Eating for Two and Lazy Grammy Bobka Hack

 

bobkaSpeaking of weight and what woman isn’t doing just that most of her life, is it permissible for me to add a few sympathy pounds to this mix? When my daughter is pregnant shouldn’t I be able to eat more as well? After all, they cut fathers some slack here with the whole “eating for two sympathy for their wives,” why not the grandma? Can I begin eating for two also, discounting the whole “I finally lost my menopause weight thing” and reverting instead to this great new excuse to feed my face ad nausea?

When I was pregnant I didn’t miss a meal, snack or any chance to shove food into my never-nauseous face. My body didn’t even have the decency to have morning sickness. It’s almost like it defied me with a big “Ha, ha did you think you would just throw up for nine months and get off the hook? No way. You eat; you pay.” And pay I did. I prayed for morning sickness, at least for three months. After all, I had friends who were throwing up every meal. Looking thin and fabulous with a baby bump while I burgeoned up like a walrus in my third month. I was certain I was delivering a litter despite my doctor’s assurance that, “no, there was only one baby in there.”

Once the pregnancy muumuus went on, the keys to the fridge came off, and there wasn’t enough food on planet earth to fill the void that had become my mouth. Black holes in space absorb less matter.

I rationalized every excuse to eat. Why not? I finally had one. After years of playing the Yo Yo weight game, it was okay to stuff my face. When I noticed people’s jaws dropping at the sight of my immense new girth, I would reply, I’m pregnant and they would feel guilty and say, “Congratulations. How nice.”

After Laurie was born I continued to embrace the baby pounds excuse, since it had worked so beautifully in the past. I would run into people and they would say, “Wow did you gain weight,” because everyone is so nice they will always point that out in case you didn’t notice you were up five sizes. But I would patiently repeat, “Well I just had a baby” and they would embarrassingly say, “Oh, that’s nice.”

That worked great until my baby started driving. So I finally lost my “Baby” weight. And 35 years later, I only have 22 pounds to go. Although new grandmother weight may be adding to my problem.

If one is feeling well during pregnancy many, including myself enter what I call, rationalize highway. There are so many great excuses on this road to feed your face shamelessly and constantly.

 

I’m eating for two, three or four as the case may be. (An oldie but a goodie).

My doctor said I have to gain at least twenty pounds. Could you get me his address and phone number please I’d like to make him my diet guru.

The baby needs all kinds of foods to develop healthy. In other words that grazing smorgasbord you call dining, can be even greater now.

Elastic stomachs and waistbands. Although, now many pregnant moms wear regular clothes in a larger size, totally doable with the new stretchy fabrics.

I have cravings and I really need to have two hot fudge sundaes a day. Can I help it if the baby loves ice cream and chocolate together? Shall I deny my unborn child what it needs to be happy?

I can’t see my feet, so what does it matter?

Are you going to finish that sandwich and fries?

Is it my fault if this restaurant is serving smaller portions lately?

I swear this licorice used to have more pieces in the bag. I’m calling the company.

And of course the ever popular…my boobs are itching and Cheetos stops the hormones from attacking.

Contrary to the opinion after one experiences menopause the bloating and monthly impressions of Satan’s mistress subside, one is faced with a new set of challenges. Weight gain is not relegated to a monthly occasion, but daily.

I have had to prohibit myself from entering a bakery as more than three sniffs of a cupcake will bring on bloating.

Pounds go on so quickly if you blink you feel your pants tighten. Even the most determined elastic waist couldn’t win the battle of the bulge.

There is simply no way to describe the feeling of sloshing as you walk. Men do not understand the unpleasantness of becoming a mobile fishbowl one week out of every month. And after menopause even more. What can you do when the only thing that will fit over your body is the Santa Monica Pier?

Life stops. You can’t date or go to a party with your friends. Lest anyone see your bloated carcass attempting to fit into jeans that once circled your hips like the moons of Jupiter circle the planet, softly, sensually. You‘re squeezed inside like a size ten sausage in a size five casing. You are depressed and sullen, and can’t smile because your cheeks look like a squirrel hiding the winter’s stash of nuts. Your jewelry’s embedded into your skin like the Enquirer in Cher’s plastic surgeon’s files. You even walk slower for fear of dripping on the carpet.

In all my days I have never heard a man say, “I can’t go to the football game, I’m bloated. “Yet women’s lives revolve around water and weight gain. We are possessed by the need to feel our clothes loosely encircling our bodies. We crave cheeks that are gaunt and sunken in like Kate Moss after a fast. We need bones, not puff. Who else but a woman would be complimented and elated by the remark, “You‘re so skinny, are you sick?”

We starve ourselves before every party or vacation to lose a few pounds in advance of the inevitable bloating. Every invitation is laced with fear whatever we buy will not fit on us on that particular day. We strive to look skinny in the pictures from every event just so after we’ve gained the weight back months later we can feel even worse about ourselves every time we see the photos.

Is this any way to live? Crazy? Worried about the wetness of our cells? Sloshing through life like a pair of wet socks dreading more rain. I absorb humidity from the air like thighs absorb cellulite.

Okay. So by now you are thinking, what’s your point, Grammy? You do an awful lot of bitching. Can’t you just adjust to the fact you will never be skinny again and your grandchildren don’t care?

Okay, that’s true, but here’s my point. I don’t want to piss off any feminists here, but God is a man. Reality check please; if God were a woman would celery contain only five calories and Dove Bars 10,000? Would we crave chocolate and not carrots? Would there be Monday Night Football. I THINK NOT!!!!

I do feel the need to be constructive and positive here. Okay, so maybe a bit of my daughter’s organic insanity has sunk in so here’s a few tips passed on to me.

What will help bloat? And no a pin will not as I’ve tried. Exercise does help, but not at first. If you begin an exercise program be prepared to retain some water in your muscles at first. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just further proof of the old adage no good deed goes unpunished. But after your body gets used to exercising, it releases the water. I guess it’s a damage deposit.

Drinking lots of water also helps. People always told me to do just that, but my first instincts on bloat days were to cut my water intake to nothing. However, if you drink your body is fooled into a false sense of security. It thinks it has plenty of water in storage and releases some of its stash. Ha ha fooled ya.

This usually works unless you overdose on salt. Salt is the enemy here. We crave salt, I know, but it’s bad to eat an excess because it contributes to bloating in a big way. Little salt crystals run madly through your body grabbing water drops and looking for places to hide. Hey,

you can’t find me, I’m hiding in your boobs. See how big and tender they are and you can’t have my water. Ooh, I hate salt! It’s so evil. But that doesn’t stop me from pouring it on everything that doesn’t move.

Asparagus is a good diuretic. Most vegetables are good at helping the body release water naturally. And lest we forget, coffee, unless you drink more than you should, coffee will act as a good water release. Some people swear by parsley tea. Try the health food store.

I have also found that carbohydrates have a tendency to cause water retention. I don’t get rid of much of anything when I eat pasta, except my craving for pasta. That’s gone, but unfortunately not for long. I just can’t eat many carbs, as they are too much at home in my body. They sort of drop by and stay, like unwanted relatives. I have the midriff bulge to prove this theory. I absolutely refuse to discuss pizza as the mere mention of it brings on serious cravings.

Of course you can do all of the things you can think of to lose weight and decrease bloating, but I highly recommend the following: drop by and see your grandchildren, wear elastic pants and bake something for them. As long as you’re healthy it really doesn’t matter at all

Lazy Grammy Bobka Hack

This is great to make with your grandchildren!

Yields two Bobkas

2 loaves of frozen Challah

Two fillings you can use either

First filling instant hazelnut spread or chocolate spread.

Second option homemade chocolate filling

Filling ingredients

1 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips. I use semi sweet, but if you like it sweeter use milk chocolate.

½ cup of unsweetened cocoa

¼ or 1/2 cup of sugar depending on your sweetness taste level

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine

Place in microwave until melted (about 1 minute or so) and remove and stir together. Let cool so not too warm when spreading on dough.

1 egg and water for wash

Grease bread loaf pan or cookie sheet

Thaw the dough and when thawed and pliable roll our on a floured surface into a rectangle. It should be about twice the length of your loaf pan.

Gently spread on your filling in a thin layer and roll the dough from bottom to top like a cinnamon bun.

After rolled up cut in half and braid the two pieces together.

Spread the top with an egg wash of an egg and a little water and sprinkle with sugar.

OPTIONAL: I made a streusel topping of sugar, butter and flour and then sprinkled it on.

Tip: For those who like sweeter dough just sprinkle sugar over dough before rolling.

Let dough rise for another fifteen minutes before baking in a 340 degree oven or whatever your bread dough calls for.

ENJOY and prepare to be amazed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Chakras are Loose From all the Shaking in LA

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My Chakras are loose from all the earth movement in Los Angeles.

Recently I was told by an expert in such things that my chakras are loose and need realigning. I was not even surprised. After all, where I lived before, in Michigan, the only shaking we felt was the cars rolling off the assembly line. Here in California it’s a whole different world.

This is very disheartening since I just had my chakras adjusted. Like driving over a curb after realigning your tires.

I am very sensitive to earthquakes after the Northridge quake of 1994 when I wound up with one cheek on each side of the fault line. No wonder my chakras came loose.

How in the world can a person’s chakras remain stable and rooted to the earth when the ground beneath you is always shaking?

I awoke this morning to a rolling movement on my bed. At this age my balance is not what it was, so sure, I thought wow, I’m falling out of bed. But nope, it was the earth rocking and rolling beneath me.

I immediately grabbed my cell phone to get the update and there it was, yep earthquake.

Grabbing the remote I watched pictures of stores trashed, pendants in people’s homes moving around and fires burning. Happy Fourth of July!

This is so typical of California.

Everyone else is content to just have fireworks on July 4, but oh no, not California. They have to really push the whole theatrical thing. I can just envision wanna-be directors screaming, “Cue the earthquake,”

Fires ready to go?”

Living in a state where crazy is the norm, when something really insane happens it just magnifies the crazy even more.

A friend’s husband said he saw homeless people flying into people’s homes and the homeowners flying out.

Nothing would surprise me in this state.

So that brings us back to chakras and the need for a realigning.

I lived my entire life with my chakras happy where they were and now I find myself with chakras that are loose, out of whack and in desperate need of regrounding. And since they come in colors there was a problem with the whole hue thing as well. And have you seen the prices in California for chakra realignments. Highest in the nation! Bummer.

I am completely expecting that next time I have to take my car in for a smog check the DMV will include a notice that I can’t drive again until I have evidence of my chakra realignment.

Sure, anything to make a buck off the taxpayers in this state.

So by now you might be asking, as I did by the way, what the heck is a chakra and how do you line and color them? According to whoever is the authority of everything on Google, the seven chakras are the centers in our bodies that energy flows through. Blocked energy in our seven chakras can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. They come in colors like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white. It’s sort of a rainbow happening inside where each color is a type of vibration or frequency. Colors may vary but the rainbow thing is set in stone.

 

Now here’s the thing, I haven’t a clue. I think from what I’ve been told they exist in your body and ground you to the earth.

Sort of like an invisible deadbolt that prevents you from flying off into space or something.

But I guess they are pretty serious stuff because if they are off, so are you. Like when Mercury is in retrograde and you may as well hide until it unretrogrades.

The world starts to feel yucky and out of sorts and you are all over the place and most importantly your peace of mind goes to pieces.

And that explains a great deal. No wonder this state is so nuts with chakras flying around and coming undone all the time. I totally expect even more so in Sacramento than anywhere else. Aha, crazy California politics makes more sense to me now. Their brains are scrambled from all the movement and coming unfastened. I don’t think there are enough clamps in the universe to fasten the brains of a Sacramento politician.

Sure my chakras are shot, but what the heck since I’m the only one affected by the problem, but the other crazies, well that’s a chakra of a different color.

So before you travel to the Golden State, perhaps a good chakra check would be in order. You don’t want to be floating free in LA. Someone may be filming.

I checked Yelp and there is no category for chakra alignments so it’s hard to know what the ratings would be or where to go for the best deals or service.

When I was young before I was aware that my life was dependent on a rainbow of colors inside, we called people who were a little off, well, a little off actually.

If we’d known they could get a simple realignment it would have explained a great deal about crazy Aunt Esther or unhinged Uncle Max.

But whatever the reason for loose chakras it seems fixing them is far more important than we thought.

So I wish you all an organized rainbow and now I have to go duct tape my chakras to the floor because I’m feeling a bit of rolling here.

 

Apple Cheddar Chicken Soup

 

1 chicken breast

2 apples gala or Fuji or your preference

1 cup carrot chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar

2 cups chicken bouillon

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1 chopped carrot for garnish

1 cup bacon for garnish

Salt and pepper

Core and peel apples and sauté in butter with the carrots until soft. Season with salt and pepper and cook chicken until soft, shred and set aside.

Add bouillon to apples and carrots and simmer for ten minutes on low. Add cream and then cheddar and melt in and then taste for salt and pepper. Add shredded chicken and heat all together, on low for three minutes. Do not boil.

Serve with some carrots and bacon on top for garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover

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           “Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover.”

Anyone of a certain age understands life’s close relationship with enormous irony.

One that I recently discovered was the Grandma Décor Dilemma.

Every mother knows when babies become mobile, a serious redecorating effort occurs.

Glass is replaced with wood or Formica and all tabletop items are wrapped for storage or placed on higher shelves. A great cover up is afoot to save at least a scintilla of worldly goods.

