Learning from One Another

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We all have a life story that can inspire others  or to run a better business. Why not use that story and message to serve others and grow a real business by doing it? ~ Brendan Burchard

I might get dissed for this since I am living in Colorado, the home of Celestial Seasonings. Today I am writing about one of their competitors, Bigelow Tea.

The other day I bought a box Bigelow Mint Tea which is a blend of peppermint and spearmint. I noticed there is a short story on every box. I’ve enjoyed learning a little about this American company, and their blends, through the narrative they provide on the packaging and on their website. Call me crazy, but I find personal fulfillment in reading stories of business and entrepreneurship because they are inspiring, often creative and filled with ingenuity.

In this age of technology, company stories more frequently contain a melding of intellectual talent from several continents. It seems “Made in America” has become a  foreign concept. Whatever your feelings are about this era of business, it has opened up doors of opportunity for college graduates if they are willing to travel the extra mile to pursue all possibilities.

Lifes a JourneyPlease keep your eye on this website. In coming days I will be posting a story about a member of  We Write Steamboat, a networking group that I formed whose mission has been to “foster independent publishing success.” I will be shining the spotlight on an author who was born in Mexico, came to America and has gone from local writer to playwright in a short period.  I look forward to interviewing him and sharing the excitement of his tale with our readers!

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Grown Pleasures

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It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” – Lewis Grizzard

“Come, you’ve got to see this,” said my father before I’d even set my baggage down for my annual visit.”

What is it that’s so urgent? I thought. I ‘d expect an impatience in my mother but not my father. He is the more serene in personality of the two.

“You’ve got to see my heirloom tomatoes. Your brother Scott gave me jillions of seeds of all kinds.” My dad gave me a tour of his garden, with plants in all stages of development.


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From Sweet to Savory

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“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” ― Frank Herbert

“What was your favorite?” someone asked me the other evening when I attended a Girl Scout fundraiser at the Catamount Ranch and Club.

Without a doubt, the Tai concoction and the coconut shrimp,” I said referring to the recipes that most satisfyingly fulfilled my palate.

It was a challenging and interesting concept in fundraising – turning sweet Girl Scout cookies into savory appetizers. All and all, I liked these two recipes the best:

Do-Si-Dos: Chef Ben Hunt from Catamount Ranch & Club prepared Short Rib Do-Si-Do Pad Thai

Samoas: Chef Jacob Jaime from Catamount Ranch & Club prepared Samoa Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa

I could have eaten entrée-sized portions of either one of them. They were that yummy! Here are some photos from the evening:

chef of my favorite gs favorite recipe

 

tai photo from steamboat radio

cookie creation3

 

Here is more about what the other chefs cooked up.  Each year of this fundraiser the chefs have come from different restaurants in Steamboat Colorado.

Toward the end of the night, a friend approached me and said “Did you see what you won?”

“What? Where?” I replied.

“Go over to the raffle table, not the silent auction area, and there is something with your name on it. You are going to LOVE it, “she said, “it’s meant for you from beginning to end!”

Come back tomorrow, and I will show you on All Things Fulfilling what I won in the raffle drawing. It’s thrilled me to no end!

 

Good News, Dear Margaux

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May 27, 2015

Dear Margaux,

What a pleasant surprise when I opened my mailbox last week and found that the U.S. Postal Service had delivered this notecard from you!

Girl Scout Margaux letter without last name

I am so glad you enjoyed my presentation “One Day in the Life of a Writer.” I was happy to learn that I am not the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to jump out of bed to write down ideas. It makes me feel better that you said the same thing happens to you. 

GS scribe badge I was not aware that my visit helped your troop earn your Scribe badges until I read the Girl Scout blog.

Tomorrow I am attending the  Girl Scout Fundraiser for adults at the Catamount Ranch and Club.  I am excited! I have my ticket! What a cool fundraising idea to have some of the best chefs around creating savory appetizers from sweet Girl Scout Cookies.  It will be interesting to see what the chefs will be serving up. I’d better take my camera! If your mom is coming, tell her I have saved a book for her and will bring it along incase she hasn’t yet ordered a copy.

Enjoy your outings, meetings and the friendships you have made through the Girl Scouts. I think I mentioned to your troop that I made life-long friends through scouting.

Keep on Writing! And remember the good news we shared about life “There are always flowers for those who want to see them!”

Sincerely,

Mrs. Sue Leonard (aka author Sue Batton Leonard)

Award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected 

and short stories – Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Discussing Eggs and Life

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“Mom,” my 27 year old son said to me during my visit in February, “What kind of eggs do you buy at the grocery store?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “whatever is the least expensive. Usually store brand.”

“You know, I’ve gotten to be an egg snob.”

“You have?”I asked with an element of surprise in my voice. “So, why have you become an egg snob?”

“Eggs aren’t all the same, you know.”

