What a night

So, officially, I am very ill. Last night was awful – sore throat, trouble swallowing, draining sinuses, and mucus making me choke. Swell. Spent most of this morning in bed, with bathroom breaks for me and the dogs and to swig down some Nyquil and kiddie Tylenol (which, by the way, doesn’t taste like bubblegum at all to me). I could wrap myself in a bubble, but that would make it difficult to cook and move around the kitchen.

When I finally rolled up out of bed to go to work, what do I find? Mom, very kindly making up a batch of stuffing. Hoo-rah.  Maybe later tonight some turkey, stuffing, and gravy will be in order. She tells me that there’s also another bag of cranberries in the freezer. And we have potatoes for mashing. Sounds like thanksgiving dinner to me. Just the thing to cure what ails you.

What leftovers?

Still in the process of rebuilding the gigantic, picture-filled post from Saturday’s festivities. There weren’t many leftovers, but I had saved the legs and wings from the turkey I roasted, thinking I’d figure out a use for them or eat them with some gravy (and stuffing, if I can talk my mom into making some from the giblets we boiled off). Since I woke up with a horrible headache and my throat is on fire – not to mention this horribly deep cough I seem to have today – I did find a use:

Soup's on

Just the thing to soothe a sore throat and  try to fight whatever buggies were brought along by the crowds. I suppose this is one of the problems with not getting out amongst people a lot (plus that whole radiation/chemo thing): the defenses aren’t what they used to be.


I don’t believe I have ever attended a baby shower. This occurred to me while I was editing the pictures from the festivities. I know I have never cooked for one, although this is not something tremendously different than, say, cooking for thanksgiving or memorial day or any other holiday. A bunch of people, with varied tastes (some don’t eat pork, there are a few vegetarians, and so on), all gathered around to enjoy one another’s company.

There are times when people think I’m exaggerating the size of the family. Thanks to my sister’s impending newborn arrival, almost the entire family was gathered together. This is rare, as everyone has their own set of obligations elsewhere, and it’s difficult for us all to get together in one place. But since everyone adores Gabrielle, they came. This is the immediate family, their significant others, and their kids. Three generations worth of people.

The fam

By my count, there are 31 bodies there. Add in the other, non-fam people who showed up for the party, and you have 50 people in the house.

That’s a lot of people.

The massive amounts of food will be in another, separate post.

Signs of life

Spring has sprung. Maybe not by the calendar, but there are signs. Tiny signs. Portents of things to come.

Broccoli, starting.


A cuke (Beth Alpha), trying to unfold.

Beth Alpha cuke

I have a quarter flat started with sungold tomatoes, and the rest with other tomatoes, peppers, other cukes, and so on and on and on. I’m hoping that this week we’ll be able to get the mixes going and get some other frames in place. People like to remind us that it’s only February, and to that I say: it’s spring. Must be. Has to be.

Ready to eat?

The final menu for Gabs’ baby shower on Saturday, even though she’s being irritable and hormone-y (is that a word?), is ready. There will be in the neighborhood of thirty people here for fun and games and food. Slightly more than originally expected, but who cares? I like to cook for crowds. Since it’s a lunchtime shower, it isn’t quite as involved as a regular evening meal would be, but there’s still quite a bit of work to get done.


Appetizers: Mushroom turnovers; spinach and feta and spinach and havarti turnovers; spinach and artichoke dip (homemade bread bowl); assorted crudites; cheese platter; deviled eggs

Mains: roasted turkey, pulled pork, and roast beef for sandwiches (on homemade rolls, of course – the dinner rolls I made can easily be adapted for this); shrimp salad; crab cakes

Sides: Potato salad; homemade potato chips with bleu cheese; broccoli gratin; sweet potato souffle; cucumber and onion salad

Desserts: cake; homemade ice cream (vanilla, strawberry); Hawaiian dessert cake; assorted cookies

I’ll start the cooking tomorrow and we’ll end up on Saturday morning with the things that we can’t really make in advance. Everyone will come, eat, have a good time, and then be gone before the evening – except for the clan coming from Atlanta, who will enjoy our hospitality and then leave on Sunday to go back after we have breakfast of some kind. That breakfast will not include homemade bacon, alas. I did not expect that we’d go through five pounds of bacon by eating it here or giving it away over the course of just a couple of weeks. Since we did, we have none here – but I did get two fresh pork bellies Wednesday, so  those will go into the cure and be ready by next week for smoking and storage. I’m hoping to get the sausage done tomorrow as well. It didn’t quite make the list of things done today because we wound up looking for a farm truck to haul everything from cow poop to lumber to hay.

