Mama B’s Combo Recipe QUARANTINE Cooking: Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Someone requested a recipe blog post and since we know how popular those are, here is mine.

Mama B’s Combo Recipe

Quarantine Cooking: Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

*Chunk of pork

*I used a 2 pound pork top loin boneless roast. I wish it had been bigger and a different cut of meat. I used a shopping service since I have not been inside a store since the second week of March. They substituted the best they knew how I guess. I am upset that they didn’t read my note and get the buy one get one offer, but that’s another story.

Then I made a rub with

1 TBSP paprika

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp packed brown sugar

Stir together the above ingredients, it’s quick and easy using a cereal bowl and a fork! Than rub it on the entire roast.

Place roast in crock pot, aka slow cooker.

Sprinkle on top:

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

Add 1 tsp chicken bouillon to ¾ cup water and pour in bottom of crock.

Cook on high for 2 hours and low for 4 hours, or use any variation of time that gives you shred-able cooked pork.

  • Finally, remove the meat from the pot
  • Save the saucy juice
  • Scrape off top heavily seasoned layer of fat
  • Shred meat with forks.
  • Return shredded pork to the pot
  • Add ½ cup of the saved juice, 1 cup of BBQ sauce, and ½ cup or more of water. Stir together and add more water or sauce for desired consistency.

We enjoyed it with coleslaw on a whole wheat bun. Some folk like to add the slaw to the sandwich, some prefer it on the side. Include a small side of BBQ baked beans (Bush’s Smokehouse Grillin’  beans are our favorite, second to homemade.)

If I do not eat all the kettle cooked potato chips, we will have those on the side too.

**This is what I call a “combo recipe.” I pull ideas from several different sources. While some of my COMBO recipes (unmeasured ingredients which are often just eye-balled) do not turn out, this recipe was voted a huge success.

Please use a larger roast, especially if you enjoy leftovers. This 2 pound roast made 6 generously portioned sandwiches.

  • QUICK
  • EASY
  • DELICIOUS

Always characteristics of my favorite recipes!

We love spices, especially these:

https://www.penzeys.com/

Also, those Grillin’ Beans:

https://bushbeans.com/en_US/products/grillin-beans

Our go-to bottled barbecue sauce:

https://www.sweetbabyrays.com/

I love you and miss you. You know who you are.

Adjust Your Expectations Week of May 4, 2020

Adjusting One’s Expectations

Years Running Down my Cheeks

#WYFM

I was talking recently about how someone needed to lower their expectations and I did not like the sound of that at all! It signaled negativity and seemed depressing. So, I decided to change it to “Adjust One’s Expectations.” That sounds much better to my ears. Don’t you agree? Regardless of whatever issue I was talking about, I realized that adjusting our expectations is something we all have been doing during the COVID-19 Corona Virus Pandemic.

(If we want to have more deep thoughts, we understand that our entire life is full, absolutely loaded with adjusted expectations. But we will limit the discussion to these current times.)

When I think about how rapidly life has changed, it is astonishing. Less than two months ago, we were all planning on living our typical lives in all their glory: work, play, events, entertainment, celebrations.

Now, every day is filled with ordinary moments interspersed with times of shattering horror. This is global, people. A Global Pandemic of death and illness. No, it is not just your house and a case of measles. It is not this year’s flu going around your county. Every country in the world is counting cases and deaths and recoveries and the resulting morbidity.

When the realization of the Global-ness of all these changes seeps into my consciousness, that is when I may find myself with Years Running Down my Cheeks. Not to be confused with the tears that are also there, but years of time: present, past and more importantly, the future. I can tell you that it is not a pretty sight.

Our family, as so many, is stacking up the milestones and virtual celebrations. We are missing the in person gatherings for graduations, birthdays, celebration of baby’s birth, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and family reunions. We are all of us adjusting our expectations. It is worldwide. That is the outrageous part. There are times that is comforting to know that we are not alone in the reality and emotion of our experiences. There are times when that just delineates the horror of our current reality.

