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Friday, November 11, 2016

A Short Review of Beer: Pacifico

Hello readers!

Sorry things have been dead around here for the past few months. There's been alot going on in my life. I'll get the details written out at some point when I have the time and energy.

Since today was my birthday (yes, it really is), one of the goodies I got was a mix-n-match six pack of beers. I picked out a few that I'd seen and wanted to try out, including this classic Mexican beer, Pacifico. My husband had told me about this beer as he'd drank it in Mexico when he was working there in the early '90s as part of a group that built night clubs (discotecas, as they're called in Spanish) along the eastern shores of the Sea of Cortez (AKA Gulf of California) in Sonora and Sinaloa. It was not his favorite beer, but it was better than drinking the water when something was needed to wash down the bags of boiled shrimp purchased from roadside vendors.

Got a new phone for my birthday. This is one of the ways I tested out the new camera on it

Like many Mexican beers, Pacifico goes back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Based out of the city of Mazatlan, the brewery, like many others from around this time period, was started by German immigrants who brought beer making skills and techniques with them from Europe. Their brewery, Cerveceria del Pacifico, got its name from Mazatlan's location as a Pacific port city and bears the city's lighthouse rock as part of its logo. The style of the beer is classified as a pilsner-style lager, according to the company's website.

What makes Pacifico stand out among the many Mexican beers that made their way into American bars and liquor stores was that it was introduced to the US by a group of surfers from southern California who took a surfing trip to Mexico in the 1970s and upon discovering the local brew in Mazatlan, they brought several cases with them back to California. Needless to say, it was a different time and Pacifico beer was well received in this country.

As for the beer itself, Pacifico has a light taste and a clear gold color. It's not watery, however. There is some body to it. The alcohol content is also pretty low, around 4.5%. It's a good hot-weather beer and something you can enjoy with boiled shrimp, tacos, barbecue, etc because of its mild taste.

Even though my husband didn't care much for it, I rather enjoyed Pacifico. While Grupo Modelo is not my favorite brewing company in Mexico (they make the infamous Coronas and Negro Modelo beers), they did alright when they consolidated and got Cerveceria del Pacifico. I will definitely be buying this again.

As always, please enjoy responsibly.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Picture of the Day

Here's some cuteness to start off the month of September

We recently came into a haul of baby clothes from our friend. Her daughter had outgrown the clothes, so we inherited them. Our friend brought them over when she came by on Monday, and our toddler daughter was intrigued by the headbands. So, we just had to put it on her!

A flower child in bloom

Needless to say, it didn't stay on very long. Rubber bands, barrettes, headbands, nothing keeps my kid's hair out of her face! My mother keeps nagging us to trim her bangs, but I don't want to. Her curls are too cute to cut!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Cheating Death

Good evening!

Let me start off this post by thanking God that I am alive to write it. Saturday, I had a brush with death and I still can't fully wrap my head around what happened.

I'm watchin' you...

It all started on Friday when my hubby and I went to visit our friend to provide emotional support and act as witnesses because Child Protective Services was invading her house on totally bogus charges made by a former acquaintance. He contacted CPS and made up outrageous claims to get back at her for getting rid of his stuff which he had dropped off at her house and refused to come back and pick it up when she told him to (he also texted and emailed her what he was going to do, so there are legal grounds for prosecution against him for this too). Thankfully, our good deed worked and the CPS caseworker closed the case. After the caseworker left, my husband took our friend to get some cigarettes and she accidentally left her phone in the car. None of us realized that she'd done this, and it wasn't until we got home and I was cleaning out the cupholder when I saw it was there. Since it was getting dark and my hubby had to change out the grommet on the gas tank (it was very worn and leaked fuel every time we filled the tank more than halfway), I figured we'd go by her house the next day and drop it off before going to Confession. It was her only working phone and I didn't want her to be stuck without it for long.

Saturday was spent doing housework and working on the car (the gas tank was fixed, but that damned electrical short has returned!). We were aiming to go to our friend's home first and then to Confession in the evening, but first we had to stop and get gas. My husband and I observed that the tank itself was in good condition (there was not a spot of rust or perforation anywhere inside that tank when I looked into it as my husband was replacing the grommet the previous day), and he wanted to see how much gas it held when completely filled. The screen at the pump read 24 gallons when my husband had to manually stop the pump because the tank was overfilling. He was thrilled because that meant our cholomobile's gas tank was a full-size tank appropriate to a C-body Mopar (they ranged in size from 23-26 gallons)!

And that was when all hell broke loose.

As my husband was pumping air into the rear air shocks, he saw to his horror that the fuel line had ruptured on the car! Gasoline was spilling onto the concrete and if the leak wasn't stopped, the scene could get deadly in a hurry. My husband got under the car and stuck his finger in the leak to stop it while I ran into the store with the baby in one arm and a 5 gallon bucket in the other to fill with water and wash off the gasoline that was now dousing my husband. One of the assistants in the gas station also came to our aid by filling up the bucket with water and pouring it on my husband, getting me the number to a local cab company so I could call and get a ride to the nearby auto parts store to get replacement fuel line, and calling the fire department to help contain and manage the highly flammable mess.


Fortunately, the cab arrived at the gas station within 10 minutes and transported the baby and I to the auto parts store. The cabbie was kind enough to wait for me in the parking lot while the boy at the register cut me a foot of replacement fuel line (Even though I had part of the original line with me for reference, I would later discover the line the teenage boy at the store sold me was the wrong size, but I didn't realize it until much later after we got home). The fire department was just leaving when I came back and paid the cabbie for his service. They had sprayed my husband down with a soapy foam mixture to wash the gasoline off of him. His clothes were ruined and he sustained first degree chemical burns on parts of his back (gasoline is a corrosive solvent!), but the situation was under control. The gas station's manager threw some sandy substance onto the ground to absorb the water and gas mixture, and my husband put the new fuel line in place. Once it was attached, we went straight home. Our visit to our friend would have to wait till Sunday. After we got home, my husband checked the vent lines of the tank and saw that they were leaking too, but this time, the situation was not as critical. The leaking vent lines were replaced, but it was mostly just overflow from an overfilled gas tank.

