Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day In The Kitchen

I had planned to do so much...I knew that dinner would be a new recipe I found in a magazine...Mushroom Barley Soup. So, what happened between taking Morgan to work, stopping at WalMart for gum, shortening, and latex gloves, stopping at Safeway for mushrooms and the rest of the day was purely by happenstance. You see, there was this new ground turkey product...came in a 1 lb. chub, and already seasoned (either mexican or Italian) I had to get one of each...and then, decided that Nate's "burrito casserole" as he calls it (Mexican Lasagna) could be prepped and frozen today for cooking later in the week. So, I got home, started the dryer, made the sauce, the beans (a la Church Cannery) and made two for this week, and one for next month. Then, I started my roll dough in my bread machine (a new soup might go down just that much better with homemade rolls). Then, I thought about how much kiddos liked the chocolate chip cookies (and, heck, I added half whole wheat flour to the mix, so it was almost nourishing!) Then started the soup...all ready, with hot rolls when hubby walked in the door! So, now, before I take off to get my football player, I have made 16 whole wheat rolls, two lasagnas, one batch of soup (that will provide numerous lunches as well), six dozen cookies! Phew...Thank goodness I do love to cook!!! Now, I did find this recipe for a pear crumble....but, I think the crew here will burst if I try that one tonight!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Am I Obsessed??

My hubby and I have a date night, so to speak, every week, but it doesn't happen at night...we spend at least Saturday morning, and sometimes Friday morning, if he is on furlough, and yard sale. Our home, over the years, has been furnished a la garage sale. I don't buy stuff just to buy know me, a clutter freak...but I have gotten the most amazing things. Lately, my WWMSD (what would Martha Stewart do) focus (I just cannot call it an obsession yet) is dinnerware. I used to watch Martha...years ago...and sit in awe at her table, her combinations of dishes, the way she used so little to do so much. My mother in law would love to peruse the dinnerware when we would spend time together. I first fell in love with her Christmas plates, and, over the years, she completed my collection, and it is housed in my kitchen China cabinet. Then, she had the most gorgeous Thanksgiving dinnerware...I loved it, and it became my birthday present. My memories of my grandmother, Tutu, included her Franciscanware Desert Rose dishes. My mom, for a birthday, ordered me them from Macy's, and then hubby completed my treasure with some of the older ones we found at a yard sale. I have dishes now that fill that China cabinet...including my China collection started when we were married. I could not imagine having the warehouse Martha must have to store all she has...yet, thanks to our solar water heater needing to be located in the garage, a hallway closet became wondrously available, and I have proceeded to fill it with my yard sale treasures. I have fun, funky, and colorful dishes, bowls, serving pieces. Today was no exception...found a wonderful set of 16 place settings of "barn" dishes. I just love them. Problem: my closet has become quite crowded. Hence, those of you who come to my house and see the table set, and think I am so prepared, now know that I have no other place to store the lovely set of black dishes that decorate my orange jack o lantern covered tablecloth, so the table is full...and so is the space by my wall near the bed...and behind hubby's chair...uh oh...I think I have answered my own question!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

They Are Finished

It begins early in October, the year before...My mother and I brainstorm and finally select a theme for our ornaments for the next year. Last year, we selected Gingerbread Men. I find a pattern, out of the many books I already have, find wood (I have been known to rummage through trash piles and then run home, carrying an armful of wood!) Nathan, after sufficient begging...and some mom-baked goodies, runs the wood through the planer. I make a template, trace ornament after ornament, and then proceed to my work table in the garage and painstakingly, in what usually is 110+ weather (and that is outside in the shade, not in our closed up baking garage!)use my scroll saw to cut them out, and then sand them with my belt sander. Next comes sealing, tracing the pattern (many were done while I was waiting in the food surplus line), then painting, clear coating, and this is what happens! I have made ornaments every year since we have been married, though I only started painting wood ones...well, I really don't know...more than 15 years ago, though. I don't know how many more years I will do it (tole/decorative painting is now rather out of style!), but these are in the gift bags, ready for mailing, etc. So glad I am done. My goal, finish before Halloween...and I did it! As an explanation, I started with the standard book suggested colors (not pictured). I have a red/white/blue patriotic tree (lots of things over the years from my 4th of July birthday), so I try to make mine patriotic in some way (except for the year I painted Mary and Baby Jesus). Then, Kayty and Nathan wanted their own special ones. So, I painted hers hot pink and black, with a skull button on the gingergirl's dress, and I painted his North Pointe Prep purple, black and grey, with NP on her dress! So fun!

A Little Bit About Me

Little Bit About Me
from Grammygingerbread

I read this on Frugal Jen's blog and thought I would join along. I also enjoy reading about other bloggers.

