Category Archives: woman power

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award




I’d like to thank Irene Waters: Reflections and Nightmares- Writer and Memoirist-  for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the world Bloggers Award. I thoroughly enjoy Irene’s blog; her photography is amazing and the insights she offers about life’s journey are always enlightening.  In the blogosphere, I’m still sort of a Newbie, so receiving recognition for my work, which is really my pleasure, encourages me to keep sharing my heart.


~ ~The Rules ~ ~

  1. Provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer ten questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know they have been nominated.
  4. Include the award logo within your blog post.



1.  Your favorite color…. Green

2.  Your favorite animal … I love them all

3.  Your favorite non-alcoholic drink …. Chamomile tea

4.    Facebook or Twitter …..  Facebook, I’m still figuring out Twitter

5.    Your favorite pattern …..  Spirals

6.    Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Giving

7.    Your favorite number … 11

8.    Your favorite day of the week … Thursday

9.    Your favorite flower …. Echinacea

10.  What is your passion? ….. Reading and writing Poetry



There are so many deserving blog sites and so little time.  I’m going to list and link a few of my fem-favorites understanding not all will be able to participate in the nomination process.  Don’t worry about hurting my feelings; I assure you, I completely understand time constraints.  : )  I do hope you all visit any link that speaks to you!




Waiting for Leisure to Begin

Waiting for Leisure to Begin

I never saw Aunt Bea in a pair of fuzzy pink slippers but I’ve got to believe she owned one.  Here in domestic Nirvana, I’ve given mine a real workout of late.  These slippers are not the dainty feathery type with pointy, sharp heels, (I’m no Elizabeth Taylor), or the casual flip flop summer variety, but more an over the ankle combat boot lined with molten hot flannel wrapped in thick batting, and finished in a flurry of heavy duty fleece.

As I pad along creaking oak floors in these beauties, I’m also wearing hefty wool socks patterned with stripes, plaids, little yellow ducks,( the print doesn’t matter), because its effectiveness I’m looking for.  What I really want is a compact pair of energy efficient ovens for cold, arthritic feet, but I can’t find any anywhere in retail.

boots meant for walking

I generally love frosty weather, but this year my brain seems to have dropped the ball because my body never got the message.  As a result, I’m moving through the house with the silhouette of a Green Bay Packer, (undershirts, long johns, sweater on sweater), muddling through work that suddenly is more chore, less delight, and the sheer weight of heavy clothing is getting me down.  Now add grey, overcast sky and ice with an attitude and you can see where I am. We’ve had so many ice storms this year, I’m tempted to throw away every piece of crystal in the entire house just to get rid of any reminder of the brutes outside beating up the shrubbery, torturing naked trees, and mauling finicky power lines.

Then there’s the fact that I blew out a tire in a couple of appliances and the budget isn’t having anything at all to do with my sobbing pleas to replace them; as a result, I’ve found myself grounded to a complete halt on the frozen surface of the proverbial creek.  I might have a good case for self-pity:

Blues, despair, agony on me,   Deep, dark depression,    excessive misery.   If it weren’t for bad luck,    I’d have no luck at all.     Blues, despair,    agony on me,  (Lyrics courtesy of Buck Owens and Roy Clark for this verse of their little jingle  from Hee-Haw, circa 1969 – 1992), but I don’t think so.  If Aunt Bea wasn’t already ‘homesteading’ in earnest, she is now.

The problem with actually living life means there isn’t as much time to write about living life, so from time to time in passing, I smile at the computer, wiping a near-tear away with designer cleaning gloves, as my furry combat slippers carry me from one chore to another.

Dietary news is much brighter than what comes out of Maintenance these days, what with dark, heavy skies and flurries of flurries, I am inspired.  Soups, stews and rich warm casseroles have found their way through last season’s maze of light entrees and green salads, kicking ass and taking names.

winter squash

The cabbage looks a little droopy in the market so Rich gets a well-deserved break, but the aisles are literally bursting with colorful, mysterious looking varieties of winter squash and root vegetables!  Aunt Bea Me has tried them all, some more successfully than others, but each a winner in its own humble way.

