Sunday dawned beautifully. A tinge of humidity inspired me to get the morning constitutional under out belts early. Purse, water bottle, cleanup bags, check. Loaded Oakley into the car and drove to the forest preserve with a long road that skirts its unpopulated west side.

We walked through the stand of oaks and maples into the wide open prairie restoration where the road traces long lazy curves across the land. Oakley sniffed, left messages for other dogs. I thought of nothing in particular and everything in general under the high pristine blue sky.

Oakley froze suddenly, and I felt watched. I looked around to see if another early morning was taking up our rear. No, it wasn’t. A young coyote stood about fifty feet behind us. He regarded us with curiosity.

I would have done the same; however, Oakley took his protective stance in front of me and shot daggers at the coyote with his eyes the way that all canids do when they are ready to rumble. Great. I put myself between them to distract Oaks, but he wasn’t having it.

What did I have to defend us? My purse with the water bottle hanging off the strap on the left; a well-filled cleanup bag and leash attached to 75 pounds of muscle in the right. I picked up some reasonable-sized rocks, escalating myself into a sight worthy of a slot on “America’s Got Talent.”

Coyote continued to stare at us from a respectful distance. Then he took a step forward.

“You leave us alone, we leave you alone.   You try to hurt us, I hurt you. Understand?”

I swear he shrugged at me like a human adolescent saying “whatever” before rambling off into the bush.

Admittedly, I was shaken. Coyotes have had their local habitat disrupted by subdivisions planned for the convenience of humans with no regard for nature. However, one too many stories of dogs getting mauled by their wild cousins do send a few chills down the spine in a face to face encounter. 

I did feel remorse for what I said, but I was in no mood to become a statistic.

Canine Cultural Enrichment

Dogs do like music. Oakley is partial to Mozart and the “Canine Lullaby” CD that gets played during nap time at day care. Orion liked Bach. Neither were thrilled with CD that had songs written specifically for dogs about topics like snacks, beddy-byes, and adventures at the park. Orion actually left the room in a huff when I played it.

So I stream peaceful music from the internet. Today it’s Celtic. Oakley, Hubby and I are all content with it.

Dogs also love it when you speak to them in French. Especially when you’re telling them what’s for dinner. Tu mangerai de la poulet ce soir. Tu va avoir une bisquette aussi. One of Oakley’s classmates is owned by a native speaker of German. Henry responds to commands in both German and English. Pretty impressive.  

Visual arts are a little tricky unless the dog in question is a sighthound. Otherwise, best to stick to music and language. 


Noodles, Please

 I just had Indonesian peanut noodles for lunch. Yum.

Noodles have been around for about 5000 years. As are many other food products, they came into being in China and spread through the trade routes to Europe and India. While the story goes that Marco Polo brought them back to Venice in the 1200’s, some forms of pasta already existed in the southern parts of Italy. The shapes that we know today came into existence in the 1600’s.

Heaven She knows I love my pasta and broccoli, and She also knows that I will choose noodles over rice when possible in Asian recipes. It’s a question of texture and flavor. Noodles provide soft ambient music for your dining pleasure; rice in either brown or white form is white noise, a filler and there merely to absorb the sauce or juices. Noodles are pleasantly chewy. Rice in its whole form is just rice, except when fried. 

Lucky for me and other people with gluten and wheat problems, noodles can be made with rice, corn, chickpea, buckwheat, or black bean flour. I like rice flour-based ones for everyday consumption. Yes, you caught me. I still sneak in wheat pasta here and there maybe once a week.

Today’s lunch was procured from a takeout place specializing in noodles. My third trip to the dentist in a week (nothing alarming–cleaning, repair of small chips in my front teeth before they grew large, and a new bite guard to wear at night since I ground holes in the other one) warranted a treat. I had the Indonesian peanut noodles; Hubby had Japanese pan noodles. Delicious, but made with wheat-based udon. 

We both are happy, though. Noodles just have a way of doing that.

Monday Potpourri

Oakley scared me this morning. He left food in his bowl, which doesn’t happen very often. Then I realized that I had committed the unforgivable transgression of incorrectly layering the egg, pumpkin, and goat kefir in the bowl before mashing them together. An additional dollop of goat sauce (what it’s called around here) earned my way back into his favor. 

Drinking green jasmine tea. It’s one of the few greens that I enjoy, as is gunpowder green. Gunpowder green has roasted notes and the wow factor of unfurling itself into the full leaves when the water hits it. Very cool to watch. 

Hubby came home, so I’ve been cooking. Scrambled eggs yesterday; almond and coconut flour muffins this morning. Turkey cutlets with rosemary, but do I want to do a rosemary and mushroom or orange sauce? After three weeks of cooking for himself, he really appreciates my culinary efforts and likely doesn’t care.  I’m leaning towards the orange sauce. I have some oranges that need to be used up.

On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. A note of Tudor nerdiness for the day. Other than wearing black and watching the episode of “The Tudors” where she meets her fate, nothing planned. 

So we go on to this week.





Gode Cookery

Bristol Ren Faire opens on July 6. T-57 days and counting. I am getting fixes to tide me over by watching “The Tudors” again and looking up period recipes. Don’t know if I’ll try any, but I am finding it amusing.    

The most comprehensive site:   It’s your one stop destination for recipes medieval and Renaissance with a toe dipped into the 1600’s. Not only do they post the original recipe for the close and fryez (a cross between a pie and a fritter) or various apple pie recipes, but they translate the recipe and the ingredients into modern vernacular. The people who run the site cook at SCA events and ren faires in the southeast, providing eaters with historically accurate dining experiences.  

Gode Cookery provides a list of foods not used in the name of historical accuracy. Potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes as well as that Ren Faire staple, the turkey leg, didn’t come into play until the 1600’s or so since the New World had yet to be overrun by the Europeans. Cabbage, carrots, apples, and spices abound, however. So did herbs such as parsley. Almonds and pistachios found their way into many savory recipes, not just for desserts. 

Still, a little artistic license with history is a good thing as we see in “The Tudors.” If it enhances the experience and inspires the imagination, it’s not a bad thing.

Especially when turkey legs are involved. 




To Beef or Not To Beef: That Is the Question

Yes, by all means, beef, but choose grassfed:

  • Grassfed beef is as lean as chicken breast and contains fatty acids such as ALA’s and omega-3’s that may promote health.
  •  Its raising my actually benefit the environment.
  • No antibiotics are used in its production. 
  • Feedlot beef routinely gets fed what amounts to garbage: bakery waste, candy, and potato product waste. And then the consumer eats that. Eeew.

For more information, point thy browser to

Bison is a good alternative. It’s carried at Whole Foods, Costco, some health food stores, some markets, and if you don’t mind paying up the wazoo for shipping, you can order it from producers. It is a couple bucks more than grassfed beef, but it’s a good investment in health.

A few caveats:


  • Both bison and grassfed beef cook very quickly and can cross the line from pleasantly chewy to rubber band consistency in a heartbeat. Cook slow and low for the most tender results.
  • Some people find bison too gamey for their tastes.  
  • They are pricier than grain fed products.

 However, they can be a wise investment for your health. Just handle gently, mix in some veggies to maximize servings, and enjoy.