On Setting Boundaries…

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Thought for today:  I’ve spent most of my life a  peacemaker and  in the process I have forfeited my own peace.

Why?  

Simply because I failed to set boundaries. The desire to make everything right for everyone else has not only ruined many friendships but it has effectively taught others how to disrespect me.

If you don’t respect yourself then why should anyone else?

“I will not be entangled with people who want to use my time and energy trying to  help them, when they really don’t want to change…You should never feel guilty about placing boundaries around your life…You are actually not using wisdom if you don’t establish such boundaries.  God’s word calls us to peace, and boundaries are one thing that will help us keep it.” ___Joyce Meyer

I have so much to say on this subject matter.  There are many personal examples of how I have successfully taught friends, family, lovers and even strangers the art of disrespecting me.

More to follow; however, my job beckons and I do have to pay the bills….(smile)

Be true to yourself and set some boundaries…so others will know where NOT to tread.

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Pizza Bread Results

Okay folks…I promised  the results of the two recipes previously posted.  Here are the specs on the pizza bread.  I forgot the damn marsh-mellows so couldn’t make the S’mores Brownie Pie, but I promise it will follow soon!

After a trip to Market Basket we headed home with Corinne at the wheel, me riding shotgun, our two puppies in the back seat and the needed ingredients tucked safely away in the trunk, (or in the “boot” if you’re from the South like me)  Four girls on a mission, we peeled into our icy driveway slipping and sliding towards home-plate for much needed pee breaks.

Step one: I sliced the can pizza Imagedough into circles and then cut the circle into fourths.

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Step two: I put the cut dough into a big bowl and added the Mozzarella and Parmesan.

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Step three:  Chopped up the pepperoni and put it in the bowl with the dough and cheeses

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Step four:  Added the Parsley flakes

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Step five:  Added the Olive Oil

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Step six:  Tossed all together with Garlic Powder

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Step seven:  Pour mixture into pan and bake in a 350 degree oven

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Step eight:  Take out of oven…run a knife around the edges of the pan

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End Result:  It tasted good but it fell apart when I tried to get it out of the pan

Things I would do different: 

Omit the pepperoni or choose a leaner choice…the pepperoni was way too greasy

Gently “mesh” the ingredients together instead of just tossing…hopefully this will meld the ingredients and keep them together when done.

Cook longer than 30 minutes in order to cook dough thoroughly

Buy a non-stick pan OR use more PAM

S’mores Brownie Pie

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Happy Sunday everyone!  I’m thinking about food…again.  It’s one of my favorite past times.  You see, not only do I enjoy eating it but I also enjoy creating it.

I guess I get that honestly from my Mom.  Oh, man…could that woman ever cook!  I love thinking about her Sunday dinners she’d put on the table for her family.   Good ole southern, homemade cooking was her specialty.  The crust of her  fried chicken was always seasoned to perfection.  I have fond memories of holding a chicken leg in one hand and spooning up  buttery mashed potatoes with the other.   There were many a day when fresh catfish, caught from the river,  shared the kitchen table with  a large bowl of Cole slaw and a plate full of hush-puppies.  Don’t even let me get started on just how scrumptious  her beans with ham-hocks and baked cornbread tasted.   Geeeeeeez….it’s a good thing you can’t gain weight just thinking about food!  I do miss my Mama’s cooking.  She could take anything and make it good.

The recipe below is responsible for this delicious reverie down memory lane.  Today I plan to make this along with the pull apart pizza bread  previously posted.  However,   it’s just 2 am so I must go to sleepy land first.

I’ll let you know out it turns out!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Smores-Brownie-Pie-8

CRUST

  • 12 full-sheet graham crackers (or 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs)
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

BROWNIES

  • 10 Tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (111g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour
  • 25 large marshmallows (1/2 of a standard package or use mini marshmallows)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Make the crust: Using a food processor or blender, pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press into an ungreased 8-inch or 9-inch pie dish. Set aside.

Make the brownies: Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl in the microwave. Melt in 30 second increments and stir after each time until the butter is completely melted. The mixture will look gritty. Set aside for a few minutes as you get the other ingredients ready. You don’t want the mixture to be piping hot.

Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. The batter will be thick and look shiny. Add the flour, beating with a whisk until fully combined. Try not to overmix the batter at this point. Spoon into crust.

