Dani Haviland

About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

Chicken soup for the sick

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I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I ‘thought’ I was in good health for a woman of age, a spritely silver-haired vixen, but I was as sick as the old gray mare, ready for the glue factory.
Then again, three bouts of pneumonia in four months would probably sap even an Olympic athlete. It was time to supplement all those different antibiotics with old time medicine.
Some of the odd things I found in my online research were red onions, vinegar, and honey. Chicken soup is supposed to be great for a cold; it would probably help with the crud, too.
Not in my research, but known to me was an apple a day. It was too late to keep the doctor away, but was worthy as a component in the super soup I was concocting.

Short version: it works. I’ve polished off the pot of Super Soup, I’m breathing easier, and it’s great to have something hearty to eat at the zap of the microwave.

Components:

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you have)
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 red onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp chicken ‘Better Than Bouillon’ or equivalent in bouillon or chicken stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 chopped up cooked chicken breast (or whatever leftover chicken you have)

Saute the solid stuff in the oil until limp. Add the vinegar, chicken ‘flavoring,’ and chicken. If you used chicken stock, you should be good to go. If not, add about 2 cups of water.

Super-meal this!
Add a package of pre-cooked rice or quinoa mix (I like the Seeds of Change brand) or leftover rice. If you don’t have those, add one more cup of water and one cup or Minute Rice. Hearty and satisfying.

You’ll note that I didn’t add any salt. The bouillon has enough salt for the mix. The apple and vinegar gives it a bit of sweet and sour taste—not overwhelming, but fun as a change from ‘all soups taste the same’ stuff I’m used to. Oh, and I never used the honey. Go ahead and eat a big spoonful for dessert.

Enjoy! And if you can, get a pneumonia vaccine. I have to wait 3 months now. I never realized that there were over 36 strains of that strength-sapping, lung-filling crud out there!

NOTE: In 2008, I started writing my first book. In it, the main character (a sweet little old lady from Alaska) had a drug-resistant form of pneumonia. I didn’t know I was writing about myself! If you want to know more about her, and how an overdose of Fountain of Youth water and a drop through a time portal turned her into a young fox in 1780, read Naked in the Winter Wind on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Amazon UK.

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Spring is for flowers

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Don’t overdo it in the garden this weekend. Or next weekend, the traditional start of summer.
Those words or warning come from every garden blog I’ve ever read. That and make sure you stretch first.

Okay, so stretch, figure out what needs done, then ask friends and neighbors if they know of any kids who want to make a few extra bucks. Churches usually have youth eager to raise funds for a summer camp or special project. Contribute to the community, the next generation’s emotional/work ethic growth, and save yourself at least a bottle of pain relievers and maybe even a trip or four to the chiropractor. Delegate.

If you don’t have a garden or a yard, or even a window box, enjoy these flowers. I’ve always been passionate about them. I spent many of my early years in apartments without a patch of dirt to plant in. I’m very much enjoying my big yard, raised beds, hanging baskets, and yes, calling on church groups and teenagers to keep them maintained.
When the day is done, kick back with your Kindle and read a great romance novel or five. Here’s my suggestion: Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics. Historical romance tales about those rascals, the ‘wrong’ kind of man a woman have been finding irresistible for centuries. Scots, cowboys, musketeers, and an Indian brave or two. They’re all so hot!

(Only #99cents for five or #free to read on Kindle Unlimited)

Whether you actually get in the garden this weekend or not, enjoy your time. No one can please you without your permission. Give it to yourself.

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website
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Catting around?!

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Yardley on her Cat D3 8/18/2013

Here, Kitty, kitty… Feral cats have always been in my life. From the kitties we ‘rescued’ from the hay barns as kids, to the cats my mother ‘stole’ from the park during her lunch breaks at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (to have them fixed), to the abandoned cats my husband started feeding during the minus zero weather in Alaska. (Yardley, left, is now a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat).

Cats are survivors. One reason cats survive is because of sheer numbers. A female (queen) can start breeding at five months and have four litters a year.
If she has four kittens each time, that means in ten years, she’s populated the area with nearly 1.4 MILLION cats! (See the t-shirt for the math equation)

I recently helped control the local population explosion of feral cats by transporting a dozen of the offenders to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon. These citizens of the Oakdale Cat Colony were examined, wormed if necessary, checked and treated for ear mites, spayed or neutered, then given the ‘right ear snip’ that indicated a sterilized cat. These guys and gals already have jobs waiting for them and will be re-acclimated to their new work stations as barn cats in teams of two or more.

If you’d like to help, but don’t want to adopt a cat (or even transport a dozen or so), give to your local or regional agency or even to FCCO. I know they would appreciate any monetary help. Their suggested donation is $30 per cat. (notice the snipped right ear on the name plate)

So, where did the term ‘catting around’ come from? I don’t know, but if you do, please leave a comment so all of us will know!

