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Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

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  • Monday, February 28, 2011

    Sound Bites and Protest Signs

    The first time I heard the term "sound bite" was during the presidential election between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Journalists, especially those on TV and radio, found ways to pull out a small snippet of a candidate's speech and use it to form the basis of a news story. Remember these?
    Read my lips: no new taxes!
    It's the economy.
    ...a kinder, gentler nation.
    Save Social Security!

    Protest signs have a similar challenge: not much space, the need for a quick message, one that a driver can read at a glance and continue driving safely. Amigo told me he was rallying for his teachers: those who had taught him in the past and those who were his teachers now. We talked over simple slogans, and he decided to include a little Braille to remind people that all students, no matter what their needs, must be educated. He used his Perkins Brailler to show me how to write SOS correctly, and we were ready. He knew which side of the sign to face out because he could feel the stick & duct tape on the back.

    There's a classic saying, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." The signmaker below has a variation on that theme - a variation that also points to new governor's insistence that Wisconsin is "Open for Business." How he thinks a strong business economy can exist without educated workers is beyond me. But that's another post...

    Anti-bullying programs and zero-tolerance policies for physical, verbal, and cyber bullying are common across the country. In many states, such policies are mandated by the Department of Public Instruction. Gov. Walker's method for dashing off a divisive and devastating bill that guts the rights of many is just that - bullying. Questions? See below.

    Sound bites or protest signs, they work in a similar fashion: quick to make a point, easy to understand, easy to remember, and the potential to provoke a more in-depth discussion. Let's hope the bully decides to mediate soon so that Wisconsin workers don't need many more signs.

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    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Workplace Safety close to home

    After last week's post with union history, I heard from relatives who reminded me of my grandfather's union past. He worked for a paper mill in the 1940s before workers were union members.

    The mills were extremely dangerous places to work back then. If not for unions, the mills could and did treat people as though they were expendable. A mill manager could arbitrarily fire a long time paper machine operator and replace him with an incompetent relative or neighbor. This kind of grossly unfair management was only stopped when the unions came in.
    He saw great injuries caused by the paper machines. Safety wasn't mandatory; making money was.
    He saw people lose their hearing before ear protection became mandatory. One of those so disabled was my great uncle.
    He was there when people died gruesome deaths. Two men from his little town went into a giant digester machine for maintenance and suffered gruesome deaths from a steam explosion.
    Later, three local men died from inhaling toxic chemicals (Hydrogen Sulfite) in a sewer. Grandpa talked about this at length, blaming a combination of incompetent management and poorly trained, unprepared workers.

    Readers, go back into your family history. You may have someone who remembers life before unions, life before OSHA, and life before management was forced to be fair. Ask your grandparents; you may find surprising stories.

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    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    What's the middle class - does it still exist?

    A few years ago, a colleague told me that we teachers were part of a dying breed; the American middle class. Teachers, police officers, firefighters were a few of the socio-economic level in the middle - not rich, not poor. Not overburdened with too much money, not stretched to the breaking point with too little. Owning a house, a very very very fine house, with two cats in the yard -- you get the picture. Not wealthy, but secure enough to buy bicycles for the kids and eventually send them to college without too many loans.

    No matter what the outcome of the so-called "Budget Repair Bill" that guts bargaining rights, we'll remember those who took action and those who listened when we expressed our concerns. We're willing to invest more in our insurance and our pensions; we know that the state deficit is very large and everyone must contribute. If the right to bargain is lost, however, we also face the loss of the security that allows us to buy bicycles and still buy groceries, send the kids to college and still pay the mortgage. Is that too much to ask?

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    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Amigo gets political

    It was a typical Friday night. I pulled up to the store parking lot to meet the bus from the school for blind, gather Amigo and his bags, and head home.

    As he got in the car, he was full of excitement. "Mom, did you hear what's happening in Madison?" He continued talking, telling how he'd been learning about how the legislature works, what a quorum is and why it's important, and a lot about the process of writing and passing a law.
    Then he dropped the bombshell.
    "Mom, I wish I could go to Madison tomorrow for the demonstration."
    I offered, "How about downtown on the plaza tomorrow afternoon?"
    Amigo responded with an enthusiastic "Yeah!!"

