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Earth’s “Near Companion,” Vomitus-Appearing Suppers, Tip for Dirty Oven Doors

27 Jun

It seems that Earth has a mini Moon (it’s not really a moon but I like to think it is) that’s been around for about a hundred years. Only no one Asteroid-2016HO3-e1466075012630knew it until recently. This little asteroid has been circling round Earth for a long time, and will stick around for a much longer time—centuries maybe.

Scientists call this moon a “near-Earth companion.” Asteroid 2016 HO3 orbits the sun but stays this constant Earth companion. It never strays far away. There was once another asteroid that followed for a while, but it went away—buh-bye. If I may personify for a moment: I wonder if Moon grieved that companion? If space seemed more spacier after that moon was gone.

But this little moon is “. . . much more locked onto us.”

If the asteroid drifts ahead or behind or too far away forward or backward, the Earth uses its strong gravitational force to hold tight to the asteroid so it can’t or won’t wander away too far.

It also stops the little moon from becoming too close.

A PRODUCT PICTURE, DOORMAT, GO AWAY, COME BACK WITH CHOCOLATE 2_001Ah. There it is. The irony. The contradictory contrariness of relationships.

Andrew Griffin in a science news article (<click to read) writes, “In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a little dance with Earth.” Oh the dizzying dance.

Ah. It all sounds like Human Relationships, doesn’t it? Are you the little moon? The Earth? The Sun? Do you try to get away and are pulled back by the gravitational force of someone? Will you stick around for centuries, or go away as the other little moon did?

A “Near Companion”—that seems rather perfect to me. Not too close, not too far. And always with the knowing you could spiral off and away as the other asteroid did if things become too . . . too . . . permanent—whooosh! Buh-bye. Dang. I pitiful myself.

If you are your own companion, out there as Moon seemed to be before little moon was

This is the lighter sweeter frosting

The best chocolate cake I have EVER made for someone special – contact me if you want the recipe.

discovered, you must find ways to navigate the universe as Lonely You. One of those things is the obtaining of and cooking of (or not cooking of) and eating of food. Today I’ll talk about the preparing and eating of Alone Fooding.

When I pop out from my lil log spaceship for supplies, I try not to be resentful of the money and time it takes to gather and pay for food. I’m tempted to grab the easiest most processed crap-a-doodle-doo-doo because cooking alone and eating alone while not always horrid can be rather boring and uninspired. You can’t cook something delicious and then have someone say, “Omg! This is so delicious! You are amazing!” Or on the other hand, you cannot say that to the person who just prepared you something amazing. Dang.

But since I am a healthy woman—I was a personal trainer for many years—and I know what I am to do to keep my body and mind strong, I try to prepare healthy food most of the time. Though I do admit that I am a sucker for those cheap-ass Mrs. Callender’s chicken pot pies—add a salad, and there you go! And always cook them in the oven, not the microwave or else they aren’t as good. I also sprinkle Parmesan cheese, or feta, or blue cheese, on top of the pie when there’s about five minutes to go—it makes it seem a little more Home-Madey and gives it a nice fatty-yummyness. Once I stirred in brown rice—nah, took away the pot-pie-ed-ness of it all.

strawberry salad 2 - Copy

The last of the peanuts at the bottom of the jar. Strawberries that needed to be eaten. Last of the yogurt in the bottom of the container-deli mustard-olive oil-honey balsamic vinegar dressing

strawberry salad - Copy

Sometimes I put chicken on my salads, but sometimes I use vegetarian meat replacement – like this chickpea and spinach patty.

I do not like to waste food—not that I ever did before, but even more so now with a tight budget of One, I want to purchase and prepare and eat only what I am able to, and waste not want not as the old cliché goes—a cliché becomes a cliché for a reason, y’all! So this often has me preparing strange conglomerates of ingredients. It often has me throwing bits and pieces into a stir-fry or salad and then just shoving the mess in my mouth and chewing and swallowing until I am done.

I’ve thrown fruit on salad, and the “dressing” is often only an infused vinegar and a little olive oil, but sometimes I will be, um, “creative” and stir together yogurt, honey-mustard or other kind of mustard, pepper and salt, whisk that together, and though it looks like vomitus, it’s rather tasty.

raspberry salad - Copy

Vegetarian “‘fried’ chicken” patty, shaved parm, peanuts, raspberries I need to eat quickly, olive oil, and pomegranate-infused vinegar

Salads are a good way to have a summer cool meal, but make sure you have some protein on there. I add nuts, seeds, and often I use vegetarian “meat” replacement, or real meat, or eggs. Cheese and the olive oil also adds some fat and flavor. I’m not a crouton kind of person but sometimes I’ll eat my salad with tortillas, and rarely but occasionally crackers. I’ve even tossed the last of the bag of Dorito-dust on my salad—though I very rarely purchase empty-caloried chips and crackers.

