Saturday, 21 March 2009
I got to be me . . .
Be the Best of Whatever You Are
If you can't be a pine on top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley . . . but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
And some highway, happier make;
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass . . .
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew.
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is near.
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun . . . be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail . . .
Be the best of whatever you are!
I got another rejection letter yesterday, right out of the blue. It was from a card company I had sent some of my work to back in November and I had completely forgotten about them. It seems that my artwork is not their image either . . .
I sat and looked at my paintings and studied them for a time. My heart felt really low, and for a few moments I thought . . . maybe these are not any body's image. Maybe these are really not very good at all. Maybe nobody will ever like them . . .
Oh, I have looked at other people's drawings and whimsies, and loved them. But I cannot be them . . . all I can be is me. Each picture that I paint comes straight out of my heart and is inspired from what lays within. Sometimes the voice of God flows from the end of my brush . . . and at others it is my own whimsical thoughts that dare to express themselves. But they always contain a piece of me, and I can no more try to be another artists' voice than I can stop breathing. My paintings have always been, and shall always be my own voice, and maybe nobody will love them but me, and maybe many will love them, but . . . I'm experiencing too much joy to give up, or to lay my brushes down, and maybe it will be a hundred years before anyone appreciates them, or maybe it will be never, but I will not quell the song of my heart
on someone else's say so. I just got to be me . . . and try hard to keep being the best me that I can ever be.
My Todd does love to eat a good pork chop now and again. We did try to stop eating pork a time back, but dear me . . . we do get a craving once in a while. I cooked these lovely and moist stuffed pork chops the other night, and they were wonderful. I adapted this recipe from a cookbook I have, entitled, "365 All-American Favourites." It's loosely based on theirs, but with a delicious twist of my own added.
*Tasty Stuffed Chops*
Imagine a wonderfully succulent pork chop, stuffed with a flavour packed stuffing filled with herbs, sweet raisins, sun dried tomatoes and crunchy pine nuts . . . now cover it with a luscious gravy filled with some of the same flavours . . . D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!
1/2 cup of seasoned stuffing crumbs
(I used pepperidge farm)
2 TBS pine nuts
2 TBS golden raisins
2 TBS apple cider balsamic vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 TBS minced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 TBS chopped flat leaf parsley
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
4 centre cut pork chops, each about 1 1/2 inches thick
Place the raisins into a small bowl, along with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside to infuse for about 15 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Toss in the pine nuts and dry fry them for several minutes, stirring constantly until they are nicely toasted. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add 1 TBS of the oil to the pan and saute the onions, cooking and stirring until golden and soft, about six minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes longer. Remove 2 tablespoons to a small bowl and reserve for later.
Scrap the remaining onions and garlic into the bowl with the pine nuts. Toss in the stuffing crumbs. Drain the raisins, reserving the remaining vinegar for later. Add to the stuffing mixture, along with 2 TBS of the tomatoes, the parsley, lemon zest, and some salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Using a sharp knife, cut a deep pocket horizontally in the centre of each chop, taking care not to cut all the way through. Fill each with some of the stuffing. Pin closed with a toothpick, and season each side lightly with some more salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 1 TBS of oil over medium high heat in the skillet. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add the remaining chicken broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer, turning once, for about 15 minutes, until the chops are cooked through. Remove the chops to a plate and keep warm.
Add the reserved vinegar, onion mixture and sun dried tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to the boil over high heat. Boil and reduce until the sauce thickens slightly, some 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve the chops on heated plates with some of the sauce spooned over each.
PS - Don't forget to leave a comment on my Spring Giveaway post to be in on all of the fun. The giveaway will go on until 31st of March. I shall pick a winner on the 1st of April! All those goodies could indeed be winging their way over to you in just a few weeks!