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Archive for January, 2009

Snowflake Cookies

January 29th, 2009

 

Snowflake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

I believe that cold snowy days are perfect for baking something decadent. The winter storm that hit Ohio encased us in ice and blanketed us with snow. The roads were a mess, so we were glad when most things were closed and we were granted a snow day. Indulging in the occasion, I pulled out my favorite sugar cookie recipes and made a batch of Snowflake Cookies. The entire morning went by in a blur of snowflakes both outside my window and inside my kitchen. The fragrance of butter, sugar, and vanilla that filled our home was decadent. We ate these pretty little cookies throughout the day and I am convinced that there is no better way to warm up your home during a blustery winter storm.

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Ceres' Recipe Box , , ,

Forgotten Household Crafts

January 27th, 2009
Old Fashioned Kitchen

Old Fashioned Kitchen

It has been said that through the careful observation of history, will we find the answers needed for tomorrow’s future. As I take small steps to reduce our carbon footprints on this Earth, I am often drawn to the legends of my Great Grandparents who farmed the land and knew how to successfully live a sustainable life.

Two generations ago, my Great Grandmother Julia immigrated to the United States  from Poland. When she arrived on Ellis Island, she did not have a designer purse hanging from her slender wrists; instead, she carried a small pillowcase full of her belongings. When I consider that she came to this country completely alone, I deeply admire her courage and fierce determination to succeed. Great Grandmother Julia chose to start her new life in Riverhead, New York. It was a small Polish community and she was not here very long before she fell in love with my Great Grandfather Julius.  Together they started a family, and etched out a life farming a potato farm that is now the home to some of the best vineyards on Long Island.

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Book Reviews , , , , , , , ,

Emergency Grocery Lists & Menus

January 27th, 2009
Winter Storm Warning

Winter Storm Warning

We are under a Winter Storm Warning here in Ohio and are expecting to receive a nasty mixture of snow, sleet, and ice.  There is plenty of food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, but I wanted to make sure that we had the more critical items in case the power went out. After living in Florida for years, I could easily plan for a hurricane in my sleep. We would always buy plenty of water, fill big coolers full of ice to store fruit, vegetables, our favorite condiments, milk for cereal, and even some Starbucks Frappachinos just so we could indulge in our morning coffee ritual. I would cook some pasta or tortellini ahead of time and place it in the cooler, to later make a pasta salad. We did not live on the coast, so it was always a great opportunity to plan a Hurricane Party. This was a fun way to make the best of it with family and friends, while clearing out the refrigerator. I f power was lost; we would grill all the meats in the freezer after the storm had passed. Preparing meals without electricity was never too much of a challenge in our home.  With the power out and the windows rattling, there were times that we worried that the roof would blow off, but we never did worry about what we would eat.

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Notes from my kitchen

Eating for $30 a Week or Less

January 25th, 2009

30 Bucks a Week

Recently I discovered a blogger in Brooklyn, NY, who set forth on a challenge to feed 2 people for $30 a week. The purpose of the blog, $30 Bucks a Week, is simply to demonstrate that it is entirely posible to eat healthy and suport a sustainable lifestyle without spending a fortune at the checkout counter.The blog and the challenge began in September of 2008 and is still going strong. The practical, well thought out approach utilizes cookbooks  such as Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters .

Natural and organic foods are frequently utilized to create an interesting repertoire of meals that range from Polenta with Three Root Ragu to Caramelized Onion Soup in a Bread Bowl. They are eating well and have already experienced several occasions where they did not need to use all of the money budgeted. Due to the current state of the economy, $30 Bucks a Week, is choosing to continue with this challenge, so we will all have plenty of time to track their progress, cheer on their efforts, and find better ways to eat for less.

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Food Stamp Challenge, Live Well for Less , , ,

Living Better With Less

January 23rd, 2009

Credit: Dorothea Lange / Corbis

After a 1 year break from blogging in Ceres Secrets, it was astounding and heartbreaking to see to come back and discover just how many people found my blog in search of real life solutions for coping with poverty and a hard life on food stamps. Because of the obvious state of our economy and the need many have to get by on less, I will continue to forge into 2009 with a similar theme.

Over the course of the next year, the focus of Ceres Secrets will be in reviewing creative ways to buckle down on the home front in a way that will help you and your family make more out of less. I know through experience that it is possible to live large with very little when you are willing to change your perspective and consider the plight of those who may have less then you. It is my greatest hope is that no matter what our circumstances are or become in 2009,  that we all find a way to discover that we may already have more then we originally  realized.

I invite you to join me on this journey and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from you as well. Together, I hope that we will compile some useful tools that can be utilized by others that may find this site in search of solutions in the future.

Live Well for Less

The Lonely Little Post of 2008

January 8th, 2009

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In September of 2007, I accepted an opportunity to work for an elected official in a local government office. Into that position, I brought with me the same level of creativity and passion that was expressed in this blog.

In December 2007, (In less then 3 short months) those efforts were recognized and I chose the path less traveled. I accepted an opportunity that took me from a sabbatical, to an entry level position, to an assistant manager on the toughest and most dysfunctional division in the organization.

Over the course of the last year, I have worked harder then I ever have in my whole life. I sacrificed much of my personal life and gained a level of personal and professional growth that went far beyond anything I could have imagined. I blazed trails in a traditional government office by empowering positive energetic team members who were just as determined to foster a new organizational culture. I developed and successfully implemented initiatives focused on developing my staff, my division, and the organization.

I held my own as a woman in a traditionally man’s world. I stood grounded in my values and my vision for the future. I took some cheap shots, sometimes with tears of frustration in private and at other times the determination of a gladiator. I fought for the rights of those who were not yet my supporters and I made sure that fairness and consistency were always upheld. I introduced the concept of teamwork and worked tirelessly to foster the most positive, productive, and energized team in the building.

I am able to reflect on this past year with a sense of pride… A little over a year ago, I accepted a promotion to lead the worst division in the building, and as I resign to take on a new challenge, I leave behind me the greatest team in the organization.

THIS WAS 2008…

Be sure to check back soon! Ceres Secrets is now live again and ready to go for 2009!

(Photo Credit: kotobuki711)

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