Friday, November 20, 2015

Following Immigration Laws (can give you such a crick in the neck)

So, this morning my oldest daughter, who has been married for a year and is still waiting for her husband's visa so he can move out here, posted this on FB:

So, I had Kiki create this:

We're ready to riot for you, Lawrence! 

Star Wars Prepping

Mirror Brains

Here's how my brain works:
A. Need to find my swimsuit. 
B. It's probably in the clean pile of clothes in the laundry basket. 
C. Clothes have got to be folded anyway, so I'll fold them while "looking for" my swimsuit. 
D. Swimsuit has been found and laundry has been folded. 

Everyone other brain in this house: 
A. Need to find {socks}
B. Dig through clean clothes in laundry basket with not much effort to keep any from falling on the floor. 
C. Find two socks that don't match and leave the mess I just created.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Star Wars Prepping

"Wookin' puh nub in ahh duh wong pwaces..."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Star Wars Prepping

This one is just too much fun!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Foodie Friday~ Tom Kha Gets Dressed Up

Last week, I found myself standing at my butcher block  island with a handful of leeks and a bunch of swiss chard. These are not normally things I buy from the grocery store, and in fact I did not buy these from any store. A very good friend of mine, B, who is an empty nester asked if I could use some veggies from the farm. Could I? Is that a real question? I hear you assuming it's her farm. No, she does not have a farm, but she gets more veggies each week than she and her hubby can eat- and they're raw vegans! Well, they're not raw vegans, their diet is, as in they eat about 85% raw food that does not come from animals.

Have you ever heard of a CSA farm? A community supported agricultural farm allows people to work on the farm (in this case about 5 hours per week) in trade for an equal share of the harvest. Here, in Star Valley, we have the EverGreen Farm which grows organic food both in and out of greenhouses. Even with a greenhouse, it is challenging to grow food here! If you are interested in eating locally grown, and possibly organic, food you should find out if your area has a CSA farm. You don't have to trade time, you can also be a paying share.

So, I stand there at my butcher block, staring at these vegetables. I remember the 50 pounds of potatoes in my pantry ready to provide energy, nutrition, and comfort through the long winter. I think, leek and potato soup. Yeah, that's almost a cliche'. What if I throw in some sliced swiss chard? Most of my family will think it's an herb. The seasoned ones will think it's just spinach. Okay, I have a direction now~soup.

Then, my mind goes back to the quick trip I made to Chicago this summer. It had been a physically demanding, muggy-hot day. When Shanelle and I got back to the car, we just wanted a good meal and then to go back to her new place to put up our feet and rest. Right there by the car was a Thai restaurant and the vote was unanimous. Chicken tom kha is what I ordered.

I had never had it before.

Upon my first taste, I closed my eyes as the many flavors rolled across my tongue. I did this again and again; analyzing, pinpointing, guessing, allowing the flavors to make their way up through the olfactories.

The warmth of the broth created such a relief from my physical distress that I said to Shanelle, "I just want to dive into this bowl." She rolled her eyes at me.

The chicken was tender. The veggies cooked just right, not too soft, but not hard either.

This type of food creates feelings.

So, standing at my butcher block I decide to try to instill some of the flavors from tom kha into my potato leek soup. I know, there are Irish people turning in their graves.

Problem, I am missing some essential ingredients. So, here's what I do:

}Instead of lemon grass, I squeeze fresh lemon into the broth.
}Instead of coconut cream, I added coconut oil and some heavy cream I had left over in the fridge.

So, my soup turned out to be a blend of potato chowder and tom kha. It was actually rather plain, but it was my first attempt!

Hubby spotted the pot of left-overs and decided to eat some. He tasted it "as is" to decide how he would "dress" it. He added grated cheddar and fresh bacon bits. The next day, I copied his dressing method, and OH. Ohhhhh. Okay, that is much better.

In each bite, the dressed up tom kha started off tasting like a yummy, creamy chowder. Then, the Asian flavors skipped around for a while before the end flavors of loaded baked potato made itself known.

