Sandy’s Blog

Well, after following my blog for years, my dear wife has finally given into the addiction called blogging.  She followed my ill-advised advice, and used WordPress.  After a brief training session, she finally has a new post.  It is the talk she offered at her grand father’s funeral.

So, please take a minute to check it out.

Oh, and don’t expect much politics over there.  She doesn’t find it as interesting as I do.  But you will probably learn more about us through her blog, then you will through mine.

World Net Daily and Sarah Palin Read My Blog

World Net Daily and Sarah Palin stole my idea.  While I probably should be angered at the plagiarism. I am more honored.  I can’t believe that such a small little blog has such big influence.

World Net Dailey is reporting the same thing I did on Monday.  That Sarah Palin is helping out NBC, SNL, and Tina Fey.  I am impressed that my news has such a far reach.

So, now we know that this is important that we help out the struggling network, this struggling show, and this struggling comedian. Americans everywhere do you duty.  We must help McCain and Palin to win.

Just another reminder, I won’t be voting for McCain.  I can’t do it after the bailout.  It was the wrong thing to do, so voting for anyone who voted for the bill is the wrong thing to do.

Why McCain Palin Must Win

I won’t ask you to vote for someone I wont’ vote for.  But I feel that it is imperitive that this pair must win this election.  It is for our country’s health that I believe this is true.

There are $700 billion reasons I will not be voting for McCain next month.  I can’t support anyone who wants to turn this country into a socialist state.  I am so serious about this non-McCain vote that I have sign the 110Amen Pledge.  And I hope that you will to.

That said, I must state that I feel it is an imperative that John McCain and Sarah Palin with the election.  And it is for one simple reason.  We need comedy in hard times.  We need to laugh as times get rough.  And since we can’t seem to control congress, we need something to keep our minds off of the demise of our constitutional freedoms.

Think about it.  How many Barack Obama jokes can Dave Letterman and Jay Leno do.  Honestly, I think that they are done.  Joe Biden just isn’t funny.  There really isn’t anything about him that makes you want to laugh.

However, Sarah Palin is great fodder for the comedians.  People we need to do this for Tina Fey.  She is a struggling comedian whose fame has be greatly increased thanks to Palin’s nomination.

McCain won’t provide as much fodder, but we can have more fun with him than we can have with Obama.

We need to do this for America.  I know that I am encouraging you to do that which I won’t but people, this is important for America.  We need this.

Vote for good Comedy.  Vote for laughs.  Don’t vote for Obama/Biden.

America needs a good laugh.

SODO: Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Well, as thouse who follow my twitter account already know, I have put the dutcho ovens away for the year.  However, shortly after I put them away, I pulled them out again.  Last Wednesday my daughter’s school held Parent Teacher Conference.  And to show our teacher appreciation for the extra long hours, our School Parent’s Organization provide dinner for the teachers on that day.

Last year my wife made a delicious Chicken Corn Chowder.  And this year, I thought that it would be a good excuse to use the Dutch Ovens one last time.  So, I pulled them out of storage.

For this recipe, I decided that we would try one of our families favorite oven recipes in the oven.  It’s pretty simple.

4 chicken breast halves
4 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp of basil
1 Package of Chicken Flavor Rice and Past Mix
2 Cups water
1 Medium Tomato (sliced)
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown the chicken with in the butter.  Coat the chicken with Basil.

Saute the rice pasta mix in the the remaining fat until the pasta is brown.  Then add chicken and water.

Cook in 350 degree dutch oven until rice is tender (approx. 1 hour).  I recommend that more heat is on the bottom for this recipe.  Then add sliced tomatoes and shredded cheese to the top of mix until cheese is melted (approx. 5 minutes).

For this time cooking it we used Zatarans Chick Flavored rice for this recipe, and it tasted different than usual.  I think it was because the rice is different than the brand that we usually use (store brand).

Also, the chicken started out partly frozen, so it ended up being very dry.  However, it was delicious, and I can’t wait to try it in a dutch oven again, when I have a little more time.

100 Push Ups: Week 2 Exhaustion Test

After the Conferences on Saturday, I put my kids to bed, then did some last minute Internet time wasting, before I remembered that I needed to do my exhausion test.

After the 2nd week of the One Hundred Push Ups program, you are supposed to test yourself.  While it is priimarily to see where you belong during week three, I used it to psyche myself up and help me to see that I am improving.

I didn’t want to psyche myself out by counting them.  So, I had my wife count for me.  I was afraid that by knowing that I was past my 15 mark, that I would just give up too early.

25.

I did 25 pushups.  That is 10 more than I idid two weeks ago.  While it isn’t the improvement that I would like to see so that I can complete this program in six weeks.  It is an improvement.  I am excited to see more improvement as I go through the program.

I think that part of my problem was that I didn’t (couldn’t) complete the final set of all but one of the days’ workouts.  Usually, I would fall on my knees with one to three more pushups to do.  I would rest for a few seconds, then complete the set.

Perhaps, I should repeat week 2, but twenty-five push ups are enough for me to go to week 3 if I move to the second column.  So, that’s what I am going to do.  I have been thinking through these past two weeks that it would probably be a better fit for me.

So, tonight, I will be doing 83 or more pushups.  Wow, that sounds crazy.  But I know that I can do it.

SODO: Orange Knot Rolls

I promised to post this two days ago, and yesterday, so I better get it posted, or you will all have me on a stake. Right now you might think I am just talking silly, but when you eat these, you will change your mind.

While on our Camp last week, we tried something that we haven’t ever had. We haven’t even had this done in a modern oven. But they sounded good.

Before I share the recipe, I should let you know that we got the recipe from Rhodes Bake-N-Serv. They offer great recipes for those who buy their product. But my wife and I are too cheap to pay their price, so we just use her Fridge Dough recipe that I shared with you earlier.

Then we followed the recipe modified for the dutch oven:

12 Dinner Rolls, thawed by still cold (we divided 1 loaf worth of fridge dough)
1 Orange rind, grated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Citrus glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice (we just used the juice from the orange that we rinded).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix grated orange rind with sugar. Roll each roll into a 9-inch rope. Tie in a loose knot. Roll each knot in melted butter (was melted in the dutch oven) and then in rind/sugar mixture. Place in dutch oven with remaining melted butter. Cover and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Poor citrus glaze on rolls before serving.

They were good. The only reason we had any left over was because I was full already, and I could imagine stuffing myself any more. But there were gone early the next day.

I am still trying to figure out how to keep breads from getting over done on the bottom, and how to brown the tops. This time we tried flipping th rolls. This worked, but it was difficult and messy. I think that I am going to try putting more coals on top, and less on the bottom next time.

The Camp of Hikes

Last week our family took our new-to-us tent trailer camping at Spruces Campground. While it wasn’t my first choice for campsites, it really was a good trip.

We ended up leaving on Monday afternoon about 3:30pm. That was a lot later than I had originally planned, but I could get myself moving on Saturday to get the trailer packed and ready. So, we did most of the packing on Monday.

After we got to camp, we decided to do tinfoil dinners first, because the dutch oven meals were still frozen. It was nice. We then settle in earlier than usual for camping, because we had worked hard that morning.

In the morning, I woke up before everyone else (which is typical). So, I decided that I would start the day in searching for a geocache. The is called New Name New Cache and it is located up the Days Fork Trail. It is accessible only through the Spruces campground, but you can park just outside the campground if you don’t want to pay the fee.

It was a rough hike at first, but it levels off near the end and is very pleasant. I was tempted to place another cache to attract people up there, but I really didn’t have a good container. So, I will put one up next year. Spruces seems to be an annual tradition in our family.

When I got home we had a big breakfast of biscuits, sausages, and eggs. The biscuits were done in the dutch oven, and as you would expect from the dutch oven, there were better than from a regular oven.

