November 23, 2012
Another Thanksgiving has been survived! We had BIL&SIL, Jimmy and Karen over (Karen specnt some time with her family then cam over for dessert). I started the cooking on Sunday to help reduce the stress of everything that needed to happen Thursday to create a good meal.
Sunday I made the mashed potatoes - that included pealing and boiling up 10 pounds of spuds (minus 2 potatoes). I still had to put them in the crock pot, but the crockpot was in use because I also made a double batch of Sausage Stew to take to work for the Thanksgiving pot luck (evidently that was a hit as I did't bring home any leftovers and the 6qt pot was filled to the brim with sausage stew). Then I also washed and cut up several pounds of fresh greanbeans, then blanched them, for use in the green bean casserole. After cooking all that on Sunday, I set it out in the lean-to and let mother nature take care of keeping it cold (with lows in the high teens, and highes in the 20's, that worked out well).
Thurday dawned brightly and I got to work cooking. Okay, first I decided it would be good to vacuum, brush Missy, then vacuum again to get rid of any dog hair floating around. Then I made the stuffing, so it could cool before stuffing the turkey. Now, to be clear, I have never made stuffing before. I generally don't care for it, so don't bother. However, I found a recipe in the November 2012 issue of Prevention Magazine for sausage, stuffing that sounded awesome (with a few tweaks), so decided to give it a try. I also used their recipe for turkey in the same artcle (for the most part).
The bird was seasoned and stuffed, then ovenized. The majority of the dressing went into a large casserole, was covered with foil, then placed on the deck to stay chilled. The neck and giblets were boiled and saved for the dogs' dinner. Next I took all the mashed potatoes and started cramming them in the now empty crock pot. A layer of potatoes, then a layer of shredded cheese. Anohter layer of potatoes, and shredded cheese. Topped off with potatoes - and once again the crock was filled to the brim. Set that in the back room on high for an hour, then low until we were ready to eat.
Then it was on to house preperation - cleaning the bathroom, cleaning out the wood stove, filling the wood rack, a little scented oil in the bathroom, and a candle lit in the living room. Shortly after that, Jimmy arrived and WS came in from his final leaf clean up, and we socialized over snacks (chips and dip and a bag of mixed nuts - the peanut gallery can leave the obvious comment alone :).
Shortly before the turkey was done, I put together the green bean casserole. Then it, and the rest of the stuffing went into the oven after pulling the turkey out to let it "rest". then I got the ingredients together for Clinton Kelly's Apple-Cranberry Cobbler so it would be ready to go in when the sides came out. As an aside, I added 1/8 tsp ground cloves and a bit of ground ginger to the cobbler recipe (just because it sounded good to me).
Up until this point everything was wheat-free. I used pure cornbread for the stuffing and used a Bob's Mills gluten free general baking mix for the cobbler. However, Thnksgiving just insn't Thanksgiving without crescent rolls - so it wasn't a totally wheat-free meal. And, Karen brought a fabulous apple pie to go with the cobbler, and I couldn't pass up a slice of that.
I pushed back the dinner because after much conversation with everyone (somewhere in there BIL/SIL arrived, we watched the end of the Lion's game. It was a close game at that point and everyone was busy cheering on the team they wanted to win. So, after the game, WS carved the turkey while I tried to figure out how to get all the food, plates and serving utensils on the few counters we have. I finally moved enough stuff to allow for buffet-style loading of plates, and the feast was on (Karen arrived shortly after we started dinner). Aparently everything was good as it got really quiete, until people got up for seconds.
After that, we lazed around for an hour or so before bringing out the deserts (with ice cream and whipped cream) - then everyone lazed around moaning and groaning from their full tummies.
I managed to send most of the leftovers home with everyone else (another sign that the meal was a hit - they were eager for leftovers!), so the fridge isn't stuffed to the brim! I'll share the stuffing recipe with you in a day or so - it got rave reviews, as did the turkey and cobbler. I was so happy it came out well since I was nervous I was using three recipes that I hadn't tried out previously!
Eventually everyone recuperated enough to find their way home - all thankfull for the family, friends, and the meal, and the day set aside to enjoy it!
November 22, 2012
Turkey Day 2012
November 18, 2012
The Demise of Twinkies
I've heard a lot lately about the demise of the Twinkie. That seems to be the only part of the story I hear on the news though - that the iconic twinkie will be no more with the demise of Hostess. However, I don't believe enough attention has been placed on one of the reasons why Hostess is going under - the union will not accede to cuts in pay. Let's get this out of the way right now - I am only going by what I have heard (precious little, so I may be missing a thing or two here), but if given a choice, I prefer to get a percentage of my pay as to no pay at all. In fact, I worked for a company that reduced pay by 10% (and cut benefits) so it could keep more workers - I was all for that.
