I am having a Wednesday Spaghetti-like event on Wednesday. I belong to a national moms group called Mothers & More and we are having a gathering to meet some our newer members. I will not be serving an entire meal, but mostly appetizers, desserts and drinks. Here's one recipe I will be serving. My neighbor has a gzillion fresh tomatoes. So many she doesn't know what to do with them all so I kindly offered to take some off of her hands. YUM - fresh, off the vine tomatoes, free of chemicals. Now if I could just make my own cheese...
My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BASIL SALAD
4 large tomatoes
2 cups mozzarella cheese
8-10 leaves fresh basil
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar (optional)
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese same thickness.
Arrange the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, alternating in a circle around a decorative serving dish.
Drizzle with olive oil (and balsamic vinegar if desired).
Serve with salt and pepper to individual taste.
Since I am serving it as an appetizer, I will be surrounding the salad with bread to look like this.
A friend of mine is lucky enough to have her house to herself this weekend. Her husband is on a guy's trip and her son is visiting the grandparents. She decided to have a girls sleepover to celebrate! And as it turns out, my husband is gone for the weekend and my kids are going to the grandparents for a visit. This works out perfectly. So five or so of us are getting together for dinner, drinks, desserts and then movies at her house along with late night giggling and no sleep. Ok, some of the five will sleep, but I am a night owl and will probably be the last one standing.
We probably won't have spaghetti, but the spirit of Wednesday Spaghetti will be alive and well!
I've been reading about the call to keyboard for authentic writing in the momosphere for the first week of August. It seems there are camps forming with two distinct themes. One is that being courted by businesses with a variety of giveaway goodies for the purpose of honest assessment and word of blog publicity is a good thing for women who blog. It's like having a "big girl" job. The other pov laments the takeover of real dialogue, deep thoughts, shared beliefs and community in favor of poorly written drivel and arguably deceptive posts.
My eyes hurt from all the rolling.
Most of the commercial mom blogs I read, or have skimmed, are businesses. And there is nothing wrong with a blogger taking advantage of the commerciality of their work. The net is the last frontier as far as low cost start-ups go and more power to you if you can convince someone to pay you for doing something you enjoy.
But here is the problem I have. These women, as far as I can tell, aren't getting paid. They are taking stuff. Maybe they sell it later on eBay to recoup expenses for their time and maybe not, but since when did "stuff" constitute a living? And when a blogger is willing (and plenty seem to be) to be compensated in goods what happens to the writers/bloggers who would rather have cash? I mean, not every mommy blogger has a daddy paycheck earner to take care of the pesky expenses, and last I heard, the people who hold your mortgage aren't keen on barter.
Here's the other thing that doesn't compute for me. How are we a community, or cyber friends even, when you are writing to convince me to buy things. That's almost as annoying as the friend who takes up Pampered Chef or Mary Kay or sex toy parties because now our friendship is threatened by an unspoken coercion that involves me feeling obligated to buy and you needing me to buy in order to maintain the flow of freebies and advertising. And now I am not a "dear reader" or a friend but rather a customer.
The bloggers at Momdot want moms to blog authentically for the first week of August. To just shut down the PR (it's unclear to me if this includes all the ads in the sidebars which make pages load so slowly) and get back to basics. Which begs the question of what a mom is to do if she began blogging simply to milk the cash cow but that is a call for others to decide.
Some are not really down with this. They are proud of the businesses they have built and rightfully so. If you are blogging for profit and are good at it and your "friends" are totally cool with funding you, the fact that it is a quasi-ponzi scheme shouldn't be an issue.
More and more I am uncomfortable in the momosphere. I have always been clear on the fact that I began blogging for me and it continues to be "all about me" which is probably too boring for most. And I am totally rethinking my connections with mom grogging because I am not allowed to be utterly me and write about women issues, wants, dreams, dilemmas, only some of which are mom-oriented. At my age, why should I care what companies think I need or should want? They are only interested in my money and will shill and wheedle and flatter their souls away to sell it to me. Their power? Lies in my willingness to buy and in someone else's willingness to sell themselves cheaply enough to promote it to me.
