Monday, December 31, 2007

The End of the Year

One last Christmas note: One of the boys found a box of dog cookies with Thor's picture on it, and just had to get them for Thor. Now, my giant dog prefers the little cookies, which are bite sized, but as you can see from this picture, he was very grateful to his "brother".

We got about 3" of snow between 9 last night and 3AM. The crabapple tree just outside my kitchen c
ertainly is pretty with the snow hanging on it!

For New Year's Eve, we always stay in with the kids. No drunk drivers can ram into us if we're safely in our house, and I'd much rather reflect on the year that was with my little world all around me.

My oldest son got a PhD in Economics and
went to work for one of the major financial firms.
My second son is still trying to figure out how to not flunk out of college (he has always been an underachiever).
My third son transferred colleges, so he could room with his oldest brother, and start trying to build houses (poor timing, maybe....)
My oldest daughter clinched her ability to graduate in May, after only 3 years, and applied to a number of law schools.
My fourth son made strides toward graduating from college in less than 4 years.
My second daughter graduated from High School and made splendid grades her first semester in college.
My third daughter is doing wonderfully in high school.
My little boys always make me laugh, and are learning astonishing amounts with Calvert School.
A cousin I haven't seen since 1977 called me this year. Wahoo! I have family! (In Utah.)
Business was reasonable. No major tragedies in life.
I hope everyone else can make equally happy statements.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Orange Almond Salad

Years ago, when we lived in Connecticut, one of our favorite restaurants was The Magic Pan. Located in the Westfarms Mall, it served crepes in just about any way you could dream of. I did, before we had kids, make crepes upon occasion, but for 11 poeple, that's way too much work for we mere mortals without a prep staff. One of my favorite things about that restaurant was their orange almond salad. Romaine lettuce with scallions, mandarin oranges and slivered almonds is a surprisingly satifsying combination. While it was originally served with a regular vinaigrette dressing, I've created a honey mustard vinaigrette which is a great accent:

1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
3/4 cup salad oil

Shake togethe
r in a jar. Keep refrigerated.

This photo shows the honey mustard vinaigrette, right, with my regular vinaigrette dressing. While I don't use their salad dressing mix, I've found that you can't beat the Good Seasons jars for storing homemade salad dressing.

I served this salad on Christmas, and again last night. Everything is so frantic leading up to Christmas, 4 days later it's my daughter's birthday, then, BOOM! Nothing left to do. I'm pleased to say that I bought virtually everything online for Christmas and birthdays this year. The exceptions were the wheel I gave Dan for his birthday, for which I went to a scrapyard and smiled pretty so they'd give me the best tire and put it in my trunk, and a trip the Saturday before Christmas to 3 stores. The first was to Radio Shack, which is only about 4 miles from my house. I walked in, the kid clerk was busy, so the 40-something manager asked if he could help me. I responded, "Only if you speak teenager." I then pointed at an ipod "docking station", and said, "That speaker thing. Does it work with the square music thing with no window?" He pulled one out of his pocket and said, "A shuffle. Of course, with this cord....." Now, I know my kids would tell me that one of the big stores would be cheaper, but this dude grabbed everything I needed, rang it up, and carried it to my car trunk. Then I went to Rite Aid and CVS, grabbed candy, silly little toys for the boys and cosmetics for the girls as stocking stuffers, and I was done. Next year, I just need to start a little earlier, so I'm not running quite so frantically on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th.

Hope everyone else had a great Christmas! Tomorrow, we all make the traditional New Years resolutions, so we have something to break in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gingerbread houses and Christmas Eve Shrimp

My little guys look forward to making a gingerbread creation this year. Sometimes it's a train, sometimes a house. I got Pampered Chef gingerbread molds from our attorney's paralegal's sister, whose children had outgrown the gingerbread phase. We use a gingerbread recipe which we first found in Calvert School's Kindergarten course. At this point, the roof, chimney and various creatures around the house are missing, but that is half the fun of gingerbread, isn't it? Anyway, these are the three gingerbread artists with their creation:Of course, many others had to get in on the fun of taking the picture
And then there was Christmas eve dinner. This is possibly one of my favorites of the entire year. I love shrimp, but won't pay the price for it most of the time. Until 3 years ago, I made Shrimp Scampi every single year since I was married, but that year my husband developed a walloping case of the hives within an hour; Benadryl reversed the swelling, but it was sorta ugly for a while there. The following year, I found the basis for this recipe. Originally, it called for arugula, but I can't say as I've ever seen it, so, as usual, Marjie changes the recipe. Anyway, here is......


