Friday, December 30, 2011

looking both ways!

A simple Friday Five for a busy part of the year; indulge me by sharing two fives:

As you look back over 2011 share 5 blessings, they can be as grand or as simple as you like,if you year has been like mine they are probably a mixture!

As you look towards 2012 share 5 hopes- again, anything goes!

Five blessings, in no particular order:

1. Second Son's wedding, giving us the right to claim kin with a marvelous family, hitherto just friends.

2. Daughter Unit's return from her summer vacation, in an Expectant Condition.

3. First Son's launching into another scene of life -- and his father's practical and kindly and right-minded assistance with the process.

4. Ongoing ministry in a venue where everybody including me wants me to be;

5. AND...BE 4.0, and all that that entailed, starting with WARM, when I had forgotten what WARM felt like.

Five hopes/anticipations for 2012:


2. A proper garden, come spring.

3. Some long overdue house improvements, including doors and windows and flooring.

4. Better management of the available resources of time, energy, etc.

5. AND ... BE 5.0!!! (how many sleeps, now?)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


A little while back, FabRector, my excellent boss, gave me a beautiful bottle of port -- a couple of evenings ago I opened it, removing the cork (no screw-tops for us, friends) -- and discovered in the package a special replacement cork-stopper, with attached instructions for use (well, some of us find Tab A, Slot B, quite baffling).

The instructions included "The stopper cork should be soaked in warm water for at least one hour and wiped dry before use."

Fair enough. But then -- HOW? Have you ever tried to SOAK a CORK? I get a small dish, I fill it with warm water, I add cork, and "ploop" -- cork floats. No soaking happening here today. I suppose I could have found an empty bottle, filled it with warm water, inserted the cork, turned the bottle upside down...or some such device...but after 15 minutes of trying to persuade the cork to, well, SUBMERGE...I finally found a small narrow shot-glass, added water, and cork, and jammed a big avocado pit down on top of the works. Cork duly soaked.

And I was reminded of a recent FB post from a local politico whom I somehow contrived to "friend" in the last year. Even after nearly twenty years embedded in Freshman English, I have seldom encountered anyone so inadequate to the challenges of the English sentence, or English idiom (and as far as I know, it's the poor soul's ONLY language). Most memorable was his comment on a Member of Parliament whose most recent manoeuvre, he said, "had really sunk her goose."

So I offer that to you in case of Moments of Bleak and Drear in the next week or so -- feel free to picture a Member of Parliament, or even a non-legislator, attempting to sink a goose. The honking, the splashing, the flapping...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

the whole thing about... breakfast.

or maybe that should be "breakfaft," this season.

Interesting times, exploring the ins and outs of catering-for-ONE (plus, of course, Nefertiti the Wonder Cat) these days. And something of a revelation to realize I probably won't have to buy twenty pounds of any edible thing, all at one time, ever again.

I have been having some fun with breakfast, for sure. One of my semi-sordid Thrifty Tricks is to hit the Clearance Meat Bin at the local kind-of-wholesale place. (This is where I also regularly buy a kilo of fresh spinach!) Sometimes the Clearance Meat is bologna, or pepperoni, or otherwise only quasi-edible. But sometimes it is ham -- usually ham that has been unevenly or crookedly sliced. About two dollars the pound. It's vacuum-packed, in sturdy packaging, and freezes well.

The latest batch, upon opening, turned out to be what I call "McDonald's ham" -- ie the small slices just right to fit in an English Muffin. So I've been frying up 3 - 4 of these little slices at a time, teasing them around in the iron frying pan just until they caramelize a bit. This morning I thought they needed something more. So I nuked about a tablespoonful of big black raisins in a half-cup of orange juice, and de-glazed the pan with that, letting it cook down a bit. Ham with raisin sauce, hoo boy, some good.

My other recent purchase -- initially for specific recipes -- has been fresh jalapenos. Is there anything quite so cute and alluring as a fresh jalapeno, especially in a great big bin with a whole lot of others? "Here I am, and I am so plump, and sleek, and shiny, and green, and cheerful..."

This morning I thought I had better do something with the current jalapeno-in-residence before it got all wrinkly and reproachful. So I minced up about 1/3 of it, very carefully washing hands etc. afterward -- and I minced up about 1/3 of a small yellow onion, and most of a stalk of celery, and sizzled it all around in the omelet pan for a bit, and then made a 2 egg omelet (with a slug of coffee cream, 11%, in it)...dumped the mixed veggies into the midst of the eggs, folded it up, over and out alongside the orange-raisin ham (on a nice piece of brown toast to soak up the sauce).

And a glass of orange juice, and a big homemade skim milk latte.

I wouldn't say that the jalapeno made the omelet "hot" exactly -- more just kind of gently "incandescent."

I'm thinking if I can (and I do) chop up sweet bell peppers of various colours and freeze them as is, without blanching etc., I could probably do the same with jalapenos?

It was a great breakfast. But I don't think it constituted "fafting," exactly, by any definition I can retrieve. Sigh.

And on we go.