Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Supremely Bad Idea


It's Tuesday evening and I'm home alone.
This sounds weird, but it is one of my favorite times of the week.
The Handyman works late and I come home and I don't cook, I don't clean, I don't turn on the TV.
I did take the garbage out.
But other than that?  Nothing that I don't want to do.
I'm going to poach an egg, dip my toast in the runny yolk  (don't judge until you try it), have a cup of tea and read, Read, READ!!

What am I reading?
Well, listen to this first paragraph...

I grew up in England, a small country near Iceland where we all love the queen and the sun don't shine. Because of the lousy weather and the unfair distribution of wealth, the place is filled with sad people with not much going on for them.
My homeland has a strong tradition, however, of inventing safe pursuits for all the losers.


What do you think?  Should I continue on?
Look at this cover!  How can I not?

I guess it also helps that I am a little bit of a bird-watcher.
I go every year on a "birding weekend"  (be careful tho, if you click on the link, the bird post link---the first one is about Llamas.  Yes, Llamas.  I have no explanation for this.  I'm just kinda edgy like that: writing about Llamas in a  bird tagged post.)

BUT---this face!
How can you resist?




I cannot.
So I will read on.
It's a non-fiction, memoir.  
I know I'll love it.

I'm linking up to 
at
(I bet there are lots of cool birds by the sea!)

FF Appendix #2 -- Caramelized Onion Quiche



Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

Oh, wait...
this isn't in the Friday Friend Cookbook.
But it should be.
So---I am starting an appendix (this is recipe #2):

supplementary material at the end of a book, article, document, or other text, usually 
of an explanatory, statistical, or bibliographic nature.





I decided to make this while we were on vacation last month.

It might seem weird to be cooking on vacation, but I like to cook while we are at our cabin --there is not stress, no rushing, no deadlines to meet -- and also I'd been wanting to try this for quite sometime.
I'm glad that I did.
It's times like this I wish I were a better descriptive writer---that words would come easily for me-- because I hate to just say  that this was really good.  
There should be a better way to say it.
Genuinely excellent?
Certainly marvelous? 
Indeedly wonderful?

It was all these things.
I had no doubt, as Debbie is a very good cook.

One Tuesday morning I 'borrowed' her handwritten cookbook --where she keeps her best recipes-- to copy a few down, and I used the copy machine at work and copied them all.
I know every one of them will be great!




Caramelized Onion &  Bacon Quiche
from FF Debbie Engstrom

Prepare  Pat-in-Pan Pie Dough -- set aside.

Saute 6oz bacon, chopped.  ( used sausage )
Remove and drain. 
Add 3 c. thinly sliced onion, stir until caramelized--8min.
Add 8oz thinly sliced mushrooms,  2 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp minced garlic, season with salt.
Cook 8-10 minutes, allow to cool before putting into the pan.

In medium bowl, combine, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 5 large eggs.
Pour over onion mixture.  
Sprinkle with 4oz grated swiss cheese.

Bake 375F for 35-40 minutes.





As you know,  I have coffee every Tuesday morning at  6am with Debbie E. (we've done this for years and years and years)
But  we don't  see each other socially very often.  As often as we'd like anyway.
Last night at a Pampered Chef party that I was at---in she walked.
It was a fun surprise.  

This is one thing which I admire about her---she never, EVER gets stressed when cooking and/or having people over for dinner.
I mean NEVER.
AND--she can invite people at a moment's notice.
( I cannot do that.  I have to have everything planned )




She is the mother of 4 children.
Including twin girls.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Friday Friend Recipe #25 -- Taco Soup


Sunday Soup

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time!

Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends.  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #25

Shelly Noble's 
Taco Soup.



The Handyman and I love a good bowl of soup!  And this one is souper easy. And souper good!
Shelly turned in a simple Crock-pot recipe because she says  she likes easy things.
I love to use my crockpot and come home to a house filled with great aromas.
That's just what you do with this soup.
Fix it in the morning, leave for the day  (or stay home and read a book), eat in the evening.




