Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spin A Yarn, No Cannoli

The Audience: the Portugeuse have dropped out of the race leaving the Brazilians to pick up the slack on behalf of their national language-in-common. The United Kingdom has reappeared in a "big" way, which pleases me because I've always had a special place in my heart for Queen Elizabeth II, 1952 being an exceptional year for both of us.

Russia is back, but even better is the appearance of The Netherlands, representing one-eighth of my personal genealogy. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to imagine Russian Osherowitzes and Dutch Nathans searching for me out in the Infinite Internet. (Waving) Hey! Over here!

Speaking of dropping out of the race, things are getting interesting in The Realm of Presidential Politics. I don't know what to think. Is Donald Trump really the Second Coming of Hitler? (No.) Are his followers all candidates for the New Neo-Nazi Party? How does Ted Cruz feel about being endorsed by Caitlyn Jenner? (Forget that last question. If I go there, I'll lose my mind.)

Shifting into The Next Project made me pensive. Where should I start? Bookshelves, boxes, closet? (Bookshelves won.) And why did I start unpacking two years ago, and then stop, leaving unopened boxes and bags piled hither and yon?

I could blame it on fibromyalgia, but I had the same problem when we moved into our second Hunter's Creek House in 2002, pre-fibromyalgia. Both times I started out like gangbusters, got a lot done, and then stopped as suddenly as a contestant on "Chopped" when Ted Allen yells "your time is up!" Except I never moved on to the next round, and no one ever offered me $10,000 to push through to the finish line. That house had too many rooms, and we had too much stuff. Maybe I was overwhelmed. Definitely I was depressed, but then, I'm always depressed.

In 2002 I was still hauling around 150 pounds of excess weight, and that wore me down. And I used to fall a lot. In 2014, I was deep in the throes of fibro flares f*cking up my ability to do much of anything. So, am I lazy? (According to my mother, yes I am. In my opinion, anyone who works 60 to 70 hours a week or works two jobs, or works and goes to night school is not lazy.)

There is no simple answer. I consider it a character flaw, and at my age, I'm not likely to undergo a complete change of character.  All I can do is break the task down into individual pieces and do my best. But at least now you know why I haven't invited you over for coffee and a cannoli.

Even though I have been knitting for 50 years, and crocheting almost as long, I am still shocked at all the craft-related stuff I have collected and held on to. Last night, as I nibbled at the edges of the project, it was all about books. Pattern books, stitch libraries, you name it. Photocopies, Internet print-outs, pamphlets, handwritten notes of something I designed.

I have no idea how many projects I've completed over the years. Different times brought different obsessions - baby clothes and blankets, adult-sized afghans worked on jumbo needles, crochet slippers that can be finished in an hour for the pair - one year I crocheting slippers for everyone in the legal department, Merry Christmas! - prayer shawls, scarves,

mittens, sweaters, hats, clothes for Cabbage Patch dolls,

... and of course, the omnipresent, ubiquitous socks.

I can't begin to enumerate the projects I started and never finished - WIPs (works in progress) are the secret shame of knitters and crocheters everywhere, and let's just leave it at that. Except to say that the problem of unfinished yarn-based WIPs parallels my unpacking problem. Interesting. Procrastinators of the world, unite! Maybe tomorrow ...      


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Who, Nu? - Mexican Chorizo Stuffed Artichokes

Project Zero is, for all intents and purposes, completed. I would feel elated but for the fact that a project that should have taken me four hours had to be stretched out over two weeks. Moving on to the next project, I have started sorting books for the shelves in the upstairs hallway, and this is going to lead naturally into The Wonderful World of Fiber Arts. Yarn Out The Yin Yang. Innumerable Needles, Hellacious Quantities Of Hooks. Going through my craft supply boxes is like a mini-Christmas morning, which raises the oldest question in the Universe, the one I've been running from my entire life: Who knew I had all that stuff? Who Knew? Who Knew? (If you don't get the joke, Google Dorium Maldovar.)

But for right now - it is Saturday morning - I can do little more than sit on the bed, work on the blog, and indulge in some health-related worrying. Last week the optometrist very carefully explained to me the seriousness and symptoms of retinal detachment. She explained how to check for it, and what to do (treat it as a medical emergency) and which doctors to make an appointment with should the symptoms appear. This was all separate from the whole cataract extravaganza.

