Thursday, June 26, 2008

Try some Thai

Big Mama needs some summer recipes, and so do we all. Click on her name to see all the other recipes.

Cooking dinner is just not as much fun in the summer as in the winter months. Hence, my Cheetos addiction.

But this recipe is like an Asian fiesta(?) for your mouth. But easy and light. If you haven't tried Thai before, this is a great Americanized dish to dip your toe in.

Well, not, actually dip your toe in, because that would just be gross and you'd ruin dinner and have to turn back to the Cheetos....

Anyway.

Here's the recipe. Courtesy of Cooking Light. (I like to keep up the pretense.)


Thai Beef Salad Wraps

This dish has all the bright, fresh flavors and crunchy textures of a summer roll. The tortilla wrappers make it a satisfying main dish.

1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking spray

1 cup cubed peeled cucumber

1/2 cup grape or cherry tomato halves

1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

6 (10-inch) flour tortillas12 Bibb lettuce leaves

Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Sprinkle the steak with salt and black pepper. Place steak on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let rest 5 minutes.
Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Combine sliced steak, cucumber, and next 5 ingredients (through cilantro) in a large bowl. Combine sugar, soy sauce, juice, and red pepper. Drizzle over steak mixture; toss well to coat.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Arrange 2 lettuce leaves on each tortilla. Spoon 2/3 cup steak mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Someone should help us

Rod and I should not be allowed to pick out colors for anything. We can't match colors. We think shades go together that monkeys deep in the Amazon rain forest know clash.
So we went and picked out colors for the outside of our house.
You heard me.
The OUTSIDE of our HOUSE.
It is as though we are actually advertising that WE CAN'T PICK OUT COLORS.
So.
We began painting the trim first. We kept encouraging each other with phrases like, "Well, that's bright, isn't it." Posed as a statement, not a question. Because people working at the International Space Station could see that, yes, it is bright.
After a while, I figured out that I recognized this particular color. It reminded me of something.
John Deere Green.
The color of farm implements and lawn mowers.
Bright, shiny new tractors.
In our defense, it is named by the Glidden paint people"Deep Waters."
Just a little FYI, Glidden paint people.It already had a name.
John Deere Green.
It is making us want to drink red, red wine.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's a beautiful day, BUT...

It is gorgeous outside. Junuary is officially over and we are into full on June. My flowers are still a little damp, but doing their darnedest to bloom. Even the vegetable graveyard (garden) is beginning to show signs of life. That is astonishing. It seems we do everything in our power to kill every living thing in there, but still, little green things are bursting forth from the most horrible soil on the planet: our vegetable graveyard.








It is warm and sunny. Birds are singing and insects are buzzing. I want to follow Lila's example and roll around in the green, green grass, soaking up the goodness of the day, and thinking of nothing unpleasant.



So the two last things I want to ponder today are politics and abortion. But my friend Randy sent me an email this morning directing me to the newest post on his blog. So I went and read it.



Remember that Star Trek episode where they had the people who lived in the city in the clouds, where everything is beautiful and perfect with no worries?(well, except for that crazy-gross orange sky. Yuck.)
Then there are the people who lived on the planet down below, in a rocky place. They dug in tunnels and lived a hard life.

Sometimes I want to be one of the people who live in the city in the clouds. Don't you ? Everything perfect. Nothing troublesome. Easy-peasy.



But honestly? I don't want to settle for that bubble-wrapped city of temporary, faux happiness. I want the real thing.



All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad.
There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

1st Peter 1:3-9


Back to abortion and politics I go. On Randy's blog, he had a story from the Wall Street Journal about a survivor of a late term, saline abortion. She is a lovely young woman today. I look at her picture and am astonished at the sheer LIFE of her. The article should really be titled, "The Audacity of Life," not "The Audacity of Death."

How dare she live? In Barack Obama's opinion, she is not even a person. Here is a quote from the article, which was written byDaniel Alliott:
"As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as "persons" babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother's wombs are "persons," and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution's 14th Amendment."
Obama believes that reproductive freedoms are among our most basic rights. He has promised to do everything in his power to ensure that every woman has the right to choose death for her baby, whenever she wants throughout her pregnancy and for whatever reason she wants. He also will ensure that our tax dollars will pay for many of these killings.
It doesn't matter what language he softens it up with, death is death. I don't want my taxes to go for killing babies.

So, do you want to go back to the city in the clouds? I know. Me, too. But I won't bury my head in the sand while this is taking place.
I will never support a pro-choice candidate. I couldn't stand before God and explain how I thought it was the lesser of two evils.
When I look at the picture of the young woman who survived the saline abortion, I am crushed. We are blindly killing real people in the name of reproductive freedom and convenience.
When I look at her picture, I study her face and expression, thinking "She could have been mine."
Unlike hers, my saline abortion was deemed a success. My child did not survive.
And there is not enough room in the blogosphere to express my sorrow for that.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The fish were biting.

We returned home yesterday from our Paulina Lake trip. It was perfection. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
Here is the cabin we stayed in. "Rustic" is a word that realtors would use to describe it. "Quirky, outdoorsy and perfect for the handyman" is a sentence they might use. Brenda (my sis-in-law) and I might have other, more descriptive terms. But we are church-going folk and don't use language like that.
But let's move on from the cabin. Because the lake? It was beautiful. Bee-yu-ti-ful. And my cabin mates? Couldn't ask for better. (Well, I could, but God might have a hard time answering that request.)
Look! I went fishing with a couple UniBombers! They were great fisherman and, more importantly, they kept me entertained for hours!

