Friday, December 15, 2006

My world famous cranberry pie!

I know, I'm SUCH a slacker lately. I've been meaning to post this ever since Thanksgiving.

Here is the pie I made for dessert on turkey-day. It is cranberry walnut and it was WELL received and very, very rich. I loved every bite. My mother kept having small pieces for breakfast. Hmm, I seem to remember her telling me that cakes and pies weren't good breakfast foods...

Sneaky isn't she??


2 bgs cranberries
white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
lime juice
1 orange
pecans (walnuts - whatever you like, this is optional)

In a crockpot, put in both bags of cranberries and a dash of lime juice.
When they begin to soften, add brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and a dash of lemon juice. You have to let this cook a while before you begin tasting. It is up to you to decide how sweet or tart you want this - thats why I don't have an exact amount of some ingredients.
Add in some orange zest then shred some orange slices (don't add a cut slice, you don't want any pith in there)
Keep tasting it then adding whatever you want to adjust the flavor to your liking.
Refridgerate overnight. (this will make the filling taste SO much better)

Mix up a two crust batch of pie crust.
Put the bottom crust in a pie dish
Sprinkle nuts on the bottom of the pie crust
Add cranberry filling
Put on top crust (make sure you have vent holes if you aren't going to do a lattice top.
Bake at 400 for 40 minutes (or however long you would normally cook a fruit pie)

Serve with real whipped cream (cuts the tart flavor) or ice cream.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Top 10 Reasons I Know It's The Holiday Season...

Number 10 - I went to the grocery store and was run over by a plastic car-shaped shopping cart.

Well, I wasn't run over, I was run into though and it hurt! I went to the grocery store this morning before 9am and it was packed. Everyone had that harried, gotta-get-the-grocery look and you took your own life into your hands just trying to get out of an aisle and into the stream of traffic.

It was ugly.

I was trying to exit the salad dressing / vinegar / bbq sauce aisle and this woman came around the corner, looking completely away from me and plowed her bright blue car-shaped cart into my normal, big girl cart. I was the recipient of an accusatory glare because I got in HER way, ignoring the fact that I wasn't even moving at the time, and she takes off with her kids packed into the cart like sardines, muttering something about olives.

Yup, its the season the be jolly alright. Next time I go to the store I think I'll arm myself with a German Shepard just to make my way through the crowds.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Falling off the bandwagon!

Ya know, this whole losing weight thing just sucks. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. All of my life I've had problems with my weight and to be honest, I'm just plain tired of fighting it anymore.

Maybe, just maybe, I was meant to be fat!

What a concept. Learning to love yourself irregardless of what you look like. Wow, can society handle it?

Probably not. Every minute of every day it is pounded into our heads that thinner is better, chins should not sag, gray hair should be destroyed and, heaven forbid, we enjoy a nice pastry from time to time.

What's up with that?

From a psychological standpoint, this is so not good. Those who tell you that you should lose weight and look like this or whatever - obviously have issues concerning how their own bodies look and it's time they keep their issues to themselves. If I had a dollar for everytime someone had said to me, 'You know, you have such a pretty face. Just imagine how beautiful you'd be if you lost some weight.'

So, I'm not beautiful now because I don't conform to what the fashion magazines consider sexy? Do we take into account that the models in the photos are often ill, on drugs, or don't eat just to remain thin? Have you ever seen the airbrushing that goes on with these photos?

We could all look that good if we had a team of people painting our faces, doing our hair and picking out our clothing. Of course we'd need another group of people to make sure the lighting is correct, the shadows are placed just so and pulling and tucking our clothing constantly. Heaven forbid we be caught with our sweater stuck in a fat roll or something. If we would ever admit to having cellulite, maybe they just wouldn't like us anymore.

Who cares? As a writer I spend most of my time in sweatpants, tshirts and a sweater. Every now and then I even don socks. I run out for coffee in my slippers (and I'm not talking about a drive through here) and I've been known to hit a drive through in my pajamas. Even though I dress like a hermit I've yet to lose friends over it. I might get some strange looks but I couldn't care less about that. People need something to talk about, it might as well be me.

