Sunday, May 31, 2015

Don't tell purple. . .


Don’t tell purple
I asked my daughter to please not tell purple – my signature color of royalty-insanity since high school – but I’m kinda into blue right now.
“Me too!” she exclaimed, and I told her of a fashion magazine where a columnist made a blue proclamation herself.
I’m thinking the soft, casual sentiment of blue jeans, crisp cobalt, a peaceful sky and a calming sea. Blue is catching my eye this season.  I don’t think purple should be too jealous. The color wheel is a welcoming space.
Even so, Pantone has announced marsala as the color of the year for 2015. They call it a  deep earthy red with hints of brown, purple and plum, and it brings to mind the fortified wine color. I’d imagine it more for fall, but examples show it paired with bright orange and marsala is set to appear everything from furniture to nail polish. Just last year Pantone’s color was Radiant Orchid. In 2013 we celebrated emerald and before that was Tangerine Tango.

Purple on the Ball
I can’t leave purple for long. I saw purple lids and rings for Ball jars and had to snap them up. Paired with a green jar,  a display of yellow peas puts one in a Mardi Gras color frame of mind.
Gazing into my pantry filled with beautiful jars, instead of a mess of bags and half-used boxes, brings me peace and lets me eyeball what I have on the shelves.

Purple hull peas?
I met Gail Odom, executive director of the Newton Chamber of Commerce and she mentioned the Purple Hull Pea Festival. Everyone stopped talking and wanted to hear more. She had me at purple, and food.
         This second annual event is June 27 in the Shankleford Community. Learn more about area events at www.Newton-Texas.com There’s a Whispering Creek Trade Days in Newton the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month. They’re looking for canners, crafters and antique dealers. Call 409-379-8400 to get in on this deal.
Odom would love to talk Newton with you. If you ever want to visit, call her at 409-379-5527.

Kizmet lovers and diabetics are in for good meals.


Tina and Scott, new owners, will be happy to fill you in on the art gallery, art lessons and white chocolate mocha or waffle sandwiches.
This couple is a friendly pair who love to socialize about Kizmet Koffee’s menu. You’ll love chatting with them and they aim to make every customer feel welcome.
Later, move on to more than a dozen sandwiches based on flavors of the world, from Cajun and Jamacian to Hawiaan and Greek.
But be sure to ask about the chicken salad, with a touch of tropical fruit.  
“It’s amazing,” said Mel Murray, who ought to know.
“I make it,” she said.

Should you be eating that?
Soft Molassas Cookies, Fettuccine with Chili-Mushroom Stroganoff Sauce, Sicilian Beef and Rice and Pinto Bean and Avocado Dip… does this sound like I’m reading from a diabetic cookbook?
A thick and tempting book, the newest edition of 1,001 Delicious Recipes for People with Diabetes (Agate Surrey; 978-1-57284-170-3; $20.99), is a plenty-to-offer collection of recipes tailored to a diabetic diet and lifestyle. 
More perks: This third edition has been enlarged and beautifully repackaged with a sleek, updated cover design and a broader, more useful format that sits flat when open for maximum convenience. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts and each one has been kitchen tested, for simple, reliable preparation. It  is part of the bestselling 1,001 series, which as sold more than 750,000 copies across all titles. 
            The above is with book promoters say. I say I’m thrilled that all these adventurous recipes full of healthy flavors should inspire anyone who needs a diabetic diet or not. The fact that nutritional breakdowns come with each offering, from appetizers to desserts, make it so handy for those keeping track of what is good for them.
            In other words, no excuses. Get one of these books and get the family involved. Here’s an easy one to start with that should make you feel you’re at a nice restaurant:
Curried Scallop and Potato Chowder
This chowder has a lively curry flavor and a bright yellow color. Four servings
1 11-ounce bottle clam juice
one half cup dry white wine or water
one pound potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 teaspoon curry powder
one half teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound sea scallops
1 cup frozen peas
 one fourth to one half cup low-fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat clam juice, wine, potatoes, curry powder and garlic to boiling in large saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Process about half the mixture in food processor or blender until smooth; return to pan. Stir in scallops, peas and milk; cook over medium heat until scallops are cooked, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Prince of Peace
Tea can fill you up and fortify you and it doesn’t have to be full of sugar, or even honey for that matter. Someone has shared with me a few bags of Prince of Peace 100 percent oolong tea and one bag makes a pretty strong pitcher. I’m calling it full-on tea. It’s full of flavor and keeps the energy up.

