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Dinner on the Grill!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

We were sitting on the deck last night and heard a transformer blow, then another. No power! I live in a 60s era house with an all electric kitchen (that I DESPISE), so this meant: no dinner. I had already done all the mise en place, so all I needed was heat to assemble the dish… To the gas grill! The dish turned out perfectly, I’m happy to say and the recipe is pretty awesome, so I’ll share it with you! No grill required, but it is pretty fun. Apologies for the quickie phone pix!

Carne Picada with rice and beans!

Carne Picada with rice and beans!

Spicy Carne Picada

1 pack (about 1#) of carne picada, which is beef that is barely ground and chunky. Kroger has it occasionally. Or you can use large grind beef – usually labeled chili beef.
1 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl ancho chile powder
1 Tbl chipotle powder (less if you don’t like spicy)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbl garlic paste (find at Indian store)
2 Tbl olive oil
half a small can of tomato sauce
Veg
1 bell pepper, large dice
1 onion, large dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Tomato Rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup chicken stock
.5 cup water
1 tsp salt
half a small can of tomato sauce

Black Beans
2 cans seasoned black beans, drained
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbl minced onion
1 clove minced garlic (or use 1 Tbl garlic paste)
S/P
Slice one green onion for garnish.

Break up the carne in a large bowl and add in all the spices and oil. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Prep the veg.

Rinse the basmati rice three times to remove the excess starch. You can skip this, but you’ll have fairly sticky rice if you do. Put rice, stock, water and seasonings into a 2 qt pan then bring to boil, reduce to simmer. It takes about 15 mins for basmati rice to cook. Follow package instructions. Spicy yellow rice is awesome with this, too.

Put the drained black beans in a pan and add seasonings. Heat up over medium heat and simmer until onions and garlic are cooked. About 10 mins.

Heat a large skillet over med hi heat and saute the onions, peppers and garlic for about 5-7 mins in olive oil. When they soften, push to the sides and add beef. Saute beef and veg until beef is cooked, about 10 mins. You can drain this if there is a lot of fat.

To serve:
In a large bowl, put rice and beans side by side and add beef on top. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!

Cooking on the grill!

Cooking on the grill!


Veg and meat!

Veg and meat!

Spicy Figgy Jam

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

It’s fig season! I love this recipe! I’ve made it a couple of times with great success. Enjoy!

Spicy Figgy Jam

Spicy Figgy Jam


Spicy Figgy Jam

2 pt figs, chopped (yield about 6 cups) I cut into quarters because I like big chunks. You can go smaller if you like.
4 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper (another 1/4 tsp if you really want to taste it!)
1 Tbl pectin

Put everything but pectin in a large dutch oven and bring to boil for about 15 minutes stirring every few minutes. Mixture should be thick. Pull off heat and add pectin (just some extra insurance that it sets properly). Prepare pint jars, lids and rings. Fill jars with about 1/2″ head room. Process in boiling bath for 10 minutes. Yield: about 3 pints **You can make this and keep it in the fridge if you don’t want to do the full canning process.**

Page errors

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

My wordpress will not load for me on my version of Chrome Mac on my OS. Do me a solid and let me know if the images are not loading for YOU. Tell me your browser type and OS, please.

For the nerds: This is an error that has to do with the added security of our new server and the way wordpress handles SSL. Yes, I’ve added the plugin. Yes, I’ve reinstalled everything. The site will render for me w/ Firefox Mac, but slowly.

Thanks!

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Angela’s Biscuits and Gravy

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I use the standard biscuit recipe on the White Lily bag, slightly modified, but my gravy recipe is unusual so I figured I’d post it for y’all.
biscuitgravy

Biscuits
White Lily Recipe
My version, due to my never having Crisco or buttermilk on hand:

Angela’s Southern Biscuits
2 cups White Lily SR flour (The BRAND is important here, for those living outside of the South. FIND White Lily. Trust me.)
1/4 cup butter [half a stick], cold, cut into cubes (I never keep shortening.)
about 2/3 cup half n half w/ 1 Tbl white vinegar in it as a homemade buttermilk substitute (I never keep buttermilk on hand.)

