Saturday, September 29, 2007

10 Years of T.N.A.

So, I'm going going to do this from oldest pic. to newest. Here we are, just minutes after DD was born. It'll be 10 years, at 9:04 tomorrow morning. Sept. 30th.



Here we go with a pic of the proud new Grandma. My mom. Maybe it's just me, but didn't seem to be many happier people around than my mom when holding this kiddo. This pic was taken the same night, about 12 hours later than that last pic.





How's this for a 1st birthday???? Look at that smiling face, and Oooooh how I loved those pudgy cheeks.
















Next up. At about 2 years old. I couldn't find the professional photograph of the kiddo at her second birthday, so this'll do. We were out behind our apartment complex at this tiny little park built just for the apartment residents.







At 3. I think. I really, really should have labeled these photos as I went along. But I'm pretty sure this is three, because she looks too babyish for 4, and that's the only other option for age-when-taken.












Here we go at 4 years old. Those same rosy, pudgy cheeks. I don't think she'll ever lose them. I hope not!


Here we are at 5. This is the year (and probably the day) she & her buddy A. ran head-on into each other at her birthday party, resulting in 2 bloody noses and the closest she's ever been to a melt-down at one of her parties.


At 6 years. Just starting kindergarden. Whole world ahead of her. Same pudgy cheeks & her daddy's blue eyes. Actually, she looks the spitting image of the SIL in this picture.

Now 7 years old, and in 1st grade. She kinda got into this habit of cringing against the flash, but thankfully has never developed the bad habit of blinking, as I did.

At 8 years. In 2nd grade. Still kinda cringing against the flash.

At nearly 9 years, and in 3rd grade. I've gotta say that this is one of my all-time favorite pics of my darling daughter. And yeah, that's proud mama creeping out. But hey, y'all know that I talk about her a lot, and that must be fine with everybody because y'all keep coming back to visit me.



Unfortunately, the newest photos haven't yet come back from the photography studio that does our school pictures. I look forward to seeing how they turn out, and when I get them, I'll be sure and post an updated photo of my 10 year old.



MY 10 year old. I don't feel old enough to have a 10 year old and many would agree that I shouldn't have been mother at a young enough age to have a 10-year-old now. *shrug* Oh well. Let's see how I look when she's 18. *grin* I'll only be 36 at that point. I wonder, looking back through these pictures, what SHE'LL look like when she's 18. I'm fairly certain that she'll still have the incredibly long eyelashes, the blue eyes, and the pudgy cheeks. She thankfully has a button nose, unlike her daddy's hawk-nose. And she's got his eyes instead of my down-turned eyes. But she got MY freckles!

That's it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!

PS: I'm sorry for the funky way this is posting everything tonight. Blogger just isn't being cooperative. But I suppose I shouldn't complain too loudly as they DID let me post 11 pics in a single post. *wry smile*

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Harvest Moon

It's not exactly the best picture. I tried to get a photo while the moon was still appearing rather big & orange in the sky, but oh well..... I did try. This is our Harvest Moon, tonight. Well.... Last night was TECHNICALLY the full Harvest moon, but this is so close it's impossible to tell otherwise. Just wish it hadn't come out so light.

Just wanted to share.

Have a Blessed Harvest Moon!

Tonight's supper....

Just thought I'd quick-post the recipe I'm using for tonight's supper. We're having Glorified Hash Browns. It's a fam. favorite Taste of Home recipe that I've been using semi-regularly for a couple of years now.

Glorified Hash Browns

2 (10-3/4 oz) cans condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 (8 oz) cartons spreadable chive & onion cream cheese
1 (2 pound) pkg frozen cubed hash-brown potatoes
1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
(I also add 1 pound ground beef, browned & drained.)

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the soup and cream cheese. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes or until cream cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes (and the ground beef) and stir until coated.

Spoon into a greased 13x9x2" baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 deg. F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 10 servings.

And, I'll serve this with some random veggie, just to round things out.

Nothing exciting to post, so I'll leave it at that.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thanks & bits & pieces.....

First off, THANK YOU for the support & best wishes yesterday. I'm feeling a bit better today, and I do think PART of yesterday's melt-down was PMS-induced. (Why do they call it PMS -pre-menstrual syndrom, when it happens DURING your menses???? There's no PRE about it!!!) Pile that on top of the lack of respect at work, and the lack of sympathy here at home & I was ready to chew anybody's head off.

In fact, I went to get myself a bowl of ice-cream yesterday afternoon and wallow in the self-pity for a bit, and found the cannister had less than one scoopful in it. I'd forgotten that there was more ice-cream tucked further back. I called DH, ready to bite his head off for eatting all the freaking ice-cream and leaving ONE MEASLY half-scoop in the cannister. He calmly reminded me that there was more further back, and when he came home he brought two half-pints of stuff he won't eat (Hagendaaz Butter Pecan and Creme Brulee flavors). *wry smile* Ok. Occasionally he DOES get it right.

But yeah, Barefoot G..... almost 3 years ago I got the flu for the first time in my memory. I stayed home one day when I was feeling incredibly crappy. He knew I was feeling like death-warmed-over (and I looked it), and yet 9 pm rolled around & he hadn't bothered to get the kiddo anything to eat because he was so busy watching TV. So, I climbed out of my rocking chair (where I'd been huddled, freezing, covered in afghans, trying to read & doze at the same time) and popped some fish fillets & fries into the oven. Of course he's glued to the TV making these vague protestations about how he was going to get her something, if I'd just chill out. *shaking head* On top of that, I was so incoherant that I forgot to use a mitt when I went to remove the baking sheet from the oven, and burnt the shit out of my hand (nice second-degree burn, too). It was only when I started swearing & crying that he popped out of his tv-induced stupor to come finish getting DD's dinner. And I got chewed out for not "waiting for him to do it". Nevermind that it WAS 9 pm and the kiddo still hadn't eatten. *shaking head*

And yeah, if he gets so much as the sniffles you'd think the world was coming to an end & there were invisible demons torturing him on top of it. *rolling eyes* Men!

**********

So, dinner last night consisted of fried pike & tator-tots. *wry smile* Another not-so-healthy supper. But the pike was good!!!! My FIL's best friend likes fishing, but his wife & daughter won't eat fish (or, at least not pike). So, he always gives what he catches to the FIL who periodically passes some of it on to us. This was a nice sized pike, too, from the looks of it. I dredged it in a mix of 1/2 flour & 1/2 cornmeal with Cajun seasoning thrown in to flavor. Fry in hot-oil till fish starts falling apart. The tator-tots were baked (as usual, in my house).

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I've been doing my 20 minutes of exercise in the mornings, still. I'm feeling rather good because of it (yesterday's crappy-ness not withstanding), as well. I start out with 5 minutes or so of walking in place with my weights, warming up. Do 50 jumping jacks (or, 30, then walk for a couple more minutes, then another 20 jumping jacks), and then go back to walking. I'm not doing as good as I'd like with picking up my feet & swinging my arms, but I throw in a minute of that, then go back to "strolling pace" for a couple of minutes. I just can't keep the pace as quick and steady as I'd like. *shrug* Oh well. It's more than I WAS doing.

And after my 20 minutes of exercise, I make myself a smoothie and cool down while sucking that down and starting my blog-visits. And this morning I even had a hard-boiled egg.

No weight difference that I can tell, yet. But, as I said, I'm feeling pretty darn good during the rest of the day. I haven't had that 4 pm slump since I started doing this 20 minutes every morning. And, though I didn't do Friday or Saturday mornings, I've done 20 minutes every other morning since last Tuesday. That's kind of a novelty for me. ROFL

Can ya tell I'm a bit lazy??? *wink* Now if only I could bring myself to wear off some of that energy (though, I'm enjoying it so much why would I want to wear it off?) by cleaning house. *rolling eyes* Yeah, like that's going to happen without some other incentive.

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Tonight's supper is only beef steak & baked potatoes and some sort of veggie. Probably broccoli for DD and I and raw carrots for DH. But I DO have my home-grown chives to top my potato with!!! *grin*

Ok..... I think that about covers it. Not too much excitement, really.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Agrivation, at work & at home....

Oh, first.... Glad y'all enjoyed the pics of the moose. Toasty, my dad doesn't have the whole yard fenced in. Just the corners (keeps the snow-plows from running too far into the yard every winter if they can see the fence-posts sticking up out of the snow). So, there wasn't a gate for the moose to come through. To the right of the corner fence you were seeing is a strip of small birch & poplar lining that side of my dad's yard. To the left is a large open stretch along the road. So, the moose weren't hopping over the fence, or figuring out a gate. Just walking around. *grin*

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So, we'll start with the work. As I mentioned before, I love music. And I frequently get tunes stuck in my head that are VERY hard to displace. Well, Sunday this was happening in a BAD way. ("I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee, won't my mommy be so proud of me, I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee. Ouch!!! It stung me!!!!" *rolling eyes*) It so happened that this little ditty was coursing through my head, over & over & over...... as I was going about the job of emptying the outside book-drops & unloading the "shopping carts" full of books onto designated carts to be checked in. (We open at 1 pm on Sundays, and promptly one of us 3 pages makes a run outside to empty the outside bins, rain, snow or shine, -60 deg. or +90 deg.) I had 2 cart-loads to empty, and had to make a quick pit-stop in the rest-room between my trips outside.

This meant it was about 2 pm when my boss walked past & I had the notion to ask her about the possibility of getting a radio in the work-room on Sundays, so I would hopefully not spend 4-1/2 hours with one verse of a children's song coursing through my brain. She said she'd bring it up with HER boss, and see what she could come up with, but also.... "That's wierd, Kati, that you can't get the song out of your head. Why don't you just think of a new song instead?"

