Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dish -- or What I Brought to Thanksgiving Dinner...

This was my year off from hosting the dinner for the Likkel/Vanderwall side, and I got off SO easy when I was asked to bring Sweet Potatoes to the Honcoop family dinner! And I must note here, that with all the grown-up grandkids, none of us has to bring more than one thing to dinner, and we still have an abundance! Another reason to like grown-up kids...

Actually, I think I always bring Sweet Potatoes to Honcoop Thanksgiving...I feel so proud! I'm considered the Sweet Potato Expert in the clan.

I decided I should try to do a "show & tell" recipe on my blog for once, so here we go!

I usually purchase about 6-7 lbs. of  sweet potatoes, and bake them the day before Thanksgiving. This time I baked them @ 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours...though some of the potatoes needed a half hour more. It doesn't really matter what temperature, or a specific amount of time...You just need to bake them until they are pinchable, but not too soft.

I hope I'm not getting too technical for you...
They look kinda wrinkly when they are done.
But pinching -- that's the ultimate indicator of done-ness.


Then I peel them and chunk them up...
while having coffee and muffins.
Don't forget the coffee and muffins step...
It's essential.


Since I'm in a chunking mood, I chunk up a stick of butter and throw it in...
not literally, mind you, 'cause I'm not a good shot.
But if you are, go ahead!


Then it's time for the brown sugar...a highly subjective ingredient...
Which means, I'm not really ever sure how much to put in.
In this case, I put in about 1 cup -- but it wasn't packed, so keep that in mind.


Then, I mixed it all up, and put it in the casserole.


And then, I got mixed up on the time I should put them in the oven to be ready for dinner...so I put them in too late... (usually 375 for 1 1/2 hours if they've been in the fridge) and then had to increase the temperature to 400 because I only had 1hr. 15 min!

When it was time to leave for Mom H's house, I was feeling a little panicked -- but, whew!, the butter was bubbling nicely around the edges of the dish, and the brown sugar was caramelized, and they tasted great!

I carefully placed big puffy marshmallows over the top, put the lid on, and quickly wrapped the dish for transport...

And never took a picture...

And then in the madness that is greeting of the family gathered, I forgot to toast the marshmallows to completion -- so they were melted albino marshmallows, instead of the usual golden.

So now you see why I don't have a cooking show, or a regular recipe feature on my blog.
Details, details...the devil is in them alright...

Fortunately, this had no effect on the popularity of the sweet potatoes,
 and this was all that came home with us.


Just enough for lunch!
Goodbye -- I'm hungry...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

It's a White Thanksgiving!! I love this!!

Daisie is all excited, dancing in the snow -- and trying to eat it...all.


The birds are ensconced on the contorted filbert, eating us out of house and home...


Daisie's best friend, Macy, came to visit...



Oh, yeah -- and Dillon and Tiffany did too. Can't stay home when it's snowing!! 


I love looking out the window today...


Snow without wind is pretty special around these parts...It just doesn't happen that often.
A perfect setting for a day set aside for counting our blessings...
"For that which I have received, may the Lord make me truly thankful.
...And even more so, for that which I have not received."
(and really deserved)

Hope you're rejoicing in your blessings, and appreciating God's mercies today too!
Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

Forgive the lack of originality in the title...I just love that phrase, and I like that song, though if you listen closely it's really quite naughty. The Mr. in the song is being quite dishonorable and encouraging the Miss in the song to go against her principles...So it's kind of heathen -- but I still like it...It's 50's kind of heathen...

(I'm thinking of frogs in heating water here...I guess I'm one of them...BAD!)

But this post is not about that song...at least it wasn't supposed to be.

This morning my Walking Buddy, aka The Best Exercise Machine I Ever Got, looked at me like this after she had gone out to do her duties:
"I'm not going out there again."
A little reminder to be thankful for the indoor plumbing...

