Category Archives: Love

Group 12 – Reunion Group, raw.honest.loved.

This is one of my favorite blogs out there! I was part of her project with my Nana a few years ago. There are few things more powerful. There are links at the bottom to the earlier groups. If you haven’t been following this DO IT! (With tissues)…

“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. Yes, we are totally exposed …

Source: Group 12 – Reunion Group, raw.honest.loved.

Easter Dinner

uu easter fb

Now, I don’t eat ham…I don’t like the texture (although I’ve always had a hard time explaining why), but I grew up in a family who usually did the traditional “Easter Ham” & I have a husband who gets pretty excited about about it as well. For me, Easter is about spring, egg hunts, flowers…chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies (I’m not gonna lie!), and activities with the kids! I love dying eggs and watching their faces when they discover their baskets in the morning. Even my 17 yr old is excited to discover the T-shirt or comic book hiding among the eggs & treats in his basket (Mommy bunny always puts some non-edibles in the basket as well). Many years ago my mother started making a particular ham recipe that became a family classic. It is now the only one that is asked for in my home, my siblings’ homes, my in-laws have shared it with friends, my husband has been emailing around work…I figured the “cat’s out of the bag” I may as well share it with you all.


Our Easter Dinner consists of Mom’s Coke Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, & a Vegetable, this year I made Garlic Roasted Asparagus. We round it out with my Pineapple Upside-down Cake.

Ham thick side down in pot

Start by placing your Shank Half/Bone-in Ham, thick side down, into a pot on the stove top. Pour 2-liter of Coca-Cola Classic to cover entire Ham, use more if needed (cannot be diet, off-brand, or Pepsi or it doesn’t work the same). Cover with lid, bring to boil then simmer for at least 2 hours.

pour coke over ham

While the Ham is simmering in Coke, it’s a good time to use the oven to prepare the cake or other dessert. I’ve always been a fan of Pineapple Upside-down Cake. I try to do a lot of things from scratch, but given that I’m in the kitchen all day on the holidays anyway having a couple of cheats I think is alright! I use Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme. If you look on the side of the box there is a skillet recipe; you do need to have a 12+ inch skillet that has an oven safe handle, but it is SO worth it! I’ll paste the link to the recipe on their website below along with the pic of my finished cake. This is my “go to” recipe! I love it. #duncanhinespineappleupsidedowncake

finish with your favorite Easter dessert. Ours is pineapple upside down cake

http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/cakes/Duncan%20Hines%C2%AE/pineapple-upside-down-cake/

sprinkle with cloves, brown sugar, and molasses to taste

Now that your Ham has been cooking for 2-3 hours while you got your cake baked & out of the way…Pour the Ham & Coke into a strainer in the sink (be careful, the hot Coke-Cola is sticky & will burn badly if it splashes onto your face). Trim off fat. You can choose to leave the Ham whole or cut it off of the bone in chunks like I do (as pictured). If you leave it whole you must score it well to ensure that the flavors get through it. [I prefer it “chunked” for a couple of reasons. I think that it allows the pieces to all get good & crispy in the oven as well as making sure that the flavor gets all over them.] Sprinkle with cloves, brown sugar, & drizzle with molasses (to taste). Set aside.

Here’s one more “cheat” that I do…I admit that I haven’t yet successfully been able to make homemade, all from scratch, cheesy scalloped potatoes…so sad.  They are always either too greasy, the potatoes are too firm, or the sauce isn’t creamy enough for my liking, as I’m a perfectionist about such things…so, I cheat. I get boxed scalloped potatoes & I embellish them & jazz them up! For our family of 5, I usually use 2 boxes. I always use the “oven method” on the box. Follow all of the steps up to stirring in the potatoes…STOP! Add a small handful of shredded sharp cheddar (I get Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar, it’s awesome & a great price at Costco)  & 1 bunch (just shy of a cup chopped) green onion. Stir it up good then add the potatoes. Sprinkle a little more cheddar on the top (to get that nice crispy goodness) then bake as directed.  So much better than straight outta the box!

if you're gonna cheat, they're SO much better

While the potatoes are in the oven, clean asparagus under cool water. (To remove woody ends from the asparagus, gently bend the end of each spear until it snaps naturally.) Lay on a paper towel & pat dry as you can, you don’t want them to steam in the oven.

once dry spread single layer drizzle generously with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic

Next, spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, & garlic (I use a little garlic mill, but you can use granulated as well). Finally, pop in the preheated 425-degree oven & roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes. The secret is for the oven to be very hot without the veggies getting overcooked & wimpy.

finished asparagus

Now that the asparagus is done, crank the oven temp up as hot as it will go (ours goes up to 550) & throw the ham in for 10 min (15 min if you left it whole), then rearrange the pieces, sprinkle more cloves, brown sugar, drizzle more molasses, & turn on the broiler on high. Set the timer for 7 minutes & go get the table set. (The broiler gets it good & crispy around the edges.)

after 10 minutes rotate sprinkle again cook another 10 repeat sprinkling again then broil on low for 5 if you want extra crispy

Dinner is done!