(Duh!!! Does she think I haven't TRIED?!?!?!)

So, yesterday when I came in to work, my boss called me into her office to tell me that she'd mentioned the possibilities of a radio to HER boss, and had been told that it wouldn't be a good idea. Part of the reasoning I can certainly understand, and that was the fact that if they allow a radio on Sundays, then they'd have a heck of a time explaining why there couldn't be music playing on Monday through Saturday as well. (It's too noisy with a couple dozen people in there on the weekdays, but Sundays there are only ever 8 employees at work, and we're pretty widely spread out.)

She then went on to say that book-drop should NEVER take a person more than 40 minutes (WTF???? When you've got bins so full you've got to make 2 trips???? Factoring in the cart rolling repeatedly away -or alternately, snow so thick that it makes the cart hard to push at all; vehicals pulling up and handing you even MORE arm loads of books; and trying to make sure that the books are stacked semi-neatly in the cart instead of just thrown in helter-skelter, bookdrops take a MINIMUM of 40 minutes! Not a maximum! And that's not counting my much-necessary suprise need for a quick trip to the toilet.) And she didn't see WHY I was still in the workroom well after that 40 minutes when I SHOULD have already been out in the stacks putting a cart of books away. (Nevermind that I don't know when I was supposed to put that cart of checked-in books together, much less get them out to the stacks!) And that if bookdrop had only taken me the 40 minutes that it was supposed to take, then I wouldn't have TIME to have arbitrary songs running repeatedly through my head. So, now it's all MY fault and I'm in the wrong. *rolling eyes*

On top of that, she made the excuse about how HARD it would be for HER to concentrate with music playing. 2 wierd things about THAT excuse.

A) She doesn't USUALLY work on Sundays!

B) Just last week I was doing my back-up duties (ie: emptying the inside book bin as needed & arranging the books in categories to be checked in, emptying the media bin & checking those items in, keeping an eye on the person out at check-out in case they needed help) and I heard classical music playing. Sounded kinda like Brahm's Lullaby, but it was only bits & pieces of it, so I couldn't be sure. I even asked one of the reference librarians when she came back looking for a book, if she heard it. Sure enough she agreed that it sounded like Brahm's Lullaby as well. We finally figured out where it was coming from. My BOSS was wearing headphones, listening to classical music, and had it turned up loud enough that I could hear it from outside her cubicle-office, on the other side of the work-room, on a "busy & noisy" weekday. *shaking head* So it's perfectly ok for her to distract US & listen to music loud enough for us to hear, but it's NOT ok for us to have the same music playing quietly on a radio for everybody to hear purposefully. *shaking head* Idiocy!

And this is NOT the first time I've asked for consideration on things (I've asked if we could get an exacto knife for cutting some things that it would be helpful for, instead of the increadibly dull knives we've got that don't even have an edge any longer), I've mentioned concerns about faulty practices I've noticed among my coworkers, and I've mentioned concerns about other things patrons have done. And my Boss has given me the "I'll look into it" type comments, and then NOTHING is ever done. And I know, because I'll ask my coworkers and they'll confirm that the Boss didn't say anything to them, or ask them anything. *sigh* I'm just getting sick & tired of being told (both in word & in deed) how replacable & unimportant we are. Individually that may be so, but as a whole, doesn't it stand to reason that the most menial laborers (in the case of the library, us pages) should be given decent consideration as well as the reference librarians. If it wasn't for the work pages do, the librarians wouldn't be able to find the books the patrons need. They would have to do all the checking in & out themselves. They would have to shelve the books themselves. Pages might not be high on the totem pole, but we are ESSENTIAL to a properly run library. And I'm getting frustrated with the attitude that we're just not important enough to be considered. (Including back in March, or whenever it was, that the computers were shut down with NO advance warning for those who'd see the most work come out of it.)

And, I certainly won't say that it's ALL of the supervisors at the library. But, my boss and her boss seem to view pages as furniture more than employees. We're there for use, but any concern over us is purely as to whether or not our job is being properly done. Like a chair, it's there, you'll use it, and you'll only care if the spring sticks you in the backside or the leg breaks.

**********

On top of that, I'm starting to feel like a fifth wheel in my own home. Recall how at my last birthday I asked DH if we could go out to dinner at a nice resteraunt & I'd love escargot & creme brulee???? He of course said that we didn't have the money. Ok. Well, paycheck after paycheck after paycheck, I asked. I commented. I tried not to nag. The answer was always "we don't have the $$!" Finally, about mid-May, I quit asking. By now I KNEW we didn't have the money.

Fast forward to this weekend. DH takes DD shopping and buys her NOT the $99 MP3 player, but one that costs $120 instead. Another 2o bucks, ok.... Not a huge amount. But after her attitude this weekend (and in the past few weeks), she lost the option to have that sleep-over after all. No sleep-over. No bowling with friends. "Sweety, if you can't speak respectfully to your parents, then you DON'T deserve a sleep-over. That's all there is to it." Ok. That was ME saying it.

So, last night as we're sitting down to our usual late Monday night dinner (grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup), DH asks DD if she wants to go see that new disney movie that's coming out this week, since she won't get her sleep-over because of what _I_ said. And oh, where does she want to go eat????? We just spend $120 on her BIRTHDAY present, and now he's asking her where she wants to go eat & what she wants to go do????? My freaking birthday present was a day late, cost $40, and I didn't get dinner either. And it's not the first year this has happened. Consistently, the last few years, he'll spend big $$ on her birthday present and we'll go out to eat to celebrate. I certainly don't mind celebrating the birth of my child, but it's been 2 YEARS since DH and I have been out to eat, just the two of us. And that time DD wasn't along because she was out of town on a train trip with my dad.

If I ask to go do something, we don't have the money. It's been 2 years since I've had a date with my husband. But oooooh, we've got plenty of $$ to spend on whatever the kiddo wants to go do.

And last night when I came home angry about the lack of any professional respect at work, DH told me that if I'm not going to quit my job, then stop griping and get used to "being furniture". And again, he's got no problem griping for HOURS about how unfair his job is. If DD comes home griping about something she feels was unfair, he's darned near ready to go beat heads in. But when I'm feeling gripey..... "Suck it up Kati! You get paid, what more do you want???"

Oh, not much. Just to be treated as if I'm human instead of a moving piece of furniture. *sigh*

I've gotta get offline & get heading in. I've gotta get my car filled up with fuel before going to work to endure 6 more hours as "furniture". (And, I quit a job I LOVED, where I was treated as a human employee instead of furniture, because he wanted me to have more hours. I HATED the 9 months I spent in retail between that job & this one. And now I'm back in a library & I'm NOT going to quit just because I'm being treated like "furniture". But Dammit!!!!!! It's NOT too much to ask to be treated as human & given even the littlest bit of professional respect.)

Ya know..... Fuck it. I'm feeling like crap today. Now I'm crying & look like shit. I've got 140+ hours of sick leave. I'm calling in sick today and going the hell back to bed.

Have a Blessed Day!

PS: Oh, and this is my 200th post! Whoop! Amazing how quickly I went from 100 to 200.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some pictures for Toasty.....

Some goodies for Marmite Toasty, knowing how much she likes moose. I feel kinda silly posting these on my blog, too, after both my Mom and middle sis posted these same pics on their blogs, but oh well.

Dad said he got home from the niece's birthday party on Saturday, walked into the living room and saw this first one. These are just babes, born early this past spring, judging from their size. They've been hanging around Dad's neighbourhood and on adjacent streets, but without any sign of a Mama Moose. (Females are also known as a "cow". Males are known as "Bulls" and babies are "calves" or "a calf". Moose does not HAVE a plural, it is still moose. Not "meese" not "mooses", just "moose".)


The second twin followed the first into the yard, and they both decided to make themselves perfectly at home munching on grass & other goodies. (Plenty of clover out there!) I got these pictures VERY shortly after Dad sent them to me, and called to ask if they were still in the yard. By that time they'd moved further along to the left, well out of the area where these pics were taken, and were on the other side of Dad's driveway. At first, Dad said, it appeared that they were going to bed down in the long grass by the rhubarb patch, but Dad's dog Shiloh went after them, making a nusance of himself. Dumb dog doesn't realize that even as babies, these moose could easily stomp his butt into the ground.

Anyway, after Shiloh startled them up off the ground, they decided to continue their eatting with some crab-apple branches. I'm sure those crab-apples tasted yummy. And yeah, there were PLENTY of crab-apples left for their enjoyement after my picking sprees.

We're hoping these calves stay together in this neighbourhood this winter. There is plenty of room for them to roam & lots of things for them to eat, as well as relative safety. Many, many moose get hit just trying to cross the next street to the left of my Dad's house. It's likely that this is what happened to the Mama in this situation.

As Mom posted on her blog today, one of the most interesting situations I've ever been priviledged to be even somewhat involved in was the time Mom & Dad helped transport a little 3 week old calf (named Delta Dawn for her "birthplace") to Anchorage, after it'd been orphaned down in the Delta Jct. area. Mom & Dad had to keep the calf at their house overnight before taking their jaunt to Anchorage. While the babe was still at the house, DH, DD and I went over to see it. It wasn't very much taller than DD (literally, her head was well over it's shoulders). She was only about 4 at the time, and got to feed the calf some birch leaves. We've got a couple of pictures around here somewhere. Maybe I'll see if I can find them & post them at a later date.

