Tonight Buddy said his Beaver Promise, Law, and Motto, and received his Beaver scarf and woggle
Monday, 4 November 2013
Saturday, 2 November 2013
This years family photos taken by Mama on the front porch last weekend. Emailed to Uncle Steve for re-touching Friday morning. Submitted to costco for printing at 11 on Friday, and were ready for pickup at noon on Friday.
I couldn't be happier with the results, and the total cost for 5 8x10's and 20ish 5x7's was less than $20.
Friday, 1 November 2013
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Back in the early married era, I was fortunate to find a fantastic chicken pot pie recipe called "Hingle Pot Pie" in a cookbook by a local Amish lady, Edna Staebler. Edna didn't know her recipe would be adapted into a post-holiday tradition for our family, but I am very happy she published a cookbook. If you are looking for a book full of simple, earthy Amish meat dishes, check out this book.
Since then I've moved away from the St. Jacobs/Kitchener Amish community, but we still go back to visit, and we cook the odd Schnitzel or Saerbraeten. The Amish love down-to-earth cooking with simple ingredients, seasonings and textures. Great meals for the learning cook.
According to Edna, you start this meal by boiling chicken pieces, and reserving the broth, but since we use leftover turkey, no chicken boiling will be necessary. Instead, we start by making the noodle-dumplings that set this pot pie apart from the rest.
Pull out your favourite medium mixing bowl, and combine 2 cups of flour with 2 tablespoons of butter We use margarine because cruelty to cows. Or something. Mix the butter and flour until crumbly. Then add 2 eggs you've beaten into submission. I'm all for cruelty to chicken embryos. The mixture should be starting to resemble biscuit batter. One its a nice thick lump, drizzle enough milk in to make it sticky. Ha-Ha cow babies, no milk for you!. Too much, and you've made glue, too little, and its sticky tack. In the pic below, I am a little on the modge-podge side of just right.
Edna advises to roll this thinly on a floured board. But it never works for me. See - the rolled dough is always bigger than our biggest cutting board. Luckily we have nice smooth countertops that work just as well as a floured board. Eat your heart out Edna!! I roll the dough out on the counter most times. I also flour the countertop and the dough liberally to suck up any excess moisture I may have added in the add milk stage. I never get the milk stage just right.
Once the dough is rolled, the recipe calls for it to be cut into 1-1/2" squares. I could convert that to metric, but I'm too lazy, so I just cut into big rectangles that look like they're about the right size. A butter knife is best for this. You have to roll it along its edge, not drag it through the dough.You can see where I dragged it below - it cuts poorly, and sticks to the dough.
Leave the dumpling dough sit on the counter while you peel a bunch of potatoes and carrots. The recipe advises tender spring peas and carrots, and fresh potatoes, but those are never all in season at the same time. You are either going to have old potatoes and carrots with fresh peas (Spring) or old peas with fresh potatoes and carrots (fall) unless you aren't Amish, and have the miracle of refrigeration... <Singing angel voices> AAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaa!
Those carrots are monsters. I have no idea where SWMBO found carrots that HUGE! I only needed 1 for our whole family! Anyways peel and chop the carrots, and cut the potatoes as if you are making scalloped potatoes. You should also strip your turkey off the bones and chunk it into bite-sized cubes. Normally I wouldn't make extra dishes for myself, but things photograph better in bowls, so here are our veggies ready for the pot, and the dumplings rested and ready for action. Peas are back in the freezer so they don't thaw out too soon.
See that bowl the carrots are in? That is my Delft bowl. I love that bowl. The carrots have a place of honour in this pic. If you are my kid and you want to get me a super-cool Christmas gift I would love another 3 or 7 of those bowls. They show up in antique shops from time to time. Price point is usually between $10 - $15 and they are perfect for setting aside spices or eggs or whatever, plus they are painted so nice. Love 'em.
Ok, its assembly time... Put a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a dutch oven (all Dads are into cooking with Dutch ovens. Its a known fact.) On top of the potatoes, lay in a layer of noodle-dumplings. Don't grease the pot! I had started to melt butter for something else here, and it didn't work out well. The potatoes got fried.
