Monthly Archives: February 2018

Short Thought 201

There are people I have sympathy for who also irritate me. I think this feeling should be called empannoyance. Let’s use it in a sentence! “I feel bad that she’s sick but she’s being so demanding. She’s empannoying me.” Or: “They’re a small, struggling business that I’d like to help but it’s so empannoying that their customer service stinks.”

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Mini pizzas

I make pizza for myself just about very week. I posted “Grandma’s pizza”, a new deep-dish one I tried, about two weeks ago. That was from a recipe but I was experimenting when I decided to try making these mni pizzas.

I make my own dough with a mix of whole wheat and white flours (slightly more whole wheat) and it is SO GOOD if I may say so. Maybe sometime I’ll try to post instructions but the thing is, I’ve made hundreds – no hyperbole – of pizza doughs and some of what I do might be lost in writing. But we’ll see! I sure wish there was a magic way to give you a sample to eat through the internet.

Anyway… I made my dough (you could buy dough if you don’t want to make it) and after it had risen I divided it into 6 portions on a cookie sheet. Note the spankin’  new, shiny, baking sheet; the other week I treated myself to this “Master Chef” brand sheet ($6 from Ross). So far I like it.

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Using my fingers I spread each one out thinly.

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Usually if I open a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes for something, in this case a big pot of beans, vegetables, and rice I made earlier in the week, I leave a little behind for a pizza. I never buy pizza sauce from the store; it’s too full of junk including salt and sugar. I prefer the flavor of straight tomatoes (ALSO I don’t get super thirsty since my pizza doesn’t have all that dehydrating salt the way restaurant and takeout pizza does).

To the doughs I added a bit of canned crushed tomatoes, a tiny bit more than one square slice of mozzarella cheese divided among the circles, (I add cheese conservatively and not that I’ve ever been to Italy but I understand they go easy on it there too) ,  a lot of dried Basil, and drizzles of olive oil.

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I baked them around 12 minutes at around (the oven gauge doesn’t work right) 425°.

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SO GOOD!!! Two of these & a bowl of soup or a big salad, you got a meal

 

NOTE: I’ve been posting a lot this past week because I’ve had unfettered internet access – in case you wondered. I’ve very much enjoyed it but this pace won’t last – in case you wondered again.

How this adult wears saddle shoes without looking like it’s a costume

This is a clothing post I’ve wanted to put up for awhile. Last year I bought a pair of saddle shoes from Amazon for less than $10. I saw them and was like oh yeah those are for me. They’re not particularly well-made so I’m not sure how long they’ll last but since I won’t likely be wearing them A LOT that will help their longevity. I bought them however, without thinking too much about how I might wear them.

The key, I quickly realized, is to make sure the rest of the outfit doesn’t scream “five year old wannabe”.  I am not trying to dress like a toddler nor would that particular look suit my personality or body type!
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The shoes are paired with a charcoal, second hand Merona sweater (Target brand), and white New York & Co jeans bought new from Ross last year ($13 marked down).

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The soft 3/4 sleeve sweater has lovely detail on top

 

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The day I wore this I got a couple compliments on the shoes , including from a stranger who literally stopped her car in the middle of the road on seeing me walking. I promptly struck a pose for her benefit. I think I had an extra kick in my step shod in these!

Amazon has gotten it into their head that since I bought saddle shoes I must also want costume clothes since for awhile after my purchase they kept showing me poodle skirts and other 50′ style fare like you’d wear to a Halloween or retro party. Um, no. Just the shoes thanks.

Easy Vegetables with Rice Noodles

In January I tried a dairy-free week. I didn’t mention it then but I didn’t have high cholesterol or anything – tested in the fall at a health fair – but dairy was just something on my mind. (Somewhat after the fact I heard there was a “sugar-free month” afoot in January but honestly, I cut back on sugar long ago and that really wasn’t where I needed/wanted to focus.) As a result, I’ve since cut back noticeably on cheese, oh love of my life.

Another resultant, although not exactly predictable change was that I started eating MORE vegetables. I needed to tweak my thinking to embrace or at least accept the idea that you really can’t over eat vegetables. I.was in no danger anyway. Mostly I think vegetables are too much trouble for the end result (HALF disappears on cooking for one point) so the easier they are to fix, the better the chance I’ll eat ’em.

This dish, made of ingredients on hand, was easy and very tasty. In the past I don’t think it would have occurred to me to combine fresh and frozen (or even CANNED) vegetables but now I think why not? I sauteed onions, fresh red pepper, frozen green beans, frozen diced green peppers, and a handful of unsalted peanuts in canola oil.
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I need FLAVOR to entice me, not just plain vegetables. To season I added a splash of lime juice, a tad of sesame oil (a recent splurge cuz that ain’t cheap, Sally) and a little bit of Liquid Aminos. Liquid Aminos are a healthier alternative to soy sauce with less sodium and actual nutrients in the form of Amino Acids. Do I really know what amino acids are and how they’ll add to my life? No but who cares. The taste is similar not identical to soy sauce. Initially it takes a little getting used to, but I figure it’s worth it.
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If I only ate vegetables, I’d be starving in no time. I need some carbs to round out a vegetable dish but in this kind of entree I try now to have at least as much vegetables as carbs. I LOVE noodles. Rice noodles, if you don’t know them, are just rice and water.


Here is the combined ingredients.
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A couple thoughts as the Olympics wind down

On whole I have really enjoyed the 2018 Olympics.. I missed Bob Costas and Scott Hamilton and only saw one Mary Carillo piece. (Did I just miss them somehow?? Despite watching a lot of Olympics – not all – I learned almost nothing about South Korea. There seemed to be far fewer “human interest” pieces.)

One thing I find a little disconcerting throughout – the way a child often does on encountering adults dressed up in costumes with animal heads at amusement parks or other venues – is the visual effect of the uniforms now worn in the various sports. It makes everyone look like they are visitors from another planet or possibly from the future. Have you seen the headgear on the snowboarders? Only figure skaters wear no protective gear when performing – if they crack their head on the ice or their partner accidentally slices their skin with a skating blade, oh well. It’s the only sport that is fully about creating an illusion, safety be damned. (If you have any interest here’s a recent article with old photos on changes in US winter uniforms over the years; apparently the snowboarder/astronaut look is inentional!)

In both winter and summer Olympics the TV viewer is sometimes shown a projected visual “line” onscreen in sports like speed skating and swimming indicating where the curreent leader or record holder was in their race. Watching these moving lines, which are so cool, made me think that if the actual race participants could see them TOO, like a carrot on a stick, I bet they’d move faster.
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Free and cheap things that have come my way lately

I’ve been a very fortunate girl in terms of the ongoing free/cheap things that have come my way. I really do think there’s a kind of cosmic give-and-take at work. I give away A LOT of stuff. (Not that I buy so much or own so much in the first place; it’s more that I find many great things and share freely. And when I “upgrade” something, I let go of other things.) Anyway, I mean that I don’t just write posts like this to say “Look at what I have!” but to think about what it means. Since I last wrote specifically about getting cheap and free things I’ve acquired many more for “show and tell.”

A neighbor threw out this large (25.5″ x 33.5″) mirror. It was a dark burgundy color and I already have a similar mirror so I painted this one white (primed first). It’s a small room and I always keep in mind that mirrors enlarge spaces, plus this one, opposite the window, reflects light from outside. I’ve been liking the overall effect very much; it adds something.
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Someone listed a free manual treadmill on the local on-line yardsale group and I pounced! I know nothing of treadmills; I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “manual” kind which is powered only by your movement but I liked the idea. (This may have to do with having seen too many movies featuring the hackneyed scene of somebody getting distracted while on an “automatic” treadmill and go flying off the back.) Yes, it’s a beast and taking it on meant a piece of furniture (a tall corner shelf unit) had to go (gave it away) but when I thought about, what is more important? A large object that adds to health and possible longevity or a large object that is mainly decorative and stores stuff? I have used it all winter. I can truly see the benefit of having exercise equipment on-hand especially when the weather is lousy. It even measures calories spent, speed, time, nd distance traveled.

On the same aforementioned online yardsale group, a woman was selling the long, unused burgundy runner seen in the photos for $5. I thought it would cozy up the treadmill corner and make it more appealing to use in the dreary, cold, dark winter months. It did.

I should move on to the wild curtains seen in the treadmill photos. Last summer I found that pair of curtains tossed out on the curb. They were still on a curtain rod, that’s how lazy the people were! It looked as if they’d had a big fight: “You don’t like these curtains? Well, I’ll show you!” [rips curtains down rod and all and heaves them out the door.] Well, saw this gorgeous fabric pattern and thought, YEAH! That’s for me. My taste grows increasingly bolder. The curtain rod? Well, it WAS garbage, kinda rusty, so I left that behind. Not only are these curtains – which I assure you I washed – beautiful – they fit the other colors and act like a big of piece of art on the wall.

Further, I realized they are thinner than my original, cream colored curtains and I got the idea to simply hook the new, patterned curtain OVER the others so they added extra warmth in winter months.

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Patterned curtain clipped overtop other solid color pair

This bag was on the “free” table at the local thrift store. They must not have thought it had much value but it’s actually well made and looked useful. I’m not sure if maybe it was a camera bag or something? But I thought it could make a good over-body purse for times I might not want to haul a bigger bag, like on a hike.

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I probably wouldn’t have bought it but for free I’ll give it a try

I paid a mere $3 for this bag at the thrift store and was happy to do it. I like to keep larger bags on hand for times I need to carry more than just a purse. The sunglasses I got from Amazon for $5.
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I found a nice, large bird feeder last summer. The strange thing (for me) is I no longer remember where – I think that’s because I promptly put it away to wait for winter. It’s been a huge hit with the birds.

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When I write about my community I often think it must sound like people throw perfectly good stuff out all the time as if they were rich. The first part is true; but the second is not, nonetheless a lot of good stuff gets trashed. Near last summer’s end I found these two chairs in terrific condition. They were with two other chairs that weren’t in terrific condition so I left those behind. I washed them up (hose, soap, scrub brush) and boom – aren’t they great?!

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In late summer somebody threw out what must have been a large IKEA storage unit (all IKEA stuff eventually goes to die by the road). I’d had an idea for awhile and when I saw the drawers in the pile of rubble, I snapped up a few. I’ve been looking at underbed storage and I really didn’t the want to spend the money plus when I read Amazon reviews, many of the styles available sound flimsy. I want sturdy. So what I did was add a set of castors I had to the bottom of one of the drawers. Voila! Nice-looking, underbed storage. Because they were drawers they even have that hand opening to pull them out. I need two more sets of castors to do the others.

In the fall I got these two pretty scarves from the thrift store’s “dollar bin”. They are both my style and so soft!

At the local synagogue’s annual fall rummage sale I picked up this basic tote bag for a mere quarter. Little faded but still has life.

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More inexpensive secondhand sunglasses. The black-and-white were a quarter; I haven’t worn them yet…maybe this summer.

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Someone in the neighborhood threw out this step stool. One of the legs is damaged but I feel safe. (It wasn’t a mortal wound.) Did you realize the hole is a carrying handle? I think I figured  that out (about such stools) only two years ago.

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This 3′ fake tree hit the curb right after Christmas – the lights work and everything. It’s not a good picture but it is a cute tree so far as fake trees go.

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Last year I found a container full of small thread spools, which I could definitely use (although I did wonder who throws out thread??). The container, a big plastic chest, I soon gave away. I got the idea to put all the little threads on thin dowels. It’s great; I can see all the colors and they don’t get tangled.

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Lastly, these Easy Spirit shoes were $2!

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Once upon a pair of jeans…

Have you bought a new pair of jeans recently? Maybe I’m out of the loop because I don’t typically buy new jeans, or necessarily familiar brands, but I bought a pair of Levi’s from a Ross store this winter and was taken aback by the tags inside.

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That’s FIVE tags there

 

Seeing all that reminded me of an old Jerry Seinfeld routine where he ridicules the thick book containing the check you’re sometimes handed in an upscale restaurant: “What is this, the story of the bill?” That’s what I thought on seeing all these tags: “What is this, the story of the jeans?”

Maybe if you’re industrious you could cut them all out and sew a little top to to go with your jeans.