Monday, March 24, 2008


I got so tired of wrestling with my computer; trying to manage my blogs, and e-mails - felt 'glued' to the computer, and was wishing I could just get outside and enjoy the great weather.

It popped into my head that since everything I do, I can 'control', why was I feeling so controlled!

I asked my husband if he'd run get me a pack of cigarettes - stunned by this request (since I don't smoke), nevertheless he ran the errand without giving me a lecture on why I shouldn't start smoking at the age of 65 (which I am - he's 72).

I lit up; promptly got dizzy, and laid down for half an hour before I tried it again. I wondered why I chose this as an 'out' - a way to 'sit', and avoid a certain tension and boredom. Somehow this newest experience, was telling me something - I just didn't know what it was at the time.

With the periodic cigarette going, I found it easier for me to deal with the 'routine' - the rote method by which one writes; edits and follows the step-by-step 'rules of posting'. When the posting failed; the computer 'slowed', I would 'take a puff', and be much more patient!

This routine of smoking started January 3, 2008; by now, it was starting to 'take its toll' - I was feeling that nasty taste in my mouth in the morning, and starting to question why I was letting the 'cigarette habit' infiltrate my life. I'm paying for my 'cigs' from my personal allowance each week; my, it's gobbling up that money at a rate I don't like. There I stood in the kitchen; looking at that dirty ash-tray, and noticing the smell in the computer-room - all 'negatives' which I don't like.

I opened the windows; put the ash-tray into the sink, and put the half-empty pack of cigarettes into the freezer. I stood there by the sink; my head was down, and I started the morning coffee.

Suddenly it struck me: Would I smoke if I had to make the paper and process the tobacco? No - I would not, and could not! Would I be enjoying a nice hot cup of French-roasted coffee if I had to pick the beans; I don't even live close to where coffee is grown! Would I be able to make coffee if I didn't have a coffee maker or electricity - nope, no way!
What's my point? Well not
everything we enjoy as a 'modern-day' convenience, is BENEFICIAL to ourselves.
Many things have actually contributed to our loss of self-reliance. We've
allowed ourselves the 'luxury' of eating out, rather than cooking - lost dollars
for certain. We've enjoyed the convenience of a 'fast-food' restaurant - now we
have a nation of over-weight people; including young
We once 'worked' (hard) during the
course of our day; it kept us physically fit and strong - now we do 'sedentary'
way too easily because of all the 'conveniences'.
We've come to expect things that
we WANT, and call them NEEDS - think twice, and see if I'm not true when I say
we are truly spoiled - we do NOT need all that we've come to
I could make this 'list' a lot
longer, but I do not NEED to - you can make your own personal list, and evaluate
What I do need to do, is finish my
menu-planning; my grocery list, and decide on what I'm going to fix for dinner

Pondering the menu for the evening meal, I thought about making baked potatoes - baked once, and 'be done with it'. Ah then, my neighbor tells me that those twice-baked potatoes are so much better, so I figured I'd give it a shot - that extra touch......

The extra touch - why has that become such a necessary part of the woman's life when I don't see this concept being utilized by a lot of the men I know (including my own husband).

Where have we gotten this idea we have to do the "Martha Stewart"
thinking? I call it the "MS" thinking because it seems ever since this woman
started publishing her books; teaching all the women 'what we should be doing'
on her television show, things have gotten ever so time-consuming for the woman
who's trying to 'do better' for her family, and in her career, etc.

What is the cost of 'doing better'? What kind of revenue are all these
retailers enjoying now that we are all so 'programmed' into thinking that
candles must burn while we dine? What kind of money and time are we 'shelling
out', to live up to the "Martha Stewart' image?

I started thinking - twice is what I'm calling it. Some could call it
second-guessing; I think we should all start doing 'second-thinking' - just like
those potatoes, we need to look at what we're calling an improvement, and
determine if it really is an improvement, and not just succumbing to the
influence of television advertising; magazine advertisements, and falling prey
to an ever-demanding 'call to spend'.

Spend money!
Spend time!
Life seems to be complicated not by our own
decisions, but by what we see and hear is 'necessary' if we're keeping current
with the trends of today.

I think it's time to revitalize some of the old tried and true ways of living; revert back to some of the values that my great grandmother taught me - start thinking and doing the things that worked so well 100 years ago, and we just might save a few dollars in the process.
I'm guessing the 'trend' starting in 2008, will be the 'trend of
saving and saving not only our own house-hold from financial threat, but the
trend of the nation'.
Half-baked ideas? No, twice-thought methods; time to dig them up and out.

Time to share my ideas that have worked for 45 years. Time to put into service, the things I know (but have been neglecting). Time to 'take control', and ask myself each time I start to spend another $20 bill: "Is there are better way?"
2008 - a better way; twice-thought, twice-baked - twice the rewards!
Now let me leave a few recipes for you, that are low-cost; low in calories - this might get you started....
Saute bread-rounds. Remove center portion. Spread cavity with pate de
foi gras puree. Put a poached egg on top; a teeny weeny bit of sour cream on the

Saute bread rounds. Remove center portion. Fill cavity with sliced mushrooms; put a poached egg on top - a bit of sour cream and a sprinkling of parmesean cheese - a few pimentos to top it all off.

Cook and mash or rice: Two cups of potatoes (I use red, and leave the
skins on). Mix in some sour cream (about 1/4 cup). Add 2T of finely minced
pimento. Pile this into a baking dish. Make four cavities. Slip a raw egg in
each cavity and bake until set. Serve with tiny bits of fresh chives and fresh
ground pepper and tiny slivers of green or red pepper.


Tossed Salad, 2 apples diced; 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, 1/2 cup of cubed feta cheese, 1/4 cup of sliced red onion, and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries - yum!
I also put a couple sliced soft-boiled eggs on top for 'pretty protein'.

WHEN MAKING TWICE-BAKED POTATOES: Before you fill the skins with the potato mixture, mix in a bit of left-over ham or poultry (diced small). Stir in 1/4 cup of sour cream; make that little 'cavity' and put in an egg.
Put these back into the oven; 275 - until the egg is set. Easy; good for you - and served with a spinach salad made with red onion; feta cheese - diced apples, and a few dried cranberries - a terrific dinner or a brunch!

Save that lelft-over creamed spinach. Make up 6 soft-boiled eggs; cut
and warm them together (or serve chilled). When serve chilled, I put this on a
bed of romaine, and put red onion slices over it; I don't use a dressing, but
probably a nice vinegar & oil would be nice.

I dislike making stuffed artichokes; too much work. Instead, I get the artichokes that are canned in water (2 jars). I make up my favorite stuffing; starting with the artichokes on the bottom - layer (like lasagne). We just scoop it out and eat.

If I've got the time and can afford the 'calories', I make a binder of sour cream and 2 eggs - mix that into the artichokes and stuffing - think 'mixing meat-loaf'. Then I bake - 30 minutes @ 350 - tasty with bits of left-over ham mixed in as well.

PASTA WITH PEAS - LIGHT AND LOVELY! Make up your favorite pasta - angel
hair is nice for a very light meal.
Saute 1/4 cup of red onion with 1/2 cup
of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano. This doesn't take long - do it
on medium low so it doesn't burn. If you like garlic, make it light - 1/2 to 1
teaspoon of minced garlic.
Add 3 cups of frozen or fresh peas at the very
last; keep them green and tasty - not more than 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
all of this with your pasta; serve with parmesan cheese.
Note: Sometimes I
add mushrooms with the onion and tomatoes too - depends on their price since I
use fresh.

Another version: Use broccoli - very tender; young (or small pieces that you buy frozen). This time I like lots of garlic - at least 1T of minced garlic; 1/2 cup of slivered almonds - saute them together until they're tender (season only with a bit of coarse-ground black pepper).
Toss all of this with the pasta and a good butter replacement for flavor - again, mushrooms are very good wtih this as are slivers of red pepper for a garnish and a bit of sweet crunch.

This is fun: Get those asian wraps (egg roll wraps are just fine). Fill
them with:
Chicken filling made with: 1/2 cup of Ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup
diced cooked chicken, 1 egg beaten and mixed in - 2 T parmesan cheese; salt to
taste (ever so lightly); a wee bit of pepper. Add 1/4 cup of finely minced
scallions and 1/2 cup of shitake mushrooms. Once you've worked all this together
- fill the wraps and seal.
Drop these into French onion soup (save time; use
the mix - just add beer instead of water for a better taste). Let them float;
they steam-cook - great fun!