Anonymous: What’s Wrong With the World Today

(No, I am not talking about the group “Anonymous.” I figure it’s worth clarifying to keep a hit off my blog.)

The internet was intended to help us to reach out to each other, to be able to access information quickly and effectively, to connect the dots between all corners of the globe. Sounds peachy, right? Seems like humanity would leap at the opportunity to hear and love one another no matter where they are, right?

Wrong.

I won’t say that no one uses it for the aforementioned reasons; in fact, many of us do. However, there is a certain amount of anonymity that allows us to be, for lack of better phrasing, complete and utter shitheads to each other with little to no recourse. For whatever reason, people seem to think that if they cannot be identified, they can say what they want, and the worst that happens is they ruin someone’s day—or self esteem, hope, faith, love, perspective, etc, etc, etc. That’s what pains me. We have enough religious, political, anti-religious, sexist, and racist propaganda running rampant in the world today without people using their right to remain anonymous as a weapon. Centuries ago, anonymous writers, and those who assumed a covert pen name, did so to protect their opinion and identity. Women used men’s names to conceal their identities to avoid being judged for their sex and give their writing a fair shot in a market deemed inappropriate for them. People have submitted anonymous texts from essays to stories and poetry to put their views out for the general public without having to worry about who may find out they have this specific belief or thought.

These people were not “trolling” each other.

With everything going mad in society today, that’s the last thing we should be doing to each other. Knowing that your IP address is being logged no matter where you are, that you can be tracked down by any decent hacker or person with a Computer Science degree, shouldn’t you be using your power as an anonymous writer to do more than tear someone else down? Knowing that there are much bigger problems in the world, why on earth would you use that power for anything less than the greater good?

We don’t think about these things because we’re a one-track-minded society. “I’m going to get mine,” we say. “I’m going to get my propaganda out there, sell out to a bigger machine, and hide behind its stature because I have to look out for me, and I don’t care who I take down in the process.” This isn’t even human. It’s primal, it’s instinctive, yes…but whose purpose are you serving when you bash someone for having an opinion or a feeling that you may or may not care about? No one’s. You are serving no purpose and no person by acting in this manner. You are a detriment to society, a detriment to brotherhood, and you are hindering the spread of love and positive energy.

I’m not sure where this generation went to hell in a hand basket, but the fix has a fairly simple start: “If you don’t have anything nice to say; don’t say anything at all.” I’m fairly certain your mother told you that a few times when you were growing up; I know mine did. There’s a big lack of love and respect among people as a whole. It’s unfair, and it’s our fault. The only people who can fix it aren’t sitting in political office; they’re people like me, like you, your best friend, mother, neighbor, etc. We have got to take it back before the naysayers and “trolls” take it from us. They’ve already got a head start; how long will we wait? How much bullying will it take?


Kortney Marie

Ghosts Upstaged

I’m running out of things to say
Things to fill the gap between us
I’m running out of games to play
Devils willing to come out and meet us
A shortage of time
An overload of space
A shortage of patience
An overload of shame

When the second act begins
Some characters don’t cross over
When the second act begins
Some of us have to remain sober
When the lights rearrange
And the ghosts are upstaged
We’ve all got new names
And some of us just can’t stay

We’re running out of things to do
Things to keep us awake and resilient
We’re running out of love to choose
Angels willing to tell us we’re brilliant
A shortage of time
An overload of space
A shortage of patience
An overload of shame

When the second act begins
Some characters don’t live to tell
When the second act begins
Some of us have to curses to dispel
When the lights rearrange
And the ghosts are upstaged
We’ve all got new names
And some of us just can’t stay

A shortage of time
An overload of space
A shortage of patience
An overload of shame
When the lights rearrange
And the ghosts are upstaged
We’ve all got new names
And some of us just can’t stay

-Kortney Marie

Rice Flour, Violet Riot Muffins, and a Casserole!

Hi again!