With Rich’s A1C level hovering safely around 6, it’s good to go at our house, and both of us are eagerly awaiting the lull we plan to transform into a virtual festival of rest and relaxation!   The puzzle boxes are stacked neatly on a corner game table and the remote control is properly situated between the two sections of a double recliner we share.

puzzles boxwd

Yes, Mission Control is a-buzz with anticipation as these two old space cadets giddily wait for leisure to begin.

mission control

Unfortunately, to this point, by the time the day’s work is semi-complete, neither has the energy for lift-off.  And although it’s not exactly the scenario either had imagined, it still beats the pants off anything we had before we teamed up.

hands holding hands

Happy New Year, my friends, and may the Force be with you. 

The Agony and Angst of Competition: Cupcake Wars


this is war baby

I’m a huge fan of the television reality show Cupcake Wars, so when our local bakery, Fat Bottom Girls, was asked to participate, I was ecstatic!  Actually, no one in town except the girls at the bakery even knew about it for the longest time, apparently like most wars, details are illusive, very hush-hush.  But when an airing date was finally announced, Aunt-Bea-Me did a little happy dance in the middle of her kitchen and then bounced to the laundry room to mark the calendar.

Well, I can tell you, the weeks drug on and on, my anticipation growing proportionately; and when the viewing date was so close I could almost taste one of Fat Bottom Girls Salted Caramel cupcakes burst in my inner mouth, I visited their cute, little pink bakery on Central for luck.

I’ve always heard that Hollywood was fickle, and now I can attest to that truth, because on that late day, mid-summer, I was shocked and disappointed to find that the Food Network contacted the Girls to let them know their show had been postponed, a future reschedule date to be announced some time later.

Well, I never….

The harshness of the outer world was mind-boggling.  Here in small town Arkansas, a person is only as good as his word, or the goodies she bakes, so a complete change in war strategies and rules came as a hard blow, shaking my faith in the entertainment world quite a bit.  But like any confident woman, Aunt-Bea-Me knows the true value of a Tim Gunn “Make it work” moment, so I made a plan that would facilitate another mandatory adjustment to change.

In true warrior style, I attacked the challenge using hands on combat, (baking therapy), to hasten and ensure a complete recovery, inventing cupcake after cupcake, each sugar free and more than a trifle dry or redundant.  But like any good soldier, I was steadfast in my determination and committed to the task ahead; that’s when the moist, delicious sugar free Banana Cream Cupcake with Cranberry Compote and Light Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting was born.  This cupcake was a hero!

It wasn’t long after the Sugar Free Banana Cream Cupcake with Cranberry Compote and Light Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting culinary success had led me to recovery from Hollywood’s brutal betrayal, that an announcement went out that our own Fat Bottom Girls had, at last, been rescheduled for national debut!

Will they win or will they go down in flames alongside countless other cupcake geniuses?  I can only guess because that whole war secrecy code thingy is still in full force, in spite of set backs and betrayals.  But pretty soon we will all know!

Turn into the Food Network tonight, Saturday, December 7th, at 7 pm central standard time, and find out!  You can bet your best apron Aunt-Bea-Me will be watching alongside her best friend-husband, Rich, in their basic beige love seat recliner!



This isn’t your mama’s Southern-Fried Kitchen, my friends…managing the numbers in diabetes…


I learned the theory of managing diabetes as a student.  Throughout my nursing career I put what I’d learned into practice.  In my mid-forties, I created monthly diabetic dietary menus for seniors living in my personal care homes, many of whom suffered from multiple disease processes.

My grandfather was diabetic; my brother is, but it was not until I married a brittle diabetic, brittle meaning a diabetic with unstable blood glucose levels in spite of his best efforts, that I began to truly understand the dietary complexity and daily frustrations associated with the disease.

Getting a diagnosis of Diabetes feels like the end of the world as we know it, according to Rich, because you have to say goodbye to many foods you often associate with comfort and home, satisfaction and tradition, while simultaneously feeling forced to eat foods you don’t like, that far too often, taste like cardboard.

I am not a nutritionist, but I am a registered nurse who is married to a diabetic. Because of my personal history with this seemingly daunting disease, I’ve learned it is possible for you to enjoy healthy meals and manage your numbers while LOVING the food you eat.

Enter Aunt-Bea shaking her stubby finger in our face, reminding us we are responsible grown-ups with creative minds, and while we may not get everything we want in life, we have the power to transform what we have into what we need.

