Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Won!

Way back in early November, Melanie of Melanie In The Middle hosted a giveaway of a Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System - a crockpot meets stovetop meets oven. It looked pretty nifty and 318 of us entered to win.

In mid-December I received a text message from Melanie via Twitter letting me know I had won! Just before New Year’s Eve the Ninja arrived. With Chuck getting sick at Christmas and then relapsing and our trying to make up for lost holidays it took me ages to try it out. But I finally did and I really liked it!

I’ve had the same crockpot for more than 30 years. Yes, electricity had been invented back then! It still works fine; has two “speeds”: low and high and is the tall round kind. But the new oval Ninja has a “Stovetop” feature which means I can sear meat and then add all the ingredients and let it simmer away.

So that’s what I did. I bought a boneless pork loin roast at Trader Joe’s, seasoned it, set the Ninja to Stovetop High and browned the pork. It sizzled nicely. Then I added the onions, apples, garlic - well, this recipe. I put the cover on and set it to do its traditional crockpot-thing.

I had read on-line that the little steam hole in the lid sometimes allowed too much liquid to evaporate. I really wanted to walk away and forget it so I decided to cover the hole. I took a Post-It note and carefully pressed the sticky strip over the hole. It stayed in place the whole time and left no mark when I removed it.

After a few hours I peeked inside and found everything was looking good and smelling just right. Because of the oval shape of the Ninja I changed plans and instead of making mashed potatoes, I dropped the cut up potatoes into the Ninja all around the roast. As they cooked they absorbed lots of flavor. At the end, I did remove the liquid to a small saucepan to thicken it, this time with a quick roux.

I thought about serving the roast with wine or ale. Then I remembered we had some Woodchuck hard cider. We opened the “Winter” which was excellent with the meal. Actually, it would be delicious with anything and all on its own.

Oh, I almost forgot - clean up. It was easy-peasy! My classic crockpot is crockery and very heavy and always required soaking to get the rim clean. Not so the metal Ninja with its non-stick surface.

The final result? Chuck loved it and so did I! Chuck also wanted me to send his best regards and thanks to Miss Melanie. I echo that as well.

Now - if Charlie Sheen hasn’t ruined it forever - that’s what I call “Winning”!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Still Wish...

I first wrote and posted this piece in 2007. My feelings have not changed. In fact I believe it bears repeating even more so this year after extensive and intense political wrangling and manipulation to get not just abortion, but most forms of contraception outlawed in this country. The re-election of President Obama is certainly important, but it has little bearing on the individual state legislatures.

It also must be clearly stated that abortion existed long before Roe v. Wade. Abortions have been performed for thousands of years. Abortion was legal in this country before we were even a country. Abortion did not begin to become illegal in this country until the mid-1800s. Ironically, abortion became illegal at the point that the medical profession began to understand and practice safer surgical procedures. Because of this criminalization, in the century leading up to Roe v. Wade in 1973, women regularly died of illegal “back alley” abortions. Now, such a death is rare.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court Decision known as Roe v. Wade.

In light of this anniversary I have a few wishes to state:

- I wish, that from this moment on, no woman would ever have to make the decision to have an abortion.
- I wish all contraceptives, including the morning after pill, would always be readily available to all women.
- I wish that all young people would be taught age appropriate sex and health education.
- I wish that all young people would be taught that abstinence is a legitimate choice, at the same time they get clear information about all forms of contraception.
- And I wish that abortion would always be safe and legal and available to all women.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Good Things

My sister celebrated her birthday yesterday. Amazingly, she is now younger than me!
Happy Birthday Gail!

President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term!
Congratulations Mr. President!

President Obama gave a fantastic Inaugural Address today. It was wide reaching, visionary, inspiring and inclusive! Full transcript available here.

Richard Blanco’s Inaugural Poem was brilliant, graceful, powerful and moving.
You can savor it here.

Those are some very good things!

Friday, January 4, 2013

We Do

This is beautiful, powerful and courageous - and it shouldn't be necessary...

For more information go to The Campaign For Southern Equality.