5 lbs. shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound spinach, blanched
4 tomatoes
1 bunch scallions
1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp red pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 lbs. mini penne pasta
olive oil to coat

Cook shrimp under broiler for 4 minutes; turn and cook another 4 minutes. Turn again, add tomatoes, scallions, oregano and red pepper, and broil another 4 minutes. Stir around to make sure all shrimp are cooked, add the spinach, and return to the broiler for 2 to 3
minutes. Toss with the lemon juice, and (at least in theory) mix with the penne and serve. The reality is that I cannot toss the shrimp and penne together, because I'd need a serving dish with a 5 gallon capacity, which I don't have.

Originally, this recipe called for sun dried tomatoes, which I tried the first time I made this. However, I found that it was far too salty; the fresh tomatoes give a nice result. And, as I said, the recipe called for arugula, which I've not seen in my local supermarket.

And, to Paula, you were the lucky duck with snow in Oregon! Our foot plus of snow got rained on the day before Christmas Eve, and every bit of it melted in the 45 degree weather. After being overcast all day Christmas Eve, the sun peeked out at sunset, giving me this vista out my kitchen window as I baked until the balls of my feet hurt from standing:
A glorious minute in a hectic day, indeed.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Cookies

This morning, my girls decided to make Christmas cookies. Basically, this means I'm thrown out of the kitchen, with no estimate of a return time.

So far, they've made chocolate chip, butter crisp, coconut macaroon, peanut butter and sugar cookies.

Normally, their brothers are coordinating attacks from all sides; however, not all of them are awake yet. Those Risk games going on until sunrise will do that to a guy. Dan, however, is up, and evidently warming up for the brother attacks, by shooting
the girls with rubber bands.

They've made a lot of cookies so far, and the sugar cookies aren't even into the oven yet!

Tomorrow they make the gingerbread house and/or train with the little boys. That, too, will be a lot of fun!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Train

In 1990, I bought two things to make the kids feel like our house was more festive: Christmas dishes (which were on clearance at $5 for service for 4 - I bought 3 sets) and a Christmas Train set. Over the years, I've collected a lot of buildings, people and things. The boys really like setting it up each year. They did so today, to while away the time while some of the older kids were out finishing (or in one case, starting) their Christmas shopping. This is their result:

I don't know if you can see it, but I happened upon a Santa and Reindeer last year, and it's on the roof of the brown house in the foreground of the picture. It made me laugh that my little guy did that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Snow...

This is what "partly cloudy and 36 degrees" looked like in my yard this afternoon.

Since Kellie had driven to school, her brothers became concerned when she was 25 minutes late. So they took my Suburban on a search and rescue mission. They found her; one of them drove her car home. The son piloting the Suburban said, "Man, Mom, your truck is a BEAST! That's so awesome!" I'm thrilled that her brothers were concerned enough for her safety and mental well being that they went to rescue her. The weather forecasters are saying that we only have a 50-50 shot of having a white Christmas. As for me, I think I'll keep my boots handy.

Chicken Stuffed with Potatoes

It's never a good thing when I change my food schedule one day into it. I can become very confused. However, I realized that on Friday, when I had planned to make this dish, my eldest son will be home, and he detests potatoes. So, a reversal of Tuesday's and Friday's menus seemed to be the order of the day.

From Jeff Smith of the Frugal Gourmet comes the idea, if not exactly the recipe, for Chicken stuffed with potatoes. Having no olives or anchovies, I changed the recipe to suit the ingredients I did have on hand. It was great; poor Thor got virtually no scraps.


1 Oven Stuffer Roaster
4 to 6 Redskin Potatoes, cut into pieces
Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. chili powder

Clean out chicken and salt inside and out to taste.