After I posted my first muffin experiment yesterday, I kept hunting for new ones to try out.  I hadn’t experimented with rice flour yet, and I found a recipe for blueberry muffins that I just had to try!  As usual, I put my own spin on the recipe according to my tastes and what I had on hand.  We’ll cover that in a moment.  First, I want to talk about rice flour.  It worked out a lot better than I expected.  (This is another picture-less post because I’ve been lazy.  I really need to get better about that.)

The thing about oat flour is that it can be tricky to get a finely ground result if you don’t have a grinder or even a food processor to dedicate to it.  When I use my blender, the oats get clumpy and stuck together, or the blender doesn’t generate the “vortex” that creates the movement needed to evenly and finely grind them up.  Rice, for whatever reason, does get the movement needed to get an even and super fine grind.  For those of us making our own flours with a blender, this is a god-send, especially if your blender isn’t very new or powerful.  I’ve read articles and blog posts that instruct you to soak the rice for a few minutes then strain it, blahblahblah.  This is time consuming and can be messy.  So what did I do?  I just put a couple cups of dry, un-soaked rice in my blender, put it on a high setting, and left it to do its thing for ten minutes or so.  The end result was a very fine, powdery substance more closely reminiscent of actual flour than my oats would ever be.  The muffins I made with them were much lighter and fluffier, closer to the “real thing” than my oat muffins.

Violet Riot Muffins (aka Blackberry Rice Muffins)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil  (Vegetable, canola, olive, grape seed, whichever you want or have on hand)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups rice flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces blackberries, frozen or fresh

Streusel topping:
4 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons rice flour
2 teaspoons oil

Mix up your streusel topping first in a small bowl.  Make sure it’s well mixed and crumbly, then set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and either grease your muffin pan or set it up with baking cups.  (I found adorable baking cups at Michaels for relatively cheap.)  In a medium mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon), and after you’ve whisked them together, add your berries to the mixture and stir gently.  In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil) and mix well.  Gradually mix in your dry ingredients and berries until mixed well.  Be careful with this step or you’ll bust the berries like I did.  It gave me purple muffins, so if that’s your thing, go ahead and beat the snot out of ’em!  Fill your baking cups 1/2 – 2/3 full, sprinkle your streusel on them, and bake them for 15-20 minutes.  Mine took exactly 19.  Make sure you let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes before you take them out of the pan.  This should make a dozen large muffins.

The next thing I want to share with you is my “Remixed Broccoli Rice Casserole.”  It’s a labor of love that stemmed from how much I enjoyed broccoli rice casserole at holiday gatherings when I was growing up.  I remember thinking to myself, “I just want to eat this and only this forever,” but broccoli rice casserole is just broccoli, rice, and cheese.  As an adult re-discovering my love of spending time in my kitchen, I decided to put a few things in.  Originally, I followed this recipe to the letter and added some chicken and bacon, but it wasn’t quite the same taste as what I had in my mind so I have tweaked it to suit my tastes.  It’s a big hit around here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Remixed Broccoli Rice Casserole
3-4 cups cooked white rice
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
8 bacon strips, crumbled into bits
1/2 red onion, chopped
10-12 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 pound processed cheese (like Velveeta), cubed
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
Salt to taste

Cook up your bacon and chicken however you choose.  (If you need a marinade idea, check out the marinade in this post.)  Cut them up however you like and set them aside.  Set aside 1 cup of cheddar to top the casserole.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 13″-x-9″ casserole dish.  In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.  When it’s melted, add in your milk and cream; stir well.  Add your cheeses, and melt them thoroughly, then add the broccoli, chicken, bacon, and seasonings.  Stir it all very well and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before you add the rice.  Make sure the rice is fully coated and incorporated then pour the mixture into your casserole dish and sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar cheese over it.  Put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are a crispy golden brown.  Cool for about an hour before serving if you can wait that long.  

I believe these will be the last recipes I post for a bit.  I have some writing to share with you over the next week, and I am thrilled about the new Nine Inch Nails album as well.  (=


Kortney Marie

Gluten-Free Breakfast: Muffin and Pancake Edition

Hello!

