Sunday, April 17, 2016

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Unsung Hero's of the LGBTQ Community!

For Imbolc, I had so badly wanted to write this article, but I absorbed so much information on the subject it sort of blew my mind and I needed to take a step back. In honor of Same Sex Marriage, FINELY being fully recognized in the United States, I had long to write something of significance. As the gods would have it, I stumbled upon the forgotten subject of Pedro Zamora and his partner Sean Sasser. These two men have long been forgotten by most of society, mostly because how much society has over come since the 1990s and the hero's who played a huge role in this undertaking this change are sadly being forgotten.

Zamora and Sasser were a young same sex couple in the 1990s, both living with HIV. Zamora had full blown AIDS, was better known for his role in the "Real World" 1994 San Francisco. Zamora choose to be in the spot light as not just a person living HIV but also a homosexual man with the same desires as most people in their early twenties. They later in the show exchanged vows and rings on MTV, making their commitment ceremony the first ever televised in the USA.

As the oldest children born in this century are sixteen years old or younger, few know the world Zamora and Sasser had to over come to bring them the world we are evolving to today. This was a different world most people would recognize, for one, people didn't have phones and computers with them everywhere. Society was very different when it came to the subjects of sexual orientation and HIV. The media was either in the negative towards anything positive towards the gay community or were trying to be neutral to the obvious bigotry. Many people were still uneducated about HIV and the importances of Zamora work was more evident when looking back at this society before he came into the spotlight.

Pedro Zamora was born in Cuba, immigrated to the United States in 1980. His family resided in Miami Florida, where Pedro grew up. He found out he was HIV positive at the age of 17. He claimed it was from a sexual encounter because that was the only thing he did  to expose himself. He had unprotected sex. HIV treatments were still new and the death rate was considered a 100% fatal. Zamora was given a death sentences as it would seem. However Zamora used his diagnosis to push him to graduate high school early and dedicate his life to educate the public about the disease. He also wanted to give a positive face of those living with HIV. He never forgot he had his disease, but he didn't let that define him and was able to have a happy fulfilling life.

Zamora met Sean Sasser before when both were with other partners, but reconnected when Zamora joined the cast of the "Real World" San Francisco. Sasser was 19 years old when he discovered his HIV status, was living in San Francisco and working as a chef. The two men had a publicized relationship challenging societies perspective on so many levels. Not just two men, but individuals with HIV being responsible but sexually active. A concept that most people back then would never consider. The two would talk about their disease and their story at schools and other public events to spread awareness.

Photo courtesy of MTV Real World SF copyright 1994
This very relationship was not only taboo amount the straight audience, but to the gay community as well. Often in the culture of the time, having multiple partners or simply not being in a relationship was considered the norm for the lifestyle. Much of the culture was sort of the anti-traditional life mentality. That often included monogamy. I'm not saying there is anything right or wrong with this lifestyle. Many heterosexuals have followed the same practices, but having been forced into the shadows of mainstream society, a counter culture developed in the gay community. One that went against traditions like monogamy. What Zamora and Sasser were doing by being a relationship, was considered too vanilla for many in the gay community. While many same sex couples flock to alter, not all wanted this life and not all do. Even more daring Zamora and Sasser would flirt with the idea of marriage. Zamora even admitted he wish he could have children at one point to Rachael on the show. However marriage was something they both seem to want, but Zamora feelings towards leaving his family on the East coast was an issue.

When Zamora returned to Miami to briefly visit his family, he gave the impression of them as a very loving and understand family. They were worried about his health. They showered him with love and affection from the moment they saw him. By all accounts they seemed very accepting of him, it was assumed his sexuality was included in that package. While Zamora was in Florida, he ran a fever and had trouble finding a doctor or hospital that would see him. Along with all Zamora covered, the issue  of young people not being able to afford health insurances, especially those with HIV status, was also brought up briefly.

When Zamora returned home to San Francisco, he and his partner became engaged and arranged for a ceremony to exchange vows and rings. There was a small ceremony done on TV on the "Real World" San Francisco and this was the first same sex vow exchange ceremony ever televised in the United States. Although Zamora friend and roommate came to celebrate, Zamora family were noticeably missing. Nothing was said about this, it is assumed they simply couldn't travel across country. At the end of the program, Zamora and Sasser drive off together to start a new life as a couple. Things seemed to be looking up for the two.

