Monday, January 6, 2014

Cat Litter Reviews, as well as an Update

Happy New Year from Geekhaven!

I ended up with 4 different types of scoopable cat litter to fill my boxes.  I know, some of you are going to say it's not good to change litter types, but when you have to have others get stuff for you, you take what you get and at least in my case, are grateful.

Anyway, I'm going to take this opportunity to update my ancient blog and give you a brief review of the various litters. I'll rank them worst to best, for whatever that's worth.  I was going to include links, but I changed my mind because I don't feel like sending business to huge corporations, even if I do like their products.

4.  Scoop Away.

    If you have any sort of breathing or sinus issues, do NOT buy this litter!!!
I am completely serious.  Pouring it into the cat box raised a cloud of dust that
actually obscured the wall behind the box.  And when I cleaned the box out
today, each scoop raised a huge cloud of dust and I'm still feeling the effects,
2 hours later.  I found the smell rather cloying.  The lumps hold together well, though.    

3.  A brand name I can't remember from Dollar General (?)

    This was picked up from a Dollar Store, though I'm not sure which one.  Probably
Dollar General, since I had this brand when I lived in Bloomington, and I'm almost sure
it was purchased there.  Less dust than Scoop Away, though still a decent amount.  It
wasn't so bad when mixed with our #2 litter.  It was more expensive than #2, and there
were only 20 lbs. in the box, rather than 27.

2.  Special Kitty (You get it at Wal-Mart)

    This is the brand I normally prefer.  My former landlady didn't like it because
she said the clumps were too hard, which totally boggled my mind, as I thought
that was the whole point of good cat litter.  The scent isn't too strong, and it doesn't
create much dust.  Certainly not compared to #3 and #4.

1.  Arm & Hammer

    I have to say, I like this best.  Little dust, nice clumping, and a mild scent.  I
mixed it with the Special Kitty and it works marvelously.  The price is why I can't use it
completely, or even primarily.  Price is the main factor in all my purchases, especially
since I want to buy at least marginally good stuff for the cats.  Mixing 2 or 3 parts Special Kitty
to 1 part Arm & Hammer makes a very good filling for cat boxes.

I filled them all yesterday, and cleaned them out today to determine how things worked.  The box least used was the one filled with Scoop Away.  Even Orion digging in the box raised clouds of dust.  The most "popular" was the one filled with Arm & Hammer and Special Kitty.

Good news!  Since I last posted, I left the increasingly unpleasant living environment in the trailer, and am now living in a charming 1950's ranch in Freeport, IL I've named Geekhaven.  While it isn't what you'd call architecturally arresting, it has enough room for the Fuzzballs and I, along with assorted Denizens.  My friend Gemma bought the house and invited me to live here with her so I'd always have a safe home for the rest of my life, which is, without a doubt the most wonderful thing anyone has ever done for me.  I can't possibly tell you how grateful I am to her and her family for helping me.

But the house can be decorated, and it will be as things progress.  I have a wish list, of course.  *laughs*  Anyway, since I can have things delivered to my home now, I found a marvelous website called  The prices are comparable to WallyWorld, they have excellent delivery, and a wide variety of brands, including ones I can afford!  I've been feeding them just Purina One Urinary Tract dry food because of Orion's issues, but they're not doing well on just that, so I am adding Iams to the mix.  They've had it before, and did well on it, though I don't feed as much gooshy as my FL* did.   (FL = Former Landlady)

Anyway, is marvelous.  I'd forgotten to add something to my order, and they'd already sent it out, though I'd only ordered an hour earlier.  So they sent it in a separate order, and I didn't have to pay shipping!  Also, there was a rip in my bag of Iams, so I called to see if it was safe to feed the Fuzzballs anyway.  They were really nice about that as well, and assured me it should be fine.

I'm hoping I'll start updating more often, especially when I start gardening this spring.  I've already ordered some seed catalogs, and I'm dreaming of potatoes and lettuce and Jerusalem artichokes.   It's nice to dream of spring planting when it's -35F with the windchill.  (and it isn't very windy)  So I'm making potato soup tonight, and maybe a loaf of bread if my lungs clear out soon.   I don't have a 'proper' recipe for potato soup, I pretty much make it up as I go, but here is how I've done it this time.

