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26 January 2010 @ 08:48 am
A colleague of mine mentioned she was having trouble coming up with good meals from her crock pot, so I decided that when I made borscht this weekend, I'd write everything down and type it up for her. So since I typed it up anyway, I thought I might as well share!

Chaos Queen’s Crock Pot Borscht

Inspired by the recipe at http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/borscht/


5-Quart Crock Pot

Makes 8 generous servings



·         4-8 cups beef broth or water (as needed)

·         1-2 pounds beef shank, soup bones, stew meat, or combo
(bones have great flavor and are less expensive, and I like meat, too)

·         1 large onion, chopped (large pieces)

·         4 large beets, diced large

·         4 carrots, chopped or sliced

·         1 large russet potato (or equivalent amount of whatever potatoes you have), diced

·         2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

·         3/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or dried equivalent – about 4 T)

·         3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or lemon juice, to taste)

·         1 cup sour cream

·         Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the meat. If it’s a shank or soup bones, trim off extra fat and discard. If stew meat, cut larger pieces down to the size you want.
  2. Salt and pepper meat, brown in a little olive oil, and put into crock pot.
  3. Add vegetables (except dill) to crock pot. I add more until it’s full to the top!
  4. Add broth or water to about 1/2” below the top of the ingredients. I use a measuring cup so I know how much water I put in, then add bouillon cubes to match.
  5. Plug crock pot in, set to low, and go to work. (Cook 8-10 hours.)
  6. When you get home from work (or 30-60 minutes before you want to serve), stir the borscht and remove the bones, and any other funny-looking stuff to a bowl to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Add dill (if you have fresh dill, save ¼ C of it for serving) and vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones, cartilage, and other stuff no one would want to eat. Cut up the good meat and return to pot.
  9. Add more broth or water if you want.
  10. Cook 30-60 minutes more. Check flavor one more time, adding more salt, pepper, dill, or vinegar if you think it needs it.
  11. Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh dill if you’ve got it, and crusty bread.



  • I like a chunky, stew-like consistency, so I use a lot of ingredients, dice the vegetables fairly large and leave the meat in larger chunks. You can cut things smaller if you want, or even shred vegetables in a food processor.
  • The thinner you slice the cabbage, the more likely it will disappear, which is great if you like the nutrients but don’t like to be reminded that you’re eating it.
  • I always brown the meat first, because I like the flavor and color. But you can skip this. You’re not trying to cook the meat, just brown the outside.
  • I always leave vegetables unpeeled. You can peel them if you want.
  • If anyone will be in the house all day, remind them to leave the pot alone and not take off the lid!
  • Crock pots do not lose much water during the day, so don’t put in too much at the beginning. You can always add more later.
  • To save time in the morning, you can cut up the vegetables the night before and put them in the fridge, then just dump them in the crock pot, and/or skip browning the meat and just put it in there.

10 November 2009 @ 04:16 pm

You may have heard me mention that I recently joined the Denver Turnverein Chorus.

My first concert with them is a week from Saturday. It happens that I joined just in time to participate in a joint venture between the Denver Turnverein Chorus, the Colorado Hebrew Chorale, and the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, to mark the 200th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn by performing selections from his oratorio Elijah.

I would love it if you would come.

Tickets are $18, which includes a kosher dinner and Israeli folk-dancing afterwards. (You can also buy a ticket for just the concert for $11.)

You can buy tickets from me, or by calling Peg Rocklin 303-985-0150 or Bev Curtiss 303-455-1640, or at the door. If you want tickets that include the dinner, please let me know before Thu Nov 12 (we need to place the catering order ahead of time).

My friends will no doubt be amused to see me singing -- with a straight face, and with feeling! -- lyrics like "Thanks Be to God!" and "Holy is God the Lord". Not to mention "Baal, let thy flames fall, and extirpate the foe!"

More Info

Saturday, November 21, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
At the Historic Turnverein Cultural Center
1570 Clarkson Street, Downtown Denver
Honoring the 200th Anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth
Denver Turnverein Chorus
Colorado Hebrew Chorale
Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra
Soloists: Robert Gardner, Baritone, and Audra Gardner, Soprano

11 July 2008 @ 02:42 pm
If you would like help from the technical person in your office, consider asking the question you actually want answered. For example, if you ask a question like, "Is there some reason my [application] isn't working?", the technical answer is, "Well, yes, probably". Did that help you?

Didn't you mean to say, "I am having trouble with [application]. Would you please come and fix it?"

This has happened to me twice in the last two days....
11 February 2008 @ 09:28 pm

 In case anyone was wondering, I did buy the nice Acura with all the bells and whistles. I'm enjoying tooling around in my "new" car!

