Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008- A Year in Review

2008 - what a year. Thought I would post some of the highlights of the past year. Some were good, some were sad and some were oh so Bad.

January 2008- started a blog, expressly for the purposes of recording and sharing my Ikea Hacks and Furniture Hacks, inspired by the great IKEA Hackers blog. The original blog was on Tripod, which hosts my webpage. Not liking the outlay of tripod blogs- I transferred the whole thing to Blogger, where I have been ever since.
February 2008- transferred to Blogger, on February 10, posting on some of the home improvements I made. I was just finishing putting an addition on to my small house. And that was kind of the focus. Also my cat, Tuffy’s challenge with a liver ailment that he unfortunately lost.
March 2008- I started reading other blogs- and discovered Fake Plastic Fish and Beth’s campaign to stomp out plastic in her life. Focus was still Furniture Hacks.
April 2008- This is where it starts getting interesting- I started to discover other blogs- and people who are in a mind set with me on the environment- this is also where I joined my first two challenges Crunchy’s don’t buy anything challenge and Chile’s Cut the crap challenge. After commiseratingwhining through the challenges- they went pretty smooth. Little did I know I would become a challenge whore!
May 2008- Brought on more challenges, and my desire to make a rechargeable electric lawnmower to replace my gas one.
June 2008- My first ever giveaway- I gave my balls away- now that’s dedication folks!I gave away some of the seed balls I purchased at the flower and garden show.I joined Sharon's Independence days challenge and A couple of more challenges, Chiles peak oil world addiction challenge , GREEN BEAN DREAMS' "I'm Still a Bookworm" Challenge Crunchy Green goddesses 5 minute shower challenge and of course Crunchy chicksters “My ass is melting challenge”. June also brought on Crunchy’s Golden Shower Party, I was only more than willing to take part and piss on my garden and compost!
July 2008- This brought on Melinda’s growing challenge- imagine being encouraged to document growing something new! I grew borage, a weed elsewhere, fun to grow here, and broccoli which I ultimately failed at but am determined more than ever to grow!
August 2008- Continued on- working in the garden, on the house, participating in challenges. Some people would and have said I seemed to be challenged. Just my competitive streak showing when people challenge me. As My dad always said never back down from a challenge. Of course dad never had to put against the Diva Cup Challenge. I could have won that one hands down!
September 2008- Didn’t do much notable this month- joined Jennifer's Stop the Leaks" challenge; Attended the NW Bloggers Picnic and met up with a few of the great folks that I met in Blogland!
October 2008- Started my first challenge The Make Do and Mend challenge, and a few people actually signed up for it! And went through the month with a strike at work, Built a Rocket Stove this month., and joined Melinda’s buy sustainably challenge, Just to make it an interesting month.
November 2008- This was a sad month as I had to have my Yorkie, Dinky Binky put to sleep. He had to have all his teeth extracted and stuck around for about a year. He had finally gotten incontinent, and was starting to have trouble eating the canned dog food. I have always had a yorkie for 20 years or so. Still feeling a tad lost without one.
December 2008- Christmas was coming fast, yet I still managed to make a crap load of gifts! On the sadder not my little pug Spike, had some type of an attack, collapsed outside while taking him to the bathroom, never recovered. So the vet and I decided to put him down. Still have one cat, Sammy, and the Spaz is still around but she belongs to Martin. Am hoping to get/find a new pup soon.Joined up with Beansprout on making gifts, and posted a few gifts for folks to make on the DIY blog.
So that was my year in a nutshell! Hope your year was good and 2009 finds you better than the year before!

Just a rambling post

Just goofing around on my day off.
Remember the Fondue I made a few days back? Well half of it was left over so I reheated it, added about a cup of milk and some broccoli- Instant Cheese soup. Wasn't too bad, I have had better.

Took down my mom's lights and Installed her GPS system I gave her in her car. Then I installed the one she gave me in the truck. Like having a wife direct me to wherever!

Took all the boughs down, removed the wire holding them together and put them in the yardwaste bin. Took a bunch of stuff from mom's deck and put it in the compost bin. Also put a bag of used grounds form the starbucks and put them in the compost bin.

Checked the worm bin- everyone is alive and squiggling, so I guess they survived the cold. Gave them a rotten apple.

Started getting ready to order my apple trees and such from Raintree. Got too late to call so will do that tomorrow.

