Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Off Down South For Thanksgiving

I'm off tomorrow before the sun even rises to head down to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. I'm spending the holiday with Wren's mother and the extended family. I admit I'm looking forward to seeing them under better circumstances than when I visited two months ago. I'm hoping that I can enjoy my time with her and the family. It will be sad in many ways but hopefully it will also be good for us all.

We are going to The Martha Washington Inn for Thanksgiving. The Inn was a girl's finishing school during the Civil War and has a very interesting history. I'm looking forward to the meal and looking around the Inn.

I'm leaving LB in charge of the house while I'm gone but I'm not sure he will have a chance to log on and write for Weekend Cat Blogging. Diamond Eagle Eyes is hosting this weekend in case you and your kitties want to participate.

When I get back, get ready for the holiday baking to begin. I already warned the office to expect some really good stuff...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eating From The Desk Drawer: Sometimes You Win and Other Times...

If you are like me and work in an office, you probably have a drawer dedicated to snacks and quick fix meals for those times you just can't get away from the desk for lunch, don't really like what you brought, or are working late and don't want another night of Chinese delivery.

I like to keep fairly healthy meals on hand (I said FAIRLY healthy). For example, my drawer currently contains one container of Healthy Choice Minestrone soup, a box of spring vegetable Cup of Soup, packets of instant oatmeal and Cream of Wheat, a box of granola to add to yogurt or snack from the box on, some lightly salted almonds, a box of multi-grain crackers and three Jif to Go's.

One of the things I really like to have on hand is the Starkist Lunch to Go. My only complaint about these is there aren't enough crackers to match the amount of tuna. So, I always have to use two or three extra crackers from my stash (thus the box of mulit-grain crackers).

A few weeks ago, I was restocking my drawer at the store and I saw the Bumblebee version of the Lunch to Go and decided to give them a whirl. I picked up a regular and a fat-free version. Besides, I had a coupon for them making them significantly cheaper than the Sunkist version.

Earlier this week, on a day I was up to my eyeballs in AutoCAD drawings and loudspeaker specifications, I reached for the fat-free pack for my lunch


and was well...um...

Frankly horrified and absolutely disgusted by the product. I can honestly say I don't think since I tried Rocky Mountain Oysters have I ever put anything as vile tasting in my mouth. The "tuna salad" tasted so chemical, overly sweet and oily I actually gagged. Not to mention who puts carrots in their tuna salad? I spit it out in a napkin and immediately looked at the good by date to make sure it hadn't expired. It wasn't expired, it was just nasty.

I saved the crackers, tossed the disgusting tuna salad in the trash can in the kitchen area, and went to my desk drawer and got out my last Starkist Lunch to Go. I happily enjoyed lunch.

I'm not sure what to do with the other Bumblebee Tuna Salad meal. I know I should probably give the Bumblebee versions another try because maybe it was just the fat free version that was nasty. But, somehow I think it will find its way out in the communal food area of the office kitchen for anyone who is brave.

What do you keep in your desk drawer for lunch?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winging It with Rye and Wheat

A couple of weekends ago, Sara and I got together online to bake this month's Bread Baking Babe bread, The Rosendal Crisp Bread. This bread was built around a rye sourdough starter. Not wanting another starter living our fridges, both Sara and I took our own wheat sourdough starters to rye starters by over a few days changing up the flour we fed them. Larry got the call up from my starter line up for me as Moe and Curly have both been baked with in the past couple of weeks and Craterface found himself out on the counter over at Sara's.

One of the curses or benefits, depending on how you look at it, of working with starters is after you power feed them in preparation to bake with them you always have extra. If you plan ahead, you can use that toss off to bake other goodies or make pancakes for dinner because the toss off is just as active the part of the starter you use to bake. Unfortunately, on the day that Sara and I got together I wasn't really thinking about using the toss off so I had no plan, and that lack of planning turned out to be the best stroke of baking luck I've had in quite a while.