It was sooo good that the next day, I finished up the pot with the same dressings.

Now, I am about to tell you how food can connect people.  I have a friend who enjoys food and the art of cooking even more than I do. It is one of the attributes which bonds us together. The very same day I made this mock tom kha, my foodie friend, KDB, was rocking in her kitchen and created something. Her something was so spectacular that she brought some over to my house in the night time hour of eight o'clock. Have you guessed what it is?

Chicken tom kha.

She and I had cooked the same dish on the same day. It was the first time either of us had tried it. I had improvised. She had improvised. Hers was a lot more authentic than mine. I asked if she'd had lemon grass. She said, "No, I used lemon grass oil!"

If you're curious here's how I made the soup.

Tom Kha (potato)

Boil in a pot:
 4 large potatoes, diced
2 med. or 1 large carrots, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 an onion, chopped

When the veggies are tender add:
2 minced garlic cloves
fresh chopped parsley, or dried
6 small or 4 large swiss chard leaves, deveined, halved and cut into strips

Allow the pot to simmer for 15 minutes, then add:
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, this will really depend based on the size and starchiness of your potatoes, and of course your taste-buds!
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (or if you have full fat coconut milk, which means it still contains the cream, use that and omit the coconut oil)
1 heaping tsp coconut oil
1/2 a fresh lemon, juice only

This soup should thicken on its own because of the potato starch. If it doesn't seem to be thickening, smash some of the potatoes and let it simmer some more.  If you use my recipe, I'd love to hear your results and opinions. And did you dress it up?

If you have a quick mind, you may have noticed that my soup did not contain chicken. You can, of course, add cooked chicken to your pot of tom kha. If you are into languages, here is further interesting info. Tom means boiled. Yep, my soup was boiled. Kha is a root also called galangal which probably does not exist within a 300 mile radius of where I live, so nope, my soup is not kha. Also, as my foodie friend happily discovered, our grocery store sells fish sauce. If ours does, I would bet yours does. This is a flavor you might not like, so be cautious in using it. Click HERE to see a more authentic recipe for actual tom kha.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Newbie Curls

Suddenly, Porter has curls. He's never had a curl in his head EVER. He's put off a haircut for a long time cuz he hates new cut hair, and look what has emerged! Usually, he gels and parts it but when he got out of the shower, the curls were all,"Look at us! We're free! We're beautiful!"

So, I begged him not TOUCH his hair at all. And it looks so cool. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Foodie Friday~ Purple Potato

Yeah. For real. I had no idea there were purple potatoes. Well, scratch that. I've seen purple potatoes, but this one is a sweet potato. 

Spotted it at the grocery store. Brought it home. Baked it at 375 for 1 hr 45 minutes. 

I ate half of it for dinner and I loved it. It was very filling. It is sweet like a white sweet potato. It is not stringy like a yam. 

The kids were so grossed out. They said it looked like I was eating play-do. 

Good. Won't have to worry about anyone eating my purple potato!

Isn't it beautiful?

Monday, September 28, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday~ Borrowing from Zack's Bowl of Oates

Captured from his website!
One of the most effective arenas for learning charity is in a marriage. (For the greatest definition ever of charity, check out Moroni 7:45)

 I've done a lot of reading and studying on how to make my contribution to my marriage healthy and nurturing. Today, one aspect I've never really pinned down was brought to mind when I read:

Give Up Now—You Will NEVER Stay Married to the Same Person(Click title to read Zack's profound article.)


This Zack guy makes a great point:

"That “illusion” that WE have already done most of our changing in life is as scientifically and rationally ridiculous as the “illusion” that we are marrying someone for the rest of our lives."

He's right! People learn how to be married from the married adults they observe as they grow up. Or, at least, we think we have learned it, by the time we are old enough to "know everything" and are ready to jump the broom with Miss or Mister Perfect.

