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Tim Allen

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I feel like making those famous Tim Allen grunting noises (huhhh, huhhh, huhhh). Not for extra powerful motors on ordinary home improvement tools, but for extraordinarily successful experimenting in the kitchen.  I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It all started with a thawed out, cut up chicken, and a desire to eat it fried, but I was out of eggs.  Without an egg in the milk, the flour batter would fall off too easily…. 😦  What to do, what to do…..

I looked around my kitchen for some kind of substitute batter solution.  In the refrigerator there was a half a can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.  Hmmmm….  and I had an open bag of instant potato flakes.  Would it work?

Potato flakes can be used to make potato pancakes…..

I turned on my stove and put the large wok on the burner with a cup and a half of corn oil in the bottom of it.  I made sure I had my largest pot lid ready to cover it.

I quickly put the condensed cream of mushroom soup in a bowl large enough to dip my

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

chicken quarters into, and added some water (about a the same amount of water as the soup in the can) and stirred it up; just enough to get it to a thick creamy texture, so it would stick to the chicken.  I got a second bowl out to put the  potato flakes in, also large enough to roll the chicken quarters in.  I had a lot of potato flakes, which is good, because you want it to have plenty of flakes to create the  crust.  The creamy mushroom soup was just right for absorbing the flakes and getting it all to stick to the chicken pieces.

I also put a three quart sauce pan on the back burner with lots of water and some butter in it to boil to use up the mashed potato flakes after I was done with the chicken pieces, and I put on a smaller pan for some green beans that I added seasoning salt to for flavor.

 
 

I had my large wok pan with plenty of oil in the bottom set on a good medium temperature (between 5 and 6 on an electric stove) already hot before I put the chicken quarters in and a good large lid to hold the heat in while the pieces were frying.  

 
 

The oil was just about half way up the chicken pieces so they were steaming on the top while they were frying on the bottom.    After about ten minutes, I flipped the pieces over to fry on the other side.  The Mushroom Potato crust stayed on!  And it looked good too. 

 

Another ten minutes on the second side and I took the pieces out and put them on a plate with some paper towels to absorb some of the oil, and then popped them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure these heavy chicken pieces were cooked all the way through.

I repeated this for a second set of chicken pieces as they don’t all fit in the pan at the same time.  I actually had enough pieces of chicken that I filled the wok pan a third time before I was finished.  

 

For the third set of chicken pieces, I just put the pieces in the still heating oil, and let them fry themselves while we ate.  The portions of potato crusts that had fallen off the previous chicken pieces adhered themselves to the third set of frying chicken parts, and they turned out delicious, as well.)

Rachel had fried chicken. Delicious and sweet....

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Add iodized table salt over the tops of the still hot chicken pieces, just before you put them on the table.

 

An added bonus to this cooking experiment was the left over cream of mushroom soup went into the already cooking season salted green beans, and the left over potato flakes went into the boiling water pot to become Mushroom and Chicken Seasoned Mashed Potatoes.  There was no waste and it was all delicious.  Even my picky eater who doesn’t like mushrooms liked it all.

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I have the privilege of helping to shepherd the children ages 3 through 11 at my church.  We have a two hour block of time to teach basic scriptural principles and have fun.  The two hours covers one hour of Sunday School class time and 1 hour of singing and sharing a fun activity as a larger group.  This Sunday was the Children’s Christmas Party.  We didn’t actually do much different this week than we usually do in sharing time, but the story was Christ’s birth and the children got to stick paper presents on the tree whenever they answered a question.  They loved it.  And there were favorite songs sung as well.  The main difference this week was that we added a food treat.

Food treats for any group can be challenging when you factor in allergies and philosophical preferences.  We have some who are allergic to dairy, and some allergic to wheat (gluten), and some who can’t have any nuts.

I managed to find a treat that could fit those criteria.  I used a basic Crispy Rice treat and modified it for taking out the dairy and still retaining a wonderful flavor. It only required a simple substitution of Coconut oil for Margarine or butter.

You’ll need:

1 – Large (preferably non-stick) pot

1- very large bowl or pan (spread a tiny little bit of coconut oil in it to keep the mixture from sticking to the sides)

1- large (preferably wooden) spoon

6 cups of Crisped Rice product

4 1/2 cups little marshmallows

1/2 cup of coconut flakes

4 tablespoons of Coconut oil

(Wal-Mart has the cheapest food grade coconut oil available – though you can pay way more for it at a health food store)

Put a large pot on low heat and put three tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan.  Add 4 cups of the little marshmallows. Stir it until all of the marshmallows are evenly melted.  Add 2 cups of the Crisped Rice, and 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, and stir until you have picked up as much of the marshmallow mixture as you can scrape off the sides of your pot.  Turn this out into a very large bowl or large pan (spread a little coconut oil in it if you don’t want anything to stick to the sides) with the rest of the crisped rice already in it. Mix the contents together until all the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed through the crisped rice.  At this point decide if you want to pat it all down into an even layer  to cut up later, or as in our case, we made little individually wrapped snow balls out of it with the coconut flakes added into the mixture.  It was a hit with the all the kids but one (I have a vegan I didn’t know about)

Next time I will find or create a recipe that works for her as well.

