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Valerie’s Amazing Sausage Calzone – Recipe

Sausage Calzone

Ingredients:

Store Bought Pillsbury Pizza Dough (or make your own)

5 Oz of Pizza Cheese

1 lb of Sausage

5 Oz of Pepperoni

1 Organic sweet Onion, Chopped

3 Cloves of organic Garlic

1 Tbsp of organic Fresh Basil (or 1 tsp Dry)

1 tsp of organic Oregano

1.5 Cup of organic Frozen Spinach

1 Jar of Pizza Sauce

OR (FOR HOMEMADE SAUCE)

1 14 Oz Can of organic Crushed Tomatoes

1 tsp of Onion Powder

1 tsp of organic Oregano

1/2 tsp of Salt

1 Tbsp of Olive Oil

2 organic Garlic Cloves

1 Tbsp of organic Fresh Basil or (1 tsp Dry)

Directions:

Start it off by cooking up your sausage. When your sausage is nearly cooked, add in the pepperoni and cook it up for a minute or two more until all the meat is cooked through. Drain off the fat.

Now add in the garlic, basil, oregano, and onion and let it all heat up for a good two to three minutes. Finally, add in your frozen spinach and let it cook up and get hot. Remove the mixture from heat.

Grab your dough ball, rip a good sized piece off and roll it out about 1/4 thick. Grab your filling and spoon in a few decent sized spoonfuls. Be sure to leave enough room to fold it over and seal up your edges.

Fold the dough over your topping and seal the edges up. I rolled my edges into the top to seal it up. Be sure to cut a few slits in the top of calzone so that steam can release as it cooks in the oven. And this is optional, but I also brushed some egg white on the tops of these beauties to help them get a nice golden brown color in the oven.

Throw them in a preheated oven set to 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown. I cooked mine on a preheated pizza stone to ensure the bottom had a nice, crispy crust.

For your sauce:

Add to your saucepan the tomatoes, onion powder, oregano, salt, olive oil, garlic and basil. Stir it all together and let it heat up.

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Helping Someone After A Miscarriage – the 411 (article sharing)

baby - someone i loved was never born

Helping Someone After a Miscarriage

When we offer help to someone through this time, they are often in such shock they don’t know what they need. The objectives are to encourage the venting of their grief and re-establishing their self-esteem while recognizing their sorrow. Whatever the person is feeling, they deserve to have their feelings supported by the people around them. If you are their main comforter, see the following website for suggestions on how to be the most useful companion to a grieving person; www.centerforloss.com/companioning-philosophy.

Do’s

  • Contact is important. Be there if possible, but if not ring. A card would be lovely. Texting, Email or Facebook can feel less personal.
  • Whatever she is feeling, she deserves to have her feelings supported by people around her.
  • A hug or arm around her shoulders is comforting.
  • Understand that her tears are a healthy response and should never be discouraged. Having a box of tissues handy is helpful.
  • Let her do the talking. Be the passive partner who asks questions and focus on certain points to help her talk about her feelings. It is sufficient to just listen.
  • Tell her how you feel about her losing the baby and how sorry you are.
  • Acknowledge her pain even if you think you would not react this way in this situation.
  • Ask questions about her experience, how she is really feeling and what she is thinking about.
  • When you ask her partner how she is doing, don’t forget to ask him how he is.
  • Encourage her to be patient and not to impose ‘shoulds’ on herself – grieving takes time
  • Reassure her she did everything she could and it wasn’t her fault – it helps alleviate guilt.
  • Grieving is a physically exhausting process and she will probably need to sleep or rest during the day. Take whatever steps necessary to give her the uninterrupted peace to do this.
  • The intensity of grief fluctuates. During less tearful times a change of scenery is appreciated.
  • Do something practical such as hanging up the washing/shopping or offer to take around a meal.
  • Put on soothing music for her to listen to, offer a back massage, a walk on the beach. When she feels ready, take her to a movie of her choice.
  • If you are seriously worried about her behavior, seek professional advice. As a rule of thumb, as long as she is not damaging herself, another person or property, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

Don’ts

  • Don’t ignore her because you feel helpless or uncomfortable with grief – she will wonder if what happened to her means nothing to you.
  • Don’t think that miscarriage is easier to cope with than a stillbirth or neonatal death. The truth is that her baby has just died, and it doesn’t really matter how pregnant she was.
  • Don’t be anxious or embarrassed about making her cry. It is not what you said or did that upset her, but losing the baby. By allowing her to cry, you are helping her work through the process of grief.
  • Don’t confuse support with “cheering her up”. Grief is an enormously powerful emotion and needs releasing, not repressing.
  • Don’t put on a bright cheery front yourself.
  • Don’t be nervous and keep talking. There is nothing wrong with silence. You can share silence with a good friend.
  • Don’t be tempted to be judgmental in any way about her feelings or reactions. People in grief often behave out of character or inappropriately and need your unconditional support. Things will eventually return to normal and she will feel grateful that you stood by her.
  • Don’t have expectations about how long it should take her to recover. Losing a baby is one of life’s most difficult experiences and the depth of her grief is shocking even to her.
  • Don’t assume there will be another pregnancy.
  • Don’t try to do all the housework. Although well intentioned, she needs to feel capable and useful.
  • Don’t minimize her loss by offering platitudes such as “you’re young enough to try again”, or “it was nature’s way of getting rid of an imperfect baby”. It is appropriate to deal with this as you would any other death.
  • Don’t say that “she’s so lucky to have the other kids” – her pain is for this baby and other children don’t take that away.
  • Don’t forget her children have lost a sibling, and it is natural for them to react in some way.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you’re pregnant. Just forgive her if she’s cold and withdrawn, it’s her way of coping.
  • Don’t feel you have to keep your children away. She must go through the process of accepting others’ children.
  • Don’t ask how she is feeling if you only do so as a social obligation as it obliges you to listen carefully to the complete answer.

