Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tangerine Jelly

Time for another canning recipe! This time, brilliant orangeness with tangerine jelly. If you like orange marmelade, you will like this. It has layers of flavor as well as a brilliant, almost glowing orange color.

I have discovered as well that I think I like working with powdered pectin better than I do the liquid pectin. Sets up much nicer.

This is a Recipezaar recipe, posted by DiB's.

Tangerine Jelly
I got 6 half-pints, plus almost enough for another

6 cups chopped tangerines, pulp, around 4 lb
1 cup chopped lemon, pulp (2-3 large lemons)
1/2 cup thinly sliced tangerine peel (about 4 tangerines)
1 cup water
1 (1-3/4 ounce) package dry pectin
5 cups white sugar

Now, tangerines are usually only found around here at Christmas time. So, instead I found a lovely bottle of tangerine juice that I used. I did chop up about 4 oranges and the lemon and used orange peel and it worked great. You need 4 cups of juice and the bottle was a quart, so perfect!

Combine pulps, peel and water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain juice through a damp jelly bag. Measure 4 cups of juice. Combined the juice and powered pectin in a large pan. Over high heat bring to a boil. Add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath canner.

Voila! Day-Glo jelly!

For those of you who read Jan Bennett's blog - next week I am posting a red onion marmelade recipe! (She posted about an appetizer using red onion jam!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

Ok, I know that just about everyone has a version of chicken enchiladas. So today, you all are going to get mine! Note that this is another quick-n-easy recipe. The other night I was going to have left-overs for supper, when to my surprise, all of the left-overs were gone! So another quickie! I do promise that I don't cook like this ALL the time!

I made 2 more pans of these this morning, one to take to my sick auntie and one to pop in the freezer for us. Don't imagine it will be around long.

Chicken Enchiladas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Approximately 1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 small can chicken gravy
1 can green enchilada sauce
Corn tortillas

In a bowl, mix chicken, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, gravy, sour cream and about 1/3 can of enchilada sauce.

Grease 2 8-inch pans.

Warm tortillas slightly in microwave so they are pliable. Take a tortilla and spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling down the middle. Roll up and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat until you run out of filling. You can use more or less filling, depends on how quick you want to get done!

When done, drizzle 1/3 can of enchilada sauce on each pan. Then put about 3/4 cup of cheese on top.

You can now freeze this for baking later or bake it right now. Bake about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

You can mix up the cheese and the sauce for these, use pepper jack cheese or a hot enchilada sauce if you like it spicy. You can also saute onions and peppers and add to the filling. I am just giving you bare bones here. Also, DS does not care for onions and peppers, so I try to accommodate! Also before you bake, sliced black olives are great to strew over the top. Serve with a green salad with fresh tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Quick-n-Easy

I know, I know. I am getting lazy? When it is hot and humid as it has been here, kinda saps me. I look for what I can find that is quick and easy to throw on the table to satisfy the hungry horde at this house.

For those of you who may be new here, I live in an extended family situation. My DS and I live with my parents. My oldest brother lives just down the street and my neice and her 2 sons live across town (about 5 blocks or so). So instead of having 4 people at a meal, we may have as meany as 8. So even if I try to plan a night for leftovers, a lot of times that does not happen. But I would not have it any other way, I love my family!

Anyway, it was like 97F here yesterday and I was not wanting to cook something after working all day, getting off at 6 PM.

So I rummaged around and here is what I came up with.

Quick-N-Easy Sweet-N-Sour Meatballs
Serves 4-5

There are entirely too many hypens in that name!

1 package (1 pound) frozen meatballs
1 jar sweet-n-sour sauce
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in large dice
1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into large dice
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 (8 oz) can tidbit pineapple, drained

Bung all of the above ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours, low for 4 hours. Or you can do it in a skillet on top of the stove, just cook your meatballs with onions and peppers first, then throw in the rest of ingredients and simmer over low until good and hot. Serve over rice. I did mine in the slow cooker, threw it in a 4 pm. I did brown my pepper and onion a bit in a skillet before putting it in with the rest.


This was pretty good, for being a throw-together quickie! You can add any manner of vegs that you like, I think mushrooms would be good here, too.