It was while I was pondering what to do with the toss off that I also began to think about all the small amounts of various rye and wheat flours I had tucked away in the freezer. Doing some quick calculations in my head and a little math on a scratch piece of paper, I figured that Sara and I had enough toss off starter left over from our Crisp Bread to make a very good sized loaf of sandwich bread based around rye flour and whole wheat bread flour. A quick query and I had a partner in crime. That is what I love so much about Sara, she is always game to try one of my crazy, on the fly, off the cuff bread recipes.

Using the toss off rye starter, we created a sponge

Wing it Rye Sponge

and then built a nice firm but slightly tacky dough from the sponge.

Wing it Rye Dough

Rye flour often will become gummy but a 50/50 split of rye and wheat flour gave this dough good structure. A quick rise and then we both got to work on our slashing skills

Wing It Rye Bread Risen

and I basted the top of mine with some melted butter before popping it into the oven for about 40 minutes.

Another caveat about working with rye, wheat or mulit-grain flours, is that the baking times are longer and the final internal temperature is normally a bit higher than with white flour breads.

Taking the Temperature of Bread

I like to get my rye, wheat and mulit-grain flour breads up around 190 - 200 degrees internally. This sometimes means having to tent the bread to prevent it from over browning.

Finally, the last thing we had to do was wait for the bread to completely cool before slicing into the bread. If you slice into rye based breads before they cool completely you end up with a gummy loaf of bread.

So, what did our taste testers think of our "Wing It Bread"? My bread was taken into the office and pretty much had disappeared by noon. I heard that there were fisticuffs over the loaf heel in Sara's house with Scott ending up the winner.

If you ask me, Sara ended up the winner because she had the most incredible spread on her slash.

Sara's Wing It Rye
Sara's Wonderful Slash on her Wing It Sandwich Loaf

And we both ended up with a keeper of a recipe. Don't you just love accidental recipe success?

Both of us enjoyed this so much, I'm submitting the Wing It Rye Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf to Susan of Wild Yeast for this week's edition of "Yeast Spotting".

Wing It Rye Bread
My Lovely Loaf of Wing It Rye Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Wing It Rye Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

1 cup rye starter
1/2 cup water, warm (90 degrees)
1/2 fresh yeast cube or 2 tsp active/instant yeast
3 Tbsp Honey
1 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water and combine with starter and honey. Stir
in flours to make wet sponge. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes

1/2 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread or AP flour (reserve 1/4 cup in case your dough is too wet)
1 1/4 tsp salt

Stir in flours, holding back the reserved 1/4 cup of AP/bread flour, and salt to sponge to form firm but tacky dough. Add reserved flour if dough is too soft and does not form a dough ball. Knead until dough is springy about 7 minutes or so in a stand mixer. Let rest for 10 minutes and then knead by hand for about 2 - 4 minutes. Dough will be tacky but not clumpy sticking to your hand.

Form into loaf and place in prepared large loaf pan. Cover and let rise until loaf is about 1" over edge of loaf pan.

If you want, split top with sharp knife/razor blade and brush melted butter on top. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until inside is about 200 degrees.

Let cool completely, about 2 - 4 hours, before slicing.

Note about this recipe: You will need to already have an active sourdough starter. You can find a recipe for a sourdough starter here.

To take your starter from wheat flour to rye you need at least three days before you want to make this bread. Here is how you do that:

Divide into 2 halves.

Feed one half the "normal" 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, let sit on counter for 4 hours or until bubbly and put back in fridge (This is your mother starter)

Feed the other half 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, let sit on counter for 4 hours until bubbly. Divide into half. Use one half to make pancakes, muffins, etc and feed the other half 1/4 cup rye flour, 1/4 cup AP flour and 1/2 cup water. Let sit for 8 hours and feed again 1/4 cup rye, 1/4 cup AP flour and 1/2 cup water and let sit overnight on counter.

