Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So yesterday, I taught my 9:30-10:30 class, my 11:30-12:30 class, my 12:30-2:50 class, and then came home, and went into a baking frenzy to produce sixteen small loaves of pumpkin-cranberry bread for my fellow English teachers.
Because English teachers don't live by alignment alone. (Yes, that IS a sentence fragment and I ain't going to mark it either.)
Then I made a pumpkin pie.
Then I made dinner.
Then I collapsed into a heap on the floor.
It was a good night.
We are going up to celebrate Thanksgiving with our very own Sonny Boy and when since he is the vegan we love, I made this Tofu Pumpkin Pie. It's been our favorite for years. It's so yummy, I wouldn't go back to regular pumpkin pie now.
You heard me.
Here's the recipe:
Ingredients (use vegan versions):
1 (16-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
1 package (10-12 ounces) silken/soft tofu
1 9-in unbaked vegan pie shell
Preheat oven to 425 F. Blend the pumpkin and sugar. Add salt, spices, and tofu, mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 F and bake for another 60 minutes. Chill and serve.
Don't use low fat tofu. Go crazy.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
-- W.S. Merwin
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
I grew up in a family in which seeking attention was akin to worshipping the devil.
Children are to be seen and not heard.
Pride goeth before a fall.
While my parents made it seem as though this philosophy was based on a Biblical principle, I now see that it was also an awfully handy device for delaying any action on many issues.
Me upon discovering I couldn’t see very well: “I think I need glasses.”
“You just want attention.”
Me, limping in, blood dripping on floor: “I stepped on a rusty nail and think I might get lockjaw.”
“You just want attention."
And so when I was six and announced to my family that a rooster on our farm was chasing me, hunting me down each and every time I set foot outside the house by myself, I expected it:
“You just want attention.”
(The truth was I DID want attention. Oh, I did! God! I was desperate for it! As the youngest of five, I was dying for attention, but not the attention this rooster was doling out.)
“Don’t be silly,” my mother said. “That rooster is more scared of you that you are of him.”
The strutting town sheriff of the barn yard, cool and self-assured in his glossy feathers of red and black was scared of me, the little, spindly, stringy-haired blond girl whose knees knocked together each time he spotted her.
If you have never been singled out and chased by a rooster, you have no idea how harrowing it can be. When I stepped out of the house alone, he’d stop moving immediately. Then, only the long periscope of a neck would activate, lifting out of a ring of feathers, turning, turning, until his deep yellow eyes locked onto mine. As I slowly put one foot in front of the other, he brought up a low rooster growl, which sounded like a squeaky door being gradually opened. Then he’d slowly pick up his scaly feet and walk towards me. I’d walk faster and he’d match my pace. Soon, I’d be at a dead run, and hear his claws slapping down, like mad flyswatters in the dirt behind me. I’d scramble up a tree or on a stack of hay bales to wait for someone else to appear.
When someone else DID appear, that rooster would play it cool, go into innocent poultry mode. He'd pretend he was just in the area, hanging around. He had no idea what the screaming blond girl was up to.
“Kick him,” one of my sisters suggested, “Just stay out of his way,” said another. I liked the first suggestion, but dismissed it immediately. This rooster was bent on my destruction. To turn and face those fiery eyes, that determination was unimaginable to me. In my mind, that rooster was ten feet tall. So I decided to follow the second piece of advice. It wasn’t easy. He seemed to be everywhere on the farm and he was always on the lookout for me.
One of my chores was to gather the eggs out of the chicken house—a dark, squat, dank, foul-smelling shack. Before the rooster’s reign of terror, I would go in, shoo the skittish chickens and then gather their eggs. However, I became so terrified of the rooster following me into the hen house as I collected his future progeny that once I got in, I shut the door immediately, trapping myself with 20 or so squawking, suspicious, desperate chickens. I squinted my eyes and bent down low, making my way to the individual nests. Walking though them, those flapping, swooping, high-pitched, feathered industrial fans set on high was a horrible routine. Even today, a down comforter shaken too vigorously will produce flashbacks that will require hours from which to recover.
Tomorrow: The story continues and Betty gets all metaphorical and stuff too!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer*
2 Tbsp. warm water
3/4 cup non-dairy butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter & sugars together by hand or with an electric hand mixer at high speed.
Beat in the egg replacer mixture & the vanilla & peppermint extracts.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, & salt. Add this to the butter mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir until combined, but do not over-stir.
Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10 -12 mins., or until the edges begin to harden. Although they might not appear completely done, the cookies will continue to cook after they're removed from the oven.
After removing them from the oven, immediately take the cookies off of the cooking sheet & place them on a wire rack to cool.
Yields: 1 1/2 dozen cookies
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
My grandfather got up early to section grapefruit.
I know because I got up quietly to watch.
He was tall. His hairless shins stuck out
below his bathrobe, down to leather slippers.
The house was quiet, sun just up, ticking of
the grandfather clock tall in the corner.
The grapefruit were always sectioned just so,
nestled in clear nubbled bowls used
for nothing else, with half a maraschino
centered bleeding slowly into
soft pale triangles of fruit.
