Perfect Wine Pairing – Unexpected

IMG_1287
My favorite wine is “old vine” Zinfandel. It’s just the richest of the rich red wines. You’d think about having it with some serious red meat, so imagine our surprise when it paired perfectly with the side-dish instead! What, oh what, was this amazing side-dish, you ask? Simple, steamed Delicata squash! Give it a try, and enjoy!!

Kiwi Chutney – A Savory Idea To Use Up Extra Kiwis

Kiwi_fruit
When we decided to start taking some of our bumper crop of kiwis in our lunches, we realized the ones we quartered and brought to eat were under-ripe (to say the least! You can’t even bite through the flesh!) We both brought our little container home that day, and just left them in the fridge to see if they’d ripen a little more.

After a week or so, no change, so I got my thinking cap on. Maybe there are some ideas for savory dishes with kiwi fruit on the internet. No real inspiration there. Sigh. Well, we also had a large crop of blueberries this year, and there were still 3 gallon bags of them in the freezer that needed to be used up. One of the bags had probably about a cup and a half left in it, so I brought that one out of the freezer and started thinking about chutney. I’ve made chutney with a lot of things. Why not kiwis?

Well, it turned out so very tasty, and I’ve had a lot of requests for the recipe, so here you go. I’m not a real measuring person, but I don’t think it really matters here. I’ll just do it as a narrative, and you can put your own creativity into yours. 🙂

I started off by chopping half of a large onion. I threw that into a sauce pan with about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar and what was left in the bag of brown sugar, which was probably a half cup. I put the heat on and let the onions simmer for a good long time until they were soft. Meanwhile, I was quartering and peeling the kiwis. I think there were 6-8 medium to large ones altogether. I chopped up the flesh about the same size as the chopped onion pieces, and threw them into the pan. Again, I cooked them down for a while until soft. Near the end, I tossed in the frozen blueberries, which by that time were partly thawed. I left them in there long enough for them to finish thawing and heat through, but still keep their shape. At the end, I minced up a few leaves of mint and stirred it in.

We served it with pork chops and it was magnificent! I just had a taste of the leftovers, and it’s slightly sweet, lightly tangy, and a very meaty texture. I hope you enjoy it as we have!

Kiwi Jello – Yes, It Can Be Done!

Kiwi_fruitWe have kiwi vines on an arbor in our front yard, which faces south. This is a good thing, because we live in a northern climate. We started growing them at least 10 years ago with some success after about 4-5 years, but this year we had an exceptional summer for crops. We picked 106 kiwis! Nearly 10 pounds of them, and most of them are as large as the ones you get in the stores. Nice!

You may or may not know that kiwis aren’t ready to eat when you pick them. They have to be put in a paper bag for a couple of weeks. You can hasten their ripening by putting an apple in with them, but we didn’t do that this year, which is probably a good thing, because we sort of ignored them for a little too long. When I checked on them, most were still not ready, but a few were pretty darned squishy. Not wanting to throw them away because of our neglect, I tried to think of something I could do with them and save the day, and the fruit.

The first thing I did was put them in the freezer for a while, so at least they’d be firm enough to cut up once I had an idea for what to do with them. Then I remembered I had made us a kiwi sorbet a couple of years ago. That was pretty nice. Keeping dessert in mind, I then thought about jello. But there was something in the back of my head that said you can’t make jello with kiwis or pineapples. Sure enough, that’s right on the side of the jello box. Undaunted, I went to the computer to find out why. Many people commented on pineapples – you can use canned but not fresh. Canning heats the pineapple and takes away some enzyme or other. Ah ha! I’m going to cook my kiwis!

Out of the freezer they came, and I quartered them and peeled them. Well, actually I just sort of squished the flesh off the skin – they were that soft. Then into a sauce pan and onto the burner. I cooked them for a while, then hit them with the immersion blender. I added some agave nectar (lower glycemic index for hubby, who isn’t diabetic but needs to watch his sugar intake) until it was just barely sweet. Then I followed the directions on a package of Knox Gelatin. You use 4 envelopes to make jello jigglers, so that’s what I did. I used the hot kiwi puree to dissolve some of the gelatin, then added enough water to come up to what the directions said, stirred in the remaining gelatin, then put it all into a rectangular baking dish, and into the fridge.

A few hours later, and we had our kiwi jello jigglers! They’re just sweet enough to not be tangy or tart, and the little crunch from the seeds is quite fun. If you have lots of kiwis to use, like we do, this is one creative idea that I hope you’ll try and enjoy!

Are you an Executor or Personal Representative? I can help with estates and trusts.

