Back in Business; After the Storm

Hurricane Sandy is history; at least here in Long Island.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those people who continue to suffer from the effects of this monumental storm and who have experienced damage, loss and extreme hardship.

Several minutes ago, our power was restored after almost 30 hours; it could have been much worse.  Using flashlights, being without heat or having to use cold water to bathe were inconveniences I’ve previously faced. This was not the first hurricane I’ve encountered, however it was worse than any other I recall.  The extreme wind did more damage than any storm or blizzard in recent years.  Thankfully the rain was less than expected; we were spared flooding in our area this time. 

When the wind began to intensify and the power went out, I knew the storm was violent but did not anticipate her wrath.  Most of my Halloween yard decorations were safely inside; only a couple were left standing.  Some of them got damaged and several flood lights broke.  More importantly, trees were uprooted, limbs were split and branches littered the lawns and streets.  Power lines swayed limply from their supports.  The entire town was drenched in piercing darkness.

I thought I was properly prepared; food, check, water, check, flashlights, check, candles, check, batteries – everything but C’s.  This was the first time not having some form of communication like a radio made me extremely anxious.  We had no cell phone service.  This morning, although it wasn’t entirely safe to do so, my husband and I drove around town trying to find any place open that may sell “C” batteries.  It was a fruitless effort.  We were able to listen to the car radio and discovered 90% of all Long Island was without power. 

 With the exception of two grocery stores, an Ace Hardware store, one Italian restaurant and a 7-Eleven, all of which operated on generator power, everything else was closed.  Every gas station was closed.  Traffic lights were out.  We traveled four miles in either direction.  People were out driving, similar to us, assessing the damage and trying to find needed supplies. 

Arriving home somewhat dejected, we donned our old clothes and proceeded to clean up the yard.  Five hours and more than a dozen bags and countless stacks of tree limbs and branches later, we decided to call it quits for the day.  We had only had some yogurt and a banana in the morning and believe it or not, after all that physical work in the afternoon, we came inside without much of an appetite.  My husband managed a jelly sandwich and slice of the chocolate cake I baked before the power went out and I settled with some crackers, hummus and a little slice of cake too. 

After scouring the house one more time, I was thrilled to find the two additional “C” batteries I needed for the radio.  The radio became our lifesaver.  We were finally able to listen to what was happening as far as power, transportation, schools, emergency shelters, etc. in the Tri-State area.  Becoming slightly bored, I decided to play a few games of solitaire and then settled on the couch for a rest as the power was still out.  Suddenly, right before 11pm, the kitchen light turned on.  What a relief!

The next steps we took were to check the heat and hot water systems as well as refrigerator; then the house phones, cell phones and computer.  All systems were okay.  Besides a few fallen trees and some food to discard, the storm left us unscathed.   For that, I am grateful.  I’ve listened to heartbreaking stories of those who lost their lives during Hurricane Sandy and it deeply saddens me.  Once again life teaches us a lesson about what is truly important in our lives and never to take anything for granted.

My next task is to see if there is anything I can do for those in my area who are still in need of assistance.  I’m blessed to be given that opportunity.

 “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” ~ Willa Cather

Surviving Frankenstorm aka Hurricane Sandy

I thought I’d post this a little early in the event I lose power.  The primary surge of the storm is expected to strike in about 2 hours.  Fortunately the rain is not as bad as expected, as our driveway would have flooded by now.  The wind is the main challenge and the gusts are ranging from 35 to 75mph as we speak, expectied to increase to 95mph later this evening.  Our local news station warns that 6pm is the critical hour when storm Sandy will be at it’s worst.

Fortunately, I have a lot to keep me busy in the event of a power outage.  Plenty of flashlights and books to read; primarily for school.  Here are a few on my list to complete.

The aroma of the pork loin simmering away in the crockpot is teasing my tastebuds.  If only the power stays on for three more hours…  I haven’t baked a cake in quite a while but the chocolate bundt I made early this morning survived the storm and is waiting to be devoured after dinner.

