Saturday, October 14, 2006

Halloween in the Kitchen

Last week's post had a number of e-mails about school party experiences (good times and horrors) and also several recipes. Bobbie e-mailed that she stumbled over here this summer by accident and is now exploring the other community sites as well. She also noted that, like Kat and myself, she's a huge fan of spinach. Her recipe required frozen spinach and it is one of the three recipes that I'm including this week. Heather noted a bread and Mary noted a treat.

If you suggested a Halloween recipe and it's not noted, that may be because I didn't have time to try it out myself this week. However, through Halloween, we'll just focus on offerings that could be served for that.

I had no idea it would get such a response and Bobbie wanted it noted that she is a Baptist and someone who "loves" Halloween. She feels there is a tendancy to stereotype her faith as one that's "having a war on Halloween" and she wants it noted that she's not part of that war and she knows "many friends" who are also Baptist and not part of it. She writes, "I see it as a fun day for kids and for grown ups too. I think a lot of people have gone overboard and are stripping all the joy out of the day at a time when we could all use a little happiness."

I'm going to start off by noting Heather's suggestion. If you suggest something and you found it online, please include the link or note where its from so I can hunt it down. If someone enjoys a recipe you found online, there's a good chance the site might have other recipes that they would enjoy as well. I'm starting with Heather's because it will be seen as the most difficult because it's a bread. This is actually a recipe that just requires mixing and then baking. It's a very simple recipe to fix and the bread is really tasty.

Pumpkin Spice Bread SUBMITTED BY: Delora Lucas (All Recipes)
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (16 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack; cool completely.

If you've never made a bread but always wanted to, the recipe Heather's noted is a good one to start with. "I don't have wire racks to cool the bread on!" If that's the case, you can set them in the window (on top of whatever cloth product you use to pull something out of the oven -- so as not to burn the wood) or you can place them on a cold burner on top of the stove. Note of caution. If you're used to working with spices, you're aware of how to substitue if you're short a spice. If you're new to working with spices, you should use all included. Just dropping a spice because you don't have it in your kitchen will effect the taste of the bread.

So that's a bread and now we've got vegetables. Bobbie's a huge fan of spinach, as am I. It's also true, as any adult at a children's party can tell you, you want to offer more than sweets or else the kids will be climbing the walls (and probably doing so throughout the day and night).

Fungus Among Us Vegetable Salad (Halloween Recipes Index)
Recipe By : Creepy Cuisine, Lucy Munroe
9 ounces frozen creamed spinach
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
4 carrots
2 cucumbers
2 tomatoes
6 to 8 radishes
2 red onions

Prepare the creamed spinach in a saucepan according to the directions on the package and let cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Wash the lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes in cold water. Pat the lettuce dry with paper towels, tear it into pieces and place it in a salad bowl. Peel the carrots, cucumbers and onions, then slice all of the vegetables into small pieces. Add to the salad bowl. Pour the cooled creamed spinach (fungus) into the salad bowl and toss. Penny Halsey (ATBN65B).

The sad truth is that most adults will eat this at a children's party. (Bobbie noted that in her e-mail.) But you will have many kids who will sample it (often at the coaxing of adults). There is so much natural fiber in this dish that even a few bites will be helpful. (Fiber helps slow the absorbtion of sugar by coating the intestinal walls.) Serve it and know the grown ups will enjoy it and that the kids' sugar high will soar a little less high just from a few bites.

Ghost Crackers (Cooks Recipes)
1 tablespoon PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
3 RITZ Crackers
3 raisins, cut in half
Spread cream cheese in ghost shape on top of crackers.
Add raisin pieces for the eyes.
Makes 1 serving, three topped crackers.
Tip: Substitute currants or small candies for the raisins.

I like this recipe and have seen at several parties over the years but never thought to make it myself until Mary e-mailed it this week. Dates are wonderful and round crackers are good to give a face shape, however, you can use another cracker if you prefer. Mary remembered serving it with candy for eyes at one party and a child picking off the candies but not taking any crackers which is a point that adults need to watch closely. No one wants a Ghost Cracker that someone's picked over.

This week's big news for me was Ricky Clousing's court-martial. But it didn't appear to be big news for many in the media. Ricky Clousing is a war resister who said no to the war because he believes it is illegal (as do I). If we want robots, he doesn't matter. If we want people who will strive to uphold the Constitution and conduct themselves in battle in a way that demonstrates what this country stands for, we want more people like Ricky Clousing.

