Monday, August 22, 2011

Planning Our Menu (or What We are Eating)

Some of my family really loves fish.   I can take it.  Or leave it.  Usually I cook salmon.  I buy mine at Sam's Club, divide it and freeze it. 

When I cook salmon I start with one of my 3 go to seasonings.  Brown sugar.  Lemon pepper. And Cajun seasoning. (blackened).

I have 3 cooking methods.  In the oven.  On the grill, or in the crock pot.  Using the grill or crock pot keeps the smell outside (as long as you eat it out there, too;) 
Cooking in the crock pot is a great way to keep your house cooler with summer weather, but the crock pot itself gives off heat (and does not contain that fishy smell.  I just take mine outside and plug it in on the patio.

I never cook frozen fish.  This is a big thing to me.  (You can do whatever you want.)  I never cook frozen fish.  It makes a difference (to US) in the texture of the fish.  I use defrosted or right from the store. (not fresh I'm sure)


When you cook your fish in a crock pot, it will be wrapped in foil, and in a single layer.  I like to have the base of my crock pot match the base (in size) of my piece of fish.

Start by laying out a large (enough) piece of sturdy foil (or doubled foil).

Next I spread about 1 table. of softened butter on the foil to the size of my fish piece.  (You could use your preferred fat.  I like the flavour of butter.) 
Then I season the butter.  I sprinkle the Cajun seasoning (or lemon pepper or brown sugar) over the butter on the foil..

Because I am NOT turning my crock pot fish over during the cooking process, I PUT THE UGLY SIDE OF THE FISH DOWN ON THE FOIL.

Then I butter the top of the fish, and season the top.

Wrap the foil as you would for a tin foil dinner and put in to the crock pot.
Put your fish pack into the crock pot with NO water or other liquid.  (You do not need to spray your crock pot, either.)

Cook on low for about 2 hours (My fish is about 1 inch thick and not frozen when I start.)

Easy.  Cooler than the oven.  Can keep the smell outside :)
Crock Pot Salmon

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What We Found... An EXPOSE'

I am posting this from New York City.  This is one of my very favourite places to visit.  I am so grateful to my my brother, Michael and Tracey (and Jenna and Tashina :) share their house and city with us.  THANK YOU!
"What I Buy Wednesday" will return next week.

I hate to tattle... but this was a surprise to us.

During a very busy week (a few weeks ago) Emily brought home KFC (chicken) for dinner.  (Thanks, Em:) 

Doug noticed the honey packet was labeled, ""Honey Sauce"???  So...we read the ingredient list.  (Ready?)

(In order)
high fructose corn syrup
corn syrup
contains less that 2% caramel color, molasses, water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, malic acid
(7% real honey)

I buy a lot of honey.  My husband loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  I buy our honey at Wincos.  You pick your flavour, and fill a clear sour cream style container.  (Be careful not to lift the lid of the box.  They have a safety notice warning that the bees could escape.) 
Although the bears are cuter, I like the wide opening style container.  No waiting for the honey to move to the lid so you can squeeze it out.   Even as it starts to firm up, you can get the honey out with a knife.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Couple of Summer Ideas

Any last minute summer fun planned?  My blog posts next week will be from New York City.  We are flying, of course, but I wanted to share a couple of summer ideas we used this summer while out and about.

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS had a great idea of using a cereal (storage) container for car garbage.  I stuck a few extra bags in the bottom.  Then I used a grocery bag to line the container and put the lid on.
We used this on our trip to Yellowstone this summer and I loved it.  (We put in wet diapers, banana peels, chewed gum (at least what did not fall on the floor :)  The pop open made of the lid made it easy to use and kept all odors inside.  This idea was a real find.

While we were waiting for lunch at a restaurant this summer, I noticed Hilary and Lincoln playing TIC TAC TOE.  With silverware and sugar packets.  It kept our wiggly Lincoln in his seat, and looked fun.
(I just learned she found the idea from...who found it from...  But I think this idea originally came from bedifferentactnormal.  It's a good one :)
 (Emily and Hilary are full of fun ideas.  While they were on a cruise this summer they played "Go Fish" (using credit cards, business cards, appointment cards - you know, stuff from a wallet :) with Lincoln while waiting in line for a midnight event.) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I buy Wednesday

This was an impulse buy.  I had planned to post something different today.

