Friday, September 26, 2008

Taylor the Latte Boy...

Thanks Rod!
Now I can't leave the Wordle alone!!!! Too addicting...

I love Kristen Chenoweth too... ;-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

White chocolate and raspberry trifle...

ps: some good news on private blog...

Credit for this recipe goes to Lindsey Bareham. Found it in her cookbook Justonepot which I scarfed from the bargin bin at B&N! I had no idea this was a British cookbook when I bought it, but since I have a British friend Doc, to call for translation help I am no longer afraid to jump right in!

For instance, on beef...
"Best value for fast cooking are the minute rump steaks and a clutch of shoulder steaks with distinctive ridged meat like bollo, skirt, bavette and feather, or it's similar French cut called onglet, which has gristle running down the center. It's rare to find these cuts in the supermarket, but any butcher worth his salt will be happy to oblige - if he hasn't already nobbled them for his regulars." !?!?!? LOL

This was my first attempt at trifle, so I was a little nervous but I didn't take any leftovers home so I guess I'm calling it a success!! Mine did not look this classy since it is apparently impossible to find a jellyroll in this day and age, (when did they quit making them?) but I have found a new love and it may be quite some time before I go back to experimenting with granola...

White Chocolate and Raspberry Trifle

2 Cups Raspberries
Juice of ½ lime
1Tbsp Kirsch, Vodka or Frambois de Bourgogne (I used Chambourd)
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 Jelly Roll (not Chocolate, I used Angel Food Cake)
4 squares White Chocolate (4oz)
1 cup Heavy or Whipping cream
2 18 oz pkg Custard
Few sprigs mint

Place 2/3 cup of raspberries in a strainer placed over a bowl. Use the back of spoon to push all their juice through into the bowl, leaving the seeds behind. Scrape under the strainer so nothing is wasted. Add the lime juice and liquor, then sift 1Tbsp of confectioners’ sugar over the top, stir well.

Slice the jelly roll about ½ inch thick and use most of the slices to cover the base and make one single layer up the sides of a nice glass bowl. Moisten the slices with most of the raspberry juice and scatter with another 2/3 cup raspberries.

Set aside ¾ square chocolate and break the rest up into small pieces. Place the broken chocolate in a bowl and suspend the bowl over top of a pan of boiling water (use a double boiler?) Stir until the choc melts. When it has melted, stir 1 Tbsp of the cream into the chocolate and then stir the chocolate mixture into 1 of the cartons of custard.

Pour half the chocolate custard over the prepared jelly roll and lay the remaining slices on top. Drizzle the remaining raspberry sauce over the slices and scatter with the remaining raspberries (reserve a few to garnish top with). Use the rest of the choc custard and then cover with the second carton of custard. Whip the rest of the cream until stiff and decorate top of the trifle.

Add the reserved raspberries. Grate the remaining ¾ oz chocolate over top with the large hole of a cheese grater. Plant the mint sprigs here and there and dust the trifle with the rest of the powdered sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours and for up to 24 hours. Serve with any remaining custard.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Run with the little guy...

Run with the little guy... create some change.

I love JONES' soda!

I cast my vote for no corn syrup!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breakfast anyone...

Found this lovely video over at Tamara's Fotolog!!! Check out her awesome place. Tons of great Johnny pics and love too, from Chile... Thanks love!

Monday, September 15, 2008

There are no words...

The men of the USS Kearsarge are still providing relief to Haiti, not just in Gonaive but now also in about 5 other Port Cities all across the country (north to south). In addition to food and water, they are getting ready to shift to phase two of their mission which is to provide Engineering and Medical relief as well...


Words and pics are slow coming out of Haiti...

Here is a nice dressed up pic of Haitians lining up for relief. Where the need is much greater there are no orderly lines or even a dry place to stand or sit, still...

One decent article...

edit... an episode of DUH! (see private blog)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seekng shelter from Hanna...



Ike slams Cuba, readies for another hit
1 day ago
HAVANA (AFP) — Hurricane Ike assaulted Cuba on Monday with monster waves and torrential rains after leaving 61 people dead in Haiti, where a series of vicious storms has triggered a humanitarian crisis...

