Posting Videos From Photobucket

If, like me, you couldn’t figure out how to embed videos from photobucket (or other white-listed sites) here on wordpress, this is how you do it.

Your video hosting site should have an option for copying the html code for embedding in blogs. Usually these are options on little icons above the video. In photobucket it is the “get link codes” button. Then copy the code for blogs. Again, on photobucket, this is the third option down.

Paste this into a text window (the text tab is to the right of the visual tab in the composer) and change the “<>” to “[]” and change the word “embed” to “gigya.” This link explains it better and shows an example.

Don’t ask me why this works, but it does. I have to say this is one very non-idiot-proof feature of wordpress. I found numerous tutorials saying just to paste the direct link into the composer but this never worked. And pasting the html code into the composer likewise never worked.

Now that I have figured out how to post videos, I may go video crazy!

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Advice for Writers

My husband has worked on the business side of publishing for many years; after years of overhearing his work conversations, I believe I’m semi-qualified to offer the following advice to aspiring writers.  Some of this advice applies to artists/ illustrators as well (especially #2). However, allow me to point out the proviso that I am neither a publisher, nor a writer, myself (unless message boards count).

1) NEVER tell a publisher you have a “magnus opus” or a “huge” body of work to show them. They’ll assume you’re nuts and not worth dealing with.  If you do have a magnus opus, extract the best chapters or storylines and submit those (but don’t reveal it’s part of a magnus opus, until if and when they show sincere interest!).

2) If you’re over the age of 28-30ish, and are truly talented, but your success has been hampered by alcohol or drug abuse, be prepared to fake a credible cover story as to why you have not achieved success (make up a fake illness, a non-dramatic crisis, you were busy raising children, etc.).  If a publisher sees very high quality writing or art cross their desk, yet the person is 30+ and unknown, they will immediately assume that person has a substance abuse problem and thus is not worth dealing with.  This is especially critical if you’re looking for work that involves deadlines.

3) Write commercially and track trends.  If vampires are popular, write a vampire story.  If talking pigs are popular, write a talking pig story.  Watch bestseller lists and browse bookstores, paying close attention to the display tables. Publishers pay $10,000 per spot on those flat tables at Barnes and Noble, so you can assume any books placed in the premium spots are trending and worth imitating.

4) Look for ghost writing or anonymous writing opportunities.  Oftentimes publishers will “reverse write” a book, where they come up with the idea, then hire an unknown writer to churn it out. This is less glamorous than publishing your own idea, but it will pay, and afford you some resume-worthy writing experience.  It might even behoove you to send writing samples to editors with a cover letter stating you’re looking for ghost writing opportunities, and you’d be happy to write any ideas that might be in development.  Keep in mind that if the book is a hit, the title to the intellectual properties is still held by the publisher, so you will see little, if any, profit.

5) Submit to smaller publishers; they’ll be less likely to blow you off.  The larger publishers have so much volume crossing their desks that it’s easy to be lost in the avalanche.  If you’re an extrovert, don’t be afraid to cold call editors after you’ve submitted work– but don’t be annoying about it.

6) Be open to different formats and artforms.  Don’t overlook comic books; a comic book script is short, and if high quality can attract the attention of a comic book publisher.  Even if your script isn’t made into a book, you might be tapped for a future project.  Try your hand at screenplays, fiction, nonfiction, and so on.  If you typically write for young adults, try writing for adults.  Try your hand at a self help or instructional book.  Don’t lock yourself into any single format or genre of writing.

7) Be wary of length (see #1).  Anything over 200-300 pages will raise eyebrows.  Most readers don’t want huge volumes anyway (Harry Potter notwithstanding).

8) In general, avoid looking weird and unstable when approaching a publisher.  If you are weird and unstable, do your best to tone it down.  Dress conservatively and don’t say anything ridiculous.

9) Ride coattails and write parody.  Keep an eye on what movies are in production, that will hit movie theaters years from now, and write a similar story and shop it around with a note that the related X movie will be coming out.  Parodies can include character names and plotlines without violating copyright laws, which allows you to feed off the name recognition of the original property.

10) Write for pre-existing captive audiences.  Sci-fi, vampires, and evangelical christianity are good examples of this: built-in audiences that so love the genre or topic, that they will gladly give an unknown a try.  This is especially good if you’re self publishing online.

11) Write erotica for women.  Erotica sales have skyrocketed ever since the introduction of e-readers.  Women can now buy soft porn without embarrassment, and the numbers indicate they’re gobbling it up.