Next morning, feed 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/2 cup water. Let ferment for 24 hours. Divide in 2 (toss off 1/2 or make some dark onion rye - ha!) and feed other half 1/2 cup rye and 1/2 cup water. Wait 8 hours, stir up and use or you can put in fridge until ready to use. If you put it in the fridge, let it come to room temperature and stir in any hooch before you make the Wing It Sandwich loaf.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog Party #40: Holiday Edition 2.0

Can you believe we are a little over one week from Thanksgiving and six weeks from Christmas?! I can't either. Of course this also means that we will soon be the swim of holiday parties and gatherings. I can't think of a better way to get a jump start of the party rounds than by attending Blog Party #40: Holiday Edition 2.0 hosted by that wonderful lady of all things blog party, Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness.

Blog Party #40:  Holiday Edition 2.0

When I was on my vacation in the Shenandoah Valley, I stayed a few nights at the Big Meadow Lodge on the Skyline Drive.

Big Meadow Lodge on Skyline Drive

This lodge was built in the 1930s by the CCC and my room was comfy and cozy

My Room at Big Meadow Lodge

with incredible views morning

View from My Room at Big Meadow Lodge at Sun Rise


View from My Room at Big Meadow Lodge at Noon

and night.

View from My Room at Big Meadow Lodge At Sun Set

One of the best parts of staying at the lodge is there are no TVs in the rooms or in the main room of the lodge but they do have games, books, and jigsaw puzzles. It was during my stay that I rediscovered my love of putting together jigsaw puzzles. During the three nights I stayed there I put together this 2,000 piece puzzle(minus the missing piece)!

Jigsaw Puzzle from Big Meadow Lodge

I purchased a puzzle this past Sunday to put together in the evenings. I'm finding concentrating on finding the pieces incredibly therapeutic and losing myself for a few hours in the interlocking pieces is a nice change of pace from the stress and sadness of the last seven weeks.

What does any of this have to do with Blog Party 40? Not much except that my partially completed puzzle provided a really pretty backdrop for what I'm bringing to the party: crab wontons, spinach pockets and baby bottles of Prosecco!

Blog Party 40 Offerings

Tonight, after work, I came home and I don't know what got into me but I decided to rummage around in the freezer to put together some finger food for dinner to sit at the puzzle and work. I found half a package of wonton wrappers and another half package of spring roll wrappers. I also uncovered half a container of some spinach stuffing from some pasta shells I made back in the spring and three pieces of pre-cooked king crab legs; all the makings for a little plate of crab wontons and spinach pockets.

Mini Treats

Right before I went on vacation, I was scoping out mini everything that would make perfect pack ready items for my trip. I noticed at one of the wine stores small bottles of prosecco in three packs. How cute and perfect I thought for nights when I just want a glass of sparkling wine but don't want to open a big bottle. I bought them and put in the fridge and basically forgot about them until tonight.

So, along with my plate of finger food I opened a bottle Prosecco,

Baby Prosecco

sat down at the puzzle and found a piece I spent two hours looking for last night

Puzzle Pieces

A good reason to celebrate!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bread Baking Babes Are Knackered

This month the Babes and I were treated to the national bread of Sweden, Knakebrod (crisp bread) and our host kitchen was Gorel.

BBB Knackebrod logo november 2008

I have to admit to loving knakebrod. I always have a package of Wasa in the house to schmer some soft cheese on and top it with some cured meats. I really like the sourdough rye version of them so I was pretty excited to see this recipe because then I could make them at home. The added bonus of this month's recipe was we got to choose toppings for our bread!

Now, you may remember when we did my Dark Onion Rye bread that we ran into some interesting problems with the rye flour from all our various regions and how it behaved in the recipe. So, I was prepared for some differences between how Gorel's authentic Swedish recipe described the dough and how my breads actually turned out and I was not proven wrong.

While I had some breads that turned out very nice and crisp, I had others that turned out either chewy or tooth cracking hard. I really think it was a combination of the rye flour and the thickness I rolled the breads.

All that being said, I really liked the rye taste of these and especially enjoyed the bacon and cheese topped version of the bread.

BBB Rosendals Knackerbrod

Because of course, everything tastes better of bacon!!

