Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ANOTHER Snow Day???!!!

Yup, we're stuck here! The sun came out today, so the girls came out to munch on some snow. My boss called at 7:00 a.m. and said that they had decided to stay closed another day - most of our employees live between 10 & 30 miles away, and alot of them drive company vehicles - better sense to stay off the roads when it's like this -

The cats are starting to get a little testy with one another - well, maybe I should say, more testy than normal...

Oh, and did I mention that we have run out of canned cat food - luckily I have a few tins of tuna and a lot of left over turkey gravy. I also made a pan of cornbread last night -(not the sweet variety, thank heavens) - so this morning "we" had tuna over crumbled cornbread & this afternoon "we" had turkey gravy, warmed oh, so slightly, over, you got it, crumbled cornbread. Actually it went over a lot better than I thought it would, but I don't think the Friskies cat food company has anything to worry about from me.

Neelix ABSOLUTELY had to go outside - this is as far as he got...maybe that cat box doesn't look so bad after all...

The weather man says tomorrow should be just about like today, but they are predicting another 6-8 inches of snow on Thursday night. At this rate we won't be out of here until spring! Oh, well, we'll see what tomorrow brings, huh?

Monday, November 27, 2006


We've had one heck of a snow storm over the past three days - not much on Saturday, started POURING buckets of snow Sunday a.m. at about 6 or so - enough so that by 9:00 a.m. we were canceling church. It snowed like that ALL DAY LONG! Great big fluffy flakes, itty bitty icey flakes.

John has been really worried about the girls that are in with Thorson - There isn't much space in those little bungalows, but I think they will be OK - they are wearing wool you know. Look at all the snow piled up on Thorson's ramada!

Since the store was closed today, I spend the day working on my alarm billing. We have alot to do tomorrow - I hope everyone can get there. I'm not sure that my snow boots fit anymore - so I hope I can get there. But,I'm not going to be sitting around on the porch for a few days, that's for sure!

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...or, maybe we'll go ice skating on the pond - it's down there some where

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What a difference a day makes...

Yesterday -

Today -

8-10" so far - BRRRRR------

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Cinderella

It starts like this -

And they grow, and they grow, and they grow... (I've heard that the secret mulching ingredient is sheep poop...)

and then, suddenly, the kitchen is full of pumpkins

Ready to go into the oven - I put about 1/4 cup of water in the pan and cover the whole thing with foil - bake at 400 degrees for a couple of hours (until you can stick a fork into it easily)

This one looks pretty nice - better save some seeds for next year!

Out of the oven - those foil turkey roaster pans are great for roasting pumpkin as well.

I use a spoon and scoop the pumpkin off of the skin, put it in my BIG yellow Tupperware bowl (what would we do without that big yellow bowl?) mash it all up, and put two cups into 1 qt. freezer bags (just enough for one pie)
that are flattened out and put into our deep freeze.

Then - TA DA!

This has been dubbed "The Best Yet" by John - & he loves pumpkin pie. I have started making it with part Splenda (tm) because he is trying very hard to cut back on his sugar. Here is the recipe that I have come up with.

The Best Yet Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Prepare piecrust for 9" pie or just roll one out of those packages and press into your pieplate. Fold edges under and crimp

2 cups Pumpkin (one 15 oz can or your own from the freezer, thawed, of course)
1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice (I use Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus - it's the BEST)

3/4 cup low fat evaporated milk (this is 1/2 of a can - I freeze the other half in one of those plastic freezer containers to use later in cream sauces or soups)

2 eggs - beat them a little with a fork first

In a deep bowl, mix all ingredients in order given. You can use more or less spices according to your family's taste. Use a mixer to combine - (I have found that the "fresh" pumpkin needs to be mixed with a mixer to kind of break down the fibers a little - or better yet use a blender - but make sure you put the milk in first so your motor doesn't bog down and put the eggs in very last thing - don't blend them too much)

Pour filling into prepared crust and bake for 50 - 60 minutes - until a knife comes out clean -I've found that the packaged crust needs a lower oven temp (350) and bakes a little longer (on the 60 minute side of things)

Allow to cool before serving. (I like sweetened whipped cream on mine) - John likes Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream - We have much to be thankful for! Enjoy!

Oh, and the Cinderella part - after putting up about 45 pounds of pumpkin (25 for church and 20 for us, so far) EVERY piece of clothing I have worn for the past two weeks has pumpkin on it - Somehow I got it in my eye the other night and I even found pumpkin in my hair one day - eewww - I now know what it would be like if Cinderella missed that midnight deadline and the coach exploded all over her - pumpkin everywhere!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Let the Bidding Begin

Tonight was our Church's Fundraiser Auction. Our theme was "Mardi Gras"

Doesn't it look festive!?