I am having a terrible time with my photos here lately! Blogger had an internal error and photobucket never works any more! Agh! any suggestions?

Wouldn't you know, after I had already threw this in to cook, about 5:30 my gentleman friend called and wanted to know did I want him to bring pizza over! I had to tell him no, I am already cooking something, sorry! Maybe next time!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Country Cookin'

I am a country girl at heart! They say that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl! (Not that I am anywheres near out of the country.)

I like to eat fancy now and then. But when it comes to certain dishes, plain ol' country cooked is how I like them.

Like green beans. Now I have eaten them several different ways. But my favorite will probably always be like this.

Country-Style Green Beans
Makes a "big ole' mess"

6 slices bacon
1 onion, diced fine
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken broth
Garlic powder to taste
Fresh green beans, a big colander full (probably about 1/2 gallon)

Saute your bacon until almost crisp. Set bacon aside. In bacon grease, saute onion until limp. In a large pot, put your snapped beans. Now for this many beans, you might want to use 2 cans of chicken broth (apx 1 quart). Pour the broth over your beans. Season well. Add the onion and bacon, stir. Cook over low-medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Check beans for tenderness. If they are not fork tender, cook them some more. Throw your potatoes in and let them get tender. Add mushrooms last. Now get you a bowl, sit down and eat.

This reheats well.

Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY July 28, 2008...

Outside My Window... There is a gentle drizzle falling, dripping off of the thirsty plants. The basil is looking lovely and so is the peppermint.

I am thinking... that I sure would enjoy a nice cold glass of Tea right now!

I am thankful for... knowing how to can. My mother taught me how and every year, I find new things to make!

From the kitchen... Sweet and Sour Meatballs on rice, black berry cobbler for dessert.

I am wearing...Navy skirt, my eagles T-shirt, pony tail and of course my slippers!

I am creating... a cat quilt. That is, I want to, I have ordered the material, just have to sit down and plan it all out when it gets here.

I am going... to Osceola this coming weekend. Only about an hour south of here, but my good friend wants me to go and meet his aunt and uncle. They have a cheese store there, too, so maybe I can get some of that cherry white cheddar I have been wanting to try!

I am reading... Nothing at the moment, time for a trip to the library.

I am hoping...that my book from my good friend Marie in England will get here soon!

I am hearing... my kittie purring. DS wore him out this morning chasing the laser pointer.

Around the house... vacuuming, some cooking to take to my auntie who is sick. She had shoulder surgery and now has a staph infection in the joint, now has become allergic to the antibiotics which were making her sick anyway. We are going to make some things to stick in the freezer for her. That is about it, we got quite a lot done this weekend.

One of my favorite things... is homemade bread. Hot from the oven, dripping with butter and honey - now you're talking!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Go to auntie's tomorrow. Library and bank Tuesday morning. Making some mint jelly, almond syrup and peach-vanilla syrup. If I can find some good cucumbers, making some mustard pickles.

Here is picture thought I am sharing ...

Our hardy hibiscus. These things are as big as a dinner plate!

Want to do your own daybook? Read others? Go over to The Simple Woman and just follow directions. It is such fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Jam

I apologize for being absent. I honestly was going to post yesterday and had a nasty migraine.

Several of you have shown interest in my mention of chocolate cherry jam. As you know, I belong to Recipezaar. It is a great place to find ALL kinds of recipes! While surfing thru the canning recipes, I stumbled upon this one. I was very intrigued, so here it is!

My instructions are for American canning equipment, which I understand is quite different from European.

This smells heavenly, like a box of chocolate covered cherries!

Chocolate Cherry Jam
I got 8 half-pint jars plus probably enough to fill another, but you gotta sample!

6 cups prepared fruit (Bing cherries) - pitted, cut up and smooshed - measure after pitting, cutting and smooshing
3 unsweetened chocolate squares (3 oz)
4 cups granulated sugar
1 box Sure-Jell
1/2 teaspoon butter

Pit cherries, cut and smoosh. I used a potato masher to smoosh them. This is messy, so my advice is put the bowl down in a sink. Otherwise you will have cherry juice all over your shirt. Also, it tends to stain hands and fingernails, so beware. Or you could just buy them frozen and save yourself the trouble! If using frozen, use both liquids and solids, don't drain.

