...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! 2010

When I was about 15 years old and I found a song that I was particularly fond of, I'd save up my money, head to the record store, buy the 45 (I know that dates me!) and then play the heck out of it... as loud as I could get away with, up in my room. I hear my own daughter doing the same thing only in an updated version: buy the song on iTunes in the comfort of our home, load it to her iPod, and then play the heck out of it: on the computer while she is doing homework, on her iPod with headphones as she walks to the bus, in the car (thanks to iPod adapters) as I am driving her someplace, etc.

I went to a concert last week...Straight No Chaser. If you haven't heard of them, WHY NOT? They are an amazing a capella group. Google them! YouTube them! Click on my link to their home page: SNC! You won't be sorry! My daughter and I went to their concert with a couple of friends who also just happen to be mother and daughter. Due to her dance rehearsal schedule my daughter had to meet us late. During the first part of the concert SNC played a song I know I'd heard before. I was too embarrassed to ask my daughter's friend, and there was not a program at the concert for me to cheat!

Being very 21st Century... I went home and tried to Google it! It's very hard to Google a song (or YouTube it) when you really don't know the words. A day or two later I did buy the newest SNC CD, but I wasn't able to listen to it right away. Life can be full! Well, imagine my surprise when I finally popped my new CD into my van and the first song that played was exactly what I'd been searching! :) So, guess who's acting like she's 15 years old again now? I have played the song to death and I still can't get enough of it. I decided it needed to be featured as my Earth Day celebration song, mostly for it's rhythm and beauty of the melody...because if you read the lyrics, you'd see it's a bit goofy to put to an Earth Day photo slide show! :)

I've been working on these photos for weeks: snapping and then identifying. I have had to resolve that there are just too many wildflowers out there to post them all at one time. I'll try to post some individual flower photos over the next few weeks. And Leslie...it's very hard to get an up close and clear photo of a bee!

Enjoy, and Thanks Straight No Chaser!

Music by Straight No Chaser -
as you listen, remember it's only their voices!
Song: I'm Yours/Somewhere Over the Rainbow
from the album: With a Twist
Photos by Hootie and taken within walking distance from my house
Walking tours available upon request! :)

Hootie's SECRET Gino's East Style Pizza Dough Recipe

Well, It's happened again! I've been asked by several people for my "secret" Gino's East Pizza Dough recipe, so I figure it's time to share on-line! I am not one of those cooks who keeps their recipes close to their chest. I am always honored that others like what I make. I also figure that when someone tries to copy a recipe, they will appreciate what others make even more. Cooking requires practice!

Some history on this particular recipe is that a few years ago my family was in Chicago and we'd heard about Gino's East pizza. Being pizza lovers, we had to check it out. I fell in love with the dough and wanted to know how it was made. If you google Gino's Pizza Dough Recipe, you'll find a whole slew of others looking for this SECRET recipe too! There are many versions, and mine can be added to that collection, but after several attempts, and many, many taste-testing nights by my DH and kids, here's the recipe I settled on!
Enjoy! :)

Hootie's Gino's East Style Pizza Dough Recipe

1 C water
1 pkg yeast
1 TBS sugar
1/3 C oil (5% olive oil/95% corn oil)
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
3 C Bread Flour
2 TBS cornmeal
4-5 drops of yellow food coloring

I mix my dough in my bread machine.

1) by hand mix water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
The water should be at about 115 degrees to activate the yeast.

2) next add the rest of the ingredients and let the bread machine do the work of kneading!

3) I usually let the dough rise in my bread machine too for several hours and then I turn it out onto my counter and roll to the right diameter.

It's always a good idea to let dough rest a bit once rolled too before adding sauce and toppings.

I bake my pizza in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Since I usually make two pizzas, I set one of my racks up high and the other really low and switch oven positions after the first 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Need to Moderate Comments...Sorry!

Dear Readers: I am getting tired of having my blog attached to SEX spam! So I am going to moderate comments.

Sorry friends.

I do believe in freedom of speech, but I don't believe in attaching sexual links to someone else's creative work. I want my children (or nieces, nephews, friends, in-laws, etc) to be able to check out my blog and NOT have inappropriate links visible.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Click, Click, Click...

...Everywhere I look.

There is so much happening in the woods these days.
I am still on the hunt for a fawn, surely I'll spot one soon.
Here's Tripod, still surviving! She must be at least three now.
She doesn't run from Winston and me, but we all keep an unspoken safe distance from one another. I do not have the zoom on my camera in this photo.
I think Winston understands he's not allowed to chase the deer.
At one of the stream heads, Winston and I spotted a pair of Mallards!

You might need to click on the next photo to enlarge it so you can count all the turtles sunning on this log. At first I thought there was only one there.
Sorry I couldn't get any closer to them!

I did not take the next photo, my DH did with his cell phone! He was walking Winston a few nights ago and they stepped over this guy, who was occupied with his dinner. My DH had to use his Petzl headlamp to illuminate him for the photo. A little research showed he's probably a Checkered Garter Snake, not poisonous. My DH said he was about 18 inches long though and right on the path. I'm kind of glad I have daylight hours walking duty with Winston! :)

Tomorrow I will share a few of my flower photos.
It's so easy to fall in love with Spring Time!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Happy Spring!

On Sunday, we celebrated Easter in our household. Over the past 24 years of celebrating ANY holiday with my in-laws, it is common practice to have "extra" guests join us. Since it's inception, my MIL has been part of a group that welcomes the international students studying here at the university. The group is called Bloomington Worldwide Friendship. Unlike a host program where students come and live in ones house, BWF connects these faraway from home kids with people who will invite them over for dinner or other typical American life events. International students can't just head home for the weekend, so BWF encourages local friendships. Once students are matched with a host, they remain "connected" for the entire time the students are studying here. There are no requirements for getting together. My MIL, who is an active lady and always thinks of others, invites her students to BB games, concerts, the farmers market, church, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other event she thinks might be interesting to them. If you are lucky enough to know my MIL, you know an amazing lady!

I took these photos and everyone agreed I could post them here. So, here's a glimpse at our family and friends!

The Dining Room group:
Zhen, Sunnie, my FIL (Bill), Joe, Zhixu Su (wife of Yi), my MIL (Kate).
Sunnie and Joe are NOT students! They are parents of one of the students at dinner (Elise) who happens to be the girlfriend of one of our gang. Elise is from West Virginia.

The Outside diners:
My baby girl, Shulan, my son, Jialu, Lu, Haitao

The Sun Room diners:
Elise, Harald, my DH, Yi (Xshu's DH)

Zhixu Su and Yi made and brought this very tasty (and cute!) cake.

I made these little carrot cake cupcake treats.


My favorite story of past students my in-laws have hosted includes one where a grad student was here from England. He came to my in-laws house for a holiday meal and engaged in conversation with my BIL who was maybe 18 or 19 at the time (my own DH was just a baby then). My BIL was in a rock band with his friends and it just so happened that this grad student had a son who was a little older and was in a rock band too. The grad student asked my BIL, "Have you ever heard of a group called The Rolling Stones?" His son was Mick Jagger! True Story! Up until Joel Jagger passed away about five years ago my in-laws exchanged Christmas letters with him.

Because of my MIL, I have met individuals from all over the world. Someday I will have to step up and be a host myself. But for now...I'll just enjoy helping out.