Monday, May 31, 2010

Enjoying Our Vacation

Hey there! I'm writing this to you all from a new state today. Guess I'm not quite as technically challenged as I thought. One of these days I'll get a laptop and it won't be an issue. Anyway, I didn't forget my menus even though I'm away. Although I figured you'd all be doing the cookout thing for Memorial Day and didn't include one for that.

Tuesday--All-American Chicken and Vegetables, Cheddar Biscuits
Wednesday--Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta, Carrots, Salad
Thursday--Maple Roasted Pork and Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Sliced Tomatoes
Friday--Taco Night
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, May 28, 2010

On the Bookshelf

It's the last of the photos I've taken in the yard for the week. I'll try to have something different than flowers for next time, but they were just so pretty I couldn't help but share. This clematis is from the trellis in the front of my house. Poor little thing, I nearly killed it last year. I got a little "prune happy" and thought I'd lop off all the dead looking parts. Apparently this clematis turns woody on the old growth. The whole thing came off. There was just a nub left. It decided to give me another chance and I promised it I would leave the pruning shears for the roses.

Today I thought I'd take a minute to share a few books that I refer to over and over. They help keep me organized, grounded, and sane. Maybe you can sneak a little information into your summer reading. They're all oldies, but they're oh so goodies.

* Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman, Ann Ortlund (getting yourself together)
* Simply Organized, Emilie Barnes (getting your home together)
* Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach (I don't agree with everything she has to say, but there's some great stuff in there, and wonderful quotes)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I thought we'd do something a little different. It just felt like a day to count my blessings. The list could be so very long, but I'll limit it to five.

1. I'm thankful that this photo reminds me of how I've learned to bloom where I've been planted.

2. I'm thankful that so far today no one else is sick.

3. I'm thankful that I live in a place where a doctor visit is just a phone call away and medicine for my children is readily available.

4. I'm thankful to realize that stuff is just stuff, pretty as it is.

5. I'm thankful that this is my 50th post, it's gotten here so quickly. And, I'm thankful for you who have shared this journey with me. You are a sweet, dear friend.

What about you? What are you thankful for today? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There Goes Another One

Why is it when you're trying to get ready to go on vacation, that everyone gets sick? I had to take another child to the doctor today. That wasn't in my plans at all. And no, they aren't even sick with the same thing. Jack's got the beginnings of strep or the flu, they're not sure which it is yet. The crazy thing is that this happens every single time. I don't think we've ever gone on vacation that I didn't end up with someone at the doctor the week before.

Don't think I've lost my mind (yet). The menu for last night was for london broil and that's what we had. I just used the recipe below and substituted london broil for the brisket. It smelled so good cooking we could hardly stand it, and it was very tender. It was a nice change to the usual way we cook it.

Home-Style Beef Brisket

1 env. onion soup mix
3/4 c. water
1.2 c. ketchup
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 lb. boneless brisket (or london broil)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In 13x9 pan, add soup mix blended with water, ketchup, garlic powder, parsley, and pepper. Add meat and turn to coat. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake 3 hours. Serves 8

Here's a picture of one of my crepe myrtle trees. We have several. The pink ones aren't blooming yet. The white ones are full of blooms though. I've got a different garden picture to share with you for the rest of the week.

Stay well!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black-Eyed Susan and a Recipe I'm Usin'

How do you like my black-eyed susans? I've tried to grow them for years with no success. Finally this is my year. I've got lots of them everywhere. They are so pretty, like little bits of sunshine in the yard. This is the one flower that my husband had requested for the yard and I'm glad they're making it.

Sorry I had to cut it short yesterday. Riley came running in with a terrible earache. We ended up going to the doctor and he had to have antibiotics. Poor fella, he had infection in his throat, tonsils, and both ears. He's feeling much better now, so I'm back at it.

I guess it's a good thing I had to wait because it gave me a chance to try out the onion ring recipe last night. I'm getting lots of onions from the garden and I thought onion rings would be a fun way to use them. The recipe was wonderful! Anytime you have kids saying, "I love onions", you know it must be good. They remind me of some onion straws we had at a seafood restaurant in Myrtle Beach while on vacation one year. The other recipe for today is peach cobbler. It's the one I got from my mom. I've just adapted it to my needs, doubling the recipe and using all-purpose flour instead. You could use self-rising if you leave out the baking powder. You know we Georgia girls know a thing or two about peach cobbler. Let me know how you like them.

