Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Freedom Riders 1961

Since I try to go somewhere at least once a week, I decided on  The History Center located  downtown Birmingham inside Young and Vann Supply Company.  Young and Vann is no more operable as a supply company. It is a large redone warehouse that has been updated for other purposes as so many downtowns have done to preserve  what's already there.

"From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives-many endured savage beatings and imprisonment-for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South.  Theirs is the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of courageous action that changed America forever." (copied from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History flyer)
Click any of the photos to enlarge and read
 To learn more about several of the exhibits you could use you cell phone  to dial a number that told of the experiences many of these riders had. The stories were told by  the people who experienced them.I'd left my cell in the car but the number is 617-245-3907. Enter the number (1-9) that is next to the item you want to hear about press the # key.
When I got home I  used my cell to call the number above. Their stories were interesting and informative.

Click the following link to find out more about the Freedom Riders

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

 Many people try to limit the number of carbs (carbohydrates) that they have in their meals.The only problem is that you then limit all of the comfort foods such as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pastas, potatoes, rice. More than once I've seen recipes for cauliflower mashed potatoes and cauliflower rice. Not until recently did I see a recipe for cauliflower pizza. Several reviewers stated how delicious it was and how they didn't feel guilty eating it. Being that I had cauliflower I'd gotten out of the quick sale bin at the market, I decided to try it.

I got the recipe from Piehole another blogger who apparently enjoys pies of all types and cooking.  Pizza is in the category of  pies.  Dean Martin  and others have sung about it.
 "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore."
Here's the recipe
Cauliflower Pizza Crust

*2C riced cauliflower

*1t garlic salt

*1/2t italian seasoning

*1 egg white

*1/2C reduced fat mozzarella cheese

*toppings of your choice, also remember if you add more cheese on top to count it! (Yeh, right)


1.Preheat oven to 425.

2. Cut cauliflower into small chunks and pulse in food processor until rice like consistency is met. It should look almost identical to rice.

3.Place in microwave safe bowl (after ricing) with plastic wrap on top and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

4. Mix cauliflower with remaining ingredients.

5. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and form mixture into desired shape (spray it WELL, it has a tendency to stick).

6. Make sure its not too thin, somewhere around 1/4 an inch thick.

7. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned.

8. Remove and add your sauce and toppings.

9. Bake for another 5-10 minutes to melt cheese and cook toppings. You can also broil it at this stage if the edges of the pizza are looking too dark.

Cauliflower has a strong smell after being cooked so you may want to employ the crew below.

Odor reducers


As you can see I've placed the cauliflower in my food processor and reduced it a little at a time into the consistency of rice. Actually it looks more like coconut to me.
I ended up with far more than two cups of cauliflower.  It's in a microwave safe bowl. I placed it in the microwave with its matching top for 4 minutes instead of the 2 as suggested by the recipe since I had more than two cups.

While the cauliflower was in the microwave I placed a sheet of foil on a baking sheet then sprayed the foil well with cooking spray. The directions stated that it has a tendency to stick.

After removing the cauliflower from the microwave I measured out two cups, placed it in a mixing bowl along with garlic powder (I didn't have garlic salt) ,Italian seasoning, egg white and mozzarella cheese. I used the amounts listed in the recipe above.
I did most of the mixing with gloved hands.  I have shaped the "dough" into a crude square on the baking sheet

 This is the "dough" after being baked for 15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. It did brown a little around the edges.
I'd been to ALDI on yesterday and picked up a package of yellow, red and green peppers. The yellow and red are so sweet. My toppings included about 1/2 cup of each of these peppers, 1 slice turkey bacon, 1 1/2 oz of turkey sausage,  and onions. I cooked everything a little  since all ingredients probably won't cook at the same rate when I place them on the pizza dough.
what beautiful color

After placing the sauteed toppings on the crust, I put jarred spagetti sauce on top and then put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

plated cauliflower pizza
There are probably a couple of things you're thinking .
a. I should have put the sauce on first and then the toppings.  
b. I should have used real pizza sauce.

It wouldn't have made much difference because the "dough" was not very solid. Sure it tasted fine but I tested a piece before adding the toppings and it wasn't firm even after I ran it back into the oven to cook a little longer. Therefore I put the toppings first and then the sauce so it wouldn't disintegrate completely when I got ready to serve it.
Since I still have cauliflower left over, I'll try it again.  At this point I'd have to say I wasn't bowled over by this recipe. Then again I'm not a chef.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stuck on a Series

I've been reading books by M.C. Beaton.  They take place in Scotland and a few villages are named in many of the books so much so I have a visual picture of how I think they look.  Not to mention I've used some of the language or know what it means. For example:
lay about- a lazy person
crofter- a Highland farmer
get a leg over- have sex with someone
There are others.  I just can't think of them at the moment.

For some reason I like stories that take place in Europe and I like period novels also.  In the M.C. Beaton novels there is a crime mystery and there's also humor.  They are easy reading if you want something to satisfy your  reading palate.