“Zoom” parties, messenger phone calls, virtual FB fundraisers, car parades, socially distant outdoor picnics, we have done all that and will do many more. My daughter organized a Skype game-playing birthday party for my husband’s birthday. He loved it. My sister organized a gift-giving shower and welcome video for my niece’s newborn baby. It meant a lot. My daughter organized a virtual fundraiser for the nonprofit of which she is Executive Director. It was a huge success. A third daughter organized a Mother’s Day cocktail party via Zoom. It was so much fun. My sisters are organizing virtual celebrations for their graduates: high school/college, and PHD. Friends have had adorable car parades for little ones, and back of car picnics at the park so they can see their grandchildren. Successful, yes. Emotionally challenging, of course. I confess to tears of empathy for my family, and yours, as we and they work to make family celebrations something special. Adjusting our expectations.

We now share our photos of our masked faces. We still share more memes, which somehow are not so hilarious, but still appreciated.  

I am proud when I see those I know practice safe lifesaving health-saving measures. I am often upset at those who publicly and privately flaunt the safety measures, as if it’s all about them, not their families, not us, not the society of “others.”

Every day now, I wake up weary. I have only seconds before the truth of what is seeps into my consciousness. It gets harder to get out of bed, but I do. I am still so grateful for the millions of people that go to work, and do their part to keep us safe, and healthy and supplied with food and other necessities. The words “Thank you” will never be enough.

We can agree that everything is changed, but not everything is different. Think about it.

I love you and miss you. You know who you are. Please disregard the traces of years rolling down my cheeks.

Oh and

P.S. #WYFM Wear Your Fucking Mask!

Today’s Mood

Once upon a time

When we took the entire world for granted

We were privileged. Yes, we were spoiled. We had so much of everything. So many options and too many choices. Possibilities. We had them.

Think about the aisles in the grocery store if you do not believe me. Any grocery store, any aisle.

Think about the department store clothing shelves and racks of clothes and shoes and underwear.

Think about a tank full of gas, whatever the cost, and GPS. Where did you want to go?

Think about the train to Chicago, and the easy schedule you memorized, a train departing your local station nearly every hour.

Think about your excitement at arriving at your first destination, and planning your route to whatever exciting thing you had planned. Museums, theater, shopping, dining, river, and lake.

Think about the restaurants. Fast food, slow food, good food, independent restaurants, franchise restaurants. Think about the pub, the bar, the drinks, the chatter.

Think about decluttering your closet and cleaning your cabinets and bringing your unwanted unneeded, yet still good stuff to an open donation center.

Think about the trip you planned, the airline tickets you purchased, the hotel you booked. The money you set aside for food and fun.

Think about the art museum you love and visited so often you could find your favorite ancient horse sculpture even though you got lost trying to find a restroom.

Think about the movie you wanted to watch at the theater and the popcorn you called dinner (even though everyone knew that was a lie.)

Think about the parties and celebrations you held or participated in. The easy freedom you moved about, in your own special place, in your own extraordinary world.

Think about the hugs you gave and hugs you received. Think about the hands you shook and the cheeks you kissed.

Think about the items you touched without worry, without bleach wipes, without sanitizing, without gloves. So much touching. Thoughtless touching.

Think about how lucky you are

how spoiled you are

how privileged fortunate advantaged you are.

Are you now able to work at home? Millions are not. Are you now able to stay at home? Millions are not.

Were you able to do and experience the life described above?

Millions are not.

Do you have your health today? Does your family? Do your friends? Do you have a chance of getting it back if the answer is no? Do you have hope?

Millions do not.

This is how I think I should feel. What did I take for granted! So much.

But now,

I need a fresh supply of disinfecting wipes.

I need bleach that will disinfect instead of the splash-less bleach which is a cheating deceiver.

