Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let's Try This Again

Okay, so I went on this website that had about a million juicing recipes on it (why even buy a book?  But I did).  I found another one that didn’t look too kacky and made it.  Twelve dollars, this time.  I juiced the following:

     1 Apple
     1 Kiwi
     1 Orange
     ½ Lemon
     ½ Lime
     ½ Pineapple  
I peeled what needed to be peeled ahead of time and stuck everything in the fridge overnight.  I can’t abide by warm juice.  Guck!  So this morning I commenced a-juicing, then strained everything just in case there were lumps.  (When I did the berry concoction, some microscopic seed fragments made it through, which of course I couldn’t abide, so I had to strain it again).  But this time there were no lumps and the straining wasn’t needed.
Verdict:  Well, freshly juiced is always a little too thick for me so I had to add some water to make it like the stuff in the grocery store.  But when all was said and done, I didn’t really mind this one. 
So next time I feel like having a $12.00 glass of juice, I’ll make some more.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Hate Vegetables

It's true.  I loathe vegetables.  If I even see them on a plate I shrink back like I've been presented with a disease-filled syringe.  




Same with fruit.  It's a texture thing.  But you know what?  They make juicers.  And even things that taste like moose pee can be chugged cold.  So I bought one, and I made juice using the following:  

Strawberries, and

Okay, so the juicing was easy.  Messy to clean up, but easy.  I spent about ten dollars on fruit, and when all was said and done, I ended up with roughly half a pint of juice.  Seriously, is it even worth it?  But ... it's nutrition.  

The verdict:  YUCK.

I guess it's not just a texture thing.  However, I threw it in the fridge and let it get cold, then chugged it down in two separate servings.  

There's got to be a better way to do this.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Church Lady Pierogies

It is almost that time again.  It’s the high point of winter.  It’s better than Valentine’s Day, almost as good as Christmas, and it motivates even the faint of heart to brave the snow-covered roads.   And you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy it.
It’s Pierogi Season.
Every year at lent, the Catholic churches in Western Pennsylvania offer Friday night fish fries.  Locals study their church bulletin to see which Church offers the best fare, and this is based almost wholly on one solitary item.  French fries are fine, mac-n-cheese is even better, but no fish fry worth its salt would be complete without good, old fashioned Church Lady Pierogies.  
Making them is a dying art, and it’s a tradition worth saving.  Those women, now in their seventies and eighties, have served their communities long and faithfully.  But in another ten years – perhaps if we’re lucky, twenty –  our luck will run out.  Unless we press these women for their secrets, we may soon be stuck with Mrs. T’s. 
Don’t get me wrong.  Mrs. T’s makes a tasty product.  But there’s that certain something, whether it’s the freshly made pasta, the savory potatoes or those lovely buttery onions, that the Church Ladies have mastered and the factory cannot.
I implore you if you’re reading this to take swift action.  Seek out one of these Master chefs and get yourself trained in the fine art of Pierogi-making.  Bring your daughters and sons with you.  Hell, get your whole town in on the project.  But don’t let the Church Lady Pierogies disappear forever!








Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Triscuits, or a Lesson in Calico

I love Triscuits.  But they’re full of msg and other chemicals, so I went online to see if there was a recipe for them somewhere that I could make.  I couldn’t find one for home-made Triscuits, but I found one for healthy snack crackers so I gave it a go.  I carefully rolled the dough out to a paper thin consistency and then put garlic on top along with onions, kosher salt, poppy and caraway seeds.  Noms!  Into the oven on 450 for 10 – no, 12 minutes.  Then out they came, smelling like a fresh everything bagel.
I nearly burned my mouth on the first two, but boy, were they good.  As typical when I’m cooking, my calico wove herself about my feet, begging for a taste, so I picked up a (now slightly cooler) cracker and offered it to her.  She took a sniff, then did that “I’m insulted that you would even think I’d eat that” dance backward that cats are so good at, then retreated to another room.  Alas, not a cracker fan.

The directions indicated that it would be a good idea to leave them out to cool for a while before packaging them up to store them, even going so far as to suggest they’d be fine on the counter for a couple of days, so I left them to cool overnight just as they were on the parchment paper. 

The next morning I got up to feed the cats.  As I stumbled past the crackers I reached for one.  Nom!  Nice and cool and crisp, with just the right mix of flavors.  I had another.

A little while later it was time to leave.  But when I got to my car I remembered that my glasses were still in the kitchen, so I ran back up to retrieve them.  There on the counter was that deceitful little butt-licker, enjoying the salty treats.  The same ones she said NO to the night before.  The very ones I left out all night, and ate with such relish the next morning.

Butt-flavored Triscuits.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Jane Austen Fesitval . . . and THE DRESS

This July I attended the much-dreaded Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky.  I have to admit, after the initial mis-step, making the dress for this thing wasn't so bad.  They do provide you with directions, after all.  Sewing is kind of like making cookies in that respect.  And it doesn't make you fat. The worst part for me was when I tried to do something called a flat-felled seam.  I think I goofed up and did some other type of seam instead.  But no one inspected it, issued a grade, or even frowned, so all in all I was pleased.  I even put the dozens of pleats in without crying.

The dress was so heavy in the back that the front part kept riding up high over my chest - instead of UNDER the boobs it tried to creep up near my neck.  Tons of safety pins solved that problem. 

So, what did I wear, exactly?  I wore a chemise.  Overtop of that, I wore a hand-made corset (really).  Then, overtop of that, I wore a petticoat.  And at last, overtop of that, I wore the gown.   

Et, voila!


I swear, I'm actually much skinnier than this dress makes me look.  It made me look twenty pounds heavier than I actually am, and since I am currently carrying an extra twenty pounds, this was not a good thing.  All in all, when my sisters and I (and a new-found cousin) finally got together in Kentucky and went to the festival, we had a wonderful time. 
And in the end, that's all that matters.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Art of Writing a Novel

This weekend I attended a two-day workshop presented by Alexandra Sokoloff on screenwriting structure for novelists.  It was incredibly helpful and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take their writing to the next level.  Her website:

You know, when I sat down and wrote my first novel – and it only took me thirty days, which should tell you something – I thought all you had to do was puke plot onto paper.  Ha!  No one, but no one, will ever see that pile of dung. 
Now however, having written several novels, I’ve mastered show-don’t-tell, setting as character, the hero’s journey and its archetypes, how to create sympathetic protagonists, and have eliminated dialogue tags and my beloved-but-oh-so-forbidden semicolon.  I know enough now to understand that I have barely scratched the surface.   It’s a good thing I didn’t know there was more to it than that, or I’d never have started this whole writing thing.

OF NOTE:  This week, The Bookshop Muse is releasing its much anticipated Emotion Thesaurus.  Grab your copy, you writers you!  You won’t know what you ever did without it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ironing the Monster

Okay, I can't do anything about That Damn Dress unless I iron the fabric.  The problem is, I bought like 8 yards of the stuff.  I set it out on top of my kitchen table though and commenced to sweat iron.  The only problem with that is I have cats.  My cats LOVE it when I change the sheets.  And this was the biggest sheet of all!

Now how the heck am I supposed to iron with this cutie re-wrinkling the whole thing?

Cutie, cutie, cutie, cutie .... Mama LOVES the kitty!

But yes, I got it done, and I put the dang monstrosity back into the box (the fabric, not the cat).  Until next time ....

The Reluctant Seamstress