June 9

Sablée’s. (pronounced sa´ blay)

If all the cacao trees in the world died, and I could have no more chocolate, I would then change my name to Sabléechic.

Sablée is a French butter cookie, and they are the best cookie I have ever eaten. Bar. none. I know that you have all the ingredients in your house to make them too. Butter (absolutely no substitutes) flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, egg. That is all, internet. That is all.

This recipe is in metric, and I tried to measure it out for you while weighing it. It didn’t work out very well.

This is all I had left of 2 sticks of butter. It really is better to weigh it. I love the English weights and measures, but metric is just so much more precise when baking. I am a bit OCD about it when it comes to baking.   Cooking I can get artistic and add a pinch of this and a dribble of that, but not when baking.

First, cream your butter, sugar and salt together.

Add your egg yolk, and vanilla.

Now you can use regular vanilla with wonderful results, but if you truly want to make your cookies extraordinary, then use vanilla bean paste. I have a friend that can get this for me for less than the cost of 1 vanilla bean. When I found that out, I had to get some. If you don’t have any/can’t find any. That’s ok. Your cookies will still be out. of. this. world. good. I promise.

Add your flour till just combined.  Done.   Simple, eh?

Take your dough and roll it into a log and chill it. This dough is very soft. Once it gets chilled, it is hard as a rock. You are supposed to roll it out, and cut it into rounds, but why? when you can roll it into a log and slice it.

Told you I was lazy.

These little guys don’t raise or spread, so whatever shape you bake them in, that is what they will end up looking like. If you are not a good log maker, then you cookies will look a bit misshapen….like mine.

Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 350º.

Dredge them in sugar while still warm.

Do you level best not to eat every. single. one. of. them. in the next 5 minutes.

Don’t believe me? Make them yourself. You will have a war with your self-control.

Recipe is on the side bar.

June 8

The new kittens have been with us for 3 weeks now, and they are big enough to go get new homes.

They play with anything (even air)

and everything.

Even with things that don’t even remotely look like toys.

I just love watching them play, and I will be so sad to see our source of amusement leave.

June 7

Today is short and sweet.

I will be in the kitchen all day preparing for a small family celebration of the boy’s achievements.

I will be chopping fruit, making salad, chopping potatoes, frying bacon, shucking corn, setting the table all fancy schmancy, cleaning and dusting (because we all know that dusting is my favorite chore) and wrapping his gift.

Oh…and dad, if I forget to call you a bit later, I want you to make a speech.

June 6

It’s Friday, and I am nosy.

Yesterday it got up to 307º here in Pothole, Ohio.   At least, that is what it felt like, after weeks and weeks and weeks of temperatures hovering around 62º.

My question for you is at what temperature inside or outside does it have to get up to before you turn on your AC?   and what temperature do you keep your home at during the summer?   Do you leave it on over night or do you turn it off and open the windows?

I gotta know.   It is supposed to get up to 94 very serious degrees here today.

June 5

A bit of randomness, and a product review.

Tuesday, we went to Zville for college orientation. The boy was able to sign up for classes early. It was really great to know what classes he is taking, so that I could find books cheaply and more importantly, before anyone else tried to find books cheaply.

Let me just say that the Queen of Frugal reigns! I found $200 worth of books for $32. Amazon dot com I heart you.

Aside from the boy being able to sign up for classes, it was a monumental waste of time. They didn’t start on time, which makes me want to spit. If you are going to an event then be there early, so that the event can start on time…or…hey! event coordinators, you could start ON TIME, and if people walk in late, that is THEIR PROBLEM.

I feel better now.

My favorite quote of the day was when the President of the college said “we are here to give you an institutionalized personal touch”. The irony of that statement was lost on everyone but the chips and I.

Now for the product review.

If you know me at all, you know that I love to dust. Dusting is my favorite chore. I dust everything, every day all day long, and if something is dusty I can not function.

Sarcasm, it is a gift internet…a gift.

So, my keyboard was looking a bit, well, gross. Yeah…I turn it over and bang all the crumbs out of it, and once every 6 months or so, I will run a wool duster over the top, but it was really looking grungy. More grungy than even I can live with. So I went out and bought this.

This little can not only will spread dust around, blowing dust up in your face, and possibly in your mouth if you happen to be having a conversation at the time, but it also makes your hand an ice cube. This is a great feature, so make sure you use it on a hot summer day. It also blows air for about 4.5 seconds so make sure you purchase 20. Or you could save yourself some coin and just live with the grunge.

June 4

Last Thursday evening, we went to Dutch Valley Kitchen in Sugarcreek for a dinner for all of the graduates in our church. Dutch Valley Kitchen is an Amish Restaurant, and we were served family style. Meaning that all the food was on platters and in bowls and we passed it around like you would eating supper at home.

The boy and I were sitting at the end of the table with friends. We were not the ones that you would have wanted to sit around that night. If it could have been split, dribbled, or dropped it was.

