Here on the frontier, There are falling leaves, Although my neighbors are all barbarions…And you? You are a thousand miles away. There are always two cups on my table.

Posts tagged ‘Health’

Thank You Gordon Ramsay. The Beef Casserole Rocked!

I Can’t help myself!

My guilty pleasure is Hell’s kitchen.

Being a foodie with a son who chefs also has me scouring Gordon Ramsay‘s recipe books.

Currently I am working through the recipes in his fabulous book,

“Gordon Ramsay’s Family Fare”

Every recipe I have made from  lamb cassoulet to salmon seviche has not only turned out tasting amazingly yummy but has been pretty darn easy to make.

I have to give cudos to the f-bomb dropping kitchen nightmare Gordon Ramsay.

He is all that and then some.

Beef Casserole:




This casserole is the perfect winter warmer. Braising beef is slowly cooked with herbs and vegetables in red wine, which gives the stew a depth of color and a wonderful rich flavor.

1 3/4lb (800g) braising beef
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper olive oil, for cooking
7oz (200g) smoked bacon, cut into small cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 small celeriac, about 1lb 9oz (700g), peeled
5oz (150g) pearl onions (or baby shallots), peeled
few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
9oz (250g) crimini mushrooms, trimmed halved if large
1 tsp tomato paste
2 cups (500ml) red wine
1 1/4 cups (300ml) beef or chicken stock
handful of Italian parsley, chopped


Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cut the beef into bite size chunks. Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the meat in the flour to coat.

Heat a little olive oil in a large cast-iron casserole over
medium heat. Sear the beef briefly in two or three batches until browned all over, then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the bacon to the casserole and sauté gently until lightly golden, adding a little olive oil if necessary.
Meanwhile, cut the carrots and celeriac into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes.

Tip them into the pan with
the whole onions, thyme, and bay leaves and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the mushrooms and tomato paste and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.

Return the beef to the casserole and stir to immerse the meat in the liquid completely.

Put the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender.
Check the seasoning, then scatter the chopped parsley over the stew.

As you can see from the picture there is no scattered parsley on top of the finished dish.
I also used a regular cooking onion instead of tiny pearl onions and bumped up the quantities of carrots and celery as well as beef.
You have to make a recipe your own by adjusting the seasonings to your own tastes and using ingredients that are available to you.
Don’t be afraid to be creative as long as the basic recipe remains intact.
For instance, using stew meat is a basic part of this recipe.Exchanging that for minute steak would not work.

The wine is also a basic element. You can leave it out if you have someone on anabuse who will be eating but you would want to exchange it with grape juice and a splash of vinegar.

If you keep a kosher kitchen as I do you can exchange the bacon for smoked meat.  I used lamb.

Lastly, I left out the bay leaves simply because the supermarket didn’t have them in the generic brand.
I wasn’t going to spend $4 for a jar of bay leaves from McCormick when I only use it occasionally.
Did not miss it one bit!

The casserole was simply amazing! Wonderful on a cold snowy October day.

WHAT? Snow in October??? Holy moly!!!

I think it’s time to take one last walk in the leaves.

Winter is coming!

Luckily Hoo and gmom loves us some snow!!!

this is gmom and baby Hoo

coming to you from beautiful Baltimore.

peace out.

I Need You Mom. No I Don’t. Yes I do.

Rose. Age 21. Daughter number 3, sixth child.

Fell off a moped during the final afternoon of labor day  beach vacation.

Broke both right forearm bones.

Road Rash” up and down her legs.

Drove her back to Baltimore to Union Memorial Hospital and the best upper extremity surgeons on the East Coast.

Now she has some hardware in her arm. A plate, pins and screws pulling the broken pieces all together. It’s been a long couple of weeks.

Before her surgery, she cried. I spoke softly to her and said the prayers from her childhood to comfort her.

After her surgery I slept by her. Gave her the pain medications, help her with all her needs, took her to the doctor and made repeated calls to him when she had questions.

I wiped her tears as she saw the track surgical scar run down her arm and the new shape of the back of her hand.

I handled the insurance company, her school medical leave letters and hooked her up with a decent physical therapist.

Now it’s 3 weeks post-op and the girl is back to normal.

Offended if I ask her if she wants me to cut a tag off the back of her shirt.

The cuddle-muffin who lay in my bed night after night is angry that I appeared at her PT appointment.

Miss Independent is back and I am left wondering if that momentary bond we shared when she was in pain and scared ever really happened.

Cujo The Dog, MSW Petting Optional

Say something Cujo

For the second time in as many weeks a young woman showed up unannounced at my door. The first time she came she  said she was returning a CD that was borrowed long ago. She lingered (in the middle of my workday) until finally I asked her if she was running away from home. Lingering? I don’t know what to do with. Running away? I can handle. She left quickly after I asked. My kids always say I’m too blunt.

Today when she showed up  there was no CD to return. It was just her.

“Running away again?”

Can I just come in for a while. I just need a place to cry and have some quiet.

I sat with her for a moment while she pet ‘Cujo The Dog’.

“Do you want to talk?”

