Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm Not Bossy, I Just Have Better Ideas

On Friday I mentioned that my grandma likes stuff. Amongst actual antiques, none of us are ever surprised to find giant stuffed rabbits, baskets of seashells, Rhett Butler postcards, pictures of grandkids with significant others who have not in fact been significant others since 1993, Reynolds wrap – not encasing something, just the wrap itself, Christmas garland, or cutlery just nonchalantly hanging out as if there is no other place for it to logically be. This past Christmas, I sat down on the red leather couch in the living room and quickly realized that I had crushed something, possibly the pickle that would be hid in the tree later in the evening (and that Leigh would inevitably win $20 for finding…don't ask) or a small child. A typical segue way here might be “But to my surprise,” however, nothing could be farther from the truth; making complete sense, I stood up and realized that I had sat on a knife handle. A steak knife, not a butter knife. With furrowed brow, a result of curiosity as to what she had been doing with it, not with the fact that a potentially deadly weapon was in the couch, I took it into the kitchen. Grandma, with the laugh that it unmistakably Lois Nunn’s, grinned and said, “Well, there’s my potato peeler."

This is the kind of stuff that makes Grandma’s so incredibly fun though. One literally NEVER knows what is going to happen, what someone is going to say, or what funny little trinkets will be stumbled upon by overworked eyes. Furthermore, all the “stuff” that is so worthy of conversation, good-natured eye rolls, and “collective stare, silence, ‘huh’” is matched only by the absolutely gorgeous assortment of roses so meticulously maintained outside the house and by the laughter and love inside this relatively small brick abode. It just wouldn’t be “Grandmas” if order and time management abounded.
I say all of this simply because I love my grandparents and want to share them with you all, but also because the inspiration of today’s entry comes from one of the newest decorations in G-ma’s den. Now resting in the pale pink fabric-covered antique chair that Grandma and Granddaddy have owned since they got married (57 years ago) is a navy throw pillow with the invariably wise mantra used in today's title. ...
So, here is me, not being bossy, just having really great ideas:):

1) I’ve mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate (basically because I received
really thoughtful gifts this weekend and need a way to tell you about them): really think about the gifts you give. This weekend Mom handed me a cheery pink and red heart bag (I fuss on her for not recycling so she made a point to say “See, I recycled it from Valentine’s Day”) and inside I found my beloved Birthday Care Bear and a note that said “Dear Liza, I found something that you once cherished. I can still see you with this in your arms.” Mom had found it in her attic and cleaned him up for me. I love it. Perfect Gift #2: Leigh Ann and Isabella sent me a “thank you” letter accompanied by a bag of goodies. First and foremost, the card itself was incredibly meaningful: the outside, beautifully austere and streamlined, the inside, two pages of words that took time and thought – my favorite line: “Isabella and I ‘shopped’ around the house this morning and found a few things that ‘look like you’…and probably a few that don’t, but she thought you’d like the nail polish anyway!” In addition to the nail polishes, the bag contained herb, dip, and drink mixes (see recipe section), soaps, and even a shirt (that I, in fact, have one just like, but in a different color). What wonderful surprises.

2) I mentioned this on facebook, but I think it bears repeating here. If you have a chance, find Love Me If You Dare on DVD. This French film was made in 2004 (I think) and stars Marion Cotillard (who was in last fall’s musical, Nine; scenes from her film Public Enemies were also shot in one of Caroline's old apartments) and Guillaume Canet. I watched it yesterday and fell in love with, yet, still feel unsettled, by it. The cinematography is beautiful, it is well-acted, and there are definitely traditional elements of love story. However, it would be nice to talk to someone about, and think through, the dark humor (which I appreciated, but that turned off some reviewers), and the questions raised about responsibility v. all consuming love.

3) Buy a 12-pack of Clover Valley Diet Cola for $2.50 rather than a 20 oz. Diet Dr. Pepper for $1.70. You all know my affinity for both DDP itself and the convenience store experience, but even I, have finally drawn the line (that cliché doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean). On Friday, I excitedly placed my soda of choice on the Marathon counter only to realize that it had gone up $.12. “That’s it,” I thought, “No more.” Later that afternoon, I picked up a pack of CVDC at the Dollar Store. It is bad. But, it does alleviate my caffeine cravings a bit and more importantly, it is making soda seem less and less appealing. Before you know it, I may, to my horror, be drinking water for fun.

4) Visit the Tastefully Simple website for tons of ideas on using the spice and dip mixes: . Even if you don’t have the Tastefully Simple products, you can still adapt the recipes to things you normally cook with (most of the mixes have basic things like basil, dill, rosemary, seasoned salt, garlic salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar). Here’s one I plan to try tonight (I’ll get back to you with results on Wednesday):

Balsamic Pesto Smothered Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned Salt
2 servings of Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix, prepared
1 tsp. oil
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil

Pound out chicken until about 1/2 inch thick and lightly dust with flour. Sauté chicken in oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to an oven safe dish; sprinkle with Seasoned Salt to taste. Spread with prepared pesto. Top each chicken breast with chopped tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle lightly with Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

And don't forget, The Adventures of Lindsey and Her Avocado (not sure if that should be italicized or in quotation marks. hmmm.) starts on Wednesday...!:)


  1. My mother gave me two Tastefully Simple items for Mother's Day. The toffee, chocolate chip cookies are good - at least, the dough was really good : )

  2. A bit of avocado drama today- I attempted to document my lunch using the last two photos on my disposable camera. The pictures did not develop-somehow only 17 of 27 pictures total seem to make the cut on this cheap little thing. However, lunch was still quite satisfying. I had Amy's Vegetable Lentil Soup and organic yellow corn chips with my 1/2 avocado. Avocado is a great addition to any soup. It gets 3.5 out of 5 avocados on my avocado yummy scale. :) See you on Wednesday!

  3. Seeing as how every night for the past week or so I've had zucchini bread, biscotti, strawberry bread, and/or ice cream after supper, what's a few toffee, chocolate chip cookies gonna hurt?

    DRAMA is right, Lindsey. But, so glad you were able to recover and provide soup suggestions. AND, the avocado yummy scale has kept me laughing for about 4 minutes. I love it. Make sure if you do get some pictures, you send them to me so I can include in the body of the blog!