Most of Long Island and New York City (the city that never sleeps) is resting; waiting out the storm.  The markets closed early, schools are closed today and tomorrow, mass transit has pretty much stopped and government safety officials (highway, parks, security, etc.) are on alert and out in force.  This will blow over in a day or so and hopefully, due to advance warning and suggested evaculations, nobody will have lost their life.

These next few days will be merely a memory soon.  Cities and towns will begin their cleanups, stores and restaurants will reopen and cars will be flooding the highways again.  I am grateful I have a secure, comfortable place to hide from the storm.  Things could be worse.  My prayers go out to all those facing dangerous situations during this terrible weather.  This coming weekend promises brighter days and quieter hearts.

Can’t Keep a Good (Wo)man Down!

One of Murphy’s Technology Laws: “If you can’t understand it, it is intuitively obvious.”  (http://www.murphys-laws.com/)   I woke this morning with the wholehearted intention of downloading and editing the video I shot last night of my Halloween yard decorations.  After a quick breakfast, I put some of my props away in the garage in anticipation of “Frankenstorm.”  Then I sat at my computer for most of the day and into the evening, with a few exceptions, trying to figure out how to convert my VOB files into MPEG or similar files so I could work with them in Windows Movie Maker.  This is not the first time this has happened.

I’ve run across technological challenges since I began working with computers decades ago.  I learned on a Wang computer, back in the 1980’s.  Computers were fun, so I thought, and I taught myself most of the important office-related programs early on; both for Windows and Mac.  I was proud that I could master some of these on my own and those I couldn’t, I took courses here and here to perfect.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a computer class in ages.  Most essential programs I can figure out on my own but forget about adding cameras or videos into the mix.  Since technology changes every second, I feel I’ve fallen way behind.

My Sony camcorder is a little outdated but it still does the trick.  After finalizing the mini-DVD, I would pop it into my computer or TV to play full screen, complete with audio.  For some reason, I forgot if I or how I used to send it to others via e-mail.  Thinking back, I’m not sure I did.  Not quite a year ago, I signed up for a YouTube channel but only used it to save a couple of videos that were of interest to me.  I only uploaded my very first video this past August.  That’s where my problem arose.  I did not, for the life of me, remember how on earth I copied the DVD files from my camcorder onto my hard drive and convert them into files I could work with for Movie Maker.  I located the files on my computer from August and the extension was WMV (media viewer) which confused me even more. 

To make matters worse, I answered a phone call I knew would be lengthy, right when I thought I had figured out the file dilemma.  Needless to say, an hour and a half later I was fit to be tied.  To make a long story short, I finally figured out what to do by trial and error; a little research online and a little fooling with the programs on my computer.  Voila!  Twelve hours later, I managed to make a movie, even trim out a part of it, add music and upload it to YouTube.  Hurrah!  I’m not as senile as I was beginning to think!  I did my little happy dance in my office as it was uploading but started thinking of the steps I took to accomplish my goal.  That’s right, I didn’t write them down.

I still don’t understand how kids have been uploading videos to YouTube and other sites f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Maybe they were born with a technological sixth-sense.  All I know is you can teach an old dog new tricks and this one is eager to learn some more!

 “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” ~ Tony Robbins

Here Comes Sandy!

This afternoon, I heard our governor declare a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” who’s greatest impact is expected to strike Long Island Monday or Tuesday.  Similar to the storms of last year, Halloween, my favorite holiday, may be a washout.  That would greatly disappoint me.  While finishing the last of my Halloween decorating, I paused to do some last minute grocery shopping.  Big mistake.  I should have said the hell with Sandy and went on about my business.  I’m determined to complete my decorating by tomorrow.

Shopping was a nightmare; again, how appropriate for this time of year.  Why is it that whenever a major storm is on the horizon, the meteorologists are like “forecasters on steroids?”  I get it; this is the time retailers make big bucks on all the doomsdayers.  So, people go to the stores, load up on groceries, batteries, water, lumber etc. and stockpile it away like squirrels.  Quarter sales figures skyrocket! 

