Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Tag

1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

  I love The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, it has such an enjoyable combination of wittiness and fun, and to be honest I am a huge fan of Henry Winkler so his being in the movie made it even better.

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

  Every single Christmas I had since I can remember has been really snowy, until this year which seems to be nothing but drab and rainy. We still have a little time before Christmas gets here, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

3. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?

  No, I haven't ever made an actual gingerbread house but I would like to someday.

4. Candy canes or gingerbread men?

  Hmm, I actually abhor gingerbread so I have to choose candy canes. I can still remember when I was a little girl I used to lick the candy canes that hung on our tree when I thought no one was looking.

5. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

  Our Christmas tree is fake, two years ago Diane and I went and got a real tree for our room, and I can still hear the pine needles falling onto the floor in the middle of the night. Not that listening to pine needles was that bad, but trying to clean them out of our carpeting was horrible.

6. What's the best Christmas gift you have ever received?

  Honestly out of all the gifts I have ever received, my favorite one was the one that I got when I was eight, I was excitedly tearing the crisp wrapping paper off of my present and I couldn't believe my joy when I saw that I had gotten a box of corn flakes, it seemed so wonderful to have a whole box of cereal for myself. My Mom and Dad just laughed and told me to open it, and nestled inside the box was my very own cookbook and cake decorating supplies. I can remember squealing in stunned excitement since baking was my favorite thing ever to do.

7. Are you a pro at gift wrapping or do you fail miserably?

  Not to sound vain or anything but I would consider myself a pro. The credit goes to my Mom for teaching me how to wrap a present prettily when I was a little girl.

8. What is your favorite food at Christmas?

  Christmas breakfast is the best, I don't have a specific favorite but getting to eat as much bacon as you can is pretty awesome.

9. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or peppermint mocha? What is your favorite Christmas drink?

  Ah! I can think of nothing better than to snuggle under a warm blanket with a book and a mug of hot chocolate when the winter time begins.

10. What is your favorite Christmas song?

  Either Jingle Bell Rock or  It came upon a Midnight Clear.

11. Do you go Christmas caroling? Do carolers come to your house?

  Not to sound like a grinch but I don't like caroling. Carolers used to come to our house when we lived in Missouri, but they don't where we live now.

12. What is your favorite Christmas candy?

  Ooh! My favorite Christmas candy is the Mint Chocolate Truffles my Mom makes every Christmas, sadly they never last very long.

13. Do you make homemade candy for Christmas?

  Oh yes we definitely make homemade candy, every Christmas Day we have lots of candy to snack on all day long, making the candy is probably my favorite part Christmas prep.

14. When it comes to Christmas gifts do you prefer to buy or make the things you give? Receive?

  Though buying the gifts is definitely easier I find it much more satisfying to make everything yourself. And both store bought and homemade gifts are equally as fun to receive in my opinion.

15. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning?

  I never understood why anyone would open their presents on Christmas Eve, it goes against the grains of how an average Christmas should go, my OCD-ness would drive me crazy opening gifts the day before Christmas.

16. Do you go to Christmas Eve services at a church?

 I think we did one year. I still remember something with candles and singing Silent Night.

17. Have you ever had a ride in a one horse open sleigh?

  No I haven't, but the dreaminess in me would absolutely love to have a sleigh ride, I'd feel as if I belonged in a fairy tale if I ever got to have a sleigh ride.

18. Do you like fruitcake?

  I love fruitcake, the good kind though, during the holiday season edible bricks so often get passed around from family to family as a so called fruitcake. Every year my Mom makes a very moist and tender fruit cake filled with delicious fruits so I don't have to worry about politely eating nastiness.

19. Do you make your own Christmas cookies, or do you prefer the store bought kind? Sprinkles, or no?

  Making homemade Christmas cookies is only one of the most fun things to ever do when Christmas time rolls around, Sean, Diane, and I always make a lot of cookies on Christmas Eve to enjoy the next day. And since I love baking, making cookies is one of my favorite Christmas traditions ever.

  And though I do love sprinkles I normally just put decorating sugar on my cookies, I find they taste better that way.

20. Of the 12 days of Christmas ..... which one is your favorite?

  The third day of Christmas is my Favorite, I don't know whether it's because of the french hens or because of the fact that there are so many more "Days of Christmas" ahead.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Time is Coming.

  With Christmas merrily prancing towards us I feel that it is only appropriate to start making Christmas inspired posts. After all, my favorite holiday deserves a spot on my blog.
 
  Every single year around Christmas time the house bursts with Christmas Spirit, the smell of baking Christmas treats wafts through the house, Christmas songs are being sung loudly by my little brother, our Christmas tree shimmers and twinkles when Sean crawls under to light the tree, homemade gifts are stuffed every where and pretty much everyone is bursting with all the secrets they can hardly keep to themselves. Goodness I love Christmas!

  But like every single Christmas before this one there is always one big problem, what ever am I supposed to give to my Dad and brothers, men are such hard to shop for people. I always manage to scratch something together last minute but all the frantic thinking just about wears my brain out.

  This year all of us "children" are making homemade gifts for each other, I have literally spent hours creating things, and now if only I knew what to make for my Dad and Eldon I'd be all set. Maybe tonight as midnight arrives a twinkling star will shoot past my bedroom window and glorious inspiration will suddenly take root in my mind. They say if you wish upon a Christmas star......

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Currently.....


Reading...... . 

 My literature in school has me reading The Swiss Family Robinson, and I have to say I love their quaint dialogue.

Writing..... .

  I am writing a nonsensical little book about a teen girl and her crazy carrot loving Aunt. It is such fun writing silly little stories!

Listening..... . 

  To pots and pans being clanged around in the kitchen while Eldon makes lunch, I shall never know how he manages to use so many dishes to cook one thing.

Thinking about....... 


  The fact that the sunny cheerful fall that I love so much is almost over and leading to the cold, grey, drab fall-to-winter stage.

Smelling..... 

  Onions frying, considering Eldon is making his favorite potato dish.

Wishing.....

   That I could slip outdoors and soar through the sky like all the birds that are migrating now.

Hoping..... 

  That today's beautiful weather will last, so that in the afternoon Diane and I can go collect fallen pine cones, I am drying them and turning them into Christmas decor, though while baking the cones it smells like slabs of burning pine sap, in other words, detestably nasty.

Wearing.....

  A creamy blue Japanese print skirt with a navy blue top, my favorite outfit for sure.

Loving...... 

  Life in general at the moment, I love when I have days like that, when you feel like you could walk on clouds.

Wanting.... 

  To craft something, nothing in particular, I'm just in a crafty mood,(the nice kind).

Needing.....

