Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great Info Graphic Re: Botulism and Canning

Thank you to Erica at Northwest Edible Life for one of the coolest info graphics explaining canning and the world's deadliest toxin Botulinum. Who would have thought it could be made fun? Seriously though, it is very informative and helpful for those of us who have yet to attempt canning. Here is a link to her post and the pdf which you can print out and hang up or pass onto others. I admit I had a fear of poisoning myself and others if I did a small batch jam session, but now I am not so fearful. Do not know when I will attempt it, but at least I feel better equipped to go forward.

How Not To Die From Botulism

Today's Recipe: Homemade Mayo via Northwest Edible Life


Monday, July 29, 2013

I Need A Good Laugh

I wanted to be a touch more chipper today, but I just found out a good friend who had been on unemployment for a very long time and recently got a job at a mortgage company, just got laid off again. The reason?

Rates are going up.

People are sh*t.

I can't even find it in me to vent at this point so I wanted to share a movie that has forever been in my top ten of all time favorites since my high school years.

I adore John Cusack. I feel like I grew up with the guy and have always wanted to do Thanksgiving with his family. Can you imagine just how cool it would be to sit between him and Joan??? While I do find him attractive, it is his acting that has always been stellar to me no matter if he is Gibson in The Sure Thing or Roy Dillon in The Grifters. Another terrific film you must see.
Anyway, I recently watched The Sure Thing again and even though I knew where I would laugh, there were scenes and dialogue I had forgotten about which made it nice to rediscover. It felt fantastic to just let go and watch Gibson's antics and relive the romantic/sexual angst we have all been through as college freshmen. So without further fanfare, kick back and watch a 16/17 year old John Cusack rock the screen.

Today's Recipe: Ezra Pound Cake's Popcorn with Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Drizzled Dark Chocolate.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Rainy Sunday and Bring Your Company

I survived my surgery. Hooray! Although, let's just say the second and third days were worse when it came to pain and swelling. By Thursday afternoon it looked like I had gone a few rounds with someones fist. Not too, too bad and no bruising, but when I went to articulate certain words I it felt as if my gum had ripped open. O-U-C-H!!!!! Seriously though, how do women with face lifts function? You can't speak with tight skin and I only had one side of my face to contend with. Today, I am much better and it has gone down to a dull, throbbing ache. I have one amoxicillin pill left and I have Tylenol since I ran out of Advil.  I also dislike how funky the putty protecting the scar feels and tastes. My breath smells like sour putty. Very sexy. Eh, no biggie. I get the stitches out on Friday which I look forward to, though I wonder if it will hurt or burn? I am over thinking this waaaaaaaay too much. HAHA! Regardless of my boo-boo, we still met up with friends and socialized. Which got me thinking. First, let me back track a touch. I read quite a few blogs and while most are deisgn based I also tend to be dawn to topics on homesteading/simple living,  food and vintage style. Now, there are a few I read pretty regularly.

Down To Earth (Australia)
Frugal Queen (UK)
Going Gently (UK)
An Historical Lady (New Hampshire, USA)

