Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scenic Drive

Yesterday, I took a scenic drive. I really wanted to ride my bike in this area with Jasmine earlier this spring. And while it was absolutely beautiful, I'm glad we didn't make it. It was a forest (dirt) road. I knew that but it sounded fine in my head. It had pretty bad and constant washboarding. If I ever moved back here, I would definitely ride this road...with a mountain bike though, not my touring bike.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jack played with me :o)

Ever since we got Jack, I've been trying to get him to play with a toy with me. He plays tug of war with Jasmine with all kinds of toys but he has never played with a human. Yesterday afternoon, I walked outside where the dogs already were and Jack came running to me with a stuffed hedgehog in his mouth. That's one of Jasmine's favorite toys and they play with it together a lot. He played tug of war for a minute before I got it out of his mouth and I teased him with it and threw it. He ran after it and grabbed it. I ran over to him and we did it again. Then he was done with that toy and I was so happy but then he grabbed a water bottle (they love the crinkly sound they make) and started dancing around with it so we did the same thing with the water bottle and I got two throws in with that one too. But after the last throw, he grabbed it and laid down with it.

Jack played with me. :o) I know it doesn't sound like much but I didn't think it would ever happen with Jack. Whatever he went through ealy in life, he wasn't taught to play and most dogs never do if they're not taught or not allowed as puppies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prison dogs and a gopher on death row

On Saturday, I was a volunteer dog handler for a dog that was just released from the prisoner dog training program. Only the most out of control (but not agressive) dogs get into the program. A prisoner is given a dog to train for a month or two...I don't remember which. There is a trainer that trains the inmates and he goes there once a week to go through trials with the dogs and check on their progress. All of the dogs passed this round.

I got in line to get a dog. I saw a pyranees puppy coming off the truck and I was next so I was excited because he was so cute. But the woman ganding out the dogs recognized me from the training class and told me I couldn't have that dog because it was too easy for me. I ended up with Farrow. I think she was a yellow lab/pit bull mix. She was quite lively. We each exercised the dogs for about 30 minutes before the trainer showed up. He went through a very long session of "Training 101". It was hot and so the dogs weren't happy having to walk around in the heat with no water.
Robyn, the trainer I worked under, warned me that he was old school. Still, even with the warning, I was unprepared for the physical way he dealt with the dogs. There was a little terrier that he actually flung around on the end of the leash to get its attention. He was telling people not to be afriad to knock a dog hard in the head with their knee because it would teach them not to walk too close. I wasn't comfortable with being that physical. Luckily, Farrow minded pretty well...except for the constant whining. All the dogs (except for two) had possible owners waiting to meet them. So the owner went through the same thing in front of the owners. These dogs are amazing. They can down on recall...which is not something most dogs can do. They can walk backward, know several tricks, heel off leash, and of course, all the other obedience cues. Winston was the star of the show, I think... I want that dog.
Sadly, Farrow was one of the ones that wasn't adopted. Her possible owners backed out a couple of days before she was released. She is in a foster home though so at least she doesn't have to live in a cage at the humane society.
I got home and got busy doing things. I ran down to the basement to grab something and I heard a scratching sound. I had visons of mice jumping out of drawers and cabinets on Hoch. I slowly made my way to the corner I heard it coming from. Turns out, it was from beind the blinds.
I pulled up the blinds and there was this ugly rat looking thing. Then it popped up and it showed me it's 4, yellow buck teeth and giant hands with long claws. I almost jumped. That thing was ugly. I called the dogs down and they came running. I pointed to the window and Bear saw it. The other dogs looked too. No one barked but they were on high alert. I lifted Bear up to take a closer look. I set him down, then lifted Jack, then Jasmine. Jasmine hates being picked up but she liked it this time. After I set her down, Bear siddled up next to me and looked up at me, then the window and back to me. So I lifted him again. When I let him down, Jack came over to me so I lifted him again. Even Jasmine came back for more. I lifted each dog 4 times then I went outside to try to let the gopher out.
I put a hose down into the window well. I put a rope into the hole. I waited a little while but the best this little thing would do was chew on the things. I wasn't thinking when I went to the garage in the backyard and asked the guy there to help me get it out. He put gloves on and he grabbed it right out. He walked away with it. He told me later he threw it in the canal. :o( I felt bad. I was trying to save the things life, not end it. I should have waited longer for the gopher to climb out on it's own but I didn't. I hope gophers can swim. It wasn't ugly from the top side as it was from the underside as seen from the window.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Millet Loaf

This is my next dish with the grains I bought. I loved it. I tried it with a bean sauce which was good but after a little bit, I decided the flavors didn't mesh too well. The next time I ate it, I tried it with ketchup, like I would with a meatloaf but that wasn't real great. This time, I actually tried it with gravy, like the recipe suggested and it was definitely the best so I will be sticking with that.

