Monday, May 21, 2018

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD

It's been another crazy week of loony friends, planning, projects, book reading, trying new recipes, interviews, computer issues, coupon shopping and movie watching.  

Add to that a dreaded cold which has been trying very hard to keep me bedridden, but I refuse to give in. (lol)

Now onto the fun stuff!  This post is all about food and all its glory, so hop on board for the ride!


I absolutely adore strawberries and use them for lots of different treats.  If you're looking for something different to do with the fruit in your fridge, this is a good one to try.  It's perfect to try with kids or for a family get together.

SEXY STRAWBERRY PIZZA
1 Lb Pizza Dough
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter,melted and cooled
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
3/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
4 Oz. Strawberries, Hulled
1 8 Oz Package of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/8 Tsp Kosher Salt
4 Cups Macerated Strawberries
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream, whipped to soft peaks
Caramel Sauce for serving

1.  Position racks in the center and bottom of the oven, then heat to 425 degrees.  Lien 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2 Shape each quarter of the dough into a 7 inch round.  Place 2 rounds on each prepared pan, brushing the tops with melted butter.  Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle on the top.

3.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the bottoms are brown and crispy, and the dough is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.  Then allow them to cool completely.

4.  Meanwhile, pulse strawberries in a food processor  until smooth.  Add cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt.  Pulse until smooth.  If it's runny, refrigerate until it's firm, enough to spread.

5.  Divide strawberry cream cheese mixture among the cooled pie crusts.  Top with the macerated strawberries and whipped cream then serve immediately.  Drizzle with the caramel sauce if you like.

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
2 Tbsp Strawberry Preserves, 1/4 Cup Sugar, 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice, 2 Lbs Strawberries, hulled and halved.

In a large bowl, microwave preserves in 10 second increments until runny.  Stiri in sugar and lemon juice.  Add strawberries and toss to coat .  Let sit, tossing occasionally, until berries release their juices, at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.


COOL STUFF
Lots of us may not like veggies, but did you know the actual fear of them is called Lachanophobia? That's a pretty scary term, right?


GRAPES ARE GOOD
On average, 1 person eats about 8 pounds of grapes a year.

AN APPLE A DAY
I always love trying new apples, especially those that are a little tart, but did you know there are actually 7000 varieties of apples that are grown around the world?  Wow!



DECADENT DESSERTS
If you live in NC, or plan to visit the Memorial Day weekend, what better way to enjoy yourself than with lots and lots of yummy sweets.  On Sunday, May 27 from 1p-5p come out to celebrate NC Sugar Rush Day where you'll be able to sample lots of goodies from more than 20 food vendors. For more info, visit here and Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.

KETCHUP NO MORE
Are you tired of plain old ketchup, and want to try something brand new to put on your hotdogs and hamburgers? Visit www.chupsitup.com, and you'll find ketchup without tomatoes in the recipe!  They make their condiment with mangoes, or cherries, etc. along with their own special flavor enhancers designed to pair with your meals.


If you love donuts, get ready to celebrate National Donut Day on June 1 to score a  FREE treat from Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts.  If you live near another donut shop or bakery, be sure to ask for any deals they may be offering, or check the Internet

ICE CREAM LOVE
If you're in the Houston Texas area and have a hankering for ice cream, be sure to check out the Fat Cat Creamery which is known for some crazy ice cream flavors like Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk, which actually includes Waterloo Texas gin in the recipe, and is very addictive.  Or what about Whiskey Butter Pecan or the Bunny Bait for some unique flavors. Oh, I almost forgot - they are all about cats! https://www.fatcatcreamery.com 


HEAD COVERING
A formal and decorative piece of headwear common among the British is called a fascinator and became famous in the 20th century.  But isn't it really just an over the top hat?  I love them, but I don't get it!  Do you?



BRUNCH
Do you enjoy all the goodies that go along with Brunch?  According to recent studies, 51% of diners born in the mid 90's prefer to eat from a brunch buffet instead of just plain breakfast, but they consider it the best time to socialize with friends and family.  

But 1/3 of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), don't consider this to be a time to socialize. They just want to eat their meals and head on home.

What about you?  Do you like Brunch on the weekends?








