Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good things in the UK.....

-----The Department of Health is encouraging companies to do more to help breastfeeding moms. The idea of (two) one hour breaks is astounding as I have never seen a workplace that would care enough to do something like that.
-----12 ideas for Christmas-themed fun

Take good care of animals.

Thousands of horses in Ireland are being left to die....their owners are having a hard time providing for them in this economy.
"The price has fallen so much that anyone can get a horse. They are being exchanged for old mobile phones."

I feel very badly for the starved horses at Hidden Meadows Equine Rescue in West Virginia.

Delta strikes again. Two parrotlets were frozen to death over the Thanksgiving holiday.
-----The death penalty or life in prison is a possibility for two Afghans accused of converting to Christianity. The article does not say how these two men are coping with this.
-----Wondering what will happen with the Willie Nelson case...possession of marijuana and mushrooms. Particularly wondering this in light of the fact that this is not his first arrest for such.
-----"Why the TSA Pat-downs and Scans are Unconstitutional"

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pretty car...if they ever decide to make it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top to Bottom 2010.....

I am getting ready for the New Year here in most dramatic fashion. We are switching entire contents of a couple rooms and it is my goal to at go through everything I personally own....making it so I am not keeping junk and I am  using my resources effectively.

We hung my beautiful velvet draperies today . I bought these on EXTREME sale about 3 years ago as I knew we would need privacy (but we never got around to switching the rooms as planned until now). As Husband was hanging the drapes his leg hit a tabletop and had apparently already hit the contents of everything near the table. I picked up everything and put it on the bed to sort into a better home....and that is when my Top to Bottom idea was born. :-)

Of course, sorting the things that were knocked down was an adventure. I put everything on the bed and Doggie, as usual, decided she needed  to be in the center of any adventure. As fast as I would start making decisions she would come up and want to play with and hide a treat, play with a toy, put herself between me and my new project or simply run over the top of everything. Doggie saw this as great exercise and is now napping peacefully. :-)

Among the stuff that I kept:
---My last issue of "The Good News"...must renew my (free) subscription
---2 issues of DanceSpirit. I have a complimentary subscription.
---National Plant Germplasm Repository Request Form. I did not have any luck with the strawberry and cranberry that I requested last year due to unusual weather conditions. The only thing that really thrived in our garden this year was flowers and members of the nightshade family (unfortunately, including lots of actual nightshade that we had to cut down). Among other things, I intend to use my plant requests as a part of  The Great Sunflower Project  , teaching urban farming classes and  establishing a UpS Botanical Sanctuary.
---March 2008 issue of "The Big Picture" some sort of art magazine that Husband was getting for free. When I handed it back to Husband, he asked me "When did that come?" if it were a recent subscription/issue. :-)
---Paperback of Stephen King's "Firestarter." I have read the first few pages.
---Wooden house-shaped wall hanging with little sections to store tiny nick nacks in. I like these a lot. I have five such wall hangings. I just can't seem to find a place to put this one as it is brightly painted instead of just stained.
---A couple of post cards from politicians that I want to learn more about.
---Address labels from the VFW
---List of ingredients for a dish we made. I cannot remember what this goes with or if we liked it. Holding on to this for a little while.
---Ad with picture of the Red Freedom Hedge Rose from Spring Hill Nursery. Low maintenance and hybridized to resist insects/disease. Profuse Flowers.
---F.W. Schumacher Co, Inc. 2008 Catalog. I need to send for the latest. This is a catalog of seeds for nurserymen and foresters.
---Student loan documents
---A photo I found in a used book of someone getting a guitar at Christmas. I have a hard time throwing out peoples' sentimental moments.
---Business card that someone gave me for a skin care spa. I don't know what all the procedures listed mean.
---Postcard from by Voxant that I somehow missed getting. I sometimes use this site in my blogging. According to the postcard, they now have a weekly e-mail newsletter.
---2 Phonebooks. Keeping even though we get WAY TOO MANY of these.
---Frontgate catalog. Things for the home...both indoors and out.
---Package of notebook paper. ALWAYS useful. I only purchase during the time when
back-to-school sales go rock bottom.
---"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Acting." Not finding this to be a very good book.
---A list of animals to practice photography skills last time we went to the zoo. We had fun and learned a lot but very few photos have been found since my great computer crash. We will go again.
---An issue of Cure. I have a free subscription for my Mother who has Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This magazine is free to cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers (in the U.S. only). There is also an option to get a paid subscription if you do not qualify for free and/or live outside of the United States.
---Issue of Popular Photography
---Post card for free sub to GeezerJock. A magazine that now has some other name but that I had a free lifetime charter subscription to. I will send this postcard with a note saying this has stopped arriving. The plan was to pass this on to a elderly loved one who is very athletic.
---List of library books I need to finish, I must check them out again.
---Recipe for Bubble and Squeak...a traditional British dish.

