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This is a lot of pan work before you can shove it in the oven for the final burn (think liftoff), so remember to preheat your oven to 350F prior to putting it in the oven. You will also need a glass or corningware casserole dish, greased liberally with butter, so prepare that sometime before also.

Ingredients

Very dry (00) sherry, 1/2 to 1 cup
Home made vegetable stock made with bay leaf, 2 to 3 cups
White mushrooms, sliced, about 6 cups when sliced
Yellow onion, diced, about a baseball size when peeled
Celery, two stalks trimmed and diced
Carrot, two small medium peeled and diced
Garlic, one clove minced
Dried Thyme, 1/4 teaspoon bruised
Spaghetti noodles made from brown rice, dry bundle about 1+1/2 inch diameter
Corn starch, about 3 heaped tablespoons
Gruyere cheese, cave aged, 1 X 2 X 3 inch slab grated
Parmesan cheese, 1 X 1 X 1 inch slab grated
Cream cheese, about 1/2 cup
Frozen peas, about 1 cup
Salt & Pepper to taste
Saltine crackers, crushed, about 10 crackers
Store bought dry bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup
Store bought grated parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup
Butter to rub into the cracker+crumb mix, about 2 tablespoons

Method

Early, start pot of water for stock. Add bay leaves and all the frozen vegetable peelings you have been saving (onions peels, garlic paper, pepper ribs, etc etc). Also add the vegetable trimmings from this dish as you produce them. Start early and simmer for a couple hours.

As you begin, start the water for your noodles. Add a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then turn off and cover, and allow the bay leaf to infuse the water.

Add butter to a pan and throw in all the sliced white mushrooms. Sweat them over medium low heat until they have wilted, released all their moisture, and most of the moisture is gone. Reserve mushrooms. To same pan (do not clean), add more butter and diced onion, and sauté until translucent but not browned. Add diced celery and carrot. Saute until carrot softening. Add minced garlic, and freshly crushed thyme. Stir and allow the garlic to become fragrant, but only just, and then return the mushrooms to the pan.

Once the mushrooms are hot again, add two ladles of strained vegetable stock. Allow to begin to bubble. Add sherry. Add three or four more ladles of vegetable stock and allow it to begin to bubble.

Sometime around now, prepare your noodles.

Add cold water to cornstarch and mix until completely smooth. Add some of the broth from the mushroom pan to the mix to temper it, and then pour the whole cornstarch mixture into the mushroom mixture. Stir constantly and add more vegetable stock if it thickens too much.

Once mushroom mixture is bubbling again, add the grated gruyere and parmesan and stir until melted. Add cream cheese in blobs and stir until all melted and mixed in. Add the frozen peas and drained noodles and mix well. Taste and add any salt and pepper needed. Pour into a greased casserole.

Crush the saltines finely and add the dry bread crumbs and store bought parmesan. Add butter in small blobs and then use your clean fingers to rub the butter into the mixture until a fine greasy meal is formed. Spread uniformly on top of casserole, covering to all edges.

You may place it in the oven now, or cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge until needed. It will probably freeze well, but you would then hold back the crumb topping and apply it when thawed again.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F, and bake on middle shelf for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top bubbling and browned. Allow it to rest out of the oven for about 10 minutes before serving.

We served it with sweet potato oven fries, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, sliced heirloom tomatoes and a token nibble of ham for the meatatarians. It reheats marvelously next day in the microwave.

As you can see, I am not anchored to a recipe. This is what I did after I tried a regular turkey tetrazzini recipe in which I substituted fake meat, and then made up my mind how to improve it to our tastes. I decided that store bought grated parmesan is useless, and that the crust was too dry, and that the fake meat did it no favours. Going all out for mushrooms meant I could add a more robust cheese. My uncle is celiac, so I was quite pleased with the brown rice spaghetti in here, since I had previously used a whole wheat pasta and they end up being very similar in this dish.

So, as you can see, this is a smell and watch and taste as you go process, and if you feel it needs another shot of sherry - do it. :)

Oh yes. I cannot stress enough how valuable home made vegetable stock is for vegetarian recipes. In fact, I think water is better than store bought vegetable stock or cubes. I made a full pot of stock while I was at it and now have some frozen for later. :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
http://agoodwinsmith.dreamwidth.org/file/420.jpg
http://agoodwinsmith.dreamwidth.org/file/863.jpg

Well, this just proves I don't know how to upload photos to Dreamwidth.

I'm now going to post this and see what I get.

Okay. With a modest amount of tweaking, the photos are available. We arrived too late to see this bloom. It has pea-like leaves and pea-like pods, but the pods are purple, and the seeds are teeny tiny brown beans (teeny tiny compared to the pod size). There are old stalks in the ground, showing that it was cut back to grow again, so it must be a perennial. There are better photos on facebook.

Edited 5:55 pm to add:

It is a Baptista Australis:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptisia_australis

Good. *Next* year it gets a climbing cage.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
I have received my very last paycheque.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
We unpacked all the "pictures" and hung some of them yesterday.

It is amazing how even having some of them up makes it feel like we're staying instead of just camping.

Some of the pieces are originals from the student art sale at Emily Carr University (held every year in November you should go), and some are prints, and some are tacky things in gold frames. :)

It is also extremely excellent to get rid of the cardboard and bubble wrap and tissue paper and and and. It's all out on the deck, so that's a bit unsightly, but hey - one thing at a time.

In other news: we are getting the most excellent rain today. It has been hot and dry for 8 or more weeks, thick with smoke (you can't see across the valley, and sometimes a hanging grey veil between us and the mobiles across the street). The rain is that steady soaking cleansing rain, and the air smells sooooo good.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
I am putting this here because I can never remember the name of this theory about sending good money after bad. I always want to call it False Something, like False Economy or False Dichotomy.

Anyways. The current reason for needing this theory is that we (royal we) are building metal shelves for the stereo. The bottom half went together smoothly, and the top half won't go together for love or money. We are continuing because we have already spent so much time putting it together. (And we want to unpack the albums and put them away and throw away the boxes - which is where the criticism of the Sunk Cost Fallacy theory comes in - people continue for additional reasons than simply the spent time or money.)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
Mom's blood work on Monday was okay, so she had her final chemo yesterday. Salmon Arm hospital has a tradition that when a person has their last chemo, they get to ring the bell. Mom rang the bell. :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
So. The frontloading washing machine, which supposedly needed very special bolts of immobility before moving, was moved as you know without bolts because said procured bolts did not fit. So, our new-to-us mobile came with washer dryer, so we swapped in our old washer dryer into Mom and Dad's place[1] for their even older washer dryer. And the moved-without-bolts washer seems to be working just fine - three loads down, lets see what happens next.

We took the old old washer dryer to store in our shed (our shed is almost as big as our previous apartment (not, but it certainly is big), against future days of needing a functioning machine - they both work at least better than a rock in a stream and a windy day.

[1] Mom & Dad sold the house they built in Tappen, and moved into Salmon Arm into a condominium complex walking distance from things they need. It was chosen for proximity and an eye for future needs, not because they like it. For one thing, its appliances are old, and for another the kitchen was designed by someone who has never even made themselves a plate of toast - what a joke. Designers should be forced to live with what they design for five years before they are permitted to inflict their ideas on lesser beings. Their so-called ideas.

A delay.

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:11 pm
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
While Mom's platelets were higher today than last week, they are still too low and so Mom's final chemo has been delayed for another week.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
The party went very well. There was excellent help to get it ready; the catering (Every Little Thing) was excellent; the room layout perfect. My Mom enjoyed herself soooooo much. Sooooooooooo much. :)

However, since many people came from considerable distance away, people were in town for Friday night and Saturday night - so there was a family picnic on Friday night and a family picnic on Saturday night. So my Aunt and Mom cooked roasts and turkeys, cut veggies and packed ice coolers. And then on Sunday night there were still some people left, so they had burgers with all the left overs at Mom & Dad's for Sunday night. And Monday there were still some people left, so Auntie had people over for a roast and corn (there was some of the cheese left over for appetizers, but that was the last of the leftovers). And finally, the Rotary Exchange student who stayed with my parents in 1986 in Trail, and who came all the way from Belgium with his son for the party, took the remaining people (8 of us) out for supper at the Barley Station on Tuesday night.

So. Whenever a person is undergoing chemo, they have a blood test the day before to be sure they are sufficiently recovered from the last chemo before continuing. Mom's bloodwork on Tuesday morning not surprisingly showed that her platelets were low and so her final chemo treatment was put off for a week.

And my Mom has mostly been quiet and getting her sleep topped back up - except some friends in the area gave Mom and Dad Back Stage Passes for the Roots and Blues Festival - and they have been out to several (many) events in that this past Friday, Saturday, and today. Fortunately, the Back Stage Passes allow them to go in the gate closest to where they live, and also take advantage of the performers' lounge if they get tired or overheated. The gate access is actually the best feature because it means that if they are tired between two events, they are likely to go home in between.

So. We will see if Mom has rested enough to finish her chemo this coming week.

My next anxiety will be getting my pensions started and covering any monetary shortfalls while that happens. Aha. I have done most of the preliminary steps, and two of them are approved and should start in October - which actually means the end of October. My extended paycheques will end in early September, so we shall see. Fortunately, we have already paid for the move, and the various costs of the party, so we shouldn't have much debt to sort out before the tightening of the money flow to a trickle.

Alberta is very weird. For such a professedly redneck place, they have some pretty stern nanny policies about pensions. You cannot choose to leave out your spouse when deciding on your pension options. You must share with your current spouse. Depending on your previous attachments, you may need to share with more than one spouse. Because of that, I need to go to a notary and sign an affidavit that, yes, indeedy, this spouse here, this one, is my current only spouse with whom I need to share. Is pain in tush. No, a marriage certificate is not sufficient. No, it doesn't matter that the pension in question is a tiny morsel of money.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
Our first house guest will arrive for my Mom's 80th Birthday party, which we are holding next weekend. The duvet, while clean, has been packed for a while, so it is airing out in the sunshine. A couple of days of heating and cooling should dispel any lingering aromas of disuse. I have the pillows and most of the bed covered by an old (clean - washed in the new-to-us washing machine here) bedspread because Chucko views that bed as his own. I left the pillows out for the same sunshine treatment.

I am not a gregarious person, so the idea of big monster parties fills me with dread, but I decided to throw an 80th birthday party for my Mom back after her surgery in late October, once I had seen that my Mom had gotten her fight back. I thought that the prospect of the party would act as a distraction, or counter-irritant, as it were. I was right: my Mom *luuuuurrrrrrvvvves* big monster parties, and has had so much fun (during the times she has felt well between treatments) making plans. It has become way more people and way more expensive. And way more "monster" - aieee. :)

However, I believe it needs to be this year or never. I think my Mom is going to recover and be cancer-free for at least five years. My Dad, however, has received a diagnosis of early-stage of Alzheimers, and I am not sure how much longer he will continue to recognize old friends.

And, let's face it: my parents' generation is losing numbers every year, so everyone is welcoming another chance to see all those who are still here.

The only thing is that I would really like someone else to emcee the party, since I am not comfortable in such a role. However - all the people who would be good in the role, think it is a fun honour that they don't want to steal from me (only child). The extroverts think they are giving me a treat. :)

Well, I shall give everyone the gift of knowing that, yes indeed, they could have done it better. :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
We own a new house (mobile) in a new town (Salmon Arm), and last night was our eighth sleep in the house. This is very different from Vancouver. No door-to-door transit; no jazz afternoons at Pat's Pub; no access to every cooking ingredient in the world. However - it is so quiet at night for sleeping. At night it is as dark as the bottom of Santa's sack - and we can see stars! It is much bigger than our apartment. IT HAS AIR CONDITIONING! The yard has roses and peonies and lilacs growing in it.

This is a much more lovely place than we thought we could afford, even with my parents' help. Banks won't grant mortgages for mobiles older than 1995, so everyone before us had their financing fall through. We are so fortunate in this place. The wait seemed like forever, but this was worth it.

Salmon Arm has been much hotter than we are accustomed to. I had forgotten how much like a hammer the heat is in the interior. Next year we will be more acclimatized.

Our Chucko is right at home. :) After two months of sharing a house with two other cats, he is more than happy to be king of all this space. There is a squirrel who dashes around the yard, and Chuckster is very interested. We have only taken him outside once since moving in. He needs to be on a leash, and we want to sit on the deck, and he wants to go off the deck, so altogether not satisfying for him. We thought we might fence, but the yard would be better without a fence.

One of my favourite things about this place is that is has a room where we can leave our spare bed set up all the time, so that people can come visit. I am looking forward to that.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
Remember the shipping bolts ordered from Sears? I was glad they arrived. I was a little perturbed when the first thing I see is a standard form attached to the receipt, bigger than the receipt, achtunging that things cannot be returmed to Sears but must go back to the maker.

Yep - the bolts didn't fit.

The threads weren't even close.

If you or your pension plan is invested in Sears, get your money out now.

Oh golly.

Jun. 3rd, 2017 09:01 am
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
We are now living in Salmon Arm in my Mom's sewing room. Just about everything got packed. The movers realized we were moving from Vancouver and not Victoria, so they arrived at 3:00 pm, having missed the 11:00 am ferry. So, that meant they couldn't start the move because there is NO PARKING on Cordova between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, without exceptions, which I told the movers about again and again [1]. The movers thought I was kidding, and were surprised when the parking checker was there at 3:08 threatening them with towing (yes, the city has access to equipment that will tow a 7 ton moving truck). So the move didn't start until 6:00 pm.

There are more funny-later stories to tell about this move, but it isn't later enough yet, so I will just say that I am glad that we got rid of so much stuff because the 12 by 12 storage unit is stuffed solid.

[1] - when I worked shift work, I stopped telling my boss the very particular days I needed off (very rare, but needed) because it just seemed to focus their attention on that date so that I would be scheduled for a very critical don't-miss-it-or-lose-your-job thing on that day. So, it is only normal that after being cautioned repeatedly about the no-go of parking between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, that it would focus the mind so powerfully that the warned people would arrive precisely at 3:00 pm.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
I am a person who keeps every tiny thing because it brings back a memory that I cherish. Yes, I hoard.

It is amazing how the lure of keeping things for sentimental reasons gets weaker and weaker as the moving day arrives.

FLAME THROWER!

*ahem*

I am not using a flame thrower, nor planning to use a flame thrower, but one can see how such an item could be used to advantage.

Argh.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
So. It is possible to overburden one's phone until it absolutely freezes and does not respond to buttons or begging. I had too many internet tabs open and it froze completely. However - I let the battery run down - let it absolutely drain - recharged it, and all is as it was. Whew.

Let me tell you - the thought of losing all my contacts three days before moving day - argh argh argh.

The battery is pretty good: It was at 94% when it froze at 10:05 on Thursday morning and it was completely toast at about 2:00 pm today. I don't know when it failed, but the phone was still frozen the last time I looked at 10:00 am today.

LG X Power. :)

(I can't imagine having my whole life on there - email, social media, banking - blue screen of death would be unbearable.)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
Yes.

I sniveled about the Sears bolts - and they have arrived.

Which reminded me of Monday, when I texted someone that not only were we late, and then delayed, but that now we were at the stop, there were no buses. There hadn't been for ages, until I texted, whence came many buses.

Which reminiscence also reminded me of my favorite tactic for finding something in a store: I find a clerk, ask them, and the thing will be right beside them. I now go and find the clerk and look around - and yes: often the thing I want is there.

I think it is unfortunate that whining works, but it does, so I will.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
We had the junk removal services here today, taking away two broken down couches, a warped metal filing cabinet, buckets and hoses and broken plant pots, and assorted unnamable debris. If you are in the lower mainland (Vancouver BC and environs) I would like to strongly recommend Mister Junk Removal to you:
https://www.misterjunkremoval.com/

They did Lorne's brother's apartment - and got all (many many) his books to various donation places. They are reasonably priced, and careful, and on time, and I would use their services again in a heartbeat.

We also had the apartment inspection - oh boy. I am not a good housekeeper - and we have cats (currently cat, but aged, so more so) who barf when you least expect it. Ugh. Yes, the carpet will have to go.

I keep saying this, but it keeps on being true: everything left to pack is so heavy and weirdly shaped. Either we need a long narrow flat box (bamboo door screen), or a pair of perfectly square boxes (top and bottom of a domed cake stand/ punch bowl contraption), or I need a bunch of really lightweight things to go in a box with a cast iron dutch oven - and we're out of light things because they have already been stuffed in other boxes.

The one who is suffering is the aged cat: we keep packing (or throwing away) his sleeping places. All the clothes closets are full of packed boxes. Both couches are gone (inside and out). He's getting a little tired of heading off for a nap and having to search out a new place.

Now. If Sears would just get on with delivering the shipping bolts for the washing machine, that would be welcome.

Rosy view.

May. 15th, 2017 04:39 pm
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
I now remember why I don't drink ruby red grapefruit juice and gin. It tastes so good and harmless one has thrown one's caution to the winds before one even realizes one has stood up. So very more-ish, indeed. I would also like to caution you that the fact that one's troubles fall off like so many paperbacks off a cat is another feature requiring navigation.

Before I relinquish all elegance of phrasing, I would like to say: huzzah.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
I have been sick with the flu - at least 7 days, maybe more - I've lost count. Aches, chills, shudders, orbit-disturbing dry hacking coughs, spirits in the waste bin, etc etc. I thought I was better Friday and went out - bad bad plan. I am just now feeling like my eyebrows are not my enemies (this is because hair roots can ache - oh yes they can).

We are still packing. We've given notice for the end of May. I've called a mover. We don't have a place to move to. I have no new address to give to places that want you to have a current address with them (banks, credit cards, pension plans, etc etc). I am well beyond all freaked out about this.

Moving low-water front-loading washing machines involves getting "qualified technicians" to come and bolt the drum with special shipping bolts. These were not left with us when it was delivered because only "qualified technicians" should install them. However, after nine years, Sears doesn't want to know about you anymore, and fobs you off on a contractor- they don't even set it up for you for a price. It is a lovely machine, and I have really loved using it and having it for the last nine years, but one knows that one is going to spend a lot of time and money and angst to get it moved - and it will never work as well again. I can hardly wait.

IMPORTANT: if you have a desk at work, then when you retire, do not retire until you have a desk at home. I cannot stress this enough. This is like suddenly not having hip joints, or something. In a vague way, you knew that hip joints were important - but you had no idea how much you use them for everything, including brushing your hair and singing the national anthem.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
.... I am going to call it No No NO NO NONONO:

except that I can't figure out the no-doubt mind-numbly simply photo interface, so never mind.

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