Friday, May 11, 2018

CALLING YOUR MOM, AND SOME OTHER STUFF

If you're going out of your way to find the perfect gift for your mom to celebrate Mother's Day this weekend, you're probably wasting time AND money.  Most of us simply want a heartfelt card, a thoughtful long distance hello or a day of rest, especially those who have small kiddies.  That hardly ever happens though. (lol)

According to the folks over at Real Simple who did a survey with their Facebook fans a few years ago, 57% of you are calling mom on the regular, but the real surprise was that 6% stay in contact with their mothers via email only, and 6% actually waited to get a call first.  It was also interesting to see that 3% hardly made any contact at all, however, this crew  talked for a long period of time to make up for all that neglect.


My 34  year old son who shall remain  nameless, (he always swears I'll embarrass him-lol) will call, but his preferred method to reach me is by text because he refuses to use voicemail, the antiquated way of leaving a message. 

He knows me pretty well, because anyone who leaves a voicemail may get a return call about a week or so later.

I think he's also figured out that it's best for him to reach out and touch most of the time in order to avoid me calling his cell phone at 3am in the morning just to chat, and to have a really long conversation. (lol)  It's a win-win in my opinion.

FAMOUS NOVEL
This story about a family during the Great Depression was released in 1939, and the author didn't think his "run of the mill book" would do very well in bookstores.  But not only did The Grapes of Wrath win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, but it was turned into a hit movie with Henry Fonda in 1940, and was one of the main reasons that John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.


MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Did you watch Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman on Batman Returns?  Wasn't she just perfect?  Well, she wasn't the first choice for the standout role.  Originally, Annette Bening was offered the role in 1992, but had to decline because she was pregnant at the time.  By the way, this wonderful actress has been married to Warren Beatty for over 26 years!

 ROAD TRIP
Are you a foodie?  The Atlanta Wine and Food Festival will celebrate this year from May 31 - June 3, and there will be lots of familiar chefs there with plenty of entertaining events.

SPECIAL TREATMENT
Not only can you get unlimited FREE Wifi here, but at Claridge Hotel in London, they take things even further by allowing you the use of a laptop or iPad just in case you forget yours at home.  Feel free to borrow state of the art iPads, the use of a library with a walnut desk for your convenience, yummy treats,  and classic books during your stay.  Don't be surprised to find a piano in your room either. Queen rooms are available starting at $929.00

RELAX
Purple is my fave color, so I'm thrilled that we're now in the Lilac season, and there are festivals all over the place.  A tree can grow up to 25 feet tall, and they are synonymous with the the first feelings of love, and have a sweet soothing smell.


ANIMAL FACTS
Did you know that alligators have about 80 teeth, and have been known to devour  lots of stuff, but they don't eat from November through March.  In comparison, mosquitoes have about 47 sharp edges, allowing them to bite through our skin.  These edges are not like ours in the traditional sense because our precious blood doesn't need to be actually chewed.

LOSE WEIGHT DOING THIS
I'm always looking for miracle ways to lose weight, so it was thrilling to find that the Mayo Clinic says we can burn 11 calories per hour just by chewing gum.  It also stops craving for the food we really probably shouldn't be eating. 

SPINACH BALLS
Siriously Delicious is a fun cookbook from Carson Daly's wife, Siri, and I love the catchy title of her book.  This recipe is so simple to make, and you can also find other versions online.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the frozen chopped spinach, Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, onion, eggs, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls, making about 48.
  3. Arrange the balls in a single layer on a large baking sheet for 30 minutes, rotating half way through until golden brown.
  4. Add sticks if you like, or create your own special sauce.


Just in case you are still looking for gift ideas, there are lots of specials on flowers at Food Lion, Kroger, Lidl, Aldis, Walmart, Harris Teeter and moreMany restaurants are also offering discounts and a few freebies.  Check around for deals in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

ARE YOU WALKING ON EGGSHELLS?

Time for a 2018 repost.  

Someone you know is being emotionally, financially or physically harmed. That person lives next door, works at the local grocery store, or you've passed her on the street.  That person is crying inside.

There is nothing worse than living your life in fear, or wondering when the next slap or degrading comment will occur.  I

When it comes to emotional abuse, friends and family struggle with the danger involved because there are no visible bruises.  In fact, many believe that abusers prey only on the weak, but the reality is that they seek out those who are attractive and exhibit confidence, yet may be going through a bad time, making the potential victim more vulnerable.

