Monday, December 29, 2008

Opinion on the Middle East Crisis

Okee-dokee... here it is... this is my opinion. Only my opinion. I don't intend to offend anyone. I am not anti-Palestinian/pro-Israeli or vice verse. This is what I think (within my own little pea brain)

See, its like this: If I have a little bitty, brittle stick and I repeatedly strike my neighbor with it. And I know that my neighbor has a nice, strong, heavy, sturdy baseball bat... well, you get where I'm going with this, don't you? If I'm stupid enough to behave in that manner, I have to expect that eventually my neighbor is going to retaliate. And if I run and hide behind my precious son and my neighbor hits my son in the head with his great big, sturdy baseball bat, and kills him.... then, my son's death would be my fault, wouldn't it?

Ya see what I'm sayin'? If those Hamas idiots want to act the way they are, then why is everyone in the world protesting what Israel is doing in retaliation? Why doesn't everyone pour into the streets and protest when Palestinian killers blow up innocent women and children on a bus in Jerusalem? Why is it only wrong for Israeli soldiers to blow up a Hamas weapons cache hidden in a neighborhood of innocent women and children in Gaza? If they don't want their women and children to be blown up they shouldn't put their weapons under their beds. They shouldn't be so cowardly as to hide behind their women and children after they start a fight with someone who has bigger and better weapons than they do. Actually, strike that... they shouldn't be hiding behind them anyway, anyhow, for any reason, regardless of the type of weapons. And if the populace doesn't want that to happen they should insist they take their stupid "holy war" someplace else.

The whole thing about denying that Israel has a right to exist is just silly. They do exist. They will continue to exist. Deal with it. Live with it. Quit being stupid. Just think of all the good things you could do with the money you waste on weapons. Just think of all the wonderful inventions, arts, books, etc., that we'll never use, see, read, because the persons who would have invented it, painted it, written it, were killed before they could! Stupid. What has all your stupid fight about stupid religion gotten you in all these long centuries? Masses of poor, un-fed, un-washed, ignorant, wretched humanity. How can that possibly be showing respect for the bodies God created? Or the Earth God provided us? How can blowing up the land and the people therein be showing respect for anything? Wounding, maiming, denying the basic human rights to God's creations is quite irresponsible for a supposedly "Godly" people, eh?

Anyway, that's just what I think.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Unexpected Gift Brings Joy Beyond Imagining

Me, opening my beautiful Netsuke from my dear (and most observant) friend, Snowy. By sending me this truly wonderful, caring and thoughtful gift, you have shown what a true friend you are to me. Your gift made me cry tears of happiness and saddness. I know you understand the why for both. :) You are beautiful, Snowy. Tho I have never laid eyes on you in person, I KNOW that you are beautiful, through and through.

A close up (as best as I could do with the pictures Pete took) of my Netsuke. You can view it on-line here. It is called Hotei With Baby

Hotei. Cool. Very Cool. Here's the wiki for it: The Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神, Shichi Fukujin?), commonly referred to in English as the Seven Lucky Gods, refer to the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese mythology and folklore. They are often the subject of netsuke carvings and other representations.

I know myself to be a nurturer, a giver, a kind person. One who wishes only good things for others. I am content that this be my Netsuke. It touches me on so many different levels. And I'm proud to have him with me. I am sure he will bring me good luck in the year ahead. Thank you again, Snowy, for your awesome gift. You can be sure that I will absolutely cherish it for ever and ever.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Its a Party!!!

Sugar Free (Mostly) Banana Bread
Well, how can it be totally sugar-free when the ripe bananas are full of sugar?

I just love these little individual sized baking pans. Mini cakes are so darned cute.

Out of the pans! And none of them stuck! Thomas was hoping there would be a broken one that he could try out. So...

... I broke one for him. He's so spoiled. But he's so worth it!

Here's the recipe if you want to try these. They are delicious! I have to give my sister Martie her props for this recipe. She made this one night while we were down at her house visiting. When I got home, I emailed her and asked her for the recipe. This is what she emailed me back:

Hey Sis,
Here it is:
1 c sugar (I use 1/2 to 3/4 depending on how ripe/sweet the bananas are)
1 egg
2 c all purpose flour (or 2 cup self rise, but leave out the salt and baking soda if you use it)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c Veg Oil
3 or 4 lg ripe bananas mashed
1 tsp baking soda
Nuts optional

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. I guess muffin tins wouldn't take as long as cake/biscuit pan? Anyway, you know how to do it I'm sure.

When I made these for gifting I only changed it like this:
I added 2 tsp baking powder (it helps make it not so dense) and I changed the sugar to just a taddy over 1/4 cup of Splenda. I think Splenda is sweeter than sugar, so don't usually use as much. I also only used 1/4 cup oil with 1/4 cup buttermilk. Then I added 1/2 c of hershey's sugar-free chocolate chips. Baked for about 15 minutes in the little pans. When I made the larger one (see picture lower down) I baked it for about 35 minutes.

Finished gift bags for the folks in Pete's office.
Each one contains:
Pecan Penuche
Maple Walnut Fudge
Candy Cane Fudge
Mocha Fudge
1/2 dz. Assorted Cookies

As you can see there are no little banana breads in the sacks.

That's because I made a large one for them!
Okay, there was a small one in that picture of the gift bag contents, but that was a 'special' bag for someone who wasn't going to be there to get any of the big one.

