Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I have had a lonely Christmas or two, a sad one when my son was a baby and we had no money and my mother was far away. I felt lost when my mother was in a nursing home and again after she died. I have had some beautiful experiences when I was into church as a teenager. I remember one Christmas Eve when I was gloriously in love with the boy next door and one Christmas Eve when I had my first taste of champagne. I have had many stressful Christmas's when my children were young and I worked full time. I attended a few fancy dress up Christmas parties -- not many.
Now I mostly enjoy decorating and socializing and doing things with the children. I have to confess since we have had to pare down the spending the last few years that I do miss the presents. Not what was in them so much but the excitement of seeing them piled around the tree on Christmas Eve. My brother used to arrive with arms full of professionally wrapped gifts. I have never seen such pretty presents. Now he gives the children gift cards. I have had more time than ever this year. Almost too much time to cook and clean and decorate. The only time I really listen to Christmas music now is in the car with my grandchildren. Mia's favorite is Little Drummer Boy. Jonah and Jill still favor Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller.
I think next year I would like to get back to church and I want to focus on doing something for others, maybe visit the nursing home where my mother stayed for the last year. Someday I would like to spend Christmas where it snows and where there are pine trees all aound.
I love entertaining on Christmas Eve, but I got over cooking on Christmas Day a long time ago. I do enjoy the times when Roger and I are invited to my sister-in-law's house on Christmas Day for a beautiful meal with her crystal and china and a perfectly cooked prime rib. We have also have some great Christmas dinners at Roger's sister, Mary's, house. Last year my friends had a nice English roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at their house on Christmas night. Aaron challenged Jonah and Jaime to each eat a Brussels sprout. That was funny. Jonah choked his down in one bite so Jaime had to eat one, too. Torture. (I love Brussels sprouts.)
I have been blessed with many wonderful Christmas memories. I wish that for us all. God bless us everyone!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I am also bummed out by some of the stories of people camping out to get bargains and then stealing them from each other, etc. As much as I would enjoy a new lap top or an ipad or a fancy new phone, I can't really think of anything I want badly enough to fight over it. I know that is easy to say with a full stomach and a roof over my head. I guess I would fight as hard as anyone if my life or my family's lives depended on it. That thing where the brides fight for all the dresses. I think having a tug of war over the dress would ruin it for me.
Anyway, if you want to see something cute that will make you laugh, check out this link to Attic 24 about the boy baking. So cute. Attic 24 is one of the first blogs I found when I started and I still like to check in and see what is going on.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
My daughter groans when I tell this story because she has heard it too many times and is not a fan of onions anyway. But it is a vivid memory for me and one I think of whenever I have French onion soup.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I had Jonah and Mia for the weekend since Jaime and Aaron were out of town. Mia missed her mommy a lot. I made chicken and yellow rice for supper on Sunday since that is Jonah's favorite and he will always eat at least two big servings. Everyone is back home and off to school and work this morning.
I also made corned beef sandwiches for Cory and Roger and me for lunch one day. I still have leftovers for Roger and my supper tonight. I will take a picture then. We got some great rye and pumpernickel marble bread at the deli, sauerkraut, deli corned beef and provolone cheese. Roger and I like spicy brown mustard on the sandwiches but Cory went with Thousand Island dressing.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I had an exchange with Ruth today at sync-ro-ni-zing that got me thinking about plagarism. It is amazing to me that at a rather advanced age and after a lifelong interest in writing and an aborted start at a journalism degree, I still had the idea that plagarism had to do with using other people's ideas (which is what education is all about) rather than giving them credit. How could I think that??? This is just an example of important things I have learned and clarified through the process of blogging.
I have known since the fourth grade that I have a talent for expressing myself. I observed that I got a positive response from my teachers and classmates when I read my writings aloud. I didn't actually figure out for years that part of that response came from the performance as well as the writing. I wish I had figured that out sooner.
