Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roasted Butternut squash with Blue Cheese

I don't know if I'm the only person who does this, but during the summer time I love light healthy food like fruit, salads, and sushi, but during the winter time I want heavy fatty food. I guess that is an evolutionary thing, fatten up to keep you warm during the cold and slim down to balance out the heat? At any rate, my favorite kind of comfort foods are always starchy, full of cheese or butter, and very bad for you. So on Thanksgiving, as I was looking over my menu I realized it needed something more healthy to balance out the table. So while trying to think of a vegetable I could make, I came up with the following recipe:

- 1 Butternut squash
- Chopped walnuts
- Crumbled blue cheese
- Vermont Maple Syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Half the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds.
2. Place the squash directly on the oven, skin side down and roast until the insides are soft when poked with a fork. (If you want to minimize the mess, put them on the top rack and put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch any juices that might come out.
3. When the squash in done cooking, take off the skin and cut it into cubes. Put it in a baking dish with walnuts and cheese (making sure there are nuts and cheese on all layers, not just the top).
4. Drizzle the syrup on top, then cover the dish and cook in the oven until the cheese melts a little bit.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's the season to give

The Holidays are about so many things. I love all the good cheer that's in the air. People seem to be in a happier mood and are friendlier. The weather, music, and decorations only set the mood. And I love spending time with my family and friends, eating, drinking, and being merry. Presents are always a good thing, but I have to admit that I love giving as much as I do getting. There's something about seeing a smile that I caused that makes me happy.

But now is also the time to give back. So many of us have been blessed throughout the year with good health, a job, and people who love us. It's important to show how thankful we are for that, but helping those who don't. If you're thinking about how you can give back this year (or even if you're not), below are five charities that I support in one way or another.

1-800 Suicide - As I wrote about in an earlier entry, mental health affects almost all of us and yet still has great stigma attached to it. Everyone at some point in their life is sad about something, and the people at 1800 Suicide and Hopeline are there to help those in their moments of need. There are hotlines for veterans, students, mothers with postpartum depression, and teens. But despite the great work they do for mental health rights and many individuals, they are often as risk for shutting down because of lack of funds.

Your Local Animal Shelter - I'm sure there are many breeders out there that treat their animals with compassion and love, but why buy from a breeder when you a. never know what is going on behind the scenes and b. there are many animals in animal shelters waiting for loving homes. Stuck in a cold cage for an indeterminate amount of time, many with the looming threat of euthanasia in the background, shelter animals make just a wonderful companions as pets from a pet store or breeder. Our two cats came from a kill shelter, and I later found out that our tuxedo cat, Batman, was in immediate danger of being put down. I am so grateful that we were able to save him in time because he is one of the most loving animals I've ever had.
Because both of our cats came from the same shelter, and we had such a good experience with them for the past two Christmases we donated supplies to them. Most shelter websites have lists of things they need (pet food, treats, toys, old sheets and blankets, pet beds, paper towels, cleaning products, sponges, shoe boxes, etc.). Whether it's extra stuff lying around the house, or brand new from Petsmart, they shelters need it all.

Project Joy - In the county where my parents live, there is a local charity organization called People to People. People to People gives to the poor in the county and around different Holidays organizes huge drives to provide for holiday meals and clothing, among other things. During this time of year they have what they call Project Joy, which attempts to provide a nice holiday for children who's parents can't afford to buy them gifts. Their goal is to make sure that Christmas happens and every child is visited by Santa so you adopt a family and buy toys, books, clothes, and whatever else the child needs/asks for. Even though when most people think giving to the poor means giving to starving children in Africa, there are millions in America who live under the poverty line. Children living in poverty need help, no matter where they live, but it has always been especially important to me who live locally and need help and now that there are people in my life that I care about who have actually had to hear the words "Santa didn't come this year," it is that much more important for me to make sure as little children hear that as possible. I'm sure there are many other local charities which aim to fulfill this same goal, but if you can't find one in your neighborhood Toys for Tots is always a safe bet.