It was special grapefruit, Indian River,
not to be had back home.
Doves cooed outside and the last night-breeze
rustled the palms against the eaves.
He turned to see me, pale light flashing
off his glasses
I remember as I work my knife along the
membrane separating sections.
It's dawn. The doves and palms are far away.
I don't use cherries anymore.
The clock is digital
and no one is watching.
Monday, November 16, 2009
"Oh! Betty!" I can hear some of my health conscious readers say, "These sure don't look healthy!" OK, here's what you can do to remedy that:
Potato Chip Cookies
• 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for coating
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3/4 cup potato chips, crushed
• 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Lower to medium speed and add the vanilla. Add the flour and cinnamon to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until incorporated. Fold in the potato chips and pecans.
1) I added an egg yolk to the mix because the dough was super crumbly and I thought I might as well throw it in there for the glue-like effect eggs can bring to nearly anything.*
2) I formed these into balls as directed. When I looked in the oven after about 8 minutes I noticed they were still in uptight little balls, so I took a spatula and lightly but firmly slapped on the cookies until they submitted to my will and flattened out to look like normal cookies who could go out into society and lead normal lives.**
**Attention Gals! This works on men too.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
You see, I've been on a binge lately.
A Book Binge.
Yesterday, for the second time in a week, I sat for hours and hours devouring a single book. Front cover to back. I ate it up. I couldn't stop.
Yes, it was my day off and I had other things to do.
In fact, I had a list.
I had laundry, grocery shopping, general hygiene to accomplish, but I got my drug of choice in my hands in the morning and didn't do any of those those things. I didn't even go outside of the house until I had finished the last page around 6:00pm.
Now normally, Betty's a work-before-pleasure, delayed-gratification, eat-your-vegetables-before-drinking-your-cup-of-corn-syrup kind of gal. And I really did I used to be able to control myself--do the sensible reading thing. I could read a chapter or two, put the book down, go do other things, come back, read another couple of chapters, etc. etc. Lately though, the need to read good novels is SO strong. It's got a hold on me, man. Got to have it. Give me the stuff. Take my book away and I'll snatch your scalp clean off your head.
I have several theories:
1) Depletion of necessary nutrients:
I read A LOT of student papers during the week. Many of these are very bad papers--no, I mean VERY BAD. A steady diet of these papers surely depletes some vital vitamin-like substance in my brain and so gorging on these novels is my body's desperate attempt to correct this imbalance. It's instinctual, and therefore, beyond my control.
2) Feline Mind Power:
Mable, my cat, is always beside me on the bed when these binges begin. Coincidence? Hummm.... Perhaps. Perhaps not. As we all know, she has the ability to control my actions though her thought-waves. It is clear she considers me merely a large, warm, human pillow upon which she can heave her incredible bulk. She knows my weakness and capitalizes on it for her own benefit. I read all day and she gets the Stay Put, Heat-Generating Body Buddy.
3) Use of Excessive Reading to Mask Larger Issues of Potential Mental Problems Due to Overwork:
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup semisweet mini chips
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look "set" and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
appeared to Bernard Shaw
single file in his funeral
procession as he lay abed
with a cracked infected bone
from falling off his bicycle.
They stretched from Hampton Court
downstream to Piccadilly
against George Bernard's pillow
paying homage to the flesh
of man unfleshed by carnage.
Just shy of a hundred years
of pullets, laying hens
no longer laying, ducks, turkeys,
pigs and piglets, old milk cows,
anemic vealers, grain-fed steer,
the annual Easter lambkin,
the All Hallows' mutton,
ring-necked pheasant, deer,
bags of hare unsnared,
rosy trout and turgid carp
tail-walking like a sketch by Tenniel.
What a cortege it was:
the smell of hay in his nose,
the pungencies of the barn,
the courtyard cobbles slicked
with wet. How we omnivores
suffer by comparison
in the jail of our desires
salivating at the smell of char
who will not live on fruits
and greens and grains alone
so long a life, so sprightly, so cocksure.
Monday, November 9, 2009
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Sunday, November 8, 2009
My need to spread the cheer of cranberries goes on and today I found a recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. I immediately whipped up some mini-loaves for distribution around the 'hood.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, except cranberries, in a separate mixing bowl. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Stir in cranberries.
Spread evenly in a loaf pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes one loaf.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Betty loves her students.
*(In this case, we go to definition #4)
1. one of a numerous class of lesser deities of mythology, conceived of as beautiful maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, woods, trees, mountains, meadows, etc., and frequently mentioned as attending a superior deity.
2. a beautiful or graceful young woman.
3. a maiden.
4. the young of an insect that undergoes incomplete metamorphosis.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I've always liked the poetry of John Keats, but after seeing the movie Bright Star I'm even more intrigued by it. OK, OK, the actor who plays John Keats is incredibly attractive which makes we want to place my old British Romantics text on my ample, heaving bosoms and just swoon for awhile. YOWWWWWW....
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.