Preheat oven to 450F (I have never cooked them at 500F!) Cut in the fat with a dough cutter until flour and fat are about pea sized. Add in the milk in thirds – you may or may not use all of it, it depends on the weather. [I used about a half cup today since the humidity is 100%.] Stir dough together with a spatula just until it’s combined. You want it pretty wet and sticky. Don’t overmix. Plop on a well floured surface then generously flour the top of the dough. Turn dough over to make sure it’s not sticking (use more flour if you need to) then pat into a disk at least 1″ thick. Use a cutter or a glass and cut out biscuits. Place biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan – I do not like mine to touch, but if you do, fine. I’m not the boss of you. Bake on middle rack for about 12-15 mins depending on your thickness. They should be golden on top.
This recipe makes about 8 – 10 biscuits.

Southern Gravy for Biscuits
This recipe has evolved due to my never having milk on hand, only half n half, which makes gravy THICK. I also sometimes run out of bacon fat, so I use schmaltz (chicken fat) or both, which is fantastic. Duck fat would be awesome as well. The choice of fat is pretty flexible, actually, as long as you use the right amount. You can do this with pancetta, bacon, sausage or no meat at all.

Angela’s Southern Gravy
1 Tbl bacon fat
1 Tbl schmaltz
1-2 Tbl cubed pancetta
2 Tbl flour (AP or SR, doesn’t matter)
3/4 cup half n half
1/2-2/3 cup chicken stock
S/P

Put the fats and pancetta in a nonstick skillet on med heat. When the pancetta has rendered (about 5 mins), turn up the heat to med hi and add flour. Stir flour into fat until smooth and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in half n half and stir until smooth. This will be thick! Add in about 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper. Start adding chicken stock until the gravy is the consistency you want. I like mine thick for biscuits! When you get the consistency you want, kill the heat and check your seasoning – it should be a little salty if you’re using it on biscuits. Use immediately, gravy does not hold well.

Add in some homemade figgy jam and you’ve got Sunday breakfast! Bon Appétit!

Musings on Pets

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I think pets are on my mind because I had dead pet dreams last night (horrible ones about Missy) and I worked on the Friends of Dekalb Animals website this morning. I’ve bitched about this issue before, but it bears repeating. And this is about NO ONE in particular. I’ve had this exact convo with MANY crazy cat ladies and/or pet hoarders. True facts.

It disturbs me when people who can’t take care of themselves have pets. Typically, not one or two, but a HERD of pets. They take in every stray. They foster. They have so many pets that it’s borderline hoarding. I assume they do this because they have a shitty life and pets make them feel better or something. I don’t know. All I know is: if you can’t take care of yourself, then why would you even entertain the notion of taking care of pets? Pets are expensive! It’s also relevant to note that people who do this type of thing typically do NOT take care of the pets in even the most basic ways (spay/neuter for instance) and the problem becomes exponential.

A conversation with one of these people (it’s women, always women) usually goes like this:

Me: How many pets do you have?
Hoarder: Well, I only have 3 cats and a dog, but I foster 25 cats and 10 dogs. ::happily::
Me: How do you afford to take care of all those pets? (Knowing that this person is broke as shit.)
Hoarder: It’s hard! I barely have money to feed myself, but I manage. A few of the cats are pregnant and several dogs need heartworm meds, but they are all doing OK, well, except for Fred, who really needs to see the vet. And Olly, who stopped eating a week ago. Oh and I think Shadrick has worms again…
Me: Really? Aren’t your pets fixed? Don’t you get them vaccinated?
Hoarder: Uh, no, I can’t afford to get them fixed or go to the vet. If I only had the money to… ::drifts off into a wistful haze of IF ONLY::
Me: Well, don’t you see that having unfixed pets will just make this issue worse? And don’t you think you should help the sick ones?
Hoarder: Ummm, well, yeah, I guess so… ::now looking uncomfortable:: But I have to HELP ALL OF THE POOR HOMELESS PETS! ::getting indignant::
Me: Hmm. Well, I appreciate your generous heart, but you really need to get these animals fixed, medicated and adopted out.
Hoarder: ::goes into a long explanation of why that can’t happen:: Blah, blah, animal control is evil, blah, it’s better than the shelter, blah, blah, blah.
Me: Oh! Look at the time! I really need to get going! Nice talking to you! ::runs away before I start expressing my real opinion and/or punch the crazy person in the face::

This has happened to me SO MANY times!! And every single time I’ve met someone like this, they also admit to dumping pets at shelters when their roommates/parents/big foot tells them that they can’t have pets. Probably because people who can’t afford to take care of themselves are also moving a lot and having to depend on others for shelter since they are broke motherfuckers.

