Monday, May 31, 2010

Life happens, but who cares?

Ten years ago, getting ready for a camping trip, we discovered a serious flood in our basement. Fortunately, we had a day or two to deal with it and we were able to go on the camping trip secure in the knowledge that all that stuff drying on the lawn would stay dry back in the basement.

You know those people who try to tell you that lightning never strikes twice in the same place?

Tell them: history repeats itself.

When my husband went downstairs last week to get the camping equipment, he discovered that the really good rain we've been having had finally brought enough sediment into the outside drain to plug it and send the water someplace else. That is, into the basement. So, instead of a nice leisurely packing trip where we remembered everything, we spent a lot of time throwing out stuff and saving stuff and drying up the basement.

But we were able to get off on time and meet Tami's parents camping.

But we did forget a lot of things, like extra ziplock bags, extra camera batteries, salt, pepper and...(get this) chocolate.

So now I can say we have survived a camping trip without hot chocolate.

Which we would not have been able to do if it had rained.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The roses are blooming! Right on time!

I think I have mentioned before that my daughter can pick a good rose bush. This is one that I really like, because the color changes from deep yellow to almost white tinged with pink as the flower blooms.

Actually, I think I should have said as the flower ages, but that doesn't seem the right thing to say about flowers.

Anyway, here they are, all on the same bush, three different colors. The closeups are truer in color.

In other news, we had our first garage sale ever today, and we made $30. Not very much for all that effort, although I have to admit that selling wool pants at this time of year is not going to be very profitable. My daughter made $30 in absentia because we sold her 4 foot tall Victorian birdcage. Which is a great cage unless you have parakeets in the same house as cats. The parakeets can squeeze between the bars and forage (and leave bird droppings). This wasn't a problem with a 20-year old arthritic cat, but when she died and got replaced with two kittens, well, the expected life span of the parakeets dropped dramatically. So they got put into a plain cage until they (finally) passed away. One actually got scared to death by one of the kittens.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another successful recipe

I suppose there are as many recipes for Jambalaya as there are cajun cooks, but this is what worked for everyone tonight. So I'm writing it down for posterity.

Cajun spice:

1/8 cup salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Paprika
3/4 Tablespoon ground pepper melange
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried thyme

Mix, should store for about 3 months. Makes about 3/4 cup, so the directions (store in a spice jar) should be, well, taken with a grain of salt!

Actually, the recipe I found is slightly different. It called for 1 tablespoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, but all I have at the moment is the pepper melange. And I got tired of grinding it, so the 3/4 is an estimate. It also called for coriander, which I don't have so I left it out. And I never have onion powder, since I always use real onions. (1 Tablespoon.) The salt amount is what is left in the box, the actual amount is 1/3 cup. But that is OK, I don't eat a lot of salt.

Now, to the actual recipe:

1 celery stalked, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 pound sausage
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning
1 Tablespoon dried chicken stock
2 cups white rice

Brown meats (I used a little olive oil to get things started)
Add vegetables and spices
Cook until onion is translucent
add tomatoes, rice, and the right amount of water.
Simmer until rice is done.

Total cooking time, including washing and drying a spice jar that was obviously too small: about 1 hour. Of course I cut up the chicken while the sausage was browning, and cut up vegetables while the meats were cooking. So I saved some time there, but if you don't wash and dry a spice jar that is too small, it all comes out in the end.

Everyone liked it and said I could add more spice next time. (Jack had thirds, and he is trying to lose weight. He is justifying it by claiming he didn't have doughnuts (or their relatives) at work this week. I only had seconds.) Which is good, because I have enough cajun spice for about 12 more batches. Doing a little high math, that means a batch a week because I need to use the spice within 3 months. Just as we are going into the hot season. They are going to find excuses to go elsewhere on Jambalaya night!

You can add more tomatoes if you want, but I am not a tomato fan. That is probably the reason I only had one can. Besides, I chose the wrong pan to cook it and it almost overflowed.

Other meat choices include ham, bacon, shrimp and whatever else tickles your fancy. Add cooked meats and seafood about 5 minutes before the end. Cook bacon separately and add at the end.

And example of the weather we are having lately. This was taken just north of Yakima. If you look closely, you can see all the bug guts on the windshield. The rain took care of them nicely, but I got a whole new batch of bug guts after we passed through it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

you can lead an exchange student to a horse...

...and they love it, especially if they are girls. Well, one of them was making scared noises, (horses do not, after all, come with seat belts!) so the wrangler led her horse by the halter rope. But she was off leash by the end of the ride.

Of course, waiting around, they do girl stuff too. Nearly everyone had a french braid by the end of the day. Except the guys. And French Braids are French.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You give them all these expensive toys....

And they play with the boxes.