Went and looked at some puppies at the local pet store- I cannot justify buying a puppy when so many at the shelters need homes.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Make do and Mend Challenge Update

Make Do and Mend Challenge:Mended some tools at work that I use for my job. Mended my toque to keep my head warm as shown in this photo. I also Mended some Christmas ornaments- I glued a couple back together. Getting to be the close to the last update in this challenge- I will post once more- anyone else do anything this week in the Make do and mend Challenge?

Weekly Challenge Update

Spike napping

Tough couple of weeks for me on the homefront; first all the snow, and my little pug, Spike had to be put down. Still I muddled through and finished a few things!

Plant something: Nope- just drolled through my seed catalogs- one of the Christmas gifts I received was a gift certificate for Raintree Nursery to purchase my Columnade apple trees!Harvest something: Snow. Yes- snow (see Cooked something new)

Manage something: Got my “outdoor” refrigerator made this week- it is a cabinet at I bought months ago at Boeing Surplus- to put veggies and fruits in.

Cook Something New: Snow Ice cream- I saw a comment Chile posted on Crunchy’s blog and had to try it- pretty good; Cheese fondue- an excellent way to use up the bits of cheese I get from the uneaten cheese form cheese platters I take to parties and such

Snow Ice Cream (Recipe from Chile in a comment post on Crunchy's blog)-

Clean snow for us was usually the freshest (top) snowfall on top of bushes and walls.

(Some sites recommend putting a big bowl outside while it's snowing to catch the snow but we didn't do that.)

So, bring in a big bowl of clean snow.

Add sugar - maybe about a cup for a gallon of snow, and some vanilla extract.

Start stirring in milk, slowly so you don't make it too liquid, until it's just the right consistency for "ice cream".

(rob's note- works well with splenda and/or Aguave Nector for the Diabetics)

Cheese Fondue:

1 clove garlic, halved

3/4 c. beer

2 c. (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

1 c. (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese(Note- I added a few slices of pepper jack cheese froma cheese platter I brought home from a party)

1 tbsp. flour

Dash hot sauce
Rub inside of sauce pan with garlic. Add beer, heat slowly. Coat cheese with flour and add to beer. Stir constantly until cheese is melted. Stir in hot sauce. Take pan from stove and transfer to a fondue pan. Dip cubed French bread or bagels in fondue.

Work on Local Food Systems: Not really local, but split a case of Clementine oranges with my mom- that way the case doesn’t go bad on us. Usually does. We figured that would solve the problem.

Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Re-Duce, Repair or Compost something: Put the Christmas boughs in the yard waste bin, used paper clips for ornament hangers; kept all the Christmas cards and made gift tags from them for next year; Reused a candy jar that my cousin gave me a couple of years ago- filled with Cocoa mix for my other cousin along with two mugs I bought last year and never gave out. Took a case of canned dog food (as I know I don't currently have a use for it) and gave it to the Humane Society Pet food drive, as I know there is a big need right now.

Learn a skill: Nothing- Unless you count making fondue a skill. Never made ate a lot of times- in the 70's

MELINDA'S BUY SUSTAINABLY CHALLENGE: Didn’t shop for anything except groceries this week. Bought some side pork for Christmas Dinner from the butchers. Side pork is like bacon and actually come from the belly of the pig.

Beansprout's Make a Christmas Gift Challenge Last post on this one- Gave out the clock I made mom from one of her Pig Cutting boards, haven’t given her the headboard yet due to inclement weather(needed to deliver in the truck- wont fit in my little car) but I know she will love it. And I gave out the jerky and the cocoa cones and a couple of bottles of homemade brandy. Great Christmas this year- most of everything I gave was made by my own two hands!

Crunchy’s Freeze Yer Balls off Challenge: I must admit when the night spike collapsed (Christmas evening) to turning the thermostat up to 70 to keep him warm in the living room. Otherwise my ass is frozen.
Sergeant Chile’s Operation Clean Out- started putting Christmas crap away into the roughneck bins and putting back in the rafters of the garage.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

C'est Si Bon, Madame Diva

Eartha Kitt,1927-2008
I was very fortunate to see Ms. Kitt at front row at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
about a year ago, summertime. She was a fantastic entertainer. The highlight for me was she sang a song, "ANythin but Love" and placed the microphone in front of me for the last lyric/note. She had been flashing her Bare leg in front of me, and when I didn't react she looked at the audience and said "Nothing". She was a great entertainer. And sorry Madonna, Beyonce, Cher, Celine Dion and the rest, she was a true Diva.
"I want to be evil"

"C'est si bon"

"Santa Baby"
Yes Madonna-This is how the song is supposed to be sung complete with Ms. Kitt's trademark purr

