• Ramblings

    Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

    Our water here in Montana is extremely hard. I heard a commercial on the radio the other day and don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure the guy said water in Montana is 50,000% harder than the national average. Give or take. If we forget to replenish the salt in the softener, all our dishes will have a layer of film, resulting in a beautiful sea glass effect. It also covers the sinks, tub/showers, and anything it splashes onto with that same gorgeous frosted muck. The softener helps with the calcium deposits, but it leaves its own mess behind. Stalagmites of salt build up around faucets, hand towels begin to turn crusty… It’s good fun. I wipe and wash and scrub everything daily, but it’s a battle I just cannot win. I don’t like using extremely harsh chemicals. I have very sensitive skin, and powerful smells bother me. I’ve tried soaking rags in vinegar, putting them on the hard water deposits, and scrubbing after an hour. I’ve tried magic erasers. I’ve tried scouring pads and soap. I’ve contemplated replacing the sink, but with it likely to happen again, what would be the point in that? Finally, I came…

  • Food,  Holidays,  Ramblings

    It’s Good to Live It Again

    Thanksgiving was a little disappointing this year. It was a lot easier but disappointing. We had reserved our turkey back in September, so we didn’t want to get too far away from a typical Thanksgiving, but we couldn’t have things like bacon-wrapped jalapenos, sage sausage stuffing, or pecan pie, so everything we made was a sad version of what we’d normally have. In the early part of the year, when we switched back to healthy foods and smaller portions, we decided Thanksgiving and Christmas would be treated the same as always, but now, ten months or so later, unhealthy things don’t come across as treats when you don’t want them. So we had smoked turkey, cranberry-apple-pecan wild rice pilaf, mashed parsnips, roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and onions), and a tweaked version of my molasses pumpkin spice bread, this time made with cranberries and ginger & orange marmalade. Everything was okay, but in that “this toast is pretty good, but it would be even better with butter” kind of way. So now that Christmas is approaching, it’s time to plan the menu. Just after we reserved the Thanksgiving turkey, we decided Christmas would be strange. I won’t eat mammals…

  • Holidays,  Ramblings

    It’s the Hap-Happiest Season of All

    I have a confession. I’ve already started decorating for Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever decorated for Christmas before. We’ve had trees, of course, the doodads we painted, and outside lights, but I’ve never filled our rooms with themed things. For me, it’s just stuff I’ll have to dust, and I abhor dusting. But this year has been different. The moment Halloween was over, I started to get excited about Christmas. I know Thanksgiving is in there, but since food has shifted for us, and family is too far away to be with, Thanksgiving is more vacation time than holiday time. Plus, while I am looking forward to the cozy, sparkle-filled look of a house brimming with snowy squirrels, boucle plaid pillows, and twinkle lights, I do not have any desire to add faux leaves and twig wreaths to my already exorbitant amount of things to dust. Seriously. I hate dusting. Tonight, more fairy lights, glittery trees, squirrels, candles probably scented like pine and peppermint, will be scattered around our itty bitty place. Speaking of squirrels, that’s what that little guy in the picture is… If you want him, you can find him at World Market. Do you see how glowing white…

  • Ramblings,  Recipes

    Healthier Pumpkin Molasses Spice Bread

    Here is the pumpkin bread recipe I mentioned in a previous post. I have a few things to say before you run to your kitchen to make this. First, if you are looking for a great pumpkin bread recipe, I can promise you, this is not it. Healthy food can be good, but it’s not always as tasty as the unhealthy version. I would bet all our Monopoly money against you finding someone who honestly thinks a baked potato is better plain. However, in my experience, if your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, something being fantastic doesn’t matter as much as something not rushing you toward a heart attack, diabetes, or obesity. Second, I am not a baker. As you can see by the ingredient list, I just dumped about a teaspoon of most things in and called it good enough. That’s how I cook, so naturally, that’s also how I bake. A little of this, some of that. If I like it, I’ll make it again, perhaps tweaking things to make it better, and if I don’t like it, at least then I know what not to do next time. Because I’m not a baker, please don’t…

  • Ramblings

    Burgers and Fries and Cherry Pies

    After a few days of sitting in the living room, our new stove is finally in place. It looks … interesting. The old range was white, as was the old refrigerator. The new appliances are both black and stainless steel, but since they’re not made by the same company, each is its own shade of silver. On top of the slight color difference, the handles don’t match. It doesn’t matter since the fridge will be coming with us, but it looks a bit silly. However, the most important parts are all fantastic. The oven turns on and back off again the very first time you tell it to do so. This is amazing to me. It’s been quite a long time since that’s happened. On top of that, the temperature is right where it should be, not 100+ degrees too high. The stove works and there are burner caps, which top off the sealed burners, making it impossible for mice to crawl up through the cooktop. I’m sure they’ll still invade, as is their wont, but at least it’s not as easy. Tomorrow I may bake the pumpkin bread I mentioned before, cement the measurements, and possibly post the recipe. I…