Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm Back, Baby!

(said in best George Costanza voice)

Saturdays are my days to relax. Relaxation, to me, is leisurely sipping coffee, catching up on reading and baking/cooking/creating til my heart's content.

Lately I haven't felt up to it, but today...

It's my third Saturday back and I've finally got my cooking groove back. Today I made homemade apple butter and English muffins from scratch. There are no pictures because my camera has gone missing. Maybe the dunderheads stole it. I'm not mad, I promise. I've got my pity hat on now.

I came home and rejoined the ranks of the church ladies. Lots of our church folks have gardens and mini orchards and if I don't eat the produce, it'll go bad, I swear! Lately the fruits of their labors have been apples. Mmmmm, home grown Granny Smiths.

Step One: Obtain Wal-Mart bag full of lovely, non-pesticide treated apples from church ladies. Thank them profusely.

Step Two: Get home, pull off leaves, wash apples, quarter and throw in pot. (Leaving on skins and cores for flavor and natural pectin).

Step Three: Add two cups water and one cup vinegar (you could also use apple cider vinegar or just apple cider, but you'll have to adjust the sugar later.)

Step Four: Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Apples'll get all mushy. It's okay!

Step Five: Toss the whole kit n' caboodle into a food mill (or, if you're spoiled like me, dump it into your Kitchenaid grinder/strainer).

Step Six: Dump resulting apple puree into a heavy pot. Add sugar (about 1/2 cup per cup of apple puree), 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each ground cloves and allspice. Stir, stir, stir.

Step Seven: Stand there stirring mixture until your arm falls off (about 2 hours at medium heat-don't you leave that pot!) Ooooorrrrr, stir occasionally with heat very low. Cook about 4-5 hours or until deep and dark gorgeous brown. You can even do this in the oven, again set very low or in a crockpot, though you'd want to leave the cover off to encourage evaporation/reduction magic.

Serve on English muffins or, if you're like me, scoop some into a coffee mug and eat it with a spoon. 'Cause we're so civilized around here, dontchaknow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home, home on the range...

We left for Michigan on a Saturday. We arrived late that night, exhausted but glad to be home. Steven's birthday was Sunday and he was overjoyed to spend it with family. Monday, my parents and I along with my sister Becky and her son headed up to the land of grandparents past for a day of blueberry picking, cemetery exploring and pizza devouring. Mid-pizza slice, I received a call from my dearly beloved, telling me that a church member, Mr. Bill had passed away and that Steven was needed in Memphis. He left. I stayed. My dad's retirement party was Tuesday. Goodbye to General Motors after 45 years. I spent the morning shopping and the rest of the day cooking and trying not to mingle.

Mixed in were picnics with the family, playtime with the niece and nephews, church services and relaxation. Well, a bit at least.

Then on Sunday, my parents drove with me (since Steven had the car, remember) back to Memphis. Steven returned to Michigan on Monday morning to "finish his vacation" and my parents stayed with me in Memphis until Thursday morning. Confused yet? I sure am.

On Thursday evening, Steven was mugged outside a Meijer's store. Four guys in a car pulled up to him as he was walking to his vehicle and two of them jumped out and started beating on him. They touched not his money, nor car keys nor wallet. No, these brilliant overachievers stole my husband's groceries: a two-liter of Vernor's ginger ale and a package of CD-Rs. Oh, and some birthday wrapping paper. About $20 worth of miscellaneous junk. Well, except the ginger ale. I might knock somebody over the head for some Vernor's, too. After I hit "post" on this, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to stop being angry about this. I vow not to fly to Michigan and hunt down a carful of dunderheaded morons and rip their faces off.


My dad and I didn't get to have our air hockey showdown. Instead, we settled for Wii Tennis. Which I beat him at. Soundly. I'm a sore loser but a really annoying winner.

Pictures will prove this feat, after I get my mom to email them to me. (Mom?)

In short, I'm back. I hope you missed me. I hope you noticed I was gone. I'm caught up on the six hundred or so blog posts that were waiting for me. God bless Google Reader.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watch out or you'll be next!

I'm not quite ready to rejoin the land of the living, but here's a little story so you'll know I'm still alive.

Today, I was talking to a patient and my brain combined "chart" and "file" and so I offered to "pull his fart."

Yes, I'm Sarah and I have a problem.