Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I made a turkey, last night. But, since I'm working full-time AND tutoring AND teaching piano AND trying to stay commited to my workouts, things are a bit hectic.

So, I read online that you could cook a turkey from it's frozen state. I had purchased a fresh one, Mondyay night, so I took out the neck, etc, put a cut up lemon in the empty part, then put it in it's pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer.

Tuesday morning, I put it in the oven, set the oven to start at 1:00 pm at 325 degrees, and hoped for the best.

When I arrived at home at 6pm, the turkey was pretty near done. I set the temperature up to 350, removed the foil, and basted it.

Thirty minutes later, this is what I had:

So, it DOES work. Of course, it takes more time than a thawed turkey. But, if you're a working woman who's juggling a million things - you CAN have your turkey and eat it too!

Now, to finish re-finishing the kitchen cabinets...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Should've taken a Picture

This is not my pie - mine actually looked better - the crust wasn't dark brown AT ALL.
I kept meaning to take a picture, but then the moment was lost and so was the pie - in my belly. I didn't eat the whole pie, but enough to make the picture bad.

But... my, my, my... what a pie!

Now I am really writing to tell you about the pie CRUST. I got the recipe from Cooking Light, and although I am typically a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust gal, my friend Karen Kool inspired me by her roll the pie crust on the dishcloth, so I decided to give homemade a whirl.

This recipe calls for a "slurry" - gotta admit, never heard of one.

here's how it works:

1/2 c flour
6 tablespoons ICE water
1 tsp cider vinegar

whip those ingredients in a small bowl (whip it good! - reminisce about Devo here for a moment)

Then in a BIG-ger bowl, combine these items:

1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp shortening

Mix the above ingredients until it resembles crumbs (this is what they always say). Then add the slurry and mix with a fork until blended.
Now, divide in half and make each half into a 4 inch circle on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out.
(I had to work with it until the edges weren't crumbly, but it was pretty easy).

Then put both of them in the freezer for FIVE minutes.

and there you have it.

I made Strawberry/Rhubarb and used a bag of frozen (thawed) strawberries and rhubarb. I drained them, added 1 1/2 c sugar and 1/3 cup flour.

Bakes it at 350 for 25 minutes with the edges covered, and then another 25 minutes with the edges uncovered. It turned out perfect, not runny or anything.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hello, Ham Girl

That was one of the suggestions on how I could answer the phone here at my new temp assignment. I'm here for three (possibly more?!?) weeks, and my job is to take orders for the Holiday Ham.

Seriously - and I L-O-V-E the job. And this seems to be a really wonderful company. There are over 7900 employees, and they cover 17 states, and they offer very employee, RETIREE and SURVIVING SPOUSE an option of an American Express Gift Card or a ham. Now before you say, "Heck no - give me the money", let me tell you about this ham. 6-8 pounds, bone in, spiral cut, WITH a Honey Glaze packet. As much as I'm not necessarily a ham person, THIS sounds like one heck of a ham.

So far, I've had 283 orders for ham. Not much, when you consider the amount of people they offer extends to. But, these people who call in are SO appreciative and they LOVE their hams. One lady told me it was her 50th ham.

And, that's another thing - The people I get to talk to are delightful. Many of them are retirees - they are funny people.

This one retiree from Minnesota told me he lived in the very very NORTH part of Minnesota and up there they have two seasons: Winter and the Fourth of July.

For the record, the first time I answered the phone I said, "Ham Hotline" by mistake. Since then I have consistently said HOLIDAY Hotline.

It's a fun job - and I'm glad I was picked to do it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From a Friend

I haven't ever done this before, but this was written by one of my former students who is now a grown up, and is LIVING in England, and has some very real experiences with GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE. Just thought I'd share her life experiences... (she said I could)

some thoughts on the "public option"

with all that has been happening in america recently, i have had many discussions with my fellow americans regarding health care and obama's plans to "revitalize" the system. Because i live here, in the UK, and we have nationalised health care, people have been asking me lots of questions. and offering their opinions. most of those opinions are based on exactly that, opinion. since the american system basically offers you two choices, private insurance or no insurance, most people have never had the privilege of dealing with a nationalised system. or public option as obama is choosing to call it.

and the general consensus of most americans that i speak with is that the plan is a good one. it will benefit the poor, help those with little to no insurance, and on a whole wont really change the system. because what could be bad about health care that is free right? hmmm...

i recently had one friend point out that the new plan will predominately help those who really cant afford health care. he ended his argument by pointing out that we have never really been poor and in america. true. i have never really been poor. i have been a struggling college and grad student, working 40 plus hours to try and make ends meet. i have been a struggling new graduate, working a crap teaching job that didnt even pay enough to cover rent and bills. but i have been all of that as a single person, no husband, no family. so my friend was right in a sense that i have never really been poor and needed health care. but i have been without insurance and needed medical attention. oh boy, that was a challenge.

during graduate school and my first year out, i did not have medical insurance. i couldn't really afford it. but i did get sick in those 3 years. and i had huge amounts out of pocket to see a doctor and get prescriptions. and the care i received was different. the clinics i had to go to were not as nice, not as well staffed and well, pretty much you could tell that i was at a place that would see people on a cash only basis. its hard to be in america without insurance.

but hear me on this. i would take america with no health insurance over government run health care any day. there is no choice. because even though the care wasnt the same as if i had had health insurance, and even though the clinic may not have been as nice, i was still seen in a timely and efficient manner. the problem was address quickly and effectively.

timely and efficient are words that seem to evaporate over here. because health care is government run, everything is worked out on a cost/time/effort basis. will the procedure be lengthy and time consuming? if the answer is yes, then dont expect it to happen. doctors (GP's as we call them over here) are paid based on how many people they see in a day. when you have an appointment you are given 10 minutes. well 10 minutes at my doctors office. its less elsewhere. but when you allotted time limit is up, you have to go. my sister in law was actually told, and i quote, "your 5 minutes are up. if you have more questions you will have to make another appointment." she did have more questions. she had only briefly discussed her problem and had a questions about her daughter. she had to make another appointment.

and before you think "yeah, thats just an isolated incident. doesnt happen all the time" think again. if something is not cheap, quick and easy then its more than likely they wont do it. sometimes you get a doctor who is willing to take the time to actually talk to you and investigate, but those are few and far between. and the really disheartening thing is that even when you get a doctor who is willing to help, to really investigate, you still have to fight with the NHS system as a whole.

take my daughter for example. There is potential that due to the difficulty in labour and delivery, eleri may have some nerve damage in her right arm and hand. we went to the doctor to get it checked out. he agreed that there was potential she has some weakness and sent her to the hospital paediatrician/neurologist to check it out. we went into the GP on the 6th of November. The FIRST appointment available at the hospital is the 20th of January. that is almost an entire 3 MONTHS after i would have had the first doctors appointment. 3 MONTHS. but i cant do a single thing about it. the doctor mentioned that catching nerve damage within the first 5 months means that there is a big chance the problem can be corrected. by the time we get our appointment that 5 month window will be gone. She will be 6 months old already.

and there is not a single thing i can do about it. i just have to wait. but hey, at least its free right?

and what could possibly be wrong with free health care?!

the problem is that you pay for what you get. if you pay nothing, then that is what you can expect to get. nothing. and as a new mother who wants the absolute best for her daughter, nothing is just not good enough. waiting 3 months to see a doctor is not good enough. and what can i do about it? nothing. sucks.

i could pay to go private in the UK, but the cost is astronomical. essentially there are two choices in this country as well, government run health care at a sub par level or pay out huge amounts of money for private care. not too be a downer, but i foresee this as the way it will end up in the states. people keep saying that the public option really wont affect the system as it is now. but i dont buy it. at all. i have experienced government run health care. and it sucks. i can only imagine what americans will think of it.

to be fair, i will say that not every experience i have had with the NHS has been negative. when i went in to the doctor in the summer and was diagnosed with skin cancer, i had a fantastic NHS doctor. she was brilliant. quick, efficient, and free. so in that instance the government run and paid for health care was perfect. but there have been more times than i can count that have been awful.

so forgive me, fellow americans, if i can not jump on board 100% with obama's plan of government run health care. I do agree that something needs to happen to change americas system. it does not work for every one. i do understand that. but i do not think that health care run and paid for by the government is the right answer. i know that the NHS is a more extreme version of what obama wants. i realise there are many differences between what i have described and what obama wants to implement. but the basic principle is the same.

and in my opinion the outcome is the same. government run health care sucks.