Monthly Archives: November 2009

I did it.

So here we are at the end of November. I posted every day of the month, I am pleased to say. I loved every minute of it.  I hope you had some pleasurable moments as well. While I will not promise posting every day (I know I will not in the coming months) I do plan to be a bit better of a FRIEND of bloggers by actually visiting their blogs and (SHOCK) leaving comments. I plan on leaving so many comments that you’ll be sick of me and beg me to go back to blogging myself just so that I will leave you alone for a change! 🙂

I made the homemade yogurt yesterday and as Norma says, I am ENTHUSED. To say the least.
One thing that you may not know about me is that over the years, I have been on a quest for healthy eating. Real food! To know what goes into my food and have a choice over that. That is not to say that I haven’t polished off a bag or three of Doritos in my time or that I don’t enjoy an occasional filet ‘o fish at McD’s. I do. But mostly, I like to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and have no place in nature that a conglomerate decides is good for MY food.
Well, I say, “NOT MY FOOD!” Hell no.

Hell. No.

This particular quest started when I had kids. Jarred baby food for MY baby? I think not. I don’t know what is in that jar! So, I made my own. I got a blender and blended up veggies and meats and fruits that Andy and I ate and I froze them in ice cube trays. I thawed and warmed them in a bowl of boiling water because I did not have a microwave at that time.

I am not perfect on this quest of mine. I still eat plenty stuff I wish I did not. But I am getting better. It gets easier as I get older.

So, making my own yogurt falls right into place with all of that.

Now, let me tell YOU that homemade yogurt is WONDERFUL! I love it. Love. LOVE! It is creamy, tangy, delicious and oh-so-white! Just beautiful to look at as well as to eat!

I basically followed the crock pot yogurt recipe here, with these exceptions.

Here’s how I did it:
I used 1/2 gallon of 1% milk from Whole foods. No hormones and pure, natural milk.

I added a 1/2 cup of powdered milk to add more protein and calcium to the mix. (I also bought this at Whole Foods)

I covered my crock pot and heated the milk on HIGH for about 3 1/2 hours until the milk was 180 °F (although I strived to readch 180º, it only got to 178º and would not budge up anmore). I then took the crock off the heating element and took off the cover, letting it cool to 120º which took under an hour.

I took about a cup and a half of the heated milk out and mixed into that about 1/2 cup of Stonyfield plain yogurt. I wrapped the covered crock with a bath towel and put it into the oven. leaving it there overnight.

9 hours later, I stumbled down into the kitchen expecting to find milk in the oven but I found yummy, creamy, thick yogurt.

I topped some with Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup and a spootch of vanilla extract and brought it to work with me. What a delicious, nutritious treat.  I am over the moon about my homemade yogurt. And you will be too. It’s easy and moneysaving and one of those moments of magic in life that brings a smile to your face.

I plan to add some fruit to some of the yogurt, perhaps some mango  and some blueberries.

So many possibilities.


Filed under life, random, Sandy's Cooking, stuff

musings and a bit of begging at the end

Another Thanksgiving, come and gone. How does time go so fast? I have a decent amount of leftovers which some will become a wonderful turkey tetrazzini tomorrow or the next night. A few sandwiches, a soup and we’ll be done. Our fill of turkey.  Tonight I made a lasagna, not being about to think turkey thoughts one more minute. It sure does make the house smell wonderful.

And while I am on the subject of food, I have a crock pot of milk heating for homemade yogurt. I have looked into making yogurt before but did not want to buy another gadget to clutter my already cluttered kitchen. I am trying to get rid not receive! And frankly, those yogurt makers did not make much yogurt. If I am going to eat yogurt twice a day (at least) then making 6 whole containers does not last long and doesn’t seem worth the time.
Sometimes blogland is a funny place. I have yogurt on my mind, searching yogurt makers and then a good friend makes crock pot yogurt. Seems lots of times, we are all on the same wavelength. Great minds, and all.

Tomorrow night, hopefully I will be eating homemade yogurt.

Back to work tomorrow. Honestly, it might be more restful working than keeping up this Thanksgiving pace!


There is an emergency brewing and only us knitters can help.Thre is a Red Scarf shortage. Can we let that happen? Can we sit idly around while  some orphans, come February will have cold necks? Red Scarves are needed. Read about it here, think about knitting one up. A nice worsted yarn will knit up quickly, perhaps a pattern like the Irish Hiking Scarf? Just something I am thinking about….




