Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Wrong!

I just have to vent a minute.  I used to belong to a Yahoo group that was cooking related.  More specific, related to a certain technique, Pressure Cooking.  This is not a canning group, they were about cooking meals using the pressure cooker to cook the meat or sides.  They were a very helpful and friendly group until I posted my view about a line of discussion generated by a posting celebrating New York making it legal for same sex marriages.

I offered my opinion which simply stated, I wondered if I could still be a part of group that was so joyful over something that I felt was not a reason to celebrate.  I was not mean in my posting, didn't bash any one for their lifestyle, was not judging anyone, just following my convictions of associating with like minded people.  My computer is still smoking from the flames I got.

Now, my Christian faith tells me that a same sex lifestyle is wrong in the eyes of our Lord.  However, while I would not go out and embrace that type of thing, I would be the last one to sit and tell them over and over how wrong it is.  I think deep down they know it.  I compare homosexuality to being a drunk or addict.  They know it is wrong, know that they are not living the way they should, yet they still put their self in to the activities that allow them to enjoy that life.  They continue in those relationships, continue to take the next drink, get the next high.

I will not get on my soap box about how this legislation is opening the doors for much worse things to come.  I will ramble on about how the only reason it passed is because the supporters for this legislation bullied the lawmakers in to a vote when several members were absent.  I will not expand on the fact that only republican votes were by former democrats that changed their party line to gain more votes.  I won't even mention the little tid bit of information about how New York is the only state that does not allow the general public the opportunity to vote on legislation in general ballots which in essence would have allowed the residents of the state, the very people these politicians claim to represent, to have a voice in the running of their state.

I will however post that even though I had posted to the group that I was considering leaving, I was during the night removed from the group.  I guess if you have a view point or belief, you are not allowed to defend it.  If it doesn't go along with the majority, you just get thrown out.  In my opinion it only goes to show that those that preach tolerance from everyone, cannot give a little from them self.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday - Anniversary

So, today is my wedding anniversary.
My mom and I made these matching dresses.  My oldest daughter C was just 14 months at the time.  Yes, the math is correct.  Any who, C's little dress was worn to the wedding, it is the same fabric as the flower girl and candle lighters.  They were my nieces and hubby's little sister.  Over estimated the amount of fabric needed, so we made my going away dress out of the same fabric.  OH MY GOSH I was so thin back then.

Now, 28 years later, here we are, still together, added two boys and another girl.

This week has been crazy.  Getting ready for our wonderful visitors, daughter C and the grand sons, to arrive tomorrow for a few days.  Flying in from Texas.  I am so ready to see them.  Have also spent the week going to various doctors.  Daughter J. had to go again to get a release to resume volleyball try outs.  Took mom for a check up at the cardiologist.  I went to an eye doctor to see if there is something that can be done about my drooping eye lids.  Not that I care much for appearance sake, they have started falling in to my line of vision a bit.  At any rate, the amount of limp tissue is considered a medical reason for surgery, not a cosmetic one.  So, insurance will pay for it, but on the flip side of that, I have to be seen by a surgeon and he will determine it to be needed or not.  In other words, another doctor visit.  Next week will be even crazier.  I am not even going to attempt to plan any meals until after they go home.  Just don't know what day we will be doing what. As far as I know the only plan is drive down to San Diego and go to the zoo, one one day and maybe spend the night and hit the beach.  Not sure, don't know what day, but hubby is thinking about it.  Yes, thinking about it.

I did a ton of cleaning in my kitchen today.  Cleaned out the fridge and freezer.  Got rid of expired food, spoiled food, all left overs as well.  Need to buy some groceries, but will do that on an as needed basis this week.  Sure is a different kind of shopping.  Bought a car seat for the youngest grand son, he will be one next month.  Will take C. to store after we get back from airport to buy diapers and baby food.  Have to say, it is really strange to be doing that kind of buying again.  I will say, after cleaning and organizing the fridge and freezer, at least the smaller one (side by side fridge/freezer) that I have found room that I didn't have before and quite a bit of meat that I thought I had used up already.  In the freezer over the fridge in the garage I found some more meat that I had forgotten about.  I need to clean out the upright freezer, and defrost it, which is busting at the seams with food as well.  So...as far as that goes I am sitting pretty good at the moment. I reckon that the freezer has gone this long in a frosty shambles, it won't hurt it to go another week or so until the kids leave.  Also, when they are gone I will be cleaning out my pantry and hoping to make a bit more room there as well.  Shouldn't be too difficult, I usually to manage to make empty space when I clean out and re-organize the canned goods and staples a bit.  I am shifting my cooking to less processed and more from scratch so I really have used a lot of the goods, just can't find them for all the plunder that has been thrown in there from various camping trips.  You know, like bags and bags of chips.  My bottom half which is cake mixes, cereals, pastas and such is the worst organized.  I am sure that the majority of the crackers are stale or moth infested.  At any rate, I need to clean it all out and plan to make an inventory of what I have so I will know what I need to buy.  Don't even know how much flour I have any more.  Bad, bad, state I have let it get in to.  As I said, after the kids are gone.  I only get to see them once a year, twice if I am lucky, so I am going to spend every minute with them I can.

