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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Something Old into Something New

We’ve all seen those posts on different websites about how to recycle/up cycle/whatever cycle (sorry, I never have been good at keeping up with latest hip terms) stuff.  I actually found one that made good sense to me.  From my long since defunk marriage, I have kept a few things that I just really liked and therefore have kept.  One of those things was a small photo album, despite the fact that I don’t like photo albums or looking through them.  I’m really not sure what it was about this one that has made me keep it this long; however, it is what it is and here I am.

My seeds have been in little plastic baggies, inside envelopes from the people who sent them to me, and all of those collected into a manilla envelope that bulged in all its repulsive unorganized glory atop my desk.  (Have i mentioned how much I detest anything unorganized?  Not that you can tell from looking at my house.)

I started with this:

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From there I went and found something else that has been hanging around my house for who knows how long.

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From there I trimmed the envelopes because they wouldn’t fit the slots of the photo album.

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I added tape to the self adhesive lip because we all know that those things don’t hold for crap.

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From there it was a simple thing to se a sharpie and label each envelope and slide it into the slot of the now Seed Album.

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The other nice thing is that the pages of the book are also just right for holding even the larger commercial seed packets.

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I will note that I wound up taking some of the empty pages out of the book because the seeds made the book too fat.  I will save the extra pages to use in another album.  I’ve found that the thrift stores often have the little photo albums for a good price and in good condition; however, the pages are usually thrashed, so I’ll use my extras.

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So at this point, all I really need to do is find a great picture to go in the front.  Perhaps, I’ll simply print one out on my computer with a title, since I’m going to have multiple books.  This one I believe I’ll use for my flower seeds because of the roses on the cover.  I wonder if I can find ones that have herb and vegetable themes?

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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Turkey Dressing and Gravy (gluten-free)

We made cornbread, now we’re going to turn it into a Holiday stand-bys.

Pan of cornbread
Boiled turkey thighs (2 per pan of cornbread)
Turkey thigh broth
Eggs (4-6 depending upon size of eggs)
Celery (to taste)
White or yellow onions (*to taste)
Green onions (*to taste)
Cream of Mushroom Soup (2 cans) **
Salt and Pepper (*to taste)

*to taste because some people like these things and others HATE them.
**gluten-free soups are available or try this alternative: Cream of Anything Soup!

Make your pan of cornbread and let it cool.
Boil your turkey thighs and allow thighs and broth to cool. De-bone thighs.
Slice and dice your veggies to sizes that you and your loved ones like.
Add cans of soup, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Mix it all in a huge bowl with enough of the broth to make is pretty wet but not soupy.
Pour into a lightly oiled casserole dish (save back about four cups of mixture for a separate smaller pan).  Pop them both into the oven at 375 degrees until golden brown and firm.

Turkey Gravy
When your Turkey Dressing is done, dish all of the smaller pan (four cups) of dressing into a sauce pan and pour the extra broth over the top. Stir in corn starch and cook low until nice and thick. This is the best turkey gravy you’ll ever try.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Not Your Normal Muffin

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so…

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Now for the nitty-gritty of making these bad boys!

 

“Country Breakfast” Muffins

18 eggs

2 cups cheese

4 green onions

2 1/2 cups shredded tater tots or hash browns

Salt and pepper to taste

1 package of thick sliced bacon

Mix everything together in a bowl except the bacon.

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The mix before the eggs were added.

 

 

Break out your muffin pans and line them with a strip of bacon. I used a full length strip for my muffin pan with the big cups and cut down the strips for the smaller cup size muffin pans.

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Pour in the mix and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees.

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As a side note I made this pan of muffins in my toaster oven just to see if I could.

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So no excuses!  You don’t even need a real kitchen to have these.  I made a bunch because:

1. Who isn’t going to eat a bunch of these!

2. They should freeze really well for another day.

 

CC and I were going to snack out before BG woke up, but the Force is strong with this one.  She appeared before we got our first bite.  She took one sleepy look at our plates and lit up with the most angelic smile!  She gives them her seal of approval but says the green onions are not to her taste.  I wonder how these would taste: bacon filled with blueberry muffin with chunks of pre-cooked sausage links?  Hmmm….

 

Let me know what you try.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Moses, the Second Coming

I love Dilbert. Like the immortal Calvin & Hobbes, the cartoon carries a pithily accurate set of observations of our society.

In this episode one of the riffs is about people staying home when they’re sick. Or not.

Right now I’m tending to DG because she’s home with a cold and the remains of an allergy attack. I’ll ignore the allergies – suffice it to say that some people need to recognize that they live in a country with relatively plentiful and clean public water, and need to utilize this utility instead of gallons of cheap and noxious perfume or cologne.

She’s sick because it’s the latest round of what’s being boomeranged between her coworkers, who won’t/can’t stay home. Why not? Because management is more stupid than most and actually punishes contagious employees for at very least refusing to spread disease to themselves and the thousands of public they have close contact with every day.
Likewise, they’re all sick because people choose to go out in public each day while ill, spreading the crud as if they were tipping those who serve them.
Crud you, too.

Do we really need to realize the prophesied second coming of Moses? (Read the judeo-christian bible(s), they explain a lot about american culture, or at least Dilbert.) I mean the dude’s claim to fame was really that he revolutionized public health back in the day, regardless of perpetrating genocide and misogyny.

I may be on a soap box here, but I firmly believe that ignorance is the core problem here. Ignorance of basic public health (despite the commercials), ignorance of basic personal health, biology, business and history.

Which costs more, to excuse an employee from attendance or Smog Forbid actually dole out the sick day pay they were promised at orientation, or to work them until they can’t and have spread the health to everyone else? Not to mention the customers who either have the sense to stay home when they get sick (from employees) or to avoid the petri dish that is your workplace.

But it isn’t just contagion. One of DG’s coworkers was injured by a faulty elevator – sustained a serious concussion, as it happens. The woman couldn’t function, but no one would help her. They just shoved paperwork in her hands and gave attitude with it. Never mind that she couldn’t get herself home, figure out the paperwork and frankly needed an ambulance and worker’s comp (which she didn’t get, either).
People at large don’t know when it’s time to stop soldiering on or to stop demanding such of others.

Not that I have a problem with our armed defenders, but somehow everyone who doesn’t act like a Marine in a war zone is treated like a hypochondriac. As a result we have a decided public susceptibility to disease, a host of prevalent, chronic conditions and a rising cost of getting things treated when they get out of hand. I’d prefer that people have an affordable, easy access to certification that they’re sick or injured and don’t have to work and the basic education to care for themselves. And no, I don’t believe that Johnny Carry Gun should or needs to demand money from everyone to fund this convenience. This is a fairly easy matter for employers to create, and that I believe would save them money.

Right now the common situation is that one needs a doctor’s note in order for an absence to be excused. That means that said employee shells out, say 4 hours of pay for a copay, plus Rx costs, if they have insurance. Whereas a simple clinic that only certifies in writing that yes, Bob was contagious or too ill or injured to perform his duties, needs _______ modifications, etc. No treatment, no ongoing care, no Rx that isn’t necessary for a swift recovery, but maybe a sheet of paper or info link saying what to do for self care. Things like what over-the-counter medications actually cure, what simply alleviate symptoms and when a recovery can reasonably be expected.
Oh, and a compulsory education course for management and admin, whose duties include sending people who appear contagious and not antagonizing employees who aren’t skiving.

In short, have the sense the gods gave Girl Scouts in the 50s.

-Cappy

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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A Whole New Kettle of Hope

I’ve been overweight most of my life and all of my adult life.  I usually run somewhere between 360 and 380 pounds.  Yeah! I’m almost 400 pounds.  Most people who know me wouldn’t believe it.  When they finally do, they say things like “it doesn’s look like it because you’re so tall” and “you carry it well”.  Well, yeah, I am tall and yes, I do carry it well the way they mean it, but it doesn’t change the fact that my body is breaking down due to the strain of carrying too much weight.  Then there is the issue of not being able to find clothes that fit, much less ones that I like.  Oh, and they cost more and never seem to last as long.  Let’s not even talk about chairs with arms on them!  Ever stood up and had to lever a chair off your ass with your back and thighs?  Ever seen the look of revulsion on someone’s face when you eat your piddling little portion of food even though smaller portions don’t make you lose weight.  Ever had someone look at you and actually have the balls to say, “why don’t you eat a salad?”

This sounds like a lot of whining, huh?

That isn’t the point of this post.  The point of this post is HOPE.  Want some?  I’ve got some to spare for you.  Why?  Because most of us have that “extra” that we’d like to get rid of.  What I’m suggesting isn’t going to be easy.  It isn’t going to be a magic pill that you take every morning with your milk chocolate mocha and donut and the pounds simply melt away.  Its going to be hard work, but you’ll love yourself for doing it.

I will say this: I have yet to break a sweat doing what I’m doing and I’ve been losing a steady five pounds a month.  (more now that I’ve incorporated phase two)

Before you whine, listen.

Five pounds a month isn’t all that much, but if you talk to everyone who has ever lost the weight and kept it off (and I know you have talked to them), they will tell you that long-term weight loss is the way to go.  The reason is because it means that you’re changing not only your scale readout, but also your body, mindset, and metabolism.

The first thing I did was go gluten-free.  Yes, yes…  I know everyone thinks that it is simply the latest excuse going around.  As someone who started losing the moment she stopped ingesting this crap I suggest you try to convince someone else.  What’s more, I don’t have the joint pain that I did.  I don’t have the moodiness that I did.  I don’t have the apathy that I did.

Wait a minute!  What?  Apathy?  What’s apathy?  Dictionary.com says:

Apathy
noun, plural apathies.
1.  absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2.  lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

Check out this link: Food Intolerance

Notice any symptoms that might be you?  I sure did.

So what happens when you get rid of those food intolerances?  You body tries to come back to normal.  It took MONTHS, but I’m proud to say, I’m happy.  Yeah, I know.  You ARE happy.  Lie to someone who hasn’t been there.  You have moments of happiness and optimism, but you live in a drudgery of just making it through the day.  I now live in a place of optimism and positive outlook and the only real difference in my life is the gluten.  Are you gluten intolerant?  I have no idea.  It might be something totally different, like dairy or nuts or…  Play around with your diet and find out.

Before you throw what I’m saying out the window, try it.  One week just cutting back on the gluten was enough to convince me, but everyone I talk to, says give it two weeks.  Two weeks of cutting something out of your diet?  You’ve done stupid fad diets for longer than that.  You’ve given up sugar for longer than that!  Haven’t I done that stupid heart healthy diet too?  Grapefruit every blessed morning?  Bleck!  I HATE grapefruit.

All that being said, I now get to the hard work phase (as if giving up gluten is easy, that crap is in EVERYTHING!). Does anyone know what these are?

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The two smaller ones are kettle bells.  (The big purple one is a bouncy ball that BG thinks is her kettle bell.)  The little puny one is mine.  The not much bigger one is CC’s.  I’ll let CC tell you about his experience.  I’m telling your about mine.

My kettle bell weighs 15 pounds.  BG weighed more than half that when she was born!  I use a fifteen because my wrists aren’t strong enough handle a heavier one without hurting myself.  Eventually, I will move up to the 25 pound (red) one, but for now I use the little one.  They make smaller ones for those of you who need something even smaller.

Here’s the deal.  Kettle bells are NOT a NEW thing.  The Russians have been using them for a VERY long time with huge success.  You DO NOT have to do endless reps.  You DO NOT have to do impossible weights (15# remember!).  I DO NOT sweat when I do mine (big issue for me; I HATE to sweat).

What you DO HAVE TO DO is not drop it on your head or foot!  These are solid iron.  Take the time to research how to do the exercises correctly.  I know you know someone who is doing this, but are they doing it correctly?  Probably not.  Go online and look up a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline.  This guy might be weird, but he knows what he’s doing. Click on his name to go straight to his website or hit YouTube for videos of him doing his thing.

Since I’ve started doing kettle bells, the fat is melting off me. (Yesterday was the start of week 2 and yeah!  I’ve already noticed a HUGE difference.)  I don’t know how much I’ve lost because they don’t really make an affordable scale that will weigh me, so I don’t have one (the five pounds a month thing is from the doctor’s office).  I do know that since I’ve started doing kettle bells, my pants are starting to fall down and my shirt no longer tried to pop a button over my belly when I sit down.  I can SEE the difference in the mirror.

I do recommend that you do some serious stretching after working with kettle bells.  It seems to help with muscle soreness.  Yoga has been my friend for years and I find that combining it with kettle bells is a wonderful synergy, but FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in Fitness

 

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Eating Scraps

We’re all seen those posts about how you can grow real food from scraps. The ones that interested me the most were celery and green onions. We love them. We eat them all the time. They are such a nice addition to so many of the foods we like. (Remind me to get you the recipe for my Cajun Celery Beef.) I did the rough math and for our family it looks something like this:

1 head of celery per pay period: $3.00
2 bunch of green onions per pay period: $2.00
Pay periods in a year: 26
Total yearly savings if I can make this work: $130.00

For many people $130 is not all that much, but in this family that’s a lot of money! Especially, when you start considering that you can add that to the money we’re saving growing our own herbs. Basically, I looked at my little kitchen window and I see that it all adds up to about $300 plus a year. Wait a minute, you say. Yeah, all of a sudden it starts to make sense, huh? $300 plus is nothing to sneeze at.

So we bought celery and green onions, not organic or anything, just regular old celery and green onions.  We used the celery like we always do, but as we got down to those last few stalks attached to the stump, I simply lopped them off leaving that little core of leaves in the middle.  Then I put it in a jelly jar on the window sill. Everything was going great. It was growing like none other, then I put it in dirt like it said to do.

It rotted within days.

I’m nothing if not stubborn. I’m trying again. This time I plan on putting cinnamon on the stump because it is said to be anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. I have three stumps growing very well, as you can see, but I’m not sure it is going to work because I still don’t have a single root on any of them that I can see.  If it doesn’t work this time, I may have to break down and try the organic celery to see if that makes a difference.

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Now in regards to the green onions… Did pretty much the same thing as the celery. I cut all the green off and cooked it. The white ends were placed in a jelly jar on the window sill such that the water was only over the very bottoms. They sprouted roots immediately! When the roots were about an inch long, I transplanted them into this little pot.

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They’ve been helping to feed us for weeks now.  It takes about three days for them to grow almost two inches. (CC has talked about setting up a time delay camera to capture the growth of these rascals.)  I am starting some more from the grocery store today to basically double what I have in this one little pot.  I feel that this amount doubled will give us all the green onions that we’ll need or want.  So hopefully today will be the last time I buy green onions!

(One thing I have noticed about the onions, is that some of them just will not thrive. Do NOT waste your time on them. Throw them into the compost pile and concentrate on the ones that are thriving.  If my experience is anything to go by, the ones to thrive will be the big fat healthy ones that aren’t knicked or roughed up.)

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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When does a child becomes an adult?

I work with the public everyday.  One of the things I do to amuse them and myself is have a random question of the day.  The other day the random question of the day was: at what point should children start practicing to be adults?

Shocking to me the average of all the answers was at ages 16 to 18 years of age.  I’m sorry, but these answers answered so much about what is wrong with the world and why my child gets so many compliments for being smart, well-behaved, and mature.  My three-year old has been practicing to be a responsible member of society for roughly three years at this point.  Crazy as it sounds the meaning of no, how to pick up your own mess, and please/thank you are real life skills!  (I’m still working on that pick up your own mess bit myself.)

That being said, my daughter is already learning important life lessons now.  1. Mama and Daddy won’t always be there to pull your fat out of the fire.  2. No means no and usually for a darn good reason.  3. That she really is loved and that good discipline is part of real love.

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2014 in Baby Genius

 

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