The zoo in Anchorage sometimes takes orphaned animal babies & raises them. Of course that means a life of captivity, but often the babes wouldn't survive without Mom anyway. So captivity at least gives them a chance at SOME life. And, at least captivity in the Anchorage zoo involves a natural (if enclosed) environment for these animals. MOST of the animals at the Anchorage zoo are native to Alaska (with the exception of the elephant, which has just been given to some wildlife preserve down in the states, to improve her living conditions), which means that our zoo is able to provide them with a habitat that reasonably closely approximates their natural habitat, including the natural weather cycles.

So, I hope you enjoy the fun pics of these babies munchin' on Dad's lawn, Toasty!!!!

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Now I've gotta get heading to the craft store to pick up some more cotton yarn. When I was at the grocery store the other day a lady expressed an interest in my grocery bags & said she'd love one in pink. I told her I'd get it made, and oh here's my card...... She said she'd give me a call. So, now to get the yarn & get to work on it.

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Party outcome, and dinner....

Well, so DH decided to get over to the FIL's early so that he could be back here in time for me to go to the party. And I did. Without DD. And suprisingly the niece wasn't a total pain in the neck this year. I was a bit boggled by the sheer number of gifts the kiddo got from her mommy & new daddy this year. There were several, at least. And I think I was the cheapest gift-giver there. *wry smile* Though, this time my niece actually said THANKS for the gift card. Evidently her mommy's taught her well that gift-cards are as good as money, and money is better than a well-thought-out gift any day. *rolling eyes* Ah well. She's not my child. She's not my child. She's not my child........ LOL (This is what I repeat to myself when she starts annoying me greatly. Keeps me sane, knowing that I don't have to take her home. Also keeps me from turning her over my knee for a good butt-swatting.)

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Some other little tidbits to update on.....

I'm still working Friday mornings at DD's school, in the library. That's going ok, though I wonder if I'm actually going to get to learn anything new. So far the librarian has me shelf-reading & straightening, and checking in books. I was checking books out & doing a little bit of "assistant" type work, in telling the kids whether they have books out currently and what may be overdue, but the librarian decided she prefers to do that job herself as it allows her to brush up on the kid's names. I can understand that, but at the same time I'm again relegated to doing typical page-type duties. That's not going to help me with future job opportunities.

As for work, another lib. assistant job will be opening up in Tech. here in the next couple of weeks. (In fact, I'd be suprised if it's not posted on the bullitin board on Monday when I go in.) One of the ladies there is retiring and this coming Thursday is her last day with us. Unfortunately, I suspect it will require "office experience" just as the acquisitions position did this summer. Which, I don't have. A couple of my coworkers were able to use the work computers to brush up their Word processor & Excel skills, though, and I've already told the hubby I'm going to do the same. I just need to actually go in early to do so. (Then, of course, I've got to compete with others who may be on the same computer, as there's only one available for my "extracurricular" use.)

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DH has DD out & about right now trying to find something she wants (and we approve of). In fact, he just called & it sounds like they're settling on a small MP3 player costing us $99. *shaking head* Fortunately the kiddo evidently doesn't like ear-buds in her ears, so that concern of mine is not a problem. She has some regular head-phones here at home she's going to use. He's also trying to find her a new winter coat & boots as she's grown so much since last winter that she no longer fits her older gear.

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DH also got the second car-port for his truck put up yesterday, and today got the yard mowed for likely the last time before we get snow. I was really thinking we'd get snow by tonight or tomorrow, but it's really clear right now. *shrug* Maybe I'll be wrong. But, I won't likely be more than a couple of days "off" with my prediction.

I've also come up with a couple of things I'd like to do in the back-yard next summer that I've already run past DH once. One of which is to put a small 2-stepped terraced planting bed on the south side of that shed I showed a couple of weeks back. The terraced planting bed would be between my lilac & the side of the shed. It'd get great sun during the day. On the other side of the shed, between shed & car-ports, I'd like to put a small 2-bin composting bin. Now that I've got the FIL persuaded to give it a try, DH is not so adamant against it. But it's also too late to start one this year.

Yesterday I did get out & get my chives cut down again, and got about another 2 cups of dried chives put away for the winter. I also got another pint-baggy full of rhubarb stocked into the freezer for winter goodies.

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As for dinner tonight, we were gifted with a couple dozen more duck-breasts by DH's boss. The hubby took half of them over to the FIL's and FIL smoked them. They taste a lot like smoked salmon. (Probably because the FIL used the same overpowering seasoning on the duck that he does on his salmon.) But, at least the duck doesn't have bones like the salmon does. *grin*

The other 10 or 12 breasts will be done up in a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. It's "Bacon Wrapped Duck Breasts". Before I've even tried the recipe as intended, though, I'm changing it up a bit. *grin*

Bacon Wrapped Duck Breasts

"A simple way to prepare duck breasts without the "Gamey" taste. Serve with wild rice and fresh bread for a special meal."

1/4 c salt (the comments on this recipe directed to use a LOT less salt as it's way too salty otherwise)
8 c water (I only did 2 changes of water, instead of 3, as we don't mind slightly gamey meat.)
12 duck breast halves
12 slices bacon (instead of regular bacon, I'm using maple-smoked)
1 (16 oz) bottle Italian-style salad dressing (I'm using a Spiced Cranberry-Orange dressing instead.)

Mix together salt & water. Set aside 2/3 of the salt-water and pour the rest into a glass baking dish. Soak the duck in the salt water overnight to remove the gamey-taste. Change the salt-water twice, or until mostly clear.

The next morning, discard the salt water & pour salad dressing over the duck breasts and marinate for at least 8 hour (mine are going to be in for only a couple of hours, unfortunately, as I forgot about this step earlier in the day).

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. (175 deg. C). Wrap each breast half in one strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place the breasts in a 13x9x2" baking dish.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until bacon is crisp and duck is cooked through. (Another one of the comments on this recipe recommended turning each breast over about half-way through to thoroughly crisp up the bacon. It also said that if you place the breasts with the bacon-seam-side down, then you don't need toothpicks.)

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Again, lest anybody think that I'm actually a gourmet cook.... I'm not. My sister put a disclaimer on her blog like this a couple of weeks back, in response to some really yummy recipes she was posting, and I figure I'd better do the same. I didn't go to cooking school, just watched my parents cook & bake, and did a lot of learning on my own when I got married. I love to eat, but don't have the money to eat out, and enjoy cooking. So it's only reasonable that I learned to cook well. And, we don't eat this well all the time. Often (too often) we'll have boxed mac & cheese & hotdogs, or hamburger helper, or grilled cheese sandwich & soup from a can. But, when I have the time I like cooking nice dinners. It's one of my homey little pleasures on the weekends when I don't have to work. It also helps when we can afford good food. It's no fun to cook when one is making only mac & cheese & hotdogs. (Though I DO get kind of creative with the Hamburger Helper.) And there are times where I just don't feel any inclination to cook. Making (and sticking to) a weekly menu has helped greatly, and because I'm thinking in advance, I'm buying yummy food while it's on sale, so we're eatting pretty well and can reasonably afford to.

I just want y'all to know that there are definitely nights where I stand in front of the fridge & freezer and mentally stomp my foot & pout about not wanting hamburger helper again. *smile*

Have a Blessed Day!

What a day.....

It's not even 11 am, and already I wish I could go back to bed. *shaking head* The last couple of days I'd planned on DD and I getting up this morning and making Monkey Bread for breakfast. All these questions of wanting to participate in an after school program, and wanting to learn how to cook, I figured I could teach her how to make something relatively quick & easy like Monkey Bread to get her started. And she seemed to be going along with it.

Then this morning comes. She woke up at 8:15 this morning and supposedly couldn't get back to sleep. By the time my alarm went off at 9:15 she was already pissy. Brat should've stayed in bed. She's been roaring & raging & shrieking & screaming at me & DH since we got out of bed. First of all was how nasty MonkeyBread sounds and that she refused to make it with me. Fine. I'll make it myself, but I wouldn't share it with her. And it's been a non-stop, ever-increasing avalange of hatred & madness erupting from her mouth since that point. And now she's in her room alternately screaming about how badly she hates & life, and screaming at us about how absolutely horrible & mean & uncaring we are. *shaking head* Does anybody want to adopt a 10 year old??? She doesn't expect piles of gifts at christmas. She can do her own laundry, and help with dishes. She knows how to vacuume. She's got good teeth. She even got mostly A's & B's on her mid-quarter, with the lowest grade being a C in math. She's an incredible goalie. And when she's good she's very good. The drawback is this damned temper.

At this point, evidently I'm NOT going to that damned birthday party this afternoon. Instead I'll be staying here at home, listening to DD's freakish temper from behind her closed bedroom door. *sigh* And DH has plans to help the FIL with work around the FIL's house this afternoon, so he won't stay home with DD while I go to the party. *shaking head*

Really, really hating this.

Friday, September 21, 2007

May I Now Present.....

The Bride & Groom! My baby sis is now a Mrs. *shaking head*
She has succeeded. She has fulfilled her life's ambition. She is married. And they don't have a clue what they've gotten themselves into. The woman officiating is a friend of B's (the groom). She officiated for his best friend & best friend's new wife last month & agreed to officiate for K. & B. as well.

The exchange of vows.

K. receives her GINORMOUS ring!!!! How two unemployed children can afford such a ring, I'll never know.

B. receives HIS diamond encrusted band.. *shaking head*

Git'er Done, B!!!! (Literally, that's what B's best friend said, substituting B's full name for his first initial. Turns out it's kind of "Tradition" for the groomsmen in this group of friends to say it upon completion of the vows. *shaking head* It might be funny if that particular turn of phrase weren't so pathetically overdone. Or indicitive of B's view on life. Which is ironic because my baby sis has always had this view of herself as supposedly really "high class", when in reality she's got a tendency towards dressing & acting like "poor white trash". And now she's married a guy who's stock phrase is the same punch line used by rednecks from around the world. Dang..... She just doesn't even get it. She will NEVER understand how incredibly ironic this all is.)

