Friday, January 31, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Furry Fun

Cute Animal Alert

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Fun with Photos!
My friend posted some photos she'd tweaked on a photo website. So. You know me...I had to try. Here are some of my photos tweaked into coolness. 

Yep. It's a lot of funia.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Looking Within...

I ran across this yesterday. (I tried to post the video attached to this article and it didn't work, sorry about the snafu. So you will have to go to the link and watch it from there. )

It made me stop and think. (It will for you, too. Be forewarned there's a word to two that may offend.

This story is told in so very few words, and it's the story of a life. This girl breathed, loved, lived. Had Amanda not gotten the news that she did at the doctor, she'd be like a million other people who post quippy statuses and go on day after day sweating the minutia, griping about the government, the traffic, their love lives. Or sharing links, what they ate on Wednesday, details only a grandma could love, promoting a book, a song, a service. 

Every last one of us has zero guarantee that we will be here tomorrow. A doctor's grim pronouncement, a distracted driver, even a virus could change things forever. 

What we leave behind is the evidence of the decisions we've made. Or the impact in lives we've smeared our fingerprints all over. And our words that carry weight because they paint a picture of who we were. 

What word pictures, what legacy are you leaving for the world to read? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Bing Balls

 Twin Bing candy bars were my all time favorite before vegan. I don't even know if they are nationwide. They are soft marshmallowy cherry centers covered in a thick chunky peanut chocolate outside layer. 

I even found a recipe to make them in bar format. However, the bars called for cherry chocolate chips that tasted a wee bit like cherry cough syrup and made for a waxier cherry section. I had tweaked it over the years adding marshmallow etc to it to get it closer. 

Then came vegan. That recipe needed to go by the wayside. Too much dairy and they were full of chemical, super processed ingredients. The recipe just drifted away with so many others too involved to veganize. 

Since the first of the year I've been trying to avoid super sugary, super not-so-good-for-anyone stuff. I'm pretty sure I haven't baked any treaty thing since the New Year.  (Uh, pretty sure is as good as it gets, I may have succumbed to something...).

So, Friday, while needing a little sweet fix I stumbled on this treat. Honestly, I'm estimating the measurements because I used my hand and scooped. 

1 Cup dried cherries
1 Cup raisins (I used golden)
1 and 1/2 Cups salted peanuts
1/4 Cup chocolate chips

Toss the peanuts, raisins, cherries in a food processor and whir them until a sticky, mostly uniform concoction starts. You want it to stick together but not be so sticky it won't come off your fingers. If it's too sticky, add a few TBSP of peanuts, if too crumbly more raisins and cherries. When you are happy with the consistency toss in the chocolate chips and whir away breaking them up a bit. 

Then roll the mixture into balls (or press into bars) and refrigerate. Makes about 24 walnut sized balls. Enjoy. These are pretty stinking satisfying. Not Twin Bing clones but the taste and texture is pretty darn close. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Really, Just Move On Folks, There's Nothing to See Here!

I told you. I warned you.

On a positive note, I was asleep by 10:30 p.m. last night! And I ate a healthy oatmeal breakfast this morning. And I even did some exercise, too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Broccoli Caulicheezy Soup

Eww excuse the boiled over water stain. 
We have a local organic  co-op deal that provided a screaming good deal on veggies and a delivery is coming Saturday. So I had to make room. I love broccoli cheese soup. Well, I loved it and miss it on occasion. I just can't bring myself to use vegan cheeze shreds to put the cheeze in the soup. But I had broccoli that was looking a little limp on hand and I have been experimenting with cauliflower based soups with great success. So...

This soup is mostly veggie and completely crazy good.  The weird thing I noticed is that one bowl with a few crackers and a small slice of bread stuck with me all night long. I'm not sure how that's possible, but it did. 

Broccoli Caulicheezy Soup

Serves 4

3 Cups or so of cauliflower florets
1/2 onion or leek (I used a whole leek and it was pretty strong, so I'm cutting back a bit next time)
2 ish Cups of finely chopped broccoli
4 Cups of veggie broth (I used the veggie paste boullion with water including the cauliflower steam water)
8 - 10 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 TBSP miso (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
1/3 Cup nutritional yeast

Steam the cauliflower until tender. Approx 10 minutes.

Toss the leek/onion, garlic, lemon juice, a cup or so of veggie broth and miso into a food processor. Run it until pureed. Add steamed cauliflower and whir until incorporated. 

Transfer the mixture to saucepan, add the additional vegetable broth and broccoli. Simmer for 1/2 an hour or so. Add the nutritional yeast and stir well. Serve. 

