Wednesday, May 30

Getting Enough of the Good Stuff

I'm always on the look out for recipes that utilize things we should be eating on a regular basis, but don't... Like bananas, for instance, which are a excellent source of potassium.

Here's a recipe that makes a great muffin that's more like a treat. No problem getting anyone to eat breakfast with these around.

Banana Blueberry Muffins

3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla 1/4 cup sour cream
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 cups self rising flour
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp lemon zest

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Gradually add flour and mix until combined. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest, being careful not to overmix. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, May 27

Then And Now

It's a holiday weekend, but I still haunted by memories of how holiday weekends used to be in my previous life.

Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends meant potluck cookouts with neighbors and friends.

Maybe that's the difference between urban and rural living. Or maybe it's the difference between being 30 something and almost 50. Everything changes when you don't have kids at home anymore.

I found these marvelously wonderful Quotes of the Day and felt they were all worthy of sharing.

William Hazlitt: Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.

Bertrand Russell: Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

Mark Twain: You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Edith Wharton: If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.

Unknown: Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

Mark Twain: If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Saturday, May 26

What Goes Around Comes Around

My stepson Chris, enjoying his 24th birthday celebration at Meemaw's...

Just for his benefit, and because I think its my obligation as a parent to utilize any available opportunity to share a life lesson, I asked everyone in attendance--one by one--what they were doing when they were 24 years old.

The young man rolled his eyes, chuckled a time or two, but listened.

I'm hoping that somewhere down the line he will remember what his father or grandfather had to say. I'm also hoping he can learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.

Thursday, May 24

My Evinrude Still Serves Me Well

I still remember the excitement the Christmas my (ex) husband got me this Kitchenaid mixer. I had wanted one for so very long -- especially when hand stirring double batches of chocolate chip cookies!

That was a number of years ago and this heavy appliance, nicknamed the "Evinrude" by JB, never fails me.

Today, it helped me make this pineapple upside down cake for my stepson's 24th birthday.

I was a bit suprised when his Mom called and said he wanted me to make his birthday cake this year. I had made him one last year--and I think the year before as well--when I learned this was his favorite.

At any rate, here is the gooey, buttery, sinful recipe:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (8 1/4 -ounce) can pineapple slices, undrained
3 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle brown sugar in melted butter.
Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Set aside. Cut pineapple slices in half, reserving one whole slice.
Place whole pineapple slice in center of skillet. Arrrange half-slices in spoke fashion around whole slice in center.
Beat eggs at high speed; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Combine flour and next 3 ingredienst, stir well. Add to egg mixture alternately with reserved 1/4 pineapple juice. Stir in vanilla.
Spoon batter evenly over pineapple in skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake is set.
Invert cake onto plate when done. Scrape any remaining glaze from skillet onto cake.

Wednesday, May 23

A Colorful Life

I planted this Foxglove last year because I liked the blooms. The pale pink makes me think of Miss Jessica (my oldest) because she is truly girly and pink is her favorite color.

This bright-colored bush was given to me in snips from Momo. Momo got it from Granny's house long ago. (Granny was Pop's mother.) The bright purple makes me think of Miss Jeni because purple was her favorite color when she was little.

This Peony was transplanted from the front of the house 3 or 4 years ago. It was originally planted who-knows-when by JB's grandmother. She moved into this house in 1902.

I think I have officially graduated to the proverbial southern old lady. I can take you on a walking tour and share personal memories and glimpses of family through our landscaping.

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Tuesday, May 22

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I've been busy in the yard--mowing and planting and weeding.
I've been pretty determined to keep the deer from my lilies (as well as other things) this year and have applied Liquid Fence once a week religiously.
It stinks to high heavens for 24 hours but keeps the deer away.

Pop made this little thingey...

He says it's me--complete with hoe!

He's just so creative... I'm always anxious to see what he's been making.

When I watered the garden this morning, I noticed little bitty green tomatoes.

Looks like I may just get first tomato!
Old Horsetail Snake has challenged me so, I hope this prompts him to show me his (since I've shown him mine).

Monday, May 21

Like Riding A Bicycle

We drove across two counties, far into the mountains to hear these fellows play.
Jb tells me that they have a Grammy or two under their belt.

But the real attraction for me was seeing my other half reunited with his old band from over 10 years ago.

These three got together for a dry run the evening of JB's 50th birthday.

When they started playing on Saturday, quite a few in the audience just couldn't sit still during their performance.

(Don't you just love these guys' shirts? Half the men in America would see either one as a welcome wardrobe addition.)

Thursday, May 17

A Wicked Good Time

It gets harder and harder to find gifts for folks as they get older. Sometimes you have to become somewhat of a detective by listening a bit more closely to what they're talking about. Or by checking their bookmarks in Firefox. Stuff like that.

Which is precisely what I did to get JB a gift for his birthday. He's been talking about his lump charcoal for sometime. And you know how men are partial to barbecuing...

Pop was curious about the charcoal, too. So, JB gave him all the particulars last night when he was giving it a test run on the grill.