I need toilet paper.

I need to be able to walk into a store without fear and a face mask.

I need a face to face doctor visit, my teeth cleaned, and my dog’s dental surgery.

I need to see my friends and share a meal.

I need to see husband’s face across a restaurant table at our favorite pub.

I need to see my daughters in person, all of them.

I need to walk into a house full of family to celebrate anything and everything we missed.

I need, I want.

When and if we get that fearless freedom back, will we forget all too soon? Will we resume our fortunate lives unscathed except for memory? Will we disremember our anxiety and our worry and our loneliness and stress and fear? Will we be that fortunate?

Once upon a time, we took the world for granted. We were privileged. We were spoiled. We were lucky. We still are.

Millions are not.

And I still need and want what I took for granted.

I love you and miss you. You know who you are.

The April Snow

I do not mind an April snowfall.

Not today.

Mood matching,

it hides

the hope of spring

and promise of renewal.

I do not mind an April snowfall.

Dark gray

Matches feelings.

It hides

Bright yellow sun,

Puff clouds, azure sky.

I do not mind an April snowfall

to allay

Talk about sickness and death.

News matching fear.

It hides

the buds, the blooms concealed.

I do not mind an April snow, the gloom

Today.

It may melt tomorrow or soon.

Possibilities return as a promise:

Matching spring the season.

Renewing faith: the reason.

“…The World Should Go On”

It’s been 10 days since my last blog post. Things in this country have gone from bad to worse. While there is not an end in sight for the United States at this point, other countries in the world are seeing the curve of death and illness start downward. This is hopeful for United States residents. We are at least 2 months behind due to ignorance and politics and a terrible mistake our country made in November of 2016. Americans are paying for that with their lives. But that is not what this is about.

How are you handling this extended quarantine? Are you staying home? Are you following the rules of shelter in place, and washing, washing, washing?

Me? I am still very afraid sometimes. But also, I am very brave sometimes. Because, when this is over, and it will be over, I don’t want to look back and be disappointed in myself. I want to have no regrets. No if-onlys or shoulda-woulda-couldas!

In our family, we have been sharing a lot of inspirational and motivational articles, memes and commentaries. My oldest daughter recently discovered and shared work by Brene Brown. Dr. Brown, PHD and LMSW, has written many books and given talks and podcasts about courage and is well known for her work. You can check out her website here:  https://brenebrown.com/

I recently spoke with one of my sister-friends about my fears. She helped me realize I wanted to be the person Brene Brown described as “Awkward, Brave and Kind.”  See below for the entire passage.

In my last blog post, I wrote about the comfort in knowing we are not alone. (https://notjusthorsingaround.com/2020/03/27/2020-pandemic-covid-19-hope-what-we-took-for-granted/ ) Have you discovered just how much you are not alone in the last few weeks? I have never been known for phone calls, video or face-to-face phone calls…until recently. In the last few weeks, I have called, and video messaged with my 3 daughters, separately and together, my sisters, my brother, my family and my friends. My housemate (aka husband) has also reached out via telephone and spoken with people instead of leaving communications to social media. To be fair, he has always been a “talk on the phone” person, but his conversations are more meaningful and touching these days. Maybe that is because there are no sports to talk about, insert winky emoticon here, but the shift is noticeable and poignant.

Hey! Hasn’t social media been a wonderful way of sharing photos, and daily contact with our loved ones and friends? That is also very comforting for me.

Speaking of media, for health reasons, I try to avoid the constant death and sickness updates and the lack of medical supplies, and the frightening news. I’ve taken to heart the recommendation to update my news fix only once or twice daily instead of frequently. When I say for health reasons, I mean the stress and anxiety that I feel when I see statistics and more about the spread and shortages of health care and equipment. It raises my blood pressure, gives me headaches and stomach aches. I am not alone, I know that. Many days, I work very hard at self-care (sure, instead of decluttering or cleaning house.) Besides the here and now moments, I want to have a strong immune system, you know, just in case. “Self-care” is a common phrase these days. I hope you are practicing.

