Posted in 2020, Challenge, Food, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge # 37 Food Cravings

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week. My personal goal is to do this for 1 year.

Question:

What do you crave?  How often do you crave it?

Food Cravings And Then Some

My first thought is to food cravings and I start going over in my mind all my food cravings.  Next it jumps to other cravings and I am thinking this could get interesting.  But, let’s start with food.  I think I have a permanent craving for chocolate anything, it does have some seasonal items, but mostly just chocolate.  I am also pretty sure that it is included in all categories of food groups.

I may have a few weird tastes, the first that comes to mind is buttermilk.  My family will not even touch it, unless it is in pancakes.  I just like a tall glass of cold buttermilk.  As a child I can remember going to the cheese factory and getting a fresh glass of buttermilk, this was the real thing,  created by what was left in the churn from turning milk into butter.  About every other month I can hear it calling me.

Soup in general is about a once a week craving all year long.  I have a few seasonal soups that I like, but anytime I purchase a rotisserie chicken I anticipate some kind of chicken soup in my future.  I mostly make more than I can consume in a week so it gets put into individual portion containers in the freezer.  I am always happy if I can reach in to find 4 or 5 varieties of soup.

I have a longtime relationship with oatmeal as well.  For over 20 years I ate oatmeal every day for breakfast as a way of simplifying my life.  As a single parent of 3 with 1 full time and 2 part time jobs I needed to take some control.  This was an easy choice, put a scoop of regular oatmeal and 2 of water in the micro as I walked out to put on my make-up my breakfast was done when I came back.  No thinking, no debate and very little effort this worked for me.  I still have cravings for it even though my life is not as hectic.

Last food craving is for home made corned beef hash about every 3 or 4 months.  Cook a corned beef brisket that will be more than we can eat just for the leftovers.  Mix some onion, potato and green pepper with the beef throw in a few spices and fry to get a little crispy in a cast iron pan.

Writing this is making me hungry it has been about a week since I had buttermilk and almost as long for a bowl of soup.  The oatmeal was 2 days ago and the hash was yesterday, we also like to find restaurants that make their own and will try that out.  I will take a second look at other cravings I have which are not food related.  It’s always interesting to look closely at some aspect of your life that you probably take for granted.  Now back to my chocolate craving…

 

 

Posted in 2020, Food, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Happy July 4th

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For many years this is a holiday I enjoyed the most.  Usually we have pretty nice weather and good food and I don’t need to buy gifts  for everyone.  The main requirement in my book is that everyone wear something patriotic and I have a chance to see fireworks.

Stay safe and have fun. This year will be different.

Posted in 2020, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Making Dalgona Coffee

The whole concept of being in a house with people you know and love and are related to for an endless unknown amount of time causes me to sweat.  I am a fan of Big Brother, the reality show, but never in a million years did I ever think I would be living under these circumstances.  We all have way to much time on our hands since we have stopped taking showers so often and stopped changing clothes every day.  It somehow seems normal to wear the same sweatshirt and sweatpants we have worn for the last 3 days because these are my daytime pj’s.

The other thing that seems normal is cooking things we have not made in 27 years because we think of comfort food.  Or, we jump into trying something new because we have seen it on the internet. Right now this is what I have done.  We have all seen the  videos of making this great coffee, it’s all the rage in Korea now.

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The simple ingredients may even be in your pantry right now.  2 Tablespoons of instant coffee, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot water.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then add the water that is hot enough to dissolve the sugar and coffee.  Next using a whisk or a hand mixer start mixing this until it is foamy like whipped cream.

Side note:  If you don’t have instant coffee at home and it’s not time for your once a month store run, the internet shows us how to do this.  Just put your already ground coffee into the coffee grinder and grind it even more.  I guess this means instant is just extremely fine ground coffee.

Take a coffee cup and fill it half way or three quarters full of milk and ice if you want a cold drink.  Hot milk if you want a hot drink.  Now add 2 or 3 heaping spoons full of  the coffee/sugar mixture and stir into the milk.  It looks and feels like a designer coffee from a well-known coffee house.  Tastes amazingly delicious. And I got to say “Nailed it.”

This was a pleasant surprise and it truly tasted great.  I used a bit less coffee and the next one I make I will use decaf and sugar substitute, maybe not 2 full tablespoons, because the substitutes are very sweet. The whipping adds a great deal of volume so I created more froth than I needed and I simply spooned it into a jar with a twist off lid and put it into the fridge to use the next day. This also worked out.