  More yarn so I can work on my Fudge Ripple afghan, it just drags on and on and on, crocheting afghans always takes me ages.

Feeling..... 

  Exuberantly joyful for no good reason, maybe because today feels promising, maybe because our beautiful weather makes me happy, maybe because I get to bake later, Hmm or maybe all of the above.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Things I'm Thankful For

   Since it is the start of November and Thanksgiving is drawing near, I feel it is the perfect time to do a Thankful post.


1. Name a color you are thankful for.
 
  I am very thankful for the color purple, a world without purple would be very sad indeed.

2. Something your parents do that you are thankful for.


   My parents are the calm, always know what they are doing people in my world, and always make sure we are healthy and happy and never forget to have fun spending time with us, for that I am extremely thankful.

3. Something your siblings do that you are thankful for.


  My siblings are the spunk to my world, they bring the delightful chaos to my home that I have grown to love, and they help do dishes, I am thankful for that.

4. A food you are thankful for.


  I am really thankful for pasta, every kind really.

5. What recent good news are you thankful for?


  I am thankful for the fact that I have straight A's so far into the school year, that is good news to me.

6. Name a drink you are thankful for.


  I am extremely thankful for water, my favorite drink that I literally couldn't live without.

7. Name a restaurant you are thankful for.


  I am thankful for D'Atri's I love their food and the atmosphere at the place. My memory of the first time eating there is a little different.  I had spotted a man with a black and blue stripes painted on his face sitting near by. As a little girl I had to keep looking at him, I was in awe that this creature was eating food like a normal person, he seemed more like an alien to me.

8. Talk about an animal you are thankful for.


  I am thankful for kittens, the adorable little balls of fur are a necessity to my "Old Maid Plan B" system for when I get much older.

9. Name a beauty product you are thankful for.


  I am thankful for chap stick, I really don't care about all the other things like blush and mascara, lipstick etc. As long as I have my chap stick I will be fine.

10. Name a cleaning product you are thankful for.


  I am thankful for hand soap, I would freak if I didn't have it around to wash my hands with every hour or so when I feel that they are germ infested.

11. Name a candy you are thankful for.


  I am thankful for chocolate in general, for with it I can tolerate my morning oatmeal and satisfy midday hungers, really I love chocolate, it sweetens my life!

12. What are you looking forward to that you are thankful for?


  I am thankful for Thanksgiving, I love that holiday where our favorite traditions take place, and our family gathers around the table to enjoy our feast, One of my favorite holidays for sure.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's October so let's get this out there first thing...have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon? How so?

   Not to sound like a fall grinch but I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavored/spiced things, the only thing pumpkin spice like that I have "jumped upon" is pumpkin spiced pancakes, so yummy!

2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible." Francois Duc De la Rochefoucauld  

What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

  Fall cleaning my room seems to answer this question rather nicely, not that I'm lazy but anything deep cleaning-wise always seems so dreadful halfway through that sometimes flopping down on the floor and laughing hysterically rather than continuing the task at hand sounds rather nice.

3. The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has its own (click here to see the list). Are you happy with yours? If you were in charge what would you declare your state's flower? If you're outside the U.S. what bloom would you like to see labeled as your country's national flower?

   Yes I really like our State flower, I think it captures the essence of our home state very well, so even if I chose another flower I don't think it could be as perfect as the one we already have.

4. What have you lost interest in recently?

  Embroidery, I thought it would be such a marvelous thing to spend your afternoons embroidering a handkerchief while drinking a cup of tea but 20 large thread knots later I was ready to call it a day, my cloth of knots now lies upstairs tucked away, never to be seen again.

5. In your opinion, who's the best living musician?

  I really like more of a classical kind of music so Adrian Von Ziegler would have to be my choice, I love how his music takes you to mythical far away places.

6. S'mores-love 'em or no? Ever make them indoors? Last time you sat around an outdoor fire? Are making s'mores and sitting round a fire pit on your autumn bucket list? Do you have an autumn bucket list?

  Oh how I love s'mores, I really only ate them around a fire when we were on vacation several years ago.

  Though I don't have a fall bucket list I'm sure if I did, making s'mores would be at the top.

7. Your favorite small town? Why?

  One of our neighboring towns is the prettiest small town I know of, if I had to live in a town I would definitely choose that one.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

  I am loving fall so much now that the sun has come out and the clouds have gone away, and am spending my days reading, crocheting, drinking tea, and enjoying every beautiful thing that is life.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Autumn Roses

  Just looking out my window I see leaves falling from the trees and ever so poetically floating through the air greeting the ground as an old friend. Now since autumn is so beautiful and doesn't seem to last long enough I decided to take advantage of all of its beauty and preserve and craft nature till my heart was content.
  So today since I felt crafty I made several roses and was absolutely delighted with how well they turned out to be, and decided I shall share a tutorial with you, in case you want to make some roses as well.


  To make Leaf Roses you will need:

  About 10 leaves, freshly fallen so that they aren't brittle and won't break or tear easily.
 
 A long, pliable leaf stem

 1. Starting with the smallest of the leaves with the colorless side facing you, bend the middle leaf tip down towards you.

2. Then starting from the right side tip fold it down and roll it all the way over to the other side.



3. Holding on to that rolled leaf tightly, take another leaf, colorless side towards you fold down the middle tip and place the previous leaf in its' center.


  4.Once again starting from the siding tip, fold down the outer tips and roll the leaf around the previously rolled leaf.


  Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have your desired rose shape.  Using a stem from a leaf, tie it around the other stems to secure the rose's shape.


  This tutorial is really quite simple even though sounds a little complicated. It's fun, and at the end you have a lovely rose.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Changing Season



  Goodbye summer and welcome fall!
  My favorite season has come at last.  Everywhere I look there are signs of fall. Brightly colored leaves on the ground, fallen acorns, and chilling breezes are everywhere. It is really rather hard staying inside when all you want to do is run through the grasses, hair flying in the wind, soaking up every magical thing that is fall.
  I shall have to thank God for all His wonderful creations and enjoy every bit of sunshine filled fall that I can!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

There's Trouble in the Air


  I am sure that on my parents wedding day they dreamed of days spent together doing positively perfectly dreamy things, of course they do spend some marvelous moments together like on a hike, a vacation, and an occasional picnic or two.

  Fast forward sixteen plus years to last evening and you will find our family gathered in the living room reading. Mom is working on writing a book, and there's random chit-chatting. It was a relatively hot day our windows were wide open allowing the breeze to float across the living room's occupants, now no such perfect scene can last very long and indeed it didn't for into the living room buzzed a curious yellow jacket and started its inspection, the following five seconds were filled with an ear piercing shriek as the yellow jacket decided to rest on my Mom's lamp leaving her to hide under a blanket, of course it was Dad to the rescue as he calmly eliminated the troublesome yellow jacket. Mom was quite grateful having such a splendid husband!