He took a brave stand. Quoting Martin Luther King in his note he left when he self-checked out of the military after returning from Iraq, he said no to this war. He said no again when he faced the court-martial. That took bravery and it saddens me that those who were there to cover his August 11th public statements did not care enough to follow up and cover Thursday's court-martial. Ricky Clousing is not a one day story, he is part of a larger story of resistance to the war and if you missed his story, C.I. notes it in the "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, October 13, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a coroner finds US forces guilty in the death of a reporter; war resister Ricky Clousing was court-martialed and sentenced yesterday; a British general grabs the headlines with his thoughts on Iraq; southern states in the US are polled on the war; Iraqi police continue to be an issue; and is that friendly person marching in the protest 'cool' or military intelligence?

Starting with
Ricky Clousing who faced a court-martial yesterday and was charged with desertion but pleaded to AWOL. As the AP noted last night, Clousing will be confined for three months and "receive a reduction in rank before getting a bad conduct discharge." April Johnston (Fayetteville Observer) notes that the location Clousing will be defined has yet to be determined and charts the awakening of Clousing faced with realities in Iraq and his own spiritual beliefs which led him to self-check out "for nearly 14 months" before he turned himself in. Laurie Goodstein (New York Times) covers the awakening as well and notes that the military took the case seriously: "Yet the military prosecutors made it clear on Thursday that the stakes were high. Although they did not challenge his motives, they said if one young soldier disilluioned by the reality of war could give up the uniform punishment, what of others?"

Of course the military saw that the stakes were high. Clousing is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that only continues to grow. The US military grasps that. Does independent media?

Goodstein interviews Chuck Fager of the Quaker House who took Clousing's call: "This call was unusual. . . . I don't have these kinds of probing discussions about moral and religious issues very often. . . . I said to him, you're not crazy or a heretic for having difficulty reconciling Jesus' teachings with what's going on in Iraq."

Last Friday, war resister Darrell Anderson was released by the US military and informed that he would face a dishonorable discharge.
Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo and Ehren Watada are war resisters currently awaiting word from the US military.Courage to Resist covers all public war resisters. Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and Corey Glass are among the war resisters who are attempting to be granted asylum by the Canadian government.

War resistance and other efforts to end the war come at a time when the American public has turned against the war and polls have tracked this trend for too long and it's too firm for for it to be shaken.
CounterPunch News Services reports on a new poll from the Institute for Southern Studies and the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina which finds: "56% of Southerners believe the U.S. 'should have stayed out of Iraq'"; "Southerners are skeptical about the goals of the Iraq mission"; and "62% of respondents in the South said they were 'very sad' about the course of the war". CounterPunch reports: "The results signal a shift in Southern attitudes towards Iraq. As recently as July 2005, a Pew Center poll found 53% of Southerners believed using military force against Iraq was 'the right decision,' the highest level of support in the country."

Next week, October 19th, Vietnam war resister
Dave Dellinger will speak about "Resistance to War in a Volunteer Army" at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan from seven pm to nine pm.

As the resistance grows, more voices speak out from all places and all areas.
Richard Norton-Taylor and Tania Branigan (Guardian of London) report on the surprising statements of British General Richard Dannatt who "dropped a political bombshell last night by saying that Britain must withdraw from Iraq 'soon' or risk serious consequences for Iraqi and British society. In a blistering attack on Tony Blair's foreign policy, Gen Dannatt said the continuing military presence in Iraq was jeopardising British security and interests around the world." The BBC reports: "Tony Blair has said he agrees with "every word" the new head of the British Army said on the Iraq war. But the agreement depends upon a watered-down interpretation of the remarks. Regardless of how the remarks are interpreted, Australia's ABC reports that Chatty Cathy Brendan Nelson, who holds the title of Defence Minister in Australia, doesn't care: "So long as I remain Minister, we are there to see the job through." Of course, should the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco do its job and apportion accountability (don't hold your breath), Nelson might not "remain Minister" for very long.

Last Friday, Nicholas Walshe testified at an inquest in London that he'd seen ITN reporter Terry Lloyd "shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight." Lloyd was killed March 22, 2003 as was Huseein Osman who was acting as interpreter. Fred Nerac, the camera operator, has never been found. CNN reports that Andrew Alker, the coroner, has ruled: "Terry Lloyd died following a gunshot wound to the head. The evidence this bullet was fired by the Americans is overwhelming."
Lynn Lloyd, wife of the late Terry Lloyd, is
quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald stating that the US military "allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger happy cowboys in an area in which there were civilians travelling." The Pentagon denies any wrongdoing took place. CNN reports that Chelsey Lloyd wants justice in the death of her father and has stated of the US military: "They did not come to this inquist to explain their actions. Let them now do so in our criminal courts where they are guaranteed to get a fair trial." The BBC reports that the killing has been called a war crime by the National Union of Journalists and notes a statement by David Mannion ("editor in chief" ITN): "I have no doubt it was the fact that the vehicle stopped to pick up survivors that prompted the Americans to fire on that vehicle. I would also like to say something that I know Terry would have wished me to say. Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists but to the role we play in a free and democratic society."

