Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Finally Did It!

You may recall that I ALMOST got a picture of the gopher that calls my yard home (see "Gophers. The Little brown, furry rodents." Caddyshack) back in August 2011.  I understand poor Bill Murray's unsuccessful attempts to kill get rid of the little guy.  Not because I want to kill get rid of him, but he has frustrated me in my attempts to get a picture of him.  No more.

As I was out taking pictures of the birds on the new feeder my son Cameron got me for Christmas,

American Goldfinch
 ( 1/400sec    F6.3   +0.0 EV    ISO 250    210.0mm    Sony NEX-5N )

and trying out the tripod and telephoto lens, I spied this pile of dirt in front of me.

Then I noticed that the dirt was moving.  All of a sudden I saw this.

Can you see his little face?  I took a brave pill and decided to try and get closer.  Back in August when I tried this it did not work out well.  I think the pressure and vibration of my footsteps scared him off.  Not this time.

Do I dare push my luck and get even closer?  Of course!  I may never get this opportunity again.

Then I was busted.  He saw me.

I really thought it was all over when I brought Cameron out to see the pile of dirt.  It wasn't.

I am satisfied, unlike Mr. Murray in Caddyshack.  I saw and was able to photograph my little Texas Pocket Gopher.  Ahhhh.

I have also been cooking like crazy now that I have everything I need to cook per my weekly menu spreadsheet.  Yesterday we ate shredded chicken enchiladas (with another full serving in the freezer for some other day), and today is lasagna (also a double batch).  I put my brisket in the crockpot this morning so I can have it ready to slice and warm in the oven for dinner tomorrow (that was a triple batch!).  I love organization.  Sorry no pictures of the enchiladas, but how about this lasagna!

Yum.  And better yet, one for the freezer for another day without the fuss.

Here is the recipe.  Easy and fairly light as far as Lasagna goes.

1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
1/2 lb. sausage, browned
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves, garlic, minced
1 (20 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup salsa
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 box lasagna noodles, cooked
16 oz. 2% fat cottage cheese (that's the light part)
4 cups mozzarella, grated
3/4 cups Parmesan

Now this is really easy, everybody.  Mix first 13 ingredients into a large sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes.  I make this the day before while dinner is in the oven and refrigerate overnight.  Cooled sauce is easier to work with.  Anyway, now mix the 3 cheeses together in a separate bowl.  Spray some Pam in a large 13 x 9 pan or use 2 9x9 pans and freeze one.  Layer noodles, tomato sauce, and cheese ending with a cheese layer and bake covered in foil for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake 20 minutes more.  Cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.  *If freezing, line pan with foil sprayed with Pam and assemble the lasagna.  Cover with foil and freeze.  After it is frozen, remove it from the pan and put it in a freezer bag.  When you are ready to cook, place the foil wrapped lasagna back in the pan to bake.  This way you don't have to do without your pan as it sits in the freezer.

It was a good day.