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    Sunday
    Jul272014

    Bookmark

    It’s time.

    I am admitting to myself that I am no longer a blogger.  I loved it for a long time, but currently my attention is a whole lot of other places and it shows.

    So this is a good time to stick a bookmark in this site for another day.  Possibly I will blog again in a different season.  Or perhaps I will post time to time as a scrapbook alternative for my kids.  We’ll see.

    I’m going to deactivate the OFD facebook page, but have no plans to take this actual site down.  It’s our history and my recipe book and it doesn’t take any work to keep it up, so it will stay.

    If you’ve stumbled here looking for something specific in my archives, they’re arranged by topic, or by date in the menu option in the bar above.  If you want to see my personal favorites, they’re all right here.  Recipes are, of course, In The Fridge.

    Thanks to all of you who have visited here through the years.  If you’d like to keep in touch, my personal facebook page is here and the link to the right for sending e-mail will continue to work.

    Hugs,

    Mindee

    Sunday
    Jul272014

    Kittens Are My Favorite

    I know.

    I said I’m not a blogger any more, and yet this looks suspiciously like a blog post.

    It isn’t.

    It’s just me marking a moment in our lives for posterity, which is a totally different thing.  To prove it, I changed the date of the the “Bookmark” post so that it remains at the top of the page and I’m sliding this one in underneath it.

    Because this is not a blog post.

    It is just a small announcement that we have a new kitten.  There is only one good thing about having as many cats suffer untimely deaths as we have had and it’s that we have gotten to have a lot of kittens.

    And kittens?

    Are the very best thing.

    Sure, puppies are cute too and they have puppy breath and soft puppy ears and round puppy tummies.  But puppies don’t come already housebroken.  Nor do they hang off of window screens or do mad acrobatics.  

    Or purr.

    Not being able to purr puts puppies firmly behind kittens on the list of the best things.

    This is our new kitten.

    You’ll notice that he is definitely not Siamese which is quite a departure for us.  The thing is, that I can not find a breeder of Modern Siamese cats, which we prefer over the traditional variety, within 500 miles.  The one we got most of our cats from retired.  We prefer the Modern variety because they’re super cool and the shedding is very minimal.  But 500 miles is a long way to go for a cat and the prices of them have really gone up.

    The last kitten we got, Caspian, is a regular Siamese and while we like him very much, he sheds all over the place just like any old cat does.  So if I have to have a cat who sheds, I’d just as soon rescue one from the shelter which is what we did on Friday.

    Rich actually is the one who picked him out and he did a great job.  This little guy is active enough to be fun, but also pretty chill and confident.  Which means he’s been very comfortable with everyone and doesn’t go hiding under the furniture all the time.

    Which is a very good thing, because it turns out that small black kittens blend in really well to shadows and are kinda hard to spot.

    The only thing that really got a reaction out of him was The Poodle and then he puffed right up.  

    It took us two days and way too much discussion to name the little guy.  Amongst the names considered and discarded, were:

    1. Hendrix
    2. Johnny Cash (because he’s a man in black)
    3. Batman
    4. Edgar (as in Allen Poe)
    5. Angus (of AC/DC because he’s back in black)
    6. Gotham
    7. Michael Jackson 
    8. Allistair
    9. ZZ (as in ZZ Top because he’s a sharp dressed man)
    10. Loki
    11. Thor
    12. Sirius Black

    We went round and round and I really thought he was just going to end being called “Buddy” or “Cat.”  Then Rich and I were sitting on the couch watching Sherlock Holmes and I was thinking about names that go together like Sherlock and Watson and Calvin and … Hobbes.

    We absolutley love Calvin and Hobbes around here.  Rich had amassed the entire collection in a pile of paperback books which my older two kids read until they were shreds.  Although the strip was retired nearly 20 years ago, I still hold out hope that Bill Watterson will revive it one of these days.

    So I turned to Rich and just said, “Hobbes”.  He thought for a couple of minutes and it was totally obvious that that was this kitten’s name.  He even has a patch of white on his belly that he likes to have scratched.

    Now if I can just figure out how to make him stay little … 

    Tuesday
    Jul152014

    Making Menus

    I do this thing, not all the time but pretty often, where I plan out my dinner menus five weeks at a time.  It takes about 30-45 minutes which is a pain, but I’m always so glad I’ve done it because it makes evenings so much easier.  I don’t have to think about what’s in the house and decide what to make and wonder if I have all the ingredients because I’ve taken my menu and gone to the grocery store on Sunday and then I’m DONE thinking for a full week.

    When I make a menu I usually post the link so that any of you who would like to, can take a gander at it.  I really don’t think though that any of you are going to like all of the same dinners we do on all of the same nights, so I thought I’d share how you can use my menu as a jumping off place to create your own.

    For my July/August menu, click here.  You’ll find a Google Doc that looks like this.

    Everything written in blue is a link to a recipe.  Many of them are on my own site, but there are some from othr sites too - mainly Pioneer Woman or AllRecipes as I use those a lot.

    To use my menu as a starting point for your own menu, go to the top and click on File.  From the drop-down menu, select “make a copy”.  