I’m not saying to ignore the warnings, but being prepared is not the same as panicking.  People in the stores this afternoon were wild; as if the Apocalypse were upon us.  Traffic was dreadful and I arrived back home tired and frustrated.  Needless to say, my one hour shopping expedition became three and I never finished what I had intended to do for the day.  On top of that, right before I left, I broke my 4ft. black light which shattered onto my beige carpet.  Can we say “it’s one of those days?”

This evening, I decided to make a nice salmon, couscous and spinach dinner to unwind.  Tomorrow, I’ll go about finishing my chores and not worry about the hurricane; we’re prepared.  I won’t become anxious over whether or not Trick-or-Treater’s will enthusiastically ring my bell on Halloween (actually, I might), or if the electricity will go out so I can play Life in the dark.  Oh wait, my daughter is away and I’d be left without a board game partner.  We always looked forward to playing games by candlelight if the electricity went out.  Such is life. 

Hopefully, Sandy will keep at bay (literally) and we’ll escape her wrath.  In the meantime, it’s off to help DH with some of his work and then curling up on the couch with the kitties and a James Patterson novel or maybe catching a good horror flick on television.  Either way, I’m hoping for a relaxing evening; the calm before the storm.

 “I dread the events of the future, not in themselves but in their results.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Shakespeare Would Have Been an Awesome Blogger

Hamlet’s “To sleep, perchance to dream” can be restated as “to dream, perchance to blog” for me.  I’ve mentioned before that every 20 minutes or so, I think of several topics I’d like to write about and by the next hour, my daydreaming leads me down other avenues.  So today’s question is how, exactly, does one decide what to write about in a (daily) blog when their interests are numerous and extremely varied in content?

 I’ll resort to a tip my oldest brother gave me several years ago.  He recommended I keep a whiteboard and pen in the rooms I do my best and most fervent thinking in.  I figured it would be easier just to carry around my pocket tape recorder; after all, I carry around a cell phone most of the time so I thought it would be convenient.  Older brothers are indispensable for a reason…they are usually much more intelligent and mine certainly is!  It was way too much trouble to drag the recorder around, only having to replay it and write down what I recorded in the end.

The whiteboard idea was brilliant but I didn’t have one handy, so I began with notebooks in each room.  That worked a little better until I decided to purchase little whiteboards I could scribble on and erase rather than have MORE books laying around.  So now I have a several methods by which to jot my thoughts and feelings down.  Now what was I saying?

Oh yes, what do people ultimately blog about if they only wish to write one blog item per day.  The answer can be as simple as writing about the most important thing they thought, felt or heard that day.  On the other hand, the decision could be complicated, involving research, statistics, measurements, etc.  The bottom line is, unless you have a specific blog, such as one for recipes, quotes, tech information, travel, fashion, etc., the subject you choose is entirely discretionary.  That’s what makes generic blogging so much fun.

Also taking the advice of my brother and another individual, when I write down thoughts as they occur, I can organize them into which topics are easier to write about and which ones would be more time consuming.  Organization, which is critical in writing anyway, also makes it easier to select topics for following days.  Then, depending on how busy I am during that particular day, I can select the issue that suits my availability.  It all makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ve wanted to blog for many years.  At first, I thought only celebrities, the media and businesses did it because there was an end return involved.  Obviously I was mistaken and am happy there’s an open forum to write about anything.  Although still a novice, I’m getting practice and it’s giving me stricture.  Some days, I feel I have nothing to write about because either my day was boring or I was too busy to think.  But there’s always something to say; whether or not people will enjoy reading it is another story.  I’m not sweating that part though.  I’d rather blog than write college essays and that’s my topic for another day! 

