Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recipe: Biscuit Topped Deep Dish Chicken Bake

A Big Food Favorite!

Serves 4-6 


1 Tbsp butter 
1 ½ C fresh green beans 
2 medium carrots, scraped and cubed 
1 medium onion, chopped 
½ C celery, sliced thin 
½ C chicken or turkey broth (from cooking chicken or turkey) 
¼ C flour 
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced 
½ tsp poultry seasoning 
¼ tsp salt 
¼ tsp pepper 
2 C milk 
2 C cooked chicken or turkey, chopped 

Heat oven to 375o. Grease a 2 quart casserole. Melt butter in stock pot or Dutch oven, add green beans, carrots, onions, and celery, and cook over medium flame, stirring, until onion is tender. Add chicken or turkey broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 12 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir flour, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper into milk, add to stock pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in chicken or turkey meat, and stir into casserole. Top with Biscuits, dropped by tablespoons on top of chicken mixture to form 8 biscuits, and bake 35-40 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and biscuits are browned. 


1 C flour 
1 ½ tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp salt 
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced 
2 Tbsp butter 
½ C milk 

Combine flour, baking powder, alt, and parsley in small bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender to the texture of coarse crumbs. Stir in milk.

Recipe: Beer Cheese Broccoli Soup

With Bran Yeast Bread
This was the 4th entrant in our 2013/14 Fall & Winter Soup Contest. You can read all about it and see the current scorecard here. Background to the contest and links to recipes for this year's and previous years' contest entrants here

Serves 6  

1 ¼ C thick cheese sauce (see recipes in Basics section) 
Large can evaporated milk 
3 oz cream cheese, cut into small chunks 
10 oz box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed 
¼ tsp black pepper 
¼ tsp ground cayenne 
¼ tsp dried oregano, crumbled 
¼ tsp horseradish powder 
¼ - ½ tsp garlic powder, to taste 
½ tsp salt 
½ C (4 oz) beer, at room temperature 
2 strips bacon, fried crisp, half of rendered fat reserved 
1 Tbsp mayonnaise (preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section) 
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce 

Combine cheese sauce, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until smooth, stirring constantly. Add thawed broccoli and cook until tender, still stirring constantly. Add all spices, the rendered bacon fat, and beer, and stir to mix thoroughly. Just before serving, sprinkle bacon bits over top of soup. Store any remainder in refrigerator (don’t freeze), and reheat with a little milk to thin leftover soup.

Recipe: Bran Yeast Bread

This bread is photo worthy. Unfortunately, this is the only photo of it I took.
This is one dang good bread. And you'd never know it was a bran bread. I used bran flakes for the called-for bran. 

Makes 2 loaves 

1 C hot water 
2/3 C sugar 
1 C 100% Bran 
1 C (scant) shortening 
2 yeast cakes or envelopes active dry yeast 
1 C lukewarm water 
2 eggs, beaten 
1 ½ Tbsp salt 
6 C flour 

Pour hot water over sugar, bran, and shortening, and cool mixture to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1 C lukewarm water and add to bran mixture. Add eggs, salt, and flour, and let rise until doubled in bulk. Knead on floured board and separate into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 15-20 minutes or until done.

One America

There are two Americas, one of which is better than the other. And it's instructive who's sticking up for the worse America.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/phil-robertson-duck-dynasty-two-americas-2013-12#ixzz2p2fJIEv0
Josh Barro
Josh Barro is the Politics Editor for Business Insider. Previously, he was a blogger for Bloomberg View, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and a commercial real estate banker at Wells Fargo.

Josh was profiled in the June 2013 issue of The Atlantic as "The Loneliest Republican." He was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30: Media list in 2012 and to TIME's 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.

He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Harvard College.

Dear Joshy--

I reject your premise. There are not two Americas. I'm sick and tired of hearing this crap-- this crap where you and coddled under 30-something folks like you claim to have an hold on America and her history and culture that's on par with the one I have. There is one America. You just happen to live in it and apparently your little psychology degree from Haaaavard didn't require that you learn much, if anything, about it.

You're right about one thing. The Duck Dynasty thing was instructive.To whit, you don't know jack shit about anything you're writing about. Come to think of it, you probably don't know jack shit about much of anything at all.You're welcome to prove me wrong. I need some fire wood. The chain saws and ax are in the workshop.

Now, Joshy, you go brush your teefers and get your jammies on and I'll fix you a nice hot cup of cocoa and you can snuggle by the fire with the dogs- one of whom is a vicious pit bull!-- while I teach you a little bit about America and Americans.



