Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Cider Doughnut Holes
Modified from Everyday with Rachael Ray
1 1/2 cups flour, plus additional to roll with
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp powdered buttermilk (this was a giant pain in the butt to find and really expensive! It is supposed to last forever, so let's hope so! I don't know about you, but I never buy buttermilk, but never have an issue because I use regular milk and lemon juice in its place in recipes, so this really isn't important to me. But since the liquid is the apple cider, I couldn't figure out how to use regular buttermilk, so I bought it - Ray is worth to me.:)
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup apple cider
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, powdered buttermilk, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cloves and salt. Make a well in the center. Stir cider, egg, butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients until well blended.
Refrigerate batter (this says only 1/2 of it...meaning you use the first half right away...I'd refrigerate it all for about a 1/2 hour first as it will make it easier to roll...if you have ever rolled doughnuts, you know how sticky they are even with using flour on your hands! I recommend making the dough and then refrigerate it while you are waiting for the oil to heat up rather than heating up the oil first as the batter won't be ready then.).
Heat oil until rippling (360). I use a little deep fryer (a fry daddy or something it is called), but you can use a regular deep fryer or you can just heat up the oil in a deep skillet.
Now this makes doughnut holes - so you roll one-inch balls (use a teaspoon to measure). Again, if you have made doughnuts, you know why the hole is there - makes it easier to fry! I'm going to make regular doughnuts next time, I think as it will just be easier for me personally. If you make the holes, work in batches (how many you can do in a batch depends on the size of your fryer) and do each ball until deep brown for about 2-3 minutes (regular doughnuts are the same time - without the middle, they cook faster). You need all this time - remember you have to get the center cooked and it takes time. Use a slotted spoon to pull the doughnuts out and put the holes on paper towels to drain. You can serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 30 doughnut holes (I'll let you know later how many regular doughnuts).
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
On a totally different topic...do you ever feel the need to hit some other driver? One who pulls out in front of you and forces you to slam on your brakes...and don't you just want to RAM them....I would never do it, BUT still.....man, I want to some days!
From the article:
The archaeologists believe the site in southern Puerto Rico may have belonged to the Taino or pre-Taino people that inhabited the island before European colonization, although other tribes are a possibility. It contains stones etched with ancient petroglyphs that form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet, which could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, said Aida Belen Rivera, director of the Puerto Rican Historic Conservation office.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
A new study says that some Neandererthals had red-hair. This intrigued me, the red head. From the article:
In modern humans, primarily of European descent, mutations in the MC1R gene are thought to be responsible for red hair and pale skin by dampening the activity of the protein.
The mutation observed in the Neanderthal genes was different from the one documented in humans, but when scientists inserted the Neanderthal gene into cells in a test tube, it seemed to have the same effect on melatonin production as the modern human genes, according to the study published in Science.
The genetic analysis doesn't seal the deal, but since the fossil record of Neanderthals does not include any samples of skin or hair, it is the best guide available, said Michael Hofreiter, a paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Germany.
Hofreiter said the number of red-headed Neanderthals was probably pretty small, possibly just one percent of the population.
But it was unlikely to have been tied to just a few ethnic groups and therefore red-heads might have been seen in any part of Europe or Asia where the ancient hominid lived.
Now, of course, the issue is that the LOC's collections are priceless and often one of kind, whereas a normal public library has all "general" books that are easily replaceable (as long as you are willing to pay for it). One of the LOC's problems, according to the article, is their method of getting books for patron use:
The problems with keeping track of materials can't be traced to a single source. The problems start at the front desk, where the public still uses paper call slips, a method the inspector general called "outdated and inefficient." That creates a problem because when the paper request is filled, and the item is off the shelves, it does not show up on the automated system as "charged out." Then when the employee goes to the shelves, it is technically missing.
