All posts by turg7269

About turg7269

I am a Minnesota woman who grew up on a farm in Swede Grove Township and spent much time in the Arizona Desert during the winters. For many years I was a professional communications writer. I had my own recipe column with a weekly publication and was the press secretary/assistant communication director for Minnesota's Secretary of State. I am a two time cancer survivor and am currently in remission from Multiple Myeloma a blood cancer.

Artwork: Guarding His Herd

I have finally finished the oil painting that I have been working on for the past six months.  It is a large canvas…24 X 30.

The vision for this work began as a challenge to myself.  I wanted to paint a thunderstorm over the Badlands.  My goals were to create distance; capture the back glow of light in a storm and the roughness of the Badlands terrain; and to improve my drawing skills by including animals….Hereford cattle.

The biggest challenge of this painting was the sky.  I just could not get it right.  Then, I realized I was painting a Minnesota sky.  The clouds were too close.  Once, I got that right, the painting started to work.

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My goal with the cattle was to paint a very strong bull lovingly guarding his family.

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That is how I think of God.

 

 

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What is on my mind today? Testicle or Not to Testicle, that is the Question?

hereford bull

I have been working diligently on my oil painting for these past several months and it is finally nearing completion.

Yesterday, my dad and mom came down to deliver excellent potatoes and squash out of their garden and join me for lunch.  As dad came into the room where my easel stands with the painting on it, he took one look at the painting and said three things…you painted that for yourself, you really captured a Montana sky, don’t you dare touch that, and what do plan to do with that one?

I think he figured that a painting of the Dakota badlands and a meso-cyclone in hot pink with Hereford cattle is probably a Pat painting. It is time for me to find a gallery to show and market my artwork, before I drive my friend Pat to distraction. She hadn’t seen the canvases I painted for myself, before I became disabled, that are stored in the basement until this week. This painting will probably join them, but it is not quite done yet.

There is the usual tinkering to complete.  Putting in some grass, light and color corrections and I have to decide whether to testicle or not testicle the Hereford Bull.

Yes, I have to tinker with testicles and I actually have put some thought into this testicular dilemma.  Bully, bully is a pretty proud looking fellow standing guard over his family, but one must think of the troubles caused by testicles or lack there of.

The case against testicles can be summed in two words…Harvey Weinstein. There is no excuse and there should never be any tolerance for the Weinstein’s of this world.  And, there are way too many of them.

I do not think I know of a woman, who has worked outside the home, that at some point in her career hasn’t been sexually harassed.  I know I was. Whenever I think about the grossness, hurt, stress, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger and lost career opportunities,  I lean strongly towards a testicle-free bull.

So, why would I consider blessing my bull with the awesome responsibility of testicles?

There are several reasons:

1.    I still have paint left,
2.    The artistic challenge,
3.    I often think society in general needs to get a pair.
4.    In all fairness, I must admit that some of my sexual harassers in the workplace
weren’t male.

Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it is all about power.  Remaining silent about abuse is not golden, it is cowardice of the worst sort.  My grandmother told me long ago, that if I didn’t admire cowards, I should choose not to be one.  I may be a lot of things, but few people would ever call me a coward.

Yes, I have reported abusers in the work place.  I have also supported and stood by other women who found themselves in gosh awful situations, whenever I had first hand knowledge of the harassment.

Did I pay a personal and professional price for speaking up? Of course!  But, it was worth it!

In retrospect, if I found myself in the same situation again, would I do things differently? Absolutely not!  And do you know why? Somebody had to stop it and I am somebody.  We all need to be somebodies.

It’s like the Bible says, “Here I am God….Send me!”

 

 

 

What is On My Mind Today? What to serve for the next big……NASCAR Race!

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Here are some stand-up recipes for race day.

Best Lasagna  Recipe Ever

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Prepare a one pound box of lasagna pasta according to package directions.  Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water and set aside.

Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
2 pounds ground beef
½ cup tomato paste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine
4 cups diced canned tomatoes

Cheese Mixture:
15 ounces ricotta
½ cup basil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 egg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Toppings:
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated

PREPARATION
Into a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter.  Into the melted butter and oil add carrot, onion, celery and garlic.  Cook until golden brown.  Must be stirred occasionally.

Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the caramelized vegetables. Stir to combine. With a wooden spoon, break up meat into small pieces and continue to cook until meat has browned.

When the sauce is a deep brown and beginning to stick slightly to the bottom of the skillet, add the red wine.  With the wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen all of the brown bits.