  I don't know about you but doesn't that sound every bit as dreamy and heroic as they always wanted it to be? I think it does.

Friday, September 4, 2015

If I were.....

  If I were a plant I would be a fern because gently swaying in the wind with long curly, feather like leaves sounds perfectly dreamy.

  If I were a tree I would be a weeping willow because I love them quite dearly and making a lovely shady spot for someone to read under sounds like a lot of fun.

  If I were a flower I would be a red rose, I love how they seem perfectly perfect and being given to someone dear to admire doesn't sound half bad.

  If I were a gemstone I would be a sapphire because their brilliantly glassy look has always captivated me and quite frankly being a shimmery blue stone would be fun.

  If I was a piece of furniture I would be a bookcase, I could spend hours and hours with books just like I always wanted to.

  If I were weather I would be sunny and fill every nook and cranny with glowing warmth to brighten the world.

  If I were a sea animal I would be a dolphin and spend my days splashing, jumping and playing in large waves and having the time of my life.

  If I were a color I would choose to be lavender because a color so lovely and creamy purple would be a marvelous color to be.

  If I was an animal I would be llama, standing around around chewing vigorously would be fun, not to mention being able to spit on anyone I wanted and just have people think it was my defense mechanism.

  If I were an emotion I would be joy and fill peoples days with cheerful anticipation, extreme happiness, and big smiles.

  If I were a scent I would be the scent that lingers after it rains in the mountains, a deep earthy, woody smell that exudes clean freshness.

  If I were a fruit I would be a plum and hang onto a tree with my purple plumpness drawing the eyes of many a hungry wanderer.

  If I were a vegetable I would love to be a pea and nestle in a vegetable shell with my family sleeping the day away.

  If I were a Taste I would love to be salty, food without out salt is a sad affair indeed and bursts of salty flavor dancing across one's tongue would be splendid.

  If I were a beverage I would be water and quench peoples thirst's with my life sustaining clear self.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Some Favorite Quotes

   I have always loved quotes, those perfectly worded phrases that capture everything you are feeling have never yet failed me, and if it were up to me I would spend all day reading and memorizing them.
 
   Since I sadly don't have the time to read all day I assumed I can at least share a few of my favorite quotes with you today.

  And without further ado here goes,

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand it is at the end of your arm. 
Audrey Hepburn.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light. 
Dumbledore.
 
There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
Aristotle.

Why not go out on a limb? That is where the fruit is. 
Mark Twain.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
Cicero.

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.
Robert Frost. 
  
  I love all of these quotes, they're among the ones I have written down somewhere where I can treasure them and love them till the end of my days. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The House of Many Faces

  Our house is filled with many faces. I don't know if other people see faces in almost everything, but I do.

  So today I am going to show you all just a few of the faces that live in our house and to start it off here is our adorable face that smiles at us all in our living room.


  Then we have a very annoying face that resides in our upstairs bathroom, it is always very hard to try taking a comfortable bath with this snoopy thing staring bug-eyed right at you.


 
  And last but most definitely not the least is this charmingly gruesome monster that rules the refrigerator, scowling at anyone who opens the door.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge



1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?

  The last time I moved was probably five years ago and I did not mind at all, our new home had stairs and I was extremely delighted, we had used to live in a double wide and stairs had always seemed so delightful to me. Having a room upstairs was a dream come true. In fact as soon as we had moved here I ran up and down the stairs so much I could hardly walk the next day due to extremely sore legs.

  My least favorite thing about moving is always packing and unpacking, that chore is miserable.

2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.

  I had to cry buckets of tears at a particularly sad movie.

 I like sad movies but the crying part is miserable so I have no idea why I watch them again.

3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?

  Car eating rules are always strict, absolutely no sticky snacks are allowed and everyone has a bag to dispose their garbage, but other than that we have jolly-good times on trips eating plenty of not so good for you foods.

  I don't know what the last thing I ate in my car was, but the last thing I chewed in my car was gum.

4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

  I highly dislike music or songs when we are driving or traveling, I am more of a look out the window and think kind of girl.

5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?

  I haven't ever visited a drive-thru of any kind.

6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?

 I kind of like thinking things through before I do something so I won't regret it.

7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?

  I don't get lost, or in other words I never stray off the path enough to get into trouble, getting lost never appealed to me.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

  I am one of those people who wake up with an extremely parched throat in the middle of the night. So lately I have started the habit of bringing a glass of water to bed. A few nights ago, after getting into bed and setting a glass of water on my headboard (I have the kind of bed that has a compartment headboard) I fell asleep, and like usual I woke up at midnight with a very dry throat, too lazy to sit up I just swished my hand towards the headboard trying to find my water, My hand connected with the glass and sent it, and the icy water it contained flying through the air. It landed with a triumphant splosh onto my pillow. I was too tired to get more water so I simply sipped the few droplets that remained in the glass and spent the rest of my night on a soggy pillow.
  When I woke up that morning I have to say my face was really clean. I may have accidently discovered the perfect treatment for acne. My pores have never been better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

  Overcoming my fears by facing them  head on is probably the hardest and quite frankly, that whole saying never really made much sense to me.

  The easiest one is finding the good in life, it was put there and it is up to us to ignore it or seek it and fully appreciate it.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

  Since I absolutely love writing, doodling, drawing, and other random things, buying a stack of notepads would be the perfect thing to do.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

  My latest "trip" has been tripping and almost falling when fleeing three angry cows, no matter how inviting wading in a creek in a cow pasture sounds, you should always consider the fact that it is called a cow pasture for a reason.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

  If trapeze counts then I would love to be able to do professional trapeze acts, I have no idea what I would use that talent for but it would be positively delightful to go flying through the air.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

  I did not achieve many of those things but I have eaten a ice cream cone, read a book, ate corn on the cob, and if watching my brother and his friend counts, then I have watched a ballgame.

  Nothing else is really on my summer list so I guess I had a pretty good summer.

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

  I don't really have anything to ask, partly because I don't really pay attention to what is going on in politics. I don't even know who the presidential candidates are.

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

  Not including church hymns I don't listen to any songs with lyrics. I only listen to classical and  instrumental music. My favorite one would have to be  "Spring Charm" by Adrian Von Ziegler

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  Some minor things I had wanted to do this summer were having a water fight, I never had one but I did wade in the creek for 15 minutes before fleeing for my dear life. I also spent some time at a lake which was a lot of fun. I had wanted to bike on the trail but never did, but I did get to ride here around home. I had wanted to walk through the woods. I didn't ever do that but I did get to walk the trails and soak up all of the beauty of nature. I had wanted to pick lots of raspberries, I didn't, but I did get to pick lots of blueberries at one of the most serene, gorgeous places I know of.