But now we have microfiber.

Ah microfiber! No, not micro greens, the new word for lettuce scraps on your plate. A new miracle fiber that battles chocolate, peanut butter and sandbox residue lurking on adorable, busy little hands.

A new practically indestructible fabric that vaguely resembles suede, resists stains and was definitely designed with Grandmas in mind.

I am smiling just remembering the past when valuables were secured and safely ensconced in high-placed locked boxes more inaccessible than a Kardashian’s IQ.

The more mobile the baby, the greater the makeover. Toddlers reaching for tabletop items can be swift and sure and move like lightening. As is often the case you hear the crash before you see the move. The living room becomes an urban jungle fraught with danger at every turn.

Sure that crystal dish looked innocent enough when Aunt Rosie gave it to you for your wedding shower, but now it is suddenly a sparkly missile crashing toward earth as two innocent little eyes delight in the power they possess to make that “funny” crashing sound.

Minimalist décor became the code word for “oops there are babies in the house, better clear those spaces and prepare for the charge.”

I recall the tumult of more toys than Santa’s workshop covering every inch of floor space, while I daydreamed of house beautiful.

Perusing home magazines with a sad sigh, wishing for a time when I could actually consider a white sofa and glass tables once more.

A place when I could display my crystal and fine pieces openly and free them from their storage prisons.

Lalique, Daum, Waterford would dance across my dreams carrying rainbows of champagne and canapés onto regally appointed tablescapes.

As the years flew by, and as we know they do fly, my children grew to adulthood.

My first post little-ones-on-board home was filled with white sofas, glass tables and matching towels in the guest bathroom. Ah, all those forbidden fruits of décor. What fun!

The years passed in a haze of entertaining with “good” china still bearing the flakes of sawdust from its original shipping container, crystal glasses and silver flatware. I felt like the Queen of England.

Ah, but then the tide turned once more. Suddenly a new arrival signaled the end of all that opulence, splendor and elegance.

“He” had arrived, my first precious grandson. Suddenly it was all about Sesame Street plastic dishes and tippee cups, organic cloths and toys, and green smoothies with unknown ingredients for a healthier lifestyle.

The packing boxes appeared once more. Bubble wrap and bubble bursting filled quiet moments between emptying tables and glass shelves filled with delicate chachkees.

Once again my life was rife with toy-filled corners, empty tabletops and baby stepstools.

My friends and I now discussed how to make room for storage cabinets and redo a bedroom with a toddler theme. New colors and design that were the rage in babyville replaced the latest fashion, new boutique opening, vacation spot or Pilates injury.

Our Iphones overflowed with the latest photos of smiling faces in Halloween pumpkin costumes, petting zoos and hugging grandma pics.

Our car backseats sported baby car seats and books and toys were shoved into seat pockets.

Some friends hired designers to do a special theme. Airplanes, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies were hot. We discussed singing groups like Yo Gabba Gabba recalling how our parents had laughed at our obsession with the Beatles.

Rainbows, unicorns and computers were also on board as décor stalwarts.

A new vibe was apparent at our regular lunches.

Toys, pictures and brilliant baby quotes took center stage and things had definitely changed. It was toddler town now and we were all proud residents reveling in our new roles.

We wore the name grandma as proudly as a woman wears couture and shamelessly bragged while repeating baby stories ad nauseum.

Our computer screen savers were full-size pictures of partially toothed grins that changed with each new development.

It had finally happened—we were grandmas—and our homes had gone from high style to safety zones.

I found a few fun tips for decorating a grandchild’s room I‘d like to share.

 

Since storage is not as crucial, there is more room to be creative with space.

Painted dressers in themes can be made from unfinished furniture cabinets or an old chest found in a resale store. Two or three smaller cabinets can be put together and painted on the front.

Pop-up books opened and attached in a line make great cornices over a blind. Or they also can be used in shadow boxes to hang as pictures.

Garage sales glean an endless assortment of toys to fill a toy box or use as décor.

Fabric stores often offer the latest cartoon or television characters in fabric that can be used to sew on bath towels or sheets for a personalized flair.

Wrapping paper can be a great source for the latest pop art characters.

Cutting cartoon figures out of the paper and hanging them on the wall as a mural or border is an inexpensive and fun way to add your grandchild’s favorites to the décor.

In the end it’s all about making our little darlings feel safe and comfortable at Grandma’s house. And isn’t that what every Grammy wants?

So until the day I can once again pull out the good china and glass nick knacks from their bubble wrapped boxes, I shall be quite content to fill my world with the joys of childhood once more.

 

 

 

 

Asian Chicken Soup

 

4 cups of chicken broth

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped chicken or chicken drumettes

1 cup uncooked shrimp shelled

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1 cup cut up fresh bok choy

½ cup bean sprouts

½ cup mushrooms (optional)

 

Add chicken to broth and cook until tender

Add rest of ingredients except shrimp and cook until veggies are slightly softened

When everything is cooked through add shrimp and cook a few minutes longer until shrimp turns pink and is done.

Serve over crunchy noodles or crunchy fried brown rice and enjoy!

To get crunchy fried rice, place rice in a hot frying pan with oil. Flatten rice so it is in a single layer and fry on one side until crispy then turn and fry other side.

 

 

 

Marking Grammy’s Territory

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I get the whole changing world thing and all, but could someone slow it down enough to tell me where Grandma fits in these days?

When I was young, back in the dark ages it seems, there was a specific role that Grandparents filled and it was exclusive to them.

Grandma cooked your favorite foods, even if she was a lousy cook like my Grandmother. Who cared? To this day I can’t see a bowl of lumpy cream of wheat or greasy hamburger without getting all misty for my grandma.

Grandma told stories, she bought you things your parents would not and most simply grandparents got to look at you like you were a banana split and created the unfortunate misconception that someone someday would look at you that same loving way again. I am still waiting.

You watched the Wednesday night fights with your Grandpa even if you had no idea what they were about and they were bloody and gross. You knew Milton Berle was funny when he dressed up as a woman and tripped all over himself in high heels because you heard your grandparents in hysterics. You knew that they would take you anywhere you wanted to see anything you wanted, because they loved you in a very special otherworldly way.

They attended all recitals and clapped the loudest.

My favorite story about my Grandfather was when I was taking dancing lessons as a child.

Our recital number that year was witch doctors.

My grandfather couldn’t wait to come and see me dance… and talked about it for weeks. I had to show him my steps and he watched while I practiced.

Caveat was that as witch doctors they dressed us in black and painted our faces with glow in the dark paint and feathers on our heads.

When our number began they turned out the lights and all you could see were lights and feathers moving about on stage.

My poor grandfather kept asking my mother, which one is Norma, which one is she? Can you see her?

Poor Grandpa, I so hated to disappoint him.

My grandfather also took my brother Marty and I fishing in the everglades, my grandmother let us keep the catfish we caught in the bathtub until after a day that wore thin. Every day we spent with them was filled with fun and adventures.

Fast forward to today’s grandparent.

Ah, the Baby Boomer generation.

We are busy, active and creating new lives in our golden years.

We have to because our grandchildren don’t need us in the same way anymore.

The unkindest cut of all?

The other day my daughter informed me the Nanny had noticed they all had colds and made chicken soup for the house!

Et Tu Jewish penicillin?

Of course there are some parents who still rely on grandparental help, but it’s all so different now it seems.

Well, why wouldn’t it be when my five-year-old grandson is teaching me how to move forward on the levels of Angry Birds.

Kids today are better-fed, no greasy chicken schmaltz for them, they have Nannies, they eat gluten free and vegan and did you know dairy is evil? I didn’t until my daughter told me. After all those Howard Johnson’s ice cream cones I ate as a kid it’s a wonder I’m still here.

Meat is very minimal and organic, cold pressed juices are a staple and no don’t ask me the difference between cold pressed and hot, and organic and free range is the goal of all food products.

For someone who was still eating gribenes (chicken fat and skins with onions cooked until crunchy) up to five years ago, what do I know?

So what can we contribute to our grandchildren’s lives?

Shopping?

My daughter buys organic clothing.

Toys? Do not spoil is the watchword today.

Television? Sorry, highly limited.

And to their credit field trips to the zoo, apple picking, concerts and theater are reserved for parents.

So for Grandma and Grandpa what is left?

Well, I read stories, play games, draw pictures and watch Paw Patrol and the list of approved programming. I have played Bugopoly (the kids version of Monopoly) until my own eyes bugged out.

Grandma must delve deep into her inner child to create fun and exciting adventures.

We take walks, check out trees and flowers and I actually help my grandson collect bugs.

UGH!

The only buggy experience I shared with my children was when they called me in their rooms to get rid of one.

I have learned you will do things for and with your grandchildren never dreamed of in your imagination, Horatio.

No matter how things change there will always be one thing that doesn’t.

The banana split look on every grandparent’s face when they look at their grandchildren will survive the generations. The love between the two, no matter what activities come before, will never diminish.

And this is what we must put our faith in. That while playing golf, starting new businesses and traveling the world, there is still our anchor on the other side of the Face time on your phone even when you are five thousand miles away visiting far away regions and river cruising.

I wouldn’t trade one “hi grandma” for a million tours of the Taj Mahal or visits to the Tuscan countryside.

All points point to those little faces that light up when they see you, and that no matter the times, places or circumstances, will never change!

Greek Noodle Pudding

2 cups of egg noodles

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup feta cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded

6 large eggs

1 cup of onion sautéed

¼ cup of chopped pitted Greek olives if desired. This is optional for those who like olives.

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning

Salt to taste

 

Boil noodles, drain and set aside

Sauté onion until translucent

Beat eggs and add seasoning

Add cheeses, melted butter, olives and onions to eggs

Fold in noodles and pour mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish

Place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake for one hour or until set.

Serve with lamb for a real flavor of Greece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frumpy to Fabulous— Just Get Your Brim On

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Okay so you are having a bad hair day. But your make up is stellar. Your chins aren’t sagging as much as usual and that new cream is definitely helping your forehead lines. Your bloat is minimal and your confidence level is actually climbing above the tenth floor with a bullet.

And then suddenly, there it is; that horrible frizzy, root-tint needing, yucky haircut aggravation covering the top of your head.

Oy! If you look below your hairline you are fabulous, but lift those eyes and they want to roll back in your head.

The ultimate frumpy do. It screams bad hair day with a marching band in tow. What to do?

Okay, so I spent many years of my life pondering this quandary and settled for leaving the house with C- hair and an A made-up face.

Years ago I read a wonderful column by the late writer Erma Bombeck. She said every woman reaches a time in her life called the purple hat stage. It quite simply said that at some point it’s no longer worth the grief and to simply throw on a purple hat and greet the world with a smile.

I have now reached that time. I have far too little moments left in my lifetime bank account to spend it fighting with my hair.

However, I will not go gently or stylishly lacking into that purple hat stage of my life.

So I have begun to fill my closet with a cadre of fabulous hats.

Straws, wools, cloches, fedoras, but no berets or knit caps, not a flattering look on me.

I find most of them on sale and scout the better department stores to wait for sales until I pull out my credit card. After all it’s not like you need a hat immediately like a defibrillator.

Hats have changed my life.

I went from frumpy to fabulous, by plopping a fedora over my unmanageable locks.

No matter how horrible my do, I do not have to worry.

I simply don a hat and suddenly I am Greta Garbo, mysterious and intriguing and set apart from the crowd.

I am quite simply a woman of mystery. This is only because I live in America, in England not so much. They all wear them there.

The strange thing is that most women do look really good in a hat. I think it’s the way you wear it also that creates an aura.

A slight tip to one side adds some pizzazz. Lower on your forehead adds to the mystery. With a pair of sunglasses, the paparazzi will be chasing you down Beverly Hills streets.

I am not here to sell you hats of course. I just can’t believe what a difference they’ve made in my day.

You feel confident, unusual and glamorous and all without changing a thing about yourself.

I realize younger women with glorious, glowing locks have no need to cover even one hair, but at a certain age a woman’s hair thins and changes texture, and dare I say it, turns gray.

With my new hats roots are no longer a problem. Less time with goopy gobs of color on my head and more time to shop and meet friends, write, spend quality time with my grandsons and do charity work.

Hats not only enhance your looks, they add time to your life that is priceless.

Looking great is just a perk and one I’ll gladly embrace.

The real beauty of wearing a hat is that it allows you to be whomever you choose to be. Hats come in so many styles and colors you can change your mood with your head covering.

Shall I wear a wide brimmed model and be an international spy? Or perhaps a French cloche with a Coco Chanel vibe?

Or am I in the mood for a beachy, huge sunhat that protects me from any stray UV ray looking for a place to land?

I can wear a fur headband and look like I just left the slopes in Gstaad or a fun fascinator and look like I am headed for the Savoy for high tea.

Hats can take you from frumpy to fabulous in a matter of minutes. However, there is a caveat. You must commit to a hat for if you plan to take it off at any point in the day or evening, you’ll need a plan B. Hair will not be improved by the wearing.

But that’s even easy. Just pop it back on and you are fabulous again. So go hat shopping and find the particular style that enhances your features and creates the mood you are seeking.

Be all you can be and more and face the world with your brim on.

Easy Cabbage Casserole

1 head of cabbage

1 large bottle of tomato juice

1 can of tomato puree

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp sour salt

1 pound of ground beef

1 small onion

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp onion powder

3 cups of rice cooked

 

Wash and cut up cabbage and set aside.

Sauté onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft.

