Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Post-Holiday Comfort Food

Spider Webs - This amazing photo taken by Maggie Toussaint

What's kept me busy for the last few weeks.

Rehearsal photo (taken by our director, Tim Hanes) for Lessons & Carols, our big Christmas performance, for which we're joined by our Youth Choir, a Senior Chorus from Orlando, numerous singers of all ages, and an orchestra (beneath the windows). I'm happy to say it was a big success, particularly after being canceled last year. Everyone really sang from the heart, and it was a truly memorable event.





After a hiatus last year, The Citrus Singers once again performed the National Anthem at the start of the Cure Bowl here in Orlando. They have done it beautifully for years, but now that they're older - well, wow! Some of them even hit those special high notes at the end. To hear the Girl Scout rendition of "The Star-Spangled banner, click here. 


And now, one of those gems found on Facebook:

These  insults are from an era “before” the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

 1. "He had delusions of adequacy ” Walter Kerr

 2. "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”- Winston Churchill

3. "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. - Clarence Darrow

4. "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”-William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

5. "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

6. "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it.” - Moses Hadas

7. "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” - Mark Twain

8. "He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” - Oscar Wilde

9. "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.”   -George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

10. "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one.” - Winston Churchill, in response

11. "I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here” - Stephen Bishop

12. "He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” - John Bright

13. "I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.” - Irvin S. Cobb

14. "He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” - Samuel Johnson

15. "He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up. -  Paul Keating

16. "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” - Forrest Tucker

17.  "Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” - Mark Twain

18. "His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” - Mae West

19. "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” - Oscar Wilde

20. "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination.” - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

21. "He has Van Gogh's ear for music.” - Billy Wilder

22. "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I'm afraid this wasn't it.” - Groucho Marx

23. The exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison." He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

24. "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

25. "There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure." -- Jack E.  Leonard

26. "They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." --  Thomas Brackett Reed

27. "He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them." -- James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

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(Excerpts from the Cookbook I prepared
for the Grandgirls this Christmas)



This really great-tasting meal freezes well. (Ingredients and Seasonings are flexible, depending on the amount of meat and your personal taste.)

Note: Although this is an easy recipe, there a lot of ingredients. Things will go more smoothly if you prepare all the additions ahead of time: chop the onion & garlic; lay out all the other ingredients like soldiers on parade.

olive oil or olive oil spray
1 - 1½ lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped or sliced into small bits
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
¼ - ½ cup golden raisins*
¼ - ½ cup sliced green olives
¼ - ½ cups slivered almonds
capers, to taste (optional)
½ - 1 tablespoon chili powder
½ - 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
c. ½ teaspoon salt - less if using capers
c. 3/4 cup beef broth - or heaping teaspoon of beef granules + 3/4 cup water
White rice

*Regular raisins can be substituted, but it’s just not the same.

Brown ground beef in small amount of hot olive oil in large nonstick skillet, adding onion & garlic when beef is nearly brown.Turn down heat to medium. Cook until onions are soft (translucent). Drain liquid.  Add tomatoes with juice, raisins, olives, almonds, capers & all seasonings. Add beef broth. Stir to mix well. Simmer c. 30 minutes for best mix of flavors.

While picadillo simmers, cook enough white rice to serve each person. Serve picadillo over rice, with added almonds, if desired.

Note: picadillo varies according to who makes it - some add apple, some use tomato sauce, some use tomato paste, etc.  Add the amounts of raisins, olives, almonds, & capers that suit your family’s taste.



This is one of those recipes that appears to be completely ordinary but has an extraordinary flavor. Well worth trying.

½ lb. bulk sausage*
1 small onion, sliced (½ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb. (1½ cups) cubed cooked ham
2 tablespoons snipped parsley
1 bay leaf
2 15-oz. cans navy beans
¼ cup dry white wine
Dash, ground cloves

*I use Jimmy Dean.

In skillet, cook sausage, onion & garlic until meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender; drain off excess fat. Add ham, parsley and bay leaf; mix well. Stir in undrained beans, wine & cloves. Pour into 1½-2 qt. casserole. Bake, covered, at 325° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 40-45 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve in bowls. Serves 6.

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In the midst of the latest Covid surge, may I recommend my Matthew Wolfe series (3 novellas), designed specifically as a Covid-Blues-chaser. Old-fashioned family entertainment—the tale of a young man's rise from rags to riches in Regency England. Humor, action, a dash of romance. No sex scenes. Try it. You just might like it. Below, the cover for Book 3.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, 
and most online ebook vendors.

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For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)