Ok, that is a horrible pic, but you get the idea??

Anyway, put them in a large (6-8 quart) heavy saucepan. Add chocolate and butter. Measure 3-3/4 cups sugar into a bowl. Just before cooking, stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar together with the Sure-Jell. Stir into pan. Bring rapidly to a boil. As soon as it boils, add the remaining sugar. Bring back to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Ladle into pint or half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

That is it. In no time, you will have delicious chocolate cherriness! I am thinking this will be great over top of ice cream!

There is nothing more satisfying than that little "schnick" when those lids seal!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


FOR TODAY: July 21, 2008...

Outside My Window... I am seeing beautiful flowers. Red, white and pink geraniums with spike and blue lobelia. So very pretty.

I am thinking... that I need to go to the library this evening.

I am thankful for... air conditioning. Summer has started here with a vengance. It was 97 yesterday and supposed to be 102 today. With about 100% humidity.

From the kitchen... Chocolate cherry jam being made this evening, hamburger stroganoff and a green salad with fresh tomatoes.

I am wearing... Navy twill skirt, gray Red-Cross T-shirt and my houseslippers.

I am creating... a lap quilt. All in pinks, to match in my room of course!

I am going... to postpone our single's meeting a week, as the only other lady is going to be out of town and I do not want to be the only girl.

I am reading... John Bellairs. He fascinates me.

I am hoping... that they still have tangerine juice at Wal-Mart. I want to make some jelly and that would be perfect.

I am hearing... not much, the kitties are sleeping and it is quiet outside- for once.

Around the house... There is laundry to be done and I need to sweep the floors.

One of my favorite things... is my cat. He is so loveable!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Clean my closet. It is embarassing! Also wash my car and get Keith to look at my brakes. Call my friend Amy and see if she would like to watch a DVD with me.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is my loveable cat, Moodie! Check out his whiskers!

Hop on over to The Simple Woman and check out all of the other daybooks. While you are there, make your own! Loads of fun!


I like to take my time and fix a meal. I don't mind recipes that have lots of steps. But sometimes I am in a hurry. We had unexpected company for lunch on Sunday. Now, on Sundays I usually sleep in a bit. Instead of getting up at 5:30 or 6:00, I usually sleep till 7:00 or so. I get up, fix some breakfast and get ready to go to church, we head out the door about 9:30. Lunch a lot of times on Sunday afternoons is whatever they have that looks good from the Deli. Unless I stick something in the crockpot. We usually get home between 12:30 and 1:00 and eat, then take a nap.

Well, with unexpected company, we had to make do. We had some salad and with fresh tomatoes, that was no problem. We got some chips out and made some iced tea. But what to make for a main?

We had hot dogs, so here is what I came up with.

Sorry, no pics, they were devoured on the spot.

Barbecued Hot Dogs
Serves 4-6 depending on how hungry you are

1 onion, slivered
2 tablespoons butter (I used olive oil)
8 hot dogs
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard (I used more)

In saucepan, brown onion in butter. Add rest of ingredients except buns and hot dogs, simmer 30 minutes. Pot hot dogs all over with a fork and place in oblong baking dish. Pour sauce over hot dogs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot on buns.

Now, since I was in a hurry, I just put the oil in a skillet and threw the hotdogs and onion in and browned them a bit. I mixed all of the other ingredients (forgot the vinegar!) and poured it in and then let that simmer for a while, until the sauce thickened up a bit. I did not measure, but it still came out delicious. I also added in about 1/2 teaspoon or so of liquid smoke. They were quite tasty and quick!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Breakfast

We usually have a big breakfast once a week. During the week, it is usually oatmeal or toast and a glass of juice or cup of coffee. But on Saturday mornings . . .

We might have biscuits and gravy. Or pancakes. Or waffles. Or French toast. Hashbrowns. Omelettes. Eggs. Sausage. Bacon. Cinnamon Rolls. Homemade donuts. Sauteed mushrooms. Ham. Fruit compote. Fritatta.

