Tuesday, November 24, 2009

coffee cake

After looking at it sitting on my pantry-shelf for about 5 months (!) I finally decided to make up the "GF Pantry" coffeecake. It is SCRUMPTIOUS! I added pecans and dried cherries (tart) to the topping mix. It's going to be hard to keep out of the stuff. I am going to have to slice it up and freeze this FAST or risk eating the whole pan and becoming a human blimp! Anyway, highly-recommended!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tears-in-your-eyes GF Lasagna

This turned out seriously delicious and, had I not jumped up and frozen the leftovers in serving-sizes, we would have eaten the pan-full and licked it clean!
6 Lasagna sheets (I use "Tinkyada" brown rice with bran)
Fresh mozzarella for topping
Meat filling:
8 oz minced lean beef or pork
1/2 c chopped peppers (I like to use peppers with a little "heat" but sweet peppers are more trad)
1/2 chopped onions
4 T sun-dried tomato pesto (available in the "spaghetti sauce" aisles)

saute the onions and peppers in a couple of T of oil (olive or grapeseed) until tender then add and brown the meat. Add the pesto after taking the meat out of the pan.

Cheese filling:
1 c skim-milk ricotta
2/3 cup skim-milk shredded mozarella
4-6 T parmesan (I adjust this to taste each time I make a recipe)
1 beaten egg
"Jane's Krazy Mixed-up Salt" to taste

I use Winn-Dixie Italian-style diced tomatoes, which are already seasoned. If I have time, I make my own sauce, but the sauce is up to you. 1 to 2 cans will do it.

Spray or oil a loaf-pan. put one layer of sauce in the bottom and layer on 2 lasagna sheets (boards). Spread a layer of cheese filling, then some meat. Pour on some sauce. Repeat for second layer, finishing off the fillings. Top off with last 2 lasagna sheets, the rest of the sauce and cover with sliced Mozzarella. (Use shredded in a pinch, I just like the way slices melt and toast.)
Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.
Freezes well.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

some recycling went on

I am fiddling around with re-cycling some things. I figured out how to re-use my Keurig K-cups! I take the aluminum cover off, rinse them carefully, then refill with my own coffee. I cover it tightly with PressnSeal, then pop it back into the brewer cup, lining the hole on the bottom up with the "puncher" inside there and proceed as usual. I awaited a deluge of hot water the first time I tried it, but it worked perfectly. YOu can get a "my own k-cup" gadget with a filter in it that allows this, but it's fun to outwit "the system."
The other is those little "face wash" things that the UK Company "Boots" sell. This is a mix of witch hazel and some essential oils, like Tea Tree, and a little pump sends out a nice, foamy face wash. I've mixed up my own with the w/h, other oils, (like my grapeseed oil) and a little of my "better" bath gels for the sudsing agent. WHOOOSH...foamy face-wash again! I would guess it cost maybe 10¢.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cedric Hears Eating

All I have to do is make crinkly noises with a paper bag and Ceddie KNOWS it's snacktime!
He was on the bed, which added to his already amazing little Papillon springs!

Friday, September 18, 2009

gluten free across the pond

OK, hands-down: everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I found in the UK is so far and above most of the stuff I have gotten here in the US that the mind boggles. It's enough to make you move.
British Airways also did a wonderful job on GF meals!
Well, kids, there's always mailorder!
If you go over there, Waitrose supermarkets have some of their own brand of snacks and breads that are delicious.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

oatmeal cookies and airline options

On a trip to Whole Foods this week, I was picking up some snack stuff to carry along on my upcoming trip to London. I found "Lucy's Oatmeal Cookies" and bought them with the usual crossed fingers. (I had gotten several boxes of Glutino's shortbreads and been disappointed, so it's always a dice-toss). I am glad to report these are delicious to the point of addictive.
I have requested "gluten-free" for my flight on British Airways and will report back on how well this works. I managed to "frequent flyer miles" my way into a Business Class upgrade, so I don't know if this will affect what I get or not. I do intend to ask one of the cabin staff what I would have gotten in Economy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

bread mixes

I am really grateful to have discovered "Bob's Red Mill" line of flours and mixes. I did the "homemade" bread mix this week and it's lovely - makes a great sandwich without having to toast it to keep it from falling apart (big complaint with most GF breads!)
The neat thing that happened with this one was the way it got baked! I had just started it in the oven when the power went out. A call to the electric company revealed that we'd be out for about 4 hours...what to do? I used my gas grill!!! No joke..it has a lid and closes up, so I turned the flame on low, popped the loaf in, closed the lid and crossed my fingers. After the requisite cooking-time passed, I tested it...nice, springy top! PERFECTLY-DONE loaf! I am amazed! Nice to know that this works. SOMEWHERE in my camping junk I have one of those little Coleman ovens that fits on top of the camp stove, but I have no idea where it is! Guess I need to devote some time to finding it, but, it's nice to know my ad-lib method works so well! The grill is small enough to pack along for camping!
There's nothing quite so lovely as a hot slice of fresh, just-out-of-the-oven bread with some real butter on it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Genius Bread

