So buttermilk…I have never really drank it or used it except when making Irish Soda Bread for Saint Patrick’s Day.
Next year I promise to do a post on it, for now if you want to make it yourself, head over to my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. Anyways, every year I am leftover with buttermilk and have no clue what to do with it.
I know most of you are thinking: pancakes.
I’m not really a big pancake fan, so I’m not into that.
The other day I ran out of milk, and I LOVE milk in my tea. I don’t like to drink my tea without it.
Now normally I would just go to the store and buy more but its been raining.
Actually, that’s not an accurate description. It has been storming-windy, sheets of water, etc. The type of weather that makes you want to just stay home in pajamas with a good book or movie…
But I had no milk!!!!!
So then the idea came to me…what about buttermilk?
I had never even drank buttermilk before, I mean I know you can make a substitute using vinegar so I’m pretty sure it isn’t sweet. And I know in the one Ramona book they call it “sour”
“How else am I supposed to reach things?” Ramona successfully broke the egg and tossed the shell onto the counter. “Now I need buttermilk.” Beezus broke the news. There was no buttermilk in the refrigerator. “What’ll I do?” whispered Ramona in a panic. “Here. Use this.” Beezus thrust the carton of banana yoghurt at her sister. “Yoghurt is sort of sour, so it might work.” The kitchen door opened a crack.“What’s going on in there?” inquired Mr. Quimby.” Ramona Quimby, Age 8
But then in Westerns they always have the men drinking it when they come back from working the fields and such.
So I tried it and…
It is so sour! It’s like drinking plain greek yogurt.
I can’t imagine drinking a whole glass of it. But I thought maybe a few drops…?
It came out…okay. I only did a tiny bit and put in quite lot of sugar. I don’t recommend it for everyday use, but only in a tight squeeze and only a little bit.
So I know you’ve probably been wondering, what’s going on? Where have I been? Have I just crashed from my Valentine’s Day postings?
Well not exactly. I’m sure you have seen on the news how crazy the weather in California has been. We actually had to evacuate the area for fear of flooding.
Headed up more north, where I connected to the internet and was able to finish the Valentine’s Day countdown. Then we returned home, as no water had overflowed, repacked and planned to head down to Southern California to wait out the evacuation.
I’m outta here
But they were going to get the worse storm in 20 years. We decided to skip it, which was good as everyone I knew house’s got flooded.
So we were trying to decide where to head next, when Las Vegas was just randomly chosen. There we headed out in a trailer, with my cat (as I wasn’t leaving her) for Sin City.
I’d never leave you.
Now I’ve never really had a desire to go to Vegas. I like gambling, but just for fun. Anytime money is involved I lose; if we play for fun, chores, candy-I’m golden.
But that is where everyone wants to go, so we went. Well it took a day to get there as California is huge.
We got there around five, but were too tired we just stayed there in the trailer resting.
The next day it poured! Like crazy pouring, like monsoon weather. It was so crazy and we were so tired of the water that we decided to just stay in again.
The next day was sunny, but cool which was nice, and we decided to head out. But you know me, I’m not normal.
Now what I wanted to see more than anything was the mob museum.
It was AMAZING! Tri-level, with information from the early years to present time. It was chock full of information on the 1920s to the 60s. The later years focused more on the police and FBI. It was extremely interactive with video in a replica of the Las Vegas courthouse, depicting the hearings and using actual furnture from the time period.
They had practice with weapons, a fake tommy gun that you could pretend shoot:
and the wall from the St. Valentine’s Massacre that was brough over and reassembled brick by brick. You could see the bullet holes.
There is so much more, I barely even skimmed the surface in this review of all the amazing things this building has to offer. If you are ever there you should check it out as it was AMAZING!
After that we drove down the strip looking at all the lighted signs and buildings.
The next day we hit the casinos, but not to play.
Yep, I wanted to look at all the architecture.
Hey, I told you I was different.
