Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Corn Fettucine



We all do this, I know.  (Those of us with cookbook  addictions, that is.) We buy a new cookbook,  look thru it,  make one or two things from it, stick it on the shelf and go on to the next new cookbook. 
There  are just too many cookbooks and too little time. 
Once in a while tho, we will pull something off the shelf a year or so later  and think to ourselves--why did I ever shelve this one?   I can't believe I put this one away without trying:  blah, blah a blah.

Don't tell me that you've never done this!  I know you have!

I see this recipe for Summer Corn Fettuccine,  every once in a while on a couple of my favorite blogs  (sigh---yes, it's Brenda  and Kim).  It keeps popping up as one of the  most looked at or the best or most favorite blog post in the last few weeks--even tho they made it last summer.  And this has been happening all year--I see it all the time.
So, I decided to try it this summer.  When something keeps popping up and saying 'TRY ME!  TRY ME!'  I figure I need to go with the flow and see what's its all about.
  It was fantastic.  Well worth the time and energy to post again (who knows, I could have one lone follower that they don't.... I could inspire someone. )


It can be  found in  my (or yours if you have one )  
 Rachel Ray's  Look + Cook cookbook.    I found  A TON more  recipes I want to try besides the Summer  Corn Fettuccine.
I can't believe I stuck it on the shelf without trying  more of these.  I don't know what I was thinking!!  I've bookmarked at least  4 more to try within the next couple of weeks.
I know,  I know....this is nothing new, the cookbook, I mean.   Rachel Ray has since come out with another new cookbook with tons more great recipes.   I don't have that one yet....but I do have a birthday coming up soon  (hint hint Handyman)

This was a really good pasta dish--made with sweet fresh corn and sweet red peppers and fresh basil.  It had  a distinct flavor--different from your average pasta dish.  There was just a smidge of a sauce made when you  blended some fresh corn with white win  (or chicken stock).  It made a  cream corn sauce  (kind of).  I love the taste of fresh peppers in things--all kinds of things. Who knew I would love them paired with pasta?  We just really loved the flavor.   I might add  a dash or two more hot sauce next time.  I also go easy on the hot sauce and then wish I hadn't.  If you like  a bit of spice, I suggest  adding a bit more.
It made a lot and since there were only two of us, we got to eat leftovers for lunch for a couple of days.  It made great leftovers.   I did serve it with some grilled chicken, but it isn't really neccessry, as it can be a meal in itself.  Especially if you are trying to cut back on your meat intake.




Summer Corn Fettuccine
salt
1 pound fettuccine
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
black pepper
1 cup half-and-half or cream
2 T fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
a few dashes of hot sauce or a pinch or two of cayenne pepper
a couple handfuls of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh sweet basil leaves or 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Heat a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook for a few minutes to crisp the bacon and render its fat. Place a small bowl inverted in a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl, and scrape the kernels off the ears. Add three quarters of the kernels and the liquids to the bacon. Add the shallots and bell pepper to the corn mixture and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add the remaining corn to the food processor and puree with the cream.

Stir in the thyme and the stock or wine into the corn mixture in the skillet, reduce for a minute, then stir in the corn-cream mixture. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce or cayenne pepper and adjust the salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta, then toss with the sauce, parsley, and a couple handfuls of cheese, about 1/2 cup. Top with basil or tarragon and pass the remaining cheese at the table.
Serves 4 to 6

***************
I am going to link this to Weekend Cooking at  Bethfish Reads and also to my own  Cookbook Countdown.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hello Cupcake



I am a sucker for cooking magazines.  I have spent a gazillion dollars by tossing them into the shopping cart as I wait in line to pay for my groceries.
The Handyman and I even had a  'discussion' once about them.  I threw one in the cart, we paid, we went out to our car.  He asked if I knew how much it cost---I did not.  I just toss them in without looking.  And then, later, when I looked, I thought  HOLY COW,  they're expensive, I should cut back.
But have I?  Um....yeah, maybe not so much.  It's a harmless hobby really.  Right?
If I hadn't thrown this special edition of Better Homes and Gardens into my cart, I couldn't have made these yummy cupcakes and the Handyman couldn't have enjoyed them as much as he did.

That's  called justification.