Bake for 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with marshmallows. Return to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 3 minutes to melt the marshmallows. If the marshmallows aren’t toasted, turn on your broiler for 1 minute. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. Run a very sharp knife under warm water when slicing; it helps slice neat pieces.

Smores-Brownie-Pie-10Pie tastes best at room temperature or reheated the day it is made. Any leftover slices should be heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Store pie at room temperature for up to 7 days. Do not freeze.

*If using a boxed mix, you will need to make two pies since there is too much batter for the pie dish.

Hearing Them Loud and Clear

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I wish I spoke her language!  What the hell is she trying to tell me?  Luna my wonder kitty “talks” all the time and for the life of me I can’t understand a single “word” she’s “saying.”

It’s so frustrating.  Before I even get out of bed she visits me in the wee hours of the morning…”Meeeeeow.”   Aggravated, I shush her, pull the covers over my head and try to fall back to sleep.  When I finally rise for the day, there she is sitting quietly on my bed.  She looks at me and again, “Meeeeeow.”  Maybe she’s saying, “good morning” in kitty talk.  Then again, she could be saying, “It’s about time, I’m starved!”

I manage the stairs without stumbling and make a be-line for the coffee pot.  “MEEEEEOOOOOOW!”  Luna looks at me as if to say, “Hey stupid, I’m down here!”   So I check her bowl and it’s full.  “Hmmmmm….??

Usually I enjoy my coffee in the presence of Fabbook or scrolling through the headlines to see what transpired during the night.  Like clockwork, Luna bounds over the lap-top, plops on my chest….”Meeeeeeeooooow.”   Then something magical happens.  The noisy litter critter touches my face with her big ole poly-dactyl paws and touches her nose to mine.  My heart melts and I totally forget about my coffee. (Something that rarely happens)

Now “this” language is not hard to decipher at all.  Luna, my chatter box, is quietly showing her love. Then something catches her attention, and off she bounds to investigate.  The magical moment is gone as quick as it started, but its effect lingers long and warms my heart.   I smile and savor the moments while watching her bat aroud a rather large dust bunny.  (Note to self:  Clean the damn house!)

I wonder how often, during the course of our day, we fail to recognize such acts of love and kindness.  It’s easy to get caught up in our daily activities whether they are at home or at work and let these moments slip by without much thought.  They’re usually small incidents… a smile in passing, a wink of an eye, an Atta-boy of praise, a “have a piece of pizza” (happened to me last night at work…thanks Claudette!) or a “let me get that door for you.”  These random acts of kindness express warmth and friendship that we should never ignore.  They’re here in an instant and gone the next, but their essence can loiter within our hearts if we but grab and hold them for an extra second or two. Today and everyday may our senses be heightened….may we savor the moment and may we give out, as much if not more, than we receive.

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“What’s that, Luna?”  “Meeeeeeooooooowwwwwww…. Purrrrrr….purrrr…purr…”

“Okay, sweetie, I hear you loud and clear.”

Comfort At Its Best

Don’t have much time to write but really wanted to add this recipe.  It looks so delicious.  Definitely gonna make this one on the weekend!

Easy-Pull-Apart-Pizza-Bread-Recipe

Easy Pull Apart Pizza Bread
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  30 mins
Total time:  40 mins
Serves: 8
Easy Pull Apart Pizza Bread recipe that takes hardly no time to throw together.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cans of Pizza Dough or Biscuits
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese (or your favorite cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley flakes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 – 8 oz package of pepperoni (we used the turkey)
  • 1 cup Parmesean cheese
  • Optional: Add a ½ teaspoon of fresh garlic or garlic powder (it’s amazing)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut pizza dough or biscuits into quarters (as shown in the photo)
  3. Cut the pepperoni into smaller pieces
  4. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss so that the oil is spread evenly on each piece of dough
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes (or until the top is brown and the center is thoroughly cooked) TIP: Be sure to check it in the middle before you pull it out. If the middle is still not cooked thoroughly be sure to leave it in another 5 minutes at a time until it’s done.
  6. Flip over on to a plate while it’s still hot.
  7. Serve with a side sauce and enjoy!

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PRO TIP:  This recipe is extremely popular and liked by many when you use the pizza dough in a can.  I’m getting mixed reviews for the biscuits so if this is your first time making it be sure to use the pizza dough!  It’s highly rated!!!

