Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to have for dinner?

What to have for dinner is usually driven by what is left partly used from a previous dinner.
So tonight there was 1/2 a very dry baguette and most of a bag of spinach that was still good but at its use by date.
So we had Italian Bread Soup and Wilted Spinach Salad.

Italian bread soup

1 can chicken broth
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can water
½ very dry baguette broken up
¼ tsp Italian herbs
sprinkles of garlic salt
2 T olive oil

Heat slowly and mix well

Wilted spinach salad with bacon

Wash 16 oz spinach. Drain and dry with paper towels. Set aside.
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
~4 slices bacon chopped
In wok, cook chopped bacon until crisp.
Add green onions. Sauté.
Add 3 T wine vinegar 2 tbsp. lemon juice 2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper ¼ tsp. dry mustard to wok
Bring to a boil. Place spinach in large salad bowl. Pour hot mixture over spinach and mix until wilted. Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something to do with Mystery Meat

So I have 1/2 lb of unidentified meat in the freezer. Is it pork? Is it Turkey? What is it? This recipe will work with any meat. Just chop it up before it is fully defrosted.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sauté ½ lb pork bits
With 1 onion chopped and
5 cloves garlic chopped in
3 T olive oil

Add 1 green or 1 green and 1 red pepper chopped or celery or mushrooms
Continue to sauté

Mix together pineapple juice from small pineapple chunks can
¼ c water
2 T tomato sauce or instead of water and sauce use ½ c tomato or vegetable juice
1 T vinegar
1 T cornstarch
½ t chili powder
½ t garlic salt

add pineapple chunks and sauce and simmer to thicken

serve with rice

Swine Flu

1. There are hundreds of thousands more cases of swine flu out there than have been documented as most cases are mild and do not take people to the doctor. Also people who went to the doctor's a week or so ago were not even being checked. (I am still coughing.)
2. The reason so many people died in 1918 was that there were no antibiotics to treat bacterial complications. General living conditions in cities were much more unhygienic. Many of the people who died were suspected of having mild cases of TB, common at the time, which weakened their lungs. (I lost a grandmother and an uncle.)
3. The media infused panic is going to cost a lot more than the flu itself as people hole up and the economy slows even further. This may be the swine bristle that breaks the back of Mexico.
4. The putrid Smithfield hog farm in Mexico that is supposedly at the center of the outbreak is due to be sold to a Chinese firm that is looking to get into hog farms in a big way. Pigs are mostly grown in China in small numbers on family farms. But Chinese are starting to eat more meat, so hog farms are on the way. Why do I not feel good about this prospect?
5. Pork is dropping in price. Now is the time to stock up for slow cooked pulled pork.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carrot Soup

What's for dinner?

Curried Carrot Soup
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 pounds chunked up peeled carrots
• 6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or bouillon + water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• Coarse salt
• 1 cup plain non fat yogurt or sour cream
• 6 blades fresh chives or green part of green onion chopped
Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and sauté 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock, curry and cayenne to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on med-low until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. Using food processor or blender process soup in 2 or 3 small batches until soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed. Transfer processed soup into a large bowl as you work to make room for more soup in the food processor. Return completed soup to the soup pot and place back over low heat. Add remaining 2 cups of stock. Adjust seasonings adding about ½ tsp salt if needed. Bring back to a simmer. Serve and garnish with yogurt and chives.

Serve with a nice bread.

This is like a Rachel Ray recipe with modifications.

Update: I changed the amount of curry powder I used when I made this from Tablespoons to teaspoons as I wanted a mild curry flavor. Not too strong.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bad Dates

We went out to see the play "Bad Dates" tonight. A really funny one woman show staged over at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley.

Let's face it girls, sometimes marriages don't work out. And then you have a choice: sit at home with your sullen, judgmental teenage daughter - or put on a fabulous outfit and the perfect pair of shoes and get back in the game! A sassy one-woman show playing to sellout crowds nationwide!

As I am still in recovery from acute bronchitis, I took a purse full of cough lozenges, but still wound up standing at the back aisle for more than 1/2 of the play so I could step out if I had to cough. Still glad we went as it was a good show.