 

 

 

vomit food

Vomitus on the plate – but it was tasty! I promise! Brown rice from the freezer, bell-pepper from the freezer, seared chicken that I didn’t burn!, green beans that needed to be eaten, spices like Curry, parm on top. As for the chicken – I purchase chicken tenders and freeze each one separately– I only eat one tender-not a big meat eater. I also squeezed a half of a grapefruit into it because it needed to be eaten that day!

Sometimes the food looks appetizing and yummy, and sometimes this Experimentation means the food looks like dawg vomit. I threw into this stir fry some raspberries that were just at the edge—one more day and they’d be too mushy to eat. And I ate it with gusto!, because: waste not want not! Really, it was rather tasty! I promise.

I cook up a big pot of brown rice—brown rice is better for you. Yes it is! Suck it up and eat it!—and portion it out in individual freezer-safe containers so I’ll have brown rice on hand. You can add it to canned soups so they’ll be more nutritious, but not to Mrs. Callender’s pot pies—no no! Or to the stir fry. Or beans and rice. Sometimes I’ll throw the brown rice in a skillet and then add a couple of eggs and stir that around—quick protein—wheee!

A quick “stir-fry” idea is: add a little olive oil to a skillet, and at this point if you are using chicken or other meat you want to sear and cook that now; otherwise, if the meat is cooked or you are going “vegetarian,” toss in bell-pepper (I purchase bell peppers and immediately wash and slice them up and store them in the freezer—they freeze very well), onion and garlic if you like it (I also freeze my chopped onions, but I purchase the jar of minced garlic—just works better for me), and sauté this until the peppers are a bit “wilted” but still have a little crunch (or not, for if you are like me, you half burn them because you become distracted—ungh!). Add in the brown rice, meat or fake meat if you want, and any seasonings you like, (I also squeezed half a grapefruit I needed to eat), and DONE! Voila! Dinner in a flash!


yogurt oats2

Instant or not instant oatmeal with no sugar added, low sugar plain yogurt, dried fruit, milk or water, honey, refrigerate overnight

Instant or not instant oatmeal with no sugar added, low sugar plain yogurt, dried fruit, milk or water, honey, refrigerate overnight

vomit oats

Ugh. What’d I do this time? Bleah – vomit. But I ate it.

One night I threw together oatmeal, yogurt, a little cream and water, dried fruit, cinnamon, honey, stirred, and refrigerated overnight and had a nutritious breakfast before my hike. It was pretty danged good. But the next time, it turned out a gloopy gloppy pasty mess—and I ate it for supper while I worked on an editing job, and for dessert I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich—urp. Waste not want not.

 

corn burnt tortilla

Gorgonzola cheese sprinkled over corn tortillas, broiled in the oven, and then drizzled with honey. Had I not burnt them, they’d have been perfect. But I ate em up. That’s canned soup on the side that I added some of my brown rice from the freezer to.

I have really great “palate” instincts—I have been told I’m good at flavors, mixing flavors, finding unique and tasty flavors. I have the ability to be a Good Cook. But I am not. I often burn things because I’m in a hurry and turn up the heat too high, or become distracted by a shiny thing. I will start out with a yummy thought like these gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top of corn tortillas with a drizzle of honey: what would have been delicious is instead burnt, but I ate them anyway *see want not waste not.* Not bad—urpity.

You know what the difference is between a good cook and someone who cooks? Patience and Love. I have neither but especially I do not when I am not a Near Companion to anyone. When I’m the asteroid who flew off and away into the galaxy or beyond, I Throw Shit Together and Hope for the Best. Sometimes it turns out fabulous, and other times I have Dawg Vomitus or Gloopy Glopped Messes or Burnt Tortillas or eat Mrs. Callenders pot pies. Mostly, I am bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. And when I am Bored, I experiment, and when I experiment, I have to eat what I prepared, even if it sucks.

I will tell you this: do not eat over the sink or even while working (though sometimes it must be done) or out of the pot! No no! Prepare your gloppy gloop or your burnt food or your surprisingly tasty dawg vomitus and ladle/spoon/fork it onto a plate or bowl and grab your silverware and a napkin and Eat Civilized, my friends. Eat Civilized.

grinder

Grind your own spice mixes! A small hand-cranked coffee grinder works well.

By the way—I took this coffee grinder and instead use it to grind pepper, or salt. And I add things to the mix. Even coffee! Coffee salts, coffee peppers—really quite good. If you are by yourself, you don’t have to worry, because if you mess it up, no one will know, right? Right!

So, my good friends—what do you prepare for a One? Or a Near Companion? How do you navigate your kitchen? How do you shop for food for one so you don’t “waste not want not?” I need ideas, recipes, thoughts!

 


Update on my post below about Alcohol: I had nothing to be concerned about after all! I am happy to report that I’ve not missed my daily fancy craft beer or my wine one bit. I thought I would. I worried I would. I was terrified I would. But, I do not. Never looked back. Feel great. Lost a couple of bloaty pounds by not imbibing. It seemed it was more a habit and boredom than anything else. This proves something important to me. I will continue not to Drink Alone, for I think that is best. But I am very happy and optimistic that I can return to my many many years of Social Drinking. Can I get a WHOOHOO! Y’all!