However, even if we have observed examples of couples who seem like they've been best friends forever who stayed married till death did them part, or if our examples were of contentious couples who ended up divorcing and hating each other or at the very best becoming civil co-parents, until we have lived it, we are only imagining what marriage is like.

Imagining is all we can do until we actually have our own feet in our own married boots. It doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, you and your new spouse's boots are not always going to be frolicking in fields of daisies. Sometimes those two pairs of boots are going to get rain in them because someone didn't take the time do up the laces. Sometimes, the trail will be dusty, or muddy, or maybe there will be pouring of cement, which requires a good rinsing off or you end up with concrete boots. A lot of times, one person may need to pick up the other person and carry him or her, because their feet are blistered and sore.

Over years and years of travel, those two pairs of boots have weathered together. They've achieved that lovely, very cool looking patina which everyone with brand-new boots admires.

The point is, those two pairs of boots stayed together. They ended up looking very different than the day they jumped the broom, but they're still together.

Zack's point is, the person you marry today will not be the same person in twenty years. He references the TED talk Dan Gilbert: The Psychology of Your Future Self. I like what he has to say about the "ease of remembering versus the difficulty of imagining."

The important thing to know about marriage is that you AREN'T all grown up just because you're getting married. You and your new, and now most important best friend, are going to continue to grow up and marriage is growing up TOGETHER.

We must get this through our heads and then get it into the heads of our children. Family is central to the Plan of Happiness. As such, it is where the adversary focuses his efforts. There will be many straws heaped upon the camel's back. Each individual will have their limit. Any of us may one day be faced with the feeling that this is the final straw.  It happens. And it's one of the toughest decisions an adult may face. Breaking up a family creates ripples that ebb out for years and years. Can a person recover? Yes. A wife whose husband broke his promises to her can recover. Sure, the children who watched him leave their mother for another woman, who now plays another prominent role in their lives, might possibly make it through without major issues. A husband who fought hard to keep his wife happy and ended up losing her anyway, may finally make peace with it and move on.

Sure. Humans are resilient. If nothing else.

BUT, by divine design, families are meant to be a castle, in which, the king adores and reveres his queen. In which, the queen rules side by side with her king. In which, the children watch their parents strive to live moral, true, unselfish lives dedicated to showing forth love to each other and to their children. Dedicated to serving God and His purposes.

I know what it's like to fight for marriage and family. It's a different kind of fight than any you'll see in a movie or TV show. It involves charity and the pure love of Christ.

 Here's today's TED Talk.   It's just 6 minutes and 49 seconds long.

Star Wars Prepping

I was talking with a new friend whose husband is the flight operations manager at the FBO of Afton's tiny airport. 

Harrison Ford has had a house in Jackson Hole for years and he apparently  prefers to fly into our airport than Jackson's. 

He's very friendly with people who don't go all ga-ga over him. 

I have a son named Harrison. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Steal an Intermittent Moment

Every summer, I love going up to the intermittent spring, and usually, our family will go up several times during the summer. It's more a walk than a hike. You can go up and be back in an hour if you don't take time to dilly-dally. 

This year, we didn't go up until the end of August! We did it for family night, and it was a quick up and back because we got a late start. 

Then, I thought to myself, this would be a great way to catch up with a friend I haven't seen for a while. Since that thought, I've been up three different times with three different friends. It is really a fantastic way to catch up on each other's lives. 

You're walking, which is a nice, light exertion, allowing for conversation. The scenery is beautiful which is restorative to the soul. Your dog gets to run around just playing, and sniffing, keeping an eye on you. 

I'm sad I didn't get photos with my other two friends, but this is "L." She turned 70 the day after this photo. Doesn't she look fabulous!

She is a painter, and I told her that next summer, she and I are going to meet every week so I can learn from her how to do different watercolor techniques. 

This is my favorite spot. 

This is the first place in my life where I've seen white berries. In a couple weeks all these leaves will be red and orange. 

I also love the colors of the stones in the river. 

