Saturday, November 28, 2020

Shopping at The Happy Homemaker meets the Trekkie

I hope you’re not thinking “Oh no, Doug—not again” but I TOLD you I planned to track my online shopping for the next year or so…

Anyway, I didn’t think I’d be ordering again so soon, but:

1)  My neighbor asked me what she thought was a silly question; it was more like a eureka moment for me

2)  Amazon let me know something I put in my wish-list close to a year ago was finally available and I wasn’t taking any chances

3)  Someone from my past told me of an amazing elixir that I had to try for myself—and boy she wasn’t kidding!


1.  OXO Good Grips 3 piece Mixing-Set

  • My own tag-line:  You won’t know you needed these until you have them!
  • Price: $27.88
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  Recently my neighbor Opal asked me if I used steel mixing bowls or plastic ones for my baking, as her daughter said the steel ones leak trace amounts of metal.  Waitaminute… mixing bowls??  I’ve been using a heavy ceramic spaghetti bowl from IKEA for baking the last 27 years! 
  • I love these even more than I thought I would.  The set contains a 5 quart, 3 quart & 1.5 quart size bowls with silicone grip handles, pouring spouts and weighted silicone bottoms that SECURE the bowls to the counter.  Gee, I even love the colors.
  • My Grade:  A for it’s amazing how some single guys can be so simple minded!

2.  Star Trek: Picard (Season One)


  • My own tag-line:  Just when you thought the Star Trek you knew was gone forever…
  • Price: $27.99
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  I know, I know; DVDs are so 20th century.  Well, call me old fashioned but I have this thing about owning Star Trek as physical media, not digital.  And since this new show was only available on discs or a monthly CBS Access subscription… plus you get 2 hours of bonus material when you buy them on dvd.
  • Here’s the just of it:  It’s been 15 years since Captain Picard retired to his family’s French vineyard… when one day a young woman approaches him with a question.  Do you know me?  Jean Luc suspects he does—but who is she?  And why are Romulans after her?  It’s big!
  • My Grade: W for WOW—I’ve watched the first 3 episodes and I am honestly stunned with what I’m seeing—a gorgeous, first-rate sci-fi spectacle set in the Trek universe.  If this ain’t Heaven, I don’t know what is.

3. McCormick Pure Lemon Extract

  • My own tag-line:  This ain’t your mother’s lemon juice!
  • Price: $3.88
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  Last April when I was baking lemon sugar cookies, Pen (an old classmate and very dear friend) reached out to let me know she tried my recipe, and her cookies just weren’t lemony enough.  She wasn’t into zesting lemons and all that jazz, so she got this.
  • After searching local stores, I found it on Amazon.  THIS STUFF IS POTENT.  Here, it says on the box: For lemon cookies, use 1/4 teaspoon per 6 dozen cookies.  If you’re not baking for an army, have an eyedropper handy! 
  • My Grade: Z for Lemon Zest Plus  (It really is terrific, thanks Pen!)

Well, that’s all I have for now.  I have a couple new items in my Amazon cart, but they’ll have to wait until until I have more to qualify for FREE SHIPPING.  (You can still get free shipping if you’re not a Prime Member… you just have to spend a minimum amount, say $50.00). 

I was wondering where I’d be storing those mixing bowls, it turns out I had just the right amount of space with my dishes (it helps not to have a lot of dishes).  If you look on the top shelf, there’s my ceramic spaghetti bowl (with 8 spaghetti dishes stacked inside).  It sure was a pain to take down and put back when I needed something large enough for popcorn or to make a meatloaf.  Rest in peace up there!


Sunday, November 22, 2020

The curse nearly lifted, I think I know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving

Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, I went to the market for some items and bought 2 tubes of Pillsbury Pizza Dough.  (It’s $2.79 a roll, or 2 for $4.00.) 

It was my first time making a pizza with this dough in a can, and I couldn’t have been more surprised.  The crust was tender, flaky & melt in your mouth delicious.  (This one may look a little funky, I covered it with pepperoni, onions and Italian herbs.)

I enjoyed it so much I think I know what I’m having for my Thanksving dinner.  Now I just need to pick up some Turkey Hill Pumpkin Pie ice cream and I’ll be pretty much set.

I admit that in ORDINARY times, it kind of sucks spending Thanksgiving on your own;  but as this pandemic surges, and the governor implores people to stay at home, I have no problem with being extra careful.  (Also, on Friday my building’s management posted signs downstairs prohibiting all visitors except for mail delivery or medical personnel until further notice.)  