1 5-lb bag of potatoes (After I cut out the sprouts and icky bits and grungy peels, probably 4lbs)
2 or 3 yellow onions
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 pkg bacon
paprika, salt, pepper
Better than Bouillon Chicken Soup Base
frozen corn

I didn't completely peel the potatoes, because the peel is full of nutrition, I just got rid
of the icky bits, and cut the potatoes into chunks.  I boiled them with some kosher salt and
a spoonful of soup base.  Meanwhile the bacon cooks, then the onions are cooked down till they're almost caramelized in some of the drippings, and the garlic added after the onions are 2/3rds cooked.  Rub the thyme between your fingers and let it cook a moment in the hot fat before adding the contents of your pan to the potatoes. Throw a handful or 2 of frozen corn into the pot with the potatoes. Leave as much or as little of the potato water in as you want.  I prefer lots of milk in mine.  Let it all simmer together for a while, then add crumbled bacon and salt and pepper

before serving if you want.  The way I do it is I add some of the bacon with the onions, then save
some crisp crumbly bits to let people add on their own, along with grated cheese, preferably sharp
white cheddar.  It's best the next day, and with really rich milk.  If I could afford it, I'd probably make it with just half & half.  I sometimes add a red bell pepper with the onions, but they're expensive in the winter.  It's a cheap soup if you have most of the stuff on hand, the milk and the bacon being the most expensive bits.  I also have some green onions to add this time.

Like all soups, it's better the next day.

In closing, just let me say that I really am hoping to start updating more often.  I also may be doing some editing/proofreading of a friend's blog, and helping an author friend with some beta stuff.  I'm still sick, and still crippled, and still exhausted, but compared to how I was where I lived before, I'm vibrant and active. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


I have a love/hate relationship with horror. I'm totally phobic about zombies, something that my sister says is good, since it's best to be phobic about something you'll never encounter. If I was sure I'd never encounter them, I wouldn't be phobic about them, now would I?

My imagination is chronically over-active, so any horror is multiplied and made worse in my imagination after the fact. Despite that, I still love well-done horror. Right now I'm devouring books by Jonathan Maberry. The man is -good-. He doesn't waste words, and can scare you and fascinate you at the same time. So far I only own two of his books, and a couple of short stories, but they're good enough for me to get past how badly they frighten me. Find him. Read him. Give yourself a Halloween treat.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I haven't touched this blog for almost a year now. Not due to lack of interest so much as inability to be interested in much of anything. I was in the process of moving, which kept me occupied for
six weeks after my last post, then on the day of the move my now former neighbours did what they had been threatening to do since they had moved in: they killed my cat Ysaeran. Then they took his body, threw it into the dumpster my landlord had placed in the yard, and covered him with bags and garbage, I'm assuming in the hopes that I wouldn't find him and would just leave.

I did get moved, but I haven't been able to write much of anything since. I'm hoping to change that, and one of the little steps I'm making is taking up the blog again. In the past year I've moved to a wonderful room with kitchen and bath privileges, been helping my landlady foster some cats, was awarded disability, so I can pay for my snug room, started a garden, and then fractured my fibula and damaged my MCL. We also lost one of our foster cats, Troy, to FeLV. Despite it being quite contagious, so far no one else has developed it, and I'm praying that they don't.

Hopefully soon I'll get back into the water and get my knee into better shape, and with that will be devouring fresh garden produce, and hopefully preserving some of it. If anyone has any actual questions, or ideas for posts, feel free to comment on them.

What I just finished reading:

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. Yes, I pre-ordered it from Amazon, but not for the kindle, since the hardcover was in fact cheaper. I read it all in about 4 hours, but I want to read it over again before I review it.

My First Fan-Fic

This is the first bit of fan-fic I've ever written. It's based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Children of Hurin. It's not meant to explain anything, just to evoke how the end of it make me feel, and how I think she felt. I hope you enjoy it.

Cabed Naeramarth

"He is dead. He is dead." Her heart pounded in time with the knowledge.
She ached as she ran, but she ignored it, as she ignored the kicking of her
unborn child, and the sobs that tore through the gasps for air. Long ago she had
run, all unknowing, her mind clouded by a spell, and again she ran, trying to
outrun the undoing of the spell, and the ruin that had resulted.

She could not hear the song of the river Taeglin. Indeed, she could hear nothing
but cries for her to end the abomination that her life had become. The child in
her womb seemed to be crying out to her as well, begging to be spared the light
of day, to die safe and unknown within its mother's body.