They were a fun cupcake and really easy.  They were trying to a little more zing to a plain white cupcake, but dipping the tops into some chocolate liqueur.  Only I didn't have any, and I couldn't find any at the one market I went to. So, I just dipped them into Kahlua with Hershey's chocolate syrup mixed into--to make a mocha flavor.  It was really good.
One day I might make them as the recipe directs, but I'm sticking this version into my 'keeper' file for now.




Plain Jane Lets Loose Cupcake
from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications
Mixing Bowl  2012

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate liqueur
1/2 cup butter softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T whipping cream
1 16oz box powdered sugar
fresh raspberries or blackberries

(1)  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line eighteen  muffin cups with paper liners.

(2) In a large bowl, beat  1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, and oil with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

(3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt

(4) Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and blend well.  Add 1/4 cup of the sour cream and  blend well. Add rest of dry ingredients, blend.  Add remaining sour cream and  1 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Blend.

(5)  Fill lined cupcake pans, 2/3 full and bake for  20 minutes.

(6) Cool cupcakes in the cups for  5 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan.  Cool cupcakes completely on wire racks.  Pour  1/4  cup chocolate liqueur in a shallow bowl.  Dip tops of cupcakes into the liqueur. 
Makes  18 cupcakes.

(7)  For frosting:  In a bow, beat 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup chocolate liqueur,  1 1/2 tsp vanilla and whipping cream with an electric mixer on med speed.  Beat in powdered sugar until combined. 
Frost cupcakes and top each with a raspberry or blackberry.

**I did not have chocolate liqueur, so I used  coffee flavored liqueur with some chocolate syrup mixed in.  It had a mocha flavor.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday

The Handyman and I went to church this morning---this is nothing new, but, well----

bear with me a bit...

Gathering Time:






Pew #1




Pew #2



The Pastor 
(who happens to be my daughter-in-law, giving her first sermon at her new church)






We had a great time as we skipped attending our church in town and gathered with friends (my DIL'S aunt and uncle, cousins) to watch as her sermon and church service was live-streamed on the Internet.  We had our coffee cups, donuts, some fruit.  

She did a great job!  She always does. We're very proud of her.    And....I think the  Handyman liked going to church in a living room a little too much.  (we'll see if he's in a pew next week or a living room sitter/watcher)

And this picture below is of "The Children's Time" in the service.
Not a great pic  --- but they are all taken of a TV screen downloaded from a computer--  but my grandbabies are in there!  So, of course I had to share.....and you can't see a thing.
~smiles~



It was a fun Sunday morning.

Other Sunday happenings:
I finished a book.
Now I'm going to make some  Summer Corn Fettecine.
You?



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kid Konnection




Kid Konnection    is a Saturday feature hosted by Booking Mama, where she says we can post anything  related to children's books.  I hope that's true, because this is pretty random.

On Tuesday  afternoon, I took  off work to ride to Reno with the Handyman.   It's a 2 1/2 hour drive and I usually like to go with him so I have a 2 1/2 hour forced reading time without interruptions.   OH....and the pleasure of his company of course.

Before we took off, I grabbed   The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease off of my shelf. 

I've read this many times--I have 5 of the six editions.... yes, it sounds a bit obsessive ( aren't all bookworms?), but I was a children's librarian for a lot of years,  I LOVED that job, and it's just carried over into my real life.
I just felt the need to reacquaint myself with some good children's literature.
If you are a parent, grandparent or someone who just loves books and would like to see a child  'discover the pleasures of lifetime reading'   (quote from Goodreads)  then this book is for you.
I first read it when my oldest son was about  6 years old--he is  32 now--and I began, what was for me, some of the best times I had with my children.   Reading.    At bedtime always,  sometimes at breakfast, when they were sick, in the car and for one summer at the dinner table. (that didn't last, because by the time the chapter was done, everyone had finished their plates but me  and I was left to eat alone--BUT, they all remember that summer,  that's the important part, so it was well worth eating alone, I guess.  It's  a great memory for all of us.  One of the books we read that summer, was THE BFG by Roald Dahl.    He liked human beans and my boys thought that was the funniest thing.)