Okay, one thing they don’t tell you about this gluten-free thing is that breakfast delights like muffins, biscuits, pancakes, and other starchy nomminess go out the window.  In fact, most baked goods do unless you know the secrets of how to make them sans gluten, which is as simple as buying an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.  That, however, is quite a mouthful when you’re hunting for it at your local grocery store and employ the help of a near-by clerk, and when you do find it, it can be very expensive.  So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when trying to eat on the cheap without the evil wheat?  Lately, I find the answer is oat flour.  You can buy your own oats, grind them up in a food processor or blender until they reach a flour-like consistency, and presto!  You have oat flour.  Almond flour is also a solution with a similar process, but almonds are expensive too.  I’m not saying gluten-free rolled oats are super cheap either, but since I’m dealing with a gluten sensitivity as opposed to a hardcore allergy, I can rock the cheapest tub o’ rolled oats I see.  If you’re trying to be thrifty about your gluten-free eating, this is usually a safe alternative.  If you must, must, must go gluten-free for everything, you’ll probably still save a bit buy grinding your oats yourself.

I don’t have picture for these two recipes, but who photographs breakfast?  lol

Oat Flour Pancakes  (inspiration found here)
2 cups oat flour
2 large eggs
2 cups milk  (Water can substitute, but the milk gives a richer taste)
1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil when I can; this one is really up to personal preference.)
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 mashed bananas (optional)

Mix your dry ingredients (oat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a medium mixing bowl.  Add milk and stir until combined.  Add oil, mix well, then add one egg at a time, mixing well after each.  If you’ve opted for bananas (or any other fruit), add it in and mix well.  Coat a medium heated skillet with a bit of butter or oil, and pour pancake batter 1/4-1/2 cup at a time.

Raspberry Oat Muffins with Lemon Glaze (Inspiration:  muffin, glaze)
Glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup water and cornstarch and set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and slowly add sugar until dissolved.  Add cornstarch and water mixture, and stir with a whisk for approximately four minutes.  Glaze will thicken in pan.  Set aside to cool.

Muffins:
2 cups oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon + splash lemon juice
2 large eggs
6 oz raspberries, fresh or thawed, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare muffin pan with baking cups or lightly grease pan.  Whisk together dry ingredients (oat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon) in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Mix together wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, lemon juice, eggs) in another mixing bowl.  Gradually mix in dry ingredient mixture until thoroughly mixed.  Fold in berries and pour into pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  16 minutes seems the average success margin, but we all know ovens vary.

When muffins have cooled, top with glaze.  Place them on a large plate in your refrigerator to expedite the cooling process.

Our next cooking adventure will be my remixed broccoli rice casserole!  ^_^


Kortney Marie

Chicken Bacon Cheesy Dip!

Hi there!

We had a little experiment in my kitchen the other night.  We called this queso, but it’s a lot more than your average queso.  It is gluten free, and it is DELICIOUS!

Image

Here’s what you need for this skillet o’ awesome:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 lb processed cheese (I used Velveeta.)
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cooked chicken breast (see marinade directions), shredded
3/4 cup cooked bacon bits
Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste

Marinade:
1 1/2 cups red wine ( I used Yellowtail’s Sweet Red Roo)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3-4 tsp lime juice
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Mix marinade in a tupperware container with a sealing lid large enough for chicken breast.  I made mine before work, shook the crap out of it, and left it sitting in my fridge until I got home, so eight hours, give or take.  A little extra time can’t hurt, nor would a bit less.  It’s all up to you.  I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that your container properly seals; it’s the difference between “Shake-Shake-Shake-Ha-Ha-ThisIsFun,” and “Shake-Shake-OHCRAPIT’SALLOVERTHEFLOOR.”  And you don’t want salmonella, wine, powdered spices, and all that junk all over your floor.

When you are ready to take your chicken out of its bath, don’t.  Instead, dump the entire contents of your container into a medium sized skillet and bring to a simmer, flipping occasionally.  Let it cook for about fifteen minutes or until thoroughly cooked.  Remove chicken and set aside on plate or cutting board.  Once cooled, shred using two forks.

