Friday, February 27, 2009


We went to Costco tonight to have 'dinner'(if cheap pizza and hot dogs qualify as dinner) and buy a few things. I'm always surprised at how few items I buy compared to how much I spend when I leave there! Anyway, I was looking at there display of nicer wines and and came across the bottle below. The label is nice and the price was decent...... but the description! I mean really?
Bacon with menthol? Is that suppose to be enticing? Bacon,menthol, espresso,berries, and vanilla? nope. gross.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009


My mom and Crayola just got a new dog. It's a rescued cairn terrier named Vinnie Visser England. It's a year old and very very lovable. The people at the shelter said that he was rescued from a house that was doing dog fights with pitbulls and that Vinnie was going to be used as practice. Then he was taken to a shelter in Chariton where they euthanize the animals if they aren't adopted, he was scheduled to be put down next week. Luckily they found him!

He was just neutered last week so he still wants to pee on everything which hopefully will be something they can train him out of doing. Other than that he is quiet and playful. Jasper and I are excited for it to get nicer outside so we can take him for walks during the day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A mountain of dishes.....

Perhaps I'm a bit maniac today, but I have been going non-stop. I made truffles. Cayenne Pepper and Cinnamon ones, toasted coconut and curry ( inspired by my mom's favorite muffin at her favorite coffee house), coffee with sugar, and Indian Spiced Chai tea truffles.
I rolled some in cocoa, some in powdered sugar, others in toasted coconut and some in toasted pecans...( a few I threw in everything). I know I posted a recipe for truffles earlier, but as I was searching for ideas I realized that there are several ways to make a ganache. With these truffles I choose to make some with the earlier recipe and others with a hybrid of the recipes I found online. They all turned out wonderful, because it's chocolate, and really it's hard to go wrong with chocolate.
I also created a macaroni and cheese casserole for a potluck tonight utilizing some of the leftover pepper jack potato soup. I'm excited and hopeful that it will be delicious. It's scary to create a brand new dish right before you showcase to your friends, but that's what keeps cooking interesting!
Also, my mom and her wife went and adopted a dog today. It is hands down the cutest and bestest dog I've seen in a long time. I love it and wish it was mine, but I will settle for taking it for walks and watching it when they let me. I got out both my sewing machines and some fabric scraps to create a few bean bags for them to use as training toys. Of course neither machine worked very well, in the end I think I broke both of them. What's the point of having tools if they don't function?!
It is my intention to make the space that was currently occupied by my brother into a craft/sewing/painting/mediation room for me. Hopefully I can create an organized and well stocked space to get my creative juices flowing. Or it will turn into a messy catch all that is a mirror for the rest of my life.
Well see.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PepperJack Potato Soup

Joe made this lovely soup tonight. It's rich and velvety and filling. Yummy!

You'll need:
2 cups carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic,minced
4 mushrooms, diced(that's all we had, we would probably have used more if we had them)1/2
1 small valdilia onion, diced
14 oz chicken broth
2 cups milk -- more for thinning
3 cups mashed potatoes(we had some in the freezer leftover from potato enchiladas so they were already seasoned with chili powder,butter,garlic powder, onion powder and cumin)
8oz pepper jack cheese, grated
2oz Colby cheese, grated
1/4 cup butter
2 tbls flour
I think it would be good with green onions, chopped for garnish, but we didn't have any. the butter,garlic,onion,mushroom,carrots in a large soup pot and saute for until onions are tender, about 3 mins.
2. add the flour, stirring to make a roux
3. slowly whisk in the broth and the milk
4. stir in the potatoes
5. simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 mins.
6. remove from heat, stir in the cheese , add more milk to thin if needed. ladle into bowls and top with green onions.

Ours was delicious with the taste of chili and cumin from the mashed potatoes. Since you probably won't have chili flavored mashed potatoes you may want to add spices:

1-2tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper

or we think it would be tasty with just salt and pepper.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicken Talk

Don't forget to come to Mar's Cafe (2318 University Ave Des Moines) at 7pm tonight. Come meet others interested in raising chickens and ask questions of those who have raised chickens in town before.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


My family has banded together to support each other over the last week. My sister and cousin flew in from Alaska, my cousin's came from Denver and my Aunt came in from Washington state. There is so many things to do in the after math of death. Especially with one that was so sudden and tragic. Many cooping mechanisms have arisen...things at my grandma's are really clean where ever my mom has gone and our bellies are full with the brilliant food that my Aunt cooks.

