Tuesday Tidbits

For no other reason than I feel the need to write a post about all the ‘firsts’ I’ve done this week.

Sunday

  • I scissor cut and clipper trimmed my husband’s hair. I’ve done the latter before but never the former. I watched several YouTube videos and my husband was gracious enough to say it was a better haircut than he normally gets from a salon or barbershop.
  • Made scrumptious hamburger buns for our grilled burgers Sunday dinner. Melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

Monday

  • Made oatmeal cinnamon raisin bread – an upgrade to my oatmeal sandwich bread recipe that I’ve made at least a half dozen times in the last three weeks.
  • Terry converted his previously scheduled doctor’s appointment to a telehealth remote link. So we had to get his camera and microphone working on his computer last night. His doctor is using Zoom unfortunately, which is not secure and has been in the headlines this past week. I chastised the scheduling person stating that I work for a law firm and we are not recommending Zoom to our clients and strongly prohibiting its use internally. We successfully tested Terry’s setup and he’s ready for his appointment Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday

  • Low and slow – smoking a pork butt today on our pellet smoker (see photos below).
  • Terry successfully connected remotely with his doctor, who was late, but eventually the chatted via Zoom for about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoyed smoked pulled poke on homemade buns with smoked baked beans for dinner.

Have a wonderful evening and thanks for stopping by!

Friday Fast and Prayer

The very first email I read this morning in my fourth Monday of sheltering at home and work from home contain this call to fast and prayer this Friday (which also happens to be Good Friday):

This Friday, April 10, I invite you to join with me and many others from around the world in fasting and prayer that the COVID-19 pandemic “may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.”  The principle of fasting transcends denominational and doctrinal differences and is practiced by many world religions including Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Taoists.

A Husch Blackwell Partner, Kansas City, MO

I’ve added this as a reminder to my calendar as an all day event this Friday. It’s been ages since I purposely fasted and prayed so I will probably do a juice fast. I will also research some appropriate verses to study and prepare appropriate meditations and prayers from.

37 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is38 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.

1 Kings 8: 37-40

Join me this Friday for a day of fasting and prayer for all.

Baking Buns

Seeded Hamburger Buns

Terry asked me earlier this week to make some hamburger or slider buns for Sloppy Joes or grilled hamburgers since the weather is starting to warm up. My son had provided me a recipe he’d made a few weeks ago. I compared it to three or four recipes I found at the King Arthur Flour web site. The first one I leaned towards trying (and dividing in half) was the Hamburger or Hot Dog Bun recipe (and I do actually have the KAF hot dog bun pan). The second one I looked at was the Beautiful Burger Buns recipe, which required a quarter cup of sugar and no milk.

I chatted with Amanda at the King Arthur Flour live chat and asked if I could substitute honey for the sugar. She confirmed I could but I should halve the amount. So for the Beautiful Burger Buns recipe, I would use two tablespoons of local honey instead of a quarter cup of sugar. I also added milk to the water (a half cup of each).

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Back to Beethoven

Today I start my third week of sheltering at home and working from home. Also my first week in that scenario of on call rotation. Thankfully, the weekend was quiet, and the weather improved to the point where both Terry and I got out of the house and worked in the yard Sunday afternoon. I needed the exercise to counteract the back and neck pain I’ve been suffering from in my non-ergonomic home office.

Terry also accompanied me to pickup our second order from Dillons (local Kroger affiliate) and we decided to run the van through the car wash. For Terry, it’s been weeks since he has let the house. He’s at increased risk for the coronavirus and it would likely prove fatal for him. He self-isolates during flu season, and the coronavirus pandemic meant he’s had to extend an already months-long isolation. The sunshine and brief excursion did both of us good.

I work up Sunday knowing I needed to make a fresh loaf of the Oatmeal Sandwich bread to go with the sourdough stuffing, boneless chicken thighs and corn I’d made the day before as a ‘care package’ from my father and uncle. I’m still tweaking the recipe and Ron, my uncle, had expressed interest in trying the ‘original’ version which uses three tablespoons of molasses. I had just popped that loaf in the oven when he messaged me to state he and Dad were going on a road trip to Cottonwood Falls. I was a bit confused as I though they were going to meet us at Dillons when we picked up our order and I would transfer the care package to them. Since it was going to be a gorgeous perfect spring day in Kansas, my only warning was the Flint Hills ranchers would probably be burning their fields this time of year (they were) and a request for a sketch of the oldest still in use county courthouse in Kansas. Now I wish I’d let the bread rise just a tad longer since I didn’t need to have it finished by noon and cool by one o’clock.

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Shoutout to Sandlot: Retooling to Produce Masks

This morning I received an email from our local Managing Director of the law firm I work for. We’ve all been working from home officially since last Wednesday (I have been since the afternoon of March 16th). She shared the following information about her nephew’s company, Sandlot Goods.

In this time of uncertainty many of us are asking is there anything we can do to help those that are on the front line fighting the coronavirus. I wanted to make you aware of a local company, Sandlot Goods, that received a grant from the Kauffman Foundation to begin producing masks. Sandlot Goods is a locally owned KC company that typically produces handsewn leather goods that are really cool, but in response to the crisis is converting their production lines. Their goal is to produce 12,000 masks in week 1.


You can help in three ways:

  • Share this message and the link below on social media;
  • Donate money to help cover the costs;
  • Sign up to sew at home

Learn more via this link: https://sandlotgoods.com/


I donated enough to support creating two dozen masks towards the Million Mask May Day campaign. And I’m blogging and sharing this message today.

Join me in supporting this local Kansas City company doing it’s part to make us all safer and healthier.