You name it, we might cook it on Saturdays for breakfast. We mix and match and fix whatever sounds good. Or whatever we feel like. Breakfast is usually served by 8:30-9:00. We take our time eating, enjoying one another's company and visiting. It is peaceful. We might invite company, or just have family.

Last week DS was ill, so we did not fix a big breakfast. This week, he is feeling much better, so we got in gear and fixed pancakes. Dad had been shopping and went to Burger's Smokehouse in California, MO, which is about a 50-mile drive or so for us. We don't go a lot but we do love their products. He got some rope sausage, which is what you see in the picture above. I highly recommend it!

DS asked that I fix pancakes, so I did. I had some weeding to do before breakfast, so I fixed:

Shortcut "Sourdough" Flapjacks

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water

2 cups biscuit mix
2 cups milk
1 egg

Mix your yeast and water into a slurry. Meanwhile, stir the egg into the milk with a whisk. Mix egg mixture into biscuit mix and mix well with whisk. Stir in yeast mixture. Let sit on the counter (I cover with a clean towel) for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Cook over medium-low heat on a flat griddle until bubbly, flip and cook other side.

This dough is a little thin, but very good. Pancakes turn out very tender.

Serve warm with butter and syrup.

Y'all come on back now!

Friday, July 18, 2008


I love fresh tomatoes.

Big, thick, juicy slices of red, ripe tomato, sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper. Not much better!

Or thinner slices in a BLT: Crisp, salty, smokey bacon with lush tomato and crisp lettuce on toast and slathered with mayo or miracle whip.

Thickly sliced on a plate with ranch dressing on top. Or with olive oil and red wine vinegar - MMMMMM!

One of the biggest (in many senses of the word) garden pests is the tomato hornworm. They can decimate a tomato plant overnight! And if you get more than one on a plant, watch out! Big nasty green buggers! I went out for a small break from work this morning and thought hmmmmmm . . . one of our tomato plants looks rather strange. I went and looked and found . . .

Yup - tomato hornworms. I hate these things. They are just plain nasty. And hard to see! They say the best time is to check your plants at night with a flashlight. They don't like sun, so they hide during the day and do most of their eating at night. I immediately checked all of the other tomato plants and found another one onthe next plant over. I found evidence on 2 of the other plants, but could not find the worms. Then I happened to check the pepper plants. Yup, found 2 on there. One poor pepper plant only had 1 leaf left!! Greedy so-and-so's! We took and threw them onto the parsley plants, as we have an overabundance of that and don't care if they eat it all!

Well, if you can harvest some ripe tomatoes without the worms eating them all, here is a super quick recipe for ya! No pics of this one, sorry!

Crunch-Top Tomatoes

Tip: DO NOT make this in a cast-iron skillet. It will turn nasty.

2 Large, ripe tomatoes
1 sleeve Ritz crackers,crushed (can use club crackers)
4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick), melted
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (can use any cheese here)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small onion, chopped fine
Italian seasoning to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet. Slice tomatoes into thin wedges. Saute garlic and onion just until limp. Lay tomatoes on top in single layer. Saute lightly, turning once. In a bowl, mix salt, pepper, cracker crumbs, cheese and seasoning. Melt remaining butter in a bowl. Sprinkle cracker crumb mixture over tomatoes and drizzle with remaining butter. Let cook about another 3-5 minutes, just until your cheese gets melty. Do not turn or stir. Serve forth! This makes a great side for roasted chicken!

Drawing laughter

That is - Snicker Doodles! TeeHEE

I am here today (a day late - yeah and a few dollars short, too) to tell you about a really good cookie! Snickerdoodles. They are kinda plain Jane, but full of goodness! Kids love them, they are so easy to make and the taste - Wow! They travel well, too.

The name "snickerdoodle" originated from an old German baker named Paul Gramm. As the legend goes, his assistant (a young Irish cobbler named Christopher Rasnick) used to have the nickname "doodle". Often he performed fabulous tricks around the bakery that would cause the local villagers to "snicker". This is widely believed to be the way that this famous cookie was born.


