Wednesday, November 27, 2013

the secret sauce

Shhh, I'm about to share a secret with you.

First, let me start by reminding you that I have not always been a fan of vegetables. I recently blogged about it here.

Second, I have started in on pasta. October was soups. Now it's pasta.

I have tried making my own red sauces for awhile now. I'll admit, jar sauce has always been better.

Until now.

I discovered the secret.

It has to do with a particular vegetable that I still don't like.


Many of the sauce recipes I have, start with the basics; an onion, a carrot and celery. In the past I have omitted the celery because I do not like it.

This week, two of my recipes called for celery and I decided I may as well buy it to use in both sauces. (That is part of the reason why I haven't bought it in the past, because it wouldn't get eaten and would be wasted.)

I made the first sauce yesterday. It was a marinara.

I took a little taste of it before adding it to the lasagna.

I'm not sure what I expected, but when I tasted it, I was impressed. It tasted good! No, it was better than good. It definitely ranks with some of the best marinara I've ever had.

That's when I realized it, the celery must be the secret. It's the key. Whatever taste those pale green stalks have is what gives sauce the depth that my previous attempts had lacked.

I made a meaty sauce tonight. I added the celery and sure enough, this sauce is also good. Better than anything I have ever made (except for the marinara that I made yesterday).

I wouldn't put my sauce up against someone from Italy, but I do think it can hold it's own in this house.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Have you ever baked a muffin without the paper liner?

Have you ever eaten a cupcake without the paper liner?

There's something to be said for one less thing to get in the way of eating a scrumptious cupcake, but one of the things that makes eating a cupcake or a muffin special is the crumbs that cling to the paper liner.

I am a scraper.

I scrape the paper liner with my nails (I even have a special technique) and eat every last crumb.

Please tell me that you do that too?

Well if you haven't, those crumbs tend to be moist and, I think, a great finale to the cupcake/muffin.

The technique is quite important. I learned long ago that scraping off the crumbs with your fingernails can get a little gross. Especially when you go to scrape your nail on your tooth to get said crumbs out from under your nail.

I know. It sound ever more gross than watching someone do it.

The technique I discovered is to use the outside of your fingernail. Instead of scraping toward you with the inside of your nail, scrape away from you using the outside. The crumbs collect neatly to your entire nail and then you can simply lick them off. No messy, scraping your nail on your tooth. You can even scrape them together and make a little pile. This technique also saves the paper liner from being ripped. Which, if you're a scraper you know how devastating ripped paper liners can be!

As I was eating a Cranberry Harvest muffin this morning, I realized the importance of paper liners and wanted to share it with you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bad apples

As many of you know or experienced on Sunday a terrible storm tore threw the country. Bill and I were headed home from visiting my parents in central Indiana. We had taken Molly Mo with us and took a side trip to Butler University to visit Lindsay (both former FUMC youth, now young adults in college).

Here are pictures!
 Molly, Lindsay and Bill
 Emily, Molly and Lindsay
 Bill belongs here...
 A picture is worth a thousand words...
 Seriously, Bill was meant to be at Butler.
Indiana State Capitol building
(It may be on my bucket list to visit every state capitol building… I'm weird.)

We made it home well before the storm hit.

We had just eaten supper (pizza, of course, since youth group had been cancelled), and that was when the power went out.

We were without power from 7:30pm Sunday night until Monday around 2:30pm. I am not complaining because some of our friends didn't get power restored until Thursday! It was odd though, just south of us, on our street, they had power. And the streets to the east and west both had power.

My first thought when I woke up Monday morning was, "No power, no coffee". So I dragged myself out of bed, dressed and went to the closest coffee shop.

Okay, I went to McDonald's. I'm sorry Doug (he's our friend that owns a coffee shop downtown, we frequent his establishment often). But I also had to stop and get ice, because by the morning our fridge wasn't very cold.

I figured everything in the fridge made it. Nothing smelled bad. Everything was relatively cold, the ice didn't melt, so things were all okay.

Until I had an apple. They were fresh when I bought them. I had eaten one Monday for lunch. But by Tuesday they were no longer good.

Despite my efforts with the bags of ice, the apples did not survive the power outage. Now I have several apples that I have to throw out. (I'm blogging about this today because I thought maybe the other apple was a fluke, so I'm eating another one just to be sure. Unfortunately, I am sure that they are bad.)

I don't like wasting food. And of course these are Honeycrisp apples which are more costly than your average Red Delicious.

I have to get over it though, because I'm not eating anymore. I guess I can look at it in a different way, I'm adding to the compost. By next spring, I'll have pretty flower. Thanks to the bad apples.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

going the distance

A few Saturdays ago we "raced" a .1k to help raise money for Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. Our dear family friends', the Friar's, have two sons, both of whom have this. We participated last year and had a great time. We get to run down the best bar street in the city, and then celebrate by having a beer, or two.

This year, we were ready. We had a team, Team Bald Ego. When I set up the page, it asked me for a goal for our team. Each team member registers for $25 which counts toward the goal. I set the goal for $500 thinking if we asked our parents and friends who live further away we might be able to reach it. We ended up with eleven team members (twelve if you count our goddaughter)!

