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Good Morning GUSprespringers!!  This past week has been high drama -- because first I saw G. Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan in the Village in NYC.  It was performed by four actors in the small Lynn Redgrave Theater.  The acting group is called Bedlam -- and let me tell you, that's what the whole thing would be if I were involved.  The same four were rotating Saint Joan with Hamlet.  That's a zillion parts and 26 megamagillian lines to learn.  Tremendous.  

And then we had overall theater here at DKos.  Folks entering and exiting both stage left and right.  I was thinking about why we work as a group.  And please, don't look for anything profound.  We make it here because even if there is a mini crisis, we don't make it full blown war.  We have differences of opinions on ways to quit, what aids we need and what "failure" means.  What holds us together is that when one of our opinions hurts another -- we feel it.  We want to make it better because this place is an anchor.

That doesn't mean we have to change our minds.  It just means we remember our fundamental kindness and desire to continue our mission which is quitting and helping others to quit.  I think that's also the reason we aren't a registered group.  We are sort of like Gary Larson's amoeba families!  We can go with the flow.

We work as individuals because we comprehend our addiction, know that we are flawed and it is impossible for us to feel superior to anyone else. Whether we've quit for 25 years or 25 hours, we remain vulnerable.  And that's why GUS works.  We work.

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!

I made this tea for my sister without the sugar but I bet it is good sweetened.  It is also quite calming during a storm.

Chai Tea

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups water
1 whole star anise
1 stick cinnamon
4 cardamom pods, cracked
4-5 black tea bags, or ¼ cup loose black tea
2 cups whole milk or half-n-half
¼ cup sugar

Directions:

Press the cardamom pods until they crack. Bring the water, tea, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom to a boil.

Boil for 3-5 minutes until the tea is black and has reduced to about 2 cups. Strain and add the sugar. Add the milk and stir until hot.

Place the used cardamom pods in the bottom of the cups for good friends.

Makes 4 American-sized servings or 12+ Indian-sized servings

.
Roasted Fennel With Parmesan

Ingredients

2 large fennel bulbs
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stems of the fennel and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, slice the bulb vertically into 1/2-inch-thick slices, cutting right through the core. Spread the fennel slices on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands.

Roast the fennel slices for about 1 hour, turning them once after 30 minutes, until the edges are crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and cover with Parmesan shavings. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole cloves
One 1-inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt
1 pound mild Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper

Ricotta Filling:

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup mango chutney  ( don't think I'll use the chutney)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 package wonton wrappers (at least 48)
12 whole small fresh basil leaves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the meat sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the whole cloves and cinnamon stick, and remove after a few minutes. Add the garlic and onions, sprinkle with a little salt and saute until softened but not browned.

Add the sausage, breaking up the clumps with your spoon. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, as well as some salt and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Allow the meat sauce to cool, about 15 minutes, before building lasagna cupcakes. As the meat sauce is cooking, prepare the ricotta filling.

For the ricotta filling: Stir together the mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta and mango chutney. Season with salt and lots of pepper, about a teaspoon, and set aside.

To assemble the cupcakes: Pull out your favorite cupcake pan. If your pan is not nonstick, spray the cups with cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each cup. Don't worry if you're using square ones.

Drop about 1 teaspoon of meat sauce into the bottom of each cup. Then add 1 teaspoon of ricotta filling. Then cover with another wonton wrapper, rotating it about 90-degrees so that the corners of the first wrapper and the second wrapper aren't right on top of each other. Repeat this until you've built three layers total. Top each with a small basil leaf, then another wonton wrapper. Finish each cupcake with a spoonful of meat sauce, a little shredded mozzarella and pinch of grated Parmesan.

Pop them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. When time's up, resist the temptation to eat them right away or else you'll burn your mouth! Let them rest on the counter for about 10 minutes, and they should slip out of the muffin tin easily. Top with more shredded basil if you like.

And the latest updated Buddy List by Mr. Amazing, anodnhajo!!!!  (3/15/14)

