Friday, November 28, 2008

the no spend weekend

We are bucking the trend, no purchases to be made between wednesday the night before thanksgiving and the monday after thanksgiving.......i refuse to participate in the madness of black friday, rather prefer to plan and spend my money when i see fit, not in a reaction to some hocker's ads for a sale to beat all sales, it just is stupid, the amount of ads and special sections of the paper that marks us as a consumer of corporate driven desires......just wish our laptop was working, we are avoiding the apple store for the repair since it is our spend nothing weekend....happy thanksgiving and enjoy your family and friends rather than marking the holiday with the excuse to open your wallets for stuff to wrap to give to people that don't need it next month!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the wheel goes round

I am lucky enough to have a dad with a workshop, many tools and abilities to make things from wood or metal, I asked him to make our son a steering wheel for Christmas, he did and gave it as just an everyday kind of present to my son, who loves it, here he is driving while riding in the car seat...... driving in carit is made of pine and sealed with salad oil a non-toxic coating in case anyone wants to put it in their mouth......just so fun to have something made by grampa!

Friday, November 21, 2008

santa sighting

An early santa arrival, gorgeous santa and mrs claus were in reno, nevada on the night we met gramma for her birthday dinner, so we stopped by to say HI and see the fireworks, both scared my son to the point of clinging to me during the fireworks, hiding his head under his hood then I wanted a picture of him with santa, so gramma got to hold the clinging little boy while he screamed and squirmed away from the strange man in the red robe, santa tried to discuss toys and trucks and mrs claus gave him candy, all to no avail, I found it quite appropriate that santa was seated in front of an ATM machine and while taking this and several other bad pictures of my son with santa I missed the chocolate bar distributing hot cocoa via a back pack spicot, it was cool tried to get a picture of it but failed there too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

my oven runneth over

I was a crazed cooking machine on Friday, I had intentions of making a pot of beans, cornbread and crash hot potatoes, kind of a once a week normal lunch around here, but with the holidays coming up, I wanted to test a few gingerbread recipes as before noon I had made 2 loaves of gingerbread, pot of beans(from dried), homemade cornbread in an iron skillet, roasted crash hot potatoes and brussel sprouts while feeding a toddler 2 mini meals, one of yogurt, blueberries and homemade granola, the other of mini tangerines, grapes and I also changed two beds of linens, washed all of them, hung them out on the line to dry, sunny here had to take advantage of it, and did one load of regular laundry, lucky me though hubby came home for lunch and decided to take the rest of the afternoon off so we could enjoy the lovely sunny day together, the testing of gingerbread was cut short, i had one more recipe i was wanting to try. The first gingerbread was Laura Ingall's recipe from Little House on the Prarie fame, primay ingredient molasses, I did her recipe with eggs, although she did it without with just as much success and her daughter liked it iced with chocolate frosting, no frosting here, the second recipe I did was orange extract infused, no eggs, no molasses, I used ginger juice rather than ground ginger from a jar......i preferred the latter , hubby preferred the first, I need to do the buttermilk recipe just to get a feel for how i can concoct the perfect gingerbread for our altitude and tastebuds, a friend joked with me hey they sell a mix in a box that is pretty good, lol, my current passion is from scratch everything, so I know what it in my food and there is no process or oil or gas going into transporting my pre-portioned chemical confection in a hermetically sealed carboard printed package with plastic guts that spill altered dust into a bowl into which i simply add oil,water,eggs,milk, butter some little bit of "normal" food and whammo I get instant dough..........I would rather just go to the local bakery, not the chain store one, the locally owned hands worked the dough, french owners that speak with such a heavy accent I struggle to understand, and spend the 12 bucks they would charge for a loaf of gingerbread, they are very very expensive! But first I will try to make my own!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

how to use a stale loaf of bread

I had this lovely artisan loaf of bread that just never got sliced with our salad the other night, or our for our lunches, I could not throw it away and had been wanting to make either bread salad or soup for about a year, never finding the right recipe or having the right ingredients on hand, it never happened during the summer and today's dreary overcast cold day felt like soup weather, last week i had made shrimp stock by boiling the shrimp shells and vegi ends i had laying about, so i wanted to use that today with the bread, fearful of the fishy taste i found this recipe and decided the abundant garlic should balance with the fishyness of the homemade stock.....super easy recipe, all ingredients on hand and very economical to boot! even weirder it made so much soup we have enough left for 3 more bowls later this is very garlicky which i love! and now I feel great for having given my abandoned bread somewhere to shine!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A world of hope

