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Okay, so I was at the department store, and I got some elastic straps with fasteners on each end. The purpose is to fasten them onto loose fitted bedsheets and pass them under the mattress, so the sheet fits snugly. The woman working the register had never seen any before, so she asked me, “What are those?”

“Sheet garters,” I said.

The woman behind me choked. I looked at her. Eyes wide, she said, “Excuse me.”

“SHEET garters,” I said. “SHEET-uhTuh.”

“Oh,” she said, looking both relieved and somewhat…sheepish.

I shook my head. “I don’t live nearly as interesting a life as you thought I did.”

We now return to our regularly scheduled rambling.

Some friends of mine have been raving about this “toddy maker” or cold brew coffee device. It costs about thirty (30) smackers. Anyone who knows me, knows I prefer to keep as many of my smackers to myself as I can possibly manage.

Interwebs to the rescue! I found several DIY methods. I tried just putting the grounds and water in a glass container, then straining it through a mesh sieve. Messy, and used: sieve, glass container, jar for strained concentrate. Another site gave instructions for making a device out of nesting plastic cups, one with holes drilled in the bottom. Cheap and compact, but I would have had to DO something. Then I had a brainstorm.

I have a seed sprouter that I seldom use. I totally adore sprouts, but I would have to know I wanted some several days before I wanted them. You can’t just say, “Gee, some sprouts would go good on this sammich,” and sprout some. Meh. But it’s PERFECT for this cold brew wheeze.


  • 1 part coffee grounds
  • 4 parts cold water

Put the seed-holding cup inside the water-holding cup. If there’s an insert to accommodate tiny seeds, put it in. Add coffee grounds and water. Stir not at all or very little, just get all the grounds wet. Put on the top and refrigerate the whole shebang for 8-12 hours. Take off the top and lift the inner cup enough for the concentrate to drain out. You can jiggle it a little now and then to encourage drainage. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Pour out about 1 part concentrate to 4 parts water, depending on the strength you like. Put the lid back on the unused portion and refrigerate between uses. Smooooth.


writing prompt: Think up a plot that hinges on someone misunderstanding one word in the checkout line.

Should be quick and clean crock pot chicken, actually.

  • frozen chicken breasts
  • rotisserie chicken seasoning packet
  • sherry

Line your crock pot with … well … a crock pot liner (comes in a box in the seasonings aisle or the food wrap aisle). Layer the FROZEN breasts in the pot, sprinkling each layer with the rotisserie seasoning. It’s pretty intense, so be careful not to overdo it. Pour some sherry in at the side, so as not to wash off the seasoning. Cover and cook on low for three or four hours. Turn off the heat, let sit about half an hour, then refrigerate. You can put the crock pot in the fridge or you can gather the top of the liner and lift it out and put it into another container.

Tender and flavorful, good hot or cold.

If I had had more time, I might have cut up onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms and put them on the bottom, the chicken on top.


writing prompt: Does your character like cooking long, intricate recipes, or quick, easy ones?

I was trying to delete some drafts and I accidentally deleted some POSTS! Alas and alack and, I might add, well-a-day. No way to retrieve them. Google cache has everything else everybody else has ever written since the dawn of time, but not my sad little posts. Boo hoo for me!

On a happy note, here is a nice little snacky or dessert that’s easy and quick and reasonably light.

MomGoth’s Sopapillas

  • Flour tortillas
  • butter or margarine (whipped is fine)
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Mix sugar and cinnamon for ease of use. Brush tortilla with butter and sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon. Bake at 350F until crispy (just a few minutes). Break into chips.

I’m working on updating the SIW website right now. Will post when I get it done or tomorrow.


Writing prompt: What is your character’s harshest curse word? I’m not telling you mine.

Okay, first, I remembered what I forgot to post yesterday. At the SIW Christmas party, long-time member Mary Gehant-Lagunez came with her husband, Mario, who is from Mexico, and I got a chance to practice my Spanish a little bit. I said, “Good evening” and “It’s cold” and “Are you hungry? Are you thirsty?” and “Very good!” Mario was astounded–the last time he saw me, the only Spanish words I knew were “Hola”, “Adios” and “bodega”. ha!

Now. The paper (Courier-Journal) had this recipe:

Chicken satay bites

  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Bottled peanut dipping sauce
  • 20 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, cut into strips
  • 40 small balls of fresh mozzarella
  • 40 short bamboo skewers or toothpicks
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the broiler. Place a rack in the center of the oven.

In a large, deep, oven-safe skillet, whisk together the broth, cumin, garlic powder, white pepper, ginger, paprika, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken, and stir to arrange the chunks in an even layer in the broth mixture. The tops of the chicken pieces should just barely stick out of the liquid; this allows the chicken to brown.

Place the skillet under the broiler. After 5 minutes, stir, then broil for another 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Pool or drizzle the peanut sauce on a serving platter.

To assemble the skewers, top each piece of chicken with a strip of sun-dried tomato and 1 ball of mozzarella.

Skewer each stack, then arrange them on the serving platter.

Sprinkle the skewers with black pepper and chopped cilantro.

Serves 40.

First, there aren’t 40 of us, there are two. Second, this recipe has about three times the number of ingredients and twice the number of steps I like to see in a recipe. Third, one color of pepper ought to be enough for anybody. And fourth, like I have an oven-safe skillet.

So here’s mine:

MomGoth’s Slacker Chicken Satay for Two

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in two
  • 1 cup water plus 1 tsp chicken boullion
  • garlic powder
  • ground ginger
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil

Since I was reducing this recipe from 1 quart liquid to 1 cup liquid, and since I do math like I do ironing, I just knocked in these ingredients until it felt and smelled right. Turned it to high until it started to boil, then turned it to simmer and put the chicken in. After about 10 minutes, I turned the chicken over. After another 10 minutes, I put in some leftover alu mattar (see previous post) and some instant rice. When it was all hot through and the rice had absorbed all the liquid, I scraped it into two plates and we ate it with bread.

It was GOOD!

Writing prompt: What’s in your character’s spice rack? Are they jumbled, or are they organized? Alphabetized?


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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