No, but can Cujo stay with me?

I showed her to the den, gave her a box of tissues and a drink.  She patted the couch next to her and Cujo jumped up and settled in by her side (traitor).  Furry traitor.

About 2 hours later I heard her call to me that she was leaving.  She smiled as she bid her farewell to ‘Cujo The Dog’.

I don’t get it. Cujo is alright as dogs go but when I share my problems with him he lies on the floor and puts his head under the couch.

“Hey, You’re suppose to be helping me here, not hiding under the couch!”

Oh well, that’s life in the fast lane. What we can’t do for each other we can sometimes do for a stranger.

This is gmom and Cujo ( The Traitor Dog),

peace out.

Down The Rabbit Hole

For all  of you following my blog husband is still away overseas.

Here is what has changed at  home while the man who holds the string of your kite is gone.

Number one: You might accidentally kill one or  2 of your children.

Normally, in the night Bart comes in, he drives ones of the biofuel trucks and comes in at 3 or 4 a.m. I’ll half wake up and hear him kick off his shoes, shuffle into the shower, scrounge around the kitchen and go to bed.

But without husband here, I immediately reach for the gun.

I go up the stairs gun poised, ready to defend against any intruder. It never dawns on me that Cujo is upstairs happily bopping around.

Bart turns and sees me. Without a word he takes the gun out of my hands, removes the clip and tells me to go back to bed before I hurt myself.


Number 2: You might let your guard dog sleep on your husband’s $200 Brooks Brother’s robe, maybe even on the bed.Everyone needs to be special sometimes.

Number 3: You might stop taking showers  often. I mean what’s the point? This goes for changing into nighties as well.

Number 4: You may suddenly realize that a plate of french fries makes a perfectly good dinner, even better while eaten in front of the TV.

Number 5: You may realize that you don’t have to water the “effing lawn everyday, or pick up your dog’s  poop. I mean who made these rules anyway? Poop is’s like compost.

Number 6: Turns out you don’t have to go and check on your neighbor just because it’s 103F outside. Just a big “ole, hope you’re still alive Edna!  Yelled out an open window does just fine.

Number 7: You have the opportunity to go though all husband’s secret guy stuff. Unfortunately this has yielded nothing! Nothing!

I hope this give you some good ideas for the next time your superhero flies off.

This is gmom.

Down the rabbit hole.

peace out.

Remembering Jeff: Like A Prayer

This is how I remember it.

This is how it was.


It’s called a secondary cancer.

A migratory zone.

Where the cells go to garden.

The brain.

We  sat in the waiting room praying for him.  Losing hope as the hours passed,

as the 7 hour surgery turned into 22.

Finally, the surgeon came out and told us what we already knew.

It was not good.

But for now he was in recovery.

My sisters and I stayed at the hospital and waited for a chance to visit him, for the chance to see that he yet existed and was still amongst us.

At some point in the night the nurses removed the breathing tube.

He spoke in a broken record, PeeWee Herman voice not his own.. “tumor tumor tumor”.

“Tumor’s all gone, honey, tumor is gone.”

I didn’t know if he heard or understood me as he continued his senseless mutterings.

Suddenly, he turned towards me and with  eyes unfocused and snapping left-right, left-right said

“Sing sing sing sing”.

So I sang,

to my brother.


Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone.
I hear you call my name and it feels like

When you call my name, it’s like a little
Prayer. I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you
there. In the midnight hour, I can feel your
Power. Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there


The hard part wasn’t his leaving.

The hard part was being left.

He stayed long enough to say goodbye.

This is gmom,

peace out.

Lenore Diane: A Perfect Stranger

For Lenore….

For no reason, no reason at all, someone did a kindness.

They took a bit of time out of their hectic busy life and did a kindness for someone they don’t even know. I am the recipient of that kindness. Honestly, I am touched and more than a little amazed. It changed my day. I walked around feeling like a sparkly bit of magic had suddenly colored my crapulous  day.

I get so caught up in the whirlwind of my family life that I ignore  anything outside of it. The telephone calls, the knock at the door and anyone who I believe not a priority. It all gets thoughtlessly delegated to the circular file in the corner.

But not today. Today when the phone rang with the call from the person who rants on and on about their difficult life I picked up the line and listened as she got it all out.



Today I finally met a commitment that had seemed like it just wasn’t going to happen. Coordinating a visit with some kittens for a friend who is home bound with advanced breast cancer. The owner of said kittens was not returning my calls!!! Imagine! I went to her house (with a fresh loaf of home-made bread) and banged on her door, and when she didn’t answer I banged louder and waited. Eventually she opened up. Just me, hi. Can I bring Debbie to see your kittens?

She couldn’t have been nicer after that and was very sweet even leaving the door open when I returned with  Debbie.

That was a wake up call.

Today I was driving home from work. The car in front of me took a turn way too fast and swerved in to oncoming traffic. He over-corrected back into his lane and jumped the curb over the sidewalk and straight thru a 6 foot fence hitting several trees planted along the fence! Loud crash! I jumped out of my car and yanked open the driver’s door. The driver was trying to unbuckle an elderly man in the passenger seat. They were both coughing and disoriented from the crash and the fumes from the airbag deployment. The front of the car was pushed towards the front seat and although the men weren’t crushed the elderly one was stuck with the dashboard near his chest.