To join us as a Bread Baking Buddy, wander over to Gorel's blog for the details. To see how my fellow babes did on their breads go check out the blogs on my sidebar under Bread Baking Babes (note: Glenna is now an alumnus BBB and Sher is our angel of yeast)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blogging By Mail: 10 Fantastic Small Things!

One of the blogging events that I think is just about the coolest blogging events is Stephanie's Blogging By Mail. This is where you sign up to send a physical package of goodies based around a theme to another blogger somewhere in the world. I've been paired in the two BBMs I've participated in to two really awesome people who've become daily reads for me.

This time around the theme was "10 Items or Less" and once again, the magic that Stephanie does when she pairs us up because my package came from the really awesome blogger from "down under" Cakelaw!

Now, Cakelaw and I are fellow DBers and she is one of the first blogs I go read when we are posting about challenges, even now while I'm on my hiatus from Daring Bakers. So, I was pretty excited when I opened the most fantastic card ever for BBM

Blogging By Mail 10 Things:  Cross Stiched Card

and saw who my box was from.

It was like a prelude to Christmas here when I started delving into the layers because for 10 Items or less Cakelaw had absolutely picked 10 of the best things I've ever received in small box.

First there was the calendar of pretty flowers and an oven mitt with Aussie critters all over.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things: 2009 Calendar and Kitchen Mitt

Then there was the bag of ginger gummies! Cakelaw, I love gummies and we were just comparing what was the best gummie flavour at the office last week. I can't wait to take these in and share them with the gummie connoisseurs.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things: Ginger Candy (How cool is this!)

Right under the bag of gummies was a bottle of Wattleseed, which I've always wanted to try in bread and baked goods and a tin of Chai tea, which I immediately brewed a spot of.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things: Wattleseed and Chai Tea

Along side the tea and Wattleseed was a cute Koala magnet and a neat compact of lip balm, that will find its way into my purse.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things: Lip Balm and Magnet

And finally, something that makes my heart always skip a beat, two fantastic bars of chocolate.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things:  Ccchhooocolate!

Right under the chocolate was a small book on baking bread and I've already marked three breads I can't wait to try.

Blogging By Mail 10 Things:  Yippee!  Bread Book

I can't thank Cakelaw enough for putting such a great package together for me. It made a pretty good day even nicer.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #179 Round Up: Dozing on the Job

This weekend has been a bit crazy around here. Mom wasn't feeling very well on Saturday and ended up sleeping most of the day, leaving me to my own devices. I was a pretty good cat most of the day. I only got into a little trouble when I jumped on the dresser.

Today she had to leave and go into the office for a little bit after she went out for coffee. Now, she is in the kitchen with her best friend Sara and they are making two types of bread, the Bread Baking Babe recipe of the month and something that Mom is calling "Wing It Bread". I'll bet she invents new cuss words in the kitchen today...

Guess I'm left do the round up on my own, so let's get on with it shall we!

First in on Friday were the kitties over at The Cat Realm. They were handing out dares to all the kitties and other furry critters who asked to be dared.

Next, Rocky and his talented artist people at Artsy Catsy have some wonderful goodies that they are selling over at their place to help Moki and Criz with some bills. Rocky even got to jump on the table to show off some pretty plates!

WCB 179 Round Up: Rocky on table

Always pretty and thoughtful is our friend, MuMu over at Rosa's Yummy Yums. The poetry and pictures are purrfect.

WCB 179 Round Up:Rosas Mumu Looking 1

OH NO! Luna and Amar are in the bunker again. Seems that some nasty person decided to attack their site and they lost everything. Good thing they have backups

WCB 179 Round Up: Luna

Patchouli is having a belly laugh at Sidewalk Shoes this weekend.

WCB 179 Round Up:patchoulilaughing

Lucy and Leo at Der Suppenkasper are hanging out enjoying the high life this weekend.

WCB 179 Round Up:lucy

WCB 179 Round Up:leo

Meowza posted on two blogs this weekend, Mom's Mind of Mog and his own blog IMeowza. Getting outside to roll around is a wonderful thing.