Bring wine to a simmer, then add the diced canned tomatoes.  Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine ricotta, basil, Parmesan, Parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with the meat sauce.  Top with a layer of pasta.  On top of the pasta spread a layer of the cheese mixture.  Repeat.  Meat sauce, pasta, cheese mixture.  Cover with remaining meat sauce.  Garnish with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, to brown the cheese on top.

Cut into serving-size rectangles and enjoy!

Serves 12.

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beer bread

What goes with lasagna and Nascar?  Warm beer bread.

Beer Batter Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Grease a loaf pan with butter and dust bottom of pan with corn meal.

In a large mixing bowl combine:
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

Once dry ingredients have been mixed together add:
1 (12 ounce) can beer.  Bland is best.

Stir just until all of the ingredients are combined.  Do not over beat.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and drizzle two tablespoons of melted butter over loaf.

This bread slices best when cool, but tastes wonderful warm.

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Somethings in life really are black and white.  Oreo Cookies are a wonderful example of this phenomena.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350º and line a 9-x-13″ pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment with cooking spray.

Crust:
1 box fudgy brownie mix, plus ingredients
15 whole Oreo cookies

Make brownies according to package directions.  Spread batter evenly in pan and top with the Oreo cookies.  Set aside.

Cheesecake filling: 
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
15 Oreo cookies, crushed

In a large bowl, beat together until fluffy sugar and cream cheese.  Add eggs, vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in crushed Oreo cookies. Pour cheesecake mixture over the brownie-Oreo cookie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  When done the edges should be set and the center of cheesecake will be slightly jiggly.

Let cheesecake cool completely in pan.

Topping: 
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Drizzle with melted chocolate and white chocolate and serve.

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I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes.

Now, my husband and I are off to the races…..just saying.

 

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Genius Is As Genius Does….Gopher Hunting!

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Gopher population control can be a real issue for gardeners and farmers. Those little buggers can become annoying pests really quickly.  To limit the amount of damage these rodents could inflict, we would hunt gophers.

I usually gopher hunted with my Grandpa George who was in his eighties. I was not yet six years old.  Grandpa and my method of gopher extermination was to flood their holes with water and try to hit them with a shovel when they emerged.  I got to hold the water hose and grandpa was the shovel guy.  Any gopher who was a good swimmer, had nothing to fear from our shovel.  We sure scared them though!

My cousins and brothers were much more successful getting gophers, as they used traps.

Even our dog was more successful at getting gophers and Grandpa and I.

This video is about some folks who use common household products coupled with oxygen and propane to blow up gopher holes.  I bet grandpa would have been against us trying this method of gopher hunting. Using oxygen and propane to blow up gopher tunnels doesn’t seem like something a Swedish Lutheran farmer would do.  Too noisy and showy. Honestly, it all seems a bit Baptist.

Enjoy the video. Don’t try this at home! And always remember:

Election 11

 

 

 

Recipes: Yo, Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum for a Yummy Rummy Cake

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As I have mentioned before, I am not a drinker of alcohol. I have never been a drinker of alcohol, because when I was a teenager my grandmother asked me to promise her that I would never smoke, drink alcohol, or take illegal drugs.

In those days, if you gave someone your word, you kept that promise, unless prevented by an act of God.  According to my grandmother, other than communion, there is no act of God that requires alcohol consumption.

I have always kept my clean and sober promise to my Grandmother Esther.  Contrary to what many people would think, going through life completely sober has its advantages. The only problem I have ever encountered has been the challenge of purchasing alcohol as a gift or for cooking.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed an alcohol purchasing system.  Being Swedish and knowing that genius has been defined as simplifying the complex, I kept it simple.  My alcohol purchasing system is based on two fundamental principles. Pretty is as pretty does and it is best to go with what you know. Therefore my purchases are based on bright shiny labels or on something I’ve tried. The only wine in this home is Mogen-David.  It is what is used at my church for communion.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I wanted to make a rum cake for my brain tumor fighting neighbor.  Therefore, I needed to purchase a bottle of rum.  So, off to the liquor store I went.

Since I have always been easily distracted by pretty colors, it took me a while to find the rum area, after wandering into the wine aisles.  Such creativity in labeling. Kudos!

Finally, I found what I was looking for….rum. When making an alcohol purchase, it has been my experience that price is not much of a deterrent if the picture on the label reels me in.  I immediately knew just which one I wanted. There was a pirate on the label! How can you go wrong picking a pirate? I was sold.