It begins with a commitment, she says, to change the way we think about eating food, exchanging the sugary fast-food mentality that permeates society to a healthier food plan that improves the quality and duration of life. Imagination and tenacity can bridge the gap between the want and need. Aunt Bea reminds us that life is short and every day is a celebration of something or another, and that it is always up to us to decide exactly how tight we wear our garters.

this is my best side

No nonsense, practical minded guru of all things comforting and traditional, Aunt Bea can find her way around any kitchen, her tiny granny shoes shuffling, and the ruffles on her apron keeping beat to the music in her head while she experiments with old recipes, transforming them into modern, health-conscious feasts.

This isn’t your mama’s Southern-Fried Kitchen, my friends; this is Aunt Bea’s House, and the joint is jumping with healthy-yummy!

Whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits, fiber, fish, poultry, and a day or two a week of lean red meat is our rule of thumb!  Aunt-Bea-Me is an herb-nut, often substituting them for salt.  Salt is okay in small doses, but lacks the unique flavors and natural healing elements present in herbs.  A single pinch of salt is enough to make complex herbal flavors and textures POP in any dish.  She is also hooked on Olive Oil and quality Infused Vinegars, counting on them to do more than dress a salad; they add unique depth to simple flavors, elevating the ordinary to star.

Aunt Bea is a thrifty little munchkin who delights in pinching pennies, so nothing goes to waste.  She rules the kitchen with a pot holder in one hand, a spatula in the other, and a grin as wide as the front door on her face, as she sticks to the cardinal rule of keeping things simple.

From my experience and research, I can tell you both Low Fat and Low Carb diets are equally successful in acheiving weight loss, but which of the two is better at keeping the weight off?  That question I can’t answer, it varies from person to person, so it’s an individual choice; but it seems to me, if you’re of a mindset to eat low carb products, more likely than not, the consumption of low fat foods is a normally occurring consequence of that choice.  At our house, we tend to focus more heavily on carb counts because it more effectively manages Rich’s numbers, and it fits well with the diabetic rule of thumb: of all the calories consumed daily, 45-65% should be in the form of carbohydrates.

If the numbers confuse you, the internet is full of sites that provide free calculators for figuring out how many calories you actually consume each day.  There are also sites that calculate the number of calories you should be eating based on your weight, activity level and age.  And there are sites available that breakdown every food showing its Nutritional Value, IE: proteins, fats, calories, fiber, carbs, cholesterol, etc.  I suggest you get in the habit of using these tools as you build your Diabetic education.

Every carb you eat is converted into 4 calories.  Understanding that helps me keep my perspective when shopping for groceries or eating out.  Since we keep it as simple as possible at our house, I round the numbers out, making sure no more than half of the calories we consume daily are healthy carbs. Here’s what was on the menu last night:

Carrot, Red Grape and Cucumber Salad

cucumber grape and carrot salad

Dressed in Olive Oil and White Balsamic Vinegar

Oven-Fried-Chicken-Fried Steak

beef its whats for dinner

and Baked Potato topped with a heart smart butter alternative

and a dollop of fat free Greek Yogurt

Ingredients You Will Need:

ingredients needed

Egg substitute, Panko bread crumbs, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Pam or similar spray, one Foil, Wax Paper or Parchment Lined Baking Sheet.

Trimmed cube or round steak

Trimmed cube or round steak


Preheat oven to 375.  Spray pam on grill.  Set grill in parchment, foil or wax paper covered pan.  Trim beef to 2 4 ounce portions.  Set left over beef aside for later.  Dip the 2 pieces of beef in Egg Beaters on one side and set on rack inside baking dish. Season each patty with a pinch of garlic, salt, pepper and paprika.  If you want a different flavor, use your imagination! Using a measuring spoon or your fingers, sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs over the surface of each serving.  (I used 2 tablespoons on each.) Then lightly spray the Panko crumbs with drizzle of Pam or a similar spray product; (this will add to the crunch by deepening browning as the meat bakes).