To remember among garbage:
---Menards. They have some hanging wasp traps that I like the look of....clear orangeish-yellow and look almost like the bears that honey comes in. Washable and reusable.
---Expired coupon for Tyson Anytizers snacks. I have never tried these. There are many chicken wings in the Anytizers line and we will try some IF the breading/sauce does not contain soy. I might also like it if we tried the chicken fries. I wonder if Burger King still has Chicken Fries.
---Postcard for a past school supply drive. Perhaps some of the sample or review items that I get can be donated to a school child.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Grope Me, Bro!

I do not know enough about this issue to know how involved Obama is/was in the implementation of these new procedures. I do know that I could not consent to having either of these procedures done on myself or to a child. We will not be flying until this way of doing security is changed.

There has to be a solution. Maybe special skintight suits that were changed into at the airport and then people could be analyzed in private rooms separate from their outfits which would be returned after examination. That would help solve at least part of the issues where things are getting past security.

Someday we will have an idea of exactly how many ways one can use Hollandaise.

Last night we made the Open-Faced Chicken Benedict but used turkey that Grandmother-In-Law sent us.
---This was excellent with the only change being that we would not use turkey that had already been cooked next time (a little chewy and drier than should have been). The turkey was torn up into bigger chunks but in a way that would still fit perfectly.
---For pepper we used Tone's Restaurant-Style Black Pepper and I liked the way this looked in the sauce.
---The mayonnaise was canola-based as Husband is newly allergic to soy (and I should avoid it). It is hard to find mayonnaise without soy.
---We did not use Canadian Bacon....regular bacon instead. Slices of bacon were broken up by Husband so they fit neatly on the English Muffins with nothing overlapping.
---The whole dish had a very neat presentation.

Tonight we severely adapted a Pasta Casserole recipe to use up the rest of the Hollandaise.
---We did not use rotini. Instead, we fully cooked macaroni.
---We used a good amount of sliced baby carrots (thicker than matchstick).
---A handful of celery hearts were used...not sliced terribly thin.
---A pretty good sized onion. I will have to check on what kind. Again, pieces not sliced terribly thin.
---No zucchini. Two good-sized green peppers chopped into rings.
---The vegetables were sauteed in a cast-iron skillet. First canola oil was used and then olive oil when more needed to be added.
---Instead of adding salt & pepper at the end....we added salt, pepper and a dulce (mild) Spanish Paprika during cooking.
---We had no asiago and I had read that bread crumbs could be substituted. We put Progresso bread crumbs to the consistency of what a casserole would look like and then mixed these in. We stirred in somewhere between 2 and 4 tablespoons of bacon bits.
---We never put this dish in the oven.
---Topped with the (eggless...but for mayonnaise) Hollandaise sauce we made last night. I liked mine with the sauce mixed in pretty well.

One green pepper was funny. It had an extra little pepper growing on top and two extra peppers growing inside.