The origin of the name “Snickerdoodle” has given rise to many theories but few facts. The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word for "snail dumpling" (Schneckennudeln, or cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls).[citation needed] Similarly, one author states that “the word `snicker' may have come from a Dutch word `snekrad,' or the German word `Schnecke,` both describing a snail-like shape.” However, another author believes the name came from a New England tradition of fanciful, whimsical cookie names,and yet another cites a series of tall tales around a hero named Snickerdoodle from the early 1900s.

Well, however, they got their name, they are just plain delicious!


1 cup Butter Flavor Crisco
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars with an electric mixer on high. Add egg, vanilla, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix on high until smooth and well incorporated. Add flour and mix well.

Preheat oven to 300°F and let the dough rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping.

With your hands, roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press them into an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-14 minutes and NO LONGER! They will seem undercooked, but will be soft and chewy in the middle once they have cooled.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Beauty is only skin deep. That is such a true statement. I know several people who are beautiful on the surface, but down deep - UGH!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. True again. There are somethings that I would not wear to a dog fight that my mother just dearly loves and vice versa.

Beauty does not last. Like flowers, beauty is often fleeting. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Beauty is a characteristic of a person, place, object or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction.

The characterization of a person as “beautiful”, whether on an individual basis or by community consensus, is often based on some combination of inner beauty, which includes psychological factors such as personality, intelligence, grace, charm and elegance, and outer beauty, which includes physical factors, such as health, youthfulness, symmetry, averageness, and complexion.

Beauty comes from within. Inner beauty is a concept used to describe the positive aspects of something that is not physically observable.

Well, I received something that was truly beautiful this week. My friend, Marie, from A Year From Oak Cottage has an Etsy store called Blossom Time Creations. She is one talented lady. Her water colors are all fantastic, but I saw a canvas I just had to have! My bedroom is decorated with roses and this fit the bill perfectly. It is called "Gathering Rosebuds".


My photography I am afraid does not do it justice. Very lovely work. Hop on over to her blog site and take a look at her prints, there is a link to her Etsy on there. You can also contact her and commission something of your very own. She does fantastic work! I am so very pleased with my rosebud girl!

I am proud to own such a painting, not only because the painting itself is beautiful, but because it comes from such a beautiful person. Marie personifies beauty. She has such a sweet spirit.

Photobucket is being such a PAIN!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


Ha, finally got that figured out!

Peggy over at The Simple Woman does the Simple Woman's Daybook on Mondays. Hop on over and take a look, they are fantastic!

FOR TODAY (July 14, 2008)...

Outside My Window... We have bright sunshine and humidity! Summer has finally arrived!

I am thinking... that I still have a lot of laundry to get done today!

I am thankful for...Family. Even though we would like to kick them sometimes, they are always there for us.

From the kitchen...BLTs with our very own fresh tomatoes!!! With strawberry shortcake for dessert. Also I will be making bluberry scones, fresh cherry scones and peach scones.

I am wearing...Khaki skirt, pink T-shirt with embroidered flowers, blue houseslippers and wet hair up in a clip.

I am creating...A Victorian mansion cross-stitch picture.

I am stay home as much as possible this week after vacationing.

I am reading...Jean Plaidy's historical novels. Soooo interesting!

I am hoping...that I can get everything done today.

I am hearing...helicopters. We live near an AFB and they go over all the time.

Around the house... Laundry, vacuuming, pick blueberries.

One of my favorite things... is Fresh tomatoes! I love them sliced with salt and pepper or ranch dressing, in sandwiches, in salad, you name it!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Organize the freezers. Make a couple of aprons - Have to go get some contrast material first. Call my cousin about recovering my 2 chairs.

Here is picture thought I am sharing . . .


This is the old pump at the house where my grandmother was born out by Arcadia, NE.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank You . . . . Thank You Very Much!

As I sashay down the aisle, in my emerald gown, my flowing tresses blowing in the wind . . . . NOT! Actually, I would be schlumping down the aisle in my flip flops and my comfy PJs, carrying a bag of microwave popcorn and a Dr. Pepper!

My good friend Jan, over at Range Warfare has given me an award! She is a super sweet and fun-lovin' gal from England who somehow got transplanted to NE Oklahoma.

It is the Arte E Pico award and I am not really sure that I deserve it at all.