As we were driving home, my husband explained to me the gravity of what had just happened. Since gasoline is so flammable (and people are notorious about not following the anti-smoking instructions posted at gas stations), and here he was doused in the stuff, a careless customer who was smoking or talking on a cellphone could have set off a spark which not only would have turned my husband into a human torch, but also turned our car into a gasoline-filled bomb. The baby and I could very easily have been caught in the blazing inferno, as well as other customers and their cars. The fire department would have been dealing with casualties and alot of destruction. In fact, just before they left, the firemen thanked my husband for his quick thinking to get under the car and plug the line before calling them because his action had saved lives and property.

Angels watchin' over me

I used to wonder about how I'd react when faced with my own mortality. Would I be indifferent? Would I fight back or cry? Would I be relieved to finally cross over the threshold so few return from? Well, here I was, one spark away from meeting God face to face, and I was...numb. I'd been so hopped up on adrenaline, racing to get the replacement fuel line and water all while toting the baby in one arm, that the idea that I might die because of the gas fumes igniting didn't even register on my radar. Even now, a few days later, I still can't believe how close I came to meeting a grisly end. And, that was without anything actually happening. My guardian angel was working overtime to make sure nothing happened to us, or anyone else.

As for our friend's phone, we got it back to her on Sunday afternoon before we went to church. She was freaked out when I told her how close we came to getting barbecued on Saturday evening at the gas station because of the ruptured fuel line. Unfortunately, she couldn't come to church with us, but she was glad to see we were ok and to have her phone back.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Experiment

Happy Sunday, dear readers.

Success! You CAN mix meat and veggies in a pita!

Last night, I decided to try something new. I knew I was gonna make a pita, but I wasn't sure how it would turn out. The reason for this doubt was because I was making pita with both meat and vegetable filling. While meat, vegetable, as well as cheese are common pita fillings, I've never seen meat and vegetable combined in a pita filling before. I had ground beef and spinach, and I wanted to use that for my pita.

Unsure, if anyone else had made a meat and spinach pita, I consulted the oracle known as Google for help finding a recipe. There was nothing in English, and when I searched the Serbian-language net, I did find one recipe for meat and spinach pita from Montenegro. I thank God for giving me the inspiration to watch cooking tutorials in Serbian because even though I've never been particularly proficient in the language, I now could read and follow a recipe in a language other than my dominant English. I looked at the ingredient list and though I had almost all the ingredients the recipe called for, I did not have sour cream. No matter, I would substitute a cup of milk instead.

There was one other novelty I was trying out with this pita. While at the swap meet a few weeks ago, I bought a 10x10 Corningware casserole baking dish with a lid. I'd washed it and was now ready to test it out with my pita. I intended to make the pita on my barbecue after the resounding success of my most recent attempt, but a summer storm blew through and not only put the kaibosh on that plan, but it cooled down the temperature enough to where I could run the oven inside and not turn my home into a furnace.

Using my handy dandy cast iron pan, I browned the meat, onion, and garlic. For spices, I added salt, pepper, a dusting of paprika, and a pinch of turmeric to enhance the flavor of the beef. I added the spinach last, but not before roughly chopping it. In the last pita I made using spinach filling, I didn't alter the spinach and I didn't like the way it lay for the filling. I decided to try the chopped spinach to see how well it lay in the filling. All this went into my mixing bowl filled with milk and beaten eggs.

Assembling the pita itself was actually much easier in this casserole dish than it was in the old recycled aluminum cinnamon roll tin I'd been using previously to bake pitas. The casserole dish is square, and the rectangular fillo dough sheets lay much better in that than in the round aluminum tin. I didn't even need to use that much oil to grease the fillo dough sheets between layers. Sure enough, the chopped spinach lay in the folds of fillo much better than they previously did. It wasn't until after I'd popped the pita into the oven that I realized I forgot to add the baking powder to the filling. To be fair, though, until recently, I had no idea that baking powder was used in pita filling. Growing up, nobody I knew used it. Baking powder helps the fillo dough puff up some, so that the pita isn't so dense.

After baking for about an hour or so until the top was a gorgeous golden brown color, it was time to answer the ultimate question: how did this pita turn out.

A better shot of the fillo and filling

The answer: delicious! The outsides were nice and crispy, the inside was nice and tender, and the filling wasn't too dense either! Having a dairy product in the filling definitely helps. Next time, though, I will add the baking powder. I may or may not use the sour cream too, given how satisfied I was with the milk, but if I get some, I'll use it just to see how it compares. But that casserole dish was a wonderful investment. For $10, I leveled up my pita baking to a whole new level. I don't have to be ghetto about my baking equipment anymore! Also, this pita confirmed that despite being somewhat rare, you CAN mix meat and vegetables in a pita filling, and it will come out tasting delicious.

I've almost gotten my pita making technique down pat. Thank you for bearing with me while I figure out how to make this classic dish from my ancestors.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

A Trip to the Dentist

It has been a long day, dear readers.

Today, we had to be up early because the baby had a dentist appointment. The pediatrician wanted her to see a dentist before her next checkup, so we contacted the local low-cost community dental clinic and got her appointment scheduled for today.

Gotta make sure my kid has strong teeth, just like my favorite baseball player from my late teen years, Carlos Quentin!

There weren't many people in the waiting room when we arrived, but because we were new patients, we had to arrive extra early to fill out the mountains of paperwork that come with that designation. I checked the baby in and was about halfway through filling out the paperwork when the baby was called in to be seen. I followed the hygienist to the suite while my hubby stayed behind to finish the paperwork.

Being a dentist's daughter, I'm no stranger to the dentist's office and chair. But, because my father was my dentist, I had very little exposure to what other dentists offices looked like. I was quite surprised how clean and orderly the dental suites were. My dad's office suddenly felt dingy and obsolete compared to this one. Then again, it's been years since I last saw my dad's office. I have no idea what he's done with it since. He's remodeled it once before.

We met the dentist, a kind Filipino who advised me to brush the baby's teeth twice a day instead of the once-daily night brushes I'd been doing and to limit her sugary juice and food intake, but otherwise her teeth looked good. The baby has never been into bottles and she wasn't real crazy about pacifiers, so that probably saved her mouth some serious damage in the long run. He gave the baby a quick brushing with some kiddie toothpaste and a quick fluoride treatment to strengthen her teeth. The dentist finished up the visit with some brushing instructions, a goodie bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, some floss sticks, and a sticker for the baby, who put up a loud squall as he did his work. After he left, the hygienist was kind enough to set up the next appointment six months from now.

Time for a boo-boo treaty! Not this Crapple pie, but something better!

