gluten-free clementine cake + thoughts on a decade of working in professional kitchens.

Wow this looks soo good!

No Thyme to Waste


Today I write in a more serious manner, on a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Something I hate to love, and love to hate: what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen.

Crisp breezes and consecutive days at 15 C here in Toronto are reminding us that our long awaited summer is slowly vanishing. It’s only mid-August, but I think we’ve all accepted that we haven’t had much of a summer this year and it’s not about to surprise us with a return anytime soon. As I think about the arrival of autumn and the dreaded winter that seems to come so quickly after it, I’m also reminded that 2014 itself will disappear with the rapid changing of seasons. Another year passed. As I get older I sense each year passing faster than the last. Now I know what my parents and grandparents meant when they said time speeds up as…

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Stop the Spread of Psychopathy—End Hunting and Trapping

A thought provoking article from last year, deserves another run…

Exposing the Big Game

In light of the rise in violent crime, many have pondered the question: “How do I know if my neighbor is a psychopathic serial killer?” Well, unfortunately, it’s not easy. Unless of course you happen to live in any number of rural areas across the country where hunters are required to wear blaze orange—then the psychopathic serial killers stand out like a bunch of sore thumbs.

Okay, so maybe it’s a bit hyperbolic to compare hunters to serial killers. Yes, they both obsess on and stalk their victims, whom they objectify and depersonalize in their single-minded quest to boost their self-esteem, and the kills made by both hunters and serial killers are followed by a cooling off period, but serial killing usually has a sexual component to it.

Let’s hope hunters aren’t literally getting off on their exploits.

Maybe a better comparison for a hunter would be to a mass…

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USFWS Plan to Delist Gray Wolf – Unsound Science

USFWS Plan to Delist Gray Wolf - Unsound Science

Due to public outcry and the scientific controversy surrounding the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) proposal to remove the Gray Wolf from the endangered species (ESA) list, the Service commissioned the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to conduct an unbiased study to clarify disputed issues. USFWS conducted an internal study in 2012 whose findings led them to propose the delisting. NCEAS panel of experts found that the study was based strongly on a single publication which is considered to be preliminary and not generally accepted by the scientific community. The panel recommended that a more comprehensive study based on recent data should be considered before making a decision.

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The Eukaryote in All of Us

Ed Yong is an award winning British science writer, journalist and blogger who gets to the heart of discussions on the most important ideas in science today. His recent article The Unique Merger That Made You (and Ewe, and Yew) is a made for us discussion of that event occurring over a billion years ago (at least – more likely two billion) that formed the most basic unit from which all plant and animal life has sprung; the eukaryotic cell. We see cells evolve and change all the time, the Prokaryotes which are still around, do so in myriad ways, none of which we have had the privilege of seeing change into a eukaryote.

So what happened on that day so long ago? What made a nucleus (or a prokaryote) decide to join up with an external microscopic alien cell containing mitochondrial DNA, collecting or evolving other structures to form the first Eukaryotes? Or perhaps it was two prokaryotes merging or one entering the other.. We may never know however, the event forever changed the face of our planet, yielding enormously diverse forms of life – plants and animals blanketing the land and seas with color and purpose.

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Doggie Butt Pillows and other observations

My two pups at their morning nap – it’s tough work getting up in the morning, barking at Mom to hurry up withPicture1 breakfast, chowing down on a dental chew, followed by a backyard constitutional….

Patterns in time are what matter to a furry child. Perhaps these patterns  replace the seasonal patterns they once adhered to before settling in with humans. My boys know exactly when their breakfast and dinner occur, they know the date and time when their whisperer walker is to show up, and they know snack time. Any infringement; delay upon these sacred rights; e.g.; their meals, their snacks and their walks results in a snout to the mouth, barking and pacing, etc.. Nipping can occur from the ‘Bar’, a short name for Akbar, our 14-year-old black beagle-something mix.

I don’t remember my human children being this astute about ‘time’, that is unless hunger pangs set in.

By the way, the picture above is an example of the ‘Rexie butt pillow’. Rex, our newest and smallest family member has a need to huddle up to others. Actually all the dogs do, except for on occasion, the Bar, who has no need for it at times. There is also the “Shadow Butt pillow’.

