Sunday, April 19, 2015


Well, over the weekend, my Spring Fever got the best of me and I ended up hurting my lower back by overdoing it. Consequently I missed work today and I've been sitting on an ice pack off and on and taking meds. 
So, I decided to write a post about some of the basic meal prep tips that I use to make it easier for a busy week when I work late, as well as helping preserve the foods that I buy so they don't spoil before I have a chance to fix them in a recipe. Most of it is pretty common sense.  For some recipes, I will cook up the meat say like ground turkey with all the herbs and spices and onion for, say, my Stuffed Shells. Then, when I prepare it, I've only to add egg, marinara sauce  and cottage cheese, cook my jumbo pasta shells, fill them with the meat mixture, top with shredded Parmesan and bake.  I'll do that with ground beef as well, for stroganoff and sloppy joes, adding all veggies that can be precious and frozen, then I freeze them in freezer containers and label them, of course, so that I have home-cooked meals ready with very minimal cooking or prep throughout the week. I try to decide on what recipes I'm going to fix and buy my groceries for the week accordingly. I also try to buy meat in bulk, as it's cheaper per pound. Same thing with vegetables, like Vidalia onions, celery, and peppers, if they're on special. 
I will divide up the meat in portion sizes for my husband and I and wrap ithe portions well, then label them and freeze them in freezer safe bags. 
For example the recipes that I've decided six for the week for the menu that I've chosen him I will buy enough of chicken or pork or beef or whatever or whatever part of me or type of mean it is that I'm going to give use and I will depending on the recipe either pick it up or portion it into serving sizes for my husband and I and freeze it that way and I will write the name of the recipe on the bag of the individual cuts of meat.  
The list goes on the fridge and with the recipe name and what page in what book it's in what recipe book and
and is checked off as the meat is frozen for it and then you get a quick reference and you know what's what and what's going on. 
Then I put all them in a larger Ziploc freezer bag marked with what kind of meat it is.  
It's a super quick way to preserve your food save money and make it easier to prepare good nutritious home cooked meals throughout a busy work week

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cooking in Quantity/prep

So lately, since I've been working overtime, I've been cooking up meals and freezing them, with some only being prepped to a point before freezing for minimal assembly/cooking after a long day.  
Right now I'm sautéing 1large finely chopped Vidalia onion, a 10 oz jar of sliced mushrooms and pressed garlic in about 1/2 C water, adding more water as needed till onions are tender and translucent.  
Half of this will be added to the lean ground turkey I'm browning, heavy on the basil, oregano, Tuscan seasoning, pink Himalayan salt and pepper and crushed fennel seed.  
At this point, I'll store in a freezer safe till cool, then freeze for use in stuffed shells or stuffed manicotti, with the addition of a few more ingredients, then assembled and baked.  
A package of ground sirloin mixed with the remaining onion, mushroom, garlic mixture, ready to be cooled and frozen. 
The second package of ground sirloin and a roll of Po Folks Italian sausage browned together.  This will be divided into two separate containers and frozen, for use in spaghetti sauce and or soups. 
So, that's part of my prep cooking for the week. It really is nice to have a home cooked meal in a very short amount of time after a long day.  You'll eat better, have better control over your food/calorie intake, and you won't have to rely on prepackaged, over processed junk.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Unexpected Vacation

I didn't work at all so far this week. Today is Thursday.  I stayed home from work Monday because of snow and slick roads, Tuesday because I felt unable to deal with leaving the house, Wednesday because of more snow and luck roads, and today, well, today, I actually could not leave the house.  I've already scheduled tomorrow off, because I'm pretty damn sure I'm not gonna feel capable of it tomorrow, either. I feel perfectly calm right now, but I still don't want to leave the house.   
Earlier, I had my truck warming up, lunch, audiobooks, water and coffee packed and ready to go.  I just could not move to put on my coat, pick up my stuff and head out the door.  My head felt fuzzy, I started crying, my legs felt shaky, my heart was racing, and my stomach hurt bad.  Just, blam! 
This has been an ongoing issue since my husband experienced a horrible wreck in August of 2000.  When he was finally able to return to work was when I had my first panic attack.  I had been holding down a full time job, racing home to pick him up to go back to town to his physical therapy appointments three and four times a week.  This went on for about four or five months, with me becoming more and more tired, more and more stressed.  It was like flipping a switch, or stepping into a new life overnight whilst asleep.  I went from having the normal, (if there is such a thing), amount of worry, you know, the every day kind of worry, nothing overwhelming, to worrying about minute things with the intensity that one would feel over a payment due that really put you short for the month.  It's hard and it sucks and anyone who hasn't experienced it doesn't understand the often crippling power of it. 

