Krissie: Yawn

Photo on 2013-01-08 at 11.08 I just woke up. Eleven o’clock in the morning and I just woke up. I’m astonished. Ashamed. Naw, not ashamed. I’ve never been big on shame except when I’m dealing with the big D, and right now I’m ignoring it (depression, that is). It’s been demanding too much attention as it is.
So, I jumped out of bed when Richie woke me up and forgot to weigh myself, but I know it’s good. I’ve been excellent since the start of the new year. Oatmeal, salads for lunch (too big what I don’t care — they’re good for me and they’re yummy). Quinoa, the best butternut squash soup last night with just a trace of olive oil and nothing else evil (oh, maybe the croutons I put in it) and whole wheat anadama bread I’d just made.
Not movement yet, because I’ve been revising like mad and trying to figure out how to get down to NJ.

I am in the growing pains stage with my new editor. It’s sort of like making love with someone the first time — you have to be tentative, see what the other likes, how hard, how soft, where …

I’m hooting with laughter here. I haven’t made love with anyone new in 41 years. I really wouldn’t know. But John D. MacDonald in his fabulous Travis Magee books described Travis making love with his “broken birds” like that, and it made an indelible impression. Such is the power of evocative writing.

Fortunately my new editor is in England so I can’t go smack her upside the head, and actually I don’t want to. I like her fine — we just have to get used to each other’s style. Sometimes you never do — I had an editor recently who just didn’t “get” me. She still managed to teach me something after so many years.

Normally I don’t talk writing but this is just everyday, part of my day stuff, so I’m comfortable with that. I just want to avoid wailing about it (and trust me, it’s often worth wailing about).

Gotta figure out how to get to Crusie’s. I don’t want to stay down in NJ for five weeks (I’m going to be in NY for three weeks – going back and forth between NJ). I’m thinking just jump in the car and go down for three or four days next week, come back, get stuff together and then fly down. God, I miss being down there with Crusie!

Decisions, decisions. You know, I ought to drag out some of my exercise tapes. Yoga for Inflexible People (Jenny could use that =- heh heh heh), Richard Simmons Rocking to the Oldies while sitting down (or something like that) and Sit and Be Fit. I also have a Plus Size Yoga and a decrepit yoga. Maybe I’ll take them all down and Crusie and I will do one each morning.

I can belly dance. I took lessons from a professional when I lived in NYC, and killed my back dancing on the town green during the bicentennial celebration (how many people can say that?). So I’m wary of those ones, but if I’m careful I could try those to.

Oooooh, fun fun fun. Nothing but good times ahead.

So how are you guys doing with your plans for the week? I haven’t faced any real challenges yet but part of that is I’m back in the zone. I don’t want morning glory muffins or chips. Ah, but those fucking goldfish …

Krissie: Easy Hoppin’ John

Okay, this is an old Southern superstition, which is, if you eat poor on New Year’s Day (and black-eyed peas are poor food) then you’ll eat rich the rest of the year. It’s for upcoming prosperity, which God knows we all could use. If your grocery stores are closed and you don’t have the stuff on hand just make it for tomorrow. I give you papal dispensation — it’ll work any time in the first week of the new year.

So here’s an easy recipe for Hoppin’ John. Your local grocer might be sold out of black-eyed peas, but fingers crossed. And since we avoid nitrates and pork (or Richie does, and I follow along) this is a healthier version.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tb. olive oil
1 can (about 16 ounces) black-eyed peas, slightly drained, or about 1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
salt to taste
a couple of drops of liquid smoke (for the ham flavor)
sliced sweet onion, optional
nitrate free chicken sausage, andouille or whatever flavor you like

Preparation:

In a large saucepan sauté chopped onion in oil until tender. Stir in black-eyed peas and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes; stir in hot cooked rice and salt. Serve Hoppin’ John hot with sliced onion.
Hoppin’ John recipe serves 2 to 4

You can double the recipe for more.

And if you have dried black eyed peas (I probably do, somewhere in my pantry) you can do a pressure cooker version:

Ingredients

4-6 slices bacon OR 1 ham bone if you want nitrates and pork (I would if I could). Otherwise use 1 T. canola oil and 2 drops liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
3 cups water
2 cups chopped onion
a pinch of crushed garlic, because everything’s better with garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

If using bacon, cook bacon right in the pressure cooker where you will cook the beans. After partial cooking, cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Add dried beans, water, and remaining ingredients (this is where you’d add the ham bone if you have one sitting around. If using a ham bone, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add onion. Bring your pot to pressure. Cook over high pressure for 4 minutes, then use the natural release method (just let it sit). Serve over brown rice.

Regular pressure cookers terrify me, but Richie bought me an electric one for Christmas and they don’t explode. At least I hope not.

