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Pussy Collage made by meHi Everyone!  Several weeks ago while at a local Starbucks, I was looking at their merchandise and saw this cool box of cookies. Initially my eye was drawn the artwork on the box; an owl and a cat. As I examined the sides of the box, I saw it had the famous children’s poem ” THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT” by Edward Lear. I was kind of shocked as the poem uses the word ” Pussy” several times. Yes I know back then pussy meant cat and gay meant happy but oh how times have changed. I actually giggle when I hear the word pussy. It does not offend me. But I am surprised there hasn’t been an uproar from some right wing group  over  the package .

The OWL AND PUSSY CAT cookies are  made by Artisan and the exact name for this product is called TWO BY TWO NATURAL VANILLA BISCUITS. They are handmade in the UK in the shape of an owl and cat. I am hooked on these cookies (or biscuits). They are incredible! Two cookies contain about 130 calories and you can taste the butter. But as I always say, “butter makes it better!”

The company has two other flavors- a Toffee cookie and a strawberry cookie which I will be ordering on line. These cookies aren’t cheap. They are about $6.50 for a package of eight but what a wonderful splurge. I LOVE them!

Despite my new found cookie obsession, I have managed through the use of creative visualization and exercise (I kid you not), to lose about 15 lbs in the last 6 months and reshape my body. Slowly, I have weaned myself off soda and have been drinking a tea which is sweet without sugar. GOOD EARTH ORIGINAL SWEET & SPICY HERBAL TEA is a cinnamon lover’s dream. It is sweet from the cinnamon but is also considered a “love” tea because of the herbs and roots in the mixture. I ‘m not claiming this tea will help your love life. I am claiming it is sweet with sugar or artificial sweeteners . There is a GOOD EARTH restaurant in Palo Alto (where I grew up) and they would serve this tea. It is fantastic as an iced tea. Zero calories.

I have been watching episodes of 30 ROCK on dvd and on www.hulu.com. What a great mood lifter. I waited and did not watch 30 ROCK until now so I could fulfill my craving for laughter in one big dose.

My other favorite show is LOVE STINGS SEX DECOY ( Fox Reality). I feel this show is screaming to be re-invented as a gay, campy off -Broadway show. The mother, Sandra Hope and her three daughters are just as questionable ( morally) as the men they are trying to entrap. I’m especially fond of Kashmir, the oldest daughter who is a stripper ( or was). It is raunchy, kitschy and deplorable all rolled into one show. Fabulous!

And last but not least is the show OBSESSED which begs the question who is crazier? the patient or the therapist. In one of the beginning episodes, a young woman is afraid she will hurt someone with her “bad thoughts”. During her “treatment” in therapy, the therapist urges her to pick a knife and hold it against the therapist’s throat. ” Push it against the cartilage.” the therapist says loudly over and over. Then she asks the patient on a scale of one to ten how much she wants to slit her throat. The patient replies “eleven”. I was on the floor wetting my pants. Yes I realize it isn’t supposed to be funny but I told a few of my friends to watch and they were crying tears of laughter. Yes it seems to be the summer of laughter. From pussy cookies to entrapping cheating men, life is good.

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I have  been loving this pasta dish with sausage, cannellini  beans  (white kidney beans) & escarole. Many  versions of recipes  of this dish exist .   This dish is  just as good the next day too.  It is  the definition of comfort food.  I like to make it with spaghetti but I am sure it would be great with linguine too.   I personally double the amount of cannelllini beans and escarole because  beans and greens are so nutritious and full of fiber.   You can make this recipe with half the beans and escarole and it will be great too.

Spaghetti with Sausage, Cannellini Beans & Escarole
*1 lb. spaghetti* 3 cloves of finely minced fresh garlic
*1 lb. Italian sweet, mild sausage or if you prefer turkey sausage or hot/spicy sausage  – cut into  1  inch sections
* 1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil* 1 Can of Chicken or vegetable broth- (low  sodium is ideal)
* 1 to 2 cans of Cannellini Beans ( white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
* 1 to 2 heads of Escarole- leaves washed   and plucked off the head.  DO NOT DRY THE LEAVES
* 2 Tablespoons sugar*1 teaspoon red pepper flakes*fresh ground black pepper to taste
* approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano  cheese or any good hard Italian grating cheese

Follow the directions on the box for the pasta. Have the water going for the pasta.In a skillet , saute the garlic in  2 Tablespoons of olive oil on low to medium heat.

As garlic starts to brown, add sausage pieces.  Saute until fully cooked on medium heat.   Remove sausage after they are cooked .

Return  skillet ( do not clean or wipe out the sausage  grease) to heat and slowly add the escarole in shifts.   It will wilt and cook down.  This takes about 5 minutes.

Add beans,olive oil, chicken broth , red pepper flakes and the sugar.   Add the sausage and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes.

The longer the  sauce cooks the better as the beans will get soft and thicken the sauce.  When the pasta is ready, pour the  sauce over it, mixing thoroughly.

Add the grated cheese and  freshly ground pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Please note: It may seem weird that I added sugar as an ingredient in this recipe but the dish is naturally very salty and the sugar gets rid of the over-salty taste.

