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Sunday, November 29, 2009

I, Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear or affirm to fundamentally change the United States of America

"I, Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Just so we have that straight. That's an oath, not above his pay grade, that he took. In public. Well, once in public, and once, correctly, in private. But it is a legally binding oath. So some might start to privately wonder just what he meant when he announced his intention to fundamentally change the United States of America. Preserve. Protect. Defend. Fundamentally change. It would pay to be wary of someone who can say both with a straight face. But it goes deeper than that. If he signs a piece of legislation entitling Congress to do something for which it has no constitutional authority, can he really say that he has preserved, protected and defended the constitution? And if he knowingly takes an action (by signing that legislation) that violates that oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, could the case be made that he commited perjury, thereby opening himself up for impeachment?

Just saying....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kate's Cooking: Simple and Quick Cookies


Following on from the last cooking column, today we will focus on economical cookies that are quick and easy to make and like the last column, most of the ingredients will likely be found in your everyday kitchen. Personally, I do not like to have a mug of coffee or a cup of tea without having something to eat and cookies that I can ‘dunk’ in the drink are great – it seems to bring out the flavor of the cookie (or biscuit in British countries). Younger folk might enjoy making these cookies – under adult supervision. Both of the recipes are great to put in school lunches, work lunches or pack up a few and take to the grandparents and friends if you are visiting. I just love to get homemade baking. Here then, are two recipes I found (and expanded on with my own experimentation in the case of the Crinkles), when I was living in Australia and they have become family favorites.


125gm (4oz.) butter or margarine
1/3rd cup sugar
1 egg
2/3rd cup sultanas
1 cup self-raising flour
2 cups lightly crushed cornflakes

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Fold in flour and sultanas and mix well. Drop small amounts (a large teaspoonful) of mix into cornflakes and roll lightly until coated. Placed on greased oven trays (baking sheets) allowing room for spreading. Bake in a moderate oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until nicely golden. Cool on wire racks.


125gm (4oz.) butter or margarine
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest)
1/3rd cup white sugar
1/3rd cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/3rd cup peanut butter
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Cream butter, vanilla, lemon rind, both sugars, peanut butter until well mixed. With a wooden spoon, work in flour and soda (which have been sifted together). The dough should be quite stiff. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls into balls with floured hands and placed on greased oven trays (baking sheets). Press cookie balls down with a floured fork, first one way then the opposite way or you might like to use an old fashioned potato masher as I do, to get the crinkled effect. Bake in a moderate oven for around 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid too much browning. Cool cookies on the oven trays and then lift them on to wire racks.

HINTS and THINGS – these will appear in the cooking column from time to time. We welcome any hints you might like to share.

I was watching a cooking show not so long ago and the following was an interesting idea to use up appleskins:

COATED APPLESKINS – cut or break the apple skins to a size you like. Coat with eggwhite and cardamom sugar. Bake in a 100 C. (250 F.) oven for a couple of hours or until crisp. They were used for snacks or drink decorations.

Until next time, happy cooking. Go safely out there.


Kate's Cooking: Boxty

(The logo for this column is a picture of a spice market in Provence, France)

Greetings. I am so pleased to be writing for House Abukoff. Where I currently reside it is getting cold and it is time to retreat inside and warm our small apartment by cooking fun things and experimenting. Cooking can be tough these days in hard economic times. Today I am talking about the very versatile vegetable – the potato. My heritage is largely Irish and the Irish have a long history of involvement with the potato. In these modern times there are many new varieties for us to use and more often than not you can find the basic white potato at a good price for those of us who are on tight budgets. If you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own in a traditional outside garden then that’s great! If you live in a small apartment you can also grow potatoes in a large bucket or planter of solid dirt that has a depth of at least 12 inches or 30cm. Sunny places by a back door or on a ledge or out on a patio are suitable. Plant about 3 or 4 medium sized seed potatoes that have sprouted (the number of potatoes depends on the size of the planter). Cover the potatoes with an inch or so of dirt. Your potatoes will break ground in a relatively short time and bring forth their stems and leaves, then flowers. When the flowers dry and fall off, you can have fun harvesting them. NOTE: if you are growing plants inside and have small children and / or animals in your home, keep an eye on them as the potato leaves etc. are poisonous. Most animals generally have a sixth sense about these things. The following is a great recipe from Ireland. I call it an economic recipe as most folk have the ingredients for it as part of their kitchen food items.


This is a traditional Irish dish. It has an interesting texture. I like to add some chopped spring (or green) onions, chopped chives and black pepper. Salt is optional.


1 cup each of – grated raw potatoes, mashed cooked potatoes and plain white flour.

* your own choice of seasonings
* chopped spring onions and/or chives
* ¼ cup of butter or margarine – add extra if you want but not too much

In a bowl mix all the ingredients well. Turn out onto a flat, floured surface. Knead a little and roll out like a cookie dough. Using a medium cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can. Melt extra butter or oil in a heavy based or non stick frypan and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot.

We like to have them for breakfast and sometimes add bacon to the platter. Personally I find Boxty good to serve with cold meat and salad for a nice lunch.

Happy cooking to you.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kate's Cooking

HOUSE ABUKOFF Features Division welcomes columnist Kate and her cooking ideas and hints. Kate welcomes emails from around the world. She is especially interested in ethnic cooking. Kate formerly wrote for a daily newspaper and did their cooking, travel, some political, environmental and kids corner work. Again, we welcome her into our family and hope that she will be with us for an extended stay as we expand our internet activities.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recession Depression Beaters

I wrote something quite a while ago about recession depression beaters.
Making up simple, free games at home. Like making a basketball hoop out of a
metal clothes hanger. Well, with my wife's help, I've created a card for us
to play. Pretty simple rules, mainly resulting in having to practice basic
math skills, preferably in your head. And again, it's simple and free.

If anyone reading this is curious, I'd be happy to pass on details. But I'd
also like to invite you to post, through the 'comment' feature, your own
recession depression beaters.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Highway Robbery

I was in the grocery store the other day when I saw a lady (and I use the term loosely) looking at a package of hotdogs that was like $1.49 or something like that. Now take note that this lady shows up to buy things
only in the first week of the month, using her "EBT" food stamp card. She saw the price, tossed it back in the wrong place, and said, derisively, "Highway robbery." And I'm thinking, "No, highway robbery is what you live on from the first of the month... to the first of the month." I didn't say it, because I would suddenly be a racist (to finish painting the picture), and probably get shot and/or arrested. The same person who on the first of the month buys only T-bone steaks and soda and potato chips, and by the last of the month is shoplifting. All the while tapping away on her i-phone. Lady, buy some ground beef and canned vegetables, and kool aid. Sell your i-phone. And if you think grocery prices are too high, stop stealing groceries. Stop taking perishable items from their section and dropping them somewhere else. Every time the store loses a product that they paid for because of your thoughtlessness, they lose money. When they lose too much money they're forced to raise prices. And then someone either steals it or destroys it. What you and people like you are doing is highway robbery.