Sadly not long after the Real World San Francisco aired the following year, Zamora became very ill and did not recover. He returned to his home in Miami, to be close to his family. Sasser was with him, but was mistreated by Zamora family. They apparently were less accepting about Zamora's sexuality than he led the public to believe. They told Sasser, while Zamora was too sick to physically talk, he no longer needed a lover. Zamora died November 11, 1994 surround by his family, but was not allowed to be with his partner and spouse, Sasser. Sasser was not welcome at his lover's funeral. He left quietly soon after Zamora died in the hospital.

Sasser left the spot light for a while. He eventually opened up his own pastry restaurant in Washington DC in 2012. In time he legally married his partner Michael Kaplan in 2013, but sadly Sasser died August 7th 2013 of  mesothelioma. He was 44 years old. He died having achieved so much in his short life, but without the fame. He was a humble part of the history the LGBTQ community, with much he had helped accomplished in the long struggle of equality and human compassion. Sasser was a man who lived and loved, but also went a step further. He made the decision to dedicate his life unselfishly towards changing the world for the better, even if he didn't get to enjoy it as the generations later on will.
Twitted by Judd Winick

I hope in time we will remember theses two men as the martyr's of love and acceptance they truly were. For they gave up privacy and lived much in the public eye so that others would not feel alone in their struggles. They gave the world a sacrifice through their love, their life and even their death. They helped the older generation move past old time prejudice and raise the new generation with a level of acceptance that transformed the 1990s life as cold and bigoted. There is etiquette and a level of respect that wasn't there in 25 years ago. Theses are truly two lives that didn't live in vain.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Don't Budget Hard, Budget Wise!

I know I have been away, but things have been hectic. On a positive note I should be starting a training program that I'm looking forward too. Though I have tried to write several articles, I found the stress has been oppressing my skills and I had to result to sharing other peoples wonderful work. However powerful my little may be and I'm glad to give them whatever boast my page can provide.

More recently I dedicated more effort into looking for ways to keep my budget in order. Being unemployed is a good way to learn  how to save money and how to buckle down on spending. So as I shared the reusable tampon, I thought of all the other ways I figured out on my own how to save money. Feeling more original, I provide my little list of saving tips! Not all of this is healthy or ideal, but sometimes you just have to go with what you have.

Like Bacon?
I admit I enjoy pork bacon. I love it in fact! However the price of bacon has been very high and it became a guilty pleasure I learned to live without. Then I discovered for $7.99 at my grocery store, I could buy 48 oz of bacon chunks, instead of slices! I have to admit I like it so much better t his way! I can use a small pan rather for bacon chunks, than have to stretch out bacon strips. Also it has lasted a very long time in my house, rather than one or two meals.

  • You can also save money on butter, buy storing the uncooked bacon fat and use it to butter pans for eggs or pancakes. You don't need to use nearly as much as you would butter. Thats a big money saver!

Any Coffee Drinker's out there?
Buying coffee in bulk, helps a lot, but is still ranges from $6-10. If you like your coffee light to medium, you can save money by buying dark coffee. Rather than your usual preference level darker coffee allows you to use a lot less coffee than you normally would. You may have to do some experimenting. Remember if you make it too strong, just add some water. It is better to go a little too strong than too light. This technique could make the coffee last twice as long than usual, depending how dark you like it.

I've seen the prices of a half a gallon of ice coffee and all I can say is THEFT! Seriously, save yourself tons of cash, buy simply keeping a pictcher in your fridge to dispose of the hot coffee (after its cooled to down) no one finishes in the pot. Why waste good coffee, then buy ice coffee? That simply doesn't compute with me! Its really too easy not too! You throw in some sugar first (because sugar dissolves better when liquid is added not sugar added to liquid) then the coffee, creamers and ice. Stir and you are done. Don't worry about the sugar rule when adding coffee to about cup worth of remaining liquid. It should be pretty sugary already, though add more for the amount of coffee you are adding to the container.

Paper Towels are a waste and bad for the Environment! 
I can't afford to waste money on paper towels! Its literally that simple, I don't have the funds for it. Here some alternatives! 
  • Dish Towels and wash cloth are always ideal.
  • Rags! Your kid out grows a shirt with a big stain in it, rather than make your next kid wear it just rip it up and use them to wipe up a spill, clean a your cabinets, etc... 
  • Dirty Laundry. Why not, if your are going to wash it any way? Just make sure your spill doesn't stain the fabric. Great for water spills!
  • Old Newspapers. Newspapers are great way for those dirty old messy spills like oil, blood, animal mess. 
  • Coffee Filters! They disposable, but are less paper. Great for small spills and messes. 
If you don't have a washer machine, cleaning all those rags can be a hassle. To clean them as often as needed you can run them through a dishwasher if you have one or put them in a pot of boiling water for and line dry.