My favorite teacher, Mr. Shaw, didn't have much use for me. Sure, I was the teacher's pet for plenty of English teachers, but he was the debate coach, drama teacher and also taught a 9th grade speech class where I got to know him. He mesmerized us on the stage in our classroom with challenging ideas, vague references to famous plays and little exercises in improvizational acting. He had a devoted following of students who were more self aware and confident than I. The debate squad. Oh, why didn't I join? And when I did try my hand at debate, why didn't I take it more seriously rather than just arguing the obvious points from the top of my head? I was ripe to get shot down by the first clever argument. I knew my point was good, but I couldn't figure out how to defend it. I had so much to learn from Mr. Shaw but I wasn't ready.
Even though I was nearsighted, I discovered I loved photography in college. That interest got side tracked by a "funny" photogaphy teacher who got fresh in the darkroom. I was too naive to protest but just avoided him and his class after that. I still got an "A". (Imagine that?) I excelled in a speech class at the same time, but didn't take it seriously.
Later, at Oklahoma University, I had an English professor who took an interest in me and my writing. He noted that I was a journalism major and challenged me in many ways. He actually wore jackets with patches at the elbow and I bet he smoked a pipe when he wasn't in class. I also took another speech class and photography class for fun about the same time. Unfortunately, my first true love broke my heart about that time and I dropped out, went to my mother's home in Florida, and got a job at the phone company.
So I always knew I wanted to write but about what??? I discovered that being a reporter for hard news was not for me. In fact, I ended up in the production end of the publishing business for many years.
I always admired writers whose whole lives lead to their materpieces. Books like "Little Women" and "Gone With the Wind" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." (At least I have high aspirations.) But I'm disappointed to discover that I have lead a rather prosaic life. Or maybe I just have a prosaic imagination. I also admire non-fiction writers such as Margaret Mead, Gail Sheehy, and Melody Beattie.
I am not a poet like Ruth and Willow in blog land. I don't have Willow's wonderful creativity. I thought maybe a cook book? But I can't compare with food writers like Beverly and Kary. I have an appreciation but no talent for plot like Brian. An appreciation but not the natural talent for design like Layla. But I have enjoyed participating in Willow's Magpie writing blog where many writers do their own take on a visual prompt.
In that exercise and in my experiences with Toastmasters and other outlets, I have found that I like to tell little stories. I like to relive moments in my life. Happy ones. Hopefully not too maudlin or saccarine. I like to find joy and inspiration in small things which parallel my own discoveries through the Twelve Step program where I learned to find peace and contentment even in the tragedies of life that affect us all.
I have been inspired in real life by my friend, Linda, who has published and marketed her own social skills program for many years now. Linda just dives in and learns whatever she needs to accomplish her goals. She is braver than I at trying new experiences (and she persisted to achieve a doctoral degree.) I also admire my friend, Sharon, who makes an art out of living. And my friend, Sylvia, who has a natural talent for happiness. And my many other friends who each have their own gift for life. And my husband who has taught me about steadfastness and love. And my children and grandchildren who inspire me every day.
That brings me to this blog. An opportunity to write, to post photographs, to document my life and to reach out to others in the universe and for them to reach back and touch me. I haven't read "Outliers" but I understand it advances the theory that those who achieve greatness have put at least 10,000 hours into whatever pursuit they have chosen. I have always heard the rule that writers should write regularly even if they don't see the end result at the time. So I guess all this blogging is not wasted. Who knows where it might lead? Thanks for helping me sort out my thoughts.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Today, Cory and Stephanie surprised us by riding their bikes over to our house. I was making lunch so they stayed a while. I chopped up the leftover roast and put it in the gravy. Then I sauteed some green peppers and onions. I put the meat and gravy and peppers and onions over some hamburger rolls and melted thin slices of pepper jack cheese over the top. It was kind of a combination of French Dip and Philly Steak. We all had cold drinks and big, warm plates of the stuff. It was fun. I never seem to get around to actually inviting them over for a big supper, but this was better. Spontaneous. So what did I feed Roger for supper later? Beans and franks and some warm rolls.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 pint (8 oz.) sour cream
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Mix cake mix, oil, sour cream, white sugar. Add eggs one at at time and beat well. Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts together. Grease and flour a bundt pan or tube pan and pour a layer of cake mixture and a layer of brown sugar mixture alternately. Do not let brown sugar touch sides of pan on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove to rack to finish cooling.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
2 lbs. Cube Pork
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
The other cake I made was a version of Mississippi Mud Cake. It was also a little like Wacky Cake. I include both recipes here. Do you remember Wacky Cake? It was popular when I was a teenager because 1) it was wacky 2)it was cheap to make and 3) it tasted fantastic. I still make it sometimes because it is just enough for a square cake pan and it takes almost no ingredients to make.