Goodreads says this of the Read-Aloud-Handbook:
For more than two decades, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease's beloved classic to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. Now this new edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook imparts the benefits, rewards, and importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research, The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies—and the reasoning behind them—for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers


I bought it years ago and keep buying the new editions (and  also check out his webpage every few weeks) for the lists.  He updates the lists of great read-alouds with each new edition.  I haven't been a children's librarian for more than 15 years now, but I've been a grandma for 10, so I like to keep up on what's new in children's books.
 Kid Konnection is a really good place to keep up on good children's books too.   Especially, if you are like me, love the genre, but don't have young children, don't work in the field anymore or don't subscribe to the School Library Journal.

After re-reading it on the way to Reno, I came home and did two things.

1) I decided to put all my children's books into alphabetical order by the author's last name. 

I began laying them out on the bed in stacks by the author's last name (The grandkids room, which is a spare bedroom upstairs and  the books are on the closet shelves).... but.... I have one problem.  



What am I going to do with the rest of the shelves?  Where am I going to stack them??    (please disregard the wrapping paper tub on the floor of the closet,  I'll have to find  another place for that.)



Anyway...the books on the bed are all from one shelf only as you can tell!!  
I don't think I can stack all the rest on the bed. I'm not sure what I got myself in to.
This looks like a huge job to me!  But I know that when I'm done I'll really like it being so organized.

2) The second thing I did was,    I impulsively ordered a few new books from Amazon.  New  'good read alouds.'  Because I want to be  known as  the  book grandma.   The Library Gramma!!


This is what I ordered --and they came today--all recommended by Jim Trelease author of the Read Aloud Handbook.


Originally published as four separate picture books, these stories featuring twins Jimmy and Janet are now newly illustrated and bound together in one volume.



Henk was hidden on the farm when he was young and the Nazi soldiers came. But the war is over now, and Henk finds out that the people he lives with, the people he loves, are not his real family. He doesn't remember his real parents, and now a new life in the city lies ahead of him. Will things ever be the same?



Donald Zinkoff is one of the greatest kids you could ever hope to meet. He laughs easily, he likes people, he loves school, he tries to rescue lost girls in blizzards, he talks to old ladies. The only problem is, he's a loser.



A harrowing account of a town that surrenders its humanity. "A frightening and compelling story about prejudice, ignorance and hysteria."--


There is quite an age range there, but my grandkids range in age already, and I have one more on the way, so...
like I said--these look like great read-alouds.

And.....I might have ordered 3 more books--coming soon.

I'M SO EXCITED!!!  I can't wait to see those babies and read, read, read.
(disclosure:  I keep saying babies and they are five of them ages,  3, 5, 10.  I can't help myself. )

here are a couple of them now...

My little Cassie Roo.  (I added the Roo, her parents did not) 
She loves those pattern books.



My youngest son, reading to his babies  (who are now 3) 
(they were premies and it always amazes me what 1 pound difference can look like. Eli wieghed about  10oz more than his sister)


 
This is that same sister, Emerson, walking home from the library earlier this spring.

I love having readers in the family.
I love reading to them too.


Bacon Wrapped Hotdog bites



Hot dogs wrapped in bacon!

I made them to offset the vegetarian quesadillas we were having last night.  (which were very good by the way).
I made them as a joke for the meat eaters, (I mean hot dogs wrapped in bacon?  A complete FATfest) but they were really a great little appetizer.  I'll make them again .

I found the recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens Special Publication magazine, called  "Mixing Bowl.com."    I had all the stuff in my fridge, so I just whipped them out yesterday, right before dinner---for balance  (besides the veggie quesadillas we had spicy gazpacho with shrimp--all that being too healthy for the Handyman).

The brown sugar made a wonderfully sweet glaze over the crispy bacon--and then you bit into the hot dog.   Mmmmmm.  Very good.




Bacon Hot Dog Bites

1 pound hot dogs
1 pound bacon
1 cup brown sugar

Cut each hot dog into quarters.  Wrap each piece with  1/3 slice of bacon.  Pack tightly in a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all.
Bake at  350 F for one hour, or until bacon is cooked. Pour off the excess fat before using spatula to place onto a serving tray.
(If desired, use a toothpick to secure bacon before cooking)





Saturday Snapshot

Little teeny wild west towns.   I think they are one of the coolest things ever.

When we were out for a drive a few weeks ago,  we saw all these bikes leaning against the wall of the Paradise Valley Saloon.  It struck me as funny.   Also on the wall if you can see them, are  'brands'...cattle brands of all the local ranchers.





