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Getting Back on Track With Muffins

I have to get out of vacation mode and into work/home mode. It seems so hard to get back into the grind, which is odd because I like my routine. Anyway, I will switch gears today and quit fantasizing about beaches and the Rocky Mountains. I’ve seen both in the last 10 days!

I try to keep some healthy muffins on hand for the hubby to take for his breakfast on the go. When I got home there were no muffins. Not only that…there were no eggs. So sticking to my commitment to USE IT UP, I opted to throw together some eggless “vegan” muffins from http://www.egglesscooking.com/eggless-baking-recipes/eggless-muffins/ . I will figure out how to do the hyperlink thingy later. Anyway, I am NOT a vegan. I am a gun-totin’, meat-eatin’, chicken-killin’ country girl who just happens to live in The City (that’s Oklahoma City for those who don’t get the lingo). I also just happen to be eating healthier, so I find myself directed to many vegan sites when I search for ways to USE UP my quinoa and chia seeds 🙂 I took a few liberties with the recipe. Why? To USE IT UP! I didn’t have raspberries but I had tart cherries (eat cherries every day to keep the gout away..trust me on this). I was almost out of sugar, so I didn’t have any left to sprinkle on top to make them purty. So I USED UP some pumpkin seeds and pine nuts. Do you see a trend here? I also needed to use some cornmeal, so I opted for this Raspberry Cherry Cornmeal Muffin recipe. It’s like a little cherry pie inside cornbread…yum!

Eggless Cornmeal Cherry Muffins

1 1/2 c. Flour

3/4 c. Cornmeal

1/2-3/4 c. Sugar

3 t. Baking Powder

1 t. Baking Soda

1/4 t. salt

1 t. Dried Orange Peel or Zest from 1 Orange

1 1/2 c. Frozen Tart Cherries

1 1/4 c. milk – curdled with 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 c. Canola Oil

1 t. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. Mix curdled milk, oil and vanilla. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix a little of this with the cherries so they don’t sink! Fold  the milk mixture into the flour mixture…don’t overdo it. Working the flour too much makes your baked goods tough!. Spoon into muffin tins and sprinkle sugar or seeds or whatever on top to dress them up a little. This makes 12 large muffins. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and passes the toothpick test. Let sit for a few minutes till cool, then grab the butter fake buttery spread and chow down!

A nostalgic note about the picture. The dishes are my Grandma Anderson’s Desert Rose. These are the real deal….old pieces sold in the 40’s. I only use them for Holidays or photo ops, but I LOVE them. The mug is the very same one that my Mama would get out at Christmas and serve me up a piping hot cup of “cocoa” made in the old aluminum “cocoa pot”. I will post a pic of that old thing someday….I still use it. It’s good to have old things to remind us of days gone by. But you have to USE them!

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What I did on my summer vacation…

I  always dreaded that assignment in school because we didn’t do the typical vacations in my family. We lived in California but I never saw the beach or Disneyland until I got old enough to go with other people. My Dad’s idea of a vacation was driving like a mad man all day and all night to get to where you were going, which was always to visit a relative. My brother and I would be wrestling for space in the back seat amongst the thermos, blankets, and food sacks. Sometimes the only way to get comfortable was to hang our feet out the window. Yes, that was me that you saw in the 1963 red Ford Comet.  Lunchtime meant parking under a shade tree with a box of crackers, a can of squeeze cheese and some vienna sausage (known in my family as “Vi-EENY sausage”). If we were eating “high on the hog”, we’d stop at a grocery store and get some bread and bologna.

Mom and I were careful not to drink too much water. It was fine to stop long enough for Dad to “water the bushes”, but heaven forbid that Mom and I had to stop unless it was for gas….then we made a mad dash into the gas station for the ever-present bathroom key that opened the hell hole sewage pit. You know the one…behind the gas station, in the alley between the old tires and the dead car parts. But it was better than squattin’ in the bushes off the side of the road (I’ve done that plenty of times). These road trips were long before Ipods, Ipads, and CD players. If I were really lucky, my brother would play the license plate game with me. I don’t know how we passed the time, but we managed. We dreaded these trips when we were kids. What I wouldn’t give right now to hop in the car with my parents and have one of those hellish road trips. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from those days. But here is one from a short Easter trip to see the California cousins. That’s me in the middle. I have no idea what kind of top knot was on top of my head! The tall one is my too-cool-for-Easter Eggs brother, and the old Ford Comet is on the right. Good times.

I just returned from a different kind of vacation/road trip. And since I have no life, I will tell you all about it (in detail) in future posts. It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!

Changes

Why is change so hard? I don’t know about you, but I get terribly bored with the same routine every single day. But I resist when things change. Maybe what I want is a little more excitement when I’m doing the same things? I can see a down-side to that too. I work in the medical field, so excitement is not necessarily a good thing. But to resist change seems to be ingrained in almost all of us, including dogs.

