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First, there’s a new post up at Beyond the Classical, which is always a cause for celebration. This one is a lovely short-short story called Cartography.

Next, our #4 daughter flew to England yesterday, and called at 4am to tell us she had arrived safely. This may seem a minor thing to you and, if so, I congratulate you. Your sanguinity is another thing for you to celebrate. Me, I have a depressive/anxiety disorder, and anyone being safe in any circumstance at any time is a matter for celebration to me. Does that make me unfortunate or fortunate, if I have so many moments of dread matched almost totally by moments of relief and joy?

Yesterday was Meatless Monday, which I’ve come to see as a celebration of how good meatless food is, and what a vast variety there is of veg/dairy combinations. I love meat, I’m the first to proclaim that, but I find that, when I’m having meat in a meal, I tend to focus on that and build the meal around the meat. Everything else is just a side dish or a stretcher. When I make a meatless meal, it isn’t just so many side dishes with a hole in the middle of the table where the meat ought to be. When I make a meatless meal, it’s interesting to make, pretty to see, pleasing to the palate and usually nutritionally balanced. I started participating in Meatless Monday as part of a health/ecological movement, but now it feels like a weekly theme party. Will I have to TAKE UP eating meat for Lent this year?

MA

writing prompt: Think of three things that make your main character feel like he/she has something to celebrate.

I loves it. When I was a little girl, my mother and I were pretending to be goats one day, and I remarked that Mmm-mmm, I loved grass even more than sauerkraut. I loved it then, and I loves it now. I love it so much, I know how to spell it.

Last year, Glenda’s husband, Greg, gave me a jar he had just put up. It was still hot from the canning. We ate it almost immediately, and it was the best sauerkraut I ever put in my mouth. I need to get his recipe, if he’ll part with it.

Meanwhile, my friend Charlotte gave me her recipe, which is so simple I tried it this morning:

CHARLOTTE’S SAUERKRAUT

  • 1 quart of shredded or chopped cabbage, packed into sterile jar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp 5% vinegar (standard acidity)
  • 2 tsp salt

Pack the jars with cabbage, add rest of ingredients. Pour boiling water over and put on sterile caps. Charlotte puts her jars in the basement for 4 months. I’m going to put mine in the refrigerator because, the last time I tried to make sauerkraut in the basement, I ended up with two gallons of rotten cabbage.

~~~

Today is Meatless Monday. I don’t study too much on Meatless Monday any more, because we eat so many meatless meals we more than make up for any meat we may eat on Monday. Nevertheless, we had eggs from daughter #2’s chickens and my fresh-baked bread for breakfast. We’ll probably have pimiento cheese  and Benedictine for lunch, and steamed squash for supper.

Rough life.

MA

writing prompt: Write a child character who likes a surprising food.

Here is the recipe for the Mock Meat Loaf.

Classic Mock Meat Loaf
Serves 6

  • 9 slices (8 ounces) whole wheat bread
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small celery rib, minched
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2/3 cup canned crushed tomatoes or 16 ounce can diced tomatoes WELL-DRAINED
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper

1    Toast the bread slices either in the toaster or on a baking sheet placed under the broiler. Let cool.
2    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 9X5-inch loaf pan, then line the bottom with wax paper and butter the paper.
3    Tear up the toasted bread slices and make crumbs out of them in a food processor. Place in a large bowl.
4    Process the walnuts until finely ground and mix into the bread crumbs. Combine the eggs and onions in the processor and process until fine but not liquefied. Stir into the bread crumbs. Place the green pepper, celery, prsley, tomatoes, and oil in the processor and grind until fine but still with some texture. Stir into the loaf mixture along with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix this all very well until evenly moistened. (The mixture may be prepared to this point and refrigerated up to 8 hours in advance.) Scrape it into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over the top. Cover the loaf with foil.
5    Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out dry. Let sit 5 minutes, then run a knife all along the sides of the loaf to help loosen it. Unmold the loaf onto a platter and remove the wax paper. Let the loaf cool 20 minutes or so before slicing it. It’s best to serve the loaf warm and the gravy hot. Serve with Mushroom Gravy. (below)

Mushroom Gravy

  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or boullion
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • pepper to taste

Saute mushrooms in butter, stir in flour and cook, stir in liquid and heat until thick.