  My point is though I might not have gotten anything done exactly as I wanted to, in a sense I got everything achieved plus more, and that in my opinion was a summer very well spent. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sweet Hungarian Pork Chops

  Mm-m! The smell of dinner drifting through the house is definitely a very comforting thing indeed, and today's meal incorporates fresh veggies in a delightful sauce that covers a bed of noodles and spreads lazily over a luscious pork chop, one can easily imagine how incredible the aromas are!


  Sweet Hungarian Pork Chops

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) chicken broth, divided
2 tbsp sweet hungarian paprika
2 butterflied pork chops
3 tbsp flour
1/3 cup sour cream
6 cups cooked egg noodles ( 6 ounces uncooked )

  Heat the half of the oil in a non-stick skillet and add the onions and the garlic and cook while stirring for two minutes, then to your pan add the tomato, peppers, paprika, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, cover and simmer on low for five minutes.

   Heat the rest of the olive oil in another non-stick skillet and fry the meat 1 minute on each side. Stuff with a few of the veggies. Bake at 350ยบ for 5 minutes.

  In a small bowl mix together the chicken broth and flour. Bring veggies back to a simmer and stir in your broth/flour mixture. Spoon a little over pork chops and return back to oven for two more minutes.

  Add veggie sauce to noodles and serve with pork chops on top.

  I thought this was absolutely delicious and wouldn't change anything, but garnishing with a parsley sprig or two would elevate the dish's elegance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

  Our home is sadly not air conditioned so our cooling depends on fans, windows, and plenty of cold drinks.

  I remember when I was a little girl around the age of three and four we used to live in a log house in the Ozarks, we didn't have air conditioning and the hot weather attracted many unpleasant things like snakes, chiggers, ticks, and various other biting creatures. I don't think I ever minded the heat too much because I used to always be playing in the mud, having water fights, and evenings when it was especially hot we used to go to my uncle's house and go swimming in their pool.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

Can't think of anything.

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

  Ooh my Mother's Pineapple Fluff , delicious mountains of pineapple pudding with "snowy" whipped topping peaks.

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

  To be quite honest it was this morning when I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

  Hmm you know those packs of food, craft supplies etc. you might buy that are wrapped in totally hard, clear plastic? Well while trying to rip off that kind of plastic from a pack of erasers I managed to break my nail, injure my finger, and finally pull part of the airtight plastic off just to see another layer underneath.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

  I have never been to the Alps but I would most certainly want to go.

 The thought of having a boat ride sounds like fun, though I would be concerned about the possibilty of drowning the entire time.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

  I liked saying groovy and far out, just to see my Dad roll his eyes.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

  We went back to school shopping a little while ago where I had to make the difficult decision what I would buy, and what I sadly had to leave there. I ended up coming home with a big bag full of tablets, pencils, art supplies, and lots of other school supplies.

  I think that even when I graduate from school I shall still go shopping at the back to school sales, a body can never have too many notebooks, office and craft supplies...... Indeed I know.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Strawberry Cream Parfaits

Sometimes a certain smell, or hearing a certain song transports me back in time, but recently it was a certain flavor that did that.

We made a special pudding for dessert and with the first bite I was transported back to when I was a little girl, about four years old. Bare feet standing in our tiny kitchen in our little log house in the Ozarks as my Mom gave me a a Schwan's  Strawberry Sundae Crunch Bars from the freezer compartment of our ancient brown refrigerator. I can even see the bungee cord she used to use to keep the door shut.

Anyway the flavor of this pudding tasted just like I remember those wonderful bars to have tasted.

  Here is the recipe if you would like to try your hand at making this pudding.


  Strawberry Cream Parfaits

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3.9 oz.) instant strawberry pudding
1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
12-14 golden oreos, crushed


In a small bowl beat your cream cheese, pudding mix, and milk until the mixture has thickened.

Then in parfait cups or large wineglasses layer a tablespoon or so of oreo crumbs,  pudding mixture, the whipped topping, another layer of pudding, more oreo crumbs, and then a dollop of whipped topping on top.

 Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

  I am guessing my life is easy since I can not think of any time that I ever swam against the tide.

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

  I don't know if this counts but when I was seven I read a early 1900's manner improvement book for children.

  I remember being fascinated that all children were supposed to leave some food on their plates after every meal, that way the hostess would know that she gave her guests enough food.

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 


Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

  Yes I do agree.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

  I still remember one summer day as a very little girl my Mom used to love making lots of Jello, and every time she did I was always given some hot Jello liquid with ice cubes as a drink for helping.

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

  I have to say that other children's summers are always frightfully busy with clubs and groups and lots of visiting relatives, my summers on the other hand are definitely more slow-paced, I read, crochet, swing, talk with my best friend and an occasional trampoline visit.

  But in all honesty I am glad that my life is quiet.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

  Oh, I would love to go across the road from my house and wade near our waterfall.

  It seems like a totally fun thing to do on a quietly cloudy day.

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

Since my favorite music is instrumental, I can't think of any song with water in the title of the lyrics. However this is the piece I would want to listen to as I sit beside the water.


8. Insert your own random thought here

  I know that summer is still pushing forward but I am getting very excited for back to school sales and can not wait to stock up on lots of pretty new tablets and pencils and most definitely crafting supplies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Patriotic Berry Brownies

  I have always thought that the perfect way to celebrate the "Fourth of July" is to bake a marvelous treat to enjoy with family and friends and so today in honor of the past holiday I made these Patriotic Berry Brownies to be enjoyed with my friends that are visiting today.



 
  Patriotic Berry Brownies

Brownies

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream layer

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (room temperature)
1 container (8 oz.) cool whip

Patriotic Topping

Strawberry pie filling
Blueberry pie filling
1 container (8 oz.) cool whip

  For the brownies mix together all the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients and beat until smooth and the egg whites thoroughly incorporated.  Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely before adding the next layer.

  For the cream layer beat together the cream cheese and cool whip until creamy, spoon onto the brownie layer and using a butter knife the smoothing process is made much easier.

  And finally for the Patriotic topping. Using a tooth pick mark your cream layer into fourths, then spoon a little blueberry filling into the top left corner and fill it making sure not to spoon and into the other 3/4's of the pan, then take your strawberry filling and spread the other 3/4's of the cream with the strawberry filling. Finally take a Zip-Lock bag and spoon all the cool whip into it. Using a pair of scissors cut off one of the bottom corners.  Carefully pipe white rows of cool whip  horizontally across the red and then pipe little white dots across the blue corner. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  And just a friendly warning for all of you. This is what your brownie bars will look like if you use "Reddi-Whip" or another untrustworthy spray whipped cream like I did today.