I received the following text in an email from a friend of the writer's family, and in reading it aloud to my husband I cried and stumbled to read the words, my spirit felt full and touched with the community this woman experienced, hoping it is all understandable since I cut and pasted it here....
Today I have had to travel from the island of Borneo...from SABAH and the town
of Kota Kinabalu. Then to Kuala Lumpur where I had a 5 hour lay over and
finally arriving very late at night in Bangkok. The election has already
Today, in honor of the election, I am wearing an Obama '08 button on my
lapel. If the treatment and reaction throughout my day is any indication of
what our world might become....I am overwhelmed with optimism. First, every
single place I went, someone noticed the button and called out, "OBAMA!".
There were international administrators from across the region at the hotel.
Many of them nodded and smiled, and even the non-Americans who reacted with
huge enthusiasm.
One man from Australia stopped me to talk politics for 10 minutes. The crew
working behind the
desk all gave a thumbs up...the taxi driver did not charge me for taking me
to the airport.
I must explain that, once at the airport, I am one of very few Americans
among Asians from all over this region. I might possibly be the only blond in
either airport I have been in so far today, and won't see many if any
Americans until Bangkok. I do not speak the language...thank goodness they
speak English.
Upon seeing my button, everyone, without exception, smiles. I have received
preferential treatment all day long. They didn't make me pay extra for a heavy
bag, they treated me in short, like royalty. The stewardess told the pilot,
who stood up in the cock pit to give me a thumbs up. Even the immigration
official barely looked at my passport. He was much more interested in knowing
an Obama supporter and what I thought would happen today.
When I was buying dinner at a very American McDonalds (the only place to get
something to eat), the entire crew behind the counter (not one American) came
to say kind words to me. The man who exchanged my money asked how I could do
anything so far away from the USA. I told him, with some amount of pride,
that I had voted by absentee ballot. He took my hand and said, "thank you so
much for voting for Mr. Obama." There were actual tears in his eyes.
While waiting at the airport in Kota Kinabalu and girl about 9 years old saw my button. She smiled broadly. I said hello and she asked if I wanted Obama to win because she did and her whole family did and that that morning they said a prayer that he would. I told her that I thought Barack would like that a girl all the way in Kota Kinabalu said a prayer for him. She asked could I tell him that they were praying for him and I said I would send an email to his headquarters. She was so excited that she ran to tell her parents. Her father came over and asked me if I knew Obama. I told him I had seen him speak, but never met him. He said that his whole community was praying for Obama and that he appreciated that I would write an email to tell him. He took my hand and said, we are praying for all of the American people too. This was the second stranger to take my hand today. It was my turn to have tears in my eyes, because this man, who I didn't know, was completely sincere. I thanked him. He said, "all of us, you understand?" I said, "All of us together." We parted...smiling!
I write this as I sit in the airport at Kuala Lumpur waiting for hours for the plane. The women who guard the doors have on muslim headdresses , orange pants outfits and lime green jerseys. They are shy and reserved, yet they give me the thumbs up, and quietly whisper, "Obama" as I walk by. There are Thai and Chinese, and Indonesians and Indians surrounding me...The languages, dress, foods are all interesting. And sitting right next to me is a Buddhist monk, in just his orangish/yellow robes and shaved head. He smiles broadly when I look at him. He says frankly, "I like Obama."

Friday, November 7, 2008

olives, green please!

