Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Hands Tell Another Story

After posting about my Crypt Keeper hands the other day, things went from bad to worse.
Friday night, my hands just flat out hurt and burned from being so dry and chapped. Then of course when there is a dry cuticle, I have to pick it til it bleeds.
(Sparky, I'm ordering the product you recommended, and Deb at FFH, I'm drinking more water!)

I thought I'd refer to my latest copy of Women's World to see what they recommended.
It's from February 1932, but it is the most recent copy I have.

Lo and behold, on the very first page, I found my answer.
Seems that I've been using the wrong soap.
I didn't know that washing dishes, cleaning woodwork and washing curtains could ruin your hands!

I really got a kick out of this advertisement.

So much so, that I'm going to type the whole kit and caboodle out, just in case you'd like to read it too!

It happened just about the middle of the luncheon. Frances, smiling and charming, in lovely Paris clothes. Millie, talking with gay animation - eager to describe her ten happy years of married life.

And Tom has done awfully well," she was saying. "He's a manager of the new factory - and the people here in town say..."

Just then Frances' eyes fell to Millie's hand resting on the white tablecloth. It was just a fleeting glance, but Millie noticed. Her voice died away as she looked at her own hands. How red they were. How rough. How scrubby looking. The didn't look like the hands of successful man's wife.

She couldn't go on to tell about the dear little house they'd bought and the new car. It would sound as though she were trying to make up for those poor, hard-working hands...

And the meeting was spoiled for Millie.

The busiest hands can stay as smooth and white as hands that never work. It isn't work that spoils hands - it's harsh soap. And harsh soap is so unnecessary.

Ivory Soap will wash dishes, clean your woodwork, wash your curtains quickly and well. And Ivory will protect your hands. It will keep the cuticle soft and even. It will keep your skin smooth. It won't spoil your manicure like strong soaps. Just try Ivory for every soap and water task for one week - your hands will tell the world a pleasant story.

What have I learned from this advertisement?
First of all....I'm amazed at how ads were 'stories' then.
Would today's consumers bother to read an entire ad?
I think not.

My hands are terribly 'scrubby' looking.
I could do better, I really could, and I'm going to try.
Gardening season is coming, and if I don't get on top of my scrubby hands now, I'll look positively homeless by June.

I've also learned to keep my hands UNDER the table when I'm having lunch with a friend, thankyouverymuch.

On the other hand (no pun intended), I'm rather proud of my hands.
They've served me well.
They do their tasks quickly, and with skill.
Perhaps my hands don't tell the story of a successful business man's wife, but they do tell a story of a hard-working, farm girl wannabe, that's not afraid to get her hands dirty.

And friends, that's a story I'm happy to tell.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Raspberry Ribbons

Meet your new best friend.
Raspberry Ribbons
I like saying it with pronounced rolled 'r's.
There is no reason, other than I have serious cabin fever.

The full recipe will be at the end of the post. Oh how I wish I could have some cool print feature for the recipes.
A girl can dream.

Whilst Aaron toiled over a paper describing the navigational techniques of Christopher Columbus, I whipped a batch of these babies up.

After mixing your dough, you'll portion into 8 pieces and roll them out in even logs.

Have I ever extolled the virtues of my Silpat?
It was the first thing I went out and bought after I got out of debt.
I kid you not.
$20 well spent.

After rolling the dough into logs, use your thumb or finger to press an indentation the length of the log.

Ya know, it isn't until I see pictures of myself, do I realize how old I'm getting.
Those are crypt keeper hands.
My hands hurt they are so dry.
I use moisturizer, alot.
My hands seem to be in water constantly.

You are going to bake them for ten minutes before you spoon in some raspberry preserves.
I made freezer jam with my raspberries.
I have more jam than I can use in a lifetime.
Thus, these cookies.

After jamming them, you'll bake them for another ten minutes.
And then you'll cut all the ends off and eat them.
Cause the ends don't look good.
Destroy the evidence.

When they are nice and cool, you'll drizzle drazzle finizle fanazle them.
Don't be stingy with the drizzle, shinizle.
More proof of cabin fever, sorry.


