Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ups and downs

I've been a bit down lately. Nothing serious, just general life stuff... taxes and rainy, cold weather are not helping the situation.

An impromptu trip to Central Oregon proved an immense help. Just over the mountains, sunshine and warm air greeted us last weekend. A peaceful hike through the Painted Hills at sunset definitely cleared my head. Nothing like a road trip to put things in perspective and give one a sense of calm.

Painted Hills, Oregon

dead tree

Girl and dog at Painted Hills

We made it back in time for Easter, but ran out of time to paint eggs. I did manage to find time to bake a fresh blueberry pie...


A pity party took over my world today after writing checks with very large numbers on them. So after dropping off all those envelopes filled with tax papers and checks at the post office, I decided what we really needed was some healthy food and maybe a libation to make life a bit more palatable. A celebration of the fact that we can actually pay the large tax bill that came our way this year. After all, isn't the reason we're paying more in taxes because we made the money in the first place? Too many are unable to pay their monthly bills right now. The unemployment rate in Oregon is up to 12.1%. We need to count our blessings and stop whining!

Susan Boyle also disrupted my negative thought processing. She put a smile on my face and a lift in my step. If you haven't seen the video of this amazing woman on the reality show, 'Britains Got Talent' (the British version of American Idol), by all means watch it... with a kleenex handy. Unfortunately, YouTube would not allow me to post it here, so you'll need to google her to find it.

So with that lightened heart and a hungry family to feed, I'm cooking up some yummy dishes using fresh ingredients. Here's what we'll be feasting on tonight: corn chips and mango avocado salsa; basil pesto pasta (made with locally grown basil); green salad; fresh baguette; and homemade strawberry ice cream (made with local berries still in the freezer from last season)... oh, and a cold Oregon microbrew. The mango avocado salsa is my new favorite salsa. Delicious scooped up with corn chips, atop shredded beef and cheese on a corn tortilla. It's also capable of turning a boring sandwich into a sensation. Get ready to chop, chop and chop...


Mango Salsa
Printable Recipe

2-3 peeled mangos diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced small
1 ripe avocado, diced
1-2 jalapeños, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and season with salt to taste.

strawberry ice cream


Susan said...

Dear Cindy, I'm sorry you've been feeling down lately. I wondered why I hadn't seen you around and almost emailed you. I'm never sure whether to do that or not, whether it's an intrusion. ((hugs))

I'm glad you took that little trip. There's nothing like looking at this beautiful Earth to brighten one's outlook and perspective.

That blueberry pie looks amazing! Was it as wonderful as it appears? The ice cream looks delicious, too. Strawberry is one of my favorites. (There are many!)

Oh, wasn't that video wonderful? I cried through the whole thing. I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her she was wonderful. It's awful how we judge someone by their looks. Those judges and that audience made me want to smack each and every one. That it took that beautiful voice to make them see what a beautiful person she is.

I'll have to try that salsa. It looks really yummy.

Have a wonderful day! :)

Cindy said...

Oh Susan, your kind words warmed my heart! Thank you! Know that you are always welcome to email me, it would never be an intrusion!

The blueberry pie was a giant hit at our Easter gathering. Blueberry is one of my favorites, so every time I bake one I say it's the best one I've ever made. Creating a lattice crust keeps it from running over and looking too messy too.

Watching the Susan Boyle video confirmed for me why I don't watch American Idol. I too wanted to smack that sneering crowd.

I hope you're having a good day!

Susan said...

Cindy, I just had to write back. Blueberry was my son's favorite pie, too. And he always said, "Mom, this is the best one yet."

And I'm glad I brightened your day a little.

Theresa said...

Hey, C -
Loving your blog - when I have time to check in on it and not scrambling on rewrites ;-)

btw - Britan's Got Talent is the British version of America's Got Talent not American Idol, which was modeled after British Idol. Okay, what does that say about me that I know so much about reality TV? In any case, I love Susan Boyle - not least of all because she is 47! That was just the regional final, so I'm looking forward to what else she will sing. I hope each week is posted online!

Mango is my new favorite fruit, so I've got to try your new recipe. Thanks!

Notre Vie Juteuse said...

yummy on the pie. I have never made a blueberry pie, not sure why but now I need to. Do you use frozen blueberries?

The pictures are lovely of the trip and sometimes you need to just get away from it all and regroup and recharge.

Know the tax feeling. argh!

I saw the youtube on susan boyle. she was such an inspiration and i loved that the woman judge said that she was embarassed by "their" quick to judge and snickering. We are a society that will judge you by your looks so fast. When the first note came out of her mouth I was amazed. She will be on broadway and her life has just changed forever. Just because she did something she has always wanted to do "sing in front of other people".

Can I come to your house for dinner? I can be there in maybe 14 hours?

Cindy said...

Hi Theresa, thanks for the visit. Wow, I wasn't even aware there were so many American Idol type shows around... not a big fan of reality TV myself... have seen only enough to associate Simon Cowell with A.I., so I just assumed.

Cindy said...

Alisa, yes, come to dinner! you're welcome anytime!

You should definitely try making a blueberry pie. Blueberries seem to be best baked into a pie when slightly frozen. I freeze the fresh ones, then run them under cold water before mixing them with the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Having the berries slightly frozen helps the sugar mixture adhere to them. One of these days I'll do a post on creating a blueberry pie from start to finish.

jazgal said...

Cindy - I know how the gray and the taxes cna take you down - it looks like you handled it well with the impromptu trip - beautiful country - and the great meal - YUM! Such tasty recipes.
Just had a quick visit to Mt. Talbert Park in Clackamas - amazing how such a lovely little park is just right there! I highly recommend heading over this week and checking out the fawn lilies which grow there in abundance! So beautiful! Chris has driven all over the state on the hunt for them - and here they are - so close! Happy Spring!

Laurie Kruczek said...

You are too amazing, Cindy. Love your blog, your photos, and your recipes look amazing. I am headed towards Central Oregon today. Will be thinking of the Painted Hills now!

Lisa said...

I just stopped in by way of BlogHer. I love your photos! I usually am done in by the gray around this time of year too but a road trip to sunny California helped take the edge off this year. I do agree that a little sunshine and a Blueberry Pie can do a soul a world of good! Cheers to you and your lovely blog!

Cindy said...

Jazgal, Happy Spring to you! I wasn't familiar with fawn lilies, so I googled them. Those are beautiful little flowers. I can see why your husband's been searching for them. Now I'm searching for a nursery that has them... they'd be perfect in my shade garden. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Laurie, Thank you for your kind words! I hope you're still enjoying your trip to Central Oregon. I do love it over there. Maybe it's just getting away from the city, but the air there always seems to lift my mood. This time of year is especially nice since there are many places you can go and get away from it all. The three of us had the Painted Hills completely to ourselves. Quite a treat!

jazgal said...

Yes, they are a delicate champagne color with downward facing petals and a creamy yellow center. I got several shots of them, I should try to get them up online. I found a WA nursery (up north of Seattle)that was selling them at the Garden and Patio show, and bought a bulb for Chris. Alas, although it started out well in the backyard, it has faded before it got to bloom. So I will keep my hopes up for next year's showing. My goatsbeard bulb seems to be growing OK, however, so we'll see.