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  1. I feel so sad for the loss of a cat that I never met in 'person'. Grandpa Mason will be missed. I'm hoping that Aura (aka 'Auracuda') will take over for him. I know she's good at giving Wet Willies, but I'm not sure about her hair-styling skills. For those of you who didn't keep up with Grandpa Mason (and his kittens), there are some great videos on the tinykittens site and on their Facebook page (and on the Grandpa Mason and his kittens page as well).
  2. BooksRule

    I Need a Recipe!

    I'm exploring some non-meat options for meals. I already eat lots of sauteed/steamed veggies and am a big fan of most kinds of beans and also brown rice. I grew up on red beans and rice and -- one of my mom's best go-to meals -- large lima beans with sausage (yum!). However, I'm trying to find good recipes for beans (sometimes paired with brown rice) that are still tasty without the meat. I know that I can add tomatoes to some recipes, and onions are always good. But, does anyone have some good recipes? I want to make a pot of the large lima beans soon, but am not sure of what to add in to make it flavorful (am also thinking about black bean recipes). If I add onion, should chopped onion be added raw to let the pieces cook with the beans? Should I saute them first (maybe let them begin to brown) and add them in near the end? What about seasoning? Red pepper flakes? Garlic? I do know how to cook pots of beans--I've been cooking them for years. But, I've always relied on meat (sausage or bacon--sometimes more, sometimes just a little) to give flavor (along with onion and the occasional bay leaf). I'm just not sure how to cook them totally vegetarian and still have good flavor.
  3. It's full dark outside and I swear I hear a lawn mower somewhere in the neighborhood. I guess if it's a riding mower with lights and you don't have a lot that you can run into (or over), it's workable. I'm really trying to stick to my healthy eating regimen (I try not to use the word 'diet'), but faced a challenge this evening when I attended a 'meet and greet' on campus for the faculty, staff and students. They had pasta, egg rolls, empanadas (sp?), spinach/cheese dip with homemade pita chips, fruit and pastries. I managed to control myself and had a couple of servings of penne pasta with marinara sauce (I resisted the creamy alfredo sauce which I love), some of the veggies, ONE veggie eggroll, and some fruit. I did splurge on some fruit juice because I was tired of water. I brought home one lemon bar and one pecan pie bar to put in the fridge for my once-a-week 'cheat meal', but that's not until this coming weekend. It'll be a test of my willpower to see if I can resist them until then. I really have to be strict with myself, because if I don't get some pounds off during the next couple of months, it'll get even harder, since there are always so many temptations during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.
  4. I'm off work today and planned on doing nothing but cleaning house this weekend. I can't remember when my entire house was all clean. I will clean some rooms and let others get dusty. I keep up with the laundry, but tend to leave the clean clothes piled on the couch in the den and pick up items as I need them. Of course, as usual, I ended up not doing as much as I had hoped. I did get some closets, bookcases, and cabinets straightened out and cleaned. (Which means that to anyone walking into my house, it doesn't look any different, but I know I got some things done.) I want to get at least two full rooms cleaned today, so I'm scrubbing down my bathroom and hope to get the hall bath (aka the 'cats' bathroom') done before I go to bed tonight. We'll see. I'm alternating cleaning with watching movies that I've recorded. I had to get a new cable box because the old one was pixelating my recordings, and the new one has a ton more memory than the old one. So the movies have piled up. I need to clear some off, though, because space is getting low. I've been re-watching 'Galaxy quest' today along with a few Disneys ('Lilo & Stitch' and 'WALL-E' so far and 'Moana' and 'Finding Dory' yet to come). It's rainy and gloomy outside, so I'm happy to stay inside instead of being obligated to do some yard work (which is why I usually take a day off).
  5. I've never experienced more than a snowfall of about 2-3 inches (not where I live--we're lucky if we get about an inch of snow every few years that melts as soon as the sun comes out). My snow experiences would have been in North Carolina years ago and a few years later in Albuquerque. I've never experienced an earthquake (or at least not one I could actually feel--my state is along the New Madrid Fault and there are supposed to have been some fairly strong earthquakes along it many years ago, but not too recently). I never even seen a tornado in real life (or even a water spout and during the summer they are always being filmed and shown on the local news, but never anywhere I'm at--which is fine with me). I guess my lack of 'weather experiences' is balanced by having been through at least 6 hurricanes (from Camille to Katrina). My two cents about heat vs. cold is that the perfect weather is in the low to mid-sixties with low humidity. 'Long-sleeve' weather. That's just me, though.
