Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guest Ranch Tricks

People on vacation forget about calories and want to indulge. This was certainly true of the visitors to the guest ranch. Svelte women who had starved themselves for weeks to be in swimsuit shape would come in and order a breakfast that would satisfy a ranch hand. I guess they figured they were on a ranch they should eat cowboy style. Bacon, eggs and flapjacks were fine for breakfast. But, when it came to dessert only the elegant would do. The manager wanted desserts that would impress.

Chocolate Mousse was an acceptable choice. Now, if you have ever made this dessert you know it is a complicated process. The first step for six servings is to crack and separate five eggs. On the ranch multiple that for thirty-six guest and you would crack up yourself on this step alone. For those who don't do math that's thirty eggs. Next stand and stir over a boiling water bath. That little pot on your stove won't hold the mixture so you have to get a big pot and stand on a stool. Use a long wooden spoon to stir till thick. Next whip the eggs whites till stiff. By the time you finish this step the only thing you will want to whip is the person who asked you to make this stupid dessert.

Enough! Enough! You don't want the whole recipe. If you do, I suggest you consult Amy or Martha. Instead try Moosh's creamy delightful easy Chocolate Mousse. Whip some fresh whipping cream ( I never said it was low calorie) to stiff peaks, if you have a stand mixture this is easy. Melt chocolate chips in microwave carefully, make sure they don't burn. Gently fold melted chocolate into whipped cream. Put in pretty glasses, we used wine glasses, and top with a dollop of plain sweetened whip cream. Chill. Serve your homemade French Velvet Mousse (name anything French and people think it is fancy) and no one will be the wiser. Bon Appetit. More guest ranch stories.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nature Notes Thursday

More spiny friends in my world

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Salero is a ghost town in Arizona. We have visited a number of times. The name has an interesting beginning. The priest at a local mission were expecting the Bishop of Sonora. They planned a feast in his honor. All the local delicacies were served in exquisite manner the only thing missing a saltcellar. The priest in charge shamed at his oversight sent men into the nearby mountains to mine silver and mold the required table piece. Thus the name Salero which means saltcellar.

Our visits took place at a much later date. A good friend of my parents lived at the mine which was no longer in operation. The walls of his home were adobe about a foot thick. Cool in the summer and held the heat from the fireplace in during winter. There was no electricity on the ranch he used lanterns. His water came from a well. This well was very deep and had no pump, when visiting the man of the house was sent to pull up enough pails of water to last several days. His reward was a few shots of El Presidente a favorite libation of the host.

The shell of several old buildings were still standing and we discovered many treasures. Pieces of old pottery, bottles, books and rusty tools. The main house was like a museum. Our friend had worked in the movie industry and had posters and pictures of stars from the twenties, along with other memorabilia from the films.

On one visit we were startled when a scruffy looking miner appeared out of nowhere. At first we though he might be a ghost from the past. He spoke and asked us what day it was. We replied "Saturday". "No I mean what is the date"? We told him the month and date and he was surprised. "I have been here longer than I thought." Turned out he was just an eccentric writer living in one of the old buildings.

Our friend passed away quite a few years ago. The ruins are now fenced off to the public. We still have some of the items we collected there and cherish our memories and this little part of Arizona History.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

This is an Oleander flower. Some people don't care for this plant but it makes a good hedge. Grows about 12-15 feet high and needs little water. The flowers are pink,white and red.

For more Ruby Tuesday click here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Grocery Store Blues

The economy may be bad but that's not stopped holiday cookouts. The grocery store was packed and the carts were piled high. Meat was flying off the shelf like flies to a picnic. People were pushing and shoving to get to the chips that were on sale. Soda towers were tumbling over in baskets as shoppers tried to pile one more twelve pack on. The line for the roasted chicken snaked past the deli counter and into the produce section. The hot dog counter had a few lonely packages stuffed in the back. Bakery shelves were wiped out as if a giant cookie monster had grazed his way through.

I got the few things I needed and got out fast. LOL the check out lines were so long I could have read the entire Bristol Palin story. NOT!

Hope you have a good Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Technology Love It Hate It

I don't really like technology. For years I resisted cell phones until my job demanded I get one. The laptop was mostly used to hold papers piled on my desk. I used e-mail at work only because my co-workers refused to cross the hall to let me know the time of the meeting.