Salvation Army - Even though the history of the Salvation army was to convert sinners into the saved, now the SA performs widespread good works to many different people who need help from a variety of problems. They go to disaster areas and stay for years (as opposed to weeks or months), help soldiers (like they did with my Grandfather in WWII), and provide help in local areas as well.

Huntington's Disease - Huntington's Disease is a hereditary and degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure. If your parent has it, there is a 50/50 chance of inheriting this dominant gene that slowly diminishes one's physical and cognitive abilities, and overall emotional health. Huntington's Disease affects the lives of entire families (emotionally, socially and economically) and there is great stigma attached because of the disabilities and psychiatric symptoms that accompany it. I had learned about HD years ago in school, but because better acquainted with it through working on a research project at my old job. I heard many stories of how pervasive and devastating the effects of the disease are, and shocked at how few people know of its existence and how little funding they get. I know there are more common diseases that out there that have a greater chance of affecting me and my life, but I feel that this is one disease that is often overlooked and just as important as the rest.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out in the blogosphere!

This year, since we can't afford to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas we're doing a small celebration at our place. A friend from school and her family who are in from LA are coming over to the feast I prepared. I say prepared because even though it's 9am here on the West coast, I cooked most of the things yesterday (or at least prepped them enough so all I had to do was pop things in the oven today. I love to cook, and I'd much rather spend two days cooking at my pace than spending one day going completely crazy doing all this cooking, and having no time to be with my guests.

So what did I make? Here's my menu (I've linked to the recipes on this blog):

- An assortment of cheeses and crackers
- Blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon
- Caramelized onion puff pastries

- Baked Brie with Brown Sugar and Walnuts

Side Dishes:
- Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce
- Cornbread Casserole
- Smoked Gouda and Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Dressing (that's stuffing just not in the bird)
- Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes
- Green bean casserole
- Roasted butternut squash with blue cheese and walnuts
- Orange Cranberry sauce

Main Course:
- Rosemary Chicken with Apple salad and pearl onions (I hate turkey)

- Pumpkin Pie
- Blackberry crumble

But of course Thanksgiving isn't just about food, it's about being thankful for all the things you have in life. Last night Nick and I watched one of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving specials. This one was about the Mayflower Voyagers. I really hate the tradition of going around the table and saying what you're thankful for (as ironic as this will sound, I'm not a fan of being put on the spot and sharing my intimate thoughts in front of people), but the little cartoon did get me thinking about things.

Regardless of how you feel about Thanksgiving and what it may or may not stand for, the Pilgrims still took a big gamble coming to America and many of them died. Meanwhile we get to sit here and be comfortable in our warm houses and eat a ton of food and take for take for granted the true meaning of the holiday.

So if I had to choose my top five things I'm grateful for this year it would be these:

1. I'm always grateful for Nick. He is the most amazing man/person in my life. He has such patience for me when I am stressed out over things, he always knows how to make me smile or just love me so I feel better about anything. He helps me instead of expecting me to do everything all the time, he's not lazy, and he appreciates cleanliness as much as I do. He let me get my kitties even though he is a dog person, and he let's me run around and be crazy with my ideas (we're a very Lucy and Ricky couple). He followed me to California, 3,000 miles away from our family, and he was excited about it! And most importantly, he loves me.
2. Second most important thing are all the friends I have and the new ones I've made since coming here. I'm so blessed to have a good group of people around me.
3. I'm thankful the move worked out well. No one got hurt or sick, generally our things were unharmed, we had financial assistance from Nick's job, and we made great time with the drive and the unpacking. We lucked out big time with our apartment as well.
4. I'm grateful this quarter is over. I worked my ass off, and I'm pretty sure I at least passed all of my classes. Fingers crossed the grades are halfway decent.
5. I'm grateful Nick has a job. Living on one salary isn't easy, but he at least has a salary and I can only imagine how hard it would be to make my student loan stretch thin like plastic wrap while he tried his hardest to find something in this tough economy. Regardless of where you live and what the market is like, these things don't happen over night. Having been there once, and not having enough money to pay all of our bills, it was very hard and I'm so glad we didn't have to do it again during our relocation.

