The Women’s March 2017

 

So much I can say about this day. It started, as protests often do, with an attempt to get to the protest. Dear friend and protest pal Suzanne arrived very early, we drove to my secret Santa of a parking space, walked across the street to board a train and one… after… another… went by, packed beyond.

I feel so fortunate to have snapped this particular photo, I’m thinking it was about the third train that we met and had to miss, because there JUST WASN’T ROOM.

But look at the joy, look at the pink, look at the flashing spirit that is headed downtown to #RESIST and make voices heard.

After the fifth, we ascended and tried to get a bus. Same thing: one. after. another. went by, PACKED.

Called a cab, who met us on the corner of Western and Hollywood. We finally made it downtown and entered an area off Figueroa, blended into an intensely huge crowd, got into the rhythm, joined in the chants:

SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

Among others. My favorite: women yell, MY BODY, MY CHOICE, the men respond, HER BODY, HER CHOICE!). Thrilling. We are in this TOGETHER.

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=e8PPysD6shw

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Czar Putin Put You Where You Are!

We were in the throes, we were protesting, we were #RESISTING with what turned out to be 60,000 fellow Angelenos. Even typing that FEELS GOOD.

It was a glorious day and I am happy to say our late arrival landed us in the best possible place to witness this glorious FIRST of our efforts to #RESIST.

I captured video of Jane Fonda, she tells you all you need to know.

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=oEi66nDTTFg

End of the day, proud to say my daughter was there, with her friend, and those new feminists are for LIFE. #RESIST.

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Embrace Diversity

Labor Day DecorationWe’re in a very difficult time now, psychically and politically. Donald Trump would pit us against each other and so many are feeding into that. That is not what America is about, but many states’ inhabitants have lost the thread, due to the starvation of education funding, closeted bigotry, economic envy, general health and well-being coming at a cost in a for-profit system. Don’t even know where to start.

But I’m about to start talking about it here. Something’s got to give. Trump has taken bigotry mainstream and now we have white supremacists, Nazi organizers, and fascism– mainstream. This cannot be. We’ve worked too hard and too long to get rid of this b.s.

To counter: I start with this beautiful photo, taken of my daughter’s best friend’s hand, against the red white and blue of the tablecloths for our Labor Day gathering, with friends that we’ve known for decades.

We are all on the same page. Freedom, Acceptance, and Tolerance.

May the rest of our fractured America join us.

Peace.

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Tuscan Greens and Beans

So, I often troll frozen food aisles to see what corporate people are providing, so that I can make my own fresh. I came across an entire section of Morningstar Farms who are now making ready-to-eat, and Tuscan Greens and Beans caught my eye.

Morningstar Tuscan GreensThese, however, are the ingredients:

Chickpeas, Kale, Water, Spinach, Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Asiago Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Cream, Contains Two Percent Or Less Of Butter (Cream, Salt), Chablis Wine (Wine, Salt), Parmesan Cheese (Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Cornstarch, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots, Celery, Salt, Garlic Puree, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Canola Oil, Dehydrated Tomato, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Leek Juice Concentrate.

I decided to create my own. Here’s what I came up with:

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Mise en place for homemade Tuscan Greens with Beans

1 tbsp. olive oil
crushed red peppers
Dice 1 yellow onion, 1-2 carrot, 2 stalks celery
Sautè.

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Onion, carrot, celery, the basis of everything delicious!

Add diced red or yellow pepper
Salt, pepper
Stir until soft cooked, set aside.

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I love yellow pepper!

1 tbsp canola or olive oil
Sauté chopped spinach, add splashes of lemon juice, set aside.

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Sautéed spinach.

Make white wine sauce.

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Wine sauce. Divine.

White Wine Sauce
2 tbsp. shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced (I used dried, no big deal)
1 tbsp. plain flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of paprika (smoked is the only way to go)

Heat a few tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and sauté the shallots, garlic and parsley until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over all lightly.

Whisk in wine, stirring constantly. Simmer until wine has reduced and is nearly all absorbed (5-10 minutes).

Pour in cream and simmer over low heat until sauce is thick and creamy, about 6-8 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in parsley and paprika. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

Combine vegetables, drained chickpeas.

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Parmesan and sauce.

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Delicious. And no cornstarch, concentrates, or dehydrates.

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Makes about 4 servings.

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Easy delicious Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada-Sauce

Forget canned, make this. Takes minutes, and so flavorful. Also, as dinnerthendessert suggests, it can be used in so many dishes. Even Picky Eater loved, made with cheese enchiladas.

Recipe:

¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth (water can work too)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat the canola oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
Add the flour and chili powder and stir.
Cook until the bright red color turns a bit brown while stirring.
In a small bowl, mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients until it is fully blended.
Add to your saucepan and whisk until fully mixed. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until thickened.

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Slow Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Game changer.

Slow-Cooker-Macaroni-and-Cheese-on-SixSistersStuffThank you, Six Sister’s Stuff!

Mac ‘n’ cheese was a go-to during the pickiest times of my daughter’s evolution from a child who ate everything to one who ate nothing into a relatively picky person who eats some things. I snuck sweet potato carrot purees, butternut squash and zucchini squash purees, into Annie’s boxed M&C. I’ll never stop thanking Sneaky Chef for turning me onto this trick, and later, Deceptively Delicious. However, at age 12, I had to give it up. Not only were my Sundays dominated by steaming, blending and ramekin-storing vegetables, I thought, this is crazy. Kid should be eating these on her own. I announced she would be on her own for making her dinners, as I would no longer be that mom who made two.