After checking out, I went back to the waiting room with the baby to collect my husband and leave. We then went grocery shopping where we bought the baby some fruit for her being a good patient today.

And that was how I spent my Friday.

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Friday, August 5, 2016


Hello everyone!

I reached a very important milestone yesterday on my journey to becoming a good cook. For the first time, I successfully baked a pita in my bbq! I made a meat pita because thanks to that damned power outage on Monday, the fillo dough and half-pack of ground beef were thawed out and needed to be eaten.


I'd spent the morning making mekike, a kind of Serbian fried bread snack similar to a doughnut, using a Serbian-language recipe I borrowed from my favorite Serbian-language Youtube cook, Jelajelena Petrovic. However, I knew that for the pita, I was gonna have to cook it outside because I didn't feel like heating up the kitchen a second time to brown the meat. It took quite a bit longer to brown the meat on the grill than it would on the stove. I think it was my coals because this was the second time I was using them. I normally reuse coals when I barbecue because it stretches the supply of charcoal that I have, and out of a batch, I can usually get two or three grill sessions out of it before they're too spent to be used.

Though it was much better this time around than the last pita I tried baking on the bbq, there were a few minor mishaps with this pita. The first mishap was that I'd forgotten to add a spot of oil to my cast iron pan to fry the onions and garlic before adding the meat. I normally wouldn't forget this, but having one arm full of baby and the other holding my cast iron frying pan filled with meat, garlic, onion, and spices, it completely slipped my mind. Good thing the ground beef I was using was 80/20, so it wasn't too lean and there would be fat runoff from the cooking process.

The second mishap was that I ran out of fillo sheets! I thought I'd have enough, but as it turned out, I didn't. My husband then informed me after I mentioned this that the half-pack of ground beef I'd cooked was two pounds, not one like I thought it was. Now, I know for sure that it's one pound of meat per one roll of fillo dough. My husband didn't mind it, though. He's not crazy about breading.

Finally, the third mishap had to do with the coals. Aside from the low heat level coming off of them when I was browning the meat, they actually went out during the baking process! When I went outside about 20 minutes after setting the pita to bake in the barbecue, I saw that the coals had gone out and so I had to take everything off the grill and light a fresh batch. Once this task was completed and everything was put back on the grill to bake, I'd intended to come back out 20 minutes later to check on the pita.

Except, I fell asleep.

I was feeling tired and thought I'd close my eyes for a few minutes to recharge, and wound up dozing off for an hour or so. When I woke back up and realized how long I'd been asleep, I suddenly remembered that I still had that pita on the bbq! I thought for sure it was gonna be an inedible hunk of charcoal, but to my great relief, I saw the nice golden crust of pita when I took the lid off the grill to have a look.

Taken the next day. Yes, I had to eat some of it. I couldn't resist my creation

While there was a bit of charcoal smoke flavor in the top layers of the pita, the dish actually tasted pretty well. The simple spices of paprika, salt, and pepper all blended nicely with the flavor of the fillo dough. It actually didn't come out that greasy either, despite my accidentally pouring glops of oil on the fillo and the bottom wasn't terribly burned either. It was nice and crispy on the outside while tender on the inside, like a good pita should be.

My meat pita from the inside. I ran out of fillo dough and basically did a giant meat dump on the last layer before covering it. It still tasted good, though.

Despite the few mishaps, I was so happy that my pita came out so well. Now, I can try baking something else. My family and I went to the swap meet tonight and I bought a small square casserole baking dish that was sorely needed (I was hoping to find a 9x13 baking dish, but no one had it. I did notice an awful lot of small crockpots, though). I think maybe I'll make lasagna next. My husband would like that, though I'm not sure how to get past the cheese hurdle(I don't like ricotta cheese and he can't eat melted cheese). Time to do a little research on this...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Outage

Greetings everyone, I hope your day's been well.

Our August kicked off with a power outage. As I was cruising the net while the baby took her nap, the power suddenly went out! What was strange about it was that not all the trailer was out of power; the bathroom had power as did about half the kitchen. Naturally, I thought a fuse had blown. My husband was on his way home from a job, and when I sent him a message alerting him to what was going on before the deep-cycle battery on the server died and kicked me offline, he was not far from home. Since I'm quite inexperienced in dealing with electricity, I waited until he got home before opening up the electrical panel and checking the fuses. In the meantime, I plugged the bedroom fan into the bathroom outlet so that we could at least stay cool in there.

Zap! (pic found here)

After my husband finally got home, he checked the fuses and all seemed fine. It was when he checked the phases on the main in our lot that we discovered what was wrong. Our phase was ok, but the one from the power company was dead! After alerting the sleezy park management about the outage and checking with the neighbors (some had no power, some were partially powered like us, but most had power), we contacted the power company who informed us that there were no reported outages in the area. The power went out around 11:30AM, and save for some intermittent phase testing, wasn't fully restored until about 11PM. In the meantime, we had a small 800W alternator to power some fans, the fridge, and some of the computers so we weren't totally offline. But, I was largely offline because my computer's battery was out and my phone was barely charging from the weak power supply in the living room. The alternator also died for a bit because a plug wire had shorted out, but my husband was able to fix it and get it going again. Thank God for the monsoons because they cooled off the weather here, though it was quite humid.

Seriously, one of these days, the park is gonna look like this if the wiring issues aren't addressed. This outage isn't the first time we've experienced problems with the park's wiring, or other utilities for that matter.

What was the cause of this most inconvenient power outage? As it turned out, the wires feeding our part of the park were old aluminum wires (copper is the standard now and has been since the 1970s) which were NOT encased in any sort of protective pipe covering and had essentially broken apart from a massive short when a nearby leaking faucet eroded the insulation. Negligence combined with greed caused this problem. The sleezy park management has no problems taking rent money from tenants, but oh are they loath to spend anything on maintaining the park's infrastructure and prefer to cut corners on both materials and competent labor. 

My husband would periodically go up to where the park's main was (where the short had occurred) to check on the progress of the repairs, and make sure the handyman (he's a good neighbor of ours and has known us from a previous park we lived in) was ok. The handyman had to dig a hole around the broken live wires so the electrician could get to them and the only thing separating him from meeting God Almighty was a shovel with a fiberglass handle. Once the power was restored, we gave him a few beers in gratitude as he passed by our trailer on his way home.

And that was my Monday.

Friday, July 29, 2016

An Update on my Phone

I have good news, everyone!