And I made a platter with a mound of silver and gold colored sugar cookies rising like a mountain out of a sea of Mocha Fudge and Candy Cane White Chocolate Fudge.

This is a double layer platter of Pecan Penuche and Maple Walnut Fudge. Both really good stuff.

And last, but not least, a platter full of Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Peanut Cookies. I love Coconut Macaroons. Don't know why I don't make them more often. They aren't hard to do.

Now for the Grand Finale!

And a good time was had by all!

I make the individual gift bags for the people that my husband works directly with. I make the platters for the people who work out in the shop and for any of the drivers who might come in. By all accounts it is appreciated and enjoyed. And knowing that gives me joy.

I hope you all have something that brings you joy in this season and in all the seasons ahead.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

Courtesy of your friend, the candy making Elf.

Some of my fudge and sugar free chocolates firming up.

Close-up of the cute little chocolate mold I picked up at Walmart the other day. These are sugar-free peppermint candy cane chocolates for my sister-in-law. Hope she likes them.

Goodie bags queuing up to be filled...

Platters for the shop at Pete's work getting started...

What's inside the sack, Santa?

This is it, so far...

Individual sized Panettone (made 12 small loafs and one large one)
Pecan Penuche (made two batches)
Maple Walnut Fudge (made four batches)
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge (made 5 batches*)
*had to make 5 of the peppermint because Pete keeps eating it

Close-up of the Candied Orange and Lemon Peel that I made, specifically for the home-made Panettone that I make. It's a thing I'm fairly proud of having the knack for doing. This stuff is to die for! I hope I can be forgiven for this show of hubris.

Our beautiful Christmas Tree. Hung with mostly ornaments that Thomas has made over the years, and special ornaments that have been given to me by people I care about. A few old store-bought ones that I've had for years. This tree makes me especially happy this year. Don't know why.

Okay, I'm off to make 3 more batches of Mocha Fudge. Love to all.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dance Little Sister...

... don't give up today...

Terence Trent D'Arby - Dance Little Sister

Indeed. And I didn't, as you will note. I'm still here.

I have discovered a thing about myself. I have a disease. It's called depression and there is no cure. The best I can hope for is remission. But that's neither here nor there, as my mother liked to say.

I have also discovered that I don't like selling my jewelry. I'm not a salesperson. And then, even when you say on your page that the item is sold "as is" people ask you to alter it somehow and then it doesn't work and it breaks and it's not my fault but I try to fix it and then they want to say they never received it back and yada yada yada... so, I closed my etsy store. I'm just not able to deal with that crap. I can't believe I used to work in customer service. If I had to do that now I think I would hurt somebody.

I also discovered that when I go grocery shopping I should pay more attention. Here's my funny Thanksgiving Turkey story: I bought a frozen turkey for our Thanksgiving feast. I didn't want a huge one but I wanted a whole one, not just a breast like we usually get. I wanted a drumstick, ya know? :) So, I'm digging thru the bin of turkeys and I find a small-ish one, around 12 pounds. I put it in the cart and take it home. Now... Thomas has a way that he saw on Alton Brown's show Good Eats on the food network of soaking a turkey in brine and seasonings over night and roasting it the next day. It's a really good way to cook a turkey. This is the way I almost always do mine anymore. So... I have my turkey thawing in the fridge for 3 days, on the day before Thanksgiving I make the brine. I had to do two batches because the turkey would be soaking in the cooler which is bigger than what I usually soak a breast in. Anyway... I cooks up two batches of brine and then I cut open the plastic wrap from the turkey and the most horrible smell assaults my nose! I swear to God I thought the bird was rotten! So I start looking on the package for a sell by date or something and wondering if I can find a fresh or already thawed turkey at 8pm on Thanksgiving eve! As I'm looking at the packaging (with my glasses on) I see that it says this is an already marinated turkey! Marinated and shot up with Cajun spices! I swear I never saw it when I bought the damned thing! I hate that nasty Cajun stuff they inject turkeys with. It's yucky, icky poo, nasty. Needless to say I was mortified. So Pete says, "maybe if you rinse it off really good and soak it a few times in fresh water it will wash it all off and then the brine will season it like we like it. So that's what I did. And I ended up with a totally inedible bird for all my hard work. It was gross. And further more, the damned thing was way hot. I can't imagine how hot it would have been had I not rinsed it off before cooking. I can't see how anyone could have served something that spicy to their kids, but... what do I know? So, we had prosciutto wrapped asparagus, delicious cornbread stuffing, baked sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. And no bird. It was a good meal anyway. Thomas did eat some of the turkey breast wrapped in a tortilla with some jack cheese and lettuce on it. He said it was good that way. I, however, purchased a new whole turkey and I plan to have a do-over real soon. Yes, I read the whole package very carefully to make sure this one is just a nice, plain, old-fashioned, season it yourself, turkey. And that's my Thanksgiving story. Nice, huh? Good thing the pecan pie was good. In fact it was outrageously, unbelievably tasty. I did good on that part of the feast.

Now then... I have made the candied peel and I'm going to do the coconut candy today then I will get the fudge shop opened. I love this time of year. Sugar is so fun to work with. It gets me all giggly and excited. Hope everyone else is all giggly and excited about this time of year, too.