24 January, 2017

Cauliflower Rice

 I am in love with my new Vitamix blender. 2 horsepower of serious business.
While out to dinner with friends last week, we had Cauliflower Rice. So, so, easy to make.
Especially with the Vitamix. Bob - our cook - no - our chef,  served it as a side dish with fresh pineapple.

I'll write my 'recipe' at the bottom of this post if you are interested.

 I had this last week off and my little sis came out from Minnesota to sort out some family interventions. I'd love to write well about depression and aging parents but cannot come up with words that would describe the problems without getting too much into family politics.

My older sister has sunk into a deep depression and our daily visits seemed to help but she would not leave her house. Her son who lives with her is very worried. An unintended success was finding out the nephew needed a business casual suit for interviews he is involved in. So the aunties took him suit shopping.

This sister gets to her doctors appointments and grocery shopping but does nothing non-essential.

My mom and dad are in their 80's and downsized 2 1/2 years ago to a single story home in the same town. With my older sister and brother not available (they live local), I feel this burden on my shoulders. They are about 35 minutes away from me with good traffic. With my long work hours, we feel they are increasingly isolated.

Our third and recent snowstorm brought this home when my little sister and I arrived to find no one had come over to shovel off their driveway or check that they were okay (seven days). They had plenty of food (old school preparedness) but still... one of their new neighbors has boys in their 20's... This wouldn't happen in my neighborhood.

The plow blade came down their street and left ice boulders blocking their driveway. If they had needed to get out, they couldn't.

I cleared their drive and  created a walkway that melted off in the sun. It was a pretty thick layer of ice covered by snow.

My sis and I came up with some suggestions to finalize the week and thoroughly piss off those family members.
At least we can rely on our Oregon weather to be finished with snow for the winter. (knock on wood)

We spent eight days working these family problems.
That's when I discovered the amazing fluffy ice the vitamix makes. OMG - best Margarita's ever.
The vitamix didn't even change sounds fluffing up that ice.

If you look again at the photo of my sis above, she fell while out running in the snow & ice in Minnesota three days before she came. It's a broken ankle. She came out with a knee scooter, an immobilizing boot and we also had crutches.

In our Oregon snow & ice.

You really can't kick her to the curb for trying to get stubborn family members to improve their lot. We played the sympathy card for all  it was worth.

 I did manage one fun morning that week meeting up with Pencil Girl at Fabric Depot. We had tried to meet up a few days previously but Portland was pretty bad with ice compared to where we live. On one day, meeting a nephew for lunch, we turned off the bare interstate onto five lanes of rutted ice. Pencil Girl and I met up later once the ice had melted.

She was looking to improve her niece's prom dress which was already awesome, so we solved the world's problems in the lace and bridal section

Cuddle airplanes and look at the red chevron cuddle. Very soft.

After dropping my sister off at the airport, I decided to drive to a couple of estate sales south of my town and found some treasures. Garage sale therapy.

My Creative Friend went to one of them before me. It was the estate of one of the Keil's. Their ancestors founded the Aurora Colony.

She bought a large box of old photographs and found some that she will need to donate to the Aurora Museum. Including a child's handwritten history in a composition book from the 20's.

This magazine page fell out and she almost gave it to me - look at the silly airplane. This is just the right-hand corner of the illustration. "Drawn, ever so Roughly by Michelson Hollywood" is inscribed at the bottom corner. Looks like vintage satire magazine advertising from the 40's.  It gave me a huge smile to read all the little captions.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head of Cauliflower
Small can of Coconut Milk (1/2 cup)
Walnut Oil or Olive oil
Fresh Pineapple, diced fine.

Chop cauliflower up roughly, discarding the leaves and stem areas. 
Toss into vitamix and Pulse until like grains of rice.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in skillet. Transfer 'rice' to pan and cook on Medium high for 5 - 8 minutes with lid over rice to help steam it.

Add seasonings (I used a cajun seasoning and a seasoned salt shaker)

Add Coconut milk and heat through.

I added chopped sausages and topped it with the pineapple for a main dish.

I will have leftovers for a few days too. Yum.

