Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I started 2013 gleefully telling my Big Boss that I planned to retire in September.  Looking down the months from January to September I thought the time would never pass. 

I was able to look around and say goodbye to the library and its denizens and think warm fuzzy thoughts, especially at the end. 

My plans for how to structure my days have worked out perfectly.

As I look back on the year, everything is suffused with a very happy feeling of contentment that I have been able to snuggle down at home, cook, bake, plan my garden, work on crafts, take lots of breaks to daydream...

I have been in one of those odd periods for awhile where I didn't read much, but now I'm in that ideal state where you put down one book and happily pick up another.  That's the life for me.

Wishing you the very best in 2014,   Librarian D.O.A.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review at Merlyn Perilous for Death In the Time of Ice by Kaye George

My book blog Adventures of Merlyn Perilous is finally perking along.  I decided I should just say what I want to about books I enjoy and not try to have a formal review.  Books and my reaction to them are very personal so the recommendation should be that, right?

Off to the ice you go!

Kaye George on the Web

Waldorf Salad (Fannie Farmer)

Some of my former co-workers used to bring the tastiest salads to staff potlucks using apples and other fruits in the salad, and since salads are another of the things I'd love to do well, I looked through my small cookbook collection to see what there was and for some reason Waldorf Salad sounded elegant and tasty all at once.

Looking through cookbooks is a pleasant pastime if there ever was one.  So many possibilities.  I also really like that they often offer a bit of history or commentary.  My Fannie Farmer cookbook does not, but it does off a lot of basic cooking instructions, and I've never taken time to really sit back and try to learn the basics.  It is eye opening, really, and I highly recommend it. 

My skills are slowly improving as I try different recipes of all types.  My spice cupboard is quite intriguing.  My weekly menus are fun and are (mostly) tasty.  The Waldorf Salad is simple, with a nice combination of flavors and textures.  Very quick to make.

Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1979c)  Waldorf Salad

2 firm ripe green apples
1 firm ripe red apple
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Iceberg or Bibb lettuce leaves

Core and quarter the apples (leave the skin on unless it is tough) and slice thin.  Put in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice to coat.  Add the celery and walnuts.  Cover and chill.

Mix the mayonnaise and honey (if you like a little sweetness in the dressing) together until smooth, add to the apple mixture and toss.  Serve on a bed of lettuce.

DOA Notes:   You only chill the apple mixture while you mix the mayonnaise.  I used honey.  I expected this to be a bit sweeter, and would prefer it that way so next time I make it I will use two red Macintosh apples and one Granny Smith.  I used mayonnaise here but will use Miracle Whip next time which is just a bit sweeter and I think I'll have a perfect salad.  The apples did not turn brown or the salad spoil in any way over the 3-4 days it took me to eat all the nice tasty salad.  I don't think the bed of lettuce adds anything unless you're being fancy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holy Basil, Batman!

Since I've decided to grow and use herbs in abundance next season, I thought to grow Holy Basil  "Ocimum Sanctum."   It has culinary and medicinal properties, including perhaps being an immune system booster.

Pinetree Garden Seeds had it listed but was sold out when I went to place an order.  Other seed companies either don't list it or are sold out.  In December?   I found another company that has it listed but their catalog hasn't been updated for 2014.  Another had comments that the seeds did not germinate for them.

Quite the hunt for this bit of semi-mystical treasure, don't you think?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Guess I Need the Library After All

As you may recall I wondered about finding a new library for myself once I wasn't in one everyday.  Since I retired in September, I've been in my local library once to pick up a request.  I haven't been anywhere else.

I have a wondrous pile of my own to be read books.  I keep getting recommendations on Facebook for ebook versions of mysteries free or on sale.  My shelves also happen to runneth over with many books I haven't had the time to read, and now I do have it.

My baking fiendishness has made me appreciate a nice cookbook, with those small essays about the author of the book or the recipes themselves.  I have a pretty small cookbook collection and usually any given cookbook yields only a few recipes you want to make over and over.

Here is where the library, that venerable institution, comes in handy.  I can go there with my coinage and copy the recipes I want, or check the books out and enjoy the essays, copy recipes and return them.

