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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe: Simplest Split Pea Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Time: about 1-1/2 hours

To make pea soup, you need split peas, water (or stock, or course), and croutons. Everything else is a luxury. Some of those luxuries are detailed in the variations, but you can combine them as you like.

2 C green split peas, washed & picked over
6 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the peas and the stock or water in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are very, very soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Mash the mixture with a fork or potato masher, or put it through a food mill or strainer, or puree it carefully in a blender. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, and reheat before proceeding). Reheat, adding more stock or water if necessary to achieve the consistency you like. Season to taste and serve with croutons.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe - Lentil Soup

Makes 4 servings
Time: about 45 minutes

You can also make a wonderful lentil soup by adding more stock or water to Warm Lentils w/Bacon.

1 C lentils, washed & picked over
1 bay leaf
Several sprigs fresh thyme or few pinches dried thyme
1 carrot, peeled & cut into ½-inch or smaller cubes
1 celery stalk, cut into ½-inch or smaller cubes
About 6 C water or chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, preferably warmed
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 t minced garlic
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the lentils, bay leaf, thyme, carrot, and celery in a medium pot with 6 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a small skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it softens. Add the garlic and stir. Cook for 1 minute more.
When the lentils are tender---they usually take about 30 minutes---fish out the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs and pour the onion mixture into the soup. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, and reheat before proceeding.)
Add more stock if necessary; the mixture should be thick, but still quite soupy. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recipe - White Bean Soup w/Ham

Makes 8 or more servings
Time: at least 1-1/2 hours

Add a ham bone to White Bean soup and proceed directly to heaven.

1 ham bone or 2 or 3 smoked ham hocks
3 C navy, pea, or other dried white beans, washed & picked over
12 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
2 medium onions, quartered
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Place the ham bone, beans, and stock or water together in a large saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium-high; add the onions. When this boils, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover partially. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very soft and any meat falling off the bone, at least 1 hour.
Turn off the heat; remove the bone from the pot and let cool slightly. Take all the meat off the bone, chop it, and set it aside. Mash or puree the beans, then return them to the pot along with the ham.
Reheat, season to taste, garnish, and serve.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Humour: 10 Rules For Dating My Daughter

Rule One:
If you pull into my driveway and honk, you'd better be delivering a package, because you're not picking anything up here.

Rule Two:
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below the neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to insure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a 'barrier method' of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate... When it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:
It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you to expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is, "Early."

Rule Six:
I have no doubt that you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it's okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter:

•Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool.

•Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns with eyesight.

•Places where there is darkness.

•Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness.

•Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat.

•Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies that feature chain saws are okay.

•Hockey games are okay.

•Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine:
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2 quick jokes

A group of elderly Jewish men meet every Wednesday for coffee and a chat.

They drink their coffee and then sit for hours discussing the world situation.

Usually, their discussion is very negative.

One day, Aaron surprises his friends by announcing, loud and clear,
"You know what? I've now become an optimist."

Everyone is totally shocked and all conversation dries up.

But then Sam notices something isn't quite right and he says to
Aaron, "Hold on a minute, if you're an optimist, why are you looking
so worried?"

Aaron replies, "Do you think it's easy being an optimist?"


A homeless guy who goes into a bar and orders a drink.

The bartender says, "No way, pal. I don't think you can pay for it."

"You're right," the guy says. "I don't have any money, but if I show
you something you haven't seen before, will you give me a drink?"

"You have a deal, my friend," says the bartender, "I've been here 20
years and I've seen everything."

The guy reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a hamster.

He puts the hamster on the bar and it runs to the end of the bar,
down the side of the bar, across the room, up the piano, onto the
keyboard and starts playing Mozart.

The hamster can really play...

"You're right... I've never seen anything like that before," says the
bartender. "That hamster is really gifted."

The guy downs the drink and asks the bartender for another.

"Will that be cash or another miracle, pal?" asks the bartender.

"Watch this," replies the guy.

He reaches into his coat again and pulls out a frog.

He puts the frog onto the bar, and the frog starts to sing.

A stranger from the other end of the bar runs over to the guy and
offers him $300 for the frog.

"It's a deal," says the guy.

He takes the three hundred and gives the stranger the frog.

The stranger runs out of the bar.

"Are you some kind of nut?" asks the bartender. "You sold a singing
frog for $300?

It could have been worth millions. You must be crazy."

"Not so," says the guy. "The hamster is a ventriloquist."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Humour: Watching It Fall

Three soldiers had just gotten out of the Army and decided to celebrate by taking a helicopter ride.

One of the soldiers is eating a banana and says, "I wonder if we'd be able to see it land if I threw the peel out?" Out the peel goes and they all watch it, but don't see it land,

One of the soldiers has a rock and says, "This is bigger, we should be able to see it land." They all watch, but don't see it land.

The last one takes a grenade out of his pocket, pulls the pin and tosses it out the door. "We'll see that when it hits!" They watch, but still nothing.

Walking home they see a little girl crying and ask her, "What's wrong".

"Well, I was walking and slipped on a banana peel that came from nowhere."

The soldiers explained what happened and are helping the girl home when they see a little boy sitting on the side of the road holding his head. They ask, "What happened?"

The boy said, "I was walking when a rock hit me on the head."

They tell the story again and start to wonder what happened to the grenade. One of them races ahead and sees an old lady laughing hysterically. He asks her, "What's so funny?"

The old lady says, "I just farted and my house blew up!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recipe: Tomato Soup, Three Ways

Makes 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Make this with fresh tomatoes in late summer. The rest of the year, use good canned tomatoes.

