Cranberry Sauce!!

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and we are starting to prepare for our Family/Friend get together.  As always for most of our group dinners, we are blessed that everyone pitches.  It may be bringing just napkins & rolls, a side dish or wine, or even double drying the silver to pacify my OCD, but everyone always pitches in.

My favorite part of holiday cooking is bring out new and old recipes to try or recreate from memory.  I spend a good amount of time planning to see what can be prepped ahead of time.  For anyone that has entertained a house full, you know that this prep work is CRITICAL to 1) getting it all done, 2) enabling you to get some sit down time with your guests and 3) to not be a raving bitch because you are overworked and insisted that you “do it all” yourself.

I learned how to make home made cranberry sauce at the first Feast Campout with Jeremy & Sean’s troop.  If I  knew how simple it was, I would have stopped resorting to “canned gelatinous goo” years ago.  So in the spirit of paying it forward and saving future generations from the processed canned crap,  here you go.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups / 12 ounces cranberries (find them in the produce section of your grocer)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (yes, you can use Splenda)
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups rasberries (fresh or frozen)
  • zest of orange

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Remove the cranberries and rinse throughly.  Be sure to check if any rotten ones ended up in the package.

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Add sugar and cranberries to large quart sauce pan with the heat on medium high.

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Bring mixture to a boil.  Stir occasionally to ensure everything is well mixed.  As the cranberries heat up, their sides will split open releasing the fruit’s natural pectin.  This pectin helps to thicken up the sauce mixture.

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Monitor your heat so the mixture doesn’t boil over.  As the cranberry and sugar mixture thicken, measure and then add your raspberries to the boiling pot.

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IMG_3217Stir the raspberries into the mixture.  The heat will break them down.  So don’t worry when they start to fall apart.

Take your orange zest and add to the thickened sauce

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After adding the zest, turn down the heat to just under medium and let the sauce bubble covered for 7-10 minutes on the stove.  If you do mix it, be careful to not splash as the berry sauce is EXTREMELY HOT!!!

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When complete, I transfer the cranberry sauce to another pot to let cool & chill.

Enjoy!

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Doctor’s Visits (kid and dogs)

This spring, summer & fall has been a string of doctor’s visits.  For all my kids, both human and fur.

While this may not seem striking to most moms, it is for me.

Why you say?

Well, first, my darling husband always took care of all those things.  I was 40 minutes away working downtown or out of town.  Rob is awesome, wonderful, always “home plate”.  But, Not a lot has actually changed, except for the fact that we both work from home and are more busy than ever with work, scouts, community, freinds, and life in general.  Our divide and conquer attitude is even more evident now even, after 20 years of marriage.  We are always there to step up and help each other out.  We don’t judge.  We always make it work.

So what is funny (and why I am working this out on paper) is that I have had a unique series of opportunities to be a “normal” mom in our house  (yeah, I know define normal, so read “NT” mom).

Evidence . . .

Spring.

Middle School Secretary’.  Last year, Sean needed items taken to him late in the day.  I checked in with the office, sign in, ask where I am supposed to take said stuff, and the “nice” lady is practically shocked that “Sean, really does have a mother.”  Because, this is actually the first time that I met “said” office attendant.  Awkward.  I tried to laugh it off, but Rob helped me understand that he would expect most “dad’s” would get that same treatment too.  &  That it is the “women’s girl’s club that evidently was keeping track of my attendance.” Really . . . Hmmmm.

Summer

Jeremy’s Final Ortho Appointment.  Yes.  Our young adult decided to try braces and then pull them off.  But as a 17 year old, he could not sever the contract.  Ring. Ring.  Yes, I understand this is what he wants.  yes.  I will be right down and sign the appropriate paper work.  Yes this is HIS choice.  No.  He actually has a choice.  He is an eagle scout and can review his pros and cons and therefore make these decisions on his own.

Late summer

Sean’s ENT appointment.  Sean has suffered from nose bleeds from allergies etc.  This summer was especially brutal.  Bleeds during Brave work day, a good gusher on our Scuba trip.  We are blessed with several (many) talented doctors in the troop.  They said there are several easy procedures to cauterize the capillaries.  Easy Peasy.  Except for the “fill the doctor medical paper work out”.  I mean. I know the important stuff (birthday, allergies) but filling out al the rest of the stuff????  I tried my best and then handed the paper work over to Sean and said help me complete the answers.

