A Brief Respite and a Bit of Rain


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Here I had just been thinking that we may have escaped the late super heat of summer that we often get at the end of September, going into October. But no. Food in the fridge was spoiling even quicker than normal! Well, that was about four days ago. Since then it’s cooled into the low 90’s and high 80’s.

By Friday we’ll be back in the high 90’s..yuck. We did however have a lovely 20 minutes of rain before the sun came up this morning. And now, at about 3:15 p.m. we had another spurt of showers for about ten minutes. Just long enough to interrupt the kids’ soccer game across the street.

It’s funny how we take rain for granted, even resenting it for interrupting our activities. Yet when it’s been gone a while, how much the smallest of sprinkles is marveled at.


Luckily, the landlord got the gutters cleaned out and covered with a mesh to keep out the leaves and other debris from the two beautiful but messy trees.

This seems to be turning into a diary-post and is going on day two. Serious sun this morning and then as the afternoon wore on, it clouded over (so lovely) and we had another spurt of light rain. It smells so good!

What is it with the mass mind-meld? Five of the 20 or so food blogs I read had recipes with peanuts. Satays, noodle dishes and so on. Sorry but I hate those things. I blame it on the person I used to be married to…the cook. Sadly he did not always excel at interpreting some foreign dishes. His satays and noodle recipes came out very dry and overly spicy. As a result, he drowned them in an assortment of peanut sauces which didn’t help anything.

Sadly, he was not open to any suggestions or the remotest of criticisms even from friends that he foisted these meals on. It got so that if they sensed any peanut-y entrees coming their way, they made hasty excuses to bug out, leaving me holding the peanut bag so to speak. Thus my strong dislike since I was expected to eat inhale his “cuisine”.

So, yeah, it’s bad enough that pumpkin season is upon us but apparently peanut driven recipes have gripped the collective conscious. No offense to the pumpkin and peanut lovers out there. Enjoy. Just know I’ll be waiting for a different recipe.

Just a side note, I do like several pumpkin things but they are sweets:  like my pumpkin pie and Libby’s pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling (OMG). I could easily consume an entire one all by myself! (Consider yourself warned….)

Well, it looks like we got another drizzling of rain just in time for dinner. How nice, the air just really smells so good!



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Holy Cow!!! It’s RAINING!!!!! Yay!

It was predicted but I really doubted it based on the weather so far! It’s a miracle. Doesn’t matter how little, just the fact we got some water on the ground…YAY!!!

So, it’s not pouring, but hey! Rain! Free water from the sky is falling in an even flow!!!

And, yes, it’s something to get excited about. In the middle of a horrid drought. Yes!

I know, it won’t fix the drought, not by a very long shot, but any bit of water is such a blessing!

Okay, well that was quick and passing. Like 25 minutes…:(  But hey, RAIN!



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Yes, that’s the National Weather Forecast’s Prediction for tomorrow. Just like today and yesterday. It may get down to the low 80’s by 3 a.m. the following morning.

I am so utterly sick of heat. It’s about noon and 108F (4.5C). Miserably hot and still. There are no creatures outside making a sound. It’s like being in a very quiet, black and white (or all gray tones) Twilight Zone. And yet the sun is beaming down, like nothing is wrong. AAUUGGHHH!!

Now it’s become overcast and wind has come up. I can hear the oak tree’s branches scraping the roof and summer thunder crackling. Only problem is that the wind dies down and clouds hold in the heat. Totally oppressive and stifling. Anyways, so I’m sitting here, minding my own business (dying of the heat), trying to get my mind off of it and suddenly…no internet. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Yup, it has frozen. It’s dead. Not connected. Probably due to power outage. For almost an hour! That’s how flaming hot it is! I was on Safari. Tried Google Chrome. Got “This webpage is not available.” “DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_ NO_INTERNET”. Even Firefox was out.

Swell, can’t even distract myself with the internet! :(

Okay. Could be worse. I could be a gardener. Due to the holiday, they arrived yesterday. Normally they show up on Mondays. So, yes, it could be worse.

Yay, it’s back! The internet! So now for some video distraction. Watch the Corgi’s face. Hysterical!


