Jan 30, 2012

You are what you think you are

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
 The mind is everything.
What we think, we become.”

~~ Buddha ~ ♥ ~

Jan 27, 2012

Venison Pot Roast

Venison is a delicacy here in the states. It is not sold in the grocery stores.  If you know someone who hunts, then try to get them to share their catch with you.  I remember as a girl my mother made the most wonderful roast with venison. It is was so tender and delicious. Even though this is not her recipe, I bet she would have liked it just as much.  

Tonight for dinner I had a venison pot roast.  The recipe is simple yet delicious.  It only has four steps and you are done Pot roast is a popular American dish that used to be served for Sunday dinner because it took so long to cook.  I put the meat in a slow cooker/crock pot and it is done in about nine hours. It really depends on the amount of meat and how tender you want the final product to be.   


1 package of brown gravy mix
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
1 package of dry zesty Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup of water
Pepper to taste 

Pour the water in the bottom of your crock pot.  Put the meat on top.  Sprinkle the mixes on top of the meat. Cover and cook until the meat is tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable.  Enjoy!

Jan 25, 2012

Bengali Butternut Squash and Garbanzo Bean Curry

Here is a recipe that is great if you want to eat healthy and you are short on time.  This is a savory\sweet dish with a hint of heat that can either be served with plain rice or without.  I love this dish and will be making it often.  The smell of the spices filled the air as I sauteed them in the pan. My mouth began to water. I could hardly wait to take the first bite. I was not disappointed either.


3 TBS vegetable oil
a large pinch of ground asafoetida (can be found at Asian or Indian markets)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp of panch phoran (also known as Bengali five-spice)
1-2 mild dried red chilies or canned green chilies (about a tsp of canned)
1 small - medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder, heaped
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ginger paste
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 cup of boiling water
1- 8 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
1 tbs Ghee, optional

Heat the oil and ghee in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent/golden brown.  Next, add all of the spices and saute for about 2-3 minutes.  If it becomes dry add a bit of water to make a sauce.  Next add the boiling water, squash and garbanzo beans.  Simmer until the squash is tender.  Adjust the salt/sugar to your taste.  Serve Immediately.  Enjoy!

Jan 23, 2012

The Art of Forgiveness

I have been battling forgiveness. I wrote in my journal that forgiveness is the next step in the healing process. I knew in the beginning that what I did was risky. But isn't everything that you do risky?  However, I thought that I would be an exception.  When I saw the signs, I turned my head and looked the other direction. I listened to my heart and not my head.  Oh this will not happen to me, I told myself. But it did. Then there is the anger. The rage is sure to tag along. You dream of revenge. Sometimes guilt or shame keeps you company far too long.  Misery takes residence where it wills. What to do? All the while hoping they die in a fiery car crash.

When I think about forgiving, the first thing that comes to my mind is that if I forgive it is like saying, oh that was ok what happened, when in fact it was the worst thing that could ever happen.  It is ok to be angry for being wronged. What happened, well, happened. I cannot change it. To forgive is that it removes you from being entangled in the rather dark thing that hurt you in the first place. This, however, is a process and cannot be done in an instant.  I was encouraged to pray.  Make a list of what the offense(s)was/were and pray. Am I there yet?  Oh no, but I am at least making an effort.

Jan 21, 2012

Job Fulfillment: Reality or Illusion

How many people do you know who are truly happy with their job?  Are you working in the vocation that you have always dreamed of? The other day, I was talking to a lovely lady about work in general and she described a position in a company that she held for 10 years, but it wasn't like work for her. Tears welled up in her eyes as she told me that her position was eliminated.  She was in her element while working in this position.  She wrote articles to her hearts content and was doing what she truly loved. Yet so many people have jobs to just get by, not feeling any sense of fulfillment. I need money, I need insurance, I need a roof over my head and have to feed my family, they tell themselves.  All the while dreading the next day and upon arriving at work, they are waiting for quitting time. 

Is it the American dream to have a fulfilling dream or just an illusion? The reason I ask this is that people in various parts of the world have no choice.  To have a job is the greatest of luxuries.  I was reading an article the other day about Moroccan students who have degrees still find it hard to get a job in their own country. Some even go to great lengths of setting themselves on fire in protest. We, here in America, cannot imagine doing something so drastic. 

Jan 19, 2012

Oh just quit your job and travel: Kien Lam did.