    So we made a sign for Amigo, I wore red to support my colleagues, and La Petite charged her camera to document the event. Here's the rest of the story. The top photo shows my neighbors, both retired high school teachers, great people and great teachers. No, they're not wearing Bear colors; those are the colors of my alma mater, West High School.

    This was perhaps the youngest participant at the rally.

    I don't usually show full face shots of my offspring, but they were so great together I couldn't resist.

    I'll have more background on Saturday's post: personal experiences passed down through the family the old fashioned way, by the oral tradition. Well, the updated oral tradition: my relatives emailed me the stories they'd heard from my grandfather.

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    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Yet another Basic Bread Recipe

    I feel like I can never have too many options for baking bread. Lately I've made at least one loaf a week, sometimes two. Home made bread makes my toast and sandwiches so much better than factory-produced loaves. Since I use a bread machine, I can accomplish this task even when I'm having a difficult day with fatigue or headaches. Just throw in the wet ingredients, then the dry, topped by the yeast. Here's my new one that (sort of, you know me) came with the new bread maker.

    Daisy's Basic Everyday Delicious Bread
    adapted from the recipe that came with my Sunbeam 5891

    For a 1.5 pound loaf, add ingredients to bread machine in this order.
    1 cup + 2 Tablespoons water, 75-85 degrees F. (1 minute in the microwave does the trick)
    1 Tablespoon butter or margarine or olive oil (I've tried all three; they work exactly the same)
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    1 Tablespoon non-fat dry milk powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 cups bread flour
    1/2 cup wheat flour
    1 Tablespoon whole wheat gluten
    2 1/2 bread machine yeast

    Set bread machine for white course, light crust, and 1 1/2 lb. loaf. Enjoy! Your house will smell wonderful.


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    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Thinking ahead for this year's garden

    Thinking ahead - gardeners do this a lot. I'm stuck inside with a major headache, but I can look out the windows and see sunshine in a late-winter thaw. Sunshine lifts my spirits and raises thoughts and plans for spring's eventual arrival. I don't have a drawing yet; yes, I often sketch the garden plan so I buy the right number of plants and seeds. Most of the winter I'm in brainstorming and dreaming mode.

    Random gardening thoughts:
    • I'd like to incorporate shallots and leeks. They can go in the smallest corner of the triangular garden.
    • We'll have the fence up this year with a supporting border of marigolds, so I'll put in broccoli. Maybe our own bunnies will actually get to eat it! Last year only the wild backyard cottontails had the joy of fresh broccoli.
    • I'm letting the raspberries expand. I moved the chives and asparagus out of the general area of the raspberries, so nothing is in the way of their spreading. Not that anything stops raspberry plants!
    • Peas will go in front of the beans on a new trellis. They didn't get enough sun last year, so the move will help. Peas mature before beans, so they'll be harvested and gone before the beans need the bulk of the sunshine.
    • Squash! Where should the squash go? I'm putting in butternut squash and my usual zucchini. If I plant the seeds near the beans or peas, they'll grow toward the sun. They also mature later. This should work.
    • Bunny food! The usual lettuces and spinach and parsley will have a space. They might go in the area that will be taken over later by squash.
    • Tomatoes; oh, I love my tomatoes. I had success canning stewed tomatoes and salsa, so I'm going to put in more heirloom pulp tomato varieties. I'll still put in the standard eating tomatoes and the cherries; they're delicious and they freeze well.
    • Freezing: now that's another post.
    You can get a sense of my garden plans for the coming season. I'm planning on using the space well, using the sunshine efficiently, and preserving more of the harvest. Oh, winter sunshine, you taunt me! I want to get started now.

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    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    I teach, and I pay taxes.

    Or should I say "I pay taxes and I teach"?

    Folks who've seen the Wisconsin budget drama on CNN or Fox News or CSNBC probably wonder. "Daisy, you're a teacher! You live in Wisconsin! You're a progressive thinker and active in politics! Why have you said nothing about the demonstrations? Or the disappearance of the Senate Democrats? Or Governor Walker's bad hair and desire for make-up any time a camera is near? Never mind that last one.

    I haven't posted yet because it's so upsetting. Today I'm checking in periodically, but I'm minimizing my TV news time. My news junkie self is not compatible with the depressive self, and I'm in a pretty bad state right now - pun intended.