 


dirty oven door

Dirty Oven Window

This worked!

door2

Hot Water – Paper Towels – Soak

salt door - Copy

Salt – scrub

clean door

Voila! One more time and it should be perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

TIP OF THE DAY! I have a self-cleaning oven and it works great for the oven
part, but my glass door always looked gross. I’ve scrubbed to no avail.

Enter Ask Heloise –  I’ll need to repeat it one more time but it worked!

Eleven years of frustration remedied in about 20 minutes. Hot Dang! Open oven door and carefully poor water you’ve boiled (I was boiling eggs so I used that water-ha!). Be careful! Lay paper towels over the hot water and let soak 5-10 minutes, adding a little more hot water about halfway through. I went the entire 10 minutes. Wipe up the water. Cover the window with salt, and then scrub. Wipe up the mess with a damp cloth. Dry. Though she didn’t say to, I then used a Clorox Wipe to shine it and then a paper towel to buff. Try it!




 

Winner of the Coffee Drawing is: Karen Anderson (<click to her blog)!

Karen, please contact me via email or FACEBOOK or in the comments here.

Also note that in the future I will be adding names to the drawing from any comments or “likes” not only here on my blog but on Facebook as well.

Next drawing is for something you can’t buy at a store. Details later



1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

25 Nov

imageHappy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Peeking my lil ole pea-head in here for just a moment to send you holiday greetings, and a quick “recipe” for homemade cranberry sauce.

Purchase a bag of fresh cranberries, wash them, put aside.

imageIn a saucepan add a cup of liquid–you can use plain water, or orange juice/orange juice/water combo. Or like I’m doing: a little water, a little fresh squeezed orange juice, a little “spiced water” I made by boiling a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and whole allspice (of course just use the spiced liquid and throw away the spices), and a little liquer (I like that orange flavored liquer but since I don’t have any, I’m using Drambuie). I also will be adding orange zest, and if I have it, lemon zest. Sometimes I add a little cracked pepper.

imageAdd sugar to the liquid: recipes call for 1 cup of sugar but I like mine less sweet so I add about 3/4 a cup or so.

imageBring liquid and sugar to a boil, then add cranberries, and bring back to a boil. Boil gently for anywhere from 10 minutes to 15 minutes, or until the cranberries are “breaking down,” stirring occasionally.

Pour into whatever dish you want, let it cool/chill overnight if possible.

imageEat and enjoy!

All photos are mine except the “finished product” at the end, which is Food Network’s (I haven’t quite completed mine yet!–preparing it as I write this!)

Here’s mine!

image

 

 

Autumn is here–time for chili: a quick and easy recipe

8 Oct
Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

I used to dislike the coming of fall. It meant the end to summer; I like the warmth and ease and lush green of summer. But something magical has happened to me and I now look forward to autumn, and even the coming winter. Part of that “something magical” is how for a year I was away from my cove, living in Texas where the contrast of seasons isn’t as apparent–I missed what I was away from so acutely that every tiny molecule of this mountain cove delights and amazes me –I am imagediscovering it all over again; I only thought I appreciated it before. And, well, she says with a blush, feeling loved and being in love everything changes and swells up and becomes mystical and magical and new (thank you, Dale).

my colorful driveway

my colorful driveway

With the coming cooler weather, chilly mornings and evenings, with the changing leaves, with the sights and sounds (is there no more wonderful sound of autumn than that of leaves beneath one’s feet?) and feel of fall, my mind turns to soups and stews and chili. The other night, I prepared a chili that was so simple but so tasty, I will share it here. Of course, everyone should put their own ‘twist’ on chili–I like to play with food: the seasonings, the way I prepare it.

Now, even though this may look long, it’s super easy. I’m a novelist so I tend to run off at the mouth even when writing recipes *laughing!*

MMMM tasty!

MMMM tasty!

Easy Autumn Chili (this is enough chili for two people for a few nights)

Ingredients:

About a pound or so of beef “stew meat” — we bought these small lean “chunks” of beef. You can also “vegetarian” this by not adding meat and substituting more veggies and/or “fake meat crumbles” (I have done this and it’s good).

1 can of stewed tomatoes (or if you have fresh made, use it!)

1 can of tomato sauce (or freshly made if you have it)

(I had a little bit of Rotel tomatoes in the freezer that I also added)

1 onion chopped rough (I like chunky chili!)

1 green bellpepper  chopped rough

4-5 small “baby bellpeppers” in orange, yellow, red (we buy them in a bag – they are small and very tasty!) also chopped rough

minced or chopped garlic

Spices: chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and I also added 2 spices I have in my cabinet: ancho chili pepper and chipotle chili pepper, but use these two spices sparingly especially if you add the Rotel tomatoes. I also have some garlic powder that I sprinkled even though I used minced garlic. As well, I poured in about a half cup of Dale’s beer.

I also added a can of black beans since I had that in my pantry: I like very few beans in my chili and sometimes don’t add them at all – pintos in chili are really good, too, by the way.

Whatever oil you like to cook with – just a little.

