I am not a big pie lover. I prefer cake, and lots of it! Holidays though call for pie.
I am making three pies for Thanksgiving this year. I've made them all before and they are all DELICIOUS! The best part is, they are sooooooo easy!
They are easy partly because I cheat a bit with the crust, but beyond that the most complicated has 4 steps! I will purchase pre-made pie crusts from Mother's Market. If I remember correctly it is a whole grain crust with only about 5 ingredients. Two drawbacks:
1. Crust is in disposable aluminum pie tins
2. Packaged in plastic
I will probably remove the crusts from the aluminum since I can't stand cooking in aluminum and prefer glass. I will have to bring the plastic with me to my Thanksgiving dinner destination and recycle there as my neighborhood does NOT have recycling!
One pie will be pecan and the other two will be rhubarb. Ick you exclaim? Gross you say? I'm with ya' sista, I used to say!
Growing up my Dad LOVED rhubarb. Whenever it was served he would say, "I'll take that, you won't like it, it's gross." My Dad was a hero in many ways and this was just one more - he was saving us from even trying the nasty, icky, gross rhubarb!
Our family has been doing Christmas from around the world for a couple of years and one year was England. Since rhubarb pie was a traditional choice (per the internet) I made a couple. There would be some people from England there so it would surely be eaten, not by me or my brother though!
When I was preparing them for transport, some filling spilled onto my finger. Without even thinking about it, I licked my finger (oh come on, you lick your fingers while cooking too!). What came next was an epiphany I doubt the Pope has even experienced - rhubarb wasn't good, it was DELICIOUS!
When it was time for pie I pulled my brother aside and said "I've got something to tell you. Dad lied to us for our whole lives. Rhubarb is devine!!". He tried it and his eyes got huge and it he took pieces of each variety and came back for seconds. I called my little sister the next day and informed her of this scam. She now knows that rhubarb is from the Gods and Dad, selfless in all other ways, was totally Bogarting the rhubarb!
This 8 ingredient Pecan Pie is incredible and made without corn syrup!
This 7 ingredient Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie is rich and delicious! All of the ingredients I use will be organic, the flour will be spelt
Last night what started out as a Twitter conversation about "saving" chocolate milk for schools turned into a spirited discussion about slave labor and fair-trade chocolate (I wonder who brought that up?!).
One person that I conversed with was @PoeticLotion, aka Mom of Ms. Hairless and Fearless herself, Annie.
In our discussion I learned that Annie was recovering from a spontaneous brain bleed. Their local paper, the Tribune Chronicle, wrote an article and you should go read it.
I was moved by the fact that her Dad was aware of the dangers of head injuries because he had recently read an article about a tragic situation and was therefore more alert to the possibility that something was really, really wrong. Everything happens for a reason. I especially love that her parents shaved their heads in solidarity!
Annie, a budding artist, started, Annie's Art Studio, where you can buy her work (gotta love those home schooled kids!). After Annie's brain bleed fellow artists, Kathy& Ed Esposito, decided to help Annie and her family with the mounting medical costs (health care reform anyone?), by selling the piece that Annie drew:
For those of you that send Christmas cards I think this would be great - you could write inside, "Have you been naughty or nice this year?!".
If you send Hanukkah cards, how about "May the traditions of old bring you new joy!!".
Kathy & Ed will donate 10% of all proceeds to Annie's family and 100% of proceeds when you buy the card with Annie's drawing!
Kathy & Ed also have an Etsy store (I love me some Etsy!), and they will package your order without the plastic sleeves that is put on the cards or the vinyl sleeve on the bookmarks, all you have to do is ask!
Unfortunately the paper the cards are printed on is not recycled, it is however made in the USA as is everything that they sell - yes, even the bookmark tassels! The envelopes are made with 10% recycled content and they return their print cartridges to the manufacturer for recycling. All unsalable items are donated to charity that donates them to our soldiers for thank you cards.
If you are on Facebook you can follow Annie there too.
As I mentioned yesterday, the internet is such an incredible tool to put people in touch that would never have had the opportunity otherwise.
This thing, the internet, introduces us to people that we most likely would not have the opportunity to meet, hear their stories that make us laugh, cry, angry, become more compassionate and think.