"Genius Bread" is a new item featured at the UK's "Tesco" supermarkets. Having read rave reviews on the Yahoo GF support forum, I was itching to try it once I get to London and was thinking in terms of hauling some back. Now, here comes one of the sunny sides of signing up for a company's email notifications: it can now be purchased online and they ship to the US!!!! I have ordered two loaves as well as another company's biscottes, aka "rusks" "Melba toasts." It will be nice to have sandwiches back in my life as well as something closer to "real" biscottes for my brie.
Still loving the Keurig more daily, especially since I can use my own coffee in the little "My K-cup" brewer. Haven't tried that one with tea yet. but, let's face it, tea needs to steep.
I keep writing "Genius" to beg them to get with "Whole Foods" and license the bread over here. Most GF breads fall apart unless you toast them. This is ok for most sandwiches I like, as in peanut butter and BLT's, but it would be nice to have a nice, soft sandwich.
The breads as well as other items can be found here:
bon appetit!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

coffee makers

Being a coffee junkie, I must have one of every kind of coffee-maker known to humanity, going from my old camp percolater, to the big, programmable one for parties, my old (all-time favourite) KRUPS 4-cup drip coffee-brewer, (which was a premium with a "Gevalia" subscription at the time) a "portable" espresso-maker, (Handpresso) my "Barista" espresso machine, the French press and on and on and on...recently, I've been fooling around with one-cup machines.
The Senseo...nice cuppas, does a good job on tea, you can get a DIY pod-maker for it. It leaks occasionally. The water-reservoir doesn't always "sit" reliably in it's dock and you can come in and find water all over the place.
Tassimo: BIG THUMBS-DOWN. There is no way to make your own t-discs, number one, and they are expensive. If you don't get the t-disc directly on the punch, you can end up with coffee grounds or MILK all over the place. Also very difficult to clean. When I decided to move it out to my workshop, where it doesn't get used as much, I noticed milk and chocolate from the milk and the cocoa disks encrusted all over the machine's innards. VERY hard to get to and clean. I had to use q-tips, a toothbrush and toothpicks to get the crud off. I have the Braun and a friend has the Bosch...they both have the same cleaning issues!
Also, the little tank that holds your cup fills up with water really fast...some kind of run-off from the reservoir when the coffee is brewing. You have to remember to empty it out every couple of days.
I am now using my KEURIG and like it hugely. You do have to fill the reservoir each time you make a cup, but this is not a problem. VERY secure in terms of the "punch"...there's no way you CAN'T put the cup in properly and no spillovers. Even if you over-fill the reservoir, it's fine. You also get a refillable cup to use for your own coffee and a third party has a cup you can purchase that will take the "pods" from the Senseo-type coffee brewers.
Still kind of pricey, but, for the occasional cuppa, without wasting coffee as I do when I use even the 4-cup brewer.
When you live alone, small-quantity appliances are very nice.
Don't even LOOK at ANYTHING made by "Mr. Coffee." lousy stuff, and the "Cuisinart"
The "Handpresso" is brilliant. As long as you have access to some hot water, it's a wonderful gadget to have along on a trip, esp if you're out hiking etc. There's nothing quite as nice as pulling into a rest-area on the interstate and brewing yourself up an espresso! I fill my most reliable thermos with boiling water just prior to leaving and pack along expresso pods (I like ILLY pods..Starbucks sells them, as well.)
PS No, I ain't rich, I just know how to use "ebay!!!" I think I paid $20 for my last Senseo, bought when the first went belly-up. It was a new item, just cheaper because older. Maybe the newer ones don't leak as easily. Always cruise ebay and amazon.com before you buy anywhere else!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I start getting "Proms" fever about this time of year. For anybody scratching their head, it's the world's most wonderful classical-music festival, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, sponsored by the BBC. I fell in love with the "Proms" in 2004 and have been making it an annual thing. Wish I could go for the whole two months, but, there ARE other things in life and I can't leave the home and the critters that long!!!
So, my bags are GETTING packed, I've got my reservations.......we stay in the dorms at Imperial College, right behind the Albert Hall, making it convenient to the concerts, esp "Last Night" when you need to run home and change into glad-rags.
2005, I discovered "Promming" which refers to standing in the arena and is where all the fun starts, so we (me and whoever comes along) have been doing that ever since. I've made some nice friends promming. Took one of my "giggle of girls" along last year, Liz, and I think I planted the seeds of an opera fan. It's such fun to show the kids London...I get to see it all "for the first time all over again!"
Here's a movie from 2008 of a local choir letting us all practice "Jerusalem" and warm up for "Last Night of the Proms!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

losing it

Well, having gotten a handle on the gluten-free thing, I am back to doing Weight Watchers. One of the tricky things is that anything with the GF flours involved tends to be very high-calorie, due to the addition of things like tapioca starch.
I guess the "one day at a time" is the best approach. I did pretty well yesterday and came in on-target with my points.
I will go to their meetings when hell freezes over. I do the online.
One thing about doing the plan conscientiously is that I get more fruits and veggies into my diet and this is a good thing.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

drugstore renovation and school lunches

One of the local institutions, Carter Drugs, has done a renovation. I guess I need to drop by and see if they have a) restored the "old" look or just done more "modernization."
I hate to sound like an old f*** but, when I was a kid, the downtown drugstores still had those great little black-and-white, octagonal tiles and the "ice-cream parlour" chairs and tables...and they ALL had an ice-cream parlour! My doctor used to give me a "prescription" for "one big, chocolate ice-cream cone" and we'd go to the drugstore and get it. (nice doctor!!!)
We shall stay tuned.
Made it through a week of "art camp" lunches without getting gluttened.
I do wonder what's in the hot-dogs, though. I guess I should have checked, but I melt before a cheap, nasty, chemical-filled hot dog, even without the bun. (the GF buns I had in the fridge and took along the first week, were AWFUL. I threw them out when I came home.)
I have leftovers around here up the wazoo from all the eating-out I did this week. Lunch today will be leftover ribs from Grumble's, leftover coleslaw from the Ranch, and there's something else in there, I forget what. My fridge is a jumble of little styrofoam "go plates."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hooray for Betty Crocker!!

I made up the new gluten-free yellow-cake this week as cupcakes. They're GREAT and even freeze quite nicely. I tried them on some non-allergic friends who couldn't tell the difference. Of course, having to order them from amazon means having about a year's supply of each. Oh well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where is our blogger?