 “Nothing makes time pass or shortens the way like a thought that absorbs in itself all the faculties of the one who is thinking. External existence is then like a sleep of which this thought is the dream. Under its influence, time has no more measure, space has no more distance.” ~  Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

Dare to be Bare

Within the past several months, countless photos have been posted of “stars” or “celebrities” without makeup.  Of course, with the exception of Alice Cooper, the photos are of women of various ages.  The most recent photos were posted from the NY Daily News, Pop Crush, Huffington Post and E-Online between July and October 2012.  Occasionally I’d view these casually, if at all, because I’m one of those women who looks quite different with and without makeup.  Mainly I click out of curiosity and after the third or fourth photo, I move on to a more interesting topic on the internet.  Going without makeup may not be a big deal to most but the concept of beauty and appearance had a big effect on me when I was young. (Photo: comedienne Kathy Griffin c/o www.huffingtonpost.com.)

 I recall wearing mascara in 8th grade; unacceptable in parochial school.  One of the nuns insisted I go to the bathroom and remove it.  Adamantly, I walked to the bathroom, waited several minutes and went back to class.  Needless to say the teacher wasn’t pleased and down to the principal’s office I went.  The point is, I felt naked without it because I was so fair-skinned and did not see the harm in wearing one tiny coat of mascara to school.  Truth be known, I had been teased quite a bit because of my fair-skin, red hair and buck teeth.  Additionally, I was one of the tallest girls in my grade and already fully developed.  How I detested puberty.

Embarrassed and harassed at school, my only choice was to start wearing a little makeup.  What was the big deal?  Has anyone seen the way young, I mean 5th grade girls, look now?  And my teacher thought a little mascara was a sin? 

The way I looked became critical to me.  I was less self-conscious if I wore a little makeup.  No longer did I feel like that pale, pasty-skinned girl anymore.  Makeup made me feel attractive.  Hindsight is 20-20 however.  Wearing makeup became a crutch for me; it was my mask.  After high school, I attended a modeling academy for 10 weeks.  Again, that exposure helped me create a false façade. 

Shortly thereafter, I was thrust into the limelight by some “well-meaning” co-workers who persuaded me to enter a local beauty contest, “The Long Island Search for Miss Universe.”  One associate, who claimed to be an amateur photographer, took numerous photos of me for a portfolio.  After being interviewed by the pageant coordinators, I was selected to participate.   Was I actually pretty enough to be a beauty contestant?  Wow, I was on Cloud 9.

Arriving at the catering hall where the pageant was being held, I was escorted into the contestant’s dressing room.  Armed with my makeup bag, hot rollers, lighted make-up mirror, bathing suit and gown (which I made myself); I found a chair and parked my belongings.  Scanning the room, I grew very anxious.  In my opinion, everyone competing was taller, thinner and prettier than me.  It was also evident these young women had competed before.  They boasted professional cosmetic trunks, hair products and pricey gowns.  With the exception of my homemade gown, my items were in a shopping bag.  I wanted to run and hide.  Although everyone was nice enough to me, I felt like an outsider.  What was I thinking; why was I here?  Surely I did not want to be a professional model.  How could I continue? 

Thankfully I mustered enough nerve and competed.  Actually, I had fun.  Winning Honorable Mention didn’t hurt but I vowed never to allow anyone to coerce me into a situation I was hesitant about from the beginning.  As luck would have it, the pageant officials wound up being charged with mismanagement and misrepresentation.  Luckily, the company that sponsored me was able to get their entry fee back. 

The experience taught me some valuable lessons; to trust my instincts and that I’m beautiful just the way I am – without makeup, curled hair or fancy clothes.  Therapy helped me overcome my self-consciousness.  I still enjoy putting on makeup, fixing my hair and wearing coordinated clothing,  but it no longer dictates who I am.

Let’s face it; women have been wearing makeup for centuries.  So too have men.  It’s a billion dollar industry.  I am grateful my daughter does not take after me with respect to makeup.  She goes bare and doesn’t care because she too, is beautiful just the way she is.  I try to make sure I tell her that often.  So hats off to those celebrities who dare to be bare.  Their confidence is beautiful enough.  Either that or they’re so popular they just don’t give a damn!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

Gluten Free – Not Really For Me

I concluded my three week experiment with a gluten-free food plan this past weekend.  Although my intentions were admirable and motivation commendable, this program did not meet my expectations.  The purpose of selecting a gluten-free diet was twofold: to eliminate some irregularities in my digestive system and to lose weight.  While I was able to lose a few pounds within the three weeks, there was no significant change to my sporadic abdominal discomfort.  The discomfort wasn’t painful, only occasionally bothersome.

 The plan was not an entire disappointment however.  Some of the enjoyable parts of this trial were investigating cooking with different foods, learning to eat only at certain times utilizing healthy snacks in-between meals and realizing what my physical thresholds are.  Alternately I discovered that gluten-free products are expensive and not always tasty (sweet).  If indeed I was tested and diagnosed with celiac disease, I would search out health food stores or online sites to purchase gluten-free products at a lower cost than what the average supermarket charges.  I would also learn how to bake gluten-free desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth, which I did not do during this project.  Fortunately, that won’t be necessary at this stage and I applaud those who are afflicted with this ailment and may have to go through a lot of trouble planning meals they can enjoy. 

 With the knowledge I learned about a gluten-free lifestyle, I have a better understanding of how certain foods interact with the body, what to avoid and what I can indulge a little in.  Some of the new foods I tried and enjoyed were quinoa, avocados and soba noodles. 

It was suggested by two family members to try either the Forks over Knives or Paleo diets.  The Forks Over Knives diet is a whole-food plant-based plan with restrictions of animal-based and processed foods.  Yikes, no meat?  I’m not sure about that one.  I’ve always been a “meat and potatoes” type of gal and not sure I can switch to becoming somewhat of a vegetarian.

According to thepaleodiet.com website, on the Paleo diet, you are permitted “fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.”  Hooray, I can eat meat on this plan…oh, but no sugars? 

Well, since I’m into researching food plans, I’m off to the library for some books on both and checking out a few of the top-rated websites that boast these two diets.  I also plan to investigate opposing views to these plans.  I’m not sure which plan, if either, I’ll choose for my next experiment but no doubt it will be fun to move on to something new.  In the meantime, I’ll try and stick with avoiding fattening foods and sweets which will be challenging; Halloween is next week and I don’t give out apples!

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.” ~ W. C. Fields

Surviving the Honeymoon from Hell

For two weeks following my beautiful winter wedding, I painstakingly gathered my finest, most fashionable resort apparel, shoes, accessories and toiletries in preparation for my 8-day honeymoon in the Caribbean.  All the garments were wrapped neatly between sheets of white tissue paper or hung on velvet hangers, footwear was carefully stored in felt shoe bags, jewelry was individually packaged in tiny suede containers and toiletries were sealed in sturdy plastic pouches to prevent against leakage.  My meticulous effort would have had Martha Stewart green with envy.

My new husband and I were eagerly looking forward to spending four carefree days in Puerto Rico followed by four on the beautiful island of St. Thomas.  Spring had not yet arrived in the Northeast; the first hyacinths lay hidden beneath the hardened earth.  Thoughts of lounging on the golden sand while a warm, gentle breeze blew softly through my hair seduced me.  This was going to be a fantastic honeymoon!

On the day of our trip, the airport limousine arrived a little early which had me rushing to collect some last minute belongings.  Grabbing a coat and my overflowing winter handbag, out the door I dashed.  My two suitcases had already been loaded into the trunk.  I hadn’t had time however to switch everything into my favorite smaller summer purse so I just threw it into the larger grey leather satchel and carried them both on board.  Everything could be sorted out later in our hotel room, I figured.