Here are the rules that accompany this award.

1. Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and their contribution to the blogging community.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name of and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.

4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. Show these rules.

Ok, now it is my turn to pass it on!

I choose:

Angela, of Stressed Out Mum Seeks Inspiration, because she is such a lovely person and a constant inspiration to me!

Jan, of What do I Want 2 Cook Today for all of the fantastic food that she cooks. Besides being a great cook, Jan is a wonderful person, too!

Nic, at Cherrapeno, who is a beautiful person and does fantastic photography (besides great-sounding recipes).

Sue, at Back to the Table who has a heart as big as Texas!

Susan, at Comfort Suite for her fantastic brand-new blog!

Whew! I hope that you all enjoy, I am going to hire Marie to cater our after-awards party, with Tulip to help!

The Giants are Coming, The Giants are Coming . . .

Ok, today I am going to tell you a rather kooky story from when I was a child with an overactive imagination. I have always loved to imagine things. That is one of the reasons that most of the time I would rather read a book than watch TV. Thataway, I can imagine on my own what the people look like, etc.

Well, when going back to my childhood home this time, I just had to take some pictures so I could tell you all this story.

I am going to start with this picture.


These are haystacks. My Grandpa used to make haystacks like this. They kind of look like big loaves of bread, right? (humor me here, ok?) Anyway . . . here in Missouri, you don't see many haystacks like this. But in Nebraska, at least around the area where I grew up, they are quite common. And I have always thought that they looked like big loaves of homemade bread.

Now on to this picture.


Now if you are looking at that thing thru a child's eyes, doesn't it look like a giant? He is marching across the land, up over the hills, carrying those wires.

Here is a better picture, to get the whole effect.


Now, they have these thingies all over up there. Well, when I was a child I used to dream a lot and one night I had a dream. I had to run and tell everyone!! Quickly! The giants were coming, they were marching across the land and they were going to eat all of the bread/haystacks. They would slice them with the wires like a knife and eat it all and there would be no more hay for the cows. Of course, I never told anyone about this silly dream until this time when we went to Nebraska. Yup, they thought I was pretty silly. I can remember riding in a car and keeping an eye on the evil giants, silently warning them to stay away from our haystacks!

Ok, now you all know that I am full of silliness! Or as some folks would say, full of beans. So without further ado . . .

Baked Beans by Raquel
Serves a bunch of hungry folks

4 (1 lb) cans of pork-n-beans
1 onion, diced fine
Worchestershire sauce
Chili powder
Liquid Smoke
Garlic powder
Coarse ground black pepper
Barbecue sauce

Get a fairly large baking pan. Probably at least a 2 quart-3 quart one. I used a 9 x 13 cake pan. Open the beans and pour them in the pan. (One of the nice things about this recipe is it only dirties up one pan!) Now over top of that put your diced onion, squirt in some ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce. Amounts are to your preference, I probably use 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon of mustard and at least 1/2 cup BBQ sauce. Sprinkle in some worchestershire sauce, probably about 1-1/2 teaspoons. A sprinkle of chili powder, about 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke, about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir it all up real good. Now lay some pieces of bacon on top. I usually partially cook my bacon first in the microwave, that way they are not so greasy. I cut it into large squares. Just lay them on top and pop them in the oven and let 'er cook! Lowish heat, around 300 degrees F for at least an hour, maybe longer.

Sorry, no pics of this one either, it was gone in about 10 minutes!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Old Time Goodness

Summer time. Bees lazily wending their way from flower to flower. The drone of locusts in the sleepy, hazy twilight. Heat shimmering off of the pavement. A tall pitcher of lemonade, ice cubes clinking, as the condensation gathers on the outside. There is just something about summertime that makes you wax nostalgic, wishing for a simpler time, when life moved slower.

When you played baseball with a stick instead of a proper bat, and it was a street game or just a friendly game, no parents were allowed. Teams were chosen by the "captains" and the captains changed every day. No uniforms, either, just old t-shirts and shorts or jeans. Old sneakers, not cleats. The words that were shouted were friendly, teasing, encouraging, not harsh and critical.

