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Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Recycle and Renew

We have been sharing the last of our summer vegetables at work. I used some gifted tomatoes last night in a new twist on vegetarian lasagna. I used the recipe on the Barilla no boil noodles, but did not add meat. Instead, I picked fresh basil, sliced homegrown tomatoes, and red pepper. I laid them in between the layers of cheese mixture and sauce, and baked as directed, about 45 mins. I also blended Mexican shredded cheese, Greek Mdzithra from a local coop, parmesan from a family cheese factory in Wisconsin, and ricotta. It was excellent, and the vegetables really added flavor. I'd like to try it with egg plant, or mushrooms, portabellas, cooked carrots, fresh green beans. I was very "how Martha are you?" last night. Besides the lasagna, I made brownies, albeit from a mix, but it was the economical dollar mix I picked up as a special at Walgreens. Very good, and lots of brownies. I also baked croissants, and pigs-in-blankets for my boys from what we had on hand in the fridge.

My cat just tried to blog, and marked my netbook with his teeth; I guess he is now a literati. Have been recycling books and other small objects among my kids at school, and also to some schools in AZ. We've also built our holiday baskets from crafts and gently used objects, and couple of handmade cookbooks and book guides.

With the holidays on hand, perhaps handmade is best. Times are still tough for many, and lots of craft patterns and magazines with ideas abound,not just retial, but also at library sales, often for ten cents or less, or even free. I have a friend who loves all kinds of magazines, as do I. Her favorite gift is a collection I've gathered and sent book rate, no less. She loves the antique newsletters and newspapers that go out free at various shows.

Now is a great time to think about what you do well; do you draw,sew, needlepoint? Is there a crafter on your list? I love to put kits together for my friends who craft and collect, often from extras left from my own projects. I decorate a box, or make a pretty basket, add some candy, or a packet of flavored cocoa, or tea, and a pretty bow. I miss my friend Park, who made gorgeous gift bows to top our baskets with. She was quite an artist. But, anyone can tie a fancy knot, and string beads, or baubles on it.

Another friend loves vintage Christmas glass balls, "kugels," and I find them for her at many thrift stores and yard sales. The holidays are about remembrance and giving, not ostenatation and bankruptcy. My holidays were about decorating, and baking my mom's recipes, and making cards and handmade gifts. I pass on the idea to you.

Also, in this season of Roshashanna and Yom Kippur, Happy New Year to my friends, Ida, Howard, and Lori. More tips next time, but look up Hints from Heloise when you can. I loved that column. And as a foil, read some Erma Bombeck. It certainly won't hurt!

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