Archive for the ‘This and That’ Category

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Tree-hugging (and Testy) Tuesday

So after my promise to post a little something (almost) everyday, my internet has been down since last night! That’s how things go sometimes.

Back in the day when I was a regular blogger Tuesdays were designated Tree-hugging Tuesday. In fact I designated a theme for each day of the week. And it worked well so I think going back to those self-imposed guides will help me stay on track.  I found this yesterday and found it fascinating.  I will be in New England in October, and Plymouth is one of the planned destinations and I think visiting one of the first fruit trees planted in America would be pretty great. You can click here and read the article.


I will post my own pictures if I get to make a pilgrimage.  Get it?  Plymouth, pilgrims, pilgrimage?  A little lame?? oh well.

It will take me a while to get back in the blogging habit and I hope you will bear with me.  To set aside time to do it AND find something interesting to tell you.

Have a great Tuesday filled with peace and love.



This is the first day of the rest of my life…

I started a new blog a week or so ago and almost immediately regretted it.  I felt I was forsaking this one.  One that has been so good for me.  That is so ME.  Well, like every other person who puts their life online, the ME I let you know.  But what I am going to attempt from today forward is to be a little more real (hang on gals, it could get rough), a little less careful, painfully honest at times and if you can’t handle it  or don’t like it, that’s okay.  I am who I am, what I am and I have a lot of good qualities and a lot of vices.  What I don’t want to ever be is bored.  Or boring.  That would be the most horrible thing to hear about myself:  Susan, you’re boring.  YIKES. So what I have decided to do is move those posts over here over the next few days and share my renewed need to put myself out there for all the world.

Still not going to get “all political” on you or anything of that nature.  I might quip occasionally on the subject but in the spirit of honesty, I will go ahead and put forth my disclaimer, lest some of you think you know me “as your kinda folk” and be slapped in the face one morning and it ruin the rest of your day :)   Now don’t bother saying nasty things to me if you find me a heathen or not of your chosen political mindset because my comments are set to be approved and I won’t give you a voice.  Not on MY blog.  If you decide, even though you have been following my blog for years, that I am not who you thought I was, don’t worry about it.  Just take me out of your blog feed.  You’ll miss me, but you’ll get over it :) As will I.

Okay, hold on to your hats ladies (and gents if you are there)…

I am a Democrat with Libertarian leanings. Though I don’t vote only for Democrats because they say they are Democrats. I vote for who I want to.  Who I believe the most, or distrust the least. But I DO vote, which is very important to me.  I am a proud American who believes men and women have died for my right to step in and close the curtain and participate in the process and I honor them by taking a few minutes to do just that.  But even before I am an American, I am a human being and I try to see myself as a part of that family first.  Accept differences when possible, allow for different ideas, beliefs, philosophies.  Never accept hatred or oppression, genocide, injustice or abuse.  I don’t believe war is the answer we should look to first, second or even tenth, but I also know it is inevitable.  So I support our military personnel and wish them only safety, always.

I believe in equality for everyone. This means all colors, creeds, religions, genders, sexual orientations.  And any other way we humans can figure out to divide ourselves into selfish little groups. I don’t believe the government or anyone else has dominion over my body.  Period.

I am not a religious person, however I do consider myself spiritual. There are things and ways that separate humans from the other animals.  Sometimes the lines are fine and sometimes I wonder how we landed on top when it seems we have less of a grasp of the meaning of life than other species. But I do feel connected to the Universe in a special way…human love I suppose. That and I have opposable thumbs :) I find all religions to have a bit of the ridiculous in their beliefs and teachings.  I wasn’t raised in a religious home so this is just how my life has evolved. Oh, and I do believe in evolution, btw.  I could never ever join a group that thought me and other women anything but equal to men. I cannot tolerate intolerance (I hope that makes sense) and I am nauseated by hypocrisy.  So that weeds out the majority of mainstream religions available to me in my geographic area.  Not that I am looking.  I am most certainly not.  I have no answers to any of the big questions and don’t believe anyone else does.  I try to live my life in a good, useful, helpful  way.  I believe that if you hate anyone then you truly cannot love completely, like we should.  There is not room in the human heart for both.  So practice LOVE.  I think it is perfectly normal and fine to hate things that happen, actions but to pick out one particular person to hate, causes you to think about them far to much and waste too much time on something you cannot change.  So rather than hate them, I choose to just separate myself from them and forget about them.  To find it in me to be indifferent rather than continuously irritated and angry. If I had to pick a religion to know more about or that I find interesting and could abide by most of their teachings, it would be Buddhism.  But only in a very general way.