  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you're not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

  I absolutely love the preparing of special foods for the Fourth of  July and often it is red, white, and blue themed pudding.

  I do love fireworks very much but unfortunately where I live fireworks are banned so I have to live without them.

2. What's something you recently got for free?

  I don't know if this counts but while My Mom, Diane, and I cleaned out our storeroom I became the very happy owner of three large bags of scrap fabric!

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore...how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why?

  I have sadly seen none of these places but I would love to one day be able to see Mount Rushmore, I think that the reason for that being my favorite is simply because of its amazing construction.

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

  I am an ostrich, I don't really pay attention to what is slathered across the news, I just accept the fact that my Heavenly Father is holding me close.

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

  Mm! definitely strawberry, I used to like chocolate best but after getting some tummy troubles I find it hard to enjoy chocolate much anymore.

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

  I love the ever faithful Christmas song "We Three Kings" It seems to always make me feel in the Christmas Spirit every time I listen to it, even in summer.


7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic

  Jittery about summer
  Understanding that it rains a lot
  Noticing the marvelous things Summer brings
  Enjoyed every moment

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  As a kid I used to dream about having a swing, quite often I would try to make my own, by using a hunk of wood, a long rope, and a tree I would set out to make one, but every time I tried to make  my own swing I would resolve to never again be that gullible to childhood dreams because the very second that the wood pulled loose while in mid flight I realized it wouldn't work.

  Yesterday while strolling outside I noticed a flat smooth piece of wood and a long rope laying close by, with the feeling of immense immaturity I grabbed those objects and a pail to stand  on and started trying to loop the rope over a sturdy tree branch.

    I realize some people scream when they are frustrated, or even cry, but with me the hilarity of a frustrating situation makes me laugh. After spending literally half an hour trying to swing the rope over a branch (while laughing) I finally got it pulled over and started to knot the rope onto the board. Before long I had an incredibly rustic looking swing hanging on that tree and I have to admit the older you get the smarter you become about your pioneer swing knotting techniques, of course with every crazy project that I make there is always one flaw, my swing for example can only be swung sideways unless you want to crash into the tree head on.

  My point is, that I am never too old to be crazily immature.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Orleans Pork Gumbo

  This weeks new recipe is a hearty bowl of the South that can be brought to your very own house, I absolutely loved how this dish was bursting with robust, fresh, flavors and lots of juicy pork, and even though my list keeps growing, I just have to make this meal again!

 
  New Orleans Pork Gumbo

1 pound pork loin roast
1 tbsp margerine
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup water
1 can (16 oz.) stewed and drained tomatoes
1 package (10 oz.) frozen succotash
1 package (10 oz.) frozen cut okra
1 beef bouillon cube
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

Slice your pork into 1/2 inch cubes and then coat the inside of a large Dutch Oven, once heated over a stove add the pork and cook and stir for 4 minutes or until browned, remove the meat from the pot and then melt the margarine in the same dutch oven and stir in the flour. Cook while mixing until the roux (a fancy name for a flour and butter concoction) has browned, then mix in the water until very well incorporated, add the meat and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, once you have brought it to a boil cover and cook for 15 minutes. Throw the bay leaf away. And the only other thing you have to do is feel proud of your marvelous cooking while enjoying your meal.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Harvesting Clouds

     As a little girl I used to love when my Mom read poems to me, all those delicious sounding words all strung together were always sure to please me, and the one day my Mom told me the most marvelous poem that described so perfectly how I felt when I looked at the clouds floating in the sky.

  If I had a spoon as tall as the sky
  I'd dish out the clouds that go slip-sliding by,
  I'd take them right in and give them to cook
  And see if they tasted as good as they look.

  And of-course as a little girl I used to dream of being able to walk up into the sky and sleep on clouds and not having to worry about food since I had mounds of delicious fluffy clouds right beside me. Sadly as I grew older I realized that's not a possibility. However with a camera, a willing assistant, and some fluffy clouds I can at least make it look like I'm fulfilling a childhood dream of harvesting clouds.
 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

  My favorite something pink is a long, lacy scarf I had crocheted.

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

  I actually don't have gym class, but I do love all the little activities I get to do outdoors during school season, like playing tennis, and baseball, but I think running is my absolute least favorite form of exercise, and honestly I don't think people mind not having to see me tripping and running like a wounded chicken.

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

  Oh the marvelous smell of roses!

  I still remember my Dad giving my Mom a lovely bouquet of roses as a surprise when she returned home from a lengthy hospital stay.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

  Reading has been my favorite thing to do ever since first grade.

  Writing is also one of my favorite things to do, though it is mostly in my beloved binder that I call my "Idea Book."

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

 I don't think that there is ever a proper time to be lazy, and I would most definitely not call it respectable.

  I will relax this summer by reading lots of books and taking long walks with Diane.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

  I would love to go to a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast just because it sounds like the dreamiest place to go in the summer.

7. What question do you hate to answer?

  Somehow this answer popped readily into my mind,"Do you like Me or Janet better, and I won't take both for an answer" (the names of course, aren't the names of anyone I know)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  When I was much younger I used to think that being a teen would be dreamy (like living in a musical) I used to have visions of running through fields of buttercups, reading a book under our huge maple tree in our yard, wading in our creek with long draping skirts, and magically love tea so much I should have a destined teatime each day.

  Though none of those things have happened to me I still find my self entranced with the beautiful singing of  birds, and the feeling of  wonder every time I stand on our top porch when rains with the wind whipping through my hair. My teen years might not be filled with the glories of elegant things you see in musicals but at least I can see and feel the beauty of what life brings to open eyes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

  In my household every cook strives to make a dish for my Dad with just the right amount of spice, and so often the main issue is not enough heat (spice wise), so for this recipe I had my hopes high that it would have the perfect amount of spice.

  When I made this meal my Dad admitted that it had just the right spices to give it the heat he wanted, but beware, if your taste buds are weak and heat tolerance low, you just might faint when you eat the broccoli (that is where lots of the spice likes to cling).



  Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

1 can (about 14 oz.) chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 pork tenderloin ( about 10 oz.)
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tsp Szechuan seasoning
6 cups cooked rice

Mix together 1 1/2 cups of your chicken broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and orange peel in a medium sized bowl, make sure it is smooth. Cut the pork lengthwise in half then crosswise into thin slices.

  In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp peanut oil, once heated add the pork, sesame seeds and garlic, fry and stir for three minutes or until the pork is just pink in the center, remove from the pan and heat the rest of the peanut oil in the same pan until hot, add the broccoli, carrots, Szechuan seasoning and the rest of the chicken broth. Cook while stirring for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, add the pork and chicken broth and stir well, cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened. Spoon onto the rice and serve.

