Monday, November 23, 2009

Spooky Spiders

Heck Out of Your 25 Year-old Son


From: Mom
Subject: package
To: Doug
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 11:33 PM

Doug, I forgot to tell you today that there is a small package coming tomorrow for you. Be careful of the spider and the toothpicks - that's all I'm gonna say about that. LOL.


From: Doug
Subject: Re: package
To: Mom
Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 1:30 AM

MOM, I'm just gonna throw out the box. I don't want a spider to jump in my face. You better not have mailed me a spider. I will freak! - Doug

From: Doug
Subject: Re: package
To: Mom
Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 3:14 PM

Hi Mom. I got the package. Thank you for the krispie eyeballs and spider. They will be delicious. You should've seen me try to open the box. I was scared you actually put a real spider in the box. I slowly opened each flap of the box and I had a can of Raid next to me. Good job on creeping me out Mom.

- dougie


Ok, you know your kid is watching too many late-night scary movies when he assumes his own mother is sending him spiders via UPS.

Was he imagining I had impaled them alive on toothpicks and mounted them to foam boards? Then wrung my hands in glee just before I sealed the box and handed it off to the hunky driver wearing brown? Arachnophobia anyone? (In all fairness, he did have a scary encounter with a pretty good sized spider in my family room.)

I was telling my co-worker about Doug's assumption of what I sent him as a Halloween treat. She owns two Tarantulas and thought it was a MARVELOUS idea to send Doug the shell from her little baby the next time it molts.

That's awful. I could NEVER do that.


Dear Doug,

Don't watch this movie after 9pm.


Your Mother

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apples, Grapes and Paint

What do 3 gallons of paint, 80 pounds of apples, and 4 bushels of grapes have in common? They are just the latest in a long list of projects that stem from an obsessive/compulsive personality disorder I've been living with since buying my first issue of Martha Stewart.

WHY do I feel a need to start horrendous projects that cover every surface in my kitchen and cause Fred to hide in the garage playing with ropes? Seriously, isn't one gallon of applesauce enough? Five gallons of grape juice? OF COURSE NOT. There are apples and grapes rotting on trees and vines within a 10 mile radius of my kitchen. They must not be wasted. Save me.

This is how sick I am. Even though I couldn't stand bottling one more half gallon of grape juice, those blasted grapes hanging on the vine over in 'lil old Margaret Beecher's yard were only going to be good for another week. And then they'd be gone. Until next year. And OH MY HECK I may not have canned enough. So I picked 'em. Then I de-stemmed 'em. And I FROZE them, cause you never know if maybe we'll need another SEVENTY gallons of grape juice during the long, hard, Utah winter.

Speaking of winter. It's been a long, LONG, disputed goal of Fred's to put in new windows. Disputed, my friends, because my very illogical, female, reasoning says that the $5000 spent on new windows (that will save, oh, maybe $200 per winter) translates into 25 YEARS before we break even. But, hey, whatever stills the waters.

Turns out, that in order to put in new windows, we had to rip off all the exterior window trim. This turned into weeks and weeks of trying to find someone who was creative enough to put it back. To save a little money, I volunteered to paint all the new wood trim. I JUST LOVE to paint. No, really. And I have nothing else to do.

Uhh, but it turns out you can't paint when the temperature is below 50. Well that's a problem since all our delaying to find the right carpenter put us into early November. We lucked out, though, with TWO, count 'em, TWO days to get 200 feet of window trim painted. No problem. I'm the queen of bite off more than I can chew.

But I did it! It's beautiful and the best part? I got to paint the front door orange!! (You can send your condolences to Fred Schubert, Sandy, Utah.)

Oh, and in an effort not to be idle for a spare minute, I ALSO decided that I needed to make these adorable Rice Krispie spiders for my niece and nephew for Halloween. There's a great story that goes with this particular project. I'll save that for my next post. In the meantime, if you are ever plagued with 80 pounds of apples, here's how you can turn it into 10 gallons of applesauce:

Gatorgirl's Southern Applesauce
(thanks to Lynne W., my personal librarian)

Use enough apples to fill a large non-stick pot.
Jonathon, Gala, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious or a combo of any sweet apples.
Wash, core and quarter. Leave skins on for flavor.
As you cut them, drop them in 2 quarts of water with 2 Tblsp of lemon juice.
This will keep them from turning brown.