I took my purchase up to the counter and the fellow working at the store, narrowed his eyes to assess my purchase and immediately concluded that a rum rookie had entered his establishment.  He asked me, “Just what do….you….plan to do with that rum?”   I told him about the rum cake.

With several other people standing in line behind me, he laughed and said the pirate rum would not work for cake.  He found me a nice golden rum for the cake and a bottle of Mogan-David wine as it is the end of September and opening day of beef stew season begins with the first frost.

The golden rum worked great for the cake. The cake was outstanding!  However, I would like to suggest to the folks that bottle that stuff that they should seriously consider finding their own pirate for the label.   After all it’s..Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

Yummy Rummy Cake
This recipe is from, “Once Upon a Chef”.

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

Grease the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter, then coat the pan lightly with flour. Tap pan and tip out any excess flour.

Cake:
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup golden rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups cake flour (must use cake flour)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, rum, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl add cake flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix dry ingredients together.  With an electric mixer on low speed beat in the butter until well combined.  Next add in the liquid ingredients a third at a time, just until combined.  Be sure to wipe down the edges of the bowl after each addition.  Once all of the liquid has been added, increase mixer speed to medium and beat for an additional two minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a rack for ten minutes.

While the cake cools make the glaze.

Glaze:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus two Tablespoons of rum

In a small sauce pan melt butter.  Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for five minutes stirring constantly.  The glaze should thicken slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.

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While the cake is still in the pan use a toothpick to poke holes all over the bottom.  There should be lots and lots of holes.  Slowly, brush or spoon half of the glaze over the holes in the bottom of the cake and let it soak in.   Remove cake and place on a plate. Poke holes in the top of the cake.  Slowly brush remaining glaze on top and sides of the cake. Let glaze soak in so that it does not run off, but is absorbed into the cake.

Let the cake sit for about a hour, then serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

What Is On My Mind Today? Fear, Hurricanes, Fires, Earthquakes and God

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As a two-time cancer survivor I know a thing or two about fear.  One thing that I have learned is that fear can be addictive. The adrenaline rush of fear acts on the body much like an opiate.  Your heart and breathing rates increase as your fight and flight reflexes engage.

Sometimes,  fear feels good. Like the thrill you get when going on a carnival ride, riding a horse at a full gallop, or are jumping out of an airplane.  At other times fear can be overwhelming, such as when you get a cancer diagnosis or see your country ravaged by natural disasters or war.

Living in constant fear is awful, because fear is the worst of thieves.  It steals precious treasures…happiness, peace of mind and time.  What is worse, fear is contagious and has been weaponized.    Governments, religions and individuals often use fear to increase power, control people and receive attention.

Calamity begets fear. When disaster strikes, people, even unbelievers, feel the immediate need to put the fear of God in hearts and minds by communicating that the crisis is God’s fault, divine punishment for sinful living, or that the end of the world is coming and coming fast.

Whenever I hear that something is a sign of the end times, I find peace by turning to the Bible and re-reading the comforting words of Christ Jesus when he clearly states that no man will know when the end will be.  Only God knows, not Jesus, not any human.

Jesus further reassures us by instructing,  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24: 4-7.  

There have been many, many wars, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes since Christ spoke those words almost two thousand years ago and humans are still here.   Are these the end times? I don’t know, nobody does.  What is important, is to believe that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, then, there is no reason to fear the end times. What is there to fear? Going to heaven and experiencing perfect love?

Can natural disasters be signs from God?  Absolutel!  The Bible tell us so.  The question is what is the message that God is sending?

Human’s cannot surprise God, he has seen it all before. I am pretty sure that:

  • God has been aware of humanity’s sinful ways since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden and then to make matters worse a jealous Cain put Abel under with a rock upside the head.
  • There have been hurricanes hitting coastal areas for as long as there has been oceans.
  • Forest fires have existed since lightening hit its first tree and man learned how to make fire.
  • Earthquakes in Mexico, or anywhere else, are never a punishment from God due to United States presidential election results, no matter what a Hollywood actress may believe.

This “disaster is a punishment from God” philosophy reminded me of when I was battling my cancer. I remember someone asking me what I thought I had done that God was punishing me so harshly.

After this empathy challenged person, who felt greatly blessed with good health and substantial wealth when compared to myself, a fifty year old woman stuck in a body cast, trapped in pain and a hospital bed in her living room, full of cancer and without a lot of good options, had finished suggesting that self-reflection and repentance on my part was necessary to appease an angry God, I responded.