I need to get going and get some more laundry going.  Stop back in some time, although I will probably not be on here much until the second week of July.  Feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Soup - Puppies

Last night we had Minestrone Soup. I just love Minestrone soup and am actually a bit picky when it comes to eating it. I set out to find a recipe that I thought tasted right. I am still going to try and get the recipe from Mom's dining room at her apartments, but this one is really good.  Just click on the link for the recipe over at cdkitchen which I just love their site.
Pesky shadow at the bottom again.  I took five different shots of this bowl, each from a different angle.  Still there, cannot figure what is causing it.  Any way, doesn't it look yummy?

I know that any recipe can be converted to use a slow cooker or crockpot, but for the first time on any recipe I like to make it exactly as the recipe states, with all the ingredients that it calls for.  Then, if I like it I will start adding my own little touches and tweaks.  That being said, I was forced to make a few changes in the original recipe, this is what changed.

I bought one large carton of vegetable broth, (32 oz) because it was absolutely all that Walmart had.  It was the Swanson's brand, which I rarely buy, but it was all they had.  No cans of vegetable broth, any brand, only this one carton.  Which was quite expensive. So, I added a can of chicken broth.  I have tons of that on hand at all times.  While at the store for the broth, I found Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes.  OH MY GOSH! what a fantastic flavor.  So, I bought two cans of those for the soup using them instead of the one can of stewed tomatoes. I like lots of tomato so usually double it in all my soups and stews.  I substituted minced garlic when I found my whole garlic had to turned to black mush.  Must clean out the fridge today.  I used one onion instead of the two because not many around here eat them if they see them.  I found that I did not have any basil, so that was left out.  The last change in the original recipe was in the pasta, I used shell macaroni instead of spaghetti.  I have never seen minestrone served with spaghetti noodles and Olive Garden used the shells, so I bought a box of shells and used a little of that.  I did cook them separate and added the pasta to my bowl, not the pot of soup because I am hoping to jar up and process the left overs to put in the pantry for fall, recently found out that canning pasta is not good.  This will definitely go in to the keeper file.  Next time I serve it, I will grate off a little Parmesan cheese using the hand crank grinder I found in my cabinet.

Speaking of finds in the cabinet, I don't think I posted about my home made ice cream. I know I told some one about it, remember talking about the experience, but didn't see it on a post.  Don't have a photo, forgot to get that, I will next time I make it.  I was thinking about my dad, and we have finally started having rather warm temps (finally normal for this time of year) so went and bought the ingredients to make some ice cream. Since I was using my dad's old freezer, I used mom's recipe.

No Cook Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Lg. pkg. Vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 c. sugar
1 Lg. can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Whole milk
Mix together until dry ingredients are dissolved, pour into container and add milk to fill line. Process according to manufacturer's instructions.

Simple, you can easily change it by using that as a base and adding different flavors. Next time we will add some crushed Oreo cookies or peaches.  Am also going to try a batch using Splenda.

Now, that all being said, let me tell you what ended up happening.  First of all, the wooden case of the ice cream freezer leaked like a sieve. Guess it was all those years of setting.  I gave this freezer to my parents some where around 25 years ago.  Dad used it often, but he pasted away in 2003, doubt he used it for a few years before that.  Since it leaked, the drum didn't freezer properly.  It was actually really soft at the top, got a little better as we got to the bottom.  We ate it however.  I then put the left over in a plastic storage container and put it in the freezer.  WOW did it harden up in there.  Still nice and creamy texture.  Here is the weird part, it tasted like banana.  Not strong, just a hint.  I did not add any banana so have decided that banana pudding was put in a vanilla box.  Next time we make it, I will use our freezer which is molded plastic.  It has never been used, found it when I cleaned out some shelves in the garage.

On a sad note, one of the puppies died.  It looked like the momma dog sat on him.  Daughter J was just devastated.  I keep telling her not to get attached, we are not keeping a single puppy, but it is too late for that.  We are still not keeping any of them, but she has become quite attached to them, one in particular.

