Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Dog's Life

Yesterday we finally got a legitimate fall day. We had a few in August. Weird. Lovely. But super unusual.

 August in Iowa is almost always the pits. The Grant Woods rolling hills turn a crispy tan shade of monotone. The heat makes for seriously cranky folks. And I don't know about you but the heat is an energy sucker for me. Since we had two great weeks in August it stayed a little hotter than normal all the way to the end of September. Granted, I'm thrilled that the heat in September is nothing like July/August heat, but I really LOVE my autumn weather. I want cool, crisp and fragrant. 

So I think it's finally here. The girls must agree. While I was running around like a crazy woman doing cleaning and folding and spindling and mutilating they found a nice warm spot in front of the door. Sun dogs. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Pooped Pups...

Over the weekend we camped. 
The pups went along. 
And boy did they find it exhausting. 

For starters there were Gertrude and Gladys's nieces Lilly and Lola who were able to be off leash the whole time. And they flaunted that freedom. Next came the many children. Children hanging off trees, children screaming and running through deep weeds. Children playing hide and seek in the dark with lanterns. Even two babies who cried and squealed.
 Then there was food. All those children guaranteed spilled food. And some children were short enough that a hot dog bun was an easy thing to grab. And the grabbing of food guaranteed child antics. 

Fire crackled throughout the day and night and into the next morning. A stream with a miniature waterfall burbled just beyond the camp area. And coyotes howled, not too far on the horizon, starting when the huge harvest moon began to climb into the sky. Tents full of sleeping humans that occasionally needed to be unzipped for one reason or another,  a child who startled and cried. The coyotes even yipped frantically in the distance, very late in the night, when they found something they liked. Gertrude and Gladys needed to be on their game, able to growl menacingly with each new noise. And if one of their humans didn't get on top of it, bark outright.  And best of all. During the light hours Gertrude and Gladys were able to run free. The grasses and weeds were so tall each step required leaping and bounding. And there were so many smells to investigate. Plus their humans kept testing their listening and obeying skills.  
When Rob and I hauled our stuff inside to begin the washing and repacking of our camping gear, two very sleepy pups took advantage of the creature comforts of home. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Really?

Oh, Target. Is it not enough that you suck money out if my hand every time I even drive near? Now you mail me crisp mini catalogs full of items I never knew I needed. Because until just now I had not realized that my kitchen would look great with a few plaid items. And even more rotten...beginning at $3.99 each I could so easily justify this....

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Ooops......Guess What


Dog story. 

So Tuesday morning dawned with just snippets of dog food. Just enough for half a serving for each of the poor, poor Beagles. I added a dollop of peanut butter, but alas, they went without. 
I purchased a new bag of kibble and some bits (treats) on my way home from seeing my daughters and grand baby. Gert and Gladys were glad to see me. I cut the corner off the dog food bag and loaded their bowls with the normal amount. 

Apparently they still felt a bit hollow. Gertie decided to try to sneak a few more nibbles. Then Gladys noticed and tried to jump on the gravy train. Gert defended the bag. 
No worries. I gave them a little more and then put the bag behind a closed door. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Mysteries and Other Interesting Stuff

I have so little to report. You don't really want to hear about how awesome it is to hold a tiny baby who's little butt fits in your hand and little head fits sweetly into that perfect spot on your neck. And how great it is that he's unaware that he is going to scream in fear when he sees me going in for a snuggle when he hits that awkward mommy separation phase. Or how amusing the four year old can be when she's being naughty and adorable at the same time. Or how amazing it is to be able to have serious God conversations with three little ones who are so curious about the whole wide world. You also don't want to hear about the horrible, awful, really bad nail cutting experience at our house on Thursday night...oh, you DON'T want to know.

So instead. I'll share some links of things that caught my attention this week.  Cusps are the new Crop Circles.

I so need this one!!!