All of them, well barring Going Gently which is probably one of the more hilarious life blogs I have ever read and deserves to be a book and a best seller at that, address the economic state of affairs in their neck of the woods and it is not pretty. I find it terribly interesting that politicians continue to spew the garbage they spew about how to save the economy of their countries when all it would take is a click and a pause to see their views are pretty much wrong. The insight I have gained by reading these blogs is not just from the author but from the commenters who basically come from all over the globe. They chime in with personal stories of economic plight or about others who are suffering. They all vent their terrible frustration at broken systems and failed policies and the rising food prices. Regardless of country, we are all on the same ship except out fearless leaders do not see it that way. The US claims Socialist Europe is a failure, but it is not as if our Capitalist society is doing much better. Banks/Wall Street are reviled here at this point, but we are told not to hate the rich and to stop blaming them for our own misfortune. I'm sorry, did I miss my bailout check???
I digress. Something was pointed out in a recent post on An Historical Lady that upset me and compelled me to write. A suggestion of getting together with friends to ease any struggles was met with, "No one wants to be around people in our situation."
Now, I am sure she was not implying every single person she knows does not associate with them, but I know she feels bad she cannot entertain properly and that sort of stunned me and made me sad. Friends should want to be around you regardless if you feed them or not. This put a bee in my bonnet. Why in God's good name would anyone abandon their friends if they hit a rough patch? Okay, I get it, no one likes to sit around and discuss death, tragedies, sadness, etc, but come on now. If a friend is in need of a a cup of tea and a homemade scone, what does it cost you? Yes there are situations where people who hit bad times that did nothing to help themselves and play the victim. We have a friend who is acquainted with someone just like that. She hit rock bottom, but still refuses to see the troubles and I bless our friend for even putting up with her stupidity at this point. But for those who have done everything to save themselves, why abandonment? Wouldn't it be a kind thing, a Christian thing to do? Not everything should cost something. When people lose their jobs, going to dinner is not in the cards, so bring them dinner or just bring them a cup of coffee and lend an ear. You can even bring them a cake you made, but most of all, bring them your company. No one is asking you to pay their oil bill. Friends are what everyone needs during these awful downturns. Human interaction is key all the time, but even more so when the chips are down and taken away. We have all reached out to find others who are of like minds and connect. We feel each other's pains and triumphs. We have become a network of understanding, of helping one another get over debt, cooking lasting recipes and rooting for the little person. See: Jack Monroe The Modern Face of Poverty. Don't stop talking to someone because you do not know what to say. Talk about books, talk about life, talk about anything and do not be afraid to ask them if they just want to sit in silence. Sometimes your presence is all that is required when someone is feeling low.
And while I am still on my soapbox, let us do away with the phrase "American Dream" please? To me it has always been like selling the "40 Acres and a Mule" concept. Times have changed A LOT in America and just working hard is not the answer anymore. I am tired of politicians telling me if I work hard I will attain the American Dream. Bull. I was not born with a silver place setting in my mouth and I know how it works here. Maybe int he 50's or 60's I could have gotten far, but all the research now tells us mobility is more difficult than ever in the States. Now, I do not need to be a millionaire, but I certainly am tired of watching the working classes be ridiculed and kicked around as if they were lazy buggers causing the problems of my country. SubPrime loans anyone? There is no American Dream anymore. It is American Survival now my friends and it sucks and it is global. I have not had a chance to see this Frontline Documentary yet, but I have read enough reviews to know I will be in an emotional roller coaster through a viewing.
Two American Families.
Be well.

Today's Recipe - Food In Jars: Yellow Tomato and Basil Jam


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Monday Quickie

Heatwave is pretty much done. Hooray!!

Got to play with some friends this weekend which was very nice and fun.

This Wednesday I have the pleasure of getting my right gum cut open to clean out a growing abscess under a root canal. Oh joy. I do not feel it or anything, but it showed up on the x-ray and it is nice gaping pocket of pus. I just started 500mg amoxicillin 4 times a day and I have to take it for seven days. I am not excited about having lots of novocaine and a knife in my mouth, but better to repair then get an implant I guess. My luck they will cut me open and then realize I need an implant anyway. The correct term for what I am having done is called an apicoectomy. All I have to say is, thank goodness we have dental insurance, though the endodontist  does not take our insurance. They will submit anyway and MetLife will cover a certain amount and we go from there. Remember to floss kiddies!

A friend sent a nice recipe for Blueberry Bars. They come courtesy of the website Douglicious and boy do they look scrumptious.

If you are feeling saucy, I found a video of a laser apicoectomy. I am not sure if I am having laser surgery, though I do know the endodontist does these like once or twice a week. As a nursing friend once said, "You want a surgeon who does *filling surgical procedure here* all the time, not someone who does them a few times a year." I just hope the whole thing goes well and quickly and that I am all good.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Relax on the Train

Rhonda at Down to Earth posted a link to Oliver Burkeman of the Guardian who shared videos of uneventful train journeys. My 18 month old son and I sat down and watched a little bit of the ten hour Norway trip,so pretty and then checked out Scotland. I skipped some parts and on the way to Fort William, my son feel asleep. I will now save every single one of these videos for future need. Bravo.
One of things I wish America had a really lovely railway system. We are a young country, but Europe and other places have much better trains. Amtrak sucks. I would love to travel through the Plains, heading West. What a way to see a country.

Calming Train Video

Joy the Baker has a wonderful Peach Cobbler Scone recipe that I would like to make. The problem is, it would be me eating most of the scones.