So I appreciated her caution, because who knew that five days later I would start to see the little flashy things - light bursts - in my right eye? And that the very next day, upon awakening, I would see the floaters? And why do these things always happen to me on the weekend?

Monday. I'll call the retinal specialists on Monday. Until then, I'll worry.

Last night Rob and I were guests at an engagement party for Terry and Dan's oldest son. I like happy occasions, and this crowd was happy.  The only sad part was being hit in the face with the Wet Fish of Regret, reminding me how much I miss working with Terry and Brenda and having them as part of my daily life.

Here is the Stuffed Artichoke recipe. Very adaptable to different types of sausage or cheese (pepper jack, anyone?) and variables such as bell peppers or jalapeƱos cooked along with the leeks and garlic.

Alcachofas Rellenas (Stuffed Artichokes)

4 medium artichokes
1-6 oz. box Stove Top Savory Herbs Stufing Mix
1 1/2 cup hot water
About 6 oz. of Mexican chorizo
2 medium leeks, light parts only, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese

Olive oil (garlic-infused if you have it)
Additional grated cotija cheese

Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of each artichoke and trim the stems. Steam the artichokes, cut side down, for 15 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the inner leaves and the choke. Be patient with this step; you want to remove all of the spiky, inedible choke without removing too many of the center leaves. Trim the spiky tips of the leaves with kitchen scissors.  Set aside while you prepare the stuffing.

In a large bowl mobile the stuffing mix and the hot water. Use a fork to combine just until the stuffing is moistened, then set aside.

Remove the chorizo from its casing and place in a skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the chorizo with a metal spoon as it cooks. After 2 minutes, it will have fallen apart and released a good amount of fat, so add the leeks and garlic, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the leeks are tender and the chorizo is lightly browned. Combine the chorizo with the stuffing mix, and add the cotija cheese.

Stuff each artichoke starting with the center, and then between the individual leaves. Place the artichokes in a baking dish so that they fit snugly and sit upright, or cheat like me and use an extra-large muffin tin (sometimes called Texas-sized). At this point I covered them with foil and put them in the refrigerator until it was closer to dinner time.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil over the artichokes and sprinkle with a good amount of cotija cheese. Pour a small amount of water in the baking pan, or in the empty cups of the muffin tin (my preference), cover with the foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the stuffing is heated through.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

At Least It's Not A Dirt Nap

Monday: At the end of this day, I've spent at least a third of it napping. Just sorting and organizing a few papers knocked me out. My back is breaking badly, I can't see worth a damn, and my gastrointestinal system is feeling the burn.  Night sleep is elusive; I wake up every hour or two only to become active for the next two hours, working on Project Zero, adding some pithy verbiage to the blog, or rereading any one of the Heinlein novels on my night table. Nothing restful in that mix.

Daily napping is the new normal. I don't know what I would do if I had to actually be someplace in the afternoon, much less communicate coherently with an authority figure.

I had plans for today, Tuesday, but the fibro had other ideas. Part of the problem is that I've never really completely shaken off this viral thing that triggered the horrid fibro flare a few weeks ago. I'm tired of getting beaten up by microscopic nonbiologics that I can't freaking see. Not that I can see much of anything these days, but I might feel better if I could land a nice hard front kick, or even one of my wicked, board-breaking elbow strikes, at the virus' nonexistent head. That is so-not-tai-chi that I should be ashamed of myself, but when I feel the need to defend, it's the taekwondo that comes to mind.

"A long time ago ..."

"... in a galaxy far, far away."

I woke up much too late, ruining my schedule, feeling like that viral thing was back in full swing, and that led me down the path of depression, but I reached a fork in the road and spent 10 minutes listening to an interview of Peter Capaldi and now I'm as right as rain. Which just goes to show that sometimes, it is all about finding the right doctor.

I am working on a recipe for stuffed artichokes involving Mexican chorizo. When I have the wherewithal to proceed, I'll bring you into the loop. In this case, wherewithal includes the ability to stand on my feet without wanting to fall down into a frog crouch. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Three Days, One Post, Sixteen Perfect Beef Ribs

Saturday: Nothing says "thank you" like 21 pounds of 4-ply yarn.

