Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alito vote Tuesday, keep the pressure on, make your voice heard

News from the Feminist Wire.

Judiciary Committee Votes Tomorrow on Alito; Filibuster Possible, Says Durbin
Tomorrow, two days after the 33rd anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Samuel Alito, a Supreme Court nominee who in 1985 wrote that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to an abortion. Women's rights leaders and activists rallied last night at the Supreme Court in support of the landmark Supreme Court ruling.
"Since we last gathered to commemorate Roe v. Wade, two seats have opened up on the Supreme Court, and George W. Bush has used both opportunities to nominate judges whose records show a disdain for privacy rights and individual liberties," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "The Senate is poised to vote on confirming Samuel Alito, who would replace Sandra Day O'Connor, a justice whose vote has upheld women's rights for nearly 25 years. How quickly the fate of women's reproductive rights could turn in this nation."
Already, at least nine Senators have come out publicly and strongly against Alito's confirmation, including four who voted in favor of confirming John Roberts as chief justice. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, said that a filibuster was possible.
"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 Senators ... are willing to stand and fight."
with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
TAKE ACTIONCall your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women’s rights.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; NOW statement 1/22/06; Chicago Sun-Times 1/20/06

We finished a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin a little while ago. I was going to have a cup of tea and turn in. Watching my youngest daughter and my son Mike map out strategy at the kitchen table for how they could launch one more wave gave me the energy to boot up the computer and log in. I believe this is possible, we can stop Alito's confirmation. But we need to continue working. So do something Tuesday and try to motivate others as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Creamy Fudge in the Kitchen

What a week? Started off with Democrats indicating they were giving up and ended with . . .

Elaine's asked if I'd mind including this from the Feminist Wire:

More Senators Announce Opposition to Alito
More Senators have announced their opposition to Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Encouragingly, no additional Democrats have announced support for Alito since Ben Nelson (NE). Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, announced his opposition to a packed auditorium at Northwestern University School of Law.
"In the record, the writings, the words, and the life of Samuel Alito, I searched for evidence of his caring heart -- evidence that for the next two or three decades he would use his position on the Supreme Court to enlarge our freedom, protect our privacy, and respect the delicate balance of power and responsibility our Constitution creates," said Senator Durbin. "At the end of the day, at this historic moment, I cannot say with confidence that Samuel Alito meets that test."
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), in announcing his opposition, said, "Based on his record, I am gravely concerned that Judge Alito does not believe the Congress has the authority to protect the fundamental rights of all Americans."
Other Senators who have announced publicly their opposition to Alito include Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (the only woman on the Judiciary Committee), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Max Baucus (D-MT). Senators Leahy, Baucus, and Salazar all voted for John Roberts in September.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at MsMagazine.com
TAKE ACTION Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women's rights.
Media Resources: Harkin statement 1/19/06; Durbin statement 1/19/06; Feminist Majority

I'm happy to include it (and flattered to be asked by Elaine). It's from Friday and it demonstrates how much we the people can do. We shouldn't get cocky and think it's over because it's not. But we should realize the power of people power. That's what turned it around.

Cedric had asked last week if I had an easy recipe for something sweet? I can't think of a better time to note a dessert than after all the hard work of this past week. I would dub the following Katrina vanden Heuvel's Sweet Victories Creamy Fudge if it weren't for the fact that the battle's still raging. So keep fighting but take a moment to note what we've accomplished.

This recipe is from my friend Nancy. She saw it in a magazine years ago but has no idea which one it was today.

Creamy Fudge
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Combine cream cheese and powered sugar in mixing bowl (or food processor); mix until throroughly blended. Add melted chocolate, vanilla flavoring and salt. Stir in walnuts. Spread mixture in an 8-inch quare pinned lined in buttered wax paper or foil and chill for several hours (or overnight). Remove from pan and cut into small squares. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen squares.

This is an easy recipe. You melt the chocolate in a sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave. If using the stove top, stir frequently. If using the microwave, microwave in thirty seconds bursts. It should take no more than three thirty-seconds periods and you should stir the chocolate after each thirty-second period.

