Ronnie Paul: Life is a juggle | TheUnion.com

Ronnie Paul: Life is a juggle

Ronnie Paul
Columnist

I received a juggling kit for my birthday. The package claims that anyone over the age of five can do it. I'm over five and a failure.

When I tried to read the directions, even my strongest glasses left the print too small. I resorted to pressing my face into the booklet, but that made it impossible to throw even one ball in the air.

It wasn't easy, but I eventually progressed to juggling two balls. Unlike the instructions directed, however, my tosses didn't land effortlessly in my hands. Chasing airborne balls is quite the cardio workout, so now when I juggle I wear running shoes.

My 13-year-old granddaughter Rio, learned to juggle three balls in less than five minutes, so a juggling bond isn't on our menu. I add this to some of the other grandma-grandkid activities I outgrew like playing Twister, staying up past midnight, and swimming in cold water.

What Rio doesn't see is what I call "non-circus juggling." It takes great concentration, for example, to balance a checkbook to the exact penny every month or to schedule the growing number of doctor's appointments I chart on my calendar.

Actually, since I've now read every waiting-room People magazine in the county, I consider practicing juggling in the corner while I wait to be seen.

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Of course, in the kitchen I always juggle ingredients and textures. Please give these new recipes a try.

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 4

There's still a bit of cold weather in the air, so warm up a chilly night with this soup.

4 cups vegetable stock

3 cups small cauliflower florets

2 cups chopped potatoes

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 pressed garlic clove

1 cup evaporated milk

1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard

1 cup corn kernels

1 15-ounce can navy beans or other small white beans

3 scallions, thinly sliced

3 ounces nitrite-free chicken sausage, cut in small pieces

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Salt and pepper

Bring the veggie broth, potatoes, cauliflower, celery, onion and garlic clove to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the veggies are tender. Stir in the milk.

Puree 1 1/2 cups of the soup and return it to the pot. For thicker soup and less texture, puree more. Stir in the mustard, corn, beans, scallions, sausage and salt and pepper.

As you reheat the soup, mix in the cheese until it melts. Serve it up.

Sour Cherry Muffins

1 dozen

Here are not-too-sweet muffins, perfect to serve with Cauliflower Chowder.

2/3 cup white sugar

2 cups white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 beaten egg

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup drained sour cherries

Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, egg, sour cream and butter until smooth. Carefully stir in the cherries.

Pour into a well-buttered muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I've learned through the School of Burnt Goodies, to rotate my pan once while baking and to do the toothpick test before the expected time is up.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.