Add salt and pepper and one cup of cooked rice to raw beef and set aside.

Mix together tomato juice and puree. Add brown sugar and sour salt. Taste to ensure you have the sweet and sour taste you like. If taste needs adjusting add more sugar or sour salt until you are happy with flavor.

Spray deep casserole dish and place a layer of puree mix on bottom. Add a layer of cabbage and then ground beef layer and then top with puree. Continue until puree is covering top of casserole.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for an hour or until cabbage and beef are cooked.

Serve with rice and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedians Do God’s Work

applewaldorfcake-1-e1562626715739.jpg

 

A quick yuk…My old aunts would come and tease me at weddings, “Well Sarah? Do you think you’ll be next?”
This ended quickly once I started doing the same to them at funerals.

Doctors get a lot of hype and of course they eat it up. Jokes about doctors confusing themselves with God are mythic, but I have another top nominee in the category for doing God’s work, Comedians.

Seriously you say? Comics? Aren’t they screwed up, self-destructive psychos prone to drugs and childish behavior?

Okay, true, there is that, but let me make my case here.

First not all comics are like that.

Sure some are, but even the ones who are may be the ones that spread the most laughter and do the most good.

Case in point, Sam Kinison.

Drugs, craziness and rock n roll, no one is arguing that point. But anyone who knew Sam saw a pussycat of a person. His loud screaming persona was an act to cover the pain.

So that’s my point. Many who are suffering and in pain turn to negative behavior to act out. Comics spread laughter and cheer. Hashtag: spreading joy.

Any comic that ever stood on a stage understands the feeling of holding an audience in the palm of their hand and the satisfaction that comes with a joke that works and a set that kills. Does it ease the pain or change the past or fill the hole inside? Perhaps or not, but for a moment the universe is engulfed in robust earsplitting laughter.

Each guffaw carries through the air and reaches corners and caverns once dark and dank. Hearts and minds are opened and the world lights up with a bright, happy vibe.

One of my fondest memories of doing stand-up comedy was a night at Catch a Rising Star at the MGM Grand. After the show a women came up to me and hugged me. She said, “Thank you so much. I had the most horrible day today and you made me laugh so hard. I really appreciated the laughs.” What can you say after that?

Most comics I know are the happiest after a great set. They thrive on the laughter and love hearing an audience rocking and rolling while listening to their words. One of the best feelings ever.

I believe one of the greatest gifts a person can possess is a sense of humor. It should be obvious to most that despots and evildoers have no sense of humor, to them funny is murdering, hating and spreading fear. Jolly is not in their vocabulary.

Why does everyone love Santa Claus? Okay, aside from the goodies he delivers, it is so much more. Santa is a red-cheeked jolly old guy who laughs and his belly shakes.

This is the picture he evokes in people’s minds and it is why he brings smiles.

Laughter equals happy. People who are laughing together can’t be arguing, fighting and beating one another up. They can’t be planning evil deeds while they are doubled over with deep belly laughs.

It’s actually quite simple; we need more laughs, more fun and more positive vibes spreading across the planet.

Comedians do their part to create this cosmic flow of laughter and for that they should be cheered, praised and appreciated.

As Mark Twain once said, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” When we have the greatest ammunition against pain and hurt available for free, we should be laughing all day long.

In an effort to spread more smiles here is my recipe for yummy Waldorf cake or quick bread.

 Waldorf Salad Quick Bread

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Cup Walnuts

2 Cups Cooking Apples

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 Cup White Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 Cup half and half

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and salt and set aside. Cream together sugars and butter and add eggs. Continue mixing until incorporated. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with half and half finishing with flour. Do not over mix. Add apples and walnuts and mix gently. Pour into loaf pan or small Bundt pan well greased and bake at 350 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cover with topping before serving.

Topping

1 Cup mayo

1 Cup sour cream

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 Cup chopped celery

1 Cup chopped grapes

 

 

 

 

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts, Now Robots…

mexicorn chowder

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts! Now Robots…

 

Last night I had a nightmare. No not about monsters or a werewolf that looked remarkably like Michael Landon. It wasn’t even about my last blind date, strange as that may seem.

It was about Google.

And what’s so scary about Google you ask.

It’s watching us. It’s Big Brother come to life. It’s George Orwell’s worst nightmare and now it’s ours.

In my dream I was hiding inside my house while a little Google robot that was mainly eyes was floating outside my windows peering inside. I was crawling on the floor to escape detection but it hovered outside my windows and every time I looked up it was there. I would scream and duck and it continued to float like a headless object outside watching me like a secret service agent watches the crowds.

Grow up you say. It was only a silly dream. But was it really?

In case you’re wondering what brought on this sudden burst of irrational Googlenoia, it started with Siri.

Oh sure innocent enough except that my Siri, which is only supposed to talk when spoken to…I have an older Iphone…has begun taking it upon herself to start a conversation for no apparent reason or prompting on my part. Yet when I ask her a question directly she acts as though I’m speaking a language she’s never even heard of?

“Siri how do I get to 335 Maple Drive?”

“Here are the directions for 772 Elm Street.”

I first noticed her new chatty habit when I was baking one day and pulled a cake out of the oven. “Perfect,” I said to no one in particular.

From the living room I heard a voice say, “thank you for saying that, but I’m not perfect.”

Not only does she speak to me she contradicts me! Is she so neurotic she can’t take a compliment?

“No, I’m not perfect!!”

What’s next, a tirade against her motherboard for her dysfunctional childhood?

Siri’s problems aside I thought it a fluke of nature and found it rather funny. So much so I related the incident to my daughter at her home a few weeks later.

Siri was charging on the kitchen counter and I was telling my daughter about the incident while she looked at me like a child who is thinking she should start looking for a good nursing home for her mother when suddenly Siri decided to join the conversation.

My daughter looked over and said. Oh my gosh, that is so annoying.

Well yes, but at least Siri’s response will keep me on the streets and out of a nursing home a little longer.

“See,” I said. “It’s true she talks to me all the time now.”

My daughter just shook her head in that only-to-my-mother-does-this-happen way she has and I just went back to playing with my grandsons.

Who Siri went on to talk to next I have no idea, nor do I care.

Now it has become a regular thing. When the TV is on Siri will comment on something spoken.

I just agree and move on.

Shortly thereafter my daughter bought one of those Google robots for the home and that lasted less than a week before it went bye bye.

Annoying? Yes, but then why scary?

Because they are listening all the time!

The FBI recommends you put tape over your computer camera screen opening because someone could be watching you.

Well that’s their bad luck because when I’m on the computer I’m usually in my robe and glasses and looking like the wrath of God.

If they are expecting to see Cindy Crawford good luck Mr. Snoopy, not here, not today.

Today’s generation is acclimated to a lack of privacy. They grow up with Iphones, computers and robots in their homes.

I wasn’t. My robot model was Hal in 2001 and that’s not a good thing.

And although the Jetsons painted a rosy future of a robot named Rosy to clean up after us, the world never delivered.

Oh sure Isaac Asimov would have us believe that the three laws of robots precluded them from harming man, but hello! STUFF HAPPENS.

The feeling someone is listening to what I say, hovering above me—welcome to the world of drones on top of everything else literally—and watching what I do, to me is offensive and frightening.

Now I have to worry that drones will be falling from the sky unto my head. Where’s Chicken Little when you need him?

Of course it’s not that I’m plotting to rob the Tower of London or sneak into the subway, it’s that it makes me feel violated and uncomfortable. It’s just plain creepy.

I can’t change overnight just because the new world is so accepting of Big Brother’s presence.

From what I can remember he wasn’t a good thing, right?

So, why is it now so okay to spy on people and collect all my information, personal and otherwise and make it public?

It isn’t, and that’s the point.

Perhaps we are too accepting now. We should rail against this new world where our lives are open for business 24/7 and there is no respect for our private space.

I fear it’s too late now. My computer just winked at me and Siri stuck out her tongue. I suppose I’ll have to accept that next an army of robots will descend upon us, capture us all and make us their slaves.

I think they already have and no one knows yet.

Well I don’t care, I’m not putting on lipstick to sit on my computer so take your chances.

Okay so I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but robots well that’s a whole other thing.

 

Mexi-Corn Chowder

 

2 cups of chicken bullion

2 cups cream

2 ears of corn roasted

½ cup red peppers

½ cup yellow peppers

½ cup red peppers

¼ cup green chilies

1 small onion chopped

¼ cup chopped jalapeno peppers without the seeds

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes if you desire more heat.

 

 

Rub about two large ears of corn with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Remove kernels from the cob and set aside.

Sauté onion in butter and when translucent add chopped peppers, chilies, corn and seasonings. When softened add soup and sauté for another ten minutes. Using a hand blender blend together about half the soup. This will thicken it and when done add cream. Stir and simmer for another five minutes on low heat.

Serve with shredded cheese or popcorn on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Bug Grammy!

pasta salad slaw

Don’t Bug Grammy

I hate bugs. Seeing a bug crawling thorough my house makes my skin crawl. First response is immediately to step on it, swat or drown it. If that sounds horrible to those who believe it’s wrong to kill a bug or a spider perhaps they have never awoken from their sleep with a giant spider bite on their face.

I come by this revulsion honestly, after watching The Incredible Shrinking Man as a kid and watching him narrowly escape that giant spider, yuck, I still shiver at the scene.

I totally accept the fact when I am outdoors, bugs rule. It is after all their domain and they are entitled to live and be free, as long as they stay far away from me.

However, in my house, it is a different story. They are unwelcome visitors and as such, well guess I’m calling the shots, huh?

My children never paid much attention to the bug world. My daughter’s reaction was to call out for help when she spotted one in the house.            My son never cared one way or another if they hung around.

And now comes justice.

I feel it may be some karmic reaction to my heavy foot on the anti-spider colonies that has created this newfound world I suddenly find myself within.

My grandson has an inordinate love of bugs.

Yes, that’s correct.

Grandma now plays games about bugs; Bugopoly and Don’t Bug Me are the favs.

Games are fine, it is when he calls me over to see his pet beetle ensconced in its own cage, I balk a bit.

Oh, sure I know I cannot demonstrate my ichiness at seeing these creepy crawlies, so I feign approval and admiration for his “pets.” I have even found myself on my hands and knees helping him catch them outdoors to take home and nourish.

How can this be? I wonder as I am on my hands and knees on the sidewalk using a leaf to catch a bug for his jar.

Who is this person, this grandmother who despite, arthritis, and a disdain for bugginess is now partner to the catching and admiration of bugs?

Oh, of course I have heard that a grandparent will go to any lengths to make their grandchildren happy, that their love is limitless and no task too formidable for them to undertake, but bugs, really? Seriously?

“Oh look Grammy, it’s a black widow spider.”

Instead of grabbing a shoe, I nod my head and compliment him on his ability to discern one from another. No worry then my daughter steps in and steps on the nasty little bugger.

Meanwhile I’m thinking, this damn thing is a killer spider and what if it bites someone?

I once tried to swat a fly buzzing around the kitchen table and he started to cry. So now I merely track its whereabouts and well, if it dare get too close while my grandson is out of the room…

Before you judge me too harshly, I must in my defense say I have come a long way. I admire his lizard pet and even coochy coochy it as it scurries around its cage.

I try not to gag when it is being fed its dinner of live bugs and remark on how cute it is.

Yet, when I am home alone and I see the shadow of a creepy fuzzy spider crawling up my bedroom wall, coochy coo be damned.

I have awakened too many mornings with spider bites from a sneaky monster that attacked me defenseless in the night.

Coochy coo, I think not.

Still, if it makes my grandson happy when I fawn over the little creepy crawlies, than fawn it shall be.

As long as they remain like the Czar in Fiddler on the Roof, I say may bugs live and be well, far away from me.

       Shrimp Crab Meat Pasta Slaw

1 package Shredded cabbage (may use the pre-shredded packages in grocery store)

2 cups Rotini pasta cooked (colored or plain, but I use the colored)

2 cups cooked cut in half Shrimp

2 cups either real or fake crab meat

Salt and pepper

Add all together and toss with mayo dressing

 

Frieda’s Mayonnaise dressing

1 cup of mayo

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 heaping tablespoon of sugar (artificial sweeteners may be used here instead, but will have to be sweetened to your particular tastes)

Mix together all and toss into slaw mixture. If you like it with more dressing just double the recipe.

Add soup or fruit or both and it’s a great meal.

