Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Friday

Credit: NASA, ESA and W. Harris (McMaster University, Ontario, Canada)
NGC 7049, has characteristics of both an elliptical (bright smooth nucleus) and a spiral galaxy (prominent dustlanes).   This galaxy is an incredible 100 million light years from Earth.  When the photons from this image left NCG 7049, dinosaurs still ruled our planet while South America and Africa were only hundreds of miles apart.   The bright star at 1:00 o'clock is a star in our own galaxy.

NGC 7049 Hubble Page

Wallpaper  1024x768

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Filibuster Reform

English: Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We can't let Minority Leader Senator Mitch “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President” McConnell bring our representative government to a halt for another four years, because he is unhappy with the nations pick of President.  We have had over 300 filibusters in the last 6 years, and if a bill is filibustered it requires 60 votes, not a majority of 51 to pass.  In America, its majority rule, not "supermajority" rule, sign the petition to reform the filibuster and make Mitch McConnell stand up and talk on the floor of the Senate if he wants to filibuster a bill. 

No Labels

For most of the Senate's history, filibusters were rare and they required members to stand up for hours on end to make their case.   Now, overuse of the filibuster is grinding the Senate to a halt . And senators don't even have to show up on the floor to explain themselves – just signaling their intent creates a so-called “virtual filibuster,” effectively stalling legislation.
Sign The No Labels petition to end "virtual filibusters".

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

Our next fight is to reform the filibuster so we can have a functioning Senate while also preserving minority rights. But we're going to need your help as well. Please join me, Senator Merkley & Senator Tom Udall as well as several other of my colleagues in signing on to our Reform The Filibuster petition to show our opponents that the American people are firmly behind us in this fight to reform the filibuster and get the Senate working again. 
Sign  Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Kobuchar, Tom Udall, Merkley, Tom Harkin and Jeanne Shaheen's petition to reform the filibuster.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mexican Chicken Soup

Mexican Chicken Soup
2 T oil
1 medium finely chopped onion
1/2 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cans of Campbells chicken broth
1 T chili powder
2 garlic cloves minced 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14 oz. can tomatoes stewed or diced
1 medium zucchini thinly sliced
1/2 16 oz. package frozen peas

chopped cilantro 1-2 T

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and cook until almost transparent, add the chicken and cumin, brown the chicken.   Add the broth, tomatoes, spices and  bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes.  Add the sliced zucchini and peas, bring to a boil and simmer till done about 7 minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with garlic bread or warmed buttered tortillas and thinly sliced jalapenos for those who like a little burn.

GOP Diversity, White Men With Receding, Grey or Dyed Hair

All white male republican committee chairs
Yesterday, the republican house selected its committee chairs.  The only diversity here is in the amount and color of hair displayed among the old republican white men.  The GOP is the good old boys club but this isn't a 1950's exclusive country club golf course, its the US Congress and we want to know, where are the women, Chairs?  Where are the minorities?  So the next time any republican claims the GOP appeals to all America, remember this picture devoid of diversity. 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicken Fajita's

We serve these fajitas on flour tortillas with beans, sour cream, green salsa, fresh cilantro and sometimes fresh guacamole.  It only takes about 5-7 minutes to grill the chicken, a little longer for the onions.  The tomatoes, we grill last and just until they are hot.

Chicken Fajitas
juice from one orange
juice from 4 limes
juice from 1 small lemon
1 1/2 T of mild chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (skip if you don't like spicy)
5 or 6 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano 
2 T of grape seed oil
1 teaspoon salt
several grinds of black pepper 
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 half breasts) cubed into bite size pieces, (try and keep the pieces about the same size for ease of cooking.) 

Prepare Marinade Mix in a small bowl and mix well.  Place chicken in large plastic sealable bag, add marinade, flip sealed bag 4 or 5 times to coat chicken pieces.  Let Marinade 1-3 hours in refrigerator. 
Spread some grape seed oil on grill, heat to very hot, then add the mostly drained chicken.  Cook until done.  I always check the biggest piece with an instant read meat thermometer 165 degrees minimum.
We have two grills, so we cook the onions, peppers and tomatoes on one grill while the chicken is cooking on the other.   Before we acquired the other grill, we used a large cast iron skillet for the vegetables.  We'd cook the onions first, then add the peppers at the same time as the chicken was placed on the grill.  After the peppers were done, we'd briefly cook the tomatoes and the chicken would be done within a minute or two. 