Why do women go after these men who seem to be ‘catting around’? REBELS, ROGUES, AND ROMANTICS is a collection of five historical novels written by bestselling and award-winning authors about these types. Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Springtime is for roses

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Rainbow Sorbet grown exclusively in water with goldfish

Springtime! Time for fresh roses!
But also for late frosts or snow… What a bummer, having to wait to plant bare root roses because of fickle weather patterns.
But wait! I found a solution!

I plant my bare root roses in water. This may not work in all areas of the world, but it’s a real winner in Alaska where summers (at least around Anchorage) seldom get over 80 degrees. Your best bet for success is using a higher grade rose, at least grade one and a half, so it has a good root system.

There is a problem with ‘planting’ in 5 gallon buckets (or similar sized containers), though. Mosquitoes. Those little bloodsuckers love standing water, the perfect incubating area for their eggs and larvae.
Goldfish to the rescue! You can buy feeder goldfish at pet stores or larger Wal-marts for about ten cents each. I put a couple in each bucket of water and let them eat any mosquito larva that appear.

Queen Elizabeth grandflora rose grown in water with goldfish

There is an added bonus to the goldfish. Not only does their swimming keep the water from becoming stagnant, the by-product of their feasting (fish poop) is an ideal fertilizer. My Queen Elizabeth roses were nearly seven inches across one year!

Also, it’s fairly simple to move the containers inside if the forecast is for freezing temperatures. This works on both ends of the growing season. You can also ‘chase the sun’ if their once sunny spot becomes too shady later in the season. Note: all roses need at least six hours of sunlight.
Be aware, though. This method only works for one season. You are essentially forcing the roses to grow and there isn’t enough nutrition in the water to replenish the plant for a second season. If you’d like, you can plant the roses in the garden anytime, but at least six weeks before the first hard freezes. It takes at least that long for soil-feeding roots to become established. If your winters are mild, you will probably have success. However, if you have six months or more of sub-freezing temperatures, I recommend just tossing the plant in the dumpster. The stems and thorns are too tough to compost.
The blooms you get from growing your own roses may not be as fancy as the ones from the florist, but if you’ve chosen well, they’ll most certainly smell better.
More pictures and detailed ‘planting’ information at www.growalaska.net and www.chilloutroses.com. Note: emails and phone numbers are not correct. These are old sites for reference purposes only. I no longer sell roses, either.

Here’s a pretty bunch of roses for you! Yours for only #99cents!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can. Seven great stories by USA Today and NY Times best selling authors. Available exclusively on Amazon (and for a limited time).

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website
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Precious and Free

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Just because something is free doesn’t mean it has more value than an item that cost hundreds of dollars (or more).
Is that heavy diamond ring you received from that *#!% ex-husband more precious than the beach glass and copper wire ring your now departed daughter made you for Mothers’ Day, years ago?
Is a mass-signed hardcover copy of the current NY Times best-seller more dear than your great-grandfather’s journal of his trek across the Plains with a handcart in 1863? (I really have this!)
I believe value is rated by the heart and not the calculator.
One of a person’s greatest blessings is to know this and to realize that the dearest in life isn’t always tangible.
Savor and recall those tender or giddy moments: the view of sunsets and rainbows of grandeur with that special someone, the excitement of helping that little tyke ride her bicycle by herself for the first time, the birth of that puppy that is now gray-nosed but still full of love for you.
These are most precious and dear and can never be purchased, at any price.
And be generous to yourself and others. Keep a journal and record these events that mean so much to you. Plus, you can relive them when you’re feeling blue and give yourself an attitude adjustment!
And who knows? Maybe your great-great-granddaughter will find your journal and enjoy those moments with you, long after you’re gone.

In the meantime, though, here are a few freebies (good until February 14th, at least): http://bit.ly/2kiByrI  DatePromo.com runs lots of events where folks can win or simply click and acquire (you’re not buying if it’s free, right?) e-books.

He’s not what she thinks he is.

My book, Aye, I am a Fairy is part of this promo and free until February 14, but you can read it at no cost after that on #KindleUnlimited. It may be 2nd in the series, but The Fairies Saga is written so you can read in any order. Just think of it as released in Star Wars order. ; )

 

 

 

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website
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Aluminum foil & Ziploc™ bags: Time savers & time travelers

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I’m a big fan of saving time in the kitchen, especially the time it takes to clean up the mess from making home cooked goodies. I got real frugal on this project: I re-used the root vegetables ‘marinating bag’ for the scalloped potato casserole, then used it again to pack away the peelings that I’d pared onto old newspaper (it’s too cold to compost right now). A big meal created and not one dirty bowl or pan. Pretty cool, eh?

