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Showing posts from February, 2010

Spring Fever!

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With all due apologies to those enjoying yet another snowstorm on the east coast, we had a FABULOUS spring day here today!!!!! 

And look:

The garlic is up!!!!!!!  We even have a little wild garlic,

which is rather impressive as none of the garlic went to seed and I REALLY dug this bed up several times after harvesting last year's garlic.  Rats--garlic must be pretty hardy stuff.  I was sort of hoping I was developing some sort of gardening skills because I was able to get garlic to grow.  It's a bit less of an achievement if it's going to be a weed.

And yet another sign of spring:

Mystery bulb!!!!

At the top of the picture, you can see our fence.  On the OTHER side of the fence, I've been working to improve the soil because bulbs & other plants need good soil & drainage & depth and all of that--where, by the way, not a single freaking bulb is sprouting.  On THIS side of the fence, there's clay covered with gravel.  And something is coming up.  Apparently…

In Case You've Been Wondering About the Lack of Blogging......

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Ravelympics 2010 - Day 15Bob:  We're back at the 2010 Ravelympics, and after 15 grueling days, Ms. Sutton has just crossed the finish line for the Sweaterboard Cross.

Ron:  Well, I don't mind admitting that I never thought she would pull it off.  And entire sweater in 15 days--and by a woman who actually set aside a nearly-completed sweater for almost 2 entire years before sewing the sweater seams.

Bob:  You certainly make a good point, Ron.  This is well outside of Ms. Sutton's usual knitting behavior.  She has really been pushing hard during the games.

Ron:  She certainly has.  And her support team has truly been phenomenal.  Theo was on hand for the entire final push.
and her very patient husband has been cheering her on during the entire event.  

Bob:  Do we have a shot of him as well.

Ron:  No--apparently he has left on an "emergency white chocolate martini run," and is unavailable for comment.

Bob:  How about an interview with Ms. Sutton?

Ron:  I'm afrai…

Icky Processed Foods

I thought I had discovered some rather icky processed foods, but today I bow to the master:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/25/the-grossest-packaged-foo_n_467656.html

Things I Have Learned This Week

*  Even if one spent the better part of 2 months dealing with a cold & the ensuing complications, it doesn't mean that one can't get another blasted cold just a few weeks later.

*  One cannot acquire a taste for Nyquil, no matter how often one takes it.

*  Attempting to knit an entire sweater in 17 days is just as crazy as it sounds.

*  Games invented by cats are every bit as pointless as those invented by 5-year-olds, but at least cats don't keep changing the rules.

*  Requesting 32 separate seed & plant catalogs was probably a bit excessive.

*  I should not use the gym's elliptical machines anywhere near the television turned to Rush Limbaugh unless I really WANT to burn over 750 calories an hour.....

*   One can add a little mystery to eating at home by freezing leftovers without remembering to label them.

Fat Follow up

(Can't wait to see where THAT puts my blog on Google's search engines!)

A friend of mine has very nicely explained some of the fat terms I keep running across and/or discussing, so to follow up on the whole fat problem from yesterday, more information can be found here:

Secret Weapon Science

The Pop Tart Problem

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Remember when I mentioned the homemade Pop Tart recipe?  Well, there's a problem--it needs butter AND shortening.  Like Crisco.  Now as far as the "illegal" foods label goes, I've pretty much written Crisco off as being pretty close to the top of the list.  According to their website, Crisco is hydrogenated vegetable oil.  According to Wikipedia, hydrogenation:

is widely applied to the processing of vegetable oils and fats. Complete hydrogenation converts unsaturated fatty acids to saturated ones. In practice the process is not usually carried to completion. Since the original oils usually contain more than one double bond per molecule (that is, they are poly-unsaturated), the result is usually described as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil; that is some, but usually not all, of the double bonds in each molecule have been reduced. This is done by restricting the amount of hydrogen (or reducing agent) allowed to react with the fat.
Hydrogenation results in the conve…

I'd Like To Share This

If you're not acquainted with it, there's a wonderful website called "Snopes.com" that is solely dedicated to proving of disproving the number of urban legends being shot around the internet.  I'd like you to take a look at this:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/obama.asp

There are over 60 urban legends about President Obama being circulated--the overwhelming majority of which are false--some so shockingly stupid it's hard to believe anyone would believe them, much less pass them along.   Not that I agree with everything President Obama is doing or has done, but this has gotten completely out of hand. 