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O.k. instead of writing a new blog,  I am adding on to this one.  I discovered a wonderful food truck today while in my old neighborhood of W. Philly.  Saturday at Clark Park is the  Farmer’s market.  I was in W. Philly  for business reasons and decided to stop at the FM even  though I had already done my  food shopping at 2 other FM’s earlier.  CPFM is always crowded and so I ended up going around the corner and parking on Chester Ave.  I passed by a food truck with about 10 people waiting around.  Honest Tom’s Taco Truck is at CPFM every Saturday and they only make one thing: Breakfast Tacos. I ordered one breakfast taco and had to wait almost 15 minutes as the other 10 people were ahead of me.  It was FANTASTIC!  Everyone else had ordered a double. I wish I had.  Scrambled eggs, fresh salsa, fresh  guacamole, cheese and crispy roasted potatoes in two soft tortillas.  I talked to a few regulars who told me the truck stops serving when they run out of food.

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Flowers in My head- original painting I made last month.Hi Everyone,I'm writing another blog which follows closely on the heels of my last blog. I keep editing and updating the last one. I ended up going to Washington D.C. on March 9th to take part in the Tibetan Rally and March for lobbying President Obama to help with the Tibetan crisis. I was early. I knew it was a good omen when I met a Tibetan Couple who lives on my old street ( what a coincidence). The weather was beautiful and sunny . The rally and subsequent March was satisfying. I pray everyday that the U.S. Government will step up to the plate and take a more active role in helping the Tibetans in Tibet . The situation is heart breaking. Free Tibet!!!!!!!!!!I meant to include the recipe for my mother's AWESOME Mondlebrot cookies ( I have seen Mondlebrot spelled several different ways on the internet). I consider it a Jewish Biscotti as it is a twice baked cookie in the shape of a biscotti only thicker. I did an internet search for other Mondlebrot recipes but my mother's recipe is by far the BEST. Warning these simple cookies are addictive. Great for dunking in coffee, tea or milk they are both moist and crunchy.Francine's Mondlebrot Cookie Recipe*1/2 lb. unsalted butter*1 cup sugar*4 Cups of  unbleached white flour*4 Eggs*Pinch of Salt*1 Teaspoon Baking Powder*1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract ( I use more as I love Vanilla)*1 Cup Toasted and Chopped Pecans ( you can substitute Walnuts but Pecans are better for this recipe)Cinnamon & sugar mix- equal parts of cinnamon powder and sugarPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs & Vanilla to the creamed butter & sugar mixture. In a separate bowl- Mix flour with the rest of the dry ingredients (salt & baking powder). Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add toasted and chopped pecans. Shape the dough into two thick loafs on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of loaves. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.Remove from oven and cut the loaves into pieces. Put cut up pieces on the baking sheet for another 7 to 10 minutes.Yield: about 80 pieces.**********************************I know I'm always writing about movies and DVDs to watch. I do enjoy reading. I'm currently savoring Mindy Lewis's memoir called LIFE INSIDE which chronicles her life as a teenager inside a mental institution when she was just fifteen in 1967. The way Ms. Lewis writes is engrossing. Her descriptive narrative style makes you question the whole issue of sanity. This book is brilliant. There is even a website devoted to this book ( and rightly so). Ms. Lewis is an artist in every sense of the word. A MUST READ!***************************************************************************I have refrained ( up until now) from writing about astrology or my metaphysical interests. Venus ( the planet of love and the planet which rules my sign of Taurus), is currently moving backwards starting in Aries and moving backwards to Pisces. All I can to everyone is wait to get married until after April 17th. Don't buy any big ticket items, make any new starts ( job, move) etc. If you want to contact a former love interest- go ahead and do that now if there is unresolved issues. Declutter; get rid of any old items from former flames if you are looking for new love. As I have said before, love is really an inside job so I highly encourage meditation and self reflection.Spring is almost here. I can't wait to get caught in a petal storm.Tashi Delek!Katie

My “Tony Duquette” Copper Leaf Mystic Eye Tree

Hi Everyone!

Well it has been a few months since I have blogged. It is difficult to narrow in and talk about all the cool things I have seen in the last few months. But I will try my best to give recommendations of interesting things to watch and eat.

Back in September, I went to the last Flea Market of the year at a nearby High School. During the weekends in the summer, their huge parking lot is filled with vendors selling anything and everything. A friend came to visit me and I had long talked about the bountiful treasure hunting of Philly. A week before, I had been thinking of beefing up my money corner of the dining room with a fake plant or a small tree ( Sadly although I have 5 planets in Taurus, my green thumb is only a fantasy at this point) . At the same time, I had been also drooling over the book on artist Tony Duquette which I asked my local library to buy. They did and I have been checking it out & renewing. As I looked at all the incredible sets, furniture , jewelry etc that Mr. Duquette designed, I closed my eyes for a moment and wished I could have something that would resemble one of his creations in my house- in my money corner ( Feng Shui). Around the same time I had the thought I would like something made out of copper since the metal for my sign Taurus is Copper. I let both thoughts go. Well getting back to the Flea Market ( which was 2 weeks after my wish thought), I was walking around looking when I spotted an enormous, vintage ( I dated it from the mid to late 60s), almost 7 foot tall copper tree with the copper leaves. In addition to that, the leaves looked like eyes ( too cool!). A few years back, I had bought some items from the same seller. She remembered me. I knew as soon as I saw " The Tree", I knew I had to have it. But Mercury, the planet of communication and money was retrograde on this day. I pondered the purchase. The price of $40 was ridiculously LOW. It wasn't about the money. It was the idea of being more stuff into my house. I have this ongoing battle with clutter & stuff. My friend who was with me, knows this. We have had previous discussions on "stuff" and getting rid of it- for spiritual reasons. Stuff clogs up your living space but it definitely can clog up your life. I want to have a flowing life. Since my friend and I both study Buddhism, I realized at that moment, I need to actually let go of my fixation. Within 5 minutes of spotting this tree, a random material object, I realized I had become obsessed. Obsessed with having it- wanting to possess it. When I find things- especially one of a kind things, I want it.

