Friday, February 26, 2010

Rainy Day Project

I meant one of those financial rainy day projects. We have a medical expense coming up on March 1st and we have not met the deductible. The medical center wants 1200 cash up front or no deal.

So, there is Uncle Sammy's refund as well as a smallish certificate of deposit and Grandma Horn's 4 gallon butter churn. She told me once that it always felt like she was marking time when she churned butter.

For over ten years we have been tossing changing into the butter churn. I estimate that it was about 1/4 full and very heavy, I could barely tip the churn up enough to tip the coins into a large rubber dish drainer.

After a couple of tedious days of intermittent sorting I came up with:

12.95 in pennies
28.95 in nickles
63.20 in dimes
182.50 in quarters

one paper dollar bill
one fifty cent piece
one Canadian dollar (A loony)
one dollar coin.
One Barrow transportation bus token (No idea how THAT got in there)

Just out of curiosity I decided to weigh this collection of coinage. Anyone wanna guess how much approximately 300 dollars of coins weighed?

I will post the answer if anyone is curious.

Now, my only problem is transporting this to the local bank and pleading to accept my coin count and deposit it in the checking account.

I read a SciFi story years ago about a town that was cut off from the rest of the world due to some horrific reason and the town had to figure out how to survive in a reduced civil fashion. One couple started a bank, their paper money was based on the coins they had in their household. The book explained how their coins were as good as Fort Knox gold. I never studied Economics in school, my idea of balanced finance it to round it up to the next whole dollar before subtracting in my check book,builds up a nice little nest egg after while.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I was hungry......

I watched a show on Food Network called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". The topic was pizza. One lady related that her favorite pizza was made with a thin layer of potatoes. And fired in a genuine brick oven at temps far higher than that attainable in the average home range.

So I googled a recipe. One called for home made pizza dough made in two steps, two risings. One called for the potatoes to be sliced and steamed over boiling water, another said to rinse the slice potatoes five times to get rid of the starch. Oh and use either Yukon Gold or Small new potatoes. And cheese, Feta, Mozzarella. Spices; garlic,Rosemary. Rosemary always smells like I am eating a tree. One recipe called for capers. I opted to do without Rosemary or capers and went with sour cream and shredded five cheese in a bag that just happened to aging nicely in the fridge.

The pizza dough came out of one of those pop open tubes and I jumped when it popped open and unrolled it and cut it in half and molded each piece into a glass pie plate. I then drizzled a little olive oil on the crust, some sour cream, a sprinkle of 5 cheeses and topped with thin slices of well rinsed potatoes. Salt, pepper, bake at 425 until crust is dark brown.

Okay, the recipe DID call for oiling the pizza pan, or in this case the pie plate.
I will do that next time, it was a bit of a tussle to get the pizza out of the pie plate and onto a regular plate. My ulu sliced them nicely. They were chewy but delicious. Just big enough for one pie each. Four greasy thumbs up!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BANOFFEE PIE of all things.....

While watching the Olympics, I checked out the Food Channel and Paula Deen was on raving about the pub food she and her husband ate while visiting in England.

Banoffee pie? It looked good. The image actually haunted me for a couple of days. Today after work I stopped in at McKay's and purchased a box of graham crackers and two cans of 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk.

Her recipe called for 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs. And 10 tbsp of softened butter. Well, the graham cracker box recipe called for 9 crackers equal to 1 and 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs.

So I dragged out Mom's food processor, assembled the parts, plugged it in and nuthin'. I tried every switch and position I could think of, I disassembled the food processor and gave brief thought to trying to find a small appliance repair service.

I got out a gallon zip lock bag and gently crushed the graham crackers with my genuine Myrtle wood rolling pin. Crushes nicely.
I then briefly warmed the 8 tbsp (1 cube) of butter for 30 seconds in the microwave and mashed it together with the crumbs and mixed them all together into a pie crust, preset the oven for 350 and cooked the pie crust for 8 minutes after having waited 15 minutes for the oven to warm up.

When the pie crust has cooked, lower the oven to 300 degrees. To create the toffee filling, the sweetened condensed milk must be caramelized (Once you have wrestled the stuff OUT of the cans with a very cranky can opener). Pour the condensed milk into a 9 x 12 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a foil and place the dish inside a larger poaching pan (ban Marie)I used a standard glass pie plate. Add water to a poaching pan until half way up sides of baking dish. I used the roaster, it has a flat bottom and I put hot water halfway up the side of the pie plate. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. What LIE, I baked and baked and baked the thing for nearly four hours. I finally turned off the oven at 10 pm. The milk was not as dark as Paula's but it tasted wonderful, nice and caramelized.