Husband rated tonight's dish 8/10. He liked the Open-Faced Turkey Benedict better.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

-----Open-Faced Chicken Benedict. We are making this for dinner tonight but with turkey that Grandmother-in-Law sent us (that part of the family already had Thanksgiving but we weren't able to make it).
-----I believe that next month we might try "Secret's in the Sauce BBQ Ribs" again. This recipe received a 10 out of 10 for us. We always try to use leftover sauce for something else and that did not work when we made this recipe before. I want to find something that won't cook the sugar away (leaving whatever new meat we put in it tasting slightly burnt).
-----I don't know what to think of the avocado seeds that we were/are attempting to grow. It is supposed to take only two weeks if you are going to get a tree started. It has been about 5 weeks since we started this venture and I had Husband dig out one of them as there was no sprouting above ground. Surprisingly, there were actually roots. I guess we will wait a little while longer and see what happens.

Duck Hunt

Right now, I am on a quest for a duck recipe that is perfectly suited to us. Every year, Husband and I have a Thanksgiving Eve romantic dinner. Neither of us has cooked a duck before and I think this will be quiet an adventure.

Not a recipe for us now....Husband is newly allergic to soy sauce and I should avoid it (due to my thyroid medication).

-----Duck and Fontina Pizza with Rosemary and Carmalized Onions. Our groceries do not carry a lot of culinary items (like marscapone,lamb and veal for instance), so it might be hard to find the fontina. I liked one person's solution to not having "spreadable goat cheese"...they took a regular log and mixed it with cream cheese until it was spreadable. Several people have tried this recipe and left helpful comments on the website about it.

This post is a work-in-progress. :-)
is giving away 1000 cupcakes at new DC location. Friday, 11/19, to celebrate Grand Opening! 604 11 Street NW (F Street)

The giveaway will start at 7am when the store opens.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Please,bring it back in BlāK.

On Facebook, I have joined a couple of groups that support bringing  Coca-Cola BlāK  back. For those who did not try this, to me it tasted like strong Coca Cola with a bit a of coffee added. I initially found it weird, continued to find it weird and obviously still want more of this weirdness.  

---I remember that it was said Coca-Cola BlāK could be consumed hot, just like coffee, but I never got to try that. I still need to try normal Coca Cola with coffee (and might ask Husband to do this for now...I am not having any caffeine in an effort to get the new thyroid medicine to work well).
---One thing that I did not like about Coca-Cola BlāK was that the taste got stronger off and on. If I were a developer bringing back this beverage, I would look at whether it might taste better with this not occurring. I found it hard to drink at times due to this change in flavors.
---The bottle was glass. Really, I prefer that for beverages. I wish that I had saved a bottle. Some people sell the empty bottles on Ebay...but buying used drink bottles is not my sort of thing. When I like a beverage (particularly if it was alcoholic), I usually save the bottle to use for decoration or as a vase. 

I will make a "Back in Blak" t-shirt if it ever happens. Another spoof on this that I like is the Darth Vader Back in Black t-shirts. :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Britain to compensate ex-Guantanamo detainees who are alleging that they were abused. I would like to know more about what abuse is being alleged. It mystifies me why people were held so long at Guantanamo without being put on trial...and why some are being released without ever truly figuring out if they were guilty. If one is presumed innocent, shouldn't their home country feel obligated to advocate for getting to the bottom of the matter in a quick and just manner?

Monday, November 15, 2010

-----Thanksgiving Turkey shortage for recession-hit families.

Thursday Thirteen.....

-----Thanksgiving Turkey shortage for recession-hit families.
-----Charities struggle to feed the needy over the holidays.

2. I am on my fourth Kiva loan. I was lucky enough to win a $25 Kiva gift certificate some time back and I have been reinvesting it. I was happy to note that the party I am lending to now is actually 90-some dollars ahead in their repayment. For those that don't know, Kiva is a way for several people to band together with small amounts of money to help someone in a poor country....micro-lending.