WCB 179 Round Up:Meowza

Samantha and Mr. Tigger at Life From A Cat's Perspective are all over the place this weekend. But they did find time to have a group hug.

WCB 179 Round Up:tiggersamanthahugging

More snuggling was going on at Music and Cats this weekend. I love to see all this togetherness and unity!

WCB 179 Round Up:musiccatshug

Figaro at Dans ma toute petite cuisine is looking forward to some Osso Buco and looking darn cute waiting for it to be ready.

WCB 179 Round Up:figaro

Tristan has found out the benefits of not having to hunt for his food over at Tabbylicious this weekend.

WCB 179 Round Up:Tristanwoods

Diamond Emerald Eyes is showing us a Baker's Dozen of our feline friends enjoying the fall weather.

Mom really good friend and keeper of the WCB schedule Astrid and Othello, Kashim, and Salome are doing some Fall Cleaning and all the kitties got a nice clean kat tree. Mom won't let me get one of them because I broke a window at Grandma and Grandpas house once with my cousin, Traverse's tree.

WCB 179 Round Up:KashimOthello

Everyone is feeling better at Diva Kitty and there was trip to a market too! Napping makes everything better as far as I'm concerned.

WCB 179 Round Up: Diva Kitty sleep

Well that is everyone who stopped by this weekend to see us! Thanks for coming by Mom's site. She was so proud of me for doing this round up that she just gave me a bit of bacon she made for one of the breads she is making today.

The only thing better than a nap in the sun

LB in a Late Fall Sun Spot

is bacon!

Next weekend our good friends Luna and Amar are hosting. Hopefully they will be back home and not hiding out in the FEMA trailer...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls for Elle

A few weeks ago I noticed one of my first blogging friends, Elle over at Feeding My Enthusiasms had started to bake bread with her brand new sourdough starter. I can't tell you how thrilled I am when I notice my blogging friends getting excited about baking with sourdough. There is nothing more satisfying, in my very humble opinion, than growing a starter and then making bread and other goodies with it.

One of the type of baking that doesn't seem to be obvious to most sourdough bakers is that tangy starter is just as much fun to bake sweet goodies with as it is to bake savory breads. That tang of the starter gives a nice contrast to the sweet in most bar cookies, quick breakfast breads, and sweet rolls.

When I got back into the kitchen last week, I was tasked with pulling out all my starters from my fridge and giving everyone a good feeding. Some of my starters, like Herman, hadn't been fed in three months and poor Gertrude, my sweet sourdough starter, hadn't seen any baking action in over six months!

After I checked on my family of starters to make sure everyone was bubbling away happy (they all were fine), I divided Gertrude into half with the intention of not only baking with her but baking whole wheat with her. This meant that I had to first take the starter to a whole wheat starter. I did this by changing the flour type from all purpose to wheat over three days of two times a day feedings. The first two feedings were half all purpose and half wheat flour and then the last two days were all whole wheat flour.

Then I was ready to bake with my new whole wheat sweet sourdough starter and what better recipe to start with than making my sourdough cinnamon roll recipe whole wheat? It was pretty easy actually, I substituted all but 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour with whole wheat flour.

I loved how these came out.

Sour Dough Cinnamon Roll: Whole Wheat for Blog

They had the same sweet and tang of the original but had a nice chewy texture and the combination of the whole wheat and cinnamon made a for a hearty goodness. I'm looking forward to making these again very soon. Maybe I'll do a nut roll this time!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Breadchick's Whole Wheat Sourdough Sweet Rolls

Prep Time: 2 Days

This recipe results in 15 - 20 good sized rolls or 30 - 40 small rolls with a tangy sweet taste. You can top them with any type of frosting.

For Dough:
1 Cup whole wheat sourdough starter
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tsp. salt
1 1/2 Cup warm water (80 - 85 Degrees)
1 1/2 Cup bread flour
5 to 6 1/2 Cup whole wheat flour (depending on stiffness of batter, hold back 1/4 cup)

For Filling:

1 Cup Sugar
4 tbsp. Cinnamon (or to taste)
2 tsp Cardamom (0ptional)
1/4 Cup water (to brush on rolled out dough)

Making The Sponge: Combine the starter, the water and one half the flour (without 1/2 Cup held back in reserve) in a large glass or plastic bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for at least 3 hours or until almost tripled.