Of course my list is much longer than this, but you get the idea. Hope your lists are long this year too!

Happy Holidays.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dessert or Side Dish? I can't decide.

I got this really great recipe off of Delish for an Orange-Cranberry sauce. It's supposed to be a side dish, but as I was searching for one more dessert for my Thanksgiving dinner it dawned on me this would be really great served warm on top of vanilla ice cream. So what do you think?

You Need:
* 2 bag(s) (12-ounce) cranberries (6 cups)
* 1 tablespoon(s) grated orange zest
* 1 cup(s) fresh orange juice
* 1 1/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup(s) grenadine syrup
* 2 tablespoon(s) red-wine vinegar

1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 6 minutes, until cranberries are soft and liquid has reduced to a thick syrup.
2. Pour into a serving bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate (or serve fresh and hot for dessert).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great gift idea for your Thanksgiving Hostess

(or for Christmas), up to you!

My family loves to give gifts to a fault. Any excuse to buy something and we are all over it. Easter, Valentine's Day, Halloween, getting into grad school. Everything must be celebrated. When Nick and I were first dating it actually drove him crazy. He came from a family that had nothing and he didn't get how my family could be so extravagant. My family hasn't always had money, but I always appreciated whatever they gave me. I know that sounds a little spoiled, but I always looked at it from the view point that gifts in our family came from love not from the desire to just spend money. You go to visit someone who is letting them stay in your house, you bring them a little something to say thank you. It's Valentine's Day and you want to tell your family you love them too, so you get them a box of chocolates. Nothing major, just a simple act to show that you care.

That being said, with Thanksgiving less than a week away, my mother of course bought Nick and I a gift, and my aunt also got a gift for her daughter. Each of them are hosting the holiday at their house (one in New York and the other in Illinois) so I won't be partaking in their Holiday feast, but if I could, and I had to get them a gift, I think the following would make the perfect hostess gift...

My friend, Katrina, worked for Dena Designs after graduating from college and while there designed an apron:

She recently was given permission to sell the PDF on Etsy. And after reading one of the latest blog entries on Modcloth, I got me thinking, what else makes the perfect hostess gift than a cute apron and an easy recipe?

In Mod Cloth's entry they mention a great way to reuse glass jars by filling it with the ingredients of one of your favorite baked goods. Tape the directions onto the jar, put a ribbon on it. That coupled with a cute apron makes the perfect Thanksgiving hostess gift (and the whole thing probably cost less than $15 with tax).

Who said showing love had to be extravagant?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Need a Quick and Easy Side to add to Thanksgiving?

Quick and easy entry about a quick and easy recipe. (Can you tell I'm still stressed about school? We're down to the final days, I'm done Tuesday afternoon.)

This one is brought to you straight from my Granny's kitchen (and of course that means it's super yummy).

You need:
- One Red Pepper
- One Yellow Pepper
- One Orange Pepper
- One Green Pepper
- One Onion
- Small red potatoes (about 1/3-1/2 a bag)
- Olive oil
- Garlic Power
- Salt
- Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put some olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish.
2. Cut up peppers by slicing them lengthwise put them in baking dish.
3. Add sliced onions and cut up small red potatoes into quarters (or smaller pieces depending on your preference)
4. Sprinkle garlic powder, some salt, and Italian seasoning on it tossing it so that vegetables are covered evenly. Sprinkle olive oil on the whole thing.
5. Bake it for about half an hour or until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork.
6. Enjoy and remember to give your Granny a great big hug!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Craft Project: a Sugar Pumpkin and a Candle

Several blogs have posted craft projects gluing candles to sugar pumpkins as an easy way to decorate your home for Fall. I love this idea and so I decided to do this with one of my pumpkins that I bought. Then as I was digging through my craft box, I found some black ribbon and it sparked another idea. Check out how I did it:

(Excuse the mess of the apartment. It is finals week after all.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Who knew it could be so romantic?