This is my cat, Lightning.  We found her hiding outside (in the snow) on New Years' Day, 2007.  She was about 1 month old and terrified.  It took us hours to find and catch the little one.

(She kept squinting when I took her picture.)
Lightning will not venture outside, but will spend hours in the windows, looking outside.
Which means constant and time consuming fur removal from drapes.  To more than one window and in more than 1 room.  It can never be done often enough.

I have tried using dryer sheets and damp/dry cloths.  I have tried lint rollers.  I have the blue roller thing by PLEDGE.  The blue PLEDGE thing is what I have used until now.   (It does not work as well and it is hard to get the fur off of the rollers.  Plus you must open it to remove hair, and get replacement rollers.) 

I bought my "FURemover MITT" (on impulse) at Walmart for $2.98.  It works great and fast.  It works best with some pressure on the other side (like a wall or window.  OR MY OTHER HAND :)  I am getting another one so I can do both sides of the drapes at the same time.  (The one I have is right handed so I will look for a left handed one, but a right  turned over is roomy enough to work.)  
The fur "glob" lifts right off so it is easy clean.  It can be used dry or damp.  I thought dry worked best.  The teeth/bristles/whatever are like silicone.
I really recommend this for pet hair.  (We have cat hair, but it shows dogs on the header.)

Since the ones for drapes will be well used, I am also getting one for (the less furry) furniture, and one for clothes (especially my husbands suits).  (I will try the new curtain one for those surfaces first.)
 I have not been contacted or compensated for my opinion or recommendation.    

Monday, August 8, 2011

Planning Our Menu

I made these potatoes twice in July.  It is on the regular menu now.

from plainchicken slightly adapted by me
(I used ramekins that are a bit less than 1/2 cup, and made 10.  Next time I will use bigger ramekins.)

2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.) Thinly sliced, but don't stress it
whipping cream - some
salt and pepper
dried or fresh herbs of choice

I used a silicone brush and brushed the inside of ramekins with softened butter.
Put 2 potato slices in each ramekin (or 3 - I wanted a full layer)
Season with salt, pepper and choice of dried herbs.  ( I use Our Best Bites Garlic Bread Seasoning.mmmm) 
Repeat slices and seasonings until dish is full.
Pour cream over the top. (At least 1 table., but maybe more :)

Bake at 425* til golden brown and tender.
Here is where you are on your own.  I did not want to heat up my kitchen, so I baked my ramekins in the toaster oven outside.  It took 45-55 mins.
I served them in the ramekins.

The next time I made these potatoes in a larger dish and baked them in the oven with Creamy Baked Eggs.  They were still really good.  And still took 45-55 mins.
This may seem like a recipe with a lot of prep time, but it is really quite fast.

Everyone liked this so it has moved in the the side dish area of my cookbook.

Friday, August 5, 2011

10 Things That Made Me Happy

"You can do anything, but not everything".  David Allen

July 2011

#1  We just got back from a fun family trip to Island Park and Yellowstone.  Thank you so much, Mom and Dad. 
We got to see the Rexberg Temple on our drive up.  That was special as Doug and I met at Rick's College (in Rexberg)  33 1/2 years ago :)
We went to Yellowstone Park and hunted water falls.  We also hunted bears, but found none.  Logan kept asking people returning on the trail if they had seen one:)  (My mother in law told me bears are attracted to TWIZZLERS.  How do they figure that out?)

Michael and Kate took everyone to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat".  Thank you.  Lots.  Everyone enjoyed it.

We visited West Yellowstone, drove to Mesa Falls and went horseback riding.  (Not Me and Doug.  We cheered for Logan while he rode and then took Brookie and Logan back to the house.)

An unnamed grandson, newly toilet trained and VERY grossed out by the out houses, was pleased to go to the bathroom on the trees.  (Funny how boys are boys.)

#2   I loved playing rockets with Logan and the little boy cousins.  The snipes were fun, too.
We played games, indoors and out, and had a campfire. I took up a  left over pinata and candy from Cinco de Mayo. 
(I found a fun idea at   They had an "Invisible Pinata".  (Real candy, of course ;)  Real candy, real blindfold, real stick and real people to toss candy down.  Very fun and economical idea.)
It was a fun week.

#3  I took a project to work on while we were at Yellowstone (STORYTELLERS "Ancient Americas" (felt) flannel board set)  I got it all cut out AND had enough quiet time to start a new book :)

#4  Several weeks ago we awoke on a Saturday morning and found a pink flamingo on our front lawn.  It was left by person or persons unknown, but certainly took us back to Lindsay's high school years.  I have a pretty good idea where it came from ;)  (I was given a great clue:)
Logan always comments on Grandma's "Mango" when he comes over :)

#5  Elana and Layne (and Elana's sister) spent a couple of nights with us on their way back to Idaho from Arizona.  They had gone to see her brother graduate from college, and have a family vacation.  We were so glad to see them.  We miss them.

#6  I unpacked the games I loved playing with my children, to play with my grandkids.  It was great timing because Elana and Layne came for a couple of days and I had a grandson sleepover. 
We have been playing "Frog Hoppers", "Ship Shapes", "Barnyard Bingo", and our current favourite, "Pen the Pig".

#7  Mom and Dad gave us great tickets to the Pioneer Day Commemoration with The Tabernacle Choir and Brian Stokes Mitchell.  I really enjoy him.  Emily went with with Doug and me and we all enjoyed it.

#8  We saw a super fireworks display on 25 July.  A neighbor owns several stands shares everything he has left with the neighbors.  (I watched them from our front porch while we waited for Elana.  Everyone else walked our to enjoy the show.)

#9  I got to go to Cub Scout camp, and  I got to go on Space Camp day.  I love space and had fun with our scouts.     

#10  I saved the best for last.  My mom had 2 family things that I have wished for for a long while.  The first in a tin type photo Of my Great Great Grandma holding my Great Grandma, when she was a baby.
The other thing is my Great Grandpa's small birth book, written in German at the time of his birth in 1891.
I was surprised when a box arrived from my mom with both treasured items.  These are all the gifts I want from my mom for the rest of my life.  These are of enormous sentimental value to me.  I am touched by her generosity and will preserve and care for them.  Thank you, Mom.
My Great Grandpa Walde's birth book.
The tin photo did not photograph well.
And part of my Great Great Grandma's is not in the picture.
I am so happy to have this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I like magnets.

Every time I travel I am tempted by the state magnets.  I sometimes start picking out the states we have been to, and mentally total the price-and put them back.

While Lindsay and Logan saw "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" in West Yellowstone, Doug and I walked around town with Brooklyn.  (Over 7000 steps that night :)  At one of the stores I found a large, metal United States map (18" x 24") for the state magnets.  It was $20.00 (without any magnets-$90.00 with magnets).  We (I ;) bought it.

In May I saw the very good idea of putting magnets on the wooden state puzzle pieces.  (Idea from caThiE.  Thank you.)  I bought mine on ebay and glued my magnets on in May. 
I only put on the states that Doug and I have visited together.  Plus Iowa and Wisconsin because I lived there as a child.


Mark had the VERY GOOD IDEA of getting the U.S. cut out of vinyl, and making my own.  I did not know how long that would take, so I bought this one. 

If you visit yard sales/thrift stores/$ stores,  keep your eyes open for metal signs.  I like to use these because the edges are finishes and the metal is usually sealed - and they are cheap.  I just spray paint them.
No wooden U.S. puzzles?  Just use a cardboard one.  They won't be getting a lot of play. 
And for an inexpensive map, check out scrapbook papers, on line or with school supplies.  (Have it sized for your metal board at a copy shop if you need to.)
Mod Podge the map to the board.
Mine is large, so I will be making a smaller one in the fall with vinyl U.S. outline.  (When the craziness of summer is passed.)

Another completed  project.  I am hanging it up in the grandkids room.

I made another piece of framed art that I hung in that room, too.  I will share it sometime this month.
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