Lasted about a week, when she just didn’t eat dinner, simple. Didn’t care. So what. Girlfriend’s will is unbreakable.

In an effort to make it easier for her (I know), dinners became a series of alternately, Trader Joe’s burritos, tofu and jasmine rice, falafels and pita, or Stouffer‘s mac ‘n’ cheese. Whatever. Just eat, for Christ’s sake.

Finally, I said, forget it, no more microwave. Seriously:

Up the wallHowever, my kid is now a teenager, and it’s hard enough having a conversation about anything without fireworks, thought we could start having dinners together with at least some harmony. I found this recipe, made it, slow cooker, yay, kid had seconds, there’s plenty for leftovers, and I felt like Mary Tyler Moore throwing up her hat.

Until next meal, with this mac ‘n’ cheese, we’re gonna make it after all.

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Obama Out.

How I will miss this man, this fantastic President. Such class, such grace, poise, patience, measure. Beautiful family, and above all, GREAT sense of humor. For starters, this is how he ended his last Washington Correspondent’s Dinner speech. Entire presentation, here.

Obama mic drop

Obama Out.

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Mulberry Jam

Jam

YUMMY!

My friend Karin posted on facebook, “Come get mulberries,” I responded, yes, please, and immediately started looking for recipes. I decided on mulberry jam and mulberry viniagrette (for another day, see freezing, below).

Turns out, mulberries are full of anti-oxidants and other healthful properties. I remember having mulberry jam, mulberry muffins, mulberry syrup, while living on the east coast.  But I had never even considered doing anything with them until now.

Mulberry trees are the gift that just keeps giving, whether you like it or not. The trees tend to overproduce, and when the berries are ripe, they’re easy to pluck from the branches– “tickled off” as it was described to me–but often don’t wait for you and simply bail out of the tree in a kind of backyard carpet bomb.

I started picking them up from the ground, but Karin said she had a better method, and it was indeed genius. She put a large tarp under the tree, we yanked on branches, and it was raining mulberries! I went home with about 8 cups’ worth.

This recipe for jam was the easiest I could find, doesn’t require pectin and takes less than an hour, if you don’t count cooling. Hat tip to For the Love of Food‘s Lauren Rothman.

Recipe:
2 1/2 cups mulberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
Seriously, that’s it!

Rinsed

Rinse, drain, pick out dirt and leaves, stems can stay.

Sterilize 2 half-pint Ball jars with lids.

Sterilize

Bring water in a large pot to boil, carefully drop jars and lids in. After 10 minutes, remove with tongs and cool on a clean towel.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, combine mulberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then drop to a simmer. Cook fruit, stirring occasionally, until foam subsides and mixture thickens slightly, about 7-9 minutes.

Cooking.jpg

Simmer, stir occasionally, until foam subsides, and jam thickens.

Using a ladle, carefully transfer hot jam to sterilized jars. Wipe mouths of jars clean and screw on lids very tightly. Let cool at room temperature for at least 8 hours before using.

Mulberries are only in season for a couple of weeks in spring and summer, so if  you have a ton left over, like I did, and can’t get to them yet, freeze them! They will be good to go when you need them, or delicious in smoothies or desserts.

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Healthy Morning Porridge

Hat tip, Food Babe, these are so easy to make, and you can line up a couple for a week. I will never stop appreciating Food Babe’s idea, but I make mine way less complicated.

food babe porridge

STACK, bottom up:

Ezekiel cereal (Cinnamon-raisin is my fave)
1 tsp currants
Granola
sprinkle of cinnamon or ginger, chia seeds
frozen blueberries, or strawberries
Unsweetened almond milk to top

  1. In a Ball jar, layer cereal, currants, granola, cinnamon, chia seeds
  2. Top mixture with fresh or frozen fruit
  3. Fill with almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk
  4. Let mixture sit in fridge overnight or up to three days in fridge

Your go-to in the morning, and you’ll get all sort of health benefits. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Tots

broccoli totsForget it, these are delicious, and SO Easy!

Broccoli Tots

12 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
⅔ cup bread crumbs
Salt & pepper
Optional: 2 tsp Sriracha (optional but recommended!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Aggressively season with salt. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes. Drain and finely chop the cooked broccoli. In a mixing bowl, add broccoli, scallions, garlic, cheddar, egg, and bread crumbs. Optional: Add hot sauce of choice. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.

Spray a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray. Shape the mixture into tot shapes and spread them evenly on the sheet.

Bake for 8–9 minutes. Flip and then bake for an additional 8–9 minutes on the other side until golden brown.

Hat tip: Tasty

 

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Simple Delicious Detox

Cucumber via Isabella

CUCUMBER WATER!

Cucumber water will keep you hydrated, provide extra vitamins A and C, help bring down blood pressure, curb your appetite, soothe muscles, provide antioxidants and detoxing properties, and is great for your skin.

What could be easier than slicing cucumbers and putting into a jar of water? I usually do these at night, so that I can have one first thing in the morning, before coffee (taste-wise and benefits-wise, it’s better to let them soak 8-12 hours).

I use the Trader Joe’s Persian cucumbers, Persian cucumberbecause their size is perfect for these vintage green Ball jars I purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. Slice ’em up, one per jar, pour filtered water over, pop on a lid and into the fridge. Of course, you can use whatever cucumber you like, the point is that you get that lovely refreshing taste that is actually super good for you.

I always refresh each jar with another round of water for a second glass, back into the fridge for another day. The cuke will keep.

Simple!

Santé!

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