Happy Turkey Day!

Hello Folks! I trust you are doing well in your part of the world. Here in North Texas, it’s Thanksgiving Day. I’m not so certain in these times we are in with giving ‘absolutes’ on any information especially now that we have a couple of states banning the Holiday or limiting the number of family members you can have over at your Grandma’s house, which I think is absurd but another story for another day.

I woke up this morning to the news that Diego Maradona has passed on and it was a shocker. Now, for some of the younger millennials or Generation Z folks who may not be familiar with this guy, He was like the Michael Jackson of soccer. He was phenomenal on the field. Once he got the ball, the opposing teams could literally see their courage leave the stadium, go back to their hotels, pack their bags and head to the airport because it was GAME OVER – that was how amazing he was. But like all great talents, it almost seems like their demons are more fierce (for lack of a better word). All in all, he made his mark in the world. He put Argentina on the map and he will be missed. May his soul find peace and his family comforted.

The weather was bright with a tolerable hue of sunshine. We had a soft breeze that wasn’t typical for this time of year but it was awesome and I had a great time. Thanksgiving this year was great but … different. We all know 2020 started off right until it got ‘jacked up’ by COVID and just when we were just about getting our lives back to normal, then we got on the political impeachment, then the second term election trail which, hard as many of us tried to stay out of it, could not because the craziness hit an all time high. At this point, I kinda want my money back, and I mean for the first 6 months of the year LOL…as if we, the mere mortals that we are can ask anything of the creator. But hey! On a lighter note, we have so much to be thankful for; because if you are reading this post, you are still here. And that is more than enough.

I don’t know about you but I see a trend over the past couple of years especially with the holidays and if you are seeing what I’m seeing, then you know what I’m talking about because you see it too. Less and less people are cooking meals these days and instead opting for meal pick-up services, curb side deliveries or even getting a chef to cook in their homes while they channel all the energy that it would have taken to cook the meals to actually relaxing, spending time with family, friends and loved ones. If you ask me, that makes a lot of sense and is justifiable on all counts BUT there is such a thing as a home cooked meal, a meal made with love, care and patience that trumps restaurant or ”assembly-line’ delivered food. But at the end of the day, everyone is not going to be a Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart and for some that is ok. Friends, today is the day to sit back, throw off all diets, all food trackers and treat yourself.

It’s been a very different year than what we have ever experienced but we are still here and it’s worth being thankful for. Hug your loved ones. Do something nice for your friends and or co-workers. I’m just a little intrigued as to whether there will be any social distancing for the Black Friday shoppers this year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Be safe, have fun and until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Results (Ahem)…Pie’s Are In!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? It feels like autumn already in North Texas and the time has come to change out Summer wear for Winter gear. It’s also officially baking season and I am so excited to dust off my baking pans and try my hands at baking something new. I had to get a solid pie dish as my old one had rusted all the way to Pennsylvania and back LOL…but with COVID still on the loose, I’m not about to add tetanus to the list of contagious ailments. Anyways, we are counting down to the elections. I am over it and just want to wake up to see that the nightmare is over already but, we still have a couple more hours to go. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket but still, we can be calm and relaxed, and bake some delicious piles instead of pulling out our hairs or biting our nails…haha!

Being a transplant from Ohio, I have to admit that when I first got here, there were a whole lot of things I found different. Texas is a meat and potato country of its own. Taco shops are literally on every corner here and the culture has a little bit of everything… in the right proportions. The Midwest on the other hand is what I love to call pie country. We have pies at every big event whether its a dinner, potluck or party – there has to be pie. When it comes to pies, there are two options (in my book) of it being a sweet or savory pie. Fruit pies tend to be on the sweet side while pies with meat or veggies tend to be savory. Today, yours truly will be making a savory double-crust meat pie and I’m going to do my best to make it as healthy as I possibly can. I learned that when baking pies, you can have whatever filling you want, what matters most is the crust. I’m linking a video on how to make the perfect crust down below so if you (like me) are a newbie to pie making, please check out this link. It’s awesome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_3lBUMCRiA Disclaimer: As a renowned pie lover and taste tester, I will be trying this recipe and giving you my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. So stay with me.

A Savory Meat Pie Dish!

Pie Filling Ingredients: Ground beef, white potatoes (optional), bell peppers, Jalapeno peppers, carrots, red onions and vegetable oil. Spices: Black pepper, Paprika, Turmeric, salt, powdered ginger, pepper flakes.

