Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to another exicting episode of Keeping Up With The Kecky's!

When I got up yesterday morning, I noticed the refrigerator door was a little ajar. It wasn't enough to make the little alarm go off cause I would have heard that. I open the fridge and everything is warm and the digital sensor says "Er" when it should say 37. There's that sinking feeling again that something $$ isn't $$ going $$ well $$.

I call my good friends at Fidelity Home Warranty to have them send someone out only $$ the $$ option $$ wasn't $$ checked $$ that $$ covered $$ the $$ fridge. You may recall that the home warranty was a gift from our real estate agent. So the gal asks me if I want a referral and I do, so she gives me the name KH Appliances. Guess who that is? Yep, my good Russian friend, Mike who has been working on our oven.

Now, the only reason I bother to tell you that Mike is Russian is that his accent is very, very heavy. So I call Mike to see if he can come out. He can come out, but only before noon. Both Poppy and I are at work by this time. I can't go home cause I haven't seen Boss-Karen in over a week and yesterday was the day she was going to make it in. That's an even longer story, suffice to say, Boss-Karen's Sister, Diane had a stroke so if any of you folks out there have a God, put in a good word for her! Payroll-Poppy can't go home cause it's payroll day at work and we have to put in our time...although, we really have until Tuesday to do that.

Turns out, Payroll-Poppy can get her payroll done and be home by 11:30. Score! So I call Mike back but he still can't make it. He asks what kind of fridge we have. I tell him it's an LG. Side note, LG stands for Life is Good. After doing a little research, I'll say no to that. LG stands for Loser Grande!!

So, Mike tells me that to save a little money, unplug the fridge and open all the doors and defrost it. These fridges are known peeter out if any of the vents become blocked. There is frost in the freezer, so that's what we'll do.

Friend-Laurie offered to take home our freezer stuff since that was still frozen. I took her up on that offer cause we have a million dollar chicken, some brisket, LuvBacon's smoked bacon and some ribs in that freezer!

Pioneer-Poppy stopped by the Mercantile on her way home and got a couple of blocks of ice so we could keep our refridgeratables cold.

So this morning, we decided to plug in Loser Grande and low and behold, it seems to be working. This is a good thing since we priced some fridgies yesterday and even on sale, we're still looking at upwards of $1,100.

Cross your fingers!

Okay, so last night we went out to dinner since we didn't have any food. Pho-Poppy wanted soup so I found a Vietnamese place close to the house. Reviews weren't bad. Note, the name of place is Tay Giang on Noriega. Don't go there...ever! The food took forever to arrive. Mine came 10 minutes before Pho-Poppy's. Mine was supposed to be hot, I think, but it was ice cold. Just horrible!! Poppy wanted me to send it back, but I was so hungry and no telling how long I'd have to wait to get it back, so I ate it. Sucked!!!

Okay, off to the store for our NYE provisions...

Thoughts to Diane!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roughage is good...

After a diet of mostly meat products for the last few days, time to get things moving again! Mind you, I love my meat products, especially the Ribeye but too much of a good thing is, well, too much of a good thing.

Last night I made a big salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. But here's the best part, we had our first Kasa Kecky power outage last night. Lucky for us it was salad night. Although, I can still use the stove and since it has about 50 pilot lights, we'd never freeze.

Now, remember back in the old days when there was no electricity and all there was to do at night was read a book by the light of the kerosene lantern (I guess there was baby-making too, but whatever)? I know, I don't remember either, but Pioneer Poppy sure does. Them days is gone for sure! Now we have batteries that will run our laptops for at least the duration of Little Miss Sunshine!

So, Aunt Katie gave me a cookbook, The Best of Country Cooking 2002. One dish I've been wanting to try to make over the years is Beef Wellington. I'm a little scared cause I hear it's difficult. But I found a recipe in this cookbook that I think might be a good training recipe for the real deal. This recipe comes courtesy of Wanda Orton, Emporia Kansas:

I don't know why, but that just cracks me up!

Here's something else that cracks me up in a scary-minkey-kind-of-way:

This came from Friend-Jeannie. She's mean and knows I despise the minkey. The box it came in is hysterical!

"With the Wine Monkey, I went from party zero to party hero!"

I will leave you with this...

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We're home!

We had a completely uneventful trip home and arrived 20 minutes early.

