Politics – Are We Doing It Wrong?

politicsLet’s face it — the discussions on the social media sites, mainstream media, and various lunchroom or water cooler discussions are tiresome at best, and going further – they are downright painful.

I appreciate and applaud everyone’s enthusiasm for their selected candidate.  Enthusiasm and promoting the candidates we like or admire is a positive activity and can even be discussed with those who have selected a different candidate and are just as enthusiastic about their own selection.

These days there is very little talk about the positive attributes of a candidate, but there is a poop-storm of discussion about the negative aspects of the opposing candidate.  Is it possible that we have two candidates running that have too few positive traits to champion?  I can personally agree that this particular election has produced the worst candidates I have ever seen or could even imagine, and I am not looking forward to voting for either of them, although I do believe it is our duty to vote.

But the disturbing thing I see at this point is the propensity to illuminate every negative thing for the opposing side instead of highlighting the positive aspects of the candidate we support.  Make no mistake — I acknowledge that there is a lot of mud to sling these days.  But this activity goes even further — at this point we are pointing our fingers at each other and defining each other in ways that are unkind, overtly biased,  and mostly inaccurate.

We are Americans.

We are citizens of the United States of America.

We  have free elections and we may not agree on the outcome, but we are all Americans first.

The presidential candidates pale in comparison to the importance of the citizens of this country.

I have heard or read so many comments  characterizing those who support a particular candidate as stupid, uneducated,  and furthermore these poor stupid uneducated people don’t even understand their own religion.

This is not true of the majority.

I have also heard some of our citizens called libtards, tree huggers, and socialists.  They are regarded as people who want the government to giantly expand and do everything for us.  Hand out, hand out, hand out…

This is not true of the majority.

If someone supports a candidate other than the one you have selected, that does not make them wrong.

It makes them different than you.

Why are we so quick to presume that someone with a differing opinion is flawed or seriously misinformed or confused?  Is it not possible that the person we are referring to has given their decision careful thought, prayed for guidance, educated themselves and made the decision they made the same way we made our own decision?

How smug we are to presume anyone who makes a different choice is misinformed and stupid.

How quick we are to feel intellectually superior because we think we are right.

We’ve got some big problems.  Both parties have let us down by failing to groom candidates who can be trusted, or believed in.  It is embarrassing.  We have intelligent, passionate people in this country.  Why are we not propelling the best of the best into these  positions that require the highest ethics and the ability to reach across party lines to unite and take care of business?


Is it required that anyone who is in the political system must maintain their status and climb the ladder using the unseemly tactics of those we have seen lately?   To think that is incredibly cynical and basically giving up.

Is it too naive to think that we as united citizens of this country can stand up and say “enough!” — send us more qualified candidates?









Juicing – Orange with Attitude

Juicing - Orange with Attitude


Adventures in juicing.  Well, it is always an adventure in our house because we tend to throw in some wild combinations, or whatever we have.

On this morning we added the following ingredients to create a beautiful color orange.  They say orange is the new pink, well I’ll say orange is the new delicious!

3 oranges

1 whole pineapple

5 kiwis

a bag of mini carrots.

Of course this one was sweet and didn’t stick with us as long as some of the blends we have made with more serious vegetables included.  We find the nice balance of sweet fruits with a lot of vegetables gives us that quick burst of energy but doesn’t end with a sudden spiral into the hungries. 

This combo was great though, and I would love to serve this to brunch guests in small crystal juice glasses.

Orange ya glad this one is sweet?……DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.



Summer’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Is there any pie that says “Summer” more than the basic lemon meringue pie?    This is a simple and delicious pie that is made from the most meager ingredients.  As I put together the ingredients for this pie I was curious about other combinations that could used as alternates to the lemon juice.  Orange juice, lime juice, cherry juice, pineapple, apricot nectar?  I wonder.  I am curious.  I plan to experiment to see what happens, but what I believe will be the result is that the thing that makes this pie so delicious is the tangy sour lemon along with the sweetness.  Perhaps other juices will work well if some lemon juice is also included.  We’ll see.  Has anyone else experimented with this combination using the basic principles for creating the lemon meringue?

