Random (but not really)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Quid Pro Quo: Something Given or Received for Something Else

US Constitution: Article I Section 9

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

 

Nations whose citizens have committed terrorism against the United States in modern times:
Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon

 

Nations targeted by Trump’s ban:
Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya

 

Nations with whom Trump has business interests:

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar

 

And a quick bit of history. Nations whose governments have been toppled / destabilized with US interference / assistance:

Korea (1945), Syria (1949), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Congo (1960), Dominican Republic (1961), South Vietnam (1963), Brazil (1964), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-1989), Nicaragua (1981-1989), Panama (1989), Haiti (1991), Somalia (1993), Iraq (1994-1996), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Haiti (2004), Somalia (2007), Syria (2005-2015), Lybia (2011)

 

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
– George Santayana

Written by Michelle at 9:33 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

I tried several biscotti recipes over the holidays, and there were two I particularly liked. The double chocolate ones are good, but if I eat them in the evening, then I can’t get to sleep (because who can eat just one biscotti?!)

So it’s the Cranberry-Orange Biscotti that are on the menu this winter. And they are delicious.

Recipe based on Italian-Style Cranberry-Orange Biscotti from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion.

Cranberry-Orange Biscotti
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp orange juice
Zest of one orange
1 tsp orange extract
1 cup (4 5/8 oz) dried cranberries
1 cup (4 oz) chopped walnuts, toasted
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I’ll lightly grease the parchment paper to make removing the biscotti logs easier. Not required, but recommended.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light-colored creamy. If you start mixing the eggs and sugar and then go onto measure out everything else, as well as toasting and chopping the walnuts, you’ll come back and it’ll be done.

Beat in the baking powder, salt, vanilla, orange juice, zest, and extract.

Toss the walnuts and cranberries in with the flour, then add to the egg mixture, beating just until the flour is completely incorporated.

Create two dough logs on the parchment paper.

This is easier said then done. Here is the easiest way: Plop down blobs of dough roughly in two log shapes.

Wet your hands.

Using your wet hands, shape the dough into something resembling two logs.

Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

Don’t worry if the dough looks very wet after shaping. It won’t matter.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes at 350F.

After 25 minutes, remove the dough from the oven and drop the temperature to 325F.

As soon as it’s cool enough to do so, move one of the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife, and cutting on the diagonal, cut 1/2″ thick slices. If your knife is sharp, you should need only to press down on the dough to cute it–avoid sawing which will break off bits of the cookies.

Arrange the slices on the cookie sheet (I stand them on end, but if they’re on their side, that’s fine), then cut the 2nd log in the same manner.

Bake the slices for 25 minutes at 325 F.

Cool on a rack, and then enjoy dipping in your favorite hot beverage.

Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

Written by Michelle at 7:42 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock (TWO DAYS IN A ROW)

Two weekend days in a row where it wasn’t raining and miserable!

HOORAY!

This time we walked out to the overlook and back. Same distance as yesterday but MUCH easier, since there is little elevation gain.

Location: Coopers Rock
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation: 2188-2442 feet
Trail: Roadside Trail
Temperature: 28 F

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20170129_Coopers_Rock_012

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Written by Michelle at 6:34 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

We’ve actually been out to Coopers Rock several times this year, but the weather has been so gloomy, I carried my camera solely for weight-bearing exercise, apparently.

But Saturday was snowy and pretty, so we hiked down to Mont Chateau, one of my favorite hikes.

Location: Coopers Rock State Park
Date: 2017-01-28
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation: 1483-2412 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski Trail, Mont Chateau Trail
Temperature: 28 F

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20170128_Coopers_Rock_048

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What? Doesn’t everyone clamber along streams in 30 F weather?

Here are the previous hikes, if you were interested in the hikes.

Date: 2017-01-21
Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation: 1806-2350
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovoir Loop, Clay Run Trails
Temperature: 60 F

Date: 2017-01-15
Distance: 3.3 + miles (GPS cut out for part)
Elevation: 1768-2420 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovior Loop, Roadside Trails
Temperature: 35 F

New Years Day Hike! (Lots and lots of people out)

Date: 2017-01-01
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1961-2393 feet
Trails: Roadside, Scott’s Run Trails
Temperature: ~40 F

Written by Michelle at 9:40 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pizza

For Kimby!

Homemade Pizza

The dough is from The New best of BetterBaking.com by Marcy Goldman. This was actually the first time I tried that dough recipe–usually I make pizza with a thinner crust, but this was good! (Especially since it was fast–the other recipes I was thinking of using wanted an overnight sponge. NOT the thing to read at 2PM when I want dinner at 5PM.)

Dough:
1 3/4 cup water
2 tbsp instant yeast (yes, TWO TABLEspoons)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
3 cups (13.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 – 2 cups (4.5 – 9 oz) bread flour

Mix together all ingredients except 1 cup of the bread flour. Knead on lowest mixer speed and add more flour, two (2) tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together.

Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled (I totally let it rise twice that, because: busy.)

Sauce:
~1 tbsp olive oil (Yeah, totally didn’t measure here)
1 pint canned crushed tomatoes
2 – 4 tbsp tomato paste (YAY! A use for the tomato paste I canned last summer!) (A)
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic (B)
~3/4 tsp dried oregano (See above comment)
~1 tsp dried parsley (See above)
~1/2 tsp salt

Put sauce ingredients into a small pot, and allow to simmer on low while the dough rises.

Once the dough has risen, roll it into on large or two smaller rectangles. Dust with flour then cover with a clean cloth to rise for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 400F for at least 30 minutes. If you have a baking stone, make sure it’s in the oven for the whole pre-heat. (C)

Uncover the dough and drizzle it with olive oil. (D)

Spread the sauce over the dough.

Sprinkle a bit of shredded Parmesan, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella. I used part of a ball of fresh whole-milk and a block of the part-skim stuff with the longer shelf life, because that’s what I had. If I have Provolone, I’ll add some of that as well.

Add toppings of your choice. This choice was black olives and mushrooms.

Dinner : ready for the oven

Bake 15-20 minutes. The crust should be browned. If it’s not, let it bake longer.

Dinner : Ready to eat

Brief note on yeast. If you think you’re going to do any amount of baking, then buy a container of yeast, and just store that container in the freezer once opened. That’ll keep the yeast longer.

—–

(A) I have always HATED tomato paste–it always tastes like the tin to me, so making my own paste was MARVELOUS. It’s YUMMY and I use it ALL THE TIME NOW!
(B) I discovered that you can freeze garlic! (I tried pickling it last year and hated it.) So I mince a couple heads at a time, then freeze in 1 – 2 tbsp servings (An ice cube tray is what you want to use here if you don’t have a Food Saver.) Freeze the garlic into cubes then put those cubes into a ziploc bag and EASY! I do the same thing with lemon and lime juice, so it’s in tbsp servings, and I’m not wasting what I don’t use.
(C) If you have a baking stone, the easiest way to transfer a pizza is to roll it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Then use a flat cookie sheet to transfer the pizza back and forth. (Because I am NOT buying a pizza peel when a rimless cookie sheet and parchment work perfectly.)
(D) I’ve listened to enough food shows and read enough cooking magazines that I avoid Imported Extra-Virgin Olive oil, since much of it is adulterated. I can get California Olive Oil in our stores, which is what use now. I think it’s only an issue for EV Olive Oil.

Written by Michelle at 6:30 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Project: Floors, Part II

After putting the living room back together, I moved onto the NEXT room, the guest bedroom (or, as I still sometimes refer to it, Grandmom’s room).

This floor has a lot more deep damage to it–quite a number of burns that predated our purchase–but I still think damaged hardwood is a zillion times better than carpet.

And if you needed further evidence I’m weird:

See that line along the bottom of the door? That’s where Grandmom’s walker would sometimes scrape the door as she maneuvered in an out.

I still, after 6 1/2 years, can’t bring myself to permanently repair that scrape.

Written by Michelle at 8:56 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Music for the Day

Here’s some happy music I’ll be listening to today.

R.E.M – Exhuming Mccarthy

Mexican Institute of Sound – Yo Digo Baila

Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder


(more…)

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: music,Non-Sequiturs  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

PROJECT! Floors

Our wood floors have need some aid for a while now, but it’s a huge hassle, so we’ve kept putting it off.

UNTIL NOW!

Obviously, I’m not stripping the floors and refinishing them, just cleaning them up as best I can and putting down quick-drying polyurethane. (There IS such a thing! It’s pretty good!)

Because we can’t go somewhere else for a week while I’m redoing the floors, I chose a quick-drying polyurethane, which is allowing me to do part of a room, then (carefully) move the furniture and the do the other part.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a huge hassle to be cut off from half the house for 2-4 hours while the floor dries, but 2 – 4 hours is doable. Especially since there are bathrooms in both halves of the house now.

And because our house is so small, it’s not like I can just move everything into an empty space.

But is IS manageable, and I’m delighted to finally get this taken care of.

And in case you were wondering–here are the contents of part of one of the living room bookcases.

Written by Michelle at 1:03 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

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