Tips and Tops (and pants)

“What are you talkin’ ‘bout this time?” Jabber jabbered.  “Be PLAIN about it, would cha’?”


Here is a cooking tip: Easiest BBQ pork ever

1 pork butt, place in Crock Pot.  Add 2 cups Coca Cola; cook 6 to 8 hours on high until meat easily pulls apart with fork.  Drain juices, serve with BBQ sauce.  This thanks to CCQ Daughter.  Serves a crowd, is inexpensive and oh! so easy to do!

Now for more tips (“arguably” you may already know about these, but if you don’t—and I didn’t—and you don’t want to “argue”–they were very useful to me—from the Internets, where else?)

“Why would anybodies want to argue ‘bout that?” Jabber was truly confused. 

Don’t know, Jabber.  It’s just a saying.

Now, as I was saying…………

How to organize


your underwear drawer!  Fold panties in thirds length-wise and then thirds width-wise so there is now a small and neat ‘packet’ of each panty…..and neatly fold bras—store stacked in your ‘narrow’ (the drawers are not high) chest of drawers.  You can see what you have immediately, no digging through to find the right underwear!  If you have different types or styles, they could be organized in sections.

And…………to organize your T-shirt tops and workout pants:


Pants on right, tops on left—but WAIT!  There is more!

Go here to find out how to fold your T-shirts (or any shirt) in two SECONDS!

Then, fold each shirt over in thirds and stack in your (narrow height) chest of drawers.  Believe me, this is much easier than the other method I used of  laying the shirts and pants flat in the drawer.  Another plus is that they do NOT wrinkle as much folded and stored in this way. 

(Other organization tips are from other Youtube videos.)

There you go!  Tips and Tops (and pants).

Jabber’s Birthday

“Well, ‘bout time I gots recognized as bein’ a real BEAN of the human variety!—A Human Bean!” Jabber was so pleased—finally, she had her very own birthday.  

Jabber, luftmensch** that she is, got several wonderful birthday surprises, the most bestest of all, of course, being that her friend “Missouri” and hubby came for a visit.  Jabber was beside herself with happiness! 

“No, I weren’t!  YOU were beside me and so were Missouri, see?” Jabber pointed out the photo below.


Jabber, left, and friend “Missouri” on right

It was a deeee-liteful! longish weekend for Jabber (and me), having some company, seeing the Brocanters and celebrating with them, too.  AND, it was also TMWLH’s birthday, so we had a lil’ lunch/brunch/munch kinda get together in his honor, too.  Hence the Pineapple Upside Down cake (see prior post).

In truth, it was Thumper and Girlfriend, representing the Brocant Brigade, who decided Jabber should have her very own birthday and started it all off with a VERY SPECIAL GIFT!  Oh yes, did!



Jabber, being Jabber, wants to jabber in not just one language, but TWO languages.   So Thumper and Girlfriend gave Jabber this:




Suffice it to say a good time was had by all, specially Me, Myself and Jabber! 






noun: An impractical dreamer.


From Yiddish, from luft (air) + mensch (man, person), from German. Earliest documented use: 1907.

(from an email:

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake


I found this recipe online (link at bottom of this post).

It’s fall, it’s TMWLH’s birthday, and we are having a get-together with some old friends to celebrate.  A birthday cake seemed to be in order!

Here is how it is made:

Drain a 20 oz can of sliced pineapple and save the juice for the cake.


Cut 6 maraschino cherries in half, lengthwise.


1/2 cup butter—melt in a 9 X 12 Pyrex glass cake pan in the oven as it heats to 325 degrees.

When it’s melted, remove and sprinkle 1 cup of dark brown sugar (1 packed cup) over the melted butter.


Lay the sliced pineapple over the melted butter and brown sugar, evenly spaced, and cut the last piece of pineapple into two pieces (see picture). 


Place one-half maraschino cherry into the center of each pineapple slice.  Eat the 1/2 cherry remaining.  Smile

Break 4 eggs into a mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup pineapple juice which was drained from the slices, adding a bit of water if necessary to make 1 cup.

Place 1/2 cup CANOLA OIL in the egg/pineapple juice mixture. 


Quickly mix these ‘wet’ ingredients and then add:

1 package of vanilla instant pudding (4 oz size)

1 package Duncan Hines Supreme Pineapple cake mix (18 ounce size)


Mix slowly for 30 seconds and then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour batter, in ‘ribbons’  on top of the pineapple slices in the pan.  (Pour evenly over the pineapple slices.)


Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

Cool 5 minutes and then turn cake out onto a serving platter, pineapple side up. 


HINT:  Cut a piece of parchment paper to place on top of your serving platter.  Carefully turn the cake (pineapple side up) onto your serving platter.  The parchment paper will allow you to shift the cake if necessary so that it is centered on your plate or cake board.  You may then trim the excess parchment so that it does not show.


An Update on Audrey III

“Has she come into the kitchen yet like the lizard?” Jabberwocky laughingly asked.  Then, more seriously, “I mean, she HASN’T, has she?”  Jabber is ascared of animals AND man-eating plants, too. 

See here for post about Audrey:


No, no.  She’s stayed outside, quit her twirling about round and round and finally settled in one spot at the top where she continues to send out branches.  The top ones have encircled themselves now…….


In a very pretty loop, I might add…………


So, I do believe the danger of Audrey III has passed—at least for this growing season. 

P.S.  No sign of Leon anywhere, either.  (See previous post.)  This is a very good thing.  Bob the Painter arrived today to paint the garage and remarked that when I called yesterday about Leon the Lizard, Bob heard sheer ‘terror’ in my voice on the end of the line.  We laughed.

I still don’t want Leon to return, though.

The Great Lizard Caper

or, It’s Not Easy Being Green

“EEEEEKKKKK!” Jabberwocky yelled.

So did I. 

So did Racer Daughter who had come to my rescue.  Sort of. 

The lizard didn’t look too good, either, but he didn’t yell, he just breathed hard…………

Let me start with the beginning of this tale, just so you’ll know what was going on.

Yesterday, feeling inspired to clean blinds (because they were dirty, that’s why), I took it upon self to fill the bucket, obtain many old rags, and begin cleaning each and every single slat of all 5 blinds in the kitchen windows.  Which took a while.  I played various CDs as I worked.  LOUDLY.  (No, I didn’t work loudly, I played the music loudly.  Nobody but me and Security in the house.  Or so I thought.)


Trust me there are 5 windows in this bay and thus, 5 sets of blinds.

I got all finished (finally!) and started to pick up the bucket to empty it. 

A fleeting, darting thing scampers up the window on the right window in the photo above.  I jump, then carefully look more closely.  OMG!  It’s a LIZARD!

He’s green.  He’s clearly trying to find a way out.  The windows are shut tight, and I can’t budge the one window to lower it………….I watch him for about 15 minutes, trying to figure out what to do, what to do, what to do………..


I am ascared of lizards……….

So, I do what all women do in this situation. 

I get a towel and a plastic glass.

I walk slowly to the window where he is and he looks at me…..I scream and jump back.  He tries to make his way UP the window and then DOWN the window—his tail gets stuck outside the window with his body inside on the ledge. 


This is where Leon got his tail between the cracks in the window and had his tail literally outside while his body was inside the window.

I’m now officially freaked out.

Backing up to grab the phone, watching the lizard to ensure I don’t lose sight of him, I call daughter:

“Hi” I say…

“Can you come over and help me?”  I say.

“I’ve got a lizard in the kitchen.”  I say.

“What???” daughter asks.

“A lizard!  And he’s on the window in the kitchen and I don’t know how to get him out.”  I say.

Sighing, she agrees to ‘be right over.’

After what seems a very long time, she arrives.  I am standing about 3 feet from the window with a towel and a plastic cup in my hands, watching that lizard.  She laughs and says, “Here!  Give those to me,” and she grabs them from my hands and goes to look at the lizard.

He wiggles and starts UP the window again.  She yells, jumping back, not knowing what to do. 

“Get me a more flexible plastic cup!” she says.

I oblige.

She manages to trap said lizard, who I shall call Leon, in the glass, against the window.


Leon in the plastic cup against the glass.

Now, what do we do? 

Daughter says,
“Bring me some tape, I’ll tape the window to the glass until……….until………..”

“Oh, he’s breathing hard,” she says, now suddenly sympathetic to Leon’s plight.  (How would you like to be stuck in a clear plastic cup against a hot window with two crazy women looking at you?)

We decide to quickly flip up the cup, he’ll fall down at the bottom of the plastic cup and we’ll quickly cover it with a towel, then take him outside.

After some discussion about whether Leon will be able to rapidly climb up the plastic sides of the cup, she does this. 