We have a silent auction with all kinds of great buys - I got a pair of fresh water pearl earrings for $26!!! (thank you Theo, for donating them) Glenda is checking out some interesting items while my DH was in charge of the CD player - some blues and the sound track from "The Big Easy" - had 'em dancin' in the aisles...

while Vikki, Vern & Diane are having a heated conversation over something here :-)

I donated a set of hand made cards -

I also helped plan the menu and came up with the recipes for the main dishes. That was a stretch for me to give up control of the cooking, but Malcolm and his crew did a fine job - Doesn't this look yummy! Vikki made the most amazing corn muffins - It's a good thing they were cold - if they'd been warm, I'd have eaten "many" of them. With butter and jalapeno jelly - How good is that! Everyone really enjoyed the dinner - Then we get down to the real business at hand - the live auction.

Our auctioneer for the live auction is our minister, Rev. Nan. and we had some really special items up for auction this year - including this beautiful hand made wall hanging that Shirley L. donated and a new chalice necklace made by Allie E.

The last two years there has been a bidding war between Wanda & Jamie over some beautiful turquoise pieces - a necklace one year and a bracelet the next - Here is John teasing them with this year's piece - A roadrunner pin, Zuni style - Well, you know, two years ago, I let that necklace slip through my fingers, and I decided that this year, that little roadrunner was MINE, MINE, MINE (think the seagulls in "Finding Nemo") - Isn't he cute! Caught Jamie & Wanda by surprise and stole it right out from under their noses! I have several other Zuni pieces that John has given me over the years, so it is just perfect!

I promised Peg that I'd post my recipe for Oven Baked Jambalaya - I found the original on All Recipes.Com ( www.allrecipes.com ) and made a few changes to make it "palatable" to northern European - Icelandic taste buds (ie. it's not quite so spicy as the original) The recipe we used on Saturday was figured to serve 60 and I've reduced it down to serve 6 - as most people don't cook for 60 on a regular basis... Hope you enjoy it.


Veg. oil or Olive oil for frying chicken & vegetables

1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cut in 3/4" dice
1 1/2 cups chicken - thighs & breast tenders
1 1/2 cups kielbasa type sausage, thinly sliced

1/2 ea large sweet onions, diced
1/2 ea large Red bell peppers, chopped
3 ea stalks of celery, chopped
3 ea cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 ea 6 oz. cans of Tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Creole seasoning - more or less depending on your taste

1 ea 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
2 ea 14 oz cans of Swanson's chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 Coat bottom of large stock pot or Large skillet with Veg or olive oil Sauté your chicken pieces just to brown them. Set them aside and brown your kielbasa sausage slices and ham - add to the chicken pieces.

2 Coat bottom of same stock pot with veg. or olive oil to sauté your onions, bell peppers & celery. Sauté until the veggies are tender, adding the garlic at the end, taking care not to burn the garlic. After a few minutes add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly. Stir in Creole seasoning blend & juice from tomatoes.. Mix & pour into a roasting pan. Add whole tomatoes (w/juice), squeezing them to break up into pieces. Add your meat and some of the chicken stock.

3 Cover tightly with aluminum foil & Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with Rice - You could also add another can of Chicken broth & put a cup of rice in with the stew before you put it in the oven so it cooks up in to the Jambalaya. To quote Rachel Ray - "Yummo"

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, those Bad Boys...

Now, do these look like Bad Boys to you?

Well, they sure do to "dad"...notice the 2x6's holding up the fence? I think it's a case of a little too much time on their hands. Maybe we need to teach them how to play poker or something - keep them otherwise occupied...Ha, Ha, Ha... ( I can laugh - I don't have to fix that fence)

We went to see DRUM tonight (www.drumshow.ca) to celebrate John's birthday today - very cool show - the story of Nova Scotia - In music, rhythm & dance - from the four cultures that define the area - Aboriginal/first people; French Acadian; black & Celtic - I checked their web site tonight and it looks like they are done touring for a few months - but if you get a chance to see them in person or TV - it is a show you shouldn't miss.

Tomorrow night is our church's annual fundraiser auction. Another gal & I came up with the menu - I proofed the recipes and some of the men from church are going to cook it. Hope it turns out OK - my rep is on the line too! We are having Jambalaya, Red Beans & Rice, Green salad, Corn Muffins & fruit skewers. There will be lime sherbet for dessert. I have made my famous "Bonnie's Frozen Punch" (thanks Pat K. - I've used that recipe for the last 25 years!) Yes, of course, the theme is Mardi Gras. I have to make 60 fruit skewers tomorrow a.m., as well as put up another 15 pounds of pumpkin and somewere in there, I have to go to the store for our weekly groceries. Ah, time it is a fleeting thing. Later, gators.

Oh, and GO COUGS!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Rain, Leaky Pipes, Renegade Plumbers and more.....

Wasn't that "What Season are You?" fun - I did a few other of their little "quizzes" - they were fun too - Like, "What Farm Animal are You?", etc.