Normally, I prefer to use non-stick aluminum. It’s pretty pricey and the sheet is narrower, but it’s perfect for sticky stuff like nachos. For this recipe, the wide, heavy duty (and less expensive per foot) foil is better. It’s easier to make baking packets for the food with it.
How to:
I drizzled about a tablespoon of avocado oil in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag then added a few hearty shakes of Montreal Steak Seasoning (see Cooking with the Authors of Summer Heat for the recipe- the book is free http://bit.ly/CookingSH). You can scrub (or peel) then chop carrots, parsnips, potatoes, whatever you’d like (onions, turnips, potatoes) and toss into the baggie. Shake the works until they’re all coated evenly, then dump onto a large sheet of aluminum foil (shiny side up). Fold the foil into a packet that will fit into half of a large cake pan. I guess a cookie sheet could be used, but I already had a ceramic 13” x 9” pan ready.
The second part of my meal was the main course. I added more avocado oil, garlic salt and black pepper to the bag and swished it around until it was blended. Then I tossed in three medium chopped potatoes and half an onion. I shook them around until they were well-coated. Next, I opened the bag and tossed in two heaping tablespoons of flour (I’m not a fan of exact measurements). I shook this around until all was coated. Finally: the meat. I took the lazy way out. I had a large can of pulled pork. It tastes like ham to me. If I had chopped or sliced ham (or Spam), I could have used any of those. One more shake to coat, then this mix was tossed onto a second large sheet of aluminum foil. I folded and pinched it into a packet and put it next to the other one.
I put the works into a preheated 375 degree oven for an hour. I let it rest for a few minutes before opening. Watch out for steam!
From foil to plate. The cake pan was still clean and if I’d used paper plates, not a dish would have been dirtied.
Oh, and it tasted pretty good, too.


How does this tie in with time travel?
When Evie accidentally fell back in time, a couple of items she had were aluminum foil and Ziploc™ baggies. Did they help her survive the cold of a 1780s North Carolina winter? You bet they did! Read about how in Naked in the Winter Wind, first book in the time travel series The Fairies Saga.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1j3QtxY
Nook: http://bit.ly/NITWWbn
iTunes: http://apple.co/1RyY7EG
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nab2C7

 

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website
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Last minute Christmas gift ideas

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Christmas shouldn’t cost money.
There. I’ve said it. I’m sure a lot of folks want to agree with me, and maybe some do wholeheartedly. But just think about giving a family member or a business associate something handmade and you risk being thought a cheapskate (wherever that word came from).
Personally, I’d rather receive a handmade card than a mass-produced item that might be used once or twice, re-gifted, or worse yet: put in the closet and forgotten until Christmas decorations are brought out next year!

Homemade or homegrown products are always a good choice if you want to go above and beyond a card. Here’s an easy one:
Apple Butter
2 cans or jars of applesauce (your choice of variety, sweetened or unsweetened)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp white sugar (if desired)
Put ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir and cook on medium low heat about half an hour until it smells great and looks like applesauce (brown).
Pour into sterilized jelly (or other decorative) jars.
Tie a ribbon around the jar and put in a basket with fresh bread from your own kitchen or your neighborhood bakery. Put a note on the apple butter to store in the refrigerator. This is a fresh, not preserved, product. Once opened, it will probably be consumed within hours!

2016-12-12-19-58-12I cut the last of my sweet-smelling herbs and lavenders today. We’re supposed to get temperatures into the 20s and rose-scented geranium won’t tolerate the chill. I’d shared the majority of the herbs at produce giveaway in town last month, but a few sprigs were still perky and odoriferous enough to call to me during autumn garden clean up.
And that’s when I got the idea for my Sunday School class of youngsters.
I’ll let them choose whichever sprigs they want for their mini sachet/swags, then either I or a helper will tie a bow on the ends. I have some card stock that I ink stamped for a background image. They can color one of these or create their own picture with crayons or colored pencils. When they’re finished, I’ll punch a hole in the backing cardstock and tie their potpourri to it.

The idea for the card can be used for a gift tag, too. If your garden has leftovers, or even if you decide to buy fresh herbs at the market, a few extra minutes in preparing a gift shows you really care about that person.

If you haven’t already purchased Love, Christmas, buy a copy for yourself and gift a copy to fellow avid readers. It’s chock full with 20 novellas based on Christmas songs. My contribution is Little Drummer Boy, a story about a young man in post-Revolutionary War era North Carolina who learns the story of Christmas from a crusty old soldier, but finds out about family and what is truly important during one of the worst winter storms of the 18th century.

love-christmas-ldb-pp-4x6-vignette

 

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website
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Figgy pudding: gluten-free and fruit-sweetened

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What in the heck is figgy pudding anyhow? It’s mentioned in Little Drummer Boy, my contribution to the boxed set Love, Christmas – Holiday Stories That Will Put a Song in Your Heart, but I never tasted it. Since I needed to write a blog about food, I figured I’d put in a little test time in the kitchen.

