Tuesday, August 31
EDIT: This movie was awesome!! Loved it and highly recommend it!
Also well worth the read is the my one brand-new-full-price book of the year: Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad by Shari Braendel. I usually prefer to get library books, and if something's good enough to own I buy it second hand off half.com or at one of my favorite used bookstores. But about once a year, something is good enough to pay real money for. This is it this year! Honestly not a fan of the title, but what's inside is great - especially if you're like me and you didn't inherit the style genes in your family! Lol.
Sunday, August 29
CALMNESS IN OUR LIVES
I am passing this on to you because it definitely works and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Oprah show, you too can find innerpeace..
Dr. Oz proclaimed,"The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all things you have started and have never finished."
So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning,I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Blackberry Brandi, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Vicodin prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of Dove chocolates.You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now!!
Saturday, August 28
No problem. Hundred dollar hamburgers in NH, here we come! (For those not familiar with that phrase, it is a tradition among pilots to fly somewhere, have lunch and fly home - just for the fun of flying. It's called a hundred dollar hamburger because that's the most frequently opted for food and by the time you add up the cost of getting there your $5 burger costs $100. Lol.) My college roomie introduced us previously to Kimble's, an amazing little burger/ice cream place in NH that just so happens to be across the street from a well maintained air strip. Ice cream sounded good to me... until the clouds that the radar service assured us weren't really there pushed safe flying level down below the top of the mountain we were supposed to fly over.
Right. Time to turn around!
Heading towards clear skies, we flew to Seneca Falls (with a brief stop in Oneonta, as my stomach still revolts at turbulence and I needed a short breather - I am so thankful to have a good pilot and a patient man for my husband!).
Here is my handsome aviator on the ground in Seneca Falls. In the background you can see the cute little Cessna we were borrowing. If something with that much power can properly be called "cute".
Our furry flight engineer, who suffers none of his mommy's queasiness and LOVES to fly.
This is a modified Ag-Cat (spelling questionable) that is used for crop dusting. It doesn't show up very well in the picture, but there's a little propeller under the main one that powers the pesticide pump and a string of little spouts rigged up under the wings.
The flight back was pretty smooth, with our autopilot friend "George" taking over the flight controls long enough to snap a picture that turned out much better than I expected!
Aviation days make me count my blessings - my precious husband and nitro puppy, a schedule that lets me fly with them, a stomach slowly acquiring turbulence management skills, access to rental planes and a good flight school for Eric, safe travels and friends to visit all over. What makes you count your blessings?
1. On the truth about why we pay taxes, need building permits, and other daily iritations that seem out of place for free people managing their own homes and lives. By the insightful Enola Gay at Paratus Familia.
2. Counsel on one of the least discussed aspects of preparedness living. Also from Paratus Familia.
3. What they should really teach you when you go to college for a business degree, from the best online news source, WorldNetDaily.
4. Why Housewives Will Save the World. A brief reminder of the powder and beauty in being a woman (and a little inspirational boost) even though the economic, political and social outlooks are bleak. By the no-nonsense Patrice Lewis.
5. For the Wives: Completeing Him Challenge. Technically, this has finished in blogland, but I the ideas are timeless and I think they are especially appropriate as we head into one of the busiest seasons of the year. Take two minutes to read through the suggestions and see if a few of them wouldn't bless your marriage!
6. Last one - check out Audrey Aussad on youtube. I hadn't heard her before, but she has a beautiful voice and some great lyrics!
Tortellini Soup (serves 2)
Combine 5 oz tortellini (any flavor) with 3 cups chicken broth and Italian seasoning to taste. Simmer 7-12 min and serve with salad and/or bread.
Next up: No pictures, as mine weren’t exactly photo worthy, but boy did they taste good! Don’t try to eat them before bed – you won’t be able to sleep!
Caramel Popcorn Balls
1 quart popcorn
1 ½ cups rice krispies
1 ½ tbsp water
½ cup salted peanuts
Combine popcorn, krispies and peanuts and set aside. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, warm caramels and water until melted. Pour over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Using (heavily) buttered hands, shape into 3” balls and set on waxed paper to cool.
Monday, August 23
A wide range of organizations and services - including many elementary schools - sell or hand out Child Identification Kits which walk parents through the process of collecting finger prints, pictures, hair samples and/or other identifying information for your child. Their purported purpose is to make your child safer by already having in place (often submitted directly and immediately to the school or police department) all the information potentially needed to help locate your child should they be kidnapped or go missing.
This is a very bad idea. Please do not comply!
Sunday, August 22
This isn't the best picture, but I finished my quilt! (Okay, technically, for all you other quilters I finished my quilt top. The backing/binding class isn't until November, but I'm really excited!) I now understand why I've heard so many people are *ahem* not fans, shall we say, of applique. It takes freaking forever! My goodness! Once I accepted that it was going to take forever, though, I didn't mind so much. By the time I was done I was even decently good at it. :0)
Saturday, August 21
Friday, August 20
Verdict? Super easy, suprisingly rich and refreshing. This is one of those great recipes that present so beautifully that everyone feels spoiled and decadent, while remaining happily ignorant of how madly easy it was for you to make! Throw it in the martini glasses you picked up at Christmas Tree Store for 50 cents apiece, drop a couple raspberries on top of and it's looks and tastes first class. I love recipes like that!
Thursday, August 19
The impetus for this post was Keep Our Food Safe. By definition, any organization with that name should be promoting valid, verifiable information and good decision making in regards to food. Yet, the first two articles on the page (although written in a cheery, unassuming tone) encourage exactly the opposite effect! Who on earth with any working knowledge of the modern food safety system can, in good conscience, report that antibiotics used in food production are a good thing? And what kind of lunatic do you need to be to claim that the USDA's increased involvement in ANYTHING is an improvement?!
I won't go into the extensive rant that this nonsense prompts. Instead, I will simply remind everyone to please take everything you read with a grain of salt; if it's food related, you'll need a lot more than a grain with all the lies out there! If you have children, please take the time to teach them critical reading skills as well. We may not have the power to prevent misinformation from being intentionally fed to us, but we don't have to swallow it!
Tuesday, August 17
Then, this week, while looking for something new and different to make I remembered them! Being blessed with a rice steamer now, I happily looked up some recipes. As all the Japanese versions I could find required seaweed which I (shockingly) don't stock in my pantry, so I turned to the Italian versions. We were quite pleased with how they turned out, and I think they'd be great at holiday parties when you want to bring something different, not expensive and not bad for you. Lol.
So here's the basic recipe to try:
Mozzarella cheese, small diced
Toss your slightly cooled (cooked) rice in a bowl with a handful of breadcrumbs. (It might actually stick together if you use cold rice.) Liberally season with oregano, basil or your preferred combination of Italian spices. Add one egg to the mixture and combine well. You should have a meatball-like consistency. If not, adjust breadcrumbs or egg amounts accordingly.
Take a 1 tbsp scoop of your rice mixture and form it into a ball around a small cube of mozzarella. Repeat until all the rice has been used.
For a crispier outside, heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet and fry the balls until golden, turning as needed.
For a healthier option, oil a glass baking dish with olive oil and line up the balls therein. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and bake at 400* until golden.
Serve with marinara sauce on the side!
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon rind
1 cup fresh blueberries, wild
Hot Honey-Butter Sauce
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup honey, orange blossom,clover (or your favourite)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 8" square pan.
Blend flour, nutmeg, salt and baking powder together. In a small bowl mix milk, lemon juice and rind together.
In a large bowl cream butter with sugar.
Gradually add 2 eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk remembering to blend lightly.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool slightly.
To Make the Sauce:
In small pan mix water and cornstarch blend well then gradually add honey, butter and lemon juice. Boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Sauce is ready when thick and clear. Pour hot sauce over the warm cut cake and enjoy!
The latest addition to my cookbook! If you have a jumbo muffin tin or individual sized ramekins, I highly recommend baking this cake in those for individual sized servings. It's quite rich so you won't need a lot, and it makes for great presentation.
Recipe compliments of Food.com (formerly Recipezaar). Serves six as is, but for easy scaling of ingredients check out the actual posting here.
Monday, August 16
I bet that title got your attention! Who even knew there WAS a Christian Symposium on Aliens? Funny that it didn't show up in the weekly church bulletin next to reminders of other annual events like Kingdom Bound and the church play...
This is a multi-part video that you can watch on youtube (I haven't finished watching it yet), but the mere reality that there is such a symposium and that the gentleman giving the talk has a best selling, extremely positively reviewed book (Unholy Communion) piqued my interest and I had to share! Anyone want to go with me to next year's symposium?!
Sunday, August 15
Saturday, August 14
Friday, August 13
The credit may more appropriately be due to our CSA, however. This week's box came with enough beautiful flowers for me to make two complete bouquets!
Tuesday, August 10
Sunday, August 8
Everybody knows somebody who could use to be reminded how much they are loved. So consider picking someone you know and sending them a little note, card or ecard this Tuesday!