IT'S ALIIIIIVE!! (sorry for the blurry pic. For some reason, whenever the flash is off on my camera, the resulting pix are blurry as hell, even when I'm holding the camera still)

As you may recall, the charging port in my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone is broken. I can plug in the micro USB cable, but the phone does not charge (the contacts in the port are either worn out or just plain broken). Unfortunately, I have not been able to procure a new phone with at least 8MP camera (which I need for the purpose of taking pix for blogging and personal use). While I have found cheap phones, their cameras are atrocious or they're severely underpowered (as has been the case with some Chinese phones I looked at online. They have 8 core CPUs, but only 0.5-1GB of RAM to power them. You need at least 2 GB of RAM to power a processor with that many cores). So, as is often the case with life in poverty: when you can't afford something, you go without it.

Since buying a new phone has been out of the question for some time, I consulted the oracle known as Google to see what would be involved in fixing the broken port. I found one video of a repair technician unsoldering the old port and then resoldering a new one in place, but my husband wasn't looking forward to the prospect of unsoldering my old port because he doesn't have the right tools for the job. And then, I came across a video of a guy who also had an SIII with a broken charging port, and he basically rigged an extra USB cord to act as a jumper cable to the wireless charging posts next to the phone's battery. It charged the phone by bypassing the charging port altogether. It was so simple, it blew my mind! Why hadn't I thought of this before? Then again, I hadn't realized my phone was capable of wireless charging in the first place...

The rig job. This video is responsible for resurrecting my phone

This morning, after waking up, my husband dutifully rigged up my USB jumper cable and upon securing it with some solder, he replaced the back of the phone most of the way and taped the excess length around the back. Yes, my phone looks cheap and strange with a wire tail hanging off the side and tape on the back, BUT IT WORKS!! Poverty has made me stop giving a flying fuck about the way something looks so long as it's functional, however crude it might be.

After going though and clearing out months of updates and alerts from Facebook, Instagram, etc, I've finally gotten my phone back to where it should be. No more going though clunky third-party platforms to use Instagram (though Instagram is stupid for making their service app-exclusive precisely BECAUSE there are some cases where people who don't have mobile phones but would like to use the platform and can't because some Silicon Valley asshole doesn't want to put forth the time and effort to make a desktop-friendly version of Instagram that's as good as the app!).

Everything is up to date now

It's good to have a working cellphone again.

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Picture of the Day

Hello everyone!

My apologies for not doing much in the way of writing for a while. Now that the baby is more and more active, I have even less energy and time to write.

It's monsoon season here in Arizona. For the next week or so, storms will come blowing up in the evenings because the heat bubble that has been sitting over the region for the month has boiled up the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) enough for it to create moisture-filled fronts which then drop rain, wind, and thunderstorms on the city.

Due to their nature, monsoon storms can be damaging. There are no shortages of downed trees, flooded washes, and power outages reported in the city when they do hit. Streets in low-lying areas are prone to flooding too. This was my street an hour or so ago:

My street is a river

This is what happens when you live in the floodplain of a river. The actual river itself is about a mile away, but because the surrounding area is low-laying, it floods whenever it rains. Fortunately, the swimming pool street doesn't last very long. It'll be mostly receded by tomorrow.

Some more of the flooded street, though my somewhat cleaned up garden kinda hides the view. It was drizzling still when I took this picture

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Fashionista

Hi everyone!

Here's a cute pic from the weekend.

Glam girl
Even though my daughter is only a little over a year old, she's already wearing toddler-size clothes (that shirt is 5T and the pants are 4T). In alot of ways, I'm not surprised by this. My husband and I are both large people, and as children we were both wearing clothes fit for larger individuals. Naturally, she too follows suit. I don't mind her clothes being a little loose on her. When it's hot out, you don't want any material sticking to your body.

Besides, jeans are good in any weather.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Smell of Death

Good evening, dear readers.

I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the horrible sight, so here's a mommy and baby kitty pic instead (pic found here)

Today, my husband made a grisly discovery.

He was going out to round up the cats for their morning feed when he noted the horrible smell of something dead and rotten wafting around the yard. He followed his nose to the front of the trailer, where the smell was strongest. Getting his drill, my husband unscrewed the soffet covering the bottom of the trailer and found the source of the smell.

It was a litter of dead and putrefying kittens.

A few days ago, we heard the sound of kittens mewing under our trailer. The Siamese minnie who we believe to be the mother of Puppy, our youngest cat, was pregnant and had now given birth. Since we had no idea where the kittens were under the trailer, we couldn't check on the newborns to see how many there were and what condition they were in. After hearing silence for a few days, I had assumed their mommy had moved the nest. It's not uncommon for minnie cats to move litters from one place to another after giving birth. Well, apparently she hadn't. My husband noted that from what he could make out in the remains, they still contained the afterbirth. It was like the Siamese minnie had just dropped the litter and abandoned them, not knowing what to do and not caring whether they lived or died.

With the help of a plastic bag, a shovel, and LOTS of garden lime, my husband buried the remains in the garden, right near White Chin's grave. It was heartbreaking to know of what became of the litter of kittens that the minnie had. I was looking forward to raising another litter of kittens, or at least whichever ones that I could catch. It literally put in perspective how miraculous it is that Puppy is even alive. Granted, her mother isn't very healthy (she wheezes constantly when she comes around) and was likely abandoned herself, but to drop a litter and walk away is just mind blowing. Perhaps its my own motherly hormones that make me feel this way, but to contemplate why the Siamese minnie had done such an irresponsible act made me feel depressed.

Powderpuff, 2013. She was my husband's favorite girl cat. He'd raised her from infancy and watched her grow into a strong and capable mommy cat.

True to his Catholic views on all forms of contraception, my husband has never been particularly big on spaying/neutering animals. But, upon making this grisly discovery, he has been adamant about trapping the Siamese minnie and taking her to get spayed. His view on spaying was always to do it after the minnie had at least one, maybe two, litters because having so many kittens can literally kill them. He'd seen this lesson play out many times over the course of his life. I saw it happen to Powderpuff, our beloved tortoiseshell calico who my husband brought into our marriage and whose untimely demise from birthing too large a litter too close to her last one was only the second time I ever saw him shed tears in front of me. Now, we're looking into getting a trap and seeing where we can get free/low cost spaying done. We plan to do a TNR, since the Siamese minnie is rather feral and doesn't like being around people much.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Updates

Hello dear readers!