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While dinner is baking, chop the left over meat and cover with water in a deep saucepan.  Add a stalk of cut celery and about 1/4th of 1 onion.  Season with spices of your choice; I used thyme, a pinch of salt and black pepper.  If you want this to be a vegetable beef broth, add more veggies.  Feel free to play with your spices here.  I keep broths fairly simple, using them as savory bases to build more complex dishes that will have various levels and depths of flavor.

Place the pan on the stove and bring contents to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover saucepan with a lid. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, depending on the amount of beef.  When the broth is complete, the flavors of the meat and vegetables will be imparted into the broth liquid.  Set aside to cool, then remove and discard the meat and the vegetables.  Strain remaining liquid and transfer into a freezer bag; mark and freeze. There you have it, Beef Broth, ready for another dish.

The prepared meal above is less than 600 calories, containing around 50 carbs, and calculating out as less than 10% of total meal calories.

Don’t panic!  I’m not starving Rich!  He eats three meals, two snacks and a dessert every day coming in at between 1,800 -2,000 calories daily.  Keeping a meal calorie count light opens possibilities for the remainder of the day.  Often lunch is the heaviest carb meal of the day since often it consists of a sandwich, or a half of a sandwich.  Just be sure that the added carbs are as healthy as they can possibly be, whole grain breads, a mayonnaise substitute, and baked, not fried chips; or you can forego the chips altogether choosing to enjoy a serving of fresh fruit instead.

From Aunt Bea’s Kitchen to the glucometer: This one is for you!

happy face

Trying to Keep Up with Time: balancing life around the reality of a ticking clock


Mercy, mercy Me!  The past few days have raced by like a pack of sled dogs!

dog sled team

But breakfasts, lunches and dinners haven’t lacked my down home sense of style, except for last Tuesday.  You know how much Aunt-Bea-Me respects consistency and order, well, they were both blown to hell’s bells when Morgan and Charlie decided to break up.

And it couldn’t have happened on a worse day.  My friend, Marie, moved to Louisiana that morning…sob.sob.  So the children’s news sent me scampering off to the kitchen, where I sat at the table with a lace hanky in my hand, concentrating as hard as I could, to work up a flood of tears.  Just as success was within grasp, the telephone rang, breaking what had promised to be a very wet season.

The rest of day is a blur.

another kitchen failure

Later that evening, Rich rushed us to nearest Chinese Restaurant, the Wok Express, where he did his dead level best to lift my spirits.  He was doing a pretty good job of it too,  until I opened my fortune cookie….

stale fortune


Wednesday was in deed, a better day.  I spent the entire afternoon in the capable hands of Eric, my hairdresser.  What that man can do with a pair of scissors is the envy of every bolt of cotton broadcloth in the county.

time out


Moving on.. tonight’s meal was a near masterful presentation of my own ground chicken patties, sprinkled with a smattering of salt and lemon pepper, and a thin crust of Panko, then sautéed in 2 teaspoons of olive oil till golden brown.  Last week’s cabbage selection wasn’t nearly a hit with Rich, so I felt compelled to redeem myself, and cabbage, in his eyes.

I began by julienne-slicing the bright green cabbage leaves, and then set them aside.  A couple of pieces, (2), of bacon went directly into a small sauté pan until crispy brown.  Then I blotted them on paper towels, rough cut them into medium-sized pieces and set them aside.

I took 1 fresh apple, peeled and sliced it into thin slices and set that aside also.

In a large, clean sauté pan, I added about 1 ½ teaspoons of the bacon drippings along with 1 tablespoon of margarine.  When the oils had blended and become hot, I added the cabbage and apples, salting, minimally, and using a pinch of black pepper.  Stirring periodically, I mixed the two till the cabbage softened and was perfect to taste.  That’s when I added the chopped bacon, tossing it throughout the mixture.  The whole process couldn’t have taken more than 15 or 20 minutes and was divine with the tiny red potatoes and chicken I served.

(I have to be stingy with potatoes because of Rich’s diabetes), so I boiled 3 that were each about the size of a small lemon; then I cut them in half, placed a stem of fresh Basil from my garden beside them.  I served Rich 3 halves, I had 2, and Fig, dear Fig-Fido, had the last. (It was necessary to hide the dog’s antibiotic inside, creating a sort of potato cocktail.  Camouflaging a pill is the only way to get it down her throat, and believe me when I say; I’m not the least bit hesitant to resort to such tactics if it helps Fig.)   Oh, how I digress.

iPhone4 photos 5 31 13 1255

You will hand over that potato…


Bam!  Dinner done!  Dishwasher loaded!  Rich watching reruns of the mini-series Shoˉgun, and it’s Aunt-Bea’s time for a hot bath.