Niniel. No, not Niniel, not wife. But she remembered the feel of his body against
hers, his lips on hers, the passion they had shared as husband and wife. The
twin curses had done their work well, for despite knowing the truth, she still
longed for the man she loved passionately, husband, not brother, lying dead behind
her. Turin, not Turambar, as she was Nienor, not Niniel.

Cabed-en-Aras seemed to beckon her. She tried to cast away the remembrance of
being Niniel, wife of Turambar, to remember she was Nienor, sister of Turin.

"Farewell twice beloved! Water! Take now Nienor, daughter of Hurin, Mourning
daughter of Morwen, mourning mother. Take me and bear me to the Sea!"

Niniel leapt.

More reading options:

I love, love my kindle. I still love books, but my kindle is wonderful! It's convenient, easy to read, I can bring along dozens of books, and there are so many fantastic books in the public domain that I really haven't spent much on books.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Zucchini Manifesto

This all started when someone on Threshold asked about zucchini bread, and what else one can do with a huge glut of the veggie/fruit/big green thing..  So I started digging through my cookbooks, and my online files of recipes, to see what I could find. 

First off, zucchini have a LOT of water.  So when you're grating them for a recipe, then you really should try to drain off as much as possible.  You can then use this liquid in the recipe, if it calls for water, or to help beat the eggs, or even just save it for making soup.    I don't really think you need to salt it and let it drain for other recipes, unless you really, really want it salty and limp. 

The easiest thing to do is slice it thinly, brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with some garlic salt, and grill till brown and slightly crispy.   But there are of course other things you can do with it.  And, as always, here is a link to even more stuff!

Zucchini Frittata

8 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 3 pounds)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 small  finely chopped onion
1 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
6 whole eggs
2 T milk
1/2 t crumbled oregano
1/2 t crumbled dried basil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
dash of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Squeeze as much liquid out of the shredded zucchini as possible.

Heat the oil and butter in a large, oven-proof skillet (preferably non-stick),
and saute the onion and garlic for around 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and
cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the zucchini is just
tender. If any liquid collects in the pan, pour it off.

In a medium bowl, beat together egg whites, eggs, milk, oregano,
basil, salt, pepper, hot sauce or cayenne and 2 TBSP of the Parmesan
cheese. Add this to the zucchini mixture in the skillet and cook
everything together, stirring often, until the eggs begin to set.

Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining Parmesan cheese and place
the pan under the broiler or in a 500 degree oven and cook just
until the top is lightly browned.

(This only takes a very few minutes, so watch carefully).

Let the frittata stand for a few minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.

This next one uses zucchini, and other veggies.

Veggie Frittata


1 large zucchini, grated
2 carrots, washed, peeled and grated
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 C Self-Raising flour
1 C grated low fat cheese
5 eggs
1/2 C olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C grated cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place grated and chopped vegetables into a large basin
together with flour and 2/3 cup grated cheese.
(Reserve 1/3 cup for top.)

Beat eggs until frothy with olive oil and add to bowl.
Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Spread mixture over bottom of an oven proof dish,
sprinkle reserved cheese on top, and bake in a
preheated 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes.

This fritatta is delicious served hot and accompanied by salad,
or cold with hot vegetables for a snack meal.

These are similar to a frittata, but only need a stovetop, as they're sort of a savoury veggie pancake.


2 or 3 C grated zucchini (about 2 pounds)
1 C flour or bisquick
2 t baking powder
2 eggs, beaten (you can use some of the liquid from the zucchini to help beat the eggs)
1/2 t thyme
Butter or oil for frying
Optional: pepper, minced onions, minced garlic, garlic salt

Mix together the baking powder and the flour or bisquick. Mix that with the grated zucchini. Beat the eggs, then add the thyme, garlic salt, pepper, dried minced onion, or what have you.

Blend till it's a nice thick pancake batter, and drop by spoonfuls onto a frying pan in which you've made hot the butter or olive oil. You'll want the fritatten about 3 inches wide. Cook as you would any pancakes. Wait for bubbles, then flip, and brown the other side.

Now, onto zucchini bread. I have savoury and sweet.

