Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fran's Cauliflower Gratin and K's Candied Sweet Potatoes

These are two of the dishes Fran and I put together today. I bet she's sound asleep right now.

Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyere
Gruyère's nutty, earthy flavor is a nice match for subtle cauliflower, and crisp breadcrumbs add texture. Substitute broccoli for the cauliflower, if you prefer. You can prepare all the elements for the dish a day ahead, if necessary. Refrigerate the sauce, the cauliflower, and the breadcrumb mixture separately, and simply assemble before baking.


6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (about 2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place cauliflower in a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; coat cauliflower with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until almost tender. Cool 5 minutes.
3. Preheat broiler.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in panko. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and chives.
5. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and pepper. Pour milk mixture over cauliflower mixture; toss. Top evenly with cheese mixture. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly heated.

Out and about amongst humanity

Every year I forget how busy it is out there on the day before Thanksgiving. Talk about a short memory!
Since two of the places I wanted to visit today open later, I tried to schedule my trip to be able to do both of them the same time as my other errands. My first shock was renewing tags at the DMV in under 5 minutes. Shazam!
By my clock, Costco had been open just 15 minutes and yet the lot was nearly full. There were plenty of "darters" and "dawdlers" pushing carts, but all in all it was a pleasant chatty crowd. It took awhile, but I gassed up as long as I was there for just $1.75 a gallon.
I turned the car towards downtown, went over the bridge, stopped at Reader's Guide to drop off some books and then drove to Rickreall to visit Eola Winery. About halfway in between on Highway 22, I could see emergency vehicles in the distance and then traffic stopped. A silly man in a white Nissan truck thought he could drive on the shoulder to take the next exit, but ended up blocking an emergency vehicle instead. The rest of the vehicles on the road, problem solved and made enough room down the middle of the highway for the small fire truck to pass through.
I bought 6 bottles of Eola's delightful, dependable, not too sweet, Pacific Blanc for $6.95 a bottle (not counting my wine club discount) and 2 bottles of their delicious Late Harvest Viognier.
On the way home, I stopped in at Roth's to buy a couple cans of pumpkin. After all the groceries were put away and I sat down to type this, Fran asked if I bought portabello mushrooms along with the buttons . . .
Oh crud! Time to go back to the store :>(

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

and the good news is - I didn't fall asleep

My only complaint regarding the second class I took after lunch, was how obvious it was that not everyone took the basics class before the advanced class. Oh well, I still learned quite a bit. Now I want to sit down with the program to practice.
Fran and I began our shopping list. I was going to make the first grocery trip (is there ever just one?) this evening, but now that it's dark and wet outside all I want to do is curl up on the couch.
What a wimp I am!

Here I go . . .

I'm still surprised that I'm actually trying something new and different today. Instead of working at school doing prep, I'm heading to another school in Keizer to take an all day computer class. It's on a program staff uses everyday, but no one knows how to use all the features. I doubt my taking it will change anything, but I could be a resource in case someone wants us to begin using one of the features.
Today is also Liseanne's first day at work. I want to reduce myself and hop in her pocket to keep her company. She left me a sweet gift to find this morning. :>) Now she's on MY wrist.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry Salsa
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 TBL grated orange peel
1 seedless orange, peeled and chopped
1 TBL ginger root
1 TBL parsley
1 TBL cilantro
2 jalapenos
1/3 cup honey
2 TBL frozen orange juice concentrate
The recipe says to put all in a food processer but I like to chop with my chopper and leave it a little chunkier.

Politely . . . .

Nope, can't do it, Lise! ;>)
N must have an early meeting today. He was out of here shortly after 7. Not I.
I thought about it . . . and then decided to take Izzy out one more time and type out a short post.

