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Hope SPRINGS Eternal!

Supposedly we had a light snow during the morning’s rush hour that slowed down the morning commute.  I wouldn’t know, because Mlle. Renee stayed in bed until eight when the shrill ringing of the phone woke us up. Naturally, it was Anne from Credit Services pitching the latest scam spiel. No matter how many times they change her name, the voice always sounds the same. Unfortunately, because my mother’s name was Anne I was able to go into my usual rant of select profanities hoping someone human in Sicklesia, Arfgroanistan, or wherever these robo-calls originate is listening in and will be highly offended. Anyway getting back to the snow that I didn’t see, if it was for the weather wizard’s exaggerated reports I would have never know about it. It was as cold as Nome with a very strong, chilling wind. I did brave the chill to go out and refill the little birds seed dish. And lo and behold, what to my eyes should appear, but …

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THE FIRST SIGNS OF SPRING!!!

I know I could count the early robins, but their red breasts have been sort of blueish this year. Note that in spite of all the snow we had this season. We’re still suffering from the drought. The weather wizards say it was very dry snow. Go figure.

ANYWAY, HERE’S A DOUBLE DOSE OF ORCHID PHOTOS TO START THE SIXTH DAY OF SPRING:DSC09321

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Since I got up before the alarm could go off this morning I decided to make a hot breakfast this morning.DSC09421

Now, I didn’t make doughnuts, those are biscuits. I must have been half asleep and grabbed the doughnut cutter rather than the biscuit cutter.DSC09423But my mini-cinnis are the same. I just used pearl sugar to top them instead of frosting swirls.

Then I dressed warmly and went to the stupid market for a little shopping.

Now, I like ice cream and I love root beer. So naturally I thought … ???DSC09425

But it turned out to be SHOPPING MISTAKE #864. I’ll put them aside for when my nephews visit. They eat anything with COOKIE on the label.

On the good side of my shopping trip … DSC09427

I’m not crazy about saltines, but give me matzos for eating with chili or soup or just snacking.

MY ORIGAMI BIRD FOR THE SIXTH DAY OF SPRING:

DSC09432A PLUMP HEN OR SPRING CHICKEN

THERE’S ONLY ONE THING TO DO WHEN THE TEMP HITS MINUS ZERO!

COMFORT FOOD! And that’s what I did as soon as the house was warm enough to get out of bed and get dressed.  First it was breakfast, and I baked …

WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS

WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS

MY UNTIL NOW SECRET RECIPE:

2 Cups Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour

2 TBL Unrefined Sugar

3 TSP Baking Powder

1 TSP Salt

1/2 Cup Shorting (or 1 stick Unsalted Butter at room temperature)

3/4 Cup 2% Milk

Combine  flour, sugar, baking powder, salt in a bowl. Add the shorting or soft butter to the dry ingredients and work into fine crumbs using a grandmother’s fork.

Add the milk and work into a soft dough.

Place a piece of parchment paper on the table and sprinkle with flour. Put the dough on the table and knead 10 to 20 times. Save your hands by wearing vinyl food prep gloves. Pull the parchment paper over dough to cover and press it to about 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter or water-glass and put the biscuits on an ungreased pan. I usually make eight biscuits so I have some leftover dough.

Pop into a 450 degree oven  and bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Now take the leftover dough and pat it down into a square about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon and roll into a tube. Cut into six pieces  and place each piece cut side down into a pocket of a muffin pan.  Now the biscuits are done, so take them out of the oven and put the Cinnabuns into the over. Bake about 12 minutes until they look like this …DSC09117

Now get yourself a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa and eat!

Now, that took hardly any time at all and you only have one bowl and a fork to wash. OK, you also have to roll the parchment paper up and drop it into the trash. No table to clean up either.

THEN FOR SUPPER … I made a chicken vegetable soup!

