Monday, August 14, 2017

Like the House Smelling like Chicken Fat is a BAD thing - An Abby T. Lab Post

Abby the Lab here, doing tonight's dog blog post.

Mom's had a couple of busy weeks and she was sick for a few days so she's' been a bit stressed. Plus dealing with some traffic issues, with a bridge and lane closure on her way home, the commute the last week has not been good. She said it was a ZOO.

She tries to plan ahead. For example, she put some chicken pieces in the crock pot yesterday to cook, so she could put them in containers this morning to have shredded for salads and casseroles. BUTT, she makes them with an olive oil based dressing, then removes the chicken meat and leaves the bones and the skin and the oil in the crock pot.  The chicken is SOOO yummy. BUTT, it makes a REALLY messy crock pot after the chicken is put into Tupperware.

Dad said "don't worry, fill it with water and let it soak and I'll dispose of it before work." since Mom had the morning off for a dog-tor appointment and would be getting up after him.

Except there was an emergency at Dad's work and he had to go to O'Hair at o'dark hundred to catch a flight to Texas.

Leaving the crock pot full of chicken skin bits and bones and fatty water.

NOOO, I didn't get into it, as it was up high and away from the edge of the counter, but when Mom got home from a doctor's appointment and errands it was a smelly mess.

I notice these things.



So I let Mom know the instant she got home in her nice "run errands among the rich soccer moms" outfit that it needed to be taken care of. Mom's smart, she got the crock pot rounded up to pour off the mess for the trash.

Except someone got in the way

And there was a big tidal wave in the crock pot.

And most of the chicken fat water and bones and skin pieces ended up down the front of Mom's new shirt and yoda pants  (I know everyone calls them Yoga pants but Mom is so old I'm pretty sure her's are YODA pants).
Mom and the kitchen smelled SOOOOO good, she's my new bestest friend! Look, my tail has gone hypersonic!

No picture, cuz she got right OUT Of the clothes,

But decided right then and there she needed a SHOT of something.

The Chocolate kind.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Black and White - Life in an Old House

 What is a day like in a hundred-year-old home with no television?

It's soft light through the windows as all is quiet.
It's books, so many books.
 It's seeing your life reflected in those things that surround you.


It's the sound of music of generations ago.
It's board games played while bread bakes in the oven and the dog slumbers nearby.

 It's antique lace, and things few know how to make any more.
It's things from the ground and the garden collected to be beauty or nourishment.

It's the sounds from a shop, things being repaired or built
 to make the home stronger.
It's soft laughter and amber liquid, there in that quiet house
 where you will soon lay your head.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Eats - Sourdough Birthday Pancakes

What'cha making Mom?

Abby T. Lab here - we're celebrating Mom's 50 (mumble mumble)th birthday today.

Dad got her some nice gifts and a funny dog card!
MMM - Crawford's Biscuits - Mom LOVES those with her afternoon tea! (Mom's biological Mom was English, just like her adopted Dad).

The acrylic wine glasses are so when she has her bubble bath she can sip her Moonshine Chardonnay during her bath without risk of broken glass as she steps out of the tub. The last trip Dad made to the UK to his company's factory there, he brought home a bunch of bubbly bath stuff so she will look forward to that.
Dad picked out a pretty birthday nightie for her as well.
With some evening reading material (I know, Mom is weird with what she reads).

After the presents were opened, Dad was going to make her breakfast but Mom had a great surprise yesterday when after her wild yeast sourdough starter died a few months back (remove hat, look solemn), her next door neighbor brought her a fresh batch of sourdough starter to start feeding and walking (what, no walkies for the sourdough, just feeding?).  So after it enjoyed the warm sun porch for a bit, she fed it, then let it sit in the warm room a few more hours before making a "sponge" for breakfast pancakes before tucking the remaining starter in the refrigerator with a clean coffee filter as a bedtime cap.

Mom and Dad have the nicest neighbors, we are very blessed

This is regular sourdough starter (the wild yeast starter Mom had was nice but it was "persnickety", as my human Grandpa would say).  I think this batch will do very well, with just a feeding once or twice a week.

Here is a great tutorial if you want to start your own: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2017/02/06/easy-sourdough-starter/

The recipe came with the neighbor's gift of ready-to-go sourdough starter, the neighbor's kind wife writing down a couple of them.  Mom tweaked it just slightly to make enough for just two people and adding just a bit more leavening (she likes her pancakes SUPER fluffy). She also put some notes in here for a Vegan version for Murphy and Stanley's Mom (because we know how much Carol likes to cook, bar har har) and Yam Aunty.

Soughdough Pancakes (or waffles)

Sourdough "sponge"  (make the night before).

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk (or nut milk for Vegan version)
1/2 cup sourdough starter

Mix in a non-metal bowl with a wooden spoon (sourdough does NOT like metal).  Cover with a clean dish towel and leave out overnight on the counter.
Click to enlarge photo, I double dog dare you.

In the morning mix in one little bowl:

1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 teaspoons sugar

Into the sourdough sponge, whisk with a wooden spoon:

1 egg 
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil. 


Note:  you can make a Vegan egg replacer with: 

1 Tablespoon ground flax or chia seed (measure after grinding)
3 Tablespoons water

Mix vigorously and let sit 10 minutes and mix in like you would one regular egg.

