Today, I just…

have some random thoughts I need to get out of my head.

I’m horrified by recent events, but more horrified that the lives of millions of people are in jeopardy. So, to shut down the noise in my head, and avoid abusing social media, in no particular order:

  • 1 possible terrorist out of millions of people…oooooh those odds are SO scary. Not. Please help the refugees. The bad guys will come (or grow locally) and cause mayhem and chaos and “terrorize” you regardless of refugees.
  • “OMG Poor Paris” and you refuse to acknowledge the atrocities occurring in the rest of the world.  You cannot see it. You talk only of yourself and validation.
  • A meme comparing the 10,000 refugees to the 50,000 homeless vets in the US being passed around by people who don’t actually do anything to help anyone but themselves.
  • Saying, “I don’t want those refugees in my backyard.” Change refugees to n-word, and we’ve taken the Tardis to Southern US, 1965.
  • People who decide it’s cool again to vocalize their hatred for all Muslims because of terrorists the day after hating Starbucks for plain red cups and their war on Christians and campaigning for presidential candidates who  associate with deranged psychopaths who want to put homosexuals to death. Clearly they don’t read the Bible, or they would know the greatest commandment of all, is to love one another and that the new covenant invalidated the old law. Pick a side, don’t cherry-pick out of the bowls.
  • The weak-ass inability to take a stand or have an opinion is disgusting. You cannot NOT have an opinion. That just tells me you are an ignorant sheep. Let’s hope you are rescued by the right sheepdog and not eaten by the wolf.
  • They want you to be scared.
  • They want you to reject the refugees because they hate the refugees for rejecting Sharia Law and leaving to go to the evil West.
  • They want us to bomb more and more and more and create more instability and chaos and breed more misery and discontent because they recruit from fear and misery.
  • Acting on fear is pandering to their wants. It’s okay to be scared, but it’s not okay to make rash decisions because of it. It’s worse, though, to take no action because of it. I can’t agree with fear-based arguments telling the world to keep their refugees, but I agree even less with the pearl-clutching baa-baas of humanity looking for the nearest sheepdog to follow, regardless of its master.
  • I can’t rationalize the fear so many have for terrorists. YOU ARE LETTING THEM WIN. It’s the moral equivalent of meekly giving the bully your lunch money so they don’t kick your ass. Be scared, but be intelligent. Be the kid who gets the black eye. Be the hero. Or, let it make you cautious. Use it to educate yourself. Use it to maintain diligence and vigilance and observe what is going on around you. Just do something.
  • How many of the recent attacks, like Paris, Beirut and even school shootings could have been prevented by better diligence? By listening to that gut feeling and taking action?
  • Don’t just stand by and let the waves of despair crash over you. You still have to continue to seek out the good and the beautiful. Half the world could die tomorrow and you would still have to put food on the table and dress your kids. Get on with living and loving.

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Hunter’s Chicken

Hunter’s Chicken

2ish pounds of boneless chicken breast $4 (original recipe called for 3-4 lbs bone-in chicken)
1 onion, sliced $.50
1/4 cup oil $.25
1/2 cup flour $0.50 (less if you don’t use GF
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup chicken broth $0.10
1 12(?) oz can of diced tomatoes $1
1 4 oz can mushrooms, drained $0.70
1 cup of  black olives $0.75
1/2 cup broth $0.05

1. Saute onions in oil until soft
2. Dredge chicken in flour, salt, and pepper, then brown in pan with oil and onion.
3. Pour in 1 cup of broth. Simmer uncovered till liquid is mostly gone.
4. Dump in remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered until desired thickness.

Served with 2 lbs buttered potatoes ($1.25) and bag of steamed veggies with butter ($1.35)

So, total cost was about $10.50 for six people, less than $2/serving. And it was delicious!  It could be made for less $ with different meat., and it would still be tasty without mushrooms and olives.

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Where did all of my posts go?