12) Write romance for women.  Romance is the #1 selling genre in the United States (if not worldwide?), and the majority of the romance readers are women.  Women, in general, buy more books than do men.

13) If all else fails, self-publish electronically, but be careful about disclosing your self-publishing past to a real publisher, who tend to see self-publishers as losers.  The exception to this is if a self-published author has managed to attract a large fan base; then a publishing house will be happy to work with him or her.

14) For cold submissions, try something outrageous (but not offensive) that might catch the publisher’s eye.  Publishers tend to see a lot of the same stuff, so if you can produce something unique, bizarre, yet high quality, it might receive more eyeball time than the typical fare.

15) Don’t despair when you read about publishing going the way of the dodo.  While the internet has demolished paper journalism, book sales are still thriving, and if anything, are simply being augmented by ebooks (which, of course, is still a form of being published!). Remember, people thought VHS would mean the end of movie theaters, but people go to the theater more than ever, in addition to buying, renting, and streaming films.  It’s your job to keep an eye on the kind of books that are selling: 50 Shades of Gray, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid have sold untold millions of print and electronic copies, and have made their authors fabulously wealthy.

All-Purpose Vegan “Meat”

soup

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m not strictly vegan nor do I have any agenda against meat eaters. I’m a lifelong picky eater and one of the foods I’ve always hated is meat.  However, on occasion, I do get a hankering for “something meaty,” which is where this easy fake meat recipe comes in handy.

This isn’t an official recipe as I tend to cook it on the fly, so I won’t tag it as a recipe, but I will give the basics of how I cook it.  This method is similar to homemade seitan, but doesn’t require ages of simmering.

You need to utilize the following ratio– 3 parts beans (drained and rinsed): 1 part vital wheat gluten: 1 part white flour: 1 part liquid, plus your seasonings.  So this would translate into, say, 1 1/2 cups beans: 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten: 1/2 cup flour: 1/2 cup liquid. For the “liquid” component I usually use 1/4 cup water, 2 tbs soy sauce, and 2 tbs olive oil (for a total of 1/2 a cup of liquid).  For seasoning I add a teaspoon of thyme and maybe 1/2 teaspoon salt.  But this “recipe” is very flexible and you could add whatever seasonings suit your fancy, such as onion powder, garlic, diced onion, italian seasonings, and so on.

Pick your beans according to what kind of “meat” dish you’re making.  If you want it to look like chicken, select a light colored bean like white beans or chick peas.  If you want it to look like beef, pick black, pink, or red beans.  I don’t recommend using lentils as they tend to be very watery when cooked.

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until it is stringy like bread dough (please don’t substitute anything for the vital wheat gluten– this is the main “meaty” tasting ingredient).  Then, shape it according to what dish you’re making.  In the photographs here I made “meatballs” which I then cut into chunks of “meat” for the veggie dish and soup.  But you can stretch portions of the dough into fillet shapes, or any shape you prefer.  The dough shouldn’t be too sticky, and should be easy to handle.

stirfry

Stir fry beef… fooled you!

I like to cook the “meat” in a shallow layer of olive oil at 375F for about 17-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.  That’s exactly how I made the meatballs shown here.

You can also use these hunks of “meat” for dishes like lemon chicken, chicken marsala, sweet and sour chicken, and so on.

Vital wheat gluten may sound like an exotic ingredient, but it is available from any bakery supplier, health food store, and is in the baking section of many supermarkets.  My grocery store carries the Bob’s Red Mill variety for about $6/ 16 oz. bag.  It may seem a little pricey but you only need half a cup per recipe of “meat” (which is much less than seitan recipes call for). And of course, it’s still much cheaper than real meat.

Simple Updo

Okay my fellow long haired ladies.  You know as well as I do how impractical it is to wear long hair loose: it gets caught in car doors, gets in food during preparation, gets caught in buttons and zippers.  But finding simple ways to pull it back, without looking like Ma Ingalls, can be challenging.  Below is my hair in the most common way I pull it back, when I’m out and about:

twist

You will need elastic headbands (not regular ponytail holders) like these.   First brush or comb your hair thoroughly.  I usually do this with my head tilted down and my hair flipped over so I can get the bottom layer combed efficiently.  Twist the headband in the center so that you have a double layered band.  Then, gather your hair as though you were going to do a low ponytail, but bring the ends up against the base of your neck (so that you have a “U” shape).  Now, simply loop the already double-banded band around this gathered hair twice, tucking the hair into a twist.  It may take a few tries, but it’s quick and easy once you get the hang of it, and looks quite elegant.  It’s important to brush or comb your hair first to give the updo some volume– otherwise it can look flat.  Don’t try this with a regular ponytail holder; for long hair you need the double layer of elastic.  Also, the headbands are made of a stretchier elastic which allows for more maneuverability when positioning the hair.