You can also avoid spills messes with a lot more easy with a counter cover or even refrigerator tray cover. For a counter cover, a cutting board often works. Make your coffee or sandwich over the cutting board and simply rinse off and dry when you are done.

 Refrigerator spills are always a nightmare! I have to thank my mother-in-law for this idea, she lines her refrigerator with old rectangle shaped trays (literally like the ones at a fastfood restaurant) and place mats inside the trays, on the bottom of the draws and under them. If some meat leaks or milk spills, the mess is contained to one tray or matt and easy to take out and clean. This saves you from long hours of clean up and you use less products and wipes in doing so. 

Cleaning products! 
You honestly don't need a lot of different sprays and products to clean your home. Most things can be cleaned with
  • Vinegar is great for counters, glass, dish water, floors, laundry and bathrooms.
  • Citrus like lemons and oranges, perfect to add to vinegar for extra strength and a nicer smell. 
  • Rubbing Alcohol added to water, disinfects very well. Works for floors, dishes, laundry, counters, kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Peroxide is great for taking out tough stains like blood. Perfect for laundry, fabrics and carpets. 
  • Baking Soda is great for things that need to be scrubbed from toilets to dishes.

Watering down your Milk 
Milk is a must for most families. Many people fall into the trend of low fat to skim milk. Rather than waste your money on theses watered downed milks, simply buy whole milk and the water yourself! You can find your own ratio of milk and water your family likes. You can save money and calories doing this.

Nut Milk
Many people are getting into alternative milks for a variety of reasons. Some for health, socially conscious or just like the taste of nut milk like Almond milk, They also can cost almost twice as much as regular milk, but that doesn't have to be. Nut milks are very easy to make and are most made up of water.

You need 1 part nuts for 4 time as much water. There are different ways to sweeten the nuts to your liking. You will also need to have a food pulverizer blender to break down soil nuts into a liquid.

Here is a list of recipes of different nut milks to try!

Fresh Herb's
Fresh herbs can make any meal special, but they tend to be very pricey! Save money by buying the plants yourself. They don't require a lot of maintenances and will provide you with lots of healthy and tasty food and teas. Yes you can make teas with your fresh herbs, like mint and basil!

Reuse food containers whenever possible! 

Almost everyone has done it. Chineses food containers are often the more favored. I remember people saving the soup containers the most! Tubs for butter/margarine is popular, but don't forget to save your glass jars! Jams, pasta sauce, pickles, baby food and other items we use come in glass containers and are great to reuse. You could make the same product from scratch or you could use them to store flavored waters, parfaits and other foods that do better in glass containers. Then coffee tin's are great for storing greece, sharp objects like nails (not child proof,) making art musical instrument's or metaling down if you can do so safely. Another often rarely reused product are plastic bags. They can be reused 2-5 times more, depending on use. I don't recommend reusing them if they contained meat or spoiled food. Pretty much anything messy. 

I hope theses ideas find all well and I hope you will find these suggestions helpful for you and your family. Hera's blessings upon all you who keep a home!

By Sailko

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Little to No Shopping Holiday List!

Thanksgiving is over and the winter holiday's are vastly upon us. While everyone is breaking their neck for expensive trinkets at the store, I decided to make as many of my holiday gifts as I can. A challenge I also give to you! Stores are congested from the parking lot to the line! Things are often horribly over priced and this materialism is literally breaking families apart, the opposite of the holiday's intention.

In the spiritual of the holidays, I plan to use this time with my daughter in making gifts for family members, that aren't cheesy.

For Baby!

Baby's first holiday season is more for the parents than anything else. A baby first holiday ornament is a sweet gift, especially hand made.

I used flat wooden circle cut outs, with a hole drilled through on top. The sleeping babies are made of plaster, shaped by a chocolate mold. I used acrylic paint for both the wood and plaster and sealed with a spray varnish. 
This is not the only way to make a baby ornament. However when making the ornament, make sure they are light enough to be put on the tree.  With wooden and other light items, you want to add a little weight to avoid the ornament flipping. 

People always love sentimental items, but never undermine something practical. If you have some sewing skills, you may want to try making a Washcloth Puppet. Put a bottle of baby bath soap inside the finished product. It adds a nice touch!

Have an old piece of furniture you don't need? Try converting it into a play station for your toddler through most of elementary school child, that could eventually become storage furniture when they become teens. Play stations could be mini kitchenssensory play with sand, water and other creative textures, pretend stores and restaurantsscience lab, etc.... 

