Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Man Stew

This is about as simple as it gets gals. This is a hearty, meat and potatoes stew that is sure to fill up even the pickiest of men (like mine!).

Manly Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
3 cups hot water OR beef broth or stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3-4 large potatoes, gold potatoes are great for this
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 or 2 bay leaves
3/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cook and stir the meat in the shortening in a 12-inch skillet or preferably a Dutch oven, until beef is brown. This will take about 15 minutes. Add 3 cups hot water (or broth), 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beef is almost tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Be prepared to add more water if necessary. Occasionally I've had a lot of the water cook off, probably from the heat being just a tad too high. I just keep it nearby now.)

Stir in the potatoes, 2 1/4 teaspoons salt and bay leaves. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Shake the 3/4 cup cold water and 3 tablespoons flour in a tightly sealed container, and gradually stir into stew. (this is the thickener, if you want it thicker later, you can also add dried potato flakes). Boil and stir 1 minute, then reduce heat.

Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

This makes around 5-8 servings, depending on how hungry your man is!

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday Recipes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Somehow, This Doesn't Surprise Me

I read an article today that discussed the efficacy of using anti-bacterial hand soaps,
versus regular hand soaps. The article basically states that the anti-bacterial soaps don't do anything more than regular soaps, and may even cause some resistance to certain bacteria. I'm really not at all surprised by this. I mean, our ancestors did just fine with ash and tallow, why do we need fancy, chemical laden stuff that doesn't work any better than the other?

Read the article for yourself here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Casseroles

Well, we don't really do a lot of casseroles in my house. At least, not as many as I'd like. My husband is picky, and each of the kids have so many different likes/dislikes, it's hard to get something mixed together that Everyone likes.

The closest thing that I have to a casserole, that everyone in my family likes, and the kids just absolutely love, is Hamburger Pie. It's a very simple, body warming food. One of those good old comfort foods, or that's what my husband tells me. I don't have any measurements for the most part, since I've been making it so long. It's really a great one for making only as much as you need. You can tailor it to your family's needs, and preferences. So here it is:

Hamburger Pie

Grease a 2 qt. deep casserole dish. Fill it about 2/3 of the way with prepared mashed potatoes. (You can use boxed or real mashed potatoes.) Top with about a cup or so of shredded cheddar, enough to spread evenly in a layer over the potatoes. Top with about a pound of cooked ground beef. Cover that with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

My mom used to use ground turkey or chicken on occasion. It tasted alright, but I was never partial to those ground meats. If they are kinds you use regularly, it may be worth trying that way.

Don't forget to visit The Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Tasty Thursday: Casseroles

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Who's Safe Anymore?

Wow, even a woman with 5 kids isn't immune to carjacking. I had hoped that any criminal stupid enough to even try to take my van would think twice after seeing all the kids in the back seat, but apparently that might not be the case. This woman was shot even after she was getting the children out so he could take the car.

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police said they want to find a man who shot and carjacked a woman traveling with five children.

The woman, who survived the shooting, told police she was stopped at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue on Thursday when a man stuck a gun through the window and told her to get out of the vehicle.

She was getting the children out when the suspect shot her and took off with her Ford Explorer, police said.
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None of the children was hurt.

The woman is recovering at Froedtert Hospital.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Milwaukee police.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Chicken Soup

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I'm sharing it because I made it yesterday. I'm even having some for breakfast right now!

Awesome Chicken Soup

1 to 2 pounds cooked chicken, diced or torn, or white meat from a whole roast chicken, torn off by hand (original recipe suggested a few raw chicken breasts, cut)

3 tablespoons butter

2 to 3 ribs celery and greens from the heart, chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded potatoes, ready to cook hash browns, or frozen shredded hashbrowns

1 pint whole milk, or half-and-half or cream

1 quart chicken stock, available in boxes on soup aisle

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, a healthy grating

1 cup frozen green peas

In a medium pot over medium to medium high heat, cook chicken in butter for a minute or two, then add veggies and season with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 minutes more, add flour cook another minute. Add potatoes, then whisk in half-and-half or cream and chicken stock. Add nutmeg. Bring soup to a boil by raising heat, then turn heat back to simmer and cook soup another 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Add peas. Stir in to warm them through a minute.

Don't forget to visit The Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday recipes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Home Based Or Internet Business?

Does anyone know the Wisconsin laws regarding this? I'm getting ready to start a business, mostly online, but I can't seem to find what forms I'm required to file, if any.

Any help would be great, thanks.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Cookies!!!!

I love cookies. A lot. I love making them. I definitely love eating them. I don't love having to pick only one recipe to share. So, I'll share a few of my favorites. These are some of the best recipes I have, and they are all sooooo good. I'm drooling just thinking of it.

Okay, here goes:


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups quick oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Cream the shortening, sugars and vanilla. Add eggs and cream together. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix together and add chips and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350* for about 12 min.

The Cowboy Cookies are very good, especially if you don't care much for chocolate, like my husband. I did try adding chocolate chips once, but it didn't go over too well. It tasted alright, but it was actually better without the chocolate. Who could have guessed?!