One of the participants in the
"City Daily Photo" collection of bloggers, "A." has gone missing in Tehran. This blog is joining in the "Where is our blogger?" day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

North Alabama Sacred Harp Convention 2009

One of the best experiences on earth is to join in with a Sacred Harp singing. The National Convention every year in Birmingham is a little taste of heaven. REALLY! Although it has become more of a recreation, and welcomes singers of all backgrounds, (I spotted a couple of yarmulkes in this year's crowd, and once had dinner with a self-described "secular, buddhist, agnostic") it is still one of the most spiritually uplifting events of MY yeaar. I've missed a few years but, after getting back into this delightful musical swim, I plan to only allow a mega-disaster to keep me from future sings. Some friends and I are going to try and get a group together to sing locally once a month.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marshmallow treats

I love Rice Crispies treats, and the originals aren't safe in terms of cross-contamination, so, I
just had to make my own! I used my GF rice cereal and they were great. Then the light-bulb went on! I used some of my "Bakery on Main" granola and my "treats" have moved into another universe of delight altogether. Calorific as heck, but, hey, life is short!
Use the recipe on the back of the original cereal box and just substitute any crunchy cereal! Great to pop in your bag when going somewhere and you don't know if there will be a munchy that's "safe". Carry these and some GF pretzels along as well as some fruit if it's going to be a long day with breaks and meals. The annual Sacred Harp convention, which is on today's agenda, includes the trad "dinner on the grounds., with the equally-trad fried chicken, etc but you can be pretty sure there will be some ham and other things in the "safety zone," When dessert-time rolls around, it's nice to have something of your own to eat and not feel left-out, so the treats and the fruit will "do it for you."
I have looked at the ingredients in the new Tesco GF bread and am going to try and duplicate it in my kitchen. Wonder how many doorstops I will bake up before I get it right????

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dead squash

Half my squash plants have died. This is a major disappointment. I think there is a problem with that corner. We planted corn in there last year, and it didn't do so well, either. Also, two of the cukes have died. Oddly, the one in between the two that have bit the dust is doing find, but no cukes, so far. The tomatoes are kicking butt.
Live and learn.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, yeah, the gluten

Well, back to the gluten-free thing.
Winn-Dixie, which is the only decent grocer we have in town, just added a small section of GF foods! Wow! It features a lot of the "Red Mill" flours and mixes as well as the delicious rice-and-nut crackers!
Kudos, W-D!!! This saves me a LOT of trips to Birmingham and ordering online. Given that the selections there are kind of limited to basics, there will still be some of this, but less, since the "basics" are what you run out of quickly.
I have ordered a "breading" mix, having run through my own ideas for fried-chicken dredge, with mixed results.
I made a tuna casserole with "Mrs. Leeper's" version of "tuna helper." Very, very nice. I did add onions and mushrooms which, I am sure improved it no end. Since this is the first time I've made it, I can just imagine how it would be without, which I guess is ok, but onions improve anything (except dessert (-;).
I am still not thrilled with ANY of the breads I've tried..they all tend to crumble. The "Grainless Baker" breads, however, are quite good when toasted, which the others have NOT been, so , for other things I will just stick to my lettuce-wrapped "sandwiches."
Getting fibre in is still a challenge! I am trying to eat more fruit and having a veggie at every meal.
Nice that that old standby, corned-beef hash, is still on the menu! Nice for breakfast with an egg on top. Classic!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gardening and thinking

I took advantage of the cool snap to get out there and do some more weeding, mulching, staking etc. I was thinking about all those organic gardeners who assure us that, if your plants are healthy, tended regularly and given the nutrition and water that they need, then attacks by insects and diseases will be minimized, if not eliminated. I was comparing this year's garden, which reflects all I learned last year about the above nurturing and noting how healthy everything is. Last year was real hit-or-miss.
It occurred to me that the care of our souls is no different. If we tend ourselves (I am of the opinion that we don't "HAVE" a soul, we ARE a soul, we "Have" a body) regularly, feeding ourselves with the good "food and water" of worship, reflection, and study, then we flourish, we resist the attacks of predators and we produce good fruits.
Now, about those moles........I am working on a metaphor for THEM. In the meantime, back to the big ammo!!!
The potatoes are finally coming up, so I am back to humming "leek-and-potato soup!" I put them up on a little hill that was made by dumping some of the better-looking soil that came out of the swimming-pool hole, so perhaps the moles will miss them.
I have a moral dilemma out there, getting bigger every day. I had thought it would be good to offer the "first fruits" to God by donating an armful of squash to the Bosco center, per a suggestion by my friend who works with the Edmundite missioners, who run that hot-meal programme. Well, so far, only ONE squash almost ready to pick. So, here it goes: shall I go ahead and eat that one myself and await the several that are going to be ready in a couple of weeks? I mean, what can they do with ONE SQUASH? It would seem kind of puny. I guess God will cope with my not hanging on to the letter or the law and getting them a decent basket-load instead of showing up, looking at the hundred-or-so folks in line for lunch and saying "Hi, I brought you a squash."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

fossil finds!

One of the "giggle of girls" made a spectacular find on our BPS trip! I will have to get the spelling of the thing from our paleo mentor in B'ham, but it was good enough that the professor who was heading up our trip told her it would have to go to the state collection! She gets her name on it forever, though, and a letter of recognition. LATER: It's a "Rudist." He described it as "a clam trying to be a coral." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudist
We hunted in a great gully over towards Mississippi. REALLY the bottom of the ancient ocean.
Looked like the remains of a prehistoric clam-bake.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Modern improvements

One of the things that has made life INFINITELY better is the invention of drafting /drawing pens that don't involve having to constantly take the nibs off for soaking (in ammonia, yet) and unclogging...not to mention having to suck on the darned things to get them "started." I was thinking about my old set of drafting tools...I have my uncle's set around somewhere...and how much time I used to have to spend cleaning the things. AND they cost an arm-and-a-leg.
Yeah, life does get better!!!

hello from the Pap

This was on a post to the Yahoo group. Thought it was too cute!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Where are they???

