Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Surprise!!!!!

I tell you, catching JOY?  It's so easy sometimes!

Remember how I lusted for a big ole bouquet of sunflowers from the sunflower maze?  And remember how I told you I am always getting awesome gifts?  Look what arrived at my door this morning!

I got a call from a client (I love you Priscilla!) and she wanted to know if I would be home around 11 because a friend was dropping off a surprise.  So EXCITED!!!

My "kind of" neighbor, Marty, drives up and gets out of the car holding this big ole bouquet of sunflowers!!!!  He is the sweetest guy!  He told me he grew sunflowers - about 300 plants - and he works for Priscilla.  You can take it from there!!  

Thank you Marty and Priscilla!  My JOY was written all over my face.  I LOVE these and more than that, I love how the whole surprise unfolded!  THIS is JOY catching ON!!!

So - a bit of brain dumping here.  Since I failed miserably at getting my kids to eat really healthy this summer, the other day I made the decision to start over and start smaller.  I decided to try and do gluten-free snacks, etc.  I truly think the rashes that 2 of my carb-hound children are getting and the dark circles I see under my rested daughter's eyes are directly related to all the wheat/gluten crap they stuff themselves with.  (That I do not necessarily buy - don't ASK!)

So I shelled out wayyyyyyy too much $$$$ for some gluten free "stuff" and then I consulted with my niece and my cousin Cindy who has Celiac and went shopping again - this time for ingredients to make snacks.  I went to Foodworks - our local version of Whole Paycheck Foods. 

$50 later... (the Gingerade Kombuca is mine - yum)...that's ONE bag!  $50...sigh.  Anyway - I made my cousin's Incredible Edibles. Yes there is sugar but as I said - I'm starting small - baby steps, people!!!

Incredible Edibles (better than Reeses PB Cups!)

Gluten Free!

·       1 ½ sticks butter, melted
·       2 cups Josefs "mock" graham cookies.  Use 2 packages. Or there’s a mock graham already crushed in a box in health food stores, Whole Foods, maybe even grocery stores.
·       16 oz. Teddy’s Peanut Butter or Smucker’s All Natural
·       1 ½ cups powdered sugar
·       12 oz. Nestle’s, or Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate bits
·       2 T water

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter and sugar.  Mix together well until crumbly.  Press evenly into the pan.

In the microwave, melt chocolate with 2 T water until smooth.  Spread evenly over the peanut butter mixture in the pan. 

Place in refrigerator to harden, and then cut into small squares.  

Everyone LOVED them!  I have to say - I caught some JOY over that!!!  Anddddd I caught JOY when I tasted a little square myself. (No - I won't be indulging - as I can't indulge in sugary treats too often - seriously, I have been good for 6 months till a few weeks ago and now paying for my transgressions!)

One last thing - I'm doing a bit of entertaining tomorrow on my front porch.  I LOVE my front porch.  It's truly where I spend most of my time from Spring through Fall.  It's where I catch ALOT of JOY.  

So I needed to spruce it up a bit as I had really let it "go" over the summer.  Check it out.  Don't you wish you were having coffee tomorrow morning there and cocktails tomorrow evening there?

 Don't my Coleus look awesome!!!?  Check out a better view.  (Hmmm - I better spray down that wheelbarrow...)

Guess what?  TGIFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Ummm - anyone know what  "senseless acts of beauty" means?  LOL!  Come on!  Gimmee an example!

Oh and just because the 1 year anniversary of our lovely Irene is coming up this weekend...



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summertime Winding Its Way

We are in the home stretch of the lazy days of summer.  As you know, I can't wait until the three littles go back to school!  Afterall - I have not had one moment alone in close to 2 months!!!!  This coming from the girl who has kind of laid out a perfect day.  Train clients from 6am -10am.  Free of ANYONE in the house unless I invite them - for FIVE hours every week day!  Talk about shell shock on the first day of summer vacation?  How about the 6th day?  HOW ABOUT THE SIXTH WEEKKKKKKKKK???????

At any rate - my goal was to make this a fun summer not only for the littles, but also for me.  The best way to accomplish this is to plan.  Plan activities outside the home before we kill each other...

I think I did a pretty good job.  We beached it.  We hiked.  Ate Beach Donuts.  We did local tourist attractions.  Fished.  Went out to breakfast.  Frequented Dari Serv.  Had sleepovers.  Went away on vacation.  I think I did pretty darn good...

Yesterday we hiked the Sunflower Maze.  I wouldn't say it went the maze is filled with harmless bees that my oldest was quite terrified leery of.  I was fine!  I actually enjoyed their fear.   

He is trying to smile for the camera as he dodges the deadly dive bombing bees - NOT.  They totally ignored us but he would hear the buzzzzz and get the picture.

On the way home, I decided to stop at Dari Serv the best Italian market EVER.

I love this market.  They have so much good stuff.  The meats are phenomenal.  The baked goods, cheeses, salamis, sandwiches, prepared foods, fruits, vegies, seafood - it's all stuffed into this little tiny market reminiscent of the South end of Hartford/Franklin Ave. where I was born.  You locals need to stay away so it's not so crowded go there!  It's in Durham.

Lobster was $4.99/pound and I splurged on 6 and my hub and I easily consumed all 6.  I tried a "recipe" a client talked about in class one night that she prepared on her Maine vacation.  Here's what she texted me.  It was soooooo delicious.  I am a purist and have NEVER prepared lobster any other way than to steam it and eat it with butter and lemon.  I will do this again.  Thanks Peggi D!!!!

Lobster is par boil them till almost fully cooled .  Leave it in the shells but break it into pieces, tail claws etc. crack the claws but leave them in the shell and mix together lemon and lime juice and lots of cilantro some ancho chili powder melted butter a little pepper if you want and just pour it over the lobster in a big bowl making sure it gets into the cracks of the claws tail etc. and them put then on the grill for five minutes or so. When cracking the lobster apart do it over the bowl your going to use to save the juice so that all ends up with the lime lemon mixture.

Unfortunately, I was so busy stuffing my face I forgot to take a picture until it was just a pile of shells...

I mean - I AM the MAMA of the three little pigs...that would make me the Mama pig, right?

Anyway - I caught wisps of JOY in the maze because I adore sunflowers.  (I was dying to cut myself a big ole bouquet.)  Of course - what JOY is there NOT to catch eating lobster???  So, all in all, I think I did good on this 2nd to last summer Monday.  On to the 2nd to last Tuesday...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

An Odds and Ends Weekend Catching JOY

Sometimes, the oddest things happen in life.

Friday I took the three little you know whats, shoe shopping.  THAT is a story in and of itself but anyway - we stopped in to meet my little Thomas who I want to marry when I grow up.  Because any guy with those eyes needs to be adored by me till death do us part!  Oh how he brought me JOY that morning!!!

Or perhaps mini-me should be a cougar and marry Thomas!!!  Hmmmmm...what's 10 years?

Then we headed out for the dreaded school shopping.  I needed a break mid-way through our torture day and guess where we ended up?  

 You remember Beach Donuts!  So while we were there (Oh - BTW - they made me my Lemon Delight donut - MADE it for me - while I waited!!!!) I mentioned to the girl behind the counter that I loved the place so much that I put them in my blog.  She was so excited and ran out back to to tell the owner.  He was very busy and she wanted me to wait for him but I didn't want to bother him so I left with donuts and iced coffee in hand.

Well - lo and behold, guess where we ended up this morning?  It was Sunday morning and the whole Brady Bunch climbed into our teeny Ford Ranger pickup truck with the fishing rods in the back and headed to the shore for a stop at a flea market for a look see, Beach Donuts for you know what, Sal D's at Clinton Harbor Marina for egg sandwiches and then off to fish for a few hours down at the Clinton Beach bridge.

We walk into Beach Donuts and there are like 30 people in line ahead of us.  DID THEY ALL READ MY BLOG!!!!???????  LOL!!!

Here's the "oddest things happen in life" tie-in.  So it's finally almost my turn and I hear the girl behind the counter (not the one from Friday) say to a customer, "Oh and someone even mentioned us in their blog and on facebook."  I picked my teeth up off the floor started laughing and said, "Hey!  That's MY blog!!!"  It was a very funny moment.  And she admitted it was the first time she had said that to anyone.  What are the chances?

Anyway - looked and found JOY this morning.  

