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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Sunday Stealing-Cooking


Hi! Our host is Bev Sykes of the blog "Funny the World". . Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. Cheers to all of us thieves!


From Food Questions




1. How often do you make food and eat it?
My spouse usually cooks because she doesn’t have as many pain issues as I do. I will sit and prep vegetables, and sometimes I will make takeout from scratch. Char Siu, egg foo young, beef and broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken. I’ll also make eggplant pizza rounds, eggplant Parmesan layered and prepared as if it were lasagna (no pasta). I got lazy during Christmas break and made tamale pie instead of tamales. So much faster, same ingredients, tastes the same. I will admit since the torn meniscus and sprained LCL, I haven’t done anything that necessitates standing at the stove. Anything my wife can cook in the oven I will sit and prep it.

2. Do you consider toasting bread, preparing instant noodles, or boiling an egg to be cooking? Why or why not?
It’s still food...and it’s being changed from an uncooked state to a cooked state, so why not? Besides, you can fancy anything up. Toasted bread becomes a BLT. Instant noodles become Pho, and a hard boiled egg can become egg salad, or deviled eggs.

3. What’s your favorite dish to make?
I really like my eggplant Parmesan lasagna. I rarely, just about never, eat real pasta. (NO zoodles!) I also make 
Eggplant Rotolo. The recipe is from my blog Lola’s Victory Garden which I haven’t posted on in ages, but my recipe is still there.

4. Cooking or baking: what’s more fun? What’s more difficult?
I don’t bake much anymore. I will be making Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Easter or my kids will hate me. It’s a tradition from their Great Grandmother. Since I’m diabetic, I don’t bake much because if it’s around I will eat it. I can’t stand fake, artificial sweeteners and I will not use them. I use sugar, honey, or real maple syrup in recipes. Cooking is more fun because there are so many recipes, and they are easier to make low carb than baked goods. Also, it’s easier to screw up when baking. If you don’t use the correct, and/or proper amount of a leavening agent (yeast, baking powder, baking soda) you are not going to get the desired result.

5. Who did most of the cooking in your house when you were growing up?
My Mom cooked in the house, my Dad was the grill master. After my Mom passed away, my Dad became famous for Steak and Nothing. Just a really big steak with nothing else. Every Father’s Day we have Steak and Nothing in honor of him. My kids start asking about it in early April. (It gets to be obnoxious how many times they ask well in advance.)

6. How have you learned the cooking skills that you have?
I learned many things from my Mom, but she grew up in the depression and we hit some hard times when my Dad had his back surgeries, so there was a lot of starches because they stretched a meal. A lot of pasta and rice. I also have a lot of cookbooks and my Pinterest account is full of saved recipes. I’ve also watched a lot of cooking shows.

7. Have you ever taken a cooking course? If so, what did you learn? If not, would you like to do one? What would you like to learn?
When I was a kid in 4-H my Mom taught a cooking class. I also took Home Economics in High School. Other than those, I really don’t have an interest in taking a class. 

8. Have you tried cooking food from another culture? What did you prepare? How was it?
I’ve made:  
Indian-Butter Chicken, Aloo Gobi, Chicken Tikka Masala, Samosas, Saag Paneer, Chicken Curry; Chinese-Char Siu, Beef & Broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Crab Rangoon, Egg Rolls, Shrimp Lo Mein, Moo Shu Pork, Shrimp Fried Rice, Beef Chop Suey, Cuban-Ham Croquettes, Cuban sandwiches, Fried Plantains; Mexican-Tacos, Burritos, Wet Burritos, Enchiladas, Red Snapper Veracruz, Quesadillas, Tomatillo Salsa; Italian-Pasta from scratch, Ravioli from scratch, Sauce from scratch, Bracciole, Sicilian Steak, Mussels in Red Sauce, Arancini, Meatballs, Chicken Parmigiana, Fettuccine Alfredo, Pizza Dough, Calzones; Greek-Greek Chicken, Greek Lemon Potatoes; Thai-Fried Tofu, Chicken Pad Thai; and many more dishes. Everything has tasted good. I don’t think I’ve ever had a recipe fail, but then I spend forever studying Pinterest recipes to select the best recipe for a dish I want to make.