We had a great trip and an even better visit with the family. I cooked lots and nobody died...bonus!

Back to my routine of doing laundry and playing around the house. Soon, I will pick up the little dog and get some food in the house.

Oh, I've now retired my freakin Redneck Carry-On!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Ho Ho Ho...

I know you've all been worried sick...we finally made it to Kansas! Took two-action packed days; so let's begin.

We left our house on Super Shuttle. The weather was awful. Our driver, Charlie was able to get us there unscathed...until we reached the airport. Charlie was pulling into the drop area; I hear Poppy say "WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!" The next thing I see is a car come along side the shuttle...then I see the car getting pushed into and up on the curb. Nobody was hurt and we were quickly on our way.

Got in the airport to find the first leg of three flights was already an hour late, which meant we would miss all our connections. Long story longer, rather than stay home for a day, we opted to fly into Vegas with leg two of our flight to Denver that next day.

Since we all know what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas, this will be a wordless pictorial:

Bet you want to know the story behind this one, huh?

Back at the airport to head to Denver. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking, but I brought a bag with no wheels. Being the resourceful person that I am, here is what I called my "Redneck Carry-On".

Time to open pressy's, so I'll leave you with this lovely vision:

I hope Santa brings you everything you ever wanted...and whirled peas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I finally got my college t-shirt!!!

One more quick post before we leave...check out the new t-shirt Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer got me for Christmas:

I've wanted one of these...well...since...I never went to college!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's no place like home, there's no place like home...

Poppy and I will be heading to Wichita, Kansas tomorrow. We'll be flying by plane, not tornado. Not only that, but Depression-Era-Poppy scored us a real good deal on tickets. Why fly nonstop when you can have not one, but two stops?! Mmmm hmmm, we'll take off from SFO around noon with our first stop in Las Vegas and then the next stop will be Denver and then the final leg to Kansas. That is, if all goes well. Have you been watching the news? Yeah, what are the odds? But if we make it on time we should land at 10:30pm.

Not only that, but Airsick-Poppy needs to sit by the window or she'll explode or something. I like the asle cause the closer I can be to the bathroom, the better. So where does that usually put me on a 3-seater asle, yeah, right in the middle.

Last year, I got stuck sitting next to a lady with her two-year old who liked to touch me. At one point, I looked at my arm and had a bunch of soggy Cheerios stuck to my shirt. That flight took a real bad turn and I about got myself on the no-fly list. The flying waitress was very mean to me.

Another flight I had an older, very stoic woman sitting next to me and I lost control of my soda and spilled it in her lap. That's was embarrassing.

Then there was the time I went to use the conveniently located restroom only there was a guy in there taking a whiz. He didn't lock the door. Another embarrassing moment. Lucky for me, another restroom freed up before he came out.

So, looking forward to this season's traveling adventures.

Talk to you in a couple of days!

Monday, December 20, 2010

He has risen! Yes, he has risen, indeed!

Okay, not exactly...While at Seester's over the weekend she started pulling out some of Mom's old cookbooks. Check it out: Favorite Recipes from the Lutheran Brotherhood. How much fun is this? Tons! The book was published in 1970.

I decided I'd make a bread recipe out of the book. The recipe, Oatmeal Bread, comes courtesy of Mrs. Philmon Erickson, Hendricks, Minn.

Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening (ew! Use butter)
2 packages dry yeast (I used my starter)
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
5 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

Pour boiling water over oatmeal, salt and shortening (butter) in a large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in warm water. Add molasses, sugar and dissolved yeast to oatmeal mixture. Add 4 cups of the flour and mix well. Turn out onto board, cover with bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. Add last cup of flour and knead well. Shape into two round loaves. Let rise until double in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Brush top with butter.

It all seemed to be going well until my Lutheran bread, just like Jesus, didn't rise. Must have been the unholy wheat flour!

Jax-The-Santa-Cheese-Connesewer says "Ho, Ho, F__king get this stupid hat off my head!"

Have a good day!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Well that was a whirlwind weekend...

Saturday was the McClellan's Christmas celebration. It was held at Bro-In-Law- Darryll, Sister Donna and Darryll's Bro-In-Law-Ned's house. Got that? Not sure exactly where it was but it was a two hour drive. We took Darryll's truck since the weather was so bad, but that meant that Seester-Kathy, Nephew-Lucas and I were crammed into the king cab of the truck. Not bad, but poor Lucas is like 6'14" or or something. Here they are catching some Z's...

