Because Blueberries

IMG_3111It will always be a mystery to me why I have such an abundance of misplaced confidence in myself when it comes to any kind of food preparation.  Such optimism!  I wonder if this is how gamblers feel.  Play and play and play until finally you hit a jackpot and the amount of money you blew getting to that point is a forgotten and tiresome little detail.

I’m not going to dwell on food wastage because regret is stupid, right?  I admit I’ve had my share of culinary disappointments.  The experience is what’s important.  I’m just going to go with that.

Reasons why I decided to make this:

  1. I have liked a lot of recipe pages on Facebook so my news feed includes quite an annoying number of pictures of things people have cooked or baked or fed to their dogs, who really knows the truth behind these things, and looking at them always makes me hungry.
  2. Blueberries are good for you.
  3. I am really tired of eggs for breakfast.
  4. This recipe looked like an easy one in which to make healthier ingredient substitutions so that a diabetic person could eat some practically guilt free.

The original recipe is here.  I will also mention that I am more often than not sucked in by the claim “best ever”.

Here are the things I changed (yep, without testing the original):

  1. I used frozen blueberries.
  2. Truvia instead of sugar.
  3. All purpose gluten free flour with 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
  4. Butter flavoured margarine instead of real butter.  Because if it flops, what a waste of butter.

It was in the oven at least 45 minutes to get to the bubbling stage, likely because the blueberries started out so cold.

The filling was a little watery, probably real sugar would have thickened it up more.  Maybe a little bit of cornstarch mixed in with the orange juice would help.  The orange juice gave the berries a wonderful tart taste.  I wonder how lemon juice would work?  And maybe some lemon zest in the batter?  This is why I end up never making the same thing twice.  The cobbler topping was slightly dry, but still good.  A possible remedy for that problem of course would be the ice cream the recipe so helpfully suggests.  But I don’t have any, and come on, it’s already a stretch to call this breakfast.

Artistic bonus – that pretty round swirly pattern on the edges of the pan, I assume from exploding fruit.

I’m going to call this a success.   It satisfied my craving for something sweet and got rid of a partial bag of frozen blueberries that were giving me a headache trying to decide how long they’d been in the freezer.  I guess you could say I don’t have extremely high standards.

And that’s probably a good thing. Happy Friday!

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Oh Canada

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So this happened….

I don’t know, is there anything more Canadian than two RCMP officers dressed in red serge mounted on magnificent black horses in a Starbucks drive through? Well yeah, they maybe should have picked a Tim Hortons, but still. Lots of weird stuff happening during our country’s 150th birthday year.  This was in June (click on pic for link).

The only reason I know about it is because I looked it up on Monday morning after I was walking through my living room on my way to somewhere else and heard the clippity clop of big horse feet, and thought that’s pretty weird shit for this or any random little residential street.  So I looked out my front window as two mounted police went by my house.

This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder if you’re hallucinating, insane, deluded, dreaming, or all of the above.  I could so easily have missed it.  There was no time to grab my phone to take a picture because although they were going at a very leisurely pace, they were there and then they were gone in the time it took for me to pick my jaw up off the floor.

The only thing I could find online was this coffee run picture from a month ago.  I guess they may very well be doing these patrols intermittently all summer around here.  And I would have been oblivious to this news if it hadn’t walked by my front yard.

So, here’s a list of things I have seen this summer although I don’t live in a rural setting or by a pond or in a forest:

  1. A big black and white cat.
  2. Many dogs on leashes walking their humans
  3. A coyote
  4. A pair of mallard ducks checking out the neighbors driveway mud puddle
  5. Two jack rabbits. Or could be more, they all look alike.
  6. The resident squirrel and the encroaching squirrels he chatters at and chases away
  7. Many big black crows
  8. Lots of gorgeous magpies
  9. A few bluejays
  10. HORSES for the love of God.

So what’s next, elephants and UFOs?  I’ll keep you posted.

Hey, speaking of posted, I read in the local paper that postal workers want to bring back door to door mail delivery here.  Maybe not-so-disgruntled mail carriers will be the next thing I see from my very own front door.  Not holding my breath for that one though.

For the Love of Flat Bread

Funny what counts as inspiration and makes me want to blog all of a sudden.  This is mostly for my recipe-sending sister, to let her know I take her seriously when she makes a recommendation even if it takes me forever and three days to try it out for myself.

It’s coconut flour flat bread!  I followed the recipe!  Except for the part at the end where my one act of rebellion was to cut it into shapes instead of rounds.  Rounds give you too many left over pieces you just want to throw out.  This was less wasteful and more interesting.  The two pieces sort of shaped like Manitoba were just happy accidents.

It smells great when it’s baking and tastes really good with garlic and herb cream cheese.  And yeah, that was breakfast.

Here’s how easy it is.  Maybe you know what a big fan of easy I am.