I hope to leave this world having done no lasting harm to my family, friends and as little as I can on the Earth. I am in awe of what all this world has to offer and I want to see as much of it as I can.  There is always something new to learn.

Am I all that I hope to be?  Nope.  Not even close.  But I am working on it.  That is really all any of us can do.  Perfection is not attainable and really shouldn’t be a goal for anyone.  Your best.  Just do your best.  If anyone asks more than that they are likely working through some things themselves and feeling inadequate to the tasks before them.  Cut them some slack and keep working away at your own life.

Well, there’s a start to the weekend, don’t you think?  If you find I am too much for you, I bid you a fond farewell and wish you all the happiness you can find.  If you stick around, I promise everyday won’t be like this. Much less philosophizing and much more food, sewing, crafting, gardening…you know the good stuff :)   It’s just sometimes, one has to regroup.  Recharge.  Confess.  Start fresh.  Turn the corner.  You get the gist.  So without further ado, welcome to the new NotQuiteJuneCleaver.  And have a wonderful weekend.

People make the statement “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” for various reasons.  Some have an epiphany, wake up and realized they are in fact on the wrong road of life.  Some have circumstances come to them and change is not their choice but change it is.  Mine is nothing so dramatic, I am happy to report.  It just that I am fat.  Chubby.  Plump.  Fluffy.  I have the middle age spread. If I live to be 106.  Which at the rate I am taking care of the only body I have, is bloody unlikely.

I have lots of excuses if you would care to hear them.  I have had six children.  I was a fat baby.  I have had 5 abdominal surgeries plus my gall bladder removed.  I eat my feelings.  I am a good cook, therefore good food is relatively easy for me to obtain. I have weak ankles therefore I cannot do real exercise. Blah, blah, blah.

The real facts are: I hate to exercise. I eat too many empty carbs and have for a really long time. I am addicted to sugar and soda, diet or not.  But the fact of the matter is really good food doesn’t have to be bad for you.  My ankles might not be weak if they weren’t trying to hold up 70 more pounds, or five stones in Brit-speak, which I love,  than they were made to.

So what am I going to do about it you might ask.  Well, my best.  That is all.  I am going to do my best.  That is not too much to ask of anyone on any matter.  I find later in my life, I have not been keen to do my best always.  But I have people in my life who do.  Always.  And I think I owe it to myself to do the same.

Eating healthy and concentrating on my health will take more time.  But really, time is all any of us have.  We spend it wisely or we don’t.  It will take more planning, but that is one of my strong suits.  I am a plotter and a planner from way back.  And I like a good project as well as the next person.  So, that won’t be a problem. And it won’t cost any more money because I won’t be buying junk to eat.  Or drink.  Not to compare poor choices too closely but I will have to treat my struggle with food like an alcoholic treats their addiction.  It will be an everyday struggle until one day I will not crave the junk any more.

I had an appointment with my doctor this week  to get all my numbers run.  I have every reason to do this and no reason not to.  I need to know just exactly where I am and what I am up against.  And frankly I am running out of time.  I turned 53 on 14 August 2012.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t think I look too old.  But I also don’t feel good.  I don’t feel good about how my body works.  Or how tired it gets.  And I feel weak in spirit that I let this happen.  I haven’t posted a full body picture in many, many years.  But here goes.  Not a great one, but one that is accurate in showing my girth.


Not a pretty sight.  So now that you have seen me, you might as well know the numbers.

  • 53 years old
  • 194 pounds or 13+ stones (as of today 189 -yay for me!)
  • my measurements are 45-39-49
  • my height is 60.5″
  • my arms are too big for sleeves and my legs are too big for boots at 14.5 and 17.5 respectively
  • and I have 1.5 too many chins

So what do I propose to do about this?  First and foremost, set reasonable goals.  Hold myself accountable.  I would join a group, but I am not much of a joiner.  Not cheat myself by eating the very thing that will make me want to cry later.  Put one foot in front of the other until my body is strong enough to bear me putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.  Not compare myself with others by saying things like “oh I don’t know why I try, I will never be that thin” or “well, at least I am not that fat”.  I am going to pay attention to every morsel of food that goes into my mouth.  Every drop of liquid. I am going to enjoy my food.  I am going to take time to choose, prepare and eat meals.  Not fly by life, with a bag of crisps and a candy bar washing them down with a diet soda. I am adopting a mostly vegetarian diet with a serving of fish every now and then when I feel the urge to eat the flesh of a dead animal.  When you say it like that it makes it easier to fore go.  And rather than give myself a weight/size goal to achieve, I am going to give myself time, a year to be exact, because after all that is really all we have…time. And of course I am going to write about it honestly.  Follow along if you like. Later on I want to tell you about the wonderful shake I am drinking every morning.  But if you can’t wait  go to Rockin’Wellness and look for yourself.

