Friday Coffee Date ’15-4

LN last tweet

I was going to share NotSoSweePea’s ear cover I made for her,
but this seems more fitting. How lovely a sentiment.
I do believe I will check out his poetry now.

Why hello there. It’s quite nice to see you, I apologize for being late. What’s in your cup? I just have hazel nut coffee today with hot-chocolate, almond milk and 2 sugars and left over antipasta salad from Red Front because well, it’s lunchtime.

It is with great sadness that I tell you I just received a text from Frank that said, “Leonard Nimoy has died.” These 4 short words brought tears to my eyes because he was a hell of an actor and Spock was one of my favorites. I can’t say it surprised me, but even though he was 83 I thought he might live forever.

Deep breath. So what’s been going on with you? What good memories have you made this week? Do you have any of Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock?

This week, I made people and Brody smile. I laughed with Frank and friends. I decided to book a trip to see my mom and to make memories with my family.  I heard from D’Lovely and know she’s on the mend.  I sent some mail that I know made the recipient smile.

As far as Mr. Spock memories, the old Star Treks always make me smile. Their terrible effects, Shatner’s constant intense overacting, and clear political commentary are parts of vivid mental pictures of my youth. Memories of time spent with my dad and Mehmere watching old episodes brings lots of warm fuzzy feelings. Later watching the whole series again with Frank because it was one of the few programs we could agree to watch together brought back happy smiles and fond memories of my childhood nerdom. I wasn’t a Trekkie, but  I did love the series and almost all things sciency. A big part of that love was Spock. His logic, how he loved in his way, his incredibly dry sense of humor, and those adorable ears. Now thinking about it reminds me of our first year living together.

Goodbye Leonard Nimoy. You certainly gave us some good memories. Thank you for that.

UPDATE: I didn’t know he directed one of my favorite movies! Three Men and a Baby

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Guest Post – Brodsmontana here!

Every week, Brody sends my brother an email about the exciting things he has done during his stay with us. He told me he wanted to tell you guys about all his fun too.

Fotor_142325570479378Why hello there – WOOF – lovely Brody fans! Aunt Court said I have a lot of fan people and I love people SO much I wanted to say hello! I like to say hello to ALL the people I see.

Aunt Court and Uncle Frank are mostly awesome but sometimes are no fun. They try to do this thing called “relaxing” and it’s so boring. Mostly though I’m so happy to see them every day after work that we all shake our buts. Okay, I shake my butt but I can see they want to too.

Most things are pretty cool around here, I get to sleep on big beds and try foods while they cook. If I don’t beg at the dinner table, I get my own little plate of the food I can have. They seem to be hard asses about things like onions and chocolate. I’m a big boy, I can handle it!

So far, I don’t like oranges, spinach, blueberries and olives. I do like strawberries, oatmeal, carrots, broccoli, and pizza crusts. It should go without saying that I also love chicken nuggets and french fries but they’re pretty rare around here. Usually only when we go out to Grandpa’s house.

Like I said, it’s pretty cool with Aunt Court and Uncle Frank. They have people like Sue, Aunt Cassie and Grandpa come visit. Sue says I’m handsome and tries to slip me extra people food sometime, Aunt Cassie sleeps in the second big bed with me and Grandpa is great at throwing the ball a million times. I also went to meet Nyx and her people recently. She and her people are so pretty and nice!

There are a few things I don’t like about living here but it’s mostly because they put the garbage away so I can’t get it while I’m home alone. I also do not like that they won’t let me in the bathroom with them and I DO NOT LIKE IT when she says the word bath or she makes a fishy face and crosses her eyes. Woof! Uncle Frank seems to think that sandwiches are just for him and it’s just not fair! He also won’t give me a treat in my food every time. Just sometimes. Harumph! Also, I’m not allowed on the futon which I don’t understand. Aunt Court falls asleep there, why can’t I?

Fotor_142325502218696They make up for lameness by playing soccer in the kitchen and taking me to the doggie park sometimes to see my friend Ellie. I’ll write more about that later, it’s time for a snackeroni. Aunt Court said if you have any questions, I should invite you to ask them so I am. Any questions? Do you want to come play? I like to play! You can throw the slobber ball for me!

Love you all, you beautiful people.
Barkwoofbark,
Brodsmontana

There you have it. Brodsmontana’s own words about staying with us.