Heatwave is almost over. Amen!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Basil, Peaches, Wabi Sabi and No More Block

I just went out in this wretched heat to pick up our weekly share from our CSA. A really good bounty this week. There is a nice amount of basil, but I am feeling rebellious and not wanting to make pesto. I love pesto, but I do like challenging myself with new recipes and so I did a search and came across basil creamsicles. I know the first reaction is "Ewww, really??" But they do sound and look very refreshing.

BASIL CREAMSICLE (from Deliciously Organic via Food Loves Writing)

I am also searching for a peach scone or muffin recipe since we got 8 peaches and stone fruit is not big with the husband. Blueberries came again and I doubt the pint will last long since my son and I eat them like they were bursting by the barrel full out our door. Oh how I wish they were I love them so much.
I want to substitute honey for sugar because I did not buy any sugar and do not want to buy any due to the cost so here is what I found on Myrecipes.com

To use honey in place of 1 cup of sugar, use 2 tablespoons less honey, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons. The flavor and texture will not be quite the same, but you may like your new version better than the original recipe! Start with a mild flavored honey, and be aware that because of its viscous nature, honey will make your baked goods more moist and dense.
My writer's block has died out, sort of, thank goodness. But I am still trying to find the time to write. I am my own worst enemy, but it will all get done. I never met the short story deadline last month so I am trying for this month's submission and as for the novel, I did a scene change or two last night, hurrah, and now I realize I need to get back to short story to get it in on time. 
Wabi Sabi is the Japanese art of appreciating things with imperfections. You know, like a chair that has some peeling paint, but is still in working condition. I know my in-laws would have a coronary at the thought as anything less than House Beautiful gives them a twitch, and that is alright. Some people can only function when everything is just so and there is nothing wrong with that, but I can understand wanting to embrace things as they are and living among them in harmony.  Here is an article about living with life's imperfections on Houzz.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two Recipes

I realized I neglected to post a recipe yesterday so I shall make up for it right now by giving you two.

Strawberry, Blueberry & Radish Salsa from Daily Bites.

Zucchini season is upon us and many will be searching for various ways to prepare this prolific vegetable. I think this Spicy Zucchini Fritatta from Shutterbean fits the bill.


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Heatwave is Making Me Act This Way

I actually posted a chiding, matronly comment on Apartment Therapy. Why? Because it is hot and I am fed up with the whole "I am better than you and you are so uptight" design crowd.
Perhaps I should just shower.
Or drink.
Seriously, the post was about this guy's "Man Cave" a term I hate and quite a few people commented on the room, which was very nicely done,  but also on why they too disliked the term. The backlash was like reading the nasty comments usually posted on places like CNN and I decided enough was enough. So I sounded off and most likely I will be told to piss off and I don't really care. Here is a link to the post if you are interested. I don't get why one is called out as being "too PC" if you don't care for a specific term. I wasn't saying it degraded anyone, I just felt it is a stupid term to use and others expressed their opinion way better than I did. I mean, we are on a design site and no one can have differing opinions about design trends or ideas? Come on.

And for everyone in the simple living/frugal community, I found this comment about using Amazon Prime pretty damn funny.
For a busy professional person and freelancers, Amazon is a godsend-
no need to feel guilty! You are saving your own time, helping the economic recovery and keeping UPS in business!

I love that someone actually buys (ha ha) into the whole BS that more shopping helps the economic recovery and that UPS needs business. WHAT??? Okay, okay, I will settle down. Apparently the editor of Apartment Therapy adores his Amazon Prime, which I believe is very useful for some folks especially if rural or work odd hours or are disabled. It was quickly noted by many how awful the warehouses are and how this feeds into consumerism as well as the environmental impact. Interesting arguments on all sides and it really made you think.
But remember, you don't get low prices for nothing my friends.
Confession: I'm Addicted to Amazon Prime


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

Made roasted carrots and zucchini tonight and my goodness it is yummy. I think I would double the recipe next time because I cannot stop shoving them in my mouth.  *Cue all the dirty thoughts.

Until tomorrow my dears!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end" - Blaise Pascal

Unsure what to call this post, a quote seemed like a good idea and it makes me seem oh so witty.