9. Is it cost-effective to do your own cooking? Can you save money by cooking?

I save a lot of money cooking at home. Even with expensive ingredients, it’s still so much cheaper than a restaurant. No ill behaved children (now they are ill behaved adults lol!). You know exactly how fresh everything is, and there is no waiter that has to be tipped. 

10. Would you rather do the cooking or do the washing up afterwards?
Cooking!  These people that say wash dishes as you go? Bwah hahahahaha! Seriously?

11. Do you use recipes to cook? If so, where do you get the best recipes? Do you get them from friends, family, online, or from cookbooks?
The recipes that are my Mom’s, that I created myself, or that I cook often, I don’t need to to look up the recipe. I have lots of cookbooks, I use Pinterest, and I also clip recipes and put them in one of those photo albums that has the plastic you peel apart to stick photos in.

12. Have you ever tried to prepare some food and just totally ruined it? What happened?
I’ve made Split Pea Soup and someone thought they were being helpful, turned the flame up, causing the bottom of the pan to burn. The smell! There is no way to save it when that happens.

13. Do you prefer cooking at home or eating out at a restaurant? Why?
Right now, cook at home. I am not eating IN a restaurant for the foreseeable future. I do wish I had an upright freezer so I could cook extra and freeze entire meals. Then I wouldn’t have to buy those salty frozen dinners from the grocery store when no one feels like cooking.

14. Is cooking a social activity for you? Do you like to do it with other people, or do your prefer to do it alone?
I’d rather cook alone. I might ask for an ingredient to be found, but otherwise, I don’t want the distraction.

15. Do you have a lot of cooking equipment? How often do you use it all? Do you have any pieces of equipment that you rarely ever use?
I have a ton of cooking equipment. The one thing I don’t have, that I don’t want is that sous vide thing. I don’t see the need for it, and I don’t understand it. I’ve got just about everything else, so I don’t see why I’d need it. 

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Day 370 of Sheltering In

Friday. Found out what the deal was at my father-in-law’s with all the grills and coolers. It’s a birthday party for his 2nd wife. (I specify 2nd wife so there is no confusion. She is NOT my wife’s mother. This woman is nasty. She had RBF in every photo she was in at our wedding.) Not that I give a flip, but we’ve been invited to her past birthday parties. I’m actually glad we weren’t invited, because we don’t have to decline the invite or face questioning. 👏 

I woke up with my back screaming. I must have kicked the blanket off and exposed my back to the cool air. That’s never good. I still went to PT and the only thing I skipped was the step thing. L foot step up, R foot step up, then L foot step down, R foot step down. Rinse and repeat. I also did an extra minute on the step bike. Way to get M all excited! 😂 

The book I mentioned yesterday? Nope. Not what I expected. There is little mention of diagnosis’s, so it’s useless for the reason I had bought it ($1.49). It’s definitely interesting. It’s more about a psych ER doctor’s experiences from residency to doctor. At first it was very descriptive of the patients she was seeing, then it just veered off into what the shifts are like and what goes through this psych ER doctor’s mind as she does rounds on all the various sections of the hospital. I will likely finish the book, but I’m no longer in a rush because I won’t be passing it on to my wife. So the search continues.

I finally talked to my wife and figured out a date for my daughter’s home visit. We will pick her up on the 31st. Of course now my daughter can’t stop talking about it.

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Day 369 of Sheltering In

Thursday. I was supposed to have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor today. Get this:
I got no call to confirm my appointment Wednesday. 
I called this morning to say I didn’t get the call and wanted to confirm.
I was told that I didn’t respond to the automated call so they canceled my appointment!
Who did they call?
It wasn’t me, or my wife.

I really wasn’t in the mood to go today, but I would have gone had they not canceled.