Monday, May 25, 2015

What's your summer bucket list?


Where will your road trips take you this summer? Is there a destination, restaurant, book or shopping experience you can’t wait to get to? Plans for a project around the house? Personal goals?
Let me know what you’re up to, or would like me to find out about and share with others. We can’t get to everything, but we’d sure like to try.

Rustic Door
Have you knocked on the Rustic Door lately?
Get that beach house and patio ready for the summer with fun tropical d├ęcor or just decorate yourself with jewelry and goodies from these shops. Letha Ruiz, manager, said some of the merchandise has a religious appeal.
“Crosses are like, the biggest thing, and that’s year-round,” she said.


“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”
Beaumont Community Players had another winner with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which wrapped up a great season. This  one scored high with acting, costumes and scenery. Musicals are always much fun and I love that this one had so many self-references to Broadway. Can’t wait until next season.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Growing, watching butterflies

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Painted lady butterfly. Photo by Darragh Doiron


Watching butterflies
The chrysalis-to-butterfly story is familiar to us. But have you watched it happen? When Insect Lore sent me  a cup of caterpillars to watch emerge in a pop-up net, I had my doubts that those little critters would turn into the proverbial beautiful butterfly.
Oh my, I did it! I collected flowers and dropped sugar water on them and the butterflies became stronger and more beautiful every day. After a time, you must set them free. My family gathered on the patio for the big event. Some could not wait to get out. Others were shy and needed prompting. Eventually all of them went up like little prayers into the sky, many straight for the aromatic magnolia tree.
Insect Lore calls itself the original butterflies by mail company since 1969. I could not have imagined how much fun this was, and we don’t even have small children at home. Look up this company to grow your own fun.


Jude’s Abstract Artwork
Jude is a little kid and also an artist… with autism. And boy is his grandma, Ann Cutshall, proud of him. Texas Artists Museum has some of his abstracts on the wall. Jude’s Abstract Artwork is at Jude & Granny’s Gallery, which also features oil or pencil portraits. Find them on Facebook or call 409-332-6012.

Abstraction
Stop by the Art Museum of Southeast Texas for some “Abstraction.,” selections from the permanent collection, on view through Sept. 6. Three members in my party were attracted to a large abstract that made me want to assemble combs and paint and create something myself. Another work, suspended from the ceiling, dangled in my path and put me in mind of some overworked brooms I’ve known. Got to love art. It’s your own interpretation.
darraghcastillo@icloud.com.

Shop Port Neches, so long rosemary


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Mae Terro at Attic on the Avenue in Port Neches. Courtesy photo by Darragh Doiron


Shop Port Neches
Attic on the Avenue has some resale finds that benefit us all. Mae Terro showed off an array of knick knacks at this Port Neches store, one of many that help local people with United Board of Missions funding. I saw a little red wooden rocker like I used to have, and then there was all the colored plate glass.
This is just one of many fun shops along Port Neches avenue that sell both new and vintage goodies you’ll want to take home. Spring weather is perfect for exploring your area.

So long, rosemary.
One of my favorite bushes has left me. It was actually a set of rosemary bushes and they’re all gone. Who wouldn’t want some healthy bushes with succulent, fragrant green needles inviting them to inhale?
Seriously, the girls were along a path where I have walked for years. Actually, they were a tad off the path, but I took some extra steps to pass by them, brush against them and breathe in the smell of Christmas, of roasted meats and of a holiday home.
I felt a physical loss when I saw they were gone.
I decided to look forward to whatever new plans owners had to have removed such lovely bushes.
I confess, I had started my own tiny specimens from clippings of these bushes, so I suppose I have rosemary’s sisters at my home.
I also have other walks where rosemary has cousins.

