Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thank you

The first stress in a young life has to be the requirement to say "thank you." Anyone with children has experienced the joy of a loud clear "thank you" or, more often, the embarrassment of the stubborn refusal to say anything, especially those golden words.

We encourage our children to say thank you early, perhaps too early. Even though the very young don't understand, socially, it is important. Rightfully so as thank you is acknowledgement of a kindness.

Dan and I received our first thank you notes. Aaron and Adam sent handmade cards. They wrote their own message. I was glad to know Adam liked his presents and Aaron is using his MP3 player "on the road."

I have many thank you notes to write. My customers are very kind to me. They deserve a note, as does my family.

An additional name on my thank you list is the result of my lament about not having a calendar. Our friends, Kayzie and Lynn from Arizona sent a Saguaro calendar. Here is a preliminary thank you for that surprise in the mail today.

I am going to sit at my desk and get busy. Meanwhile, thank you to all who stop by my blog regularly.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Frogmore Stew

Except for sub freezing temperatures outside, 25 of my co-workers and their families might feel they are South Carolina rather than gathered here on New Years Day.

What created the warm southern feeling on a cold Kansas day?

Frogmore Stew.

Named for Frogmore, the mailing address for the residents of St. Helena Island off the coast of South Carolina, the stew is a combination of ingredients readily available on this historical island. While their neighbors in the States might have a BBQ, St. Helena residents add shrimp, potatoes, corn, and spicy bratwurst together in a pot.

Our first try at the Low Country specialty began with a round of home brewed beer. Created by our favorite brew master and co-worker, it is dark, smooth, and served at room temperature.

While enjoying our ale, we heated water and seasoning packets in a big (very big) pan over a propane burner. While new potatoes are the best choice, we opted for a large, firm baking potatoes cut in large pieces and dropped in the pot after the water was hot.

Following potatoes, in went the precooked and quartered hot and mild brats.

Almost the same time frozen corn on the cob slid in.

Setting the table consisted of spreading plastic and newspapers over the entire surface. In addition, we added shrimp sauce, homemade bread and butter, hot sauces for those who liked fire, and many napkins.

When the shrimp went in the pot, everyone gathered around ready to eat. Five minutes later, two people carried the heavy hot pot outside and poured the hot liquid through a strainer held by the third. Finally, they dumped the steaming ingredients in the middle of the table.

Frogmore Stew

6 quarts water
¾ cup Old Bay Seasoning
2 pounds new red potatoes
2 pounds hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2 inch pieces
12 ears corn, husked and quartered
4 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled

Bring water & seasoning to a boil in large stockpot.

Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add sausage and cook for five minutes more. Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about five minutes. Drain immediately and serve. Serves 12 depending on appetites.

What's ahead in '08?

Make the best of it and have some fun too. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Calendar Update

Good news! The kitchen calendar problem is solved. Kim & Marc somehow knew I was stressed about not having one and came through last night. They brought us an Audubon Nature calendar for watching the boys. That isn't the best part, though. With the calendar, they challenged us to visit each place featured on the calendar.

It's a deal!

Actually, they said one place this year. It's my idea to visit them all.

We've only visited one featured location, Arches National Park, Utah. However, as our family ages, we might find ourselves visiting there often. All of our kids mountain bike which will probably include grandkids as they reach an age to handle the rigors. Meanwhile, while they ride those breakneck trails, they won't have to twist our arm to hike and take photo excursions of the beautiful formations with the younger family members.

This calendar will be another keeper in our travel file because we won't be able to visit each place this year.

Goals are important. What better place to make them than a calendar.