Normally when you think about looking at old family photos and home movies you cringe. You get the picture of a middle aged dad standing next to the TV with the remote as he describes each scene in painful detail as people fall asleep on the couch. Seriously, no one cares about the guy who made wire desk ornaments next to the Virgin Mega Store in London; and did you even watch this before you transferred everything over? There's a whole scene of us walking in the city and all you can see is your boob, your foot, and the sidewalk. By the way, tube socks and shorts were never a good look. (Yes, these are real life scenarios I have had to watch.)

Before we moved I looked at all the albums I own and realized I had way too many. And a good half of the photos were nearly identical repeats, of people I didn't care about anymore, or blurry shots of my foot as a four year old, or my Pixie Tails in the sink. I decided to take those out and mix in Nick's photos to try to tell a chronological story of our family. (Saying "our family" still gets me giddy even though it's just us and the cats.) As a kid I loved to look at pictures of my parents when they were young, and even then their disorganization drove my OCD crazy. I knew we had to be different. I went to Michael's when they were having one of their 20% off sales, picked up three matching jumbo photo albums and set to work.

So maybe I'm a little bit like my dad, but when I reorganized all of our family photos recently I was really excited and wanted to show Nick. He tried to get out of it, whining that he had to do work on his computer, it was too late, maybe tomorrow. But I persisted and we sat down to flip through it. Maybe it was because there were pictures of himself he hadn't seen in a long time, or maybe it was because he was looking at his wife being a cute baby, but he got really into it. Before you knew it we were laughing with a glass of wine, sharing stories, and then we got to the most recent pictures and it was all over. We put the albums away and Nick said, "I can't wait to share these with our kids one day." And I agreed as we both smiled with that look in each of our eyes.

Who knew looking at baby pictures would be such a romantic (and cheap) way to spend a Friday night?

Just a Few Codes/Sales

Not going to go too crazy because now that we're into the Holiday Season it seems that everyone has sales of some kind going on.

L.L. Bean - Free shipping right now, plus if you spend $50 you get a free $10.
Delia*s - One time code DAR176B to get 20% off your entire purchase by 11/29/10.
Pottery Barn - One time code for 10% off your next purchase by 11/20/10. VW3K-D739-ZHQH
Khol's - Through the 15th they're doing their Khol's Cash program ($10 for every $50 spent).
Bath and Body Works - 20% off your entire order plus $3 shipping ends today. Use the code 20THANKS.
Chase Freedom Card - If you have one of these, at the website, you get 2 tickets for the price of 1. No code necessary.
Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy - One time use for 30% off your entire order through tomorrow: DLZRQVGRCDPT

A Website for Black Friday - I stumbled across this the other day. It's a listing of many stores and their contributions to the spending frenzy for this year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DIY - Beauty

I have about two weeks left in this quarter which means once again things are getting super hectic around here. So that being said, I have to admit that today's entry is a little bit of a cheat.

Awhile back I found this great article on about beauty treatments you can give yourself from products you have lying around your kitchen. I've done the wake me up scrub, and yes that definitely woke me up and got me going for the day. And I think we've all done the eye de-puffer. There's also a couple of other tips in the comments section.

Click here for the article.

Here's one that I want to try next:

Foaming Vanilla-Honey Bath

1 cup light oil (almond, sunflower, or canola)
½ cup honey
½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Mix ingredients together in a glass jar. To use, shake gently to remix and pour ¼ cup under running bath water.

What can I say, I like a good bubble bath. Maybe when finals are over this is how I'll treat myself.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Top 5s of Partying and Entertaining: Part 4 - Holiday Drinks

So how many people have a special drink made at their wedding? I considered having this done because fun drinks are always a good thing. Who wouldn't like drinking a neon blue drink out of a martini glass that's named after them and their new spouse? I think people didn't notice that I was too overwhelmed with other planning things, school, and life to ever request that:

Whenever Nick and I have parties we try to do the special drink of the night thing. Most of the time people just bring beer and drink that, but it's nice to have the option and when you have themed parties of there is a holiday, it adds to the festive mood.

Speaking of Holidays, this Top 5 list of drinks are drinks (from various websites and my family) that would be great to serve this holiday season. So grab your Bar Shaker and let's go! (Remember to drink responsibly, and one drink=above the legal limit to drive.)