Cheetahs Like You've Never Seen Before

National Geographic is responsible for this stunning HD slow motion video of a running cheetah.  I marveled at the cheetahs very stable head behind a flurry of limbs, the circular spots changing to squashed footballs and an almost irresistible urge to rub that riffling white belly fur.   Less than 10,000 wild cheetahs remain on planet Earth.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Thomas E. Ricks Smacks Fox

Thomas E. Ricks, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author was interviewed by a Fox news anchor and Mr. Hicks delivered a beautiful smackdown to Fox's Benghazi hype.  My niece and I were watching together, our jaws dropped and we delivered high fives on hearing Fox described as “operating as a wing of the Republican Party”when this clip was played on MSNBC.

The US has embassies and diplomatic missions in 194 countries its a dangerous job and the GOP led congress cut almost 300 million dollars from the State Department budget.  We are all sick and tired of the GOP trying to turn this tragedy into an Obama bludgeon.  Well done, Mr. Ricks.  The following two books by Mr. Ricks are well researched with stellar reviews and are most assuredly deserving of a plug.

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 By Thomas E. Ricks

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 Paperback By Thomas E. Ricks
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Quiche, Step by Step

Cheddar Quiche
8-10 slices of bacon of crisply baked bacon
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup red or yellow onion
4 eggs
2 cups half and half
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper

Quiche stored in the refrigerator, makes a quick and nutritious start for many a busy day.  Making it at home ahead of time is fairly simple.  We usually, bake the bacon and quiche crust before or while preparing dinner, and then finish mixing and baking the quiche after dinner or during clean up.  
To make the quiche, we start by setting the oven to 425 and place the bacon on a large aluminum baking sheet that has sides.  It takes about 12-20 minutes for the bacon to cook depending on the thickness of your bacon.  You want crisp bacon that will crumble easily.  When the bacon is crisp remove from the baking sheet and drain on paper towels.  While the bacon is baking we start the crust.  
Quiche Crust
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup butter flavored Crisco shortening
1/2 tsp salt
3 T of water
Cut the shortening into the flour and salt until you have many tiny little balls. Then add the 3 tablespoons of water.  Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Place the rolled dough still attached to one piece of the plastic wrap and firmly press into place, then gently remove the sheet of plastic wrap.  Your crust should look like this, you can easily fill in any gaps on your crust with some of the excess dough.  Firmly press a sheet of parchment paper onto the crust in the quiche pan and add rock salt or pie weights and then bake for 10-13 minutes, or until lightly browned. 
Fresh dough pressed into quiche pan ready for parchment paper
firmly press a section of parchment paper into the quiche pan, and add some pie weights or rock salt, then bake 12-15 minutes.
Finished crust
Bacon, (chinese sausage here) onion, peppers and cheese are then added to the quiche pan
Mix, the eggs with the half and half or milk and the spices and slowly pour the mixture over quiche pan.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 300 and bake for 30 minutes
Finished Quiche, refrigerate once cool. 

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If Retail Paid A Living Wage

Lets pay retail workers a living wage and boycott retailers like Walmart that don't. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Recipe Index Added

I've added an alphabetical and linked recipe list to my pages.  The pages are listed at the top right of the main page just under the Translate and Search Boxes.  We have family recipes in 3X5 card boxes, three ring binders and in scattered cookbooks.  Posting them online safeguards them from loss and checking an index is a lot easier than searching through multiple cookbooks, binders and files for that certain recipe.   Hopefully, you will find some wholesome and nourishing recipes your family will enjoy.
Quiche recipe here

Freeman For Marriage Freedom

Morgan Freeman narrates this Marriage Equality message for the Human Rights Campaign.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Boycott Walmart

Alan Grayson:
WalMart "associates" make an average of just more than $10 an hour. That means that if they manage to get a full 40 hours a week - and many don't - they get paid $1,700 a month, before taxes. Somehow, that is supposed to pay for their food, shelter, clothing and medical care, and that of their children. Quite a trick.

In state after state, the largest group of Medicaid recipients is WalMart employees. I'm sure that the same thing is true of food stamp recipients. Each WalMart "associate" costs the taxpayers an average of more than $1,000 in public assistance.
How underpaid are WalMart employees? This underpaid: if every one of them got a 30% raise, WalMart would still be profitable.

WalMart employees in the United States are not unionized. WalMart has used every trick in the book to prevent its employees from organizing. In 2005, in Canada, WalMart closed a store that had voted to go union. Recently, in Orlando, WalMart fired an employee who had just talked about unionizing. When he came back into the store, many days afterward, to say hello to his former colleagues, they handcuffed him.