The recipe calls for THREE large bananas. Jeez! One large banana is quite enough, I'm not building Mount Everest here. Slice one banana onto about half of the caramelize milk.

Pour or spoon the rest of the pudding mixture over the bananas.

The recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 cups whipping cream 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. I went straight for the genuine whipped cream in a can and sprayed the rosette looking things and oh, ain't it purty?

One final comment, I am pretty sure the caramelized condensed milk idea came from Mexico as there are a lot of canned milk recipes from there. However it wound up in a pub in England, it is a delicious thing. I need to figure out how to make it in less than six hours for crying out loud.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


My beading friend and Friday lunch buddy, brought back the urn I had purchased. I had asked her to design a "necklace" for it, something in red beads. She showed me some components and I nodded in agreement. She told me yesterday that when she began working on it that she was not happy with the original stuff so put together a surprise. Nice!

Drooping style.

Mid length style.

Choker style.

I still want to design something made entirely of small glittery ruby red beads that simply fall down the body of the piece like a nearly solid curtain in various lengths, perhaps a scalloped hem design or free style. Still looking for appropriate beads. Husband likes this urn better than the grape leaf canister. Whattya think guys?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy ValenPresiBlossom Day.

Calender has been a bit crowded lately, so Happy February 17, 2010 !!!

In celebration and needing an excuse, husband had made late afternoon appointment in Coos Bay. Did I wanna go to Bennetti's after?" "Yeah, you drive". The sky was bright blue and clear, very little wind, 62 degrees. Perfect!

Left work at noon, all light hearted and junk. Sat happily in parking lot at NBMC and read my book.

We still had an hour to blow so drove to the car wash near Bennetti's, popped in five bucks and got the buggy scrubbed. I'm sure the tough little spiders who live in the mirror and make me brand new spiders webs were not washed away down the drain. Must not be related to Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Then pulled out,made a left and parked right in front of a local antiques and auction house. We were looking for a small shelf. So schlepped through the place and went up stairs where all the cheap...ah inexpensive goods are kept. Actually found a shelf and paid six bucks for it. Their house dog, Bentley, is a nice golden retriever announced our presence and deigned to let us pat his head.

Departed for Bennetti's, made left, made left, made left, parked, walked to Bennetti's, signed list, we were first and got a table near the fish tank, upstairs windows were already taken. The fish swam over, gazed at us soulfully and drifted away. I had the special, Halibut. Husband had the chicken picatta and decided he does not particularly care for capers. We had dessert. His was chocolate thunder, which consisted of a very nice checkerboard cake thing with like 15 different kinds of chocolate. I had Tiramisu, very nice little Lady Finger cake thing filled with sweet Italian cream in the center. Service was excellent.

We departed Coos Bay about 6:30 pm, drove home in near perfect twilight. The constellation of Orion hung right over head. Like I said, nice and clear. We don't often get a view of the stars, all that fog y'know. Must drive local astronomers nuts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I wish Blogger had smell-o-vision!!!

I decided it was time to go into casserole mode, make something for a weeks worth of meals, if it lasts that long.

Roamed through the fridge and found 3/4 of a white onion, a bag of shredded cheeses (4 different kinds), chopped garlic, 3/4 stick of butter. From the pantry (various shelves) I found a can of large black olives, a can of golden Hominy, one bag of dried bread cubes suitable for dressing, container of almonds, from the freezer one largish brick of frozen turkey stock with lots of turkey and from the spice shelf, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, whole nutmeg and celery seeds.

Chopped the onions and partially caramelized in butter, added the frozen turkey stock, salt, pepper and above mentioned spices.

Into my largest Tupperware bowl went the croutons, two eggs, one cup of shredded cheese, couple tablespoons of chopped garlic, can of halved black olives, can of hominy. Dipped a couple cups of hot stock to moisten the dry ingredients, when the eggs had tempered added the rest of the stock. Hmm, this looked very moist, soupy. What the heck else do I have in the cupboard, wait a minute, I spy some saltine crackers, so I crumbled up about two stacks of crackers. That absorbed the extra moisture nicely. Poured into the usual casserole dish and baked at 350 degrees for one hour. Cooked up nice and solidly. Husband sampled and approved. The brown looking things are the almonds. This is not a beautiful but it isn't bad for free styling from the kitchen. Must work on presentation. Iron Chef judges would not give me five points for this.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alex McQueen died today in London.