Destruction before Reconstruction

Dad is getting close to done with the dismantling of the deck. He says that a demolition team would have made short work of the job by cutting the deck up with chain saws and throwing all the wood away. But dad is taking out all the deck screws and saving the redwood. It can be reused for something.

The cats are having a lot of new climbing opportunities, although Sierra fell through the deck when she missed a leap up to the food table yesterday. Probably she is still not 100%, though she looks OK.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Box Cat

Because life must have laughter.


Went to see this movie at the Magic Theatre last night. Although it had a lot of bloody moments it was a better film than "The Wrestler". Nothing was gratuitous, it was just real. This was not the Naples we walked through as tourists, although we were on some slightly gritty, dirty side streets. This Naples is the home of a lot of the underclass, the 15% of disposable people.
But look at the scary part to us is that these are white people. We have the same thing in the US in our inner cities, but we don't care as much because these are brown people.
David Simon of The Wire was on Bill Moyer's Journal last Friday and spoke about the same thing this movie is about.
DAVID SIMON: Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It's the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. And we don't, as we said before, economically, we don't need those people. The American economy doesn't need them. So, as long as they stay in their ghettos, and they only kill each other, we're willing to pay a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. I don't think-- since we basically have become a market-based culture and it's what we know, and it's what's led us to this sad denouement, I think we're going to follow market-based logic, right to the bitter end.
full transcript of 4/17/09 show here.
So some say leave them to rot, they only kill themselves, but as we have contempt for others we have contempt for ourselves and we ultimately destroy ourselves.
The Naples Italy Garbage Mafia does affect us also.
The next step from putting toxic waste in old quarries and destroying the water, health and farm products of their own country was to find another dump. So toxic waste was dumped off the coast of Somalia, destroying the ocean, coastline and local fisheries. So now the waste produced by nuclear plants that keep the air of France clean has gone to the Italian mafia to dispose of in the water off Somalia to destroy that country and drive its young to piracy.
more here
It's a small world after all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rat Whisperer

Leah has a new pet rat. Petco was selling only male rats and they did not have any really small/young ones. Medium was the smallest. Leah had wanted a small female rat but now a medium male was fine. So far this is reminding me of how Jon got his first cat--the only scraggly little cat in front of Kmart and that was the one.
Since the rat is not as young as it should have been, it needs more socializing. So I am working with the rat and Leah so that she will be able to easily play with it when I go home.
Obi Wan is very cute with a blond hood and black eyes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter etc

On Saturday morning Axel and I went to an Easter egg hunt just down the street at the Methodist church. Leah had gone earlier to tennis at the rec center just beyond the church. Axel hunted in the toddler area and did very well. Leah came in for the raffle after the hunt, but we did not win anything even though they must have given out >25 prizes. Axel shared all his hunt gatherings with Leah after we got home. Which was just as mom and dad got home from snowboarding.
Axel woke up from his nap burning with fever. He had had a loose cough that had hung on for a week and a half and it had finally turned into pneumonia. Cyndi rushed him to the ER and told them baby can't breath. She was rushed in front of many others and his O2 sat did measure in the 80's. She had given him some ibuprofen which kicked in as they waited for the prescriptions and he started running around.
So Cyndi was back from the ER quite quickly and the ladies, Cyndi, Leah and I, went to a Seder at Laura and Dara's.
On Easter we had other egg hunts and basket hunts. Axel even found 3 eggs at the big girl hunt, Dara was here. Axel is making a good recovery.
We had an Easter dinner party/Paree Roubaix watching party with pulled pork and salads. A bunch of people from a bike shop came and it was a great success.
Today Jon built a new gate for the side of the house and Axel and Cyndi planted seeds, Jupiter's beard, sunflowers, cherry tomatoes and parsley.

The Jupiter's beard is planned to cover the front. Not a good place for grass as it slopes to the street.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Axel the computer whiz

Axel has learned how to use his Sesame Street dvd very well. He even does the parent commands and chooses what part of the program he wants to work on as it is all interactive.
See other pictures of Axel bathing and measuring on Facebook.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting ready to fly off again

Running through the list of chores before I fly off to Colorado. Today I made a batch of granola for dad and have made and frozen some dinners. Trying to get through a list of chores to do as we will break ground on the remodel soon after I return.