Not only did our team numbers blow me away, but so did our fundraising. We ended up raising $725!!! I can't thank our friends and family enough. I'm sure you can still donate, click this link to go directly to our team page. Or wait until next year. We've been challenged to raise more money and have a bigger team. (Overall the event raised over $35,000!) Chandra and Jason accidentally recorded Fox 17 news and there we were! Unfortunately, I cannot find that footage online. You can read more about the event, watch a video and look at pictures here. 

I have to say it was fun last year, but this year was a blast! Our team was raring to go. Bill threw down the gauntlet and started talking smack about beating me. Jen, one of our team members, jumped on board and the next thing I knew the three of us were at the front of the pack. The rest of our team held back. They just wanted to make it to the finish line. They had no idea there was going to be an actual race.

Neither did I.

I must say, Bill is pretty fast. He also threw an elbow keeping me from getting a good start. Not that it would have helped me. He was halfway up the street before I even had time to blink. I realized I had lost Jen, so I turned around to find her and she was as far behind me as I was behind Bill. I let her catch up to me and we continued to the finish line.

Bill was easily in the top ten finishers.

As the rest of our team crossed, we cheered for them. Then I realized Heather was crying. She was so overcome with the seriousness of it all, and the hilarity, that she was laugh-crying. That was my favorite moment. We take our .1k serious. And then we laugh about it.

Next year we have to come up with a group costume. This year there was a team of four guys and one girl. The men were dressed in hunting camo and the girl was a deer. They carried her through the entire race, and I'm sure she felt more like a hunted deer as they all pulled her in different directions.

Perhaps next year Bill can control his racing urges and we can stick together as a team. Especially if we have a costume.

We really do have to make it better next year. We were the second largest team there! Plan on joining us or at least donating in 2014. Team Bald Ego will fly again!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

things that get in the way

Cooking dinners
Sending emails
Working out

These are all the things I've been doing instead of blogging. Not that I wouldn't rather be blogging. I have thought of so many things to write about. That is why I set the challenge to blog every single day a few years ago. Because if I don't have a personal goal, blogging (or anything else) goes by the wayside. I don't make time for it.

Things I've wanted to blog about: art projects, french braids, our road trips to see college students, the power outage, the crafts I've made…

Maybe I'll find time to write about those things, maybe I won't. In the meantime, don't give up on me. Maybe I'll go back to blogging every day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The hallway light fixture

Remember I was working on the upstairs hall over the summer? Well, Bill and I finished it (almost, why is it always the details that get dragged out?) and as I was finishing the last coat over the last bit of wall over the door to the office, this happened.
I was climbing the step ladder and as I stood upright, the back of my head banged into the the glass globe. Bill had just gone downstairs into the kitchen to get lunch. It sounded worse than it was. He came rushing back upstairs, expecting to see blood-bath. Instead, he found me, still on the ladder, painting. He told me to get down. I refused. I only had one small patch and I just wanted to be finished. Bill exclaimed, "there's broken glass everywhere that needs to be cleaned up, you can finish painting then!" I kept painting. A few seconds later I declared, "Finished!" Then we cleaned up the broken glass.
 And took pictures.
The unfortunate part about the light fixture is that we bought it on clearance from Home Depot. It was exactly what we wanted in the hallway. Now the globe is broken and we cannot find a replacement that looks even remotely similar. 

Back to the hallway. What needs to get finished? Well, finding a new globe of course, and as you go up the stairs there's an access panel that leads to the back of the bathroom shower fixtures, we are making that a chalkboard. It needs to be sanded and the trim needs to be finished. Then there's the ceiling. We spent a day, cranking our necks, painting it. Then we moved in Greg and his stuff. His box-spring had to be gently coerced up the stairs, it left a few marks on the freshly painted ceiling. Then, there's also the linen closet door and trim. There are three drawers under the door (it's tucked under the stairs to the attic, sorry I do not have a picture of it) and they all need to be stripped. They will be repainted and new hardware will be attached. We haven't moved forward because we haven't bought the hardware yet. And it's job security. I know what I'm doing next summer!

Monday, November 4, 2013

All About Soup

I've mentioned that I've been making soup. Fall is soup season. I'm not making that up. Pioneer Woman says so, it must be true. Here's her post about soup.

I thought I had mentioned all the soups I've made so far, but I forgot a few. Let's see how many I can remember. So far this fall I have made:

Creamy Carrot
White Chicken Chili
Creamy Artichoke
Cheesy Potato
Creamy Tomato
Chili Verde
Corn Chowder
Fall Harvest

Hm, I think that's all. One a week since mid-September… That's about right. I'm making Chicken Tortilla soup tomorrow. And PW reminded me of French Onion and Broccoli and Cheese. Bill mentioned that we can go buy ingredients for his chili.

Yup, it's soup season.

This is better (for our health) than pasta season.

Don't worry, that's next.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Third year for snowflakes!

Calling all crafty friends, kids who can use scissors, or anyone who wants to join the fun!!!

Last year, and the year before, I asked you to send me snowflakes. They are then taped to our sliding glass door for me (and anyone else who cares) to enjoy. They bring me great joy every morning as I drink my coffee in the kitchen. They remind me to pray for those who made them, they remind me of fun memories with those friends, and I love snowflakes, so they just make me smile.

Whether there's real snow on the ground or not.

You can see last year here.

It's that time. Start folding and cutting.

I can't wait to see what you create this year!