Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New and Old Recipes

I just updated my cheese enchilada recipe and I added cider doughnuts. Ray loves homemade doughnuts and these are a great seasonal recipe as they use apple cider in them (and all that apple cider right now is very tempting!). They taste really good - I love the flavor of the cider and the pumpkin pie spice together! Definitely worth a try!

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).

Scariest Costume

This is downright hilarous! I would have loved to see this costume - or have thought of it!

Garfield House: Lawnfield

I went to the Garfield House a few weeks ago with a friend - see the APB for pictures!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pork Chops

I put a new recipe up on my website: perfect pork chops. I didn't name them, but they do taste good, start with frozen chops (great if you are like me and tend to forget to defrost) and goes in your crockpot.

Teens Reading

This is a pretty cool article about the growing teen reader percentage. I think that actually a lot of this has to do with chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders more than libraries. I hate to say it, but public libraries really have been failing teens and young adult readers. They do great with children and seniors, but the the middle gets lost. I look at the monthly calender I get from our library - it is all things meant for little kids or seniors. I wouldn't mind some book clubs that I would enjoy. For the most part, librarians seem to try to avoid teens - and they still come to use the computers and hang out. Hey, it is a safe place and relatively good for them - we should be encouraging it more!

New Carnival

The newest carnival of recipes is up now.

On a totally different 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, I want to some days!


So what I do I see on the news - that a case about damages just now hit the Supreme Court from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I remember this spill in 1989 - I was EIGHT...this should NOT take so long and it should have been OVER a long time ago. I remember the case against the captain and this is something about the company paying damages. Exxon was to pay $5 billion in 1994 and they have been appealing ever since - what a bunch of ridiculousness as I have a feeling they have probably paid out quite of a bit of that in lawyer fees by now!

Archeological Find

Archealogists think they have found the best preserved pre-Columbian site in the Carribbean - pretty cool!

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.

World History Blog: Prehistoric Clam Bakes

World History Blog: Prehistoric Clam Bakes - this is a pretty cool piece!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two Articles

It took NJ 28 years to catch this criminal. He said he managed to stay free by moving a lot of and not breaking the law. Now, I understand that he needs to be punished for his first crime and for breaking away, but I also wonder - this guy was obviously straight for 28 years - shouldn't that count for something? It is almost like being on the run rehabilitated him! Just a weird thought from the story, not that I want a bunch of criminals on the loose (although it wasn't like he was rapist or murderer).

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.

LOC Materials Missing

A recent report told the LOC that 13% of their collection is "lost." Now while the nation's lawmakers pontificate about this, the truth is that this probably standard (and maybe even good) for most libraries across the country. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a library (public or academic) to be told the book is "lost." The issue is that libraries are usually understaffed, underfunded and generally underappreciated. Now I will admit that UND's library's problem also stems from very BADLY trained library clerks. I know student library clerks are usually work-study and not well-paid and have a high turn-over (hey, I was one), but there has to be some accountability for their actions!

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.


This cracked me up because this is SO McDuff, my parents' cat. Billy ruined that cat.....

Olga and the Birds

We have had an influx of birds today (probably on their way south for the winter) and Olga has been going NUTS. She has been running between all the windows, just staring at them! I think she can almost taste them.:)


Andrea and her dad stopped by today on their way back from West Virginia - they are in Michigan visiting family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crock Pot Index

I finally took the time tonight to do something I've been meaning to do for awhile. I indexed all the crock pot recipes into one page. They are still under their regular headings, but I've added a list so you can find the diverse crock pot recipes if you want. Really I did this for myself - I often am looking for a crock pot recipe if I know I'm going to be gone all day. I just LOVE my crock pot!

My cat and my new recipe

Yesterday I tried a new pork chop recipe and Ray adored it - YAH! I thought it was pretty good as well - nice and sweet. It is also a freezer recipe, which makes me happy because I can make a big batch and freeze the rest.

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

Carnival of Recipes

If you want kid-friendly recipes, the newest Carnival of Recipes is up with lots of options.

Candy Sushi

I was looking at my Halloween recipes (as it is almost here) and found this one for candy sushi. I made this a few years ago and it was pretty good and cute. It would be a great treat for kids on Halloween. They'd even have fun making it, as it is nice and messy - a perfect match for kids, right.:) I got the idea from Rachael Ray - she does a Halloween special each year and most of her stuff isn't things I'd like, but this was a great idea:

Candy Sushi

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.)


This is kinda funny: Hammer Museum vs. Hammer Museum. This tiny AK museum is fighting this big LA museum of the name. The Haines (AK) museum has no lawyers, the one in LA has 26 - seems a little lop-sided doesn't it?