Hooray for the new challenge!!!   😀

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bread
Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

I love fresh baked bread.  More than that, I love actually making it myself.  It’s therapeutic to mix all the ingredients and feel the dough in your hands, and finally to “Know” when it feels “just right”, and it’s ready to place in a warm spot to let rise.  And the Smell of it…..  Ahhhhh ……  so wonderful, from the yeast growing in the bowl to the actual baking in the oven.  It’s such a heavenly aroma that fills the whole house.

My favorite recipe is derived from a “Redbook”, magazine back in the mid-70’s of all places and times.  It works every time, and it’s so easy to modify and still get great results with.  I believe the key ingredient, and the reason for the delicious taste in this recipe, is the molasses.  You can use golden molasses for a light sweet flavor or full dark (but not black strap) molasses and get a full bodied, robust flavor out of your wheat bread.  It doesn’t hurt to have an extra dab of butter put on just before it finishes baking either, as this makes the crust deliciously chewy and moist.  This recipe makes two full size loaves of  sweet wheat Bread that isn’t too heavy or dense.  My family loves it.  It’s Just right.

You’ll need:

1 – really large bowl (to mix it all up in)

1 –  two quart bowl (to measure the flour and salt into initially)

1 –  small sauce pan for heating the milk, butter, sugar and molasses in

1 – one cup measuring scoop

1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon

2 – bread loaf pans ( or two large baking pans depending on whether you want to make loaves of bread or dinner rolls)

a surface suitable for punching your bread down on (it helps if this surface is lower than your waist)

This can be done inside the really large bowl if it’s large enough to fit both your hands easily into the bottom of it.

Ingredients list:

1 cup of lukewarm water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

1 –  8 ounce stick of margarine or 1 cup of butter

(plus an extra stick of butter or margarine for the little extra bits of butter on the tops 0f the baking bread, and for eating it after it’s baked)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon of full dark or golden molasses

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups white all-purpose flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

In the really large bowl, mix together:

1 cup of warm (not hot) water (Remember, heat kills yeast, so cool everything down to lukewarm to mix it together)

1 tablespoon of molasses

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

2 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each) or 1/2 an ounce of active dry yeast from a jar (That’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Stir this together till all the yeast is melted into the sugar/molasses water, and let it sit (and grow) while you mix and cool the other ingredients.

In the small sauce pan mix together and bring Just to a boil (some recipes prefer to “scald” the milk – that’s what happens when you boil it a little):

6 ounces of margarine or butter

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

*If you don’t have molasses, but you do have brown sugar, you can substitute 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar for both the molasses and the white granulated sugar.

1 cup of milk (preferably whole milk)

Then let cool off while the yeast is growing in the bowl.

(do Not add these ingredients Hot to your yeast mixture – it would immediately die if you did, and your bread wouldn’t rise then)

While the other ingredients are cooling, get out the two quart bowl and  measure into it:

Three cups of white flour

1 teaspoon salt, and

Three cups of wheat flour.

Mix these ingredients together thoroughly.

*If you don’t have whole wheat flour , you can use all white flour but you will need an extra cup of it. This substitution would result in a sweet, light golden bread.

When the milk/butter/sugar /molasses mixture is cooled off, pour into the really large bowl

Add one cup of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir in thoroughly.

Add another cup and repeat this step until five cups of flour are stirred in.

It will get quite stiff when you are nearly there.

Put some flour on your hands and begin to knead the dough in the bowl.

(you can do this on a flat surface like a table but put some flour down on it before you put the dough down on it or the dough will stick to the surface)

Add some more flour to the mixture as you are kneading it.

Knead in the remaining flour until the dough feels a little less sticky and a little more elastic.

It should spring back when you poke it with your finger.

Knead for at least 5 minutes, then cover the top of the dough with a little butter or margarine, and put some in the bottom of the bowl too so the dough will not be impeded in it’s rise and won’t get dried out.

Cover with a clean dish towel while it’s rising to keep things out of the dough.

Place the bowl in a slightly warm location while it’s rising for the next hour.

Prepare the loaf pans by buttering the bottoms and sides with one of the remaining two ounces of butter.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down again and knead for another five minutes (if you don’t knead it for five minutes it will get a large bubble under the top crust when it bakes),  then divide the dough in two parts and place in the buttered loaf pans.  Butter the top of the dough again.   Let rise undisturbed for another hour.

When it has doubled in bulk again, place the twice risen bread dough in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

During the last five minutes, pull out the oven rack with the loaves on it and use the last ounce of butter on the top of the still baking loaves, and put back in the oven for a couple more minutes to make a nice chewy crust.

It’s always nice to have the people who want to eat the bread available when it is just getting done, as there is just about nothing better to eat than freshly baked bread with butter on it.

