Archive for November, 2011


almost a whole day. . .

Had taken a vow of electronic silence, but a couple things have come up today that I just can’t resist posting about.

First: Truth In Labeling










Good to know.

This made me curious, so I looked a little further:










Sheesh. Are we really this stupid?


In an “are we really this stupid”-related story, I ran across this article in last Sunday’s New York Times, about a woman and what she wore day by day as she went through her week. Apparently she’s quite wealthy, and philanthropic, and stylish, so, as my husband posits, we’re supposed to care.

Is this, really, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”? Or maybe, just a little more.


We decided that this was a good day to take Dexter for a walk. He does pretty well with his leash when we take him out to go “potty,” and we took him for a short walk yesterday, and after a little resistance he had trotted along quite happily. Not so today. By the time we realized that he really was quite overwhelmed and was not going to take a step of his own free will he had damaged the bottom of 3 of his 4 little paws, and is limping around all gingerly and pathetic. I feel absolutely terrible, but I’m also a little irritated, because his feet seem to feel fine enough when he wants to sniff the wheelbarrow, chew branches, and chase his purple monkey around the kitchen, but are apparently too sore for him to bear the leaves and stones when we take him out to pee. Does it say something about me that I’m always quite convinced that I’m being manipulated by a 10-week old puppy who looks like a cross between an Ewok and a baby polar bear? (Cynical, party of one.)

Anyway, the guilt is almost more than I can bear. I’m a terrible person.

But I still don’t care what Muffie wore, or to wear she wore it.






a day of silence?

Have spent a lovely day at home reading, knitting, watching the Red Wings barely beat the Bruins in a shoot-out, teaching Dexter to play fetch (he’s a natural), and meeting the neighbors.

Oh, and checking facebook repeatedly to see if anything’s “going on” and reading some of my favorite bloggers.

In a discussion on Roger Ebert’s blog regarding Twitter, a commenter quoted Montaigne:

I would like to suggest that our minds are swamped by too much studying of too much matter just as plants are swamped by too much water or lamps by too much oil; that our minds, held fast and encumbered by so many diverse preoccupations, may well lose the means of struggling free, remaining bowed and bent under the load; except that it is quite otherwise: the more our souls are filled, the more they expand; examples drawn from far-off times show, on the contrary, that great soldiers and statesmen were also great scholars.

I’ve thought, on occasion, of taking one day a week off of everything electronic — email, facebook, blogs (mine and the ones I read), etc.

I think I’ll try it tomorrow.

See you Sunday!




recipes, a day late

Husband says that the last thing people want to read the day after Thanksgiving is recipes, and I’m sure these would have been a lot more useful to people a week ago, but the problem is I make things up as I go along, so I never have them until after the fact. Maybe they will be of some use for Christmas. I did have two things turn out better than expected, and a result of a combination of two or three recipes, so here you are.

Sorry I don’t have pictures. Too many things to do all at the same time to stop and take snapshots. I must be the Worst. Blogger. Ever.

Yam and Pumpkin Soufflé

Cut 2 lbs of yams into 2-3″ pieces (don’t bother peeling) and cover with water in a medium-sized saucepot. Cover, bring to boil, and then simmer until they are are quite soft.

Remove the yams from the pan and let cool on a plate, then peel and mash in a large bowl. Add 2 c. of pumpkin — either baked or boiled pie pumpkin or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; just pumpkin), 1/2 c. coconut milk (Silk brand or its equivalent, the kind made to drink, not the really high fat stuff in cans), 1/4 c. brandy (or more, I always think it needs more), 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. galangal (or ginger, but I like the galangal better because it’s a little milder), 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 c. brown sugar. Stir until well mixed. In a separate bowl, beat two eggs until light and frothy. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Put the pumpkin mixture into a deep pie pan or soufflé dish.

Melt 1 T. of butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add 1/3-1/2 c. slivered almonds, and stir, cooking until the almonds just start to brown. Add 2 T. of brown sugar, and keep stirring until the sugar starts to get thickly syrupy (mine didn’t really caramelize, and the almonds were starting to look like they might burn, so I took it off the heat). Spread the sugared almonds over the top of the soufflé.

Bake at 350˚ for an hour, uncovered.

Really light, mildly sweet, even the “children” liked them.

Apple Pie with Drunk Brandied Raisins

The day before:

Put 1/3 c. of golden raisins into a small dish or canning jar. Pour brandy over just to top of raisins. Let sit overnight, shaking to mix and redistribute the raisins whenever you think of it.

Cut 1/2 tsp. of salt into 2 1/2 c. of unbleached flour. Add 3/4 c. really cold butter, cut into tablespoons, and mix with the flat paddle of the mixer until fine crumbs. Sprinkle in 9 T. of ice-cold water, letting the mixer run. When the crumbs start to stick together into clumps, stop the mixer. Assemble the pie dough into a ball, wrap tightly in saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight. (I usually refrigerate for ~ 30 minutes, but this was by far the flakiest, most delicious pie crust I’ve ever made, and I think it was because I was trying to do stuff ahead, so made the dough and left it in the fridge over night. It was really a lot of work to roll out, my triceps still feel it, but it was definitely worth it.)

The day of:

Mix 1/2 c. brown sugar, 3 T. unbleached flour, 2 heaping tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. of salt. Peel, core, and slice (1/4″ thick) 7 Granny Smith apples. Add the apples to the sugar mixture and stir until they are completely coated. Pour in the raisins AND the brandy, stir again.