She even taught us how to make truffles.

I have always wanted to learn how to make these. Like most things, I needed it demystified for me before I could do it on my own. We made 3 kinds of truffles....candied ginger, black walnuts and cayenne pepper and cinnamon. They were all delicious!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients(all measurements are approx. per my norm!)

  • 8 oz of chocolate, such as Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bitter chocolate chips

  • 2 tbls coconut oil

  • about 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted

  • 1 tsp vanilla

You can add anything into the filling. Here is what we used:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped black walnuts

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger

  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler until all chocolate is melted. Pour melted mixture into bowl. Add the vanilla and what ever other ingredient your using( such as the walnuts or the ginger). Mix well with a fork and then place in refrigerator until the chocolate mixture is hard enough to roll into a ball.

Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl. Place a tray or plate out to place the finished truffles. Roll the chocolate into a ball, do so quickly or you'll just have a melted chocolate mess(which is rather tasty!), then roll the ball in the sifted cocoa and place on the tray. Once you've rolled all your truffles place the tray in the refrigerator to set.



My grandpa died last Tuesday after living for 74 years. He was one of my most favorite people in the world. He was a hard working man, always busy with some project. He was a kind man, always willing to give a stranger a hand. If you knew him you liked him or atleast admired his tenacity for life. When he was in his early twenties, newly married and with one small child, he was in a horrible accident and had to have his arms amputated. My grandma says they would have left him to die, his injuries where so severe.
My grandpa planted trees,had a small vineyard in his back yard, grew fruits and vegetables. If you needed to know the name of a tree or bird or piece of furniture all you had to do was ask him. He painted and drew pictures,made wine with my grandma, built things like back bars and often constructed pieces of art.
When I was young I would spend the days with him riding in his truck and playing Zip(who can spot a windmill first),going to auctions, helping him fix things and tie knots ,swim, eat food and watch tv.
He taught me to tie my shoes, drive a stick, change a tire, check my oil,be kind to children and old people.....the list goes on and on.
He never gave me (to much) shit for shaving my head or getting tattoos or piercings though when he handed me money, which he often did, it came with the caveat of not buying cigarettes(which I often did).
In his life he along with my grandma rode 17 Ragbrais and also biked from Melbourne to Sydney. I can only hope to be as amazing as my grandpa(and my grandma!).
My grandpa was my pal and I will always miss him.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


My latest finished knitting project was a wool coffee coozie. Even though I winged the pattern I had high hopes for it. I used cool handspun hand dyed wool that I picked up at the yarn swap. I made it bigger than I wanted it so it could shrink up nicely.
This is what it looked like before I tried to felt it.

This is what it looked like after I washed it and dried it multiple times.

Pretty much the same f$@# thing. But it was a trial project, so I can't justify getting mad about it. I just have to figure out how to do it better next time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You know what's really gross?

Bathroom sink drains. OMG! Ours gets so backed up because of Joe shaving in it and everyone's long hair. Plus it's an old sink anyway, who knows how long it's been there collecting hair and odds and ends. So every once in awhile I take a metal hanger and twist it apart. Metal hangers suck for clothes but are pretty useful for odd jobs like breaking into old cars and unclogging drains.
I didn't take a picture of the stuff I pulled out of the sink. I know I should have,I had a rare moment where I thought it would be better to not show and tell. Yet, here I am still telling you about it sans gross pictures.
After I used the hanger to pull out about a cup full of hair and what looked like black toilet paper/snot I used the hanger to scrap the toilet. The plumber told me to scrap with a hanger as far down the drain as you can go to clean off the mineral build up. Also a gross yet strangely satisfying job.
Now to tackle the kitchen!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My little artist:::head in hands::::

So, I left Jasper alone upstairs today. I was thinking it was take a nap time, but apparently he thought it was arts and crafts.

Anyone know how to get crayon off of walls?

This sample of an original Jasper Countryman is currently being shown on the wall of our bedroom. He's also showing his art on the hallway walls. All the way down the hallway walls. Lovely.