Fried Onion Rings with Dipping Sauce
I think I cut this recipe out of a Quick Cooking magazine that my mother-in-law passed on to me. It is sooooo worth a try. I didn't have lime juice, just lemon, and it worked fine. Yumalicious--so good it deserved its own word.

1 large Vidalia or sweet onion
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 baking soda
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
oil for frying

Lime Dipping Sauce--
2/3 c. mayonnaise
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. prepared horseradish

Cut onion into 1/2 inch slices; separate into rings. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Combine the egg and buttermilk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees. Dip onion rings in batter. Fry a few at a time for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in 300 degree oven. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Serve with onion rings.

Simple Southern Peach Cobbler
A definite summertime requirement. Take it to your Memorial Day picnic if you've got fresh peaches nearby. Cut up your peaches over the bowl so that the juice goes in, keeps it extra yummy.

1 stick butter
2 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. milk
3 c. peaches, cut up

Place butter in 13x9 pan; place in oven as it heats to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, flour, and baking powder; add milk and stir to moisten. When butter has melted, remove from oven. Pour batter in pan. DO NOT STIR. Add peaches and juice evenly in dish. Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Time and the Livin' is Easy

School's out. Everyone slept later, they've watched cartoons, played together. We've had lunch with Granny and Grandaddy. They've played with the neighbors in their kiddie pool and slip'n'slide. What a great way to spend the day.

I hope you're enjoying your day, whether your little ones (and big ones) are out of school yet or you're all by yourself. Here's what's cookin' at my house this week.

Monday--Grilled sausage, buttered corn, homemade onion rings, peach cobbler
Tuesday--London broil, green beans, au gratin potatoes, rolls
Wednesday--Chicken salad, rolls, chips, fruit
Thursday--Orange Glazed Pork Chops, rice, squash
Friday--Hot dogs, fries, peaches

I've got to run right now, but I'll get back to you with the recipes for the cobbler and onion rings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eat That Ice Cream, Baby!

I don't know what made me remember this when I was getting my shower this morning, it's something that happened long ago, but I thought you'd enjoy it just the same. It's one of those things that we could file under "Nobody but Kelly...", like that post when I told y'all about making the wall hairy. At least life's never boring.

Here goes. Many, many years ago when I was but a teenager my mom and I were driving down a four lane road. I was in the passenger seat and looked over to see two older gentlemen riding along in an old Ford Ranger eating ice cream cones. I don't know what struck me as being so funny about that or what made me blurt out the words, but I giggled and said, "Eat that ice cream, baby." Now in my defense, I didn't yell it and I guess I wasn't thinking about the window being cracked. They weren't even looking my way when I said it.

My mom had asked me what was so funny and I was telling her when we heard the honking. We looked in the truck's direction and there they were, leaning over at us just a smilin' and lickin' their cones in an exaggerated way. They'd heard me! It was the funniest sight, not just because they'd heard me, but when the driver had turned to face me, he had a patch on one eye! Oh the trouble I can get into.

I guess the moral of this story is: When you come across an elderly ice cream eating pirate, remember to keep your mouth shut.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday, Sweet Friday

How sweet it is to have a day of rest, a minute to breathe. I am thankful for the busy-ness because it reminds me I have a full life, but I am also thankful for the quiet reprieves. I thought I'd share a picture of one of my daisies. They're such happy flowers in the garden. I've got lots of Black-eyed Susans that will be blooming soon. I've also been picking a few squash, peppers, and lots of onions. And there are tons of green tomatoes. Supper tonight is grilled pork chops, which doesn't have a recipe. Jon is in charge of the pork chops. I did explain the way he does it, I think that was back in an early April post. Have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully now that school's out I can concentrate on being crafty and creative.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not Thinkin' Straight Thursday

It's been so hectic lately and I think my brain's on overload. One more meeting tonight and then tomorrow is a break. I did forget to tell y'all in yesterday's recipe that you need to bake it at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. And, I wouldn't recommend the 13x9 pan, it needs to be bigger. My oven did not appreciate the mess I made last night. But on a better note, look at all the buttons our friend Debbie in Warner Robins, Georgia recently found at a yard sale! She certainly hit the button jackpot. She is very creative and I know she'll think of all sorts of wonderful ways to use them. I hope she shares some pictures of the things she comes up with too. Debbie, I have real button envy.