This recipe is compliments of:

 http://sweetandsimpleliving.com

I Don’t Wanna be a Cowboy!

Clara Hearne

Have you seen the Seinfeld episode when Jerry puts on a pair of cowboy boots only to  realize he looks utterly ridiculous?  Kramer of course tried to convince him that he looked spiffy and said “You look like a cowboy…”   Jerry’s quick reply,“I don’t wanna be a Cowboy!”

What was wrong with the boots…absolutely nothing, they just weren’t right for Jerry.  They weren’t a good fit.

I’m sure you remember the question,  “…and what do you want to be when you grow up?”  This question was hurled at all us one time or another during our life, probably during grade school.  My fourth grade teacher posed this question and took it a step further by requiring each student to share their answer. I hated it…didn’t like being put on the spot then and still dislike it today. Nope, flying under the radar is just fine by me.  However, that was not an option and I nervously waited until it was my turn.  In my last blog I wrote about my desire, as a child, to be like Bugs Bunny.   Dare I say it…in front of the whole class?  Would I say it….should I…?  Of course I didn’t.  Far be it from to me to want to become the laughing stock of Clara Hearne Elementary School.  I wisely chose my answer and said, “t…..t……te…..tea…teacher.”   I knew my peers would never chance a laugh and risk stirring Mrs. Parker’s ire, since she herself was a teacher. An angry Mrs. Parker was not a pleasant entity to behold. She was quick to punish her wayward students by banishing them to the dreaded hallway where they would occupy a straight backed chair,  on display for the entire school.

I didn’t really want to be a teacher but it was the safe answer.  Today, I often catch myself continuing this pattern of trying to wear a pair of shoes or don a hat that’s just not right for me.  So many times in my life I’ve chosen the expected rather than the “fit.”   Every time I did I found my true self died a little and I detested the disappointment that always flooded my psyche.   I’ve done it so many time in my life that if I were to type them all I’m sure it would fill the hard drive of this computer.  Lest you think me a mouse all my life, just let me say,  there have been a few times (of which I am proud of) I chose to stay true to myself.  Instead of selecting security I went with my heart and chose what truly fit me as a person.  I’m not going to waste our time plodding over the choices I should have made, rather let me disburse the energy by sharing my moments of triumph.  Sad to say the tally of the list is not that numerous, but the ones that really stick in  mind are listed below for your reading pleasure:

A Year Ago:  Trained and successfully ran a half marathon.  (Albeit slow as a turtle, but I’m still proud)

2009:  Leaving rural NC (only place I’d ever lived) at the age of 44, traveled north 775 miles to live in New Hampshire.

April 2006:  Against all odds, I married Corinne, the love of my life.

2006:  Falling in love with a presumable straight woman (Corinne) and having the guts to tell her.

Mid Life:  Opened the door and peeked out of the “closet.”

First Grade:  Walloping John Howard for pulling my pig-tails.

Still First Grade/Later the Same Day:  Being a brave, strong little tyke, I resisted the urge to cry when banished to my room.  (Can’t remember what I had done to deserve such punishment…maybe  that cry baby John Howard tattled…?) Desperately, I wanted to play with Todd and Keith, my cousins, who were outside in the yard laughing and pointing fingers as my sad sack face stared out the window.  I didn’t cry…nooooo sireee…instead I pressed two lily-white butt cheeks against the cold windowpane, and thought, “that’ll teach’em to laugh!”  (YIKES…never ever told a soul…until now!) (See how special my readers are to me)

Here’s hoping I take the same spunk of a six year old and use it and wear-it-out during the second half of my life.  As Sara Bareilles sings, “…Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out, honestly…I want to see you be brave!”

“I don’t wanna be a Cowboy!”

PS-For your viewing pleasure I’ve added the Seinfeld video below.

Lessons I Learned from Bugs Bunny

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I enjoy writing and sometimes it comes easy; however, more often than not, I find I can’t think of a damn thing put on my blank sheet of paper.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a big talker.  I wish I were, then perhaps I could escape the awkward silence that comes when your brain farts and your mouth shifts into  lock-jaw mode.  I envy those who always know what to say.  It’s never been my gift.  I fear, the lack of mastering the gift of gab, will make me a boring writer; so I desperately look for springboards of information that will launch me into a writing frenzy.   In my quest to discover such data I stumbled upon a website that generates random writing prompts with a click of the mouse.    Excitedly I clicked for my prompt and this is what I got:

“Do cartoons have long term effects on us?  Write something that makes mention of a cartoon character you haven’t thought about in a very long time.”