Ugh!  That was the day I realized I must have missed “mother” school.

and yet, there was more!!

Fall:

Local college Night.  More orthodontist appointments, school teacher conferences, back to school nights, filling out senior night paper work, portraits pictures, helping to reschedule portraits (ugh who did those people pick for the contract), site college visits, taking my 18 year old to the doctor and getting to watch him sign his official contract.  (Yes, you do have to read the HIPPA form and sign your consent) and driving duty.  Lots of driving duty.

Breathe

Who knew I missed so much???????

But.  Stopppp!!!!!!!  I don’t think it is “mother” negligence!!!!!

This year has been like the Earth to the Moon series, where one of the astronauts can’t believe he didn’t know that his kid had his appendix out. Yup that’s me.  Just because Parents are out of town does not make them absent parents.  It is more of a realization (and extreme gratefulness) that it all mysteriously happened, still, without co (read both) parents attending each & every doctor’s appointment is a success!!

Beyond the normal stress of worrying that I didn’t fill out the paper work correctly, I just feel like a fish out of water.  I don’t know the routines or the small talk.  I wait in the rooms waiting for “them” to come and talk to me.  I worry I won’t have the right answer and have to call my husband.  I worry I made the wrong decision. I just worry.

Breathe some more.

So, my fish out of water odyssey came to another fork in the road.  I had to take Scout to the vet today.

First let me say, I am GREAT at vet appointments.  Either you are just taking the pooches in for their annual check up and shots or you get to provide the vets and techs with an analytical list of things that are wrong.  They, then, poke and prod said pooch and try to determine the course of treatment. Second.  Even with modern medicine, I think vets probably have it has hard as pediatric medicine.  That is, you only have antidotal observational data and tests to determine what’s wrong and a course of action.  Everything else observation and experience.

We boarded the dogs last weekend and they came home with upset tummies.  One then the other.  Not fun.  No one is happy.  The last one standing is Scout. For as much as he eats, he does not have the stomach of our first dog Newton.  Newton gnawed plastic for fun.  He ate fences just to piss off the neighbors and loved gold necklaces laced between his teeth.  But he never threw up, never had any issues with food or foreign objects.  An iron stomach.

But I digress.

Just when I think the fur babies are getting better, its worse again.  Time to make a vet visit.  With a busy morning of calls, Rob scheduled Scout’s appointment at 3pm.  No problem.  Just try to bring some poop for testing. Unfortunately.  Getting dogs to poop on demand is about as easy as getting infants to poop before you get on a plane.  GOOD LUCK!!! Oddly enough, my stars aligned (slightly).

Dogs pooped.  Bagged and Tagged.  DONE!

Next challenge.  Taking one in the car without the other.  Trap Buck in office with Dad.  DONE!

Car Ride??  Easy Peasy.

Exit car?  NO PROBLEMO!!!!

Get up on counter to greet People?  Got it!

Waiting in exam room for test results????      okay.  there we have it.  that sucks.     In fact.  I am not sure who was more uncomfortable, me or Scout.  The benches are too high.  there are two doors to watch.  The sounds out side the door are ridiculous (more evidence that people don’t censor what they talk about), and poor animals going in and out, chitter chatter whining and they can’t see the parade of activity.  Hence.  Stress.  So my goal was to do training, refocus the energy.  Sit.  Stay. Come.  Down.  Settle. yes.

Odd . . . how the little things helped us both relax.  But it did.  I know I still had a ton on my mind when I got home, but those little exercises helped settle and refocus me.

So now what???

I know, I am still a fish out of water.  I still have a ton on my mind.  I have a super uber terrific husband. I am a mom to my two awesome sons. I take care of my pups.  Yet. . .the secretary still works me up; I don;t get things like other NT’s and I can’t remember all the dates & info that go on all those forms.

whew. relax. enjoy the sunset shore. my day is done.

 our private island

Strange in Kansas

You know the demographics in your neighborhood are changing or have already changed when new & strange food shows up in the grocery store.

Someone needs to request the new foods.  A buyer needs to be able to locate them from the central depot.  They have to be priced and or advertised.  No sales . . . no profit . . . just loss.

So, this mornings mad dash to the grocer turned up these fine specimens.  Dragon fruit, Hands of Buddha, and Lychees.  Now all we need to do is find a good recipe to go with them.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Hands of Buddha

Hands of Buddha

Lychees

Lychees

 

What does the Bison say??

Waaaaynnnnneeeeeeeee!

