Feel like drinking a creamy Orange Julius? Here's my homemade version. My family likes my tweaks better than the original. :)
Suz's Orange Juice-i-us
8 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. coconut extract
10-20 ice cubes
Add all ingredients, except ice cubes, into a blender. Mix until combined. Add in ice cubes one at a time until desired consistency is reached. Makes 4 to 4 1/2 cups of drink, depending on amount of ice used.
Lu, texting me after finishing her second day of high school....
Lu: Wanna know the weirdest part? I don't have to bend over to get a drink Me: LOL. That's because it's an old school, before ADA laws required the fountains to be lowered for wheelchair access. :) Lu: Oh i thought it was because its a high school :) haha
Talking with my doctor, at my 6 months post-ankle-surgery followup visit:
Doctor: Your ankle looks a little more swollen than I'd expect to see at this stage. Me: Well, I just sprained it pretty good on July 4th. Since I was here last, I've sprained it at least 3 times. Doctor (surprised): What??? Me: Hey, I can walk on it after spraining it now. The one on July 4th was bad enough that before the surgery, I would have been on crutches. Now I can walk on it after spraining it. Doctor: So this means there's improvement? Me: Yes, most definitely. Doctor: That's good. The surgery can be done to help stabilize your ankle, but we unfortunately don't have a cure for your clumsiness.
I just wanted to share Violet's (age 12) school talent show performance with you. She did such a great job today! This was her first solo performance in front of a large audience. When I flipped the video, it kind of squashed her, but you can still hopefully hear her ok. :)
It has possibly escaped your notice that today is the 24th of May, and therefore well into springtime. I understand that you may have procrastinated last season and didn't get out as much snow as you wanted to, but it seems that waiting until now to dump it on us is a bit much.
Please have pity on my poor garden plants and send rain instead.
As I drove to work this morning, rain was falling from the sky. It reminded me of this exact day, 30 years ago, when something completely different fell from the sky.
It was a beautiful spring Sunday morning in Yakima, Washington, just like any other Sunday morning. I was happy, because on Sunday mornings, we got to eat cold cereal. When you're 9 years old, that's a Really Big Deal. I ate two bowls of cornflakes, and then quickly dressed for church.
As I sat in church, I watched how it got progressively darker and darker outside. Soon, it was as dark as bedtime. The Bishop stood up, and announced that Mount St. Helens, in eastern Washington, had erupted. Ash was starting to fall on us.
I remember someone finding newspapers for us to put over our heads as we ran to our cars. Kind gentlemen were covering others back and forth from the church to their vehicles, using rain umbrellas. And then, we started driving home.
The tenseness of the situation was palpable. We lived 15 minutes away, and the drive was long and scary. The ash was falling so thickly that you could only see a few feet in front of the headlights. Every time another car passed us, the ash would 'puff' up and make it impossible to see for about 30 seconds. The window wipers ran at full speed, pushing off a layer of ash at every swipe. My mom had a handkerchief over her nose and mouth, and was leaning out the open window to give my dad directions to stay on the road (she could barely see the white line). It was midnight in the middle of the day. It was so thickly dark that the light from the streetlamps could only be seen directly under them. The only darkness I have been in since that time that can compare is being deep inside of a cave, with lights off. You can almost touch the darkness.
We finally made it home, relieved to be safe. I remember curling up in a sleeping bag in front of the television, watching the news reports of the eruption. The devastation was immense-- I felt so sorry for those who lived along the Toutle River, which had turned into a giant boiling mudflow. People lost their lives.
The ash kept falling. And falling. And falling.
The next morning, the world was grey. Dusty, stinky grey. If you've ever been to Yellowstone, you know what strong sulfur smells like. Yellowstone is nothing in comparison to the rotten egg smell that permeated everything. It was so strong smelling outside you almost gagged. The few stores that were opened quickly sold out of protective face masks.
We had over 4 inches of ash in our yard, covering everything. I remember taking empty jam jars out of our storage room, standing by the door, taking in a HUGE breath, and running outside as fast as possible to scoop up some ash, and running back in before having to breathe again. We dumped the ash out on the table, and studied it. It was gritty, like sand, but was very, very dusty. It left dust on everything it touched. And it was still warm.
I wish I still had one of those jars of ash. I kept one for years, but then got rid of it. After all, I could go outside and dig a bit, and have all the ash I ever wanted. It was in such plentiful supply that it never occurred to me as a child that we'd "run out".
There was so much ash in our neighborhood that my dad was able to get his empty lot next to us completely filled up with the smelly, grey stuff. Cheapest fill dirt ever. They were thrilled to have somewhere to put it!
And the best part? We got two weeks off school-- and didn't have to make it up!
I wish I had been a little older at the time so I could remember more. A 9 year old's perspective is a little skewed. I do remember my parents talking about how people had problems with cars, furnaces, ash getting into their wooden shingles, attics, ruining everything it got into. Those with lung problems, including asthma, had a miserable time with the ash.
The next year, my family took a road trip to Mount St. Helens. The mountain was littered with giant-sized toothpicks, laid out flat, side by side. Trees were instantly burned and blasted down to the ground. I have, to this day, never seen such extreme devastation.
When I ponder the significant events of my life so far, living through a volcanic eruption is definitely on the list. There's nothing like the raw power of Mother Nature to humble you and let you know that humans are definitely not in charge on this planet.
Kayla: I don't like this dollar bill. It's all wrinkly and not pretty. Me: Money is money. Doesn't matter what it looks like. It all spends the same. Kayla: But I don't like ugly things in my purse! Lu: Wait...don't you have something in your purse with your picture on it for ID? Me: (laughing) Kayla: Yes, of course I do. Lu: (laughing) Kayla: Hey!
For those of you who live in Utah, you may have eaten at a local chain restaurant called "Zupas". And if you have, you've probably ordered (or at least tried) their "Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup". If this rings true so far, you will more than likely agree with me that the Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup is To. Die. For. Mmmmmmm....
So, of course, I had to attempt to duplicate it.
Without further ado, here is my version of Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup.
Suz's Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
1/2 stick butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chicken base (like "Better Than Bouillon")
1 head cauliflower (2 to 2.5 pounds), sectioned into smaller pieces
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
In a 4 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk, water, salt and chicken base. Add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Process cauliflower, broth and mustard in blender until very smooth (be sure to remove center part of blender cover to allow steam to escape). Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; add shredded cheeses and stir over low to medium heat until melted and smooth. Serve hot.
Note: I prefer a lighter color soup, so I use Tillamook sharp white cheddar. (And if the truth be told, I like my version better than the one at Zupas!) Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup Recipe
While it may sound silly up front, it really is a serious effort. If anyone would like to contribute, click on the button above to help with the cause. Or please donate some Snuggies to needy nursing homes in your area.
Regarding some of the ice issues at the Vancouver Winter Olympics...
Me: One of my friends wondered if there was zamboni tampering going on. Kayla: What's a zamboni? Me: The machine that lays down the smooth ice for the skaters. Kayla: Oh! I thought you were talking about a tribe or something.
Lu: Mooommmmyyyy Me: Yes? :) Lu: Since I had an amazing practice and I made every basket but 2...can I pretty please have some ice cream because you love me Lu: I'll only have a little :P Me: You don't need ice cream at 10:30am. LOL Lu: Yes i do. I'll die Me: I'll start planning your funeral then. Obituary shall read, "Died from lack of ice cream." Lu: It will be on your consious!! BEWARE Lu: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH the pain! THE PAIN!!! Violet: How do you live with yourself? How do you sleep at night? Oh by the way this is Violet cause Lu died. Me: Ok, Violet. The ice cream is now all yours, just like we planned.
"We would appreciate it if your student could bring a treat (our theme is sweets) to class tomorrow....It is not required that your student bring something, but the entire class will appreciate it if we have lots of goodies to sample....I would greatly prefer NO SODA. We can drink water; it's good for us!"
My favorite commercial salad dressing is Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed Dressing. It is seriously to die for. Unfortunately, the price makes it a bit prohibitive for me to have it on a regular basis with as fast as we go through it.
So therefore, I give you my version of Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing for your dining pleasure. It's not exactly like the original, but close enough to please most. :) recipe for brianna's poppy seed dressing
Suz's Sweet Poppy Seed Dressingrecipe
1/2 cup mayonnaise
5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 cup sweet white onion
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
Put everything in your blender, except the poppy seeds and the canola oil. Process until the onion has been liquified. On the lowest speed of the blender, pour in the canola oil and the poppy seeds. Refrigerate and enjoy!
I highly suggest Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, if you don't have it already. You can find it at some grocery stores, and just about all health food stores. You can also substitute agave or your sweetener of choice for the sugar, if you'd like. If you do use a liquid sweetener, omit the water.
My favorite salad to serve poppy seed dressing over:
Granny Smith apples, diced
Dried cranberries (I prefer fruit sweetened)
I'm Suz, a mother of 7 beautiful daughters & step-daughters, ranging in age from 22 to 14. I work full-time as a computer geek, and have a part-time internet business on the side in my free time (ha!). Life is never boring around here!