Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
Cofrin Nature Park

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


What to eat between all the holiday feasting on roasts of beef, pork, turkey and trimmings? Oodles of noodles with a tasty, nutty bean sauce.

This interim holiday meal  is easily prepared, once the sauce is made. Simply prepare sauce ahead of time and refrigerate. Reheat when ready to serve. The spicy bean sauce may also be served as a hearty soup, with additional veggies, or as a "hummus" appetizer dip.

I created this concoction out of left-over ingredients and it turned out so tasty--my husband loved it! (And he's the old "meat and potatoes" type guy.)


1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Cloves garlic
1T Ginger
1/3 Cup Onion

With ¼ cup White Wine (Chardonnay)
1 Cup Homemade Turkey or Chicken Stock


(A portion of the above slightly warm liquid, enough to blend easily)
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained.
2 small oven-roasted fresh tomatoes (roasted in 1T olive oil and dash Balsamic Vinegar)
2T Parsley
¼ t Fennel
¼ t Fresh ground pepper
¼ t Cumin
1 t ground fresh chili paste (if desired)
3T Peanut sauce* (SUBSTITUTION: Use Almond Sauce, see below)

*Peanut sauce: 1 cup peanut butter, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1t ground fresh chili paste, 3 cloves garlic, ½ fresh lime squeezed, 1T dark sesame oil. Ground pepper. Blend all ingredients with immersion blender or other blender.
ALMOND SAUCE: Substitute almond butter (raw or roasted) in place of peanut butter.

Purred mixture
Sliced mushrooms

HEAT on lowest setting for approximately 10minutes.

Pasta OR substitution according to package directions. WHEAT-FREE/GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTION: Use brown rice noodles OR, if you are brave, use Shiritaki Noodles (available in the refrigerated section of most grocers, especially Asian specialty grocers.)

Add sauce to noodles and top with grated Parmesan Cheese


Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy-Peel Steamed Eggs Recipe

Let's cook some hard-cooked eggs that we can actually peel, shall we?
These eggs opened up like little jackets being unzipped. It gave me a satisfaction similar to popping packing bubbles, and who doesn't like to pop packing bubbles?

Shells came off almost in one piece!
No discoloration! Lovely yellow yolks.

After scouring the Internet for the perfect way to cook and peel hard-boiled eggs,and trying out the recipes only to fail, I found a recipe for steaming the eggs, rather than boiling them. Brilliant.

Previously, I had followed all the old advice, including, adding vinegar or baking soda to the boiling water; using "unfresh" eggs; boiling, quick cooling in an ice bath, and  reboiling and re-cooling, ala Julia Childs. Still, I peeled a third of the egg away, despite meticulously following directions. Very frustrating.

I persevered until I happened upon the blog,  where Michelle Stern shares her recipe for steaming eggs to make hard-cooked eggs. She keeps chickens that lay only fresh eggs which proved impossible to use for making hard-boiled eggs the traditional way, because they simply would not peel. Terry Golson left her a recipe for steaming the eggs for 20 minutes.  

I tried the recipe immediately, with some tweaking.

Here is my interpretation of the steaming method for making hard-cooked eggs:

1 large steamer that nests in a large pot.
Large bowl for the ice bath.
Add water to pot, about 2-3 inches deep.
Set about 6 large eggs in the large nesting steamer and place steamer on pot.
Cover with the lid.
Boil the water on high heat.
When water boils, time the eggs for 12 minutes.
To stop the cooking process, immediately place the eggs in an ice bath (about 1/2 ice to 1/2 water.)
Cool about 6 minutes.
Take all eggs out of ice bath and peel.
To peel, gently tap on the counter the "flat" end of the egg first, and then gently tap 2 or 3 more times on the sides of the egg. Begin to peel from the flat end of egg to top point of egg, creating a "line" of peeled egg. This allows the rest of the peel to come off almost in one piece.
Refrigerate. Enjoy within 3 days.

Shiny, pit-free "hard-boiled" eggs that peel easily, at last! My life is complete.

