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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Why Women Take Longer to Shop for Bathing Suits than Men Do

 

We know the average guy can be in and out of a store with a new bathing suit in less than 10 minutes, even if that store is the one at the local truck stop down the highway from your buddy’s cottage ‘cause you left your trunks at home and their neighbours shoot skinnydippers. So you’re probably wondering why women treat shopping for a swimsuit as if it were a military campaign or the latest assault on Everest, often requiring more than one excursion.

Here’s why: We have more than two styles (trunks or Speedo) to choose from. Do we want a one piece, a two piece, lots of coverage, as little coverage as we can get away with, built-in support, built-in tummy constrictor (yes, really!)…

Women’s suits don’t come in “one size fits most” with drawstring waist, so we can’t just grab a medium off the “on sale” pile. We actually have to try it on. And so often the top will fit and the bottom won’t, or vice versa. Or the cut reveals our worst features and covers up our best ones. Or the colour’s wrong, or…

We have to read the washing instructions. Not all suits are wash and wear; some are designed strictly for the beach, water will ruin them! Especially those snazzy sequined numbers.

Why go to all that trouble? ‘Cause we want to look good for you, of course! While simultaneously passing muster with our girlfriends, our mothers, our daughters….what do you mean, it’s September already?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Baked Bisquick Chocolate Waffles

 

The regular baked waffle recipe came out so well that I decided to experiment with chocolate. While this version is chocolatey, it’s not overly sweet. Of course, you can change that with toppings.

This will fill my two rectangular waffle moulds twice. So that makes 16 waffles that are 12.5 x 8 cm or roughly 5 x 3 inches. But I usually use my round moulds that give me 4 small heart-shaped waffles each and end up with 20 or so.

2 cups Bisquick
¼ cup cocoa
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
2 eggs
dash vanilla

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place waffle moulds on a cookie sheet.

Stir ingredients until blended. Pour batter into moulds just to top of the bumps. It rises quite a bit in baking and if you overfill, your waffles won’t be flat.

Bake 12 minutes. Flip waffles out of moulds and other side up onto cookie sheet. Bake an additional 5 minutes.

These freeze quite well. I find 30 seconds on high in the microwave to thaw them out before toasting them is about right.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Doing Church in COVID

 

I originally wrote this for my church’s newsletter but thought other cat slaves might enjoy it as well.

I miss physical church, the communal singing, the greetings and nods to people I know, and just the feeling of being part of a larger community. But at least one member of our family is happy about virtual church and won’t like it when we return to attending live. Meet Pipsqueak, the spoiled tabby that shares our home with us. Back before COVID, it was a standing joke between my husband and me to say to the cat on our way out the door, “Goodbye, Pipsqueak. Sorry we can’t take you to church, but you’d be too much of a disruption.”

And she would have been, too. Can you imagine a poor, unsuspecting cat from a childless household being set loose among a bunch of preschoolers? Squeals of joy would be followed by a hissy fit (that would be Pipsqueak), ending in the loud howls of the poor toddler who got scratched trying to pat the “nice kitty.” And possibly by the nearest adult as Pipsqueak climbed up them in a panic to reach safety. There’d be a lesson learned, all right, but not the one the teacher meant to cover.

After we’d retrieved her and brought her into the sanctuary with us, things wouldn’t be any better. She’d probably perch herself on my husband’s shoulders where she’d feel safer, which would draw a lot of attention. Or she’d be frightened and wriggle out of our grasp and run away to hide. Ditto. Or she’d start off across the pews, crossing everyone’s lap in turn until she found one that was congenial. Or run in front of someone and trip them as they’re going up the aisle.

But church in the living room is different. Once the laptop is up and running, I sit on the couch and my husband grabs the comfy chair (makes for a bigger lap). Pipsqueak jumps up on him and settles down, purring happily since she knows he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I would have thought the noise would bother her but as long as the worship team doesn’t play anything that sounds like ringing phones or doorbells, she naps peacefully and my husband’s legs remain unscratched from a frantic leap off his lap, claws dug in for traction.

If it’s communion Sunday, we need to bribe her to keep her away from our pieces of bread. She doesn’t understand communion, but, just like a toddler, she understands that we’re getting “snacks” and she wants her fair share. Cat treats are perfectly acceptable (better her than me). We get fed spiritually and she gets to spend time with her people. And isn’t that part of what church is about?

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Baked Bisquick Waffles

 

Several months ago we went through a period when frozen waffles – a staple in our house -were hard to find in our grocery stores. Since my baked doughnut moulds had worked so well, I decided to buy some waffle moulds to try. Yes, they’re easy to make, taste better than the plain store-bought ones (not the more expensive Belgian waffle variety) and don’t require you to own a waffle iron.

The recipe is basically the one on the Bisquick box (thanks, Betty Crocker!) with a few tweaks to make them crisper and to make the right amount of batter to fill my two rectangular waffle moulds twice. So that makes 16 waffles that are 12.5 x 8 cm or roughly 5 x 3 inches.

2 ¼ cups Bisquick
1 ½ cups milk
2 eggs
dash vanilla

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place waffle moulds on a cookie sheet.

Stir ingredients until blended. Pour batter into moulds just to top of the bumps. It rises quite a bit in baking and if you overfill, your waffles won’t be flat.

Bake 12 minutes. Flip waffles out of moulds and other side up onto cookie sheet. If you’re planning on serving them immediately, you could also throw a few strips of precooked bacon on the cookie sheet. Bake an additional 5 minutes, until golden.

These freeze quite well. I find 30 seconds on high in the microwave to thaw them out before toasting them is about right.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Cat Owner's Guide to TV

 

Our cat Pipsqueak loves watching TV. She can spend hours on her favourite seat in the back porch staring through the screen at the Big Backyard Channel. Of course, its programming is rather erratic. Sometimes there’s nothing on for hours but the station identification. Sometimes the screen shows nothing but snow. And the regular programming is frequently taken over by the Crow News Network. While the announcers sound excited, it seems to be the same old stories in rotation, a nest invasion, a knocked-over garbage can, a bun fight down at the grocery store parking lot.

The broadcast day starts with Songbird Singalong. While Pipsqueak would love to catch that live, we’re generally still in bed so she has to settle for the audio version. Rockin’ Robin Digs for the Hits comes on later but it’s shot from a distance so not that engrossing. The soap opera Squirrels of Maple Tree Place airs several times a day. I’m never sure if I should let her watch it, though, as there’s sometimes bad language.

The pirate breaking-news show Intruder Alert, which follows strange cats as they prowl through the neighbourhood, is her can’t miss. She’s evidently signed up to get messages when it’s on because she’ll leap up from a sound sleep and go trotting purposefully to the porch. If she can’t find it there she makes the rounds of the other windows to see if it’s on an alternative channel.

Bunny Theatre pops up sometimes in the early morning or late afternoon and is a particular favourite of hers and ours, though since there’s no on-screen translation we’re not sure what it’s about. Personally, I think it’s interpretive dance. My husband thinks it's a rabbit version of Benny Hill.

Pipsqueak is convinced that the best programming is on late at night and is miffed that we won’t let her stay up to watch it. She’s sometimes very, very quiet when bedtime approaches, hoping we’ll forget she’s in the back porch and she can catch an episode of The Masked Bandit of Trashcan Alley.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Lazy Woman’s Perogies

 

This is absolutely the easiest way to prepare them. No tedious stirring, no sticking to the pot…

1 package frozen perogies, thawed
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a lasagna pan or similar casserole dish spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce over the bottom. Cover with perogies, adding a second layer if you still have some left. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over. Bake for 40 minutes.

You can serve with green onions, bacon, and sour cream if that’s the way you like them but they’re still delicious without.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Found and Tested: Panna Cotta

 

While browsing the Pretty . Simple . Sweet website for something else, I came across a recipe for Panna Cotta. That’s not a dessert I’m familiar with, but it sounded similar to custard, which I love, so I decided to give it a try.

It is SO much better than custard, and far easier to make. Since it was my first time making the recipe, I didn’t make any changes to it, other than substituting artificial vanilla extract for the real thing. I used an envelope of Knox’s gelatin powder, rather than measuring, as the box said it would set 2 cups of liquid, and it worked fine. I did decide to divide it into 6 servings rather than 4, given the high fat content of the cream.

This one’s definitely going in my recipe box. Only 5 ingredients, none of which are hard to find, and goes together, apart from setting time, in less than 15 minutes.

I think I’ll be trying a chocolate version to fill the roles of both custard and whipping cream the next time I make my chocolate trifle.