Next a layer of carrots, followed by peas, sprinkle with salt and pepper, other spices if you want, but we just use salt and pepper for a nice country dinner...
And another layer of nooodles and potatoes...
Its turning into a leftover turkey and veggie lasagna!! Now another layer of peas and carrots, followed by a top layer of noodles, and the pot is full.
With the pot full to the top, I add in 2 cups of chicken bouillon plus one cup of water. By the way honey - I used the last bouillon cube. The liquid should come halfway up the pot. Now put a lid on it, set the stove to boil, and then turn it down as soon as it begins to bubble. You want to simmer the pot for a bout half an hour.
When its done, it won't look very pretty. I'll let you dream up some garnishes, but a sprinkle of parsley or a few chopped tomatoes might give it more appeal on the table. Sorry about the bad picture, the tablet tried to focus on steam instead of food.
Serve hot! It will cool quickly. As a bonus, with everything in bite-sized chunks the little guys won't need you to cut their dinner - which is basically like a dinner out. Here it is plated and ready for eating! The place mat is an anti-gravity model and has to be upside down to work properly. We serve with sour cream and salt and pepper, but really its just fine on its own. Simple country food without a lot of mess or effort - just my kind of meal. It even tastes better the next day as leftovers.
Wait - leftover turkey leftovers that are MORE delicious than turkey leftovers!?! Stop the Press!!!
Monday, 21 October 2013
If these last one season, I'll be a happy guy.
Nest box #1 - the chickadee house. Buddy really liked this design, so who am I to argue, even though it doesn't match my vision... The plan can be found here
Birdhouses 2 & 3 are the style I had in mind when we began. Plans can be found here.
Just for fun, reply with your bird houses and feeders, or some of the friends you have come visit in your yard. We are overrun with chipmunks and squirrels, but have also had ducks stop by for a swim in our pool, and have seen a few other surprise visitors in the city - luckily none of the coyotes or deer we had to worry about when we lived at the Mighty Tiny Chicken Ranch though!
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Since we were the second boat lifted out this morning, we had to be at the club before sunrise. It was dark and cold! Chuck and buddy videoed our haul, and even provided commentary.
Now we need to put a tarp on her and tuck Iris in for her winter nap.
Friday, 18 October 2013
We got a moose instead of a Hula Girl. I think we nailed it for the tackiness quota... Nothing beats a moose in a canoe when you need company on the road.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
A few weeks ago SWMBO came in and told me a lightbulb had burned out on her Buick All_re. It used to be a 2007 Buick Allure (I think its called a LaCrosse in the states), but that was before the incident that saw the 'u' fall off the back of the car. Also the letters from the dealer sticker fell off so it now says 'URGE' across the back of the car where it used to say SURGENOR, but I may have helped that one along.
In any case back to the headlights. This isn't a car blog, and this car is hardly blog-worthy. Its just a grocery-getter, stripped down with the most basic options, but it has pleased us, and so the headlight debacle surprised me, and I post this as a PSA for others with similar designed vehicles trying to change a light bulb.
A few days after SWMBO told me about the dead light, I ran to our local NAPA and bought a replacement bulb for $20.00 (Wow! that was more than I expected!) and popped the hood to replace the bulb. This is what I found...
The headlight housing has a pop-out in the back for access to the bulb. Its a twist off and seems fairly innocuous, until you realize that it only reaches the high beams. To replace the low-beam, which is the more likely bulb to fail you are going to have a hard time. The low beam is the outboard light, the one closer to the curb, and the pop-out for it is firmly seated against the steel cross member that forms the front of the engine bay. I really didn't have time to fiddle so I left it for 'later' and set to work with other things.
Then the light on the other side went out, and I couldn't procrastinate any longer. That's where this blog post comes in. I was so amazed at the level of complexity required to change the lightbulbs on this car that I figured I would share it so other Allure drivers left stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night would at least have a fighting chance at changing a headlight. Here we go...
You are going to need a handful of tools for this job. As a minimum, you need to following:
- 10mm wrench or socket wrench
- Prybar or claw hammer
- Needle nose pliers
- Nitrile Gloves