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US Flag with sun-dappled trees


I am broken. On this Fourth of July, when we celebrate independence and freedom–I don’t like admitting this–but I, like our country, am broken. I don’t know if I can fix myself, let alone help right our nation. Explore recipes? Write about food and cooking? Our nation is in peril. People die in concentration camps. Our concentration camps. How do I write jaunty cooking tip posts when People Are Dying. Heck, I hardly cook anymore. How can I play with food when anger and hatred boil in my body nearly every day?

Perhaps you share similar feelings. Perhaps you, like me, find yourself too often angry–filled with bile and unreleased rage. You’ve seen the photographs.

  • Devastating photographs of children, men and women warehoused in filthy cages, no space to lie down to sleep, a single toilet for a dozen, or dozens.
  • The photograph of the drowned father, his wee daughter still strapped, lifeless, to his back.
  • Photographs and videos of children, torn screaming from their weeping parents’ arms.
  • Images of the faces of the children who died in our care, their illnesses often caused by overcrowding, poor hygiene in the cages, and insufficient food and water.

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Love and 4 jars of rice and water: Experiment #4

See that jar on the left? That’s the first Love Jar, from January 1, 2017. I took the photo above today. I understand if you’re skeptical. I would be too. But this is indeed the same jar, same rice with which my granddaughter and I began our first water and rice experiment two years ago today. I can’t explain the rice looking so good. I can tell you, it doesn’t smell as good as it looks. Not as bad as the other two, which just about made me faint, but bad enough. Read More

Sorting white beans with the grandkids

How to cook dried beans from scratch–No soaking!

Do you eat a lot of beans? If you’re flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan or on a tight budget, you likely include dried beans in your daily meals one way or another. If you buy canned beans, you’ve probably thought about cooking them from scratch to save money and reduce waste. Right? Guess what. Cooking dried beans from scratch is easier than you might think. No soaking involved. Read More

Cauliflower bok choy soup

Cauliflower and baby bok choy soup

Spring has sprung, but we’re still getting some cold, rainy days here. Is that true for you? The good news: It’s not too late for a steaming bowl of soup! Tonight, it’s creamy cauliflower and baby bok choy, our lower-carb alternative to an old rainy-day comfort–potato soup. Read More

The original "love jar" plus 3 new water and rice jars

Love and 4 jars of rice and water: Experiment #3

On March 1, sans grandchild (she was in school), I started the third month’s experiment with rice, water, gratitude and kindness. She and I had discussed what we wanted to do differently this month. Here’s what happened.

First, we made a few changes in procedure

This month, we changed the procedure from what we had done in January. (If you’re new to this series, see box below this section for its origins and why we’re doing it.) Read More

Snipping dill

Quick tip: Snip dill and other herbs

QuickTips4csPlace a frond or two of fresh dill, or any leafy herb on tender stems, in a 2-cup glass measuring cup or a deep, narrow bowl, then snip with your kitchen shears until you have just the texture you need for your recipe.

Spring has sprung and with it all things green, sprouting everywhere we turn, including bright, verdant locally-grown herbs in our farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Fresh dill is one I anticipate eagerly each March, along with fat, fleshy spears of asparagus. Seems like Ma Nature planned to pair them, doesn’t it? Read More

"Love jar," "idiot jar" and ignored jar midway through the February experiment of sending love and gratitude thoughts to all three

Namaste and the three jars of rice and water: Experiment #2

Remember the rice, water and love experiment my granddaughter and I did in January? We didn’t stop there. We extended the experiment into February, with one difference: Instead of cursing the second jar and ignoring the third, we (or I most days) spoke only kindness to all three.

Could kind thoughts cleanse the rice and water in the two yukky jars and return them to a state similar to the “loved” jar? How would the rice and water in the first jar fare over another month? Would it spoil like its sisters? Stay the same? Improve? Read More

Mashed yams

Easy mashed yams in the slow cooker

If you love yams and sweet potatoes, you don’t have to wait for the holidays to make them. Take advantage of their brilliant color, sweetness and health benefits all winter long. Here at Chez Grace, we like mashed yams best. A side of these alongside a crunchy autumn salad with chunks of romaine, baby kale, lightly steamed Brussels sprouts and walnuts makes for an easy supper any day.

The good news: They’re hardly any trouble at all if you have a slow cooker and a stick blender handy. Early in the day, scrub your yams, peel them if you like, chunk them, Read More

Fresh vegetables, olive oil, leftover ferro and almonds for a quick veggie stir-fry

How to make an eye-catching, mouth-watering stir-fry supper fast

A YayYay's Kitchen cooking & Baking 101 tutorial

Just learning to cook? A while back, I shared my 15-30 minute broccoli skillet supper for two. If you’re fairly new to the kitchen, you may wonder how anyone can get a meal from scratch to table that fast, especially one that uses whole, real foods. Today, I’ll show you how, step-by-step. We’ll be working with that recipe as an example, so if it’s helpful, keep that link open.

What? 15-30 minute meals? Am I kidding?

Nope. Not kidding. You can learn to make a taste-bud-delighting, good-for-you meal just that fast. You remember that old Carnegie Hall adage: Practice, practice, practice? Just like getting to Carnegie Hall, cooking fast takes know-how and practice. I’m here to show you a basic method you can practice each time you make a home-cooked meal. Practice until it’s second nature, a well-established skill, and you won’t have to think about it. Read More

Rice and water experiment on the 29th day

30 days of love, hate and indifference: Rice and water experiment #1

See those three jars? They’re part of an experiment the eight-year-old granddaughter and I began on January 1 to see if mere words and actions can make a difference to water and organic matter. We’re calling it: “What’s love got to do with it?”, after the Tina Turner song, because you know, that song was about more than love. It was about bullying and other hurtful behaviors.

We got the idea from a researcher’s experiment shown in the video The Secret of Water. If you haven’t seen it, do watch it just for the amazing images of water crystals. Absolutely incredible.

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