No sign of potato seedlings yet. hmmmm.
Had my first salad entirely out of the garden last night. YAY! Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, minced onion. Can't wait to add my lovely peppers and cukes! The first cuke out there is about 1.5 inches long now and there are some more little cukes starting to show up. The squash is producing, but I've promised the "first fruits" there to God, so they have to go over to the Bosco centre.
Also tried fried chicken using white-bean flour and rice flour. Just OK. You can taste the oil a little too strongly. Back to the drawing-board on THAT, too, but it's not bad. I was just about ready to go to KFC and get "glutened, " I was that desperate to have some fried chicken.
The wings I did with the all-purpose GF flour last time were better.
It's a learning-process.
Still, it's nice to know there is cold fried chicken in the fridge! One of my favourite things on earth!!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

What's in the garden?

How does my garden grow?
Yellow squash, tomatoes...three varieties, several varieties of peppers, okra, onions, Ichiban eggplants and one larger variety (I forget which), kale, cucumbers, collards, string-beans, cantaloupes, and little red potatoes, basil, parsley-sage-rosemary-and-thyme, lemon balm, strawberries and leeks. I am going to try to get some sugar-snap peas in, hopefully, it won't be too late in the season, and some lettuce that Burpee claims I can still plant. I am going to put some of that into the aerogarden as well. I had some of the last of my Fall lettuce last night in a salad and it was SO good.
Won't plant collards again. I forgot that I don't really like them that much. ditto the kale.
Maybe next year I will try Belgian endive. It's a fussy thing to grow, but it's so hard to get it here in Selma.
I need to let the garden rest over the winter, so, anything I grow over that season will have to be in the greenhouse, sitting in boxes right now in the "barn." I might set it up on the deck so I will have a warm, sweet-smelling place to sit "outside" during the colder months. Actually, I have been mulling over putting it up and trying to grow some tropical stuff...like maybe a little avocado tree, lemons, or something.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Potatoes, potatoes

Got my potato tubers in! I look out at my garden and sort of hum: "leek-and-potato-soup! leek-and-potato-soup! leek-and-potato-soup! leek-and-potato-soup!" Can't wait. I did one of those little-kid things and dug up a leek to see what was going on. Not big enough yet to even qualify, so I crossed my fingers and re-planted it. Maybe, by the time the potatoes come in, the leeks will be soup-ready.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Perfect eggs

There was some tabloid crap a while ago about Prince Charles being terribly picky about his soft-boiled eggs. (Oh, COME ON!!!! The guy has a professional chef. ) Well, it WAS a slow-news week..no reality stars dying, nobody caught in somebody else's bed or UFO sightings). In any case, should anybody be having issues along this line, I would recommend my little egg-cooker. It's a Krups and makes either two PERFECT poached eggs or up to 7 soft-boiled. Different hardness settings are available and the product is, well, perfect. I also tend to over-cook hard-boiled eggs, so this is a great gadget to save me from that, as well. I guess other brands are equally good, but I have a lot of confidence in Krups' products.
I own up to reading the London Daily Mail for my daily hard laugh.
It's like real-life as satire.
But, back to the eggs....you can sort of set them and forget them until the little buzzer goes off...it will also switch over to "warm" while you get the toast buttered and save the bacon from burning.
Great way for the those of us who are groggy until the second cuppa to have a misery-free breakfast.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The things that come with doglettes

My house is littered with dried bull penises. No joke. I had never heard of such a thing until I went to order a fresh supply of "bully sticks" to replace the ones Lynn sent along with Cedric.
After I muttered, "Oh," when I read the description of what they are, I ordered a good supply, I mean, what the heck. They both love these things. But Daisy likes to have supplies all over the house so she never has to go far for a nosh.
Good for their teeth.
Bull penises, eh? Who'd a thunk it.
Waste not, want not.

Thanks for the grub

I've been reading "The Year of Living Biblically" which is an account of a man's year of trying to live every, EVERY, rule in the Bible to the letter, as far as possible. Full of insight and some good laughs, but I have been thinking about his following the injunction to pray AFTER eating. You thank God for the food as well as providing the earth to grow it etc. Working in my garden has me thinking about this. So, I have been trying to pray AFTER my meals and give particular thanks for my own little plot of dirt.
I have gotten quite a lot of food for thought out of this book, especially as concerns prayer, controlling anger and owning up to your sins, especially the small ones.
Don't think I'm going to have my clothes checked for mixed fibres, though.
If not for my love for Christ, I'd be a Jew. I love Judaism After attending High Holy Days here, I ordered a Union Prayer Book and enjoy using it to pray and meditate. There is so much in Judaism that encourages a life of holiness and letting your faith and tradition inform your daily living.
Wish more Xians would get into this...me, too! But I AM struggling with it!

Gluten-free quiche

Easy enough on this one! You just make a crust out of potatoes! This whole GF thing is turning out to be a pretty interesting adventure. They have a spinach-and-artichoke quiche on the menu at "Major Grumbles," a local restaurant, so I thought that would be fun to make for the "girls" when they came over for our monthly book/photos/catch-up get-together. Worked great. OF course, eggs and potatoes go so well together, anyway.
I am going to take a deep breath and try my own bread this week. It has to be better than the ready-made stuff on the market. For some reason, the minute a manufacturer has to leave something OUT of a product, they make it twice as SWEET. I cannot figure this out. It applies in spades to low-fat concoctions and, to a large degree to the GF products. I bought some croutons, olive-oil and garlic, and they tasted like garlicky cake. Gross. Just what is the thinking behind this? The bread is the same deal...too sweet to make great toast or sandwiches. Very dense and chewy as well. SO, a little experimenting is in order. I'm going to try some of the suggestions from my support-group and see how it goes.
I should have taken a picture of the quiche. Maybe next time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Deep Ca-ca

