Tag Archives: Domestic Affairs

Stitch Fix: Could be Fab!

This weekend missjunebug got a tip from a dear friend (Thanks, KH!) about another way to use her online time well. It’s Stitch Fix! “Your Partner in Personal Style” Who couldn’t use one of those, right?

Mosaic stitch
Mosaic stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stitch Fix promises that based on your selected preferences, a personal stylist will choose five wardrobe pieces to send to you to try on and select or reject in the comfort of your own home. Of course, shipping and returns are free. The selections are tailored to your taste, budget, and lifestyle. Your very own bespoke purveyor! Choose and keep the ones you like, return the rest.

missjunebug’s friend had a fine time with Stitch Fix at Christmas, shopping for herself on behalf of her husband and then choosing from the five the looks she preferred.

But guess what? missjunebug’s friend and her dh loved all five looks so nada returns needed on that order! And did missjunebug mention that if you keep all five of the looks, you get 25% off. Money saving fun as well as time saving fun!

Over time, the Stitch Fix stylist will get to know better and better what styles you prefer so that their selections will be even more successful for you (and them, too!) The styling fee of 20 dollars can be used toward your final order. You can also arrange that looks be sent on a regular schedule. What. effortless. shopping.

missjunebug has got to think that this beats running around from mall to mall, dressing room to dressing room, dealing with indifferent or surly sales associates (except at Nordie’s where they are helpful and kind!), and driving unnecessarily–even with gas prices down. (Gas is never cheap in Cali!) Better that the well integrated USPS or UPS delivery services seek out missjunebug with glorious packages to peruse at her leisure.

missjunebug has thoroughly enjoyed her absence from the supermarket thanks to Blue Apron‘s  creative curating of 3 meals a week for her (and Mr.JB–kitchen helper extraordinaire!) Maybe Stitch Fix can do for her closet and wardrobe, what Blue Apron did for her kitchen and weekly menus!

Will the wonders of the internet never cease?  What a great time to be alive and connected!

As soon as missjunebug needs to replace a few wardrobe items or update her look, she hopes to try out the Stitch Fix personal shopper for herself.  Maybe you can, too? Happy shopping!

missjunebug’s HO! HO! HO! Hacks

missjunebug has been super busy getting ready for Santa’s Big Day, but she wanted to take out some time to share a few nifty Christmasy ideas she’s come across on the internet or even thought of herself!

HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 1

Make your own nametags for gifts using watercolor paper, watercolors, and Christmas cookie cutters. Trace ’em, cut ’em out, paint ’em, hole punch ’em and ribbon ’em up! So much calorie-free fun!

Name Tags Galore!
Name Tags Galore!
To Spark Your Creativity!
To Spark Your Creativity!
Love Those Dots!
Love Those Dots!

HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 2

Wrapping a lot of gifties? Take missjunebug’s advice and use the inner cardboard tube of the first wrapping paper you finish off to make lots of little clasps for your other wrapping papers. A super simple, super smart way to keep all your wrapping papers tucked away neatly.

missjunebug's Got It On Lock
missjunebug’s Got It On Lock!

HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 3

missjunebug loves to buy her wired Christmas ribbon at Costco where the prices for it are reasonable and the ribbons are colorful and varied. But the ribbons generally only come in two width sizes: large and even larger. Try cutting the ribbon lengthwise into three strips: two thin ones following the wired edges, leaving the middle strip about one-half inch in width. Now you will be ready to wrap any size gifts with 3 different widths of ribbon.

Ribbon x 3!
Ribbon x 3!

HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 4

When using packing tape, missjunebug used to fold down the end so that it wouldn’t stick back on to itself. This wasted tape, but she could find the end when she needed it. Recently, she came across this simple idea on the internet that solves the pesky problems of wasted tape and lost edge. Attach a plastic bread tie to the end of the tape, so you will always find the tape’s edge. Just pull the tab, cut the tape you need, and reattach the tab when your finished with the tape.  Genius!!

Bread Tab: Super Tape Saver!
Bread Tab: Super Tape Saver!

HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 5

Relax, have some Trader Joe’s (Light) Egg Nog, and enjoy the shiny season!

Merry Christmas from missjunebug, Mr.JB, Elder JB, TinyJB, SpoonBug, and LeftyJB!

Copy that!
Copy that! 

missjunebug’s Pumpkins in a Pot

A Bumper Crop! Two, count 'em Two Pumpkins!!! Photo by mjb2014
A Bumper Crop! Two, count ’em Two Pumpkins!!! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug has been thinking about growing pumpkins for a long time. A few years ago she tried a little plot down by her barn and had some healthy vines with beautiful yellow-gold blossoms thriving for the briefest while: gophers took out the roots and dashed all mjb’s hopes for homegrown pumpkins. Sigh.

This year she tried again with a clever internet idea (Thanks, Google! The question: Can I grow pumpkins in a pot?). The answer, yes! But despite the promising prodigious growth of leaves and vines and blossoms from her Home Depot 2″ pot pumpkin plant, missjunebug’s less-than-bumper crop was tiny x 2.

Mr.JB thinks most of the blossoms didn’t get fertilized. missjunebug thinks most of the blossoms weren’t ever open long enough to get fertilized due to the sometimes shady spot she placed the pot.

No matter. She will enjoy the two she grew this year and try again next year in a raised bed that’s gopher proof. Happy Fall! Happy Halloween!

missjunebug’s Smoothie Adventure Begins!

C.J. Rabbit tastes The First Smoothie as White Cow and White Hen look on. Photo by mjb2014
C.J. Rabbit tastes The First Smoothie as White Cow and White Hen look on green with envy. Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug is late to the smoothie craze, but people smarter than she have finally convinced her it’s a fine way to fine tune her nutritional intake. She took the plunge on AmazonSmile.com (so a % of her purchase goes to One Acre Fund!) and selected a Vitamix Professional Series 300! What. a. machine!

In mere minutes missjunebug whipped up some coconut milk for future smoothies. It’s actually really easy to make your own coconut milk.

Here’s a simple recipe to try:

missjunebug’s Homemade Coconut Milk

Bring 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut. Stir and let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. Then Vitamix it until smooth (30-60 seconds!) Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, squeezing out the last drop of milky goodness. Store in a glass jar in the frig for 3-4 days or freeze into cubes.

With that success under her little bug belt, missjunebug moved on to smoothie making! Fun times!

After reading a bunch of recipes, she decided just to wing it with this concoction.

missjunebug’s Completely Unoriginal Very Berry Smoothie

2 cups of Baby Romaine

1/2  carrot

1-2 cups frozen berry medley (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

3-4 ice cubes

1/2-3/4 cup coconut, almond, or soy milk. (you choose!)

Pour in 1/2 the milk. Then layer in the greens first, then the berries, then the carrot, topping with the ice cubes. Add milk to keep the Vitamix mixing until the smoothie is, well, smooth! Probably makes two servings, but mjb drank both!!

missjunebug may be late to the smoothie party, but she’s overcome her prejudice against pulverized greens and is ready to mix it up!!!

missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!

White Cow's Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014
White Cow’s Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug spent a little time in her kitchen this weekend baking up some super delicious, super easy Yes! Yeast Rolls! In fact that’s what she and her trusty Mr.JB had for dinner last night. Bread being the Staff of Life, missjunebug is all for having some homemade SofL every once in a while.

missjunebug has a dear friend who calls such white flour concoctions Frankenbread, being on an anti-gluten crusade in her own life. To her friend missjunebug has two things to say: “De gustibus non est disputandum” and “You only live once!” Seriously, she appreciates her friend’s efforts at living a nutritionally clean life–would that missjunebug could be so disciplined, but if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, dear Reader, you must know missjunebug is erratic inconsistent whimsical in her nutritional leanings so she figures the occasional unbleached King Arthur White Flour yeast roll can only nourish her little bug soul if not her little bug body. C’est la vie!

So without further ado or rationalization missjunebug presents

missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!

Adapted from a recipe mjb found somewhere in the never ending, constantly refreshing, infinitely entertaining, always inspiring annals of Pinterest.

Super Simple Ingredients

2 sticks butter

1 cup water

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 eggs (Organic!–could help counteract the demon white flour)

2 packets of Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast

1 cup warm water

6 cups King Arthur unbleached white bread flour

Super Simple Directions

Warm up your oven for a while at about 225 degrees, then turn it off. This will be the perfect place to let your dough rise.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the 2 sticks of butter. Stir until melted.

Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Whip up the eggs with a wire wisk in a small bowl until nice and creamy. Add to cooled butter/sugar/salt mixture. missjunebug suggests you now transfer this mixture to your Kitchen Aid mixer!

In a separate bowl, add 2 packages of yeast to 1 cup lukewarm water. Stir and add a teaspoon of sugar if you feel the need to proof the yeast (checking to see it is still active!). If the mixture double in volume and foams nicely, your yeast is alive and well.

Add the yeast mixture to the butter/sugar/salt mixture. Combine and then begin to add the flour one cup at a time until all the flour has been blended into the b/s/s/y mixture. missjunebug uses the regular Kitchen Aid paddle, not the dough hook to combine the flour with the b/s/s/y mixture.

Grease a large glass bowl with butter. Transfer the dough to the glass bowl and then flip it over! That way both sides are buttered up.

Cover with a lightweight kitchen towel and place in over to rise for 1 hour. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured cutting board to knead by hand for 2-3 minutes. Place back in bowl and let rise for a second time for about 30 minutes.

After second rising, place dough on floured board, roll out with a rolling pin, and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or pint-size glass. Silpat or parchment paper-up your cookie sheets and place rolls two or so inches apart. Let rise one more time for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes. Keep watch for golden brownness! Remove from oven, slather with butter, and enjoy!

These rolls are easily frozen and reheated in a toaster oven for daily deliciousness!

Long live the Yes! Yeast Roll!

Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
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One Acre Fund + AmazonSmile = Easy Peasy Donation!

Rwanda and Burundi, with surrounding countries...
Rwanda and Burundi, with surrounding countries highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug is a fervent supporter of oneacrefund.org, the NGO ElderJB and his lovely bride work for. Their motto: Farmers First! If you’d like to read about the work of One Acre Fund, check out the book by Roger Turow entitled The Hunger Season which tells the story of the NGO’s work in Kenya. That work has been expanded way beyond Kenyan borders to include Rwanda, Burundi, and new pilot projects in other East African countries as well.

Which brings missjunebug to this nifty announcement by One Acre Fund she received in her email today. Check it out:

SUPPORT ONE ACRE FUND WHILE SHOPPING AT AMAZON.COM

When you make your Amazon purchases through AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to your preferred charitable organization, at no additional cost to you. Support our farm families just by shopping for the items you already want to buy!

missjunebug is a huge fan of Amazon.com for purchasing just about everything and now she can help out her fave a hand-up, not a hand-out organization: One Acre Fund.  Doubtless, a double good win-win for missjunebug and the awesome farmers of East Africa!

Woo to the hoo x 10!

mjbTip: Try smile.amazon.com and donate to your fave organization! If you use Google Chrome you can even download a one-click button that will take you directly to AmazonSmile to make your everyday Amazon purchases. That .5% will add up quickly with your help!

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Ode to a Veggie Sandwich

Who knew veggies could be so good? Photo by mjb2014
Who knew veggies could be so good? Photo by mjb2014

Ode to a Veggie Sandwich

by missjunebug

It’s starts with Dave

And his Killer Bread

All 21 whole grains.

Toast it up

Slather on

French’s finest

yellow as the sun mustard.

Yum.

Pile on in no particular order:

Avocado. Buttery, brilliant CAvocado,

Radish sprouts, cute as commas

Spinach, baby-leafed green on green

Tomatoes sliced, juicy and cheerful

as laughing mouths.

Then grab that very veggie veritable feast

and put it in yours!

 

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missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread: The Perfect Start to the Day!

A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014
A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug has a love of all things nutty and apricoty. When the two are in combination she’s twice as happy. If you find yourself occasionally craving some carbs, try this sweet little tea bread on for size. missjunebug thinks you’ll find it fits your appetite perfectly!

missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread  

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons Canola oil

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

4 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 cup chopped dried aprictos

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan (9x5x3inch or two mini loaf pans). Measure all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and chopped fruit and nuts. Mix well with hand mixer or Kitchen Aid, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes depending upon the idiosyncrasies of your oven! Check the doneness of the loaf with a toothpick–it should come out clean when inserted in center. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert pan and remove loaf. It should come out easily!

Serve warm, cold, or toasted. Slice thin and smear with butter or cream cheese or apricot Stilton cheese spread!! Divine!

mjbTip: Make some tea bread today! It’s super easy and super delicious!

Little White Hen Looks on  Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014
Little White Hen Looks on Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014

 

 

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Welcome October!

missjunebug loves fall in SoCali!  The fall of blazing orange pumpkins, cool, crisp weather (almost here!), clear dark-sky nights (rain by Thanksgiving), sweater warmth (cashmere, please!), and plenty of practice baking going on so that missjunebug can be ready for pie duty on Thanksgiving day. So how has missjunebug been preparing herself for all that’s fall?

First, she headed to her fave pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark and picked some perfect pumpkins for her porch! (Whew! So alliterative!) Take a look:

A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013
A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013

 

Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013
Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013

 

Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013
Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013

 

missjunebug worked up a serious appetite and decided it was time to make one of her fave cookie recipes: Monster Cookies! So appropriate for the Halloween month of October. Are they scary? Not really. Just big and fun and delicious. The secret: No flour! Just some healthy oats, some (maybe not so healthy) sugars, peanut butter and voilà! Monster Cookies! Easy to make. Easy to eat. Easy to freeze for later!

Here’s are the recipes for a ton o’ cookies (the first one) and a half ton o’ cookies (the second one):

missjunebug’s Not-So-Scary Monster Cookies

Full Recipe

1 dozen eggs

2 lbs brown sugar

4 cups granulated sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 T. Karo syrup

8 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 lb. butter

3 lbs. peanut butter

18 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats

1 lb. M&Ms

12 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat the room temperature butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugars, vanilla, syrup, and baking soda. Add the eggs and beat in a few at a time. Next, blend in the peanut butter until the mixture is thick and semi-gooey! Throw in the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips and you are good to go. Scoop a large size cookie onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes, depending upon how crispy you want the cookie to be. missjunebug likes hers super crispy, but it’s up to your taste!

Remember what missjunebug says: “De gustibus non est disputandum!” There’s no accounting for taste (so each to his/her own!)

Too many cookies? Yeah, this Full Recipe makes about 12-14 dozen depending upon the individual size of the cookie. That’s a lot o’ cookies!!!

Try this instead:

Half Recipe

6 eggs

1 lb. brown sugar (= 2 cups)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 T. vanilla

1 T. Karo syrup

4 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb. butter

1 1/2 lbs. peanut butter

9 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 lb. M&Ms

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw in a bowl and beat the heck out of the ingredients. (Not really. Just read above Full Recipe for how to combine the ingredients!)

These cookies should be stored in an airtight tin or container. You can also Ziploc them into freezer bags and save some for later!

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013

 

Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013
Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013

 

Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013
Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013

 

mjbTip: Go out and have some fall fun! Welcome October indeed!

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Black-Eyed Peas = Good Eating and Good Luck!

 

Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013
Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug had a fine time recently at Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark playing Farmer-for-the-Day! It’s black-eyed pea pickin’ season and the good people at Underwood have rows and rows of bushy black-eyed pea plants just waiting for pick-your-own peeps to drop by and fill up their bags with these beautiful peas famous in the South. They even have a restaurant named after them! Yes! The Black-Eyed Pea! A pretty decent place to eat all your southern faves when you’re in the South: cornbread, okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas (natch!), fried chicken, and, well you get the idea.

missjunebug donned her straw hat, hiking boots, old jeans, hiking shirt, and super bright orange garden gloves in preparation for taking on row after row of pea plants. She garnered four bags full o’ peas ripe for the shelling. Picking is really the easy part. Once she got home, she had to start the labor intensive task of shelling each individual black-eyed pea pod and popping out those beautiful peas. Fun times!

She’s still got a few (hundred!) to go, but she’s managed to Zip-loc lots of peas for the deep freeze. missjunebug will have plenty to eat on New Year’s Day 2014, making sure she covers her year with good luck by eating black-eyed peas that day, one for every day of good luck! Okay, not really. A bowlful will do.  She might explode if she actually ate 365 peas in one sitting.

Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013
Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013

Here’s a simple recipe from missjunebug’s Aunt Mary that pleases the pea palate!

Black-Eyed Peas that Please

Ingredients

1 1/2-2 cups of shelled fresh black-eyed peas

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 slices uncooked bacon for flavor

1-3 shakes Tabasco

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place peas in a saucepan. Cover with water. Add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced bacon, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir. Heat on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat for a continuous simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas are slightly firm, not mushy. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy.

Eat with cornbread, over rice, or just on their own with the delicious soupy juice they are cooked in! You might have to have some serious Southern roots to enjoy these beauties, but keep an open mind and give them a try. They are delicious, nutritious, and lucky!

mjbTip: It’s fun to be a Farmer-for-the Day!

Don't forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013
Don’t forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013

 

Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
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Tomato Time = Salad Success!

 

Captivating Caprese! Ciao Bella! Photo by mjb2013
Captivating Caprese! Ciao Bella! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug has recently discovered Salads for Breakfast! She’s not quite sure what got her started on this, but she’s pretty much left conventional breakfasts behind–except for her occasional bowl of homemade granola.

This is the perfect time to tomato up early in the day. Here are a couple of inspired salads to get you started thinking: Salad for Breakfast! Grab those homegrown or farmer’s market tomatoes and dig in!

Caprese Salad

Tomatoes of your choice–missjunebug likes Romas and on-the-vine organic finds

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper–lots of it!

Slice the tomatoes and cheese to the thickness you prefer. Arrange on a plate alternating tomato, cheese, and basil or create your own artistic arrangement as missjunebug has done with a big pile of basil surrounded by tomatoes and cheese. Be creative!

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Finish with salt and pepper. Enjoy every fresh bite of this Italian salad delight!

The perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Photo by mjb2013
The perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug came across this next salad at Lake Powell Resort in Page, Arizona when she and trusty Mr.JB were doing some eclipse chasing. This is a blast to the past recipe reminiscent of the Iceberg Wedge with Bacon, Tomato, and Blue Cheese. Very old school but very delightful to the taste buds and appealing to the eye!

missjunebug’s Bacon, Tomato, and Blue Cheese Salad

3 slices of crispy bacon

1 large chopped tomato

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Thinly sliced red onion

Big pile of shredded iceberg lettuce (or add romaine for more texture)

Wishbone Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

Arrange the lettuce on a plate. Scatter the tomatoes around the lettuce. Add crumbled bacon and blue cheese crumbles. Scatter red onions strategically around the plate! Top with chunky blue cheese dressing. Finish with salt and pepper! Done!

Best blend of tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and red onion. Yum! Photo by mjb2013

Of course, these salads are great anytime of the day, but try to break free of breakfast expectations by trying salad instead! missjunebug is sure you won’t regret it!

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Four-Hour Body: Easiest Eating Plan Ever!

So it’s that time of year when missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB begin to think about improving their health, slimming down a bit, and getting fit! The January resolutions didn’t quite pan out and the pre-Easter makeover didn’t quite make it, so now summer looms in the June gloom and they are both ready to turn over a new (stevia-sweetened) leaf.

As mentioned in an earlier post, missjunebug and her fab fam have been reading the Tim Ferriss books all of which riff on the number four: Four-Hour Work Week, Four-Hour Body, Four-Hour Chef. They are fun x 4 to read and they guarantee full body, brain, and brawn overhaul with minimum expenditure of effort and maximum pay off. Tim even encourages his readers to learn a foreign language along the way to their “new you” status! missjunebug is pretty sure with Tim Ferriss as a guide, anything is possible!

Which brings missjunebug back to the Easiest Eating Plan Ever: Four-Hour Body. Five Simple Rules. These are reproduced straight from missjunebug’s copy of Tim’s awesome book Four-Hour Body. Some of these succinct rules will sound very, very familiar to you as they appear on most sensible eating plans these days. Others not so much.

English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest p...
English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest pinto bean from ARS and university plant scientists. It resists a host of harmful fungi and viruses that can otherwise cheat growers of a bountiful harvest. Photo by Scott Bauer.http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you are just picking new default meals.

Rule #3 Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night are allowed.

Rule #4 Don’t eat fruit. Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5 Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.

What could be simpler? missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB have had no trouble staying on this plan because it is so super simple: protein, bean, green. That’s pretty much it!! Oh and did she mention how super boring it is! Life without carbohydrates is drab indeed, but when Sunday rolls around–their “go nuts” day, life is good indeed!

Today, for instance, missjunebug and Mr.JB had a marvy brekkie at Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura–(search for mjb’s review of this great eatery!) Waffles! Syrup! Milk! (and a strip of bacon or two and an egg or two for good protein measure.) Let the carbohydrates roll!! Of course, they can only roll until tomorrow when it’s back to six days of protein, bean, green! missjunebug suspects there is a modicum of discipline required in staying on this plan, but honestly she thinks it’s easy because you can never overeat protein, bean, green. It simply can’t be done!

So if you are feeling a little sluggish and in need of some slimming, say good-bye to sugar and take the Four-Hour Body Five-Rule Challenge! Summer looms just past the June gloom!

 

 


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Mother’s Day missjunebug Style

English: jkklglh
English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug re-read her previous Mother’s Day posts and came away thinking she’d covered her feelings about this holiday pretty well. The take-away?

She loves being a mom! It’s that simple! She loves her two rad kids ElderJB and TinyJB! It has been an honor and a privilege to help raise these boys along with Mr.JB’s invaluable love and guidance.

The only thing she regrets is that just when they become their most interesting (and entertaining) as young adults, ElderJB and TinyJB fly the proverbial coop and nest elsewhere! But then that is the beauty part of the plan as her dear, departed JBDad would say. The JBParentals have done their job and the said kids answer to themselves, making their way in the wider world pretty much on their own.

missjunebug is thankful for a connected world of emails, texts, e-cards, phone calls (by land, by cell, by FaceTime, by Skype) that are available for moms to communicate with their hatchlings on a regular basis!  And for those of you who live close to your children (luck by design!) good on you; missjunebug is a little jealous, but she knows that is not in the cards for her at least right now. Who knows what the future holds?

So Happy Mother’s Day to all you devoted moms! Stay connected, but maybe stay out of the way, too! Birds gotta fly! Children gotta grow and go!

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missjunebug Recommends…

Bread perfected: The croissant! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug has been busy lately traveling, returning home, regrouping, doing laundry, catching up with bill paying, etc., etc., the usual maintenance post travel, but she’s also been thinking about some recommendations she’d like to share with you.

So here goes:

Download (and pay for!) Justin Timberlake‘s new album 20/20. It is the best music to walk to missjunebug has come across in a long time (and dance to, too!). The songs are stellar and many great ones await you beyond “Suit and Tie.” which you’ve probably already heard about 100 times by now. (missjunebug still loves “S&T” no matter how many times she’s heard it.) And truth be told she has a big crush on J.T. She hearts him BIGTIME. Lucky Jessica Biel. Seriously.

Check out anything written by Tim Ferriss. This guy has got it going on with his Four Hour protocols. Currently missjunebug and members of her dear fam are reading The Four-Hour Chef, The Four-Hour Body, and plan to read The Four-Hour Work Week. missjunebug really doesn’t need The Four-Hour Work Week, since her work week is even less than that! Ha! Seriously, these books are so smart, so entertaining, and so helpful you will not be disappointed!. T.F. is a phenom.

Read anything written by Julian Barnes. Right now. Really. Go get one of his books. He is one smart Brit. missjunebug recommends The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life. Okay, missjunebug has actually only read The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life, but she plans to read all of his books a.s.a.p. because she’s sure the others are equally great!

Eat some croissants. They are so yummy: crunchy, buttery, layers of delicious bready air! How did the French ever come up with these? Beyond brilliant. missjunebug recommends that you eat these in Paris for the best croissant experience ever! And after you eat some croissants, make yourself some crepes. They are super easy to make using Krusteaz pancake mix and a great crepe pan. missjunebug recommends a made-in-France de Buyer which makes crepe making super fun. Of course, you can make crepe batter from scratch, but the Krusteaz is easy peasy and delicious. Just make sure if you are following the The Four-Hour Body  eating plan (which you will be after reading Tim Ferriss’s book) that you save these for your 7th day where you can eat whatever you want! Vive la France and vive Tim Ferriss!

Speaking of Paris, missjunebug recommends checking out travelingprofessor.com for excellent travel trips and guided tours in France, Italy, and South America. They are reasonably priced, informative, not too touristy, and fun, fun, fun. missjunebug and her Mr.JB just returned from a week in Paris and a few days in Normandy. It really pays to get to know a city by spending time in it as opposed to a quick cruise-port-of-call fly by in a tourist bus. missjunebug has done both and she’s likes the get-to-know-where-you-are-for-awhile walkabout much better!

Whew! That’s about it for recs for now!

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Mini Cheery Cherry Pies

Miniature Pie, Maximum Flavor! Photo by missjunebug 2013

missjunebug woke up this morning and got a cheery, cherry idea. She had one, lone roll-up Pillsbury pie crust in her frig, and thought she better use it or lose it to the rapidly approaching expiry date. After a quick pantry forage, she found a can of that blissfully sweet Cherry Pie Filling to help her seal the deal on this Semi Delicious, Mega-Not Healthy breakfast idea.

She grabbed a pint glass–perfect round mini pie crust cutter–and managed to form eight tiny crusts, the perfect size for muffin tins. She carefully placed them in the tins and spooned in a generous dollop of cherry filling into each Mini Cheery Cherry pie-to-be. With the leftovers she cut a few lattice top strips (as easy as pie to do!) and placed them over the cherry filling in a not quite perfect woven top crust. missjunebug might even call the top crust “rustic”–that word covers over many imperfections without losing any flavor!

missjunebug popped those precious mini pies in a hot 425° oven and baked them until they were golden brown and bubbly, about 2o or so minutes. After a quick sprinkle of granulated sugar over the top–(also helpful in covering over any rustic crust imperfections!), she popped them out of muffin tins and placed them on plates for breakfast for her and her dear MrJB who was happy to help taste test her Mini Cheery Cherry Pie experiment.

What a fun way to start the day: A cold glass of 1% milk (missjunebug is, of course, always watching her calories!) and a Mini Cheery Cherry Pie…or two. Double delicious! The next time you find yourself with a lone roll-out pie crust, turn it into the mini pies of your choice! Super easy to make. Super delicious to eat.

missjunebug will think about eating Mega-Healthy tomorrow.

MiniPie in a Muffin Tin: Oh. Pie. Yes. Photo by mjb2013
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Speculoos is Spectacular!

Cookie Magic! Photo by mjb2013

Every once in a while missjunebug comes across a product that is absolut! blog worthy. Like Consumer Reports, she receives no special consideration or payment for her endorsement. missjunebug is an ad-free zone! She shares this information for the sheer joy of hoping others will enjoy the product as joyfully as she has enjoyed it! Too many joys?? Not in this case! Speculoos is a taste bud-altering experience, unlike any missjunebug has ever had. Imagine delicious cookies, mildly spicey shortbread cookies. Imagine those cookies smashed to bits. Imagine those smashed bits being spun into a creamy, silky, buttery, sweet, caramel-ly spread. Imagine dipping a spoon into said spread and slathering it on, what else? another cookie! Ahhhh. Spectacular Speculoos! If no other cookies are available just enjoy straight off the spoon.

Your taste buds will be forever grateful as missjunebug is to ElderJB for introducing the junebug family to Speculoos during the Christmas holidays. He wends his way through Brussels, Belgium on his trip from Rwanda to the Hacienda in SoCali and always does a little airport shopping. While missjunebug appreciates the awesome Belgium chocolates ElderJB lavishes upon the junebug fam, she’s just wild about the new find: Speculoos! Thanks, ElderJB for this smashed-up cookie spread madness!

If you are not traveling to Brussels in the near future you can track down Trader Joe’s version of Speculoos descriptively named Speculoos Cookie Butter. missjunebug doubts it is as good as Lotus Original Speculoos but it might run a close second, and it is available a lot closer to home! Sadly, missjunebug will probably have to settle for TJ’s version because her jar of LOS is profoundly empty.

Alas...the jar is empty! Photo by mjb2013
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Mission Makeover 2013

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard
English: New Year's Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug is beginning to recover from her Christmacoma. She’s eaten her way through the Christmas ham, the New Year’s flank steak, the sweets and treats downed by the occasional Old Fashioned (Let’s here it for Maker’s Mark Bourbon! Cheers!) Mr.JB is back at work (reluctantly), ElderJB is back in Rwanda (happily) with his latest transfer of as many American products as he can fit into multiple (read 6) oversized duffle bags, TinyJB is recovering (slowly) in Miami from the devastating loss of the Irish to the Crimson Tide and may be recovering from other things as well, like too much food and drink in their awesome Club level seats at the Discovery Stadium he and his girl enjoyed until the Tide rolled. Touchdown Jesus clearly had better things to do last night than ensure an Irish win. To loosely quote the Scot:  The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men and football teams gang aft a-gley.” 

Well today missjunebug has better things to do than cry over what might have been. She’s ready for a makeover! She’s re-established contact with her gym and had the head trainer take her through the machines one by one that might help her salvage her muscle mass most of which withered away in her way-too-long stay in the hospital last year. She’s also enlisted the help of a walking buddy: Spoonbug, her dear Labradoodle who loves to walk when given the opportunity! To keep her on track her dear neighbor and friend Maria waits for missjunebug and Spoonbug at the top of a tough hill for a Monday through Friday uphill walking workout! Whew! It’s tough but good and the best part is the talking therapy that goes on where Maria and missjunebug solve all the problems of the world, including a few of their own.

The best thing about exercising a little more is that missjunebug finds she wants to make better food choices, too. What a concept! With a little help from Weight Watchers online, missjunebug can track her intake and help herself to a stronger, better, healthier her!  The fact that missjunebug already ate every speck of the Christmas cookies, New Year’s cake, and gifts of candy she received helps keep her on track!

Seriously, missjunebug is planning her makeover one step at a time and hoping to be her best new self by mid April when she and Mr.JB head to Paris! They are hoping the TravelingProfessor.com website will attract a few more Francophiles for the spring trip the Professor has planned! The Prof needs 8 to make the trip a go! Check out his fab site and consider coming along (that means you, JBBro and JBSis-in-Law!!!) Of course, ElderJB and TinyJB are always welcome but missjunebug hears they have other plans!

missjunebug wishes you a Happy New Year and a New New You if you need one!

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missjunebug’s Holiday Bars

Holiday Still Life! Photo by mjb2012

No, this is not a post about the best place to imbibe alcohol during the holidays! missjunebug wants to share with you her recipe for fruity and nutty Holiday Bars. If you never got into fruitcake but enjoy dates, raisins, and walnuts, this holiday cookie is for you. Mega Delicious and Semi Healthy describes this bar perfectly. Easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to take to any party or cookie exchange, and very, very easy to eat!

missjunebug’s Holiday Bars

(adapted from an ancient but beloved cookbook entitled Cookery for Entertaining)

Ingredients

1 (8-oz.) package Sun Date California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 cup raisins, Trader Joe’s golden or SunMaid regular or a mix of both kinds

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup sugar, divided

1 stick butter (1/4 lb.), room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, organic

2 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoons orange juice

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets (or use Silpat liners or parchment paper); set aside. Stir together in a large bowl dates, raisins, walnuts, orange peel, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until the fruit is well coated; set aside. In a separate bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer (best choice!) cream butter and the remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk together in a small separate bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Then add this flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the dates, raisins, and walnuts mixture and stir until blended. The dough will be stiff.

Divide dough into four equal portions and shape two logs (12″ x 2″ x 1/2″) on each prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until slightly brown. The logs will feel soft but they will firm as they cool. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut diagonally into 3/4″ bars. Dust with powdered sugar. These freeze well in Zip-loc freezer bags or cookie tins. Makes approximately 64 delicious bars!

After you make these, you can head to your fav holiday bar and celebrate! Cheers!

Don't these look yum x tum! Photo by mjb2012
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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like You Know What!

Pile of gorgeous gifts
Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug has seen and heard the signs of the season and they are plentiful: First candle of advent lit in her church’s advent wreath–good job acolytes!–, twinkly lights up and glowing around her neighborhood (mjb is not too crazy about the cool-light LEDs, a little too Disneylandesque for her; she prefers the warmth of incandescent, but oh well, they are still festive in a Neon sort of way,  Christmas music playing on 94.7 the Wave way, way before Thanksgiving–they really get into the spirit early, and that same music playing in every store she frequents leading mjb to feel a little sorry for those people who find the music crazy-making. mjb’s advice: embrace it, people! Music increases endorphins and by way of that, happiness! Remember, the season flees as quickly as it approaches, kind of like those parking places at the mall disappearing as soon as you head down that aisle! Which brings missjunebug to the trickiest part of the season: gift buying!

missjunebug has a love hate relationship with gifting. She loves to get gifts, hates to give them. Just kidding! What she really loves is finding the right gift for the right person. No small feat for sure, but usually worth the effort. With the help of amazon.com and all the .com stores she loves as well as helpful reviews, missjunebug can come up with some pretty dece choices. When in doubt she buys something at the mall she likes and hopes that it gets re-gifted to her someday! JK again! When in doubt (for real!), she cops to the gift card and that keeps everybody happy. There’s also nothing quite like cold, hard cash to warm the heart.

Onto the fun part: gift wrapping! missjunebug loves this part BIG time! She just bought her heavyweight Hallmark paper today, buy one roll, get the second one for a dollar! Deal! She chose the Santa paper, the poinsettias and the Merry! Merry! graphics. She’s lined up her massive package of Costco tissue and wire-edged sparkly ribbons for sweet bows. What’s missing? The boxes! missjunebug bought all her stuff online and it comes sans box! Big bummer. She’ll just have to improvise! Or do some mall shopping for herself and get a box for every single thing she buys for herself and just can’t live without this time of year. Yeah, that’s sounds good! Merry! Merry!

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My oh my missjunebug LOVES pie!

Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...
Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pumpkin_Pie.jpg Scrumptious and good for you! Pumpkin pie is loaded with a healthful phytonutrient called beta-carotene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug got back into the country from the Land Down Under just in time to start baking pies for Thanksgiving! She’s sticking with the traditional tried and true Libby’s Pumpkin Pie and Karo Syrup Pecan Pie. You can’t go wrong with the classics! She throws in a Harvest Pie for good measure that provides a mouthwatering mouthful of Granny Smith apples and Ocean Spray cranberries. She’ll share that recipe as soon as she makes her trip to the market to gather the necessary ingredients…absolutely the hardest part of the whole process!

Speaking of desserts, please God don’t let Hostess go out of business! That’s just wrong! Life without the occasional Twinkie or handful of Donettes–powdered sugared or chocolate iced–is not worth living!

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...
English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake with cream filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

missjunebug wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving! It is far and away the best holiday of the year. The focus of Thanksgiving remains where it should: on friends, family, feasting, and fun. What more could a holiday merrymaker ask for except maybe another slice of pie, please! My oh my missjunebug loves pie!

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Ode to Candy Corn

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's cand...
English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's candy corn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White pointy head

Orange body quadrilateral

Yellow Gumby feet

Bite the base first,

Then the body.

Save the tippy tip

for last: a light, bright,

sugary sweet tiny bite.

“Made with Real Honey”

offers the perfect pretext

to eat first one

then another

and another to 19 for

a less than 150

calorie

treat!

missjunebug wants to assure you that her love of Brach’s Candy Corn–yes it has to be Brach’s–is unleashed only once a year on the First Day of Fall, give or take a day or two for just a few weeks. This seasonal favorite recalls all the best of autumn days giving way to the spooky nights of October and culminating in carved pumpkins and costumed revelry.  missjunebug encourages you to think about your seasonal favs and to join her in her seasonal cheer: “All for Fall!”