If your play station includes toy food, you could create some toy food, by recycling old food containers that can be used for the set. It will add realistic touch. Please remove anything that could be a choking hazard or other kind of danger. Do not use glass or other material that could be sharp, break down, or other risk. Plastic containers work best.  Empty tubs, plastic bottles with the bottle cap glued shut, mini empty cereal boxes, etc... Are all great items for mini kitchens, restaurants, stores, that can add to the imagination of a young mind!

Tip: fill up storage area in the toy with gifts related toys, wrapped up in some way. Children love finding surprises! 

The gift of Story!

For those who have an interesting age appropriate story to tell, why give it. You could create a physical book or create story online they can access. The story could be true or not, but keep in mind who you are writing too.


If writing isn't your skill, record yourself reading a book as a gift. Your voice will bring a child comfort and familiarity. This wonderful if you have a long distance relationship with a child. Like parents of divorce, military, out of state, separated for whatever reasons, its a great way for you to connect with that distant child close to your heart!

Musical parents can always share the gift of Song. Do not ever undermine such a precious gift. Having worked in healthcare for over decade, I can tell you what people remember the most of their parents isn't the toys they got, but the little things, like what they smelled like, the touch of their skin and the sound of their voice. They also remember the songs their parents listened to or taught them. Even if the gift isn't as well received right away, its a gift they will love in their golden years. It's a love investment!
If you are not the parent you could encourage a parent into doing this by showing them how to record themselves or simply teach them a song. They don't have to be great, just themselves. 

Not all of you have little babies, adventurous preschoolers or ever growing elementary schoolers. Some of you have teenagers and even adult children. Do not fear, there are lots of home made gifts for teenagers to seniors. 

My first attempt of a Yule Log! Yule of 2014!

Another powerful sense I mentioned before in suggestion to preform music, sense of smell, so keeping the home smelling good. One way you as a parent or well meaning friend can bring is good food! You could make it yourself or create a gift with the ingredients and the recipe! Bake goods are common, but that doesn't mean you are limited to them. Families enjoy dips, soups, beverages, as well as bread's, cookies, cakes, etc... These little treats will have a lasting effect on their young lives!

Have an artist? Why not make them an art kit? Paint can be created in a variety of ways. For younger children, a simple finger paint . For older children and adults you want to try water color paint's or watch the video for metallic paint's, both water color and acrylic.

You could also make an easel or art supply carrier. There is a lot you can give the artist in your life. 

Makeup can be worn by either gender, but is a matter of preference. For those who do wear it, most of the stuff from the stores causes premature aging. Making Natural Makeup is a wonderful gift for a young adult and up. You can order brushes and containers cheaper than buying the damaging and expensive over the counter brands. 

Many young people walk a lot, backpack's are often vital. Especially when you add secret compartments to hid money. You don't necessarily have to make a backpack, but find creative ways to add hidden compartments. Also teenagers often need basic supplies, like hygiene products, food, supplies for their interest like sports or the arts, clothing like underwear and socks and other items they tend to go through fast. So adding some items to this gift is rather thoughtful. 

Theses a great gift to give to those going away to school. I call this the College Gift Bag. It often contains some of the following inside the backpack or other piratical container. I suggest a little of each category. 

 bath item's

Shampoo and Conditioner (unless you KNOW the person doesn't use both, always give as a set.) 
Body Soap
Hand Soap
Body Spray
Toothbrushes (more than one)
Dental Floss
Cotton Swabs 
Tampons or Pads for ladies ( When putting together your gift, you don't have to make this part of the gift visible right away. Put the box under other items to raise their11 height for display. It will be a nice surprise when the woman you give it too actually goes through it. BTW if you don't know her preferences just give her something else.) 
Razors (Men and Women use them!)
Shaving Cream
Hair Products
Band Aides
First Aide Kit
Water Shoes (Great for public showers)

Dishes (usually single setting)

Mug (regular or travel)
Shot glass for 21 and up 
Cereal/Ice Cream Bowl 
Water Bottle

Avoid* glass and other delicate material. 

Clothing (comfort is key)

Underwear (apply the same kind of etiquette as you would giving Tampons or Pads to underwear for both genders)
Walking/Running Shoes
Sweatshirts and Hoodies
Thin Bathrobe
Sweat pants or shorts

Stationary or School Supplies

Note books
Crayons (gotta have some fun!)

