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Quick ‘N’ EZ Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Green Enchilada sauce

Never planned on making a cooking blog (I’m way too lazy to imitate the cooking bloggers I’ve seen, which is take a picture of every single ingredient and at every step of a recipe, so they end up with 47 lovingly arranged pictures even when it’s a recipe for toast). But I’ve always loved to cook and write. And fifteen years or so ago I got so tired of feeling awfully tired, bloated ‘n’ brain-fogged now & then that I looked to dietary triggers. A friend gave me a huge bag of apples off his tree, and one of the things I made was an apple cake (carrot cake recipe with grated apples instead O’ the carrots). It was magnifique, and I ended up totally pigging out on it…ate the whole frigging sheet cake that night.  Awoke the next morning feeling like the Michelin Man who’d gotten stuffed full of lard, only dumber. Realized that often happened after I went nuts with starchy things.

So I cut out starches. All starches. Rice. Potatoes. Wheat. Corn (not totally a starch, I know, but figured tortilla chips are sorta like a starch).  Every starch: No noodles, chips, bread, crackers, gravy, fried foods, etc etc, any of that stuff. For SIX MONTHS. Six long months. Lost weight, darn near went insane for the lack of chips & salsa –celery with salsa just ain’t the same, even if it does have a lotta crunch.

So corn was the first to come back —had to have those chips.  Waited a month before introducing the next starch; during the month I had almost no Lardo Michelin Man days. Rice came next, no probs. Another month; wheat. Wham! It took 2-14 days after ingesting, but wheat or anything with ANY gluten did it. What a pain it was in the days before anyone had ever heard of “gluten free” other than the very few who’d been diagnosed as celiac, & they usually figured it out themselves & it took an average of 14 years. This was even before the Atkins Diet really got going (remember it?). There were no pre-made GF products, no flours, zip, nada, zilch.  And of course I had to walk 5 miles in the snow to the grocery, uphill both ways.

Really though, it has gotten a lot easier for those of us I call “gluten mutants.” But I’ve never found a pre-made GF green enchilada sauce that didn’t have gluten & tasted good, & all the recipes I’ve tried were sort of a pain in the neck to one degree or another. This stuff can also easily be made without dairy of any kind (had to ditch cow milk 5 years ago, tho I did find I can tolerate goat or sheep milk ok…thank heavens it’s possible to get good goat cheddar, goat yogurt (if you can find it), and there’s even one dairy that makes great goat mozzarella…but only one; the others range from blah to toxic waste (I can’t decide whether or not to name the good go-mozz maker; I just found some after it being almost completely unavailable for about 2 years, even online…don’t wanna create a stampede & not be able to get any more for me).

Anyhow.  The sauce. I tend to approach cooking as a creative enterprise & throw things together without measuring, unless I’m baking. Baking is chemistry; cooking is art. I’ll just tell how to make it, but don’t have precise amounts…I can probably figure it out if (A) anyone actually reads this & (B) wants amounts. I’m describing it as I made it; if dairy isn’t an issue, just use regular butter or whatever cow/cowlike product you prefer.

Ingredients

DF butter-like substance*
Potato starch/potato flour (same thing)**
Beef bouillon
good Salsa Verde (I love Herdez)
dash each garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, salt

Make a roux with the butteroid & potato starch. Add bouillon & green salsa, toss in seasonings as it thickens. Slosh onto & enchiladas, bake, snarf. I’d include a pic of the chicken enchiladas I just made, but would have to lower the camera into my belly, & that plays hell with digital cameras. Not to mention that the photo wouldn’t be too appetizing.

Bon appetit, folks!

Coming soon: my reaction to my doc informing me, just this morning, that [somebody] is going to convince “them” to ban all opioid pain medicines because [according to somebody else] 80% of opioid prescriptions are being diverted for illegal use (he wasn’t real clear on the who/what/where/how of this). (A) I seriously doubt the 80% figure. (B) I am not able to completely discount this…concept… that doesn’t even qualify as a rumor, because I know there are a lot of people out there who’re devoutly against opioids for anyone, whether they’re using them to get high or simply to try & live a relatively functional life amid constant, excruciating pain. I use the term “devoutly” intentionally, because many of them approach the topic in a truly messianic, religious fashion, and persevere in their quest because it literally is a crusade. Some believe it’s good for the soul of the sufferers to suffer. Like the folks† who fought mightily against allowing women to use any type of anesthesia (when ether & such came about) or pain relief when giving birth on the grounds that God decreed that Woman should suffer because of that original evil witch Eve & the whole snake/apple thing. I mean, what if poor Eve was just trying to help Adam to get his Five-A-Day, keep him healthy & regular? Talk about a bad rap.

