Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcome to My Wild Life

Subtitled: A post in which I say Shit more than 3 times... but at least this week the dog didn't find a skunk.....

Holy S-h-i-t. I just found out the neighbor has seen a bear in her yard every morning around 3 for the last two weeks...... our house is in BETWEEN her house and the giant pile of bear shit we saw down by the creek. That might explain some of the dog's behavior. And let's not get into what she is doing up at 3 every day, ok?

Sunday afternoon I was looking out the window and I saw a blur behind a tree. It looked like a very dark, very tall, very fast-moving deer. I had a momentary glimpse of it as it came out from behind the tree and all I saw were legs, wattles & palmated horns.... yup, folks, we have the first confirmed moose sighting EVER. Hot Stuff was upstairs and I hollered "HOLY SHIT, HON.... THERE'S A MOOSE HEADING FOR THE COMPOST PILE...." Or something similarly intelligent (simultaneously setting the dog to bark which made the baby wail in fright and sent the moose headed north).

We have the usual contingent of deer (two moms, three babies, a spindly spike and one other larger male that won't get too close) bu they seem to be celebrating a family reunion of sorts.... last night I counted over 20 deer within ball-throwing distance of the house.... and I'm not even a very good thrower..... Sad when you have to honk the horn in the driveway to get the deer to move so you can park. One of the babies is looking pretty pathetic.... thick necked and mangy looking.... maybe scabies? He is still eating but doesn't look good.... and all I can think is, "Please don't die in my yard...." Hot Stuff went out last night with the chain saw and cut some branches off the hanging willow tree so the deer could eat the leaves... they love the leaves. He mumbled something about the branches being too low but we all know the truth....

And our fourth and final sighting of the week?? I'll give you a hint.... Hot Stuff found a stash of dog food behind the dryer. Yup, you guessed it. I was reading a magazine last night, looked up, and saw Zippy the Mouse go cruising across the kitchen floor. Frag it. If you live on the edge of a grassy field you KNOW you will have mice.. especially in the fall... but do the little buggars have to add insult to injury by flaunting themselves and skipping around in the kitchen? I really miss having a kitty today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Love This - Hate This: Kitchen Edition

Love this: Sign. From Elle. Above the sink.

Hate this: Paint color.... antique white? Everyone I work with... and we are talking designers amazing..... LOVES Antique White. Give me Navaho White any day. Apparently.... I don't like warm and pink.

Hate this: Chipped sink faucet. Dent in the faucet base (courtesy of hanging the above sign with a teeny-tiny nail to "just see how it looks" and then... crash!). Ugly hard water stains. Oddly unpleasant minty hand soap. Pink countertop.

Love this: Um, I love that it gives me water? Usually. Except when the power is out for SIX HOURS on Sunday.

Love this: Tiny pottery pitcher full of toothpicks. Lovely pottery bowl full of change. See how lovely the deck looks with new stain. Deep windowsills from old log cabin structure.

Hate this: Worn window paint (you can't really see how awful it is) on the outside and inside. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to this candle stink.... it is gone now and replaced. Wow, those are some d-i-r-t-y windows.

Love this: Tiny tomato crop.

Hate this: Masking tape to make the coffee pot work. Pink countertops (trust me, the photo is simply NOT doing them justice).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Crock.

Ah.... I've had a request for my favorite crock pot recipe..... how can I resist that?

I love my crock pot.

My favorite, favorite, favorite recipe is..... beans. As in..... rinse some dried beans, throw them in the pot with water, cook. Toss in some bacon or a ham bone. Maybe some diced jalapenos. Eat them with corn bread made in a cast iron skillet the first night. Then mashed and re-fried on tortillas the rest of the week.

My cooking is why God created Bean-O.

My second favorite recipe... which may or may not be made in the crock pot is:

Creamy White Bean Chili (perfect for around here these days as it gets colder) This is the official recipe but you can modify it for using dried beans or for using up various bits and pieces of leftovers in your fridge.....

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into ½” cubes)
1 med onion –chopped
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 TBS vegi oil
2 cans (15 ½ oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
½ c whipping cream

In large sauce pan, sauté chicken, onion & garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies & seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream & whipping cream. Serve immediately.

And, to transition from beans to the creamy in the second.....

Cream Cheese Chicken
(I'll admit... I rarely actually follow the recipe and you have to watch this one or it gets too salty)

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
Salt and pepper
2 packets dry Ranch or Italian Dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 chopped onion

Brush chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a Crock Pot and sprinkle 1 packet dry mix over all. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (ok, I've never cooked a chicken breast this long in a crock pot...). About 45 minutes before done, brown onion in 1/4 cup of juices from Crock Pot. Add soup, second packet of dry dressing mix, cream cheese and chicken broth. Cook until smooth. Pour over the chicken and cover and cook another 45 minutes. Serve with sauce. Goes great with rice, stuffing, pasta or mashed potatoes! Add in broccoli or other veggies for variety.... I usually end up piling in a lot of veggies so I can call it "health" food....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pita Pizza to the rescue!

Elle is in search of quick and easy kid-friendly dinners.... anyone?

I will give you my new favorite: Pita Pizzas.

Here's how to make them:

Get home from work at 5:45.
Set oven to 350.
Grab pitas from fridge & put on a cookie sheet.

Top with a blob of tomato sauce, a sprinkle of pizza seasoning & a handful of mozzarella cheese.

Give kids an espresso cup of milk and a saucer plate of wheat thins with letters written on them with squeeze cheese. Call it tea, appetizers AND a home-school lesson.

Top pizzas as wanted. Kids get pepperoni, leftover bacon or just cheese. Dads get leftover taco meat. Moms get piles of veggies and a sprinkle of fancy aged parmesan or maybe some feta.

Put in the oven at 5:48 and bake for 7-9 minutes.

Dinner is on the table by 6:00.

Serve with apple slices and baby carrots.

Variations (we use MacKenzie River Pizza's menu for inspiration):
Wing style: wing sauce, leftover chicken, celery & bleu cheese crumbles.
Greek: feta, olives & sundried tomatoes
White: alfredo sauce & sauteed veggies
Tree Huggery: pesto & veggies

Pitas have about 260 calories each I think. Not sure of the calorie count of the rest of it but it's a pretty healthy way to do pizza if you avoid the pepperoni. And a FUN-FUN-FUN (and cheap)thing to do on a Friday night..... make pita pizzas & watch a movie.... eat in the living room and make popcorn for dessert!!

Skunk: 1 Dog: 0

Nature's Miracle Skunk Stink Remover.

Worth. Every. Penny.