So here I go:
1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while your blogging?
Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
My sweet hubby, and my kids, kids in law, and grandbabies.

3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
I love to VISIT the ocean, but the sand...and a Farm-heck what would they all track in the house then. So, gotta be the mountains. I really love living where I live because I can do dishes and look at the mountains out my window.

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
Scrubbing the tubs!

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
No one says I remind them of anyone.

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the fam?
I am a homebody and love being with the ones I love.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
The Sound of Music

8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?
I am not a real big make up wearer...just mascara, shadow, and sometimes blush. I don't always wash it bad!

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it
I would just love to learn to paint...more than Christmas ornaments. I would love to do paintings!

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
Now, Ethan may have some "faulty" memories, but, a long time ago, when Dee was sick and Ethan needed some batting practice, I went out and pitched to him. He showed me how to hold the ball for a split finger fastball. Now, I did have some speed, but the accuracy...well, let's just say that the wait in between good pitches was quite long! I guess, then, I am not really good at that, but good for a 49 year old grandma!

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
His voice...then his smile and those beautiful blue eyes!

12. What is something you love to smell?
The desert after it rains...applesauce cooking on the stove...turkey in the oven.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I am an organization freak! I try not to impose my weakness on others, but I often just cannot help myself. My kids laugh at the clear boxes and containers in my walk in pantry with labels on them, though the contents are clearly visible.

14. When you have extra money, what's the first thing you think to do with it?
I love to buy something to create for my home.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
I am a pretty reserved "laugher". I laugh the hardest at just the silly things my kids, or grandbabies do.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Don't really have a fav...WalMart drives me nuts, and I shop Target so rarely that I don't find the good bargains. I do like Dollar Tree real early in the season, not after the store has been picked to death. There is also this restaurant supply store with every affordable gadget you can imagine, and I could spend my life in there!!!

17. What's one things you'd do more often if you had more time?
Craft...too much work to do to get to that very often, but if I could...

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
I try to be very frugal. Our money has decreased in the last years: only one raise in 6 years, and now decreased pay last year and this coming year, plus costs going up, plus husband due to be "reduced" when the job he is doing now is complete and the company he works for operates from Mexico, India, the Czech Republic, and China. I keep a budget and I try very hard to stock up when I can. I subscribe to great blogs that teach me many things.

19. Who is your favorite character of all time? (from a movie or a book, can't be real)
Dorothy, from Wizard of Oz...I guess. "There's no place like home!"

20. Would you want to be famous?
Not worldly famous, but if my kids thought I did an okay job with raising them, that would be great for me!

Now, you try it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Grammy Day In Vegas Stays In Vegas!!

Just found out...come December, I get to go to Vegas to be with my very most favorite grandbabies while Mommy goes in the hospital to have the newest grandbaby!!! I am sooo excited. I bet I can make my gingerbread houses here, carefully pack them, and have Grammy Day a la Las Vegas!!

Running By Heaven

I take a 3 mile run/jog (for me it is a run, but for a true athlete, it is probably just a jog) almost every morning, Monday thru Saturday. It was a torture during the Summer, when early morning temps were in the mid 90's, but now it is so pleasant. I can think, I can plan, and I even take the chance to talk to my Heavenly Father. (Besides, when I talk, it keeps the nuts away from me, for I appear to be even nuttier!) Lately, I have turned on Pinnacle Peak Road, and run by the site that will be the Phoenix Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I prayed that the neighbors would soften toward the building of the temple, and that the zoning hearing would turn out favorably. While the neighbors are still concerned, the zoning hearing voted to approve the building. What a blessing to have a temple so very close...within a mile! Yesterday, as I ran by, my thoughts were taken to a talk I had heard the day before in Sacrament Meeting, when the speaker shared that, months ago, he had picked up Elder Russell M. Nelson at the airport, and drove him to the site. Elder Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, walked on that soil...the soil that I run by. I felt so warm when I ran by, touched by the Spirit that one of the Lord's Special Witnesses had walked there, had seen the site. Other apostles and prophets, in the years to come, will walk there. What a great blessing for us. In my wildest imaginations, I never ever would have believed a sacred temple would be in walking distance of my home! Blessings abound!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Busy Baking Morning

Monday mornings are sometimes crazy...all getting back into the weekly routine. However, this morning, it was a bit calmer (Ethan took Nate back up on the Mogollon Rim to try one last time to get an elk). So, I got to use up some items I have accumulated via sales, food club, and food surplus. The first project: A to Z Bread. I made it this morning with leftover bananas, pears, and then I chopped up some chocolate frogs into the batter. I did use half whole wheat, so there is some health to the bread. Morgan was the first tester, and he seemed pleased.

