Posted in Cats, Christmas, Cooking, Holidays

How To Get Away With Christmas is a time of cheer…right?

Yet during the
holiday season
we’re bombarded
with images of
social wealth.

Everything from: Family dinners, parties, drinks with friends, hugging, skating in pairs, walking together looking at lights, Secret Santa and gift exchanges, spontaneous snowballs fights, eating roasted chestnuts, and of course, people running into the arms of loved ones at airports…

But what if those things aren’t in your life?
The social media holiday barrage, Christmas FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), anticipointment (trademark?), Facebook, Instagram, TV, Google+, Twitter, MySpace (kidding, just wanted to see if you were paying attention) – all bursting with shiny images of happy people enjoying the holidays together. It can be overwhelming yet it’s only a day, like any other.

So if you find yourself less-than-surrounded by family and friends during the holidays, try to:

1. Marathon your way through the season, which apparently now begins in July with brief visits from other holidays. Don’t limit yourself to Christmassy stuff…be glad you’re not invited to a Game of Thrones Christmas party; see who survived (Christmas) on The Walking Dead; try to figure out what they’re cooking on Breaking Bad; or catch up with Mrs. Brown’s Boys (Dear Santa, I can explain…). Soon it will be January (sorry, I skipped ahead, was I wrong in assuming you don’t have anyone for New Year’s Eve either?), then you’ll have a few weeks to recover before the Valentine’s Day trauma begins, maybe.

2. Gently ‘add’ yourself to someone else’s Christmas or add someone to yours.
3. Find dating sites/apps and go on a holiday dating spree. Eggnog your way through stories about his/her ex, mom, ex’s mom, work, football, baseball, hockey, fashion, cars…Who knows, maybe you’ll find a Christmas miracle.

4. Adjust your expectations. Social media is one long high school reunion. Everyone is wearing their best outfit, just lost weight, and sharing only highlights of their life.
5. Read, write, blog, sing, bake, work, clean, declutter, exercise, sleep, go to a movie…flashback to the 70s – dance, wear turtlenecks, bellbottoms, ponchos, and go see Star Wars (or not). It’s all good.

6. Have a Single Christmas Party (not for singles, just you, be your own party).
7. Ignore the season, the gaudy decorations, the commercialism, multiple Santas in multiple malls (unless you work there, try to stay out of the malls altogether) and create a Michael-Bublé-Bing-Crosby-Burl-Ives-free #safespace.
8. Start a new tradition with yourself or others, hopefully one that doesn’t involve eating your feelings (and don’t forget legal).
9. Help others this season – the best way to keep your mind off your problems is to help others with their problems.
10. Under no circumstances drink too heavily, that could lead to calling, texting, or emailing an ex, or watching other people having family time, especially through their windows. Though oddly specific, it’s good advice.
It’s not about what you have, what you get, or even who you’re with, this season is about anything being possible.

Want to know how to get away with Christmas? Simple, enjoy the season and each day, not the way everyone tells you is enjoyable, but the way you enjoy it.

I triple dog dare you.

Posted in Cooking, Family, Food, Televison, Uncategorized

Having the last laugh


Some people believe it’s inappropriate to laugh during hard times.

I think that’s when we need laughter the most.

Dear readers, what do you think? Do you think it’s appropriate to laugh during difficult times? Do you find it relieves stress and puts things into perspective? Or do you think it disrespectful in some way?

  On this intensely cold day, as my vegetarian chili bubbles happily on the stove, baked potatoes and banana bread snuggle in the oven taunting me with their divine smells, an extra layer of comfort was added as we frolicked through the absurd, the hilarious, the clever, the exuberant joy of the long-running (not nearly long enough for me) TV series, Psych. Yet even through the mirth I recognized the more subtle, but most important message, one that we need now more than ever – the bonds of friendship, love, family, and justice win out over anything else.

Shawn Spencer (played by the comically brilliant and adorable James Roday, nothing cuter than a funny guy) uses his uncanny observational skills, memory, charm, and detective work to convince everyone he’s a psychic to solve crimes, hence the title, Psych.

Joined by the incredible cast: Dulé Hill; Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson (Roday’s love interest, on and off-screen); Kirsten Nelson and of course, the delightful Corbin Bernsen and mind-blowing guests too numerous to mention, the dynamic of the group seems dysfunctional, to the extreme, but really, they’re good for each other, they balance each other out.
The strength of this series was in the incredible inventive and mind-blowingly funny scripts, astonishing acting, massive wow-factor guest stars, and the catchiest theme song in TV history.