Terry Lloyd died in March 2003 -- one of the early fatalities. And the chaos and violence continues.


Reuters reports that a bombing of police station in Hilla resulted in six deaths and 12 wounded. A later Reuters story reports the number wounded dropped to ten -- because two more moved over to the death column for a total of eight dead. CBS and AP note that the bomb was placed "under his [police commander] desk or chair, apparently by someone who evaded security". And the US military announced today that soldier died in Iraq on Thursday from "an improvised explosive device." [The death brought the US military fatality count to 46 for the month and 2759 since the start of the illegal war.]


Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that two girls and six women were shot dead in Suwayrah (while two more were kidnapped), "a father and his two sons" were shot dead by in Baquba while another two people were shot dead elsewhere in Baquba.


CNN reports that, in Dhuluiya, the corpses of 14 people kidnapped on Thursday were discovered "dumped in an orchard". Reuters notes that seven corpses ("riddled with bullets") were discovered in Balad and another two were discovered "near Garma, near Falluja".

As the violence and chaos continue in Iraq,
James Gordon Meek (New York Daily News) reports: "The Bush administration plans to shut down a highly successful Iraqi police academy in Jordan even as security in Iraq worsens, the Daily News has learned. The Jordan International Police Training Center near Amman will stop training Iraqi police recruits this year, having already graduated 40,000 cops from its eight-week course since 2004, U.S. officials confirmed." Meek notes that the Baghdad Police College "has to be rebuilt because of bungled construction." Confused? This follows Griff Witte's September reporting (Washington Post) on the issue of Parsons' "botched construction of a $75 million police academy in Baghdad so badly that human waste dripped from the ceilings" and, therefore, "posed a health risk".

This also follows
the news from last week that the Eighth Brigade of the Second Division of the Iraqi National Police was the primary suspect in a mass kidnapping leading even the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, to declare: "There was clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely, when in fact they were supposed to be impeding their movment. It was realized that removing them from Baghdad would, in fact, enhance security." The 'answer' then was 'retraining.' Retraining where may be the question to ask today. Of course, as James Hider (Times of London) noted last week, "US forces have been re-training the Iraqi police, but the programme has had little impact". Most recently, reporting on the mass slaying of the employees of the Baghdad TV station, both Kirk Semple and Qais Mizher (New York Times) and Ellen Knickmeyer and Naseer Nouri (Washington Post) noted that witnesses described the assailants as being clad in police uniforms and driving vehicles bearing the markings of the Iraqi police.

But not to worry.
Gerald Burke (the American "National Security Adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior") tells AFP that the ministry he advises/controls 'budgets' for deaths of police officers and, currently, they're 'budgeting' for the death of 25 Iraqis each day. Sounds like just the thing to stress at the next Jobs Fair.

In peace news,
the ACLU has released some documents. Are you now or have you ever been a peace activist? Chances are you've been spied upon during the illegal war in Iraq. The ACLU finds: "The documents show that the Pentagon was keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database" and quotes attorney Ben Wizner stating: "When information about non-violent protest activity is included in a military anti-terrorism database, all Americans should be concerned about the unchecked authority this administration has seized in the name of fighting terrorism." Those with longer memories will recall the days of spying on peace activists, feminists, civil rights workers and basically anyone else 'guilty' of 'thought crimes.' (If your memory is short, click here.)

Meanwhile, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, is nearing the end of the second speaking tour to raise awareness about his son -- Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. The upcoming dates include:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

To see the schedule in full, PDF, click
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and

I would also recommend Wally's "THIS JUST IN! FELON IN THE CONGRESS" and Cedric's "Felon in the Congress!" because that's an important domestic story as well. Also don't miss the latest chapter to Betty's online comic novel "The Queen Bee Gets Stung" which underscores, my opinion, Ava and C.I.'s point in "TV Review: Commander-in-Chief aka The Nah-Nah Sisterhood" that sometimes a "first" can be a worst.