I watched another documentary, but this one did not give me a twitch and was sweet, poignant and funny. About twin 69 year old prostitutes in Amsterdam, "Meet the Fokkens" surprised me in so many ways. I know there are quite a few people out there who find prostitution horrific, I do not. I wish it was legalized here in the US, but with the religious right and other interest groups, well, that is a whole other post. I look at it as a way to get rid of the pimps, ensure the women have health care and savings/investments and help defeat the sex trade. And no, my rose colored glasses are not foggy. I am sure there will still be scumbags exploiting their chattel as they consider the prostitutes, but let us make it harder for them to do so shall we? Anyway, the documentary is not so much about the sex trade industry as it is about two vibrant women who speak matter of factly and have a zest for living, regardless of the horrible situations that brought them to this lifestyle. 

My husband takes his lunch in a brown shopping bag every day. These bags can only hold up for so long. I need to get a sturdier one made of material. If I can get my tush in gear, perhaps I can make him a patterned bag and that will be that. Or I can see if Marshall's has any on clearance. Sort of a win win to me here. Purl Bee has a simple and lovely bag pattern. I do not embroider hence why I would just use patterned fabric. Look at it, it is so darn cute!!!

I have writer's block with my short story and my novel. Oh joy. I get angry about it, but that is not helpful so I have sort of embraced the block and figured it will go when it is ready. Part of my problem is I am trying to do and be everything to everyone then I stretch myself too thin. I need to just chill, breathe and do what I can instead of thinking there is a deadline looming and if I never get the story out RIGHT NOW or published EVER I suck. Isn't it amazing how well we can beat ourselves up when in reality we shouldn't? Bad Fifi, be nice to yourself!

I finally got popsicle molds! Thanks to TJ Maxx they looks like Rockets and were only 6.99. I cannot wait to get started and on top of that I can make fudgesicles too so my husband will be giddy. Nice to know I will be able to make fruity pops for the little guy and myself and it won't cost that much at all. 

Here is what we are getting in our half share from the CSA this week.

pint blueberries
pint cherries
bunch lettuce
2 zucchini
1 kirby cucumber
5 peaches
bunch parsley 
bunch scallions

My husband is not too thrilled. See, he hates berries and stone fruit which is the majority of our share. He found it interesting that there are not a lot of veggies included which I did too, but I told him I can make a lot of stuff with what they are giving us. The fruit is of great value to me since our son adores fruit and I now have the popsicle molds. We do have our veggie garden and the kale and Swiss chard are growing well and are delicious.  I will start pulling some carrots this week too I think which I am also very excited about. 
This recipe for peaches was posted my CSA's site and it comes via The Kitchen is My Playground.



1 fresh peach
1 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 to 4 tsp. brown sugar, divided
Sprinkling of ground cinnamon, to taste


1.  Halve peaches and remove pit.  Place in baking dish, skin side down.

2.  Place 1/2 teaspoon butter in the hollow of each peach, top each peach half with 1 or 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

3.  Bake at 375 degrees until peaches are tender, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Maybe if we get more cucumbers, which I hope we do, I can make this cucumber salsa from SparkRecipes.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dehydrators, GMOs, Ideal Clinics and Yummy Recipes

Today I am much calmer thanks to my venting session yesterday. Thank you.

One of the few things many of us have control over is how we eat and what we eat. There is a strong movement for whole foods/real foods. Which in a way is how all of our grandparents ate. Funny how convenience foods took us away from a very healthy diet to one that pretty much wreaks havoc on our bodies. Go innovation!
I know I have mentioned this show here before, but certain things bear repeating. If you want to see how people have eaten over the centuries, I highly recommend a binge viewing of The Supersizers Go series from the BBC.  Here is a clip from the Regency period.

Some of these diets are just foul. Especially when they were unable to drink the water in London so they drank Ale all day and even when babies were weaned, they were weaned onto ale!! The idea of being hammered from dawn until night makes my head hurt and intestines quiver in pain.

