Merry Yule, y’all!

2013’s end is upon us and I’m relieved. It’s been a crazy year with lots of plan changing, etc.

For the most part, it’s been a quiet year. We’ve kept our heads down and not interacted much with the world outside our cave. But while it’s appeared to be a nothing year on the outside, it’s been a big year on the inside. We’ve changed our direction yet again and decided to heed the Universe and use our resources here rather than try to get something going elsewhere. Like a sailboat, we tack to get to our destination. :)

Let me explain. We’ve been gearing up to gtfo of GA for a few years. We’ve pulled back from social activities and concentrated on getting ready to go. Nick started looking for jobs in earnest at the beginning of the year. That’s when we realised that there ARE NO JOBS. Anywhere. Just crappy jobs that pay $20k less for twice the work. It was shocking to see the dearth of jobs available. The government squawking about recovery? Yah, that’s a lie.

So, with that sad truth to deal with, we started to rethink our plans. Ok, so if there are no jobs, then we’ll stay here. It helped that an internet buddy faced the same thing and I had someone to talk to! We decided a few months ago that we’d stop pouring energy into a lost cause (moving) and start putting it into moving towards our longterm goals.

Funny how changing your mind really, truly DOES change your reality.

Not long after we’d made the decision to stay, things started to happen. Nick found an arcade game guy and bought his first game (a broken Centipede), I started working a little in a professional kitchen and our world seemed to open up for the first time in a long time.

As with all change, you can’t really choose what’s going to happen when, but you just have to roll with it. So when the Ranger died week before last, we just had to deal. I hopped online and found a replacement within a half hour. The 05 Supercab XLT is still mired in paperwork, but we should have it by the end of this week, working around christmas, of course. Our savings and mad money have been pretty much gutted, but hey, we are buying cash, so it’s worth it. We also get to pay the HUGE tag fees now that GA has changed to a one time FAT fee rather than yearly ad valorem taxes. Ugh. I think I’d rather have the yearly.

The end of 2013 has been with its stresses, but overall it’s been a year of good changes. We approach 2014 with even more changes in store such as trying to take back the house and work on our credit scores. Taking back the house should be an adventure. LOL

We here at the Weasel Lair wish everyone a lovely holiday and a prosperous 2014. Hey, there’s no where to go but UP, right? :)

Creamy Kale Sautée

This is a spin on creamed spinach. We love kale and the Pictsweet frozen baby kale is perfect to keep on hand for a quick side dish!

Creamy Kale Sautée
1 bag (family size) frozen baby kale (Pictsweet has it)
1/4 cup diced pancetta (or 4 slices bacon, diced)
1 med onion (or a coupla shallots) diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 or more red pepper flakes
1 Tbl butter
1/2 C cream
fresh ground nutmeg

Render pancetta or bacon in a large skillet, low and slow. This will take about 10 minutes. In the meantime, chop up your veg. When fat has rendered out, add butter, red pepper, onions and garlic and sweat until veg is tender. Turn up heat and add frozen kale. Stir occasionally until kale has defrosted and become hot. Add in cream, a few grinds of nutmeg (dash) and S/P to taste. Great side for steak!

Brussels Sprouts w/ Pecans

This dish was a big hit for Thanksgiving and I’ve been asked for the recipe, so here ya go! It is a spin on something Alton Brown makes.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts w/ Pecans

1 – 2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Craisins (or plain dried cranberries)
1/2 c leek, thinly sliced
1# of fresh brussels sprouts, sliced very very thinly (about 3 cups or so after slicing)
splash or two of chicken (or veg) stock

Start olive oil and butter in a large skillet over med-hi flame. When butter melts, add in pecans and sautée for 3-4 minutes – don’t burn them. Turn down heat to med and add shallots, garlic and Craisins and simmer until shallots are translucent and garlic is soft. Watch carefully so as not to burn! Add leeks and turn heat back up a little, then stir leeks until they start to soften. Add brussels sprouts and toss everything together. Add just a splash or two of stock (1/4 cup, max) to steam the veg. Add S/P to taste. Turn down heat to med and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sprouts are bright green and soft. Check your seasoning and serve!

Critter Count, Eastern Edition

This count is for the trip to Nutsville for Thanksgiving.

Critter: 25
Greasy Spot: 5
Road Pizza: 7
Deer: 1
Hawk: 2
Cooler: 1
Bud Lite box: 1

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!