To store this bread, wrap it in plastic wrap while it is still hot, and it will stay moist until you are finished eating it.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ever have to throw out a whole bag of flour because it got bugs in it?  Or corn meal, or oatmeal, or any of the many grains you bring home from the store.  I have finally found a way to stop the eggs from hatching, and keeping the grain from being ruined.

I had heard of freezing the grain overnight before using it, but that only works if you are going to use it all up really soon.  If you really want to prevent the eggs in the grain from hatching out Ever, freeze it for a whole month.

I had the definitive proof of this recently when I went to make bread.  I had to throw out a whole ten pound bag of white flour because the eggs had hatched inside the bag even before it was ever opened; and it was a sealed plastic bag.

All I had left were a couple of partial bags of white flour and a half a bag of whole wheat that had been opened in my shelf for a while.  They were 5 pound bags that I had left in the freezer for a long time before opening them and using some of it for cookies, etc.  I did not put the partially used bags back in the freezer, and had not used the grain again in at least a month.  I was really afraid that they were going to have bugs in them too.  But when I unfolded the tops, and looked inside, not only did they not have any bugs showing up, they didn’t have any evidence of bugs in them either.  No webbing, no stringy stuff, no worms, no little moths.  The flour was clean.

Yippee!  I had enough flour to make four loaves of wheat bread.  Mmmmmmmmm…….I’ll post the recipe for my fantastic Sweet Wheat Bread recipe next.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spaghettis

Image by HatM via Flickr

Beef being cooked in a frying pan.

Image via Wikipedia

Beef being cooked in a frying pan. It has been...

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A can of Contadina tomato paste.

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Cooking spaghetti. Photo by Eloquence.
Image via Wikipedia

I know, I know…. good spaghetti is supposed to take forever to cook.  All the herbs have to simmer the flavor into the sauce, yada, yada, yada.  Well, be that as it may, sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that, and this recipe works Really well in a fifteen minute pinch.  For those of you who already know how to cook this stuff, don’t mind all the little details.  I will write it for those who may not have had a lot of experience in the kitchen, just in case this gets read by someone new to cooking spaghetti.

Things you need:

One large skillet

One two or three quart pan for boiling the noodles in (or you can use that upright  noodle cooker thing)

Two or three quarts of water (depending on how many people you are serving – this recipe can stretch a little)

If serving three people, enough spaghetti to fit inside a ring made by your thumb and middle finger (if you have small hands like mine)

If serving four add a little more spaghetti.

(and a tiny bit of oil for the cooking noodles to keep them from sticking to each other while they cook)

1 pound ground beef  * (can be frozen – but then you have to keep cutting it off as it cooks in the pan)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or one crushed garlic clove

Half an onion, chopped fine, or 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (onion powder is fairly potent)

1 teaspoon iodized salt (where else are you going to get your necessary trace iodine?)

1 tablespoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon powdered summer savory

1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

(Or you can use two tablespoons of your favorite Italian Seasoning mix)

1 small can of tomato paste

1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (you need both of these)

Start the noodles cooking first.

Put the water on to boil, add a little salt here if you want, and the little tiny bit of oil (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon added into the water)

While you are waiting for the water to boil put the ground beef into the skillet and start it frying (turn the temp between 6 and 7 on an electric stove)  If the meat is frozen, you can also add a little water to help keep it from browning too much while all the parts cook, but then you need to cover it some to keep all the heat in (add a little iodized salt onto the cooking meat, it smells better) (You really do need your trace iodine to make your thyroid function properly).

When the water is almost to a boil, add the noodles.  It can stick out of the pot initially.  As the noodles cook, keep poking them down.  They will sort of bend/melt into the pot of water as they start cooking.  Stir them up as they bend into the water to get the little bit of oil to coat them all evenly.  The noodles are done when they turn almost white.  They Won’t look translucent (sort of see through) anymore.

When the ground beef is all browned, pour some of the grease off of it.  How much depends on how much there was in it before you started cooking (some ground beef doesn’t have much to begin with).  You don’t have to get All of it off,  just most of it.  Don’t pour this in your kitchen drain, it has a tendency to harden down in the pipes and make everything stick to it, and then you’ve got yourself one heck of a clogged drain.  If you have rose bushes, save the grease for them.  They love the fat from your cooking  (don’t pour it over them hot). Pour the cooled grease around the base of the roses.

When the grease is off the meat, add the tomato sauce into the skillet with the browned meat (I did say a large skillet), then the tomato paste.  Then add the salt, onion, garlic and herbs.  Let this simmer together for a bit.  If you are serving four people, add a  1/2 cup of water to it. If it is going to be a little while (maybe someone is late), add a little more water and let it simmer down.  When finished, the sauce should be just a little thinner than a good ketchup.

While this is simmering together check on the noodles.  They should be getting about done by the time you have added all the ingredients together.  Drain and rinse the fully cooked noodles in a colander under cold water.  The cold water stops the cooking process so your noodles don’t get all gooey ( If your spaghetti has to sit for awhile, leave the noodles in some cold water to keep them moist).