All you need to do is start by heating up a pan, wok or pot with cooking oil. Stir in the onions and black pepper and let it cook. Pour in the ground beef and stir until the meat changes from pink to brown. Then, add the rest of your spices and keep stirring. Add the carrots, and the other veggies and cook till soft.

Pie Crust Ingredients: 1 1/2 Cups of Flour, 8 Tbsp. of Butter, 1/4 Tsp. of Salt, 1 Tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 Tbsp. of Iced Cold Water. Tools: Mixing bowl, rolling pin, measuring cups and spoons, saran wrap and pie baking pan.

Steps To Make The Crust: Add the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and mix. If you’re using a food processor, pulse until fat is cut uniformly into flour in small pieces. Then add water and apple cider vinegar. If dough is too dry, add a tad bit more.

Divide the dough into 1/3 portion for the top crust and 2/3 portion for the bottom crust. Place the doughs in a 2-3 gallon sized sealable freezer bag or saran wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Bring the dough out and gently pound and roll out both crusts. Spray the pan and gently transfer the bottom crust to the pie pan with a 1/4″ extending out over the edge. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and it’s ready for the filling. Roll out the top crust, place on parchment paper and cover with saran wrap before placing in the refrigerator. This will be placed on top after adding the filling. Using a basting brush, add egg or milk, or any top coating of choice to the top of the crust before baking.

Bake at 325 oF.

My Thoughts On the Results

The crust turned out a bit dry, so if or when I try to bake another pie someday, I plan on adding a little bit more water and roll out the dough thinner than I had done. I will also add more salt to the crust. I baked the pie a tad bit too long so next time, I would keep in mind to check it every 15 mins to make sure it doesn’t burn. The filling was excellent! I wouldn’t change a thing.

So folks, be safe, keep your eyes on the news and be aware of what’s going on in your environment. Sit back, relax and be calm. Everything will work out as it should. Until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Chasing The Last Rays of Sunshine on Lake Grapevine (Rockledge Park).

Hello Y’all! Happy New Month. Its October! Can you believe it? I was listening to the radio this week on my drive and this call-in talk show that I like to listen to was on. A couple of the listeners said they have decided to put up their Christmas decorations this month because they are done with 2020, and just want it to be over already. But can you blame them? In all honesty, this year has had its moments and I don’t begrudge people on their own methods of dealing with it. But it was hilarious.

Summer is over and here we are, chasing the last few rays of warmth and sunshine before the downhill slide into winter in North Texas. But it’s been a while since I went kayaking. I remember my first post on my experience when i first tried out the sport (https://myeamba.com/2017/09/10/kayaking-on-lake-grapevine/) which was awesome but I didn’t follow through with it. So the plan was to get back into it and a couple of us were looking forward to going back out on the water, getting some sun, fresh air and exercise – you know, those muscles you don’t remember that exist until you do something extremely strenuous on a weekend.

Some History On Lake Grapevine.

It is a man-made lake that was created when Denton Creek was dammed way back in the 1950’s. It’s located within north Texas region – northeast of Dallas and Fort Worth, The lake serves as a reservoir and also provides an open space for recreational activities. Rockledge Park provides access to the lake and mans the upkeep and maintenance of the lake.

We all arrived at the Park, the temperature was 52 oF and it sure was windy. The currents were higher than normal – meaning we were going to have to work harder than we normally would to get around the lake. Besides, there was only one (2-man sit-in) kayak out on the lake this morning and as athletic as those guys looked, we could tell that they were having a hard time going against the current or even getting away from the shoreline. Still, it was a beautiful morning and even though we finally decided against kayaking, the park provides about 20 miles of trails to either walk, bike or hike with picnic areas so hiking it ended up being plus we could get some steps in for the day. Here are a few photos of the lake front and its scenic and peaceful beauty.

Folks, winter is upon us and even though we have been quarantined for most of the year (thanks to COVID-19), it’s time to enjoy the remaining warm days we have left before we self-quarantine again for winter. So do your best to get out and enjoy what’s left of the outdoors, there are lots of options for outdoor activities. Remember to be safe, practice social distancing the best way you can and be healthy and positive. Until I come your way again. Bye for now!!!

Periwinkle Starr

A Food Lovers Paradise!!

The ultimate goal of any food lover is to be able to enjoy the foods we love, not compromise on taste and not gain weight. A Perfect World right? These are three things that are almost impossible to attain because the mantra we’ve all heard is “whatever taste good is probably bad for you…and may cause damage to your body or even shorten your life span”. Disclaimer!!! This post is based on my experience with diets over the years and the things I learned along the way. I am not a medical professional by any long shot but I’m here to give you my experience from an avid dieters perspective so stay with me.

