Sep 15, 2007


Contentment is not satisfaction. It is the grateful, faithful, fruitful use of what we have, little or much. It is to take the cup of Providence, and call upon the name of the Lord. What the cup contains is its contents. To get all that is in the cup is the act and art of contentment. Not to drink because one has but half a cup, or because one does not like its flavor, or because somebody else has silver to one's own glass, is to lose the contents; and that is the penalty, if not the meaning, of discontent. No one is discontented who employs and enjoys to the utmost what he has. It is high philosophy to say, we can have just what we like if we like what we have; but this much at least can be done, and this is contentment: to have the most and best in life by making the most and best of what we have.

- Maltbie D. Babcock 1858-1901 -

Sep 13, 2007


Sea Scallop & Polenta Appetizer - Amuse Bouche
Recipe at

By now, it's fairly apparent that I love creative cuisine! For me it's just another stream of expression and hopefully the taste buds will be rewarded. My family poked fun at me when I started watching Top Chef on the Bravo Channel. Typically, I'm not a huge fan of the reality series genre. Even so, I'm fascinated with the inspiration that evolves when chefs are placed under pressure and challenged with the peculiar. I've noticed that I'm not watching Top Chef alone anymore.

An amuse-bouche– little bites of sheer delight before the main course is served– is a familiar insertion on Top Chef. I marvel at what the chefs concoct and I love to hear myself speak the term. It's playful and witty. So, I thought it would be fun to learn a bit more about this appetizer.

Merriam-Webster Online

amuse-bouche \AH-mooz-BOOSH\ noun
: a small complimentary appetizer offered at some restaurants

Example sentence:

"Meals start with a complimentary amuse-bouche and basket of bread with a ramekin of herb butter." (Linda Bladholm, The Miami Herald, November 30, 2006)

Did you know?

In French, "amuse bouche" means literally "it amuses the mouth." The French were using "amuse-bouche" as a word for appetizers when English speakers embraced the culinary term almost a quarter of a century ago. The French are more likely to use their term "amuse-geule" for those tasty tidbits, however; and in English "amuse-bouche" has a special meaning. It's not just any appetizer! Typically, it's a tiny complimentary one that seems to have taxed the creative powers of the chef to the utmost for the amusement of the diners (e.g., a tiny beet-puree-filled taco; a tiny square of halibut-and-salmon cake; fig molasses on a tiny cube of goat cheese).

© 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

Sep 12, 2007

"Laura's Loaves & Goodies" Gift Card Giveaway!

Laura from Laura's Loaves & Goodies Inc. (A Café & Bakery), has graciously donated a $10.00 Gift Card! Her café/bakery is located in La Habra, California. Keep reading to discover more about Laura's and to see if you are eligible to enter this Giveaway!

I have lived in La Habra for 4 months now and the discovery process is exciting! I am not entirely new to this community since I have worked here for over 10 years. Nevertheless, the city is beckoning to me and I feel compelled to explore it.

A few years back, I taught workshops in a local cottage-like store that has since closed its doors. The owner had many of her events catered by
Laura's Loaves & Goodies Inc. (A Café & Bakery). The food was scrumptious and I vowed that one day I would be making a visit. Well, make that plural because I have made many visits to this quaint little eatery. My relationship with this establishment has shifted from that of acquaintance to a close friend.

In 1985, Laura and Tony Schavone began baking tea loaves as a back-burner business. Eventually, the demand for their baked loaves became so great, Laura gave up her full time job as a legal secretary in Los Angeles to pursue her passion.

In June of 1994, they opened
Laura's Loaves & Goodies Inc., employing her 2 sons Brian and Scott. Their goal was simple: serve only quality and specialized food items while majoring in customer service. Thirteen years later, her sons still step in periodically to lend a hand, but their Manager, Jennifer, and their friendly staff keep things flowing beautifully. Their motto is: "If satisfied, tell a friend; if not, tell us!"

Laura shared with me that her Mother was born in the South and was an accomplished cook. I asked her if she owed her culinary know-how to her Mother. Laura smiled and admitted that having fun overshadowed cooking for many years. Eventually Laura did begin to make phone calls in order to retrieve her Mother's cherished recipes.

The menu features are diverse enough to satisfy even the pickiest eater. Laura's is best known for her signature crowd pleaser, Laura's Almond Chicken. Customers often say that this is the best chicken salad they've ever tasted and I agree. It is exquisite on their homemade croissants and additionally tasty on their potato bread. If one chooses to forgo the carbohydrates, it is also served with tomatoes atop a generous bed of chilled greens. The Turkey Berry and Turkey Pesto sandwiches are first rate as well!

