Archive for April, 2009

Swine flu has made us map crazy all over again.

Check out all these maps tracking swine flu.  This vaguely reminds me of the obsessive up to the minute maps of the ’08 Presidential Election.  I can’t help but keep updating.


Amish Friendship Bread


This was THE LONGEST PREP TIME FOR A RECIPE EVER. Fortunately, I received a pre-made starter from a friend that was already 3 days into the 10 day prep. And I STILL think it was the longest time ever.  Was it worth it?  I’d say so. The bread is incredibly moist and sweet, and the texture and depth is nothing like the quickbreads I usually make.  I actually lost count how many days in I was, and some days I even forgot I had the starter. Luckily it all turned out really well, and I was even asked for the recipe.  Amish Friendship bread is like a food chain letter, you make a bread starter and pass it along to 3 friends, and they pass it onto 3 friends, and so on.  Does anything bad happen when you DON’T pass it to friends?  I have yet to find out…

* If you wish to not pass it along to friends and want the correct measurments for 1 batch, do the math yourself.  It was hard enough for me to do it, luckily I have a human calculator for a husband.

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

*Do not use metal bowl or utensils



  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110°F)



1.      In small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.

2.      In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add milk.

3.      Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Place mixture in gallon size zip-lock bag.  Consider this day 1 of the cycle.



Mounds Amish Friendship Bread – makes 2 loaves


Day 1 – Do nothing

Day 2 – Squeeze the bag

Day 3 – Squeeze the bag

Day 4 – Squeeze the bag

Day 5 – Add 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk

Day 6 – Squeeze the bag

Day 7 – Squeeze the bag

Day 8 – Squeeze the bag

Day 9 – Squeeze the bag

Day 10 – Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Divide into 4 1-gallon zip-lock bags, with 1 cup each for 3 of your friends and 1 cup for your own loaves. Give to friends with instructions for Day 1 to Day 10.


After removing the 3 cups of batter, combine the remaining cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter with the following ingredients in a large bowl.



  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 5.1oz. box of chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup coconut flakes



1)     Stir all ingredients by hand until well blended.

2)     Grease and lightly flour 2 loaf pans.

3)     Bake at 325°F for 1 hour (individual oven temps may vary). Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans.

shut up and eat!

Why do people point to every friggin dish at a buffet and ask, what’s this? What’s that?  It’s a buffet. They aren’t going to charge you more for trying something. Just put it on your plate and move on. And if you don’t know what fried chicken is by looking at it…you’ve been living in a bubble.  There’s also a label on the sneeze guard, jackass.



 This is my husband’s recipe for guacamole.  It’s his prized recipe.  I’m exploiting it.  He’s not Mexican, but it’s better than guacamole from Mexico.  Everyone loves it, including Mexicans.  We eat bowls and bowls of it. It’s wonderful.  Serves 6.


  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 8 oz. Jack’s Special Salsa (whatever flavor you wish, we use mild or medium)
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt


  1. In food processor, blend avocados, salsa, and onion together.  Pour into bowl.
  2. Stir in lime juice, and add salt to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips.

* Guacamole will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if well sealed in container.

Swine Flu – “…deaths could be from healthy people who have a healthy, robust immune system that overreacts.”


Instead of reading the 1000 articles about swine flu that say the same thing in different ways, try these sites below, which actually provide facts: – Center for Disease Control and Prevention – World Health Organization

I just watched a small clip on CNN about their poll of how many Americans would delay travel to Mexico or continue their plans to Mexico. And how only 2% would cancel/delay, and something like 38% would go forward with their plans.  I hate these polls.  They don’t make sense.  What percentage were actually going to Mexico?  

Anyway, one major difference between a regular flu and the swine flu is that the swine flu seems to kill healthy people with strong immune systems between ages 20-45, while regular flu will have more fatalities in the elderly or extremely young. One hypothesis is that this strain of swine flu (a combination of human/swine/bird flu) makes healthy peoples’ immune systems attack themselves trying to fight the virus off. This is also the same age group hit in the 1918 flu pandemic.

So why is the swine flu hitting Mexico harder?  1) It could just be timing.  Maybe the flu hasn’t been in other countries long enough to be severe.  2) Healthy young people didn’t get treatment quickly enough, thinking they can recover on their own . 3) Maybe people in Mexico are fighting off other bacterium in their bodies, and their immune systems went crazy trying to fight off too many different things.

We shouldn’t think we have more mild cases in the US than Mexico. When the flu is transmitted from person to person, the virus gets more complex each time, and that could mean it can get more severe. The flu doesn’t get more diluted from person to person. There are too many reasons why Mexico seems to be hit harder than the other infected countries.

The number of people reported of testing positive for swine flu looks like it’s decreasing in Mexico, but that’s only because hospitals are rushed to provide treatment and don’t have time to go through days of testing.  People with the flu might not have days left, so they are provided pills and rushed out of the hospitals.  They don’t have any time to document every single case.  And how many of the 2,000 documented infected people are mild or severe? The numbers of fatalities, documented cases, etc. will keep increasing, but we don’t know how.

Scientists are also seeing the resemblance between the 1918 Spanish flu to the swine flu. The CDC has an article about the 1918 pandemic if you’re interested.  And during the 1918 pandemic, the first wave was mild, followed by a more deadly second wave.  Just because it’s mild now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take precautions.

Also, the number is always going to be wayyyy off on how many cases there are.  For example, the first 8 cases were in a school in Queens.  Those 8 kids were the ones who stayed after school to get tested.  It was a friday afternoon, and the other 100 or so kids complaining of symptoms went home for the weekend, infecting their siblings who took the flu to their schools, infecting the parents who went to work, and so on. It also takes days to test for swine flu. By the end of the week, hundreds or thousands will have it.  So will closing our borders make any difference?  It didn’t just start last week.  This could have been going on for a month or so here, and even longer in Mexico.

The CDC and WHO also said that you cannot get the virus from eating pork.  It isn’t transmitted that way.  So slaughtering all the pigs in your country is just plain murder.  The name swine flu is misleading in that sense.  Just like the name Spanish flu.  It was only named the Spanish flu in 1918 because Spain was the first country to provide the most media coverage on the pandemic.  The name swine flu doesn’t mean eating pork gives you the flu.

Wash your hands. Carry hand sanitzer or wipes. Don’t share food or drinks with sick people. Stay away from work or school if you’re sick. These are all common sense rules I wish people would normally follow to begin with. 

And if you do get the flu, get treatment, especially within 48 hours.  My husband is a scientist in the field, which is why I felt the need to write all this. He thinks a pandemic is inevitable, given all the facts. He insists on getting treatment within 48 hours to prevent the flu from getting severe in case it has the strength to be fatal. Healthy people between ages 20-45 shouldn’t think they are healthy enough to fight it off without treatment.

Cheese from breast milk?!

Crock Pot Turkey Chili


An easy recipe for the crock pot.  Dinner cooks itself while you’re at work. Serves 8.


  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 14 oz. cans kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 oz. jalepenos, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder

Add extra jalepenos or hot sauce according to your taste.


  1. In skillet on medium high, cook ground turkey and onion until meat is done.  Put into crock pot.
  2. Mix rest of ingredients into crock pot.
  3. Simmer on high for 6-8 hours.