Here's the recipe for tonight's menu. I don't think I've given it to you before, but then again, you have to remember the title of my post today. It's one of those "How can it be so simple but taste so good?" recipes. Enjoy!

Beef Tips in Mushroom Gravy
2 lbs. beef stew meat
2 envelopes onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. water

Place meat in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over beef. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours. Serve with rice. Serves 6.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What'd She Say !?!

Today is an extra busy day so I thought I'd send y'all a note extra early. Mrs. Marie, I hope your Chicken Pot Pie was yummy last night. You'll have to let us know how you liked it. Our cookout last night was lots of fun. They have a pet miniature donkey that Meredith liked better than being in the swimming pool. I wonder if I could have a donkey here in town? Think the neighbors would notice?

Back to Meredith, she has been saying some rather unusual, and comical, things lately and I thought I'd take today to share a few.

--On Sunday we went with friends to watch a ballet school's production. Meredith sat enthralled through it and has been telling everyone how much fun it was at the dance recycle.

--We had walked to the bus stop the other day to wait for the boys. It was an especially hot afternoon and the bus was running late. We went and sat down in the shade of a tree that is at the edge of a neighbor's property to try to keep cool. You could see a little five year old dilema playing out in her mind. She kept asking about the tree and who it belonged to. I assured her it was okay for us to sit there. She kept thinking on it then finally said, "We're shade robbers. But it's okay. Shade robbers are still good people. They're just hot."

--The church where we attend Bible study has a couple of magnolia trees planted. They're young ones and the blooms are low down, just at the right height for Meredith to reach. I was telling her as we were walking up about how my Granny had a big magnolia tree in her yard when I was little and how I'd climb in the tree and I liked the flowers. She went over to one of the trees at church and gave a big sniff. I asked her if she liked it, but she wrinkled up her nose and said no. I asked her why she didn't like it, that I had always thought they smelled good. She said, "Well, a bee must have come in this one and sat down, 'cause it smells like a bee's bottom."

Don't forget about our recipe for supper tonight. We're having Italian Pasta Bake, Salad, and Garlic Toast. The recipe makes a big dish full, it'll be enough for plenty of leftovers or for a crowd (or when you've got two boys going through growth spurts, just enough).

Italian Pasta Bake
This recipe comes from a cookbook called Sonlight Cooks. It was a gift when I ordered some home school curriculum. We're not home schooling currently, but I really loved using Sonlight and would highly recommend them to anyone.

4 c. mozarella
1 lg jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb sausage
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 pkg noodles, your choice of shapes
1 onion, chopped
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
1 Tbsp. italian seasoning

Brown sausage and onion; drain. Meanwhile, cook noodles; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce to sausage. Stir in cream cheese and sour cream into hot noodles. Layer half of the noodles in greased 13x9 pan. Add all of the sausage mixture and half of cheese. Add remaining noodles. Pour tomato sauce over the top. Add remaining cheese. Sprinkle with italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vintage Blossoms

Like I promised, today I'm going to tell y'all about our brunch yesterday and show you the picture of the table. It is always such a treat to visit with these ladies! What is the Vintage Blossoms? They are a group of ladies who love the same things, like gardening, crafting, yard sales, antiques. They visit together, enjoying a cup of coffee and telling about all the treasures they've found, things they've made or grown. They like to tour the gardens of other yard enthusiasts. Originally they were friends of my mom's who allowed me to tag along. I jokingly told them I wasn't a Blossom, I was merely a bud. I think they've officially adopted me and Meredith loves being a Blossom too. They are all such wonderful women. They have really taught me much about enjoying life, simple pleasures, hospitality, and friendship. It is such a joy to spend an afternoon with them. Hopefully some day soon I can show you some of their beautiful homes and gardens.

