About Me

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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Where have I been?

This isn’t exactly a food post, but it is an update of sorts. It is also the most serious post I’ve written.  I swore I did a blog post in 2019. (I was wrong, but I have a great excuse for 2018. Mea culpa. My father passed away in June, while my mom was still going through chemo.) My friend Michelle came in August and gave much-needed help with getting things more organized around here. Some of it stuck and some of it didn’t. But she has my everlasting thanks! Thankfully, Mom is still here and sassy as ever.

Now, 2019 was loads better, though we were still tying up loose ends. Mom was declared cancer-free in January, had a minor stroke in February that miraculously seems to have no long-term side effects, and she, my Aunt Maggie and their friend Sally took a month-long driving odyssey from Florida, out west and back to the Midwest (and in Maggie’s case, out east again, solo). During the trip, Mom saw 11 states she had not previously set foot (or car tires) into before.

It was a year for trips - Michelle and I also went to England together, setting off July 28, and returning to the U.S. August 8. I flew to CT first (closest airport to her) and met three of her four young adults before I kidnapped her. (Please advise me whether or not kidnapped is the right choice of word - can you kidnap the willing?) We saw Bath, where I ogled the Assembly Rooms (have wanted to see them for years), our friend, Sarah’s home in Ipswich (we also toured the medieval town), a tide mill in a neighboring town I’m too lazy to look up, London (where we spent good chunks of two days on a double-decker bus as well as touring Buckingham Palace), and Brighton (where we saw the gloriously opulent Pavilion). It was a whirlwind 11-day trip, and I was grateful to relax a couple of days at Chez Michelle before heading back to Detroit.

The scones were delicious! The pub food and - believe it or not - a pizza chain also provided some awesome food. Did I mention we had tea at Buckingham Palace? Well, hot cocoa, actually. I had scones, somewhat predictably (see pics). Michelle, Sarah, Simon (Sarah’s husband), and I also had tea at the Brighton Pavilion. We made a lot of great memories and I want to go back someday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been enlightening, in some good ways and some horrible ways.

We don’t need a lot of things we think we need. People are more important than having my way right now and going to (fill in the blank). Lots of folks, including me learned how to Zoom and how to make adjustments to work at home. I’m still working on the gas tank I filled over two months ago.

There are a lot more people than I thought who are one illness or one shutdown away from financial catastrophe. There is not the same spirit of helpfulness that pervaded after 9/11, probably due mostly to fear, with notable exceptions (people on the front line caring for people as well as those in service jobs). Some of it was a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) kind of reaction. “I don’t have health issues; why should I stay home?” “I need my d—- hair cut and my nails done.” “Our part of the state doesn’t have a problem; why do we need to stay home?” Those were the mild comments. Others were quite shocking.

Staying home and staying safe gave us time to reflect (and some of us did do that). My mom and I are both reading a lot. We watch live stream Mass from our church online or sometimes on TV. We also
watch design shows regularly, which gives us ideas about what to do next year (the downstairs bathroom is first in line).

TV can be a wonderful source of information one minute and horrify you the next. That horror is not all pandemic related. Or at least, not all related to COVID-19, which leads me to today, and shaking my head, like many other people, that we seem to have learned so little about how to treat people of all races.

It should be a no-brainer that a grown man doesn’t press his knee down on another guy’s neck. No, not even if arresting him - make that especially when arresting him. And if he does, another officer should stop him.

I don’t do political posts often; it’s not considered appropriate based on the journalistic ethics (yes, many of us still have those) that I learned at Central Michigan University. But as I watched a portion of George Floyd’s funeral, one thing leapt out at me. Racism, sexism, ageism, anti-LGBT behavior, all these things that keep America from realizing MLK’s “dream” need to go.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.





Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

We are celebrating the July 4 holiday a bit late with the family. It’s also going to be my moms’s early birthday celebration. Sadly, I won’t be there until later because I agreed to work before I knew this was planned. So hopefully the party will be going.

I’m also hoping Julie (whom my cousin Frank had the great fortune to marry!) makes the Fourth of July gelatin/cake dessert. It looks something like this and is delicious! And I’m also hoping they save me some! 
Ok
Listening to patriotic songs on YouTube today. 

Like this one from the American Revolution (though we stole it from the British). 



Thursday, February 15, 2018

'Hippie Food' sounds like a fascinating read

Food and how we eat it changes over time. 

