missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB wish you a Happy Easter!
Spoil your kids!
(And the kid in you!)
Say a prayer!
And a special thanks to missjunebug’s homeboy: Jesus to the Christ.
Ode to a Veggie Sandwich
It’s starts with Dave
And his Killer Bread
All 21 whole grains.
Toast it up
yellow as the sun mustard.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.”
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 toÂ , 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.”
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
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!
Wisk the eggs in a big bowl. Â 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!
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! Â What could be easier? Well, eating it, missjunebug guesses!
missjunebug is sure this is not news to most of Â 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.
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!
So after the palm trees, comes the retaining wall. missjunebug has a sneaking suspicion she lives in a money pit, albeit a really nice money pit. The outlay for getting 12 Mexican palms trimmed looks like chump change compared to the cost of shoring up a falling down slope that supports the junebugs driveway. Alas, it must be done. The separation between wall and driveway grew from an inch or so the last few years to a good half foot and the cement and wooden structure put in place by the previous owners to keep the wall and the land where they are supposed to be now has air beneath only. The soil has been quietly slip, slip, slipping away for a few thousand days, so remedy was required.
But there is something particularly painful about paying for posts and railroad ties and rocky dirt that the junebugs can’t even see! Well, actually, missjunebug in looking over that last sentence realizes she doesn’t want to see that stuff, but she wants even less to pay for it. Cha Ching X a kagillion. Or at least it feels that way.
But missjunebug doesn’t want to sound too complainy. She knows how good she’s got it. And the call from The Ashram didn’t come a minute too soon. She’s outta here on Sunday for some renovation of her own on her poor beleaguered body and spirit. She’ll leave the wrap up of the Driveway Debacle to her Mr.JB.
missjunebug lives in a house that likes to think of itself as a Spanish Hacienda. In fact, the junebugs call their home The Hacienda just for fun. It’s not really a hacienda but more like a pretend hacienda. The history of the house is a weird but interesting one, the weirdest thing being that the house used to be located in a whole other town, was cut up into little pieces, and re-assembled on a little hilltop that is currently trying to fall down (but that’s another story for another day).
One of the truly authentic features of The Hacienda is that it is surrounded by palm trees of all kinds. And when missjunebug says surrounded, she means surrounded. At last count there were close to ninety. REE Diculous.
Yes, missjunebug loves the way they swish in the wind, creating a resort-like atmosphere around the courtyards and the gazebo and along the driveway. But that’s not all they create! Detritus X a kagillion: Branches, pods, husks, golden berries, feathery fronds, you name it! For goodness sake, it never ends!! There is always something falling off the tree or shooting out from the tree or swaying from the tree. Always.
Enter the palm tree guy. For mucho dinero, our palm tree guy will make everything right. Believe me when missjunebug says this agile man earns every dollar he charges. Mr.JB’s days of shinning up the skinny trunks of their trees are well over (missjunebug breathes a big sigh of relief). Just ask TinyJB why. He was at home from college one holiday when Mr.JB strapped himself to a tree to trim it and then managed to end up twirling around it about 20 feet in the air. Yikes! Thank goodness TinyJB and missjunebug were able to wrestle Mr.JB back down to the ground. They made Mr.JB turn in his ropes and ladder on. the. spot.
Yes, missjunebug will always enjoy sitting in the shade of a lovely palm tree murmuring in the breeze. But she will never enjoy all that stuff they shed!
Perhaps the title to this blog is a bit much, but missjunebug can’t say enough good things about this good bread! Trader Joe‘s Tuscan Pane “A Stone Hearth Oven-Baked Classic Italian Bread” lives up to its name: It is a classic! And squisito! And missjunebug hearts it big time!
Perfect for toast, even more perfect for grilled cheese! Believe her when she says you should swing by your local T.J.’s and pick up a loaf today! The “crisp crust” and “chewy interior” will not disappoint!
missjunebug owes her friend and neighbor M. who brought a loaf to her a while back as a little get well gift (along with soup and super treats, too) a big THANKS for introducing her to this lovely loaf!
missjunebug has been comfort cooking lately and one of her fav comfort foods is a little breakfast treat called missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars which she adapted from a recipe given to her by one of her best students at the community college where she taught a long day ago.
missjunebug can’t say enough good things about these treats: grainy, sweet, easy to make and oh so easy to eat! Without further ado, missjunebug introduces you to
missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (mjbTip: store in frig to keep fresh!)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
1/4 cup Kretschmer Wheat Germ (Also store in frig after opening!)
1 1/2 cups jam of your choice (mjbFavs: boisenberry, raspberry, red plum, and blackberry)
Cream butter and sugar until well blended in your Kitchen-Aid mixer…you have one, don’t you? Mix in remaining ingredients except for the jam.
Press down well 1/2 the mixture into a buttered-down 13″ X 9″ glass baking dish. Spread jam evenly over the top using an offset spatula for smooth and even distribution of the jam.
Top with remaining crumble mixture, pressing lightly.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until light brown. While warm, cut into bars, 2″ X 1 1/2.” As they cool, they will set up nicely.
Enjoy for breakfast with a big glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee. Delicious!! You’ll never need to buy Nutri-Grain bars again…no offense NG.