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

     lemondropcookies    

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

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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.