Thursday, February 25, 2010

Valentine's Day Witche's Brew

1 non-permanent red marker
3 squirts toothpaste
5 cups water
20 squirts soap

Color part of your hand with the marker. Fill the sink with 3 cups of water. Use a couple squirts of soap to clean off the red mark on your hand until the water is bubble gum pink,bubbly and/or foamy. Mix in 2 squirts of toothpaste,1/2 a cup of water,and a few squirts of soap. Stir in remaining toothpaste. Show someone your brew and yell "Happy Halloween!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nimue sings gibberish to the 2009 Portland Megaband

Silly kid again -- must record for posterity...

Be patient after you click the play arrow, as it takes a couple of seconds for it to get started.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ski Week

Here in our part of California, the schools have a delightful habit of giving kids the whole week containing Presidents' Day off for "Ski Week", so of course we had to take advantage of it by heading up to the hills. Here are just a few photos for you to enjoy:

Happy Nimue in Downieville -- she got to play with Grandma Linda while Chad and I got to ski in the backcountry up by Yuba Pass.

We hit what I think of as the "Freaky Warm Week of February", when it seems like April. Needless to say, this can lead to some odd snow conditions -- those snail-shaped snowballs started from Chad's turn, growing as they rolled down the hill. (Not pictured is the Anna-sized snowball that apparently chased me down the hill before falling apart. I didn't see it, but wondered why Chad was laughing so hard behind me....)

Nimue the intrepid skier at the top of the hill at Donner Ski Ranch. We treated her to a couple more days of lessons at Sugarbowl before skiing with her all day on Saturday, and she's really found her edges. She's competent on steep blue trails, and particularly likes the halfpipe. (What have I spawned???)

After a week in the house alone, the cat has turned into a meow monster and drooled all over me. All human parties have various minor bruises and tired legs, but are otherwise sound and happy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

R-Mow (mow rhymes with cow)

R-Mow is the stuffed cat that my mom made me. He's reeeally cute!!! I usually feed him fruit,vegetables,milk,or grains,but sometimes protein or fish.(he goes crazy when anything about fish comes up in your conversation) He loves it when I hug him. He's one of the three best kitties ever!

Monday, February 8, 2010

What are you doing? Medication?

Nimue, like most kids, has a way of sensing when her parents are at an energy low. In this case, Chad is out of town for work and I took a fairly substantial bike ride earlier in the day, leaving me at a substantial caloric deficit and feeling a bit creaky. Because she is a perceptive peep, Nimue saw the parental weakness and decided to be absolutely cheerfully insane at dinner tonight. Nothing too horrible -- just the high energy, motor-mouthed, fast-moving, clever, silly bantering self that she is when she decides to be. I however, just wanted to splat on the couch and read a book, which made dinner seem endless.

Just as she was clearing her dishes and escape seemed imminent, she demonstrated her patented "Crazo Karate Chop" ... with the milk cup she was clearing still in her hand. All I could do is close my eyes and sigh, at which point she asked "What are you doing? Medication?"

Those words misremembered by one letter. Kids are funny.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Where does it come from?

I'm not sure what the kitty-head militarized zone between Russia and Kazakhstan means, but this is yet another example of Nim's interesting drawings lately.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scary Things in Ma's Kitchen

So I've noticed that there are many things in my kitchen lately that seem perfectly normal to those who reside in this house, but might seem a bit odd to outsiders. These thoughts have been fermenting in the back of my brain all week; but the straw that broke the camel's back was Nimue's choice of an anchovy fillet for dessert tonight.

Why an anchovy? For reasons now forgotten, we've had a running joke of offering up peanut butter and anchovy sandwiches when food is summarily rejected by the small for no good reason, when food is requested at odd times, or just when the mood strikes. When Nimue asked for dessert tonight, fruit was rejected and I had nothing else to offer. My normal standby of slapping leftover strawberry buttercream on graham crackers is forbidden this week. Upon investigating the fridge, we found an ancient tin of anchovies in the back. I offered one up and Nimue enthusiastically said "Yes! I don't know what they taste like." She gamely ate a bite and started to utter a positive comment about the salty oiliness of the beast until the flavor fully sank in and she sheepishly admitted that it perhaps wasn't really what she had in mind for dessert. Needless to say, the cat got the rest of it.

Scary thing #1: Months-old opened tin of Anchovies. Most useful for mashing up and putting in pasta sauces, stews, or the like to add flavor complexity.

Scary thing #2: Fresh Strawberry Buttercream leftover from Nimue's birthday in August. It's not going to go bad due to the sheer amount of sugar in it, and it still tastes like fresh berries.

Perhaps I'm primed for odd things happening in the kitchen because of Scary Thing #3: Sourdough Starter bubbling away on the counter. I finally got around to trying to make this about a week ago, and took the simple approach of leaving some flour and water out on the counter for several days (see brief instructions here). It started to bubble, then smelled a bit cheese-like, then picked up the distinct sour aroma I was hoping for, all without turning funny colors. I declare success on capturing the wild yeast!

Not being the type to just throw out the material one has to remove from the starter, I've been adding it to the other bread dough festering in the back of the fridge for this week's bread, and then I used some to make what seems to me to be a purely primal bread made purely of starter, flour, water, and a little bit of salt. The first attempt was truly dense and weapon-like (if you read Terry Pratchett, think Dwarf Bread), but the second batch provided three tasty, slightly sour mini-batards which we used as dessert last night. The aroma is definitely heading in the right direction as it ages and I may eventually add some yeast and other things to it, but for now am content to continue feeding wild yeast bread experiments to my happy household guinea pigs (aka Chad and Nim). I have a notion to add some flour to the discarded bit and make flatbreads on the stove the next time I feed the starter.

Almost knocked over Scary Thing #4: Red Wine Sludge while I was making lunch this afternoon. Red Wine Sludge is the reduced dregs of bottles not finished, deemed not very good, leftover from camping trips, or otherwise forgotten. I keep it in a jar next to the stove and add new wine whenever I run across it; if the jar gets full, the whole mess gets thrown in a pot on the stove and reduced until it does fit in the jar. A most useful substance for deglazing and adding complexity to simple pan sauces.

Scary Things #6-infinity: We've been on a major campaign to use up all the old (i.e. more than a few months) things in the freezer. Lately it's been apricot cobbler (apricots rescued from the malicious squirrels in our tree last summer), mushroom soup, turkey enchiladas, pasta, and soup (meals #7-9 from the Christmas turkey), wild blackberry pie (from berries that my mom brought down two visits ago), and many many many lunches for me made up of frozen containers of whosi-what's-it leftovers that get tossed into the freezer whenever we head out of town for a weekend.

This weekend will hopefully bring about a few new pets in the kitchen, as I have some goat milk waiting to be cheesified and Chad has the next batch of beer brewing ingredients weighing on his conscience. Good projects for us, as they only require an initial burst of cooking enthusiasm and then can happily fester away into final form on their own, leaving us free to go ride our bikes. We can come back and eat leftovers out of the freezer. Only the best leftovers, of course!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tell someone you love them

New post over on my other blog... If you're reading this: I love you. Happy Monday!