More Warcraft Tricks and Tips

As usual, any advice I give on World of Warcraft is aimed at casual players without much time to invest in the game, yet who want to earn a lot of gold and level with relative ease.  What I am about to describe is a unique way of leveling that I sometimes call the pacifist approach.  I got the idea after reading about a guy who leveled one character only by picking herbs.  He claimed not to have killed a single mob (I’m not sure how this is possible, since mobs are always guarding herb spawns) and not to have completed a single quest. The “pacifist approach” works best when you have multiple toons on the same server,and you cycle through them.

First, role a character on a medium to high population server.  You must be on a server that has a healthy Auction House. Alliance AHs are more active than horde, so I recommend playing alliance.  You don’t want to be on a full server because there will be too much competition for the herbs and ore.  You don’t want to be on a low population server, because no one will buy your stuff.

If you’re in the USA, pick an Oceanic server for reasons that will be explained.

Personally, I avoid PVP servers because I’m always wasting time getting killed.  The higher level you go, the more brutal and obnoxious other players are.  So again if you don’t have a lot of time for the game, avoid PVP servers.  They stress me out.

Now that you have your alliance character on a medium to high Oceanic server, quest to level 10.  This shouldn’t take long.  Log out in an inn or capital city when you’re done for the day, as this will accrue rested XP.  Rested XP is very important to the pacifist method, as shall be revealed.

While you are leveling to 10, the moment you have enough copper, get trained in herbalism and mining (buy a mining pick). You must select these two professions for gold earning and XP purposes (you earn XP from each spawn you pick or mine).  As you quest to 10, pick herbs and mine.

As soon as you hit level 10, get trained in cooking and fishing.  This is where the plan begins.  Stay logged in at a capital city and do the fishing and cooking dailies each day.  Never log out outside the capital city (or if you do, log out in an inn).  These two daily quests should take no more than 10 minutes a day.

Once your rested XP has stacked up significantly or maxed out (which it does at 1 1/2 levels), venture out into the world and find a remote triple spawn point.  Some parts of the world are more crowded than others, so try to find an area, and a place in that area, without much traffic (so, for example, avoid spawn points by the road).  Triple spawn points are common, usually consisting of two ore and an herb.  Look for an herb that sells for more than typical on the AH.  Briarthorn, goldthorn, and fool’s cap are good examples of this.

Now, you are going to camp out this triple spawn point while you either alternate between the other toons on the server (doing the same thing), or while you are doing something else on the computer.  Herbs and ore respawn every 3-7 minutes (I don’t know this for a fact, but it’s been my impression).  So every few minutes log back in, pick the herb, mine the ore, and log out. Defend yourself if attacked, but don’t kill anything in offense.  You will earn the equivalent of 6 mobs each time you do this (since you’re on rested XP).  Of course, make sure you are in an area where the herbs and ore are actually giving you a good amount of XP.  If you’re not getting much XP from the herbs, move to a higher level area.

Once you’ve gone through your rested XP, return to the capital city, put your wares on the AH at 10-30% below the lowest price, and start the process over again.  Do the cooking and fishing quests each day while rested XP stacks up, venture out, camp out the triple spawn site, return to capital city.  You will be amazed by how quickly you level by doing next to nothing and investing very little time.  You can level multiple toons on a server by cycling through them.  They don’t have to be on the same server, but if they are, you can consolidate your gold, which you should be earning in large quantities from all those herbs and the ore.

At the end of each day return to an inn or capital city to rack up more rested XP.  Never remain camped out overnight.

As for why people in the USA should pick oceanic servers: the daily quests will reset during daylight hours, so if you happened to have skipped the fishing and cooking quests from the day before, you can do the quests twice in one “day,” morning and night.  Also, I’ve found that players on Oceanic servers are less disgusting, rude, and stupid than those on USA servers, which is an added plus.

For anyone who is interested, here are my two previous posts, 1 and 2, on gold farming for casual players.