Eartha Kitt's obit from AP

Friday, December 26, 2008

RIP Little Buddy

This Christmas sucked. My little pug, Spike, last night was outside and collapsed on the snow. He became unresponsive, and couldn't stand and wouldn't eat the dog treats Santa Claws brought for him. This morning I took him to the Vet, and we agreed he was just old. He had little blood pressure, and his lungs sounded just awful. Add to that that Spike was blind and deaf. Well you get the picture. We had to put him down, and let me tell you, it sucks. This year I had to put down a cat, my yorkie and now my little buddy. I still have Sammy cat. And now I read Ms. Eartha Kitt passed away- my singing partner! (I will post later on Ms. Kitt). Anyway, Rest in Peace little Spike.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To all and to all a good night!

If Crunchy can be a Christmas pin up, then so can I. Just let me get my tuque and scarf on and I look all snowwy. Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Holidays and a better New Year!

Merry Christmas Video

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making the best of a bad situation...

This cartoon is by David Horsey- An editorial cartoonist for the Seattle P-I and one of the best reasons to live in the Seattle area!

This is how I feel this winter...

How the hell could I live in a city that has no snow removal equiptment?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Plans

This snow is messing up Christmas- DAMMIT!!! I have to work Christmas eve, but was planning to take my lunch at my Uncle's, my mom is afraid to go there because she hates driving in the snow. My roomate- Martin- was going to go to Walla Walla to spend Christmas with his mom and dad- but cannot find chains for his car anywhere- pretty much a must have when traveling the Cascade passes- so now with all of our Christmas plans snowed in what to do? Go over to my mom's and eat Klub, Lefse, side pork and potato sausage on Christmas day!!! The only thing left out is scalloped potatoes, Norwegian style (no cheese- just a cream sauce)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Diary of a Snow Shoveler

MY uncle sent me this humor-
Diary of a Snow Shoveler
Author unknown
December 8: 6:00 PM.
It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!
December 9:
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.
December 12:
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man I'm glad he's our neighbor.
December 14:
Snow lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
December 15:
20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.
December 16:
Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.
December 17:
Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.
December 20:
Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Goddamn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.
December 22:
Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the asshole is lying.
December 23:
Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0o. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she nuts!!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.
December 24:
6". Snow packed so hard by snowplow, l broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas Carols with her and open our presents, but I was busy watching for the goddamn snowplow.
December 25:
Merry Christmas. 20 more inches of the !=3D@x@!x!x1 slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's an idiot. If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to kill her.
December 26:
Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.
December 27:
Temperature dropped to -30o and the pipes froze.
December 28:
Warmed up to above -50. Still snowed in. THE BITCH is driving me crazy!!!!!
December 29:
10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?
December 30:
Roof caved in. The snow plow driver is suing me for a million dollars. The wife went home to her mother. 9" predicted.
December 31:
Set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.
January 8:
I feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Making do with snow

My mom's neighbor's kids made this Snow Princess! complete with fairy princess shoes.

I look like Nanook of the damn north with 2 jackets a scarf and my tuque on.

Ahhhhh- for a few days in Vegas where the lights keep you toasty warm!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goddam snow!

Well it was bound to happen.... it fricking snowed. Which is not a good thing in Seattle. People out here, due to the lack of the white stuff, cannot drive in it. And they should not drive in it. But this street where I work is in line with Southcenter. A huge damn shopping center. Where hundreds of folks were on the road today to go shopping. At Christmas. They get on the freeway, all scared and white knuckled on their way to get to Toys R Us or Macy's or JC Penney or Sears.
And when it snows, my job changes from plumber to Snow removal. At least I get to drive a Big old diesel Bobcat especially outfitted for snow removal. Or I run a Snow Blower, which I fear, as my uncle Russ had a heart attack and died while running a snow blower. Irrational, but it works for me.
Then I get home where it snowed twice what is in the picture, let the dogs out. Topaz acts like a puppy, Spike- well let's put it this way - sinks up to his, ....err... privates. Makes it hard to go potty. I had a pic but my camera phone didn't take it well. And sammy cat snuck out the front door, stopped, and did a 180 back into the house. Sammy hates the snow. Cant say that I blame him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas picks

Newsweek has done it. Treehugger has done it, And of course Oprah has done it.And Organic Picks done it. Not to be outdone, (and because I am a lazy, blogger who doesn't have an original thought today) here are my picks for best Christmas gifts of 2008.

1- Mason Jars- preferably the 1/2 pint wide mouth size. You can never have enough of these little buggers.