Here is the recipe:


Ingredients :
2 cup Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs Lightly Beaten
2 cup A-to-Z ingredients (Choose From List Below)
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
3 cup All-Purpose Flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Chopped Walnuts (I omitted the walnuts and added the chopped up chocolate frogs)

Apples, peeled and shredded
Apricots (dried), chopped
Banana, mashed
Carrots, shredded
Dates, pitted and chopped
Figs (dried), chopped
Grapes (seedless), chopped
Oranges, peeled and chopped
Peaches, peeled and chopped
Pears, peeled and chopped
Pineapple (canned), crushed and drained
Prunes, pitted and chopped
Pumpkin, canned
Raspberries, unsweetened fresh or frozen Rhubarb, chopped fresh or frozen
Strawberries, fresh or frozen
Sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
Zucchini, peeled and grated

Method :
In a mixing bowl combine the sugar, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in A-to-Z ingredients of your choice and vanilla. Combine flour cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into liquid ingredients just until moistened. Stir in nuts.

Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 325F for 55-65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield: 2 loaves

Next, I made some cookies for lunches, etc. I found this recipe on the Internet, and changed it a bit, and the kiddos seem to like it.

Outrageous Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup rolled oats (I love old fashioned, so that is what I used, but I am sure quick would be fine as well.)
1 cup chocolate chips (I used leftover pastel M&M's and the remaining chopped chocolate frogs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg till well blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt; stir this into the batter until just moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment covered baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen large cookies.

Now, time for laundry!!! Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I was given this award.

I'm suppose to tell you ten HONEST things about myself.

I think you may know everything.

But, I'll give it a shot!

1. I love buying dishes, looking at dishes, and seeing other's dishes. I
love setting my table with interesting dishes that I have grabbed at
yard sales.
2. My eyes are failing and I am too proud to get bifocals.
3. I wish I could just spend all my day cooking and baking and canning
and freezing, but my housework keeps me from doing much of that.
4. I hate being cold.
5. I love being organized. It makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like
something in my world is in control. While I am busy spinning plates on
sticks, hurrying from person to person to thing to thing, I can keep it
all in perspective if my kitchen counter is cleaned and my living room ready.
6. Another security: a turkey in the freezer. I buy one every Thanksgiving, put it
in the freezer, and it stays till the next October or November when I cook it
to make room for the next turkey.
7. I don't like any animal, any reptile, any pet of any sort.
8. I am a good spelling fanatic.
9. I am turning into a germ freak. If the dishes are washed in the sink, there
is bleach in there too.
10. I sneak listen to Christmas music, starting in October. The first song I
always play is Mannheim Steamroller's "Hallelujah Chorus".
That's it for me. If you are reading this, you are tagged!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Adam and His Special Gift

I just adore my grandbabies (kinda couldn't tell, could ya' :)) Though each is far away, they do so much for me. Last night was a perfect example. It had been a particularly difficult day, after a trying and challenging weekend, after a LONG week. Tensions are often running high, due to so many many things occurring simultaneously. I found myself yesterday pouring my heart out to my Mom (good ol' mom...always there to listen!) and even shed a tear or two on my sweetheart's shoulder, and as I transported my football player. No one told me this "Mom" thing got harder as they got older! Anyway, I was feeling just wiped by the evening, when I heard the familiar sound of a text message waiting for me on my cell phone. And, who do you think it was from??? You got it, my dear sweet Adam. He and I talked back and forth about witches and he tried to prove their lack of reality while I tried to encourage him to see if he could see one! Bath time came and he returned, sending me the sweet picture of the Ghost Cookies they had made. The most wonderful thing, though, was not the call, nor the laughter I let out when I saw his pictorial proof that witches are not real - and I swear I hadn't laughed in just days!, but the fact that this sweet, wonderful, brilliant six year old always seems to know just the right time to contact me...better than I know it myself. He knows just when Grammy needs a hug across the miles, and his text messages are those life giving hugs that just turn me from a lost soul to a very positive, very happy, and very hopeful person. He was special when he was sent to this earth...miracle after miracle brought him here alive, and kept him alive. And though he may seem very practical and intellectual, he listens to the Still Small Voice. He follows the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and reminds me, time and time again, that I have a Heavenly Father who truly is aware of me and my struggles, and, while He cannot take them away, knows just the message I need, and who that message needs to come from, to take the sadness, the doubt, and the exhaustion away. Thank you, dear sweet wonderful Adam...for making me laugh, for making me smile, for loving me 19,000,000, and for listening!