Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh DEAR!!!! What did genetics give me! ....my mom will understand this because it is about dishes.

           I cannot contain the excitement that I feel right now after finding a new ceramic by surfing the internet.  Let me back up a  little.  I am doing research on my next pottery assignment.  It started out as one thought, a drawing, then, it totally morphed into a platter instead of a bowl.  I talked to my sister about it it and VWalah I know have a for sure vision and orders from my family that want them!  Wait!  I haven’t EVEN touched the raw clay yet. 

The assignment:  Make a food service dish that will display and enhance the food to be brought to the SCAG Thanksgiving potluck.  

          SCAG stands for students ceramic arts guild. Picking the type of food for my project was easy!  My family’s traditional meal since growing up overseas on an Aramco compound, Ras Tanura, is a cups or kabsa for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.  We cover the floor with sheets and all eat the meal sitting on the floor surrounding 5 huge four foot wide platters. I think about 5-10 people can fit around one platter.  The meal consists of meat, rice, tabouleh and a sauce with other condiments such as cut cucumber and lemons.  My favorite is the Tabouleh, and usually I help to create it. Tabouleh is a middle eastern salad with cracked bulgar, diced fresh parsely, dice tomatoes, cukes, lettuce, onions, and a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and spices. I swear I could OD on this stuff. 

          About my project....I have so many ideas, geometrical designs, even phrases beautifully written in Arabic to adorn my theoretical vessel with and hours researching exactly what I want. It should display my tabouleh with a dish in the middle for the sauce. I hope it turns out well.....and suddenly....while looking through images on the net I accidentally encountered …..POLISH POTTERY!!  It totally made my heart race I am loved every shade of blue and all the exquisite perfectly repeated designs in every bowl and every plate!  Most polish pottery is in my favorite shade....BLUE! Finding so much of it made me feel like I was cookie monster at a cookie swap.  I loved those dishes!  I love those dishes, and I will love thoses dishes into the future!  I think this covers all the verb tenses.... Furthermore, I really love antique dishes, I love stoneware, I love new dishes, I love polish, I love blue, I love bright, moroccoan and greek!!  I love the bronze age, I love it all!! This is sounding almost seusical, maybe I am a stoneware dish geek!

Breathing deeply now……..breathing deeply…….breathing deep.


          Here is a picture of my latest unfinished assignment.  It is a Mycenaen replica.  I have so much respect for handmade pottery now, it is beyond belief how they created such vessels. This pot is so big it bends the bat of hardboard holding it.  Also, I have applied terra sigillata which is a way of making the vessel look a bit glossy and finished, like an ancient glaze  Here is my write up on the history behind the piece, I thought it was interesting. Yesterday I made a lid for it, I actually plan on using this huge vessel to store food stuff in. 


Pottery can play an integral part in the discovery and aid in further study of ancient civilizations. Up until 1870, Mycenae, was a city that existed only in the minds of Greek legends and written about in the poetry of Homer. Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist, set out to find the city written about in Homers Iliad, using only the well known objects from prominent places in the writing. Schliemann found the remains of what was once the strongest city in a thriving network of city states. Mycenae was rich in trade and ruled by royal monarchs supported by a stalwart military. The types of people that lived in Mycenae, which is about 56 miles south west of Athens, were priests, soldiers, artisans, serfs, slaves, merchants, and bureaucrats. The findings of the archaeological digs proved that the Mycenaens kept impeccable records. For hundreds of years Mycenae was a thriving city. Because of the Mycenaen pottery that is scattered all over the Mediterranean, it can be assumed that Mycenaens traveled quite a distance for trade. Mycenae existed from 1900 B.C. and disappeared by 1125 B.C. Theories of the city’s collapse include natural disasters, city wide fires, or climate change as to the cause.  Mycenaen pottery has been found in Egypt and Italy and artifacts as far away as Germany. Greek pottery styles of intricate images with a dark and light contrast post date the Mycenaen era.  Mycenaen pottery usually appears unglazed, banded, or with plant and marine life images.  A hidden past was uncovered when the amateur archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann discovered the legendary Mycenae through the writings of Homer.

I love this unearthed octopot from Mycenae.....love the octopus!  In order to make an exact replica, pictures were taken to kinkos to blow up the image to at least 20 inches tall or more.  Then the outline of half the pot was traced and cut out onto poster board.  This was to be used as a gauge to make it accurate.  I will have to say it was extrememly difficult to do.  Not to mention that the Mycenaen pots were usually a meater in heighth, mine ended up being only 3 feet tall. 


This post just needs to end for now, for many reasons, but I can't wait to tell you about taking two 10 year olds to the ceramics studio and what that has to do with Yo Gabba Gabba!