Back to food. I do not purchase any known brands that could have GMOs in them. Let me be clear, I actually buy very few 'brands'. If I but any, it is Annie's, Natures Path, Santa Cruz Lemonade and Vans Cinnamon Harvest cereal which my husband and son devour with glee. For store brands I do Trader Joe's/Wegmans/Whole Foods. Those store brands are not perfect so I have had to work around that and find better brands. Believe it or not Target's seafood is higher rated than Trader Joe's and more sustainable. We buy their tilapia, salmon and swai and the prices are also excellent. Another great brand is Eden Foods. Anything they make is fabulous so if you need canned beans or something they are a excellent choice.
When it comes to GMO's,  the arguments if they are safe or not safe are still being debated so I prefer to err on the side of unsafe and go from there. The major thing I have had to make peace with is not everyone I know adheres to non GMO's in their home. Whenever I see Wesson Oil or Land O Lakes butter at someones house I cringe, but  at the same time, I am grateful to be invited to dinner and to be fed well. I also hope the fact that I eat these foods on such rare occasions I should be fine. Fingers crossed!! Most of you have pretty much done the research, but Here is a link to a post on Mamanatural.com which goes into much more detail about the arguments and the foods affected.

One of my current obsessions is getting a dehydrator. I have read up on Nesco and Excalibur and still cannot decide. While those who have the Excalibur love it, the machine is a bit pricey. Katie of Kitchenstewardship.com did a side by side comparison of Nesco's American Harvest vs the Excalibur and while it did help, I am still on the fence. The Excalibur is close to $250.00 and is massive. The Nesco is closer to $60 and not as big. I know I should choose which would best suit my family's needs, but I have read a few complaints about the Nesco motor burning out quickly. So, is this a case of spending more to get more? The Excalibur has a 10year warranty if I buy directly from them, but it still is a nice chunk of change. Yes I have made it this far in life without one, but I would like to dry fruits since my son adores pretty much every fruit he has tried. Plus it would be a great way to have snacks on hand without having to purchase them. My research on these machines will continue.

I just discovered this physician, Pamela Wible, MD who has setup what she calls, Ideal Clinics. She went through her community in Oregon and asked people how the experience of having to go see a doctor could be improved upon. She actually listened and implemented what the people wanted. Refreshing right? Now quite a few doctors in other states have embraced this concept which sounds pretty much like what a lot of us would like to experience. I do like my primary care physician, and she does give you the opportunity to discuss stuff, but you always feel like you are on the clock regardless. Maybe this idea can take off and more and more physicians will get behind the process.

Ms. Marmite Lover had a delicious looking summer started recipe, Melon with Smoked Salmon.

Garlicky Shrimp Avocado Sandwiches from Annie's Eats looks so perfect for patio dining, beach dining, hell, anywhere dining.

We all know the zucchinis are coming, so from Against All Grains I bring you a delicious looking Lemon Parsely Grilled recipe.

Cheers and stay cool!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Documentary Pissed Me Off

Quick recipe here from Annie's Eats for Strawberry Scones and then a rant for everyone else who continues on.

