Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sourdough and Memories

Do you like sourdough?  I do and I have great memories of my paternal Grandpa making sourdough pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday.  He'd make them "dollar size", and they were so, so good.  

At different times over the decades, I have maintained a sourdough starter.  At some point, *when* I have my new kitchen, I will get a new one going again.

As I've decluttered my recipe *collection*, I came across some of my Grandmother's recipes.  She probably lost her original starter after Grandpa passed on Christmas Eve 1970.  We thought we were going to lose her too, she grieved so deeply.  Her sons, my bio-dad and uncle, cleared out her cottage-size house, she was in a rest home for a time, lived with my uncle for a time and eventually was well enough to purchase a small mobile home not too far from where she and Grandpa had lived and was looking to get a new starter going.  

I don't think this was her original recipe, and am pretty sure it is not.  It came from an unnamed someone who wrote "I've copied this just as it was in the magazine." and I'm guessing that was well after Grandpa's passing.   I'm copying it exactly as it was written, punctuation and all, except [ ]:


Put 1 cup milk in a glass jar or crock (no metal) & allow to stand at room temp. for 24 hours.  Stir in a cup of flour.  (To speed process cover with cheesecloth & place outside for several hours to expose to wild yeast cells floating in the wind)  Leave uncovered in a warm place, - 80 [degrees] is ideal - for two to five days, depending on how long it takes to bubble & sour, near pilot light on gas stove is good.  If it starts to dry out stir in enough tepid water to bring it to the original consistently. Once it has a good sour aroma & is full of bubbles it is ready to use.  Cover & store in refrig.
Try to maintain about 1 1/2 cups of starter.  Each time you use part of your starter replenish it with a mixture of equal parts of milk & flour.  Leave at room temp. several hours or overnight, or until it again becomes full of bubbles.  Then cover & store in refrigerator.  Use at least once a week.  If not used for 2 or 3 weeks spoon out & discard about half, then replenish as above.

In my Grandma's handwriting, there is a recipe for Sourdough Bread.  With that recipe, are other directions for a starter:


Dissolve 1 pkg. active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  Stir in 2 cups lukewarm water, 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 t. salt & 1 T. sugar.  Beat till smooth.  Let stand, uncovered, at room temp. 3 to 5 days.  Stir 2 or 3 times daily; cover at night. (Starter should have "yeasty" not sour smell) Cover & refrigerate till ready to make bread.

I have many other recipes from my Grandma, or should I say clippings and a few she likely made.  At this point in time, I don't remember many dishes made outside of Grandpa's pancakes.  Grandpa loved to fish for salmon, and I recall eating it with them, but it doesn't have the same memory.  What I do remember from their house, is the smell of coffee, oh, it always smelled good.  And they had the Tupperware salt and pepper shakers with copper donkey holder (it looked like this one).  I'm always reminded of it when I smell pepper.  

Do you have childhood memories of foods associated with special people?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Not So Ruthless

I got on a pretty good roll with getting some quilt work done, but then got side-tracked yesterday.  I'm not really sure how, but I did.  It could be it was that box of magazine recipe pages and notebooks sitting close to my bed that started calling to me.  I have a LOT of things that call to me like that!

It may look empty, but much of the contents are still on my work surface.  There IS less, but I'm afraid I was not as ruthless as I could or should be.  I still have in my mind to create weekly menus from which I'll do my weekly general grocery shopping and monthly Costco shopping.  I had put together some of those weekly menus before, and they were in this box, but need to fine tune them some and put together more.  I like trying new recipes as I get tired of the same old meals over and over again.  The biggest problem though right now, is not having my full kitchen.  So this may all go back into a box, albeit a smaller one.  

I am happy to declare that I did get rid of quite a bit of the recipes.  Some just no longer appealed to me, and some I knew would not appeal to Marty or Nick.  Marty doesn't like rye so anything with rye or caraway had to go.  Nick is allergic to peanuts, so some of those went, but some I kept figuring I can substitute cashew or almond butter in.  Some were just more complicated, used  pricey or unique ingredients or tools which I've determined I don't have time for now.  You know the ones - they come from Gourmet, or Sunset or Bon Appetit.  Some foods no longer agree with me so some of those got tossed, but unfortunately, I had a real problem getting rid of all those recipes that could pack on pounds, you know, the comfort foods and desserts.  I've found that those from Cooking Light are sometimes just a little too light for our tastes.  Not that we couldn't stand to eat a lot lighter!

SO much clutter to wade through; how did it get this way?  One bite of that elephant at a time!  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Still Ain't Got It !

Ain't got what? you ask!  The OOMPH to get things done.  I'm thinking the biggest problem is....ME ! and all that's rattling around in my brain.  It's become so very hard to stay focused on any one thing no matter how hard I try.

Though I no longer have the responsibilities on my shoulders for anything pertaining to my dad, the known goings-on still weigh me down and I don't sleep well.  And I'm working hard at keeping my sister's emotions-that-become-regretable-actions under control in all of this.

