Celebrate Each Birthday

My birthday is a time for personal reflection. Some people use the calendar year, but mine restarts every May 27. In the week leading up to the big day, I check in on how I have used my last 365 days on the planet.

Were they a wise use of this gift of time? Because it is a gift. Every day. Every morning that the birds are singing. Every morning when the sun shines (or at least tries to). And every evening when I tuck myself into bed. Each day I ask if I was good to my daughter. To the planet. To myself. To my family. Did I accomplish anything? Or at least do no harm?

I don’t plant to go through life just skimming along, however. It’s not enough just to know I tried to keep my carbon footprint low, my optimism contagious, and my contributions on the plus side of the abacus. On birthdays, I want  to measure whether I have hit goals that are important to me.

I wasn’t always like this. For awhile there (like maybe 20 years), I told myself I was content to get up each morning, have a coffee or Diet Coke, go to work, go home, make dinner, go to bed. Repeat. Throw in a Sunday dinner with family. An occasional evening out with friends. But really, at the end of the year, I measured my worth by my job title, and accompanying raise or bonus.

Then the raises and bonuses stopped, not because of my work, but because of the industry. And I was mad. Mad at the industry, bosses, etc. A complete and total waste of emotional investment. Yet I did it anyway.

I would like to report that I read a book, or attended a lecture, or saw a counselor who gave me an a-ha moment. But life doesn’t work like that. There are clues dropped along the way to a better path. You can either pick them up or ignore them.

Finally, I started picking them up.  I started really listening to friends – not just preparing a monologue of a reply in my head. I was present. I dug out books recommended by a career counselor, but ignored. I found poignant passages. Then I bought more books. Did more Internet searches. Listened more.

And, eventually, I climbed three mountains with my sister. Those mountains in Colorado were the start of setting goals – and reaching for them. I didn’t master the 14,400-foot one, but I did enjoy a day climbing to nearly 13,000 feet. The old me would have insisted on the Fourteen-er, no matter how miserable I would have been (and the guide assured me I would have been). Instead, when he recommended a compromise that would have meant enjoying the scenery, I accepted that challenge instead.

Since then, I’ve traveled to France, Greece, Italy, and England. I started riding a bike again. I adopted a wonderful dog from the A.N.N.A. Shelter. And my relationship with my daughter, and my family, is a blessing with challenges that I embrace.

I’m single – and that’s a good thing. I am now old enough to know what I want out of life, and I’m going after it. My friend Claudette jokes that men just need to meet me to realize that clingy, needy female I am not. I tried that shoe on, and it just didn’t fit. Another friend said she loves her 50s because now she can say what she has been thinking all along. The fabulous 50s.

I’m loving them.

So what’s a birthday girl do for her dinner when she doesn’t have a “date?”

She makes dinner for her daughter – which we eat in our PJs – and then make plans to go to Creamland for ice cream.

Damn right 50s are fabulous.

XOXOXO

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Crab Topped Flounder
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard, egg yolk, seafood seasoning, Worcestershire, lemon juice, a dash or so of hot sauce (optional). Stir. Add in onion and pepper mix. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Fold crabmeat (picked over for any shell, and rinsed if you are using canned) into mayo mixture. Gently. You want lumps of crab.
  5. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, place the flounder fillets. Top with equal portions (4 in this case) of crab meat, to cover entire length of fish.
  6. Dot with butter, if using. Sprinkle additional seafood seasoning. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges.
Share this Recipe

How Does My Spring Garden Grow

The radishes are ready. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It’s the small things, I know.

You can hate radishes. That’s OK. I used to hate radishes too. They were either bitter or woody. Or just some sort of afterthought on a salad. Once you grow a vegetable, however, you are invested. I it is no longer the produce department reject. It is YOURS. You  coaxed a seed into a sprout into a radish. In May. When the only thing growing is the grass. The peonies aren’t even open yet.

And yet, there it is. A radish. Perfect in its red, white, and green.

Every year I get excited when I plant a vegetable, it grows, and  I can eat it. Some years, I’ve been so amazed, that I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. It was just so amazingly beautiful.

OK. I’m a vegetable geek. I blame it on 6 months of grey skies, snow, and rain.

Anyway, these little guys are delightful paired with a honeydew melon and cucumber salad.

The cucumbers aren’t mine and neither is the honeydew. The cucumbers are local, however. They are grown at Walker Farms in Edinboro. Honeydew won’t be around here for another couple of months. But the mint and basil are mine.

The recipe is pretty simple. Cut up melon (any kind), cucumber (peeled), and toss with basil and mint. Add radish, if you like. Squeeze some lemon juice on top. Salt and pepper to taste.

My garden currently has cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, chard, arugula, kale, eggplant, and beets planted. It will be awhile before anything else is ready. Until then, I make do with whats available.

The recipe I’ve included today has been in my “to try” folder for several months. I finally remembered why I had Tater Tots in the freezer and pulled them out. Essentially, the tots are a shortcut to a thick potato pancake, which can be topped with all kinds of ingredients. I made one with salmon and caviar for my daughter. Mine had prosciutto, brie, mustard, and arugula. We could only eat half – consider that fair warning – but the leftovers worked well the next day for breakfast.

Once potatoes are in season, I’ll be adding a similar recipe (no tots, but sliced potatoes cooked until crisp) to the Meadballs menu for delivery in the fall. Until then … See you at the farm stands soon.

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Tater Tot Waffle with Salmon and Caviar
Instructions
  1. This step is the same for either recipe: Heat an 8-inch waffle iron. Coat waffle iron with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups of the tots on it; sprinkle with salt. Close and cook on medium high until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Open the waffle iron and fill in any holes in the waffle with more tots, then close and cook until golden and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Cooking time will depend on heat of waffle iron.
  3. Place on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven to keep warm.
  4. Repeat with the remaining tots.
  5. Salmon: Top each warm waffle with crème fraîche or sour cream, 3 slices smoked salmon, spoonful caviar, a few small sprigs of dill, capers and a squeeze of lemon juice. Surround with cucumber slices, salted. Repeat for each waffle.
  6. Prosciutto: In a small bowl, toss arugula with lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and mustard. Spread on top of waffle. Top with 1 ounce of cheese (tear it into 4 bits and divide equally on waffle top. Top with 3 slices of prosciutto. Return to waffle iron and press closed until cheese melts. Remove waffle from iron. Place on plate and top with 1/4 of arugula. Repeat for each waffle.
  7. Adapted from Food&WIne
Recipe Notes

You could, of course, add radishes to either one of these 😉

Adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tater-tot-waffles-smoked-salmon-and-caviar

Share this Recipe