Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Time, No Write!

I know it's been a while since I've written
when I have to "sign in" to post again.
Mom and Big will think I have fallen off the earth.
I have not. 
I've been busy. 
There are probably 5 posts banging around in my head.
I will start at the beginning.
Lynne and I made donuts.
Red velvet donuts.
They were not great.
In fact they were awful.
They were just fried lumps of dough.
Definitely not worth the calories.

This has given me pause to ponder.
What exactly does Red Velvet taste like?
Lynne contends it tastes like nothing.
And honestly I am left to wonder if red velvet
is more of a visual feast then a 
taste experience.

Lynne and I will not have our traditional
holiday donut making extravaganza
Food Network Magazine has a recipe
 for jelly filled donuts in the last issue.

The donut shall rise again!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea #3

A Memory Box
I have done variations on this.
This one was for my mom. 
I did one for Big Mary too. 
They are great for someone who *needs* nothing.
I got the unfinished wood boxes and 
burned and painted them myself. 
But I have also used "off the rack" boxes as well.
This one was for Honey's 50th.
This one was for my friend Val's 50th.

Honey's had 50 things I love about him.
Mom and Big's each had 50 memories.
I sent an e-mail to my siblings and asked them to contribute.
I just wanted short little one lines, even just a word.
Like "The wooden spoon" LOL
I had them all rolled up individually 
and tied with a piece of embroidery floss. 

It's a fun project but start early.
50 is a lot!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why You Should Label Items In Your Freezer

My husband will be eating mystery dinner tonight. 
Remember that game, 
"Mystery Date?"
I'm pretty sure Mike didn't play that game as a little
boy and so I'm also pretty sure he won't find
the correlation fun.
So here we have it.

I have been looking at it for a while.
Read: months.
I'm hoping once it is thawed out 
we will be able to identify it
and put a name to it.

I think it's a little unsettling to eat 
something that you have no idea as to its
I am fairly certain it came from my kitchen. 
But that is about the only thing I can
be relatively confident of.
Oh, and I probably froze it while it was still good. 
Read: not about to go rancid.
I'm heating as I write. 
I see carrots,
it smells like beef. 
I'm gonna guess a stew.....
No, wait, there is barley in there.

It's gotta be beef barley soup!

I think I'll wait till after dinner to tell 
Honey I've written a new post :O)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea #2

Run a race.
My brother and daughter have ran just a
*couple* in honor of mom.
This is but a small sampling of the signs they
wear as they run. I love that some of them in there
say "For Dirk's Mom."

Dirk and Shanna will usually gift mom with a
pin, a race brochure and a photo, along with the 
Celebration Sign. 
(if that's what you call them)
I don't run. 
Correction, I only run if someone is chasing me.
You don't get any little signs when running for
your life so I don't know what they are called.

But I digress.

Dirk lives in Washington sate. 
Shanna lives in Indiana.
They have run a couple of races together. 
I think that's part of the gift.
A family that joins together because they
love you and love each other. 
Warms my heart.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Great American Smoke Out


I quit smoking on this day in 1992.
I remember which year because it was the same November
Clinton was elected for the first time. 
My brother and I had spent the night in a castle in Germany
and in the morning we turned on the radio to 
see if we could tell who won. 
It was all in German
(go figure)
but when they kept saying Clinton, we figured he must have won.
My brother and I are *very* smart.
Anyway, that is absolutely the only reason 
I can name the year.

I started smoking when I was 16.
I was very cool. 
I tried quitting many times.
They say the more times you try to quit the closer you are to
actually quitting.
I think there's a trick in that statement. 
But nonetheless, 
upon return from said trip to Germany there was
a box of NicoDerm waiting for me.
That's funny in itself. 
They were available by prescription
only back then. My mother and I see the same doctor
so she just got him to write her a prescription for it, 
she bought them and put them on my kitchen table for my return.
That was also before all these HIPPA laws.

They worked.
They were a brand new product at the time and the 
biggest problem with them was when
 you would wear the patch *and* smoke.
That was way too much nicotine in a person's
body so people were having heart attacks. 
I didn't cheat.

I've had back slides.
When I'm am under severe stress I want a cigarette.
After 20 years I can still want a cigarette.
That's amazing and gives me a softer heart
for all addicts.

The good news is,
 that first cigarette makes
you a little pukey. 
I'm over 50.
I don't get as stressed as I used to.
And I hate feeling pukey.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea #1

The title of this post would imply I have 
a series of gift ideas all mapped out.
Um, not so much.
But it does show the optimistic attitude with which
I present this idea. 

A few years ago my mother had the idea that she would
prefer not to get gifts of "stuff."
She asked us all to give her gifts of donations.
Time or money, either was good.
At first it was intimidating but after some thought
each family was able to come up with ideas unique
to them.

I'll share the one we gave my mother the first year
now and will hold out some of the other ideas in
hopes of many moments of happy blog reading
for the future. 

My grandfather had an affinity for 
The Salvation Army.
I'm not sure of the origin but I do recall a family tale 
involving it, my grandpa and my brother.
So our gift to my mother was the four of us ringing
the bell at a few different times during the
Christmas season. 
I had in mind buying a bell and wrapping it up as
a token of our gift but I wound up with 
something better.
We were such enthusiastic bell ringers that 
we actually rang a bell right off it's handle.
Yep, gave mom that busted up bell.  
OK, well, in the spirit of full disclosure, 
this is not the bell. 
This is not even my photograph. 
But the bell we busted up looked like this when we got it :o)
And I like visuals. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things That Make You Go, Hmmmm...part 2

So, we had the family over for dinner.
I don't remember issuing an edict demanding
all cell phones be checked at the counter, 
but here they are.

