"I don't care how much money you have, free stuff is always a good thing." - Queen Latifah
Groundhog Day has come and gone, but we still get weather. In celebration of this auspicious day I would love to give everyone a gift - sort of like Christmas, except it's not! And even though I would like to give everyone a gift, I can't. However, I do have some free iBook downloads of my popular book Barking From the Front Porch to give away. Just one catch: you need an iPad or an Apple computer in order to download the iBook.
Not sure if you want the ibook? Have a look at the free preview by clicking on the Groundhog below. Then, if you want a free ibook, just request one through my "Contact" page on this website. Hurry! This offer is only available until I run out of freebies; the offer could be withdrawn at any time. One free ibook per customer, please!
You are unique. You are one of a kind. You are valued. You are a gift to the world and I am in awe of that fact.
Click on the photo to continue reading this blog.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Clare Boothe Luce
How can one be sophisticated, yet simple? How can one be a part of modern society, but not be trapped by it?
I found ten beautiful tips I would love to share. Their source and further reading for peace, simplicity and discovery are available by clicking on the photo below.
Peace be with you and yours!
Gerald M. Sliva
I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup. -- Jerry Seinfeld
Pumpkins are plentiful and inexpensive this time of year. In the past I have made Curried Pumpkin soup, and loved it. But this time, wanting to experiment, I perused the internet for pumpkin/sausage soup recipes. There are several, many of them asking for significant amounts of sugar, maple syrup, cream and other ingredients that might be delicious, but not necessarily healthful. SOOOOOOOooooo, I started from scratch and invented a new recipe. I dub it Experimental Pumpkin Soup. It turned out to be delicious and I will make it again. If you decide to try your own variations of this experimental soup, please share your results. Thank you.
8 cups cubed raw pumpkin flesh
375 grams (about 13 ounces) sweet Italian sausage (preferably not in the casing)
1 medium cooking onion, coarsely diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper diced (any color)
1 cup split red lentils
4 cups (about 1 liter) chicken broth
6 cups water
2 cloves garlic grated or finely chopped
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Seasonings and Flavorings: I like to experiment with flavorings and seasonings. These are the ones I used this time:
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chicken soup base
½ teaspoon curry powder
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper
If the sausage is in casings, remove the casings before use.
In one tablespoon of cooking oil, brown the sausage meat over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Then tilt the Dutch oven slightly to drain and dispose of any excess fat.
Leaving the sausage in the Dutch oven, add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the seasonings and the whipping cream. Sauté another 3 minutes.
Add chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil; then lower heat to a slow simmer; add all seasonings.
Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 1 ½ hours.
Cool slightly. Remove bay leaves. Puree with submersible or regular blender.
Reheat the amount you wish prior to serving.
Place a small cream server on the table, allowing each guest to add the amount of cream desired to their own bowl of soup.
Serve with croutons, black pepper and salt as desired.
This recipe will serve 12 to 16 people, but any excess may be stored in glass sealers in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days and used for lunches or quick snacks.
Gerald M. Sliva
Are you a REAL Person?
If you were a female living in Canada before October 18, 1929 you were not a REAL person. It took five determined famous women to change that.
I just checked my genitals. I’m not a woman, but if I were I would be mighty upset. Most places in the world, even in democracies, still do not have equality for women in status, wages and basic human rights. In non-democratic countries the situation is often much more deplorable.
Canada now commemorates five famous women who helped make things better for all women by celebrating Person's Day on October 18.
Happy Person's Day to all women!
Click on the photo below to take you to the website. Be sure to watch the one minute video at the end.
Gerald M. Sliva,
"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers." - Nikita Khruschev
Some of our politicians and bureaucrats think they are plastic surgeons. According to them Canada needs a facelift, a little cosmetic surgery, maybe some boob implants. Canada doesn’t have enough natural beauty. They will make it better.