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

boots in places you never thought you'd see them

Bogs - Fern Mid

I am so inspired to shop for boots! Especially after my hunny's experience at the army hospital's ortho-surgical unit. Of course being an Allied Health pre-nursing student I had to ask the doc and everyone I met all kinds of questions not really related to my husband's surgery like, "do you HAVE to wear hospital scrubs or can you wear your own?", I was thinking of my favorite medical drama, Mercy, that was cancelled last year along with all the cute flowery scrubs the nurses wore. Duh! (that is everyday vocabulary borrowed from my ten year old).....Of course everyone in surgery wears the same disinfected scrubs that have been commercially washed according to hospital standards to destroy all germs, pathogens, and microbes. I am really curious now as to exactly what detergent the army hospital actually uses.

The most interesting thing I noticed was when the nurse came into our area, which is everybody else's area too, only separated by dividing curtains.  She asked questions like, "so, do you know what is happening today?", "you understand it is the right ankle?", "what is your name?" etc.  I couldn't keep from noticing her attire: surgical cap, hospital scrubs, and MUD BOOTS! WTH??  Really, REALLY? I was looking sideways at my husband screaming with my eyes and pointing with my glances, do you see that!!!!!  I bet you can imagine what I mean.  It is like when you are trying to talk to someone, about another someone, right in front of the other someone, trying to get the person to look at something certain without them knowing!

 I swear if you are from chicken country you can relate with my next statement.  I pinky SWEAR, the only thing missing on the nurses attire was the hair net or she would have been a chicken plant worker in north west Arkansas. Yes,  I said chicken plant, if you have ever been to one you are now thinking bodily parts and pieces of small fowl that will eventually reach your grocery store.  This is what made my husband and I think about the procedure....is it so deep in bodily parts and pieces that the medical team needs mud boots?

When a person is about to have outpatient surgery performed, about a million people come by to to check things off their list right before they knock you out.  Then, the CRNA or nurse anesthetist, who eventually does the knocking out, came in and guess what?  She ALSO had on mud boots!!!  This just seemed outrageous to me. I got ready to open my mouth to ask more questions as my hunny's head shook and he rested it in his hands, I asked, "Why are you wearing rubber boots because the only thing we could think of was the amount of possible blood in the OR (that is grays anatomy talk for operating room) and do you watch medical dramas because we watch all of them".

Here's the goods:  the doc has never seen a medical drama....EVER. The CRNA watches all the popular shows and swears that the procedure that we saw last night on Gray's Anatomy won't be performed on my husbands fibula.  She informed us that medical dramas aren't real, they are mostly all fantasy. We also found out that the rubber boots are to keep dry from the huge amount of water that is used to irrigate the area being worked on in ortho-surgeries. It keeps the area open and makes surgery easier, she said.

Later the next day, while checking my mail at the post office and throwing away all the spam.....no, whats the word for snail mail spam......oh yah,  JUNK MAIL!  I realize I CANNOT throw away the Cabelas catalog until #1 gives the okay.  So I glance through it, and find the most amazing mud boots, BOGS! Of course they don't carry my size, because my feet are so large. I race back to the house to finds these Bogs online. I decided that I really need these boots too, for one they are also cold weather boots, two- break up season really sneaks up real quick, three- when  visiting family you just never know when there will be a flash flood, AND who knows, one day I may be an ortho-surgical nurse!

I just have to decide if I like Paisley Mids or Fern Mids better.

Note to chicken plant workers:  I have no issues with employment of any sort, really, expecially in this recession, I may be looking for a job soon!

Bogs - Classic Mid Paisley

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sidetracked...........................who me?

This is a rant, and it made me feel good.  It is funny to me because this was my very first post not associated with ENGLISH class.  However, I thought I posted it........I didn't.  So here it is.  I think other people can relate.

My day today.....get off work at 8am...then sleep, wake up at the crack of noon and try to find myself again.

After several cups of coffee and thinking about what types of thing NEED to be done I watch an Israeli foreign film. REally really, I want to live in a decent, clean and organzied house. It seems realy simple. Where to start. Watching t.v. does not help AT ALL!

I get distracted very easy.  This is basically a list of all the things that seem more important than doing dishes.

I went for a ride in my son's new mitzubishi. He bought me Thai food. I came home and checked emails, cut and hung my nearly frozen tomatoes, dug potatoes, changed diapers, kept the wood stove going and looked at the kitchen in it's disarray. Then I decided to grease and clean the sliding glass door tracking.
Later, I decided to refresh my sentsy thing in the kitchen. Then I got all the girl scout craft items off the floor in the kitchen, that was 5 gallons of beads, paint, papers, wire, ribbon, and all kinds of recycled materials.
I can be a great gs leader, construct all kinds of messenger bags out of recycled fused grocery bags, lead a team of Girls up a mountain, take a 2 year old shopping at a grocery store.
I can shoot  a camera and a rifle, skin and butcher a moose, raise a mighty garden and process all the food, get all A's in my pre-nursing classes but I CANNOT SEEM TO GET MY KITCHEN CLEAN.