Now that we got that out of the way, rich to me is when you can pay the bills and not worry. The rich we are going to discuss are multi-billionaires. People who could pay all our bills and still afford to purchase an apartment building or two in Manhattan. Good for them.
First off, I am a little sick and tired that anyone who hates social injustices or wants to keep the safety nets in place here in the US or wants the rich to pay more taxes is called out as "demonizing the wealthy". We have to be nice to them because they "create the jobs" and why should we tax them so heavily because of all the good they do. Oh the stupid, it hurts.
The Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Astors, Fricks, and all the original robber barons if you will, created empires and were amazing philanthropists that actually cared about the foundations they set up to help those less fortunate than themselves. These days, it is all about getting a tax deduction and corporate lobbying in DC. Sure we all figured that was happening, but I had no idea just how bad it had gotten.
I watched Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream this weekend and I am still seething. While I have been well aware of the influence of the uber rich: Koch brothers (Human versions of Monsanto in my book) and others just like them, for some reason it pushed me over the edge and I am having a very hard time coming back. My anger has boiled over into something indescribable. Some of the repugnant players: Paul Ryan, Steve Schwarzman, John Thain,  and the ever present Koch brothers. The bottom line is all  their so called patriotism and Libertarianism is a farce as it only cares to cater to the rich.
As for the ongoing worship of Atlas Shrugged, just stop. Seriously. STOP. I am looking at you Paul Ryan.
Ayn Rand was full of it you know why? She was 'persuaded' to take Social Security and Medicare near the end years of her life. The same programs she believed were evil and should be abolished, she too part in. Proof that no one's principles are so black and white.
The worst part of the documentary was seeing how 400 people in the US who have more money than some small nations, control the political landscape. They have also gotten the right politicians in their pockets: Charles Schumer of NY, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, (Clearly that state has some issues),  John McCain of Arizona and quite a few more. These same politicians stir the pot by getting the middle class, those who still believe in the ridiculous joke that was the American Dream, to hate on the lower classes. They say the poor are what are draining this country's resources and they say they do not pay taxes.
My head exploded. They pay taxes the poor, but you know, old Ethel eating cat food does not pay taxes on her social security because she can't. She does pay property tax and sales tax and every other tax. Their strategy of let's blame the poor elderly folks and those born into poverty for the lack of success in America as worked and it is pitiful. God forbid anyone suggests that Wal-Mart, Google, Apple, etc not paying million in taxes thanks to generous loopholes and offshore banking is not the problem. Soldiers are dying in far flung lands not for freedom, but for the greed of Corporations. Lord help us all.
What also burns me is that you have all these middle class and upper middle class and even some millionaires thinking if they just work harder they can reach that plateau of infinite wealth. Uh, no. Most billionaires are born my friend. Mitt Romney had a whole silver place setting in his mouth at birth and so did the Kochs. Unless you are willing to throw your Nation under the bus via sub-prime mortgages and live with the fall out, that makes you a hedge fund guy, your mobility is limited. Mark Zuckerberg you say. I say, he came from money and his parents gave him the seed money so he is pure luck. Not smart, not savvy, he was and is lucky. Bottom line. Can't knock him for that, but don't think he is some sort of genius creator.

This is America. My country, but now...I don't recognize it. Sure we have growing pains, as we are still a relatively young nation compared with the rest of the world, but when did we lose our empathy? People have  become increasingly obsessed with only making money and who has the biggest Johnson on the table which in turn has made us more vile and selfish. What type of person do you have to be to want to get rid of health care for the poor or even food stamps???? Wouldn't you want a poor person to have coverage instead of having hospitals losing money hand over fist because they do charity care and will not turn someone away? Do you really believe someone who lost their job and can't find work should not be allowed to use a food pantry? Are you kidding? Shouldn't we get mad at people who think that way?? Instead, we are diverted to get mad at Teacher's Unions for protecting their jobs or firemen or police officers or abortion clinics. Anything to keep us away from seeing Wal-Mart exploiting temp workers and Congress not passing a bill to increase the minimum wage.
There is something seriously wrong here.
Of course there is no perfect place in the world, but there has got to be somewhere where the citizens are shown a little more respect than this. In the US I find there to be an odd misconception by some that we are the only free nation and the only perfect place to live. Not lately buddy.
Thanks to the ridiculous worship of people who have the money, yet the blind eye to how they can manipulate policy is downright appalling. I firmly believe we need more than just Republicans and Democrats to vote for. That is right. The two party system sucks. The Tea Party is a joke because it is a somewhat radical version of the GOP, but just barely. People are easily persuaded to want less government not realizing what that actually means. Who do you think handles your schools, roads, Medicare, etc? Privatization is not always the right answer either because you still need regulations which the Kochs and their ilk are against, so what is a country to do? Lots of social programs here need to be re-hauled and our infrastructure needs some serious attention as well. We are talking billions of dollars of repairs and restructuring, something we just do not have. It is a serious conundrum.
I still see blogs/comments of everyday Americans who are struggling due to outsourcing, redundancies. I want the House and the Senate to hear the voices of those they consider lazy because they are unemployed or getting food stamps. People who bought into that broken dream of "work hard and you will go far". I knew long ago how the playing field was so skewed and out of a lot of people's reach. In truth, it does not bother me. I don't need to be a billionaire to be happy. What really bothers me is how many of my fellow Americans still buy into the consumerism, the big house, the two cars and the other addled lifestyles peddled by reality television. I guess I could say to each his own, but in the end, we are the ones who will suffer at the hands of the incredibly, massively wealthy as they push their agendas that do more harm than good. I do not ask you to agree with me. I only ask you think about this topic and challenge your own views. Believe me, there are parts of Libertarianism I agree with. Personal responsibility is one of them and crucial, but stop for a moment. If you honestly think every single person getting some type of assistance was so happy to go apply, and that they have not tried to get off of it or make their lives better, but due to circumstance they have not been able to life themselves up, you are what is helping hurt American more and more. You are feeding into the frenzy that everyone is lazy and useless. That anyone can make it and without help. All of us could use a little help from their friends. (Thank you Beatles.) Don't believe otherwise.
Do not worship the filthy rich. You can admire them, maybe even get inspired by them, but do not treat them as gods, for remember, gods had their wrathful moments and it was never pretty.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Behold Our Vegetable Garden