But that’s later. Now it’s bed time, after I walk the Eskimo (that’s American Eskimo dog, lest anyone think I’m not only politically incorrect but have imprisoned an Inuit).

 

*I find Earth Balance brand Vegan (gold package) the best; use stick form for cooking.

**or tapioca starch or a GF flour mix, like Bob’s Red Mill all-purp or his pizza crust mix

†how much ya wanna bet they were all men?

 

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UO Punishes Maybe-Rapists (or maybe they’re not)

bball in jail

Sort of a Disclaimer:

Gosharoony, I’m on a roll lately; yesterday I’m supporting opioid use (well, sometimes, for some people), today I’m –or at least will be accused of– supporting rape and rapists, blaming the victim, being a proponent of “rape culture*”, and just generally being all-round vile. I’ll be right down there with the “legitimate rape” guy and his compatriot the “real and genuine rape” dude, with the genius who implied that God sanctions rape to give the gift of pregnancy and his compatriot the “God chose to bless [the rape victim] with a gift” fella, and their team member who called rape another of God’s method of conception, and their female teammate –turns out it’s a big team– who said God plans rapes (that naughty scamp God, He’s much wilder and crazier than I ever imagined).  Heck, I’m practically in bed (so to speak) with good ole Wisconsin state Senator Roger Rivard quoting his Daddy warning him about those girls who are “easy to rape.”

And of course all those mentioned above are Republicans and it’s downright horrifying to think that I’ll be accused of siding with not just Republicans but with Far-Right Tea Party Republican Nut Jobs. But I suspect that the FRTPRNJs will not be hopping on my bandwagon of wishing that the three young African-American men were actually proven guilty before they get punished, because, you know, the FRTPRNJs probably think….they’re black, so they’re no doubt guilty of something anyway.

So I moved these explanatory paragraphs up to the front, hoping that it’d help stay (or at least slow down) the mob with the torches and pitchforks. Call me chicken.

Finally, the meat:

So you’ve heard of baby-rapers; a foul creature and no argument. Here in Eugene we have Maybe-Rapers; three University of Oregon basketball players have been banned from the UO for four years—three uncharged, never-tried, never-found-guilty players. Three players whom the local DA declined to charge because of lack of evidence that a crime had been committed. A reading of letters to the editor of the Eugene paper indicates that few folks around here seem concerned about them, other than wanting to make sure they’re punished for something no one has proven they actually did.

God knows I do not mean to minimize the gravity or horror of rape; being raped has to be about as bad as it gets in this life. But having your future ruined by unproven accusation is no minor matter, either. Carol Stabile, the director for the UO’s Center for Study of Women in Society*, was quoted as saying the suspension is “keeping the students safe, so bravo for that.” Who’s kept safe? From what? Mz Stabile makes it sound as if the three had been charging about, attacking every female they saw. No one has hinted such a thing, though supporters of the “Punish them!” crowd have gotten considerable mileage from the fact that apparently one of the players had been the target of a sexual assault investigation (again, no charges in that one either). Those ‘presumed innocent’ young men aren’t being kept safe from anything. The police report called it consensual sex. Nobody knows exactly what happened except the participants, though detailed accounts (including the woman’s own telling) are awfully murky. Those players may be having their futures destroyed because a young woman experienced regret.

It would not be outside the realm of possibility for a young woman to go a little wild at a college party and engage in –or experiment with—risqué behavior. Or for her to wake the next morning to imagine her parents screaming, “You did what with WHO!?!” At this point, her options are limited. One is to determine to grit her teeth and stand her ground if her parents do find out and go ballistic. This is, to say the least, difficult if not terrifying. It would combine regret, shame, embarrassment, and owning up to an act of misbehavior that shocks and appalls her parents. It involves…what an icky word…responsibility.

