Saturday, December 08, 2007

Two Pleasures...

"Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want."

-Gale Green

Pleasure #1: Latkas

As you know, Hanukkah is celebrated this week, and so I have been trying out different recipes to fit the occasion. This year, I am cooking as a diabetic, so I am trying recipes in the "lighter version" format to keep my blood sugar under control, while still enjoying the holidays. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a lot of diabetic friendly recipes for Latkas, as it is one of my favorite things to eat any day of the year. I looked here and there, and finally just put on my own creative thinking cap, and came up with what you see here. Yum. And it is so simple and quick to make. All I did was eliminate the egg, and add a package of mashed potatoes to help things hold together. :) I had 4 Latkas, and a nice bowl of mixed fruit for dinner the other night, and my blood sugar was a respectable 127 mg/dl, two hours after dinner. That made it all the more delicious. Yum.

Carly's Easy Potato Pancakes (Latkas)

1 pkg. Idahoan Mashed Potatoes (Buttery Homestyle)
8 cups Shredded Ore Ida Hash Brown Potatoes
2 apples, peeled, cored and shredded
1 sm - med. yellow onion, peeled and shredded
3 tbs oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Put the Ore Ida hash browns in a large mixing bowl, and set aside to warm to room temperature. Meanwhile, shred the apple and onion and mix into the bowl with the hash brown potatoes, blend well. Next, prepare the mashed potatoes according to the package directions, except use just under 2 cups boiling water, rather then the full 2 cups recommended. The potatoes should be very stiff. Add the mashed potatoes into the bowl with the hash browns, apple and onion, and stir until well mixed.

In a large nonstick pan, heat oil on medium to high heat until hot, then gently add scoops of the potato mixture. Cook until golden brown on each side. Serve with Sour Cream or Applesauce.

Makes 2 Servings (About 4 small pancakes each)

Pleasures #2: Green Ice Roses In December

This week has certainly had moments that literally put me on my last nerve. I have been having trouble with the comments on this blog, especially in the last couple weeks, so I have decided to activate the Comment Moderation feature, for at least the near future. I want folks I want to hear from to be able to leave me comments, and so far this has been working, so we will see how it goes. If you are still unable to leave me a comment, please send me an email with "Comment" in the subject line. Although this seems to have fixed the bug just fine. Now about the roses.

Well, with the stress of the week, both on the net, and off, I have needed little moments of happiness, and well being. It's important for me to do what I can to take care of myself, so rather then sit around and ruminate about the difficulties I have had, I got out with the camera. I found some neat things to photograph, but one of the things that made me the most happy, was that my Green Ice Rose has decided to bloom, and December be damned! :) I guess I have been a good girl, because the Krampas didn't trample my roses, in fact, if I didn't know better I would swear that there is a guardian garden angle somewhere giving me a hand. My roses are doing really well, despite the very cold days we have been having, and it looks like I will have several more blooms before the end of the month. I might even have fresh roses on the table for Christmas dinner! A definite pleasure indeed! :)

Berkeley, California
December 7, 2007
Early Evening

Friday, December 07, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #194: What You Wanted Back When

"The best gift you can give is a hug. One size fits all, and no one ever minds if you return it."


Weekend Assignment #194: Think back to when you were eight years old. What did you really, really, really want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Other seasonal celebration? We're taking the thing you wanted so much that you would just die if you didn't get it. If you can't remember what that was when you were eight specifically, then pick an age close to it. But if you can remember what the thing was when you were eight: Share it!

Extra Credit: Did you get it?

-John Scalzi, of the blog, By The Way

Oh my, this one is easy. As you probably know, I was a girly girl when I was a child, actually, I am still a girly girl. LOL. I loved stuffed animals and dolls, and I still put the occasional bear or doll on my Christmas list. But I have also had a lifetime love of music, and I can remember Christmas 1970, and my undying love for Keith Partridge, played by David Cassidy.

In my neighborhood, either you were a fan of the Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family. Both had their own appeal, but I think I liked the novelty of the music in every episode of the Partridge Family, as opposed to the only occasional, and in my opinion, lame music, of the Brady Bunch. LOL. I just realized how much thought I have put into this, and frankly, I find it a bit disturbing. LOL.