Then I started to blog. What seemed simple at first got more complicated as I studied blogging for dummies. I could read the instructions over, perform the action and whaaaaa it did not work. Then I would do the same thing again. Why do we do that? If it didn't work the first time why should the same process work the second time? It's like when you are looking for your shoe you keep looking for it again and again in the same closet, as if it could walk there itself. Well after a few times I would be so frustrated I would walk away, go into the kitchen and grab the cookie jar. Everyone knows cookies are the answer to all problems. At that moment you don't think about the lifetime on the hips only that sweet chewy morsel that is soothing you. Five minutes later cookie is gone and problem still there.

So I went back to help and searched for new information that would be the key to letting me install the new gadget on my blog. It turns out it was so simple. It's always simple once you understand the process. A space as in---- was causing all the difficulty. When copying and pasting an extra space was added. Once I got rid of that space it worked perfectly. That little space probably cost me five pounds.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh Give Me Rain

Nature Notes Thursday

Clouds oh beautiful clouds. Now if you live anywhere but Arizona you might not appreciate clouds like I do. Those home on the range where the skies are not clouded all day can get rather boring. Not to mention that the temps in the 100's are hot. It's sort of like walking around in a blast furnace. You don't sweat because it evaporates before it can form moisture drops. A cloudy day in May is a treat for my eyes and the cool 65 degrees is a joy to my soul.

More Nature Notes Click here

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where Did The Week Go

Yesterday as I was driving Mom to the big city she said "that's a pretty tree on your blog but when are you going to put up something new"? I replied "Well if I wasn't so busy running errands and taking you to the replacement parts clinic ( orthopedic) maybe I could find time to write".

Let me start at the beginning when life got in the way of blogging. Last Thursday after I posted the tree I went to work ! My job, to corral a bunch of third graders and keep them in check while their teacher was off at a play event with the kids who had earned an award day. It is best known as substituting or in today's lets make everything sound polite, guest teacher. There was a time when only the upper grades tried to pull the wool over a sub's eyes but that is past, even the baby faced kindergartener's look at you with their toothless smile and con you into believing they get recess for an hour after working thirty minutes. The big trick on this day involved the bathroom. They were allowed to go whenever they needed or so they said. I only allowed one at a time but the next room which also had a sub was also letting kids go. The problem something called "Bloody Mary". You turn off the lights spin around three times and say three "dirty" words. I wasn't told those so you decide what dirty words an eight year old would use. If you do the trick right and have a great imagination a woman with a bloody hand grasps your neck until you scream. Where the fun is in this activity I am not sure.

The highlight of my day was pizza for lunch. Which I had to pay for! Earlier this year subs were given free lunch a convenience when you are called at 7:30 for an 8:oo class. The federal government decided this was too big of a perk to offer these highly paid employees and so I lost my Golden parachute.

Friday was a family day my sister was visiting from out of town. Saturday I had my writing group. Sunday just sort of disappeared, as Sundays seem to do. Monday I ran errands all day, which brings me back to Tuesday and the replacement parts clinic.

We arrive in front of a huge building, well huge to me as we only have one building with an elevator in my small town. A valet attendant comes to your car as if arriving at a grand hotel. I thought this was a doctor's office. Looking around I understand the need for the valet. People spilling out of cars are on walkers, in wheelchairs or leaning on canes. The check in area has a row of bank tellers waiting to take your money. Oh I mean receptionists waiting to check you in. This is a warehouse for bones. Take an x-ray throw it up on a screen, see that hole, there should be a bone there, no problem we can get you a plastic one. I found out they can replace just about any bone in the body. Now if only they could figure out how to make your wait shorter. By the way Mom's new part is A-OK.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nature Notes Thursday

This is a Palo Verde Tree. Palo Verde means green wood in Spanish. When the tree blooms you know summer is here temps in the high 90's. Ugh I do not like Summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Choices Not Better

We all have been hearing about the switch to digital TV; this will improve our viewing pleasure and allow our butts to grow bigger; because we are parked longer in front of the boob tube. The local cable company began about a year ago to run a test to see if you were ready for the switch. We took the test and everything was OK . We were ready for the new age of television. No new equipment to buy, no new gadgets just sit back and wait for the big event.

Then about five month ago we began to see new ads. We now had to get a box. The uproar began; why the switch ; were the cable employees not tech savvy, did they forget, what was going on? A different set of ads appeared, this box had nothing to do with the digital change, this was to improve the system. We would get more choices and better service. Yeah, who could complain about that ?

