Hummus Among Us

Okay this is REALLY Betty Crocker of me...but....

...JP and I love hummus, and I think I've found the best recipe I've ever tasted. It comes from a guy I work with named Mark Butcher. He made it for a work party thing and it was to die for! So here it is for your tasting enjoyment...oh, and per Mark: "...give a plug for the Holy Land Deli in NE Minneapolis, they have baked-daily pita bread that is excellent. They are an anchor tenant in the remodeled Midtown Building (old Sears building) on Lake St. And they also have a huge variety of olives, feta cheese, etc. to complete one’s Mediterranean food experience."
You can find them on the web at http://www.holylandbrand.com

Without further ado, I give you...HUMMUS!!!

Here’s how to make perfect hummus:

First, you’ve got to have a food processor and it helps if is has a very sharp blade. If you’ve had one for a while and the blade is dull, you may want to consider buying a replacement blade.

Here are the ingredients:

Tahini: Buy this at a food coop from their bulk aisle or in a jar. The tahini in a jar will usually be located near the peanut butter, etc. Also, most larger food stores, i.e. Cub or Rainbow, will carry tahini in jars now. I like the bulk tahini because it’s fresher and thus tastes better. It’s cheaper too.

Two lemons

Garlic: The amount is up to you; add anywhere between one and four cloves. Over time you’ll figure out how much you like and/or can tolerate. Three cloves of garlic makes a pretty strong hummus and four cloves is downright spicy. Start with one clove and move up from there if you wish. Garlic is GOOD for you. It’s a blood thinner and it has strong anti-bacterial properties. Next time you’re at Mayslacks Restaurant/Bar in NE Minneapolis, read the garlic diatribe on their menu.

Garbanzo beans, chick peas: Same bean, different names. I recommend buying canned garbanzo beans as opposed to boiling your own. They’re cheap anyway, like 79-cent per can or so. For this recipe you’ll need two 15 oz. cans. You’ll find them in the Mexican foods section at Cub/Rainbow.

Olive oil

Ice cold water


Pinch of cayenne pepper

Now, get your food processor put together. First add the juice from the two lemons (and some pulp is OK, too) to the food processor bowl. Next add 2/3 cup tahini, maybe a little more, and the amount of garlic you want.

Process the lemon juice, tahini, and garlic for about 20-30 seconds. You’ll notice that it may be a little thick and sticking to the sides of the food processor. Slowly add ½ cup of very cold water to the tahini mixture while the blade is running. You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides of the food processor to get the thicker tahini to release from the sides of the bowl. It will probably take about 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes of processing to whip it into a slightly thin, mayonnaise-like consistency. You’re better off having this tahini mixture too thin than too thick so don’t worry about adding too much water.

Next, add two 15 oz. cans of garbanzo beans that have been drained. Process this for about 2 to 3 minutes. It will take a while for all of the beans to get pureed so be patient. Once the mixture begins to turn over in the bowl and become more of the same consistency, slowly add 3 tablespoons olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Then add more cold water 2 tablespoons at a time until it becomes smooth and turns over in the bowl.

You may need to process this mixture for as long as 4 minutes so be careful that you don’t get the motor on your food processor too hot. If it starts to feel or smell hot, let it cool down for several minutes.

Lastly, add about 2-3 teaspoons of salt and the cayenne pepper in the last 30 seconds of processing.

Go ahead and taste your hummus. If it feels a little grainy, continue processing it until it’s nice and smooth and alternate adding a little more oil and a little more water until you like it.

Turn the hummus out in to a bowl and drizzle a little oil on top and sprinkle just a pinch of paprika on for a little color.