Basic zucchini bread

2-1/2 C sugar (white, brown, or mixture)
3 eggs
3 C flour
3 T vanilla
1 C oil
2 C zucchini, grated
1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
4 t cinnamon
Optional - Nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc, about a cup

Grate and drain the zucchini. Mix together the wet ingredients, and the
dry in a separate bowl, mixing them well. Add the dry ingredients to
the wet ingredients, then the optional nuts or chocolate chips, or what-have-you.

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans, bake at 350 for an hour

Savoury Zucchini Bread

1 C chopped onions
1/4 C butter
2 1/2 C Bisquick
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T thyme
3 eggs
1/4 C milk
1 C grated cheese
1-1/2 to 2 C shredded zucchini

Saute onions and zucchini in butter. Cool a little and then add remaining ingredients.  Pour into a greased 8x8-in. baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Today's film pick:  Bride and Prejudice -  Bollywood meets Hollywood in this fantastic adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceGurinder Chadha, who is one of my favourite directors, did a wonderful job of combining genres to make it modern and as believable as any musical can be.  Naveen Andrews, who I've had a crush on since long before Lost, is one of the stars.   If you like musicals, comedy, and romance, I'm sure you'll love Bride and Prejudice.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm sick today.  It's a chronic intestinal thing that is the main reason I'm applying for disability.  I can't work when I never know when I'll be stuck at home, and one really can't work from the restroom in most offices.  My Aunt Suzi sent me some money, so I was able to cover another couple of bills and put gas in my car. 

Yesterday, Haley and I spent three hours mucking out the little closet under the stairs in the living room.  Yes, it was THAT packed to the gills.  I gave away a bunch of stuff to her, and even more was left on the curb.  We were both sweaty and bedraggled when we were done, and I treated us both to McDonald's.  Which isn't the source of my current illness, but it probably didn't help. 

I also discovered that Malachi, in a fit of temper over what, I do not know, did something unspeakable on my basket of clean laundry.  So as soon as I can get more than a few steps from a bathroom, I'm going to have to drag my weary self to the laundromat on this humid, sticky, cloudy day, and wash things up before the smell settles into my only summer clothing.  Blech indeed.

I was intending this to be a post on zucchini, as I ended up digging up my zucchini recipes for someone with whom I was discussing them on Threshold.  But the thought of food right now is so revolting, I'll save it for my next post. 

I have no suggestions for today, other than to eat lots of yogurt, and pray your intestines continue to behave themselves.  Though you could always send me a get-well gift from my Amazon wish list. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Food groups and Sweet Potatoes

Just a quick update.  The heat and my swollen throat and uvula have kept me from getting much done.  Thankfully my doctor appointment is right after therapy tomorrow morning.  I did get a single load of laundry done at the laundromat.  I know it hasn't been as hot today as it has been, but still too hot for me to be outside.  I could barely breathe dragging the basket into and out of the house. 

Anyway, we're having a playful argument on Threshold about food groups.  My personal choices are bacon, cheese, onions, fried, carbs, and caffeine.  A friend of mine claims there are only two:  cheese and beer.  Sweet Potato Queen Jill Connor Browne says the food groups are: “sweet, salty, fried and au gratin”.  So I suppose mine are fairly similar.  She does include, I think, alcohol as a sub-group at times.  I'm not much of a drinker unless campfires, singing, and flirting are involved. 

Bacon, on the other hand, I have loved all my life.  I'm not very good at cooking it, and that is one of the very few reasons I miss The Hemorrhoid, my erstwhile spouse.  He was good at cooking bacon.  I do find it amusing that it's suddenly trendy to be a bacon fan, but who am I to quibble?  (Dawn says he's a hemorrhoid because a$$holes at least have uses)

Today's book suggestion:  The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love by Jill Connor Browne.  Who wrote the Book of Love?  They did!  A group of southern women who 30 years ago now proclaimed themselves Queens and continue to do so.  The author is the Boss Queen, and this book may very well change your life.  If I could overcome my own inertia and develop some gumption, it might well change mine someday.  Funny and very real, you'll either love it or hate it.   I've purchased at least half a dozen copies of this book to give away to people I think need it. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Green bean bonanza!

Yesterday I bought some fresh green beans at the store, and that started me thinking about the different ways I like them.  Every since I was a child I've loved green beans in almost every possible way.  They are a comfort food for me, despite being a vegetable.   At Chinese buffets, I always fill my plate with the sauteed green beans they have there first.  I'll start you off with a link I found when looking for basic information on them. 

