ksmith: (teashop)

It’s Thanksgiving here in the States tomorrow. Happy Day to all who celebrate.

Alex Gordon has had all the announcements lately, and I hope that if you enjoy paranormal horror/supernatural suspense, that you check out my alter ego. I do have a bit of news–I will be joining the roster of Bookview Cafe authors. My official launch won’t be until next year, when my first release is ready to go. I am planning a reissue of Code of Conduct. It will have new artwork, and I will be going through the text and tweaking all those bits that slipped past me the first time.

The fun part will be extracting the electronic file from my oldest external drive. I used PCs until 2004 , and IIRC I wrote Code using Microsoft Works. I may still have some 3″ floppies. And I am pretty sure that I have an external floppy disk drive for my ancient iBook, so I could open the file there and send it to the MacBook….

I just hope I can read the damned thing.

In any case, tomorrow, I will be eating roast chicken–not a fan of turkey–and stuffing with all the trimmings. Then, for the next few months, I will be working on JERICHO, the follow-up to GIDEON.

And yes, this split personality thing feels weird.


Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (celebrate)

The snow’s started, fine crystals that will fall through the night. Just a few hours left in 2013.

It was a year. I lost King. Retired from the day job. Pondered and planned. Hit some speed bumps. Struggled to adjust to having All The Time In The World, because it seemed to zip past even more quickly than it did when I didn’t. Lollygagged a little too much–I need to stop that. I’ve heard from several writers that it takes a year to adjust to being a full-timer, and I believe it. So that’s one big item on the 2014 agenda. Adjust.

I cannot complain. I’m very lucky that I was able to do what I’ve done. In the coming year, I need to make the most of the opportunity. Push myself. Take chances.

I hope you all get the chance to do something you always wanted to do. Have a plan come to fruition. Take that first step down a winding, overgrown path, one that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

To the new year!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (christmas tree)

Been a while since I posted. Funny that it seems as though I have less time now than I did back when I had less time.

Been busy around the house, taking care of the unexpected. The quest for a dishwasher retrofit led to my needing to upgrade the electrical box and get a new hot water heater. Still haven’t started work on the kitchen cabinets–I think I’ll hold off until after the 1st of the year. Also need to clean out closets, the basement. Paint bedrooms. I’ve tossed out self-imposed deadlines because these first few months of repair work have taught me that things take as long as they take, and what’s first on my list of priorities may not rank as highly on the lists of those I need to do the work. So. Things will get done when they get done, and not in a rush.

In other news, it’s a frigid, sunny Christmas Eve–temp around 0F earlier this morning and wind chills like Brrrr. It shall be a cookie and movie day. Nothing specifically holiday, but kitchen-sink cookies. Chocolate chunks. Raisins. Nuts. Oatmeal. Wheat germ. The works. The Prestige is playing on SyFy tonight. Haven’t seen it, so, it shall be a Christian Bale/Hugh Jackman/David Bowie as Nikola Tesla night. A little snow expected, an inch or so to add to the 4-5″ already on the ground. A White Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to all. A toast to the coming year.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (gaby1)

Stuffing made. Put it in roast pan, then buried the turkey breast within. Popped it all in the fridge to marinate until tomorrow afternoon.

It’s a savory bread pudding, heavy on the sage and onion. Also, celery. A handful of chopped parsley. Bay leaves. Herbes de Provence. One loaf of dense white bread and a box of TJ’s cornbread stuffing mix sans seasoning packet. To this amount of bread, I added a half-gallon of liquid–one quart chicken stock plus one quart 2% milk. A stick of butter. Four eggs. Salt and pepper.

Not a fan of dry stuffing, me.

The house smells good.

