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Archive for April, 2013

The Ordway Theater

This weekend I went to the opera with Charlotte and our mom.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to wear my great-grandma’s mink stole.  Yes, it’s a real mink stole and please don’t throw any figurative paint on it because you think I’m being abusive to animals.  As I said, it was my great-grandma’s, so those little minks were dead long before standing up for animal rights was in vogue.

We saw Turandot, only my most favorite opera ever.  I’m a little sentimental about this opera because a long time ago I heard the aria Nessun Dorma on a rented movie and fell in love with it.  I ran the credits of the movie really slow so I could find out what that great opera piece was.  Quite a while later I saw Turandot was going to be performed at our own Ordway Theater, so Charlotte and I went.  It was the first opera I ever attended and was so wonderful I wept openly.

Ever since then Charlotte and I, along with our mom, have seen one opera every year.  For a while there were some husbands accompanying us, but they dropped out after a while.  It’s a nice girl date that gives us a chance to dress up, and afterwards we get some good girlie food.

Turandot finally returned and it was better than ever.  The set was really cool, the costumes were so bright and colorful, the orchestra was in excellent form, and the performers on stage were fabulous.  We had our girlie food too.  Mine was a bowl of mushroom wild rice soup, a focaccia roll and a very large piece of cherry almond cheesecake.

It’s nice to get a little culture once in a while.   Plus I’ll have that beautiful aria running through my head for a while.  Vincero!

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When I was in seventh grade I took Home Ec(onomics) in school.  I didn’t do so well in the sewing part of the class, but I did pretty well in the cooking part.  In fact, I did so well with making muffins that during the summer following seventh grade I entered my muffins in the county fair.  And won a blue ribbon!

I love muffins.  I mostly love muffins that are plain or have berries in them.  I won’t eat a chocolate muffin, and oaty muffins are wasted on me.  I thought I’d share my recipe for Blue Ribbon Muffins in case you like muffins as much as I do.  It’s a plain recipe, and you can add a cup of berries to the batter if you like.

First of all, grease the bottoms only of your muffin tin.  Bottoms only.  This is very important because if you grease the sides your muffins might not have a nice, rounded top.  Then, whisk together:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl mix together:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold gently until the dry mixture is completely moistened. Don’t over stir because then you’ll get air holes or “tunnels” in your muffins. The batter should be lumpy.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  You can use paper liners if you prefer (and you wouldn’t have to grease the tin at all) but I find that makes the muffins drier than if they are baked right in the tin.

This is a good consistency for muffin batter. The wet ingredients are carefully folded so there is no dry flour in the mix, but the batter is still lumpy.

After the batter is evenly distributed between twelve muffin cups, bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about twenty minutes.  It might take longer or shorter, depending on your oven.

A perfect muffin! Nice rounded top.

Let the muffins cool for about five minutes in the pan, and then remove to cool completely.

Like I said earlier, this recipe can take a cup of berries if you want a more fruity muffin.  I like to add blueberries or raspberries when I’m in the mood.  You can mix up these muffins in the time it takes your oven to preheat, so you’ll never have the excuse of “I have no time to bake.”

These plain muffins are divine with a bit of butter.

You can also freeze the muffins for a later date.  I put them in the freezer immediately after they’re completely cool, to prevent them from drying out.  However, I don’t normally freeze them unless I’ve made two batches.  We can eat one batch of muffins pretty quickly in my house.

Who would have thought I’d still be making the muffins I made forty years ago in Home Ec class?  And why wouldn’t I?  They’re blue ribbon winners!

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The day job

It takes every ounce of decorum she can muster

To be polite

To be professional

To put up with the competitive, tunnel-visions of the administration

To be a productive cog in the machinery of a social service agency

But Monday through Friday

When the alarm clock rings at 5:00 a.m.

She wakes up screaming

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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Splendid! Elizabeth Rose nominated me for the Reality Blog Award. We both have an affinity for Door County, Wisconsin and for blogging. She’s rediscovering her love for art and has also published an e-book titled Murder In Death’s Door County. Check out her blog at Elizabeth Rose Mysteries.

Along with this award comes a requirement that I answer these five questions. I’ll do my best.

1.  If you could change one thing what would you change?  Daylight savings time.  There would be no such thing.

2.  If you could have just one book on a deserted island what would it be?  The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe.

3.  What is one thing that really scares you?  Being on a frozen lake or river, falling through the ice, and not finding my way out, trapped under the ice.

4.  What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?  I would like to earn a living with something I’ve created.  Earn a living.   That’s a lot of dough.  And yes, I think I’ll be able to complete that dream.  Maybe.  If I live long enough.

5.  If you could meet any TV or movie star who is still alive, who would it be?  Johnny Depp, most definitely.  And he would love me madly.

Thank you, Elizabeth Rose.  I’ll pass on the award once I’m done basking in it.  Wait, that might be never.  It shall be soon, I promise.

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