For our brunch, I kept it simple. I used (I know, I don't usually do it but they were so pretty) paper plates and napkins. They looked so much like spring. Plus, I got a great deal. We had coffee and juice. To eat, we had Cranberry Pecan Bread, sausage balls, sugar cookies that Meredith made, and grapes. Sausage balls are always great and the boys were glad to see that there were leftovers. For the sugar cookies we used a mix that I get at Sam's. They have it at Christmas time. It's by Betty Crocker and comes with five packages in each box. When they have it available I go ahead and by a few boxes to last me through the year. It is so handy for quick snacks, when you're called on at the last minute to send a treat to a kid function, as a basis for fruit pizza. The possibilities are limitless. You only add a stick of butter and one egg. They taste as good as I could make them from scratch (and I don't say that often.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Morning Thoughts

I had big plans for what I was going to talk to y'all about today. The Vintage Blossoms are coming for brunch and I was going to tell you about that wonderful group of ladies, tell you my brunch meal plans, etc. But, when I was having my quiet time this morning, I happened upon something that made me change my mind. I'll still tell you all about my brunch, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow for that. And don't worry, I'll still give you the menus for the week today.

I'm currently reading through the minor prophets and I'm in Amos. I came upon a little verse, and as is often the case, a little verse grew into a big thought. It's Amos 5:24, "...Let justice roll like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream." Told you it was a little, unassuming verse. It was the never-failing stream part that caught my attention.

Here's my thought as I pondered on it. This world is like an ocean--powerful, constantly shifting, always changing, often destroying that which is on the shore. We build our "castles" on its shifting sand and they're guaranteed to get knocked down. Righteousness, on the other hand, is a stream. It's so very small when compared to the ocean, but it's never-failing just the same. It doesn't touch vast continents, it trickles past homes and farm lands. It doesn't deafen you with its roar, it soothes with its peaceful sounds. People can find refreshment here. Its waters are not salty and undrinkable. Its currents will not sweep you away. Quiet waters. Steady flows. Never-failing. May the life you live today be a stream of righteousness.

Now for the menus. I know, I know...I said Chicken Pot Pie last week. But, we never got a chance to have it last week. And my family is making me keep my promise to fix it. They take their pot pie very seriously. I do make a mean pot pie. I must really love y'all to share the recipe.

Monday--Chicken Pot Pie, fresh fruit
Tuesday--Baked Beans (going to a cookout, that's my assignment)
Wednesday--Pasta Bake, salad, garlic bread
Thursday--Beef in Mushroom Gravy, Rice, Glazed Carrots, Rolls
Friday--Grilled Pork Chops, Scalloped Potatoes, corn on the cob
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Chicken Pot Pie
This is probably my favorite thing that I cook. It's total comfort. I do make my own pie crust, but you don't have to. For the cooked chicken, I boil chicken in a large pot with a few stalks of celery and an onion. For the vegetables, I use the larger size can of VegAll. I've tried it with fresh vegetables, and you really can't tell the difference, and it saves you lots of extra time.

2 pie crusts
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
3 c. chopped, cooked chicken
2 c. cooked veggies

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put one crust in the bottom of a casserole dish. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, cook 2 minutes. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Stir until blended. Gradually add broth and milk, stirring until bubbly and thick. Add chicken and vegetables; mix well. Spoon into crust. Top with the second crust; sealing the edges. Cut several slits in the top of the crust. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I got so busy carrying on about rules that I forgot to tell you I've added a recipe index over on the right side of the blog. I thought maybe that'd make life a little easier. Guess I shouldn't talk about recipes and diets on the same day. But who cares? We threw out the rules today.

Changin' the Rules

I am really struggling with this no flour/no sugar diet. I seems like the mere word NO at the beginning of flour and sugar makes it irresistible. I keep fighting against it and then giving in to it, then kicking myself for being weak willed. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...but I didn't. And I'm stuck in a vicious cycle. Wishing I'd done something different in my yesterdays doesn't do me any good. It's something I can't change. What I can do, is change today my attitude and thinking. What am I wishing my tomorrow will be? I have to make the decision to do at least one thing to get there--and act on it--today! So, I'm changin' the rules. I'm throwing out the No Flour/No Sugar diet and making up my own rules. Here's what I've got:

1.) No to dieting. I'm not following some sort of list, some rule. It just makes me rebellious.