And the sunflower that is like a giant sentinel. It has one big head and two heads below it which I have never seen before so I cannot wait to see that baby in bloom.
The tomatoes are doing poorly, but the carrots, lemon basil, kale and swiss chard are kicking butt. My jalapenos have pretty little flowers and I hope the prove to be fruitful as well. We did not have our CSA this past week due to the holiday so I am excited for this upcoming week's haul. We should be getting blueberries and cherries!

It was 90 here today and will be 91 tomorrow. Stay cool everyone!

Random Recipe: Summer Green Bean Salad thanks to 101 Cookbooks.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

Today is America's Independence Day and the 10th birthday of our crazy, but loved Jack Russell, Isadora aka Izzy.
It is hot and humid here in NJ, one of the Thirteen Colonies, though there is a breeze blowing now and then.
While wool is not something I care to think about at this moment, these Stars & Stripes Felted Hot Pads would be welcome at any BBQ.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Rant and a Recipe

I have been reading a lot of blog posts that have discussed tackling debt and meal plans, etc. Down to Earth is doing a series and Frugal Queen always has great tips as well. Most of the information is very helpful. What caught my attention was these folks do not have to worry so much in regards to healthcare because they happen to live places where thankfully, it is covered. I know it is not a perfect system, but hey, it is better than having to mortgage your home or piss away your savings. Here in the US, the health care system is a burden on many pocketbooks. If you are lucky and have no health issues, you should be fine, but if you do have any type of chronic or terminal illness? Look out, you will struggle. Sure there are employer plans, but some of them just now outright suck due to coverage cutbacks  or have been changed to make the deductibles higher for the employee. Yes I am bitching about it because that can make or break a lot of families. Families which the politicians of this fine country claim to care so much about. When I say families I mean every version of family you can conjure. Of course some people believe it is not the corporations responsibility to offer coverage and I say bull. You want my skills and me healthy to work for you then you better make sure I can afford to do so. By being unhealthy costs go to a broken system and you have to struggle to save what you can even though your radiology bill may be $1500.00
Another sad thing I have noticed is how many people out there that have commented on these posts and on some other blogs, about losing their jobs, redundancies and unable to find work after a year or more. Some are trying to get by on the minimum wage here in the States and we all know that can barely feed one person let alone two or more. And yes, raising it gets fought all the time. See here.  I am not sure how to get jobs back to the US, but for God's sake, we need some sort of tangible and affordable solution. Most people cannot afford to go back to school and most companies no longer offer paid training or training on the job at all. The Libertarain attitude of "you can make it if you work hard enough and want it bad enough" seems naive at this point. Add to that just how amazed I am at the disconnect of our politicians to their own citizens and I want to scream. On more than one occasion I have considered emailing the mighty in Congress a couple of links to these sites so they could see just what was happening in the real world. Read some comments you lunkheads and you might see where the "Average Joe" is struggling with. Do I think it would matter? No, but I would at least feel like I could say, "Hey, these are your citizens, your beloved constituents. They do not have corporate backing, but they contribute to the well being of the nation's economy. Stop pissing all over them." None of these folks, from what I have read, are asking for handouts or expect to be coddled for years. They want work, not food stamps, but dammit, if they need the stamps, give it to them and stop acting like we were the ones that were the sole cause of this recession in the first place!!
And scene. Thank you for letting me rant.

I made this Crispy Garlic Kale and Chorizo with Beans last night and it was delicious. I even made crusty bread to go with it and I highly recommend it for a nice dinner with leftovers. I did not do the step of removing garlic and sausage from pan and it turned out fine. I also only used one link of soy chorizo, but you can use regular chorizo and use the recommended two if you like.