And last but not least, DD and the niece. This was shortly after finishing the main part of our supper, as we were waiting for dessert. Dinner was yummy, but incredibly expensive. Oh, and I ate mushrooms, and they tasted ok. Not great. Still won't say I loved them, but ok. Which is a big step for me. *wry chuckle*

Have a Blessed Day!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Bird am I????

Your Power Bird is a Dove
Deep and emotional, you can connect well with almost any living creature.
You bring hope and optimism to any dire situation.
You are both gentle and affectionate with everyone you love.
Truly nurturing, most people consider you to be a mother figure.


I'm a dove, of course!! *rolling eyes* Certainly not what I feel like some days, though. I'd say that most of the time I feel like a little hen, clucking & pecking & flighty (without really going anywhere at all). LOL Too funny.

1 More Rainbow......

I just have to jump on and share. I really should be getting supper ready (chicken stir-fry), but this was just too beautiful to pass over....

As I come up on the overpass on my way home, off on the eastern horizon is a thick billow of clouds, the bottom ones most closely resembling angel-hair (that fiber-glass billowy stuff that makes great "clouds" for christmas decorations) falling in a water-fall from the sky. And, and the very bottom of that water-fall of angel-hair clouds was a thick, THICK band of rainbow. It wasn't maybe more than an inch off the horizon, but it was a thick rainbow (like 3 inches from my view from side to side). And VIVID. I'm talking Cotton-Candy Colors, here. It's impossible to do it justice, but from left to right it was a thick band of sea-foam green, a thick band of sunshine yellow, and a thick band of bubble-gum pink. It was seriously that vivid and bright!!!!!! Just incredible!!!! I just had to share. How astonishing to see a rainbow, much less one that brilliant, this time of year. We do see sun-dogs throughout the winter (those are rainbows that completely circle the sun), but not rainbows this late into the fall, coming into winter.

**********

I also had a funny little moment on my way out of the neighbourhood this morning. There's a railroad track on the other side of the old highway that my neighbourhood opens out onto. And, around the same time I leave for work every day, we have a train pulling through NP to the Refinery. Well, completely unexpectedly this morning, that train (usually 2 engines & a long strand of black fuel tankers) was finished off with a little blue & yellow caboose. Too funny! I don't believe I've ever seen an Alaska Railroad train with a caboose at the end.

Anyway, just had to share these little bits of whimsy with others. I know DH won't understand what they meant to me, but I believe most of y'all will get some small bit of a grin from them.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tagged, AGAIN!

So, this time it was Connie over at Ash Lane Farm tagging me with the middle name meme.

Here are the rules: You have to post these rules on your blog. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you do not have a middle name, choose one you would like to have. When tagged, write your own blog post containing your middle name facts. At the end, choose one person to tag for each letter of your middle name. Then leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged.

So, my middle name is Lynn.

L: Lucky. Because even if our house is on the small side (in comparison to the homes of some of our friends), and we have to stretch to make ends meet sometimes we're lucky that we're not going to lose it in the housing fiasco that's shaking our country right now. We bought 8 years ago, before this housing "boom", and we may still owe the bank for another 22 years, but the payments are reasonable, it's OUR home, it's in a nice neighbourhood very close to the center of our small town, and we can continue to be home-owners when so many others in our position won't.

Y: Yellow. The color of the sunshine I'm missing. After such a long beautiful summer I really shouldn't be complaining, but it WAS so long & beautiful and I'm afraid I've become a little bit spoiled. It's overcast & gray today (had thick fog this morning, but it's already burnt off most of the way), with promises of more rain & threats of snow.

N: NEED. I NEED to get out and get that darned Rhubarb picked. And the chives as well. I've been spending far too much time online these past few days, and haven't done these other things that NEED to be done before winter sets in.

N: Nutella..... A piece of toast with nutella.... Now that I've done my morning exercise (and finished up my smoothie) something warm & crusty & spread with chocolate sounds very, very yummy. *grin* (This one took some thinking. N is NOT an easy letter to find relevence in. Unlike P. the other day, or S.)

And since my middle name contains 4 letters, that means I must tag 4 people. I think I'll tag Whim, Tori, Barefoot Gardner, and Heather at SpiritBlog.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Recipes for Tori.....

But first I wanna say THANK YOU for the support with the exercise, AND with DD's attitude. Whatever we said to her the night before last (probably the bit about how we COULD afford a bigger house if we didn't put her in hockey) got through to her, and she's decided that our house is ok and she does want a couple of her teammates to come over for that sleep-over.

As for the exercise, I can feel a difference already. Not with my weight or the fit of my clothes, but with my energy level. I still mentally feel tired (No, Mom, I don't think I'm depressed, because I don't feel mentally sad, just TIRED.... My brain wants to curl up & sleep), but physically I've gone two days now without that 4 pm slump, and with enough energy to feel like I don't need to sit down every 20 minutes for a 10 second snooze. LOL This morning, instead of Richard Simmons, I pushed the chest/coffee-table out of the middle of the living-room floor & started a pre-recorded half-hour travel show, and kinda zoned out while I walked in place while watching the woman tour Belize. MUCH more entertaining than Richard Simmons!!!! And not nearly so annoying!!!! *grin*

**********

Now, onto those recipes. First is Lasagna. Tori asked for my lasagna recipe quite some time ago, but I've forgotten about it till now. Please keep in mind that I RARELY do things the exact same from time to time. I generally go with my gut in cooking, and I've had pretty good results.

Family Pleasin' Spinach Lasagna (origional recipe from Woman's World Mag.)

1 tsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed but not drained
8 oz mozzarella cheese

(I would also add 1 pound of ground beef, cooked & drained, at least 8 oz ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. I may substitute a general "italian seasoning" for the oregano, and would definitely substitute 2 or 3 REAL cloves of garlic for the garlic powder. I also often use a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce as well as the above ingredients for a richer tomato flavor.)

In med. pot, healt oil over med-high heat. Add onion (and garlic, if using real); cook, stirring till tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of water. (If you're using garlic, leave out the garlic powder, if you use pre-made spaghetti sauce, don't add as much water.) Bring to a boil. REduce heat to low & simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. (If you use ricotta & parmesan, mix them well with the spinach at this point. May even use a bit of extra milk if this mix looks too dry to spread reasonably well.) Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. In bottom of 13"x9"x2" baking pan, spread 1 c sauce. Arrange 3 noodles on top of sauce. Spread 1/3 of the spinach (or spinach/ricotta mix) on top of noodles. Sprinkle 1/3 of Mozzarella cheese on top of spinach. Repeat 2 times. Pour any remaining sauce over top, then cover tightly with foil & bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil & continue baking another 5 to10 minutes to brown cheese on top. Remove from oven & let stand & set up for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

This next recipe is one I tried just a couple of days ago. Though it calls for Halibut, I would presume than most any light white-meat fish would work, such as cod or sole, possibly even tilapia though the amount of topping on top of the tilapia filet would probably make the fish itself pretty ridiculous. (Have some fish with that topping???? *grin*) This comes from my "Best Recipes of Alaska's Fishing Lodges" cookbook by Adela Batin.

Sour Cream Halibut

1/3 c butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 to 5 pounds filleted halibut or other white fish, cut into 1/2 pound serving-size pieces
lemon pepper (I also used a bit of dried dill)
2 c sour cream (I only had 1 cup left from tacos last week)
1/2 c plain, unflavored yogurt (didn't use this at all as I didn't have any on hand)
3/4 c mayonnaise
1 c soda crackers, crushed (I used a mix of Ritz & wheat, as it's what I had on hand)

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Melt butter in the bottom of a 13"x9"x2" baking dish. Add lemon juice. Arrange fish in pan and sprinkle with lemon pepper (and dill!). Mix together sour cream, yogurt and mayonnaise. Spread sour cream mixture over top of fillets & bake at 375 deg. for 20 minutes. Top with crushed crackers and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until fish is done & crumbs are a light golden-brown. (If you're using a filet that has skin still attached, be sure to place skin-side DOWN. It may be possible to simple peel the cooked fish off the skin as you serve it, leaving the skin to be dealt with later.)

Serves 8 to 10.

The halibut recipe above is a new one that we rather liked. Halibut is one of those things that we all 3 enjoy, but don't often have the luck to have. (Have I mentioned before what a lousy hunter & fisherman DH is???? He enjoys both activities, but he rarely has much success. I hope we must never subsist on what he can bring home.) The two fillets I used in this dish the other night were gifted to us by our next-door neighbour after a successful fishing trip, in thanks for watering his lawn while he was gone.

Often with this kind of recipe I'll serve something like Rice-A-Roni or a boxed mix pasta. I figure that if I'm making 1 dish from scratch, I don't always need to bother to make them ALL from scratch. (Besides, I don't have a CLUE how to make the sauces that those boxed dishes have.)

Ok. I think that'll suffice for tonight.

Have a Blessed Day!

PS: Possible intermittent snow showers have been predicted for tonight and into the early morning hours. I believe it. And I "called" it! Even if we don't get them tonight, I'm pretty damned sure we'll see snow by Sunday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Exercise and Embarassment....

First, the exercise. And that IS what I did, first thing this morning. Got DD off to school (she and her best friend walked), and popped in an old Richard Simmons tape. I'd read a bit in a book on PCOS yesterday that in exercise, as in a great many other things, timing can be quite crucial. That most people don't realize that if one exercises at a fasting-stage (ie: first thing in the morning when it's been several hours since you've last eatten), the body immediately starts burning body-FAT as energy, rather than any carbs that may be lingering in your body from your last meal. That because of this immediate fat-burning, 20 minutes of exercise first thing in the morning is as effective as 1 hour of exercise later in the day. *shrug* Ok. Don't know if that's precisely true or not. Kinda makes sense, but I don't have a medical degree so I'll just have to take it on faith & give it a go.