I just don't understand taking crap as payment - and if I have to dust, store, or pick it up and move it from one place to another - it's crap. It's like the white traders in the early days of North America buying land and goods from Native Americans with glass beads and cutlery. I don't remember who wrote this, maybe it was Konrath, but the sincerest form of flattery for a writer, and I think blogging counts as writing, is a paycheck, and if you aren't doing your bit to promote the idea of money as currency for writers than you are not a writer and you are hurting real writers with your posing. You are kind of like scabs who cross picket lines, under-cutting the common good for selfish gain.
"But I am feeding my family!"
Really? With movie passes and WiiFit?
We (and when I say "we", I mean "you") will always be ghetto-ized as Mommybloggers so long as the majority of us are mesmerized by the sprinkles tossed our way like bootie shaped confetti decorating a table cloth at a baby shower. We will not be taken seriously as a group or a force. And the sad thing is - we (and by "we" I mean "all women") could be a force if our more prominent members weren't so content to be stereotypes.
This is a great salad to bring to a potluck. With the chicken, it could actually be a main dish. I often leave out the chicken and use fresh mushrooms in it's place.
Pecan, Chicken and Wild Rice Salad
INGREDIENTS for Dressing: 1/2 cup rice vinegar 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2 large garlic cloves, minced 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper 1/4 teaspoon sugar
INGREDIENTS for Salad: 1 cup wild rice 4 cups chicken stock Juice of 1 lemon 2 whole chicken breasts, cooked 1 bunch green onions, minced 6 to 8 ounces snow peas, trimmed 2 ripe avocados, chopped 1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
TO PREPARE: For the dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and sugar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to mix.
For the salad, combine the wild rice, stock and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until tender; drain. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Combine the dressing, rice, chicken, green onions and snow peas in a bowl 2 hours prior to serving and mix well. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator. Add the avocados and pecans just before serving and mix gently.
I boiled some penne, and topped it with about 17000 torn up basil leaves, olive oil, a tiny bit of seasoning.
I put nutmeg on all my green leafies, I don't know why I never thought about adding it to basil. Just a dash, or is it a pinch? Whichever is smaller.
I have regular old Corelle dishes. I filled a bowl up about quarter ways with the basil, topped it until it was half full of oil, added salt and pepper and garlic and bit of nutmeg and let that soak an hour or so.
If you are one of the WedSpaghers who've been to my house, you know about Ricotta Salata. That's the cheese I slice up and serve with honey mixed with McCormack Italian Seasoning Grinder stuff. I shredded the Ricotta Salata and mixed it with parmesan and put that on top.
I am back from a long needed (albeit rainy) vacation and ready for my spaghetti. My lovely friend, Lesley, invited me to her house tonight for dinner so I am very excited to not cook or clean! I had her over a few weeks back for WS, so she is returning the favor tonight. All I have to do is show up with some bread... easy cheesy. I am only taking one kid along (the oldest quietest one) so that I can kick back and relax a little. That doesn't happen often for me, so I am unusually elated for a pasta dinner.
I am looking forward to laughter, chatting, joking and maybe a few bites of pasta (this is not good for my diet, but I will let some bonding time get in the way of my need to get into a bathing suit any time soon.)
Wednesday Spaghetti was formed to increase public awareness of the need for families, caregivers, and peer groups to spend quality time together in an in-home, casual dining setting in order to discuss general life issues, household guidelines and practices, personal habits, issues, and goals, educational habits, issues, and goals, employment habits, issues and goals, family habits, issues, and goals, physical health-related issues, sexual health-related issues, emotional health-related issues, spiritual issues, relationship issues, community events and resources, and other such topics; to support and conduct nonpartisan research, educational and informational activities to increase public awareness of the importance of togetherness, communication, and good nutrition; to provide simple to make, nutritious meals to any family or group in the community, regardless of race, color, creed, sexuality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, economic status, or location at no cost to the family or group.