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Good morning, GUSbuddies.  Yesterday was the first day since winter began (early) that I have been able to wash 2 loads of laundry in my wringer washer -- which is electric so that's modern.  It requires rolling the machine near the sink and looping the discharge tube thingy over the sink's edge and aim the end towards the sink.  Child's play, you say, until it is not because you forgot.

Then you fill, four or five times, a plastic tub full of warm water -- cold in the warm months -- and dump it in the tub.  Throw in the detergent, put on the lid, plug her in and switch to agitate.  Wish there were an off off switch because playing with the outlet is a pain with so much water around.  Then you run the clothes through the wringer into a basket and repeat the entire process again for a rinse.

That's the pain part but can be a bit like saying the rosary -- calming.  Of course I haven't said the rosary since my Dad's wake nine years ago.  After all that, I schelpp the basket of heavy damp clothes over to the back porch door, and proceed to spend 5 minutes trying to grab Roger the Cat and lock him out of the way.  He tends to jump up on the 2 inch railing and has fallen off once.  All of this is happening on the second floor -- my friend's apartment.

Ok, then, you have to hope you have enough clothespins and line and the hanging begins.  I wish I had one of those wire pants stretchers I remember from the olden days but I don't think I need them for jeans and sweat pants.  There's an order to hanging.  Heavy clothes first then lighter ones.  All similar things together like undies, socks, pjs, etc.  

The real pleasure comes when I begin to take everything down and fold.  I love sniffing them.  The combination of detergent, breeze and sun is like aroma therapy -- although, I've never actually had aroma therapy.

I hung out another load about 4 p.m. yesterday planning on leaving them on the line overnight and getting them down before the rain comes today.  Right now as I am typing, I am pretty sure they are frozen solid!  Even if they are damp, my friend set up a Hooverville camp in his living room where the heater is.  He strung line very cleverly so I can finish the clothes off inside if need be.

What does all of this have to do with ciggies?  Well, there is much pain and pleasure in quitting.  Everyone who has ever smoked knows the pain of deprivation.  It has happened to most of us when, in a panic, we realize we smoked the last one and the stores are closed or we are blizzarded in.  It is the bane of the first day of quit and several days afterward.  It is the knowledge that no matter how long you've quit, you could still light up again.

The pleasure is making through that first day and knowing you made through that first day.  The pleasure is adding up the days, then weeks, then months and years.  The pleasure is finding your taste buds and breath and stamina.  The biggest pleasure for me is having this group of amazing people who welcome, encourage, never judge (re: ciggies).  Youz guyz pull many of us through dark times and share the joy of good ones.  You are like the clothes line we pin ourselves to for light and air.

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!

In recent weeks I have been neurotically looking for healthy grain and veggie recipes on the toobz.  I have over 100 cookbooks and a few are brilliant on veggies but not grains like quinoa, amaranth, bulgar, barley, etc.  It is sort of become an obsession while I'm dieting.  I've lost 19.5 pounds so far and am shooting for 5 more.  No drinking is a huge factor but so is switching to more grains and veggies.  Here are a few of my favorites.  The first one I can taste by just reading it -- and do look at the links where provided because those are the ones with pictures.

The following recipe is from a website called 101 Cookbooks.  I stumbled on it and am thrilled to have found it.  There are loads of great recipes.

Double Broccoli Quinoa

3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream

Optional toppings: slivered basil, fire oil (optional)**, sliced avocado
crumbled feta or goat cheese

Heat the quinoa and set aside.

Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pest a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, a drizzle of the chile oil, and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.

Serves 4 - 6.

*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

**To make the red chile oil: You'll need 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. If you can, make the chile oil a day or so ahead of time by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan for a couple minutes - until it is about as hot as you would need it to saute some onions, but not so hot that it smokes or smells acrid or burned. Turn off the heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool, then store in refrigerator. Bring to room temp again before using.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min (after the quinoa is cooked)

This next recipe is from a new to me site called "Cooking Melangery."  It popped up while I was looking for whole grain Irish soda bread recipes.  The blogger is of Russian descent -- marvelous flapper picture of her.  The recipes are really out of this world.  I spent well over an hour going through them.  You can get to the site by clicking the link on the recipe below.  Click it anyway because the pictures are gorgeous.
Mushrooms With Sour Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh mushrooms, I suggest baby portabella mushrooms for this recipe (or wild frozen mushrooms, I found them in Russian supermarket)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic gloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup sour cream
shredded cheese
chopped fresh dill to serve

Directions:

Wash fresh mushrooms, dry them and break off stems. Slice in quarters.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add all the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onion and garlic. Low the heat and cover the pan, cook gently for about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper. Then add sour cream, stir well and heat for a few minutes but do not let mixture boil.

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Divide the mushroom mixture between two baking dishes. Top with cheese and season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake until browned on top, about 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with fresh dill and serve with you favorite bread and wine.

This recipe is the result of my reason for searching for recipes.  It looks yummy.  The site appears to be run by a woman who is married to a wealthy architect and all she does is food blog, travel around the world, take food courses and eat.  That's great -- I wish I could do it without the husband part.  A pen pal sugar daddy would be the answer.  She also has lovely recipes and pictures.  This recipe is from the earlier 101 Cookbooks but I didn't want to spend time trying to find it there.
Miracle Bread aka Oat Soda Bread

butter, to grease pan

2 cups rolled oats
2 1/4 cups flour (all purpose, rye or whole wheat)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1 3/4 cups / 415 ml buttermilk, plus more if needed, and 2T. for brushing (Or, if you are like me, and living in the land of no buttermilk, use 1 cup plain yogurt, and 3/4 cup milk)
mixed seeds - sesame, caraway, poppy, etc.

Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200 C, with rack in middle of oven.

Butter and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

To make oat flour, use a food processor to process into fine powder.

Mix flours, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and stir till it comes together. Transfer to counter, dusted with flour, and knead for just a bit more, about 30 seconds.

Shape it roughly into loaf shape and place it in the pan. Brush with milk, make a few deep slits across the top, and sprinkle with seeds.

Place in oven on middle rack. After 30 minutes, move the loaf to the top rack, and bake for about another 20 minutes.

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