Homemade Croissants

croissants

No longer do you need to be enslaved to the patisserie down the street.  With this inexpensive, simple (if somewhat tedious) recipe, you can create your own fluffy, flaky, delectable croissants.  Even better, you get to eat them warm.  My picky kids devour these croissants like locusts.

Just a note before you begin: you will need a dough scraper (only $1.95, buy a few!), a pastry brush, and a good quality yeast.  As  I mentioned in the pizza dough recipe, we only use SAF gold, available from King Arthur Flour.  Buying it by the pound is much cheaper than buying packets at the grocery store, not to mention those packets tend to be a poor quality yeast anyway.

2 tsp yeast
3 tbs warm water
1 tsp sugar

2/3 cup warm milk
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp sugar

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened but NOT melted

for egg wash:
1 egg
2 tbs water

Before you begin, make sure that your butter is at the right consistency and temperature.  It should be softened but not melted.  If you warm up the butter in the microwave and it melts, don’t panic; just let it sit at room temperature for a while.  However, you don’t want it to be chilled.  It should look like the butter below:

butter

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp yeast, 3 tbs warm water, and 1 tsp sugar.  It should bubble and be frothy after a few minutes.

proof

Meanwhile, warm up your 2/3 cup milk (warm but not hot to the touch), and whisk in 2 tbs vegetable oil and 2 tsp sugar.

liquid

Add the milk mixture to the yeast mixture and whisk.

liquid 2

Add the 2 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 tsp salt; knead with the dough hook until it forms a cohesive mass.  The dough should not be too sticky.  If it is sticky (as pictured below) add one more tbs of flour.

too wet

As you can see, that 1 tbs of flour did the trick.

plus1tbsflour

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a rectangle.

rectangle

It should be between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick, as illustrated by comparison to my daughter’s fingertip.  The rectangle should be roughly 9 X 12 inches but it doesn’t have to be exact.

thickness

Now take your butter and smear it on the top two thirds of the dough.  I went a little overboard here, but just make sure you leave a section butter-free at the bottom, and leave a slight margin around the edges.

butter2

Fold up that third at the bottom over the middle third.

first fold

Fold the top third down.

second fold

Press the dough down slightly, but don’t roll it out.

flattened

Now, fold in thirds again, being careful to scrape any butter that oozed out back onto the dough  It doesn’t matter which third you fold first, just fold it into thirds and press it down slightly again.

flattened2

flattened3

Place in a plastic bag,

bag

and put it in the fridge for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the dough from the fridge, and once again roll it out into a rectangle the same size as you did before.  Again, fold up the bottom third, and fold down the top third.

secondroll

secondroll2

Turn the dough 90 degrees, and roll it out slightly.  This second roll doesn’t have to be as thorough as the first, but you need to roll it out sufficiently such that it can be folded into thirds yet again.  Fold up the bottom third, fold down the top third,

secondroll3

… and put back in the plastic bag, and in the fridge for another 2 hours.

After the second 2 hours round in the fridge, the pressure rises a bit  You need to work fast because you want the dough to remain slightly chilled as it goes into the oven.  Of course, you could always shape the croissants, cover with dish towels, and but them back in the fridge, but you’ve already waited 4 hours for those warm croissants!

Preheat oven to 475F with the rack in the top slot.  Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Remove the dough and once again roll out into a rectangle of roughly 1/8-1/4 thickness.  Slice this in half widthwise (assuming a short side of the rectangle is facing you) and put one half back in the fridge.  Roll out the remaining half as thin as you can, but keeping the shape of a rectangle.  Cut this rectangle into thirds (again, cutting the narrow length) and then cut each third diagonally into 2 triangles.  So you’ve just made 6 triangles.  It may sound complicated, but I promise it’s not.

croissant triangles

Now take each triangle and roll them up starting at the wide side down to the point.  Place them point side down on the cookie sheet; you can stretch a little as you roll and turn the crescents in slightly for a classically “croissant” shape (I don’t bother with this, too much hassle!).  Keep working quickly, and repeat the process with the other half of dough.

Now prepare the wash.  Whisk one egg together with 2 tbs water, and with a pastry brush, brush over each croissant.  Here’s on old trick from making challah: after you’ve “painted” each croissant, wait a minute or two, and brush the wash over again. This makes for a glossier finish.

croissant wash

By this point the oven should be hot, so pop them in on the top rack.