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You’ll want more of these gluten free iced molasses cookies

Iced Molasses Cookies

Iced Molasses Cookies
You can see which ones I rolled and which ones I did not.
Doesn’t that glaze look awesome?

I love cookies, most of them in fact, but I do have my favorites. One of my favorites that I’ve missed a bunch in the last year and a half of being gluten free was the Iced Molasses Cookie.

They’re just so darn tasty with the rich molasses flavor, the sweet icing, and the spice to make it interesting.

(Can I stop for a second and tell you that I’ve decided I need more molasses in my life? Well I have.)

I started with this recipe that I found on Pinterest and went from there.

What you’ll need:

For the cookies

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses (I think mine were blackstrap, unsulphered)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix (I used a gluten free version of the local store brand)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon allspice (You can add their list of spices, but I didn’t have all of them so I used allspice. I also sometimes add more because I like a spicier cookie. If you don’t like spice, leave it out.)
  • Up to 1/2 cup of water (You may or may not need this.)

For the icing (optional, but I think you’re crazy if you don’t make it. Sorry Mom!)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Sprinkles if you want them.

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. If you’re not using non-stick pans spray them down with cooking spray.
  2. In your stand mixer (or big bowl if you don’t have one), beat brown sugar, shortening and molasses on medium speed until well blended. Resist the urge to stop there and eat with a spoon.
  3. Beat in eggs.
  4. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients until well blended. (Dough will be sticky.) If dough isn’t sticky, add water 1 TBSP at a time until it IS sticky. (No one likes dry cookies.)
  5. Roll balls of dough in your hands so they’re pretty. If you don’t care that your cookies are pretty you can just drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets. Spray your hands if you’re rolling them.
  6. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. I find it hard to tell if they’re golden brown as noted in the recipe, but I just trust that they’re done when I can smell them. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  7. In small bowl, mix icing ingredients until smooth. If it’s too thick add 1/2 tsp of milk and stir. You may need to do this more than once. You can drizzle icing over cookies or dip the tops. I prefer to dip the tops. This frosting takes about an hour to dry enough to pack them up.
  8. Enjoy. They’re really fricken good.

When I tell you they’re good, I’m not even kidding. My dear brother who is against everything gluten free loves this cookie.  Damn it, now I want one…

Questions? Comments? What’s your favorite cookie?

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Seeking: Vegetarian and gluten free recipes (or ones I can easily change to GF)

cow eat veggiesFrank and I were at the grocery store the other night picking up food for the week and something popped out of my mouth that made me sound a lot like Nanny.

“When did meat get so damn expensive?!?” (The 80/20 hamburger I was looking at was $5.99 a lb and didn’t even cook itself. We won’t even talk about the leaner packages.)

Seriously, when did the prices soar?

Now, I know we can probably find better deals, shopping the flyers and what not. I’m sure of it. I also know that by the time we get around to grocery shopping on Sundays, it’s basically the last thing I want to do. Most of the time we look at what’s on sale at one of the stores closest to us and try to develop a meal plan from what’s in the flyer. Admittedly not the most effective, but it’s not terrible.

Once we get a freezer for the garage, we can take advantage of bulk items that we’ve looked into, but in the short term, we’d like to save a bit of money on our grocery budget. One immediate solution I came up with is putting more vegetarian options in our meal rotation.

We ate a lot of vegetarian food when I gave up meat for Lent, but relied heavily on items that are not gluten free. This is no longer an option. A lot of pre-made vegetarian food is has wheat protein (gluten) or other wheat based ingredients (flour to thicken sauces, seitan as a protein source, barley for substance, malted barley for flavor etc.) We also relied a lot upon pasta last time around. An option, but Frank doesn’t love it.

I found this list of 25 vegetarian takeout makeover recipes that looks pretty good. (I think about a dozen of them sound really good and I’d try many of the others.) Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Baked BBQ Tofu sounded really good actually. (Not gluten free, but I can make it work.) It’s pasta, but Frank does like mac and cheese.

I know other vegetarian gluten free recipes are out there, I’ll just have to research to find them. I suppose trading research time and some work is worth the positive budget and health impact.

Do you happen to have any? What’s your favorite vegetarian recipe that’s already gluten free or that I can make gluten free?