If you're interested, you can check it out here, where I tracked my husband and ordered it.

Wednesday, May 16

Onions... And Me

Reading individual opinions on the same topic is more interesting and fun than I could have imagined, so I accepted my first tag. It comes from Micki at My Rearview Mirror.

The first rule of the game is to post the rules of the game. Here they are:

* Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged need to write posts in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
* At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

1. I alphabetize my spices.
I like cooking and use many different spices. It just makes it easier to find what you're looking for they are in alphabetical order. Friends used to think it funny to mess them up when I wasn't looking.

2. I use cloth napkins.
I figure I'm doing laundry all the time anyway so why not save a few trees? I had a neighbor in Texas who introduced me to this idea and I've been doing it ever since. I have about 3 or 4 sets of 12 and rotate, so there's always clean napkins.

3. I've been married 3 times.
First one doesn't count because I was young and it didn't last a year. Second time was 18 years and produced my two daughters. This time will be the last. Either it will last forever or I'll die a lonely old woman (according to JB). I was through after number two, but was persuaded to give marriage another go. I'm happy now that I did.

4. I miss my daughters every day. I have a really hard core case of empty nest syndrome going on here. It's been almost 6 years and I still tear up quite frequently.

5. I'm menopausal. (Do you think that might have something to do with the tearing up?)

6. I love onions. Especially green onions.

7. I believe self-improvement is a lifelong endeavor.

8. I spend more time planning projects, than it actually takes to accomplish the entire project. I analyze and over-analyze. (My oldest has commented that I suffer from OCD.)

Whew! Eight is a bit much... how about a compromise? Can you do at least 5 facts?

And I'm tagging Anna, KathyR, Slouching Mom, , Hoss, (un)relaxeddad, blackbird, Imperatix, and Patriside.

Tuesday, May 15

Broccoli and Cheddar Mini Quiche

I experimented a bit with this recipe, using canned biscuit dough rather than the pie pastry, because that's what I happened to have on hand. I find that plain old canned biscuits can be the start of great appetizers. I was really pleased with the results.

Feel free to use green onions in place of the cooked chopped broccoli in this recipe.

Pie pastry for 2 crust pie
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard
1 cup half-and-half, or heavy cream and half milk

Grease and flour mini muffin pans and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll pie crust (or biscuit dough) out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds; fit into muffin cups. Brush pastry with butter.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of chopped broccoli into each cup; top with small amount of shredded cheese.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients; spoon 1 scant tablespoon into each cup, just short of the top of the pastry. Sprinkle each with a little more broccoli.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set. Makes about 36 mini quiches.

Monday, May 14

Soft Cheddar Pretzels

Faced with coming up with something quick--with little to chose from in the cupboards-- for our Friday night get-together, I settled on this quick soft pretzel recipe.

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar Cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt

Combine flour and sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and milk, stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead about 12 times.

Divide dough in half and roll each half into 12X18 inch rectangle.

Cut dough lengthwise into eight 1-inch strips. Twist each into pretzel shape; brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool pretzels for a few minutes on wire racks; serve warm. Makes about 16 soft pretzels.

Sunday, May 13

Who's Your Mama?

Used to be Mother's Day was all about me.
From the time I woke up till the time I turned in that evening, I was reminded it was my day and I was supposed to relax and take it easy. I was showered with big hugs and wet kisses all day long.

Time changes everything. (Photo at left is Momo--some 30 years ago.)

I'm no longer married to the girls' father. No one in this state calls me "Mama."

I have a stepson, but it has been brought to my attention several times that "he already has a mother." Enough said.

I miss my girls.

It's been 5 months since I've seen them--hugged them. They're all grown and have their own lives and I'm aching for the little girls I had a hundred years ago.

This Mother's Day will be spent having breakfast with the outlaws. Then I'll track down Momo and Pop and share some hugs and kisses.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 10

No Doorman Here

After too many years of city living with 6 foot privacy fences and views of neighboring rooftops, I have come to really enjoy my privacy. JB says a bit too much at times.

I have visions of an electronic gate, complete with an intercom system at the cattleguard. I'd be sort of like a modern day Carlton the doorman, either allowing or denying passage.

In the interim, Pop has been kind enough to make this sign for me.
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Wednesday, May 9

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Imperatix asked me five questions, and here are the answers:

1. From your posts, you’re very happy to live in the country. Is there anything you miss from living “closer in”?

I miss convenience (not convenience stores!) I'm about a 40 minute drive from variety of any type.

If I shop locally, someone else has limited the selection available to "take it or leave it." You settle on what's there, or mentally weigh out the 40 minute drive to get what you'd rather have. Not that I'm picky or anything, but I'm not a WalMart kind of person. It'll do in a pinch. I'd rather decide what I need or want or what will work--not somebody else.

2. I know you’ve got several pets; do you consider yourself more of a cat person or a dog person?

I must prefer dogs since I brought my dog with me, but let the cats go with the house. Did you know that scientists have proven that most dogs have the mentality of a two-year-old child?