Cook at 475F for 6 minutes, then lower the temp to 375F and cook for 5-6 more minutes.  Let cool before eating!  My girls love to slather these with cream cheese.

plate

On My Hair

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when I was still in my 20s, I heard the adage that no woman over 40 should have long hair.  Apparently this is a fashion faux pas that will make the saints of fashion march down from heaven to exact justice upon your sinful, over-40 head.

I’ve had long hair since I was 15 years old.  Once, in my late teens, I had it all chopped off, but let it grow out after that and haven’t had it short since.  These days I trim it once or twice a year with a pair of kitchen scissors.  But with my 40th birthday approaching, what shall become of my long, luscious (well not that luscious, but let me pretend) locks?

Honestly I don’t plan to give up a single strand of this hair, and I don’t plan to give up a single centimeter of length.  In fact I may even abandon the occasional trimming, or cut it down to once every other year.  I’m bitterly clinging to this head of hair.  There might not be much left of it when the grim reaper arrives, but at least it won’t have gone the way of the dodo by my own hands.

longhair

Exhibit 1: my hair.

So why aren’t old ladies such as myself allowed to keep their long hair?  I’ve read various arguments– it’s not flattering, it looks dated (to when?  1970?), it’s just… just… offensive to see anyone but a nubile sylph with long hair.  Sorry but it doesn’t fly with me.  Personally, I think the no-long-hair brigade is led by beauty salons: if women grow their hair long, they don’t need to get it cut as often.  I haven’t been to a salon in more than a decade.

The main (mane?) challenge with long hair is that it should not be washed frequently.  This usually means you have one day of beautiful looking hair (the day you washed it), followed by a day or two, or three if you’re brave, of not so great looking hair.  If you wash long hair on a daily basis, it becomes brittle and dry toward the ends.  I stick to every other day (and yes, I do bathe otherwise, I just don’t wash my hair), but occasionally venture into every third day.  You should also be careful to comb or brush your hair every day, to distribute the oils from your scalp over the length of the hair.  Also avoid any chemicals (including straightening and perms), dyes, and heat (like crimping or curling).  If you must dye to cover grey, do it as sparingly as possible.

 

More on Gold Farming

In my previous post on gold farming, I explained my simple method for earning gold on WoW (100% legal of course).  While I’m sure there are hardcore players earning more than I do, my method requires very little time commitment or skill.  To put this in perspective, I’ve earned just under 148,000 gold on my main (level 90).  I don’t know if this is, indeed, a huge amount of gold, but I’ve encountered any number of high level players who lack funds for basic things like flight training, and when I occasionally compare achievements with random players, I’ve never found anyone with a higher earning.  The 148,000 gold is on a death knight, so represents only 40 levels of earning (most on rested XP), though in general, there is a trajectory in level with the ability to put higher priced items on the AH (auction house).

As an experiment I decided to go against my own advice, and try out my gold earning chances on a full/locked PVP server as horde.  This goes against three of my basic rules– to avoid full/ locked or PVP servers (because you waste time getting ganked), and to play alliance (alliance auction houses are always stronger for some reason).  What I found surprised me.  By level 35– most of this on rested XP– I’ve earned 5,100 gold, most of that between levels 20-35.  This was with very casual play (30-45 minutes a day) and to be honest I wasn’t even trying very hard.  I do waste time getting killed, but I find if I stick to quiet corners, other players leave me alone.  There is a LOT of gathering competition on the full/ locked servers, so if you are going to play on one, have skinning as your secondary profession.

I don’t understand the price fluctuations on this AH (horde/ Illidian).  On the medium to high/ normal/ alliance AH, prices remain steady for months, sometimes spiking around in-game holidays. But on this server there are wild fluctuations in prices, sometimes by as much as 300% in a single day.  There probably is an opportunity here to buy low/ sell high, but the fluctuations are so random I don’t see how I could “play” them without some kind of bot, or staying logged in all day scanning prices.

There is probably some very specific supply/ demand critical mass point where the prices will spike (and actually be purchased at the high prices) but I don’t see how your average player could predict these spikes without access to server and player data that the general public couldn’t know– like data on AH searches.  So I still would advise against trying to play the AH like the stock market.

I don’t use auctioneer and would generally advise against it.  People will intentionally manipulate auctioneer with their AH pricing, which will leave you misinformed on what really is selling and at what prices.  I find it’s better to manually scan prices, going through AH categories, to identify easy-to-obtain items that are in demand.