Can you imagine being able to quit your job and travel for a year?  A photographer by the name of Kien Lam did just that.  He travelled to 17 different countries during the span of a year.  As I write this I am thinking of places that I would like to visit. He went to: USA, England, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia,  and Peru. He stayed in hostels, slept under the stars, on a bus, and various other places. 

He took over 6000 photographs and then made this video. If you could do something like this, where would you go?  Enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Jan 17, 2012

Orange Cream Cheese Snowballs

Here in the midwest we have finally had snowfall.  This makes a good day to bake cookies.  I have been wanting to make this recipe for a long time.  At our local food co-op they have flavored oils for cooking.  I found orange and lemon and have really enjoyed using them.  But if you cannot find orange flavored oil that is ok. Use orange extract instead.  This recipe is simple and delicious. 

Orange Cream Cheese Snowballs
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup ground walnuts
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick of butter)
½ cup of cream cheese, softened (4 ounces)
½ cup of granulated sugar
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl mix together the powdered sugar and ground walnuts.  Set aside.  In a mixing bowl add the shortening, butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix until the sugar is completely combined.  Next, add the orange extract, vanilla extract, orange zest, and flour. Mix thoroughly with a mixer.  Form 1 inch balls and place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  I used to teaspoons to do this.  Then bake for about 5-7 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown.  Don’t over bake these.  Remove from the oven and let sit for about a minute.  Then immediately roll them in the powdered sugar mixture and place on a wire rack to cool. These are delicate, so be gentle when rolling them. This will make about 20-24 cookies.
** I used 1 tsp of orange flavored oil instead of the orange extract and orange zest and I used vanillin instead of vanilla extract. **

Jan 15, 2012

Courage to Move on

"Courage is reclaiming your life after a devastating event
robs you of your confidence and self-esteem.
It is facing tomorrow with a firm resolve to reach deep
within yourself to find another strength, another talent...
It is taking yourself to another level of your own existence
where you are once again whole, productive, special."
Catherine Britton

Jan 13, 2012

Widows are the same everywhere

I watched a documentary on September 11th.  But this was not just about September 11th it was a parallel between two countries, the United States and Afghanistan.  The documentary dealt with the widows of this tragedy.  Not just American widows, also Afghan widows too.  I was deeply moved by this short film.  Susan Retik and Patti Quigley documented their journey to Afghanistan to meet the Afghan widows they have worked to empower. If an Afghan woman is widowed and has children she is dependent upon the family of her husband. A husband is considered as "shade" for the women. As long as he is alive, his wife sits in his "shade". Once the shade is gone she is exposed to the elements. Often she lives in extreme poverty. The culture prevents her from having an ordinary job because she is a woman. To honor her family, the woman is required to wear a burka out in public.  If she remarries then her children remain with her husbands family while she lives with her new husband, which is a price many of them would rather not pay.  The contrast between American life and that of Afghanistan is striking and at times hard to fathom.

I have to admit I cried when I watched this film.  Women are the same the world over.  Many of the women said that their whole lives were horrible. They cried together as they opened their hearts to one another. Then I think about my own life. I am truly blessed. 

Jan 9, 2012

The Trouble with being a Cougar

Americans know exactly what I mean by being a cougar.  It is a woman who dates a man that is younger than she is.  Precisely how much younger is to be debated. My grandmother married my grandfather who was 7 years younger than she.  My cousin married a woman who is 15 years older than him. I know 2 couples from church where the woman is at least 10 years older. I was 10 years older than my ex-husband. Why all of the fuss? It is about having children. One couple didn't have any children. I don't have any children either (I wanted to very much). But in some cultures, if a woman cannot bear children then she is tossed aside for one that can. Some women will do anything to have a child.

 Just recently, I was talking with a young man from Northern Africa who married an American woman. He is in his 20's and she is in her 50's. He complained to me about various things regarding their relationship and he was very direct with what he really wanted. Children and good sex were missing from his life. I asked him why he married his wife if he knew that she was too old to have any more children, but ironically he didn't give me an adequate answer. All he said is that he didn't want me to think that he used her to get here.  I have my own opinion. 

 In my eyes, marriage is sacred.  It is two people coming together to have one life.  Marriage in and of itself is hard enough without the pressure of having children. Sometimes I ask, where is the love?  Are women not more than baby making machines?  I've come to realize that being a cougar is not worth the chance of getting hurt. A heart is a terrible thing to break.  

