Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thank You

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and ate more than they should have. To all of my international readers, Hello Great Britain and Philippines!, the Thanksgiving tradition is one that you should seriously consider adopting. Where else can you get cooking, feasting and shopping done all in a single day?

The stores used to be closed for the holiday, now most are open for the entire day. I'm happy to announce that I didn't shop at all. I am involved in an ongoing game of Rummy with Sister and she is leading slightly by 125 points. I think the score is 1675 to 1535, we were having so much fun that we kept on playing when we hit the 500, 1000 and 1500 point marks.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone that thought of me during the recent loss of my cat, Junior. I received several nice emails and many kind comments were left. Believe me when I say they were greatly appreciated.

I've enjoyed reading many different blogs over the last 2.5 years and have become friends with folks all over the world. Thank you for your kindness.

I hope to be posting regularly again, soon.

G.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving...Year II

***Enjoy this classic Thanksgiving post***

It's a few hours before the meal and I'm already stuffed. No, I'm not the turkey. I almost had a major meltdown earlier over the deviled eggs. You wouldn't think that it would be that hard to boil eggs and then peel the shells but somewhere there was a major breakdown in this process. The shells would not come off the eggs and I had to take a butter knife and chip the shells off. This process resulted in four different opinions as to why the shells would not come off more easily.

Mom says that the eggs were too fresh and that was the reason the shells were difficult to remove.

Sister says the eggs needed to be at room temperature before they were boiled.

Niece says the eggs probably came from the chickens outside and have been buried out behind the outhouse for the last few years.

The MA Fat Woman didn't say anything but just kept swearing under her breath.

Brother says the eggs weren't boiled long enough and the shells needed to be removed promptly after boiling.

After this discussion which took almost an hour it was time to make the deviled egg mixture. Again, an hour to discuss how to make the mixture and four differing opinions.

If we're having this much trouble with the eggs I can hardly wait until it's time to mash the potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Sad Goodbye


November 9, 2010

It's nearing the end of day three as I watch my closest confidant fade to nothing. He's never judged me. He's seen me naked and didn't laugh. He's tolerated being danced with, completely oblivious to my singing along off key to our favorite Madonna tune. He's kept me company out on the porch and witnessed the many "seens" that I've written about.

And now, all I can do is sit and cry. My best friend is dying and there isn't anything I can do about it.

Junior, or the Cat, as we like to call him here has been with me for 15 years. He showed up around Thanksgiving in 1995, and was a complete mess. He was small, and probably not more than a few months old. He had every kind of worm imaginable and a case of diarrhea that lasted for weeks.

It didn't matter because it was love at first sight.

Everyone that came into contact with Junior always remarked at how beautiful he was; how striking and cleanly cut his markings were. Once you spent a few minutes with him, you became aware at how gentle and sweet he was. In his 15 years, I never saw him do anything bad or be aggressive. He was a gentle soul.

As Junior aged, he liked nothing better than going outside and going for a walk around the property, watching the squirrels and sitting in the sunshine. He liked to take rides in the car and especially liked to look at the Christmas lights each year.

November 13, 2010

In 2007, Junior was diagnosed with Diabetes and received insulin injections twice a day for the rest of his life. He didn't seem to mind them as long as he had something tasty in his food bowl. Sadly, like a lot of diabetic patients, both human and feline, it was his kidneys that failed in the end.

Junior passed away on November 12, and I'd be in complete denial if I said my heart wasn't broke. I'm out of words for now.

Goodbye, my friend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flax Seed Bread Recipe

I mentioned that I was on a low carb diet and that I have discovered flax seed as a great alternative for flour. The following is the recipe for flax seed bread that I got off the Internet. It's best for taste purposes if you let the bread cool completely and even rest overnight before ingesting. (It's really good used for french toast.)



Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

• 2 cups flax seed meal
• 1 Tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1-2 Tablespoons sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
• 5 beaten eggs
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/3 cup oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare pan (a 10X15 pan with sides works best) with oiled parchment paper or a silicone mat.

1) Mix dry ingredients well -- a whisk works well.

2) Add wet to dry, and combine well. Make sure there aren't obvious strings of egg white hanging out in the batter.

3) Let batter set for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken up some (leave it too long and it gets past the point where it's easy to spread.)

4) Pour batter onto pan. Because it's going to tend to mound in the middle, you'll get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center somewhat, in roughly a rectangle an inch or two from the sides of the pan (you can go all the way to the edge, but it will be thinner).

5) Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back when you touch the top and/or is visibly browning even more than flax already is.

6) Cool and cut into whatever size slices you want. You don't need a sharp knife; I usually just cut it with a spatula.

Give it a try and enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank A Vet

Please take the time to thank a Vet today.






To all of the Veterans out there, I say thank you for your service.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Craving Cupcakes

I'm on a low carb diet. Is there anything worse for a meat and potatoes girl like me? For my whole life, it's been about the white stuff.