  I thought this was delicious and will make it again someday. They say your heat tolerance grows stronger as you age, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?

 Yes I have, considering that it was really rainy lately, I can be found on our top porch just staring out at the rain. I love the way raindrops fall onto one leaf and drips onto the one beneath it.

2. What's a current hot button issue for you?

   The fact that some technology is making that  I's written as "i" is now approved as proper grammar just bugs me beyond belief, take this for example:  i think we should have our picnic today because i have plans tonight that make that i can't come over later this evening. i love and miss you all, Thelma.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?

 Let's just say that cooled chocolate chip cookies do not exist in my house.

4. How hot is too hot?

    Oh my, anything above 75 degrees is miserable, and my curly hair agrees.

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

  I do think that God gave me the ability to see the beauty in all of His creations, even the thorn bushes fascinate me.

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?

  Even though anyone reading this might think that I would ask him a deep question, in reality I would love to ask him if his shaving stubble bothers him.

7. Something you learned from your father?  

  Considering school, I learned that if you don't work much, you won't learn much.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  Yesterday while I was curled up on my bed reading a book, Diane walked into the room holding something black, not paying much attention I was pleasantly surprised when she placed the cutest, most adorable, little, black kitten into my lap, it scampered over my pillows, and sat on my knee and then turned its adorable face towards me and observed me carefully, then it decided it was cuddle time, and needless to say I fell in love with that tiny little kitten.

  I don't know what to name it but I thought I should share a picture of it and let you give me some name ideas.

 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pork and Potato Frittata

  I have eaten many kinds of food in my life, sophisticated, expensive, cheap, comfort, and food from many different cultures have all made their way across my taste buds, but in the end I always find myself wanting comfort food. This week's meal was the absolute perfect balance of comfort, and sophistication for my taste. The absolute deliciousness of warm cheesy potatoes, combined with classic veggies, and the ever so delicious pork chops make this dish just perfect.


  Pork and Potato Frittata

12 ounces frozen shredded hash browns
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 ounces frozen stir fry vegetables
3/4 cup chopped cooked pork
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking pan with cooking spray, evenly place your potatoes onto the pan and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning. Then bake it for 15 minutes and remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.

  In a medium sized bowl beat the egg whites, eggs, milk, mustard, and pepper, set aside and in a nonstick skillet place the frozen veggies, and 1/3 cup water, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are slightly crisp in the center.

  Add the pork and potatoes to the veggies in the skillet, stir lightly and add the egg mixture and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Cover the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, then, uncovering your skillet place it into the oven and bake for 5 more minutes or until the eggs are set and the cheese is warm and gooey. Then the last thing you have to do is enjoy it.

  I had served this as a supper but it would be just as delicious served as a breakfast or lunch.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fajita Salad

  This week's new recipe I made on my cooking through an entire recipe book challenge has been my favorite so far.

  I love the combination of flavors. For a salad this was very hearty and could be made as a meal in itself. I thought it was delicious paired with baked potatoes, but you of-course can pair it with anything you desire.


Fajita Salad

6 ounces beef top sirloin steak
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
2 medium red bell peppers
1 medium onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 tomato, cut in wedges
1 cup salsa

Slice your beef into strips that measure about 2x 1x1/4 inch and place into a bowl, then in another bowl mix together your lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and chili powder, poor over your beef and mix with your hands to coat the beef in the juices, cover the bowl and let it set for 10 minutes turning it once.

  Julienne the peppers, and cut the onions into thin strips, then in a large non-stick skillet add the olive oil, peppers, and onions, cook it for about 6 minutes or until crisp tender (make sure to stir them if you don't like burnt food) Remove them and cook your beef in the same pan and cook and stir for about 3 minute or until cooked thoroughly, then remove from heat and add your cooked veggies and the garbanzo beans and stir to coat with pan juices.

  Then arrange the lettuce onto your serving platter and top with the meat and veggies. Then all there is left to do is serve it with the salsa and enjoy.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Never Trust Pinterest with your Face

     As a teen I am trying to accept the fact that  I struggle with pimples. Everyone knows how evil those swollen little lumps of red are. I have tried different things that didn't work and my Mom got some things, but they also didn't do anything for my condition.

    Then one day while browsing through Pinterest I found this supposedly "wonderful" home remedy for pimples. It called for apple cider vinegar, honey, and egg whites, I was set, I had finally found the perfect pimple solution. I planned the treatment for early the next morning in hopes of having a pimple free face to go to church on Sunday.

     When I awoke the next day I hurried downstairs, skimmed through the recipe and the instructions and set out to make it. I started mixing my ingredients together and making sure to measure them properly I got everything ready and since I have a sister that I am really close to, I had told her about it all and we decided it would be fun to do this together, so Diane met me by the bathroom and we carefully applied the slimy goo to our faces in circular motions, after fighting back a few gags we washed the sticky, slimy, egg whites off our hands and went to our room to relax for ten peaceful minutes.

  "Ooh I can feel it working," I said excitedly.

  " Oh I know, and I hope we look really pretty and our faces smooth" agreed Diane.

   Once the timer rang we  hurried to wash our faces with the recommended "warm" water. We giggled excitedly then scurried to the bathroom to look at our faces in the mirror, after one look we turned to face each other and both screamed in horror, our faces were completely red, blotchy, and puffy.

  "Oh my goodness tomorrow is church" I squeaked frantically.

  " We need to hide, we can't be seen" Diane said while tugging at certain parts of her face.

   We decided that would be the basement. We were hoping it would wear off if we waited long enough, so after playing various games, like hopscotch and jump rope for about an hour we crept upstairs to look at our faces again.

  "I look horrid" I whispered hopelessly.

  "So do I" Diane said encouragingly.

  After looking at each other again we burst into gales of laughter, pointing and laughing at each other we walked into the living room and started laughing again since somehow everyone was sitting in there reading and immediately looked up at us. Of course their feeble attempts to cheer us up were marred by the fact that they had to laugh every time they looked at us.

  So that is why you should never trust Pinterest with your face, that is unless you think this whole experience would be an absolutely marvelous bonding experiment for you and your sister, friend, or Mother.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. What's something you're looking forward to in the month of June?

  I actually have nothing important planned other than of crocheting projects planned that I would love to start.

2. In what way have you come full circle?

  Well, this is nothing big (or serious for that matter) but often when I make a mistake in the crochet world, I go back to unravel it, start over and realize I just made the same mistake again.