Pearl for today: Always wear clean, un-tattered underwear.  You never know when you’ll get hit by a bus, and end up in the Emergency Room.

FB blog photo




OPPS! I accidentally erased this blog; so if the second time around is better than the first, I’m happy to re-present “Sponge Wars- an Epic Day of House Cleaning!” for your reading enjoyment.


If they held a draft for the American Domestic Olympics today, my name would be listed in the top ten competitors having nailed Sponge Wars yesterday! In preliminary drug testing, I was clean, (unless decaf and cardiac drugs are factored into control calculations).

cleaning supplies


I channeled Aunt Bea’s near OCD reorganization and kitchen cleaning skills, and sporting my 50 Shades of Beige smocked apron, I was off like a shot, at 8 in the morning!   Competition broke for a quick PBJ around noon, but was back in full swing within a half hour.  The games ended at 5:30 when competitors were required by law to initiate dinner mealtime preparations.  (Spectators were bummed, but in the end, found themselves agreeing with referees on that particular call.)

I must admit, but not to Olympic officials, I had an unfair advantage over other competitors.  From somewhere in the distance, Aunt Bea emerged wearing the most adorable aqua blue printed Jersey dress, cinched at the waist with a thin silver roped belt.  I could tell the belt was silver by its dainty buckle, but the rest disappeared, dividing Aunt Bea into two distinct segments, like one grapefruit precariously balance on another.

happy face

As quickly as I recognized the sweet little old lady, I heard the word “Borax.” ( telepathically, I believe).

Borax has been used for cleaning and laundry for over 100 years.  It is a naturally occurring mineral.  I remember my mom always having a box of 20 Mule Team Borax around, but paid little attention to it.  These days, I find myself trying to find ways to cut back on spending.  The price of staying clean keeps rising, but using Aunt Bea logic, there many, many ways to keep your money while keeping a sparkling clean house.

I pay around $3.60 for a large box of Borax.  It goes into the laundry for stain and odor control as it boosts general clothes cleaning.  Using one combination or another of borax, white vinegar, Dawn dishwashing soap, and baking soda, I’ve cut out spending money on all other cleaning products, except laundry detergent and bleach.  I don’t buy shampoo or conditioner anymore either.  Shopping is simple, check-out less painful, the house is spiffy clean, and our hair is in better shape than it has ever been before.


So yesterday’s game began with borax in a bucket of water, a couple of sponges, about 6 clean rags from the rag bag, and a spray bottle of water and beach, and I was good to go!

Dinner last night was an old favorite from Marlene Koch’s first Eat What You Love book, so I flubbed up, missing my goal of trying a new recipe a day, but the kitchen was so clean and smelled fresh, it was easy to justify falling off the wagon, so to speak.

Corkscrew Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo quickly became Bowtie Chicken and Mixed Vegetable Alfredo as I used ingredients I had on hand.  Delish!

Tonight is Vegetarian night so I’m back in Marlene’s new book and going for Sautéed Cabbage, Onions and Apples.  A few ingredients in this dish include cider vinegar, caraway seeds, (which I may substitute with another kind of seed since Rich isn’t a caraway fan),  chicken broth, and brown sugar.

Nutritionally speaking, it’s 45 calories a serving.  Say what?!  In the Food Exchange it counts as 1 vegetable and ½ carb choice.  The Weight Watcher Plus Point comparison is 1 point.  The numbers on this dish are so good, I’m attempting a second untried recipe, this one straight from the American Diabetes Association.  It’s Low Fat Corn Bread and counts as 2 starches on the exchange.  At 150 calories a serving, tonight’s meal will be low calorie, but we’’ll have to wait and see if it tastes good and leaves us feeling satisfied!  (No wimpy food for Rich!)

So no Olympics today, but it is bread day and daylight’s burning, so it’s the blue gingham apron for Aunt Bea Me today!  Stay for dinner anyone?

retro-kitchen set table