My home has been so very neglected for so very long, I'm just overwhelmed.  I get side-tracked so easily.  Putting away laundry, oh, this needs to go elsewhere, or putting the dishes away, oh, this drawer needs to be cleaned out.  Perhaps you've had those times too.

And, after a wonderful month and a half without it, the vertigo is back - quite annoying as it decreases both my ability to focus and my physical work efforts.

I am determined to make progress, even if it is only in the same way as you eat an bite at a time.  It surely could be a smaller elephant!

I've started creating lists on my new cell phone.  I'm finding I really like having it for some things, even if I haven't received a single call, or made one, in the nearly two weeks since I got it.  I can text now :)  it tracks my steps, I can keep my calendar at hand, I can track so many things via lists, and I used those lists when I went grocery shopping the other not all is a negative, there are positives.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Great Dinner

Marty's birthday was this past Thursday.  As it turned out, his company was having a "Luau" themed event after work that day, and then he had his guy-night meeting, so he wasn't home to have our usual dinner out birthday night.  Then we had our usual Friday night take-out as none of us were hungry enough to go out for a big special meal.

We decided to go out last night instead, and he chose to go to Red Lobster.  YUM!  I love seafood, but neither of us love seafood prices, so went but restrained ourselves.  Nick would have loved to have had a $30+ crab fest meal, but we kind of nixed that for this time (his birthday is next month) and we all had an under $20 meal apiece.  RL has a 4-course meal option with selections under soup, salad, entree, dessert for just under $18.  Marty ate all of his but was pretty stuffed, Nick, as he has a mild cold effecting appetite, ate about 2/3rds of his, and I ate about half of mine.  Nick and I will enjoy our leftovers for lunch here shortly.    If you've never had their Cheddar Bay biscuits, you can purchase the mix at Costco now.  They are SO good.  We could make a (rather unbalanced) meal out of them alone...and they bring more if you request them.  So we had those, I order the cheesy potato bacon soup (optional was New England clam chowder), a Caesar salad, and my entree was shrimp (6) chili grilled on a stick with a mango-something salsa plus Coconut Shrimp (4) with a pina colada sauce plus rice pilaf plus wonderful whole green beans, and then caramel cheesecake.  For the price, I really hadn't expected that much food on the plate.  I'm drooling now, in anticipation of my leftovers!

We then came home rather than go to the mall as planned, where I was supposed to move into the modern age and get a new smart phone (MY late birthday present) to replace my tiny clam shell pay-as-you-go phone.  I'm perfectly happy keeping my cheap inexpensive phone, but more folks are trying to text me and clam shell models are a pain to text on, the battery barely holds a charge, and my screen is uber-tiny, so though it's now going to cost a whole lot more than a $10 top-up every 45 days, I'll be 'upgrading'.

Tomorrow, later in the day, we'll be heading to one of Marty's friends to enjoy a BBQ dinner.  I get to make potato salad - not a bad deal!  I've never been to their home, but know the wife only a little - we're friends on Facebook but have only met a few times briefly, though she's a quilter too so we may have lots to talk about.

I pray everyone enjoys, and has a safe holiday weekend for what remains of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fighting the Grouchies

I'm feeling the grouchies today.  I'm sure it's in large part having stayed up until midnight  playing Lego Lord of The Rings on XBox!  It was a busy week of house cleaning (and hardly making a dent - at least to my preferences - but as I like to say 'some done is better than none done!'...and there's SO much to do.  Overall, I'm years behind in the deep cleaning arena, all the way back to when we first had the A/C installed and the dust that was everywhere afterward.  Then there was the remodel of two bathrooms.  Add illness and injuries, and most recently, my 18 months of back and forth travel helping my dad.  

And on that note, my dad's phone was found, I've been able to reach him once, he has called me once, the uncle has not stayed in touch whether by phone or by email :/ and a funny thing happened yesterday.  My dad's bank, but the branch in my uncle's small town, called to say that though a new power of attorney had been submitted, I had not signed to remove mine, and they were going to send forms for me to sign relinquishing POA.  At that time, the representative was still able to give me the balances of my dad's accounts, and it was very interesting.  I will preface this with...the 'missing' funds could have been set up in a separate account in order to gain a larger interest rate (like that makes any difference in today's economy), but my suspicions grow considering my uncle hasn't bothered to request any records be sent to him let alone my dad's checkbook.  I imagine the checkbook was replaced with checks bearing the new address, so that could be a non-issue.   Today, I got another call from the same bank lady, saying it wasn't necessary for me to sign the documents after all, as the change was requested by my dad.  I had told her yesterday that he has dementia.  

I had tried to call my dad yesterday, but again could not reach him.  I intend to make copies of some of the documents, some to send to my dad's tax man, and some to send to my uncle and will send the latter requiring my uncle's signature.  Perhaps my expectations of others' behaviors are too high.  