...Worst-affected is Haiti , where four storms in three weeks have killed more than 600 people and left hundreds of thousands desperate for food, clean water and shelter.
Officials continued aid operations in the stricken town of Gonaives, where hundreds died in devastating floods from Tropical Storm Hanna, but stormy weather and bridge collapses hampered relief efforts.
As thousands awaited relief, the US Navy deployed a helicopter carrier off Haiti's coast to help with relief efforts.
The USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship loaded with relief supplies, will help move cargo and equipment between Port-au-Prince and Gonaives, Saint-Marc and other stricken areas, the military said.


Fuel $13US per gallon / Rice up 60% since storms

UN peacekeepers struggle through floodwaters near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the wake of by hurricane Ike. Photo: Reuters

CABARET, Haiti (AP): Hurricane Ike's torrential rains swelled rivers across Haiti and sent floodwaters gushing into homes in the dead of night in one eastern town, killing at least 58 people.
Flooding also collapsed a bridge that had been the last land route to the starving northern city of Gonaives, where residents fled to rooftops as waters rose for the second time in a week. Three more bodies were found in Gonaives on Sunday, according to civil defense director Maria Alta Jean-Baptiste, all victims of previous storms.
The latest deaths pushed Haiti's toll to at least 319 from four storms in less than a month.
Most of Sunday's 58 deaths were in the Cabaret region north of Port-au-Prince. A swollen river unleased mudslides and floods and crushed homes and sent people fleeing in the middle of the night.
In the Always Funeral Home, 21 muddy bodies were piled in a dank room, unclaimed. Two of them were pregnant, one still clutching a small girl to her chest. Morgue workers roughly separated the bodies to count them, grabbing one baby boy by the head and tossing him aside like a doll.
Waters reached chest-high levels before receding Sunday morning, leaving people to shovel mud from their houses. Others sat outside, surrounded by salvaged pots and mattresses, staring glumly at their collapsed homes.
``We took refuge in one room and waited there all night and prayed,'' said Sister Marie Denise, who was trapped by waist-high waters in the house she shares with four nuns. They evacuated to the nearby school they run after the waters receded.
``We don't know if one of our girls is among the dead,'' she said of her students.
No foreign aid has reached the town even though hundreds of people have been forced from their homes, said local civil defense director Henri Luis Praviel. Still, with the waters swiftly retreating and all roads leading into Cabaret still open, the town may have been better off than isolated Gonaives, Haiti's fourth-largest city.
Pummeled by rains for four days last week during Tropical Storm Hanna, the city was cut off again Sunday when flooding caused the collapse of the Mirebalais bridge in central Haiti. And while the rain finally stopped, high waters will likely keep running down from deforested mountains into the coastal flood plain.
Much of Gonaives remained inaccessible, even to United Nations peacekeepers already in the city, because of rising waters and strong currents. Desperation was increasingly evident among people who have had very little to eat or drink for days, prompting peacekeepers to beef up security.
A line of 3,000 people snaked around a warehouse-turned-U.N. shelter, and several hundred pushed and shoved to break down the door, only to be quickly subdued by Bolivian troops in riot gear.
As peacekeepers delivered aid to areas their trucks could reach, scores of young men splashed alongside, begging for help. One called out with a bullhorn: ``Hey, hey, my friend. Give me some water.''
Food and fuel prices both skyrocketed, with gasoline reaching 500 Haitian gourdes (US$13) a gallon. And while relief workers in Gonaives said they had enough emergency food supplies for the next couple of days, distributing it is becoming ever more complicated.
Workers spent four hours handing out water and high-protein biscuits. But people were growing tired of relief food and started to demand rice, which has gone up 60 percent in price since the storms.
``We would like to eat some real food,'' said shelter resident Esaie St. Juste. ``Rice, beans, sardines. Haitian people like real food.''
Above Haiti's coastal floodplain, in the Artibonite Valley, authorities prepared to open an overflowing dam, inundating more homes and possibly causing lasting damage to Haiti's ``rice bowl,'' a farming area whose revival is key to rescuing the starving country.
``Please evacuate as soon as you can,'' Agriculture Minister Joanas Gay urged Artibonite residents on state-run Radio Nationale

This photo was released by UN peacekeepers on Wed, depicting folks gathering in 'shelters' in Gonaive (see the link below for the news article about aid convoys having to turn back) this is before Ike hit and dumped tons more on Haiti. At this point it looks as though dams will have to be released potentially killing many more and wiping out key farming land.

See private blog for more, let me know if you still don't have the link.

Deforestation and poverty behind Haiti flood crisis

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sadly undecided...

This is the first time since I was eligible to vote that I don't know who I am voting for at this stage of the game...

I've been a liberal and I've been a conservative, I've was even passionately political for a time. One thing I have remained throughout is very passionately patriotic! Yes, I cry still when our National Anthem is played, especially when I am on foreign soil. There really is no place in the world like America. Yes she is young still, and brash as Johnny Depp pointed out in his much misunderstood and maligned comment after 9/11, but she is very idealistic and proud and her people are FREE! We enjoy a freedom here like no one else in the world does. I thank God often that I was lucky enough to be born here. There is no place in the world like America...

I've been longing for some time now to be able to place my vote for President of the United States of America for almost anyone other than a white male of either party. Nothing against white males, it's just time! (Please don't think me racist or sexist, I am very far from either one of those things.) As the political pendulum has slowed it's wild swing in my life I seem to have fallen a bit to the conservative side of center, not as liberal as I have been but far less conservative than I have ever been either...

I've been holding out great hope for Senator Obama during most of this campaign. Though I'd love to see a woman in the White House, Hillary would never have gotten my vote. I was never prouder of her though than when she spoke out for Obama at the DNC. She did her job fantastically and even brought tears to my eyes a couple of times!!! (No one was more surprised at that than I!) I was also moved by Bill's profession of love to his wife, though he didn't really do her any favors during her campaign which only reinforced my intense dislike of the man. I recall with great emotion how difficult the Clinton days were for me. I remember the Reagan/Bush days as the good old days (boo if you have to...) they were good for me economically and also they were very good days for an American who spent most of those days on foreign soil. They were the days of favor for our troops of which I was one. Those were the days I chose to exercise my passion for my country by serving in our military.

I remember vividly the early days of the Clinton regime with horror as he began to decimate the armed forces and it wasn't long before I was one of his casualties. He got rid of most of the mid-level managers, the ones with all the experience. My military service ended but I remained overseas for a few more years. There was a different feeling then about us, like we were often being laughed at. Coming home to white bread America in the mid 90's wasn't much easier. It was soo hard to find work in those days with my military resume. I sometimes felt like a creature from outer space! I guess that's when the pendulum swung right for me...

I'm not still waaay over there thankfully, but as I said earlier, I am still not sure who I am voting for in this election! What I am most sensitive to these days is all the bitter blaming going on in our two party system. I know it has been that way for a long time, but for some reason it is particularly hard to take right now. With all our elections so close in recent history, we are a nation divided. It is really hard to stomach the acrimonious dismissal by either side of 50% of the people in our great nation!! That kind of divisive pride is tearing me apart inside a bit.

There is not just a right way and a wrong way to come up against almost any issue I have ever seen. Anything that doesn't bend, will eventually break. And I'm not talking about one side or the other giving in. I guess I'm talking about giving up! I'm talking about thinking outside the box. Not your way or my way, or what we can't accomplish, but what CAN we do! I think that only humility can bring us across the aisle to someplace where we can co-exist, someplace where we can get close enough to each other to see our similarities and not just the gulf that divides us.

I was sooo hoping that Senator Obama was going to be that man, that man who could get us crossing the aisle and listening to one another. I admit to being pretty disappointed after his speech last week. (I really, REALLY like him!) I didn't hear what I was expecting to hear though. I heard a man toeing the party line, and bitterly so, advocating again, for 50% of Americans. ;(

Instead, last night John McCain surprised me. The words of conciliation I expected to hear from Obama were coming from his mouth instead. Words of humility. Words like, 'It doesn't matter who get's the credit.', and words like I was wrong, when speaking of the way he lived before his experience as a POW. I was reminded of why I served my country and why it really matters when you put others first. I was reminded why I served to defend our freedoms that I so cherish. Even that freedom of speech that some use to rip 50% of our people apart. I was convinced that I would do it all over again if I could. I was moved to tears. I felt like I heard a great and humble man speak last night, and more importantly, I think I heard him bend...

There is a part of me that wanted to turn off the comments to this post, but that is the part of me that lives inside the box. That isn't the part of me that served to defend our famous freedoms. This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave! So, say your piece, and remember that I love you all, as living breathing people, and not as labels!

I still don't know who is going to get my vote in this election, but I will be listening and watching closely in the days ahead...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008