If you have some ready salad fixings this goes well with spaghetti.  Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach,  and a chopped tomato,  some halved radishes, and thinly sliced cucumbers, with a little salt and a little Italian dressing…  Yummmm…

If you still have some time, butter some bread on one side, sprinkle lightly with salt and garlic powder, and slip this on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a little bit (watch it like a hawk, so it won’t get burnt).

Place a portion of the cooked noodles on a plate and ladle the finished spaghetti sauce over them.  Serve hot, with the salad on the side and garlic toast.  This meal goes well with milk, dark grape juice,  mulled cider, or a dry red wine if you like it.

Note*  If you are working on disaster preparedness, this recipe can be used with a 16 oz can of beef chunks substituted for the ground beef.  All the rest of the ingredients can be part of your food storage.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I love a beautiful, lush garden in the front yard of any home.  Some neighborhoods aren’t allowed to have vegetables in the front yards, but did you know that there are a lot of edible flowers?  Some of them used to be grown for food, but people have forgotten that they were good for that too, and just grow them for their beauty instead.  The salad garden used to be full of edible flowers.  Roses were used for salads, including the rose hips, which are known for their vitamin C content.

Lilies.  All the true lilies are edible, root, stem, leaf and flower.  And they are delicious. I especially love the short  little yellow lilies that are grown so often in clumps as a favorite of landscapers.  They bloom all summer long, and their flower petals are  slightly sweet, and ever so slightly spicy.  You can grow several different kinds of Lilies and have different colors blooming all summer long.

Don’t include in that group the Lilies of the Valley which are not actual members of the same family.  They are more a cousin of Foxglove and both provide forms of digitalis.  The little flowers have a smaller amount than the larger flowers.  They are good for people with heart problems, but not for people who have a healthy heart beat.

Chrysanthemums are used in a variety of ways in China, including as a form of tea.  Sometimes they are used as a fancy garnish on food plates.  Their flowers are edible.

Speaking of fancy teas, Jasmine flowers make a wonderful, relaxing  tea.  I just love the smell of Jasmine tea.

Hibiscus flowers also make a great drink.  Take the flowers and dry them. Crush the dried flowers into water and let steep.  Serve hot or cold with as much sweetener as suits your taste buds.

Grow peppermint in your garden. You can harvest it about three times a year.  My peppermint started from one sprig that got chopped up by a weed-eater.  Since it rained a lot right after that, all the pieces took root.  I soon had a garden full of peppermint. It has lovely little purple flower stalks on it in the late summer. The bees love it .  My daughter uses it for her digestion.  She puts a little sugar in it for sweetening.   She also likes it with lemon juice added to make a Peppermint Lemonade.  It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day, and you can’t beat it served hot for helping ease your breathing when you have a cold in the winter.

Of course there are some fruits that are also good for growing in your gardens.  Strawberries make a great ground cover, and they are one of the earliest  fruiting  plants.  Raspberries are early bearers too.  Their canes are tall and have thorns so be sure to grow them in the very back, and they grow well in shade.  If you grow them under your windows, they are a natural deterrent for thieves.  If you want a later bearing fruit, blackberries also grow on thorny canes, and they don’t mind shade or boggy ground, but don’t cut them during the growing season.  They will spread out along runner roots all over your garden.

Tomatoes are a fruit too, and used to be grown only for their decorative effect, back in the days when it was thought that their red fruits were poisonous.  They are worthy of being grown in the front yards in the sunny corners.  And I just love the beauty of a watermelon vine. the leaves on them are so gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to see them twining their way through a patch of other assorted flowers, like nasturtium, which has a spicy flower and leaves, or around the base of your rose bushes.

I know some of you are thinking, “Why is this silly woman writing about this now?”  “This is the wrong time of year for planting!”

That’s true, but it’s the right time of year for planning what you want to grow next year.  This is a great time to buy gardening books as presents,  and don’t forget to order the seed catalogs. Happy garden planning everyone!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Watching the debates was, as always, educational.  Each of the candidates has been tested in this kind of forum before.  Each of them were prepared for most of the questions, and each of them had their shiny moments.  As always, each of them also revealed their weaknesses.

All candidates have weaknesses.  Most candidates who have made it this far, have strengths.  Our job is to decide which of them has:

1)  the best ideas, or the most feasible ideas, to aid our country in surviving and growing,

2) the most likely to succeed in getting those ideas to work,

3) can carry enough votes to win the race.

It’s a tough choice.

Given that I don’t think the current occupant of the position is, or has been doing a good job, he is not on my radar for getting voted for.  That leaves looking at the other runners in the field.  There have been quite a few to choose from.  Many of them have really good ideas.  Some of them have some hare brained schemes that sound catchy, but in reality would hurt more people than it would help.  Some of them are dead right about a number of things, but the feasibility of some of their solutions is impossible.