Jie-Jie deserves life

This is 2-month-old "Jie-Jie." He was born with a third arm. He also has only one kidney. I'm attaching the Associated Press Release below so you can read more.
I post this picture and story not because Jie-Jie is some sort of spectacle to be stared at and wondered about. I post it because Jie-Jie is a precious human life.
All around the world, doctors and nurses would probably have encouraged Jie-Jie's parents to abort him because he is "deformed." They probably would have argued that it was in the baby's best interest because he would have to grow up a mutant. They probably would have argued that since Chinese families can only have one child (is that still the case?) they wouldn't want to waste it on Jie-Jie.
Here in America, people will abort their babies because they have a hairlip. They kill their children out of convenience for themselves and call it being thoughtful for the well-being of the baby - "we wouldn't be able to give him/her the life he/she deserves...he would have grown up poor...he would have grown up ridiculed."
So instead, you think it's better for him to not grow up at all?
Praise God for the parents of this precious boy who chose life. Praise God for Jie-Jie and the call he has on his life.


Doctors in Shanghai are considering surgery options for a two-month-old boy born with an unusually well-formed third arm.

Neither of the boy's two left arms were fully functional and tests had proven unable to determine which was the more developed, said Dr. Chen Bochang, head of the orthopaedics department at Shanghai Children's Medical Centre.

"This is the first case I have ever seen as a doctor. I looked through medical documents and searched on the Internet and I could not find any other abnormal cases like this," said Chen.

The boy, identified as "Jie-jie," also was born with just one kidney and may have problems that could lead to curvature of the spine, according to local media reports.

Jie-jie cried when either of his left arms was touched, but smiled and responded normally to other stimuli, the reports said.

Chen said doctors hoped to work out a plan for surgery, but the boy's small size made it impossible to perform certain tests that would help them prepare.

"The best result of the operation is getting rid of the weaker arm in terms of function and shape while making some repairs on the one we keep. We'll try our best to enable the remaining arm to function normally and make sure the baby can lead a normal life by himself," said Chen.

Media reports said other children have been born with additional arms and legs, but in all those cases it was clear which limb was more developed.

Shanghai Children's Medical Centre is one of China's most experienced in dealing with unusual birth defects, including separating conjoined twins.

Like Jie-jie, many of the children are sent to Shanghai from the inland province of Anhui.


This is Hilarious

Imagine this guy driving 90 mph down the highway with these balloons on his car!

Step 1: attach balloons
Step 2: drive like a bat out of h***
Step 3: Watch people freak out!

Bird Flu Spreading Human to Human?

A family of eight people infected with bird flu in Indonesia may have passed the disease among themselves rather than catching it from poultry, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The WHO team in Indonesia investigating the situation can't find an animal source of this infection, and in the absence of a known animal source, "we will have to treat this as possibly human to human transmission of the virus", he said.

Could this be the beginning of what health officials have feared for so long? A mutation of the virus that spreads from human to human?
I don't want to scare anybody, but we need to be ready for this stuff. I can't be taken lightly. I really believe that.
I would encourage everyone to keep your ears peeled for more on this issue.
Think I'm overreacting? Maybe - but I don't want to see a repeat of the pandemic that took so many of our ancestors. I'd much rather be safe than sorry.


I'm an Auntie....again!!!

Today, JP's sister Lisa gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Ava Nicole Bottolene was 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 19.5 inches long. She caught us all off guard because she came nearly three weeks early!
Little Ava, Mom Lisa and Dad Scott are all doing great - and I have my first neice! :) Just look at those kissin' cheeks!!!!

Ava Nicole Bottolene


Every Day Closer

Every day another step is made toward the remodeling of the Charlebois home. Here's an update:

Painted (green)
Tiled & Grouted
New cabinets put in
New cabinet doors ordered and shipped
Sanding and staining of woodwork has begun
New lighting bought but not yet installed

Living room:
Painted (burnt orange and beige)
Carpet ripped out
Hardwood floors refinished (yes!)
New wall hangings purchased, but not hung
Curtains bought & hung
Trim painted and partially installed

Furniture bought and assembled
Duck wallpaper border still dominates decorative scheme

Attempted to kill dandelions in lawn multiple times - still trying
Garden weeded of dandelions the size of small bushes
Patio furniture bought but not set up
Overgrown bushes being cut back

The chaos stage is over...now it's down to the "fine tuning." At least we can walk through our kitchen without having to step over things, now.
A big huge shout out and I LOVE YOU to my handyman husband, JP, for all of the hard work he has put into making this house so much more of a home for us. I love you, sweetie - even though I know you'll never read this blog. :)


Chef BoyarDOH!!!!

