This is a Blog about a bit of everything. I will review books, share my life, my photography and my other hobbies. I will share fun food and recipes and things I have done in my spare time.
Life is fun! Don't waste a single moment of it.
Till next time......
The Christmas parties have started and will be going on till after the first of the new year. This shrimp sauce is a bit above the ketchup and horseradish sauce most people use. This is a little spicier and so good. I like to use Heinz Chili Sauce instead of the ketchup and omit the cayenne Pepper. But it is all up to you what you use.
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce 1 cup ketchup 1/4 cup prepared horseradish 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning Optional:1/8
teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix it all together and let it sit for an hour or so to let all the flavor blend together.
WHAT IS THIS THING! I had posted this before asking, but I didn't get any answers. I spent some time in the country in my life, but I had never seen this before. I feed the birds a lot and it seems one of the seeds sprouted and gave me this "corn" stalk outside my patio. But it produced this "thing", that was not an ear of corn. So I was mystified for sure. On Thanksgiving, I asked my son-in-law's Father what it was, since he lives on a farm., I figured he would know. After a very brief discussion, it's MILO!! So the mystery is solved and I have free bird seed growing near my patio.
Right about now, I am feeling a little silly. But hey....I hadn't seen it before. Nothing like laughing at yourself. It's good for the soul!
I'm sitting here with a cup of Chocolate Velvet Coffee and pondering my thoughts. People never seem to stop surprising me. They push and shove each other for a special buy on a TV, other electronic machine or a specific toy on Thanksgiving. Is it truly worth it, to shove your neighbor for any item? Shouldn't you be home on the one day designated to say, "Thank you God, for your many blessings"? Being blessed is truly your relationships with God, your family and your friends. It 's having good health and enjoying a good life. So, I'm just sitting here, pondering my thoughts and just thought I would share them with you.
This is the start of my "famous" sausage stuffing. Well,....it's famous with my family. I always make a lot of stuffing as it is so-ooo good leftover. Tomorrow I will mix it all together and put it in the fridge for Thursday baking. I do as much as possible ahead of time. The cranberry is made and waiting. The pie will get baked early Thursday morning, so it will have time to set before dinner. Now that I have part of the dinner started; I am sitting here reflecting on my life and my blessings. I feel so blessed and my life is good. There are always a few things one might change. But on the whole My Life Is Good!
Food Network has a new show "Farmhouse Rules" with Nancy Fuller. She is real down home with simple rustic recipes and has a real folksy way about her. Is she the Paula Deen replacement? I'm sure the Food Network would never say that. But Nancy has the same homespun style with better recipes. Nancy Fuller lives on a farm in Hudson Valley New York and is quite the business woman.
If you haven't seen her show; look for it in the listings. She is on Sunday mornings in my area. I will be a fan of hers, for sure. There is no pretense about her. She is 100% real and you will like her right away. Check out her new show, you won't regret it and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Thisis a hot sauce, so be careful when you make it. If you don't like "heat", this is not for you. But it is especially good with egg rolls, corn dogs and salami bits. If you like the Chinese hot mustard sauce, you will probably like this.
Hot Mustard Dipping Sauce 1/2 cup dry mustard powder 4 teaspoons water 4 tablespoons vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste Slowly add the water to the dry mustard, until it is fully moistened. Wait fifteen minutes, and then stir in the vinegar and sugar.
I have been on a farm a lot, but I have never seen this before. So I will show my ignorance and ask what is it? A cornstalk grew in the patio stones and got about 3 foot tall. But instead of growing ears of corn, it grew this thing. If anyone knows for sure what it is, please leave a comment on my blog. All you farm folks, please let me know!
Were you up early enough to see this morning's sunrise? You weren't? Well, all I can say is....you missed a beautiful red and purple sunrise. It was absolutely gorgeous today.
Since you were asleep, I will share today's fantastic view. Not only was it a pink/red sunrise; the sky was on fire with reds, pinks, purples and all the hues in between. I truly could not believe the colors this morning. It was only there for just a few minutes. That old saying, "You snooze, you lose", is certainly true about this sunrise.