Some of you may have noticed that all of my old posts are gone. The fact of the matter is, I created a niche blog and then used it as a platform for all of my shenanigans. I don’t think that’s the best use of the site. I think The Incompetent Hausfrau can do a lot of good, but not when I wander off on tangents. So, I have temporarily gotten rid of all of my old posts. I may set up a different blog for that nonsense, but I’m trying to refocus on my original vision for The Incompetent Hausfrau as a community space for people (not necessarily just women) who feel like they aren’t doing well enough. Who beat themselves up when they don’t meet up with their own expectations. We’ve become a sea of individuals comparing ourselves to a set of ideals that don’t exist in reality. When the extended family broke down and we all went our happy ways to our humble little two bedroom cottages with white picket fences and grandma and grandpa and great-aunt Margie stayed in their own humble little cottages, we lost our community. We became strangers in a sea of humanity and no longer had the beauty and wisdom of age and experience in the kitchen with us to laugh off things like inedible pot roast and sassy children. We became so individualistic that we think we have to know it all, do it all ourselves, do it all perfectly, and that asking for help or advice is somehow shameful and means that we’re weak and incompetent. And it’s just not true.  I’m awesome. You’re awesome. We are amazing, we just happen to be imperfect beings in a Perfect Universe. So, I’ll be going through my old posts one at a time and republishing them if they’ll fit in and be helpful. Namaste, Lieblings.

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Cheap meal plan August 2014

The time has come for me to put my best frugal foot forward. Thanks to higher taxes and insurance my husband’s much-needed pay raise disappeared. Thanks to higher prices on everydaggumthing under the sun, I think we have returned to financial bottom. The hubs and I are both working odd jobs now, he as a flight instructor and I as a freelance writer, just to try to keep food on the table.

I’ve never emptied my freezer and pantry before because I didn’t have enough money to buy any groceries. But there I was a couple of weeks ago. It would have been the same last payday, but we took the risk and delayed the mortgage payment again so we’d have some cash available. Then I, in all my glorious fuckupery, floated that late mortgage payment a day early so it cleared a day early. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anyway, we’ve crunched and crunched the numbers and the fact is, if we want to pay all the bills–why would anyone want to do that, psht–then we have to have a very modest food budget. Like so modest, I need to find out when and where the food pantries are. So. Frustrating. And we are “middle class”. Yeah right.

Anyway, since most of the hits to my humble little blog come from people also trying to squeeze food out of miniscule budgets, I’m going to try again to document my meal plans and spending.  I think it’s so cute how some bloggers list “budget friendly” meals with ingredients like beef, lamb, and seafood. I’m sure they laugh all the way to the bank in their Audis.

Let’s get real all ye homemakers upon your crusty old minivans with broken handles that errbody thinks you should pay $600 to get fixed because ugly or whatever their justification for spending that many hunnies on a handle. Geez, you can still open it from the inside. You’ll find no judging eyes for your broken handles, scuffed sandals, or ratty tees here. I promise. Solidarity.

So, here’s what I plan to make for dinners:

If you didn’t know, we eat gluten-free and mostly dairy free, so I have to stretch a little bit harder than some folks. We can’t eat canned soups or store-bought bread. GF Bisquick is great and all, but at $5 for approximately two batches of pancakes, that is a big fat no-go. We’re mostly bread-free, because GF baking is difficult and expensive. For starches we eat rice and potatoes. My people decided they don’t like quinoa–turds–and we have had it up to here with the corn-based pastas, tortillas, and corn chips. Ugh.

Tacos. Self explanatory. There are a million and one ways to make these. I’ll be trying homemade crepes to maybe substitute for flour tortillas. We are really, really sick of corn tortillas.😦

Lemon-pepper chicken thighs. Put your chicken thighs in the crock pot. Top with sliced onions. Sprinkle 1 tsp of lemon pepper per pound of chicken. When it’s cooked, separate the meat from the leftover juices. Stir yogurt into the juice to make a yummy sauce. You can serve with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, and pita for yummy gyro-like goodness. Or with rice. But flatbread is better, just hard to make GF.

Meatloaf. Two pounds of ground meat, usually turkey. Traditionally it would be one of beef and one of pork. I don’t ever buy the season packets. I put in a handful of oatmeal, two eggs, and then I start throwing in spices or salt. I never make it the same way, which irritates my people because sometimes it turns out really good, and sometimes it’s just okay.

Pulled pork. Pork. Crockpot. Hours later it’s done. There are lots of ways you can spice this up. It’s nice to add a bay leaf, and you can mix up some sauce for Carolina barbeque for a sweet/tart/spicy treat on buns or by itself. Leftovers will make carnitas. I may make rolls, I may just serve it with buttered potatoes.

