15 May 2018

Is She Just a Lazy Homemaker...or Could Something Else Be the Matter?

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

As long-term readers of my humble effort may recall, one of my life challenges is ADHD.  For the first thirty years of my life, my family, friends, teachers, and I wondered what in the world was wrong with me.  I was intelligent and talented, but I couldn't stay "on track" long enough to go beyond the basics in any field of endeavor.

Even my own dear grandmother once said I was lazy.  When she later apologized, Grandma said that she knew I wasn't lazy, but something was wrong and she could only describe it with that word.  Grandma knew, as did I, that I kept busy all day, day after day, but that I frequently lacked any real accomplishment.  

Fast-forward several years to my college days:  While in a child development class centered on middle childhood, I learned about ADHD.  I thought, "That sounds just like me when I was a little girl!"  I was working with a psychologist at the time and shared my thoughts with him.  A proper diagnosis and treatment with cognitive-behavioral techniques revolutionized my life.  

As part of my continuing self-care, I read about ADHD and found this article on the wonderful TotallyADD.com website that I thought might be helpful.  You see, ADHD is frequently missed in women because our symptoms can subtly differ from those of men.  

While it is true that some women are simply lazy, I believe that many women who are so labeled are, in fact, suffering from one or more disorders, commonly among them ADHD.

I hope that my little woman-to-woman ideas have helped.

Agape always,

06 May 2018

May's Fascinating Days

1 May 1851 by Winterhalter - Public Domain via Wikipedia
Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joy with others!

I found it personally significant that the flower for May--Lily of the Valley, depicted in the painting, above--symbolizes "the return of happiness" per our friends at the Wikipedia.

I am catching up on my non-fiction reading this month, continuing to read about the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and my new fiction reading is a classic:  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Some of my Fascinating Days have already passed (no matter how organized one might be, moving house is challenging!), I have several more days ahead this month:

1:  Saint Joseph's Day - Thank a hardworking person of my acquaintance (I used to thank my husband for all his hard work, so that's an option, too.)
4:  Star Wars Day
5:  Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby
9:  Significant Others' Birthday Day -  Several years ago, it dawned on me that quite a few of my significant others had been born on May 9.  Isn't that funny?  So, I decided to make my own special day in the guys' honor.
12: Train Day
13: Mothers' Day
18: Have a Pizza Party!
23:  Turtle Day - Take some time to learn about these fascinating creatures!
24:  Tiara Day - Wear one to show that you are the queen of your home!
30:  Traditional Memorial Day - Choose a way to memorialize fallen heroes.  The Memorial Day Foundation website (www.memorialdayfoundation.org) shares many possibilities.

Have a fascinating May!

Agape always,


23 April 2018

Just a Coincidence or Something More?

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with others.

As frequent gentlelady readers of this humble effort may have inferred, I am relocating my household soon.  To that end, for the past several months I have been culling my belongings as my health and free time have allowed.  Several items are on my personal "lost items" list due to the disorganization of my last move, which occurred in haste because of threats to my family's safety.  

One of those items was my first Bible, a gift from my maternal grandparents.  For obvious reasons, this Bible is precious to me and its possible loss pained me.  I am happy to report that just a few minutes ago, I opened a box and there it was.  Deo Gratias!

I thumbed through the Bible, noting  the gift page in my precious grandmother's handwriting and reviewing the various passages I had underlined and annotated.  One of those passages stood out as a real coincidence. 

James 1:17 was highlighted:  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."  

The annotation made for an interesting coincidence, however:  "_______ to me 4/23/01."  The name in the blank is the name of the former suitor with whom I was involved at the time (not Braveheart), and seventeen years ago tonight, he said that I was his good and perfect gift from God.  We did not marry because it turned out that our goals in life were very different, but the gentleman will always be very special to me.

Of all the days of the year for me to find my Bible!  Reading the verse and the annotation gladdened my heart and helped me to remember God's love and providence.

Agape always,

20 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking 2~Marinated Mushrooms

Courtesy of Microsoft

Original Marinated Mushrooms

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup (brand name) corn oil
½ cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ Tablespoon dried basil leaves
A dash of pepper

Mix together all ingredients.  Chill several hours.  Makes about 5 cups.

Comments:  Mushrooms were a more exotic food in the days when the cookbook was published than they are today; therefore, I believe that this dish would have had more "wow" factor than it does today.  The parsley-basil-dry mustard combination doesn't thrill me, but there again, using herbs and dry mustard would have been considered elegant and a tad edgy at the time.

Cynthia’s Earth Day Marinated Mushrooms

One pound fresh Colusa county white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup olive oil, preferably pressed in Calaveras county 
(Yes, the Calaveras county of frog jump fame.)
½ cup rice vinegar, fermented in Sacramento, California
Two toes garlic, preferably grown in beautiful downtown Gilroy, California
Three Tablespoons fresh, homegrown cilantro, chopped roughly
One teaspoon cumin

Method:  Mix together all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.  Chill overnight and until lunch, probably about eighteen hours.  Since I am sharing this dish at an Earth Day picnic on Sunday afternoon, I will transfer to a serving bowl and nest the serving bowl in a larger bowl full of ice to keep the mushrooms at a safe temperature.   

Comments:  Choosing locally grown ingredients not only makes whatever we cook more healthful because the ingredients are fresher, it helps the environment by cutting down on pollution and helps local farmers to sell their wares at competitive prices.  The bite of the vinegar, combined with the smoky cumin, the soapy cilantro, and the pungent garlic will complement the sweetness of the mushrooms.


14 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking--Apricot Nut Bread

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

One of my hobbies is collecting and cooking from vintage cookbooks, and I have amassed about fifty or so over the years.

I find it somewhat humorous that the cookbook from which I learned to cook--Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1969 edition--is now considered vintage.  The feeling is akin to hearing a pop song from one's teen years playing on the "oldie" or "classic rock" station.  

But I digress.

This past week, as I continued culling and reorganizing my belongings, I found one of my smaller collection pieces tucked into a box of general books.  Simply...Good Cooking: 101 Recipes to Enjoy and Share was part of a sub-genre of vintage cookbooks published by product companies, which heavily featured the foods manufactured by the company in the recipes.  The booklet lacks a copyright date, but my guess would be late 1950s/early 1960s.  Fair use is claimed as the booklet has been out of print for at least fifty years and because the recipe is being used as instruction and critique.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share one recipe each Friday, one from each section of the cookbook, along with my update of and commentary about the recipe.  I hope that you enjoy my humble effort and that my "little woman-to-woman ideas" help you.

Agape always,

The Original Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups unsifted white flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (brand name) margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (brand name) light corn syrup
1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and lightly flour 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.  Pour water over apricots and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, stir margarine, beat in sugar, eggs and corn syrup until smooth and well blended.  Mix in apricot mixture and nuts.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients.  Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. oven about 1 1/4 hours or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Serve with jam or jelly, if desired.  Makes 1 loaf.

Cynthia's Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup hot water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder, preferably without aluminum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 cup chopped nuts

Method:  Rehydrate apricots in hot water for fifteen minutes; drain off excess liquid.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with cooking spray or grease and flour the loaf pan.  Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar, whipping until fluffy.  Combine the eggs and apple sauce into the butter and sugar mixture.  Stir in the dry ingredients by the half cup until fully incorporated.  Add the chopped nuts.  Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  I don't perceive that the bread needs a topping, but softened cream cheese or butter could be used.  

Comments:  I updated the ingredients to improve the overall nutrition of the bread without compromising the taste and texture.  Whole wheat flour, no-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, butter, and apple sauce: these ingredients positively contribute to health for most people.  I felt that the sugar could be cut by a third without negatively impacting the sweetness of the bread and that the apple sauce would be an improvement over the corn syrup.