Anyway, in September of 1970, the Partridge Family debuted on ABC, and by Christmas of that year the single, I Think I Love You, had made it to the top of Billboard's charts. And that is what I wanted for Christmas that year, the 45 single, I Think I Love You, by the Partridge Family! LOL. Oh my. :)

I hadn't thought about my crush on David Cassidy for years. I think he was my obsession until Bobby Sherman came along a couple years later. Actually, Richard Thomas (John Boy Walton) may have been a crush in between David and Bobby, but he didn't sing, so he was out! Tee Hee. Goodnight John Boy!

Extra Credit: Yep, I did get the 45 single, I Think I Love You, and then for Valentine's Day, my sister bought me the full length album.

"Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third."

-Marge Piercy


Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Night Out With Alan

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day."

-Vincent Van Gogh

Alan and I had a date the other night. We date often, and I think it's one thing that has kept us young at heart. It's not really important where we go, or what we do, but it is important that we leave work, and the day to day details of life behind. No ranting about how completely stupid George Bush really is, and no ranting about how completely stupid Alan thinks George Bush really is either! LOL. Honestly, if you think I am bad, you should hear him rant sometime. LOL. He makes me laugh when he makes fun of Bush and Cheney, and when I laugh, down goes the blood sugar. Alan is good for me. :)

Anyway, back to the night out. We love going into San Francisco and exploring, but this time of year we actually haunt a couple of neighborhoods religiously. One of our favorite spots is Justin Herman Plaza. From early November through the end of December, there is the added attraction of the Holiday Ice Rink. Its fun to watch the skaters, mostly families sharing time together, having fun. :) It's life affirming. We usually watch from rink level, but this year we decided to also watch from the third level of the Embarcadero Center. It was cold, but it couldn't have been more fun.

Afterwards we walked around the plaza and did some window shopping, and a little dreaming I suppose. We talked about this Christmas, and how it is his year to make me breakfast in bed. I have earned it. I usually stay up all night, wrapping packages, and chatting with my best friend H. P. so it's kind of fun to make something delicious, and then climb into bed with Alan and have breakfast before he leaves for work. This year, however, Alan has the day off, so, I will probably still chat with H. P., but I will probably go to bed a little earlier then I usually do, and wake up a little later in the morning to a nice warm breakfast. :) I'm looking forward to that. :)

After we got the details for Christmas worked out, we made another date to comeback here in a couple weeks. We will probably do some shopping here, and then hop over to Union Square to do some night photography. All the decorations are up throughout of the city, so there are lots of opportunities to get in some time with the camera. I need a lot more practice with my night photography. It's really nice when he brings his camera along, honestly, he takes the most wonderful photographs. I wish he would start blogging again, but with his current schedule it would be difficult. Still, he may have to make a guest appearance here on Ellipsis. We'll see.

And now, into the night...

The San Francisco skyline, as seen from Treasure Island. All the buildings in the Embarcadero area is outlined to look like packages for the holidays. :) This photo really doesn't do the scene justice. :)

The view of the city looking south, toward Mission street.

The View from the third floor of the Embarcadero Center.

Beautiful, fun, and the it has the gorgeous Ferry Building in the background. :)

"The Tulip" is designed by artist, John C. Portman Jr. It is outlined in lights, and spans three stories. An amazing piece of art. One of my favorite pieces along the Embarcadero.

All decorated for the holidays, this over crossing is a lovely place to grab a sandwich and a hot beverage, and watch the world go by.

"Skating In The City"
Embarcadero Center
Justin Herman Plaza
San Francisco, California
December 3, 2007
Early Evening

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot On Tuesday: Odd Man Out

"It's a very odd thing, as odd as odd can be, that whatever Miss T eats, turns into Miss T."

-Walter de La Mare

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Give us a picture of many things alike - and one thing not. If you're of a certain age (i.e., my age), you'll remember the song from Seasme Street that went "one of these things is not like the others..." This is a picture version of that. Could be as simple as three cups and a dish, or six cars and a bicycle, or a bunch of young kids with an elderly person. You get the idea.