I wanted to fix the dessert today as well, but Gaby decided to make life interesting. She was outside–I was just getting started in the kitchen when I heard her barking in that loud, rapid-fire way that meant that either someone was in the driveway or something had invaded the backyard. Sure enough, I found her dashing around the ornamental crabapples in the middle of the yard while a squirrel darted back and forth from one treetop to the other. I tried to grab Gaby and failed just as the squirrel leapt to the ground and tried to make it to the oak on the far side of the yard. It didn’t make it–Gaby grabbed it, and a battle ensued. Squirrel would break away, only to be caught again. It finally ended squirrel lying on the ground and Gaby walking off, blood dripping from her mouth. I leashed her and pulled her into the house, then called the vet’s office. Yup, they were still open and yup, they could fit me in. Before we headed to the car, I went out to check the squirrel, and was relieved to see it move when I drew close. It headed toward the oak, favoring its rear leg. Last I saw, it was climbing slowly.

I know–they’re just rats with cute tails. Still, I’d prefer to not be the one who has to dispose of the remains.

Anyway. I was concerned that Gaby might need stitches, but by the time we got to the vet’s, she had stopped bleeding. No injuries were visible except for some claw marks on her nose. She ate a cookie that the vet gave her. I brought her home, and she ate dinner as though nothing happened. She kept wanting to go outside, though. I would check on her, and find her sniffing around the crabapples. My little killer.

I’ll make dessert tomorrow morning.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! May you enjoy good food and good company. And a lack of squirrels.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Dec. 31st, 2012 04:04 pm
ksmith: (celebrate)

May it bring good health, wealth in all its divers forms, friends, and those members of your family you actually like.

Happy New Year, folks!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (christmas tree)

An oatmeal morning, grey and chilly. Light snow possible later, but we’ll see.

I’m guessing some folks will be going offline soon–I know I certainly should–so let me wish all who celebrate a Merry Christmas. May you rediscover reasons why you love your loved ones–those are the best gifts.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Dec. 23rd, 2012 10:37 am
ksmith: (utensils)

Made my first batch ever yesterday.

My go-to breakfast most mornings is cold cereal with fruit. I stick to as many “natural” cereals as possible. Organic brands. Low end of the sugar spectrum. The stuff can disappoint flavor-wise, and it’s not cheap. The granolas especially can turn out to be pretty pale and floury, and reliant mostly on sugar for taste.

A few mornings ago, as I emptied out a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Oats–five minutes in the microwave/good stuff–I stopped to read the thing and found a recipe for granola. Many were the ingredients, including ones that struck me as odd. Non-fat dry milk. Poppy and sunflower seeds. But I was planning to visit the BIG grocery store with the huge BRM selection, and decided to hunt down as many ingredients as possible and give homemade a try.

I left out sunflower seeds because not a fan. Added 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, 2 tsps cinnamon, and 1 tsp ground ginger. Dissolved 1 tsp kosher salt in the liquids before heating because baked things that don’t mention salt usually need at least some.

I used my biggest mixing bowl, the 4-quart yellow one from my ancient Pyrex 4-color collection. This recipe filled it almost to the top, and I had to take care while mixing so that stuff didn’t spill over the rim. I spread it out on one large cookie sheet, but after a half-hour realized that the layer was just too thick and shoveled some off on a smaller sheet. Baking time? About an hour, hour fifteen minutes. I overbrown everything because that’s how I like it, and I came pretty darn close to burning the stuff in the small sheet. But everything proved salvageable. I let it cool for a half-hour or so, then shoveled it into storage containers.

Verdict? I like it, but it’s an acquired taste. The browning helped. It’s not sweet–with only 1/2 cup honey, I should have realized it wouldn’t be. I could have doubled the cinnamon and ginger. Next time, I may try more additions–maple syrup, a little brown sugar. A tad more salt. Boiled cider. Vanilla. Right now, the overall flavor is grainy/toasty/nutty, like a bread or roll. I’d like to add a little dried fruitiness and yes, a touch more sweet. But it’s good as is, and I know what’s in it which is even better.

Serving size is about 1/3 cup, which seemed ridiculous until I remembered that I had munched on a scant handful over the course of baking and had to delay dinner because I felt too full to eat. So yes, 1/3 cup with a banana, milk or yogurt, and a few raisins thrown in make for a decent breakfast.

It’s a cloudy, cold Christmas Eve’s Eve here. Thursday’s storm gave us over an inch of rain but only a dusting of snow–the sump pump continues to pump on a regular basis, and the backyard is like a skating rink in spots. Dried lawn is coated with a layer of ice that crunches when I step on it.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

A holiday for some of us, for which I am thankful.

Yesterday was a good day. Stuffing tasted great, a close facsimile of Mom’s but with added golden raisins, which works for me. A bit disappointed in the squash, which lacked that rich squashy flavor–can they be picked too soon? This one just lacked.

The cast-iron roast chicken was delicious, as usual. Onions, fennel, and leeks all caramelized, and the bird itself came out golden brown. My only mistake was in handling the brand-new cast iron pan. I should have removed the chicken and veggies right away, then added a little broth or wine or water to deglaze. Instead I let it sit until after dinner, which gave the detritus a change to cool and solidify and STICK LIKE LIVING HELL to the pan. I had seasoned it a bit prior to use–wiped it with cooking oil and put it in the 500F oven to heat. Given that and the fact that it was “pre-seasoned”, I thought things would be okay.

Sadly, no.

I was supposed to use a brush and coarse salt to abrade the gunk. After an hour of that, I gave up and committed the cardinal cast-iron sin of dish soap and water. Gunk dissolved in a snap, but since that likely took all the seasoning with it, I re-oiled the pan and put it in a 350F oven for a couple of hours. Who knows, I probably screwed that up, too.

Thing is, I have read and heard all the rapturous paeans concerning cast-iron cookery, but I have found that unless you use the pans consistently, seasoning becomes a chore more than a habit and the pans themselves a trial to use. I will likely give it one more try, but if it remains too much of a pain I will either go back to abusing my poor stainless steel casserole or looking into Lodge’s seasoned steel.

And yes, I know about using solid shortening for seasoning rather than oil, and setting the pans upside down over foil in the oven so that the excess drips out. There are, in fact as many methods of seasoning cast iron pans as there are varieties of pans. One could go cross-eyed as one tries to find definitive information on a Thanksgiving afternoon, scrubbing the &^%$#@ pan with one hand and typing keywords into search engines with the other.

Anyway, at least the chicken came out good.

I spent yesterday morning putting up the outdoor Christmas decorations: a couple of lighted wreaths on the house and lighted figures in and around the planter (a penguin, two spiral light trees, two reindeer). I didn’t feel like spending a chunk of Thanksgiving morning putting up the outdoor Christmas decorations, but near record-setting warmth was predicted–60s! Sunny!–and if you have to stand in the front yard and wrestle electrical cords, it’s better to do it in nice weather.

It was a good decision. By evening, the winds had picked up and the warmth had gone buhbye. This morning finds it about 30 degrees colder, still windy, and cloudy. At some point, the spiral tree that I had set up in the planter blew over, despite the four stakes I used to hold it in place. It will only take a few minutes to put right, but it’s that first blast of cold air I’m dreading. Maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee first.

It’s just nasty. At least it’s not snowing…although every once in a while, a few flakes drift past. I was going to get the Christmas tree today, but I just don’t feel like dealing with the cold and the wind, not to mention the crowds. Tomorrow will be bad enough, but I have to go out anyway so I will add “Christmas tree” to the list, along with garage wreath, gate wreaths, and maybe something for over the fireplace.

I love wreaths. I tend to leave them hanging until they’re brown and shedding needles like rain because I hate to take them down. Wreaths and gates. It’s a tic.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (celebrate)

–to all who celebrate! In a nutshell–filled with a lightly-sugared, roasted pecan, if you please–I am thankful for having made it to another Turkey Day, and I hope that this state of affairs continues for quite some time. Good health and good friends–that’s my prayer for myself and my wish for all.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (peter_moody)

‘Twas yesterday. I missed it. Given that I didn’t start listening to Bauhaus until two decades after they broke up, it probably stands to reason.

Anyway. Happy Day After World Goth Day. Wear dove gray and lavender instead of black. Maybe a shot of pink.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (candy)

Alien spam of the day, a variation on a theme from a few days ago:

Lofty bye, sentimental alternative other

Hence, the title.

The last two days have been gorgeous. Sunny. 70s. Still haven’t put the tomato and basil plants in the ground, though. Waiting for 1) a stretch of 70-degree days with no nighttime dips into the 40s, and 2) the special red plastic mulch I ordered that is supposed to be so good for tomato plants. I need to use some kind of mulch anyway in order to keep any blight spores that happen to be in the ground from splashing up onto the plants. It will be interesting to see whether this stuff works as advertised. In the meantime, I’ve moved the best of the sprouts to large plastic cups. The St Pierre tomato “seedlings” are damn near 10 inches tall and close to outgrowing the cups, so I hope that mulch arrives soon.

In preparation for planting, I emptied two years’ worth of stuff from the compost bin and spread it around the raised bed. My gosh, what lovely compost. Rich, earthy scent. Hard to believe that it used to be vegetable peels and coffee grounds. Maybe I’m easily impressed, but it is a pretty neat process.

Treated myself to a Peet’s Mothers Day Box again this year–Major Dickason’s Blend coffee plus Recchiuti fudge brownies. I figure being a dogmom counts. Best brownies I have ever had.

Happy Mothers Day to all Moms out there. I hope you get coffee and brownies. Or flowers and candy. Or love and thanks and something to make you sniffle.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (matt_doc1)

Ripping winds outside. Cold. Spaghetti sauce w/ Italian sausage simmering. Dr Who marathon on the telly. Work to be done. I had to stop and think about what day it was–doesn’t feel like Sunday. Still have one day’s holiday after today. Then the work week starts. All the things that have been put off since mid-December because of Christmas vacations are going to hit us all in the face splat.

Better savor the next two days.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (celebrate)

So many folks on my Read lists are posting good wishes for the coming year, resolutions, 2011 recaps.

I don’t have all that much to say. Still working on things I can’t talk about. Battling a sense of treading water, and of wanting to make major changes in my life while at the same time realizing that they could be big mistakes/really dumb/no takesie-backsie. I think “just give me good health, and I’ll take care of the rest.” I make my little deals.

In many ways, I have nothing to complain about. I have good health, a good job, a roof over my head, and friends. I still have the capacity to change my life, which is a nice option to have in one’s 50s. The coming year may be about just that.

On that tempered note, Happy New Year to you all. May it bring all good things.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (christmas tree)

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! A little early, but I doubt many folks will be posting tomorrow so.

1) I like pies, quiches, tarts, but I usually eat solo so one huge whatever is too big. So I committed Kitchen Gadget and bought a Mini-Pie Maker. For those who have never seen one, it’s looks like a waffle iron or sandwich press, but it has molds on the inside top and bottom that come together to make a pie. I used pre-made crust and puff pastry. Didn’t even have to roll it out. I made two kinds, blackberry-ginger and pear-cranberry. They look nice. Not sure if I’ll take one tonight because stuff like that tastes better the next day. But, I’ll see. The night is young.

2) For ages, I swear I did not have BBC-America. It came in an extra package with a bunch of channels I didn’t want, and I didn’t want to pay $16/month for just it alone. But I was flipping through channels today and hey, I do get BBC-America. That means I can watch the Dr Who Christmas Special tomorrow night, along with everyone else.

3) It feels like a weekday. Not like a Saturday at all.

4) Finally learned how to say Kylie Minogue’s name. Well, I had been saying it, but tonight I learned that I’d been saying it right.

5) Finally treated myself to fave DVDs. Kill Bill Vols 1&2, WALL-E, and the Chris Eccleston season of Who. I’ve only seen the Kill Bills on AMC, so I am a little trepidatious about what bloody bits I’ll be seeing that had been edited out. Eyeballs and samurai trepanning. Yea!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (feast)

I know that not all folks have off the Day After Thanksgiving. I’m glad I do.

Filtered sun outside. A little wind. They’re saying it could hit 60F, which would be a record or close to. I am guessing 50s here. It is supposed to get colder tomorrow and rain/snow shower on Sunday, which means today wil be the day to put out the Christmas decorations. I keep it pretty simple–some deer, and a tree in the round planter. A couple of lighted wreaths. I’m late, by neighborhood standards. A lot of folks put out their stuff last weekend.

Then there’s the buttermilk. I bought it to use in the buttermilk mashed potatoes–duh–and the smallest container I could find was a quart, of which I used but a 1/3 cup. I then learned that buttermilk mashed potatoes taste pretty much like sour cream mashed potatoes, and while I can think of several other everyday uses for sour cream, I can’t for buttermilk because I hates the stuff except in cooking the sorts of things I don’t eat that often, like mashed potatoes, biscuits, pancakes. But as I was looking for a recipe for some of the cranberries that have been in the freezer since last fall, I found one for a cranberry-orange cake that uses, la-da, 1 cup buttermilk. So I may be making that today, assuming I can pry myself out of the house and to the grocery store for oranges. A store clerk once told me that the day after Thanksgiving is a good time to do grocery shopping because most everyone is at the department stores, and I’ve usually found that to be the case.

The nice thing about yesterday’s dinner was that it didn’t result in a ton of wtf?? leftovers. A couple quarts of soup, and a small amount of veg. And the aroma. It settled in all the rooms, it did, the rich smell of cooking beef. We may be opening the windows later, when it warms up. Or maybe the scents of baking cake will push it out.

May have soup later. Or possibly tuna sandwiches.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Nov. 24th, 2011 10:40 pm
ksmith: (gimme a break)

Still kinda full.

The short ribs were a qualified success. The sauce was incredible–I used veal and beef stock–but the ribs were very, very fatty. What meat was there was luscious, but it took some work to dig it out. The taste reminded me of chuck roast, which is the cut I will use the next time I make this sauce. There was a bunch of it left even after I boiled it down, so afterwards I salvaged all the meat I could and tossed it in. Tomorrow I will cook some pasta, and make up some of the best veggie beef soup ever.

Should’ve worked, but didn’t. Watched Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, followed by WALL-E. There may be hot chocolate in my future.

Hope everyone had a good day, whether it was a holiday for you or not.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (bouncing ball)
From The Cat Doctor over at Facebook:

Clark ate great overnight and had a big thanksgiving breakfast with one of his nurses (thanks Monique). He is maintaining his body temperature on his own this morning. He wants to send a big thanks to all who have been pulling for him this thanksgiving.

We can't do all we want to do, but we do what we can. Great news for all of us who've been pulling for the little guy.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and Good On Ya for all who helped a poor, sick kitty.
ksmith: (feast)

Worked out. Fed the pups. Fed me. Getting ready to chop veggies. I DVR’d the Alton Brown T-giving program, and will watch whilst I chop.

Last night, I watched the Buffy S4 episode about her hectic T-giving dinner, along with the WKRP classic. Nightmare Before Christmas will likely find its way into the DVD slot at some point.

Everyone’s talking about turkey–to brine or not to brine, roasting breast side up or down. I feel like a rebel for doing the short ribs thing.

Traffic will likely be light tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate. Safe travels to those on the road and in the air. Check out the Google homepage widget, an interactive turkey. The feathers change when you click on them, and it goes nuts when you click on its wing.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (Default)
Smith Day commemorates the Jan. 6, 1580, birthday of Captain John Smith, the English colonial leader who helped to settle Jamestown, Va., in 1607. Depending upon which history source you consult, Jan. 6 may also be the birthday of mountain man and explorer Jedediah Smith, who blazed trails across the West.

Thanks to Jeri Smith-Ready for the info. My day is almost over, unfortunately. I spent it writing and cooking and taking down Christmas decorations. Kind of mellow. Crazy Smith Day will have to be another time.
ksmith: (Default)
Smith Day commemorates the Jan. 6, 1580, birthday of Captain John Smith, the English colonial leader who helped to settle Jamestown, Va., in 1607. Depending upon which history source you consult, Jan. 6 may also be the birthday of mountain man and explorer Jedediah Smith, who blazed trails across the West.

Thanks to Jeri Smith-Ready for the info. My day is almost over, unfortunately. I spent it writing and cooking and taking down Christmas decorations. Kind of mellow. Crazy Smith Day will have to be another time.

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