If you’ve already read LDB, or any of my books, you know about Evie, a time traveler from the 21st century who has chosen to remain in the 1780s. In Little Drummer Boy, she is trying to learn about 18th century Christmas traditions. One of her challenges is preparing figgy pudding.

“My first attempt at figgy pudding was flat, but sweet. It may not have been pretty, but there weren’t any leftovers, either.”

Figs, grapes (raisins), apples, and cranberries grow in North Carolina, and Evie’s father-in-law, Julian, is generous and well-traveled, so she probably had a well-stocked spice cabinet, too. I didn’t have cloves, so substituted coriander. Maybe she did the same thing. I forgot to ask.

One thing that bothers me (and many others, I’m sure) is an author’s lack of research about period life. Did you know that in the 1780s there was no such thing as baking powder or baking soda? That’s why they ate bannocks instead of nice, fluffy biscuits.
Evie has something others in her era do not, though. When her eldest daughter traveled back to the 18th century to be with her (full story in Aye, I am a Fairy), one of the items she brought back to share with Mom was baking soda. Great for brushing teeth and making cookies. Evie decides to try a bit of it in her second attempt at figgy pudding.
I had to do a little experimenting, too. I gave up wheat (gluten) and refined sugars, so minor adjustments to the online recipes I found and combined had to be made.

Note: You can make this version sweeter by adding some brown sugar  (1/2 – 1 cup) if you’d like. You can also use regular wheat (white or unbleached) flour and bread instead of the gluten-free varieties. I didn’t have any rum or brandy to add to it, but will ‘splash and flame’ it before eating my second serving. I’ll top it with whipped cream and make it even more special.

FRUIT
*¼ cup raisins
*¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisins®)
*…Re-hydrate these in a cup of very hot water. Drain and let cool.
¼- ½ cup pared and chopped apples (I used Golden Delicious from my yard)
2 cups fig spread (I made my own from fresh figs. You can reconstitute dried ones by cooking about a cup of figs with a cup of water until pulpy, then mash the heck out of them. Sometimes fig spread is available in specialty stores or make your own from cooking down and mashing fresh figs).

DRY INGREDIENTS
1 ¼ cup flour or gluten-free baking mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp coriander (or cloves)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
Mix these dry ingredients in separate bowl.

½ cup melted unsalted butter
3 large eggs, gently beaten
2 cups bread crumbs, any kind of bread, including gluten-free varieties. I use my Magic Bullet® to make mine, but a blender or food processor should work, too.
LAST & DON’T FORGET THIS ITEM:
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Add the dry ingredients and fruit to the bread crumbs, eggs, and melted butter. When all is mixed together, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This is what makes the batter rise! Stir well, then spoon into buttered (or oiled or use that spray stuff) bundt pan, mini muffin tins or glass/ceramic cups.

CONTAINER OPTIONS:
Traditional figgy pudding is steamed. You could put the batter in a bundt pan, cover with foil, and then put that pan in another pan, stick the works in the oven for an hour or so, hopefully remembering to add water to the bigger pan as it gets cooked away… Sorry, folks, I didn’t try that way. Too much chance of getting burned: either the pudding or me or both. The steaming procedures on other recipes looked too complicated, so I didn’t bother. Besides, my batter was made with baking soda and vinegar for leavening, not baking powder. Once again, I’d experiment and find another way.

figgy-pudding-single1) Stove top. This was easy, but I was only able to put a generous one cup of batter in the ‘chili and chowder’ mug that I used for the actual steaming. You could use a bundt pan or metal bowl and put it in a big canning pot OR cook leftover batter in a different way (see next variation). When you steam my way, fill the pan/bowl/cup of batter to a little more than half full. Put this container into a pan on the stove top. I used my 40-year-old two-part aluminum steamer pot. Fill with water to about half way up the side of the pan/bowl/cup. Cover, bring to a boil, and then let it simmer (make steam) for about an hour. When a sharp knife stuck in the pudding comes out clean, it’s done.
figgy-pudding-with-mookies2) Oven ‘Mookies.’ Both quick and easy. I amply filled a well-greased mini muffin tins with batter and cooked it at 350 degrees for 16 minutes. When they had cooled down but were still warm, I used a table knife to urge them out of the pan. Place on cooling rack.

These were so cute and fast! I started calling anything I baked this way a Mookie: not big enough to be a muffin, but bigger and moister than a cookie. It works great with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar combination.

The picture above is the Mookies surrounding the steamed pudding. Flaming the works and then adding the whipped cream would make a better photo, but I’m the only one around to eat this today, so I’ll wait until the crowd is back.

What other foods are mentioned in Little Drummer Boy? Find out more about Scout and 18th century Christmas traditions and trials in Love, Christmas – Holiday Stories That Will Put a Song in Your Heart.

18-dani-haviland

 

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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