Original recipe yield: 4 dozen.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup butter
1 egg
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix together the sugars, oil, butter and egg.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in vanilla
Stir in cereal, coconut, oatmeal, and chocolate chips.
Chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Make into balls the size of walnuts. Mix and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes.

One of Everything cookies go fast. Very fast. I can barely keep up with them. If I had my big mixer I would probably make 2 or three batches at once. They are good for a really long time too, if you can get them to last that long. (Once, a small container of them got lost in the back of my pantry for about a month, and they were still just as good as when they were first made. They were a little more crumbly, but they still tasted great. No spoilage at all.)

Lastly, here is a recipe I haven't tried yet, but it looks really good. I might try it some day, just for the fun of it.

The Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007

8 ounces unsalted butter
11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.

I don't have most of these ingredients on hand, but I've been wanting to try some of the gluten-free cooking just for kicks. We had a scare with my oldest a few years ago (tested positive on one of the markers for Celiac disease), but thankfully he was alright. It still led me to be interested in the method of cooking without gluten, since it is present in so many things. So, if any of you try it before I do, let me know how they taste.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Would You Like To Sign A Petition Banning DiHydrogen Monoxide?

Turkeys! In My Yard!

The last few weeks, we have had two turkey families showing up in our yard. I saw both families about an hour ago, and when I looked outside a few minutes ago, I saw one of the families still wandering around. So, here are some pictures of the Turkey family.

This Bothers Me

This man was accused of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault on a Child. The problem here, is that this happened more than 10 years ago, when he was 16. He had consensual sex with a 15 year old girl, and now carries the stigma of having assaulted a child. He was a child himself at the time, so how can he be charged with this? When a 16 year old boy has sex with an adult teacher, he has no ability to make adult decisions, so therefore he's automatically assumed to be completely innocent and taken advantage of. Yet, a boy of the same age has sex with a peer (which, if you've ever been to a high school sex ed class, what do you think they're promoting when they're handing out condoms?), he's labeled a sex-offender.

How is this right? The man is now being ostracized, his neighbors don't want him near their children (when he has no interest in them in the first place, since that's not even what he was convicted on), and his life is being destroyed because he had sex when he was a kid. Now, I'm a firm supporter of abstinence until marriage, but when the sex ed classes are handing out condoms, and telling kids to practice safe sex (instead of telling them not to have it in the first place), of course this sort of thing is going to happen. There is absolutely no reason to label this man as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

On a side note, part of the reason I hate this system is because I have a friend who was wrongly accused of inappropriate behavior with a student. I know this man well, and his wife was even around for some of the supposed "incidents". The girl was troubled, she hit a police officer, and then had him removed from the case because he came into the store where she worked, to return a shirt with his daughter, and basically managed to get all of the witnesses discredited in some fashion or another, so that my friend had no ability to make a case. So now, he's being harassed by a nasty case worker who won't let him so much as breathe the wrong way, and he will be labeled an offender for the rest of his life. All because some bratty little girl didn't like him. This system is seriously screwed up.

Twice? In Two Hours?

Man Receives Two OWIs In Two Hours

NORWAY, Wis. -- A Franklin man's plea to "just give me a ride home" instead landed him to the Racine County Jail after he was booked twice in just over two hours for drunken driving.

Clayton J. Paul's bad day started July 23 when he tried to leave a bar parking lot at 2:17 p.m. and backed his truck into a Racine County Sheriff's Department cruiser at a high rate of speed, authorities said.

The impact left a large dent in the squad car's front bumper and police said Paul's blood-alcohol level registered a 0.16. That's twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Paul, 53, was cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and exceeding the legal limit. He was booked at the Town of Waterford police station and released to the custody of his wife.

Twelve minutes later at 4:38 p.m., a deputy pulled Paul over again.

According to records, the deputy said that Paul told him, "just give me a ride home."

Instead, Paul failed sobriety tests and registered a 0.13 blood-alcohol level.

He received citations again for OWI and exceeding the legal limit. After being taken back to the station, he was transferred to the Racine County Jail.

So, the man was released into his wife's care, and was found drunk driving 12 minutes later? Where was his wife?

Do you think she should be held responsible? If the man was released, drunk, into her care, and he managed to go driving again, is she legally responsible? Morally responsible? I wonder how that works here.

Tasty Thursday: Caramel Cake

I've been thinking about this cake lately, and with fall coming up, it's really sounding good.


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel Sauce:
½ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup caramel sauce
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 - ¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, cream butter, slowly add sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt together. Measure milk and add vanilla to it. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the large bowl, alternating between flour and milk. Blend thoroughly after each addition. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes. Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes. The middle should be firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. The cake should rise even with the pan or a bit above it.
Caramel Sauce: While cake is baking, combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium. Once the butter has melted and the mixture is hot, add milk and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside ½ cup. Once you remove the cake from the oven, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, using a fork, poke the top of the cake to make an even pattern of holes. Slowly pour the remaining caramel sauce over the top, spreading it evenly. Some of the sauce will be absorbed into the holes. Let cake cool.
Frosting: In a roomy bowl, whip the remaining caramel sauce with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add the milk, 1/8 cup at a time. Beat to a nice spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake.

The cake is a bit on the sweet side, but it has great flavor. This year I plan on finding a way to add apples to it, because it seems like it would be a great combination.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!