-John Scalzi, of the blog, By The Way

Yep, I do get the idea. When I was visiting the Dahlia garden in Golden Gate Park, this past summer and autumn, there was ample opportunity in front of me to get just such a photo. There is an amazing amount of varieties of dahlias in the garden, and in every color imaginable, so I tried to photograph two different ones together when I could. As I looked through my archives this evening, this photo really popped out at me. I had passed it by for an earlier posting because of how different the colors were, but it fits this entry quite nicely. :) That was the only red dahlia plant, in an otherwise sea of light purple/white dahlias. Pretty, isn't it? :)

"Not Like The Others"
Dahlia Garden
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
August 29, 2007
Late Afternoon

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah 2007

"The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle."

-Robert Attinger

Happy Hanukkah! The Festival of Lights begins tonight at sundown. Spend some time with your family, and embrace the miracles in your life. Enjoy life. Enjoy love.

Joyous Hanukkah
Author - Unknown

At last! At last! Hanukkah is here!
The whole house is bursting with holiday cheer.

Pancakes are sizzling as hard as they can.
Browning delectably crisp in the pan.

The dreidels can scarcely wait to be spun;
Presents are hidden for Hanukkah fun;

And there, on the table, polished and bright,
The shinning menorah gleams through the night,

Like the oil lamp in ancient history,
That burned on and on miraculously!

And each flaming candle proclaims the great story
Of the Maccabean heroes, their deeds and their glory.

"Happy Hanukkah"
Castro Valley, California
December 13th, 2007
Late Afternoon

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mr. Unknown Since 2005

"If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost. You can still call him vile names."

-Elbert Hubbard

Meet Mr. Unknown. A couple years ago, in early December, I came home to find this strange little man sitting on the brick fence that lines the long driveway by my house. I have no idea where he came from, or just what exactly he is. There are no children where I live, so it is unlikely it was left there by a child on their way to an adventure elsewhere, and there is no identifying inscription anywhere on the figurine. So, who could this mysterious man be? Is he a Christmas Krampas of some type? Is he an angel, sent to watch over me? Is he a spirit friend? Who knows? :) It's a mystery to be sure.

So, since I think he should have a name, why don't we have some fun? The focus of the latest Ellipsis Poll is to choose a suitable name for the little traveler, because everyone should have a name. Right? Just see my sidebar to vote for your favorite name. I have added a lot of new features to the sidebar, so just scroll down until you see the poll. It's there I promise. :) If you don't see your favorite name among the choices, then feel free to come back here and leave your vote in the comment thread for this entry, and I will count it among the name choices. I will announce the little fella's poll chosen name on New Year's Eve.

I like this little guy, and would enjoy knowing what his story is. If you know who he is, and what he's about, please leave me a comment. He might be a Value Meal toy, or maybe he has a deep, dark past. Either way, can you help us solve the mystery? I found him in December of 2005... does that help? :)

You can find the results of our last poll here. :)

"Mr. Unknown"
Berkeley, California
December, 2005
Late Afternoon

Sunday, December 02, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #193: Comfort Food

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four, unless there are three other people."

-Orson Welles

Weekend Assignment #193: Share one of your favorite comfort foods. Because it's just about the time of year for them, isn't it? Getting chillier and with the cold comes the desire for warm food that makes you happy. Hello! Comfort food.

Extra Credit: Well, a picture of your favorite food would be nice, and might also make me hungry.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Ahh yes, comfort food! This might sound a little silly, but right about this time of year I get hungry for what I call "Bachelor Food." You know, Macaroni and Cheese, English Muffin Pizzas, and of course Beans and Franks, which you see pictured above. I love it! I used to make it with different types of sausage, but this version is a lot healthier. I made it with vegetarian baked beans, low calorie barbecue sauce, and chicken franks. Still yummy, and slightly less devastating to my current health regimen. :) It was really cold outside the night I made this, and let me tell you, it's hearty goodness really hit the spot. :)

Another comfort food is homemade cookies. I love cooking, and baking this time of year, there is nothing like the smell of a freshly baked cooking coming from the kitchen. I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Cinnamon cookies this weekend, and they came out really chewy and chocolaty good, but on Tuesday of this week I am planning to make some Hanukkah Sugar cookies. Yum. There is a lot of other culinary comfort food yumminess I have planned for this week. Sweet Potato Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Cheese turnovers etc, all of which I can have, just in moderation. That's the key to comfort food, and all food really, moderation. :) Go Comfort Food! :)

"Never eat more then you can lift."

-Missy Piggy

Extra Credit: See above. :)

"Beans and Franks"
Berkeley, California
December 2nd 2007
Early Evening