What I am not going to do is judge others for what they eat, don’t eat, drink or don’t drink.  I am responsible for my own intake. I will also not hate judge others who are thinner than me or  take the weight off easier than I do.

I would have told you a year, even six months ago that everything tastes better with bacon drippings.  Or some other form of animal product.  But really it isn’t necessary.  It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong.  But not necessary and not good for you.  You know ignorance is bliss many, many times.  And I think my ignorance about healthy eating knows no bounds.  But I am learning.

Those of you that know me in real life know I am not a wagon jumper.  The band brand of wagon.  I believe almost nothing of what I hear and only about half of what I see. And the friend that introduced me to this new plant based way of life knew that about me when she approached me.  She knew not to tell me how amazing the information was. Or how scary.  She just ask that I watch a DVD with an open mind.  Our friendship spans nearly 40 years, so I trusted her.  The DVD she asked me to watch was Forks Over Knives.  I have to say, I am so glad she cared enough to ask me to watch it.  The information was eye-opening to say the least.  I won’t go on and on about it because, I am assuming, we are all adults here and you don’t need me jumping up and down shouting how incredible it is.  Follow the link, read the reviews and if you have time and are interested in that sort of information, you will find it very informative.  Possibly life changing.

Here is an example of how I am trying to cook for myself.  My love of food makes the prospects of new recipes, healthy eating very exciting to me.  So you might not get your standard recipe format but I will try to share things I find that are tasty, and are good for us. A few nights ago I sauteed a variety of vegetables for my supper.  I brushed my skillet with a little, very little, EVO.  I added green onions, garlic, 3 colors of bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts and celery.  I took out a little bowl for my supper and then to the skillet I added about 2 cups of vegetable broth, leftover corn, peas, limas and a can of diced tomatoes.  I added some chives, parsley, thyme and let it cook while I ate.  I couldn’t resist the aroma!  I had to have a little bowl of soup too.


So delicious.  I think I will add a little okra to it for supper tonight.  And whip up some gluten free corn muffins.  Even though there is a heat advisory for today, I am thinking towards Autumn…and this bowl just looks like Autumn.  And reminds me of my mom’s vegetable soup.  She would save vegetables thru the week from our meals and dump it all in a pot on Friday night for soup served with cornbread.  My mom was not a big meat eater.  In fact many of our meals were meat-less long before it was “a thing”.  We were on a very tight budget and beans were less expensive than meat.  So beans it was.

One more addition and then I will get off of here and get busy and let you do the same.   I am so glad to catch up with all of you and thanks for stopping by.  ENJOY!

This recipe is gluten free and Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian.  I left out the oil called for to cut some of the fat content and honestly, they were a little dry and slightly packy.  However, dipped in the vegetable soup  they were delicious!


2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 TBSP aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 rice milk)
2 TBSP all vegetable oil (omitted)
Preheat oven to 425F and place pans in oven. Whisk together  flour baking powder, and salt into bowl. Stir in corn meal. Add egg, milk, and oil, if you use the oil. Mix until just smooth, about one minute, do not over mix. Brush pans with light coating of oil. Put about 1 TBSP of batter in each acorn mold. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) 9-12 minutes.
acorn pan
NOTE: You could make this recipe into another shape if you don’t have the acorn pan or similar pan.  A madeline pan is very good for these little cornbread yummies.  Or mini muffin tins and of course regular size muffins as well.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,



Welcome 2011! Let’s get this party started!

If you are reading this you are in for a treat my friend!  I have been sitting on an amazing bit of bloggery goodness for a couple of months and am so happy to invite you to join me in the fun! Back in October I got the most amazing email from a sweetie pie named Jennifer at Gooseberry Patch asking if I was interested in being an Early Bird Reviewer for Gooseberry Patch.


Ummmm…interested?  INTERESTED? Was she serious? OH I was interested alright!  Interested!  Excited! Delighted! I quickly zipped an email back to her saying YES YES YES and waited patiently (ha) to hear back that I had made the list of lucky bloggers.  Since about 5 long hours had passed since I received the invitation until I found out I was an Early Bird Reviewer, I was a giddy girl!