Suggested add ins: potato chunks, brown rice, additional veggies of choice, vegan bacon bits. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Serials and Scenarios ~ Book Update ~ A Little Somethin Somethin Tossed in the Frying Pan

So I'm learning stuff about editing. 

Stuff. Have you ever considered how useful that word is? So descriptive. 

What I'm learning is that when someone points out a glaring issue in your manuscript, you have to get really creative and rework massive amounts of prose. 

Case in point:

One of our lovely critique partners didn't buy what we were selling. 

Our secondary characters develop a romance, and it moved way too quick in her estimation. Michelle and I reread the scenes through our critter's eyes and yup, she was right. I wouldn't buy it either. 

So we had to layer an additional plot line into the mix and go back and revisit several scenes to add hints and foreshadowing and layers so it is now believable. 

It's kind of fun. It certainly made the relationship richer and I love that, and it was a puzzle to solve and that was kind of fun, too. 

I have one more scene to tweak and then I can reread all my scenes to make sure it makes sense to me then it's headed to our next victim critiquer. Michelle tells me she's ruthless. Yikes. I may learn a ton of STUFF before this process is over. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar ~ Cookbook Review

I haven't done a cookbook review in awhile. So. Let's pick one of the dozens I've got on my shelves.

How about Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

I bought this tiny little cute book for a cookie baking blitz last November. It's joined us for two years of Vegan baking. Will it join me for a third? 

Uh Yeah! 

Great pictures and some great recipes. I think I've made ten or so of them. So here is the list of favorites....

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows are worth the price of the book if you are a peanut butter chocolate fan. My pillows looked like little hats when finished so I'd recommend parchment paper or more chilling time. But the taste? Sweet mercy. She calls for black cocoa which is the stuff that makes oreos dark, but I used the regular stuff and they were fab. I'm a cheapskate so I don't buy a lot of non-dairy flavored chips like peanut butter and butterscotch etc and my hubby loves those chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips so I have yet to have made them since going vegan. Now I don't have to, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows scratch that itch. 

The second recipe that makes the the book a must keep forever...Caramel Pecan Bars.

Warning. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be tempted to eat the whole pan. A-m-a-z-i-n-g. 

We also tried the following which involved mixed opinions but were solid none the less: Mocha Mamas which were nice, tasty little cookies. Starry Fudge Shortbreads were kinda meh in my opinion and a lot of work, but one girl who joined us both years is still waxing eloquently about how much she loved them. 

They have classic Christmas recipes, too. The Roll Out Sugar Cookies and the Gingerbreads were both great, and turned out well. The ladies know their biscotti, we didn't make a recipe from this book but the ones in Veganomicon were outstanding. So the biscotti recipes are on my radar.  

The cookies we haven't tried in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: Roasted Almond Cookies with Fleur De Sel, Rocky Roads, Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops, Citrus Glitters, Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops...and the list goes on. 

It's a keeper. For sure. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Wild Rice Caulifredo Soup - Vegan

Wild Rice Caulifredo Soup

Ready for this? The base of the soup is pureed steamed cauliflower and garlic. And it's so creamy. Makes 4 big servings or 8 smaller servings.

10 cloves of garlic
1 head cauliflower (cut the leaves off but leave the white branches. Break into chunks.)
1/2 onion diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
4 Cups broth/cauliflower steam water
1 TBSP fat of Earth Balance
3 Cups unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk
1 Cup wild rice (rinsed and uncooked, or chopped broccoli)
1 Cup chopped mushrooms (or other item that sounds tasty to you)

Steam cauliflower for about 20 minutes. ( I have a saucepan that has a metal colander that fits on top and a lid. I fill the base of the saucepan with water, drop the chunks of cauliflower into the colander, put the lid on and turn the heat on. The water steams and softens the cauliflower.)

Let the cauliflower cool a bit. In another pan melt half the Earth Balance and add onions and diced garlic, sauté until caramelized and golden. Place cauliflower, salt, lemon juice, onion and garlic in a food processor or super blender. Puree. Add a little cooking liquid to the mixture if it bogs. When pureed add the mixture to the rest of the cooking water and make up the difference with broth. In the same pan you sautéed onions and garlic in add the rest of the Earth Balance and toss in mushrooms. Heat until they change texture and color. Add to the soup pan with the wild rice. Simmer this for approximately an hour until the rice plumps. Add milk to get the consistency you want in the last 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with crusty chunks of bread.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Crochit mouse

A friend ordered a sweater online the other day.  The guy who took her order had not been there long...or perhaps had failed his textiles class in college...or maybe came from a long line of knitters who felt superior.  