Whatever “toppings” and “sides” you like: we like sour cream, or cheddar cheese, or both, for toppings. Crackers or tortilla chips are good–or cornbread, for sides.

And very important: add your tastebuds! You must taste as you cook. It’s like when I first began writing–I thought that if I were a Real Writer, whatever came out of my pea-head should be perfect  the very first draft and I shouldn’t have to fiddle with it (edit it or rewrite it)–Oh Dear Lawd! That’s crazy talk! Of course writers have to edit and re-write–I edit and re-write til the cows come home! Many many drafts! I “taste” my writing to make sure it is delicious. Do that with your food – layer flavors and taste along the way, y’all.

To Prepare:

Put a little oil in a large saucepan and turn up the heat until when a piece of meat is added, it immediately sizzles – you want to sear the meat very quickly – don’t worry about cooking it through because it will cook when you are simmering the chili. I added a little salt to this and nothing else, yet.

It’s up to you whether you sear a little at a time or all the meat at once, but note that if you sear it all at once, the  juices of the meat will stop the searing process and it may start to “steam” instead – so, if this happens, just turn up the heat and cook out the juices to keep that sear. When the meat is quickly seared, remove it from the saucepan (be careful! it’s hot!), and place the meat aside.

Turn down the heat so you can start sautéing your veggies: onion and bellpeppers. Don’t add the garlic yet, for garlic will turn bitter if over-cooked.  As the onions and bellpeppers cooked, I added some seasonings a little at a time: I like to “layer” flavors. First a little salt, cook a while, then I added just a little of the chili powder and cumin, and some pepper. You’ll be adding more seasonings, so just add a little of whatever seasonings you will be using. I also added just a few pinches of garlic powder (not garlic salt). When your veggies are fairly tender (onions will start to look translucent), add your chopped or minced garlic. Cook and stir this just a few minutes.

Time to add the tomato products (you may need to add a little water later). And the beans (and beer) if you are using them. Just pour them all in. Turn the heat to simmer. Add back the meat to the tomato/veggie mixture. Now start adding in the seasonings. Dale and I like a lot of chili powder, and as well a lot of cumin–decide how you like yours by TASTING! As I said above, tasting as you cook is important. I put a big palmful of chili powder, plus a little more. I put at least a half of palmful of cumin. Just a few pinches of the ancho and chipotle. I didn’t need to add salt since I salted the meat and the veggies.

After you have added everything you want to add, cover the chili, make sure the heat is on low, and simmer that bad boy for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  When done, add whatever toppings, if any, you like, and enjoy!

I hope I didn’t forget anything, but that’s the beauty of cooking: make it your own! Unlike baking, where it has to be more exact, we can experiment and have fun with preparing food.

Let me know how yours turned out and what you do differently!

(I hope you will drop by my Kat Magendie’s Amazon page and if you haven’t read one of my books, perhaps think about it whilst they are on sale at Amazon. I appreciate all of the support my readers have given me! Thank you!)

In the mood for darkest chocolate cake? My favorite will become your favorite!

1 Oct
gather your ingredients!

gather your ingredients!

I’m a novelist who has discovered a side to me that I almost forgot. I love to bake. I don’t do it often because baking sweets with just Dale and me here means either some is wasted, we eat too much of it, or usually both! I baked this cake for Dale’s birthday when we had guests over, and then again a week or so later at “half recipe” just because he liked it so much. I’ve never had a man rave so much over a cake I baked in my life! It’s a great incentive to do more *laugh*  It’s the best chocolate cake he’s ever had, and that I’ve ever baked: it always turns out delicious–dark, almost black, cake. The frosting for his birthday was a lighter sweeter chocolate, while the second time I added more cocoa and less sugar making it more a “dark bitter chocolate” icing. While he prefers the sweeter, I do the darker more “bitter.”

I mostly follow the recipe on the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa box, but I do add just a couple of things to make it my own. The icing I guess at–while baking is a science where I must be exact, I can play around with the icing without a recipe. Both recipes are below. Enjoy!

This is the lighter sweeter frosting

This is the lighter sweeter frosting

Hershey’s “Especially Dark” Chocolate Cake

Gather all your ingredients together before you begin–the last thing you want is suddenly to realize you are out of an ingredient. As well, some bakers say to take out your eggs so they aren’t “chilled” (but especially do take out the butter/cream cheese for your icing so it can soften while you prepare the cake). Also, the recipe calls for 1 cup of boiling water to be added at the end, so just be prepared to have that going at some point in the recipe–I always read my recipe through before I begin.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour two 9-inch round pans: a Tip for chocolate cakes–I use a little cocoa mixed into my flour so my dark chocolate cake doesn’t have that white flour look to it when I take it from the pans.

Ingredients for the cake:

2 cups sugar (I used ‘raw’ sugar instead of ‘white’ sugar to give it a more “caramel” taste but white sugar is fine)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (for a ‘gluten-free’ cake I made separate for my brother in a ramekin, I used coconut flour but you have to bake it a bit longer and add more liquid-experimenting still on this)

3/4 cups Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa (if you don’t like it so dark, use the regular cocoa -just make sure it’s the UNSWEETENED kind- I’ve done it with regular cocoa and special dark, both with great results)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup of milk (I used Lactose Free milk and it did just as well as “regular” milk)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of vanilla–I added a little more than this, and I used what Ina Garten calls “good vanilla,” for which you can see it in the photos above: Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla.