Now, any food lover knows that weight gain is almost inevitable without the aide of exercise, cosmetic procedures, stimulants, food deprivation or weight loss supplements, especially as we get older. Your energy levels reduce, your metabolism slows down and all the signs of aging start to pop up. You notice that your are eating probably the same portions of food but you start packing on weight and don’t know why. There are a couple of people who are blessed with not being able to put on weight no matter what they eat and we envy your metabolism – so you might as well log off now because this post is not for you (just kidding)!

The rule is – There are no rules when it comes to weight loss!

Sorry, I just busted someone’s bubble. This is the reason why some get surgery thinking its going to be the end-all-be-all fix and before you know it they’ve doubled in size – even worse off than before they began their weight loss journey. Lets not even get started on the diet pills and supplements – some of which do work only for as long as you take them, or in other cases may have side effects that have not undergone approved testing. I find that the same way you fool kids into eating their veggies is the same way you can trick your body into not gaining weight by swapping a few ingredients without compromising on taste. Having health conditions like thyroid issues and other underlying ailments might be a reason why diets may not work for some but I believe that all diets should be tailor fitted to a persons body type, specific to their metabolism and guaranteed to work specifically for them. Here are a few things I realized over the years…

Every persons body is unique including the way we burn calories and our bodies reaction to certain food groups. I follow a lot of food bloggers and one of them (Plantiful KiKi) adopts a high carb diet and is as slender as a stick. I tried the exact same diet and gained 6ibs in a week. She later provided a disclaimer several videos later that she is of Mayan descent – and guess what the Mayans ate? GRAINS! Well, my weight loss diet was trashed plus I just added six extra pounds of weight I had to loose.

Eating food in its natural form will help you loose weight…FASTER. I know, late night frozen dinners and Pizza deliveries have saved lives in more ways than we can be thankful for but if you want to loose weight fast, you will need to cut back or cut out processed food and eat fresh. Opt for zero calorie sodas instead or regular soda. I guarantee you, the scale will be kinder when you step on it and yes, you can thank me later.

Food portions matter. Diets always limit what you can and cannot have but that just deprives the dieter until they can’t take it anymore and find themselves gorging insane amounts of food with promises to restart the diet the next day. Or waking up and finding yourself on the pantry floor and not knowing how you got there LOL. Trust me, we’ve all been there and done that or similar. The key is to eat whatever you want but in controlled amounts while bulking up your servings with veggies so you stay fuller longer.

Replace sweet and salty snacks with fruit and veggies. This will literally be painful on your taste buds the first week but by week two, your body will begin to adjust if you stick with it. Instead of buying a tub of your favorite ice cream, swap that out by making your own blend of frozen dessert while keeping portion control in mind as you go. To feed your sweet tooth, make your own granola or bake your own cookies or cake from recipes that are low in calories.

Exercise for an hour EVERYDAY. It doesn’t matter if it’s Zumba, running, dancing, walking, swimming laps, going to the gym or jogging on the spot. When you get into a rhythm of working out, it will be easier for your body to burn the fat instead of letting it sit overtime, making it more difficult to get rid of.

Stay hydrated with water, teas and homemade fruit juices and drinks. You can make your own juices, smoothies, etc. A lot of processed drinks have high sugar or sodium contents along with only God knows what. Make yours and sweeten with honey, maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.

Cut back on fast food or figure out a way to substitute certain items for healthier alternatives. I’m sorry but I had to go there. I love me a juicy burger and hot salty fries any day but that didn’t help my weight or my health. You can swap out the bun on your burger for a lettuce wrap. Instead of getting salty fries, you can get an unsalted, kid size portion or better still bake or air fry your own. I recently came across a story where some lady found a happy meal – burger and fries, that were 24 years old and surprisingly, did not disintegrate. It looked like a week old meal…that should tell you something.

Get enough sleep. Need I say more.

Folks, weight loss is such a passion for me because I have struggled with weight all my life. I believe that the solution does not always have to be life threatening or insanely expensive. The benefits of getting your weight under control far out weigh the temporary discomfort of not giving in to cravings. When your body is healthy, you feel and look better, your confidence increases and you are in a better position to improve your life. Let me know what your thoughts are on these pointers. Until I come your way again, be happy. healthy and upbeat!

Periwinkle Starr

Light At The End Of This Tunnel!





Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well where ever you are in your part of the world. Its almost Fall but still officially Summer here in North Texas, with temperatures in the 100’s. Now with all that’s going on, there seems to be more pressing things to focus on than the weather these days. The ripple effect of the epidemic has reached proportions that were not envisioned at the onset. But with everything that has gone on, instead of focusing on the negative things happening, the key to keeping your head up is to be positive.

There have been massive foreclosures and movement of people out of their homes and apartments in the metroplex. Massive job layoffs due to the slowed economy have put families in need of basic necessities. With the loss of work has come the loss of healthcare which is very vital for which the absence of will negate a person to the tax penalty the following year. Seeing tow trucks repo nice and exotic cars in the city has become the norm these days. The toll on parents due to having their little kids cooped up in the house for so many months has not been easy either. I feel like all parents deserve an award for surviving 2020.

But the truth is that life is not all roses folks. It has it’s ups and it’s downs and the only way we are going to make it through to the other side is to be flexible enough to roll with the punches. We have no control over ANYTHING that life throws our way, but we have control over our reaction to what life throws our way.

Lessons Learned From COVID-19

Save. Save. Save. Always keep in mind that there will always be lean times and we need to plan ahead for unforeseen circumstances.

Getting rid of the ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians Joneses Manual or Mentality’ we have subconsciously been handed all our lives. Have the courage to live within your means and not give a rats behind what people think. It’s better to have a lot and live a decent yet simple life, than to have nothing and look like a million bucks.

Keeping up with your health and fitness regimen. This includes exercise, cleaning up your diet and having a positive mindset. When the lockdown first began, a group of friends and I decided to start doing Zumba for an hour, five days a week. The results are AMAZING because while folks were complaining of gaining weight and becoming joined at the hip to the refrigerator, we got our bodies in shape and lost weight. It’s so sad that although some refer to the virus as a glorified flu to some, it’s been a killer for others due to health issues, some within their control and others that weren’t. The goal is just to do your best with your health…periodt.

Stay in touch and in close contact with family and friends. Meeting up for walks, outdoor games and activities while social distancing or choosing patio dining at restaurants will keep you in touch but also safe from being exposed to the virus.

Take your mind off of the news. Now this does not imply burying ones head in the sand by any means but try not to feed your mind with the negativity that comes on daily. I just need the highlights please.

Stay positive and upbeat no matter what. A friend of mine recommended writhing a thankful list, either the first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. That kind of narrows down your focus from the worldwide happenings to your neck of the woods or personal life. I believe this is an awesome thing to do especially with the fact that statistics show that drinking is up, with suicide rates and drug overdoses climbing since the pandemic began.

Believing in a higher power other than yourself helps. For most, it’s God, but for others its something else. I feel like that takes some of the pressure off without negating the fact that we have an active part to play in our outcomes in life. Balance is the key my friends.

Take care of yourself. As simple as this sounds, a lot of people aren’t doing this and It makes a whole lot of difference. Cut, brush or braid your hair, wear make up, shave, get your nails done, every now and then, wear your heels just so you don’t forget how to walk in them …Ha Ha! This may look trivial but it shows that you matter to yourself despite all the craziness going on.

If anyone told me at the beginning of this year that we would be in the situation we are in right now, I would have told them to shut the front door but its here and we have already survived the first half of it. No matter what is going on personally or in the world around you, remember that if you stay flexible, upbeat and focused, there’s light at the end of this tunnel. Until I come your way again, stay cool!

Periwinkle Starr

Times Are Changing.

Hello Y’all! I Hope you are doing well in your part of the world. It’s been a minute since my last post and here we are at the end of July; thanks to corona, the past months have been a blur. Summer is almost over and adapting to this new normal is all we can do besides not catching this darned virus. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’d remember that I did a post on Hillary Clinton a couple years ago; and as much as my blog is not political, I believe it’s only fair that I do one on President Trump as well.

One of the things I have come to understand about politics and the rule of democracy is that when dealing with human beings, there are no hard and fast rules. People are not sheep and the popular slogan of ‘one size fits all’ does not always apply. So, what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. In the past couple of months, it’s been wild with everything from power play, political sabotage, racial injustice, to mass censoring. It literally feels like a movie unfolding before our very eyes. Its like being a spectator at a game of chess, and observing the moves made by the players.

