Monthly Archives: December 2015

When Families Merge

PictureGrowing up my family had their own set of traditions.   Jeff’s family also has their own traditions.  So, as you can imagine and I’m sure may have experienced yourself, the merging of traditions into your own family can be difficult.  Growing up we decorated the day after thanksgiving (I should add that christmas is my favorite holiday).  I went all out, garland up the banisters and stockings on the mantel.  The tree could light a whole room with all its lights!  I tended to love and take over christmas decorating, except the outside lights.  I am terrified of heights and I am not to be trusted on roofs.  My dad always got chosen as the unlucky victim of putting up the outside lights.   This brings us to the long standing debate of when is christmas really over.
As a kid we took decorations down around the 6th.  My husband Jeff however, thinks that new years day is the best day.   In an effort to merge our traditions I caved to christmas being over on New Years.  I do however decorate for christmas the day after thanksgiving (except for the tree since we now use real trees).  This brings me to merging traditions.  I was intregrarted into my new family while still holding onto my own family’s traditions, I urge you all to remember that love, compromise and communication is key.  Keeping those things most important will get you through the hard times.

Home is where the love is…

     Growing up we spent many vacations in Oklahoma with my grandparents.  I would always look forward to certain things, for instance my dad’s mom makes awesome rum cake.  My mom’s mom she always made us spatzle, which all of my cousins loved.   We would joke that we were going to make her a 50 gallon drum to make enough soup for everyone.  This year I am spending New Year’s  with Jeff’s family and volunteered to make spatzle.  I think that homemade food is made all the better by the memories it brings while cooking.  My chicken in currently getting a spa treatment in my stock pot with his friends the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and black pepper.  My entire house smells like the holidays with my family.
People tend to say “Home is where you’re heart is” well that means that mine is in a lot of pieces.  My heart is with all of my family and not just through the holidays.  Jeff often makes jokes about how food obsessed I am.  Food for me tends to bring back all those wonderful memories of family and all the love we share.

Fried Pickle Heaven

Flour Dredge
1 1/2 C Flour
1/4C Parsley
1 1/2 T Garlic Powder
1 T Oregano
1 1/2 T Onion Powder
1 T Salt
1 T Black Pepper

1 T Dried Dill
1 1/2 T Paprika
1 t Coriander
1 t Ground Yellow Mustard
Zesty Pickle Dip
1/2 C Sour Cream
1 t Salt
1 t Ground pepper
1 t Cayenne pepper
1 t Garlic powder
​1/2 t Celery Salt

 Preheat oven to 400*F.  Put 1/2 cup milk of choice in bowl,  Combine 1/4 cup milk (of choice) with 3 eggs.  In a third bowl, combine flour dredge ingredient, as listed above.

First, take pickle and dredge through milk dredge. Then, through flour mixture, as listed. After the first flour dredge, the pickles should be treated with egg treatment, and finally through the flour mixture once more.

Place all pickles on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400*. Serve with Zesty Pickle Dip.

Sunday Night Date Night

     Jeff and I decided to spend today at home together and spend time together.  I got a lot of small things on my list done and Jeff spent some quality time on the couch with Gus.  We decided today would be a great day to get some of the rabbits smoked.  I dumped a bunch of spices into a bowl and made a spice rub.  We used lime olive oil and honey to rub on the rabbits with their spicy rub.  Jeff decided to use apple wood chips, and I made salad and biscuits to go with the rabbit.

Spice rub
1 T Cilantro
2 t Cayenne Pepper

1 T Black Pepper
1 T Salt
1 T Onion Powder
1 T Garlic Powder
1/2 T Ground Cumin
1/2 T Ground Paprika
1/2 T Ground Coriander
1 T Dried Cilantro
1/2 T Chili Powder
1/4 C Honey
1/4 C Olive Oil

Mix honey and oil in bowl.  Mix spices in bowl.  Cover rabbits with honey and oil then rub spices onto the rabbits.

     I used the water that we soaked the chips in to put in the water pan.  I also used a hard cider to add the apple flavor to the rabbit.  When we put the rabbits in the smoker there was leftover spice in the bowl so we dumped that in the water pan as well!
     We cooked the rabbit at about 225 degrees for three hours.  The biscuits I made were from an earlier post (click on the link provided _  ).  We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday with their families.

Fish Stories… Part 2

      It was September in northern Minnesota along the Canadian boarder.   I was on vacation with Kim’s family at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).  This was a place that the Casto family had visited on many occasions through the years and they wanted to share their experience with me. They have had many successful fishing trips on Moose Lake, where we were staying and the surrounding lakes in the area.  Her parents, brother and I chartered a guide to fish Basswood Lake on the first full day of our trip.  This was a large lake to the north of our cabin that can only be accessed via portage from Moose Lake.  Being an avid fisherman myself, I was excited to get into some large Minnesota Northern Pike!  The guide had us set up with live bate rigs using minnows and leaches. This type of fishing, albeit successful, is not my cup of tea.  I prefer artificial lures and flies.   I gave the guides approach some time, but quickly became board.  I started throwing spinner bates and rattle traps.  This quickly proved to be successful as I started pulling in one pike after another.  Unfortunately, most of these fish were “Kim cabilar” or in other words, small.  But, catching fish of any size is fun in my book!  
            It was late in the afternoon and I had been experiencing a lull in the action.   We had just moved to a new spot with a nice weed edge so I decided to try a new spinner bate.  First cast and…..BOOM!  Fish on! However, as usual it was another dink.  I was playing the small pike for all it was worth talking to the guide about something or other when something pulled on my rod bending it in half. Almost ripping it out of my hands, as I was not paying close attention to the small fish I was bringing in.  Looking at the water I could see a HUGE mass of a fish come up from the weeds with a small pike in its mouth. The same small pike that was attached to my lure!  I was so excited that I yelled “SHARK ATTACK!”  and starting dancing around the boat trying to get the guide to see what was going on.  I was so dumbfounded that I stopped fighting the fish and just stared in amazement.  This, as you would expect, resulted in the giant pike releasing the small pike and swimming away unscathed.   I had only a few scales of left on my lure.  
            At this point the Muskie fisherman came through and I said “I need bigger lures!”  That evening I went to the local tackle shop and picked up a few large Muskie plugs.  My favorite of which was a large pink spinner called a Cowgirl.  We had another guided trip to Basswood in 2 days and I couldn’t wait to try my new lures.
            The second day of fishing was much slower than the first.  We decided to go into a back bay at the opposite end of the lake that the guide had some luck in before.  There was a large weed bed next to a steep ledge.  I started casting my hot pink Cowgirl into the weed bed. The guide says to me “that lure is huge!, they wont bite that thing.” After a few casts I had a hook up, a decent sized pike, not huge but defiantly larger than most of the pike I had been catching the past few days.  I continued to throw the buck tail for another 20 minutes.  Then, out of nowhere, I had a strike.  The rod bent in half and the line started pealing off the spool.  I tell the guide “this is a nice fish, get the net” After a few minutes of head thrashing I get the fish to the boat.  It…. Was…. Huge!!!.   I was able to slide the fish into the net and get her on board.  It measured about 45 inches, defiantly the largest Northern Pike I had ever caught!  
            I don’t know if I was more excited to have caught this large fish or to have seen the “Shark Attack” occur 2 days before.  These moments were the highlight of my trip.

Fish Stories…. Part 1

     I love when I go fishing with my husband!  I never cease to amaze him with the fact that can be so excited I have caught a fish no matter its size.  Another favorite part of fishing is the ongoing debate about whether it is a cork or a bobber (I am in the cork camp).  We also tend to disagree on how fish should be landed.  Jeff is a big believer in play the fish until its tired and can be landed.  My technique tends to lead toward reel it in as fast as possible because it only counts if its landed.  Its a bonus if your standing on shore you can real and walk backwards at the same time.  Jeff usually sees fishing as an art and especially enjoys flyfishing… I enjoy putting worms on hooks and waiting for the cork to wiggle.  Although, waiting actually fills me with anxiety waiting for the fish; its like the jaws theme song just keeps playing.  You may notice I said wiggle not go down into the water or disappear…I have an incredible knack for catching the smallest fish.  I however think that any fish I catch is a miracle and should be photographed!
P.S. I really can catch big fish….

Another one off to plant heaven…oops

     Remember my post about my lovely lemon tree well, it has a sad friend the lime tree.  I bought this little tree this summer and was so excited that I would have limes and lemons on hand.  I potted my cute little tree in a pot and placed it outside next to my amazing lemon tree.  Over the summer my tree grew so tall and lovely I was so excited!  Well fall came and it was time to bring the trees inside.  At first I noticed that is was dropping a few leaves, then it was a lot of leaves.  I asked Jeff why this one was dying as I usually do well with trees.  I answered all his questions yes I am watering it, yes it has light, and yes I have been feeding it.  Well, last night I noticed something more It is almost bare of leaves and just looks so sad and droopy.  Alas, I have killed yet another houseplant lets hope the next one has better luck.  Meanwhile my lemon tree seems to be mocking me by choosing this moment to bloom.  I sometimes wonder if my plants pots hold bad juju from houseplants past?