Funding is an issue for all libraries and the LOC is no stand-out:
The division that handles shelving, retrieving, inspection and updating the shelves is the Collections, Access, Loan and Management Division and is called CALM. Its librarians receive 2,000 retrieval requests every day and handle the requests from seven reading rooms and the staff. They put 2,000 items, including about 1,000 new volumes, on shelves every day.
The CALM staff has been reduced by attrition from 235 employees in fiscal 2000 to 162 in fiscal 2006. That division has hired contractors to complete the inventory and do the shelving in the hope of cutting the time it takes to get a book back in circulation.
Since fiscal 2003, the library has requested $12 million for inventory control and received $6.3 million.
I will give Ohio one thing - they FUND libraries.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My cat...what a silly kitty she was today. Well, I was downstairs doing some paperwork (such fun) and I had one of the drawers of our entertainment center open to get out stamps. The cats gets in - not abnormal, she always does this so I don't think anything about it. But this time, she manages to cram herself BEHIND the drawer and then can't get out. Well, okay, but then I go to pull out the drawer and I can't get it out! The drawers also have a back, so she's really stuck. I try bribing her into figuring it out herself, but either she can't or doesn't want to (she probably thinks the whole thing is funny). Well, after about 15 minutes of playing I finally figure out how to get the drawer out - it is an old style latch that you have to push down and you have to get the back, which requires something skinnier than your finger (a pen works). So the cat did get out, but she looked really funny with just her eyes showing behind the drawer.
Monday, October 22, 2007
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
12 regular marshmallows
2 cups Rice Krispies (or any puffed cereal)
4 fruit roll-ups (whatever flavor you want)
8 strips licorice (I just buy the normal stuff and you cut it match your roll-ups)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir marshmallows until completely melted. Remove mixture from heat and add cereal. Stir to coat cereal evenly in melted marshmallows. (In other words, you are starting to make Rice Krispies treats.)
Roll out the fruit roll-ups. Place 1/4 of the coated cereal onto each fruit roll up and spread and gather toward 1 side of roll up. Place 2 licorice twists onto the center of the spread out cereal mix. Wrap and roll the candy and fruit, maneuvering the licorice to the center of the roll, so that the finished product resembles a sushi roll. Repeat with remaining rolls.
Place a sharp knife into a bowl of very warm water. Cut candy sushi with warm knife and arrange on a plate then serve. (The cutting is a pain in the butt, I think - the kids can help with the rolling, but an adult will have to do the cutting.)
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I really liked the story of Ebelia Mucino, who is an Mexican immigrant who had just barely graduated high school, but she's obviously very committed and will probably make a wonderful elementary teacher. After all, she was just like those kids - they can really relate to her and she's someone they'll see in their own communities. I really hope more underserved schools districts can make this idea work!
I did wonder about where these teachers end up. Honestly, it is easier to get a elementary ed license than a secondary ed (because you also need a degree in your subject). I wonder about the ratio and if that will be a long-term problem as usually there are more than enough elementary ed teachers, but a shortage of middle school or high school teachers. I would also think that the hardest part will be the general education requirements as many of these are people who have been out of school for a long time or come from a poor educational background themselves. I was glad to see that they offer a lot of support - like tutoring, day care, etc. to these upcoming teachers as well as loan forgiveness.
I'm trying a new recipe tonight - hopefully it will be good. I haven't had the best of luck lately, so hopefully I'm on schedule for a turnaround on that front at least.