    Instead, I'd like to share a few facts about union history. Consider it a history lesson featuring the American worker.

    Early railroad worker unions were primarily insurance providers. The workers could not get standard insurance because their work was considered too hazardous, the workers too risky to insure. From Railroad Labor and its History

    The first organization of working women to organize was the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association, a group of young women working in textile mills. For a descriptive piece on the Lowell Mills Girls, look to this piece, an overview of women's labor rights at the time. From Women and Unions, early efforts

    Unions helped outlaw child labor and protect worker safety. The horrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire spurred further movements to keep workers safe at work. Work also means outdoor work. Heard of Cesar Chavez? The United Farm Workers are glad he took the lead to improve their treatment.

    Unions are about people: working people. Unions help regulate working conditions, wages, and employee rights. Benefits in union contracts include paid sick days, working conditions, grievance procedures, opportunities for advancement or changing positions, length of workday, and more. My current contract has 182 pages, single spaced. It's a complex, thoughtful agreement between the school board and the association that represents the district's teachers.

    Every paycheck I receive has taxes taken out. Yes, I teach. Yes, I pay taxes. Yes, I'm a union member.

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    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Comfort Foods: Winter Warm-ups

    The saying goes "If you don't like Wisconsin weather, wait a day." Last week we were dressing in several layers and wearing our boots for the warmth, not the snow. This week temperatures rose above freezing, and I joined the line at the car wash. I walked to the polls on Tuesday with an umbrella, thinking "It's warm enough for rain, wow!" Comfort foods are still on the table, though. Mother Nature is just teasing. I know we could still get another blizzard or two.

    When the weather outside is frightful, I go with the standards: chili and homemade bread. This is chili Wisconsin style, with beans and noodles. Trust me; it warms physically and emotionally.

    Daisy's Wisconsin Chili (slow cooker style)

    1 can dark red kidney beans
    1 can light red kidney beans
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 lb. browned ground beef
    1/4 cup diced onion
    1/4 cup diced peppers (green & red bell peppers are my favorites)
    1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
    1 Tablespoon chili powder
    1 can tomato sauce

    1 cup noodles; elbow mac or shells are my favorites.

    Brown ground beef in a skillet with the onion and peppers. Drain and rinse.
    Add ingredients to slow cooker in this order:
    1. beans
    2. tomatoes
    3. ground beef & onion & pepper mix
    4. chili powder
    5. tomato sauce

    Simmer on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. An hour before serving, add noodles and turn to high. Stir.

    Serve with with glorious toppings from America's Dairyland:
    • a teaspoon of sour cream with diced green onions or chives
    • grated cheese: basic cheddar or for the adventurous, pepper jack
    I've had good luck with dried beans as well. Measure out 1 cup of each kind, soak overnight, and rinse before adding to slow cooker. Black beans also work well; they add a different flavor and color to the mix.
    I've also used home-canned tomatoes and home grown peppers. If you can tomatoes from your own garden, it's such a great flavor! The home grown peppers may be smaller, but the taste will be strong and you'll dispense with the waxy covering on many store tomatoes.
    As for the beef, no, I don't raise my own cattle. Sorry.

    As for bread, I use my bread machine. You can find my basic bread recipes in these posts.

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    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    As heard on Social Networking

    "Has anyone seen my ambition? I've lost it."
    "It eloped with my patience. They'll make a lovely couple."
    "I think it kidnapped my get-up-and-go. They're living it up in a warm climate somewhere."

    "I like to suck the guts out of kiwis. Just thought you'd li
    ke to know."
    "No, fuzzy fruit, not fuzzy-hatted drunken men."

    Lately Twitter has been full of comments on the action in Madison, pictures of the protests, links to articles and news videos with more information. This picture was shared by an American school administrator currently working at a school in the Middle East.

    This one gave me a lump in my throat. Thanks, @scarter. Win or lose this battle, we Wisconsin teachers feel supported.

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    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Super Bowl - victory to the underdog?

    The Green Bay Packers were not expected to even make it into the playoffs this year. Early in the season they stumbled, and mid-season they fell. Then they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and started all over again.