4 lb green beans
5 cups water
5 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/4 dill seeds or 8-12 stalks fresh dill
1/4 cup pickling salt
8 cloves garlic, peeled
8 small hot chili peppers or 4 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
Trim the stem ends from the beans and cut to jar length if necessary. When standing upright the beans should be about 1 inch below the rim of the jar.
Prepare preserving jars.
Combine the water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep the liquid at a simmer.
Working with one jar at a time, place 1 tbsp each of mustard seeds, dill seeds and salt, 2 cloves of garlic, and 2 hot peppers or 1 tsp of flakes in each jar. Pack the beans tightly into the jar. The easiest way is to lay the jar on its side and place the beans in by small handfuls. As it fills up, stand it upright and add additional beans one by one. (Wide-mouth jars as really good if available.) Packing the beans tightly prevents them from floating when done (which doesn't really matter, but is a nice aesthetic).
Carefully pour the hot vinegar solution over the beans to 1" from rim. Release air bubbles. Add additional solution, leaving 14" head space. Wipe rims clean and apply lids.
Process in boiling water bath for 10 min.
Picture available here.
Saturday, August 7
Parrot Pie (may substitute parakeets as available)
Kangaroo (bush style, jugged, curried or soup)
Irish Moss (yes, it really is what is sounds like)
Calf's Foot, Stewed
Pig's Head, Boiled
Pig's Kidneys, Grilled
Pig's Pettitoes, Fried
Stuffed Pig's Ears
Sheep's Tongues, Braised
Ox Cheek, Stuffed
Potted (Calf's) Head
Needless to say, none of these will be showing up on our menu any time soon. On the bright side, the book contains dozens of recipes for veggie dishes and pastries that do look quite delectable. And, I suppose, it is a comfort to know that should TEOTWAWKI hit any time soon I'll be the only one running around with actual recipes for available food sources like pigeons instead of figuring it out the hard way!
**For those unfamiliar with apocolyptic jargon, TEOTWAWKI stands for The End of the World as We Know It, and may be freely swapped with any alternative equivalent term of your preference.**
Friday, August 6
Thursday, August 5
If you're new to the idea of preparedness living or just want to find out what the fuss is all about, Food Security for the Faint of Heart by Robin Wheeler is a great place to start. Written in a friendly tone using lay-person terms, it's a neat introduction to essentials like gardening, food preservation, etc. It may pique your interest, provide good resource suggestions for more information, or be the nudge you need to take those practical steps you've been putting off.
Possibly the best part of the whole thing is the positive tone the author maintains throughout. Ms. Wheeler is neither a fear mongerer nor militant about her views. Her generous attitude and consistent reassurances that preparedness does not have to include a full arsenal and guards always on duty to protect your food supply are a gentle and welcome change from many preparedness resources and a softer way to ease yourself into valid and vital information.
Top Ten Most Contaminated Foods
8. Winter squash
9. Green Beans
Kind of depressing that some of the healthiest and most kid friendly foods we enjoy appear on there. So if at all possible, buy the produce above from local and/or organic farms or markets. Just focusing on those ten things will drastically reduce the pesticide and chemical contamination in your food!
Sunday, August 1
First up, Angel Food Cake. Yes, it's very flat. Regardless of what they tell you, absolutely nothing can be used cup-for-cup as a sugar replacement in any kind of baking that is supposed to end up light and fluffy. I tried stevia here as an experiment and you can see how it turned out. So it tasted good, but in the future there will be no substitutions.
From the reading list- feel free to skip both of the books I've most recently picked up: Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans and Vagabonds (about Mexican immigration) and Plague Year. MBOV was true to it's purpose, but made me nauseous. Remember in Braveheart when Longshanks said the problem with Scotland was that it was full of Scots? And that the best way to fix the problem was to forcibly breed them out? According to MBOV, that is essentially the same philosophy that the Mexican people have used since the Spaniards' initial landing in the New World. Breed themselves into the ranks of everyone they encounter to confuse the social order and integrate their way of life into that of every place they go. While I'm all for a melting pot, forcing your children to breed prolifically with everyone they can in a new society you wish to control without concern for any moral code is revolting. My personal opinion. Plague year I also failed to finish, mostly due to the constant emphasis on cannibalism and complete lack of any noble morals. I think my apocolypic reading will have to stick to zombie literature. At least there people do not eat people (usually), and usually mankind is involved in a unifying struggle for survial, not fractionally tearing itself apart over petty things.