Leon is quicker than we are and tries to get away—now on the floor.

We BOTH scream.  Loudly.

After a lot of running back and forth (Leon, not us), we  manage to corner him, and she puts him back into the cup and quickly slams the cup onto the window again.  He’s now trapped, once more, in the plastic cup held against the window.

I call Bob the Painter. 

“Hi, Bob?????” my voice goes up at the end of the question as I see Leon getting away AGAIN!

“Yes?” Bob the Painter says, tentatively.

“Hi, this is Jabber.  Uhhhh, do you happen to be in Bellevue now?”

“As a matter of fact, I am, I’m over here a couple of subdivisions down.”

“Can you come help me?  I’ve got a lizard in my kitchen and he’s about to get away.” I ask.

Bob the Painter starts laughing.  “A lizard?” he asks.

“Uh huh……..”

“Oh, wait  a minute, she just caught him.  Daughter is here, she just got him in a cup and covered it with a towel.”

“What’s she doing with him?” Bob asks, through his laughter.

“She took him outside and threw him back over the deck railing into the yard.” I reply.

He is laughing harder now.  “Ok.”

“Thank you, I’m so sorry to have bothered you.” I say.

He says “Ok,” and hangs up.

Daughter and I are laughing now, too.  At our literal hysterics.  She has to call CCQ Daughter to tell her.

A bit later, TMWLH walks in and says, “What’s going on?” so she has to tell him, too.

Bob the Painter calls back, laughing hard as he calls (along with his friend Steve who is also laughing in the background).  “Are you ok?” he kindly asks.  “I’m leaving Bellevue now, but if you need me to come over I can before I go.  Last chance.” he says.

“No, no,” I say, “Thank you very much.”  He explains that this was a ‘fence’ lizard and nothing to be afraid of.  None the less, we have obviously given him a good laugh for the day.

As for Leon, he hasn’t been seen since.  I can only imagine the story HE had to tell to his friends.


Proud of my Friends!

This is friend Kaki who did a 5K just last night and CAME IN THIRD for her age group!  WOW!


She and friend Sandy both did it—and Sandy CAME IN SECOND! 

Amazing ladies!


Congratulations to both—and wait, there is more………

They are doing another one on Saturday.  





Lemon Chicken Piccata


Wow!  This was easy………..

And good.  It was served over spaghetti squash—also very simple-to-prepare.  I am nothing if not simple.  Or something.

Jabber is nodding her head in agreement. 

Yum!  If you are on a low-fat diet, then substitute olive oil for butter, but we liked a combination of both.

What you’ll need (serves two): 

1 spaghetti squash, butter, olive oil, flour, salt and pepper, capers, 1 chicken breast, juice of about 4 lemons, freshly chopped parsley (optional).

If you don’t have a spaghetti squash, you may use regular spaghetti instead—angel hair is nice.  Of course, you don’t have to serve either.  Up to you.

For the spaghetti squash, cut the squash into two halves (length-wise).   Scoop out the seeds.  Place cut-side up in a pan and fill the pan around the squash about half-way with water.  Place some butter inside the scooped-out squash, cover the pan with foil, and bake about 45 minutes at 375.  When it is done (you will be able to easily pierce the squash), remove and, with a fork, pull the long strands of spaghetti squash into a bowl.  Toss.


Spaghetti squash

While the squash is baking, place one half chicken breast in a plastic bag.  Leave a small portion of the top of the bag open (you don’t want to break the bag as you smash the chicken.)  You may now take out all your frustration on that chicken by hitting/smashing/pounding it until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  The bottom of a heavy glass will do, unless you have one of these fine contraptions—a heavy metal meat tenderizer.  (Use the flat side.)


(Yes.  I said ‘heavy metal’—be sure to play some heavy metal music while you are doing this.  It adds to the ambience of the preparations in the kitchen.)

“An’ you will get the attention of TMWLH or YOUR man who lives There and/or any bodies else in the near vicinity, too—“ Jabber added.  She does not care for heavy metal music.

Place some flour, salt and pepper on a plate and dredge the flattened chicken in it, tapping the chicken lightly to remove any excess flour. 





Heat about 2 Tablespoons oil and butter (each) in a frying pan and when it is sizzling, place the chicken in the pan. 


Fry for about 3 minutes, flip over and fry another 3 minutes.  Make sure the chicken is cooked through. 