I've really had it with these sanctimonious jerks. I'm going to Texas.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

BOOKS: "A Nobler and Fuller Life"

One of the most important services the school can render the child is to bring him in touch with the world of books. In these the great minds of the past have expressed the insight into life which they possessed, and have done so in such as way that the manner of expression is almost as priceless a heritage as the insight itself. Great book stir the reader to a nobler and fuller life. They are the means by which society hands down to future generations whatever of good it has discovered or proved. ... The better class of reading books is no longer made up of information lessons on every conceivable topic, but of selections from the realm of pure literature.
[My emphasis. Literary Readings: An Introduction to the Study of Literature. Charles Madison Curry. Rand, McNally & Company, Chicago. 1903.]

And with that, I present to you-- without comment-- the 2011 Summer Reading List from Jackson, Mississippi public schools. (2013's general list for grades 6-12 was the same.) I've added original publication dates (in pink).

By the way-- there's an OPPOSE COMMON CORE RALLY at the Capitol in Jackson on January 7 from 8:30am - 10:30am.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Get the Dogs! Get the Gun!

This was the craziest thing. It was just standing there nibbling on the grass/weeds before it looked up. Couldn't have been more than 10 yards or so away. And in the middle of the morning. A little stinker, too. Wonder where her mother was.

You should have seen the dogs!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

BOOKS: "... lastly, the various styles of head-guards."

That's correct! This is a post about American Rugby, or as you & I like to call it, college football.

"A typical modern scrimmage"
The Back Story

Daughter C gave me a set of beautiful leather-bound encyclopedias-- not the A-Z sort, the sort in which each volume is dedicated to a specific topic.

 Our Wonder World: A Library of Knowledge in Ten Volumes: Volume One The World and Its Peoples (1914). And yes, that is an aeroplane in outerspace. It says, "Off for the planets."
Volume Six is Sports and Pastimes Indoors and Out. It is in this volume that we learn about American Rugby.

Intercollegiate Football

An onside kick
American Rugby is a game of strength as well as of skill. It is also a test of courage and endurance. A really fine football player must be a fine type of boy-- strong, plucky, alert, thoughtful, even-tempered. It is partly because the game develops these qualities that it is so popular, and that great players are looked upon as heroes.
Keep that in mind over the next week or two.

This is a full page "color" illustration. I do not get it. Is that supposed to be Everyman?
The start of an end run
The Outfit

"Many players refuse to wear these last, however."
The Game


Dang. Who is that guy playing Lucy?


Eastern towhee; L ♂, R ♀ 
A strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feathered in bold black and warm reddish-browns – if you can get a clear look at it. Eastern Towhees are birds of the undergrowth, where their rummaging makes far more noise than you would expect for their size. Their chewink calls let you know how common they are, but many of your sightings end up mere glimpses through tangles of little stems.
From All About Birds-- an excellent birding sight.

Photo taken through the patio door at 36X. Not too bad if I do say so myself.

More fun facts about these little fellows below (from All about Birds):

Recipe: Oh Boy Waffles

Oh boy!

Makes 10-12 

2 ¼ C sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 ¼ C milk
½ C oil 

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix together eggs, milk, and oil, and add all at once to dry ingredients, beating only until moistened. Bake in waffle iron.

Recipe: Ro-Tel King Ranch Chicken

A classic
Called a “classic” recipe on the Ro-Tel web site! Can’t get much more authentic than that.


½ stick butter 
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 10 ¾ oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 10 ¾ oz can cream of chicken soup, condensed
1 10 oz can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
1 lb chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
10-12 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 C (8 oz) shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large saucepan, melt margarine and cook green pepper and onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add soups, Ro-Tel, and chicken, stirring until well blended. In a 13x9 inch baking pan, alternately layer tortillas, soup mixture, and cheese, repeating for three layers. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Mother's House

When the "heat" comes on upstairs in my mother's house the air coming out of the vent above my side of the bed is about 15 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. By the time the "heat" turns off, the air coming out of the vent has warmed up to what was the ambient temperature. My mother's house is cold.

There is no dust in my mother's house.
There isn't much light inside my mother's house.
See what I mean?
Kat said it was okay for me to use the flash at my mother's house.

The tree always looks the same at my mother's house.
See what I mean? My mother's house, 2009.
Year after year, we all sit in the same spot at my mother's house.
This is Brother Mike's spot on Christmas day at my mother's house. (By the way, the best gifts in life are free. Classic car calendar courtesy of my insurance agent.)
My mother's house has limited connectivity. Very limited. Almost none existent.
At my mother's house, Kat couldn't even text Tony. She had to use my phone. My mother's house makes the Farm seem high-speed by comparison.

