Dizcover Blog

Dizcover Blog
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Saturday, 29 November 2008

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not
even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; the children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…….nap! Wait, I haven’t done my shopping yet, how could I take a nap?

I have so many people to buy for, it’s not funny. There’s grandma and pa, mom and dad, two sisters and four brothers. Then there are seven cousins and two sets of aunts and uncles. And please don’t forget my own three sons, their wives, the four grandsons and one granddaughter. Oh me, oh my, what shall I do? That nap sounds very nice right now, but it won’t get my shopping done. I really don’t have time to go out shopping, but I do have a good idea of what everyone would like to have this year.

When I was on the computer the other day, I saw some really neat items at my favorite online store. I wonder if I search the site more, I’ll find things for everyone? Well, you go take that nap to wait for St. Nicholas and I’m going Christmas shopping while my feet are propped up!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Now What?

Now that thanksgiving is over, what in the world will you do with all those left overs? Most families have turkey for dinner, and we usually do, but this year we had a ham. Something different, but now I have a whole pan of sliced ham. I know I will have ham sandwiches for lunch everyday for a while, that won't no where near use up all that ham. I have to come up with some different recipes to use it up, as I don't want to waste it, it cost too much money.

I thought about ham salad, mac and cheese with ham casserole, creamed ham and peas, ham and potato casserole, split pea soup with ham, and even eggs benedict using ham. But the recipe that looked the best was:

Ham Tortillas

* 4 large flour tortillas
* 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
* 8 oz thinly sliced ham, or smoked turkey
* 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons chopped green onion (optional)
* pepper to taste
* vegetable oil for brushing tops


Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Arrange 2 tortillas on the cookie sheet, then evenly top with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Top the cheese with the sliced ham or turkey, the diced tomatoes, green onion, then the other 1/4 cup of cheese. Sprinkle each with a little pepper, then cover each with another tortilla. Brush tops with vegetable oil and bake in a 425° oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, until browned. Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with mustard or mayonnaise.

This is what I am going to try today for lunch!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

My favorite stuffed turkey recipe

I thought I would share one of my favorite stuffed turkey recipes, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

12 lbs whole turkey
2 loaves white bread
1 loaf brown bread
1/2 cup margarine
1 medium onion
4 tablespoons sage
1 cup chicken broth

1. Tear the bread into pieces, and place back into the bags overnight.
2. Dice the onion, and leave covered on the counter.
3. The next day, saute the diced onion in margarine, stir in sage and chicken
4. Place the bread pieces in a large mixing bowl, pour most of the onion mixture
onto the bread and stir. The stuffing has enough moisture when you can
squeeze a handful, and when opening your hand, the stuffing stays in a loose
ball. If it falls apart, add a little more onion mixture.
6. If it is soggy and squeezes together tightly, add a little more bread pieces.
7. If the bird has skin, which is binding its legs together, cut this.
8. Rinse the bird, remove and discard heart, neck etc. and pat the insides to
remove some of the moisture.
9. Push the stuffing into the carcass, until you can’t get anymore in,
overstuffing the bird. The tighter you push it in, the
moister the stuffing will be.
10. Stuff the neck cavity. If you have leftover stuffing, that is a good thing. 11. Place it in a sprayed crock pot and cook on low for 4
- 5 hours.
12. Wrap the legs and wings with foil, they will cook quickly.
13. Put a piece of loose foil over the entire bird.
14. Roast at 325°F for about 3 hours.
15. Remove all of the foil, setting it aside and roast for another hour.
16. If the turkey does not have a pop up timer, use a meat thermometer.
17. When done, set the turkey out on the counter and cover loosely with the foil,
let it stand 20 minutes for a moist bird.
18. Remove the stuffing from the bird and mix it in with the crock pot stuffing.
19. Carve the turkey and serve on a platter.
20. Enjoy this time honored tradition with your loved ones.
21. You may use more or less sage, according to your tastes.

Our family really enjoys this recipe for the holidays, hopefully yours will too.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Do you cook to impress?

How many times a week to you cook? How elaborate to you make your meals? Do you serve several courses or just one main dish? Do you like serving appetizers and desserts? Do you make your dishes from scratch, or do you use a mix here and there? Are your herbs and spices freshly ground or are them from a jar?

Come visit my kitchen and you’ll be amazed at the meals. I will put before you. I like starting with an appetizer and ending with coffee and a dessert. With everything in-between made from the freshest of ingredients.