Summer Sizzle


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I think everyone in L.A. will agree that summer has over-stayed his/her hot welcome. Temps for the next week are forecast to be in the oppressive 100’s. Gasp! Not nice. Especially when half of your face looks like you were shoved into a brick wall, is brilliant red with purple tinges and swollen (I won’t frighten you with a photo; it’s that bad!). And particularly when one of your upper molars started screaming bloody murder this morning.

Luckily, I have a great dentist which is why I now drive over one half of an hour to see him. He actually called me back yesterday when I left a message on his special phone number for emergencies. Yes, on Labor Day! As a result, he will be squeezing me into his schedule today.

He also called in a prescription for antibiotics yesterday which my neighbor across the street, A. kindly picked up for me. I couldn’t drive if I wanted to, my right eye is so swollen. She usually goes to Trader Joe’s on Sundays or holidays and asked if I needed anything. What a saint.

Another saint in my roster is my friend S. and her sweet husband J. She couldn’t take me to the dentist tomorrow (she herself has doctor appointments) so she volunteered her husband. I really am blessed!

I need a little cheering up here so I’ll post a couple of videos. One actually hints at an upcoming post. First, your very own countdown to the end of summer right here!

And then this video of incredible fluffy cuteness!

The beautiful music in the above video is very relaxing. So too are the images. Just look at the little paws reaching for the man’s shorts to make sure he sees them. I really needed that!

Obscure Data and Antiquated Medicare


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Good grief! I’m such a bad blogger. It’s been so long since my last post. I hadn’t realized. If anyone is still out there, hello and thank you for hanging in here with me.

Actually I have a confession to make. I’ve never posted my age before because I’m getting to be an old fart and figured people wouldn’t feel any relationship to anything I have to say given all the cheery, mommy blogs out there. But having turned 65 on May 6, I’ve decided to share my age with you.

The other reason, is to let you know what’s down the road for you which actually brings me to the “why” of my blogging absence. The paperwork. OMG. You would not believe it. It’s ten times what I had before.

First, you’re inundated with junk mail from every health insurance company for three months before your birthday and over a month after that, trying to sell you supplemental insurance. Yep, you don’t get rid of insurance companies when you turn 65. They’re still there with their hand out, reaching for your pocket.

The real pain (well one of them) is that there’s no uniform understanding among the providers of what actually happens when you change over from ordinary insurance to medicare. I can’t tell you the amount of misinformation I’ve been given by every single one of these companies. What’s scary, is…if they don’t know, who does? It’s kind of like a big ole’ crap shoot.

The final icing on the cake is that Medicare does not have anything set up for you to pay online or over the phone! I was stunned. You get a bill for three months and have to pay it via snail mail. Yes, one has to write a paper check, put it in an envelope (not provided), plop a stamp on it and put it in a post box. I don’t know about you, but I pay everything online. Simple and clean, plus I have an email receipt which I store online, not in a file cabinet. Minimal paperwork.

When I asked one of the Medicare customer service people why the antiquated system. Her response was that most people over 65 either don’t have a computer or don’t understand them. I almost fell over! Talk about an outdated stereotype.

Well, I’ll stop for now, since recounting this fiasco is exhausting and I have to go through a whole batch of duplicate though incorrect bills submitted to Blue Cross.

On a totally unrelated note, this has been an odd summer weather-wise for us. It’s been fairly gracious about not hitting the 100’s but what’s strange is the high amount of humidity we’ve had almost every day. Normally it’s extremely dry but we’ve been hitting daily rates averaging 50% and above, which isn’t good. Right now, for example, the temp is 86F and the humidity is 54%. Ick, not nice.

As any of you on the East coast, Midwest or South can attest, humidity makes hot weather feel even hotter. Usually we’re so lucky to have humidity in the single digits. Not this summer. Plus, the National Weather service has been issuing flash flood alerts like crazy this summer. Apparently there’s some system hovering over So Cal that is very unstable. I guess that accounts for the high humidity of late.

At about 6:45 a.m. (EDT) we had our second full moon for the month of July also known as a blue moon. News flash: there won’t be any more blue moons till 2018! How weird is that? Three years! Well, that’s it for today, I’ll leave you with this humorous photo. Enjoy!