I love olives, always have preferred the green variety, not a fan of pimientos, granted I buy black olives and eat them too. Last week when making tamales, I needed to buy some olives, we were out had been for awhile, my normal selection of mezzetta garlic olives was not on the shelf at the market, so I saw some green medium olives in cans on the bottom shelf, there was even a store brand version, but the name brand version was on sale and cheaper, so i got one can, pitted medium Lindsay green ripe olives for $ 1.25 for the whole dr wt 6oz can(170g) the can was similar to all the other labels, until I put it in my cart, making sure that this can was lindsay from California, and yep product of USA Corning, CA to be precise.....then I noticed the ingredients, ripe olive, water and sea salt.....that is it, hmmm I thought these have no crap in them, they are local and cheap, they will be fine for tamales, but never thought twice about how they would taste, right out of the morning, pop the top drain them in a strainer and tasted one, OMG they are perfect in buttery and smooth, they are the best tasting olive I have ever had, and they are already pitted, i admit to eating a few more but most of the can went into the trip to grocery store, the shelf was empty :( sad me! then yesterday, there they were on the bottom shelf, not on sale, but still not as expensive as my normal garlic olives, so i bought 3 cans ($2.50 a can this time).....this morning I was craving them, opened the can and proceeded to eat all but 2 on can mention that they may not be the prettiest olives sometimes a dark spot here or there, they were even better than I remembered! Warning, if you like green olives buy extra since they will vanish before you know it! I try to avoid canned goods, but this is local and I am making an exception and next time they are on sale I am buying every can I see!

just beachy sandwiches!

I failed to get photographs of the sandwiches we brought home from Beach Hut Deli the other night after work, but they were very BIG and full of local ingredients with enough creativity to make you rethink the word "Sandwich" here is a link to the menu offerings We will be trying to duplicate some of the interesting mixes at home, and will go and eat there sometime when we need a beach fix, the inside was very surfer dud cool, loud reggae music playing, surf boards for booth tables, lots of big screen tvs, 6 beers on tap, a pool table and some video games....kind of like the pizza places of my youth with sandwiches instead of pies, there were some other patrons eating and this one sandwich was either meatball or bbq just yummy smelling and super messy but i would try that in house, not something to take home.........the inside was very clean, the area of sandwich making looked highly effecient and the beer on tap kegs were cooled in the same cooler that i saaw huge boxes of tomatoes and sodas in, i liked the simple streamlined idea, conserved cords and unfortunately they do have a pepsi fountain, so my tea wishes will have to supplemented by the starbucks 2 doors away!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We voted this afternoon, in the lack of sunny day, cold winter like weather, no lines at our polling place, but also no voting machines, just paper ballots, pens and poll workers. Our voting venue changed this year, not to my liking, this new location had no privacy booths or sense of your vote counting, it just felt like paper was being put in boxes to be maybe counted later, i much preferred the voting machines in nevada, when i lived there, no human error could make your ballot vanish!

bear highway

we always suspected that our property bordered the bears path through our neighborhood, but the overnight snow confirms our suspicions, snow lets footprints be seen! there were lots of bear tracks and one set of human, thank you campaigner that left the flyer on our door before 7am! My funny husband joked that the bears were just looking for their polling location!

perfect chocolate chip cookies!

It must have been an alignment of the planets, or humidity helped, since we had a storm on the way in, but my oven and I made perfect chocolate chip cookies on Monday, they were yummy and luckily a small batch! recipe is super simple, from , preheat oven to 375ยบ, sift 1st 3 ingredients together in small bowl, set aside, then cream butter, add sugars, eggs, vanilla, then flour mixture by hand and chips and nuts, i did a no nut version, bake 10 minutes, after making them whatever size you like, i did some 1 tablespoon size and one tray the biggest dipper i had that made 3" diameter on cookie sheet 2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack, and let cookie sheet cool before reloading with dough, ps the raw dough was the BEST...yummy!
  • 2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1 cup(s) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)