Since this will serve two people, you can cut it in half if you like to check doneness.


Did you squeeze your lemons?  Well, now you should have about 1/4 cup of lemon juice, give or take……….(I always give, not take—lemon juice is sour and I really don’t care for it without sugar.) 


Place the lemon juice and about 1/8 plus cup of capers in the pan. 


This will remove any leftover crispy bits (deglaze) in the pan.


You could also use white wine (but the lemon juice gives this dish its signature name—LEMON!—so otherwise you’d have wine picatta I suppose.  Besides, I like to drink my wine.)

Place some squash on a plate, then the chicken, then a spoonful or two of the lemon/butter/oil mixture.  Top with freshly chopped parsley, if you have it. 


Eat it up!

(The leftover spaghetti squash can be eaten with spaghetti sauce the next night.  Which is what we’re having tonight of course.)


Need a Pet?

I recommend a Llama. 

Yes, I do. 

I think our LEADER needs a Llama! 



Actually she needs two llamas to keep one another company whilst she is off doing other things.  Like leading the rest of us ‘llamas’ on a walk or a trot or a workout or something.

Look, if Better Homes and Gardens recommends them as pets, what is stopping you?  Take a look!


Stuffed Mushrooms

These are so simple to make, I wonder if I have posted the recipe previously?  But I can’t locate it on my blog!

It’s Sunday.  You know what I do on Sunday, right?  Check the fridge for things which need to be cooked or frozen or used up—or thrown out. 

I found fresh mushrooms wanting to be cooked—and had planned to make stuffed mushrooms earlier in the week, but this being a birthday week, I’d eaten cake instead.  Smile

LOTS OF CAKE!  And loved every lick, every bite, every crumb of all three cakes.  But Birthday Week is over until next year (I do intend to do it again, let me tell you, Weeders!), so it’s back to chores and keeping up with the……well, just keeping up.  Now, I’m 112 and counting.

So, this morning I decided to make up a batch of stuffed mushrooms and scrambled eggs with ‘extras’ for TMWLH and myself.

Security was left out because of dietary restrictions.  I prepared white rice and baked chicken for her breakfast, poor thing.  (Complete with napkin, flowers, the usual.  She does have her standards, but of course. 

Or she IS a Standard,

or she sets the standards……or something.  I forget.)

You digress, too,” Jabber mumbled………..

She seemed to enjoy it, but didn’t present us with a toy as she sometimes does, to say ‘thank you.’

I tried.

This is how I prepare stuffed mushrooms:

Place am 8 ounce block of cream cheese in a bowl to come to room temperature.


1.  Wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth to clean, then carefully pull out stems (reserve) and turn mushrooms cap-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.


2.  Cut off the ends of the stems which are hard, then chop up the rest of the mushroom stems and sauté with butter for a few minutes.  Reserve cooked mushrooms in a dish—I used some in the stuffed mushroom mixture (optional) as well as in the scrambled eggs.  If you don’t wish to use them immediately, these can be frozen in a plastic bag for future creative endeavors.


3.  Brown and crumble 1 pound of hot sausage in a skillet. 

image  *Hot sausage gives this mixture a lightly spicy flavor.  Regular sausage seems to ‘lack’ the zip.

4.  Drain in a colander lined with paper towel to remove any excess grease from the cooked sausage.


5.  Place cooked sausage in bowl with cream cheese (and mushroom pieces) and mix with a fork until well blended.


6.  Stuff each mushroom cap with cream cheese/sausage mixture.  Any remaining mixture can be cooked separately in a ramekin or oven-proof small bowl.  OR you can use it in scrambled eggs, which is what I did today.


7.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until tops of sausage/cream cheese mixture in mushrooms are turning brown.


These may be covered and placed in refrigerator for future use (heat in microwave).


 I love stuffed mushrooms for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or an appetizer.  Thanks to my friend, “California” who first introduced me to this simple, yet versatile and delish dish. 




My oh My! Tomato Pie!


Vanna, channeling her inner Martha, started it all………well, she and Cupcake.  Seems that Cupcake went to a gathering where tomato pie was served and proceeded to go home and make one.

Vanna’s hubby is a gardener extraordinaire and has a bumper crop of tomatoes…….actually, he keeps bringing them from the garden to the kitchen and she has run out of ways to fix tomatoes, so she started handing them out to all of us lucky girls.


