Saturday, January 16, 2021

Layered Burrito Bake in the Kitchen

First up, Judy e-mailed about lentils.  Ruth, Ann and Marcia sometimes cover food at their sites.  I mention that because Judy's e-mailed about lentils and what I wrote at this site.  I e-mailed her back Thursday night but haven't heard back from her yet.  She's talking about a post I wrote about lentils and I don't think it was me.  That's why I noted that Ruth, Ann and Marcia cover food from time to time.  

This is what I found in terms of my writing about lentils, from April 9, 2020:

I love lentils. They're good for you. They help your digestion. They can help you maintain weight or lose some. And they're so tasty. They're soft and wonderful. I like to saute a chopped onion (you know I mean a white onion but use red or yellow if you like) and maybe a clove or two of garlic and then add the lentils and water and bring to a boil. (Lentils -- people say -- do not require pre-soaking; however, I do pre-soak and rinse them.) Then simmer for 30 minutes to an hour and they're just perfect.

Clayton found a recipe for Lemony Lentil Soup

There are three other recipes that have lentils and there's an interview that mentions them from NPR's Morning Edition where they speak to people who are using fiber to address diabetes but that's it.

Here's Judy's problem.  She's making lentils and using them as a warm dish on the stove top.  Meaning, she cooks them, say, late Saturday morning and they're kept warm on the oven for everyone to snack on as they need prior to dinner.  And that's good and you can do that with lentils or with black beans, black eyed peas, red beans, kidney beans, you name it.  They're all an excellent source of fiber.  And low in calories.  But her problem is her mother's feet.  They got very swollen last weekend and it was very painful for her to walk on.

I am not a doctor.  I am a nurse.  But I don't treat online.  My recommendation is see your doctor -- and this could even be a video visit.  My guess based on e-mail would be salt.  My guess would be that too much salt is being used and the mother had a reaction or that the mother has sodium issues and can't do any salt -- even lightly salted -- at all.  See a doctor.  In the meantime, stop using salt at all. I noted in the above that I used onions and garlic.  I didn't even mention salt.  If I know my father's coming over, the beans I keep on the stove will have no sodium added because he has to watch his salt intake.

In addition to onions and garlic?  I often chop 1 large jalapeno pepper.  You could also use some from a jar.  I've used green bell peppers before as well, green onions, celery, carrots and chopped spinach.  

Salt?  I use it.  I love the pink salt, for example.  But I don't use it at all if I know -- or even think -- Dad might drop by.  He's on a low sodium diet.  The good news is you can use a salt substitute or a variety of other things -- like the ones I listed -- to season the pot of beans on the stove.  It doesn't have to be salt.

I am not a doctor.  I have not seen Judy's mother's feet.  I cannot diagnose.  Based on Judy's e-mail, I am stating that they need to do a visit with a family doctor.  Again, it can be video.  The doctor may be able to address the issue right away -- she or he may need to order lab tests before feeling comfortable addressing it.  

But my immediate response is stop salting the beans on the stove.  That's don't salt them while they're cooking, don't salt them when you put them in a bowl.  No salt at all until you see a doctor.

All eight of my kids, as kids, would reach for the salt whenever they'd get a bowl of beans in their young years and I'd have to say no.  My husband would 'watch' which means he didn't.  If he would say, "I'm watching!," I'd know that meant he wasn't.  I'm not griping, I'm just saying that's how it was.  They'd have to be really obvious about using salt for him to catch them doing it.  If they did it without speaking or did it while talking about the game on TV that weekend, he'd be lost and not notice -- especially if he was talking with them about whatever game.  

The girls grew out of it quickly but the boys were still trying to oversalt into their teens.

Salt is so popular, and has been for so long, because it is so tasty.  But sodium is in pretty much every prepared food and drink.  We get enough sodium without adding salt.  But some of us still add salt.  And a lot of us who do can't afford to.  Swelling of the feet could be for any number of things -- see a doctor -- but based on what Judy's e-mailed, my response is (a) see a doctor and (b) cut out salt until your mom sees the doctor and then follow the advice of the doctor.