The other big topic where I would want to read and return the books is gardening.  I have a lot of books on gardening, but you just never know what neat idea someone may have or what distinctive new gardening voice there may be.

Off we go to the library!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Picky Palate's XXL M and M Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought I'd report on my monster cookies.  They turned out great and are perfect dunked in milk.  Nice soft cookies.  Very chocolaty.  I personally was mongo impressed by scooping up a quarter cup of dough for each cookie.  I managed to space them well so they didn't conjoin.

The link for the recipe is here.  I cooked them for 15 minutes at 350 and did give them the extra ten minutes on the pan. 

Just delightful.  I'm giving them away tomorrow never fear or I would have to roll everywhere I go.  It was important for me to taste one for scientific purposes.

I hate to say but I think mine look nicer than the originals.  No brag just fact (Walter Brennan?).

Before cooking on right, after cooking on left :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What's Cooking? You Ask.

Well, since you ask, there is a nice stew in the crockpot simmering away on low.  It smells heavenly.

I have all these recipes I'm twitching to try, but there is just me and Mr. DOA so I can't fill the place with baked goods, can I?  Noooo.

I can find opportunities such as a family gathering this weekend to bring the expected cranberries and 7 Layer Salad, and more.

Trickily, I can try a few other recipes and slink in the door with them, letting my unsuspecting family test these things out.

First, a recipe I have used before for coleslaw that is very good but not necessarily just like KFC's slaw.   It makes way too much so I'm going to halve it this time:


I confess when I made it last time I used Miracle Whip because I grew up with it and I love it to death.  I find regular mayo to be comparatively tasteless.   The new Uber Cook me is going to use Hellman's in the recipe to see what difference it makes, if any.

The butter is softening as we speak for Whipped Shortbread Cookies  from Taste of Home. The recipe seemed simple, looked pretty, and delicate.  3 cups of butter is putting a serious dent in my butter supply.

My cookies came out perfect.  I wanted something light like a Russian teacake but not a Russian teacake.  They seemed as if they might be soft given the texture of the dough, but they are not.  A burst of powdery cookie-ness explodes  in your mouth then it immediately melts away on your tongue in a lovely buttery bit of heaven.  I am a soft cookie person so I think these need milk or coffee to dunk them in.

These are mine:

I found Christmas colored M and Ms  for Picky Palate's http://picky-palate.com/2010/05/10/xxl-mm-chocolate-chip-cookies/

I did not find those pans she used that are like muffin pans but very shallow.  I looked at various advice for baking cookies in muffin tins.  There was such a wide variation in baking times and temperatures, I think trying this for the first time I will use her directions for baking on a regular cookie sheet.

From a site I increasingly love: Two Peas and Their Pod  we're making Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake.  I've never made a bundt cake before, and always think of them as being sort of dry and frosting-less.

This sweet recipe looks very moist and has a nice chocolate glaze.  http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chocolate-sour-cream-bundt-cake/

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get Spicy!

There is usually an article in the paper or elsewhere at this time of year when so many of us are blissfully cooking our little hearts out telling us to look at our spice cupboard and check for old spices.

I did a massive weed of mine recently because I've been using spices in my cooking experiments and I wanted to be sure I had nice fresh ingredients.  I found a couple with no expiration dates at all, and you know that can't be good.

This is definitely the time to reorganize, revitalize and restock since there are so many sales and coupons available and spices are expensive.

List making fiend that I am, after I weeded I wrote what I had that was current and what I needed to restock then just picked up a couple each week on sale.  I carry it with me when I go to the store so I know if I am already nicely stocked or not.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Talking Volumes

I attended some of the Talking Volumes author programs this fall for the first time.  I wasn't sure if I liked the interview format but it has grown on me over the course of the series.  I think many interesting stories are told as the authors respond to questions about their work.

These are at the  Fitzgerald  Theater in St. Paul and I just love the theater itself. It is a very charming building.  Plenty if parking (especially during Rick Riordan's when most of the audience was too young to drive.)

There is a musical interlude which comes right after the author has read a powerful passage from their work which I find quite jarring.

All in all, quite a charming experience, and it is a real treat to be in a big audience full of book lovers.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Card Production Begins Now!

I have all my Christmas stamps and pads out.

Have my various glues, dots, and embellishments...

Snowmen signed by my boy while he was here for T-Day

Now to just customize as much as I can each card to fit the person receiving it, and to have fun using my many supplies.  Ho ho ho.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

You Say Tomato

My favorite soup is Tomato.  I grew up with Campbell's and love it but oh how I want to make my own with fresh ingredients and a bit more flavor.

I tried one recipe that tasted too much like tomato juice, just shy of V8. Agh.

Today I went for a creamy tomato soup. I thought as I was making it that it had too much basil. The basil kind of smacks you, then when that passes it tastes near perfect.

I have yet another recipe to try and if it fails I'll drop back to today's recipe and pare the basil down to something like a quarter tsp.

It was a rather tragic meal all around.  The electric fry pan went kablooie but not before just burning the bajee out of the grilled cheese sandwiches.

My husband proclaimed that he doesn't like tomato soup at all and "you can eat it if you want to".

You know what mom would say, right?  "We are not so easily defeated".

Saturday, November 30, 2013

National Blog Posting Month, It's A Wrap!

Yay! I made it for the whole month penciling in some small bit of foolishness daily on two of my three blogs.  In my search for blog topics I have found all kinds of fun sites and interesting information.  I've only passed a fraction of it along to you but now I can just post tidbits wily nily, I don't have to save anything up.

I have a but more focus for this particular blog now, but it still is a repository for the many things that interest me and something now and then may interest you.  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Notable Children's Books of 2013

Boy am I slipping!  I've only read one of these: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

Only two others are on my to-be-read list though:

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by the always wonderful Charles de Lint

The New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you travel safely today, find the time with your loved ones to be a gift, and eat your favorite foods with great happiness and pleasure.

Two more posts and the November 2013 National Blog Posting Month trophy (non-existent though it may be) is MINE.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pie Day at DOA Central

If you thought I only aspired to be The Soup Queen you would be wrong.  I also want to be Pie Woman.  I could never make the heavenly pies my mother in law makes, but I'd like to make very good pies.

Today I made pumpkin pie (Libby's recipe).  I can make pumpkin pie no problem.

I'm branching out and my very first Apple Pie is baking as we speak.  I think the preparation went well. I don't mind peeling apples and slicing them thin, but that gnarly apple core, grrr.  I'm pretty sure there are apple coring tools...eek do I have one of those things that cores and slices in a drawer someplace? That would have saved time and minimized the core size.

I'm a lifelong Betty Crocker fan so I used the recipe in the 2011 edition.  I forgot to put the foil ring around the edge to prevent excess browning. :(.    I did put a pan underneath to catch wily juices that will likely escape.

I used the Pillsbury crusts but I haven 't made a pie before with a top crust sooo the whole crimping the edges thing was a bit off.

After I wrote this I was worried and went to look at the pie which I pictured to be a dark dank mess.  But noooo  I opened the door and said "Wow, that's beautiful!"

Pie mania running wild, we had pizza pie for supper.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What to do?

I sit in my easy chair in the morning, read the paper, drink my coffee, jot down a To Do list for the day in a handy notebook.

I happen to have a small blackboard, and some days I like to use that.

The flaw in using the blackboard, I found this morning, is the CAT who is attracted to all activity and all things decided to drop down from the back of the chair and lay down on my nice new list.  Ack!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Deathfire Ruins of Nevermore Kickstarter

You'll be happy to know that the Paddy O'Brien Kickstarter was a great success, making its goal with ease.  I am really excited for his successful campaign.

And now for something completely different:

Deathfire Ruins of Nevermore has a mere 11 days to go and I would love to see this game go forward.  It has the kind of depth I haven't seen for quite awhile.  Adventure and treasure around every corner.  Party based game play, meaning you get useful characters following you through the world and they've got your back. Usually.  Unless they get stuck in a wall. You know how that goes...

I'm joking, the folks behind this have a ton of experience and you and your brave companions are guaranteed hours of wondrous adventure.

Clicky clicky right here to support the magic.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five Things I Did Not Do On My Last Working Day

I'm writing this on my iPod in my easy chair so I'll need to add pictures and the video once I'm at my PC.

We've all had those days where we have an awful day or deal with some pinhead and we mutter "on my last day I'm going to..."   Then you list the grievances of the day or the list of things you wish you could say.  I also had such a list.  I did none of these things, because I was just sad to be saying goodbye, after all, to my long library life.

I did not:

Go look for books customers couldn't find on our shelves in the back room ( forbidden behavior) ALL DAY LONG.  Ha ha I was not scheduled on the desk all day so needer had to cram it into a few hours.

I did not spend any time cleaning out my desk or computer files because I had done it early.  I did work on the dust bunny population. If there are new dust bunnies for the new person, enjoy.

I did not cry.  Call me smooth.

I did not tell anyone off, not even a little. Didn't even think it, I was all smooshy.  You can't be cranky when you're smooshy.

And finally, I always thought when I was done working I'd go for the chorus of "Take this job and shove it".  I just like the song and have certainly worked places that fit it (I'm looking at you, Hoover factory).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Old Library Tales

I'm really getting these posts in under the wire, aren't I?   Digging deep into my Pink Notebook, I have some factoids/tales of one of my old libraries for you.

The library was across the street from the jail.  Sometimes when you went out the front doors to go downtown for lunch prisoners would holler things at you.  There were a lot of people in at the library looking up local legal codes, let me tell you.

We were just up the street from the bus depot.  A lot of interesting people came through the library.

A customer who used to come in all the time researching really old comedians murdered his psychiatrist. 

One of our clerks was obsessed with the Kennedys  and he eventually went berserk and had to be led away.

The security guard was very much like Don Knotts in the Ghost and Mr. Chicken.  He saw the ghost of Zane Grey in the basement frequently.

One man started wearing very short cutoff rayon or some slinky material as soon as it was warm.  We all dreaded what we might see peeking out, you know?  He was listed now and then in the local paper for "public urination"  a big problem apparently as it was regularly listed on the crime sheet.

Of course my other favorite local crime was the person who was caught slinking out with a bunch of Hostess Twinkies under their jacket at the small grocer's nearby.  Bad dog.

The original bookmobile driver was a sweetheart but periodically he just disappeared on a binge.

One of my coworkers taught me how to crochet.  Patient sweetie.

A guy we called ET with dark glasses and pink permanent hair curlers was a real disruption for awhile.  Lots of complaints about his bathing and putting those curlers in in our restrooms.  One day my boss had to talk to him about something else and ol' ET slammed his walking staff down hard on the floor in front of the boss and the boss jumped back three feet.  It shouldn't have been funny, but it was.

Running out of time, turning into a punkin' who didn't get in their post at midnight! Pleasant dreams!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

If I wondered that a new director might not work out so well for the second Hunger Games tale, I need wonder no more.  Francis Lawrence and his remarkable cast absolutely nails it.

The second book spent more time letting you get to know these children and adults who were being sent to die more than the first.  They didn't really give everyone that depth in the film version, but with 24 tributes it would be difficult.

The points at which Katniss sees that people are helping her, trying to make sure she lives are just so powerful. 

All of the small and large ways the tributes and increasingly the people in the districts begin to rebel, to just quietly raise their hands in salute, I have no words for their bravery.  

I felt sorry for Katniss in the books because she was a symbol for the masses and hope for everyone who saw her bravery, especially Prim.  She wanted only to take care of her family, not the world.

I left thinking I need to read Mockingjay again to refresh my memory, because I felt so bad for Peeta being captured and I don't recall what happens next.  The movie creates the same urgency to know that as the books did, quite an accomplishment.

Coming out of the theater the woman behind me told her companion conspiratorially "We can't tell anyone about this".     Obviously they don't want to spoil it for anyone, but it was funny they thought they could keep what happens a secret from everyone.

I have to mention the costumes for Jennifer Lawrence, that wedding dress, the transformation into a Mockingjay, the other flaming dress on the chariot....wow.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jingle Balls!

I just saw this Kmart ad while watching Elementary.  Eye popping!

And via Mashable J.C. Penney tweaks Kmart a bit for the ad on Twitter

Remember that 70s song Ring My Bell by Anita Ward?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homemade Christmas Cards Again This Year, Ho, Ho, Ho!

Last year my creations met with mixed reviews, but far be it from me to be discouraged.  I haven't started them yet, noooo, not with all this time I have these days, noooo.   I like a nice deadline, ya know?  I give myself deadlines all the time to keep myself moving.

So, we have a snowman stamp with three snowmen (clearly a mom, dad and their wee snowball of a son).  I always stamp that on the inside and we all sign our name under the appropriate snowperson. 

Last year I used some incredibly thin paper that my mom had from who knows when, thinking it was nice to pass it on that way. The stamp ink didn't dry very nicely on this paper so there were a few smears when you went to sign your name.  Tsk.  This year I'll just cut cardstock.


I like to have this part pre-made before the cards themselves because our wee snowball lives a hundred miles away.  I can get him to sign in his spot at Thanksgiving then just glue the signed liners in.  that part worked last year.

One thing I learned last year is that those gemlike stickers that are raised up and some other spiky things I loved putting on the cards get ripped by the Post Office in transit.  Bumpy mail is not a good thing.  So in order to feed my glittery inner beastie, I'll hand cards to people as I see them this season, and make sure those I mail are boringly flat.

If you get a boringly flat card from me this year, my apologies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pinetree Garden Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories "The Year Round Resource for Home Gardeners since 1979"

Pinetree Garden Seeds offers seeds in packet sizes that make sense for the small home garden.  There may be anywhere from 20-150 seeds per packet depending (I think) on seed size and typical germination rates.  If you ever feel guilty getting a packet with more seeds than you could plant in a lifetime, this is the place to go.


Vegetable seeds
Mushrooms, sprouts, microgreens, grains
Flower seeds
Garden products (such as seed starting supplies, floating row covers, etc)
Spring bulbs, tubers & plants

The writing style is informative and conversational.  Cultural information for each plant type is presented at the beginning of each section, with additional tips for use in individual descriptions.  Heirloom varieties are clearly indicated.  Each plant has a small picture by its description.

As far as I can see they do not have any of their own introductions, nor do they feature new varieties at the beginning of the catalog as many companies do.   Actually they do have an introductory page which mentions one particular variety, but it is really more of an index.

I love the huge variety of vegetable and herb seeds available.  If you're like me and are in the mood to try a wide variety of new plants this year, start here.  Their catalog comes out nice and early so you can get your order in.  You don't want to wait till January and have all the good stuff be gone, right?

Their catalog is free at www.superseeds.com

Note:  As you can see I found my copy of Onward and Upward in the Garden.   This is nothing like Katherine White's work.   I did get the idea from her, and perhaps someday if I keep going through dreamy garden catalogs, looking at them a bit differently and critically I might get better.  I'm already planning to put my seed list for the year in an Excel Spreadsheet, and it occurred to me tonight it would be fun to pick one variety from each catalog that all carry and compare the description.  High gardener humor, I know.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seed Catalog Reviews

I'm suddenly interested in Heirloom Seeds this year so I have requested catalogs from several new companies.  Since I have numerous days of NaBloPoMo left, I thought I would do some catalog reviews.

If you've been gardening as long as I have and you read garden writers with great pleasure, you may be familiar with Katherine S. White.  She was married to E. B. White but her personal claim to fame was writing about gardens and plants and garden catalogs for the New Yorker. These were compiled into Onward and Upward in the Garden, a lovely book.

I can't match her writing of course, but I have always wanted to review garden catalogs.  They are so distinctly written.  Some have beautiful prose and make such a gorgeous picture in your mind (this in addition to the photographs).   The most wondrously described plants and seeds are for vegetables, I feel, because they make your mouth water with those descriptions.  Sometimes.

I'm looking for:

Good writing

Detailed cultural information

When to harvest

How to use

Botanical names as well as common names

New and unusual cultivars

Specialties of the nursery

Garden tools, seed starting supplies

Advice advice advice.

I think I'll do them as they come in which means I'll start tomorrow with Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Paddy O'Brien Tune Collection Kickstarter

I love KickStarter.  You are probably familiar with it, but if not, someone puts up a project that they would like help funding.  There are tiers of support for any given project, from $1.00 on up.   I believe you can use Paypal, but mine uses my Amazon account to it is really easy to just click on the level of support you would like.