As you may have noticed, things have been a little quiet here on the blog. This has largely been due to husband being out of town for a few days at a time over the course of these past two weeks. His job sent him to a small town near the US-Mexico border and with him not home to watch the baby while I cook and clean, I just haven't had the time or energy to write. One good thing about his business trip is that my husband got to stay in a historic hotel. A friend recommended the restaurant in the hotel's lobby, which my husband ate at and approved of mightily. It's said to be haunted (the front desk lady told my husband that an entity from the hotel followed her home and tried to strangle her in her sleep, and the colleague my husband was rooming with in the hotel room woke up in the middle of the night screaming from a terrifying nightmare. Coincidence? You decide...), but my husband hasn't seen or felt anything out of the ordinary. His demon-meter is fine tuned, but he's also well protected by the Lord.


I also have an update on the car. It appears that the bothersome electrical short which caused spluttering upon acceleration and prevented us from going up our friend's very steep driveway for fear of burning through yet another set of wires when going over to visit her, has finally been fixed! My husband, while diligently looking over the wires in both the engine and the dash, discovered where the insulation had worn off in some wires leading to the wiper blades. He fixed it and the car seemed to behave for a few days, even with him being a leadfoot. A few days ago, he went to visit our friend on the hill and made it up her beastly driveway with no splutter or fried wires. I still get nervous going up her driveway, but now I don't have to walk up it anymore.

Also of note, I've been getting to exercise my cooking skills lately. I made some more pita breads, this time using whole wheat flour, and I rolled them to be very thin, just like how my hubby likes them. They weren't fluffy like what I'm accustomed to seeing with pita bread, and were actually quite dense. I wonder if this is characteristic of whole wheat flour, or if I didn't let the dough rise enough, but I'll try again sometime soon. Also, after collecting the last of the harvest from our tomato garden (the damn things went absolutely gangbusters!), I made homemade tomato sauce from the overripe and sun-scarred tomatoes in the colander my hubby was using to hold them. I also used plenty of fresh basil from the garden (another plant that has a tendency to go gangbusters out here), but I used too much initially and had to take out most of the leaves once the sauce had cooked down. Once it was cool enough, I jarred the sauce up and put it in the freezer. It'll make for excellent pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce once I get around to making these respective dishes.

We knew this was inevitable. Pennywise Trump finally got his coronation and shattered the GOP while doing it

Finally, if anyone cares to know, I have been keeping up with the dumpster fire known as the Republican National Convention. Like most apolitical people, I've been kicking back with my beer and popcorn, watching the shitshow rage on. I despise the walking ballsack called Ted Cruz for a whole host of reasons, but I will give him due credit for doing the equivalent of defiantly sticking his middle finger right in front of the GOP's face at the Donald's coronation. But then again, I've always subscribed to the idea that Donald Trump isn't in it to win the presidency, he's running as a troll Republican to destroy the GOP and clear the way for Hillary. I don't support Hillary for a whole host of reasons, but she's much more qualified to run this country than Trump. Besides, if she's elected, then we won't have to flee to Mexico to escape the coming hell that is a Republican presidency. Bernie did what he was supposed to do and pulled her to the left.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

The Pita Breads

Good evening, dear readers.

After a fulfilling afternoon spent helping a friend and former neighbor fix up a trailer for her son, I had a hankering to make some more bread. Bread making, as I've come to figure out, isn't that hard. It can be time consuming, yes, but you're letting chemistry and physics do most of the work for you.

Playing with the curtain door at our friend's home

Since we had some leftover hummus in the fridge, I decided that pita bread was in order for dinner. Thanks to that amazing culinary school known as Youtube cooking tutorials, I found an easy and not-so-time-consuming recipe for Greek pita bread from my favorite Greek chef, Akis Petretzikis. I didn't have any fresh thyme, which the recipe called for, but since we have loads of Italian seasoning which we've acquired from moving inheritances and trailer cleanouts, I used that instead. It had thyme in it.

After kneading, rolling flat, and grilling them in my trusty cast iron pan on medium heat, the resulting pita breads were absolutely divine. They were soft and tasty with a bit of crisp on the outside. Since they were homemade, the pita bread loafs were different sizes and thicknesses, which gave them some variety. The Italian seasoning I added to the dough made a tremendous difference and gave the breads a very nice aroma in addition to a subtle taste. My husband really liked the pita breads too as he broke apart the piece and dragged it through the hummus.

My beautiful pita breads (note: I have no idea why the image is rendering sideways. It was taken right-side up!)

Akis was right: once I made homemade pita bread, there's no going back to store bought. It didn't even take that long to make, from activating the yeast to plating the finished breads, it took probably about an hour and a half total. It was a breeze compared to English muffins, which when made fresh is pretty much a whole-day affair.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Car Troubles, Part II

Greetings, dear readers.

Yesterday, I posted about how our cholomobile was out of commission. What started off as an ordinary brake job devolved into an ordeal involving a loose oil pump and now a knocking lifter in the engine. My husband feared the damage was immense and would cost a fortune for us to fix.

Our cholomobile still needs some surgery. The tarp keeps the sun and rain off of it while my hubby works

Last night, my husband consulted the advice of many seasoned Mopar owners on a forum he belongs to for Mopar car owners. The users suggested that the knocking lifter was likely stuck and that it got that way when the oil pump got loose and dropped the oil pressure in the engine. They suggested letting the engine run for about an hour on a low and slow idle to re-grease and un-stick the stuck lifter.

This afternoon, my hubby did exactly that. He adjusted the idle setting on the carburetor, turned on the ignition, and let the engine do its thing. At first, the knocking was loud, but then after about ten or fifteen minutes, I began to hear the normal engine sounds coming over the knocking. It was going away! My husband was overjoyed since it meant that it was just a stuck lifter and that more serious damage had not occurred. Eventually, the noise subsided to just a slight tick with each rotation, much like how it was before this whole mess started. My husband monitored the oil pressure and saw that it was holding steady within the low end of normal.

So now that we know that there is a lifter that's a little sticky in the engine, it's something that we're gonna have to keep an eye on. Chrysler made some damn tough cars, but they're not invincible. Until we can get the money to get an engine to rebuild this one, we're just gonna have to baby the car. My husband hasn't taken the car out for a spin yet to see how it handles, but he will soon enough. He still had a few things to take care of on the brakes before this while shitshow went down.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Car Troubles

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a safe and happy 4th of July.

