Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Farmhouse Porch

Patrice, is it cool where you are?  It is so hot in Utah that we don't want to eat supper out on the deck at the moment.  I'm coming over to your place, and I have a big pitcher of iced tea.

1.  Do you like cucumbers?  Is there a favorite way that you prepare them?

I love cucumbers,and I am more than happy to eat them with just a splash of rice vinegar and a little salt.

2.  How good a housekeeper are you?

I would say I'm pretty good.  I have a chore "hit-list" that I cycle through:  dusting, floors, kitchen cleaning, tubs, etc...  This means that there is never a day in which everything is pristine all at once; but everything gets the treatment often enough that I am OK with having company over at the spur of the moment.  That's my goal.  I'm not a CLEAN freak.  I'm a NEAT freak, though, which is a little different.  I like to keep all my stuff put away because clutter makes me feel unsettled.

3.  To spend a day reading a great book in a comfy hammock would be amazing.

4.  How do you handle times when you are "down" or "blue"?

I don't get depressed very often.  I have a "down" day maybe once every three or four months - lucky me!  When I get sad, I become very unproductive and often go back to bed.  Chuck can usually cheer me up pretty quickly, though.

5.  Have you started using essential oils, now that they have become popular?

Essential oils.  Huh.  Do we eat them?  Smell them?  Put them on our skin?  Put me in the loop, please.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Learner's Permit

"Oh, my God!  I just started the car!"
Eeeeeease up on the clutch and give it a little gas.


Aaaaand brake - ARGH!

OK.  Let's start again. 

Eeeeeease up on the clutch and give it a little gas.


Monday, July 7, 2014

June Ends in Pictures

June ends on the Lower Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.

 I need to re-pack my duffel bag.

 Mike's boat has a spot that wore almost all the way through, having rubbed on a rock during the night.
 Time for a patch-job.  The paddles prop the boat up in "dry dock".  As soon as the solvent meant to clean the area hit the scuffed part, the remaining membrane of rubber dissolved, deflating that part of the boat with a pop and a squeal reminiscent of letting go of the world's biggest balloon.  Still, the patch was successful.


 Youth, displaying various levels of enthusiasm for morning.

 The dish washing system is four tubs:  Slop (scrape off your scraps); mop (wash in detergent); rinse, bleach.  The used-up Roman candles are not part of the system.  They are the remnants of an ill-advised, dangerous, but super funny Harry Potter-esque recreation of wizard dueling the night before.
Packing up and getting ready to move

Spencer and Russell

Kaitie and Trevor

Me, with Chuck and the kids

 Nathan got some time on the oars as well. This turned into a problem.  We let him row for a few minutes on the first day; and he spent the remainder of the trip begging, pleading, cajoling, threatening, manipulating, you name it, to get more time on the oars.  On the last day when the water was pretty much flat, I finally sent him and his attitude to ride with Russell and Spencer, where he was permitted to row until his hands blistered.  He was very pleased with his blisters.
 Cooling off?  Or peeing?  That's how it works.  There's a can with a seat on it to use as a toilet when you have a big job to do; but pee goes in the river.
There are no pictures of us running rapids.  That's because I put my camera away for that part.  Along with my hat, my sunglasses and the map.  The rapids did end up claiming two pairs of sunglasses, a hat and a shoe from our group.  In Slide, the biggest rapid, we had two of the five boats flip over, but no one got hurt.  I lost my own hat rowing a rapid after Slide.  I was concentrating on the rapid when a gust of wind carried my hat away.
"Aigh!  My fucking hat!"
"Row the boat!"
It is kind of precious to me:  a gift from Chuck that he bought me at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Las Vegas last year.  After the rapid, Chuck got on the oars and rowed downstream as hard as he could.  After about a mile, we found it and rescued it.  Happy day!
Bighorn sheep

 That chair is waiting for me and my paperback.

Spencer, panning for gold

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Why is Bacon So Good?" and the Universal Muffin

Because it's bacon!

This is one of Chuck's favorite sayings, so I thought I would try a recipe with several of his key food groups represented:

Spicy Bacon and Beer Muffins

If you  also love the noble pig, here's some real bacon-porn.

 Cooking Light has promised me these!  They look hearty!
3 T dark brown sugar
2 t water
1/2 t Cayenne pepper
3 smoked bacon slices
3 T old-fashioned rolled oats
1 T flour
1 T unsalted butter, melted

1 3/4 C flour
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
2/3 C stout beer (I used Murphy's)
3 T oil
1 t vanilla
1 large egg, lightly beaten


 1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack on the baking sheet.  I don't have a wire rack.  I used a broiler pan instead, which worked fine.  Don't forget the foil, or you will regret it.
 2.  To prepare streusel, combine 3 T brown sugar, 2 t water and Cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

 3.  Spread the mixture evenly over both sides of the bacon.  Or, just stick it in the sugar/pepper mixture and slosh it around.  But wash the Cayenne pepper off your fingers when you're done,  or you'll regret it.  This is becoming an "...or you'll regret it" recipe.  Bacon and beer, and fraught with danger!
 Place the bacon on the rack.
 Bake it for 18 minutes or until done. Yes, folks, we're bakin' bacon.   The drippings are full of sugar, so they will burn in the bottom pan and really gunk it up.  You won't care, though:  celebrate the invention of foil.  Remember that there is smoke from the burning sugar and the smoke is also infused with Cayenne.  Every time I opened the oven to check on the bakin' bacon, I had a fit of coughing.  More danger.
 Bake it at 400 degrees F for about 18 minutes, or until done.  Let it cool.
 Finely chop.
 3.  Combine oats and 1 T flour in a small bowl.
 Stir in the butter.
 Stir in 2 T of the chopped bacon; reserve the remaining bacon.  Threaten all those who try to pick at it and steal it by telling them that it has been infused with freakish amounts of Cayenne.

 4.  Reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and place in a large bowl.  Add remaining bacon, 1/2 C brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Stir well.
 In a medium bowl, combine beer, oil, vanilla and egg.  Stir gently with a whisk.
 Add the beer mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
 5.  Evenly distribute the mix among your muffin cups.  Think to yourself that they look kind of skimpy.  Cooking Light always manages to make their portions look huge when they are in fact small.  Yes, I know.  We're cooking LIGHT. Whatever.
 Sprinkle the streusel over the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool them for a few minutes, them take them out of their cups to continue cooling.

The kids loved them.  They ate them after supper last night and again for breakfast this morning.  I thought that the candied bacon was THE BOMB.  The muffins were a little bit ho-hum as a setting for them.  I find myself wishing I would just have the bacon back.  Chuck thought they should be sweeter and said that he likes his "muffins to be muffins".  I'm still trying to figure out what that means.  How do we define the Universal Muffin?  A question to ponder for sure.

Final analysis.  Ponder the Universal Muffin while eating bacon candied in brown sugar and Cayenne whenever you can.  Don't bother with these.