I have a mountain of clothes waiting for me to put up and need to get a bite to eat right quick.  Tomorrow is pay day and we are out of so many things, will be a big bill just in paper goods (foil, baggies, toilet paper, paper towels) so need to get my list and coupons together.  In fact, if I get them all hung up and put away, hubby will wonder what is wrong with me that the bedroom is cleaned up.  I want to work in the bedroom this morning while it is still tolerable temp wise, will move to the cooler kitchen for the afternoon.  Following the menu plan, will be making chicken salad for supper.  Asian chicken salad with mandarin oranges actually.  I am using the left over chicken from KFC we had on Father's day.  I need to use it up, don't want to waste it, and this batch had a little bite to it which will be really good in the salad.  Of course hubby won't like it, he feels it isn't cooking a meal unless I prepare a meat and several sides.  It is predicted to hit the triple digits today, so I am turning that stove on at all.  It will be running late tonight as I set it to clean.  Okay, so just don't tell the family unit that my menu plan for this week is designed to use up the left overs in the fridge.  Most times if I can re-purpose them they don't notice. I just don't understand this aversion to left overs.

Thanks for stopping by, leave me a note if you like.  I love knowing some one read this.  Come back and visit again soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 6/20 - Rude Neighbors

Don't get me wrong, I like a party as much as the next guy.  That being said, my neighbors and their parties are the rudest people there are.  They have in the past kept the music, yelling, fighting, throwing glass and such going until 3 or 4 in the morning.  A couple of times it went straight through the morning not ending until around 5 in the morning.  Understand there is literally about 5 feet between where they sit around cranking it up and our bedrooms.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they would do this on a Friday night, but no...week nights when we have to get up to work.  Only two of the 8 adults living there actually have jobs.  I know I am being kind of hard nosed about the noise, but I would prefer to be able to hear my TV, my music, or sleep.  We all get up about 5 AM to start our days around here as well.  While I have enjoyed the weeks off from the party circuit, tonight is the worse yet.  They have a live band, with sound system cranked up.  The more they drink, the louder they get, they weren't on key to begin with, as the night progresses it just gets worse.  The guy cannot sing, the tuba player is choppy and the accordion player sounds like his instrument has been run over.  Sadly, there is absolutely no where I can go in the house to get away from the sound.

Menu planning around here is going to be kind of half hearted for the next two weeks.  This week is going to be a lot of cleaning  and high temps so I am doing some soups and salads.  Quick, easy and especially cheap (as in what is already on hand).  The following week, oldest daughter and the two grand sons are coming for a visit so have absolutely no idea what we will be doing what days.

That in mind, here is what my week looks like at the moment:
M. - Minestrone Soup and bread
T. - Chicken salad
W. - Baked talapia, salad, carrots
Th. - Pizza - home made
F. - CORN (cleaning out refrigerator night)
S. - Everyone on their own
Su. - Daughter arrives - probably burgers

For added inspiration, head over to Organized Junkie for her Meal Plan Monday post.  Hundreds of cooks link their blogs each Monday listing their own meal plan for the week and some are wonderful about sharing their recipes as well.

Momma dog Lexy and puppies #1 - #4 are doing well.  We numbered them, not naming them.  We are not keeping any of them.  No matter what daughter J wants.  I admit they are cute, but what puppy isn't.  I wish she could have waited about two more weeks though, until the grand sons were gone.  Lexy has decided that her little brood needs to be inside the house, which is fine until the grand sons come.  It will not work with them running about.  It was kind of cute though, J. went and stretched out by the dog bed and Lexy pushed on her puppies over next to J.'s arm.  It was really sweet to realize the trust this dog has in our family.

Tonight was kind of nice, our oldest son and his wife dropped by to eat and spend a few minutes with hubby for Father's Day.  I made all the sides (mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, cold slaw, baked beans) and then picked up the special $10 Sunday bucket for the meat, along with some biscuits.  Guess that is enough for tonight, need to go take some aspirin.  OH THIS MUSIC IS MADDENING!