2- A Kill-A-Watt- I actually have one of these somewhere in this house. It is perfect to use to find out which appliance uses too much electricity(you wouldn't believe what a coffee pot uses!) The perfect gift for someone who is a geek or has "geek-like" tendencies.

3-Seeds or a gift certificate to a favorite seed company!

4-Gift certificate to HARBOR FREIGHT (or as I call it Toys-R-Us). Okay the packaging is a bit much, but great prices on Solar garden lights, tools, Wool blankets and dutch ovens! Lots of gardening supplies for cheap as well.

5-A Terrapass Subscription for 2009- I have them for 3 of the cars and the scooter.
6- Books- They don't need to be wrapped!Just a simple nice ribbon or bow or even tie a nice scarf around a cook book, a gardening book or some such fare! And quite often I find some of the best books at the bargain bin at borders, or a used book stores, the latter being a great gift.
7- Vintage clothing- okay those who know me would say everything I have is vintage- But a nice sweater or a bowling shirt makes a great gift (at least to me it does) Can be bought at second hand stores
8- Supplies for a persons hobby- I asked santa for a couple of 10" mag wheel rims, no particular bolt pattern or anything. I got a little project to try. I hope santa listened cause he cold get them at any junk yard. Giving somebody art supplies or if they are like me, junk to make art, is a great gift!

9- For the kids- Wooden Puzzles, or toys that make them think. Last year I gave a couple of my cousins brats some toys they needed to construct- Kits to make crystal radios, Toy Solar powered cars. I love gifts that make kids think and make parents have to help them put it together!

10-Oh yeah- Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men etc., etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas songs

And one from the Chipmunks!

Dammit- My Christmas letter

I forgot to send out my christmas letter (again). I hope folks remember I am busy ans forgive my bad manners. Anyway- Merry Christmas everyone!
Click on the letter to enlarge

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to make Sugar Free Peanut Brittle

Abbie, at the farmer's daughter said she wanted to see the peanut brittle- one thing I learned in school and working for a school system is When the teach wants to see something you show it!
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought all of the treats at Christmas were gone for me.
I have since learned that I can have the treats, I may just need to re-learn how to make them. One of my favorite things at Christmas was Peanut Brittle. My Aunt Orinne used to make the best peanut brittle and sugar cookies so thin you could use them for windows. (I loved thin crisp cookies!) O ain't found a decent sugar cookie recipe yet (or how to roll them paper thin) Anyway I was googling around one day and learned about Maltitol. And how it can be used to make things like sugar free peanut brittle-
Here is the recipe I use
Where to buy Maltitol

A batch of brittle cooling on parchment paper

All the ingredients:
1 cup of Maltitol
1 stick of butter
1 cup of peanuts

Melt the butter over medium heat

Add the Maltitol, mix and stir until it starts bubbling- not a rolling boil

Add the peanuts and continue stirring- The Maltitol will separate and rejoin itself again- Don't burn the peanuts!

Take a cookie sheet lined with a sheet of Parchment or wax paper and pour the golden molten brittle on it. Let cool.
-While the picks show me making it in a sauce pan, a large frying pan works better. I don't know the reason. It just does. Trust me.
-Even though it is nice and gooey and sweet looking - fight the temptation to stick your tongue in it or your finger to take a taste- it is MOLTEN HOT!!!
-Place the parchment in the cookie sheet before starting
-And measure your ingredients first and place them in bowls- makes the process a whole lot easier
And according to the recipe they let it sit in the nonstick frying pan to cool- I wouldn't (too hard to remove) I prefer using parchment paper. I have used wax paper but the wax on the paper melts off (eeeeww)

No Bake Sugarfree Chocolate Cheescake Balls

I have a Cheescake cookie recipe that I came up with that is so easy it's ridiculous.


1 PACKAGE (8OZ) OF Cream Cheese, at room temperature

1 package of Sugar Free Oreos

about 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Turn the oreos into crumbs in the food processer

put in the cream cheese, and pulse until well mixed,


not take and roll a small amount into a ball!


after chilling about 1/2 hour

roll the balls in the nuts

and you are done! Chill before serving. Makes about a dozen balls

I tried this with Snackwell sugar free shortbread as well and not as tasty but gives you a real cheescake taste. Now Ms. Paula Deen would dip them in caramel before rolling in nuts, but I have yet to find sugar free caramels! This also makes a tasty Mock Cheesecake by putting the filling into a graham cracker crust
Make Do and Mend Challenge: Made some beef jerky and some diabetic peanut brittle for gifts. Repaired a plunger handle I use at work. About it for me. Oh yeah I picked up some new buttons for my work jacket and sewed them on.
How did everyone else do? I hope everyone stayed warm. I bet those who mended warm clothes are happy this week!