Touchdown was smooth and once we collected our luggage, we waited by the customs counter to be processed.  Unfortunately, we were one of the last people to be inspected.  I noticed only a couple of taxi drivers waiting for a fare; one in particular had gone out and come back in twice within several minutes.  At the time, I didn’t think too much of it, as my new husband was busy informing the customs official that I “had almost as many pairs of shoes as Imelda Marcos.”  I’m not too sure the officer understood the joke.  Once we finished the paperwork, the taxi driver came up to us and asked us where we were headed.  His English was very good, he was very polite and since he had a bona fide livery license, we accepted his offer of a ride to our hotel.

The journey from the San Juan airport to our resort hotel along the beach took us through a questionable neighborhood.  My husband and I sat in the back of the cab with his carry-on in between us on the seat and my large grey bag on the floor by my feet.  Here’s where we were innocently caught off guard.  The windows were open although other cars we passed had theirs closed.  I assumed our taxi didn’t have air conditioning.  It was around 5:30 pm and we were stuck in what we assumed was rush hour traffic in the right lane closest to the sidewalk (there was no on-the-street parking permitted).  Ahead of us was a parade – a St. Patrick’s Day parade, of all things!  Here we are in Puerto Rico on March 13th (not even the 17th) and they’re having a St. Patrick’s Day parade…go figure.

While we were stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic with nowhere to go, our driver proceeded to show us his New York license and tell us the story of how he was originally from the Bronx.  He moved to Puerto Rico with his family several months earlier when his father-in-law died.  All at once, he abruptly halted his conversation and shouted “watch out!”  What the heck did that mean?   In an instant, two teens came up to the right side of the cab.  One waved a gun around through the front passenger window while the second stuck a knife in the rear passenger window where I was seated.  My husband had turned to his left when the driver shouted so he did not see the thugs right away. I leaned over toward my husband to avoid the knife.  Actually it wasn’t the knife that really frightened me; it was the gun pointing inches away from my face.  As my husband turned back toward me and reached over to pull me near him, the kid with the knife bent down and yanked the grey bag that was at my feet.  My foot was caught in the strap and he had a difficult time pulling it up from around my ankle and out of the window.  I noticed the hands of both thieves shaking.  The driver did nothing the whole time, which probably only lasted a minute.  The kids took off through an opening in the steel bars surrounding the housing project and were gone in a flash.

As my husband was trying to calm me down, the idiotic cab driver whipped out a box cutter from under his seat, saying he would have used it if it had not been for the gun.  Really?  Meanwhile, nobody around us either saw what had happened, which seems highly unlikely, or didn’t want to get involved; more likely.  We demanded the cab driver take us to the police station but he took us to our hotel instead.  Upon arrival, my husband called over two hotel security guards and asked that they hold onto the cab driver for questioning until he got me safely inside the lobby. 

That night was a disaster.  The bag the teens stole had our airline tickets, Travelers’ Cheques, my wallet, camera, curling iron, brand new cosmetics and my favorite little summer bag in it but all those things could be replaced.  I was so grateful we weren’t physically hurt.  The most upsetting thing about the whole incident wasn’t the stolen items or frightening ordeal; it was that the last picture taken of my mom before she passed away was in my wallet; the one they stole.  That was the only copy I had and it was one of my favorites. 

Needless to say, the next few days were spent trying to replace our airline tickets and Travelers Cheques.  The Tourist Police were completely useless; most of them either didn’t speak English or refused to and were of no help in finding the thieves.  They acknowledged our belief that the cab driver set us up, although they couldn’t prove it.  He had plenty of time to make a phone call from outside the customs office.  I despised all of Puerto Rico at that point only because I felt so violated.  Robberies happen everywhere, especially in tourist locations.  Fortunately, the beautiful weather and the fact that both my husband and I were safe helped heal the wounds more quickly than anticipated.  By the time we arrived in St. Thomas, we were relaxed enough to salvage the remainder of our honeymoon.