New Kitchen

We are redoing our kitchen our Thanksgiving (my parents will be here) and this is Home Depot's approximate rendering of what our kitchen will look like once the cabinets are redone. We ordered them yesterday - YIKES that was scary. Still have countertops, the dishwasher and the linoleum to go. Wish us luck!

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Recipe

Well, I was pretty happy with the new recipe I tried last night although Ray wasn't thrilled. With a few modifications, though, I think he will like it. I actually think it is the rice he doesn't like, not the chicken. He isn't used to wine in anything (I hardly ever cook with it). The only reason I did here is one of his students gave us a bottle of wine that he and his friends make (very good wine) and since I can't drink any right now (and so I drink so much normally...), I decided to try cooking with it. I told Ray he needs to try a straight glass as well just so he can tell the student he liked it (this is an older gentleman and he takes all of Ray's classes). Anyway, the recipes is for honey chicken over snow pea rice. If you wanted to, you could just make the honey chicken and then put it over regular rice, which is what I might try next time for Ray, although I didn't mind the rice. I think he needs to try them separately (I combined them for his lunch) to see what he likes/doesn't.

Little Boys

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Grow Your Own Teachers

Grow Your Own Teachers is a really cool article in this week's US News and World Report. To get more teachers for underserved schools (like inner city schools), the schools are working to train people already there. I think this is a great idea - these are people committed to the community and therefore good long term investments in the community and the school. I know when I was in college, we were always reading success stories about teachers who choose to work in inner city schools even though they came from the suburbs or whatnot. But if you read the afternotes, most were still not there and although they like to preach the "successes," you know a lot more than that fail every year. Face it - if you come from a middle class background, you are going to be more comfortable and fit in better in a middle class school. I'm not saying there aren't some people who can make it work, but the most can't. Instead, work to improve the people already there who just need to help to get that degree.

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.

What a week!

This week really has sucked big time! Two doctors appointments, internet problems, car problems, etc....just never ending! I am so glad tomorrow is Friday - hopefully next week will be better, although I have ANOTHER dentist appointment next week as well, which sucks big time.

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

Jennie's Life

Well, we have had bad Internet service since Sunday and it finally started working again today. Although the techs (who sounded like they were in India) said there were no outages in our area, I think they were full of bull. They are burying phone lines around here and I think they lost some of the connections, which made our service very slow. In any case, we ended up with a new modem, which we probably needed anyway. But I am very glad to be online again - going to the library to do work is always a bit tedious. Our local library supposedly has wireless, but I couldn't make it work (their tech was absolutely no help) and so I ended in the Kent library or Ray's office.

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!


Just found this funny off my comic-a-day calendar

Cute Baby Clothes

Couldn't resist these at Target - they were on clearance! They say "Daddy's Wingman" and "Mommy and Daddy's Alarm Clock."


New recipe carnival and military history carnival are both up.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Mamie Biography

I just finished a really excellent biography of Mamie Eisenhower. For my review, check out my post at the APB.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is from the front page of the Anchorage Daily News. Christine was also reporting snow in Bethel. Now last weekend it was over 90 here! It has cooled off somewhat here now, but still is way too hot for October. I think it was in the 50s and 60s here today. I'm ready for a freeze and some snow!

Deer from Michigan

I saw these deer, but once I got the pictures home I couldn't find the deer - Dad found them for me. He's like a wildlife honing device!

A Fight to Cap Those Apps

Ray and I just started subscribing to US News and World Report - not because we really care, but because I had a bunch of "reward points" from doing online surveys and there was nothing else of use to use them on. Anyway, into the "reading room" the magazine went, but this article, I felt was worth pointing out: "A Fight to Cap Those Apps." Parents in NYC fought their school who tried to cap the number of letters of recommendation they'd write for students. Now, I understand the want to apply to several schools to be able to compare programs and financial aid, but really, people are crazy with the numbers some students apply to. On top of that, public school teachers are so underpaid that I understand the need to do something! Now private schools - where parents are paying to send their children - shouldn't cap applications - after all wasn't that point of sending the kid there? Now the parents said that the schools can raise money to pay for more help - yeah, right, we all know what fundraising money goes for - sports uniforms. Added to that, who has time writing all those letters? Now if the parents were willing to PAY for it - like raising their taxes, that would be different. But those probably the same people voting down school bonds! Can you tell I'm on a rant? Okay, I feel better.

Wild Rice Soup

I just updated my recipe for wild rice soup online. Have to always work the recipes - always finding new ways to improve or make it cheaper or easier!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness

Just a reminder to click every day to support free mammograms!

NASA probe discovers lightning at Jupiter's poles

This article is about new discoveries about Jupiter made as a spacecraft passing by for Pluto stopped to take some pictures. But what I liked was the last sentence:
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!