Of course, once the sun warmed up the house, my Best Exercise Machine Ever went to work on the usual Morning Exercise Motivation Series. This begins with following me closely wherever I go. If I sit down, I find a boxer head on my lap, with pleading eyes looking up at me.
If these actions do not bring results, paw poking follows. Rarely do I let it escalate to actual boxing, but it has been known to happen.
So we headed out to walk, in spite of this:

It's hard to read here, but it was about 16 degrees.
We're nuts.

But at least it wasn't blowing anymore...well, at least the breeze we had today seemed like nothing compared to the night before. It was wild!!

And today you could see the results...shingles deposited on the driveway...


...the yard covered in curly willow debris. I think that tree loses more branches than leaves!


And I don't think this gutter will be very effective any more...

There's storm clean-up to do!
But we'll wait for a warmer day...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wintry November...

I'm all twitterpated about the weather! It's turned wintry before its time, and that means the strong possibility of what I consider to be a good winter -- one that has some snow, and storms, and cold. (Apologies to all the dairy farmers in our county...I know you do not share my enthusiasm.)

Already, we have cold! -- temps in the 20's, NE wind! -- with windchill factor, and snow! -- could stand a little more of this... Nonetheless, we are enjoying all the coziness inside that such outside conditions bring...Just in time for the start of the holidays! Puts me in a happy mood...

This is what it looks like:

A skiff of snow...

...makes the pumpkins look out of place.

The berries are getting the idea that they should go to sleep!!

The leaves are all blown away...wonder how long the nest will hang on?

It was time to move the bird feeder to the leeward side of the house so my feathered friends could eat, as well as rest from the NE wind...

They love to sit on the contorted filbert on the south side of the house.

It didn't take too long until I had customers!

House finches too...
I'll keep trying for better pictures. Between their bashfulness, (they'll get over it) and my lack of skill with the camera, it was a challenge to get these shots through the window...
But you get the idea...
I love to watch them shell the seeds, and see them all ruffed up to keep warm in the wind.
Amazing little creatures!

I'd love to be able to tell you what the windchill was for the birds and us -- but our weather station broke this spring, and The Farmer is still doing research on a better system.
I hope there is still some exciting weather to record by the time he is certain of his choice.
In the meantime, I am helpfully reminding him...
Daily.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We got a new bed...

After The Farmer’s recent back trouble, he became convinced that our bed was a contributing factor. He spent hours researching on the internet. He’s very analytical, My Farmer.


His scale of rating beds includes many factors, such as: support, cushion, body conformity, depth of plush top, durability of plush, warmth of plush, hand of fabric cover, strength of box spring, level box spring top, durability of construction -- yada, yada, yada...

My scale of rating beds is simpler: It feels good; or it feels bad. It must have handles for moving.

So – our bed still fell in the acceptable range for me. It felt good. The Farmer had his doubts about whether the support/body conformity capabilities were sufficient for his needs. Since he was the one with the pain in his back, I encouraged him to go for it. I did demand one thing: he MUST make a decision and take action on his research within a reasonable amount of time.

While I must say that I benefit from the hours of research The Farmer does, it drives me crazy. He has been known to research something for months, and then still not be able to make a decision...This is not appreciated by someone (that would be me) whose analytical functions are pretty much absent, and who makes snap decisions based on intuition...(And gets them right a lot of the time, I will boast! Who needs analysis!) Of course, The Farmer is going for 100% on his decisions – 100% correct. I am not hindered by any such compunction; I’m happy with a 75-80% rating.

But I was talking about the bed, wasn’t I...

The Farmer kept teasing that he had ordered a bed online, just to test my reaction. Feeling perverse, I didn’t give him the satisfaction of the shocked reaction he was hoping for. And then one day when I replied with a blase, “When is it coming?” he said, “Monday or Tuesday...”

He had ordered a “Bed in a Box” and literally that was how it came...two bonded layers of memory foam, with the air vacuumed out of it so it could be rolled and put in a box two feet square by four feet long...And it came on Monday... We wrestled 120 pounds of Bed in a Box, with no handles mind you, up the stairs, positioned it at the end of the box spring and removed the superstrong plastic wrap that compressed it. It unrolled with audible whooshing, and voila!, we had a new bed!