Seven helpful things to say

  • “I’m so sorry about your Miscarriage.” These simple words mean a lot, especially if you allow the Mum or Dad to talk further, or not to talk, as they wish.
  • “I know how much you wanted that baby.” Here you are simply acknowledging that something precious has been lost, and opening a door to talk more.
  • “It’s okay to cry.” – this can sound like Hollywood but it’s reassuring for the Mum or Dad to know they are not being judged for their tears and sadness.
  • “Can I call you back next week to see how you are doing?” Often people are sympathetic the first time, then never mention miscarriage again. You can expect the parents to still be grieving for weeks or months, so it is reassuring for them to know your support is ongoing.
  • “I was wondering how you are feeling about your miscarriage now” – it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to talk about their miscarriage even if it is a long time later and after a successful pregnancy as well. Parents do not forget a miscarriage.
  • “I don’t really know what to say.” The good thing about this is that it is honest. The fact that you are available to listen is what’s really important.
  • “It must be so awful for you after going through those weeks of IVF treatment to have lost your baby.”

Seven things not to say

  • “You can always have another one” – it doesn’t help much to know you can have another baby. The parents didn’t just want any baby, they wanted THAT baby. Before they can think about another one they need to grieve for their lost one. They have lost their hopes and dreams as well.
  • “There was probably something wrong with it – it’s natures way.” This may be true but it is no comfort to hear it. They want to believe it was a perfect baby, and that’s who they are grieving for.
  • “It’s God’s will” – People may or may not believe this. Whatever the case, it’s still sad. You are better supporting the parents’ grief than getting into theology.
  • “At least you didn’t know the baby – it would have been much worse if it had happened later” – it does not help to minimize and invalidate a miscarriage, it is not the length of the pregnancy, but the strength of the parents’ attachment, that determines the intensity of their grief.
  • “I know how you feel” – this statement can seem arrogant, even if you have miscarried yourself, as everyone reacts differently. Other losses can compound grief.
  • “It wasn’t really a baby yet” – that may not be how the parents see it. If it wasn’t a baby what was it? To them it was real and they are grieving.
  • “You’re young, there’s plenty of time. If you’d stop focusing on being pregnant so much it will just happen”

If in doubt, say something – anything – and be prepared to listen. Possibly the hardest thing, even harder than hearing an insensitive comment, is when people say nothing at all.
(The Seven helpful things to say and Seven things not to say lists are compiled from information courtesy of the Wellington Miscarriage Group)

Bourbon Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Bourbon Vanilla Bean Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups torn french bread pieces
  • 1 large organic sweet potato
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 2 cups Horizon organic whole milk
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bourbon extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Southern Comfort Bourbon
  • pinch of kosher salt

Vanilla Sauce

  • 7 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. organic whole milk
  • 1 tsp. Southern Comfort Bourbon
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bourbon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. grated organic vanilla bean

Directions:

Rinse sweet potato and poke holes in it using a fork. Microwave for 12 minutes, until cooked through.

Peel potato and place in a large bowl. Smash using a potato masher until smooth.

Add eggs and mix using the potato masher again. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Stir with a spoon.  Add marshmallows, bourbon, 1/4 cup pecans, bread, and milk. Gently stir until combined.

Spray an 8 x 8 pan with non stick cooking spray. Add bread pudding mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.

Bake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees.

 

Vanilla Sauce: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over warm bread pudding.

Creamed Spinach – Recipe

Ingredients:

32 oz chopped, frozen, organic spinach, two 16 oz bags

3 Tbsp salted sweet cream organic butter

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp organic all purpose flour

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

12 oz evaporated milk

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Place one bag of frozen spinach in a covered glass container. Microwave on high for 8 minutes; spoon into a colander in the sink to drain. Repeat with second bag of spinach and add to same colander; use a large serving spoon to press excess water out of spinach. Place drained spinach in a serving bowl; cover to keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; stir in onion and kosher salt. Cook onion, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add flour, nutmeg and cayenne; stir to combine. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk; cook, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbling, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour sauce into a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender in the pot); blend sauce until smooth.
  • Pour sauce over spinach and toss to combine; season with salt and black pepper. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Blog Update – The 411

baby - under the weather

I have been under the weather since the weekend, as I developed a nasty head cold.  I knew on Thursday of last week that something was a bit off because my throat was a bit scratchy.  I ended up with a fever and heavy congestion and a bad cough.  I went to the store on Friday morning and grabbed Mucinex and some Aquaphor to put around my nose to avoid having chaffed skin which looks like a mustache after several days of blowing my nose.  I slept all day and most of the day Saturday.  Sunday, I went to Walmart and got a Vicks vaporizor, since mine is in a box somewhere.  It really helped me to be able to breathe.

Once I was able to finally sleep somewhat peacefully, after the cough drops kicked in to keep the coughing at bay, my mom came to check in on me and woke me up.  She asked if I needed to go to the hospital !!  For a head cold, Mom?  Really?  Of course, I was not able to fall back asleep once she woke me up.  Moms !  lol

Fast forward to the past two days, I am swigging down Nyquil Cold and Flu like it is moonshine !  It seems to be helping, as my nose is no longer running and the coughing is at a minimum.  Now if I could clear my sinus passages I would be great !

My menses STILL have not resumed and now I am not even having the mild cramping.  I was freaking out about it at first, but now I could care less.  It can come on when it gets ready or just skip this month all together.   I was reading that women who are going into perimenopause start having 40+ day menses about two years prior to the onset of menopause, so we shall see.

I have no barometer because most of the women in my family had hysterectomies and my mom hit menopause in her early 50’s.  I am not sure if it is my bodies reaction to stress or possibly all the meds I have been taking back to back for a over a year for IVF procedures.

On the stalker front, this morning, I was looking for a phone number for the trash service company on my mom’s cellphone and noticed a new message on her Facebook app.  The icon was the same of one of the alias pages my stalker created to defame me.  I open up the message and this crazy woman has written my mother a ton of lies and threats.  It is utterly ridiculous, as my mother knows me like no one else and can pinpoint what a conversation with me would sound like.  Cristal has truly proven to be beyond insane and now has my close friends worried as they are certain that she wants my life and is fixated on me to the point that they feel her harassment and stalking will go beyond cyber stalking and may present in real life.  Her actions are deplorable !  She wrote in her post that she hopes they have chemotherapy in Federal prison because my mom and I can share a cell.   Really?  WHO does that?  And in what rational mind would it ever be a thought that I would be found liable for putting an end to someone’s attempt to defraud innocent people?   Is $2700 or so THAT damned deep?  Obviously it was a lifeline to her !   I truly do not get what purpose she feels she is serving by inboxing my mother that crap and calling my sisters whores and crackheads.  My sisters are magna cum laude graduates of Howard University and one is Yale Fellow !   They are both happily married with children.  I have NO idea where she is dredging up even the forethought to create this horrendous reality she has created in her mind for me.  It would make for a great feature film, but sadly is not any resemblance to my life !

I am completely pissed off that this idiot is using social media to attack me, my business, and my family for absolutely no reason and with malicious lies and drama.  Who has the time to sit around and think about me all day and night?   Twitter closed her page and I have filed a report with Facebook.  If they have not voluntarily shut her pages down, I am certain that the FBI Cyber Stalking Task Force and NYPD certainly will.

Of one thing I am grateful, that I am not currently going through an IVF cycle.  This added stress would not be good.  I will be glad when this is all behind me and hopefully will culminate with Cristal behind bars and seeking the psychological help she desperately needs.  What is scary is that she has been flying under the radar all these years.  She started as a Facebook fan and she would come out to the soup kitchen to volunteer alongside me with my other “fans.”  She then started attending meet and greets I hosted around the city as I would invite my fans to come out to meet me.  When I learned she attended Howard University, I thought, oh, she is cool.  She came to a few parties I held at my home or other venues and we talked on the phone off and on over the years.  What should have rang a bell is that my ex-fiancee nor none of my friends could stand her.  They all got weird “user” type vibes from her.  I was not around her enough, but I knew I did not like her negative disposition on everything and she was too “pro-black” for me.   For that reason, I never brought her into my inner circle.  When her son died, I, as most humans would, felt horrific for her and I was also in my feelings regarding the upcoming anniversary of my own loss.  Never in a million years did I think having her any where near me would devolve to this chaos.

On the Grandmother front, we got notice that my grandmom’s sister called in pretending to be my grandmother to the Social Security Administration and attempted to have my grandmom’s check mailed to her home and pulled it off of direct deposit.  My mom and I drove to SSA and they are making my mom administrator over my grandmom’s account and not even my grandmom can make any changes now.   Her sister also called the NC State Retirement System and lodged a complaint that “someone” was stealing my grandmom’s retirement check !  My mom is administrator now over the retirement account as well and no changes will be allowed without my mom’s express consent and a password has been placed on the account so that she can be verified.  I am still in shock that there are people that vile and evil in this world.  Who wants to take an old person’s money?  WHY?  I am so thankful that my mom has always taught us to have integrity and to be GOOD people in light and in darkness…when seen and when it can not be seen.   I had a sneaky suspicion that my aunt was after my grandmom’s money and it only took two days for God to reveal that.  I wonder how long she will keep my grandmom in SC once she realizes that her money can not be touched?  God has a way of revealing snakes in our lawn, does He not?  🙂

Whoooooo saaaaaaah !  🙂