I am a Registered Financial Consultant, having received my Certificate in Financial Planning from Kaplan College in 2003. I have a wealth of experience with estates and trusts, and I offer my services to Executors and Personal Representatives to help them navigate the paperwork and financial obligations of their duties. It can be a confusing and troubling time for people who are not professionals, but it is very expensive to work with lawyers constantly through the whole process. My service is to “hand-hold” people with these responsibilities. I am especially helpful with finances and accounting for assets. I can help you get closure without a gigantic legal bill.

Happy Holidays!

JillCandyCanesTwas the year of the goatee and all through the house
Not a razor was stirring while growing it out.
The stubble was trimmed on the chin with great care
In the hopes that soft whiskers soon would be there.

The kids were all happy and having some fun,
While Nick and his new wife had welcomed a son.
And Kim and Bill snuggling through cold winters’ nip
Had started to plan for our big East Coast trip.

When days of the month had flown by like a raven,
A weekend at old Salish Lodge was our haven.
Away to the mountains, no need for a map,
Tore open our luggage and took a big nap.

The Golden-eye Ducks on the river below
Gave a test to our new camera’s zoom in light low.
When what to our wonderment happened again
But another month passed, and a birthday for Kim.

With a leisurely drive down to South Whidbey Isle,
We knew at Bloom’s Wine Suite we’d stay for a while.
More rapid than needed the weekend went by
And we packed up, and grumbled, and said our goodbye.

Now Nathan, now eight months, to hospital check-in
For open heart surgery sure to protect him.
To the N.I.C.U., to the path to get well
Now heal away, heal away, healed I can tell!

As the wintertime flew like a hurricane by,
A big family train trip to Whitefish was nigh.
So we toured around town and we drove here and there
With Daniel and Leo and Evan and Claire.

And then, to the Preakness, we’re Pimlico bound,
To watch jewel two of the grand Triple Crown!
As we left Baltimore, we went on to D.C.
Down the Mall we did walk, all the sights we did see.

June was dressed in a mixture of sad things and glad.
Kim was now unemployed, but Daniel’s a grad!
A bundle of toys in July was our joy
As we partied with Nathan, the one-year-old boy.

The stars—how they twinkle in August most years!
We camped in the rain, but we still had some cheer
For our twenty-three years of marital bliss,
And with Bill’s beard grown in, we enjoyed a nice kiss.

Work is done on the pipes that hook up to the spa!
To the steam and the bubbles we shout our hurrahs!
At Bill’s class reunion we had a great time,
At resort Semiahmoo–a weekend sublime.

For Bill’s birthday, to Vegas, a jolly old town
Where we laughed when we saw Penn & Teller, renown
Seeing Donny & Marie again was a treat
(And this time, Marie we got to meet!)

We drove on towards Phoenix, Sedona beguiled.
Then to Turf Paradise, where Kim went as a child.
We’re laying our plans to return there one day,
But giving a nod, on the plane—on our way.

Bill’s planning retirement two years from now,
Kim’s helping to start a new charity—wow!
We’re sending our blessings to all you hold dear—
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Good Year!

Crustless Quiche Florentine for people with food intolerances

quicheMaking a crustless quiche solves one of my problems with food: gluten intolerance.  But for me the list goes on and on.  Lactose intolerance, egg intolerance, and a possible allergy to spinach.  Fortunately I am able to tolerate goat cheese fairly well, but since most types don’t melt very well, using it as a topping is going to give you the best result.  Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 1 lb          Bacon, fried until crisp, and crumbled
  • 1 cup      Shredded or crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 cups    Kale, blanched and minced, and squeezed very dry
  • 1 cup      Egg Beaters (trademark)
  • 2 cups    Almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp  Celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp  White pepper

Heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Put the crumbled bacon and minced kale in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, or baking dish similar to the one in the photo.  Beat the “eggs” and “milk” with the salt and pepper, and pour it all over the bacon and kale.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce the the heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for another 30 minutes, topping with the goat cheese about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time.  Let the quiche stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.  This makes about 6 servings.

This is a winner for my husband as well.  He also has eating issues, but his are with swallowing.  This is very moist and goes down without effort.  Please enjoy!

Pet Peeves

CatInABitchBox

It seems like the newest trend in American language butchering is to answer a question with “So”.  I hear this all the time when I’m listening to interview programs on television.  The interviewer might ask, “Can you tell us more about how your widget works?”  The widget creator will invariably answer, “So, you put the gadget into the gizmo, and the widget starts right up.”  Why do you need “So”?  Every question about the widget gets answered with “So”.  It is SO annoying!

Before I get off my soap box (or out of the box in the picture), there’s a phrase that bothers me to no end every time I hear it.  “There’s No Place Like This Place Any Place.”  Then this place doesn’t exist!  Am I right?  Just add “else” to the end of the sentence people.  Then it makes sense (if it was even intended to make sense.)