 

Another option is to insist her participation wasn’t voluntary. Just shovel the nuances and ambiguities over the cliff, take the responsibility, the blame, and everything else and dump it on the guys. Scream “Rape!”  You can’t change the past, but you can spin the narrative.

 

The recounting of her story as it appeared in the paper made it sound as if she sorta protested, a little bit, in a way. It started at a party, with several people about including some who were the woman’s friends. If the three guys forced her into a bathroom, then through the crowd, out of the apartment, into a car, to a different apartment, then either everyone at the party was complicit in the kidnapping or she didn’t display resistance, in fact pretty much helped things along. Again, here I go blaming the victim, right? But if guys are saying “Let’s do this, then go somewhere else and do that,” and the girl is not intoxicated (the case in this instance, according to everyone except this victim herself), laughing, giggling and sorta-but-not-really saying no once or twice but going along (apparently) willingly, telling friends who ask that everything’s okay, what the heck are the guys supposed to think? It seems the protesters with their “No Rape Culture!” signs are demanding that young men be mind readers and prognosticators, to realize that the woman who is participating in and helping along the process while maybe giving mixed signals really isn’t participating or helping, she’s actually fighting in a new way.

Mature Einsteins couldn’t manage that level of mentation, forget twenty-somethings at a party, even if they’re not wasted. Anyone who’s ever been at a rowdy college party knows damned well that just being surrounded by a crowd of people at the apex of their “I’m gorgeous & invincible” phase, with hormones carbonating out into the very air like the Horny Fairy has been waving around her bubble wand, that even if you’re straight-up sober your IQ can plummet like a rock. It’s like the mental version of a contact high –everyone around you is acting stupid, so you do too. Of course, chances are high [heh heh] that you’re getting a real contact high as well, especially if we’re talking about a party here in Eugene, Orygun, the greatest Last Bastion of Hippieland (and Hempieland), since housing prices in Boulder got so insane. Jeez, the hippies here must be going bonkers at the fact that Boulderites get to enjoy legal pot before they did. But i digress…one of my specialties.

Where were we? Ah, The Three Little Maybe-Rapists. And of course, the real crux of the botheration for me is, I can’t help but wonder at the woman’s race. The players are black, the woman’s race isn’t indicated in any news reports that I’ve been able to find. I’m guessing she’s Caucasian. This is based only in part on the fact that the incident occurred in Eugene, where damn near everyone is Caucasian except for the sports team members. (whee! Now I can be reviled for ‘playing the race card!’). Yes, even in oh-so-liberal Eugene, a white girl having sex with three young black men could be cause for her to worry about her parents’ reaction† If the hues were reversed, would the three white players be suspended? I’d bet not.

It really bothers me that those who violently protest against “the rape culture” are themselves so eager to conduct a witch hunt, to celebrate the destruction of three guys’ lives who haven’t been and certainly never will be charged, much less convicted, of a crime. Maybe the three wouldn’t have gone on to become NBA stars anyway; I don’t actually follow basketball so I have no idea how good they are. But even if you completely ignore their putative basketball careers, having “kicked out of UO for four years (or more) because of sexual assault accusations” is hardly going to be a résumé builder. Presumably they also came to college at least in part to get an education (perhaps I’m showing my naiveté again) so they could have a career of some sort. I’d guess that most careers are now closed to them forever.

I have enormous amounts of sympathy and empathy for rape victims…I’ve not been attacked by strangers, nor tied down or beaten up in the bushes, but I have experienced rape. It occurred in such a way that prosecution or even having charges brought or anything else was impossible, so only one person other than myself knows about it. But I really am enraged by sexual violence, and strongly believe that rapists should suffer serious torture. But I also believe that someone should be proven to be an actual rapist –to the fullest extent that proof is possible these days– before the punishment begins

 

*Another one of those phrases that sound impressive (and fit nicely on protest signs), but…I’m not convinced that it really means a whole lot. On the other but, we live in The  Sound Bite Era, and it’s perfect for that.

