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Oct 3, 2013

While I'm Here, Doctor....

I am not posting my normal musings today, not a complaint about "manners" nor a bewildered posting about a successful recipe.

Today I am writing to request that you, my Dear Friends and Indulgent Readers: Please get yourself and your family tested for Diabetes!

Type One or Type Two, it doesn't matter, they're both bad. They can both result in kidney failure, blindness, heart disease/ attacks, high blood pressure, circulatory problems - including amputation.

I know that October is traditionally "Boob Month", but while you are at the Dr. getting your annual exam and the prescription for the mammogram, ask him to test you for Diabetes. He or she or the Phlebotomist should do a simple finger prick to measure your blood sugar. It will take a few seconds, and it could save your life.

If you do have diabetes, I would like you to know that it is not the end of the world. You will have to watch your intake of sugars as well as carbs. You will need to educate yourself about Diabetes and the treatment plan that is best for you.

You will need to find an endocrinologist.  Even though you love your regular physician, he or she is not necessarily educated in the cutting edge, up to date treatment you will want. In addition, your endocrinologist's office most likely employs a nutritionist who can help you establish a meal plan that will help you, and your family, to handle the change.

My family has lived a pretty normal life with Diabetes for forty years. You can, too.

Thank you for getting checked!





Sep 17, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower - Who knew how good it is?!

I don't know about where you live but, here in New England, Fall has definitely arrived! I am not going to complain about August - it was one of the most delightful Augusts ever in my life - but September is supposed to be a bit more temperate and just this morning, it was 44 degrees this and it might MIGHT, hit 70 this afternoon! WHAT?!  This is unheard of!

I am still not going to turn the heat on until November 1. Not. going. to. do. it!

As the temperatures have dropped, I have begun my annual (actually, my daily) search for yummy, filling, warming foods that all of us can (and will) eat.

Some of you know that my family lives with Diabetes.  I don't care if all of us don't have Diabetes, when one family member has it, you all have to live with it!

When I cook, not only do I have to be careful about the sugars in everything (and that's the natural sugars as well as added, refined sugar), but I have to be super careful about the carbohydrates. Believe it or not, a lot of vegetables are LOADED with carbs. High carbs means it's a no-no for at least one of us.... DARN YOU, GREEN BEANS! Why you gotta be so carby?

Now, add majorly picky eaters to the Diabetes situation and you may understand why I am just stymied sometimes.  I have had my days where I want to bring home a bag of prewashed salad for every day of the week and just throw it at someone. But....sigh... that's just not who I am.

While perusing the grocery store sales flier the other day, I noticed that cauliflower was on sale (like $1.50 per head on sale!)..... which reminded me of the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower that flitted past on my Facebook page recently... so I thought, "Wellllll, what the heck?!".

So, I bought a head of $1.50 Cauliflower, and then Googled "Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower". There were a TON of recipes, some of which I couldn't use, and some that had some good ideas but wouldn't make it with the picky palate eater....so, I improvised a bit... took a couple of ingredients from this recipe.... a couple of directions from that recipe.... decided a few things on my own.... I still somehow cooked up a hit!  No one is more surprised than I am!

So, here's my version of Roasted Cauliflower:

This recipe served 3 people - no leftovers, no seconds

1 Large head Cauliflower
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed then minced
1/3 Cup Grated Cheese
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking pan with foil and spray with baking spray
Trim Cauliflower of leaves and stem pieces, then cut Cauliflower into "Two Bite" pieces.
In a large plastic zipper bag, combine Oil, Garlic, Grated Cheese, then Salt and Pepper.
Add Cauliflower and shake or flip a few times to coat.
Pour everything out onto the prepared baking sheet
Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so, so it browns evenly.
Serve immediately.

I hope you love it!

Update 9/28/13
I also tried this Roasting Method  as follows - Brussels Sprouts:
1 Bag Brussels sprouts, stalk end trimmed and big ones cut in half
Roughly equal amount of fresh Carrots (trimmed but a little of the green left on)

6Tbsp olive oil in a roasting pan
1/2 stick butter, cubed and put in roasting pan
2-3 cloves Garlic (smashed w/ side of knife and minced)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put prepared vegetables in roasting pan and stir to coat
Roast at 425 for 20 ish mins, shaking every once in a while to prevent scorching.

