Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Pretty Nuts

I have this obsession with Mason jars, I've completely and utterly fallen in love with them. I use them for storing dry goods, for storing leftovers, for freezing leftovers, for anything I can find to do with them. I'm learning and adding to my wishlist all the wonderful ideas I find of what I can do with Mason jars. They're inexpensive, easy to clean, easy to label, easy to fill and sturdy.... I'm a klutz.

Last fall I had a mouse invasion. Now I want to be clear about what I consider an invasion, one or two mice, while annoying, aren't terribly bothersome to me. I don't hate mice, at least not house mice, they're actually kinda cute. But when, between the cat & I, we managed to catch (and this is just those we caught) a dozen house mice in just over a week PLUS two very large specimens of deer mice (which freak me out, these suckers were eating the house mice in the traps I set out!!), well, that's an invasion. I was chasing mice at 2 AM, I was throwing out food, I was loosing sleep from stress and I nearly lost it when I found the deer mice.

Never really been a fan of that super expensive plastic storage product. I have plenty of it, but it always seemed to make the items we don't use as often smell kinda.... well, weird. (For the record, my olfactory sense is rather sensitive). So when I found some glass jars, then some 2 quart Mason jars, I went glass crazy. I've not turned back. Mice can't chew through glass, dust doesn't get in, no weird odours no matter how long it sits and glass is far more environmentally and health friendly.

My pantry has quickly become a showcase of glass and I love the Mason jars so much I got a new shelf, set it up proudly in my kitchen and proceeded to fill the jars and I think it looks quite aesthetic :). I'll go into more detail another time but I had to give a quick history so I could lead into the conversation I had with my 11-year old son this morning.

 Pointing to this lovely jar of artistically layered nuts, seeds & dried cranberries....

Me: "I really want to eat these nuts but I can't, they're too pretty !

Spaz: Grabs the jar, "Hey! Peanuts!"

Me: "NO! Don't eat those nuts, they're pretty!"

Spaz: "MY pretty nuts!! "

Me: "snicker.... giggle.... Bwahahahahaha!!!"

Spaz: Looks at me quizzically, realises what he has said.... O_o "Never mind!!", and returns jar to shelf.

Have a terrific Thursday!!

Love & prayers,
~Miss Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

Saturday, February 25, 2012

GF Pumpkin Rice Pudding... Dessert you can eat for breakfast.

I believe this is my first recipe that I have posted here, but most assuredly will not be my last. I was busy with other things today so I didn't get any photos taken. I'll add one tomorrow of the finished pudding and try to remember step by step photos next time I make it because I WILL be making it again :D.

I kinda knew what I wanted, but I couldn't quite find the recipe I was looking for. I love pumpkin pie, but due to gluten sensitivities I've had to stop having it and I'm just not a fan of no-crust pies. I do have a GF pie crust mix, but I'll use that for a special occasion. Pumpkin is really very good for you. It's a nice bright orange squash, with the anti-oxidants alpha & beta-carotene, has plenty of fibre to keep things "moving", vitamins C and E, potassium and magnesium. Best of all, pumpkin does NOT have to be just a desert thing, I do lots of different things with pumpkin that are easy, quick and delicious (if you like pumpkin of course). I'll post those another time :). (Oh, I feed it to my dogs and cats too, very good for them and they love it.)

I'm lazy, I sort of have reason to be lazy, but the truth of it is, I'm still lazy, so I use canned pumpkin. Maybe, just maybe, next autumn, when pumpkin is cheap cheap I'll can my own, maybe. Make sure you buy pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling and read the ingredients to be sure it is 100% PURE Pumpkin (sorry to repeat myself, but it's important)! I actually buy No Name® or E.D. Smith® canned pumpkin, depending on the size of can I want and which is on sale. I always have several of both the 398ml (14oz.) and the 796ml (28oz) cans in my pantry. I also use brown rice for well... everything, as it is healthier than white. I tend to make a lot as we like our rice, so I make sure there is enough leftover for rice pudding. Let's get on with it....

Pumpkin Rice Pudding - Gluten Free

700ml (3 c.) Cooked, brown rice
1- 796ml (28 oz) can of 100% pure pumpkin
475 ml (2 c.) Almond Breeze® -unsweetened, original
                  (coconut milk or even 3.25% cow's milk works too)
10 ml (2 tsp) Pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)
120 ml (1/2 c.) Maple syrup
30 ml (2 tbsp.) frozen orange juice concentrate (do not add water)
5 ml (1 tsp.) pure vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine rice, pumpkin, Almond Breeze®, pumpkin pie spice, & orange juice concentrate. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the vanilla extract (more if you like vanilla) and stir well.
Serve warm, top with vanilla or Balkan yogurt and drizzle some more maple syrup over if desired.

I've stored my leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator, other similar recipes indicate it keeps up to two days, if it lasts that long without getting eaten, I'll let you know :). I really loved this as a healthy, almost bed time, snack (I try not to eat too close to actually going to bed).

If you try it, let me know what you think. I'd also love to hear of any variations or additions you've made and enjoyed.

Love & prayers,
~Miss Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

ps. I've finally uploaded a photo, go me *\o/* lol. I topped the rice with a big spoonful of Balkan plain yoghurt, sprinkled cinnamon on it and drizzled about a tbsp. of maple syrup.... soooo yummy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just Another Speed Bump....

Oh goody, a new format to confuse me with, not that confusing me is all that difficult ;).