My response then, would be the same as today, to those who suggest that disease and disaster are signs of an angry God.  I agree.  God gets angry.  He may use illness and other trials to test people, but, maybe, just maybe, he does not punish or test the sick, traumatized and devastated. Maybe he is testing the response of those around them.

Why do I believe this? Because, Jesus clearly tells me so in Matthew 25: 31-46

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I am a strong believer in the power of prayer.  God can and does do miracles through prayer.  However, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”   James 2: 14-17

God promises to never leave or forsake us. He always keeps his promises. Christians need not live in constant fear of the end times, physical or natural disaster.  It is during those times that we should look to our Heavenly Father and take stock of our blessings. Call on him for faith, strength, courage and to grant us the peace that passes all understanding. Then, it is time to bravely roll up our sleeves and get to work helping those who need assistance.

I will always have a healthy fear of God, but I have no interest in being a “Chicken Little, The Sky is Falling!” christian. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it best, “The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” 

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Prayer is a powerful. Please pray for those affected by the hurricanes, wild fires and other natural disasters.  Then, volunteer, give blood, or donate at:  

The Salvation Army Disaster Relief   https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/

Red Cross Disaster Relief: https://www.redcross.org/donate/disaster-relief?scode=RSG00000E017&gclid=CjwKCAjwos7NBRAWEiwAypNCe1F5-3X-x10xxZ_UJsDexvntU8pdxkfDJIPYaFVxOIE98y5BQb92uRoCK3EQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIGEldnxmNYCFRU5Twod-6cAMQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Trivializing the Momentous and Complicating the Obvious

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Montana on fire

It seems to me that by now almost everyone in this country knows someone who has been personally impacted by Hurricane Harvey, will be hit by Hurricane Irma or is being affected by the horrendous fires devouring several of our nation’s western states.

These natural disasters have, are and will be affecting millions of our fellow countrymen and women.

So, what did I see first thing on the nightly news last evening and this morning.   Not hurricanes, not fires, not even North Korea and their latest nuclear missile, DACA…a program that effects less than a million people and that will not be ended for another six months.

Oh, I saw lots of people marching expressing their ire against President Trump…yet again.  Which made me wonder if I am the only person who is becoming totally numb to these protests?  Yes, I get it already,  Trump can do nothing right.  But, I’ll tell you, I am much less fearful of a leader in whom the media finds only fault, than in one that can do no wrong.  Just for the record though, under our Constitution, only Congress can make law, not this president or any other.

On the bright side at least these protesters are getting some exercise, however I think they could all benefit greatly from a reading of the children’s story, Peter the Wolf.  It is a Russian story so conspiracy theorists beware!

Then, to escape the mainstream media, as I do everyday, I went online to look at several different media outlets and saw this story about a 10-year-old girl and her donation of 167 pairs of her own shoes to hurricane victims in Texas.  I went to public school, so I did the math.  In my head. That is 16.7 pairs of shoes a year.  That’s a lot of shoes.  An impressive amount of shoes for any child to be sure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that this little girl is pitching in to help with storm relief.  It’s with her parents and the media I have issues.

How is this, in any way shape or form news!  Especially, for a national news outlet? What is the media’s news story prioritization process?  What must this process look like?

I can just picture their newsroom meeting.  The beast in charge summarizes, “Well on today’s docket we have two major hurricanes—Irma could be the biggest and deadliest ever; DACA is on a six-month hold in hopes that Congress will get its act together and do the right thing to give these folks some permanent peace of mind in law; the North Korean nuclear threat is increasing by the day; Montana is on fire; well, actually many of our nation’s western states are fighting out of control fires; oh, and this cute little girl in Georgia is giving away 167 pairs of shoes that she’ll never wear again or put on any of her future children to hurricane victims.”

There is quiet in the room. Only soft breathing, and the occasional slap to an overly inquisitive hand is heard, as the powers that be mull over their news story choices and mentally wrestle with the importance of their weighty decision.  Quickly, they individually conclude that the hand slapper just lost her promotion.  Eventually, their eyes light up as they realize which story is most important to the viewing public. Then, in unison they all jump to their feet and yell, “Go with the shoes!”

I must say about our media as General James L. Kemper said about General George Picket in the movie Gettysbury, “Well, I got to hand it to you, George. You sure got a talent for trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious. You ever consider running for Congress?

….just saying

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/05/georgia-girl-10-donates-167-pairs-shoes-to-hurricane-harvey-victims.html