    You’ll then get a new document that is a copy of my menu, but you can go in and get rid of selections you don’t want, or switch them around.  You can also add your own menu items.  Just type in whatever you’d like.  If you want to link to a recipe, highlight the words and then click on the little chain link looking thing at the top in the toolbar.

    The linked recipes are a big timesaver.  You don’t have to look through your bookmarks or Pinterest to find what you want.  It’s all right there on the Doc.

    If you end up making your own, I’d love to see it.  You can put the link in the comments section or on my Facebook page

     

    Sunday
    Jul132014

    Not To Be Counted On In An Emergency

    I have all of these cool photos of clouds without any real story to go with them so they’re just going to get interspersed with this completely unrelated tale for which I have no pictures.  The first was taken at the lake over the 4th and the other three were here in town last week.

    For five years I sat at a desk in the front hall of an elementary school and was the token “security guard” for the building.  After that, I was in the middle school office frequently acting as the point person between the school and the police department.

    Not once in that seven years did we have an actual crime committed and it turns out that that’s probably a very good thing because in the third week of my new job, I discovered that I am useless in such a case.

    When you walk in the front door of the building in which I work, the first thing you see is a wide stair case leading up to the second floor landing.  From that landing, you can either go one way down a hall which leads to the office where I work, or the other way which leads into the space of another department.

    At 5:00 last week, I was putting away my things and getting ready to leave for the day.  My male boss was still around, as well as another secretary but they were planning to work late and I was closing up shop so they wouldn’t have to do it later.  Suddenly, from the hall I heard shouting.  There was a shrill woman’s voice yelling something about a wallet and then a man’s voice saying, “No I don’t!”

    Suspicious.

    I walked out and turned towards the landing to see a woman from the other department grabbing at a young man who was turning to wrestle with her and they were both still shouting about a purse or something.  These are the moments in life where your response shows your character because you really don’t have time to think before you react.  You’re either the type of person who runs to help or … 

    you’re like me.  I which case you turn right around and go back into your office and lock the door.

    I told my boss what was going on and he is the type to go help so that’s good.  I also called campus security and the local police which was also helpful but I myself was of absolutely no assistance to the poor woman who was wrestling with a thief down the hall.  I blame the years of “Code Red” drills as a public school employee where we were told over and over that in such a case you lock your door and get down.

    It’s a plausible excuse.

    The story ends well though.  My scrappy co-worker had set her purse out on her desk in preparation of leaving for the day.  She walked away and a man who had apparently been wandering the building looking for an opportunity, reached in and grabbed her billfold and walked off with it.  She (obviously) saw him do it and chased after him.  Just after I saw them wrestling, she got a hold of his shirt and wouldn’t let go so he wriggled out of it and ran out of the building.  In the process, he dropped her wallet and also a bag of his own that he was carrying.  The contents of that bag were spilled across the landing.  When I followed my boss out of our office I picked up a sheaf of papers the thief had dropped.

    It was a stack of documents from a recent court appearance that included his name and address, a mug shot and list of crimes for which he has been convicted in the past.

    Awesome.

    It sure made giving my witness account to the police easier.  When they asked what he looked like, I pointed to his picture.

    I don’t think that’s going to be a very long trial.

    Thursday
    Jul032014

    Faith is Baking

    I am proud to say that Faith made the dessert for the rehearsal dinner last week.  We kept it simple because no matter how fancy a dessert I make, nothing pleases a crowd on a summer night more than brownie sundaes.

    The recipe?

    Put a brownie in a bowl.  Put vanilla ice cream on top.  Pour chocolate sauce over it.  If you’re feeling inspired, offer other toppings.  This time I put out sprinkles and pecans.

    Faith made three pans of brownies that we cut up and set out and they were scrumptious.  Just the right combo of chewy on the edges and moist in the middle.  She did a great job.

    It’s a good thing she’s been practicing on us first.

    Like with these chocolate chip cookies she made a couple of weeks ago.

    I walked in the door after work to the MOST amazing smell of freshly baked cookies.  I headed, excitedly, for the kitchen and saw these rather … round looking treats.  They were in the exact shape they had been when Faith put the dough on the cookie pans.  Absolutely no spreading had occurred during the baking process.  I tried to be encouraging and picked one up and bit into it.

    The taste wasn’t bad at all but the texture was exceptionally crunchy.  Biscotti like actually.

    Trying to not seem critical, I gently questioned her about what ingredients she used.  She went down the items listed in the recipe and admitted, “I wasn’t really sure what shortening is, so I used this.  I’m pretty sure it’s shortening.”

    And then she pulled out the big tub of corn starch.

    Corn starch?

    That is really not shortening.  Actually, I’m pretty impressed the cookies turned out at all.  We dubbed them “low-fat” and they mostly got eaten.  So if you ever want a short cut to making biscotti, just sub corn starch for the shortening.

    Hoping to boost her confidence after the chocolate chip biscotti, I left the ingredients out for her to make lemon cookies from a cake mix a couple of days later.

    I came home to these:

    There were a few that weren’t too browned to eat, but Faith and her friend had polished those off and left us with brown lemon cookies.

    I may have tossed them, when she wasn’t looking.

    But she had redeemed herself with the spectacular brownies.  And I am more than happy to try her baking attempts any time at all.

    When it comes to baked goods, I’m not picky.