Millet has a nutty kind of flavor.

Millet Loaf

1 1/2 cups millet
3 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups carrot, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup onion finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoondried thyme
1 curoasted sunflower seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1. Rinse millet and put it in a medium saucepan with the water and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, lid ajar slightly, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until soft; the millet should absorb all the water.
2. Saute the carrots, celery, onions and garlic in sesame oil until onions are translucent. Add the seasonings.
3. Mix the cooked millet and the veggies together, along with the sunflower seeds, if you wish.
4. Add 3 tbsp flour to the millet mixture, blending well.
5. Lightly oil (and flour, optional) 2 loaf pans. Press the millet mixture into the pan, and bake at 400 F for one hour (45 minutes if the millet is still warm when you put it into the pan).
6. Allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a platter and slicing.
7. Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans and lots of brown gravy.

Mum's Day

I got a package from Adam last night. The paper that came with it said "Happy Mum's Day" . I pulled a book which turned out to be a spiral bound, illustrated version of the church Hymn Book. After I bought the piano, I went out looking for a spiral bound hymn book at the thrift stores since I had seen one not too long before but hadn't found one. The paintings inside are beautiful, some from modern artists like Liz Lemon Swindle and Greg Olsen, some, I've never seen before, and some are classic paintings of Jesus from people like Davinci.

I took it right out to the paino and played a few songs...well, tried anyway. Some are just too ahrd for me. But I can try now, at least. :o)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I found a store here that sells organic locally grown/made items, mostly food. They have a whole row of bulk food. I browsed it for way too long. I didn't want to go overboard so I only shose one kind of grain. I bought the amaranth because the sign said it was "The grain of the Andes". :o) They're tiny balls that become translucent when cooked. They looked like little bubbles in my soup. I am really liking earthy flavors lately so I thought this soup was really good. I didn't use leeks though.

So after the first grain experiment went well, I went back and got a bunch of different kinds of grains that I'll be trying over the next few weeks.

Creamy Cannellini Bean-Amaranth Soup With Basil

2 large leeks, sliced, white parts only
2 tablespoons extra vigin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup amaranth
2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 cup tomato puree
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans or white beans, drained, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Cut the root end from the leeks and slice them in half vertically, then rinse throughly to remove all grit. Slice the leeks ands saute the olive oil over medium heat in a 2 quart saucepan. When the leeks are golden and soft add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the amaranth, stock, bay leaf, and tomato puree, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Put half of the beans into a food processor bowl. Puree until smooth. When the amaranth mixture is done, remove the ba leaf, then carefully pour the mixture into the processor and puree. Cover the top of the feed tube with a folded towel as you process, to keep hot liquid from flying out. Pour the puree back into the pan.

Sire the remaining beans and the chopped herbs into the hot soup, and warm gently on the stove for 5 minutes or so. If desired, thin with water or more stock. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with whole grain bread.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sauerkraut is a health food

I came across an article a while interview with some older folks who grew up during the depression on farms. I don't know if the people were of German heritage or not but most had crocks of homemade sauerkraut in their roor cellars. A number of people said that they would sneak into the cellar and sip off some of the sauerkraut juice. Tastes have surely changed!! Some wouldn't drink it on their own but were forced to drink some as a tonic. I googled "the health benefits of sauerkraut juice" and read up on it. So I bought a jar of sauerkraut and tried it...but the sauerkraut was really gross. And I didn't try anymore recipes. But I found a recipe that looked good and decided to give it another shot today. It's not the kind of thing I would want all the time, but it was good, in a weird sort of way... and the dogs really like sauerkraut...who would have guessed??