Put the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add onions, garlic, rosemary, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour olive oil over them and mix together to coat the potatoes. Stuff potatoes in the chicken, and lay the remainder in the bottom of the pan. Tent with foil and roast at 350 for the time needed to roast a chicken of whatever size you're using when stuffed. When cooked, remove the potatoes from the chicken and stir back into the pan. Pour off most of the pan drippings for gravy, and put the potatoes back in the oven at 400 to 10 to 15 minutes to brown them, and to fully cook the potatoes which were in the chicken. I doubled this recipe, and used two 7 pound chickens with 5 pounds of potatoes (some of which were cooked in a separate roasting dish).

Jeff Smith called for chopped anchovies and stuffed olives to be mixed with the potatoes, and did not call for the chili powder and onions. I had neither, so made the changes I did.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Franksbrod and Babylonian Bread


Babylonian Bread was a recipe from Calvert School's 4th grade course, which my boys love for peanut butter and jam sandwiches; it makes great cinnamon toast or french toast, too! Here's the recipe:

3/4 cup water
3 tsp yeast
2 tbsp butter
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt

Put the ingredients in the bread machine, and let it go through the first knead. Let it rise 10 minutes, then take it out and put into a greased & floured loaf pan. Let rise until doubled in size, the bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Great with beef.


This recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine Bible. Franksbrod is a Scandinavian version of French bread; it contains an egg. This recipe makes 2 large or 3 medium loaves:

1-3/8 cups warm water
6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

Mix the ingredients together; let rise for 10 to 15 minutes, then form into classic french bread loaves. Let rise on the baking sheet, then bake 16 to 19 minutes at 375.

Christmas Morning Brunch

Everyone does a lot of baking during the holiday season. Christmas Eve finds me baking up a storm; my goal is to have enough semi-sweet and sweet foods to keep everyone in a sugar coma for at least 3 days so I can sleep through much of the 26th. This is a photo of last year's table, taken just before I staggered off to bed on Christmas Eve:

So, here's the plan for our Christmas morning:

Cranberry Bread (minimum 4 loaves)
Banana bread (2 loaves)
Blonde Brownies
Chocolate Bundt Cake (buttercream frosting)
Yellow Bundt Cake (buttercream frosting)
Bananas, apples and oranges
Punch - 2 punchbowls full, probably refilled at least once
Hot Chocolate
Gingerbread house or train (made by the girls and the little boys Christmas Eve)

My punch is outstanding, and the kids aren't even aware that it's good for them. Try it:

12 ounce can orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 bottle cranberry juice cocktail (cold)
2 liter bottle diet ginger ale (cold)
1 pound frozen strawberries, sliced or whole, without sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped hard with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add ingredients to the punch bowl in the order above. Float spoonsful of whipped cream on top of the bowl. I prefer whole strawberries, which act like ice cubes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Planning

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house, hungry creatures were stirring, but definitely not a mouse!

So this is how Marjie plans to feed them:

Tuesday Dec. 18:
Chicken in a bag
Mashed sweet potatoes
Green Beans Almondine
Patrick's birthday cake

Wednesday, Dec. 19:
Eye Round Roast
Rock Potatoes
Mushrooms sauteed in butter
Steamed broccoli
Cut corn
Orange Mousse

Thursday, Dec. 20:
Chicken Piccata
Boiled Potatoes with parsley
and butter
Steamed broccoli
Portuguese White Bread
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Friday, Dec. 21:
Roast Chickens stuffed with potatoes
Minted peas
Whole cranberry sauce
chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

Saturday, Dec. 22
Eye round roast
Pasta carbonara
Babylonian bread
cranberry muffins

Sunday, Dec. 23
Turkey Breast
White Rice
French Bread

Mint Frosted yellow cake

Christmas Eve
Shrimp with spinach and penne

Christmas Day
Standing Rib Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Dec. 26:
Coquilles St. Jacques

Christmas morning brunch will be described tomorrow or the next day. It requires lots of baking beforehand, but saves work for the next couple of days thereafter.