Shake it up, baby

What do you do with extra heavy cream that you happen to have on hand?

Shake it.

Butter, step one

Then pour off.


Shake and pour.

Butter, step three


Butter, step 4

Until you can’t shake no more.

Butter, step five

Pack it in, salt it down, chill it out. It’s butter, baby!

Butter, yay

For extra amusement, measure the length of your arm in Cheetos.


Because some people have nothing better to do

There are apparently so few really important issues that exist in Iowa that they need to create one. Who knew that Minnesota, who did the very same thing last year, was in a similar predicament? Clearly, there are no economic or social issues that require the attention of the critters in the legislatures there. They’re busy dithering over flags when they could be doing something even more spectacularly stupid, like various school districts are doing in Florida, and debating whether to “offend” the uber-religious nutters by suggesting that science and biology classes actually teach something scientific, like evolution. I must say, though, that the arguments from those nutbags is probably a lot more amusing – and much more terribly disappointing – than the debate that no doubt is going on about that foreign-made flag business .


Probably should have picked the Giants to win last night. Once again, just as they did in Green Bay, they came to play with much more intensity than their opponent. One of the better games over the years I’ve been watching football.

The ads, however, left quite a lot to be desired. No Budweiser frogs, no office linebackers. Instead, a mostly uninspired and, at time, downright offensive collection of ads.

The worst of the bunch: the salesgenie ads, with their strange insistence on stereotypical, annoying caricatures. The Audi ad, which was just plain awful. The E*Trade baby ads….creeeeepy. IceBreakers, completely forgettable. Shaq and the tiny horse in the vitamin water ad. Doritos’ “Message from Your Heart”, which could be a good song, if sung by someone else. PepsiMax and the bobbleheads. GoDaddy with yet another attempt at T&A, just as stupid and sleazy as everything else they do. UnderArmour. Ray Lewis leading what resembles nothing so much as a fascist mob.

The WTF ads: Gatorade’s water drinking dog (although this did make Mickey perk his head up, since that is exactly how he sounds when he’s slurping up water). Naomi Campbell dancing around with a bunch of fire-farting lizards for SoBe Life. Planters Nuts with Frau Unibrow. The talking stain for Tide to Go. Dell Red: if you buy this laptop, people will cheer you for no other reason when you’re walking down the street – and as a bonus, will slap your butt?

The movies: Iron Man. Yes.

The snoozers: Claritin. Sunsilk. Drug dealer: thanks for alerting the kids that they can go raid the medicine cabinets in their parents’ bathrooms. Bud’s Rocky-inspired Clydesdale.

The “Eh, you could have done better, but these were mildly amusing” group: All the Bud Light ads. The CareerBuilder ads (the “Follow your heart” ad was better than the firefly ad). Cars.com (the deathmatch in the circle of fire was better than the witch doctor). PepsiStuff, which only made it into this group because Justin Timberlake got racked in the crotch. Coke. Toyota Corolla, because the world needs more face-eating badgers. Gatorade and the path of green.

The best:

Bridgestone’s screaming squirrel (if only for the almost-too-tiny-to-hear screaming cricket). Not so much their unexpected obstacles ad.

Doritos’ “Mouse Attack”.

Garmin (gar-meen), with Napoleon zipping around in a tiny car, background soundtrack a perfect French cruising tune.

FedEx, once again checking in with a good one: giant, mutant pigeons creating havoc in the city when used to deliver packages.

The NFL ad with Chester Pitts playing the oboe: awesome.

Likewise, the T-Mobile “Fave 5” ad with Charles Barkley and Dwayne Webb: “I don’t want to look too fat in high-definition. That’s what HD stands for. Did you know that?”…”And that’s why I don’t eat shrimp.”

Super Sunday

Superbowl day (and what the hell with this stupid pregame crap on Fox, anyway, reading the Declaration of Independence? This household polls 100% WTF.), but also a very fine Sunday to do various things around the homestead: a test mix of soil to go in one frame, to see how we liked it. The answer: we liked it very much indeed, and will be mixing up a huge batch in the coming week or so to fill a lot more frames to hold the seedlings we’ve started – and a whole lot more that will be directly sowed.

I finalized the area for the chickens and their coop,  spread some hay, put out another flat of seedlings, supervised my sister’s preparation of the guacamole, and let others put the kebobs on the grill. If I could drink alcohol at all, I’d be kicking back with a nice cold beer, noshing on chips and guac, waiting for the food. Alas, none for me. Guess I’ll round up some chips, though, and give those a go while I get some more work stuff done.

Enjoy the game, everyone. For the record, I picked the Patriots.