Dinner is served!


Coke Ham

  • 1  Shank Half/Bone-In Ham
  • 1  2 Liter Bottle Original Coke-Cola
  • Brown Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Cloves

Place Ham, thick side down, into pot on top of stove. Pour Coke-Cola over ham. Cover with lid, bring to boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours. When 2-3 hours have passed: Heat oven as hot as it will go (probably 550); Pour ham and Coke-Cola into strainer in sink; Transfer ham to an oven proof pan (either the entire ham or cut from bone & place in pan, but either way trim fat first; if whole ham in dish you must score it by cutting slashes all over it so the next ingredients will seep down inside); Sprinkle with cloves, brown sugar, & molasses (to taste); Put in oven for 15 minutes (If you cut the ham from the bone, you’ll need to cook 10 minutes in the oven then rotate pieces, add more cloves, brown sugar, & molasses, then cook another 7 minutes on broil to crisp it up.


Garlic Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 4-5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, to Taste
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, to Taste
  • Ground Garlic, to Taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean asparagus under cool water. Remove woody ends from the asparagus by gently bending the end of each spear until it snaps naturally. Lay on a paper towel & pat dry as you can (you don’t want them to steam in the oven).  Next, spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, & garlic (I use a little garlic mill, but you can use granulated as well). Finally, pop in the preheated oven & roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes. The secret is for the oven to be very hot without the veggies getting overcooked & wimpy.


SCOTUS decides the Hobby Lobby case: AKA #BoycottHobbyLobby

It’s days like this where the impulsive part of my brain says, “Grab the children & move to Canada! . . . NOW!!!”

Then I read the following statement from our UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales, & I remember something that I watched during one of our Sunday morning worship services at last weekend’s General Assembly (which I will paste at the end:

http://www.uua.org/news/pressroom/pressreleases/296165.shtml

For those who are just waking up…this morning the US Supreme Court ruled in favor (5 to 4) of Hobby Lobby. This Corporation now has the right, based on their “religious beliefs” to pick & choose which insurance benefits they offer their employees.
In this case, we’re talking birth control. The “Christian Right Conservatives” don’t want to pay for contraceptives, basically (although meds like Viagra are okay…don’t get me started…I’m just beginning to not see red anymore).

Many are viewing this as a women’s issue, but it’s a men’s issue, a family issue…an everybody issue!

Go with me for just a minute…I’m going to get personal.

In my family, my husband works his butt off working full time, overtime when he can, gets benefits for the family. I work part time, 1-2 half days a week in the office & the rest of the time I work from home, averaging 16-18 hours a week, our 3 yr old goes to a Pre-school/daycare when I’m in the office. We have 2 other kids who are in school full time. I get paid monthly & even though my hours are minimal, my hourly pay is good & my paychecks cover most of our rent (and are equal to close to half of my husband’s monthly net pay).

I have an IUD. According to the New York Times, “The cost of an IUD, one of the most effective forms of birth control, is considerable. It requires a visit to the doctor, and a procedure to have the device put in place. Medical exams, insertion, and follow-up visits can run upward of $1,000. Without insurance coverage, it’s likely that many women will be unable to use them.” Luckily, my husband’s insurance covered it, but if more companies start following suit who knows if my next one will be covered. (They need to be replaced every 5 years.) I will also say that this is the only reliable method of birth control that works for my husband & I. We don’t have to worry about forgetting, misusing, having reactions from my IUD. It just works.

Now lets say for a minute that my wonderful husband worked for Hobby Lobby. They could have refused to pay for our IUD. There would have been NO WAY we could have paid for it. I know that I can’t take birth control pills (as I react); without getting too personal diaphragms don’t work for me; condoms aren’t practical for many married couples & they can break or get holes & even when used correctly they’re only 98% effective…we would end up pregnant again, I wouldn’t be able to work, we’d be on food stamps after my income stopped paying most of our rent (which is a program we know that they’ve been speaking out against) then we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford to get my IUD, then more babies….endless poverty cycle.

I don’t know how “Christian” “Pro-Family” people can go out of their way to create hardship for families who are just trying to protect themselves against having children that they’re either not ready for or perhaps (like we are) done making their family, or like many, taking the medications for other things all together.

