Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cover That Up, Mister

In the grocery the other day, about 10 yards in front of me, a guy let out a huge, disgusting hack--not into the crook of his elbow, not into his hand, but right into the air where I wanted to look at soup. So I had to hold my breath while browsing.

On my way out of the store, I made sure to find the hand sanitizer dispenser and use it generously. Then I praised myself for taking my vitamins (multi-, Vitamin D, and fish oil) that morning.  

This is what the H1N1 "scare" has made of me.  

I'm not really a germophobe, and I'm probably still a few steps away from becoming one. But I do flush with my foot in public restrooms (except that I use my hands to lock and unlock the door so I'm not sure there's any savings in foot flushing). I wash my hands after spending any time in my kids' schools. I use my own yoga ball and mat in class. I'm kinda into the notion of not shaking hands as a greeting. And I've recently clued in on how many people potentially touch public pens. (I've packed extra pens in my purse I need to pack my own stylus too for those touchpad screens?) 

But I don't yet open doors, dispense paper towels, or turn water on or off with my elbows. I don't leave public bathrooms with a paper towel with which to open the door and then drop the towel on the floor outside the bathroom as a clue to the store owner to put a trash can there. (Can you believe people actually do this???) And I don't sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing my hands.  

So far this season, I've had only one quick sinus infection (compared with 10 weeks of issues last year). One of my three little darlings had what was probably the H1N1 flu for a week or so. Another had a two-day fever with no other symptoms.  And my compulsive diligent hand-washing daughter has dodged all major viral bullets but a few mild colds. So maybe something's working. Or maybe it's just early in the season. 

Of course, now that I've bragged, we're toast. So excuse me while I go sanitize our toothbrushes...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Praline Bacon

A neighbor writes a recipe column in our local newspaper, and that is where I found this recipe.  She attributes the recipe to Chef Robin Schempp of 

I made this for Thanksgiving.  We used it in the appetizer included at the bottom (though I didn't prefer it on the rice crackers), in our green beans, and to nibble on for a couple of days. My 10 year old thought this was one of the best things he had ever eaten. He actually moaned when he ate it.  

Praline Bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a wide, shallow dish combine 1-cup brown sugar; one-half cup roughly ground almonds/pecans; 2 teaspoons dry mustard; 1 and one-half tablespoons of coarse ground pepper; 1 teaspoon kosher salt; one-third cup mustard seeds.

Separate 2 pounds of bacon into strips. Dip and press each slice into the sugar mixture on both sides. Lay bacon strips on a large, rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment. Sprinkle excess sugar mixture over the bacon slices in the pan. Roast the bacon until fat begins to render, about 6 minutes. Rotate the pan front-to-back and continue roasting until the bacon is crisp and brown, 8 minutes. Cool; cut bacon into bite-sized pieces.

Sweet Potatoes: Peel and chunk-cut desired amount of sweet potatoes. Toss potatoes in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes; gently flip the batch halfway through cooking for even roasting. Pour potatoes into a serving bowl and stud with lots of praline bacon.

Cheddar Cheese Hors d'oeuvres: In the bowl of a food processor, chop 1-pound of very sharp white Cheddar cheese. Add 3 tablespoons of milk and pulse until the mixture forms a creamy paste. Meanwhile, caramelized apples by sautéing 5 peeled and chopped apples in 1 tablespoon of butter until soft (but not mushy.) Spread Cheddar on a plain rice cracker; add a layer of apple, top with a chunk of praline bacon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Knitters and Crocheters Needed

My latest project...please help knit! 

Knitters and Crocheters Needed
Please help make scarves for
Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games athletes!

Goal:  350 scarves by March 1, 2010
Size: 6” wide by 5’ long
Color:  Solid royal blue or royal blue and white
Pattern, needles, yarn weight:  Your choice
Yarn suggestions:

  •         Red Heart Yarn “Royal Blue”
  •         Berroco Comfort “Primary Blue” #9736
  •         Encore #0133
  •         Cascade 220 Superwash “Hyacinth” #81
Please send or deliver completed scarves to:
Special Olympics Vermont
attn: Scarf Project
368 Avenue D

Williston, VT 05495

Scarf pick up available in the greater Burlington area.  Donated yarn also available for people with limited resources in the Burlington area. 

For more information, please contact Patty Pasley at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Nesting

I found this interesting comment in some research I was doing for work:
"Everyone's body runs a little slower in the winter. We tend to want to sleep more, eat more, and there tends to be an increase in the craving for carbohydrates compared to other times of the year. It's a kind of hibernation tendency, which is the brain's response to shortened daytime hours. In the U.S., the winter holidays coincide precisely with the least amount of daylight throughout the year. So they occur at a time when our bodies are most likely to want to crawl into a cave and go to sleep and do what a bear would do: Eat and sleep."
And sew. 

This seems to be the time of year that I pull out my sewing machine and the projects I didn't finish any given previous winter. The project du jour that Daughter and I just finished was a rag quilt. She received a kit of flannel squares awhile back, which she spent last winter sewing together. Just last week, I put a flannel back on it for her, and she tied it together. The result:

What makes it a "rag" quilt is that the squares are sewn with the seams on the outside. The seams are then clipped and the quilt washed, which makes the seams fray. Traditionally, both sides of a rag quilt are sewn together at the same time, blocks back to back, with one side showing the frayed and the other showing finished seams, but we opted to put on our own back with ties.  It's very cute. And a great project for Daughter and I to work on together. 

Now on to the Christmas napkins we started last year...along with lots of naps and holiday cookies...

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