Food (remember NONPERISHABLE)

Single Serving Cereal 
Coffee/Tea/Hot Coco (Pair with mug)
The toppings of an Ice Cream Sunday (Pair with Bowl)
Baked goods (Cookies and brownies work best. Make sure they are securely enclosed inside the gift)
Travel size snacks 


Gift cards
Old belongs (teddy bear)
Items that smell like home.
Fleece Blanket
Pocket Knife (Mature only)
Wallet (put at least a gift card or a little cash inside)
Pocket Warmers
Room Decor (Posters, Wall Stickers, Picture Frames)
Sewing needle and thread

Pagan Teen or Young Adult 

Sage oil 
Pocket Alter

Avoid* items that burn like candles and incense for those living in dorm rooms. 

For older family members like your children grandparents, items involving pictures of your children are always great! Mugs, coasters, calendars, albums, etc..  are usually appreciated. Your kids grow every year. So try a rotating the different craft over the years with new pictures. 

Homemade candles are always popular. Just make sure the person knows how to use candles responsibly.

Everyone could use a blanket and there are many easy and inexpensive ways to make them!

Another item that makes a great gift are herbal heating pads and eye mask. These are insanely easy to make, you will never waste money buying one again! Here you can look up aromatherapy options that can help from insomnia to soar muscles.  

I hope you enjoy creating something special for your loved one that will be as unique as you are. 

Happy Holidays
Modern Pagan Parents!

***Warning, please caution with anything you create. Make sure anything you create is safe and will not cause injury/death if access to the recommended age, when used appropriately and seek expert advice if you are not sure. 

Monday, November 30, 2015


As we celebrate the final harvest of the year and embrace the solstice, it is hard to ignore the goddess of agriculture, Demeter. She is often described as older, mind you she could have been in her thirties considering the time period. It is said she was still able to bare children, which she often does. The fact that she lead an interesting life, is why she isn't described as a blush cherub virgin. She is a woman who has lived life. Who has loved and suffered. Who has brought joy and left destruction.

She is a

Friend to mankind

She represents women during a time of constant war and chaos. When group of men,  soldiers, thieves, locals etc could come and kill most a villege in day.  Those who survived, were often the women, who were certainly raped.  Demeter is said to have been raped by Poseidon and bore him a daughter and horse. Long story, though the story states Demeter was angry, but choose to wash her rage away in the river of Lodan. More so, in her world and situation, there was nothing she could do, but move on. It's a sign of her endurance.

Sadly Demeter beloved daughter she conceived from Zeus, Persephone was kidnapped and raped by her uncle Hades, who took her as a bride. This was actually custom of marriage during this time period. Many weddings traditions still followed today, come from these kidnapped marriages. For example, the grooms best man was the guy who helped him kidnap the bride. However this violant act must have been heart wrenching for the parents and girls, as described in the story  Demeter's grief led to winter. Anyone who has suffered a great loss can relate to the cold bitter pain winter causes, being so symbolic of the physical chest pain of their grief.

I imagine Demeter story echo's stories of less happier ending (Demeter and Persephone are reunited) involving marriage's and slavery. These forgotten individuals are represented by these gods and we must not forget that even today in parts of Africa and Asia similar customs are still followed.

Yet, despite all the her tragedy, Demeter is still a friend to mankind. It said, she taught humanity how to use an iron shove and how to plant. She is often depicted hold wheat. She is the goddess of algraculture, grains and breads. Her mood depicts the seasons, as told in the story of Persephone kidnapping and her name though there is a conflict about which translation is correct,  "earth mother," "mother" or "giver of barley or food." I see her as both a kind and sensitive woman.

As we remember our ancestors, let us reflect on their struggles and sacrifices. We are all the decendents of such survivors. Then let us move forward with our own trials and tribulations. Afterwards, reach out to those in their time of need, especially those escaping war in the middle east, seeking refuge!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reinventing Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Thanksgiving is over and you have so much food, you aren't sure what to do with it all! Never fear the concept of a new idea! Thanksgiving foods plainness often works in its advantage.

Turkey in Bread

Turkey is a diverse food, that can be prepared and reprepared in many styles! From soups to BBQ.

