Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wheat: a recipe, and cooking options

A great big thank you to Kristen at Harried Homemaker, who posted a recipe for Wheat Berry Spinach Salad, which looks really, really good. (Makes me wish I had planted spinach this year--wondering if it's too late at this point...) Gotta love more ways to use those wheat berries than just grinding them into flour.

When I saw that the salad recipe required cooked wheat, the first thing I thought of was the thermos method of cooking wheat, directions for which can be found here, at the Hillbilly Housewife website. Still, gotta love more options, so I e-mailed Kristen to ask how she cooked her wheat. She uses a pressure cooker, (which I don't have) but was kind enough to also include the following links on how to cook wheat:

---If you prefer to use a crockpot, you might wish to look here. (Thanks again, Hillbilly Housewife!)

---If you prefer to use a saucepan, you might wish to look here. I'm not familiar with this website, but sure appreciate the recipe!

Oh, yeah, gotta love having more options! Especially when it comes to wheat berries--and gotta love that people with expertise will share information!

Changing the subject, our little jalapeno pepper plant disappeared--the one that one of our children named "Jeff". As in, there is literally no sign of it anywhere, so it's not that it shriveled up due to mistreatment or bad weather or the like. Supposition around here is that one of the animals ate it, though why they would want to is beyond my understanding... We will probably return to the Farmer's Market and get another plant to try again. I hope everyone else's plants are still in their garden... :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What would you do?

At our local national chainstore, they've been doing quite a bit of remodeling lately. Not too long ago I was in line at the cashier and an alarm went off--really screechy, accompanied by flashing lights up in the ceiling. I was second or third in line, and briefly wondered if I should just abandon my cart and run like crazy out of the door. It had all the classic signs of being a fire alarm system going off.

Everyone, including the cashier, acted like nothing was happening. So I stayed in line.

Yeah, but not exactly being the shy type when it comes to asking questions, when I did get the chance to get my purchases rung up, I asked the cashier what that alarm had been, because if memory serves, it had finished going off by then. She basically said that they had been having problems with the system, but if it had been the real thing (i.e., there actually had been a fire) someone would have come over the intercom and said so.

Interesting. Interesting, too, that when I went to pull my car out of my parking space a couple of minutes later, I had to wait as two massive fire engines went by in front of me...

In a conversation that I had with someone soon after, the person pointed out that the logic that the cashier used was backward--that it would make more sense if, after the fire alarm started going off, that it was the policy to come on the intercom only to announce that it was only a test, if that was what it was. If there were a fire, there would be a good chance that the intercom wouldn't work at all. This person said they would have left the cart where it was and exited the building.

What would you have done in this situation?

I never heard of any fire and/or fire damage associated with the alarm going off that evening. There have been a couple of times that an alarm has gone off while I've been in that store since then, and one was because someone leaned against a secured exit or something, and that time there were no lights flashing as the sound went off. It's something that has made me think twice about shopping there, because if it goes off that many times when I have actually been there, how many times does it go off?

Fires are tricky, and can spread quickly. I have heard about a casino fire in the 1980's where people died because, as I understand it, they were sitting in the casino, and the fire spread so fast through the ceiling that it just collapsed. The person that was talking about that fire said they weren't even sure if the alarm had gone off in that situation. Sometimes, there is no warning. But if there is a warning, there is no telling how fast the flames are going through the building, and that's why acting quickly to get out of harm's way (even if it is not immediately evident) is crucial. It seems like it would be best to have decided before you ever get into such a situation what you are going to do if that situation arises.

Yeah, standing around acting like there was nothing wrong was not the best choice in the situation outlined above, but it was made all the easier by the fact that no one else seemed worried about it. But just because you aren't worried about it doesn't mean nothing will happen---in fact, it seems to be human nature for everyone to think that nothing like a store fire will ever happen to them....

So, would love to hear any responses, but hope that at least everyone will take the time to figure out so they know for their own personal benefit what they would do if a fire alarm went off while they were shopping. The emergency would be a lot less devastating in this instance if people knew what to do to avoid being caught in a store/hotel/building that is not home fire. What would you do?

Monday, June 13, 2011

If you like easy soup recipes....

May I direct your attention to this link? 50 easy soups, a copy of which has been printed out and is now in my hot little hand. Haven't tried any of them yet, but I'm all about the easy (and I love the fact that there are variations on the bean theme in some of them, like #37 and #38... :)

Readers may recall that I am not into sewing, but I have decided that it is time to fix that if possible and have been eyeing my sewing machine tentatively recently. (With me, sewing is really about the baby steps, since sewing and I just really don't get along. And in this relationship, it's not the sewing, it's meeee...) But, in a positive step forward, when I went garage-saleing on Saturday, I came across a garage sale that was mostly fabric, at really good prices. So, I picked up a couple of pieces. I then went back a little later with one of my children and bought a few more. I figure if I'm going to practice on fabric, I should buy it at the best price possible, considering that most likely it's going to take me a few tries to get things right. (I write this not as a pessimist, but based on logical conclusions reached based on past experience.)

Before I went back to the garage sale, I gave my best source (Mom) a call, to see if the pieces of fabric were big enough for what I wanted to make, and found out that sewing can be an even more expensive skill to develop than I had originally imagined. I thought the fabric was expensive based on passing the posted prices occasionally in a store, but imagine my surprise when she told me that patterns can cost more than $10.00! (I don't remember the exact numbers she quoted, it must be the shock... :) But she also said that there is a sale this week at JoAnn's on patterns where they are closer to $3.00, so I plan to check that out. (As usual, if this interests you, please check with your local store to see if the offer is there--don't want to waste a trip there just to find out that what you want isn't available in your location. My mom lives in Utah, so it may not be here in Idaho, but I will probably go in any case to get at least one pattern while I am working up my desire to sew.... )

Yeah, I went looking for clothes, and came back with fabric...I'll let you know how that goes.... I will be looking for patterns along the lines of "super-duper easy for the reluctant sewer" brand.

Hope everyone is doing well! Weather varies around here from cold to rainy to warmer--just hope the garden thrives this year....