Before we got to the bridge, the water was running full force. After the bridge, the water was receding. After about ten minutes you can see that the water is "off" and the flow is halfway down the incline. 

I've never gone up to the mouth of the spring, but I do love going over and sitting by the water. 

This is natural beauty, right here. No designers involved. Not human, anyway!

That moss is just eye-catching. 

Then, you look up the walls of the canyon and see that gorgeous blue sky. Every winter, this place is packed with snow. I call it a glacier, cuz you can watch it melt and shrink. 

I distinctly noticed the noise level of the water after it had turned back "on" and reached where we were sitting.

Here, you can see that the water has started flowing again. 

Here, you can see that the new flow has caught up with the old flow. Can you spot Harris?

I did not know that Porter had brought his iPod. Next time, no iPods. I gladly trade iPods for noisy, rambunctious, wild boyhood behavior. 

Morgan tried chipping a blade out of  a rock. 

Checking out the silt covering the rocks. 

I think trees that grow out like this are cool. 

Mother Nature has her paint brushes out. 

My boy, Harris, who can play solo for hours. 

GrAb a FriEnd. ANd gO To tHe SpRinG.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Turn Pride Upside-down (The way it should be.)

Someone posted this to FB:

I made my own:

I'm not from the south, but I am sweet. I'm not a Barbie, though I've lived many years in CA. I am not from WY, but my island blood flows fire and ice. 

I drive in snow with gritty tires, clenched fingers, and a prayer in my heart. I've finally learned how to dress for the cold and am thankful that my WY beats the heat for me. 

I wear no tu-tu, choose never to throw a mean right hook, and refuse to drink with male or female. 

I'd love nothing more than to cook a wicked meal and share it with you at my table along with the many experiences and opinions that make me ME, and you YOU. 

Repost if you are human being who doesn't need to be up in anyone else's face to make this world a better place. 

*@ll LiVEs M@tTeR*

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Permit Weasel

Rylee has been dying to practice driving with a trailer. She had her first experience yesterday when she weaseled her way into permit driving thirty minutes away to exchange a broken insulation blower for a working one. Know what permit driving means? Yeah. Having another licensed driver in the vehicle. Guess who that was yesterday? Yeah. Me. Guh 

Rylee in the driver's seat of the old Rover. 

The trailer rolling along behind us. 

There was unintentional swerving. Eek. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hooshy Strikes Again

When I came home from my trip to Chicago, guess what was sitting in my kitchen? My long awaited for rolling butcher block!

Never thought I'd say such a thing, but a kitchen can actually be too big. Having this baby saves me about twelve steps going from stove-peninsula-stove. Plus, a big plus, is that my trash now sits in a pullout cabinet. Yay! 

On the other end is vertical storage which I cannot rave enough about. No more fighting my cookie sheets and cooling racks. 

Then, of course, are the unique design aspects. Check out the metal accents and the distressing characteristics. (Meaning, you take a beautiful piece of wood and beat it up.)

Jake experimented colors and came up with what looks sort of like a milk paint wash which still allows the wood grain to show through.

I now have more prep space closer to my stove, and a chopping block ready for whatever I need to chop at it! Isn't it fabulous?

Here are the building stages:

Here's how you make an end-grain butcher block. Lots of time. Cutting, then gluing. 

Then, lots of sanding. 

This is after the first oil application. You like the effect of the grains running in different directions? How about that single block of black walnut? 

Here's how it looked the last time I saw it many moons ago... 
 I left my family for a week. I guess they missed me, and wanted to show their appreciation for me. Ha. 

In our last house, I designed a beautiful (installed) Hoosier cabinet to be my baking center. If you've never heard of a Hoosier cabinet or just wonder about their history click here. And, to get a belly laugh at the advertising angles used to target wives back in the Hoosier hay-day click here.

We aren't the Hoosier company, so this is what Jake named it. This is his version of a love note. Not a bad way to let your wife know you love her, eh?