I blog gluten-free

Monday, February 28, 2011

Paczki Paczki Paczki

While I've gotten healthier, from avoiding bladder surgery, among other things, after knocking out gluten, I was a little sad last Shrove Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras aka "Eat Drink and Be Merry For Tomorrow We Die to Self Day"- when I was offered paczki, and couldn't accept. Then I began a search- what to use to substitute for the basic all-purpose flours... guava and fava bean flours are sweet- sometimes a bit TOO sweet for some recipes, (although great for cookies and breads)- and of course, knowing I had a lot to learn. I missed out on paczki--- look at these...they're so lovely and so beautifully sinful! Stores begin selling these in a basic box a few days before Ash Wednesday... as part of the traditional "One last day for sweets, start cleaning out the larders, forty days of 'death to self' coming!" regimen. (To be honest, the day before the ash and sack-cloth of Lent, that Tuesday is pig out day now.)
For those unfamiliar, it's basically, ja, a jelly doughnut.
It is spelled "paczki", and I used to pronounce it accordingly, stemming from a habit of literally pronouncing what I read- other words included "Tao" and "segue". Pac-ski, or close enough. It's actually "poo-n-ch"-think punch with an "ooh" sound instead of an "uh"- "key". It is, beautifully fatty, sweet, and fried. It is a dieter's worst nighmare or sweetest wet-dream.
If you see them in stores, they'll probably be in a box like this, from places with large Polish populations like Chicago or Detroit (We also are a big part of Buffalo--- call out the last name "Kozlowski" in certain areas, and expect a lot of "Yeah, what"s!- it's our version of "Smith"!)
Oh, and uh-sage advice: STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE PRUNES. Unless you REALLY need them.
Na zadrovie!
Have a safe, fun, and food-filled Mardis Gras!
And my thanks to Gluten-Free Adelaide... I may not have to go without much longer!
Gluten-Free Paczki Recipe

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dear Mom, Take My Advice

Dear Mom,
We are not living in the Middle Ages. It is a new world out there--- O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world! That has such people in it!- The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Mom, don't let the wear and tear of taking care of another sick person- first, Dad, and me, and all the people you do home health care for, and Wayne, with his Parkisons, racism and increasing dementia steal your joy and take away those things you're interested in. You- take care of you. YES, YOU. Last year, you had my kidneys, my issues from my illnesses and the anxiety from D and his family- and Wayne, and Grandma, first her apparent return to health after her first round of chemo, then her increasing dementia, and then her bout with terminal lymph node cancer. I am here- I worry about you- because you hurt yourself, and there is nothing, at times, that I can do. Take time- read, write the cards you send that are so rare in this world and so lovely to see, give yourself time to mourn, let Wayne's nurses do their job. Oh, nurse... oh, doctor... oh physician, HEAL THYSELF! Don't tell me that I can apply this to myself--- JUST TAKE THE ADVICE YOU' VE GIVEN!
Do not let those who say your prayers go unanswered because you "live in sin" hurt you. Mom, I'll tell you this... I'd rather see a million good relationships, legally and church-sanctioned or otherwise, where there is love, faith, hope, honor, and mutual respect, then one more marriage of convenience, where people hate each other, but yet, consider it a holy union. Marriages of convenience, of desperation, are not convenient in the slightest. As a divorcee, I am the last person who can give, particularly a widow, marriage-or-relationship advice, but I can tell you this: I know what NOT to do.
Dearest Mom
To thine own self be true.
The world can spin without you for a while. Cry where you need to. I'm a shoulder if needed. Laugh.
Dear Mom, I love You. Goodnight, to the old lady, whispering "Shhh..."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's The Cat's Scat

Coffee from a cat's behind is not such a new idea. Let me explain this:
In some parts of the world, the people are, to be polite, bat-shit insane. (No scat puns intended.) These wild cats eat coffee berries, like the caffeinated goats of the nascent period of coffee. Unlike the goat-herds, who simply realized "Hey, that shit wakes you up! Good!" and ate and later drank the coffee themselves, without a trip through the entrails of a goat, these loony-birds collect and clean caffeinated cat-shit. (Think about this...in some foreign factory, some poor fucker is cleaning cat-shit for whole beans). Then, with a high mark-up, they sell the shitty coffee, and dumbasses frolic and pay through the ass for what is essentially, cat feces in a cup. With that rich, mountain-grown coffee flavor. Juan Valdez, be not proud. I am ashamed at times to be a coffee drinker. Cats are nice. Sure, I prefer dogs, but I like cats. But for the love of all that's holy, I am not about to feed a little cat coffee beans, and then comb through drek for undigested coffee beans. I'd like to say, ignore this, it'll go away... but sadly, there are suckers who will shell out for novelty, and because, hell that shit's gotta have quality. Here's a link. If you drink it, you will not be kissing me anytime soon. Serve it to me, and I will throw up on you. Then I'll have a cat shit on you for good measure.
(Scary- I only had to type C-A-T-P and I had 500 results pop up. Shudder. Damn you, google!)
Paying Out the Ass For What Went Through A Cat's Ass
"Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"
$400 freaking bucks a damn pound! You've got to shitting me! (Pun FULLY intended.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maybe the Horse Will Sing