Flour.

Potatoes.

Pasta.

Sugar.

Bread.

Did I mention potatoes? Mashed potatoes are my favorite food and I usually eat some form of potato every day. (Must be the Irish in me.) After nearly two months on this plan I've yet to find a suitable substitute for my Mr. Potato Head fetish.


One new food that I have discovered is flax seed, mainly flax seed flour. Yep, I said flour. It has a different kind of taste and texture to it. I've made flax seed bread that looks like Focaccia flat bread. I've made banana and raisin bread and apple flax seed muffins. I substituted Splenda for the sugar, and of course, flax seed flour for the regular white flour. The banana and raisin bread is really good.

I've already cut most of the sugar out of my diet, I'm pretty sweet without it anyway, at least that's what I've been told. But every once in a while, I get a serious craving for a cupcake. I was watching one of those cooking shows on PBS and they made homemade chocolate cupcakes complete with the white squiggly icing on top.



Talk about drooling...


They look good, don't they?

It might just be easier to go buy a single cupcake at a bakery somewhere instead of making a batch from scratch. The idea of flax seed chocolate cupcakes doesn't really sound appealing to me at all.

Sigh.

If only that picture of the cupcakes was scratch-n-sniff...my cravings might just go away!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Clairol Number 9

It seems that for some reason lately, I have more gray hair than my natural blond/brown color. It could be that I am a middle-aged woman and that's what happens when you get older. It's a rare sight indeed to see a woman in her advanced years that hasn't had a chemical enhancement or two to maintain her youthful looks. A nip here, a tuck there, and in my case, a bottle of Clairol #9.

I used to get my hair lightened at the hair salon, but at over a hundred dollars a pop, in this economy, it seems a bit frivolous. So I did the next best thing: went to the new Walmart and picked up a box to color my own hair at home.

Honestly, I was a bit nervous about home coloring. I hoped it wouldn't turn out like the home perm that I received in 1984. Mom said it would be fine and I believed her. The perm didn't turn out very well. Ever heard the term "You look like you stuck your finger in a light socket?"


Well, that's what my hair looked like. It was frazzled and fried. I had to go to school for three days looking like a wild child before I got all of my hair cut off. I went from a sleek looking Pat Benatar look to the mellow and slightly kooky look of Annie Lennox. And when you're a junior in high school too much personal change can make for a very bad day.

I followed the instructions on the box and within an hour I had a totally new look. During the thirty minutes or so that I had the chemicals on my head, the new cat kept following me around with a puzzled expression. I'm not sure if he didn't recognize me or was just concerned about the smell. It stunk up the whole house!

According to the color comparisons on the box, someone with my hair color could expect to end up with shiny, golden blond highlights. It didn't quite turn out that way. There isn't a speck of blond anywhere, unless you count strawberry blond as blond.

To me, it's red. We already got one redhead in the family, and that's Sister, or as we like to call her: Big Red!

I guess I can't be too upset about it, I only paid about 10 bucks for the coloring kit and it only lasts 8 weeks. The gray is gone and I get to look like Annie!

Just don't expect me to break out in song...at least not today...maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Uses For Burlap Sacks

Awhile back I mentioned that I had purchased a bunch of vintage burlap sacks at an auction.



Mom and I decided that we would try our hand at making market bags, laundry bags, grocery bags and even diaper bags.




Blue and white polka dot lining




Yellow flower lining with heavy yellow canvas for handles




Back of the blue polka dot bag



The bags are even reversible.







Mom is pretty handy with a needle and I'm really good at holding things, so we make a good team. She does most of the work and I hold them up for her to admire.


The linings in the bags are vintage too, made from material that I got at another auction last year. The bags are over 20 inches in length and close to 18 inches wide; they hold a lot.

Anyhow, if you're interested in purchasing one just leave me a comment. Christmas is just around the corner and I'm sure you know someone that is interested in vintage, recycled goods~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cell Phones And Toilets


I found this article in the Sunday paper and thought I would share it with you in case you missed it. According to the Associated Press, the Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar has no clean water for its shacks made of ripped tarp and bamboo. No garbage pickup and no power along a bumpy, rock strewn path that serves as a road.

And there is not a single toilet or latrine for its estimated 10,000 inhabitants.

Yet nearly every poor family there has a cell phone. Some families have as many as three. Who do you suppose they are calling? Are they calling the corner gas station to see how long the line is to use the facilities?

It's the year 2010, I'm still amazed at the amount of people that live in poverty and squalor. When I hear stories like this it makes me glad to be an American. It makes me glad that I have running water, a shower to bathe in and a toilet that flushes time after time.

And yes, I do have a cell phone, and a monthly bill. The funny thing is that I keep trying to figure out how to live without it. Oh wait, I have a toilet. Maybe, I should just flush it.

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