Emotional abusers display the "charm syndrome" to get their way using the sheer force of their charismatic personalities to manipulate someone.  This trait is why many people are usually so surprised to find out the truth.  Your friends and family think he's so amazing.


Even worse, when the abuser switches from charm to anger, it's confusing because he/she isn't that way all of the time.  Because of the lies being told to others, and the ability to convince you that you're at fault, doubts about what's going on become the norm, making you question your own judgement. This creates a vicious cycle, making it even more difficult to leave.  Then there is the fear.

But the abuser is a person who may have been abused, or enjoys the feeling of power and control when hurting someone.  This person has many insecurities that may not be readily visible, but causes suffering to others near them.



Meanwhile, you walk around wondering if the house is clean enough or your dress is perfect. Will he find something wrong with that meal it took all day to prepare?  So what if you've gained weight? Almost everything about life is no longer really your own, while you consider what you can do to not say or do the wrong thing to trigger an abusive reaction. Your emotions have been affected and your self esteem is now zero.  That's no way to live.

Emotional abuse is absolutely considered domestic violence, and includes being
cheated on or lied about, gaslighting, being degraded publicly or privately, having funds withheld or being threatened. If there's no one you trust, contact a domestic violence shelter which has people available 24 hours a day to offer assistance and/or counseling.  Or perhaps a pastor can assist.
What amazes me is when my own friends tell me that I'm making too much of this topic. I've even heard that some women "deserve" to be mistreated, or "these women must like it because they stay."   

Some stay because they're afraid of being homeless, others because they're embarrassed and ashamed.  A few believe there is nothing better for them out there.  There many reasons we can't always know or understand.

No one deserves to be belittled, called names and humiliated. There's no need to make excuses any longer for someone who's supposed to be in love with you.  The thing about walking on eggshells is that do eventually crack.  

Please seek help for you and your family, when you feel that you can do so safely.  Save and really hide your money or send it to yourself via moneygram or western union. Write down everything that happens during your day, and keep those notes well hidden too. Protect yourself.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is: 800-799-7233
If you live in Wake County, NC  Call InterAct:  919-828-3005
                                              or 866-291-0853
If you live in Harnett County, NC Call Safe:  910-893-7233
Or call a place in the state you live, please.


Someone is available at these numbers 24 hours a day, and they are available to offer support and guidance.





Friday, May 4, 2018

MORE STUFF YOU DON'T REALLY NEED TO KNOW


Don't get me wrong, I love talking to people - a lot.  In fact, back in the day, friends showed up at all times of the night or day to raid the fridge or just hang out. But are you okay with people showing up unannounced to your home?  As a kid, I welcomed it, but because I work from home mostly in pajamas, it's a little unnerving when someone unexpected shows up at the front door.  
Also, if I'm working on a project, I sometimes lose my train of thought, which can be a nightmare.  Or I might be watching a movie, reading a really good book, eating a cheeseburger, asleep, or even more scary - getting out of the shower.

When I first moved in, I had a neighbor who would knock on the door and come right in, and mostly she just looked around which I thought was pretty weird.  Later, I found out she was on crack, which made me wonder if she was planning a heist at my place one day in the very near future. So now if she comes over to borrow cream or sugar for her coffee, I politely ask her to wait on the porch, shut the door, pour everything into a container and hand it all to her, while she's standing outside.  There's no more casing of my house.(lol)

What about you, are you thrown off track by surprise visitors?

POPULAR BREAKFAST FOOD
Did you eat Cheerios as a kid?  Do you still eat them?  They've been around since 1941, and originally called CheeriOats. Their name changed to Cheerios in 1945 and soon became the best selling cereal in the United States. 
But things changed again in 1979.  Surely you've seen all those commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios, right?  In 2009 the new version became so popular that it ran circles around the original Cheerios, and continues to outsell it.

I haven't tried all of them, but according to General Mills, there are a total of 13 flavors, including chocolate and very berry.

OVER THE TOP HOTELS
Geneva Switzerland
If you've been reading this blog, you already know that a trip to Switzerland is on my bucket list, so feel free to mail me a ticket.(lol)  But until then, I'll keep entering contests.  Meanwhile, with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, The Royal Penthouse Suite at The Hotel President Wilson in Geneva will envelop you in luxury.  If you're worried about security, rest assured that you're fully protected with bulletproof windows, and a state of the art alarm system.  If you have close to $90,000 a night to spend, this is the vacation spot for you.


