Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bob and Up On the Roof - Senility Hits Home

True to form for me these days, if given a job to do, I have a tendency to leap from one thing to another and somehow am not as easily able to multitask as I was before!  Unfortunately, sometimes it can have comedic consequences as my poor husband found out.

It was a simple task - all I had to do was answer the phone but somehow my blonde old lady brain because distracted by the fact that I suddenly remembered I had to clean the bathrooms for company that was coming. 

Here is my story of how poor Bob unfortunately paid the brunt of my flagging memory!


The Easiest Perennial In The World To Grow - Basket of Gold or Yellow Alyssum

The-Easiest-To-Grow-Perennial-In-the-World-Basket-of-GoldIf you want a low-growing (12 inches maximum height but spreads 18 inches outward) that is beautifully sunny and yellow for weeks AND blooms again late summer, the Basket of Gold or Yellow Alyssum perennial is for you.

This little plant is hardier than you would think and survives drought and not only survives, but seeds itself.  It is a great front plant in a perennial garden and loves any place where it can 'drape'.  It is great in rock gardens and is easily multiplied as noted above just by seeding itself or collect the seeds and replant.  You can also make cuttings easily from this plant and have more and more.

In short, this is one durable little plant that is beautiful to look at cascading down slopes or from pots.  Butterflies and bees love it so give it a try! 

Tarragon Chicken

If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner for yourselves or for company, this dish fits the bill.  It is easily prepared and the combination of tarragon with chicken and wine is absolutely divine.  Serve this with a green salad and a vegetable followed with a light dessert and you will have a simple yet elegant dinner to present in little time.

This is a French recipe I have used for 30+ years from an old Betty Crocker International Cookbook.  I did not have dry white wine so substituted Marsala wine and it was equally delicious.


Butternut Squash Pizza

If you are into vegetable pizzas, this one is for you!  This is a delicious revamp of a recipe I recently tried on a personal pizza crust envelope.  The results were fantastic.  I as usual added all but the kitchen sink as I always like to add spinach and feta cheese to anything made with butternut squash but my daughter was pointing out that goat cheese would be good in the recipe too.  The addition of fresh basil leaves also made it absolutely marvelously delicious!

For a different kind of pizza, try this squash pizza recipe - I think you'll like it!


The Clarno Unit of The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a geological and topographical natural wonder.  It is located in Central Oregon and along with Sheep Rock and the beautiful Painted Hills, is worth the trip to observe nature at its wildest. 

The Clarno Unit is located near Fossil, Oregon and along the trails at this particular part of the monument, you can see the Blue Basin as well as see actual fossils embedded in the cliffs and the rocks. 

It is a wonderful part of the country to vacation in with activities from white water rafting, rock climbing to fishing and hunting in season but most people venture here for the climate - high mountain desert with beautiful dry sunny days and cool nights. 


Therapeutic Hypothermia - The New Treatment for Cardiac Arrest

I've been hearing a lot about this new innovative treatment called therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest but also in treating non-bleeding strokes and brain injuries.  So I decided to put on my investigative cap and go looking for more details.

It turns out that the technique has been in testing for years but in more recent years, they have now determined that moderate hypothermia can reverse or at least stop the effects caused by cardiac arrest and/or stroke whereas before they were using deep hypothermia.  This technique is showing great promise in the area of brain injury as well as birth asphyxia, thus reducing the complications of cerebral palsy in infants.

For more information, see the entire article but the most popular mode of therapy at the moment seems to be the Arctic Sun device, which is being used with great success. 

In a nation where more than 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrest per year and only about 10% survive coming home from the hospital, this could be a medical miracle!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sheep Rock Unit of John Day National Monument - Central Oregon

If you are looking for a unique place to visit, the John Day National Monument won't set you back a hefty entrance fee but will knock your socks off in terms of incredible rock formations and colorful scenery.  The John Day National Monument is made up of 3 units and this is about only one of them.  The other two, Painted Hills and the Clarno Unit are also unique in their presentation and geological wonders all their own.  They are spread apart a bit but within easy driving distance - a delight at any time of the year to visit.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

If you are looking for a super delicious vegetarian lasagna with all the flavor in the world, this is the recipe!  This recipe is a fantastic version of an old favorite - completely meatless.  It is a delight out of the freezer or straight from the oven.  Add a green salad and some French bread, and you have a delicious meal.  This lasagna serves 8.

Chicken Florentine Lasagna

If you want a change from the ordinary lasagna and a lasagna that is better for you, try this recipe!  This is a wonderful combination of chicken, spinach, and lasagna.  It is also lighter in the calorie and fat department - and freezes like a dream.  Try it - I'm sure you will love it.