Raspberry Ribbons

1 cup of softened butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
Raspberry Jam

Beat butter and egg together until well blended.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add half of the flour, mix well.
Gradually add remaining flour, beating until it forms a ball.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out in 8 long strips.
Make an indentation the length of the ribbon.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and spoon jam in the groove.
Bake an additional ten minutes, or until lightly brown.

Glaze with a mixture of powdered sugar, milk and 1/4 t. of almond extract.
(I'm so sorry, I don't measure for this. I just take a blob, maybe like a cup and a half, and then add milk til it's a good drizzling consistency)

After glaze is cool and dry, cut into desired size.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me - A Dear John Letter to Winter

Dear Mr. Winter:
When we first met last December, you totally swept me off my feet.
You promised me days and nights of quiet solitude.

You mesmerized me with your stark, icy landscapes.

You bathed me in comfort.
Quilts, soups, books and needlecrafts.
It was quite a love affair, wasn't it, darling?

Christmas was our Honeymoon, and what a Honeymoon it was.
The lights! The food! The coziness of it all.

I must confess to you dear Winter, that lately, I've not felt satisfied with our relationship.
I feel...

You just keep giving so much.

I have to think about the children, I mean, the chickens.
They too, have grown weary of your generosity.

It seems lately that you've been showing another side of yourself that I didn't see before.

I'm not here to diss you, darling.
I won't show anymore of your 'dark side'.
It's me, it's not you.

I fear our love affair is coming to an end.

You see,
I've met someone else.

Please, don't cry, you know when you snows.
It's for the best.

His name?
Is that really necessary, Winter?

His name is:

I know what you are thinking.....I'm sure you've seen it coming. I've been unsatisfied for a while Winter! This should come as no surprise.

I've been unfaithful. I've looked at seed catalogs, and websites you wouldn't approve of.
When we are together, I fantasize about another.

Spring has made a lot of promises to me, Winter.
Things that you weren't able to deliver.

I will always remember you my cold, icy friend.
I'm sure at times I'll miss the rest you offered.
I will miss our TV time.
I'll miss the soups.
We can still be friends.
It's not you, it's me.

Oh dear, I feel like such a

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cooking Club! A Cuban Fiesta

Cooking Club beginning again is a sure sign that spring is right around the corner.
I have a feeling spring is gonna jump right out and scare the crap out of me, I'm still not physically prepared for it, but emotionally I'm yearning for it.

I'm going to need to make a photo checklist for Cooking Club.
Got a picture of everyone? Check.
Got a picture of all the food? Check
Got a group photo? Check

I have no 'checks' for this month.

But here is what I did get.

Sweet Teri M. waiting patiently til we all fill our plates so she can eat.

Sweet Teri M., again, putting the final touches on her black beans and rice.

The table setting.

The lovely Deb O. wondering if Terry S. likes her Ham Croquettes.

The amazing Terry S. wondering if she likes the lovely Deb O's Ham Croquettes.

We all loved them Deb! They were delicious.

In case you are a new reader, I'm in a Cooking Club that meets once a month, for six months out of the year.

Six women.
Countless calories.
Millions of laughs.
Tons of friendly support.

It's a great group of women.
I'm blessed and amazed by them all.

We each take a turn hosting the get together. My turn is next month!
The hostess picks out a 'theme' and assigns recipes.
We make the assigned dish at home, and bring it to club.

So, more accurately, it's an Eating Club.
Bring it.

Here's this month's recipes:

Aceitunas Alinadas
Marinated Olives

Fried Bananas

Croqueas de Jamon
Ham Croquettes

Congri (Arroz Morro)
Cuban Style Black Beans and White Rice

Ropa Viega (my dish)
Old Clothes in Spanish; this meat is cookied, shredded like rags, and cooked again.

Pudin de Pan
Bread Pudding

It was all so delicious!

Here's my recipe to share with you, I would really encourage you to make it.

Ropa Viega - pictured in first photo

2 medium onions
2 pounds of skirt or flank steak
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ajecito peppers (I couldn't find these, so I used jalapenos)
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 cup fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cumin
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Quarter one of the two onions, Put in a 6 quart kettle with meat, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Cover with water by two inches. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1.5 to 2 hours. Skim frequently.

When meat is very tender, remove from broth and set aside. Discard vegetables and strain broth. Return broth to the heat and boil, reducing by half, about 20 minutes. When meat is cool, shred.