So today, in order to hopefully exorcise the anxiety from myself, I'm cleaning out the two spare rooms.  Rearranging furniture, clearing all of the crap out.  Maybe clear my head at the same time.  
Have the Aura music channel on the Dish, (hubby's been cool about that!),and I'm just finishing up a bite of lunch and planning the next angle of de-cluttering. 

So now it's Saturday. Haven't finished the de-clutter, ran out of steam. Gonna work on it today.  Yesterday, we accomplished, thanks to our tax refund, the purchase of a new gas stove and matching refrigerator!  Both in black, both Whirlpools.  Had to special order, they'll be here in a couple of weeks. Other than the Frigidaire dishwasher we put in about twelve or so years ago, these are the first brand new kitchen appliances I've ever had. Hard work pays off!!!
After that, we bought groceries, making it home just before it started sleeting. We woke up to about two or three inches of fresh snow and sleet.  
It's 10:36 a.m., we've been up for about an hour I'd say, seeing as how I'm on my third cup of coffee.  I love our mornings at the kitchen table, talking over things, discussing plans, enjoying coffee and watching the birds at the feeders.  This morning, it started sleeting again, turned to a light snow, then it snowed heavy for a bit.  Fine flurries right now. 
At some point today, I need to lie down, put some earbuds in and meditate.  The first thought in my head this morning when I woke up was, "I have to go back to work day after tomorrow ".  I don't know why this makes me anxious, but it does.  I think a lot of it is because I feel so alone.  I mean, I'm not shunned or anything, and I have work friends, it's not that at all. It's just that my beliefs and opinions aren't that of the group/herd on many points.  While we have much in common, there is just as much we disagree on.  And, knowing their views on certain topics, I sometimes catch myself wondering, as I see them talking to others who ARE one of those "certain topics", how friendly and genuine they are towards them, are they just being that way towards me?  For, I have made the "grand mistake" of espousing my view on "certain topics", and have done so in my typical, headstrong and passionate way.  Oh yes, quite the faux pas!!!  
Many of my tastes and interests are different.  I don't like the murder mystery audiobooks, nor the romance and, oh hell no, never 50 Shades of Grey.  I prefer reading (listening) to historical fiction, history, bios and auto bios, politics, Hitchens and Dawkins, and if it's fiction, it'd better be damn good fiction. I listen to Folk, Indie, Singer-Songwriter, some new bands, Classical, Opera, World Music, especially traditional Nordic and Celtic Music.  Most listen to country, which I consider to be utter horse💩.  Or nothing but classic rock.   😴
And I don't play the little social games.  You know, the ones where you pretend to be interested in something that "just came into your head", and ask twenty questions, partly out of concern, partly out of nosiness for something to gossip about.  Or someone stabs you in the back and expects you to be over it in a few days and that everything's cool.  Or someone makes fun of you in a hushed but just loud enough for you to hear, then shriek with laughter when you get upset  Everyone knows it's going on, but few to none say anything to them.  If you say nothing, you're complicit in the bullying too.  And, of course, you're supposed to get over it in a few days or so.  I. Don't. Play. Those. Stupid. Games.  I will cut you out. You'll barely exist to me. You will not take up rent in my head.  Anything work related, I will be "work polite", other than that, I don't want one damn thing to do with you.  You've proven yourself to be someone untrustworthy and rude, so why would you think I want to be "friends" again?  Seriously!  Funny thing is, most of my life people told me I needed to stand up for myself and what I care about and believe.  Now that I do, they often wish I'd just shut up.  
For years, because this has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember, I've been picked on, bullied, ignored, mocked, and a couple times, hit by people around me.  I've never quite fit in, and kids can sense differences and collectively shut out anyone who doesn't conform to group standards.  My few friends growing up were either "good", (as in conforming) kids, who, in my typical headstrong independent fashion, got in trouble by encouraging and including them in my misadventures, (such as walking two blocks down and across the street to climb in a neighbors apple trees at about 5 years of age), resulting in them not being allowed to play with me anymore, or I was the one being kept away from other little girls who were more rebellious and independent than I was.  
We moved from the city to a 75+ acre farm a month before I turned seven.  Being naturally shy, and unafraid to roam on my own, by the time I was eight, I was regularly sneaking out at night to wander the fields and forests in moonlight, rain or snow. I haunted the woods, immersed myself in learning animals signs, how to sit perfectly still and observe wild foxes playing at the entrance to their den that sat on a steep hillside overlooking a small waterfall in the creek that meandered through our land.  How to imitate quail and whippoorwills, catch the biggest bass, find mushrooms and berries, tend cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons. How to cut and stack wood, prepare for winters, garden...  Being an only child, having so much freedom as long as my work was done, really brought out my independent, go it alone side.  It also made me rather socially awkward, as I never learned how to play the silly social games people play. What you see is pretty much what you get.  
In other words, I'm too "everything", and I'm too independent, a "think-for-myselfer", and that's going against the grain.  And its something I've been and done, All. My. Life.  
The way I feel about it, how can one just hide themselves and conform to the herd?  And why would anyone want to or feel compelled to?  Why deny who you really are? Why play a part in the "show"?  Wouldn't it be better to be yourself, be open and honest and fair in dealings with others?  Wouldn't that go a long way towards making a better world?  