A man commits a crime, and the king sentences him to death. The king asks him "Is there any reason I shouldn't chop your head off right now?" The man says, "Oh, King. Live forever! I am the greatest teacher in your kingdom. And it would be a waste to kill a good teacher. I could teach your favorite horse to sing in a year!" The king is greatly amused. "To the stables with you. If you cannot teach him to sing in a year, you lose your head."
Back in his cell, the teacher's cell mate tells him he's an idiot. "I have a year now I didn't have before. Maybe I'll die, maybe the king will die. Maybe the horse will die. A lot can happen in a year. And who knows, maybe the horse will sing." 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Busy Busy Bethy

I'm alive- thanks for thinking of me... I currently have about 800 notifications, etc...
I've been fighting my usual- might need another swing through with Macrobid, one of the best antibiotics I've had for my kidney. A more effective pill was offered, however, it is sulfa based, and like my dealings with ibuprofen, rather than helping, give rise to a condition politely referred to as "My hives have hives." (Not only am I hell on chefs, I am hell on doctors too.)
Lent is coming in less than a month- I think I'll enjoy a lovely "Shrove Tuesday", see about gluten-free paczki (Hey, it's tradition, damn it!) and I'm also looking up alternatives to "Fish fry"- not only am I not a fan of fish, but deep-frying also tends to be done with breading...and I don't want to spend every Friday during Lent subsisting on vegetables. Tuna steak? Maybe. Maybe. I'll incorporate, if I can, a group of good gluten free recipes for Lenten Observance into the They Call Us Mom blogs after running it through Mel and whatever editors I find.
I've been fighting- but sleeping a bit more regularly, still popping an Ambien here or there to avoid dreaming, as when you're sick, your usual nightmares become intensified, and sleep heals. But I find a lot of demons in the land of Nod too.
I am not necessarily "Giving Up for Lent" but rather, hope to "Give To". I'll repost my blog on that after my blog for Mardis Gras publishes. I set it to publish automatically.
Yes, I've been quiet... but I'm merely- huh, like this isn't ever over-used- sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I've had my spells of majorly worrying about everyone, figured it'd be best if I also took my own advice and actually worked on me.
I've had Lucy, Brit TV, the occasional heavy reading, music, and have been occasionally spending time outside. It was quite lovely, and I spent a bit of time outside with a book, a hooded sweatshirt and my sandals. If anything, the mild fresh air was lovely, and healing. Sorry if I've worried anyone, I'm nursing myself, so that I can be there for others. And working on decisions regarding faith and a possible new major, which I am loathe to announce until I am sure.
But... peace, my soul... I'm going to be just fine. If I'm needed, you know where I am.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Give Me The Stars

Forget flowers and perfume
Give me a blanket on the dewy grass
Under a wide black sky
And the twinkling stars
I don't need lust and cheap nylon lingerie
A warm sweatshirt over my shorts
And a simple blanket
On the dewy grass will do
I don't like the dark anymore
But I love the pretty little stars
And the sweet and simple
Like laying under the stars
Pointing out the Dippers and imagining little star-babies fed with celestial milk from the big dipper
Nestled in the cradle of the Little Dipper
Give me a warm, sweet-scented summer night
Forget the world
The stresses and pains can wait a while
Give me the chirpy, chatty crickets
and the little fire-flies flitting in the black of night
Give me the stars
And let me sleep on a blanket
With the crickets and the fire-flies
Under a blanket of night and stars
Let me- just for now- fly free
And sing old songs beneath the velvet sky
And hope- for a better world-SOMEDAY
Blackbird singin' in the dead of night
Spread your broken wings and learn to fly
All your life, you were only waitin' for this moment to arise.

(This is not a preferred version to many- I myself have 3 different versions of Blackbird in music files, but it's quite lullabye-ish and it does make up part of the soundtrack of a favorite movie, I Am Sam.)