 THERE ARE TOO MANY OTHER THINGS TO DO!!!!

Sambuza Runza!!!! A recipe if you call it that...............

This is a recipe that I got from a friend here in Alaska. She got it from her mother in law.  I think we have both made major changes to it to suit our tastes and what our families will actually eat.  My house, full of healthy appetites, have been bugging me all year to make them.  Today seemed to be the day since they are very inexpensive (I am always budgeting), I happen to have 1.2 gallons of fermented kraut, and I literally have 3.5 freezers full of moose and caribou due to the successful hunters that live here.


Traditionally the Runza comes from Germany.  It is a hot meat filled bread pocket with cabbage and onions.  My friend always adds cheddar cheese to hers.  Today, I am flavoring the meat with middle eastern spices and parsley to resemble a sambuza, the deep fried, triangular, meat pocket found at the snack bar in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, where I grew up.

Ingredients:


  1. your favorite bread or dinner roll recipe
  2. sauer kraut or lightly sauteed shredded cabbage (see posted link to make your own)
  3. ground beef, moose, caribou or anything ground


You might have noticed by now that I do not measure anything much.  I usually make the dough to fit my largest bowl or just make a double recipe for my family of 7.  While the dough is rising I cook the ground meat and season with anything.  Salt and pepper works but today I used Bazhaar liberally and dried parsley flakes, sea salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Bazhaar is a middle eastern spice that is made from a mixture of 7 other spices, if you have ever had cupsa and eaten on the floor then you are craving it now. 




Add onions to taste into the meat mixture.

Next, punch down your dough and while waiting the 10 minutes for it to rest, drain your sauer kraut in a colander.

My kraut is made from cabbage, broccoli, turnips, zuchini, and carrots from my garden.  I watched youtube videos to learn how.


 Here is a cabbage and a turnip from my garden before they were lacto fermented.

Next, divide dough into pieces until you have pieces a little larger than a golf ball.  In a double recipe I got 18 of these.

Roll out your lump of dough til it is about the size of a dinner plate, shape doesn't matter. My dough is 100% whole wheat and still rolls out perfectly!


Use plenty of flour to prevent from sticking.
Next add a scoop of sauerkraut.  I actually measured since I made so many and wanted them to all be the exact same size. My scoop was half a cup but I packed it overflowing.


I flatten this out a bit and then add two thirds a cup of cooked ground meat on top.


The next part is easy, just folding it closed.  If you want cheese this is the best time to add it, right before you start folding.


Fold opposite sides toward each other.


I make these squarish.  It is not important to seal shut.  You can let them rise a little before you bake but I just put them right in the oven folded side down.


Bake long enough so that they brown on top in a 350 degree oven.  You can butter the tops and eat with bleu cheese dressing or ranch.  When cooled I like to wrap the extras in foil and freeze for lunches.

yum!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Peanut Brittle and Getting Older (Golden Girl Style)


If you read the previous post and were wondering....the peanut brittle turned out so well that it was instantly inhaled by everyone. I ate it until I had visions of trying to explain to Dr. Hostager why I would be visiting his dental office again this year!! I even stocked up on peanuts so that on the next sunny day, we will do it again while doubling the recipe.

WHEN WE ARE OLD

While texting back and forth today with my sister I had a scary mental image of what my two sisters and I may look like when we are old. I guess it was like a flash forward into the future. It got me wondering. Will we be fashionably out of date and continally wear antiquated styles we learned in the 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's? Will we resemble the "Golden Girls" on t.v.? Will we be looked at as ancient in the same way we see polyester of yesteryear and beehive hairdo's? Which one of us will always try to stay young and edgy adopting all the new fads and fashions possibly ruining the look with wrinkles,saggy skin and gray hair. More important.....who will go all gray first? Who will stop coloring their hair first? I already struggle with the "want to look hot" syndrome of lower 'than you should go' rise jeans that really don't look so hot after birthing 5 kids and sporting that muffin top I am not too proud of. Am I really going down this path? Really?

The sad part is that I am already making the transition in comfort wear styles. Especially in the shoe department. Sexy can have drastic immediate affects that are positive however, it can also cost a person later. Take for instance my last overdue date with my husband. I bought THE SEXIEST PLATFORMS ON THE PLANET for my size (yes, I had to go to the big girl store to get them) just for this date. I was immediately elevated to the heighth of my 6'2" husband and possibly higher. The effect was a success. I felt different, I acted all happy and sweet, and I walked a whole heck of a lot slower!!!

Even though I had feelings of saucy sexiness, my radar was sensing that my husband did not want to be seen with me... in public... with these shoes on. It could just be my own insecurity, I could be way off, or it could be

A. my husband doesn't want anyone else looking at HIS wife because "I'm too sexy" in my shoes. -greedy hoarding type thoughts

or

B. my husband doesn't want anyone to be a witness when I fall from this considerable height and squash a little person because it would embarrass him and we could possibly be sued for hurting people because of my sexy shoes!

Anyway, the next day the balls of my feet were bruised and my calves felt like I had paid a trainer at the gym for a 10 hour calf workout. The only thing that touched my feet were my snuggly soft pink slippers that son #2 got me for Christmas last year......must have known something in advance. I only wore the heels for 45 minutes!!!!! REalLy!!

Words of Wisdom to Women

Every once in a while it is good to change things up, even trying spiky 6 inch platform sexy shoes because it will make all the comfy shoes in the world feel so much more....well, COMFIER!


My Fav Blogs for now.....send me your favs!

waitinthevan.blogspot.com - she makes me laugh, found this by accident.
themofarmersdaughter.blogspot.com - nostalgic stories about my daddy or my momma, love it!
thevintagesistersstudio.blogspot.com -wildly creative how to's and artwork by an amazing lady, I like her recycling strategies.
fail.blog -because we need to laugh at least once a day.
once a month mom - lots of creative recipes for mass producing meals.

peace out my friends!






Saturday, October 2, 2010

Movies I like and Grannie's Peanut Brittle



Before I get into talking about my reviews of this weeks funny/ quirky movies, my son brought to my attention that there are two types of pancake makers in the world. No matter what type a person is, if the batter is good, then the pancakes will be great. Son #1 is a liberal pancake maker, only two of them will fit on my huge griddle. Here are at least three reasons why I am a conservative pancake maker:

#1. I mass produce. I want to save time in the future (with so many mouths to feed) therefore I quadruple the recipe. When they are finished and cooled I later freeze/hide the extras. This is equivalent to -3X of making breakfast
next week.......brilliant!

#2. In conservative pancaking styles, there are many more pancakes produced at the same time because each whole wheat, flax infested, blueberry buttermilk pancake with pecans is smaller in size. I love to make them hearty too.

#3. More area on the griddle is being used to cook the pancakes so that means overall less cooking, flipping, and standing time in the kitchen. Yay!


MOVIE REVIEW PART

I'd like to watch the whole "Sunny With A Chance Of Meatballs" from the beginning to count how many other fliks it pokes fun of. I woke up late this Saturday morning, groped my way to the coffee pot, and then plopped down on the couch to find everyone, even the two year old, glued to the tube. I was instantly as absorbed as everyone else was to the huge flat screen images of the computer animated life of a geniously geeky teenage inventor, Flint, voted last years movie of America- my 10 year old tells me. Flint is very VERY awkward and wants to make his town happy but destroys it instead with his inventions.

This movie spoofs Armageddon, The Abyss, Titan AE, Resident Evil (so I am told), 2012, the one with huge cyclones and weather patterns that will destroy the earth, Jimmy Neutron, Chicken Little and many more and that was counting just from the last 15 minutes. Because of one of the final scenes of Flint nearly dying from a passing through a death hole with the sharp peanut brittle shards spewing from all sides, my family is going to experience creating peanut brittle today, after I restock my pantry. We even rang up GrandPa for tips and to find out if it has to be sunny or cloudy to make the brittle, Grannie style!!! Grannie always said it had to be sunny or brittle won't turn out.

The other movie that is fun to watch is "Screen Door Jesus" because everyone with any kind of faith at all will find themselves somewhere as somebody in this movie. It pokes fun at many sects of the Christian faith. What is funny is that it is very hard to admit out loud which character you think fits yourself. My husband and I watched and then pointed at each other and asked "Which one are you?" as we lied to each other about who we thought we were. It is really funny and for adults only. Wait, he NEVER told me which character he felt like the most!

To ponder:

Why does a ten year old 5th grade girl think that if you turn on a vacuum for about 60 seconds, then sit down in a chair to play with string, that it deserves the check off mark of finishing the "vacuum living room" on the chore list?

Random important issues:

This may come as a surprise to many people but forks and spoons in MY universe do not fit in the flatware tray UNLESS the bigger ones point down and the smaller ones point up. I only expect my mother to understand this.

I'll post pictures of the peanut brittle if it turns out.
ciao