Roll half of the pie dough out on a floured cloth. Fit into deep-dish 10″ pie plate. Add apple mixture to the pie dish, arranging carefully so the slices are really packed in together. Dot with 1-2 T. of butter cut into little pats. Top with the other crust, brush the crust with milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake in a 425˚ oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375˚ and bake for another 30-40. Fantastic. (You will taste the brandy, so don’t do it this way thinking the brandy flavor will disappear. Unless you’re like me, and think the dish always needs more brandy.)(Twitter post, @Sheriji1: Husband and I, in a nutshell, on Thanksgiving: Him: I like to stay ahead of the dishes. Me: I think this dish needs more brandy.)


Dinner was fantastic. We made a 21.3 lb. turkey for 5 people because First Son and Step Daughter couldn’t make it back. We missed them, quite a bit, and not just because they are the oldest and therefore the best at making enjoyable conversation around the table and really good at doing dishes. I didn’t make a complete pig of myself, but did eat enough to make a vow that I wouldn’t eat today (Husband claims this is cliché, a vow made by all and sundry aprés Thanksgiving dinner). I did end up thoroughly enjoying a piece of the drunk apple pie for breakfast (I feel no ill effects, but thanks for asking).

Really looking forward to the leftovers. I especially love “my” stuffing, but I can’t take credit for it, because I got the recipe from the Silver Palate cookbook. The Best Stuffing Ever.

It’s a beautiful day outside. Took Dexter for his first walk. After the first 5 minutes of basically being dragged by the leash while he reluctantly kind of paddled his little paws he walked like a champ. No “potty” for the whole walk, though, which seemed a little weird. Husband says he was holding it in so he can go where he thinks he’s supposed to: on the kitchen floor.

Now, what? Read (Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel) or knit? Tough decisions.


One more recipe — really good with turkey leftovers.

Turkey Florentine

Make 3 c. of white sauce — let me know if you need a recipe for this, but I think it’s pretty basic.

Add 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg (or more, if you like it really nutmeggy)

Toast 1/2 c. of slivered almonds.

In a large deep-dish pie pan or 10″ casserole dish, layer:

1/4 of white sauce

a “level” of fresh spinach

a “level” of leftover turkey white meat

1/4 of white sauce



1/4 of white sauce



1/4 of white sauce

top the toasted almonds and a generous layer of grated parmesan cheese

Bake, 350˚, until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden.

Serve over fresh (Reames? is that the brand?) pasta.


this year’s gratitude

For finding my way through the darkness,
For flashes of insight and joy,
For sadness, and hope from unexpected places.
For strength and struggle, disappointment and pain,
For the reprieves of sunsets,
and beautiful meals and that perfect unoaked Chardonnay.
For the people who enrich my life,
for being heard, and being known.
For yesterday, and today, and,
as far as I know,
Thank you.


Yeah, that sounds like fun

Dear MoveOn member,

Americans are talking about the economy—a lot. They’re talking about Occupy Wall Street and the Super Committee, about an economy that only works for the 1% and about unemployment.

But thanks to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, lots of talk about the economy means lots of misinformation about the economy.

So if you’re spending this Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, and want to be ready with the facts to gently correct any myths you hear (they are family and friends, after all), we put together a short guide with five common myths you might hear and easy-to-remember facts to respond to them.





Looking for the picture above, found this:

That’s funny.


Black Tuesday

This is getting ridiculous.

Black Friday is now Black Thursday evening, and my husband saw people camped out in tents, on concrete LAST night outside a Best Buy.


Maybe it’s some kind of a joke.

Apparently this started like 12 days ago.

Didn’t the whole “Black Friday” thing originate as something to do on a long holiday weekend when you just couldn’t force yourself to eat yet another turkey sandwich or have another raving argument conversation with your über-conservative brother-in-law? What about Thanksgiving? You know, friends, family, dry white meat, dressing that the kids will complain about (is that celery?), cooking a meal for 6 hours that takes everyone 10 minutes to eat, nobody wanting to do the dishes?

Brad Tuttle, writing for Time, suggests that perhaps Best Buy is paying them.

I guess that makes sense.

I think it all just makes us look that much more greedy and materialistic.

We refused on principle by buying our new TV yesterday.*  That’ll show ’em.

* (the 2nd Olevia died a couple months ago — anybody know how I can get a piece of some class action lawsuit against this terrible company?)

And for your enjoyment, in honor of this family-based holiday: Ze Frank on Scrabble


Stress and Aging

Obama 2006, and in 2011.

No one should age that much in 5 years.








And our friend Massimo, taken in May of this year:

and recently, after a torrent of mudslides destroyed his town of Vernazza:

We also discovered through this website that he and one of his main employees Jeff (we called him “The American” he was a California boy who fell in love with a Vernazza girl and tended bar at Massimo’s restaurant) hammered through the wall in that picture and pulled 40 customers through to safety during the deluge.

He looks at least 20 years older.

We also discovered that Massimo and Carmen had already lost a daughter, an 18-year old lovely girl, exactly 2 years before this tragedy; a victim of a car accident.

I can’t stop thinking about tragedy and loss and family and friends and what’s really important and how we all just keep getting through a day no matter what kind of pain we’ve lived through.

And it makes his joy, and friendliness and openness to the world that much more precious to me.

I suppose it’s selfish of me to think that going back, and giving him a hug, would help.

I guess it might help me.

But I am SO GLAD!!! to hear that he’s okay.

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