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Justice, Ho Ho Ho And a Hallmark Movie

lazy latkes

The theory goes justice is blind. I myself have always suspected she merely looked the other way if she found someone attractive. However my opinions aside, justice seems to have left the building in this new reality we are all living.
Yes, blind she was, but now she seems to be conspicuously absent from life on a regular basis.
So what’s a girl to do who is hanging onto the last shred of idealism like a cheating dieter holds on to the last Krispy Krème donut?
I am grasping at straws to believe that there is some justice left on the planet and fighting desperately to fend off cynicism like a tiger protecting its cub.
Enter Christmas movies. Hallmark especially. My heart takes flight as I watch knowing and waiting for the evil landlord that is evicting the whole town at Christmas to get his just desserts in the end. I revel in the knowledge he or she’s gonna get theirs, the town will be saved and the two lovers that broke up fifteen minutes before the end of the movie will reconcile, TV kiss and make up.
And although these movies always stretch credulity to the limits of what any intelligent person could endure, knowing justice will prevail no matter how far over the top they take the plot points, keeps me happy.
Although lately there doesn’t seem to be any retribution doled out to the perpetrators in these movies of evil deeds so I’m only half content in the end. The thought these scrooges never received visits from the three spirits is hard to resolve. But I am pragmatic and at this point I’ll take what I can get.
Besides I am certain that the spirit of Christmas will endure.
Kind of sad you’re thinking that one must wait for Christmas to believe there is still justice left on earth, but I say what better time.
After all isn’t Christmas the time when there is peace on earth and goodwill toward men?
When for one day the lion lies down with the lamb and all is well?
According to Snopes and of course we all know if Snopes says it’s true we can believe them, the following event occurred in 1914.
“During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever.
All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the “no man’s land” between them, came songs from the British and French troops. Incredibly, many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak good enough English to propose a “Christmas” truce.
The British and French troops, all along the miles of trenches, accepted. In a few places, allied troops fired at the Germans as they climbed out of their trenches. But the Germans were persistent and Christmas would be celebrated even under the threat of impending death.
According to Stanley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book, Silent Night, “signboards arose up and down the trenches in a variety of shapes. They were usually in English, or – from the Germans – in fractured English. Rightly, the Germans assumed that the other side could not read traditional gothic lettering, and that few English understood spoken German. ‘YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT’ was the most frequently employed German message. Some British units improvised ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ banners and waited for a response. More placards on both sides popped up.”
A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict.
Then, they exchanged gifts, chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games.
It didn’t last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn’t like it at all and commanded their troops to resume shooting at each other. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But only after, in a number of cases, a few days of wasting rounds of ammunition shooting at stars in the sky instead of soldiers in the opposing army across the field.
For a few precious moments there was peace on earth good will toward men. All because the focus was on Christmas. Happens every time. There’s something about Christmas that changes people. It happened over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s been happening over and over again down through the years of time.”
I’m tearing up here. So I am a believer in the whole Christmas miracle theory and being Jewish does not dissuade me a bit.
I am well aware that watching or reading the news it becomes more and more difficult to believe in miracles or even good anymore.
It seems every year we must fight harder to find those small miracles we think of as great human-interest stories we sometimes hear at Christmas or on a news channel not afraid to report actual good news.
Thus I am a firm believer we must make our own miracles and take our joy where we can get it every day.
Christmas movies are one way I can stave off the negativity that surrounds our everyday lives.
For those who say be grateful, think positive, look at the glass half full or as Eric Idle sang as he hung from a cross in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “always look on the bright side of life.”
I take that very seriously, well sort of, and I do seek out special things to remind me that although the news is grim, I am responsible for my own happy mood.
So what can I do besides Hallmark movies?
I turn to the classics and prefer the real hard-core tearjerkers.
Who couldn’t feel great after an hour of sobbing your heart out after watching It’s a Wonderful Life or cheering at the television when Santa Claus wins his court case in Miracle on 34th Street? (Hey if Macy and Gimble can get along so can China and the US.
For big laughs I tune into Ralphie and his father’s stocking covered leg lamp in The Christmas Story and to round out the sob fest the original Christmas Carol. Then I fall on the floor in convulsive sobs before Tiny Tim even finishes his sentence, “God Bless us one and all.” Just a minute I need a Kleenex.
When some complain that Christmas has no place in our American society and Christmas decorations shouldn’t be allowed, I cringe. I am Jewish, but I cannot condone removing something that so brightens the world for shoppers and those enjoying the season.
So what is the season? Religion aside it’s a special energy that only happens once a year.
Malls and cities are filled with those who are focused on the happiness of others.
Toys are collected for children in need, soup kitchens prepare holiday dinners for those who don’t have the means to enjoy the luxury of a good meal, or perhaps any meal, children are filled with joy and excitement dreaming of what they are receiving from Santa and every religion is celebrating the season as well.
Usually Christmas and Chanukah fall around the same time each year so if you add the smell of latkes frying,  briskets cooking and dreydels spinning while chocolate coins are won and lost, it adds to the happy spirit of the season.
The holidays are a time of year when people forget their problems, focus on happy times with family and friends and celebrate. If decorations add to that by reminding the world of the festivities at hand, I say Right on Santa!
There is too much sadness nowadays, but there can never be too much happiness, justice or caring about others.
If watching a Christmas movie or seeing a twinkling Christmas tree in a mall or taking the kids to see Santa can bring more joy it is a good thing. And good things are well just that…good.
Could These Be Any Easier Lazy Latkes?
1 pkg of Simply Potatoes hash browns (Usually found in the section with the eggs or cheeses.)
3 eggs
1 small or half of a large onion chopped and sauté until limp but not browned in a tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1½ teaspoons salt you may add more if you like saltier flavor
1 teaspoon of pepper
Oil for frying I prefer canola because it adds no taste
Sauté onions
Lightly beat eggs and add salt and pepper to eggs
Add eggs and onions to potatoes
Use an immersion blender to mix until the desired consistency
I prefer them smooth but with a light sprinkling of potato pieces here and there.
Add to hot oil that is at least 350 degrees.
Fry until edges crisp up and then turn
They should be lightly golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towel
I serve them on a platter with sour cream on one side and applesauce on the other.
I also add chopped eggs and caviar if they are for company or bite size.

 

 

 

 

Dieting Becomes Her: And by Her I Mean Grandma

cickenpaprikash.jpg

         Dieting Becomes Her (And By Her I Mean Grandma)

 

Dieting comes as natural to most grandmothers as lying comes to a politician.

I find a small bit of comfort in attempting to discern which of the old wives tales contain a small scintilla of truth, not only for the obvious reasons, but to pass them on to future generations.

Many believe that if you eat standing up, the calories automatically drop to your feet and at worst your size sevens will become a half size larger. Okay, I concur there is a bit of sense in this, gravity and all that. But, try as I may, I can’t get it to work for me. Sure my feet get fatter, but so does everything else. There is definitely something wrong at the very core of this theory.

Eating while standing serves no purpose other than to get less exercise by foregoing pulling out a chair that must work off a few calories. It is also more labor intensive to walk an entire cake to the table than to rationalize standing and eating said cake over the sink. Eating upright leads to the evening off process, leading to the shoveling of more bites into the mouth process, which ultimately leads to the you’re a fat pig result.

I shall explain.

You grab a cake or pie out of the fridge. You must be somewhere in twenty minutes, so you say to yourself, “I have no time to eat. I’m in a hurry! I’ll just grab a piece of this and run. I’m so busy I’ll work these calories off in no time.” (Let me know if any of this sounds familiar).

There is something very strange about eating cake or pie with a fork sans knife. It is difficult to cut perfect pieces. The grooves of the tines seem to stay in the food like fingerprints on a victim’s neck. Screaming SHE ATE CAKE! SHE ATE CAKE! OINK!!!!

My overactive imagination? I think not. Otherwise, why would everyone go to such great lengths evening off the piece they ate. Making certain to cover the fork marks and make the edge smooth to the eye. This eliminates any evidence and usually very little cake or pie for the next person. By the time you cover your tracks, one of two things has happened. Either you’ve eaten an extra five hundred or a thousand calories during the evening off process or there’s so little cake left you’re forced to finish the evidence and tell everyone you had to throw it away because it got moldy or the cat walked across it.

Oh sure the story would stand up in court because who could prove otherwise? Except on the scale and when you are bulging out of your pantyhose. So, if you think I’m telling you not to eat standing up, no way. I know you will, but I guess it’s okay if you’re eating while running around the block three times or jogging cross country or, oh for goodness sake if you’re a jogger, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place!

Of course there are also those who claim eating food from someone else’s plate is best since the calories stay with the initial owner of the food and do not transfer to the interloper. I have yet to prove this theory, but will continue to probe further until satisfied if it be truth or legend.

To add a positive spin to my diatribe, I must admit as we age our appetites do decrease. Ergo the sharing of the sandwich when out to lunch in lieu of a whole one, smaller portions and filling up more quickly. I suppose one must find comfort in this revelation although the fact our metabolism seems to move in a turtle-like fashion must offset this happy occurrence.

I am not one to judge since my metabolism and I have been at odds for years and it is the Rip Van Winkle of the metabolism world.

Or as my friend Yolanda so often points out, she now has the metabolism of a corpse.

So I shall continue to downward dog and Tai Chi my way into some semblance of fitness hoping against hope that my Grammy pants remain loose and I can keep up with my grandsons. This of course is the best form of exercise and I embrace it fully.

 

 

 

Chicken Paprikash Soup

4 large Chicken thighs

1 onion

2 cans chicken broth

2 heaping tablespoons Hungarian paprika (more may be added if your tastes run to spicy)

Salt and pepper

Flour for dusting

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ½ teaspoon hot sauce

½ cup each of sour cream and half and half

½ cup crumbled crispy bacon for topping (optional)

Season and dust chicken thighs

Sauté chicken in butter and oil mixture (Easy on the fat is okay)

Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent and soft

When chicken is browned drain excess fat and add chicken broth to deglaze the pan

Add paprika and cook until incorporated

Add salt, pepper and cayenne or hot sauce to taste

Temper sour cream until room temperature and begin to slowly add to broth and chicken. When creamy, add half and half.

Finish warming and serve with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche or crumbled bacon pieces. Chicken may be served on the side or shredded into the soup and spaetzle may also be added to soup before serving.

 

Cooking to a Soundtrack

breakfast biscuits

I don’t understand how anyone can cook without a soundtrack. After all, the process of creating a recipe can be a sacred moment of art and discovery. Does this not warrant background music as powerful as when Charlton Heston raised his hands and parted the Jell-O?

There is no doubt in my mind that I am far more creative in the kitchen when inspired by a great soundtrack.

How can someone bake holiday cookies without the strains of Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song filling the air, or Chanukah latkes without Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song or Dreydel Dreydel Dreydel wafting above? Is it possible to bring forth into the world an elegant masterpiece like that soulful soufflé without the strains of Bach or Beethoven?

And who would even attempt a perfect pot roast without the sound of Motown in the background. Not me; that’s the sure!

It isn’t just about setting the mood it’s also about generating a cooking energy. Bopping to the beat lifts and inspires one to greater heights and gets those endorphins geared up.

In the end we all need inspiration and where we acquire it is personal I guess.

Yet, music and food just seem to fit so well. When there is music playing it fills the air with the sounds of another’s genius. This makes me want to be a part of that creative process.

Oh, I know you’re thinking, “Seriously Norma, Bach and a soufflé, can you honestly equate them?” Or even use them in the same sentence actually?

To that I would answer a resounding yes.

Cooking is a form of art after all. How gratified to know your art inspires.

Why I’ll bet Bach’s mother cooked his favorite guinea hen to the melodic strains of the Brandenburg Concertos filling her home. Perhaps it even sped up the process a bit for both of them.

The great thing about cooking is that it is one art form you can eat afterward.

Da Vinci may be a feast for the eyes, but Wolfgang Puck’s lox and cream cheese pizza, need I say more?

Watching a Mel Brooks film delivers great laughter, a crucial component of our existence, but damn a perfect lasagna now that’s art, too. Perhaps a chorus of Springtime for Hitler as we batter our schnitzel?

Or the wonderful and happy sounds of Sammy Davis Jr. singing  The Candy Man while dipping strawberries in chocolate?

I’m just saying that when we create we are usually alone with our Muse, so why not add a divine element to the process by enhancing it with music?

Can you actually make homemade pizza without listening to  Dean Martin and the strains of That’s Amour?

The great Edvard Hagerup Grieg, Norwegian composer once said, “I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it.” Possibly because his wife or mother cooked codfish as he composed. I’d bet on it.

Obviously I am not the first to see the relationship here.

For me cooking is a major part of the holiday season and enhancing that festive spirit or any day spirit only makes things even better.

So next time you’re even making a peanut butter and banana sandwich prepare it to the sounds of Elvis wailing Jailhouse Rock and see how much better it tastes.

 

Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

4 pieces of crispy cooked bacon

Eggs

Salt and pepper

Bisquick mix

1 tablespoon chopped chives or scallions (optional)

 

Make the recipe for drop biscuits on the Bisquick box. I usually double it.

After mixing together add bacon, cheese and scallion or chives.

Form them approximately the size of a baseball

Bake.

When done, fry or scramble an egg

Cut sandwich open and add egg in middle.

I have also added a tomato or cucumber.

It works great for a simple breakfast, or to go. Also a delicious option for brunch.

 

 

People Who Stay in Our Hearts

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I wished a friend happy birthday on Facebook today. I haven’t seen him in eight years. We spoke a few months ago about getting together and I imagine we will sometime in the near future, and I truly look forward to seeing him again.

So begs the question, if you haven’t seen him eight years, why do you love or care about him?

At the risk of sounding like a dunce I will answer, I haven’t a clue why I do, but I know that I will always love and care about him because some people enter our hearts and never leave. They may leave us physically, but they simply become a part of our emotional DNA.

Of course those who know me will conclude I have a few theories about this phenom and I do.

First and foremost I believe it’s those people with whom we form an instant connection that seem to attach themselves the strongest. No one can deny they have met friends and instantly felt a strong gravitational pull toward that person. It’s as if a button has been pushed inside of us and a switch turns on and never turns off again. We may be friends and maintain a friendship that plays out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or one that takes us far away from one another and yet remains strong and connected. I must admit I don’t know why these attachments form, but they grow like moss on the side of a tree and the sunshine and rain keeps them viable.