Sunday, last day before heading back to work.  I feel better, still don't want to go. 
First ever Dutch Baby (look it up) in the oven and a couple sausage patties on the stove.  Trying to just relax and keep busy at the same time.  Breathe.  Breathe. Breathe.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Man's Inhumanity

Unless you are under a rock, you have to be aware of the situation in Gaza.  It is deplorable, cruel, inhumane.  I am saddened and disappointed in people who say "let them kill each other" or "we should just bomb them off the map".  Do you not hear how insane and inhuman and hypocritical you sound when you say such things?   How can you hold such a belief yet be angered by 9/11 or Oklahoma City?  Yes, what Hamas is doing us wrong.  Does that make it acceptable then, for Israel to deliberately target children on a beach, on a playground?  To blow CHILDREN into pieces?  To target hospitals, even those that are for invalids?  Two wrongs DO NOT make a right. 
Could you look into the eyes of grieving parents who have lost all of their children and still say such things?  Could you say them to the couple who begged to be let out of Palestine for an emergency surgery to separate newborn conjoined twins in a desperate effort to save at least one child, only to be refused exit by the Israelis, only the have both babies die?  
Could you say them to cancer sufferers who cannot get chemo because of the blockade?   Could you look in the mirror and watch yourself say those hate filled words?  Because if you can, there is something fundamentally wrong with your humanity.  
Hate is at the root of all conflicts.  It doesn't matter whether you are American, Palestinian, Israeli, Christian, Jewish or Muslim or of any other nationality or faith. Hate divides, hate destroys, and it most certainly diminishes your humanity.  
It is just as callous to turn a blind eye to it, ignoring it.  To say nothing, to do nothing, that makes you in complicit agreement with it.  As Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."  
As a parent, if you do not teach your children about them and do not stand up against the injustices if the world, you are teaching your children not to care.  You are doing them a great disservice, because how can you say you are trying to make the world a better place for them when your actions speak louder?  If we raise our children with these divisive and negative beliefs, theirs won't be a better world, and in all likelihood, it will be worse.   The cycle will just keep repeating.  
I'm sick to death of hearing people whine about how hard they have it, or how no one likes them, or they don't have this or that latest and greatest thing.  When innocent men, women and children are dying, not just in Gaza, but around the globe , to whine about your tiny little First World problems is, at best, selfish and immature.  Life is about more, much more, than just you.  
Those being killed....they're someone's mother or father or sister or brother...someone's daughter or son, someone's wife, husband, lover, grandparents, FAMILY.  Look at your family and ask yourself, could I stand seeing them go through that?   Or is it easier, somehow, just to not see the Palestinians' humanity because they aren't white Americans?   Ask yourself that, too.  

