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“Oatmeal”

Oatmeal . . . sounds like there might be a recipe forthcoming, right?  Not this time.  This is my new trigger word for when I need to take a step back and take a deep breath.   Call it what you like:  attitude adjustment, time-out, chilling, reality check, etc.  It’s one of those times when everything just seems too overwhelming and I need to re-think what’s going on and how to handle it.

 

Decided to use this word after reading a story on the internet.  Guess you might say it’s one of those time when you think your situation is difficult then you see someone else who has it much harder than you do.  I’ve learned two things really well . . . one is to not say ‘never’ and secondly,  that things can always get worse.

 

This is the story that struck a chord – author Kathryn Rose [1]

 

This is Sharon, my mother-in-law.

She taught me it’s important work to see someone for who they are and not what you expect.

When I first met my mother-in-law, I had a hard time understanding her thick southern Virginia accent. And she seemed a little bossy in that southern passive aggressive polite way. But I knew she was important to the love of my life, so I accepted her begrudgingly, as some of us do when family is forced on us.

After 7 years, I still don’t really know her.

When my wife got leukemia at 30, when they gave her a 10% chance to live, when our world was shattered and changed forever, Sharon very quietly and very firmly stepped into the role she was born for. She moved, with her dependent Vietnam vet husband, into our house and became my wife’s caretaker too.

Over a period of two years, she bought most of the groceries, cooked almost every meal, did most of the laundry and cleaning, drove both dependents to almost every one of the 300+ doctor appointments , sorted tens of thousands of pills, and made sure they were all taken on time at every hour, every day.

And she did this when she herself was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of caring for everyone else. When she was getting a mastectomy. When she is going through chemo.

She hums when she works. She talks to herself when there’s no one to listen, and she goes about every day with humility and grace.

I took this photo (seen above) before I left for work one day. She didn’t know I was there.

This, friends, is what greatness looks like in a quiet moment. Waiting on oatmeal to cook for her daughter for the 300th time since she got sick. Her hair was gone from her own chemo. She refused to quit caring against all odds.

Not everyone gets to have a real-world superhero in their lives. And for this I was filled with gratitude every day.

The real heroes don’t wear capes. Sometimes, they wear bathrobes in kitchens making oatmeal.

 

Been a little bit introspective this week – can’t say why – but sometimes things I read seem to resonate like the story above and the following  . . .

 

If you have to choose between being kind and being right, choose being kind and you will always be right.   [2]

 

Will really try to do this one, but sometimes not everyone is easy to be kind to.  But, will do my best.

 

Putting away the soap box for this post. Hope to have a new sugar-free brownie recipe to share next time –  as we say down here in the south – “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”

 

Lastly, just because this is such an amazing storm cloud (seen over North Dakota? . .  I think) –

to view the video, click on the image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] https://www.tmn.today/2016/10/man-sneaks-mother-in-law/

[2]   https://www.facebook.com/CurejoyInspirations/?hc_ref=ARTs4E-1WwuXus4I0B6SkC7u2aBDKwUgoR0MsksJ9QPCgVz0TtoSvss4_iu_AJ-5WRw&fref=nf

 

 

 

Dog Rawhide Chew Recall

Just read this –

“United Pet Group is voluntarily expanding its recall of multiple brands of packages of rawhide dog chew products to include private label brands. A recall issued earlier in June included the brands of American Beefhide, Digest-eeze, and Healthy Hide (including Healthy Hide – Good -n- Fun and Healthy Hide – Good -n- Fit). ”

To read the entire article, visit this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chick-fil-a – Copycat Recipe

What a treat today – the temperature hasn’t gone above 80 degrees . . . yet.  Up until yesterday, the temps were hovering around 100 with Friday’s temperature at 1:04 being 104.  Thought my eyes had gone.

 

The clouds and rain the last two days have been so nice helping keep it a little cooler.  Even Bear has been enjoying it as he can get outside for a while.

 

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I am amazed that the animals, birds, insects, etc.  around here can survive the high temps. Guess they must look for a cool-spot as well.

Found the spider pictured  living in an old tire under the breezeway.  His web fills the whole inside of the tire.  Doesn’t show very well in the picture but he is HUGE.  At least 3 inches long.  For me, that’s the stuff of nightmares.

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As mentioned in previous posts, our local places to eat out are very limited – so when I saw the online, copycat recipe for Chic-fil-a[1]  –  knew I had to try it.

 

Had all  the ingredients here with the exception of the peanut oil.   I know that is an important part, i.e., flavor and temperature, but just couldn’t bring myself to make the trip to town – 1.5 hours – just to get peanut oil.  Next buying trip I’ll get some and remake the recipe – but for this time will make do with corn oil.