Taco Soup
by FF Shelly Noble

1 lb. hamburger, browned with 1 cup chopped onion (drain off fat)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 29oz can pinto beans
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 cup picante sauce/salsa
1/2 t. chili powder
1 17oz can of corn, drained

Cook on low all day in crockpot.  Serve with cheese, sour cream, and/or chips.  Can mix and match beans---whatever kind you like.




And now,  Friday Friend Shelly Noble!

Shelly says that she is not a 'cook', but she is and she's  turned in many recipes for the Friday Friend Cookbook.
So stay tuned for many pictures of her--like this one of Shelly and her husband Lorin.

All dressed up.

They were the rednecks as was their dog, Sierra.  
It was hysterical.

We had a celebration at Wallowa Lake a few years ago.
A Friday Friend celebration.
And one night we had a traveling cocktail party.
Their cabin was the Redneck cabin.
(there was Pirate cabin, beer cabin, wallow lake wallbanger cabin, Mexican cabin and the elf cabin.  I should really blog about this traveling cocktail party sometime)
(just because the Friday Friends did such a good 'theme' job and had such a good time)

They did a good job!

(along with April and Doug---together, they were the Rednecks!)
They served us pork rinds and cheeseballs.
No disrespect to rednecks was intended in the writing of this post.  LOL  (I can't help it---I have to write that)

Woo hoo Rednecks!


Lorin and Shelly.






Doug, April, Shelly, Lorin and  Sierra Dog
Starring as:  The Rednecks.

I am going to link up to 
at

what is Souper Sundays?
Well...taken straight from the horses--I mean blogger's---mouth:
What is "Souper Sundays"?: 
Souper Sundays is a weekly blog event that started because of my love of soup and a desire to work through the many soup and soup-like recipes in my cookbooks and magazines, I set a goal to make a soup or "soupish" dish each week and post it each Sunday and invited others to do the same. I do a round up of all the participants each week on Sunday afternoon (Hawaii time!) with a description of their entry and link back to each participant's blog and their post






Saturday, September 27, 2014

More Book Club Love! (and a Saturday Snapshot)





To bring an end to summer, at my Totally Lit Book club, we had a pizza party at my friend Kathy Janke's house.
She made the pizza...

...oh, and she made her pizza oven too!

YES, I am serious!
Her husband and she did it together, BUT Kathy is no stranger to home repair, hard work and creativity.
She designed it and chose all the stones herself.  And she pointed out to me that she is not thru grouting it.  (i guess you can tell if you look closely )
When I do a project, I just ask the Handyman to do it.
Not Kathy, she loves tools.  And grout.  And saws. (oh, that's a tool--see how I am?)
And projects.


To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken.  Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.



Here are a few shots of our pizza book club night...
Totally Lit Book Club  (differs from the Lit Wits, but loved just as much!!)

Yay Kathy!  Great pizza and FANTASTIC outdoor kitchen/pizza oven!




Can  you tell what's grouted and what's not? 
She said she would be embarrassed to show people, since she is not finished, but..
uh..it's pretty beautiful just how it is.



























Her husband Tim came out to help serve us.




















and then they sent us home with vegetables!




oh yeah... we did discuss a book too.
The Husband's secret by  Liane Moriarty.
A great book club book.  
Great discussion!

I could read forever on her patio!





Friday Friend Recipe #24 -- Chocolate Chip Cookies (the ONE) Ch chip cookie #13






This always has to be my disclaimer  (or explanation of what a Friday Friend is and what this is all about)




Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends.  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #24:

My mom's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I have loved these cookies my whole life. 
I thought they were buttery  (I was wrong)
and crunchy yet chewy  (I was right)
and tasty and good  (I was right)

They are what I was looking for.
My search is over.
(but I'll keep on making CCC's ---just for fun!)




