Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

So, this past weekend, I made the rounds of the farm stands. At my favorite one, Indigo Farms, they had quarts of fresh picked strawberries. At my 2nd favorite,  Holden Brothers, they had rhubarb. So…well….it seemed natural.

I took the recipe from my Doubleday cookbook and gave it the Ole Mary touch.

So, along with an amazing brainstorm for the crust…here goes.

Filling:
1 pt of strawberries, cut in small pieces
2 c. Rhubarb, cut in 1/2″ pieces
2/3 c coconut sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 c fresh lemon zest

Crust:
2 c sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 c cold butter
1/3 c cold vegetable shortening
1/3 c unsweetened coconut
4-6 tbsp ice water (could be more)

Streusel topping:
1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened coconut
1/2 c coconut oil

Make the crust first:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, coconut, butter, and shortening. Pulse until mixture looks like cookie crumbs. Stream in ice water while mixing until the dough forms a ball.  Turn out onto a board and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill while you make the filling and Streusel.

Make the filling next:
In a bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb,  and lemon zest. Add sugar and lemon juice. Let sit while preparing the Streusel.

Make the Streusel last:
In a bowl, combine sugar, coconut, and flour. Using a pastry blender (or forks work too) cut the coconut oil into the sugar, flour, and coconut mixture until it resembles pebbles.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the crust to approx 1/4-3/8″
thick and press it into a pie plate. Strain the liquid from the strawberry – rhubarb mixture. Put the fruit in the pie shell. If it looks dry, add a bit of the liquid.

Top with Streusel. I like a lot of Streusel so I made a bit extra.

Bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes. Keep an eye on it the last 5 minutes as the coconut could tend to burn.

Oh, and let me know how you like it.

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Update on the whole Working Out thing…

This is long overdue – I used to post updates on my Facebook page but for whatever leafy_greensreason, I’m busy working during working hours. So…here goes.

I’m on week 3 of Nutri-System. I haven’t been as “religious” about it as I should, but I try my best to stick to it 6 days a week. Saturday is tough because we have pizza night every Saturday and due to the fact that I can eat a whole large pizza on my own with no-one’s help (insert an emoji of a person stabbing another for the last piece of pizza here) I figure I’m 5 slices ahead if I just eat two pieces on Saturday night. It does beg the question of why we don’t get “extra points” for being good about not binge eating. And by extra points I do mean a significant subtraction of pounds when stepping on the scale.

I do know that I briefly lost 3 or 4 pounds. Sadly, I found them again. I don’t know if I can ever figure out how to make the scale be my friend aside from never stepping on it. After purchasing a scale last week, I weighed myself 5 times in the first two days and my weight fluctuated around 8 pounds in those 5 times so…I gave up weighing myself since the last time I stepped on it, I was up about 3 lbs from before going to the gym. I don’t know…

And, most importantly…for the past two weeks, I’ve been wearing yoga pants that previously did not fit to work out in. And, two different pairs of jeans this week fit me that didn’t fit about a month ago. That said, it’s hard for me to know for sure if I’m losing inches because the jeans I typically wear fall down regardless of how much I weigh…I don’t know – I guess they stretched out (no, no lycra in these…just plain ole Old Navy Jeans). Yeah, I’m full of conundrums this post.

I did get my measurements taken last Friday, I think. I was down an inch in bust and hips but up 2″ in my waist. Huh? See why this is so frustrating to me?

Anyway, I have been trying to do a little bit of C25K training as I can – mostly weekends because 3 days a week up at 5 AM to go to the gym, the other two work days, I am worn slap out and don’t get up until 7:30-7:45 to work.

I’m all registered for the 5K I’m walking in Denver on June 11. Check my Facebook page – I would love it if y’all donate – it’s a fundraiser for Lungforce – Lung Cancer awareness. My pal Lisa Moran is my inspiration…we’re walking together so if you can join us…DO IT!

