Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tony, We Love You

Above, Tony and Iain checking out a half-frozen creek in Capital Reef National Park. There were several tracks across it, so they spent a minute or two speculating about wildlife.


The thing is, I never actually made decent baked potatoes. Ever.

Recipes say, "Heat the oven. Poke the potatoes. Bake for an hour. Voila!"*

No. This is a lie.

But Tony...he knows things. So he said, "Oh, you microwave them for 14 minutes, then bake them at 375 for an hour." Really?

Yes. Really. They're good. Really good. I've made them thrice. Every time: really good. And now Iain says "You make good potatoes, mom." We've decided to call them Tony's Potatoes.

We miss you, guys.

*Please note for the record that I even tried the recipe offered by Alton Brown. Nothing worked for me. Nothing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The End

We made a gingerbread house while the Boys were here. It featured two houses, four little gingerbread people, and a Christmas tree. Iain insisted that there be a "girl house" and a "boy house." Gingerbread people admire the Shakers, apparently.

My lady ginger people sported candy pearls. Their house had a fully-decorated roof, too.

Iain, on the other hand, decorated his gingerdudes with M&Ms and Skittles, made his snowman into a cyclops, and gave his house a minimalist roof and a candycane mustache.

From above you can see that the two houses have a peppermint walkway to link them. Like you would. And a nice jellybelly border in case you want to stray into the garden. Also, on either side of the entrance there are rounded flower patches. The front of the property is fenced with gumballs and candy canes. The photos don't show it (human error) but there are snowdrifts of marshmallows along the back of the houses, too.

[And a jam jar inside the girls' house because Mommy can't remember to take out the supports before she puts on the roof.]

Next: when kindergartners attack.

Iain grabbed the meat tenderizer Miriam gave us (first used in gingerbread demolition last year) and went to town.

Bam! Bye-bye, boys' house.

He really enjoyed breaking it into small pieces.

And then it was all over. I remembered, too late, the fact that picking candy bits out of the wet, cold, wintery grass is a pain in the butt.

Goodbye, pretty gingerbread house. See you again next year.

Friday, January 17, 2014

What is the sum of all positive integers?

S=1+2+3+4+5+ . . .

Monday, January 13, 2014

Experts? Bah!

From the New York Times:

“A substantial body of social science research confirms,” the [Utah] brief [to the Supreme Court seeking a stay on gay marriages] said, “that children generally fare best when reared by their two biological parents in a loving, low-conflict marriage.”
Lawyers for the couples challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriageresponded that the assertion “is not true.” For evidence, they cited “the scientific consensus of every national health care organization charged with the welfare of children and adolescents,” and listed nine such groups. The view of the groups, the challengers said, “based on a significant and well-respected body of current research, is that children and adolescents raised by same-sex parents, with all things being equal, are as well-adjusted as children raised by opposite-sex couples.”
Utah responded that it would not be swayed by “politically correct trade associations,” referring to, among others, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. “We are not ruled by experts,” the state’s brief said.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Capital Reef - and Granola

Charles and Iain, walking through a riverbed. My favorite kinds of hikes: flat and shady. Add some pretty rocks and I'm sold. So Capital Reef wins all my happy awards.

Of course, we chose to stroll through an area behind the ranger station. Check back with me in June when I've slogged up the hot, shiny bits on a warmer day. I might not be quite so enthusiastic.

Today is overcast. Grey, cold, moist and generally not what Utahns like in weather. So I'm making granola.

Partly, it's the weather. Partly, it's the huge bag of rolled oats left in my pantry from a cooking experiment gone wrong several months ago. When you have too many rolled oats the best thing to do is make some granola. Breakfast: covered. Pantry: bulging a bit less. House: smells nice.

So that's the task. I mixed two recipes today, one from this blog and one from Use Real Butter. The basic formula goes like this:
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups fat (I used a stick of butter and a little oil today)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups sweet (I used maple syrup and honey today, in the same proportions as the butter and oil above- 1/2 cup of the first, 1/4 cup of the second)
  • Some nuts and stuff (I had almonds in the freezer, plus half a cup of old peanuts plus some leftover Brazil nuts and weird seeds (flax? Pepitas? I dunno) in a bag of trail mix. Just toss it in. Who cares?)
  • Some dried fruit for later. I have dried cranberries and a tiny bit of other stuff from that trail mix. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure it will be fine.
So you mix all the stuff except the fruit, spread it on a sheet pan (with a silpat if you value your time and don't want to scrub for the next week), and bake it at a little less than 350 (I'm using 315 this time because my old recipe says 300 and Jen says 350) for 30 minutes.

Wham. Done. Granola for brekkie this week. 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Capital Reef

Part of our holiday festivities took us, Bart and Tony, and my new lens to Capital Reef. I needed a little practice because normally I shoot in low-light. I'm thoroughly accustomed to setting the camera for our living room.

Setting it for blazing Utah sunshine? Not my forte. But in the end it wasn't a total disaster because when the natural environment offers beautiful scenery you can take a dull picture but not a horrible one.

Also, props to the National Park Service. Open on Sunday, smiling and happy to be there. Bravo.

Friday, January 03, 2014


 They came! Actually, they came ten days ago. But we were too busy being friends and drinking tea and buying salty snacks to blog.

Of course, the first few days passed in a blur, thanks to plane-triggered lurgy and Christmas. In that order.

But many cups of tea later, plus some time spent laying around sighing, we all felt well enough to explore a bit. Charles and Tony drove up to Solitude while Bart and I played Legos, cooked, and poked around town.

Alas, they've gone back to Blighty. But it was a lovely trip (more photos to follow) and we hope to visit them on their home soil soon.