The second day there was a small amount of syrupy  coffee in the jar which I simply poured into my cup after I spooned the more solid leftovers.  Nice to know that I can store this overnight and not have to work hard in the morning for the delicious drink.

POST SCRIPT

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Made the coffee again using decaf coffee and artificial sweetener and the only difference I noted was that the color was a tiny bit darker.  Tasted just as delicious and certainly way cheaper than a trip to the coffee house.  Certainly gives me that whipped latte feeling at home with no special equipment.  WIN, win.

 

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Just because they made me smile.

Posted in 2020, Aging, Challenge, Chicago, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #26 Perfect Pizza

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  we have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.

Question:

Describe your perfect pizza in detail, including how it would be cooked and what toppings would be included.

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Today’s Perfect Pizza

That is such a loaded question that I can’t even believe myself that I would choose to write about this.  Maybe it’s a side effect of the pandemic craziness that has engulfed us all. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t go to a local Pizza Parlor and sit down to order my pizza.  Maybe it’s because I feel the need to order a pizza from a local place just so when this is all over I can go there and sit down and have a pizza.

Over the years I have fond memories of pizza.  We had a neighborhood place that was just the best.  I can remember going there with my Girl Scout Troop after an activity, which I can’t remember, and I can remember the taste of the pizza.  I ordered milk with mine that day and some of the other girls said, “Hey, we are out for dinner why not order soda?”.  To this day my favorite beverage with pizza is milk.  They were saying hey mom or dad won’t mind and we are drinking soda, but I was not going to change my request.

I remember it was cold outside and very warm in the pizza parlor with the ovens going.  Maybe we had come from a nursing home where we sang Christmas Carols or we may have had a roller skating party with other Girl Scouts, both are very possible.  It may have been a special meeting where we put together special treats to take to patients at a local hospital.  It’s funny the two vivid memories from that day were the pizza and my drinking milk.

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I live near Chicago, which is known for it’s pizza among other foods and I have eaten pizza all over the country and I do love Chicago style pizza.  This  pizza that is my now “perfect” pizza comes from a restaurant on the same street as the one I went to all those years ago with the Scouts but about 4 block East.  This new pizza is a hand tossed pizza that has malt in the dough ( I could not taste it.)

I am a fan of sausage pizza and this had sausage that was crumbled and spread over the entire top so you had sausage in every bite.  The sauce is critical and this was also a secret recipe.  The sauce was almost a marinara sauce, but very delicate, and you could see veg and herbs in the sauce.  Next I had diced fresh tomatoes, also scattered all over the top, my last ingredient was black olives.  I love the sharp taste they add to the pizza.

The pizza was very thin with a light but crunchy dough and I enjoyed every bite of pizza even the next day.  The flavor overall was unique and I think that is the secret recipes for dough and sauce.  My new favorite pizza and I will be running to this place as soon as they open again.

 

Posted in 2020, Aging, Food, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Rice Pudding

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To some of us, this is comfort food like macaroni and cheese or tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich or even the Sunday pot roast.  It takes me back to my childhood and I’m on a family trip.  We stop at a diner for lunch and after my cheeseburger I ask for rice pudding with whipped cream on top.  Not something made at home but relished as we traveled.  Maybe that’s why I love both.

When I looked up rice pudding, I was surprised to find that it is literally served all around the world.  Asia, Latin America, Europe, US, Caribbean, North Africa, Canada are only some of the places it is enjoyed.  Flavors and spices and kinds of rice used vary everywhere.  The liquid used and the kind of sweetener, or not, also vary around the world.

I came across a recipe that seemed fairly easy and most diners no longer carry rice pudding, so why not try.  I am obsessed with arborio rice and have been known to make risotto four times in one week just for myself, so how bad could pudding be with the same rice?

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of arborio rice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or variation of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Pour milk, sugar and vanilla into a mid sized pot and bring to almost a boil.  Rinse off rice and put into small pot of boiling water, boil for 2 minutes then drain and add to milk mixture.  Continue cooking at a simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and add butter and egg yolk stirring constantly until fully incorporated.  Pour into a tray to cool off faster.  Serve warm or cool.

It turned out delicious and is now on my menu almost as often as risotto.

Here’s a few variations you may want to try.  Flavors, toppings and spices:  orange, lemon, rosewater, pistachio, almond, raisin, walnut, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger.  These can be added to the mixture or sprinkled on top.  As a child it was cinnamon and whipped cream on top, today it changes constantly.

 

Posted in 2020, Challenge, Chicago, County Fair, Food, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #25 As A Kid…

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one each week.