I had an entire glass of water knocked onto my general direction, still soaking wet 2 minutes later, a fried chicken leg rolled off the platter onto my lap, and adding insult to injury…I dribbled salad on my shirt. Me and my Tide-To-Go pen got a work out. There is still a ginormous grease spot dead center on the front of my shirt, like a huge bulls-eye screaming “look at me”.

Good times, internet, good times.

Our fearless youth leader B has been hanging out with the boy since 2003. At least once a week they get together, hang out, drink coffee, play golf, and do all manner of man stuff together.

S is also on the youth staff. He is a pilot, and an airplane mechanic. He has been hanging out with the boy on a weekly basis for about 8 months or so. They play golf, drink coffee, hang out at the air port, go flying, and study the Word.

Meanwhile, I sit at home scrubbing grease out of shirts and I plan on starting a letter writing campaign to Proctor and Gamble for a better Tide-To-Go pen. Maybe one that contains more than 3 drops of liquid?

June 3

Apparently I stink at photographing people and need tons more practice. I can totally photograph food, or someone I am sitting next to, or kittens, or anything else but people. The one thing I want so desperately to be able to do.

What I would really like is to maybe take a class, or have someone give me some hands on training.

Here are my latest dud offerings of the boy.

I made sure that his face was absolutely in focus. There is a little dot that will show up for when you are not using an AF lens that helps. Every time, I focused to where I thought he was in focus, and the dot was on. As you can see, even with all that help, it didn’t work.

We went around 2ish and took the pictures. Came home and uploaded them. Photoshopped some, and cried. Went back out at 4ish and took my tripod with me.

Sigh…

Blurry.

I totally wanted this one to work. He has always been a tree climber. The higher he can go the better.

This one isn’t to bad.

He specifically asked for this one. His arms raised in worship of our Lord. This is the best one of them all.

I even took a few of the girl.

Not quite in focus…almost…

When I was working on this picture, I zoomed in and you know what is in focus on this picture? Her little hair wisps that are flying on the right side of the picture.

I need someone to come help me. I am a visual, hands on learner.

Anyone?

I know how to cook.

Where Chocolatechic says the word ‘butt’ as many times as she can and makes her mother cringe

Smoked Pork Butt, Pulled Pork, Barbecue, or whatever you want to call it. We call it finger lickin’ good.

It takes a long time, but it is so good that it really didn’t matter that it took well over 10 days to make the stinkin’ thing.

It should only take 2, but who’s counting?

First you need to find yourself a Boston Butt, untrimmed, on sale. Find one that weighs at least 10 pounds. Surprise your son with it, and get him excited about smoking it. Then make him watch Alton Brown video for hours on end till his eyes glaze over and he repeats in a monotone voice “I must smoke butt, I must smoke butt.”

Set about finding the essentials to make a smoker.

2 huge terracotta pots, (that took visiting 4 different stores in Pothole, and a week to order one~hence the 10 days) a hot plate, a heavy duty 9″ round pan, and a round rack from your small Webber charcoal grill, a replacement thermometer for a gas grill, and wood chips for smoking.

Next, we get the butt and brine it in molasses, pickling salt, and water. I personally feel that a bit of spices added at this point would be perfect, but the zombiefied boy didn’t think so. Brine this in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, have the Zombie get out all the spices recommended by Alton and have him grind them up to make a rub. These would be whole fennel, whole cumin, whole coriander, paprika, onion salt and ground red pepper. Whiz them in your grinder.

Put your spices in a shaker.

Sprinkle and pat the butt liberally.

Turn your hot plate on to intense heat, put your wood in the pan on top of the hot plate, put your grill in next, and set your butt in.

Put the top on, and wait anxiously for smoke to begin to pour out.

In about an hour, watch it begin to rain, so frantically move the smoker to the front porch. Watch the Zombie walk out every 15 minutes to check the temperature (it should be around 200-210º), and smell smoke . Console the Zombie every 16 minutes with “it just needs time to get up to temperature”.

After about 2 hours of consoling, begin to fret yourself about the lack of smoke and heat. 12 hours later, never smoking and never getting past 151º, bring it in and refrigerate it. Sigh frustratedly.

Next morning, place the butt in your oven at 220º for 8 hours of pure torture.

By this time, it will be done. Pull your butt apart with 2 forks. Liberally coat the butt with home made barbecue sauce. The Zombie will have even made Beautiful Burger Buns.

Invite friends over and eat.

Take sorry excuse for a hot plate back to Stuffmart where it belongs, find a better one at the Dollar Store, and start the process all over again.

The end.

June 1

(This is Winkin’)

The kittens have been with us for a week now, and they are really perking up.

(So is this. He is my second favorite)

They were so filthy and smelly that, even though you are not supposed to give kittens a bath, we did anyway.

(This is Blinkin’)

Actually, we gave all 5 cats a bath.

(So is this. He is my least favorite. He is a piggy and a bully.)

Now that they all smell the same, Grace has stopped hissing so badly.

(This is Nod.)

But to say that Grace is happy to see more kittens is, well, just a bit of a stretch.

(So is this.)

Grace would rather that they all jumped in the lake.

(He is my favorite.)

Never to be heard from again.

I am so glad, whether human or animal, a mother’s love knows no bounds.