It kind of reminds me of the old westerns where 
the cowboys had to check their guns at the saloon door.

Shanna pointed out the bottle of wine with
the jumbo size of Ibuprofen sitting next to it.

Don't know how that ties in to the cell phones.
But here you have it. 
Things that make you go, Hmmmm....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things That Make You Go, Hmmmm...

Each of these guys has two perfectly good legs
yet they choose to stand on one en masse. 
What's up with that?

Just wanted to share.

My Bestie's Birthday

Our first known photo together.
I think we both look better now.
Going back through our pictures there are a lot like these:

But we do do other things together;
Scooter rides
Jumpy Houses
The Cayman Islands
Margarita Fridays
Random Cards
Road Trips
Cookie Days
Bible Study
Bike Rides

A lady once referred to us as being
"joined at the hip"
like it was a bad thing.
But really, going through all my pictures I am surprised
at the events where there is not a picture
of the two of us with our heads locked together.
This tells me two things, 
We are not joined at the hips in exclusion to others,
and that as I look back on the events 
of the past 14 years, even if there is not
photographic proof, I can see Lory's place in all of them.
And it makes me happy.

One last one:
You're never too old for a Bestie, are you?
(or a jumpy house)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

With tabasco ice cream.
Yep, you read that right.
Just one of the amazing things we ate at
on Hilton Head Island.

The ice cream is just vanilla ice cream with some 
cinnamon and tabasco mixed in. 
You don't immediately taste the heat
but you feel it sliding down your throat.

The server gave me the recipe for the bread pudding.
It looks pretty basic with the addition of some 
sweet potato puree.
The recipe says 
"all rights reserved 2011"
Does that mean I can't post it?
Can I if I credit them?
Maybe I'll ask, mean time,
I must remember that I can cut this in half.
It calls for 12 eggs and 3 cups of butter
among other things!

Monday, November 7, 2011

German Onion Soup

With a pretzel grilled cheese on the side.

We've been on vacation for the past week.
A good friend once told me that if there is a washing machine
or a kitchen, it's not a vacation. 
I have lived by that little piece of wisdom
ever since.
So whereas I do enjoy a week of being waited on, 
I can't wait to get back in my kitchen and COOK!
To that end I picked up the October issue of
at the airport for the flight home.
It may be my favorite resource for recipes.
This month I think I may just cook my way through 
the whole thing.

This soup was terrific, a german twist to 
french onion soup. 
One problem;
That's !!6!! LARGE onions.
The knife there would lead you to believe that I chopped all 
those but actually(actually) I used my mandolin.
Wonderful invention.
But it did not help with the river of tears I cried.
Nor the smell that so permeated my house that
when I returned home from being gone a couple of hours
I could smell the raw onions in my car as I drove
into the garage.
So heads up, after you cut up that many onions, 
cook them immediately!

Also, the recipe would have you *float* the pretzel
sandwiches on the soup like a crouton. 
While that would be way cool, 
how would you eat it?

PS, at some point do you think I will figure
out that I can cut a recipe in half?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Silencing Merry

I am having either computer issues or 
Face Book issues.
Whatever the culprit, 
I am not, at present, able to post my 
very witty and necessary commentary 
to my wall, your wall, or the man in the moon's wall.

At first I was very frustrated but I have since come to
view this as an opportunity for a character study.
I was pretty sure the world needed
 my pearls of wisdom but apparently it does not.

The sun is still rising.

And for the record, whereas I can post this blog
onto Face Book,
I cannot write a witty intro comment.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Indian Summer Stew

Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew
The term "summer" is misleading, and I'm not sure I followed 
the reasoning behind it. But, whatever.

This was so good and hearty that we were satisfied with
just it and some naan bread.
Luckily I had seen Aarti make this.
It was so easy and quick but the *scary* part was 
what you do with the mustard seeds. 
You get a couple of tablespoons of oil screaming hot and 
then toss in the mustard seeds.
They pop and jump and sputter and generally go nutz!
Glad to have seen that on TV!
Then after you add red pepper flakes, garlic and salt, 
you dump the whole mess into the stew.
Popping, jumping and sputtering repeat.
And then you swirl some of the stew in the pan the spices have been in
and get a bit more jumping, popping, sputtering.
It's a very active dish. 
But very delicious.

My *tips*, 
you can get brown mustard seeds at The Spice House,
unsweetened coconut is in the healthy eating aisle, 
pigeon peas are not native to suburbia Illinois, 
lentils will suffice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Triple-Ginger Squares

Or in my case, Double.
I didn't have any candied ginger in the freezer.
So, Double-Ginger Squares it is.

I got the recipe from November's issue of
Better Homes and Gardens. 
They don't have the recipe on the website that I can find so, 
sorry, you'll have to buy the magazine.

There were a couple of surprises in it.
Which I have actually heard of in some spice bread recipes
but just hadn't used myself.
of baking powder. That's a lot of baking powder in my book.
The cook time. 
They said *33* to 35 minutes. 
That seems pretty specific to me and so I was surprised 
when they actually took more like 45 minutes.

And I took a couple of liberties.
"Mild-flavored" molasses became whatever I had in the cupboard.
Whipping cream became skim milk. 
Room temperature butter became butter that I beat
the bejesus out of in the stand mixer. 
It gets warm, eventually.

Part of the beauty of these was that I had *close*
to everything in house to make them.
Oh, and the other beauty?
They are amazingly delicious!!!