After breakfast, I got the geocaching but again. So, I offered to take my kids on a hike to find a geocache. We headed out in search of Health Come to Dog Lake. When I got to the trail head and saw that the trail was 2.6 miles, I should have known it was too much for my 4- and 2-year-old to handle, but when I am caching such common sense departs.

After getting about 1.5 miles into the hike, I contemplated turning around. It was a beautiful enough of a spot to call our final destination. There were hundreds of butterflies, a few bees, and thousands of beautiful flowers by the stream. It made a great resting place.

However, after eating the snacks that we had brought, I was renewed. So, we pushed on. I told my children that we would decide about turning back once we got the the fork in the trail. At the fork, it was only a half a mile left to Dog Lake, so we decided to do it. It was a lot rougher, but no more difficult than the first half of the trail. It was at this point I started to carry Capt. Z.

We finally made it to Dog Lake. It wasn’t much to see, but it was a good hike. We thought about pushing on the the cache. But realized that it was 2:30pm and that Mom would be expecting us home soon. So, we gave up on that cache, and decided to find the two that I had already found before. We found the first, but not the last.

We ended up not getting home until 5:30pm. So late, that my wife had called my dad, and was ready to send out the search teams. But my dad assured her, that I was just following in his foot steps and turning a short hike into a forever hike.

Sandy had dinner all ready to go by the time we got home, so I helped her get dessert ready. We had the Great Chicken Dinner that I have told you about again. But we finished it off with some very delicious Orange Knot Rolls. I will share the recipe with you tomorrow. After a long hike, it was very delicious and satisfying. I don’t remember ever eating that well while camping.

We started a game of cards that evening, but the younger kids were acting up, and we decided that we should call it a night.

Wednesday morning, I decided to stick around for two reasons. The first was because we were having German Pancakes in the dutch oven. The second was that I was tired from the 8 miles of hiking that I did the day before.

After breakfast, the kids relaxed and played in the nearby stream, and I didn’t do much. I did take a short nap, and played a little catch with the kids, but for the most part, I watched the trees grow.

After lunch, which was hot dogs and mac’n’cheese, we play a game of ‘May I’ (that’s pronounced like the request “may eye?”). One of these days I hope to explain it to you, because I believe that it is a Gazelem Family phenomenon.

Then for dinner we had barbecue country style pork ribs (if you need the recipe then you have never dutch oven cooked) and baked potatoes. The potatoes were done by wrapping them in tinfoil and then cooking them in the dutch oven. They were amazingly good.

I couldn’t let the day go by without some geocaching, so we decided to do some drive-by caches in the canyon. We started out with a no find, then we had a couple of easy finds by a restaurant and a trail head.

The cache by the trail head gave me an idea of where I wanted to go in the morning. So after an okay night’s rest, I started by going after perhaps the lamest virtual cache in Utah, and perhaps the reason GC.com doesn’t list virtual caches. Then, I headed back to the trail head, and head up the canyon to grab several different caches.

But the main goal to to get a possible First To Find. I knew from the description, and looking at my TOPO maps on my GPS that this wasn’t going to be a pretty hike. But I had to go for it. Because my database was a month old and it looked like a possible First Find experience. The hike up was rough. There was a couple of times that I thought about giving up. But I perservered, and I was the second to find the cache.

My only regret is that my camera batteries were dead and so there were no pictures taken of this beautiful site. I might just have to do this again for the great pictures. But I think that I saw an easier approach while I was up there, so I might try a different route next time.

Coming down was an adventure itself. I decided to follow in the steps of the person before me (not that I saw his tracks, just had the same mind set). And I headed straight down the hill. There were several times that I felt like I was going to fall and break something, but after slowing down just a hair, and keeping my eyes wide open, I managed to get to Willow Heights safely.

When I got home, we started packing up the trailer and started heading home. It was a fun week, and I am glad that despite my misgivings, that we went camping at Spruces. Next year, I will definitely place a couple of caches in the area. Because I know that I will be going often enough.

See More Pictures