3. When Bloggers Stop Blogging

4. In My Life:
-----I had to cancel my Soil Science course. I was excited to find that MIT Opencourseware (which I am a big fan of) has a free,online course that covers some of the same topic. The course is on "The Environment of the Earth's Surface"...which means it will cover soil science. Our excellent library system will help me in this creative way of getting the knowledge that I need for my urban farming efforts. :-)
-----My Christmas cacti look as if they may be on the decline again. I KNOW that they are true Christmas cacti, but I did not get a flower or flowers (I don't remember which) on one of them until about April of this year for last year's blooming. They keep getting some sort of issue in which the leaves turn dark for a while...they have not been over-watered or exposed to cold. I hope that I get blooms and have them at the correct time this year. I have grown the two Christmas cactus for 3-4 years (maybe more on the older one) and I have successfully grown one cutting which I gave to a friend (as part of an Akoha game on my birthday). This Spring, when it is not cold, I hope to give a cutting to my she is ill, I may go ahead and giving her a cutting this Winter,too (despite the cold). So, I really hope the cacti keep improving in their health.
-----We have a small duck that we are going to cook for our romantic Thanksgiving Eve dinner (our tradition at major holidays). Neither Husband or I have ever cooked duck, so this is going to be a big adventure for us.

5. Words I like the sound of:

6. Exercise that can be done in the shower to relieve neck pain.

7. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms


This post is a work-in-progress.

Update: I never did get this post done.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

-----How did this retirement home resident get in a walk-in freezer? Honestly, and this not against the innocent staff members, I would be looking at other care options for my loved one at this point. I know that most of the patients suffer from dementia, but I wonder how much emotional and physical trauma the patients in these incidents were aware of.

A natural fruit snack that is low-fat with no salt added. Supposed to be crispy and crunchy. This has palm oil...which is healthier than any other vegetable oil according to the American Palm Oil Council (APOC).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

-----This was the pilot episode.

-----Joe Bastianich has definitely lost a lot of weight in the past three years. Uncorked came out in 2007 and Mr. Bastianich looked much different by the time MasterChef (America) aired this year.

Thursday Thirteen.....


Coleslaw de Luxe
This is something that Husband and I made as a part of our cook-through project. In one way or the other, over the next decade or so, we are going to work through all 4,500+ recipes in the 1975 edition of "Joy of Cooking." We are calling the project "Our Joy of Cooking" and it is partially inspired by the fact that I cannot afford to attend culinary school.
---The Coleslaw de Luxe recipe can be found on page 97 of the book.
---We used packaged coleslaw mix which had both white and red cabbage. There were also carrots. We decided this was best as our cutting space is small. Neither of us really had the patience to deal with the clean-up and trying to keep things from flying out of bounds....hence, the packaged slaw mix.
----We used one bag of coleslaw cabbage. I did not check to see how equal this was to a "small head of cabbage." Next time I think we will make more sauce than what the recipe recommends. I think this coleslaw would have been a 10 with just a little more sauce to coat the cabbage.
---Especially if you are also making things with grease (like hamburgers), I would recommend cleansing the throat of the cream in the recipe with something like a glass of lemonade.
---The almonds we used came in a 1/2 cup quantity....perfect considering the PRICES of almonds anymore! We used slivered almonds that were cut very thin. We did not have to blanch and the almonds were not TOO crunchy.
---This was our version of serving with tomatoes. We are leery about when/how we will try the other serving option....having it with an aspic ring.
---The tomatoes were part of a BARGAIN I found at Walmart. The tomatoes were selling for a $1.00 a bag and each came with a 75 cent coupon off the next purchase! Since we need/should buy tomatoes I will continue to look for this deal whenever possible. These are "Nature Sweet Vine-Ripened Cherry Tomatoes" and they go on sale when most of the bags are a little wilted/flawed (I, of course, pick out bags that are still perfect). If I can get this deal repeatedly, I essentially look at it as paying a quarter a bag!
---The best coleslaw I have ever tasted. Really light and not upsetting to the stomach. The grapes were perfect in this dish. We got some really good grapes at Hy-Vee.

