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Monday, October 31, 2016

Recipe Review from 10/24/2016

Coming off vacation the previous week meant things needed to be kept super simple and I was using what we had on hand in the fridge and freezer. Leftover butternut squash was turned into soup and some leftover rice and burger became burritos.  Nothing fancy, but filling and tasty. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun - (L) pastie   (S)  Butternut Squash Soup
Mon (yoga/bkgrp/Legion mtgs)  we're on our own
Tues (PM yoga)  beef, rice, and bean burritos
Wed - leftover beef, rice and bean burritos
Thurs (yoga) probably leftover burritos
Fri -out

Lunches - butnut squash soup, fresh bread and apples
Butternut Squash Soup (Scifi with Paprika blog)
This is my squash soup recipe.  It is loosey-goosey, dependent up on how much squash I use and how liquid-y the squash is.  More liquid can be added, but it's harder to make a soup thicker.  Add whatever vegetables you have on hand, or keep it simple.  

I like to roast the vegetables first for a deeper flavor at the end. 
2-3 lbs (2 - one gallon ziploc bags) of peeled, cubed butternut squash (mine was frozen)
1 onion cut vertically
1 cup carrots, cut into rounds
1 cup celery, chopped
three cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil 
4 cups chicken stock (additional 2 cups water or stock as needed) 
1 tsp thyme (more to taste)
1 cup coconut milk (or to taste)

1)  Prepare two baking sheets by lightly coating in cooking spray; OR cover with aluminum foil and lightly coat in cooking spray.  Place in oven. 

2)  Preheat oven to 400*
3) Combine squash, onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

4) Place vegetable mixture on two pre-heated baking sheets and spread evenly.  Bake about 30-40 minutes, rotating sheets and vegetables partway through.  Vegetables do not have to be fully cooked. 

5) Place vegetables, thyme and stock in stock pot, bring to a boil, simmer 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.   Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Add one cup of coconut milk, mix till incorporated.  Simmer 10 minutes more. Serve

Thursday, October 27, 2016

On a Pale Horse by Pierce Anthony

On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1)On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  When Zane shoots Death, he has to take the job, speeding over the world riding Mortis, his pale horse/limo, measuring souls for the exact balance of Good and Evil, sending each to Heaven or Hell instead of Purgatory. The new Thanatos is superbly competent, ends pain when he ends lives. But Satan is forging a trap for Luna, the woman Death loves.

For October book group.

Ah, to re-read a favorite thirty years after it's publication. This might be a book that didn't quite stand up to the passing of time, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed it for nostalgia's sake.

It's kinda fascinating really; I LOVED this series when it first came out and devoured every book. I read them again later. And read them yet again. Now it's probably been 10 years? And outlook on life and awareness of the printed word has changed a bit.

  • This read a bit like Heinlein. How so? The pontificating on how things "should" be in society. 

  • This read a bit like Heinlein in Anthony's treatment and portrayal of women. I never noticed the shallowness before - women are judged solely on their looks: a turn of leg or a tress of hair, beauty is rewarded, homely is to be avoided and decried.
  • For women, 40 is considered "old". Just ask Fate, who was dressed in tweed and conservative clothes.
    > Comparing Mother Nature to a 'distaff dog'.
  • The concept of saving the damsel in distress.

    I could go on, but my point is made.

I am also aware that this is an exploration of death, and of our belief in Heaven and Hell. What I find with this current reading, it is very much a WASP point of view, or Christian point of view. At at time in the US when church attendance is at a low point, where more people are agnostic or apathetic than not, and many people just are worried about the status of their "souls", this bit just didn't hold up very well - in my humble opinion.

What makes this book still fascinating to read is the personification of the Incarnations - they are Mortal until they don the aspect of Death, Fate, War, Time, Nature. I enjoyed watching Death become his office, dealing with a elemental bureaucracy, where even the computers have attitude. I greatly enjoyed Mortis and his ability to transform according to need. The touch of 'tabloid' TV brought a nice sense of humor to the plot.

Ultimately, mixed on whether this has stood the test of time, but enjoyed it anyway for nostalgia's sake.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 24, 2016

Michigan, 2016

Saginaw, MN to Saginaw MI

The Great Lakes Tour

Two States and One Lake for One Restaurant

So many title options for this posting!