This friend I mentioned is very special to me. He came into my life at a time when I was in the midst of pursuing a favorite dream. I was open and engaged in the world in which he lived and becoming a part of that world as well. But it wasn’t simply the commonality of our paths at that moment in time, it was the joy he brought along.

My son formed a great attachment to him and he responded eagerly as well. He made us both laugh, at times his conversations with my eight-year-old made me cringe, but my son absorbed his off-color humor and language as a lesson in what not to say, so I am grateful.

Whenever we were around him we laughed, we felt joyous and that feeling never changed or ended. The funny thing about my friend is he considers himself incredibly negative and outspoken and his humor reflects those qualities in spades. He is as politically incorrect as one can be, and yet he has no idea the joy he brings into other people’s lives, especially those who see through his gruff exterior, and know the caring and loving individual that lies beneath and beats with a heart of gold.

As most will attest to some people have a way of crawling inside our hearts and never leaving. But why? Many times they do leave, at least physically yet the feelings you harbor for them remain intact. It’s a fact there are those we may not have seen for years and when they call or we see them it’s as though no time at all has passed.

I believe it’s because they become a part of your happy place. Yes there is such a place in us all so don’t make fun of my phrasing.

We all treasure certain moments in our lives when we felt highly charged, happy, fulfilled and at peace with the universe. It may be a special time in our work, family or love life, and those who enter that happy place with us just seem to stay there. Even when the moment has passed, our feelings for that person have not. Seeing them again evokes feelings long buried inside or at times forgotten.

There are also those who have fallen down in life. I have such a friend as well. When he was on top he helped so many people, including my daughter and I. When he fell on hard times as the cliché goes, “ nobody knows you when you’re down and out…”

I try to keep in touch and in my thoughts. It breaks my heart to see how those who owe him so much have forgotten him. When someone has been good to us they deserve a place in our hearts and our minds.

Despite distance we care about these people and want the best for them.

We are happy when we hear they are rising and we cry with them when they suffer sorrow. Our souls are intertwined.

Surprisingly, at times one person may feel much more strongly toward the other, but that is because the reason for your feelings are just simply embedded in more emotional bedrock.

Of course there is also a chance, if you believe in it, that the feelings may stem from a past life. Yes many discount the notion of past lives, but for those who believe, the explanation is viable.

No one I know haven’t experienced that unusual feeling of walking into a room, seeing a total stranger and yet despite never knowing them, you pick up a very strong vibe. Either you want to get closer to them or something is telling you to get the hell away.

Why is that and how can you possibly want to run from someone you have never met and know nothing about? You have never heard them utter a word and yet you feel that if you did you would hate whatever they say immediately.

Kind of weird, huh?

And yet it happens all the time. Why these vibrations are picked up from other human beings I have no idea.

I just know that there are people in my life that I feel close to whether or not I am. When we are together it feels safe and warm and right, and because it does, you want to keep returning to that person and never let go of the feelings they bring with them.

It seems to be the kind of shared experience we can now more easily embrace thanks to social media like Facebook or Instagram where we can keep track of friends so much more easily.

Yes, I know there are parts of this new craze that are problematic like loss of privacy and too many other things to mention, but it does allow us to remain in closer contact with those with whom we have formed bonds and friendships we choose to keep close to our hearts. Perhaps there is one of those special people you want to call today. There’s no time like the present to give yourself a present.

Pumpkin Blueberry Mousse

With Pumpkin Candy Crunch Topping

1 cup pumpkin

1 cup fresh blueberries

7 ounces of cream cheese

1 ½ cups whipped cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1/8/ tsp cloves

1/8 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix sugar and cream cheese until whipped nicely.

Add pumpkin and seasonings

Mix well. Set aside and whip cream until peaked.

Fold all but 1½ into pumpkin mixture. Set aside rest of whipped cream for topping.

Fold in blueberries and pour into parfait glasses or martini glasses. Top with whipped cream. If you don’t want berries you can leave them out.

Place in fridge to set.

Pumpkin Seed Candy Crunch

Place two tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar in non-stick frying pan.

When melted and combined add ½ cup of pumpkin seeds (Not roasted or salted)

Sauté on low heat (watch carefully so they don’t burn) for about five minutes until seeds are nicely coated.

Remove from burner and place in fridge to harden.

When set and butter is hardened remove crunch from pan and chop up into pieces. Not too small but small enough to fit on top of mousse.

Bring mousses back out and top crunchies.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret is Out! And Please no More Dates!

browniesnap

I was finally given permission today to speak the words “I’m going to be a Grandma” publicly. I wrote emails to some of my friends and a few I spoke to on the phone.

So how did it feel to actually be able to tell the world I am going to be a grandma? Pretty damn terrific, and yet still a bit surreal. After all, it hasn’t really sunk in fully because there are still seven months to go until zero hour.

It’s great to be able to say things like, “when the baby comes,” and “my first grandchild” and “how far in advance does Yale accept early applications?”

I have begun a list of restaurants where my grandchild and I can dine for lunch. I shall parade him/her down the main thoroughfares endlessly until everyone I know and don’t know has cast eyes upon the miracle child. Do you think I’m going overboard here? Nah!

Ten Weeks:

It seems we have a new wrinkle in time as the little mother takes action on a special project of her own. Nausea aside, her survival mode has kicked in full force and the first order of business seems to be getting Grandma out of her hair. To this end she has been eagerly perusing JDate and interviewing potential candidates.

Excuse me while I sing a chorus of “If Mama Were Married,” from “Gypsy.”

Of course after a short time on this mission from hell she realized it takes more than one person acting alone to find someone to contact. The final count 400 readings, two acceptable men to contact.

“Yes, Mother I understand now why you swore never to do this again.”

Ah, I thought, it’s good to be right occasionally.

So it seems she narrowed it down to two candidates. One hasn’t been online for over a month and the other made quite an impression. My daughter and her newly appointed “committee to re elect her mother as a wife,” were duly impressed with their choices and brought them forward for a vote.

I was instructed to send an email thus informing him the path had been cleared toward mutual contact and await an answer. The plans changed and she decided to take the initiative and write him. She told him she was acting for her mother and had selected him as a suitable and interesting candidate.

His response to my daughter was, “tell your mother to send me a picture of herself naked.”

And now a new can of worms has been opened. Not wanting to appear pessimistic about men, I hesitate to reveal my true feelings on the subject of online dating.

I didn’t tell her about the man who claimed to be 61 and was actually 93. Did he think I wouldn’t notice the over thirty-year difference when we met? Exactly where on my profile did it say I was blind? I also omitted the two dates with felons I’d had and the one who had set up a fake charity website to extort money from women. Maybe he should’ve added a phone number and address to that website to make it more believable.

So many of the young and romantic fail to realize that many women of my age are single by choice.

Desiring to be neither a nurse or a purse, I opt to live my life filled with family, friends, fun, work, Maj Jong, travel and above all, freedom. At my tender age I have happily discovered that none of these requires a male companion to achieve. Occasional dating is an acceptable alternative to a lifetime commitment.

After spending countless hours on the Internet dating circuit, I became acutely aware I was sorely wasting valuable time I could never retrieve searching for “the one.”

As great journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns, thrice married, once said and it may be true, “There is so little difference between husbands you may as well keep the first.”

Yet, I remain a cockeyed optimist and I am certain that should that special someone exist in this realm, there is no doubt we shall meet as I attend of the school of predetermination.

After another candidate went south, I was yet again faced with the dilemma of dashing my daughter’s pregnant hopes of finding a husband for mother. Dare I tell her? After all she is pregnant and stress is the enemy now.

So once again she has contacted me about another gem from JDate. This exercise in futility is distracting me from focusing my energy on being “the grandma” I have already envisioned myself rocking and singing and these are hardly romantic thoughts for a potential dater. Still, I am somehow happy with this picture. It fits and is inherently soothing to mind and soul. Perhaps it’s true after all that love and short skirts are for the young.

I only know that like so many other women of my generation, I am extremely content and have a full life. I choose to liken it to a chocolate cake without icing. A great chocolate cake has all the ingredients to make it yummy. If you add terrific icing it can only make it better. However if you add bad icing, you can ruin a perfectly good cake. I’m perfectly content with my bare cake. Besides in seven months, it will be filled with a new ingredient that will taste better than the finest Belgian chocolate panache. It is also at the forefront of my mind that anyone I bring into my life will be a part of “the grandchild’s” as well. How could I ever determine if he is grandpa worthy?

Oh darn, she just sent me another prospect from JDate. “If Mama Were Married, we’d live in a house, as quiet as quiet can be…”

Brownies Napoleon

Super Easy and delicious Brownie dessert fancy enough for company

1 box of brownie mix using chewy recipe on box or your own recipe

1 package instant vanilla pudding

1 cup of frozen whipped topping or homemade whipped cream

Fresh strawberries

Chocolate Ganache

Bake brownies using chewy recipe in a jelly roll pan so they bake up thinner

Prepare vanilla pudding according to box directions and then add 1 cup of whipped topping to the finished pudding. Set aside

When cooled cut brownies into rectangles of like size and scoop out a small amount from each inside with a small melon baller to make an indentation for the pudding mixture.

Place pudding on the top of a brownie and cover with another brownie rectangle forming a sandwich.

Liberally drizzle Ganache over top of brownie to cover and add fresh strawberries or decorate as desired. You can also add thinly sliced strawberries on top of pudding before closing the sandwich and covering with the Ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces of semi sweet chocolate

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter let it sit before cooking until it reaches room temperature.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside

Simmer milk in a saucepan on medium heat and pour hot milk over chocolate.

Let sit until chocolate begins to melt and then stir. Add butter and continue stirring until all are smooth and incorporated.

These should be handled gently as not to break brownies. They taste and look great when they’re done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cane I Help You?

cocoalmond chicken

Last year women spent billions of dollars to look younger. Botox, plastic surgery, procedures, creams, miracle lotions and any crazy new fangled product that had the potential to knock off a few years.

I personally only spent hundreds because I am a big believer in Oil of Olay and sleep.

After all the trouble one goes to in order to shave off a few years there is one sure-fire way to add the years back in one fell swoop. A cane.

While doing physical therapy it was strongly suggested I use a cane to improve my balance and posture.

I aged ten years immediately, but I also discovered a great new toy for my grandsons.

They fight over it and the little one wins. He dances around the house like Fred Astaire in his top hat and tails swinging the cane around with Fred’s grace and verve. It’s hilarious.

When we go out he will carry his umbrella to emulate Grammy’s cane and my daughter and I just stand and laugh at his shenanigans.

Both my grandsons imitate me walking and saying ouch and I shudder to think that will be their lasting memory of Grammy.

Now of course although I can’t wait to rid myself of the instant-aging device, I feel almost guilty that he will lose a favorite toy.

I imagine it’s no different than playing with the box a toy came in or using a paper towel roll to lead an imaginary band, kids can have fun with the oddest things.

So is having a cane to entertain your grandchildren a perk of old age?

No way. The cane although it serves a useful purpose is a nuisance. I find myself forgetting, losing and sometimes even stumbling over it clumsily.

I’m thinking a cane may not be such a good idea.

And yet. Okay I admit, at a certain age it’s good for balance and Stop. No! Every time I use it I feel like an old woman. I know I look older, but I also feel older too.

Now of course some people have no choice, they must use it or else risk falling and we don’t even want to go there.

But it’s difficult enough to convince yourself you’re still young without catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and thinking, who the hell is that old lady? Oops, it’s me!

Is there some way to lessen the blow?

Perhaps a diamond encrusted cane? Or a clear one you can’t see? Or something cool like one of those rain sticks from Africa that will sound like rainfall every time it hits the ground.

Maybe designer canes from Michael Kors or Chanel made of pearls with CCs hanging off the top. Alexander McQueen could create a cane with skeletons on it to really depress one and remind old people of what lies ahead. It could become quite chic and the in thing. Young skinny models would begin sporting them just to look cool.

Forget purses, the new status symbol would be canes. Of course they would have to be uber expensive to be an effective status symbol.

Human beings are nothing if not adaptable. We accept that gravity is a gigantic weight around our necks, literally, or that our skin now hangs like the smog over Los Angeles. Or even that we can’t eat even half the calories we once ingested without gaining weight.

But despite all the craziness that inflicts our bodies as we age, it is a small price to pay for what we gain. Wisdom. I once saw a talk show where the host asked the audience if they had the opportunity to live their live over if they would.

Most people failed to raise their hands and I was shocked. I thought, why wouldn’t anyone want a second chance to undo their mistakes? Of course I was young then. Now I understand.

For all the wisdom we eventually gain it comes with a price. The lessons aren’t free or easy and take a toll.

Now I get it…one lifetime is more than enough.

Now if someone said you could turn in your body for a new one every twenty years, now that’s an offer I definitely wouldn’t refuse.

Coconut Almond Chicken Chunks

1 package of chicken tenders (You can also use drummettes)

1 cup of sweetened coconut

1 cup sliced almonds chopped well

1 cup of Panko crumbs

1 cup of flour

2 eggs beaten

Canola oil deep enough to deep fry but not totally cover chicken

Salt and pepper

Cut chicken into pieces as desired may be strips or chunks

Salt and pepper chicken

Combine all dry ingredients

Dip chicken into flour, then egg and finally into coconut, Panko and almonds combined.

Drop gently away from you into the 350-degree oil.

Fry until chicken is cooked on both sides, approximately 7 minutes.

Drain and serve with pineapple sauce.