Well to make a long story short, the tree has become mine. The tree has become an evolving art project. I keep adding items to it's branches and leaves. To me the tree symbolizes the manifestation of a wish. I have dubbed this my Wish Tree.

A few days ago ( Valentine's Day), I was driving Philly. My goal was to find cool Valentine's day windows. I knew just where to go- South Philly. I have uploaded a few of my favorite windows. The last two windows are actually from a stationary store in Bala Cynwyd.

.Valentine’s Day Picture Window- Somewhere in South Phillyvdaywindow21.jpgvdaywindow31.jpgBala Cynwyd Valentine’s Day Window #1Bala Cynwyd Valentine’s Window#2
Now on to films: I have seen several of the Oscar nominated films and the theme for most of them is about INTENSITY. I highly recommend THE WRESTLER with Mickey Rourke & Marisa Tomei. If Mr. Rourke doesn't win for BEST ACTOR, I will be very upset. Ms. Tomei was very good too. I feel Kate Winslet must win this year for THE READER . I saw REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and she was good in that film but THE READER is in a catagory all by itself.

My DVD film recommendations are as follows:

A must see documentary A MAN CALLED PEARL ( available on DVD) about self taught outsider artist/ topiary sculptor landscape architect genius Pearl Fryar. Even if you aren't into plants, this documentary will open your eyes to the power of LOVE and the ripple effect of obsession and devotion. An ordinary man who turn some dead and discarded plants from his local nursery into a three and half acre wonderland will leave you filled with a restored faith in man kind and miracles. I give this documentary my highest rating!

Two more documentaries about obsession on DVD worth watching CRAZY LOVE( 2007) about the real life relationship between Linda & Burt Pugach. I actually remember finding the book in our home growing up ( my mother obsessively collected books) that Berry Stainbeck wrote about their relationship called " A VERY DIFFERENT LOVE STORY" ( 1976) when I was 13 or 14. I read the dust jacket and quickly dropped the book; recoiling in horror. If you are looking for a feel-good romantic documentary- this isn't it. But I am fascinated with male-female relationships ( blame it on all my planets in Taurus being in the 7th house of relationships) so this documentary & story is so fascinating to me. Sick but fascinating. This documentary should be seen with some friends or a group as it will promote a heavy group discussion. This is definitely a DVD that will make you think.
If CRAZY LOVE is not what looking for in a love obsession documentary than you might like MY DATE WITH DREW ( 2004). This is Brian Herzlinger's hilarious documentary about trying to get a date with Actress Drew Barrymore in 30 days. This documentary is really about a unconscious spiritual journey and is great for anyone who has been pushing or pulling for a goal. The documentary for me, personally is a gentle reminder that after taking action, it important to LET GO. I think Mr. Herzlinger is really cute and now that Ms. Barrymore is single again, she just might want to watch this documentary ( again)- just kidding! This documentary will leave you feeling good- happy.

Before I end this blog which has taken months to write, I will talk a wee bit about food.

I have been watching many episodes of Anthony Bourdain's NO RESERVATIONS and Andrew Zimmern's BIZARRE FOODS on the travel channel. Both are very entertaining and informative shows. I can come out now with one of my secret food (dare I say obsessions?)- I love marrow bones and have since I was a kid. Anthony Bourdain proclaiming Veal marrow bones would be included in his last meal request has given me the courage to second that desire. Having discovered I had a severe B12 vitamin deficiency a few months ago, I have happily increased my meat consumption ( sorry Peta) along with B12 shots from my doctor, I have regained my energy ( about 60% as I write this blog).

*Update: March 1, 2009- Well I'm sad Mickey didn't win the Oscar for THE WRESTLER ( I haven't seen MILK so I can't comment on Sean Penn's performance) as I knew his acceptance speech would be off the wall. A few nights ago, I caught most of the Independent Spirit Awards on IFC ( repeat) and saw Mickey's hilarious acceptance 6 minute speech for winning BEST ACTOR ( for the WRESTLER). I was laughing so hard I was crying and peeing in my pants. Right before that, was the side splitting performance by Rainn Wilson as Mickey's character in the Wrestler singing a parody of the film to the tune of James Brown's I FEEL GOOD. Both these film clips are on www.youtube.com If you are needing to laugh, go to YOUTUBE now and type in "Song Wrestler Spirit Awards". I recommend watching the clip of Rainn Wilson first as Mickey refers to him in his speech. I'd like to thank Rainn and Mickey for making have to do extra laundry. I'm still laughing about both performances. To appreciate how funny it is you should see THE WRESTLER first before seeing the clips. I don't know who was responsible for the parody song & dance numbers at the Independent Spirit Awards but the person or people are GENIUS- pure GENIUS! By the way I feel an extra kinship with Mickey as we both have chihuahuas. I was sad to hear his Chihuahua Loki passed away a week before the Oscars. Everytime there has been a nominee whose relative passes right before the Oscars, they always seem to win. Wish Loki had that kind of influence.

I keep adding to this blog. Forgot to mention a film recommendation currently playing in Independent move theaters now which I saw ON DEMAND on cable. TWO LOVERS with Joaquin Phoenix is a must see film. Loved it. I'm definitely not a big Gwenyth Paltrow fan but she is good in this film. Vinessa Shaw is good too.

March 10th is coming up and I will be Marching for Tibet. Free Tibet!