So, as I said, as soon as I got Tay out the door, I put on some exercise-friendly clothing & popped in this old Richard Simmons video. I wound up not doing most of the exercises he was having his "crew" do, simply because it's too early in the morning for me to figure out the footwork. But, I marched in place, holding a pair of 2 pound weights (kept me swinging my arms because holding the weights I would remember that I HAVE arms, instead of marching with my arms dangling at my sides) while watching the guy dance around the studio "kitchen & living room". After approx. 20 minutes of that (I think it was a couple more than 20 minutes, but that's ok), I stopped. Went to the kitchen and made myself a smoothie.

And my smoothies are healthy. Just one whole banana, a 1/2 c of frozen mixed berries, and 2% milk to top off the mug and a Tbsp of Benefiber no-grit fiber powder. (I've got one of those magic bullit blenders, so I can blend right into my own mug.) So, that's been my morning already.

I'm hoping I can bring myself to build this healthy habit. If nothing else, 4 days a week of 20 minutes each morning will at least give me 80 more minutes of exercise a week than I've been getting. If I'm really lucky, that above tidbit about exercise burning more fat first thing, will be true & I'll burn off more of this belly fat faster than I have been. (Which is to say, not at all. I've been stagnant for about a year. I was hoping that after my surgery last summer, and getting off my birth-control, I'd drop some of the weight the birthcontrol had caused me to gain. Instead I hit a plateau, and haven't moved since. In the year PRIOR to my surgery, I'd lost 20 pounds. I guess it really doesn't hurt me to tell you.... I'm currently between 204 and 208, depending on the usual variants. For my 5-foot-frame, that's too much. According to the BMI scale -a load of bunk, if you ask me- 100 to 105 is my ideal weight. Personally I believe I'd feel best at about 135. But, I'd be happy just to get down to 160 again. That's what I weighed when I got prego with DD.) I'm also thinking about how nice it'd be to utilize that new deck next summer by getting out there & jumping rope for 10 minutes first thing in the morning. Because of the heavy morning traffic (and the fact that I don't feel like showing off my jiggling jelly-rolls to the whole neighbourhood), I wouldn't dare jump-rope in the street. And our driveway & front yard are incompatable with a jump-rope (too much loose "stuff" to get caught on), but the deck..... That'll be an option next year, if I can just keep up my good intentions & get that habit firmly in place.

Anyway, so enough talk of exercise & weight loss. ON to the Embarassment!!!!!

**********

I got home from work last night to find out that DD has decided NOT to invite any of her hockey-teammates to her birthday sleepover. (THE PLAN is 2 friends, any friends, to go bowling with her & then to sleep over.) She'd had one teammate in mind, and was trying to decide between a couple of others, before asking ANY of them. (We've long since drilled into her head that you don't go talking about party invites to a person unless you're planning on inviting that same person, to prevent hurt feelings.) She decided that she's embarassed for any of her teammates to see our house. Not because it's in need of a good cleaning & decluttering (which it does) but because it's "so small". Now, mind you, our house is 1170 sq ft. That's not terribly tiny. I mean, our spare bedroom is our catch-all/computer room (where I'm at currently). We've got 2 full bathrooms, and DD has her room to herself. It's not like we're packed in. (Well, it feels like it in February, but it's really not the case.)

However, our home IS the smallest of all the girls she plays hockey with currently. Most of the rest of them have parents that INDIVIDUALLY make in the range of $50,000 per year. DH and I COMBINED didn't top $50,000 last year. Last year I got to sit through several conversations between other Hockey Moms and listen to their struggles to decide on THIS 3000+ sq ft house that was too small but felt cozy, and THAT 4000 sq ft house that was poorly arranged but had the space they wanted. It was enough to make ME feel bad, for a moment. (DH and I decided a few years ago that neither of us actually wants a house bigger than 1800 sq ft, not including garage. Anything bigger would be TOO rambling & too hard to keep clean.)

And, as I posted before, we sacrifice quite a bit for DD's hockey. We discussed that with her last night. We explained to her that if we weren't shelling out the $$ for her hockey, I could afford a new car. Or we could afford a bigger house (and if it weren't for the time sacrifice, DH would be working a lot more overtime and be raking in even more $$). But, we realize that we can't afford a bigger house AND for DD to play. And since we all enjoy her hockey, we make that sacrifice reasonably happily. We also informed her that we're the youngest parents on her team. Most of her teammate's parents are at LEAST 10 years older than DH and I. Some of them closer to 20 years older. So, the fact that we've owned this house for 8 years now, where as most of them probably weren't even getting married till they were as old as we are now..... The fact that DH and I spent the last 10 years (straight out of HS for me) raising a kid, starting work and buying a house, instead of college, means that in some aspects we're a little farther along the grade than they are, in other aspects (annual income, for example) we're a little further behind. *shrug* But, the welcoming quality of our home is no less than theirs is, it's just a bit smaller.

*sigh* I'd just come to the conclusion that I'd LOVE to have a couple of those girls over to our house. Not because I think they're critical of where DD comes from, but because I'd love for them to go back to their Moms & Dads (who are inadvertently rather hurtful in their discussions about how they just can't stand their "tiny" 2400 sq foot house) and be in "awe" over how small DD's house is. A lot of these same parents will put for plans for the team that aren't cheap (parties and some of the activities down in Anchorage during the last tournament, for example) and don't seem to realize that when DH quietly comments to the team-treasurer that we're short on money this pay-period, can we get you the money next pay-period..... He really means it. These folks are so USED to the money, they seem to figure that anybody else who's daughter plays hockey with theirs MUST be in the same financial bracket. And that is true, except for us. That IS the case with the rest of them. But, I'd love for them to get some idea of how much we mean it when we say "there's no way we can get that money before dividend checks come, we just don't have it until then". I know a person's house size is not a 100% accurate indicator of their financial status (especially in our appearance-focused society), but it IS one small way to get some idea of the other aspects of another person's life.

*wry chuckle* Anyway, so DD yesterday decided that she's too Embarassed about our house for her sleep-over to include team-mates. I wonder what she's going to do about the sleep-over then. Her best friend has decided she doesn't like sleeping at our house. DD doesn't have a lot of other kids she's really close with (and some we won't allow in our house for behavioral reasons). But, it kind of hurts that despite the fact that DH and I do the best we can for DD, she's embarassed by our lack of sq footage. *shaking head* Chalk another one up to "appearances oriented". And, of course, DH promotes that kind of thinking. I do my best, but she idolizes her daddy, but as a rule what he thinks, she does too. *sigh* Ah well.

**********

The rain finally cleared up and this morning is sunny & bright. And COLD!!!!! I let the dogs out first thing & about slipped across the deck. It was covered in frost. *sigh* I'm still feeling as though we'll probably see snow by Sunday. I'll let you know if I'm right or not.

I also need to get out & get the most recent crop of Rhubarb picked, chopped & frozen, before it wilts from the cold. And my chives as well. From the last time I cut them down (documented here) to now, they've grown a full "head" again, and are ready to be cut again. *shrug* Ok! Those are chores to be done tonight after work, I suppose.

And, I think that's it, so......

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

7 words that begin with P.

Well, Em tagged me with this little meme, and I said I'd play along. I hope I can come up with 7 words, though, without resorting to bathroom humor.

The first is easy.

Pina Colada! That's the flavor of one of the cakes DD and I picked up at the farmer's market this morning. And it was darned good. Though not as good as that lemon cream roll mentioned in my previous post (P!)

Pouty (Pissy is the other word that came to mind.) These are words related to DD's current behavior & attitude.

Painful. This was one of my responses to getting punched 3 times in the chest by my almost-5-year-old niece the other day when she & her mama (my baby sis) stopped by to see me at work.

Party. This is WHY my niece & sis stopped by to see me at work. Big K. and little K. stopped in to give me an invitation to little K's birthday party on Sept. 22. Little K. was in a nasty little mood, and twice when asked for a hug (once by her mom, once by me) she punched (hey, another P word!) me in the chest, the second time was both fists punching me at once. My sister sat there with a stupid smile on her face and didn't bother to correct her daughter nor seemingly to see anything wrong with little K's behavior. Being as I was at work and in a public place (2 more P words!), I couldn't do anything physical in response. But I DID take hold of her hand (both times, not that it made any impact the first time) and tell her that she was HURTING me, and if she was intent on hitting me then I was going to quit talking to her and go back to work. The second time I DID tell them goodbye, and that I needed to go back to working. DD is NOT looking forward to this party, and neither am I. Last year's party went so atrociously that I refered to the niece (then 4) as "Her Royal Heinous" for several days.

Present. After such a poor (P!) response to the book & book-bag I so carefully picked out for my niece last year (and spent over 30 bucks on), this year little K's present will consist of a gift card from the local big W. for $15. I'm certainly not going to spend more than that, or put any more effort finding "the perfect gift" for two such ungrateful & mean brats as they are.

Precipitation. This has been our weather today. Overcast & precipitating. And we're supposed to get some of the white, flaky precipitation in the hills tonight, and maybe even down here into the valley by morning. And, the precipitation is supposed to continue for the next couple of days. This time of year, that certainly means the possibility (P!) of snow any day now.

Pass. I'm going to PASS this meme onto...... my Plato-fanatic middle sis here at Platonic Relationship.