 

Pineapple sauce

1 cup crushed pineapple

1 tablespoon apricot preserves

½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Mix together until well combined

 

 

 

 

 

Reality Versus Me; No Contest

  • cornsouffle

There’s a fine line between delusional and it’s my party.

Okay so here’s the 411, which by the way for those of you who are anything before the year 2000 challenged, means the information. Basically, where does the line between delusion and seeing the world your way become a psychotic thing?

I’m not sure, but I imagine I’ve come really close to that line sometimes judging by other’s reactions to my reactions to situations. If I had a dollar for every time someone has noted with incredulity, “why are you even surprised?” I’d have enough for a butt lift.

I guess you could say I’m actually a closet Pollyanna, wanting to believe that people’s intentions are good, and when someone says they like and care about me, they actually do.

Wow, go figure!

So is reality a choice, a delusion or something based on wish fulfillment?

I have always wanted to believe the best about people. Why is that?

Because it is so much easier to believe people are kind than accept the fact they may just be assholes.

Although sometime long ago I decided the best way to proceed in life was to expect nothing and let people show themselves through their actions, but I kind of never practiced what I preached.

Which is why I now, at this age, look back and must reproach myself for being so damn dumb.

It’s not just that I wanted to believe people didn’t want to hurt me, it’s that even after they had numerous times, I still refused to accept they were anything less than I’d believed.

Right up until the time I lie on the floor bleeding and was forced to admit, gee they weren’t what I thought they were. Stupid!

It’s the whole stupid thing I was trying to avoid here because that is so self-deprecating and yet I truly should have caught on so much sooner, but I chose not to.

But why would I? Why would anyone want to admit a so-called friend didn’t really give a damn about them or a brother would stab you in the back or an agent in Hollywood would lie?

I know, I know that agent thing really is as obvious as a heart attack.

Or that a man you loved would lie to you?

Delusional is looking good here.

After all is said and done what is the best way to handle reality. If we really saw everyone for what they were, warts and all, the world could be a darker and uncozier place.

Isn’t it much safer and happier to believe all is good and unicorns roam the earth and leprechauns are at this very moment guarding your pot of gold at the end of that rainbow?
Would we all be better off to live in a world where we never got hurt or disappointed because at the outset of every relationship we expected the worst or nothing at all from those whom we encounter along our path? If nothing else, from disappointments we must expect greater knowledge and perhaps a lesson learned to put into our backpack as we march along life’s highway. At least I know not to hitchhike.

What is the happy medium here and how do you achieve it when often people don’t expose their true natures until well after you’ve begun to trust and care?

I have often pondered the question of who is at fault when relationships die and why must we be so ready to blame ourselves?

It is human nature to want to be close to other humans, to bond, to create a commonality of goals, of words of deeds with people about whom you care.

So if I must continue being delusional so be it.

I suppose I’ll never learn, because in the end knowingly or unknowingly we also disappoint others. I imagine in a way it’s a cycle of sorts.

Since we do not choose to hurt others, unless we are well that kind of crazy person, I have to believe others don’t intend to set out to hurt us either. And yes although some do, I imagine we just have to sort through the trash and find the treasure in those who are willing to stick it out until the end.

Or until there is really nothing left to be hurt about anymore, because at a certain point everything becomes so unimportant and genuinely silly really.

As my kids always say, “it’s all good” and I guess that means the bad as well.

For me true knowledge comes from realizing our reality is subjective and greatly colored by what has come before. Should we choose to become bitter and immediately assume people will hurt us because some have, at the risk of becoming a bitter, angry human being that dwells in mistrust and suspicion? I think not! Or should we try to embrace that being human is to accept we are all flawed and imperfect.

Or as someone I know says, “we shouldn’t strive for perfection, only progress.”

If we are constantly judging the behavior of those around us we may find ourselves expecting too much or even at times not enough. I guess the secret is to expect nothing and go with the flow.

I guess that’s the best answer since I’m too damn old to swim upstream anymore.

So I choose to be happy when those I care about are loving and kind, and resigned and forgiving when they aren’t. After all, others don’t set your expectations, you do, so why are they responsible for what you put upon them.

Relationships can be confusing and difficult or easy and flowing. I guess it’s up to me to choose.

The choice is made. Oh no, wait I want to choose again. OY! It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Oh well, I do love marshmallows.

 

 

Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats

 

4 zucchinis cut in half. Scoop out insides until they resemble a boat. Leave edge of zucchini a bit in tact so they prevent the corn from leaking out the sides.

Salt and pepper the zucchini and set aside.

Mix together

2 cups corn can be fresh, frozen or a mix of both

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup half and half

2 eggs

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

pepper to taste

 

Mix eggs and half and half and add other ingredients. Use immersion blender and mix corn mixture until it mixes together, but some corn is still recognizable.

 

Fill zucchini with corn mixture and sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake approx. 20 to 25 minutes until set.

Sprinkle lightly on top with fresh chopped red pepper

 

 

Having the Sense to Choose a Sense of Humor

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I’ve made many mistakes in my life. Lots of bad calls, bad falls and bad choices. Sometimes, all at the same time. But when I was in heaven pre-birth picking out stuff I made one good choice, I asked the angel in charge of supplies about the sense of humor.

“Okay,” he said, “but that’s a big one, you have to trade in a few of the things you’ve already chosen.”

“Okay, what do I have to give back?

“I’ll need that perfect nose and oh, sorry you won’t be able to keep the all you can eat and not gain weight metabolism.”

“That’s a little harsh isn’t it?”

“No way, a sense of humor is a biggie and worth a lot. Oh, and sorry I need those blue eyes back.”

I grudgingly agreed.

“Just checking your list here and see you took your father’s height. Sorry”

“Wait, you mean I have to do the short and slow metabolism thing of my mother?”

“Yep.”

“I’m not sure a sense of humor is worth all this good stuff.”

“Well it is a choice you know. If you get all the stuff to make you gorgeous and thin, you really don’t need a sense of humor. You will however need it for the short, dumpy, big nosed and slow metabolism you.”

“Uh huh,” I said. “So you mean a sense of humor is really worth all this?”

“More than gold.”

“I don’t understand. Why do I have to give everything back?”

“Because having a great sense of humor will mean so much to you.”

“Doesn’t it mean the same to everyone?”

“Nope, it depends on your life. I see how much you’ll need it, whereas some others won’t as much.”

“Doesn’t everyone need a sense of humor?”
“Of course to a certain extent, but some need a small quantity to get through life, you will need copious amounts.”

“Great, that’s comforting.”

“Hey I’m only telling it like it is. Listen, I don’t want to be mean here so I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you keep your personality. It’s a high end one and it will help you overcome living without the other stuff.”

“You’re all heart. But I’m reconsidering. I mean why do I need such a Cadillac sense of humor?”

“It’s how you’ll overcome the challenges life throws your way.”

“Can’t I just duck and avoid them?”

The angel smiled. “I forgot you haven’t met your mother yet. No the sense of humor you have will be your savior in your life. Trust me on this one.”

“Can I share it with the world?”

“Yes, you could create comedy.”

“What’s comedy?”

“It’s something you do in show business.”

“So I will be in this show business with my sense of humor”

“Yes, and that’s where you’ll need it most.”

“So I need a sense of humor to share my sense of humor in this show business thing?”

“Desperately.”

“Does everyone in show business have a sense of humor?”

“No, that’s why you need to have one.”

“I understand.”

“No you don’t, but you will if you ever see show business up close.”

“Can I pass my sense of humor onto my children and grandchildren?”

“Absolutely, it’s yours to do whatever you want with now.”

“Well at least it makes me feel better that I paid a high price and got the better model. My kids will benefit as well.”

“What exactly does this sense of humor do for me?”

“Allows you to laugh.”

“Can’t everyone laugh?”

“Sadly, no.”

“What does this laughing thing do?”

“Extends your life. Helps you embrace joy.”

“What’s joy?”

“Joy is a feeling of happiness and contentment that transcends.”

“So that’s a good thing right?”

“That’s the best. It also helps you leap over the pits of despair and heartache.”

“Are there a lot of those around?”

“Many I’m afraid. They are parts of the human condition in copious supply. Humor thwarts the damage they can do.”

“What else can it do?”

“It brings you a sense of euphoria.”

“How does that feel?”

“It’s when your brain releases these little things called endorphins that make you feel sublimely happy.”

“I want to feel happy, right?”

“Right.”

“It sounds like this humor thing is the best thing you can have.”

“It is one of the best.”

“Did I get to keep any other good stuff?”

“Well humor usually goes hand in hand with a big heart. So you have that going for you as well.”

“So that’s a good thing right?”

“Yes and no.”

“Why no?”

“Because caring about others can be painful at times. That’s sort of a double edged sword I’m afraid.”

“Like humor, huh?”

“No, humor has no double edge. It’s the one thing that is completely good. It let’s you see the funny side of life even when life is sad and cruel. It opens you up to a way of thinking that you could never understand unless it’s a part of you. It brings only good into your life and the lives of those around you.”

“Sounds to me like it beats out skinny and blue eyes any day.”

The angel laughed. “You can easily survive in life without those things, but without a sense of humor you’d be lost.”

“Thanks for turning me onto it. I’m really glad I chose humor and laughter.”

“It’s the best choice you’ll ever make because it will make all the bad choices bearable. So enjoy!”

“Hey who’s that guy over there with the bright red head of hair?”

“That’s Carrot Top.”

“Did he choose humor and to be funny too?”

The angel shook his head. “That’s a matter of opinion, but that’s a discussion for another day.”

Lemon Drop Cookies

1 and ¾ cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature preferred

Zest of one lemon (about 1 tablespoon lemon zest)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 cups of white chocolate melting discs work best

1 cup of lemon drops crushed

 

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix until well combined. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

Cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill the cookie dough.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and scoop out two tablespoon sized pieces of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. I prefer to roll the dough into balls and then gently press them down a little.

Bake in batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. The cookies should look done on the outside, but still a little soft on the inside. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Melt white chocolate and spread a coating of chocolate on cookie

Sprinkle with crushed lemon drops let harden before serving.

 

 

 

I am Grandma Hear Me Roar

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Grandmas just know stuff. How? Simply because through the very process of living and problem solving we have become quite creative about solutions. Are we oriented toward inventive fixes? You bet. I am always surprised by the things my friends will do to solve a problem.

Speaking to my friend Harriet today about the grandchildren and how to navigate the unsure waters of the precarious daughter-sea-of-rules and regulations, she surprised me.

Blue jays were busily chomping on birdseed in her yard as we spoke.

“Don’t you have a problem with the squirrels eating all the seed?” I asked, conjuring up memories of squirrels hanging upside down from my constantly empty bird feeders.

“Oh yes,” she said. “But I sprayed Pam on the wire and now they don’t come anymore.”

I laughed out loud picturing squirrels dropping unceremoniously to the ground with a thunk, then climbing back up, sliding and falling again.

“How long did it take them to get the picture?” I asked.

“Don’t know; just know there is no more squirrel problem here.”

I am constantly amazed at how inventive Grandmas and moms can be.

Although our daughters, and I say daughters because no mother-in-law in her right mind would offer anything but money or gifts to a daughter in law, are garnering a lifetime of their own creative solutions and also share the sheer frustration of keeping all the good advice to themselves.

And that brings me to the Grandma dream.

Yes, there is a Grandma dream. Here’s how it goes.

My daughter calls and says, “Mom I need your advice.”

“Yes, Dear, anything,” I answer.

“Mom, you know how you always made us those special sandwiches when we were in school? How did you keep their shapes?”

I answer citing the extra small baggie trick.

“Thanks, Mom,” she says. “You just seem to know everything about these things.”

I hang up gratified a piece of useful information has been passed down.

Not to be lost in the annals of time, floating above the earth, begging to be used and cherished. It shall be committed to memory and praised as a part of a Grandma legacy.

Okay, so it’s a bit over the top and it’s not a cure for the diseases that plague the world, but a dream is a dream.

I am not certain why Grandma’s become more inventive as they age. Perhaps it’s simply that time enhances creativity, Through the process of living we find ourselves faced with more challenge and therefore become more astute at finding solutions more easily and quickly.

I have found a few of my own to be helpful and yet so obvious after you think of them of course.

When buying greeting cards to keep in the house, place the card in the envelope before storing in the drawer. This saves having to check every envelope to see what fits.

Use a mouse pad to open jars, grips great and is sturdy enough to get the job done easily.

Keep sheets inside matching pillowcases when storing and entire set will be easily at hand when changing the beds.

Plastic candy box inserts make great earring holders and they keep your drawer smelling like chocolate. A win win.

Use a spray bottle to oil your salad. You use less and get much better coverage. The spray bottle also works well when spraying any liquor on a cake.

If glasses lose and screw, stick a safety pin or a twist tie (take the paper off and leave the wire) through the hole where the screw was until you have them fixed.

I’m sure you’ve also discovered tons of timesaving tricks. I’d love to hear yours. Please share them with us in the comment portion.

 

Stuffin Muffins

1 Challah

2 small New Yorker onion rolls

1 cup mushrooms

1 medium carrot

1 stalk of celery

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons oil

½ small onion

2 eggs

5 or 6 cups of chicken or turkey stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp sage

½ tsp thyme

½ cup of slivered almonds

½ cup of dried cranberries

 

Sauté veggies until soft

Add almonds and cranberries and combine with veggies

Cut up breads and add veggies. Add stock and beaten eggs. Mix well and press down into well-buttered muffin cups.

Place pastry leaf on top of each muffin when serving

Bake on 350 for 25 to 30 minutes until done.