Tashi Delek,

Katie

A few weeks ago I saw the most riveting documentary ” MAN ON WIRE” about the French tightrope walker/ acrobat Phillipe Petit who constructed a wire between the Twin Towers ( World Trade Center) in the mid 70s right after they were completed . He had an overwhelming urge to walk between the two tower. The urge became an obsession. An obsession that even he thought was “impossible”. In my opinion, ” Man on Wire” is one of the most intense documentaries I have ever seen. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. To quote a friend ,” Definitely not boring!”. The documentary, sadly is no longer playing at my local theatre. I’m sure it will be available on DVD shortly.

While on the subject of men and wires, this past weekend I journeyed to the Perelman building- which opened last year across from the Philadelphia Art Museum . It was my first trip since it opened. Yes I am a slow mover. My main reason for going was to see Alexander ” Sandy” Calder’s jewelry exhibit. I keep using the word “stunning” but the collection of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras etc. was so incredible, I wanted to run home and make jewelry ( I don’t make jewelry). His materials were simple- wire, brass, silver, stones, glass. Most of the collection was made for his wife, mother & friends. The way he could bend wire. I read at parties he would show up with wire and pliers and make sculptures for his friends.

Another ” MUST SEE” exhibit is the James Castle Retrospective which just opened up across the street at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. James Castle ( 1899- 1977) was a deaf mute self trained outsider artist who lived in Idaho. He made incredible black and white drawings primarily with soot and spit as well as constructed tiny books from found ephemera. His work is on the genius level. The exhibit is a ” MUST SEE” for EVERYONE ( whether you consider yourself an artist or not). After missing two different screenings of a documentary made about James Castle, his life and art, I was overjoyed to discover they are showing the film every hour inside the exhibit. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2009 and information about the James Castle Retrospective can be found on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website.

To digress now to some more of my favorite things about fall; specially fall on the East Coast. The leaves changing colors, the way the air smells- crisp with a smoky tinge, Caramel Apples- the really good kind that you make at home or buy at a high end candy shop. I love apples and fresh apple cider. Anything pumpkin; especially good pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes, hearty homemade soups. My favorite apple is Honey Crisp, handknit scarves and shawls. Fall colors in clothing. Sad to say on a recent trip to MACYS, every piece of clothing I looked at from inexpensive to expensive was Made in China. I looked at a sweater dress that was priced at $198- it had threads hanging off it; very poorly made. What happened to quality? This is yet another argument for me continuing to shop at Thrift stores and seek out D.I.Y. artist/designers/seamstresses. Thank God for eBAY. This is a great place to find handmade items. I have found wonderful people on eBAY who have made me wool winter hats, scarves, hand loomed sweaters, wool socks etc. I choose handmade any day.

Now that the cooler weather is setting in, I am switching my facial products around. I just adore Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL face cream and SKIN ETERNAL Face Serum. Natural skin products that don’t cost a fortune and really work ( for me), Drinking lots of spring water, at least 2 ounces of Aloe Vera Juice and being consistent with taking Womens Essential Oil Capsules.

And before I close this blog let me talk about films. I just HAPPY GO LUCKY ( in movie theatres now). A definite ” must see” film with Buddhist themes. I think Mike Leigh is a wonderful film director ( in a future blog I will write more about favorite films and film directors etc. ) THE VISITOR – which is out on DVD- another “must see” film. Buddhist ideals show up in this film too.

Since Halloween is approaching, I must confess I do have a weakness for horror films. I recently re-watched Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film DON’T LOOK NOW with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Using the city of Venice ( Italy) as the backdrop, I really enjoyed the “psychic” aspect of this film. It is a terrific film that really holds up well 35 years later. I recommend it as ” must see” film.

Tashi Delek,

Katie

Trio of Mini Skull Paintings @ GoreyFest AuctionI haven’t written a blog for awhile. I wanted to let everyone know you can bid on a special trio of mini skull paintings I created especially for the Edward Gorey House 7th annual Gorefest Auction.   The event – the live auction is  happening October4, 2008.  For more information go to:

http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org

The three tiny skull paintings I made were done in a Victorian Gothic style as Mr. Gorey emulated this style in his work. The paintings come with their own wood stand. The money raised from the auction benefits The Edward Gorey House Museum and animal charity they work with. I do not profit from this auction. Like I said in my last blog, The Edward Gorey House Museum in Old Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts was such a fun and artistically inspiring museum.

As summer turns into fall, I find myself going through my vast cookbook collection and searching for recipes online. I love comfort foods in the winter. Well I love comfort foods all the time. I have started making cold food dishes a wee bit early. This week I made ( for the 1st time) a cream of crab, asparagus and mushroom soup. I used fresh asparagus and four different kinds of mushrooms from the Farmer’s market. I did not follow a recipe but I usually don’t unless I’m baking. I am getting ready to try my hand at making bread; specifically sourdough bread that tastes like the kind I grew up eating in the Bay Area. Every Christmas Eve, I now make Cioppino ( which is an Italian fish stew in a tomato broth base with white wine, basil and garlic). My mother would make it once a year and we always had it with Colombo Sourdough bread. Last year I was so desperate for some authentic sourdough bread to accompany my Cioppino I ordered 2 round loaves via Boudin Bakery. It was worth the $30 with shipping for the bread. Toasted with butter, it was the perfect companion to my Cioppino. I will be making my own sourdough starter. I still need to buy a Kitchen Aid mixer with a bread hook. I am happy to say I finally manifested a long-wished for kitchen item; a vintage glass Pyrex double boiler which I found at the Hamilton Porch Sale in Powelton Village last weekend. Yes, I realize I could have easily bought one on eBAY but the one I found was only $4. Now when I make my Grand Marnier Souffles, it will be much easier.