    It wasn't a true do-over; they still stood with a record of 9 wins and 6 losses going into the last game of the season against the dreaded Chicago Bears. The Bears had already clinched the division title and playoff eligibility. The Packers? They had to win if they wanted to play post-season games.

    They did it that cool Sunday. They beat Da Bears 10-3 in a defensive battle. The underdog, the one not expected to win, pulled it off and won themselves the right to keep playing in a Wild Card slot.

    The team headed to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. We served Philly pepper steak with cheese; delicious. Aaron Rodgers and company ate up the field and pulled out a win and the privilege to travel to another away game, this time in Atlanta. The Falcons had beaten the Packers early in the season in a heartbreaker of a game. Both teams had played their hearts out, but the Falcons scored a field goal in the last minute of the game to win 20-17. Heartbreaker? It hurt to watch, and it hurt to remember.

    The Packers had lost the last meeting with the Falcons; that's the main focus. Would they lose again? Or would they turn the tables and win a close one? Coming in as the underdog, what would the results be?

    They beat the heck out of the Falcons. Underdog? They outplayed the birds 48-21. No doubt about it; this was not the same Packers team that had barely lost the previous contest in November.

    This was the game that had me re-thinking the term Underdog. An underdog, according to various dictionaries, is one who is not expected to win or one at a significant disadvantage. With a final score of 48-21, I had a hard time considering Rodgers et. al. to be at a significant disadvantage. They had the ability, the motivation, and the advantage that day. Underdog? The only disadvantage they had in Atlanta was that as a Wild Card team, they didn't get home field advantage. In the end, it didn't seem to matter.

    After eating peach cobbler and drinking Coke products during the Packers-Falcons game, we prepared for the big one: the NFC Conference Champions, a re-match with Da Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago. We decorated the house in green and gold, served bear claws for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and ribs for supper. The Packers had won the last meet-up; were they an underdog this time?

    Nope. No underdogs this week; the only disadvantage was the condition of the field, a problem for both teams. Green Bay played another strong game, winning the Halas trophy and the right to play in the Big Game: Super Bowl XLV!!!

    Sometimes the opponent underestimates an underdog, one not expected to win, leading to an upset or unexpected dramatic score. The Pittsburgh Steelers organization sported five Lombardi trophies to Green Bay's three, not counting championships won before the Super Bowl began. Terry Bradshaw, while admittedly biased toward his old team, waved a Terrible Towel and predicted the Steelers to win handily. Steelers starting quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger had been playing longer than Aaron Rodgers and had a Tough Guy image to go with the experience. We almost expected Ben in a black cowboy hat and Aaron in a white one coming out for a duel at the 50 yard lines instead of a coin toss.

    Chuck served up kielbasa and pierogies with Klondike bars for dessert as we awaited the kick-off time. Commercials? We were here to watch the game!

    Ultimately, the "underdog" didn't play like one. Green Bay had one weak quarter (the third, after injuries to two major players hurt their momentum and concentration), but otherwise controlled the game. They forced three turnovers and scored from each one. The defense refused to allow Pittsburgh to move downfield one last time, knocking down a pass on a critical fourth down.

    Underdog? Not this Green Bay Packers team. Led by a talented and classy MVP quarterback, the boys in green and yellow were more like late bloomers. They started the season with some inconsistency, lost many important starters to injuries, but then they pulled together and became the team that wouldn't lose any more.

    A week later, the city of Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin are still basking in the glory of our Green Bay Packers. XLV was no underdog accident; it was a well-deserved and well-earned achievement.

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    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Home Made Ice Cream!


    I've used this simple vanilla ice cream as a base with other fun add-ins. I use egg substitute to reduce the risk of using uncooked eggs; when using real eggs, 1/4 cup egg substitute = 1 egg.

    Makes: Ten 1/2 -cup senings
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 1/2 cup egg substitute
    2 cups heavy cream
    1-3/4 cups whole milk
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Place sugar and egg substitute in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric
    hand miser until light and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add cream, milk and vanilla. Mix on
    medium speed until combined, about 1 - 2 minutes.

    Pour into freezer bowl of ice cream maker and turn the machine ON. Let mix until mixture thickens, about 20 - 25 minutes. If desired, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer until firm, about 2 hours.