1BQ, 2thanks, 3rdGenFeminist, 417els, A Man Called Gloom, Abra Crabcakeya, Actbriniel, addisnana, AfroPonix, aishmael, Alise, Alpha99, also mom of 5, ambeeeant, American in Kathmandu, amk for obama, andsarahtoo, angry marmot, Anne933, anodnhajo, aoeu, AoT, aquarius2001, arcadesproject, Archie2227, arodb, Arthur Wolf (in memoriam), assyrian64, Aunt Acid, awkawk, b4uknowit, BadKitties, bamablue, BARAKABETH, barnowl, b barrie, bdizz, beatpanda, beefydaddy18, betterdemsonly, BFSkinner, bgblcklab1, BigAlinWashSt, Bike Crash, BirderWitch, BJKay, bleeding heart, blingbling65, blue husky, Blue Intrigue, bluedust, BluejayRN, BlueJessamine, BlueMississippi, Bluerall, bluestatedem84, BoiseBlue, boudi08, Brahman Colorado, breedlovinit, BrenP, BrianParker14, Bronxist, broths, BrowniesAreGood, bsmechanic, Buckeye Nut Schell, buddabelly, Bugsydarlin, bumbi, BusyinCA, cactusgal, cagernant, Carol in San Antonio, CathiefromCanada, CathodeRay, CDH in Brooklyn, Cedwyn, cee4, Cen Den, ChocolateChris, ChurchofBruce, ciganka, cinnamondog, citizenx, ClapClapSnap, claude, Cleante, Code Monkey, codobus, Coldblue Steele, Colorado is the Shiznit, coloradomomma, common green, commonmass, Common Sense Mainer, congenitalefty, coppercelt, CwV, dadanation, Damnit Janet, dangoch, DarienComp, dauber, Dauphin, Dave in AZ, Dave in Northridge, David54, deedogg, demkat620, Dexter, Diana in NoVa, Dickie, DiegoUK, Dingodude, dirtdude, distraught, djMikulec, docreed2003, dolfin66, donnamarie, Donna O, dotsright, Dr Teeth, Dreggas, DRo, droogie6655321, Dube, duckhunter, Eclectablog, Eddie C, EdgedInBlue, edr, effervescent, elbamash, El barragas, el vasco, electricgrendel, entrelac, ericlewis0, Everest42, Ex Con, exlrrp, ExpatGirl, ezdidit, fat old man, fauve, fhamme, Fineena, fiona2, fishhawk, Flea, flumptytail, Friend of the court, fritzi56, FrugalGranny, Garrett, Gator, gchaucer2, GDbot, Geiiga, GenXangster, glpaul, gooderservice, gooners, Gordon20024, gravlax, GreenMountainBoy02 (in memoriam), greylox, grndrush (in memoriam), GrumpyWarriorPoet, GuerillaLiberal, GulfExpat, gzodik, Haole in Hawaii, HappyinNM, henlesloop, here4tehbeer, HeyMikey, hideinplainsight, High Tide, hiliner68, history first, hold tight, Homers24, Hugh Jim Bissell, hulibow, I love OCD, I said GOOD DAY sir, Im a frayed knot, imisa, Indexer, indubitably, indyada, Interceptor7, Inventor, Isaacsdad, ItsaMathJoke, itsbenj, Jahiz, James Earl, JamesEB, janl1776, Janeo, jarbyus, JayinPortland, jayjaybear, jbalazs, JBL55, jbou, Jeffersonian Democrat, jillwklausen, jmadlc55, jmonch, Joes Steven (aka Steven), john keats, john07801, johngoes, johnny wurster, jsfox, just another vet, JVolvo's Mom (in memoriam), jwinIL14, Kai99, kailuacaton, Kamakhya, kat herder, katchen, Kelly of PA, khloemi, Khun David, Kitsap River, kittania, kos, KrazyKitten, Kristina40, Ksholl, labwitchy, ladypockt, Lahdee, LamontCranston, langerdang, LarsThorwald, LA rupert, last starfighter, LaughingPlanet, Laurie Gator, Lava20, Leo in NJ, 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sunbro, Super Grover, susans, Syoho, tallmom, tarkangi, Tay, tdslf1, teknospaz, theatre goon, The Eyewitness Muse, The Technomancer, TheGeneral, TheStoopingRabbit, TigerMom, Tim DeLaney, tiredofcrap, TomP, tonyahky, Toyotabob7, TracieLynn, TreeFrog, triciawyse, tripodisblack, trs, trueblueliberal, TrueBlueMajority, ttanner, Tulsonian, Turn VABlue, Turtle Bay, Tyto Alba, uc booker, UncleCharlie, Unduna, Unforgiven, ursoklevar, USArmyParatrooper, VA02 femocrat, Vacationland, valadon, Vayle, vc2, Vetwife, vgranucci, Via Chicago, Village expects idiot home soon, viral, vulcangrrl, waytac, webranding, Wee Mama, weelzup, Wes Opinion, Whimsical Rapscallion, willy be frantic, willy mugobeer, Wood Dragon, wolfie1818, Wordsinthewind, Wreck Smurfy, x, xopher, yet another liberal, Zotz

Weekly GUS Diary Schedule (regular hosts featured in bold) is below.

Sun PM:  Open
Mon AM: anodnhajo
Mon PM: Open
Tue AM: gchaucer2
Tue PM:  Open
Wed AM: Open
Wed PM: flumptytail
Thu AM: nokkonwud
Thu PM: Vacationland
Fri AM: flumptytail
Fri PM: Open
Sat AM: paulitics
Sat PM: Open
Sun AM: gchaucer2

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