CHICKEN WITH EIGHT VEGGIES SOUP

CHICKEN WITH ELEVEN VEGGIES SOUP

OK, get a large pot and add four cups of water. Drop in four chicken bouillon cubes. If you have chicken broth in a can or carton skip the cubes and water and use four cups of it instead. Cut two skinless/boneless chicken breasts into cubs and drop into the broth. Turn up the heat to medium and start cooking the chicken. Now, get your veggies.  I used frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrot, peas, green beans and lima beans plus a package of frozen sliced okra, a bit of frozen onion, green/red pepper and celery.  (It’s called seasoning vegetables in the store’s freezer case and its all cut up and ready to drop in the pot. Keep it on hand in the freezer … you can use it for a gazillion different dishes.)  I also had some chopped spinach leftover from last night’s dinner so I added it, too. Then I topped it off with a can of diced tomatoes. That’s ten or eleven different veggies, so this soup is low cal and healthy for you. Season to taste … salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, crushed red pepper, dried mustard and nutmeg. But go easy on the salt, remember you used bouillon cubes or broth that has a lot of salt in it. Now simmer away on a low heat until you’re ready to eat.  Bet you it’s the best soup you’ve ever eaten on a cold winter night. But then, anything that’s warm is good on a cold winter night.

VOILA!

VOILA!

And I even had biscuits left over from breakfast.

 

 

YET ANOTHER ARCTIC MONDAY! NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE ARCTIC MONKEYS!

DSC09006  Well, today’s high temp of 27F was recorded at 12:ooAM and we didn’t reach the predicted morning low of 6F.  But never say never, because who knows what will happen  before the day ends. Don’t know what the wind chill is, because I haven’t even been tempted to stick my head outside today. I will have to brave that external excursion sooner or later because I have an empty trash cart waiting to be pulled back into the yard. Mlle. Renee did the Gunga Din routine showing that she was a better man than I, by making on one or two, but THREE brief sorties into the frigid wastes.  More out of necessity than exercise. I actually got up rather early this morning and get my butt out of the refrigerator. Ok, it was a pork butt and I had to put it in the crock pot for a day of slow cooking.CrockPot

Can show you what it looks like until I take the lid off at 6:00 tonight. Also haven’t decided on pulling it or slicing it yet.

Last night I watched the Grammy Awards Show which was much too long. I also think Yoko Ono put at least three hex signs directly on me. My major question is why do the producers insist on doing musical production numbers combining the musical talents of two individuals or groups who share no common musical talent or abilities. The one with the least talent always drowns out the other one. I mean when you combine a Wagnerian soprano with a tongue twisting rapper, you’re not going to please fans of either one. And why did Madonna show up dressed like the chorus line of Chorus Line. I’m not even going to comment on Taylor Swift’s spastic hair tossing. Taylor’s Swift Hair   Enough said.

WHERE, OH WHERE, HAS MY ORIGAMI KANGAROO GONE? I haven’t given up on the origami kangaroo yet. I also haven’t made an acceptable version yet either. And I haven’t given up on origami either. Why just this morning I was wondering, what if Peter Parker had been bitten by an atomic ant instead of a spider? That inspired me to fold …  THE ATOMIC ANTMAN!

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Hopefully, he doesn’t have a taste for BOOKWORMS!

DSC08966  In yesterday’s post I featured my Sherlock Holmes’ mug I used at breakfast. Not wanting to slight any of my other breakfast mugs, I decided to give them a daily appearance of their own.  So today, I had a hot mug of EARL GREY TEA in my Saint Louis Art Museum Mug.

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The imprint on the mug was so wide, I had to show it in two shots.   Mug2

And the pork butt I’ve been slow cooking all day … it was tenderlicious and I forgot to take a picture of it before I started eating it. So now, who takes pictures of leftovers.

And in case you were wondering, THE ARCTIC MONKEYS  were a British rock group.

JUST ANOTHER SUNNY SUNDAY!

DSC08968  The good news, today’s temp managed to top at 60 F. The bad news it will drop to 6 F by tomorrow morning. And that little cloud on the kitchen weather forecaster will be freezing rain or snow. The sunny day also inspired me to make myself a special breakfast.

Then I did all the little jobs around the house I had been putting off for the past two months.  I did go outside for a few minutes to take the trash cart down to the street.  Mlle. Renee preferred to spend her day out in the yard soaking up the sun’s rays.  To each his or her own.

LATE EVENING WEATHER REPORT: Seven hours after today’s temp reached a high of 60F,  the temp was cut in half to 30F. We also extremely high winds of 50 MPH whipping through the area. The temp is expected to drop to 6F by seven tomorrow morning. If the high winds continue, the morning wind chill could be -20F or lower. Need I tell you that Mlle. Renee and I will definately be sleeping-in tomorrow. It has also started snowing again.