J, L, N and I all went out to Thompson's last night. We haven't done that for a long time.
Today I work half a day and then take Fran to an appointment. I hope to find time this evening to continue messing with the wine video. I keep thinking of something else to change and hope I have the perservance to learn how to do the process to get there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I hope you two were able to go out and enjoy a good meal - with friends or just the two of you. :>)
I'll be calling to chat tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Santiam Wine Company

Santiam Wine Co. from K Miller on Vimeo.

No chores done, but . . .

Liseanne and I (especially Lise) did a lot today. I had forgotten to charge the video camera last night, so we ended up having to wait for that to finish before leaving the house this morning. First we stopped at Santiam Wine Company, where we hung around for an hour or so. I took shots of the shop and then taped the owner answering a question. We bought a few bottles and then drove over to the public market to buy some turnips, parsnips and carrot bread. After that we drove downtown to Court Street and walked to the bead shop with the eclectic collection. Lise bought beads and bits to make a birthday bracelet.
We drove home and then Lise ate lunch and prepared to take Fran and J to the outlet stores. They didn't spend too much time there. Sounds like it was pretty crazy with a lot of promotions going on.
I spent the next part of my day sitting on my rear downloading kindergarten videos to the KG blog and editing the wine shop footage.
Lise heated up her squash soup and sliced the loaf of bleu cheese walnut bread we bought at Cascade.
I guess I'll be doing chores tomorrow . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where did Thursday go?

I know I accomplished things at work, but work days aren't always as satisfying as student days. Depends on the work to be done, perhaps? I resisted and haven't peeked at the photos I picked up at Costco last night. So that will be fun - to glue and enjoy the pics at the same time.
After work it was time to add hair to the landfill (we really should find a use for cut hair) and get my gray covered up again. I'm always surprised it takes 3 hours, but it's time well spent when it's with Karyn.
And yes, Zuzu, I did remember stop and buy you some kitty litter. But no, I haven't gone any farther than that. I apologize. Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and clean sheets had priority last night.
Liseanne reminded us that we won't be seeing as much of her after Tuesday. That's when she starts her swing shift with the Department of Human Resources. We'll find a way, dog gone it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I WILL sleep tonight

Our blood date went well. No lines. :>) We were in and out within an hour. Pretty amazing. N ran into someone from his old office. That was a nice surprise.
We did end up trying out Thai Beer restaurant. Our chicken vegetable dish was good, but not what we consider Thai. Plus I think our experience was clouded with the poor service we received. We felt like our table had a force field around it, preventing anyone from seeing us or getting too close to our table. :>P One of those nights when we wish we'd stuck with the tried and true. I don't want to climb back in the rut, but now I remember why we feel comfortable there.
After that experience edged with disappointment, we came home and weren't very good company. I apologize for that Liseanne. I want you to know how much I appreciate you - especially when you tend to Izzy, Fran, the house. It makes our lives easier. Thank you, buttercup.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Izzy helps N with the leaves

Blood date :>D

This will be the first blood date since N began his new job. I need to keep that in mind this afternoon, so I don't find myself sitting in the green lot wondering where he is. I'm thinking Thai - it's all Salem Man's fault. :>)
I'm beginning to feel a bit peeved about Lori Cain at the Statesman using the same song I used on the public market video as her theme song on her videos. At first I was happy for Andrew. Now I'm just feeling bugged.
Today is feast day and the last kindergarten school day until December. How weird is that. After all these years and I'm still amazed when this time of year arrives. Would've created quite a child care challenge when I was working at Roseburg's schools.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Thank goodness Franny was on the couch this morning!
N locked me out of the house :>O
He came outside to say goodbye, since I was with Izzy on a walk-about in the backyard. When he went back in the sliding glass door, he locked the door behind him.
. . . little did Izzy and I know, until we tried to get back inside after he left.



