Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week Off

There are bloggers who go away on vacations with a whole series of posts ready to go each day they are away.  Someday maybe I will be that organized and self-disciplined.  Maybe.

Someday I may even go away for an exotic vacation.  But not this week.

However, I will be having a visit from my wonderful sister-in-law, Jeannie.  I am sure I won't be posting all week and I probably won't be commenting either.

But then, I should be back next week with new stories to tell.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Use for Chia

Remember the no-bake cookies make with chocolate and oats or sometimes cornflakes?  Sounds so 70's, doesn't it?

Sometimes I just have to satisfy my sweet tooth, so here is what I do with that old recipe:

NO-Bake Chocolate Nut Cookies

In a heavy sauce pan, combine:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil  (butter works too, but I am all about the trendy stuff)
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup agave  (or up to a cup of white sugar, altho' not trendy at all)
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder


Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 1 minute.

Stir in:

  •  1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup combination of chopped nuts, raw coconut chips. oats, and seeds (chia, sesame, pumpkin, etc.)  
This is not an exact science; just throw in a combination of what you have or what you like.

Scoop 1 Tablespoon rounds onto parchment paper and cool for 30 minutes.
Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you eat them all.

I halved the original recipe and added all the nuts and seeds.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chia

Recently Lisa of Grandma's Briefs shared a recipe for a cinnamon coffee cake with chia seeds.

Chi-chi-chi-chia!  Not just for pottery pets anymore.  Once a last ditch Christmas present for Great Aunt Agnes, these seeds are now a trendy superfood.

While they may not be the cure for diabetes and obesity sometimes claimed, they are very nutritious with plenty of quality protein, antioxidants, minerals, and even some vitamins.  They are considered low carbohydrate because their carb content is mostly in the form of fiber.  Chia seeds have been shown to support bone health and healthy blood pressure (The two reasons I use them.)

When I originally heard about these seeds as food, the suggestion was to mix them with water or juice and let them gel a bit before drinking them down. There are much better ways to consume them, in my humble opinion.

Here is a recipe I have adapted for myself:

Blueberries, Farro and Yogurt

1 cup farro*
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon honey or agave
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Yogurt**

*This is a grain I have only ever found in health food stores. It is a kind of wheat.
**I like either plain Greek or vanilla.

Rinse the farro and combine it with water in a sauce pan.  Bring to boil and the lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook until all the water is absorbed (20 minutes).

Combine blueberries and sweetener of choice is an small sauce pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the chia seeds and lemon zest.  Lower heat and cook for another ten minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve the blueberries, farro, and yogurt layered or swirled
 together in a bowl.

My original recipe says this serves two.  I would say two people with extremely large appetites, but more likely four.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Changes

There are signs that the real estate bust of a few years ago here in Florida is starting a turn around.

Apparently, there is nothing like cold, snowy, nasty winters in the north to boost the Florida economy.

Four years ago this shopping strip mall was built seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  Apart from the fact that it is close to an I-75 exit, Mike and I could not understand why it was being built.  It did stay empty for a couple of years, then started filling up a little.

And then a great deal more of the thick tree and shrub cover started being bulldozed and burned off.

 Condominiums are going up.

Whole home developments are in the works.  Each one the equivalent of a small Vermont town in terms of the number of homes.


And not far away:

Three years ago, Mike's last winter in Florida, this space was entirely wooded.  Cattle and horse farms were nearby. When I came last winter this strip  mall had popped up.

When I got here this winter, a MacDonald's had been added.  What surer sign of a construction boom?  And, yes, land is being cleared for new developments all around this area as well.

Quiet little Venice is changing.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Well, not really...although I did go back to the InStride horse ranch to once again volunteer in their literacy program.  Forty first graders came from a nearby school showed up yesterday for the field trip--really, I don't know where they hide all the kids most of the time.  It is just enough flexing of the old teaching muscle to be fun for me.

I also had a totally new experience yesterday afternoon--I had a facial.  Not only a facial, but a foot massage while the mask did its work.  And today my face feels as soft and smooth as a newborn baby butt.  I have to seriously consider becoming a high-maintenance lady.

TV show idea: The Real Retirees of Venice.  Somebody is going to steal that idea and run with it, I just know!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turn That News OFF

I heard on the news the other night something about Congress wanting a second look at this deal where one can get a green card (EB5), no other questions asked, if one has half a million dollars to pay for it.  WHAT?? Who has that kind of money for green cards?  Not the people who are picking our lettuce, that is for sure.  So...Congress needs to wonder about whether or not unscrupulous persons--terrorist connected, drug dealing, human trafficking types--might take advantage of something like that??  Better late than never, I suppose.

 Perhaps I am just overly cynical.  I am sure that not everyone with money to invest is unscrupulous.

I also saw the day's update on the trial of that guy who shot the American Sniper, Chris Kyle and his friend.  I did not see the movie and do not intend to.  I don't know much about the case.  But taking a PTSD sufferer to a shooting range for therapy?  WHAT??  No one else thinks that was a bad idea from the beginning?

This is why it is not good for me to watch the nightly news.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Problem with Downsizing

The problem with downsizing, clearing out, minimizing, and simplifying--it just gives me more room to start collecting stuff again.

Perhaps I am missing something vital to the point of life simplified.

  But I find it so hard to resist small pitchers and useful little containers of any sort.
 I bought this blue table at a yard sale.  Yes, Barb, blue is a favorite color.
 I don't really remember where I found this plate but it perks up an otherwise useless corner of the kitchen counter.
And who doesn't eed an angel or two watching over?