"Chill for several hours" does not mean, as Mike found out last year, put in the freezer for a half hour. At Thanksgiving, I was especially swamped and Mike and his younger sister (who says "Mother do not mention my name! I have friends!") pitched in the way all my children always have. Mike will tell you that he's not an experienced cook. But when I handed him this recipe, he got it down pat with no problems at all except for thinking the fudge would be ready sooner if he put it in the freezer. Had I not stopped him, we would have had ice crystals in the fudge. This isn't a "frozen dessert."

Put it in the fridge and leave it for a few hours. You can cook the meal itself, serve it, eat and, by the time you're done with that, the fudge should be ready.

Mike and his sister will make this now themselves and can eat the entire thing with help from their father. If you have a sweet tooth, this is perfect for you. It's a little too sweet for me and one square is usually all I will have.

Mike created an e-mail account for me this week and it is in my profile. He also helped me add some details to my profile. I received an e-mail from June whom I don't recognize as a member of The Common Ills community. I'm glad members have shown me so much support and encouragement with their e-mails but I had no idea anyone else would be visiting this website.

June sent me a thing from another website that was making fun of the cover of the new issue of Ms. Magazine. She wondered what I thought of it? I think it's a great issue and was anticipating purchasing it since C.I. spotlighted it. I bought it Wednesday and would encourage everyone to check it out. As for the cover, I think it's a wonderful photograph. But then maybe I'm just a dull homebody who's raised eight children? Maybe that's my problem?

I was talking to Wally's mother about the issue and about June's e-mail this morning. She said that was the website Wally had heard wasn't even bothering to take the trouble to get the word out on blocking Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Somehow that made sense.

I don't know what bothered someone so much about the cover, that Jane Fonda has a dog or that she's wearing pink and photographed against a pink backdrop? Or maybe it was just Jane Fonda herself that bothered?

Seems to me that someone wanted to slam for some reason and she found a way to do it in a very superficial manner. I love Ms. Magazine and am a big fan of Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan so I don't see any problem with the cover. At the checkout counter, the cover didn't elict hisses but compliments. But possibly if you're level of "contribution" is to slam a photo, a non-cheesecake photo, you have enough problems already?

Maybe something's seriously amiss when you attempt to critique a photo but confuse it with a cover? One cover, the non Ms. one, trumpets weight loss ("30 DAYS TO THIN!" it proclaims) and "THE $$ QUIZ THAT COULD MAKE YOU RICH!" while Ms. trumpets "The Women of Today's ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT" and "How to TEACH PEACE."

I'm not really sure what superficial comparisons contribute to a feminist dialogue but possibly that's the extent of contribution some can make?

If I seem mad, I am. It's a great issue and, instead of noting anything in it, someone decides to act alarmed that it features a woman with a dog on the cover -- as though that's something that's never been done before outside of Good Housekeeping. Maybe since C.I. had already featured the cover the week before and spotlighted the issue, the person felt there was nothing to left to say but attack the photo?

Or maybe it's just more anti-Jane sentiment? Does that website suffer from "War Got Your Tongue?"

I have no idea. It's silly nonsense, if you ask me. And we have more important things going on. If anything is a "step backward," I'd argue it's a site that doesn't have time to note the need to fight Alito's confirmation.

But what do I know? I'm just a lifelong feminist, a working class woman with eight kids. Maybe I'm not "edgy" enough? Who knows?

I hope that answers June's question about what I thought of the thing she forwarded. June seemed bothered by the item. If it helps June any, Wally's mother and I were bothered as well.
Apparently "edgy" requires cutting the contributions others make? Wally's mother is convinced that the writer just has a problem with Jane Fonda and says the same writer had a problem with Eve Ensler's most recent play so maybe it's just a need to "kill mommy"?

Whatever it was, it added nothing to a discussion. For something that does that, you can read the latest issue of Ms. Magazine. And you can keep fighting the Alito nomination.

Please visit NOW's website where you'll find a pop up with the following:

Don't Confirm Anti-Roe Nominee to Supreme CourtSenators Must Filibuster Samuel Alito
These are the faces of
women who died because they could not obtain safe and legal abortions.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, these pictures could include your daughter, sister, mother, best friend, granddaughter . . .
Don't let George W. Bush and the U.S. Senate put another anti-abortion justice on the Supreme Court.
Read More
Take Action NOW
Support NOW's Emergency Work to Save the Court
Tell A Friend to Take Action to Save the Court

Focus on the things that really matter and leave "edgy" to the "trendies." Take it from someone who remembers the pre Roe v. Wade days, blocking Alito's confirmation matters.

