Recipe – Jacket Potatoes

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Recipe

Jacket Potatoes

I will usually use 1 1/2 large potatoes, but use your judgment for your appetite.

Take the potatoes, wash, dry, and poke holes on four sides with a fork. Bake for 1 hour at 400*.

When the potatoes are ready, cut them in half. Put two or three halves in a cereal or soup bowl.

Keep the potato flesh in the skins, but mash it a little with some butter.

Add to the potato whatever you like. my personal preferences are:

chopped up chives,

bacon pieces (real bacon, not bits),

shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite flavor), and

a dollop of sour cream.

Jacket potatoes are very versatile. You can smother them with chili, leftover hamburger meet, pasta sauce with meat (I’d recommend mozzarella for that one), broccoli, beef stew leftovers. The options are endless.

They make a great lunch, and pair them with a hearty salad, and they can be very filling for dinner.

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Recently, we had jacket potatoes for dinner. We’d run out of groceries except for a 5lb. bag of potatoes, and some odds and ends in the fridge. No one wanted to make dinner. When I suggested potatoes for that dinner, my husband thought I was being crazy, but since he didn’t have to make the meal, he went along with it.
It’s funny how the simplest thing can seem like the best, most wonderful, unique food on the planet. The first time I had a potato as a main dish like this I was in England in the eatery at Warwick Castle. My friend and I were on a three week adventure through the UK, and we were watching our pennies. We still had another week to get through with the cash we had on hand, and as any tourist place, even twenty-odd years ago, the castle’s food was expensive.

Looking though the menu, we both chose this odd but very interesting sounding thing called a jacket potato. It really was an oddity. A baked potato with stuff in it. It was huge. It was like the size of two potatoes with what looked like four ounces of cheddar cheese on top. I loved it. I came home that spring and started making them for my lunches.

Many years later, upon returning to North Wales, I visited another castle. This one was Caernarfon, 13th century built by Edward I to subjugate the Welsh. They had a gift shop, but no place to eat on site. It didn’t much matter; there were enough places to choose from in the small town.

I ended up in an alleyway, called Hole in the Wall. Too narrow for a car, but perfect for walking or bicycling. There were several places along the small lane, and at least three restaurants all on the same side of the lane, and I chose the cafe across from where the bell tower used to be. The stones that made up the tower and surrounded the bell were still there but half of the stones were missing so one side was open.

Appropriately named The Bell Tower Cafe, it was a tiny place, maybe ten tables, mostly filled with regulars, a variety of ethnicities all speaking the lyrical Welsh language. They were all getting a good, hearty British breakfast. It looked amazing, but I had already eaten breakfast at the hostel, toast and jam. I watched as the steam rose from the white tea someone had ordered. In searching over the menu, I discovered that old favorite from Warwick – the jacket potato. I had that big potato covered in cheddar cheese with a salad and a soda, and it was delicious. I went back the next day and had the exact same thing.

The Election of 2016

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​I’m stunned. I’m also shocked and saddened. Yesterday morning, I awoke at 6:45am so I could take my daughter with me to vote before she had to go to school. We talked about the ballot, why I was voting for some people, why I wasn’t voting for others. We whispered so we didn’t disturb or bother anyone else voting at the same time. I took pictures of both the ballot and she and the ballot and before and after pictures before we left the house and after our election day breakfast at McDonald’s. I was sure that we had just voted for the first woman president. To be honest, that was a bonus. I was voting for Hillary Clinton, someone who I had admired and watched since I was out of college. I learned so much about her over the years; what she believed in, what she did and would do as a public servant.

When she became my senator, I knew she’d work her ass off, and she did.

She was a fantastic Secretary of State.

In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, John Kerry in 2004, President Obama in 2008 and 2012. I voted FOR them, not against their opponents. I did not want George Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney to be President, but I knew in my heart that if they became president, they would do their best to bring honor to the office. I am not so sure about that this year.

I can’t express what I’m feeling. I’m usually asleep when my two children get on the bus for school. This morning, I made sure I was awake so I would have time to hug them and talk to them about the election results. They were both worried. My son went to bed with a headache, and my daughter asked if she would be forced to wear a hood. Their reactions did not come from us directly, but from listening to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric for the past eighteen months.

I hugged them, and told them not to worry and we wold get through this. It would be okay. The don’t know because they’re too young, but we’ve been here before, and we’ve gotten through it.

This one is a little different.

I never thought I’d see a President endorsed so heartily by the KKK in my adult lifetime. I never thought we’d elect an open racist and misogynist in my adult lifetime, certainly not in the modern age. The VP, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office is a proponent of gay conversion therapy, funerals for fetuses while limiting the rights of the women carrying them.

This isn’t partisan to me. This is insane.

