Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with GarlicGrowing up there were 2 vegetables I could not stand but was made to eat until my plate was clean (ugh.) One was lima beans and the other Brussels sprouts. When I left home at the age of 19 I never touched another one! Until tonight. These are DELICIOUS and I feel like I am healing my inner traumatized child now. :)





1 pound Brussels sprouts

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh crushed garlic (4 cloves did it for me)

Sea salt


I got organic Brussels sprouts from a store nearby, Oliver’s, and we picked the tiniest ones – knowing how I am I just wanted to be able to take little bites – it was less of a commitment for me! Likewise, I sliced them in half, after grooming them a little by cutting the stalk a teeny bit and peeling off any iffy leaves.

Put the halves into a bowl and drizzled the olive oil and garlic on top and tossed well. Then it was time to add the salt and pepper – didn’t know how much to add so I just ground some sea salt into my hand and sprinkled on top so the top layer showing was well covered, and did the same for the pepper. Tossed again and then put them in a glass baking dish, spread to one layer. Sprinkled a little more salt and pepper for good measure (thinking the more of that I added, the less they’d taste like Brussels sprouts!) and popped them in a 400 degree oven.

After about 15 minutes I tossed them in the pan and put them back in another 15 minutes, after drizzling a teensy bit more EVOO because it looked like they were drying out. After the 2nd 15 minute stretch they didn’t look quite “brown” enough for me though, so I tossed one more time and put them in another 5 minutes. They were PERFECT – melt in your mouth, buttery tasting goodness. I will be having these as often as possible now!

400 Degrees

35 minutes, tossing at 15, and 30

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New Way of Eating

I am learning to eat in new ways – I’ve ditched the fast food, the Starbucks, the convenience/packaged items and am now eating mostly organic fruits/veggies and legumes, with some lean meat/chicken for dinner. I have been gluten-free almost a month now and the arthritis in my foot is gone! I’m also grain free, sugar free, caffeine free, potato and any other starch free… Except for what is found in these new shakes I’ve been using. (Contact my friend and hairdresser Wendy for info – it’s awesome).

This has been a HUGE adjustment for me especially since I have never eaten this way! I found myself scrounging for snack ideas, recipes and just instructions on how to prepare basic veggies which you’d think a grown woman would know. See, Greg is the ‘chef’ in the family and he is doing his best to prepare healthy meals for us all, I am on my own during the day! I am going to start sharing some of what I’ve been doing as I have discovered a whole new WORLD of flavors, tastes and textures!

One of my favorites is roasted chick peas/garbanzo beans. Just toss with some extra virgin olive oil along with some sea salt and chipotle powder or some other seasoning blend and toast in the oven on a baking sheet about 40 minutes. This is my new “popcorn” and go-to snack on the go. Delicious! Watch for more recipes and ideas, as I will share them here!

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I Am Invisible

I am Invisible - Essay about mothersWish I knew who wrote this. But alas, she is invisible. Sharing this post that I found on one of my old blogs from another time. It’s worth repeating.


I am Invisible

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and asks to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Come right around
5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied hi story and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.

My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving , ‘My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

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Peace of Mind

For the last few years I have been driving around in a minivan that was always on its ‘last leg.’ It started out as a trouble maker – we bought it from a local fairgrounds car lot from some guys who were from out of town, ended up being scam artists who sold us an untitled car. We got that all worked out just in time for things to start breaking on us. We’ve been nursing it along for years but I am happy to say those days are over.

The one we got isn’t my ‘dream car’ I talked about a few posts ago, but it will do for now – it’s a dream come true because it is giving me peace of mind. Since the latest problems with the minivan were related to the brakes – every few months they needed to be replaced – it was scary driving it around. And since I drive a LOT – I mean a lot – about 20,000 miles a month is average – that meant I drove around being scared a lot.  The last couple weeks I said I can’t take it any more and I made Greg take my car while I drove his pickup. That’s pretty bad!

When I found out that Jeff Yates, a mobile apps guy who comes to my Webify Club meetups, was selling Hondas in Petaluma, I knew it was meant to be. I had already been looking at getting a Honda. Being the last day of the month, and being that Jeff was really good at following up with me just at the right time, I told him to stick around and that we’d be in tonight. He normally goes home at 4:30 but stayed extra just for us – THANK YOU Jeff! Jeff was really great to work with and if you are in the SF Bay Area I highly recommend you visit him at Hansel Honda in Petaluma.

I am looking forward to driving around without worrying about whether everyone has jackets with them in case we get stranded on the side of the road. Or bringing along a snack in case we end up waiting on a tow truck. Or looking at the last gas station we pass knowing we have to make it another 7 miles to the next one in case the car starts smoking again. Or wondering if I remembered to fill up the jug of water in the back. I hate car trouble. I love the peace of mind of knowing I am carrying my most precious cargo – the three kids – in a reliable vehicle. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to really say that. This car isn’t brand new but it only has 34,000 miles on it so it is the newest car I’ve ever owned. I am thrilled!

If you’re looking for a new or used car, be sure to ask for Jeff Yates at Hansel Honda in Petaluma. I trust him, he’s a good guy, and I know you’ll have an easy painless experience like we did. He’s terrific!

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My Baby Boy is Seven

Today’s Terry’s birthday. He is my only boy and my youngest baby and is growing up so fast!

He has changed a lot over the years and is becoming such a big boy! I am so proud of him and the little man he is becoming. Happy Birthday TJ!

He was a big baby! 8 lb 15 oz

One Year Old

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

Four Years Old

Five Years Old

Six Years Old

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