I had 5 cats when I lived in Texas. But I also had 2 little girls when I lived in Texas. When you have little girls you invariably have kittens. Which leads to cats, and then, more kittens.

3. Have you always lived in the South?

Uncle Sam decided I should live in Indiana at one point in my life. He also decided I should live in Texas, too. I guess when it was
my decision, I have always chosen Virginia.

4. You’re always sharing fun recipes on your blog.When you cook, do you mostly follow recipes, or follow the inspiration of the ingredients?

I read cookbooks like fine literature. I have many! I browse and more often than not, look for something I can make with what I have on hand, or look for something that I have a taste for--whatever that may be.

I read from the index, not the table of contents to settle on a challenge. Sometimes I veer off and throw in something to shake things up a bit.
I love

5. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry, and why is it your favorite?

I worked for a family-owned jewelry store in Texas and saw so much jewelry!
I prefer the unique unusual pieces.

I have worn this spider, off and on for about 10-12 years and have never seen another one like it.

I never want anything that everybody else is wearing.

if you want to play along and now be interviewed
by me, please leave me a comment or send an email
saying: "Interview me."
* I will respond by asking you five questions. I get
to pick the questions.
* You will update your weblog with the answers to the
* You will include this explanation and an offer to
interview someone else in the same post.
* Then others comment asking to be interviewed, you
will ask them five questions and so on.

Tuesday, May 8

I Want a Self Cleaning House

JB just finished this stained glass screen for a client. Beautiful, isn't it? I told her she could forget he had done it and I would be glad to make use of it. Very colorful...

This is my bit of creativity. I make this "Hey Diddle Diddle" flannel nightgown for Momo for Christmas.
She recently brought to my attention the fact that the sleeves were just a tad bit (5 inches) too long. I gladly redid the cuffs. I asked Pop to photograph her in the nightgown as proof that she is wearing it.

My garden... a week ago. I hope to get outside and grub in the yard a bit later and I'm sure I'll be amazed at what I see. It's so hard to take care of household cleaning when there is so much to do outside. I'm forcing myself to deal with the drudgery of housework before I go outside and play.
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Monday, May 7

Find Out What Works

Just when you think you have everything all figured out, someone throws in a curve ball.

During a recent visit to Momo & Pop's that very thing occurred.

Momo and I were visiting in the living room when I detected a scrubbing sound coming from the bathroom.

"What's Pop scrubbing?" I asked.

Of course this simple question was met with facial contortions and snorts.

Within minutes, Pop emerged from the bathroom announcing the sink and tub had been scrubbed clean. He added the toilet was clean as well.

Well, Momo shot up in amazement and went to inspect Pop's handiwork.

The plot thickens.

Turns out, Momo had mentioned how the sink and tub had hard water stains, etc. and needed to be replaced.

Pop, on the other hand, knew for sure he had SOMETHING that would get them clean (so they would not have to be replaced).

Looks like he rummaged around in his shop until he found something that he knew would do the job.

I guess all Pop needed was the proper motivation.

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Sunday, May 6

Bacon Cheddar Layered Dip

I did this for our Friday Night Get-Together and it was a hit! My shallow serving bowl was almost empty. I have less than a cup of this stuff leftover!

1 pkg cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
5 green onions
1 medium green pepper
4 medium tomatoes
16 ounces taco sauce or chunky salsa
7 ounces cheddar cheese
1 pound Turkey bacon

Blend cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Spread into ungreased 12 inch or larger dish. Top with diced onions, tomatoes and green peppers. Pour taco sauce over top evenly. Sprinkle with cheese. Chill.

Cook bacon and crumble over top prior to serving. I use turkey bacon because the flavor is the same and it is much healthier. Serve with tortilla chips.
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Saturday, May 5

Wher Are You Mr. Sun?

Don't let the innocent face fool you. That's Sir Thomas, aka Fat Cat, hiding in the leftover daffodils at the base of my birdfeeder.

Not that he's starving or anything. He weighs 18 pounds or so.

I DID notice birdfeathers to the left of the pole yesterday.

I think he knows his hunting days are numbered.

If it will quit raining long enough today, I plan on taking the ole weedeater to the base of the pole... exposing Thomas to all the unsuspecting birds!

Also, when it quites raining, I need to find places for the 80-some bulbs my sister mailed to me yesterday. (Thank you, Pam!)

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Friday, May 4

Growing In Leaps & Bounds

The rain beaded up on the leaves and looked like little crystals on my Hostas. They're the result of Momo dividing her overflowing flower beds a couple of years back.

The intermittent rain was all the encouragement Pop and Momo's garden needed, though.

Momo fondly recalls how her sister referred to the onions as "little soldiers" standing all straight and in a row.

Pop has all kinds of stuff growing. We walked around their yard yesterday afternoon and he pointed out the highlights.
He gave me 2 Haberno Pepper Plants and I gave Momo a Better Boy Tomato Plant.

My garden is coming along--but you guessed it--Pop and Momo are way ahead of me.

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