3. Lonely Planet lists 10 spots in America you should see in 2015 and the reasons why. How many on the list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

Queens NY, Western South Dakota, New Orleans, Colorado River Region, North Conway NH, Indianapolis IN, Greenville SC, Oakland CA, Duluth MN, and the Mount Shasta Region CA

  Hmm, I don't think I have ever seen any of those places, but would love to if ever I get the opportunity.

4. A song that describes your mood right now?


5. Strawberry ice cream, strawberry short cake, strawberry pie, or strawberries right off the vine...your favorite?

  OOH, I think strawberry pie has to be my favorite!

6. Aesop's birthday is celebrated on June 4th, although there is some disagreement as to whether or not that's accurate, or if he was even a real person. Regardless, the name Aesop is associated to this day with many well known fables. Which of the following best applies to something in your life right now? The Tortoise and the Hare (Slow and Steady wins the race), The Ant and the Grasshopper (Be prepared), The Fox and the Goat (Look before you leap) or The Crow and the Pitcher (Necessity is the mother of invention)?

  Probably the Fox and the Goat, I think I always tend to act impulsively and forget to consider the consequences, try try again, right?

7. The answer is yes...what's the question?

  The question is do I love rainy days?

  They seem so serene and restful, like the earth is singing to all who listens.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

  We are "almost" to summer on the calendars and I couldn't believe it when the longest cold snap sprung upon us, but at least rain is serene, and our house does not lack blankets.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mediterranean Meatballs and Couscous

  I love cooking interesting new dishes every week and even though sometimes I wouldn't make them again, it is lots of fun trying new things in the kitchen.

  Now this week I took a big risk by making this extraordinarily spiced dish, if you love trying out new foods and flavors then this dish is for you. If you like to try this masterpiece of "different smells and flavors" then the recipe is listed below.



Mediterranean Meatballs and Couscous

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 1/2  cups water
1 1/2 cups precooked couscous (it will say so in the ingredient list)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 chopped parsely
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 pound ground round beef
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Pour chicken broth and your water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat, add the couscous, raisins, parsley,2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon peel, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and add your turmeric and cumin. Cover your saucepan and let it stand for 5 minutes.

  Then in a large bowl combine your beef, crackers, milk, remaining 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon peel, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and oregano. Mix until well combined and shape into 24 meatballs. Bake at 350 for half an hour or until cooked through.

  Mix your couscous and spoon it into a serving bowl and arrange the meatballs onto the couscous.Serve immediately and enjoy!


Now I thought that the dish was delicious but next time I would omit the raisins because they added too much sweetness for my taste.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spicy Beef and Onion Sandwiches

  I still remember my brother Eldon telling my Mom that she had made the best beef sandwich ever and that he would never forget it, fast forward a few years and with that image still in my mind I set out to make the BEST beef sandwich ever, so with cookbook in hand and determination in heart, I fried and cooked and plated until I heard the words I so longed to hear " Hey Sis, these are the best beef sandwiches ever" and with my beef sandwich cooking destiny fulfilled, I feel free to share the  recipe with you.


Spicy Beef and Onion Sandwiches

6 ounces beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
3 kaiser rolls
3 tbsp spicy brown mustard

Start off by melting a tablespoon of butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat until the pan is hot. Add your beef and partly cover your pan and cook 4 minutes on each side or until completely cooked, then remove the beef from the pan. Add the onions, water, and mustard seeds to the pan and cook on medium high heat, or until all the water has evaporated. Add your mushrooms, vinegar, sugar, and olive oil. Cook five minutes or until the onions have browned.Cut your rolls in half and spread the mustard onto them. Slice your meat thinly and place onto the sandwiches and top with the onion mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

I did make someone laugh yesterday and even though I don't remember what I said ( Or did for that matter ) but I remember Diane and I laughing ourselves silly.

2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

Hmm, the one question I used to ask my parents often when I was about eight and never really got a proper answer.

How come God was just always there?

( Pardon my eight year old grammar )

3. Rhododendrons or azaleas...you have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?

I definitely love Rhododendrons, and we have a lovely bush that is blooming beside the house.

4. May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

No I haven't ever been a waitress but when I was younger I used to dream of being a waitress and being able to hold a tray that was filled with glasses of water without dropping it, and I used to practice with a tray and several plastic glasses. (I'm pretty sure I gave that tray a large crack by dropping it that day )

5. What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

Even though I have a decided opinion on fashion, I don't think it is up to me to decide what other people should (or shouldn't) wear.

6. Name a writer who inspires you....now tell us why.

A writer who inspires me has to be my Mom, she has an incredible knack for writing and has inspired me many times before to pick up a pen, grab a notebook, and write up an amazing story just for fun.

7. What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 " Kill da bugs, kill da bugs!" my little brother Sean squealed and ran to me as fast as his little legs could carry him, flinging himself into my arms, and clinging tight.

"Da" bugs just happened to be dandelion seeds floating through the air on a windy afternoon.

I tried to explain that they aren't bugs and showed him how to pick them and blow the seeds. He was a little hesitant about the whole idea to begin with, but after a few days he now no longer confuses dandelion seeds with bugs, and actually enjoys finding them, and blowing on the seeds, and watching them drift away.
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. When is your next big deadline? What's it for?

I actually happen to be deadline free, how lucky am I!

2. May is National Barbecue Month. Do you prefer cooking indoors or out? What's the best thing about a barbecue? What's the last thing you cooked on an outdoor grill?

Oh, I absolutely love cooking outdoors, and I love when your whole family gathers around your picnic table and tells jokes, and gets to enjoy the little things in life. I leave the grilling to my Dad. We haven't used our grill for a long time though.

3. What is one thing on your "never again" list?

Well you see, my love of baking and trying out new recipes occasionally leads to a disaster, and I guess one recipe I never want to make again are Andes Mint cookies, or in other words a pan full of cookies that taste like baked mint tooth paste.

4. What's something that annoys you about people your own age? Something you love about your generation?

Well something that annoys me about other people my own age is how they're always trying to "fit in" and never realize that all they have to do is be your self.

What I love most about my generation is that they still have their lives in front of them and you're just standing there watching the doors open.

5. Lilac, iris, hyacinth, pansy...your favorite purple flower?

I love Lilacs, and we have a gorgeous Lilac bush in our yard that is turning the sweetest shades of purple!

6. Whats a song that always calms you down?

My favorite music is instrumental. I love this one.


7. What's the last thing you donated?

Well this might not count but we are about to donate several box fulls of books and clothes tomorrow.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Our trees have finally burst into soothing shades of green and if I am quiet and listen very carefully, I think I can hear summer calling just around the corner.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Roast Beef and Pasta Salad

The one thing that I have always wanted to do before I died and happens to be on my bucket list is making every single recipe in a cook book.So last week I started the challenge of making all the recipes in my favorite cookbook and made the very first dish in the book, which, by the way I will be sharing with you today.