If the project meets its funding goals by a certain date, the amount you pledged is taken from your account.  If the project does not make its goal by the set date, it is not funded and you do not contribute anything.

It is very exciting to watch the number of supporters and funding numbers go up. Sometimes the goals are funded and surpassed really quickly, sometimes they are all of a sudden funded at the last, sometimes there is a steady rise.

The projects are always creative ones, and I see it as an excellent way to support the Arts, and recognize excellence in a very personal way.

You have the opportunity to fund the Kickstarter for Paddy O'Brien's Tune Collection.   This is the third collection of 500 tunes! from a remarkable "walking encyclopedia of Irish music" as he is called on his page  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paddyobrien/paddy-obrien-tune-collection-volume-three

I love Irish music and cannot imagine how one person keeps so many tunes in his head.  Hearing him play in person is a beautiful experience and I encourage you to see him if you live in our area.

He is very near his Kickstarter goal, and I encourage you to hop over and try out Kickstarter
 by funding this wonderful project.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Launch A Death in Lionel's Woods at Buffalo Books and Coffee

I first met Christine Husom at a library event I hosted in 2011.  She drew a nice crowd and they loved her and she loved them, so it seemed. She definitely had that gift of back and forth with the audience.  A former policewoman, she seemed exactly like her heroine Corinne Aleckson to me though she said no, she didn't see that she was her character.

I hadn't seen her since then but wanted to be at the launch of this next book in the Winnebago County mysteries: A Death in Lionel's Woods.  Off I went on a rainy November day to Buffalo Minnesota.  What a nice little town, full of fun shops. 

The bookstore was hopping, Christine was right up front beaming away and signing books.  I think I looked familiar to her but she couldn't place me until I asked her to sign the book to Librariandoa, then she recognized me.  :)    The bookstore was too busy to really chat, but it was nice to see her and I boldly asked if I could have my picture with her.

A Death in Lionel's Woods starts with a woman's body being found in a woods by a hunter.  She is wearing an unusual homespun dress and beneath her body is a garden trowel which looks to have been used to bury stacks of money before the woman died.  (I am assuming!)  The Winnebago County Mysteries used to be based somewhat on real life cases, as I recall, and I wonder if this one is as well.

Visit Christine Husom's web site for more information and the other titles in this series.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 15 Halfway There!

I actually intended to do the National Blogging Month on my other blog since I wasn't giving it enough attention.  Then I ended up tossing this one into the NaBloPoMo pot.  I have not missed a day so far on either.  Doesn't matter how big or small the post, right?  Sing it! We're halfway there, la la la.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bury Them Deep: Funeral Potatoes

I've been having fun making up menus for each day of the week, something I've never had time to do consistently in the past.  It is a challenge because both Mr. DOA and I are are picky picky picky.  

One thing I thought would always be an instant win would be any variation on potatoes.  We both love them.

Today's menu was simple: Ham, Cheesy Potatoes and Corn.  I didn't realize till too late in the day the recipe I had for Cheesy Potatoes was meant for a nice 8 hours in the Crock Pot.  I began combing the web for a quicker alternative and came across the term "Funeral Potatoes".   Apparently next time you're being served from a funeral food line, you should keep a sharp eye out for these crowd pleasers.

I looked at a few recipes, checked my ingredients and went for this recipe  from Our Best Bites.

Mine looked just like theirs  (this is theirs, mine is in the trash):

Mr. DOA ate two helpings but he requested that it never appear again.  I liked them somewhat but the sour cream oddly enough seemed overpowering as a flavor in the center of the potatoes.  Onward we go.  I only have one other recipe in this week's plan which Mr. DOA could reject (there were two last week ::sob::), he has had the rest.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The DOA Scrapbook: Ask Yourself the Questions You Wish You Could Ask

I had a conversation with a colleague one day who is a really avid family history researcher about making sure we let our children know some of the things about us that we wish we knew about our parents or grandparents. 

I've been thinking it can be easy enough to sketch in a life of someone else using facts, figures and mementos because we're just providing an overview. 