Speaking on the parties we currently have, there are those people who are either for or against one side or the other and literally demand that we pick a side as if that will bring a solution to the issues we are facing as a nation today. I personally believe that there is no such thing as an absolute ‘good’ or absolutely ‘bad’ party because upon analyzing both options, there are certainly things that are favorable to all people within each group. But when I look at the foundation, what they stand for, the track records and I weigh those things against my conscience and the moral standard of what is acceptable in the light of our humanity, one side definitely outweighs the other in being a better pick. The older I have grown, I have developed a keen eye to observe and an ear to listen – not just to what is being said but the motives behind it, the actions that preceded before and what is being displayed or shown in the present. I have come to the realize that I would rather have truth screamed at me that the soft sweet words of a venomous snake as it slowly circles and strangles me while keeping me calm and at ease. Here are some of the things that I have noticed in our culture today that is slowly becoming our new normal.

The Cancel Culture: It’s like people have finally had time to dig up dirt on celebrities and public figures mainly because they are soft targets, and bringing a lot of things to light. I’m neither for or against these happenings but I do believe that Karma is a b***h and whatever is done in the dark will one day come to light. But still, it’s a painful thing to watch.

Massive Censorship: First and foremost, we have human rights and one of them is the right to freedom of speech or expression. People can’t even laugh or be comedic anymore because a large majority of people have become snowflakes and can’t take simple humor. I am waiting for the day that I get up in the morning and look on social media without seeing anyone apologizing for only god knows what. Anyway, here’s a link to get yourself up to speed on what your Human Rights are…and if you ‘really’ have them. http://www.youthforhumanrights.com

The Rise in Racial Discrimination: Shying away from the reality of racial discrimination is like have a rotting wound that’s oozing out puss but covered with the finest cashmere throw on. It still stinks and the only way to fix it is to uncover it and treat the wound head on. This seems easier said than done but kicking the can down the road has not gotten us anywhere, so why not just start now.

Attack on Religious Freedoms: I have noticed that over the past two to three years, there have been a rise in the number of cases going all the way to the Supreme Court due to attacks on Christians in the work place. This was not always the case in the past but thankfully there are law firms dedicated to the sole purpose of defending peoples religious rights and freedoms most especially in the work place.

The Power of the Camera: We live in a time where we are seeing ‘instant karma’ because someone had a camera in the moment and was able to report an incident with proof. Shakira once said ‘My hips don’t lie’, well the videos don’t lie so people need to be on their best behavior at ALL times because it’s not worth loosing your job or career over just because you were caught behaving badly…in public. I believe this is a heart issue. If you are a good human being with integrity, you won’t need to pretend

So….What Now?

A lot of things have happened since the pandemic, so much so that when I think of the months to come, I’m not so certain on what to expect. Folks have gone back to stocking up on food, piling up ammunition for only God knows what, and buying up survival kits plus catching up on episodes of Mountain Men, Alone and all those survivalist shows that depict people living off the grid in the woods some where. Or the other extreme where people are trying to hold unto life as they knew it aka choosing to be sitting ducks by not watching the news and hiding their head in the sand and refusing to accept that the country is changing and may never be what they knew it to be. I don’t have the answers folks but I’ll keep my eyes peeled and do my best to be upbeat. Feel free to share your thoughts, views and comments. Don’t forget to like and follow for more great content. Until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

A Blessing In Disguise?

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? It’s been a trying couple of months, but we are going to find a way to be all right and make it work – whatever it takes. The year 2020 has been interesting to say the very least. With the COVID-19 pandemic and being forced to stay home with limited movement for the first couple of months, a lot of us had to get used to this ‘new normal’ in order to make it through. I found myself dusting off my old recipes including my Great British Bake Off cook book and looking up recipes and YouTube videos to create some variety in meal prepping. Don’t get me wrong, trying out new recipes whenever I get a chance to do so is something I have always done but this time, I had more time on my hands, so I decided to dig a little deeper. Since we couldn’t go out, I could feed my eyes by watching food and travel blogs including my all time favorites which are Mark Wiens and High Carb Hannah.

A Health Reset!

In my attempts to find healthy and quick recipes online, I stumbled on several bloggers who figured out a way to reset their bodies, loose weight, repair their health, and turn their lives around just by making tweaks starting with their food intake and an upgrade to their exercise routines. All these amazing feats they did without surgery, expensive treatments or anything weird. Before I dive into the information gleaned from these individuals along with the tweaks I incorporated into my daily routine, I’m making a quick disclaimer that ‘I am not a certified nutritionist or a medical practitioner’, so please check with your primary care physician before incorporating any of these tweaks into your lifestyle. As I started with tiny tweaks here and there, before you know it, I began loosing a few pounds. My love handles (and yes, I said ‘love handles’ LOL) started disappearing. I also noticed I wasn’t as out of breath when I got to the top of the stairs as I usually did and my mind became clearer and my thoughts fog-free. What I am sharing below are some of the things I did to get me to where I’m at today. Should you choose to embark on this journey with me, please feel free to share your process and what worked for you. Here it goes!