3 months ago I somehow ended up on Anissa's blog and read this post. This was a post that made me angry. It made me proud of someone that I did not know. I made me want to hug, defend and encourage a woman that I had never met and in all likelihood would never meet.
Anissa's blog has become one of many that I many that I started reading within the last 7 months. Reading her blog makes you want to go find her and beg her to be your friend - you would surely have so much fun.
This morning, while making my rounds of blog reading, I read The Spohr's Are Multiplying first. I was shocked - Anissa, a young mother of 3, is in the ICU after having suffered a devastating stroke.
I was crying for Anissa, this woman who I have never met, spoken with, tweeted, e-mailed or even knew that I existed. I was crying for her husband, her children, her friends, her family, her community, her network of parents that she helps who have ill children. I have been so sad today.
Please send your positive energy to Anissa's family today. Please keep her in your thoughts. If you are so moved you can find out more information and ways to help:
Last night I turned on my radio and heard this, "...you have soldiers that are fighting and dying because of our energy policy in this country and this is a means to help fix that. Are you really an American? Are you rah-rah pro American let's go do all this great stuff? Well, this is how you can do it."
I was listening to Dick Gordon's "The Story". If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing this gem of a radio program, find "The Story" in your area. Gordon interviews regular everyday people and listens to their story.
In last night's program he was speaking to brothers Jon & Chris Boggiano, veterans of the Iraq war who have come to realize that the war was/is about oil, "The fact that our energy policy and the fact that we are in Iraq is somehow tied to global warming that's not on the news, that connection, but it's all tied together. We need oil so we invade a country to secure that oil. That same oil is the thing that's doing bad things to the planet."
With this realization they believe that the patriotic thing to do is to create sustainability, "I understand why we invaded Iraq. Look, we need, America needs oil and if we solve the energy problem we also solve a lot of these secondary problems."
They became sustainability experts and started Everblue Training Institute, a company with a mission to reduce America's dependence on oil, which Gordon states,"...is every bit as patriotic as what they did as soldiers."
You can listen to the whole piece here (skip to 7:00 if you don't want to listen to the intro or the first story):
Honor our Veterans today and every day by making changes in your life - reduce, reuse, refuse, re-educate and recycle. As the Boggiano brothers said, "This stuff makes sense on it's own."
Let's recap: it expands the Hyde Amendment by not allowing any policies that provide abortion to also receive Federal money. So it not only goes after women but it incentivizes insurance companies to not even provide the option for women.
I decided to have a conversation with my imaginary conservative right to lifer self on why Federal funds should be used to pay for abortions.
It went pretty well, as would be expected in an imaginary conversation, and I think I made my point!
Here's a "transcript" of the conversation:
ME: Abortion, regardless of personal opinions, religious or political affiliation, is a LEGAL medical procedure.
CONSERVATIVE RIGHT TO LIFER: God says it's wrong.
ME: You can follow what you believe to be your God's direction but you may not impose that upon others.
CRTL: Life begins at conception
ME: I was hoping you would say that...
ME: I believe life begins at ejaculation.
CRTL: You are just talking dirty to embarrass me, anyway that's different, women loose eggs too every month.
ME: When women "loose" eggs that is a function of nature - it cannot be controlled - it's a function of nature or God if you prefer. Men don't loose sperm, they get to decide where it goes - they CAN control it's destiny. When men ejaculate, those little sperm are babies. Every man kills millions, if not billions, of "babies" every single day.
Let's prove this isn't misogynistic and start legislating ejaculations!
CRTL: That's ridiculous!
ME: Why, because men are superior and don't need that type of interference in their lives or bodies? Maybe it's because on the whole we can trust men to make good decisions? Maybe it's because it simply is ridiculous! Just like legislating women's reproductive decisions.
ME: Let's not pretend this is a disagreement about money, it's a disagreement about feelings and beliefs. In the crossfire of these disagreements women's rights are being eroded.
CRTL: You're right, it isn't about the money, it is my belief but it's a belief from God and I don't care about women's rights being eroded.
ME: Yes, I know.
ME: The vast majority of women that have been and will be further affected by this stupid Stupak Amendment are women without the necessary resources to obtain an abortion. In addition to people with limited access to money it affects women with limited access to transportation, women in abusive relationships (not just physical also emotional), young women, etc...
