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Ice cream and sorbet making

Cheese/dairy making, including creme fraiche, cream cheese, yogurt, butter

Sausage making

Pressure canning soups, stews, vegetables

Gluten free baked goods, especially bread

Pickled vegetables, including sauerkraut

Smoked meats +\or Home-cured bacon

Edit: Add, after thinking: Understand how to condition dried fruit such that it can be stored at room temperature safely.

Pastry making
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“Champions in any field make a habit of doing what others find boring or uncomfortable.”

- From an agility blog entry by Susan Garrett

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"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better."

- Pat Riley
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“The natural trajectory of giftedness in childhood is not a six-figure salary, perfect happiness, and a guaranteed place in Who’s Who.

“It is the deepening of the personality, the strengthening of one’s value system, the creation of greater and greater challenges for oneself… becoming a better person and helping make this a better world.”
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"You are the master of the unspoken word. Once it is spoken, it is your master forever."

-Unknown
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(Yogi Berra's that guy who was known for foolishly simple yet profound statements, right?)

In a Yogi-esque moment, I realized that anything I need to do at night is easier, and I'm more likely to do it, earlier in the evening rather than later.

Including going to bed on time.

Happy 2013, everyone!
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Earlier this month, I quietly reached five years of practice. Somewhere in there, I lost that "I can't believe I'm really a physical therapist. I made it!" feeling, and reality set in: I get up, I get ready, I go to work just like anyone else.

I finally came to terms with myself: No, I am not perfect. I have a body and brain that make some things easy and other things difficult, and that is true for all clinicians. Some patients are emotionally easy-- they're smart, organized, and diligent. Others are a trial: they're whiny, disorganized, anxious, or rude; they don't do their homework; or they just don't try. But I will treat them all. Some have a diagnosis I've seen a million times (like a knee replacement), and others have something I've seen maybe once-- time to think!

No, I do not know everything, and no, I cannot fix everyone. (That's why it's called practice.)

Yes, I will get up every day and do my best. There is always something, somewhere, I can improve.
Yes, I will keep learning as much technical, professional information as I can along the way.
Yes, I will recognize that I have prejudices, issues, and weaknesses, and I will do my best to compensate for them.
Yes, I will seek wisdom, and by that I mean, understanding people and how they work.

That said.... I now know this:

- I must figure out the criteria for success in each workplace, and meet that. In other words, don't go fighting the last war.

- I will put just as much effort into your rehab as you do. Doing otherwise leads to frustration.

- I am my own instrument, and I need ongoing sustaining engineering (enough sleep, consistent strength training, down time, good diet) and development engineering (learning new skills and acquiring wisdom) to work well.

- Employers want you to treat the patient more than they really need (extra visits or, for inpatient rehab, more treatment time.) Don't fall for that. Insurers want you to treat the patient less than they really need, and I shouldn't let that fly either.
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Notes: Use 1 1/2 quarts homemade apple pie filling per 9x13 pan. Alternatively, strongly consider using fresh apples rather than pie filling. If using pie filling, get as much of the caramel colored cornstarch "goop" off the apples as possible before placing them on the batter. Consider 45 minutes, not 40 minutes cooking.

1 c. sugar

1 c. flour
1 c. milk
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick of butter
3 peeled & sliced apples (or can of apple pie filling)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray with Pam an 8 x 8 inch or 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Add butter and place in oven to melt the butter. When melted, remove from oven and tilt the dish so the butter coats the entire bottom. In a bowl mix well sugar, flour, milk, baking powder and salt. Pour into baking dish. Top with apples or apple pie filling and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake 40 minutes.
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Tips: Make sure butter and cream cheese are SOFTENED. Mix very thoroughly.
Might go better with piecrust oak leaf decorations on top. Use UNSALTED butter.
Ask Lesley to do the seasoning. SIFT the powdered sugar. Round pie tins are fine, if you do this, make sure you make 1.5 times graham cracker crust to account for sides.

8 people per pie x 6 pies = 48 servings

Simple Chilled Pumpkin Cheesecake

adapted from Whole Foods Market.com
Serves 8
Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Filling:

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée, preferably homemade (learn how to make your own)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 7-inch springform pan and line the bottom edge with parchment paper; set aside.

For the Crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, ground ginger and melted butter. Mix well.
  2. Tip crumb mixture into bottom of the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom.  Tamp the crumbs down firmly with the bottom of a glass.
  3. Bake until golden brown and toasted, about 7 minutes; set aside to let cool completely.

For the Filling:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1/4 cup softened butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixer. Add pumpkin purée and mix to combine.
  2. Add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and combine until smooth. Reduce speed to medium low and add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time; beat until smooth.
  3. Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust.
  4. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight. Remove outer ring of pan. Cut into slices and serve.
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Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows 
Adapted from Gourmet, December 1998

These homemade marshmallows are not only easy to make, they set as perfectly as promised: puffed and lightweight, bouncing off one another as I tossed them in the container. Even better, they toasted like a campfire charm speared on the end of a skewer, and s’mooshed between two graham crackers with a square of chocolate.

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Dust bowl

Jun. 5th, 2012 09:04 pm
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2 PM Monday. The air is hot, close. It's windier than I've ever seen it, and the air is brown and thick with dust and redolent of cattle. Dust storm!

"Does this happen often?" I ask.
"The last one was about three years ago."

It scares me; for some reason I can't name, I want to go quickly home after work, then hide far away from windows until it passes.
No. Dust in the air is not an excuse to skip the gym, damn it.

When I come out of the gym, the air is cold and clear. It didn't rain in my neighborhood, but I smell rain on the wind.
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"Remember that poise and power are inseparably associated. The calm and balanced mind is the strong and great mind; the hurried and agitated mind is the weak one."

~ Wallace Wattles, in  _The Science of Being Great_
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A bit of catchup: So far the job is going well; the facility is nice and well run and the people are friendly and organized and already are making comments that they want to renew the contract. All good.

Also good: A super-nice gym is right down the street. It's clean, has a pool, well equipped, very nice. I go right after work. That's good cause-- it's skilled nursing. Caseload will be "four little old ladies who wobble slightly and need oxygen, followed by a super-heavy person with a bad stroke who can't sit up by herself and needs to learn to do that, and a very large man with poor balance and a recent below-knee amputation who needs to learn to walk with a walker." Yeah, that would be my job.

In short: My shoulders, hips, back and knees will love them some core strength. And, while I used to lift with machines, or with dumbbells that isolated a single body part, current thinking is whole-body exercises that make you use your core to stabilize, then your extremity (arm or leg) to move a weight. The result is a body that moves well, rather than parts that are strong in isolation.

So, today I did:

3x15 pushups with a 5 second plank hold (okay, there were some breaks in there)
3x15 assisted pullups
2x10 lunges with bicep curls (10lb and 12.5 lb, boy, I need to work on that)
2x25 kettlebell swings with a 20lb kettlebell
2x15 seconds lateral holds (squat, hold a cable machine and 15lbs sideways, isometric)
2x15 Kroc rows (this is a bent over row with a lot of scapular retraction in it)
2x10 each side, side planks with external rotation
3x15 ball pikes and 2x15 can openers (hands in plank position, shins on ball, bring knees to chest).
2x15 shoulder extension on the cable machine, done in an isometric squat.

As I chose a cable tower and reset the cable stack from 75lbs to 7.5 lbs for the last exercise, the man using the next stack over (tricep pressdowns, 47.5 lbs, guy looks and sounds blue-collar) said, "Oh good. If you'd lifted that previous stack,  I would have had to make mine heavier."

I gave him a half-smile and said nothing. The comment made me see red, for a minute, in that flashback-to-pretty-good-for-a-girl kind of way. I finished my set, briefly considered going back, setting the stack to the heaviest weight I could manage, and doing something like walkbacks (very do-able with an impressively heavy weight). Let him try to tricep-press _that_.

No.

For a moment, I grasped and held the idea that I didn't need to let a random comment, delivered by a person I don't know whose worldview I don't share, get to me. I could just let it go.

Then I went back to the dumbbell stack, picked up a pair of 22.5s, and did farmer's carries. And, with that, I finished my workout and went home.

Good Quotes

May. 4th, 2012 09:31 am
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"Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions."
-Author Unknown

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Batter

Filling

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
  3. Stir in milk & egg.
  4. Pour evenly over melted butter.
  5. Combine peaches, sugar & spices and spread over batter-DO NOT STIR!
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350°F until batter comes to the top and is golden brown.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream.
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"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."

~ John Quincy Adams
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The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient. -Warren Buffett
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Discussions should be conducted without fondness for dispute or desire for victory." - Ben Franklin
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“Happily ever after” isn’t something that actually exists; it’s just lazy storytelling.

-Carolyn Hax
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(Not a new recipe: Mom got it from Marmor, who made it at Christmas. I have no idea whether it's Danish or Norwegian, but the combination of butter and almond flavor suggests "Danish". Posting it here for reference.)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/8 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond
3 1/2 cup, less 2 tbsp, UNsifted flour

Preheat oven to 375. Mix butter, shortening, sugar, egg, vanilla, and almond with mixer. Add flour, cut in with pastry blender, then make into a ball with hands. Press dough into ungreased muffin tins to form shells. (Mom and Marmor used regular-sized muffin tins; I use mini muffin tins.) Bake 10-14 minutes (they're done when they're light brown). Remove pans from oven and upend them over clean kitchen towel immediately. When cool, fill shells with whipped cream and add a bit of strawberry jam on top.

Per Mom: "Your Marmor used to fuss over them and make light, crispy shells. Aunt Mary Anne used to press the dough in and not worry about it. Hers were... thicker."  
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