About Me

It is my desire to help my organization and my team members succeed.  I strive to be outstanding in everything I do.

 

SUMMARY OF SKILLS

  • I have been in the accounting field since 1980
  • Extensive experience with audit preparation, both financial and tax
  • Highly focused on the balance sheet
  • Expert with treasury / banking management
  • Very proficient with QuickBooks and complex Excel functions

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

 

Senior Accountant                                                                             10/2007 – 6/2013

Coldwell Banker Bain (for Rainier Title & Escrow), Everett, WA

  • Engaged as a reconciliation expert to correct more than two years of inaccurate bank reconciliations, creating a new position of Escrow Accountant.
  • Saved the company many hundreds of thousands of dollars by correcting errors and preventing fraud.
  • Served as Escrow banking administrator, and oversaw several bank transitions and software transitions, both title & escrow software and accounting software.
  • Assumed duties of CFO and ran the accounting department, including financial statements and incentive calculations, during a change in department management.

Controller & Webmaster                                                                  3/1998 – 9/2007

American Freedom Group / Veteran Mortgage, Everett, WA (out of business)

  • Responsible for all accounting duties for a start-up mortgage company.
  • In-house payroll and taxes, financial statements, and commission calculations.
  • Licensed the company to operate and do payroll in 12 states.
  • Helped set up 60 branches, and prepared their daily commissions via ACH debit.
  • Audited mortgage files for accuracy and fraud prevention.

Executive Director and Board Member                                               3/2002 – Present

Volunteers for Outdoor Washington, Seattle, WA

  • Six months after first volunteering, I was elected to the Board of Directors as Treasurer to complete the term of the former member in that role.
  • Elected to two terms as President.
  • During this time, I assisted the Executive Director with his accounting duties, and prepared the annual Form 990.
  • Hired (part-time, weekends) as Executive Director.  I do all of the accounting, prepare financial statements for Board Meetings, and do all tax filings.

Owner – Accounting Service                                                                        1/1984 – Present

Accountech, Marysville, WA

  • Client bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and tax work.
  • From start-up companies to initial public offerings, simple bank reconciliations to complex financial statements and taxes.
  • Audit preparation expert.

Other Employment History

2001 to Present — Webmaster, Be the Star You Are!® Literacy charity

2000 to March 2002 — Controller, Century 21 Advantage, Lynnwood

1999 to 2004 — Webmaster, Veteran Realty Services, Inc., Everett

1999 to March 2002 — Controller, Advantage Mortgage Group, Inc., Everett

1989 to 1996  — Volunteer, Boy Scouts of America, Leadership training, Fundraising chair

1982 to 1983 — Retail sales, Pipelane, Ltd., Northgate Mall, Seattle

1981 to 1983 — Full-charge Bookkeeper, Datavue Corporation, Seattle

1980 to 1981 — Full-charge Bookkeeper, Sound Technical Services, Seattle

1980—General Office, Benson & McLaughlin, CPAs, Seattle

1979—General Office, Ederer Cranes, Seattle

1978—Insurance Agent Clerk, Farmer’s Ins., Oceanside, CA

1977—Cashier, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, Seattle

EDUCATION

2013—America’s Professor — Study course leading to Health Insurance License

2002-2003—Kaplan College — Certification in Financial Planning

2000—Certified Bookkeeper study course

1999—Escrow Funding & Standards Course & Basics of Mortgage Lending course,

         School of Mortgage Lending, Bellevue

1990—ACCPAC Plus Implementation Training Course, Bellevue

1984-1986—Training and mentoring with CPAs for audit preparation skills

1983—Assisted spouse with CPA Exam Study Course

1980-1981—Part-time student, Highline Community College, Seattle

                 Course of study: Computer Programming

1976-1977—Full-time student, Highline Community College, Seattle

                 Course of study: Biology & Chemistry

1976—Honors Graduate, Highline High School, Seattle

SKILLS AND AWARDS

  • Very experienced with Microsoft Office software, and multiple accounting softwares
  • Experienced managing large groups of volunteers
  • Experienced with major fund-raising campaigns, and grant-writing assistance
  • Notary Public
  • 1995 recipient of the Den Leader of the Year Award, Mt. Baker Council, BSA
  • 1996 recipient of the District Award of Merit, Mt. Baker Council, BSA
  • 2010 recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award, Volunteers for Outdoor Washington

In Memoriam

Jill Byington

June 27, 1959 to December 8, 2010

Jill Byington

Family, friends, students, co-workers, and people around the world that cared so much for Jill, let’s come together to celebrate her life by sharing favorite memories and pictures.