**The university has a ”Center for Study of Women in Society”?? Despite spending most of my life in academia (albeit mostly in science), there are times when I can understand the sneers of the feed cap-wearin’, chaw chewin’, down-with eddication types. The higher education part of me understands the point –and need—of such a study, but another part of me can’t help but roll its inner eyes and wonder if Center publications spell the female gender “womon” and instead of pronouns “he” & “she,” use “ur” or “zir” or “his’er” and “sh’he” and in other ways spends massive amounts of time and energy battling ancient semantics when other, tangible, serious issues need more attention.

†No, I don’t know where she’s from. Even today, it’d be cause for her to worry no matter where she’s from. I realize I’m doing a lot of speculating based upon little data here, but these guys got banned from a university –i.e. got their futures completely ruined– based pretty much upon speculation, so I‘m okay with it.

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catios: new way to let your indoor cat out

I’ve been a rabid proponent of keeping cats indoors for a long time –it’s better for the cats, better for songbirds, better in a lot of ways. The concept of a “catio” has caught my eye recently, and I look forward to building one in the house I’m trying to buy. If the closing process ever manages to get finished, & if I get through it with my sanity intact (doubtful). But here’s a neat article about catios, with some ideas (click on the title above).

I absolutely love the ‘celestial viewing platform. Those are some seriously lucky cats!

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February 24, 2014 · 3:06 am

Boat envy

My significant other left this morning for a 17 day research cruise on a 187-foot NOAA research vessel.  I’d love to say my feelings are mixed, but the truthier version would be, I’m dying of envy. He’s never been on a research cruise, or any type of large boat for more than a few hours. I’m not exactly Jacques Cousteau (no matter how much I wanted to be him when I was growing up), but I have been on several boat trips of varying lengths, the longest a 10-day trip on the RV Cape Hatteras (135 ft) in 1994, just as I was starting graduate school in Marine Bio at UNC-Wilmington. I never wanted to set foot on shore again after any of them.

btw, the term “cruise” should not conjure up images of Carnival Cruise lines. Research cruises are considerably lacking in luxury, though the cook on my 10 day trip made as good food as I’ve had anywhere (as long as one liked lots of garlic).

I probably got less sleep on the grad school trip than at any comparable span of time in my life, despite being a lifelong expert in insomnia.  My group was aiming to catch larval fish; we used several different methods, the main one being the boat’s huge frame trawl. This was an enormous net, maybe 40 feet long,that tapered down to a PVC barrel about 3 feet long, with mesh inserts. All the larger creatures washed out of the net and small, planktonic creatures were caught in the barrel. We caught miniscule slivers of baby fish, tiny speckled octopi the size of pencil erasers, the transparent larvae of lobsters (looking like weird extraterrestrial spiders, fragile as wet tissue paper– opening photo).  One day we passed the tattered remains of a makeshift raft, probably from one of the groups of desperate Haitians who were risking their lives in attempts to float to America at the time. It was mostly submerged and consisted of old inner tubes, pieces of coolers, part of a box spring, and other junk. We never knew what happened to the poor souls who set out on such a terrifying conveyance.

On other trips I’ve seen humpback whales drifting alongside the boat, waving a startlingly white, 15-foot long pectoral fin languidly at us. Manta rays the size of king-sized beds at dawn, shooting out of the water, turning over in mid-air, gleaming ebony backs traded for white bellies, splashing back into slate blue water with a resounding crash. A basking shark as long as my Elantra loafing at the surface like a cat dozing in the sun. Black and white dolphins surfing in the bow wave, turning over to eye us as we hung over the ship’s side, gaping & grinning like fools. They seemed to laugh at us (which would make them mighty forgiving creatures). The sky at night so velvet black and clear we could actually see satellites passing overhead, which I thought hadn’t been possible since the 70s, but there are some areas with air clear enough still.

R/V Cape Hatteras, my home for 10 days.

A lot of wrong turns resulted in my not spending a whole lot more time at sea. But I’m trying to remember what I was lucky enough to do, and to see.

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Hello world!

Yes, this is my very first post. Why did I start this blog? What do I plan to do with it? Good questions. I’ll make it up as I go along.

Talk to folks about biology, science, animals (fish, cats, parrots, horses, turtles…), books, chronic pain…and so forth.

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