He confirmed the order for the crocheted peplum but said crotchet like crotchit. My friend told her husband and they had a nice laugh.

A few nights later they went out to dinner.  Dessert was offered so her husband asked about the texture of the mousse cake. The waiter told him it was delicious and densely cakey and then said "and it has a little mouse on it" 

You say tomato I'll say tomato. You say mouse, I'll say mousse. Ha.Ha.

How do you not order the chocolate mousse cake after that? My friend and her husband laughed about the mouse and crotchit while they waited. Then the cake showed up!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Breaking Glass and Scattering Beans

& read me a post she saw on the www the other evening. True or not it left us both bawling like big babies. A woman had adopted a dog at a shelter and had a two week challenging transition. Finally, she decided to read the note that the previous owner had tucked into a bag of tennis balls requesting that it be forwarded to the new owner. The previous owner turned out to be a deployed and killed-in-action soldier who'd temporarily turned in the dog because he had no family, and in the case of death he'd left the request that his branch of the military would call the shelter to release the dog for adoption.  He told the story of his relationship with his dog and gave her the dog's real name. As the new owner read the letter all the missing parts and pieces fell into place. Once she said the dog's real name and gave him his beloved tennis balls their relationship changed. 

And that got my mind churning about things like perception and that truth can change everything in a matter of a split second. The past year has been full of challenges and obstacles. Ha Ha. My life has been full of challenges and obstacles, who am I kidding? Anyhoo. As I continue to change and grow my desire is to, each choice I make, grow into a more heavenly creature vs. a hellish one. And often the choice to be the creature I want to be is the choice that requires me to go under the knife of truth, give up a pound of fleshly attitude and expose my carefully guarded heart to people who aren't going to know who I am, my real name, my story.

In Bible study, which I reluctantly agreed to do because my kid asked me to, because honestly, I'd rather use that time for something else, I am hoping to uncover some lies and misinterpretations that keep me in bondage. I shared with my group that I can always tell when I am in self protection mode and am hardening my heart to shield it. My barometer is my lack of tears. I know when I'm glassy hearted that things don't penetrate and I don't feel the depth of pain but I also don't feel the depth of joy either. One of the gals in my small group pointed out that this is not an early warning sign, more the equivalent of finding out you have high cholesterol after having a heart attack.

I chatted with another gal I am in Arbonne with. I told her that my accountant is going to shake his head at my change in direction again with the ebb and flow of my sideline business. He's dealt with me using writing as a side business with deductions and income and then jewelry sales and now I've got Arbonne income and outgo and when Michelle and I sell Out of the Frying Pan there will be both income and outgo there again, too.  My friend said. "Get your accountant's voice out of your head. He's not the one you answer to."

True. So. Here is my hard won wisdom from the week. Success is me ending up as a heavenly creature at the end of my life, one who leaves a legacy of truth and love and inspiration behind. And to do that I have to do hard things and follow the path laid out for me, even when I don't want to. My heart, behind a glass wall is not going to facilitate that goal or journey, nor is the bean counter in my head.

How about you? You need to break some glass or whack an internal bean counter?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff 
I love mushrooms. Yum. So I usually buy a big package of them at Costco and then have to come up with ways of using them up. I also brought home some Vegan sour cream from our trip to Minnesota. Michelle is so accommodating and spoiling when we visit. She's way more adventurous and generous than I am ingredient wise. She seriously bought a luxury non-dairy cheese for a recipe. I'm like, yeah, we'll just cut out the cheese. I don't usually buy vegan sour cream unless I have a very special use for it because it doesn't last long once it's opened. So I had this partial container of sour cream languishing in my fridge. No way I was letting that go bad. The picture is before the corn starch and sour cream so it was much thicker. 

2 Cups vegetable broth
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Cups chopped mushrooms
1 TBSP soy sauce or liquid aminos
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 tsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp of mustard
1 TBSP corn starch or arrowroot  (mix with a TBSP of cold water to make a liquidy paste)
Non-dairy sour cream (I used a cup, next time I may up it a bit - plain unflavored, unsweetened yogurt would work, too)

Prepared quinoa, pasta, rice, potatoes or toast

Add garlic and mushrooms, lemon juice, mustard and soy sauce to the vegetable broth in a saucepan. Simmer until mushrooms change color and density. Add the cornstarch and simmer until the broth thickens. Remove from heat and add the nutritional yeast and stir well, then stir in the sour cream. 

Serve over your pasta, quinoa, rice, toast or potatoes.

Serves 4ish

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ CHILL Already...

Do you ever have a day or portion of a day where you accomplish virtually nothing?