I never knew what to do with tofu until I tried a vegetarian diet for a couple of weeks. I learned a few things during that time period, including that I feel weak going too long without any meat. A pescatarian diet (adding fish to a vegetarian diet), would be fine. Well, except for the fact that I love Mom's pot roast, bacon, a good burger and variations on chicken stir fry. 

While contemplating what, if any, changes I'd like to make in my diet, I ran across a fascinating article in the New York Times, about food evolution and, in particular, Jonathan Kauffman's "briskly entertaining history, 'Hippie Food,'" which it, it argues, "makes a convincing case for adding another legacy" to a list of ways the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s have changed our lives ... "the way we eat."

"Hippie Food" sounds like a fascinating read; here's the book purchase link. It's on my Amazon list. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Old cookbooks, real food and the dangers of online shopping

My friend, Michelle, and I had an interesting discussion a while back. 

It started with a search for a recipe she wanted from Plimouth Plantation involving rabbit with gooseberries. 

Armed with that knowledge, I went hunting and found it. 

Plimouth Plantation's website has an incredible assortment of books (including some cookbooks I thought Michelle might want to check out of her library, which is a great way to see if you'd use a cookbook). 

Ah, the dangers of online shopping abound. I did come up with some possibilities in terms of cookbooks for Michelle, but I probably saved half of them to my Amazon list. Here's the most recent addition to my list of desired cookbooks, Barefoot in Paris by Ina GartenAnd other books, too. If I got everything on my list and did nothing but read for a year, I still might not finish all of them. See what being helpful can do for you? 

Unfortunately, that's just a small portion of my Amazon list. But I did get to take a couple of things off it thanks to some lovely Christmas gifts. 

How was your holiday? Did you get what you wanted? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year: try my favorite recipes from the holiday season

My New Year's resolution is simple: update the blog more often. 

I last updated about a year-and-a-half ago. Time flies. 

I really have no excuse for it. What have I been doing? Everything and nothing. (On Facebook, I'd be accused of vague booking. Here, I guess it'd be vague blogging. 

The last two things I made are chocolate dipped Oreos (I dipped them in bittersweet melted chips and put on wax paper in freezer to harden; they weren't pretty, but hey, they were chocolate) and Braunschweiger liver pâté; it's similar to this recipe but with some major differences: 


I ditched the chili powder, used roasted garlic powder (1/4 tsp. and minced onion (1 tsp) instead of fresh. I also added ketchup and French's yellow mustard to taste (about 2 TBSP and 1 tsp., respectively - and it varies by brand, so you need to taste it) as well as about 1 TBSP of McCormick's Bac'n Bits. I had no bacon on hand, or I probably would have put a couple of slices of crumbled bacon in. I have since solved that problem. 

Aesthetically, it wasn't outstanding. For the first time ever, large chunks of cream cheese flecked the spread. I could not get them to completely blend in and that bothered me. I've made this several times, and that never happened before. I did leave it at room temperature for 45 minutes. Perhaps it needs to be colder to blend properly? Anyway, the pâté is gone, too, so I have no photos. 

My preferred chilling time is at least four hours, but overnight is even better. Another note: there's also a difference between the Jones and the Oscar Mayer brands of Braunschweiger. I feel the Oscar Mayer is more authentic, but both are good.

Bonus: I made a huge number of cookies for gifts and in doing so, discovered an awesome product. Krusteaz Bakery Style Gingerbread Cookie Mix was the best mix I used. (I was a bit crunched for time.)

Will make all three again soon for a belated holiday celebration. When I do, I'll take and post photos. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Safety first: General Mills' Gold Medal, other flours recalled

Gold Medal Flour has been recalled, various sized packages of all-purpose and unbleached flour, due to a multi-state breakout of E.coliO121, which is potentially deadly, according to a notice on General Mills' website

The recall also affects Wondra Quick-Mixing All Purpose Flour (often used for gravy) and Signature Kitchens' All Purpose Flour. 

This notice includes all relevant dates and packages. Check it out for the safety of your family and have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Beyond Meat offers new vegan burger

Whether you genuinely like vegan burgers or eat them due to necessity, you may be interested in this new product. 

After loads of research, the Beyond Burger, made by Beyond Meat, is the first burger that will be sold next to actual meat. It's also gluten-free and soy-free, with no GMOs.

Available now only at a Whole Foods Market in Boulder, CO, it will be making its way to other Whole Foods stores in the coming year. 

For more info, check out this link: 

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=7875&catId=1

I actually enjoy veggie burgers, so I expect that I'll eventually be checking it out.