Archive | January, 2020

That Reminds Me . . .

28 Jan

Over on GoComics we’ve been having a discussion about trump and all the jobs he claims he has created. And that reminded me of a certain nephew. . .

Long ago and far away –  one of The Squire’s nephews came to live with us. For the most part he was a good kid, but I had one sister, and we raised three daughters, so dealing with a teenaged boy was a shock to the system. He was a tremendous help to The Squire, helping tear out and replace the downstairs floor from the dining room window to the fireplace. He mowed the lawn and dried the dishes. What he did NOT do was go out and earn some money.

One day, I was mopping the kitchen floor and we got into a discussion about Ronald Reagan, whom Nephew considered one of the country’s greatest, an opinion I did not share. “Why. What has he done that’s so wonderful?”

Nephew stood there for a moment, and finally replied that Reagan had gotten the unemployment rate down.  “And do you know how? When you run out of benefits, you simply cease to exist! That’s why the rate is down!”

“Oh, there are jobs out there.”

I slammed my fist down on the counter so hard that the dishes danced. “Then why don’t you go get one?”

Nephew fled the room, but he tiptoed back a few moments later to ask if I’d like him to finish mopping the kitchen.

“Yes, please.”


No Words

27 Jan

Back in September, 2016, The Squire put a piece of PVC pipe in the linen closet to hang up all of the spray bottles.  During dinner yesterday he spilled gravy on a white polo shirt, and asked me what to use to keep it from getting stained.

I told him we had several types of laundry pre-wash,  and made a “squeezing” motion with my hand. He trotted into the bathroom with the shirt, and when he returned he remarked, “It’s a good thing we understand each other.”

Sometimes, when you’ve been married as long as we have, there are no words necessary.

Ungrateful Hound

25 Jan

I happened to pass an independent pet store today on my way to an appointment. Their sign said they had CBC oil in stock, so I made a mental note to return after I was finished, which I did.

Blazer has arthritis, and I was hoping that might help him. As it turned out, the CBC oil was w-a-a-y more than I could afford – $80 for a six week supply – but they had a bin of expired items, free for the taking, so I grabbed a bag of dogfood on the way out.  When I got in, I opened the bag and offered Blazer a handful of kibble.

He wasn’t interested.

It’s just as well I hadn’t spent the $20 the bag was marked – for five pounds! It says it’s beef, but it must be part gold. Yeesh.


A Slight Miscalculation

21 Jan

DSCN0776It is time for our semi-annual toothbrush change, so I wandered in the direction of the Dollar Tree and bought us new ones.

They don’t fit into the holder, and now that they’ve been opened we can’t return them. We didn’t use them, but it kills me to toss them out.  I think I’ll just get my trusty, dusty scalpel and shave down the handles.

If they don’t tilt over in the meantime.

I Don’t Know What Came Over Me

20 Jan

One of those Whatever Are They Thinking  articles in a 1950s women’s magazines suggested cleaning out one or two kitchen cabinets a week, in addition to wiping down the fronts, etc. Actually, it sounded pretty reasonable. We are playing “Let’s Pretend We’re Moving” with a bit more vigor lately, so I decided to hit the three-door cabinet over the mixing counter.

Well, now.

I pulled everything off one shelf at a time, wiped off, tossed out, consolidated, and wondered “Where on earth did that come from?” more than once. I swear, a fair amount of the stuff in the cabinet had belonged to either my mum or my grandmother! I discovered three – three! – half jars of oregano, several different types of ginger, and two jars of fennel seeds. Weird stuff. doesn’t have a single suggestion for cracked ginger, and only one recipe for the crystalized stuff. Fennel tea is supposed to be good for an upset stomach; I can only figure there had been an epidemic at some time. Two bottles of rose water – the unopened one will go to a Indian lady at church, and I’ll keep the other.  Three bags of chocolate chips – two opened and one not. They filled a quart container.

I went to the Dollar Tree and got two different sizes of plastic baskets; the long narrow kind to corral all of my extracts, and the larger ones to get all of my “sprinkles” in one place. I think my next job will be to clean out the cabinet where I store all of my cake decorating supplies, and see what’s still fit to use.

Two trips to the compost heap, a second trash bag, and the recycling bin is overflowing, but oh, my it looks nice in there.



Three Things

9 Jan

Over on Mary Ann has listed a collection of threes:

3 Names I go by:

Dani, Mouse, and Grand-mere

3 Jobs I’ve had:

Customer Service at a bank (which is where I met The Squire), receptionist for an international company, and medical receptionist

3 Places I’ve lived:

This is tricky, as I’ve lived in the same county – not even simply in the same state! – my entire life. Baltimore County, Maryland, but we lived in Arbutus until I was ten, Perry Hall until I married the Late & Unlamented, and The Squire and I bought this house in Bradshaw when we got married.

