Friday Food. Inspire. May.

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​Being home in isolation has given many of us the opportunities to cook more, enjoying old favorites, trying out some new recipes, maybe experimenting a little. Before pork became less available, we had a delicious pork loin. For some reason, I like chutney with my pork. It works as a chunky sauce or spread on a sandwich, like that. We had some oranges that needed eating, so I  made an orange chutney. It was lovely even if I was the only one who ate it.

A week or so later, we had some extra ground chuck, a blessing that is not happening this week, so I made some homemade meatballs for the next time we had pasta, an old standby for our family. After following the recipe below, I froze the meatballs, and will cook them as described at the end of the ingredient list after thawing them.

A friend of mine in Oklahoma is sending me (in about ten days time) a culinary chain letter. She’s making a starter, sending it to me, and I will be feeding it and then sharing it as well as making my own Friendship Bread. I’ve never worked with starter before, so I expect that I’ll be sharing the process with you once it arrives here.

Lastly, if you go on Twitter and follow the hashtag #RecipesForThePeople, Chef Jose Andres and his family cook very good, very simple recipes. Our family made the Angel Hair Pasta with Sauce that you can find in my COVID-19 Food post. On the Twitter hashtag, you will also see regular people like you and me (not internationally known, popular chefs) offering their own Recipes for the People.

One note: Cooking is not Baking. Baking is a science. The measurements of baking soda, powder, salt are specific for a reason. You really need to be a professional level of baker to experiment with baking in my humble opinion. I am not a baker. Cooking however can be very experimental. You’ll notice in the two recipes that follow that there aren’t any measurements. For something like these two recipes (and my meatloaf that I can share with any request at a later time) is generally a pinch, equivalent to a tablespoon. How much garlic do you like? Use a tiny bit less. If mistakes are made, it’s still good. You’ll learn what you like.

Enjoy!

Orange Chutney (see photo)

2 medium oranges, sliced, diced and crushed

Add juice from the plate to the bowl

Dried shallot powder

French peppercorns, ground

Ground cumin

Honey (about 1 TB, maybe a bit more)

1 TB Blackberry preserves

Nutmeg, grated on a microplane

Mix.

Serve over pork or chicken or spread on bread for a tasty sandwich!
Meatballs

Bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)

Garlic

Pepper

Onion Powder

Penzeys Frozen Pizza seasoning (or use a mix of Italian spices)

In a ziploc bag, thoroughly mix these ingredients. Add fresh ground beef and mix it into the meat.

Saute meatballs in olive oil in a saucepan until brown. Add sauce (or ingredients to make your own sauce) and cook for twenty to thirty minutes.

Add to your pasta, then add a salad and a loaf of fresh bread, and you’re all set for dinner!

Inspire. May.

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Statue of Mary, Journaling, Spring Blooms, Rosary, Mary by Tomie de Paola, Zen Garden. (c)2020

Mary our mother sustains us in moments of darkness, difficulty, and apparent defeat.
– Pope Francis

We’ve been slowly returning/adapting to a new normal. I don’t think we’ll go back to what we knew as normal for a long time, if at all.

I don’t think it’s helpful to be Pollyannas, but it is possible to find joy in our new circumstances.

Knowing that staying home and also wearing a mask when I go out for groceries and other supplies is my way of contributing to the mitigation and the time to search for a cure makes it a bit easier to accept my role in the effort. Each of us has a small part but all of us together can create a larger outcome.

Cooperation.

Unity.

Selflessness.

Compassion.

We all have our own struggles, but I would encourage you to find the silver lining in the cloud; the rainbow after the rain; the cliche in the trope.

Three Places Where I Find Joy

1. Cool breeze

2. Mary  *more below

3. Kindle – FB with family/friends, books, podcasts, writing – encompasses much of my person in one place, not quite a talisman, but a path, a tunnel from one place to the next; from one world to the next.

May is also Mary’s month in the church. There’s Mother’s Day and Mary is all of our Mothers. Marian devotions. May Crowinings. Pope Francis provided two new prayers to add to our rosary prayers for the month of May. 

I will have weekly Mary posts throughout May beginning below with links to the Vatican’s Rosary pages and the Pope’s letter and his two rosary prayers.

I have been praying them when I’ve prayed the rosary this week and it truly makes me feel as though I’m doing something tangible and positive during this pandemic. I may also begin a Mary meditation, but time will tell.

Domestic Violence and Abuse

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Nine years ago today, my friend was murdered by her ex. Up until that point, I was mostly unaware of the enormous domestic violence problem we have in this country.

I was unawware that 1 in 3 people are abused in their relationships.

I was unaware that women go to jail more for defending themselves against their partners than their partners do for abusing them.

I was unaware that I was part of the problem by not believing my friend when she did talk about her experiences in our mutual friend circles.

I was unaware.

We can no longer live in the darkness of ignorance; of platitudes; of living in our own bubbles.

If you know someone who is being abused, reach out. They may not accept your overtures, but they’ll know that you will be there when they are ready.

If you are being abused, there is help.

Contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-700-7233 or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

or online at The Hotline

In New York State, there are new options available related to an uptick (30% higher in this past April than in April 2019) in the domestic abuse incidents and reports since our pandemic related isolation began.

Coronavirus and Domestic Violence (NY Times)

New Yorkers in Need of Help or Assistance Can Text 844-997-2121 

or Can Go to the New Confidential Online Site to Reach a Professional on http://www.opdv.ny.gov

Office of Prevention of Domestic Violence in NY

Election Connection: 26 Weeks: Pick a Senate Race

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Winning the White House is immense and more important than anything we’ve faced in my lifetime, but if we want to get anything done, help Americans through this global pandemic and restart our economy, we’ll need to retake the Sentate. Mitch McConnell, instead of working on helping working class Americans survive is returning to DC to push through more unqualified judges. This isn’t about their being too conservative for my liking; many of them are literally unqualified. Some have never even tried a case before.

Pick a Senate Race.

Donate money.

Donate time.

Volunteer to make calls.

If you live in those states, VOTE THEM OUT!

We need to get rid of:

Mitch McConnell (KY)                    Lindsey Graham (SC)
Susan Collins (ME)                          Martha McSally (AZ)
Cory Gardner (CO)                           Kelly Loeffler (GA)
Thom Tillis (NC)                               Jim Jordan (OH)
Devin Nunes (CA)                            John Cornyn (TX)
Matt Gaetz (FL)                                 

Joni Ernst(IA) – Donate to Theresa Greenfield here

Mental Health Monday – Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Each Monday from now until the second week in June will be the Mental Health Monday series with suggestions, resources, and coping tools. I would love for you to share what works for you in the comments, and I can gather them together for a future post for others.
It is more important than ever to be aware of our mental health, what triggers we face, and how to cope and overcome some of the difficulties.

Awareness is especially relevant in today’s world while we struggle through this unprecedented global pandemic with new surprises popping up every day in all aspects of our lives.

Today, instead of working on a more detailed first post, I was taking care of my own mental health, enjoying Star Wars with my family, eating comfort food (Kraft Macaroni & Cheese), praying the rosary, seeing my son for the first time in a long time, and most importantly, ignoring Twitter. Sometimes you just need to know when to stop and step away, and for me, that was today.

I have three resources to offer you today:

NAMI – National Association of Mental Illness

My own COVID-19 Mental Health and Crisis Information During the Pandemic Post
Wil Wheaton – he is very open about his depression and anxiety and many of his personal essays are helpful, even if only for knowing that you are not alone.