Yeah, that's what it is. I get to do the "smelly bits" today. Daisy, who loves to roll in that kind of stuff will probably have to be physically restrained as I add compost, consisting mostly of cow manure.
Oh well, I'm covering it up with straw.
And, if I don't get my butt out of this bed and go get it done, it will be too warm
Can't believe we are back to "hot" after the chills of last week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Inside Daisy's brain

Doglette psychology, 101. In the past, Daisy has shown NO interest in these two, at least, items:
cottage cheese
Now, Cedric thinks these are the breakfast or snacks of choice. The first time Daisy saw Cedric noshing on the Cheerios, she HAD to have some and now nibbles it whenever I offer. Ditto the cottage cheese. I had filled her bowl up with perfectly good "Little Champions" chicken and yet she sat, dejected, by C while he ate his cottage cheese, then finished it off when he walked away, all the time giving me a look that just screamed "you are so unfair to me! You give that hairy little dog the good stuff!"
Miranda cat got away with a good portion of the chicken while Daisy was holding her pity-party over the cottage-cheese issue! I guess she got enough breakfast in the end. She always has a big bowl of her favourite dry snack sitting there, anyway.
Paging the Dog Whisperer!!!

Eau de Melisse

Etienne Decroux's wife was very much the "earthy" type, which is probably exactly who and what he needed!!! She took the health and well-being of the students quite seriously and decided I was "fragile." SHe might have been the only person on earth who ever viewed me as "fragile." I did get headaches a lot, and colds and her favourite remedy was a tincture called "eau de melisse de Carmes." Good old Lemon Balm. For quite some time I had had to order my favourite home-remedy from specialized pharmacies or make a trek to some health-food store. Last year I planted my own and have a great crop. SO, I am going to make my own tincture this week! Thanks to this great blog, http://herbalistlisazahn.blogspot.com/ I have good, simple instructions, so, off to the races!
If you have trouble sleeping, headaches, cold or flu, etc, this is a wonderful little remedy to have around. Check out her blog, as well as these sites for more:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God's good earth.

It has been a while since I completely lost track of time! I went out early this morning to take advantage of the cooler hours for some gardening. I had started digging, weeding and shoring up my plants when some clouds came up and I thought, great, I can stay out here for a while longer....a "while longer" seems to have turned into the better part of the day. I came in for a lunch break and it was after 1 pm. Since I started well before 9, then I was out there at least 4 hours. Sure didn't seem so. Nice.
My goal is to get the garden "tended" so that I don't have to worry so much about the weeds and all while I'm dealing with art camp matters. I got the strawberries "strawed" with leftover straw from last year, so the berries won't hit the ground and rot. I assume that's why you do that.
One thing about weeding and digging on your hands and knees is that you see more. I saw tiny stringbeans starting on my bean plants, the garden toad, (hope he finds his new house I bought him) tiny signs of other veggies starting to happen. I am going to have LOADS of squash...plenty to share! I think I will have fresh eggplant for supper within a week or so! Yum.
I need to get some netting to put over my peaches so the birds don't get them first! Looks like I am going to have about 6 peaches, which is not bad for the first year. No pears this year, apparently, but the pear trees are healthy, anyway, One of them is already pretty big. Can't wait to see how big it is this time next year. I am going to have a shady little lane there in a couple or three years from now! One the trees are big enough for that, I think I will put a little folly or something in among them.
Gonna have some blueberries, soon, too!
God is so good to me. I don't know why, byt S/He is! I look around and feel so blessed!

Monday, April 20, 2009

choppers and beauty

The Butterfly dog had his teeth cleaned today and did great...no extractions! He now has white little snappers and sweet breah. Since it was a chance for both of them to have beauty treatments, I also checked The Daisy in for a shampoo, blow-dry and manicure. Which is to say, she had a bath and got her nails clipped.
Odd not to have the doglettes underfoot. I had to leave them there until time to pick up a somewhat groggy Cedric. He had his pain/antibiotics evening dose a while ago and is being very, very mellow right now. Since I just dragged out my codeine compound, we're both kind of mellow, I guess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

garden duty and cooking and pups

Well, gotta stop treating myself like Marguerite Gautier on a bad day and get my garden tended. It needs weeding and mulching. The strawberries need, um, straw.
The new pup is settling in nicely! SO FAR Daisy hasn't tried to attack him and even went and sort of cuddled up beside him while I was running the vacuum today. Excellent.
He is still telling off the cats, but with less conviction.
I also must try making some of my own bread. One thing I find I DON'T like about too many of the GF bread-type items - bread, crackers, etc, is that they are a tad too sweet. If I make up my own bread perhaps I can go back to enjoying toast.
Spent a bit of money today to order a new hooked rug for my bedroom and a big, square chaise lounge for the deck. Looks more like a futon platform and the backs fold up separately. It will be wonderful for working outdoors. I can spread my papers and pencils and computer etc out and enjoy the Spring weather. I also ordered a hammock.
Another squash plant arrived. I think I am going to have to re-learn freezing and pickling.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Daisy butts in

Hey, this IS MY BLOG after all!!!
The neatest little kid came over to splash in Mom's pool. I would never get NEAR that nasty wet stuff, myself. Thank heaven she keeps it covered if nobody is in there swimming.....but they must be out of their minds to get IN the stuff.
Anyway, one of my favourite species, a KID, came over and I had a great time. He's "Mom's" BFF's first grandson, Malo. He's 2 1/2...real smart kid! Good taste in dogs!!!!

leftovers salad

Well, the Deacon and I hit the local hotel for lunch and the "chef's salad" was so huge that I am about to eat leftovers from it for the third time! I figured I'd boil up some rice pasta and make a ham salad (they use that nasty little diced ham, but it's great for ham salad!).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

GF "find of the day"

VAN'S WAFFLES! I picked these up at Fresh Market in Montgomery, Al. Scrumptious. I'm having them with local raw honey (supposed to be helpful for local pollen allergies. Don't know about that, but it's real tasty!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coping with a sad time