Look, it’s simple. If you can’t feed/clothe/shelter YOURSELF, then it’s a pretty good bet that you can’t take care of a pet. ANY pet. Well, maybe a betta fish. And it’s also a pretty good bet that you will do more harm than good by taking on tons of pets and then not caring for them properly and dumping them when you can’t take them to your next couch surf location.

A simple guide to deciding whether you should have a dog or cat:
– Are you so broke you can’t buy food at times?
– Are you dependent on other people for shelter? (ie: Are you NOT on the lease? Are you living with your parents? Can someone tell you to dump your pets and you must comply?)
If you answered YES to either or both of these, then NO YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE A PET! AT ALL. NOT ONE.

It’s that simple. Having a herd of unfixed cats and dogs that you “rescued” from the street is no better than leaving them on the street. That is a fact. It is also a fact that you can’t save them all. Another fact is that by “fostering” a herd of unfixed, unvaccinated, neglected animals is actually making a bad situation worse. For every unwanted kitten YOU allow to be born, there are 100 being euthanised.

If these people (women, let’s just say women) really loved animals as much as they claim to, then they’d stop compounding the problem of unfixed pets breeding continuously, which is the DIRECT CAUSE of millions of pets being destroyed in this country every year. They’d FIND a no kill shelter to come get the animals. They’d FIND a way to actually help the animals rather than perpetuate the problem.

And it goes without saying that homeless people with pets make me apoplectic with rage. You’re HOMELESS? Why, YES, by all means drag a dog or cat around with you. Seems legit.

Really, this is just another BE RESPONSIBLE post. I have lots of them. It’s a shame that this theme keeps coming up so often, isn’t it?

Mixed Fruit Galette

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been slowly bringing more baked goods into my repertoire. I can make a good madeleine and now I can make a pretty good galette! I use a mix of blueberries and peaches and/or nectarines. The best part is the short dough crust! You’ll need parchment paper for this recipe. It will stick like crazy if you don’t use parchment. Trust me.

Blueberry Peach Galette

Blueberry Peach Galette


Dough
1/3 cup almond flour (or grind up some blanched almonds)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl A/P flour
1/2 cup S/R flour (you can use all A/P flour, I just like the crispness I get with a mix)
1.5 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold, cut in pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water (depends on the weather!)

Filling
half a pint of blueberries (check for stems!)
2 peaches or nectarines (or one of each), peeled, pitted, halved and sliced 1/4 inch
juice of half a lemon
1 Tbl cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar

Dough Filler
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl almond flour
2 Tbl A/P flour

Glaze: Apricot preserves (or plum)

Method for dough:
Put first 5 ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Cut in butter with a dough cutter. (OR put into food processor and process for 5-10 seconds just until it comes together.) Butter should be pea sized. Pour in half the water and work in with a spatula. (OR process for a few seconds.) Keep adding water until the dough just barely holds together and you still see the butter chunks. Some days it will be 1/4 cup, some days it will be 1/2 cup. It depends on how humid it is.
IMG_1349IMG_1351
Turn out on a floured surface and pat into a 6″ flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 mins – or you can do this a day ahead.
IMG_1352
While the dough is chilling, put fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar into a bowl and stir. Let it sit until the dough is ready.

Mix together the dough filler ingredients. Put 3 Tbl preserves in a small bowl and add just a splash of water to loosen it up enough to spoon on.
IMG_1354
When the dough is ready, unwrap and place on a floured surface. Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out dough to about 12″ diameter, 1/4 inch thick – don’t make it too thin or it’ll leak even worse. Also, this is a rustic type pie, so the dough shouldn’t be perfect. Move the dough to a sheet pan wrapped in foil and topped with parchment paper. This galette will leak and you don’t want it to stick. USE PARCHMENT PAPER!! Put the dough filler on the crust stopping about 2″ from the edge.
IMG_1356
Pour the fruit filling into the center of the crust. Fold up the edges of the dough to create a rustic pie. Spoon half the apricot preserves glaze along the edges of the crust and over the filling. Sprinkle with sugar.
IMG_1357
Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375F or until crust is nicely browned. There will be leakage, it’s ok.

While galette is hot, spoon the rest of the preserves on the crust and fruit, then sprinkle with sugar again. Use a spatula to loosen the pie and remove any burnt leakage. Move carefully to a plate for serving.

Serve at room temperature.

