Monday, May 31, 2010

If you wish to be brothers, drop your weapons. ~Pope John Paul II

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Skinny Cow Dulce de Leche stuff is AMAZING!

Pi are NOT squared!

Pie are round.

We made those pies last August....Apple, I believe. Simple, Cut apples, add sugar and spice and everything nice and I believe we even made the crust. Can't remember where we got the recipe though.

Today I went looking for a recipe for blueberry pie to make for my brother's 50th birthday and I now have a dilemma.
Serious? It's that complicated to make a blueberry pie???
Think he'd notice if I got a Can o' Pie and dumped it in a Box o' Crust and baked it and called it good?
Or maybe a Box o' Frozen pie and just shoved it in the oven??

Sigh..............It'll take forever....(whine! )
It'll mess my kitchen up......(whimper!)
I'll have all that leftover vodka.......(mwahahaha!)

(I might add pictures....IF it turns out. I'll definitely add pictures if it doesn't......;-) specially if I find some use for the leftover vodka.....)

From America's Test Kitchen: "This recipe was developed using fresh blueberries, but unthawed frozen blueberries (our favorite brands are Wyman’s and Cascadian Farm) will work as well. If using frozen berries, in steps 16 & 17, cook half the frozen berries over medium-high heat, without mashing, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 12 to 15 minutes. Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor. If using pearl tapioca, reduce the amount to 5 teaspoons. Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute." Cook time includes chill times.

SERVES 8 , 1 9-inch pie (change servings and units)


Foolproof Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold (see note above)
1/4 cup cold water

Blueberry Filling

6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces, see note above)
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground (see note above)
1 pinch table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


1 For The Pie Dough:

2 Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses.

3 Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour.

4 Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade; Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.

5 Empty mixture into medium bowl.

6 Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.

7 With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

8 Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

9 Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.

10 Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side.

11 Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand.

12 Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

13 For The Filling:

14 Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees.

15 Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat.

16 Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. (Note: If using frozen berries, see note in recipe description above).

17 Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

18 Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry; transfer apple to large bowl.

19 Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine.

20 Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.

21 Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.

22 Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough; cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole.

23 Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang on each side.

24 Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang.

25 Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate.

26 Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal.

27 Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

28 Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.

29 Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

30 Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours.

31 Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Snackgirl website got me craving a soft boiled egg
But I don't have any egg cups!
I'm raising chickens and have no egg cups??

How about a Liqueur glass?

(3 second after taking that last picture, my arm bumped the egg cup and it spilled the egg roly poly across the counter. Dumping out all the delicious yolk in the process! Boo hoo!
I scraped the yolk off the counter with a piece of toast, but it just wasn't the same.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

try: a new physical activity 
see: the brighter side of life
taste: my food; not just eat it
listen: to my inner voice
visit: the seashore
start: living in the today
stop: looking ahead so much for tomorrow
organize: my purse
read: the books on my bedstand
play: music more often
learn: patience

The chickens love cantaloupe seeds!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just had to share this delicious breakfast from a book I bought.
Goofy name, but it really is good and fills you up.
I don't like to eat breakfast but this makes only a half a cup
and I can easily eat this every day.
I use lime juice instead of lemon and until I get some flax oil, I am using olive.
I grind about 2 cups of the cereal and then keep it in a sealed container in the fridge, same with the walnuts.
That way it takes only about 5 minutes to make and eat the breakfast. A big plus for me.
I know breakfast is imortant, but I can't stand to fuss in the kitchen in the am.

Magical Breakfast Cream
Serves: 1

4 to 6 tablespoons yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons finely ground cereal (with zero sugar such as Post Shredded Wheat)
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts

1.Put the yogurt in a bowl and add the oil. Mix well. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Add the honey and mix well. (It is important to add each ingredient one at a time and mix well to obtain a homogeneous preparation.)

2.Finely grind the cereal and walnuts (I use a small food processor). Add to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Serve at once.

PS. The book is French Women Don't get Fat - while the book is a little simplistic, I like the common sense ideas in it and I love the way she writes. Very woman to woman, kinda like how I would suppose a European girl friend would talk.

The recipes are very provencial too, and I love that country French style of food.
My Mother's Day was spent........

