Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day - Book Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you to all who participated and made it possible! 

 Happy Leap Day to you!  May you be leaping for joy today!

In honor of this extra bonus day, we have an extra bonus book giveaway

Recently I conducted an interview on the blog with Lindsay S Nixon, a vegan chef and cookbook author.  With the gracious support of her publisher, I gave away a copy of her most recent book to a lucky winner.

The giveaway was so popular, the publisher emailed me and asked if I'd like another copy to give away again!  Of course I said yes!

So if you didn't take Lindsay's excellent vegan cookbook home last time, here is your second chance to win a copy.  Go back to the original giveaway to view a sample recipe with her interview, and test out another recipe below!

**I have not sampled this recipe yet.  It comes from a selection of recipes approved by the author for publication on this blog.  It is for you to get a taste of her book!**

Skillet Refried Beans
Skillet Refried Beans from Everyday Happy Herbivore
Serves 2
Sure, canned refried beans are easy, but you just can't top the taste of homemade.  The little effort required here is so worth it - these beans are fantastic! 

1 small onion, finely diced
1 15-oz can pinto beans (undrained)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Line a skillet with a thin layer of water and saute onion over high heat until translucent and most of the water has cooked off.  Add cumin, chili powder and a few dashes of paprika, stirring to coat the onions.  Add the beans with their juices and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low and mash beans well using a fork or potato masher.  It will look very soupy, don't be alarmed.  Crank the heat up to high and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce to medium and simmer 10 minutes.  If the beans start popping and splashing, cover for a few minutes, then uncover.  Stir every minute or so, scraping along the bottom to lift the beans.  After 10 minutes the liquid should have significantly reduced.  It make still be a little soupy, that is alright, it will thicken as it cools.  However, if it is really soupy, cook longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Per Serving: 216 Calories, 0.4g Fat, 41.7 Carbohydrates, 15.7g Fiber, 4.8g Sugar, 13.7g Protein

To Enter the Giveaway

Enter the giveaway now to win the cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore!

1. Enter once: Post a note below and tell us - are you vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or something in between?

2. Enter twice to double your chance to win!  Share this giveaway with a friend on Facebook (don't keep the leap-year goodness to yourself, now!) and post a comment here to let us know you did so!

The winner will be contacted by e-mail.  Contest ends March 10, 2012 at midnight Eastern Standard Time!

May your leap-day be full of wonder and extra joy,

Mrs H

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hot Dog Cheesies

Dear nostalgic readers,

This is a variation of a recipe I remember making as a kid.  We used the Betty Crocker recipe cards and I remember being very careful not to burn them under the broiler! 

This recipe will get people talking! 

If you are only making a few, you could use a toaster oven. 

Hot Dog Cheesies
One of each item per person. 

Hot dogs
Sliced cheese

Bring the hot dogs to a boil in clean water, and then let simmer 6 - 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, lay the bread slices on a cookie sheet.  Spread or drizzle mustard down the middle lengthwise.  When the hot dogs are fully boiled, remove to a plate with a paper towel to absorb excess water.  Lay on the mustardy bread.  Drizzle or spread melted butter down the sides of the bread alongside the hot dog, on either side.  Place a slice of cheese over the top (if it is not processed cheese, it will topple like a see-saw - that is okay!).

Broil for 2 - 3 minutes, approximately 4 - 5 minutes under a broiler and/or at 550 degrees F.  

Serve with hot soup and additional mustard if desired.

What recipes do you remember making growing up?

Toasting in winter,

Mrs H

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Really Can't Stay (But Baby it's Cold Outside)

Dear trekkers and epic trip takers,

As you may recall, I recently returned to the Pacific Northwest from Florida- that was a bit of an adventure.  But every new military spouse or serviceperson should know what I learned on this trip (and if you aren't military, you can share it with somebody just joining the armed forces!).

My flight was going to land at the SeaTac, the  international airport located between Seattle (largest city in Washington) and Tacoma.  Family would pick me up, and we'd start the drive home from there.

Leaving the Sunshine State, my dear friends, who had generously hosted me for the duration of my stay in Florida, drove me to a local airport.  I caught an Embraer RJ145 (we were leaving a fairly small airport) into Dallas, Texas.  In Dallas I had a short layover - just enough time to casually find my next gate, sit down for about ten minutes, and then board the plane in a leisurely fashion.  My flight was on a Boeing 757 out to San Francisco, California.

We experienced some considerable headwinds on the way to San Francisco as we flew against the jet stream, and landed at our airport 45 minutes late.  This was not a problem, however, as that still left me an hour to find my next gate.  As I exited the plane, family members were texting me asking for updates.  I let them know all was well.

And it was!  At first.

I eventually found a readerboard listing current flights and their gates.  Oddly, my SeaTac flight was not listed.  I was not overly concerned at first.  But as the numbers continued to scroll and still my flight did not appear, I began to wonder.  All day family members had been posting on Facebook and sending me messages about the snow conditions in the SeaTac area.  While we don't live close to the airport, the reports of snow seemed to be widespread and considerably significant (for the area, which is accustomed to temperate weather) at SeaTac airport.  I wondered if the flight had been cancelled due to inclement weather.

