Saturday, August 30, 2008

blue ribbon recipes

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 C shortening
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 t hot water
2 C rolled oats
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour (white flour is fine, but then they won't be cookie vitamins)
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 C chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)

Whip together the shortening, eggs, vanilla, sugars and hot water until fluffy. Then add the oats, flour, salt and baking soda and mix well. Mix in the chocolate chips. Put in small balls on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

Grandma Huff's Ginger Bends
1 1/2 C shortening
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C molasses (I use Brer Rabbit blackstrap--I think it's called Full Flavored or something)
2 eggs
4 1/4 C flour
4 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t ginger
2 t cinnamon
1 t cloves

Preheat oven to 375*. cream shortening, brown sugar, molasses and eggs. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Roll into teaspoon size balls and roll in sugar (I do cinnamon sugar). Bake 8 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.

The cookies will be very doughy when they come out of the oven--let them sit on the pan for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack. If you cook them too long they will not be ginger bends, they will be ginger snaps.

For both of these recipes I use one of those cookie scoops that looks like this:
It's about 1 1/2 " across. It's way faster and easier and cleaner than rolling them in your hands. Also, I usually only cook about one or two pans of cookies, and freeze the rest of the dough. Put it all in balls on a cookie sheet lined with a nonstick mat or waxed paper, freeze it, then put the dough balls in a freezer bag. Cooking instructions are the same for the frozen dough balls.

The bread recipe is the same one I linked to a while ago--the Dutch oven bread from Mother Earth News.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

who wants undulant feeeveeerrr?

(raises hand) Me! Me! I do! I do!

We found a place in town where we can buy Johnny's Dairy milk, so I don't have to drive clear to Ogden to buy it anymore. Instead of spending the money on gas, I'll spend it on the 4 dollar milk! Because, you see, they only get the raw stuff. So we are drinking someone else's raw milk, something I have always vowed I'd never do. Is this the right place to have the discussion about pasteurization? Well, it is now.

I'm sure that pasteurization has saved countless lives. Before there was regulation of the dairy industry, there was no way to tell whether the milk you were drinking came from a clean or dirty facility unless you went there yourself. And of course, the modernization and automation of the industry made it so it didn't matter if the dairy was clean or not, because the clean milk would get mixed in with the dirty milk, then the whole batch would be infected. Enter pasteurization--it kills all the nasty bacteria that make people sick. But unfortunately, it kills all the good bacteria, too--all the little buddies that help us digest food and keep our guts working properly. And from the look of most of the dairies I've been to, pasteurization also allows people to have absolutely filthy facilities, since the bacteria gets killed off.

When we got our goats, I asked my dad what he thought about pasteurizing my milk, since he grew up on raw milk, and he didn't see any reason why I should have to pasteurize the milk from my own animal. So I didn't, and none of us has been sick from our milk. Now, keep in mind, I am scrupulously clean in my milk handling. It's probably the only area in my life where I am so. It's a time-consuming process: udder wash, bag balm, strip cup, milk into a sterilized pail, teat dip, check the strip cup milk for mastitis, strain the milk, strain the milk again, put it in an ice bath . . . it takes a while. But I know exactly what has happened to the milk from goat to glass, and I know if any of the goats are feeling under the weather and if we shouldn't be drinking their milk. I can't know that about someone else's milk. But, as John says, you've got people all over the world milking into rusty #10 cans and straining the milk through a dirty sweater, and most of the time they do fine.

A girl I know (hi, Amy!) has been to Johnny's Dairy and says it looks clean, and the woman I bought the milk from here in Brigham says that it's probably the cleanest dairy in the state. And so far we have not developed Bang's Disease, and we've been drinking it clear since this afternoon, so . . .

Also it is delicious. I just wish it weren't so expensive.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

had ourselves a hootenanny

Me with my bread on the bottom shelf.

The Hulk and Captain America standing in front of their cookies.

Superman petting a Jersey.

Captain America being munched on by a Holstein.

Pinga making friends with the Jersey I am going to barter (read: steal) from the Nelsons.

These pigs are looking to see if the Hulk has a tail so they can bite it off and eat it.