Making The Sweet Dough: Mix the sugar and salt together in small bowl. Stir down the sponge and add the oil and 1/2 the sugar/salt mixture to the sponge. Stir well until all the oil is almost absorbed by the dough. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well until the dough is smooth. Add the rest of the sugar/salt mixture and all the bread flour and one cup of the whole wheat flour and mix well until combined fully. You may need to switch to hand mixing here if your dough is starting stiffen or if your standing mixer is starting to strain, switch to the dough attachment.

Add remaining flour (without 1/4 Cup held back in reserve). At this point you may find you have to use your hands to combine this flour. Dough should feel sticky but stiff. If the dough feels too loose or wet, add the 1/2 Cup of flour you held back held back slowly until dough feels right. (Depending on the dough, you may need to add more flour). Mix well by hand until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will still be slightly sticky. Resist the temptation to add more flour as this will result in tough rolls.

Place dough in a very large buttered glass or plastic bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 8 - 12 hours or until at least doubled or almost tripled.

Form The Rolls: Divide the dough into 2 halves and cover the half not being worked with plastic wrap and return to bowl. Turn the half of dough you are working with onto a floured surface for rolling and form into rough rectangle. Begin rolling dough out to form 15" x 6" rectangle that is about 1/2" thick. If dough springs back as your rolling use your hand to press into rectangle and roll out slowly. You will depress air pockets out of dough and the dough will be slightly resistant to rolling.

You may also have to let dough "rest" and relax between some rolls for a minute or two. Be patient, dough will relax. Also, be careful to not overwork the dough or add too much flour as you are rolling.

When you have dough rolled out, brush dough with water; not too much or the sweet roll will "fall apart" during last rise. Just enough for filling to cling to dough. Generously sprinkle the filling from one long edge to the other, leaving about 1/4" of one long edge free of filling. Roll the dough slowly to form a long "roll". Pay attention to keeping "ends" of the roll as even as possible, working the ends to be even is necessary until all that is left to roll is the 1/4" long edge border without filling. Brush water or an egg white wash on this 1/4" and seal the roll; gently pinching the roll to seal if necessary.

Using dental floss, cut the long roll into 1 1/2" - 2" sections and place in well buttered 13" x 9" glass baking dish.

Repeat method with remaining dough. (You may need to also use a second baking dish)

Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and let rise 8 - 12 hours or until rolls are almost doubled.

Baking: Bake Rolls at 350 Degrees for 45 minutes or until internal temperature of roll is 190 degrees. Let completely cool (1 to 2 hours) and frost.

Don't try and halve this recipe. If it makes too many rolls for you, just bake them and freeze them without frosting them. When you want a roll, take a few out of the freezer, let them come to room temperature, pop them in the microwave for a 20 seconds and then frost them.

Friday, November 07, 2008

WCB: For Your Oscar Consideration

I know Mom promised food programming was returning after the big party our country has been having since the election but she got waylaid today with a long day of meetings in Providence, RI and then delays on the Amtrak line between Boston and NYC owing to rain and fog. She just got home and immediately went to bed after feeding me some tuna fish. She left the computer on so I could write the Weekend Cat Blogging post, especially since we're hosting this weekend!

Speaking of rain and fog, look what happened to Mom's umbrella she keeps in her briefcase.

LB Sits Under My Broken Umbrella

A big gust of wind broke it on Wednesday afternoon but I'm glad she didn't throw it away because it made a good hiding place.

Mom hadn't used the briefcase in quite a while because when she opened it up she found one of my favorite toys, my laser pointer! Mom also decided to play with a new feature she figured out how to use on her digital camera. Mom didn't know how to use the movie feature until she accidently turned her digital camera on to movie mode and took a picture. After that she has been wandering around filming everything that moves around the house, including me playing with my laser pointer.