 

Copycat Chic-Fil-A

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/s cup wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered milk
  • 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cup peanut oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Heat about 2 cups of peanut oil to 325 degrees in a heavy bottomed pot (or cast iron skillet).

 

Notes:

  1. I cut my chicken breasts into a few bite-sized pieces as well as strips. Wanted to see how each size would taste and cook.
  2. Before preparing chicken, soak for 1/2 hour in ice cold water with 2 teaspoons of salt – this helps keep it tender and moist.

 

Directions

 

  1. In shallow baking dish, whisk egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and water together
  2. In separate dish (or bowl) whisk together both flours, powdered milk, confectioner’s sugar, baking soda, dry mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika – and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg/milk mixture and then dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
  4. Fry the chicken in hot oil using a candy thermometer to monitor oil – cook until golden brown (approx. 4 minutes).
  5. Drain on paper towels.

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To make copycat sandwiches, heat a large skillet over medium heat. To heated skillet lightly toast buns that have been spread with butter – butter side down. 🙂  Place sliced pickles on toasted buns, place chicken on top of pickles and enjoy!

 

Overall, we really enjoyed this chicken.  It was light and tasty and I even went so far as to serve up some waffle fries with it!   Next time – I do think the peanut oil will give it the real copycat flavor and allow it to cook at a higher temperature for the copycat color and crunch.

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Links

Aside from copycat recipes there seems to be an over abundance of any and all types of  links to check out. Too many for me that’s for sure.  But do occasionally look at some that might be of interest.  To that end, found the two below.  Know that not everyone is a Wally-world shopper – e.g.,  our doctor told us if we ever saw him in WM call the cops because he’d been kidnapped at gun point.  But there is some interesting information at the link below. And re the second one  . . . who doesn’t like free?

To view the websites, click on the name.

 

Walmart Savings –  13 secrets to know

Get It Free   – freebies, coupons, sweepstakes, etc.

 

These are some of the rain clouds we say last night.  Beautiful in their own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] htttp://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g3219/copycat-recipes/?src=arb_fb_d&mag=del&dom=fb

Delicious – New Cookie!

OK, said I’d let you know if I found a better way to make a cookie from the sugar free cake mix (yellow) – and I did. Have to preface this by saying the cookie I made was based on the Jam Stick cookie recipe – David’s favorite – so I could hardly miss.

 

Of course, made a few changes to the original cookie-from-cake-mix giving this cookie a little different texture and flavor. In a word, better.    Have to say, even I liked them – and I’m not much one for sweets.

 

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There are three ways to go with this recipe.

  1. You can use Splenda® powdered sugar as an ingredient to keep the recipe totally no-sugar-added,
  2. you can use regular powdered sugar IF your diet is not strict for ‘no sugar’ or
  3. split the difference and use 50% of each where powdered sugar is called for. I think using a bit of real powdered sugar along with the Splenda powdered sugar gives a better flavor while cutting down some on the sugar content.

Hope that wasn’t too confusing.

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The recipe below uses 1/2 a box of sugar free cake mix – double the recipe if you use the entire package of cake mix. Full box will make about 24 jam sticks.

 

No Sugar Added Jam Sticks from Cake Mix (Half Box Recipe / 12 Jam Sticks)

Makes a soft cookie.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box sugar free yellow cake mix
  • 1 TBSP powdered sugar (regular OR Splenda®-made)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted BUTTER (use real butter here)
  • 1 tsp almond flavor
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla flavor
  • No-sugar fruit filling for centers

Directions:

  1. Mix together melted butter, almond and vanilla flavors, egg, 1 TBSP powder sugar and cake mix in a medium mixing bowl until well blended. (If the dough is too stiff or is ‘powdery’, add 1 tsp water.  The dough should be somewhat stiff but pliable and not dry.)
  2. Make cookie sticks by placing  dough on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  The cookies should be about 3 inches in length x 1-1/2 inches across.  (Note:  I formed my long cookies by using approximately 1 TBSP dough which I rolled into a 3″ rope.  Placed these on the parchment and flattened to desired width.  Having flour on your hand will help keep the dough from sticking.)
  3. Make an indention down the middle and fill with about 1/2 TBSP no-sugar-added fruit filling of choice.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Note: they will not brown so don’t overcook.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for about 2 minutes before removing to a platter.
  6. Frost with powdered sugar glaze using regular powdered sugar OR glaze from Splenda® powdered sugar .

Basic glaze recipe:  approx. 1 cup, 1/2 tsp almond flavor, 1/2 tsp vanilla flavor, add enough water to achieve a consistency suitable to drizzle.

