Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Sign


Maybe not The Sign that I'm looking for right now, but funny.  Thanks for sharing, Cleta!!  ðŸ’—


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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Dd's Chicken Eggplant Parmesan


I love eggplant and this looks totally awesome!

Didi says: "It really is easy . . . "
I say:  "Uh-huh."

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Sauce:
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 TB minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 

Chicken:
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
kosher salt
½  cup all-purpose flour
2-3 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Eggplant:
1 small eggplant, ½-inch thick slices
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½-3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Leftover cooked spaghetti
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Romano cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°. 
Sauce: In a large saucepan, sauté onion in oil. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes. 
Chicken: Slice chicken breasts in half crosswise into 4 cutlets. Lightly pound between sheets of plastic wrap until about ½" thick. Season with salt. Place flour in a medium dish Working one at a time, place cutlets in bowl and toss to coat in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Cook chicken until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side just until chicken is cooked through, about 30 seconds. Set aside
Eggplant: Sprinkle eggplant with salt; let stand 20-30 minutes. 
Place eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Dip eggplant in eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Bake 15 minutes; turn eggplant over and continue baking 10-12 minutes.
Assembly: Spoon ½-3/4 cup sauce into an ungreased 9x13-in. baking dish. Spread cooked spaghetti onto sauce. Top with 4-6 pieces of eggplant.  Spoon ½-3/4 cup sauce onto eggplant. Top with chicken.  Spoon sauce as desired onto chicken. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Roman and Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake until bubbly, 30-35 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Sign


No, I haven't gotten a sign from Kona. But I'm waiting and hoping.  Mostly because when our other golden retriever, Kula, passed away 15 years ago we totally got a sign from him.

It came in the form of a dragonfly.  You can check out the story here

So, I've been talking to Kona. I say, "Kona, no pressure, but Kula sent us a dragonfly."

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Resizing Paper Grocery Bags


We've accumulated a lot of paper grocery bags from when the stores weren't allowing us to bring our own bags. They're actually not too repurposeful for me because they're too big. 

So I cut them down to a smaller size and have been making good use of them. 

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First, I carefully (sorta) remove the handles. 
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Then I cut off about 4 inches from the top. Sometimes I place the cut-off piece on the bottom of the finished bag for added support (and to not waste it).
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I cut the bag in two at about 4 inches from one side.
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I unfold the two pieces and tape them together like this. I put tape on the inside too.
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Then I staple the handles back on and reinforce them with duct tape.  I also put duct tape onto the bottom seam and depending on the load might also duct tape the other seams too.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

La Luna


This is a cute, short Pixar animation that I've watched several times.  I love the sound of the stars clinking together.



I'm trying to draw the stars. I don't really know how to bring out the light in them. I suspect I need to put them in the dark. Do you see the analogy here?  Seeing the light in the dark?
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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Dd's Taco Salad


I'm so happy that Didi's been sharing pictures of her meals with us. 

Here's her over-the-top taco salad.


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Dd’s Taco Salad

Taco meat
Pico de gallo
Dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, cooked until tender
1 medium head Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ (4 oz.) can black olives, sliced or chopped
½ avocado, sliced
½ cucumber, chopped
¼ c. cilantro, leaves
½-3/4 c. cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips, crushed
Salad dressing (1/4 c. Italian mixed with 1 12 tsp. taco seasoning)
Juice of 1 lime

Onto serving plates, place lettuce. Decoratively place toppings. Garnish as desired. Serves 2.

Dd’s Pico De Gallo
2 large roma tomatoes, dice
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds & ribs removed, finely minced
1 small garlic clove, grated
½ c. cilantro, leaves picked
Juice of 1 lime
Salt as needed

Combine all ingredients. Allow to sit 30 minutes. Makes 1 ½ cups. 

Dd’s Taco Seasoning Mix
4 tsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder 
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakess
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. teaspoon oregano 

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in an airtight container. Use as desired to taco seasoning on ground beef/chicken/lamb or turkey.  Use 3 tablespoons of seasoning per 1 pound of meat.  Makes approximately 3 tablespoons.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Dd's Cheesebread


Didi made this to accompany some pasta that they had for dinner awhile back. Looks so good!

She says:  I added sautéed chopped onions.  Can also add oregano, cumin, basil, rosemary, olives, jalapeños, sundried tomatoes, chives/green onions.

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2 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 TB sugar (I used agave)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c. milk
1 large egg, beaten
2 TB vegetable oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Greased 9 inch loaf pan. Mix ingredients in order given. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Extraordinary


A collaboration of extraordinary talent produce an extraordinary, magical creation.  Thanks for sharing, Ric! It was a joy to watch . . . several times.