So ladies and gentlemen, it's time to stage a revolt against our cultures ridiculous ideas of beauty. Being beautiful has nothing to do with your weight or your hair color or your clothing - it comes from your actions and how you treat those around you. If the biggest thing on your body is your heart, you're headed in the right direction.

So don your slippers and hit the market - you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm not dead...yet!

Pink's new CD entitled I'M NOT DEAD YET is my latest obsession. I've always been a big fan of Pink because she is an intelligent woman and she doesn't sing empty, bubbleheaded pop like most of the singers today. She has a message and it is a positive one for teens and that is yet another reason to like her. I've had this CD in my car stereo for the past three weeks and I don't feel any inclination to remove it yet.

So run out and buy this CD.

In other news, I'm preparing for my final trip to New Orleans for 2006. I'll be speaking at a writer's group meeting in mid-September then I have to race back to Ohio and write! Boy do I have some deadlines now. I swear I've lost my mind. Oh wait, in order to lose it I'd have to have one in the first place wouldn't I?


And finally...

Now I don't normally do this, recommend books, but a friend has a new book coming out September 12th and I just LOVED it. A book really has to rock my socks to get and keep my attention. I'm afraid that I've become ADD where fiction is concerned - if you don't get and keep my attention in the first five pages, I will put that book down and not pick it up again.

But I didn't feel this way about GETAWAY GIRL by Michele Hauf. I loved this book. I have SUCH a passion for fast cars (which is probably why I had 2 speeding tickets before I'd had my liscense for six months ) that this book caught me. Below is a blurb for the book and a link to the cover and excerpt.

Happy Reading - JC

Jamie MacAlister has a need for speed. Now she's making a break from the illegal racing circuit to run a professional driving service. That's right...Jamie is a getaway girl.

Her first assignment: help rescue a kidnapped woman. Suddenly, though, Jamie's taking a wild ride through the streets of Paris with bad guys in hot pursuit. To further complicate things, her own people‹‹the good guys?‹‹have just double-crossed her. What's the world coming to when the very sexy Sacha Vital, perhaps the baddest of all bad guys, might be the only one she can trust?

Maybe fate will decide, because Jamie's not about to put on the brakes for anyone.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sponsored Weddings

I caught a small blip on the morning news about 'sponsored' weddings becoming all the rage. Rather than planning a wedding and inviting friends and family to share your special day, couples are now shopping for SPONSORS to help pay for the shindig. read that right.

This questionable practice became popular thanks to Star Jones when she married that Reynolds guy. The entire wedding was almost paid for (something like a quarter of a million) by sponsors like Mastercard. So when the blushing bride and proud groom enjoyed their wedding, their guests were bombarded with advertising. I personally think that Mastercard should have just plastered their logo over her cleavage, that would've given them much more exposure.

So sound off - what do you think of sponsored weddings??

Monday, May 01, 2006

Messages....good or bad?

I have a Monday morning routine that I can set a clock by. The television comes on at 9am and I watch Regis, Dr. Phil and the first part of The View while I do laundry and household chores. This morning I noticed the number of diet ads in those 2.5 hours were astounding.

Lose weight...
Get thin...
Eat right...
You can only lose weight with THIS product...
Your life will be So Much Better if you were thin...

Of course these commercials were shown two or three at a time along with fried chicken and chocolate ice cream spots.

What is up with this?

I've always had issues with diet commercials especially because they usually target susceptible people with the hints that their lives will be better if only they buy a product that doesn't work. Yes, I am a woman of EPIC proportions and yes, I need to lose weight - but I'm really tired of being told that until I comply with society's standards of looks that I will never be happy or complete.

Bullshit. (Pardon my French)

What kind of message does this send to children?

Yes, 67% of American's are overweight but we live in a society that does not lend itself to eating properly. We tell kids to eat right and exercise but in the next breath the cable channels Nick and the Cartoon Channel are selling them Spongebob snack crackers and Scooby Doo cereal. A McDonald's 'Value Meal' has doubled in size in the last ten years and let's face it - who really needs a VAT of soda?