The incident took place almost 25 years ago.  My husband and I talk about it now and again and realize how lucky we were.  It taught us to be vigilant without being neurotic.  I’ve known others who were in similar situations who weren’t as fortunate as we were.  Praying for those who commit these crimes is difficult, but it helps ease the anger.  There are many people in society who can’t see any way out of poverty or despair except through crime and violence.  For many, drugs fuel their evil ambition.  The only thing we can do as a civilized society is try and teach a better way, hoping our words will reach the multitudes and not simply a few.  For some, luck is not enough.

“It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape.” ~ Voltaire

Gluten-Free Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

Yummie!  I was so hungry tonight after fooling around with Halloween decorations (still) all day.  Fortunately I remembered to defrost the ground turkey and frozen spinach.  In less than 45 minutes, most of which was waiting for the meatballs to bake, I had a tasty, gluten-free dinner.  Not much of a recipe follower unless I’m baking, I winged the recipe but hopefully you’ll be able to whip it up easily, should you find it’s worth a try.

By the way, since I did not have any gluten-free bread crumbs or special flours to use as a binder, I discovered the MixtBag GF Tortilla Chips, ground up, worked perfect!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (1-1/4 lb) ground turkey (I used Shady Brook Farms)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 carrot, grated, 1/4 onion, grated (your preference)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup GF tortilla chips, ground
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 jar Francesco Rinaldi Marinara Sauce

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat egg in bowl.  Add vegetables, cheese, chips (or you can substitute GF bread crumbs if desired), Worcestershire sauce, spices and spinach.  Mix well.  Add ground turkey, combine thoroughly and shape mixture into balls (about 20 – all depends on how large you make them). 

Place meatballs on slotted rack on aluminum coated baking pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes. 

Remove meatballs and place in heated sauce for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare a salad or GF pasta.  Serve and enjoy.

You notice there is very little fat left in the pan.  The aluminum foil makes for easy clean up too!

These meatballs were moist and nicely seasoned.  All the products I used indicated they were GF on the labels, including the 2 sauces.

I went off my meal/recipe plan tonight but I thought I owed it to myself.  Sometimes you have to change it up a little and add some spice to your life!

“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” ~ William Cowper

Writing Challenges

One of the most disturbing challenges a writer faces is interruption; even a burgeoning one like me.  There were three topics I was inspired to write about today, yet all of them fell to the wayside when I answered a telephone call.  Upon spotting the number on my phone, I could easily have let it descend into the hellhole of voicemail.  However, my parents didn’t bring me up that way.  At that moment, I realized my intense thoughts would have to be put on the back burner, searing in the recesses of my mind, until I accepted my position as a loving, caring family member and answered the ring.

There is a funny thing about being disrupted though.  You never know what to expect.  Granted, many times the talk is frivolous and painfully time-consuming but sometimes, when you least expect it, you can actually learn something. 

As the youngest of a large family, I am used to and expect interruptions.  I cannot gauge which ones will be morbidly agonizing at the time or quality of context or those which will illuminate me.  Often I expect calls from one of my siblings to be an ordinary, friendly conversation.  When another calls, who is often more remote, I fear the call bears bad news.  Nevertheless, in the midst of writing, any call can be an agonizing distraction.

What do you do when a friend calls when they “should know better” than to distract me during specific hours of the day.  I’ve been a salesperson and know that all calls are important.  Are writers so self-absorbed that they should eliminate all contact when they are in “their element”?  Maybe so, but how could anyone expect others to live their lives that way?

I don’t have an answer.  I’m still testing the waters in the realm of writing.  Most of my deepest, most dynamic thoughts come from when I’m alone, even if it’s only for a few minutes before I get a chance to record them.  I’m trying to find a balance between doing what I’m expected to do as a woman, wife and mother and writing and to be honest, it isn’t easy.  So many others I’ve read about have had similar difficulties but they seem to excel.  I’m latching onto their coattails for confidence and know somewhere, there is a reason to continue writing.

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”  ~ Edgar Allan Poe