On other issues that matter, please read Ruth's Morning Edition Report which provides a summary of John Conyers' hearing Friday. Lastly, Cindy e-mailed C.I. about my "build up" at The Common Ills. Cindy, I appreciate the support but I'll disagree with C.I. on this matter. If you know anything about C.I. you know copping to the blame is perfectly in keeping; however, the facts tell a different story. While C.I. has been hitting hard on Alito and the NSA spying, I've still been noted eight or more times at The Common Ills and considering this is only my third post and my third week, I think that's been a pretty big buildup. It should also be noted that C.I. stayed on the phone with me, on a Saturday where there was no time for it, to talk me through setting up this site and to talk me through my first entry.

Everyone has been very helpful and very welcoming. Knowing C.I.'s tendency to reject all compliments and to take on any blame, I'll have to kindly correct the impression that I haven't had an adequate buildup at The Common Ills. It's been a busy and rough week for the community and I'll echo Gina and Krista from this morning's round-robin and say thanks to C.I. for "coming back from the brink of exhaustion to rally the community yet again."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Avocado Soup in the kitchen

When my maternal grandfather had a heart attack in the late 1970s, we were all concerned about his health. His diet would have to alter. For some in the family, the answer was to stop placing salt shakers on the table.

For some, that was the sole action taken. Like most of them, I cook with salt. I season as I cook. Knowing that some cooks in the family use salt liberally, a number of us didn't feel that removing salt shakers from the table would be enough.

Salt is a staple in my kitchen and I use it often. When we know ahead of time that guests will be joining us for meals, I always ask if there are any dietary issues. Leigh Ann, one of the people who reads my son's blog Mikey Likes It! regularly, asked me what one tip I would give to someone who wants to start entertaining? It would be to ask your guests, ahead of cooking anything, if they have any allergies, any foods or ingredients that they avoid.

In terms of health issues, you do not want to serve something a guest is allergic to and there are many people with food allergies. If a guest has been advised to avoid anything due to allergies or health conditions, you're going to feel inhospitable for serving something that they can't enjoy. There are also guests who will tell you that they won't eat this or they won't eat that just due to their personal tastes. Listen.

You should serve what you enjoy. But if you're planning to entertain, take it from me, if a guest says ahead of time that they don't like broccoli and you make one dish with it, thinking that there's more than enough other dishes that they can enjoy, watch the gathering around the table switch to the one guest noting how much he or she hates broccoli throughout the evening, over and over.

Leigh Ann should be prepared for the fact that there's no controlling an evening. But you can attempt to avoid somethings by preparing ahead of time. The broccoli incident has happened several times because I like it. My children have always liked it (when they were younger many of them called brocoli "trees"). Three times, I've made the mistake of thinking that as long as there were other items provided, serving broccoli wouldn't be a problem for a guest attending who hated the vegetable. All three times, the person, a different one each time, turned the evening discussion into why he hated, they were all men, broccoli. This isn't really a topic that people eating broccoli want to hear. One time, it resulted in a loud remark of "We heard you thirty minutes ago!" All three times, it caused tension.

So find out if there are things that can't be served for medical reasons and if there are items that you should avoid for the peace of the evening. If this is a large gathering with multiple dishes and an issue of dislike arises, smile and suggest they sample something else.

Leigh Ann may or may not listen to that advice which is her choice. My second eldest daughter didn't listen and learned after her first attempt at entertaining to ask about food issues before planning the meal. So if you read this and it doesn't seem like the suggestion has any bearing on your own life, ignore it. Maybe it will never be a problem for you. But if it does end up being a problem, pick yourself up after and realize that with each meal you cook (for others or just for yourself) will provide you with more knowledge.