Yolks popped right out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Testing Affiliate Program: Linking A Product Within A Blog Post

Making money blogging via affiliate programs is what I am testing out today. The Affiliate Program is an obvious place to start, so I will attempt to add a link to a product, a book, on this blog post. Sounds easy, however, I found getting an answer to my question circuitous:

How does a Blogger embed an affiliate link to a book, for example,within a blog post? I am going to try it now. I just got approved as an Amazon Affiliate today. The current Blogger "Monetize" tab no longer includes the Amazon Affiliate Program, just the AdSense program. Thus, we Amazon Affiliates who wish to embed product links within a post, must jump through the Amazon hoops and manually embed a link. Here it goes:

I'll pick a book I recently reviewed by Barbara Sher, Refuse to Choose. The plan is to allow a reader to click on the title and buy the book through Supposedly I make a commission, if I embed the link through Amazon Associates Central.

I'm going to Amazon Associate Central now to figure it out. See you soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Refuse to Choose" Book Review, or How to Find your Callings, Design your Lifestyles and Build Careers

Barbara Sher's book Refuse to Choose jumped out at me from the library shelf one day, my mind quickly analyzing the title: "Refuse? To choose? Huh? I know I don't like to choose. I'm interested in pretty much everything! Is it o.k. to refuse to choose? What an interesting title. Bold." I'm a sucker for the subtitle too: You mean I get to use all my interests, passions, and hobbies to create a life and career of my dreams? What the hell are my interests and passions, anyway? I've had so many I forget them now. Ditto with the dreams. I sat down in the library chair and began reading.

Finally, someone who understands me! I knew I wasn't crazy, hazy or lazy! Eureka! I have a name, and that name is Scanner. Scanner is the name Barbara Sher tags those of us who find that doing the same thing or job for life, intolerably cruel and unusual punishment. Sher gives those of us who intuitively scan our horizon for the next new and exciting thing that piques our interest and sparks us into action, a reason to celebrate. No longer need we beat ourselves up for not picking one thing, job or idea and sticking with it to “completion.”

The Meaning of Life

Question of the day (and since the beginning of humanity): What is the meaning of life? Some suggest that the question is absurd and should not be posed, because no provable answer exists. But let’s try, anyway, since humans love a challenge, and it’s just so obvious for us to want to know why we exist at all.

Teenage angst begins the quest with laments like “What’s the point of it all? We’re gonna die anyway. My life has no meaning. I don’t care. Nothing matters. Who cares? Shit Happens.” (I wore my Shit Happens! t-shirt in my youth as a badge of teenage angst.) The search for the meaning of life stings us most in times of severe stress, especially during periods involving grave illness, relationship meltdowns, and death.

So, what is the meaning of life?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Couponing with Kristi

Kristi, host of The Art of Couponing, gives an overview of her method of couponing, how it has benefited her, and how she teaches her students to employee her techniques. Kristi may be reached at

Kristi, Amateur Landscape Designer, shows her work

Kristi shows off her love of landscape design, giving us a tour of her work. Kristi designed this landscape and did most all the work herself.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soccer Coach Interview With Coach Cip

Coach Sheldon Cipriani, "Coach Cip," Director of Coaching for Gaineville Soccer Alliance talks about his passion, the game of soccer. Coach Cip characterizes the game as a metaphor for life. Both the game of soccer and the game of life require the player to take responsibility and accountability for their behavior and actions in order to become a success. Coach Cip also shares his views on how kids and parents may benefit best from joining a soccer program, while stressing the importance of having fun!

For those serious players and coaches, Coach Cip has developed a program that he sells on his website,  The website is packed with tips and strategies for becoming a better player and coach.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Can Make You Confident, by Paul McKenna--Book Review

I Can Make You Confident, The Power to go for Anything You Want! By Paul McKenna.

                                                          Book Review by Ann Marie

I just listened to the hypnosis CD included in Paul McKenna's book I Can Make You Confident, and I feel confidence seeping into my mind, through my ears. I have never been hypnotized, and I don't think I can be, however, the CD does help relax me and I have noticed subtle changes in confidence levels. McKenna's soothing, commanding and sexy voice complements the book very well.

I Can Make You Confident is one of a series of McKenna's self-help books using hypnosis and visualization in order to change or modify one's habits and behaviors for the better.Paul McKenna's other books include: I Can Make You Sleep, I Can Make You Thin, I Can Make You Rich, Quit Smoking Today, Change Your Life in Seven Days, I Can Mend Your Broken Heart. I've read several and listened to a couple of the hypnosis CD's.