It is raining here today - goes well with my mood. Well, hopefully I'll get some work done downstairs after I finish grading late homework and whatnot. If nothing else the soup I made on Tuesday turned out well - it was a tried recipe though, but still very yummy. Beef, Bacon and Barley (on my website if you want it) and it is a crock pot recipe which makes it perfect to me. I LOVE my crock pot.......I'm trying a crock pot pork chops recipe next week. See how that goes. Actually I also trying a skillet pork chop recipe (I got pork on sale a couple of weeks ago). Roasts were buy one, get one free at the grocery store yesterday - that was good if nothing else. Well back to work.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Oh, and Sears...this is a long story. So on Saturday, Ray and I went to Cleveland for various reasons. One was that my mother-in-law has been on me to register for my baby shower (which isn't until the end of November...even that is early, but she wants to do it while my mother is here, which makes sense), so we were trying to do that. So we go to Sears (have to remember, we have to pick places that you can find in AK, so our first choice of Target doesn't work), and we find the right area and there are like 6 people on duty. But no one really seems to know how to run the scanner thing...well, we finally get that situated and go to scan stuff. First, there wasn't that great of selection and most was overpriced (this is Sears after all). Then much of the stuff won't scan...all the winter clothes, which is what we want since the baby is coming in January. So I take the stuff that won't scan up to the register to have them do it...which they had said to do...and they can't do it. Well, this is driving Ray bonkers because it is an entire department, who can't seem to work anything! Then they can't get my "chosen" list to print...I ended up coming home and finishing it online. Not fun!
I had to go to the dentist today. One of my teeth broke last weekend (on pizza of all things) and so I had to get that fixed. Then, of course, they found another chip, so I have to go back again next week...I so hate the dentist!
Tomorrow, of joys of joys, I get to go get the oil changed in Ray's car for him. Not bad, just means I'll be sitting in the waiting room forever. Wish me luck!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The probe came within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter. By getting a boost from Jupiter's gravity, it will cut three years off its trip to Pluto, NASA said.
Gravity cuts off 3 years! That is just mind-boggling to me!
The new observations add support to a two-part explanation for Iapetus' appearance. First, as Iapetus treks around Saturn, its leading edge scoops up a thin coating of dark material, which amplifies sunlight absorption.
"Dusty material spiraling in from outer moons hits Iapetus head-on and causes the forward-facing side of Iapetus to look different than the rest of the moon," said Tilmann Denk, Cassini imaging scientist at the Free University in Germany.
Over time, as the black-ish surfaces warm, the rate of evaporation increases until finally all the surface ice in that region melts away. Infrared observations from the Cassini flyby confirm the dark dust material is approximately -230 degrees Fahrenheit (-146 degrees Celsius)--warm enough for the release of water vapor from the ice.
The water vapor formed then condenses on the nearest cold spot, such as along polar regions and icy areas at lower latitudes on the trailing side of the moon. In that way, the dark material loses the mixed-in ice and gets even darker, while the bright material accumulates more ice and gets brighter, in what the astronomers call a runaway process that leaves no gray area.
First, I forgot to say one more annoyance from Sunday - I made pizza for dinner (I wanted a quick dinner after all that driving so I just threw toppings on a prepared crust) and one of my teeth broke! So now I have to go the dentist which I HATE.
I decided to pull another recipe from my online archive of recipes: Sausage Brunch Braid. I hoping to do a little reorganization here (working on the entire website actually) and get the crock pot meals indexed as well as a separate category (double list them) because I often specifically want one of them.
Modified from Taste of Home's Quick Cooking (special edition)
12 oz bulk sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, cubed (I'm going to use 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 cheddar next time. Ray and I aren't that fond of cream cheese and it's bit a overpowering - plus I used an 8 oz package, not a 3 oz, so I screwed up in many ways. Anyway, I think I got this figured out now. It was better this way - Ray still wasn't happy, but at least he ate it this time.)
2 tbsp chopped green onion tops (or chives if you have them)
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (or 2 tsp parsley if you don't have fresh - I grow it in the summer...I was planning on bringing in my pots this winter, but we had so much trouble with the garden this summer, I'm going to forgo it this year)
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls (if you want to half this recipe, as I did, just keep the other half (it splits nicely) and make crescent rolls later in the week - unless of course you screw up the first time like I did with rolling out the dough, then it's good to have a back up!)