One of my favorite appetizers is stuffed jalapenos. You split and clean the pepper under cold running water. Mix some fresh crab meat with cream cheese and bread crumbs. Stuff the peppers with the mixture; roll in your favorite batter mix and deep fry, oh how good they are.

Next, I like to cook some fresh tilapia filets in fresh squeezed lemon juice. You can cover the filets with lemon juice in a glass dish and bake in the microwave for just a few minutes, until the tilapia is tender and flaky. Serve on a bed of wild rice with some steamed veggies. You can also add a little sautéed minced garlic to the rice for an extra punch.

For dessert you can go simple with some fresh in season fruit. Cut up the fruit a few hours ahead of time. Please in a zip lock back with a little sugar sprinkled over the fruit. Seal the bag and place in the fridge. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a mint leaf.

Your guest will be impressed and think you spent hours in the kitchen.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Learning to communicate!

Today started like most any day at work, patients checking in, being seen and checking out. Nothing out of the usual, until the phone rang with an unusual call. The person on the other end spoke Spanish and no one in our office spoke Spanish, so we could not communicate with the caller. We had to turn away the new patient without being able to provide the care needed.
We had to come up with a solution. I decided to check out the translation services online. I found a few that sounded like they would fit, so I called each one for a quote. A couple of them even came out to the office to meet with me personally.
I went with one that offered 24/7 translation of 10 different languages over the phone. The even offered services for the deaf.
My doctors were thrilled with the service and the price. Our new patients were happy to find a doctor close to home that could accommodate them. A win – win situation!

Friday, 21 November 2008

My battle during flea season!

I have six dogs in my house, all small, but still small. Then there is the occasional foster dog that comes through for a few days or weeks. On top of that, I have three neighbors around my back yard that has dogs and cats. Some indoor and some stay outdoors.

Think of how many fleas that adds up to! Too many! Here where I live, the flea season starts about March and don’t end until November or so. And then it depends on whether we have a cold enough winter or not. If not the fleas just keep right on multiplying.

I hate fleas with a passion, so I do everything I can to keep them off my dogs. I start with having my yard sprayed by a professional pest control service. Then my dogs need a bath with flea shampoo and spray, dust or fog the inside of my house. That takes care of the fleas for one season.

The problem comes when my neighbors don’t take care of their yards or animals. It raises the risk of fleas living in my yard even though I have the yard sprayed.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Picking that perfect TV!

Lightening struck a tree just outside my house the other day. The lightening went to ground and since it was so close to the house, it entered through my cable line. The modem is fine, but the TV is fried. Yep fried as in dead!

So, off I go in search of a new TV. I can’t stand the quiet, so I must have a new TV, even if it’s just for the noise. But, what kind do I want and what size? There are so many choices out there, to pick from. I went to one discount department store and got lost in the long rows of TVs. There were so many, one after another, after another. I felt greatly overwhelmed!

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a flat screen, a plasma one, or the plain old regular kind. I got so flustered, I had to come home. And, come home to a super quiet house with no TV.

I decided to get online and see if there was some kind of sight that I could compare TVs. Lo and behold, there was. Everyone store in town was listed with every kind of TV they carried. The specs and prices were listed for easy comparison. Why didn’t I do this to begin with?

Now, I’m prepared and know exactly which TV I want and which store to visit to get it. I came back home with the perfect size TV and it looks so good. I might get back into watching TV instead of just listening to it.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Are you ready to cook that Turkey?

With the holidays right around the corner, you should be deciding what you would like to have for dinner. Most people love turkey for thanksgiving, but are getting bored with the same old way to cook it.

How about checking out the different ways a turkey can be cooked? You know there is the traditional way of baking in the oven, with or without stuffing, putting in a smoker or deep frying it in peanut oil. You can also grill it, microwave it, and even bake it in an oven safe bag or covered with aluminum foil.

The traditional way is to bake it in the oven. You can add stuffing or not, your choice. But to insure a moist turkey, it must be basted very often. The turkey must maintain 165 degrees for a whole turkey and for turkey parts, as measured with a meat thermometer. You can cover the entire top of the pan with aluminum foil to help keep the juices in the turkey or put the turkey in an oven safe bag, so that the turkey will cook in it’s own juices. The juice in the pan makes a great addition to dressing and to gravy.