I figured  the cattle brands kind of goes with my barbed wire post of Wednesday.  The pictures were taken on the same day, same outing.

Paradise Valley is about 40 miles from the town we live in, and on the way back, the bikers passed us.  We were stopping to take pictures of the mountains  and hawks,  so I got a shot of them too.




I am linking up to Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Alyce from  At Home With Books.  I don't always get a chance to comment on every single picture submitted, but I love looking at them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lit Wits Luau




Just before I left the house last night, I had this conversation with the Handyman...
HM:  So, I'll see you about 9:30 or 10?
ME:  oh yeah, I'll be home by then.

MIDNIGHT!!  That was the time I got home.
The Handyman was asleep, but had woke up about  11:00 (yes, we go to bed early usually )  and was a bit worried about me (but not enough to keep him from falling back to sleep).  He thought...I wonder if she's okay?  Yeah, she must be, she's just around the corner--and they're just talking about books.

Little did he know....  It was a LIT WITS LUAU!!


It was such a fun time at book club last night.  We discussed  "Night Road" by  Kristen Hannah.  A luau had nothing to do with the book.  But our host, Theresa,  just loves a good themed party (and does quite a good job I must say),  so off to the luau the Lit Wits went.  And....stayed....till....MIDNIGHT!!

I just love these ladies!  They are my best friends, who I only see once a month.  You know the kind.  We talk about everything.  Not a whole lot of secrets in this club.  We laugh a lot.  Young mothers to young grandmothers,  so we have a wide perspective when it comes to discussion:  on books, on life, on motherhood, on relationships.
And that's exactly the night we had last night... we talked about the book, (it got an OK for an easy summer read, not a GREAT but a GOOD rating from us),  life,  relationships, and parenting.

We enjoyed some pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls, shrimp salad, fruit, chips and some CUTE  Nutter butter Flip Flops placed on top of vanilla ice cream cups for dessert.




This book club  (I belong to 3) is the  Dinner and book club, so we always have dinner.
Yes!  Theresa made  a pineapple palm tree!!   (at my house,  you're lucky to get a candle as a centerpiece )

Shelly wore her coconut bra....




Over her shirt!  We tried to get her to  get more into the theme, if you will, but she was having none of that.




And then we discussed the book!   Drank wine.  Drank  Malibu rum and pineapple juice.   Did more discussing by candlelight.  What can I say?   It was midnight when I got home!
The Handyman just patted me and said,  "I'm glad you had a good time."

He's right.  I did.  I love my book clubs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Outdoor Wednesday

Barbed Wire.
It was the reason for range wars in the west at one time.
It was used in WWI   (put before trenches to prevent movement.  No man's land)
It was used in WWII Concentration Camps.
It's used around prisons--at the top of the chain link fence--to prevent breakouts.

MAN!  Barbed Wire is kind of a depressing thing to have taken pictures of.   But we were out one day for a drive in the country and I kept seeing these rolls of  barbed wire left on the end of fences and it intrigued me.

I do not know why they leave them there.








Look at how that barbed wire has cut into the fence post.


I'm going to link this to A Southern Daydreamer's Outdoor Wednesday.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Monday



It's Monday, What are you Reading? 
A weekly meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.




Yep, it is Monday, and as usual, I am  behind on everything.  A person should not feel that way on a Monday morning, should they?
Oh well...at least I'm not behind on my reading...just time managment. Which is why I am going to give you a fast recap of what I've read this past week.  It was a very good reading week.  I recommend then all, some with reservations tho.
All book descriptions are from Goodreads.  (where you could find me if you want)



1. Finished  Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
It was very cute and I loved it.  For me it was a refreshing story.
Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.


But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).
And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.

61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.

67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What you shouldn’t have.

32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions.
But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac


2. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman  
A YA novel. I liked it. 
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.




 
 
3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
I gave it four stars!!  You should read it.  My daughter in law says that John  Green is a genius!
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.


Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.


4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
I listened to it on audio.  Only 2 stars for me.  BUT, I know people who love it!
Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.
Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

and finally
5.   Night Road by Kristen Hannah
It was for book club and not usually my kind of book, but I liked a lot.
For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.

To hold on…
To let go..
To forget…
To forgive…
Which road will you take?

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love

My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...