The Best Is Yet To Come

This blog, in addition to random tidbits, prayers, "Better Out Than In"s, and recipes, will also serve as test blog  (particularly while I help Mel out with a Moms' project) while I work on my gazillion projects. If offered a shot on writing something I feel strongly about, I have a habit of just going from the heart- stream of conscience. Sure, you'll see me attempt to sort out religion, faith, and modern life, among other things, as well as my goofing about dates, and my snappy answers to stupid questions.
You'll also see me attempting to reconcile living between two worlds and attempting to figure me out. Apparently that doesn't happen by the time you're 30- as one particularly stupid person told me (They also told me you can get over a rape in 3 months, I knew to laugh at them then!)- and that's OK. Yes, I do tend to overthink. I can think myself out of sleep. Yes, I "editorialize" or play an internal game of "Word Association". Yes, I need to get out more. Yes, it would help if I knew what and how to say what I feel half the time.
But bear with me, I have changed a lot in these past 2 years, seen darkness, seen light. Every day, I see about a hundred things that make me sad about the world. And then there are kindnesses that apparently, most would not notice. And those, I will hold close to my heart, and be extremely honored and grateful to see. And as they say, "The best is yet to come".

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Test Blog: Q&A on Celiac Disease With Links

Celiac Disease Q & A

As part of my duties here at "They Call Me Mom", my mission, if I chose to accept it, was to address Celiac Disease.
I was diagnosed in late '09. My first Thanksgiving with Celiac, I literally subsisted on mashed potatoes and butter, and coffee, while everyone else had the gravy, the great biscuits and crescents Grandma made. It's been a really long road, already. But, it's also been a huge blessing. Here goes:

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac is a disease of the digestive system. Basically, when a celiac eats anything with gluten, the body treats it as a virus. It is an auto immune disorder. The "villi", little hairs on the intestines, are flattened. Numerous symptoms can develop, from flu symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, to headaches, crankiness, lack of concentration, irritability, and more. It is an equal opportunity offender on the body. Many celiacs find that they have been accused of "Faking", have been misdiagnosed, with such illnesses as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, go through tests upon tests. I was lucky... my malabsortion, dark circles under my eyes, and extreme vomitting gave me away. With starting a gluten-free diet, which I have to remain on the rest of my life, and with an endoscopy, I was found, not to have an allergy to milk, or to be "Just delicate" but to be having issues with foods I was given to make me healthy. Like rye and whole wheat!

What is gluten?
Gluten comes from the Latin and means, literally "glue". It is that sticky substance in some grains that holds them together, and helps give dough its' characteristic stretch. In some, it is also a poison.
What do you have to avoid with Celiac?
Anything with gluten. This includes wheat, rye, barley and spelt (A "gentle" older cousin of wheat.) Major "Watch Out Zones" involve oats, because this is naturally gluten-free but often contaminated in storage with wheat-containing items. There are companies that I do trust with oats. Not to worry: COMPANIES ARE GETTING IT. Actual mainstream companies market to those of us with celiac and related issues. 2/3 of the Chex varieties, and various other General Mills cereals are now marked as gluten free. And who the heck LIKES wheat Chex, anyway? :)

How does Celiac Disease Affect me as a parent?
I was sick, literally, and tired. I was undergoing stress, ending an abusive marriage during which the inlaws also participated in various forms of abuse, and with issues from fighting, almost with my life.
I was exhausted. I was in pain. I was throwing up all the time, headachey, you name it. Stress + Illness = Major Spiral!
With better food, I was able to be more grounded. I could hold my anxieties at bay better. My thought process was clear, and I could control my pain to an extent. And things, while not perfect, and while I lost a few things that left me mourning, have gotten SO much better!

How does the world perceive Celiac?
My family, at times, has not been supportive. From offering me "no no"s, to asking me, crudely, if I just was attempting to lose weight! My mother, bless her heart, while confused, works and fights for me. She might not understand it fully, but she works with me. She tears up if we're at Starbucks and I'm entertaining myself with a KIND bar with my coffee while everyone else has muffins. Throughout my life, she has gotten used to my diet being limited for numerous reasons. She helps me out, offering support and taste-testing for me. (Last month, she made a loaf of GF bread for me, as a surprise. It was marvelous, and I was delighted!) But, it gets diagnosed more and more often, along with gluten intolerance and wheat allergies, and companies are noticing! (Admittedly, I remember crying when Starbucks pulled a really good gluten free orange cake off the shelves- it was different, but GOOD. But apparently easily moldy- some gluten-free food lacks in preservatives- and not that popular. )

