In Which Ms. Bean Finds A Recipe & Makes It Her Way

Saw the recipe. Thought it sounded good.

Made the recipe using ingredients I had on hand.  Ingredients that were close enough to those listed in the recipe.

Similar.

Didn’t have apple cider, so used pomegranate juice instead.  Most of a small bottle.

Didn’t have the specific aromatic spices required so substituted Penzey’s mulling spices.  Put about a teaspoon of them in a tea ball, so I wouldn’t have to strain the mess through cheesecloth later.

Lazy, but thinking ahead.

Didn’t have a clementine in the house.  Contemplated using a grapefruit, that was in the house, but decided that the tanginess of the pomegranate juice would not be improved with grapefruit zest in this recipe.

Also, I’m a messy zester, thus it came to be that no citrus was added.

Didn’t have any fresh ginger, so used crystallized ginger.  Two pieces.

Didn’t have the requisite amount of castor sugar, so used the end of the cane sugar in the bottom of the sugar bowl.  About three tablespoons.

Probably.

Put tea ball with spices into juice in a saucepan.  Brought the mess to a boil, allowing it to simmer on the stove top for a while.  Took out tea ball, added sugar.  Mixed mess around until sugar dissolved, then let sweetened mess simmer on very low heat until it thickened into a syrup.

The result?

Delicious, drizzled on fresh fruit salad. Or added, a splash at time, to a glass of red wine.

The recipe?

Vaguely adhered to.

The friend’s response?

Shock + dismay that I didn’t follow the recipe as written, but a request for the recipe exactly as I made it.

As if I have any idea… 🙄

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you follow recipes precisely as written OR do you wing it as you go along?

And how does that work out for you?

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No, No, No. Your House Did Not “Got Bought!”

I’m not a fussbudget about your word choice.  I prefer that your words be nuanced and precise, but if they aren’t most of the time I let it go.  ‘Cuz I’m a kindhearted English major, you know?

I didn’t used to be like this, but I’ve mellowed over the years because, ironically, people have disappointed me so many times that I’ve become charmingly cynical, with incredibly low expectations about what people do or how they do it.

And it’s from this jaded point of view that I’m going to tell you, my gentle readers, about a local realtor who upon selling a house, puts a sign out in front of it that says:

GOT BOUGHT!

Apparently the time-honored SOLD will not work.  Nope, this realtor goes with what I can only assume is a play on the “Got Milk?” marketing campaign, combined with a good old-fashioned rhyme.

I get that this is a clever + seemingly harmless use of the English language.

And I also admit, openly and freely, that what I’m going to write in the next paragraph contradicts one of my favorite sayings: “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

But in this particular case I’m going to declare that I. Want. To. Be. Right.  I want to see SOLD signs.  Now tell me, my gentle readers, is that asking too much?

Be The Light: Of Queenly Diets & Quiet Delights

INTRODUCTION

As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive stories in the news, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of November, I’ve a story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

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THE NEWS STORY

Emily DiNuzzo, a reporter for Business Insider, decided to follow Queen Elizabeth II’s diet that was first reported by Today last August.

DiNuzzo’s experiences, documented in I ate like Queen Elizabeth II for a day — and learned how to appreciate the simple things in life, show that the Queen eats a balanced, basic diet but doesn’t forego a few treats throughout her day, like pre-breakfast biscuits or a post-dinner glass of champagne.

• • 👑 • •

MY COMMENTARY

Overlooking that what Emily did might not be a news story that dramatically changes the world, I found her joy while “researching” this story to be quietly delightful.

[And funny.  I’m with Emily on no gin + Dubonnet aperitif before lunch.  Even with Emily’s addition of simple syrup in it.]

Plus, dare I say that I found this story encouraging?

I know that not everyone thinks the monarchy is great, but considering that this past Monday Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, you have to admit that in a world where moral and mental health questions surround many leaders, the Queen is doing a number of things right.

Healthy body.

Sound mind.

Solid relationships.

Sure, Emily didn’t uncover the latest scandal or find the drama in Elizabeth II’s daily life, but she did give us an insight into what helps make someone in power, the longest-reigning English monarch ever, stay balanced.

And there’s positivity in that.

• • 👑 • •

The Making Of A Turkey Day Outlier

I’m not a big fan of the traditional turkey Thanksgiving dinner.