Under the circumstances, it’s impossible to choose one that says everything that you want to hear, and/or whose ideas would work if elected. So choosing is based on best possible scenario.

For me, that best possible scenario would be a match with Mitt Romney running for President and Ron Paul as Vice President.

Between them, there could be some real, effective change in Washington.   And that’s a ticket worth a 10K bet.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you absolutely knew you were right, and the other guy was wrong, would you offer to make an all out bet with the one who was wrong to see if he would back down?

If you were playing poker and you had a royal flush, would you go all in to bet on it?

From a poker playing angle it probably wouldn’t be a smart move, because the other guy would fold, but that’s what was wanted in this case. For the other guy to admit he wasn’t sure of his facts.  To fold his hand.

That’s what happened in the  debate  between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.  Rick made a false statement about what Romney had written in his book, and Romney knew it.  Romney offered Rick a sucker bet of $10,000.00.  Rick backed down because he wasn’t that certain of his facts. Rick probably figured he could get away with making the false statement because it might be difficult for someone to fact check it.

There’s a lot of buzz about this issue, even whole websites set up to take advantage of it.  Democrats are jumping up and down with glee over it.  Billboards are being planned, and television ads that highlight what $10,000.00 can buy the average American.

The average American would love to win a sure bet like that.  The average American is making $1.00 bets everyday in hopes they can win at least that amount in the Powerball lotteries.  Sure you’ld offer the bet if you Knew you would win.  Who wouldn’t when we all need the money so badly.

Mr. Romney has more than that amount riding on this Presidential race.  He’s betting his whole future on it, and ours.  I sure hope he wins this one.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m not always the most persuasive person.  I call myself straightforward, other people call me blunt.  Either way, you always know where I’m coming from.

Just so you know, I love trees.  They are beautiful.  They are also a renewable resource.  Meaning that they can be regrown.  Here in Maryland, trees grow like weeds.  They can become a serious nuisance when not kept in check.

What I’m getting at, is that I like a nice environment as much as the next person, but there are ways, and then there are ways of having that.

And none of the environmental considerations will matter to any of us if we end up tearing each other apart over no jobs and high oil prices.  So here’s my contribution to the dialogue below.

Subject: THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING OIL STORY, WORTH READING

Oil Anyone?

By the way, this can be verified.

Check it out at the link below !!!!!!

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

Cruz Construct

http://www.cruzconstruct.com/services.php

(I do not know where the below letter came from or I would credit it properly, but I got it in my email, and have copied all the bits of it into here).

They are doing a lot of frack sand mining in Wisconsin near Chetek. It’s a special sand used in the extraction process from the oil shale deposits.  As you may know, Cruz Construction started a division in North Dakota just 6 months ago.

They sent every Kenworth (9 trucks) we had here in Alaska to North Dakota and several drivers. They just bought two new Kenworth’s to add to that fleet; one being a Tri Drive tractor and a new 65 ton lowboy to go with it. They also bought two new cranes (one crawler & one rubber tired) for that division.

Dave Cruz said they have moved more rigs in the last 6 months in ND than Cruz Construction moved in Alaska in the last 6 years. Williston, ND is like a gold rush town; they moved one of our 40 man camps down there since there are no rooms available.

Unemployment in ND is the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent last I checked. See anything in the national news about how the oil industry is fueling North Dakota’s economy?

Here’s an astonishing read. Important and verifiable information: About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes Bros. Was the guest. The host said to Forbes, “I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; How much oil does the U.S. Have in the ground?” Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, “more than all the Middle East put together.

” The U. S.. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, Western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana.

Check THIS out: The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to Eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates It at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable( 5 billion barrels), at $107 a barrel, We’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

“When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..” says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst.

“This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years,” reportsThe Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It’s a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the ‘Bakken.’ It stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U. S. Oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the ‘Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves, And we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, Those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL !!!!!!

That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should – because it’s from 2006 !!!!!! U. S. Oil Discovery – Largest Reserve in the World Stansberry Report Online – 4/20/2006 Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels.

On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off- shore drilling?

They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates: 8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia 18 times as much oil as Iraq 21 times as much oil as Kuwait 22 times as much oil as Iran 500 times as much oil as Yemen And it’s all right here in the Western United States !!!!!!

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy.

WHY? James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East, more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

Don’t think ‘OPEC’ will drop its price even with this find? Think again! It’s all about the competitive marketplace, it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists? Got your attention yet?

Now, while you’re thinking about it, do this: Pass this along. If you don’t take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you complain about gas prices, by doing NOTHING, you forfeit your right to complain. Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferior” . . . Plato

Enthralled with form, the function ignored.

The reason was there, without the rhyme.

Her loss of focus reduced the words

to one of convenience in limited time.

The question nags her to voice her concern.

She hangs her head no longer to worry.

The gift neglected, in moments returns;

the prose, select, when not in a hurry.

What words to us, as time directed,

Birth the newest conceptual image.