CRTL: Well, they shouldn't be having sex unless they are in a solid committed God fearing marriage.
ME: You're right...
ME: Well on an intellectual level the vast majority would agree with you about the "should"(except the God part because not everyone believes in your God nor do they believe God is something to be feared, but that's another subject for another day...). The problem is "should" and human nature are two different things.
The vast majority of people would agree that we should never fight, we should never get angry, we should never break the law (have you gone over the speed limit?), we should all vote in every election. The problem is that human nature isn't about should it's about choice.
And sex is fun!
Anyway, I have never met even ONE woman who had an abortion that made that decision lightly. Even those that had one in their teen years. They always remember the day of their abortion and the due date. It may not be something they regret but it is not something that is done with anything but a tremendous amount of consideration.
I did not agree that we went to war. I protested, I spoke, I wrote letters, I called my legislatures. If you disagree with abortion spend time volunteering, speaking, writing letters, calling your legislatures but do not interfere with a woman's LEGAL rights.
I do have a final set of questions for YOU, not my inner imaginary conservative right to lifer self, those of you who do disagree...
You believe that life is precious, that it is a gift from God; why then:
1. Do you support the dealth penalty? 2. Do you support wars? 3. Do you not want a system that helps protect this precious gift of life by providing health care?
In case you haven't heard, the House passed H.R. 3962 on November 7th, 2009. The vote was 220 to 215. If you want to see how the final vote went down check this out.
Unfortunately, the stupid Stupak Amendment was adopted. The Stupak Amendment, brought to us by Congressman Bart Supak (D-MI), limits a LEGAL medical procedure for women.
This all starts with the Hyde Amendment from 1973 which prevents federal funds being used to pay for abortion. Personally, I don't care if you don't support a woman's LEGAL right to choose and don't want to pay for it. It's the LAW.
The Stupak Amendment goes beyond Hyde. Women who want to make sure that they have access to a LEGAL medical procedure would have to purchase a supplemental plan but could not use subsidies to pay for it. Plans receiving subsidies cannot offer abortion even if they require women to pay for the LEGAL medical procedure out of pocket.
Disclaimer: The verbiage of the Stupak Amendment is "not available"so take what is being reported with a grain of salt.
Interestingly, 39 Democrats voted FOR the Stupak Amendment and then voted AGAINST the Health Care Reform bill. If you aren't going to vote in favor of the bill why even cast a vote on the amendment?
I want to let you in on a secret, I live a fascinating life. For instance, I watched C-SPAN all day Saturday - yes, all day! I even popped up some popcorn. No, not the microwave lung cancer causing variety. But the real stuff using organic, non-GMO popcorn & coconut oil then topped with melted organic butter, sea salt and Fair Trade chocolate chips. Oh yes people, it's highfalutin and fascinating all day over here!
So anyway, while I was munching on my delicious popcorn treat and watching C-SPAN I heard over and over and over again how H.R. 3962 would send people to jail if they didn't get insurance.
Hmmmm, interesting. So I searched the bill, and you can too. You can find it here or as a PDF here.
The interesting thing is, the bill doesn't say anything about sending people to jail. How could it be argued over and over and over again that it does?
Let's start with the facts, mosey on over to the PDF file and find Section 501 (its on page 296 and starts at line 16). The facts are that if you don't have coverage then you will be fined. The fines are 2.5% of your annual gross income not to exceed the "applicable national average premium for such taxable year". In addition there are several exemptions including religious.
A little math: for someone earning 30,000/yr the tax would be $750 (this is assuming that they don't have an exemption nor work for an employer providing health insurance and choose not to purchase health insurance).
Here's where the Republicans played fast and loose with what's IN the bill. See, in the U.S. if you don't pay your taxes and you get caught and you don't pay or negotiate with the I.R.S. when you do get caught, then you may go to jail.
This is not new to this bill, this is part of the I.R.S. code. Come on, it's pretty much what inspires people to pay!
"Yeah" for Health Care Reform, "Boo"for the Stupak Amendment and "Cool Your Jets" because now we've got to wait and see what the Senate has in store.
Swimming upstream by trying to live green and frugal in OC, the county of spend so your neighbors think you're rich mentality. There will be the occasional foray into politics - mainly when something really chaps my hide!