Filed under life, Sandy's Cooking

Santa came early

I happened to have been checking in on the Philosophy show on QVC. Love my Philosophy!

Our tv was not old by MY standards. We got it about 7 or 8 years ago, the newest on the market of the time. We were on the cutting edge of tv watching. But, as in all areas of technology, not for long.

Lately, though, the television had a bad habit of emitting a high pitched noise. Constantly. I reacted to it like I imagine dog’s react to dog whistles. Not favorably. In fact, I started to hear that noise when the tv was not on. Bad sign.

We would look at the sale ads and frankly, they are all expensive. Christmas is coming, we had to buy our car from the lease, well, you know. LIFE IS EXPENSIVE!

Our wonderful kids bought us a tv. A Vizio 47 inch flat screen HD. 47 inches doesn’t aptly describe how I feel like I am in a movie theater when I watch it. We had to, of course, buy a wonderful new tv stand/cabinet.

I am the luckiest Mom in the world, huh? And? For Derek and Bethany? That is a lot of birthdays, anniversarys and Christmases taken care of.


I showered today and then put my pajamas back on. It is an unplanned JAMMIE DAY! I am loving every minute of it. Everyone is gone, doing something or other and I am here, eating hummus and cuddled on the couch, fuzzy blanket covering me while the wind howls outside. This television has, indeed, come in handy today.
Being a couch potato has never been so fun!


Filed under life


My Thanksgiving table

To answer DebbieB’s question (she said: “I can’t stand the suspense! Didja cut it???”). Yes. I did. Now, I’m just assuming that she is indeed asking about the pumpkin pie. She may have been sidetracked and is asking me if I cut the well, ahem. Cheese. But I doubt it. Because we never talk about that here. And? We never will please. I know it’s only natural but here is a “THAT” free zone.

Yes, I did cut the pie. But not until after Thanksgiving dinner, like a good doobie. I had a sliver. I couldn’t eat any more after that. In fact, I was in bed by 8:30, snoozing away. Well deserved, I’d say!
However, for breakfast? Bigger than a sliver. A delicious way to start the day, if I don’t say so myself. I wish you pumpkin pie for breakfast. With whipped cream. And a scootch of nutmeg. I did not, however think of taking a picture until I was left with a plate and a few lonely crumbs. Perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast will be better planned out.

For dinner, along with my turkey leftover hash, (home fried potatoes, turkey, gravy and a bit of bell’s seasonings sprinkled in), a glass of leftover wine, pinot noir and a HUGE helping of salad. I am CRAVING veggies. Lots of them! That can never be a bad thing.


I would love to say that I did not shop today but I do not consider myself one of the black Friday shoppers. I DID, as I do every year, think of the shoppers at 3:30. Then I rolled over and pulled up the covers. Some things are traditions and should never be tinkered with.

But around 3:00 (PM, that is)  Bethany and I went to Barnes and Noble. Sometimes a girl just has to buy books. One of the most basic needs of life, honestly. The store was bustling but not too busy, the lines were on the short side, which I was thankful for.
The thankfulness just goes on and on, doesn’t it?



Filed under random, Sandy's Cooking

Blessings abound

Just waiting for it's whipped cream! (It's hard not to eat it for breakfast! but I made the kids wait for tonight for the apple pie, I must do as I say!)

Give thanks for the blessings
that daily are ours
The warmth of the sun
The fragrance of flowers
For the joy of enjoying
And the fullness of living
Are found in the heart that
is filled with Thanksgiving
~Helen Steiner Rice


Filed under random, Sandy's Cooking

The name is pie. Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving eve has been filled with baking. My home smells wonderful however, I still have to clean up a bit before I can think of going to bed.
I roasted my sugar pumpkins this morning.

Pumpkins go in the oven


About an hour later, they look like this:

A knife slips into the flesh easily, they are soft to the touch, ready for pie.

I let them cool and then cut them in half, scraping the seeds out. (The color is a bit off on these photos, however these particular pumpkins were not very orange. They are more like a squash yellow.)

ready to be cleaned out

Into the food processor they go. Nothing added, please!

Time for a whirl

Whirl until smooth

Pie ready, no can in sight!

I then followed a Martha recipe which is undocumented. It is in the oven right now baking, almost done. Can you smell it?