ENJOY!




Sep 12, 2013

A Lesson in Gratitude

I'm sure that, just like I did, all of you greeted the new school year with joy, sorrow, relief and dread.

Joy for some quiet time and possibly relief from additional day care costs.

Sorrow for that youngest baby who started kindergarten or High School, or whom you last saw through your tears and the rear view mirror as you drove away from their college dorm.

Relief from the "craft days" that resulted in more glue on your velvet sofa in the living room (into which Absolutely No One went that day, cross our hearts!) than on the macaroni and paper for which it was meant. Or the extra food bills because ya gotta feed those kids and they have friends....big ones. And they know you have food....

Dread because of the upcoming birthday parties that they might not be invited to, the teams they won't get selected for, the prom dates, and the homework... oh my God the homework....

My MiniMe started High School the other day. Her first day of High School was her first day of public school, her first day in a grade that had more than 25 kids in it (380 kids in her Freshman class), first school day not wearing a uniform, her first ride on a school bus - ever.

She got a weird elective that is an introduction into the school's "career track", she didn't get the Latin class she wanted (gee, public school, thanks for the heads up on that one - not), she got an AP class for history (I didn't know they did that for Freshman - but thanks for the College Credit!).

She's adjusting... we're adjusting....

I know for sure that the DogMan is happy to be back to his morning Dog Park schedule with our regular posse! There have been a few changes there, too.... Dog Man doesn't get to see his friend, Mac, because his owner gets out later in the day than she has the last few years. Blonde Maggie has been "replaced" by Little Maggie because Blonde Maggie comes earlier, and Little Maggie comes with her owner after dropping her Boy at school.  Little Maggie's friend, Tula, has joined us as well, which is great. Her mom is totally cool... and Wiley is still as crazy as ever and with his super cool mom who is just as in awe of some of the stuff that goes on around here as I am...

Ofcourse the human Dog Park Posse pretty much echoes the Dog Pack.... we stand around and talk about our kids, parenting our parents, parenting our children, how are we going to pay for college, whose kid got what teacher and are they horrible or are they great....

So, as our school year has settled in, the Human Posse has started checking in with one another... "How was that parent coffee? How many of those damned things can one person go to?", "How is the new school/ teacher?"....

So far, everyone is up beat and off to a good start. One 5th grader is overwhelmed by the size of her class, but the school is being proactive. My MiniMe is busy getting back into the swing of things and relearning the meaning of time management (no, you do not have 6 hours of homework), as well as getting used to a new environment, a new school format and did I mention: NO UNIFORM!

Two of the Human Posse started to talk to each other about "IEP", "504" and "Whether it's time to get an advocate", or "Hey, first time ever! PPT went well! No one cried!".... and these parents - members of our human "pack - told the rest of us a little bit about their incredible children, who have challenges that none of the rest of us have ever had to deal with.

The learning and communication disabilities, the physical challenges, the arguing with the school, while trying to seem like you are on their side, just to get your kid a place at the desk.

And I realized that it was time to take a lesson in gratitude for just how lucky I am as a Mom (I really am, you should meet the MiniMe - Best. Kid. Ever.), how lucky she is as a kid.

So, I'm going to try to take a step back from being annoyed at the idea of MiniMe making cupcakes in Foods & Nutrition this semester, and the fact that she didn't get the Latin class that she wanted.

I'm going to dry the homework tears and not worry too much about the start of the year blues and confusion,
And I'm going to be thankful that MiniMe has the ability to do most things for herself, and the ability to communicate (whether or not I like what is being communicated!), and the ability to be successful at school and in life.

Sep 3, 2013

Why I DO NOT want to meet the Kraft Zesty Guy

Recently, I have noticed, every time I log onto Facebook, or AOL.com or whatever, that there is a contest out there to win a chance to meet and get a cooking class with the "Kraft Zesty Guy".