Another popular way is to deep-fry your turkey. You must have a turkey fryer and lots of peanut oil. The key to not setting anything on fire though is to not fill the fryer up too full. There is a line to add oil to, so don’t go past it. When the oil reaches the right tempter, you lower the turkey in and let it cook to a golden, crispy brown.

Your turkey can also be cooked in a microwave. This is a less traditional way and you must have a large microwave to cook that big whole bird. If you were cooking just a turkey breast, this would be perfect. A small whole turkey will cook 7 – 9 minutes per pound and should be checked when finished to make sure the inner most part of the turkey is 165 degrees. When it reaches that temperature, it is done.

A smoker is a neat way to cook a turkey. They meat comes out with a slight pink color and a slightly smoky taste, my favorite. A smoker cost about $50.00 or less and uses charcoal. You put the charcoal in the bottom pan, water in the top pan, then there are two racks for food. While your turkey is smoking on the top rack, you might want to cook a ham on the bottom rack or put the turkey on the bottom and some ribs on the top. You much keep adding charcoal and water through a side door, about every two hours or so, to keep the smoker at the best temperature. You will be very pleased with the taste of whatever you cook in a smoker.

Whichever way you cook your turkey please be careful not to dry out the white meat and have a great holiday.

Life as a Chef!

If you are already a chef, you know what it took to get there and how hectic your day and nights can be. If you are not a chef, and want to be one, be prepared for work, work, and more work.

You think I have it hard as a writer, think again. I get to sit behind a computer all day and type in thousands and thousands of words. No sitting for a chef! A chef is on their feet all day and most of the night.

During school, you get to sit, as some of the courses are classroom taught, but most are done right there in the kitchen, with hands on demonstrations and lessons. Trust me, its no piece of cake…no pun intended for those wishing to be a pastry chef. As well as classroom and kitchen work, there is an externship to be completed before you can graduate.

Before you graduate too, you need to know what kind of chef you want to be. You can specialize in being the pastry chef, the executive chef, the sous chef, an expeditor, Chef de Partie, or even the head chef. Lots of choices, so you may want to start out a little lower on the chain and work your way up. If you are really good, go for the gold.

Once in the work-a-day world, you will be faced with lots of challenges. Depending on your position, you may be required to purchase fresh ingredients on a daily basis. A lot of restaurants do this to ensure that the dishes that are prepared are made with the freshest ingredients possible. You will be responsible for such things as cooking and plating dishes. It’s up to you to make sure the dish looks it’s best before being put in front of a customer. If the food doesn’t look appetizing, you customers probably won’t be back and you want your customers back and to spread the word that you serve some of the best dishes in town.

So if you want to be a chef, plan on working hard, but also plan on reaping in the wonderful rewards of seeing the happy and satisfied faces and well as the reviews of your customers and peers.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

So, you want to be a caterer?

It's not that hard, you already know how to cook, right? Well just think a little bigger, upgrade your cooking utensils, have some business cards made and you're almost set. Of course, depending on where you live, you will need to contact you county or city government, to see what regulations and rules if any there are to follow. If you do the cooking in your kitchen, you will have to go through an inspection and obtain a business license. There will be a fee for the license.

Next, sit down and decide what kind of food you would enjoy cooking, and then be prepared to experiment with all kinds of dishes. Why you ask, because everyone has different taste and what you like, someone else may turn their nose up at. You can put together sever menus for each meal of the day, for tea parties, birthdays, and for dessert get togethers.

You can start small, by printing your own flyers, leaving them on mail boxes and bulletin boards. Then as business builds, hopefully from word of mouth since I know you will do good, you can place ads in the printed newspapers, magazines, as well as online. Remember though, don’t get in over your head, and schedule your engagements correctly by giving yourself enough time to prepare those wonderful dishes, so your business will boom.

Now, let’s talk about those utensils in your cabinet. Of course, you will need to upgrade them to a nicer quality, if you don’t already have them. You will need extra muffin pans, cookie sheets, serving platters, tea cups, serving utensils and lots of linens. Yes, real linens, customers love that fabric and hate the paper and plastic. Your fridge may need to be a little larger or have a spare in the basement or garage. I personally like having an extra just to hold completed dishes waiting to be delivered. Speaking of delivering, think about your vehicle too. It’s a little hard to cater a wedding for 600 with a VW….just a thought.

When it’s time to go shopping for ingredients, buy in bulk, it’s cheaper and besides, you are going to need the larger quantities. The wholesale clubs are a great place to get everything you need, food wise, but you might want to check out the farmer’s markets for those hard to find ingredients. Oh, and yes, please use as many fresh ingredients as possible, your dishes with taste heavenly. In just about every major city, you will find a restaurant supplier, check them out for you linens and utensils. You can usually get in with your business license.

Ok, you’ve got the basics, think about it some more and take that step to becoming a super star of a caterer! All of the things mentioned here are things your can research online for help.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

I can paint!

Sure, I can paint, but where do I start? I want some neat colors, but I don’t know what colors look good together. I want my walls to look warm, inviting, while having some excitement showing through, too.

So, I headed out to the local paint store to check out the paint color swatches. I found so many colors I loved, but then the thought hit me, how do I really know that these colors I love are going to match my furniture or the rugs. I surely can’t bring my sofa to the paint store, and if I could the lighting wouldn’t be the same.

What a dilemma I’ve gotten myself in! I called my neighbor and cried for help. She came running, thinking that I had been injured. I just laughed and laughed. I told nothing that bad, but I did need her help. I explained the situation and she then laughed at me and called me silly. She asked why didn’t I have an interior design person to come over and help me decide? The designer would bring all the color swatches to the house and under my own lighting; we could pick out exactly what I wanted. The designer could also suggest some wall hangings and new pillow colors to match. How awesome would that be?

So, I got on the internet and found an interior designer to come sit with me. She worked miracles and you should see my living room now!

Moving can be a pain!

I knew this day was coming, but I kept putting the packing of all my stuff and moving, on the back burner. But, who does like to pack everything you own and move it all? Nobody that I know of, because it is so much work!

Think about it, you have to go buy boxes, then go through each closet and every drawer, clean them out and pack all of it in boxes. Then you have to rent a truck, put everything in the truck, drive to the new place and unload the truck and unpack the boxes. Boy is that a lot.

Well, my day did get here and I wasn’t prepared. I did the routine though and made the trip to the truck rental store. I reserved a truck; hopefully it’s the right size, and bought special boxes. I also went to the market and begged for some of their boxes so I wouldn’t have to buy so many.

After getting home, I started on the drawers fist. I didn’t realize I had so many drawers and so much stuff in each of the drawers. I did well though, I labeled each box with the room name on them and started filling up my garage with packed boxes. I barely got finished when moving day arrived. I went to pick up the truck, returned home and waited for my friends to show up to help me move. I waited and waited and waited, they were late. I started moving things that I could pick up into the truck while I waited, but couldn’t get much done. They finally arrived; about two hours late, but we got it all done in three trips.

Now, if I ever had to do it again, I would never do it myself. I would hire a moving company to pack, move and unpack for me. Yep, they do all the packing and unpacking if you want them to. It cost a little more, but I think it is worth it. Less hassle, less pain and more time to get things cleaned out before they move you. So, when it’s time for you to move, learn from my mistakes and go online to find that perfect moving company.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Oh what a tangled web we weave!

What a mess I made of my computer! I got so sick of it running slow and some days not even running at all. So, what did I do, I struck out to fix it myself. How hard could it be to, just push a few buttons, delete a few things here and there, and get it running faster?

Well, let me tell you how bad it was then….lol. I couldn’t even get it to come on half the time after my home repairs were done. And when it did come on, boy was it a mess. My screen would flash, and my mouse cursor would go where it wanted to, like it had a mind of its own. I really think that sometimes our computers do have a mind of their own, because they do things on their on accord, when you least expect it. But that don’t make up for me doing my own home repairs.

I soon discovered that I was stuck and needed to take the computer to someone that knew a little, well maybe a lot more than I did. My computer was down, so I couldn’t get to the internet at home. I ran across the street in the rain to my neighbour’s house to borrow his computer. He just laughed when I told him why. I told him enough from the peanut gallery. I got on the internet and found a computer repair shop close by my house.

I packed up my laptop and took the short drive to the shop. The repaired my computer in just a couple of days. I asked them how much business they got from online advertising. They said there was more business from online than by people driving by and seeing the sign. I guess it works.

Starting a new business, what to do?

After much deep, deep thought, I have decided that I want to open up a new business. I love photography and really would like to make money at a hobby that I love. Why not? It can’t be that hard to start up. So where would you begin?

I got on the computer and started looking for a way to advertise. The first thing I looked into was a really neat business card to be able to hand out. I found several sites that seemed to have some sound advice and gave options to have them print my cards. I could either have them design them for me or send them my work ready to print.

Next I needed someone to print flyers to place on bulletin boards, same type of results as for cards.

I also looked into photography sites that allowed advertising. I found some that are very reasonable. I looked at the rankings and customer reviews before deciding on which ones to go with. I picked the top one that was in my price range.

Next I went to the county government site that gave me information about obtaining a license before I officially opened my business. They gave me everything I needed to know, as well copies of the forms I would need to fill out.

So, it goes to prove that internet advertising is the way to go. Put your internet to good use before starting that new business you and just chomping at the bit to open.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

A Day in My Life!

I start my mornings getting up at 5:30am, letting the dogs out, getting ready for work, then putting the dogs back in their crates. Kiss my hubby goodbye and head to McDonald's for my usual breakfast. I arrive at work by 6:30am. I don't have to clock in until 8:00am so, I spend that time doing a lot of my freelance writing. No one else is there and it's quiet. My work as a medical assistant starts at 8:00am and ends anywhere from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. If I get a lunch at all, I'm sitting in front of the computer writing.

I go home, feed the dogs, cook supper, eat, and work on any cleaning or laundry that needs to be done. Then I'm up till about eleven or twelve pm doing more writing.

Now, looking at that typical schedule, when would I have have time to do home repairs? No, not Saturday or Sunday, as I work dog adoptions and writing on Saturday and then Sunday is full of Church, eating out with friends, more writing and laundry.

No, not any day, that's why I have to rely on the internet to help. I can go online and find a painter, roofer, bathroom tiler, or even a source for art to hang on my wall. I rely on the internet not only to do my research for writing, but for finding any kind of vendor that is needed.

Friday, 7 November 2008

How much is that doggie in the window?

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

Oh my, Oh my! I bought that doggie in the window and brought him home with me. That dog looked so sweet to me, he was just drooling my name on the window, begging me to take him home. I just had to, I couldn't resist.

I got him home, and stared and stared, trying to pick that perfect name. I finally decided on Ripley, yes Ripley fit him so well. I noticed there was a little bit of a strange smell when I put Ripley in the car and then how shaggy he looked once, we got home. I decided Ripley just had to have a bath and a haircut. The problem was I didn't know exactly what kind of dog Ripley was, so I didn't know how he should be groomed. What should I do?

Well, the best thing I could think of and I had to think fast, as Ripley was really beginning to smell up the house, was to find a dog groomer. I looked all through the house and no phone book could be found, so I turned the computer on and started a search for a dog groomer.

I was delighted that I found about 15 groomers in my area. I called a few until I found just the right one. I took Ripley over immediately. They took one look and agreed that he was in bad need of a bath and a trim. They said he was supposed to be shaggy, but nicely done. I left him in their capable hands. When I returned, I asked if they were sure this was my dog? They laughed and of course, it was. He was very handsome!

Thanks goodness for online advertisers!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What kind of floor do you like in your home?

Are you a wood floor person, or ceramic tile, porcelain tile, or do you like to go carpet all the way? Think hard before you change you home flooring. Look at all the options and characteristics of each available type of flooring.

Think about things like, do your feet get cold easy, are you on a slab foundation or have a basement. Do you have dogs or cats or both? Having children should even play a roll in deciding on the type of floors you choose.

If you have pets, you might want to consider doing without carpet, real wood floors or linoleum. The dog’s nails will leave marks on the real wood, while cats are notorious for scratching on carpet and linoleum. Dogs too love to chew on carpet. Birds will scatter lots of seed, water and fruits between the bars of their cages and onto the floor. If you have carpet, you can’t easily get the food products out of the carpet.

Children tend to spill drinks more, so carpet might not be the way to go. Not to say that we as adults don’t spill things, but children seem to spill more.

Linoleum is more old school, but more and more, the manufacturers are creating more beautiful patterns to make you think you have more expensive type flooring.

Ceramic tile tends to chip and crack when something heavy is dropped on it. Porcelain is a good bit more durable and comes in some really neat patterns. Sizes range from 1” to 36” tiles.

So really put some thought into what you want to walk on and to see in your home when it comes time to change flooring.

Monday, 3 November 2008