Thursday, July 30, 2009

Southern Comfort

Every once in a while I have this particular food craving. I can't explain it and I don't know why it happens. It doesn't occur often so there is no guilt involved in fulfilling this desire.

This food is something that one either likes or dislikes. There is no gray area. Why I like this particular food is unknown to me. I do recall, however, having my 1st taste as a young child, before I knew what it was.

Maybe it's a texture thing: chewy interior with a crispy fried exterior. Sometimes, I just like to "work" at my food. And I do actually enjoy the "mouth feel" of these tasty tidbits.

Or maybe it's the subtle garlic, salt and red pepper seasoning blend added to the flour that is a perfect complement to texture of this particular food. A little spice that can be cooled down with a favorite dipping sauce (barbecue works well).

And what tasty morsel am I talking about?

Chicken gizzards, of course!

A special thanks to Cindy Lepp, over at AllRecipes.

I used her recipe as a starting point in preparation of the gizzards above.

And now for a quick lesson: What exactly is a "gizzard"?

A gizzard is a secondary stomach used by birds to "grind" their food before digestion. A bird does not have teeth. Because of that they need a way to help break down their food. What some (but not all birds) do is swallow small stones. These end up in the gizzard, which has a tough inner membrane surrounded by a muscular pouch. This muscular pouch provides the grinding action.

End notes: My 10 year old son tried these for the 1st time yesterday (when I made them) and really enjoyed them. My daughter, not so much. Regardless, I hope this post allows you to open your mind to something that may not have been on your food radar in the past. Maybe, just maybe, you will enjoy them as much as I.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Iron Chef: Zucchini!

What fun I had today. I decided to use my bounty of zucchini to prepare a meal in true Iron Chef fashion.

I chopped, I cubed and I shredded away in preparation of what was to come.

For my main dish, I decided on a zucchini/ground turkey meatloaf. I added tomatoes, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and my signature spice blend along with a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I combined bread crumbs, chopped onion, garlic, a touch of lemon zest, shredded parmesan cheese and some feta to the mix. I baked at 350 for an hour and ended up with a delightfully moist loaf.

Borrowing from ChristineM's post about her Savory Zucchini Muffins, we made our own savory zucchini muffins with what ingredients we had on hand: basic muffin ingredients of flour, baking powder and salt for the dry mix. To that I added my signature spice blend and red pepper flakes. The wet ingredients included a touch of sugar, egg, half and half, "green" Tobasco Sauce, chives, garlic and some white cheddar cheese, and of course, the zucchini. This was the 1st time I "winged it" and went without measuring or using a recipe. They actually ended up pretty decent. It tasted more like a bread than a muffin, however. Next time I'll use more cheese, though.

Our side dish was a roasted zucchini and garden veggie medley that I marinaded in olive oil, rosemary, sage, signature spice blend, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Simply yummy.

For dessert I was attempting a zucchini chocolate banana nut ice cream utilizing the concept of Five Minute Ice Cream from All Recipes. Instead, I ended up with a pretty tasty milkshake.

This was a fun experiment and the family enjoyed the results. The zucchini was never overpowering in any of the dishes and each dish was unique. I do believe I can call this experiment a success!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mutant Veggie Discovered in Sister Garden

This just in: 2 extremely large, mutant zucchini were found lurking in the Sister garden early Saturday morning. A shocked 5th Sister was heard mumbling, "I've never seen anything quite like this!" Mr. Sister, who found the 2nd giant squash simply stated, "I thought 5th was just trying to see how big the thing would actually get."

The zucchini weighed in at approximately 2 lbs each and are awaiting their fate.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A New Blog Find!

Dear Friends,

I just had to let you in on a blog I discovered a few weeks back. It is a delightful treasure filled with simple recipes and wonderful photography. This blog is The Domestic Diva by MamaKeith. I invite you all to check her out via this link.

All my best,

The 5th Sister

PS...Don't forget to enter my contest!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Contest Forthcoming

Be on the lookout for a contest to appear on my blog!
I should have it posted later today,
tomorrow at the latest!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Whining Woman

I was going to post a whiny blog about how hard it has been to keep on schedule when my whole routine has been disrupted by Mr. Sister being under foot because he is currently "between jobs"...

about how we are paying more for less at the grocery store, gas pump, etc...

about how hard it has been to recover from the 12 hour night shift I pulled this past Saturday night...

about how I have not had access to my laptop for the past 24 hours due to some major viral attack...

about how difficult it is to find space for enrichment classes for our homeschool group...

