Thursday, September 27, 2007

Adventures in quinoa!

I have been able to round up a couple of ways to cook quinoa, so I will delve into this new grain or seed (I forget) and see what I come up with. It will be a culinary adventure of epic proportion! I will keep you posted with how it turns out and if it's good, I'll pass along the recipe so you all can have a crack at this!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The new love of my life!

Take a look at this little beauty! Isn't he gorgeous!?! He is a Dyson DC-17 Absolute Animal! This bad boy boasts Level 3 Root Cyclone action with constant suction (220 constant airwatts), clean air exhaust, lifetime HEPA filtration and quick draw telescope release for easy stair cleaning! Specifically designed for households with pets. He has an on/off switch for the main brush so you can vacuum hardwoods, tile and delicate rugs (like my sisel rugs!). He has it all! Lightweight, cool features, cool attachments and I can use and abuse him and he never complains! He works and works, picking up my messes, sucking up loads of pet hair and crumbs from under the table and once he is done with his duties, he is content to be shoved into a closet. He doesn't want praise or acceptance, no reciprocation needed, just a healthy electric supply! He even boasts a purple cannister top that shows he's not afraid to embrace his sensitive side! All I know is when I look at him my little heart flutters and skips a beat! He is rugged and strong and that clear cannister with Bactisafe screen traps that kill bacteria on contact make we weak in the knees. I think I may be in love, in fact I know that I am madly, passionately in love with my DC-17! Hubba Hubba!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hooray for me!

The picture of the beetle I posted a few days ago got published on! Yea! This is the 4th time I've submitted something to them and never had them print it. It is on "beetles 15". As it turns out, it is a Grant's Hercules Beetle. My son is thrilled to see his bug on the web!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You know-a Quinoa?

My aunt sent me a "care package" from Trader Joe's awhile back and it included a box of quinoa. Does anyone know how to cook this stuff, any links to cool recipes or any awesome recipes of your own? I hate for perfectly good food to go to waste!

Now if I could only sleep like that!

Here are a couple of photos of my lovely little cat, Miriam. Now seriously folks, don't you wish you could conk out like that? No care in the world, belly up in the sunlight, basking in all that is wonderful in the world! Ah, to be a cat.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Snakes ALIVE!

I took my son to Park Day today (our homeschooler group has a weekly get together at local parks) and we met up at Round Rock Memorial Park. Nice park with a creek that runs through it. Usually we take the kids down to the actual "Round Rock" that the city is named for. But since it has rained recenty, the creek was really full and none of us were too sure about the water quality, so unfortunately no frolicking in the creek this time. HOWEVER, when we arrived there was a big portion of our group over by the water so we ventured to see what all the hubbub was about. It was a medium-ish sized what I believe to be a water moccasin that had managed to either catch a fish or came across a dead fish. Either way, the fish was WAY too big for this snake! The snake was probably as big around as a good sized banana and the fish was the size of a pork tenderloin. Now I'm aware that snakes have jaws they can unhinge and devour prey much larger than they are, but this little snake was in one hell of a predicament for HOURS! He got the head down and was stretched to maximum capacity as he got to the area of the fish with fins. Ooooh, was it ever painful to watch! He stayed in the same spot forever. And for awhile it actually looked as though he were desperately trying to get free of it. But as you know, once a snake gets his teeth in something, it is awful damn hard for it to "spit" it out, especially when it had gotten the fish in that far. The adults all took turns monitoring the snake (and the horde of children that were mesmerized by it) to make sure no one got to close. I mean granted, that snake would have never been able to bite someone with that giganto fish in its mouth, but still. We were all pretty much of the opinion that this little snake was possibly doomed, but sure enough after at least 3 1/2 hours, he finally got past the fins and managed to swallow the whole thing! We were glad it was a happy ending as we all wanted to help it, but none of us were willing to risk our lives messing around with a venomous and notoriously bad-tempered snake! What an amazing thing to witness though! Wish I had taken my camera.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On the Menu!

Tonight's dinner featured grilled chops with buttermilk mashed potatoes, steamed green beans with butter and almonds and homemade Irish Soda Bread. It rocked! The chops were marinated in olive oil with Vegeta (a seasoning that some of our Bosnian friends use all the time, you can find it at international markets), paprika, lemon pepper and cayenne. The potatoes were mashed with buttermilk, butter, salt, pepper and dried parsley for color and flavor (skins on, of course).

Irish Soda Bread

3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
8-10 oz buttermilk

Sift all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk until you achieve a raggy, very soft dough with lumps that looks dry and floury yet squishy (technical cooking term).
Blend quickly, turn out immediately on a floured board and knead.
Shape bread, slightly domed approx. 6-8" diameter on a lightly floured cookie sheet or pizza stone
Using a sharp knife cut a cross over the top
Bake 45 minutes, first 10 min. on 450*, then drop heat to 400* for remainder of time.
After 45 min. pick up loaf, with gloves obviously, and tap bottom, if it sounds hollow, it's done.