Magnolia time
Some have just a few blooms when you pass by, then two days later you see they are full. It’s magnolia blossom time and I’m loving it. Sometimes the first bloom is way up high like a Christmas tree star. I always ask my husband to pick it for me. He always says it’s in someone else’s yard and he’s not going to climb their tree.

Mom at the hookah lounge


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A sampler plate at Al Basha in Beaumont.  Courtesy photo by Darragh Doiron
 
Mom at the hookah lounge
Lemony yogurt, lamb, roasted peppers, and a falafal “muffin” is a sample of the flavors that danced through our heads at Al Basha in Beaumont. We had a Mediterranean feast, sharing and dipping our bread into a colorful mixtures. I couldn’t resist a Facebook posting tagged Mom’s first course at the hookah lounge, the second function of this establishment. We did peek in the window of that area until someone encouraged us to walk in and tour the spacious lounge with cushy couches as seating. It would get busy later, they promised. We went for the food.
"Later" we were at home watching “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” about an Indian family who opens a restaurant across the path from a swanky French establishment. We actually planned to be savoring the spices of one culture as we enjoyed the movie about two other culinary traditions. We loved it all.

McCormick
I cannot contain my excitement over the hot news from McCormick Gourmet shakers. In fact, it makes me sneeze. I pulled out samples of jalapeno pepper powder, then got more excited with basically crushed, red chipotle pepper grounds, then yelped over a sriracha powder. My daughter’s going to fight me over that one. I’ve been liberally dusting these blends over eggs and everything else every morning and can’t get enough.
They’ve also got new grinders with smoked, lemon zest, sweet onion and chipotle sea salt blends. Love it times four.
Burger auce mix-ins they offer include Montreal Steak, Brown Sugar Bourbon, Sweet Mesquite & Carmelized Onion and Roasted Garlic & Sauteed Onion.
This spring McCormic has released 21 new products inspired by flavor trends on the rise. You’ll want to play with these.

Bacon
I’ve got bacon heating very slowly in a covered skillet and plan to rescue the fat for future projects. I’m hoping to spiral partially cooked bacon onto partially cooked sweet potato planks and hope they’ll cleave together for crunchy goodness. Some of that McCormick flavor mentioned above will finish off the flavor explosion.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Shop Port Neches, so long Rosemary


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Mae Terro at Attic on the Avenue in Port Neches. Courtesy photo by Darragh Doiron


Shop Port Neches
Attic on the Avenue has some resale finds that benefit us all. Mae Terro showed off an array of knick knacks at this Port Neches store, one of many that help local people with United Board of Missions funding. I saw a little red wooden rocker like I used to have, and then there was all the colored plate glass.
This is just one of many fun shops along Port Neches avenue that sell both new and vintage goodies you’ll want to take home. Spring weather is perfect for exploring your area.

So long, rosemary.
One of my favorite bushes has left me. It was actually a set of rosemary bushes and they’re all gone. Who wouldn’t want some healthy bushes with succulent, fragrant green needles inviting them to inhale?
Seriously, the girls were along a path where I have walked for years. Actually, they were a tad off the path, but I took some extra steps to pass by them, brush against them and breathe in the smell of Christmas, of roasted meats and of a holiday home.
I felt a physical loss when I saw they were gone.
I decided to look forward to whatever new plans owners had to have removed such lovely bushes.
I confess, I had started my own tiny specimens from clippings of these bushes, so I suppose I have rosemary’s sisters at my home.
I also have other walks where rosemary has cousins.

Magnolia time
Some have just a few blooms when you pass by, then two days later you see they are full. It’s magnolia blossom time and I’m loving it. Sometimes the first bloom is way up high like a Christmas tree star. I always ask my husband to pick it for me. He always says it’s in someone else’s yard and he’s not going to climb their tree.