Jeremy Noble at

Turkey stuffed bread, a product with a similar ideas known as hot pockets. You could look up a bread recipe to your liking, pizza dough works well. However you could make a flakey crust or something more healthy. Or you could cheat and buy the dough from the store.  You could make a big log or as small as you like.  Suggestive filling combo's.
  • Turkey, stuffing and cooked bacon. 
  • Turkey, fresh mozzarella, tomato, avocado and fresh basil.
  • Turkey, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • Turkey, ham and swiss cheese.
Children love creating their own food and letting them pick out what they like will increase the likelihood of the food being eaten. When you wrap the food in the dough make sure to cut slits on one side to realise pressure.  Baking is usually at 350 degrees, but it may vary depending on the type of bread you are using, what you filled it with and how much. Two foot breads with cooked meats take about a half hour, smaller sizes, I suggest cooking for ten minutes and check on it every five minutes until done.

Pie Filling Crêpes!
Have you had your fill of pie? Had enough of sweet cherry pie? All blueberried out? Pie like puns, may come in abundances. Rather than chuck thzvveses sweets in the trash, find a good crêpe pancake recipe, fill it with cream cheese and pie filling, warm until hot.  Top with sour cream and breakfast is served!

Green Bean Casserole Mac n Cheese!

You either love it or hate it. When I make my casserole I only use french cut green beans and add cooked bacon. However getting rid of its leftovers can be a challenge. If you have a crock pot or know how to slow cook on a stove, add your green beans and other vegetables. Don't over do it, or the kids will catch on. Add your pasta. You don't have to use macaroni pasta. Add milk instead of water to the pasta, shredded cheese, cream cheese, seasonings and butter together. Slow cooker on low for about six hours. 

Thanksgiving Cupcakes

   Children are visual creatures and dressing up the same food to look different is an age old trick.  

Use a greased cupcake pan and line individual cups with stuffing. Adding butter or cooking oil if the stuffing is very dry.  Create a hollow cup to put some turkey in the center.  Cupcakes take about twenty minutes in the oven at 350. Afterwards take an ice cream scooper and scoop up warm, sweet or mash potatoes on top. With regular mash potatoes drizzle brown gravy on top. With sweet potatoes, garnish with a small amount of cranberry sauce to look like a cherry on top.

It's easy, cute and kids love it!


Corn can be over stocked. To reduce the boundaries of corn in your refrigerator and pantry might I suggest making corn bread? Adding corn from fresh to creamed can increase its flavor. Try adding other vegetables, like peas, cooked carrot's, mushrooms, spinach, etc.... to the mix. 

Corn bread can be used as a bread, muffin, pancakes, corndogs, etc! If you have a donut hole maker, corn bread is a cute cake pop!

Another suggestion is to add corn, especially cream corn  to butter, it is very good. Add some honey for a real treat!

Peacan Pie Shakes

Peacan pie is yum, yum, yum! However it's killer on your teeth. People who suffer from dental problem's may have trouble eating a favorite treat. Try a peacan pie milk shake. Take a slice of pie to the blended then add milk and ice-cream. Blend until smooth. Pour in glass. Top with ice cream and whip cream, your have heaven!

Throw in some maple syrup to the mix, if you like it sweet. For extra creamy, add a slice of cheesecake to the mix!
Toss in a few shots of your favorite poison, for those over 21. 

Butternut Squash in Tomato Sauce

If you have leftover chunks of squash. Peel the skin off and chop the flesh fine before adding it to the sauce. You may want to cook the squash first in olive and garlic.  Serve on top of pasta and no one else the wiser!

Quick Way to get Rid of All Vegetables
with Soup

Do you have too many salad's, veggies and other nutritional item's you aren't accustom to eating? If you have a powerful blender, blend them into liquid and add to a home cooked soup or stew. 

Cranberry Sauce to Pink Cream!
A lot of people have problems with leftover cranberry sauce. Left in the refrigerator is long, it begins on melt. Never fear! 

This fruit drip recipe a friend shared with me, is not only to die for, it makes a delicious frost for a cake. It's. A lovely light pink color, with a creamy texture.

You need a bowl of whip cream. I make my own, using a quart of heavy cream. 
I have seen people use cool whip. A container if cream cheese, whipped works best.
 A can of cranberry sauce, no seeds. Whip all three ingredients with a high speed mixer, until a light pink fluff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What to do AFTER Thanksgiving!

After Thanksgiving, you awake from your turkey coma and still have yet a whole another day with the kids home from school. While businesses try to capilize this extra time, more and more people are fighting this "Black" Friday madness. Everyone has their own reasons not to shop this day, yet what to do with all that extra free time from work and school? It seems like a silly question, but when the weather outside is cold, you can't simply make your kids play outside.