~~~

I also spent about half an hour posting about wedding anniversaries (Charlie and I both forgot ours this year), but I clucked when I should have clicked and totally lost it. No draft, no nothing. Oh, well. Such is life.

MA

writing prompt: One of your characters misses an important anniversary/birthday/occasion. What are the consequences? If there are none, what’s the upshot of THAT?

That’s what Mom and I are. After a full weekend, today was just another such a day. We went to New Albany for pet meds, a microwave (hers died last night) and a toaster oven (mine is a POS and I’m tired of burning my biscuits–if there’s one thing that can ruin a marriage quicker than anything else, it’s burnt biscuits–a woman has burnt biscuits, next thing you know, her husband is looking for someone whose biscuits are less overdone). Anyway, then we didn’t have any room in the car for groceries, so we had to come home and unload and then go back out and shop and run errands. Then we came home and unloaded again, and now I’m about to go and get a load on.

So not a long post today.

Last night, I had a BLT salad: Lots of lettuce, a chopped dill pickle, a chopped tomato, some crumbled bacon and California French dressing. Oh, it was HEAVEN!

So today is Meatless Monday, and we had fried cubed potatoes and green peppers and mushrooms and egg for breakfast. For lunch, Mom and I went to a Mexican restaurant and I got mushroom and spinach quesadilla and refried beans. Ate half and brought the other half home, so that’s for supper, along with some fresh corn on the cob.

I love Meatless Monday!

MA

writing prompt: Give a character a row of full and chaotic days. What does he/she do to unwind? CAN he/she unwind?

Happy Meatless Monday! I got an email from the Meatless Monday folks with links to fantastic recipes. Meanwhile, our own Meatless Monday is off to a grand start. Here’s our menu:

Breakfast:

Peach Pecan Pancakes–I cut up some local July Albertas and broke up some pecans into pancake batter. I drizzled mine with a little pure maple syrup, but Charlie used my blackberry goop (supposed to be jam, but it didn’t set).

Lunch:

I plan to make grilled cheese and maybe tomato soup.

Supper:

Baked acorn squash, using a squash I bought at the farmers’ market.Leftover smoked tofu, warmed and crisped in a hot skillet. And this fine mess, which we had last night but enough was leftmushroommess over for tonight.

ANOTHER FINE MESS

  • cabbage
  • mushrooms
  • noodles

I put cut up cabbage in boiling salted water. Cut up mushrooms–in this case, portabella and white button–and added them. When the cabbage was nearly done, I put in some noodles and cooked according to package directions. Drain and butter, season with salt and pepper as desired. Next time I make it, I’ll do more cabbage. Thought I had a BIG mess o’ cabbage, but you know how it cooks down. *sigh*

AMAZING THINGS:

1. Here is a gizmo I bought off one of those impulse racks they hang off the shelves at the grocery store. A friend of one of my daughters loved it so much, I cool thing1bought him one. I think he used it tocool thing1a pick cigarettes out of his pack, or possibly other people’s packs. It’s actually an olive grabber, but it works for pickles, too, or anything that isn’t too heavy. Can’t pick up a cat with it, for example. Just press the plunger at the end and these creepy looking wires come out. Release the plunger, and the wires close, gripping whatever they’re around.

2. Our #3 daughter came over the other night, and pointed to the driveway and said, “Look, there’s a little toad. I saw one the other day, mowing the grass.” I said, “Get outta here! You’re lyin’! Was it on a regular-sized mower, or a tiny little toad-sized mower?” After she thought about it a minute, she said it was on a regular-sized mower, but I still think she’s lying.