I'm not sure who's more screwed up, the money grubbing rip off artists who sell capsules of whale urine to 'lose significant amounts of weight' or the way we adults are running around trying to lose weight and 'conform'. (Or have the 'right' car or send the kids to the 'right school' or have the 'right' job) In the media we are bombarded by impossible standards of beauty that even supermodels cannot achieve without airbrushing.

How is this, 'standard'?

I learned a long time ago that what is on the outside fades so quickly and it is your character that will keep you going. So when are we going to turn our backs on these impossible standards and ridiculous claims from diet drug pushers and embrace who we are on the inside?

(Can you tell I'm a little cranky today? )

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lessons from the road...

If you've ever read my online journal or know anythng about it, you know that I spend a lot of time on the road. I've never had the freedom to travel and now that I do, it is such a heady experience for me. To load up my car, pack up my dog, select some tunes and hit the highway is one of my favorite things in life.

In the past year I've probably put about 25k miles on my car and in that time, I have learned a great many tidbits of wisdom that I am about to pass onto you.

Bathrooms - Being the water drinker that I am, I seem to need a bathroom every 2 - 3 hours while on the road. I've developed a strategy to save both time and energy. First, avoid the roadside rests unless it is an emergency. I have had the strangest experiences at various roadside rests and the only time I ever use them is if I have to take a nap.

Also note that I travel with my dog and she won't let anyone get within 10 feet of the car without causing a rucus.

The best and safest way to deal with potty breaks is to find a travel plaza such as Pilot, Flying J, Travel America or something like that. You can combine filling your tank with stretching your legs and taking the much needed break. Failing to find a travel plaza, I personally recommend a BP station - they have the cleanest bathrooms.

Krispy Kreme - If you should pass a KK, just give in gracefully and stop for a snack. If not you will dream about them for the next five hundred miles until you break down and purchase a substandard donut product. Nothing is worse than a substandard donut at 2am.

Food on the road - I usually pack snacks such as nuts, crackers, cheese, bottled water and granola bars. Yes, I try to be healthy on the road so that I can justify buying those fabulous Hostess Ding Dongs in Podunk, Iowa.

That said - I do eat fast food on the road, I'm just picky about it. No Wendy's, McDonalds or Burger King for me - I have those at home so I look for fast food that I don't have easy access to. I love Sonic, Hardees, Whataburger (OH YES, the ultimate burger) Quizno's and of course - Popeye's Chicken. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. The closest Popeye's to me is about 30 miles away - I just might have to make that drive after all. :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

David Cassidy

About this time last year I made the momentous decision to cut off my hair. I went from a shoulder length bob to hair that was less than 1/2 long all over my head.

Oh, and I quit coloring my hair and went salt and pepper.

I absolutely loved it. Short and sassy, I could roll out of bed and look good. I kept my hair this way until early December when I was in Borders and the salestoad called me Sir. Yes, he thought I was a man. Now granted, I was wearing a dark green jacket that is similar to an outwoods-person style and for a chubby girl, I don't have a big chest - but I didn't think I looked like a man for crying out loud!

Within a week or to I decided to grow my hair out and continue coloring it. This decision wasn't based on this one incident, several times over the year I'd been named as my best friend's MOTHER and while he thought that was amusing, I was not smiling.

So my hair has been growing out for several months now and last week I looked in the mirror and saw David Cassidy. Yes, I now have David Cassidy, 1970's, big fluffy hair.

(breaking out into "I think I love you...")

Scary isn't it? Anyone who has suffered the pains of growing out hair knows exactly what I mean. It reaches that annoying length that its too short to pull back and too long to ignore. I'm constantly shoving it out of my eyes and, in short, its just tedious. What a girl goes through to have good hair. At this point I'm ready to shave it off and buy some wigs, it makes sense to me darn it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Of All The Things I've Loved And Lost...

I miss my mind the most.

I have never had an issue with getting older. Truth Time - this is the truth. From the time I was about 25 I longed to turn forty. In my mind, forty was a time of great wisdom. The moment of my birthday a giant wallop of wisdom would come down from the heavens above and WHAM - I would know everything there is to know about anything. I'd be settled in life and know what I wanted to accomplish. I would care less about what people thought of me and would be more concerned with substance than style. I would give more time to worthy efforts than to coloring my hair and worrying about how my thighs look in a particular pair of pants. I'd look at people's hearts rather than their faces and I'd see everyone for who they really were and not what they wished to portray.