And, I am hoping that my FINAL (yes, it’s all I can take) 3 weeks of Nutri-System will bring me to where I want to be in the weight area. Then I’ll go back to eating Real Food (no, I don’t consider Nutri-System real food. Limited scope for those of us who don’t eat meat. REALLY limited scope. Ugh.

I’m feeling a bit slimmer, but I also feel as if I’ve got a ways to go. When I see pictures of me from last year, I know I’m on the right track (hahaha…no pun intended but it’s a good one!) but I still have pictures from 2007 where I was a size 4. So…I have to reconcile the two. And, it’s very difficult. I’m not looking for pity, believe me I know there are many out there who have life much more difficult than I do and I appreciate that whole-heartedly. I am just sayin what’s on my mind with regards to my weight-gain-loss-gain-loss insanity. So…no pity here – I’m cool. I’m just hard on myself.

And I guess I’m not really 100% updating y’all on anything aside from my inability to use a scale properly and my ability to eat a whole pizza. More little known things about Mary. Do we all feel better now?

Hopefully in 3 weeks, I will have a better blog with more informative stuff. Or, maybe I’ll blog about all the wonderful things I’ll be making to keep my weight loss going post-Nutri-System. Maybe. We’ll see.

 

Posted in Crazy Random Thoughts, Daily Fat Fight, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Ten things you might not figger ’bout me…

image So, I’m writing this on my phone. Don’t expect it to be too fancy. I sometimes think that those of you who know might know this stuff, but you “new blog-friends” might not know. Here are a few little known Mary facts:

1. I like expensive blue jeans. Like…Lucky Brand and such. I don’t like to pay lots of money for them so I shop clearance at http://www.luckybrand.com.

2. If I could afford it, I would wear only Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Lucky Brand. I can’t afford that, even clearance.

3. I never wear makeup but when I do, I spend too much money on it. Again, I shop sales. Benefit and Bare Escentuals are current faves.

4. I am a night owl. No, really. I am. Much happier btwn the hours of 11 am and 2 am. Maybe 12 pm and 3 am. Hate me some 5 am. Unless I am still up after a long night…..

5. My first dog was a greyhound. I grew up around cats. Now I want dogs, horses, chickens, and a couple of goats. Little ones. Oh, and a donkey or mule.

6. My favorite rock star is my husband. He is the best musician I know.

7. I really love living in South Carolina. Ok, I live in NC right now but as soon as we can, we will move back over the state line.

8. I have four guitars. Two Ovations, an Ibanez electric, and a Yamaha 6 string.

9. I love my job.

10. As much as I love my job, I look forward to retiring some day and having a wacky farm with above mentioned animals. And a bunch of cast iron pans. And a kitchen with a gas stove. And a fire pit in the backyard.

Yup. That’s all.

Posted in Crazy Random Thoughts, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings | Tagged | 3 Comments

Hard time finding the words…

I know, I know. Me. Speechless. Well, yeah. It’s not really that I have no words, its that I can’t find the right words. For some peculiar reason…I have not been able to express myself properly where this topic is concerned.

On January 27, one of my longest-standing friends passed away. She was sick for quite a while, and being the hard-core, believing Christian that I am, I know she’s “in a better place” and “made whole” now. I get it.

Before I go on, maybe I should set some ground rules. Please. Don’t feel bad for me. I will find my words again some day…maybe on this topic. If you’re the praying type, say a prayer for her three kids and her wonderful husband. That will really make me happy.

See, I don’t really clearly recall a point in time when Lisa wasn’t my friend. She even corrected me about when we met because I was POSITIVE I had known her as long as I knew Jim (my husband). I really can’t even remember when she said we met because it wasn’t as important as how she has been a friend for over 35 years…and was a month YOUNGER than I. These things hit you hard as you pass the half-century mark.

So many people can recite chapter and verse about their growing up days, and all the different things they did…and yet, while I know that a great deal of memories from Kennedy Junior High and Peabody Veterans Memorial High are dotted with Lisa…and they are probably more than “dotted” (refer to title of this article…words are really failing me here)…I just kinda always considered her a friend. Like that assumed part of your life.

It kind of brings me comfort that no matter where in the world I was…whatever phase I was going through, she kept in contact. Sometimes it was just through Christmas Cards…and probably often just cards to my parents. However, I always knew where she was and God bless her, she always knew where I was. See, that’s the way it was with Lisa (you too, Kim…and of course Jim). Always knew where each other was.

Memories that really stand out to me of her are the ones like when she and her husband Jimi (also a friend of mine) met me downtown in Charleston one Sunday, I think. And we sat around at the Meeting Street Inn, I think. Talking…reminiscing…stuff that you do when you haven’t seen each other for years.

Then there was that first trip after Coop and I got married. We had two days to be “alone” and we started day one by meeting Jim and Lisa at a Pizzaria Uno in….like….Natick, MA for lunch. We talked, we laughed…and we swore we’d see each other the next year.

It seemed too far to go that next year. All the way down to Sandwich. And they couldn’t make our gathering up in Saugus. Now, looking back on it, geez…you don’t say NO to that kinda opportunity. I should have found a way.

Here’s the THANK GOD moment. Last summer, we gathered in Beverly (bless Sue & Laurie for hosting us). It was a long trip. She was very sick…much sicker than we knew at the time. But she made the time. They came to the gathering. It was more than just magical, it was wonderous to see her…and I should have spent more time talking to her. I should have spent ALL my time talking to her. I was so incredibly touched by her showing up. And sadly, that was all. The last time.

I know we can’t beat ourselves up over what we haven’t done…what we didn’t do…I have to say I probably am doing it anyway. And, my general oblivion…well, I never thought I wouldn’t see her again (this is real…it’s true)…I expected to see her this year when we make it up to Massachusetts.

Maybe these are all reasons why I am at a loss for words. And while you’re probably thinking…uh, 700 words isn’t a loss for words…it is. Nothing I’ve said has much quality. Nothing I’ve said sheds light on the type of person Lisa really was. Nothing I’ve said gives credit where credit is due. There is no substance…no fitting tribute. I truly wish I had the right things to say. I truly wish I could shine a light on the amazing soul you were. I truly wish that my words could touch the hearts of those who still grieve your loss and maybe just make the day a little brighter. It’s what you would be able to do. Your kindness, your gentleness, your amazing “stick-to-it-iveness”. You are, and always will be, my friend. You are, and always will be, my friend. I’m not sure you knew how important you were to me.

 

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Greyhounds and Racing – a response to Grey2K

Please know that I am a HUGE animal advocate. And I love, most especially, retired racing greyhounds. So, for those of you out there who have “glommed onto” the CBS This Morning report that cited and quoted Grey2K as a “resource” with regards to greyhound racing, greyhound welfare, and greyhound adoption, please know this:

My left butt cheek has done more for greyhound adoption than Grey2K has. No. Really. Before you support Grey2K and their “sister” organization “The Humane Society of America” (throw PETA in there too, because they’re kinda slack asses), do the research. Not one penny raised by Grey2K goes to greyhound rescue, adoption, rehoming…not one red cent. So in this day and age of “getting your money’s worth” when donating…you need to know the truth about 90% of greyhound racing in the 21st century.

Let’s start back in the 80s tho. Reports of hundreds of dead greyhound carcasses rotting behind the Hollywood, FL racetrack drove animal-lovers such as myself to investigate and get involved with rescue and…ultimately, adopt a retired racing greyhound. Let’s be serious tho – that was in 1980-something.

Since then (by the way, 1986 was 30…COUNT ‘EM…30 years ago…) we’ve come a long way baby. And that horrifying “scene” at Hollywood Park is not the reality of 2016. Greyhounds are respected dogs. They are known as the loveable 45mph couch potatoes. And, they are loved by 90% of the trainers/kennels/owners of retired racing greyhounds. You might pause when I say 90%. Well, that 10% not “loved” … that’s bad, isn’t it?

Here’s reality: 10% of ALL dogs are abused in some eay…WAIT…PROBABLY MORE THAN 10%. Have you looked at an animal shelter recently? Pitbulls, labs, little yappy crappy dogs, big dogs, little dogs…dogs MUCH WORSE OFF than greyhounds in a racing kennel…we, as a society, don’t really value the pet for what it should be: a loved family member. We toss away our pets in the same way we toss away paper cups and plastic water bottles. So, that 10% of greyhounds that *may* be abused…that’s likely lower than the average dog population in a small town. Note the use of the word MAY in that sentence too. Really, racing greyhounds are *not* abused dogs. So let’s break this down.

Racing greyhounds are athletes. They’re sprint runners. Think about the runners you know. Now imagine them being abused, beaten, sickly, bogged down with parasites and such. How fast would they run?

Let’s do another analogy. Let’s take WalMart. WalMart has stock that they rely on to make a profit. (Insert greyhound owner as big box merchant and greyhounds as stock.) Does WalMart take their stock out back and smash it to bits, keep it from shelter, treat it poorly before it’s sold?

In BOTH those cases, the answers are obvious. So why can’t we superimpose the racing industry and greyhounds into that situation? Because groups such as Grey2K have tried to make the racing industry the bad guy. When looking at a group such as Grey2K, and I did look at them thinking they were the “good guys” at first, we have to think about how many dogs they have actively been involved with saving (and saving does imply the dogs were in danger….which is questionable). I’ve looked. Their money is tied up in corporate salaries, and in advocacy expenses…such as print ads and media hype. Not one penny is available even as GRANTS to greyhound rescue. So…..I return to my butt cheek. It’s been involved in at least one or two greyhound adoptions. Not Grey2K.

And, just to kinda try to wrap this up a bit, remember – we do not have a healthy society of animal lovers – if you are REALLY concerned about saving dogs lives…please, go to your local shelter. The dogs you see there…they need your help. If you truly want to help a greyhound, turn AWAY from groups such as Grey2K and towards rescues such as GALT, and GPA (those are two that I can think off off the top of my head but there are many others!)

I beg you to ignore the whining and caterwauling of the likes of Grey2K. They are trying to take down greyhound racing which really (in effect) means the end of a breed of dogs – the racing greyhound.

coombsy_sit_me_dtylercoombs_me_dtylerAnd who couldcoombs resist such crazy couch potato?Cute Puppy Girl Sitting

princess

 

Posted in Animal Rescue, Crazy Random Thoughts, General Dog Stuff, Greyhounds, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings, Philanthropy, Service to Others | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

About The Human Vacuum

Source: About The Human Vacuum

 

I’m trying this on my phone…so if it seems odd or doesn’t look like a normal blog of mine, well…stop for a moment and ask yourself, “what is a normal blog of Mary’s?” Or maybe, “how can I think the words NORMAL and MARY belong in the same sentence?”

Anyway, I wanted to share what is part of my every day….and give props to someone who is much more faithful a blogger than I am, and who truly brightens up my day when I see her blog roll into my Inbox. If you are looking for a “feel good” daily read, follow Lindsay. Honestly, she makes me want to blog more faithfully. Heck, she is inspiring me to blog….about her!

No, I don’t “get” anything except a good feeling of passing along a little bit of my favorite part of the day….and possibly a good feeling that your day could be a little brighter too.

Happy Friday! I am off on an adventure that is called: the vacation day!

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Giving Tuesday – Help Good Take Over

Y’know, there’s just so much negativity now-a-days. Nobody likes the president, or the congress, or their neighbors, or the refugees…it’s all a big dump-fest on good things that happen every day. Not blaming, but I’m trying to think of how we can turn this whole world around.

What makes you happy? When you get right down to it, what makes you happy? Think for a minute…and then smile. Really smile.

Almost 20 years ago, I started working for this little company named Blackbaud. They made software for non-profit organizations. We were 300 employees strong, and we did good things. That company (I co-incidentally still work for) has grown exponentially over the past 20ish years (it’s 19 but who’s counting?) and we aren’t just doing good things, we do great things. Our software helps organizations raise billions of dollars to….comfort the afflicted, house the homeless, feed the hungry, rescue the forgotten, teach the next generation of the world. I work there every day. The organizations we work with do great things with the software we build (implement, train, support, customize, upgrade, market, etc). It’s mind boggling.

So why am I telling you all this? Because tomorrow (if tomorrow is Tuesday) is GIVING TUESDAY. We’ve survived Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Now it’s time to pause and give back. What organizations touch you? And by touch you I mean right THERE? You know where I mean – touch your heart. Make you tear up. Make you want to drop everything and help. What organizations scream out YOUR message?

I’ll tell you about mine.

Salem-StateLet’s start with Salem State University. I can’t say that while I was at Salem State I knew what kind of an impact it would have on me. But that’s because I really didn’t know what I would be doing with my B.A. in English (with a minor in Music and 24 credits in Business…I used to say that very proudly…) after graduation. I really had no idea. People always asked me if I were going to teach. Well, based on my desire to do NOTHING like my parents had done in their lives (long story…I have seen the error of my ways), I always said NO! I’LL NEVER TEACH! But ultimately, I moved around the country, landed in the Carolinas, at this small company…teaching….software. And then, I started….WRITING. About that software – writing – TRAINING CLASSES. So, there we go. I come full circle. I, the English major, am finally using my degree. That could be my story but it’s not. My story is an offshoot of my father’s story. For 25 years, he was a music professor at Salem State College. 1969-1994. He lived to reach the minds of those who came to his classes. He really cared about those students who took any of his classes – whether or not they passed with flying colors, or failed miserably. He cared. And, he was passionate about vocal music – college chorus, voice class, musical theater…he took it very seriously. And his students knew it. They…we…gave everything we could during our performances – even those off the cuff type performances Christmas caroling at a local mall, or at The House of Seven Gables. He cared. His students gave him a gift that I feel very strongly about – they put together a scholarship in his name. The scholarship was, at the time, for a music minor. Well, since he retired, Salem State became a University…and they have a music MAJOR. And the scholarship is awarded to a student who is a music major (or minor, I believe…) The scholarship is now a passion of mine. I find it vital that my dad’s name be attached indefinitely to Salem State, the music department, and music as a passion. He gave his heart to Salem State College, and now I continue to support SSU with a monthly gift…and I will give again on #GivingTuesday.

Want to donate? Click here: https://participate.salemstate.edu/comprehensive-campaign-giving-page and specify in the Direct My Gift to Support field: Antone J. Aquino Memorial Scholarship

 

That’s my first organization.

gpachs_logo  My second is Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. Crazy me, I got all involved in this silly thing called animal rescue – before GPA Charleston existed, I volunteered for the John Ancrum SPCA, now known as the Charleston Animal Society. And I saw what animal rescue was. Well, being a lightweight…I decided that I wanted to work in breed rescue – and with a bunch of other crazy people (and animal/greyhound lovers) formed the first greyhound adoption agency in Charleston, SC. Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. That was in 2003. Here it is, 2015, and the group is still going strong…finding forever homes for retired racing greyhounds in Charleston and all along the Carolina coast. So…I support them not only donating money, but also my time.

I went on and on about Salem State – I’ll only bore you a bit about Greyhound Pets of America Charleston. Here’s some food for thought:

  • As a non-profit, we are 100% volunteer run. There is no salary overhead.
  • Even our “overhead” costs (and I’ll be very transparent – phone, storage unit, Post Office Box are the fixed costs…the variables are the dog-related costs including but not limited to transport and vet fees from our sources in Florida, foster food, toys, and treats, and vet costs…) are all related to the dogs – the phone is only used for greyhound related stuff, storage unit holds our foster supplies and event supplies, and post office box is for only greyhound stuff…of course all the dog related overhead is, well…dog related.
  • We do one annual fundraising event, which brings in around $1000-$1500. It barely covers our cost for two dog shipments.
  • We supplement our income by using a donation bucket on the table at meet-a-greyhound events all over the low country.
  • We do not make any money from the adoption of a greyhound – fee to adopt is $250. Each dog costs approximately $300 – 500 minimum ($200 is the fee to bring the vetted dog up from Florida….)

So, while we have not raised our adoption fee, our costs have increased exponentially along with inflation.

We don’t get the flash of local cameras, or the write up of other local rescues. We rely on our adopters to give back…But if just a few others could chip in…we would be really appreciative!

I mean:

  • $10 buys heartworm preventative for 1 foster dog
  • $25 buys a bag of food for 1 foster dog or heartworm and flea control for 1 foster dog
  • $50 buys food, heartworm, and flea control for one dog
  • $75 buys all the above, a toy, and a box of treats for one foster dog
  • $100 buys food, heartworm, and flea control, and a vet check-up for a foster dog

See where I’m going with that?

Want to help? Click here: www.adoptcharlestongreys.org (look for the Make a Donation button on the lower left side)

 

It’s all about giving back. It really doesn’t have to be monetary – but this one day a year, a gift would be helpful. Life really is beautiful, and giving on #GivingTuesday or any day really helps good take over. Take a few minutes this #GivingTuesday and feel good about something – feel good about helping.

Posted in Animal Rescue, Crazy Random Thoughts, Greyhounds, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings, Philanthropy, Service to Others | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sometimes life don’t go as you plan

I wrote this several days before we had to surrender Eli. I actually don’t know if I can read through it without crying so I’m just gonna post it. Most of you know the story because Jim told it a couple of weeks ago.

I know my friends will “get it” but let me say that I am not over this and I may never be, since having a greyhound is about the only constant I’ve had for the past 14 years. It rips my heart out to live somewhere I can’t have a fenced yard and can’t have one of these amazing creatures.

Jim and I don’t need pity or “help”. We have to come to grips with the situation at hand. Please respect our desire to not be “guilted” about this. We never adopted with the intention of returning and as one of the founders of Greyhound Pets of America Charleston, I was never going to be one to return a dog. There we are.

Continue reading

Posted in Animal Rescue, Crazy Random Thoughts, Dad, General Dog Stuff, Greyhounds, Journaling | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Our “Little” Bundle of Joy

I have to admit, I really didn’t know the song Eli’s Comin when everyone started quoting it to me so I had to listen. (Click the link if you don’t know it either).

Jim and I welcomed Eli (I’m thinking Alexander would be a good middle name) Cooper – a 73 pound bouncing  baby boy to our family on Sunday.

eli

He has, in 3 days, gone from the wiggle worm shown above to being the love bug calm chill boy with an interesting personality and some seriously beautiful eyes.

As if sent from heaven (hmmm….was he?) it has quickly become evident that Eli loves being a Cooper. He loves when Jim plays the guitar or the bass…Jim is currently playing the bass and Eli is happily snoozing in his bed. He’s beginning to discover the toys I ran through the washing machine last week – whether he’s sharing his dining room bed with them or carrying them around the house. And we’re praying for a repeat of another sleep filled night.

I think he loves us, and I know we love him. Welcome home buddy.

Posted in Animal Rescue, General Dog Stuff, Greyhounds, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eli’s Comin

Eli’s Comin

Girl, Eli’s comin’, hide your heart, girl
You better, better hide your heart

In the immortal words of Laura Nyro, Eli’s comin!

eli_brewery

I’m a firm believer in “God’s time”. For sure, this didn’t happen at the same pace as all my other greyhounds. I’ve either had a foster dog to tide me over or had a second dog….the silence in the house has been…well…deafening. He’s not replacing Coombsy. He’s new. He’s different.

This silly boy – 2 1/2 year old puppy of a greyhound – he’s ready to get his forever home in Carolina Shores. Yup. Eli’s comin’ and I’ve already given up my heart.

Did I mention he’s coming this weekend?

Posted in Animal Rescue, General Dog Stuff, God, Greyhounds, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment