Saturday, December 22, 2007

Proof I am not, in fact, dead

Obligatory Christmas Tree Shot from Progressive Dinner


Contrary to popular speculation, I have NOT shrugged off my mortal coil to leave you all desperately scrambling for a new source of comparative analyses of cat litter and rambling missives on cow culture.

I'll just say this. Thank you to all who have been concerned for my well-being and I'll let you know as soon as this monumental bout of latent-onset ADD has subsided.

In the mean time, here is a little movie of Anna being awarded her Blue Belt in Tae Kwon Do from last night. YOU ROCK, ANNA!!!

video


That's all I have for now. So, in case I don't have another lucid moment until the New Year is upon us... Merry Christmas, Yall!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It doesn't take much


Around here, snow is so infrequent and short-lived we swing into high gear at the first hint of a flake. We'll be lucky if we get a half inch, down here in the balmy lower reaches of Chehalem Valley, but we'll enjoy it like there's a foot of the stuff.


Despite the less-than-profuse amounts of fluffy precipitation, it is still cold enough that water troughs freeze over and the cows are disinclined to graze on the frigid pasture grass.

This December scene...


... is the reason...

... for this stifling, dusty, hot one back in August.

The cats also have a lot of fun figuring out all these crazy white feathers that vanish as soon as they hit one's wet nose... little bits of disappearing cold, white bird?

I am forced to wonder if Boo thinks his chances of actually catching something have skyrocketed due to this brief instance of environment for which he is, at last, suitably camouflaged. Ordinarily, his 20+ pounds of glowing whiteness makes him so conspicuous as to preclude any chance of sneaking up on anything with even the most feeble sense of sight. Were it not for the cat food dispenser, and my constant refilling of it, he would surely starve.

As I'm finishing this post, the snow has been replaced by fat, chunky rain and blustering wind. We're battening down the hatches and drawing precautionary water reserves in anticipation of the impending storm.

I'm soooo happy I had the opportunity yesterday to get out to the store... and to my raw milk place... and, most importantly, THE COFFEE ROASTER!

Weekend housebound caffeine withdrawal...? ::shudder::

Instead, we'll be enjoying the final Harry Potter book by a blazing fire with no need of anything from the outside world beyond weather reports to know how long our blissful seclusion will last.

Except for my imminent treks out to feed my pasture prima donnas, who will undoubtedly find sideways rain as undesirable dining conditions as gently falling snow, the rest of the weekend should prove rich in much-needed, decompressive coziness.

I hope yours is equally rejuvenating.

Peace, Y'all!

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Quick Gulp of Air


Anna's Madarin Monkey sculpture.

Doesn't have anything to do with this post, I just like it.



No, I haven't died or fallen off the planet.

Life is just big, here on the Ranch. Really big.

Thus, the neglected blog.

I have stories to tell, but they will have to wait until I find a worthy vessel, or the tide turns benevolent and gently deposits me on the warm, sandy shore of "the usual chaos."

Until then, I've donned my snorkel and am vigilantly scanning the horizon for any encouraging sign of terra firma.

Since it is ME we're talking about, however, a "dingy" would be probably be the most appropriate form of rescue.

Peace, Ya'll.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Bling's The Thing

I tried an experiment over the weekend and it worked beautifully!

As you know, I'm big on trying out non-toxic ways to clean stuff.
Among my faves are baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Well, let me just tell you that when it comes to cleaning all the gunk and bread-flour-turned-to-glue out of every nook and cranny, hydrogen peroxide is amazing!

I tossed, um, gently placed my rings and James's into a small bowl of HO2 and kinda forgot about them for a couple of hours. When I finally remembered and dug them back out again, I was astonished! I expected them to be cleaner, but MAN! They looked brand new and were sparkling before I even got them all rinsed off and polished up.

You know what I discovered?

There are actual DIAMONDS in these rings! Whoa...

Now, if you'll excuse me I must get back to geekin' out over the *Panther OS I just installed on my MacPro. (Do you smell another rave post coming...?)

Cheers, Y'all!

*EDIT: Make that LEOPARD!! I'm such a dork. What's with Apple and all the cat names... the cats... THE CATS!!!! TOO... MANY... CATSSS!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For Grammar Geeks Only

From the NY Times online...


Joke of the Day:

It's not who you know; it's whom you know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What I've Learned From Our Cows...

... so far.

I get the impression they really enjoy "teaching me a lesson" whenever they get the chance.


#1. Over-Grazing is BAD: And I don’t just mean stuffing yourself on appetizers to the point of excruciating pain. It is what happens when good people are forced to do bad things with cows… like having too many of them in too small of a pasture for just long enough that they totally mow down every edible blade of grass that competes with the weeds that aren’t. Among other infestations, it can lead to… and don’t even get me started on... the scourge that IS, Tar Weed.

#2 Tailgating can kill you: Never walk behind a cow or calf closer than about eight feet. One sharp noise or rude comment about their weight and you’ll be waking up, flat on your back in cow poo wondering how to spell “Fractured Sternum.”

#3. Avoid butt-heads: A full-grown cow’s head weighs, I’m guessing, about 60 pounds all by itself. When attached to an irritated bovine, in addition to housing all that pent-up angst and resentment for being treated like some kind of common farm animal, it can also, when swung properly, act as a very effective human catapult capable of slinging the average 150-pound individual roughly six to eight feet. I have personal experience to back up this assertion, in case you’re skeptical about my authority on the subject.

#4. Beware of sticky situations: Cow poo is the lesser-known forerunner of Velcro®. Just try to get it off your boots.

#5. Watch your step: No matter how much room they have. No matter how many times I muck out the barn to keep it a pleasant, healthy place for them to sleep and eat. Every… single… day… somebody leaves a “pie” RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DOOR WAY. I have come to believe this is their idea of a joke. ha. ha. ha. See lesson #4.

#6. Don't let yourself be intimidated: Staring down 600 pound animals on a daily basis takes a certain amount of panache... or at least it does when you're a chick who has only been living closely with cows for about three years. Any large animal vet can tell you that cows are prey animals and they know it. All you have to do is act like you're bigger than them, they believe it and that leaves you pretty much in control.

Right.

I use a combination of a firm tone of voice, sharp movements and bribery to get them to make me think they're submitting to my will. I don't even feel the need to carry a baseball bat when I get anywhere near them anymore so I think I've made brilliant progress... I am, however, not above leaping to relative safety over a stall gate with the grace and agility of a drunken hippo should my projection of confidence and superiority prove unconvincing.

Truth is, I love the big hairy dears. I think they can sense that and choose to let me feel like I'm in charge... at least as long as I keep making with the cow candy and sweet talk...


That's all the barnyard wisdom I have to impart for now.

Until Bossy, Princess and the Girls school me further... Ciao, Yall!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I almost spit coffee out my nose.

Some things are just *naturally* funny... juvenile, perhaps, but really, really funny nonetheless. Make sure all liquids are at a safe distance and enjoy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy Friday!


It's okay if you need to smirk... you can even chuckle if you want!

Personally, they make me laugh right out loud... but then, I live with them.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Shameless Filler

Joke of the Day

A guy walks into a bar with a priest, a minister, a rabbi, a Polish guy, and a duck. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?"

— Joke told to Esquire.com by the "Nip/Tuck" actress Joely Richardson.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Walking In Your Footsteps...

...and trying not to trip in your very big shoes.



I would never dream of flattering myself by believing I could ever take my Grandmother's place in this world since her departure from it. However, since she left us about a year and a half ago, there are certain things that I feel compelled to do, have strong feelings about or have experienced that have the very distinctive "Esther Rueck" brand upon them. I sense her presence in a very tangible way when I do these things. It feels very right and like a natural progression for me to attempt to emulate her in their practice. As though the "torch has been passed." (This feeling is not diminished by the fact that I am her namesake, Esther being my middle name.)

Aside from when I'm brushing my teeth, a time when I am most aware of her is when I bake bread. Gran and I had sooo very many conversations about baking, but we never really got to do it together when I was old enough to actually know a little about what I was doing. We did lots of theorizing and comparing notes verbally though. So now since her departure, it doesn't matter what kind of bread I'm making, she's there with me.

That being said, you might imagine how much it meant to me when, upon pulling the new coffee maker my folks gave us from its box, I noticed an old yellow recipe card laying face down in the bottom of it. Since the box had never been opened, for a split second I thought Grannee had been up to her tricks again and miraculously dropped it in there for me to find... Upon an excited call to my mom, however, I learned that she had been startled to discover Grannee's Rye Bread recipe in an old canister she was about to give away...
*gasp!* that was close! ... and had wedged it under the lid of the box as a surprise.

She may as well have sent me a Portkey* to my Grannee's kitchen. I was giddy with excitement, but wanted to wait until I could give my full attention and focused intention on making this special, magical recipe for which my Grandmother was renowned. It was like no other bread you could get anywhere. Grandad always said it was better than cake... and he was right.

This bread was something much more than the sum of its ingredients. For her, it was a meditation. A profound demonstration of love for her family and guests... and you could taste it. We begged for this bread. No one ever felt the least bit gypped if they got it for Christmas in stead of some *thing*.

Everything that left her hands was completely imbued with love and intention. To both of my Grandparents, if anything was worth doing it was worth doing well and she had refined this basic human nourishment and item of sacrament to an art form... and the rest of us have never been able to duplicate it to her level of mastery.

It was her own special kind of magic.

This time, when I set out to make my attempt at Her Rye Bread, it wasn't with a recipe dictated over the phone and written in distracted haste, but with her very own card. Written in her own elegant hand. There are no instructions, just measurements of ingredients, temperature and cooking time. This card served only to jog her memory of the details of a process she could do in her sleep... and often did once she became too frail to wrangle heavy, awkward dough.

When she wrote this recipe down, her penmanship was still pristine, not ravaged by age and weariness. She was vibrant and brimming with passion, generosity and grace. I could feel her vivacity resonate as I carefully held this precious artifact as I read it, intense thoughts of her washing over me as I assembled the ingredients. I felt her standing right next to me and she was as excited as I was that we were *finally* getting to bake together. I couldn't stop myself from smiling and even let a little laugh escape my lips at how much fun we were having, the two of us.

As I prepared the dough, I could hear in my head little comments she had made to me over the years about how the dough should look or the fact that it's pretty sticky. I made only the tiniest adjustments based on my particular circumstances. Alterations with which I felt she would agree.
Though there is no way I would ever make notations on the recipe card. I'll keep those notes in my head for now.

I was so excited to give my little family a taste of Grannee's Rye Bread and every aspect of what that means. Yes, it's amazing in flavor and texture, very nutritious and its aroma is what I think Heaven must smell like, but mostly what I want them to taste is my intention, my meditation of love and the same blessing that Grannee put into everything she fed us.

The bread I made doesn't taste *exactly* like Grannee's but it's very, very close. I have only my hands, pans and slightly different ingredients to work with so, I guess it's becoming My Rye Bread now... but I will always bake it (and enjoy that first, warm heal) with Grannee.



* For you non-Harry Potter readers: a Portkey is an enchanted object, often a piece of supposedly worthless junk, which when touched will transport a person to a preprogrammed location.


Friday, November 2, 2007

"Crack" for Voyeuristic Graphic Designers

I feel dirty and exhilarated all at the same time.

I have just discovered Coudal Partners' Layer Tennis.

Layer 9

It's really kinda hard to get your head around if you're not a designer... and even if you are... but thanks to the I-can't-even-believe-how-lucky-I-am-to-be-alive-in-this-technological-age wonder that is Adobe/The Internet/Blogging/Freakin' Genius... there exists this ongoing weekly, live competition where two designers in different parts of the world exchange layers of a design document, this time in Illustrator. You can click through the volleys at the right side under the header.

One designs something for 15 minutes, then shoots it over to the other who then takes the design and works on it for another 15 minutes and so on for ten volleys.

The whole thing is commentated on, like a sports play by play, by another blogger... this time Heather Armstrong from dooce. You see the whole thing come together, layer by layer, comment by comment.

Watching that much talent slinging back and forth while Heather commentates... Ahhhhhh! It's just... well... GAH!!! I can't even describe how euphoric it is.

Like the best graphic design class you ever had moderated by one of your funniest, most irreverent friends.

Okay, I gotta go check back at their progress... they're on layer NINE!! Yikes!!

What's Next, Cat Juggling?!


Wondrous Gift From Above or Evil Implement of Kitty Terror?


The nights have gotten quite nippy of late here on the Ranch, so one or more of the four members of the outside-at-night contingent have started weaseling their way into sleeping inside the house.

Sometimes it's blatant. More often, it is a covert operation involving diversion and subterfuge.

They all usually prefer to roam the shadow realm when night falls, finding refuge in the hay bales in the barn when the temps take a dip. But if the weather takes a turn for the very wet or extra chilly, the finagling begins.

Two of the four are very well behaved and can be trusted indoors. The other two are menaces who, after having successfully achieved bedtime invisibility, will make their presence and strong desires known somewhere between 4:00 and 6:00 AM in a most raucous and boisterous display that, should I choose to turn a deaf ear and continue soaking my pillow with drool while pursuing that ever-illusive French truffle the size of an ottoman, will give way to retaliatory vandalism.

We have recently discovered however, that there is, in fact, such thing as Kitty Karma.

Not long ago, our dearly beloved and faithful, fairly low-tech coffee maker went kaput. It was simple featuring only a thermal carafe and timing capabilities, but made great coffee. Upon its demise, my folks generously gifted us a new, state-of-the-art, fancy schmancy model that had been languishing unopened in their garage. It not only brews your coffee and holds it at the temperature of your particular preference, it even grinds your fresh, whole beans and dumps the fragrant grounds right into the filter for you at the precise moment and grind consistency to achieve the most technologically perfect cup o' joe ever devised by a team of overpaid engineers.*


So, there I am, post-alarm, cozily drowsing in eager anticipation of the joyful sound of our new java droid awakening to begin its life of servitude when it happens...

The timer hits 6:55, the grinder whirs and clatters to life and, at that exact split second... the unmistakable sound of 16, startled and terror-filled paws frantically scratching their heated exit from the still-dark kitchen, then thundering down the hallway toward our bedrooms and presumed sanctuary.

In stead of comfort and consolation, they found me, standing there in my jammies, laughing at them in unexpected, payback bliss!

Apparently the sneaky ones had somehow *overslept* and got a taste of what it's like to be startled awake by a harsh and unexpected racket...

"HA!" I say. Double "HA!"

Though I did feel kinda bad for the good, polite, quiet kitties who let me sleep, I savored that first cup from the shee-shee machine with great relish and just a bit of sick satisfaction.

"The new coffee maker is so fast, why don't you set the timer for when you're already up and the lights are on so it doesn't come as such a shock to them when it starts up?" my kind-hearted husband asked.

"What? And deny myself all that sadistic pleasure? Are you nuts?"

Poor kitties. Poor, poor traumatized little kitties...

::snicker::

Now, where did I leave the vacuum...




* Don't get me wrong, it's really a nice machine, but it cracks me up how this thing is supposed to make "making coffee" so much more convenient. Now, instead of: grind coffee the night before; place in filter; pour water into reservoir; activate timer; upon finishing coffee toss used filter... I get to: place beans in grinder the night before, pour water into reservoir; activate timer; upon finishing coffee dismantle the entire machine, clean five separate pieces and dry thoroughly before reassembling... so I can have my coffee ground for me and drink it five minutes sooner! I have to laugh at myself that I love it so much.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Outta Nowhere

The answer to yesterday's question "Will Grace go trick-or-treating as The Big Wiggly Puppy she was when she went to school?":


Drum roll, please...




That's a big, fat NO!


After torturing me with a re-visit of the very-time-worn ladybug costume, and throwing in a previously-never-even-hinted-at "I WANNA BE A KITTY" (which I have absolutely NOTHING from which to manufacture a costume) Anna strolled into the room offering her old dragon costume and saved my life.

NOT that I would drop everything and suddenly produce a kitty suit out of thin air to spare myself the agony of prolonged whining mind you, I was just getting weary of the fervent mind-changing. I didn't care if she wanted to be something else as long as it was reasonably easy and wouldn't make us late... er, any later... to the pre-trick-or-treating party at Auntie Dawn's house.

With this decision *final* we dashed out the door and up the hill for pizza and candy corn flavored (EWWW!) soda. She had a great time collecting candy, as did all the kids, and was, of course a KICKIN' dragon. :)


*whew*

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NanoNinja and the Big Wiggly Puppy*

Small but FIERCE!


A Ninja and her Dog...



B.W.P.



Other costumes considered by Grace starting from Monday up until the bus's arrival at 8:55:

"Something Disgusting"

Princess

Mummy
("you can wrap me up in toilet paper and tape it!")

Puppy

Ladybug

Ladybug-Puppy


Will Grace still be a puppy when she goes trick or treating? Your guess is as good as mine.

This one exercises "a woman's right to change her mind" to the fullest extent allowed by law.

I'm just holding my breath that she really has ditched the mummy idea. Can you just imagine the nightmare that would be trying to keep her "dressings" of perforated TP from falling off every time she bends over to pick up an errant Skittle? Oy.

There is a reason mummies walk with stiff legs and arms straight out... they're hermetically sealed in SCOTCH TAPE!

Happy Halloween, Y'all!


* "The Big Wiggly Puppy" is the name I have given to the part of my personality that leaps out when I get really excited about something. It's very well-meaning and joyful, but also just as likely to knock you down and slobber all over you... which I imagine can get a little annoying for the slobberee.

It is very appropriate that I loan this moniker to Grace, not only because of her choice of costumes, but, well, her B.W.P. is on the loose pretty much 24/7.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Jiffy Pop," Anyone?

For some reason, these little guys just make me happy.

I don't know why I've suddenly become obsessed with the mushrooms growing in my in-laws' yard. Every time I go out to do my cow chores these days, it seems I can't help but snap a shot of friendly-looking fungus.

I know. It's silly.

Surprised?

Me neither.

The last Rio Samba

This is one of my all-time favorite rose varieties. In warm weather, this buttery yellow gives way to intense, deep oranges and pinks. Its aroma is reminiscent of really good citrus fruit punch.

Just looking at it makes me pine for next June.


Okay, gotta get back to my *job* now.

Oh, and, the cows say "hi."

Ciao, now, brown cow!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Odds and Ends. Bits and Pieces. This and That.

Harlequin Glory Bower Blossom*


It was a full weekend here on the Ranch and elsewhere.

My Little Purple Belt

It started off on Friday with Anna's Belt Ceremony where she received her Purple Belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is so very proud... almost as proud as I am of her. She TOTALLY ROCKS!
Plus, can you imagine what I save in personal security detail costs just by hanging out with her?!

Seriously.

Don't muck with this little ninja. She'll mess you up.

Oh, the half-a-board she's holding up was one of a stack of five her instructor (yes, the big guy on the right) broke as a reward for the higher ranking students passing all of their board breaking tests. It was really cool... and painful to watch. He was going to break a brick, but that wasn't possible at the time, so the equivalent is about five boards. He wasn't successful on his first attempt. He was, however, victorious on his second... using the same arm he slammed into those boards just moments before! GAH!! I fractured my elbow just watching!


Pumpkin Palooza Prep


Anna's friend, Julia, joined us for PP and to celebrate her (Julia's) 11th birthday.


The competition was fierce!


Um, Grace and Anna kind of got inspired by the same theme, but Grace (and I) did take home second place! Ours is the TotemPunkin on the right. Anna's is on the left. The little guy in the front? I have no idea who it belonged to but it's kinda cute so I let him stay.

I forgot to get a picture of Risa's winning entry. (I must have been addled by all of Charity's Award Winning Pumpkin Cheesecake I scarfed down... or maybe it was some kind of subconscious passive-agression over not winning the much coveted trophy... hmmmmm?)


Risa made the CUTEST little house, complete with an opening door and free-standing picket fence from a white pumpkin that was just adorable enough to house Hello Kitty.

Congratulations, Risa!! ;)


My first GOOD batch of 'Bucha Tea... or what's left of it.
I started out with a gallon.

Thanks to Lisa B. I finally managed to produce Kombucha Tea that is actually good enough to drink... for less than $7 a four-pack! With the way my Peeps put this stuff down (we drink it instead of soda) we'll be flying to Hawaii on the savings in no time!

Well, now that I've got you all updated on the minutia that was my weekend, I'll be off to practice my hula.

Aloha, Y'all!



*This is one of my two favorite trees in my in-laws' yard. Those blossoms smell like jasmine. Delicious. My other favorite is their Catalpa tree whose leaves are slightly fuzzy and the size of dinner plates. The kids fold them into "nature pockets" and collect treasures from the yard in them. Sadly, the tree is dying and will be removed soon. :(

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ring Around the Ranch

Alternate Title:
No Pheasant Present, But Dew? Can Do!

sorry.

Clothesed for the Season

Today I won't subject you to any feeble attempts to wax poetic, but did want to share some shots of my tour around the Ranch this morning. It is such a glorious day, I took a good long time to wander the property and drink in all the breathtaking beauty Fall has to offer.

Faerie Skyscrapers

If only I knew if they are poisonous...

Animation Suspended

Everyone Shares on the Ranch

Dewy Dandelion


Today's Chore Companion, Jack.


Still Trying

Where Faeries Get Their Silver

Barn Boss

Cow Candy


Brilliant

Should've worn the boots.


I hope you are enjoying this amazing day as much as I am... Cheers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pheasant Present*

(For illustration purposes only... not my actual pheasant... obviously.)



What a present
Was the pheasant
I did glimpse upon this morn.

Not a peasant
Of a pheasant,
He, so regally adorned.

Til’ now I had
But seen him at
The far side of the pasture.

The bushes and
The fences had
Obscured his noble stature.

But on this day
He came my way
And stood there in the sunshine.

Mere feet away
His fear gave way
He scuttled for the tree line.

For my presence
To this pheasant
Was to surely be construed

As not pleasant
For the pheasant
But, a plan to make him food.

So effort he
Did make quickly
To end up
not under glass.

How could he know
I would not go
And eat his fine, plum'd carcass.

Cam’ra in hand
Across our land
I searched through garden and trees

I did intend
To show, my Friend,
The pure glory that was he.

To write a post
For those, at most
Whose number has surged to three!

Not how to roast
Or even toast
But share his unique beauty.

But at present
My dear pheasant
Is a hidin’ in an a tree.

Seems the present
Of my pheasant
Was a gift saved just for me.


*Disclaimer:
Yes, I am aware this composition is a syllabically-rhythmic train wreck. I'm no poet, but as I was tramping around in the grass trying to find said purty birdie, this started rattling in my cranium so, I thought, "What the heck? Why not open myself up to a whole new reason for folks to point at me and laugh, 'eh?" I say,"What better way to start a Monday?!"...

... Except, of course, for going out to the garage to get some bread yeast outta the fridge and seeing a freakin' gorgeous bird hanging out right outside the window!

Very, VERY cool!


Happy Monday, Y'all! And enjoy that belly laugh at my expense. Really. I don't mind a bit!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Grilled Cheese Gets an Upgrade


Grilled Cheese Mania has descended upon my household since the minute the fresh bread cooled enough to slice it.

Grace not only requested it for breakfast today, but also the minute she got home from school... and again before she was done eating her lunch! (I talked her into something else instead of a third one, however... I have real concerns about *plumbing*... in every imaginable sense of the word, should she consume much more Tillamook Cheddar.)

She made that humble, cheesy comfort food favorite look so good, I decided to have one myself, but my desire leaned toward something a bit more... um... interesting. To my crispy, buttery, toasted perfection I added the roasted tomatoes from a couple of posts ago, some thinly-sliced zucchini, lightly salted and sprinkled with fresh-ground pepper. Served alongside a salad of fresh mixed greens, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette it almost made me forget how much fat and carbohydrates I was foisting upon my unsuspecting vascular system.

Awe, who am I kidding. My arteries have been with me for forty years now. I'm sure I could eat a wheel of brie the size of a tractor tire and my body wouldn't be remotely surprised...

... though that doesn't mean it wouldn't retaliate against any gross assault on my part.

I get too crazy with the bread or the cheese and my mortal coil will waste no time slapping me with a massive headache, just to remind me who's really in charge here.

That's my life on the edge folks... walking the fine line between just enough baked goods and fine dairy products to sate my highly-evolved palate and cowering in pain, shunning the smallest shaft of light like a vampire with a hangover.

Yes, that's me. Angeleen, Culinary Daredevil.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's Bread and Soup Weather!

"Daddy, what smells so good?!"

"That's homemade bread, Anna. Homemade bread!"

"Yea!!!"

This is half the reason I roast a chicken, people.


(head swings around to me, wide-eyed and breathless)
"Mommy, what's for dinner?"

"Chicken noodle soup and bread."

"*gasp!* Yea!!!!!"

My mixer arrived almost two weeks ago but I haven't had a chance to put 'er through the paces until yesterday. Man, the wait was *killing* me! Just didn't have time or the right stuff, but I finally made it happen and everyone I live with sure is happy about it.

Anna is big on dipping her slab of buttery, yeastified goodness into the soup. Grace regards this as disgusting even to watch. Anna just rolls her eyes and shakes her head at her sister's immature culinary preferences.

The girls were totally stoked to have toasted cheese sandwiches for breakfast this morning... and I was totally stoked to clean up their scraps. Toasted cheese crusts and coffee... mmmmm!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go let out the waistband and fanny of my favorite jeans to make room for the continued carbohydrate onslaught.

Toast 'em if ya got 'em.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Desiccated and Delectable

Before
After 4.5 hours at 325°.
(Sorry about the flash on the white plate. It was unavoidable, but *yikes!*)

If it seems to you like that many fresh tomatoes should make a lot more roasted ones than are shown resting on the blinding-white plate, you would be right! These babies are so dang tasty we can't leave 'em alone and have already demolished about half of the finished product. Now that's gooooood.

Many thanks to Lisa E. for the recipe and Angelina for posting it along with lovely pictures that I found overwhelmingly inspiring. They used some beautiful Beefsteak or some other big, fat slicing tomatoes. I had only small specimens, though being at their ripe and juicy best, the flavor is absolutely astounding! I wish I had roasted a bushel of those little sweeties!

Next year, my Darlings, next year...