Jan 7, 2012

Indian Pilau (Rice)

I have finally found a rice recipe that I just love.  It has a little spice but not enough to overpower the curry that you will eat with it.  It reminds me of the rice that my friend Sabrina makes all of the time.  It has saffron and cardamom.

2 cups of basmati rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
4 cardamom pods or 1 tsp cardamom powder
8 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of saffron treads
2 bay leaves
3 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock or water with salt

Cook the onion in the butter for about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the spices, saffron and bay leaves and saute for a couple of minutes. Next, add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in the butter, then add the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then cover with a tight fitting lid.  Turn the heat down to simmer/low and cook for about 10-20 minutes.  Once the water has been aborbed turn off the heat. Add additional butter and fluff.  Enjoy!

Jan 5, 2012

Me an Infidel?

I wish that I would have read the book Infidel back when it first came out.  It is a very enlightening book and I have missed out by not reading it until now.  As someone who is raised in the West with all of our freedoms, it is hard to imagine how life would be in the East for me as a woman. I cringed as I read about Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s recollection of her genital mutilation.  I could hear the snap of the scissors as they cut the flesh in my mind.  As an American, I feel that we don't educate ourselves like the rest of the world when it comes to other cultures and religions.  If I would have been pro-active, I would have studied more about Islam before my marriage.  But that is neither here nor there. I am learning now. When I borrowed the book from the library, the back was broken on the book, which made it not so easy to read and I was ready to take it back without reading it. By chance I opened the book and my eyes went to a paragraph. This is what I read, "A Muslim girl does not make her own decisions or seek control. She is trained to be docile. If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you..." As I read, I told myself that I needed to read this book and have not regretted it.   

Jan 3, 2012

Indian Cabbage Salad

Just recently, I have been expanding my cuisine to include Indian dishes.  As I have said before, I really like curry. However, this is not a curry dish.  I saw this recipe on a PBS program called Grannies on Safari.  It looked simple and delicious. So, why not try it? There are a couple of ingredients that may be hard to find but well worth the effort of obtaining.  I have not used curry leaves before and didn't know what to expect. They have a strong odor and shiny leaves.  I am lucky to live in a medium sized city with a few ethnic stores.  Unfortunately, curry powder and curry leaves are not the same thing.  You can use basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves instead, but the taste is not the same. 


4 cups Green or purple cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup Red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup raw peanuts, minus the skin
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
10-12 curry leaves, finely chopped
2 TBS cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder, optional
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
3-4 TBS vegetable oil

Mix the cabbage, onions, cilantro and bell pepper in a mixing bowl. Heat the oil and add the black mustard seeds and peanuts. Fry until the peanuts change color. Take off the heat and add the curry leaves, asafoetida and cayenne. Pour over the cabbage mixture. Add salt and the lemon juice and mix well. Serve after 15 minutes. Enjoy! 

Jan 1, 2012

James Elbert Campbell from Greene County Tennessee and North Georgia

I am posting part of my Campbell family history in hopes that someone may run across this blog and contact me.  I would like to know more about the Campbell's from North Georgia and Tennessee.  Any information or pictures that you may have I would appreciate it. 

I think that this is William S. Campbell and Delphia Jane Massey Campbell

Descendants of James Elbert Campbell

Generation No. 1

1.  JAMES ELBERT6 CAMPBELL  (JAMES5, ARCHIBALD J.4, JAMES3, ARCHIBALD2, JOHN1) was born 25 Feb 1836 in Greene, Tennessee, and died Jan 1863 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hamilton County.  He married MARY HENSEN 1854 in Georgia.  She was born in Marietta, Georgia.