The younger man got out of the car and I got in. I took the elderly man’s hand.

Hello my name is gmom and help is almost here. I’m going to stay with you until they get here. Are you okay sir? Are you in any pain? What’s your name?

“Joe” he said “I can’t get out.”

That’s right you can’t. But you will soon. You are doing fine Joe.

“No, I can’t get out”  He waves a hand towards his wet pants. Got it.

Oh that’s perfectly normal sir, happens all the time. Don’t you worry.

The firemen pulled the car out of the tangle of the trees and fence freeing up the passenger side. An EMT was at the driver’s door with a neck brace.

I’m going now Joe, this nice EMT is going to take good care of you. Now you take care! I scooted out of the car.

  I walked past several police cars and firetrucks and equipment on the ground. At first I couldn’t even see where I left my van. An EMT started to guide me to an ambulance.

I wasn’t in the accident. I was keeping the old man company until you got here.

“Oh, okay” They opened up a space and let me pull my van out.

When I got home I remembered the small kindness that a stranger had done for me earlier that very day.

Because of that small kindness,

I answered the phone for someone who needed to vent.

I showed up for a friend in need, who just needed a few minutes of normal.

And I sat in a smoking wreck with an elderly stranger and held his hand.

I wanted to be,

if only for today,

the perfect stranger.

This is gmom,

peace out.

Pain Management:T.E.N.S. Works!

One of the reasons I get up every morning.

Two years ago I was mugged.

Not a long story.

Wrong place wrong time, for me.

Luckily I walked away intact.

But there was a lingering pain in my lower back.

I went to my primary physician, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist.

When that didn’t work…

I went to a back specialist and took pain drugs and saw a Physical Therapist.

I let the back specialist give me cortisone injections in my spine and then do a Radio-frequency burn on my spinal nerves.

(Not as much fun as going to the beach.)

I wondered if I would ever be pain-free again.

The short answer if you want to stop reading  is no.

I have not gone a day without back pain since that attack.

But I have found a great reduction from the pain I feel with my handy-dandy T.E.N.S. unit.

That’s Transcutaneous- Electrical- Nerve- Stimulation.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS or TeNS) is the application of electrical current through the skin for pain control. The unit is usually connected to the skin using two or more electrodes.

If you have ever received physical therapy then you have most likely experienced a T.E.N.S. Treatment.

Sticky pads or electrodes are put on the painful area and the technician has the patient relax while the electricity passes through the electrodes to the area interrupting nerve impulses.

Short answer, again. pain reduction.

If the pain is in your forearm from carpal tunnel or peripheral neuropathy, you would place the electrodes on the forearm.

In the UK. T.E.N.S. units that are portable by the patients are very common.

In the United States it’s still considered “experimental” and sometimes (re:often) insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a T.E.N.S. unit.

If you don’t ask you don’t get.

Luckily I knew about portable patient carried T.E.N.S. units so asked my back specialist for a prescription for one.

The company that sold me my T.E.N.S. portable unit first quoted me $800!

When I told them I couldn’t afford that  they immediately dropped that to $350.

Thinking I had a bargain I bought it.

My son “The Chef, bought one from Amazon for under $50.

Live and learn.

You can use the T.E.N.S. throughout the day or night or until the battery runs out.

Mine uses 3 double AA batteries that will last for 12 hours before I need to change them.

Different units use different batteries.

The more you use it the better the pain control.

You keep it operating while going to work or running your everyday business.

Unlike the Physical Therapist that runs it for 10 minutes and turns it off.

Before I had my portable unit I wasn’t going to work!

You hide the electrodes under you clothing so no one knows you are receiving treatment but you!

After you have used the unit a while your tolerance will build up and you will be turning up the nerve stimulation impulses to levels that initially would have been uncomfortable.

This is normal.

The area may even have some superficial numbness after a while.

This is also normal.

This is usually when the pain relief is at its most effective.

I love it when the pain is well under control and the area is fairly numb!


I am demonstrating how to hide the electrodes under clothing and the unit which is no bigger then a cell phone attached to your belt or waistband!

I attach the unit to my waistband and tuck the cords or leads into my clothes and off to work I go!

No more painful procedures or injections in my back or strong drugs to take which make me drowsy throughout the day.

I have better things to do then sit at home in pain.

In the pictures I have the electrodes on my arm.

This is just to show you the parts of the units.

When I am really using my T.E.N.S. the electrodes are on my lower back not on my arm!

I love my T.E.N.S.!

It’s let me live my life again!

Cause you know gmom…

I have places to go… and people to see.  Like This one here!

This is not meant to be medical advice.

You should always ask your own health care provider before starting any alternative medical treatment.

If you have a medical implant such as a pace-maker a T.E.N.S. unit may be contraindicated so please seek medical advise before using one.

Be safe and pain-free.

This is gmom,

peace out.

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