But I’m still in a festivus mood.  Last Thanksgiving, I spent the entire day in bed doped up on painkillers and my head frozen with ice-packs as my TMD raged.  And the year before that, I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, my lower back on fire from recent kidney stones and a lesion burned off my right kidney. 

Compared to those times, this holiday’s presidential hysterics are almost entertaining.  As long as my loved ones are healthy & safe from covid-19, and I’m relatively pain free, bring on the meltdown Donald.

I’ll be eating a Pillsbury Dough POULTRY pizza if my jaw muscles hold out, working on a future blog (it’s a doozie) and watching my favorite Ozzie & Harriet episode, “The Day After Thanksgiving”. 

I sure hope my friends out there (both physical & blog) have a healthy & peaceful Thanksgiving too.  

Nerd smile          Red heart          Nerd smile

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

When it comes to these raspberrry lava cookies, third time’s the charm :^)~

Since I’ve been eating fairly regularly for a couple months now, I wanted to do something different with all the frozen raspberries in my freezer (when my diet was mainly smoothies).  I looked online at different raspberry cookie recipes, but they were always something frilly like lemon-raspberry tea cookies, all pretty and pink.   

I wanted something more manly—with raspberry lava!

My first attempt was a 9 x 11 pan of hot pink sludge (too many berries, and all mushed first); my second batch was a dozen pink on top, scorched on the bottom dough-blobs.  Ugh!

This was my third attempt, and they turned out just right.  I thought I’d share exactly what I did so I don’t screw them up again!

Doug’s Raspberrry Lava Cookies

1.  Set an uncracked egg in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes (to get it to room temperature).  While waiting, beat 1 cup of sugar & 1 softened stick of butter together with a mixer.

2.  Add the egg & 1 teaspoon of real vanilla.  Hey mixer, you’re needed again!  Beat everything together for another minute, until yellow & creamy.

3.  Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder & 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Slowly beat this flour mixture into your creamy batter.

4.  THIS IS THE TRICKY PART.  Put the hand mixer away and CAREFULLY fold 1 cup of frozen raspberries into your batter with a frosting spatula.

(They thaw fast and squish easily, don’t overmix or you’ll mush all of them.  If you want to add more, don’t.)

5.  Cover, chill your dough AT LEAST 1 hour in the fridge. 

6.  Now you’re ready to bake.  Have a baking sheet handy, topped with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with Pam.  (I prefer an airbake sheet topped with sprayed foil.)


7.  With a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, plop 9 blobs of dough on the sheet.  This batter is VERY sticky, and prone to squirting juice if you attempt to roll it with your hands.  Don’t worry they’re not perfect balls of cookie dough!


8.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 14-15 minutes (3-4 minutes more if you use an airbake sheet like I do).  Let cool 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or plate, that lava needs to calm down.  Yep, you’re right—they smell incredible!


This recipe makes 18 large cookies.  They may not look very pretty, but who cares?  Now get some cold milk & enjoy these monsters :)


Friday, November 13, 2020

Shopping at Time for some cooking, coffee & music

The other day after placing an order on Amazon, I looked at my account and ‘Orders Placed in 2020’ and sat straight up in surprise:  there must’ve been 40 separate orders on there! 

No wonder they’re always pestering me to join Amazon Prime…

I thought I’d add a new category on my blog, online shopping.  I mean, why not—isn’t there a trendy thing on Youtube now called “unboxing”?  Oh really?  It’s been around for years?

Well, that’s me…. always a little behind the times!  Anyway, here’s my most recent order and by the way, no one is paying me to review these items.


1.  Gorilla Grip Original Non-Stick Baking Sheet

  • My own tag-line:  If you’ve got an apartment sized stove… GET THIS.
  • Price: $12.99
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  Standard stoves are 30” wide.  Apartment stoves are 20-24”, which makes it tough (for apt dwellers like me) to buy bakeware like cookie sheets half the time.  This pan measures 11.75 x 17.3 inches; not only is this the perfect size for my 24” oven, it is HEAVY-DUTY.  Very thick, doesn’t flex, has silicone handles.  And I love the raised lip!
  • My Grade:  A, easy!