11 January, 2017

Half Day Off Work

 Canbyland enjoyed a third installment in our stormy winter today.

It's very unusual for the Willamette Valley to get three snow storms in a row. Typically, we will get  a (single) serious ice storm every ten years or so. In between, we get mild winters, or gray, rainy winters, or one inch of snow which causes the nation to poke fun at us Oregonians as life comes to a complete standstill.

Over in Central Oregon, they are digging out from five feet of snow - also somewhat unusual.

In any case, I drove 20mph to my job this morning in the snowy ice only to have most of the package deliveries cancelled. Taking my chance, I asked if I could go home and if, (IF???) I had to come back for the afternoon. I usually work a 12 hr split shift with an hour or two (or three) for lunch in the middle. I am so tired of these continuous 12 hr days. And they have been seven days/week for what seems months.

Once home, I put away my 1000 airplane ornaments and the rest of Christmas.
And then I got the phone call - to stay home. There might have been a praise god in there.

I have plans to clean my house this afternoon after another episode of Downton Abbey that I am binge-watching on Amazon Video.

 My friend in Finland surprised me with some Moomin cups and bowls. Probably because I served her coffee in my other Moomin coffee cups....when she visited back in September.

Plus some Marimekko fabric to play with. Today I decided what I would make her with some of these beauties. I'm not ready to turn my sewing machine back on yet but I do have next week off work to do some family interventions with my little sis from Minnesota.

We'll have to see if I can carve out some time.

When I am doing continuous overtime, I sometimes buy myself a gift. The last time was my Pfaff sewing machine. This time? A 2hp Vitamix blender.

Boy howdy, can this machine pulverize celery, apples, zucchini, bok choi and other fun, healthy vegetables. And the clean-up is so much faster than my old way of making green juice.

***Why is Oregon the laughingstock of the nation during snow?

Because one inch of snow creates *ice* as we don't usually get below freezing. We have mountains, curves, and very few straight roads. We cancel school, work (Except for where I work), and all other activities.

The black ice hides under the snow dusting and creates havoc for drivers. Because we don't get much snow and fall under freezing temps often, Oregon doesn't really have snow plows, or other snow removal tools. We might have leaf blowers but few snow blowers.

Oregon is also raised green so we can't salt our roads like other states do. Salt kills vegetation and poisons our rivers.

After our last big ice storm nine years ago, Canbyland bought a plow attachment that can fit on a big dump truck. It was quite controversial at the time as we didn't need it for another nine years.

Generally though, most communities are ill-prepared for snow and ice and so we just cancel activities instead. Who doesn't need a snow day as an adult?

****Do I really have 1000 airplane ornaments? Ahem, I haven't ever counted them, but my kids will say I might have a few too many. My collection will be worth millions someday or I might be buried with them...

04 January, 2017

Snow And Ice

Awesome start to the New Year. 
A couple of inches of snow hit Canbyland hard and almost instantly turned to ice.

Just five miles from us - they got nothing. Such is the vagarities of Mother Nature.

The Willamette Valley is hovering near freezing right now. Cold for us but quite balmy by North Dakota standards. Or my daughter in Alaska, when she picked out her Christmas Tree in minus 7 degrees(f).

Benta , my friend from England, sent me this tote bag of me hoarding my fabric, "now all I  need is time!"
So true. I am way past my due date of ending these 12 hour work days. I should be getting less hours soon. Soon, so I can launch myself at my stash. Maybe I'll have to turn my sewing  machine on and then off to see if it still works...

I think I will call this my lucky fabric bag. When I am at garage sales, I will find amazing fabric to stash in this tote!

One of my most favorite presents to get at Christmas time is Black Thistle Seed for my little yellow finches. This seed is high in fat and attracts these funny little finches. They spend their days amusing me with their antics around the feeder. I try to keep the feeder full right now with this ice/snow covering the ground.

I posted this photo on Instagram (RocketGirl50) and asked, "I bet you cannot count all the yellow finches hidden in the Rose of Sharon bush chittering at me for coming too close to their feeder."

Obviously, you can see three. There are at least twenty in here all giving me the stink eye.

I took this video from the kitchen the day before the snow fell.