Sure Fire Way to Troubled Breathing


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Photo Source.

Photo Source.

This is our current wildfire. It’s in Big Bear and is moving East in the San Bernadino National Forest. It’s about 95 miles from LA but the area burning is old forest which hasn’t burned in a while, so lots of tinder. This area hasn’t burned in 104 years, according to records.

As a result the air here is not good. I didn’t really think about this till yesterday evening when I noticed how congested my bronchial area was. Constant throat clearing and hacking even though we’re so far away! Sure enough, just read that an air advisory has been issued for the whole area.

It’s been like that all day today which is getting old. I can’t imagine the poor firefighters up there in the thick of it! I have a friend who lives in Big Bear so I bet she’s glad the fire is moving away from her and the populated area. I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been burning.

Techie and Tasty Tips and Tricks


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I’ve run across a number of fun little things in the last few days while surfing the web. Well, maybe they’re not all so fun but in the this case, if you have a blog you’ll want to know about the first item just in case you missed it.

Google has changed it’s algorithm to take into account mobile searching. Who cares what the algorithm is, what matters is that your site must be mobile friendly. Now, the article I read, said to just check your blog stats. Well, I must be blind or they’re hiding really well, ’cause I couldn’t find that info anywhere for this blog.

Fortunately, the article had a link to Google where you can enter your URL and it will check for you. This blog is mobile-friendly I discovered. To see if your blog is too, just go here. Apparently WordPress themes are mobile-responsive.

On a completely different topic, now that the medical/scientific people have lifted the ban on egg-eating I’ve been enjoying them several times a week. I love eggs in any form, my favorite being sunny side up with bacon. Bacon is still on the “eat-very-little” list so I’ve been consuming hard and soft boiled eggs instead.

Lately I’ve even been enjoying these little nutrition packs as quick, easy and inexpensive dinner alternatives. While doing so, I’ve become fascinated with cooking techniques. I already blogged about boiling eggs here and now I’m looking into poaching which looks like a real challenge. As you’ll see from the series of videos below, it’s not.

So I have a few links to share with you about poaching eggs. First up is a video from thekitchn.com.

It’s nice to see what is meant by boiling vs. “my” version of boiling (as in a rolling boil, not what’s needed)  :)

This next link is from the New York Times. It’s a really short video and has a great tip picked up from Julia Child that really appears to put an end to all the flying white wisps. Note: it’s not the pin in the eggshell which may or may not work per various people. Plus it’s so ridiculously easy!

The following connection is from Jamie Oliver. It’s 3 ways to poach eggs. It’s the last one or #3 that I found the most interesting.

The next article is also from thekitchn.com. Poaching an egg in the microwave. Crazy easy and perfect for when you suddenly feel the need to finish off a dish with a special touch on top. Initially this will take a bit of trial and error due to the assorted voltages that microwaves come in.

Here’s another short video of using the microwave for poaching your breakfast, lunch or dinner egg.

I’ve included the next video because it explains what keeps the egg from exploding in the micro.

And one more:

So now there’s no reason, when the urge strikes, not to top off whatever you make, be it dinner or a salad or you name it, yum! Enjoy :)

Happy Birthday to Me


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Yes, today is my birthday. It’s also Sigmund Freud’s birthday. All day. Nothing special going on. Making Fagioli Neri Italiani for din-din. Yum. Was surprised to open the Google homepage and find a graphic that said “Happy Birthday Christine”. This is the graphic:Google B-day image

Pretty cool heh? My brother sent me a floral bouquet. Purple and green flowers. Mmmm :) Will photograph it tomorrow, it’s super overcast today so not a lot of light to work with. Anyway, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to me!

Tomorrow I’ll probably make Curried Cream of Asparagus soup in lieu of a birthday cake. Yum! I ordered asparagus with my groceries yesterday. Also got half and half to try in the soup instead of heavy cream. Can’t wait. And in honor of my B-day, I’m putting no restrictions on how much soup I can consume. :)





In a Pinch


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Photo Source.

Photo Source. This link has a load of ideas for storing spices!

Subs. No, not submarines or sandwiches, substitutes. I’ve found a bunch of links for subs in the kitchen when you’re cooking and discover you’re missing an important element in a recipe and don’t have any desire to go out to the store for one more single thing. You know that feeling.

