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    Monday
    Jul212014

    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 in the cloud to the left, 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

    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.

    Tuesday
    Jul012014

    Rehearsing

    When we moved into this house in 1999, Reagan was four and Hayden was two and Faith did not exist.  At the ripe old age of 29 with toddlers on my hips, I gazed onto our new backyard and declared that one day I would host a wedding there or, at the very least, a rehearsal dinner.

    It’s such a great space.  We back up to open space so there aren’t any houses looking down into our yard and in the summer, when the trees are all leaved out, it’s like a mini forest glen.  I have always been able to picture just where I’ll put the chairs and where we’ll hang lights and how the flower beds will look and …

    You get the idea.

    When my friend Christine’s son, Aaron, announced his engagement I didn’t even wait to ask before I started planning the dinner.  Seriously.  I had three full menus planned in my head before it occured to me to tell ask Christine about having the rehearsal dinner here.  She quickly put me out of my misery and said yes.

    Planning an outdoor party in June is risky business around here, but we forged ahead.  Christine’s family came over in the afternoon to set up tables and seats for 56 and then they left and my girls finished decorating.

    Christine and I have a similar decorating philosophy, which is this:  never, ever look at Pinterest.  If you don’t look, you don’t get a zillion ideas that will make you crazy.  Instead, we just put flowers in the center of the tables, lit torches and let the great outdoors do the rest.  Oh - and about 90 minutes before guests were to arrive Rich wanted to climb in the attic and get down the Christmas lights.  I told him it was too late and to just forget it.  He ignored me and I’m SO glad he did because the lights ended up being my favorite part and they were done in plenty of time.  When the sun went down, they were like a canopy of little stars over the tables.

    The menu was simple.  Marinated chicken which Rich grilled quite well, Roasted New Potato Salad, and a tossed green salad with strawberries and almonds. I decided to serve family style rather than buffet and I loved it.  Reagan, Faith and I dished bowls of salad for each table and Rich plated platters of chicken and we set them all out.  It was a good way to manage portion sizes and was much more guest friendly than having people stand in line.

    The food of course was secondary.  There was a beautiful bride.

    Carolyn is the second from the left, here with her family.

    And her lovely bridesmaids.

    Of course there was also the dashing groom and his groomsmen.

    The groom, Aaron, is on the right in the aqua, collared shirt.

    The air was full of love and excitement and the promises of things to come.  Flower girls and ring bearers ran around the yard and people seem relaxed in a way that you can only do outside.  When it was over, several people said thank you but I was the one who felt grateful.  I was so glad to have a dream realized and to play a part in the grand adventure that Aaron and Carolyn are embarking on.