The Dr. Oz Show introduced me to Paul McKenna. I'm always fascinated by hypnosis so I watched as McKenna hypnotized several audience members. Naturally, I needed to know if his book would work for me. Could I be hypnotized? Will it make me feel better, as hypnosis subjects report?

I got the book to test it out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Whole Chicken and Chicken Stock Recipe

Two recipes in one! Cook both whole chickens and make stock too. Simmering the chickens with the stock ingredients adds a subtle flavor to the chicken, making it versatile for many other recipes utilizing chicken. It's excellent cold, too.

2 (3 or 3&1/2 pound whole chickens)
2 Large onions, peeled, quartered
4 carrots, cut in pieces
4 celery stalks, cut in pieces
1 bulb garlic, cut top and bottom off, no need to peel
1 nub (about an inch) of fresh ginger root, no need to peel
bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
16 whole black peppercorns
About 8-12 quarts water

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Never To Late To Have A Happy Childhood

Remember when you played in the sand all day? No matter that the temperature read 60 degrees; far too cold for others.

Remember role playing your favorite fictional character? Becoming something else?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Tavern

     The following post describes a popular hang-out, packed nightly with crowds of students from all over the world, during the school year. Not so with daytime clientele. Frank, the tavern owner, called it a "dirty rotten tavern," when business was slow. I asked Frank to "update" the decor, and get better bar stools. He replied, "Asses on the seats before velvet, Ann Marie!" Can't argue with that.

     There is no circulation here. Stale air, smelling of the previous night's overflowing ash trays, keeps customers from breathing in too deeply. It really stinks in here. The stench of unwashed, sweaty manual laborers, toothless drunks, urine-soaked urinal cakes, but no one seems to care. Least of all, the five men who find meaning shuffled within a deck of cards.
     Hazy rings of smoke hover in perfect ovals around a tiny lamp dangling from a long black cord over the front corner of the bar. It's lit only during the game. A welcome acrid odor of lighter fluid emits from a flipped Zippo and another cigarette begins to burn for an eternity. The card shuffling queues up the next hand of “Dirty Clubs.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Job Dissatisfaction--Not

     “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” --Dr. Wayne Dyer.

     So you think your job is not good enough? Feeling dissatisfied?
     For those who have what they consider a “less than glamorous” or “perfect” job, take heart. Also, take time daily to express gratitude that you even have a job during the current economic climate. Many people cannot find work, glamorous or not.
     Simply changing your perception of what it means to be a janitor, for example, will alter your experience for the better. Consider your current job from various standpoints: spiritual, practical and as resume and career building material.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Writing Process Possessed

     While pondering the process of writing I perused past attempts, and found this little gem:

     One of the troubles with being a writer is that you need to have everything in your writing area “just right.” Otherwise, you tend to become distracted. Of course, one writer’s “just right” is another writer’s “just wrong.”
     In my case, I need a completely sterile writing environment. While others prefer clutter and papered chaos, I value neat, clean and tidy. Some believe that those who possess real genius have desks full of clutter and last month’s half-eaten sandwiches buried alive. Yummy. Guess I’m the other side of genius. My desk is dust-free, stink-free, sunny and pleasant. If not, then I may fixate on that which needs attention—cleaning!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Did I Start This Blog?

     My husband made me. No. No. NO.  Just kidding. He did ask "why did you start a blog?" Well, ahhh, because I wanted to. Because I may learn to focus on my writing in a consistent, professional manner. (Not easy for a Scanner*.) Because I could. The universe told me to.
    All very good reasons, yes? Here's some more:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Handling Emotionally Charged Situations

     What to do when someone or some situation "pushes your buttons" and you dive right into reaction mode?
    Lets make up a doable scenario to help diffuse an emotionally charged event already in progress, with the intent of lowering the incidence of such events in the first place. The following "advice" I shared with a friend, and she found it very helpful in dealing with individuals who have PhD's in Button Pushing.

Choosing Love Eliminates Fear

     The path to freedom follows from your choosing love instead of succumbing to fear.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
--Matthew 5:43-44

     You have two choices regarding your state of being:  love or fear. 
     Love extinguishes fear. Love based action, then, becomes effective because it comes from a higher source than your egoic mind. In essence, you respond from the depths of your being, from your connection to Source/God. You are present, and that leaves no room for fear-based thoughts or deeds.