Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Outdoor Wednesday



It's Outdoor Wednesday



A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the Washington coast,  and on the trip we had to go over the Crooked River Gorge in Oregon.
It had been several years since I had been this way, so I made the Handyman stop so I could take some photos.

It's hard to get perspective in photographs sometimes, but this is really deep.
That is a train bridge above.

I'll join A Southern Daydreamer and her Outdoor Wednesday meme to share these pictures.
Stop by and check out other great photos of the outdoors!


The  "The Crooked River Gorge"  is halfway between Bend and Madras, Oregon.
There is a small visitors center and a nice park and a trail beside the gorge.
A nice place to stop for a travel break, although the Handyman wouldn't do the bungee jumping from this bridge.
Go figure!
He will, however, walk around a bit with me.
(actually, it's me who will walk around with him--he's a better hiker/walker than I am)


















Volcanoes in the distance





I thought it looked cool  thru the railway trusses, so I took lots of pictures.



















He was trying to get his own good photo!


And after we left?
On to Mt Hood!
Another volcano.
I love them.
Weird, I know.  But I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest-- 
Home is where the volcano  is?
I even was there (in 1980) when Mt. St. Helen's erupted.
Okay, not 'there', but  a couple hundred miles away.  But we saw the volcanic ash sky coming our way.
CREEPY!!








The Bishop's Wife


From Goodreads:
In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets. 

Linda Wallheim is a devout Mormon, the mother of five boys and the wife of a bishop. But Linda is increasingly troubled by her church’s structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in her ward. One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family, but Linda doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.

Linda’s husband asks her not to get involved in the unfolding family saga. But Linda has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?

Inspired by a chilling true crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop’s Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.

From me:
I liked it.
If you like cozy mysteries--this one can hold it's own.
I listened to it on audio, because in the library magazine "Book Page", it said it was an outstanding audio book.
I don't know if it was outstanding but it was  good.
It was an interesting and positive look at the Mormon religion, all done within the context of the novel.  I feel that Harrison did a great job at explaining certain points about her religion within the story.
I appreciate the fact that it was inspired by a true crime--as it seemed to have that feel to it.
 
I seem to think this is the first in a new series---if not, it sure leads that way.
I'll be reading the next one.
3 stars

Monday, September 28, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #76--Son in law Sauce. Spaghetti Sauce #5

 
  
Friday Friend Recipe #76: Spaghetti Sauce #5, Son-in-law Sauce
Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.
What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). 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.
 
I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said,  "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him!  Maybe I will.
 
Which brings me to this... recipe #76
 
My Mom's (Bev's)
Son-in-law Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce #5
 


This is the spaghetti sauce that I grew up with.
My mom never mixed her sauce with her noodles, she always had two huge bowls on the table, one for noodles and one for sauce.
I love this sauce.
It reminds me of family dinners when I was growing up.  We always ate at the table as a family and we always had lively discussion.




Fresh fruit is not what you usually see beside a dish of spaghetti and red sauce, but what the heck. It sounded good at the time.


 
I am not sure why my mom called this her "son-in-law' sauce.
I just asked the Handyman.
me:  do you know why my mom called her spaghetti sauce "son-in-law" sauce?
Handyman:  No. Why?
 
It wasn't that kind of question Handyman.
You were supposed to TELL ME.
 
My mom is gone, so I cannot ask her, but I think she would always say, this is the sauce my son-in-law likes.
(but she had been making it for years before he came along.  She always did like him a lot!)
 
I am not going to write out the recipe, because for one thing you can see most of it in the picture below and another thing--she didn't measure her spices.
Ever!
So, there is really no way to figure this one out.
 
 
Does anyone ever really go by directions in making spaghetti sauce?
Don't we all add garlic salt, Italian seasoning, etc, until we think it tastes right?
I learned that from my mom!


 So that is Spaghetti Sauce #5 (out of 20-something)
 
This is my mom's 10th recipe in the countdown!
 
And now for her story for today.
Um... above, I mentioned lively discussion at the dinner table?
When I was growing up, I felt I could ask my parents anything --- especially words I didn't know.
Once when I was in the 7th or 8th grade,  I asked my mom what masturbation meant.  At the dinner table!
 
I SAID THAT WORD ON A BLOG!!! 
OMG!
I can't believe I just did that.
 
But I didn't know what it meant.  I wanted to know.
I probably saw that word in a magazine--Seventeen or Teen or something.
I have no idea.
BUT--I do know we were eating stew--because my dad began to choke on a turnip.
 
I have to give my mom credit---for not killing me?  For letting me think I really could ask anything.
Even at the dinner table.
Of course  I remember this line from our family dinners: (it was used ALL THE TIME)
We'll talk about that AFTER supper, Debbie.
 
Funny, I don't remember any of those 'after dinner' conversations--- I just remember my dad spitting out stew.
 
 
My mom (and dad), little did she know what she was in for with me.
(oh...and that's the last time I ever ironed )
 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Banned Book Week

 
 
 
Welcome to  Banned Book Week!
 
 
 
This week I am joining Sheila from Book Journey, talking about banned books.
Sheila has been hosting this event for the past 5 years.
She, like myself, believes that no one
 has the right to  say  what another person may or may not read.
 
Here is the definition of banning books from Sheila's blog:
A book banning is the removal of those materials that someone protested. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, or stores, thereby restricting the access of others.
 
When I first signed up, Sheila asked if was I  going to do:
a banned book review
a post about censorship
a post about a favorite banned book
or
other.
 
I checked 'other.'
 
WHAT?
What other is there?
 
Now I am stuck! 
Other?
Other?
Hmmmmm...
 
While I'm thinking of the "other" let me tell you about a time when I was the assistant librarian in an elementary school in California.
Each year, they have a big convention (probably in each state) where they honor notable  children's books and authors.
The school district I worked for was very generous and sent all the librarians as well as their assistants.
One evening there was a big awards dinner, where the authors attended and for dinner sat  and ate with those of us attending.  It was so much fun, getting to visit an author up close and personal.
The author who sat at our table was  Zilpha Keatly Snyder, the author of the Egypt Game,  The Headless Cupid,  The  Witches of Worm and... The Changeling! (plus  many more)
The Changeling was my FAVORITE!  I loved that book when I was a girl.
 
If you are reading this blog, then you know enough to realize that those books' titles alone are enough to stir  discontent with people who like to BAN BOOKS!
 
OFF with the librarian's head!  Letting my child have access to The WITCHES OF WORM???
Or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (they have blue/black oompa loompas!)
or
Charlotte's Web (talking animals indeed!)
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (the police are portrayed by pigs!  Heaven Forbid!  but...Sylvester was a donkey)
Green Eggs and Ham (REALLY?  We just did a Bible Study on this one---more on that later)
The Giver ( more reasons than I can note)
 
I could go on, but let me get back to my dinner with Zilpha Keatly Snyder.
I leaned over to her and said --- My favorite book of all time is "The Changeling".
She looked at me and said, "Ahhh, so you are a Changeling.  You are a unique group of people."
It was the highlight of my life!  Or at least the highlight of that convention.
Zilpha Keatly Snyder thinks I'm unique!!
 
But....
 
IF---if---some people had had their way, that book, the Changeling, which so saved my life in the summer of 1970  (saved me from boredom!), would have never been on the library shelf for me to check out over and over.
I spent the summer devouring this book. 
My friend Kathy and I checked it out all summer long. We took turns.
We played imaginary games with the characters.
We had our own canyon and tree people!
We.  Were. Changelings!
 
What better way for two 11 year old girls to spend their summer?
By riding bikes to the library, checking out books and acting out plays from the books they read--using their imaginations?
 
Why ban something like that?
 
 
from Goodreads:
Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family, which lived in a run-down house in suburban Rosewood. But Ivy was not a typical Carson. There was something wonderful about her. Ivy explained it by saying that she was a changeling, a child of supernatural parents who had been exchanged for the real Ivy Carson at birth. This classic book was first published in 1970. It was awarded a Christopher Medal and named an outstanding book for young people by the Junior Library Guild.

 
It says 'supernatural' right there. 
That's it!!  BURN IT!!
 
(But not until I give copies to all of my grandchildren, okay?)
 
Seriously tho,
I want to decide for myself what I can read. I don't want any political, religious or social group telling me or my children or my grandchildren what is right or wrong to read.
What you might find offensive, I might not and vica-versa.
 
 
So why is this 'other' story important in this banned book week?
I mean, I am not blasting out facts and statistics and details about how, why, what-for, we shouldn't ban books--- or  why we shouldn't let people get away with banning books.
So, why is my little story important?
 
Because I believe that letting people express themselves in what they read, music they listen too, dance the dance they feel called to, paint the pictures they want to,   is the sign of a smart, thinking, interesting culture.
 