Seriously? I have never had more fun fishing than I did with Rod and Josiah this weekend. They make me LAUGH. Alot.
Here is my niece, Renick getting to know the camp dog Tugboat. (AKA Buddy Brown or Tubby, Sometimes a combination of all three names.) Tug usually came to visit around meal times. We'd find him laying in front of our cabin door waiting patiently for a tidbit.

Wowser! Our niece Chantry caught the ONLY GERMAN BROWN of the weekend! Frankly,we're not going to count Rod's because it looked like Chantry's German Brown mothered a tiny, itty bitty baby and Rod hooked it. We let it go. Out of pity. No one wants a baby German Brown. (Rod is working on his jealousy issues. Also, his sure-fire lures for the next trip.)

Rod and I hiked around the lake one day when were there. Notice the backpack he is wearing? That was my On Demand Snack Bar. Jerky, dried fruit, Fruit snacks and water. He also hauled my ginormous camera in there and only asked me to carry the backpack a few times. I politely declined. :-)


See the tiny boat? It's Eric, Brenda, Renick and Chantry. They are fishing. Rod and I were spying on them trying to discover their fishing techniques. What lures were they using? How long was their leader? We are a competitive bunch, yes we are. But we couldn't get a good look at what they were using because of our completely useless binoculars. I begged Rod to leave them on a rock during our hike. He politely declined.

My fellow campers. Rod's brother Eric and his fam. From the bottom row left: Lookin' for Bars Ryden, Fish Cleaner and Wood Chopper Rennick, Queen of the German Browns Chantry and Flip Flop Hiker Marinda. Brenda and Eric up above. (They were all fighting like UFC cage fighters a mere moment before we snapped this picture. You'd never know. But I felt you should be aware.)
The star of the show. What could be better? Well, they could be cooked, for one. Notice the deep red meat? That is because these are Kokanee, a land locked salmon which are found in Paulina lake, and the end of our fishing poles. We tried to follow an Emeril recipe for these fish, because we are fancy like that. They have sprigs of fresh herbs inside, as well as more lemon slices. BAM!
Cousins Josiah and Renick reliving the scary story of the night before. Good times. One of these cousins is age eight, the other is 24. I'm just sayin'.
We stopped at the Black Bear Diner in Madras on our way home for a quick bite.

Here is Brenda preparing to ask the Lord to bless this food.(praying it doesn't kill her by sunset, most likely.)

Look at that humongous mound of biscuits, sausage, scrambled eggs topped with a creamy country gravy. That is a couple pounds ofextra crispy hash browns on the side.What an amazing amount of food, but all that high altitude mountain air must have heightened Brenda's normally average appetite.

I personally was satisfied with my light and zesty salad with just a squirt of lemon and could hardly believe it when she cleaned her plate. And asked for more. Wow, Brenda. Wow.



It was an enjoyable way to end a fun, relaxing week-end.



Thanks for sharing your family with us, Eric and Brenda.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Junuary

Yes, my friends, it is the highly acclaimed season of "Junuary", where Summer meets winter head on and Winter takes summer down.



Winter takes Summer to school.



Summer gets an old-fashioned whuppin' from Winter.



Junuary.



You may have heard on the news the last couple of days that there is snow (aka "the 'S' word around here) in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington.



This is true.



Junuary.



It makes us sad. It brings us down. We want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over our heads until it is over. It makes our crops fail and the prices of our now spotty, unripe Oregon fruit skyrocket. Here is a picture of our Vegetable Graveyard (other people call these "gardens")


Here lie our soggy lettuce, our ungerminated radishes, tomatillos and peppers.
Our tiny, anemic Brandywine and Beefsteak tomato plants stand silent sentinel over the muddy graveyard.

Our hopes and dreams of harvesting giant ears of Honey -n- Pearl corn and sweet baby pea pods lie moldering here.



Notice the fence and gate that Rod put up to keep the deer out. I swear I heard the deer chuckling together as they strolled away last night, as if they were saying, "Why ever would we want to go in there?" Snooty deer. They better watch it before I get an appetite for Venison Saurbraten.



Has my lamenting of the unseasonable chilly weather and my vegetable graveyard brought you down? Made you sad? Don't you want to come spend an afternoon with me so I can serve you weak and lukewarm coffee and stale cookies lift your spirits? What? You want to run, screaming the other direction? Yeah, me too.



I apologize. I have been unseasonably depressed the last month or so, and not much seems to bring me out of it.(the septic problems we have are not helping and the timing of it is rather ironic, don't you think?)
I have had no energy or heart or joy. Well, very low amounts,anyway. So I have not blogged or invested very much in other activities either.



I think I am moving out of it. At least I hope I am. Rod does, too.
So, tell me what you do to "snap" out of it. What brings you joy when you are down? How do you work through your periods of depression? What helps? What doesn't?



Anyway, that is why I haven't blogged or visited lately, to those of you who have emailed, or just wondered if I fell off the edge of the planet. (It could happen.)



So....Happy Junuary, everyone.
 
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