I had to take inventory of what I'd read because I'd read so many I would sometimes check out one I'd read before. The series with the village bobby Hamish Macbeth was the first one I read. Hamish enjoys life in the small village of Lochdubh. He is a very intuitive man and usually solves the crime. His superior Inspector Daviot  in Strathbane usually wants to promote him but Hamish doesn't want to leave the quiet life of Lochdubh so he will often allow the credit to go to someone else or to his nemesis Detective Blair who hates Hamish with a passion.  Blair will do anything to try to have Hamish thrown off of the force. His efforts usually end up with some hilarious mishap befalling him.
Of the Hamish Macbeth novels I have read:

Death of a Celebrity- A woman gets her position at a TV station by sleeping her way up. She is arrogant, self centered and thinks only of herself.  She's found dead.

Death of a Poison Pen- Someone is rattling the nerves of the inhabitants in a nearby village by sending them anonymous letters about information they have on the recipient. Neighbors suspect neighbors.  Everyone is suspicious of everyone else. This leads to violence and someone is killed.

Death of a Village- The people of Stoyre have become very religious. When asked  questions about this sudden onslaught of theology no one will answer questions.

Death of a Glutton- This was the funniest one. Two women own a travel agency. One of them is an embarassment to the other and she wants to buy her out of the business. The offending partner will eat an entire meal meant for 4 people when they take clients out for dinner or lunch.  She will make offensive and embarrassing comments  to the clients. This character burps, slurps, licks her fingers and is an overall pig when it comes to eating. No wonder when she is found dead there is an apple in her mouth.

Other reads include:
Death of a Dreamer
Death of An Addict
Death of a Gentle Lady
Death of a Maid
Daeth of a Nag
Death of a Prankster
Death of a Dustman
Death of a Bore
Death of a Dentist

I only wish I'd read them in order.

Another in the M.C. Beaton series are the Agatha Raisin novels. Agatha is a woman in her fifties who doesn't want to be reminded of it.  She is a romantic thinking that every man who shows her any type of kindness is possibly a candidate for matrimony.  She is especially taken with her neighbor James Lacey. Agatha goes to all sorts of stunts to get his attention.  These novels also involve amateur crime solving with Agatha and the various men in her life.  They also emit humor with Agatha and all of her wild antics.

Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death- Agatha Raisin, new to the village of Cotswold wants to fit in and be accepted, so she enters the annual quiche contest. No one knows Agatha can't cook and gets her sustenance from TV dinners, coffee and cigarettes. Agatha buys a quiche from a baker in a town far from Cotswold. She removes the quiche from its store bought container and places it in a container of her own in hopes of passing it off as her own homemade quiche.  Unfortunately, later someone dies from eating Agatha's poisoned quiche.  To save herself Agatha will have to admit she did not bake the quiche. What an embarrassment.

Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryham

Agatha Raisin and theWizard of Evesham

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley

The Perfect Paragon: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things aren't always as they appear

This photo was taken earlier in the summer when my container herbs began to sprout out and make good use of the sunny weather.  The bush became much larger. Just a few days ago (after you read this post) I trimmed it back and took some of the stems in to dry.  No use letting it go to waste.
 Sorry, but I forgot to take a before picture.
I consulted a few websites on how to dry the herbs and decided to go with the oven drying method.

I rinsed the bunches of stems a couple of times and patted them dry.

Then I broke them into smaller pieces placing them on the cooky sheet with plenty of room between them.

I placed them in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.

Directions I'd read warned that the finished product must not contain any moisture or they would mold, destroying the whole batch.  A good way to test it is to twist some of the leaves between your fingers.  If they crumble then they are dry.

Here is a close up of the after batch before stripping the leaves from the stems. To remove, shear the leaves through your dry hands in the opposite direction.   It's very easy and the dried product comes off in no time. You can use gloves if you like.  Getting one of the leaves under a nail feels like a splinter.

This is a picture of the dried leaves inside a plastic container before being jarred. I know what it looks like but: THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR.

I used a clean jar that originally contained pasta sauce to store the dried rosemary.  I plan to try this same thing with the lavender and sage I have.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another Festival

 Yep! Another festival. I've been attending quite a few because I plan to be a participant at one that is being held in December. Since this will be my first I'm trying to get some ideas as to how to make my presentation inviting.

Last weekend's exhibit spanned several downtown blocks. It was hot but I got out early. If you consider 12 noon early. That was when  things began last Saturday. It didn't take me long to maneuver because I really wasn't in the mood.  I think I was there about an hour. SOme exhibits were housed inside various buildings.
The shot above is from Morris Avenue.  You can't see it here but the street is  cobblestone.  I'm unsure regarding the original history of the street.  During the week few cars have access to this street.  In the 70's Morris Avenue was revitalized into something similar to the old Underground Atlanta. We called it Underground Birmingham.  It was a great place   to party and take out of town friends. As with anything it eventually died out. There are mostly lofts, attorneys offices and of course the Peanut Depot.  They roast peanuts the old fashioned way and the smell is delicious. Getting the hot roasted peanuts can make you hurt yourself eating them.