Two other bestsellers are their awesome bear claws and cheesecake bars! Then there are the desserts in miniature: Carrot Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and Chocolate Fudge Cake! If you're not in the mood for dessert, there are wonderful Hot Melts in the sandwich category; pasta with Laura's designer Pesto Sauce; yum-cious potato salad; and hearty soup choices. With cooler weather just around the bend, this is the perfect stop for grabbing a good cup of coffee and some comfort food.

Obviously, the $10.00 Gift Card will only be useful to individuals living in the counties surrounding La Habra (which is located in both Los Angeles County and Orange County). To honor Laura's generosity, I want to make sure that the winner will be able to visit her
café. You may also be eligible if you are planning to visit this area in the near future. If you don't live in the La Habra area of Southern California, feel free to refer someone in this region to this post. The procedure for entering is below.
  1. If you live in the counties surrounding La Habra, CA., simply post a comment directly beneath this article. Click on COMMENTS.
  2. Posts out of this area will not be eligible unless you plan to visit here in the very near future.
  3. Even if you are not the winner, you will be entered into a separate $10.00 Starbucks Giveaway if you make a visit to Laura's Loaves & Goodies Inc. before the end of September. Just drop me an email to verify your visit.
  4. The deadline for entering is midnight Pacific Time on Thursday, September 20th, 2007.
For all of my blogger friends outside of this area, I will be having a Giveaway on my 100th Post. That moment is rapidly approaching!

Laura's Loaves & Goodies Inc.
505 W. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA.
(Located on the North side of Whittier Blvd. just West of Walnut)
(562) 697-6117
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM

Sep 11, 2007

9-11 Tribute (Thanks to Sarge Charlie)

We cannot afford to go to sleep, for when we do, the enemy comes through the back gate...

Thank-YOU, Sarge Charlie!

And many thanks to the soldiers, firefighters, and police officers who pay tremendous prices for our freedom, protection, and our pursuit of happiness!

I pray that God will shed His love and grace gloriously upon you, and surround you with Divine protection.

Sep 9, 2007

Today's Bouquets

After a long nap I'm burning some midnight oil. I'm feeling a fraction of this "wind a-whooping" this early morning. The patio sliding glass door is open and a crispy cool breeze is cascading through the screen. What a tremendous difference from one week ago! Autumn is in the air, although it is not beyond summer to throw in a few more heated punches.

I woke up with a great deal of disappointment yesterday. I seem to be in a season of good-byes, letting go, and embracing change. There are repetitious issues that have become wearisome; concerns that are being ignored. Things have been breaking or malfunctioning. Doors have closed and doors have opened...

Rather than belabor the nitty-gritty, I've poured myself a cup of lemon ginger tea and I'm ready to enjoy a few bouquets. Disappointment is nothing but a gloomy cloud that temporarily slips between life and sunshine.

Today's Bouquets:

  • On Saturday morning, I walked into a Von's supermarket just in time to see 3 Firefighters paying for their groceries. A moment of inspiration hit meactually something I had wanted to do for a long time. So, I rushed my coarse and returned with a Von's gift card. Before I could figure out how to discreetly handle this blessing, the cashier asked if I needed assistance. Now, with the full attention of the checkout line, I explained my mission to a smiling reception. I was then directed to Customer Service to expedite the transaction. The Firefighters were surprised and grateful, and I left the store knowing that my day had just shifted into high gear.
  • I headed off to Catch the Vision, the performing arts studio where I teach Voice and Drama. We were having an Open House to attract interest to the Music Department. The colorful decorations were cheerful and inviting. Our guests nibbled on refreshments while enjoying a wide range of performances from the studio's teachers and students. Sean Warnecke, the Music Director, wrapped up the event with several blues and gospel numbers, ending with contemporary worship. It was a perfect time!
  • When dinnertime arrived, my hubby and 2 sons wanted Taco Bell. This did not resonate with me, so off I went to Miyako for Japanese takeout. I ordered crunch roll and a salmon salad. I was given a free mug of hot green tea while I waited. After receiving my order, I was surprised with a free green tea ice cream cone, which was history before I pulled into my driveway. Isn't "free" a wonderful word?
  • My 7-year old son, Brock, begins 2nd grade at a new elementary school tomorrow! We received favor for an inter-district transfer! Brock is ecstatic that he doesn't have to wear a uniform and he has already prepared his first show-and-tell speech.
  • Our coffeemaker bit the dust. So, my husband, Barry, and my daughter, Briana, are learning the art of French Press. Aaaah, life is good!
  • Today, my family and I were preparing to enter Target for school shopping when my son found a $100 bill in the parking lot!
This is a vintage illustration from a children's book. I am not sure what this little bugger is admiring at the tip of the branch. Coming from a children's story it could be anything. Any ideas?