Oh, and as an explanation of why I am writing this at night but posting of a morning.  I write my blog post for the MPM on Sunday nights, save it, then post it on Monday morning.  It saves time for me and I like trying to get high in the listings for all the blog links.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Getting Better? Puppies

Took Miss J. to the doctor's on Thursday afternoon.  With an appointment, once again, was there almost 2 1/2 hours.  And it was a slow day.  I really like her doctor, but two things I don't like.  He has to visit way too much during the visit, loves to hand out referrals for PT.  Problem with PT is that with our co-pay it cost us $25 each visit, which is usually twice a week for about 10 weeks.  I do realize that therapy will help her heal up quicker, but that is a lot of money.  So...we will evaluate that need when we get there.  Kind of just wait and see how it goes.
It really does look like it is worse, but it is much better.  Swelling has gone down and she is able to put a bit of weight on it now.  I know that a lot of times bruising does always look much worse before it gets looking better.  Still going through the color change stages (you know, a little purple to more purple and red, then the green and yellow show up just before it starts fading) but thankfully it really is a minor injury.  Doctors have checked x-rays again and see no breaks or cracks, skin wound is shallow so no stitches is needed.  Praise God that she wasn't hurt as bad as she could have been.

On the home front, my little garden, emphasis on little, is surviving.  I have two tomatoes, each on a different vine.  I harvested one lone strawberry, it was terribly tart, but the three strawberry plants are doing the best and at least look good on the patio.

I have also moved my cookbook collection around.  Previously it was located in about three different spots because I just couldn't find an area to hold it all.  Maybe I have too many cookbooks?  NO NEVER!  At any rate, I am trying to round them all back up and get them located in one spot.

I have left an opening for some books I hope to find.  I know I have them, have just not been able to find them yet.  The top portion is mostly all of my "collection" cookbooks.  In other words, they were made for fundraising and members of that group have all entered their best or favorite recipe and their names appear with it.  I love these type of cookbooks, the recipes are always what I call TNT (Tried n True) so you know that it will be a success.  Also, you know that the recipe is a family favorite of that member, or family tradition (may have been grandma's), the recipes are for the most use normal ingredients with no fancy techniques (in other words, just plain old home cooking).  There are also some really old cookbooks from the 40's and 50's that are just fun to have around. I think one of my interesting cookbooks is the Fredericksburg Home Kitchen Cook Book published by the town of Fredericksburg, TX as an anniversary edition of the town.  It was first published in 1916, this book is actually the 10th edition of this cookbook and was printed in 1971.  However, the town has a strong German heritage and so does my mom's side of the family so there is a double link there to my attachment.  The bottom section is mainly the yearly collection of the favorite recipes for Quick Cooking magazine.  It is published as an annual hard back book and at one time we would receive it free as a gift from our church's financial organization for being a member. This used to be one of the magazines from Reimer Publications  back in the day and has since been morphed (along with a couple of other publications) in to the magazine Simple & Delicious of today.  Yes, I have subscriptions to it and Taste of Home, which I read over and over and usually add many of the recipes to my meal plans.  I have decided to look through all these cookbooks and start adding in a few recipes each week from them.  Gives the family a little change and myself a new perspective on some common foods.

In moving my collection and going through them, I also found several little pamphlet style cookbooks. You know, that came with an appliance or such.  Some were printed in the late 30's and 40's.  One is for a refrigerator and I am sure they were developed to entice the home cook to purchase the product by showing her what all she can make by using the appliance.  I often think how much pleasure a homemaker would have in making the change from an old fashioned ice box (that cooled with a block of an ice) to an electric refrigerator.  I admit I would love to live the simpler life of days past, but I do dearly love my modern appliances.

Finally, for the newest news of the family.  Hubby went out back to work with the pool pump and found a mess which led him to the whimpering of one of the dogs. This is what he found.
Momma dog had four puppies.  This is her first litter, will be her only litter as we plan to get her fixed after this.  All is doing well and she seems to be doing everything that she should.  We have moved her and the puppies inside for a few days though.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I have been so darn lazy since the camping trip.  Guess maybe I relaxed a little too much.  Also think I came home with a bit of a cold.  The second night I took a weird chill and just could not get warm.  It was not that cold there, as I was the only one cold.  At any rate, the nose has been alternating between stopped up honking to running like the great falls.  Still is and it drives me crazy.  Because of a little heart problem, I cannot take a decongestant.  What ever it is that has attacked me has left me with a huge case of the blahs and absolutely no energy.  I need to find the energy some how though.

Daughter J is healing up some what.  I am still concerned at the swelling.
This is what she came home with.  I posted about her little mishap earlier.  We go back to the doctor today and I will take another photo of the new bruising and swelling.  The coloration has now gone along the side of the foot and up the the ankle but was assured that there are no breaks.  I am anxious to see what the doctor says about her wound though, want to confirm the it is actually healing as well as I think it is.

Speaking of photos, I wish I could figure out what I am doing to keep getting a dark shadow in the bottom corner.  It shows up no matter where I position myself.  I have tried to get behind the light source, beside the light source, tried lining up the shot and then moving my head and body to the side, nothing really works.