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Marshalls and Michaels…I’ll miss you!

Even though neither of us go to any church let alone the Catholic Church, Frank and I each gave something up for Lent.  I’ve given up different things in the past (peanut butter and meat as noted on this blog) but both of those seemed too hard this year and I’m doing my best not to set myself up for failure in my challenges.

Why bother if we’re not practicing Catholics? Shrug. We think it’s sometimes good to give up something that will be missed so we can be reminded of how fortunate we really are.

Frank gave up beer. I gave up unnecessary shopping. If Frank wants to write about why he gave up beer, he can, but I’ll tell you about my decision.

Lately, it seems that I’ll head to Marshalls, Michaels, Target, or any of the other nearby stores on my lunch break or while killing time before I have to be someplace else. Without fail, I find something I just have to have! No, no I didn’t have to have it. I wanted it because it was pretty,  or sparkly, or [insert reason here].  The things I have purchased recently have all been on sale of course, but even on sale starts to add up.

So for the next 41 days, I’m not shopping. Sure I have to get groceries and if we need toilet paper or dish detergent, we need to buy those things. If my running shoes go missing (somehow my other pair did!) I’ll have to replace them, but the mindless wandering through the store purchases? No more. (We’ve already agreed that I can buy a set of passes to a yoga studio I recently tried. We both agree that it’s not a want, but good for my sanity and health.)

I hope that I can break the habit in general because it takes between 21 and 28 days to break a habit and Lent is 46 days. If this is my worst habit, I’ll take it, but it’s not necessary. (It’s not, I have worse ones, I’m sure.)

I will totally miss wandering through Marshalls and the craft stores at lunch though. Touching items, getting ideas, finding little presents.

Guess I better start bringing a book or treadmill gear! It’s too cold do anything outside right now but shiver. So far though? Holding strong.

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Good things 2015: Week #5-8

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I’m handsome and I know it.
You can see more of me on Instagram #brodsmontana

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

It’s been a whole month since I did one of these so I’ll do more than just the usual 10. I’ve survived some interesting challenges in that time so  it’s doubly important that I remember the good.

Here we go (in no particular order of importance or timing):

  • Brody protecting me. (I know he would if he had to do it.)
  • How to Get Away with Murder and Backstrom. One wows me and one makes me laugh.
  • Country Girl Workout to survive the -17*F
  • Meeting nice people at a craft show
  • The feeling that Someone is listening.
  • Peanut butter
  • Naps
  • Laughing with friends
  • Saturday at the pool working out even though many were set to be problematic.
  • People loving my crafting work (that never gets old, sorry!)
  • Playtime at the doggie park
  • Emails saying I’m doing a great job and they like working with me
  • Snow days or delays.
  • Teaching Brodsmontana new tricks.
  • My Little Sentra that Could starting right up in -10*F weather when she hadn’t been driven in 2 weeks.
  • Budapest song getting more air play so I can dance to it every day.
  • Feeling nostalgic and fun memories
  • Vanilla pancakes that taste like birthday cake and bacon for Fat Tuesday.
  • Knowing I’m not alone in my struggles. Hearing, “I know just how you feel, here’s my story” makes me feel just a little bit normal and that goes a long way.
  • Phone calls from friends and the soothing sound of a voice I’d know anywhere.
  • New puppies for friends.
  • A new yoga place to go do yoga
  • Another session of swimming lessons done
  • Gluten free buns for burgers
  • People loving their snail mail.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes?

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Frank said…#102

share_temporyThis is part of the Frank said feature. You can see more here.

Eating Red Baron pizza one night…(If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about $2 a pizza at the grocery store. Frank seems to love it.)

Frank: yum.
Me: Yeah?
Frank: Tastes like college.

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Friday Coffee Date ’15-3

josteenworrypostivebelieveWhy hello there. It’s quite nice to see you. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a chance to have a hot morning beverage. What’s in your cup? I just have regular coffee today with some almond milk and 2 sugars. On weekends, I’ve been using coconut creamer which is delightful, but I don’t bring it to work with me. Maybe next week.

So what’s been going on with you?

As D’Lovely would say, I’ve been holding a lot in my heart and only recently have been able to let go of some of it. Of course all of it was out of my control, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t weigh on me all the same.

