Friday, April 18, 2014

I wish you all a very blessed Easter!

Today is Good Friday and as a Christian, I commemorate it as the day when Jesus gave up his life for us.  On this day He was crucified and died on the cross so that all who believe in Him will have eternal life.  I am not a real religious person but I am very spiritual and I believe in and love the Lord with all my heart.  Good Friday is always a sad day for me but Sunday is coming!  May you all have a very blessed Easter! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Martha Stewart Living May 2014 issue is loaded with good things!

And yes, I know you love the cover!  Me too and the first place I went was to "On The Cover" in the Contents just to get the directions on how to make those cones.  Here’s the link -  There are nine clip-art patterns and then you will need to buy translucent vellum paper to print them on.  Walmart has it at $8.22 for 30 sheets.  I checked online already - Translucent VellumFill the cones with grocery store flowers are make your own and there are directions for that in this issue also – see “Fabric Flowers Are Forever”.  You do remember that May 11th is Mother’s Day right? 

A few pages before the DIY fabric flowers and vellum cones, Martha writes about technology and I like reading about new tech products.  I may not need as many as she has but it’s good to know they are out there.  I never specifically go browsing on the web or anywhere else for those things but I appreciate that she does and is willing to report back to us.  Her remote control drone looks like something my son would be interested in.  I’m surprised he doesn’t have one already but he’s a little busy with his new motorcycle gear at the moment so…  The Fitbit Flex and smart scale monitor sound interesting also.  The scale can monitor weight, body fat and BMI and the Flex band can monitor sleep patterns.  I wonder if the scale has a voice that says “you’re too fat” or if the Flex band will say “wake up, you’re snoring again!”  I could use both of those!  The scale costs $130 and the band is $100 and I think either one would make a great Mother’s Day gift.  I’ll drop a hint to my son and maybe he’ll catch on by Christmas! 

I have been so hungry for baked potatoes lately, and then this May issue came in the mail with 5 different ways to eat one.   It’s like they read my mind!  On the other three recipe cards you will find “Spaghetti with Tuna and Caper Sauce” and “Shrimp with tomatoes, spinach and Rice”, and “Polenta with white-bean and roasted-pepper ragout” that I must try.   I have never eaten polenta.  Also, check out “Quiche 101” and “Better Basics” with new twists on old favorites.  I’m glad I bought a big bag of potatoes so after I bake a few; I can make the ones that taste like French fries but are not deep-fried.  Wait until you see the quartered chicken with herb sauce that you can make to go with the potatoes, or do the potatoes go with the chicken?  Either way, you might as well get your chicken and rosemary now because you’ll want to try both of these recipes.  While you’re at the store, don’t forget this issue because there are more good things to read about but I saved those surprises for you.  Think flowers and bulletin boards though.   

That’s it for now because I’m off to finish reading about the 20-room Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Say that fast five times!  It’s on page 90 and I’m already wishing I was staying there in one of the rooms!  I think I better make copies of those clip-art patterns first.        

Monday, April 14, 2014

Forced Arbitration Clauses/Laws must be banned!

Patients sit in the TV room in their wheelchairs after breakfast until lunch, after lunch until dinner and after dinner until bedtime.  If their funds haven’t run out, some will go to therapy and before dinner, they can also be wheeled down to the music room if they so desire.  Most never go outside unless family visits and wants to wheel them out.  After 5 months of visiting my sister, I was quite familiar with this nursing home's routine.
Just this morning I read the following from this source.

“More and more nursing home corporations are using forced arbitration clauses as a way to avoid accountability for their negligence.  Inserted in the fine print of lengthy admission documents, many families are unaware they have signed away their rights until something tragic happens.
Families who face the stress and anxiety of placing a loved one in a nursing home are often in a frazzled state when signing these contracts and sometimes have no other options for care.  Nursing homes frequently use tactics like allowing family members with no power of attorney to sign, asking patients with dementia or other debilitating conditions, forcing elderly spouses to sign and even gathering together a group of seniors without family members present in order to force them to sign.”

And from another source "Have You Signed Away Your Right to Sue I derived the following information:

It appears that "judges love arbitration."  It was reported in the above article that they don’t want lengthy expensive trials and overcrowded dockets especially when some of those same District Court judges can become arbitration judges also, making upwards to 10,000 a day. I say that certainly adds considerably to their base salaries of $165,200 which was also mentioned in the article.  
I know of one nursing home in particular that does little to help patients.  As soon as their Medicare runs out, the patient’s therapy treatments end and they don’t even inform the family until it is too late. Too late means that regular therapy to learn how to walk again won’t work.  By this time, the patient has gone without walking for so long that a personal therapist would be needed which would cost money if the patient remains in the nursing home.  But, if they are discharged from the nursing home or the hospital, they would then be eligible for home care/therapy for which Medicare would pay.  

When one of my sisters was a patient in a nursing home and her medical ran out, the nursing home did not inform us.  They simply kept her in a wheelchair or in her bed with no chance of learning how to walk again as they did what?  Apparently they were waiting for her to wither away and die.  All the while, we thought she was getting therapy when it had run out weeks before and when we asked why she still couldn’t walk, they’d say her medicine was making her groggy and so she missed some therapy lessons or she had swollen feet or a sore and so they kept her in bed.
Nursing homes get billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid and it looks to me that they want to keep it all for their own use.  That clearly explains why they are so fond of forced arbitration clauses in their contracts and why they don’t worry about being accountable for their own negligence.  All I can say from experience is, “Don’t sign those kinds of contracts before discussing it with your lawyer.”  It is true that shortly after a patient is admitted, things begin to show up in their medical files.  It might be an unexplained scratch on their arm, swollen feet, a bruise on their buttocks, a trip to the hospital for a blood transfusion and trust me, they don’t give the patients enough fluids to drink.  Muscles get weak and cramp up without daily fluids and especially water. 
They also put most patients in diapers and assume they all have their movements at the same time every day because this particular nursing home follows a schedule of changing diapers.  Too bad if your movement was two hours before lunch; you will not be getting changed until one hour after lunch!   If a patient yells for an aid to help her walk to the restroom, the aid will only assist if another aid can stay in the room and watch the other patients.  They have even asked me to keep an eye out for anyone trying to get out of their chairs.  Clearly, they do not have a big enough staff!
Nursing homes need to make a living too with paying customers but beware when your money runs out and Medicaid might be pending.  Who knows what might happen when your bed is needed by someone who isn’t waiting for Medicaid to lend a helping hand!  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Harvest Roast Chicken w Olives, Grapes & Rosemary from Smitten Kitchen

On the first Wednesday of each month, The Palm Beach Post distributes an edition of DASH which has simple, fast and delicious recipes from various sources such as epicurious, bon app├ętit, Gourmet and Parade.

I’ve been collecting them since September of 2012 and have made several of the recipes.

I put the Fall 2013 edition on the top because that is the one with the Harvest Roast Chicken with Olives, Grapes and Rosemary recipe that I made on Friday.  It was very good and my picky son liked it too, especially with the Kalamata olives and grapes.  He wasn’t too keen on the shallots though but I was!  It was a recipe for Parade submitted by Deb Perelman and SmittenKitchen and you can find the recipe here.

 The ingredients you will need.  1-1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken, skin on or off, whichever you prefer and salt and pepper.  Also seedless grapes, shallots, rosemary, chicken broth and Kalamata olives, olive oil for browning the chicken, and white wine to add to the sauce if you wish.

I used skinless and boneless chicken breasts and only 1-1/2 pounds of it so I had to adjust the amount of chicken broth.  I used more of it in the oven to keep it moist since there wasn’t any skin drippings.  It turned out fine – maybe not as browned because I didn’t want to dry it up in the frying pan, but I think just as tasty.  I don't eat the skin anyway.

I can't use cast iron on my NuWave cooktop so I used stainless steel and since my chicken was skinless, I didn't brown it too much for fear it would dry out.  This 11.5 inch pan fits nicely in my NuWave oven.

Next step is to add the grapes, olives, shallots and chopped rosemary.

And then roast for 20 minutes.  One serving is missing along with lots of grapes and olives.  I forgot to take a picture before serving my son and I also didn't add the wine to the sauce.

This was my portion pictured with yellow rice and canned peas.  My sister ate half of one piece of chicken, sans the grapes and olives but with rice and peas.  I'm the only one who likes fresh or frozen peas so I rarely buy them.  The combination of grapes, shallots, olives and rosemary guarantees I will make this again!  Thanks Deb Perelman for a delicious recipe! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'll Get Along Without You - something written by me.