Now, not since the Diet Coke Hottie Ad Campaign of 19-I don't know what, has there been an ad campaign that I've paid much attention to like I've paid attention to the "Kraft Zesty Guy".

Let's face it, there's not a healthy woman - or a healthy number of men - on earth who doesn't want to get to know the Kraft Guy in a Zesty way! Am I right? I know I am!

But here's the thing... much like I prefer Mike Rowe as my TV boyfriend, I prefer the Kraft Zesty Guy as the dressing on my Facebook Salad!

I don't have to be disappointed by his blathering on about the Jets when I prefer the Patriots.
I don't have to listen to drivel about the team from New York that wears pinstripes while I love the Boston Red Sox.

I don't have to listen to his liberal, left wing politics (mind you I don't for sure know either Mike's nor Zesty's politics, just saying) while I, screaming financial conservative that I am, believes that Big Daddy, Mike, Zesty and every other honest business person deserves to keep and/or spend their hard earned dollars as they see fit.

Now, where Zesty is concerned, I have some serious misgivings about getting all of that spray tan stuff out of the sheets and his clothes. It takes an awful lot of ... spray... to sculpt that 8 pack, and I really am not sure that there is enough OxiClean in this world to get that stuff out of my cotton sheets!

Not to mention, I've seen an awful lot of Zesty hanging out in sand... I do not like sand in my laundry... neither does my laundry... neither does, as a matter of fact my salad! 

Salad is not where sand - zesty or not - belongs!

But I digress... Zesty is the thing that serious fantasies are made of... that hair, those eyes... the spanking of the dough... sigh....... anyway... the problem for me is that he just looks like he smells like spray tan... and at the end of the day... if my  man has been spanking the dough - or me - Hawaiian Tropic is not what I want to be smelling!

Jul 26, 2013

Holy Jalapeno!

Big Daddy has spent about 20 years dreaming of growing his own fruits and veggies.  It was tough to do in South Florida with the rather wet, hot weather, the sandy soil and the sun burning down on you with no relief.

When we bought our house a couple of years ago, Big Daddy's eyes lit up when he saw the 16 x 16 foot garden, already fenced in.   He had plans for that area that did not include any of the flowers that were there...

He spent the winter of 2011 flipping through seed catalogs, buying soil testing kits, having our water tested (it's City water, so I'm not sure what he was looking for),  taking the soil temperature.... boxes and boxes of plants and seeds were misdelivered through out the neighborhood, so we got to know our neighbors a little bit... actually, in a few cases, I got to know the housekeepers as some of my neighbors apparently don't answer their doors themselves.

Weird.

Big Daddy bought Peat Moss and mixed and mixed and mixed it in to our soil.

He bought some funky dunky compost from Canada that's made with lobsters and he mixed and mixed and mixed it into our soil.

He took over my indoor growing area in the mud room with flats of seeds that he was starting...

I asked for two things in this garden:  Jalapeno plants and Tomato plants.

I got 3 Jalapeno plants which pretty much took their sweet time to get used to their new home. 

Then they started to produce the mildest peppers you have ever encountered.  What?  We had given a whole bag full (probably 1 lb) of peppers to a friend. Who is from Texas. Who wanted them for some kind of super hot Jalapeno jelly.

Weren't we embarrassed when the entire batch was "ruined" because it was so mild?!

Eventually, the plants started to produce hotter peppers (can someone please explain this to me?)... and we were getting maybe 1/2 pound of peppers per day... now there's only so many Jalapenos you can put into a salad before it's too hot to trot, so we had a bit of a build up....

Until one day.....

I was making Buffalo Wings.... See my recipe somewhere here, under recipes, for Wings. We love wings.

I figured, the flour was out, the panko crumbs were out... I had some sour cream and "shred ched" (shredded cheddar) ... the oil was hot.... are you thinking what I was thinking????

Home made Jalapeno Poppers!!!

They were hot! They were spicy! They were tasty! They were delicious!

Here is your chance to make my "Poppahs"!