Part of it is now behind us, my dear friend is recovering from her surgery, my brother’s dog loves being with us (best I can tell), I’ve given some of the work worries to G-d and put it out of my mind for now, and I’ve made the executive decision to stop worrying.

Stop worrying? Me? Yes. Me.

When I start to worry, I just tell myself again (and again and sometimes again) that it’ll be okay. If that doesn’t work? I say a prayer. I pray for the best possible outcome, kindness to the people who need it, guidance in doing the right thing, and to be shown the good in what’s going on. You know, try and put a positive spin on it.

I don’t know that I’m actually talking to G-d or a collective subconscious or myself, but it feels like I’m doing something proactive rather than just stressing myself out about things.

Are you a worrier? How do you get past it?

Sometimes when I’m having a tough go of it, I ask friends for distractions. Recently, BatGirl sent me this one. It’s a keeper.

Anything good going on this weekend? I might have to work at the pool more than I’d like tonight and tomorrow, but I’m going to try and get a nap one of these days! Brody doesn’t like it when I nap, but sometimes if he can sleep next to me, he’ll let me get away with it. If it’s not terribly cold on Sunday (long shot, I know) then I’ll take Brody to the doggie park to run around and lose more tennis balls. I might also bake a bit. I don’t know just yet.

I do know that I have to run and get a refill on this hot beverage! It’s chilly around here and I went through it quickly!

 

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One day Frank went away and anxiety came out to play.

Fotor_142319048606192

Sometimes she’s crazy, but I love my Aunt Court

We all have a little bit of crazy in us. I know I do and those closest to me do as well. It’s part of what makes us, well, us! Would you like to hear a little bit of mine?

Frank went to his sisters a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t go because I had a craft show and a Brody to wrangle. When I got back from dinner with the lovely Sue, I was certain someone was going to try and break into the house and was having major anxiety about it.

When I’m feeling such anxiety, I find it best to have a plan. What was my plan? Go stay at a friend’s house? Turn on all the lights? Ask someone to come stay? Take a deep breath and tell myself to get over it?

No. I put clothes on that I could sleep in but also run out the door (or through a window if needed), put my untied, laces loosened sneakers by the futon, put my car keys in my right coat pocket and my wallet and house keys in the left in case we had to leave quickly.  Then I dragged Brody’s bed downstairs, put his harness and leash with my coat and made him sleep by me downstairs. Why downstairs? There’s more exit options. I thought about having Brodsmontana sleep in his harness just in case, but that just didn’t seem nice to the pup.

I never claimed to be sane, but I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable. If you’re wondering, he didn’t really care, although he rolled his eyes at me when I told him we had to be ready if there was a robber. He just likes to sleep next to his people. And he got a treat.

After a lot of water, gentle tv and eventual sleep, I felt much better the morning. I realize that my behavior wasn’t exactly what one would call “reasonable” and I thought about why I might have been so anxious. It’s not like Frank hasn’t gone away for the night before and I know that there’s no end to Brody trying to protect me. Besides, if someone broke in, Brody would scare them off before they even got close to us. He’s that good, er loud.

I think that it might have been the spice drops I munched on during the day. I’ve had similar anxiety episodes after eating many cheap jelly beans (I’m assuming it’s the coloring used? I could be wrong.) and well, spice drops have a LOT of coloring in them. At least that’s what I’m going with this time.

Tell me about a time you were less than sane? Make me feel a little closer to normal ;)

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Good things 2015: Week #4

Fotor_142221742925249

Brodsmontana loves pizza so I shared just a little.

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

This particular week had some challenges that I’d rather forget so it’s doubly important that I remember the good.

Here we go:

  • Read a whole book in an hour plus one sitting. It’s been forever since a book grabbed me like that and I’ll say more about that soon.
  • Great news for several friends – this summer is bringing more babies!
  • Super supportive friends who might not have experience in what’s troubling me, but are always there for me
  • Family dinner with my parents, brother and g-d family. My niece and nephew are excellent pizza maker helpers!
  • Short work week with a mostly free day to finish watching Once Upon a Time and working on stuff for an upcoming show.
  • Connecting people who need to be connected
  • A bonus evening home
  • My coworker having almond milk so I don’t have to use icky creamers
  • Saturday at the pool working out even though it was set to be problematic.
  • People loving their snail mail.

How was your week? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes?

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