Planting our entire 50x30 garden!
Zucchini, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, strawberries, onions, peppers,
tomatoes, kohlrabi, rhubarb, potatoes, carrots and corn!

Oy! I am so sore today!
Actually we ran out of tatos so I need to buy some more
(half the bag was rotted) and we are stagger planting the
corn so it ripens 2 rows every other week.

Luckily I had two happy farm helpers so it was actually quite a fun Mother's Day!
I also had one helper working in the yard and two other helpers made dinner!
What a loverly Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sick over the health honchos' pay
By Danny Westneat

Seattle Times staff columnist

You might not think these would be the fattest of times in the health-insurance business.
Medical costs are soaring. The number of people buying health coverage is plummeting. It's a double whammy that's pinching the insurance industry and fueling the nation's health-care crisis.

So they say.
So how is it that the CEO of Premera Blue Cross, Herbert "Gubby" Barlow, of Mercer Island, scored a $1.3 million bonus in 2009? Even as his company served up insurance to 10 percent fewer people than the year before?

Including the bonus, Barlow made $2.2 million in 2009, up $115,000 from 2008, according to compensation data released Tuesday by the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Group Health President Scott Armstrong's pay and bonus came to $1.6 million — a 31 percent boost over the year before.

And Mark Ganz, CEO of Regence health plans in Washington and Oregon, came in third in this dubious sweepstakes, earning $1.1 million including bonus.

Have I mentioned that these three companies are all nonprofits?

"Look, I'm a Republican, so I don't usually get outraged by what people are paid, but this really angers me," says Brian McCulloch, a Shoreline insurance consultant and longtime nag of the state's nonprofit insurers.
"With all these plans jacking up premiums and losing members to the ranks of uninsured, they choose now to grab all this money off the table?"

In defense of Regence, the total compensation of their CEO, Ganz, was the only one of the three that apparently dropped in 2009. (The state says the pay figures may not be complete because most insurance companies have out-of-state subsidiaries that aren't required to report here.)

Despite the recession and an inflation rate near zero, all three companies raised average premiums substantially in 2009 (Regence by 17 percent; Group Health, 13 percent; and Premera, 6 percent, according to the state.)

The pay, the premium increases, the opposition to more regulation of its industry — it all led a former insurance executive in Oregon to charge that Regence has started acting more like a hedge fund than the Northwest's largest not-for-profit health insurer.
Of course CEO pay isn't what really matters in the health-care debate, just as it wasn't the crucial factor on Wall Street. Lowering it to zero wouldn't make medicine any more affordable for the rest of us.

But million-dollar bonuses are a sign something's gone off the rails, Robby Stern told me as he helped put yellow crime-scene tape around Regence's Seattle headquarters in a protest Tuesday.
"Health care is a fundamental need people have," he said. "It's not supposed to be a product to make people rich."
Now Stern is a '60s lefty and retired labor union leader (he was protesting Regence on behalf of Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans.)
McCulloch ran twice as a Republican for state insurance commissioner.
After talking to them both, I can vouch they don't agree on practically anything about health-care reform.

Except this: Insurance profits are obscene.

McCulloch estimates the big three local insurers are holding $1.3 billion in surpluses that could be returned to the public. While still leaving plenty of cushion to pay out future claims.
The insurance companies counter that they aren't the problem. Rising medical costs are the true culprit in America's health-care crisis.
They may be right, at least in the long term. Controlling doctor and hospital bills is going to be the toughest challenge.

Because it means eventually we'll all have to do something as Americans we're not very good at: Accept less.
To get the hang of that, I vote we start with the guys getting the million-dollar bonuses.

Danny Westneat's column appears Wednesday and Sunday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
Piece of garbage health insurance company just raised our rates 14.4%.
So glad the not-for-profit CEO got 1.6 million last year!

We're out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So much for planting last week, it was too darn cold!
The surrounding hills actually got a new dusting of snow last night! -Preposterous!
Chickens are doing well, just haven't had time to update this.
We got rid of the rooster and the girls have settled down nicely.
We did our first complete coop clean and it wasn't as bad as I thought. The inside stays so dry
that all the chicken poop dries and there really isn't much smell or mess.
The run was MUCH worse!
ugh! The smell!

I think Petrie has emerged at top chicken and Bernice definately defers to her!
I will get pictures up soon.