Do you feel guilty about it? 

Yeah. Me too.

What is that? 

If stress is one of the major contributors to disease, and a crazy lifestyle can be a cause of stress doesn't it make sense to just chill sometimes? I didn't feel all that hot on Saturday so I declared it a "sick day". My floor has a coating of dust/dog hair, my Christmas decorations are still up and I've got an article due on Wednesday. But I slept in til 9:30 and read most of the afternoon. And felt guilty. 

Of course, I was reading the book tied to the article, but I liked the book so somehow that, too, is guilt inducing. 

And I often don't take one of those breaks until I'm worn down enough that I don't feel good. What's wrong with that picture? 

At Bible study last night we talked about how difficult it is to stop and be still and listen for God in the chaos of the world around us. As we broke into small groups mine had to admit that we often realize that during prayer time our minds will wander and we are multi-tasking, actually making grocery lists and planning ahead for what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. And I have to admit that very often my time spent in the Bible is just because it's one more thing I have to do that day rather than the very words of life. 

All of this makes me feel dry and unstable. And it annoys me. How about you all agree to take ten or twenty or forty minutes to do something that drops your stress and fills you  I will, too. Great. Glad we had this little chat. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Pink Skies

I am always slightly frustrated that I can't capture the beauty of a moment. The double rainbow we had a couple months ago was a mere shadow, an apparition of the beauty in the sky when I tried to snap a picture. 

Yesterday I woke to a glorious sunrise. The lightening midnight blue horizon was streaked with vibrant pink. My I-Phone was beside my bed so I snapped a picture of what I saw upon awakening. And this is it. If I hadn't told you about the blue and pink you'd not have a clue why I dropped this picture into the blog post. 

I suppose my inability to capture moments is a powerful truth. After all, "You had to be there" is a statement that occasionally needs to be shared. (In my case it's because I'm trying to tell about something hilarious that happened to me and am usually laughing -- make that hooting and laugh-crying -- and ineptly trying to get a story across to some poor soul who can only stare at me and occasionally nod.)

Writing is part of that drive to capture moments, too. Why do I blog, or write or create? It's to communicate something inside of my mind to others. An attempt to boil down an event or happening or thought or idea into a "photograph" that someone else can benefit from. 

Maybe the unique lens that we see through, the experiences we have, the aha moments, the "you had to be there" adventures, maybe those are treasures for us. Little unique blessings that touch our souls and minds for a searing second or so, and our spirits long to grasp the depth, so we snap a picture or make a memory and try to share it with someone else. And when we can communicate the beauty that touches our souls and changes us (because I believe we are changed by our moments) we possess another beautiful moment. 

My misrepresentation photo is not frustrating, it's beautiful. So I will continue to look at two dimensional attempts to capture the elusive and choose to see behind the anemic shadow to what lies beyond, the vastness, the glory, the gorgeousness of life and creation. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Sweet Moment Totally Not Caught....

I went to a haircut party yesterday. Party might be a little strong. A friend of a friend is a hairdresser I wanted to try out. She didn't have convenient shop hours this week but she was doing a color on someone else at her apartment and said I could come on over. While driving and parking I passed a pretty bush full of red berries. 

And even better, full of fluffed up chickadees. I mean full. The fence was covered, the bush was covered and I was driving. 

So after my haircut I went back with my phone and I parked. The birds were still there...not all of them...but lots of them. And I rolled down my window. Uh. Not close enough. So I got out. And the birds flew away. Not all of them. But most of them. They landed close by, but still out of range. 

Finally, I took the picture and just let it be, before someone called the police on the weirdo lady taking pictures in their driveway. Every time I see this picture I'll be reminded of the scene I did see. Little birds socializing and enjoy God's provision. 

Also. I like my haircut. Just sayin.... 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Serials and Scenarios ~ Frying Pan Update

Since Michelle and I finished our epic tale, Out of the Frying Pan, we've begun thinking about a follow up story. Since the first one took over five years to finish I suppose I shouldn't be shouting the news from the roof tops. Right? Yeah. Right. 

Frying Pan started as a fun little collaboration and one of us, (ME!!!!) kept putting off finishing the dang thing. First was the two years of insecurity. Yeah, that was fun. Then the few years that Michelle was publishing three novels of her own and writing two of them which, of course, took the pressure off of me and I didn't have to keep telling her no. 

But, interestingly, while I was visiting her in Minnesota she got two emails from two different publishers wanting to take a look at the whole manuscript. Can I claim that I was just waiting for the perfect, ripe time to get a fire under my rear end and just do it? 

Yeah. That's the story I'm going with. 