Roast Beef and Pasta Salad

9 ounces uncooked radiatore pasta
6 ounces lean roast beef
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) whole baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 cup cherry tomato halves
2 TBSP minced fresh parsely
1 TBSP minced fresh oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives (optional)

Prepare the pasta like the package tells you to, omitting the salt; drain and rinse your pasta with cold water; and then drain again.

Slice your roast beef into narrow strips and then combine your pasta with the beef and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly and if you want to be fancy garnish each serving with a sprig of fresh oregano.

This makes six servings and is best if served fresh. Enjoy!

Now I thought this was a delicious addition to our dinner and the only thing I would change is swapping the beef for ham the next time I make it, but then again that is just me being me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's a phrase your mother often said to you? If you're a parent, is this something you now say to your own children?

  My Mother is in fact "Phraseless" she is always saying something different everyday and never has time to say the same thing twice.


2. What is a scent you associate with your mother or your childhood home?

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

3. What's an activity you remember always doing with your mother (or someone who was a mother figure in your life)?

  It would easily be helping my Mother in the kitchen, like making meals or an exciting new dessert.

4. Flared jeans, maxi dresses, and jumpsuits are 70's fashion trends back this spring. Are you on board? Which trend would you be most inclined to try? For the men...flared corduroys, wide-collared shirts, and floral prints...what say you? 

  Hmm maybe I'd be willing to try maxi dresses.

5. May 6th is Teacher Appreciation Day and also Nurse Appreciation Day. Is there a nurse or teacher  you have especially appreciated along the way? Tell us why?

  My dear Mother is in fact a school teacher and I have many fond memories of her patiently spending hours out of her day to make sure my school work was good, my essays well written, and many more things that I didn't appreciate as much as I should have back then. 

6. If I came by your house, what would I find on your frig door?

  Now this would be very interesting, seeing as I have a little brother things can vary from scribbled pieces of paper, to a giant level that he thinks makes a pretty magnet.

7. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana made her royal entrance on Saturday, May 2nd. On a scale of 1-10, how much attention did you give to all the news coverage? 1=Who's Charlotte? 10=sat glued to the telly, cuppa in hand.

  Well seeing that I have no idea that that happened, sadly I have to say one.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

  Hooray my trampoline that has been waiting patiently in the garage ever since Christmas is finally in use.

  A few days ago my Mom, Diane, and I all went to a play that lasted an hour and a half, when we got home it was already nine o'clock so we climbed into bed. The next Morning Diane, Sean, and I packed up our picnic basket and left on a marvelously sunny and noisy ( geese, bees, birds, waterfall)  picnic, then after taking care of all our leftovers  Diane, Sean and I once again went out to the field, but on our way I spotted something and breathlessly I pointed it out to Diane and everyone shrieking with joy went running straight towards our new trampoline that my dear Dad and older brother set up for us secretly while we were at the play, just so they could surprise us.

  Aren't Fathers and brothers dear blessings?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge



1. Have you ever had to wear a uniform? If yes, tell us more. Did you love it or hate it?

  I have never had to wear a uniform, and personally I'm glad.

2. April 22nd is Earth Day. What is one thing you do personally to be a good steward of planet Earth?

Recycling, picking up litter beside the road that litterbugs have thrown out.
 
3. Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous...your healthy grain of choice? How often are one of the three on your menu at home?  Given a choice between white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and fried rice which would you go for? 

  I've only ever had couscous once and I was still a picky little girl back then, so I don't think I liked it too much.

  But white rice is eaten quite frequently at my house, whether it is in a casserole, side dish, or in pudding.I love white rice and am eager to try many more dishes where it is present.

4. In your opinion, who has the best job ever?

  I  think a fashion designer has to be one of the best jobs ever, I would  love to have that  job and produce my own clothing line!
5. What's a situation in your life currently requiring patience?

  I was working on crocheting a light pink scarf, and used up all that yarn, and silly as this may seem I'm finding it hard to be patient and wait for more yarn so I can finish it.

6.  Do you live your life around days of the week? Explain.

  I have to say yes, I find that I love schedules and staying on them too, each day has it's own specific task that needs to be done. 
7. In a nod to the A to Z challenge happening around town this month, what 'R word' best describes your April? 

  Ready~ I think I feel more energized and ready to do anything no matter how big.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

  While taking my morning stroll I happened to see these and delighted in taking a picture of them, somehow I think daffodils capture the very essence of spring.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Naming Coffee

  In my family the only person who actually loves, and drinks coffee is my Dad, and every time it is time to buy more coffee he always chooses a different flavor. Currently he's trying all the different flavors of "Boston's Best" coffee. The latest flavor is titled "Jamaican Me Crazy" The only thing wrong with that coffee is that nothing about it has anything to do with Jamaica, I actually think the flavor was "Caramel and Vanilla" now isn't that interesting!  How did that coffee get named Jamaican Me Crazy? It's been driving me crazy trying to come up with different scenarios of how the choosing of the name could have happened.


  My favorite theory goes something like this....
  It was going to be another busy day for Carla Greenwood. So far her day had not been going well. She had overslept and she had forgotten to add water to her coffee maker last night so she couldn't enjoy her regular morning cup of coffee before she headed to work.she was having a slight headache and feeling a little grumpier than usual. Not only was she asked to arrive at the office an hour early, but she was also supposed to attend a conference to decide what to name the newest blend of coffee. She hoped there would be plenty of samples to sip and taste while they brain stormed.
    When she got to the office the elevator wasn't working so she had to slowly trudge up the stairs. At the landing she turned right and entered the CEO's office. Already her fellow co-workers were sitting around the long brown table that occupied most of the room's space. After sitting down immediate discussion broke out, a red headed lady that happened to be Carla's best friend Tanya said "We should name it Caramel Dreams, across the table a brown haired man disagreed heartily and said that obviously we should just name it Caramel and Vanilla Mocha, soon a childish fight broke out and poor Carla sighed and rubbed her aching forehead, the argument had been going on for half an hour when finally Carla yelled "You're making me crazy"  All talking ceased and heads turned and everyone started clapping, " Brilliant Carla, just brilliant" said the brown haired man, "Yes, positively witty" agreed her best friend. "Jamaican me Crazy" is the perfect name. The CEO loved the idea and told Carla  to leave early so she could come up with a presentation the next day. Carla rose weakly from her seat and walked down the stairs to the car parked right outside the building. She decided she would never tell anyone that they had misunderstood what she had been saying.

  The next morning Carla made quite an impression at the presentation and over the next week the company had produced hundreds of packs of their newest coffee.

  And that my dear friends is my favorite theory of how this coffee got its name.