And if sodium is an issue or if you want to be sure it doesn't become one, I recommend Cooking Without A Grain Of Salt,  a book I've noted several times before at this site.  In 2006, I noted it and gave credit to my good friend Roberta who turned me onto it and I shared this recipe:

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.

Now for a recipe from a reader.  Do you ever scramble at the last minute for a meal because someone dropped by unexpectedly or you didn't have time to stop at the grocery or you're snowed in?  John's had all of those happen and that's why he loves this recipe -- one of the ingredients is tortilla chips which he says he always has on hand.


  • 1 Pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 each red pepper, large carrot and large onion, chopped
  • 2 Cups cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 Cups TACO BELL Thick & Chunky Salsa
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Cup frozen corn
  • 6 flour tortillas , cut in half
  • 1 can TACO BELL Refried Beans
  • 1 KRAFT Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA


Heat oven to 400ºF. Brown meat with peppers, carrots, onions and garlic in large nonstick skillet. Add tomatoes, salsa and cumin; mix well. Cover; simmer 5 min, Remove from heat. Stir in corn. Spread 2 cups tomato mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with 4 tortilla halves, with cut-sides of tortillas facing sides of dish. Cover with layers of half the beans, 2-1/2 cups of the remaining tomato mixture and ½ cup cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas, tomato mixture and cheese; cover with sheet of foil sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 35 to 40 min. or until heated through, uncovering for the last 5 min. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

Notes: You can drop the beef if you don't do meat.  If you use meat but not beef, you can use ground turkey or chicken or shredded chicken or whatever.  Even sausage -- I've been in a pinch and only had breakfast sausage when I've had to scramble for a quick-pull-together dinner.  If you have a salsa you like already, you don't need to use Taco Bell, same with refried beans same with the cheese.  Those are suggestions, not requirements.  I'm actually surprised that they don't have tortilla's suggested.  John uses actual tortilla chips and not tortillas.  He does a layer of tortilla chips instead of a layer of tortilla slices (repeating the layer of tortilla chips as needed and being sure to close with a layer of tortilla chips on top).  He says this makes the casserole extra crispy.  

You can do that like he does.  You can also substitute corn tortillas for flour tortillas.  If you're using tortilla chips like John is -- remember you have white corn tortilla chips, yellow corn tortilla chips, tortilla chips that are organic, ones made out of black beans, etc.  

Play with the recipe and make it work for you.

If you're a community member (The Common Ills community member), you're getting the gina & krista round-robin in your inbox and you've noticed that it's a daily.  That's through January 20th.  With everything on, Gina and Krista decided to make it a daily last Monday (through the 20th).

That's meant a roundtable every night (including tonight) and it's meant that, so far, I've done two pieces there by myself to help out.  I don't have it in me to do pieces there and pieces here and pieces for Polly's Brew (another community newsletter).  So I slacked a little this week, sorry -- slacked here at this site.  

I do have a point besides excusing my posts this week.  First, I'm not C.I.  and I need to salute her.  She's posting daily at The Common Ills, she and Ava cover media every week at Third ("Media: The Failure of QUIBI and its implications" is their latest) and she writes for every community newsletter.  When the gina & krista round-robin goes into daily mode, that means she's doing a daily post for them and that she and Ava are doing a joint daily post.

It's called copy.  I've learned that.  Nora Ephon said, "Everything's copy."  When you're a columnist, everything's copy.  I can barely come up with five here and manage to do the Q&A column I do weekly for Polly's Brew.  I don't know how C.I. does it.  She doesn't like to repeat.  If it were me, I'd be repeating every chance I had.  

Ancient Civilizations of North America.  

That's the reason I'm bringing up C.I.  She covered that with Ava for the gina & krista round-robin that hit inboxes this morning.  I pulled a double -- clinic and hospital -- as I do most Fridays.  I was exhausted when I got home and just went straight to bed.  I was still tired (I'm long from my 20s when double shifts are easily do-able) when I woke up today.  It was about ten, in fact.  I had some coffee called two friends (Roberta, in fact, and Wally's mom) and looked at the gina & krista round-robin.  What Ava and C.I. wrote about Ancient Civilizations of North America really spoke to me.

