My Visit To Houston

I’ll never move from my beautiful Los Angeles, California. First of all, you can’t beat the weather. It’s amazing. We take it for granted here until we visit somewhere else where the humidity just drops out of thin air on you, or the sun bakes you like a poor pie, or it’s so cold, your breath freezes right in front of your face. We have it really nice here, I have to admit.

That being said, Octobers in Houston can be OK. I just came back from Houston, and the weather was just gorgeous. I felt like I was home (less the hills of course). My friends took me to the arts and theater districts downtown. It sure looks different from the last time I was here 10 or so years ago. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy the sights.

We also went shopping at the various shops and art stores on Montrose. The Montrose area was quite similar to my haunts in LA. I felt really at home. I loved it, and the people there were so friendly and inviting.

In the early evening we went back home, North of Houston. All three of us decided to get our nails done. Yes, I get my nails done on occasion. There’s a nail salon on every corner, it seem. There was a new nail salon in Tomball (yes, I stayed in a town called Tomball, get over it) that just opened just outside of my friends’ neighborhood, so we decided to give it a try. The owner was a wonderful host to our little group. The salon is beautiful and still has that ‘new store smell’. The staff was quiet, professional and thorough. They were all Vietnamese (no big surprise there). I would definitely go back if I lived around here, and I’ll probably go back the next time I visit Houston, er, I mean Tomball.

I had a great time visiting my friends in Houston. Fortunately the weather cooperated. I can’t wait to come back!

Michigan Morels

Morel hunting in Michigan is a big deal, and if you are lucky enough to find a patch, you may as well well have struck oil. There are entire blogs about hunting for morels, tips on where, how, when. When someone finds a new patch, it makes the local news. Now, I like morels, but wow… really? I suppose it’s Michigan’s version of the truffle.

If you can get your hands on some Michigan morels, I have a nice morels and spinach with cream recipe for you. Enjoy!

Morels & Spinach With Cream


6 dried morels
1 large leek, white part only, sliced
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 large scallion, white part and 1 inch of green part, sliced
1 cup fresh portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tbsp white wine (or 2 tbsp white wine vinegar)
6 fresh morels, sliced crosswise into about 4 pieces
1 tbsp light cream
3 tbsp reduced fat or nonfat sour cream
1 cup loosely packed torn fresh spinach


Minced fresh tarragon for garnish (don’t used dried, just omit if fresh tarragon isn’t available)

Cover the dried morels in warm water and set aside fro 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Strain out the liquid and discard. Slice the mushrooms crosswise so you will be making little rings.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the leeks and scallions, and saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add in the fresh and dried morels and the fresh portobello mushrooms, and saute for about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the wine/vinegar, stirring constantly to make sure no vegetables stick to the pan. Turn off heat.

Combine the cream and sour cream in a small bowl, then stir the mixture into the skillet. Turn heat to low and add the spinach, stirring constantly. Stir until the leaves are a bright green, about 2 minutes. Top with fresh tarragon.

That’s It

This sauce is wonderful served over pasta, or even mashed potatoes or polenta. This dish is a good source of vitamins A and C, folacin and iron.

To Catch a Thief

I live in a quiet ‘burb in the hills around Los Angeles. I love my neighbors, my little house, the weather, everything! As far as I was concerned, I lived in Heaven. However, about a month ago, my rose-colored glasses were shattered. Someone stole some stuff from my garage area one night. My house doesn’t have a closed garage. It’s more like a carport. But I’m OK with that because my neighborhood is very peaceful and there’s very little crime – until now. One night, someone took my push-powered lawnmower and some other gardening tools. It wasn’t the value of the stolen items, but it’s the lost peace of mind. I mean, really, who steals a watering can?

I grow a lot of my own herbs and vegetables and I use my gardening tools all the time, so I had to buy replacements and find a more secure place to store them. I also decided to get a surveillance camera to point to my garage. I found the perfect surveillance camera system at iSellSpyStuff. I even installed it myself. It was a snap. Who says you need a man around the house?

I haven’t caught any burglars yet. I don’t expect they’ll ever come back to my house to rob me again, but it’s nice to know that I’ve got the cameras recording everything, just in case. In the evenings I scan through the recordings to see what’s going on during the day when I’m gone. I had no idea the neighbor’s cat spent so much time around my house. Now I know how my cat got preggers. I still have a couple of kittens up for adoption, FYI.

All you would-be-thieves out there, I’m watching you, so leave my watering cans alone!

What Is Seitan?

Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten, the main protein in wheat. It’s popularity owes to it’s chewy texture, which makes it a more believable substitute for meat that tofu or tempeh. It is high in protein (about 150% recommended daily intake in one serving) and iron (about 28% recommended daily intake in one serving).

Seitan is often used in vegetarian Asian dishes. It is also used as an ingredient in popular vegetarian products like Tofurky. So even though you might think you’ve never had it, if you are a vegetarian, you probably have eaten it before. It has a somewhat bland taste on its own – a little bit like chicken, actually, mixed with a sort of muchroom flavor. If you’ve eaten a vegetarian dish from an Chinese restaurant, you might have noticed a chewy tofu-like rectangle. That was probably seitan.

My only issue with seitan is the fact that it is made entirely from gluten. Wheat gluten is found in small amounts in some products, but seitan is made entirely from wheat gluten. I’m just a bit hesitant to eat large amounts of highly allergenic foods. I once ate a bowl of oatmeal and twenty minutes later I could hardly breath. I’m not usually allergic to anything, so that incident has me always on my toes when it comes to food allergies, especially if I’ll be serving it to others.

Cat Lady

I currently don’t have a roommate. I do have two cats though. Actually, I think my last roommate left because of my cats. Good riddance, too. She complained about everything. I couldn’t make a cup of coffee in the morning without her complaining that I was making too much noise. Hello, it’s my house! I’ll make as much noise as I please, and I wasn’t making that much noise anyway. That’s another story for another day.

My only roommates now are my cats. I love ’em, too. There’s no better feeling than to come home after a long hard day, plop down on the couch, and have your cats come over and start rubbing up against your legs, laying next to your head, purring. The sound is so soothing. I could fall asleep to that sound any day. So I’m happy with my cat roommates. I suppose I’ve become the cat lady that my sister and I used to make fun of as little girls. Sigh!

Well, to guarantee that the cat lady name sticks, one of my cats had kittens. So now instead of having two cats, I have seven. I’m on my way to becoming an official cat lady. I think I know how it happens. You start with one or two, then one of them has kittens. The kittens are just so CUTE, that you can’t part with them just yet. By the time you’ve decided to let someone else have them, you’ve grown attached, or they’ve grown just far enough out of the cute kitten stage that they’re just CATS. You can hardly pay people to take a full grown cat.

I don’t think I want to be known as the cat lady just yet, so I’m trying to get my friends to take these adorable little kittens off my hands before they get too un-kitten-ish.

The moral of the story: have mercy on your local cat lady. She didn’t start out that way. In fact, ask her if you can have one of her kittens. You’ll be doing her a favor.