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Navarre The Wolf, Shot, Paralyzed, Rescued From Freezing Waters

This truly a story of human goodness towards a suffering animal. As mentioned, it is an older story (from 2012) yet its central theme of love and compassion towards those who have no voice lends continuity of hope and light for those of us who regard all life as sacred.

Howling For Justice

January 8, 2014

Revisiting Navarre’s story is a renewal of faith.  There are good people in this world who care deeply for animals like this sweet, little wolf. I hope you find comfort in this, even though it wasn’t a happy ending.

We love you Navarre!!


Kindness and love in action, saving a wolf from certain death. This beautiful video is narrated in Italian but really needs no translation. It’s heartfelt, moving and incredibly uplifting to watch  wonderful people working so hard to save a wolf’s life. To them I say:

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”…..Irish Blessing


Saving Navarre: The Dramatic Rescue of a Paralyzed Shot Wolf

Good news:…

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Wolves, Predators and Numbers

Being on Facebook and being an Animal Rescue Cross-poster, I knew I’d eventually come across non-domestic animal rights issues. In my case, the first non-domestic path crossing came in the form of the large land and sea animals; elephants, orcas and dolphins. I said my say, donated and cross posted, reviewed, signed and commented, however, what came later seemed like a deluge, namely; the plight of American wolves. Being overwhelmed but wanting to make a difference in the suffering of these animals, I knew I had to pick a manageable corner to work on in this sea of low brow inhumanity that never seems to let up in its war against non-human animals. It’s wolves, wild canids and dogs that I chose to support in their right to freedom from human caused abuse and neglect. IN this article I will report on my recent ‘data gathering’ efforts with respect to wild predators, predominately – wolves.

One can’t possibly hope to deal with this issue from the bottom where these sociopaths (trappers, penners, torturers, etc) reside. I had somehow hoped that presentations of the facts e.g.; pure data, to our elected public servants and federal and state employees, would enlighten them enough to abolish these reprehensible practices and implement sound scientific policy in wildlife management. But that was a naïve perspective, one I dropped awhile back as continued political mismanagement, lies, and criminal trespass of the law continues to eat out the core of our American hearts and souls. It’s bad enough that this insanity continues unchecked, what really irks most of us is that the sociopaths are also at the top and they don’t care. This is the era of a disappearing middle class, billion dollar presidential elections and a ‘Ponzi’ economy driven by an exclusive and mutually supportive nest of corporate greediness and political scheming.

So where do the natural rights of wolves place in this entire mess? How do we make use of the data we have – the facts, which have been presented before, then ignored or just overlooked? How does one convince a politician, aligned with corporate greed, that a stable ecosystem is important and that wolves matter as a result? These were the questions I asked myself as I looked into Idaho and Montana’s cattle death numbers recently.

I broke down and emailed, based on my internal ‘hope never dies’ inner drive, Dianne Feinstein, California Senator, and her office responded with:

“Thank you for sending me your electronic mail message. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Because of the volume of e-mail that is received by my office, we can only respond to email that includes a California postal address. Please resend the text of your e-mail message, including your postal address, and I will respond to you as soon as possible.”

I take this to mean a postal mailing. OK it goes back out on Jan 6th. Prepare for a long read – below is what I sent her originally via email (

“Dear Senator Feinstein,

As a resident of Texas, I doubt any appeal made to my state Representatives or Senators would even be read and I consider this to be of utmost importance as I am a taxpayer concerned with how my federal dollars are being spent. My apologies for this very detailed appeal – but it represents much accumulation of data and time on my part and I do appreciate the consideration and time spent on the part of you and your office in reading this.

I am asking you to initiate legislation to impose a federal ban on:

1. all penning and trapping of bears, coyotes, foxes and other wildlife in penning closures, where they cannot escape from horrific deaths in penning sessions. Ostensibly, this penning is said be done to train dogs to hunt, but it is also for the entertainment of bystanders who take pleasure in watching these animals die an awful death.

This practice is truly a stain on the reputation of the United States and is banned in most civilized countries. This is called “sport” and is legal only in United States of America and countries such as Pakistan, Korea, China – I think you know what I mean.