Old Lady Supplements

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve suffered insomnia for over a decade and now I get to add hot flashes to it. Yay. I’ve tried many supplements without success (SEE note at the end!!), but I have finally dialed in a good combo of supplements to beat back the evil hot flashes. What I take specific to hot flashes have an * next to them:

DAILY
1 multi vitamin (just a cheap one like Centrum or the Kroger one)
1 B complex (you need LOTS of B as you age!)
*1 Selenium 200mcg (hot flash relief)
2 Turmeric 450mg (for inflammation of joints and carpal tunnel, I’ve had very good results!)
*1 E 100mg – 400mg (finishing the 100 then going to 400; works with selenium)

*Plus these tinctures for old lady crap:
1 dropper 2x/day chasteberry (aka vitex)
.5 dropper 2x/day black cohosh (full dropper if you’re not on hormones)
.5 dropper 2-4x/day motherwort (also helps with insomnia)
Yes they taste like ASS, just get a gulp of water, tilt your head back and put in a dropper then gulp. You won’t taste it too much.

Every other day:
1 D 1000iu
1 cal/mag 500mg/250mg
1 L lysine 500mg (immune system and calcium absorption)
1 evening primrose oil cap ~500mg (for inflammation and arthritis)

Yes, I take about 8-10 pills a day plus the tinctures. Yes, it is a PITA. But it is working! Get a big ass 2wk pill thingie and put all the various things in it for 2 wks then you just grab and go in the morning!
IMG_1343

My insomnia solution that mostly works is the following: one naproxen, one OTC sleep aid (doxylamine succinate, NOT diphenhydramine, which revs me up) and one valerian cap. I’ve also used Sleep Assure (Nature’s Plus) but the melatonin can often backfire and I’ve used Deep Sleep (Herbs Etc., I’d rec the liquid over the caplets.). Here is a Slate article about various sleep aids. Speaking of melatonin, I’ve preached about this, but no one listens: DO NOT USE LARGE DOSES OF MELATONIN FOR INSOMNIA. Anything more than 3mg is a HIGH dose and will likely backfire on you. Melatonin is a sleep regulator, NOT a sleep aid. Read this article and stop using melatonin the wrong way!

Warning about Dong Quai for Old Lady issues: I got a supplement that had dong quai in it and it turned ON the hot flashes, like ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT hot flashes. After doing some research, I found out that in some women, dong quai is very bad for hot flashes. YUP, I can confirm this. Not everyone, mind you, just some. So be careful about taking that if you’re old.

Welcome to Zweeko!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

We are done with WiredTree. You are reading this from our new server at zweeko.com in the UK!

I’m really shocked at the behaviour of WiredTree, our host for about four years. When our sites (this one in particular) started getting hammered by ddos and wp attacks, they did LITERALLY NOTHING about it. They blamed us for the constant outages and basically had the attitude of “it sucks to be you”.

All they could recommend was that we buy more RAM or upgrade our plan: WHICH WE DID. We moved to a more robust SSD plan that cost $15 more than the other plan we were on ($40 -> $55). Today I wake up to a notice about the sites being down (third time THIS WEEK) and they jacked the billing up to $59 without notice.

Really, WiredTree? REALLY? Wow. It’s become a clear pattern that hosting companies are great for about four years, then they get too big to care. I’ve consistently had to find a new host every 4-5 years for this exact reason: support goes to shit. I expect the same from Zweeko and that is OK. I just have to deal with moving every 4-5 years. Whatever.

So a coupla weeks ago I was kvetching on Twitter about the shitty service we were getting from WiredTree, when I got a message from Sal at Zweeko.com. He enquired about what was going on and offered to bail us out of WiredTree. After much discussion, we decided that we’d give them a go. Sal even called me from London to chat about what they could offer us and that they’d do all the grunt work of moving the sites. As we were chatting, he told me that he and his staff were “having a laugh” about how shitty WiredTree is being to us and that sealed the deal for me. You know what? WiredTree IS being shitty to us. They offer no protection from ddos or wp attacks. There are plenty of server side firewalls available, but they can’t be bothered. Sal uses CloudFlare to protect the servers from attacks and doesn’t even charge extra for it – it’s included in the $70/mo hosting package. WiredTree did suggest that maybe WE should look into CloudFlare for our server, but they can’t be bothered. Assholes.

So the upshot is that we are in the process of moving to Zweeko and WiredTree can suck it. I doubt they’ll even refund the jacked up fee they just charged me and I don’t really give a shit. KEEP IT. Clearly you need it worse than I do (maybe use it for some better support people?). Assholes.

I’m raising the hosting rate for Rob and he’s cool with the more robust protection we’re getting from Zweeko. We’ll have plenty of protection from various attacks and we’re adding SSL for $18/yr for further protection. WiredTree wanted $60 for an SSL certificate. Assholes.

