Month: December 2014

2015’s Word of the Year: …Worth?

[This one may come as a shock to at least the edges of my social circle. I’ve been baffled a few times because apparently I’m held as a standard of self esteem. This is why you shouldn’t put people on pedestals.]

I’ve been trying to come up with my ‘word’ for 2015 and the closest thing I can come up with is ‘worth’.

My issue is that I don’t need a word for 2015, I need a theme-I really need to work on my self esteem, or at the least, work on building the defenses against attack. Left to my own devices I do pretty okay, but a lot of the really traumatic hits I took this year were from places where people decided it was acceptable to list all the horrible things about me.

Maybe it’s true, maybe I really am a horrible person. I don’t actually believe that, but if a person goes out of their way to tell another human being that…? [Notice this is said with a fair amount of sarcasm. I don’t actually see myself as a horrible person-flawed maybe, with some definite areas of improvement, but not horrible.]

A lot of this amounts to relearning self comforting techniques from CBT/re-establishing social networks but I need to reground myself into myself. Part of the problem is that a lot of the normal ‘self esteem boosting’ techniques ‘they’ love to shove at you are completely not helpful for me, sometimes in ways that really do need to be addressed and I understand that. Oh, just go out and learn a new skill! If by that you mean, find new ways to fail and re-affirm your weaknesses. Or my personal favorite, just keep telling yourself you have worth! Dude, I’ve been doing that since I was 12. At some point you need to move onto something with slightly more teeth.

The upside of having a standing history with a therapeutic technique designed to rewire your thought patterns is that I already have a base to start tackling this. But the downside of this is the awareness that this is probably going to be exhausting.

So here we go to another long year…



Christmas, New Year’s, and Blood Oranges-Ramblings

-I feel like I lost about three days of time out of my life. I know exactly what I was doing-I was surfing Reddit, getting into completely meaningless arguments (I do this sometimes) (I’ve never realized just how many people use bed frames of all things as a marker of maturity), and drinking kalimoxtos (red wine and Pepsi) (really good, really lethal). It hit about 11 pm last night and I realized I have nothing to show for this weekend.

-Because I have nothing to use for this weekend and I accidentally set last week’s Fall Into the Holidays to be open for the month…just keep using that one I guess. I -will- get the features out sometime this week. I know I promised it for last week, but last week was also Christmas and we know how promises on Christmas go.

-How did Christmas go? I discovered that if you leave your home in Buffalo before noon on Christmas, you find yourself in the middle of 28 Days Later, the part where he’s wandering London by himself. There’s all sorts of weirdness there-the ambulance that I kept following around, finding its hiding spot, and then it would move just to start the whole round over again, papers blowing across the street, no traffic. A random mound of the plastic trays that Pepsi gets delivered in. It was very odd.

-I’ve started walking again, off and on. We’re having, thus far anyway, a really, really warm winter-hence my wander through Buffalo’s post-apopcalyptic wasteland (I have no idea how you actually spell that word). I woke up on Christmas needing to walk. Things I learned: it really is just movie theaters, Chinese food recipes, and gas stations that are open on Christmas. Apparently I really never do leave my house on Christmas, I thought that the grocery store would have at least radically shortened hours.

-Wegmans has blood oranges again. Blood oranges are one of the things that makes winter tolerable. My plan for this year, now that I’m making slightly more money, is to get my hands on as many blood oranges I can. This batch will be split between eating and fermenting.

Sweet and Spicy Oven Fries


Christmas was both quiet and warm.

Warm enough that Christmas Eve was spent with thunderstorms heavy enough to shake the windows. I went without a coat yesterday, and while I definitely needed one for the walk I took in the morning it was still over 40.

This is coming after a November where the Southtowns got seven feet of snow before Thanksgiving.

And of course the heater is going so it’s about a thousand degrees in the apartment. I’m not complaining, not too much anyway, we’ve had plenty of very cold winters in here.

[There are all sorts of weird noises coming from outside. I’m not sure what’s going on out there.]

With Yule falling before Christmas and my normal inability to go home for holidays (it’s been that way since I’ve been on my own, this is nothing new) our holiday ‘stuff’ is almost always done before Christmas proper so Christmas Day was spent doing not much of anything.

I know that ‘baking’ normally implies ‘sweets’ or maybe ‘bread’ but these fries were made in the oven so I’m counting them.

These are based on a recipe from All Recipes; this time on top of my normal lack of following the recipe I didn’t even read it. I read the blurb for the spices listed and the baking instructions and went from there.

Sweet and Spicy Oven Baked Fries

2 large white baking potatoes, cut into equal sized slices

1-2 tablespoons chili powder, preferably salt free

1-2 tablespoons sugar

1-2 teaspoons table salt

1 pinch dried rosemary

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450

Line a cookie tray with foil and spray or wipe with oil

In a large bowl, toss everything

Spread in a single layer on the sheet

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through


Souring Milk For Baking



My winter project is going to be going through old photos on this blog-retaking project photos if I can, finding holder images on Pixabay if I have to, or resorting to making images in Picmonkey if it really comes down to it.

I have been going through the 2012 entries, especially, and noticing just how dark a lot of them are. I don’t know if this is just a ‘march of time’ issue or if it’s just that my current camera is that much clearer-but I’m trying to at least run photos through an editing software to see if they’re salvageable.

They might not be. I don’t know. But if anything it gives me something to do when the snow machine kicks in.


Buttermilk is a weird baking staple in that a lot of recipes call for it, but rarely in the quantities that it’s sold in.