Choose carefully the picture selected,

Else chaos reigns o’er the resulting scrimmage.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Well, hello again.  It’s been a while since I wrote because I’ve been distracted by a number of other intensive efforts, but I’m back now.  I had some time to peruse the internet today and pursue the sometimes chancy proposition of locating enough information on a candidate to be able to tell if I like his position or not.

It’s a tough time to try to determine who might do the best job for us.  We are going to lose some things.  There is no way around it.  So it’s all about choosing what we lose.  Is it stuff that we can do for ourselves by exercising a little self discipline?  Is it something we can grow into?  Is there a way to transition smoothly without doing too much damage?

There are some things that we really can’t do without, and shouldn’t even try to do without at the Federal level.  A strong standing army is one of the Few things that we are Supposed to have at the Federal level, so downsizing that when the world is in so much turmoil isn’t very sensible.

With some candidates, of course there is enough stuff out there, but they didn’t have what I was looking for.   Ron Paul, for instance, is a very good candidate, and has several stances that I really admire, but his foreign policy smacks of isolationism.  We’ve tried that before when we were even Less connected than we are today.  It really doesn’t work well for anybody.

As for Jon Huntsman…  I like and admire him, and I love his foreign policy (as who shouldn’t), and his Utah business policy has been very good for the state of Utah, so Maybe it would also work for the nation.  Would he be a really good President?  Effective? Why do I have doubts about him?  Not because he’s a Mormon, and Not because he’s not likable.  Maybe it’s because he reminds me of someone else.  If he runs as an Independent candidate, I might have to give him another look. But I don’t think he can carry the Republican party.

So let’s get this out of the way. I don’t trust Newt Gingrich.  Not because he wasn’t constitutional enough (at least at one time), and not because he changed his mind some times, but rather, because he changed his mind about the wrong things.  At least, in my opinion, he did.

I’m not against someone who changes their mind sometimes, if the things one learns along the way seem to warrant it, that’s a Good thing.  I just prefer to see them change their mind in the same direction I would.  Gingrich didn’t do that.  He went the other way too many times.

I will dispense with discussing those candidates who are already on their way out.  Enough said already.  So that leaves me with looking again at Mitt Romney.  What does his platform say now?  Jennifer Robin’s recent post in her Right Turn blog lays it out fairly well (and I didn’t have to sign up on anyone’s site to find out).  I like his rational approach to the problems with Medicaid/Medicare, and his stance on job creation (of course, everyone is For job creation, it’s the methodology that is employed to encourage them that has us all on edge).  Mitt’s strategy to give some power back to the states is a definite plus.  The closer the decisions are to the people they affect, the better the outcome usually is (and if it isn’t, you vote out the state government and get new people).  All down the line, things seemed to click for me.  So, unless Romney’s platform changes radically between now and Election day,  I think I’ll vote for him.

I’m going to apologize up front.  This is going to be a rant.  A Milk Rant.  I love whole milk.  It’s my favorite drink.  I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whole milk.  They were the main staple in my picky-eater diet.  Milk is still my mainstay.  Whole milk. It’s my go to food when I’m in a hurry.  It’s my re-hydrater after a really hard work out. It’s my snack between meals, and my treat when I get home from work.

For a while there, when I was a child, we even had real, whole, un-homogenized milk straight from the dairy farm.  That milk had a Lot of cream in it.  It would rise to the top when the milk sat for a little bit.  We would skim part of it off and put it into a quart jar and shake it for about 45 minutes and turn it into butter.  Even after we did that, there was plenty of cream left in the milk to make it taste good.  It was wonderful milk.  And I never got fat on any of it.  We just didn’t have the total caloric intake to make that happen. Not for any of  the 13 of us (including step siblings).  We weren’t starving, but we didn’t any of us get heavy.

The milk at the grocery store had to have at least 5% volume of cream left in it to qualify as whole milk.  It tasted pretty good.  Then they came up with 2% Milk.  Yechchch!   And then 1% milk.   Bleh!   And the final insult was the even worse skim milk, which had no taste of milk at all, just awfulness. Ptuie!!!!

So Ok, I bought 5% pasteurized homogenized milk my whole life.  Until lately.  What is this stuff?  I bought a gallon of milk with the red cap on it, like it always had when it used to say it had 5% milk fat in it.  My mouth was watering for it.  I was all set to quench my thirst with that rich cool liquid food.  I filled a mug with it and raised it to my lips, poured it over my tongue and swallowed.  “What,  I thought, is wrong with this?”   I tried it again, savoring the liquid for a bit to sort out what was different.  “It tastes like it doesn’t have enough fat in it”, I thought.  I called my teenage daughter over and asked her to try it. She likes milk almost as much as I do.  She raised the cup to her lips and tasted the milk.  A puzzled expression came over her face.  She tried it again.  Yep. she said, it’s 2%.