In short, I would rule the universe.

Guess what - I turned forty in September of 05 and I was almost right! I guess, for the first time in my life, I feel like a real grown up. Before now I always had this sneaky little voice mumbling that I was still a kid because my lifestyle has been, unconventional. Well, YEAH - doesn't the world have enough conventional people? Don't we need more color and spice??? Wearing purple is not just fashionable, it is a lifestyle people - write that down!

One thing I've noticed that more and more, people to come to me for advice - though I really don't think this is an age issue rather than a "I've been around the block" issue. My life has been very unconventional and I've worked in almost every industry on the planet. I've hung with Hollywood stars and my best friends, I've traveled, I've loved, I've lost, I've cried and laughed harder than I can even remember.

So yes, I do have some knowledge about life.

I've finally reached a point where I don't care as much about what people think of me and I care so little about fashion that it isn't funny. My outfit du jour is usually whatever is clean and stretchy. I am a good person, I try to help others, I have few vices (other than younger men and good chocolate LOL!) and I try to live hard and well. When I die, I want to hit the pearly gates with a martini in one hand and my lipstick smeared screaming, "WOO HOO, what a RIDE, BABY!)

And I think I'm well on my way.

That said - no one warned me about the wandering brain. I've always been a little absentminded. I chalk this up to being a writer. Let's face it, it can be difficult to concentrate when you have people in your head having full conversations. Over the years I've learned to fall in love with my mind and how it works. I might be cooking lunch and my brain is already drafting a letter to my publisher or compiling a grocery list. I am the ultimate multi-tasker.

That is why my brain wanders, and I'm sticking to this story.

A few months ago I was reading to my darling boy, Jaxson. I can't remember the book we were reading but the character was parachuting and I pointed to the parachute and told Jaxson it was an umbrella.


Jaxson, who had just turned four at the time, corrected me and thought I was kidding. (Oh if we could fool everyone this easily) In the months between the first memorable incident and now, it happens at least once a day. Today I was thinking about cleaning the over and called it a dryer. I guess I can take comfort in the fact that there are similiarities, they both have doors and get hot - so there you go. If I start calling the microwave the can opener, I might be in trouble.

I'm okay with my little 'precious moments' as I lovingly call them. In fact, they actually amuse me sometimes. Seeing that My Man has the same issue and he's only 25, I figure I'm in good company at least. We've already told the family if I start calling him Fred and he calls me Mona, they might want to enlist some help.

In general turning 40 has been fabulous. I do feel better emotionally than I ever have in my life. I do know where I'm going and how to get there, and isn't that the fun part - the journey? So here I am in my own boat of life, chugging along the rivers and enjoying the scenery. So I say to everyone, Come on in, the water is fine and I'm loving it.

That said, I really wish I'd known that the brain can only hold so much wisdom that the arrival of 40 would push a few things out the other side. So what if I call a crayon a pen, or if I put my laundry in the oven. Who cares? Its not like I use the oven for anything else anyway.

Now, what's your name again?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Puppy Diaries, Part III or ALRIGHT ALREADY....

Yes, I get it - I know....I've been remiss in keeping my blog up to date. My only excuse is I just don't like this interface - it makes me crazy. I'm not really sure why, I just like my online journal on my website better. That said - I've resurected that journal but I will keep posting here. I'm thinking I need to change the name of this blog to RANTS or something. :)

Here is a new picture of Bella. I'm thinking about changing her name to Satan's Bell or something like that. I returned home from Louisiana only 10 days ago and in that time, the tally is, Bella 7 and JC 0.

So what do I mean by that? So far in ten days she has devoured two pairs of shoes, about a million cotton balls (It really is funny to catch her in the act with a little white cotton ball beard), a hair barette, a hair bandeau, a small lotion bottle, (luckily it was empty) two pillowcases (which I didn't figure out until AFTER I was in bed) and tonight she destroyed a sock.

I'm going broke just from replacing what she destroys.

Other than that she's just fine...