morning alarmer.

So you jolly boys now, here’s God Bless the plough.

Long life & success to the farmer.

– From a 15th century song

Public domain illustration from the Library of Congress

Freezing Parsley #parsley

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Last year I planted two parsley plants and they did not do well. It was like not having parsley at all. So this year I planted three plants and they became these huge bushes! There is another plant not pictured, and I cut off all the parsley leaves on it.

I put all the parsley leaves in a bowl and trimmed the leaves off the stems with scissors.

It look a long time.

I decided to freeze the parsley into parsley logs.

Because it was going to take a long time, I set up a parsley-log-making station on my ottoman in our living room, while watching Cooks Illustrated:

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In the bowl are the cut parsley leaves.

I stuffed them into the bottom of a quart freezer bag, rolled it up into a log, and put a rubber band around it. I put all the logs into a gallon size freezer bag and put them in the freezer. When I want to use the parsley, I will open up one of the logs and cut it into inch size pieces. I will have fresh parsley for cooking all year long.

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Critic Housewife’s Kale Pesto #kale #pesto

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Isn’t this kale gorgeous? The pink color that is stroked around each photo is from the swatch color in the kale.

This is what the kale looks like when it’s in the ground:

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This is Kamome Red Kale.

I hadn’t grown Kamone Red Kale before. It’s used in a lot of landscaping because it’s arty-looking.

I decided to make pesto from this kale. I thought it was SO delicious. My husband and son said the dish tasted a little bitter (probably because of their delicate Norwegian palates), but I couldn’t taste bitterness at all!

So, use Curly Kale instead, if you wish:

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This is Curly Kale.

Curly Kale is good for when you want to make Kale Chips.

Here is my Kale Pesto that I made last night, using bow tie pasta:

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Critic Housewife Kale Pesto

  • 2 packed cups of kale
  • 2 sausages, any flavor, casings removed
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 1 pound box bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup cranberries or raisins (optional)
  1. Thoroughly wash kale. Cut out middle stem. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Put in food processor.
  2. Cook loose sausage and cranberries in a fry pan until sausage is done. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. Cook the pasta in a stock pot until al dente. Strain water and put pasta back into stock pot.
  4. Add salt, garlic and walnuts to food processor. Process until it’s the right consistency for you. Scrape down sides of processor.
  5. Add cheese to food processor. While processing, slowly add the olive oil. Process until it’s the right consistency for you.
  6. Add the sausage mixture to the pasta.
  7. Add the pesto to the pasta.
  8. With a spoon, gently mix pesto into pasta until the pasta is thoroughly coated.