We both looked at the labeling, in case we accidentally bought some that said 2% but had a red cap on it.  Nope.  There’s no indication at all of the percentage of total milk fat.  They have changed the labeling.  It doesn’t say what the cream percentage is anymore.  It has a whole lot of percent daily value per serving going on in it, but nothing about the volume of cream in the milk.  I compared the new jug of milk to an older jug that I bought from a different store.  We had drunk that milk and then cleaned out the jug and put water in it for emergency storage.  Surprise, it too had no indication of the total percent volume of milk fat in it.  That gallon of milk, though, didn’t taste like 2%.   It  tasted normal.

So, what is the deal?  Why the change in labeling?  Are you trying to change over all the milk to a lower fat volume without us noticing it?  It’s not going to work for those of us who are true milk lovers.  I never liked the 2% milk.  It’s barely recognizable as milk.  It’s tolerable if it’s added to sugary cereal, or if you add chocolate to it, but otherwise I’d just as soon not drink it.  By the way, adding 2% milk to sugary cereal doesn’t reduce your total caloric intake.  It raises it. No fat, plus sugar does not equal a diet food.  And who wants to drink a glass of reduced fat milk with a carrot or an apple anyway?  No one.  It’s wholly unsatisfying and therefore will not work.

Stop the nonsense and get back to real food.  The milk fat levels for whole milk should remain at 5%.  And put it back on the label!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A report on the Fox news channel in Michigan highlights the progress we’ve made as a nation, or lack of it, in the last 60 years.  It  has never been made more evident than by the threat from a city in Michigan to a woman growing a vegetable garden in her front yard how much freedom we’ve lost to the never ending cycle of create legislation to appease the complainers.  Imagine the effrontery.  How dare she attempt to feed her family with home grown vegetables, and then flaunt it by planting the garden in her front yard.

Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan used her front yard to showcase a very orderly vegetable garden.  Someone in her neighborhood complained that she shouldn’t have it in the front yard.   The city of Oak Park decided to interpret a city ordinance that stated that a front yard should have suitable live plant material in it, to mean it should only have grass, trees, and flowers.  No vegetable garden allowed.  At least, it’s willing to spend a lot of taxpayer money to go to trial over that.  I guess they didn’t get the memo from the First Lady.  Vegetable gardening is good.

In my opinion, the woman should be given an award for community service.  Her garden will help those around her who may not have as much knowledge of gardening, to understand more about where our food comes from; not only that, but growing her own food may be helping her stay off of food stamps.  If she can help teach others how to grow food, maybe some of them could avoid food stamps too; or at least, not need as much help from the state.

I’ll go a step further and say that we should require that people who live in government housing grow vegetable gardens in their front yards, and give them the seeds and the assistance from the county agricultural extension agent to succeed at it.  In a time where every state and city and community is stretched to it’s max for tax dollars, we should be encouraging people to grow their own food where ever a garden can be grown.  Front yard, back yard, side yard, or roof-top garden.  It’s all good.  It’s all food that helps people live better.

We should support her efforts.  Create your own community protest and spread the gardening.  If your front yard gets good sunshine plant some vegetables in it.   A little border of lettuce, some radishes, a cucumber growing up the trellis.  Tomatoes in pots on the doorstep (they used to be grown for their decorative quality).  Put onions in the planters with Marigolds, and potatoes up against the porch.  Grow a pumpkin around a corn stalk, or a patch of Sunflowers with squash in between.

Do you like flowers better?  Look up the plants for an edible flower garden.  All lilies are edible except Lilies of the Valley.  Hibiscus flowers dried and powdered and added to water make a great drink. Hardy Kiwis are beautiful green and pink vines (you need a male and a female) to grow over an arbor. Plant some real fruit trees, dwarf or full size,  instead of the flowering only decorative kind (coordinate with a neighbor if you need both a male and a female tree and you don’t have the room for both).

Use this coming winter to plan and prepare your protest garden.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m sure that my next few statements will surprise some people.  Many of my opinions have been on the side of what most would call conservative.  But the protesters of Occupy Wall Street aren’t just a bunch of crazies any more than the Tea Party protesters were.  There are thoughtful people in both camps.  Sure, there are some who are protesting with no fixed objective in mind, just a general sense of dis-satisfaction, but that can be enough when things are squeezing you so bad.

I found that there are some thoughtful writers who seem to be catching on, but still leave open any specific agenda for the movement.  Others have picked up on one or two points, like Re-instating the Glass-Steagall Act but believe that the movement has a  potential for negative impact and therefore will continue to be largely marginalized.

My first reaction to the movement was a happy grin.  At last, someone is taking the money lenders to task again.  My second reaction was, gee, isn’t this kinda how the Bolshevik revolution started?  Maybe this last point is the reason that more people are not getting involved.  I thought about this a while, and decided that it was unlikely that any of the protesters wanted the U.S. to turn into another failed communist regime, with it’s incipient lack of production incentives, and dreary one party system.  In fact, some of the protesters are actually complaining about the lack of any real, effectual diversity in our current party structure (see comment below).

