Beer Bread

Ok, so those of you who actually know me know that I don’t drink alcohol, except for very very rare vodka milkshakes (which shall have to be a whole ‘nother post).  But when I ran across a recipe a while back for beer bread I had save it to try at some point.  After all I love bread, in almost any form, and although I can’t stand beer I was pretty sure that it would end up like a different tasting sourdough.

I was right.  Just had my first couple slices off the hot loaf with some chedder cheese and its awesome.  The residual beer odor isn’t enough to throw me off and it tastes awesome.  I used Saranac Pale Ale (grabbed at a random off the shelf since I don’t drink the stuff).  Here’s the recipe I used, originally found here, though there are a selection of almost identical recipes floating around teh interwebs.

3 cups (sifted!) all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12ounce) can or bottle of beer of your choice (yes the alcohol matters, non-alcoholic won’t work)
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix dry ingredients, stir in beer.  Pour batter into well greased loaf pan, and smooth out the top as best you can.  Pour melted butter on top and set in the oven (place a piece of tin foil underneath unless you really want to be cleaning up burnt butter off the bottom of your oven).  Bake for 1hr.  Should be nicely golden all over when done.  Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting.  Enjoy!


Snow

Ok, I know I live in Central NY state, and the nearest major city wins the Golden Snowball on a regular basis.  But enough is enough.  We’re well past the “average” for the season at this point.  Can it please just stop snowing???!!!


One of the Google ads just now…..

….was for the GE Ecomagination Challenge  which in turn reminded me of this company: Clarian Power

If you’ve not heard of them take the time to look over their site.  They are attempting to make solar and wind power (complete with backup system) available at a reasonable price to the average consumer.  Instead of a single solar panel that you pay a fortune for that then requires either signifigant electrical know-how or a paid professional, they plan to offer to the public an easy to install “plug-n-play” solar panel and wind turbine setup that requires minimal extra know-how beyond basic tool handyness and ability to follow instructions.  Still not CHEAP, but much more reasonable than the current standard setups currently on the market.  They hope to have at least some product on the market by the end of this year.


Just what trick of evolution……

….resulted in the Northern Cardinal?  I get the whole brightly colored = poison thing, but that doesn’t apply up here as much as it does further south, and you’d think a bird that looks like this:

would be prone to being picked off by predators in the winter.  Afterall they positively GLOW against green pines, dead tree branches, and white snow!
But I guess not, there’s currently 5 males and at least 3 females sitting in the front pine tree.

Something went THUNK against the window…..

….and both cats promptly went nuts trying to get at whatever it was.  So I put down my book, and got up to look outside.  Sure enough a bird had run into one of the front windows.  Kinda that surprised this is the first one (that I’m aware of anyway), though the windows aren’t oversized in anyway.

Figured I might as well go out and see if it was still alive, and if it wasn’t toss the body into the woods for the scavengers.

Little guy sat on my hand for several minutes before deciding to take off.  Very cute.

My husband asked if I’d have done the same for a starling…..and I advised him I wasn’t stupid.  I’d have still gone outside to check on the bird, but I’d have worn gloves and would not have held him till he recovered!  (and yes I scrubbed my hands afterwards!)


The difference a single pill makes….

So back in mid-January my husband hauled the cats into the vets for me, as I was unable to get off work, for their yearly checkup and rabies shots.  Had to have the vets check both cats’ ears (both have had ear infections in the last year), as well as various odds and ends.

Trouble has allergies to something, vet says they’re not severe enough (at least at this point in the year) to be worth medicating her for (I won’t argue, I just wanted to be sure it wasn’t a respitory infection or something).

Janie on the other hand has been having some odd issues for a while.  None severe, none regular, just odd, they finally got regular enough to make me ask the vet about them, and after some discussion the vet ordered bloodwork.  A week later I got a phone call, Janie has a hyperactive thyroid.  Not hugely bad, but enough to be throwing her off.  Normal is 3 (3 what I didn’t catch), she’s at 5.7 (ditto…), but the vet said thats not as high as its sounds, she’s seen as high as 13 previously with no more symptoms than Janie is showing.  End result is a little pill shoved down her throat once a day and a return for more bloodwork in 3 weeks.

Its been a week and a half since we started medicating Janie for her thyroid, and the difference is amazing.  She’s got to have been having thyroid issues for a whole lot longer than I ever thought possible.  Her coat is fluffier, and shinier, she LOOKS better, and is acting just overall like a whole new cat.  I gotta say, if your cat has a “sensitive stomach” with no obvious cause or regularity, is loosing weight, or just can’t seem to put ON weight no matter how much you try to feed her, occasionally seems to have trouble jumping, and you realize that she isn’t the perkiest you’ve ever seen her you may want to have your vet check her blood levels.  I now feel horrid for not bringing the various symptoms to the vet’s attention sooner, but I really never did put them all together.

Sigh.  At least we figured it out eventually, hopefully before any real damage was done!