Saturday, December 24, 2011


I am personally starting an "ism." I don't care how much money you have - if you got the Lexus in the driveway with the freakin bow on it (hey Cindy!  Who, for the record, I do personally really like!) for Christmas or the JC's delivered your Christmas in a truck because ya'll were "down on yer luck."  This ISM is for you.  It's Do-it-your-own-damn-self-ism!  Don't wait for a hand out.  Don't wait for FEMA to show up.  Don't go to the store to get it if it's possible to make it yourself (which is - as you will soon discover is WAY better than "storebought."  and yes that is one word here.

Damn I get preachy this time of year don't I?  LOL!!!  but really for me Christmas is first about God and Family.  They are similar in that God is worshiped in a special way and family is loved in a special way in this season.  And second - it's about Tradition.  Cookie party for area kids - check.  Tree - check.  Feliz Navidad heard on the radio in a store - check. Christmas soup - check.  Whoppers wrapped and sent to Dad - check.  Stockings - check.  Buying a ton of random shit off the Internet because I was having a blast and a bit too much Merlot and figuring out who the hell to give this stuff to - check and check!

But - for me it's food too.  Not just traditional food though I almost bought a jar of olives just so I could put them on all 8 fingers and wiggle them like we did in the middle of Grandma Andersen's house (why was it never considered Grandpa's house? really he owned it - but it was HER house - lol) Table covered in a fabric my dad got a roll of from somewhere he worked that we cut for every family event that lasted until I graduated college!!!  The table  (tables actually since they were many and not all the same height.) ran the span of their house from kitchen through the living room.  That was a bizarre house and in retrospect I would never have eaten there if I knew then what I know now - but I never ever got sick from anything there and maybe that's why I have a cast iron stomach.  Who knows? 

But the table was set with the GOOD Silverware.  And it was actually.  We didn't have dick on most days but at Christmas we had nice China and nice Silverware to eat on and from.  And on that table were crystal bowls of olives (hello fingers?) and pickels.  The main course was the much maligned CHRISTMAS SOUP that as a child was BARELY food.  It was poison.  BUT it was the precursor to all of the good stuff - so it was tolerated.  AND as the oldest I had it the longest and it sunk the deepest into my soul.  It was the food version of A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.  Yeah you can't shake that shit. 

Flash to today.  I'm sitting here kid less since we did the marathon halfway to home drive so Tim and his wife Sabrina (who is -  btw an amazing woman who I really really like! not that that changes the price of anything)
can have the kids for Christmas.  Mom is long dead and it's just the man and me and the dogs.  WEIRD.  We are gonna do Sherlock Holmes since we did movieco on our first "alone" Christmas and saw the first one.  A tradition if you can call it that.  I miss my kids - but I get to just be Katie and not Mommy today and actually for the next few days.  Katie likes to cook and experiment and go nuts at the stove and counter top.  I have a beef roast medley in the oven as we speak  and shrimp (hey SARRAH!) going to be an incredible melange of flavors for tonight. 

At the very and I MEAN VERY freakin least - if you do nothing on your own. . . . and I would love to school you in a myriad of doityourowndamnselfism but if you are a newbie to the world outside of big brother I'll be gentle (sort of :D) . . . . Make your own shrimp sauce.  Dear LORD Jesus if you can't make it you are a moron and wouldn't be reading this so this a mute rant.  3 ingredients.  You pick your fire level.  Personally- and there are those who can attest to this - I probably could drink lava and survive so I can't choose for you - BUT it's Ketsup.  Hunts - NO HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) 1 measure - 1/2 measure fresh horseradish.  Grind your own or at the sort of lazy but approved buy it premade but HOT version. and then my personal "yeah that's how I roll" additive - sriracha!!!  I do an equal measure of sriracha that I do ketsup.  That would hurt most mortals.  Pick your level of hot.  You get hot and sweet shrimp mixed.  If you are really nice I may tell you how I make my shrimp.  But you gotta ask nice :D  And then do it yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Riffing on a classic