I had planned to call my folks (who live 5 minutes away) but thought I'd grab one half-hour episode.  I ended up watching four in a row before I noticed the time.  I called and they're fine and I'm going to take them some dinner tonight and make sure they don't need anything.  But this series, available to members of Amazon Prime, is really good.  It is a lecture series, as Ava and C.I. noted, and it's more like basic PBS back in the day -- meaning a person lectures and we get a drawing or a photograph every now and then.  But it's really amazing.  I started with episode 11 ("The Mississippian City of Cahokia") because of what Ava and C.I. wrote about that one.  I watched through episode 14 and was on episode 15 (two minutes in) when I looked at the time and realized I needed to call my parents.  It really is something to see and I strongly recommend it if you're interested in cultures and history.  It really is fascinating. 

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

 Friday, January 15, 2021.  A look at impeachment, an activist targeted in Iraq, and more.

Let's start with impeachment.  I'm working for a list of comments, questions, slams compiled by Martha and Shirley from e-mails to the public account.  First, as Keesha always says, this is a private conversation in a public space.  Second, public e-mail is and community members have the private e-mail but apparently some are asking "what's the public e-mail"?  That's what it is.

I always, several insisted, agree with Jonathan Turley.  No, I don't.  One example, he's arguing that incoming President Joe Biden should not pardon Donald Trump.  My thoughts on the presidential power of pardon have long been established here.  I think there should be more pardons, not less.  I would love to see Julian Assange, Ed Snowden, Leonard Peltier and many more pardoned.  You will never see me whine over a pardon.  If Joe wants to pardon Donald, okay.  If he doesn't, then don't do it.  But, again, I think we need more pardons not less.  Jonathan Turley is very intelligent and highly educated.  That doesn't mean I always agree with him.  I think he's probably the best living legal scholar in the United States.  But I don't agree with anyone 100% of the time.

How was Donald Trump given power by this latest impeachment -- a few ask referring to the comments at the end of yesterday's snapshot.  How?

This goes beyond today.  Way beyond and so many can't see beyond a 24 hour news cycle.

But Donald Trump's now historic.  He's been impeached by the House twice and, guess what, not removed from office either time.

That's historic.

And history will see it as such and wonder why?  Was Donald that strong?  Was he that powerful?

One hundred years from now, people are going to be making calls and it appears the calls will be an ineffectual Congress was unable to take out a president twice impeached in one four year term.

He has historical power.

He was also given power by the nonsense of impeachment itself.

Was there a reason to impeach him?  There were several possible grounds to impeach him on.  But what Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House went with was ridiculous.  I could see an argument for Donald being a clear and present danger -- and I made that point last Friday:

The argument here could be (a) he is a clear and present danger so we must take up the American people's time with this.  That's your only pro-impeachment argument.  Unless someone comes up with something else, that's really it.  And that approach would justify a real trial -- because we would need to determine whether or not Donald was now a clear and present danger to the country.


If your issue is just what took place on one day in DC, some will respond that the day is already over, what's the point?  He is gone in 12 days, what's the point?

To justify using time on impeachment at this point -- the House to quickly vote, the Senate to have a trial -- which would include Donald being able to call all the witnesses he wanted and his attorney arguing on behalf of Donald -- which would probably be a long trial -- you'd need a charge like Donald remaining in office for less than two weeks is a clear and present danger to the United States.

Nancy Pelosi ending up mouthing the words but she didn't make the argument why.  She refused to build a case in the Articles for that.  

Could a charge have been made on clear and present danger?  Yes, a credible one could have been made.  But they didn't do that.

Instead they want to say that Donald Trump incited what took place.  Legal defitinions of incitement and sedition and insurrection were all tossed aside.  I don't know what ridiculous definition of "coup" they're using -- it's not a legal definition and it's not a political science definition.

I guess it's a clutch-the-pearls definition?

The hysteria was ecnouraged and people frothed at the mought and it was all a bunch of nonsense.  Quoting Keesha again, last week in DC was an unruly mob storming the halls of Congress.  That's all it was.  It was not a terrorist attack.  It was not a coup.  It was not an issurrection.