BUT I do have to say---I'm embarrassed!
This is what I said I wanted:
BUTTERY, crispy and chewy, just like my mom's used to be.
Well...there is no butter in my mom's recipe. 
YIKES.

My mom always had these in a big glass jar...and I don't mean a cookie jar, but rather a huge gallon glass jar with a screw on lid.  The kind that restaurants used to buy mayonnaise in or something.  Now everything is plastic.

After school, we always grabbed a handful.
When the Handyman and I were at our cabin by the lake, I made these...and we too, grabbed handfuls each time we walked by.  
My mom still has a big glass gallon jar there at the cabin!

Here is the original cookbook she used--which is now mine, so I can also cross this one off for my very own Cookbook Countdown ---and  she also submitted it to the Friday Friend Cookbook project.
2 birds with one Stone!  Yay





As you can see:  Very well used, very much loved.



Mom's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
by my mom, Bev Hambelton

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4  cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups quick oatmeal
1 cup chopped nuts (optional--and I didn't use)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cream  shortening, sugars and eggs. Dissolve soda in water. Add to sugar mixture. Add flour and salt; mix well.  Add oats, chips and nuts (if used),and vanilla.  Mix well.  
Bake at  350F for 10-15 minutes.







I decided I wanted to learn to make a pie crust when I was around 13 or 14.
I decided I wanted to learn to make a pie crust on a Saturday night at about 6pm--just when my parents were headed out to a fancy dinner.
My mom was getting ready and she was all dressed up in a fancy dress and her hair done up, perfume, etc.
I could not get my pie crust to roll and just as they were leaving the house I thru a fit and wanted her to stay and teach me her pie crust--JUST LIKE A GOOD MOM SHOULD!!

You know what?  She didn't stay.  
But she did teach me the next day, how to do a pie crust.
this is another cooking memory I have of my mom. (I mean, I was seriously crying over pie crust and wanting her to give up her evening out!  
Ahhhhh,  the emotions of a 13 year old girl  ~grins~)

Here is a photo taken of my mom about 5 years ago.




Today I am joining lots of friends with their weekly memes.

I so admire these bloggers.
They stay focused and are prompt and dependable.
Every----Single----Week.
(or month, as the case may be)

First,  Joyce at Kitchen Flavours, hosts
Cook-Your-Books each month.
Cook-Your-Books is all about cooking or baking from your many cookbooks or magazines that you have collected over the years.

I have many.



And I always like to link up to 
Love her book reviews, her cookbook collection and her blog!!
I'm a big fan.


And again.....
She makes me LOVE Louisiana.



Then of course--my very own 



and these cookies make it number 66!
24 in the Friday Friend Cookbook
13 in the Chocolate chip countdown.



ONE DAY I'LL FINISH EVERYTHING!!









Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros....



My life's been crazy...

okay, I ALWAYS say that, but what I am implying is that  I am not as organized as the rest of you who do manage to keep weekly goals.
My life is crazy, but probably not any crazier than anyone else's.
I feel I haven't been reading like I used to.  That fact is bothering me, as I love to read.

Nevertheless...
....here I am again, participating in 
hosted at
(which I love very much,  I just can't keep up.  It's the crazy life you know.)

Every Tuesday you share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book You are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Here is mine:
There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering, just as surely as there  could be no going without clothes, not in Hertfordshire anyway, and not in September.  Washday could not be avoided, but the weekly purification of the household's linen was nonetheless a dismal prospect for Sarah.

What do you think?  Should I continue on reading it?

So.... the first paragraph doesn't sound too intriguing, but  we would all continue reading...  ....if we love Jane Austen, that is.  
No, this book was not written by her, but by Jo Baker, who does a take on Pride and Prejudice by writing from the maid's point of view.
We just get snippets of what goes on "upstairs."

But, what happens 'downstairs' is very good indeed!  


Goodreads says:

• Pride and Prejudice was only half the story •
 
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 
In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice,the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended. 

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own. 


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...