  1. The changing of the seasons, together! The winter holiday's are approaching fast. Soon you will be cooking, shopping, visiting and party hopping or working over time, your head starts to spin. Using this time together to decorate, while putting away the autumn decor of feastivies past, will easies some of your burden. Decorating often brings people into the spirit of the coming holiday's and new year!
  2. Explore old items! Go through old items of years past! Find baby clothes, old pictures, forgotten toys and other items from your trip down memory lane. 
  3. Feeling an itch to leave the house? Why not visit friends and relatives? Try to meet up with old familiar faces you rarely are able to see.
  4. Or you could go to a museum! With all that time away from school try to throw some education into the fun! 
  5. This time off is a great time to do crafts and projects with children. There are millions of ideas, from knitting to models of erupting volcanoes. This really is a great time to come up with a project to do with your children.
  6. Hiking! If it isn't too cold, hiking in the autumn woods is both beautiful and educational. The trees may be sleeping, but much of nature is wide awake. Plus fresh air and lots of walking cause children to slumber deeply.
  7. Work out any remaining gift list. Even better, try creating most of your holiday gifts this year. These can be crafts and or good deeds.  
  8. A second Thanksgiving! It sounds crazy, but sometimes one day doesn't encompass all your loved ones. Maybe you or your partners family wasn't there, friends who are like family and even a community. If you can't afford a second feast, don't feel bad me neither, try a pot luck! It might be a way to get rid of left overs BTW. Don't shy away from the idea of a block party to community gathering! The holidays were meant to be celebrated with our community!
  9. Reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers! There are lots of creative ways to eat the more common foods served on Thanksgiving day. 
  10. Volunteering! When in doubt, volunteer! If you or your children have extra time, why not put it to positive use? Volunteering from feeding the hungry, to picking up liter, there is always a need for a helping hand. This perfect for teens, but any child and adult can benefit from the act of kindness! 
  11. Rest! Sometimes you and your family need to recharge, especially for the upcoming holidays! So maybe pull out the pj's, have a turkey sandwich while introducing your kids to some timeless movies and show from your youth! Some popular ideas, The Wizard Of Oz, The Dark Crystal, Miracle of 34st, Home Alone, Snoopy's Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas.. you get the idea. Please apply common sense and make sure the show is age appropriate for all viewers.

Again, we need not waste our precious time off, but use it effectively and in the manner which is best for you and your family!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tasty treats for Halloween

Here are some great ideas for serving your children and guest on Halloween!!! Many of these treats the children could actively participate in, with adult supervision. Great for group cooking with young chef's. It makes for fun activities for parties or gatherings. Yes some of this is bad for you. Feel free to substitute any ingredients from my recipe with something more desirable.

I do not advise giving these out on to trick or treater's!

Monster Pizza 

I come from New York, so naturally I'm a pizza snob. Living in Florida I have had to improvise.

1 round Greek pita bread
Cooked tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
choice of topppings

Take the pita bread, put a layer of sauce on one side. Try not to be too thick or use too much. Sprinkle cheese on top.  Arrange toppings to look like a scary face. Place on pan and toast in oven or toaster oven until cheese melts. Usually 325-350 for 15-20 minutes. Leave longer for extra crispy.

Zombies Cookies 

Sugar cooke or Gingerbread dough
Candy and Frosting for decor
For sugar cookies you could dye the dough green

Use your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread recipe, roll dough flat and use person shape cookies cutter to shape your zombie. Decorate with candy and icing. Add m&ms as eyes before baking, the coloring bleeds around the eye.

Mud Dip 

1/2 cup of almond butter
Coco non sweetened powder to preference.
Honey, sweetnesses preference

Mix ingredients together unit blended. It looks like mud, the consistency of uncooked brownie batter, taste great and has more protein than sugar. Use for pretzel and fruit dip. Apples tend to work best, but so does short bread cookies too. It makes a tasty toast spread and I hear it's delicious with banana's.

Cemetery Cupcakes

Medium to large size cupcakes
Frosting of your preference
White chocolate covered Oreo's
A tube of colored frosting. Thin tip.
Autumn leave sprinkles (optional)

Make your favorite cupcake with your favorite topping, green and purple color frosting looks the best. Shove a white chocolate covered Oreo through the top, leaving half the cookie stick out. Write with decorative icing "RIP" or "BOO!"on the cookie.

Bloodshot Eyeball Eggs

Black olives

Hard boil eggs, unshell and cut in half. Use exposed yoke as the pupil, cut olive into the iris if the eye and push into the yoke. Put ketup into a small plastic sandwich bag. Prick a small hole on the bottom corner, just like a pastry bag and draw red cracks on the egg whites along side the yoke.

