Thursday, June 13, 2013

Did I Just Close the Garage Door?

How many times have you pulled out of your driveway, zipped onto the main road and were suddenly beset by worry, "Did I remember to close the garage door?"  How many times have you made that precipitous U-turn or screeched up a side street abruptly turning around in the nearest driveway, muttering how you can't believe you're doing this again,  retracing your route, careening up your street to check once and for all?

I'm willing to bet more times than not you found yourself face to face with the quiet, unperturbed face of your garage door staring blankly toward the street.   Closed.

"What's wrong with me," you mutter for the 1,000th time.  "Why can't I remember whether I've closed the garage door or not?  I'm driving myself crazy!"

Always one for solutions, I have discovered the Craftsman Assurelink Garage Door Opener System.  According to Sears, the "system includes two powerful tools to help deal with that question. With a built-in wall timer, you can set your door to close automatically after you exit, and if you need proof to put a worried mind to rest, Assurelink allows you to monitor and activate your garage door from the web, so whether you’re in Bangkok on business or walled-in by downtown traffic, you can know for certain that your home is safe and secure."  I particularly appreciate that it has a battery backup system which provides up to 20 open/close cycles in the first 24 hours of a power outage.  Now there's a helpful feature when storms or earthquakes knock out power.  No need to pop that heavy door and hope that it gets back on track when the electricity is restored.

If once inside your home you worry that you forgot to close the garage door, you may be a candidate for the  Chamberlain Garage Door Monitor.  Here's a tool that addresses that nagging question, quite helpful if checking requires stairs to see if the door is closed, or if you are prone to obsessing about the answer after snuggling under the covers for the night.  Since our garage is connected to our kitchen and it is very easy to close the door right after entering the house, that side of the equation gives us little to no anxiety.

Or if you favor a low tech solution, feel free to cop mine.  I force myself to stare at the garage door very conscientiously until I see it hit the threshold.  Then I say out loud, the out loud part is VERY important, "The door is closed."  I drive away with peace of mind and never look back.

However, when PH (Perfect Husband, remember?) and I pull out of the driveway, he'll invariably ask me, "Is the garage door closed?"  Weren't we both just looking at it?  He won't be satisfied unless I confidently exclaim that the door is closed, enunciating each word with an exaggeration and dramatic flair fit for the stage.  If I display the slightest reservation or uncertainty because I was distracted or preoccupied,  we're racing back.  He's not taking any chances.

Just so you know, we've never left the garage door open.  Ever.  Keys in the front door lock when we flew to Arizona for a vacation, yes.  But that's another story....

[Disclosure: I have no affiliate relationships with Sears, Craftsman or Chamberlain.  No endorsement of these products should be assumed.  Caveat Emptor!]

[photo credit: <a href="">A National Acrobat</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>]

Monday, June 10, 2013

My PH Factor

11-11-11 Our Wedding Day
One of the reasons I love my husband is because he tickles my funny bone.  Often without even trying.  His delivery of all commentary is droll, understated, sometimes sly, sometimes witty.  He can always make me laugh whenever I ask him a question about anything if his answer includes "I was thinking about you." or "I did if for you." or "I was thinking about love."  Whenever he cops a "for you", an "about you" or a "love" explanation for any assortment of things, I'm putty in his hands.

Like when we're driving along and I burble on and on about the lovely landscaping we're passing and I notice he's staring off into oblivion.  Of course I'm obliged to ask the time-worn question,"Are you listening to me?"  His reply would undoubtedly be, "I'm thinking about love."  When he does things that would seem to fall in the province of "solely for his own pleasure", like putting on the sports caster's play by play analysis of the football game we just watched in the stadium while driving home, he will cajole me with "I did it for you."  It's amazing how easily pacified and full of good will I am when he tells me, in all earnestness but with a twinkle in his eyes, that he did it for me.  It's such a simple device, capable of deflecting any little bubble of annoyance or a rolling of the eyes.  His generally good nature amuses me no end.

When I first told him I was working on a personal blog, his eyes widened with interest, or was it concern.  "Are you going to write about me, " he asked, his voice tinged with more than a wee bit of apprehension.  "Of course," I replied relishing the moment I sensed his brain shifting gears into full blown worry.  I assured him that I would do everything in my power to avoid outright humiliation.  But let's not kid ourselves, if I'm writing this blog to chart the realities of my life, there are bound to be some incidents, events, opinions and stories that do not cast us in the most flattering light and, if one were to be highly sensitive, that could cause some discomfort.

Now he has taken to teasing me that he is going to write his own blog which, I would be willing to bet the house on, will never, ever, ever happen.  He said he's going to call it "My Sunny,  Funny Wife".  While I appreciate the sentiment, whenever I say something that he finds silly, outrageous or just plain ridiculous, he rejoins with, "I'm going to put that in my blog." 

The other day he wanted to know if I would be using his real name in my blog.  I let him sweat that out for more than a few moments.  I said I'd just call him DH "Dear Husband", a common abbreviation. His immediate rejoinder was that he wanted to be known as PH --- "Perfect Husband".  No problem.  I've often called him my secret weapon because of his unwavering support, devotion, and commitment to all things important to me, but for now, I'll be referring to him as my PH.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

In the Kitchen: Cauliflower 101

"Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education," declared Mark Twain. But oh how I love the beautiful cauliflower.  Resembling a bridal bouquet, it holds a special place in my kitchen because it marries versatility, flavor and low carb friendliness.


Described by Arab botanists and known to the Romans, the cauliflower originally came from Cyprus.  It was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century.
Popular at the court of Louis XIV, where it was served in rich, elegant dishes, the Sun King was said to enjoy his cauliflower with butter and nutmeg.  Introduced to the United States was in the 1800's, it was much more popular in ethnic communities, especially with Italians.  Finally in the 1920's, it was developed commercially.

Health Benefits

Cauliflower is a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants. Cauliflower also contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that include kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid.

Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation.  By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

A cup of raw cauliflower delivers about 2.5 g of dietary fiber.  Females over the age of 50 should consider consuming 21 grams of fiber or more per day.

Additionally, a substance called glucoraphin present in cauliflower appears to have a protective effect on your stomach lining. With glucoraphin, your stomach is not prone to the bacterium helicobacter pylori, thereby reducing your risk for stomach ulcers and cancer.

 Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium.

Make sure that you do not eat more than 4 to 5 servings of this vegetable each week. Cauliflower also contains purines, which are broken down by the body to produce uric acid. Too much uric acid can cause gout.

 In the Kitchen

Cauliflower can be roasted, fried, steamed, boiled (least tasty in my book) or eaten raw. Steaming or microwaving better preserves anticancer compounds than boiling.  Be sure to break the florets into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly. After eight to ten minutes of steaming over boiling water, the florets should be soft, but not mushy.  If you intend to freeze cauliflower, blanch it first, otherwise the chemicals delivering the highest quality nutrition can deteriorate.

Colors:  White, Orange, Green and Purple

My Favorite Methods of Preparation

Low carbers can use cauliflower as a tasty substitute for potatoes, producing a similar texture and mouth feel, yet lacking the starch of potatoes.  Some favorite low carb recipes:
The cauliflower may be a member of the humble cabbage family, but it's a versatile stand-out in my kitchen.

[href="">Muffet</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>]