2.  Eight O’Clock Coffee the Original, 72 count K-Cups (6 boxes, 12 per box)

  • My own tag-line:  Just like the Eight O’ Clock Grandma used to percolate
  • Price: $27.44 for 72 cups (but this varies a lot)
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  Remember those storm chasers in Twister?  I’m a coffee chaser in Pittsburgh!  Folgers Medium Roast is my favorite, but Eight O’ Clock is a great backup if you can find it cheap enough.  Target & sometimes sell these cheaper than Amazon.
  • My Grade:  B Plus


3.  Sony ICF-506 Analog Tuning Portable FM/AM Radio

  • My own tag-line:  Less doo-dads means less things to break down.
  • Price: $48.00
  • Bought at:  Amazon (click here)
  • Remarks:  I’ve been wanting a good tabletop radio, something I could set on my kitchen counter or on the bookcase in my livingroom.  While this was more than I wanted to spend, I am loving it.  Two BIG knobs on the side (tuner & volume) and an AM/FM switch on the front.  The speaker is big, sits behind a metal grille and has terrific sound.  Very solid feel, weighs 2.1 lbs, a nice ‘heft’.
  • Also:  This comes in a cheaper version for $28.00 but it’s smaller, the casing is all plastic and it’s battery powered only.  (Mine has an optional AC cord and includes a fold-down carrying handle.)
  • My Grade:  A, though I still think it was $10-15 too expensive.  But it’s a SONY and was built to last.


Well, until next time… hope I didn’t bore everyone half to death.  This seemed a lot more interesting when my neighbors downstairs were asking what all was in my big Amazon box!

Here’s my coffee & tea drawer in my kitchen, right below the bread drawer.  A perfect spot for my k-cups.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Just a hopeful thought about Joe Biden & Kamala Harris, and “The Rediscovered Country”

Saturday night, as I sat here watching President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris come out on stage in Delaware and address the nation, I confess some tears welled in my eyes.  My chest swelled with pride as Biden spoke to the “folks” about healing and unity.  He is kind and decent, and good.

(I want to add that as much as I respect Joe, I love his wife Jill.  She’s a force to be reckoned with!  I would’ve been just as happy to see her run for office and win.)

Anyway, as Jill Biden & Kamala’s spouse Doug (heh) joined them on stage, I felt some uneasy stirrings in my stomach.  I’m not the type to pray but I did say quietly, “God please watch over them.”   There are 70 million Americans who did not want this, and that’s a very frightening thing.

I laid in bed that night and thought “This would’ve been so much better if it had been a landslide.”  Not to gloat to die-hard Trump supporters, but to show Donald Trump our country had come to it’s senses. 

America had seen thru his barrage of hoaxes and conspiracies, and villifying entire countries like Mexico or religions like Islam. 

But it turns out, half of us hadn’t.  Trump has more supporters in 2020 than he did in 2016.  71 million.  How?  He’s never hidden the awfulness of who he was.

I think I understood better this morning, when (taking a break from the news) I watched Star Trek V: The Undiscovered Country.   Bear with me!

In the movie, Klingon’s moon Praxis explodes (from years of excessive mining of it’s ore).  This ore is what powered their ships & homeworld; in months they will freeze to death, if they don’t starve first.

(I see the Klingons as Trump supporters, and their moon Praxis is... Fox News.)

The Federation (Democratic Party) wants to help, and sees this as a chance for unification.  They order Captain Kirk (Joe Biden) to escort the Klingon Chancellor to peace talks on Earth.  Kirk complies, but is unhappy about it.  He is NOT a fan of Republicans—I mean Klingons.  But after meeting the Klingon Chancellor, Kirk second guesses his feelings; the Chancellor shares the same dreams for unity & peace as the Federation. 

A reader of Earth’s Shakespeare, the Chancellor compares their future to Hamlet’s “Undiscovered Country”.

Tragically, the Chancellor is assassinated.  The Klingon Empire blames Kirk and the Chancellor’s daughter takes her father’s place at the peace talks on Earth.

Soon, chaos erupts—and the Chancellor’s daughter and President of Earth are close to being killed.  When it’s discovered that a small group of humans AND Klingons (Democrats and Republicans) conspired to murder the Chancellor and cause this mayhem, the Chancellor’s daughter is outraged, mystified—“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ALL OF THIS?”  

Captain Kirk tells her “People can be very frightened of change.”  

And that’s what I choose to believe, maybe not for all but for most.  How else could so many avert their eyes from Donald Trump’s hatred these last 4 years?  All we can do is hope more of his followers try to see that Captain Kirk—I mean President Biden—is on their side, and join the rest of us in looking ahead with hope. 

Man, I am such a nerd!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Trapped in my TV: I sure hope this election ends soon

I should be feeling a lot better about things, why aren’t I?  Tuesday night I sat up watching the election results in a state of fatigue, near panic & despair.  Forced myself to turn off the tv around 2am, went to bed and before passing out, thought “I’m pretty sure I can’t endure another 4 years of Donald Trump.”  

Knowing I was far from alone with those feelings was no help.

Fell asleep, woke up promptly 3 hours later and came right back into my livingroom.  Turned on my still-warm tv and have pretty much been here ever since.