What I want to know is how can people be so desperate to hate someone that they would believe and SHARE malicious lies without ever bothering to check to see if they are true.  I mean, I dislike Sarah Palin, but I have never forwarded any emails about her, and my opinion of her is my own personal business and has generally been formed by the things she has …

Food Writing?

I'm currently reading a book about a woman attending the Cordon Bleu cooking school, and she said when she applied to the school, she stated that she wanted to be a food writer.

Do I lead a rather sheltered life, or did anyone else not really know that there was such a thing as a "food writer?"  Not a writer of cookbooks--that part I grasped--but writing about food in some other fashion.  During the past year, I have been studying food and cooking history, but prior to our No Processed Foods experiment, the last food writing I had actually read might well have been The Gingerbread Man. 

I may need to get out more........

Crossposting

Some of you may have noticed that I have "borrowed" a couple posts from my knitting blog this week.  I thought some of you might be wondering what I do with myself when I'm not engaged in bizarre cooking experiments or spreading layers of horse manure on our lawn.  Perhaps you were thinking that I conducted myself as a "normal" person or something.  So, in order to fully dispel such a rumor, I thought I'd introduce you to the "Ravelympics."

Ravelry is a "social networking" site for people who are obsessed with enjoy knitting, crocheting, or spinning.  I actually don't really understand the term "social networking" as I don't see how one can actually unsocially network, but I can tell you that Ravelry is a tremendously cool site that allows over 600,000 knitters world wide to share pattern and yarn reviews, share project pictures and details, and to quit boring their spouses/friends with constant chatter about knitting an…

Ravelympics 2010 - Pregame Show: The Countdown.....

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Bob:  With just hours to go before the torch-lighting for the 2010 Ravelympics, we take a look at some of the last-minute preparations being done by one of the contestants.  Ms. Sutton, thank you for taking time to talk with us this morning.  Tell us, what sorts of things are you doing today?

Toni:  Well, Bob, first I did a little dusting.
Bob:  Now I notice you're chosen to use Endust at this point.  Are you mostly a spray-polish duster?

Toni:  Well, generally I'm a "this-is-a-big-freakin'-waste-of-time" sort of duster, but I thought the house might be a bit frightening two weeks from now.

Bob: I see.  I notice you've been accumulating a few things today.  Can you tell us about them?


Toni: Certainly, Bob.  First there's some hand lotion
--always a necessity for any type of knitting marathon, especially here in the drier climates.  And of course a large supply of coffee
to help me keep my focus.

Bob:  Now I've noticed some knitters can drink coffee nonst…

2010 Ravelympics - Pregame Show

Ron:  With less than 24 hours until the 2010 Ravelympics kickoff, we're here with one of the contestants.  Ms. Sutton, what you can tell us about this year's competition?

Toni:  Well Ron, to date there are more than 8300 knitters from around the world signed up and ready to compete.  Some will be competing on multiple events--such as perhaps the Scarf Super-G as well as Sock Hockey--while some of us are tackling a single, larger project.


Ron:  So participants have 16 days to complete their events.  That's a lot of pressure for what many of us would consider a grandmotherly-sort of sport.

Toni:  Don't let the stereotypes fool you.  Anyone who has ever witnessed the carnage at a 50%-off sale of cashmere yarn can tell you, knitting is not for the timid.


Ron:  You're signed up for the Sweaterboard Cross and the Stash Compulsory Dance, which--let me get this straight--is an ENTIRE sweater made from stash yarn within 16 days.  Is that correct?

Toni  Yes, Ron, it sure is.


Perspective

I'm still reading Grandma's Wartime Kitchen, and I thought I'd share this little snippet with you:

“Because of rationing I had a new way of life. I made lye soap to wash baby clothes, picked wild greens, canned all garden vegetables and fruit, helped raise broilers [chickens] and milk 29 cows by hand. We butchered our own meat, also caught fish and had frog legs.” --Marjorie Marzolf, Salina, Kansas

Did I mention that I've sworn to whine a whole lot less during canning season??????

