Sunday, October 01, 2017

A Fresh Calendar Page

When I turned the calendar over to October, the page was nearly blank.  Two long doctor appointments for the girls, and a weekend for Gary and Andrew to go off together.  That's it.  Oh, sure, there's the regular: choir and Bible class and making supper.  But that goes without saying.  The calendar is emptier than I've seen in ages.


I knew months ago that September would be a bit stressful because five days were blocked out before anything else even began.  But as we got into the month, things snowballed.
10 days: three out-of-state trips.
5 days: secretarial work at church.
1 day: out-of-town company here.
1 day: a conference.
3 days: computer died and had to be replaced.

That's 20 days.  No wonder the house is dirty and I feel like it's been too long since I cooked-for-real.  But still, look at some of the good  stuff!









October looks restorative.  A month with only two days blocked off -- it's beautiful!

Fingers are crossed that Mr Murphy doesn't get wind of this and decide to "fix" the situation.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Right to Die?

It's one thing to sit in the living room and debate living wills, assisted suicide, and medical treatment at the end of life.

It's one thing to recognize that medical technology can extend life when it ought not do so.

But how do we avoid "assisted suicide" (aka, murder) while also avoiding unnecessarily prolonging the life of someone who is suffering and dying?  Sometimes it's very hard for those who value life to make sense of when to stop providing life-prolonging treatment for a loved one.

Lutherans for Life has a page about "advance directives."  One statement is especially helpful:
The problem we see in the so-called "right to die" movement is that there is a shift in the discussion.  Instead of discussing whether a treatment is excessively burdensome to a person -- that is, whether it is doing more harm than good -- more and more people are discussing whether the person is a burden.  They advocate removing or stopping treatment with the intent of killing the person.
That's the crux of it.
Is the treatment excessively burdensome to the patient?
Or is the patient a burden to the caregivers and society?

Furthermore, "burdensome to the patient" is not about quality of life so much as it is about whether the treatment "does more harm than good."



Thursday, July 06, 2017

Asian Spaghetti-and-Meatballs

I've been too busy to cook.  The last months have been insta-food, burgers, pizza, and even [gasp] eating out at restaurants.  I did it again today: I stayed at church far too long working and then rushed home to drive Mag to work and do some errands.  And then it would be time to eat -- boom.  Having eaten way too many hamburgers recently, I snatched up some Aldi ground turkey for a variation on our burgers.  My brain was thinking I might throw in some grated onion, carrot, and celery with a teriyaki sauce for the burgers.

Problem 1:  Teriyaki sauce was gone and I had to whip up my own sauce.
Problem 2:  We're nearly out of bread.  The grain would have to be noodles or rice.
Solution:  Get creative.  Besides, I hadn't had the fun of cooking creatively for months.  Pad Thai was the starting point.

Cut veggies:
about 5-6 cups slivered cabbage
about 1 cup julienned carrot
about 1 cup slivered onion
(Slaw mix with some onion would work nicely, if you have it.)

Meatballs:
1.5# ground turkey
lime juice
cilantro
2 eggs
1/4 sesame seeds
1/4 cup flour or fine bread crumbs
extra flavor: garlic, onion, chili powder, pepper, salt

Stir-fry the veggies.  I used a blend of coconut oil, olive oil, and sesame oil.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Set a large pot of water to boil.
Start frying the meatballs in the skillet.
(Option: bake meatballs in the oven instead of cooking them in the skillet.)
Mix up a sauce of  soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, pineapple juice, chili-garlic paste, and garlic.
When meatballs are done, remove from skillet.  Pour sauce into skillet and use whisk to loosen meat-bits.  Return veggies to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook in the boiling water:
8 oz dry spaghetti, broken into 2" lengths
Drain.

Add pasta to the veggies and sauce.  Mix well.  Top with meatballs.


When Gary asked what I was making for supper, I told him what I was inventing.  He put on a brave face.  I was a bit leery too.  But I liked it.  As for my poor guinea pig of a husband, after a few bites, he declared, "Hey, this is pretty good!"  Success!







Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Loss of Patience

Once upon a time, a homeschool mommy had to decide on curriculum in May.  June at the latest. You had to place your order by 4th of July to be certain of having your books by late August or Labor Day.  With Amazon Prime now, people don't want to wait a week for an order to arrive.

Once upon a time, there were no answering machines.  If you phoned someone who was on vacation, they didn't answer, and you couldn't leave a message.  And you certainly couldn't call them where they were.  You waited until they came home to ask your question.  Now we tend to freak out if someone hasn't responded in 10 or 15 minutes.

Once upon a time, people had to go to the bank.  And they had to do it during "bankers' hours."  No direct deposit.  No ATMs.  No taking a picture of a check to deposit it via your Smartphone.

Once upon a time, you paid the doctor yourself and filled out the paperwork to be reimbursed someday by the insurance company.

Once upon a time, when you wanted to watch TV, you had to turn on the set and allow it to warm up for 3-5 minutes before you could get sound and a picture.

People today seem impatient.  People don't want to stop at red lights.  People don't want to wait in lines.  People don't recognize that political or economic policy-changes take a while before they have an effect.  People drive up to a window, hand over some cash, and expect a bag of dinner to be presented to them in less than two minutes.  People think that the doctor should be able to provide a pill or treatment that will improve the problem in a matter of a few hours and cure it within a couple of days.

We used to have all sorts of little, inconsequential, unimportant matters in which to practice patience.  Technology has erased many of those things.  (And it sure is nice to be able to talk easily and cheaply with someone who lives a continent away.)  But technology has also made us extremely impatient with the concept of patience.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Katie's Birthday Cake


There is a certain time of year when neighbors are trying to foist their excess zucchini on friends, co-workers, family, and even enemies.  Imagine your birthday falls at that time of year.  Somehow, inexplicably, this ends up as your birthday cake year after year. 

I may have been terrible at Making Memories (TM) and Establishing Traditions for my kids, but this cake is a tradition we stumbled onto.  Because zucchini.  August.  Chocolate.  Delicious. 


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease your pan: either a bundt pan or a 13x9.

Combine in mixing bowl --
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1.5 cups sugar (maybe 1 cup or 1.25 would be sufficient)
1 tsp vanilla


In another bowl, sift together --
1.25 cups ww flour
1.25 cups white flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Grate --
3 small zucchini (or whatever you need to yield 2 cups grated zucchini)


Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the zucchini to the sugar+egg+oil mixture.
If 13x9, bake about 45 minutes.
If a bundt, bake about 60-65 minutes.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Pad Thai

I don't know if this is how Pad Thai is supposed to taste, but we enjoy this recipe and could eat it frequently.  This serves 4 of us.

Set large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Prepare vegetables:
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup julienned carrots
maybe also include:
~ sliced mushrooms
~ bean sprouts
~ thinly sliced sweet bell peppers
~ thinly sliced onion halves (particularly if the green onions called for later in the recipe are unavailable)


Sauté vegetables  in olive oil and a small amount of sesame oil for extra flavor.


Prepare sauce while veggies are cooking.  Mix:
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2.5 Tbsp lime juice 
2 Tbsp pineapple juice*
1 Tbsp chili-garlic sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp fish sauce (optional)

To cabbage and stir-fried veggies, add:
16 oz shrimp
Cook briefly until shrimp is nearly cooked (or heated, if using precooked shrimp).
Add
4 cloves garlic, minced
and the sauce.
Simmer 4-5 minutes.

While meat and vegs simmer, cook
8 oz of vermicelli or angel hair pasta
(Break uncooked pasta into pieces about 2-3" long before cooking.)
(Also cook eggs now if you're making a larger amount.)

Drain pasta.  Add to veggies.  Toss.

Beat 3 eggs in small bowl. 
Shove pasta/veggie mix aside and cook the eggs in the skillet.
Mix eggs into the cabbage and pasta.
(Depending on the size of the pot and how much vegetables you prepared, you may wish to fry up the eggs in a small skillet, and then crumble into the pasta/veg mix.)

Add:
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp peanuts

Toss.  Serve.



* You can substitute orange juice for the pineapple juice if necessary.  I found that it works to drain the juice off a can of pineapple and freeze it in ice cube trays.