Green beans are an excellent source of fiber and a lot of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, and many antioxidants.  According to this site, they are also very easy to grow.  They can be preserved by pickling, canning, or simply blanching them for 30 seconds, then freezing them.  It's usually best to break off the woody ends before doing anything to them.     For the less intrepid, you can buy green beans freeze-dried, and the uber-delicious green bean chips.

I asked some friends for their thoughts on green beans.  One friend's daughter gave me this wonderful quote.

        "Mommy, they shouldn't advertise that they're having green beans if it's canned green beans because  those are just disgusting. REAL green beans are yummy."

Perhaps she'd like my canned green bean recipes.  I know I've already offered one for an easy salad containing green beans in a previous post.  My other is just as easy, but it's a hot dish.  A tin of green beans, a pinch of beef bouillon, (I never use any soup base other than Better than Bouillon) and a good pinch of dried minced onions.  Heat it well, and it's an excellent side dish.

As far as fresh green beans, what I did today was not quite what I'd intended, but it turned out well anyway.  I may blanch them first next time.  I minced up a sweet onion into very tiny bits, and did the same thing with a few cloves of garlic.  I started those sizzling in melted butter, then threw in the green beans and a bit of extra water.  I stuck a lid on it so they'd steam a tiny bit, and did something else for a few minutes.  I came back, and they were still pretty soupy, so I added a bit more butter, turned the heat to medium, and left them alone for ten minutes.  They were softer than I'd planned, but both the green beans and the onions were lightly caramelized.  I ended up using an entire stick of butter, but that's because the leftover onion/garlic butter will be used for steamed asparagus.  You'll probably want to stick with half a stick.

My favourite way is of course the old fashioned way with bacon.  Get your beans washed and trimmed into short lengths.  Cut up a lot of bacon, and cook it till it's mostly done, but not crispy.   Snack on some of the bacon.  Cook a sliced onion or two in the drippings, then add the green beans, the bacon you didn't eat, and some water or chicken stock.  At least a couple of cups of liquid.  Then turn it down to low and let it cook for an hour or so so the green beans get mushy and filled with the flavour of bacon and onion.  Pure comfort food.  Even more so than green bean casserole, which I have to make with cream of celery, since I'm allergic to mushrooms.  I also use extra onions, a few splooshes of worcestershire, and extra french onions.

The last way to fix green beans, is another easy summer style.  I got this from today's suggested book, The Complete I Hate to Cook Book, which is both hilarious and useful.

Bail Bond Beans

Cook more french-cut green beans than you need for supper till they are barely tender.  Then mix them with the following, let it heat through, and serve.

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil   (It's olive oil, not bloody EVOO.  I hate cutesy acronyms) 
1/4 cup black olives (I always skip the black olives)
Garlic salt and oregano
After supper, put the leftover beans in the fridge and use them in a salad the next night. 

If any of you have suggestions for what to do with green beans, feel free to share

Today's book suggestion:  I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken.  It's a funny look at those who hate to cook but were forced to do so anyway.  She wrote it long before Women's Lib.  The first printing date in my copy is 1960.  But a lot of the recipes are great, and easy, and it really is an entertaining read. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Small steps. Very small steps

I had my first evaluation in physical therapy today.  The good news is that I have made some progress!  Go me!  And my therapist is amazed at how flexible I am.  I'm not ready to abandon therapy, and she says it will be a long haul, but once I can walk far enough to start working out in the water, I think it will help a lot.  I'm hoping I can get a scholarship to the Y, so I can go for free.  I prefer the pool at Four Seasons, but they don't have any sort of scholarship program, and it's around $500/year.    So NOT an option.

After therapy, I went to Kroger and picked up some food.  I love one particular Kroger in Normal, because it has a fantastic produce department, and the prices are good.  They also have a store brand of ready-to-eat veggies that they put on clearance a few days before the sell-by date, which is a tremendous bargain.  You can either eat them raw, or cook them in the little plastic bags.  Baby asparagus, all ready to steam, for $1.99!  And yes, I picked up extra garlic to make garlic butter.  Butter is good for you, people!  Much better than fake fats and too many empty carbs.  Auntie Kate is wise, and knows how she is supposed to eat, even if she isn't very good at taking her own advice.     So if you have a local Kroger/Hilander/whatever it is in your area, make sure you check out the Private Selection produce.  They put it on clearance while it's still in great shape, and those bags are great for steaming.