Lemon Meringue Pie


Summer's Lemon Meringue Pie
Summer is the time for this age-old sweet tart delight.
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 3 tbs cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 9 inch pie crust baked
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 tbs sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water & lemon juice (and some lemon zest if desired).
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter.
  3. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in ½ cup of the hot sugar mixture.
  4. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into the remaining sugar mixture.
  5. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour filling into baked pie crust shell.
  1. In a large glass or metal bowl whip egg whites until foamy.
  2. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until peaks form.
  3. Spread the meringue over the pie sealing the edges at the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

Sweet & Tart by DebraJ                




I did not receive any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Beef Pepper Steak for the Slow Cooker

 Crockpots are our friends.  You can load them up and forget about the responsibilities of dinner.  For working folks – dinner is done when you walk in the door.

This recipe has been around our house for a number of years and got a 4-thumbs up back in the day when we had boarders (a.k.a. kids).

Beef Pepper Steak

Beef Pepper Steak


Beef Pepper Steak


Beef Pepper Steak for the Slow Cooker
Press a crockpot into service and you will come home to the comforting smell of home-cooked dinner -- even when everybody has been at work all day!
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound of beef round or sirloin steak
  • Olive oil - a drizzle
  • ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce (we like Kikkoman)
  • One large onion chopped, more or less (one cup-ish or so)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped (I use a big heaping scoop of pre-chopped garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (or 4 baseball size fresh tomatoes if you are lucky enough to have a garden)
  • 3 large green peppers (or any color you prefer or have on hand) - cut in strips
  • Cold water - about ½ cup
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Brown Rice, cooked
  1. Cut the beef into small bite-sized pieces and remove any fat.
  2. Warm a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet and saute the beef strips until they are slightly browned.
  3. Place one can of the diced tomatoes in the crock pot
  4. Spoon in the beef pieces (draining any liquid away)
  5. Place the chopped onions on top of the beef.
  6. Pour the next can of diced tomatoes over the onions.
  7. Mix the soy, garlic, sugar, salt, ginger in a small bowl.
  8. Pour the soy mixture over the diced tomatoes.
  9. Place the pepper strips on top last.
  10. Turn the crockpot on low (for an all day workday) or high (for a faster week-end meal). Cook about 5-9 hours depending on whether you selected high or low heat and the individuality of your own crockpot.
  11. When the mixture has cooked it will be thin and needs thickening
  12. Place about ½ cup of cold water in a cup or dish.
  13. Spoon in a large tablespoon of corn starch into the cold water and stir to blend.
  14. Pour the blended corn starch mixture into the pepper steak mixture and stir well.
  15. Spoon the thickened pepper steak mixture over a serving of brown rice.

Beef Pepper Steak

FREEZE ME:  This freezes well in individual servings for a quick meal later.

HEALTHY – We use olive oil and brown rice to make this recipe a little more nutritious.  You could also decrease the amount of beef steak and increase the quantity of onion and peppers to further reduce calories and the amount of meat.

ECONOMY – already a very wallet-friendly entree.  To further reduce costs, watch for SALES and try your hand at growing  your own peppers and tomatoes.

Peppered delicious…..DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

QUICK & Easy Stuffing with Apples & Onions

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Looking for a quick way to make a spectacular stuffing side dish to accompany your meal?  This is the simplest thing to do:

1.  1 box cornbread stuffing mix

2.  1 large onion chopped

3.  2 stalks celery diced

4.  2 or 3 apples, peeled and diced in large pieces

5.  Pecans – a handful

6.  Chicken broth — enough to moisten.

Chop the onion and apple and celery.  Drizzle a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet and saute the onion and celery.  When they become tender add the apples and heat through.