Jalapeno Poppahs Ala GruvEmom:

6-8 whole Jalapenos
4oz Cream Cheese, softened for 15 seconds in the microwave
2ish oz shredded cheese
1/4 C flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 C Panko crumbs w/ Italian Seasoning or Flavored Bread Crumbs (your call!)
1 egg whisked and in a saucer or small plate

Preheat about 1-1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 350degrees
Line a
Cut tops off of the peppers, then use a steak knife to remove the seeds

Stir the cheeses together and use a spoon to fill each pepper from the top

When the peppers are stuffed with cheese, one by one:

roll them in the egg
roll them in the flour
roll them in the egg
roll them in the panko/crumbs

Carefully, put them in the hot oil

Turn them gently with metal tongs and cook 2-5 minutes until the bread crumbs are a toasty brown.

Remove the peppers to  a small plate or small flat cookie pan that has been lined with paper towels and let the peppers drain and cool for a minute.

Serve hot with any kind of dipping sauce you like (I prefer Bleu Cheese dressing!) and a napkin or two.

Feel free to make your own decisions on cheeses/ stuffing/ coatings - but let me know how you like them!

Oh, PLEASE be sure to handle the peppers with care. ALWAYS wash your hands after handling them and before touching your face or eyes or kids... just trust me....

Gruve On!










Jul 9, 2013

You would not believe the year I have had

Hello.
So, yes, I know, I haven't posted since January. I know. I can't believe it myself. sigh.

Seriously deep breath.

I know....

So, last year at this time, the "fam" and I were hanging out at our annual summer gig in an uber preppy New England hotspot - so hot that "TSwizzle" and her Bestie, "SelGo" were spotted here last week (last week 2013 not the 2012 that we are discussing)....

We had non-freaking-stop company last year and for the 3 years prior, and I could have just kicked myself in my own arse for doing that!

3 teenage girls - I'm not going into the gory details - but girls (and boys) do not do this to yerself. If you have 8th graders or soon to be 8th graders, or all too recently 8th graders, take one friend or take 3 do NOT NOT NOT take your one and 2 additional teen girls with you on vacation. Do freaking not do it.

So Big Daddy and I had the brilliant idea to take 3 teenage girls on vacation, during which we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, an event which I'd decided to celebrate with a party - but neglected to mention to one and all that it was an anniversary party, so I ended up - on my 20th wedding anniversary - waiting hand and foot on friends and neighbors.... sigh...

Friends, do not do this to yourself. Do NOT throw your own anniversary party. Even if YOUR anniversary falls on a fave holiday like 4th of July (hey, that's MY anniversary) do NOT NOT NOT have a party on that day or you will spend the day popping the tops off of bottles of "Summer Shandy"  for your guests and not having a good time, kicking back and having your Big Daddy hubby worship you in the manner to which all of us would like to become accustomed!

So, after 5 days of teen aged behavior, we were down to 2 teens... which was fine until we realized that the one teen that was not ours, would not be going home until WE got her there. I kid you not. The child in questions' biological family (as opposed to US with whom she has spent most of her time in the last year) actually drove past our freeway exit 4 times (FOUR TIMES) during the 2 weeks that we had said child with us last year, yet the family was never quite able (frankly I think they drink and forgot all about her) to make it to our house 10 mins from said exit.

Are you exhausted just reading about this? Let me tell you, it does not stop there!

So, we had this two week vaca, which, quite frankly, was no vaca for me, since I still do all the cooking and laundry and meal planning and shopping - do I need to say more?

And moments after this so called vacation, upon our return to our home, MiniMe and I packed up again and departed for the "opportunity of a lifetime" (this according to my mother). Which was a cruise from Seattle to Alaska.

Have you ever been up in the Seattle Space Needle? If you do go, I suggest that you look down on the Port of Seattle. If you have children, you will note (as many other parents have noted to me) that the Port of Seattle looks like it came straight out of a children's TV series.  Busytown, is how I think some have attributed the area.

So, the cruise was lovely. My Mom, MiniMe, My Sister and I all went on a Royal Princess cruise. Now, let me state that I once worked in the Marine Safety Industry and Cruising is NOT NOT NOT my idea of a good time. When you know how this stuff works, there is NO romance! When you know the cruise workers all  hale from semi cannibalistic, third world, Asiatic societies, one spends an inordinate amount of time avoiding the elevators which leads to walking through casinos, which is the only place people can smoke on board. Kill me.

Let's not forget that the Costa what do you call it (no offense) rolled over the week prior to our vacation, nor will we add in the fact that the very ship upon which we were to sail was adrift and afire the week prior to MiniMe's birth (though in another Cruise Region so apparently it didn't matter.. plus... they "fixed" it, right?).

Alaska is amazing. The water is many colors of blue and green and clear - almost as many colors as the greens of Ireland.... There was a waterfall so wide and twisting that it looked like a road, air so fresh it almost hurt to breath!

Unfortunately, every single thing we did was tourist based, ridiculously expensive, and every place we landed was only open during the cruise season. What are you going to do?  Almost every house (in many of which I would be pleased to live) had a rusted out hunk of a vehicle in the driveway and a beautiful, new, shiny (and I imagine, leased) float plane at the dock in front.

Let me tell you one thing that the cruise companies will NOT tell you (and it's on purpose): Your "first day" is a freaking travel night mare!  Do yourself a favor- fly into Seattle a day prior to your cruise departure!

Not only did we have a 6ish hour flight that started at O God O'Clock in the morning, East Coast Time, but we had to take a SeaTak airport train to the spot where we spent an hour-ish wait with our pink tickets for our bus to our cruise ship.  THEN, we had a 40 minute on your feet wait to go up the escalator THEN we had a 1 hour wait to go to the window, THEN we had a 90 minute on your feet walk onto the cruise ship... our embarkation photo was the best photo taken of our group on the trip. and my eyes were closed. Do you need more info? Really? Do you?

I would have encouraged "Big Mama" to walk ahead of us in the line and sit on the occasionally provided benches until we caught up with her, but the French Polynesian family behind us (who out weighed us 4 to 1) kept bumping into us and talking crap about us - in French - in a most provocative manner that, had they been any "smaller" or had my sister and I been hammered, might have resulted in headlines and FOX News "Breaking news" moments. Jeez, those chicks were built like the proverbial brick shit houses!

Oh, call me a racist if you want, my sister was there.. she would back me up.....

Yeah, and note to those who speak French or a dialect thereof:..... French is more widely spoken than Spanish or English so if you are going to talk crap about the family in front of you in line to get on a cruise ship, you might consider for a nano second that those people could be multi lingual and understand when you talk about their fat mother is or how you think they are bitches even though your only social intercourse has been your own bad cellphone manners and lack of personal space. By the way, your Brobro's pareo is slipping and the theme of this cruise is NOT "Free Willy" ... if you get my drift...

sigh

But I digress.... So, the cruise was very nice, though I am accustomed to observing basic manners and dress codes and the rest of the ship seemed to have brought nothing but TShirts and dirty jeans. I kid you not.

The first night, my sister and I went to dinner, appropriately dressed, only to be sat at the "A" table. We couldn't imagine why the wait staff would seat us, two 40 something women in almost identical tunics and white slacks, until we realized that everyone around us was wearing ass-crack jeans, wife beater shirts and baseball cap, askew... no, sadly, I'm not kidding.

It didn't get any better as the trip wore on, so we stopped eating in the... "public" dining rooms and retired to the specialty restaurants (which cost extra but are worth it!).

Upon my return home, it might interest you t know that Big Daddy and I embarked on what we thought would be a 6ish week redo of our house. I may have mentioned it in a previous entry... the windows, siding and insulation...

Did I mention the lead paint? As in "we need to charge that $X thousand dollars extra for lead remediation. The results on your paint have the highest lead content we have ever encountered in the 25 years we've been doing business"?

I have so much material from "Demo Day One" that I could do a life long blog just on that one day. Let me tell you.... so, the shingle siding came off, the housewrap stuff came off, the plywood sheathing came off.... you know what was under all that? The original 300 year old battenboard siding. That came off.... and you know what was under that? Anyone? Anyone?

N-O-T-H-I-N-G

I know, you are all scratching your heads out there, thinking... whaddayamean, nothing?

The entire structural integrity of my house had... for lack of a better term... "Taken a Powder".  A Powder Post Beetle, to be exact.

The contractors told us to move out (like yesterday) because the house was likely to fall down. The good Lord knows that it tried to fall down... on several occasions, but our lovely crew of incredibly talented and determined construction guys just pushed her back up and built temporary walls and braced others till the cows came home.

Can't tell you how many times people said to me - "It'll be cheaper to knock it down".

Can you imagine being the one to live in a crazy snowglobe New England town that loves all of it's "character" and you tear down the oldest house in town? Can you? Well NOT me!

So, our 6 week windows-siding-insulation project turned into a 4 month drama of rot, lead, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, no electricity in 1/2 the house, squirrels nests, asbestos, more asbestos and hey, do you know you have asbestos?

The lovely electrician made sure we had power to parts of our house where it mattered - kitchen, laundry and den. Big Daddy, determined not to be inconvenienced or displaced by our revolting and revolutionary home, ran a multitude of orange extension cords to lamps and fans so he could stay in our bedroom. I and MiniMe decamped to the den where we had a large AC in the window.

We made Tom Hanks and his "Money Pit" look like a day at the beach.

Because of the amount of structural "issues", the project had to go much more slowly (read: expensively) than anyone had anticipated: One Wall at a time. ugh.

I learned to fear comments such as "Change Order", "Engineer", "Based on what we've seen, we expect everything to go smoothly from here on out".  It never did. Oh, and 2 of my very fave phrases: "I didn't want to put this in an email" and "Do you have a minute? I'd like to show you something.". Sister, (and bros) that last one just about put me over the edge. Drove me to tears. On more than one occasion

I absolutely lost my way the day the Project Manager said "uh, Don't know how to put this but you need a new roof over the mud room."

I swore at everyone. I stomped my feet. I put on a cry that rivaled "Asbestos Day".

I said..... "You know what? I'm not writing another check. Not. Another. Single. One! No. No NOOOOO. Not. Going. To. Happen. No.
Stop everything. Do not do one single thing more.... Pull off every single bit of siding from the back of this house. Tell me what more needs to be done, then we are going to ask Big Daddy to cut one O-N-E. more check. That is IT with Two T's. One more check."

Sigh

So, they stripped the entire back of my house to see what more might need to be done, what dramas would unfold, what horrors lurked below the innocent looking shingles.... Fortunately, the answer is nothing....
except, ofcourse, the aforementioned roof...

close your eyes... raise  your eyebrows.... yeah... still that bad....

So, to conclude; never buy an antique house. No matter how "cozy" or "cool" it might sound. Don't do it!

I will be back with more... this is all I can give you for now.... I will be back soon... I'm not going to promise because you will just scoff at me and roll your eyes and I won't blame you!






Jan 30, 2013

What is Wrong With Me?

I swear. I can NOT make chicken soup!

What is wrong with me?! Someone please tell me!

I google recipes for chicken souup. I read recipes for chicken soup.

I write them down. I study them.

I buy rotisserie chickens and styrofoam trays of cellophane wrapped "soup greens".

I buy cut up fryers organic, locally grown, dirty because they were just wrestled from the ground this morning veggies.

I buy bouillion (ew). I buy "Better Than Buillion" (YUM).

I buy chicken stock. I buy Organic Chicken Stock.

I buy Rachael Ray's Chicken Stock.

I buy College Inn Chicken Stock.

I buy wine. I try putting some in the soup.

I MAKE chicken stock from the present chicken and freeze it until I have the NEXT chicken.

And still! SUCKY CHICKEN SOUP!

sniff sniff.

My chicken always comes out dry.

The veggies never NEVER have any flavor or texture.

Big Daddy lives dangerously and claims that my Chicken Soup has no taste.

I add Salt!

I add Bouillion!

I add White Pepper!

I add Black Pepper!

I add Hot Sauce!

sigh

I hang my head in shame.

I can't make brownies from the box, either.