Here are the somewhat modified recipes I used from a great cookbook called "A Collection of the VERY FINEST RECIPES ever assembled into one Cookbook". It was published in 1979 by Becker Publications, Inc. in Hayward, California. I think someone gave it to me. The cover is missing but it said something on the inside about the publishers being typesetters who created many, many cookbooks for various fundraisers. They picked out the best of these recipes and created this cookbook. Since I was a typesetter myself and worked on a couple of cookbooks, I was curious right away. Then I looked inside and found every old recipe I had ever tried to find. What I like best is that every recipe is someone's family favorite.
Mississippi Mud Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening (I used 2 sticks of margarine)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 Tsp. salt
2 Tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (I put this in the frosting rather than the cake)
1 large package of marshmallows (I left this out)
1 box of powdered sugar
1 stick of margarine, melted
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup evaporated milk (I just used regular milk)
1 Tsp. vanilla
Cake: Cream sugar and shortening. Beat in eggs by hand. Sift flour, cocoa and salt together. Add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and nuts (or not). Pour into greased oblong cake pan and bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Sprinkle cake with rows of marshmallows. Increase heat to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes. (I left out the marshmallows and baked the whole thing at 325 for 25 minutes.
Frosting: Combine powdered sugar and cocoa. Add melted margarine, milk, vanilla, stir in nuts and pour over cake.
I never use a whole box of powdered sugar. I just use a lot more than I'm really comfortable with until the frosting is the right texture. This makes a wonderful fudgey glaze on top of the cake.
1 cup of sugar
3 Tbs. cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 cup cold water
6 Tbs. cooking oil
1 Tbs. vinegar
1 Tsp. vanilla
Stir dry ingredients together into an 8" x 8" baking pan. Make 3 holes in dry ingredients. Put vinegar in one hole; oil in one hole, and vanilla in the last hole. Pour cold water over all and stir with a fork until moistened. Do not beat. Bake 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Leave in pan and frost.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. cocoa
2 Tbs. melted butter
2 Tbs. milk or evaporated milk
1 pinch salt
Sunday, October 10, 2010
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded carrots
1/4 ground nutmeg
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
Cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl until blended. Stir in dry ingredients except carrots and nuts. Beat 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. I baked this in a silicone bundt pan for 1 hour. In a rectangle pan, bake 40 - 45 minutes. In 2 round pans, 30 - 35 minutes. Top cool cake with frosting if desired, or just a dusting of powdered (confectioner's) sugar.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
!/2 box (or more) of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk.
Mix softened cream cheese and butter with vanilla, powdered sugar and enough milk to make the consistency you want, from a thin, pour-on glaze to a thick, fluffy frosting.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Trouble is I didn't have any beer or one of those wire gadgets to hold the chicken over the can. I didn't even have any cooking twine and I had just used my only lemon. I did want to bind those legs together and tried to hold them with foil but that didn't work. So it roasted with it's legs splayed out with a big chunk of onion inside and carrots to act as a cooking rack. When this picture was taken, it wasn't done yet and had to go back into the oven for 20 more minutes. It tasted fine.
My confession is this. It was a lot of trouble to cook, not to mention trying to get all the meat off the pesky thing. It makes buying chicken quarters at $1.00 more a pound seem very attractive. Even those frozen chicken breasts or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. That reminds me of another confession. I am afraid of my gas grill. I'm even afraid for my husband. It is a beautiful grill but it is often hard to light and hard to regulate.
Here is another meal we had recently. Meatloaf. Very simple with lots of ketchup. The way my mother made it. It was good. I also recently made white chicken chili. It was good. I'm sorry to be on a blog with these simple meals. Can't even really call them recipes. But here they are ... those are my confessions.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
First I'm going to have a long soak in a bubble bath.
Then I will twist up my hair in a simple little knot and spray a discreet little spray of Chanel No. 5.