Or maybe, instead of playing baseball, you climbed up in a tree and went adventuring with a book. You sailed the seven seas with Long John Silver and his pirates or went under the sea with Captain Nemo. You explored far distant lands, perhaps even blasted off into space. I was usually with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as they rid the world of evil-doers! Perhaps you spent some time with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the foggy streets of Victorian London.

You played outside unless it was raining. You got good and dirty, then you came in and took a bath before bed. Once a week or so, you went to the library and got some books to take with you when you climbed the tree to read. You got up early and helped your Mom in the garden.

Lunches were uncomplicated affairs during those times - bologna sandwiches and some chips, maybe an apple. And maybe, if you had been really good, cookies. My mother hates to make cookies. You can always tell her first batch from her last batch. The last batch are about twice the size. She wants to be done!

These cookies make me think of a tall glass of lemonade on a hazy summer's day back when I was a kid. Recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion.

The Essential Chewy Sugar Cookie
3 dozen cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar, for coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a big bowl, beat everything but the flour together. Stir in flour.

Put coarse sugar in a shallow dish. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls into the sugar, rolling the balls to coat them.

Place on prepared sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are just barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven, cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Serve with a big glass of ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day, close your eyes and daydream about a slower pace of life!


I see that I am going to have to use a different photo storage thing, photobucket is being very recalcitrant!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

If these stairs could talk . . . .

How often have we heard that expression? If these walls could talk, what stories they would have to tell! On vacation this past week, we stayed in the house where my grandmother and 4 of her brothers and sisters were born. We estimated the house must be at least 100 years old. It is out in the middle of nowhere, probably at least 7 miles off a minor highway, on an old gravel/sand road. My grandmother had one sister and 4 brothers. Of these children, 3 of the boys never married. One of them was born in this house, lived in this house all of his life, and died in the house. Wow! Don't hear of that much anymore!

What I found most amazing I think, was the stairs in this house! They are very narrow and actually have grooves worn in the steps from countless feet going up and down them! It sent goosey-shivers up my spine when I first saw them. I wish I had a dime for every time someone went up or down them - I believe I could go on vacation with that money!

Sorry about this picture, not sure if you can see what I mean, but Photobucket is being stupid.


We have determined that the stairs were actually added later, as they go across a window! It gave me just a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that I was sleeping in that house where SO much history was!

We had a great time, the food was wonderful! One of my cousins works at an Ore-Ida plant, so he fried onion rings, potato planks, mozzarella sticks, brownie bites . . . We had hamburgers on the grill, watermelon and I made some Pasta Salad.

Pasta Salad

Serves at least 12

1 lb. dried pasta (I used penne)
Water to cook pasta
1 can sliced black olives
1 green pepper, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or whatever your preference is)
1 small package sliced pepperoni
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing

Cook pasta until al dente in boiling water. Drain, but do not rinse. Put pasta in large bowl and add all but cheese and pepperoni. Pour over 1/2 bottle of dressing and mix well. Let sit until cool. Add in cheese and pepperoni, mix well. It may seem a little dry and if so, add in some more dressing. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours. Before serving take out and stir. Add the rest of the bottle of dressing. Serve forth.

Now, I usually add in some broccoli and cauliflower, maybe some sliced raw zucchini. You can use whatever veggies you like, whatever cheese (I like a combination of parmesan, sharp cheddar and mozzarella) and whatever kind of meat, ham or what have you.

No pictures, I think this was gone within about 15 minutes of my putting it out.

I'm It Again!

I have been tagged for this meme from Angie at Can You All Hear Me At The Back. She is a lovely gal from England and I really enjoy reading her blog.

Here are the rules: You tell 6 random things about yourself, then you tag someone else. They have to read your blog, then they fill in 6 random things about themselves, and link back to you.

Anyway . . .

1. I was once the youngest weather observer in the United States. We lived at an airport at the time, and had quite a big class, I think about 20 people. I was bored, it was in the summer, so I went along and took the class. I passed with a good grade and got my license. I believe I was either 10 or 11 at the time. Later they came in and tried to take my license away, stating I was too young. One of the men who worked in Kansas City went all the way to DC to plead my case and won!

2. I was born in Germany. My Dad was stationed there and so I was born in the Stork's Nest in Weissbaden, Germany. My brothers were just sure that I would speak German, having been born there and all!

3. I can't drink coffee. I love the taste and especially the smell! But it will make me sick every time! I can use a bit, like in brownies or cake, but not to drink it straight.

4. I can write with my left foot. Yup, stick a pen between my toes and I can write. Not very legibly, I will admit, but I can do it!

5. My favorite color is green. I think that green is a very unappreciated color most of the time. GO GREEN!

6. I love to can. Making pickles, preserves, I am there! But I like to make the unusual things, not just the same old regular things. This year, I have already made my Rose Petal Jam and Lime Jelly. I am looking forward to making: Concord Grape Conserve, Tangerine jelly, pumpkin preserves, mustard pickles, plum sauce, almond syrup, tomatillo salsa, vanilla peach syrup, red onion marmelade, chocolate cherry jam and mint jelly! Whoo HOO!

That is it folks, I am done!

So I tag:

Sylvie: A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit

Sue: Back To The Table

Cheryl: Cookin' Dunkin Style

Angela: Stressed Out Mum Seeks Inspiration

Julie: Tulip's Kitchen

Jan: Range Warfare

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back from vacation

I am back. I had such a great time, I wish that you all could have been there. I got to see a lot of my cousins that I haven't seen in a while. And aunts and uncles, etc. The old home place has not changed much. It was so good to see. We went into the town where I lived in grade school and so many of the places I remember have not changed at all! I got some pictures and I will be sharing them with you as time goes along.

We had an eventful trip on the way up, it rained on us about half of the way, we got kinda lost because we had an old atlas and they moved the Missouri River bridge at Lexington so we had to detour about 40 miles out of our way, and in Kansas we had a tire belt that busted so we had a blow out, had to change the tire and buy a new one. But all in all, it was ok.

The weather was gorgeous the whole time we were there, sunny during the day, but not too hot, cool at night and not a lot of wind. No bugs. I had forgotten how beautiful Nebraska was. The rolling hills of prarie. You can see, literally, for miles. The miles and miles of crops. Corn, wheat, soybeans. The breadbasket of the nation. Amber waves of grain. Towns are usually few and far between. The farms are big. The home place is half a mile wide and a mile long. Half of a section.

We had a beautiful drive, the wild flowers are all in bloom. Queen Anne's lace (white), chicory (blue), black-eyed Susans (yellow and black), Indian paintbrush (bright orange), clover (purple and white), bird's foot trefoil (golden yellow), daisies (white and yellow), purple coneflower. God has been busy with his paintbrushes!

The drive back was very nice, we took the sceneic route, stopped a few times and took pictures, stopped and ate. All in all, we had a lovely trip. It was just too short, but aren't they all?

Before we left, Dad requested that I make him a Cottage Pie to "tide him over" while we were gone! Mind you, this is a short-cut version!

Cottage Pie

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 can beef or mushroom gravy
1 (1 pound) bag frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans and lima beans)
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
5-6 medium-sized potatoes, mashed with milk and butter
Shredded cheese (I used mozarella and cheddar)

Brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet and drain. Meanwhile, cook the mixed vegs in a small amount of salted water and drain. Cook your potatoes and mash. Season well.

Mix the beef, vegs, gravy and mushrooms. Season well. Put in a greased casserole dish. Pile the potatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and pie is hot through. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On Vacation

It is official - I am on vacation. Well, actually tomorrow. But I promise when I come back, I will have loads of goodies for you!

We are headed to Nebraska tomorrow, to the place where my mother's mother was born. My uncle inherited the place and wants everyone to come and see how he has fixed it up. I am sure it will be fun (albeit totally disorganized).

One of the nicest things is that we will be able to stop and get some homemade sausages from the butcher shop in the town where we used to live. He makes homemade weiners, polish and garlic bologna that will knock your socks off! They are delicious and we are picking some up to bring home with us!

Also, DS is going to be able to meet his paternal grandfather for the first time ever! I am glad, as family is so important and no one is getting any younger.

So I apologize for not posting, but I will see you when I return next week! Much love to everyone!