He was married in 1854 to Mary Henson of Marietta, Georgia.  They lived near Cooper Heights, Georgia.  Early in the conflict, Elbert volunteered for service in the Southern army and participated in several engagements.  Too ill for duty in the two-day encounter at Murfreesboro, the day after the battle he insisted on helping to haul the dead and wounded from the snow-covered battlefield.  He worked through the cold answering pitiful cries for help until his feet and lower limbs were frozen.  For treatment he was sent by train to the Confederate hospital on Cameron Hill in Chattanooga, where he was placed in a tub of hot water, which caused the flesh to literally fall from the bone.  On learning of Elbert's whereabouts, his father rode horseback from his home near High Point, Lookout Mountain, only to find his son in this serious condition.  He hastened to brings Elbert's wife but in this lapse of time he had died.  His body was hauled by ox-cart to Kensington, Georgia and interred in the Hardin burial plot there.  Acorns bearing teeth marks prints found in his pockets tend to confirm the stores of dire hunger and distress the Southern soldiers endured.  His widow married Alex Tugent, said to have been one of a notorious marauding gang, and had a daughter Parasada.  Married also married ----Roolman and lived in Atlanta.  To Elbert and Mary were born three sons:  James Columbus, William Ceilsbury, and Monroe, who died in infancy.  The two elder sons were reared by their grandparents, James and Sarah Campbell.  This is an excerpt from the book: Campbell, Kith and Kin: Descendents of Archibald Campbell and Elizabeth Baker who came from Campbell County Va to Knox County, Tn 1796, written by Grace Ruth Spencer Fassnacht of Chattanooga, Tennessee

Notes for MARY HENSEN:
Married also Alex Tugent and ? Roolman.  Had a daughter with Alex Tugent named Parasada.
2.                i.    WILLIAM S CEILSBURY7 CAMPBELL, b. 06 Jan 1858, Georgia; d. 15 Aug 1937, Walker County, Georgia.
3.               ii.    JAMES COLUMBUS CAMPBELL, b. 14 Jan 1856, Georgia; d. 29 Aug 1930, Wallaceville, Georgia.
                 iii.    MONROE CAMPBELL, b. 1860, Georgia; d. Abt. 1860, Georgia.

He died in infancy.

Generation No. 2

2.  WILLIAM S CEILSBURY7 CAMPBELL (JAMES ELBERT6, JAMES5, ARCHIBALD J.4, JAMES3, ARCHIBALD2, JOHN1) was born 06 Jan 1858 in Georgia, and died 15 Aug 1937 in Walker County, Georgia.  He married DELPHIA JANE MASSEY 18 Jul 1878 in Dade County, Georgia, daughter of WILLIAM MASSEY and MARY A..  She was born 17 Jul 1860 in Walker County, Georgia, and died 17 Mar 1933 in Walker County, Georgia.

In the book, "Walker County Georgia Cemeteries," I found him listed was William S. Campbell.  Also, the 1930 census has him listed as William S. Campbell.  This has caused some confusion. I sent off for his death certificate and it came back to me as William C. Campbell.  Luckily, I have his obituary and the names match up.  He died of Hypo static Pneumonia. Hematuria caused by thought to be a renal calculua.  I have his marriage certificate and he is listed as J. S. Campbell.  On Mamie Campbell's death certificate he is listed as Seal Campbell.  His father was listed as W.L. Campbell and his mother Mary Hensen.  I was stuck with this information for a very long time.

They were married in Dade County by the Justice of the Peace Hugh McKaig.  Delphia was about 18 and William (Seal, Ceilsbury) was around 20.
4.                i.    WILLIAM ELBERT8 CAMPBELL, b. 13 Jun 1879, Walker County, Georgia; d. 19 Mar 1961, Miami, Dade County, Florida.
                  ii.    JOHN RICHARD CAMPBELL, b. 17 May 1891, Pittsburg, Walker County, Georgia; d. 28 Jan 1939, Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee, Hamilton County.

He never married.  He was a World War Veteran.  Lived at 4613 Kirkland Ave in Chattanooga, Tennessee when he died. 

Burial: High Point Cemetery, Arrangements by J. Avery Bryan Co.

5.              iii.    LILLIE A CAMPBELL, b. 20 Dec 1898, Georgia; d. Dec 1975.
6.              iv.    MATTIE OLA CAMPBELL.
7.               v.    MARY ETHEL CAMPBELL, b. 24 May 1882, Dade County, Georgia; d. 25 Sep 1958, Chickamauga, Walker county, Georgia.
8.              vi.    MAMIE C. CAMPBELL, b. 31 Mar 1902, Walker County, Georgia; d. 30 Apr 1988, Fort Oglethorpe, Catoosa County, Georgia.
9.             vii.    DAISY C. CAMPBELL, b. 29 Dec 1888, Tennessee; d. 30 Mar 1940, Walker County, Georgia.