Mix the stuffing mix according to the package directions.  Add the cooled onion/celery/apple mixture and the handful of pecans.  Stir in enough chicken broth to moisten the ingredients slightly.

Pour into a baking dish and bake until heated through – about 20-30 minutes, depending upon the size of the dish.

The sky is the limit in terms of mixing up the ingredients.  You could omit and or add a number of things — additional veggies, raisins, cranberries, sausage, sliced almonds, etc.

Quick & easy does it for me………….DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.


Juicing adventures – Roses are Red and so are Beets

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Adventure in juicing continues to be on our radar.  This week we pulverized a pineapple, some oranges, cantaloupe, carrots, and 2 giant beets.

For those skeptics out there, the beet juice is actually very subtle and delicious.

This one turned out so pretty that I just wanted to admire it, but I quickly drank it and found it to be one of the all time greats.  Literally every addition had the ability to add its own individual sugar, so this one was very sweet.

Beet red………….DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Cranberry Gravy

This is a universal sauce that can be used to accompany a variety of meat. We have spooned it over chicken, pork, and cooked it on top of a beef brisket. I suspect it would also complement turkey burgers and a number of other things. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so simple!

The subtle flavors can be changed by using a variety of wine or broth.
The subtle flavors can be changed by using a variety of wine or broth.


Stir until the dry soup dissolves.  The cranberry sauce will melt as the mixture warms.
Stir until the dry soup dissolves. The cranberry sauce will melt as the mixture warms.


Here the sauce is shown poured over boneless chicken breasts. Cover before baking. Remember to save some sauce to pass at the table.



The cooked mixture will keep in the refrigerator for a long time in a sealed container.
The leftover cooked mixture will keep in the refrigerator for a long time in a sealed container.

Cranberry Gravy
A simple sauce that can dress almost any roasted meat.
  1. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat together while warming and until the cranberry sauce melts.
  2. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick (it should be the consistency of brown gravy).
  3. NOTE: You may substitute chicken or vegetable broth for the beef broth.
  4. You may use white wine instead of red.
I used chicken broth and white wine when I poured it over chicken breasts, but I still like the red wine variety best.

You may use as gravy over chicken, pork, turkey, or beef. Save some to add at the table.

Pour the entire mixture over a beef brisket before baking in a sealed pan.

It’s all gravy…………DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or gifts for creating this post. The ideas and opinions are my own.

Carry In Meals

 Quilters Play DayCarry in meals are a a helpful gesture for a lot of    life-changing events.  Probably the most exciting one that I can think of  is the birth of a new child, but sometimes the challenge is illness or other struggles that make things difficult for those we love.   When adversity is at hand we tend to feel helpless.  “What can we do to help?”   It is murmured by friends and family, but really what CAN we do to help?

A simple meal is a tiny gesture that feeds those we love and takes a little bit of responsibility off of them at the same time.

One of the easiest things to do is make a one-potter that keeps in the refrigerator for an extended period of time and is easy to transport.  The recipe below is one that I have used for a number of years.  It is nick-named “Quilters Stew” because I was involved in quilting for a number of years and this crockpot powerhouse would cook on its own all day allowing me to enjoy other things, including quilting projects.

Quilter's Beef Stew
This hearty crockpot stew cooks all day while you enjoy something else!
Recipe type: Crockpot
  • 1-1/2 lbs lean cut beef stew meat
  • 5 potatoes, but into bite size pieces
  • 9 carrots, sliced into bite size chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled and wedged
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup cooking sherry or red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water
  1. Place the bite size vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the beef stew meat on top. Sprinkle the entire pot with the dry onion soup mix. Pour the can of diced tomatoes over the top. Pour in the sherry and water.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours.
  3. Just before serving, mix the cornstarch with the cold water and pour into the hot stew. Stir thoroughly as the stew thickens.


Crocked and sharing…………by DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive any free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.