But a funny thing about can turn things around and gain a whole new perspective.

I am very thankful because my husband, after only one week of unemployment, was able to secure a contract with a major financial institution despite the high unemployment rate in his field of expertise.

I am very thankful that we are still able to afford groceries and gas despite the downturn in today's economy.

I am very thankful that I have a job in which I can rely upon when times are tough.

I am very thankful that I have a husband who is willing to work fixing my laptop despite the fact that he has other things he'd rather be doing.

I am very thankful that we live in a society where we still have the choice to determine the best educational avenue for our children (unlike Germany where parents are being jailed for homeschooling and families being torn apart).

All in all, we are very blessed indeed.

PS: I won't be posting until next week due to extra curricular activities making it difficult to be on-line. I will miss you and hope to have stories to regal you all with upon my return to the blogosphere.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The 1st Vet Visit

Daisy had her first veterinary appointment today. All in all everything went as expected. She does have arthritic hips (as suspected), an old ACL injury to her left hind knee and a current ACL injury to her right. This is why she's been hobbling and is quite "stiff" in the morning before we go for our walk. We need to begin supplementation with a product that contains glucosamine, chondroitin and blue-green algae (a natural anti-inflammatory). It's not cheap as the medication runs about $40/month. The doctor assures me that by taking this medication Daisy should be soon able to go on morning runs with me.

It also appears that there is an old injury to Daisy's right eye and that is why the iris has a cloudy appearance to it. They will monitor this closely at all subsequent visits. Additionally, she had experienced, in the past, an old chest injury that had become infected and was difficult to treat but has since healed nicely.

Daisy is about 5 lbs. underweight so we need to fatten her up just a bit. In addition to her 1 1/2 cups of kibble morning and night, I will be adding a hard boiled egg to her breakfast. She'll continue to get the occasional doggy treat for her exemplary behavior.

Now for the bad news: Daisy has tested positive for heartworm. If left untreated this is always fatal. This is the reason she had become so thin. How could this happen when it is so preventable?! Mr. Sister had already ordered Heartgard for her (along with Advantix) because even we, as non dog owners, know the importance of prevention. The treatment will be very expensive (to the tune of about $500-Ouch!). I will be taking her in for her initial treatment tomorrow and then for a 2 day treatment a month from now.

The problem I am facing is that I am harboring some anger directed towards Daisy's prior caretakers. I need to let that go and be comforted in knowing that Daisy made the right choice in adopting us: for by doing so, she has the chance for a long, safe and happy life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wise Advice

The beauty of being The 5th Sister is that I have 4 older, and much wiser, sisters. I received an email the other day from 2nd Sister. She suggests that my euphemism for my daughter ("Sweet Cheeks") might be misconstrued by the more nefarious of Internet perusers. I discussed this with Mr. Sister and he agrees that she has a point. I asked dear daughter what she would like to be known as and she thinks that she's old enough to be known by her given name. Henceforth Sweet Cheeks shall now be known as Bethany.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Roxie to Receive a New Name

After much discussion amongst the kids, they decided that Roxie just wasn't a suitable name for a pet in the Sister household. They even nixed the name they dubbed her just a few weeks back. What is Roxie's new name? She shall henceforth be known as:


Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh Say Can She Sing....

Sweet Cheeks had her 1st "professional" gig July 5th: she sang the National Anthem for the Kannapolis Intimidators, a minor league (single A) baseball team. Other than one garbled note, in which she recovered quickly, all in all she did an amazing job for a 14 year old. It must have been good because she was invited back to sing again!

PS. Mr. Sister wanted me to be sure to tell you all that Sweet Cheeks IS NOT being heckled. This was "Special Needs" night at the ballgame where there were many adults and children in attendance with developmental disabilities. They were having the time of their lives!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce....

...the newest member of the Sister household: Roxie!

Roxie is a 4 year old black lab whose previous owner, a teenage girl, was unable to provide the attention and care she deserves. Her prior family feels it is best if Roxie is entrusted to our care and we all couldn't be happier! We plan to get together, next week, to finalize the adoption.