 

Pastry Leaf

Roll out pastry and cut leaves. Bake at 350 until lightly browned.

Color with food coloring. I have also used ground sage to color them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Old Has Some Compensations

stuffed eggplant.jpgA wise person once said, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old. ” True words indeed. I should like to add my own thoughts and say that grandchildren are the icing on life’s cake, and calorie free. So it isn’t really so odd that after the initial shock, screams of joy and crying jag that ensued when my daughter informed me she was pregnant, I would immediately attempt to find a way to capture forever my ultimate Hallmark moment.

I was certain it would take the entire nine months to cross over into Grandmaland, just as it had to absorb the reality of my own impending motherhood.

Therefore, these words will serve as my personal contribution to the grandma experience, because, thank goodness, this time it won’t be me screaming obscenities in that delivery room.

Now at long last, I shall share that most precious of all Mommy moments as my grandchildren are embroiled in a full-blown tantrum, I can finally say to my beloved daughter—“Don’t complain, you were worse.”

For I am Baby Boomer Grammy, BBG, the coolest Grammy generation.

Aging gracefully as we rush downward dog into our golden years. We are brazen broads who burned our bras, created friends with benefits, and happily set out on our own when, after given a choice, the remote or me, our husbands opted to remain couch bound.

As most Moms I have waited patiently, quite a feat indeed, as my daughter rolled her eyes or sighed when I reached out to touch or hug her a moment longer. Still, I smiled silently at the knowledge that indeed my day would come.

That moment when, as she stared blinded with love for her offspring, she would finally bite from the tree of parental knowledge and whisper, “Do you mean this is how much you love me?” Ah, at last comes the dawn.

But although my son and daughter are the sun, moon, stars and all the heavens to me, I have decided that this book shall be all about us: the Grandmas and their new loves. Now possessed of all that is joyous and wonderful in a lifetime, “The” child to spoil, hug and kiss to our heart’s content.

A tiny person who will light up when I enter the room, won’t care if my nail polish is too red, I gained five pounds or my new hairdo is “so eighties.” I can do no wrong for I shall be “Grandma.” Giver of unconditional love, teller of fairy tales, baker of the best cookies, a port in the rocky storm of parent/child relationships, and always at the ready with the best chicken soup to cure all ills.

Now, at last I shall finally complete the journey I began as a teenager, when after reading Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, I envied Larry Darrell as he achieved Nirvana. I shall envy him no more.

Never one to underestimate the volatility of the human psyche, I am certain my current feelings of rapturous joy shall morph into a cornucopia of mood swings that will make menopause seem like a Girl Scout cookie sale.

Even now I am possessed with an aching desire to climb the stairs to my rooftop and scream the news to the world. But alas, the mother-to-be has imposed strict sanctions against my announcing the life-changing information for three months.

This poses a great challenge and some exhaustion as I am literally bursting with this news. The extent of this feat was quite obvious the other evening at a party when my girlfriends all discussed their grandchildren and my lips puffed up like Angelina Jolie’s from biting them so hard.

There is a small modicum of release when driving in traffic as I yell out the window to no one in particular, “I’m going to be a Grandma.” Living in Los Angeles there is certainly no danger anyone will pay the slightest attention to these occasional rants.

Those bits of information that come by way of friends and family we promise not to divulge are, of course, sacrosanct, but when the best of all bests is happening, how shall I ever contain my joy?

I elected a promise from my daughter that she would tell me the second she revealed the news to her brother, hopefully very soon, so that I can experience speaking the words out loud to someone else on this planet. Verbalizing makes it all the more real, don’t you think?

Conversation has become a feat as I seek frivolous, inane subjects that will avoid any temptation to spill the proverbial beans.

I am also wondering if the incidence of phone calls will increase with my daughter’s girth.

Will she call and ask, “Mom how much weight did you gain at this week or that, how long did you crave oranges and what the heck is happening to my belly button?”

The soreness of the boobs, I’m certain will be a premier topic and arise early on.

I am trying desperately to ignore the ongoing shopping spree in my head as I wonder what toys to buy or what colors of clothing to stock in Grandma’s stash. But here’s the cool part, my daughter is going to find out the sex early on. No waiting around and guessing none months for this generation. No generic yellow or green baby rooms or sleepers, and what a joy to know that although the usual taste issues will arise, the color choice will at least be perfect.

I don’t remember the first time I realized the frequency with which I heard the phrase, “when I was little I used to cook with my grandmother.” Yet one day as I watched yet another celebrity chef interview, it hit me like a bolt from the blue how many times I had heard chefs credit their grandmother’s for their interest in cooking.

I was struck by the way they mentioned this fact with the flash of emotion only the most powerful and happy memories can elicit.

It is abundantly clear, “everyone loves their grandma and grandpa, and cooking with them is a treasured memory that lasts a lifetime.

Grandparent love surpasses any other love and blossoms into a safety net woven together with strings of precious childhood memories spent inhaling the sights and wondrous kitchen smells of Grammy.

Their eyes gleam with a special light and they look at you like you are a banana split.

But today is a new world of cold-pressed, organic, environmentally correct child eating and rearing. What is a Baby Boomer who grew up on Hershey Bars, Big Boy onion rings and Dairy Queens to do to pass muster on the kitchen front?

I did attempt to improve my children’s diets in lieu of the free love generation’s desire to return to the earth. My daughter wasn’t allowed soda pop or cookies until she was four years old.

But alas, as with all things life relaxes the rules, and by the time my son was born all bets were off. It became a pizza, Colonel Sanders and Ben and Jerry world.

There was usually a plateful of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies awaiting my children and their friends after school. After all, I grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet and Donna Reed. What did I know about real life, or dieting for that matter? My own weight had ballooned up 100 pounds as I did my daily imitation of a human garbage disposal.

And that is the conundrum, for now I need to get busy learning today’s yeas and nays food wise for new rules now apply.

So, in order to keep the peace and refrain from damaging my precious grandchildren, I have taken it upon myself to “get schooled,” in a healthy lifestyle. I set about to revise and revamp old recipes into new more child-friendly versions.

I am a new grandma in this new world. So as I journey through grandma land, I invite you come along and share the fun, knowledge, tastes and perhaps at times humorous exploits this trip entails.

Okay so this can be made organic and it does include vegetables so I’m getting there!

 

Lamb and Eggplant Bake

 

1 pound of ground lamb

1 cup of brown or white rice

1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese

1 ½ teaspoons Greek seasoning

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup of tomato puree

2 cups chicken broth

4 cups cut up eggplant

1 cup of panko crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning and salt and pepper

 

Spray casserole dish. Salt chopped eggplant and drain in colander until water is out. Season lamb. Mix together puree and chicken stock and add Greek seasoning. Place eggplant, lamb, rice and feta cheese in casserole dish and pour liquid mixture over all. Cover and bake in 350-degree oven for one hour or until rice has absorbed all liquid. Remove cover and sprinkle panko crumbs on top and bake another ten minutes until crumbs brown up. Serve with Greek salad and pita for a delicious lunch or dinner.

 

 

Birthdays vs Mosquitoes

snoozle2.jpg

Getting old sucks. Oh sure there are those joyful Pollyanna’s who run about spouting how grateful they are to be getting older, and I would so like to trip them as they leap along on the happiness trail.

No, I am not saying I don’t want to be here and am not appreciative that each New Year’s eve I am still here to celebrate. It’s just that why do we need all these reminders we are getting older? Is the mirror not enough?

There are many who decry birthdays as a day less than exciting. Still, in the past I always regarded that special day as my special day. But is it really? What message is it actually sending? That we are getting older? That we are only special one day a year? That time is passing faster than a collection plate at a Sunday morning church service?

All of the above I’m afraid.

If age is truly a state of mind, why must it be stated constantly? We are forced to come to grips with another passing year on our birthdays, New Years Eve and when our driver’s license is renewed. And of course don’t forget about how many times a day you are asked to fill out forms including your birth date. My question is, “why is it necessary to face the ravages of time so often?”

We all know we are born. Why must we have a day set aside each year to stuff our faces with sugar-laden carbohydrates like birthday cake, get presents we don’t need, see who gives a damn enough to wish us happy birthday on Facebook and listen to people telling you how good you look for your age?

Shouldn’t one day a year suffice? Choose one please. Is it to be New Year’s or a birthday? One is redundant. Why must we be reminded how old we are when we already have enough evidence of the passing of time?

I can look at my children and know how many years have flown. I can see my grandchildren growing before my eyes and wonder where the years went. I can look at my wedding pictures and tear up over all those no longer here. Is it necessary to rub it in for a whole day each year?

I have come to the conclusion that when the devil made his agreement with God to provide the world with flies and mosquitoes (an added bonus) he also begged for birthdays. God, busy with other important things like creating the world, choosing colors for flowers and placing the calorie count into foods was a bit distracted so he paid little attention when the devil said, let’s have a birthday every year.

God being God and all might have assumed the devil was trying to be nice because he threw in the added bonus of mosquitoes; so old Lucifer was able to pull a fast one.

Let’s let them think birthdays are a good thing, he thought. Presents, cakes, making wishes. Old Satan was in seventh heaven knowing people would completely turn his cruel joke around and think it was intended for good.

So what am I saying here? Am I saying we shouldn’t celebrate being alive? Hell NO! But we should celebrate it every day, not once a year when it is clouded with irrelevant side issues like who forgot your special day? And why you can’t fit in the pants you wore on your birthday last year.

We should get up each day filled with gratitude just to be breathing. Where is it written cake can only be eaten with a candle on top to make someone happy? I know I’m happy any day there’s cake involved in the mix.

Why do we need an excuse to give the people we love gifts or shower them with love? This should be a regular occurrence that requires no special time frame.

When I was younger I would fill with gloom two weeks before every birthday. The skies were cloudy and the earth would seem dark and depressing. I’d walk around like Pigpen with a cloud above my head and then the day would arrive.

It was my birthday. I’d awaken awaiting the earth to open and swallow me, or worse. Then the happy birthdays would come, the cake, the presents and well wishes, and somehow by the end of the day the clouds had lifted and the sky was blue once more.

I always attributed this to the fact I’d survived another year. I now believe it’s that I survived another birthday.

When Satan realized he’d gotten away with the birthday thing, he invented magnifying mirrors to destroy the Lord’s merciful response to the aging process… farsightedness. The less clearly we see the ravages of time, the kinder the universe.

Magnifying mirrors destroyed the illusion we are not seeing wrinkles, sagging jowls and all the other fun things that happen to our faces. So the Lord gave us plastic surgery, fillers and Botox to counteract the devil’s cruel little joke.

But the devil didn’t care cause he still had birthdays.

Every second, we get older by another second. Should we light a candle every second? Who decided one year would be the celebratory marker. Why not every two years or ten?

I know it’s a blessing to be getting older, but I’ve made up my mind that waiting for a birthday to celebrate isn’t sufficient. I need presents, cake and feeling special every day. So I’ve created the anytime I want a birthday birthday and treat myself whenever I wish.

I need some special today so I’m buying a cake and blowing out a candle. Hey, it’s a free country.

Not one to enjoy being one of the crowd I shall create my own way to celebrate my own day whenever and however I choose. Besides, after a certain age they don’t call you crazy but eccentric and I passed that marker a few birthdays ago.

I’m calling my grandsons to celebrate with me today. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me… Join me, please!

The recipe for this blog I have called Snoozles. Mostly because it is such comfort food, it can put you to sleep.

It’s based on my favorite meal my Grandmother used to prepare for me; greasy hamburger, lumpy mashed potatoes and peas.

My grandmother was a terrible cook, but I loved it when she made anything for me. I created Snoozles to remind me of how wonderful it felt watching her place that greasy hamburger onto my plate. It was a special moment when she prepared food, because I knew it wasn’t her favorite thing to do, so I guess I appreciated it even more knowing that was the case.

This dish operates on two levels, it tastes delicious and it also feels good to eat because it conjures up wonderful memories of my Grandma.

Enjoy!

Snoozles

Two sheets of puff pastry

3 ½ cups mashed potatoes

½ cup peas fresh or frozen

1cup turkey or hamburger ground or chopped

Add peas and turkey to mashed potatoes

Spread evenly on puff pastry sheet

Roll over once and cut Roll over again and cut and repeat this until all cut.

Place in well-buttered muffin tins and place a puff pastry pumpkin on top.

Brush with egg wash.

Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes until puff pastry is cooked.

Design

Cut a design like a flower or anything you’d like out of puff pastry and place on top of Snoozle before placing in oven. When done paint with food coloring or leave plain.

 

 

 

Hollywood is a Grandma-Free Zone

 

egg rolls.jpg

Hollywood is a Grandma-free-zone and no one who is intimidated by the aging process should step foot on Hollywood Blvd.

Last week I saw them dragging a screaming old lady away from Clark Gable’s footsteps at Mann’s Theatre for being old in public. One tourist turned to another and asked, “Who was Clark Gable?”

I’m not sure what was the saddest part of that whole scene.

The newest and most profitable business in Los Angeles is a company that builds boats for people over 49 to be sent out to sea to die. There’s a three-year waiting list already.

If you think I’m imagining this insanity ask any producer or television exec what happens when you mention the word Grandmother. They break out in hives, start to hyperventilate and run from the room in terror.

Exaggeration?

I think not.

A friend and I met with a producer about a show we developed for older women.

His eyes bugged out of his head when he saw the word Grandma in the title.