Lil Video on breaking bad habits

Maymo the beagle 100 fruits and veggies

And Maymo goes trick or treating. Ha Ha

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Serials and Scenarios ~ So Delicious CocoWhip ~ Reviewed

 I am a converted coconut lover. Going vegan gave me a new reason to get over my coconut squeamishness because coconut is such a great vegan friendly product. It can replace butter or oil in many recipes and is great for your skin, too.  What's not to love. Toasted coconut. Uh yum. 

The earthy yet sweet undertones that pop in food when coconut oil, or cream or milk is added has become one of my favorite flavors. Old fashioned style popcorn popped in coconut oil on the stove is amazing. 
However, coconut can get overpowering. I don't care for coconut milk based ice creams generally. The mouth feel is too ice milk-like sometimes and the coconut is a main player in the flavors. Not that I won't happily eat it, just that it doesn't quite meet premium ice cream mouth feel. I have made coconut whip  dozens of times. Trader Joe's has the best coconut cream that whips up beautifully. But that takes a little prep and planning and sometimes the coconut flavor overpowers the end result. 

But. When I saw this little container of CocoWhip looking oh so much like cool whip style topping, I just had to try it. 

A+. And A+ for being exactly the same almost a week later. This whipped goodness is coconutty but less so than the hand whipped version and less than coconut milk ice creams. The mouth feel is top notch and the whipped creaminess is exactly that. Look at the fluffy cloud on the spoon. Yum. So Delicious...nailed it! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Scraps and Snippets - Vegan Mac and Cheese

I've tried the cauliflower as a creamy Alfredo sauce replacement. I also found the recipe using potatoes and carrots to pull off a canned nacho cheese substitute. Buzzfeed had a vegan mac and cheese sauce made out of potatoes and carrots that I just had to try.

You know when those potatoes in the pantry start getting not so delicious looking and they need to be used pronto? I had some of those. I also had grandkids coming over for dinner. Who better to try out a mac and cheese on than kids? If they don't like it, they is going to let you know, if you are picking up what I'm laying down. 

Watch the video for the recipe. The recipe is basically boiled potatoes, carrot and onion until soft, blended with cooking water, cashews and seasoning.

Here's where I veered. I followed the recipe to a T but decided to add more cheesy flavor. Because the cheese sauce has no cheese. So I added an additional 1/2 cup cooking water, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and 1/2 tsp salt. Next time I think I'll add 3/4 cup nutritional yeast. 

The two oldest kids gobbled it up. (I even used brown rice/quinoa pasta from Trader Joe's). The youngest didn't eat much more than two bites. However, the next day when I decided to eat the leftovers she was like a bird. "Feed me!" Mouth wide open. So I think it's a winner. 

Here's what I love. This was completely whole food based. It was easy.  They liked it. 

I think, in the scheme of things, I might like the cauliflower based sauces slightly better, sometimes you just have to use up potatoes before they go bad and so this one will stick around in my go to recipes. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inside Out ~ Movie Review

Movie Review: Inside Out

I kind of have a secret. I don't even want to watch most of the animated movies that come out. I mean I know that's kind of un-American, but they just leave me cold. 

That said. Inside Out's trailer grabbed my attention and made me want to watch more. My daughter invited me to go with her and her three foster kids ages 8 thru 4.

The movie started out moving right along. It is narrated by Joy who is one of Riley's emotions. Joy is pretty much the chief emotional go-to girl and the cheerleader for the whole team. The team members consist of Disgust, Anger, Fear and Sadness. Riley's life is just great, and Joy has pretty much tinged every single memory. Even the core memories are all golden hued with Joy. 

