Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stickhorse Cowgirl V: Oh, The Places You'll Go!


"Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away! Oh! The Places You'll Go!
...You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights."

I couldn't help but think of this wonderful book by the incomparable Dr. Seuss when I began writing this post. I spent many years working with preschool children in the classroom, so Dr. Seuss is a favorite! Being by nature a tentative (to put it mildly) person, I love the "safety" of home with my feet on solid ground! Of course I know that familiarity and routine implies a false notion of "safety". No one ever knows what lies ahead (and that is a blessing), but it's only my deep desire to see new places that compels me to climb aboard an airplane (clammy palms gripping the armrest), or to spend an entire week aboard a ship, feeling the immense power of the sea below us with no land in sight!!!! "C"'s photos pretty much tell the story of where we went and it was so wonderful to go far away to new places I've never been and to be waited on hand and foot! Oh, I could so get used to having "staff". The succulent pineapple and smorgasbord of fresh melons were part of a never-ending banquet which also featured rack of lamb, oxtail soup, salmon and fabulous desserts of course--even Baked Alaska! Although, I feasted to my heart's delight, I can honestly report that I actually still fit into the clothing I packed before we left! Yes, Dr. Seuss is right! There is fun to be done, fears to be conquered, adventures to be experienced!

Of all the places we visited, I enjoyed San Juan, Puerto Rico the most. The architecture was amazing and although an old city and certainly not the cleanest I've ever seen, it reeked of charm and history! I could spend a lot more time there, and the shopping was the best of everywhere we visited.

This trip was a much needed respite. My husband and I rarely travel. His job is of the self-employed variety in which no work equals no pay and someone just might steal your customer out from under your nose! Yes it IS a dog eat dog out there! He takes an occasional day off for an extended weekend hunting trip, but rarely ever more than a day. Our last "family" vacation was over ten years ago, and our kids are grown now and have left the nest. This trip made me realize more than ever that getting away is something that we really need to do. We need rest and relaxation for our own personal physical and mental health. From now on, even a weekend away from home can count as a mini-vacation! But I'm waiting for summer - glorious summer!!! The only downside of the trip was having to leave the perpetual summer of the Carribean and south Florida, to return to the cold, bleak winter at home. Fortunately the little snowstorm gave me a few days to rest up before returning to work last Friday.

Hope everyone had a wonderful St. Valentine's Day! I celebrated by making a yummy favorite dessert which is a classic, but so easy to prepare. Cherry Clafoutis! How perfect for this holiday of LOVE or just a great way to sweeten up dreary February! Here's the recipe from Tracy Porter of www.tracyporter.com

Cherry Clafoutis

2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter + l T. to butter pan or dish
3 Cups fresh or frozen cherries, stemmed & pitted if fresh (sweet or tart)
1/2 Cup sugar + 3 Tbsp.
4 large eggs
1 Cup whole milk or cream
2 Tbsp. brandy
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour + 1 Tbsp.
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan, or a cast iron pan of the same size. Mix cherries in 1 Tbsp. flour and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Lay cherries in pan.

Combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk,flour, brandy, nutmeg, salt, and butter in a bowl and whisk---or give it a whirl in your food processor until smooth. Pour batter over cherries in buttered pan.

Bake until golden & puffed up (center should be set), about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar or a scrumptious dollop of freshly whipped cream. Serve warm.

I discovered this luscious custard with cherries on Tracy Porter's website and you can even watch her make it on a little video! "C" and I both love Tracy Porter! She is a fabulous designer who sells the most wonderful fashions, jewelry, and home decor, but the best kept secrets for me are the wonderful little five minute videos--some of which demonstrate making something decorative which is not beyond my ability! Hope you'll check her website for ideas! Listen to her radio program on Toginet and you can win $250. in merchandise in her regular weekly contests! Even if you have champagne taste on a beer budget (like me), you can find amazing deals on her clearance page! Be sure to tell her you heard the news from the Stick Horse Cowgirls--we'd appreciate it! And, if you're wondering, no we do not have an "in" with Tracy Porter! In the spirit of St. Valentine's Day, and in solidarity with our many blogland friends, we are just all about "sharing the love"!!!<


laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Love Dr. Seuss. That picture in San Juan is beautiful. I need to get my husband to read this post. You are SO right about vacations. Since he is an attorney, and I am his only secretary, when we leave, the office is closed, and he gets in a twit about it. Can't remember the last time we took a vacation, but we should make ourselves do it. Thanks for lighting a fire under me. I'm going to talk to him about it. laurie

gaelikaa said...

Lovely post, V. It's good to get away. That photo was beautiful.

Laura said...

That post was loaded with good things! As a former preschool teacher for many many years myself I have an affinity for Seuss. "Do you like my hat"? is a famous quote in our family. The vacation looked like so much fun and the Valentine treat mouthwatering.
Hope its a good week back at work.

Protege said...

Ah, I am a bit delayed with my comment, but I hope you had a lovely Valentines Day as well.;)
I agree on San Juan, one of the most beautiful tropical cities. When I was younger, I wanted to move there.;)
As for traveling, I best like this proverb: "The world is an amazing book, those who stay at home only get to read the cover."
Although I admit that lately I love to stay at home, the stress of travel has gotten the best of me. I guess I have travelled so much in the past, I long for the serenity at home.;))

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear your story of the trip. I love the Caribbean and all the get shopping and unique shops. The weather is so perfect being nest to the water. Good to hear you rested up V. Blessings

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