We assume somehow that our children know us well and that they won't have any questions about us they wish they could ask when we're gone.  Of course they will.  They don't ask for the same reason we never asked.  Because our parents were going to live forever and we could always talk to them any old time.  If only.

For your children's sake, make a list of questions you wish you could ask a parent, grandparent, or other ancestor no longer with you.  Just basic stuff that makes them a real knowable person.  Write down your own answers to those questions, and tuck them in a nice pocket page or on a journaling page in your family scrapbook.

That is why I like scrapbooks, they present a nice visual summary of people and events.  Each page can be a discovery or a fond memory.  You can see a whole person from photographs, memories, letters, notes.  Write your own page, because who knows you better than you?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ready, Set, Germinate!

Renee's Garden Seeds has been posting tantalizing pictures from their seed catalog selections for a couple of months now.  I'm at the point all of a sudden where I want to order everything they have.

It really is a bit early in the season to be feeling Seed Lust, but I'm only human and am looking ahead to my first spring and summer EVER since I began gardening in the 80s where I will be able to pamper my seedlings and water and feed my plants as much as I want to, need to.  Incomprehensibly glorious. 

This picture from Burpee Gardens of a three pound!!! "Steakhouse Tomato" just snapped something.

Mine will probably come out the size of a cherry tomato, but, ah, isn't a large portion of the garden a dream of lovely, lovely perfect plants and a tomato the size of your head?  Yes, yes IT IS!

I have catalogs from last year I saved, but I'd like to grow more herbs (and use them fresh).  Several different lettuces, check.  A regular cucumber and one to try pickling.  I have never eaten a turnip, but reading perhaps a few too many food blogs makes me want to try one.  I want to try Kale for the health benefits (though Mr. DOA tried some and said it was awful.  Bitter tasting, perhaps?)  I'd like to try celery once more, that did well for me.  Gourds.  Pumpkins.  More potatoes, those were really excellent in my grow bag.

Pamper my three blueberry bushes.  Grow rhubarb.  Maybe get one of those three tier strawberry planters from Jung's.

Must make a list of seed catalogs I'd like and write for them now so I'm ready to sow my seeds in January.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mugshot! Death in the Time of Ice

See this lovely mug? (Ignore the cat).  I won it by commenting on a blog post by mystery author Kaye George.  I have secured the book itself on my iPod so that I can sip my tea out of this wondrous mug while I read it.

Kaye has three mystery series with a fourth (set in lovely Minneapolis) due out in September of next year.  Stealing descriptions from her home page, they are:

People of the Wind Novels - this series follows the Hamapa tribe as an Ice Age approaches.

Cressa Carraway Series - a mystery series featuring a musician and conductor.

Imogene Duckworthy Mysteries - these take place in modern day Texas, set in a fictionalized version of the Wichita Falls area.

Fat Cat At Large, first in the FAT CAT series, set in Minneapolis, coming in September 2014 from Berkley Prime Crime . Series features Quincy, pudgy and adorable cat who is always hungry on his diet. He gets into a lot of trouble, serving as a catalyst for murder and mayhem.

Her blog is called Travels With Kaye

Kaye's Home Page

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bridge Tip: Try the Churchill Convention

You will recall we went to the Churchill Arms Pub in London and met my spouse's online bridge partner.  Inspired by the great bridge play that evening, they have invented a new Bridge Convention called "The Churchill Convention".  

It seems to be evolving as they continue to play online each week, but the basic gameplay rule is now both partners MUST bid in every hand.  In a well played Churchill hand, apparently, both partners get some kind of bid, and a low bid, in early in the hand to satisfy the convention, but not cause them to get trounced.   I hear varying reports from Mr. DOA on how it is working, but it seems to have added a delightful dimension to the play of the hand for them, if not for the sometimes confused opposing team.

In honor of my own fond memory of playing Bridge with Snoopy cards in a London Pub with superb companions, I present the Churchill Convention Founders, suitably commemorated, I think.

Note; Mr. DOA approves of this post but he says the Churchill is a SYSTEM not a CONVENTION.  I have no clue what he is talking about, which is not a surprise since I carry Snoopy playing cards around with me in my purse.