Our “lists” grow longer every day, don’t they? The list of events and milestones that have been cancelled for you and your family, for me and my family: School days, college semesters, college graduations, birthday celebrations, Easter celebrations, short trips, long vacations, baby showers, group meetings and events, concerts, sporting events, fund raising galas, horse shows, the list goes on and on. It seems each cancelled event forces us to realize that this is serious. This is real. This is strange and scary.

But, good things happen too. Every day, people show up to do life saving work. So many people spread small and simple acts of kindness and care. Look around. You will find countless generous acts of love and compassion. Yes, some things will never change. But be assured, that, as this terrible frightening time in the world goes on and on and on, some things will change. Many of us will have learned some important lessons.  What will your lessons be?

And finally, life does go on. In our large, loving, extended family, we celebrate a new life. Yes, we all considered how scary it is now to have a baby for the new parents. We realized how the celebration of this baby’s birth will be so very different from other celebrations. And we understand that the arrival of this baby boy is a beautiful gift. He has given us hope and joy and love and inspiration. He has reassured us, in the words of poet Carl Sandburg “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Take heart. Be brave. Be kind. Please be well. I love you. You know who you all are.

2020 Pandemic COVID-19 HOPE and What We Took for Granted

Well, today is Friday, March 27, 2020. I am actually not sure how long this has been going on, but it is feeling more serious and I am more stressed and anxious as the days pass. I am trying not to let fear rule my actions, but I gotta tell you, sometimes I struggle. I don’t want to leave my house. For any reason. Not only am I in the #disposablegeneration (political and black humor here,) my house mate is older and diabetic, and has some heart issues. We can’t decide if we want to get sick now, while there are still beds and supplies, or wait for the miracle cure.


Where I’ve been: pharmacy drive through, dr. appointment via telephone, Farm and Fleet drive through order pick-up, WallyWorld: order online- pick up in lot. Getting ready to head out to Crystal Lake for our first grocery run in a week. Which is weird, since I try to avoid shopping. I usually buy two weeks’ worth of food at a time and we also used to eat out a couple times a week. The grocery items I choose are often sold out or out of stock.


What I do to try and stay calm and “keep busy?”
• I take walks with my dogs.
• I brush my horses. No riding, but grooming is very calming.
• I clean out closets and drawers and shelves with the goal of decluttering at least one a day! Speaking of decluttering, for as often as I’ve begun this project, these unprecedented times really pinpoint an issue. “WHY THE HELL am I keeping all this crap?”
• I began meditating a few months ago and I am glad. I meditate at least once a day. Usually twice. One is an unguided meditation and the other is a guided meditation.
• I absolutely recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium Facebook page and website. They have guided “meditoceans” as they call them, and long peaceful videos. I promise you will find something serene there.
https://www.facebook.com/montereybayaquarium/
• I work on writing projects and yard projects and barn projects and household projects.
• I started a Virtual Book Club with my nearest and dearest, so of course, I must read daily.

Will it give you comfort to realize that you are not alone? Whatever you are feeling, whatever emotion or stress or anger or pain that you are experiencing right now, I promise there are many other humans in THE WORLD who are experiencing it with you. For some reason, this gives me comfort.


But what I really want to know right now is this: what did you take for granted? What part of your marvelous, unique, special, busy, hectic and amazing life of day-to-day activities, did you take for granted? What part of that will be forever changed?


I am not naïve enough to think that this will be over soon. I am reading news reports for legitimate sources and know better. I will admit that a part of me hopes daily for a miracle. That we will all wake up and learn that a cure has been discovered. A vaccine. A successful treatment. I guess that is what HOPE is for me. There is the hope that ALL the people in my world stay healthy, and I know I am not alone in this hope. I have hope that our world recovers and we will ALL be better; our world will be a better place.
So, let us wait, and wash our hands, and pray if you wish to, and stay home as we socially distance ourselves. And let us not lose HOPE.


