The Poisoned Pen

Dave gave a fantastic performance last night in “The Poisoned Pen.” It was a really fun play and all the kids did a great job.

I wish I could have gotten a better photo, but my photography skillz were a big FAIL last night.

Christmas Upstairs – Saturnalia Downstairs 2011

This year we had 45 guests for the annual Hoover Christmas Eve Celebration. I think they all had a pretty good time.

Mellow has no idea what is coming

It didn’t take long for Mellow to head to the bedroom closet to ride out the Christmas storm.

The kids had an ornament exchange.

I never did get a photo of everyone at once.

Dave is not texting. He's doing one of those metal puzzles.

A lot of people were out on the porch where we had a fire in the fireplace. It was too cold for me, so there aren’t any photos.

Tequila! And pickle juice? Yep, that's what they were drinking.

After a few hours of visiting and gift opening, some of the guests went down to the basement bar for something a little stronger than tea, coffee or wine.

Yes, we have a breathalizer.

We made sure all the drivers were legal. These were not the drivers.

Today’s green smoothie

was a hit, so I thought I would write  down the recipe before I forget it.

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup pineapple

1 ripe banana

juice of one orange

1/2 cup coconut milk (So Delicious original flavor)

2 cups red Russian kale



Now THIS is an energy drink

Back in October I came down with a long lasting cold that’s been going around. Gary and Dave had already had it, so I knew what I was in for when I got the first sore throat. (There were 2 and the second one was worse.) I decided to take some immune boosting action. I stopped eating dairy products, started drinking carrot juice and began eating even more fruits and veggies.

Then I added one green smoothie a day to my diet. Wow! The smoothies made a huge difference in my energy level and general physical well being. I’ve had one almost every day for 32 days now. I started making them with an Oster blender, which works okay, but it takes a while and doesn’t pulverize the greens as well as a high powered blender.

After a month on the smoothies, we bought a Vitamix. The basic recipe I started with is:

2 Tb flax seeds
some pomegranate juice or water
a cup or so of frozen berries, usually blueberries and strawberries
one date
2 cups of greens, (lactino kale, red russian kale, collard greens, spinach, chard, dandelion greens…)
some mint from the garden
some ice

Today’s smoothie was pomegranate juice, lactino kale, a carrot, strawberries, a banana and flax seeds. I think it was too sweet with the carrot and banana and I won’t make this one again. Blend and learn.

Even though the smoothies always have greens in them, they are not always green. The basic recipe is more purple. The smoothies taste far better then they sound. If you use mild greens like spinach and chard, you really can’t taste the greens at all. I don’t always use berries or flax. Sometimes it’s an apple or orange or whatever fruit we have on hand. Raw almonds work well in place of flax and they are filling too. If you google green smoothie, you’ll find more recipes than you can make.

So, if you need an energy boost or an immune boost, try a green smoothie. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel. I was.

Mushrooms Diabla

I’ve been leaning vegan the last few months, thanks to watching Forks Over Knives, reading Engine 2 Diet and Dr Joel Fuhrman’s Super Immunity. Our vegan-ish Thanksgiving dinner was pretty yummy – I skipped the turkey course – but today I was ready for something completely different. There were mushrooms in the fridge and after deciding not to make pasta al funghi for the 73rd time I went with this – a vegan version of shrimp diabla. I apologize for the inexact measurements. I was making it up as I went along and didn’t decide to write down the recipe until we were eating it.


olive oil
almost a pound Mushrooms – sliced (criminis, a shiitake from the logs, and a packaged chefs blend from whole foods)
7 cloves Garlic – minced
1 onion – chopped
4 jalepenos – seeded and chopped
1 serano – diced
5 roma tomatoes – seeded and chopped
some red wine
1/2 cup cilantro – destemmed and chopped
1 Tb lemon juice
1 tp oregano
1/2 tp thyme
cayenne pepper


Saute the mushrooms in olive oil with a little salt over medium heat.
Add the garlic when the mushrooms are starting to soften and have released their juices. Once the liquid cooks away, pour in a little red wine.
In another pan, saute the onion and peppers in olive oil with a little salt also over medium heat.
Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes and herbs. Cook the tomatoes down a bit. Add the mushroom and garlic mixture. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Really, taste it! Turn the heat down to low medium and cover the pot.

Start cooking the pasta in salted water. (We used whole wheat spaghetti.)

Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water to the sauce until it looks right. (This is why I’m not writing recipes for a living.)

Right before the pasta is done add the cilantro and lemon juice to sauce and turn off the heat.

Serve the sauce over pasta. Add a little Parmesan cheese if you want, but it’s really good without it.

Hoover family Thanksgiving celebration

Yesterday, we and our 35 guests had a great time at the Hoover family Thanksgiving celebration. Gary roasted a couple of turkeys in the wood fired oven and according to the meat eaters, they were delicious.

I made the very spicy spice rub, which was what the black stuff is.

Gary and one of his birds


This is  a lot a people for the size of this porch.

Everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen – although this was one of the less crowded moments.