I was sure that my little container garden had died and was a total loss.  Everything was so wilted and limp, so dry.  I had watered heavily on Friday afternoon just before we headed out, we were back on Sunday and it was just dry as a bone.  I went a head and watered everything to see what might possibly be saved.  I watered again on Monday.  Tuesday, I was completely surprised to find that almost all of the plants had come back.  Was like a little kid on Christmas when I spotted tomatoes actually growing. The lettuce is a total loss, it just isn't going to revive, but everything else came back nicely.  Just wish I didn't have to water every day.  Told my husband we have a mini (emphasis on mini) farm.  I have tomatoes, strawberries and herbs growing.  Found a third set of fry (name for baby fish) in my aquarium.  Really do need to clean out the smaller tank and transfer some of the adults over.  And to top it all off, it would appear that our dog is in the family way. 

I have been dreaming lately.  I would dearly love to have a house on a large enough lot to have a real garden, some chickens and maybe a dwarf goat.  Room to raise out a calf or two and hog for butcher.  When I was growing up, our house sat on about 5 acres of land.  An alley ran through it, the house was on the front part, the back part held a small orchard, grapes, berries and small corral.  We always had a big garden.  Dad would let me put up signs and sell the excess each summer.  What I wouldn't give to have that place back.  The house we left in Texas was on an acre.  The first couple of years we had a huge garden, then we ran in to water problems and reduced it down a bit.  We always had tomatoes (hubby loves to grow them for some reason), yellow squash, peppers, cantaloupe and watermelon.  I had even planted some grape vines, but a neighbor's dog came visiting and felt the need to dig the sticks up.  The last two years we lived there, we didn't even have enough water to keep the grass up, much less a garden.  In fact it had gotten so bad with the water that if I was running a load of laundry we couldn't flush the toilet.  Barely had water to shower properly. If some one used the toilet, had to wait for it to stop running before we could wash the dishes or our hands.  A water district had been formed to save the area and we had just bought in to it when hubby was transferred.

At any rate, if we are ever financially able to do so (like if we win the lottery) I will be moving us to better place.  I know that we will never be able to afford (even if it could be found) a place that we could be totally self-sufficient, but I will find a place that I can plant a garden and some fruit trees.  

Life would be a bit sad if a person couldn't at least have their dreams.  Don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by.  This evening we are making ice cream.  Stop back in and see how it goes.  Haven't done this in about 15 years or so.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 6/13

So, I told you last week was going to be crazy.  It was.

We made it up the mountain for a week end camping trip, took the dirt bikes for some riding.  My favorite trail was totally impassable due to the wild winter they had up there.  It wasn't so much a fierce winter as it was an unusually wet winter.  The rain and snow made for lots of trees and falling over, large branches breaking off, big rocks sliding down hillsides and great big deep ruts from run off.  The other trail, we call it the big loop, had a few mud holes, but was able to ride it with out problem.  On the second day however, my youngest daughter J. was bound and determined to keep up with her father and had a wee mishap.  They were riding my favorite trail to see if my quad could make it.  When they found that the trail was in really bad shape they turned around to head back.  Her foot got caught by a fallen tree and the force split her skin open, which caused the foot to swell up as well.  Thankfully, after a trip to urgent care on Sunday, nothing is broken.   This does cause her great discomfort, she is on crutches for a week to keep weight off the wound.  Biggest problem with this is, she is in the middle of trying to make the school volleyball team.  Was supposed to start the next session of ice skate lessons as well.  The lessons have been put on hold until the next session, but she is still determined to make the volleyball team.  We will see how it heals.  I think she likes being on crutches just a little too much.

I finally got my last stack of loose recipes filed in proper categories while on the camping trip.  I did not get a bit of progress made on any of my planning though.  While at the doctor's office, I did make a bit of progress on creating a chore list and to do list for myself.  Will be working on that a bit today as I do some work in the house.  I need to do laundry in the worst way and the little bit of help I was planning on is not going to be able to help now that she is hurt.  Also, the clean up in the house has not taken center stage, so to speak, as I found out yesterday that the grand sons will be coming in a week instead of August and that their mom, my oldest daughter C. will be coming with them.  That will also throw in another week that menu planning will be impossible as we will have no idea until we wake up what we will be doing.

I will post my progress as it happens.

