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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Artful Reader's Club Review: Wisdom's Daughters

"Wisdom's Daughters: Conversations with Women Elders of Native America" by Steve Wall, Harvey Arden.
 
 
I had high hopes for this book but was sadly disappointed.  I had hoped to find wisdom from the elders as they lead their people in the 21st century… how to integrate into a world growing in technological leaps and bounds while keeping their heritage alive.
 
Instead almost all the women interviewed lamented for “the good old days”, told stories of the old legends, and proclaimed their spiritual superiority.  There were no ideas for advancement or ways to improve the lives they themselves admitted were depressing and toxic to the young people. 
 
Perhaps Mr. Wall and I have a different definition of “wisdom”.  Personally I don’t see doing the same thing over and over expecting different results as being very wise…
 
 
My collage represents what I see as being caught between the dreams of an idealized past and the possibilities of the future. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cooking at Ingredients: Basic Sauces (recipe)

I picked up another interesting cooking class at Ingredients… and this time Himself was able to go with me.  It was taught by a Clarksville caterer Ross Wilson, owner and chef at Fire and Ice Catering.  (http://www.fireandicetn.com/ )
 
 
We learned how to make a variety of basic sauces.  I was excited about the class because I had planned to learn some of these on my own (and some I already have down pat).
 
 
Alfredo
 
 
Marinara
 
 
Basil Pesto
 
 
Marsala
 
 
Piccata
 
 
Mascarpone Cream
 
 
A’la Vodka
 
 
 
OK, I was lazy today about typing out the recipe and instead scanned it in.  You can see my “Teri Notes” I jotted down.  First is the notation that you don’t want to use a salty ham like country ham or prosciutto. (In my opinion, it could also be left out).  The note about the onions means that you ‘sweat’ them… not caramelize them. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Junk Palooza!

Our last trip thru Missouri to visit our family, we made a little detour.  A detour that had my little ol’ junk-loving heart going pitter-pat.
 
 
We visited the Mother of All Junk Yards!  I found this jewel of a place cruising with Google Earth. 
 
 
 
We were in a bit of a hurry to get where we were going, so I’ll have to explore later.
 
 
 
But I did walk around a bit just to see what there was.
 
 
 
 
Oh the possibilities!!
 
 
 
 
Have you ever seen such neatly arranged ‘junk’? 
 
 
 
 
I’m seeing a firepit…  How about you?  It’s the perfect size and only $25! 
 
We had too much stuff in the back of our truck to get it this trip but next time we go up I’ll make sure there I room to bring one home with me!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Learning to Volunteer

Last week Himself and I attended a different sort of class at Whole Foods.  This class wasn’t a cooking class but rather on how to be one of the volunteers who help with the classes. 
 
My logic is this:  I can learn as much working a class as I can taking it… and I don’t have to pay for the experience!  Plus we will earn credits we can redeem to take a class for free. 
 
 
So we’ll soon be chopping…
 
 
…and setting up the trays for each recipe…
 
 
…and plating the meals for the students.
 
And we get to eat at the end with the students too!  That’s a win-win situation for us! 
 
(Our first ‘gig’ is a special event this Friday!  So excited!)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Seaweed In My Driveway???

This last summer I noticed some areas in my driveway had some dark ‘stuff’ that looked kind of like a lichen or maybe some sort of moss.  I didn’t really pay much attention as it was a million degrees outside and whatever it was, it was baked to ‘crunchy’ by the sun.
 
However, when we were working in the driveway late this fall the ‘stuff’ was still there.
 
 
Some of it was amongst the grass growing in the drive.
 
 
Some of it was in little clumps spotted around the drive.
 
 
So I took a closer look…
 
 
WHAT is this stuff??
 
 
It was kind of … ‘jello-y’.  Not really slimy, not really gooey…
 
Hmmmmm…  I think I have aliens growing in my driveway!!
 
I have an acquaintance who is a Master Gardener, so I took her a sample to see if she knew what it was.  Judy was as stumped as I was.  However, she was going to a MG meeting that very night and took the stuff with her.
 