I was told by my insurance I didn’t need a referral for a therapist, what with the pandemic and people really needing one. Apparently they lied. I got a denial letter for the first visit yesterday. I called and was told I needed a referral, and they said it wouldn’t be a problem, as soon as they got it, they’d pay the claim. I contacted my PCP who did the referral right away and told me they might not pay it. So maybe I’ve been lied to again by my insurance?

I have a ton of paperwork to do for other things and my printer decided to ignore my print requests. Grr!

While I’m trying to handle that, my wife is fielding calls from her brother and Dad. They live in the same house, can’t they coordinate or let each other know? They were calling about the same thing. Something is going on over there Saturday and her Dad wants her over there. I had PT scheduled, so I had to cancel it because we only have the Buick for transportation. I haven’t parted with the Pilot yet, but you can’t steer it, so it can’t be driven. My wife wanted to go Sunday so I wouldn’t have to cancel. Nope. I promised my therapist that I will have MY Sunday this week. I am under way too much stress to skip MY Sunday for the 3rd or 4th week in a row. I did have big plans for Sunday (1st date anniversary), but I’m a professional procrastinator and have not gotten anything done that I could have done in advance. Also, either my wife is playing, or she doesn’t remember what Sunday is. I told her we would have to go to her Dad’s Saturday and I said we already had plans on Sunday. If she doesn’t remember, then Sunday is just a day.

Somehow my daughter has ingratiated herself with a new staff member who drove her to my house to get her meds from me tonight. Yay!!! I love my daughter! She’s a smooth talker just like her Mom. Lol!

I think I may have found a good book for my wife to read about my kids’ illnesses. 
Weekends at Bellevue- 9 years on the night shift at the psych ER
So far it is stirring up old memories, which I’m not fond of, but if it’s doing that, then it should be a good introduction to what I have gone through since 1997 with the kid’s dad, then my daughter, then my son.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Day 368 of Sheltering In

Wednesday. Late yesterday afternoon my wife and I were scrambling trying to get appointments for the vaccine for her and my son. They got appointments for the 30th in J town, back to back. So happy they were able to get appointments so close. 

I barely got through PT today. I had a new to me physical therapist today. He is from India and we talked about the vaccine and how getting one in India is so much easier. There is a single website for the entire country. You sign up, you get a token, then you can go to any site administering the vaccine that has it in stock and wait in line. No appointment needed. He says it’s so much more organized, you don’t have to be of a certain age or have underlying conditions. You sign up, get a token, and go get vaccinated. There is just too much bureaucracy here.

I still feel blah since I got the vaccine. The muscle pain in the arm I got the injection in, is almost gone. I’m tired, but I think it’s lack of sleep. It’s difficult when you have arm pain on the right side and knee pain on the left. I was constantly changing positions. The good thing is that the arm pain is barely there now, so I should sleep well tonight. I was also nauseous today, but I’m chalking it up to IBS. Usually I just get abdominal pain when I have a flare up, and I rarely get nauseous. I guess I just got lucky today.

Supposed to have a doctor appointment Thursday, but they didn’t confirm it. I’m kind of hoping it’s canceled. I will have to call in the morning to find out. I just don’t have the energy. I know they will X-ray my knee, so I’m dreading that. I’ve got a ton of PT visits approved and I would rather do that. No way do I want surgery. Besides, what are they going to do about the sprained LCL? Nothing beyond what I’m already doing. Surgery would be for the meniscus tear. I’ve been told by 2 doctors that it’s a minor tear, so I’m holding on to that.

Here’s a funny. A cousin of my wife’s started sending me messages on Messenger. Clearly she thought she was messaging someone else. She was typing so fast it was hard to get across her error. She was nice about it and we had a nice chat. I haven’t really talked to her since our wedding. What with my surgery, my wife’s surgery, her cousin’s health problems, and the pandemic it’s been impossible to make the trip to Indiana. Hopefully after our family gets vaccinated and the waiting period passes we can have a visit there.