    Add hard pieces 5 minutes before ice cream is done mixing in ice cream maker. I added green, yellow, and brown mini-m&ms as a lead-up to the Super Bowl. Why brown? For the footballs, of course.
    In general, add a total of 1/2 cup of solid add-ins. If you're using two, such as chocolate and nuts, use 1/4 cup of each.
    The vanilla extract can be replaced by a more appropriate flavor if desired, such as peppermint or almond extract. Be creative! This recipe is a basic vanilla; I start with the basics and then make changes.
    Other add-ins:
    crushed candy canes (use peppermint extract in place of vanilla)
    chocolate chips
    nuts (consider almond extract)

    As my family says, "Good stuff, Mom." Enjoy!

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    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Drama. Too much Sunday drama.

    Let's work backwards.

    It's evening, we're watching the Grammy Awards, and I'm feeling almost uncomfortably full. I should have saved my dessert for tomorrow. Pumpkin cheesecake would have made a great breakfast with coffee. It was delicious; I'll have to admit that it was delicious, and on top of a great pre-Valentine's Day celebratory dinner. Chuck had rib eye and lobster tail; I had tenderloin with shrimp scampi. Both were fabulous.

    It was a fitting end to the evening, though, being able to relax and reboot after all the drama.

    We spent the afternoon computer shopping. I'd like a smaller laptop, maybe even a netbook, for traveling. Amigo would really like to have a laptop available with his adaptive software. We found a few good laptops on sale in the same price range as the netbooks, and decided to check them out. We took a rather anxious and tense Amigo to the Big Box Store to ask questions and try them out. We put him in charge of trying out the keyboards while we read the specifics and asked questions about repairs and warranties and features included (or not). He relaxed as he worked the keyboards and found out what they felt like and confirmed that yes, he could learn this new type of keyboard and use it successfully.

    Back up again. Midday, while introducing our two smaller bunnies in the hopes that we can program them to coexist in the same space, Chuck let them get too close too soon. Fur flew. Scent trails were presented. Chuck had to reach into the melee and separate the two. To reassure you, readers, neither bunny was injured. They're back to their Safe Mode with Krumpet in her cage in the corner and Sadie running freely through the room. They interact through the cage bars by sniffing, licking, and looking at each other. We'll wait for another day to put them together without the firewalls.

    Back up to the day's beginning. I slept late - much too late. I'm not sure I like this new medicine; I'm in such a daze in the mornings that I just can't move. But I digress. While I was dragging myself out of sleep mode, Chuck was already downstairs toasting frozen waffles for Amigo and turning on the desktop computer - well, trying to turn on the desktop computer. It was dead - overheated from a malfunction in the fan and cards that triggered the fan to function. We repaired this a few weeks ago; we were warned then that if it happened again, it would signal the end.

    A destroyed computer is a problem. Due to Amigo's needs and due to our tech-addicted family, we need to replace it ASAP. But this week? Chuck, the hardware and software expert, is extremely busy this week. He can't take off from work, and he wants to do this on his own. I trust him to do it right, and he'll stress out and send his blood pressure sky high if he's worried about me taking care of the purchase. So... he did the research today. It'll make the act of choosing and buying simpler and faster.

    Backing up; No. I think at this point we need to move forward. I'll take my evening medicines, leave La Petite in charge of the bunnies and Chuck in charge of the computer(s), and I'll go to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream.

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    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Sleep, still elusive; my foggy brain

    La Petite asked me, "Mom, is your spaciness from the depression or from the medicines, the anti-depressants?" I didn't know. I thought perhaps it was a little of both.

    I don't like the spaciness - the feeling of being in a fog. Some days the fog lifts a little, some days more. Some days it's like slogging through a swamp, when I can hardly move around the house, much less get up and out and accomplish anything.

    I posed the question to an expert, a professional counselor. He said it's the depression in general, and the sleeplessness leads to the flakiness, the spacey feeling of not quite having it all together. We talked about sleep and its importance, clinical studies that he'd read about how and why sleep is so important to the brain. He used the analogy of a computer doing a defrag. During a deep sleep, the brain goes through its contents and organizes. The most important "files" are categorized and attached to something relevant in a brain location with easy and quick access. The less important data may go on a less frequently used pathway. Those files that really, truly, don't matter, can be set aside or tossed in the recycle bin for good. With insufficient sleep, the brain can't reorganize, pull itself together. Due to my sleep troubles, my brain doesn't get to reconfigure its data files, leaving me unfocused and forgetful by day.

