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Facebook Friends

This past week, I decided to take a different approach to Facebook because I just wasn’t feeling authentic about the whole social media world. With sincerity guiding me, I went through my “friend” list and started unfriending people because (a) I don’t really know them; (b) I’ve known them for decades but have not kept in contact with them (grade school or high school acquaintances); (c) I do business with them; or (d) because they are in another group of acquaintances (i.e. kids of friends). It’s not that I don’t like these people. In fact, there are several “friends” that seem very nice but whom I hardly know which makes sharing personal moments awkward.  Read more »


Where does $1 to American Homeless Vets go?

This past week, my phone rang and a woman identifying herself as “Laurie” from “American Homeless Vets” was calling to request a donation. The organization is actually the Center for American Homeless Veterans but doing business as American Homeless and Disabled Veterans (AHDV) and also known as the Association for Homeless and Disabled Veterans. Sound confusing?  It is but the mission of the organization is very clear. AHDV is an advocacy organization (a non-profit 501 (c) (4)) that educates the public about homeless veterans and creating awareness of solutions to this problem. They publish, print, and distribute The Veteran’s Vision and they outreach to congress regarding the needs of homeless veterans. Read more »


Thug Kitchen Party Grub

Gotta bake bread to break it.

There are four aspects essential to a good cookbook (meaning a cookbook that spends more time on the countertop than on a book shelf).

  • First, the cookbook must contain colorful pictures of the finished product. Pictures inspire cooks to take the leap and make the dish and although my finished dish may not look as polished as the one in the cookbook, there is usually a close resemblance (note: all of the pictures below of the finished dishes were made by me).
  • Second, the recipes have to call for mostly fresh and easily recognizable ingredients. No strange ingredients that require a special trip to search the aisles of specialty markets are allowed.
  • Third, the recipes can’t be too complicated because who wants to spend hours making dishes that everyone devours in 15 minutes?
  • And, finally the food has to taste really good as in “delicious, can I have seconds; this recipe is a repeat.”  Read more »

Where does $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project go?

The Wounded Warrior Project is one of the most well-known non-profit charitable organizations focused on rebuilding the lives of wounded veterans. Established in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida with about 500 employees. A 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, their mission is to “honor and empower wounded warriors.” Read more »


The Rice Bowl (without the rice)

Rice bowls are the “it bowls” of the moment with the popularity of this one-bowl meal growing exponentially day by day because of its versatility. The basic concept of a rice bowl is to cover a mound of rice with vegetables, beans, and/or tofu with the possibilities virtually endless because there are so many types of ingredients to choose from, even if rice seems to be the foundation. But what if you skip the rice and stick to vegetables and tofu? Well then, you’ll have a rice bowl without the rice:  a delicious, crunchy, colorful bowl of vegetables with seasoned tofu. Read more »


“My Name is Lucy Barton”

Elizabeth Strout – the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, recently published My Name is Lucy Barton, a novel that explores one person’s emotional quest to connect with her mother. Told from the perspective of Lucy Barton, the 188 page novel tells the story of a woman who longed to escape her childhood and become a writer in New York City. Along the way, she marries and has two daughters, embracing motherhood. When she enters a hospital to have a routine appendectomy, a complication arrises that results in a 9 week hospital stay. While her husband is busy working and her two young daughters cared for by an overzealous nanny, Lucy whiles away the days until her mother shows up to visit – a mother she hasn’t seen since she before she was married. Read more »


The Shiranuhi Tangerine

Five years ago, a group of California citrus growers introduced the super sweet easy-to-peel seedless SUMO orange to the public.  A specialty gourmet orange that was originally grown in Japan, the seedlings were brought to California after growers realized citrus loving Americans were missing out on one of the tastiest fruits available. Read more »


Where does $1 to the American Humane Association Go?

The American Humane Association (AHA) claims to be the “nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals” by reaching “millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses.” They do this, according to the 2014 IRS Form 990 primarily four ways: Read more »


Farmhouse Tomatoes

The difference between a bland tomato and a great one is immense, much like the difference between a standard, sliced white bread and a crusty, aromatic sourdough.     ~Yotam Ottolenghi

Nearly all of America’s winter tomatoes are grown in Florida and California because of the mild climate and long growing season needed to take a seedling with a few green leaves to mature into a vine full of tomatoes. Most of these tomatoes have been bred to ripen uniformly red and round, although historically America’s favorite “fruit” has been a myriad of colors and shapes, which are not attributes coveted by retailers who value consistency and predictability. Read more »


The Triplet

My motto for a handbag used to be “the bigger the better” but searing shoulder pain and frustration at my inability to find anything in what my husband calls “the big black hole” led me to rethink my lifelong penchant for carrying a huge purse. Enter the “Triplet” – an 8 inch by 5.5 inch by 2 inch crossbody purse (that can also be carried as a pouch by simply detaching the strap) with three separate compartments with top zipper closures that gives new meaning to “great things come in small packages.” Read more »