Saturday, November 29, 2008

Souper Saturday

Soup, soup. I had planned to make myself a luxe crab soup of some sorts, but the cold killed my taste buds for most of the week as well as seriously curbing my appetite. The latter is a good thing. So no crab soup was cooked tho I may take half of the sauted crab and make dh a Maryland Crab Soup in a day or so when he gets back home.

Sauerkraut Soup

What I did eat this week was a poofed...pulled from the freezer...container of Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup. This is one that doesn't always look enticing tho it really is delicious. DH will eat it but isn't wild about sauerkraut. No Lithuanian blood in that boy! The sourness mostly cooks away but being a person who likes sour and tart, I'm glad for what's left. While this recipe calls for pork, I know how many recipes substitute turkey for pork these days, so here's another one where you can use that turkey carcass. You have my blessing. I suspect the ancient Nanas of the world would make you call it Lithuanian-American Sauerkraut soup instead of kapusta, but that's minor. Just try it. It's hearty and makes a sick woman feel almost well.

SOUP Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup

• 4 or 5 spare ribs (try a meaty turkey or chicken carcass)
• 1 diced onion (medium or large)
• A few bay leaves
• Peppercorns to taste (I use 5 to 10)
• Quart or large bag of sauerkraut (not rinsed)
• 1/2 fresh cabbage - shredded (optional)
• 1 can of diced tomatoes (soup sized can)
• 1 garlic clove
• Mushrooms (optional)

Cut up a 1/2 slab of ribs and brown the spare ribs in a bit of any oil or crisco. This browning is optional. Cover the ribs well with water; add bay leaves, garlic, several peppercorns and the diced onion. Cook the ribs until very soft. I always use a pressure cooker since it's a time saver. But this isn't necessary.
When the ribs are cooked, remove the meat from the rib bone and cut into pieces and put back into the pot. Leave the "ribs water" and add the sauerkraut and also some shredded fresh cabbage. This fresh is optional but really stretches the soup in case you don't have a lot of kraut on hand and it tastes good, too! Add the can of diced tomatoes and some sliced mushrooms. If you’re lucky enough to have some wild mushrooms around, they're wonderful in any "kapusta" dish. Add more water if necessary for the soup consistency you like.

This soup can be made from any cut of fresh pork that you have on hand. It's best to use something that has a bone. So, even if all you have is a pork chop and a little bit of kraut in the fridge - you can make a small pot of soup for yourself.

One special old time favorite is to have some chilled, whole boiled potatoes on the side. The hot soup and cold potatoes complement each other. ( I find this idea vile but then I'm born and bread East Coast American.)

I realize this is a loosly described recipe. But kapusta soup is something you can't screw up. The strong flavor of the kraut takes care of any sins along the way. I hope someone has some new ideas for this soup.
Recipe by: Helen

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Paper or Plastic?

Live or fake?

DH and I are still mulling over the 2008 tree issue. I left this comment over at Ginny's Small Studio and decided to expand and blog it. I am still up in the air about Will we or Won't we.

Trees have been a source of disagreement in our house since dh and I married. With just a bit of his furniture, there really isn't room for much of a tree and he had no interest in one to begin with. However... I prevailed the first year or two and went with other friends to a tree farm. He groaned but did the lights and I loaded decorations. And cleaned up needle after needle after needle.

santa came with the tree

Then I broke down and we got a fake tree, back when the idea of items being Chinese was only cresting the horizon and not the tidal wave it is now.

We remodeled

Merry Christmas

and that year the fake tree drowned in a basement flood.

We got a skinny fake tree with less mumbling from me. It was ok for a year.We saw this in Napa last December and once again the (prelit...well half lit) fake tree went up. We discussed getting a really good (read expensive) one. I considered what else that money could buy.

Christmas Tree - Trefethen

Then we redid the furnace ducts in the aforementioned basement and that fake tree was ruined.

Now, DH said, why don't you get a live tree this year? I wondered. Do I really want to go thru all the hassle, expense, etc etc again?

We planned two December vacations.

So now, I have joked that we have no tree and that is fine with me. Mostly. Almost. Well..

We still really have no room and so I suspect I will end up using my mil's 60s gift to me of the homemade ceramic tree. I laughed at it then but it's a lovely part of my current holidays. I think I will be content with that little tree and have a pine scented candle, and be happy with simple in 2008.

I think...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amazing Free Images

Yep, I know that sounds like a porn site. No no no...