One other analogy I offer that I want you to think about before I wrap this up, only because I think it’s all too easy to say, “well, if they don’t want to cover a medication, what’s the big deal? It’s their company…” (Even though the employees cover a fair amount of their own premium costs…)

let’s flip the perspective for a minute. I posted this in response to someone’s facebook post this morning & it got some feedback so I’ll put it to you all as well: *you are christian & work for a lovely Muslim family-owned corporation. They decided that during Ramadan, since THEY fast from sun up to sun down as part of their Religious Beliefs, they would stop allowing food on the business properties from sun up to sun down, just during Ramadan. You are welcome to drive off site, eat something, & drive back during your 30 min lunch break but they won’t give you more time & this would only allow you a few minutes to eat & ends up costing you more $ in gas each week. You sue, but are surprised when you lose because you find out that your boss’s religious freedom is protected over you, just like the fore mentioned case.*

The average Rightwing Christian doesn’t usually like to be the minority & doesn’t like it when the religion-based law that they made a such a big deal over doesn’t only apply to them.

It’s time for me to share with you what I promised I would earlier. I will share the words first then post the link for the service itself. (You will find this at approximately 49:41) It is the Meditation before the Sermon (which is also amazing!).

This is Revs. Shana and Melora Lynngood, Co-ministers First Unitarian Church of Victoria, BC~Sunday, June 29th, 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Providence Rhode Island

“Please join us in a spirit of meditation and reflection… breathe in… breathe out… if you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes… We have all done it— Especially those of us who like to think of ourselves as astute, intelligent, well-informed.
We criticize and judge—convinced that we know the right way.
And sometimes we ARE right—especially when our object of critique is an injustice, an unfair law or system.
We clench our fists—indignant, righteous. Take a moment to consider—In justice work—in life—what makes you clench your fists?… Sometimes, that response is justified; the clenched fists understandable, even appropriate.
But if we remain in that pose, our posture rigid, our approach set, convinced of our own superior view,
Then we miss the blessings…Steamroll right past the beatitudes.
To experience spiritual transformation—in justice-making and in life,
We have to un-clench our fists and open our hands.
Hands open, letting go of the need to be right, the urge to point the finger of critique
Hands open—signaling humility.
Hands open—receptive to the love that can guide us
Hands open—ready to serve.
Hands open to grasp hands of others, joining across differences, finding there meaningful connection
Hands open, like a toddler stumbling with arms akimbo, awkward, but poised to explore and experience new possibilities, new insights, new growth.
Take a moment to consider—if you were to open your hands, step into a more embracing stance than is usual for you, what blessings might you receive?
May our hands—open to the spirit—give life the shape of justice.”

http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2014/worship/295428.shtml
No matter how frustrated you may be, regardless of pride, nor anger–may you find your inner peace & wisdom & be able to lower your fist & open your hands & accept the gifts that come.

Learn from this day. Get out there & make a better day for our children.
Don’t be afraid to be loud when it matters.
Shalom friends.
~P

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

Even from over 1000 miles away, I’m included.

Right now, our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly 2014 is happening. I cannot be there this year (& I’m super bummed about). I was able to get an app on my phone where I can get the schedule of events, pics of everything happening, & posts from people there. I am subscribed to a few UU minister’s blog sites who are blogging about their time there; some are opinion pieces & some are updates on their experiences of what’s happening to update their congregants who couldn’t attend. Many UU churches & members are posting things from GA on facebook & twitter & other social networking sites as well!

Also, the UUA keeps the world all included via uua.org. You can watch a live feed of the worship services and select other events over the assembly week. When there isn’t a live feed you can watch awesome videos like this one or highlights from last year’s GA. I am bummed that I can’t be present, but they have done everything they can to make sure that we’re all included.

I’m so excited due to watching this week’s events (through all of this inclusion) that nothing could keep me from attending next year’s GA in Portland! Luckily, I plan a Seattle trip every summer to visit my family anyway & there’s a good chance that I could find a friend in Portland to stay with so my expenses would be much less then a Rhode Island trip…

Whatever happens next year…I am so lucky to have found the UU church. (Thank you Aigner!) There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

 

Perfect Beauty…

Perfect Beauty…

Please share this with your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, sisters, neighbors, friends, mothers, coworkers, oh hell…share it with everyone you know!

I have often felt that the problem with “the beauty industry” isn’t the products they sell, but the fact that they have been allowed (for decades) to brainwash the public into thinking that they NEEDED the products they sell to reach an acceptable level of “beauty.”

Let me say, whoever you are:

You are perfect.

You are beautiful.

All that you need to do or acquire in order to achieve perfection or beauty, is to simply live.

Love yourself, Be kind to others, Be gentle to your soul, Don’t listen to those who make you feel bad about who you are.