I add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder–the coffee flavor adds a richness to the chocolate.

Also, I added unsweetened cocoa nibs (I used Viva Labs organic cocoa nibs–Viva Labs makes some really good products!) just to add a little extra something (Dale likes these nibs a lot in the cake).

1 cup of boiling water

Tiny cake is the "gluten-free" cake for my brother - the consistency is "grainer" and thicker - almost like a molten chocolate cake

Tiny cake is the “gluten-free” cake for my brother – the consistency is “grainer” and thicker – almost like a molten chocolate cake

Get started:

(You’ve preheated oven to 350; you’ve greased/floured pans). In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the dry mixture the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla–not boiling water yet–beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. To this mixture, stir in the boiling water–be careful! Don’t set your mixer on high and splash hot cake mix on yourself! After adding the boiling water and mixing that, the cake batter will be thin: it is supposed to be thin so don’t let this concern you. However, if you are baking a “gluten free” cake, the batter will be thicker and you may have to add some extra oil or milk or both.

Pour batter into your prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until wooden pick in center of cake comes out *mostly* clean (you want a little cake to come away on the wooden pick-if it’s completely dry, your cake may be overcooked). NOTE! I checked my cake after 25 minutes and it was DONE! Maybe it is the altitude; maybe it was the weather; maybe it is my oven–but I suggest checking your cake after 20-25 minutes, just in case.

Cool at least 10 minutes before you remove from pans. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you frost it.

As for the icing: I make up my recipe as I go along. I’ve made it dark and bitter, and sweeter and lighter. Cream cheese (as I did recently) or regular butter cream. Chocolate or vanilla or otherwise. I’ve whipped it light and fluffy, and also had it thicker and “stiffer.” Just play with the frosting ingredients and consistency to your taste.

This cake is so dark, it's almost black

This cake is so dark, it’s almost black

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Room temperature softened unsalted butter (I had salted so I just used it)- at least one stick
Room temperature softened cream cheese – at least 1 8oz package
(I used a whole lot more for Dale’s birthday cake, since he wanted “a lot of frosting”)

Whip or beat (according to how you want your frosting to be: fluffy or stiffer) those two ingredients together — Sometimes I use equal butter and cream cheese, and others I play with the amounts, or use only butter.

Add in powdered sugar, a little milk (sometimes I add no milk-just experiment), cocoa, vanilla: add these ingredients a bit at a time until you have the consistency and chocolatey taste you want.

When the cake is completely cooled, frost away! One tip is to add parchment or waxed paper to the outsides of your cake plate, then put the cooled cake on top of that to frost–when you are done frosting, pull out the paper and your cake plate is clean! (There are a lot of frosting tips out there, like if crumbs mixing in the frosting bothers you, do some googling!)

 

Have fun and happy baking!

A dozen interesting tiddlybits to make you go, “Huhn. Well now I know! Thanks Kat! You’re Special!”

12 Aug
  1. 0841. Our interstates have a “system” to them. Odd numbers are north to south with the lowest numbers in the west. Even numbers are east to west with the lowest numbers in the south. Exits are assigned numbers to let you know the distance to the next exit—mile-markers aren’t always exits but they tell you distance “in between.” The interstate system is about 46,300 miles, and of those 46,300 miles, it is a known fact that 40.4858788584857% of the time, a bathroom will be ten to fifty miles from where you really have To Go Bad. And 50.4848482975875% of the time, a Left-Laner will hold up traffic for 20.225 miles, plus three, and then flip you off in indignation when you finally zoom by in frustration.
  1. Supposed to work - let's hope you never have to find out!

    Supposed to work – let’s hope you never have to find out!

    A skunk can spray up to ten feet away. The spray is a yellow oily substance—and guess what? Oil and water don’t mix; so if your dog is sprayed and you wet the dog, it’s going to stink worse—delightful, right? The spray contains as many as seven kinds of nasty “ingredients” that can easily be conglomerated by the skunk into a gas that explodes from the ass(it rhymed!)—that’s what makes it stanky; no, stanky isn’t strong enough a word—putridly pungent. A skunk stinks, yeah, but  in a sobering addition to this light-hearted skunkfomercial: did you also know that skunk spray can cause severe anemia and death in dogs? Okay, only very rarely but worth a note if your dog loves chasing Pepe LePew.