Cut your bacon up into small pieces.  Cook ‘ em up in a small skillet, and set ’em aside on plate lined with a paper towel.  You can also cook your full-size bacon strips then crumble the suckers up.  It’s up to you since it’s your dip.

In a separate large skillet, melt butter over very low heat.  Once melted, add cubed Velveeta, stir occasionally until melted.  Alternately add milk and cheddar; bring to full melt.  Add in your seasonings to the degree that you desire.  I recommend a good bit of garlic (two tablespoons minimum), but if garlic isn’t your thing, skip it.  When I made this, it was impulsive, and I raided my cabinet for what I felt would work best with the flavors already at hand.  For me, it was a lot of garlic, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and some onion powder.  For you, it might be Tony Chachere’s and Italian seasoning or nothing at all.  Add chicken and bacon, stir well.  Leave in skillet for maximum awesome; just make sure you put a potholder on the table first.

Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, or bread.  I made my own chips by baking quartered corn tortillas on a foiled cookie sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about fifteen minutes.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!


kortney.marie

Ch-Ch-Changes

I feel like I’ve neglected this sucker a LOT lately.  (Okay, I totally have.)

I’ve been in the midst of more change.  With school getting put off until next semester, a recent change in diet (which we’ll touch on later), and settling into a new job while still looking for one I truly want, it’s safe to say I’ve just been tapped out.  I’ve also been squeezing in that whole end of summer bit where you spend as much time with friends at possible since autumn, with her array of colors, always brings an especially busy bout of changes for everyone.  This is not to say that I haven’t been writing or creating.  On the contrary, I have written much to cope with various events, but none of it is anything I would post here.  It feels too personal.  Some would say that means it should be posted, but I disagree.  These more personal thoughts and projects aren’t for a blog right now; maybe a song, later, or a blog in the future…but not here and not right now.  There’s a lot of positive, happy stuff going on, and there’s a lot I want to share.

Knitting has become my favorite creative outlet lately.  I get to play with colors using a repetitive needle pattern that resembles painting but isn’t (which is good because I can neither paint nor draw to save my life).  I’ve made multiple dice bags, a couple of larger bags, and a baby blanket over the summer.  The baby blanket is a particular source of pride as it was designed to be old-school Princess Peach.  The best thing about knitting is that I don’t have to have words or a melody ready to create something, and as much as I love to write and sing, it’s nice to have a hobby that doesn’t require me to switch on the verbal creation immediately and fully.  I’m really excited to special order yarn for my next two baby blankets which will be R2D2 and Link from Legend of Zelda.  Two very special ladies in my life are expecting, and I cannot wait to meet the newest additions to their families.  ❤

Cooking has become more than a hobby; it is a necessity.
I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in late 2006.  This means that my body produces excess levels of androgenic hormones, resulting in irregular periods derived from a lack of ovulation and, in my case but not all, multiple cysts on my ovaries.  (I have been very open about this, so for those of you who do know, I apologize for repeating myself.  I feel like it’s something I need to be more pro-active about because I know that this particular dilemma affects many women other than myself.)  Yes, that’s a lot of information to share so openly, but it’s something that I have struggled with for all of my adolescent and adult life.  Even after being diagnosed, it’s taken me many years to figure out how to handle it because there is no research that shows the exact cause of the disorder, though it’s fairly certain that it is genetic.  It is painful, and the side-effects range from acne and hirsutism to insulin resistance to blood-pressure and heart problems.  The symptoms vary from person to person, but it’s hard to live with regardless.  The most difficult for many is infertility.  It’s not impossible, but I’ve recently learned that I come from a long line of great-aunts and great-great-aunts and so on who were unable to bear children despite their efforts.  Luckily, I am one of those people who is absolutely fine with never having children of my own, determined to be “Cool Aunt Koko” forever to my blood and adopted nieces and nephews.  But for some, it’s heartbreaking.  And then there are the adolescent girls, like I was, who don’t know who to turn to or how to communicate that something is very wrong with their bodies, which further exacerbates the problems.  Regardless of age, I feel for these women…and I feel like it’s my responsibility to share my experiments, successes and failures more openly so that ladies of all ages have access to it.  We’re supposed to support and love one another, right?  And if there’s a possibility that my suffering and sharing will reach and help even one other person, maybe save them time and frustration, then it’s worth it.