I like smart, thinking and interesting people.
I don't want a copy-cat kind of culture where we all read the same things, and nothing bad ever happens in books---believe it or not, that is one of the top reasons for banning books from an elementary school library--so the kids don't have to deal with harsh issues.
I want my grandchildren to have open minds and open hearts--which I think diversity in reading can nurture.
Where else can they escape and travel and learn...all while sitting on their bed with an open book.
But that's just me--and my "other" ideas.
My silly idea that I shouldn't take away  your right to read what you want to.
 
I am against the banning of books.
And I think you should be too.
 
And if you are....  then let me know in a comment or a blog post and you could very will win these:
 



Banned Book
Socks!!
 
 
The winner will be chosen on Saturday, October 3rd, in a very random way.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Snapshot and This and That

 
 
Besides cooking, reading, blogging and going for walks, I love to write letters-- real old-fashioned Snail Mail letters.
I sent my friend Jean a letter a while back and she told me that she was suspicious when she got it (she lives in town).. she said she thought, oh no, she wants something!  And then she proceeded to tell me what a gift it was to get a letter.
I cannot be humble here--it really is a gift.
I don't mean that everyone who gets a letter from me receives a gift, but I mean, when I get one from them!!
 
I do love to write them too.  I can't explain all the reasons why, it's just weird.
It's weird, but I love it.
Okay, not weird, but old-fashioned?
(the weird part is writing to people who live in the same town perhaps)
(and yet...it isn't)
 
My friend Gina, sent me this cool letter D cut out of a Reader's Digest condensed book, that she found it in a gift store.
I LOVE THE D!
But most of all I loved the letter she sent with it and  how she shared with me a bit about her love for reading.
We share that, as only true readers really can. It's kind of unspoken, our book understanding.
Her letter also spoke of her love for her mom...without her saying those exact words.
It's just  a feeling that comes thru when she talks about her mom's love of reading.
 
I've been meaning to tell her thank you.
It means so much to me.
 
And...isn't it the coolest D?
 
 
 
I'm sharing with Saturday Snapshot.
Trying to find a place for my D.




Saturday Snapshot is hosted by

Food 'n Flix-- Tortilla Soup

 
 
Food 'n Flix is a group of bloggers who get together every month to watch a movie, and then head into the kitchen and mix up something inspired by the flick. 
There is always room for another pillow in front of the tellie, and another chair around the table. So if you're a blogger who wants to join in the fun, please feel free to jump in at any moment.

 September's  Flick was chosen by Heather from Girlichef.   ( or All Roads Lead to the Kitchen ) She  chose to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of Food 'n Flix by letting us each choose any of the previously viewed movies.
check out her announcement post here---and play along next month!
 
What a fun idea to be able to pick one of our favs (movies)  and do a redo. OR at least get a chance to show off the 'other thing' you were thinking of making. It's always so hard to chose.
OR-- to choose a brand new movie---new to you/me--which is what I did.
I was excited to see this movie on the list--the Food 'n Flix bloggers chose this movie before I came along to join in--because I have been intrigued by Tortilla Soup ever since Heather, our host, did a 'search, cook-along, Challenge, quest', to find the perfect Tortilla Soup, back in 2011.
 


 
 
OH...the movie?  I had to go on a quick quest myself to find it in our little town.  I was hoping that Netflix streamed it, but it is DVD only.
 
Back to the soup....back in 2010, I entered 2 tortilla soups in Heather's challenge.  ONE I LOVED!!!  The other was good too, but the first one did things to my taste buds, I'd never had done before! (you can see it here.  I gushed and gushed about this soup)   I've made only 5 (this will make 6) different tortilla soups since then, but I thought my Houston's Tortilla Soup was IT! The most perfect! The best! Nothing could ever come close to it.
Until I made this one.
 
 
 
OH...the movie?  I finally found it at the library. Used my library card (by the way, September is National Library Card Sign up month---http://www.ilovelibraries.org/library-card ) had to squeeze in time when the Handyman wasn't watching The Walking Dead...
 
Soup!  Soup!  Tortilla Soup!  It's so good! 
This one is right there at the top of my favorite list.
It was so flavorful!
I have to tell you, I was skeptical,  when I saw that it included a can of bean dip.
I thought that was the weirdest ingredient ever.
But it worked!!
This was a dark, broth-y, soup.  Not really thick, but dark from the enchilada sauce--which worked too!
To me, there was such a depth of flavor.
It didn't have many toppings--that's why I added them.  I, like Heather, love the toppings.  The Handyman?  Hmph.  He complained about adding toppings to soup--he thought they could be incorporated.
He thought wrong.
But he did love the soup.
Probably got a bit tired of me saying how great it was with every bite I took.
 
 
 
 
 The movie? It was cute.  Kind of a little known, lite weight, late night movie.  It was a do over  (or very similar) from the movie "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman". 
It was cute, and I love Hector Elizondo.  And I love the theme of the Mexican Family table.
Family dinners and Cooking/kitchen scenes get me every time.
 
I think I'm going to make more Tortilla Soups soon!
My own personal challenge.
I could easily become obsessed.
Winter is coming. (okay, so I also had to wait to watch the movie, because the Handyman was watching GAME OF THRONES.  Every time I write or say "Winter is coming....it reminds me of that show.  It will forever haunt me.)
Winter is coming and what better thing to do than hunker down with a bowl of hot, luscious, delicious, wonderful, Tortilla Soup?!
And watch my Food 'n Flix movie of course!
 
 

Tortilla Soup
 2 Tablespoons butter
3 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 medium onion, (1/2 cup) chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 (4-oz) can chopped green chilies
2 cups chicken broth
1 (9-oz) container bean dip
*shredded chicken--optional
3 oz Monterey Jack Cheese
 
Heat oven to 425F.  Lightly butter both sides of each tortilla with butter. Cut into strips and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake, turning once for  5-8 minutes or until browned and crisp.  Remove, set on paper towels; set aside.
 
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until sizzling; add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese and tortilla strips. Continue cooking, until heated thru.
 
Top individual servings with cheese and tortilla strips.
 
(I added chopped avocado and chopped tomatoes as a topping too)
 
The original recipe says you can use a spicy bean dip or a smoky chipotle  to change it up.
I think the chipotle would taste great.
 
'this is a  Land 'o Lakes' original recipe.
(for the butter, I guess)
I added the chicken.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Friend Appendix #8 -- Grandma Mildred's Lemon Sherbet


Friday Friend Appendix #8 -- Grandma Mildred's Lemon Sherbet



For the 3 of you who read this blog, you will remember that I have a homemade cookbook, which we will call The Friday Friend Cookbook, complete with recipes sent in by my good friends, far and near.  I call them the Friday Friends.
 
And I am in the process of making every single recipe in that cookbook and blogging about it  (See that here) and then talking mostly about my friends, and not so much about the recipe, because, let's face it--I like them a lot!
Anyway,  this recipe should have been in that cookbook, but wasn't.
 
I am adding this as an appendix to the "official Friday Friend  Cookbook"
(much to the chagrin of the publisher/typer upper Barbara Brown)
(she's afraid I'm going to make her type up a whole new cookbook.  Volume #2! )


(those recipes which should have been in the Friday Friend Cookbook, but weren't)

Deb E's 
Grandma Mildred's Lemon Sherbet


 
This is the best!
I needed something to go along with the pound cake I made yesterday. 
All summer long my good friend Debbie E (she hates that Debbie E!  But my name is Debbie too, so??   Isn't that how they did it in elementary school?),  talked about  her mother-in-law's lemon sherbet recipe.
She made it a lot this summer.
It got in my head like  song.
I just had to make it.
 
It was wonderful!
It's tangy!  And it's creamy.
We loved it.



Grandma Mildred's Lemon Sherbet
FF Debbie Engstrom
Winnemucca, NV
 
2 cups sugar
Juice of 3 lemons (1/2 cup)
Quart of whole milk
1/2 pint whipping cream
 
Mix sugar, lemon and milk.
Stir in whipping cream
Put in freezer, stir every so often (couple hours) until it's ice cream!
(only takes 6 hours or so)
(if you make it in the morning, you can have it for dessert that night)



 
This is Debbie's  13th time in the countdown---or the appendix.
AAAAnnndd....  her other great costumes!  She is always up for a costume party!
And just last weekend, we had our cooking club---where she donned a coconut bra?
Kudos to her husband Charlie too--he's always game for a costume!
 
Debbie is our country recorder and there was  a convention this week for all elected officials in the state.
One dinner was held at the automobile museum and it was a 1940's theme.




Look at my cute friends!!
Gina, Debbie and Tami.
You'd think it was 1940 or something.


 
And that my friends is appendix #8.
My story!
 
 
 

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...