I loved looking at them, and spent hours walking and checking them all out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see everything, but I tried my best. My favorite was probably Caesar’s Palace. I loved the extensive details in recreating the roman architecture. It was beautiful. As a former Art History student, I was enthralled.
They even have a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s David, made from the same marble as the original.
Michaelangelo purposely made this disproportionate as it was supposed to me placed high above on a roof in Florence, so that all could see it.
The sculpture is designed to show David’s warrior soul, not actual physical age, that is why is so muscular and strong. It was also designed to be right before he throws the slingshot, his face in fierce contemplation. It is amazing the way Michelangelo is able to create life out of stone.
The Flamingo is the oldest casino on the strip. It was created by the mobster Bugsy Siegal and his friends and the reason for his death. It was taking too long to build, using too much money, and many believed Bugsy was skimming off the top. Never try to cheat the mob, they will always take you out.
The Paris Casino was also amazing as it tried hard to replicate the city-from the Arc de Triomphe, to the “cobblestone” floors, to the Rococo style artwork and Salon furniture.
And it was cool looking at the Bellagio first hand instead of just a movie, like Ocean’s Eleven.
But there was one big disappointment for me.
So you all know how much I love Elvis, I am a super fan.
So I was looking for an Elvis themed souvenir in all the souvenir shops on the strip. But I couldn’t find anything!
I know, right?! I searched every where and was getting desperate…at this point I would have bought anything.
But there was nothing, nada, zip!
I know, crazy! No Elvis in Vegas! No nothing! Not even an impersonator! Not a copy of the film Viva Las Vegas!
Oh well, I could probably find something cheaper online.
But hey, just because I missed out doesn’t mean you should. So Elvis, take us out:
So do you all remember my post last year on chopping down our Christmas tree? I talked about how hard and heavy it was and the way the tree kind of beat me up.
Well this year wasn’t as painful, but it was just as interesting.
So every year after Thanksgiving my family drives up to the mountains to chop down our Christmas Tree.
So some of you think that it seems like a ton of trouble but cutting down your tree is way better than buying it off the lot.
1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 13 foot tree for 5% of the cost of buying one from a lot.
2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.
I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.
That’s a lot!
3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are given a home. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.
So this year we were gearing up to go, when we were called up by some friends of the family, the Nelsons. They’ve seen our trees and wanted one for themselves, so they asked to join us.
30 mins later, another family called, the Salamancas. They also wanted to join us, the more the merrier.
And not too long after that, the Hawkins called and wanted to come too.
So the next day, the day after Thanksgiving, we headed up the mountain caravan style. When we got there we got one big surprise. Snow!
Now you may recall me stating again and again how California has been in a drought the past few years. I mean, yes, we have had a few rainstorms but no one was expecting this. Of course when we saw it, we were all kinds of excited!
Now we may only be like an hour or so away from the snow, but where I live it never snows. It may get under 30 degrees, but if it does it will never rain.
We never get a white Christmas, the closest we ever come to it is a wet one.
And after like three years of going to the mountains and getting nothing, we finally had snow once again!
Of course I always dress for the snow, even when there isn’t anything, just because it is cold up there. But my family is the only one who was prepared that way. Everybody else had the wrong shoes, jackets, etc. Oops!
In fact there was so much snow that we weren’t even able to go to our usual tree cutting spot. The road was just covered in snow and black ice, in fact we almost got stuck at one point.
So we went back down the mountain, found a spot, and began the search for the perfect tree.
It was hard going, even harder than last time as the snow blinded us and made every tree look amazing. But upon closer examination, they were not quite what we wanted.
At one point it felt like we were never going to find it.
But then we found it. A beautiful 13-footer.
But then came the problem of cutting it down.
You see we had forgotten to bring the chain saw, and instead only had a regular saw. A saw which is very hard to cut down the tree with.
We all tried, but it was hard with that sap. However, thanks to our extra help we were able to get it down and to the road.
When we reached the road, we discovered we had walked really far away from our cars. So my dad went to get our truck while we waited.
Now by this time it wasn’t really snowing, but it had gotten colder and icy. The roads were completely covered in ice.
My dad drove down the hill, but when he tried to get back up to us, he almost got stuck in the side of the road as he started swirling off the road on the ice.
Luckily my dad was able to drive in reverse and get out of the ice so we could put the tree in the back of our truck.
When we got home it started raining, and we had to get our tree into the house in the wind, rain, and the dark. But it was all worth it. It looked absolutely beautiful when we put it up in our house and decorated it.
So today’s Christmas Carol is not Winter Wonderland as let’s be honest, it’s not even really about Christmas. Instead today’s song is I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. The song was written by Irving Berlin and was sung by Bing Crosby, originaly in Holiday Inn, although at the time it was overshadoed by Be Careful It’s My Heart.
For me this wasn’t the first place I heard the song. The first time I was introduced to the song was in the Christmas special claymation, The First White Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. In it one of the nuns, Sister Theresa, sings about how she misses the white Christmases from her hometown.
However my favorite version comes from the film Holiday Inn, the first film to showcase the song.
I think the way that Bing sings it in this film is much better than the way the group does it in White Christmas. In Holiday Inn it just sounds so much more personal and meaningful.
So I have experienced quite a lot of terrible rainstorms.
When I was nine there was a tornado warning on my birthday. (My birthday takes place in a season where there is zero rain, so it was a really random year.) There ended up being no tornado, but it was really rainy and windy.
I don’t remember it being too bad as we didn’t have to do anything in school but hng out (away from the windows, and we all got picked up from school early. I spent the rest of the day chilling, happy birthday to me.
Then there was the time I went to Arizona right in the middle of monsoon season. The rainstorms don’t last long, but they are extremely powerful and crazy. And of course because this happens only one week out of the year, they don’t build the buildings with the capacity to handle such storms, i.e no rain gutters to catch the rain or storm drains. There was water coming from everywhere. It was like Jumanji.
At one point my sister and I were running to our hotel room (in our shorts and tank tops as it was too hot for either of us to bring a coat or sweater) and when we almost reached it, we were hit by a waterfall of water streaming off outdoor walkway. We both were totally soaked.
Then there was that time during my freshman year in school were we had crazy rainstorms up until the beginning of May. Things were so bad that one week (right before finals) they canceled classes that met in the lower floors of the buildings and were all issued a flood warning. In fact it got so bad they had to sandbag some of the buildings, as the nearby river began to overflow.
Then there was Wyoming. Now that rain is tough. It doesn’t pour down on you, but the wind moves so fast that it knocks the rain drops into your body and face, making you feel as if you are being punched by a million tiny fists.
The wind completely tore my umbrella, in fact it wasn’t until a second storm weeks later that I was able to find all the pieces of it.
I’m telling you, those Wyoming storms are crazy. I could barely find my way home, and was completely soaked from every inch.
But the worst storm happened last Sunday. I woke up, planning on getting ready for church when I looked outside to see water just pouring down from the skies. It was as if a faucet had been turned on full blast. Just gallons of water everywhere! Like you needed an ark to maneuver out of there.
There was no way I was going to drive in that!
So I waited until there was a break, but then I had the worst luck ever! As I was driving, the street that goes across one of the freeways’ light was broken!
It was totally scary! Cars were just crossing all over the place, barely managing to dodge each other. I swear I saw like ten near accidents as I sat waiting for my turn.
I had to wait at least 20 mins, using a car making a left turn as a shield and praying that no one hit me.
Then later as I was driving, I noticed that on the one way road I was going down, there was a section completely filled with water.
There was nothing I could do but go forward. Praying again, but this time that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the water.
I was somehow able to push through, and get to church.
Of course being California, two hours later the rain had stopped, the sun was out, and the only markers of the deluge were a few puddles.