Saturday, June 27, 2020

Getting Out of Your Head


I found the following information here at the Forbes website. 

Thank you to all of you who took the time to comment on my blog post about my recent panic attack. It helps me so much.


1.  Get ready to "go there"
This sounds like a way to do exactly the opposite of getting out of your head, but it’s not. Getting in touch with your internal stuff allows you to process it, which lets you move on from it. The reality is that most people, especially depending on your generation, grew up with the notion that it’s better to hide your feelings than to talk about them. This, of course, is one of the most destructive ideas to carry with you, because it means that thoughts never get processed – they just spin around your head ad infinitum. But addressing them by talking about them (with friends or better yet, a psychologist) is one way to step out of them.

2.  Be a storyteller, not a ruminator
The danger of introspecting too much, of course, is that it can easily turn into full-blown rumination – an endless cycle of self-examination and worry that goes nowhere. Rumination is like that middle-of-the-night thinking — when the rest of the world is hidden by darkness and the mind descends into a spiral of endless reaction to itself. Instead, you should think of yourself like a storyteller, trying to fit events into a general framework, rather than pouring over each little piece of information. Introspection is a closed system. Patterns of growth only emerge by opening yourself to input from others. 

3.  Be slightly inappropriate
This may be the best method of all, though it's easier said than done. When someone asks you a question that’s a little too personal, you may have noticed that after the initial surprise, it actually feels good to answer it, because it opens the conversation up to another level. The truth is that most of us actually want to be more open and connected with one another, but just don’t know how to go about it – it’s so ingrained in us not to offend anyone and not to over-share, that we end up being too conservative.

4.  Talk to a stranger
In the same vein, building connections with others – even if you don’t actually know them – is another good way to step outside your head. recent study at the University of Chicago found that when participants were asked to talk to a total stranger on the train or bus, doing so brightened their moods considerably – and even more amazingly, it also brightened the mood of the stranger. Again, this is probably because we really do want to connect with one another more – even with strangers – but just aren’t sure if others want to. It turns out they do.

5.  Deactivate the "Me Centers" of your brain by meditating
Studies from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UCLA, Stanford, and UMass, to name a few, are showing the effects of meditation training on brain function and brain structure. But among its more striking benefits, meditation seems to deactivate the “me centers” of the brain, the areas that are active when we’re having thoughts related to the self – self-referential thoughts. Meditating has also been shown to help treat other related mental health issues, like depression, addiction, anxiety, and attention deficit disorders, as well as to improve concentration, attention, and cognitive performance. So give it a try: Start with sitting, and focusing on your breath for five minutes. If your mind wanders, just observe that wandering, with a sense of curiosity, and pull it back to your focus. That part – the pulling the mind back, again and again – is really the heart of the practice.

6.  Focus on someone else
Lots of people have said that helping others is actually a selfish deed because it’s such a good way of helping yourself. Helping others helps you because it forces you to get out of your own schtick and focus on something outside yourself. When you actually set out to spend your time on another person or cause, you’ll find that it’s a very good way to move the focus away from you.

7.  Learn what mindfulness really is
If you still can’t seem to hop outside your head, try a few minutes of mindfulness whenever you notice yourself getting stuck there. Many mindfulness experts have said that the most important thing to remember is that thoughts don’t have to be believed – they come and go into our heads like clouds, often very randomly. So if you can just acknowledge a thought non-judgmentally and then let it go, you’ll be in good shape. The letting-go part is, of course, the hard one, but with practice, it can happen. And then your thoughts lose their power over you.

So if you find yourself in an endless cycle of rumination, step back and try one of these methods. Talk with a friend or a psychologist; meditate for five minutes; ask another person (or stranger, if you’re feeling bold) how they are; share a little (too much?) about yourself; introspect curiously into your thoughts and then try to let them go.
The mind is a pretty cool place – but when it gets to be too much, it’s important to know how to take a break from it.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Anxiety


I did this yesterday.  It helped me get my mind off stuff. I might try do another one today.

I'm having really bad anxiety.  Worried about mortality and feeling sad for those left behind.

I actually had some kind of panic attack early this morning.  I ended up pacing and pacing and doing weird things with my hands . . . rubbing them, tapping my fingers together, shaking them, tapping my chest.  It seemed to help.  It was all rather bizarre. 

A little later Wendell and I took a short walk. That helped too.

It's mid day now, and I'm alone at home. I'm trying really hard not to let my mind go to that place again. 


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