It actually all started when I happened upon a link for an Old Bay seasoning sub. Well, two hours later…whew! I wasn’t actually cooking myself, but was interested because I have a few cans of crab meat calling to me from the pantry and a few crab cake recipes vying for attention. And who doesn’t love crab and crab cakes?

Most recipes call for Old Bay but not being in love with heat and a burning tongue I wanted to see what I could switch to get an OB “taste-kind-of-alike” and lower the heat. Yes, I am a whimp.

Still remember when I was married, going to a trendy restaurant that had just opened in LA, called Orleans. We ordered dinner and even though I selected the item least likely to be spicy, I couldn’t eat it without something to break up the heat. Yes, it was that hot/spicy. So I picked up a roll from the bread basket thinking it would be a perfect break from the burn.

It.Was.Not. OMG. It burned even more. Swear the the mirror on the wall was two-way and the waitstaff was just standing behind it laughing at people fanning their open mouths. Even my ex who could eat fire, encountered more than a few sweat-inducing mouthfuls as he ate. But I digress, so first we have Just a Pinch.com where I found one Old Bay recipe

Photo Source.

Photo Source.

as well as a bunch of other spice mix and rub recipes to substitute in a pinch. If you scroll to the bottom of each the recipe in the link, you’ll find links to other mixes. I also found this version.

So you can see how easy it was to go down the spice “rabbit hole” for two hours. But so worth it. Even found one for Spice Islands Beau Monde which is one ingredient in my sour cream dip. Love this dip, it’s so versatile, but more on that later. Note: This link bills itself as closer to the original Beau Monde, so I’m including it here.

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Aren’t these the cutest jars?

Here are even more substitute links: Taco Mix and more here and here. Then there’s Fajita Mix. Plus here and here and here. There are also meatloaf mixes. Or here. One billed itself as gourmet meatloaf (not impressed) so I offer this which looks much better. The glaze sounds really good.

There’s a recipe for Berbere, an Ethiopian Spice mix which the author acquired from Whole Foods. Here’s another. One that I really needed is Garam Masala, the one in my cabinet (a 12 oz. jar!) has to be ten years old! And I love curry.

Need to sneak a batch in before it heats up for summer. But why settle on just one version when I can also choose from thisThis one has a boat load of ingredients! Here’s one that’s not quite so over the top.

Thinking of curry, I should make Curried Cream of Asparagus soup since asparagus are in season. It’s the perfect recipe for thick stalks since you need to peel them with a veg peeler or the soup is stringy. Oh my, that is such delicious soup, warm, cold or room temperature. I could consume the entire pot! Will include the recipe soon. P.S. Peeling is the secret to delectable white asparagus btw and do not put the peelings down a disposal unless you relish turning a bunch of cash over to a plumber. Asparagus peelings and Insinkerators do not mix.

I know some of you have mentioned harissa in recipes so I found this and this and this for you. Then there’s ras-el-hanout. And that was just from one website! If you want to keep going, check out this link for another ton, okay maybe not a ton but quite a large number.

Well, hope you enjoyed the links, the last one is another rabbit hole btw. I actually had to force myself to close out of it so I could make dinner…lol. Oh and about my sour cream dip. I’ve been making this for years and years and find it goes with veggies, chips, you name just about anything and it’s scrumptious.

You just put equal amounts of the spice mixes listed below in a 16 ounce tub of sour cream. I, myself, like Knudson’s but it’s up to you. Use about 2-3 teaspoons each. Mix and wait. After about two hours in the fridge, stir and taste adjusting up if needed.

Oh dear. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. I just looked up the sodium content of the ingredients…something I probably shouldn’t have done. Yikes. Now I just may be finding subs for myself.

Amount of sodium in a quarter teaspoon: Lawry’s lemon pepper = 80 mg/ 1/4 t. (1 g) Spice Islands Beau Monde =150 mg/.25 t. ALT = EQUAL PARTS ONION POWDER AND CELERY SALT McCormick’s Bon Appetit = 200 mg sodium / 1/4 t. (.9 g) and has MSG Still makes a really great and tasty dip.


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