The reason for this trip to visit Bradley's in Saginaw, MI.  Scott and his wife opened Bradley's in 2014, after a year of extensive remodeling.  We were informed the space had been empty for 20-25 years and it was in rough shape - we saw the pictures.  It was in rough shape. They completely gutted the interior going to the studs and beyond.  Pretty amazing work. 

But, I should start at the beginning, which is in Saginaw, MN, just outside of Duluth, where we buttoned up the house and headed out. 

Saturday/Sunday:  Manitowoc, WI was our first stop.  We slept over Saturday night, then Sunday morning toured the Maritime Museum (HIGHLY recommended) and caught the 130p ferry for Michigan.  This was the Badger's last run of the season, and we couldn't have planned better weather for the 56 mile four hour crossing:  70*, sunny, mostly calm seas.  The main excitement of the trip was the ferry hauling one of those mega-semi trailers - the XXL trailers that haul wind turbine generators and wind turbine blades around here.  Yes, they backed one of those trailers into the ferry.  How cool is that!?!  

Sputnik crashed in Manitowoc
Manitowoc WI, Maritime Museum

The Badger docking

Loading the mega-trailer on the Badger. 

Sunday:  We arrived in Ludington, MI, about 630p-ish, but because we were among the first six cars ON the ferry, we had to wait.  Mostly we had to wait until they could pull afore mentioned trailer off. So it was about 730p before we made it too our B&B, where we discovered a very unfortunate mix-up had occurred.  Because the Innkeeper was very apologetic about the error, I won’t mention the establishment.  Mistakes happen.  In a nutshell, another person by my first name checked in (sans reservation) but he thought it was me, and thus, when I showed up, the mistake was revealed.  Being a Sunday night during non-peak tourist season, I wasn’t worried about procuring a room at a hotel and, in all honesty, the Comfort Inn was a very nice room for about the same price.  After a late dinner, we crashed.

Departure from Manitowoc, WI

56 mile crossing - four hours

Arrival in Ludington, MI

Monday: We toured the Big Sable Lighthouse, drove up to Douglas Valley Vineyard, then tootled across the state to Saginaw, MI and checked into our hotel. 

Big Sable Lighthouse, Ludington, MI

View of Michigan coast from lighthouse  
Douglas Winery

Tuesday: Saginaw we toured the Castle Museum in downtown Saginaw, MI.   Another HIGHLY recommended museum.  We easily spent about 2 ½ hours there.  Bonus!  Castle Museum is only a block from Bradley’s! 

Castle Museum

Bradley's Restaurant - I highly recommend it!

We surprised Scott, the Husband's longtime acquaintance at the end of lunch rush, enjoyed a fantastic meal (the mac and cheese was amazing!  The Husband had some kind of burger with bacon and fried onions, with a side of truffle fries.  O.M.G.) then introductions all around.  We wandered away for a couple hours so they could prep for dinner, and came back to another great meal (a pork dish for the Husband, Gnocchi for me.  YUM!).  The four of us went out for a round of drinks and socializing before calling it a visit and saying good night and best wishes.

Wednesday: We were on the road again.  Up to Bay City for breakfast at Maggie’s.  We decided to skip the Navel Museum in favor of the 5 hour drive along the shore of Lake Huron.  My humble opinion, won’t need to do that drive again.  It’s ¾ houses/cabins and ¼ visible lake shore.  Disappointing. 

Arrived in Mackinaw City about 4ish, caught the next ferry to Mackinac Island, get settled in our hotel, and found dinner.  

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island (no, we did not stay here...)
Thursday: In the morning we rented bikes and biked the middle of the island because that seemed to have the most historical things to look at, then came back along the shore, where the Husband’s peddle fell off.  Ah, the joys of rental bikes – parts fall off or seats don’t stay up.  Returned the bikes, grabbed lunch, then spent three hours touring Fort Mackinac.  Dinner and called it a day.

Fort Mackinac

Friday/Saturday: Time to head home!  Ferry ride back to Mackinaw City, halfway point being Marquette, MI, where the Husband found the most amazing Cajun restaurant.  Seriously, this place was awesome.  Alligator Bites for an appetizer, Bouillabaisse as a main dish, and BINGETS for dessert!  I FINALLY got to try a BINGET!  Who would have thought there would be such a great Cajun restaurant in downtown Marquette?

Grand Island Harbor, by Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Lake Superior

And thus, ends the trip:  three lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron), two ferry rides, all for one restaurant:  Bradley's.   Totally worth it! 

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