Mystery of Saturn's Two-Faced Moon Solved

New images from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft have explained to astronomers why Lapetus, one of the moons of Saturn, has no gray, only black and white:
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.

Sausage Brunch Braid

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


Well, Sunday was a mess. We drove back from MI, which meant that by the time we got here, we were already exhausted, but both had stuff that had to be done. To top it off, when I called my parents to tell them happy anniversary, we found out that my father was in the hospital. He'd finally went into the doctor for chest pains and they put him in the hospital as it turns out one of his aerties was clogged. Anyway, they couldn't do anything until Monday (today), which meant he was just stuck there all weekend - did not make him happy. So this morning, they did some tests and then put in a stint in one of the aerties and with medication and some diet changes should be fine. He'll be home tomorrow and back at work on Wednesday, so that's good - means he should be back to normally fairly quickly. But have to say - I don't like this! My father is supposed to be invincible - I hope he got that memo!

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.

Wedding Tree

Adam and Heidi gave everyone baby trees to plant. We put ours in the back yard (where we took out one of the trees earlier this year)...we'll see if it makes it through the winter.

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss

I was looking for a new recipe, but found an old one instead. I made this Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss quite awhile ago and even typed it up...just never put it online!

Feast of Burden

I recently got my new copy of Everyday with Rachael Ray. If you are like me, that means tossing it in the reading room (aka the bathroom) to peruse for new recipes. Now I tend to subscribe to non-ad magazines from Reiman Publications and stay away from "popular" magazines, but I love Rachael Ray. Anyway, I was flipping through and came across a very funny feature! The magazine staff called various Thanksgiving hotlines (you know, the numbers that are there to help you with Thanksgiving messes or if you don't know what why your turkey is doing something...gotta say, my hotline is my grandmother!) with hard questions to see how they fared. I thought I'd share these gems with you!

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

Carnival of Recipes

The carnival of recipes is now up. It is all about pumpkins this month, so if you are looking for ways to use up all that pumpkin meat, here is where to go.

Faberge Egg

A rare Faberge Egg will be auctioned off next month. Definitely an exciting find - I hope it goes somewhere that it can be viewed!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Reception

The reception was at their farm.
Ray and I
Pat and her shoes - the big deal is that they are regular shoes and no braces!
Pat and Dave dancing - first time Pat's danced since her leg surgeries!

The Wedding

As you can see this was a public beach - there are people swimming in the lake just down from the wedding!
Ray with one of the bridesmaids
The groomsmen
Adam and Heidi - this is from their unity ceremony and they drank water from Lake Michigan as part of it.

Our Weekend

We spent the weekend up in Michigan for Adam's wedding (Ray's best friend from high school). They have land up in Bear Lake, MI, and they got married on the shores of Lake Michigan and then had a reception at their farm. We had a lot of fun up there for the weekend and while Ray was put to work in preparation for the wedding (what good are groomsmen if you can't make them fix the barn?), Pat, Dave, Brian and I went into Manistee to do some shopping. Just fun tourist stuff. The wedding really was gorgeous, but sunset on the lake meant a lot of my pictures didn't come out. Then it was already getting dark by the time the reception started. Anyway, here are a few of the best.

First, Ray and I stayed at the Portage Point Inn, which was pretty neat. Right on Portage Lake and very picturesque/touristy. We stayed in one of the "dollhouses," which are stand-alone cottages.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Craft Mess

So I also hauled out my Christmas you can see right now they are just a general mess. I need to get organized so I actually get DONE by Christmas! Wish me luck!

Fall Decorations

My Halloween and Fall decorations came out today. I'll leave the general fall stuff up through Thanksgiving and just change the Halloween stuff for Thanksgiving stuff come November.
Says it all:)
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!


Now that it is October, our broccoli plant has finally recovered from the rabbit attacks. We are still having major insect problems, but that is also getting better. We figure next year we'll actually get a decent harvest! We are chalking this year up to a "test" year.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Shredded French Dip

I was pulling recipes to include with a wedding gift (I like to add a few hand-written recipe cards to my wedding gifts - I figure what new couple doesn't need a few new recipes) and decided to feature one of my all time favorite recipes - Shredded French Dip! (I included the link to my recipe homepage in case you've lost it). This is the world's easiest recipe and one of the most delicious. Heck, it even convinced my mother to buy a crock pot! Although, why she had to be convinced boggles my mind...I'd die without mine (and actually I own two and am considering buying a third - I want a little one for dips)! And she's a 70's bride - the era of the crock pot (by the way, this Sunday is my parent's 29th wedding anniversary)!

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.