Good thing she can bake bread really well because I don't think Mom is going to be winning any Oscars for cinematography any time soon. Mom, don't give up your day job...

If you want to join me for Weekend Cat Blogging, leave me a comment and I'll be doing the round up on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Did!

(Food programming will return tomorrow)

President Elect Obama on the Campaign Trail

Are you ready for change? I am. And so are 63,896,967 of my fellow Americans.

Now the real work begins for us all.

If we are to bring about the change President Elect Obama has been talking about for the past twenty-one months and that we elected him to start, then each and every one of us, regardless of which party we belong to, what our personal feelings are about those guys on the other side of the political aisle, and who we voted for yesterday, need to roll up our collective sleeves and be ready to help get the job done.

This is too important for us to mess it up with the partisan bull-crap of the past eight to twelve years and I'm not just talking about the boneheads in Washington. I'm talking about how for the past eight to twelve years we have been so divided by the extremists of BOTH parties that we can't even have civil discourse or needed compromise on the floors of the Federal, state and local governments throughout our land, the school hallways, and even the Starbucks in Westport.

The world is watching but more importantly our children are watching. So, knock it off or all 63,896,968 of us who voted for change and hope are going to knock some skulls together.

Got it?! Good.

See you by the sign-up sheet!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted Today. Did You?

I Voted Today.  Did You?

If you are an American citizen, it doesn't matter who you voted for in the Presidential election. Really. I mean it.

All that matters if that you voted.

Because if you didn't, I don't want to hear your bitchin' and moanin' about the direction of the country for the next four years.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

WCB: Catching Up and Catching Our Breaths

I'm back and, between my naps in the open window where I'm catching the last warm breezes of the fall,

LB dozing in the Late October Sun

Mom's letting me hog the computer this weekend. Well she isn't exactly letting me but she's so busy in the kitchen playing with dough

Whole Wheat Sourdough

and other good things made with flour you humans like that she doesn't care if I download tons of kitty porn and order Hawaiian Katnip! She is working on converting some of her white flour sourdough recipes into whole grain recipes this weekend. She is starting with her sourdough cinnamon rolls and her baguettes.

I want to tell you how much Mom and I have appreciated all your cat hugs, purrs, and chin scratches the past month. Mom and I are very sad about losing my Dad but we are getting better. I'm so sad he left us the way he did and I wish he hadn't gone. He was the one who taught me to hop up on the bed to get my shot in the morning and was one of the best treat givers I have ever had. I hope he is finally at peace and he will have a pocket full of good tuna treats waiting for me when I cross the bridge (which won't be for many more years).

Even though Mom and Grandma were up in Massachusetts to take care of my Dad's affairs they did find time take a little break. They were staying in a hotel in Concord, MA. Concord is famous in the American Revolution as the place the "shot heard round the world" was fired at the Old North Bridge.

Fall at the Shot Heard Round The World Spot

Concord is also famous for all the great writers who lived there in the 19th Century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott. Grandma is a big fan of Louisa May Alcott's writing

My Mom standing at the sign for Orchard House

and was excited to get to visit Orchard House, where she wrote her most famous book, "Little Women"

Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women

and Wayside,

Wayside aka The Little Woman House

the house were the events in "Little Women" took place.

Mom enjoyed visiting Concord again, especially in the Fall, which is her favorite season.

Quintessential New England Fall

She spent a lot of time there when she lived in Clinton and Cambridge. I think running through leaves like a kid

Fall Colors in Concord, MA

helped her remember good things instead of being sad all the time. She told me it was one of the prettiest falls she remembered.

Fall Colors at Minute Man National Park in Concord, MA

I'm glad Mom is feeling better and back in the kitchen and I'm sure that she'll be blogging more now that she is baking and cooking again. Which means you'll be seeing more of me on the weekends too!

Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by the wonder kat, CeCe over at Mind of Mog! Go over there and see what all my cat friends and their humans have been up to this week!