Now.  Let it be noted for the record books.  I CAN play an instrument (flute) and therefore qualify as a musician.  First chair  - thank you very much though I sight read most of my lessons (hey Mr. Hale :D ) but I "so" get how music moves people.  The musicians I personally know and love are my favorite humans on the planet because they make something seemingly out of nothing.  They move the air with their instruments and shape sounds that resonate within the bones of my ears and more importantly my heart and soul.  Even if it's just a voice it moves me.  I can sing pretty well.  But I don't put myself on any pedestal when it comes to singing.  I don't suck.  Mr Oxley said so.  But great? nah.  Above average.  B+ maybe even A- if it's something I REALLY like.  But I don't really consider myself a musician.  I leave that to my beloved ones who can do it and do it really REALLY well.  To the beautiful lady who sits at the piano with no one around and plays and sings to herself and God for hours - you move me.  To the man who held an amazing place in music and still does and still can - I hope you never ever stop believing in what CAN happen just around the corner. 

I have always said it about myself - that I am best with someone Else's original idea and making it something great.  I certainly can write my own original material but I can take your good ideas and make them better.  It's one of the things I rock at.  Don't care if I get credit - it just kind of oozes out of me. 

So - if you've followed anything thus far this fall/winter you know I'm searching for home.  Home for me is a smell - a flavor - a sound.  It is officially Christmas time since I heard Feliz Navidad.  Whew.  Was a bit worried I'd not have Christmas this year since I hadn't heard it until last weekend!

But without Christmas Soup.  it just isn't.  BUT - okay let's be real.  I remember the crap "soup" that was served to us and Dear Lord Jesus in the manger - YUCK.  It was clear broth with MAYBE a string of beef and a half a carrot strip and a celery chunk.  AND then these GIANT sinker dumplings with RAISINS.  I hate raisins.  Always have.  Now they make me ill so shucks.  . . . Can't include them. 

SO - Katie - half way across the country from family needs the familiar but also a tweek.  Here's my Riff on the Andersen/Korn Christmas Soup from my whole life.  Read back from the beef roast post previous.  Roast the living crap out of some beef with bones with marrow.  I had probably 20 lbs of  beefy bony goodness roasted with carrots, celery and onion (mirepoix) I added mushrooms cuz I loves me some fungus.  SO from there I flooded the Roaster with some wine to scrape up the bottom but Got my huge stock pot ready - I poured all of that loveliness into the pot and added about 12 cups of water. 

DUMPLINGS (ala katie)

We've established I hate raisins so all bets are off on that crap

2 6oz packages of panko bread crumbs.  YES I am allergic to wheat.  Yes this will make me sick.  Tough.
8 large eggs.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Mix and roll into balls as big or small as you want.  I like big balls and I can't deny . . . wait that's butts.  anyway that's what I do.  :D 

Let your dumplings rest in the fridge over night and if you live in WI or actually in VA at night - put your HUGE freaking pot outside.  BRING it back in during the day because temps over 35 are not good.   When you are ready - boil your soup and add dumplings - boil for at least 20 minutes but turn down from to simmer when full boil starts.  These dumplings WILL break apart if you are rough with them so if you don't want a pot of dumpling mush be gentle or remove them each time you want to heat the soup and then add them back.  Obviously they need to be removed from the fridge and put in the soup to reheat. 

I got the best - No.  BEST compliment from my version.  My husband.  A non-family tradition member said. . . AND I QUOTE "yum, that's good soup honey." 

I rock.  No guitar necessary.  Now bring me my whisk bitch. .. . :D

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Roasting bones and cooking rice.

Okay.  again.  if you are reading this -  you either know me, are sleeping with me, or some how tripped onto this blog by accident - (Hi - I'm Katie - I'm slightly weird - very cute - long red hair lol!!!) .  I am a food freak.  I like to make food for others to eat that I can't because I have stupid allergies.  Yeah.  it's complicated.  BUT the food I CAN eat - dear LORD JESUS I'm stupid - anal about.  Okay yeah  - anal and food - not a good combo - but I run a tight ship with my food.