The Rescue of Rodan

While on vacation in Ruidoso, I did a very noble thing. I saved this poor guy from his imminent demise. As I walked out of the Lawrence Bros. grocery I noticed a small band of hoodlums poking something with a stick. So I strolled close to see what the excitement was all about. As it turns out, it was this beautiful Rhinoceros Beetle (at least I think that's what it is). I shooed all the little turds away and scooped him up in a plastic grocery bag to take him back to the cabin in order for my son to check him out and to release him in the woods by the house. He stayed with us a couple of days, I put him on a stick on the table out front to look at him and to take some photos, we named him Rodan as I'm sure he was big enough to take on Godzilla! I assumed he would be on his merry way after a couple of hours, but the next day I found him lurking underneath the table, then the next morning he had flipped over and had his "horn" stuck in the space between the wood slats on the deck. Gorgeous bug, but not too damn bright! So I picked him up and physically placed him next to a tree trunk in the woods. I hope he went about his business and has a successful life. As big as he was, it leads me to believe he'd been around for awhile. Long live Rodan! (And yes, that is a Hot Wheels car, isn't that amazing!)

More petroglyphs

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

While in NM we visited the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. I have been here many times and always enjoyed it! This site allows you VERY close access to the glyphs. You can walk up and touch them, really study them and get amazing pictures. Sadly this also means that stupid asses can scrape on them and scratch their own bullshit onto the rocks as well. Why are people such assholes? And although I find the desecration of these glyphs highly infuriating, we did notice one bit of "graffiti" that was left by someone dating 1903! Anyway, on the whole though, the site is amazing. The petroglyphs were made by the Jornada Mogollon peoples sometime between 900 and 1400 AD. This site was occupied for around 400 years, but by the time the Spanish entered NM in the 1500's these dwellings had been mysteriously abandoned, the people possibly retreating to pueblos farther north or taking up their ancestors nomadic, hunting and gathering lifestyle again. There are over 21,000 petroglyphs located at this site and it is truly an amazing thing to see. I am always fascinated that these things have been out in the open, in that harsh climate for over 600 years! And you can still see them and make out what many of them are! You would think they would have eroded over that period of time. Truly incredible! Not to mention the feeling you get at this place. Such an ancient place, a link to a civilization long gone. We were lucky to be there on a very slow day, so we were able to take in the sights, and hear very little but the wind wisping through the mesquites. Trying to decipher what these ancient people were commemorating, what stories they were telling, "reading" the legacies they left behind. I hope you enjoy these photos and if you are ever around the Lincoln National Forest area in NM, go a little out of your way to see this, you won't regret it! And please, click on the photos to get a better look! There are a few more to follow, see next entry!

We're baaaack!

We have triumphantly returned from the "land of enchantment" (I always called it the "land of entrapment", but I digress)! We had a wonderful time at the cabin, fresh air, mild weather, lots of critters to see! The hubby and I had almost 3 full days without children, so we ate nice dinners, hiked around the petroglyphs (photos to follow in a separate entry), went to the casino, saw some live music and had massages, WOO-HOO! The only thing bad about those 3 days without the kids was, like a freakin' idiot, I forgot my breastpump and by the time I got my baby girl back, I was on the verge of blowing up! If fake boobies are that uncomfortable, I'll pass on the boob jobs! The three days without kids were nice though, I had forgotten how much I enjoy my husband's company, or how nice it is to have a normal adult conversation without worrying about little ears!

We got the children back on the Mon. night and the rest of the vacation was spent as a family, which was equally enjoyable! We played Putt-Putt, went to parks, hung out on the deck feeding birds and blowing bubbles and for the grand finale, we took the kiddos to White Sands (pics to follow in a separate entry). They had a blast! My son spent the majority of the time zinging down the dunes in a sled-like thing and my baby girl just took off crawling! Since White Sands is just a wide open expanse, with loads of visibility and very few dangers, we just let her have at it! She was all over the place and I truly wonder how far she would have ventured if I hadn't gathered her up and brought her back a few times! She is a wild and brave little soul, no fear at all. She even sledded down the dunes with me a couple of times, yelling "WEEEEEE!" as we went cruising down. Mommy's little daredevil!

It was a great trip! We never saw our bear, but we witnessed the destruction that he left behind. At least 3 times we found hummingbird feeders torn down, slats of the deck ripped off, chairs overturned and the main confirmation of his existence was a local resident who pulled into our driveway as we surveyed and afternoon of destruction who stated, "Ya'll had one helluva big bear on your porch!" Wish we could have seen him, from a safe distance with children safe inside of course! We did see lots of beautiful birds, jays, hummers, woodpeckers, vireos, chickadees and the most impressive ravens I have ever seen! They were damn near the size of buzzards! Very skittish though and I was unable to get a photo. We had chipmunks and deer galore, the hubby witnessed skunks, raccoons, cottontail rabbits and such when he took our son out for late night critter runs in the canyon. They even witnessed a wild turkey parade down our street while I was out getting groceries. We saw a few elk on the way from White Sands and LOADS of antelope on our way home (nice to see their population increasing again). So bear with me while I sort through photos and I will try to have some wonderful pics up within the next day or so!

Had a wonderful time, but I'm SOOO glad to be home!