Popcorn Bags  


There has to be a mi!lion ways to dress up popcorn in a bag. From the glove to the ghost. This easy, tasty and low cost treat is a life saviour!

May you and your family have aa wonderful Halloween!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

End Columbus Day, from an Italian New Yorker!

First let me be clear, I was born and raised in New York, but because of the cost of living, I'm a displaced New Yorker, living in Florida. I'm told it's lovely, from those who like the tropics, which I don't. I'm also a mutt, I come from several lines of generations in this country, plus my family got around in Europe. I know my fathers father was born to Italian immigrants in the Bronx.  Both of my grandfathers were Italian and both served in World War Two. A New Yorker will understands the significance of the Italian World War Two veterans, but many outside our state don't fully understand the pain and suffering of our heritage.

Before we go into detail about that, let us acknowledge,Columbus was a Bastard! The story we all learned in school about him discovering America and the shape of the earth were directly from a fictional novel "A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus," by Washington Irving, written in 1828. This was written during a time where the American Colonists were in the act of committing mass genocide to the Natives from the northern continent. Making Christopher Columbus a hero was fitting for men who devalued human life for means of profits and power. The same arts of manipulation were used to change the "Thanksgiving" history, into the school musical's your parents loved watching you preform back when you still had a bed time.

Columbus was a slave trader and tyrant. In fact he and his brothers treated the indigenous people of Hispaniola so horribly, that Queen Isabella of Spain had the trio brought back to Europe in chains. This was the same monarch who began the Spanish Inquisition, had Columbus stripped of his title as Governor of the Indies for inhumane treatment. It is understandable why the decendents in the indigenous people, who have been nearly wiped out find this man so offensive.

Why do Italian's love him so? Well take a look of the myth we have been wrongly taught as fact's. Columbus, an Italian, discovers America and that the world isn't in some way flat. Those are pretty flattering accomplishments for one to associate yourself with. Who would want to give that up, especially for a truth that is so ugly!

Just as the Irish hold true to Saint Patrick as an excuse to celebrate their culture, with limited knowledge of the history of the character, Columbus is a sort of demi god that reprents a culture and people. Even if the real person is nothing as the myth claim's, the idea has evolved further into a culture. Italians from the early twenth century, especially those from southern Italy were considered genetically inferior. Many italian families abandoned their native lanuage completely in hopes of acceptance, well as their names altered by authority figures. Religion was also a complication. America prided itself on its white Protestant image, demanding cultures submit to their standards. Naturally due to poverty, discrimination and in the case of the 1920s Prohibition, led to a new level of crime, ie.... organised crime.

Italian families fought long and hard to reach acceptance. A turning point came when the United States entered into World War Two. Italian were the largest national group to join the serve to fight. To many Italians who fought it was about freeing the motherland from Mussolini to proving their undying loyalty to the new world. Yet fifty years later and still no Italian President, there is still the fear against Catholics and old fears often die kicking screaming.

Italian families, despite many cultural sacrifices maintained a close net family ties and reinvention of Italian cooking, Italian American cuisine.  Ideas between which traditions should be kept and which should die is battle from generation to generation. Today many younger Italian's are leaving Catholicism, some become Protestant, but fastly more becomes secular or pagan. Italian history has famous atheist like Umberto Veronesi an oncologist who contributed greatly to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and Renato Caccioppio a mathematician and pianists. Italian culture also has a strong pagan history. From ancient Rome to Catholic mytheism, Italian culture is rich in ancient spirituality. These changes are frightening to the older individuals who won't question the authorities of their childhood.

Which is why many Italian individual's become attached to the nostalgic romantized story story of Columbia. The problem is the idea that American Italian culture needs to represented by a singular historical figure. I challenge this notion!

  1. World War Two Italian veterans: these brave men and women were more than willing to fight and even die for this country. So many fought, mainstream society was forced to reconsider Italian's in American culture.
  2. Our food is a celebration all in itself! From cappuccino to lasagna. Your mouth waters with just the smell of a good pizza. You haven't lived until you had cannolli-gasm!
  3. Italian artist and celebrities. From Leonardo DiVinci to Robert DeNero. Frank Sinatra, is iconic and Valentino still received flowers on his grave.  Not to mention century old operas, dances, sculptures, paintings, etc. . Italian culture has contributed to society. 

All of these people and traditions represent modern day Italian Americans better than a mad slave trader who died in the early sixteenth century. We as a culture have much to be proud of, over the dark stain from our his history, which Columbus really was. We deserve better than him and should celebrate all that makes our culture great and in turn make America great!