I suppose you would like for me to get to the part that involves you and your chance to win a copy of the newest Gooseberry Patch Cookbook! This month is especially special (does that sound redundant??) because you have a chance at two new Gooseberry Patch books!!! These two amazing books will be available in stores this month and I have to tell you they are wonderful!  Just as I expected!  I have quite a collection of Gooseberry Patch books and I have to say I have never been anything less than thrilled!  These two absolutely live up to my expectations and then some!

I want you to enjoy the anticipation of winning! So this lovely first day of 2011 I want to introduce you to 101 Cupcake, Cookie & Brownie Recipes and tell you how you can win a copy and when!


Over the next 10 days I am going to share three recipes from 101 Cupcake, Cookie & Brownie Recipes plus more about this beautiful cookbook.

How you enter to win is super simple.  After every recipe review you can leave a comment so there will be three chances for you to get your name in.  Sound good so far?  Yeah, I thought so :) I love this little gem! When I signed on as an Early Bird Reviewer I agreed to test 2-3 recipes from each book.  Well that proved harder than I thought!  How was I going to pick JUST 2-3??? But I managed and you will love them.  They passed my recipe trial with flying colors AND the taste test of my panel of experts! Then on January 11, 2011 I will pick a winner!  YAY!

Now calm down :)   I am not going to give you everything all at once.  You will be happy to hear there will be another Gooseberry Patch Early Bird Review of another NEW book on January 15th! WILD huh???!!! And of course another three amazing recipes and three chances to win that book! Squeeeeee!

Okay let me get to it.  The first wonderful (and might I add super easy?) recipe is for Pistachio Thumbprints. It was a little hard to pick just one but I needed another cookie to add to a friend’s box of Christmas goodies.  If you followed my crazy Christmas cookie marathon, you realize time was a factor and I knew a Gooseberry Patch recipe wouldn’t fail me.  A pretty Christmas collection of goodies was very important so daintiness and color were considerations.  In a nutshell the new cookie had to be special.  And it was perfect!  You will think so too ~ so give them a try.  Gluten free notes included :)

Pistachio Thumbprints

(this recipe is credited to Shawna Green from Dumas, TX)

  • 1 cup margarine, softened*
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3.4 oz pkg instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp shortening

Blend margarine*, powdered sugar, egg and extracts.  Stir in flour and dry pudding mix.  Form dough into one inch balls.  Roll in pecans.  Place on greased (or parchment lined) baking sheets; gently press a thumbprint  into each.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes; let cool.  Spoon (I piped) vanilla filling into thumbprints.  In a plastic zipping bag, microwave remaining ingredients until melted, one to 2 minutes, stirring (I kneaded the sealed bag) ever 15 seconds.  Snip off tip of one corner and drizzle over cookies. Makes 3 dozen.

Vanilla Filling:

  • 2 TBSP margarine*, softened
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP milk

Combine all ingredients: mix well.


*I used butter.


As you might already know, I am gluten free as of November 2010. And frankly in the short time since I eliminated gluten from my diet, I have found you CAN still enjoy lots of goodies with a little research and tweaking of recipes. And am VERY happy to report Jello Brand Pudding Mixes are gluten free and these cookies are delicious made with your favorite gluten free all purpose baking mix! I will be posting my thoughts on different brands of gluten free flours and baking mixes. For all my gluten free cookies this holiday season I used all purpose baking mix from Authentic Foods and I LOVE IT.

I know I don’t have to say this of course but you know to be sure your chocolate and shortening are also gluten free.  If you are gluten free you will agree, label reading becomes as natural as breathing after a short period of time.

AND one more thing I have found to be relevant to successful gluten free cookie recipe adaptations is weighing the substitute flour mix instead of measuring cup for cup.  I use 4.5 ounces per cup of all purpose flour as my standard of measure. So let’s all do the happy gluten free dance!

Happy Baking Peeps! And best of luck – I wish you could all win!  However since that’s not possible, as soon as we all congratulate the winner on January 11, and if you are not that lucky duck, zip over to Gooseberry Patch and get yourself a copy of 101 Cookie, Cupcake & Brownie Recipes.  Oh heck ~ go ahead and order several – they make great gifts for all your foodie friends!  Now leave me a comment and get your name in!

More great places to find Gooseberry Patch:



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