Happy New Year!

Krissie: On the Road

This is me sitting in a sleazy motel look. I only drove halfway up last night. It’s not that bad a drive — a little under 8 hours — but I knew I’d be worn out and I have been known to fall asleep while driving (the noisy ridges by the side of the road woke me in time). So I didn’t want to risk it.
But $62 a night is pretty funky. I did check the reviews at Hotels.com and it’s fine. Just pretty low-rent. Literally. A nice hotel would have been a sweet indulgence but that’s not an option right now.
The service went beautifully. It was small and sweet and relaxed, just right. And the reception was perfect. Ted’s house is glorious, of course, but Mini-me and Laura had arranged for a caterer to come in and take care of everything, and she was wonderful, the food delicious, and for some reason I was just completely comfortable socially, greeting everyone at the chapel (which looks like European cathedral inside and out), talking with people at the reception. These were all dear dear friends of my mother’s, people I’ve met before, and it was good talking with them.
By the end, though, I was pretty burned out.  I packed up everything and got my sweet little butt out of there, just as the rain started, and drove up to Albany in pouring rain.

Truth in advertising.  I had a bender.  They packed the rest of the sandwiches and the veggies etc.  And the pastries.

I ate sandwiches.  The carrots tastes a little moldy (you know how those packages carrots can taste).  I fought it.  I could have fought harder.  But I took the plate of sweets out and ate every single one that wasn’t chocolate.  Cream puffs and lemon bars and baklava (well, I only ate one of them) and cinnamon buns and almond cookies.  I kept going back, until they were all gone.

It couldn’t have been that much, because it didn’t make me sick and too much sugar does (these were all two-bite size).  But it was a complete bender — I don’t know if I’ve had sugar since Jan. 1st.  But I’m not beating myself up about it, worrying.  You trap an alcoholic in a dumpy motel with a bottle of scotch and tough things can happen.

So I forgive myself and I’m ready to move on.  4 hours back to Vermont.  (Tension starting to fill my stomach).  And do nothing but write.

Fortunately I love my new publisher, and I’m ready to rumble.

Oh, and instead of doing the Kindle Daily Deal they put RITUAL SINS up for free.  Till Wednesday, so run and get it so my numbers will improve, and tell anyone you can (end of ad).  http://tinyurl.com/8qrdykm

Okay, I can do it.  Get in my car and get out of here.  And try not to be depressed.  I’ve got the rest of THE GREAT ESCAPE to listen to, and that will make me happy.  And Alex is coming for the night tomorrow, so all is good.  It’s no wonder that I’m feeling a little low right now.  Been a tough few days.

I’ll get home, gird my loins and wade into battle again.  Maidens of St. Trinians, arise!

 

L’sTiF: Scrambled Cookies

Have y’all been to Pintester yet? It’s Sonja Foust, doing wonderful, hilarious things with pins from Pinterest. Basically, it’s Try-It Friday on steroids, any day of the week, and with hilarious results, usually because a recurring theme is, “I didn’t have what the recipe called for, so I used what I had around the house,” which is often a packet of Kool-Aid and a bottle of grain alcohol. It cracks me up every time, because she’s hilarious, and because her substitutions are cute, creative and sometimes only tangentially related to what the recipe called for. (“Recipe called for oranges. I have orange liqueur! Cheers!”) But she keeps truckin’ through, with no ego, and ends up doing some really fun things and being tots adorbs as she does them.

So, keep that in mind as I tell you: This recipe to bake cookies without an oven? I Fousted it. Continue reading

Jenny: Hit of Happy: The Oxo Smooth Edge Can Opener

Usually, I do not wax rhapsodic over kitchen tools.  But Micki mentioned her Oxo Smooth Edge Can Opener over on Argh, and since I was going to Target anyway to get Warhol Campbell Soup cans, I looked for it there.  Yep.  $20.  Who spends $20 on a can opener?  But Micki said it not only gives you a smooth edge (I cut myself three times last week and one of them was on a can lid), you can actually reuse the lid.  How is this magic possible?  I spent the $20. Continue reading

Krissie: Not My Dish of Tea


Okay, first question. I don’t think this is my color. I’m wearing it today anyway (I’m heading off to church) but I think it should go into the ebay pile. Opinions?
I spent the first few hours of yesterday in a fog, mainly because I was wearing my computer glasses instead of my regular ones and I didn’t realize it. No wonder I had trouble focusing on anything. I mean, my eyes are bad, but not that bad. I’m seeing the eye doctor tomorrow and I know I’ll need new glasses (at least, I hope so). I can’t read without taking off my glasses and holding the magazine or book up to my face. (The Kindle, of course, is a different matter).
So once I changed my glasses life became clearer, and I began the Seven Labors of Hercules aka switching over my satellite receivers, which included at least six calls to DishTV and I’m not done yet. It started with hooking up the external hard drive so I could save stuff off the old machine. That was time consuming, so in between I went in and baked. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, Banana Bread, and Anadama Bread in the machine. Recipe to follow:
It didn’t help that some of the techs at Dish didn’t know what they were doing — I spent an hour waiting for a screen to change when I was supposed to go back to the original tv and go from there. Grrrr.
At the end of the day (and I do mean at the end of the day) it was done, except for the remote on the upstairs tv, and I’ll tackle that today.
On my Duty Visit my mother was in the midst of an extreme panic attack. We’re looking at a change in living situation for her, and she’s gonna fight it like hell, but she can’t keep on like this.
Which means I need to go check out the assisted living this week, among so many other things. but I’m going to write this week — I think I’m getting the juice back.
And it’s supposed to be a gorgeous day. So once ahead, blinders on, face forward, all will be well and all shall be well, all manner of things shall be hell.
Bet Dame Julian was burned at the stake. (Grumble).
Maybe church will make me feel less cynical.
Okay, here’s a fabulous recipe for Anadama Bread for the bread machine. I have a Zojorushi which was worth every penny, but it’s such a good recipe it will probably work in any machine.
My machine is a 2 pounder but it makes a small loaf, so it will probably work in a 1 and 1/2 pound machine.
Oh, and I took an internet recipe and tweaked it to make it healthier, so it’s officially mine.
Do you know about Anadama Bread? Legend has it that a sailor came home from sea to his wife, Anna, and found that she hadn’t baked bread. So he threw all sorts of things together (molasses, cornmeal) which weren’t used in traditional white bread, and called the bread, “Anna, damn her.”
Or so they say.
ANADAMA BREAD
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. canola oil *
1/3 c. molasses
2/3 c. bread flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 cornmeal
3 T. gluten
1 1/2 t. salt
2 1/4 t. yeast

*I put the oil in the 1/3 c. measurer and swirl it around, and pour it in, then measure the molasses. That way the molasses slips right out.

I do it on the fast whole wheat cycle and it never fails.

Okay, off to church. Let’s hope it helps.

Krissie: A Lovely Saturday in June

Phantom and I are out on the deck this morning. It’s cooler today, and I’d just as soon it was steamy since the pool is finally filled, but I’ll be patient. We have a very cold, deep well so it’s gonna be cold for a while, but the last three days definitely helped warm it.
What great suggestions yesterday! I’m going through with a notepad and making two lists of songs — the ones I already have on my iPod that I can move into a cheery playlist, and the ones I need to listen to and probably get. So many great ideas.
And I’ll divide it into two playlists. The “Get up and fight the world” list and the “poor baby” list, which would definitely include the Nina Simone, “Oooh, child.”
Then I’ll look at the the songs I don’t know but will probably love. I’m betting the Pink song will wow me.
It’s interesting — some of the other happy songs have emotional connections for me, so I can’t use them. We sang “Watching the River Run” at my friend’s wedding — the friend who suddenly dropped me. So that one makes me sad.
And I listed to “One” (and “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”) obsessively when my brother died.
But ooooh, Galileo! So many many good song to be reminded of. Bless you all.

Today … I have many things to do today. Our satellite receiver’s hard drive failed so I have to plug in the new hard drive, download saved stuff, and then switch over receivers and reprogram the remote controls. A pain in the butt but it must be done.
I have baking to do as well. Bread and banana bread and lemon poppyseed muffins. With splenda and whole wheat pastry flour. More for Richie than me — as I said yesterday I’m a starch rather than a sweet person, though it is nice to indulge a little bit in a muffin that’s okay for you.
In order to get to the tv I need to clear out the living room a little bit, so maybe I’ll set a timer and declutter around it for a while.
And I think I want to write, after fighting against it for days. Not sure.
I’d love to sew, but that’s down in my dank, dark basement. I wish I could figure out a place upstairs to bring one of my sewing machines, but the place is so cluttered I can’t.
Well, hell, yes I can. I’m taking over the dining room table. Richie has two desks upstairs plus the dining room table. I’m claiming the latter for mine.
Okay, that’s a plan. Bring the mini sewing machine and set it up on the dining room table along with an iron and cutting board/iron mat.
Busy day ahead. Oh, crap, and the Duty Visit.
But still. The sun is shining, the air is soft and cool, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Gotta count my blessings.
In the meantime, iTunes here I come. (Oh, and Amazon MP3s quite often have the same songs a little cheaper, particularly albums. I tend to use a mix of both, plus a gray market site if I’ve already bought the damned song in three different formats (lp, cassette, cd) and can’t find it).
And she shall have music wherever she goes.