family · Meats · Pickles · Solutions

Taking out frustrations

Cheese mutilationMy mother bought me a book when I was a teenager.  It was her way of talking to me directly about an uncomfortable subject.  She had taught me that in polite conversation, you don’t talk about politics, religion or sex.

The book was not about religion or politics. Continue reading “Taking out frustrations”

books · Easy · I didn't know I could do that · Practical · Solutions

Things to save

  • My mother taught me there are 3 stages of material possession:

    Recipe system accessible on virtually all devices
    Pepperplate app on Windows 8 start screen
  1. You can never have enough
    Acquire everything.  This feeds our desire to demonstrate our success and make our life comfortable.
  2. Enough is enough
    When there really isn’t a need for one more Tupperware® container in the cupboard or one more towel in the closet.
  3. Enough is too much
    The realization that more time is spent dusting and sorting possessions than spent enjoying life.  This period is marked by giving away treasured possessions to those who will appreciate them and donating a good deal of excess. Continue reading “Things to save”
Alcohol · Beverages · Challenges · Vegetables

Just when you think you’ve got it figured out

burdock rootWe have started getting a farm box.  The boxes come from a farm a small amount of distance from us, who utilize the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) method of providing good food to those interested.  Once a week a “share” of the farm is brought to our drop off point, none of which was selected by me, and let me tell you that has been a fun eye opener!

At the grocery store, I have my tried and true “normal” vegetables and other than the jicama which my grandmother taught me to love, it’s a pretty bland mix.  Enter the mystery box of vegetable goodies.  On at least 2 occasions I have had to call my sister, who has been receiving farm boxes for a couple of years, to describe to her what it was I might be trying to ingest.

“Lynn,” I would ask, “I’m just working on an Asian soup and I started peeling the ginger from the farm box, only it doesn’t smell very gingery.  As a matter of fact, I’m not sure it is ginger.  Any thoughts?” Continue reading “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out”

Meats · positive directions

The cruel side of organic

cowI went to Costco (motto: When 2 gallons isn’t enough) the other day. I hadn’t been in a while so the experience was sort of like watching broadcast television after eschewing it for a decade. I suppose it’s also like seeing a growing child occasionally, rather than constantly, “When did my nephew get so tall?”

But back to Costco. Apparently bowing to the whims of the day, yellow markers pointed out what was ORGANIC, in case shoppers couldn’t read the regular cards without highlighting. Everywhere I went, yellow highlighting to help you select the best possible ORGANIC choices. It made me laugh to think that shoppers needed that much help being totally politically and theoretically nutritionally correct. Continue reading “The cruel side of organic”


Blue, blue, my cheese is blue

freshly made blue cheese during the first drying periodI’ve been making cheddar cheese for almost a year.  We have a happy little corner of the store room which I call the “cheese cave,” and it’s filled with happy little red wax packages.

Yesterday I decided to attempt another of our favorites – blue cheese.  It was a reasonably quick “cook,” if you can call 90º “cooking,” and then an interesting “gravity only press” in the mold.  Now for the fun part. Continue reading “Blue, blue, my cheese is blue”

Practical · Solutions

Fix your dishwasher for under $20

Harbor cleanupAs I write this, we’ve just finished the Sochi Winter Olympics (2014).  The lead up to the event was one of concern about possible Chechnyan terrorists.  As the journalists and athletes arrived, the focus shifted to unfinished hotel rooms, water which should not be ingested or even used externally, and dangerous course conditions.  The magnitude of those problems even prompted late night host Jimmy Kimmel to put out a hoax about athletes sighting a wolf in their housing.  By the time the flame was extinguished, those concerns faded, the athletes were celebrated and everyone went home happy, with of course the mandatory possibility of corruption in the ice skating judging. Continue reading “Fix your dishwasher for under $20”


Poison pills

Penny CarrotsFollowing my morning routine of clearing everything off my electronic plate before taking on the rest of the day, I was cruising through Facebook, when I came across this ditty about surviving Whole Foods.  It made me laugh because like all good humor, it contained nuggets of truth.  My favorite was the smarmy clerk who indicated the “poison” was tucked far away; they were diligent in protecting a populace who might otherwise find themselves croaking in the WF parking lot. Continue reading “Poison pills”

Baking · Bread

Local Crisis

A layer of kefir milk with the "grains" on topMy former mother-in-law (FMIL) worked, many years ago, for a company which makes plastic bags. You know, the kind you find at your local supermarket when you are buying produce. They come in rolls, mounted in dispensers above the glistening array of fruits and vegetables you want to take home, but don’t want to have moisten your check stand impulse copy of Beautiful Bodies and How You Can Get One (subtitle: You Obviously Don’t Have One or You Wouldn’t be Reading This Drivel).  I digress.

The bag company used to occasionally make a mistake or have a client return a batch of bags.  They were always quite serviceable, the wording was not what the company wanted.  Finest Prosecute Available never sold many Bartlett pears.  The “oops” bags were placed out for the employees to take home, gratis.  FMIL took advantage of the offer, sharing rolls of bags with us as well.  It was a sad day, sometime last year, when I used the last of those roll bags.  It was so incredibly handy, especially when the kids were in diapers, to have bags whenever we needed them. Continue reading “Local Crisis”


They eat pancakes in Louisiana too

Natchez Indian hut
Natchez Indian hut

Daughter dearest just got back from a 3 week vacation to visit a former neighbor. She had a good time and was able to experience humidity first hand. Funny how Seattle looks really good right now.

This morning they were discussing pancakes and how there was a dearth of experience and recipes between them.  In order to keep breakfasts happy, I’ll supply the one I use, which is always favorably received.  I recall my nephew saying I made the best pancakes, which is something, because his mother is an excellent cook!


Adapted from the Betty Crocker cookbook, © 1978, 1969
Baking · Cookies · Practical

Perfect cookies

This morning, King Arthur Flour posted a treatise on baking the perfect cookie.  It is a fabulous post and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re having issues with things being over or under done.

The other tidbit of advice is to be aware of the fat inculcation.  Overmixing the butter will result in too warm a dough and it will spread quickly and burn more easily.