I know, I know:  What does this have to do with cooking being a necessity and not a hobby?
I’ve read some research recently that cites PCOS as a possible symptom of gluten sensitivity or intolerance.  Everyone keeps going on and on about “going Paleo” and how the Paleolithic diet has done wonders for them.  One lady in particular explained to my boyfriend that her “almost Paleo” diet paired with exercise and the correct birth control pill made her PCOS more than tolerable; it actually leveled her out almost completely.  My weight has been a concern, and I know that diet is just as crucial as exercise to overcoming it and keeping it off.  I also know that women with PCOS face greater difficulties losing weight but find it very easy to gain.  So I did my homework, read up on the theory and supporting evidence that following a diet closer to what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era can encourage the body to burn fat stores and get us back in touch with our roots, etc etc etc.  At the end of the day, I am not willing to give up dairy, sugar, potatoes, salt, or legumes (among other things).  I believe that in proper moderation, none of those things are actually bad for you.  I read on, and I read…and I read some more before I happened on a few articles that site many of my troubles, from the acne to the mood swings to anovulation and even PCOS as a result of a gluten allergy.  I would like to state now that I am not a doctor, and I have not been to a doctor for a specific diagnosis of gluten sensitivity…but in the few weeks that I have been eating gluten-free, I have felt better than I have in a very, very long time.  (And when I eat something as simple as a cookie, I become violently ill.  The more time I put between ingesting gluten, the more noticeable it is when I do.)  From being more energized to fewer mood swings, everything from waking up to my sleep cycle has improved, and while it means a lot more time in my kitchen because it restricts what I can eat, it is worth every second and cent I put into it.

I have a few posts coming up that will be full of gluten-free recipes that are also simply delicious.  I refuse to believe I can’t have pie, cake, or cookies again.  Just like I refuse to believe I won’t indulge in fried chicken or breakfast cereal again.  It just takes a different approach and means making things from scratch.  So far, I have made raspberry-peach cheesecake with an almond crust, remixed broccoli rice casserole, fried chicken, apple crumble, homemade granola (a total accident), burgers so juicy and flavorful that you don’t miss the bun, and many, many other things.  What my boyfriend and I are finding as we embark on this journey together is that all this cooking ends up tasting better than eating out anyway, with the exception of things like sushi.  We save money, eat healthier, and have a lot more fun…and I would like to start passing that fun on to you, whether you need to scrap the gluten or not.

Moving forward, here is what you can expect here:
Gluten-free recipes that rock your face off.
Some personal anecdotes about my transition to eating completely gluten-free.
The usual poetry and prose.
A short story I have in the works.
And we’ll get back to music reviews…because I miss those a lot.
Pictures and progress updates on various knitting and jewelry projects.

Basically, this blog will be a catch-all for all of my interests rather than just for this or that, and I am very excited.


kortney.marie

Doll Without a Name (2008)

This room reeks of poison, of a love quite unclean
Sounds like bloodshed, an ode the the obscene
In between the moon and your piercing eyes
I see that I am a captive in a brilliant disguise
I’ll dance because you tell me to do so
Lie down when you tell me, and you must know
That I am a willing slave though I break the rules
I incite punishment because I enjoy the abuse
And if you care for me at all, you will hurt me
Remind me that I am darling but quite dirty
We’ll take these morbid fascinations to an extreme
Because we know it is vital to this dream
And it’s a nightmare we love, a horror to most
It’s a fantasy for us, and a promise to uphold
With your hands on my throat, new bruises on my thighs
I’m gasping for air, and staring into your eyes
This is what we came here for, so let’s not wait
Defenses down, this is our show, a sick charade
An evening devoid of any and all sense of shame
And for a time, I am nothing more
Than an enslaved lover behind closed doors
A wretched sinner bound to your bed-frame
I am a girl bearing your mark, a doll without a name
-Kortney Marie

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