Why is it important to eat normally?
First and foremost, survival!
When I first began, I lived on brown rice and veggies for a while. Really, quite bland indeed! I tested numerous gluten-free breads available. The brown rice loaf can double as a weapon, it's about five pounds! And it tastes... well, not heavenly! Then I discovered tapioca breads. And with homemade breads, for example, Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free "Wonderful Bread"- (IT IS!) and "The Gluten Free Kitchen" boxed mixes, I get that fluffy texture I got used to. And piping hot, just the way I like it! We are creatures of habit. Trying new things is sometimes difficult. We become used to the same old same old, and changing up routines stinks!
I like to eat healthy, but enjoy it too. Why just survive when I can LIVE? People first taste food... not just digest it. And I like to have food & fun with friends, and to enjoy all.
My favorite foods have always been comfort foods--- a chocolate cookie, S'mores at camp fires, graham crackers with my tea or coffee, a good roast beef sandwich (No longer on rye, but still with swiss cheese!)- spaghetti and meat balls, and above all, did I mention chocolate?
We want comfort along with our nutrition. I come from a Slavic/German heritage. FOOD IS BIG. For happiness, for sadness, for comfort, for togetherness, we EAT. (I occasionally pull a stunt only my grandmother could be proud of- "Did you eat yet? Are you hungry? You must be. Eat." It makes my mother start laughing instantly.) Sure, it's a pain in the butt sometimes... but prices ARE actually, slowly going down, and things have gotten SO much better. And sure, I have to make my own on occasion, but it teaches me lessons. And sometimes, no one is the wiser!
The biggest reason? Hey, you may have an incurable disease. So what? You can enjoy food too!  It's controlled by diet, and you need not just eat "food substitutes". Taste, texture, fun, comfort, are important to all.

My biggest inspirations have been my sister, G. and her son, who has wheat allergies among other things. We share numerous recipes and tips.

I also thank Danna Korn, author of Living Gluten Free for Dummies, (Danna also runs R.O.C.K- Raising Our Celiac Kids)
The fine people at the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, for tips and education.
Enjoy Life Foods--- while not perfect, no company IS, there are some absolutely marvelous stuff, all free of the Big 8 Allergens (dairy, wheat, eggs, gluten, fish, etc)
Rice Dream makes the best chocolate ice cream bars. While I am not allergic to casein from milk like my nephew, C., I find that the rice milk loses no taste.
Ener-G Foods: For premade bread, the tapioca loaf, toasted, is marvelous. Non-Celiac approved, too!
Glutino Crackers- plain and vegetable. Mahvelous.
Tinkyada Pasta: You would NEVER know it's rice.
Need a fast dinner and can't just pull out the Hamburger Helper? Mrs. Leeper's (I called it Mrs. Leper at first.) makes the best gluten free version. Boil noodles. Add meat. Mix in with included sauce. DONE!
There are SO many more I cannot begin to list!

What Is Gluten?
What Is Celiac Disease?
Living Gluten Free For Dummies
Ener-G Foods
Enjoy Life Foods
Rice Dream
Mrs. Leeper's
Bob's Red Mill
The Grain-Less Baker
Tinkyada Pasta
Raising Our Celiac Kids
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Pimpage For "They Call Us Mom"

My friend Mel is starting up a community of sorts. I intend to help in the lines of grief- if needed... to support those who suffer grief along with the joys of parenthood, allergy information, and safe, gluten-free recipes, that taste good to all, and are not "just substitutes" (I myself cry when I see "food substitute"- no one should have to give up good food just because they can't have this, that, or that other thing! Rather, find good, simple ingredients we can enjoy!

This is my bio, and I intend to help as needed, first the major Pimpage!
Check out "They Call Us Mom", and please send ideas!
They Call Us Mom

My name is Beth. I am 28, (almost) and while I have had a lot of hard lumps in life, I am getting on my feet and working on me.
All the better to help me, my sweet child, and my numerous nieces and nephews.
I live with celiac disease, finally diagnosed after years of pain and malabsortion in October 2009.
This may have been a cause in 3 miscarriages and numerous "feminine" issues.
 To this day, I am still
growing and learning, tasting old foods made differently for the first time in years. I love food- even though I have had
issues with it. So I try to find ways to make it good, safe and fun!

I am an auntie to many, with one surviving child of my own,
 a sweet girl who will be five in May, named Lorelei. The very first true love
of my life!

I love to look at the moon and stars, read, write, test foods in an apartment I call the Doll House, hence, my recipes
come from the "Doll House Test Kitchen".
I support, among others, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. They have done so much for me, and others. I will be
delighted to walk when they come around again!

I educate on food allergies, and am a psychology major, although I am considering studying theology. This is something
I am doing a lot of hard thinking about. I am hearing impaired, although I can generally survive in the "normal" world,
and attempting to learn ASL while I research hearing aids, among other things. I am actually thrilled most of the time,
to live in two worlds, of disability, and of "normal"- I have seen so much good (and yes, some bad, but mostly good)- that
some might have easily missed. I am blessed. And I am grateful.

I love silly, and maybe dark humor and tend to have a lot of it.