I had planned on this post being one of my reflections on 50. It was going to be about politics and my lifelong love of politics, but I can’t write about that and ignore what’s just happened this morning. I think I need to take a couple days away. There are some posts scheduled in my queue that will post automatically, and hopefully, I’ll be able to continue my 50 reflections, but today…today truly is a time for mourning.

Crime will go up.

Abortions will go up.

Hate crimes will go up.

Homelessness will go up.

Unemployment will go up.

If you look at the statistics over the last century, I think you’ll find that this is what happens when Republicans are in the White House.

On a personal note, my husband will probably lose his job, which will have financial ramifications for years to come.

This wasn’t one election. This was a lifetime. This will affect those not born yet.

We, as a country need to reflect on the last year; the attacks on women, the attacks on journalism and journalists, the attacks on Muslims and Latinos especially, and the continuing stereotyping of African Americans who according to Trump live in hell and the inner cities. I’ll have to mention that to my suburban neighbors.

We need to look at who we are as a country, as a people, and decide where we want to go from here. We need to pray and meditate on what is going on, in whatever way that each of us does. We just decided that the most qualified person in the last half century still isn’t good enough; we want the reality TV star, who may have only won because his campaign manager took away his Twitter and the FBI Director lit a fire on a burned out shell.

Every. Vote. Counts.

Al Gore told you.

Bernie Sanders told you.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama told you.

When will we listen?

When will we do what’s best for all of us, and not just a select few? For some reason, they think that a thirty year public servant is more elitist than a millionaire who lives in a penthouse and wouldn’t know the price of milk if he were standing in the grocery store.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s too much to take in. It’s only been real for about two hours for me. I went to bed at 2:15am, thinking there was some hope. I woke up knowing it was over, not wanting to know the outcome, but needing to know so I could tell my kids in the morning that it would be alright.

Voting and Food

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​Today is Election Day, and while this election has been one for the history books in more ways than one, Election Day does have a rich history and tradition.

Many are calling for a national holiday, so everyone is able to vote on Election Day. I agree with this, but having a federal or state holiday doesn’t always ensure that everyone has the day off. Retail people are not off on most federal holidays as well as police and fire, so it’s not a sure thing.

When I was in elementary school, schools were closed on Election Day. The schools were the polling places, and it was better for everyone if kids weren’t disrupting the march of democracy. Even though we were home, we had a regular babysitter, so my parents still worked during their regular work hours and would need to vote afterwards. Not voting was never an option.

Coming home from work with little time for kids and dinner and getting out the vote, we often had a simple dinner, much the same when my brother and sister had their weekly allergy shots appointment. A simple dinner consisted of tuna fish sandwiches, egg salad for everyone but me, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese or if we were really lucky, McDonald’s.

In small towns across the country, food and voting go hand in hand. Just this week, I’ve seen signs and advertisements for a roast beef dinner, lasagna, and an apple pie festival. In the past, I’ve seen pot roast dinners, BBQ, and chili cook-offs, not to mention school and church bake sales to raise money for clubs and whatnot. 

How many ways do we have to encourage people to get out, drop their apathy and vote. Apparently, food is number one. 

This year, there is a lot of talk of taco trucks on every corner if a certain candidate wins, and what better day for tacos on Election Day Tuesday to make it a Taco Tuesday.

My family will probably get pizza so we can watch the returns late into the night.

Personally, I love the I voted stickers, but they usually don’t have those when I go. A chocolate chip cookie after voting wouldn’t be unwelcome.

Get Out and Vote

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Today is Election Day.

In addition to local elections and propositions, there is a Presidential election. You may be able to tell who I support. I do try to keep my opinion pieces separate from my general political or news pieces.

However, regardless of who you’re supporting and why, please – – –

Know the facts, not innuendo or speculation about all of the candidates.

Do not be a one issue voter. There is so much more at stake than whether or not a candidate is pro-choice or pro-life or whether they view social security as a right, an earned return on their money or an. entitlement. Look at a variety of issues and where your preferred candidate stands on them. 

Follow unbiased/more neutral than not political places like Ezra Klein, Chris Cilizza, Vox, Politifact, Media Matters or others that you find helpful and fact based.

Most importantly, 
VOTE

VOTE

VOTE

Make your voices heard.

50-37 – Yankee Doodle

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In honor of today being Election Day, I am sharing my photos of my old elementary school lunchbox. It must have been a television show that I watched as a kid *. It was probably on during the Bicentennial in 1976. I’ve always loved history, and was really pleased to find this vintage, metal lunchbox in my parents’ garage before we sold the house.

Vintage Lunchbox. Yankee Doodles. (c)2016

*After many  minutes of googling and clicking useless links, I finally discovered that Yankee Doodles was a comic strip that ran from 1973 to 1977. Three artists were listed: DonKracke, Fred Martin, and Ben Templeton. (Information furnished from Keith Adams from an online q&a)