Sunday, August 14, 2011


 How do you define the word "success"? I've been giving this word a lot of thought lately, and have been driving my family craaaazzzzyyy, asking them their beliefs on the subject. I guess this all came to be when I heard somebody say recently that this person they know is "just beautiful, and VERY successful". I mean really, I want to know, what does that even MEAN?? In our society, success can be defined in a variety of ways, such as.....

***Money. He who has more in the bank is thought of as being very successful, financially anyways.

***Stuff. Expensive cars, houses, second homes, boats, country club memberships--these are all things that people acquire to tell the world (and themselves!) how very successful they are.

***Education. The pricier (and to be fair, the more rigorous - to - get - into - schools) the education, the more respect we give someone who graduates from such an institution who charges the steep tuitions. And the more we expect someone who graduates from such an institution to BECOME "successful", in the long run.

When I think about my one and only life, I have to wonder, have I been successful? I am  a 48 year old housewife who lives in a small town right smack in the middle of "nowhere". I do have a 4 year degree in business, and I have run small to mid-sized businesses "successfully" in my life, but this was many, many lifetimes ago. I am in a stable and healthy 24 year old marriage (Happy Anniversary, Big Daddy!). I am the devoted wife to a happy man who has risen to the top of his chosen career path and the mother of a daughter who excels in everything she puts her mind to. I have raised a happy, healthy and well adjusted child who is smart, loving, funny and kind. I am a good daughter to my parents and a good sister to my brother and sister--well, as good as I can be, living all the way across country from most of them (thank goodness for phones and computers and Facebook!). I am a great friend--I truly value my friendships, and have maintained a precious few for over 25 years. I take good care of 4 small and furry creatures who dwell in our home, and dote on my little cottage garden which, thankfully, has thrived this year. Do those efforts make me a successful woman?

 By our society's standards, prolly not. I have never earned more than $18,000 a year in my life. I drive a used station wagon with 125,000 miles on it. My clothing of choice these days is yoga pants, flip flops and oversized t-shirts. Sometimes (SHHHH!) I even shop at Wal Mart!

Here's what this all boils down to.....Leslie Elaine Nelson Willard's definition of success. I believe that to be a true success, one has to have some inner peace. Without it, we are all just big, hot miserable excuses for human beings. I think that if we've helped even one little soul's life to be just the teensiest bit better, we've been successful. If we've made this world even the teensiest  bit more beautiful, we've been successful. If we leave this world a better place, in any way, then we've been successful. Some of the most miserable people I've ever met have been the wealthiest (and I've known a lot of "rich" people), and some of the happiest have been the poorest. Go figger! I believe that smart, successful people have learned to not care what other people think about them. And last, I believe that smart and successful people NEVER judge others--that is just not our job to perform, and we will all be judged by our maker (or whichever "maker" you might believe in), in the end.

So anyways, I'm gonna stop being so hard on my perfectionist little self and get my SUCCESSFUL butt into the kitchen, pronto.........


One person who I think of as successful is my very own muddah - like - no - uddah, Carol, because she's such a great cook, and raised ME! Hah. But seriously, she just has a "knack" for food, and most of my favorite recipes have come from her kitchen. When I need to prepare something quick AND delicious for dinner, I like to make her Salmon Patty family loves them, and you can use canned salmon, which is available almost anywhere. You can also substitute canned tuna or crab in this recipe--all options are just fabulous! And seriously, when I printed this recipe in my newspaper column it was THE most requested recipe, ever!

To begin, drain and flake the salmon and place in a medium size bowl with dry bread crumbs (I use Panko, but any kind will do), chopped onion, beaten eggs, light mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, garlic powder and salt and pepper.............

Refrigerate mixture for an hour. At this point, I like to form 4 to 5 round patties and dredge in more Panko breadcrumbs, for extra crispiness, but my mom's recipe doesn't call for this step, so you don't have to. Add oil (I use peanut) to a medium sized non-stick skillet and heat. Cook patties over medium heat until well browned on both sides.............

We like our salmon patties with a little horseradish sauce on top--super easy to prepare by mixing together about a cup of sour cream and a tablespoon or two of jarred horseradish--just keep adding until it has the spiciness you desire.........

Top your gorgeous salmon cakes with the horseradish sauce and enjoy a quick, easy and delicious supper!..................

Here's the recipe......

Serves 3-4

1 14.75 oz. can pink or red salmon
3 / 4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 / 2 cup finely chopped onions (or 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes)
2 eggs, beaten
3 tblsp. light mayonnaise
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tblsp. freshly chopped parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 / 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 /2 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper.

Drain and flake salmon, leaving in bits of skin and bone in with flakes. Place into medium size bowl and add all ingredients. Mix well--mixture will be very moist. Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to medium size skillet. Form salmon into 4 or 5 round patties. Cook over medium heat until well browned on both sides and heated through.

Carol's notes: These can be turned into salmon burgers by placing on toasted hamburger buns and adding mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. If served as an entree, top with light sour cream mixed with horseradish, to taste.


**The summer we've enjoyed with our daughter, who leaves for school the day after tomorrow. Lots of memories made of  sleepy coffee filled morning chats and walks in the sunshine together.

**The wonderful response I continue to receive about this blog--you all make me so grateful, every single day!

**Sleeping in this morning, then being the first one out of bed to enjoy my coffee while taking in my latest moronic television addiction, "Celebrity Ghost Stories".  I KNOW, stupid, right? But at least it's better than my old addiction, the Housewives of New Jersey!


  1. Well, Leslie, thanks for posting Carols' salmon patties. My mom used to make these with cracker crumbs, and we always made tartar sauce to go with them. I still make them today, but this version looks yummy. Never thought about making a horseradish sauce for salmon, but will def try it.

    I agree with all of your definitions of success and happiness, dear Sis. I look forward to getting to know you beter as we get older, because we are just similar enough to appreciate each others' differences. =)

    I wish you a most "successful" year ahead, both in your own life and in your marriage, and yet another year with Abbie away at her "successful" college career. I remember my college years fondly.

    Thanks for taking the time to write and "illustrate" this wonderful blog, sweetie. Have a great day, hugs to all.

    Love, Debra

  2. uhhh, that's BETTER, not beter! lol