Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Drive-By

Well, we had no trick or treaters again this year.  No real surprise there.  But Bebop was ready to greet them, just in case!


(Confession is good for the soul: He only wore his helmet to get some cookies.)

Hope you had a fun day!

Monday, October 24, 2016

New England Clam Chowder

It was cold and raining when we all got our flu shots, and Ryan campaigned vigorously for soup and sandwiches for dinner.  So, after a quick check of the pantry, I came up with this fast and easy version of New England Clam Chowder - the creamy kind.


1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, minced
1 tsp salt
3 small potatoes, shredded
2 small carrots, shredded
3 cans of whole or minced clams
8 cups water
2 tsp clam base
1/2 cup milk powder
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but good)
Freshly ground pepper to taste (I used 20 turns)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large pan; add the onion and salt and saute until soft.  Stir in the clam base, then add the potatoes, carrots and 6 cups of water.  Cook about 20 minutes, until the potatoes start to thicken the soup.  Mix the milk powder with the remaining 2 cups of water, and stir in with the 3 cans of clams (including the juice in which they're packed).  Cook another 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the basil, pepper, nutmeg and cream, heat through and serve.

This is what I put away after everyone had eaten his fill.  Ryan's been having it for lunch every day since, so you know this clam chowder really hit the spot on this cold and rainy weekend!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Autumn Colors

The colors here haven't been as vivid as usual, probably because it's been a dry summer.  Still, the hydrangea in front of my house is in fine form, as is the little maple tree behind it.

 And the remains of the street that once ran right through my living room also look really nice in the late afternoon sun.

And, because it's Thorsday, here's a picture of baby Maddie with her puppy, Penny.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Winnie The Pooh Day and Hot Chocolate

On October 14, 1926, A. A. Milne first published Winnie the Pooh.  And we have all been enriched by Pooh's simple delight in the world:

"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.  You have to go to them sometimes."

See? Lovely sentiment.

Wednesday afternoon, Mark came home from school with a sore throat.  By 7PM, he was headed to bed, having eaten scrambled eggs and toast for dinner, and he slept for 18 hours.  So, for the past 2 days, I've been making him hot chocolate to soothe his throat and put a few calories into him for energy.  And my Winnie the Pooh mug is exactly the right vessel for a large helping of...


1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp powdered milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
boiling water
2 tbsp whipping cream, or to taste

Mix the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and milk in a mug; stir in the boiling water to about 1" below the rim of the mug.  Whisk together quickly to break up any lumps, add more water to raise the level of the hot chocolate, stir in the vanilla extract and cream, then whisk quickly to bring up foam on top of the drink.  Enjoy.

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day, everyone!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thorsday: Book Guilt?

Last week, while Miss Baby and Miss Puppy were visiting, the Wall Street Journal. ran an article about book guilt: do you feel guilty about not reading classic books? Do you read them out of guilt?

Like most people, I read some classic books which were assigned in high school and college.  I've read many of the books assigned to my boys in high school - to be fair, some have been classics, and some have been a contemporary subject that the teacher wanted to highlight.The article talked to various ordinary people, and many people opined on the website; the consensus was that some poeple read classics because they "ought to," while others read, or re-read many years later, classics because they wanted to - Moby Dick was highlighted as an example.  Some opined that they don't have time to read everything, so they read what appeals to them.  One even suggested reading an abridged version of a behemoth like Moby Dick if you feel you "must."

The relative from Denver was here in August, and she brought me a copy of Go Set A Watchman which she had found for $2 at Goodwill.  Usually, I'm the one sending her books; I think she was delighted to bring me a book.

Having read it, I have to say that the original publisher was correct to reject this and accept To Kill a Mockingbird.  This was well written, but not as engaging.  I've seen reviews which said that Atticus Finch was racist in this book, but I disagree.  Nonetheless, it isn't nearly as  good a story as Mockingbird; the characters don't stay with you.  I do think this book was rather autobiographical for Harper Lee in that I believe she was very much like Jean Louise, or Scout, at that time.  Has anyone else read it?  What do you think?

This episode of Thorsday Book Review, or Book Guilt, is hosted by Miss Penny, who spent a lot of time winding herself around my chair and needing to be untangled,

and by her little friend, who was very happy sitting up in her nice, new walker (although she's not strong enough to really move it yet).

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to give you a gander at our visitors.

Sweet Baby Madeline is 6-1/2 months old now, and weighs an astonishing 19 pounds! She is such a cheerful baby, laughing at everyone and everything.  Here, she just finished a lovely meal of peaches and oatmeal.  (Those are her uncles' baby toys, laundered or put through the dishwasher, and just as much fun as ever!)

Penny is much smaller than I expected.  She's 4 months old, isn't anywhere near as heavy as her baby friend, and is a bundle of energy.  Mike said she's not well house trained, but, remembering Sue saying that she keeps one of her little spotty dogs on a leash near Rob all the time, I did the same.  Penny thinks she's my BFF now, and when she starts dancing, it's time to take a little walk.  I'm also working (not very successfully) at getting her to stop jumping on me.  Oh, she'll get down and sit when I say "Down!" and hold my hand palm down toward her, but then she thinks I should give her a mini treat, and jumps up for another when she's finished with that one.  It's a problem.

Penny plays with Ryan and Mark, she's adorable and loving, she loves the baby; what more could anyone ask of a puppy?

Someone is squeaking in her bouncy seat; it may be time for food or maybe her toys have just jumped onto the floor again.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!