When Riley turns 11 the action really begins. Her parents uproot her from Minnesota (aka Home) to San Francisco. Dad has started a new business venture and he's preoccupied. Mom just wants not to stress him out. Riley has a new room, a new neighborhood, a new climate, a new school, and a new family if you consider Dad's different focus. Sadness, the little internal emotion of gloom, begins to touch the golden Joy memories which blue up and dim the light of optimism. In a huge accident during a power struggle between Joy and Sadness, Riley's core memories get spilled, one is touched by Sadness and all end up sucked out into the vortex of long-term memories. Joy goes after them and Sadness is pulled out with her. While Joy and Sadness navigate the pathways of Riley's imagination and memories attempting to get back to the control room and make things right, the emotions of Disgust, Anger and Fear are left to guide Riley's thoughts. 

In the eventual happily-ever-after-even-though-things-have-changed, the movie ended on a hopeful note and one that really celebrated the need for honest communication, family and the okayness of just needing to cry and ask for help. I cried a couple times throughout the film, as did my daughter. Of course, our thoughts kind of connected with the sorrow her kiddos face while they navigate their challenges. But the truth of Joy's optimism being tempered by the reality that Sadness has a place was kind of poignant, too. 

Inside Out is funny, probably more-so for the adults as most of it would go right over kid heads, but entertaining for sure. Anger is hilarious. And the emotional control rooms of several other people are visited and the conversations are pretty laugh out loud. This movie clips along and our 4-year-old was engrossed. The 6-year-old got caught up in the story-line. Our 8-year-old asked to see it again. We had quite a discussion on the way home and I'm guessing it will help the kids identify some of their own emotional challenges. I think this is a great one for so many different reasons. I also didn't feel any cringeworthy moments or feel we had to reframe any of the information in the film. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Walnut Rain

Remember the YouTube sensation that rocked the world? Chocolate Rain? Well, I'm not going to sing or do a video about something similar. I'm just going to ramble a bit about walnuts. And rain. Not even rain. I'm just going to ramble about walnuts. 

You see, we have a walnut tree in our back yard. This would be great except for the fact that we are talking Black Walnuts vs. English Walnuts. Black Walnuts taste....looking for an appropriate word....nasty. That's it. To my palate, they are horrible. I love English Walnuts. Black Walnuts are their sweeter, mapley, burnt tasting cousins that grow in my back yard. 
Our neighbor has a shop building 100 feet down from us. And when the walnut tree sheds the walnuts it is sometimes real loud. And I've had the dog alarm sound at the bang of a walnut hitting the shed. Not pretty. Even when one of the walnuts, which by the way is encased in a covering that will turn your fingers black for two weeks if you try to pry it open, drops onto the dirt from 50 feet up it makes a thud AND leaves an indentation. I have yet to get hit in the head with one, but there is evidence of this phenomenon all over my yard and patio And if I wanted to make up a song about it and put it on YouYube it would be a scary thing indeed. It would would contain words that imply violence.  So for all out sakes Walnut Rain is just going to remain rambling. You are welcome.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Scraps and Snippets - Hoo Doggie

I 've been fascinated with the whole carrot dog vegan hot dog sub idea. I went so far as to make baby carrot "beanie weenies" a couple of years ago.  If you missed that it was a crock pot full of baby carrots slathered in whatever sauce you like for your little smokies or beanie weenies and slow cooked until the sauce caramelizes a bit and the carrots are soft but with just enough tooth feel to fool the mind. 
But recipes for the real deal vegan carrot dogs are more complicated, involving ingredients and soaking and brineing. But on Pinterest I happened to just see a pin for brats cooked in beer and garlic and I wondered. What if I cooked carrots in beer and garlic?  So I bought a big old cheap 40 ounce beer and dumped it in a crock pot with peeled full size carrots cut into hot dog lengths. I sliced up about 6 cloves of garlic and threw in a teaspoon of salt. Then I put them on high for 5 hours. I cooked them until they were fork tender but still had a little resistance. With dill relish and mustard these were amazing and satisfying and guilt free. I even charred one over a camp fire and the one pictured was under the broiler and got nice grill marks so these are winners on several levels. (And because no meat touched the beer and garlic, I am going to do something with it,  probably a beer cheesy soup or sauce with cauliflower or potatoes. I'll post it when I get er done. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Weekend Update