Daisy Dawg and I are on the road home from the weaving conference without our little Abby. Sometime during the night before we were to leave for home, an angel (I'm sure there was an angel) came and took Abelard home to the Rainbow Bridge. I knew something was wrong when the vet at the kennel where they were staying in San Antonio took my arm and patted my hand and asked if I had gotten any of her calls. I had turned the phone off during the conference and I am just as glad I didn't have to hear that on the phone, since there was nothing to be done. He died in his sleep. They were kind enough to call Northside (our vet) and to take care of the cremation and returning his little ashes to his human family later this week. I asked her to donate his little bed to the local shelter.
Whatever part of Abby is still with us is curled up in my heart along with other of my "fur persons" who've gone on without me. I miss him so much.
Daisy was morose for most of the drive yesterday but has perked up. This has helped my own mood considerably.
I am grateful that, as Abby was mistreated and neglected for the first half of his short life, I was able to make the last years a time of love, care, spoiling, cuddles, adventures, security and good food. Thank you. Father, for the gift of Abelard Dawg and help me to give him back to you with grace and peace.
thanks for listening and caring,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


At times I am amazed and moved by how content they are just to be with me. We are tucked up in the kingsized bed at La Q, while I procrastinate on hitting the road. I'm telling myself that I'm waiting for the rush-hour traffic to settle down. Abelard is cuddled up on the left, curled into the curve of my waist and Daisy is draped over my leg, doing a little grooming. They've had their breakfast and we all will have a walk before we go "car car." Daisy was the first dog in my life, and, while I still adore my kitties, I had never realized how companionable a dog would be! Of course, when I was working so much outside of my home, I would not have had time to take care of one properly, and cats are great companions, as well. But, let's face it, they do not, as a rule, like to "go car car." Although, when I was a kid, we had one who did. She also like to play in the sprinklers and used to attack dogs. (and win) neat cat!!!

La Quinta

Overnight at a La Quinta in Metairie, LA. Guess I should have done Lafayette, since it's closer, but I wanted to be near a Whole Foods, just in case I found I had forgotten something crucial. Not, but, I'm new at this.
La Quintas are great for me, since I often travel with my little dogs and Daisy and Abelard are welcome. They also have some good choices for breakfast. There was a bowl full of hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cream cheese. I think I need to pick up a toaster, though.
I have a cooler that plugs into the car outlet and will run "cool" or "hot" and does a terrific job, so I have my munchies that need keeping cool in there....some brie, yoghurts etc, so I can dodge any nasty surprises. Nice to be able to travel with your own "fridge!"
Long leg today....8 hours + to San Antonio.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

traveling Gluten-free

SO much to do before I can leave. Reservations are all in order and plans to blog the workshop on "Alabamaweaver" etc. I went to Publix in Montgomery and picked up some "Amy's Kitchen" entrees to take along and am going to make a tuna salad to pack in the cooler. Today I need to finish laundry, get some more weaving done and clean out and pack the Honda. Wish I could take "Moby Truck" but I guess the Honda is more economic for a long trip. plus more space for the doglettes. They have a reservation in San A for a "bed and biscuit" while Mom does the Hilton. Doesn't seem fair, does it? So, food and water for "Mom" and food and water for the doglettes, update the iPod, check the "don't forget" list and maybe get out of here around noon tomorrow. Staying overnight in Metairie, LA. OUTSIDE New Orleans. whew..down the street from a Whole Foods in case I need anything, so, outta here tomorrow!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

cannon to the left of me, cannon to the right......

Something just made me think an 18-wheeler hit my house, then I realized it might be cannon-fire. The re-enactors are at it again! I think that was a rehearsal going on. The actual weekend is April 17th and is tons of fun. Worth the trip.
http://www.battleofselma.com/ there's a youtube video linked.
Of course, it might have been an 18-wheeler hitting something....you never know.

Friday, March 20, 2009

spray-on grapeseed oil

Oh, joy, oh rapture unforeseen...I was at "Fresh Market" today and they have the "Pam-type" version of grapeseed oil. Pam doesn't make it, the company is "Spectrum." I am a real fan of grapeseed oil. Apparently, it's superior to olive oil, nutritionally, and will take very, very high temperatures.
Used it for "crashed potatoes" for supper.
link here to the crashed potatoes
I also follow her blog

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Proms Slide show

bits and pieces of past "Last NIght" gatherings

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

not quite Gluten...but

If you are as much of a coffee addict as I, well, you will "get" this one! I finally got fed up with my "Senseo" leaking water all over the counter two or three times a week and chucked it. I have a "MrCoffee" pod machine somebody gave me, but it sucks worse than making coffee with muddy water out of a plastic cup. SO I ordered the "Cuisinart" from Amazon. Not expensive and it's a brand-name I do trust, so we shall see. I'd not have bothered, but I have this HUGE collection of pods. When you live away from easy access to things, and bulk is cheaper, anyway you tend to stock up on stuff you use frequently, so I had ordered a case (6 bags ea) of the the decaf, the Kenya and the Cappucino E-pods, and needed a brewer compatible with those.
Of course, my favourite coffee gadgets is STILL the "handpresso" and I look forward to having it along on my trip to Texas next week. (NEXT WEEK! OMYGAWD!)
Even though, since I gave up on Gluten, my cravings have backed down, I still enjoy the taste of a good cuppa!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ice cream

SO many of the low-fat, sugar-free ice creams I checked seem to have "unacceptable" ingredients, so I figured it was time to haul my Cuisinart ice-cream maker and whipped up some Rocky Road, using sugar-free cherry-pie filling, GF choc chips, almonds and regular little marshmallows. YUMMY stuff. I DID add a quarter cup of heavy cream.
2 cups 1% milk
Splenda to taste
1/2 tsp GF vanilla extract
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cherry filling
1/2 cup marshmallows
when the ice cream is almost "set" add the goodies. Let process until thick. Spoon into a container and put into the freezer. I like to put it into one-serving containers. You can also spoon it into zip-lock freezer bags in individual-serving sizes.
I am going to do some frozen strawberry yogurt today, and make an yogurt "pie' with my GF cookie crumbs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The gardenscapes