He designed the lobster claw shoes shown above. See what you miss on Project Runway when they limit the accessories to ?

I'm sure the models who have worn these shoes are now very accomplished acrobats.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New bridge crossing the Colorado at Hoover Dam

You really should click on the picture for a close up of the dizzying details. Gale sent this to me very recently.

This is the new bridge costing 160 millions dollars to build. The only way across on 93 was to follow all the semi's over the top of the Dam. Good Lord it was a long lookee see down.

The very last time I was across the dam in person was while I was working at WKMH in Emmett about 1987? or so. MaryAnn Hosier had just heard from her son that his girlfriend was involved in a car wreck in Nevada and was in Phoenix and would Mom go get her? I volunteered to help drive. We did the round trip in 48 hours.

That was trip that I FINALLY got to see the Grand Canyon. The river looks green from the rim. It was so early in the morning, there were no Park Rangers to take our money at the gate so we just keep booking.

Drove to Phoenix, picked up the girl friend, Drove to Las Vegas by way of the Hoover dam. It was pitch black darkness, there was thunder, lightning, rain, lots of rain. We tippy toed across the bridge and were almost immediately blinded by the light from Vegas even though we were several miles from there as of yet.

Got into town, found a room, it was a party room because there were two queen sized beds and a very large refrigerator. The girls asked me if I want to go to the restaurant and get a meal. No! I want to collapse on the bed!

Next morning we stopped briefly at a casino for one of those inexpensive meals and I decided to play a slot machine but was soon persuaded to leave because the cockroach crawling all over it wanted to play. No problem.

We left Vegas drove north to near where the car wreck was. We actually got out and helped the girl pick through some of the wreckage and she found her drivers licence and other helpful items. Then we headed home.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


You too can submit an entry to the Bulwer-Lytton contest to the address below:

The deadline is April 15, 2010.
Submit your entry on a postcard, address on address side, entry on writing surface side.

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
Department of English
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0090

Deadline 4-15-10

One sentence. Category general. Keep it under 50 to 60 words, stay away from puns.

This is my submission only I am not going to actually submit it to San Jose as the website did not actually give an email address....soooooo......

The chef hunched over his bowl inhaling the smell of saccharomyces cerevisiae and was immediately reminded of his childhood breakfast which consisted occasionally of three sour dough pancakes discarding the first test pancake if the pan was not hot enough because the little sprinkle of water just sort of sat there and did not dance into exuberant steam immediately and topped with syrup not the fake maple syrup but the real genuine maple syrup the kind that comes in a glass bottle shaped like a maple leaf and can be used to hold wild flowers once it has been emptied and rinsed or as a candle holder.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I received these pictures by email today, Monica sent them to me. They are of her and her husbands house NEAR WASHINGTON DC that received 3 foot of snow. They are at home still digging out,so far the power is still on.

She also said she dreamt of Barrow......

I am thankful I live on the West coast where we only have to worry about rain, tsunami, and blackberry bushes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Relaxing Friday

This morning I made sour dough pancakes after firing up the starter last night. Yummy, four lovely pancakes. Must go shopping, need more eggs. I decided to leave the starter sit out 24 hours without a lid in hopes of some wild Coquille yeast landing on the starter and adding some local flavor. I'm sure there is Latin taxonomy for Coquille yeast. Must Google that.

Sue and I went out to lunch at Frazier's then walked to the Downtown Emporium where I purchased a new to me angel. It is on a long metal stick so that you may poke it in the ground. This angel is a sort of Red, White and Blue angel, very patriotic although you may have to imagine the Red part unless it is the rusted bits. During lunch I bitched about the 60% of our department who went missing for a total of 6 1/2 days this week!!! Tuesday was brutal! Then we walked to The Oddity Shop to peruse their used books. Most of them for two dollars each, Score!

And now for the puzzle portion of this blog. I finally got around to actually opening my Secret Santa present from work. It was three very large glass candle sticks or exotic drinking glasses like the kind that come loaded with ice, rum, Mai Tai mix, fresh fruit,a paper umbrella and straws for everyone. So I decided to put them on the mantle. The question is just how many candles and/or candle sticks ARE sitting on that mantle? I ax you...

And as I sit here I am listening to very loud borborygmus from my tummy. Do sour dough pancakes keep on working once inside? Ew