O .k. let me digress to some art crap now. The Mark Dion show which was hyped up to the max at Bartram’s garden ( show runs thru December) was basically an artsy -boho guy who got a huge Pew grant to take a road trip and go thrift stores and flea markets in the South . I already did that 10 years ago but didn’t get any money for it. Still the exhibit is kind of cute and interesting to me as I like specimens that he put in glass jars and opening up the various curio cabinets. The best part of my tour of the exhibit was my substitute tour guide ( I won’t be naming names here). The person ( a non- artist) was hilarious as they told me all the gossip about the show and basically saw the art world for what it is- gimmicks and hype ( the words of the tour guide). Yes I think we are definitely in the age of “Emperor’s New Clothes” in many cultural and political ways. Why is some worthy if they look a certain way, dress a certain way, have lots of money or speak eloquently without a track record or actions to back up their words? I tend these days to look at a person’s actions, not their words. But that’s just me. I prefer being around Buddhists ( or Buddhist minded people) over artists because they are kind and down to earth . I guess this makes me seem like a snob. But to continue with art stuff- I also managed to see the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner exhibit called Berlin Street Scenes and the huge “( Salvador) Dali in Film” exhibit at MOMA. Fantastic, wonderful, full of soul, inspiring, overwhelming- these are a few adjectives that I felt while looking at Kirchner’s paintings and Dali’s paintings and films. After seeing the exhibits, I headed over to Takashimaya and had high tea. I chose the East West Tea service- a combination of British and Japanese delicacies served in such a beautiful way, that the plate was pure art. Takashimaya is to me what Tiffanys was to Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffanys”. It is a store- five floors of exquisite luxury items that aren’t essential to ones survival but as a woman with five planets in Taurus, the store represents my ultimate materialistic fantasies of beauty under one roof.

So it is obvious that now as the weather turns colder I become obsessed with handmade wool scarves, sweaters and hats. I continue my my search for the ultimate purse. I love the purse/slouch bag/tote that Michelle Pfeiffer had in the films “FRANKIE AND JOHNNY” and the one she used in “ONE FINE DAY”. They both were huge bags, leather and from the looks of it, Made in Italy.

Tashi Delek,

Katie

His Holiness with the VolunteersHis Holiness, The Dalai LamaThis is a blog in progress. Too much has happened lately to write about everything right now. I just volunteered for a 6 day teaching by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama on the Lam rim Chen Mo – The Great Treatise. I love His Holiness. I am not going to keep my devotion to him a secret. I think he is wonderful. The teachings were fascinating but the time spent at Lehigh University became a life lessons of sorts for me. Many internal issues surfaced for me while giving service. Issues that I thought I had resolved, old ghosts, fears, hopes, dreams, ideas. At first, my emotions started to plummet but then I realized a golden opportunity was being offered to me. By applying the daily sessions from the teachings , I started to focus in on the present moment. I discovered much of the mental and emotional drama that was plaguing me was just coming from my mind. It wasn’t real. I felt my higher self fusing my ego with kindness and acceptance. All the crap that was initially stirred up evaporated very quickly.
For those of you who know me, I draw everywhere I go- before a film, a play, a music event, burlesque shows, lectures, in cafes, on trains and planes, waiting in a doctor’s office, in restaurants etc. These teachings gave me bursts of creative ideas. I had the experience of a lifetime. I believe now everything and everyone prospers me and I prosper everything and everyone.

On the last day of the teachings, His Holiness took photos of each group which worked at the event. He walked up to our group of Volunteers and grabbed by hands with his left hand. I felt a warm buzz. I have to say this day was one of the best in my life so far.

I’m wearing the black glasses tired but happy surrounded by some of the volunteers.

I will be making paintings based on my drawings and text and updating this blog in the next few weeks.

There are some people I am so glad are on this planet spreading their love & healing to others . His Holiness, to me is one of those special beings.

Tashi Delek,

Katie

P.S. One of my newest addictions is Edys All Natural Frozen Fruit Bars. I have a great neighbor who introduced me a few months ago . I haven’t tried all the flavors yet because I just love Tangerine and the creamy coconut too much. It is definitely making my summer a happy one. I love ice cream ( who doesn’t) and this is a nice lower calorie substitute plus it is non dairy. I have been seriously cutting down on the dairy. If you love frozen treats you will love this product!

PPS. I am also loving Amber Waves Bakery Strawberry- Rhubarb pie. All their pies are great that I have tried so far but the Strawberry- Rhubarb pie is out of this world.

I ‘m giving up drinking Coca Cola for political reasons. I even wrote in past blogs how much I enjoy drinking it with certain dishes. My Kindergarten teacher tried her best to dissuade our class back in 1969 from drinking Coca Cola. She dissolved a baby tooth in a large glass bottle. It disintegrated about 20 minutes later. Because my mother was an extreme health food nut, I didn’t drink sodas until I was a teenager. My pathetic love of sugar was/is a sad & stupid rebellion against my mother. Everything she taught me about nutrition turned out to be the truth. I need to give up sodas and sugary drinks entirely. They are so bad for the body. I know this. I’m working it on it. Slowly. Baby Steps. That’s me- 5 planets in Taurus- the slow moving woman. Eventually I get to my goals. It just takes me longer than most people.
My birthday was Mother’s day. This year I had two birthday dinners. The first being the night before at a wonderful seafood restaurant ( I’m keeping the name to myself). Raw oyster variety platter, lobster bisque and fried soft shell crab in a wonderful lemon butter sauce. Everything was excellent. The next night ( my real birthday), I decided to have pate with crackers, cornichon, olives, Humboldt Fog Cheese, French bread, a simple green salad with my special homemade salad dressing and pommes frites ( French fries) cooked in duck fat. Yes I said Duck fat.