The Weekend Pundit has a nice opinion piece up that highlights some personal experience with unions. When we first moved to NH, WS was working for a unionized company. He too found it insane that he couldn't change out a burned out lightbulb on a machine's indicating button (it's not so hard - even I could do it without endangering myself, the machine or the product). Also, having family in the airplane business (on WS's side of the family) who were union members - we found it interesting that they would vote to raise their pay by umpteen % (or strike if that didn't happen), then they were amazed when the company built a plant in Mexico to reduce costs - eventually closing the plant they worked in. Hmm, don't know why they didn't see that coming.
These people also thought that it was a shame that the starting pay for a cafeteria line cook was only $24/hr. This was for someone coming in straight off the streets with no experience or schooling. This was years ago, and the union members thought that the cooks weren't making a living wage. This is not in an area where prices of homes or goods are high. Heck, with my education and experieence in my field, I would have been happy to get that amount of pay then (in fact, that would be good pay for me now!) And they were shocked when the "greedy" company decided to make its airplanes somewhere else.
It just amazes me at how out of touch with the real world at least some union members are. And now, a whole bunch of people will be out of work, with an economy that is adding jobs at a dismal rate. I just don't get the thinking that went on there.
A Dog and His Ride
Got this from Wichi Dude
November 17, 2012
Well, I already wrote a great post, then Typepad threw me out and lost the post. So now the short version; Chuck Woolery has videos up about all kinds of stuff of import today - the budget crisis, (so called) assault rifles, taxing the rich etc. You'll have to go find your own links though because I'm not looking them all up again!
The poor dogs have been a bit on the confused side this week. After close to 4 months of getting to stay inside 90% of the time, they got thrown out in the pen every morning, and not brought in until some time between 6:30 and 7:30 PM. Between 3+ hours of drivetime and 10 hours of work per day, I've been leaving early and getting home late. WS left even earlier than me on a couple of days, and got home late on one day (the day the dogs didn't get in until 7:30).
This is one reason I have never understood dog trainers that insist that your pets should be on a rigid schedule - life throws changes at the owners, and the pets can get more stressed out if they aren't used to changes. Our two current dogs haven't had much of a changing schedule over the years, so this throws them a little, however not too bad since we are still on a first shift schedule.
Years ago, when we had three other dogs (Bogie, Niki and Sampson), we were constantly on different schedules; rotating a lot between 2nd and 3rd shifts. Then when the dogs were getting on in years, we switched to first shift. Additionally, our shifts would be anywhere from 8-16 hours, though a whole lot of 7 day weeks, which just made keeping them on any kind of actual schedule impossible. However, since the dogs were used to that from a very young age, there weren't any issues. When feeding times were changed because the shift had changed, it wasn't a big deal and they didn't get stressed or upset about it.
Now days, poor Prince, who has a very precise stomach (it can tell within 15 minutes whe he "should" get fed - the end of daylight savings time just kills him!), gets all worked up - which doesn't do him any good. Unfortunately, he seemed to have been on a strict schedule when he was young so any major change just upsets him for a while. Missy, on the other hand, is just a happy dog no matter the circumstances, so takes the changes in stride. And of course the cats just don't care since their food is always available.
The dogs and humans are adjusting, just some adjust more quickly than others.
November 11, 2012
Think of Them
Thank a veteran today!
November 09, 2012
Last Friday morning I was contacted by a company that I had had several phone interviews and two in-person interviews. They offered me a position contingent upon my passing a physical and background check; was shocked there was no drug test. I accepted and went in for the physical on Monday which tested
- Vitals - BP 100/60 and pulse 60,
- Vision - good enough to pass apparently
- Hearing - "OMG you have great hearing even going into the negatives" she said
- Range of motion - thank goodness one move only had do be done on the downward swing - the upward would have been difficult
- Limberness - I touched my toes with feet together
Last night they called to say I had passed the background check and physical; when did I want to start? I think I took them aback when I replied "Monday". I won't actually have a computer for up to a week (large companies have overloaded IT people that are trying to service all new-hires for all divisions), but they will figure out something for me to do.
Then I got a care package delivered this afternoon that I had no idea who it was from, or why. At first I thought maybe WS was sending me flowers, but when it turned out to be a fruit, nut and cracker basket, I was befuddled. Then I opened the card and found it was from the company as a welcome to the fold.
I will be glad to get back to work after being unemployed for 3.5 months!
November 08, 2012
I don't know what happened to the picture of the Evening Grosbeak that was supposed to appear on the last post. But here it is for all to enjoy.
First Snow 2012
Yesterday I started getting ready for the first real snowfall. Sure, we've had flurries, but nothing that stuck or accumulated. The first order of business was to remove the furniture from the deck, but first I had to take a picture of Fuzzy laying on top of the wood rack.
Shortly after I went back inside, I happened to look out the kitchen window and saw an Evening Grosbeak at the feeder. Scary Yankee Chick had recently posted that she had the same visitors (with beter pictures than mine) and I had commented that I only had them come around every few years. I only saw the one, but I'm sure his buddies weren't too far away.
The snow won't stick around too long. We are supposed to get a warm up on Sunday. We still need to get the bikes to storage, so we definitely hope that we have some nice days ahead.