Sunday, November 20, 2011

Relaxing in the Kitchen on a Cold Sunday Afternoon (which is almost as good as relaxing with a glass of wine on a cold fall evening!)

     Anyone recognize the fruit above?  I'll give you a few minutes to ponder....don't look too close, you'll bonk your nose on your computer screen!  While you think, I'll tell you that the kids and I have been on a muffin kick, lately.  I've found that I can make a pretty hearty (and healthy...shhh!  don't tell Owen and Maggie) start to the day with some basic ingredients.  It sure makes our hectic dash out the door a little less crazy each morning.  I also feel better about sending them off to school with the most nutritious breakfast I can give them.  We're down to eating a bowl of cereal just on Sunday mornings!
     I've started playing around with mixing up my flours - when it calls for regular white, I put in at least half of the amount with wheat, then about 1/4 of the mixture is flax seed meal, the remaining 1/4 of mixture is regular (unbleached) white flour.  I've found the texture to be undesirable when going "all wheat."  I also replace all oil with applesauce.  If the recipe calls for 1/4 cup oil, I put in 1/4 cup applesauce.
     Our first batch of muffins were pumpkin.  No pictures as they weren't that pretty to look at - however they did get requested every morning until they disappeared!  I tried a new recipe today while the kids played outside.  Have you guessed the fruit, yet? Anyone have to clean their screen from bonking it?  Here is the batter they jumped into:

      I'll give you a hint:  they're in season right now and if you have a pair of hip-waders and live in Maine, you might get some fresh down in a bog somewhere.....If you guessed cranberries you're correct!  (I do not own hip-waders and have never picked cranberries.  Do note, the author of this blog would not turn down the opportunity to purchase hip-waders in order to go cranberry picking (or is it cranberry bogging?).  Anyhow, here is the basic recipe for this batch of Cornbread and Cranberry Muffins.

Here's my batch.  Combination of cornbread and cranberries is very good!  I can never resist changing a recipe - I didn't follow this one very well.  I changed the flours, added 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1/3 cup honey, instead of 2/3 cup sugar.  I also added about 3/4 cup of rolled oats, since I thought the batter was a bit on the runny side.
     This picture is a bit blurry due to all the activity going on in the pan.  It is a bubblin and simmering away.  I found THE best tomato sauce here.  You wouldn't believe there's only 3 ingredients: 1 can of "good" tomatoes, an onion, and 5 tablespoons of butter.  The butter gives it an unbelievable richness.  The recipe tells you to discard the onion after simmering; but I have a hard time wasting that yummy onion.  I put a little bit of the onion in with our tortellini, and am saving the rest to chop up with another recipe later this week.
     Just for the record, I DID follow this recipe.  Until the very end.  I had some leftover sausage from Saturday morning that was just DYING to jump into the tomato sauce to see what all the bubblin was about.  Hard to resist.  This very simple sauce needed no extra flavors - no oregano, basil, or rosemary.  The only thing I had to do was stir and smoosh up the tomatoes while they were enjoying their little hot tub rendevous with the onion.
     I do wonder how good it would turn out if I used olive oil in place of the butter and maybe a wee bit of garlic with the onion?  I guess I'll have to try this again and let you know!
     Hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving week!  Watch for me and the kids on NETV this Tuesday, 10:15 AM while the Platteview Trojans take down Norfolk Catholic for the Class C State Football Championship game at Memorial Stadium! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maggie Singing

Here is Maggie singing her current favorite song, Puff the Magic Dragon. 

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Verdict!

The vote is in...we liked 'em, we liked 'em!  They had a slightly tangy almost citrusy flavor to them.  I cut them up, sprinkled them with a little salt, tossed them in flour and bayou blast, then a quick soak in a buttermilk/egg bath, and finally a coating of panko and cornmeal.  Then off to a hot pan of corn oil.  Next time, I might add a bit of parmesan after the pan-fry and shake a little hot-sauce over them.

Experimenting with Green Tomatoes

We have a TON of green tomatoes.  Come and get them!  It doesn't appear that they are going to ripen any time soon.  So, instead of throwing ALL of them out - I am going to try my hand at Fried Green Tomatoes tonight to go along with our BBQ chicken.  Never made it (the fried green tomatoes, that is!).  Wish me luck.  And seriously, if you're in the mood for green tomatoes come on over - they are going to go bye-bye as quickly as I can fill the trash bin. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friends of the Earth

Tell President Obama to reject a pipeline for the world's dirtiest oil!

Click to inform President Obama 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Videos for Lit Classes

So here are two videos I created for my Children's Lit and Young Adult Lit class using Animoto.  I would have to say that I much prefer iMovie.  However, for ease and sake of not being fussy, Animoto will do.

Like the title states, these are my votes for the 2012-2013 Golden Sower Nominees.  The Golden Sower Award is Nebraska's  book award, voted on mostly by students.  I had a lot of fun with this one since I used Owen and Maggie a lot.  I decided to use them as models for my pix, since I didn't want to go searching out pictures on the internet and then have to site them APA style!

This is a book trailer I made for the book, "Shipbreaker," by Paoli Bacigalupi.  I think I found it in the Science Fiction section of Barnes and Noble, however, after researching the "shipbreaking" trade and with all of the crazy weather patterns we've experienced the last few years, I wouldn't say this is too futuristic - I'd say many aspects of this story could be before us before we know it.  (I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may want to read it!)

All in all, my two lit classes are driving me nuts with homework and keeping everything straight and somewhat sane at home.  But I love being in class and learning, reading, thinking, making connections, etc.  I'll give a better run down along with summer pictures in the near future.  I must go read.  Imagine that.  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yes, I have both!

Garden?  In the back yard.  Library?  Two of them that I maintain.  One public library in town.  And several bookcases of our own here at home. 

If I were the designer of the poster I make make a slight modification...add coffee (since I don't grow coffee beans in my garden), and quiet time every afternoon!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

2 More Projects Completed

 Two more projects crossed off the list.  Our refrigerator is not new.  However, when we moved in the ice and water were not hooked up.  (We moved in almost 5 years ago, by the way).  So Monday, Dave decided to hook it up-the kit the owners left was incomplete-it didn't look like it had all the correct parts for iron pipes.  (Iron-is that right?)  However, Dave made it work.
Next my horn valves and slides unstuck.  Still works!  It is a Yamaha 668N, if you're wondering.  I got it as a high school graduation present...played it through my years at Hastings College and a few community bands, afterwards. 

Next big project to finish up is at one of my school libraries.  I am totally revamping how I have my fiction organized.  It is a big project, to say the least.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Here it is!  The day we've all been waiting for....the bathroom in the basement is finally complete!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The end of winter is near.....knock on wood.

Here are the last of our "winter" pictures.  Spring officially starts in a few weeks.  (Knock on wood).  As you can see, I have some good helpers assisting me with the shoveling...who needs a snow blower, now?

Owen's snow fort.  (He rolled the snow and hoisted them up all on his own!)
Maggie, very proud with her snowgirl.  She also made a snowboy down in the backyard.  (Yes, the snowchildren are brother and sister!)
I have to say the forecast of 60+ is very appealling.  I will go on record to say that I am looking forward to my Spring allergies.  Come on runny eyes and itchy throat!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Beauty in the ashes
Sorrow for sin and fault
Loved and Forgiven anyway
Ashes of sin, guilt, tasks undone, words unspoken, letters unwritten
What will I do with the ashes?
Something beautiful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I SHOULD be reading Living on the Future Edge: Windows on Tomorrow  (My textbook that I bought for my free Kindle app that I downloaded for my Mac; purchasing the book cost $9.99 for Kindle, instead of $30 something for paperback.)

I wrote the following this weekend at my Oxbow Writing Project event and thought I'd share it with you.  Enjoy.

            There’s so much I want to read and learn.  There are search engines and databases just beckoning my name.  Click me.  Read me.  I want you to know about me.  What I have in front of me is a huge ocean of information.  Where is my floaty? How do I keep from sinking in all that’s available? I many need some sunscreen to keep from getting burned. How do I sort out the truth?  Is there a lie detector I can download for Mozilla Firefox?  Would being a journalist help my case?  I find some friends bobbing along the ocean in my journey.  They too, are reading and learning. What are you reading about today, I ask?  My new friend tells me she learned how to set up a school fusion webpage and she’s moderating the comments her students are blogging for a discussion on their favorite Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.  Another friend I see is researching her medications on line.  She’s fuming to me that she read online that her two new medications shouldn’t be taken together.  (How does she know if the website is accurate, I wonder?)  Another friend I see is reading a Golden Sower on her iPad, tweeting, facebooking, and checking her email all at the same time.  I spot another friend.  He looks stuck in some seaweed.  I swim over to help.  His school issued Dell laptop isn’t talking to his projector.  Try hitting function and F8.  Woo-Hoo!  Now he’s swimming again! We swim together and spot a colleague looking worried.  She says she’s trying to send a document to our principal and his computer can’t convert it from Appleworks.  No worries, we tell her.  Try resaving it as an rtf file.  Can he read it now?  Isn’t it great that we’re all swimming in this information ocean together?  Fishing for information!  All in the same school…

Back to "work."  Stay warm!  Did anyone do a Snow Dance for tomorrow morning?  :)

Echoes of Spring, page 1 AND 2

Yes, I am still working on Echoes of Spring...I have completed the first two pages!  Yeah!  Only two pages, some may ask?  Well, let's just say I've been busy.  Also, please don't expect perfection.  Perfection is NOT my middle name.  I am learning and doing this for FUN!  Hopefully page 3 won't take quite as long.  I keep hoping to meet people who knows a little something about stride piano-get some pointers mainly, and fun discussion.  Alas, I have yet to get to discuss in person something I can't find out from a brief Google search.  So if anyone out there in the blogger ocean has some insight on playing stride piano-give me a holler! 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Echoes of Spring, page 1

Well, this began when Dave started watching a documentary about jazz in New York in the late 1950s. There was a piano player that caught his fancy. He showed the documentary to me, and I got interested, too. The performer was Willie "The Lion" Smith, a stride pianist. While others played faster, Smith's tune, "Echoes of Spring," was beautiful and lyrical as well as being an example of virtuosity.

My birthday is Jan. 27. Dave is always happy when he can come up with a gift he he'll know I'll like. He found note-for-note transcriptions of Smith's piano solos, including Echoes of Spring. He ordered the book as a PDF and it arrived a few hours later.

I've been working on this song for less than 24 hours. Although it is MUCH slower than Smith's version, I think you can hear some of the beauty in the song. I plan to continue to blog the progress I'm making on the song, hoping to speed it up and make it more fluid. Please search YouTube for recordings of Smith playing the song.

How's that for something new to do in 2011?  Heck with losing 20 pounds!  Ha!  Eight pages total, one down, for the record.