Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year--One and All

After serious & cautious consideration... your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2011

It was a very hard decision to make... So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2011

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy

May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words ..............

May 2011 be the best year of your life!!!

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wildlife at Lake Fayetteville

The weather has taken a turn for the warmer, so I took advantage of it and went for a stroll at Lake Fayetteville. Usually I see NO wildlife and a couple of birds. Today was different!

I was walking along, daydreaming and enjoying the solitude when I heard rustling. I mean a LOT of rustling. So I figured, even I, (who rarely can find any half-way concealed critters) could see this one. I mean, it was a lot of noise. So I looked and looked. In the trees, around the bushes and I wasn't finding anything. The noise got louder so I looked across the path and then I saw the armadillo! He was standing right next to me! It waited for me to dig in my pocket, grab my cell phone, turn it on, get the camera part working and take the shot. Very patient I must say! I think this was my first armadillo here at the lake.

Then, just a quarter of a mile further....ANOTHER one!

Well, it was just a critter bonanza! I sure enjoyed seeing them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Gift Wrapping Ideas...

This is best viewed by watching the video first and then clicking the cute things exploding link.
Merry Christmas one and all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Take a look at this, if you've ever wondered about stuff...

I found this on my facebook page and was fascinated for the full 21 minutes!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Truffles for Christmas

This year I decided to try something new for Christmas. Instead of cookies, which I have been doing for the last several years, I have ventured out and made (for the very first time) truffles. These are little mounds of the most decadent chocolate one can possibly imagine dusted in some powdery/flaky stuff that makes them just too much to resist. I have always purchased them from some exclusive candy shoppe and paid plenty for them. I have NEVER found them in a store where I thought the price was anything close to affordable. So they have always been a rare treat...until now.

I have discovered that they are incredibly easy to make and not so expensive at all. So below is a photo series of my latest batch of truffles...Grand Marnier rolled in toasted coconut.

(I made these for a friend who recently underwent some nasty surgery..all is well, and she is dabbing the chocolate from her cheeks and looking for the last shreds of coconut as I write this)

The Recipe:

Makes about 17 pieces
6 ounces of good chocolate.

( I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao, but 70% works too, even semisweet bits that you use for chocolate chip cookies work! )

2 Tablespoons of sweet (unsalted butter)

3 Tablespoons heavy cream (add 1 Tablespoon...if you are NOT using a liquor flavoring.)

1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Something soft and flaky to roll the truffles in...toasted coconut, powdered dutch cocoa, ground walnuts...go ahead, use your imagination!

Here you can see I have set my scale to zero with an empty measuring cup and added the chocolate to correctly measure 6 ounces. There are 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in that tiny measuring vessel, the butter is ready to go as well as the liquor.

I thought I was pretty creative making this double boiler...I used my smallest old metal mixing bowl because it has a little metal ring, which I have twist tied to the handle of my pot--so when I stir the chocolate the liner pot will not turn. In the pot under the mixing bowl is about a cup of water which has been brought to a slow boil...no real high heat needed here. It scares the chocolate!

See the chocolate wants to melt...not too quickly

ah almost there, a few lumps..soon you we see that magnificent deep shiny brown sheen...

All melted and now stir in, gently the butter

Then the cream...here is where we want to see that sheen I mentioned earlier...stir gently

See? it's coming, it started in the middle...just a little thicker and oh so shiny

ah...perfection. How long does all this take you may be asking...about 3 minutes...or less. When you get that nice sheen, you can add the tablespoon of liquor. Don't try to add too much of any liquid or you will end up with sauce instead of a semi-firm chocolate.

I put the melted concoction in a clean soup bowl and covered it with a plastic wrap. Then it goes in the fridge for about 2 to 4 hour to set up. It should be pretty solid and give gently to a finger prod. Then take it out and let it sit for twenty minutes or so. It makes it much easier to work with. Using a teaspoon, curl up a few small pieces into a lump about the size of...well a truffle! Roll it lightly in your palms to form it and then roll gently in flaky coconut (or whatever you have chosen)

Place the finished product on a parchment or waxed paper tray, when all done, cover them and put them in the fridge so they can firm up again. Munch to your heart's delight or give them away!

I made Coconut ones because that is what my friend indicated was her favorite. But I made one ginger one for me...so I could test the batch before I gave it away.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So this is Cataract Surgery

Yesterday I went in for cataract surgery. They do one eye at a time and they started with the left one. They promised that I would be able to see the same day. That is true but I really can't see details very well.

You would think with that great big pupil, I'd be able to see everything, but no. Stuff was very cloudy the first day and now that I am into my second day, it has gotten better but I would not think about driving just yet. I can almost feel it getting better by the minute but then I get bouts of scratchiness and discomfort. I can sense that when it is all healed that I will be seeing better than I did before with my glasses.

Wow, look at those circles...I think I need more sleep!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Favorite Dalai Lama Prayer

I have been attending Buddhist meditation sessions on and off for the last seven or eight years. Through that time I have gradually learned a little bit about patience, compassion and love for all sentient beings. There is one prayer that we recite to close our session that has had a tremendous impact on me. Why? Well, from the very beginning when I would read it aloud, I would get so choked up that I had to stop and listen to the others in the group finish it. Often I would visualize these things actually occurring and I just could not go on. Then over time, I was actually able to read it aloud.

Even now, after having read it hundreds of times, I still feel it affecting me in very loving ways. Just read it, let it take you to a very nice place...

Dedication Prayer
by His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

May all beings everywhere
plagued by sufferings of body and mind,
obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
by virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
with a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms,
and the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
the hungry find food.
May the thirsty find water
and delicious drink

May the poor find wealth,
those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find hope
constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
and bountiful harvests.
May all medicines be effective
and wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world
may they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
and those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
and may people everywhere think of benefiting each other.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Discovery

Today was a whirlwind of activity, running here and there, trying to fit in all the meetings prior to a doctors appointment at one. The meetings all went well and on time, I actually had a few extra minutes to spend with a friend who also had a few extra minutes. Then it was on to the appointments and finally finished at 2:15.

No small wonder I was hungry...breakfast was lots of hours ago. But what to eat? I wanted to get in a quick bike ride since the 60ish weather will soon be a thing of the past...but I'm hungry.

Scanning the fridge I saw a loaf of home-made bread, I remembered a fresh jar of extra crunchy peanut butter in the pantry and was willing to settle for that on toast..but wait. There is an old jar of some kind of jelly, I'll use that up.

I sliced the bread, stuck it in the toaster and retrieved the jelly; a cherry-ameretto jelly from Colorado. Must have been in there for ages! Ugh...it is almost crystallized, so I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
The toast was ready so I slathered it with crunchy peanut butter and was about to spread the jelly but then I noticed that it was now a liquid. So I poured it over the peanut buttered toast. OMG!!!

It was wonderful! Try heating your jelly and pouring it on your sandwich! You will not be disappointed. If done correctly, you may need a knife and fork.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Official

Thanksgiving is now behind us and Christmas is just around the corner...
So here is a little something to put you in the mood. Enjoy!