This site will be having outages starting today and over the weekend. See ya on the flip side! I’m HERE! Yay!

Done with WiredTree!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m really shocked at the behaviour of WiredTree, our host for about four years. When our sites (this one in particular) started getting hammered by ddos and wp attacks, they did LITERALLY NOTHING about it. They blamed us for the constant outages and basically had the attitude of “it sucks to be you”.

All they could recommend was that we buy more RAM or upgrade our plan: WHICH WE DID. We moved to a more robust SSD plan that cost $15 more than the other plan we were on ($40 -> $55). Today I wake up to a notice about the sites being down (third time THIS WEEK) and they jacked the billing up to $59 without notice.

Really, WiredTree? REALLY? Wow. It’s become a clear pattern that hosting companies are great for about four years, then they get too big to care. I’ve consistently had to find a new host every 4-5 years for this exact reason: support goes to shit. I expect the same from Zweeko and that is OK. I just have to deal with moving every 4-5 years. Whatever.

So a coupla weeks ago I was kvetching on Twitter about the shitty service we were getting from WiredTree, when I got a message from Sal at Zweeko.com. He enquired about what was going on and offered to bail us out of WiredTree. After much discussion, we decided that we’d give them a go. Sal even called me from London to chat about what they could offer us and that they’d do all the grunt work of moving the sites. As we were chatting, he told me that he and his staff were “having a laugh” about how shitty WiredTree is being to us and that sealed the deal for me. You know what? WiredTree IS being shitty to us. They offer no protection from ddos or wp attacks. There are plenty of server side firewalls available, but they can’t be bothered. Sal uses CloudFlare to protect the servers from attacks and doesn’t even charge extra for it – it’s included in the $70/mo hosting package. WiredTree did suggest that maybe WE should look into CloudFlare for our server, but they can’t be bothered. Assholes.

So the upshot is that we are in the process of moving to Zweeko and WiredTree can suck it. I doubt they’ll even refund the jacked up fee they just charged me and I don’t really give a shit. KEEP IT. Clearly you need it worse than I do (maybe use it for some better support people?). Assholes.

I’m raising the hosting rate for Rob and he’s cool with the more robust protection we’re getting from Zweeko. We’ll have plenty of protection from various attacks and we’re adding SSL for $18/yr for further protection. WiredTree wanted $60 for an SSL certificate. Assholes.

This site will be having outages starting today and over the weekend. See ya on the flip side!

Better than the alternative

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I was just reading some older posts and came across this one from 2013 about long term disappointment. TRIGGER WARNING!!

It’s two years later and although there is still disappointment, we did manage to change up a few things:

– We moved into a nice, large house in the ‘burbs ($1300/mo rent hurts, tho!).
– Maplehurst was finally foreclosed and there was NO impact on our credit. Mine is currently 718.
– We tried (and failed) to start up a restaurant and an arcade company (too bad, so sad).
– We are selling LOTS of things to beef up savings and get ready for whatever is next.

We don’t know what is next other than NuVision shutting down. I guess once that happens we’ll decide what to do. MY vote is to sell most of our crap, put the rest in storage, buy a truck and RV trailer and hit the road for a year. Nick, of course, is not into it. He is never into my ideas. I think our age difference is starting to show. The other day, he actually said “Well, an RV and travel may be fine for you old motherfuckers, but I’m still in my 40s!” Soooo, I guess that’s his position. :(

I feel old – because I am!! 50 will be here shortly and I really don’t know how I feel about it. Menopause sucks – just like everything else having to do with being female – and I just want it to be over. I don’t care about my looks any more, why should I? I’m old and out of the game. I know Nick loves me, it’s not that, it’s just BLEH. I don’t know. I’m over it.

When I complain about middle age, the usual response is “It’s better than the alternative!”, but really? I’m not so sure. I’m more of the “die young and leave a nice looking corpse” group. But it’s too late for that. I’m not young. I’m middle aged. That is a fact. ARGH.

I hope I can get something put together for my birthday, but I’m so not motivated. And I am a little resentful that I have to do all the arrangements for my own birthday. Nick is absolutely useless at planning trips, parties, whatever. Ugh. He doesn’t even try. At this moment, it looks like I’ll be doing nothing for my 50th. Which is so sad and pathetic that I can’t even think about it.

And with that, I’m done with the whining. I’ve got hausfrau things to do: shopping, running Vakoom, etc. The excitement is palpable. :P

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