Good morning GUSnurturers!  Beautiful day here unlike out yonder in Denver area where feets and feets of snow is forecast!!!  Yikes!  Stay safe out there.  The sun is shining, birds are singing and Roger the Cat is monitoring the neighborhood through the kitchen window.  

Happy Hallmark's Cash Cow Day!  What pure genius.  It isn't as if we don't have enough in our daily lives to crank up the old guilt machine.  Oh, no.  We have to add remembering to buy that $5.95 saccharine card which has some sentiment you'd never actually say with your mouth to your Mom.  My mom has long since given up hope that I will actually remember a card but I do call.  

My Mom never smoked but she lived almost 60 years with a smoker.  A good part of those decades involved being exposed to second hand smoke indoors.  Once my parents moved to Southern California, she demanded my Dad and the rest of us take our nasty habits outdoors.  No suffering there, her yard is like a park and there's a bar on the patio!

I believe her not having smoked has allowed her to remain tremendously active and social at the age of 88.  She said one of the best gifts I've given was my quitting smoking and still quit after two years, three months and four days.  That's a damned site better tribute to a parent, child, spouse than supporting Hallmark.

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

  You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!

Yesterday I decided to pull out the sewing machine that has been buried in a closet.  It is quite the powerhouse.  My former domestic partner current opera buddy's Mom gave it to me back in the '80s.  I don't think she used it more than once.  It is a top of the line Viking from the late '70s.  It cost $1200 back then -- about $4100 in today's dollars!!  It is all metal like my first machine, a White, which I have to my sister and she wants to return.  

Ok, what to sew?  I pull out the bin of long abandoned projects and removed the quilt top my Mom started.  It is a Southwest design cross stitch.  Thankfully she did about half of the blocks.  So, I'm cross stitching and sewing blocks together.  Not sure what I'll do with it other than a project because the block fabric is white and it would be a complete mess in a day with cat hair and other schmutz that blows through the screen.  

Next project is to build a quilt frame so I can actually quilt the darned thing.  So many projects, so little time.  At least I feel connected to two Moms through something creative.  

Broccoli and Cheese Tartine


1/2 head of broccoli, florets trimmed
Olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
2 slices of sourdough bread
Red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a small, parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the florets of broccoli. Toss them with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven to roast for 15 minutes, just until they're bright green in color. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted, pour in the flour and mix until a paste forms. Cook the flour/butter mixture for about a minute, stirring the entire time. Pour in the milk and whisk vigorously.Stir in the minced garlic and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in 3/4 cup of the grated Gruyere cheese, along with salt to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt) and a few pinches of black pepper.

To assemble the tartines, place slices of bread on a baking sheet. Divide the broccoli between the bread. Spoon a few tablespoons the béchamel sauce over the broccoli and top with a handful of Gruyere. Sprinkle the tops with a few pinches of red pepper flakes. Place the tartines under the broiler (being sure to watch them the entire time!) and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Spring Radish Salad


1 bunch of red radishes, about 1 1/2 cups finely chopped (choose a variety that suits your taste)
1/2 bunch of parsley, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of pepper
2 pinches of salt


Wash the radishes and remove the stems and any long roots. Finely cube the radishes into tiny pieces.

Wash the parsley and gently shake it or pat it dry. Finely mince the parsley.

Place the cubed radishes and minced parsley in a small salad bowl.

Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss gently.

Add the olive oil and toss again.

Taste the salad and make adjustments to your liking. (I sometimes add a little bit more lemon juice and salt).

Vegan Lentil Cauliflower Tacos

1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup dried lentils (or substitute 1 cup cooked or canned drained lentils)
1/4 cup + 2 tsp grapeseed oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 - 2 1/4 lbs cauliflower florets, cut into small bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp water
Corn tortillas or taco shells (use vegan tortillas or taco shells for vegan, or gluten free to make GF)


Diced tomatoes
Fresh cilantro
Sliced jalapeño peppers
Sour cream or Greek yogurt (use vegan sour cream for vegan)

To prepare dried lentils: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tsp grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the lentils and toss to coat.

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. If using canned or pre-cooked lentils, do not prepare them, simply reserve them and the minced garlic.

To make the taco filling: Heat 1/4 cup grapeseed oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cumin, turmeric, salt and cinnamon and heat until fragrant. If you're using canned or cooked lentils, go ahead and heat up the minced garlic here along with the spices.

Add the cauliflower and sauté until lightly colored

Add the cooked lentils and 3 tbsp water. Stir to combine, then cover and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve the warm vegetable mixture in warm corn tortillas or taco shells and top with your favorite taco toppings (suggestions above).

Rhubarb Rosewater Margarita

1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) tequila (if gluten free make sure it's certified GF)
1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) rhubarb syrup - click here for recipe
1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) freshly squeezed lemon juice (or substitute lime juice)
Scant 1/2 tsp rose water
Sea salt or margarita salt (optional garnish)
Lemon wheel (optional garnish)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, rhubarb syrup, lemon juice and rose water. Shake well. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass, rimmed with salt if desired. Garnish with lime or lemon wheel.

Texas Mothers' Day Cocktail

1 can cold Colt 45
4 martini glasses
1 bowie knife

Remove bowie knife from the sheathe on your belt.  Slide blade under flip top tab.  Carefully draw tab upwards and then remove fully from the can.  Divide the Colt 45 among the martini glasses and garnish with . . . . never mind . . . . repeat if necessary.

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