Well, as you can tell (by my writing)I didn't drown in the rain - thought I might - I actually stooped to putting a grocery sack over my head to get to the car without getting my head drenched one day last week - We really only got 4-5 inches of rain here and the soil was so dry that it mostly just absorbed into the earth - our creek didn't even hardly come up - but so many places in the NW got 8-10 or more inches in less than three days - I think my sister said that they got 12" down in Mossyrock - could be why the river down there changed course! It was actually sunny for two days this past week - but it is raining again tonight

All summer long, I'd been noticing a "wet wood" smell in our little bathroom off the utility room - and the water heater was still running all the time - Well - I'd already spent over $2000 with a plumber last year trying to fix this problem, and it still continued, so, I was opting for the "I'll take a look at it, Honey" version that I got from John - but instead, he got the flu and then got busy with this, that and the other thing, and never got a "round tuit"- and you know, if you ignore a problem, won't it go away??? -
Well, a plumbing leak doesn't, and the end of last month, the bathroom floor started to sag...double darn - ignoring it DIDN'T make it go away after all... So, I finally got a line on someone who was supposed to be a "good guy" plumber - but I don't know - maybe it was because of all the rain - it took a WEEK and a whole lotta yellin on my part to finally get this guy to come out. I finally found out it is a "family" company and mom answers the phone for her sons - Well, "Mom" got a piece of my mind on Thursday night - I've never been treated so poorly by a service company - You can only exist on emergency service calls for so long - if they don't sharpen up their customer service soon, they're not going to have a business. Oh - and the plumbing leak? - A little crack in a little 90 degree hot water pipe under the house under the bathroom sink - $350 later, it's fixed - the jury is still out on the bathroom floor...

We were invited to a birthday party for our friend Johnny this evening - Johnny turned nine years old today and I'm just sad that I didn't take my camera for this party - This was the "family" party - His folks - Curtis & Felicity, , sister Anna (13), his Grandma Elizabeth from Kalamazoo, MI, and two other couples besides us - it was really festive with great decorations - paper chains, crepe paper & lots of helium balloons that Felicity, Elizabeth & Anna put up last night & there were party hats for the men and paper tieras for the ladies - and everyone was good humored about it and wore them - Anna had made place cards for everyone with little containers of LEGOS - which is one of Johnny's passions - you were supposed to try to make something with your LEGOS and there was a significant amount of trading going on as well - it was really fun - and a good way to keep the adults amused. Johnny picked the menu - I brought a salad (Reah's Three Step Salad - I'll put it at the end of this post - it is REALLY yummy!) - we had steak & prawns, broccoli, couscous, & this really wonderful Olive bread that Sue brought from Haggens. Of course there was one kick-ass birthday cake - chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling & whipped cream frosting - with NINE candles on it, of course. Great company and great food - and an honor to be included as family.

This is a picture of some the dozen or so pumpkins that John got out of his pumpkin patch this year. They are Amish Pie pumpkins - and I'll be spending the better part of next week "puttin up pumpkin" - I bake it in big pieces, let it cool so I can handle it to scrape the "pumpkin" into my big yellow tupperware bowl, let it cool some more and then pack it in two cup portions (just enough for one pie) in freezer bags, flattened out so they fit nicely in the deep freeze. I got 20 packages in the freezer today. Our church provides some of the pies for the Blaine Community food baskets - and we provide the pumpkin for those pies. I'll probably put up 50 or more pounds of pumpkin this year - 30 for church and 20 for us. (pumpkin pie is John's favorite) I've been working on getting a tasty recipe made with part Splenda/part sugar as part of John's campaign to get sugar out of his diet.

Well, that's what happens when you don't post for a week - you get a really LONNNNGGG post - and I still have Reah's Salad recipe to give you - (I can guarantee that if you take this to a potluck there won't be any left at the end of the dinner -it's delish.)

Reah's 3 Step Salad

1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 Tbsp. sugar
6 c. torn Romaine lettuce (I used the Fresh Express Romaine Salad - it has red cabbage & shredded carrots in it too - very pretty)
1 cup sliced celery
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
3 green onions, sliced

First Step is the Dressing:
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a jar so you can shake it up really well before you put it on the salad.
(BTW: if you don't normally keep dry mustard or garlic powder in your kitchen, look in the bulk foods section of your grocery store = you can generally purchase only a tablespoon or so for just a few cents rather than buying a whole can or jar of something that you'd not use in the future)

Second Step: I use a Teflon coated skillet for this part - Combine the sliced almonds and the sugar. Cook over medium heat stiring until the nuts are toasted and lightly coated with melted sugar. This takes 10 or 15 minutes - don't hurry it or your sugar will burn. Spread the coated nuts on foil to cool - break apart when cooled. (I actually doubled this part of the recipe so I'd have some extras for munching....)

Third Step: In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, celery, onions & oranges. top with the sugared almonds. Shake your dressing well again and pour over the salad - toss gently.

To take this to a party, combine your lettuce, onions & celery. Take the oranges, nuts & dressing separately & combine JUST BEFORE serving - otherwise, your lettuce will get limp an the sugar will melt off the nuts, and we wouldn't want that to happen.

Wish I had a picture of this salad - it is really pretty with the oranges & the crunchy chunks of nuts. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What Season are You?

Vicki at The Moveable Feast (see my favorites to the right) had this on her blog today - I thought it was cute, and I do like spring - new spring flowers, lambs, just the wonderful scent of the air...

You Belong in Spring

Optimistic, lively, and almost always happy with the world...
You can truly appreciate the blooming nature of spring.
Whether you're planting flowers or dyeing Easter eggs, spring is definitely your season!