WEEKLY CHALLENGE UPDATE: Counting down to Christmas

Now we shall see if the pop bottle bell cloches work

After good weather all fall and winter we got hit with a couple of inches of the white stuff. Here are some of the Bel Cloches and the brussel sprout and kale starts out in my squash box freezing! And my poor MG is sitting outside in the cold as well!
My little MG out in the cold

Plant something: Didn’t plant anything, but brought in one of my kale plants to protect it from the cold and put it on the windowsill.
Harvest something: nothing to harvest- except snow
Manage something: Bought 6 packages (about 18 rings) of potato sausage and put in the freezer
Cook Something New: Did cook some grits- never cooked before, ate them plenty of times. Also, cooked plenty of things that I have made before - mostly Christmas type items.
Work on Local Food Systems: Went to moms and made krumkake- I count this because she supplied the ingredients and I baked them on my krum kake iron- then we split them. Bought 6 packages of potato sausage from my butcher.
Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Re-Duce, Repair or Compost something: Re-used 5 quart mason jars to put some homemade beef jerky in. Put some Christmas greens in the compost.
Learn a skill: took a lesson in “Earth Friendly Holiday” wrapping.

MELINDA'S BUY SUSTAINABLY CHALLENGE: Didn’t do great this week, but didn’t do too bad either. I bought some potato sausage at the butchers. Bought some buttons to mend my work jacket. Did buy some things for gifts, but mostly gift cards so not too bad.

Beansprout's Make a Christmas Gift Challenge Filled 5 jars full of Homemade Beef Jerky that will become Christmas presents. Made batches of Sugar Free Peanut Brittle that I will give some to my Uncle whom is also diabetic, and my mom

Crunchy’s Freeze Yer Balls off Challenge: I love, LOVE, LOVE my programmable thermostat I added. It is so nice to not have to remember to lower the temp when I go to bed, even nicer that the heat is on when I wake up!

Sergeant Chile’s Operation Clean Out- Tried to start putting back the Christmas decorations I didn’t use, tried to start cleaning for Christmas

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Klub and lutefisk- as much fun to make as they are to eat!

Okay the secret is out- no matter how hard I try to hide it - I am of Norwegian ancestry. Add to it I was raised by parents from North Dakota. (I am not admitting to been born there, in N.D. mind you), but those are the facts.

Every Christmas, American-Norwegians and American-Swedes have this ungodly ritual of eating lutefisk. We or rather I am no exception. My name is Rob and I eat lutefisk. Lutefisk, that wiggly little plate of lye soaked (I am not kidding, but not so much anymore) jellied fish. Not a big deal to eat in Norway- not on their list of Holiday Fare. But for some reason it is big in this country among Norwegian and Swedes. And for some reason it is only big at the holiday season. A little melted butter and lefse (a Norwegian flat bread, like a tortilla but made from potatoes) and you have a drippy treat. Here is the story behind lutefisk.

Now Klub (pronounced CLŪB or CLOOB) is different it is basically a potato dumpling that my family traditionally will eat on Christmas Eve. I prefer butter on it, with an unhealthy portion of side pork (side belly-in the bacon family). I never thought about the amount of butter we eat. No wonder we all have high cholesterol! The great thing about klub is it can be fried the next day at breakfast. And it will stick with you in cold weather. And boy do we eat potatoes. Klub is best made with "new" potatoes (the little red ones). We usually have rather large family gatherings to eat this stuff. Some of the next generation has learned how to make it, particularly my cousin Jan, who makes it in spite of her potato hating Irishman husband. Or maybe she makes it to spite him. Anyway Klub is one of those things that go on and on. Thank God. And thank god for IKEA for there you can get a box of instant Klub!

To The Tune of O Christmas Tree
Original Words: O Tannenbaum, Ernst Gebhard Anschutz, 1824
Adaptation by Red Stangeland
Music: O Tannenbaum, German Folk SongMIDI / Noteworthy Composer
O Christmas Tree - Notes

1. O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma,O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma.You smell so strong, you look like glue,You taste just like an overshoe,But lutefisk, come Saturday,I tink I eat you anyvay

2. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, I put you in the doorvay.I wanted you to ripen up just like they do in Norvay.A dog came by and sprinkled you.I hit him with my overshoe.O lutefisk, now I supposeI'll eat you while I hold my nose.

3. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, how well I do remember.On Christmas Eve how we'd receive our big treat of December.It wasn't turkey or fried ham.It wasn't even pickled Spam.My mother knew there was no riskIn serving buttered lutefisk.

4. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, now everyone discoversThat lutefisk and lefse make Norvegians better lovers.Now all the world can have a ball.You're better than that Geritol.O lutefisk, with brennevin [Norwegian brandy]You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

5. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, you have a special flavor.O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, all good Norvegians savor.That slimy slab we know so wellIdentified by ghastly smell.O Lutefisk, O lutefisk,Our loyalty won't waver.

Friday, December 12, 2008

KrumKake and Potato Sausage

Abbie, The Farmers Daughter is doing a Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap, so I suppose I must waddle my fat butt into the fray.

Well tomorrow I will be making stacks of KrumKake- a norwegian cookie that heathens (non-norwegians) like to fill with whipped cream and whipped chocolate- thease are not Canolli's people. They are little cones of blood sweat and tears (well 3rd degree burns actually). My grandma "taught" me how to make krumkake- I use the word taught with qoutations because grandma would sit there and watch me make the krumkake, tell me I have to much batter on the iron and scream when rolling the krum kake into the cone- it is hot grease folks! Anyway, my mom, does the same thing- sits down and watches tv while I do the work. It is ok, I don't mind. I have learned that cotton glove liners do wonder protecting your hands from the molten krumkake when rolling. I will probably make 4 batches of delicous krumkake tomorrow. Here is a recipe pretty close to my own.

1 stick butter (1/2 cup or 8 tbsp.)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs1 cup general purpose flour2 tbsp.
whipping cream1/2 vanilla extract
Makes about 25 krumkaker
1. Melt the butter carefully in a microwave oven or double boiler. Do not overheat.
2. Thoroughly mix the sugar into the butter, stirring well.
3. Using a power hand mixer, blend the eggs into the mixture.
4. Then add the flour slowly while blending to a smooth, consistent batter.
5. In a small bowl, whip the cream fully. Then add the whipped cream to the batter and blend completely.
6. Add vanilla extract to suit your taste. If needed, add a small amount of milk while blending until the consistency is just spoonable but not quite pourable. The mixture should drop off a measuring spoon but not pour off. This consistency will ensure a lacy textured krumkake, but you will find the baked krumkake slightly more difficult to handle without tearing while rolling onto a cone. But it's worth the effort!
7. Using the KrumKake Express™, start with the Color Control Dial at 2-1/2. One heaping tablespoon of batter will make a 5-6" krumkake. Lock the lid latch for a thinner and crispier krumkake. For a thicker krumkake do not close the latch while baking.
8. Add batter to the plate only when the green "Ready" light is ON. In about 30 seconds, the red "Baking" light will turn ON.
9. When the green light comes ON again, open the lid of the KrumKake Express™ and inspect the krumkake for color. Adjust the Color Control Dial as necessary to obtain a total bake cycle of 70-80 seconds for a golden brown krumkake.
10. Cook until golden brown and remove promptly.
11. Roll onto the Cone Form quickly while the krumkake is still hot

How to roll A krumkake into a cone

Note- if you do not or cannot find a krumkake iron, you can use a pizzelle iron as well. I have a double electric krumkake iron,

The other thing I love about the holidays is Potato Sausage. It has been years since my dad and I actually made delicous potato sausage. When he was a kid his mom and stepdad would invite lots of folks over for Potato Sausage stuffing parties in their basement. You need to find casings (ask at your butcher market. Pig Casing works best, per my dad). Then you need a grinder with a sausage stuffing attachment. They would make hundreds of pounds of sausage and probably drink gallons of booze. Lots of work and folks wonder why I buy mine. I bought 6 packages, and promptly froze them. That's a lot of sausage. Here is pretty the same recipe I use, but I don't know about the part that says about rolling them into balls- we never did that. Just remember to boil them for about 20 minutes.
Maybe tomorrow I will write about the wonders of Potato Klub! One dish that requires no special irons or sausage making equptment!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sammy and Luka seprated at birth???

DP's Luka

I was just looking at at DP's blog and realized her kitty Luka and my cat Sammy could be twins! Never noticed it before. Except Sammy is about 8 years old. If you never read Dp's squar foot garden blog, this year was her first with SFG, and of course she named everything growing in the garden. She also has a fascination with Luka's pictures, which of course is only natural as Luka is very photogenic!

Sammy cat


Monday, December 8, 2008


I got this lemonade from lemmons award from Chile. This award recognizes a person's ability to be positive and "make lemonade from lemons."