I really hate food made by other's unless it's chinese or thai.  I have done the mexi Cafe Rio thing and thumbs up.  but I don't ever - ever - EVA eat fast food.  I just can't.  I can't eat in a moving vehicle while driving.  Yeah. I'm a freak. I'd rather go hungry rather than eat and drive. Texting? much more important.  Though I only do that at red lights officer. . .

So.  Where the hell am I going with this?  What I am saying is that I have some things down to a science.  I can make perfect.  Yes.  PERFECT. and i would add an f bomb here but I'm not drunk.  Perfect rice.  Jasmine only.  I buy it 20lbs at a crack cuz. . .   I'm me and I can't eat wheat.  SOooooooooo it's rice . . .  a lot.  I can tell you exactly how to make rice but until you have done it everyday for about 20 years it won't be perfect.  Firstly -  You take a measure.  You decide how much you want to make. Pick a vessel.  Put the rice in it but make sure your pot is WAY bigger.  put said amount of rice in vessel.  Wash in cold water.  Rinse. repeat. 6 times. Say happy thoughts and prayers over your rice and DON'T lose a grain or you will fail.  When your rice is assuaged of all evil and unearthly thoughts and weight - double the water of your rice measure.  and turn on high.  Let it come to a slow boil - cover and turn to less than low and go 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and rest 5 minutes.  This is just the recipe - you need to earn your rice merit badge on your own young jedi.  I am just the master.  :D

Roasting bones.  God!  God is in the marrow.  Until you have spread bone marrow on your bread (or in my case rice) and tasted the best that animal had to give - gah! - really - almost an orgasmic food experience - you just don't get "it" when it comes to food.  I will pretty much eat anything if somebody loves it - I'll freakin try it.  I have an American palate  - so,  forgive me,  some things go down hard but I'm not a sympathetic puker or eater = I'll try it!

If you get bone marrow - I am your friend.  serious.  It's better than butter cuz it's not dairy.  It's beefy goodness.  I am sorry - not a pork fan but that's another post.   I LOVES ME some cow.  And venison  - but again that's another post.  Bones.  need roasting.

Oxtails - and parts that have bones (necks et al . . . )   deal LORD roast them.  Marrow is amazing.  I make my beef roast as such.  I buy the biggest bottom round roast at least 4lbs.  Here (Manassas VA) in my Asian market (see below) 3.99  per lb.  I purchased also 20 lbs of beef shank roast and beef neck cuts - 2.19 per lb.  nice bone cuts. LOTS of fat and marrow.  I put it all in my roaster - 2 hrs with nothing but heat 350.  after that add your personal mirepoix.  I add baby carrots 1lb - one chopped onion - 2 lbs mushroom and 2 cups celery and then 3 cups burgundy and 3 cups beef broth.  cover and cook freakin forever.  ok - 4 hrs on 300.  then make rice. 

on a musical note.  if you have access to Iheartradio. make a station based on your favorite band.  omg. 
del amitri radio makes me go back to WLC in the best way.  just saying.  If you actually know me or are sleeping with me  - peace.  I'll do a Christmas blog soon. 

If I can impart any wisdom to anyone out there it's this.  If you find yourself in a city (read more than 1000 live bodies) find the nearest Asian/Hispanic market.  shop there. done.  You will find the freshest ripest best produce and meat available.  If you don't speak their language.  . .  learn it.  Lord you are smart or you wouldn't be HERE. Learn it.  learn enough to get the cuts you want and shop there enough to be known.  I am known. 

Well - um I have waist length FIRE red hair and frankly wear nice clothes that fit my body that can run many miles. Yes.  I make people remember me.  DO likewise.  GET what you want.  It's your money.  Put it in the hands of the people who give you the ingredients to make the food you personally want to eat.  period.  If it's fast food shit you want to eat.  try to make it not vile. 

stepping off of soap box now :D
Now if I can leave you with a thought . . . .  Love the ones you love.  And if someone you love is in pain. . . say a special prayer.  I am with you.  Tim. I am with you.  I'm praying. Sabrina.  you are an amazing woman.