LG

Chicago
November 17th, 2011 4:38 am
That, and there’s the fact that we of the movement are Post-Partisan. No one thinks a system historically entrenched in two-party politics is a healthy system. How can what is theoretically only two voices (effectively one, in most ways that we care about) possibly speak for the most diverse nation on this planet? Even practically homogeneous Germany has a multiparty system.

So, given that, I’m thinking that there are probably a number of things that the occupy protesters would agree with me on.

1) Since the banks were seen as “Too Big To Fail” and required a hand out to save us from their fall (which was entirely due to their own greed, and not just to the fact of being told not to discriminate on home buyers), the banks should be required to break-up into smaller pieces.  I would recommend  that they also be required, like many Credit Unions, to only hold real-estate in an area near where they are physically located.  This would solve some of the problems of the bundled investments, and the inability to actually discuss ways to stop a foreclosure from happening.  At least people would have someone they could go talk to about it.  If this causes a problem with really large loans, then several banks in one area could go in on a single loan together, but they would all have to be in the same area.

2) Banks should be taxed at the same rate that they charge interest on their most risky loans, flat out, no loopholes.

3) Bundled investments have to go.  If people want a diverse portfolio, they can shop around to get what they need, or their stock broker/agent can shop around for them.  Practically guaranteeing that an investment won’t fail has Never been allowed.  You pays your money and you takes your chances.

4) I absolutely agree on re-instating the Glass-Steagall Act, and on putting a reasonable cap on usury. Getting charged more than 15% is pushing the boundaries of robbery.  Especially if the initial sign-up had a much lower interest rate.

5) The Credit companies should be required to leave due dates where they were when the person signed up.  There is no reasonable argument for changing a due date.   People who have an automatic payment set-up in their online banking shouldn’t have to read every piece of mail that comes in from the credit companies and jump through hoops to keep from getting charged extra fees.

6) There should be a reasonable cap put on fees.  Getting charged $35.00 or more for a credit purchase that the company allowed to go through is outrageous.  If the company didn’t want the purchase to go through, they should have just said no.  If they  are willing to let it go through, they are already making interest on it anyway, there is no need to charge more for the transaction.  The neediest people are being destroyed by unreasonable demands, and unreasonable changes in their agreements.

7) Congress may not like taxing themselves more, but they need to listen to the roar that is coming up around them.  The other millionaires are telling you to tax them more too.  You cannot expect to live so well, when so many are living so poorly, and not reap what you have sown. If you don’t actually raise the tax, then you need to lower the benefit of the tax loopholes.  I would still be in favor of encouraging investment in research and development, but at a lower rate of tax incentive.  If the little guy has to pay taxes, so should you.

8)  Corporations are Not people.  Legally, we may treat them as an entity for lawsuit purposes, but they don’t have a vote.  The people that work there have enough votes already.  If you are going to treat them as people, then they should have a cap of $2,500.00 put on their contributions too.  That would include the money spent on informational commercials in support of any particular agenda.

9) Since insurance companies did such a fabulous job of lobbying to set up the Health Care Reform, they should carry the burden of the results.  I had a boss who owned a company, and was a partner in several others.  He had a heart attack.  His insurance company sued the state to cover him with Medicare so they wouldn’t have to.   We get told all the time that it’s the poor people who are the reason that health care is so expensive.  This guy wasn’t poor at all.  And neither was his insurance company. If insurance companies don’t like this, then they should be nationalized.

10) The credit reporting companies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experion need to go away, and no other system of large scale collaboration between loan companies should be allowed to exist.   Manipulating our credit scores to be able to charge the most interest, or whatever they do….   wrong, wrong, wrong.  It’s nothing short of a Financial Cartel.

If you agree with me on this, like my post.  If you agree on some things but not on others, comment and let us all hear what you really want.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I read with interest Steve Almond’s “In Defense of Male Clutter”.   Though I am not male, I too have a lot of clutter, and I wanted to see what his defense consisted of.  The main points were memories (I cheer for that one) and the second one was about someday being able to do something with an object.  I sympathize with that one.

I grew up in a military family.  Every time we moved, we got rid of everything not essential to the household.  I had very few items left to remember my childhood with.  There are few objects to help me picture a scene, or moment from my childhood.  I have little to pass down to my children.  So I treasure odd things now.  I keep things that others do not understand the reason for keeping.

I have lately come to realize that some of the things I keep could be put into scrapbooks, the more easily to tote about and the more easily to pass on to my children as well.  Sorting through the boxes of items that have been lugged about is a daunting task. One that has so far been put aside for other priorities.  So I still have boxes full of things cluttering up the spaces in my home.

The other things I keep are more about the idea that I will do something with them sometime.  Every time I follow someone’s well meaning advice and get rid of something, I end up wishing I had it back six months later.  Of course, that’s when I needed the item.  It doesn’t matter what it was, it only matters that I don’t have it anymore and now I have to go out and buy another one to do what I was going to do with the item in the first place.

This wouldn’t be such a problem if I had unlimited resources, but I don’t.  In fact, my resources, like many other people’s are very limited.  So I’ll keep my clutter, thank you, and live better with the results.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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