Everyone there was stumped.  As was the local Extension Agent.  So the agent sent the sample all the way to Knoxville to the state office to have it analyzed. 
 
In a few days we all had the answer:
 
Observation Number 20130123104318 that was submitted for your location on 01/23/2013 has been diagnosed or updated. 
 
Diagnosis / Control:
It may be one of the blue-green algae, possibly Nostoc sp.  Improve drainage so that water does not puddle in the drive. Rake infested areas when dry and remove algae.  Suppress algae using copper sulfate at the rate of 3 ounces in five gallons of water per 1000 square feet. 
 
To obtain more information concerning this diagnosis, please contact your local county extension office.

 
 
Algae?! 
 
“Nostoc is a genus of Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that is often a photobiont of lichens, when on the ground, a Nostoc colony is ordinarily not seen; but after a rain it swells up into a conspicuous brown jellylike mass, which was once thought to have fallen from the sky, hence the popular names, fallen star and star jelly. It is also called witches' butter. I was told by a friend that they called it Buffalo snot a much more appropriate name. Nostoc species are cultivated and consumed as a foodstuff, primarily in Asia.”
 
I’ve got "seaweed" growing in my driveway?!?! 
 
For Pete’s sake! 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Entertainment Center to Tool Center

One of the fringe benefits of my studio remodel is that I’m finding myself with a lot of spare storage pieces just waiting to be repurposed. 
 
One such piece was our old entertainment center.  I had it custom built by a local furniture maker.  It was made to hold our large CRT television (that gives you an idea how old it is!).  It is rock solid and BIG. 
 
I didn’t want to just get rid of it…at least not until I explored all the possibilities of reusing it.
 
As I was cleaning off my workbench in the garage it finally occurred to me what it could be used for… 
 
A shelf for my power tools!  Plus I can now have my coolers on top where it is easy for me to get them. 
 
 
The large shelf made for the TV is perfect for my compound miter saw. 
 
 
And with the adjustable shelves everything else fits exactly as I need it too.  I love having everything all together – tools and supplies. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Babies at Terrazza Grill

Our trip to see the babies was a short one this month.  Weather and illness (nasty virus) delayed our trip so much we didn’t even get up there in Jan!!  And we had to get home quickly as our schedule is really, really crazy right now.
 
Oh my… I nearly went thru “Aunty Withdrawal” shakes!!  Seriously, I think that I’ve only missed a monthly visit 3 times since Little Bird was born – and she’s 3 and a half!
 
Anyway, one of the things we did as a family was an evening out to eat.  We picked a nearby Italian restaurant as the babies do love their pasta!
 
 
First we set to the very serious business of deciding what to get!  (Sorry for the ‘soft focus’ on the photos… the lights were rather low and I didn’t want to disturb the other tables by using a flash). 
 
 
Thankfully the restaurant has coloring pages for the kids while they wait.  Little Hoss worked on his masterpiece until the hot rolls arrived. 
 
 
While Little Bird collaborated with her aunty on her art piece.  We made a treasure map – with X marking ‘the spot’!
 
Once the meal came out…so much for any more drawing!  It was time to eat!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

I’ve been going thru recipes on Pinterest to find new ones to shake up meal times around here.  This one looked good, so I tried it on my last trip up to see my family.  I like to do a bit of cooking up there to give Mom a break… and besides, it is just fun!
 
Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake
 
 
Ingredients
 
8 ounces dried bow tie pasta
 
1 small onion, chopped
 
1 tablespoon butter
 
2 eggs
 
1 1/4 cups milk
 
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
 
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
 
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
 
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz.)
 
1 - 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
 
1 - 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
 
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
 
1/2 teaspoon paprika
 
1 tablespoon butter, melted
 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.
 
In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta, and onion. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole.
 
Bake, covered, 20 minutes. In small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
 
 
 
 
NOTES:  Here are some changes I made to the recipe (as I always seem to do).  After I boiled the chicken breasts to cook them, I reused the water to boil my pasta.  And I used Panko bread crumbs instead of soft bread crumbs as I wanted that crunch.
 
 
 
It is definitely a "keeper"!