As a number of us attempted to figure out how to cook without salt (salt substitutes, if available in our area then, were not known of by us), I mentioned the problem to my friend Roberta who turned me onto a book by Elma W. Bagg entiled Cooking Without a Grain of Salt. There are a number of recipes in this book (the cover boasts "over 250 superb and nutrious recipes") and I was unaware that all the food I'd eaten at Roberta's were low sodium dishes. She had a problem with water retention and her mother had been advised to cut down on the sodium in her diet due to high blood pressure.

One of the many recipes I enjoy in this book I'll put below:

Appetizing soups were most difficult to prepare without salt. I tried and tried, and wasted and wasted. These few are good.

2 avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon dill, ground
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons grated onions
2 cups milk

Peel, seed and mash avocados. Add rest of the ingredients. Heat in a double broiler. This is a thick soup, and can also be made with low-sodium dry milk if you wish to cut the count.
4 SERVINGS. Per serving, 64 mg. sodium and 325 calories.

Avocados are full of vitamin C. I enjoy them on salads and in dips or even on their own. Mike and his younger sister are the only children who shares my enjoyment of avocados. I think the popularity of guacamole outside of our home has exposed our older children to avocados and allowed them to rethink the fruit. An aunt who loved them was forever buying them in bulk and rushing over to drop some off when they were on the verge of going bad.

Fruits and vegetables that come to your home free and frequently usually motivate you to find a recipe for them. (If anyone knows of a good cookbook on squash, please pass that information on.) The recipe for avocado soup was the first and only avocado based dish I could find that my family, as a whole, would eat.

When we were in DC in September at the rallies and protests against the war, Dona of The Third Estate Sunday Review caught a cold. It was the worst time for it, Saturday morning with a busy day facing her, and she needed something to pick her up. Soup is usually a good food to turn to at times like that. She was going through the kitchen of the home we were all staying at and not having luck locating a can of soup or broth. There were two avocados and, though skeptical, when I volunteered to whip up a batch of soup using them and the other ingredients above, she was willing to try it.

Some of you may not know what a double broiler is so this is a definition from online: "Double Broiler: A small pot placed above a larger pot that contains boiling water." If you're adventurous and willing to take all responsibility (legal and otherwise) for attempting it, you can try to rig one via a large pot and a smaller pan. However, if you don't have a double broiler, the soup can be made in a single pan and turn out quite well. Just remember to stir frequently as it cooks. For the ingredients, you can use dried ones, such as dried chives instead of fresh ones, if they aren't available in your area or if you're making it at the last minute and don't have any fresh ones handy. If I don't have lemon peel handy, I use lemon zest or else add an additional teaspoon of lemon juice. A friend who enjoys creamy soups adds butter when cooking this. So you can play with this recipe. (Again, you take responsibilty -- legal and otherwise.)

I hadn't intended to make this the second recipe I posted but Dona enjoys it and I felt that after the week that was, we might all be looking for the comfort of a soup. Like my son, I'm glad our senator, Ted Kennedy, was vocal during the hearings but I was more unimpressed with Democrats on the committee than impressed.

C.I. has an entry on members reactions and I enjoyed reading that because it echoed a number of complaints and concerns I had while following the hearings this week. My husband enjoyed Brandon's comments about the hearings being like a football game that had reached with the fourth quarter with no one on "our team" ever consulting a playbook until the last minute. My husband and Brandon were of the same mind on that.

Myself, I was disappointed that Bully Boy saw another nomination for the Supreme Court, a lifetime appointment, go before the Judiciary Committee and there was no organized effort on the part of Democrats during their questioning. It is true that Alito was dodgy in his answers but it's also true that while dodging, few bothered to challenge him on that. A senator might mention it in passing or note that it had occurred "yesterday" but when the dodging was going on, the tendency was not to confront it but instead to "move on" as Diane Feinstein stated at one point.

It looks like Alito will be confirmed. I'm not suggesting that people don't protest to their senators (Democrats and Republicans) or that they give up on fighting the nomination. But it does feel like the Democrats on the committee did very little, as a whole, and now expect the people to wage a battle they weren't willing to fight themselves.

That's very upsetting to me. Like Mike, I'm glad to call Ted Kennedy my senator (and have no real issues with our other senator, John Kerry); however, Ted will not be in the Senate forever.
When he decides he's given as much as he can and chooses to step down, I'm worried about the level of fight left in the Senate on the Democratic side.