And since yesterday morning at 5:30am to now (9:43 PM EST) it seems that things are moving in Biden’s direction but at a snail’s pace.  I honest-to-God feel like we’re getting updates on each…. vote….cast.  So maddening. 

I had one good laugh today, just a couple hours ago.  On MSNBC (pretty much the only channel I’ve been watching) Brian Williams announced the president was coming on the air shortly and the network would be going to him.  Sure enough, we see Donald Trump at his podium in the White House, who cut right to the chase.  “If you count the legal votes, I easily win.”

We didn’t get to hear much more, Brian Williams had the good grace to cut that lunatic off mid-sentence and return us to sanity.  Donald, if it makes you feel any better I thought your coiffed head looked very nice.

Anyhoo… I hope everyone is hanging in there.  You Trumpers too.

Earlier today when I escaped from my tv long enough to brush my teeth and run up the street to the drugstore, I ran into my neighbor Sue there, who lives on the first floor.  She said “Hey!  If I agree with you that President Trump isn’t a nice person, willl you agree with me that Joe Biden shouldn’t be president either?”   

Gosh Sue, will that get me into your Cool Kids Club?  FOR GODSAKES WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!   I sure was glad I was picking up my blood pressure meds!

Serenity now…. serenity now…

Monday, November 2, 2020

When life hands you lemons, make cookies and keep others company on Election Day

Saturday night, anxious for something sweet and feeling glum, I baked some lemon cookies.  I’m talking SUPER lemon cookies, with lemon juice & lemon zest and a lemon extract glaze.  I got the recipe online, and thinking that 2 cups of flour wasn’t enough, decided to “up” the ingredients to not-quite-double.  I wound up with 40 large cookies.  Oh heck, why not—I’ll eat these in no time!

Sunday morning I got up, stumbled into the kitchen to make some coffee and saw the 3 Tupperware containers of cookies.  Ugh!  What happened to that big appetite I had the night before?

I decided I’d wrap up 30 cookies, hand ‘em out to my favorite neighbors (Helen, Mary Bean, Opal, Dave, Carl).  Made my coffee, sat down on my couch and flicked on the tv—and saw that image above, a Biden campaign bus in Texas being surrounded by a swarm of “Trump trucks” attempting to run it off the road.  WHAT THE HELL!  I then learned our great President had posted the 26 second video on his Twitter page, and gave his good ol’ boys a fist-pump in the air.

Doesn’t it feel like the late 1960s again?  I keep waiting for a GEORGE WALLACE FOR PRESIDENT sign to pop up on my screen.  My God, this is 2020 not 1968!  Events now are starting to feel even worse. 

Saturday night’s lemon cookie production, the pre-glaze phase

After getting myself cleaned up, I had some breakfast then bundled up my cookies and walked down the hall to my neighbor Opal’s apartment.  I explained I overdid it last night on the baking, but if she had any Covid-concerns or doubted my baking prowess… nope!  But she DID have something she wanted to ask me.

She asked if I had seen the news about guns being allowed in polling places, I said yes but I thought that was just in Michigan.  She said she hadn’t voted yet, was planning on going Election Day and did I want to tag along.  I said I’d already voted over a month ago via mail-in ballot. 

She asked if I knew where the new polling place was.  I said yes, at that spooky Epiphany Church beside that creepy crematorium. 

Our new polling location; now imagine this on an overcast day, with black smoke billowing from the rear

After the look she gave me, I said I’d come along if she wanted me to.  She said great, we’ll leave at 7.

7:00 am?!  She laughed and asked if I needed my beauty sleep.

I told her I’d be ready.  She said she was inviting Mary Bean & Helen to come along.  Fine, the more the merrier.  (Just kidding, 3 is my limit.)  I said it might be chilly, we better wear our flak jackets. 

I know, Opal—not funny.  But I kind of wish we had ‘em!

Anyway, it’s now Monday morning and I have one bundle of cookies left—I think I’m going to take them upstairs and offer them to Mean Betty. 

Doug, wait!  Didn’t you say Betty was the wicked witch of the North and a Trumpet?!

I DID.  But a couple nights ago I was telling my friend Danielle that Betty wasn’t voting for Trump after all, after hearing his wife on TV--she didn’t trust her “Russian accent”.  

I told Danielle I thought Melania Trump’s accent was Transylvanian (you know, Bride of Dracula) not Russian; but that wasn’t exactly a good reason to not vote for someone.  Danielle said “Who cares?  It got Betty to change her mind didn’t it?”   I guess so!

Well I’d better better grab my mask, you’re not allowed to even look in Betty’s direction without one—on second thought, maybe I’ll just hang these on her door.