Well the switch came yesterday. The new channel changer has more buttons than a 747, not that I have ever seen 747 buttons, but you get my point. We do have more channels than before, now I can shop in my living room for jewelry and kitchen gadgets. That sure beats Discovery which disappeared. Instead of CNN and Headline News I have about six PBS kids to choose from. More choices? Maybe for a four year old or a shopaholic. I have a new choice, shop for another provider. Where are those yellow pages?.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Mmm Mmm Good

I was once a cook on a guest ranch. The rich and famous and not so famous came from all over the world to stay. The food was supposed to be delicious, gourmet and attractive. These were sophisticated palates I was cooking for.

I churned out three meals a day six days a week for up to sixty people with one kitchen helper. Homemade bread was served for breakfast and dinner. All cookies and desserts were homemade. Whee! It makes me tired to think about it. I came up with a few tricks to make my life easier.

One included Campbell's tomato soup. Once in a while I would serve grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. The bread was always a very good quality sour dough filled with an excellent cheddar. The soup was the trick or I like to say my own exquisite creation.

I opened a can of Campbell's and added full fat milk and some cream this gave the soup a very silky texture. No one was worried about fat, they were on vacation. Now is where I got creative. Into the pot went a can of diced tomatoes, a dash of Tabasco and a sprinkle of herbs and spices.

Viola everyone loved my Spicy Tomato Bisque. Sophisticated palates indeed!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

I know it is late and for most of us the day is over. You hopefully enjoyed time with families and friends, had some good food maybe a glass of wine. I want to share with you my mothers favorite poem. It is not about mothers but it is her philosophy on life.

This world we are living in is mighty hard to beat.
You get a thorn with every rose
But ain't the roses sweet?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nature Notes Friday

Prickly Pear cactus produces a yellow blossom that turns into a fruit. The fruit called a tuna is harvested in July or August. You can make prickly pear syrup good on pancakes or jelly good on a lot of things. The fruit require careful harvesting because of the spines which are long and sharp. Tongs and thick gloves are needed. The tuna contains soluble fiber and studies have shown that the juice may lower cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar. They are an important source of food for wildlife.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How Stupid Do You Think I Am

I have been putting items on Craigslist trying to downsize and make a few bucks. The other day I listed three bras. These were bras I bought because they were such a bargain and no they didn't fit but how can you beat the price and I'm going to lose weight. Right! So after hiding in my underwear drawer for three years with tags still on and weight still on I decided to sell them.

e-mail exchange

Chrissy hey I see you have 38 DDD's for sale. How many total I see three. Why are you selling ?They look nice can you send me larger picture?

Me Yes I have three for sale I'm selling because I was losing weight and stopped. They are new with tags still on call me if you would like to see them.

Now, before I go on I want to let you know I would have met this person in a public place during daylight hours. That's how I delivered the Nancy Drew books and the headphones. I'm not crazy.

Chrissy Yea I really like the color that's a rare kind of brown you can tell it is quality. Can you open it up or put it on so I can see the style and shape.

Me look at the second picture it is open there.

Chrissy I know but the picture is not good I really need to see it on so I can get a grip on the size and shape.

Me no reply

Did he she really think I was going to put the bra on and pose for a candid camera shot? I think people make good money doing that. I'm not ready for porn yet.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Red is not my favorite color. Oh is that heresy? Don't get me wrong I have never disliked red but just prefer green. Participating in this meme has given me a greater respect for red. I find myself looking for things red all the time and I find that red plays a big part in our lives. Did you notice how many logos and store names use red? There was an abundance of red at the festival this weekend. Here are a few more photos HRT

Monday, May 4, 2009

Festivals, Fairs and Such

We had a festival here this weekend. I am not sure the difference between a festival and a fair. They both have food , booths, and rides. I am not fond of rides. The merry go round is about as wild as I get.

This little roller coaster above looked like fun not to fast and not to long.

When did fair food get so expensive? Hot dogs $5.00! What's with that, it's a mixture of the parts of the animal no one wants and a bread that squashes into a ball in your mouth. You have to buy that $3.00 can of soda just to get it down.

The curly fries looked good, but since I can't throw anything away; including food: I would have needed all my sisters, brother and their kids to finish the 10 gallon tub.

So I did what any self claimed gourmet cook would have done. Went home made a Italian sausage on the grill with peppers, onions and new potatoes on the side. Ahhh fair food only better in my own back yard.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nature Notes Friday

On the left looking through trees in my living room. Above looking through trees in my front yard. The painting was a gift from my sister on my 40th birthday. She is the artist.