I do hope that you enjoy pancakes.

In theory, there’s no reason that you couldn’t split the container and freeze it-I know plenty of people who do it and if you have the space for it, I think that it’s a fine idea. However, I don’t have the space for it.

Souring milk for cooking is extremely simple and doesn’t take up space.

Add about a tablespoon of regular white or cider vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, then measure out milk to make up the volume of buttermilk needed in the recipe. Let it sit for about five minutes.

You should be able to see where the top of the milk looks like it’s slightly curdled.

Use in your recipe in place of buttermilk.


Fall Into the Holidays #14


Fall Into the Holidays

*I’m going to post the last two week’s features as a separate entry. It should be up later today or tomorrow.

It’s almost Christmas! Feel free to share your seasonal recipes, diy, crafts, and other related material. Link up as many new or archived posts as you would like.

I’ll be pinning all entries linked up to the Fall Into the Holidays board-please let me know if you want to be removed.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

*Featured links will be posted next week. I’m trying to both bake and get my tree up. At least I’m finally finished with shopping. I think.

Click on the button that looks like a blue frog at the bottom of the page to view the collection.

By linking up to Fall Into the Holidays you are allowing the use of 1 photo from your entry as a possible feature.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

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Buckeye Brownies

buckeye brownies

To get the most common complaint right out of the way…yes I used a boxed brownie mix for this batch. Sometimes I just don’t want to spend upwards of half an hour making brownies.

However, there is no reason that you couldn’t use a scratch baked brownie base for this recipe, just make your normal recipe and skip to the filling stage. It should work out fine.

Also, while a buckeye by definition is peanut butter, I think that there’s no reason why you couldn’t swap out the peanut butter chips for chocolate and the peanut butter in the filling for sun butter and end up with something similar that’s nut free.

See? Everyone loves an easily adjustable recipe.

Buckeyes are one of my favorite holiday candies, which is sort of odd since I’m not actually a huge peanut butter fan. But they’re one of those things that I could easily eat my weight in. And that would be -a lot- of buckeyes. I think they probably go by other names but I’ve always heard them called buckeyes. They’re balls of peanut butter mixed with sugar and covered in chocolate. Sort of an upper class peanut butter cup.
Buckeye Eye Brownies

1 box of brownie mix that makes a 13×9 tray (swap out oil and liquid for equal amounts of yogurt and cold coffee, keep eggs the same) (or your favorite homemade batter, prepped)

Peanut butter or chocolate chips, or both


1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to required temp, it’s normally in the 350 range.

Mix filling. It will be stiff. Set aside or set in fridge.

Make brownie batter.

Fold filling into batter, but don’t mix until smooth. It will be clumpy. You want it clumpy.

Line a 13×9 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread a thin layer of baking chips on the bottom of the pan, then pour batter over the chips.

Bake for required time on your box or your recipe.


Open Thread-Ghosts of Christmases Past

I try to touch on ghosts and hauntings at least once every Christmas week-let’s just say that I’m trying to get in touch with my inner Victoriana.

Have you ever had anything creepy happen to you around the holidays?

My most vivid horror/creepy memory related to Christmas was something that I did to myself. I take full responsibility for this one, and I’m not even going to attempt to suggest that it was supernatural, because I know full well that it wasn’t.

I am of the generation where one of my first, fundamental brushes with horror where the goddess forsaken pictures in The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books (books, which by the way, where a high demand item in my elementary library).  If you’re not of a certain age, or if you’re one of ‘those’  people that is completely fine with the changed illustrations-let me tell you one thing: we scared ourselves @#$%less, we loved every minute of it, and we ended up fine. I can promise you that I ended up with a BA with honors, graduated with honors, a Masters with honors, and full time steady employment with a heavy drive towards charity work. We were not ruined by pictures of heads floating on severed spines.

Illustrations, Gammell, Book layout and cover, Scholastic. Blogger does not claim ownership of images.

Illustrations, Gammell, Book layout and cover, Scholastic. Blogger does not claim ownership of images.

Trust me, we all. loved. these. books. with a passion that only preteens can muster and rivaled only by our desire to consume as many Goosebumps short novels as we could. And maybe Christopher Pike.

Anyway, I remember that there was one Christmas where for whatever reason I had convinced my parents that I was sleeping downstairs. It might have just amounted to dude, I’m sleeping downstairs, deal with. The house that I grew up in certainly had its creepy aspects but the living room with its giant windows was generally pretty benign-unless it was after dark, you were alone, and you were living off of a solid diet of those books. The inside illustrations didn’t get any tamer than that cover.

It wasn’t Christmas Eve, but it was close enough that we watched one of those Hallmark Channel style Christmas movie (I believe it was the Christmas Box) and while I’m sure that the adult me would probably find it sickeningly oversentimental, there was something about the story that creeped out kid me. So I’m laying there on the couch with this creepy Christmas movie, these books, and knowing that even though there was no reason that I couldn’t go upstairs to bed I was stubborn enough to sleep in the Hall of Shadows that the living room would become once my parents went upstairs.

I eventually fell asleep, straight into nightmares-but even then I had a parasomnia so it took me awhile to catch on that not everyone has continual nightmares every night. So nightmares weren’t exactly anything for me to comment on. Except that in an almost comical combination of factors, my dad got up and turned the lights on, the snowplow came by, and for whatever reason the musical Christmas lights turned themselves on at the same time. I woke up out of a nightmare of heads floating around on severed spines to this blaze of lights and rumbling and O Come, All Ye Faithful.

I refused to sleep downstairs for close to two years after that.