It's the Library of Congress flickr site with mucho vintage images in the public domain.

Collectors of ephemera and is a motherload. Why did I forget about this one?!?!

First seen via Justin's blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Didn't I Think...

Power Cord Labels
from Martha of course.

"When you are crawling under a desk, all the power cords look the same. To save yourself some trouble when searching for the one you want to unplug, make labels from leftover bread-bag clips. Just write the name of each device on the unprinted side of a clip with a permanent marker, and attach the clip to the proper cord. First Published: Special Issue 2001"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pot Roast

This was a simple crock pot pot roast that came out pretty well according to dh. I found a recipe that had the dreaded can of youknowwhat but I used it cause that was about the energy level I had this am.

I had browned the chuck roast a while ago and then froze it. I'm going to do that with a couple of roasts this winter as it gives the rich color and still allows me to use the crock pot.

I plan to copy the recipe out tomorrow so this post will be updated links to the flickr site where the recipe is given or here. I don't eat limas so this was a one man show all around. Glad to make him happy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Souper Saturday

I made this soup last week and it really came out well. (note that I cut back quite a bit on the heavy/rich elements and it was still rich to the tongue tasting)

Thanks to Joe, aka GardenGuru, over at Gardenweb who emailed many of us his huge .doc of various soups. With below freezing temperatures last night, it's soup time for sure. If I have energy, I may make some kind of soup today; otherwise, I'll just thaw a container of sauerkraut soup for my dinner. I suspect it will be the poof-ed way today (pulled out of freezer). But isn't that what freezers are for??

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder


Serves: 6-8 (2 quarts)


1- ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cupchopped onion
1 to 2 clovesgarlic, minced
3T butter
2c beschicken bouillon
1cup hot water
1tsp ground cumin
2c half-and-half cream (I used 1c milk and 1c pureed cauliflower)
2c shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese (I used 4oz Monterey Jack)
1can (16 oz.)cream-style corn
1can (16 oz.)regular corn (I used 2 cups frozen corn)
1can (4 oz.)chopped green chilies, undrained (I used ~1/2c frozen roasted Big Jims peppers)
1tsp+hot pepper sauce
2mediumtomatoes, chopped (I used 1 14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes)
Fresh cilantro or parsley, optional


Cut chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.

In a Dutch oven, brown chicken, onion and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink.

Dissolve the bouillon in hot water. Add to pan along with cumin; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add next 5 ingredients. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in tomato.

Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday

me at about age 4 in Pennsylvania...note the winter coat airing back on the grape arbor

Since we have had snow flurries on and off all day today, I think this one is appropriate. It kind of sums up my feeling about snow. Despite still feeling pretty rotten, I really did enjoy being out in the cold with the flakes fluttering about me. Big black clouds now...does that mean REAL snow?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On My Desk Nov 19

OMD Nov 19
Originally uploaded by redazadi

I'm feeling very worn out today so after getting the postcards ready for the two swap mails, and assembling the papers that need to be sorted, there's not a lot of creative activity about.

One thing I'm very grateful about is the ability to make the donations I do. The Food Bank is my priority for I realized about 15 years ago that I had NEVER been hungry one day in my life. NEVER. Now I've groused about what I had or been too lazy to cook what I'd really like but hungry? Really hungry? No, never even close. In today's world, I realize how blessed I am.


I'd love to have a copy of the song that is is the background if anyone sees that reference. If you have time, watch the films on making this book also.

Thanks to starshyne on twitter for this find.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

this favorite thing from nature

Lately, it's been these...
This is a regular gift
Sadly, the season is over this year, and too many of the figs never really ripened. I still have one container in the freezer from last year that I"m hoarding. I see them being eaten in January as a winter treat.

Thanks to cloth and fodder for this week's theme, and to Angela at threebuttons for hosting the meme.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unbelievable! the Bee Massacre (link fixed)

Thanks to The Amateur Gourmet tweeting about this.