Life is today.  Have good sex if you can - love up on those you love. Say big prayers and small ones - God gets it all and realizes we are just ants with souls.   Peace. 

oh and when you are roasting those bones - - - you can thank me later for what your house smells like.  people will just show up.  uninvited.  yeah.  that's where God is  - deep in the marrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Band Aids and Artificial Trees

So driving to my 11 yr old's 6th grade band concert yesterday (yeah a whole lotta flat) My youngest daughter asked me, "Mom, why don't we have a real tree?"  And my immediate response was, "Because I hate the smell and inconvenience of a real tree and I can count on a fake one!"

Wow.  That actually set me back.  My WHOLE life growing up we had "real" aka cut (dead) Christmas trees.  And to me that always seemed wrong.  Maybe that's why I hate cut flowers. I do.  I love roses.  They smell amazing.  So grow them.  Cutting them and shipping them KILLS THEM.  Sorry.  I do love roses.  I hate dead things I guess.  I learned a lot last night.  I strongly dislike people who don't take their screaming 3 yr old out of a concert that other people actually want to hear.  I really wanted to pull out my bitch card and remind them that in America when our unruly child is acting up we do something that respects the other parents in the room but my spanish isn't that profound so I thought they wouldn't get it.  Yeah that's where I LIVE. 

So how does this get better - well I learned a lot about my person - I pretended that an evil (I'm exploding your brain with my thoughts - thanks SHELDON!)  look was gonna cut it - NOPE they just let their stupid kid cry.  It was up to me to either let it ruin my time - or get up and say something or kill them.  And since I don't think I'd like prison food I chose to ignore them and knit.  It did get better and after an hour we were on the road home and I still had no respect for the dumb (fill in the blank) let their stupid kid cry but my child finished and was awesome!  I love being an American but I personally dislike my president and most of the philosophy of the VAST majority of my country.  I don't want a hand out or up or down - If I fall down I better be able to pick my own self up - or hope that I paid the insurance to fix my mistake or accident or whatever.  I like responsibility.  It's empowering.

Band aids -  I have also learned  - are gross.  I discovered that about me.  I like real fixes.  I don't like fake band aids and I HATE real ones.  Band aids in the medical sense -  cover wounds.  They don't fix them - only time -  healing and GOD can do that.   But "band aids" are what you do to sort of fix something today until it bites you in the ass later and THEN you deal with the real problem.  That is dumb.  Drinking too much vodka because your life at home with the person you are married to -  is a band aid.  It's dumb and only really hurts you (and your liver!)  REAL used band aids gross me out because my beloved children think that they are made of gold and everyone should own stock and touch them wherever they choose to shed them!  UGH !!!  YUCK.

Just saying.  I like things I can count on.  Things that I can't lose - forget or ignore.  Tattoos can't be stolen lost or ignored.  But happily CAN be covered.  Piercings are the same.  God rocks and is the same yesterday today and forever.  People are eternal - just need to know where to find them later.  I pick peace and love and joy.  Look for me later - I should be there.  Not believing in anything fake.  :D

Basically - I like the fake things that are fake for a reason and the things that are supposed to be real for a reason.  I guess it's reason that I like.  I am sorry and I know that I will alienate a lot of people when I say I hate useless things - since art is seemingly useless.  BUT since I am a knitter sewer creator and crafter - I just choose things that are like me - MULTITASKING.  I hate things that just collect dust.  If you don't make bread but just sit there waiting to cut a turkey once a year - BYE! (that was a total random dig on my husband keeping the ultimate UNITASKER in the world - a board with spikes and handles to hold a turkey steady while carving it.  - nice idea but HUGE waste of precious kitchen space!)  I make things that are pretty but also DO things. A sweater is pretty AND keeps you warm because your tyrant boss keeps it sub zero in your office?  Knit some matching arm warmers. 

I'm working some chain maille recently.  May be cool.  I like it and it's real and I look cool in it.  Multitasking if I do say so. 

