Category Archives: Cooking

The Last Day of School

Yesterday was Alexa’s last day of school. It was a bittersweet day that Alexa both looked forward to and dreaded.

When Alexa’s Dad died 2 years ago she wrote and read a tribute at his funeral, a good-bye letter if you will. In her letter she said that she feared the big days ahead, like graduation and someday getting married. She said that the milestones in her life would be marked by his absence.

Alexa made it clear to me that she would not walk in a graduation ceremony afraid she’d be reduced to tears and throughout her last year of high school I wondered if she’d graduate at all. She struggled with chronic illness related immune deficiency and she grieved over lost health and a lost father. Her grades fell.

Her greif counselor told me not to push her and sometimes I didn’t, and sometimes I did. I knew if Alexa didn’t graduate that she was still an able, capable girl, even more important Alexa knows she’s an able capable girl. But I was afraid if she gave up on graduation that it would give her more of a reason to give up on life. Alexa and I discussed our terms, she agreed to follow through with earning the credit needed to graduate and only said, “just stay with me,” and so I did.

Finishing class yesterday reminded her that she couldn’t call her Dad to say, ” I did it Dad,” but she imagined what he might  have said and how proud of her he would have been.

After her online classes ended at noon we loaded into the car and left for the suburbs of Minneapolis. Nick had a new car to pick up and Alexa and I made plans to visit Cookie Strange at Great Clips in Champlin.

Cookie is one of my closest friends, daughter. I’ve known Cookie ever since she was born and her Mother named her Emily…which she later changed to Cookie. Cookie works magic on hair and I will follow her to the end of the earth because she makes my hair fabulous.

The last time I got my haircut I had it done locally, it is viewable in all of my online photos. The cut was alright but it wasn’t the kind of cut that you could blow dry and go and it didn’t fare well on windy days in the garden. I need hair that you can seriously mess up and I prefer an modern edge because age appropriate just sucks,  as always Cookie delivered.

When Alexa and I finished getting our hair cut we went to Totally Tan. As Alexa’s health has worsened her skin color has become very light but her hair is dark. During the summer she frequently hides in jeans feeling like her legs glow white. She also burns easily so I agreed to take her to a place that offers a full body spray tan.

After I paid for Alexa’s tan, Alexa looked at me and said…”Aren’t you going to go?” I hesitated, I have  to attend a birthday party and a wedding today…but thought I could use some color. After asking a pile of questions I decided to try it. The experience was absolutely dreadful, it so cold it almost took my breath away and I forgot to use the shower cap so I stepped out once again feeling like Bridget Jones.

On the drive home Alexa and I talked about her Dad, upcoming graduation parties, what to wear to the wedding and we started to turn a warm brown …maybe not so bad. By this morning I staggered to the kitchen for coffee on gingerbread colored legs and thought; definitely not bad.

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British Court Rules on Potato Chips

Pringles Logo
Image via Wikipedia

Today a Britsh court ruled that Pringles are potato chips. I’m curious to know what Proctor & Gamble was trying to present them as.

I once attended an agriculture round table meeting hosted by the University of Minnesota, the professor was trying to promote food irradiation to a group of public school officials. In the lead up to discussing treating food with radiation he did an overview of some landmark cases in the food history. The most noteworthy was a case brought by an unnamed tomato sauce company in the 70’s or 80’s who argued that maggots didn’t constitute filth in food because they were not visible. The unnamed company of course lost but its not much different than Pringles arguing whether or not a potato chip is a potato chip…key ingredient?  I wonder how much the tomato sauce suit cost taxpayers?

Did you hear about the 150 Amish Paste tomatoes I planted? Well now you know the rest of the story.

The FDA’s 3 second rule

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The Spirit of Christmas during Lent

Cookie I like to bake right before the holiday’s. This year I invited family over on baking day, pulled out the ornaments and decorations and served cookies, hot cinnamon rolls and drinks as people came and went during the day .  It was loads of work but I enjoyed it so much that I’ll definitely do it again next year with a few changes.  I especially loved that so many people added ornaments to the tree and embellishments to the house and the cookies.

Unfortunately some of the cookies that came out of the oven broke and they lingered on the table undecorated until Rachel arrived. Rachel is my son Benjamin‘s housemate and girlfriend. As I pulled trays of cookies from the oven she visited with me and began mending the broken cookies, fusing their decapitated heads and disemboweled bodies with frosting. It was so Nightmare Before Christmas I was sorry I didn’t break more cookies in the process of baking finding them darkly entertaining and befitting to our holiday history.

For years we topped our tree with an angel. We were very poor the year I bought the angel tree topper, she was affordable but didn’t look very angelic…more evil and she never stood erect at the top of the tree, she leaned forward with her wings spread like she was hawking over us…leering.  Over time she became known among family members as our Archangel* and long after we could afford to replace her she maintained her place atop our Christmas tree fusing us together with memories of dark humor and harder times. Holiday cookies with stitches fit right in even if Rachel was too new to our family to fully realize it.

Throughout the holiday season the decorated cookies were stored in tins and eventually were pared down to a single plastic storage container where a single disemboweled cookie got stuck to the side of the container. I left him there because it made me laugh and even after the container was completely empty he went undisturbed out of fear he would break. On random occasions I’d talk to him and even ask his preferences as to the evenings dinner menu… he noted a marked preference for lamb.

Cookie is no longer stuck to the plastic container and has since taken up residences on my baker’s rack in the kitchen. Next Christmas I’ll bake a girl cookie named Ginger with Angelina Jolie’s lips, plastic surgery stitches and a bent for short, bald guys who smell like sweetened vanilla.

*In true biblical fashion the Archangel perished during a flood in 2004 …really.

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Baking, Santana & Chad Kroeger

Baking artisan bread to Santana & Chad Kroeger.

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Today I Want…

imagesToday I want winter to end and menopause to begin. I want to take a long walk in warm weather. I want to read a book on the back patio while sipping wine and roasting Red Crab on the grill. I want Amish Snap Peas from my garden, I want the house to fill with the garlicky smell of Roma tomatoes roasting. I want the windows open, I want my sheets to dry on an outdoor clothesline. I want to fill a basket with fresh organic asparagus then fold it into a bed of Parmesan Fettuccine. Today I want my bare feet to feel the earth.

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Filed under Aging, Cooking, Food, Life, Royalton

Merry Christmas:)

Christmas was difficult last year because it was Alexa’s first Christmas since her father died.  This year promised to be easier but then her pet Chinchilla died last night…ccertainly didn’t need that. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to a very laid back celebration this year…no turkey and gravy and all that work  this year I’m baking a ham because it’s easier.  I even briefly considered using paper plates to avoid dishes but felt guilty leaving my beautiful Spode Christmas china unused for another year.

This year we will eat, drink, play Raving Rabbits on the Wii, open gifts and most of all we will be together…just waiting for Ben!

Happy Holiday’s, I hope its a good one!

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Crock Pot Recipe Index

For those rushing in and out of the house here is a Crockpot Recipe Index

Just click on the recipe to get the instructions

Crock Pot Cooking Index


Crock Pot – Beef

 

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Pork

 

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Poultry

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Fish & Seafood

Slow Cooker Seafood Chowder

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Soup, Stew & Chili

 

Crock Pot – Barbeque

 

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Side Dishes

 

 

 

 

Crock Pot – Dessert

 

 

 

 

 

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