2 T extra-virgin olive oil or butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 C cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juice)
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme or 1 T minced fresh basil leaves
2 to 3 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, preferably warmed
Minced fresh parsley or basil leaves for garnish

Place the oil or butter in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the herb and cook until the tomatoes break up, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of stock.
Adjust seasoning; if the mixture is too thick, add a little stock or water. Garnish and serve.

Pureed Tomato Soup

Increase the tomatoes to 4 cups and reduce the stock to 1 cup.
When the soup is done, puree it carefully in a blender or pass it through a food mill.
Reheat, garnish and serve, preferably with croutons.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Joke: The man and his parrot

One day a guy walked into a pet store to buy a parrot.

He found one that he liked and went up to the counter to buy it. The store clerk saw which parrot he had picked out and said, ''That parrot repeats everything he hears.''

''That's alright,'' the man replied.

So the man bought the parrot and left the store.

As he was walking down the street, he saw a cop chasing a robber.

The cop hollered to his partner, ''Shoot him down, shoot him down!''

Then the parrot said, ''Shoot him down, shoot him down!''

They kept walking and found a man who was trying to pry his car off the ground with a crowbar because his wheels had been stolen.

The man said, ''Pop it up, pop it up!''

The parrot said, ''Pop it up, pop it up!''

They kept on walking to a carnival. A guy at a gamestand yelled, ''Hit a big one, win a prize!''

The parrot said, ''Hit a big one, win a prize!''

Then they walked into a church and sat down.

The minister was in the middle of the sermon.

He said, ''The Lord is above us.''

The parrot said, ''Shoot him down,shoot him down!''

The minister said, ''The devil is below us.''

The parrot said, ''Pop it up, pop it up.''

Then the minister got angry and threw a bible at the parrot. The parrot ducked and the bible hit a fat lady behind him.

The parrot said,'' Hit a big one, win a prize!''

Recipe - Lower-Fat Clam or Fish Chowder

Makes 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

If you have accumulated chunks of assorted white-fleshed fish in your freezer, this is the place to use them.

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled & cut into ½-inch cubes
4 C fish or chicken stock, preferably warmed
24 hard-shell clams, shucked & with their juice; or about 1 pint undrained shucked clams, cut up if very large; or about 2 C diced or cut-up fresh delicate white fish, such as cod
2 C corn kernels, preferably fresh
1 C low-fat milk
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Place the oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onion and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the potato lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the stock to the potatoes and onion and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the clams or fish chunks and corn and cook about 5 minutes. Add the milk, then salt and plenty of pepper. Garnish and serve.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What are the different types of olive oil ..

You can get confused between the different types of olive oil, so when you go to a store to get a bottle of olive oil, you will see a variety of types and colors and would certainly want more details. Here is an explanation of some of the typical varieties you might find.

Olive oils do not differ in the types or amount of fats they contain — all are pressed from tree-ripened olives. The differences lie mainly in the taste, aroma, and concentration of nutrients. Here's the breakdown:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil — This is the oil we recommend. It comes from the first pressing of the olives, so it's the least refined and therefore has the highest level of antioxidants. It's also the highest quality, most flavorful olive oil, with the lowest acid content.

Virgin Olive Oil — This comes from the second pressing of the olives and has an acidity of between one and three percent.

Light and Extra-light Olive Oil — This is simply a designation used by companies to market a less flavorful, more acidic type of oil. The term "light" means lighter in color and fragrance, not less fat or calories. These oils are generally between 90 and 95 percent refined olive oil and 5 to 10 percent virgin olive oil. They have had their color, taste, and fragrance removed by the refining process (using a chemical, usually hexane, and steam). This process also destroys the phytochemicals and antioxidants in the oil.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recipe - Jingle Bell Fudge

12 ounces butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine butterscotch chips and peanut butter in top of double boiler. Place over, not boiling water until butterscotch melts; remove from water.

Stir until blended; add milk and stir just until blended.

Spread in foil-lined 8-inch square pan.

Press chopped nuts into surface, if desired, and chill until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All I Need To Know I Learned From A Snowman

It's okay if you're a little bottom heavy.

Hold your ground, even when the heat is on.

Wearing white is always appropriate.

Winter is the best of the four seasons.

It takes a few extra rolls to make a good midsection.

There's nothing better than a foul weather friend.

We're all made up of mostly water.

You know you've made it when they write a song about you.

Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize!

Avoid yellow snow. Don't get too much sun.

It's embarrassing when you can't look down and see your feet.

It's fun to hang out in your front yard.

There's no stopping you once you're on a roll.

It's not the size of the carrot, but the placement that counts.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Making soap at home - a site that provides some information

Link to site.

Here is a detailed site that provides lots of link to how to make soap at home, and there are a number of people who do not believe in buying soap from outside, but instead prefer to make soap from their own ingredients, where they are also confident about the quality of the ingredients used to making soap.
Some information used are:
Soap Making Basics
Types of Soap & Soap Making
Cold Process Soap Making Basics and Recipes
Melt and Pour Soap Basics and Recipes
Soap Making Books
Liquid Soap Making
There is enough information available in this site to provide the required level of details.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Media Portal - turns your PC and TV into a very advanced home media center

Site location (link)

From the site:
MediaPortal turns your PC and TV into a very advanced home media center. Our software allows you to listen to your favorite music and radio stations; watch and store your videos and DVDs; view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder; and much, much more. MediaPortal is open source software. This means you can help develop MediaPortal or tweak it for your own needs with lots of innovative plugins from our great community.

MediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC in a very advanced Multi-Media Center / HTPC. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch your video's and DVD's, view, schedule and record live TV and much more.