2. National Mill Dog Rescue

I am getting more involved in animal rescue causes:
We suspect that our Doggie was abused by a previous owner. We got her from a shelter after she was a stray. Doggie was supposed to be full-grown but only weighed 12 pounds when we took her home! She had a pretty bad cold that the shelter thought was gone...we were really worried that she was going to die in the first few days. Our Doggie is well-loved and now weighs a healthy 21-25 pounds.  

3. Hanukkah is Yummly

4. A newborn was temporarily removed from parental custody and there is a lawsuit....false-positive drug test after the mother ate a poppy seed bagel.

5. World's most precise clocks could reveal that the universe is a hologram. I have no idea what this would mean if it is.

6. Food (and drink) bloggery:
-----Cooking with Trader Joe's
-----Kate in the Kitchen
-----Dole Real Fruit Bites don't sound so good. I will not be trying them anytime soon (because of the sugar).
-----Chicago Pinot

-----My Ordinary Miracles
-----7 Clever Ways to Find More Time to Blog

8. An online friend was talking about how her son made a mutant Transformer costume (using a Transformer mask, a Glad trash bag and a cut off pool noodle). I wonder what my mutant Transformer costume would look like?

9. Petition to stop canned lion hunting in South Africa. 

10. Foursquare for beer lovers.

11. Spiritual and Emotional:
-----"My Child Doesn't Believe in God. Is It My Fault?"


13. This may change things. A federal agency is saying that a woman was illegally fired over Facebook comments about her employer.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

"Another drunk guy yelling at his Prius."

Try the ale.

"Tis the Season for All Things Pumpkin at Trader Joe's"

Last year, we were guests at a "Taste of Home Cooking School" presentation and I went to my first Trader Joe's during the trip. We ate out of the pantry for a month and I put all the money that we didn't spend to the Trader Joe's expedition.

Among our purchases, was the Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale mentioned in the "Tis the Season" post I linked to (above). What I remember about this beer was that it was not overpowering. It was a fun thing to try.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wine!.....and Churchill

It has been a good day for the most part. I found out that I won a bottle of wine during yesterday's #winechat on Twitter.

From what I understand it is a bottle of Non-Vintage Pol Roger White Foil Champagne. :-)

I hope it comes in time to share at Thanksgiving.

---Pol Roger was Winston Churchill's favorite kind of champagne. I find the gastronomic habits of Churchill interesting.
I have read that Churchill also liked:
Alcoholic beverages. How to make a martini according to Winston Churchill...  though I think the vermouth may have been left out at times because there was none to be had. Churchill used Plymouth Gin (as talked about in the last link).
Chocolate Eclairs
Raw oysters
Roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding
Stilton Cheese

<<<=====A hard-to-find book. Written by the Churchill family cook.

Churchill quotes mentioning food (and drink):
~~~"Eating my words has never given me indigestion."
~~~"My wife and I tried two or three times in the last few years to have breakfast together but it was so disagreeable we had to stop."
~~~"My idea of a good dinner is, first to have good food, then discuss good food, and after this good food has been elaborately discussed, to discuss a good topic - with me as chief conversationalist."
~~~When Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery said to him: "I neither drink nor smoke and am a hundred percent fit", Churchill's reply was: "I drink and smoke and I am two hundred percent fit.
~~~"On being acosted as he left a House of Commons bar by Bessie Braddock who said to him: "Winston, you're drunk!" he replied with "Madam, you're ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.
~~~"When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast."
 ~~~"When Nancy Astor said to Churchill: "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee.", Winston riposted with: "Nancy, if I were your husband, I would drink it."
~~~"Always remember Clemmie, that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."

:-) 2009-06-11 daily 0.5 2009-06-11 daily 0.5