I quickly covered the word with my hand and said, “It’s okay, calm down, see I made it go away.”

After catching his breath and downing two Xanax he informed us in no uncertain terms no one was interested in women on television over 49.

“And don’t say Betty White either,” he retorted. “She is only on there because she is surrounded by young hotties.”

I never had the heart to tell him that those “hotties” would never see fifty again. Why destroy his illusions?

Forget that one of the most popular and loveable characters on Bravo television was realtor Josh Flagg’s late grandmother, Edith.

Yes, Hollywood is a world-unto-itself. Thank the Lord.

In Europe older women are embraced as sexy, wise and worldly. Men delight in their vast experience and their ageless beauty. Sophia Loren is looked on as a goddess, not an old crone.

I am not certain this is because the men in America have better eyesight or the Europeans are not as fussy about their women. And yes, let us keep in mind French women don’t shave their armpits. Of course Europe is an old country and America a baby so maybe…

In America women over fifty are invisible, unless of course they are walking around half naked with a set of store-bought DDDs stopping traffic on Sunset Boulevard.

If you would think it is a scary state of being, you would be correct. So what is a Grandmother to do?

Throw away her Oil of Olay? Pack and leave town before she brings disgrace on her family? Wear a veil?

Okay, so that does work for Muslim women.

Ah, now I get the whole Burqua thing!

Shall I repair into my golden years in a black dress and sensible shoes like an Italian grandmother? Spending all my time making sauce and rolling pasta dough?

“Come dip my homemade Italian bread in Grandma’s perfect marinara?

Or shall I make Aliyah to an assisted living home where my children may come to visit once a month, if I am lucky?

Or if wealthy enough make a pilgrimage to Boca Raton, where I can spend my time playing maj jong and looking for a man with his own teeth who can still drive at night?

You would think I am embellishing my conundrum, but unfortunately I am not.

Last week the Beverly Hills City Council took up the issue of whether or not the police should give tickets for excessive wrinkling. The measure was, of course supported by all the plastic surgeons and Botox manufacturers. It failed by only one vote.

Isn’t it bad enough the fat police patrol is still at large, suspiciously eyeing anyone at the Krispy Krème drive thru and taking license plate numbers?

So what should one do who feels they still have more to offer the world than good lasagna or mandal bread?

Don’t move to Los Angeles is a damn good start. There is no doubt in my mind as to why there are so many kooks running through the palm-tree laden streets of LA. Why there are so many car chases across its bumper-to-bumper freeways. Why men always look like a cat that just ingested a ten-pound canary.

Simply, it is because young women are in abundance and older women are in hiding. Or, as we refer to these young chicks in over 49 circles the third-wife-to-be.

Yoga classes are filled with fifties and ups stretching and downward dogging their way back to youth. Hair colorists are so abundant you can’t blink without bumping into one and plastic surgeons are so finely honed, that a woman can leave for lunch and arrive back at work looking ten years younger.

Men check women out like Carl Sagan checked out every star in the galaxy. They balk if a woman has one wrinkle too many, reminds them of their mother or simply isn’t the perfect image of beauty they feel they deserve.

Meanwhile, have you taken a look at these aging Lotharios lately?

OY!

They have spray on tans, spray on hair, blue pills bulging from their pockets and a dating profile on those meet-a-felon sites that is filled with more lies and exaggerations than a politician’s resume. Quick dating tip here: orange jump suits are not a turn on!

They examine every woman they date with the precision of a butcher frenching a lamb chop for the Oscar’s Governor’s Ball and their expectations are higher than Keith Richard’s partying with Janis Joplin.

As Bette Davis once opined, “getting old is not for sissies.” It is also not for women. And please don’t ask me, who is Bette Davis!

Men age well. They gain an air of distingue and intrigue. Women gain weight and arm themselves each day for another battle with gravity. A war they ultimately lose.

They Spanx themselves together as best as they can before embarking into the world, ass dragging and boobs searching the sidewalk like they are looking for lost quarters.

No bra too big

No skin too tight to hide the ravages of time.

Good News! There is always a way to cope with these depressing facts of life; grandchildren. One hug from my grandsons and I am immediately as young at heart as a 66-year-old man riding the Seine at midnight with a Paris model.

As one learns quickly in LA, there are certain foods that will arm one best for battle against the aging process and this week’s miracle food is beets. Supposedly it is the nuclear option for battling all the ravages of time. I am of course waiting for the day the Surgeon General announces chocolate as the cure all for all human ailments.

Until that glorious day you can find a good plastic surgeon on your own. But before you do, go hug your grandchildren. I promise it’s cheaper and totally pain free.

Here is my recipe for Garlic Sirloin Egg Rolls. ENJOY!!!!

Garlic Lovers Sirloin Egg Rolls

4 cloves of garlic roasted (or 11/2 cps of the roasted garlic in the grocery store already roasted and peeled. I buy the ones at Whole Foods olive bar)

1 cup of ground sirloin

2 packages of mushrooms

1 cups of onion chopped

1½ cups of heavy cream

½ cup of shredded provolone cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon of butter

2 tablespoons of oil

½ cup of Sherry

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon thyme

Egg roll wrappers

If roasting your own garlic preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap outer cover of garlic leaving heads in tact. Cut off the top portion of the head so a bit of the garlic is exposed. Smear with some olive oil and wrap garlic cloves in foil and roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes. When done, carefully remove foil and squeeze garlic out to use.

Sauté ground sirloin seasoned with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut up mushrooms and add with onions to oil and butter in frying pan. Season with thyme and salt then sauté until soft. Add sherry and sauté until sherry is reduced about 3 minutes more.

Combine sirloin in pan with mushrooms and onions. Add garlic and mix together on low heat until heated through two minutes or so.

Remove mixture and then add 2 cups of cream to fry pan used for mushroom frying. Warm on low heat until cream thickens and can coat the back of the spoon. Add two tablespoons of roasted garlic to cream mixture and stir in well. Pour through a sieve to remove bits.

Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Spread about 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic on the egg roll wrapper at the pointed edge. This is where you can add the shredded cheese if you’d like. Roll up halfway and fold in sides and continue rolling sealing with water at the end to seal. Do not roll too loose or oil will seep in. Place on wax paper until ready to fry.

Add 1 cup of oil to a ten-inch fry pan and heat to 350.

Place egg rolls in hot oil and fry on all sides until golden brown. Don’t overfill pan of the temperature will drop and the egg rolls will be greasy. Serve hot with cream dipping sauce.

Can be a meal, appetizer or made smaller to use as an hors D’oeuvre. Can be stored by separating them with wax paper so they don’t touch when you place them in freezer.

 

 

 

 

 

Grammys Are the New Black

Grandmas don’t just say “that’s nice”– they reel back and roll their eyes and throw up their hands and smile. You get your money’s worth out of grandmas…Author unknown

I have always found it difficult to understand women who say in a distressed tone, “I can’t believe I’m going to be a grandmother.”

Sure, it’s an absolute sign you are growing older, but will being a grandmother change the passing of years? So, how better to spend those years than with your grandchildren?

Today’s Grammy is a new and improved model, hip, downward dogging and botoxed to the hilt. It is a baby boomer Grammy who rules the roost now. We are not our mothers or grandmothers and certainly don’t look the same.

We have worked, exercised, pursued noble goals and watched television go from Howdy Doody to 24 to the Real Housewives of anywhere you can think of.

We think young, so young in fact we can relate to our precious angels with a new and modern mindset.

We still bake cookies, but they are organic and sugar free.

We still play games with our toddlers, but they are on the smart phone.

We text, turn heads and remain relevant and fabulous.

We are the new black.

So what does a modern Grammy do to ensure she remains in good stead with our au currant and health-conscious children?

After all, somewhere deep inside us there is still a need for that Sara Lee brownie, some French fries and an occasional diet cherry Coke.

Young mothers today follow a set of guidelines so filled with rules and regulations, it makes filling out your income taxes a day at the beach.

Is it sugar free? Organic? Plastic without PBA, grass fed and hormone free, vegan, gluten free? The list is endless and grows by the minute.

What happened to the good old days when Toll House cookies were a necessity following a tough school day?  When a glass of milk with Hershey’s was the drink of choice and Yoo Hoo was revered by chocolate gourmets?

Did we care if our wine was filled with Flavonoids, our flour was enriched, chickens were free range or vegetables organically grown?

Now it is all about organic, environmentally correct and green clothing and toys.

Washing detergents that don’t pollute and some dubious child-rearing methods that don’t compute.

Still, one must look on with a sense of gratitude that their grandchildren are so loved and adored that our own children are putting so much effort into raising them in new ways. Ways that may ultimately create a whole new set of issues and consequences no one ever foretold or saw coming. Hopefully, they will not.

Sadly, our children haven’t yet grasped the “here one day; gone and guilty another theory” of child rearing.

When my daughter was born her pediatrician recommended a certain brand of formula.

I followed all the rules, but being a baby boomer, pseudo hippy I also had some ideas. I delivered all natural, made baby food in a blender and believed I was doing the best I possibly could to raise her in a healthy and caring fashion. After all, we claimed to be tied to the earth.

Bursting with confidence, I entered second child land self-assured.  

I spoke to the doctor about formula for my newborn son and asked if I should continue using the same I’d used for my daughter.

“Oh, no,” he said immediately. “There is way too much fat in that brand, we never recommend it anymore.”

Oops, hello guilt. Confidence just fell to the basement and I am now feeling responsible for every fat cell that may have build a condo in my daughter’s thighs.

I found refuge in the belief my homemade, healthy baby food would somehow repair my folly.

I had only listened to the doctor after all, how was I to know?

Of course my new greatest fear was that the formula I was now feeding my son would also in five years be found sorely lacking.

Motherhood is difficult. There are no manuals, but tons of books with competing methods and, of course the advice from your own parents that everyone takes with a grain of salt. After all, every generation knows better—or does it?

One would think a doctor’s counsel would be paramount in the “this can’t hurt my baby” department, but as every parent learns, medical information changes like the wind and so too the advice that’s offered.

Yet, if raising your own children was challenging, being a grandparent today creates a new set of trials.

Sadly, with aging comes less total recall, at least for some, yet grandparenting foists new rules and regulations on one constantly. My short-term memory has left the building, but I can remember the sixties better now than when I lived them.

I am often guilty of forgetting some new instruction, finding myself in hot water and in, “Mother I told you not to say it that way land.”

This is hard, like studying for finals when your dorm neighbors are partying upstairs.

What to say, how to act, what to feed, wow, there is a great deal of new data, and sadly the computer in my head cannot boot up as quickly.

Our offspring are so serious while we just want to grab our grandchildren and have them all to ourselves.

One friend told me recently she and her husband were at lunch with their grandson.

When Grandpa attempted to feed his pride and joy a piece of cake he was blocked by his daughter’s lecture on the evils of sugar.

He turned to his wife and whispered, “We’ll have him all next week when they’re on vacation then we can feed him whatever we want.”

If this sounds unfair or harsh, let me remind you all that no child ever wanted to rush to grandma’s house for celery? No kid ever bragged that my grandma makes the best quinoa or vegan cupcakes.

Point of fact, one of the joys of childhood is the knowledge that grandparents are exempt from home rules and regulations.

Visiting is entering that special land of “I am the grandchild and anything goes at Grandma’s house.”

An important part of learning about unconditional love is the understanding there is a place on earth where you are ruler of the world. You can do no wrong, and as we all know that place is at Grammy’s.

I imagine that’s why Red Riding Hood was so shocked to see a big bad wolf. No bad stuff could ever happen, because it’s the ultimate “all-about-me zone.”

As an enlightened, yet frequently confused grandmother, I have attempted to live within the guidelines, at least when I could remember them. I have tried to redo my cooking to include more healthy versions of my children’s favorites.

These newly “greened up” recipes help, but don’t you kind of want to occasionally bake that yummy chip filled cookie for your little angels and serve them up a giant glass of cold milk (cows not almonds), read them a Grimm fairy tale then let them watch a Road Runner cartoon with you? 

Today’s kids will grow up shopping at Whole Foods (whole paycheck) and believing you have to sell half your stock portfolio to go to a grocery store.

However, at the end of the day, perhaps this may be a case of the egg teaching the chicken. Our kids do deserve the benefit of the doubt. We did.

Ironic if our grandchildren subsequently offer up a whole new set of rules for our great grandchildren, and wouldn’t it be ironic if it were the old ones we lived by?

Lox and Bagel Bites

2 cucumbers

1 tub whipped cream cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion

½ cup nova lox cut up

Bagel chips

1 hard boiled egg optional

Cut cucumbers in 1-inch circles

Hollow out seeds and pat dry and set aside

Mix together lox onions and cream cheese and lighting salt and pepper. Remember lox can be salty so go slow with the seasoning

With a teaspoon or a pastry bag fill cucumber rounds with cream cheese mixture.

Garnish with pieces of bagel chips and if so desired grate some hard boiled egg and capers on top.

Great appetizers for a brunch or a snack anytime.

Welcome to My World

Thanks for joining me on this journey through the recesses of my crazy life and crazier mind. If I’ve learned anything from living it is that it’s all so much easier if you can take existence with a teaspoon of chocolate and a sense of humor. After all is said and done, I guess life is really easy, but people make it hard. I strive daily to make it easier by laughing at the absurd, feeling compassion for the struggling and opening my heart to humanity. I wish all my readers, love laughter and all their wishes fulfilled.

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter…” Mark Twain