For the full story that certainly qualifies for news of the weird, click Holy Bee Massacre! Makes barbecuing a extreme sport.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Impressions of Italy

Downpour on Guidecca
Beauty everywhere…women in skirts…slim slim men…no other birds except pigeons…except in Rome, little grime (my unscientific criteria for this is how clean my nails stay after a day out shopping etc)…oh gelato!...pastries sweeter than I remember from the 70s… 3 cities with water…shops shops shops… more independent stores…coffee much better tasting than I anticipated…purple is THE color of the season…shutters on all windows…reminder of city apartment living…
La Serenissima
crystal blue skies most of our days…too warm for November (!)…square black ‘cobble’ streets…so much less smoking (thank god!!!)…churches everywhere…gelato…art is mostly religious art…so many tourists in this ‘off’ season…lots of daschunds, mostly in Rome…very few visible cats…gold shops on Ponte Vecchio…Florence the most elegant imho…more ancient things than one can imagine…despite volume of tourists, no pushing except for the Japanese…food good but not exceptional food…unique food on occasion...
Pasta Nero
nice overview of three cities Venice, Florence, and Rome and three distinct urban neighborhoods … serenity in smaller cities…long afternoon closings a surprise…good design everywhere even in what would be tourist schlock…general friendliness of restaurant staff…gelato…still am neutral about most Murano glass…’relatively’ good prices on designer items…clothes well priced…walking, walking, walking…carbienari everywhere…children rule the roost...
Anything for bambino
interesting driving…black the most popular color; second is black; third is black…high intake of carbs at meals…good tea…reached saturation on paintings of saints in ecstasy or torment…preferring espresso to cappuccino or caffelatte…paper shops in Florence…high intake of gelato but not enough…thoughts of Roman ruins I’ve seen from England to Jordan, and again in Italy…marble everywhere…cliches sometimes but oh such beautiful bella Italia...

All of these photos were taken in Venice. Impressions are mine and based on limited time for serious exploration. I know there is better food than we had time for, and many more things that we didn't see and that we would have liked to see.
Perhaps another day...

What lurks in my Attic

I just came across this sewing machine site and thought...I still have my mother's circa 1940s sewing machine in the attic! It's one very much like the classic fact it may be a 201...I just have to go look.

I have had a fair measure of guilt re that Singer machine, since both my Nana and mother happily used an old Singer treadle for years. If my memory is correct, a Singer man came door to door touting the new electric machine. I was all impressed and really pushed for the new machine. I don't know that my Nana ever used it, as she was used to the treadle and preferred it. My mother bit the bullet and went on to sew many many things for me with the new electric machine.

Of course the old treadle is long gone, and part of me now realizes that I caused Nana a lot of heartache with this fussing. I have no idea why I was so impressed at such an early age..4? 5? Perhaps I was just prepping for the future technology age.

I really do want to get at least one of my machines up and running again. The other one is a Kenmore 1521 (I think that's the model). I do believe both of the machines are quite operational; the non-operative part is my actually using them. Seems like we're back to a good studio clean up, to get a free table again. That is a bit of a delightful challenge tho.

Chez sweet it is

missing this..original by ebachetti

I love my home all the more when I get back from a series of hotel rooms, and the move, move, move of trips. Maryland was in heavy fog when we arrived back, and the only negative was the 03:15am wake up call in Rome, the Holy Shit! but safe drive to the airport, and then on arrival the 2hr drive all over the county via Super Shuttle from BWI to our own beds . (Lesson learned about that shuttle - too iffy for time if the day has been super long.)

Now with a new day, laundry has been sorted, mail divided up, 3 cups of tea consumed and not too many to do items for today. Well, except that that excludes the 3 zillion photos on our cameras and phones. We also have to get photos off the Thinkpad since that seems to be acting as if it needs some computer penicillin. (maybe next year one of us will have a small Macbook to take with her...)

I'll be back later with overall impressions of this whirlwind trip to Italy. And yes, I'm regretting that I didn't take that very last chance at a pignoli gelatto. Sigh....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Final in Roma

our street...via Cicerone...not my photo
The last of the trio of cities ...Rome...and then home to get back to real life and the gym. While we've walked our bippies off there are still too many goodies to tempt. Actually we have eaten less than we could have...heheh.

Our tour took us from Florence to Rome today with a mid-day stop in Orvietto. What a lovely little town - quiet and fascinating. It was hard not to take a picture of EveryThing. Lunch included wine tasting but as our guide tasting means wine drinking. "this is not Napa". The wine drinkers had a good meal to balance the bottles with and via santo at the end with biscotti.

I had never seen the Appenines before and the 'hills' truly are mountains. We drifted in and out of cloud all morning but the afternoon was a perfect fall day, crystal clear and sunny.

Tonight in Rome the moon looks nearly full and the planets sparkled in the sky. I had my first and I hope last meltdown...too much sensory overload and I get frazzled to tears. A sit down, a bottle of aqua minerale frizzante and my timeout got me back on track.