Duck & Pancakes....

Well, turned out that the ducks weren't whole ducks at all, but only duck-breasts. So I also took out two cornish hens that'd been languishing our our freezer for quite some time. Here's the recipe I used for the birds.

Honey & Spice Duckling (from BH&G's New Cookbook)

1 3- to 5- pound domestic duckling (did not use this, obviously)
2 tsp szechwan pepper, coarsely ground or 1 tsp whole pepper coarsely ground
1 tsp salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp oriental five-spice blend
1/4 c honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Rinse duck (bird, as this would taste great on chicken); pat dry. In a bowl, combine pepper, salt, ginger, and five spice blend. Sprinkle body cavity with some of the salt mixture; rub remaining mixture onto skin of duck. Skewer neck skin to back; tie legs to tail. Twist wing-tips under back. Prick skin all over with fork.

Place duckling, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in a 375 deg. oven for 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or till the drumsticks move easily in their sockets and duck is no longer pink, spooning off fat occasionally. Meanwhile, mix honey and soy sauce; baste duck with honey mixture once or twice during the last 10 minutes of roasting. Makes 3 or 4 servings.

As the duckling was just the breasts, I first followed the directions above with the cornish hens, then tossed the duck-breasts into the remaining spice blend and coated well before placing in fridge for a while. With the cornish hens I followed the directions directly as above. With the duck breasts, I wound up sauteeing them in a little olive oil till they were almost done cooking (or, so I thought), then brushed a little of the honey-soy mix over, only to find out that the duck wasn't quite done when I cut into it a couple of minutes later. *sigh* So, the honey really caramelized on the duck-breasts. And the spices wound up being too strong for the flavor of the breasts, though it was great on the cornish hens. I definitely think I'll reuse this recipe with chicken sometime, though.


DH went out hunting again this morning. One last attempt at getting a moose during rifle season. No luck. *sigh* Though I think he's got till Nov. to continue bow hunting. So, we may get a moose yet. DD and I got up around 9, and I made sourdough pancakes for breakfast before heading out to the farmer's market one last time. Here's my favorite pancake recipe.


Sourdough Pancakes (from Pat's Sourdough & Favorite Recipes by Patricia A. Duncan)

3 c sourdough starter sponge
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
dash of baking powder
dash of salt
1 Tbsp melted butter
(I always add a bit of sugar, as well.)

Heat griddle. Mix the sourdough sponge, egg, salt, baking powder, and butter (and sugar, if you're using it). Mix well. Add the soda last, right before cooking. Pour pancake batter onto griddle. Cook till bubbles form & outter edge starts solidifying. Turn over. Cook till done.


I always try to make enough of these to put the extra in the fridge for DD's school-morning breakfasts. If you make small griddle-cakes, just pop them into a plastic bag & freeze as they are. To serve, take the desired number out, put them on a plate & slather with a bit of butter, and pop into the microwave for 30 seconds at at time, till heated & butter melting. Serve with cinnamon sugar or syrup. Sometimes I deliberately make the batter kind of thin, to form more crepe-like pancakes, then while they're still warm I slather them with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, and roll into "cigars" and stack carefully in a plastic bag before placing in freezer. I do the same sort of thing with sourdough waffles, making enough to freeze the extra for weekday mornings. Much tastier than the Eggo variety.


After our breakfast of pancakes, we headed to the farmer's market where I FINALLY got my jar of chokecherry jelly. I also picked up a quarter each of Honey Bakery's Very Berry filled cake, and Pina Colada filled cake. And DD and I shared one of their lemon "cream rolls", which are essentially waffles (the kind waffle cones are made of) formed into a "cigar" shape and filled with lemon flavored (REAL) whipped cream. FREAKING YUM!!!!! Dang. Makes me wish I'd gotten one all to myself. Also makes me wish I'd tried them before now. I mean, next week is the last week this year for the farmer's market, so it'll be NEXT summer before I get another one of those!!!!!


We stopped into Gulliver's before heading back out of town. Picked up a couple of kids books that I loved when I was younger, and thought DD might be interested in now. We got John Campbell's _The White Mountains_, Katherine Paterson's _The Great Gilly Hopkins_ and Molly Hunter's _A Stranger Came Ashore_. Yesterday I also bought DD the first book in a new American Girl series. It's about a little girl who's nine in 1974. The book's title is _Meet Julie_. Tay's finally totally into the American Girl books, so when I saw that one while doing my grocery shopping, I just had to pick it up for her. She's already about 1/2 way through with it. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see her interested in reading finally. Though she seems pretty proud to be the only one in her class who's only interested in one specific genre of book (The American Girl books). *sigh* I keep hoping that by providing her a great variety, she'll develope a real love of reading. I'm on the lookout for a used copy of _Hatchet_ by Gary Paulson, and I've already purchased _My Side of the Mountain_ and _The Far Side of the Mountain_ by Jean Craighead George, as I know Tay's a rather rough&tumble kid.


Anyway, now I'm just catching up online, since it's drizzly out & there's not a heck of a lot to do. Tay's alternately begging me to let her go play with her friends, or play on the computer (nevermind that I'm currently online on our only computer) and screaming at me about how mean I am, how much she hates her life, and how miserable our house is. *sigh* I just remind her that if she'd not been a total PITA last night when I denied her request to spend the night at her best friend's house, she COULD be playing with the girl today, and maybe even spending tonight there. (I wouldn't let her sleep over last night because she needed a good long soak in the tub to clean out some dirt she'd embedded in her knee & hand when she took a nasty little fall off her bike while watching last night's NP Patriot's football game. But, of course, that automatically made me "mean" and I got all sorts of screamed accusations of how I treat her like a baby and NEVER let her do ANYTHING. *rolling eyes*)


For supper tonight I'll be making Southern Fried Chicken, but as I don't follow one specific recipe, there's no recipe to share. I was hoping to find some swiss chard at the farmer's market this morning to make with the chicken, but no such luck. So I'll probably do some ranch mashed potatoes & some canned collards instead.


Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More bits & pieces....

I'll start off with a little more about music. Try this. Find an older cd. One that's like 10 or so years old. And get one of your new cds. Something a year or so old. Put them both in the cd player, listen to the new one first. Notice the constant volume on the cd. All the songs are played at the same volume. No variation for quiet, low-key songs versus upbeat, loud & obnoxious songs. All played at the same volume. Now play that older cd. Notice how the songs vary in their volume. Notice how there are quiet moments in songs, and louder moments. I forget the musical terms for when the music takes a softer tone, but you'll notice when you decide to listen to one cd after the other. It's the truth. And it can be very annoying when you recognize that in real life these songs would not be at one constant, steady, LOUD volume. The way the music is written, you'll hear highs & lows in each songs. But, NOT in our modern cds. Maybe that's why we still find people who prefer their old records. The records weren't technologically modulated to shout out all the songs at one eardrum-shattering volume. The records actually allow for the softness of a soft, quiet song, versus the harshness of a pop song.

I noticed how true this is while I was listening to my old Simon & Garfunkle's Greatest cd last night. I could hear the swelling and the die-back in "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Scarborough Faire". That's not something I hear in my Josh Groban cd's. As much as I do like Josh Groban, I wish I could hear the music he makes as it was intended. Unfortunately the music manufacturers don't seem to understand or appreciate this important aspect of music.

**********

A bit of synconicity:

This occured between myself and one of the children's librarians a couple of weeks ago. *Sue* is her name. Nice lady. She's a casual employee, so I haven't seen her very much this summer, as she usually works Sundays in winter. It was a Monday night & she was filling in for another librarian who had the night off. I was just starting on making my end-of-the-night pick-up (the books) rounds.

Some woman had called with a very vague question about what books she should be having her second-grade daughter read, and were the books the child was being given in school grade appropriate. Now, never having met the woman or the woman's daughter, Sue didn't have a clue what to tell the woman. And the woman was adamant that her daughter needed easy chapter books, but NOT beginner books. Beyond that, no help from the woman as to her daughter's likes or dislikes. *shrug* Sue was at a loss.

After hearing Sue's frustration over this, I off hand mentioned that some favorite books of mine at that approximate level & difficulty are Cynthia Rylant's "Cobble Street Cousins" books. They're a little tougher than the "Henry & Mudge" and "Mister Putter & Tabby" series, but are still very short, easy chapter books. And they're about 3 little 8 year old girl cousins who have all sorts of sweet, fun, girly adventures. They're quite descriptive, and they feature fabulous illustrations by Wendy Halperin. I strongly suggested Sue check them out, so that she'd have a knowledge of this set of books if she ever needed to make such a suggestion again.

Sue promptly went to find these books, and at the same time found other books by Cynthia Rylant that she'd never heard of, but decided to pick up to read. One of the other books by C.R. that Sue picked up was titled "The VanGogh Cafe". It's a thicker chapter book, and a fabulous read, according to Sue. Sue was glad I directed her to the "Cobble Street Cousins" books (which she ended up purchasing for her niece for an upcoming birthday), because she then found this other fabulous book on the shelf right there with the CSC books.

Sue came in the next week and told me that not only had she enjoyed the books, but she found out they're having a guest speaker at her church who would that weekend be giving a message titled..... The VanGogh Cafe, after his favorite children's book.

She said that for a couple of weeks she'd known about this guest speaker, and had seen the title of the message he was going to be given, but she had no idea what it'd be about. And even directly upon finding the book, the match wasn't made in her mind, about the book and the message having the same title. It wasn't till she was done reading the book & digesting IT'S message, that she went back and was looking over her church's schedual & was reminded that this was also the title of the message she'd be hearing the following weekend. The fact that I pointed her in the direction of Cynthia Rylant's books allowed her to find _The VanGogh Cafe_ in time to read it before hearing the message this speaker would be giving.