    To sleep, perchance to dream. Or maybe not. I still have the occasional odd dream, the kind that wakes me up either tense to the point of pain or sweating from head to toe. On the bright side, these nightmares turn up less often than they used to; they're not a nightly occurrence any more. Maybe, just maybe, the bad dreams will fade away, I'll begin sleeping more, and my brain will bring itself back to its wise and savvy normal.

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    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Dream On: Out of the fog

    The snowmen are still around. Packer decor is scattered all over the house. The Dream Tree on the wall is new, a gift from an artist friend. I wasn't ready to take it down after Christmas.

    Somehow, she knew what I was feeling and how down I was before Christmas. Between clinical depression, work challenges, and the physical pain caused by both, I was at my lowest when this arrived.

    The tree is beautiful; it's not just for Christmas. Did she know my dining room walls are blue, and the colors are perfect? Whether she did or not, my artist friend knew I needed to dream, and dream of peace. The colors, the design, the shapes all speak to me of peace. There is a special tiny ornament, too - can you see it?

    It's an owl. Artist Friend chose an owl for me because she considers me a wise colleague. I have a good memory and a lot of background knowledge, but I haven't been feeling very wise lately. By giving me this small owl on this wonderful piece of art, she reminded me of a side of myself that is still present, still strong. And for that small but important reminder, I am very grateful.

    The spaciness that comes from depression, especially from the interrupted sleep, is still present. As my condition improves and I make more deposits into the sleep bank, I hope to show my Wise Owl side more often.

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    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Testing the Bread Machines

    In November, when the world was caving in on me, and all was definitely not well, I tried to bake bread. The loaf came out odd-shaped, not really edible. I replaced my yeast, thinking it had gotten old and was no longer effective. Then I made another loaf.

    I had the same result. Odd shape, risen in one part, not in others. Chuck decided to replace the bread machine for Christmas. But when he wanted to discard the old one, I wasn't quite ready. I hadn't tried replacing the flour. Bread flour is high in gluten, and if the flour was old and past its expiration date, it might have contributed to the problem.

    So imagine me now: new bread machine, works like a dream. I'm home a lot (on extended leave of absence), and I have time to make fresh bread. I decided to test the old bread maker in a one on one, loaf to loaf, scientific test. I placed the two bread machines side by side and made the exact same recipe in each one. Same recipe, same ingredients, same settings: the only variable was the bread maker. A few hours and a wonderfully fresh-smelling home later: the results.

    Both loaves baked up perfectly.

    Now what? I have no room in my kitchen to store the extra. I don't need a second bread maker. I've used the new one enough that I can't return it.
    • La Petite can have it when she finally moves out on her own.
    • If she doesn't want it, I can sell it at the rummage sale we're planning in June.
    • Maybe a friend or relative needs one? I'll advise them to replace their yeast and flour first.

    In the meantime, if we need bread, I'm ready. Don't buy that store-made stuff, dear; mine is fresher!

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    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Zippy Turkey Hash

    Hash by nature is a mix of leftovers.
    Turkey, in our United States Thanksgiving culture, is a leftover in the making.

    Sunday morning, I pulled out the last container of leftover turkey from the freezer, and Chuck and I created a turkey hash. I got the idea from Big Black Dog, and then we ran with it, adding our own special touches. Typical of my kitchen, it was a mish-mash of available ingredients, and it turned out delicious.

    Turkey Hash

    Potatoes: 1 per person, washed and diced (I left the peelings on)
    Onion: 1 medium white onion, diced
    Leftover turkey: about 3 cups
    1 cup chicken or turkey stock

    Saute onions in olive oil or butter. Add stock and potatoes. While the potatoes are cooking (about 20 minutes), add other available ingredients. We added -

    2 small jalapeno peppers from the freezer, diced (provide the zip!)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    Dash of each: black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, any other preferred and favorite spices

    When the potatoes are done, the rest will be cooked through. Serve with eggs, coffee, and juice for a fabulous weekend brunch.

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    Sunday, February 06, 2011

    Green Bay Packers!!!!!