Question:

What makes you feel like a kid again?

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I feel like a kid again when I am …

Seeing giraffes at the zoo.

Eating cotton candy at the county fair.

Riding a city bus.

Coloring/dying Easter Eggs.

Roller Skating but not on roller blades.

Picking a bouquet of dandelions.

Sleeping outside in a sleeping bag not in a tent.

Shoveling the first snow of the year.

Walking barefoot on the beach.

Watching a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

Going to Navy Pier when the huge boats are in.

Eating a hot dog walking down the street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in 2020, Aging, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Oatmeal Obsession

It’s not that I really have an obsession, but I do like it a lot and eat it quite often.  Back in the 80’s, as a single mom with 3 kids and 3 jobs I read an article about ways to streamline your life. One of the suggestions was to eat the same thing for breakfast every day so you don’t have to get up and think about it and waste time.  So I decided oatmeal would be my go to.  There are endless varieties and it’s easy to make and it does good things for your health.

So every day I would get up and pop my oatmeal in the micro, go put on my makeup and come out and eat breakfast.  Many weekends I would eat it even if I had more time, I just liked it.  I did not use instant because the regular oatmeal was cheaper per serving and just as easy to make. My quick go to for a topping at that time was brown sugar or maple syrup about 90% of the time.

I have recommended it more times than I can tell you and it truly made my day start in a much better fashion.  I was out the door on time and not starving half way through the morning.  I think it has helped with my cholesterol, because I have never had bad reading but I have eaten the same breakfast, mostly, for over 30 years.

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With the stay-at-home requirement right now, my old friend is back.  Most mornings now I want to use the food already in the house so I am getting creative.  I like fresh fruit and dried fruit and nuts as additions to my oatmeal.  I will also use jelly sometimes to come up with new flavor combinations.

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Right now I am using fresh fruit, so I cut up an apple in about 1/2 inch cubes which is considerably larger than the instant oatmeal packages.  I will cook it for a few minutes in just a tiny bit of water before adding the oatmeal to the pot.  My additions to the apples are either craisins or raisins and walnut pieces.  I enjoy sliced strawberries and bananas  or blueberries really any kind of berry works and those I just toss in fresh.

I challenge myself to try and create unique combinations that are delicious also.  Pistachio and blueberries is another favorite along with dries cherries or my frozen ones from last summer and pepitas, this list could go on and on.  It’s hard to go wrong when you use any fruit you enjoy and toss in a few nuts. I try to avoid adding sugar and the fruit seems to satisfy completely.

Once while eating out at a restaurant we began talking to a couple at the next table because they thought it was unusual to order oatmeal when eating out.  I explained that I ate it every day,  this was easily over 20 years ago, and it seemed to make sense then.  They confided their favorite food for breakfast was also oatmeal, however they topped it with ice cream.  It had a large variety of flavors available and they reasoned it was the same as adding sugar and milk.  I have never tried it, have you?

Posted in 2020, Aging, Chicago, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Self-quarantine or New Normal

As a person of a certain age I thought it in my best interest to isolate myself from potential carriers of the new virus.  Let me be clear, I have no symptoms nor have I been around anyone who has been exposed or who has traveled outside the country, that I know of.  Maybe I will be OK, but as much of a risk taker that I am, this has me a bit spooked.

Today in Chicago is rainy and on the cold side, schools have been closed for 2 days as well as restaurants and bars.  My thinking is only a few dog walkers and me will be outside.  If you are forced to stay inside due to events beyond your control it is still possible to catch cabin fever very quickly.  Currently I am the only person in the house other than the unseen upstairs neighbors.  This is a good news/bad news situation, no one to bug you also no one to interact with.  Loneliness can set in quickly or you become Tom Hanks on the island with only Wilson to talk to.

So, I went to the store and was only looking to purchase a few items to help keep me alive.  Some chicken broth a can of beans to make some soup some fresh fruit, just because it is so much better.  Shelves were bare especially in the aisle of canned goods, do adults still really eat those pasta meals in cans????  I don’t think of myself as a snob, I ate that when I was a kid and fed some of that stuff to my own kids, as an adult there is no way.  I really can’t even handle canned or packaged soup anymore.  Oh well, I guess if you have 4 minutes to prepare a meal and that is all that is in the house you eat it.