A cou
ple of years ago (in 2002), the girls and I made a tree skirt. We started the project on Superbowl Sunday, which gave us the whole year to work on it. We each embroidered a quarter of the skirt, then I stitched them together, interfaced it, put a ruffle around it, and voila! A future heirloom for my girls to squabble over. My quarter, which has the giant tree on it, started out as an embroidered picture of our house. We were showing my mother in law the quarters, which the girls had just finished, at Thanksgiving of that year, and she stated in no uncertain terms that mine should never be relegated to under the tree. Hubby seconded her, and I started another quarter. The house picture is now in a frame in the parlor; my oldest son says that's his some day.

"Beans Beef"

I don't know what this is actually supposed to be called; my kids named it "Beans Beef". It is based on a real recipe from a real cookbook somewhere back in my dim memories, maybe 10 to 15 years ago. It's easy to cook, and works well with rice or pasta. This is my "small family recipe"; I cook almost double this when all 4 of my big boys are home.


3 pounds steak, cut into strips
1 minced onion
olive oil
garlic powder
1 pound green beans
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup red wine
1 beef bouillion cube

Partially cook the green beans - I do mine in the microwave for about 4 minutes, while the meat begins to cook. Heat the pan, then put in the olive oil, diced onion and meat; season with garlic powder and oregano. Cook under the broiler for 2 minutes, turn and cook another 2 minutes. Dissolve the bouillion cube in the water. Whisk the flour with the wine, mix with the beef bouillion mixture, and pour evenly over the beef in the pan. Add the beans, tomato and mushrooms, stir well, and put back under the broiler for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked. Serve with rice or pasta - my photo shows it with penne pasta. This is easy, fast and good.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thor's Shopping Trip

We went to the Christmas tree farm last night. The girls protested getting into the Suburban, whining about following along in their car, until I said that unless everyone got into the truck with each other and the dog, I wasn't going. The big brothers offered to carry them to the truck.

Fortunately, a 1990 Suburban is a big, big, big truck. Since I'm not all that tall, I drive it with the seat all the way forward, which leaves Thor sitting on the
floor behind me, with his head peering over the center console so he can see where we're going (does he think he'll help me find the way, I wonder?). The migrant farm workers hide from Thor, and little kids come to see him. Even Santa managed to not shrink in fear from Thor, but Jeff was doing a great job handling him. (I think in his picture with Santa, Thor had spotted some potential food on the ground in front of him.) Yes, Thor wears a pony harness. We can't get a collar big enough for a 275 pound dog, but we have a really stout leather lead. When Jeff got annoyed at Thor trying to go mark the trees as his own, he simply reached down and grabbed the harness between Thor's shoulders, and that settled everyone down.

When we were leaving, I hear
d an exuberant voice bellow, "I think that's Marjie's truck!" I looked out the window to see Dave, a UPS driver, waving. When he found out that Thor was in the Suburban, he brought his 6 and 8 year old kids to meet Thor. Thor recognized Dave, and tried to stick his nose in Dave's coat pocket, where he carries dog treats when he's driving his route. A good time was had by all on Thor's annual shopping trip.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The end of the snow

And everyone had a glorious snow day, including Thor! We got about 8", as you can see from the snow up to his elbows.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Between photos of snow, I thought I'd sneak in last night's dessert. I had some leftover canned pineapple, and thought I'd make a somewhat different cake. My youngest loves pineapple, so I made this for him (and he didn't like the pineapple topping - go figure). I used the chopper blade for my food processor to mince up the pineapple. This is what was left after my hubby went back for seconds. It's now gone; he declared it a fine breakfast.


Topping (Bottom)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pineapple

1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Generously grease the bottom and sides of a springform pan with the flat disk installed. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom, then spread the pineapple over that. Note that you can insert maraschino cherry halves before the pineapple, but I can't bring myself to serve or eat food that is quite that bright red; it would, however, make a much prettier picture than mine.

For the cake, mix all ingredients together i a mixing bowl; beat for 2 minutes, then pour on top of the pineapple. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes at 350, or until cake tests done. This takes much longer than most cakes of this size, probably because the pineapple slows the cooking time.

As a shortcut, you can use about half of a yellow cake mix instead of my recipe. Use 1-1/2 cups cake mix, 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup water, beat 2 minutes and proceed as above. Serve with whipped cream.

Let It Snow

It started snowing about 4 hours ago. It's very pretty coming down: see for yourself!I wouldn't step outside to take this picture, so, yes, it's lopsided.