This  was a project that attendees were invited to participate in. There were three panels . On the left is a clear plastic sheet that volunteers are asked to write "You Are Beautiful" in various ways. This is something that has been going on all over .  On the opaque white shower curtain in the middle the facillitator wanted a landscape.  I don't remember what the theme was for the clear plastic panel on the right. I choose the landscape theme.  If you enlarge the photo you'll see my impression of mountains. As other people come along they add to the drawing.

You can see that I didn't take  lots of pictures as I usually do.

I went back to my car and drank the ice cold water I had waiting for me. That's it above. I reused a quart bottle that formerly held sparkling water. I filled it almost to the top with water, laid it on its side in the freezer and let it freeze. When I'm ready to go someplace I take it out, sheath it in a clean gym sock and I'm on my way.  The sock keeps it cold a little longer and also absorbs the condensation as it melts so that I don't have a puddle after it unthaws.  I freeze it on its side so that when I open it water doesn't spew everywhere.  That's also why I leave some head space before freezing.

I'm familiar with the latest about not reusing plastic because of carcinogens. I'm going to die of something anyway and I don't like the idea of buying bottled water.  But that's just my personal opinion.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


These are just a few photos of cars at the Butter Bean Festival. There were many more along with their proud owners.
I enjoy viewing these vintage beauties but, am not very knowledgeable about them. Click on the photo to enlarge for detail.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just how many festivals can you attend at one time?

Butter Bean Festival

Labor Day is  supposed to signal the end of summer . It's  also supposed to be time out for linen, white shoes and purses. But, while we have a few cool days ahead (think 78 degrees) basically it isn't really over.  There will be more hot days.  I remember one Christmas we were able to go outside and play without coats.
Everybody tries to get in their summer frolicking before the leaves begin to turn. This past weekend I attended the Butter Bean Festival in Pinson.  This was it's 6th year to have the festival and my first to attend it.I've heard of strange foods being served at state fairs and festivals.  About the strangest I saw was fried cheese cake. I didn't try it but if it was fried I'm sure it was good. Southern living requires that a person devour lots of fried food unless cautioned not to by a medical professional.
This lady had her cute puppies inside this  netted stroller as she made her way around the BB Festival

Great acrobatic stunts by guys on bikes

This is a replica of the patrol car from the town of Mayberry. There was even a Barney Fife imposter to take pictures with. Since I didn't want to pay $5.00 for a photo, there isn't one of the Fake Fife

Here is the inside of the patrol car.
For those of you who enjoy antique cars, I'll have about five in my next post

Exotic animals were also part of the line up. In addition to this tortoise there were emu, sheep, goats and camels.  There was a friendly debate the last time I was at the bank as to what the camel's hump is made of. It isn't water. It is fat. A camel can go without water for 50 days. When the camel urinates it is syrupy.  Before you ask, I don't know if people use it as a food source. Although, the dried camel dung is used in cooking fires.

I bought a pair of silver plated earrings made from a portion of a spoon.  The vendor had the pattern, company and year on the tag. This one was made by the William Rogers company. The pattern is Talisman and the year is 1938. She says she goes to estate and yard sales, picks up the pieces and her husband makes the earrings, bracelets, key chains etc. On each one is its history.

This is one of the many weekend markets around the area that sells fresh vegetables, crafts, food and etc.
This lady was kind enough to allow me to take a picture of her hat. By the looks of it she is an avid gardener.

I really gravitate toward recycled articles. These wind chimes are made from cast iron skillets,spatulas, salt shakers, spoons and a little of everything else. (Click the photo to enlarge)
I asked the vendor in the photo below if I could take a picture of her booth.  Lately, I've noticed a lot of crafts people are hesitant to allow photos.  I guess they're afraid their ideas will be stolen.  She consented to my photography but cautioned against closeups.  I complied. But...
Click on the photo and you get a very clear up close and personal picture of her wares. It's called free enterprise in America .  I admire her wares and have no talent when it comes to duplicating them so her pictures are safe with me.

These crinoline slips and lacy tops were also a part of her display.
This was one of the three bands located at the Pepper Place market. Pepper Place derives its name from the huge warehouse type building that was once the Dr. Pepper bottling plant. It and surrounding buildings are now  overpriced  yuppie shops.
Part of the proof is the innumerable pedigreed dogs with their owners and the  immeasurable vendors who have water bowls out for the dogs.  After I counted 5 water bowls, I stopped.  I have nothing against dogs. The owners seemed to have them under control. A sign at the front welcomes the dogs (as if they can read) but asks owners to clean up after them.
See the Dirt Shirt in the middle of the others, it is professed that it is dyed with Alabama red clay dirt.

At Pepper Place I bought a jar of  lemon scented home made body scrub.
That's It ***