I am thrilled by the opportunity to say "thank you so very much" to someone who is doing/continues to do me a ginormous favor. This little giving just happens to coincide with the goal of my next project, which is making room for all of my yarn-related materials. Passing on this yarn to someone who will use it was the best way, a win-win situation. So I start the day in a rather good mood, despite a night of dramatic sleep deprivation.

Never mind the usual list of fibro-related complaints; yeah, I pushed too much today, but I do have a pretty terrific recipe to share, involving beef and barbecue sauce.

Sunday: I finally had my appointment with the optometrist, but that didn't go the way I expected. Yes indeed, my prescription has again sunk to new depths in just the year since I was last examined, but this time new eyeglasses aren't going to fix the problem, at least not on their own. The good news is I do not have macular degeneration nor is my retina detaching - yet. The bad news is that I am in serious need of cataract surgery. Since I inherited my grandmother's fear of going blind, this did not come as good news. I know it is a very routine and highly successful surgery. Fear is the mind-killer. I'm trying to stay calm.

If only ...

Several of the family and friends close to us are facing some serious health problems, and as of this moment all of them are in a hospital, and my heart is heavy. Being retired gives me more time to think but also more time to pray, and so I have on all of their  behalfs. The worst part of getting older is not necessarily one's own health issues, nor the wrinkles on one's face, but rather the problematic health of the people around you. Part of being human is feeling for others (unless you are a psychopath, terrorist, or both). I'm a Capricorn, I worry, and right about now my "worry meter" is off the charts. The price of being human.

Monday: After so many years working outside the home, it is virtually impossible to break the "Blue Monday" mindset. Since I am no longer compelled to leave my home to start the week, I've been using Monday as a transitional day to ease into the following days. Today is all about sorting through papers related to my disability claims and retirement (in other words, I'm doing some filing), recording some appointment dates, working the Lazy Susan, and finishing Project Zero. I am determined not to give any thought to politics today, and I will knit the current pair of socks as necessary, i.e., for rest and relaxation.

Organization In Transit. Pay no attention to the cat in the sink; he is NOT being helpful.

That also means I'm going to finish this post and wait before starting a new one. Multitasking is no longer one of my strong points.

The recipe is for Braised and Oven Roasted Barbecue Beef Ribs. Very very easy - it calls for bottled sauce and spice blend - and so tender, you may find yourself doing a little happy dance. I shared a moment dancing with Horatio Cane, then promptly sat down, and counted it my daily cardio.

You will need 2 packages of beef ribs - not short ribs. Walmart carries them.

You will use up an entire small bottle of this spice.

Sticky Fingers is a restaurant chain (we've eaten there in Savannah) and the sauce is available in your local supermarkets. Get the 40 oz. bottle if you can find it. 

Using all of the spice blend, season the ribs on both sides and set aside for about 10 minutes. 

Heat 4 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet, and working in batches, lightly brown the ribs on all sides. Do not let the spices burn.

Return all of the ribs to the skillet. Add water to almost cover the ribs but leave some space between the water and the top of the skillet. Don't forget to use some of the water to swish out the pans that held the seasoned meat, and add this seasoned water to the skillet. 

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the skillet. Simmer the ribs for 90 minutes,  rotating the position of the rib after 45 minutes. 

Move the ribs to a clean baking pan and pour the barbecue sauce over each layer.

Cover with foil and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for  60 to 75 minutes, until the meat is meltingly tender. Beef ribs tend to be tough, but these ribs will surprise and delight you.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Presidential Unmentionables

Today's coming attraction:

But first, to all the Portuguese and Brazilian visitors:

Ola' e bem-vindo ao meu blog. And thank you for edging out the Germans, Russians, and Poles. Although I cannot speak a word of it, Portuguese is one of my favorite languages, having heard it being spoken on a regular basis for 15 years by Rob's secretary Maria. It falls beautifully on the ear, like South American Spanish (Senora Lydia Stier, my first Spanish teacher at Lawrence Junior High School, was an Argentinian Jew. My Puerto Rican friends who helped tutor me in Spanish, were always impressed with my pronunciation). It is much prettier than French (although the French are still chasing me up the cyber superhighway, maybe because I briefly studied French in third grade). 

I love checking the Audience stats on the blog; it sparks my imagination. Seriously, was someone in Russia doing family research on the Osherowitz family? Are the French looking for anyone who ever publicly insulted Charles de Gaulle Airport? And my recent comments on Bernie "I'm just a little bit Jewish" Sanders - did I fluster a small group of Polish antisemites?