Bison in Yellowstone

For most people, the nearest they will see wildlife is their local zoo.  The safety glass & concrete enclosures protect and insulate all but the most stupid human from injury or direct animal interaction.  We are spectators watching but not participating.  “Mooommmm, Look!  A bear!  Daddy???  can I pet it???”  no dear.  that would be dangerous.  that’s why the fence is here to keep us safe.

West Yellowstone Bear Sanctuary

It is not until we venture out of our safe boundaries and into nature that humans become audience to the real play actors.

Therefore, Yellowstone National Park is a rare wonder indeed.  Geysers, waterfalls, rivers, rugged mountain chains, bears and old faithful.  True natural beauty in it’s own element.  Humans are merely the by standers waiting to take a quick picture of the “wild” in play.  The sheer awe of seeing animals in their natural habitat is heart thumping exhilaration where all reason can scoot out the window.   

When tourists enter Yellowstone, they are given a yellow safety reminder placard.

Side 1 Urges Timmy to stay on the path.  Poor Timmy looks like he’s going to be boiled alive!

Bad Timmy

Bad Timmy

Side 2 Reminds visitors that buffalo are dangerous and they can run 3 times faster than you can!!

Silly Human.  Playing with bison is bad.

Silly Human. Playing with bison is bad.

Yet, despite the warnings, the tourists stop their cars, get out of their vehicles and proceed to gawk at the bison.

                          WHYYYYYY??

Because we don’t see them every day!  That’s why!

We know it’s not completely safe. . . but still we do it any way.

I think part of thrill we feel is that we finally saw them! Most wild life is elusive and hard to see.  Beyond their natural camouflage, they just don’t want to stay around humans for long. Oh Look!!!  A deer!!!  If we are quiet they will stay a little longer!

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A fleeting glimpse is all we get.

As prey moves up the food chain, nature’s need to fight or flight changes to “this is my space and I’ll be where I want to, thank you”

Bison on Road

See that Dust!

See that Dust!

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You are on my road man

So the next time you see the Bison.  Just give him a little space.  Slow down and let the herd take their time as they cross the road.

And always remember, when they talk to you . . . they are really saying

WAAAYYNNNNEEEEEEEEE

Wayne

Wayne

10 Questions . . .Inside the Actor’s Studio

I love this.  I love watching these interviews with James Lipton.  And here are the questions.

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What is your favorite curse word?
  6. What sound or noise do you love?
  7. What sound or noise do you hate?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
okay my turn.  everyone needs to play.  BE spontaneous (and honest)!!
  1. What is your favorite word?                    yes!   
  2. What is your least favorite word?           change
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?                          Seeing what others create.  I know i can’t/won’t duplicate it, but it always inspires me to do more.  
  4. What turns you off?                                 Pushy judgmental people
  5. What is your favorite curse word?         Crap
  6. What sound or noise do you love?         Ocean waves
  7. What sound or noise do you hate?        big piercing sharp noises
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?            doctor
  9. What profession would you not like to do?      police officer
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?                       nice job.  wanna go again?
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Sweet Potato Waffle

I was cruising the primal sites and the thought piqued my interest.  A sweet potato waffle.  Served with barbecue and hoison sauce.  Unfortunately, they were only previewing pictures from the new book and hadn’t shared recipes yet.

Hen House had sweet potato’s on sale, so I tried my own version.

Ingredients.  Medium size sweet potato, 2 eggs, cheese, garlic powder, dried onions

Step 1- dust off the old waffle maker.  Geez.  It’s been years since that poor old boy was taken off the shelf.

Step 2 – peel & shred 1 medium size sweet potato. I used my Cuisinart to easily shred the tuber.

Step 3 – put 1/2 the shredded sweet potato in a bowl.

Step 4 – add 1 egg to each 1/2 of the mixture.  Add approximately 1/3 cup cheese, then garlic powder & dried onion to taste.  Mix with your hands.  EEEWWWWWW  Use a glove if you don’t like your hands getting icky.

Step 5 – Heat the waffle iron, and when heated – lightly grease the iron.  Smooosh 1/2 of the mixture onto the iron, close and set the timer.

I cooked the 1st waffle at 2 minutes each side.  But after eating the goods, I think 2.5 minutes each side would be better.  I also used our old deep Belgium waffle maker.  I think the less deep waffle irons may be easier to make a more crisp waffle. I might also use more cheese next time too.

Enjoy.

Sweet Potato Waffle