Top 5 favorite Cold Holiday Drinks

1. Butterscotch Chocolate Martini - Nick may kill me for telling you think, but our favorite specialty martini is this one which I created for our apartment warming party when we first moved in together. I think we were the only one's who drank it, but it was still delicious. Beware, this is STRONG:
- 1 part vodka
- 1 part milk
- 1/2 part butterscotch liquor
- Chocolate syrup (amount needed depends on how chocolatey you want it ;) )
- 2 ice cubes
Just add to your shaker, shake, and pour.

2. The Apple pie - This drink reminds me of college because for someone like me who hates the taste of most alcohol, this was my best option if I did want to drink.
- 1 part apple juice (or apple cider, but not hot because you'll burn off the alcohol)
- 1/2 part Goldschlager
- For an extra kick, you can add apple flavored vodka too but it's not necessary.
- 2 ice cubes.
This one can be shaken or stirred.

3. The Italian - Is there a better name for this? Probably, but this is something Nick (who is half Italian) likes to drink at Christmas since it is a family/Italian tradition for good luck, so I've name it after him.
- Sambuca (in a shot or cordial glass)
- 1-4 coffee beans
Add all to glass. Sip responsibly.

4. Pumpkin Pie - This drink I found from Drink of the Week and it looks absolutely amazing. I will probably be making some of these at Thanksgiving this year.
- 1 oz. Malibu Rum
- 3/4 oz. canned pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 oz. Kahlua
- 2 oz. with cold milk
Mix ingredients in blender with ice and blend thoroughly on the "liquify" setting. Pour into graham cracker-rimmed highball glass and garnish with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

5. Wintertime Mimosa - You may not realize this, but some oranges and citrus fruit are actually in season during the winter. So even though this may seem like a summer time recipe, this could be the perfect drink to have on Christmas morning when you're opening up presents.
- 1 part orange juice
- 1 part cranberry juice
- 1 part champagne
Because of the bubbles in the champagne, you do not need to stir this otherwise you will take out the bubbles. Instead, pour all the ingredients into a pitcher (or right in to your champagne glass) and serve!

Top 5 favorite Warm Holiday Drinks

1. The Girl Scout - I've also heard this recipe called the Peppermint Patty (but that drink to me is just a shot of Peppermint Schnapps with chocolate syrup added in). Regardless of what you call it, this recipe is super simple, just make sure you don't give yours to the kids by accident!
- One packet of Swiss Miss (or whatever sweet hot chocolate brand you prefer_
- Milk
- 1-2 shots Peppermint Schnapps
Make the hot chocolate as you would normally (but make sure you use milk) and add the Schnapps at the end. This looks great in an Irish Coffee Mug garnished with whipped cream and a bit of shaved chocolate or cocoa mix on top.

2. Hot Toddy - This might be the most common and traditional of winter time drinks. Great when you want to relax, need some soothing liquid when you have a cold, or just for fun with friends, there's a reason it's a classic! (This recipe comes from
- 1 oz brandy, whiskey or rum
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 lemon
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tea bag
Coat the bottom of a mug or an Irish coffee glass with honey. Add the liquor and the juice of the lemon quarter. On the side, heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea. Pour the steaming tea into the glass and stir.

3. The Daddy (also known as Irish Coffee) - Just like the Italian is named after Nick, this is named after my dad. For years, every Holiday my dad breaks out this drink. I would guess that this is his one of his favorite parts about the Holidays, and now he's converted Nick too (not that this is a bad thing).
- coffee
- 1-2 shots of Bailey's Irish Cream (or Kahlua)
Make your coffee however you like it, then just add the liquor to your drink. Tada!