It's time to do something about this. - I Support Striking Walmart Workers

 Tell Walmart to stop exploiting workers(Credo)

Watch Robert Greenwald's film Wal-Mart: High Cost/Low Price  tonight on Current TV 11 PM Pacific

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Wheat Germ Rolls

Our easy Thanksgiving rolls
Wheat Germ Rolls
3 to 3 1/2  cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1  teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2    cup water
1/2    cup milk
1    large egg
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

Add 1 1/2 cups flour to a large bowl along with the wheat germ, salt, yeast and 1/4 cup butter.  Mix well.  Heat the water and milk to 120-130 degrees then add to flour mixture along with the egg, blend at low speed for 1 minute then mix at medium speed for another minute.  Stir in an additional 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour, a half a cup at a time until dough is cohesive.  Turn onto well floured board and knead 4 or 5 minutes until dough is smooth and bouncy.  Spread about a teaspoon of room temperature butter in a mixing bowl, place dough in bowl spin a few times to spread the butter, flip the dough so the buttered side is up, then cover with a cloth and let rise for an hour.
Punch down dough, divide into 16 pieces, roll them up into balls and space evenly on a large baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil, cover and let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375, bake for 12- 15 minutes until golden brown.  Brush tops with room temperature butter if you like a softer crust.  

These rolls are a snap to make, stupendous with dinner and they make great turkey sandwiches the day after.

Happy Friday

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble
The Sombrero Galaxy is this weeks choice for Happy Friday. The Sombrero galaxy is only about half the width across (50,000 light years across) as our own Milky Way (100,000 light years across) but is thought to contain almost twice as many stars.  This galaxy with its distinctive dark dust lane and large brilliant nucleus is about 28 million light years from our planet Earth. 

Hubble Page


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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anything Worth Doing

My niece wrote this! Her fourth book has received great reviews on Amazon and was a 2012 Outdoor Book Award Winner.  Well Done, lass.
Credit: Jo Deurbrouck

You can read the preface for free here.
Signed Copies available here (click the BuyNow button)
Buy From Amazon 
My niece Jo Deurbrouck
***Please Note, Corrected location***
See Jo Deurbouck in person Thursday Night.
A literary evening for river and adventure lovers:  Thursday November 29, 7 pm, Ravenna Third Place Books, Seattle.     Third Place Books, Lake City

Award winning outdoor writer and recovering raft guide Jo Deurbrouck has been thinking about rivers much of her life. Come hear what she has learned from wild water, and let her transport you onto lovely rivers and big adventures. 
"Anything Worth Doing," recipient of a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award, concerns the storyworthy lives of two raft guides who decide that "anything worth doing is worth overdoing," and spend ten years trying to prove it on the loveliest rivers in the West. Their adventures evolve from idyllic to (arguably) strange to tragic. 

The book has been praised by a range of literary voices, including David James Duncan and Pulitzer finalist Kim Barnes, novelists who don't usually advocate for adventure titles.  Barnes described the book as "... a true drama whose characters will break your heart with their dreams, courage, vulnerability, and absolute determination to live life on their own terms, no matter the cost.”

Back when the men in this book,  Clancy Reece and Jon Barker, were doing their thing, a few newspapers and magazines wrote about them. But most of their story hasn't been told until now. It deserves to be. These aren't the guys who summit Mount Everest once and mark it off their bucket list. They're the guys who live and fiercely defend their dream, year after year.

Deurbrouck worked as a raft guide on a Who’s Who of world-class Idaho and Oregon rivers for 12 seasons. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, Paddler Magazine and others.
Third Place Books
Thursday Night 7 PM 11/29/12
Lake Forest Park
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Norman Rockwell
Wishing everyone a warm and mellow Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Now that it isn't a "traditional America" anymore, can we send the grumpy old republican men to the well supervised children's table?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Daily Bread

Support The Sheehan Amendment

Right now, if a servicewoman or a military dependent is a survivor of rape or incest, she will have to pay out of pocket for the abortion care she needs, unlike her civilian counterparts who also get health insurance through the federal government. 

The decision to have an abortion is personal and should only be made by women not by politicians.

Send a letter to your congresspersons at  or at

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:
  “It is unconscionable that politicians and other groups want to tell our servicewomen that they can’t exercise the very freedoms they signed up to defend—and that’s why I am supporting these changes to the defense bill.”
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