(I have a feeling I will be posting lots of "Roxie miles" on our AR GNAT threads)

A Tale of a Black Lab

Do you all remember Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie)? The black lab that showed up on our doorstep a few weeks back? Well let me tell you a story:

I was coming home from work last evening when I spied a sign that said "Found: Black Lab". I took down the number and decided to call it this morning. I spoke to a lovely woman by the name of Emily. I described Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie), to the woman down to a tee. This was definitely the dog she had found. Apparantly Emily found Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie), on the easement of our property, along the busy street just behind our back yard. I talked Emily into bringing Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie) over this afternoon. I will then keep Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie) until morning when I will take her back to her vet. I then plan on having a very deep conversation with the vet, concerning Jet's, (oops, I mean Roxie's) apparant lack of supervision/safety. I will emphasize that we are willing to provide Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie) a good home with a fenced back yard, kids to play with, someone to run with and a family to love her for always. We would be honored to care for this beautiful creature. Emily tells me she felt that if she did not pick up Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie), when she did, she was certain the dog would have been struck by a car. Also, Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie), still doesn't have the proper tags in place. Will people ever learn?

I would like to hope that this is a perfect world where the outcome would be one that would benefit all involved in this canine love story. We can always dream.

Update: Jet, (oops, I mean Roxie) is here! We are all very excited to see her again!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

In honor of our nation's birth I dedicate this blog post to the men and women so valiently fighting to protect and preserve our freedoms. May God bless them abundantly and may God bless America. Please enjoy these images and have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Great News!

After less than 1 week of unemployment Mr. Sister received, and accepted, a job offer from Bank of America. He will start in 2 weeks. (insert huge sigh of relief here!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Proud Recipient

Thank you Tats from Tattoos and Teething Rings and Willoughby from This Stop Willoughby for selecting me as a recipient of the "Kreativ Blogger" award. I am humbled that you both thought enough of me, and my blog, when making your selections.

There are rules associated with this award that are quite simple:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Copy the logo and place on your blog.

3. Link to the person/persons who gave you the award.

4. List 7 things about yourself that people may find interesting.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

6. Provide links to your nominees.

7. Leave a comment on each nominee's blog to let them know about the award.

I guess now I have to bore you with 7 "interesting" facts about myself.

1. Although I may seem like an "open book", I do tend to keep things close to the heart. I hope you will never hear me gossip or speak disparingly of another person (politics doesn't count!).

2. I really wanted to be a biology major in college, with a special emphasis on marine biology. Unfortunately, I grew up in Kansas where I was "land locked". However, over Christmas break of my freshman year of college, I was able to take a summer course to San Salvadore, Bahamas to study the reproductive habits of sea urchins. It really was interesting. I learned how to snorkle, came face to face with a baracuda and a nurse shark and slept in old WWII army baracks while there.

3. I am short, short, short, short, short! Maybe "petite" is a gentler word. I was 5'2" but am shrinking as I age. I think I'm around 5'1" now. I require a step stool to reach things above the 2nd shelf level of my kitchen cabinets.

4. I only learned how to cook after having kids. When Mr. Sister and I were 1st married I would try to cook for him only to have him call my attempts at soup "vegetables and hot water". We survived on spaghetti and jarred sauce and frozen pizzas. I must say that now Mr. Sister, and my children, are my biggest fans! I also have people at work who query me about what new dishes I have served. I guess you could say I am gaining somewhat of a reputation!

5. If I had all the children I conceived I would have 5, with Sweet Cheeks falling to the #3 spot. Munchie Boy, however, would retain his position as the "baby". I miscarried early in these pregnancies (around 8-10 weeks) but that didn't make it any less painful. I like to think of it as having 3 little saints in heaven to pray for us.

6. I am of Prussian ancestry. My father was East Prussian and immigrated, with his family, to the USA when he was around 8 or 9. Mr. Sister is of Slovakian descent with grandparents who immigrated to our great nation. So our children have heavy Eastern European influence in their ancestry.

7. A food that I just love but not at all enjoyed by the family are chicken gizzards and livers. I do "sneak" them into play when roasting chicken as I have them in the drippings, contributing to the juices that will eventually become a tasty gravy.

Many of my blog buddies have already received this award, deservedly so. I decided to decline nominating them, but rather give other blogs a chance to be featured in this space. Those that I have selected to receive this award are as follows:

Christine M at Marvelously Mundane (wonderful reading)
Mama at One Healthy Mama (loving the healthy slant on everyday food)
Lisaloo at One Step at a Time (who enjoys life, and her kids to the fullest)
Gracey at A Dash of Life (for the pleasure I receive learning about her culture and world view)
Thamesarino at Yesterday's Tomorrow (for her honesty and integrity)
Raouly's Girl at Who Has the Thyme (for her "keeping it real" and not taking it personally if I happen to disagree with her)
Pelican Joe (aka Mr. Sister) at Rants From a MAD Pelican (because he needs all the help he can get)

Well, that was fun!


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