Three bean chili: I use 1/2 to 1 pound of ground meat, three cups of dry beans, soaked and precooked, and one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I’m lazy, so I season with garlic and onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and chicken or beef base, depending on what I have on hand. Sometimes I’ll stir in cinnamon and cocoa powder or a square of baker’s chocolate. You can serve leftover chili over spaghetti noodles and make Spaghetti Red, as my dad used to call it.

Carnitas. True carnita meat is made by braising in broth for hours, then you cook off the fluid, then you continue cooking it in its own fat, sometimes adding lard, until the chunks of meat have fried to a delicious crisp. This is way too much work. They’re still good using pulled pork from the crock pot. If you want to fry the meat, oven frying seems to work best. Put some grease in a baking pan and put it in a hot oven. Add the meat when the fat is melted and hot, then bake until it’s crispy enough. Bacon grease works well for this. Carnitas should be served with guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes and tortillas. Of course beans always go well with Mexican food and Spanish or Mexican rice.

Terriyaki chicken. I like to make my own terriyaki sauce. I find the store-bought stuff isn’t sweet enough and is way too salty. I’ll serve it with rice. If I’m especially motivated, I’ll make it fried rice.

Braised chicken I probably won’t add the wine or the fennel. More rice, or maybe I’ll make gnocchi.

Chicken stroganoff. I’ll use skinless and boneless thighs. Instead of canned soup I’ll use chicken base (worth the extra cost because bullion is disgusting and broth is expensive), milk, mushrooms, and I’ll thicken with cornstarch before I stir in yogurt.

Note on skipping the canned soup: If you do this, remember a can of soup is 12 oz, so just add 12 oz of milk instead. If the recipe calls for extra milk or water, just add milk. The can of soup would reconstitute to 24 oz, or three cups, so you need to add 3 tsp of base or bullion. You’ll want to thicken with about 3 Tbs of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of milk. That should do it.🙂 There are other tutorials for homemade concentrated soup, but I found this method works well, even if it isn’t exact. And no MSG!

Pork chops and gravy. My mom likes to make this by putting the chops in a pan on the stove and covering with a can of cream of mushroom gravy. I’ll be using the same technique I will use for the stroganoff. Either way, simmer them for a couple of hours and they are fork tender and delicious. Serve over rice, pasta, or potatoes.

Tarragon chicken. So yummy. Cooked and cubed chicken, tarragon, brown or dijon mustard, capers (if you have them), onion, garlic, etc. Chicken broth made from chicken base. Then stir in a package (or so) of cream cheese or Neufatchel. Serve it over rice or pasta. So. Good.

Chicken fingers and fries. I’ll slice inexpensive chicken breast into strips, use corn meal and GF flour to bread it (egg wash) and bake them.

Whole roasted chicken (twice). At just over $1 a pound, I might cook two at a time so I have extra chicken to freeze. Leftover will make soup for lunches. Always make a broth with your carcass, otherwise it’s just money in the trash. You can freeze your broth and save money on bullion or base. I’ll make mashed taters and a veggie side.

Lunches will mostly be leftovers.

Breakfasts will alternate between eggs and turkey bacon, oatmeal, and pancakes. I only buy Log Cabin syrup brand because the others use HFCS and I like my liver. My people actually don’t care for real maple syrup, which is good because we can’t afford that anyway!

Awesome deal:

Walgreens has a dozen eggs on sale this week for 99 cents each (limit 4). My sweet little hens have just started laying so soon I won’t be buying any more eggs! Yay!

 

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I AM grateful but I can’t ignore the spitball in my hair

There is a big gratitude movement, of which I totally approve. Yes, it needed my approval, which I gladly give. You’re welcome. (kidding) I think it is awesome and fantastic and a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it seems to be fanning the flames of the suck it up buttercup, quit yer bitchin’, no one fucking cares cause.

I think it is great to play Pollyanna and the “I’m so glad” game, but let’s not forget that we are adults and that real life hurts and sucks sometimes and that it has been pretty well established that bottling it all up, even if you are continually topping off with gratitude, is just not healthy. We have to let this crap out. We have to vent and rage and scream and cry on occasion. We have to say, “This SUCKS. This pisses me off. This hurts my feelings.”

