Just say NO! to Soy.

One of my fondest memories of kindergarden was having milk and a graham crackers everyday after our nap, yes! we had to lay down for a few minutes everyday.  I don’t know why we had to take a nap,  maybe it was a kinder and gentler time.

My mom packed a lunch for me almost everyday of my elementary school years that either included graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

I have many fond memories of using graham crackers to make S’mores while camping or summer back yard barbeques.  As a kid I loved to crumble a few of the cinnamon variety in a bowl and cover them with milk and eat it like cereal. A afternoon snack could be peanut butter spread on to a graham cracker.

So you can see I’m no stranger to graham crackers.

Over the past few years i’ve become a bit of a food nazi, being careful to read ingredients on boxes to stay away from  products that contain corn and soy.   A few people think I take my eating style to the extreme, but it works for me, and I have even gotten a few people to pay more attention to what they are consuming.

So a few weeks ago out of the blue I decided to buy some honey maid graham crackers, I even bought some marshmallow cream to make a quick S’more.  I don’t know what I was thinking but, I didn’t  even bother to do my usual check of ingredients on the label.

I had blind faith in the people of Nabisco,

and that friendly little  bee on the pretty little blue box.

When I did get around to reading the ingredients on the label I was shocked to see that the honey maid graham crackers contained more soy than honey.  I decided right then and there to “just say NO! to soy” and make my own.

So I checked the internet and found a few recipes, some of them by celebrity chefs.  But I came upon one recipe that sounded very easy that even included a recipe for marshmallows.  Yummy!  Visions of S’mores came dancing in my head.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

In a bowl of a standing mixer, add flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking power.  Stir to combine, then add butter and mix till you have  coarse crumbs. Add honey and water, mix until it forms a large ball.

Shape dough into a flat disk, roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper 1/4 thick for crispy cookies, thicker if you want softer cookies.  Cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.   re-roll any remaining dough.  Don’t over bake!

I made them the other night, and let me tell you, they are yummy!  And the best part is……   Wait for it… They have real honey in them and NO soy!  Yay!

Because you make them yourself, you decide if you want them thin and crispy or fat and soft.

I  like to make my cookies big, fat and soft.

 But I did make some thin ones too!

   I will make these cookies again, because I already have an idea to make a all in one  S’more cookie.  I almost always tweak a recipe I like into something  a little more decadent.

P.S.   After reading the label I also discovered that the graham crackers were made in Mexico.  Since I have a choice of where I spend my money, and I try to buy American made when I can.


  I’m saying, adios to Nabisco.









Here comes my most embarrassing moment

   Weddings are meant to be a very romantic time,  a time to celebrate love and commit to sharing a lifetime together.  It isn’t the time to have one of the most embarrassing moments in your life but, darn!  that is exactly what happened to me.

Years ago I was invited to a family wedding in Stockton California and  I live in Southern California so this was quite a distance to drive.  I was the only relative from the Southern California area to RSVP,  Yes  to the wedding,  so I along with  my 2 daughters who were age 9 and 13 at the time,  we made plans to attend the wedding.

A few days before the wedding I came down with a terrible stomach flu that almost caused me to cancell our plans for the wedding.  But when the mother of the bride called me and asked me to come the day before the wedding to help out,  and the fact that my daughters were so  excited to be going to their first wedding,  I couldn’t cancel or say no to the request of my Aunt. 

So early in the morning on the day before the wedding we packed our stuff into my high-top Mommy van and hit the road.  We stopped a few times on the way to do the usual road trip things like bathroom breaks and buying drinks and munchies. 

 I still wasn’t feeling well,  my stomach was gurgling and I had this foul taste in my mouth, and I was afraid to speak too close to anyone because I feared that my breath was awful.  All I could manage to swallow was water.

After driving all day we finally made it to my Aunts house in Lodi  (yes, the song  “Stuck in Lodi again”  was running through my brain the whole trip)  I was really tired from not only keeping a huge van on the road but from being sick also.  My daughters though it was quite funny to see how flat my butt was from driving all day.

The morning of the wedding arrives and I discover in my haste to pack I forgot to pack any panties.  It Comes time to take a shower and I don’t have any clean panties to put on,  decisions, decisions what was I to do?     put on dirty panties?    or go commando?   (ready for action)  no panties.  I won’t even say what I did,  you’ll just have guess. 

So after taking a shower and trying to eat a few bites I now have plans for a shopping expedition to buy some missing undergarments.   And let me tell you,  shopping in beautiful Lodi is an adventure!  I encountered all kinds of weirdness,  if you have never been to Lodi, you might not want put it on your bucket list.

While we were shopping I took my daughters to a salon to have their hair done so they could feel like little princess’s.  And then off we went to help with setting up for the wedding.

While helping to set up my stomach was still having it’s issues, the gurgling was almost non stop at this point and the smell of my own breath was hard for me to deal with,  all I could do was keep drinking water and hope for the best.

A few hours later and it’s time to drive to the wedding which was miles away in Stockton.  I was awestruck when we came to the chapel it was everything that a chapel should be.  A beautiful rose garden to walk past on the way to the chapel,  the late afternoon light was perfect, the birds were singing and everyone  was dressed in their finest clothes with huge smiles on their glowing faces.

I was told that the chapel was over a hundred years old and it was quite an amazing sight to behold.  Thick walls and massive bench seats that were inches thick, that had been honed out of mighty redwood trees.

  My daughters felt very special as they were being escorted by the groomsmen to their seats.  We all sat there taking in the sight of stained glass windows glowing,  flickering candles, the aroma of flowers and gentle murmur of the guests waiting for the lovely wedding ceremony to  begin.

Then in the mist of all this loveliness my youngest daughter decides to makes one of her famous childhood embarrassing remarks. “So…this is what the inside of a church looks like”     OMG!   now I feel like a total  heathen and I feel myself sliding a little lower in my seat as the couple next to us gave me a dirty look.

Finally the long awaited ceremony begins.  And as weddings go it was a very wonderful ceremony till….. just at the quietest moment in the service is taking place, so quiet you could have heard a pin drop,  My stomach decides to make the most horrendous sound that it has ever made before.

  The sound my stomach made was amplified times ten and vibrated off those massively thick benches so much that it sounded like I passed gas…  Even my daughters were convinced that I had just passed gas.  My youngest daughter giggled and my oldest daughter elbowed me and said “Mother” in a disgusted tone. 

I plead not guilty of the crime of passing gas in the church.    I said ” it was my stomach but no one believed me.  Not even my daughters…

 The couple to the right of us made a gasping sound and moved farther to the right to get as far away from me as they could. 

  Then I heard a female voice behind us saying  That… was NO stomach”  and then to make matters worse,  I kid you not…her male companion started sniffing the air like a dog in search of a scent.    OMG!!   It was so hard for me to stay in my seat and not get up and run out of that chapel from embarrassment.  I sat there slowly dying and praying that the ceremony would end soon.

I  hesitated for years about telling this story, especially in the days I was working in Hollywood.  I was afraid my true life adventure would end up being in a sit com.

Now that I have told one of my most embarrassing stories, tell me one of yours!


The Nike Base,,,, Just don’t do it!

The initial excitement of summer vacation is well behind us, and now us kids are bored to death with our usual pastimes and looking for  something new and exciting to keep us occupied.  So a few of us decide to sneak up to the Nike base and see what kind of trouble we could get into.

Going to the Nike base was risky business, at least that is what we convinced ourselves of.  We all pretended we were secret agents, and did our best job of acting stealth as we looked around.

We found an old tire laying on the ground and ditched the spy vs spy game for a new idea.  We would bring the tire home and turn it into a tire swing.  Yeah…..great idea! 

The tire was very heavy for a group of 9 year olds to move, and very time consuming too.  It was  a hot summer day so that made the tire hot to the touch.  But with team effort we managed to get the tire to the street.

The Nike base was located high on a hill, so now we had the task of somehow getting the tire to a lower level.  We were all tired from lugging the tire around.   Then someone in the group had the bright idea to roll the tire down the steep road, ( this road had a lot of cars traveling on it.)  What were we thinking?

So the plan starts off great, it was so much easier to roll the tire than to carry it.  We were all so proud of ourselves, we would be back home in no time swinging on a tire swing,  YIPPY!

But then our plan went terribly wrong.  The tire quickly picked up some major speed and got away from us.  We chased the tire but our little legs just couldn’t keep up with the mighty tire.   It seemed the tire had a mind of its own,  it remembered it’s previous life on the road.

We all stood there with our mouths wide open and in disbelief as to what was happening.  The tire was following every curve in the road and rolling down the road at and alarming rate.  Then the worst thing that could possible happen started to unfold.

The light at the intersection turned green and cars were now headed up the hill towards us and the out of control tire.

We watched as the tire was heading straight for a car and prayed that it would miss the car but, no such luck, the tire hit the side of the car and left a terrible black mark.  The dreaded mark of the beast!

The tire must have grown tired from it’s few moments of being possessed and finally came to a screeching halt.

We all came to our sense’s and starting running away as fast as we could, just as the man who’s car had been hit by the tire was driving past us, waving his fist and cussing up a storm.

I felt terrible for days after this happened and I carried the guilt of the tire incident with me to the point I had nightmares about tires rolling and crashing into things for years.

I wonder.   What would Freud say about my nightmares?


The Nike Base

The year was 1962 and I was in the second grade.  On top of a hill over looking the area where I lived as a child, was a area called ” The Nike Base”.   I had heard many stores and rumors over the years about the Nike base, (it was kind of an area 51 to us kids) but I never really knew for sure what was going on there.  I think it had something to do with radar and missile storage/launching.  I remember the time when the Bay of pigs/ Cuban missile crisis  was taking place all of the adults were beside themselves with talk  about what might be happening at the base.  There was talk about building bomb shelters in back yards, a general feeling of panic was every where you turned.

I went to the grocery store with my mom and I was shocked to see that almost all the shelves were empty, only a few scattered canned goods were left, everything had been picked over, the only things remaining were damaged goods.

At school when ever we heard an alarm  we practiced getting under our tables and chairs while we were in our class rooms,  we even practiced what to do if we were out at recess.  I remember hearing one of the older kids making the comment,  “bend over and kiss your ass good-bye”.   They say to this very day it was the closest we have ever come to nuclear war, it was a very scary time indeed.

I don’t think anybody who lived though that time really got over it for some time.  The movie,  Dr. Strangelove, or how to Stop Worrying and learn to Love the Bomb.      Helped,  at least everyone could relax and laugh once again.     If you have never seen the movie I highly recommend it, it’s one of my favorites.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this story.  The Nike base, just don’t do it!

Summertime, and the living is easy

  Now that memorial weekend is over, summer is just around the corner.  What is it about this time of year.  I can feel the excitement in the air, the sky is an amazing shade of blue, the clouds seem to be the puffier, and the feel of the warm sun on your back while taking a nap on the beach is wonderful.  And who can forget the sound of the ice cream truck in the afternoon and the fun it brought!  The little kid in me still gets excited when I hear the ice cream truck music in the neighborhood.

  When I was a child this time of year was what I thought the best time of the year, Christmas time came in second place compared to Summer!  Some of my most vivid memories are the ones from my care free summers of my youth. 

Maybe it was because I hated being in school, and summertime was a break from the drudgery of school, or maybe not.  I just remember how great it felt when the first Monday after the school year ended and I didn’t have to get up early and go to school.  ahh, I could stay up late, and sleep in late.  I finally got to stay up past 7:30 at night and watch all the shows I missed because my mom made me go to bed at 7:30 every night.  My mom lived by the rule that the school nurse had told her that  “children should go to bed by 7:30  so they would get the proper amount of sleep in order to be healthy”. 

  The school nurse must have been brought up on a farm and had to get up by the butt crack of dawn.  I hated that old bitty nurse for filling my moms brain full of that nonsense.   So you can just image how exciting of a time it was when summer break came into my life once again. 

The magic time for me were those few days between  just getting out of school, and the days just before the 4th of July.  I loved sleeping in late, then putting on a sun dress or shorts and NO shoes and walking down the street to find a friend to play with.  Usually the first thing we focused on was getting some money together to buy fireworks and we only had a few days to do it in.  We would try to find as many bottles as we could to take to the local grocery store to cash them in.  In the 60’s we weren’t being green and saving the earth  by recycling, we were being little greedy kids in need of a firework or candy fix.  We would cash in our bottles and then walk slowly past the firework stand that had some how sprang up over night.  When no one was watching we would try to peek inside the stand to see if anything was inside yet.  Remember that commerical  years ago with the women standing in front of the store with her hands on the windows looking into the not yet opened store, saying, OPEN.. OPEN.. OPEN..,that is just how we felt.  The anticipation was killing us.

The pink flash of terror

Do you have a fear of electricity?  I do, and it started at a very young age.  This is a tale of domestic goddess in training gone bad.

  I decided that after watching my mother ironing I thought it would be great fun to play suzie home maker and iron my own clothes.  So one day I did just that, I snuck into my room when no one was home and set up the ironing board in my bedroom, plugged in the iron, dragged out a wrinkled blouse and proceeded to iron it.  I was 8 or 9 years old at the time and I did a terrible job of ironing that blouse, because ironing  wasn’t has fun as I originally thought it was going to be.   I tired of playing suzie homemaker very quickly, so I decided to pull the plug on this boring adventure.

 What I didn’t notice in my haste to start ironing was the fact that the cord on the iron was slightly frayed by the plug.   As I pulled the plug from out of the wall outlet there was bright pink spark that flew out of the plug and hit my hand between my thumb and forefinger leaving a long black mark.  I was shocked and I swear my hand was smoking too … for years I was afraid to pull plugs out of the wall, and still to this day I hate to iron   😉   

   After this you would think I would have learn my lesson about frayed electrical plugs…but no….let me tell you about another encounter of the pink spark of terror…

I had bought this really amazing antique leaded lamp while I was at an auction a few years back.  It still had the orginal plug from the 40’s, I noticed that it was frayed and I had planned on having it repaired, but did I do that right away…noooo, I went ahead and plugged it into the wall and started using it right away. 

 Then one day I pulled the plug out of the wall to do some cleaning and guess what happened?  You guess it, the bright pink flash of terror came for another visit, my hand once again had a black mark between my thumb and forefinger.

 But this time I wasn’t alone in the house there was a witness to this folly.

  I had made a yelping sound as I was being zapped.    I heard my daughter yell upstairs to me “what was that”?   Nothing much, I replied, that was just the sound of me being  electrocuted.  WHAT??    So that’s what that funny  sound was.   It sounded like  a mouse shrieking!      yep that’s what it was…a big mouse…..(one of my nicknames is big mouse)   LOL   don’t ask   it’s a family nickname…


The Moral of the story

When I was a child I was often left in the car while my mother went inside a store to do some shopping.  I know now a days this practice is frowned upon (thank goodness) but back in the day (the 60’s) most parents did this.  Sometimes my brother and sister would be in the car too.  We all hated being left in the car,  we never knew before we entered the car, that soon we would be stuck in the car with nothing to do.  So we never had the chance to plan ahead and bring a book, or something to keep us busy.  Today’s kids are lucky to have gameboys and iPods, we couldn’t even listen to the radio because it would drain the battery, all we had, was each other.   We had nothing to do but complain about how hot, thirsty and bored we were.  We sat there having nothing to do, but look pathetic.  I felt like one of those sad forgotten dogs who was left in the car all alone, panting from the heat and in need of a drink of water.  

I had pretty much forgotten those days of my youth, till the other day when I was parking my car,  I noticed the car next to me, had  an older women in the front passenger seat and and older man in the back seat.  They both had that look on their face that I recognized in a instant, that bored and thirsty look.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they were the parents of a child that was left in a car so many years ago, and now with retribution this was their fate.  Soon I found out.

A women close to my age got into the car, and then I heard that familiar whine from years ago.  What took you so long?  I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I want to go home!

So the moral of the story is?  Things have a way of turning around in your life.  Be careful of how you treat your children, because someday they will be the ones taking care of you.