We are so lucky to live so close to all this beauty.  I can't imagine living so deep inland that the shore is not just 15 minutes away...

I stupidly forgot my book.  My family was fishing so I had to entertain myself.  Catch THIS!!

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!  This poor guy parked his car here long before the tide came in.  Oooopssss!!!!

BAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!  Guess he was going to be surprised.  Hope it didn't go much higher...

Here's Gadabout Gaddis untangling yet another rod...story of his fishing life with the 3 little pigs...

Ah the TORTURE JOY of fishing.  That's why I bring a book and camera!

That's all folks!  Off to dinner with one of my BFFs!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Age of Miracles

Here's my new read.  I was up till midnight reading last night.   Love when I can do that and still get 7 hours sleep!!!  It's pretty good.  Yet another dystopian society book.  I think I've read 20 in the last 2 years but again - I am kind of liking The Age of Miracles.  Let me know if you want to borrow it when I'm done!

Nothing like reading JOY!

PS - YANKEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!  (I can do this - go off subject - cuz IT'S MY BLOG!!!)  :)


Thursday, August 16, 2012


OMG!  I forgot to post yesterday!!!!  How did that happen!  I know I started to...oh well - the road to hell, I suppose...

This will be a short post.  

You know what I LOVE about my clients?  They bring me AMAZING stuff.  Yup - JOYJOYJOY.  This is what I got last week:

1.  Farm fresh eggs (I LOVE you Gail!!!!)
2.  Ina Garten's Curried Chicken Salad (to die for)
3.  Homemade Pesto
4.  Homemade cupcakes
5.  An amazing pork creation
6.  A more amazing Fresh Salsa Verde
7.  That Zucchini dish I posted 2 days ago

And I am positive I am forgetting more and I apologize for that but I am beginning to accept that I just plain FORGET STUFF!

You can't imagine how many gifts I receive throughout the year!  I have one client/friend who ALWAYS brings me her amazing leftover experiments! (and they are ALWAYS fabulous!!)  One of my BFFs brought me TWO - not one - but TWO bars of Lake Champlain dark Chocolate  (amazing) a few weeks ago.  I got a wine glass with blue polka dots at the beginning of the summer!  People bring me gifts from their vacations (China, Mexico and Costa Rica come to mind!).  

I get the most delicious Christmas cookies (Charlene!!!!!!), books people have loved, tickets & unused gift certificates for games and shows and the spa...seriously?  It is AMAZING!!!  I have THE best clients on earth!  Every week someone is bringing me stuff!  So blessed - that's me - SO blessed.  

I have one, somewhat new, client I have bonded with and she is always sending me recipes and bringing me food.  I LOVE this chica!!!!  This recipe made the cut.  She brought me a big ole container of THE most amazing Fresh Salsa Verde and I was in heaven when I first tasted it.  Then I had it with scrambled eggs!  Eeeeek!!!!!!   Amazing!

It's made with Tomatillos.  This is what a tomatillo looks like.  They are so pretty!

Tonight I am making her recipe for Fish Tacos (sans the taco only because I forgot to buy the corn tortilla and then realized - I can't eat them anyway and I can still make the fish and the sauces!) and plan to serve it with a side of the Salsa Verde.

Here's the recipe:

Fresh Salsa Verde

1/2 lb Tomatillos, husked, rinsed, quartered (6-8)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbls EVOO
2 jalapenos, remove seeds and cut in half
1 small lime (juice from)
2 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped

Roast half the tomatillos, 2 garlic cloves, 2/3 onion and jalapenos at 400 deg. until soft and browned.  Throw into food processor along with remain ingredients.  Grate remaining garlic, really fine and process all until lumpy smooth.

I highly recommend this on anything.  LOL! 

Here is what I made to serve with my fish tacoless and Salsa Verde.  Tomato Pie!!!!!

Big ass food JOY!  That's all for now folks.  Tomorrow is another day!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Field trip today!!!

I decided to take my three little pigs kids out to breakfast - MY favorite thing to do with my kids...except when one culprit spills his brother's cranberry juice - ALL OVER Mom!

But that was last month.  This month - no mis-haps.  Phew...

Then the 4 of us took the journey to Simsbury to hike up to the Heublein Tower!