In closing, a haiku:

Head aches, heart breaks, scared!
Breathe, breathe, you are not alone.
Find Spring buds and hope —

It's 2020 with the Pandemic Corona Virus

A worldwide pandemic has changed life as we know it. I live in the Midwest, in the state of Illinois, and we were recently one of the first few states to issue a “stay at home” order.

There is much information out there now and I don’t want to be a source of pandemic information. Rather I would like to talk about my own experience and that of my family and friends in some posts.

Before I begin, I would like to ask that we all please please check our sources of information. These are scary times, and news is updated frequently. Here are two easy reputable links for up to date information.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

MEMES

My life in memes, is always a favorite line for my comments and posts. In between my deepest darkest moments, and my calm, serene full of acceptance moments, I have some moments that are full of humor.

And the humor helps. How do I know this: by the sheer volume of uplifting and humorous memes that are out there now.

A recent favorite:

The most unused household item during Quarantine 2020:

Bras.

See, folks, I am not alone.

And while the heroes keep our hospitals and medical offices open and our pharmacies and grocery stores running, please understand, that humor will help us get through these times.

I showed this one to my husband.
He’s a gardener too now.

Brighten Up People

Brighten up people

Blaze Orange, Florescent Green, Cardinal Red, Bright Yellow

What do all the colors in the title have in common? I wish you would wear them. More specifically, I wish you would wear them while walking, running, walking your dog, riding your bicycle, riding your horse outdoors on the roadside. How many times have you driven down a country road, a city road, a suburban road, and noticed walkers, runners, bicyclists just in a nick of time? Were they wearing dark or black colors? Did they blend into the side of the road, blend in with the trees? I have talked to many people who feel the same way. For safety’s sake, brighten up people.

Hey, I get it. Black is cool. I wear A LOT of black clothing, in fact it’s one of my favorite colors. Everything goes with my black jeans and black boots. Or my black top and black boots, black shirts, skirts, sandals, and bras. But, for safety’s sake, not just at night but during daylight hours too, BRIGHTEN up people.

As a walker, dog walker and horseback rider, I have had several close calls. During outdoor activities as a driver and a sport participant, I make it a point to wear blaze orange when riding, florescent green when walking. Not always my coolest outfit, but I’ve seen too many dark clothed cyclists, walkers and runners that were hard to see.

I realize that bright colors are noticeable! I see you out there. You want me to see you out there! You want other drivers to see you out there. Put a few words into a search engine and you will see testimonials from runners and riders about near misses and not-missed accidents. It’s a scary thing. Of course, collisions happen. I’ve been on the country roads riding my horse and wearing bright blaze orange and there has been some close calls. Yelling, swearing and flipping off drivers that were so close to my leg I could have kicked the car is a horrible “what if” moment. Anything that happens would go down in the blame column of the drivers; but if wearing bright obnoxiously bright colors would help, why wouldn’t you? Brighten up people.

This seems like common sense, does it not? I try to wear bright colors while riding my horse – on the trails too-because there is always a road crossing or connection. I try to wear brighter colors when I am walking the dogs or just walking. If it’s too warm for my lime green hoodie or blaze orange jacket? I’ll tie it on my waist so you can see me from behind. (see me from behind…don’t even think about saying it…)

Below are some quotes about reflective gear and  bright attire. Everyone knows it makes sense and it’s the thing to do- so let’s all put it in practice. BRIGHTEN UP PEOPLE.

For bicyclists: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/cyclists-guide-visibility-clothing-accessories-142322

For horseback riding: http://www.buyahorse101.com/articles/horse-riding/rules-for-riding-a-horse-on-the-road/

For runners/walkers:

http://www.tips4running.com/Reflective-Running-Clothes.html