2. the trapping of wildlife, through devices designed to severely maim and break the limbs of the entrapped animal. This is a yet another horrific and agonizing death to inflict on not only wild animals but on the rising cases of companion animals as well.

With respect to the two-fold legislation I have requested you to take action on, I have included some data* and links** below my signature for your information. This data is specifically focused on ‘wolves’, ‘predators’, and ‘dogs’ which are currently the ‘victims’ of these cruel traps and pennings in the war on animals going on here in the US.

I am asking not just for myself, but for many Americans as well as for future generations, that you establish a historical precedence by initiating legislation to ban these practices completely in all 50 states and mandate prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, with heavy fines and jail sentences imposed upon anyone found guilty of practicing these repugnant acts.

With the current busting of the American trust in our federal government, I respectfully urge you to consider at least one light in the darkness of these days. I think you do know what I am referring to, as most Americans are just depleted in spirit and trust these days. I am not indicting you or anyone specific within the government – I am just a citizen relaying to you the national sentiment that is discussed at dinner tables and with friends in synagogues, churches and everywhere in the US and abroad.

Thank you,
Dr Deborah Leddon,”

a. Companion and wildlife animals and traps:

– {this is about dogs, a grizzly bear and wolves caught in cruel traps}

b. Penning {“The U.S. lags far behind the rest of the world in regard to trapping reforms. More than 85 countries have banned or severely restricted the use of the leghold trap, including all member countries of the European Union. Only eight states have enacted bans or significant restrictions on leghold traps: Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, California and Washington.”}

Just FYI: The fuel that trappers and penners use is to stop predation of cattle on ranches and farms as it represents a major loss in dollars. This is not true – please look at the data:

2010 Cattle and calf losses – predator and non-predator (excluding Alaska) Total: 3.99 million.

2010 Cattle and calf Losses-Predator: 220,000 head {5.5% or $98.5 cost}. Of the 5.5 % number – dogs are responsible for 53.1% and coyotes – 9.9%.

2010 Cattle and calf Losses-Non- Predator: 3.77 million {94.5% of total} Of the 94.5% – leading causes of deaths: respiratory – 28%, digestive – 13.4%.

Data Source: USDA May 12, 2011 release by National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, and USDA.

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A Jewish Christmas Eve

2013-12-24 15.44.29What was I thinking? Another Christmas eve in Christian world with my Humanist (former Episcopalian) Spouse, 29 year old son, 4 + 2 furry kids and two keets (who never complain -mind you). I am preparing for the dinner tomorrow at the neighbors who always go all out for Christmas. Jeff, our neighbor, cooks like a professional chef and much like my hubby who cooks on a lighter note but just as well. We are bringing, gluten free and non-gluten free vegan pumpkin pies,  pumpkin bread, homemade cranberry sauce and gluten free stuffing. My efforts so far at 4:15 pm Dallas time? To the left is the nearly failed homemade cranberry sauce, you can see it’s quite runny as I cooked down two bags of organic cranberries. I’m usually good at this, but as you can see below, I managed to burn the first batch, along with the bottom of the pot….. 2013-12-24 15.44.56And if that wasn’t enough of a fubar in the cooking department, I forgot to mix in the guar gum with my new gluten free Kourambedies cookie recipe. Well, they came out looking great and tasting – well, great too, as they crumbled into pieces in my mouth.

2013-12-24 15.54.43

Still, the pumpkin bread came out fantastic. Really. I have yet to make the pies and stuffing. Do I need to consider more things to do on a Christmas eve? I think I’ll drop the stuffing and just make the pies as I am looking at a fun evening  ahead of me watching old movies with my two men and furry kids.

This has been a tune in kind of post – as  I haven’t blogged much lately. I am waiting to see if Sequestration will resolve allowing my research grant to pick back up. There may be hope – but  I won’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t turn back on. Science – pure research in America is becoming a thing of the past, at least in the arena of upper atmospheric and space sciences. There is a drive in the EU, China, Australia and likely elsewhere to move forward in this arena. The war on science has taken it’s toll, so if or when I ever return to the Center for space sciences, it will be to an almost empty building. Many of my friends have left for Europe  with two of my gal friends deciding to stay at home with the kids. More in my next post.




