Friday, February 23, 2024

Perfect Pesto

I'm always torn between basil and thyme being my favorite herbs. Quite some time ago, I posted that I made the "best pesto" (and easiest, too). Several of you asked for the recipe and my friend, Anne, gracefully allowed me to share it! Finally!

Why do I like this recipe above all others? Basically, it's easy! I use a blender, not a food processor, so in other recipes, where you add the oil at the end, in this one you do it first and it gives enough liquid to move the basil and not clog the machine. And it's so good! I'll put a few recipe ideas below.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Life In February

Lovely life goes on here and February has included a visit from a good friend, Cork Poppers (which I hosted), and more! Valentine week started on Monday with a surprise delivery of flowers from a dear friend. They're so cheery and I loved them!

Rick made a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. This is the first year I haven't written a poetry book for him about our past year. January just got out of control and I feel kind of sad about it, though I may pony up later in the year. But I did paint a valentine! So that helped assuage my conscience a wee bit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Cork Poppers Celebrate Wines We Love for Valentine's Day (or any day!)

Our February Cork Poppers gathered at my house (crammed in between Christmas trees and decor because the basement is awaiting its mold removal!). Since it was only a few days before Valentine's Day I decided the theme should be "Wines We Love" and every couple was to bring a particular wine or a type of wine (Pinot Grigio, Malbec, etc.) that they loved. Or from a place they loved. Shouldn't be hard (and it wasn't)!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Finding Bits of Happy

Not long ago, that furry, red, Muppet favorite, Elmo, asked on X (Twitter) "How are you doing?" And boy, did people tell him! The consensus? The people weren't doing all that well with stress related from everything to illness to job issues, family problems to the nitpicky problems that occur in day to day life. 

It's probably good I didn't see that tweet because I would have added my two cents, too! We've been having a bit of a rough time of it here this winter. On one hand, I have been dealing with some health issues along with computer challenges and the mold problem. Rick, meanwhile, has been dealing with some challenging things related to the transition of his business. And Lizzie is having a few issues too. We've all been struggling and, fortunately, have each other for support. 

But we're not the only ones. I've noticed a number of bloggers are going through challenging times with either illness or the illness of family members. Another blogger has been trying to get action from an insurance company after a fire. Still more have work issues or family issues. Lots of us are stressed politically. We all have something sometime. 

As I've often said before, we all get a turn, and this is ours. Maybe yours, too.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The Books of January

There is nothing better for a reader than to start off a new year with three very good books! And I am happy to say that I've enjoyed every minute of my reading experiences this month! Let's take a look at two solid mysteries and one monster-sized biography that was outstanding. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Sights and Moments We Will Never Forget

One evening last month, Rick and I glanced at my computer showing a slide show of "My Pictures" as a screen saver. This one came up and we both agreed -- that first walk on our first trip to Myrtle Beach was one we would never forget.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Life in the Deep Freeze (and Beyond)

Last week we had dinner at the home of friends. It was so frigid outside that when we arrived and entered, greeted by hugs, an inviting fire in the fireplace, and a glass of wine it was like going to heaven. When we left five and a half hours later, we realized it was after eleven. I had no idea. The conversation, the laughter, the warmth, made me forget the chill outside. That's what friendship can do for people. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Books of 2023 -- The Annual Book Report

I always enjoy pulling together this annual reading summary --  what hit the mark, what missed, any new discoveries.

This year I read 55 books with a total of 17,785 pages. Not my best, not my worst. And for the most part, they were worth the time. And really, that's the most important part!

Books with links click back to my reviews earlier this year. 

Here is my Top Twelve (in no particular order)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Making Pretzels with Barb and Kate

(I meant to post this last spring when we did this and I'm not sure what happened! So... step into my friend Barb's kitchen for a fun day of pretzel making -- and a link to the recipe!) 

I'm so glad my friend Barb loves to teach us new things! When she asked if we wanted to learn to make soft pretzels, do you think I hesitated for a second? Of course not! 

So, it was off to her home, where the first thing we saw entering was this!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

It's a Little Brisk Out There...

Here in Michigan we have coasted along the early winter weeks wondering where winter was. (I, for one, wasn't complaining.) True, the skies were gray, there was plenty of drizzle, and it wasn't great weather for something like a picnic, but the temps were adequate (high for the month) and I didn't mind not having to battle snow or ice if headed out.

Then we got our share of the deep freeze.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Cork Poppers Sample the Wines of Spain

I haven't had a Cork Poppers post in months so I had been looking forward to our September gathering for weeks. Yes, September. Life happened but now I'm happy to update you with our autumn Corkie escapade!

When Kate chose "wines of Spain" as our theme, I was excited -- I love Spanish wine and plans for a potluck menu of Spanish-related foods and cheeses sounded delicious. 

Then I got on meds where I couldn't have red wine, cheese, sausage (like chorizo) or all the other good stuff! But I could still have loads of fun!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

A Few December Books

After last month's embarrassing solo entry, I was happy to finish off three books. All these are mysteries and all are worth your time.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Checking My 2023 Blog Stats (And Thoughts on Blogging)

This year I did something I rarely do -- check to see what my most viewed posts of the year were. Several of my favorite bloggers have taken this look back and I enjoy it, because I sometimes find ones I've missed! I know those who have advertising on their blogs do this more often than I -- and it makes sense. During my years of working in marketing and promotion, I learned that if you want to attract the dollars you have to appeal to the public taste. More eyeballs, more revenue potential.

photo of mural taken several years ago at ArtPrize, Grand Rapids. Artist unknown

I don't advertise on The Marmelade Gypsy. Blogging offers me an online journaling platform and the gift of making friendships from around the world. Since Blogger is a free platform, I don't need to worry about paying for it.

  But it IS curious to know what people do like, what was the most interesting to them. So, here -- with links back in case you are new -- are those with the most views in 2023.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

A New Year, A New Word

In 2022 my guiding word was "Endure." We had wrapped up 2021 with its Covid restrictions, isolation, and the January 6 insurrection and 2022 wasn't looking any better. It felt like an odd choice then -- here on Marmelade Gypsy I wrote:

"At the holidays, we were reflecting on a word or two to describe 2021. (I said "schizophrenic.") My friend Jan said "Endure." And that's what I feel about the 2022. Endure it. Slog through the isolation, the news, the doc appointments, the uncertainty. Just endure it."

Then for 2023, I thought I needed to up my game, become a little more hopeful, so I chose "Rabbit" -- which was because it was the year of the rabbit and that symbolically had qualities I wanted to emulate.

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