Owing to my largely anti-American views, I don't typically celebrate 4th of July. But, it doesn't stop me from grilling or watching the fireworks. I had planned to spend the day with a family friend, except the Devil threw a very nasty wrench into those plans.

The day had started off normal enough. My hubby got up early and was working on the passenger side front brake after he heard some chattering coming from it. Figuring the shoes were worn out, he opened up the drum and saw that in addition to the shoes, the bearings were worn and it was actually a broken retention spring that was causing the noise. No biggie, we'd ordered a whole bunch of break parts because my husband knew they'd need some attending to just cuz of their age.

Car surgery

Later on, after he was done, my husband decided to test out the new brakes by going on a short trip to the store to get some pop and cucumbers before the 4th of July crowd got really bad. As he was going down the street, he noticed that the lifters in the engine were making some noise. He thought it odd, but he then stopped, poured a bit of oil into the engine, and continued down the street. As he turned the corner, however, the noise became louder and my husband told me he then looked at the oil pressure gauge next to the steering wheel and it showed zero pressure. He stopped the car and turned it off, and tried to knock on the oil pump, thinking a clog had stopped it up. My husband finally turned on the car, ooched home and once it was in the yard, he jacked it up to see what was going on with the oil pump.

Well, after spending nearly the whole day working on it, he discovered that the oil pump was loose! The engine's vibrations had shaken it loose from its spot because the previous owner hadn't installed it correctly. After cleaning and re-greasing it, my husband reattached the oil pump and turned the ignition switch. The gauge registered its normal pressure reading, but there continued to be a loud clanging noise emanating from the engine. My husband is now convinced either a lifter is stuck or totally broken. Either way, our cholomobile is out of commission for the time being. Fortunately, if we have to go somewhere, we have friends to rely on for rides and the city bus is marginally effective in moving us from point A to point B.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The English Muffins, Part II

Happy Sunday, dear readers!

Earlier this past week, I bought a jar of fresh yeast to replace the bag of yeast that had been sitting in my fridge for at least a year and a half. The first thing I tried making with that bag of yeast was English muffins, but they came out dense. Unable to pinpoint exactly where I went wrong, I decided to try making something else with the yeast. I settled on a pita bread recipe from Youtube, but when I tried activating the yeast, it wouldn't activate. I knew then that the yeast was bad and that I needed to get some more if I was gonna try making any bread recipes. Once is an anomaly, but twice is indicative of a systemic failure. Almost by chance, however, I discovered at the store that the kind of yeast I'd been given wasn't the normal dry active yeast used by the chefs in my Youtube tutorials, but bread machine yeast! It also goes bad after six months if it's not used up before an expiration date. I had no way of knowing this information beforehand, and there's no telling how long the family friend who gave me the yeast had it sitting in her pantry.

All ready to cook! Yes, I wrecked one, but it still came out tasting good

So with my fresh new jar of regular dry active yeast, I decided to give the English muffin recipe a second go. It was literally night and day working with really activated yeast. The starter sponge looked, well, like a sponge and when I set the dough on top of the dresser to rise, it REALLY DID RISE! It definitely doubled, and then some. Kneading the divine-smelling dough was much easier too, and it blew my mind how big the dough balls were once they'd finished proofing. They actually touched! I also used a fresh bag of flour that hadn't been hijacked by bugs, so I think that helped too.

I did make two small errors during this little endeavor. The first error came when I cut the dough into smaller pieces to roll: I forgot to put some flour down on a second plate that was needed when I was arranging the dough balls to proof. The dough balls on the second plate wound up not only expanding to be touching each other, but they also stuck to the plate's surface and wound up kinda misshaping the muffin a bit when I put them in my trusty cast iron skillet to fry. The other error I made was when I cut one of the dough balls in half because I hadn't realized how big the balls would be once they had finished rising, and deflated it. Oops! Needless to say, I left the other dough balls alone. They were about 2-3 times the size of the store-bought English muffins.

All done! Yeah, they don't look much like English muffins, but that's ok. I'm still learning this shit

I changed one other thing from the first time I made these English muffins. This time, I fried them in butter instead of olive oil. Even though I'm notoriously bad at this, it sometimes pays to read and follow the instructions in the recipe exactly as they're written.

Finally, the moment of truth came after my fresh batch of English muffins had cooled down enough to be handled. My husband insisted on using a knife to slice open the collapsed English muffin to toast and butter it. It was almost a complete 180 from the first English muffins I made. These were tasty, fluffy, held in the heat well and had a significant number of nooks and crannies! My husband was delighted with the result, even if this second batch was bigger and more misshapen than the store bought English muffins I was accustomed to seeing.

Look at that fluffy, buttery goodness! If my husband had been civilized and used a fork to separate the halves of the English muffin, I think the nooks and crannies would have been more obvious

Needless to say, this recipe is a keeper. Now that I have a better idea of how big everything is gonna get, I can either cut smaller pieces of dough or I can make a big batch of proofed dough balls and then freeze them, taking out only what I'd need to make English muffins for a weekend breakfast or something the next time I feel up to making these. I now feel very confident that I can try making other bread recipes.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Upgrade

Good evening, dear readers.

Today, my kitchen received some much-needed upgrades. For a while, we've been lacking in a few kitchen basics like a liquid measuring cup, baking sheets, a rolling pin, a whisk, and a 9x13 casserole dish. We've made-do without them, but since I've been taking a more active role in meal prep now that my husband has to work, cooking becomes a real bitch when you don't have the proper tools for the job.

Since we needed a few non-food items at Walmart, I got my kitchen tools. I even got a small Teflon-coated pan for when I make palacinke! The only thing from my list that I didn't get was the casserole dish, but only because our neighbor down the street was having a yard sale and my husband saw that she had bakeware for sale.

My new starter. It works beautifully

Even though the kitchen arsenal upgrade was great, the best upgrade I got today was a proper charcoal starter! My mom sent my husband a gift card to Home Depot for his birthday, and we used that to get my starter (as well as some needed hardware). I was happy because now I could light my charcoal in a relatively safe and effective manner as opposed to using the propane stove and risking burns during the transfer of the charcoal from the stove to the grill. Before we were married, I remembered that my husband had a small charcoal chimney starter which he used periodically for when he wanted to barbecue something, but his birdbrained roommate threw it away while she was cleaning his room (she insisted on it because she was attracted to him for all the wrong reasons). Now that we had a proper replacement of that doomed starter, it was time to break it in. Good thing I had thawed out some pork chops and a bit of ground beef. Baked beans were on the menu too!