Let's back up to Friday night though...Two things about the McClellan's Christmas celebration is that it was a cookie exchange and an ugly sweater party. Seester made my Mom's chocolate chip cookies. Since I'm no baker, I had to Food 911 Friend-Jeanette for a cookie recipe. Man, were they good. Oatmeal, cranberry with dark chocolate chips!

Here's the recipe for both:

Mama’s Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Chocolate-Chippy-Cookies

1 box white cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons of water
1-12 ounce package of chocolate chippy’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

Kecky’s InKredible Kranberry ChoKolate Oatmeal Kookies

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture; mix until just combined.. Mix in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly.

Bake until golden and just set, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Makes 5 dozen.

Note: I did not use a mixer and did it all with a wooden spoon. Good luck!

And last but not least, the ugly sweaters. Here's Santa-Baby-Darryll:

I know...words just can't describe it. I guess it fit a little better until he put it in the dryer. He also grew a beard for Christmas cause he wanted to look like Santa.

My new nickname is K-Star!

Got toenails?

Um, Linda doesn't. Don't ask...

Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Adventures with the Kecky's...

So last night was our rescheduled dinna at Iluna Basque. We took the bus to Union Square so Poppy-Shoppy could check out a sweater at Orvis. No luck there.

Then we moved on by foot over toward North Beach. Decided to do a little bar hopping along the way.

First off, why, why, why?

We ended up at the Tunnel Top at Bush/Stockton. Here we could watch the world go by...

From there we walked over the hill and took a side trip into the Ritz Carlton. Swanky. Depression-Era Poppy wanted to have a drink there but I cautioned her on the prices...when we walked into the bar area, it was clear that Pioneer-Poppy and I didn't exactly fit in with that crowd. So, back outside we go. We ended up at an Irish place, O'Reilly's? No. Murphy's? Hmmm, O'Malley's? Well, you know what I mean. We sat on the trick bench where Almost-Senior-Citizen-Poppy almost broke a hip. Moved from there and then sat next to the far place. That Pioneer-Poppy can suss out far, not matter where it is!

Okay, on to our destination...Iluna Basque. I had been trying to decide throughout the day what I was going to have. Should I stick with traditional Basque tapas or have a traditional Basque entree? I figured I'd go with the Tapas. We arrive at the restaurant only to find it was closed!!!!! Nice, we had a freakin reservation and a coupon for $25 off, Goddamnit! That little Twerp-Top-Chef-dude is gonna hear about this!

All was not lost because Rogue Brewery was across the street and the Kecky's just loves Rogue's Kobbe burgers and that's what we had...and some of their beer. They make a chipotle ale that is so very tasty. Fancy this, they also make gin.

After we were done with the dinna, we decided to get in a little spat. I know, hard to believe the Kecky's ever argue. But we do. I have a way of pressing just the right buttons to anger Passive-Poppy. This little tiff had lots of drama too...I ended up leaving the bar figuring I'd just find my own way home. Of course, my house keys were in my bag back at work. I walked from North Beach most of the way back to the office but decided this could take all night. Our little dog needs to make a stinkle so I'd best get home quick. So, I caught a cab. Got home, readied myself for bed and then I heard Silver-Tongued-Poppy come in the door. I said sorry, she said sorry. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug. All better...I think.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Did I really do this?

I sure did! I shocked myself. Took it out of the oven, uncovered it and saw this:

Picture me jumping up and down doing the Rocky dance. Now comes the slicing...

A slicing no? Perhaps.

Happy, happy, joy, joy:

Thanks for hanging with me through my bread baking. I'm no where near edumacated in this art form but I have found a new passion. I'm so very excited.

Sensei-John approved with some very helpful hints. Next, I will take it to THE ORACLE, Tia and see what she thinks.

Poppy and I were walking to the bus stop this morning in the freezing cold. She commented that this was nothing and that back in the day all she had to keep her warm was a far in the hearth.