If that isn't a touch of syncronicity, I don't know what else to call it.

**********

DH & DD went to the annual Hockey Night at Play-It-Again Sports. DD needed new hockey regular hockey shorts, and a new regular chest protector. She also needed BOTH new goalie skates and new regular skates. (She'll be playing goalie AND "out" this year, so she's got to have complete set-ups for both.) It was well over $200, DH said. If anybody ever wonders why we live pay-check to pay-check..... That's it! And, this was even with the %20 off everything deal the store had going on for their annuah hockey night. And with trade-ins on DD's "old" skates & pads. (Her "old" regular skates had only been worn about 3 times, right at the end of last season, and they were brand new when purchased for her, but over the summer, her feet have grown 3 sizes. *shaking head*) We've also got to come up with $125 before she can get on the ice for her next practice, on Monday. DH is going to ask FIL if he can help out with that, till our dividend checks come in, at the beginning of Oct. Then we'll pay him back for that and all the other $$ he's lent us over the last year. *shaking head*

I DO enjoy watching DD play hockey, as does DH. And I know DD loves hockey. If it weren't for the fact that all 3 of us so appreciate her hockey, I think I'd be seriously pissed about giving up so much of our money for a sport. And occasionally I do think what we could do with that money (I'd have a new car, for example). But on the other hand, I know that DD's got real talent, when it comes to hockey. There are times I look at her, out there on-ice, in her gear, and think that this is just where she needs to be, what she was built for (literally, her build suits playing hockey precisely). And she's such an athletic child I could never take it away from her.

Though I wish she & DH understood more the importance of using one's brain, I believe DD would feel just as lost without hockey, as I would without books. *sigh*

**********

So, I'll be trying something new, again, for supper tomorrow night. One of DH's bosses loves hunting & fishing (and is actually an experienced, liscensed hunting & fishing guide, when he's not running the company, and even got to do some guiding for Rick Schroeder this summer, and has pics to prove it) and got some duck earlier this week. So, hearing that DH (and, DH presumed, myself) had never tried duck, Ed gave DH 3 of the ducks for me to make. Ok. I've got no problem with that. DH didn't realize that I've had duck, and liked it greatly. (And he was rather disappointed to find out that he wasn't going to get to suprise me with a new food.) So, now I get to come up with a recipe for making them tomorrow night. I'm leaning towards Duck L'Orange. But, first I've got to find that required recipe. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thank You!

Both Whim and Robin awarded me this:



So, Thank you both for the lovely award!

I guess, to keep the loveliness flowing, I'll pass on the award to my Mom @ Hawaiian Musings, even though she was more ornery than nice today, in posting a yucky pic of an IV shunt in her arm.

Also, Em @ Notes from My Corner because this is a guy who genuinely cares & has a great family who features constantly in his blog entries.

Next comes Turtleheart @ Turtleheart's Cove because again, this woman is genuinely a great person. Stop by and say Hi, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed in her blog.

4th on my list would be Tori @ Tori's Blog Spot. I've only recently met Tori, but she's a great person, and British, so her blog is fun to read for a girl from Alaska. She's got some cute pups that she loves sharing pictures of and she even celebrates the birthdays of her pets (and the pets of her family) with pressies & such. Great fun!

And last, but certainly not least, is Barefoot In The Garden. I really enjoy her blog because she's just so totally whimsical & fun, she's got an adolescent daughter who reminds me so much of mine, and she's also an incredibly nice & creative person who's welcomed me into her blogger-neighbourhood.

Ok. Now I get to hope that the award up above shows up. If not, I'll be doing a bit of reworking here, after I get Whim or Robin to tell me how to fix the award.

Have a Blessed Evening!

10 Things.....

10 books I read over & over again (in no real particular order) (Stolen from Barefoot in the Garden.)

1) _The Little Princess_ and _The Secret Garden_ by F.H. Burnett
2) Anne McCaffery's Pern novels (would be much more than 10 to list them all)
3) The American Girl books (won't list them all for the same reason as #2)
4) Nora Robert's 3 Sisters Island triology
5) Jean Auel's "Earth's Children" series (Clan of the Cave Bear, and so on)
6) _Anna to the Infinite Power_ by Mildred Ames
7) _Daddy Long-Legs_ by Jean Webster
8) _The Mermaid Hunter_ by Mollie Hunter
9) _Seal Child_ by Sylvia Peck
10) _My Side of the Mountain_ and _Far Side of the Mountain_ by Jean Craighead George

And, just because I absolutely cannot end at 10 books....

11) The Harry Potter books
12) _The DaVinci Code_ and _Angels & Demons_ by Dan Brown
13) _The Handmaiden's Tale_ by Margaret Atwood

Gotta run. Gotta get heading to work.

And so it starts.....

Tonight is DD's first hockey practice of the season. I just got finished resewing her groin protector into her shorts. I'll have to do a better job of it later, as I got one side (the side that was really loose), but the origional seams are starting to come undone on the opposite side. LOL What a thing to talk about first thing, huh??? Ah well.... That's life as Mom, though. Making repairs to one's children's items, no matter what their use.

I won't be going to practice. Even though it's just up the street from my workplace, the practice doesn't start till 45 minutes after I get off work. On top of that, it doesn't get over till 7:45. It'd be well after 8 pm before I get home & get dinner started. The hubby will be there so I'm not worried about not being there. (Oh, I need to find her inhaler, as she's having a relapse of that cold and she may need a couple of puffs on the thing if she gets really active.)

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Laundry, Jelly, and Josh.....

Josh Groban, that is. And Andrea Bocelli, as well. These two incredible gentlemen kept me company while I was doing chores around the house yesterday. And ooooh, how I love them both. Not at the same time, of course. *wink*

I waltzed with Josh while I swept the floor, and swayed as I stirred another batch of jelly (6 jars from 2 pounds of apples, picked at Dad's yesterday). And Andrea so beautifully serenaded me while I did laundry and made dinner. Now, with company like these guys, who could possibly hate housework?????

Of course, the hubby doesn't care for my love affair, which is why I generally only get their company in the privacy of my own car on my way to & from work, but...... On the weekends when the hubby is gone, I can enjoy them to my heart's content.

I don't think many people (if any) realize how incredibly important music is in my life. I used to participate in the middle school & high school choirs, and do semi-regular duets at church. Of course those parts of my life have ended, so it no longer seems as though music has an important place in my life. And, seeing as how neither DH nor DD completely agree with my choices in music, I rarely get to enjoy my chosen tunes when the hubby or DD are around. They're pretty firmly into country, though DH loves rap as well, and I love a much greater variety than that.

On Friday nights, I prefer to turn to the local modern pop station, as they've got 2 hours of nineties flashback, and rocking out to those tunes brings back a LOT of memories. It's funny to hear "and now from '95, "this song" by ____". I stand there and think..... "wow, I thought that song came out more recently." LOL I tend to get very nestalgic as I listen. I think, what was I doing in '98..... Oh, DD was coming up on her first birthday. In '95 I was a sophmore in HS. '93, I was just finishing up 8th grade, and I can't believe how long ago that feels like.

Of course, back in school, I was as likely to be listenting to Golden Oldies as I was to the local pop station. I would waltz around my room singing "Johnny Angel" or tap my toes in time to "my boyfriend's back" as I was reading or doing homework. I also loved Neal Sedaka's "breaking up is hard to do." Not that I had a boyfriend, or any experience with breaking up. But it was a great song to sing along to.

As I'm doing housework on the weekends, I generally pop in a little of the fore-mentioned Josh or Andrea, or one of my many, many celtic cds, or some classical music like Beethoven or Tzchaichovski. And this is why we don't generally listen to music if the hubby is around. He wants to turn on the station that plays rap, which I can't stand (and I don't think the lyrics are appropriate for DD). DD wants country, which I DO get tired of, though I generally like it. I want celtic. One can't solve that sort of disparity. LOL

But, on my drive to work, when the music choice is all mine, one often sees me singing heartily along to the radio. And, sometimes it IS the pop-station or country. In fact, on the frequent occasions that I forget my cd case at home, I quite happily turn on one of these two stations & just belt out the songs right along with the origional singers.

At work, I frequently (as in, every day) find myself constantly humming whatever was the last tune I heard on the radio. This gets quite annoying at times, as I frequently cannot recall more than 1 line of that song. Of course, it isn't only myself that does this. A couple of coworkers and I will "trade songs", when we mention what's been running through our head, and get the others stuck on it as well. I had a good laugh when one time I for some reason was stuck on "I could have Danced all night" from The King & I, and was humming it, and before long, my most exhuberant coworker was waltzing around the work-room, badly singing the same tune. *grin* Or, finding yourself humming the Sesame St. song or "The ants go marching" after inspecting a book that prompted the song-memory.

And, these very rare weekends where I get to spend a night home alone.... I even pop in a cd of soft tunes to lull me to sleep. Last night it was an old "sax for lovers" cd. The night before Josh was again my choice of music. I also love my Celtic Twilight 1 cd for that purpose (or any other, really). If it was just me again tonight (which it's not, DH will be home) I'd probably put in my Kenny G "Breathless" cd and drift off listening to the same songs that used to be my constant companion in HS. I've lost my tape of Kenny Loggins' "Return to Pooh Corner" and Shaina Knoll's "Songs for the inner child" and need to buy myself these cds to add to my "lonely weekend lullaby" repetoire. I recall listening to these all the time as a teen, as well, when mom gave me the tape she copied for me from her cds of the same.