So, after reading an article I've learned that sauerkraut is a health food powerhouse. This is what it said:

Sauerkrauts Specific Health Benefits
1. Sauerkraut as immune booster
One of the not so secret benefits of sauerkraut is the boost it gives to immune systems. Packed with vitamins andminerals, sauerkraut has been used as a lay immune booster for centuries.Sauerkraut contains phytochemicals which are created during the fermentation process. These naturally occurring, beneficial by products of sauerkraut help boost the immune system which leads to a decrease in a number of health problems. The common cold, skin problems, weight gain and tainted blood are all fixed by a healthy functioning immune system.
2. Sauerkraut as cancer fighter
The most recent evidence of sauerkraut's status as a Superfood is found in numerous studies on the cruciferous wonder's cancer fighting properties. The results of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that sauerkraut is a cancer inhibitor. The study discovered that the fermentation of cabbage produced a substance called isothiocynates, which prevents cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung and liver. Although raw cabbage is normally rich in a compound called glucosinolate, the researchers found that during the fermentation process enzymes are released that completely decompose the compound into several breakdown products. The majority of these products are cancer-fighting isothiocyanates. The University of New Mexico published a study linking sauerkraut consumption by adolescent females to a reduced risk for breast cancer earlier studies indicate sauerkraut may reduce the risk for other forms of cancer including lung, colon, prostate, and liver We are finding that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer, says Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, Ph.D., research manager of MTT Agrifood Research Finland, located in Jokioinen, Finland. A recent study by the American Center for Cancer Research has found that sauerkraut has a profound effect in preventing and healing breast cancer. Based on reports that breast cancer rates amongst polish women in the United States were much higher than those in Poland researchers set out to find out why. Their answer; the women who still lived in Poland ate significantly larger amounts of sauerkraut especially important while they were in adolescence. The research found that the women who immigrated Americanized' their diets and stopped eating as much of the super food that is sauerkraut thus increasing their rates of breast cancer.

3. Digestive Aid
Eating sauerkraut is a great way to protect the balance of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L. planatarum is a very dominant strain of healthful bacteria which helps your digestive system in the following ways: boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease help inhibit pathogenic organisms including E.coli, salmonella and unhealthy overgrowth of candida (yeast) create antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismustase) that scavenge free radicals which are a cancer precursor transforms hard-to-digest lactose from milk to the more easily digested lactic acid. It neutralizes the antinutrients found in many foods including the phytic acid found in all grains and the trypsin-inhibitors in soy generates new nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, digestive aids and the trace mineral GTF chromium. These various properties are the best scientific reasons given for what has been known by loyal users for millennia, sauerkraut cures an upset stomach and is the best natural physic there is. Many sources say raw fermented foods are beneficial to the digestive system by increasing the healthy flora in the intestinal tract or creating the type of environment for them to flourish. Sauerkraut and its juice are traditional folk remedies for constipation. Fermentation actually increases nutrient values in the cabbage, especially vitamin C. Fermented foods are also said to facilitate the breakdown and assimilation of proteins. They have a soothing effect on the nervous system. The benefits of sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice have been recognized for generations. In some families of southern Germany, the children are fed raw sauerkraut twice weekly to support their intestines. Today it is thought that these benefits may relate to a high proportion of lactic acid in sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice that naturally supports the digestive processes, maintain intestinal flora, and increase the feeling of well-being.

4. Flu Fighter
With the spread of Avian Flu spreading across the globe, one enterprising Korean scientist, Kang Sa-Ouk of Seoul National University, took 13 chickens infected with avian flu virus and a couple of other diseases, fed them Kim chi extract and found that 11 of the birds recovered. Experts think the vital bacteria are created during the fermenting process and this gives the dish its health-boosting qualities.

So this is the recipe I used it in today. It was good…strange, but good. But first, the rye bread recipe to go with it.

German Dark Rye Bread

3 cups bread flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 pkgs. Yeast
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
2 cups water
½ cup honey
2 tbsp. butter
3 ½ cups rye flour
8 tsp. vital wheat gluten

Place white flour, cocoa, yeast, caraway seeds, gluten, and salt in a large bowl. Stir to mix. Place water, honey and butter in a saucepan and heat until butter melts. When this liquid mixture registers 105-115 degrees, add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened, then beat very ahrd for 3 minutes. Stir in rye flour, enough to make a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Roll out to shape to fit greased loaf pans. Brush tops lightly with oil and cover with a damp cloth. Raise in unheated oven over a pan of hot water for 1 hour until doubled. Punch down and allow to rise again until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven immediately remove from pans; let cool on racks. Yield: 2 loaves.