    Lombardi Trophy

    The Lombardi Trophy is comin' home!!!!

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    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Community Super Bowl Spirit

    It wasn't a long drive; ten minutes, tops. I made it longer by stopping with my camera to document a few examples of Green Bay Packer spirit. Starting at my mother's apartment, here we go.

    This flag was hanging on another apartment in the same complex.

    These yard signs don't back a politician; they back the Pack!
    On one side, they say Go! Pack! Go!

    On the other side, the yard signs sport the Packers' G-Force logo with the directive to
    "Show Your Colors!"

    There was another sign, a flashing sign, that I didn't photograph while I sat at the red light. It read like this:

    is our DRIVER!


    followed by an image of goal posts and a referee signalling "Touchdown!"

    Not all businesses have the money and the time to design and program a set of messages like the one mentioned above. The sign below is on a thrift store; simple, frugal, and to the point.

    Our city is full of Green Bay Packers spirit. From thrift stores to retirement homes, everyone wants to get in on the game.
    Can you hear me now?

    Go! Pack! Go!

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    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Packers Spirit Invades Home & Neighborhood

    Yesterday I introduced you to some of the everyday Packers gear in the house. Today I'll take a short tour to see a few things that we've added to show our Green Bay Spirit.

    First, back to the kitchen. This unique Title Towel is hiding some of the cookbook clutter. Ah, Lambeau; a classic stadium for a classy team!

    La Petite and I gathered everything we could find and arranged it artfully on the fireplace mantel. The cheesehead has two autographs; Mark Tauscher and Gilbert Brown. Mardi Gras beads on the right are from Super Bowl XXXI; I hope they'll bring good luck to XLV!!

    If we get in the car and head to the grocery store for super burger ingredients, we might pass this snow sculpture. Yes, folks, it's the Lombardi Trophy made out of the white stuff that falls regularly on the northern realms of the NFL.

    I've got to admire the time investment to make and maintain this piece. Weather is going to cooperate; it won't melt any time soon!

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    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    Everyday Packers Decor

    Decor? Heck, this is just part of the household. Nothing is fancy. Readers, were you wondering why I hadn't posted any Packers pictures? I mean, you know I hang green and gold ornaments on my Christmas tree. You know I sip coffee from a Lombardi mug that sits on a cheese coaster. With the Super Bowl and my Green Bay Packers in mind, let's take a brief tour.

    This title towel keeps my new bread machine dust free in between uses.

    Nap time means Packer blanket throws and green & gold Happy Feet slippers!

    Let's head upstairs.
    In the bathroom, I can wash up with a classic and well-used Green Bay washcloth.

    In Amigo's room, tiny rabbit Krumpet hangs out in a Green Bay Packers bean bag chair.

    And last but never least, Amigo sleeps in classic Green Bay Packers sheets.

    These are just a few examples of the way the Packers infiltrate our lives every day - or simple evidence that yes, we are true fans in this household. Any questions? There will be a quiz on Sunday night.

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    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    Super Burgers for the Super Bowl

    We'll be "eating the opponent" as always on Saturday night. Tentative plans are pierogies & kielbasa sausage with Pittsburgh-made Klondike Bars for dessert. On Sunday night, we'll have Super Burgers!

    Daisy and Chuck's Super Burgers

    1 1/2 lb. ground beef
    1 egg
    1/8 cup bread crumbs
    assorted spices or herbs (varies with seasonal availability)
    splash of Worcestershire sauce or steak sauce

    Combine egg, bread crumbs, sauce, and spices in medium bowl.
    Add ground beef. Mix thoroughly.
    Form into burger patties.
    Grill - if you have access to a real charcoal grill, do them up in true tailgate style! If not, a George Foreman grill or a skillet on the stove will do.

    Serve on a hamburger bun with your favorite Super Toppings. Here are a few of ours:

    ketchup, mustard
    cheeses (use good cheese, please, not that fake "cheese food" stuff)
    pickles or pickle relish
    swiss cheese & mushrooms
    lettuce & tomatoes

    Enjoy! And of course, Go! Pack! Go!

    If you're looking for another easy Super Bowl dinner idea, check out Organizing Dinner Blog's Super Bowl Chilis. She offers a Pittsburgh style chili and a Green Bay style.

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