DAILY CALENDAR CHALLENGE #126 – MAY 6, 2013

#1 THE ORIGAMI CALENDAR CHALLENGE –  PAJARITADSC06961

OK, you ask yourself, what is a pajarita? That’s what I asked myself when I checked out today’s origami challenge. Then I went to the internet and discovered that pajarita is a Spanish word for:

A LITTLE BIRD …pajarita

A BOW TIE (HOWEVER YOU CHOOSE TO WEAR IT) …

How to wear your bowties.

AND ALSO THE PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE EUROPEAN FORM OF PAPER FOLDING as opposed to the Japanese form known as ORIGAMI.

314px-Las_Pajaritas_-_003They actually have made statues of the figure. And today I was able to fold it myself.

The strange folded piece I had yesterday …DSC06956

Turned into this …

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And it was rather easy once I figured out the tricks to folding it.

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And it actually does look like a little bird. And not at all like any bow tie I’ve ever WORN …

mine

EATEN …eaten

or DRANK A BEER out of …beer can

That’s the new BUD can that will be coming out soon. Guess it’s shaped that way so it won’t slide out of your hand when you’ve popped too many.

Now, you can’t say that you’ve never learned any thing from reading THE SMILING BAGEL.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

# 2 THE MENSA PUZZLE CALENDAR – BURNT MATCH STICKSDSC06960

Wouldn’t you know that a puzzle like this would have to come up today?

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#3 – IN PLACE OF THE REGULAR CALENDAR THAT GOES IN THIS SPOT (which is being replaced today because it was kind of dumb) I present …

GUESS WHAT I’M HAVING FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING?

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HINT: It’s black and white.

Answer :  DSC06980

What else but puffed rice and blackberries?

B. O. B. ODDITIES – FLAPJACK FOLLIES

Yes, I made pancakes again last weekend … with the usual strange and unusual results.DSC06520

The EAT OR BE EATEN … the pancake that comes out looking like some form of alien being that would rather eat you than being eaten.

DSC06536The SLIPPERY STACK … short stubby stack that becomes a slippery balancing act made even more difficult with the addition of maple surple.

DSC06517The SCRAPE-OUT … thepancake made with the last batter left in the bowl that has to be scraped out with a spatula where it sticks and has to be scraped off with a spoon and when it falls it never falls on top of the batter already in the griddle. By the way, that dark spot that looks like a raisin is really a CRAISIN because I wanted to see what a cranberry pancake would taste like. Surprisingly, it tasted just like a raisin pancake.

BOB’S OBSERVATION: No matter what a pancake looks like, it never goes uneaten!

DAILY CALENDAR CHALLENGE #047 – FEBRUARY 16

Well, here we are with yet another blah weekend challenge .

#1 – THE MENSA PUZZLE CALENDAR – THE PUZZLE WITH NO NAMEDSC05536No, your eyes are not failing you. I just happened to delete the in-focus photo and save the O-O-F one. I knew that the shaded square letter had to be a vowel. So I started with … and managed to find two words that would work. (CALLA and STAVE) Then I moved on to and after 15-minutes I threw my pencil down and said, “If I had a breakfast like I had yesterday …DSC05521

… I could have solved this dumb puzzle in no time at all.”  Trust me, the mystery letter is a lot further down the vowel chain.

EDIT: Right after I posted this challenge, I realized what the mystery letter was … and solved most of the words.

#2 – THE ORIGAMI CALENDAR CHALLENGE – WHICH HAD NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH ORIGAMI

DSC05543Frankly, it’s a lot easier and far more accurate to use the grid guide on my photo paper trimmer. But you deserve something for putting up with this off day. So I folded you an imperial crown using Chinese printed folding paper.DSC05541

Maybe I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow, and then I’ll turn a 8.5 x 11 sheet of printer paper into a 8.5 x 8.5 square and fold you the incredible albino jumping frog.

#3 – THE PAGE-A-DAY PUZZLE CALENDAR – PHONETIC WORDPLAY

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Rushtaversnuttz!