But at my mother's cold, dust-free, never changing, dark, unconnected house, everyone gets what they wished for!

A bag & a box full of beautiful crappy old books from Daughter C, and a beautiful tea cozy from Kat, and a kettle that actually whistles from Miss M!

Hope your Christmas was what you wished for. Sorry for the blog silence. As I said, there was limited connectivity at my mother's house!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Western Culture: "The Arrival at Bethlehem"

Luc-Olivier Merson (1897)
It matters not that his Bethlehem with its unpaved street, its houses of plaster and thatch, looks more like Brittany than Palestine; the setting is only a background for a very human story that concerns three people-- helpless and desperate Mary, helpless and exasperated Joseph, and a hard-hearted woman. It is the eternal conflict of human need and human selfishness... . 
"Dr. Bailey" as quoted in Christ and the Fine Arts Revised and Enlarged Edition: An Anthology of Pictures, Poetry, Music and Stories Centering in the Life of Christ, Cynthia Pearl Maus. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York and Evanston. 1959 (p60).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Am In a Fine Mood

Via Instapundit.com:
Sort of relatedly, I notice that people seem to be in a particularly grumpy mood out there in general. Not as much holiday cheer as usual. Not sure why, but I hope people manage to brighten up. Sure, lots of things suck, but the world’s not such a bad place.

UPDATE: Tom Maguire emails with an explanation:
If libs are in a bad mood it is because not only has their President collapsed but sometime in the next few days they have to go home and deal with (or be!) PajamaBoy.

If a righty is in a bad mood it is probably because due to cracking a rib laughing so hard about, well, the collapse of the Presidency or dealing with PajamaBoy.
As I said, I am in a fine mood. So is Mr. Big Food. Sure, it's raining. Sure, I miss Missy & Rocky desperately (although no where near as desperately as I will tomorrow and the next day... ). But as Glenn notes, "the world's not such a bad place."

You can always have an egg salad sandwich for lunch
on homemade bread, topped with home grown lettuce
and a little homemade deer-meat wurst and cheese on the side,
no matter where in the world you are. Okay. That's probably not true. I'm sure there are places in the world you can't make you own deer-meat wurst. I make it a habit to not frequent those places.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Thought I Was Entering a Time Machine

That's how wild the winds are out there tonight. 

Missy's whining to go out. 

Now Rocky is barking.

We are under a tornado watch.

On December 21st.

UPDATE: It's passed overhead. And now, a cold front and a blast of warm air meet. See you soon!

Christmas Tour: A Cup of Christmas Tea

Victorian charm on the Farm

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Tour: Hark!

That's right. That is Exploratory Data Analysis, a.k.a. EDA by Tukey.
The Art of Social Letter Writing
See? The angel is reading a letter.
Do goats go to Heaven?
Most serene.
Wanna play ball?
Let us pray.
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
No matter your religious beliefs, if you are not acquainted with this tune, and not stirred by it, your life is impoverished. 

I'd be like, I dunno, never having watched It's A Wonderful Life. Where have you been all these years of your life?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Nice Little Find

I stopped in at Palmer Home Thrift Store the other day and just happened to walk by the Christmas item table.

Heh. That looks like the real thing.
I figured I could spare $0.50-- that's fifty cents-- for a piece of Spode. 

I found a couple of other $0.50 items-- crappy old books-- and proceeded to the checkout counter with $3.21 in my sweaty little hands. (I like doing that. The ladies there are nice but math is not their strong suit. They always seem surprised that I know my 7s tables.) 



The Christmas merchandise is 1/2 off. 

It would be less than thorough to blog about my $0.25 piece of Spode without asking what sort of deal I really got.

eBay. It's only $89.95 at Replacements.

Western Culture: "The Sistine Madonna"

"The Sistine Madonna" Rafael (1512-14) [click to enlarge]
This art stuff is awfully complicated for a little country mouse such as myself. Seems everyone has an opinion about how to interpret this painting. At what, for example, is the guy on the left pointing? Why does the Christ Child appear to shrink back-- be afraid? Does he appear that way? What do the Babe and His Mother's expressions mean? And so on.

As part of the painting appears in Christ and the Fine Arts
They say the woman is Rafael's lover, or secret wife!

Christ and the Fine Arts Revised and Enlarged Edition: An Anthology of Pictures, Poetry, Music and Stories Centering in the Life of Christ. Cynthia Pearl Maus. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York and Evanston. 1959. 1938.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Tour: Every Nook and Cranny

Obscure corners
More nooks
More crannies
"Checked out by... " (In my spare time I run a library.)
More obscure corners
Even more!
Some folks could learn a thing or two from Daughter C's attention to nooks, crannies, and obscure corners.