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Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn 

 

 

 

 

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One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story


Last Sunday I tried a new recipe and baked a Dr Pepper Ham for a feast for the “kids.” I’ve heard about soda pops being used to tenderize meat but had never tried it.  Then a ham recently came into my life and while I was googling recipes to be sure I had the oven temperature and stuff right,  I ran into the Dr Pepper Ham recipe on The cooking Dude website and I had to try it and tweak it to make it my own. 

Dr Pepper just happens to be my favorite soda pop.  I can remember the first time I tried it.  I was at the Pibel Bible Church Camp and Jon Zlomke bought it for me. Ahhh…sweet memories.  But I digress, back to my very tiny, very retro 1980s  kitchen:


Actually I tried FIVE new (at least for some of the family) recipes for that dinner since I’m trying to adapt tried and true family recipes to the dairy and egg allergies that have recently been diagnosed. Reinventing the wheel so to speak. The menu:

Dr Pepper Ham*

Garlic Mashed potatoes and Cauliflower*

Roasted Beets*

Steamed Broccoli

Corn Bread*

Grandma’s Dilly Bread**

Vodka Apple Pie*

Everything turned out great except for the adaptation of Grandma Iola Gavin’s recipe for Dilly Bread (**found in The Joy of Cooking recipe book). I’m not sure exactly what went wrong because I went off course and mixed the batter up the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight in the interests of saving time and energy when I had all that other stuff going on. That might not have been a good idea for batter bread.  I substituted soft tofu with a couple of tablespoons of almond milk for the cottage cheese and added a tablespoon of vinegar and extra baking soda to substitute for the egg. The rise didn’t ever quite get there and when I took it out of the oven it fell. :^(  It was really dense and seemed too “wet.” 

The good news is that it tasted quite similar to Grandma’s Bread.  I’ll have to try again because Dilly Bread is a big favorite and a must for a ham dinner at our house. I’m thinking there was too much moisture—I didn’t adjust the wet ingredients to account for the vinegar and the almond milk may have been overkill.

After a big ham dinner, what comes next? Why Ham & Bean Soup*, of course! My friend Mark Zakula is responsible for the ham dinner because we bartered for services. He drove my dog Igor and me to the vet and requested a batch of bean soup in return. As happy coincidence would have it, ham went on sale at my neighborhood store, Capitol Centre Market, that same week and we scratched the Ham Hock & Bean Soup in favor of that coveted ham bone and my “kids” got a ham dinner. :^)

I was “talking” to Bebe, author of the French Twisted Woman  blog here on WordPress, about cooking, recipes, and food photography and mentioned that I had made bean soup but neglected to get a picture but maybe I should post a picture of the blister I got rendering all of the carrots I put into it into ¼ cubes. She said she’d post a picture of one of her failures If I would post my blister picture. So here you are Bebe:


It had already begun to heal and wasn’t full of water anymore so it’s not as dramatic as I would have liked but if you look closely you can see it at the base of my index finger on the right. <heheheh>

Then I remembered that I actually had a couple of bowls of that soup in the refrigerator so here’s a picture of the soup too!

 


*All recipes can be found by post date in the new Recipe pages found in the tabs at the top of every post or by clicking the links on the menu posted above.

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

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I told MerlinsDad I would give him a demonstration of a photo manipulation program when he expressed surprise that I had used DigiKam to get a close-up look at the pictuer of the butterflies in the pictures he had sent me. So here we go…

Original Picture:

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Right 1/4 cropped out and “zoomed in” on.

 

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Original picture of Patches:

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Patches “lightened up:”

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Just a couple of the many things I can do with Xandros DigiKam. I’m sure most photo manipulation programs like Photoshop are similar and as easy to use.

 

B

 

 

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I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves.

August Strindberg (1849 – 1912), A Madman’s Diary, 1895

I have spent today learning how to download pictures taken with the digital camera that I got last month for my birthday onto my PC. Since I’m using a PC that is totally Windows free and has The Xandros Linux distribution installed and I’m not exactly what you would call Linux literate, I wasn’t expecting this to be as easy as it was. I can’t say enough about this distribution of Linux. It has the ease and familiarity of Windows without the hassle and expense.