To wrap this up, I am a goof, with no intention of changing that, who loves family, believes, if not in religion,
than in a living faith... and has a big desire to help others. I have fought, and grown, and will continue to do so.
I am delighted Melanie thought of me. She is a HUGE inspiration, and I am proud to count her as a friend, and now, a
Thank you, Pleased to meet you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Where There Is Hatred, Let Me Sow Love

Saint Francis is one of my favorite saints. This might be no accident, but I choose to think the gentle patron saint of animals is just something that struck my fancy-fascinated me.
I do really hope I can follow this...

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Is Well, Safely Rest...

"Fake it 'til you make it" has been bandied about so much... I even got it in a simple coffee-house-discussion one fine day. I am the queen of the "fake it 'til you make it maneuver"- that is, slapping on what I hope looks like a genuine smile, and acting. (During my marriage, I could very well have been at least a contender for Best Actress.)
I can smell the "Oh, I'm OK" from a mile away... generally, it's the first sign I look for to figure out if someone is, truly, OK. It is, when we are sitting quietly, that our true emotions do show... repose can show sadness kept at bay, or if you're having difficulty holding back a smile or tears. (It's generally when I've been sitting back quietly, and just in my own little world, and I do suppose I have one- when people are most apt to offer "Are you ok"?
And I have, in the years, become the master of "Oh, fine! I'm good. I'm OK"- even if I wasn't. Sometimes, I can say "Oh, just being quiet."
I have made mistakes, sure... but I stand by a code of ethics that says "If someone's hurting, you make sure they have someone to be there for them. You do not watch someone bleed, you staunch the blood. You help them until they truly are, OK. Be quiet, let them get it out, but ensure that people know their worth." It is true: I cannot rest until I know "All is well". (From the lakes, to the hills, to the sky---all is well, safely rest..."
To feel as if I have hurt someone, and deeply, kills me. Just as I cannot violate my code, I cannot, even in connection to me, allow anyone to hurt themselves.
I will not stand by and let someone call themselves worthless, I just can't. It's not in me, and I will wish like hell that I could honestly show them all their worth. I will not toy with people. And I will pray like hell (irony?) to find a way to just be there. We are called, to love, to guide, to care. Not to judge- hence, if a person is not in my presence, I will not allow negative comments on them- and not to allow someone to be alone in the Land of Pain.
Straddling two worlds, as I do by necessity, I wish like hell that I could say that it is not a cold, dark dangerous world where those closest hurt us most. It is. But WE can, if not be perfect, still, not let the darkness harden and kill us and our souls.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taste Test: The Grainless Baker Graham Crackers

The Doll House Test Kitchen is busy today.
First order of business: Testing graham crackers from a company called the "Grainless Baker". Good back story- but... that only goes SO FAR with me. Accordingly, "The Head Chef" grew up in an Italian bakery, was diagnosed with celiac disease- while working IN said bakery, and, in that heart-breaking way I know so well, was surrounded with "Can't eat this, can't eat that".
Second Order of Business: If the initial nibble and savor goes all right: we have S'mores. If not, I have marshmallows, I Love Lucy, and a Hershey's Bar.
1- Large glass of cold milk (CHECK!)- 2.79/gallon
1-Package of Grainless Baker graham crackers (Gluten Free)- *choke* $7.00 (half a package apparently is good for a crust. And this- this is why we test- before allowing for public consumption. Nothing will go to guests unless I approve.)
1-Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar $0.75
1- Package of marshmallows, approx $1.00
Total: $8.75. I am choosing to permit milk by the glass as negligible.

Plain Graham Cracker:
Appearance: Kind of reminds me of a dark shortbread, a bit heavy-looking. I remember the boxes of Honey Maid, thin little wafers, about fifty cents a box. For this price, they'd BETTER be good. Although, I know I can make my own. Still, it's good to find something that we in "the community" can have "just like everyone else"
And now... with clean palate:
Oh, my God! It's light! It's light! And no "heavy honey"- this is that preferred "digestive biscuit" flavor. Mixes well. Tastes---GOOD! Looks like a cookie, tastes like those days of childhood. MONEY WELL SPENT. And I have yet to get to the S'mores! (Prepare for coma from happiness! :) )
So far, HEAVEN. I'm IN HEAVEN! Also: Good with coffee.
Dear Grainless Baker, I love you.
Now, I haven't had S'mores in 2 years. But this is a staple. I've attended and worked @ summer camps and the like, this was occasionally dinner on those weekends when the YMCA left us to our own devices.
You know the drill. Now, from plain "cracker" to "Heaven On a Cracker" (Don't judge me- it's the simple things that make you happiest.)
Uh... marshmallow or chocolate first? These things are not flat. It's a Graham Cookie.
Give her a zap- to melt the chocolate and marshmallow on sm. plate. In the summer, I'll find a small grill or something... for now, the microwave will have to do. Desperate measures are called for.
Mmm... Oh... God.... I has S'mores!

Fried Bananas and Chocolate

Many years ago, a friend of the family, born in Puerto Rico, kept me for a few days while my family dealt with another of my father's health issues. (We had a lot... I remember never really being "home" for either my reasons or Dad's.) She was attempting to keep me both well-fed and cheerful in spite of it all. First she taught me arroz con pollo- chicken with yellow rice- and as a treat, although usually served with chicken or beef, she taught me how to make fried bananas-I forget-or blipped on the Spanish term for these. We used a basic banana, not the little tiny plantains.
It was a pretty basic dessert banana.
Slice 3 bananas into quarters. 
Dip into small bowl filled with milk.
Roll in a cinnamon and sugar mixture
Fry at 350 degrees for 2 minutes. 

Now, as for chocolate, I like it in almost any way... dark, milk, white mixed with a dark or milk, as a dip, by itself, etc.
Using bananas, not so much for my poor nephew- who is sadly, allergic to chocolate (it sucks to be 6 and have a million allergies!) I also like to add a popsicle stick,  dip them in melted milk chocolate, and roll in a candy mixture. Then freeze for about five minutes and gobble them down. Another fun little treat I keep to myself.
By itself, I like to hold a funnel over a pan-- and pour in chocolate, then freeze, until set... with a little care, and a small knife, I can make a pretty big Hershey's Kiss.
Somedays, I am sad. Today, I smile...and wax poetic on making yummy, messy treats...and on chocolate. 

Uh-Oh- Spaghetti-Os!

The Doll House has a snobby test kitchen. Wheat? OUT! Rye- oh, you vixen- out! Spelt? Not so much.

Every kid and many adults (along with Free Tomato Soup my freshman year) love Spaghetti-Os...as a comfort food, a connection to the simple things.
I was just thinking about this when the delightful bloggers,The Gluten Free Mom @ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom
did their own test. Simple, cheap, easy and comforting!
(Reminds me of lunches while Grandma taught me how to make the numbers I had trouble with out of cookie dough---we'd bake them and have pretty number cookies) and gossiped with me. (Ugh, that cousin David...to my dad "Tom, did I tell you about my date this weekend! He's so cute, and only 50! (She was hot to trot, my Grandma!) Ah, magical times :) and enjoy.
We can't just open cans, and heat them up.
Start basic:
(Miss Beth goes with a "Feel Rite and a basic grocery store. Whole Foods would be heaven.)

3 cans of tomato soup. The unconcentrated is sold in cartons (32oz)
1 can of water for canned soup
1 c. milk (Ommit with boxed soup)
use small kids' shapes from Tinkyada, like "Brown Rice Little Dreams"
6 oz of Velveeta Cheese- ADD IN VERY SLOWLY! If you put it in too fast, it'll be a mess.
Salt- to taste.

1) Cook pasta to package instructions.
2)heat/ and drain
3)Mix ingredients together and heat until cheese is melted.
Add small meatballs or hot dogs as chosen. Not celiacs say it's not as "sweet" as the Franco American version.
We can do better than this!
gross Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's My New Pink Button!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! What the fuck?! I could- if I didn't know that someone would scream as loud as I just did- probably do an entire talk show on this.
Trends In Vaginas.Or, er, INVOLVING them.

Are you dissatisfied with the pinkness of your sweet lil' lady- flower? Got that "not-so-fresh" feelin'? Well cry no more, pretty lady! Grab that douche bag- NO- not him!-yes, that. Ok, now, you're getting ready to go, right, Sally? (Dumb girl with vacant look nods head excitedly. A cow bell rings with each movement). Well, Sally, now that you smell like a field of flowers again, why not actually put back the pink?"
"Oh, but how?!"
Blandly happy baritone announcer: "Get My New Pink Button", and easily put the pink back! Choose from such shades as "Pristine Pearl" (for the virgin in your life) "Raging Rouge" (for the harlot) or "Vampy Vermillion"- (feel free to send me your names. I will be mocking this.)
And if you have toofers in your vagina, just know, getting ANY lipstick on your teeth is SUCH a fashion no-no!
Edit: A new shade name is "At First Blush". :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coded Tirades

It's been a few months since I began building here. I will be making, as well as I can, my apologies for where I've screwed up, and my hopes for the future.
I am alive, finer than I've felt in a long time.
I am fortunate- I know that struggles will happen. And I am tough. There are those who live their lives, coding their tirades. I can't do that... if I am hurting, I find a way to let you know!
There has been, to be blunt, far too much chaos.
I do not look-hope for drama or pain-it seems to find me well. But I feel it--- and part of me wants to run to people--- I cannot save them all. It's heartbreaking.
I don't know how to say everything, just yet, and attempting just fills up with a lot of minutia.
I will never again abet the inept.
There are 50 decisions going on, I will let you know where that goes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Long, Strange Trip