Here at our house this week, the plan is:

Mon. - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Tue. - Cheese enchiladas, rice
Wed. - Italian sausage penne bake
Thu. - Chicken strips, rice casserole
Fri. - Baked steak, oven baked potatoes, carrots
Sat. - Pizza

Kind of simple fare this week, if you need some inspiration pop over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out Meal Plan Monday.  Hundreds of cooks link their blogs with their menu plan for the week.

Thank you for stopping by and come back to visit often.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 6/6

Okay, as I posted earlier, this week is going to be easy meals.  A lot is going on and I don't want to have to spend time in the kitchen on recipes I have not made before.  I had planned on starting with some left over roast that I was going to turn in to shredded beef, but there wasn't any left.  This is what I plan for this week.

Mon. - Chicken & dumplings
Tue. - Beef Stroganoff
Wed. - Chicken fried steak
Thu. - Sloppy Joe

The week end is supposed to be spent camping.  I will post the out come.

Be sure to check out the other postings on MPM over at I'm an Organizing Junkie. Alway interesting to read through.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday - Another week

Some how Sunday has become the start of my week instead of the end.  Not sure how, or when, it did, but it did.  At any rate, here we go with another week of cooking, cleaning, chores ... the same old rut.  Maybe I should look at it from a different perspective.  I should make a list of task that should be done this week.  Then, pick a day to have it all done by.  Decide on an inexpensive treat that I can give myself if I accomplish it.  The rest of the family has been treating me like I don't exist beyond their personal needs so why not give myself a treat, heaven knows they are treating their self often at my expense.  I know, enough whining, I will pray about it when I cleanse my heart at church today.

We didn't go camping this past week end, plan to go this coming week end.  So...I am changing my planned menu for the week and going to pretty much cook off of left overs and quick meals.  I am thinking I can make it until we get back from camping for my twice a month grocery shop.  However, I am going to take advantage of some really great sale prices to do some stocking up.  Tomorrow's MPM post will reflect my planned left over meal plan.  Shh, don't tell the family they are getting left overs.

I had a really disturbed night last night.  Trying to read between the lines of a text message I got.  I know that I am overly sensitive about such things, but I just can't help it.  Have past experience on my side with this one.  So, a little before midnight I took a shower and went to bed. I woke up at 1:30 to realize that no one bothered to see that the food was still out from supper.  I put the left overs in the fridge and put water on the dishes to soak them.  Rest of the morning from then on was spent trying to get a little more sleep, with out much success. Too much over thinking of the text.  At 5:15 I gave up and got up.  Did the dishes, made the coffee, took a roast out to thaw, gathered up the trash, took it all out, put the dumpster on the curb, played alarm clock for mom so she can wake up and get ready for church, took another shower and washed my hair (didn't do this last night because it always dries funny when I sleep on it wet), fixed my hair, prepared the roast in the crock and started it cooking, am now dressed and waiting for church.  Started this posting.

Whew.  I am already worn out.

I have said this before, but after last night and this morning am even more determined, this WHOLE house is getting cleaned and purged.  Since no one but me can even clean up a dish around here, then I am going to get the house set up for easy quick cleanings.  Actually, two days of cooking and cleaning dishes to prepare two weeks worth of meals is looking pretty good about now.

I pulled out some old cookbooks that I have collected along the way for some inspiration.  Funny thing, those older books, like the one from 1944, doesn't have a lot of beef recipes.  Has lots of chicken though.  Have done nothing but look at recipes all week end.  Funny thing, kind of got my mind in overload mode.  Everything just blends together so nothing makes sense, sounds good or even interested in trying.  I would really just like to go to sleep a while.  Can't do that though, if I went to sleep this early would end up waking up at ten tonight and not being able to go back to sleep.  Part of this...doldrums I am in...for lack of a better term, may be due to the fact that I have been watching old westerns yesterday and a Walton's marathon...on two channels.  I would dearly love to be able to back in time and live on that mountain.  Those characters, the life of the 30's and 40's, that house, would really love to have a little of that simplicity.

Speaking of houses, if I ever win the big lottery I am going to find the designs and build me a house like the boarding house in The Shootist.  What a wonderful old house with glass front cabinets in the kitchen, dinning room, parlor, all over the place, each and every room along with built in shelves and drawers.  I remember when my husband and I were looking for our first house we found this small home with carved molding and the bed rooms had built in drawers, big closets and built in shelves.  Such workmanship.  How I wanted that house, but it just needed way too much work to be livable.

Well, off to work on some household planning.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday - School is out.

Today is the last day of school for my youngest daughter Miss J.  I have no idea where the school year went.  We don't get much of a break as summer school starts up Monday.  Miss J. will be practicing volleyball early in the morning, one class for 6 weeks, and has also taken on an online class through her high school.  We will see how the summer goes.  I am skeptical.