Now, why am I here today? Oh yes, trying to get back into writing, amongst other things. I know how much my readers miss me ;) (Or miss having some nice dull material for nights when insomnia hits). If you've been following me for any resemblance of time, you probably know I'm a wee bit scatterbrained, just a bit :D, and I have issues sticking to things; the health end of it doesn't help but sometimes I confess I use it as a crutch. FMS and CFS are real, it is frustrating to live with, it can be debilitating, but I've spent so many years feeling yucky, and tired, and in pain and just plain ill that even on good days I have no idea where to start.

With the help of some very amazing and strong and supportive friends and some well deserved kicks in the rear I was ready this week, both mentally and physically, to attack some much needed projects. I set up to go ColdTurkey with the internet (getcoldturkey), I made a list, I told people I was busy this week and couldn't play my iPhone games, couldn't visit, I needed to focus. And then I got sick. First it was food poisoning, something I've rarely been afflicted with thankfully. Then it went from bad to worse, I don't want to go into what I'm ill with but suffice to say it threw a great big monkey wrench into my plans. Fatigued, wanting to sleep all day, my FMS flared up as it does when I'm afflicted with a bad virus so I was in constant pain and I started to slide into depression as my plans were once again foiled with things far beyond my control.

The fibro fog set in and I couldn't think clearly , I became very downhearted and frustrated. Not just for the lack of being able to continue with my plans, but I felt I was letting people down; letting my kids down, letting my mom down and letting my friends down. Then, I reached out to a friend, and very gently, she took me (figuratively) by the hand (or was it dragging me by the ear? lol) and helped me take control of the things I could control. Like simple meal planning to make it easier for me while I heal, making sure I got the medications I needed once some money came in, taking other steps to help me heal faster, and just focus on resting and getting better.

I am not sharing all this to vent, my dearest friend got the brunt of that and she dealt with it (me?) admirably. While there are things in our lives we cannot control, we can work around and even with them. We, and by 'we' I really mean 'I', need to remind ourselves of this often and regularly, we need to keep in mind that the speed bumps are what make us strong and that our friends are there to push us over those, so in turn, when they hit a speed bump, we can be strong enough to help them.

Love & prayers,
~Miss Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Business 101

I had expected that I'd write far more about the struggle of consumer rights against big business than I did. Another one of those things on my todo list that never happened, but I will give a quick synopsis before moving on.

We won a single battle (not the campaign) in that the company in question reversed the disagreeable changes that had destroyed the fun in the game, this AFTER 100's of emails were sent, forum topics started and shut down and finally a worldwide 24-hour blackout staged by the players. I have no idea how many actually took part in the blackout, but the word was those that didn't, found the games to be quite deserted. Quite honestly, it still boggles my mind the ripples that were caused by my one little stand, I'm no hero, I'm not a political activist or a lawyer, I'm one person, a SAHM, I believe in being treated with respect, that's it. A quick comment here on my view on capitalism, I have no desire to put any company out of business, I understand the need to make money for R&D, to pay the bills & the employees, I wouldn't play the games at all if they were bad games, but there are business practices that are fair and there are those that are unfair, and when money is literally being stolen from people, I'm sorry, that is very bad business. When a company doesn't listen to the customer - also very bad business.

The campaign for a fair product is still a process that continues to be ignored. This game development company continues to ignore the requests of their end users; is it really so hard to install a confirm purchase button to prevent unexpected charges to credit cards and to ask for sensible prices for in-app purchases? Who is going to pay $50 just to make their fake farm bigger?? Is it illogical to consider that if you do choose to make a purchase that you should no longer be spammed with advertisements? Is it unreasonable to want to protect ourselves on-line? For nearly a year players have requested a block feature to prevent cyber bullying, which I myself have experienced on the games. I have seen good people, paying customers, quit because they were so poorly treated by these "trolls" with no real way to protect themselves. These are realistic requests and have been on the "wish list" of players since not long after the games were made available; a free app that is decidedly NOT free (some have spent 100's and even 1000's of dollars), if you play any of these on-line simulation games will understand what I mean.

I was reluctant to outright share the name of the company, I like the games, they are fun games and really, they're quite clever. But last I checked we do have freedom of speech and I'm not saying actually anything against the company, just suggesting that perhaps they remember the age old business adage, the customer is always(usually) right. So TeamLava (developer team for Storm8), what say you? Maybe time to hire a customer representative... that actually listens to the customer.

~Miss Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Odd choices....

Something that's always important to me is to stand up to the injustices in the world, even the small ones that some people don't think matter. But why don't they matter? If something is making someone unhappy, or many people unhappy, it matters! So unexpectedly to me, after a long absence, my next few posts will be something many of my original followers will not quite "get" and completely of topic from anything else I've written about.

I needed a central place to send people for information. The people I'm hoping will come are those that play games with me, literally lol. I have become, for lack of a better word, addicted to a certain genre of game on my iPhone. Not because of the game, but because of the lovely people I've been blessed to meet on there. The developers are not customer friendly, there are loads of glitches, it's time consuming, and if you're not careful it can get expensive. But the people we meet, they're awesome!

So recently the developers/owners of this line of games made some very huge changes without notifying their customers. Nothing, no warning, no notice, people just slowly realised things weren't quite right. The word got around, players got upset, we went on the forums, some sent emails, to no avail. So I've taken up the cause, to stand up and encourage others to make a stand as well. Together we'll either make a small change in the world, or we'll walk away knowing we did our best, and having made many more wonderful friends in the process. Wish us luck please!!

Love & prayers,
~Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **