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Friday, August 15, 2008

Hold that thought.

I have decided that I am in doubt as to whether or not this blog will continue. So, for now, it is on hold. I may come back to it, but I'm starting to doubt that, too.

Does it even hold purpose for me - or anyone? I doubt that, too.

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Testing out the oats

Well, today is a big day in my world. I ate oats for the first time since April.

It's Jim's birthday today, and he wanted meatloaf and cheesy potatoes for his birthday dinner. He tried to take it back after he asked for it because he realized that those are pretty much off the menu for me, but I wouldn't let him. It is his birthday, after all. The cheesy potatoes are out: they have wheat in the sauce, so I made mashed potatoes for Annie and me (she HATES the cheesy potatoes). But I don't make meatloaf with bread crumbs, I make it with oats. Always have. That's the family recipe.

I decided then and there that today I would take the plunge and eat the meatloaf. I had checked the Quaker Oats website right away when I was diagnosed with celiac to see if they considered their product gluten free. They were careful to point out that they only work with oats and that their plain old-fashioned oats are run on a gf line, but that each person should decide whether oats were a smart choice for their diet.

So far, so good! It seems that I will be able to eat the Quaker Oats after all. Only time will tell, I suppose, but I can usually feel the beginning ill effects of eating gluten within 15 minutes, and right now, I feel fine. I am very happy about this! I love meatloaf, so this is a very very good thing.

In case you're curious (and you can eat oats), here is my recipe. But, be warned. As my husband put it so delicately last month: "Mikki doesn't use recipes. She cooks like a grandma!"

Mikki's family's meatloaf recipe:
This can be doubled or trebled depending on the size of your family, of course. I usually use 2 lbs of meat.

1 lb hamburger (85-90% lean has the best flavor)
a handful of oats
one egg
a liberal dose of ketchup (perhaps 1/4 cup?)
a splash of milk (perhaps 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup?)
a heavy sprinkling of dried chopped onion - or a small, finely diced sauteed onion

Other occasional add-ins: (not all at once, though!)
If you use these, reduce the amount of ketchup or add a few more oats to keep the moisture level well-balanced. You want the resulting loaf to be moldable, but not mushy, not crumbly.
Worchestershire sauce
A1 sauce

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Tip: I've started using a potato masher to mix my meatloaf. It's quite handy. I used to just wash my hands and use those, but the fun has worn off of that method. (I am getting pretty old, you know.)
2. Bake low and slow. Schools of thought vary on this, but usually somewhere around 300 for an hour is good. Don't go above 350 or below 250, though. Higher heat=crumblier; lower heat=more solid


No, really, that's it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

To build a fire

Tonight, my son and I built a fire. Well, I built, he watched, and then he burned random stuff in it while we roasted marshmallows.

It was fun teaching him how (and why) to stack sticks just so, and we talked about all kinds of firey stuff like when the coals were ready, why you can't roast a good marshmallow in a flame, and why green grass curls up instead of burning.

It's fun to watch him explore and learn about natural forces. It's also fun to make torches out of marshmallows until they get so soft that they drop into the fire and become pulsing brain-like orbs. Ew.

We're both very dirty now. It was a good night.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good Reads

My mom has me hooked on this new website called Good Reads. It lets you set up a virtual bookshelf and categorize books any way you like. You can write reviews, rate books, compare your books with your friends', and even trade books with other members. It's pretty great. I've already had more discussions with my friends about the books we've read or are reading than I have had in a long time.

Today I'd like to recommend that you read a book by Alexandre Solzhenitsyn. I didn't realize that he was still alive until he passed away this week, but he's always been one of my favorites. Plus, he was censored, banned, threatened (you name it) by the Soviet government because of his truthful portrayal of the work camps. Banned books are usually pretty great.

The two novels of his that I own are A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich and The First Circle. A Day in the Life... is a much simpler, straightforward read. It is about a day in the life of a prisoner in a Siberian work camp. The First Circle centers around a man who is in a city work camp where they run scientific experiments, trying to make discoveries for the Soviet government. The circle in the title refers to the level of prisoner and prison. They're both very good, as are most all of his works, I would imagine.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Admit it: you wish you were this flexible.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chores are good

Why? Because I said so.... haha.

I've always given the kids chores. Chores are good. They help even the load and they help teach the kids to care for their own space.

Today, the kids came to me and said, "Mom, we don't like our chores."

"That's too bad," I replied. I guess they predicted my next sentence, because they interrupted it.

"We don't want to stop doing it!" they said. "We just want to trade. We want to switch who loads and who empties the dishwasher." Then they proceeded to give me reasons - real reasons! - why they thought that it would work out better for everyone to make the switch.

I agreed, and the kids let out a big "Yes!" followed by a high-five.

...Now if only they could take that work ethic up to their bedrooms. :)
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