2.) Yes to choices. I will say yes to making smarter choices for myself. When I'm hungry (or offered food when I'm not), I'm going to ask myself a question. "What is the best possible thing I can choose for myself right now?" Because you know what, I had one of those light bulb moments. It's not about whether or not I eat the M&M (which I did and is what caused me to re-evaluate myself)and torture myself over a number on the scale, it IS about what I'm willing to do for myself. Every time I approach a meal, I'm choosing to do something good for myself by eating healthy foods or smaller portions or I'm choosing to harm myself by filling myself with junk or stuffing myself to the point I'm miserable just because it's yummy. Asking myself this question will make me focus on just what I'm doing.

3.) No to exercise. I'm not going to feel guilty for not doing some sort of exercise video or going to some gym or that I'm not running marathons. Being non-athletic does not make me a bad person.

4.) Yes to moving. I will say yes to taking at least 15 minutes for myself a day to purposefully move in some way. Maybe I'll take a walk, maybe I'll dance with Meredith, maybe I will do the exercise video, but when I feel like not because guilt is beating me over the head.

So there you have it. I'm changin' the rules for myself. I realized that the times the weight does come off is not when I'm changing the kind of foods I eat. It's when I change the way I look at the food, and the way I look at myself. We'll see what happens now. Here's to Friday, and to letting go of rules.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stopping to Smell the Roses

I've had a request for pictures of my roses. I guess I should have taken them the other day because they were packed with blooms. We had a heavy thunderstorm that knocked most of them off. My eager assistant insisted she be in the shot. I was going to show y'all how that one particular branch had about eight blooms on it, usually there are only clusters of three. Maybe you can still see it. I hope you're taking time in your day to stop and smell the roses too, to be outside, to dig in the dirt, to enjoy the beautiful day we've been blessed with.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strawberry Picking

I think you can tell where we've been again. We were at the strawberry patch with our friends Haley, Kate, and Judah. The kids had a great time picking out the perfect ones and fun eating them once we got home. It's always great to spend time with friends. I was afraid the picking would be sparse today, but there were still plenty of strawberries there and the lady told us they'll still be open through the end of May. We may need to have strawberry picking, round three.

I guess I'd better give an update/confession on the diet progression. I weighed this morning and am still at exactly eight pounds lost. Before you congratulate me on at least staying at the same place, please know that number has fluctuated back up rather often. I have been terrible about sticking to the no flour/no sugar rules. In fact, my day last Friday consisted of doughnuts for breakfast, doughnuts in a meeting, cupcake for lunch, pizza and birthday cake for supper. It's a miracle I didn't go into some kind of sugar coma! There it is all laid out for you. I probably just lost a few more pounds from all that guilt I'd been carrying around.

I haven't forgotten about being creative. I have actually made a few attempts at drawing something and then quickly through it in the trash. I seem to be suffering from some sort of creativity block. Maybe I'd do better with guidelines, someone telling what I should make. Any ideas on what I should do?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pot Full of Petunias

Oh, today has been a busy day. Lots of going here and there and meetings. But, it was a very good kind of busy. A productive and exciting kind of busy. I won't bother you with the details, but I did want to stop in and show you my petunias. They're such a shockingly vibrant,pretty color. I'm off to water the garden and cut my broccoli.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Peak at the Garden

Y'all have been asking about my garden and I thought I'd show you a few pictures. Here are a few squash that the rabbit hasn't reached. I'm training the squash and cucumber to climb some poles. Hopefully they'll be out of hopping range. The broccoli is just about ready to pick. I'm glad. I thought the hot weather was going to get here before it was ready.

This was a busy weekend. There was a birthday party on Friday, a graduation celebration on Saturday, and Mother's Day on Sunday. It kept me hopping, but was all filled with love. Oh, the sweet sound of hearing boys laugh. They're all at the age when it's not so cool to giggle, so when I had a room full of 11 year old boys laughing uncontrollably, I knew I had a precious treasure. I did manage to slip off to a couple of yard sales close to home. I found a bracelet, a pendant, and Riley found tons of Bionicle and Star Wars Lego. I told you it was a good weekend. Although, when I took my potato salad to the party I doubled the recipe. Don't do that.

Here's a picture of Jack's birthday cake that I made. Do you know how hard it is to find something to put on an 11 year old's cake? Major decision. And, for some reason, Hobby Lobby and Michael's had hardly any cake decorating stuff. My cousin Sharon saved the day when she spotted these figures in another section of the store. Jack liked it because when we lit the candles behind them, it looked like the dragon was breathing fire.

Now on to our menus for the week. There's nothing too wild and exciting this week. Let me get finished with the end of the school year and then we'll try some new stuff. The recipe for tonight's meat dish is in an earlier post.

Monday--Country-Fried Steak, Mashed Potato Supreme, Italian Green Beans, Rolls
Tuesday--Blueberry Pancakes, Sausage
Wednesday--Chicken Pot Pie, Strawberries & Cream
Thursday--Meatloaf, Creamed Corn, Carrot Salad, Cornbread
Friday--Grilled Fish, Rice Pilaf, Garden Peas, Salad
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, May 7, 2010

'Tater Salad

Did you ever hear that comedian do that bit about the person named Tater Salad? It's so funny to me and now I always think of that whenever I make potato salad. So now I make 'tater salad instead. Here's the recipe.

Fourth of July Potato Salad
This comes from that Down Home Cooking cookbook I told y'all about before. It is packed with great ideas. It's one of my favorite cookbooks--and I've got a lot of cookbooks.

9 c. potatoes, peeled and cooked 1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar 1/2 c. sour cream
2 tsp. sugar 1/4 c. half & half
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 tsp. black pepper 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

While the potatoes cook, whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces. Stir into vinegar, let marinate 30 minutes. In a small bowl whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, and half & half. Fold into potatoes along with other ingredients. Cover and chill. Serves 8. Can be made a day ahead.

For all of y'all who have been unsuccessfully trying to follow me, I'm so sorry. Apparently there is some problem that is beyond my technical expertise (that doesn't take much). I'll try to get my tech support team (aka my husband) to work on that this weekend. Hang in there, I'll figure it out soon. I appreciate your patience since I'm new at this.

I'd better get going. I've got to go make a medieval chocolate cake for the birthday boy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday Blues

For the past ten years I have tripped over Lego, been forced to marvel at countless bugs, played endless games of tickle monster. I have lived through times when all things had to be green (have you ever tried to find a green fork?, not easy), when we had to watch Winnie the Pooh until I thought I'd go insane. And I reveled in it all.

But tomorrow things are changing. A decade has come and gone. My little boy is turning 11. His sister is still at the age where she always holds up her fingers to indicate her age, and there's something about Jack's being older than you can see by holding up your fingers makes me have a little catch in my throat. We went to visit middle school this week. MIDDLE SCHOOL. The toys are being replaced by video games, bikes, playing football with friends. I know that this is probably the last boy birthday. He's growing up. It's gone so quickly. This mama's got the birthday blues.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rindercella by Archie Campbell

Grandpa, What's for Supper?

We get a channel that shows reruns of HeeHaw. Now I watched HeeHaw growing up, but my husband had never seen it. Apparently he missed out, because he now really likes to watch it. His favorite is when the barber tells the stories. He'll also sit and watch the Big Joe Polka Show. That one's a mystery to me. Anyway, on HeeHaw they have that segment where they ask, "Grandpa, what's for supper?" I guess today I'm Grandpa.

Here are the recipes for tonights menu. The picture for today is of my recipe box. I think it looks a little more like a treasure box, but that's because some of those recipes are real treasures to me. They're links to some special times and people I love. I hope one of the recipes will be something your family will treasure as well.

Ritzy Chicken
This is a recipe that everyone asks for. You know when your kids ask you to cook something that doesn't involve french fries, it must be good. If you're dieting, you can use the fat free soup and sour cream.

4 chicken breasts, cooked & diced 1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tube Ritz crackers, crushed 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. sour cream 1/4 c. butter, melted

Layer chicken in the bottom of casserole dish. Combine sour cream, chicken soup, and lemon juice; pour over chicken. In a bowl, combine butter and cracker crumbs; sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
The cheese sauce is also great with asparagus.

1 bunch of broccoli, cooked 1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. butter 1 c. milk
2 Tbsp. flour 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

Melt butter in a small pan. Add flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add milk. Return to heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add cheese, stirring until melted.

Carrots with Nutmeg
On our first anniversary, we stayed at a bed and breakfast. When we were looking for somewhere nice to go for supper, they recommended Betty Groff's Farmhouse Restaurant. It was such a wonderful place to eat, so much good food. Their cracker pudding (yep, it's made with saltine...don't knock it 'til you try it) was amazingly good. Well, many years later and many states away I came across a cookbook she had done while I was browsing at an antique store. I knew it was meant for me. It has lots of home cooking recipes (Pennsylvania style) and I'd encourage you to get a copy for yourself. This recipe comes from that great book.

1 lb. carrots 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 c. water pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt 1 Tbsp. butter

Peel and cut carrots in large chunks. (They're sweeter that way, who knew?) Put remaining ingredients in pan. Bring to a boil. Add carrots. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Simmer 12-15 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Show and Tell

Hello everyone, hope your Tuesday is going well. Ours is very rainy. It's a good day for getting housework done. It sure needed it! I'm gonna fix y'all a little post and then get back to my vacuuming duties. Then, I'm on to Meredith's room. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know I'm buried under all her stuff. I'd love it if someone could share some suggestions for corralling Barbie doo-dads. There are a thousand little outfits, and purses, and the tiniest shoes. You can hardly see them until you step on them and then "ouch".

Yesterday I was mentioning moms. Today I'm answering a request from my mom. Apparently she thinks I speak too critically of my creative/crafty skills, and she supplied me with an example to share with you all of something else I've done. This is a little pillow I made for her for Christmas. I'm not an avid cross-stitcher, but when I saw this pattern I knew it was the thing for her. There's a picture of her when she's young and she's sitting on a bench with birds around her and she wearing a shirt that's the same color blue. The pattern book had some other things I'd like to try in it too. Maybe I will be a cross-stitcher after all. Anyway, here's my show and tell. .

Monday, May 3, 2010

Suburban Farm Animals

This weekend I went to a few yard sales with my mom. I picked up some great things--a new wreath for my front door, some beautiful new outfits for Meredith (isn't it great to stumble on a clothing designer having a yard sale?), and this little cow. I love cows. No, I don't have a kitchen covered in a thousand little cows things, but I like to sneak one in here and there. When I saw this one, and the cost was only 25 cents, I couldn't refuse. When I took her picture to show y'all, the sheep was feeling a little left out and I had to take his picture too. Meredith decided to get in on the whole farm animal bit with her pig (wearing a tiara, of course). All we're missing are the chickens. I like to have the real thing for those, but don't have any at the moment. We had to give ours away when they got the size of turkeys. Maybe next year.

I'll pass along the menus for the week. It's pretty light on content because my week is heavy on activities that require us to eat away from home. But, here's a few to get you started.

Monday--BBQ Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Mac & cheese
Tuesday--out to eat
Wednesday--Ritzy Chicken, Glazed Carrots, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Thursday--Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad
Friday--Pizza Party
Saturday--Taking potato salad to a family function
Sunday--Everyone's taking me out for Mother's Day

BBQ Sandwiches
This one came from Taste of Home back in 2006. I like to add some liquid smoke as well. For this recipe, I'm using a precooked Boston Butt that we got from a local church fundraiser. I just had to pull the meat apart and now I'll mix together the ingredients for my barbeque sauce.

1 3 lb. boneless pork loin roast 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. water 1-2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 18 oz. bottle bbq sauce 1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. packed brown sugar 1 tsp. black pepper

Place roast in crockpot; add water. Cook, covered, on high 7 hours. Stir with a fork to shred meat and remove all fat. Combine the remaining ingredients; add to crockpot. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, 1 hour.