Cheap Eats in the Bend Area of Central Oregon

With the economy being what it is, we are always looking for ways to cut costs and discovering several of the local area restaurants who offer super saver deals on fine dining is just one of them!  Here are my top 5 picks for the Bend, Redmond, Prineville area of Central Oregon!

A Day In The Life - Raising Malamutes

Don't get me wrong - I love my malamutes.  I have a 9-month-old puppy in training (The Griffin) and an 8-year-old rescued malamute.  Both are the loves of our lives but on any given day, we can go from zero to chaos in 60 seconds.  This is just one such typical day.

Find My Family - A Panacea or a Pandora's Box?

For the most part, I believe in the show Find My Family and the ideals that it seems to uphold.  However, in my case, I got a mixed bag when I went looking for my biological father when I turned 30.  I had a medical need to know situation and although it did not turn out as I had hoped or expected, I still have to say to this day that it was a positive experience because it did in fact give me a measure of the closure I so desperately needed regarding why he walked away.

Clicker Training and Practical Applications

I have been training my malamute puppy for some time now and started clicker training about a month ago.  However, recently, I had an experience with Griffin that demanded instant release of an object (as in a huge piece of glass he had in his mouth).  This hub illustrates the positive effects of good clicker training and how it might have prevented a horrible outcome.

Also links to my original clicker training hub.

City Slicker Meets Camping 101

When my husband and I were first dating, he was mad about camping and since I was mad about him, I decided to try it and see if I could 'grasp' it - with varying results over the years.  However, as in most things, you always remember 'your first' experience and this was a nightmare.  Oh well - I lived through it with humorous stories to tell afterwards.  Also included in my tale is a hilarious video from youtube on camping.

Prime Rib Slow Cooker Chili

If you are looking for a super simple, tried and true recipe for chili, this is it!  You can also eliminate the meat and just make as a vegetarian chili as well or try some of the other suggested substitutions.  This recipe is made with pieces of leftover Prime Rib and think you'll like it!  Spice it up or down as much as you'd like but it doesn't get any simpler than this recipe.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Dancing Fool In A Redneck Town

Okay - so it's my own fault - I moved to a 1-horse redneck town and for 5 years now, I've been trying to fit in - really I have!  It's just not my style - I am a southern California girl born and bred (enough said right there, eh?).  I'm getting really, really tired of having City Slicer written on my forehead no matter what I do here. 

One Friday night, I got myself into a bit of hot water down at the local tavern.  Fortunately, I did not become embroiled in any bar fights, though in retrospect, that might have been my first choice had I been a little more 'up' for the evening.  Instead, I found myself corralled so to speak into dancing with - wait for it - NOT the Marlboro Man (no - of course not) but instead Yosemite Sam!  Oy do these things happen to me?

I was innocently sitting there sipping my beer after eating a 30 pound hamburger and lo and behold, before I knew what hit me, I had been volunteered to dance the 2-step - or some form of do-si-do - I never will know because the room was spinning faster than a top before I knew what hit me. 

All I can say in retrospect is that next time I venture into one of the taverns here, I'm donning a postop shoe and claiming I had foot surgery!  No way Jose am I making such a spectacle of myself again - whether I want to fit in or not!

Dancing-Fool-Meets-Do-Si-Doon Hubpages

Does Having Medical Procedures Have to Rob You of Your Dignity?

This is my little take-off and gripe about medical procedures but also a funny look at my own experiences being at the mercy of 'care providers'. 

While I wholeheartedly applaud the medical profession (which I am in fact a part of as a medical transcriptionist), I think that health care providers need to take a step back and look at themselves and ask how they would like to be treated in similar circumstances.  For the most part, when we have procedures done, we are totally at the mercy of these trained professionals, however, in my humble opinion, many of them have forgotten one really, really important word - DIGNITY. 

As an 'old lady' of 56 years, I really don't like having my body put on display - unless it happens to be superimposed with a Victoria's Secret model's body - give me a break!  I especially don't like being put into situations either where my sagging boobs are being displayed for the whole world to gawk at!  (Not that they would be gawking mind you) 

My whole point is - as in any other line of work - do your job - but then think beyond the job and think about the PERSON involved.  Show them some modicum of dignity and hopefully it will lend itself to a more relaxed and assured patient!  I know in my case, I probably could have reduced by blood pressure by about 20 points had someone thought to show me just the rudimentary elements of human decency while I lay there buck naked on the table! 

Forget dignity in dying - I would prefer to have dignity in living!

The-Indignity-of-Some-Medical-Procedures on Hubpages

Cabbage Rolls Made Easy - Sinfully Quick and Easy

One night when I was really pressed for time and needed to use up 2 ingredients - a head of cabbage and a 1 pound package of extra-lean ground beef - I was saved by my 30+ year old Betty Crocker International Cookbook.  Lo and behold, there was a recipe for a cabbage and beef loaf - I was very skeptical on reading it because it just didn't sound like it would be that good.