  1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? According to science: 1,000. According to Kat: about 30 before she bites into it with glee.
  1. When you google “Will I ever use Algebra in real life?” This is the kind of answer you find, which is an evasive non-answer in my Algebra experience: “This is a difficult question, but the simplest answer is that Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.” Uh huh. Nice try.
  1. 007It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Where did that saying come from? Actually, it’s from the 1800s or some other time when people made up stuff out of boredom and other bored people readily believed it because there wasn’t Google, or Bing if you are a Binger, to debunk it (only 6.777558475% of people like Internet Explorer; poor thangs)—of course, ironically, the internet is full of BS that bored people make up and equally bored people believe. Anyway, lightning not striking twice meant: misfortune won’t happen twice in the same way to the same person. *fake-coughs out a barely perceptible bullshit*
  1. Women’s colons are longer than men’s colons (so who is more full of sh with a side of it, you may ask? Answer with care, my male friends, answer with care). And our female colons are more twisted up. We’re all discombobulated in there. Why? Whyyyyy? They—the infamous “They People” (who I believe are Aliens! No, really!)—say it’s because we give birth. Oh. Okay. So, we have more colon so we can squeeze out a human? Uh huh. They—the Aliens—are tricksters. Just tricksters.
  1. Conversely, a man’s brain is about 10% larger than a woman’s brain. Now, before you men’s heads swell up even more, no it doesn’t mean you
    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    are more intelligent, or any less intelligent. It does mean you process differently. But brain size is not a correlation to intelligence. The brain is larger to accommodate the extra body mass and muscle. Is to! Is TO!

  1. Speaking of brains. Artists have different brains. According to a scientific study (by “They”), researchers found sort ofishy scientifically that artist’s brains are structurally different from non-artists. I suppose that includes us writers, right? I need an excuse for my discombobulated hootnannies. Scans (by They/Aliens!) show that artists have more grey matter in an area of the brain that matters to scientists because scientists are awesome. That area of the 1291293eef10a1b7765ddd172deed303brain could possibly (why aren’t “They” ever sure?) be linked to that “inner eye” that gives visual creativity/clarity.
  1. While goofing off on Google, you find things that you think are jokes, then realize some people really do believe in these Thangs. Like, the im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbf96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09“theory” that cats are aliens. Uh huh now; I see. Well, there is discussion of it Here and Here. Enjoy!  The first one actually is called “catalienconspiracy.com.”

10. The Perfect Every Time Boiled Eggs. Really! I swear! Put eggs in a saucepan and cover the eggs with water–I just added “the eggs” while re-reading this; didn’t want you to think I meant cover the pan with water -haha! Bring water to a boil and soon as it reaches that “roiling bubbling toil and troubling boil” turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the water for 14 minutes—no more! Some say 12 minutes; some say 13 minutes (what do “they” say?). I’ve had success with 14 minutes. Soon as the timer goes off—and if you don’t use a timer, you will forget and your eggs will suck–no one likes sucky eggs or to suck an egg; eww. No, you will forget–use a timer. I mean it; you will. Anyway, pour off the hot water, add cold water on top of the eggs in the pan, and add some ice to stop the cooking process. Perfect boiled egg.

  1. Most writers make crap for money. If writers are in it for the money, nowadays especially, then those writers may surely be sorely disappointed in the results of their dreams of Lotso Casholo. No, seriously! You wouldn’t believe the people who think I’m rolling in it because I have 5-6 books and some stories out there. When they see me pull up in my 17 year old Subaru decked out in clothes from the clearance rack, an old Dell laptop, a broken-shattered iPhone that I refuse to replace until my iPad’s paid for, they think I’m being ironic, or eclectic, or
    What you talkin' bout Willis?

    What you talkin’ bout Willis?

    that I left my sports car at home with my Louboutin’s. Seriously, though, folks. There is about 0.555785959992445566999999% of the population of authors/novelists who can do this “for a really good living without having another income” and 0.2455668855599999494994949 of those 0.555785959992445566999999% spend a lot of their time writing inspirational platitudes and giving writers advice about how we should be doing this and not doing that and all this blah blah blahdidly blah that they half-believe themselves but they’ve paid their dues, by golly gee, and can tell all us other writers how it is done and if we can’t do it that way, well no wonder we don’t sell books! The rest of us are varying degrees of starving, doing okay, doing pretty well, and pretending we are doing very well by posting upbeat Facebook and Twitter updates about how awesome we are doing and how we aren’t drowning our sorrows in wine and chocolate and sex—la tee dah, y’all! Haw!

  1. And speaking of Louboutin’s—while looking up how to spell it (I can spell Ked’s – wait, is that Keds or Ked’s – dang), a glance at a site that sells downloadthem yields this: “cheapest” (relative term): $525 for some kind of oogly-arse boat shoe looking thangs, to the more expensive sparkled heel at $4,225—my entire wardrobe does not come anywhere near that much—shoes included.

Now, aren’t you glad you know all that? I know I am!

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393520_294411430580586_999236092_nTouty Plug of the Day: I love this Facebook Page – easy, simple, uplifting, fun: Things I Like –About: “feel free to add your likes (3 per post)–just keep it clean–keep it positive. drop by or join our “365 day like-a-thon.” by posting here, we have your permission to include our favorites in the future, THINGS I LIKE ©”

Southern Cornbread Recipe. . .