Honestly, using fresh pumpkin is not labor intensive and is almost as easy as opening a can. But feels so much more smug.

I’ll show you the pie tomorrow.

I still have a sink of dishes waiting. For that? I am not so grateful!


Filed under Sandy's Cooking

My guest list

Carole suggested that we think about 10 people we would like to have at our table for Thanksgiving dinner, real or fictional. I stretched it a bit and added, not alive.
1. Julia Child, Though I have admired her most of my life (I was one of those kids sitting in front of her cooking show on PBS at a very young age), I am not sure I would like her. But I’d relish finding out.
2. John Denver. I think it would be great to sit around the table with him. I think we had a lot in common, the love of nature and the concern over our environment
3. Jim Henson. It would be wonderful to share a glass of wine with a genius. And perhaps Kermit the Frog.
4. My great Grandparents from Lithuania. I wish they had shared their stories of how they escaped Lithuania in the cloak of darkness, running with the clothes on their backs. They took those stories to the grave with them.
4. I think most people would put Jesus on the list and that would be good. But for MY list? Mary. To be such an important woman in a time that women were just possessions, I wonder how she dealt with it all.
5. Ina Garten. I love her simplistic and beautiful way of looking at life. I could use her influence.
6. Tyler Florence. The man is cute as a button and can cook. He seems like a fun person, caring, family oriented. I’d like him around my table.
7. Santa Clause, because I believe.
8. My mother because she never wants to come to my house, thanksgiving or otherwise
9. Jamie Lee Curtis. The more I see her and read about her, the more I like her.
10. My Father in Law, Bob. Meals around my table have not been quite the same without him around. I feel his absence especially Thanksgiving! For years he always proposed a Thanksgiving toast with his specialty: cranberry juice in a Dixie cup. (a small paper cup). We would all raise our glasses seriously, toast and drink. That is my new Thanksgiving tradition that I bring to my table this year.
Hmm. I think I’ll need to borrow a couple of chairs.


Filed under life, random

Favorite dishes

My thoughts are all wrapped up around the Thanksgiving meal as of today. I love to plan the meal. It’s almost as fun as the eating. Maybe (truthfully) more fun. The planning goes on all week but the eating, well, you know how long THAT takes.
The dish that I look forward to the most? Is the stuffing. It’s a meat stuffing that is my family’s tradition. What I would have previously called a “french Canadian thing”. but now know to be An Acadian thing. Meat stuffing, not a stuffing at all in the traditional sense, truly a “dressing”. But we shall NEVER ever refer to it again as a dressing, capish?
My family’s version has ground beef, ground pork sauteed with onions, salt and pepper, drained and cooled. Then I break apart a stuffing bread, wet it with water and squeeze the bread into the meat until mixed well, using the whole loaf of bread. This part is wonderfully messy. Love it. Sprinkle generously with Bell’s seasoning (poultry seasoning to you non New Englanders) then add basterfuls of turkey broth until the stuffing is moist.
When I got married, I realized that the rest of the world did not eat MY meat stuffing. I was crushed. If I wanted it as part of my adult tradition, I would have to bring it to the table myself. I serve both the meat stuffing and the turkey stuffed bread stuffing on the day. Something for everyone.
I love family traditions almost as much as I love the stuffing itself.
SO, I’m curious. Tell me what dish you are looking forward to the most? What is YOUR family tradition that you carry on or that you miss dearly? (and should start yourself from now on, says me!)


Filed under Sandy's Cooking

Kitties say HI while I am busy doing laundry, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the house and other various Thanksgiving preps

Myron, aka upstairs cat

Mitch, aka downstairs cat, loves to sleep between the ottoman and the couch with the blanket over him


Filed under 1

I ran into some turkeys while shopping today

Not giving thanks

Do you think they are suspicious of what is next week?

There seems to be some locals that won’t really be giving Thanks this time of year. These turkeysare residents at a local farm, Green Meadows and they were awfully happy and friendly.
When Derek was little and visiting turkeys, he leaned against their wire caging and one took that opportunity to bite back on Derek’s finger. He was startled more than hurt. After a bit of tears, he exclaimed, “I like turkeys better when they are cooked!”
Let’s not tell these guys that story, though, huh?

I call this meeting to order!

Do you think the birds have a newsletter? Or mass emailing so they know when their weekly meeting is?
(Also entitled, Sky on Saturday, by way of birds!)


Filed under 1