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Really Trying

Can’t have it all when you’re trying to please everyone, in fact, you can’t have anything except for grabbed spots of time and pieces of a life with small projects geared to please others. Pleasing others, it does suck you out, until you no longer have anything  to give.

Let me tell you about a woman friend of mine, in this very same spot. Angry, seething underneath, she’s a forcibly retired professional, health issues for sure; driven by others to be more contributing on all levels. Driven her husband to finding a job with dictated job leads, her email is watched, and she’s often treated  like a child. Granted the husband can be loving and supportive but he is frustrated by the loss of her once sizeable income and unable to see ‘out of the box’ alternatives she once presented. A volunteer post, binding until next late Spring 2014, at her religious organization finds her filling roles of other ‘volunteers’ who will not meet their commitments. Then there is her splintered life – the daily grind of days that go by terribly fast, in a blur.

She’s overweight by 25 pounds, facing a health crisis and the demands keep coming. Is this every woman’s plight?

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Back Again – More in Dog Days of Fall

ImageIt’s been awhile – I know, but it’s the guys at my home plus the usual challenges of life that have had me too busy to do much else lately. The Pup in the photo was posted to a social media site as I snapped him snoozing his way through a respite after his usual morning antics of eating breakfast, barking at me for various handouts such as chewies, carrot sticks and cuddles and love and tearing through the backyard and uprooting his bi-level playbox. Much deserved rest for a hardy 14 year old.

His brothers are equal handfuls in different ways; Puckie, the other 14 year old is a white Chihuahuwa mix and is hard of hearing and experiencing senoir eyesight issues. He demands and gets his love in so many ways it’s quite funny to see how he accomplishes it. Sitting next to a human on the sofa, guarantees him the right to constant hand petting or resting. Should the hand back off in any way, he’s quick to paw it back down. If he senses resistance, he hyperventilates or ‘chorttles’ (sounds like that) until you back down. Makes a great hand rest.

Shadow, came to us 5 years ago via EARS rescue in Dallas, from the streets of Houston, TX. A beagle mix, mostly beagle but a short one, he arrived a bit bony but healthy and active having a wickedly cute nack for falling asleep while people were looking at him. Later we learned this was a precurser event to epilepsy, the first onset event occurring on New Years eve, 5 months later, as he was resting on a sofa. Since then it’s been fine- he was on a prescription med that worked up until last month, when the seizures came back. Transition to a new prescription has been rough for him – and us, having to see him so drugged up and losing his back leg strength. Slow on the uptake anyway, Shadow is all about food. As a hound dog he can never get enough and is especially aggressive every time the bin is opened during his food preparation. Thank God , he lives with us – we are about patience. But to live with Shadow is to live with love abounding – this dog is the ‘love puppy’, and a joy to just be with as are his brothers.

Three and half pounds ago and in May of this year, Rexie, entered our lives. My husband called me (5 times) until I answered the phone. He told me to meet him at Petsmart. I knew he had gone there to pick up the prescription chewies we buy for the Pups. On the way over, a text from him said ‘stop by the adoption event and check out a little dog’. No mention of which little dog it was, but when I got there I just knew right away – a little Cairn Terrier mix, barely 11 pounds, sitting in Dott Lott’s arms. Dott, a lovely lady with a heart of gold and an endless love for dogs, is a rescue coordinator with the Humane Society of Flower Mound and as I walked up to her holding Rex (now Rexie sometimes), I mentioned my husband who happened to come up behind me. She handed Rex to me, a snuggly little ball of wire haired wonder who sniffed and looked up at me – and I fell hard. Jim said – how did you know it was him?

Rex has epilepsy too but his meds are simple to handle and he is going strong – no seizures to date. He is his Daddy’s boy – it is Jim – my husband he prefers and I love it. Rex is  the first dog in our 21 year history of doggy family life, who has favored his Dad over me. All the dogs have trailed me from room to room to walk to backyard, but Jim is the hero this time. And if not Jim, it’s his ‘Uncle Jeff’ next door, whom he loves to distraction. Jeff and Cathy next door share a gate between our yards and their two Pups as well. Good – great friends , it is often that we get together with them and the pack of 6 on a weekend afternoon or evening to eat dinner and socialize with the mutts!

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