So Did I Mention We're Back On the Diet?

Not that we ever really had a big fling with processed foods--and we are enjoying having one Diet Pepsi a week as a special treat--but the weekend before this one, we made the mistake of going out to eat 3 times in 3 days.  I still don't know much about food science, or what processed foods really do to one, but when food leaves you whimpering in pain after eating it--your body is obviously trying to tell you something.  We'd like to have salad dressing once in a while, but have drastically cut that back and decided that we won't eat it at all in the summer when veggies are at their best.  We were trying to come up with new rules--like maybe 4 cheats a week if we needed to restrain ourselves, but severe stomach pain works quite nicely as a deterrent.  Not to mention--very few forbidden foods taste that great anyway.  Except chocolate--let's not be stupid.  Chocolate is, was, and always will be FABULOUS.

Since convenience is the real issue, this weekend I made a huge va…

Things I Have Learned This Week

*  Do not underestimate how much water a pillow can actually hold

*  If a recipe says something like "carefully pour," I'm in over my head.  I don't think I'd even know if I was carelessly pouring, and if I wouldn't recognize if I was doing something wrong, how would I ever figure out how to do it right?

*  Having successfully made zucchini chocolate cake obviously gave me a foolish sense of optimism about my ability to make desserts.  A recent "caramelized pumpkin custard" incident has put me back in my place.

*  It is possible to cook a custard for an extra half an hour and STILL not have the knife come out clean like the recipe says it should.

*  Going out and stirring up the compost bin is a good way to squelch spring fever

* A goal to read 100 books during a year can be made much easier by reading a lot of short "mind-popcorn" types of books, even if they are a little silly and predictable

*  If you and your spouse have made the rule…

Let's Discuss My Morning, Shall We?

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Since I didn't have anything truly pressing today, I decided to do some of the "extra" cleaning--you know, the stuff you hardly ever get around to doing.  In the grips of this madness, I decided it would be a good time to wash the pillows from our bed.

The pillows are reasonably new, so I hadn't washed them before, but I carefully read the tags (because, you know, under penalty of law I was obligated not to remove them...), loaded them in the washer, which is a front-loading machine so I wasn't even actually too worried about it.  I added some detergent, set it on gentle, and went off to do other things, coming back when the buzzer went off.

So far, so good.  The stuffing had neither clumped nor exploded all over the washer, so I was feeling pretty confident at this point. The tags said to dry them on low heat/fluff.  Fine.  I put them in the dryer, set it to low, and walked away.

Now I am no mechanical genius, but I have found that when it sounds like an applian…

Grandma's Wartime Kitchen

Today I'm reading a book called Grandma's Wartime Kitchen, which is a (so-far) fascinating book about women in America during World War II and the meals they made and how they coped with rationing.  I think we all know about the "Victory Gardens" Americans were encouraged to keep--I believe to free up the demand the industrial food that was to be shipped overseas, but I didn't know much else about it.  Two really interesting points so far:

*  Because of the influence of the dairy farm lobbyists (which there seem to have been), margarine had to be white rather than yellow, but one brand of margarine actually came with a little bit of orange food dye that could be kneaded into the white goo so it would have that yellow "buttery" glow.  Now I can't say for certain because I wasn't there, but would kneading orange goo into white margarine REALLY be preferable to living with white margarine???????  Or am I just a bit lazy about that sort of thing?

* …

A New Book To Add To The List

According to this review:

sp!ked review of books | A foodie’s guide to the history of humanity

the life expectancy of the first human farmers might have actually declined. I'm not sure that the reviewer isn't oversimplifying things a bit, but it is an interesting thought.

As strange as it may sound to us now, much of history is truly the history of food--the search for spices leading to the discovery of new lands, the sugar trade and the birth of the slave trade (much of history really is about people being totally rotten, sadly), wars being won or lost because of the ability/inability to feed armies. So far I've been reading books about the history of food--not necessarily about how food shaped history.

Sigh.....I have SO many books to get through yet.....