Ingredients

½ cup coconut flour

2 (two) 15 ml Tablespoons + 2 (two) 5 ml teaspoons xantham gum

¼ cup melted coconut oil

1 cup boiling water

optional: 1 tsp spice of your choice (I used Italian)

Directions

Preheat oven to 355 F
Whisk dry ingredients together

Add water & oil. Mix with fork until no lumps and dough comes together.

Knead with your hands until well mixed.

Roll out dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper

Cut into rounds with cookie cutter or oiled drinking glass

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper & fill with cut outs like cookies

Bake for 20 min until golden brown
Next time I might add some salt, and flip them over in the last five minutes so both sides get a bit crispy.  And of course experiment with the spices.

I’ve been so incredibly antisocial for such a long time this summer, if that’s what it takes for an introvert to recharge, I should be at about 120 percent by now.  I admit I sometimes talk to myself out loud lately.  You know, just to see if my voice still works.  This morning I had a staring contest with a jack rabbit until I asked him wtf he wanted and he took off.  The other day I watched the squirrel on our fence taunting three squawking crows.  Perhaps you are getting an inkling of why I haven’t been rushing to my iPad to record these and other extraordinary events for posterity.

And it’s been so hot.  When I shop I go early in the morning, get the mail from the day before, half close the blinds to the direct sunlight and read my kindle with a fan blowing in my face.  Play some computer games, check out the idiotic crap going on in the world, see if there’s weather watches or warnings.  Get quite excited for myself and my grass if it rains.  Wasn’t so thrilled with the latest tornado watch, didn’t like the black sky and hung out in the basement for a bit one evening.

Other than that and having family here for the Canada Day weekend and talking to and texting W sporadically, there is nothing to say.  So I have been saying nothing.  And doing next to that.

I am alive and eating flat bread.  Life is good.

Laconical Me

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Word Porn (which I follow on Facebook) is my idea of excellent continuing education.  I thought laconic meant lazy, but it turns out it’s way more fun than that.

laconic (adjective luh-KAH-nik)

Definition: using or involving the use of a minimum of words : concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

For as long as I can remember people have remarked on how quiet I am, or wondered why I’m being so quiet, or assumed because I have very little to say to them that I’m arrogant and rude.  Or quite possibly incredibly dense.  Well maybe I am all of those things.  But mostly it’s a matter of being an introverted deep thinker with so many things to say I can’t even choose one.  So I just sit there looking all mysterious.

I do quite like the mysterious notion.  I’m so damned mysterious I can’t even figure myself out.

But enough about laconic me.  Another thing I can’t figure out is what to do with all my used Tassimo coffee pods other than just tossing them in the garbage and having them end up as landfill. I love the coffee but the packaging drives me nuts.  The pods (coffee, plastic and foil) are six or seven to a box, two boxes to a package and wrapped in more heavy-duty foil.

I’m waiting for the coffee maker to die so I can evolve into a less wasteful polluting mess of a human being by getting something more Eco friendly.

Today I tried cutting some used pods in half with an exacto knife, emptying the coffee grounds into the compost bin, and then scratching away at the glued on foil so I could put the plastic in the blue recycle bag.  That stuff is hell to get off.  Three destroyed pods, thirty minutes and one cut thumb later, I cleaned up my colossal mess and googled how to recycle Tassimo coffee pods.

Well all on your own you really can’t without hurting yourself.  But there is a company that will sell you a box and a shipping label, and once you’ve filled the box up with used coffee pods,  UPS will come by and pick it up for free and deliver it to the box sellers who then do the separating and recycling for you.  The smallest (cheapest) box is a hundred dollars.

Laconically speaking, F that.

Now are you not relieved that you don’t have to talk to me face to face and listen to my inconsequential rants?  This is why you should never encourage a normally quiet person to say something because once they get going it just might all come out and it’s hard to shut them up.

I’m much better at listening anyway.  So maybe I’ll just stick to that.

Hope you’re having a marvellous last day of March!

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This only pertains to recycling coffee pods. I’m good at pretty much everything else.

How to Make Your Eyes Look Like Eyes

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Or like deep, daring, slightly hypnotic black holes in your face. Your choice.

I wonder what Revlon thought they looked like before she put all that shit on them?

I’m certainly not anti makeup, don’t get me wrong.  Artfully applied it can bring out your best features and play down whatever you think your flaws are.  When I first started experimenting with eyeliner and mascara, and yes that would have been in and around 1964 when this ad came out, I confidently believed a heavy hand and bold strokes were the way to go.  God forbid anyone should guess what I looked like with my face washed.

My mother was pretty tolerant although she did suggest that sometimes less is more.  Then apparently even she got used to my new face.  Once I came down to dinner with no make up on at all and she wondered if I was sick.

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Happy first day of Spring everyone.

Guinness and Double D’s

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Infographic credit: Leo Kavanagh/Global News

Yes I am a day late for St. Patrick’s Day but I still would like to share what I learned yesterday so we can all get it right for next year.