I discovered that OnDemand lets me watch Masterpiece Theatre or Mystery within the same week it was originally broadcast. Something for me! :>)
The title was "Filth". It was the dramatization of the life of Mary Whitehouse. An art teacher who pushed and organized to change what the BBC was broadcasting into people's house at tea time. At least that's how it began. The chairman of the BBC refused to see or talk to her and she began to gain a bigger base and feel a greater responsibility because of that. If he'd met with her and made a few changes right in the beginning, things may have turned out much different.
Afterward, we watched the last half hour of Boston Legal - enough to get my weekly dose of their scathing political commentary. I love that show.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mmm, good coffee

N and I went out for breakfast and then to Costco yesterday morning. I think I'll save the review for Friday or Saturday. We ended up leaving the cat litter at Costco, but at least it wasn't on the receipt. I need to return today to pick-up two prescriptions anyway. And after the state of Zuzie's box this morning, I may pick up two containers of litter.
We went to the bird store and bought the winter blend for our feathered buddies. We picked up some suet, too. I wish I could view the suet feeders from this chair. Extra computer entertainment is a good thing.
I'm thinking I should discontinue the practice of reading the principal's monday memo before I head to school. So little pertains to the entire staff anyway. So why volunteer for before work stress?
Onward to Monday . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Everything's Rosie in Roseburg

After I ran my errands and N gathered and shredded the week's worth of leaves, we hopped into the truck to meet Izzy, Fran and her J, halfway - at J's folk's house in Roseburg. Ah, the smell of roast beef cooking greeted us along with all three dogs at their door. We spent several hours relaxing and visiting with them before finally pulling away from the curb around 8:30.
On the drive home Fran snoozed off and on, but mainly filled us in on her week in Ashland.
This morning N and I slept in and then went out for breakfast.
It's been a great weekend. :>)
I feel the urge to take Izzy for a walk to the park.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hang up and talk to your kids!

That's my thought for the day. I was sitting at a stop light watching a mother talking animatedly on her cell while her young son sat in the passenger seat with no one to share his day with.
Well, I did it. I went to the market, bought bread, cheese and cider and then stopped at the wine shop. I walked in, told her what I wanted and she rose to the occasion. That's what I love about wine shops. Then I talked to her about wanting to come in and do a video some Saturday during a wine tasting. She's for it - as long as I give her enough warning to spruce the place up. :>) We had a good conversation about buying local and being disappointed by the local newspaper's wine writer's choice of writing a big article about Kirkland Wines.
Speaking of wine - I have a new post on eatsalem. :>)

Friday, November 14, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

More staff drama at school today. Stop! No more drama! Bad for morale!
We also had a couple of techs camped out the entire day. Evidently someone opened an ecard infected with a virus and it had creeped into the school's intranet.
The entire class and I were walking to the computer lab, when I spied the techs and their laptops in the lab. Oh oh. I poked my head in and asked if the lab was open, "yes! The lab is ready to use!" Whew! And then one of our teachers hurried over to me and said, "sorry, the lab is closed. we're doing some updating for testing." No problem. I turned the crew around and took them back to the room to watch one of my favorite videos by Pete Seeger.
I'd like to pop into the public market tomorrow, while N tackles the leaves and before we head south to pick-up Fran and Izzy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time, ambition and money

I heard on OPB radio that Thomas Lauderdale will be playing Gershwin in Portland this weekend. That would be a dreamy concert to attend! Now if only China would join him with vocals on a few pieces. Oh and Paula Poundstone will be in town this weekend, too. I do think we should buy our tickets to see the Oregon Trail Band's Christmas show in December, though. One out of three ain't bad.
I finally found some success with getting one of two insurance companies to ante in on my hearing aides. Who knew it would be so difficult. After mailing it in twice and faxing it once and having them tell me each time they had no record of having received anything, I finally was able to talk to a supervisor who called me back as soon as she received the fax and then walked the claim over to processing, with a request to rush it. That was on Monday and I received a check yesterday. Now to see how quickly insurance company number two responds. Here's the hoop, now jump!
Lise is getting the public market slide show ready and then we'll put up the winery pics. What next?? :>)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How many days until Christmas?

Sorry, couldn't come up with a better title. So I decided to scare you instead. ;>)

I need to go put an offering in the food confessional plate - just for yesterday. N and I stopped at Arby's after a quick trip to the container store in Pleasantville. They have their Italian sub again. Such a good combination of flavors, what can I say? Then we ate dinner at BigFoot - a burger of course. Their burgers are still good with the new management, but not AS good as they were in the beginning.
We also managed to make a stop at Orchard Heights Winery. Their wines are on the unremarkable side, but they have a great, little, jam-packed gift shop. Though their estate Gevurztraminer was nice. I was sad that more wineries weren't open for Veteran's Day. I suppose it would be different if the day off was a Monday.

What day is today??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grading Day

It was nice having the classroom all to myself to get things done. I checked everything off my to do list and that's about the time L arrived. I brought her up to date on the controversy of the day and then she filled me in on yet another staff item.
People began to get together and go out to lunch. I wanted to try this popular bar and grill fairly close to the school, but 3 steps in and we quickly turned around and walked out. Too dark, too smelly, too dirty, too sketchy! So we made the drive downtown where our resident vegan would be sure to have something good to eat - Marco Polo's. What a great lunch deal they have! My appetizer, soup, main course, hot tea and fruit with dessert, all for $6.95!
I worked just the half day, since I've been accumulating extra time here and there. So I drove home after lunch. J and Liseanne were just getting ready to head out on an excursion, so I had the house to myself. Alone again!
Once again I fell asleep on the couch after dinner. I see a trend developing. Not good.
Guess I better finish getting ready for the day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Orzo with Shrimp, Feta Cheese, and White Wine

Definitely worth sharing!
Bon Appétit | April 2003

by Donna Knowlton

Yield: Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings
8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush 11x7-inch glass baking dish with oil. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain well and return orzo to same pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons basil; stir to blend. Arrange orzo mixture in prepared dish.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until slightly pink, about 2 minutes (shrimp will not be cooked through). Arrange shrimp atop orzo. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, oregano, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Simmer uncovered until reduced to thick sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over shrimp. Bake orzo until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup feta cheese and serve.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until slightly pink, about 2 minutes (shrimp will not be cooked through). Arrange shrimp atop orzo. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, oregano, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Simmer uncovered until reduced to thick sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over shrimp. Bake orzo until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup feta cheese and serve. © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

On again then off

My plan today is to get some good cleaning done and then work on science prep. We'll see how that goes. Depends on who is around and how much talking they want to do. I'd rather catch up with people on a day without children and today fits the bill.

Felt good to get a good vacuuming and dusting done yesterday. And I washed two of our throw rugs. So THAT'S what color they're supposed to be!

Zuzu is enjoying her time in the house this morning. No Izzy to chase her, although she seems to enjoy that when it's going on. And no Wendy to stare and meow at her. I wonder if Zuzu will let her hair down enough to make a feline friend.

Someone came to the blog this morning looking for donate life tattoos. Must not be what they wanted, they stayed for less than a minute.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zippity do dah

Due to a family discussion, we ended up leaving town sometime around 7:30 Friday evening. We made it Ashland at 11:16 PM. We sat and unwound and chatted a bit before hitting the futon. Such a comfortable mattress! Thank you Futon Man!
J left in the morning for a school event and N and I piddled around taking Izzy for walks and cleaning up the kitchen. Then we went out to The Breadboard for a delicious breakfast. We walked around town for awhile, visited a gallery and then stopped in at Munchies for a few slices of chocolate peanut butter pie - to go.
I think J wanted to take us out shopping, but we were ready to just sit in hibernate mode. Sorry J! We ended up leaving around 4:30 and then joining them for a trip to Costco. We all gassed up and said goodbye.
Instead of stopping in Eugene for pumpkin ale, we looked at the time and decided on a quick stop at Sonic (must beg forgiveness to the food gods). Just as our food arrived, J's mom called with a chicken curry invite. {sigh} Suddenly the fast food fare looked even less tasty than it did already.
Instead of curry, I had a glass of wine and wonderful company. :>) It was a nice break in the trip home.
Missing Izzy and Fran already . . . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

You're probably out with Dad eating dinner about now. :>)
Just wanted you to know we're thinking about you.
Love you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I still believe that 98% of the world's population are decent people

Maybe I'm naive, but I really do believe most people are good.
I feel sorry for those who choose to live their lives expecting evil to be lurking around each corner. I came in contact with someone recently whose occupation puts them in the presence of people who don't have a good moral grounding. These people approach life as though everyone is a threat to their family. So sad. I'm glad it doesn't seem to have infected their children's lives - other than living in shadows of the hovering adults.
Such a dreary day. Although, it was pretty warm during our morning recess.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Dark Already?

I dunno, I think I'd rather have it dark in the morning . . . except for the concerns about bicyclists and pedestrians heading to work and school being run down by unobservant motorists.
I love having debates with myself.
Science went great yesterday. It was a demonstration (can't really call it an experiment, can I?) to prove how you can trap air in a cup. We had tubs of water, clear plastic cups, frosting and marshmallows. Since I had to demonstrate, I sacrificed myself for science by eating 4 marshmallows with frosting over the course of the school day. :>) After attaching a marshmallow to the inside bottom of the cup with the "glue" (frosting), I show how you can actually hear the trapped air hit the top of the water when you tap/hit the upside down cup on the surface of the water. Then I show them how to push the air-filled cup (still upside down) all the way to the bottom of the tub of water (without tipping) and all the way out. The marshmallow is still dry! And then you pop it in your mouth. :>D I used to do this with paper in the bottom of the cup, until Kim showed me a better way. They loved it before and now . . . they love it even more so.
I should get up off my backside and look productive. N and I will drive Fran down to Ashland Friday after work. I may find something to prep for that if I try.

Get in buckle up and hang on

Now that's what I call a great election night. :>)
So many warm fuzzy feelings when we heard NPR say they projected Obama to win at 8:05 (?) PM. I relished both his acceptance speech and McCain's concession speech.
I was so happy Lise picked up a bottle of champagne on her trip to the store for rice.
Now to witness what unexpected consequences lay ahead for all of us. Good? Bad? Get in, buckle up and hang on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eat Salem

I have a new post on Eat Salem this morning. This morning I went to go do one of my obsessive checks to make sure there weren't any other last minute changes I should make when I noticed the slideshow was gone. :>O
Must've happened during one of my last edits. Have to be careful with that "delete" key!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Glad for the rain and yet not so glad for the rain

It's been so dry in our yard for so long, but it sure makes it easier to take a puppy outside when it's dry. She's not a big fan of the rain and that adds up to more accidents in the house.
I took Fran to PT today. Her appointments are more spread apart since insurance only pays for a certain number per year. We wouldn't want a doctor to have a say in how much PT a patient should have. :>/
On our way home we stopped at the store to buy a few things to make white bean chicken chili. So good! Perfect for a wet autumn dinner - especially when you add corn bread.
My eyes are getting heavy . . . tomorrow is science day. One of the fun lessons. :>)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autumnal Ecstasy

“Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
~Stanley Horowitz

A couple of times this week I've been concerned about the level of attention I'm giving my driving. My eyes keep getting drawn up above the road to those dark greenish brown branches with their stark contrast to the golden leaves in the soft light filtering through the foggy morning.
And then there are those leaves that look like gorgeous sunsets . . . sigh.

Still one of my favorites:

Only Memory

So very often
Especially in Autumn
Mother Nature
Takes hold of all my senses
And puts them in Awe
And then my hand
Begins to ache
So much pure beauty
Around me
And I, minus the talent
To capture the color
On Canvas forever
So instead
I admire Mother Nature's work
for hours
Only to feel I've missed it all
When the season ends -
Because of my extreme
lack of proof