But they want to turn it into that and pretend that somehow Donald Trump made remarks advocating or violence.  No, he didn't.  And while bad journalism can selectively quote Donald, a hearing is supposed to examine the full remarks.

By refusing to do their job, they gave Donald power.  And by wasting everyone's time, they gave him power.  If you wanted to impeach him, make a solid argument for it.  Otherwise, you just look tiny and petty.  You look ignorant and stupid.

And that's the House of Representatives.

It also empowers future impeachments because it really doesn't matter.  Bringing impeachment against a president and failing to remove him from office no longer matters.  Mindless idiots will cheer you on and pretend you did something when you did nothing.  

Will Donald be removed from office?  I've spoken to sixteen US senators (14 of them Democrats) and no one believes the Senate will be back before the inauguration.  

That means a post-presidency impeachment.  That's going to be a hard argument for those of us who remember Nancy Pelosi's remarks when John Conyers was attempting that in 2009.  It's also going to be a hard argument for the country.

In the midst of a pandemic, we're going to pause to remove someone from office -- someone who already has left office?  We're going to waste the time and the money for that?  

Most Americans are going to be of the opinion, "Turn the page." 

That's why a lot of us told John Conyers that there was not going to be an impeachment after for Bully Boy Bush.  After Nancy took impeachment off the table in 2006, he sincerely believed he could put it back on the table after Barack Obama was sworn in.  But those of us who talked to him saying, "Lots of luck but it's not happening," grasped the turn-the-page attitude of the American people.  

It's been a time of hysteria and that always is used to panic the American people and make them think they need to give up liberties and give up freedoms.  

Oh, and deep in the night
Our appetites find us
Release us and blind us
Deep in the night
While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars
They'd like to slam free choice behind us

-- "Three Great Stimulants," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on DOG EAT DOG.

And that's the real danger to the country -- watch the discussion Chris Hedges and Jimmy Dore have in the video below.

At INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, Gary D. Barnett points out:

We are living in a time where no rights whatsoever are respected concerning the people of this country, but the controlling ‘elite’ and their government puppets continue to live mostly without restriction. We are now ruled by an oligarchic upper class, while all the rest of society languishes at the bottom of the heap as serfs. Where is all the anger due to this tyranny that has consumed society? It seems that we are all fighting against one another while those in the ruling class that are causing all the problems are laughing while plotting the final stage of the coup called the “Great Reset.”

This government has been given massive power by the very same people that are now being abused and destroyed because of that power. This is the truth of the matter, but the masses cannot see it. Until this truth is fully understood and accepted by the common man, our fate is not only uncertain, but we are doomed to a life without freedom.

The political system has never existed to give or protect liberty; it is only there to seek more money, power, and control over society. No political solution to this debacle exists, no voting process is worthwhile, and in fact, no remedy for this tyrannical sickness will ever be due to politics or government. The only solution is for the people themselves to stand together instead of fighting each other, to dissent at every level possible, and to disobey all government orders.

Where is the outrage? How can over 300 million people lay back and take what this heinous government has done to them this past year? Why are so many afraid to protect their own liberty and that of their family? The only hope for Americans is to find the truth and act on it, and not expect the government or any politician to take care of them. The government does not care about you. Politicians do not care about you. The one percent and the large corporations do not care about you.

Caitlin Johnston points out:

So again, it’s pretty clear that America isn’t going to attempt to reverse the conditions which created Trump and all the extremist factions that everyone’s been freaking out about since the Capitol riot. Obama led to Trump, and the strategy going forward is to just keep tightening the neoliberal screws like both Obama and Trump did throughout their entire administrations. And, of course, to advance new “domestic terrorism” laws.

As we discussed previously, Biden has often boasted of being the original author of the Patriot Act years before it was rapidly rolled out amid the fear and blind obsequiousness of the aftermath of 9/11. Now in the aftermath of the Capitol riot we are seeing a push to roll out new authoritarian laws around terrorism, this time taking aim at “domestic terror”, which were also in preparation prior to the event used to manufacture support for them.