I was a little skeptical that one could get a comfortable AND supportive bed out of such a situation, but when I crawled in that night, I found I really, really liked it! I have now added “Feels great” to my rating scale.

Ironically, The Farmer was not as enthusiastic as I was after that first night. He “had to get used to it”, he said. I think our diverse reactions are somehow tied to our analytical tendencies or lack thereof – but let’s not go there again!

The Farmer has since come to enjoy all the qualities of bed perfection that he had sought, though we must admit that the jury is still out on durability. Have no fear, it will continue to be monitored as time passes.

But not by me...I’m just going to sleep in it, and enjoy all the cushy supportiveness that makes me exclaim every night, “I love my bed!!”

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Leaf Collection...

I wanted you to see it. It is large, and extensive...

...and oh so pretty!

I really mean that!

Ah, November, how I love thee! Month of falling leaves, color against the gray dreariness that draws us inside to the fire...

The time of year where we think of baking spicy treats to enjoy with our coffee, and savory soups for rainy nights of happy contemplations of thankfulness and anticipation as the holidays approach.
I truly love this time of year!

Oh how eloquently I wax on!!
I just had to show you my collection because it's scheduled to start blowing away this afternoon.
I like that too...

In other news: the mole is back.
But so is The Farmer...Whew!
The gauntlet has been thrown; the war is begun.

I know how it will turn out...just don't know how long the siege will be.
Victory awaits!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Houston -- we have a problem...

The Farmer is gone for a few days, and somehow the moles found out. When Daisie and I headed out to walk this morning, we found these:
...and this

...and -- OH THE  AUDACITY! -- this!

A molehill in the lawn?

Obviously, this never happens.
It's not allowed...
And offenders are chased down and executed..

But not by me.
The Farmer is the one who has the hunt down to, well, a science (not surprised, are you...)
 and has the perseverance to accomplish the task. 
A molehill in the lawn would send him into hyper-hunting! I've decided not to tell him about it...It could ruin, or shorten his trip...Can't have that!
The house isn't clean yet...and the new stuff is not sufficiently disguised...

So I did the only thing a good Farmer's Wife could do...
I let the little beggars know that even though The Farmer was away, there is still molehill vigilance on the property. And consequences will be paid -- insofar as I can remember what the procedures are...
I know this much:
First, you expose the tunnel.

Then you take the Molehill Stick and tamp dirt down to block the hole.

Once the hole is filled you distribute the dirt evenly over the space and pack it down with your boots.

Daisie keeps watch that no offenders escape while I fill in the other holes...

Yes, yes, I did them all -- you must!
However, if I was a GREAT Farmer's Wife, not merely GOOD one, I would then have a hose at the ready, and monitor the area for any renewed activity, ready to flood the little beggar out!

But then you have to hit them with a shovel -- and I've just never been able to do that...

So I hope they are sufficiently surprised that there is another MoleHunter on the property and wait until the Farmer returns to do more damage.

This looks better -- and good enough for me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let us take care of your kids...

We let them play at the top of the stairs...

We introduce them to weaponry...

...of all sorts.

We keep them safely in the dog crate...

Doesn't she look like she's upset? 

Actually, I FOUND Missy Madelyn in here...She had closed the door on herself and was quite pleased with her new little playhouse...Just like you feared, Daisie, you been displaced!
And, BTW, she doesn't even know what to do with the toy guns she found in Jess' room,
 and we didn't tell her either...

She has a big crush on Uncle Jess...He's not quite sure what do to about it!
The batting eyelashes are just too much for him!

And thank goodness Auntie Cait stopped by because she just HAD to see the pony!
 And the dolly with the tiara, too!
Miss Madelyn suffered no harm while in our care...well, except for a little head bump, emphasis on "little"...
In fact, her daddy is witness, she wasn't ready to go home...

I think they have more rules at home...
Is this a problem?

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)