22 November 2017

Low-Sugar Cranberry Sauce

Courtesy of Microsoft

Happy Thanksgiving, Ladies!

I have begun creating our little feast for tomorrow, which includes (for the first time in decades) something other than my cranberry sauce made with orange juice as its base.  I have always been advised to keep my carbohydrate count below 100 grams per day.  Now, however, the advisement is for under 60 grams per day, so sacrifices are being made.

Since a homemade cranberry sauce has been our family tradition for over thirty years, I hesitated to change to a canned sauce or to abandon cranberry sauce altogether.  

I found this Cran-Raspberry Sauce that seemed interesting over at Atkins.com, and as I am wont to do, I modified it to meet our needs and tastes.  Note well that my modification does include some cane sugar.  

Cynthia's Low-Sugar Cranberry Sauce

Twelve ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed 
Eight ounces water
Eight ounces sugar free raspberry preserves
One half cup stevia-cane sugar blend
One packet unflavored gelatin

Combine in a sauce pan the water and the preserves.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the water and preserves and allow to soften for a minute.  Mix in the gelatin until dissolved.  Stir in the stevia-can sugar blend and the cranberries.  Heat to a low boil and boil until most of the berries have popped.

Carefully ladle the sauce into a heat-proof, non-reactive serving bowl (I use my french white Corningware) and refrigerate overnight.

Serves twelve.

I have tasted the still-warm sauce, and it is acceptable and may improve upon chilling until tomorrow's dinner.

Agape always,
Cynthia


18 November 2017

ABC Q and A: Thanksgiving Edition

Courtesy of Microsoft
Greetings, Ladies!

Here is my ABC Q and A for Thanksgiving; I'd love to read your answers as a comment, and feel free to share on your blog: just be sure to link back or to credit me when you do.

Agape always,
Cynthia


Cynthia's ABC Q and A (Thanksgiving Edition)

Activity? Watching the Cowboys play

Beverage to Serve with Dinner? Water 

Cranberry Sauce: Love it or No?  Love it!

Dessert?  Pumpkin Cheesecake (Low-Carb)

Eat in the Dining Room?  Don’t have one ;-)

Fish course?  No, we aren’t that fancy, but I wouldn’t refuse an oyster bar someday.

Gravy: Homemade? From a Jar? Skip It?  Homemade!

Hymn?  “We Gather Together”

Indian Corn Decorations?  If I can afford them, yes.

Jell-o Salad?  Peach jell-o with pecans and pineapple (looks Thanksgiving-y)

Kitchen Companions?  Only if they want to work

Leftovers?  Turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce on sourdough

Memory?  The first time I hostessed Thanksgiving because it was the last time all of my mom’s family gathered for the holiday.

Napkins: Cloth or Paper?  We can do cloth since we have so few at dinner; we had paper when we had a big group.

Organized or Chaotic?  I start with being organized.  Does that count?

Pilgrim Boyfriend? Miles Standish: Just his name sounds romantic!

Quick and Easy or Takes All Day?  Takes all week!

Relative? Someone whose name starts with “J”

Stuffing or Dressing? Dressing, y’all.

Turkey Part? Thigh 

Under the Table or Strictly Sober?  Strictly Sober

Vegetable Dish? Green Beans Almondine

Wishbone Technique? Hold it and wait for the other person to pull.

eXciting Moment?  My mother cooked the turkey in a paper bag one year; firefighters are so handsome!

Yams or Sweet Potatoes? Neither!

Zesty or Mild?  Mild (too many guests have sensitive tummies)

15 November 2017

Wondering Wednesday: Naughty Selfies for Mr. Husband?

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with others.

This week's Wondering Wednesday came from a perplexed wife.  She and her husband were separated due to his deployment and she wanted to send to her husband a photograph of herself in her underwear.

Sounds pretty tame, right?

As always, I never say, "Here is what you should do" because I don't know anyone who writes to me personally; rather, I say, "Here is what I would do or what I have done in a similar situation."  

In this case, I have a personal experience to share, so my answer is based on what I have done when presented with such a situation in the past.  

Let's start with some history.  When my late husband and I were separated due to his deployment in 2007, there was a fad of military wives sending their husbands photographs that were for his eyes only, to be carried on his phone where he could view them anywhere. (The ability to send photographs via cell phone was brand new then, and leave it to the military mind to come up with a new use for technology. [dry humor])  

Naturally, my favorite Marine wanted a photograph of me and asked why I had not joined in with the other wives.  I thought for a few minutes and decided he was shaking the pedestal, which I tried to treat as though he was playing a prank or joking, at least at first, so I wrote back:  "LOL: It must be April Fool's Day in [place]."