My daughter is so annoying about her home visit. I told her I would have to check with my wife. I know she wants to plan a visit to her Dad’s, so I do need to confer with her about what dates the home visit will be. Oh, and it’s her birthday in Easter. As if I didn’t know!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Day 360-367 of Sheltering In

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. PT Wednesday and Thursday. That was brutal. This week is chock full of fun appointments. COVID-19 vaccine Monday in Hodgkins (I was trying everything and could not get any appointments closer. It wasn’t that bad a drive.) Tuesday therapist, then PT 3 days (including Saturday) and orthopedic doctor.

Anastasia contacted my wife to tell her that Will County had openings for COVID-19 vaccinations. Of course she called my wife, because she only calls me to belittle me and insinuate (or sometimes straight up call me) a bad Mom. Anastasia texted me a few days ago saying my son contacted her complaining about the arguments between himself and my wife. So Anastasia types in ALL CAPS types “time for group home”. I am still furious at the way she treats me (I was NOT the one who cheated and left, but she acts as though I am. I AM NOT!) I am absolutely furious at her telling me what is best for my son. It’s none of her damn business. Her and I are no longer in a relationship, we are not friends, I only tolerate or avoid her because my kids want a relationship with her and she is more reliable than their dad who pops up every few years wanting to see them (I think it’s 4 years now.) I am sick and tired of sucking it up and taking her bullshit to make my kids happy. She even had the nerve to ask to be invited for poker night at my father-in-law’s. NOT A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HELL!

So I have a question. Actually I have many, but I’m just going to ask one. The 10th anniversary of our first date is approaching. How do you try to temper your expectations when you are the one who always has a plan and gives the perfect/thoughtful card/gift/celebration meal and your counterpart is maybe 1 step above last minute card/gift selection at Walgreens? 

On that note...have a great week!

Lola’s Diner cc.  2008-2021

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Stealing-Blog Challenge

March 18, 2021

Blog Challenge 

Hi! Our host is Bev Sykes of the blog "Funny the World". . Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. Cheers to all of us thieves!


1. What was an unforgettable day in your life?
My 2nd wedding. I hired a bagpiper to play at the ceremony. (No one knew until he showed up. Everyone, including my bride to be was surprised.) He played the wedding party down from the arbor to the gazebo. My boss’s daughter sang Sarah Barellis “I Choose You” after the Reverend said a few words. Then at the end the bagpiper played a different song as we walked out. My father-in-law gave a speech where he said “You’re one of us now”. Then EVERYONE at the reception chanted “One of us. One of us.” Over and over. (None of my extended family attended.) After the meal I danced all night with my kids, mostly my son. I danced with my wife for the first dance. (This was 2 years before my car accident, so dancing was not a problem...other than I really never danced at weddings. Lol!) The dancing kept my kids occupied because they didn’t know very many people, and it kept me from ruminating about the fact that no extended family on my side attended. I only drank champagne for the toasts. The dancing kept me away from the bar. I was a bit concerned I might get drunk and stupid...cuz only my kids were there, but the dancing kept my mind off the lack of attendance.

2. What are your favorite snacks?
It used to be any chocolate, potato chips, Cheetos. Now it’s dark chocolate because it’s lower in sugar, popcorn because it’s healthier. I ate pork rinds then switched to popcorn. Now I can’t even look at a pork rind.

3. What is your biggest fashion accessory?
My favorite is my Citizen watch. It’s the man’s version (the women’s model looked silly on my wrist). My wife and I got the watches as wedding gifts to each other.

4. What is your biggest celebrity crush?
I don’t really crush on celebrities.

5. Name one hobby you would like to learn.
I would love to golf. I know how and have my own clubs and shoes. Because of my back and shoulders, and currently my torn meniscus and sprained LCL I can’t. Maybe when my knee heals I can figure out a modified swing that I can manage. Otherwise I’ll be limited to Putt Putt Golf.

6. What are your OCD habits?
I don’t like my food touching on my plate. If it touches it’s not a big deal, I’d just rather it didn’t. I also usually eat one food at a time until that food is finished, instead of varying what I eat. I also save my favorite for last.  