9 Oct

A TIP!: GMR taught me to get everything measured out and together before I start a recipe, that way you know you have everything you need, and it makes things easier to just prepare the recipe without stopping and searching. This has been the best tip for me!
Be sure to pre-heat your oven. My recipe called for 425, but I set it on 450 because of our elevation and because sometimes I like a higher setting for my cornbread.
I always sift my dry ingredients; and in a separate bowl, or big measuring cup, I beat the eggs and milk together, then add the oil to the liquid. I use less oil than some recipes. The recipe below calls for 1/4 cup, but I use a couple tablespoons instead. I play around with the amount of oil…sometimes I just don’t like much oil in it.

One thing I do differently from some recipes is to put more cornmeal than I do flour – I just like the texture better. For example, I’ll put only a 1/4 cup of flour and a cup and three quarters of cornmeal to make the two cups needed. You can play around with it. There’s been times I’ve used no flour at all, if I have a finely-ground cornmeal.

I also never use lowfat milk in my cornbread and since that’s all I have in the little log house fridge, I add cream or half and half or something like that to the lowfat milk to get more fat in the cornbread. Lowfat or skim milk makes for drier cornbread!

I pre-heat my skillet until it’s hot. Then when I pour the mixture in, it creates a ‘crust’ on the bottom.

Adding whole kernel corn or creamed corn makes for a different texture and taste, but it’s gooood eating too.I like plain old cornbread with my beans, so if I add corn to it, I eat that with something else.

When I was growing up and trying to help my mother in the kitchen, there was always this big joke around my house about my cornbread. I just couldn’t prepare a decent pan of cornbread–dang it all, what’s a southern girl to do if she can’t bake a good pan of cornbread? One time, the cornbread was so hard, my brothers took it and banged it against the counter and it didn’t break *laughing,* then they took it outside and threw it back and forth, laughing like idiots. The next time, the cornbread looked as if it swam in a sea of grease, and was so soft and disgusting, even my brothers wouldn’t touch it. That time, they felt sorry for me and tried to tell me it didn’t matter, because I’d busted out crying, caterwauling about how I couldn’t make cornbread….poor thang bless her little heart.
Finally, finally, finally! I can make a good pan of cornbread! Good thing, since I looooove cornbread and beans and live too far from my mother to eat hers.
Gumbo Writer has inspired me to think about cooking and recipes again. It’s been so long since I cooked for a family. I’ve been thinking of the days when I worked full time, and would come home to cook for my (then) husband and my son. Now, it’s just GMR and me and I work at home. A pan of cornbread goes stale before we can eat it all – so, it’s a treat I don’t have often. The birds and squirrels get the leftovers, though, and they seem to like cornbread day *grin.*
So, bake up a pan of cornbread and sop it in your beans – yeeee doggies!
Here’s a sample recipe – but shoot, you can find cornbread recipes everywhere….just play around with it as I’ve done until you find the texture and taste you like the best.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, slightly beaten

Salt Rising Bread Recipe by Katie Ivene & re-link to yesterdays blog!

6 Oct

First – check out the blog post from yesterday to put your link for our “shout out” to local community vendors & blogger community “vendors” so we can shop this Christmas, or any time of the year, really — birthdays, anniversaries, et cetera — to support our blogger community and our local economies! Thank you to those of you who have already placed your links in the comments post below. In a few days, I will post the list, and as we receive more, I’ll post those as well. If you are ready to shop now, just click on the link, or scroll down to the blog below and you’ll find the links in the comments section.

Gumbo Writer has inspired me to put up a recipe. Next time GMR cooks one of his dee-lish dishes, I’m going to photograph it and put up the recipe. Maybe I’ll do even do that when I make my Pinto Beans & Cornbread -mm-mmm! But for now, I thought I’d place one here from the Tender Graces book. Katie Ivene, Momma, wrote this one. Someone emailed me about this recipe this morning, and I wish her luck in baking this bread!

Katie Ivene’s Salt Rising Bread

To make the sponge:
3 between sized potatoes
3 tablespoons of meal
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of soda
4 cups water that’s come to the boil

The next day:
2 cups of sweet milk that’s warmed a bit
1 cup of water that’s come to the boil
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon of soda
2 tablespoons of shortening (and best not be using any petal puss pig lard in my recipe!)
Flour

Makes three loaves unless it makes four or two, sometimes I change the recipe so you best check it twice. The day ahead, while the kids are still outside playing before supper, peel and slice up the potatoes and add the meal, sugar, soda, and water that’s come to the boil. Put all that in a glass bowl or big jar if you still have one that’s not broke, and cover it up with a good weight-sized dishrag. Let it stand in a warm place all the night and don’t let the kids play around to knock it over or else you got to start over again.

The next morning there should be a foam risen up top of it. Get the potatoes out of the mixture, and then add milk, water, soda, salt, and shortening. Add flour just enough to make the dough stiff enough to knead up until it’s right. Keep the kids out of the dough with their dirty hands or else you got to throw the nasty dough away and start all over. While kneading, think on things that’s been bothering you and soon the answer will come. Shape the dough into loaves. Put the loaves in greased up pans, cover with a dishrag, and let them rise again until twice the size. Then bake the loaves in a 400 degree oven until it’s done, maybe 40 minutes or so. Give the kids warm bread with apple butter and send them outside so you can think straight. Serve the bread to your husband so he can see just what you can do when you set your mind to it even if you can do more than bake bread at least the bread gets his attention.