Pristine Canadian lakes are one of Canada’s most precious natural resources. The total number of lakes in Canada has not been counted, but is estimated to be over three million. That’s not enough. One more lake was needed. For the G8 and G20 conferences in June of 2010 the Canadian government of the day decided to spend two million dollars to create a fake lake, showcasing Canada as a world leader in artificial lake manufacturing. Read about it HERE.
Building a new lake was not enough; so an astute Ontario Provincial Parks bureaucrat made things right. He spent public money to put some fake trees and Astroturf into four provincial parks. You can listen to his flawless reasoning in this brief CBC radio interview by clicking on the photo above.
Nature is not doing a proper job. It appears to need some help from taxpayers. Continuing on this path, Canada is destined to become the Disneyland of the North. We only need use our imagination. Let’s go camping. We dream of pitching our tent on the Astroturfed shores of a fake lake surrounded by artificial trees. In the afternoon we can don our swimsuits for a fake swim, and later in the evening we can grab our fishing rods. If we get lucky, we’ll catch some imaginary fish.
Maybe a couple of plastic deer grazing on the Astroturf would add to the ambiance.
I’m waiting for the pink flamingos.
Don’t you love nature?
Gerald M. Sliva
"Laugh at yourself. It keeps you from going insane - that and whiskey." - Gerald M. Sliva.
I’m going squirrelly. You might be too. Check for clues.
It is autumn, a time to store things, a time to replenish the larder for the tough upcoming winter. But are you going overboard? If you are, it could be a sign of aging and going squirrelly. Older folks love to hoard, stock up, replenish and store things to prepare for the winter, the hard times ahead or the upcoming apocalypse.
It’s happening to me. Yesterday I went to the local supermarket. Wandering through the dental care aisle, I noticed dental floss on sale with a saving of 35% off the regular price.
“Time to stock up,” I said to myself.
I was going to buy 80 rolls of the stuff, but the cheap bastards had a limit of four purchases at the reduced sale price, and there were only four left on the shelf. I snapped those up right away. But how do I get 80 rolls at the sale price? Well, the sale is on all week. The shelves will be restocked and I will return. I can buy four more every time I enter the store. If I make 20 trips between my car and the store I will have the 80 containers of dental floss I need. Don’t laugh. It will be a great investment. I save 35%. Dental floss doesn’t rot, expire or deteriorate with age. Where can you get 35% return on your money these days? Banks give you one half of one percent if you are lucky.
If I live to be 175 years old and don’t lose all my teeth before the dental floss runs out, I’ll have received a great return on my investment. Then Warren Buffet will be coming to me for hot investment tips.
I’m getting older. Maybe you’re aging too. SOooooooooo, what are you stocking up on?
I might be squirrelly, but I’m not nuts.
Gerald M. Sliva
"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" - Milton Berle
Scientific studies show that women are superior to men when it comes to multi-tasking. Men will dispute those findings and will stubbornly assert that they can be just as ignorant as women when dangerous multi-tasking is involved.
Many jurisdictions now have warnings and increasingly heavy penalties for the infraction of using a handheld cell phone while driving. Studies have shown that texting while driving can be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. Yet people persist in habits which put themselves and others at risk. Makes one wonder why we spend gobs of money on cancer research to prolong lives when we make a habit of shortening our own life and that of our neighbour by thoughtless use of guns and distracted driving.
A few weeks ago, while breezing down Bishop Grandin Highway I drove alongside a woman gazing into her rear-view mirror vigorously applying makeup while manoeuvring her SUV through heavy early morning rush hour traffic. Not to be outdone, men will stubbornly use their electric razor, grooming themselves while driving to work. Viewing these displays of morning indiscretion, I can only conclude that people want to look their best when they meet St Peter at the pearly gates after tailgating and piling into the vehicle in front of them.
In Winnipeg, just one year ago, our city fathers brought in reduced speed zones near schools. There was copious grumbling about having to drive slowly through a school zone, but I'm all for it. How can one operate a motor vehicle and a cell phone while reading a book? Yes! Reading a book! One morning, while driving through a school zone, I witnessed a man gazing at a book propped up on his steering wheel while he blithely dodged students attempting to use the crosswalk.
