Monthly Archives: January 2018

“Grandma’s Pizza”

This has nothing to do with my grandma whatsoever. I saw this recipe in a bread-making book and the author allowed that she didn’t know why it had that name either. At the moment I don’t care enough to investigate (have at it if the spirit moves you.

I make pizza weekly. This was a switch up. It’s a deep dish in a 9×13 pan. It was delicious! I refrigerated half and froze half in portions. I make my own crust (this was half whole wheat and half white flour) but if that’s not for you the same idea might work by using two store-bought dough crusts combined (the ones sold in balls or tubes).

I put my dough in the pan, added 3/4 cup Furmano’s Chunky Crushed Tomatoes, a conservative amount of sliced Mozzarella, a generous helping of dried Basil, and a splash of olive oil. If you try this and freeze some as I did, I suggest using a toaster oven for re-heating; microwaves make pizza mushy and you lose that wonderful crispness.

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Raw dough

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After baking (375 degrees for about 30 minutes till golden brown)

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Lake in winter

Three plus weeks into the New Year and my Kinda Sorta New Year’s Resolutions are well underway. I committed to visiting the local lake ten times. As of today I’ve gone three times. I’d rather go now before the nice-weather crowds descend in spring and early summer. I am really not a fan of combining crowds and nature. The mood is mellow now, the walkers and joggers fewer. I am glad I made a plan to do this. It really is peaceful and scenic.

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Panoramic view of main part of lake

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Two bundled walkers between the two trees

Eat, pray, love, grieve

Most of you have probably heard of the book (and subsequent) film, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read the book and saw the film and liked them well enough but was not blown away (as some people were). What impressed me considerably more was a subsequent book, Committed, where Gilbert explored the concept and history of commitment. It combined solid research with her personal story. There was so much information in it that I felt it deserved a second read (one I have yet to do, but still).

Eye-opening to me was that, contrary to conventional thought, the early Christian church was not a big fan of marriage and preferred people be “married” to god, not mortals. Marriage was seen as a bit frivolous even, so it’s historically inaccurate when people argue that “god” and the church have always advocated marriage. Gilbert points out that while the standard heterosexual man/woman/kids family unit has weakened and dropped in numbers, it is increasingly gay couples who want to marry and have families (and who have met resistance).

As I read Committed I had a strong sense that the author was trying to talk herself into it (i.e. a second marriage after a failed first) and was using research to buoy her decision, which in the end, is to commit to the man she met as described in Eat, Pray, Love.

I haven’t kept close tabs on Elizabeth Gilbert’s ongoing story, just occasionally checking out her Facebook page, so I was surprised to learn that not only had she split from her husband a few short years ago but had become involved with a woman soon thereafter. This woman, Rayya Elias, became ill with cancer and died recently. Gilbert’s grief is very raw and I can’t help but feel for her. She is plainly devastated.

At first – not knowing about the marital split – I was confused when I google-searched and found hit after hit about Gilbert’s “partner” who died. There has to be a better word – and I don’t know why there isn’t yet – for a same-sex girlfriend or boyfriend. “Partner” is so dry and unemotional; it doesn’t do justice to human relationships.

It’s ironic that Gilbert ended up in a gay relationship, particularly after the Hollywood treatment of Eat, Pray, Love, namely “sailing off into the sunset” with a handsome man. More so because of her thoughtful reflections on the current state of same sex couples in Committed. I don’t know if Gilbert will write another memoir that would share her subsequent story but if she does, I’d certainly be interested to read it.

Little Free Library

Have you heard of Little Free Libraries? Individuals volunteer to build and maintain them where they live. Anyone can take or deposit books. They can be found all over the world. The website has all the details as well as a map of locations. Locally, within a mile of where I live, there are three. I see that two of them are not listed on the official map. (If you know me in “real life” and want the addresses of our little free libraries, feel free to contact me.) I thought it would be fun to show you “mine.”

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Taken two days ago (we had a little snow, since melted)

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Love the red

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Looks like repurposed cupboards

I haven’t visited these too frequently (I also have a public library just about a mile from home and I’m there often). Now that I am committed to reading more, like I used to, maybe I’ll increase my visits. Mostly, I’ve returned books I’ve taken to where I found them but here are two I kept (I just found the vegan book and already made the creamy lentil soup).

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When I stopped to take photos today I found the current issue of Martha Stewart Living so I snapped it up.

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125 ways to energize your life, hot-diggity!

It has never occurred to me to start my OWN Little Free Library but this section on doing one inexpensively has got me thinking…

Easy, healthy Walnut, Date & Coconut treats

I saw this recipe on Facebook recently and I immediately made it. Shockingly, I had all the ingredients (this is almost never the case). The original recipe, posted by someone I know casually who practices a healthy lifestyle, used coconut oil as the “binder” but in the interest of an even healthier treat, I used plain water instead. I was delighted with the results!

Walnuts provide good fats, potassium, fiber, protein vitamin B6, magnesium,  iron, and a little bit of calcium. Dates provide potassium, fiber, carbs, magnesium, sugar, vitamin B6, and iron. Coconut provides saturated fat, potassium, carbs, fiber, sugar, protein, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6,  magnesium, and a little bit of calcium.

-20 pitted dates

-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (I buy mine from Amazon by the 4 pack)

-1/2 cup walnuts

-1/2 cup water

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Don’t feel wedded to the exact amounts or even the ingredients. This little recipe should lend itself easily to improvisation.

My Oster blender has a food processor attachment so I used that but if you don’t have a food processor you could try a regular blender; maybe break up the larger food pieces first.

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After mixing

The last step was to shape the mixture into little balls. I like to initially freeze them on a baking sheet. This made 15.

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After they were in the freezer a little while (just long enough so they don’t stick together), I bagged them and put them back in the freezer. So easy!

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