I’m convinced that you should never try to play word games or even think about phonemes on the morning after the night before. Even if all you had done the night before was watch the recording of PROJECT RUNWAY you had taped the night before the night before. It was a dumb episode where they made dresses out of things they purchased at a hardware store and a flower shop. I think the shows producers ran out of ideas just like most of the designers this week. By the way, the answer to the above puzzle was sponge cake and spun. Well, I guess everyone is entitled to an off weekend every now and them. I won’t guarantee any improvement in tomorrow’s post because I be working with the same lame ideas I had today. On the upside I did get my Federal Tax Refund yesterday. That was less than a week after I e-filed my tax return. Trust me, the government isn’t going to have to borrow any money to cover my refund. Isn’t Phone Me, Maybe the title of the song that has gone viral on You Tube with everyone and their brother doing a parody video of it?

THURSDAY … I COOKED!

BREAKFASTDSC05318

I was really in the mood for comfort foods today. Which can be interpreted as things my mother used to make for the family when me and my brother were growing up.  I’m not slighting my youngest brother, but there was a ten-year age difference between the two of us and frankly, the family dynamics just wasn’t the same.m+d+b+j001

Back when I was a kid, my mom would actually bake special treats for the family breakfast. Ten years into the future, the special treats would come from a store. Anyway one of her special treats was apple toast.DSC05320

It was easy enough to make, and I would always help my mom make them.  Thanks to that, I’ve always been able to make them for myself because there is no recipe.  You just butter several slices of bread. My current favorite is Healthy Nut Bread. Then peel and slice a couple of sweet apples. My job was to spread the apples on top of the buttered bread. The you sprinkle a bit of sugar over the apples and follow-up with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Bake in a 350 degree oven until brown and toasty. You’ll know when they’re done. When they come out of the oven just top with sprinkle of powdered sugar.

I’ve always preferred a cup of breakfast tea to go with my toast. And today I used one of my favorite tea mugs …DSC05322

LUNCH

With a good breakfast under my belt, I opted for a light lunch of cheese cubes, fruit and water crackers.

DINNER

Then I started getting ready for dinner. I had a couple of friends coming over and I had decided to make the traditional family meatloaf. I had to start early, because I forgot to transfer the ground beef from the freezer to the fridge to thaw out overnight. The recipe is another one of those passed down by watching your mother do it recipes.  You can’t go wrong with the Quaker Oat recipe — the spice and things that go with the ground meat is the family secret. And I’m the only one left who knows how to make it.

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And I always top my meatloaf with chili sauce instead of catsup or tomato paste. It only takes about 75 to 90 minutes to bake in a 350 oven.DSC05348

I made a southern blend of veggies (sautéed corn, red and green peppers, okra and celery) to accompany the meatloaf and peeled baked potato. The wine was a Ménage à Trois red.

Dessert was French Vanilla Ice Cream topped with salted caramel sauce.

And yes, I have enough meatloaf left over for several dinners and lunches.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT …

AndNow  That’s what I said to myself this morning shortly after I asked myself, “What should we have for breakfast?” Naturally my constant companion, Mlle. Renee shouted out, “BACON!”  And quickly followed up with, “BUTTERED TOAST!” Renee has a two-track mind when it comes to comfort breakfast food. “No, I want something completely different this morning,” I said. To which she replied, ” Oh, no, experimental breakfasts again — quick pass me the dogfood!”

I had something totally different in mind. When I went shopping on Thursday, I had discovered something new a local artisan bread maker had on the bakery shelves … PRETZEL BUNS!DSC05275

I sliced it in half and popped it into the toaster oven for a quick warmup and toast.DSC05274

Then I spread the bottom side with peanut butter which quickly melted into the warm dough and topped it with blackberry jam. You didn’t expect me to sacrifice such a royal roll to the plebeian likes of ordinary grape jelly? (Actually, I don’t even like grape jelly.) It was extraordinary!

Even Mlle. Renee was attracted back into the kitchen by the aroma of the toasted pretzel bun and the melting peanut butter. She even added a few long sniffs followed by a lip lick and said, “Actually, that smells pretty good.”

Yeah, I even saved the last bite for her.

Forgot to mention, it snowed last and we woke to find everything covered with a thick blanket of white.

30 DAYS OF CREATIVITY — DAY ONE: OFF TO THE RIGHT START

Just like starting a new day, the only way to start a month of creativity is with a good creative breakfast. So for June 1 I created Jamón y Huevos Rancheros … a variation of the traditional southwestern dish that blends Applewood Smoked Ham, fried eggs, a shredded Mexican Cheese blend and tomato salsa. On the side … tropical mixed fruit and buttered whole wheat toast. Also to feed the brain, my puzzle a day calendar.

JUNE 1, 2012