In the morning, Pioneer-Poppy would wake up, throw off the bear skin blanket (she shot that bear with her double-ought buck shotgun), slide into her moccasins (lined with wool from the sheep she sheared), shuffle on over to the hearth and get that far going to warm up the cabin. Yep, that's the cabin she built from logs that she made from fallen trees...even mixed her own mortar with nothin but water and used paper towels. Last thing she said before we got on the bus "I sure does miss them days."

Talk to you tomorrow!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm a Terra Nova Graduate...

What that basically means is that any Pacifican, around my age, that says "I'm a Terra Nova Graduate" means we didn't receive the best education. That, and most of us were spending our time in the smoking lot. Okay, I'm projecting, it was just me.

I was your classic "C" student. My report card always said stuff like "With a little more effort...If she would try a little harder, etc." Somehow I slipped on through the system and much to my surprise, they gave me a diploma.

Are you wondering why I'm telling you this? Among the many things I flunked in school, math was the big one. Come to find out, that most things in life are based on math. Not a good thing for me. I've managed to get by all these years not knowing how to read a ruler or to try to attempt basic division or multiplication without a calculator.

Here is something else, one thing I notice that all you edumacated-college graduates like to do at parties is ask what college folks went to. Next time you go to a party take notice; within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone the question will be asked "What college did you go to?"

Okay, so here's why I'm telling you my embarrassing scholastic secrets. In order to make bread, I need to know math. For example, Sensei-John sent me home with some of his starter and a recipe to get me going.

The recipe calls for 1 5/8 cups of water. Have you ever seen a 5/8 measurement on a measuring cup? I haven't. I see the 1/2 cup measure, the 1/4 cup measure so logically to me the next measurement down that isn't on the cup should be 1/8, right? I need 5 of those. Seems simple enough, but since I flunked math, I'm not at all confident about this. I don't want to ask I-Have-A-Masters-Poppy because I think this is a way stoopid question for me to ask...and I ask lots of them. I still think it's weird that my partner is a brain-ee-ack. Don't get me wrong, I'm smart, but in that common sense street smarts kind of way.

So I decide to confirm my measurement online. So look at the chart below.

Ounces or 16ths, with decimal equivalents Ounces Fraction Decimal
1 1/16 .0625
2 1/8 .125
3 3/16 .1875
4 1/4 .25
5 5/16 .3125
6 3/8 .375
7 7/16 .4375
8 1/2 .5
9 9/16 .5625
10 5/8 .625 11 11/16 .6875
12 3/4 .75
13 13/16 .8125
14 7/8 .875
15 15/16 .9375

I see that 10 ounces equals 5/8ths. Hmmm, well, okay then. I know what your thinking, but remember, I flunked math. So I measure out 1 cup (8 ounces, see I just did math) and 10 ounces (1 cup + 2 ounces. Look, I just did more math). I said Shuddup, I know what your thinking. Reminds me of a scene in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when Kim says to her blind date "Wow, you're tall, you must be 5'14"."

I mix up my dough...and I realize something might not be right. I tell I-Have-A-Masters-Poppy that the dough is really liquidy. She says "Are you following the recipe to the letter?" I say confidently "Yeah..."

This dough needs to rise for 18 hours so it would make sense to me that it's a moist dough, but really, it's the consistency of pancake batter. I go to bed. I'm up half the night thinking to myself that my measurement just wasn't right and that I should have trusted myself. What the heck am I going to do with this dough?

I get up and there's my pancake didn't rise. So what do you do with lemons? You make pancakes!

These are really good too. They are savory. The best part is that while the leaven didn't levitate the dough, it gave the cakes those nice holes inside like a nice bread and I used Sensei-John's starter and then I fed it and it's still alive!

Jax-The-Pancake-Connesewer approves!

I will try again tonight!

Oh, I checked on Baby-Gus, II this morning. He's having a rough start. We'll check in with him tomorrow.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Drunk Dialing...

Well the Donner Party was a success. What a great group of gals...except for Amy-Mae, II! Everyone brought a go-with to the party that would go with either the smoked salmon and trout or sausages. We feasted. Dad had a great time too. He and the Donner-Mae's were sitting round the far...I could hear him saying that he loved to dance and he'd say something and all the girls would laugh. They loved him and he loved the attention. We may have created a monsta!

Kathy came shortly after to pick him up. He left with a smile on his face.

Here is what's left of the party. Sorry I forgot to take pics throughout the night.