This brainchild of Steve Franks had a remarkable run, although I would be thrilled to see a couple more seasons and a few movies. I know, you know, I miss this show…

Today, I really did have the last laugh.

Posted in Books, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

The Joy of Cooking on a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

1cookz2Some days I love cooking, but what about cooking on a terrible, horrible, no good, really bad day? I still want what I cook to be delicious and healthy, but how could I do that, say, during a zombie apocalypse? I don’t want myself and any loved ones who had managed to survive to simply subsist on self-contained, shelf-stable foods. We might be prey, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck eating MREs (Meal Ready to Eat). Think fresh and available. What could be tastier than cricket, kelp and mushroom bourguignon?1cookz6

 After reading The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook & Culinary Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson, illustrated by Kristian Bauthus (Benbella Books) you’ll be thinking you should get a head start on this new way of cooking. While I know this book was meant to be tongue-in-cheek (I think that may also be a recipe), it could be a great book to have on hand, just in case. Enjoy this detailed, funny, and practical cookbook as you re-watch or catch up on The Walking Dead to be ready for its return on Sunday October 12th, which coincidentally, is the Canadian Thanksgiving…turkey and zombies, this completely changes the phrase, surviving the holidays.

If nature turns against you, turn that frown upside down – think of it as a fresh start, going back to basics.1cookz4World crumbling around you during a zombie or other apocalypse?
Doesn’t mean you can’t make a wonderful apple crumble in your ammo can oven!

Just because the living dead can’t think of anything but eating human flesh doesn’t mean you have to give up being a foodie.

Posted in Autism, Books, Cooking, Environment, Family, Food, Political, Uncategorized

Harvest of Hope

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

My relationship with food has been a long, complicated one.
There have been break-ups, make-ups. Frustration. Disappointment.
Food’s been a shoulder to cry on; a warm embrace in a sometimes cold world.
Hot and heavy sessions; sometimes we don’t speak at all.
I finally realized my relationship with food was not a healthy one.
It took too long to realize…I was in love with the wrong food.

My son was the catalyst for my revelation. I saw my relationship with food through his eyes and knew he deserved better.
The problem is, what to believe? There’s an overwhelming amount of information about food. What is good, what is bad. There are fad, cults, studies, TV programs, books, websites.
For example, sugar – a topic that would make seasoned diplomats shudder. Sugar is bad, we’ll make artificial sweeteners – the clue was in the name – which made bad worse. Sigh.
If we said we wanted to modify humans there would be a hue and cry, yet modifying the food we ingest which then modifies us is ok.
Due to cross-pollination and weather, allegedly organic food isn’t even safe as long as pesticides and GMOs are being used.

The real problem in our world isn’t GMOs, pesticides, chemicals, politicians, the real problem is us, ready to accept easy, fun, cool, convenient. So easily sold on things we really know nothing about. Assuming facts without evidence and even when we get it we too often ignore it because we don’t like the answers.1harvest14
The o1harvest20nly cure for stupid mistakes and poor choices is to try again. Will it rewind time? No. Undue consequences? No, but it will help us move forward.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating (Warner Books) by Jane Goodall, with Gary McAvoy and Gail Hudson, gives us clear, easy to understand insight about what has gone wrong with our food and beverages and ways to right it. Published 9 years ago, progress, if any, is apparently snail’s pace. I recommend all Jane Goodall books, she’s a breath of common sense, something that is severely lacking in the world today.

Yes, this is on my bathroom.
Yes, this is on my bathroom wall.

What’s your favourite smell of food cooking, something that transports you? For me, it’s the smell of spaghetti sauce cooking; I now love the smell more than the food itself.

Food isn’t just to sustain us, it’s woven into our cultures, part of our celebrations, losses, entertainment, business, romance, parenting, etc. Smells of cooking in our homes are part of our heritage, they’re ingrained in our memories, which in reality, is our heart. Next time you take your child for fast food, it won’t be a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend providing them with sustenance, love, comfort, memories, and joy, but a corporation filling them full of who knows what, and you’re paying them to do it.

Fast food is part of our culture too, but is it a good part?

Do we really want generations of children more in love with Ronald McDonald, the Colonel, or Burger King than their relatives and friends?

In a world where our air, food, water, etc. are already poisoned, fast food may not be our biggest problem, but why accept any poison? Can’t we at least kick and scream a little, push the poison away and say, “NO!” with some conviction?


Is good food more expensive than bad food? Sadly, yes. We need to tell our government to stop subsidizing bad food and put more into good food.

And why not support local farmers with as much zeal as we support fast food franchises?

Yes, restaurants on every corner, phones in every hand, cars clogging every road, virtual worlds so tempting because of the mess we’ve made of this one…is that really the way we envisioned our present and our futures?
We were once told DDT was harmless.
Artificial sweeteners will help us loss weight.
Cigarettes were glamorous, fun, and even healthy.
1harvest16Asbestos makes awesome insulation.
Lead in gas, paint, children’s toys, etc.
BPAs and CFCs were just fine.
Mercury, food colouring, DEP, DiBP, DBT, Halons, HCFCs, PBB, Cadmium, Uranium, DHMO, BHA, PCBs, Azodicarbonamide, Olestra, benzene, BVO, Arsenic, E290, denatured protein – we’ve all eaten, drank, played with, given, received, breathed, driven, wore and more these and told they were super!
Cancer isn’t super.
Alzheimer’s isn’t super.
Autism isn’t super.
Poisoned water, air and land isn’t super.
It’s just stupid.

Posted in Autism, Books, Christmas, Cooking, Environment, Family, Fibromyalgia, Food, Holidays, Internet, Jane Austen, Movies, Music, Parenting, Political, Televison, Uncategorized, Weight, Zombies

My 1 Year Blogaversary!

1birthday10August 8, 2013 wow, that seems like a lifetime ago.

That blog post was, Fibromyalgia is a  Four Letter Word (it still is).

Since then I’ve made a lot of mistakes, did I say a lot I meant a ton, or perhaps a tad more; probably said a lot of things people don’t agree with; and had some wanting-to-pull-my-hair-out moments, no worries, it’s still there, more or less.

I’ve learned a lot. Had some revelations about people I thought would be supportive, turns they weren’t, and still aren’t.

I’ll take it as a life lesson.

Plenty more people have been extremely supportive.
Thank you to family and friends, those who have pressed like, or shared, or reblogged, or followed, or subscribed, tweeted and retweeted, given me awards, or a combination. It means more than you’ll ever know, really.


I have 1birthday6‘virtually’ met some awesome people who are kind, supportive, funny, helpful, generous, hopeful, caring, and have mind-blowing things to say and they share it. Thank you.

This year has opened up new portals for me.


I’m reading books I might never have read, learned things I didn’t know my brain could learn, but most of all it’s given me hope that maybe I can be more, it’s given me a glimpse of me, a me that I sometimes fear is gone forever.

So please join me for this virtual celebration of my 1st Blogaversary or Blogversary or maybe it’s a blogbirthday!


Drop by and say hi, read some of my older posts, apparently there are like 450 of them, hey, I did warn you with the tagline, Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure.

Have a slice of virtual cake, wear a silly hat and join me for another year of who knows what!!!


Posted in Books, Cooking, Family, Food, Jane Austen, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

Bride and Prejudice and Butter Chicken

1butter18A Bollywood-style version of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice? Bollywood is cool, in small doses, I even attempt to dance along, but Bollywoodization of Austen?

I was pleasantly surprised by Bride and Prejudice starring Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson (The Ring), Naveen Andrews (Lost), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher, and a wonderful supporting cast. It was more Hollywood Bollywood, with plenty of romance and dance. A thoroughly modern version. I won’t get into the colonialism issues, that’s for another post.


Of course all this got me thinking of Indian cuisine. I can’t think of a curry, chutney, masala, dal, paneer, gosht, dahi, lentil, chickpea, raiti, naan, vindaloo I don’t love, wait, I’m not horribly fond of mung beans.

When I got this copy of The New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz (Ten Speed Press) from I found it incongruous; Indian cooking is meticulous and methodical,  would it work with a slow cooker? I understand the practicality of it, I love slow cooking. So why not give it a try?
I perused the recipes, all well-written and accompanied by mouth-watering images that made me want to reach into the pages, tear off a piece of naan and scoop up some curry.