Wow - was I ever wrong!  It was so easy to prepare - you could even shred the cabbage or chop it with a food processor rather than shredding by hand - but even with that part of the recipe, I had this thing thrown together in minutes and in the oven! 

The flavors were fantastic.  I actually could not believe that the recipe turned out so well and happened to think it would probably go well with some mashed red potatoes in their skins so had thrown that on as well.  I got fantastic raving reviews on my 'cabbage roll' dinner and it truly was a sinfully easy feat to accomplish.  I almost - ALMOST - felt guilty accepting the kudos!  If you want to go the traditional route, see my original and traditional cabbage roll recipe on as well (although this one has the variation of a white sauce which is fantastic - and also the traditional sauce for those sticklers).

Don't forget - cabbage is very, very good for you - and cabbage rolls no matter how you make them are a great way to get your cabbage!

Cabbage-Rolls-The-Easy-Way on Hubpages

Cabbage Rolls Traditional Recipe and Then Some

For anyone who has German heritage, cabbage rolls are a family favorite.  However, they actually originated in Finland or so history goes and this is a Finnish recipe I found recently in my 30+ year old Betty Crocker International Cookbook. 

However, this recipe sports a variation - instead of the traditional red sauce (which is listed at the end of the recipe as a variation), this one is done in a creamy white sauce and is just fabulous!  If you want a delicious dinner for a cold winter night, this is an excellent version of the traditional cabbage roll recipe.  There is also a video in the hub about making cabbage rolls in the crockpot - equally delicious.

Still further, see my quick and easy variation on cabbage rolls on hubpages.  It is so easy to prepare it is crazy and it was so delicious!

Cabbage-Rolls-The-Old-Fashioned-way on Hubpages

Vanilla or White Chocolate Breading Pudding Recipe for 2

Again with Valentine's Day right around the corner, this is an excellent idea for a great classic - bread pudding.  Since I can't eat chocolate, I tweaked the recipe that my husband loved, Chocolate-Bread-Pudding-For-Two and came up with something I could enjoy as well!

Try some of the variations such as vanilla and dried apricot bread pudding - or experiment with various liqueurs such as Grand Marnier or amaretto - use almond extract instead of vanilla or use dried orange peel along with the Grand Marnier for delicious variations.  Still yet, try dried blueberries and vanilla - just soak the dried blueberries and drain before using.  There are so many possibilities I think I will be making this dessert for quite some time!

This recipe is a bit different in that it toasts the bread cubes before assembling the pudding - it really did seem to make it a better pudding for the toasting.  Also experiment with the bread - sweet breads are good but equally good are French bread cubes and even bagel cubes! 

Whatever way you try bread pudding though, it is always a hit - and there are many variations as well with caramel sauces and whiskey sauces, etc.  You can experiment and experiment and never tire of the dessert!

White-Chocolate-or-Vanilla-Bread-Pudding-for-Two on Hubpages


Breakfast Bread Pudding-

Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe for 2

Most everyone I know loves bread pudding - and most everyone I know loves chocolate! So here is a lightened up recipe of a classic dessert - and just in time for Valentine's Day. 

If you need something that is relatively easy to make and also won't blow your diet out of the water, this is the recipe.  The fact that you can make it for 2 without tweaking the recipe and cutting things in half or thirds makes it even nicer.  I love the toasted bread cubes as it really does make a difference in the density or lack of in the bread pudding - also cooking it in a water bath really keeps it moist.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or whipped topping and sprinkle a little grated chocolate on top - or use Grand Marnier as the liqueur and then sprinkle a wee bit of dried orange peel on top - delicious!

A great ending to a wonderful meal and you can do much of it ahead.

Chocolate-Bread-Pudding-For-Two on Hubpages

Whole Wheat French Bread Recipe

I decided that I wanted to tweak my French Bread recipe a little more and try and make it healthier, so I experimented and I think I came up with the winning recipe!

You can do this French bread in a mixer or a food processor with a dough hook (I kneaded mine for about 7-8 minutes and it turned out perfectly).  I also used 1 teaspoon of salt rather than the 1-1/2 that it called for in my original French bread recipe (I also cut that back to 1 teaspoon and found it rose better as well).

Instead of rolling out the dough as well, I just shaped this loaf and it worked beautifully.  Misting it with water rather than brushing on also helps it to keep its shape.

I'm going to experiment with other flours as well such as semolina or oat and see if I can perfect yet another loaf but this bread, whether it flattens out as a sort of ciabatta, or stays up nice and firm for a French loaf is delicious no matter how you slice it so to speak!  It makes fantastic toast!

Wheat French Bread Recipe on Hubpages
French-Bread-Made-Easy on Hubpages