It wasn't until well after dinner that Audra's dinner guests politely noted that something remained in the oven.
These aren't buscuits - they're bricks. My dog couldn't even bite into them. I swear I could have used them to hammer a nail into the wall.
*sigh*...I don't know if I was cut out for this whole housewife thing.
Maybe I could invite the Balvins over for a game of hockey??? I'll bring the pucks.


Baby Peterson

As a proud Auntie, I am happy to announce that my sister Amber and her husband Pete are expecting a BOY!!!! Due date is September 24th. Now precious Malachi will have buddy to romp through the dirt with. :)

I think he looks like Pete - see the round chin and the Peterson lips?



I'd say these two are hitting it off pretty well, wouldn't you? :)

Senate Avoids Abortion Vote

Republican supporters of restriction chide DFLers during legislative maneuvering
Pioneer Press

The Minnesota Senate on Monday passed a state finance bill and, through legislative maneuvering, avoided a debate on a measure that would have challenged women's court-upheld right to abortion.
The abortion measure, backed by the state's largest anti-abortion organization, would have defied a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that granted abortions to low-income women through state-subsidized health care.
After hours of closed-door meetings over the past several days, Senate Democrats opted to remove all human services funding from the $127 million supplemental spending bill. Without that language, the anti-abortion measure wasn't relevant to the bill.
The measure would likely have denied all taxpayer-funded abortions in Minnesota except in cases of rape or incest and required a public record of judges' authorizations for minors to get abortions without parental consent.
On the Senate floor Monday night, Democrats did little to discuss the reasoning behind the removal of the human services financing. But Republicans did much to attack it.
Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield, alluded to the abortion measure he had planned to ask senators to vote upon, and he was blunt.
"Not only don't you have any leadership, not only don't you have any direction, now you don't have any courage," he said.
Supporters also promised that the abortion language, which has already passed the House, would return.
"Quite simply, you can run but you can't hide from this issue," said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove.
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said the health and human services measure will return to the floor at some point and there will likely be opportunity to try to attach the abortion language to that.
Despite Republicans' disappointment in the process, the supplemental finance bill passed 64-3.

I Hate (Most) Forwards

I got a kick out of this "forward" from my brother yesterday and thought I'd post it for your reading enjoyment.
This one goes out to all of the superstitious and/or worry-wart people who forward on every email they receive:

To all of you:

I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.

Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

Oh, and don't forget this one either!

I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician...

Have a wonderful day....


My New Favorite Bumper Sticker

Gotta love it...

Night #1 with new baby

...Up past midnight...up again at 3:00am...can't...keep...eyes...open....



We are pleased to welcome the newest member of the family to our lives. We just picked her up today. Sadie is a mutt - her mom is an amstaff/staffordshire/american bulldog mix and they're not sure about her dad, but they think he may be either a boxer or a german shepherd. She was the feature humane society adoptable animal on my show last week (we have a different pet on every week) and I absolutely fell in love with her. We're all excited, especially Caleb who now has a playmate.


Dancin' in the Street

We could all be dancin' in the street again by next week.
On May 12th, the Minneapolis City Council will vote on a measure that would repeal a current ordinance that bans dancing in the streets of Minneapolis. (Did anyone even know it was illegal?)