Here is a recipe from the 50's. It is a no cholesterol dessert and very good. Call it a vintage recipe if you like, but it is one I grew up with and it is so easy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Coconut Pecan Torte
1 cup graham crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup coconut, shredded
1/2 pecan meats, chopped
4 egg whites, beaten till foamy
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the first three ingredients and set aside. Beat the egg whites till foamy and add the salt, sugar and vanilla. Then mix the two mixtures together and pour into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
In the fall of the year, we all think about Caramel and Apples. Is there a better combination in this whole world? I like Caramel on most anything, cheesecake, apple cake, bread pudding, ice cream, etc. You name it and I can put caramel sauce on it.
Caramel Sauce 1 packed cup brown sugar 1/2 cup half-and-half 4 tablespoons butter Pinch salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. Yield: 1 1/2 cups Till next time......
I often get hungry for the simple things in life. Bread pudding is one of them. But when you aren't cooking for a big family any more, who wants a big dish of bread pudding hanging around. So this is my answer to a few slices of stale bread. You can add 1 Tbsp of fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, a few banana slices, or as shown here, some broken up chocolate bar. If you use the chocolate bar, add it on top after baking the pudding. I used Baker's Chocolate Orange pieces and it gave it a bit of an orange flavor. But you can use the chocolate of your choice.
1 slice bread, cubed
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5 shakes cinnamon
1 tbsp. raisins
Orange Zest, approx.1/2 tsp or to taste (optional)
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350F.
Mix milk and egg with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a 2- or 2 1/2-cup bowl . I use a small corning ware baking dish. (It's about 2 small custard cups in size.) Add cubed bread and raisins .Make sure it soaks up all the egg and milk mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned on top and set in the middle.Personally, I think baking it in the oven is worth the wait. Microwaving it just never seems to do justice to your ingredients. But if you've a mind to, give it a try and use whatever method you like.
Without the chocolate, it is very good with a lemon sauce poured over it.
The pumpkins are ready for harvest and the pies are being made. What could be better than roasting your own pumpkin and baking that family favorite pie?
Yum!! Just look at what's for dessert tonight. Don't wait a second longer. Get that apron on and start baking.
For many of you pie may not be on the menu. But most certainly, a pumpkin roll is. Couldn't you just taste a slice of pumpkin roll and a nice hot cup of coffee or tea? Each season has it's own special times and food. Enjoy this wonderful harvest season.
Yesterday, I got up and opened the blinds on the door. It looked very much like it would rain. The clouds were very dark and threatening. But before long the sky started to change color.
Instead of the gray clouds, there was a pink hue that made the clouds very blue.
As the sun came up a little more, more pink was visible and the clouds were even more blue.
Then as quickly as it had started, it was moving on. As you can see in the lower right corner of the last photo, there is clear white sky. But the whole cloud system was rather ominous. All of this took place in a matter of five minutes. This is one of the reasons, I like getting up early. I can't bear to miss the beauty of the sunrises.
Don't you just love the fall of the year when apples are at their best? Yes, it's apple time here. Fresh, delicious, crisp apples, apple cider and caramel toffee dip. What sounds better than that? There are so many recipes on the Internet for an apple dip. But this is my favorite. It has everything in it to make that apple taste better, if that's possible! It is also the easiest recipe. Most say to make your own caramel sauce, but why bother, just buy the caramel apple dip by the produce section? Now it doesn't get any easier than that.
Apple Caramel Toffee Dip 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened 1 16-oz tub caramel apple dip 6-12 oz of toffee candy bar, broken in pieces Apple slices, use your favorite eating apple. Put caramel apple dip in a bowl and add softened cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth. Fold in the toffee candy pieces. Serve this with apple slices. So Good!
"Vanishing Acts" by Jodi Picoult is the story of a single father (Andrew) who adores his daughter (Delia) and has made her feel special since she was a little girl. But when the girl is twenty-eight, the police come to their door and arrest her father for kidnapping. He had taken her away from her Mother after a custodial visit and moved East. He had gotten fake names, Driver's license, passports and birth certificates. They were a new family with new names, a whole new identity. But now Delia, doesn't know who she really is; her whole life has been a lie. The father admits to his crime but Delia's boyfriend, (Eric) a lawyer, wants him to plead not guilty. So the story is how to defend Andrew and try to keep him out of jail. Delia meets her Mom and starts to remember bits and pieces of her earliest childhood. She meets a Hopi Indian lady (Ruthann) when she goes to be with Andrew; as he was extradited to Arizona; where the kidnapping took place. Ruthann befriends her while she is there. A long time friend and reporter also goes to Arizona to write about it for his newspaper. Will Delia finally find happiness and learn who she is? Will she have a relationship with her Mom and does Andrew go to jail for 10 years? There is a lot going on in this story and it moves rather quickly. There
are several twists and turns to keep you interested. Great read!
"Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult is the story of several characters. A little girl who needs a heart transplant, who wasn't born yet when someone killed her older sister and father. A man (their convicted killer) on Death Row who wants to give his heart to the little girl to save her life. But if he is given a lethal injection, his heart will be of no use. The mother doesn't want the heart of a killer and neither does the little girl. It is a story of how the killer hopes to get around the lethal injection and a priest and a lawyer, who try to help him. There is so much to this story; many roads to see if this can be done. Not the least is trying to convince the Mother and girl to accept this heart. Will the little girl get the heart or will she die along with the killer? This is definitely worth reading and will grip at your own heart. You won't be expecting the twist at the end of this story.
If you are my age, you will remember a black and white sundae with 3 scoops of ice cream. It's one scoop of vanilla, then hot fudge, one scoop of chocolate, then marshmallow sauce, then one scoop of vanilla, topped with hot fudge and peanuts and a dollop of whip cream. Does that ring a bell or two with you? Well, not long ago, I was at Cherio's in Ashland, NE., and I felt like reliving a high school memory. So I asked the server if she could make one. She was way too young to know what it was. So I explained what it was and she said sure, she could do it. So there I was in "hog heaven" reliving a wonderful time of my past. How many calories?...Well, when you are in "hog heaven" you don't really care. How much did it cost? I have no idea. But can you really put a price on a memory, especially such a yummy one?
Fall is in the air and winter is not far behind. My thoughts go to pumpkins and squash. Here is a recipe from Musselman's Applesauce that is so good. What could be better than Baked Acorn Squash with a bread type stuffing with sausage and applesauce? Now really....can you think of anything better on a cold night? Acorn Squash 2 acorn squash 1/4 cup onion, chopped 2 Tablespoons butter 1 pound ground pork sausage 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs 2 Tablespoons raisins 1 egg 2 cups MUSSELMAN’S® Apple Sauce 2 teaspoons brown sugar Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a shallow baking or casserole dish. Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onion and butter in large skillet for 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat and add other ingredients except brown sugar. Shape mixture into 4 equal balls. Remove squash from oven. Turn squash over. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Place sausage ball in each squash cavity. Cover the baking dish and return to oven. Bake 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more until squash is tender.
One of the joys of getting up early is seeing a pink/red sunrise. These beautiful moments are so special and don't last long. This was the view this morning from my patio.Look at the glorious pinks, purple and oranges. What could be prettier?
Who would not want to see this glorious start to any day. It looked like the sky was on fire.
I spent several days on a relaxing getaway with my daughter. We only did what the mood told us to. Mostly just being lazy and reading. But we did go to the lake, trying to get some morning fog photos. But by the time we got there, most of the fog was gone. The reflections and ripples on the water were so pretty: even though we missed the fog. The ducks soon spied us and came looking for food. Sadly, we didn't bring any food. We saw turkeys, ducks, a deer family and a coot. So we got lots of wildlife photos.
We took a hike to the waterfalls and it was a beautiful scenic trail. We loved every inch of it and took the dogs with us. They enjoyed the walk as well. There were several pretty little wood bridges to cross on the trail to the falls. My daughter did some painting, too and put a couple of beautiful prints in my journal for me. The previous post of sunsets is from this getaway. All in all, a wonderful time spent with my daughter and a beautiful memory to tuck away and revisit from time to time.
You all know I am crazy about sunsets. I just came back from a trip to a near by State Park. Here is one of the sunsets. I am so in awe, of the wonders of God and nature. What could be any prettier?
There wasn't a cloud in the sky that night for any contrast. But the sun rays through the trees had me hypnotized. I just kept shooting photos till the sun went down. It doesn't take long for the sun to go down, once it starts. It's just a matter of minutes.