See?  How gorgeous!

Well!  Cupcake told about the tomato pie and Vanna went home and made not one, not two, not three…….but FOUR tomato pies!  I was a lucky recipient of one as I was about to celebrate my 112th birthday.


“What is that? sitting there with the medals on the lady?” Jabber inquired, none too politely, either.

A llama. 

It’s my birthday llama. 

From a fellow llama lover. 

His name is Paddy O’Llama.  And in honor of channeling MY inner llama last April, he is sharing the honors with my medals.


See how I snuck that in?

“Oh stop digressing!” Jabber said in disgust.

So, then, of course, I had to have the recipe and I had to make not one, not two, but THREE tomato pies.

Blog bonus!  Pop Quiz!

Here is a POP QUIZ:  How many tomato pies were made and how many were left after everyone ate them?

“Wait a minute, here,” Jabber interjected, “Do you count how many people ate the pies or how many pies there were or how many pies were made out of how many tomatoes?  I don’t know the answer!  What is the answer?”

Jabber was never very good at mathematics.  But she is very  good at eating tomato pies.

So now you want the recipe so you can make not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE?!!!  Oh my yes, I know that you do!  So here it is:

(from Paula’s Home Cooking/Savannah Country cookbook/Paula Deen and Friends cookbook)


1 cup grated mozzarella

1 9 inch prebaked deep dish pie shell

1/2 cup chopped green onion

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper


Using the tines of a fork, prick the deep dish pie shell thoroughly and place in oven to bake as directed on package. 


Or, of course, if you buy a pre-baked pie shell, you don’t have to do this.  If you are really ambitious and make your own pie shell, I can’t help you.  Have at it.

Cool the pie shell thoroughly.

Wash the tomatoes—you will need 3 very large tomatoes or perhaps more if they are smaller.  Use your own judgment. 

Put a big pot of water on to boil and get a bowl ready, filled with ice water.

image   image

Yes, I know.  The bowl isn’t filled with ice water.  I just took the picture too soon.  Sorry ‘bout that.

Blanche the tomatoes—only a couple at a time, and don’t you DARE move away from that pot!—you only want them to be in the boiling water about 15 seconds, if that.  You will immediately remove them and place in iced water once the skin of the tomato begins to look loose—this may take only about 15 seconds.  Don’t leave them in too long or you’ll have cooked tomatoes (not good).  After they are in the ice water for a brief period of time, you should be able to skin each tomato easily (the skins will pull off).

Pour the ice water out of the bowl, turn off the pot of boiling water and lightly dry out the bowl—you are going to use it shortly.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

HERE IS A MOST IMPORTANT STEP!  If you have a splatter screen, place it over the bowl.  If you don’t, then use a colander.  (The bowl will catch any juice from the tomatoes as you press them.)


Over the splatter screen, on top of the bowl, slice the tomatoes in about 1/2 inch slices or so.  Once the screen is covered in one layer of tomatoes, cover the tomatoes, screen and bowl with plastic wrap.  This will hold the splatter screen in place. 


Use a plate or simply use your hands to squish (is that a cooking term?) the tomatoes—remove the juice as much as you can.  Press! the tomatoes!

Repeat for the rest of the tomato slices.  This pressing process will prevent a too-juicy pie.  Very important if you want pie and not soup.  (However, speaking of soup, be sure to pour the juice into your frozen container in the freezer—the one in which you place all extra veggies and uneaten meat leftovers for soup—later.)


While the tomatoes are draining, you can chop up your onions and basil and set aside.  Also have your cheese grated and ready and the mayonnaise measured.

Place the tomatoes at the bottom of the pie shell—and then top with a few sliced green onions and basil.  Lightly salt and pepper.  (Or just put all the onions and basil on top, really doesn’t matter except when you mix some of the greens in with the cheeses, it’s a bit more colorful.)


In a clean bowl, mix the cheese, mayonnaise, the rest of the green onions and basil together.


Top the tomatoes in the pie shell with this mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


This is VERY rich and VERY delicious.  It will easily serve 6, likely more.  You can keep any leftover pie in the refrigerator (for a day or two) and reheat.   I have not tried to freeze the pie, but if you do attempt it, I’d suggest you freeze unbaked. 

Now, go make your twenty pies!

“WAIT!  What are the answers to the pop quiz?” Jabber asked……..

How should I know?  I didn’t MAKE or EAT ALL the pies……