Dating me is probably a real trip. Let's face it... I'm stubborn. And it takes me quite a while to work up to touching you- I still have a few minute issues when dealing with men. But now, I can stand closer than 10 feet from a man.
*I don't-and won't settle. If something is "off" I no longer ignore it. I will only be with you, because I like you. And because I'm willing to work to be comfortable with you. I might push...you might have to pull back. I'm not simple to work with. Nor am I a "fixer-upper". I am me, stubborn, sarcastic, silly and occasionally accidentally self effacing.
*I have a few major deal breakers. Keep reading.
*I will not tell polite lies.
*If I like you, I like you. Period. This doesn't mean you can act like a horse's ass without me saying "Hey! Fucker! Knock it off!"
*I am appreciative of any tiny kindness, which, is HUGE for me. Every day, 100 things make me question my faith in humanity. And every day, a million small ones tell me I do know good people. I'm not naive. But I don't know how people *usually* handle things.
Now onto dealbreakers:
"Let me fix you"--- Oh, no fucker. Like me for me.
"I have had a tough life, I can do what I want"--- Oh, my darling-dear. I can quote you chapter and verse. And I'm not sorry to say: No, you can use that to help others, to learn lessons. You have to make choices. It doesn't matter if Mama never loved you. YOU are responsible, as an adult for YOUR words, YOUR decisions. YOU are responsible, NOT Mama. And if you are in your late 20's to mid 40's, and Mama still runs you, well, that's a deal-breaker too.
"Your friends are bad influences"- OUT!
Babying me... I like taking care of, and being taken care of (Yes, I do believe that one repays the smallest kindnesses, with MORE kindness. Be sure to let someone know when they've helped you.)- look, this is tough ground. I am not an infant. I don't want to be treated as though I have no brain in my head. Holding me? Helping when I'm sick (Angels fear to tread, when I am the patient.) An affectionate nickname? I give those out to those I feel affection towards. But there are names like snookums or pumpkin that kind of trigger a gag reflex. By the way, yes, in some ways, I AM naive. I blush, or screw up dirtier terms most knew by now. My sex education is stilted. My math skills are very basic- you see, I taught myself. And math is not one of my "good" subjects. But I have measured over a 150 IQ. And I fight to stay sharp. I am naive, not stupid. Don't treat or make me feel as such.
*I do make mistakes in English. You see, though, this is not easy for me. I did not speak until I was nearly 5. I have a hard time translating what I think into English and mystify people. But I am making an effort--- with face, voice, hands, and body, to make myself clear to you. I do not ask for much more than an attempt to meet me half way there.
*Not understanding that I do not hear high pitched noises, and therefore, cannot tell when the smoke detector needs a battery (Indeed, one carbon monoxide detector I had once had gone off for days before someone with sharper ears visited and realized I was sick AND heard the beep beep beep.)I also do not hear from behind. Grab my arm, gently turn me... do not think you're being ignored if you're getting nothing talking to the back of my head. I will be annoyed by breath down my back, but other than that. If you insist on speaking to my pony tail, I'll assume you're a weirdo.
*I goof off. I do flirt sometimes. I'm single, you see.. but I will not tease. If I am not interested, then you have a friend. Or else, some person who is a friendly stranger.
*I may have a hard time at first, getting close- but trust me, I will attempt to subtly let you know if I like you.
*Don't assume. Talk TO me.
*Know that there are things that only a privileged few will EVER know.
*I am blunt. If you don't like it, honey, there's the door.
*I am ferociously protective of those I care about.
*I have health issues. Sometimes, those will take over, and I have to rest. And this is difficult.
*I do not rest easily.
My biggest deal breaker is: If you need to gain control by force, and you ever act violently towards me, I will call the cops first, ask questions later.
*Lying to me? Yup, there's the door.
*Embarrassing me to make you feel/ look good. Out, damned spot!
There are things I will only say one on one, if I know you. And I have to trust you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The 8 Year Pause

So today I got a blast from the past, a friend I thought had died in Iraq. The first conversation we had in 8 years literally began with a mutual "OH, MY GOD! You disappeared! I thought you were dead!" After that awkwardness, we just fell into our old goof off & discuss politics etc pattern naturally. He's going to be 27 and lives in Virginia, has a fiancee and is looking forward to catching up in person next time he's up...he'll need a "chai latte and the only Starbucks is near where you live now". He yelled at me a bit for my wounded animal habit...he was there for me when I dated a particularly bad guy who had deprived me of food among other things. I am so happy! I love that we can still just talk and be kids together, even now!
Sure, he's still acting like he's my big brother, and sure, it's been 8 years, but we talk like there was never a pause. And that's friendship. To think it began with a chance meeting at the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, DC in 2001!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So Many Stupid Questions, So Little Time: Cleaning Out My Old Emails