Diane Feinstein was a huge disappointment this week. Outside of Joe Lieberman, I'm not sure any other Democratic senator could have done so poorly. It wasn't that she wasn't raising issues that were important; it was the fact of how she raised them.

To keep the focus on the kitchen, it would be like me repeatedly saying to the family, after I'd served dinner, "I could have made ___ or I could have used ____." She appeared to bringing her prep work to the table when the country needed to be served the meal. I found her "Gosh, I'm just a girl and lawyering is so far beyond my brain" insulting to women. After over a decade in the Senate, her personal style seemed embarrassing. Did she grasp the gravity of the situation? Interrupting Ted Kennedy, in the midst of his questioning, did not suggest that she did. She was "playful" when she should have been business-like.

I found the whole thing depressing as a woman who was assured after the 1992 Year of the Women (assured by the press) that everything had changed. It didn't appear that anything had changed. The treatment of Anita Hill as someone to be dismissed (which played like it was due to her gender) is now endorsed with the actions of Diane Feinstein who makes it easy to dismiss women due to her actions on the committee. As my sister-in-law Peggy said, "Donna Reed had more bite."

So it wasn't a week of uplift. But maybe we can channel our frustration into action. As Rebecca, Wally and C.I. have noted NOW provides you with the means to Take Action: Call Your Senators Today. As Laura Flanders says, "Don't leave politics to the politicians." And I'll add, as I'm guessing she would, too much is at stake.

I did survive my first week of blogging. I mistyped "me" as "be" in the last entry. Kat advised me to leave it as is or else get used to spending time that I could be posting instead correcting typos in each entry. I'll follow that good advice unless I make a typo in copying a recipe. There were a number of kind e-mails (27) and most pointed out that the e-mail address doesn't display on my profile. I didn't get around to doing that section, I guess. The week was busy for Mike and everyone else so I didn't ask about how to fix that or add things to my profile. Leigh Ann noted it was a good thing I'd stated to write me care of Mike (irishmike02@yahoo.com) because she wouldn't have known how to write me. Lynda wrote a very nice e-mail and sent it to me care of C.I. who was kind enough to forward it. I'll try to create an e-mail account before next week and also to attempt to get it noted on my profile.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Vegetarian Enchiladas in the kitchen

My name is Trina and you are in my online kitchen. I'm a member of The Common Ills community and the mother of Mike who has a website called Mikey Likes It!

I am a mother many times over but I'll note my children here only with their permission. Mike's youngest sister doesn't enjoy being mentioned at his site so I'll assume she'll prefer not to be named here either. I haven't checked with Mike for permission to name him but I doubt that will be a problem.

There are a number of excellent websites in the community and this won't be one of them. It won't be a daily weblog. I would like to post at least once a week. I think a number of topics are already covered quite well by the websites in the community. What I hope to do is to write something about cooking and politics. I'd like to share a recipe that stood out to me and, in the process, weigh in with a statement or two about the state of our nation.

I am on the left and far more left than leadership in the Democratic Party. I am opposed to the continued occupation of Iraq and was opposed to the invasion. I'm nervous as I type this so, in case anyone is thinking of starting a website and they are nervous, I'll let you know next time if I lived through it.

Tonight I want to note a recipe for Vegetarian Enchiladas:

Warning: The sauce for this is very hot. You may want to reduce the amount of hot sauce and chili powder.

Olive oil for sauteing
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups canned tomatoes
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper
10 drops hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1/4 pound black olives, pitted and sliced (reserve some for garnish)
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (1/2 cup uncooked), mashed or ground
8 soft corn tortillas
1/4 pound Monterey Jack or other cheese, grated
Salt to taste

Heat oil and saute two-thirds of the onions until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, half the garlic, the cayenne pepper, hot sauce, 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, honey, salt, and cumin seed and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Heat olive oil and saute remaining onions and garlic and black olives until onions are translucent. Add remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder, taste for salt, and add beans (and some sauce if mix seems too sticky). Stir well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill each tortilla with 2 to 3 tablespoons filling and 1 tablespoon grated cheese. Roll up and put in a shallow baking pan. Cover with sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and garnish with reserved olives. Bake until bubbling hot, about 30 minutes.
Complementary protein: beans + corn.