I’m getting ready for THE BIG TRIP.  YEAH! More on my vacation plans later, but definitely excitement and change in my boring life. I can’t wait for the adventure, but I am secretly dreading the change in my routine….my pillow, my bed (or recliner), my tv, my husband (I’m flying solo), and of course….the dogs.

They will be home alone for longer hours, so we installed a doggie door to accomodate their potty breaks. So this morning I dig into the treat bag and begin the task of teaching my uber-intelligent German Shepherds to push through a clear barrier. My dogs are VERY respectful of gates, doors, fences, and windows. It’s a work in progess and I got them to go back and forth several times (for treats), but I am still not sure if they will get the connection about being able to get outside on their own. We shall see.

During this process, I snapped a couple of pics of Beau, my 5 year old male. He’s laying in front of the doggy door.  He’s used it a couple of times, but yet he makes no attempt to bolt through it into the open garage on the other side. It made me think a little bit. I worry that my dogs don’t get to do dog things like chasing rabbits and swimming in ponds. Yet here is Beau with the perfect opportunity to escape this prison and he makes no attempt to go. I’d like to think that it’s because he doesn’t want to leave my side, but I know that it’s more likely that it simply never occurred to him. How often in my life have barriers been removed that keep me from  change and fun and excitement, and it simply doesn’t dawn on my pea-brain to walk through the door into an adventure? Instead, I end up snoozing in front of the open door, watching life go by. Pets really do adapt to their owner’s lifestyle, don’t you think?

So I will traipse off into my multi-state adventure, leaving behind my pillow, my hubby and my dogs with only my Iphone for comfort. I have a week left to gear up for this! Wish me luck!

The Big Itch

ImageWarning: This post may be offensive to clean freaks and germaphobes. Yes I love my dogs. I am not one of those obsessive people who dresses their dogs in sweaters or spends $300 at Pet stores on chew toys. However, I take care of them very well and worry about their well-being sort of like I did my kids all those years ago. I just don’t take them anywhere. Why, you ask? Well because they both weigh about 70 pounds and are very hard to handle for an almost-senior-citizen with a bum leg and back. So we stay home except for that yearly checkup.

Button is my older female. She is almost 10, which is 70 to you and I. Her hips are bad so she limps. She is neurotic and scared of thunder, neighbor boys hitting the fence, popcorn in the microwave, and being away from me. You can see the problem. But she is so sweet and loving and was my first venture into big-dog-in-the-house life. She has trained me very well. No food on the counter when you are out of the room. No food left in trash can when you leave the house. No stranger comes in without getting the living daylights scared out of them. See! I learned fast! We got her when she was 4. She was fairly well set in her ways. Anyway, back on topic. Because she is so hairy, and because she is apparently allergic to dust or air, she is an itchy scratchy mess this time of year. Being a dedicated dog mom, as well as being frugal, thrifty and a cheapskate, I searched for home remedies for her itch. Oatmeal seemed to be the most popular choice. So I went to the garage to look for a tub that would hold a 70 pound dog in a tepid bath of oatmeal juice. Nada. Next best thing is the trusty bathtub. So yes, I filled up two socks with oatmeal, threw them in the tub, filled it up, and coaxed her into the cool gray water. She did surprisingly well. In fact, she LOVED IT! Who wouldn’t love a relaxing cool bath on a hot day being scrubbed with an oatmal loofa? She even let me dry her off before shaking!

It’s been 3 hours and no scratching so far. So I wonder if once a year is enough? Isn’t she pretty?

And so it begins…..

My first blog post on my first blog should be very important. It should echo the theme of the blog, the theme of my life, the theme of what I want to share. I wonder if this is what they teach in Blogging 101 in High School these days? It sounds like a rule, and the first thing that you will learn about me is that I don’t particularly care for rules. Don’t get me wrong. We need them. I follow them faithfully. But deep down inside there is an almost-hippie rebel from the 70’s that says “SCREW YOU. I do what I want!” Then I turn on my heel and follow the rules because I am a pleaser at heart. I clash with myself ALL the time! But for me, in this little creative outlet, there won’t be any rules about theme or grammar or what other people would approve of or run-on sentences. There will be lots of dog stories. I have two German Shepherds who pretty much rule my life. It will be about grandbabies because mine are the cutest. It will be about cooking because the hubby and I have adapted a new healthy lifestyle and I cook things like quinoa cakes with kale and black beans. I eat them…he can fix his own stuff. It will be about crafty things because I love to start cool projects and never finish them. And it will be about growing older and the pitfalls, the trip and falls, and the windfalls that life brings. And it may contain a broken dream or two…the realization that the outcome I envisioned in my head was a pipe dream and reality can be just as good. So I give you this picture. I wanted a beautiful back yard. I have a dog-trodden weedy ugly mess. Barren. Boring. I hate it. So my neighbor was kind enough to give me this rose to brighten my yard. Who knew that not pruning your roses could actually bring a smile to someone else’s day? That’s the lesson for today.