So in closing, if you want to earn a lot of gold on WoW, follow all my suggestions in the previous post, and always have it in your mind that you’re playing the game to find items for the AH.  You can still quest if you enjoy it, but let it be a secondary endeavor.  Focus on cooking items, cloth, leather, and herbs, but also scan the AH categories for any other items that might be of value.  And always undercut the lowest price by 10-30%.

Selling pets doesn’t work anymore, and recipes don’t sell much anymore either.  I think the same people have been playing for so long, that they already have every pet and recipe possible.  Anyway, pets bind to accounts these days, so you don’t need to buy a new copy of the same pet for each character.  Too bad for the AH players.  I used to make a killing on pets.

Vegan Broth

veggiebroth7

I have no beef with meat eaters, but this veggie broth really is better than meat broth.  As for why, I have my theories, the primary one being that with veggie broth the solids can be ground up and and wrung out (or juiced), which can’t be done with bones.  I guess you could grind up bones with the right equipment, but that would probably taste gross.

The problem with most veggie broths is that they taste like watery nothing.  I’ve tasted some packaged veggie broths that were downright disgusting, and I’ve seen veggie broth recipes calling for “frozen vegetable scraps…” (shudder).  Anything made with frozen vegetable scraps is probably going to taste like… frozen vegetable scraps.

This veggie broth is rich, hearty, and I’ve noticed that when I use it in soups, it thickens slightly, which adds a wonderful and tasty texture even to the simplest soups.  Do not skip the last step of juicing/ wringing out the vegetable solids!  90% of the flavor is in those solids, so don’t just strain the broth and toss the solids!

veggiebroth1

Dramatis Personae

Collect the following ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5-6 celery stalks, cleaned and chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled, cleaned and chopped
1 head garlic, separated but not peeled
4-5 medium onions peeled, ends trimmed, and chopped
28 oz can tomatoes (can be puree, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, etc.)
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

Place the olive oil, celery, carrots, garlic cloves, and onions in a large pan.

veggiebroth2

Let the slaughter begin!

Saute them until they are caramelized– this will take about 30 minutes on medium high heat.  Stir occasionally and don’t let them burn.

veggiebroth3

Caramelized but not burnt (except for that carrot chunk).

When they are nicely browned, place them in your slow cooker.  Add the tomatoes, dried herbs, salt, peppercorns, and enough water so that there is an inch of clearance at the top of the pot.

veggiebroth4

Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 12 hours.

Once done, allow the contents to cool.  You will have to handle them directly, so make sure they are cool, or at least warm, to the touch.  Scoop out the solids with a slotted spoon and place them in reserve in a bowl.  Strain what is left in the slow cooker into any large container (I usually use a big cooking pot); add any solids to the reserve you have already set aside.

veggiebroth5

If you have a juicer, simply put these solids through the juicer and return the “juice” to the broth in the large container.  You can run the solids through a few times to get out all the juice.

veggiebroth6

See that stuff on the left?  It’s worth its weight in gold.

If you don’t have a juicer, puree all the solids in a food processor.  The wring them out through an old t-shirt or dish towel (I never find cheese cloth to work well for this, so I don’t recommend using it).  Wet the towel first so it doesn’t absorb all the juice.

If you don’t have a food processor, just wring out the solids as best you can through the t-shirt or dish towel, and return the “juice” to the broth.

Whisk in the vegetable juices, and your broth is ready to be used for soup, or stored in the freezer.  This broth makes a delicious base for both vegetable and meat soups.

veggiebroth8

I typically store veggie broth in an air-tight container, up to three days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Mopping Floors

Note: don’t try this on wooden floors, which are not supposed to get wet.

Depending on how much floor area you need to clean, place bath towels on the floor.  If you’re a natural organic type, mix up your earth friendly floor cleaner.  If you’re like me and think all that natural stuff is a marketing scam, mix up your generic pine sol and neatly pour it on the towel until it’s completely saturated and very wet, but not dripping water all over the place.  Then let is sit there for 5-10 minutes while you eat a cookie and contemplate life.  If you have a 19 month old, let him or her crawl around on the sopping wet towels.  They’ll think it’s great fun.  You can also step on the towels here and there to squish them against the floor.

floors

After the allotted time, pick up the towel and move it to the next section of the floor. Quickly take a dry rag and wipe clean the area where the towel had been.  Any dried up gunk and grime should come up effortlessly.  And there you go.  Who needs mops?