Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

This is an absolute favorite at our house. Its simple and comforting, and a great way to stretch that last bit of ham into a full meal.

What you need:

*5 lbs. of potatoes
*1 large onion
*1-2 cups leftover ham, cubed
*2 T chopped fresh parsley
*3 T butter (plus a little extra to grease the pan)
*3 T flour
*Salt and pepper
*1/4 tsp paprika
*2 cups skim milk

*Sharp knife (or food processor)
*4 c. glass measuring cup
*Stock pot large enough to hold potatoes and onion
with several inches left over
*9 by 13 roasting pan

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Prepare the Potatoes and onions
*Peel and slice potatoes and onion about 1/8" of an inch thin
*Place potatoes, onions, and parsley in pot, cover with water
*Place the pot on the stove, turn heat to high, bring to boil
*Cook for 5 minutes after it begins to boil.
3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the white sauce
*Place butter and flour in the 4 c glass measuring cup
*Microwave on high for 1 minute
*Add milk, whisk until well blended
*Microwave on high 3 minutes
*Microwave on high 3 minutes
*Whisk, add salt and pepper to taste, as well as 1/4 tsp paprika
*Set aside
4. Assemble the casserole
*Grease the 9 by 13 pan
*Spread half of the potatoes and onions in the dish
*Pour half of the white sauce over the potatoes
*Layer the ham on next
*Spread the rest of the potatoes on top
*Finish with the rest of the white sauce
5. Bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour until browned and crispy at edges

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bright Side of a Snow Storm

A snow storm that spreads over two days can been an annoyance--or a luxury.

I'd like to focus on a few of the good things:

1. Hot Chocolate. Of course you can make it any time, but there's nothing like hot chocolate sipped while looking out the window at falling snow.

2.Exercise. Clearing a walkway is more fulfilling than using exercise equipment.

3.Time. We've had the Band of Brothers DVDs sitting unopened for a while, and last night my 16 year old decided that we should watch them. Its been great watching these with him--its given us an opportunity to talk about things that we usually don't get around to.

The snow will end in the morning; we'll clear it up and get back to our usual routines. Instead of viewing it as an annoyance, however, I choose to view it as a gift - a special interlude in our too busy lives.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mice in Cars

I've been battling mice in the house ever since the cold weather set in. With two dogs, we can't use poison, so we set out traps. We catch some, but there seem to be an infinite supply of the little creatures. I'd become resigned to these uninvited guests, figuring that putting up with mice is one of the consequences of living in a semi-rural area.

This morning, however, the battle escalated. Tom started the Suburban and its electrical system was obviously a mess -- the car started and then seemed to die. He managed to get it to the repair shop. Several hours later he was presented with a ziploc bag filled with shredded materials -- the remnants of a mouse nest. They'd chewed through the wiring.

We're now at war.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Colbert on Gupta as Surgeon General: ''Penis in Peril''

Stephen Colbert had a funny segment on some of Obama's cabinet selections. After lampooning Bill Richardson and Leon Panetta, he has fun with Sanjay Gupta, in a segment that the Colbert Report called "Penis in Peril".