7. What would you like to eat if you knew it was your last meal?

8. Are you working on your fitness?
Seriously? There’s not much I can do because of my torn meniscus, sprained LCL, bad shoulders, and bad back. I currently go to physical therapy 3 times a week. So technically I am getting exercise. I’m also workin on my guns. 💪 I can manage some exercises with weights that don’t aggravate my shoulders.

9. What do you spend money on?
Oh shoot! I’m busted! I read a lot because I can’t seem to find anything I’d like that I haven’t seen before on the streaming services. I’ve read 80 days in a row according to the Kindle Reading Challenge. I spend a lot on Kindle Books. What’s a lot? I added up what I’ve spent since 01/01/2021. Keep in mind that I did have some Amazon gift cards...I spent $157 on Kindle books since the first of this year. (Of that amount, I spent $105 in February!) Isn’t that amount ridiculous? I added it up because I was contemplating paying for Kindle Unlimited. A couple of the authors I read don’t offer their books on Kindle Unlimited. Still, I think I’d save a lot of money even if I bought the occasional Kindle Book. No, the library is not an option because they don’t carry the genre I read.

10. What is your favorite recipe?
I cook so many different cuisines that it’s hard to pick. I do really like Char Siu. It’s the barbecued pork appetizer Chinese restaurants have. I love my Mom’s pasta sauce recipe, but I don’t really eat pasta anymore (diabetic=limit carbs). I hate zoodles. Occasionally I sub bean sprouts for pasta.

11. What is the best part of each season?
Spring-I love planning my vegetable garden, and my flower boxes. I have my son do the dirty work. I can’t wait for my Lilac bushes and Bearded Irises bloom.
Summer-Shorts season! Cargo shorts! Sure you can wear them in the Spring and Fall, but they are kind of mandatory in Summer.
Fall-The cooler weather (I love hoodie season!), and the leaves changing color.
Winter-I do enjoy the colder weather, but not really below 40°. 

12. What is a life lesson you've learned?
Making friends as an adult is nearly impossible. No one believes me when I say I have no friends. It’s actually true if you’re not counting my wife and kids. I don’t count my wife’s friends as my friends because they are not. Sure, they’re pleasant to me, but they don’t really engage me in conversation when I’m with my wife (usually sitting on our porch), and I’m not included when they go out to lunch with my wife. When this comes up my wife insists her friends are my friends too. But they are not. I wasn’t invited to the bachelorette party before our wedding. I’m a female too, why wasn’t I included? Because they don’t consider me to be their friend. I don’t work, so no work friends. At my last job my coworkers were all haters and quite nasty to me. 

13. What is your inspiration to blog?
I blog because it was something to do, and early on it was an outlet to educate people about LGBT people. (This was before gay marriage became legal.) It also was a way to educate people about mental health, and get a much needed respite when my kids were hospitalized. I also got free products and books to review and had a regular advertiser. Since Entrecard (which was a great way to get new readers) discontinued, I don't have many readers, except for Sunday Stealing. 

14. What’s inside your closet?
Clothing, shoes (sneakers, dress shoes, motorcycle boots), boxes. Cookbooks are on the shelves because I have no space elsewhere for them.

15. What can you brag about?
My daughter. She’s had over 26 hospitalizations due to her mental illness. She lives in a group home. Initially she lived on the 1st floor. After about 2 years she was moved to the 2nd floor for residents who are capable of being more independent. Before the pandemic she worked part time as a bagger at a grocery store. She initially went on medical leave because she has uncontrolled asthma. It got to be too long, so she lost her job, but was told she could reapply when it was safe for her and they’d love to have her back. She was very well liked by coworkers as well as supervisors and managers. My daughter will be moving out of the group home and moving into an apartment complex run by the same organization. It’s a brand new complex, fully completed, but they haven’t notified us when she can move in. I think they may be delaying due to the pandemic. My daughter did get a tour and can’t wait!

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