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Home is Where the Comfort Is

One of missjunebug’s favorite words has always been comfort. It has a pillowy sound that is as soothing as its meaning. It also has some interesting  connections in our language that resonant with many of us: to give comfort, to receive comfort, to enjoy comfort food, to relax and be comfortable, especially in our surroundings and clothing, to feel comfortable with someone you’ve just met or seen again after a long time, and to work well because you are in your comfort zone. She even likes the antithetical use of it: to give cold comfort to someone, meaning of course, no comfort at all.

There are a few brand applications of comfort that no doubt have parlayed their success at least partially from the word comfort figuring prominently in their products. Who wouldn’t want to stay at The Comfort Inn? Who would refuse a cocktail made with, yes, you guessed it, Southern Comfort? Better yet imagine having that drink, “a unique blend of natural fruit, spice and whiskey flavors that together create a distinct taste” while you are relaxing in your comfy room at the Comfort Inn? Sounds pretty comfortable to missjunebug.

But perhaps the most likely location to find comfort is home. Home sweet, comfortable home. missjunebug has experienced an epiphany of profound proportions recently, having been absented from her home for (count ’em) 18 days. And not on vacay either. That kind of absence is pretty easy to handle even if you get a little homesick. But missjunebug was confined to a hospital bed enduring one of the most uncomfortable experiences of her life.

Now believe missjunebug when she says she is super thankful for all the great care she received from doctors and nurses on her “team” as if she is in some kind of endurance sport, which now that she thinks of it, maybe she is. But you must know there was nothing comfortable about it. She’s pretty sure that if there are any Al Qaeda guys out there we need to subject to some attitude adjustment, all we have to do is arrange for NG (nasal gastric) tubes to be inserted down their throats and they’d come around to seeing things our way pretty damn quick.

So you’ve probably figured out her epiphany by now, as banal and cliché as it may be: There is no place like home. No place more comfortable, cheery, freeing, fresh, happy, and shiny. She is so thankful to be home with her steadfast Mr.JB, her super doodle Spoon, and her precious Lefty kitty. She plans to keep tapping her heels together from time to time to make sure she stays there.

 

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missjunebug Wonders: Why Are Weddings So Wonderful?

Trouwringen tweekleur

Lately missjunebug has been thinking about the wonder of weddings. And she’s come up with some ideas about why they’re so wonderful (Debbie Downer Alert!) despite the fact that many marriages fail and the longer the marriage the rougher the going).

Weddings are hopeful! They affirm the couple’s love and share the hope that this is the real thing! This one will last and flourish and defy the odds! Despite all the carnage and collateral damage of divorce evident everywhere in the culture, this couple this time will make it! And the guests believe in the shiny hope for the future the lovely bride and handsome groom represent! And missjunebug believes, too! Believe her when she says she believes!

Good weddings have toasts with champagne.

Better weddings have open bars.

The best weddings have both!

If the guests aren’t fully on board with the hope thing, they can toast away any slight misgivings and really enjoy themselves! This also makes getting out on the dance floor much, much easier which brings missjunebug to her next point.

Weddings are wonderful venues for dance floor shenanigans. missjunebug believes in the power of the cool dance move. The wedding guest just needs one good one which he or she executes over and over as the music plays. missjunebug recommends Running Man. It’s fun and zippy and a really good workout! Especially in heels!

Weddings are wonderful opportunities to reconnect with friends and relatives you haven’t seen in years and haven’t managed to keep in touch with except for the occasional Facebook poke (ack! Zuck! What were you thinking!?), giving you a chance to hone your small talk skills. missjunebug can never get enough small talk and she’s sure you feel the same, too.

Weddings (like plane crashes) come in threes. If you’ve received one wedding invitation, expect two more before the year is out. WonderFUN x 3! Then expect to spend your time trolling registries to get just the right present that hasn’t already been purchased, leaving you with items under 10 dollars or over 200 dollars. Or you can be a rebel and buy a non-registry item! Risky, but commendable.

Okay, missjunebug has had her fun poking fun at weddings! She’s actually in love with the wonder of weddings and wonders daily when ElderJB and TinyJB will have a wonderful one of their own. Cue: Deep Sigh.

 

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A Clean Well-Lighted Blog and a Good Home-Cooked Meal

The best chocolate sheet cake.  Ever.
The best chocolate sheet cake. Ever. (Photo credit: Appletini ?)

missjunebug cooked last night! A complete chickeny meal with two side veggies, a creamy risotto, and a rockin’ dessert! Who does she have to thank for this not-so-everyday occurrence? That unrivaled blogger The Pioneer Woman and missjunebug’s inspiration, ElderJB!

As an occasional blogger herself, missjunebug is truly inspired by the blogs of others and Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog tops the list of blogs worth checking out. This blog has everything and missjunebug’s blog looks really Mickey Mouse in comparison (no offense, MM!). The only things missjunebug can hold against PW is that she’s from Oklahoma and she graduated from USC. What an unfortunate combination! missjunebug says this with the authority of being a Texan who graduated from UT Austin (Hook ‘Em Horns!). That said, The Pioneer Woman is truly inspiring especially by way of the recipes presented and the outrageously good photos of the cooking process that documents every possible step and then some.

missjunebug thought it was time for some home cooking for her ElderJB who is visiting from his home-away-from-home, Rwanda. Yes, she’d made the requisite Easter ham and pineapple stuffing for Sunday’s celebration, but the junebugs had managed to dine out quite a bit, too, so it was time for some home-cooked nutrition to round things out.

The two vegetable sides were simple: bacon-laced green beans and glazed carrots. Yum. The requisite starch? (requisite must be the Word of the Day!!) Lundberg’s Parmesan Risotto, simple and simply wonderful and done in 20! The main course? Ree’s Chicken in Mustard Sauce laced with plenty of whole grain mustard, a dollop of Grey Poupon, and a full cup of brandy. That’s what missjunebug is talkin’ about! Throw in some garlic and cream, and you’ve got a crave-able sauce that embraces chicken like no other! missjunebug won’t waste your time re-writing the recipe here: check it out on Pioneer Woman yourself when you need something delicious and not too complicated.

Now on to the really important part: the dessert! The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. missjunebug heartily concurs with naming this Texas-size sheet cake the best ever because it is the best ever! This recipe is not exactly easy. There are some steps involved that take some time, melting butter, stirring in lots and lots of cocoa, mixing sugar and flour and stirring pretty much nonstop for a while, then pretty much repeating these same steps for the decadent icing but it is so worth it! Check out The Pioneer Woman for this recipe and make it very, very soon. You will be thanking yourself for days!

Not only is The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. a great dessert, it makes an awesome breakfast with a big glass of cold milk (non-fat, natch!). And, yes, that’s what missjunebug had for breakfast this morning!

Let’s hear it for homecomings and home cooking!

 

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Happy Easter! Happy Springtime! Happy Life!

Happy chickie says "Happy Easter"!!!

missjunebug has been away for far too long. She’s been having some fun and dealing with some unfun, kind of like the way life usually is, but she couldn’t let this day pass without wishing a Happy Easter to her faithful readers. Speaking of faith, it’s a good thing to have. She wishes you a lot of it, if you find yourself occasionally lacking in that department. It’s a really good thing to have a pocketful of to carry around with you at all times and in all places. This is as good a day as any to start thinking about getting some! Maybe even the perfect day to start thinking about it, come to think of it!

missjunebug hopes you are joined with friends and family, sharing a meal, a stimulating conversation (ElderJB is the master of ceremonies at the dinner table for starting all philosophicals!) and a moment of reflection on all there is to be grateful for!

Happy Easter! Happy Springtime! Happy Life!

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Two Website Finds…Divine!

English: Red Pinterest logo
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has been having some fun on the internet! She’s been busy creating her own personal bulletin boards that reflect her tastes, aspirations, desires, and interests. Yes, you guessed it: Pinterest! This is almost as much fun as shopping on the internet, but there’s no credit card required!!

missjunebug’s boards include My Style which reflects fashion preferences, a couple on food (healthy recs “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much” and a semi-healthy mega-delicious one entitled “Splurges, Indulgences, and Extravagances” with delicious pics of all those craved only-every-once–in-a-while treats missjunebug can’t live without. What else? Home Decor featuring wished for things for the Hacienda. Tangible Philosophies, a thought-provoking collection of smart things people have mused about and displayed in the most interesting of ways.

missjunebug is sure you get the idea behind Pinterest. Pin pics to  your heart’s content, explore the interests of others, and get altogether inspired by the great ideas out there being pinned and repinned. Cool x 10. Thanks to missjunebug’s friend Rox and her friend for recommending this website. Oh, and speaking of friends one of the coolest parts of Pinterest is following your friend’s interests! Double good fun fo sho.

Now just imagine a website pinning up Design Finds from all over the world that are for sale from $1 to $10,000 or more. Credit card required! If you get a little weary of living in the potential world of fun finds from pinning on Pinterest, move over to Fab.com to do some serious shopping in many interesting marketplaces including ones for fashionistas to foodies and everything in between. missjunebug just made her first purchase of a cool waterproof winter jacket for upcoming travel to the Stans! Yeah, those Stans: Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan! She will be warm and dry no matter the weather there! If you’re a fan of the bargain find on Amazon.com you’ll love the hunt for design finds on Fab.com.

missjunebug wishes you Happy Pinning on Pinterest and Divine Design Find Shopping on Fab.com!

 

 

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missjunebug’s New Flav Fave: TJ’s Non-Pareils

missjunebug loves her TJ's Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils So Much, She Gave Them a Rose Bouquet!

missjunebug does not take the word nonpareil lightly. Non-pareil means “having no equal” and “unrivaled.” Pretty strong words to live up to. But that’s exactly what Trader Joe’s 73% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils are: nonpareil.

Two ingredients, endless deliciousness. The chocolate is super dark, super smooth and chocolately and the white sprinkles will remind you of all the (inferior) nonpareils you scarfed down as a kid. These TJ nonpareils leave the ones of missjunebug’s youth in the dustbin of history, to borrow a phrase from Dubya.

Walk, no run to your local Trader Joe’s and buy a bunch of these candies. Especially if you’ve already managed to eat your way through your Valentine’s Day candy from yesterday. Come one, you know you have. And you’ve got to love the marketing brilliance of measuring out Belgium Dark Chocolate in such precise percentages. missjunebug for sure would pass on 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils. Who wouldn’t? You gotta have 73%!

Thanks, Trader Joe’s, for another great product. missjunebug thinks that 3 of these gems for 110 calories is a bargain even Weight Watchers would approve. Satisfaction guaranteed!

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missjunebug’s Homage to Valentine’s Day or How to Fall Back in Love with Your Sweetie Pie

 

One from the Heart! Happy Valentine's Day from missjunebug!

missjunebug has decided to write her missive about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day Eve. Pourquoi? (the requisite bon mot of French for V-Day) you may ask?

Because tomorrow missjunebug will be way, way, way too busy scarfing down See’s Candies Strawberry Creams and swilling Frexinet Champagne in that sexy-chic and sleek black bottle and swirling her new Jennifer Miller Jewelry faux (another Français bon mot!!!) diamond-size seven-yellow gold bracelet around her wrist that she ordered for Mr.JB to give her (natch!), to be bothered with anything wordpressy and tedious.

missjunebug has mixed feelings about V-Day what with all the commercial hoop-la, Lifetime cry-fest movies, and rom-coms littering the airwaves, streaming bands of Netflix, and guilty pleasure-rented iPad movies. (missjunebugTip: Skip Blue Valentine with Gosling and Williams: triple downer on steroids, but an excellent film–save it for a dark and stormy winter’s night. But if you do choose to watch it –even though the title alone should scare you off–have Jane Eyre (2011) or Pride & Prejudice (any version will do) or Downton Abbey Season One waiting in the wings for an emotional uplift because you are going to need it after BV).

missjunebug’s bottom Valentine line is it’s all about LOVE.

So how do we fall back into LOVE if our Sweetie Pies (MrJB for mjb) have been with us for 30+ years??? missjunebug has done thousands and thousands of loads of laundry, washing the Jockey t-shirts and underwear (eww: skid marks!) of her SP about a kagillion times, fixed countless sometimes-inspired meals, (sometimes not), made the bed every morning (or at least her half of the bed, because mjb must admit, her SP makes his half–thanks Mr.JB), planned social outings because somehow that task falls to her most of the time, and even set the queue for their streaming evening entertainment (no more WWII movies puhleeze, Mr.JB; missjunebug is currently partial to French subtitled rom-coms, a cut above the American ones–except for any American-made rom-com with her guilty crush AplusK. (sigh). Sorry Demi, you did the one thing that can’t be allowed a woman in Hollywood married to a (much) younger man: you got old. missjunebug so does not envy you this V-Day.