So here goes:

I loved him as a kid and I still love him to this day.   Who wouldn’t love the one who filled your Saturday mornings with laughter?   Saturdays were a wonderful welcome after a long week of trudging back and forth to school.  Extremely shy, I dreaded almost everything about elementary school.  One Saturday morning, with a turn of a knob, a gray “wascaly wabbit” filled my living room and walked into my life forever.  He was awesome, cute, smart, and funny and could easily do antics I could only accomplish in dreams.  Also he had lots of friends (something I craved) with names like Daffy, Elmer, Porky, Sylvester, Tweety and Sam.   Bugs Bunny was everything I wanted to be minus the gray fur, long ears and cotton tail!   He was my hero and like all good heroes he taught me some valuable lessons.  In fact those lessons are just as relevant in my adult life as they were in my childhood, perhaps even more.  Using the very words of my hero, listed below are 10 lessons I learned from Bugs Bunny:

  •  “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”  —–Wrong turns are like shit:  It happens!  Recognize it, change it and stop feeling guilty about it.
  • “Gee, ain’t I a stinker!” ——Nobody’s perfect…that’s okay…just be yourself.
  • “Eh…What’s up Doc?”-——Ask lots of questions…even if they don’t want you to.  Refuse to stop learning.
  • “Carrots are divine…you get a dozen for a dime.  It’s magical!” —Enjoy the little things for in them you find peace and happiness.
  • “My, I bet, you monsters, lead innnnnnnnteresting lives.”—Diversity Rocks!  Embrace it.
  • “Stop steamin’up my tail! What are ya tryn’ to do….wrinkle it!”—  Don’t tread on the rights anyone….everyone should be treated equally. 
  • “Just a minute partna’you can’t talk to me like that, them’s fightin’ words”   Freedom is worth the fight.
  • “Well, what do you expect in an opera?  A happy ending?”  —There are no guarantees and sometimes you don’t get the happy ending.
  • “Jumpin’without a parachute?  Kind of dangerous, ain’t it?” —-Prepare and have a plan
  • “Don’t take life too seriously.  You’ll never get out alive” Lighten up and have fun!

Don’t underestimate the value of cartoons.  Do yourself a favor…watch a cartoon!  You’ll be surprised what lessons you learn.

(In case you were wondering the site is:  http://corbettharrison.com/writers_notebooks.html#topics )

Waiting is Good

005There’s something in a bowl of soup that just comforts the soul…especially homemade.  I’ve got a bowl beside me as I write.  It’s too hot to handle at the moment so I’m letting it cool.  Its the last bowl from a pot of vegetable beef I made Sunday.  It tastes just as good as it did  the first day I stirred the pot, perhaps even better.  It must be the slow mingling of all the veggies, herb and spices that intensifies the flavor, sort reminiscent of wine…it gets better with time.  However, this is the fifth bowl I’ve had so I have to admit it’s starting to lose some of its appeal.  I guess I’ve just had enough and after this bowl I just don’t want to “play it again Sam.”

Remember that favorite song you played over and over until it stuck in your head and you hummed and sang it so much you wanted to barf?  For some reason I have that kind of relationship with “Jimmy Crack Corn.”  I swear the little ditty can pop out of mouth most any time and I don’t even realize it.  Note to self:  Maybe that’s what all the strange looks are about and not bad hair days, bats in the cave, open fly’s, toilet paper dangling from my shoe or any other kind of “oopsie” you’re oblivious to until you look in the mirror and discover it for yourself.   It never occurred to me that it could have been Jimmy and  his cracked corn all this time!  For some reason this thought makes me feel better.  I don’t like bats and I don’t want them hanging around my cave.  I mean how embarrassing would that be! 

Anyway I guess you can get too much of a good thing whether it’s a bowl of yummy soup or a favorite song.  Sometimes it’s best to do without it for a while so the next time you partake, it will be as good and sweet as the first time.  Think of everything you love to do and how  better it is when you’ve fasted from it for a while.  Instant gratification isn’t what it’s “cracked” up to be.  Good things come to those who wait.