Dating me can be difficult. I am notoriously old-fashioned. Firm handshake? Check. Practices chivalry, because he WANTS to, not because he feels he HAS to? Check. Understands that I'd rather give you the truth than a polite lie? Check. Never EVER utters: "You make me look stupid, can you play dumb? A lady doesn't make men look stupid..." ---OOPSIE! (It's amazing how often that's actually been told to me. I also find it amazing that I'm as polite in my "Go fuck yourself" as I am.)

I don't like being a rude girl, mind you. If I can find a polite way to say "Go to hell", I'll use it. But... let's face it: if A) someone else gets hurt, B) I can tell you're hurting yourself C) you'd rather sit in your own shit and wail your lil' head off than do something about it, then, well, go to hell. I don't want a Man-Baby. I love taking care of people, I suppose, I want to make sure no one EVER feels sad or neglected. But y'know, I have needs, too! I occasionally need a shoulder, if not to cry on (Yes, that is actually difficult for me. I've learned to hide it too well) then to lean on or just hold for a minute. I HAVE NEEDS! I don't BEHAVE for anyone.
I am considering a "Ask a Single Girl" type thing. You ask me questions, I will answer. I can leave anonymous if needed. Let me know. Might be more entertaining than the "douchebags who were 'set up' on a blind date and had emails or answers to me landing in a spam filter."

To My Angels

To my very special and lovely, funny Valentines
Dear Angels, Keep your chins up. Keep that marvelous humor, those senses of wonder and love for the sweet and simple. Do not let anyone say "You can't...". Remember, sweet angels, you have come into this mad world with so many disadvantages already. Childhood is so short, now. Maybe it always has been. But it seems like it gets shorter all the time, and we become wise and bitter while still wearing Pampers. We learn pain, loss, grief, to fear, to hate, to fight for all we hold dear, so early, now. We have long enough to be adults. Retain your wonder, your wide eyed wisdom, and let nothing harden your heart. Enjoy the sweet and simple, as long as you can, and let no one tell you that it's time to stop.
I adore you. Stay, just a little while, OK?
Love, Beth

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Gentle Giant

My father, given the nickname "Gentle Giant" (6'2" 220 pounds and shockingly as gentle as he was stubborn)- gave me advice on men up until he died in '95.
Among his rules were:
"If he can't open a door, or make sure you're comfortable before he sits down, then he's not worthy of MY baby girl!"
"A woman's hair is her crowning glory." - another reason I refuse to chop mine ever again! (And why, for a while, I winced when I'd see a pair of beautician's scissors near my head)
"Open doors for the elderly."- It's amazing to me that when I do, and it's a pretty automatic habit, people are shocked. I thought this was what everyone was taught.
"There's religion and there's faith. Keep the faith, but there is no sin in mocking religion."
"Test a man's handshake. And be firm with yours. You don't want a limp "Wet fish" handshake, and you don't want a man with one either."
I'm not sure if this was advice, or a rule, or something all fathers say, but: "When you start dating, I will be cleaning my rifle. If I don't like him, you're not dating him. And I don't know if there IS a man worthy of you." (Thanks, Dad.)
"A good man will like the fact that you have brains in your head. Don't play dumb for any man".
"Treat people with compassion, and love. Don't let people bring you down, but understand people mess up now and then. And forgive them."
"Love those who hate you, even when it's difficult."
"You have an oddball sense of humor...dry, like a good wine... don't worry, there will be someone who will actually notice the twinkle in your eye and that little smirk. Your humor is slow and subtle, but it hits with a big impact."
"It's a tough world you were born into. But while many can't understand you, you don't realize, you probably know more about them than they're comfortable with."
"Trust your gut. It's when you ignore that "something's wrong" feeling that things go wrong."
"If you are hurt by someone, and in fear, it is no sin to fight back. Save your life by any means necessary". (My ex husband was, I admit, the recipient of my foot to his crotch. He never tried the trick of attempting to sleep with me while I was out ever again. If that, rather than the shove and run worked- well, hey, it worked.)
"If anyone hurts you, honey, there will be HELL to pay."
"Remember, baby, you're tougher than you think you are."
Thanks, Gentle Giant. I don't mourn as I did..I remember the good, now, not just the memories of hospitals and machines and sitting with you while you did your work on that old IBM laptop during your dialysis. And while April will be 16 years without you, I know... you're still around, somehow. And I should really listen to you more