I've always loved geography, so finding my blog being looked at in Europe, South America, and the rare but thrilling hit in the Far East is exciting. Imagine little old disabled retired me, with my back propped up with pillows, swallowing handfuls of OTC painkillers to get through the day, and out there in places like Myanmar and Mongolia, someone is reading my blog.

Today, Friday, is most definitely a day on which putting up my feet (wrapped fetchingly in hand knit Noro socks) and resting on pillows is a fibromyalgic imperative. No guilt, in fact taking a full day of rest makes me feel smart. Not necessarily head-clearing, "I got my impressive vocabulary back" smart, but smart enough to know that this little old body's got just so many spoons, and I didn't have any spoons left for Friday. At least not without the risk of pushing myself to the point of tear-inducing pain, which is where I landed yesterday.

Did you cast on your Broadripple socks yet?

That, my friends, is a heel flap. Turning of the heel coming up soon.

My furry kids kept me company as I knit in comfort most of the day; even Darth Cat found his way upstairs, thrilled by unexpected access to the laundry room. Woody did what Woody does best, which is to steal my spot each and every time I get up from the bed. I think it must be a game to him. Look at that grin!

By treating myself with kindness and tender loving care today, I managed to gather a bunch of spoons for Saturday's Tai Chi and continued progress on Project Zero, and Sunday's appointment with the optometrist (my eyesight has deteriorated enormously yet again, and if I don't get a stronger prescription for my glasses real soon, I'm going to have to stop driving. That's not hyperbole, by the way. I would not now attempt to drive someplace unfamiliar), and maybe some gorgeous beef ribs in the oven. There is so much more we have to do but between tax season hours and fibromyalgia, we'll be lucky if we manage to replace the jar of pickled herring.

Oh dear God, not again. Presidential Unmentionables. Little kids learning about blow jobs during the Clinton years thanks to that prurient pig, Kenneth Starr, that was bad enough.

But just yesterday, the most recent Republican debate showed us all that without a doubt, presidential politics have hit a new low. Below-the-belt low, if you know what I mean (wink wink). Apparently to Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, size matters. And where better to announce that you are well-endowed with a panoply of worldly goods, greater than Mitt "On Your Knees" Romney or "Little" Marco Rubio (who like the middle school child he has turned into, started the whole thing with locker room taunts), than on the Fox News Network during the aforementioned debate?

What better way for The Donald to snag the nomination for Republican candidate for the Presidency, quelling the brewing rebellion led by Romney, than by assuring the nation that there is "no problem" with the size of his man bits?

Oy gevalt, I'm PLOTZING! What kind of serious contender for Preident actually talks about this kind of thing ON NATIONAL CABLE TELEVISION? As an American, I am so embarrassed I could scream.

You know what is missing from the whole Republican nominating process? RESPECT. Most importantly, respect for the office, but also personal self-respect, respect for the voters, respect for the member of Congress and the Justices of the Supreme Court, and respect for the foreign leaders he will be expected to interact with.

(I can't ignore an ear worm, you know that by now)

I have a nightmare involving some kind of Summit attended by a large number of world leaders including President (choke) Trump, in which the parties are unwilling to agree to the American proposal. The Donald becomes increasingly frustrated and angry, and in an attempt to resolve the matter, demands that they all participate in a Summit Circle Jerk. The men all glance furtively at each other, while Chanellor Angela Merkel walks over and slaps Trump good and hard across his face, and former Prime Minister Golda Meir turns over in her grave.

God bless America.

Friday, March 4, 2016


Thursday - Waking up with a hangover is never good, but especially when you haven't drunk a drop. That's another sweet thing fibromyalgia does - takes away your ability to enjoy even an occasional stiff drink, but gives you a hangover anyway. So many mornings I wake up feeling like I'd knocked back three Cosmopolitans the night before when the most exciting thing I'd been drinking was diet Canada Dry ginger ale. This is one of "those" mornings, and my plans for today have flown right out of my head.

This happened a lot when I was still working, and it was pretty damn scary. I never knew what shape I would be in once I landed in the courthouse. My eyesight was impaired and I was unable to lift the box of files to go through the security x-ray. Never mind I had four expert witnesses waiting for me or that I was going to have to explain to the judge once again why my judicial notice packet wasn't ready. The rules of evidence had flown out of my head. 

