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Sheila

KN, p. 254 “The Kerrians and the Pandemic”

 

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since we posted anything new, but we are all fine. I figured I should give you an update so you wouldn’t worry. Sheila and Bridget are looking over my shoulder and said hi!

 

Sheila had three gel injections in her knee since surgery didn’t quite do the job and it’s now improving enough so that she can work in the garden for half an hour on sunny days. That makes us both happy. I’ve hated seeing her struggle with the crutch to get up and down the stairs, and now she doesn’t have to. This week she even swatted my hand away when I reached to help her up the front steps – crutch free. Every day, she does a few strength building exercises at home and rides our standing bike as well. Her limp is nearly gone and her stride is almost smooth again. She is determined to get all the way back to normal. That gal has grit.  🙂

 


My sister from Texas came to visit us and after the entire world became a hotbed of germs, we invited her to stay for the duration. What seemed at first like a crazy flu that occasionally sweeps the globe, has turned out to be much more aggressive and deadly than anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. It seemed smarter to have sis bunk with us, rather than travel back home 1200 miles away, not knowing what services would be available on the road.

 


All these restrictions at first seemed like they were wild government overreach, but we started following the world news and saw what was happening in other countries. Facts and figures about the new cases and deaths jump every day now. The worldwide stats are staggering. Any numbers I post here will be out of date before I press the key on the keyboard.


This is what I have heard most often to be true:


Distancing works. Staying home except for food and essential services runs is better for everyone in helping slow (and maybe even stop) the Covid19 progression in this country. Store deliveries are not available in many areas of the USA, so for those that must shop in person, being careful about the six-foot rule is smart.


Washing hands and cleaning surfaces in the house helps keep you and other family members from getting sick. Check out this video about why 20 seconds of hand washing several times a day will do the trick:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LKVUarhtvE&utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email&utm_placement=etcetera

 


Wearing gloves when exchanging money or handling products in the store is also a good lifestyle choice right now.

 

Normal routines are out the window while the kids do distance learning and parents work from home. Sheila’s sick leave ended just before Covid19 became a big deal and now she’s all set up to conduct classes online. The school system did a couple of trial runs and everyone officially starts Monday. Our neighbors have set up schedules that have become the new practices, accommodating the fact that adults and children are all in the house together all day long. Chores still need to be done, and now everyone is pitching in. One of the guys down the street told me (from six feet away) that he’s teaching his son to cook on the grill. A family that cooks together has a lot more fun, IMO.

 

The families in the neighborhood that seem happiest about this disruption spend time with each other in the evenings, playing board games or video games together, or actually using those basketball hoops in the driveways. Family exercise – whether walking or riding bikes or jogging or soccer on the lawn – is great. I’ve been practicing chipping and putting into a large box in the backyard. I’ll be soooooo ready for the golf course when it opens again.

 

We’re staying busy, and with all three of us healthy, we’re coping fairly well during this pandemic. Yes, there are shortages, but patience and careful planning will get us through.

 

We really are all in this together.

 

 

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KNR, p. 35 “Kerrian’s Irish Soda Bread”

 


Our travels in Ireland led us to quite a few B&Bs and at each and every one, they served soda bread with breakfast. We liked the versions with raisins, so when we returned to the USA, Sheila baked and I taste-tested until we agreed on this recipe. Most people have it only on St. Patrick’s Day, when they pretend to be Irish, but we enjoy it all year round. No yeast required.

 

Kerrian's Favorite Irish Soda Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups + 1 Tablespoon bread flour
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine 4 cups flour, raisins, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
  2. In a stainless steel bowl, gently whisk the buttermilk and vegetable oil. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients while mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball, 30-40 seconds. Scrape the dough away from the paddle and turn the dough ball over. Mix on low speed for another 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead vigorously with the heels of your hands until smooth, about two minutes. Form the dough into a round loaf. Pinch a small handful of dough and gently twist, being careful not to tear the dough from the loaf. Place the dough, pinched side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water, then lightly brush the mixture over the top of the loaf. Score the loaf by cutting a 1/4’’ deep ‘X’ into the top. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. The bread is done if a hollow sound is heard when the bottom is tapped with your finger. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.
 

Serve with butter or honey. Makes a very nice toast. Enjoy!

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

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KN, p. 207 “Sheila’s Resolutions for 2018”

 

Sheila here.  🙂 

Charlie is outside shoveling the walk again, so I’m posting my own Resolutions for 2018. First, a word about the fruitcakes that just kept coming, no matter how many moans and grumbles Charlie shared with the Kerrian readers. Personally, I think the Post Office gals are in on the joke, since more than half the fruitcakes (we counted 53 this year) were delivered anonymously between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I mean, how many return address labels can you ‘lose?’  LOLOL

 

I never stick to any of my own resolutions unless they are about cooking, reading, or gardening, so here goes – a doable list for me for 2018.

 

1) Create some recipes that contain chocolate. Chocolate is good for you.  🙂

2) Eat more chocolate. See #1.

 

3) Do the 10,000-step program. The back garden needs a few changes, so 10K a day should be easy. Bad weather? I’ll do laps inside the house or ride my stationary bike to get credit.

 

4) Plant some vegetables in the garden this year. It would be great to have fresh tomatoes and squash for the late summer quiches we make.

 

5) Take a golf lesson with my new driver. Maybe two lessons. I keep topping the ball.

 

6) Schedule a daily time to read. Right now, it’s hit or miss and I really want to read a few of the mysteries and thrillers that the gal at www.nightstandbookreviews.com has recommended.

 

7) Learn to make a flaky pie crust. I read that mixing cold water and cold vodka in equal parts to add to the flour, guarantees a flaky crust. Could that be true?

 

8) Clean out the attic. Charlie says it’s all my stuff up there, so if he cleans out the garage, I’ll do the attic.

 

9) Try new brands of chocolate. See #1. The local grocery store has added an entire six-foot section to the chocolate bar area. They finally know who their customers are.

 

10) Work on a guacamole dip for the playoff season. I have a secret ingredient. If it’s any good, we’ll share it in Kerrian’s Kitchen.

 

There you have it. A list that includes both self-improvement and bucket-list goals, but all possible. Except maybe the attic, because I really don’t want to do that one. One box at a time, right?

 

Thank you, the Kerrian readers, for your terrific support throughout the years. You are the BEST group of followers and we can’t brag about you enough.  🙂  🙂

 

Until next time, Happy Sleuthing!

 

 

 

 

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