I haven’t had much time to cook, garden or craft lately so I decided to post one of my ‘song lyrics’, and I say that mostly with tongue in cheek than in all seriousness.  Excuse the corny lingo but I wrote this years ago after a break-up with one of my boyfriends.  I even had a melody going on in my head at the time but I have no idea how it went.  Maybe you can take a few words out and sing a melody of your own.  Most songs today are baby, baby, baby, I love you, love you love, etc. etc. etc.  Just kidding –or am I!

I'll Get along without You      
Trish Castro


If you pass me on the street,
Just say hello.
If you get the urge to call,
Just let it go.
Let’s keep this parting final,
I accept that you are gone,
And you don't have to worry,
I'll be fine - I'll get along.

     I'll get along without you,
     Like I did before we met.
     I'll live my life alone, Babe,
     But with mem'ries,
     You can bet.
     There's no need to worry,
     I know you had to go.
     Oh, I'll get along Babe,
     I just wanted you to know.

I still wear the ring you gave me,
If that’s okay.
It glitters through my teardrops,
On gloomy days.
It makes me think of Mondays,
That’s the day we named our song.
We sang of love forever,
But its okay - I'll get along.

     I'll get along without you,
     Like I did before we met.
     I'm going to live alone, Babe,
     I have mem'ries,
     You can bet.
     There's no need to worry,
     I know you had to go.
     But I'll get along Babe,
     I just wanted you to know.

     I'll get along without you,
     Like I did before we met.
     I'll live alone with mem'ries,
     I have them,
     You can bet.
     There's no need to worry,
     I know you had to go,
     But if it’s hard on you too Babe,
     I hope you'll let me know.
     Somehow…..please let me know.

 By the way, he let me know!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What to do with leftover Easter ham

There is nothing like planning a few days ahead and the above video with Martha and Lucinda Scala Quinn has some good recipes for that leftover Easter ham.  If you don't have a panini, just use a heavy pan such as an iron skillet and weigh your sandwich down with another heavy pan or maybe even a clean brick.  I've read that some people keep clean bricks in their kitchen just for this purpose.

I sometimes use my old Daisy Pick-a-Pocket sandwich maker.  I think the lid is almost as heavy as a panini maker but of course, there's no flat surface.  I simply put my sandwich on the right or left and yes, it still comes out with little side pockets but tastes good to me!

  As you can see, it has been used a lot and sometimes the cheese sticks but it still works.  

I'm going to cook a ham this year just so I can make my Daisy panini sandwiches on rye!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crafting flowers and more for my Easter table.

This is the centerpiece I made.

I had hoped to post a new blog before today but I’ve been busier than a one-legged woman in a butt kicking contest since Thursday.  Things are finally winding down and I’ve had a chance to upload my pictures to my files.  Lately I’ve been doing my crafting in the wee hours before I go to bed but that’s not a good time to take pictures.  I prefer the sun over using the flash so I end up leaving my mess until morning just to grab a few pictures.

The other day when I was trying out the two different settings on my scalloped circle punch, the design on the right resembled a flower to me - well almost so….

...I got out my scissors and made a few cuts.

 And then I added a center by gluing in circles I made with my hole punch.

Next I needed a stem which I cut from my flexible garden tie and wrapped it around a tongue depressor.

Hot glue holds the petal on the stem perfectly and tape holds the depressor on the cardboard base.  I actually didn't tape it down until I added more flowers...

...such as you see here.  I have a big piece of cardboard in the center.  I cut the grass with my shredder scissors and I made the fence with card stock paper.  The color is Martha's Sycamore Bark craft paint and I drew the lines with a brown sharpie.  Both sides of the fence are the same.

I thought a few eggs here and there would look nice so I made a pattern and cut a few out of craft paper.  I bought the Polka-Dot plant at Publix and painted a butterfly to stick on the planter.

Publix had a nice Begonia plant too that needed a butterfly.

As you can see, the planters were colorful but a little plain.

A couple more baskets for the kids should do it!

 Oh, I almost forgot.  I'm always saving things I think I can craft with and so the pattern for my large craft paper eggs came from a Hoffman's Chocolate ad in one of last week's papers.  I simply traced their egg onto cardboard and cut it out.  Thanks Hoffman's!