Mix dry ingredients into the sponge bowl (not to be confused with SpongeBob) with a wooden spoon. Cook pancakes on a preheated and oiled griddle (or in your waffle iron per manufacturer's directions.)

Yummy!

Happy Birthday, Mom - now can I have a pancake to go with that treat?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Flower Friday

It's Flower Friday time in honor of our friends at the Bridge and featured each Friday by:

Here's today's flowers!
This is a plant an 87-year-old lady from Mom's church brought when Mom and Dad had her over for dinner.  She had lost her husband and was a bit lonely - they all had such a fun time and are going to do it again.
This is a yellow floral wreath on a door in a little house in Mom's neighborhood.  The yellow matches the yellow ribbons tied around each tree that remained for many years in wait of someone to come home that never did.  The ribbons are gone, but the wreath and its stories remain.
Fresh flower pots at a home that sat vacant for a long time after a foreclosure.  A young couple bought it and updated it inside and out and it's so pretty now.
When Mom first moved here she didn't understand why the people at the end of the block let the weeds grow up on the corner - thny they bloomed!

Look close as you walk and you find flowers everywhere.
No flowers, but just a dog dish with fresh water Mom puts out for the squirrels, rabbits, and birds to get a drink there among the plants she lets grow up under the 100-year-old Spruce, to give them a little protection from predators above.

On this Flower Friday add a little color to YOUR world.

Abby T. Lab

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thankful Thursday - Treats!

I'm thankful Mom and Dad went to The Pet Place Store and stocked up on grain free bulk treats!
Join 
for a Thankful Thursday Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Power of the Paw for Miss Madi

Please send some healing thoughts for Blogville's dear friend and life of the party-

She's not feeling well at all and her Mom and Dad are really worried. Drop by and leave her a kind word. So many have done so already and we do know it helps.

Abby Lab and family

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What would be YOUR Caption for this picture?

"Just when I thought I'd put that unfortunate incident behind me".

Monday, August 7, 2017

Abby Lab's Weekend Eats - Banana Bread Pancakes

Cooking for me is always an adventure.  I regularly get ideas for recipes by surfing the web, cookbooks, or other blogs.  But I never leave well enough alone and end up with part of a recipe that gets taken in a different direction, or at least tweaked.  With rare exception (the time I forgot self- rising flour in making a new pancake recipe and ended up with what resembled paper plates and the day I made the Amoebasaurus Dinosaur pancakes) the results are fun and tasty. And though we limit her grains to one treat a week as she is sensitive (i.e. you will have to sit upwind for at least 24 hours after giving her a pancake) Abby Lab LOVES pancake days, as did Angel Barkley (pictured here with his trademark orange collar).
Here's the latest adventure.  It tasted just like banana bread, but with a soft, fluffy pancake texture. A hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, paired with vanilla infused syrup was the perfect topping. My husband ate a HUGE stack and gave them two thumbs up between bites. The recipe serves 2-3, and would easily double
Indiana Jones:  Marion, don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. 
Don't look at it, no matter what happens!

In a small bowl combine:
3/4 cup milk at room temperature (I nuked mine for 20 seconds)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
set aside

In a larger bowl (big enough for the final batter) combine
1 cup flour
3  generous Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt.

In a third (and final) small bowl.
Mash 1 and 1/2 large or 2 small very ripe bananas (skin turning black)
whisk in one extra large or jumbo egg until smooth and fluffy
Continue to whisk in:
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons melted butter (add slowly in a stream while whisking).
Stir banana mixture into milk mixture and blend.
Add to flour mixture and stir JUST until combined

Cook by 1/4 cup measures on an oiled griddle.

Tips:  The batter is a bit stickier than your normal pancake batter so make sure your cast iron griddle is well oiled, adding a little extra oil  between batches if it looks dry

The pancakes may not bubble up quite as much as you're used to, check the bottoms and the temp to avoid burning.

Serve with:
butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup warmed with 1 teaspoon vanilla added in

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Labrador Five-O

A friend of mine is having a birthday.  It can be hard to find just the right card for a treasured friend who is not happy about hitting the big Five Oh.

But I found one  :-)

Today is crazy busy - so I'll see you all on Sunday  (if my friend doesn't kill me  :-)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thankful Thursday

Today we join our friend

for Thankful Thursday. What are you thankful for today?
I am thankful for time for a nap 
with my bested stuffie friends.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Speak Up Talk Radio and the Sewport Project - Helping Humans and Rescues in Need of Some Comfort

I had an author interview by Speak Up Talk Radio yesterday during my lunch break.  I made sure the house was quiet so Abby would bark as it was done over the phone. She did bark, but at such a moment of exquisite timing that I knew Angel Barkley had a hand (or paw) in that and it made both my husband and I almost tear up as we laughed, listening to it afterwards.

The Speak Up Talk Radio Interviews fund the SewPort project which provides handcrafted bedding items (pillowcases ) to soldiers serving overseas where a bit of homemade cheer lifts the spirits, as well as shelters for the homeless, domestic violence shelters and cage comforters and cat-nippers to rescue shelters.  So for that, I've been proud to be interviewed twice, knowing my author fee and those that donate after listening is doing a lot to provide comfort to those in need.

http://www.thesewportproject.com/

If you want to hear the interview where I talk about the writing process and my latest fiction characters (in a voice I'm told sounds like "Erma Bomback"), the link is here.

http://www.speakuptalkradio.com/lb-johnson-returns-to-spea…/