*I got myself a smart scale. One that not only gives you your weight in pounds or kilograms but also gives you your BMI, water weight, fat, muscle mass and required caloric intake. With that info in hand, you can track your progress as you go along.

*I did a 3-day colon cleanse. There are so many out there. Opt for the safest, most natural and verified solution that fits your body type.

*I slowly cut down and cut back on artificial sweets (chocolate, ice cream, gelati) and slowly began to replace these sweets with fruit. So when I would get cravings, instead of reaching for a Snicker or Kit Kat mini, I would have a pear, guava, peach or any fruit on hand. It’s Summer y’all, you have multiple options right about now.

*Choosing zero calorie soda over regular soda and choosing natural fruit juices with little or no added sugar.

*I started making a conscious effort to ‘eat the rainbow’ or parts of it at every meal.

*I cut back on cooking oils. Not until very recently did I realize that cooking oils contain an insane amount of calories even when used in small quantities. So I cut back on how much oil I slathered on and in my food especially when prepping.

*I began looking for healthy alternative ingredients to my favorite recipes. I love making pancakes from scratch (not out of a box), and so instead of using flour, I have incorporated oat flour instead and use a little bit of white flour as a binder. Its a much more healthy option and has a lower caloric value.

*Incorporating an hour of exercise into my routine for a minimum of 5-7 days a week. Track your steps, do Zumba, HIIT, take walks, swim.

I tend to be a ‘late night snacker’ but after a couple of weeks incorporating these changes, my night cravings reduced considerately and right now, I’m at a point where, I seldom snack as much at night like I used to and I am looking forward to a time where I don’t need to snack at all. Folks, 2020 has been rough to say the least but we have to be able to count our blessings and be optimistic for our future because that’s the only way we are going to come out on top on the other side. I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day celebration and got to enjoy the fireworks amid the ongoing social distancing enforced in Texas since we got the spike in new COVID-19 cases. Be safe, healthy and upbeat until I come your way again! I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Cash In The Attic?!

CITAPERIWINKLESTARR

Hello Y’all and Happy New Month! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. It’s June already and I can’t believe it. This year has been interesting to say the least but just like the Timex wrist watch commercial, we have learned to ‘take a lickin and keep on tickin’. That’s about all we can do right now. The weather in North Texas is surprisingly cooler than the heat we are used to at this time of year but again, not many people have been on the road, pumping CO2 (among other things) into the atmosphere via fumes.

Quarantine has made us become more acquainted with our living spaces than we have ever been before corona hit. I will admit that I was more of a visitor in my own space, barely around during the week abnd home only on some weekends – and I was either out and about or getting stuff done and was never really there.  So I finally had time to look closely at what I was working with…ha ha!

 And then, it happened…

I was surfing channels one day, when I stumbled upon the show ‘Hoarding, Buried Alive’. It had been a while since I had watched an episode so it was a good distraction. As the name entails, the documentary shows the lives of people who have been overtaken with saving and keeping things for ‘future’ use that really never get used – if that makes any sense. Before you know it, I had watched three episodes back to back. I was appalled, shocked, and glued to the TV all at the same time. I realized something towards the end of the third episode that apart from a minute number of people that have mental issues, the majority of people don’t go to bed one day and while tucking themselves in, say out loud, ‘when I wake up tomorrow, I want to be a hoarder’. It often starts when something either tragic, traumatic or shocking happens in their lives, that is not addressed or dealt with and slowly, they start stacking up stuff.  The usual phrase I kept hearing was ‘I might use that someday, or this may come in handy, or we can put this to some use’. And before you know it, the home gets filled with stuff, in some cases to the ceiling with footpaths as the only means to get around or in most cases some spaces within the dwelling were deemed inaccessible. There were all kinds of animals, rodents, dead animal carcasses, and fecal matter all around – it was disgusting to watch. The aim of the show is to then have an intervention of sorts with the individual and then enlist the help of a clean up crew to clear out the home.

No One Is Perfect.

Those people could be us, our parents or our friends. I can assure you that the average person knows at least two people in their lives with hoarding tendencies.  They may not be so far gone to make it on to the show but the tell tale signs are already there. I kid you not, the very day after watching that show, I started reorganizing, I started sorting through things that I hadn’t looked at in years in an attempt to declutter my space.  Here are a few tips to having cash in your attic instead of clutter. So stay with me.

♦  Do your best to make peace with your life’s circumstance the best you can. Get     counselling, forgive, meditate, go to therapy…do something!

♦  Develop a waste not want not approach to life. This proverb means if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need. So instead of hoarding items for an apocalypse that hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen, take what you need and some,  not E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G in the store.

♦  Sort through your stuff and make a list, grouping your items into categories and how you intend disposing off of them.  There’s covid-19 going around now, so yard sales are a big no no.

♦  Become an online retailer and make some money off the stuff that you don’t need, don’t use and probably stuff that’s just sitting there and taking up real estate in your home.

♦  Donate what you can’t sell to your local community store. Someone less fortunate will be able to put it to good use.  If they are hoarders themselves looking for a steal, at least it’s off your hands and no longer your problem.

I believe the state of a persons personal space to some extent paints a picture of the state of their mind and gives you a view of who they are. We deserve to give ourselves the decency (in the way we live) that our humanity deserves. No one should exist in such deplorable conditions but still, it happens but I believe we can avoid ending up like that. So until I come your way again, I want you to try my 5-step plan and let me know how it goes. Do like, comment and follow my blog and be safe out there!

Periwinkle Starr♥

We’re On A Roll!….A Bread Roll.

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Hello Y’all! I hope your are healthy and doing well in your part of the world during this shelter in place ordinance aka ‘trapped at home’ restriction.  The weather is so beautiful in North Texas right about now, it’s such a shame that we can’t be out and about and enjoying life as we know it because of this darned virus.  So far, most of us have settled into a daily routine and  are finding new ways to occupy ourselves as we ‘patiently’ await the end of the lockdown and hopefully a possible cure. I have to say that those of us whining about being bored at home and restricted should really be thankful that we are healthy and not infected; because from all the horror stories I’ve heard of people who have either gotten sick, to what they endured or the hospital conditions is enough to keep anyone traumatized for life.

I remember when the quarantine first began, aside from the concern and fear we had, a lot of folks were somewhat relieved to catch a break from the daily hustle and bustle. There were so many things to take care of that it wasn’t too bad or as boring…AT FIRST. But by the end of the first month, literally everything became a slow lull. It has  been documented that the consumption of alcohol has skyrocketed, online shopping is through the roof, and binge eating is at an all time high.  A friend of mine was telling me that they actually counted the number of times they opened the refrigerator for snacks in a day and it was unbelievable; so much that we vowed to not to be the size of whales when this was all over and started working out together…virtually. But I get it, there literally isn’t much to do that we have to be intentional about everything on a daily basis like working out, waking up on time, getting some sun, eating healthy-er, minimizing alcohol consumption etc…or else, it will be a Whale-Fest when we get back out there. And yes, I invented the word. It literally means ‘a person looks the size of a whale’. LOL!

Anyways, after my last post, I received quite a few requests on what my next bread recipe was going to be.  I wasn’t planning on going in that direction but it didn’t hurt. So I decided to try my hands at a different bread recipe famously known as Soda Bread. The fun thing about this blog is the fact that I’m not a professional baker neither I’m I Cordon Bleu by any long shot. Just a fun gal who is willing to try her hands at baking, so be rest assured, there isn’t going to be any judgement here. This recipe is so simple and the ingredients may already be laying around your pantry. So here it goes!

Making Soda Bread!

Ingredients: 3 Cups of Flour, ²/3 Cup of Sugar, 3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 Cup of Raisins, 2 Large Eggs (beaten) or Egg Substitute, 1-½ Cups of Buttermilk, and 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil.

Directions: Preheat your oven to a temperature ranging between 325 – 350º F ♠ Bring out your baking utensils – I dislike reaching or searching for things when I’m partially covered in flour. ♠ In a missing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. ♠ Stir in raisins. ♠ Set aside a tablespoon of beaten egg in a bowl – to be used for basting. ♠ In a bowl, combine buttermilk, oil and remaining beat eggs. ♠ Stir in the flour and mix until sticky. ♠ Transfer into a greased, round 9-inch baking pan. ♠ Brush the top with the remaining egg that had been set aside. ♠ Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. ♠ Cool for 10 minutes before transferring the cake to a wire rack. ♠ Cut into wedges and serve.

By now, it seems like everyone inclding yours truly has either exhausted their to-do list of things ‘to do’ or you just don’t want to do anything exerting, you can write a daily thankful list, and read it out loud at the end of each day.  Another thing we can all do is include a forgiveness list. With the lockdown, a lot of things and issues that we may not have dealt with or we may just have pushed to the background and overlaid with ‘activities can now come to light. This is the time to unravel, acknowledge and forgive…or at least do something about it. Trust me, your heart will feel lighter afterwards. Now if you are a saint, it just means that you’re either dead or in an isolated monastery located on some mountain somewhere, so these don’t apply to you. Folks, it’s been great. Thank you for sticking with me till the end. Please take care of yourselves, stay healthy and happy and remember to like, comment and follow. Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr♥

 

 

 

 

Quarantine? Lets Re-Learn The Art Of Baking Bread!

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Hello Y ‘all! Its my hope that you are doing well in your part of the world, practicing social distancing and staying home? We are going on our third week of the Covid-19 induced lockdown and it’s become my new normal in a weird kind of way. Limiting my time outdoors as much as possible is the best way to reduce the chances of exposure to the virus. My heart goes out to those who have lost family members and loved ones and to those fighting the disease right this moment.  Through this trying time, I am doing my best to stay healthy, remain productive and still find some semblance of a lifestyle while remaining positive and its been tough.

When the outbreak hit the shores of the United States, it was no longer a problem within ‘those’ countries. S**t got real, if you will excuse my French. The store shelves were wiped clean in a matter of 24 hours. I was one of the late shoppers and by the time I got to the grocery store, there was literally nothing worth buying. There was no bread. No milk. No meat. NO NOTHING! So, I have decided to go back to the basics and brush up on a few skills, which includes re-learning the art of baking good ole homemade bread using very few items laying around in your pantry.

Lets Do This!!

Ingredients: 3 Cups of bread flour, 2 tbsp. or 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast,  ¹⁄ 3 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.

First, heat a cup of water for one minute and pour into a small bowl. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast becomes activated or foamy. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add vegetable oil and ¹/3 cup of sugar into the same bowl and mix. If you don’t like a sweet bread, you can cut back on the sugar. Add 2 cups of flour a little bit at a time (about ¹/3 at a time) and keep mixing with a spatula or spoon. Pour out the flour unto a nice dry surface that’s been dusted with flour. Knead lightly for 8 minutes. Using the same large bowl, add a tables spoon of oil to coat the bowl, and place the dough in it.  Cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rise for 2 hours until it doubles in size. P.S.: Notice, I’m using the third cup of flour to knead the dough. Setting a timer helps.

Take the dough out, roll and stretch it some more into the shape of a loaf. Take your 9″ x 5″ bread pan and place the dough in the pan.  Cover with a slightly damp napkin for about another 1.5 hours. Afterwards, remove the napkin. Depending on the size of the dough or pan, you should notice its risen about an inch or more above the pan, and now its ready to bake.  Heat your oven to about 325-350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. If you have an oven that doesn’t  heed to basic direction, you might want to start at a lower temperature…just saying.  When the top is golden brown, remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. Scroll down to see the finished product. Its ready!!!!

 

Helpful Tips During The Quarantine!!

♥Finish uncompleted projects around the house. Sort through your closet. Organize your shoes. Write a list of all the kitchen utensils you need…I’m already making a list to get me some solid mixing bowls 🙂

♥Reignite your artsy side. My goal is to finish the blanket I have been croqueting for longer than I’m going to admit on here…he he!!

♥Write a thankful list E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y. Life is so precious. People are dying, all alone and at a speed that is unprecedented because the virus is ravaging the body so fast, people are literally disappearing like mist. No preparation. No goodbyes. NO NOTHING! 

♥Keep up your fitness regimen. A lot of people including yours truly are exercising via zoom and other apps which help boost morale and keep your body active despite being confined.

♥Take your vitamins DAILY, whether you feel like it or not. This includes Vitamin C and D especially now that you’re not out and about or in the sun as much.

♥Rest. The news is constantly updating us on how many people have died or how many newly infected cases there are, or the problems medical officials are having on the frontlines. This is well and good to keep us informed but the rise in fear or anxiety can lead to unrest or worry for the future. Don’t let it get to you. Turn off the TV and go to bed on time. Rest easy, tomorrow will come and we will deal with it when we get there.

 

Until I come your way again, stay healthy, upbeat and remember if the rest of the populace decides to panic-buy the bread aisle at your grocery store, you can always bake your own!

 

Periwinkle Starr♥