Do not shorten the name Patrick to Patty.  If you do, some true Irish person will have a stroke.  Double D’s everyone.  It’s PADDY.  Keep the other one for hamburgers and peppermints.

And Green beer is sacrilegious.  Gotta be Guinness.

I feel qualified to school you on these points because I have at least one Irish ancestor.  My maternal grandfather was mostly Irish.  There’s also English, German and a lot of Scottish in my roots.  W’s roots are French, Swedish and although no one talks about it, possibly Iroquois.  So that makes our kids absolutely one hundred percent Canadian.  My son somehow inherited a love for the occasional Guinness.  Obviously from his great great grandfather who didn’t drink but I’m sure that’s just a minor detail.

During my little blogging hiatus I started many drafts but I have decided to delete most of them because they are turning out to be a lot like my “memories on Facebook” in which my eight year old status updates make absolutely no sense. I’m sure at the time they meant something profound but now all they’re good for is proof of possible insanity.

One such ‘draft’ here says only “illegal bowling pants” and nothing more.   That one I can still explain.  A kid in Newfoundland won a bowling tournament but was later disqualified because of the black pants rule.  His black jeans had faded so it was decided (probably to appease some disgruntled whining parent) that they no longer met the strict kids bowling tournament dress code.  All the shit going on in the world and in Canada this makes for big news.

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day!  Happy Birthday today to our middle (of three) granddaughter who is twelve.  TWELVE!  She was three a couple of years ago wasn’t she?  Time for kids drags on and on and for us years disappear when we blink.  Or also when we consume too much Guinness our concept of time can go a little wonky. It’s not all about age.

Quiet Minds

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Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

[Robert Louis Stevenson]

And here I thought January was going to be such a boring month.  Now I want it to end for a whole different myriad of reasons.

I really miss my complacent quiet mind that didn’t involve itself much in world politics and all the fussing and fighting my friend.  It’s been MIA for almost two weeks now, off somewhere being frightened and perplexed I guess.  The clock during a thunderstorm is beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb.  It seriously needs to yell and scream at somebody.  Reading the news is like watching a friend self destruct and having no idea what you could possibly say to them or do to make things better.  Worried that they’ll destroy you and everything around them in the process.

This is life, though, isn’t it?  Never meant to be easy.  There will always be ignorance and fear and hate right along side all the understanding, compassion and love.  I always thought I knew which one would win in the end.  And then a white Christian male murders people in a mosque.  And the victims are the ones he calls terrorists.  There’s a special place in hell for the perpetrators of such senseless violence, right next to the ones who incite it.

Amidst the shared grief and despair there’s always something we can be grateful for, right?  How long is your list?  I hope it’s longer than mine.

  1. Humour.  Satire.  Political cartoons.  Protest signs.  Because if you don’t laugh you might start to cry and never stop.
  2. People with functioning brains saying intelligent things.  They are a delightful contrast to the ones who believe thinking isn’t really all that important.
  3. Protesters and reporters and journalists who refuse to sit down and shut up.
  4. Social media, freedom of speech, freedom of the press.  The right to ask questions and get truthful answers.  All things that could be taken away from us.  In this day and age.  It boggles the mind. Do I believe everything I hear or read?  Of course not. There is progressively more bullshit to sift through these days, but there is also thoughtful, actually factually backed-up information.  There are insightful gems.  These are well worth the time it takes to find them, and have helped to restore my wavering faith in the basic goodness of humanity.
  5. The love and compassion that’s out there and has always been out there despite all the misguided evil efforts to destroy it.  I am so very thankful that all the rampant stupidity and hate has not lured all of us into stupidly and rampantly hating back.  It is so very tempting to add to the chaos instead of the calm.

Here’s something we can all hang on to.  These mortal men (yes, take heart, one day they will die just like the rest of us) who have had power gifted to them can have that power taken away. They are not Gods. Some of them are not even that smart. Some of them are probably certifiably insane. They can be stopped.  And I know there are good people ceaselessly working on stopping them before going to hell is the least of their worries because they will have all of us living with them in some version of it right here.

Am I taking all this too seriously?  I don’t know.  But better to err on this side of the fence than to regret not getting it before it’s too late to change the downward spiral we’re all being sucked into.

So do not let them beat you down and wear you out and make you want to give up. Never doubt that therein lies the method to their madness in their gleeful rush to keep their so-called promises, one after another after another, so you can’t wrap your head around how little forethought or concern for legality or unhappy consequences has been taken into account before they’re slamming the next thing down on the table.  And the shit that happens after that is SO not their fault.  Wow.  They are counting on everyone to become overwhelmed to the point of weary acceptance, not knowing what is legal and what is truth or which way is up.  Too busy fighting with each other to notice or care any more what’s really going on.  And away they go.

Resist and keep resisting the things you know in your heart to be wrong.  Because to do otherwise is unthinkable.

Sorry I’m not my usual flippant frivolous self these days.  I’m just not ready yet for the world to end.