The starter itself was pretty straightforward to use and easy to light. I'd seen Youtube chefs use chimney starters for barbecuing, so it wasn't hard for me to copy them. After all, it's not difficult to stuff old newspaper underneath the wire mesh separating the charcoal hopper from the lighting chamber. Some old grocery fliers were put to use as well as plenty of the hard-to-light wood charcoal I've been using. It took about 15 minutes or so before the coals were ashed over enough to be dumped into the grill. The handles were a bit hot, but I had some wet rags to help me grip them.

Sure enough, the starter did its job well. The coals were lit and put to use in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken to do the same job on the propane stove+transport to grill. I didn't even nearly-burn myself like last time.

Kickin' it old-school. I even remembered to add the molasses this time!

In characteristic fashion, I proceeded to barbecue my pork chops, some vegetables, and then cook the pot of beans on the grill. There's something relaxing about just kickin' back and letting the hot coals cook a pot of baked beans. It brings to mind old West cowboys around a campfire, relaxing and making their food.

Tomorrow I'm gonna retry making English muffins. I bought a jar of fresh yeast earlier this week and so I'm itching to test it out.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

First Steps

Greetings, dear readers!

Today marks a momentous milestone: the baby took her first steps!

Not quite walking, but she could pivot on one leg (which is what she's doing in this picture)

I knew this day was coming. For the past two weeks, when she'd crawl, the baby would crawl with her butt high in the air and her feet flat on the ground instead of on her knees like she normally would do. Today, when my husband took the baby out in the morning so that she could have a zoot and burn off some energy, she took three steps on her own towards him on the patio. Of course, when I went to go and observe the event, she wouldn't repeat it. Later on, however, as the baby was playing on the bedroom floor, I saw her stand up and take three steps toward the bed on her own before she reverted back to her normal crawling mode.

Monkey crawling

What makes this day even more special is that she figured out walking more or less on her own. She refused to be put in a walker, and while my husband and I would walk with her around the house holding her hands or letting her cling to our legs, there's only so much you can do to teach a kid to walk. Our pediatrician also said that when it came to walking, that it was a mind-over-matter kind of thing; even though they have the muscular ability to do it, the babies prefer crawling over walking because it gets them from Point A to Point B faster. Either way, I'm proud of my daughter. She's developing right on her targets.

Soon enough, she'll learn how to run. And that's when the real fun will begin...

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Picture of the Day

Happy Thursday, dear readers!

On Saturday, my husband came home from Walmart with a small inflatable kiddie pool. Since the weather had become so beastly hot (like over 100 degrees Fahrenheit!), my husband decided that a small kiddie pool was a good investment for keeping the baby cool. He'd planned to buy a small plastic round pool, but since he didn't have the means of transporting it home (no room in the car and it wouldn't tie well on the roof), he decided that the inflatable one was better in terms of price and storage. On Tuesday, he blew up the pool on the patio and filled it with some water. He and the baby then went for a little swim, from which I got today's picture of the day.

Swimming with Daddy

I joined in shortly, but we didn't stay out long because a storm rumbled in and we had to go inside. But, it was nice to have a pool for a bit. Nothing like low-budget ways to have fun and stay cool in this desert.

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The Pita

Hello, dear readers!

Today, I was feeling ambitious. I decided to try out my bbq as an oven by making some pita.

I got the idea for tonight's dish from a Serbian-language cooking tutorial I saw from my favorite Youtube grandmother, Jelajelena Petrovic, called "Pita sa Spinacem" (Spinach pita). I knew when I watched her video that I had to try making this, but I hesitated because my husband views cheese as though it's the spawn of Satan. After I asked him whether or not he'd eat a spinach pita if I made one, knowing that it had cheese in it (I resolved to use feta, since it was the closest to what I observed the Serbian cheese used in the video to be) and receiving an answer in the affirmative, I then set about procuring the ingredients I'd need. The one conniption I had was whether we had suitable bakeware for the pita, but after digging around in the cabinet where we keep the pots and pans, I found an aluminum pie pan which originally housed a tray of cinnamon rolls from the store. My husband had saved up a few of those to reuse, and it was big enough to fit on the grill.

Baking the pita on my grill

Thank goodness it rained this afternoon, so the ground was nice and wet. I cleaned out the old crappy coals from the barbecue and after putting in a few fresh ones, I decided to light them using some paper towels soaked in cooking oil thanks to another Youtube tutorial I saw (I refuse to use lighter fluid because then the food tastes like it). It took a few sheets to get the coals going, but I finally got them lit. My husband was whining at me to use the propane stove, but I refused because I didn't want to burn myself during the transfer.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pix of the process because the baby was being exceptionally clingy and was throwing a crying tantrum because my making the filling and assembling the pita meant that I couldn't pick her up and hold her like she wanted me to. I was able to hold her while I fried the onions, garlic and spinach over the hot coals, but once the pita was assembled and on the grill, she went and nursed herself to sleep. Her tantrum had worn her out.

Pitas, as I alluded to in an earlier post, are classic Serbian food and generally don't require much in the way of effort to make. It's an ideal quick-n-dirty meal that can be thrown together in about an hour or so to feed a hungry family or party guests. I wasn't sure how it would taste, given that the coals are made of wood and tend to impart their flavor onto foods, but I was happy to give it a try since I was trying to avoid using the oven at all costs. After I put the pita on the grill to cook, I realized later that I'd forgotten to add milk to the filling. This minor error proved to be providential because as fate and the fickle monsoon weather would have it, another storm blew in and I had to cut the bbq baking time short so that I could take the pita inside. The milk in the filling would have made the fillo dough soggy and rendered it inedible at that stage.

My grandmother would call this "dead"

Despite being undercooked, the pita was cooked enough to the point where you wouldn't get food poisoning from eating it. And actually, it wasn't bad! Only the top layers of the fillo dough carried any hint of charcoal flavoring from the grill, but it wasn't bad. It blended nicely with the rest of the ingredients. When my husband woke up from his nap, he saw the dead pita and finished it off in the oven's broiler. Ironically, he rendered the feta cheese inedible to his standards when he did that because while the top was golden brown, the cheese melted and set off his gag reflex. I was disappointed because now it meant that he wouldn't eat my pita. My husband was also disappointed because he liked the taste, but he couldn't eat melted cheese cuz the texture triggers an adverse reaction in his throat (I think he's allergic to cheese, but it only happens when the cheese is cooked). We'll see about breakfast, after everything is nice and solid.