The garden left and right.
Click to enlarge....if you like!

shoulda known

Well, no more communion wafers for me, unless I can persuade my church to bring in GF wafers. One other member has full-blown Celiac, so maybe they will bend. I guess that would mean the two of us had better show our faces at the communion rail whenever it's "open for business."
I took one yesterday, at a funeral Eucharist and hadn't been back in my pew five minutes before I felt like something was drilling a hole in my stomach. I was "queezy" all afternoon and did not sleep well. Such a little bit and all that reaction.
Ok, I GET IT!!!!!
Gee, you'd think God would give a person a pass on COMMUNION WAFERS! Oh well, "sorry, I'm just having the wine" from now on.
Had one of the Kinnikinnick Hot Cross Buns for breakfast. A tad sweet, but otherwise yummy. Lots of dried fruit tucked inside!
I guess I need to pluck up my courage and try some yeast baking!!!!

I ought to mention that I'm Episcopalian...so it has been suggested that I bring along a rice cracker. We aren't so hyper about transubstantiation, although some HIGH anglicans get their knickers in a twist about it...among other things. Oh well, they're fun to have around.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring shots

including the garden

Thursday, March 12, 2009

what's cookin'?

Spent the whole day in the kitchen. I got my GF graham cracker crumbs so I HAD to make a cheesecake. Low-fat cream cheese, egg substitute, Splenda and cutting 'way back on the butter in the crumb crust cut the calories down bigtime.
I needed GF cream of mushroom to make a tuna casserole, so I whipped one up using cornstarch and Nestle table cream. I took out one portion to eat AS soup, it was so good.
Also made some flourless corn bread...light, heavenly.
Hey, this GF thing is going to be fine!
Anyway, I have a lot of "no excuses" stuff in the freezer now for quick meals.

Light as a feather (recipe)

Flour-free cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (the trad thing is bacon grease)
1/4 tsp each baking soda and baking powder (gluten-free)
dash of salt

mix it all together thoroughly and bake at 435ยบ until browned on top. I like to use a mini-muffin pan or "sticks" pan for this.
The mini-muffins are done pretty fast, so keep an eye on them. They will also float right up to the ceiling, so eat them fast! (poetic license)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Garden Time

I have my garden about half in. I got out early this morning while it was still cool and started hoeing and pulling weeds. Got my first space dug and went after some plants. Off to Marvin's and the Farm Coop to get tomatoes, cukes, squash, peppers of all kinds, eggplants! Then the herbs: I am going to plant those in the middle.
I think I am going to give up on the cabbage family. I have had NO luck with any of them. The Brussels Sprouts have yet to become anything but decorative bunches of leaves, the cauliflowers only produced 2 "flowers" and they get about an inch across and start rotting. The broccoli "flowered" before it every produced any edible heads, etc etc etc. So, back to the produce dept for THOSE.
I still want to get some straight-necked squashes, since I like those better than the crooknecks. I am going to grow extras so I can take some to the hot-lunch centre here run by the Edmundite missioners. I would hope that anybody who has the extra space in their home gardens to grow some fresh veggies for programmes like this would do so. It's nice for these folks to have the occasional fresh items and it is something we can easily do.
I might put in some potatoes. We had pretty good luck with those last year.
My onions are coming along, as are the leeks.
I need to get this done so I can take off for Texas at the end of the month without any tasks left "hanging." I got started a little late last year, so it's good to be getting going NOW. Hopefully, we are done with freezes for the season. I do cross my fingers, since March in Alabama, even April can be a tad unpredictable. I am not tossing out my frost covers YET.
I guess I might put in some cantaloupes. They were "iffy" last year, although I had a few nice ones.
Pictures to come.

Friday, March 06, 2009

gluten out

Well, I have gone through the cabinets, fridge and freezer, evicting the gluten-containing. Friends are lucking out. I gave my yard guy a big box of stuff from the freezer. Joanie is getting all my Jenny Craig stuff, friends Dusty and Peggy "inherited" the flour.
I am, however discovering wonderful stuff, and used potato starch tonight to thicken my pot roast gravy. Wow!
One thing about cleaning out the freezer is that the pot roast wasn't the only thing I had forgotten I had down there at the bottom of the freezer. There were also a couple of London broils, some chicken breasts, steaks...all anti-biotic and hormone free stuff, so I am glad I found it all before it went bad. Yes, Virginia, meat CAN spoil in the freezer...just takes longer.
The pot roast cooked up deliciously.
One big trick is keeping up with fibre. I've started drinking soy milk because there's some fiber in it, and I like it, too, so there.
Had some wonderful gluten-free granola from "Bakery on Main." Delish.
I can't wait for the next time my dr. checks my iron levels! My dry skin has already gone away and I've only been doing this regime for a week. that was fast!
Somebody in the online support group suggests backing off raw veggies for a bit. This makes sense, since my gut is going to take a while to heal. Still, food doesn't 'hurt" the way it did a couple of weeks ago, and much less indigestion, not to mention the "other stuff."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

gluten the villain

Not to go into symptoms here, but, if you have gluten sensitivity, you know what I've been dealing with for years. At first, I thought it was milk. Cutting out cow's milk didn't do anything. THEN I went on a weight-loss regime that involved cutting out most bread and I noticed that the days I had meals with NO flour products, just rice or potatoes for the starch, that I got much better. SO, we did a week of elimination, then, immediately upon restoring flour, back to square one.
Well, that's pretty loud and clear.
I am learning to love rice-flour products. I picked up English muffins, bread and bagels at Whole Foods, as well as the DIY stuff for the bread machine. The muffins are scrumptious, and the bagels properly chewy. Very good. I gave away all my wonderful "King Arthur" flours to a friend who's into bread-making and it hurt like hell to see my brioche mix go out the door.
However, if I just think how uncomfortable I would be if I ate it kind of helps.
More label-reading in my life. It's amazing how many products, like SOY SAUCE and BEER have gluten lurking in there! I guess rice-beer is in my future. Definitely have to keep an eye on sauces....AND MY FRIENDS. When you say you cannot eat something, you get a lot of "just this once won't hurt" but it does. I love them, they love me, but it's hard to communicate the severity of this. I am hoping whatever damage has been done over the long term will start to heal.
I am thinking about getting a grain mill so I can do my own rice flour, but we shall see how the DIY works out first.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

snow show

slide show here:

Spring snow 2!!!!

To this

Spring snow!!!

From this:

theme day?

Ok, my friend "ramblinground" put up a pic of a chandelier for "March theme day" so here's a photo I took one day at "The Greystone" when my late Uncle and I were having lunch there. As my uncle fondly and, puzzled, used to put it "Nancy will take a picture of anything."

Friday, February 27, 2009

apples and whole foods

Well, it's like this...whenever I "hit" the Apple Store in Birmingham and "Whole Foods" the same day, I inevitably run into some of the same people both places.
Wonder what it is about Mac users? Somebody once did a survey and found that Mac users were more likely to be driving VW Beetles than any other group...this is the old "bugs."
I understand "Earthfare" is scheduled to open a store in Alabama sometime this year? Pretty much a clone of "Whole Foods,"
I wish they'd bring back the bulk bins, though.
Picked up a lot of rice-flour products and some gluten-free pancake mix. We shall see if that helps with the "digestive issues." Just different, at any rate.

Monday, February 23, 2009

the weaving blog

Find it here (copy and paste, or see "my blogs" in the profile section)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Organic fibres

I just placed a new post on the "weave" blog about naturally-coloured cottons. They are grown that way!
My favourite supplier of the spun yarns is Chamomile Connection:
she also has the best selection of other organic yarns I've seen so far, as well as some items such as bags and throws made from the fibres.
For people allergic to the processed stuff, this is a great alternative.
Keep it natural, kids!!!!!
Also, for those of you who don't know this, check out this Selma lady's new farm with sheep, goats etc. She started out doing goat-milk soaps and lotions (available at Mark's Mart and from her directly):
check out her blog as well

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well, I guess "other stuff" will come up on this blog. Great day of fossil-hunting! You can have your tyannosaurs and friends....give me botanicals. We went to spoil-piles at strip-mining sites in Bibb County where more than one of us hauled home some small boulders for yard decor! Nice to have pretty rocks with fossils in them, to boot, lying around your garden, pathways etc. We made a quick visit to the coke ovens near Blocton and a final stop at a road-cut for graptolites. As always, it's great just to spend time with the BPS members and I got to give my "handpresso" machine a workout. Good thing I was using decaf ESE pods, otherwise I would have been flying all afternoon. It makes a great little cuppa joe!
Now I have a truck full of rocks to sort out. I also have some very fragile stuff I need to stabilize.
Got hung up on a wire that was sticking out of one of the piles where I was taking the "slide on your butt" method of descending a pile of barely-stable rocks and ripped a small hole in my jeans. Now I am wondering whether I wil be a real child of the 60's and sew a peace-symbol patch over it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Planning, planning

There's nothing like getting the new Park Seed catalogue. I had some real issues with slugs this year. They got after my cauliflower and I think those plants are doomed. Having pets around means that the best stuff for slugs is NOT the best thing to use around the four-footers, so I am hoping the Sevin does the trick. I am still watching that cabbage I planted almost a year ago and that seems to be FINALLY making some "head"-way.
Being a new gardener means huge learning curves, I guess.
I don't know if I am going to try tomatoes again this Spring. I haven't had ONE tomato off my own plants.
Squash, on the other hand - those tried to take over the planet last year! GOOD EATING, though.
I do have some lovely kale and collards. I got a little bit of broccoli out of my plants.
I don't know if I am going to try melons again. They took WEEKS to ripen. Literally. So, I need to either find out what I did wrong, or just forget it.
I will plant eggplant again. I had the loveliest little baby eggplants last year! Also lots of cukes.
I finally turned off the irrigation system, since we are having so much great rain. I might go set it so that the veggies get a good drenching once or twice a week, but, as long as Ma Nature is taking care of it, that saves me about $100 a month!

this is going to have a change of purpose

This blog is going to get devoted to growing things, eating locally and, of course, Daisy's, Abelard's and Nancy's adventures.
New focus!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


weavering is pretty annoying in that they keep saying my blog is listed, but it isn't.
Their English isn't too good, either. Makes one wonder.
anyway, go here http://weaversouth.blogspot.com/
for the weaving blog.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Slow food and energy conservation

HO HO good thing I did NOT take the doglettes! I got there to find the only way to park within miles of the place was to use the valet parking! So, there I was in the pick-up, still full or rocks and smeared with red clay. Well, shoot. The dogs would have entertained the "valets" I guess. But, regardless of the chill, as long as the sun is out, that truck cab gets awfully hot.
Fascinating luncheon although a bit short on actual food. Small amount of a thin soup and a little bit of bread. I filed up on the bread and the cookies. The Mayor of Hoover spoke about their programme of converting municipality trash into ethanol. Damn, wish I could get Selma interested in doing this. Having a growing land-fill practically next door gets old.
I have no idea how to rattle the cages around here, but I am going to try.
Pit stop at Whole Foods for eggs and some dog-food. The latter was surprisingly inexpensive, being their "house" brand, and Daisy and Abelard really like it. Guess I will try and stock up next time I am by there.