Heat oil in a large skillet and cook remaining chopped onion, garlic, chilies, and green peppers until softened, about ten minutes. Stir in 1.5 cups of reduced broth and tomatoes. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes over medium high heat.
Stir in meat, oregano, cumin and parsley. Cook 10 minutes more.
Serve over white rice.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Randomly Yours

Random Photo #1

The picture that started it all.
Easter 2009.
Lemon Cornmeal Cake, Hot Cross Buns and Key Lime Cupcakes.
I felt that the world needed to see these.
So I began blogging.

Sweet Cory of Pink Dogwood Blossom tagged me ages ago, and now that I'm finally off of pain killers, I thought I'd play along.

Seven Random Things About Me.

Have you any idea how difficult this will be, since I've told you everything already? You already know way too much.
I'm sweetening the pot by adding some random photos as well.

Random Fact #1
I have a love/hate relationship with blogging.
I LOVE blogging, love meeting new friends, love love love.
Hate that I don't have the time to reply to everyone.
Hate that I don't have the time to meet everyone.
Hate that I don't have time to read all the blogs I want to.
My rear would be permanently fused to my chair.
I've heard that really happens.

Random Photo #2
The hallway leading to the upstairs bedroom.
Ya'll have never been upstairs before!

Random Fact #2
I fear death.
The process of dying, more than the afterlife.
The thought of my corpse freaks me out to no end.
I don't do pain well, as you've come to realize this past month.

Random Photo #3
A sneak peak of my upstairs bedroom.
By the time I paint the headboard (bought paint 4 years ago) perhaps it will be stylish again.

Random Fact #3
I know every word, every vocal inflection, of every Beatle song.

Random Photo #4
My almost warped antique floor rug loom.
I think I'm going to REALLY enjoy this.
Or go mad in the process.
Stay tuned.

Random Fact #4
I've never tasted the following foods:
Beer, ketchup, mustard, salami, and all fish and shellfish.
Please don't tell me what I'm missing.
I didn't eat mayonnaise until I was 30.
Didn't eat salad dressing until I was in my 20's.
I'm weird...but then you already knew that.

Random Photo #5
My current library books.
So interesting, ain't it?

Speaking of 'ain't'

Random Fact #5...
I'm a grammar snob.
Please don't get me wrong. I make a TON of mistakes. I'm sure I've made my share of people cringe when they read this blog. I'm sure that previous sentence alone had many grammatical errors. I have to think, and think hard before I say 'I'm going to go lie down', and I still sweat when I need to use an apostrophe to denote possession.
My pet peeves?
Double negatives.
Using 'them' when you should use 'those',
When I hear someone say 'I ain't got none of them'....
it's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Random Photo #6
The last of my winter goals
See Benjamin Franklin perusing them?

Random Fact #6
I adore Benjamin Franklin.
Read everything I can about him.
Have his 13 Virtues printed out.

Random Photo #7
Scarlett's reaction to Random Fact #7

Random Fact #7
Upon moving to the country in 1988, I purchased 25 baby chickens to raise for meat. At this point in my life, I'd never even cut a whole chicken up before, let alone raise one in my backyard and eat it.
They all lived.
They all died.
They all stayed in my freezer for two years.
I couldn't bring myself to eat them.

Please remind me about this when I announce that I might be doing this again in April.

Thank you very much.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Singing in the Coop

The sun is shining.
I'm 98.3% pain free.
We are visiting old friends tonight.

If that don't make ya burst out in song, I don't know what would.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That Fabulous Cheesy Potato Soup

Gotta give credit, where credit is due, and this recipe is from the deliciously delightful
'FarmChicks in the Kitchen' Cookbook.
A delight for the eyes as well as the tastebuds!

Just be prepared to fall over when you eat this soup, so I do suggest you seat yourself first.

Without further adieu....the recipe...

But seriously...

My eyes rolled back up in m' head, and I imagined a river of this soup, and I, in my canoe of bacon forging it. It really don't get no betta.

I've made this soup with russets (which the recipe calls for), and red potatoes, and I like it equally.

Ok, seriously now...the recipe...

But one quick thing first....don't even try to make it with skim milk. I mean seriously...butter, cheese, don't skimp on the milk....use whole.