3 Favorite Drinks:

Coffee, unsweetened iced tea, and Mango-Papaya juice liberally diluted with water.

3 Places I’ve Been:

England and Wales, Mexico, and Yosemite Park

3 Favorite Foods:

Thai, Indian, and Greek

3 Things I look Forward to:

Christmas, Thanksgiving/our Wedding Anniversary, and a good snow storm.

3 pets I’ve had:

Oh, about a zillion, but three stand out – Brinks, a pit-boxer mix, a thirty-pound cat named Blitz, and Blazer, a pit/Greyhound mix. Yeah, I know. That one must have come with an instruction sheet.

And there you have it. Why not list your “3s” in the comments?



Pea Soup With Butter Dumplings

7 Jan

I had mentioned over on GoComics that we don’t eat meat in our house, and that I made my Pea Soup without it. One of the regular readers requested the recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!

6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4-1/2 cup water – see below
Soften the butter as much as possible short of melting it. Beat the eggs with the flour, salt, and nutmeg, then beat into the butter. Bring the water to a simmer, and drop the batter by half-teaspoons, four or five at a time.  (The eggs make the dumplings expand, so make them small. You don’t want barrage balloons here.)  When the dumplings have risen to the top, they will need another 5 minutes to cook before they are ready.  Lift out with a slotted spoon, and pile on a plate unto the soup is done

Measure the water from cooking the dumplings and add enough to bring it back to 4-1/2 cups. Add to the water:
4 cups shelled peas (1pound bag of frozen peas)
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Cook the peas in the water until they are quite soft – about ½ hour.
In another pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter, and stir in 4 tablespoons flour. Let the roux cook over a very low flame for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Put this in the blender for a few moments; you’ll probably need to do this in batches. Pour a bit of the first batch into the roux and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of that blender-full and continue with the rest of the soup. Stir in 2 tablespoons of dry white wine. Now carefully return the dumplings to the pot and simmer a bit until they are heated through.
Serves 4.

Baking Challenge – Important Change

4 Jan

I had made a note in my old cookbook to use 9 x 5 pans for the Lemon-Honey Whole Wheat bread, but had NOT transferred that info to my new book.

Please use the larger pans! It will still taste good in the small pans, but it is “ Leaden Breaden” as it can’t rise properly.

A Baking Challenge

2 Jan

One of the blogs I follow  is written by a delightful lady who  talks about her family, as well as growing up Amish. Recently, she posted her goals for the New Year, one of which is to bake 52 different kinds of pie.

I mentioned that back when The Squire was still working, I had sent him off to work every morning for a month – twenty working days – with a different kind of bread. Since each batch makes two loaves, and even with three growing daughters  we couldn’t eat all of it, so I gave the extra loaves to the girls in my carpool.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been making a rich white bread (see my post for November 20), but today I decided to make a Whole Wheat loaf that The Late and Unlamented claimed was ruining his stomach. Mind you, he said that about most of the stuff I cooked. I swear, it’s a wonder that man ever got off mother’s milk.

And so – Cool Rise Honey Lemon Whole Wheat Bread

I make this in my bread machine, but you can also do it the “old fashioned” way. When I first started baking, bread machines weren’t even dreamed of. You were lucky to have an electric mixer!

3-1/4 to 4-1/4 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 packages dry yeast (4 -1/2 teaspoons if you buy it in bulk)
1 tablespoon salt (yes, that’s correct)
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2-1/4 cup hot water

I put the water into a microwave-safe cup and add the honey. It’s easier than measuring the honey by itself. I also put the butter in there to soften while I heat the water.
Use the Dough setting on your machine and let the dough rest 20 minutes before you shape it into 2 9 by 5 pans.  Brush the surface of the bread with oil or use cooking spray, and cover the loaves loosely with waxed paper and then with cling film. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the bread, remove it from the fridge and uncover. Let it sit for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400° F. Prick any surface bubbles with an oiled toothpick before baking. Bake on lower rack for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it reaches 190° internal temp. Remove from pans immediately, brush with butter or margarine, and cool on a rack.

Please note the change in the pan size.


Biker’s Holiday

1 Jan

It’s hard to believe it is really January.  The high today was 48-f, more April than mid-winter.

Most of this beautiful day was shredded by the roar of motorcycles up and down our road. A warm day and not having to go to work brought out droves of bikers, racing along the street. Come summer, we can look forward to this every. single. Sunday.