So it's just another day in paradise. My two pills and half of a quarter of a bagel are sitting aggressively in my esophagus, refusing to move one micron further, and damn, that hurts. I'm cranky. This problem has been dogging me for a week; let's hear it for Wawa's daily soups.

Project Zero is still at the top of my list, but it involves a lot of bending, stretching, and kneeling and besides I have to clean up after the pets. I think I have a few spoons for that.

I've had a whole unemployed year to think about it, and just lately I've decided to live with the fibromyalgia, or perhaps live around it would be a better way of expressing it. We are working on our rocky relationship. When I have that rare good day, I embrace it, without guilt or fear. When I have the all-too-frequent bad day, I embrace it as well. I own this disease; to a very large extent, it does define who I am at this stage of my life. And that's okay - if I have to take an afternoon nap, if I can't get up to wash my face, if I let my chores go for an extra day or two, to quote Walter Cronkite, "that's the way it is," without guilt or fear. (This all sounds great, practically noble, but really - how's that working for you? Bwah ha ha. Yeah, right, me too.)

But right now, I'm still a tad cranky. Time is passing and I'm still stuck in neutral. The good news is that I have Tai Chi tonight. I'm beginning to think of Tai Chi as a marriage counselor between me and the fibromyalgia. I know I've been chewing your ear off about it, but it really does help me learn to live with the fibromyalgia. Just today my teacher posted this link to an article about the documented benefits of Tai Chi for seniors. Read it, then walk (don't run, too much impact) to your nearest Tai Chi class and learn for yourself.

Friday - I pushed myself later in the day yesterday to the point where I must have used up next month's spoons, but it was worth it; things had to get done. And now it is Friday, I have nothing on the calendar except whatever more I can get done on Project Zero, whatever sock knitting I can manage, and a nap. No cooking, no cleaning, no wearing a bra, no shopping, and no feeling guilty about any of it. Relax, relax, and relax some more. Maybe I'll moisturizer my hands.

I know I make too many Doctor Who references, but I don't feel guilty about that either.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

One Life, One Year - One Cringeworthy Performance

Today is an anniversary of sorts, not that I will be celebrating. Bittersweet this day is, March 2, 2015 being the day I walked out of the Osceola County Courthouse for the last time. When I blogged about it the next day, I wrote: "And in the end, fibromyalgia won." In reality, it wasn't just the fibromyalgia, whose brutal and progressive symptoms I had been battling for years, but rather the end result of judicial abuse perpetrated by ambitious and egotistical individuals, ill-suited for the office they coveted, along with my quarter-century commitment to a system that had gradually taken leave of its senses by jumping on board every new "system" to come down the social welfare pike, dragging its legal department down with it. Perhaps without the physical deterioration I would have been up to the tasks being heaped on my head  (and the heads of every attorney and paralegal in our office). I used to be flexible, open to change, and ready, willing and able to take on whatever (and whoever) my job threw at me. Now I consider myself fortunate if I can get out of bed in the morning and complete one task.

So lucky me, I got out of bed this morning (too early), and mentally worked myself up for a trip to Walmart for storage ideas. If they pan out, I might work a bit on Project Zero, and if not, I'm going to knit. I made good progress on a sock while watching the Super Tuesday news reports last night, which came after my Tai Chi class. Tai Chi is cool and it flows naturally into all kinds of relaxation, including knitting. Seriously.     

Speaking of politics, I can't be the only person who saw that The Donald's son tried to shoo Chris Christie over to the right side of the stage rather than have him stand like a zombie at Trump's left  shoulder throughout the entirety of the speech and questions.  I have never seen a man look so uncomfortable on stage yet so determined to hang onto his tiny corner of the limelight.  And after it was over, I saw Donald push Christie ahead of him, so that he could be the focus of the cameras, as he should have been at that moment, without Christie's pathetic performance as an attention-sucking leech. I was embarrassed for Christie and really lost all respect for him.            
Walmart was fun, although it knocked me out. I found what I needed and also bought a ton of candy. I love Easter. I also love Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day. And Tuesday. Any day that incorporates candy into the celebration. Like a Friday. 