I had been consumed with finding duck fat after reading Ruth Reichl’s book GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES. I asked at one of the farmer’s markets I shop at if they carried duck fat. They did not. This led me on a journey to find duck fat in Philadelphia. At first I went to the internet and quickly found a site in Florida that sell duck and goose fat but they wanted about $9 plus shipping for 7 ounces. I figured 7 ounces wouldn’t be enough. A friend mentioned checking Asssouline & Ting- a shop in downtown Philadelphia that sells caviar. I went to their website and my friend was absolutely right- they sell duck fat and get this in 6 lb tubs! The price for 6 lbs is $30. So much cheaper than the Florida site and local. I ended up driving to their warehouse ( getting lost- thank you Map Quest) and finally getting the the big plastic tub of fat. I made the French fries from Russet Potatoes- rinsed out the starch and flavored them with salt from the Camargue. I decided to go all out and made a aioli ( garlic mayonaise) to dip the fries into. Heaven. I have frozen the rest of the huge tub of Duck Fat. I haven’t decided upon its future.

Last Weekend I went to visit a friend in NYC. We went to see the Takashi Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum. While I like some of Mr. Murakami’s images ( the 60s Mod pop art smiling flowers and his wild cartoons), I was dismayed to see lots of little kids at the show. His work aside from the smiling flowers, was very adult in nature. I am not going to write about it . No I am definitely not a prude ( see my work) but even my friend (who is a teacher) felt the show was inappropriate for small children. We wandered around Brooklyn. I just adore Brooklyn. We stopped in ONE GIRL COOKIES and had hot chocolate topped with huge homemade marshmallows and assortment of their cookies. I love the lemon cookies the best- oh yes and the brownies-sinful! Full of butter. I had a difficult time not buying anything in FLIGHT 001 but eventually caved in at EXIT 9 and bought some very cool change purses and a much needed wallet. I love NYC ( of course). My friend has a miracle. The force of the shower reminds me of the hose they spray the elephants with at the zoo. My body and aura was clean in about 10 seconds. No joke. My friend could charge people lots of money to spend 10 seconds in the miracle shower. I wish I had that kind of water pressure.

I had promised my friend that I would cook when I stayed over. We went to Union Square farmer’s market so I could buy the ingredients for the meal. I decided to make my friend a dish I call ” P.M.S. Pasta”- which I created several months ago during that time of the month. The night I created the dish I was craving a creamy pasta dish. I like Trader Joe’s Frozen Mac N’ Cheese but sometimes it can be too cheesy and salty for my palate. Originally I used pancetta but at the market I opted for lamb sausage flavored with fresh rosemary. The recipe appears below. Once again I am sharing this recipe freely but it is my own invention.

Katie Pfeiffer’s P.M.S. Pasta- Great Any time of the month!

Serves 2 to 3 people

*8 oz package Fettucine ( you need a wide noodle for the sauce of the dish)- I like to use Spinach Fettucine

*4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

*small onion chopped fine

*3 cloves garlic finely mined

*1/4 lb pancetta or bacon diced (can substitute sausage)

*1/2 stick of unsalted butter ( you may add more if you wish)

*small basket of cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters

*1 Cup Heavy Cream OR 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream +1/2 Half N Half

*small bag of baby spinach- washed- if the spinach has stems please remove them

*1/4 cup grated Parmesean or Pecorino or any other good Italian hard

cheese you would usually top pasta with.

*1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

*Freshly cracked pepper

Prepare pot cook the pasta. Get the water simmering almost boiling. Wait to cook pasta when the sauce is almost done.

In a skillet heat olive oil on medium high heat. add garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes, add onions. Saute approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Add diced pancetta. Cook until pancetta is done. Add butter. Add cherry tomatoes. Cook about 2 minutes. Add cream. Cook another 5 minutes. Add spinach. Add grated cheese, red pepper flakes, cracked ground pepper ( to taste). Turn the sauce down LOW or off.

Follow the directions for cooking the Fettucine. I like my pasta al dente. Drain pasta and add pasta to the skillet of sauce thoroughly coating the pasta.

Serve with hot crusty French or Italian bread.

This pasta is obviously not low cal but I figure it is full of iron and calcium.

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DVD Recommendation:

A must see documentary for all artists is “THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI“. This documentary is about a woman who befriends an elderly Japanese Artist who is homeless. I have to say this is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. It is bursting with Buddhist themes and shows how love and kindness transforms and unites people. I think this documentary should be shown in every public school to everyone. Life changing. Life affirming. Wonderful!

Other Treasure Hunts or Material THINGS I’m Currently Obsessed with ( besides cooking with duck fat):

1. Vintage reading glasses from the 50s/60s– really difficult to find even on eBAY. I’m talking about the plastic kind made in Japan and also the half glasses plastic.

2. Vintage Overalls- I just bought a fabulous pair of vintage never worn U.S.A. made Osh Kosh Men’s Railroad Stripe overalls- they are a wee bit big but I love them anyway. I’m tempted not paint in them but probably will.

3. Hee Haw Overalls in my size. I have a friend who has a pair of these and wears them to work. Finding them in adult sizes ( on eBAY) is tough.

4. Asian Noodle Dishes– I just bought a book on Asian Noodle dishes ( used) and was hoping it would fulfill my desire to find the right cookbook that has the kind of noodle dishes and noodle soups I’m looking to make at home. I enjoy eating at a nearby upscale Asian restaurant but they charge $10 for a small dish of lo Mein or Chow Fun!

5. Latvian Artist Janis Tidemanis- ( Oct 1, 1897- April 12, 1964)- His Artwork is

incredible. I swoon and salivate over it. Mr. Tidemanis spent time in the U.S. studying art. If you do an internet search you will see examples of his work. Incredible. Stunning.

6.  BIGELOW’S CONSTANT COMMENT GREEN TEA- I ‘m off the coffee train
once again ( I managed to stay off it for 7 months and then fell off the wagon.  I am back drinking Green Tea.  I loved Constant Comment when I was  young- the orange, cloves and other spices.   I went through a box last week.  I keep buying out the stock from one of my Super Markets.  Tried to find  it NYC for my friend- went to several stores.   You can order this on the internet.  Excellent with honey or sugar- brings out the flavor of the oranges and spices.

Tashi Delek,

Katie

My Dog is Way Cuter Than Your Baby Painting

Happy May Day! May is my favorite month- o.k. I love this month because it’s my birthday month.

Several weeks ago I went to get my driver’s license renewed. Of course they asked me on the touch screen if I wanted to be an organ donor. I said yes.

I recently read about a man who just committed suicide. He had received the heart many years ago from a much younger man who had committed suicide too. That coincidence was odd. What was very weird about the story was the second man ending up marrying the widow of the man whose heart he had received. Man number one also drank beer. Man number two never drank beer until after receiving man#1’s heart- then he got a craving for beer. There is a phenomenon called “cell memory” where the organ of someone has things stored in it like pain, happiness, cravings etc.The recipient of an organ transplant will frequently take on the characteristics of the previous person the organ originally came from.

Heaven help the person or persons who receive my organs. They will develop a craving for Disco music, Red Vines, Korean fried chicken. They will get weird food cravings, decide to cook the food they are craving and after all that, not want to eat it in the end. They won’t put up with people who are posers. They will have a love of animals, astrology and want to spend lots of time in nature, etc. etc.

A few years ago I went on a trip to New Orleans and stopped in THE BOTTOM OF THE CUP TEA ROOM – a famous psychic parlor in the French quarter. The woman who read my tarot cards told me I was living out an Asian past life in this lifetime ( I BELIEVE IT!). What is odd is when my mother was pregnant with me ( back in the 60s), she couldn’t eat Chinese food. Then, one day she and my father were taking a walk and she suddenly developed a craving for Chinese food. Unfortunately, on the way to the restaurant my mother started having labor pains. 24 hours later, I was born via C- Section. My birthday is coming up very soon. I can’t believe I’m going to be 44. Thank God my family has great genes. I’m not one of those women who lie about my age or who fake things. I bought myself an early birthday present- a Tempurpedic Symphony Memory foam Pillow ( it retails for $99 but with a 20% coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond it ends up being around $84 with tax). I had been sleeping on a cheaper neck memory foam pillow which I had bought years ago for half the price. It was terrible. I thought I was being clever-saving some money buying a different brand ( not Tempurpedic). Big mistake! sometimes you have to spend money for quality items. Just in the last few days, I have been sleeping so much better.

Speaking of food, I finally was able to satisfy an obsession ( of sorts). It started last year when I read about OREOs Cereal (POST) on AMAZON dot com. Amazon for those of you who don’t know have a large grocery section of various food products. I ‘m not a huge cereal lover but sometimes I get a crunchy craving or a sweet/crunchy craving. As I was surfing the various cereals, I discovered Kellogg’s Fruit Harvest with Strawberries and blueberries. Amazon sells this cereal – a 4 pack for $15.05 plus shipping. I went on a fruitless search ( no pun intended) to all the local grocery stores. No luck. On Saturday, I just happened to be at a Walmart and found it. I have to agree with the reviewers on Amazon- it is really good- sweet and crunchy. As for the Post’s brand of Oreo’s cereal, I found that at my local Rite Aid. Soon after, they either sold out or stopped carrying Oreo’s cereal. It is a great cereal- especially if you get weird cravings. The cereal kind of tastes like a hard, crunchy not-too-sweet brownie. With whole organic milk it is divine. A great PMS food!

I also made my first batch of Koolickles. Koolickles are dill pickles soaked in Kool Aid- it is a Southern thing. I know it sounds yucky but the taste sensation of sweet, sour and crunchy is great. I got the recipe off the internet. I felt bad about using Kool -Aid because it is full of red dye number two. I probably could have substituted kool aid with a natural jello mix, sugar and a strawberry oil flavor or something along those lines. I probably won’t be making Koolickles again for a long time ( as I do suffer from allergies and I usually avoid foods with dye in them) but it was fun making them. The longer ( more days) they soak the better. The recipe says soak them for at least 24 hours but I would advise soaking them for at least 72 hours before eating.

Today- April 30th I just listed a new painting on eBAY. I am loading up a photo of it to this blog. The title is ” MY DOG IS WAY CUTER THAN YOUR BABY”. This painting is inspired by a real life event . A friend build and stretched the canvas. I used acrlic paints and Deco paint pens . If the painting doesn’t sell, I will be happy to keep it. It is very cool ( in my opinion). Little Miss Sunshine is on her way to fame and fortune as a painting I made of her ( not this one) will be exhibited this summer in a gallery. I am so proud of her.

Well I was going to give some film and DVD recommendations here but I will save it for the next blog.

Tashi Delek,

Katie

Portrait of Frida Kahlo by Katie PfeifferMarch 11, 2008

FREE TIBET!