End of day.  I like knowing what I stand on and for.  I know my legs work because I run the hell out of them.  I know MY GOD is awesome because He has told me so.  And I believe a book that has shown over and over again to be true despite PROVEN attempts to debunk it.  And I know that at the end of days I will stand before my Lord and know that HE gets me like no one on earth ever could. 

I like the things you can count on and can't ignore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Safety Police can bite me . . . .

Or why hot molten liquid is good for you . . .

Okay so I am a wife.  A bitch and a lover . . . oh wait that's a different post.  I'm a mom.  I get the concept of not letting your 5 yr old play with matches or a loaded gun or a hot stove.  Unless it's Christmas time.  HUH? you say.  Only the hot stove part.  The gun is only for New Years Day and if you are Up Nort.  Yeah the Wisconsinite comes out in me in a very stabby way around sturgeon spearing time and when cutting up venison.  Matches are just for fun.  Go light something little Timmy . . . . :D

It seems candy is on my mind.  I'm so freaking homesick it isn't funny.  It's Christmas time and I need need need to make Christmas Soup.  I'm skipping the Beef Knuckle for Oxtails.  (yeah I'm a food whore) BUT the rest is close to the same.  I'm exploring how to make the sinker dumplings that are gluten free.  May need to just be sick for a day but I NEED my soup.  Jesus was actually born in September (Right cuz you didn't know that already?) so CHRISTMAS to me is "celebrating HIS birth" WITH  soup and dangerous candy.

I recently realized just what the hell we Andersen/Wenzel women did each December and it involved a LOT of hot molten syrup sugar things that needed to be watched and then POURED into other things.  Dear LORD I was like 6 helping this happen.  I still have my fingers (excepted for that unexpected Girl Scout molten caramel incident circa 1981) intact.  

I am going to continue the tradition with my girls.  Safety Police be damned.  I bring you - GLASS CANDY!!!!!  AND  DIVINITY!!!!

Glass Candy (yes Kristen you need the actual flavoring :D)

3 cups white sugar
1 cup corn syrup (lite)
1 cup water
walk to Rice's drug store in Winneconne and pick your flavor - oh wait - they aren't there any longer :D  you can get LorAnn's flavors at Michaels/Hobby Lobby/ and your better craft stores.

bring to the hard crack stage (you need a candy thermometer for this 290-300)
Add the flavoring/food color and be prepared to CLEAR YOUR Sinuses !!!!!!!!!!!!  We as Andersen/Wenzel/Owens/Meilehn/Sullivan-Howard's choose Cinnamon as our flavor of choice.  You pick.
Peppermint/Spearmint is not a bad choice.  Butter Rum also an excellent choice - part of my husband picking criterion.  Pour into a buttered 9x13 and let cool.  I put powdered sugar over the butter and over the top.  I'm just weird but it makes it seem to come out easier.  Crack the hell out of it.  enjoy.  SP - bite me.


This only works in LOW humidity - so hello - winter! YOU NEED A CANDY THERMOMETER.  Don't even try if you don't have one.  They are like 4 bucks at Walmart.  Get one.

•3 cups granulated sugar
•1/2 cup light corn syrup
•2/3 cup warm water
•2 egg whites
•1 tsp vanilla extract I've also done almond - pure makes a difference

Read all the way through before you do this - no one wants to be surprised with hot syrup or whipped egg whites - ever.  Just sayin.  Diamonds are an awesome surprise.  Molten syrup - not so much. 


1. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with foil and spraying it.

2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, firm-ball stage.

3. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly.

4. Continue to cook the remaining syrup until it reaches 270 degrees, soft-crack stage.

5. Stream the remaining syrup mixture into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Continue to beat until the candy is thick, shiny and holds its shape.

6. Mix in extract until fully incorporated.

7. Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, and let cool until full set.

I have a vintage KitchenAid mixer from the 50's.  It serves me so well and I use it for everything but it doesn't have all of the cool bells and whistles of the new ones.  I like my cracked and peeling  - old black and white one.  It works.  And the safety police have nothing to say. 

Enjoy your Christmas and celebrate your Lord.  He rules.  There really is nothing for us here on this earth if we don't love our sweet people.  Let someone you love know it today.  Life is. now.