Yes, being a fraternal twin I am aware of that, I thought. But instead I responded, “I’ve bought brown eggs when they are running a special, and I can honestly say, I have noticed a difference. But,” I continued, “I try not to sweat the small stuff in life. That’s why I don’t read every label. Sometimes you have to trust life and ask yourself  is the brand of food I buy really going to significantly change the outcome of my life? I mean, you could drive yourself crazy making decisions like that at the grocery store. I have not been kept on this earth all these years, as healthy as I have been, because God wanted me to spend my time agonizing over every food choice at the grocery store. I’d like to think HIS plans for me were different than that.”

Our egg and life discussion continued a little longer about the pro’s and con’s of evaluating every single item that we put in our stomachs, and whether that is a healthy way to live or not.  When my son and I have thought provoking talks it brings me great happiness because it feels like it draws us closer to understanding one another.

Ok, so, now  two months later I know what the lengthy egg discussion was REALLY all about. My son was using his acumen to get my opinion on something because he was trying decide whether he liked an idea or not.

Guess what? We are back to chicken talk. My son and his gal, a nutritionist, have decided to engage in their own “urban living” chicken project so they can have fresh eggs on their side of the neighborhood.

meghan and chicks April 2015 CROPPED

Do you know what this means? I have become the grandmother of two chickens – what an interesting thought.

Charley Brown on worrying

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. Her books include Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Life Lessons: Stories of Heart & Soul.

Easter Eggs of the Past

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You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. ~ Fyoda Dostoyevsky

Oh, Easter Joy! Look at these little pretties that are pictured. I’ve been up since before the crack of dawn making them.

In my memory box from my childhood are recollections of the year my mother and my aunt Claire made my twin sister, two brothers and me, and our two cousins Jay and Karen (aka Meg) hand-crafted Easter eggs made out of mashed potatoes.  Yes, you read it right – mashed potatoes.

Although both my mother and my aunt (now in their mid-eighties)  have lucid memories of making these eggs, neither of them still have the recipe but I was able to track it down from A Taste of Home.

The candy is every bit as good and sweet as commercially made coconut-crème Easter eggs (sweet enough to send your preschooler on a jet propulsion sugar high until she/he graduates from college). Perhaps they do have a smidge more nutritional value since they are made with potatoes!

easter handmade chocolatesWhat a fulfilling morning I have had recreating a childhood memory by making my own hand-crafted coconut-creme eggs. Only thing missing was my mom and aunt by my side!  Mom & Claire – you are in my heart today and every day because of the memories you made for our family during our childhood.

Easter 4Readers, I share the recipe with you today while there is still time to make these candies for Easter for your family. They are really quite easy!

Recipe: Mashed Potato Hand-Crafted Easter Eggs from A Taste of Home

1/2 cup butter softened (I used no-salt butter)

1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes (cold is important) -plain – prepared without added milk & butter)

2 lbs confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lb of dark chocolate candy coating (such as Wilton Candy Melts) – Walmart has these

In bowl, cream butter and beat in mashed potatoes. Add coconut and vanilla and then add in confectioners sugar. You may need less or more sugar until you have a somewhat stiff dough.

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper and dot with tablespoon size clumps of the mixture. Refrigerate 4 -6 hours. Once refrigerated the candy mixture will stiffen up and be easier to work with to shape into egg shaped forms.

In microwave oven melt candy coating according to directions and dip oval shaped (egg shaped) candy into the chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off. Decorate with sprinkles or other candy decorations or leave plain. Place on waxed paper and chill once again until set. Store these in refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes approx 96 candies. The recipe can be halved easily.

Easter book promo

Return tomorrow there will be an Easter gift from me to you! You will be able listen to an audio narration of an Easter story from a chapter of my award-winning audio book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The audio book is narrated by it’s author, Sue Batton Leonard.

Night Life in NM

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Wherever you travel to, appreciate the culture and beauty of the place.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

El Faro, Santa FeEl Farol, (meaning warmth & light),  a restaurant in the heart of Canyon Road, an arts district of Santa Fe, is the home to lively evening entertainment and dining. We sat “ring side” and watched Flamenco dancing while enjoying tapas (small plates) of hot & cold food last weekend. The Lomo de Cerdo pork loin with idiazabal cheese and port figs sauce was outstanding. The Tortilla Espanola (traditional spanish potato and onion omelette) and the Aguacate (flash fried avocado with mixed vegetables and lime yogurt) was tasty, too.

It was my first experience of seeing a live performance of flamenco – a form of Spanish folk music and dance. Fast paced, dramatic, and highly entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This form of dance is taught in Albuquerque at the National Institute of Flamenco as well as at the National Institute for Spanish Arts in Santa Fe. Flamenco is an art form which needs to be promoted and protected as part of history and culture.

Here are a few photos of flamenco dancers. Costumes, rhythmic handclapping, and boisterous vocal encouragement from group members added to the entire experience.

flamenco santa fe

flamenco santa fe2

flamenco santa fe 3Ta-ta, for now!  Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.