That recipe is from page 317 of Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet. I've gone through multiple copies of this book because it's a staple in my kitchen as much as eggs or butter. Complementary protein was the author's way of explaining to people that you could eat a nutritional meal without meat which, hard to believe today, was a big question once upon a time.

The book has many wonderful recipes but this is the one I've cooked the most. I do love vegetables but I'm not a vegetarian nor are my family. But I have a very large family. (I may have spent more time preganant than anything else other than breathing.) Prior to this book, we would have rice and beans whenever possible. The beans were seasoned and the rice was usually brown. But that was the extent of my knowledge until a friend passed me a copy of Diet for a Small Planet.

Ensuring that we all had a nutritional dinner was important. So was doing that on a budget. These days, I'm amazed that I can buy, for instance, brand name crackers. When all the children were living at home, brand names was something reserved for special occassions. We didn't suffer as a result but anyone on a tight budget will understand what I'm talking about.

If you're on a budget, you're also keenly aware of the price of meat. We had fish every Friday and another meat, usually chicken, for one other night a week. By the way, if Mike remembers this differently, he's not remembering wrong. He's the second to youngest of the children. If you spoke to one of my oldest, they would remember these days very well.

The price of meat effected what was on our table. Diet for a Small Planet was the book that taught me how to cook a great meal without meat. For the first five years I fixed this dish, my husband refused to believe that I wasn't sneaking meat into it in some form. He's only recently accepted that there isn't even a meat based broth in it.

If you're on a budget this is a recipe you can master and carry to potlucks but don't expect to carry home any leftovers. People do not touch at this dish, they devour it.

In my home, it was so popular that it became a Wednesday staple.

These days, shredded cheese is readily available but I still remember my panic when I decided to start this recipe and realized that my rolling pin was missing. One of the children, not Mike, had adopted it for a project I won't bore you with. But if you're on a budget and you don't have a rolling pin, you can mash the beans with a potato masher. If you don't have one, you can consider using a spoon but I'd recommend a glass. With a spoon, even a large one, you'll need a lot of extra time. With a glass, plastic or glass, you can cover an area quickly. I like to mash on a cutting board because it's easy to drain some of the excess juice produced by mashing the pinto benas. You could also use a pan or skillet. Dried beans are inexpensive and my first choice but if you're pressed for time, you can also use canned. If you use canned beans, you can use canned pinto beans or canned refried beans depending upon how pressed you are for time.

When I first started playing with this recipe, I often sat the tortillas down flat, put filling as a layer, then followed that with more tortillas because I had the worst time keeping the tortillas rolled while they were cooking in the oven. Often, they would unwrap before I could get the dish into the oven. What I stumbled upon was using toothpicks to keep them wrapped and removing the toothpicks when I removed the dish from the oven.

This remains the most popular recipe in our home. As the older children have moved out, I've noticed that Wednesday nights is a popular time to drop by and they've all asked me to show them how to make it. For that reason, and because the book is full of other wonderful recipes, I wanted to start by noting Diet for a Small Planet. Along with the recipes, you'll find serious discussions about food and the impact our eating habits have on the planet. This is a wonderful book and I hope someone will check out the book as a result of this recipe. Even if you do not check out the book, hopefully, you'll attempt this recipe and realize how easy it is to make, how inexpensive and how great it tastes.

When I got married, I thought I'd learn a few recipes each year. That wasn't happening. Most cook books used terms that I would intend to look up but then a diaper needed changing, a fight needed settling, someone needed a ride to practice . . . This book is user friendly.

With each entry, I hope to note a different recipe from a different book or one that was passed on to be my friend or family member. My oldest son recently got engaged and suddenly the disposable income is no longer as disposable. You tell them that will happen but it's hard for them to see that happening until it does. So what I'm hoping for is to provide the community with some recipes that are nutritous and affordable in a Bully Boy economy. Some will be meat based, some won't be.

Besides being nervous, I'm typing faster than I have in my life. That's because C.I.'s been kind enough to stay on the phone with me during this and will be talking me through how to do links right after this entry posts. I'll link to all the community websites tonight and will add some more links in the future to voices that speak to me. Thank you to anyone who visited the site.