Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parsley ~ Not Just a Garnish

When I was a kid and our family dined out, the meal was usually served with a garnish of parsley. “Mom, can I eat this?” as I eyed the beautiful, fresh green sprig. “No, honey, that’s just parsley. We don’t eat that!” You see, I grew up eating mostly processed food; Mac-N-Cheese, Hamburger Helper, casseroles with Campbell’s Creamed soups as a base, spam and cold cereal. I was thin and undernourished primarily because my body couldn’t process refined foods…and it still can’t.

Several visits to the family doctor resulted in being prescribed Donnatal, a medicine they still prescribe for irritable bowl syndrome. There had to be a better way than being medicated so when I was old enough and lived on my own, I became my own physician eliminating various foods until, eventually, I realized what my body was screaming for was real, whole food. You know the stuff you find on the perimeter of the grocery store. I find it amusing that now we actually have markets in the states named, of all things, WHOLE FOODS. Such a novel idea!

I can tolerate small amounts of certain processed foods such as wheat and sugar, but I keep that to a minimum. The 80/20 rule seems to work pretty well. 80% whole foods and 20% of other stuff, usually in the form of desserts. I LOVE desserts. Imagine that, my body was screaming 'no more garbage please' but the medical system couldn't hear. It has been many years since I've had stomach problems and since then I have been blessed with excellent health. I believe a major factor is my diet of healthy food. Junk food holds no temptation for me because I can eat rich creamy french foods and delicious desserts. Yummy things like coquille st. jaques, creme bruelee, chicken marsala, sweet potatoe and leek gratin, mascarpone cheesecake and tropical fruits to my heart's desire. I stay away from sodas, ALL artificial sweetners in any form, any oil that I can't recognize in its pure form (I'm not sure what a canola is), pizza, hot dogs, canned or prepared food and I drink coffee in moderation. Oh by the way, I weigh the same as I did when I was 18. Another bonus.

Along the way, I’ve come across a wonderful cooking magazine recommended to me by a friend when we lived in Maine who was a fabulous cook, originally from the south. She had stacks and stacks of cook books and cooking magazines throughout her house. Southern hospitality reigned supreme even in the northeast as she shared her gift of hospitality in the midst of raising and educating her 6 children and being a good wife to her husband. In fact, they were the main decorating item in her bedroom. She once shared with me, “If I were only able to subscribe to one magazine, it would be Fine Cooking. Why: Great recipes, fresh ingredients, practical tips, and few advertisements.” Thanks Emma!

The ‘fresh ingredients’ part has kept me a subscriber for almost seven years, although I’ve missed a few issues when we've relocated. I hope to share with you many of my favorite recipes and most of them will come from this magazine. Recently, I’ve enjoyed the following salad which contains both protein in the form of garbanzo beans (No, I'm not a vegetarian), vegetables and, not surprisingly, parsley and lots of it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Life's Resume

Another week has passed in our new home but a nagging feeling of not having a job hangs heavy over my head. Okay, I realize I haven't even been here two months but having money in my pocket really agrees with me so the quest for work continues to permeate my thoughts. Adjusting my resume after another move seems almost laughable because much of my "marketable" skills have been acquired in the daily grind of home and family life, not the work environment. But how does one incorporate that into a resume. A serious attempt at editing my resume digressed into one continual string of humorous thoughts.

A Real Life Chronological Resume
By: Linda McBee Martinez

August 2011 to present:

• Efficiently plan and execute a 2200 mile international move for the fourth time in eight years.
• Thoroughly organize the entire household of 7 so when movers pack, everything is where it should be when boxes are unpacked.
• Kindly assure Atlas Moving Company Canada that transporting a vehicle across the border is simpler than they think.
• Lovingly reassure the kids that they’re going to love their new schools and church and remind the college age kids that they’ll find their niche and make new friends.
• Willingly let my home be used as a ‘party house’ so five teenagers can say good bye to their dozens of Canuck friends.
• Cheerfully bid farewell to my husband and children as I stay behind and handle the move from Canada.
• Conscientiously close out accounts, return rented computer hardware, say good bye to dear friends and coworkers, show the house to potential renters, deal with a very “French” cleaning lady and landlady, confirm hotel stay and airline flights and don’t leave anything behind because you are never going back.
• Cleverly unpack 167 boxes and set up house within 10 days so we can relax when my sister and brother arrive to celebrate my 16 year old daughter’s birthday.
• Quickly have all cars in working order, inspected, and registered.
• Joyfully visit U.S. Customs to retain a release certificate for the Jetta.
• Hopefully get Texas drivers licenses.
• Patiently teach Andrew how to drive so that he can take himself to doctor appointments, job searches and school appointments (after we buy another car …ouch).
• Enthusiastically join the local church while trying not to look like a fish out of water.
• Diligently continue to clean house, cook meals, maintain laundry and assist in homework while looking for a good paying and rewarding job in my spare time.
• Lovingly say hello to my husband in passing and remember to revisit the date night idea.
• Finally and most importantly thank God for the measure of sanity I still have.

Okay, this is only a description of two months worth of life so now multiply this by about 20 years and you have all things for which I am qualified!

Anybody out there hiring a solutions oriented, out-of-the-box, creative thinker with a sense of humor?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It's official. I've reconnected. After growing weary of so many long good byes...Fredericton, Long Beach, Utah...I cancelled my facebook. All those smiling faces didn't make me happy, but sad. Sad for the people I couldn't see any more. After chilling for a year in the great white north, the good Lord graciously returned us to the good 'ol US of A. Now that I've lived 3000 miles from friends and family, a few hundred miles doesn't seem so far.

In an attempt to stay connected I've started this blog which I've appropriately headed Planted For Good. Originally I called it Settled For Good but I didn't want to presume on God's grace too much so I've decided to bloom where I'm planted.

With one child in college, one headed for college in the spring and three in public school, it is decision time for me. After thoroughly enjoying teaching my own children for fourteen years, I may be headed back to school. I'll keep you posted!

On another note, before David left Fredericton on his 'short term' trip to Houston, He bought a giant jar of Cara Mia artichoke hearts. For those of you who have used a professional mover before you know they don't pack that kind of stuff. Delima...what to do with a gallon of marinated artichoke hearts? Aha! flashback to Orange County 1980s at Ruben's Plankhouse with my parents. When the family business was in its glory days we ate out a lot. All that is to say here is a great recipe. The only hitch is you need a deep-fryer. Make sure the artichokes are marinated

Deep Fried Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Peanut Oil (lots)
Marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
Panko bread crumbs
Cookie sheet
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

1. Drain arichoke hearts - depending on the size of your family, you may not need a gallon
2. In three seperate cereal-type bowls, place buttermilk, panko bread crumbs and regular flour.
3. One at a time, dip the artichoke into the buttermilk, flour, buttermilk (again) and panko breadcrumbs.

Lay them on the cookie to set for 60 minutes. This allows the coating to stick well when deep fried.

Finally, place artichokes in one layer in the fryer basket and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Place them on a snazzy presentation plate and serve them with ranch dressing.

In the meantime I'll let Costco know you'll be stopping by.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Settling In

Well, I have now been in Houston 7 weeks. Despite the fact that this is the 3rd time zone I've lived in within 12 months it hasn't taken long for this place to feel like home. With David at work and all the kids (but 1) in school I set out to unpack 167 boxes of stuff within 10 days. My sister and brother inlaw, who flew in from sunny California to help us celebrate Olivia's 16th birthday, unpacked the last 10 boxes after my right hand went into shock and refused to function. Thanks again guys!

Although boxes are unpacked and furniture is set up - no pictures on the walls yet - I'm now in the process of finding new doctors, navigating the insurance websites, getting new drivers licenses and the endless list of 'moving things' that always need to be done ASAP.

Just in case I didn't already mention it, I love this place and hope to stay for a very long time!

Welcome Home