So, while I may not participate in any choral groups, or sing as part of the church's music ministry, if one were to find me in a dentist's chair or an elevator, and unless Eminem or Fifty Cent is being played, I'll probably be rather happy with whatever music is on the intercom. I may not be terribly up-front about it, but music continues to be a very big part of my life.

Have a Blessed, Musical Day!

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

More thinking material. A shorter video this time.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ok. The cat's out of the bag....

So I can rant a bit & post.

My youngest sister just told me on Sunday that she's engaged again. To a guy she's been dating for less than 2 months. They're getting married (supposedly) on Sept. 21, the day before my niece's 5th birthday. Then, in Oct. after dividend checks get here, they're going to rent a U-haul & move down to Washington state. *shaking head* My sis doesn't have a freaking clue! Not one. She's so danged bound & determined to move out of state, away from Fairbanks that she's willing to sacrifice friends & family & her hometown (whether she likes it or not, this is!), marry a guy she's just met, and move without any plans other than the leaving part of it. She's NOT got a job lined up. She doesn't have real plans on where she's going to live. But she's met a guy who wants to move to Washington with her and is willing to help foot the bill, so she's doing it. The spur of the moment. A whim. A lark. And a whole lot of stupidity. My other sister was just asking how I'm managing to NOT ball our baby sis out over the stupidity of this decision. I'm actually just sitting her shaking my head & chuckling over the stupidity. Because that's all I CAN do! I know K. won't listen to me. I know she doesn't care a whit what I think. And I know that getting the hell out of Fairbanks has been her plan for the last 20+ years (she's only 24). So, nothing I say is going to make a bit of difference with her. *shrug* That's just how she is.

Shelli (my other sister) and I are really hoping that this doesn't ruin my niece's life. In the nearly 5 years since my niece was born, her mom (my baby sis, K.) has been engaged 4 times. And 2 other times she was pushing frantically for an engagement ring that never materialized. My niece has 4 times in her short life been instructed to call K's boyfriend "daddy". *shaking head* That poor child is going to be SOOOOO confused as to who really IS her father (esp. considering her "sperm donor" only really provides a child-support check, but has never even been glimpsed by my niece as he lives in the Chicago area). *sigh & shrug* What else CAN I do, but hope & pray for my niece's well-being.

It WILL be interesting to see how long K's relationship to B. (the latest fiancee) lasts. The others have lasted about 3 months at the most. She's just too fickle to really invest enough for a lasting relationship. And, it's very probable that if they DO go through with the wedding, they're going to wind up miserable & hating each other in a VERY short amount of time, and divorced (not amicably, I'm sure) not too long from now. *shrug*

Again, Shelli (my middle sis) was kinda wondering how I was managing to NOT tell K. off for this. I was simply waiting for a chance to rant here. But I didn't want to do it before Mom & Shelli found out from K. herself. Shelli now knows (K. told her in a phone call just a bit ago), and Shelli's already called & left a message telling Mom, so now I can rant. LOL

Ah well...... Again I'll say it, who needs soap-operas when one's family provides plenty of drama for the watching. Oh, and Dad seemed to handle the news ok. I think he may be at a similar stage to where I'm at. Of course he still seems to think (or, at least acts as though he does) that K. can do no wrong. But he's not outwardly stressing about this. Then again, maybe that's why Shelli & I are reacting so differently to this news. I've always taken after my dad. Shelli takes after my Mom. Mom, how are you handling this???? Is Shelli indicative of how you're doing with this news???? *grin* Then again, Dad & I at least knew that K. had another boyfriend. Shelli didn't know, and I'm not sure if Mom knew or not that K. was seeing B. So maybe this won't be as big a suprise to Mom as it was to Shelli. *shrug*

Anyway.

I've gotta go get some lunch then get my butt to work. I'm back on my winter schedual now, so I'll be working Sunday 12:45 pm to 5:15 pm, Mondays noon to 9pm, Tuesday & Wed. noon to 6 pm, Thursdays 12:30 to 6 pm, and have Fridays & Saturdays off. I LOVE this schedual EXCEPT for the fact that I STILL must get up early on Friday mornings to get DD off to school, even though it's my weekend. On the other hand, I'm also now volunteering at the school on Friday mornings, so I may be off work, but I'm still going to be working. LOL Go figure.

**********

Whim, you asked if it seemed that autumn was coming later & later. Honestly, not that it's coming later (our Autumn still tends to start around the first of August), but it's LASTING longer. Except this year, because I do believe we're going to have an early winter. But, our autumn is dreadfully early & short, typically. Then again, this far North, what else can we expect. As the radio personalities put it this morning: Summer in Fairbanks is 3 months of lousy sledding/skiing. *wink* It's not too far off the truth, either.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Recipes....

So, as promised, here is my French Dip recipe. Bear in mind that a great deal of my cooking is "a pinch of this, a dash of that" style cooking. Once I get a recipe down, it's never the exact same again.

This recipe comes from Taste of Home Magazine (and I hope I'm not completely in the wrong posting it here).

French Dip
1 beef roast (approx 3 pounds, trimmed of excess fat)
2 c water
1/2 c soy sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 whole pepper corns
8 french rolls, split

(Now, the other night, I actually DIDN'T use the thyme & peppercorns or garlic powder. Instead I use a couple of cloves of garlic, sliced, a baggy of onion-soup mix, a dash of worchestershire sauce, 2 bay leaves, and some ground pepper. It still tasted great.)

Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender (ie: falling apart in the pot). Remove meat from broth; shred with forks & keep warm. Strain broth; skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls. Yield: 8 servings.

(I also serve this with cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, or whatever other condiments we may desire & have on hand. I know it's not traditional, but who cares! Do what you like!)


I served this along with swiss chard with a warm bacon dressing.

Swiss Chard w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
1 large bunch swiss chard, or 2 smaller bunches, washed & chopped/sliced, stem & ribs & all!
1 pkg (12 to 16 oz, depending on the brand) bacon
1/2 medium to large onion, diced
2 to 3 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 c apple cider vinegar (can be made with white, but ACV tastes better)
1/8 c sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Fry up your bacon till crisp, remove to paper towels & allow excess grease to drain off. Leaving about 2 or 3 Tbsp of bacon grease in your pan, pour the rest into a seperate bowl (large enough to hold your finished Chard Salad, then discard HALF of that! (One pound of bacon grease creates far too much for the dressing.) In the bowl with the remaining bacon grease, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt & pepper, then set aside. Place diced onion in sauce pan & start to sautee till translucent, at which point you should add your Chard to the pan and cover & maintain a low heat. You'll be basically steaming the chard in it's own juices & that little bit of bacon grease. In the meantime, crumble your bacon & chop your eggs (not too fine a chop) & set aside. Just before the Chard is done (wilted down & the stems pieces tender) give your dressing a good stir. When Chard has wilted considerably, remove it (leaving as much of the liquid as possible in the pan) to the bowl containing your dressing & then top with the crumbled bacon & chopped eggs & give a good toss. VERY YUMMY!!!!

I do suppose that one could start with the stems & onions & get those nice & tender before adding the leaves of the chard & steaming those only barely, but my DH likes his chard wilted to within an inch of it's life. Either way, be careful not to make too much dressing (as I usually do) because then you'll wind up with a chard salad SWIMMING in dressing.

**********

Tonight's dinner is fried cabbage & keilbasa. This is one I've never used a recipe for but remember watching my dad make often enough that I can make it off the top of my head.

Fried Cabbage & Keilbasa
1 link keilbasa (the big horse-shoe shaped link, can be turkey keilbasa, summer sausage, whatever)
a bit of bacon grease (kept in the fridge for cooking purposes) or other oil
1 good sized head of green cabbage
1 onion
lawry's season salt to taste
maybe a bit of water

Slice your keilbasa into bite-sized rounds & toss into a large skillet with a bit of bacon grease to keep the keilbasa from burning & sticking to the pan. Brown the keilbasa then remove to a seperate container & keep warm.

Dice your onion & toss in to pan & start sauteeing in grease while you slice your cabbage. Slice the cabbage finely enough to provide bite-sized pieces, and add to the skillet with the onion once the onion's had a chance to become translucent. Add a bit of water to prevent burning (no more than a couple of Tbsps, though, as the cabbage WILL provide it's own water) and cover with lid & allow the cabbage to wilt down. Once cabbage is reduced greatly in size & is now somewhat tender, stir your keilbasa back in, season with the lawry's to taste, and enjoy! May be served with Mashed potatoes for a bit of extra starch, or over boiled & buttered egg noodles. I just prefer it by itself, though.

So, Tori, there you are. Some more recipes for ya. I don't know how healthy they are *wink* but they're good and they're some of my family's "old stand-bys". I've gotta find my jumping-off-point recipe for Lasagna before I post that.

**********

As for the geese leaving early.... Technically they're not leaving early OR late, but right on time. We always see most of them heading out during moose hunting season, and we're right in the thick of that right now. BUT, as I posted a couple of weeks back, I do believe that we're going to see an early winter this year (based on how early the fireweed "cottoned out"), so I'm suprised the birds are waiting till this late to fly. I would have figured they'd all have been out of here a couple of weeks ago. A couple of folks at work seemed to feel the same way. We've had beautiful weather, but considering how early the fireweed cottoned out, and how quickly the leaves are turning on the trees, and how cool & brisk it's getting so suddenly..... It seems we're going to have a beautiful autumn, but an early winter. *shrug* Ah well. I just wish it was possible to tell down to the day, as I've got some seeds I wish to plant before right before the snow flies, but I don't want to plant them so early that they start germinating. But, for what it's worth, I do believe we're going to see our first snow-fall right around Sept. 23rd this year. Last year it was late in the day on Sept. 29th.

Have a Blessed Day!