Then I saw my friend and arch nemesis, butter chicken. Silky cream caressing your senses as you swim in a river of abounding contentment. Yes, I thought, you shall decide. Let The Hunger Games begin, but you know, with less fighting and death, more cooking delicious food.

While the butter chicken was delicious and easier than usual (after cooking just add butter sauce to whatever version of cooked chicken you like, or turkey or tofu or paneer), I may stay with longer cooking, unless I’m short on time.

Does it bother anyone when they take a classic and change it?
I don’t mean bother as in people being blown up, deadly viruses, planes being shot out of the sky, government corruption, lies, etc., maybe more like annoy.
I’m of two minds, I love the classics, but enjoy renovations or adaptations, not that there aren’t bumps, but I sometimes think, why can’t they leave well enough alone and get some new ideas?

What about with cooking? Why not just enjoy what we have, then again, if we did that what culinary wonders would have been left undiscovered?


Butter Chicken

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup half and half
Substitute coconut milk or lower fat milk or non-diary for cream and half and half, it will thin your recipe, but 1 tsp of corn starch will thicken it.
¼ cup water
Ginger and chilis (1-3 pieces each to taste) or you can use powered, 1 tsp each
2 tbsp sugar or 2 tbsp honey
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt


Melt butter on med-high heat.
Add diary. Mix well.
Add water.
Then spices and sugar. Mix well.
Cover, reduce heat to low (whether on the stove or in slow cooker).
In slow cooker, cook for about 5 hours; on the stove, 2 hours, but remember to stir.

This will keep in fridge for 2 weeks, sealed, or in freezer for 2 months.

This book and others have many variations on this recipe, this is the one I usually use, feel free to play with all, have some spicy fun… and don’t forget to dance.


Posted in Books, Cooking, Food, Jane Austen, Uncategorized

Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs

Howard Books/ Simon and Schuster

You had me at chili…and Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley eating chili? Sorry, what was I writing about, oh yes, this engaging restructuring of Jane Austen’s Emma by Mary Jane Hathaway.

Sometimes I like adaptations of Jane Austen, sometimes I don’t. This one is lovely.

Modern day.
Southern United States.
Caroline and Brooks have been friends since childhood.
Caroline has returned home to care for her mother. Brooks listens to her, cares about her, he’s hot, kind, chivalrous, smart, funny, rich, and brings her chili-slaw dogs to brighten her terrible day…why can’t she stop friendzoning him?
This is just one in the Jane Austen Takes The South series, but it made me want to read more.
Here’s the yummy part, the author borrowed from Ms. Austen, but then added her own touches to spice things up.


I don’t eat hot dogs anymore, but I still love chili so here’s my version of Chili-Slaw Dogs.

Roast or fry zucchini sticks, peppers & onion w/olive oil &  balsamic vinegar…instead of a hot dog.
Top w/ vegetarian chili or chili.
If using meat, please make sure it’s cooked before you add the rest of the chili ingredients.

Here’s a basic chili recipe – spice to taste.

Add the diced veggies, spices, olive oil to frying pan or large pot. Cook on medium heat, about 5 mins.
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, fried.
3-5 Celery stalks or veg purée
2 carrots
Chilis or chilli powder
Italian herbs and spices (to taste)
3 cloves Garlic
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add diced veggies, spices, olive oil to frying pan or large pot. Cook on medium heat, about 5 mins.
Add 2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes, 3 cups beans. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer for 1-3 hrs.
Ideas for beans: Kidney, black, navy, brown beans, Lentils…fava beans? Or a combo.
Make a double or half batch; whatever works for you.

To slaw or not to slaw.
Half a cabbage,
shredded carrots,
¾ cup of mayonnaise,
1 tsp cider vinegar,
1 tbsp honey,
½ tsp salt
Lower calories without losing taste, cut mayonnaise in ½ – add plain or Greek yogurt.
Have fun, experiment.

Guess what I had for supper last night?


Bun is optional; toast it first so it doesn’t get soggy.

Top the chili w/ cheese. Then slaw, or not.


A cool margarita or mint julep (with or without the alcohol) to beat the heat?


If you’re looking for refreshing romantic #Summerreading check this out…
I’m off to find the other books in this series.

I borrowed this book from Netgalley; for bloggers out there, this is an amazing place to get great digital editions free. Check it out

“You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” ~Jane Austen, Emma