School was cancelled for my high school daughter, so, of course, the little boys had to have a snow day too. I believe hot chocolate and board games are the order of the day. Thor is thrilled to have all of his friends home. The snow is supposed to last until about 7 tonight; I hope my daughter doesn't get stranded in Philly after her flight from Denver today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Almost "Arroz Con Pollo"

I found a nice sounding recipe for Arroz Con Pollo in one of Pierre Franey's cookbooks last night, and decided to make it. There were only 2 "minor" problems: (1) I can't eat peppers. They make me sick, and (2) I can't cook everything in one pot. My mother thought casseroles were the greatest invention in the world, and I'm a strict food segregationalist. That being said, I'll give you my spin on this great dinner, and then tell you what Mr. Franey really said to do.

(With thanks to P. Franey)

3 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into 1" thick pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch chopped scallions
2 tomatoes, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp. cornstarch

Place the chicken in the bottom of the broiler pan; coat with olive oil and the spices. Broil on each side for 4 minutes. Turn oven heat to 400. Add to the pan the scallions, tomatoes and mushrooms. Whisk together chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and cornstarch, and pour over the chicken mixture. Bake about 15 minutes. Top with freshly cut parsley and serve with white rice.

Mr. Franey says to brown the chicken in a pan with minced garlic (no spices except salt & pepper), stir in 2 cups rice, tomatoes, 2 cups green, red, or mixed colors sweet peppers, and onions (no scallions or mushrooms), add the liquids (no cornstarch), and cook until the rice is done. It's undoubtedly great (all of his recipes are, which is why he sells cookbooks, and I just read them). But like I said, I can't eat peppers, and I'm not in favor of one pot cooking. All of that notwithstanding, howev
er, my dearly beloved said this was a splendid dish.

Of course, with a nice, colorful dinner, my camera would choose last night to malfunction. Last week, Pam wrote about her Christmas cactus getting ready to bloom. Mine has always been stupid. In 4 years, it bloomed in March & May of this year, and in March of 2006. So I went to lecture it about how pretty Pam's were getting to be for the holidays, and, Lo! It has rewarded me with 9, count 'em, 9 buds! I am excited! So, instead of a pretty chicken dinner, here's a formerly stupid Christmas Cactus!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Decorations 2

Kellie had an unexpected "ice day" yesterday, so she and the boys hung our wreaths and bows outdoors. This is the 3 little boys waiting to go out with the wreaths:

Taken through the window, the pictures of them hanging the wreaths o
n the gate were cloudy, but I wasn't tromping outside in rain/sleet with the camera The computer program brightened it up a bit too much, but it made the kids visible. And at least they feel as though they've begun decorating for Christmas!

Now I have to steel myself for gong OUT to finish my shopping. Not being one for crowds, I'm a huge fan of ordering things. Every year I'm able to find a little more stuff without ever leaving the house; my kids are certain I'm becoming a recluse. If it works.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

A little bit different...

I'm not a big fan of charity. I think many charities spend too much on overhead. I'm a big fan of putting money in the Salvation Army's kettles, and giving them the clothing the kids have outgrown, to immediately help people near me. I did see two things recently, however, that I'm going to do.

The first is a "microloan" organization called Kiva. They allow you to make small loans, in $25 increments, to people around the world trying to improve their businesses. For example, one lady in Central America wants to improve her seamstress business with a $350 loan. This seems to me to be a very worthwhile organization, and we plan to put a few hundred dollars into this after Christmas.

There is another group called Heifer International. They were started after WWII, and they give livestock and/or seeds to people here and abroad. The animals are given to a person in need, who then agrees to pass one or more of its offspring to another family in need. This organization gives out everything from beehives to cows or oxen. I'd like to give them an ark next year, after we finally finish the business transaction that's now been dragging on for 6 months and will "supposedly" be finished by March (argh - lawyers...).

Hooray for anyone else who can help. And I promise I'll not be on my soapbox again about this subject.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Beef Stew & Biscuits

On a cold, grey afternoon, what's warmer than homemade soup or stew and bread? Friday night, I wanted the warm aroma of beef stew throughout my kitchen. Since only half of the family is home, I only made a half sized batch of stew. By next Saturday, I'll have all but one back (hooray!), and the oldest son comes home for a week on the 21st! My house will be full and joyous!