We're making it a relatively early night tonight as tomorrow is an a.m. Vatican tour. Hello Pope.
ciao my friends..

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ciao Firenze

Firenze, Florence, is a much calmer, quieter city than Venice and today is a full day on our own. We started well by sleeping in, i.e. until 7am, and having a leisurily breakfast. Not much writing time on this trip or easy access to the net with our phones. Getting mail is mostly ok but sending is so so slow, that it almost is abandoned. Dick has rec'd a good many texts from friends and associates, and I have had a couple from dgs.

Today a cool sunny day to try and find some shops that are open on Sundays. A start at the market at San Lorenzo and then a chocolateria before it closes at 1pm. Florence has my kind of ambience I think. Smile...

Still no pictures to upload as that would require half a day which we're not ready to give up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hello from Venice

Venice has been amazing...after arrival in a really heavy rain, we have had sun and such mild weather that both of us have done our walk walk walking w/o coats etc. Yesterday, we both got hot with a bunch of bustling and dashing for our hotel water taxi.

We are staying on the island of Guidecca in what was once an old pasta factory. I take that as a sign from god directly to Other than our tour thru the Doge's Palace and San Marco, we have not been with our tour group. I had been to Venice once before and recall it being hot (July) and busy. Well, it wasn't the cold rain we had prepared for, it is SO very much busier, but I am enjoying the city tremendously. 1. I am easier to live with and so is this husband 2. We have few expectations or needs in travel.

Venice is, however, so very full of tour groups neither of us can imagine how it could be in the summer. I don't plan on finding out. We have had very nice and friendly shopkeepers and restaurants, cafes etc. There is not the cafe on every corner we found in Spain and Portugal, but we're finding enough to sit and take breaks and also use 'the facilities'.

Today was our one day free and we got to the Rialto Market somewhat early...9a.m. ish and it is big with a lot of great looking fish and produce -virtually all Italian. No purchases but enough pictures to make happy memories. I had received directions to the market last night from a friendly carbienari who walked me the block or two to point the area out. (Judy..I didn't spot Nigella Lawson but I did see a lot of well dressed housewives shopping and perhaps one day I can just piggyback on their rounds and actually buy.) Prices are reasonable.

Today Dick finally got his tour of La Fenice while I passed on this one, deciding we will be back I'm sure to actually hear an opera so I'll get my tour then.

Today was also a nap day or more just get off our feet and give the body and the eyes a rest from look, look, looking. The stronger dollar is making a lot of things much more affordable and that makes any purchase a bit easier to make tho I am practicing resistance. I have to think...and where would I put this at home. That usually makes me decide to just take a photo.

Well there is a walk...yes feet,once make before dinner and a final pack up for tomorrow's am departure for Florence. btw, the breakfast buffet here at the Hilton Molino Stucky is a beautiful sight in addition to being great. Gotta remember to photograph it tomorrow.

Sorry our pictures are on dh's account and it's a pita to transfer them from his account to mine on this computer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Break Time

The author of this blog will be taking a bit of a Blogtoberfest, post Election 2008, and doing her languid best to live a bit of la dolce vita and not jones for her computer connections. Ciao!

original by saimathecat

Don't Miss Your Chance To

People have died for this privilege. Use it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Yes WE Can

This is...a recipe I want to share

One of my favorite recipes...and an easy easy one

Asian Marinade for Chicken Breasts (from Nancy @ Gardenweb)

Chicken done in this is flavorful and leftovers make a great salad the next day. This is enough for 5 lbs of raw chicken breasts. m can use this for chicken w/bones also

1C veg oil
¼ C sesame oil
¾ C soy sauce
1/3 C minced garlic
4 Tabsp minced ginger
2/3 C minced cilantro 5-6 green onions
1 tsp grd blk pepper

I put the onions, ginger and cilantro in the food processor and pulse till chopped fine.
Combine all and marinate chicken breasts, up to 24 hrs, but at least 1 hr if you can
I have also put marinade in a freezer bag with chicken and frozen (good to do with the left overs -m notes Nancy means that yes, you CAN freeze the raw chicken in this marinade and then thaw to cook on demand)

The weekly This is...comes from Angela over at Threebuttons. Go on over and see a list of players!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Asshole ? pas moi


Ready to keep posting all thru November??? If you loved Blogtoberfest, then here's another way to keep the joy in your life.

Nablopomo...National Blog Posting Month keeps on keeping on.

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