But last week, I saw an incident which took the cake. A woman in the vehicle next to me, driving at 80 kilometres per hour – that's 50 mph for our American friends – was eating a large hero sandwich, collating a huge stack of papers and driving, all at the same time. I could only wonder, with what appendage was she steering the car? My evil twin gazed at her, wanting to put a hex on her. But on sober second thought I got the hell out of there before she accomplished the inevitable task of plowing into some innocent bystander. Could be me!
Some of us don't believe in evolution. But if evolution is a fact perhaps we could divert some of those cancer research funds into speeding up evolution. We need four eyes and four arms: two eyes for watching the road, two arms for handling the steering wheel and two of each for manipulating our electronic devices. On reconsideration, I think we need a fifth arm. This last one will have a permanently erect middle finger for making rude gestures at other drivers. Or perhaps a safer and more reasonable alternative might be to teach our dogs to drive, freeing us up to play our silly games.
Stay safe, my friends.
Gerald M. Sliva
“Maybe it's genetic, or maybe it's a cultural or social holdover from the days of scarcity, but most of us still seem to spend ninety percent of our waking lives on the topic of food.” --- Gerald M. Sliva
People love food and drink. One chapter of Barking From the Front Porch deals with this irrefutable fact. Take a look at my archived blogs. The one that received the most “likes” was the Valentine's Day blog featuring my recipe for “Killer Guacamole” which was intended to unite the world in perfect harmony by sharing guacamole and cerveza. Perhaps some of you have noticed that world peace has not yet materialized. Obviously The Donald and The Hillary have not read my blog or they have not yet sampled my Killer Guacamole, at least not in the same place at the same time.
When it comes to world peace I don't give up easily. So here I go again. If Donald and Hillary won't make bury the hatchet, we can forget them and politics by escaping to food – good home prepared food. We are in the summer season surrounded by an abundance of fresh, cool garden cucumbers, mild Kelsae onions, red-ripe tomatoes, beautiful bell peppers, and fresh green herbs. This cornucopia leads me to sharing a special Spanish summer recipe. On a stifling hot August day there is no better treat than an ice-cold bowl of homemade gaspacho. How do you choose from the multitude of gaspacho recipes on the internet? You deserve the best. SOOOOooooo, I've selected my favourite ingredients and concocted a mouth-watering hot weather recipe which is sure to bring world peace. It is so tasty that I've made it three times in the past two weeks.
2 medium garden cucumbers, peeled
2 red, yellow or green bell peppers, cored and seeded
6 medium sized ripe tomatoes
1/2 medium Kelsae onion
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
25 to 40 ounces tomato juice (depending on your preferences)
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of a freshly squeezed lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs – cilantro, dill, basil or parsley (Don't use all of them in the same recipe. Use a combination you find appealing. My preference is cilantro-basil or basil-parsley.)
2 or 3 shakes of your favourite hot sauce. I use Frank's.
Note: These proportions are guidelines only. Garlic lovers will use 2 or 3 cloves. Onion lovers will use a whole onion. The green onion stems can be used too. Before our tomatoes were ripe I made a batch of gaspacho using a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. It turned out great. Experiment! Be brave. Go out on a limb. You won't be disappointed.
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Don't over process!
After each vegetable is processed, combine all in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, herbs and hot sauce. Mix well and chill before serving. The flavors develop more if the gaspacho sits in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or even over night if you can wait that long to savour this delectable treat.
Serve gaspacho in a soup bowl sprinkled with a handful of your favourite croutons or garlic toast and cheddar cheese on the side. Mouth-watering, delicious, wholesome and nutritious!
This recipe will serve about 10 people very generously. Terrific as a starter dish for lunch, dinner or a refreshing snack. Any leftovers can be kept refrigerated and used within a few days.
Gerald M. Sliva
Still Barking! Blog of