In a new article for Washington Monthly titled “It’s Time for a Domestic Terrorism Law“, Bill Scher argues against left-wing critics of the coming laws like Glenn Greenwald and Jacobin‘s Luke Savage saying such “knee-jerk reactions” against potential authoritarian abuses fail to address the growing problem. He opens with the acknowledgement that “Joe Biden’s transition team was already working on a domestic terrorism law before the insurrection,” and then he just keeps on writing as though that’s not weird or suspicious in any way.

Scher lists among the growing threat of domestic terror not just white supremacists and right-wing extremists but “extremist left-wing domestic terrorism” as well. He approvingly cites Adam Schiff’s Confronting The Threat of Terrorism Act, which “creates a definition of domestic terrorism broadly encompassing plots that carry a ‘substantial risk of serious bodily injury’ along with an ‘intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population’ or ‘influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.'” The ACLU has unequivocally denounced Schiff’s bill, saying it “would unnecessarily expand law enforcement authorities to target and discriminate against the very communities Congress is seeking to protect.”

Is Bill Scher shocking for doing that?  I guess if you're only now encountering him.  But, never forget, he played footsie with DLC ("New Democrat") Simon Rosenberg despite Simon's homophobia, sexism and racism.  He played footsie and pimped Simon's lies when Simon was trying to become the leader of the DNC in 2005.  Bill Scher is a big joke and if you're only now learning that, you haven't been paying attention.  It's like being surprised by how hideous Sam Seder is (Bill's friend, by the way).  

Bill Scher never stood up for the rights of the American people.  he thought he was writing think pieces but they were paint by number pieces that never challenged the mind and certainly didn't challenge the assumption that we needed to give up freedoms.

Bill works today because people didn't hold him accountable and because he was part of the circle jerk of the '00s.  He and the others accomplished nothing but they did set themselves up nicely, didn't they?  

Iraq remains a failed state and the Iraqi people remain terrorized because of people like Bill Scher who pretended to care when a Republican was in the White House and walked away from Iraq as soon as Barack Obama was sworn in as president.

Iraq?   UNAMI Tweets:

Baghdad, 14 January 2021 – Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for #Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, attended a meeting of Iraqi presidencies at the Baghdad Palace. Right conditions for the conduct of upcoming Iraq’s early federal elections were discussed.

The elections may not happen in June, UNAMI forgot to Tweet that.  They forget a lot of things that take place in Iraq.  For example, Ruba Ali al-Hassani Tweets:

Just learnt that the home of a good friend in Nasiriyah has been targeted with a hand grenade. He's a known activist in the city. How does anyone expect the #Iraq protest movement to nominate it's own in the upcoming elections if anyone who mobilizes is targeted?!

Ali al-Mikdam identifies the activist:

Unidentified assailants targeted, with an IED, the house of Dr. Abdul-Wahab Al-Hamdani in Sumer neighborhood in central Nasiriyah. Activists in Nasiriyah said that Al-Hamdani was one of the most prominent activists in the protests

No one will be punished for this attack, no one ever is.  And elections?  Looks like they may not be held in June as announced.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Holding elections in June may not be realistic, according to the spokesperson for Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). Only a fraction of eligible voters have updated their electoral records and most of the political entities have not registered yet, Jumana Alghalai told Rudaw English on Friday, a day ahead of a registration deadline.

“Twenty-five political alliances were registered in IHEC records in 2018, but only two of them have registered again for 2021 and updated their data in IHEC records, although the deadline for registering political alliances is tomorrow, Saturday,” Alghalai said. 

“The commission has issued registration licenses for 230 parties, but only a few of them have registered and updated their records, despite the fact that the deadline is soon,” she added.

Most voters, too, have not updated their records. “We have 25 million citizens eligible to vote this year. While 14 million of them have their biometric ID, only 105,390 have updated their electoral records,” Alghalai said. “Therefore, it might be unrealistic to hold elections in June without political alliances, parties, or voters.”

Lastly, POLITICO's Lara Seligman Tweets:

BREAKING: US force levels in Afghanistan and Iraq have now reached 2,500, as directed by President Trump, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announces

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: