Last Resort


We did it! We vacationed as empty nesters for the first time! We stayed at a beautiful resort, which I’ll always remember because of our noisy minibar. (Minibar Rule #One: If you want me to pay nine dollars for a two-ounce peanut pack, you have to be quiet.)  Every four minutes or so, it began a new noise sequence. First, three loud hums, followed by eight quiet hums, then a beep as from an elevator arriving, though the resort is mostly one level, no elevators.

I fixate on things like that until I’m very bothered. Pete heard none of it. He’s easy-going.

I learned my noise sensitivity from my older brother. He chafed at many things I might do, such as swallowing Hawaiian Punch while gulping and humming. He didn’t like it. I took a lot of grief before I learned to swallow my punch in silence, and to this day I drink quietly. Try me. I’m a discreet beverage consumer.

I like to think my loud swallowing was retaliation for the things my brother did to me in return. For example, he pronounced the word “blueberry,” by saying “blueburry,” the “burry” part rhyming with the word “scurry.” The first time he said blueberry this way was an accident, a slip of the tongue. We were discussing pie. It rubbed me the wrong way, he picked up on it, and the word was blueburry forevermore. The bigger my annoyance grew, the longer he persisted.

Blueburry! Blueburry! Blueburry!

I tried shouting. I tried whining. Nothing stopped him. Until, as a last resort, I yelled what any younger sibling finally yells. “I’m telling mom!!!”

These days, “I’m telling mom” might get a kid somewhere, but back in the 70’s it was about as effective as using band-aids to fix broken arms. My mom–like other moms in her day–was not impressed with anyone “telling” her anything, and if you went ahead despite this knowledge, you were probably met with a blank stare (best-case scenario) or a flying hairbrush (worst-case scenario).

If she ever did intervene, it was only to say, “You know he’s just doing that to get a RISE out of you. If you didn’t react, he would stop.” Never did she address my brother and say, for example, “Stop bothering your sister!”

THAT’S something I would have enjoyed hearing even once.

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers with Limey 3-2-1 Margar-tinis

It’s September, and that means I have plenty of jalapeño peppers popping up in my garden.


Here’s an alternative to the traditional cheesy, fried jalapeño popper.

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers (No oil or added fat)


Jalapeño peppers, as many as you like

Black Bean Dip:
Two cups dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked for two hours
One-half cup yellow onion, chopped
One-third cup chopped cilantro
Two cloves fresh garlic, minced
One four-ounce can chopped green chilies
Two tablespoons fresh lime juice
One-quarter teaspoon ground cumin
One-quarter teaspoon chili powder
One-half teaspoon salt
One-quarter teaspoon pepper

Ten or twelve, good quality corn chips (I look for a whole-corn, baked variety, but any kind will do), toasted until light brown under the broiler.


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Halve the jalapeño peppers lengthwise. Leave the stems in tact if that’s possible, just to provide a “handle” for the consumer, although the stem is not eaten. If you dislike spice, clean out the ribs and seeds, working carefully. Some people use latex gloves when they handle peppers. Cleaned-out peppers will look like this:


I prefer my jalapeño poppers to be somewhat spicy, nothing too hard-core, but something with a little zing! If you’re like me, clean out most of the ribs and seeds, but leave innards behind like this:


3. Puree the black bean dip ingredients in a food processor. You will have leftover black bean dip, which you may reserve and serve alongside corn chips or chopped vegetables.

4. Place the toasted corn chips in a plastic baggie and scrunch the chips with your hands until they are the consistency of cereal flakes, or smaller.


5. Fill each pepper half with about a tablespoon and a half of the bean dip. Sprinkle the corn chip flakes over top of the bean mix, encrusting the top as best you can. The chips WILL stick well to the bean dip. Put the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet.


6. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft and everything is heated through.

7. Serve as a very healthy appetizer or side dish.


Around here, we like to eat our jalapeño poppers with…

Limey 3-2-1 Margar-tinis

This drink gets its name from the proportion of tequila to lime juice to triple sec (or other orange liqueur) AND from the lack of simple syrup or sugar included in most traditional margarita recipes. We serve them “up” and without salt on the rim. The result is quite martini-like, and we feel very grown-up when we drink them (pinkies extended).



(For one generous serving)

Three ounces tequila
Two ounces fresh lime juice
One ounce triple sec (or other orange liqueur)


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into martini glass. Extend pinkie.

How To Ship Care Package Cookies

One of the first things you must remember when you send your youngest off to college is…

…to recycle all the champagne bottles from the big party you had when you returned home from dropping her off.

No, silly!

…to admire how the kitchen stays clean after you straighten it.

No. Well, maybe a little.

…to dress up your dogs like babies in bonnets and booties and things.

No! (Dogs hate it. Trust me.)

No, you must remember to pack up a care package full of cookies! You want your student to feel a little love from home during her first weeks away. But how to package cookies for shipping? That’s the question.

Continue reading

No-Can Tomato Preserve

When life gives you lemons–which it’s known to do–make lemonade.
When life gives you tomatoes…


Would you throw ‘em at people?


Photo courtesy of World Festival Directory

OR…save ‘em for later?

I’d save ‘em. Here’s any easy way without canning them. (These tips are thanks to our friend, Janusz.)

Continue reading

2 Weird Hungry Girls (Listen Up. It’s A Podcast!)

Note: Recipes for “Traveling Blackberry Margaritas” and “Vegan Cucumber Tea Sandwiches” appear later in this post!

A short time ago, I was a guest on the 2 Weird Hungry Girls podcast! (Click the link to listen to my episode.)

In their words, 2 Weird Hungry Girls are “two unapologetically cheeky chicks laughing and eating their way through life.” I’ve written about one of the weird girls, Phoebe of Phoebe’s Pure Foods (pictured below on the left). Here are Phoebe and Tracy:


I was invited to discuss heart health and vegan diet.

Continue reading