Monday, April 14, 2014


Another Sunday night spent tossing and turning.  Wide awake.  Anxious. Listening to snoring/mumbling.  Or the hot water heater.  Or the air compressor with the slow leak in the garage kick on.  Or the car(s) turning around in the driveway.  Or any number of things.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sisters Can Think For Themselves

I wonder why men often feel intimidated/frightened by/uncomfortable around/threatened by women of strong opinions and convictions, the very qualities you admire in a man.  Would you prefer she be wishy-washy and gullible?  Step away from the cave, knuckle-dragging cave dwellers, a woman is not your property.  She is not there to be controlled by you, nor are her thoughts to be as yours, she can think quite well for herself.  She is an individual in her own right, not an extension of you. 
If you have a woman who is strong-minded, yes, she may be difficult to live with at times, but you should thank your lucky stars.  Would you really prefer someone who had no opinions, who couldn't think for themselves, form their own opinions, have convictions and the strength and courage to stand by them?  No, you would not. You would most likely consider her to be a stupid female and treat her as such.   
It's time to let go of biblical fairytale notions that women are subjugate to men.  For hundreds of years, women have been treated as property, commodities to be used and then disposed of, blamed for our own rape, and beaten or stoned to death because of it.  This still goes on in parts of the world.  
This is not to say that all women have meekly accepted being "less than", simply by virtue of their gender.  Oh no, not at all.  Consider Queen Zenobia, Queen Cleopatra,and Queen Elizabeth I.  Strong, capable women, who defied the odds, and became powerful leaders in times when a woman could be killed for daring to be different, vocal and powerful.  
Zenobia became Queen of Palmyra in 267 upon the death of her husband, Odaenathus.  Within two years, she expanded the Palmyrene empire when she conquered Egypt and dispelled the Roman prefect there, who subsequently tried to retake Egypt, only to be beheaded.  She was a descendant of Cleopatra VII through her mother.   She was often called The Warrior Queen.  
Cleopatra VII was a very powerful and intelligent woman.  She was 18 when her father, Ptolemy VII, died in March of 51 BC, and she was made co-regent with her 10 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII. She quickly let it be known she would not share power with him, and by August of that same year, dropped him from official documents and coinage.  This went against Ptolemaic tradition of women rulers being subordinate to their male co-regent.
Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  She was two and a half when her father declared Anne to be a witch, annulled the marriage, and had Anne beheaded.  Elizabeth was declared illegitimate, and no longer in line for the throne. Her brother ruled until his death in 1553, and he bequeathed the throne to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey.  Nine days later, his will was set aside and she was beheaded.  Mary, Henry's daughter from his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon.  Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London during Mary's reign.  When Mary died, she proclaimed Elizabeth her heir, and she ascended the throne of England.  She never married, and is considered to be one of the greatest European monarchs.
These are strong, independent women.  Smart and capable in a time when women were pawns in the games of power.  I admire them greatly.  No small wonder then, that I see nothing wrong in a woman having strong opinions and convictions.  If that offends or intimidates a man, or causes him to feel insecure in his manhood, then he probably isn't as secure in it to begin with.  Put on your big boy Fruit of the Looms and get over yourselves.    

Monday, March 24, 2014

Anxiety Again

Another Sunday night spent desperately trying to go to sleep and, once there, stay asleep.  This is followed by an anxious and shaky Monday morning, in which I manage to get my eyeliner on after twenty minutes, while feeling panicky.  Once the decision to stay home is made, I begin to feel the panic drain away, and by the time I call in PTO hours, I feel nearly 100% better.  There's still some residual anxiety, mainly in the form of upper back muscle spasms that wrap around my chest as well, but at least I'm no longer in tears and near to an anxiety attack.  
By 5:30 a.m., my back goes into sharp spasms.  I hastily eat a few saltines and take a muscle relaxer.  I sleep till about 10:00 a.m.  By noon, I'm hurting again, another pill, and rest on the couch.  In between, I've managed to get some laundry washed and folded and, when resting, some crochet.  
By this time, I feel foolish for my anxiety, but at the time, I was feeling sick and panicky.  Mondays are hard for me, some worse than others.  Sometimes, it's difficult for me to even leave to go to a friends house, or the grocery store.  
I don't want to takes meds.  Been there, hated it.  I cared about NOTHING.  they made me feel dead inside, spacey, disconnected.   
Nothing for it but to soldier on.  
Apparently, this hermit-like behavior runs in the family.  I'll be like my mother and her twin, refusing to leave my house when I'm older.  Sigh.