Kudos to Bjork! Thank you for mentioning Tibet at your concert in Shanghai. I listed two art pieces I made today on eBAY. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET. You can see these paintings by going to the link on my art website on typing in OUTSIDER ART TIBET on the EBAY search. I will be listing more art items and other things to donate to Tibetan causes. So please bid. I appreciate it!

I’m fully aware that my blog entries have mostly been about movies and food. So here is something about art.

I went on Sunday to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit today at the Philadelphia Museum of Art ( PMA). The show was crowded ( obviously) and very padded ( meaning filled with lots of things other than Frida’s few paintings- lots of photographs of her and Diego as well as painting from other Mexican painters). PMA is always big on selling merchandise in connection with their “block buster art shows”. I broke down and bought a coffee mug for a friend with one of Frida’s paintings on it. Back in the late 80s, I was able to get a private viewing of her paintings in a small space at theFolk Art Museum at Fort Mason ( San Francisco). This was before the Frida craze. I love Frida’s work. I made a painting of Frida a few weeks ago and am adding it to this blog, Yes it is for sale.

My journey with cooking and food the last 4 years has been driven by my food cravings. Usually I get a craving for something creamy, crunchy, salty or sweet and thus begins a journey of research . I love comfort foods as well as dishes from bygone eras. Last week I had a craving for some kind of ice cream concoction. I suppose I could have just made myself a root beer float with Vanilla ice cream or even made myself a quick New York Egg cream with U Bet Chocolate syrup, half n’ half and seltzer water. As I started looking on the internet for old fashioned ice cream sodas, I came across a recipe for something that was popular in the 1920s & 30s called a Chop Suey Sundae. A ice cream sundae made with vanilla ice cream, shredded coconut, and a warm compote of raisins, dates and water all topped with Chow Mein noodles. As I read the ingredients my stomach turned. My initial response was “Yuck!”. Chop suey is a fake Chinese dish- called American Chinese. The recipe I found online sounded revolting. I went to sleep that night thinking about the concept of a Chop Suey Sundae- something I could revise and make my own and original.

Well I am happy to report I have come up with a tasty version of this weird sundae . I have looked high and low to see if something like what I have created exists- it does not. Here is my version of a Chop Suey Sundae. My version is called (modestly) Katie Pfeiffer’s Cherry Bling Chop Suey Sundae. I am posting the recipe- freely but I invented this.

This version is a two step dessert process. I am not mentioning the brand name of a puffed rice cereal but you know what I am talking about. Recipe will appear at the bottom of the blog.

Now on to two films I love about Soulmates. These films will go great with my Cherry Bling Chop Suey Sundae. The first movie is

“DEJA VU” ( 1998)- There are several films with this title but this is the film directed by Henry Jaglom which stars Stephen Dillane and Victoria Hoyt. This film is mostly talking and you would think boring- but you couldn’t be more wrong. This film is absorbing and fascinating. It explores the relationship of two strangers who happen to meet. This movie explores the subject of past lives, soul mates and mysticism and will leave you feeling happy and reflecting on your own relationships in a more positive light. I feel there are no coincidences. Rent it, buy it- just see it!!!!!!

The second film which is also about soulmates and one I became obsessed over is “THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES” ( 1996) Starring Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall and George Segal ( who previously starred with La Streisand in another wonderful film ” THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT”. Anyway this film is very George Bernard Shaw/Shakesperean- a comedy of errors/ miscommunication and assumptions. All I will say about this film is I have seen it at least twelve times in the last few months and it is full of wit, humor and truth about men, women & relationships. I feel Streisand did not receive the recognition she deserved for this film. I consider this my favorite film now ( at least in the Romance/Comedy genre).

O.k. Here is my recipe for Cherry Bling Chop Suey Sundae. It is pretty awesome.

KATIE PFEIFFER’S CHERRY BLING CHOP SUEY SUNDAE

( serves 2)

*1 cup Vanilla Frozen Yogurt or Vanilla Ice Cream- buy a decent brand

*Puffed Rice marshmallow treats- follow the recipe on the Puffed Rice

Box or look it up on the internet – you will need two average squares- one for each bowl plus extra to top the sundae. TIP from me- when I am making the puffed rice marshmallow treats, I add 1/2 teaspoon of real Vanilla Extract to the recipe and this makes it SO much better!

*1/4 Cup chopped dates

*1/4 Cup Dried Sour Cherries

*1/4 Cup Water

*About 10 Maraschino Cherries chopped up plus about 2 Tablespoons of Maraschino Cherry syrup- I buy Maraschino Cherries WITHOUT Red dye no.2 at Whole Foods. the brand is called SILVER PALATE and you can buy them over the internet.

*1/4 Cup Roasted and Salted Almonds- chopped

*1/4 Cup Toasted Shredded Sweetened Coconut flaked

*Optional Chocolate Syrup

*Extra puffed rice marshmallow treat- crumbled for topping

In two small ice cream dishes or bowls break up up the squares of the puffed rice marshmallow treat. Push them down on the bottom of the bowls. In a small saucepan combine the dates, sour cherries, maraschino cherries, maraschino cherry syrup and water on low. Bring to a bowl and cook for 5 minutes until the liquid gets syrupy and the dates break down. Add the frozen yogurt or ice cream to the dishes. Spoon the hot cherry and date compote over the ice cream. Add the coconut and chopped almonds. Top with crumbled puff rice marshmallow treats. Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

Enjoy!

One last thing- yesterday was the annual March 10th March  for Tibet-  Freedom for Tibet and its people.   I wanted to March in NYC  but a personal injury  has made this impossible this year.    Hopefully next year I will be there in front marching.

Tashi Delek,

Katie