 My daughter had a rough weekend. Labor, C-Section, worry, sleepless nights. The first of many...the sleepless nights and worry anyways. Rob and I got to welcome a grand baby into our lives. Biologically number one for Rob, but in our hearts an equal four-way share. 
I generally dislike photos of myself. However, I think holding this baby is the magic trick I've been needing to look good on film. :  ). Little BC is struggling with low blood sugars. But he needed an emergency C-Section because he was not doing well with contractions. We are trusting the Lord to work out those minute body system details. 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles~ The Curious Case of the Mistaken Identity

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely day it with my little grandloves and we took a trip to the zoo. Oh, so many exciting things to see. We even saw a turtle giving another turtle a piggy back ride!  Those silly turtles.

My daughter loves bulldogs. I must admit I think they are pretty stinking cute too. While we were driving down the street with the kiddos a bulldog popped his cute little mooshface out the window. My daughter and I oohed and ahhed but she couldn't get her phone out quick enough to snap a picture. So I maneuvered through traffic to get close. We crept up, camera at the ready but the dog had apparently decided to lie down. Sigh.

Of note, this whole conversation and unfolding paparazzi drama was outloud and the children were kind of interacting. The bulldog car turned after we passed it and my daughter mentioned it. A few blocks later the 6 year old pipes up from the back seat, "Mom! I see the dog. Is that the dog?" My daughter looks around, I look around. She says" he turned a ways back. I don't see his car." The 6 year old points and says, "that car right there!"

My daughter started laughing. "Oh, Honey, that's not a dog. That's a little old lady with fluffy hair."
not a mooshface bulldog, not a little old lady either. just a beagle butt. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ To Purge or Not to Purge.

The more I get rid of the more I question my motivation for having so much to purge. The five scarves (this purge round) still leave ten in my closet. Though there are eight mugs headed out the door I have enough mugs for significant number of folks for brunch. 

The clothing....I can't imagine being a capsule wardrobe kinda gal who only owns 30 something pieces total. But I know I have too many items in my closet so I ruthlessly throw items into a bag when it can't stand and fight under my scrutiny anymore. I can't wrap my brain around the idea that two button blouses, two tees, two cardigans, three pairs of pants, a cute dress, three skirts, one sweater, two purses, three pairs of shoes, a jacket, a coat, a trench coat, two scarves, two necklaces, a lacy/fancy tank(...that's 29...I could add more?) is enough. I can't picture this being a workable scenario for me, just because my mind wants to panic at the idea of three pairs of pants and five tops. But the idea is that each of these pieces meshes with the others and with them there are a bunch of different outfit scenarios. One source said 72 outfits with 12 pieces. Here's a website that has interesting links, info etc. I'm too scared to go crazy ruthless...but if I have six pairs of pants and six skirts and ten blouses and ten tanks or tees and six cardigans/jackets....that's a lot of outfits if they coordinate. Hmmm. I maybe need to get even more ruthless. Dare I?  

I'm also really starting to think of what I spent for my collection of stuff. I am truly grateful I'm a clearance and thrift store shopper or I'd be depressed. Honestly. One of the mugs that is leaving my home was part of three purchased because they were a bargain at $.99 each. I have never needed all three, or two. Another couple of ideas that seemed good at the time and were seriously discounted were $6.00 a piece and they haven't done a single thing but gather dust for four years. Someone else needs them.  I do not. But you know what, I want that money back. A buck at a time adds up pretty quick. Just those three items is $13.00 equal to two coffee splurges with tips. 

In spite of all my questions, I do know feels better to give and purge than to buy and hoard.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Officially Unique

According to BarkPost Gladys and Gertrude are not on the list of most popular dog names. 

However, the top 7 food inspired dog names were amusing

AND Kale!!!!