Thursday, November 22, 2012


We brought L home 9 years ago yesterday.

20 November 2003. Haven't even parked the trailer yet.

I have two anniversaries with L. She came home the day before Thanksgiving in 2003. That was very exciting! Of course bringing a new horse into the barn is always exciting and we brought two horses home from Canada that day. L and her little herdmate M.

And of course there's the day we picked each other out.

M and L. 26 October 2003

Early on L revealed her huge talent for rolling...

I otherwise had no idea what the future would hold for us. If I recall correctly it was 9 years ago tomorrow she broke her first cross ties! So I tied her off using lead rope. It was a short while later she broke her first snap.

There were *huge* challenges every single day. We were at the beginning. Both of us. L was halter broke and she'd lead but she didn't even know what an apple was when she got here. I'd brought up one baby previously. Between that and her dominant nature she was a *ton* of work. Even with the help of a skilled trainer I sometimes thought I'd *never* get it. I remember her one day pushing through my left leg doing circles under saddle. I remember it like it was yesterday. She'd taken me sideways what had to be about 50 yards at a canter with my trainer yelling "don't let her do that!" every step of the way. That was typical at the time. I was thinking "let her <beeping> do this? I am *not* 'letting' her do this!".

She still messes with me but she's a good horse. It's harmless and she knows where the line is. Mostly. The work was worth every minute and everyone should enjoy their horse like I enjoy my L.

On the occasion of our Thanksgiving, my most favorite holiday, I have to say how hugely disappointed I am with this:

RIP Zip Lock plate

Remember Zip Lock plates? I had no idea the Zip Lock plate was discontinued! I think Zip Lock plates are awesome! I've had my Zip Lock plates for what must be close to 25 years and a couple of them are a So I went looking for new Zip Lock plates and I guess they haven't made them in years. Such a bummer. They're so perfect for leftovers.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Say it ain't so!

Of course I'm talking about the passing of Hostess Brands.

The Twinkie will survive I'm sure.


The formula for Twinkies is likely Hostess' single most valuable asset and I have no doubt some bakery somewhere will be cranking them out by the truckload. I for one just can't imagine a world without Twinkies. And I'm sure some small local bakeries will be turning out their own interpretations in a day or two. It's not like Hostess will sue them or anything.

And you can just make your own too.

I'd like to say Twinkies are my favorite. They're not.

My single most favorite Hostess product is... the blueberry fruit pie!

The Hostess blueberry fruit pie!

The cherry pie was a close second. I just loved those pies! I thought the apple pie was crap. The French apple pie was even worse. I always wondered why they even made those. I can't imagine anyone ever bought a second one. Never liked those Sno-Balls either. But the blueberry and cherry pies? Mmmmm. When I was younger, working outdoors, I'd have a couple of those every day. And stopping for a Hostess pie was always a highlight of any road trip. I'd love to know how many of those I ate. It's in the high hundreds I'm sure!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Comfort Food Favorite

Of course! It's...

Macaroni and Cheese

Far as I'm concerned macaroni and cheese belongs in the Hall of Fame. This recipe is an all time favorite. This isn't a baked macaroni and cheese although it easily could be. Fact is I love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and therefore favor something in a saucepan on the stovetop.

My good friend C gave me this recipe years ago and I've only fiddled with it a little bit. It starts with...

White Sauce

Cooking tip

I almost never use milk in anything. So I really *hate* buying a quart, or a half gallon of milk, only to use a third of a cup and throw the rest away. A couple of years ago America's Test Kitchen came to the rescue! According to America's Test Kitchen, nonfat powdered milk is a perfectly good thing to cook with. Not to bake with, mind you, but to cook with. I tried it and...who knew?! That rich, thick, luscious white sauce there? I used powdered milk! I always use nonfat dry milk for white sauce now. I use a heaping tablespoon of nonfat dry milk in each quarter cup of water.

Cook with nonfat dry milk. Really.

This recipe has everything going for it. It's easy. It's all about the ingredients. The result is absolutely delicious.

For two servings:
  • Prepare 2 cups of macaroni
  • Make a white sauce:
    • 1 Tablespoon of butter
    • 1 Tablespoon of flour
    • Melt the butter. Add the flour (I sift it) and make a smooth roux, cook it down for a couple of minutes. Add a half cup of milk (two heaping tablespoons of powdered milk in a half cup of water). Cook it while stirring until it's smooth and creamy. Normally I'd add a pinch of salt too but here the cheese has enough salt.
  • Add to the white sauce:
    • 4 ounces of sliced up white American Cheese
    • 4 ounces grated white sharp cheddar
    • Two teaspoons - up to a tablespoon or so of smooth Dijon mustard
  • When the macaroni is done mix it with the cheese sauce
Don't let it get really hot after you add the cheese.

I like to scatter some parsley over it on the plate. Have a Cabernet Sauvignon with it.

There are endless variations. You can use orange American Cheese and Colby. You can use Monterey Jack. You can add some chopped jalapeƱo. The American Cheese helps make it smooth and creamy and be careful not to use a really old dry cheddar.

By the way, this is basically the same recipe I use for Fettucine Alfredo only I use Romano and Parmesan cheese. With fettucine of course. I always thought of Fettucine Alfredo as sort of a Roman macaroni and cheese anyway.

For something really out there try a little bit of Gorgonzola in your Alfredo sauce. If you like blue cheese it's just delicious!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Really feels like Fall

Yesterday was the first day this season it really felt like Fall.

3 Nov 2012 - looks ...and feels Fall!

The light was harsh, the shadows were sharp, the sky was filled with those steel grey clouds and you just couldn't shake off the cold.'s been cold but that's been mostly overnight. The days have been pleasant for the most part.

Got a itch!

We're more or less confined to the property for the time being. The woods next door have been POSTED. Crap. I noticed a few weeks ago the neighbor's been out putting up new Keep Out signs all along the tree line. He's put up hundreds of them. Clear into the next town. I don't know if he means that for us too. Next time I see him I'll have to ask.

I set up obstacles around the property last Spring. Nothing crazy. Just something to help keep us tuned up. It's enough to have L do something she doesn't want to do to make my point. She mastered the course in no time. So meanwhile, to put the challenge back in it, I started taking L through the obstacles backwards. She hasn't been at all thrilled about that! As the saying goes, it's all training, all the time, whether you realize it or not!

With the foliage disappearing I'll have to expand the course. We should get a little ring time in sometime soon too.
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