In Fact, Ms. Chile said:

"I am going to pass this award on to Rob. He went through an extended
period of not working recently due to a strike. Rather than sit around and mope, he jumped into a bunch of projects, challenges, and posted many helpful ideas and instructions on his blog during that time. He's also got a very useful
do-it-yourself blog with lots of interesting links."

Oooooh Chile,- if you only knew how much I can/do bitch and moan about little things.

The fact of the matter is that I can be very accepting, partly in how I was raised and partly due to life lessons. I have been sober and clean for since May 2, 1992- one of the first lessons I learned going into that "certain 12 step program" was KISS- Keep it simple, shithead and Don't ever take yourself too seriuosly. And I sure try not to. And sometimes I am successful at it!

But- that being said, I do handle things like strikes and scabs better than most. Because I realize that I am powerless to change those things and the things people do, so I may as well accept them.

Anyway thank you for the nice award, I really appreciate it. And I am not sure whom I will pass it on to.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Make do and Mend Challenge Check In

Make Do and Mend Challenge: This week I concentrated on work items-
Fixed a tool I use at work (put a new handle on a Test Cock Cleaner) These are found in commercial Back Flow Preventers; Made a key to open water main vaults; Repaired some of my personal tools for work. Also I finally fixed the shower curtain- two of the holes ripped off the hooks- I took duct tape and ran it in a straight line covering all the holes. Then I used a hole punch to re-punched the holes.
So much for my week- How did everyone else do?

Weekly Challenge Update-

Door Bough
Sharon's Independence Days Challenge Week 25
Plant something: Planted some new chives

Harvest something: No but used some garlic scapes

Manage something: Made up a container of Cocoa Mix and one of Russian Tea, (not for gifts)
Cook Something New: OK, Here goes-


3 slices of tomatoLettuce

About 1 tbsp of mayo2 slices of bread

Prepare veggie bacon per directions-Spread mayo on bread- then layer the lettuce, tomato and cooked veggiebacon.For a little zip and tang, add some Chipolte or Hot Sauce.

I also made Rachel Ray’s “Love Birds” –Chicken in Puff Pastry with Fig- I couldn’t find fig preserves so I used dried figs cut up instead

Love Birds

And I made Sugar Free Peanut Brittle

Work on Local Food Systems: Just buying local apples at the green grocer, about it

Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Re-Duce, Repair or Compost something: Got some Fir tree Boughs for free when my mom’s apartment complex cut down a bunch of trees and made Door Boughs out of them for my mom and myself; Of course threw what I didn’t use in the compost pile; recycled some printer ink cartridges and two cell phones- sent them in to PetsMart’s Charities. I got a mailer at the local petsmart and sent them in- Not only recycling but helping out homeless pets as well! TWOFER!
Learn a skill: Learned how to Clarify butter and how to make (distill) Rose Water

MELINDA'S BUY SUSTAINABLY CHALLENGE: Didn’t buy these- I made the Made some Pine Door Boughs for decorating my mom's and my doors. They cut down trees at her apartment complex, I pick the small pieces of Fir tree boughs, and voila- Instant Christmas Cheer! Of course the boughs will be composted after Christmas. Didn’t buy much of anything this week except groceries.

Beansprout's Make a Christmas Gift Challenge: Made pine door boughs from materials I “gleaned”; Finished head board

Crunchy’s Freeze Yer Balls off Challenge: Yes Crunchy my balls are officially frozen. The new programmable thermostat works great! Nice waking up to a not so cold house!

Sergeant Chile’s Operation Clean Out- Worked in garage all day Sunday- well took some time to put up Christmas tree

Saturday, December 6, 2008


It has been a while since I posted a book review, but I just ran across my copy of this book at my mom's and I thought it was a great book to review, especially since kids could and would enjoy it as well.
I first read this book in I suppose 1964 or 1965- Of course i didn't realize it then, as it is one of the first books I read- at the time I suppose I thought it was a book on the importance of sharing. But today it is a book not only on sharing what you have, but a book about community, recycling, reusing and yes making do as well.
Oh No! The Tree is too tall!!!

You see Mr Willowby orders a tree, by special delivery, and it turns out it is too tall. So, he gets the butler to chop off the top, who in turn gives it the top to Miss Adelaide, the upstairs Maid, who in turn has to lop off the top, and discards it. Then the Gardener finds it, dumpster dives and takes the remaining top home. And you got it- it's too tall! The cut off the top and the bears find it and then the foxes and so on and so on.