Oh, by the way, Allison-Mae and Renee-Mae loved my bread and I don't think they were just saying that either. Okay, so when I'm mad, I can't hold it in for long, so I told Smokin-Hot-Poppy I threw her under the bus on the blog for her bread comment. Remember that hurt puppy look I had yesterday? Yeah, she had it after I told her that. She said the only reason she said "It's Bread" was because the stuff I made last week was so good. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug...all better.

At one point into the party, Amy-Mae, II thought it would be a grand idea if we drunk-dialed Jeanette-Mae who was at home packing for her move. Looking back on that, probably not a good idea. Seemed fun at the time, though.

This morning I took Jax-The-Smoked-Salmon-Connesewer for a walk around the block. Ran into neighbor, Adam. Very nice guy. He's a motorcycle mechanic at Golden Gate Cycles. Every time he walks by our house and I'm out he tells me that Becky's Old-Girl BMW needs to be in the garage. I always say "I know."

Here she is under cover BMW/7:

So this morning he tells me Becky's Old-Girl-BMW needs to be in the garage and that if she wants to sell, he would consider buying it. This is very exciting for me because Poppy talked to her old mechanic and he figures it would cost about $2,000 to get Old-Girl-BMW running again. Depression-Era-Poppy doesn't want to put that kind of cash into the Old-Girl, yet she can't seem to part with her. Why you ask? That's right, because she's Depression-Era-Poppy, that's why!

Anyhoo, Adam said his job is not so good so he's opening his own shop in a couple of months. Then I got a bit of his life's story. He's lived here since 1992 after moving here from Vietnam. He doesn't want to move anywhere else cause he loves it here. No kidding, this guy flies the Merican flag outside his house and you know he's proud to be a citizen. I get goosebumps every time I walk by his house and see that flag. For the most part, I take living here for granted so it's nice to be reminded once in a while what a great thing we have. Adam had his cup of coffee and said he needed to get his kids to school; as I walked away, slightly excited at the possibility of getting rid of Old-Girl-BMW, Adam said "You need to put it inside." I said "I know."

Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

The weekend is going smoothly and Dad is very happy here. Last night he enjoyed my turkey soup and watching Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman. I told him I'd be taking him home today but he wanted to make sure he'd be going home after lunch. Sweet! But, I called Kathy and asked if she could pick him up later today so he could stay longer with us since he's enjoying himself. That way, he'll get to meet the Donner-Mae's and maybe sample some of Smokin-Hot-Poppy's smokey tid-bits.

Here's a look at what will be some of Smokin-Hot-Poppy's goods:

Yesterday I made my stocking stuffers, wonder what they are?

Got up at the crack of dawn this morning...with Dad. Took him for a walk down at the beach. Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer loves her walks:

Let's move on to the nitty-gritty of the day. I decided that I'd make some bread for our little party today...with commercial yeast. Sensei-John is clutching his chest about now. Anyhoo, I figure, the more experience I can get playing with dough while I wait for Baby-Gus-II to grow, the better.

This morning's loaves are Rustic Italian. Keep in mind, this is new for me, cause why? Right...I'm no baker.

So here we go, the beginning:

Next up, Jabba-The-Dough. The lesson for me here, I think, is to feel how the texture of the dough changes while I knead it. I figured it was done after it felt like a piece of bubble-gum that you chewed a bit too long and started to have this rubber band quality.

Letting the shaped bread rise before heading to the oven. I wonder, if you leave them to keep rising, will they turn into THE BLOB and devour the City by the Bay?

And finally, the finished product:

It's so pretty! Tastes good, albeit, a little bland. I even put more salt in than the recipe called for. But it sure is pretty! It's good with butter. But it sure is pretty! I gave some to My-Worst-Food-Critic-Poppy, she took a bite...I looked at her like a little puppy, panting...just waiting for a little morsel of approval. She simply said "It's bread." Oh, ouch...she kicked the puppy! But it sure is pretty!

Poopy-Poppy, bless her heart, said I should slice it thin, if I can, and toast it. Why it'll be the perfect vehicle for her stupid-smoked-salmon. Whatever!

I'm making pancake batter from scratch a little later, can't wait to see how I can mess that up! Okay, I might be a little sensitive and hormonal.

But, it sure is pretty!

I'll leave you with this...Dad just asked "How did I get soup in my pocket?"