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender, then drain. Add cream cheese, green onion and parsley. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted; set aside. Unroll into a 12 by 10 in rectangle. Spoon sausage mixture to within 1 in of long sides and 1 in of ends. On each long side, cut 3/4 in wide strips 2 inch into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle, forming a braid (if you are good at this you will get a very pretty braid, but mine always looks more like a mummy...I've never been too good at the presentation thing...maybe I should just call it a "mummy sausage roll" and serve it on Halloween!). Brush dough with egg. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 8-10 servings.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Ray picked up sinus issues in MI and has really been dragging today. I think I've finally got our paperwork back caught up - why does it take so long to catch up even if you were barely gone? Oh, and why does the post office close for Columbus Day when absolutely no one else does? Just to annoy me, I think!
My grading is actually also caught up - that's a big step for me! Especially as the end of the term is fast approaching for my 8 week classes and so means grades have to get done.
Turning Leaf Vineyard's Thanksgiving Tips Hotline
EDWRR: If I drop by turkey on the kitchen floor and wipe it down with some wine, will that santize it?
Operator: Well, wine does have 12 to 15 percent alcohol, and it was used as an antiseptic in the old days - so sure, why not?
Ocean Spray Cranberry Consumer Hotline
EDWRR: Can I make cranberry suace out of cranberry Jell-O and Craisins?
Operator: Um, bear with me [Long hold] Unfortunately there's no substitute for cranberries in cranberry sauce. You're going to need fresh.
Crisco Pie Hotline
EDWRR: My piecrust recipes says to work the Crisco in until the bits of crust are the size of peas. What kind of peas does it mean exactly - sugar snap, snow?
Operator: [Five second silence] You want them to look like little balls - like M&M's.
EDWRR: Peanut M&M's or regular M&M's?
Operator: Uh, the regular ones. Any size in between is OK, actually.
Reynolds Talkin' Turkey Tips Hotline
EDWRR: Can I make a turkey-shaped foil packages for my leftovers?
Operator: Uh, I gotta search our archives for this...I'll be right back. [Hold] We dno't have any instructions for that, but we can tell you how to make a swan- or turkey- shaped centerpiece if you're interested.
Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray, November 2007, pg. 28
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The fabric is a junk sale find that I folded up to work as a mantle runner. There is actually 5 yards there, so I want to cut it out to do all my trunks eventually. I had some of the harvest angels last year, but added two new ones from Cracker Barrel this year - I love their look.
I wanted something for outside and this witch dog was just so cute! Also Cracker Barrel - I love their fall decorations!
Monday, October 01, 2007
Shredded French Dip
Modified from Taste of Home's Quick Cooking
***needs a crock pot***
1 boneless beef chuck roast (or what ever is on sale at the store - I always go with the cheapest cut possible - you cannot screw this up - it will fork tender no matter what) ( 3 lbs), trimmed
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed French onion soup, undiluted (this means ignore the instructions on the back and just dump in the can as is)
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef consommé, undiluted
1 can (10 1-2 oz) condensed beef broth, undiluted
[You can also add 1 tsp beef bouillon, but I usually don't as I can't really tell the difference either way.]
8 to 10 rolls (I use the big hot dog buns or hoagie rolls, but French or Italian rolls are really good, but a bit more expensive)
Halve roast and place in crock pot. Pour soup, consommé, broth and bouillon over it and stir around to mix in bouillon. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. (I don't always get a 3 lb roast, sometimes I only get 1 1/2 - 2 lbs, depending on the how many I'm feeding and how much leftovers I want and that is usually on the low end of time, but the extra length won't hurt the meat. I usually always put it in for 8 hours (I've actually let it go longer than that once and it still tasted wonderful - I really meant it when I said you can't screw this up).
Remove meat and shred with two forks (should pull apart really easily). Serve on rolls. Skim fat from cooking juices and serve as a dipping sauce (au jus!)
This is one of my favorite dinners to come home too and its never disappoints me. I usually serve it with french fries or some potato product, but it can also stand alone as a full meal.
Makes 8-10 servings.