It was a great year at the fair. It really does make it more enjoyable when you enter things.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

now with 100% more blue ribbons

It's our county fair this week, and it's even a real county fair with animals and vegetables and home arts, not like some I could mention (I'm looking at YOU, Utah County). Here is what we entered:

The Hulk's gingersnaps, or as we call them around here, gingerbends, because not so much with the snapping.

Captain America's whole wheat/oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which are basically cookie vitamins.

And my rendition of No-knead Dutch Oven Bread, which has made me swear off normal bread almost entirely.

Pretty sweet, huh? Imagine those same items, only with a blue ribbon attached to each of them. The boys are stoked that they have won their first major award, and it doesn't even say "participant" on it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

what I wrote on the feedback form

Reason for closing account: No longer needs account

Comments: This is the worst gift card experience I've ever had. My feelings of disgust for Walmart have been supplanted by rage and hatred of a magnitude that is difficult to quantify using existing number systems.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

only the fact that I had my arms full kept me from punching her in the neck

I just wrote the nastiest, most mean-spirited thing I think I've ever written. I have not published it, because I surprised even myself with how vituperative it is. Here is a calmer version:

Tonight we ate at Maddox, because on Tuesdays kids eat for 99 cents, and you can't beat that with a stick. When we were leaving, we walked down the ramp to the exit, and the Hulk sort of half-ran down to the door, passing a couple of women on his way. There was also a little boy who was maybe 2 years old walking up and down the ramp while his family waited for their name to be called. So these two women do that say-it-under-your-breath-but-loud-enough-for-everyone-to-hear thing and say, "Whose children are those?" and "They need to control their children!"

Are you kidding me with this?

So, even though our kids weren't even near these women, they felt it necessary to publicly decry our parenting skills? I think anyone who knows me will agree that if a kid is out of line, I'm one of the first people to be annoyed by it. Not really maternal, you know? I feel pretty safe in saying that if you get bugged to the point of public remonstration by a child walking quickly past you on the way to the door--coming nowhere near you in the process--you'd better prepare your tin-foil hat and your rag-on-a-stick washing apparatus, because you are not fit to be in public.

Look, bottom line; I'm not a great mom. I get that. But you know what isn't an example of poor parenting? My kid passing you in the hall.

Monday, August 11, 2008

product may stay: deodorant used on feet

Gentle readers, do not be alarmed. I promise this is a good idea.

John was talking to his esteemed brother Daniel the Podiatrist about his problem with his shoes getting all sweaty and smelly, and Daniel the Podiatrist recommended that he put deodorant on his feet after his shower, before he puts on his socks and shoes. Crazy, right? Only it totally works! I hated how my Chacos would get not-so-fresh, and tried this trick, and now they don't smell at all!

Actually, I guess what I mean is deodorant/anti-perspirant, because that's what we use. I don't know if a single-pronged attack of plain deodorant would work or not.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Does anyone really believe that how a person conducts his private life has no bearing on his ability to be a good public servant?

Why are people so selfish and arrogant?

Note to self: while we're at it, ask self why self is so selfish and arrogant.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


You guys. Look at the time. I am awake at this unholy hour because John just got home, and there is a herd of mini bulls in our yard. They are eating our grass, I guess, and they are wandering out in the hay field. For being mini, they are still very big and scary. We can't find the camera to take a picture of them, but the police are out there right now trying to round them up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

why am I even amazed?

Wow. Just when you think Wal-Mart has plumbed the depths of disgusting behavior, they hit you with another jaw-dropping display of their boundless appetite for villainy.

Here's the deal: Voice Male bought gift cards for each of the wives, to show us how thankful they are for our (in most cases) uncomplaining support and willingness to sacrifice for The Good of the Group. They are Visa cards, and so can be used anywhere, but it's run through Wal-Mart. So this morning I read through the requirements to activate the card, so I could go buy myself something frilly from probably Maurice's while the boys were at swimming lessons. On the INSIDE of the card, where the purchaser will almost definitely not see it, there is this instruction:

2. You will need your Temporary MoneyCard Visa Card, YOUR RECEIPT WITH THE ACTIVATION NUMBER and your Social SecurityNumber. (Capitals all mine, baby, because you don't think they'd call attention to such a CRUCIAL detail, do you?)