Rain and gloom accompanied us all the way up Talcott Mountain but it was still worth it.  The views were amazing!

As we descended the mountain, the pigs kids nagged asked me if we could go to the mall.  Ummm?  Soaking wet???  When my almost 13 year old stated that he had never been to a mall - eeeek!!!!  I donned the ole baseball hat and agreed to take them.  HURRAYYYYYY - we love you Mom!!!  You're the best!!!  Wahoo!!! The Mallllllllll!!!!!  We're going to the MALL!!!!!  JOY JOY JOY!!!  (theirs or mine? - eeek!!!)

Seriously?  Never been to the mall?????  What?  Do we live under a rock for goodness sake???

Yea - seriously.  Anthony wanted to go "window" shopping.  Sureeeeeee you do...

$140 later...eeek!!!!!

But before the mall, I needed to stop and catch ME some JOY.  Penzeys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT?  You don't know about Penzey's!!!!!  O-M-G.

So, I love great food.  I enjoy cooking great food.  But I was never one to spend a fortune on spices and herbs.  I use my home grown fresh in the summer and bought the CVS cheapest of both when I needed to refresh.  Pashaw!  Refresh??????

Penzeys has given  a whole new meaning to "refresh".

Last winter, my client Peggy D. over-purchased at Penzeys and brought in cinnamon and oregano to share with her strength class friends.  I will NEVER buy another brand of cinnamon or dried oregano again.  IN FACT - I am quickly slowly replacing all my herbs and spices with Penzeys.  You cannot believe it until you have tried it.  I sprinkle cinnamon on my greek yogurt in the morning and one day, I ran out of Penzeys and used what was left in the drawer from what seemed to be a fairly good brand.

Do you catch my drift?  Dirt, I say!  DIRT!!!!  It was HORRIBLEEEEEEE!!!!!

Anyway - I JOYfully stocked up!

So - all in all - it was a really fun day.  Caught many moments of you know what.  We had a great breakfast with funny moments, we went for a great hike, I got my Penzeys fix, we went to the mall...and as I listened to the pigs - I mean kids - blabbing in the car on the way home as they held tightly to their new back to school goodies, this is what I heard.

"mallmallmallmallmallmallmalletcetcetcmallmallmall" and this:

"Haaaaa!!!  LOL!!!!!!!  Dad's gonna ask what we did today and we're all gonna say, WE WENT TO THE MALL!!!!  Seems like that hike was so longggg ago..."  Yup - they caught JOY today.  No doubt about it.  The mall...who knew????


Monday, August 13, 2012

Little JOY


Have I told you how much JOY I am catching just because I started blogging again?  Little JOY but nevertheless - JOY.  It's really quite fascinating.  I am looking for JOY instead of feeling JOYless and whining that life is a drag.  I sense a lesson here...

But enough of the spiritual stuff.  Let's talk donuts.

YES!  Donuts.  Did I ever tell you how much I love donuts?  I would almost get pregnant again just to be able to eat endless amounts of donuts.  

Ummm - No I wouldn't.  

You thinking I'm that f'ing crazy???!!!

But - I DID eat endless amounts of donuts when I was pregnant with my daughter and now I own my very own sweet tooth kid - who LOVES donuts.  In fact, we bond over sweets.  And you know I'm not supposed to eat sugary treats but if it means a bonding moment, then I'm going for it.  THREE times this weekend and the spare tire around the middle to prove it.

Beach Donut Shop in Clinton?  OMGGGGGGGGGG.  Yesterday we had a bonding moment there.  We went in for an iced coffee and came out with these.  D'OH.

 I even went really off the grid and ordered something I've never had before.  Me!  The purist - who always orders glazed or the like.  This is a Lemon Cream and it was AMAZING!!!!!

Speaking of iced coffee, I was on Pinterest last week - don't ask if you don't know what Pinterest is - and there was this GREAT idea!  I drink an iced coffee every summer afternoon and Pinterest had this "pin" about freezing coffee into ice cubes and using them in your iced coffee.  GENIUS!!!!!!! 

So I order an iced coffee at Beach Donut Shop and the girl tells me they use frozen coffee cubes in their iced coffee.   I sucked that baby down!  With melted cubes to spare!!