After an exasperating half hour of trying to chase down useless employees who gazed vacantly passed me like I did not exist, and wandered away mid-sentence while I stood helplessly at their kiosk, I sent a text to my mom.

Fortunately she was still up (it was almost ten thirty at night) and she looked online.  Sure enough, flight cancelled.  She gave me a number to call the airline, and the clerk I spoke with confirmed the flight was cancelled.  I was rescheduled, she said, for a ten thirty flight the next morning.  No, the airline did not offer reaccomodations due to weather cancellations.  I would be on my own for the night.

Airports are not the most hospitable of places to sleep.  While they are not the worst, by any stretch, there is still no place you can go to be reasonably safe while you sleep, to escape the lights and the noise and the blaring PA system.

At the behest of the airline clerk I had spoken with, I was wandering the terminal like an orphan, looking for a customer service desk where I could speak with an employee about possible hotel discounts.  I was not enthusiastic about the idea of leaving the airport by taxi and trying to find a hotel, and attempting to return by taxi in time to catch my morning flight.  But my family and my husband were not enthusiastic about pregnant little ol' me sleeping on a chair in the airport all alone.

Back home, my mom was praying about the situation.  As she prayed, she remembered a commercial for the USO (United Service Organizations) she had seen.  She sent me a text with their phone number for that airport, and I called - a very gracious volunteer answered the phone and said they were upstairs on the mezzanine level - come on up!

I would have to exit security to get there, so I would need my new boarding pass to get back in.  It was past  11:00 PM now, and the airline desk was closed.  Another employee suggested I go downstairs to the baggage claim for my airline and ask them for a new boarding pass.  I was anxious to have my new boarding in pass before morning, when I knew lines would be long and hallways crowded.

Downstairs, there was barely a soul in sight.  I found the baggage claim for my airline and the employee asked for my I.D.  I explained my situation.

"I'm sorry," she seemed confused, "we don't print boarding passes down here."  As she said this, she printed my boarding pass and handed it to me.

"Thank you very much," I said, equally confused.

I made my way back up to the mezzanine level and located the USO.  The moment I walked in, the chaos and confusion ended.

It was quiet in there.  Volunteers welcomed me.  I showed my dependent I.D. and signed in.  There was coffee, soda, water, hot cocoa, tea, doughnuts, danish rolls, cookies, rice krispie treats, chips, cereal, milk, fruit bowls, snack baskets, an endless array of treats of all varieties.  There was a closet to store my baggage.  There were shelves of blankets and pillows with fresh pillowcases.  There was a darkened room with couches, lounge chairs, a TV, X-box games, a bookshelf of free books.  Restrooms just around the corner.  And computers and a printer where I could have checked my flight and printed a boarding pass, if I so desired.

I was almost overwhelmed by the warm welcome!  My parents, still awake back home and anxious to hear how I was doing, were filled with relief that I had a place to stay.  The Lord had provided through prayer.

I spent a peaceful night, sleeping deeply and soundly.  In the morning I enjoyed breakfast, selected a book to bring on the plane, brushed my teeth and combed my hair, enjoyed conversation with a WWII vet who was volunteering at the USO.

Ironically, he had met his wife at the Seattle USO in 1941 when he was in the Army, and she was a dance hostess.  He told me how she had started volunteering there at the age of 17, but lied about her age and said she was 18 so they would let her in!  He was thrilled to share with me stories of his experiences, and historical tidbits of Seattle and Sedro Woolley, where he grew up.

The rest of the flight is another story, but I will be forever grateful to the USO for being there and making me feel safe and welcomed when I was tired, hungry, and frazzled.  When I thanked the gentleman who signed me in, he shook his head.

"Don't thank me," he said.  "Thank your husband!"

Thank you, Mr H, for providing for me even when you couldn't be there.  Thank you, USO volunteers, for making my husband's life a little easier by looking out for his wife when duty called him away.

Mrs H

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome back, please come in!

Dearly beloved, 

Welcome back into our kitchen after my one-month sabbatical from all things computerish!  I've used my time to gain a stockpile of delicious new recipes, to fill my notepad with delightfully fun and useful ideas, to refresh and rejuvenate - sometimes you just need a technology break - and I've even managed to put a little time into my 12 New Things list (fancy that!).  

I can't wait to share with you some of the joys, and to update you on the other big happenings (namely our pending move 'cross country, and the pregnancy!).  

'till shortly, 

Mrs H

This beautiful picture comes from a very, very small print in my family's collection.  The tow-headed little girl in front is my maternal grandmother, and she is gatherin' with her uncles, cousins, dad, and grandma for watermelon.  Off on the far right, you can see my scrawny little Cousin Bud (my grandma's cousin) sitting on my great-great-grandma's lap.  He is just as much a rascal today as he looks to be in this picture!  



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