Recipe Review: Oatmeal Sandwich Bread (5 stars)

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Take One

On my sixth day of self-exile in my own home, and several sourdough loaves later, I wanted to try something different. My lazy self, before the world turned upside-down, would buy a loaf of Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal bread once or twice a month. Baking bread, especially sourdough, isn’t onerous (Thank you Lord for my bread machine!) but does require you set aside the time necessary to manage the process. It doesn’t require a lot of brain cycles, but in my previously ‘normal’ routine, starting bread after six o’clock at night meant being up past my bedtime before it was done and cool enough to bag. Weekends were usually spent running errands, volunteering, shopping, visiting friends and relatives or attending events. For the foreseeable future, my bread machine and I are going to be BFFs!

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Real, Irrational and Never Ending

Pi Party Booth from MidAmeriCon II

If today is really Pi Day, it would never end.

I own a coffee mug that I only use to drink hot tea (or water) out of at work. Most of the time it’s a light-absorbing black nondescript mug hiding in my overhead cabinet above my desk. Yet each workday, shortly after I arrive, I grab some tea and pour in some hot water and my morning transforms as the heat transfers to the mug and a bright red cup appears with the following image greeting me:

Why is Pi so lucky in love?
— Because its love is infinite and non-repeating.

In an effort to celebrate international “Pi Day” today, I thought about scheduling this post for 15:09:26 (central time zone) this afternoon – 3.14.15.09.26. But I’m too impatient for that so you will get this post much earlier in the day on Saturday the 14th of March, 2020. I got this idea from a WikiHow post on how to celebrate Pi Day and here’s the relevant excerpt:


Celebrate at 1:59 PM on Pi Day. This time represents the next three digits of pi: 3.14159. Take a minute to acknowledge pi in whatever way you see fit at that moment During this minute, you can cheer wildly, or even have a countdown leading up to “pi minute” the minute before.

  • For added effect for a countdown, have a “pi drop” where you drop a big pie off a balcony or another elevated structure. You can even add a lot of sprinkles to the pie to make it look like a disco ball.
  • If you’ve written a pi song or made a pi dance, this would be the perfect minute to share your art.
  • Note that there is some debate regarding the exact time that Pi Day should be celebrated. Though 1:59PM is probably the most common, some believe that the 24-hour clock should be used instead, which would mean that Pi Day should be celebrated at 1:59AM or 15:09PM.

Sadly for my family, I won’t be making any pies today. I might make some sourdough bread (in rounds of course) and possibly a diabetic-friendly round cheesecake for my visiting uncle. Which reminds me, I need to feed my soudough starter.

In parting, I will share on of my update statuses I occasionally post on my work Skype, where I share snarky, nerdy computer, math or tech one-liners. One of my absolute favorites is:

My password is the last sixteen digits of π.


Oh! I almost forgot. Not uncoincidentally, one of my real world book clubs is reading Life of Pi this month! Shocking how these things just randomly and irrationally align (or collide) when a math nerd is instrumental in determining what to read when.

Happy

π

Day!

Hugo Hiatus

Two people I know in real life are traveling down under this spring, to New Zealand, not to attend WorldCon, home of the Hugo Awards ceremony, but just for vacations. Although, I wonder if their plans have changed since I last spoke or saw them over two months ago now. Much ado about something is occurring everywhere now, but don’t even compare it to 1918. Regardless, a trip to New Zealand would check off two items on my bucket list: 1) to see the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky (stars and constellations I cannot see from 39 degrees north latitude) and 2) to visit the closest thing to Middle-earth on this Earth.

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At the Cross-Roads

Cover of The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull

My monthly Tolkien reading yesterday from A Reader’s Companion by Hammond and Scull took me on a journey into the ancient past, both in Tolkien’s Legendarium and in our own world. The rise and fall of empires; the hubris of man and his futile pursuit of immortality; the triumph of time over all things . . . all of this from a few lines of a two hundred year old poem about a three thousand years dead king.

It all started with a note (p. 485) referencing this passage in Chapter 7 Journey to the Cross-Roads in Book Four of The Lord of the Rings:

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Puppy Treat Love

3-Ingredient
Home-Made
Dog Treats

When my daughter came to visit over the Christmas and New Year holidays, I made several trips to Trader Joe’s to purchase food she could eat without having an adverse reaction (she’s allergic to corn). While I was there I bought a box of peanut butter dog treats for Lexy. By the middle of January, we’d given Lexy all the treats from that box. I decided that since I’ve been making her dog food for a couple of months now, I might as well make her treats. That way, I control the ingredients and it’s also fun.

I searched for a peanut butter dog biscuit recipe and found several but one in particular caught my eye – a peanut butter pumpkin recipe. I was intrigued because our vet had us give Porthos pumpkin with his food whenever he had diarrhea. Apparently, pumpkin and chicken are easy for them to digest so that’s what Porthos ate for a couple of weeks last year until his tummy settled down.

I reviewed a half dozen recipes, most of which were just three simple ingredients – oats, pumpkin and peanut butter. Among the other items purchased at Trader Joe’s, I found myself with a couple of cans of organic pumpkin. So I added oats and peanut butter to my grocery list and came home with enough to make a large batch of this recipe I found among my dog treat search results: https://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/peanut-butter-dog-treats-with-pumpkin-susan-holmes-mckagan

Click on image for album.

Please be VERY CAREFUL which peanut butter you give your dog – it must NOT contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. Most Natural peanut butters are xylitol free but double-check the ingredients to be safe.

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/paws-xylitol-its-dangerous-dogs
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