There are no coincidences!!!!  And talk about JOY!!!!!

So that's my boring blog for today but I'm 3 for 3!!!!

OH - almost forgot.  Going back to that spiritual beginning - Brooke and I continued our journey from the donut shop to Shop-rite (you know - the place that always wants to give me my senior discount - grrrrr) and found THIS already!!!!  What the H*LLLLLLLL!!!!!!!  It's the most wonderful time of the year!  School is starting!!!  Not Halloween!!!!

But we caught JOY because the discussion at home last week was how soon are they gonna put out the Halloween candy!!!!  HAD to take the picture and text it to my oldest son - the holiday kid.  See?  Looking for JOY!  I gotta can this concept!!!!  I think I'm on to something...hmmmmmm.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Harvest Fest - MY HOUSE!!!

Went to the Chester Farm Market this morning and bought a few things - raw milk cheese from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, organic heirloom "Lemony" tomatoes (lovely yellow aka "Limmony") and some red heirlooms along with a basket of sweet orangey colored cherry tomatoes. 

And I am very excited about this:

I grew up on a working family farm.  While I never milked Honey our Jersey cow (my older brothers had that chore morning and night!  Agh) I consumed a HUGE amount of her milk, cream and butter.  At least once a month, my amazing, hard working mother made and froze butter from cream that was thicker than vanilla ice cream.  It was BRIGHT buttery yellow.  Today Trinity Dairy Farm had butter that did not rival my childhood butter but is close.  I know in my heart that their cows must be fed grain but they ARE pastured also soooo...I stuck a finger full in my mouth and a wisp of nostalgia wafted thru my brain.  Cocobutter coffee - here I come!  (a post for another day)

My BFF Robin bought one of these suckers as a thank you gift for someone.  That is one huge peanut butter cupcake!!  (Brought to the farm market by Simon's Market!)

Hay House Flowers from Old Saybrook had these.  Breathtakingly beautiful!

 So, I am excited to indulge in my goodies today and mayyyyybeeee tomorrow if there is anything left...

Now - to get down to business - THIS is where I have caught a LOAD of JOY this summer.  On my birthday in June, a group of my BFFs took me to a restaurant called Six Main in Chester.  It is a vegetarian/vegan place and 3 out of the 4 of us order a dish made with zucchini linguine.


And now - I am in love with this:

As you may recall - the new lifestyle for Mrs. JOY catcher includes high good fats, moderate protein and low carbs with the exception of unlimited vegies.  That means PASTA is a thing of my past - a very rare occurrence on my plate.

HELLOOOOO zucchini linguine!!!

Who KNEW????  I am now able to enjoy my favorite sauces and more, over zucchini linguine.  I have not used traditional tomato sauce but branched out into alfredos and pestos and the other night I made Firecracker Shrimp over it.  Heaven.  

The other day BFF Robin brought me this and it was to DIE for.  I made a variation of it last night and swirled in some homemade pesto and extra lemon.  It was delicious.  AND you get to eat as much as you want!!!  My husband and I blow through THREE zucchinis in one meal and are wanting for more!

Raw Zucchini Alfredo with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes

For the past

Spiralized or julienned zucchini noodles
Small chopped carrot
Sugar snap peas, cut in half (about 3/4 cup)
Baby tomatoes, halved (I used lots)
Fresh shredded basil
A small handful of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes

For the sa

1/3 cup cashew butter
1 tsp agave
1/3 cup lemon juice - Robin used much more
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp miso
water, if needed for consistency

Begin by turning the zucchini into pasta and tossing it with the veggies. To make the sauce, put the cashew butter in a bowl along with the agave, lemon juice, sea salt and miso. Blend until it looks thick and creamy. Drizzle water in until the sauce is totally smooth (if you’re using a food processor, you’ll have to stop and scrape sides occasionally) and the consistency you want. Toss the sauce with the veggies, and voila: you’ve got a creamy, delicious bowl that (at least in my mind) surpasses the original dish.

Robin put the tossed zucchini over a bed of spinach and then topped the dish with sauteed chicken tenders.

This is most definitely food JOY and my find for 2012.  What a great birthday present!!!  You have to give this a try!

One last peaches are coming!  My peaches are coming!  Stay tuned!

Till tomorrow...