Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Different Thanksgiving Weekend

I can't remember the last time it was just me and Lloyd for Thanksgiving.
No kids. No family. No friends. Everyone had places to be this year.
I love him madly, but there's only so much two people can eat of a 20 pound free turkey. We made the best of it, though. Here I am toasting the rather damp and gray day with the first of several glasses of Chateau Ste Michelle Brut, an affordable and delicious Washington State wine.

And here is the bird, rubbed with Maple Herb butter under the skin, bursting with New England Sausage, Apple, Cranberry and Leek stuffing. Those recipes from the 1994 Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue have become my standards.

The usual suspects for side dishes: garlic mashed potatotes, brown sugar and spiced sweet potatoes with marshmallow and almonds, freshly made cranberry sauce, green beans with walnuts, brussels sprouts, and, much to Lloyd's dismay, roasted beets with horseradish cream topped with parsley and garlic. I had beets. They were calling to me...

Needless to say, the leftovers were many, so we invited our ski buddies to a pot luck leftovers dinner after Sunday's excursion to Tea Cup. Skip and Jan, Lloyd and I, Jan and Jo were joined by Elliot (who had to make an early run to PDX) after our first loop around. The trails were well worn after obvious heavy use over the weekend. It was a beautiful day. At one point we went by some frosted trees. The sparkling snow and ice on the trees were so pretty, I had to take off my sunglasses to get the full rush. And take out my camera, so you can see something other than the post card of us with blue sky and Mt. Hood behind us.

Apres ski, Elliot picked up Yolanda, Jan got Fred (who hurt his back sweeping out his gutters), Jo got Jim (who is having a long recovery from H1N1), and Lisa and Randy came over. Everyone brought wine, appetizers and pies, and there was a green bean casserole and a sweet potato casserole to fill out my small sides. I had several beets fans present, so that dish was demolished. The event was such a hit, we just might make it a new tradition.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Veterans Day Cactus

One thing about living at a higher latitude- what are Christmas Cacti in Texas and Louisiana are Veterans Day Cacti in Washington. With a second bloom around Easter. Here are the first blooms of the season. Sorry, one's a little fuzzy, like my brain, but the color is nice.

The second one is a first time bloom from a sprig that that was replanted last spring. It likes its spot.

I need a new plant for the holidays. Perhaps an amaryllis.

The days are getting shorter and shorter, which makes it hard on people like me who hate night driving. But I sure like sleeping under lots of covers again!

The apples are all in, and I've managed to use up most of them. A couple of pies, cakes, and two big batches of apple butter did the trick. The real wormy ones got thrown over the rail for the deer. And I found a great way to do all that apple butter without a lot of standing over a hot stove. Crock Pot!!!!

Too easy. Cut up apples, fill the crock pot so the lid barely covers. Add a little bit of water. Cook overnight. Wake up. House smells great. Run apples though a food mill or in my case, the handy dandy attachment for the Kitchen Aid. Return to crock pot. Add 4 cups of sugar, spices to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger, a little vanilla). Cook all day. If it needs thickening, take of the lid for a couple hours. Prepare your jars, fill, seal, process. Done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tawk this Way on Yawkey Way

Number one daughter sent me this today. For all those of you Far from the Pahk, it's too wicked good not to share. Enjoy. And read the ah-ticle, too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Busy Week in the Gorge

Grand Opening: Studio Apartments for Winged Neighbors

Lloyd built several new birdhouses this week. Our resident flicker has decided to beat up his bill trying to peck though the heavy duty screens he put up to block the old holes. He's taken pity on the bird, and built him his own home. He'd better move in fast, though, the red headed woodpecker was checking it out the other day.

Weather: Rain Continues with Snow above 3,000 ft.
We've had some very rainy weather, with lulls for dog walks.
This morning the clouds disappeared briefly to show off the new blanket of snow on Mt. Hood. Rumor has it Timberline will be open today...

Burn Ban is OVER
Even in Fire District 3, ours, the last one to come off burn ban. We mostly compost our leaves, etc. But there's a lot of 'fuel' on the slope that needs to disappear so it doesn't become a serious hazard, so Lloyd had himself an evening bonfire in between rain storms, followed by a daytime burnathon. I couldn't quite catch him dancing around the flames, the hill is too steep for ritualistic dances...

We're had some beautiful evening skies, with clouds over the western gorge.
I love it now that the leaves are gone, I can see the lights of Hood River.

Apples Harvested
The two trees are bare. After some serious baking, I've finally got a batch of apple butter in progress. Trying a new tactic: Crock Pot Apple Butter. No need to stand over a hot stove all day. Cook a crock pot full of apples overnight. Run them through the food mill, add spices and sugar, and cook all day (while the football games are on) making the house smell terrific. Hope it works.

Arts and Music Abound
Last night's entertainment was a book signing, slide show and talk by the authors of Cataclysms on the Columbia at the Columbia Gorge Center for the Arts. Lloyd now pretty much has the complete collection of Ice Age Floods books. Tonight, Lori Sobrero has her photo exhibit opening at the Inn of the White Salmon, followed by the first Warm up with Wine of the season. Tomorrow night, back to the CGCA for a free concert by Vinca Quartet.

Unless we go fishing...look at what Terry dropped off yesterday: This coho now rests with the one Elliot gave us a few days earlier. If it's nice out, we're gone.