A few people were wearing face masks, but only a few, we are about 6 blocks away from a large hospital maybe they are staff on their lunch break.  I was wearing regular winter gloves the entire time I was in the store, did not pick up anything without covered hands and they went directly in the washing machine once I got back. People were polite but focused.  Knowing that this might be the last trip to the store for 2 or 3 weeks.  There were much fewer people in the store having gone about the same time a few weeks ago and traffic on the street was much lighter than usual. Quite a few youngish children in the store with the parent who has this shift today or perhaps a grandparent called into service.

Since  this is a big city with excellent public transportation many people do not even own cars, they walk or bus it anywhere.  I wonder if the suburban or small town scene looked much like this.

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I did make one “luxury” purchase.  In my household some form of chocolate has always been a pantry staple.  Even those shelves were pretty bare, this looked worse than any store after black Friday.  It is a good thing we are resilient and creative as well as optimistic, somehow I am sure this will become an interesting passage in our history books.  Now for a piece of chocolate.

Postscript

Another big part of all of out new normal is wiping down every surface touched every day with wipes to prevent germs.  Trying to become creative with whatever food we already have in the house or have spaghetti for breakfast and oatmeal or an omelette for dinner.  How do I get my walking or running done at home without  destroying every wall in the house.

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Posted in 2020, Anchorage, Challenge, Food, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #20 I Love You

These challenges come from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  (Sort of like being in a writing class where you are assigned the topic to write about.)

Question:

Come up with a more exciting way to say “I love you.”

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My Love Story

Does it still count if I say it in another language?

Ich liebe dich is German.

Te quiero is Spanish.

Je t’aime is French.

Never having had any of these versions said to me in a romantic situation,  I searched for some others.  One of my favorites is from the movie “The Runaway Bride,”  “I guarantee that some point one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing.  But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.  Because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.”

You most certainly can have the only piece of dark chocolate candy in the box.

Yours is the only face I want to see on the pillow next to mine, every day from now on.

Yes, we can spend an extra week at the cabin on the lake.

I already paid for your hair appointment today, and I added a pedicure so make sure you get there early.

Do you mind if I cook dinner today?

I would love to find just one more quilt shop today.

Your spaghetti sauce is the best I have ever eaten.

Let’s get an extra session in at the health club this week.

Today is your ladies card game here, let me help you clean house before I go to my brothers.

Of course I think this is the year we go back to Alaska for at least a week.

Since we all have different love languages, it’s fun to take a small look at what it might look like to different people.  It’s easy if you are in a long term relationship to forget that we often hear and say things in many different ways.

 

Posted in 2020, Aging, Challenge, Food, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge# 17 Just The Facts

This challenge is from a small writing group.  We have a large series of questions and the challenge is to select one and write about while sharing it.  A second goal is to complete one each week.

Question:

List five facts about yourself that most people don’t know.

What you don’t know could hurt you?

I am a pretty private person but will talk to complete strangers for hours and we may not ever exchange names and certainly not phone numbers.  So you want me to share with the universe my secrets??  Much of my secret life will always remain a secret, I am just a big fan of not fixing whatever is not broken.  Some of these things I will share my children already are aware of.  They just think these are a part of my DNA and tune out when I speak about any of them.

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I have been in love with Bing Crosby all my life.  As a very small child my  mom became very upset because I broke a record of hers by him,  and she stayed angry about that for years.  It must have impressed upon me that he was something very special.  I did watch and still do watch his movies whenever I have the opportunity.  Who doesn’t love “White Christmas” in the middle of July.

As an 11 or 12 year old I hung out a lot at the neighborhood settlement house.  This was a social meeting place a few blocks from my house where they offered a variety of opportunities.  It is where I went for Girl Scout meetings.  I also signed up for and took Fencing lessons.  For almost 6 months I learned all things fencing.

I very much enjoy concerts, any kind almost that you can think of.  My first was a piano concerto at the Symphony Hall and I truly loved it.  It is one thing that I almost always say yes to.  Over the years I have literally been to hundreds and already have tickets for my next two.

I also enjoy watching parades, again all sorts and sizes.  I was recently walking in the neighborhood where I grew up and as I walked past these 2 houses my first thought was this is where we stood to watch the parade one block away from my house.  I have crossed a couple of bucket list parades off my list, Macy’s Christmas and the Rose Bowl Parade.  Both were big checks on my bucket list.  I have only seen three in other countries and only one was specifically planed for.

I love almost every vegetable except peas.  I love to eat and make split peas soup, I love all varieties of beans and bean soup.  As a kid I enjoyed shucking peas while sitting on the front porch with my aunt, I are them because I had to.  Now that I’m an adult I don’t add them and avoid at all cost.

The rest of my mysteries will just have to stay hidden.