Only two problems so far:
- Every time I look at it, I see a scratch or ding I hadn't noticed before. It is 4 years old, so this isn't unreasonable, but I get startled anyway.
- The awesome stereo includes a 6-CD changer in the dash. But the "random" mode only shuffles the songs on the current disk, not all 6 disks at once.

Oh, well.

Other than that, it seems to overall be a good choice. If anyone wants a recommendation for an auto broker, I've got about a dozen of his business cards!

11 February 2008 @ 09:20 pm
Just a little reminder, for those who were there on Sunday, of what I'm sure is now their favorite theme song!

Interesting trivia at <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054047/trivia">http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054047/trivia</a> -- including the fact that Mexican censors required the peasants to always be wearing clean clothes!

Next week we'll see Unforgiven, the last in our Westerns theme.

30 January 2008 @ 08:22 pm
I have been trying for a long time to follow the advice that you should drive your car until it falls apart before buying a new one, because you'll save tons of money over your lifetime. This has been a bit of a struggle lately, because after 10 years I really was starting to get sick of my car, especially after it picked up some new dings and scrapes.

This week, I basically got my wish. I took the car into the shop because it had been acting funny. Turns out there's a lot wrong with it that I didn't know about. The basics:
1. It's not safe to drive.
2. It's not worth fixing, because the cost of the repairs approach the value of the car.

So now I'm car shopping.

What I know so far:
- I want a car new enough to still be under warranty, but not brand new (the "you lose $5000 just driving it off the lot" theory).
- I plan to work with a car broker, rather than a dealership or car lot.
- I liked have a convertible, BUT
- I'm intriged by the idea of a hybrid
- I do have to haul computers around for work.
- I will not buy an SUV or pickup truck
- I'll need to finance some of it.

Advice welcome!
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
21 January 2008 @ 06:46 pm
Comments on this week's movies:

* Stagecoach, 1939 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031971/

The stagecoach driver was Andy Devine, who is mentioned in the Jimmy Buffet song, "Pencil Thin Mustache". I've never known who he was.

The IMDB trivia section for this film does suggest the horses were tripped, not acting. These pages mention the tripping technique, at the American Humane Association site; the first shows an image that I think is actually from Stagecoach:

* High Noon, 1952 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044706/

Did anyone notice Harry Morgan in there? I didn't.

Lee Van Cleef's first film, and he didn't get any lines!

Next up:
* Bad Day at Black Rock, 1955 (based on SS "Bad Time At Honda")  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047849/
* The Magnificent Seven, 1960 (remake of The Seven Samurai) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054047/
* Unforgiven, 1992 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105695/

Bad Day at Black Rock is only 80 minutes, but Magnificent Seven is over two hours, so they wouldn't make a good double feature. Any suggestions for a film to pair with Bad Day, or shall we just have a shorter night?

The cast lists of these older movies just blow me away. Especially when it turns out many of the now famous actors were unknowns at the time. John Wayne almost didn't get the part in Stagecoach because of previous lousy B movies!

06 January 2008 @ 10:49 pm
Here's my original list of suggestions for westerns. This doesn't include "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", but I wanted to see that, too. (1966, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060196/)

Are we alternating Westerns with so-bad-they're-good, when we come back on the 20th?

Chronological order would give us a feel for the evolution of Westerns. Some of these are from a book of short stories I read titled, "No, But I Saw The Movie":
* Stagecoach, 1939 (based on short story "Stage to Lordsburg") (Starring John Wayne!) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031971/
* High Noon, 1952 (based on SS "The Tin Star") http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044706/
* Bad Day at Black Rock, 1955 (based on SS "Bad Time At Honda")  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047849/
* The Magnificent Seven, 1960 (remake of The Seven Samurai) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054047/
* Unforgiven, 1992 (many name it as the best modern western, I've never seen it) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105695/

That's 5, which plus TGTBATU makes 6, more than "a month". We can talk about whether we want to see that many. I'd like to see those early ones, though. Stagecoach and High Noon are each only 1 1/2 hrs, we could try to do both in one night, if we wanted. 
03 May 2007 @ 09:39 pm
Ok, here's my newbie question. Somehow, when I first set up this LJ account, and started adding people, I found a setting to be notified by email when a particular "friend" posts something on their own journal. I want to set it up on other "friends", but can no longer figure out where the setting is. This is not the same as the setting to receive notifications when someone posts replies to *my* journal.

Li'l help?
Current Mood: confusedconfused
02 May 2007 @ 02:59 pm
This is Cara. I finally broke down and got a LJ account.

I'll probably just be posting on friends' pages.
Current Mood: goodgood