We cannot continue to invalidate our own feelings because it turns people off and we’re not supposed to let them out of the nasty little recesses of our minds. We’re only allowed to talk about that which makes us grateful; everything else is self-serving narcissism.

Well, I call horseshit. Please, be grateful. Keep up that running commentary on the good stuff, the small things, the beauty in the world that makes your heart sing. But also, let’s be real and genuine. Let’s strive for balance and let one another let it all out without apology because it is just as important and vital to our well-being.

What do you think? Do you ever feel upset, angsty, stressed, sad, etc., and not feel as though you can express it? If you are a blogger, do you avoid those topics? Do you think people should keep it to themselves? If so, what is your solution to the need for catharsis and relief? How can we help one another create safe environments to express both gratitude and angst?

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Relax, Your Kid Hasn’t Been Ruined by Electronics

I always seem to wait too long to write responses. Be it blogs, news, #hashtags, I always dilly and dally and soon everyone has said all the things at least thrice and I would just be adding to the dissonant cacophony of voices each vying for attention, hits, and traffic. Oh well. Better late than never. I want to discuss the HuffPost article going around about 10 Reasons Something Something Kids and Electronics. I won’t link to it. If you must find it, I’m sure you can Google it, or find it from a Facebook friend. Ahem. If that’s you, please know that I love you from the bottom of my heart and that I do not fault you for sharing it. Please read on.

The overall premise is pretty sound: kids need less electronics. However, the individual pieces–those ten little reasons–individually and collectively seek to terrify parents. Terrify. Fear marketing is roughly equivalent to domestic terrorism. Don’t believe me?

Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Merriam-Webster

Oh. “Violence.” Then fear marketing doesn’t count. My bad. Or does it?

Violence: 3. b: Vehement feeling or expression Merriam-Webster

Oh. “Political.” Never mind. Wait. Political, root word politic.

Politic: 2: Characterized by shrewdness in managing, contriving, or dealing. Merriam-Webster

I think we can all agree on the meaning of domestic. In other words, terrorism can be defined as

The systematic use of vehement feeling or expression to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to shrewdly manage or contrive a particular objective.

So, what about said blog author’s qualifications? She’s a biologist, a pediatric occupational therapist for heaven’s sake. That requires degrees, certifications, letters after her name! I happen to have degrees and letters after my name. BS <gigglesnork> Bachelor of Science in Marketing, summa cum laude, tyvm. So, I know a thing or two about marketing. Respect my authority.

Actually, that is what all of this is based on. Authority. The vast majority of people do in fact respect authority and power, which is why marketing works. Sometimes the authority is Science, or Academia, or Celebrity. Fear marketing is a very successful type of marketing that uses authority to create fear in consumers, and as it happens I find it extremely unethical. The blog author, with her authority, both her own and her citations, attempts to scare the reader (parent). She attempts to lead parents to believe that whatever is wrong with their children can be directly tied to their electronic use. From cancer to ADHD, and obesity to developmental delays: if you exposed your children to handheld electronic devices or television you have caused them harm. And as it so happens she is the creator, owner, and marketer of a line of products, workshops, and training designed specifically to combat that damage you have done to your children. It almost brings a tear to your eye.

Well. If you’re not inherently skeptical. If you are an average parent, especially if you are an average parent with a less-than-perfect child, then this article work of terror will likely cause an anxious thread of doubt to circulate your chest. Your mind will start reeling and reliving all the times you turned on the babysitter forjustafewminutesofpeaceandquiet! Please, let me tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that if you are reading that article, if you care about the growth and development of your child, if you love and do your very best for your child, then you haven’t harmed them with some exposure to electronics. Seriously.

This article is designed to appeal (contrary word isn’t it? even while you’re terrified for your child this product appeals to you) to good parents. Bad parents won’t bother to read it or question their parenting at all. This is what I want you to understand. This ad campaign, and so many others like it, are designed to cause anxiety where none exists. In marketing, if there isn’t a market for a product then you create it. That is what fear marketing does; it creates a market by scaring consumers into believing they need something. You see it a LOT in the Hollydaze, and I’ll write more about it as that special time of year approaches.

So this article blog opinion marketing campaign is junk. Say it with me, “It is crap.” Now, go kiss and love on your babies because YOU are a fabulous parent.

Shameless plea for external validation: please like and share this post. It’s like a virtual hug.

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March 13, 2014 · 8:39 PM