New York
If you're visiting the states, The Lotte New York Palace Hotel has a jewel suite with the perfect freebie just for you.  Some hotels throw rose petals on the bed or yummy pieces of chocolate, but these people aim to impress by leaving a $2500 diamond ring on the pillow!  Rooms are about $25,000 a night.  

Jamaica

Do you know where Ian Fleming wrote all 14 James Bond novels?  If so, you already know you'll be heading to The Fleming Villa at The GoldenEye Resort in Jamaica, where you even can check out his original writing desk.  Enjoy your own private beach, butler, chef and housekeeper for about $8000 a night!

FOOD DEALS
Lots are activities are being planned to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but if you also want to find deals on food year round, be sure to visit https://www.eatdrinkdeals.com/


KENTUCKY DERBY
Will you be putting on your festive hat this Saturday, May 5?  Why not make a Pomegranate Mint Julep for something a little different?




POMEGRANATE MINT JULEP
INGREDIENTS 
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 mint sprigs, divided 
3 ounces bourbon
4 ounces pomegranate juice
2 ounces seltzer water
2 rosemary sprigs, for garnish 


DIRECTIONS
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and 4 mint sprigs to make a mint-infused simple syrup. Bring to a bubble, stirring until sugar has dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add mint simple syrup, bourbon and pomegranate juice. Shake for about 20-30 seconds then pour over 2 rocks glasses filled with crushed ice.
Top each glass off with a splash of seltzer and garnish with a mint and rosemary sprig. 
YEP, THEY'RE STILL AROUND
If you're like our friend Greg from over at https://gregsbookhaven.blogspot.com,  you enjoy comic books, and for me, I really love the older versions of Archie, Green Lantern and Batman.  So if you'd like the chance to check out new comics like the Power Rangers and more, May 5 is FREE Comic Book Day.  Visit www.freecomicbookday.com for more information, and stop by to check out Greg's site where he talks about new books, sci-fi and other really neat stuff.


THEY SAY THIS WORKS
Have you ever used one of those hand grips?  They are a tough workout on your hands, but did you know that your blood pressure can be lowered up to 9 points by using it?  If you struggle through for 10 minutes a day, 4 days a week, according to Dr. Avnish Kumar, working those tiny hand muscles tells your blood vessels to relax, making it easier for your heart to pump blood, and therefore lowering your blood pressure.

GET ON THE RACHAEL RAY SHOW
I really like Rachel Ray  for 2 reasons - she's down to earth and she cooks hamburgers on the show a lot!  But did you know they are looking for guests to be on the show?  Some topics require you to be a resident of NYC, but others are a free for all for various topics that include "Does your hubby need a swimsuit makeover", "do you want to propose on the show", "have you lost more than 100 pounds", and more.  That topic list is pretty long of who they'd like to be on the show.Please click here  for the guidelines.



EMOTIONAL VS PHYSICAL ABUSE

Sadly, I speak with many women who have been either physically harmed or emotionally traumatized. I've seen black eyes, broken arms, burns, stabbings and gunshot wounds.  A few are no longer with us. The majority tell me that the emotional abuse stayed with them for years, affecting their self esteem, and how they interacted in other relationships.  Some stay in therapy for years to overcome the damage.    


Emotional abuse may be subtle or very much in your face, and can include name calling, being body shamed, having funds withheld, being cheated on or lied to, gaslighted or degraded.  Either way, these women are afraid to get out of bed, are in fear for their children, and believe that they have no place to go.



The ridiculous things I hear from an abuser, is that"she made me hit her", "she made me be mean to her or treat her badly".  I hate to hear from strangers "that she must have liked it", or "she could have left". Even worse is this comment, "I don't hit her do I?"  Meanwhile the mental anguish that is subjected on his wife or girlfriend everyday continues unchecked. 



Those statements are so untrue and keep the cycle of domestic abuse going.  We are not to blame for being abused.  The fault lies specifically with the abuser 100% of the time.

Make no mistake - men, children, parents  and those in same sex relationships experience abuse, but my posts deal specifically on what happens with women.  But it's all very, very wrong, and in many instances a crime.

I was reading www.unleashed.org and found this post.

Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it is always about what everyone else has “done to them”.