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I chose the Canon PowerShot 460 mainly because I got such a killer deal on the price at Amazon.com. Regularly $229.00 for $97.00. Sweet. Plus the camera is great. I’ve been practicing with it for about a month now and I think I have the basics worked out. I do have to say that it would probably be worth every penny to buy a good set of rechargeable Double A batteries and a charger because it doesn’t take long before you are looking for new batteries. I’d also get the AC adapter.

So the primary target for the lens has been my fat little Calico cat, Penelope Patches. The great thing about digital cameras is you can just click away to your heart’s content. It doesn’t matter if the cat moves. Refocus and click again. No money wasted on film or shots that have been a bust. Here are my favorite shots of Patches to date:

 

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because this shows off her pretty eyes.

and

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because you get a pretty good picture of her overall coloring.

Pathches was always meant to be called Penny because of those copper colored patches. Her sister Raggedy Anne was going to be Annie. She was a Tortoiseshell Calico and had Tabby stripes adorning her tri-colored markings. She looked more faded and her black was actually more of a gray. She looked like a little pile of rags and somehow we started calling her Rags and of course Patches followed along after. How odd it is to think that Patches is nine years old now…

This is my Grand-dog Po.

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Po is a Miniature Pinscher.  He looks and acts just like a tiny (five to maybe seven pounds) Doberman Pinscher.  Totally alpha.  He drives Patches absolutely up the wall when ever he comes to visit.  She outweighs him by at least five pounds or more but he is a dog on a rubber band being propelled by a hyper-active kid with a paddle.  He is why Patches is hiding under my desk at the moment.

This is the newest member of my family:

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Isn’t he a handsome fella? He’s a Dachshund/Beagle (Daschle) who looks exactly like the dog we got when I was 11 years old. I just adopted him and I’m changing his name from Snoopers to Igor in honor of the Dachsle of my youth. I was absolutley right in following my instincts about a dog with this lineage. He is incredibly calm around Patches who has been doing nothing but pitching hissy fits since the moment she laid eyes on him.

In fact he has the patience of a saint. If she packed a harder wallop & claws he’d have two or three black eyes and be bleeding all over the carpet. He’s pretty much taken it all with no more than a raised eyebrow. I don’t think even the original Igor would have been that generous.  I’m not sure when she will forgive me but sooner or later she is going to figure out he isn’t as hyoeractive as Po and won’t be able to chase her everywhere she goes except up.  Sooner or later she’ll come out from under the desk and eat again.

In twenty-four hours I’ve heard him bark once when someone knocked on the door. He’s got a pretty big bark for a short fella. He also has double joints in his front legs and possibly a club foot. Looks funnier than hell–he sorta looks like he is walking backwards but I don’t think it’s hurting him any at all. We go to the Vet tomorrow to get shots and everything so I can get him licensed. I bet it will be his first ride in a Taxi. <heh>

Ever since the restraining order incident I’ve been feeling the need to feel a little more secure here in the building. Well since before that but that only enhanced my insecurity. Short dog with big bark and big mouth makes me feel safer. <grin>

So cameras, dogs and fat cats. Full day.

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

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Ok, I lied about the super sizing but I am planning on significant changes in my Blogs in the very near future.

I turned 55 on the 5th. Gosh that looks strange. Good thing it isn’t 2005.

As usual I got money for my birthday. So I’m getting a digital camera. I’ve already ordered it and it should be here by the middle of the week. I can’t wait. I’ll be adding pictures ASAP.

Patches is going to be my first victim. Hopefully she will cooperate. She’s so lazy I doubt she will be running off but getting her to sit up and look pretty might be a problem. I hope I can capture her pretty green eyes.

When I get the camera and putting pictures on the PC and then into the Blog figured out I will give you all a boring lecture on Calico Cats and how I became a Mama Kitty. You’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

I’m also working on moving my Blogs over to Bluehost. Oh my… My brain may explode before I accomplish learning everything new I have to learn to do this. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. If I didn’t have to deal with
Linux it would be a hell of a lot easier.

Why am I torturing myself like this? Well learning new things is good for me because it builds new neural pathways and keeps the brain functioning at optimal levels.

I wonder if they would let me do this at the computer lab at the Senior Center… Now there’s a thought.

B

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