Monday, December 12, 2011

More Maggie on Monday

Black plastic? Don't remember a thing.
       Three weeks have passed since the last update on Maggie.  The first of those weeks Maggie only managed to chew up slippers and a moccasin (just one, lest she make a matching pair) of a guest.  Still, she was making improvements.  In the second week, it wasn't until the discovery of a chewed flashlight revealed that the strange unidentifiable, mangled thick black pieces of plastic previously found all over the floor belonged to it.  That still makes two weeks ago a good week since it was the discovery only, not the actual chewing. And whose fault is it anyway since  the flashlight was left in her reach in the first place? She  had to be given the benefit of the doubt, not 100% of the blame.
Nose at rest.
     Signals for going outside are still in the developmental stage.  Apparently Maggie finds her owners difficult to train. Sometimes it is the tear around grabbing anything in sight.  Sometimes a bark.  Many a trip outside finds her walking all over tempted by the wonderful smells on the ground that only she can sniff. Maggie does have a great nose.  On one trip just outside the door the nose immediately went to the ground, a pounce, and then the squeal of some creature that was just too slow to get away.   There is no fun standing in the cold watching a dog run around sniffing the ground. But nighttime is her fun time to pursue the creatures of the night - real or imagined. Gee, just go, get it over with, and get back into the warmth inside. 
Irresistibly innocent Maggie face
     So far her best outside cue is to walk over and slap at you with her paw.  She is pretty good actually with a shot to the cheek.  Ah, working on this one - glad to know she wants to go out, not wet the floor, paired with can't discipline her to stop this since the swat is her best way of saying, "I gotta go now or you'll be cleaning up the floor." Not really pleasant, we're working on the fine tuning so it is just a nudge and run to the door with maybe a bark.  Still, her other attributes make her worth keeping - that Maggie face!

Easy comfort food, seafood style -
                             Shrimp Casserole
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice (use wild rice)
1 1/2 lbs medium-size raw shrimp
1/2 cup butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of shrimp soup, undiluted*
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar-colby cheese blend
1/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
350 oven
1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
2. Peel shrimp, and devein. Cut shrimp in half crosswise for more bites, if
3. Melt butter over medium heat; add bell pepper and next
4 ingredients, and sauté 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in soup,
shrimp, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. (Do
not overcook.)
4. Combine shrimp mixture and rice. Pour into a lightly greased 13-
x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/4 cup
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Adapted from Southern Living APRIL 2007

Friday, December 9, 2011

(Some) Lessons Learned

     The warm air, open window of opportunity came shortly after Thanksgiving.  It always does. Noncritical farm chores need to be put aside. So, to the top of the priority list went bulb planting and Christmas lights and garland. 
     The bags, arriving in October and carefully saved in the garage, revealed a mere 105 bulbs to plant plus the 8 graciously given as a complimentary gift. Thank you. Wasn't there a note to self from this time last year?  Ah, now I remember. Still fresh from the memories of beautiful daffodil arrays, the fall bulb catalogs arrive in late spring tempting with great offers and the promise of increasing the beautiful display from the harbingers of spring.  And heck, then fall was so far off why surely there would be plenty of free time on a warm day to get everything planted. 

Armed and not dangerous
     So here, armed with a new gadget, visions swirled through my head about how fast these bulbs could be planted on this day. Maybe it was December, but it was warm, and I was not going to be planting these darn bulbs on a freezing cold day in partially frozen ground.  My mind envisioned this giant drill digging perfectly round holes in rows where the quick and efficient process would be drop in bulbs, cover, and move on.  Not so fast. It didn't work the way a drill works in wood.  The drill went in, but had to be pulled up with the dirt, drilled again and repeated until the hole was deep enough.  No matter, it beats trying to dig a small hole or a big hole in rocky earth with a big shovel. 
     Ah, to be near the end 2 1/2 hours later, with only ten bulbs to go, (not including the free ones) who should appear, but Maggie, my faithful companion, with a bulb proudly in her mouth and just out of reach. She had her treasure, and I had my vision of my work being undone. For sure, at least 104 bulbs are in the ground, but maybe less.  Didn't check; didn't want to know.
     Lesson Two Learned.  Get the Christmas lights and garland put up on the very next warm day.  Shouldn't one check the two-year-old light sets to make sure they worked before putting them up? Note to self next year all three will work instead of just one.

Dessert - crust is tender, filling is perfect - only whip cream and a sliver of a slice needed
                           Caramel-Pecan Tart 5*
 3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
 2 cups flour
 2/3 cup powdered sugar
 3/4 cup butter, cubed
 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
 1/2 cup honey
 2/3 cup butter
 3 Tbs whipping cream
Oven 350
1.  Bake pecans for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.
2. Pulse flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup butter in a food processor 5 to
6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture evenly on bottom
and up sides of a lightly greased 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a
wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.
4. Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter, and whipping cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in toasted pecans, and spoon hot filling into prepared crust.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool on a
wire rack 30 minutes or until completely cool.
Adapted from Southern Living NOVEMBER 2007