Another grouchie-inducer, there are ANTS in my sewing room.  I'm not sure what they're eating (well, right now they're eating "Terro" ant bait, lol) but this is the first we've had ants in the house since the last time I used the bait, back around the first of the year I think, and I've not spent much time in there in two months.  As long as the ants are in there, I will not be.  Last time it took about three days for them to eat through the Terro and disappear.  It doesn't matter, my sewing machine needs to go to the hospital and I've been in no hurry to get it there.  My car also needs to go to the auto spa for an oil change and check-up, but again, no hurry to get it there.  I've hardly left the house except to re-stock my pantry, go to church, go to a doctor appointment, have breakfast at IHOP with a friend, attend a memorial service, and dinner at an Asian buffet with Nick and Marty - was not happy with finding a hair in the Kimchi there, but otherwise the food was good.

If I can find my camera - might have been hauled off by the ants! - I'll try to get a quilty post done for Sunday over on WOT.  I did buy a little bit of fabric while in Oregon during those 6.5 weeks, and need to do a stash report!  The fabric still needs to be washed as well.  

And one last thing contributing to my grouchies today, since I was rather non-energetic, I thought I'd set the timer (all good intention) for an hour and continue playing XBox L-LOTR.  I played for a little over a half-hour, finishing a level, saved it, started another level, and it froze.  The XBox itself froze up, so I went to it and powered it down, powered it up, the tray opened, I took the disc out to check for any dust or prints and before I could put it back in, the tray closed.  Permanently.  It.will.not.reopen!  Grrrr.   So I will have to wait until Nick gets home from school and see if he knows how to get it to work again.  I seem to recall this may have happened once before years ago and he had to take something apart and reconnect a spring, but I could be imagining that.  

Maybe God is telling me it's time to re-focus on Him today!  He IS still in control, and will always be.  So, grouchies! BE GONE! and Lord, thank for today, grouchies or not!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Unexpected Changes

Last Saturday before returning home, I visited my dad and gave him a couple big hugs before leaving.  I had the sense that I would probably not see him again as he is very thin and I had no plans of returning until after the first of the the earliest.  He now resides in the home of others (relatives) so has them to care for his immediate needs.  I left with the understanding however, that I would still be handling his financial affairs in order to maintain cohesiveness, through the end of the year, so that all records for his tax filing would be in one place and could be submitted without difficulty.

In the last couple days, things seem to have gone awry and I was entirely excluded from any input or communications.  My dad had a psychotic medical event after taking too many Mirapex pills (for restless leg), or possibly from some other cerebral malfunction.  I found out only after receiving an email notification from his doctor's office of that day's treatment.  I tried to reach him and others to no avail.  I had also attempted to check his online banking and was locked out.  Hmmmm, I says.

Long story short, out-of-the-blue, his brother has taken over all things by way of a new Power of Attorney that supercedes any and all prior ones...namely mine.  It does not set well with me that this was done in what I perceive to be an underhanded manner without even notifying me, and as someone who automatically does not trust others until they are proven trustworthy, I cannot say I fully trust my uncle.  He insists my dad initiated this.  I'm not so sure.  Regardless, it is all out of my hands, and for the present, I will give the benefit of the doubt and provide to my uncle whatever information he needs to care for my dad.  He said he would stay in touch.  My dad has lost his cell phone.

One bright note, my dad is no longer allowed to drive, so I don't have to worry about him causing bodily harm to himself or others.  My (step)sister says that the keys have been hidden...and one set is locked in his pickup at his brothers, his own accidental doing, hehe.

God is still, and will always be, on His throne.  We will all stand before Him one day and give an account.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Home Again

After a 15+ hour drive, I made it home around 9:30 Monday night.  It took an hour-plus longer than usual as just three hours from home, when I'm tired and most anxious and excited to be getting home, I hit a construction zone.  One hour was spent wasted traveling just six miles.  There appeared to be one fender cruncher a number of vehicles behind me as I saw a smallish rental truck and another car's driver suddenly get out after everyone came screeching to a standstill after flying low at 80 mph with but a couple car lengths in between, or so it seems.  That type of driving is pretty normal on that stretch of highway...scary!  Especially with so many semis on the road too.

I sorted through the mail and bills and receipts yesterday.  Dear hubby took care of such things in my 6-week absence, but he does so only minimally as he knows I like to look at everything myself, and I'm the one who posts all of our info into Quicken.

Monday night, I brought in only a couple of my bags, then unloaded those things I was able to yesterday morning, then after dark (and after it cooled off), Marty and Nick off-loaded the two small, but too heavy for me, pieces of furniture I brought home.  One, a small cedar chest my mom had - I'd filled it with all the Corning baking / casserole dishes Mom had that my dad had boxed up for me.  The other is a small oak / glass front curio cabinet.  Both pieces fit into my Highlander which was then filled with boxes of paperwork, my sewing supplies that I'd taken with me for quilt camp, and all my other personal luggage I tend to haul with me when I'm gone so long.  I made a great attempt to make sure I could still see out the rear of my car via the rear-view mirror as I'm not comfortable with just using the side mirrors....I succeeded.  I should have taken a picture, but didn't bother.

It's good to be home.  Nick was very glad as was Marty, but Raven and Flame took until the next day to 'say' they were happy to see me. 

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