Good thing I had no Wednesday appointment. Crash and burn I did. Passed out before I could knit a single stitch. Napped long and hard and thankfully oblivious of the pain in my back, at least until I woke up. It's not a great life, but it's the one I've got.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I could have used a machete - French's Green Bean Casserole without Green Beans

Ear worm time, sparked by my little Chelsea as she digs frantically at the inside of the dog bed.

Who's been sleepin' in my bed
Gettin' what I get

When I don't get it

Who's been sleepin' in my bed
Yeah, that's what I said
I just don't get it
Who's been sleepin'
Who's been sleepin' in my bed

Chelsea usually sleeps on our bed while Indiana likes to sleep in one of the dog beds on the floor. Tonight though she really wanted to be placed on the floor, wherein she picked out her bed, and promptly went into a dog scratching frenzy, searching for the "right" scent, namely hers. All's well that ends well, and she is snoring peacefully while I've got Barry Manilow on the brain. Well, if I've got to have an ear worm, let it be Manilow.

Today is Super Tuesday, a politically crazy day when over a dozen states (and one territory - who knew American Samoa had 10 Democrat delegates?) hold their primaries. Big numbers are at stake here, and with big numbers come big changes. Neither Florida nor New York are part of this mass hysteria, although my home states will have their chance soon enough. This may not be your idea of fun, but I got hooked on politics when I was just 7 years old, and despite my bitching it never gets old.

I saw a poll this morning that predicted both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could beat The Donald if the General Election was held today. I hope that gave Donald just a touch of heartburn. In fact, I hope it gave the whole Republican Party heartburn. 

As I hacked through my so-called garden today while wielding a heavy duty bread knife (great for cutting thick stems when one doesn't have a machete close at hand), I gained another ear worm of sorts:

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Yeah, right. I guess I didn't think of it when I was a kid, but now that visual brings to mind a  print ad I once saw for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Who plants pretty maids in their garden? And who composes a children's rhyme with that sort of imagery? 

Here is the 2016 deeply personal version:

Beary, Beary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
Like shit, thanks for asking.

I harvested as much as I could of broccoli and cauliflower and noting that both were past their prime, threw them in a big pot to boil, baby, boil. I see a cheese sauce in their future, but that could be wishful thinking.

I also grabbed every last cherry tomato and a few of the sweet little yellow pear tomatoes off of the overgrown bushes with thoughts of a little caprese salad. Or an oven-roasting session, or maybe just add them to Cory's Eternal Salad. Too many choices.

I'm still feeling the effects of leaving the house and doing stuff. Not the worst fibro symptoms I've ever dealt with, but there is pain and there is exhaustion and some low-grade itching,and I can't wait to head back upstairs. If I can fold the laundry, I'll consider the day a good one. Project Zero is on hold until I can make a trek to Walmart for certain organizing materials. 

Forget the cheese sauce. I'm taking a short trip in my own mental TARDIS to 1974, the year I discovered French's Green Bean Casserole. Here we go:

4 cups cooked broccoli and cauliflower
3/4 cup whole milk
1-10 1/2 oz. can Campbell's cream of asparagus soup
black pepper
granulated garlic
Italian seasoning
Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce
1 1/3 cup French's Crispy Fried Onions, divided

Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a deep casserole dish (that has been sprayed with some butter-flavored cooking spray)with 2/3 cup of the French's onions (I'm addicted to these things. Sorry.) In a 2-cup measuring cup combine the milk, soup, and seasonings to taste. Pour over the casserole, fold together with the vegetables, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top the casserole with the remaining French's onions. Lightly spray with the butter-flavored Pam and sprinkle on some black pepper. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes or until the onions are done to your liking.

In case you didn't know what  was referring to 

So I took absolutely fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and prepared them in a retro recipe which includes condensed soup and canned French-fried onions. Oh, the irony! Oh, so good!

Speaking of good, here are some pictures of the finished chicken dish I made yesterday, all sliced up nice. You could serve one whole breast per person, but at least in this house that's way too much solid protein-on-a-plate.

Pretty chicken

Pretty AND Healthy

Now that I am finally upstairs, and in pain, I am wondering why I did the one thing I said I wasn't going to do today - cooking - which wore me out so much I am having trouble doing the thing I said I was going to do - folding laundry - and why do I forget to take my meds first thing in the morning?

That's fibromyalgia.