Nope.  He was serious.  Floating in a sea of loneliness and stress, he wanted me to do something with which I was very uncomfortable, at minimum, and which was probably a sin according to our mutually held faith.

This time, I thought for a few hours and made several "T-chart" lists, pro and con.  Here was the major "con" that I came up with and that ended the discussion:

"What if you lose your phone?  I don't want [name of enemy] or [name of a certain man who had expressed interest in me - ick!] looking at me."

(I didn't ask "What if you are taken prisoner?" because the thought was too horrible to bear.)

Where humor had failed, dread won the day.  And those remain my basic concerns about sending such photographs.  

A few years ago, I replied to one person's text, and another person received my text.  These mix-ups happen.  A photograph could be sent to Mr. Husband and end up someplace quite unintended.

"Mobile devices" as they are now called are lost or stolen every day.   

Co-workers and friends also snoop on each others' mobiles. 

Therefore, I personally would not take "naughty selfies," nor would I send them to my husband (or to anyone else, for that matter).

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

PS: If my husband had persisted and had made the photograph a submission issue, I would have spoken to our priest for guidance.



10 November 2017

An Answer to Prayer

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that you all are feeling well, doing good, and sharing your joy with others.

For the past fifteen months, my life has been particularly challenging, and October and this month have been the worst.  In desperation, I cried out to the Lord; His answer was to provide for me through the gracious offer of an interest-free loan to meet our needs until my retirement is received next March, an offer that I have gratefully accepted.  

The couple involved did not want any public expression of gratitude, only wanting me to give praise to God, which I definitely do.  

Agape always,
Cynthia

04 November 2017

Femininity Friday: Let's Bring Back the Dowry!

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A dowry can be simply defined as the money and property–including household goods–that a bride brings to her marriage.  

Prior to our postmodern times, a dowry was considered to be half of the woman’s financial contribution to the marriage, her labor after the marriage (cooking, gardening, sewing, etc.) being the other half.  A dowry could consist of almost anything of value: a few examples include sterling silver holloware, furniture, land, livestock, and sherry (for you David Copperfield fans).  If a bride lacked a dowry, one could be provided to her by her religious community or her husband could decide to forego a dowry.  If the marriage failed or if her husband died, she was, at the very least, entitled to receive her dowry or its value from her husband or his estate.

Today, however, most women, at least in the western world, are expected to bring property to the marriage, to work outside the home after marriage (or, perhaps worse, to have an in-home business), and after working outside the home for several hours a day, to return home to several hours of additional labor (see The Second Shift by Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung) while any children are cared for by hirelings.  That arrangement is manifestly unfair, it seems to me.  No wonder that most women feel exhausted; no wonder that an increasing number of marriages are nearly devoid of physical intimacy.  

Today, when, Heaven forbid, a marriage fails, former loves claw and club their way to a property settlement that leaves neither of them happy and enriches only their attorneys.  

Today, when, Heaven forbid, a husband dies, his widow can be left owing massive medical debts that she did not incur, and whatever she contributed to the marriage can be taken by her husband’s creditors, in addition to anything she earns after his death.  Sometimes these debts bankrupt the widow for the rest of her life.

How could a dowry system work today?  A first step, it seems to me, would be to move past the idea that a prenuptial agreement is a bad thing.  A prenuptial agreement doesn’t have to be a negative; it can simply lay out the terms that the couple agree to prior to marriage, whatever those terms might be.  

Another important factor would be for most women to realize that they will, in all likelihood, marry someday and to prepare for that blessed event.  Rather than expecting wedding guests to provide expensive dry goods in exchange for an evening’s gaudy entertainment, gather a house full of furnishings.  Rather than spending huge amounts on clothes, entertainment, and vacations while you are single, save money for a down payment on a home.  If both members of a couple did that, perhaps a small simple home could be purchased without a mortgage or with very little mortgage.  

Finally, a change of attitude toward lifestyle is needed.  Learn to cook, garden, and sew.  Learn to be content with whatever you have (both men and women need this lesson, in my perception).  Learn to value the simple joys of life.  These attitudinal changes will start to inform general life decisions and help to return women's labor in the home to the place of value it once held.

I hope that my little woman-to-woman ideas have helped (and certainly my ideas do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice).

Agape always,
Cynthia 

Thinking about taking a class?  You may find information on my website:

https://cynthiaberenger.wixsite.com/cynthiaberenger/classes

Thinking about studying my curriculum independently?  You may purchase it from my Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/HomekeepingTreasures?ref=l2-shopheader-name

You may read an excerpt from The Second Shift here:  
http://www.unc.edu/~kleinman/handouts/second%20shift.pdf