We are going on a week end camping trip up the mountain this week end.  Taking the dirt bikes out to ride mountain trail for a change instead of the desert.  I am a little nervous about this trip, first time on these trails with the my new quad.  It is not that there is any thing wrong with the quad, it is just that I am still getting use to the change, and it is a big change from the old one, and when I am riding on flat desert where you don't have to worry about staying on a trail it is a very different type of riding on steep rocky terrain where you must stay on a designated trail.  I am sure I will be sliding down a few places.  I am also use to having a brake control on my handle bar and not using my foot control.  This quad is just opposite, not even having a hand control on that side. It will sure be an interesting week end to say the least.  We are also having unusually mild weather which means that it will be pretty chilly up the hill, especially in the evenings.  That should be nice campfire weather at least.

On the home front, I need to change a few things up in an attempt to smooth the flow a bit.  I am trying to get the house really cleaned, deep cleaned, so that all I have to do is a little light house keeping each morning.  I know that there are people out there can clean, cook a great meal, cook ahead meals, preserve seasonal produce and still have time to pursue their hobbies or passions.  I tell you, it has been months since I used my paper craft supplies for anything but trimming coupons.  My desk is still in such a disarray I couldn't even make a card if I had to much less even attempt to create any scrapbook pages.  I even bought this binding machine, which I thought was like a bind it all that created a book bound with a spine, and it still sits in the floor with the plastic wrap on it.  I have no idea what to even really do with it.  It binds with heat and glue apparently, oh and also laminates.  I just really need to find the manual and see how to do it.  Laminating a weekly menu plan that I could wipe off and use over would be a pretty neat thing to have. I had planned on trying to bind up some of my personal recipes, but that will be on the back burner.

On that note, I am toting my planners, a few recipes, paper, pencil, and my lap top up the mountain with me and see if I can come up with a plan of action.  Here is what I need.

List of cleaning, by room, that needs to be done.  Then I am going to assess how often I realistically need to do that.  I mean I don't want to replace one set of task for another.

I need to tweak the menus.  My current planning system is great in concept, just not so great in execution. I have the best of intentions, and the planning is working as far as having the proper ingredients in my pantry, but it just seems to fall apart for one reason or another during the week.

Each week I post my menu plan on I'm an Organizing Junkie's blog for her MPM (Menu Plan Monday) and spend a lot of time visiting all the other blogs of the group that post their plans as well. I have noticed that several of the postings are for the meals for the past week instead of the week to come.  I am thinking that I may need to do that.  At least it would be a little more honest.  I post my menu plan on Monday, then about Wednesday am already off of it and winging it.  The reasons are several.  I am unorganized for one, keep loosing myself in other task or projects.  For another, I keep getting surprised with last minute announcements of meetings or activities.  Given this a lot of thought, I have concluded there are a couple of choices.  One is to just plan the menus as always, shop accordingly, and then just post what actually hit the table.  Another choice, one which I am leaning toward, is to just plan the menu, cook the menu, and whoever is hear gets to eat, otherwise they eat it as a left over later in the week.

I am really tired of trying to figure out what to fix when I have such picky butts to feed.  I grew up on casseroles and left overs.  Kind of think that some dishes are actually more tasty the following day.  My husband didn't have left overs and they rarely had a casserole.  I don't know why, they are so economical.  I guess it is part of that "meat is the star" thinking.  Why they never had pasta either is beyond me.  Give me a great plate of noodles, casserole with noodles, spaghetti, I am set.  I can make spaghetti and meatballs, hubby eats the sauce on bread, no noodles.  He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, most of my family is.  THEY ARE JUST SPOILED. I admit, when I get like this, it is very tempting to just start cooking for me.  They never tell me until the last minute they have a meeting or such, so I plan a nice meal and end up eating it alone.  So why not plan and cook for myself?

Okay, enough of the pity party.  I have to go to the store and run by and check on my mom.  There goes half the day. I started a batch of Spanish Rolls yesterday, part of it has to sit over night for the flavors to come out, and will finish those up today.  Whether they like it or not we are taking them with us on the camping trip, just like I did when I was growing up. I think it is time for this momma to take back over a bit.  In a lot of ways.  

Thanks for stopping by and come visit again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Midweek - Apple Dumplings

Have had so many request for the recipe for the apple dumplings I made Memorial Day so I  thought it would be easier, quicker anyway, to just post it to my blog.  First, let me tell you the story behind this recipe.