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup diced carrots (1/4" dice)
4 cups chicken broth
5 cups peeled, diced russet potatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

Make the soup:
Melt 1 T of the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and saute until softened - 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender - about 20 minutes.

Make the cheese sauce:
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 T butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened 0 2 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and thoroughly combined. Gradually pour the sauce into the soup and stir until thoroughly blended.

Dental update:
Saw Dr. Dimples today. He and his staff are such a joy. Truly, if you need a dentist in NW Indiana...please check out Dr. Louis Sertich.
(He remembers you Sindy!)

He seemed concerned that I still had a sore lump in my gums after a two weeks of antibiotics. One more week of antibiotics, and another visit, and if it's not better then, I need more drilling. It's all good. I'm not in serious pain anymore, in fact, I'm feeling like myself again.

Thank you all so much for your comments and concerns!

And You Thought I Was Kidding?

'Operation Blowhole'

Did you think I was joking about putting my computer in the trash?

Never fear....I finally got a newer monitor screen, and decided to blow a hole in this one.
Glen did the honors for me, since I didn't really want to hold a shotgun close to my head with the way it's aching already. It gives me great pleasure to destroy things that frustrate me.

I'm a redneck through and through, and I've got the pictures to prove it.

Reminds me of when we bought this old house and there was a metal storm door on it that chapped my hide every time I saw it. It stuck all the time. I can't tell you how many times I hurt my hand. When we finally found an old door that fit the space, Glen took the door off, propped it against a tree, and gave me the gun.

Boy, did that feel good.

Been awfully busy this week. I've up and left the house everyday. Today's no different, it's 'D' day, as in Dentist day. Yesterday was my best day yet pain-wise, for the last two weeks. . It's not really my tooth bothering me anymore, it's more my skull. My jaw, my eye socket, and my ear. Now my lower jaw is acting up.
I'm so hoping that there will be no drilling today.

Just stopping in quick like to say 'howdy', and that if my skull hasn't been tampered with at the dentist today, I'll be posting 'THAT' Potato Soup recipe later today. There's also much news to share...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Weekend and Other Trivial Matters

The tooth still hurts.
I know you will ALL be as glad as I am when I no longer talk about it!
I go back again on Thursday. Still taking antibiotics and Vicodin.
The pain seems to be getting the better of me.
I hate having to decide whether I want to be pain free or nauseated.
It's pushing me to my end.
Yesterday I almost threw my computer in the garbage.
I'm so not kidding.

On to happier things.
My weekend.
I tried to make the photos all pretty and bloggie like, but Picnik is from the devil himself, especially on my computer. My old processor just can't handle it.
Now you know why the whole shebang almost ended up in the trash bin...

I digress.

Cindy was so incredibly easy to entertain, perhaps it's cause she has one of those personalities - she seems to entertain herself.

Thanks for all of your sweet comments about my preparations.
I've secretly wanted a B&B for years.

The soup.
Oh my.
In my fantasy world, the rivers run freely with this soup. I will share the recipe later this week, I promise.

I finally talked Cindy half to death somewhere close to 3am.

See how refreshed she looks after only three hours of sleep?

I'm not sure if Cindy was more nervous about meeting all the new blogging friends, or my navigation skills, but she sure put on the deodorant.

Isn't she pretty? I just think she is so pretty.

And gracious.
I told her to turn the wrong way out of the driveway.
It was going to be a long trip.

We arrived in really good time, seemed like a hop and a skip, thanks to endless conversation.
We stopped at Walgreens so Cindy could get some batteries for her camera.
I didn't think I needed any, so opted for Smart Water and Twizzlers.

Here is what we found upon arrival:

I'm in love already, and mentally calling a dumpster rental when I get home.
I have to start all over on my house.

Notice the awesome vignette here.....that's right before Picnik destroyed my soul.

Notice anything missing in this post?
What about the ladies in attendance?
There were a bunch of them. (Shout out to Penny and Pat!)
After this picture, my camera shut down and said:
Change the batteries.

Deep sigh.

Cindy has done an uber awesome job of blogging about the weekend, and actually has pictures of the ladies in attendance as well as links to their blogs!
You can find her posts HERE and HERE.

If you don't hear from me in the next day or so, it's because Allied Waste has my computer, and my camera...and all the teeth that I'm about ready to 'pull out my head!'