Cover leftovers with plastic wrap. No need to refrigerate.  If you’re like us, they won’t last that long anyway. 🙂

Thought:  This recipe makes a larger cookie, so next time think I’ll use a cookie-cutter to make round cookies then press my thumb in the center for filling.   This might make them last a little longer.

 

July 4th is our anniversary – and it’s always HOT – the weather I mean. One thing to say about the hot weather in Texas – gotta love those fresh, garden tomatoes and the  beautiful crape myrtles.

 

I’m very pleased that my tomato plants have been quite productive this year and we’ve been really enjoying them. Lots of little green ones still out there so have to be sure and keep them watered as we’ve not gotten much rain lately.

The crape myrtles are blooming like crazy and loaded with large, fluffy blossoms. Good thing about crape myrtles, once you get them established – they are very tolerate to the Texas heat.

 

If you like festivals . . . and crape myrtles, there’s a crape myrtle event in Waxahachie, July 3-4 for those in that area.  For more information visit the events page at this link.

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This is just off the top of my head. I remember seeing somewhere on one of those DIY cleaning videos about how to clean jewelry using home cleaners.  While I love seeing these videos on how to use home chemicals to clean  – jewelry is another kettle of fish.  If your piece of jewelry is set with gemstones (precious or semi-precious) you may do more harm than good IF you try cleaning your item with harsh chemicals.

Porous gemstones like coral, opals, pearls, etc. should not be exposed to cleaning chemicals.  In fact, some of them should not be submerged at all – not even in water.     For more information on how to care for and clean gemstones,   visit this link

 

Seems I’m always seeing a video that strikes a cord. This is one of them.  Maybe if I ever have time to set up a FB page, that would be a better venue,  but until then I’ll just keep posting them here.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

(To view, click on the image)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enchroma Glasses, DIY & Puppies

It has been a scorcher this week with the ‘heat index’ hitting 111 on Friday.   Fortunately, it’s not as hot as in Arizona where people are having to wear oven mitts to hold the steering wheel and can cook pancakes inside their cars !

Thankfully,  we had a cold front come through Friday night and today it is so nice.  Almost feels like fall. Don’t I wish.  The temperature is in the upper 70’s and we’ve had some rain.  Which means I can’t work out in the yard as planned – not that I’d work in 100+ temperatures – but I’m finding it hard to keep up with the grass – or maybe I should say weeds.  Unlike Houston where we had nice St. Augustine grass – here we have Bahai grass and cockleburs with a smattering of St. Augustine.

As previously mentioned, the heat keeps us in the house and on the computer more than we’d like. But have seen some interesting videos.  You know the kind, lots of recipes, DIY hints, funny animals, and sometimes the ones that make you feel good.

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For example, in the past seen, we watched videos of people – some with children, who have gone through a procedure so that they can hear. Seems almost a miracle.

 

Maybe not quite so miraculous, but nonetheless life changing  for people who are colorblind are glasses that allow them to see true  colors.  The pictures to the left give an idea of the change without and with the glasses.

Seems this technology is based on the eye’s perception of the light spectrum. The lenses used filter light,  compensating for the problem – glasses are available through EnChroma.
The video I saw online that got me looking into this – didn’t know this technology existed – is of a man who received a pair of glasses as a gift.


 

Just Stuff

Seems there’s always lots of stuff floating out there on the net – some true – some not so true.

 

If you’ve heard about putting in your ATM number backwards to alert the police you are being robbed and at the same time jam the money in the machine?   Don’t – it’s a hoax.  I mean, what if your number was 3443 – not gonna work.

Most people like puppies, and these puppies don’t mind going to sleep wherever.  [1]

I like anything easy and there are a couple of good tips in the video below. Only one I’m not too sure of is putting the aluminum foil/paper into the toaster???  (Click on the image to view, if asked to ‘sign in’ – click on ‘not now’)

 

 

 

 

Click on this link to see crazy ways to make cleaning easier – down to making slime to clean your keyboard and making your own dishwasher soap.

Phone hacks that are touted as ‘saving your life’  at this link – good if you plan on traveling.

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Really – the last thing !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Personal Note from Jan –  Can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog since 2009 – so I wanted to take a moment to say “Thank You’ to each and everyone of you for taking time from your busy schedules  to read my posts.  You may not  know it, but right now writing this blog sometimes  feels like my only connection to the outside world as we are so limited in what we  can physically do – and  knowing there are so many out there who visit daily means so very much to me.  So again – Thank You for being there – and allowing me into your life.  God Bless . . .

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[1]  http://iheartdogs.com/12-puppies-sleeping-in-the-cutest-positions-ever/