I felt like the crust was way too thick…maybe I was supposed to leave the water in the oven through the cook time…it didn’t really say so maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Country Pork Ribs and Sauerkraut

4 lbs boneless pork ribs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil (you may need more)
2 (14 ounce) cans sauerkraut
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

1. trim as much fat as possible off pork.
2. put flour zip lock bag add pork & shake well to coat.
3. heat 2 tbsp oil in stock pot.
4. add pork & brown on both sides remove pork from pot(may need to do this in 2 batches,adding more oil if needed).
5. slice onions then cut in half once mince garlic & saute with onion until translucent(again you may need to add more oil).
6. add undrained sauerkraut, undrained pineapple, bay leaves, & caraway seeds.
7. return pork.
8. mix gently but, well.
9. cover & simmer slowly for 3 hours.
10. If the liquid evaporates to quickly turn down heat & add some water, it should stay slightly watery.
11. gently remove pork & place on serving tray then remove sourkraut & place next to pork.
12. salt and pepper (you don't need much salt).
13. serve with boiled potatoes

Thursday, May 7, 2009

new bike setup

I have been saving change(mostly pennies though) for a few years now. Adam gave me a hard time about moving the weight of all that change from GA to UT and again to ID and said I needed to exchange it from bills for this move. I added it all up and went to the bike shop with it and got a couple of add ons.

The old handlebar tape got pretty gashed up in my accident, all the way to the metal. So I got new tape (yellow) to match my fenders. I got cross top brake levers put on. I would have done it myself but I have no idea how it all connects...both sets of brake levers work without being connected. They tried to explain it to me but I just never got it. Then, they sold me a used stem and mtn. handlebar. It took some talking to convince me that the stem they were selling me was not the same one that came with my bike originally. The original one was recalled and I, unfortunately, got to experience the reason why it was recalled. They had to make a metal shim because the stem was too big for my quill stem. They cut the mtn. handlebar to the size I wanted. The handlebar bag sits low on the new handlebar leaving room for the cross top levers. Still, my reflexes send me to the drop levers but I am getting used to having such easy access to the cross's expecially great when I'm with a dog. I can keep my hands up on the flat part of the bar and still have access to the brakes. I feel more in control. It's not prefect though. Having the cross tops takes up some room where my hands rest. I have to add tape on top of the cross top clamp in order to relieve some pressure created by the edge of the tape.

Lentils & rice

I posted a question on the help desk. No one answered my question but someone else posted about the same problem I was having. They got an answer. The reason I was having trouble was because I was using the edit Html button. So I can post pictures again.

This recipe ceoms from a book about grains & dried beans. It's simple to make and I love the earthy flavor of it. The recipe didn't call for enough water so I listed what I ended up using by the time it was done cooking.

Rice with Lentils, Esau-Style

1 cup lentils
1 cup unprocessed long-grain white rice
2 tsp. salt
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbsp. oil

Boil the lentils in 3 cups water with 1 tsp of the salt for 15 - 20 minutes, or until tender. In another pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add the rice and the remaining salt. Turn off the heat, and let the rice sit until the lentils are ready.

Rinse and drain the lentils and rice. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the partly cooked lentils and rice, cover the pan, and simmer the mixture slowly for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Saute the onion in the oil until they soften and turn golden - five to seven minutes. Add the onion and oil to the cooked mixture, and serve.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Great deal on asparagus!

There's a small farmer's market/country store near the house in an old, fixed up barn. I kept thinking about going but just never made it until a few days ago. It's teeny tiny inside but they do have good deals. They had asparagus that was locally grown for 1.39/lb! I couldn't believe it. At the grocery store, it was 3.99/lb. So I bought two bunches. I love fresh asparagus!

So, to use up some of the asparagus, I made something from my new Amish cookbook and it was so good!!!

Delicate Asparagus Pie

Pastry for 1-crust 9-inch pie
8 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds fresh or 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped asparagus
10 ounces grated swiss cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
3 shakes of hot red pepper sauce
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch pie pan. Bake the pastry shell for 10 minutes, checking it regularly. Prick any bubbles with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels and then crumble into small pieces. Sprinkle on the bottom of the prebaked pastry shell; set aside.

In a vegetable steamer, over boiling water, steam the fresh asparagus for 3 minutes. If using frozen, cook according to package directions. Drain on paper towels and cool.

Ina small mixing bowl, combine the cheese and flour; set aside. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, pepper sauce, and salt and pepper to taste; stir in the cheese. Arrange the asparagus pieces in a layer in top of the crumbled bacon and pour the eggs on top. Do not combine. Spinkle the pie with paprika and bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the pie is a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.
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