Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Get some girlfriends

Or boyfriends, whatever works, but GET SOME! Nothing will carry you through a crisis like girlfriends. Good girlfriends are better than money in the bank, because they give about 257% interest and they hardly ever fold on you. Good girlfriends won't care that you don't have two nickels to rub together, or that your hair has all fallen out. They will bring you comfort food, or drive your kids to the park. They will give you some cash, or tell you your ex is a jerk.

All my examples are white girlfriends, but they come in every luscious color. And throw in a gay man too! Crisis endurance needs all kinds of folks and many different perspectives! Our non-white and gay friends know a thing or two about endurance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Humor works too

Keep your sense of humor going, sometimes it's the only thing you've got left!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Comfort Food on the cheap: biscuits

Biscuits, biscuits, biscuits, who doesn't love 'em? Well my husband to start with but he's not writing this blog. If you can whip up a batch of biscuits and open a can of soup, you are well fed on pennies! Even my kids can make these.

Why is it that cheap food is often not very healthy? Don't ask me. I'm only here for the BISCUITS!

Preheat your oven to 350 and line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, place 2 cups of flour.
Now here I guess you could add some whole wheat flour, but only maybe 1/2 cup or you're making door stops, not biscuits.
To that add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Remember baking powder, not baking soda!
Stir all that dry stuff together.
Now cut a stick of butter into 8 equal pieces. There are lines right on the wrapper for your convenience. If you can't follow those, well I can't help you. I'm considering trying these with 3/4 of a stick next time, just to see if I can cut the fat, but then again maybe I'll add more!
Place those butter pieces evenly over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles course meal. Now, please for the sake of all humanity get yourself a pastry cutter. Pampered Chef makes a dandy one and you'll be making biscuits so often you'll be glad you invested a few dollars in this tool. You could try the criss-cross knife thing but I can tell you now, you'll be cursing my name and have tendinitis by the end of it. Get the pastry blender. Also, most Americans probably wouldn't recognize "course meal" if it showed up on the door step delivering for Publisher's Clearninghouse sweepstakes. Course meal means all the butter is in little tiny dry pieces now, and none of those pieces is bigger than a green pea. If you don't know what a green pea is, again I can't help you.
Make a well in the center of this mixture, and pour in there 3/4 cup milk. Any milk will do.
Work this mixture around some with a wooden spoon, then get your CLEAN hands in there and work it some more - just until it holds together.
Plop that dough out on just a bit of flour spread on a cutting board and work the dough a just little more, and I mean JUST A LITTLE bit more. You may need something under your cutting board to hold it in place. We don't need any unfortunate kitchen/biscuit accidents.
Put some flour on your rolling pin and roll that dough out until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Don't skip the flour on your rolling pin part, trust me on this.
Using anything that's round and about 2 inches across, cut circles from your dough. We use a water glass. Works fine. Nothing special to see here folks, go back to your homes and places of business.
Put those circles on your sheet, spaced apart like cookies. Roll out any leftover dough and do it again. That last little lump? Just shape it in the form of a biscuit - it won't disappoint!
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Watch them! Your oven may be hotter than mine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First piece of actual advice

Here is my first installment on the advice front.
When faced with a crisis:


This is so very important. Don't take on the "what ifs" and "what'll we do's". Just take each day's problems and do your best. When the worries about the future set in, think "is there anything I can do about this situation right now?" If it's the middle of the night, chances are the answer is no. So let it go. If it's the middle of the day, and the answer is "yes" then go ahead and do it.

Don't worry about what might happen if this crisis continues, don't worry about how you'll handle it if it gets worse, don't worry about things you can't control.

And example: when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, my children were quite young. I worried myself sick about how we would keep this family running while I was down & out with the side effects of chemotherapy. Who will drive them to school? How will they handle Mommy going bald? How will I keep them adequately fed while I'm puking? Well guess what - I didn't even HAVE chemotherapy!! Mastectomy then straight to Tamoxifen. All that worry for nothing.

Now notice, I'm not saying don't PLAN for the future. Go ahead and sign up for classes, or assistance, or counseling, or anything that will make the path smoother. But just don't WORRY about anything that isn't actually happening.

Thank you and good night

Monday, February 16, 2009

Broke-Ass Soup

My first installment of endurance is this lovely recipe. Feeds a family on very little money.

Here's my recipe for Broke-Ass Soup:

2 cups any variety dried beans - I buy a mix of peas and beans
1-2 lbs beef stew meat
Heaping spoonful soup base, like "better than bouillon" or just use beef bouillon
1/2 cup flour seasoned with any combo of: salt, pepper, onion powder, seasoned salt, garlic powder
Veg oil
2 (15ozs) cans diced tomatoes - if one of them is chili-ready, all the better! WITH juice.
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, choppped
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped - or any other pepper, could even used canned green chilies.
Seasonings: seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt, whatever sounds good to you! Don't be shy with the seasoning.
Herbs de Provence

The day before: rinse and drain the beans. Cover with water and let sit over night.

Assemble the soup:
Drain and rerinse the beans, drain again, set aside.
Put the seasoned flour in a bowl or ziploc bag. Add the stew meat. Toss and coat the meat.
Put enough veg oil in your soup pot to just cover the bottom. Heat on medium high, until you see ripples in the oil. Add the stew meat, with flour, and barely brown.
Add 2.5 qts water and a heaping spoonful of soup base.
Add the drained beans and canned tomatoes, juice and all.
Bring that to a boil, then add onion, peppers, and seasonings to taste. I think the herbs de provence really added something special.

Slow simmer this on your stove for over 3 hours. Seriously.

You could use any meat with this: ham hock, sausage, or just go vegetarian!

Welcome to The Endurance Diva!

Welcome! I am the Endurance Diva and I'm here to help you through this financial crisis, or any other crisis for that matter.

In recent years I have achieved a virtual Ph.D in crisis endurance. Notice I didn't say crisis management, or crisis counseling, or crisis prevention. I'm here to spread the gospel of endurance. Hanging on when you have one thread left. Finding hope when the situation seems hopeless. In other words, thrive while you survive.

Life is still good when the wolf is at the door. At my house he's not only at the door, he's howling, waking the neighbors, scratching the paint off the door, and pooping all over the doormat. So let's get to work!