Here's the article from the Star Tribune this weekend:

At the office of late, I've been bursting forth with the song "Dancing in the Streets." "There'll be swingin', swayin' and records playin' and dancin' in the streets."
This seems to stress my younger colleagues, who don't understand that the Mamas and the Papas' version of this song begs to be sung. I try not to hold their youthfulness against them.
What has put this song in my heart is that in all likelihood, it will soon be legal again to dance in the streets of our city.
On Tuesday morning, Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon will lead a public hearing that will be the first step toward eliminating city ordinance 427.20, which prohibits dancing in a street, except at a block party.
"If we're going to be a cultural center, shouldn't it be OK to do a little jig when you're crossing the street?" Gordon asked.
No one seems to oppose his belief that the ordinance is "an embarrassment."
He said the city attorney, the former police chief and the interim chief have said it's time to dance on the grave of the strange ordinance, which came into being in the 1960s.
According to Guy Gambill, an advocate for the homeless, the prohibition was initially intended to stop flower children from carrying on in public. But the flower children have, ummm, matured. Gambill says that when the ordinance is invoked these days, it's used against the homeless and mentally ill.
For example, in December, a homeless man, Paul Wicklund, was ticketed by University of Minnesota police for dancing in a street, while cursing police.
There were many problems with Wicklund's behavior. But dancing?
The ticket, for $112, eventually was dropped.
The point that Gordon, Gambill and Mark Anderson, who works with the mentally ill as head of the Barbara Schneider Foundation, will make Tuesday is that the city shouldn't criminalize mental illness.
"When you tell people there's this ordinance, they say, 'You're kidding,' " said Anderson. "But laws like this are serious because they're used against people who really need help."
This rarely used ordinance invariably ends up stepping on the city's toes.
"Police have plenty of tools without this," said Gordon. "When it is used, it just becomes a public-image problem."
Ah, our city's image: Minneapolis, a nice place to live, but save the last dance for St. Paul.
Of course, after the ordinance is erased, there still will be limits. "It still will be unlawful to obstruct traffic, for instance," said Gordon.
And it will take more than changing the rules to turn Minneapolis into a city of dancers.
Some people just can't dance, said Gordon, an old rock 'n' roll bass guitarist. "Whenever I start to dance," the council member admitted, "people look at me and say, 'What are you doing?' "
By mid-May, Gordon hopes, the ordinance will be a bad memory, and if someone in Minneapolis feels really good, it will be legal to do just a couple of quick dance steps in the street.


All I Ever Have to Be

I've been struggling today.
It started with a poor day at work - I couldn't get my head to function, I had absolutely no creative juices to donate to my show and it ended up being less than ideal during this important ratings period. As if I didn't realize it already, I then received an email from my executive producer telling me the show was not up to par. This wasn't the first time I've felt this way recently. I've struggled the last couple of weeks with wondering if I'm really as skillfull and creative as I hoped I was.
Later when I got home, I started paying bills and realized that my bi-weekly paycheck only supports me for a week. It happens every time - I pay my bills and barely have enough to get by on, then I have to go ask JP for money (which don't get me wrong, he is always more than willing to give - I just hate asking). Then I think about how miniature my bills are compared to his and I realize how if I was still single, I would not even make enough money to support myself and a small apartment. I'd still be living at mom and dad's.
Today I'm struggling with the thought that I don't really excel at anything. I'm kind of what the saying calls a "jack of all trades, master of none." I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but not great any of them. Lies from the devil? Or just a sobering taste of reality? Let God decide.
I'd love to find something that I absolutely love to do that I really excel at. I'd love it to be some sort of photography or video editing or something artsy like that. Are these kinds of goals something to shoot for? Or is it better to just accept me and the talents the Lord gave me for who I am, even if I never master any of them?
All of this pondering brought a song back to my mind from WAY back in 1993 (I know, most of you are thinking 'gee, that's not so long ago'...but just to put it into perspective - I was 11 years old in 1993). It's an Amy Grant tune (I used to be her biggest fan back then - I can't stand her new stuff).

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But I’m still hurting,
Wondering if I’ll ever be
The one I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you’ve made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

And all I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.