In the meantime, until we have a contract, I'm pretty excited to have it done (pending many, many edit suggestions from critique groups and future editors) and to actually like it. And it seems fun again, to ponder what the future holds for Fern Zula, Flynn and Kathryn. I can tell you that future will be troublesome because Zula is in major matchmaking mode. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Serials and Scenarios ~ The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ~ Reviewed

Loved this movie. 

A film that challenges my status quo way of thinking and entertains me at the same time is a treat. From the amazing scenery on Walter Mitty's adventure, to the deep characterization, from the whimsical zone-outs to the day in and day out details of life, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a pleasure to watch. 

Not everyone is going to love this little gem because even though there is action and adventure there are moments of thoughtful introspection which slows it down a bit. But the combo of the two elements is perfect in my opinion. I also appreciate that I can watch this with older and younger folks and not cringe every five minutes because of language or raunchy humor. (Note: it does have a wee bit of suggestive commentary and a few words that parents might object to.)

If you are looking for a movie that will leave you feeling good, check out The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. 

If you like the following movies you should probably put this one on your list: Stranger than Fiction, Lars and the Real Girl, Juno, Bedtime Stories because there are elements of similarity in each of them. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Hmmm. Resolutions?

The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Still keeping those resolutions??? 

 I ran across this fun and informative little article. Apparently, resolutions aren't a new idea. Nope. 1800's anyone? Yup. I thought you might enjoy reading it as much as I did. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Trip Review

Twin Cities…Minneapolis and St. Paul thoughts.

Seeing the world through baby eyes...
Do I recommend Minnesota in January? Well, it's going to be 23 degrees BELOW zero today. Nuff said? 

While we were there last week we did have some warm indoor fun.

At the Chatterbox we ate black bean burgers among other things and played a rousing game of Scrabble. 

We visited the science museum for the first time.

Newborn baby glasses...
Not wearing baby glasses, just shades...
We've visited the history museum, the art museum on previous trips over the years. 

I was a little "meh" about the science museum. I hate to admit that, but it just wasn't all that exciting. If I had little kids along, it would've been a different story. There are dinosaurs and fascinating exhibits that are geared toward kids. The interesting bits for me… a demonstration involving fire that toad boy would've loved back in the day. & and I played around with glasses that gave us the perspective of a newborn baby and magnified our eyes. Note to new parents, get in your baby's face if you want them to see you, seriously, six inches is about as far as they can see. There was a mummy exhibit with a CT scan and interesting mummy facts.  

The negative aspects for us beside the lack of kids, we had to stand in the indoor line queue for an hour just to get into the museum. And the cost was up there, too, $13.00 for just the basic exhibits and $10.00 to park. Overall, I would recommend the art museum for the cost as well as the pretties…when we went it was free. I'd also recommend the history museum because of the diverse areas that appealed to kids and adults at a few dollars a head cheaper. 

Michelle always loves to try out new recipes when we visit so we always eat well and way too much. She did tone it down a bit and offer a leftover night. I came home with some new recipes that are delicious, including falafel and vegan tzatziki sauce.

We also managed to slip in a visit to Comedy Sportz. At $14.00 a piece it's pricey but worth it for the two hours of LOL fun. They are ridiculous and funny. 

I wouldn't venture out to Minneapolis today. But, it's definitely worth a visit especially if you know any good cooks/hostesses. If you offer me enough of a finder's fee I'll even hook you up with Michelle's contact info. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Clear...

I stumbled here on the 1st of 2014. I like the simplicity of this idea. 

I want to take a daily picture of something that brings me joy, or peace or thoughtfulness every day.

This is my photo from the 1st of January.

Oddly, I love light shining through glass. Why? I don't really know. Maybe it's a spiritual picture of what I long to be…a light bearer, transparent, without shifting shadows. This is a pretty realistic picture of where I'm at complete with shadows and some opacity. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Fishing for Truth

Albert Einstein said

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Look for the admirable and strengths in others … and in yourself. 

A fish isn't equipped to climb a tree. A human isn't capable of spending life swimming in the coral reefs. A bird can not carry a man. A horse can not sing. But all, in their unique ways, are genius by design and are created to be the best creature they can become. 

A bird glorifies God by singing the song created for it to sing. A horse running toward it's goal is fulfilling it's purpose. A fish, brilliant in color and design, swimming amongst the coral is genius in simplicity and complexity. 

And what about a human? The value, the spirit, the soul of a human? Designed to bear God's image and fulfill the call of God, to walk in the works He prepared for each one…how can we call any human less than magnificent? Life is a gift and we are designed to live it to our full potential.