I grew up in south east New Mexico, then moved back to West Texas where I married and started my own little family.  The towns were about 2 hours drive from each other.  At any rate, there is a chain of restaurants called Furr's Cafeteria.  When ever we would go to one of the near by larger towns to shop or for one of my parent's many square dances, we would go eat there.  Everyone could go through the line and pick out what you wanted to eat.  They have the most delicious apple dumplings.  That was my first introduction to this wonderful dessert.  This version of the dumpling, I say that because I have since found out there as many versions of a dumpling as there are cooks, is more like a cobbler.  The apples were chopped in rather large chunks.  Thicker than a slice, not as long as a slice, thicker pieces than a dice.  A dice?  Yes, the fruit pieces were about the size of playing dice.  The fruit was mixed in with a wonderful thick pastry dough and then covered with a thick syrup.

A side note about cobblers.  When it comes to cobblers, you are either a fruit person or a dough person. My hubby and sons have always been fruit people.  In other words, they liked to eat the fruit out of the cobbler.  My daughters and I are more dough people, preferring to have a lot of crust, especially the softer part that didn't crust.  I prefer the dough so much that I have always made my cobbler with a bottom crust as well as the top one. I know, sounds like I am making a double crusted fruit pie, but it is different.  Don't know what makes the difference, maybe the deeper dish, but it is just not the same in pie form.  This has always worked out well for our family, the boys dished theirs up first grabbing mostly fruit and the crisper crust strips on top.  This left the bottom half of the dish for us girls.  Sweet fruit and a softer crust from the bottom.

Back to the dumplings.  Once I moved to California, and there were no Furr's, I was on the look out for a replacement for this treat.  We have a local wild life exhibit called C.A.L.Mwhich stands for California Living Museum.  Each December they hold their annual fundraiser, the place is decorated up with Christmas lights, train rides, light shows and for a small fee you can come out during the night and walk through the park, looking at the lights, seeing any animals that are normally nocturnal, ending up with a visit to the snake house to warm up.  They have food booths and one of those booths sell Apple dumplings with this amazing thick, rich, almost ice cream like scoop of whipped cream.  HOWEVER...I was shocked when I bought one to split with my youngest daughter.  I had been telling her about the dumplings for about an hour while we walked the trail.  She was very young when we moved and did not remember us going to Furr's.  What shocked me was cutting in to the dumpling to find an apple.  A whole apple, well cored and peeled, but whole.  I know, apple dumpling, what else would be inside?  I had never seen one with a whole apple stuck inside it.  Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, we ate every bite of the one we shared.  BUT, IT WAS A WHOLE APPLE.

So started my searching the internet for a recipe.  Mind you, this was before Google, you would have Yahoo, or AOL search engines, among others, and you would get different results because they all read your request a little differently.  I never found one, even the copy cat style recipes for Furr's had whole apples.  Then one day I happened on an old issue of Taste of Home magazine.  OH I JUST LOVE THESE MAGAZINES. Originally it was published  in the Oct/Sep 2001 issue of Quick Cooking.  Quick Cooking was my favorite, it was revamped a bit and morphed in to the magazine Simple & Delicious.  Still a great magazine but not quite the same.  You can search all the recipes Taste of Home and it's sisters has published. Click on Simple Apple Dumplings for the link to the original recipe.  If you do a search on their site for "apple dumpling" you will get about 30 hits.  I really miss the Quick Cooking magazine.  The recipes were all made with few ingredients (most times five or less) and could be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  Cooking time that is.

If  you don't want to link hop, here is the recipe with my little changes in ( ).

This really is a simple quick easy dessert.
Simple Apple Dumplings - Quick Cooking Oct/Sept 2001 issue

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
2 med. apples, peeled and quartered (I have used left over pre-packaged slices that I peel)
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice (I usually use what I have on hand - Sunny D)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (I don't have it so I just sprinkle on nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon)

Unroll crescent dough and separate in to eight triangles.  Roll up one apple wedge (I use two slices) in each triangle; pinch edges to seal.  

Place in a greased 8 in. square baking dish.  

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and butter to a boil.  Pour over dumplings (dumplings will float to the top). Sprinkle with spice.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

i double the recipe every time because the family loves this so much. (I don't know if I do something wrong, but I always have way to much syrup to use)  I am going to make a batch and freeze it to see how that works.  Am also going to make a regular batch and try the syrup with Splenda.  I usually serve with whipped cream.

I also thought I would post a photo of how my garden is growing.
As you can see, nothing has died.  The front container has lettuce and cucumbers, behind in center is two tomato plants, peppers and strawberries on either side.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.