Here's the perfect dip for your tailgate party. It is full of flavor and veggies. Grab some tortillas and dig in. You all know, we eat a lot at a tailgate party!
1 can (15-1/2 oz.) refried black beans 1 Tbsp. chili powder 1 cup guacamole 1 cup sour cream 1 cup salsa or Pico de Gallo 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 3 scallions, sliced 1/3 cup sliced black olives 1 tomato, diced Mix beans and chili powder, then spread in a 9inch pie plate. Then layer the guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese, scallions, black olives and tomato. Keep in fridge for 2 hours before serving. Happy Tailgating! If you use Pico de Gallo, you can omit the scallions and tomato, as it is already in the Pico de Gallo. Pico de Gallo is tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice and a jalapeno is optional. So you can see you have a lot of flavor in it.
In the latest issue of Food Network magazine, there is an article about our famous Runza Sandwich. I truly had to laugh when I read it. I was also a little annoyed. It is a very simple sandwich with very few ingredients. But Food Network has “elevated” it to a sandwich with many ingredients (8) to be exact; and have called it Nebraskan Runzas. Why in the world would
you choose to “elevate” it by using all these other ingredients? Garlic,
Thyme, Rosemary and Spinach are not necessary. If you want to use all
those ingredients; call it "Spinach Bierocks", PLEASE don’t call it Nebraskan Runzas.It is
not a Runza by any standard. We have loved this sandwich for years and it is perfection to all who have eaten it. The Russian/German Immigrants knew what they were doing when they made this sandwich. You cannot improve it by adding all those other ingredients to it. When you have
perfection, you leave it alone! More is not always better. Real Runza Ingredients:bread dough, ground beef, onion, salt and pepper, cabbage.
Nothing like a Husker sugar cookie to top off a tailgate party. I just took several dozen out of the oven. None of them are the same size. Guess that's a sign of homemade. LOL Anyway, they taste yummy and look pretty. To that's all that's necessary. Game time is 5:00pm. Can't wait for the game to start. I've been waiting all summer for football season. It's the best time of the year for me. I have high hopes for our team this year. Sure hope they don't let me down.
I was recently told, a grilled peanut butter and jam sandwich was to die for. Well, I have to admit, I had never heard of it before. So I had to try it. I got out the peanut butter and raspberry jam and went to work on making it. I was not impressed. I do think the addition of some sliced banana would have improved it. But it was something new and I had to try it. Perhaps it is a Southern item and I am not Southern enough. LOL After all, I was born and raised in the Midwest Plains.
Sometimes you get a bargain at the grocery store and then if you don't use it up real fast, it spoils. So today I was faced with Russet Potatoes that needed to be used up. Seriously, how can I eat 7 potatoes in a hurry. My answer was to make twice baked potatoes and freeze them. So into the oven they went early this morning. About 1 hour and 15 minutes later, they were ready to scoop out and get mashed up.
If I had planned to make them, I would have picked all the same size. But there wasn't any choice, they had all come in a 5 lb bag. So the sizes were what I would call assorted. But it all worked out. I added sour cream, egg, butter, salt and pepper, parsley and milk to the potatoes and mashed it all up. Then I added some grated cheddar cheese. After a thorough mix, it was ready to scoop into the potato shells.
This is the final product ready to fast freeze and put in a freezer bag. Yummy eating when I don't feel like cooking some night.
It's time for that nasty word, "Fall Cleaning". I know it's not quite fall yet but it takes me a while. So I started on
the kitchen cupboards this morning. Hey, when the spirit moves you, you
have to take advantage of it. Right? So I emptied it all out onto my counters and wiped down the cupboards.
Next it was time to wipe down all the canisters. I keep a multitude of things in these glass canisters. Stuff like oatmeal, macaroni, hot chocolate mix, bread crumbs, corn meal and the list goes on.
All nice and clean and back in the cupboard. Whew! A job well done, even if I do say so myself. I'm not done in the kitchen, but it's definitely a start. Before this cupboard I cleaned out my spice cabinet. Most people have a shelf for their spices, I have a whole cupboard. Insane... I know. But I use them all so it's okay. I got rid of a few (4) that I seldom use. Anyway, at this point of the morning, I am feeling pretty good about my progress. One room at a time and it seems my kitchen is always the first. Guess that because it is the easiest.