  6. Jeepers, but it's hot outside! I mowed my yard yesterday (92 degrees with a heat index of around 105). I mowed a couple of laps around and came inside for A/C and ice water for about 45 minutes. Then, it was back outside for another few laps. I did get the front and side yards done in about three stages (the back yard is a little scraggly, but there's so little grass that it can wait). That was definitely it for the day. Today, it was a bit cooler ('only' a high of 89/90, and a heat index of 102) and I got my carport cleaned off (moving the car out, taking some stray gardening things around the back to the patio, sweeping, and putting the car back). I also pulled a few weeds from a side flower bed (I got it cleaned out recently and mulched and I'm trying not to let it get away from me again weed-wise). The orange and white neighborhood cat that has kept me company when I've done yard work showed up and let me pet her. She (or maybe a he--I can't see through the fluff) was panting when she walked up so I got a dish of cool water from the house, but all she did was put her paws in it and fling water around. I tried. When I came in a few minutes ago, she was stretched out on my front porch in the shade of a nearby tree. I'm wiped out. I was going to actually cook some dinner, but I'm so tired that I might just fix a green salad with some chicken in it later. I can't wait for fall and some cool weather (which around here will probably be in mid-October).
  7. I've re-heated from-scratch white rice (put in a dish with a cover along with a spoonful or two of water--which helps it to steam and separate when you microwave it), but I wasn't sure about the frozen kind since it initially comes out of the microwave a little mushier than 'regular' rice. I have heard that you can re-heat rice that you've frozen. I really need to cook a big batch of brown rice from scratch and freeze portions.
  8. I do have a rice cooker and need to begin cooking brown rice from scratch, but right now I 'cheat' and use Bird's Eye Steamfresh frozen. Two servings in a bag (I use both servings for my dinner), 300 calories per bag and 4 minutes in the microwave. Easy Peasy and only a dollar a bag at my local Wal Mart. The only drawback is that if you only want one serving, I don't know if the other one can be refrigerated and re-heated. It might get mushy.
  9. I have a 'go to' meal that I make that consists of sauteed onions, brown rice (zapped in the microwave), a chicken breast filet cut into little pieces, and sometimes a bag of broccoli florets. I drizzle a little stir fry sauce on top and mix together. It tastes good, but I always say that it looks like the dog's dinner.
  10. I'm in the South, and at least the schools are air-conditioned. I'm not sure if there was A/C in the schools when I started elementary school (would have been in the mid-sixties), but it would have been unbearable here in this hot, humid climate without it. I'm showing my ignorance here. Are schools in the northern states (and maybe the northwest) air-conditioned? I know a lot of people don't have A/C at home (although if you don't have a lot of really hot weather, you probably don't need it). Of course, here we don't have to use whatever heating system we have very much in the winter, since we don't have a lot of really cold weather here.
  11. The schools in my area started this week (different cities, different days). This is way too early. In my day (as I rock on the porch, shaking my cane at the kiddies, ha ha!) we didn't go back to school until after Labor Day (of course, we went way into the first part of June, if I recall, and schools get out here sometime in May now).
  12. I think he bailed before the episode was over. If he had stayed, though, I would definitely have wanted to see a follow-up.
  13. I caught a few minutes of a couple of A&E's episodes this morning, and at least two of the hoarders said (while the camera panned around rooms packed feet high with stuff), 'there's some clutter' or 'it's a little cluttered'. I just pictured Inigo Montoya saying 'You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means'. And this gem: 'I'm not a hoarder. I just have a lot of stuff.' Finally, I had to laugh at the situation of the hoarder (the one who said she just had a lot of stuff) whose new boyfriend (a neat freak) commented that the first time he visited her place he 'had never washed more silverware before in his life'.
  14. I wish I'd known that Sundance Channel was starting their Criminal Minds rotation over today. I did catch a couple of episodes while I was doing some chores around the house this evening. I had 'The Fox' on in the background and had to come back in the room when the song 'Illabye' by Tipper started playing. I know that they've used it in a couple of other episodes, but I find it really haunting. Definitely a demented lullaby, it brings up a vision of Rosemary's Baby's nursery or something.
  15. Had to take one of my cats to the vet this morning, because her feline viral rhinopneumonitis (aka 'The Herpes') flared up, complete with sneezing fits and lots of snot rockets. She's had it appear every year or so, but I know it's been less often since she's been on a supplement that's supposed to help boost her immune system. She was pretty good at the vet, although there were some growls and a few hisses (and lots of loose fur wafting around). When I got home and opened the carrier, she slunk out and disappeared. I probably won't see her until dinnertime, but I know my other cat will torment her with spits and hisses (basically being a real butthead) because her sister smells 'wrong'. It will take a couple of days before everything calms down. And, because they are both overdue for their annual check-ups and shots, I'll get to go through this again when they visit the dreaded vet.
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