But missjunebug digresses. How to get the LOVE back into a mature marriage? That is the V-Day question. And here are missjunebug’s super practical, maybe no-fail mjbTips to help you just do it. After all, LOVE is a verb, an action, (mjb’s Master’s in English pays off big time) and that will make all the difference.

1. Say a prayer every night thanking God for your man. missjunebug has a dear friend who recently lost hers and believe mjb when she says that is NO picnic. Her dear friend is shouldering on, but the thing is, she no longer has a solid, manly man shoulder to lean on. Think about that the next time you start mentally nagging your SP. At least he is THERE to listen to your nagging if you have the temerity to vocalize it. mjb advice: Stifle the nagging. It is a guaranteed marriage and romance buzzkill. Don’t ever, ever go there. A) It doesn’t work. B) It’s rude as well as unkind and (mostly) unwarranted. and C) It doesn’t work. You’re a smart cookie. Figure out a way to politely cajole or do the damn thing yourself that has to get done…remember LOVE is also a verb, not just a noun. Okay, so say that prayer of gratitude to soften you naggy attitude. You won’t regret it, and God and your help-meet with appreciate it. Guaranteed.

2. Be happy to plan the social outings. You know all your girlfriends are having to do the same thing, too, so have some fun with it and double date or triple date. mjb has two dear friends + hubs that she and her Mr.JB celebrate New Year’s Eve with every year. No better place to be than in one of their homes, drinking champagne (or martinis–triple olives, please), and popping Poppers when the clock strikes twelve and poor old Dick Clark gets rolled out again on his taxidermy stand to wish us all a Happy New Year‘s. Fun times x 6!!! So bust out that calendar, email, text, tweet, or call your married friends or solid single friends–don’t invite problems with unattached women you can’t trust–because our silver fox men are looking better and wealthier every year! True dat. And make some fun plans to do something, anything that shakes up the routine a bit. A movie, a dinner and a movie, a museum date, a local play, a music experience, a quick stroll around the outlet malls (okay, maybe not so quick), a walk along the beach or in your own neighborhood! Many, many fun things to do if  you’re willing to make the initial move. Just do it!

3. Praise your husband to your children. You loved ’em and nurtured ’em unconditionally, but your SP taught them how to be wonderful men and women. ElderJB and TinyJB don’t spend much time referencing what they learned from their mom missjunebug, but you can bet Mr.JB gets mentioned repeatedly in sentences that begin: I remember Dad said… I remember Dad did this.. I remember everything I every learned from Dad and just now I’m beginning to appreciate his profound wisdom as a man, husband, father, friend, breadwinner, spiritual leader, and all round great and ethical human being. So say ElderJB and TinyJB. So says missjunebug. So say we all.

4. Keep buying you SP’s wardrobe and sending those shirts to the cleaners-you know you’ll never get around to ironing all of them so don’t kid yourself! Keep your man well-clothed and encourage the occasional haircut, eyebrow trim, and nose and ear ream-out. Speaking of ream-outs. Get him in for his colonoscopy asap if he hasn’t had one yet! This kind of maintenance is absolutely essential for a full and fun second half of life. And throw in a physical with a good internist while you are at it. Encourage good grooming and exercise to maintain your SP in tip-top shape. Who benefits? He does, of course. But so do you!

5. Feed you man according to the Michael Pollan/Mark Bittman plan. Food does matter so “eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” And throw in a little red wine for good measure. One of mjb and Mr.JB’s faves? Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon featured on a previous mjb blog post! But choose his fave and you can’t go wrong. Cheers!

Are there other tips? Keep things interesting in the bedroom. A little lovely lacey and racey lingerie never hurt (missjunebug must try this herself sometime!). Surprise him every once in a while with an interesting story, an amusing anecdote, or just a line or two from the newspaper you can quote to him. Have both of you listen to NPR together in the morning as you prepare for your day…lots of good stories to talk and debate about that are always in the news. Listen to Marketplace.org for some fun and scary facts about our economy! Our local NPR station KCLU 88.3 has the best local coverage, too, for Ventura County so you get triple benefit with news, weather, and traffic reports. This year Mr.JB and mjb donated some funds and received excellent seats to see Yo Yo Ma, master cellist, up in Santa Barbara in April. What a great cause to support and what a great gift in return! Thanks KCLU and program director Mary Olsen. Sweet x 88.3.

Other mjbTips? Just love him up before he leaves the house with a big hug and love him up with a big hug when he comes home. It’s rough out there, and our SPs are not getting any younger, better maybe, but not younger. Somehow what they’re up against, is younger, faster, hipper, and much more technologically expert, so fortify them with hugs infused with LOVE and encouragement.

Are you back in love with your SP yet? No? Okay, then think of all the reasons you married him in the first place, and yeah, you picked him!! That’s a really good thing to remember!

Is he sweet? funny? kind? adventurous? smart? capable? loving? spiritual? giving? cute? handsome? (lucky you! But missjunebug will take intelligence over looks any day of the week and twice on Sundays! just mjb’s pref.) or all of the above? (even luckier you!). In other words, remember why you fell in love with him and want to be in love with him again. It’s all still there, you just have to take the time to discover it again.

And remember what Rhianna wisely sings, “I found love in a hopeless place…I found love in a hope-less place.”

You can too! Now go give your man a big Valentine’s Eve hug and an even bigger one tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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missjunebug Knows This For Sure: Big Brothers Rule!

English: Flag of Dallas, Texas Esperanto: Flag...
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missjunebug had the pleasure of greeting her JBBigBro today in her own driveway! Yes! He made the trip from way back east and south, from Dallas, (missjunebug’s darlin’, darlin’ Dallas) for a little visit and caregiving. Thanks, Larry! You rule! And thanks to missjunebug’s fab sis-in-law who helped think up this crazy, brilliant idea!

missjunebug doesn’t just have any JBBigBro; she has the best BigBro in the world. He is beyond kind, super interesting to talk to, knows all things architectural, being an A.I.A. guy in the architect biz for close to forever, well-read, talented in the kitchen, and just the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. As those near and dear to him can attest, he is a wonderful husband, devoted to his “bride” as he still calls her (40+ years later!!! No lie!!–No starter marriage, either), terrific father of two terrific kids, and doting grandfather (Pops) of two of the most delightful grandkidlets on Planet Earth (Shout-out! to Carly and Christopher). Oh wait, missjunebug forgot to mention: He is the best JBBigBro EVER.

missjunebug won’t bore you with the details of their idyllic and tortured childhoods–you know how childhoods are! Suffice to say they had fun playing in the backyard, chasing the Dallas Transit bus down their block in a game called “Beat the Bus,” raising chickens in their side yard, only to take them back  to their aunt’s farm for the final day of reckoning and some outstanding homemade chicken noodle soup (Zuck, eat your heart out–we killed our own meat, too), heading to the Texas State Fair every October for Czech Day and family fun.

One of the most obsessive preoccupations missjunebug shared with her JBBigBro was collecting all the brochures of all the new car designs from the fab Auto Show in the Automobile Building (natch!) at the Fair, hauling them home, and cutting out pictures of the cars to set up their own car lots! Their dad Red was in the auto body repair business (35 years! Red’s Body Shop, Garland Rd, Dallas, Texas!!) so somehow this low, low tech game made perfect sense to them. What to do when their cars got into the inevitable wrecks which took place on the card deck highways? Straighten out those crimped bumpers between the pages of some really heavy World Book Encyclopedias, of course! It did the trick every time and those paper (doll!) cars were right back on the card deck highways trekking through their modest living room! Fun x 10!!

missjunebug and her BigBro have been inseparable (metaphorically) ever since. He is her Rock and her Mainstay. He is her JBBigBro. And she thanks God for him everyday (and thanks her divine JBSis-in-Law for the loan of him this week!)

Here’s to you, JBBro! Cheers!

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A Few of missjunebug’s Favorite Things

English: Christmas cookies in Czech republic. ...
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missjunebug is not much of a fan of that Julie Andrews song from the treacly Sound of Music--was that really Best Picture??–my! how tastes have changed. Anyway she still likes the idea behind the song: enumerating favorite things can be fun and useful. So here are a few of missjunebug’s current favorite things this time of year:

The Somis Nut House–the most awesome place to buy holiday candy, fruit, and nuts in Ventura County, SoCal. Located in an unassuming building reminiscent of a big shed, you’ll find an array of  candy favorites vintage and new as well as nuts amped up with spices, sugars, and smoke. She even found a spicy little mix called Samurai whose name speaks for itself! There are the usual sweet suspects: cherry sours, licorice, a virtual gummy zoo of shapes, malted milk balls on steroids, English toffee that’s pricey but so worth it, and many other chocolatey and foil-wrapped Christmas favs. And nuts and dried fruits galore. Mr.JB’s fav? Dried Kiwi fruit! Pale green disks of sugary sweet fruity goodness that look perfect as the centerpiece of a Christmas gift box. Where is this delightful house of delicacies? 4475 East Los Angeles Avenue  Somis, CA 93066-9616 Call them at (805) 386-1211 or check out their website at www.somisnuthouse.com. You and your sweet tooth will be thanking Somis Nut House (and missjunebug) the rest of the holiday season!

Pandora Radio set to Christmas Jazz. If you are a little tired of Jingle Bells barked by dogs or the Vienna Boys Choir somber Latinate songs of the season or the mellifluous but slightly depressing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” crooned by various old school musical masters like Bing and Tony or updated by Michael B. then try the instrumental and upbeat Christmas Jazz stream playing right now on Pandora. missjunebug recommends it as the best possible music to decorate a Christmas tree or bake cookies to. For a slightly edgier mix try setting your Pandora to Mannheim Steamroller. That will definitely get your Christmas groove on.

Spritz Cookies! What would Christmas be without these little pressed wonders so sparkly and buttery! missjunebug knows you remember she already gave you the recipe for those cookies in a previous blog post. If you don’t believe her just search her very accommodating site for it under Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes! And make some! If  you can’t find the time to do that and you still crave sugar cookies, try to make it to Royal Bakery in Ventura for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that are so worth the drive! Green trees! Red stockings! Black and white cows! Okay, so the cow cookies are not particularly seasonal, but they are delicious!

A fresh-cut Christmas Tree from the Men of the Elks Lodge or other such helping organization! These dedicated white-haired gentlemen provide funding for so many worthy charitable enterprises in local communities, you’ll feel practically holy buying a tree from them! And the piney fragrance is worth every penny! So bite the bullet, dole out the cash, and inhale the green freshness of that very noble Nobel Fir!

A Kiva Gift Card to help support small business entrepreneurs throughout the world. This is the quintessential gift that keeps on giving. As soon as the global entrepreneur pays back the loan, guess what? You can re-lend it again! And again! missjunebug has helped finance a Kenyan moto man so that he could buy some new tires for his burgeoning motorcycle taxi transportation service, a Rwandan woman who needed to procure beauty products for her salon, and another Rwandan woman supplying her clothing business with some fresh fashions! It’s never been more interesting to provide a hand up, not a hand out! Check out this super worthy enterprise at www.kiva.com!

Now missjunebug has an important question for you: What are your favorite things of the season? Shopping? Eating? Watching Christmasy movies–(actually, missjunebug should have included this one, too). Figure it out! Get busy doing them! And do as Julia says,”I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Petite Pumpkins Straddle the Holiday Season

A Plethora of Petite Pumpkins Christmas Style! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug wasn’t quite ready to part with her petite pumpkins after Halloween so she decided to bust out her Liquitex Acrylic Paints and have some fun. She’s done this little transformation for a few years for a bunch of good reasons. Here are some of them:

1. Those little pumpkins are just too cute to throw out! missjunebug likes the idea of repurposing her decorations whenever possible.

2. This painting project is so easy! It just takes a couple of hours depending upon how intricate you want to get with your designs.

3.  missjunebug loves instant gratification and these little pumpkin gems just glow once painted with shimmery gold, bronze, silver, red, and green. But feel free to create your own color palette if you try this fun project.

4.  It’s impossible to mess this project up! Any design works! Any color works! And the clean up is super easy. Swirl your brushes in some water and voila! You are done!

Place these petite pumpkins around the house for a colorful burst of holiday spirit or gather them all together for a lovely centerpiece. Get your holiday arts and craft groove on! You will be delighted with the results!

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…

Christmas tree with presents
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missjunebug knows you know the rest. She was running a few errands today, a Saturday, something she almost never does since she has the leisure to shop during the week when 90% of the world is working give or take a per cent or two. And what does she find at her local mall? A FULL sign on level one of the parking garage. No way! She circled up to level two where she usually parks where there were only 56 spaces available out of hundreds. No way!

Way.

Lucky for missjunebug she found an open one! Now Level Two was down to 55 spaces!

missjunebug was on a mission! She was buying a birthday gift card for a friend and a wedding present for a lovely niece, but the people she was bumping into had already polished off the Halloween candy and dashed right to the Christmas stocking. And stocking up they were! Perhaps this is a good sign for the economic doldrums the country’s been navigating through for three years give or take a year. (Check out Margin Call with Kevin Spacey if you need a refresh about how we ended up in those econodoldrums.)

But missjunebug digresses.

Back to the madcap shopping going on at her mall: she was hardly in the mood for it. Why? She’d just watched Skipping Christmas the day before. Yes, you read that right. She watched her first Christmas movie on the 4th day of November while she was baking cookies for a church event–one unrelated to holiday cheer.

missjunebug is just not ready for the seasonal whimsy quite yet! And if you are at all familiar with John Grisham‘s little homage to Christmas…spoiler alert…believe missjunebug when she says in the filmed version despite what the title promises, the Kranks played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis most definitely do not skip Christmas.

Not that missjunebug would really want to. She’d just like to ask for a delay of game! At least tonight she can fall back an hour on the clock postponing the frenzied inevitable.

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missjunebug’s Plethora of POPular Culture Goings-On

This Little Sticker Takes You on a Walk Through Three Chinese Dynasties! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug should probably be booted from blogging for that post title, but oh well. She has a few observations and recommendations that don’t really deserve more than a passing mention so she’s lumping them all together in a pretty disorganized media miscellany. So here goes:

She finds it pretty cool that Ken Burn’s new PBS documentary Prohibition is airing in close proximity to the new season for HBO‘s acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire. Sometimes the stars and planets align perfectly to provide delight. Most poignant scene in B.E‘s first episode? The Great War’s veteran and partner to upstart Jimmy Darmody tucked away in his room meticulously cutting out pictures of happy families from magazines and carefully glueing them into his scrapbook of Impossible Dreams for a Normal Life (missjunebug’s title!). Not likely to happen with half a face. Heartwrench!

Speaking of heartwrench: AplusK plus Mrs.Kutcher no more? To quote Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, “It’s just so sad!” But missjunebug will take AplusK’s advice and not assume anything! She hopes for the best for both. And she’d like to remind the gossips and the media stalkers of this powerful celebrity duo of the wise Jewish proverb: “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.”

missjunebug’s fav cooking series on HGTV worth a look: Chopped! hosted by one of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy guys. The money part of the show? The competition is completed in just one hour! No need to watch week after week to see who wins. missjunebug knows you know how many talent/reality HGTV shows use the tune-in-forever-to-figure-out-who-wins format. Annoying x 10. The chefs in Chopped! have wack ingredients for three menu items: appetizer, entree, and dessert. And voila! A loser is mercilessly chopped round by round until there’s one chef standing. All within one hour! Brilliant!

New series actor not to be missed? Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. What a quirky, lovable character she plays! missjunebug suspects she is not working against type in playing the zany Jess. The beauty part to missjunebug is that she’s playing a teacher who is not too cool for school like that red meanie Sue Sylvester! Jess’s just right! And so is Z. Deschanel.

Best movie bet: Moneyball with Brad Pitt. missjunebug is a football fan from way, way back; baseball? not so much. But Moneyball is about thinking outside the box or the baseline, not baseball per se. It also doesn’t hurt to see it at the local Muvico with her p.i.c. in luxe seats while eating free popcorn and drinking a Pilsner glass full of Stella. Oh. my. yes. Time well spent. missjunebug’s SAG vote for best male performance in a film in 2011 will mos def go to Mr. Pitt.

One last popular goings-on: The new exhibit at missjunebug’s and Mr.JB’s fav museum: The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. The curators here must have a direct line to Beijing and Xian because they’ve done it again putting together a rad collection of Chinese artifacts in their new show Warriors, Tombs, and Temples. missjunebug has one word for it: AWESOME. Find out all you need to know about W,T & T at www.bowers.org. Take a walk through Chinese history wending your way from the cruel Qin to the civilizing Han through the talented Tang dynasty. The audio tour is erudite but accessible; the artifacts, from the Xian terracotta warriors to the containers for the Buddha’s finger bone are fierce! Don’t miss this!

One last thing: Before Ocktoberfest ends, have a pretzel! Drink a beer! Eat a brat! missjunebug had the good fortune to enjoy homemade pretzels made by her inspired Mr.JB who just returned from Munich where he imbibed with the rest of the Ocktoberfesters!  So get your Pretzel On!

Pretzel Perfection! At Least Taste Wise! Thanks, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2011

 

 

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missjunebug’s Grilled Cheese Italian Style!

Golden Brown, Melty, and Delicious! Photo by mjb2011
Golden Brown, Melty, and Delicious! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has been doing her best to keep her cruise groove on. She clocks serious time in her courtyard fountain-side chaise lounge, she occasionally revisits her travel pictures in her iPhoto gallery, and she eats Italian whenever possible!

A few weeks ago she came across a delicious entree at the local hospital where she volunteers that screamed ITALIANO! One of the perks for volunteering is an after-volunteer-work free lunch in the hospital cafeteria that never disappoints. The provolone, tomato, and basil sandwich on chibatta bread was outstanding! The cafeteria culinary experience inspired missjunebug to replicate it at home. Here’s are the simple steps to a delicious variation on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich.

missjunebug’s Grilled Cheese Italiano

Ingredients

1 Kaiser roll (or Chibatta bread) cut in half

2 slices provolone cheese

4-6 tomato slices

Fresh basil leaves

Kosher Salt

Pepper

Directions

In a skillet melt a little butter and place the two halves of the roll cut side down. Press the halves down to bring to warm up the halves and bring to a golden brown.

Remove the halves and assemble the sandwich: place a slice of provolone on each half. Pile on the tomato slices on one half. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Pile the basil on the other half and then carefully press the two halves together. Butter the top of the sandwich.

Place the sandwich back in the buttered skillet. Cover with a lid to get the provolone melting over low to medium heat. After a few minutes, remove the lid and flip the sandwich over to brown the other side and bring the provolone to melty perfection.

Buon appetito!

Simple Ingredients: Tomatoes! Provolone! Basil! Photo by mjb2011
Simple Ingredients: Tomatoes! Provolone! Basil! Photo by mjb2011
Assemble as shown! Photo by mjb2011
Assemble as shown! Photo by mjb2011
Grill covered for a little while to get the melt on! Photo by mjb2011
Grill covered for a little while to get the melt on! Photo by mjb2011
Plate up! Photo by mjb2011
Plate up! Photo by mjb2011
Up close and delicious! Photo by mjb2011
Up close and delicious! Photo by mjb2011

So put all those tomatoes to use you’ve been growing in your backyard garden! Have a little red, white, and green grilled cheese!

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Lowly Veggie Gets a Makeover

Cauliflower
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missjunebug is very fond of cauliflower; her family less so. So she decided to give her shiny new head of cauliflower an ambush makeover to bring the love to the lowly veggie. That little flowereted head never knew what hit it! And what hit it was her shiny new immersion blender, missjunebug’s current fav kitchen gadget.

Here’s her magical and transformative recipe adapted from a FoodTV recipe.

missjunebug’s “Mashed Potatoes” Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

1 tablespoon softened cream cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Directions

Cut up the cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the stem and outer leaves. Place in salted boiling water for 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. While still warm, use an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower. Add the softened cream cheese, the parmesan cheese, and the butter. Finish off with salt and pepper and blend until the cauliflower begins to magically transform into “mashed potatoes.” Really, it will! And missjunebug guarantees it tastes Dee Licious!

You will never look at cauliflower with disdain again! If you crave an even healthier version of this recipe, missjunebug suggests you might cut back on the butter, but she herself will not go there. Life is short. Butter is good.

Either way, enjoy!

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Clear Liquid Diets: High on Clarity; Low on Satisfaction

Mayo Clinic
The following foods are allowed in a clear liquid diet:
Plain water
Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice
Strained lemonade or fruit punch
Broth (bouillon or consomme)
Clear sodas or sports drinks NO coke or rootbeer
Plain gelatin
Honey
Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp
Tea or coffee with no cream
missjunebug wishes she could! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug wishes she could! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has been spending the day trying to keep her mind solidly engaged so she doesn’t think about solid food. What did she do? Read through every food magazine she had within arm’s reach of course!

Bon Appetit!

Sunset!

Real Simple!

All great mags with lots and lots of recipes and stylized food photos! Just what missjunebug needed to while away the time until she can enjoy real food again!

Call her a masochistic little bug, but she couldn’t help herself.  She had to do something and that something could not require much energy! Ripping recipes out of bright and shiny magazines that she will probably file away and never look at again seemed like the perfect storm of a solution.

missjunebug will be liberated from her dietary restrictions in a couple of days but in case you ever need a clear liquid diet, here are some ground rules you might find helpful!

According to the Mayo Clinic the following foods are allowed in a clear liquid diet:

Plain water

Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice

Strained lemonade or fruit punch

Broth (bouillon or consomme)

Clear sodas or sports drinks; NO coke or rootbeer

Plain gelatin

Honey

Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp

Tea or coffee with no cream

So many yummy choices!!! missjunebug got extra creative and froze some of her fruit juice for a delicious slushy!

Meh.

missjunebug hopes you won’t need a clear liquid diet anytime soon, but if you do, you’ll know what to do!!

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The Case Against Packing Light

Suitcase
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missjunebug and her Mr.JB are heading out for a cruise adventure soon on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Destination: Mediterranean! She’s been busy as a bee (mixed simile since she’s a junebug!) selecting her wardrobe and thinking about the different philosophies out there regarding packing for trips.

One of her acquaintances explained how she packed for a recent trip two-week trip to Paris: twenty-two inches of carry-on only. What was her secret? Only two pairs of shoes-walking and dress, a few neutral pants and tops, one dress, and lots and lots of scarves to make each outfit look fresh and new.

Hmmm. In Paris with only two pairs of shoes? That is strictly against missjunebug’s fashionista principles. Part of the fun of the trip is the planning, anticipation, and pairing of shoes and accessories with outfits missjunebug feels good in! What’s the point of strolling down the Champs Elysees if you feel like a schlumpadink in infinitely recycled pants and tops and a few sad scarves! missjunebug appreciates the lightness of being a 22″ case affords the traveler, but give her the almost infinite capacity of her rolling duffle and Tumi wardrobe bag any day!

Another of her acquaintances created a brilliant system using Ziploc bags. One outfit per day including the underwear, bagged, zipped, ready to go. On her way to her morning shower, she grabs a Ziploc and voila! She is set! Fortunately for her, she’s svelte and her size 0-1 clothing is tiny to begin with so it easily fits into a Ziploc bag. missjunebug would need a trash size bag for her size 8/10’s! While she admires this packing system, her acquaintance occasionally finds she has underpacked since she only allows herself one Ziploc bag per day per trip. If something unusual comes up, she’s short clothes! This is tragic to missjunebug because her packing system relies on one very important one-word principle:

CHOICE!

Yes, missjunebug takes plenty of shoes, scarves, jewelry, shirts, pants, dresses, swimsuits, wraps, work-out togs, jackets, and p.j.s to pick and choose from! Why? Two reasons: She’s got a generous weight limit (50 lbs. per two bag limit)–why not use it? and she’s a bug of many moods–what she might feel like wearing one day will simply not necessarily work for another day. That’s a fact of human psychology and believe her when she says fashion and dress are filled with psychological pay-offs and pitfalls. Just watch one episode of Gossip Girl if you don’t believe her!

Soooo, missjunebug will be filling her bags to the brim and enjoying the infinite combinations her packing plan affords!

Bon Voyage!

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missjunebug Tries the Slow Love Diet

A pack of cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is nu...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has the good fortune to be cruising soon on a fine ship in a finer place: The Regent Seven Seas Mariner in the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Thanks, Mr.JB!

missjunebug and her Mr.JB have a hat trick of things to celebrate: 30th anniversary a few months back, turning 60 a few months from now, and a year out from cancer treatment with fingers tightly crossed! Woo double hoo!

In a preemptive strike against the inevitable onboard calorie-o-rama with fab food and bev available 24-hours a day, missjunebug and her Mr.JB have adopted and adapted a new eating plan based on the now famous Dr. Pat’s V-8 Juice diet outlined in Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning. Chapter 16 alone entitled “The Diet” is worth the price of the book because this simple and super restrictive eating plan works! In a nutshell: a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, a little V-8 juice for snack, a couple of hours later, a little container of fat-free cottage cheese, a little apple, a little cinnamon; a few hours after that, a little tuna or a little chicken, some greens and lots of water! By now it’s about 3:30 or so, so pull the tab on another little can of V-8! In a couple of hours, repeat the cottage cheese course, then it’s dinnertime with 4 oz. of protein, a cup of green veggies (broccoli, zuchs, summer squash, greenie beanies, or cucs.) Before bedtime, pop a little turkey and drink a little water! If you find yourself semi-famished between the two-hour intervals, have some–wait for it, wait for it–V-8 juice!!! (Please note the operative words in this diet description are “little” and “V-8”).

Ms. Browning had the good fortune to lose 15 pounds of her muffin weight (you’ve got to read the book) in a mere month. missjunebug will settle for five! So far, so good. She’s 3 pounds down and still has a couple of weeks to go before she cruises the high seas and the vast buffets!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

A Virtual Bouquet for All the Moms! Photo by mjb2011
A Virtual Bouquet for All the Moms! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug is enjoying this special day with breakfast out with her Mr.JB (Thanks, Ric’s Restaurant and Mr.JB!), a little shopping-new cruise-ready walking shoes-Privos! for missjunebug and J&M’s for Mr.JB, new purse-spring green Baggalini!, new pens-Sarasa Gel Retractables in a rainbow of colors! (missjunebug ♥ school supplies!), and a little post-shopping viewing of her fav show House Hunters International! She even got a couple of Hallmark e-cards from Mr.JB, Spoonbug, and LeftyCat that were high on hilarity with rockin’ musical accompaniment for chair-dancing, one of missjunebug’s favorite semi-active activities.

Almost a perfect day!

She’s heard from TinyJB via his sometime maligned but ever-so-useful-for-quick-connections Facebook posting that was simplicity itself–happy mother’s day (sic). Thanks, TinyJB! missjunebug ♥ you big time. (But work on capitalizing those proper nouns!) She’s hoping  ElderJB checks in, too! Time zone issues always plague such connections, but missjunebug thinks he might come through before Mother’s Day officially concludes! If she does hear from ElderJB, it will be a perfect Mother’s Day!

missjunebug hopes all the mothers out there have a fab day that honors them for all they do and all the love they give! Mothers rock!

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Dolce Far Niente: missjunebug is for it!

Woman with bound feet reclining on chaise loun...
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missjunebug is in the full embrace of dolce far niente. Yes, she has a few chores to do, a few projects to work on, a few bills to pay and a few emails to write, but in between those, she cultivates the sweetness of doing nothing.

What are missjunebug’s favorite ways to while away the sweetness of the day? Here are just a few:

Her alarm goes off early but she manages to fall back to sleep until she hears the dulcet tones of the Marketplace Morning Report on NPR. She loves those earnest and funny hosts, Kai Ryssdal, Steve Chiotakis, and Jeremy Hobson. And they always have a fresh idea to share about money matters large and small. Today’s broadcast ended on a bizarre but totally believable note. Charlie Sheen and a company he has ties with are working to trademark his infamous sayings. What a Winning! idea. missjunebug thinks such a revenue stream might come in handy since he doesn’t have a job anymore! Tant pis!

missjunebug’s next sweetness of doing nothing has more to do with sweetness than nothing: luxuriating over her morning breakfast of old-fashioned oatmeal, cooked long and slow to a perfect texture that only slightly reminds missjunebug of wallpaper paste! Slather on a little butter and a modicum of maple syrup and serve with a side of walnuts and golden raisins. Yum! No better way to start the day! Her latest find is the organic oatmeal at Sprouts that is even better than her former go-to Quaker’s!

During her breakfast time she takes a leisurely stroll through her neo-luddite paper copy of the Wall Street Journal. missjunebug has gone kindle and internet and all that but they will have to pry the morning paper made out of paper out of her cold, dead hands. She’s never giving up paper news! She’ll leave that to the generation next-ers. And, yes, she’s tried reading the news online, but to her it’s just not as easy and fun as the one she holds and folds and clips things out of to pass along or save.

After a few attempts at wrestling with her projects and other maintenance matters, she’s ready to settle in for some mindless catching up with what’s been waiting for her in that little treasure chest called the DVR. A little Mildred Pierce (ack! so dark! so depressing!) is the best attitude adjustment she can think of. missjunebug’s life is as bright as the sun in comparison with poor Mildred’s! To sort of quote Shakespeare: “Sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless (and sociopathic!!!) child,” but Kate Winslet‘s acting is pretty good. And missjunebug admires her for skipping the implants! One more video indulgence is Showtime‘s Episodes. As an occasional background actor, missjunebug can really appreciate the crazy antics of this show that reveals way-too-true truckloads of nonsense about Hollywood. Believe missjunebug when she says that show is laugh out loud funny!

A few more things to attend to then it’s outside with Spoonbug for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. missjunebug has two walks: the Ashramy Hard Up-the-Hill Huff and Puff walk and the Spoonbug Special Stop-and-Smell-the-Fire-Hydrant Walk. When she’s interested in cultivating dolce far niente, the Spoonbug Special is the one she takes. Spoonbug is a live-in-the-moment master of dolce far niente!

After a walk, there’s just enough time to grab some iced tea, have a seat on the glider in the backyard and take in the lovely view from the Hacienda. That’s about as sweet as it gets!

If you find your life jangled with too many, too much, or too often, try a little dolce far niente. missjunebug bets you feel better just thinking about it! Ciao!

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Put a Happy Face on This Week! :)

missjunebug had a good week this week. Here’s what constitutes a good week for missjunebug:

A Monday matinee and delicious lunch out with missjunebug’s sweet as pie p.i.c. and her fab daughter. The film? Jane Eyre (missjunebug gives it 5 thousand stars!!)

A Tuesday Bible Study class in which missjunebug’s classmates attempt to solve all the problems of the world. You rocked it (as always), Pastor Frank.

A nifty background gig: My Life as an Experiment (NBC pilot) (missjunebug gives it 5 stars for Overtime and Mileage and Donald Sutherland‘s uproarious behavior on the set!)

A clean missjunebug CT scan: woo-hoo

Good mjb blood work: woo-hooier

News of TinyJB’s Purdue acceptance: PhD: Pretty handy Degree to acquire in these economic times! Boiler Up, TinyJB! Get your Cheg on!

An email confirming ElderJB’s trip home from Rwanda for a little visit. Yo! Yo! Yippee!

Awesome wrap up to Battlestar Gallactica Season 2.5–Thanks, Netflix!

Clean eating (mostly) all week. Kudos to missjunebug’s dear neighbor and friend for signing on as her Get Healthy Buddy!

Warm, sunny weather Thursday. Hello, Spring!

Art class fun all day Friday.

A delicious breakfast out at Pete’s Breakfast House early Saturday!

missjunebug’s not particularly original motto Life is Good was mos def true this week.

missjunebug wishes you a good week to come!

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Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche=Delicious!

Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011
Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug recently updated her reliable old standard recipe for Quiche Lorraine and made it a tiny bit healthier by cutting back on the bacon and adding spinach and a little goat cheese.

Here’s her recipe re-do:

missjunebug’s Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche

Read the recipe through for the list of all the ingredients.

Homemade crust or Pillsbury Pie Crust (just unroll and you’re ready to go!)

4 eggs

1 cup Half and Half

1 cup whipping cream

4 eggs

1 T. flour

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Whisk up the above ingredients and set aside while you assemble the quiche savory components.

1 bag baby spinach

1/2 chopped onion

1 T. olive oil

Cook baby spinach in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until cooked down. Drain vigorously using paper towels–wrap and squeeze out the liquid, then chop.

Heat olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven. Toss in the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add the drained, chopped spinach and combine with onion. Saute together a minute or two, just long enough to blend flavors.

Now prepare these ingredients:

6 pieces bacon, fried until crisp (missjunebug loves Farmer John’s) and crumbled

1 1/2 cups Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, grated

2-3 T. goat cheese, cut up into tiny pieces

Place pie crust in 9″ or 10″ pie plate. missjunebug prefers ceramic ones, but glass or metal will do just fine, too.

Sprinkle in a layer of grated Swiss cheese, then a layer of crumbled bacon. Repeat until you use up all the Swiss cheese and bacon. In one layer, place the spinach/onion saute on top of the cheese/bacon layers. Finish off with the tiny pieces of goat cheese. This part is a little messy since the goat cheese is a soft cheese, but do the best you can.

Pour the custard mixture evenly over the ingredients in the pie plate. Bake on the lowest rack in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until quiche is golden brown on top and firm in the center.

Cut into generous slices and serve with a fruit salad of cut up Gala apples, mandarin orange segments, and raspberries! Delicious!

Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
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missjunebug’s Homage to Oprah’s Vegan Challenge

missjunebug appreciates Oprah and her almost-over-forever show, some shows more than others. Today was a some-more-than-others day! Michael Pollan of Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. fame shared his views about coming to terms with our meat-crazy culture, and Lisa Ling gave viewers an unprecedented, up close and grisly look into a Cargill “Meat Solutions” plant. Both gave missjunebug pause.

Michael P. and Lisa L.’s comments encourage food consciousness in Americans who are oblivious and hearty meat eaters, quick to opt for fast food, an industry that helps drive the slaughter of billions of animals a year. Neither recommends going vegan necessarily, leaving that to the personal decision of the viewer, but each sees value in knowing the truth and answering honestly Where’s the beef? It’s in the Temple Grandin tunnel about to get a four-inch bolt to the brain! That’s where.

missjunebug, for one, appreciates being reminded where her hamburger comes from. It’s easy to forget when she’s just grabbing a tidy, plastic-wrapped disk of frozen bright pink meat out of her local market’s freezer. She’s been going meatless several meals a week and Mr.JB, svelte and getting svelter is fine with the idea, too. What she doesn’t get is why people want to eat pretend meat products made of soy protein isolates instead that just aren’t that good for you! Ms. Freston of Veganist fame had no hesitation in recommending these suspicious replacements for meat. Tofurkey?? No thurk you!

And that’s enough to get missjunebug thinking about a few things. Why not try to cook up some plant-based meals instead of making the knee-jerk selection of the product that resembles meat just because it resembles meat. Break free a few days a week and dig into whole grains, beans, legumes, veggies, and fruits! The possiblities are endless. Here’s just one recipe missjunebug cooked up for dinner tonight in less than 10 minutes!

missjunebug’s Tomato, Garbanzo, and Spinach Scramble Minus the Eggs

Ingredients

4 small tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 bag baby spinach

1/2 T. olive oil

1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cooked brown rice

Directions

In a small skillet, drizzle in 1/2 T. olive oil. Heat gently. Add the quartered tomatoes, stir in the garbanzos. Add a shake or two of balsamic vinegar. Stir in the spinach and cook down to a nice juicy mix of flavors and colors. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice. Serves one. Yum.

missjunebug's Vegan Dinner! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug's Vegan Dinner! Photo by mjb2011

Today missjunebug was inspired by the Vegan Challenge and cooked up a little entree for dinner that fully qualified. She suggests you get inspired, too!

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Kringle! missjunebug’s New Fav

Here's the Vital Contact Info for Kringles Sent Straight to Your Home! Photo by mjb2011
Here's the Vital Contact Info for Kringles Sent Straight to Your Home! Photo by mjb2011

If missjunebug hadn’t gone shopping for TinyJB in her last visit to the Midwest, she would still be blithely unaware of one of the most delicious breakfasts treats on the planet! Thank goodness TinyJB needed a few grocery items in his kitchen (except beer, of course! Plenty of that in the frig!).

She enjoyed her very first Kringle sitting around TinyJB’s breakfast table last fall, enjoying the company of TinyJB, his cute as a button friend Leslie from Michigan, and Mr.JB. What a great impromptu breakfast! Cherry Kringle: A flaky, flat oval with fab cherry filling topped with the most delicious icing. It’s like a squashed filled donut sans frying! Brilliant!!!! Those Midwesterners know what’s good to eat and drink. (For another post, another time missjunebug will delve into the wonders of the Milkwaukee Lakeside Brewery Beers! Skol!).

missjunebug needed more!! (Kringle, not Brewski)!!! But sadly the JBs had a plane to catch and a re-supply for take-home was not meant to be.

Enter the Awesome Ricks!!! For Christmas the JBboys and missjunebug and Mr.JB received Kringles for the holidays and beyond. missjunebug is now a member of the Kringle of the Month Club as mentioned in her post-Christmas post!!! (Thanks again, Awesome Ricks!!) What a lasting reminder of the holiday festivities that she can bust out on her breakfast table whatever morning she wishes! Deliciousness x 10!! And, yes, she tracks the calories (1/12 of the oval = 250) on My Daily Plate at www.livestrong.com and believe her when she ways it’s worth every single one of those pesky calories to enjoy the oval icing-slathered, fruit-filled or other-filled wonder Kringle!!!

Decidedly NOT Ashram approved, but missjunebug cannot live by steel-cut oats alone!

Here's the Cinnamon Kringle Close-up! Photo by mjb2011
Here's the Cinnamon Kringle Close-up! Photo by mjb2011
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missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011
French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug is doing her mitzvah for the week: Making breakfast for her church’s winter shelter. Okay, she may be mixing religious metaphors here since she’s Lutheran, but she loves the Judaic idea of the good deed. According to adherents.com “When Mitzvah is considered to be an act of human kindness, it transcends all religions. While historically, Mitzvah is considered to be a term related to Judaism, anyone in any religion can perform a Mitzvah. While they may not refer to it by that name, they can still perform an act of kindness for another person.”

So there.

missjunebug really likes this idea! And she really likes her super simple Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious recipe for missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection. She has her dear mother to thank for this recipe. missjunebug has made it for her boys since they were tiny bugs. She’s tweaked it a little, adding a little sugar, the tiniest bit of salt, and her secret ingredient, vanilla extract, but it remains inspired by her JBMom.

Consider cooking up this very forgiving recipe on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you, too, can enjoy missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection

Ingredients

Orowheat Buttermilk Bread–14 slices

6 0r 7 eggs

1/2 cup or so of milk

1-2 tsps. of vanilla

1-2 T. sugar

Pinch of salt

Butter for the skillet or griddle

Powdered sugar for presentation

Real maple syrup for eating!

Directions

Wisk the eggs in a big bowl.  Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. The “batter” should be a soft creamy yellow color with a smooth consistency. Slice the bread on the diagonal to form triangles. Heat a good chunk of butter in a big skillet and when it barely sizzles, dip the bread triangles into the batter, shake off excess batter, and place in the skillet. Cook on both sides until crisp around the edges and golden brown. Yum!

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and slather with real maple syrup!

Double Yum!

Feel free to freeze and eat at another time. To reheat, just set your oven to 375 degrees, place the french toast in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam, and pop in the oven for 10 quick minutes!  What could be easier? Well, eating it, missjunebug guesses!

Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011
Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011

Boomerang Children Surprise Boomers!

Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010
Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is sure this is not news to most of  you: There’s a high probability adult children will boomerang back home sometime during their twenties or thirties. Blame it on these uncertain economic times and the current job market. Blame it on the willingness of Boomer parents to continue to provide extended refuge from the real world for their children. Blame it on what ElderJB calls a generation “Slow to grow up.”

Or maybe there’s another way to look at it: Celebrate the second chance to bond with adult children who bring with them their indefatigable exuberance and outrageous opinions and recently lived life experience! That’s the way missjunebug plans to look at it!

Having just had both ElderJB and TinyJB home for a good chunk of time during the holidays, she has fresh appreciation for all they bring to her sometime circumscribed world. These bugboys are smart! insightful! cynical! hilarious! loving! and always surprising! Chances are pretty good ElderJB won’t be calling the Hacienda home again anytime soon since his semi-permanent digs are in Rwanda(!), but TinyJB may be joining the junebugs as he plans for his next steps. missjunebug admonished him to do all he could not to end up back home and he assured her he only ever wanted to be a guest here, not a resident, but missjunebug wants TinyJB to take comfort in the little mat outside the kitchen door that says “Welcome!”

missjunebug remembers her own fleeing from home and never looking back, but she lived in chaotic-question-authority-never-trust-anyone-over-thirty times! She’s pretty sure that things are different today and parents and adult children share iTunes playlists, facebook pages, twitter tweets, emails, Skype time, and Kindle recommendations! Maybe it’s technology that’s provided an even playing field and means of connection that missjunebug’s parents’ generation could not even begin to dream of. Or maybe economic realities necessitate pulling out Plan B: Move back in with the peeps!

The best of all possible worlds will provide a seamless transition from university graduation to interesting and challenging work for the Boomers’ adult children. But in case Real Life 101 requires some recalibration, know that despite what Mr. Wolfe said, you can go home again.

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missjunebug’s 2010: Put that one in the Rearview!

missjunebug's P.I.C. prepares last year's Rockin' New Year's Fun! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug can’t get waited for 2010 to end (She thanks her JBDad-may he rest in peace-for that little expression!). O what a year it’s been!

Here’s her mixed bag of medical mishaps, mayhem, and monumental events:

Diagnosis: The Big C with the Big O! Hysterectomy followed! Then chemo, then pelvic radiation, then follow-up. And did she mention springing a leak in her poor little belly button post surgery! You cannot make this stuff up! Ree Diculous. missjunebug has officially entered her post-patient C-survivor status and would most definitely like to keep it that way.

An outrageous trip to Africa by way of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo was squeezed in between moments of medical mayhem! Now missjunebug understands firsthand why ElderJB loves it there!

JBDad’s passing filled with grief, regret, sadness, celebration, and so much more. Life for JBDad was circumscribed by a mind that no longer supplied the “I” of identity. But missjunebug and her JBbro remember the real JBDad with love and appreciation.

ElderJB makes an unexpected trip home to offer some TLC to his JBMom! What a nice break from thinking about yes, you guessed it: medical mayhem!

TinyJB graduates with pomp, circumstance, and a temporary job! Go Irish! Easily one of the best weekends of missjunebug’s life and she’s got the pictures to prove it. Now if the economy can just cooperate and cut her TinyJB some slack for securing his next gig!

Eclipse chasing never felt so good: Tahiti rocked! Hao Atoll rolled! And all the pictures Mr.JB took were prizeworthy. missjunebug and Mr.JB look forward to 2012 for the next total solar eclipse in Australia!

The last blast of Irish football occurred ND-Michigan weekend, where, alas, the Irish went down to defeat due to QB1 difficulties. But things still hopped all weekend long at the Backer, the tailgate parties, and the post-loss non-celebration dinner in downtown South Bend! Woo-hoo!

Onto Wisconsin Thanksgiving reunion where all Mr.JB clan minus ElderJB gathered in Whitefish Bay for freezing temperatures(!) and steaming hot Thanksgiving fare! What fun! What family! And the Lakeside Brewery Tour and Polka-Fest rounded out the holiday weekend perfectly!

All missjunebug’s Christmas dreams came true with the best tree ever and the most fun family gathering of the JBclan! The junebugs ate too much! partyied too much! spent too much! but wouldn’t change a thing!

O what a year it’s been! One more celebration beckons thanks to her dear p.i.c. (pictured above!) who will host this year’s (and last year’s! and the year before’s!!?) New Year’s Eve Rockin’ Blow-out in the Burbs! Mr.JB and missjunebug are off to BevMo to score some champagne and Godiva White Chocolate Liquer as their contribution to the fete!

Fun times ahead as they ring out this outta control 2010 and look forward to a better, heathier, happier 2011! May it be so with you and yours!

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Christmas Trees: Nothing Like the Real Thing!

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missjunebug and her fam. favor the real thing when it comes to Christmas trees. Many of her friends have made the sensible move to the boxable, artificial tree they can depend upon year after year, no fuss, no hassle, but the junebugs keep fighting the good fight of trekking to the tree lot, choosing a fresh tree, wrestling it onto and off of the SUV, hauling it up the stairs, hammering in the stand, and setting it up in the middle of the Great Room. Yeah! That was fun!

And this year was no exception! Except that ElderJB chose an exceptional tree: 10 feet tall!. Thanks, ElderJB!!! But somehow it all worked out: ElderJB, MG (ElderJB’s best girl), missjunebug, and Mr.JB were able to get all 10 feet of it into the little Hacienda without a hitch! Then began the many-hands-make-light-work decorating mission! MG and Mr.JB on the lights, ElderJB and missjunebug on the ornaments. And before missjunebug could say “Twas the night before Christmas” three times fast, that gorgeous hunk of evergreen was shiny and bright with lights and bulbs and a lifetime of junebug ornamental memorabilia from grade school on! What used to take missjunebug a week to decorate by herself was done in one delightful evening (cue Christmas carols and brandied eggnog!).

Whether your tree is the real thing or the perfect imitation, enjoy its unique beauty and decorate it with the spirit of Christmas!

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Misgivings About the Season of Giving

Thanks for this, Ms.JBSis-in-Law! Photo by mjb2010
Thanks for this, Ms.JBSis-in-Law! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is going through her usual failure of confidence that strikes this time of year. Did she buy the right gifts? Did she spend too much on some, not enough on others? Is her house decorated well enough? Will her cookies measure up? Will Mr.JB finish stringing all those pesky Christmas lights? Will her Christmas visitors approve of what they see and experience at the junebugs’ little Hacienda? It’s enough to drive a bug buggy. She confided to a friend recently that she felt a little like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Make that a reindeer.

Here’s her checklist of what still needs to be done:

◊ EVERYTHING!

Wish her luck as she whips up some Spritz Cookies, Chex Mix, and dinner menus with one hand and wraps those questionable gifts with the other. She won’t even go into what still needs to be cleaned up and made habitable! Ah…the holidays! Fun times!

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An Easy Way to Eat Healthy

A Tower O' Healthy Eats! Photo by mjb2010
A Tower O' Healthy Eats! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is on mission to reform her diet, especially after the tasty Thanksgiving detour she recently took. With Mr.JB out of town and Christmas trappings to joyfully distribute around the Hacienda, she didn’t want to waste time cooking for one. What to do? What to do?

Her answer: Deli Salads!!! Oh. my. yes. After her monthly appointment to flush her cath-port (another story, another time), she swung by Gelson’s to pick up food for the week in those handy little #1 containers. Such variety. Such deliciousness. And simple, simple, simple.

missjunebug had a tough time deciding but she finally settled on Wild Wheatberry Salad, Jessica’s Super Antioxidant Chopped Salad, Jessica’s Chopped Vegetable Barley Salad, Homemade Potato Salad, and Vegetable Greek Salad with Feta! And guess what? missjunebug bought enough little salads to get a #2-sized container of Fresh Fruit Salad for FREE!! Truly, life is good.

Okay, missjunebug knows what you’re thinking: Any indulgences? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, there was one. She also got a #1 container of Cornbread Stuffing. Since she suffers from a dearth, actually an entire absence of Thanksgiving leftovers, having enjoyed Thanksgiving at Mr.JB’s sister’s in Wisconsin, she had a leftover craving for Cornbread Stuffing. Yum. She ate that in place of the meat course! Brilliant!

The moral to this little food story? When you find yourself on your own, have a healthy food party for one with delicious deli salads! This is the kind of indulgence you can absolutely afford!

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