However, what you do NOT want to do is buy the Kroger Value brand yogurt.  I picked it up because it was cheaper than the regular Kroger brand, which is actually good.  The strawberry was a shade of pink similar to pepto bismal, but more lurid, and it contained no fruit, but plenty of high fructose corn syrup, which is really, really, REALLY bad for you, and therefore should be saved only for foods you adore.  Pay the extra seven cents and get the regular Kroger brand.  Trust me on this one.

My Aunt Maria is going to try to help me a bit.  And that's Maria as in Mariah, not Mareeea.  It's an old family name going back hundreds of years.  She was very nice and supportive and kind, which made me cry a bit, because we've had our conflicts in the past.  Leah, her daughter, is not only my cousin, but one of my best friends in the world, and someone I love a great deal.  In other family news, Ysaeran is very displeased with me because I won't let him go outside and get shot by the neighbour on the east, or eaten by Dawn's dogs.  I know.  I'm just that cruel.

In other good news, I'm applying for a freelance writing gig at Bright Hub.  I don't know if I'll get it, or how much I'll get to write, but if I do, I'll probably link to my posts there.  I have an idea for a project on eating better on a budget, and trying to stick to it.  But not doing it in an onerous fashion.  I wouldn't get paid very much, but it might lead to something else.  I also may be doing some game designing work, as well as volunteering for Sterile Feral

Today's suggestion:  Release your inner swordjock and play Threshold RPG!  It's a roleplay MUD, which means you have to stay in character, and there aren't pictures.  It's like a book you write with people all over the world.   I've always preferred books to films, which is why I prefer Threshold to World of Warcrack and the like.  Tell them Ysadri sent you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I had physical therapy today, and on Thursday I get evaluated again, so that my doctor has the information for my appointment next Tuesday.  I'm fairly sure that they're not going to stop my therapy, which is a good thing.  I'm going to try and pack a few more things today, though unless I can scrounge up storage space rent, I'm not sure where I'll put the stuff.  Keep your fingers cross that God provides. 

I'm taking advantage of the fact that it isn't beastly hot today, but instead relatively cool due to the rain and cooking.  I roasted a red bell pepper, and I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with it.  However, I picked up a tiny bit of really good hamburger, and I'm browning it with onions, garlic, and the roasted pepper chopped for tacos!  I know you can rinse the fat from the cheap stuff to make it low-fat, but since I can only stand for so long, it's easier to buy smaller amounts of the ground sirloin for the same price when it's on sale and add more onions.  That way I don't have to drain it at all.  I also have some salsa, whole-wheat tortillas, and romaine lettuce, and some sharp cheddar. 

If I could have afforded it, I'd have purchased more and frozen some of it.  Having browned hamburger in the freezer is like having money in the bank.  It's so convenient, and it's great knowing you have the basics of a meal just sitting there.  I always brown mine with at least onions and garlic, if not more.

Cooking gadget of the day:  Everyday pan from Cuisinart.   It's good for baking, browning, stir-frying, and a lot of other things.  It's non-stick, and will work on the stovetop or oven.  It also comes with a nice glass lid. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sleeeeeeep.... not

I'm having dreadful trouble sleeping.  I'll manage it for a few hours, and then wake up and be too worried about things to fall back to sleep.  I don't have the attention span to watch dvds, and the computer makes my bedroom too hot fairly quickly, so I can't spend hours online to forget my troubles.  I'm too fatigued to get anything accomplished, which of course just makes me more stressed and afraid, so it's a vicious circle.  I'm keeping the cat boxes cleaned, and my dishes washed, and that's about it.  Car insurance and my electric bill are due today, but I honestly have no money.  I have a handful of quarters I found on my bedroom floor last time I cleaned, and that's it.  So all I can offer today are a few bits of advice I'm struggling with myself, remember to breathe, and trust God.  Also, an old proverb:  Let your words be soft and sweet.  You may have to eat them later.

Today's book suggestion:  Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.  If you like mysteries, adventure, romance, Victoriana, and Egyptology, you'll love Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books.  Each can stand alone, but they do build on one another.  A perfect novel for light summer reading at the pool or in a shady tree.