Momma’s little baby love …salt rising bread!

25 Jan

In Tender Graces, there is food – what self-respecting southerner wouldn’t include food in their writing? Well, I guess instead of food there may be some other thing you can taste and feel the texture of, roll it around on your tongue, swallow it down, and it gets in your veins–into the marrow of your bones even. So, every now and then, maybe on Sundays, I think I’ll add a recipe from tender graces, and/or a link to something pertaining to that recipe.

In the book, I write about Grandma Faith baking bread to save “run-away” money, and then Momma bakes, too; when she has to figure things out she pounds up the dough–like Salt Rising Bread (or Salt Risen Bread). In Louisiana chapters, there’s of course food….South Louisiana IS food, the entire place smells spicey and you can’t pass a block without some kind of food establishment sitting there…even the worst restaurants in South Louisiana are better than some of the best ones in some cities. No lie! Ask Angie Gumbo Writer! They just know what they are doing (I wrote about this in New Southerner – this dynamic of South Louisiana).

I thought I’d start off with salt rising bread. Not many people have heard of it and not many have tasted it. It’s not about the “salt” but the origins behind it.

Susan R. Brown’s Salt Rising Bread Project. She has the best website on Salt Rising Bread! All kinds of links there and information and recipes.

And googling, I something I found from an “old curmudgeon” who talks about the bread and memories.
And a more on Salt Rising Bread
Enjoy your Sunday. Maybe bake some bread – or go to the little local bakery and buy a loaf or two of your favorite – especially if they are little independent bakeries who need our business!

Dream a little dream of… Giant Chickens?

19 Jan

Maybe I was feeling some inner guilt for eating the chicken and dumplings, or as I called them: “Dump-er-lings, since I just dumped stuff in the pot. After all, I am what has been coined by someone somewere as a “Flexitarian;” meaning, I will eat seafood/fish, and sometimes, rarely, I’ll eat some kinds of meat and never others. I made my easy pleasy chicken dumplings because Good Man Roger loves them – and since he usually does the cooking, it was a chance for me to doodle-dee-doo around in the kitchen. (And to sweeten the pot, so to speak, he made the recipe even easier, of which is below.)

So, since I ate the chicken in the chicken and dump-er-lings, I dreamed about chickens come to attack the city – or someone’s city. There was one HUGE giananticus chicken–big as a seven story building!–and then all that chicken’s little mean pecking chickens. They swarmed all over and created havoc unknown to man ever! The giant chicken did that staring in the window thing -it’s cold beady empty-headed eye appraising…oh! shudder!
Then I dreamed I was on an episode of Scrubs – the one where they did a musical – and I was dancing around singing, “Boop oop ee doo, boop oop ee doo, boop oop ee doo be doo bee doo oop oop a doooOooOO-Bee Do!” All the while I had a bathtowel wrapped around me – even though I was wearing clothes. Huhn. Really. I did dream that.

Ah well, my good friends – what did you dream last night? Or are you one of those who never remembers their dreams? If anyone else dreamed of giant chickens, well — ! –!

Oh, and don’t forget the contest for the book-give-a-way; look below, or to the right in the column where instructions are -just click on the image.

Now, for my chicken and dump-er-lings. I swear this is the easiest thing. You can also boil your own poor little chicken and make your own stock. You can make your own biscuit dough, too. I used to do all that. Or you can be a lazy-arse cook that I’ve become and do what I did (and Small Footprints– I bet you’ll think of a good vegetarian way to make this!):

(Photo not mine) In olive oil, I sauteed half an onion until soft (I added a pinch of salt too and something I never add, just a pinch of Cavendar’s -just to see how it would taste), then added a little garlic, and when that was cooked down, I added just a bit of flour and stirred it around. Then I poured in a box of Emeril’s chicken stock; and let that work on coming to a boil. Meanwhile, I threw some flour on a cutting board, opened a can of Grand Biscuits (not the butter ones-they’ll melt too much!) and then smashed flat the biscuits and then cut them into strips. When they were all cut up and the stock boiling, I added the biscuit strips to the stock. I had already cut up into bite-sized pieces the chicken from a deli chicken GMR bought (yup, didn’t even have to make my own stock, or boil my own chicken, or make my own biscuits – laughing!) – and after the dumplings had began to cook through, and this doesn’t take long, I added the cut up chicken. I let that simmer a bit and added salt and lots of pepper (I like lots of pepper in mine). Finally, I added cream (or milk, or whatever – it just makes a nice southern white gravy) and let it cook a bit. We like ours thick and creamy. Then, you eat, and if you are a Flexitarian, you feel kinda gross you’re eating chicken and then when you go to bed, you dream about giant chickens and its little chicken helpers running into a city to creat havoc upon the land.
(google images from theinspirationroom.com and ourfamilycookbook.com)
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