The Barnaby Bear Family Celebrates with their piece of tree

This is a perfect book on teaching kids about recycling and re-using. Everyone gets a piece of Mr. Willowby's tree, down to the lowly mice.

The illustrations are good, and the book is it's self attractive. A good read for kids and adults alike. The amazing thing is it was written in 1963. I still read it every year. I want to thank my mom for giving me this book and encouraging me to read!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Screw this- I'm joining the Green Team

See more Will Ferrell videos at Funny or Die


Well Checking the Random.Org Random Integer Generator, and the winner is Condo Blues! Condo Blues send me an email at robj98168@yahoo.com and get me your mailing info and I will send it out pronto! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Cheer!

Made some Pine Boughs for decorating my mom's and my doors. They cut down trees at her apartment complex, I picked out the small pieces of Fir tree boughs, and added a nice bow and voila- Instant Christmas Cheer! This definitely counts as a Christmas memory- I have always made mom one every year. Usually out of found or foraged pine boughs or tree trimmings. Of course the boughs will be composted after Christmas
Sorry about the poor picture.
Also made a carton of Sugar Free Cocoa Mix- and one of russian tea mix
16 ounces dry milk powder
1 cup NutraSweet (Sucralose)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Sift together milk powder, Nutra Sweet (Sucralose) and cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container.To prepare, stir approximately 1 heaping tablespoons of mix into 1 cup of hot water.
Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe(allrecipes.com)
16 ounces dry milk powder
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Sift together milk powder, white sugar and cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container.To prepare, stir approximately 1 heaping tablespoons of mix into 1 cup of hot water.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Love those L.E.D. Christmas lights? Want to get some for free? Well then you have come to the right place- I am giving away one string of indoor/outdoor multi-colored LED Christmas lights. Not sure of how many are on a string, but I know the string measures 50' in length and one string uses less than 4 watts in power. So you can have Christmas lights and be energy wise as well! To enter, just post a comment to this post. Winner will be drawn at random. Contest closes Friday December 5th, 2008 at 5PM.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Make Do and Mend Challenge Check In:

Make Do and Mend Challenge: Well Ho ho ho, I made do with Christmas lights- I bought 3 strings of LED lights last year, they only use 4 watts per string, I never got to put them up due to construction of the addition, Anyway- found out that I only need 1 string. SO maybe a giveaway in the future??? Or I might free-cycle them- and I fixed my mom’s windchime- The strings holding the chimes on disentegrated. Amazing what you can fix with a little dental floss!
I bought a can of Silver Chrome spray paint to paint some Command hooks silver rather than pay $8 each for Metal command hooks (I already had the plastic ones)
How did y'all do this week? I suspect a lot of cookware repairs?

Weekly Challenge Update

Hot Cocoa Cone

Plant something: Nope
Harvest something: Some carrots, some chives (I grow them on the windowsill)
Manage something: Managed to keep my nerves calm during Thanksgiving, Got a load of “canned heat” to stock up for winter; Installed programmable thermostat in Living and Dining room, Made a heap of Crunchy’s Cream cheese; Dried (dehydrated) chives and spring onions leftover from thanksgiving
Cook Something New: Came up with a recipe for Pumpkin Cre′me Broulee′, Made a sausage “McMuffin” using Morningstar Veggie "Sausage" Patties
Work on Local Food Systems: Went to Local Veggie and Fruit Monger this week, Bought Cheese from Beechers, a local cheese maker in the Pike Place Market

Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Re-Duce, Repair or Compost something: Got empty wine bottles from my Cousin Candi’s Thanksgiving dinner that I am going to save to make my bed border; reused some old Christmas stockings for "Cocoa in a jar" lids for gifts; made up some "Hot Cocoa Cones" for gifts for cousins' kids and some others
Learn a skill: Nope
MELINDA'S BUY SUSTAINABLY CHALLENGE: Didn't do bad at all here. Bought the food for thanksgiving locally; bought some craft supplies to make christmas presents- cocoa cones and cocoa in a jar, Bought a can of Silver Chrome spray paint to paint some Command hooks silver rather than pay $8 each for Metal command hooks (I already had the plastic ones)
Beansprout's Make a Christmas Gift Challenge: Had a simple week- Made up some "Hot Cocoa cones" and "cocoa in a jar" for cousins' kids
Crunchy’s Freeze Yer Balls off Challenge: Installed the programmable thermostat in the dining room/kitchen- I am now programmable in the main living areas of the house and set at 55/65.

Sergeant Chile’s Operation Clean Out- Didn't do much here. Was tired from Thanksgiving.