4. Hot Egg Nog - Since my recipe for Egg Nog was given to me by a very good friend, I don't want to share in case it's a secret. But I did find this drink called a Tom and Jerry, that could be a nice warm alternative.
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 oz simple syrup (or 1 tsp Powdered Sugar)
- 1/2 oz of Brandy or Cognac
- 1 oz of Dark Rum
- Hot Milk (or water)
Start by separating the Egg and then beat the egg yolk and egg white separately. Fold these two together into a mug. Add Simple Syrup (or Powdered Sugar). Add Brandy or Cognac and Dark Rum. Top off the mug with hot Milk or hot water and stir. Garnish by sprinkling Nutmeg on top.
Side note: I have not made this recipe, but I would be careful about the temperature of your hot milk, just to make sure you don't cook the egg.

5. Hot Buttered Rum - Another traditional winter time drink, but I like the twist on this recipe from the Food Whore. Ice cream!
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Cream together mix into 1 pint of vanilla ice cream. Store in freezer. Next boil water. When the water is boiled remove from heat and scoop out about 3 tablespoons of the batter and add 1-2 shots of rum. Then fill the rest of the glass with the water.
Side Note: I don't like boiling hot liquids since my mouth always gets burned. You could always just heat up the water until right before it boils if you're worried about that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Takes on One Quiche

I don't know if this is a girl thing, or because I like French food, but I absolutely love quiche. It can be made in a million and one ways, be heavy or light, and as long as it's done right it's always good. I think you can put just about anything in a quiche, and as you'll see from the next few recipes, one little change can make a huge and yummy difference.

My father hates goat cheese, and I know that there are some people who are staunchly against this mild yet tangy cheese. But, it is extremely versatile and can mesh well with so many foods. It is a perfect companion for quiche because unlike some other cheeses, it does not get oily when heated and doesn't blend so much that the taste gets hidden. Here are three different options to this quiche, each one more delicious than the next.

Basic Goat Cheese Quiche
- 5-6 eggs
- 1 pie crust (I like Pillsbury the best)
- 1/4-1/3 cup of cream
- 1 small container of crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray some nonstick cooking spray on your baking dish. This is especially important on the bottom edges as your pie crust there will stick the most.
2. Whisk eggs and cream together. You can either do this with a hand mixer or by hand. Whisking adds air to the eggs, and the more you whisk, the fluffier the quiche will be. Just don't whisk so much that the cream whips.
3. Add in the whole container of goat cheese and your other ingredients. Mix a little bit, then dump into your pie dish. Make sure the ingredients are spread out evenly in the dish and bake until the top is just starting to brown.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Quiche
-1 medium onion
-3 tbsp olive oil
-3 tbsp vinegar
-3 tbsp sugar

1. Slice up the onion real thin, then put in your pan with the other ingredients.
2. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until the onions start to look a little cooked/opaque (stir often), then put the heat down to medium-low until the onions look like they are cooked
3. Then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and forget about them. They'll need to cook for about 30-45 minutes to get that nice dark brown color you see at the restaurants.
4. When adding to your quiche mixture, scoop out the onions with a slotted spoon. You don't need to add all those juices otherwise the vinegar and sugar are a little overpowering to the rest of the dish.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quiche
- 1 Small Red Pepper

1. To make a roasted red pepper you must be ok with getting your stove top dirty. Turn on your gas burner (I think you can probably do this on a grill as well if you don't have a gas burner).
2. Put the red pepper on the burner. Turn the pepper until it's all charred on the outside (make sure you watch it, the pepper will catch fire -which is ok- but you don't want it to get out of control and burn your house down.
3. When it's cool enough to handle take the burnt skin off with your hands.
4. Slice into bite sized pieces and add to your quiche mix.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche
(this one's super simple)
- Smoked Salmon (I really like this from Trader Joe's. It is the freshest and least fishy smelling brand. I get the smaller sized pack.)

1. Slice up Smoked Salmon into bite sized pieces. And make sure you remove all the bones.
2. Add to the quiche mix.

I'm assuming you could add just about anything to the basic quiche and it would taste good (broccoli, peas and mushrooms, bacon, etc.). And the best part is that this dish can be great any time of day. On it's on for breakfast, with a salad for lunch, or as a side at dinner. I'd love to hear some ideas!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A reminder about why it's important to vote today

My Godmother sent me this email about a month ago, who knows if it's 100% accurate, but the message is still the same and I think it was important to share today.

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.
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