Once all are cored and cut, drain off water.
Put them in pot, with 1/4 cup of sugar on top plus two or three cinnamon sticks (if you like cinnamon)
Turn heat on med-high and cover. Leave the sugar on top of apples so it doesn't scorch on bottom. Once the lid is too hot to touch (about 15 min) turn heat down to med-low, stir apples, and let cook for 45 min. Stir occasionally.

Turn pot off, leaving lid on. Let cool. Mash the apples down and hand pick out the peels. Makes great chunky applesauce!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maultaschen (Mouth Pockets)

(A happy American dumpling)
80 pounds of apples
30 pounds of grapes
3 gallons of paint
Those are my excuses

But I'm back

It is snowing and it's cold.
I am staying inside today but Fred is going hiking. In the snow. Brrr.
I'm SO not ready for winter. It was just 70 degrees on Wednesday. But it IS a great day to try out Grandma Schubert's Maultaschen recipe. It's Schwabish you know. So Fred has Schwabian blood in his veins? That explains many, many things.
Fred has very fond memories of visiting his grandmother in Poughkeepsie (puh-kip-see), New York. He watched her make Maultaschen as well as Spaetzle, German-style potato salad, and Sauerbraten. Fred's been anticipating eating Maultaschen ever since the recipe arrived from his Dad. It was a bit hard to decipher but I think I got it right. I love that this was typed by Frieda and has her handwriting in the margins. You can almost hear her accent. Although her recipe calls for making her own dough, I decided to try a short cut to save some time. Fred says its passable but we will be making this another time and rolling the dough ourselves. I will add the dough recipe at the end of my post if you have the time to make it. NOTE: We rolled our own dough on Sunday. Make the effort. It make a big difference in the taste.
1 box frozen spinach thawed
1 large yellow onion
3 Tblsp butter
7 slices old bread
3 lbs good ground beef
2 eggs
salt and pepper
2 packages wonton wrappers

(makes enough to feed a Schwabian platoon AND the Shoell Family - cut in half for a normal family)
Chop the spinach and onion in a food processor.
Pulse until just chopped, NOT creamy.
Melt the butter in med hot pan. Saute the spinach and onion for 5 minutes. Put two slices of semi stale bread in processor and pulse. Soak the remaining 5 slices of bread in water. Actually just run it under the faucet quickly then squeeze the water out as best you can.
Put the spinach mixture, chopped bread and wet bread in a bowl. Add the burger, eggs, salt and pepper. I used 2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp pepper. Then I used my hands to mix it well. Really get everything squished together.
Instead of making my own dough this time, I decided to use wonton wrappers. Lay out the wrappers on a dry board, then put about 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the center and spread a bit but don't get close to the edges or it won't seal well. Use a brush or your finger to spread a little water around the edges then cover with another wrapper and press edges together. They seal easily.

I boiled about 6 cups of water for 25 or so dumplings. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to water. Once at a good boil, add dumplings and bring temp down so its at a simmer (don't want to tear the dumplings up in a rolling boil.) Cook for 15 minutes, ladle out dumplings with some of the broth and salt to taste. I would recommend adding a bit of beef bouillon in place of one of the tsp of salt for more flavor, but salt and pepper to taste.

Nudel Dow (Noodle Dough)
(cut in half if you halved the filling recipe) 8 cups flour through sieve 8 eggs 2 Tblsp salt Enough water to hold together (start with 4 Tblsp and add as you need) Keep hands floured while mixing (yes with your hands). This is a stiff dough, you will need to work it for about 30 minutes. Keep flouring your hands so it doesnt stick.
I suggest rolling this out with a pasta machine working up to the number 6 setting. If not, roll out portions until it is very, very thin. Cut strips 5 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide. Put a tablespoon of mixture in center of one end, spread a bit with a fork, then fold over and seal. Gute Nacht - Mahlzeit!