After a quick stint in the broiler. Much better

Would I do this again? Yes. I have another roll of fillo dough set aside for this purpose. Next time, however, if I can't use more spinach, I'll use half as much feta cheese. I'll also remember to add the milk to the filling, but I think the spinach could stand to have a good chopping so that it would fit easier in the folds of the dough. Also, I'll figure out a way to get the grill to light hotter so that my pita will bake properly. Despite the storm throwing off my timing, I'm genuinely pleased with how this came out. It was much better than my burek.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

The English Muffins

Greetings, dear readers. It's been a busy couple of days. Thursday was my husband's birthday and we celebrated with some good Benedictine beer and fried chicken from our favorite chicken joint. Simple celebrations are always the best.

On Tuesday, I broke new ground and made English muffins. I enjoy English muffins, but the ones from the store leave much to be desired. So, when I came across an easy English muffin recipe on Youtube, I knew I had to give it a try.

About a year and a half ago, I was given a small cup full of yeast by a family friend. I kept it in my fridge to keep it cool since the pantry in our kitchen where the baking goods are stored tends to get kinda hot in the summer and I didn't want any bugs or heat to get at the yeast and ruin it. I've been itching to make something with it to see if it's still good, so I figured English muffins were a good starter.

Activating the yeast

The dough before rising. It was sticky and wet

I first activated the yeast, then mixed the dough using my giant salad bowl as a mixing bowl and my sifter to get the bugs out of the flour (I honestly have no idea where those weevils are coming from. I vacuum out my pantry once a month and yet they still come!). After letting the dough rise, I made the mistake of not flouring the counter  enough so the dough was leaving a sticky mess. I added alot more flour and that solved the mess, but now it was too dry and I had to add a little water into the dough to moisten it a bit more. After separating and forming the muffins, I coated them in cornmeal and put them off to the side to proof. While the recipe called for using butter to fry the muffins, I used olive oil instead because it was healthier than butter. I fried up the English muffins in two batches, using my handy cast iron pan.

I set the dough to rise on top of the dresser in the bedroom, since that was the warmest place in the house. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pix of the dough after it was doubled.

Frying the English muffins

I put an egg yolk wash on top of the muffins to use up a leftover yolk. I don't think I should have done that cuz it made the English muffins look burned.

How did my muffins come out? Bad. I don't know where exactly I went wrong, but the resulting English muffins were dense and tough. My first reaction was to wonder if the yeast had gone bad, (especially since I couldn't obviously tell if the dough had doubled at all during its rising stages) but the second batch of English muffins were definitely fluffier than the first batch, so bad yeast may not have been the culprit. That being said, however, the yeast may not have activated well. I didn't cover the bowl when I was activating the yeast, since the recipe didn't make mention of it, though in some other videos I watched about making bread, I noticed that just about every other cook covered the bowl to let the yeast activate.The possibility of overworking the dough also occurred to me, though I doubt that because breads in general need alot of kneading to smooth them out.

All done

My husband suspects the dough's temperature at cooking time to be the ultimate culprit because after the muffins had finished proofing, I put the dough in the fridge because it was the late afternoon and it was getting to be kinda hot in the house. I put the dough in the fridge to keep it from going bad cuz I knew it was gonna be a few hours before the house was cool enough to cook in. At cooking time, I basically took the dough out of the fridge and put it in the pan without letting it warm up.

Batch 1: dense, felt underdone; note the lack of nooks and crannies classic of English muffins

Batch 2: A little better, but not by much. Some nooks and crannies present, but still pretty dense

In short, my English muffins came out bad, but there's too many variables to determine just where exactly I went wrong. That being said, I'm not discouraged. I will try making English muffins again, but this time, I'll be a bit more diligent in my work. Breadmaking is an art, and it's something that I'm learning to enjoy.

One thing that surprised me was just how long breadmaking takes. To activate the yeast takes about 15-20 minutes, and then once mixed with the flours and other ingredients, the dough needs to be put aside to rise for about 2 hours until its doubled in size. But, there's more! Once the dough is kneaded and shaped, the resulting loafs have to "proof" for about an hour to double in size. It literally took me all day to make the English muffins that I'd intended to have for breakfast. Oh well. Still, nothing beats fresh made bread, however it comes out.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016


Happy Sunday, dear readers!

While the rest of the country celebrated Father's Day, my family did not.

We celebrated Juneteenth instead.

A brief explanation of Juneteenth. Pic found here

Juneteenth is a Texas holiday commemorating the emancipation of the Black slaves in the state. The name is a combination of June and nineteenth, the date the emancipation was first celebrated formally in 1865. It was my husband who introduced me to this holiday in 2012, and he told me how when he was a younger man, he used to celebrate the day by eating fried chicken, watermelon with salt, and drinking cheap shitty beer. While his idea of celebrating Juneteenth came from the racist tropes of Blacks that he'd grown up with in Texas, I didn't mind eating fried chicken and a watermelon on this day. I'm not a big melon eater, but I've had watermelon every year on Juneteenth since 2012, even if beer and fried chicken were out of the question.

I did my bbq-ing last night. Pic found here

What surprised me most about my husband's choice of celebratory foods was the watermelon with salt. I knew about watermelon being seasoned with sugar (my grandma did that), and chili powder (the Mexicans did that), but not salt. Apparently, this is something only Texans did as my husband did not recall anyone in Louisiana seasoning their watermelons with salt (they did pickle the rinds, however). I didn't particularly care for the taste of salt and sweet watermelon the first time I had it, but I've grown to tolerate it.

Forget Father's Day. Sure dads are important, but the holiday has become so commercialized that it's been rendered worthless. Thank goodness my husband isn't crazy about parent-themed holidays. At least with Juneteenth, it was a holiday we could spend together as a family and somewhat relate to since both of our respective peoples (Irish and Serbs) had been utilized as slave labor over the course of history by various Western European powers. Today happened also to be the hottest day on record (a whopping 115 degrees Fahrenheit!), so it was a good day to stay inside and feast on leftover London Broil, baked beans, and watermelon. I had to kick myself out of bed super early so we could go to church early in the morning in order to get our Sunday obligation to attend Mass out of the way before it got too hot out.

And that was how I spent my Sunday.

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