(small batch)

2 lbs. steak, cut into small cubes

1 large onion, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp oil

Brown steak & onion in oil.

12 cups water
2 tbsp. tomato paste.
salt to taste
2 large or 4 small potatoes, with skin, grated

Stir the tomato paste into the beef. Add water & potato; bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours or so. The potatoes will by and large dissolve, thickening the broth

1 large sweet potato, cut into bites
2 carrots, sliced
4 ribs celery, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup barley

Stir these in; cook for another 30 to 60 minutes, or u
ntil tender. Add 1/2 cup spinach (fresh or frozen) and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Simmer another 10 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve with bread.


4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Blend all ingredients. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 425. Makes about 30.

On another note, my oldest daughter called from Wyoming last week. She has a 1990 Benz, with which I personally have a love-hate relationship. It rides worse than my Suburban, and the climate control is tempermental at BEST, but someone did ram her when she was 16 and she walked away unscathed. When she was 18, she called me in a panic because her car's gauges had gone haywire 4 miles from our house, then it died in the middle of the street. Before I could get there with 2 of her brothers to push the car out of the street, a nice man had parked his pickup truck on the yellow line, effectively blocking both lanes, and pushed her car into a parking lot. I told her it was the alternator, and we waited for AAA to haul it away. Well, about 2 weeks ago, the same thing happened, so she went to Advanced Auto and bought an alternator. With help from the Chilton's book I had purchased for her (so she could check oil and fuses), and with her roommates jacking up her car, disconnecting the battery and removing the giant serpentine belt for her, SHE CHANGED HER OWN ALTERNATOR!!!! Now that's a great girl for you!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Decorations

Every year since 1980, I've bought myself a dated Christmas ornament. For the last 10 or more years, I've been buying the Wallace Sleigh Bell dated ornaments. They really do ring, and they do a great job of reflecting the lights. So, I was really excited today when the guy in brown slogged to my door through the inch of snow that's been collecting here for the past week. I'm sure that he's relieved that he didn't have to haul in a stack of boxes, as he did Wednesday in the snow.

Note that last weekend, a friend who lives 50 miles north got 5" of snow, and his son 50 miles north of that got a foot of snow, when we got 1/2". Wednesday, an "Alberta Clipper" passed south of us, dropping another inch; my daughter called from West Virginia in a towering fury because it was snowing big-time, and she thought she had gone south for college!

Christmas tree adoption this weekend, and maybe Christmas train setup, too (depending upon how tired the tree hunt makes me). Thor will probably have to go to the tree farm, too, which will make the hunt ever so much more "fun".

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chicken Parmesiana

While looking at the news on TV last night, I noticed a commercial for some restaurant which was having a special on some red sauce covered food or other. Since I was cooking chicken, this, naturally, led me to conclude that Chicken Parmesiana would be a nice, warm dinner in the 18 degree weather. The only problem is that I really don't like red sauce. So, I put 1/2 onion in my food processor with about a teaspoon of water to liquify it, poured it over the chicken, sprinkled garlic powder, sea salt & pepper over it, and baked it. About 10 minutes before the chicken was done, I poured 2 pureed tomatoes over it, sprinkled it with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and a nice substitute appeared. I served this with mini penne coated with butter, with another pureed tomato and nice chopped fresh parsley stirred in. My little guy protested that the green stuff was like uncooked spinach, and he was not pleased, but the poor dog got almost no scrap nonetheless. Not to worry, I made him a peanut butter sandwich, and he was pretty sure that he got what we had had.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"You Can't Put Gravy on Pie"

Last night, when I served turkey breast with gravy, my husband commented that sometimes I make great sauces for my food. I told him that this happened to be gravy, to which he responded "Gravy, Sauce. Same difference."

So, I said, no, they aren't the same; could anyone tell me what the difference was? The kids thought about it for a bit, then Ryan responded, "You can't put gravy on pie."

Since I don't have pictures of gravy or pie, here are
pictures of the two newest members of the household. This is Rusty:

And this is Cinnamon.

(Paula, these are for your kids.)