3. At church yesterday, the preacher told the story of Jesus feeding the 5000, and he said something I’ve heard a thousand times, but that only jumped out at me yesterday. “There was a lot of grass at that place.” I was like, “Dude–that explains everything.”

I had another amazing thing, but I forgot it.

MA

writing prompt: Keep a list of amazing things you come across. Write them down so you don’t forget them, when you’re old like me.

I’m doing this on the church computer, and the keyboard seems to have been manufactured specifically to be difficult for me to use. I was going to access their internet on my keyboard, but they have a password that is the greatest–not only does nobody know what it is, nobody who works here now even knows that there IS a password. So I am reduced to using the secretary’s computer until she comes in.

Personally, I think it’s a sneaky way to get me used to working here so I’ll volunteer to help out. In my copious free time, you know.

Anyway, another Meatless Monday has come. For breakfast, we had French Toast:

FRENCH TOAST

  • butter
  • stale bread
  • egg
  • milk
  • vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • topping

Melt butter in pan. Beat egg, milk and vanilla with a fork (I used one egg and about 1/4 cup or less of milk and a small splash of vanilla for three pieces of stale bread–the more stale the bread, the more it soaks up). Dredge the bread in the liquid and put in hot butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook until browned (minute or two), turn and cook on other side. Put on plate and top with powdered sugar, syrup or jam.

For lunch, I brought:

BEAN QUESADILLA

  • flour tortilla
  • vegetarian refried beans
  • pepperjack cheese

Schmeer beans on flour tortilla. Add cheese. Fold over. Microwave or heat on both sides in pan or oven until hot and cheese is melted.

For supper, we have an embarrassment of riches. Will probably have corn on the cob, breaded and fried yellow squash and broccoli salad.

BROCCOLI SALAD

  • broccoli (duh)
  • mayonnaise
  • raisins
  • walnuts (optional)

Mix. Eat.

MA

writing prompt: Your character can’t use a computer he/she needs to use. How does he/she solve the problem or react to being unable to solve the problem?

My husband told me about the Meatless Monday movement. Since we’re mostly meatless anyway, it sounded like a painless sacrifice for us, which is the kind I like best. So I went to the website and took the pledge. Here’s why, according to the web site, it’s a good idea to go meatless at least once a week:

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Besides, as I said when I filled out the pledge form, veggies taste good!

Not that I’m ready to give up my beloved animal flesh. I bought some sausage patties and some ham this Saturday from local organic farmers, and I’m the same way about those as I was about the free-range chicken: This stuff is too good to give up, but is helping me to eat less meat, because it’s more satisfying than factory meat.

We opened the ham package and I said, “My God! Real ham! I remember this stuff! This is what real ham looks like!”

I couldn’t describe to you the difference, but Charlie and I both said the same thing. And I cooked it and we ate it, and it tasted real, not like sugar or honey or smoke flavoring or salt. It didn’t throw off a lot of water and not much grease. It didn’t have the texture of a sponge. And a little bit went a long way. Lower consumption through higher quality–what a concept.

But today is Meatless Monday, and we bit the bullet and forced ourselves to make do with pancakes made with chopped pecans and fresh blueberries, with pure maple syrup on top. Oh, such suffering!

I’m at the library, using the high-speed internet, so I don’t know if I’ll be home for lunch. Just in case, I brought a sandwich of pepper jack and Provolone cheeses with mustard on English toasting bread. More self-denial!

If I’m home for lunch, I’ll have leftover roasted vegetables and blue cheese dressing in a flour tortilla. Otherwise, I think I’ll put the leftovers and some cheese in a pie, or maybe on a Dutch baby (kind of a Yorkshire pudding).

They had the Battle of Corydon Reinactment this weekend. Crowds filled the town to see John Hunt Morgan and his raiders ride in and do battle with the home-town militia. I’m like, “They do know he whupped our butts, don’t they?”

MA

writing prompt: Force a carnivorous character to go meatless for a full day.

WELCOME TO MY BLAHG

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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