It might be that because as a child we usually had steaks for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My father hated poultry.

My mother happily agreed to this break from tradition, knowing that roasting a turkey + making all the trimmings was WORK– while grilling steaks, making a salad, and mashing potatoes was about as EZPZ as a holiday meal could get.

Also, we never, ever had pumpkin pie.

My mother despised it so she usually made a lemon meringue pie.

That was her favorite pie.

And me, little Ally Bean?  I liked whatever the grown-ups decided to give me, so whatever Thanksgiving meal showed up was [and is] cool by me.

In fact, if you’re all about a traditional turkey-centric, carbohydrate-ful  Thanksgiving dinner every year, then enjoy.

But if you’re a little more loosey-goosey [so to speak] about what you have for Thanksgiving dinner, then you might be, like me, a Turkey Day Outlier.

Care to ‘fess up about your preferred Thanksgiving Day dinner in the comments below?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

A Klutz Rakes Leaves: The Battle Of The Mantras

Out raking the leaves.

Half an acre lot sloping down into a ravine with a creek.

Maybe about 28 trees on it.

[Never doubt that trees beget leaves.] 

Getting tired. Getting bored.

Mind starts to offer mantras.

“I think I can… I think I can…”

Childhood wisdom gleaned from reading.

“When in doubt, don’t.”

Adult wisdom imparted by yoga teacher.

“Yes we can.”

Political slogan, uplifting.

“Be careful.”

Mom, always.

Then the deciding factor.

While raking on the hillside, giving it my all, I slipped and fell on my backside.

Just. Like. That.

Nothing hurt. Not even my ego.

I’m a klutz* after all.

But suddenly the angels sang and I knew which mantra to follow.

DID I KEEP GOING INSPIRED TO OVERCOME or DID I MAKE A STRATEGIC RETREAT?

Discuss.

* Previously documented examples of my klutziness: 1) fell on face while carrying donation into Goodwill;  2) thrown off Segway while moving through cemetery;  and 3) during house party dropped ottoman on toe breaking toenail.

The B&W Photo Challenge [Ally Bean Rules] + What I Learned

The Introduction

I saw this challenge floating around the blogosphere and I liked it because lately I’ve been looking for + doing different things here on my blog.  I’m not a daily blogger, so I modified the rules creating a way in which I could participate.

THE “OFFICIAL” RULES*

  • Seven days.
  • Seven black and white photos of your life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation.
  • Challenge someone new each day.

THE “ALLY BEAN” RULES**

  • One day.
  • Seven black and white photos from your ordinary life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation of photos.
  • Suggest that someone else might want to do this, too.

The Black & White Photographs

• • •

• • •

• • •

• • •

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• • •

• • •

• • •

What I Learned

  1. I LOOKED FOR objects that I see in my daily life. I excluded nature, signs, & anything having to do with beverages. This limited my options dramatically.
  2. FINDING OBJECTS TO photograph with no people in the frame was more difficult to do than I realized it’d be.
  3. FINDING A WAY to take a photo of an object that I see daily was not alway possible because getting perspective on things took some doing.  If I was in a car in traffic or walking on a busy street with people, I couldn’t do it.
  4. B&W PHOTOGRAPHY IS a whole different animal than color photography.  Many of the photos that I thought would be great turned out to be duds.

* Hat tip to Embeecee at sparksfromacombustiblemind for being the first person to make me aware of this challenge.

** These are not so much rules as guidelines.

It’s Halloween, Betwixt And Between, If You Know What I Mean

How in the world could it be the last day of October already?

Like witches, time flies, eh?

It’s been a busy weird month here at Chez Bean, but we did manage to turn three basic pumpkins into festive Jack-o-Lanterns, one of which is featured below.

And I have plenty of candy* + plastic bloody eyeballs on hand for tonight’s trick-or-treaters**.

So all is well here as I wait… wait… wait… for darkness to fall, when little ghosts and goblins at the front door will call.

Happy Halloween!

* I usually hand out Snickers, but [get this] yesterday when I went to buy Snickers at Kroger it was sold out, so I opted for Twix & Skittles & Starburst.

** We get anywhere from 125 to 225 kids here.  The number fluctuates depending on Halloween Day weather and the day of the week.