Don’t Say I Never Gave Ya Anything

Once upon a time. . .Oh that’s been done to death!

Well, at the inception of this blog, the plan was to present a diverse blend of politics, religion (you know that always makes friends!), crafting ideas, cooking, and then anything else my extraordinary brain came up with.

In other words, it was to be eclectic, which I am. My interests are unlimited, my decorating ideas run from country artisan to art deco, and that’s a pretty wide chasm. My food delights range from Italian, Mexican, to down home Americana and Chinese. I like cuisine from Egypt and India. About the only thing I don’t care much for is German food.

Anyway, lately, for about the last couple of years, we’ve been fairly limited to politics, with a bit of religious thrown in to keep it honest. Here and there I’ve dropped a recipe, but today, well I just pulled out all the stops. So those of you who could care less, fair warning, this is food oriented.

First up, I told you that we were having General Tso’s Chicken and crab Rangoon. I made them a couple of weeks ago. And they turned out very good indeed, so I thought I’d let you in on the recipe. A word about the Tso’s chicken. There are myriad recipes for this. Basically it’s to be a kind of coated breast meat and on the hot side. So here is how I did that:

General Tso’s Chicken

  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut up into bitesize pieces
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4-5 serrano chilis (I added a minced one to the veggies)

Mix together in a bowl and add enough liquid (water or chicken stock) to make it all gooey.

In the wok, heat 1/2 c vegetable oil (give or take–none of this is rocket science).Add 4-5 chilis (the red serrano and let them sizzle until they pop and turn dark.  Add chicken pieces trying to keep them separate and brown on both sides until done. Probably about 2 minutes a side.Remove chicken pieces and continue adding and frying until all are done. Set aside.

Add whatever vegetables you want to the wok. These should have been cut up and bagged earlier.

I added:

  • carrots, celery, an onion sliced, broccoli stems sliced,

Stir fry until tender but crisp. Add any sauce you like or cornstarch and chicken stock, with some soy. I  used a Teryaki sauce. Throw the chicken back in, and add three or four sliced green onions. Toss until warmed through and all is coated.

Serve over rice.

Crab Rangoon

  • 8 oz fake crab or real as you prefer (I found the fake just fine for this appetizer)
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic sliced
  • pepper
  • salt only if using fresh crab
  • minced celery if you like
  • 1 egg (or egg white) whisked
  • 1 package wonton wraps ( you will use about 1/4 of them. I divide the rest into 1/4 packets and wrap in plastic and put in a freezer bag and throw in the freezer. They defrost fine)

Place everything but the egg and wrappers into a food processor and whir up until it is a paste but with visible “pieces. Scrape out into a bowl and sit down with your wrappers and egg wash. Take a wrapper, place a mounded tsp of the crab paste in the middle, with your finger dip in the egg wash and trace along two edges meeting at a tip. Draw the unwashed side over the crab and form a triangle, press out the air gently and press all the edges.

Do this until you have used up all the paste (I had about 30 or so). Place on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment, not touching each other. Place in freezer for a couple of hours until frozen hard. Place them in a freezer bag and you are done.

When you want to use them, remove as many as you wish. Heat some oil in a very small sauce pan (saves a lot of oil that way) and fry for about 1 minute or less one at a time. Golden brown is what you are looking for. Place on paper towel to drain and place in a warm place to hold until your stir fry is done. (You can bake them too, I’m guessing at about 400-425°. I’d check at 10 minutes. Remove when golden brown.

The point is these are as good as most of what you get in a Chinese restaurant and way better than any frozen kind from the grocery story. You only have to make them a couple of times a year, and frankly, its less than an hour’s worth of work anyway.

Okay, so now we move on to a few new tips I’ve managed after 61 years to finally figure out.

Given that in the winter, we shop infrequently, I alway have trouble keeping fresh vegetables fresh. Well I have some ways that finally give them a refrigerator life of a good two weeks. And that’s a lot better than usual. So here is what I learned:

Green onions: clean them within a day, cutting off the root and outer layer and cutting off the green end where you normally would. Take a paper towel and wet it, wringing it out. Wrap this around the root end of the onions and place in a tumbler glass. Cover with one of those light plastic bags you placed them in at the store. Just wrap around. Sit in refrig. Trust me…your onions neither dry out, not become all rotten.

Cucumbers and peppers: I used to wrap them in plastic wrap and they always rotted within days. Then you cut off a chunk of the rotten stuff. You end up losing about 1/2 of each. This works. Buy those cherry tomatoes or raspberries  or whatever in the plastic hard containers with slotted holes in the sides. Save them and place your unwrapped cukes and peppers in them. The cut edges dry out and are perfectly dry and unrotted for up to two weeks. As to the peppers, best to clean out the seeds at the first use.

Mushrooms: Either they became shriveled and hard or yucky slimy. Open the package and use what you need. As to the rest: throw away the plastic wrapper over the little container. Place this in a brown paper bag, close and place in fridge. They were fine two weeks later.

Happy cooking. Today we are having: Beef Stroganoff over noodles, salad and bread.

The World Went On Without ME?

It always comes as a bit of shock to me when the world doesn’t grind to a halt when I am somehow incommunicado. Yet, it seems that everyone went blithely on, mostly unaware that I was not producing fine literature for you to consume every day.

I shall remember this! Vengeance is sweet. When you least expect it, I shall get my revenge on everyone who actually lived life just fine thank you, with nary a thought about poor little old me. So, harrumph!

Not sure how things are around your neighborhood, but it’s intolerably hot and humid here. Everyone is grouchy.

Did I mention that it was hot? Dinner is a nice big romaine salad with feta and a ranch steak sliced on top. Some bread sticks. It’s all I can manage. It’s hot. It’s muggy. It’s miserable. Fans going everywhere. It’s hot.

Epicurious has a really nice recipe that seems perfect for the day. Pasta with corn pesto. Not too much effort, I’d make it except for the pasta in the morning and just reheat for a nice light meal with a salad and roll. Did I mention that about the only crop we got from the garden this soggy year was corn? Well, we put up 39 servings, which should take us through pretty near to next season.

I kept ready more hate stuff about Muslims and felt compelled to write our local Mosque here in Cedar Rapids (which has a really historic role in America by the way) and to the Imam who is in charge of the  proposed Islamic Center in NYC. I received lovely replies from both. Please consider just offering a word of support to your local Islamic community. And you can write to the Cordoba Initiative (for the NYC Islamic Center) at the following places:


It is essential that we combat this war of hatred being waged by a very few fundamentalist Christians and their instigators, the far right politicos, who are willing to risk violence in pursuit of votes.

Apparently there is quite a juicy article in Esquire this month by one of Newt (slippery) Gingrich ex-wives. It’s pretty much what you would expect of a right wing spouter of “family values” who tells his wife he need not live by what he preaches. He’s indispensable you see, and can be forgiven his many peccadillo’s. Of course he’s a fine Roman Catholic now, having annulled all the trouble away. (H/T) to Right Wing Watch)

There’s a weird little article at the NYTimes Science section on ugly animals. We are predisposed to like furry binocular visioned animals and dislike others. Some pics and some talk about how we just don’t like the creepy among us.

Did I mention it’s hot? I thought I forgot. Mauigirl recognized just how hot it was and escaped to the cabin in the woods. I live in the woods, and did I neglect to say it’s hot? She has some venting to do. It’s worth reading. So go there, and read about how the US is falling to wrack and ruin while European countries PLAN FOR A FUTURE–we’re too busy playing gotcha politics. Nero fiddled? The grasshopper played? Remember any of this folks?

I seem to have become generic again. My feather is missing on comments I leave. What gives WordPress?

Jan at Yearning for God fell and has some minor damage. Stop by and give her a hello. I’m sure it will help her feel better!

NCR‘s Melissa Musick Nussbaum has an older but still important post on sticking with your church even when the fit has become uncomfortable. Food for thought.

See the right wing is evil. More so than you think. Given their rich only, racist rhetoric, that seems most apparent. And as much as the scrabble about our “freedoms being trampled” it seems they are the ones always doing the trampling. Witness how they are trying to manipulate DIGG to reflect greater traffic on right wing sites and burying liberal voices. I guess their freedom is my stifled voice.

Well, since I have just noticed that it’s HOT, I’m going off to shower, and get under a fan for a while. Keep cool.

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What’s Up? 07/05/10

Oh it was a scrumptious July 4! The Contrarian, bless his dear heart, taped both the semi and finals of Wimbledon, and we watched it on Friday and Sunday nights. My hero won!

Well, as you know, I have several, but pound for pound, if I could transpose Johnny Depp’s head onto Rafa’s body, I’d be in some kinda heaven. Not that Rafa or Johnny have to complain about their opposite features, but together, I don’t think a woman could live without swooning.

A beautiful two matches, and a chance to hear a little from an old favorite, Bjorn Borg as well. On the the Open where Rafa will have a tougher time with the speed of those cement like courts.

I would have liked a Federer-Nadal final cuz I always like to see Neanderthal boy lose, to my sexy Spaniard.

Well, okay, digging head from the clouds and returning to the mundane world of reality. Sigh…

Yesterday we have grilled steaks and pasta salad. The crowning glory was a corn salsa I threw together. It was simply divine. I’ll give you the basics:

Corn Salsa
the corn from 3 ears, cut off and sauteed in some olive oil until charred a bit
Throw in a bowl and add:
1 jalapeno, finely diced (or other hot pepper as you like)
1 rib of celery finally chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup red onion (or scallions if you prefer)
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leave parsley or cilantro as you like
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
Drizzle of olive oil to coat
Mix and eat. Great at room temperature.
(feel free to substitute other veggies like carrots, zucchini, radishes, whatever)


It would be best if you not miss out on Vodka’s take on the news. I  promise you, it’s always unique. Strip clubs seem to be taking a beating on many fronts (and backs). BP refused their claim of lost wages due to loss of customers along the Gulf coast. And then there is Michael Steele’s attempt to woo GOP’ers into contributions by showing them some free jiggles. It’s a tough economy so it seems.

Speaking of limes, I thought you might like this refreshing new take on coleslaw, which can get soooo mundane sometimes. It’s all cilantro-y and chili peppery and, sounds perfect for those summer grilling adventures. Easy side to make with some real inventiveness. Thanks to Epicurious!

Okay, so this is long, and depressing, but frankly, my little cutsie blurbs do not lead to your being critically informed. This post does. The link was broken so I’ve sent you to the main site, and go to Government Isn’t the Problem, by Evert Cilliers (aka Adam Ash), dated today. Read it, all of it.

Perhaps no brain is as fascinating to me as the sociopath or psychopath as they used to be called. Neuroscientist Jim Fallon, has been looking at them from a genetic point of view. This is the third of three parts and the other two can be accessed though links part way through part 3. A really interesting look. Are we victims of people who have no choice?

Think you know how America got it’s name? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Follow the link and find out.

We are all victims of our urges. None of us are successful all of the time in invoking will power to subdue them. Scientific American gives us so real advice on how we might do better, whether it be avoiding chocolate to excess, beer, or shoes.

All is not gloom and doom. Elizabeth Kaeton has a doozy of a post on Queen Liz’s latest letter to us in Merika. Seems, our revolution has been revoked, and we are back in. Be grateful that I gave you a toy to play with. This will not happen often, since I’m about serious business here most days.

And that is enough for now. Have a great day. It’s crappy rain here, and for the foreseeable future into infinity. Iowa is startin’ to be a real drag. House smells like wet fur. I’m tempted to make them all stay out anyway. I need to nap.

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Trapping the Lint of My Mind

Things are getting busy everywhere now. The time of the year of course may have something to do with it. Planning for a ridiculous meal that will take all of 20 minutes to consume. It never ceases to shock me, after putting in hours of work designing and cooking it.

Adding to this is my continued involvement at Christ Church. My meeting was moved to Friday at the last minute. I’ve had contact as well with the Adult Ed program that runs four years. I think they are waving me off until next fall, with but at least I’ll get the summer reading program underway sometime. It’s still unclear to me, and they said they would get back with me. As well, the jail ministry won’t commence until spring, mostly because the jail won’t be ready for occupancy again until then. This due to the floods.

Add to this the Contrarian has got three appointments for various consults at the VA and more to come. Most is just the usual, a new colonoscopy is due, and an MRI. He has balance problems but this is something that has gone on for years and they are thinking perhaps a pinched nerve. It is something he has learned to live with, but treatment would be a blessing. No major concerns on our part at all, just the misery of driving to Iowa City and sitting in waiting rooms. You cannot know how much the Contrarian hates this. “Might as well just rent a room down there and stay for two months,” he carps.

So, with all that, I’m sure I’ll be missing some postings along the way. But I trust that most everyone else is just as busy. I was grousing last night about what to do for dinner today, when his Majesty, the Contrarian whimpered with the appropriate tear in the corner of his eye, “Perhaps chicken potpie?” he whispered. I looked with disdain,

“Do you have a clue how much work that is? I mean we have the chicken, but cutting up veggies, making a gravy, and then making a biscuit crust to bake on top? Do you know how much time that takes?” “But it would be so good,” he retorted, his soft blue/grey eyes begged silently. “We shall see,” I replied, unmoved by his puppy dog eyes. (So you can guess what I did this morning after cleaning the kitchen and laundry room!”

I wanted to show off my FIRST scarf that I knitted. It shall take me forever to make them of course, and certainly, I won’t have more than a couple for the upcoming winter, but I think it turned out nicely enough.

nov19_01I did it in a simple k5, p5 for five and alternate. It looks to be plenty warm and I hope someone enjoys it. I’m making another but for myself. I bought a “new” coat at the Goodwill, my favorite place to shop, and I had nothing that would match it, so I am making a scarf and hat to go with it. Hopefully it will be finished before the winter takes hold!

Now I thought I would lay out the menu for Thankgiving. It’s a huge meal for us, but we eat it for three days with relish and then I freeze up the remaining turkey and dressing if any is left. I’ll give some of the recipes should anyone be interested.


  • Turkey
  • Dressing
  • Mashed potatoes/gravy
  • Winter squash
  • Caramelized onions
  • Cranberry sauce
  • rolls
  • relish tray
  • Parmesan Creamed corn
  • pumpkin pie
  • german chocolate cake
  • wine


By all means brine your turkey. It makes so much difference you will never not do it that way again. The brine consists of:

  • 1 1/2 C salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP whole coriander
  • 1 TBSP juniper berries
  • 2 TBSP who peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP fennel
  • 1 TSP mustard seeds
  • 1 Bottle white wine
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • Enough water to cover the bird.

Place all in a bucket, lined with plastic bag, secure, and keep in a very cold place, outside if possible or in an unheated garage, for 24 hours. Drain, pat dry and prepare as usual. I’m told the brining reduces the cooking time by about 20%. If you have no cold place, put all in a cooler filled with ice bags. It is also better to dissolve the salt in part of the water heated until dissolved. Add the spices and herbs to this and allow to cool a bit before proceeding to the bird.


I got this last year from GMA from their dressing contest. I have no idea whether this one won, but it was one of the 4 finalists, so I tried it, and we loved it past adoration. We scarfed it unabashedly as if we were stealing. It is sinfully caloric and fattening, but so good it will become your favorite. I am just giving the ingredients, you know they all get added together. Bake at 375 for 45 min or so. depending on what else is in your oven at the time.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, decased and cooked
  • 1 large onion, sauted
  • 7 ribs celery, sauted6
  • 4 cloves garlic, sauted
  • 6 oz bacon, ham or panchetta cooked and crumbled
  • Add to:
  • 6 C. bread, staled and cubed
  • 3 C cornbread, crumbled – make ahead a day or so
  • 1/2 C butter, cubed
  • 1 TBSP sage
  • 1 1/2 TBSP poultry seasoning
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 C mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 C pinenuts
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth.

Mashed Potatoes

Nothing special here, but I am adding some rutabaga and parsnips I think to the potatoes to enliven the taste a bit


I’ll use the neck and gizzard, heart and liver which I will cook in some chicken stock and then remove the meat from the neckbones. I’ll add minced onion, garlic, mushrooms and saute them. Salt, pepper, a bit of worcheshire sauce, and then butter/flour and the chicken stock and heat until boiling and thickened. Add a bit of cream if desired.

Winter Squash

I always bake this a day ahead, remove from the skin, add butter, salt, pepper, some maple syrup and mix together. On the day of eating, I’ll add pecans to the top and bake covered until warmed through. Also can be microwaved if space is hard to find in the oven.

Caramelized Onions

Nothing tricky here. Just simmer your onions a bit, cut off the root ends and slip the skins off to a clean new surface. Drain nicely, add to a pan with butter and just saute forever until they are nicely browned all over. Slow is the key, don’t turn them too high or they will burn. Make the day before and then you can just heat them before eating.

Cranberry sauce

Prepare according to package directions. I then section an orange, and add it, and some of the juice to the cooled cranberry sauce. Just before the meal, add chopped walnuts or pecans. I think I may add a bit of raisin this year and see how that tastes. I’m also adding some minced fresh ginger as well.

Creamed corn with Parmesan

This is simply corn, sauted with salt and pepper, some cream, a bit of chicken stock and Parmesan cheese. All done on the stove. The recipe calls for 6 cups of corn to serve 4. If you use that much, use 3/4 C of the cream, and 1/4 C of the stock, with 1 C Parmesan. I plan to cut this down to closer to half. (Martha Stewart Living recipe)

Pumpkin Pie

Directly out of the Joy of Cooking , the bible of American cooking

German Chocolate Cake

Right off the back of the package of the German chocolate

Well, that’s about it. We don’t go to nearly this trouble for Christmas, but we really enjoy this meal a lot. The only thing different this year is the corn recipe.

I do as much of the stuff ahead as I can. I’ll start on Tuesday and do the bulk of the cooking on Wednesday. Thursday will be for roasting the turkey, potatoes, and gravy mostly.

Have a blessed day everyone, and stay warm!

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Short Take on the Day 10/14/08

Back several months ago, when I used to frequent Catholic Answers, I used to “debate” rant at those who supported the death penalty. Almost without exception, those who would parse and twist the clear meaning of  Pope John Paul II’s statements,  and the catechism to “allow them to continue supporting its use,” were firmly against abortion of any kind for any reason and also were otherwise in favor of what the Vatican has called a “culture of life.” I could not get how they could parse life issues in this way. Vox Nova reports that a “Vatican official” condemns the death penalty as denying the possibility of redemption. This is a hopeful sign, but from a perusal of the comments, it seems parsing is still the way to go. Sigh.

The Angry African reminds us of something oh so very important. What it means to be an American. Coming from a non-American, he reminds us of who we are, what we are supposed to stand for, and he invites us to live up to that image. You should read this, you really should.

Most folks know that McCain’s health care plan is bogus. A $5000 per family credit, which is offset by taxing your employer paid health care as income doesn’t exactly work. Especially when a bare bones minimum plan is likely to cost about $12,000. Worse now, we learn that the way McCain intends to fund his health care credit is by reducing medicare and medicaid. Yep. Of course, McCain’s people say this is all to be accomplished by cutting out fraud and inefficiency. Independent analysis says otherwise, and again the least of our citizens end up getting screwed.

Potatoes are a food that is prominent in our home. In fact, there is no way to fix potatoes that are objectionable. So this recipe from Baking Delights certainly caught my eye. If you love potatoes in any guise, you will surely like this one. I think this would be a wonderful side to pork chops or steak or chicken, or well, just about anything. I love Tex-Mex seasonings, so you can be sure I will be making this one soon, called Southwestern Potatoes. A bonus is a link to other potato recipes which can be found here. The last seems to be run by people who have a serious potato addiction, so it would be a good place to go when you are seriously tired of the old boiled, baked, mashed or fried alternatives.

And to finish it off, just wanted to add my congratulations to Paul Krugman, writer for the NYTimes and professor of Economics at Princeton, for winning the Nobel prize in Economics. I feel kinda special that I recognized he knew what he was talking about, since the subject of economics is certainly not my strong point.

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Breathing Life Deeply

These haunting eyes are of  a Nova-Walpi, North American Indian. I sadly don’t know if Nova-Walpi is a tribe or Nova is his name. Such things didn’t seem important enough to record I guess. The picture was taken by Edward Sheriff Curtis in 1904.

One  can but guess at his thoughts, a whole different life and wayy of seeing the world are hidden from us, but we are called  inward and can somehow feel him through his penetrating eyes.

Oh a busy day, in fact, they are all busy at this point, trying to catch up for long days spent inactive while the rains continued. Now we are a buzz with busyness. The garden seems okay, but as i said, much may be so stressed that it will simply put on a quick flourish to set some seeds and then die. Nothing to do but wait and hope for the best.

I did my cleaning today and then went for my walk, something I started yesterday. Trudging up the hill is hard, so I don’t go far yet. It’s a half mile to the road, and i went at best 2/5 of a mile. Not far. At one time I walked sometimes six miles, though four was more normal. I’ll extend the distance next week. Bear went along with me, going into the corn fields to take a pee. Not very nice of him. I am as always enchanted by what I see, the lovely green fields, the sounds of so many birds, the tracks of so many animals.

A buck must have walked down the lane, since I saw a very large track today. No doubt following what was obviously a doe and her fawn. The cute little tracks of the baby, no doubt fascinated by all he or she saw. A coon also passed by, and a pheasant for sure. The coyotes have stayed away of late. We also think that a big cat is about though we only saw him once. He was running across the field to the north, and had that tale so like a cat, long and kind of swaying. It was definitely not a coyote. Such tales are always around, but nobody has every killed or found one dead, so it always remains mystery.

I made meatballs and sauce for spaghetti today. I had made foccacia a couple of weeks ago, and I got the leftovers into the freezer for just such a meal as this. I don’t think I’ll bother with a salad. Plenty to eat without it, and we had one a couple of days ago. I did the Cilantro Chicken from last weeks blog recipes. It really was good. Plenty of leftover chicken breast and that will make a nice chicken salad for Saturday. Tomorrow is hamburgers with some of that chipotle-cheese sauce that I also featured last week or the week before.

We watched something on the news that caught us up. Dogs and cats who have been given up due to floods or losing homes in the mortgage foreclosure disaster. We’ve decided to take in a new dog, and later I’m going to try to locate where to go here in Iowa. It just broke my heart, so many of the little guys in shelters not understanding what has happened to their world. Our two dogs are 9 and 11 respectively, so it’s a good time to transition we thought. We love them so much, and nothing can replace them, but we have room for more, and can’t stand to see so many lost when we can offer them a good home and safety.

Boy, I’m yacky. Better get on to see if anything new is out there in internet land.


101 Cookbooks has some tips on making pizza on the grill. Although her ingredients are a bit foofoo for my more pedestrian tastes as far as pizza goes, the tips are still valid of course. If you are thinking of trying this, and it does sound fun, then give it a look.

If scones are something you would like to try, then skip over to A Mingling of Tastes and find her recipe for Oat Scones with Dried Cherries and Walnuts. They are easy to make and serve as a nice alternative to the usual muffins or toast. A bonus, there are two other muffin recipes that lead into the scone one, so you get three great recipes! 

Since the 4th is on the way, I thought I might give you my potato salad recipe. I have only found one other that matched it. But I realize that potato salad  is one of those things that people tend to like the way mom made it. Here goes, and these are estimates on ingredients, I don’t measure a thing.

Sherry’s Awesome Potato Salad

Potatoes, 5-6 medium large or equivalent of waxy potatoes like Yukon
An equal number of eggs hard boiled. 6 if using Idaho potatoes
scallions, about 6, tops and green parts sliced thin
radishes, about 8, chunked so they will hold up for a few days
sour dill pickles, about 2 medium finely diced
about 1/3 cup of green olives, diced
mayo, a good cup
dijohn mustard, and yellow mustard, about 3 TBSP's in all
salt, pepper,
celery seeds
a bit of juice from the dill pickles or olives 1/4 c. or so
mix it all together, decorate if you desire with fresh chives,
parsley, and some like sweet pepper slices. That's it.
Adjust anything to the tanginess you like. It's the dill pickles
that make the difference here.

ALemon Glazed Bundt Cake might be just the thing for that 4th of July celebration. If so, Chocolate and has a nice recipe for you. I think I’m going for gooey Molten Lava cakes myself, but I love lemon desserts a lot and this will be on my radar for later this summer.

Garrison Keillor graces us again with his wit. Today he counsels that Barack Obama could learn a thing or two from Jesse Ventura. Do say? Always fun and a nice change of pace from our favorite pundit on life!

One of the things that keeps history interesting, is that there are so many different ways to approach it. It is surely true that history is written by and large by the victors, but today, with so many more tools of examination, historians can look at it from a number of different ways and pull out the threads of unknown facts drawing a clearer and very different interpretation. One way is to examine history from the point of view of colonialism. Read more at History News Network.

Another of those great science things. Archaeologists who look for bones, have uncovered the earliest known 4 legged animal scull. They expect that this will help them understand that important transition between fish and those creatures that first walked on the earth. I don’t know about you, but this stuff always fascinates me. I feel like I’m taking a walk along my family tree. It lived 365 million years ago, and lived in water. They think it looked a bit like an alligator but with fins. Cool eh? Thanks to Live Science for the story.

If you are a baby boomer as I am, this next one also from Live Science may be of interest. Are you blue, and prone to being in the dumps a lot? Seems there is a good reason for that. Boomers, says the Pew Report, are just not very enthusiastic about the future. Looking around the economy, and the world, I can see why. Sigh, boy this bums me out!

On Faith has a compelling question: What book has made a difference in your life? I mean, where do I start? It seems every ten years or so, I would revise the list. Most everyone would agree that the bible or your choice of religious book qualifies. But oh the other possibilities are endless. Mailer’s the Naked and the Dead made an impact on me on the subject of war that I have never forgotten. I think I see a separate post for this. How bout we look at the subject Sunday?

The Scythians were horsemen in Central Asia. A very well preserved body of a Cavalier was found in 2006. Much has been learned about the gentleman since then. He died some 2,300 years ago. An amazing amount is known about him and his life through the use of modern forensic tools. Read this interesting account at Rogueclassicism.

Scientists did not believe it possible. They were wrong. It seems volcanoes are busily blowing their cool, errr, hot in very deep waters in the Arctic Ocean. The great pressures and weight of the water were thought to prevent this occurrence. Not so, not so. Read more at Science Daily.

New news for dieters! If you want to lose weight, stop thinking about dying for crying out loud. And the thoughts don’t have to be directly about yourself. Watching death related material such as crime shows, and the awful news, also contribute. We get the munchies it seems. Wow, somebody will be writing a book about this. “Diet with Laurel and Hardy,” coming to a bookstore near you!

Truly, nothing says summer better than corn salad. You can make this in any number of ways, as long as you start with grilled or seared corn kernels. Then add whatever fresh veggies, (also grilled) and do the dressing and boy you have got a great accompaniment to just about any summer dinner. I’m adding it to my July 4th day menu I do believe. So far that makes the  Texas Brisket barbecue, potato salad, pea salad, and corn salad, and the molten chocolate lava cakes. Simply Recipes has the wonderful recipe.

I just love these copycat recipes. The Secret Recipe Blog today gives us the wonderful  Macaroni Grill’s “Penne Rustica.” This recipe should probably be cut in half for the normal family. I can’t even begin to think about a sauce that requires 8 cups of cream!

Oh I found a recipe that is well, time consuming and a tad expensive to make, but I think it worthy of your attention. Tuscan CoffeeCake Bread. I mean is this made for Sunday on a lazy hot day or what? The wonders of dried fruits and warm fresh bread, with butter melting. Oh, I may get the vapors just thinking of it. I have to get some of the dried fruit, but I am definitely making this recipe. The Sour Dough is to be thanked for this gem of a bread.

The Village Shop Blog shows off some of her work that is going in a new shop as “samples” of what a person can do. I’ve never been asked to do this, and with good reason! I think they are simply lovely and so very encouraging to me as a sometime quilter.

Tip Junkie has a host of tips. They go from fun and funky craft ideas to recycling ideas. The recycling craze is really catching on as more folks realize that with prices increasing everywhere on everything, a premium is now placed on getting the full usage possible out of everything. You can find some good stuff here.


How about some Murphy’s Laws:

Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view.

Two wrongs are only the beginning.

If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then..

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Trust everybody … then cut the cards.

All the good ones are taken.
If the person isn’t taken, there’s a reason

Money can’t buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.

Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.

Friendly fire ain’t.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he’ll have to touch to be sure.

Questioning Inevitability

The artist is Sebastiao Salgado. The print was done in 2004, and is called “Agashya, Mt. Sabyinyo, Rwanda.”  I thank Senor Salgado for taking this nice photo of the Contrarian and me. Just a nice stroll in the Meadow!

Another week has slid by so fast that I realize that June is quickly going by. I hardly feel that I have had a chance to enjoy it at all. It seems we are still trying to get organized. The Contrarian has done a lot of weeding in the garden, both by hand and by the little weed tiller. My lettuce is going great guns and we will probably be able to harvest some soon for salads. I’ve got the house all spiffy clean and feel rather satisfied with myself. I’ve ordered a beef brisket from the meat locker in Walker to pick up next week. I think it will be a fun 4th of July meal to make. I’m tired of the usual fare of ribs or steaks.

We are getting some sun, but it’s sporadic, and we may get some rain this afternoon. I surely hope not, we are down to mostly mud now in a few places. We can move the vehicles around with ease now. The Contrarian has weed eaten around the house pretty good and it’s at least looking a bit more lived in.

 I have to seriously think about painting the office now. I think perhaps I’ll do some tomorrow. The Contrariansincerely wants little to do with the process, and that’s fine. If he takes over, he will do it all, since he can’t stand painting, so he wants to do it all at one time. I am happy to do a bit a day until it’s done. We often find that some chores are not things we can do together, since we work quite differently. If we try to do it together, we end up snapping at each other, which is senseless to me.

Doing this craft, recipe, history etc blog post is ever so much more stressful for some reason. The feeds seem so reluctant to come up and it seems forever before I’m done. I don’t know the reason, I can only surmise that the blogging platforms that I and so many use are just not as receptive as dot com sites for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s just the pictures that are so much more prevalent on crafty blogs. I dunno, but I just go nuts sometimes wasting time, waiting!!!!

Anyway, let’s see what is what today:


We open with A Mingling of Tastes which has an interesting side dish or main vegetarian dish, Smoky Lentils with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. I like lentils, and like lentil soup. I love Egyptian food which features lentils in many varieties with lots of different spices. This is not the type of summer dish I would make, but it would be fine in the fall or winter.

Martin’s American History Blog focuses on the industrial revolution of the 19th Century. I guess we are in some kind of new one now, though I’m not sure I can yet define what it is. A technological revolution? A world market revolution? Perhaps we should spend some time looking backward to discover how to better handle what we are going through now.

We have a cute new pattern for crochet from Sandi’s Crochet Blog. I think her patterns are so nice, and they are so easy to follow as well. She suggests that this pattern works well for a washcloth. I like making these simple and quick items for home use. They can be used, and do up in a one or two sessions quite easily.

Well this is a surprise. It seems that a major Revolutionary War relic has been located. An entire ship found in Lake Ontario! It was a British ship, called the HMS Ontario and was a 22-gun warship sunk by American forces. Read all about the find and the excitement is has engendered at American Revolution Blog.

From As the Garden Grows, we get a wonderful list of annuals and perennials that attract butterflies. We love all the hummingbirds and butterflies that come around to feed on nectar from our flowers. This is a rather extensive list, and one that is worth copying for a hard copy file for later use this fall and next spring when planting is more appropriate. Some are herbs, so you get a bonus!

Boy this recipe sure brought back some memories. Raisin Bread! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I remember it so well from my childhood. I can’t eat a lot, because of the concentrated sugar in the dried fruit, but a slice or two, once in a while can’t hurt, and I adore her idea of using it for chicken salad sandwiches. Take a peek, it’s not hard to make. We got this recipe from Baking Delights. Remember if you have a heavy duty mixer, you can use the dough hook to do the kneeding for you! The entire process takes less than 30 minutes to get to the oven.

Oh the minute I saw this, I said, whoohoo, I’m making this! It’s a great little condiment spread for hamburgers. Hamburgers are one of my favorite meals, and truth be told, we have them usually twice a month on Friday or Saturday. I know this will be a hit with the Contrarian as well. I will of course half this recipe for the two of us. I’m thinking what other things would this be good on? Maybe some of that brisket with lots of barbecue sauce as well? Oh I think I may be on to something here. Coconut & Lime, a huge kiss from me for Chipotle Cheese Sauce. I guess it would go okay with the traditional celery sticks too.

It won’t be long before summer squash comes into it’s own. Not here of course, we have to replant, our first planting rotted out and never came up. So, under the theory that there are never too many recipes for zucchini, I found this nice one from Epicurious which makes a lovely side dish. HerbedSummer Squash and Potato Torte with Parmesan sounds like a winner to me.

We watched the Robin Williams movie “RV” the other night, and I thought it was hilarious, if quite predictable. You might enjoy Garrison Keillor‘s take on the wonderful (for some) adventure of traveling with a home behind you. Things are changing what with gas prices. This may be a relic of the past soon.

Today’s edition of History of American Women focuses on the Indian tribes of South Carolina.I am really enjoying her series here of the various tribes that were prevalent during the colonial period. and beyond. It is without question, an area of our history that most of us have not had the benefit of very much information about. I’m sure it’s better today than it was in my time in high school, but I’m sure it still neglects a lot as well. A great chance to improve our understanding of those who greeted us when we first arrived on the shores of “America.”

Oil and it’s price has become a hot button issue. It’s hard to know whom to believe, since it seems everyone has a reason to fashion an answer to support a previous opinion. Live Science has an article which may come from a more scientific point of view, and thus may actually shed some light on the true causes of the prices were are swearing at these days.

I am growing to just love these pasta roundupseach week. What interesting and tantalizing recipes I continue to find. I made the Pastitsio one earlier in the week. After a questionable start, the Contrarian gave it a thumbs up. He was utterly taken aback by cinnamon in a meat dish at first. After he got over the shock, he actually liked it. I personally didn’t think it tasted much of cinnamon so much as had the aroma. So, make sure you peruse through the offerings and find something truly delectable for dinner tonight. Once Upon a Feast is our supplier of these weekly gems.

There are many who think that a lot of science is just a waste of money. There have even been a Congress person or two and a network or two that have made it their business to inform you of scientific studies they found ludicrous and wasteful. And some may in fact be. But here’s food for thought. Scientists have long pondered exactly how pattern emerges in nature. The stripes on a zebra for instance, or the intricate pattern of a butterfly. They may be closer to an answer of figuring out how cells move around and differentiate in such a way as to form the patterns of say a spiral sea shell. And guess what? The answers may help scientists in understanding how cancer cells metastasize. So, before you decry the expenditure of funds on silly science, think again: It may some day save your life.

We are truly blessed this week. Scandalous Women has another entry for us! This one is about Elizabeth Chudleigh. Never heard of her? Neither had I frankly. But I know who she is now. And mercy me, she was scandalous, and that’s enough to peak your interest no doubt. Here’s a hint: She was the Duchess of Kingston and she was tried for bigamy in the 18th century. My oh my, that’s a new one on me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a woman being charged with that crime before.

For reasons unknown to me, there often seems a serendipitous thing going on around here. Today it seems to be Zucchini. Another recipe, this time from Simply Recipes. I think this is another definite keeper. Zucchini Muffins is both easy, tasty sounding, and something that will freeze well for use during the interminable winters of Iowa.

Tip Junkie is featuring a whole slew of crafters of varied types this week. I’ve given you the main site so you can scroll down and see if anything interests you. Most  of the items are for sale, with links to the site of the seller and probably her Etsy shop as well. Of course, just looking is fine too, and you might get inspired to think of something you would like to make yourself. I find these sites enticing to say the least. I’m trying to figure out how to carve a bit more time for crafts out of my schedule. Top priority right now is to start getting my recipe’s in order in my big 3-ring binder. Then again, I may have to add more binders! LOL.


Famous, or not so famous last words:

I think it’s trying to communicate…

“Na, I don’t think we need to go to the hospital.”

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” — Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” — Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist in his project to drill for oil in 1859.

“No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris.” — Orville Wright.

I wonder where the mother bear is.

“I eat guys like you for breakfast!” — Jeffrey Dahmer

I’m sure this isn’t the poisonous kind.