Let's think about this: can anyone see the flaw in this plan? Say, if someone has received the gift card AS A GIFT, and doesn't happen to have the receipt, and doesn't know how to acquire it?

Now, thankfully, the cards were purchased by Phil and Heidi, who are extremely organized individuals, and they happened to hang onto the receipt. But there is no way to divine which activation number goes with which card, and you just have to try all the numbers, one after another until they block you out and you have to start the whole process over again. And there are, I'm sure, oodles of other people who are now SOL because they don't have the receipt for something THEY DIDN'T EVEN BUY. Wal-Mart still gets all the money that the gift-giver put on the card, they just don't have to grant the gift-receiver any goods or services in exchange for it. I tried to circumvent the system this morning and find a live person to whom I could explain the fact that I have no receipt, but they literally do not have a non-recording available on any of the numbers I could find. These coal-hearted miscreants must be stopped! Don't you see that they WANT TO DESTROY YOU? This is a freaking Sherman's March they're on, and they will not rest until they have strip-mined our entire civilization of its worth and value.

And I WANT my card activated, because I haven't boycotted them for seven years just so I can let them have free money. Here is where I would normally say a swear word questioning the circumstances and legitimacy of their birth, but this is a family-friendly blog.

Edited to add: Phil and Heidi, I am not spitting on your gift, because you guys are very thoughtful and nice, and your good reputation is not besmirched by association.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

product may stay: Oral-B Sonic Complete Toothbrush

A favorite blogger of mine has a helpful recurring feature called Product Crush/Product Break-up, where she gives information and reasons for liking or disliking a particular product. So I think I'll copy her, because who doesn't like being told what to buy and not buy? But so's I don't get sued, we'll call it Product May Stay/Product May Not Stay.

I received an Oral-B Sonic Complete toothbrush for my birthday, and my teeth have never felt so clean! (Friends and acquaintances may note the use of a real, no-fooling exclamation mark at the end of that sentence, and conclude that I must, indeed, feel strongly about this toothbrush.) A little background: I am a vigorous brusher, so vigorous that I needed a gum graft about 12 years ago because my gums were recoiling from my fervor, and recently my dentist made me start using one of those terrible soft toothbrushes that are entirely useless and leave a film of fur and stickiness on your teeth. Hmmm. Gum graft/cavities, gum graft/cavities. So I am very thankful for this toothbrush that doesn't need to be ground with Herculean force into my tooth enamel to do its job. It shakes or rotates or something--I don't care, all I know is it works like crazy. So clean, so bright and shiny! It may stay.

Friday, August 1, 2008

ridiculous things that make me angry

The other day we were on our way down to the Steve Miller Band concert (yes, it did rock, thank you for asking--ooh, except for I don't really care for Joe Cocker and there was that part in the middle where some ape-armed dancing man TOTALLY HIJACKED the stage from Steve Miller and sang a bunch of songs with which I, a casual fan, am not familiar, BOO), and I saw that
maddening Red Robin billboard admonishing us to keep our hands at 10 and 2. You know, a little driving/two-handed burger pun. WHAT KIND OF PERSON EATS A BURGER WITH THEIR HANDS AT 10 AND 2? There are two ways to eat a burger; one-handed if it's small, or with your hands at 9 and 3. No sane person would distribute their grip unevenly, causing the hamburger innards to spill out the back (or front, as Dave maintains that the 10-and-2 grip is actually backward-justified, which I dispute, but that's neither here nor there). Come on, people! Who paid for this stupid thing? Because he should be fired. We had a lengthy, heated discussion about it at dinner (NOT at Red Robin), until Nate cried for mercy and begged us to change the subject.

Oh, wait. I just thought about it. I think I might actually eat burgers with the backward-justified 10-and-2 grip. THIS THROWS MY ENTIRE WORLDVIEW ON ITS EAR. I need to eat a burger now and figure this out.