Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cards for St Jude's Ranch for Children

St. Jude’s Ranch is making a difference by creating new lives with new skills for abused, abandoned and neglected children of all races and faiths. We can help by saving our Christmas and Occasional cards, cutting off the fronts of them and sending them to:
St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV. 89005
Hallmark, Disney and American Greeting cards cannot be used due to copyright and/or trademark issues, since the cards are remade and sold. If you have any questions you can call: 877-977-SJRC (7572).  If you want to know more about this Ranch, You can also find it's website at: www.stjudesranch.org
If teens are looking for a stewardship or community project, this is a great way to help others. Will you help?
Till next time.....

Friday, December 30, 2011

Herb/Spice Seasoning With No Salt ....

With the New Year almost upon me, I am looking to improve my health in small ways. Taking an extra walk, watching my food portions and using less salt are some of the ways I can do that. I've found that if I use seasonings, I can do with less salt. This is one of my favorite seasonings with no salt at all. Give it a try and see if you miss not having salt on your food. I don't.
Till next time.......
No Salt Substitute
5 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper, white or black
1/2 tsp celery seeds
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight labeled container.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moss....

Tree moss is always interesting. Even when photographed in the dark. Notice the almost iridescent look to the moss.
Till next time.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup....

Today is a bit chilly and it feels like a soup day. Since I have eaten all the soup in my freezer; it is time to restock. I have a pot of vegetable beef barley soup on the stove simmering away. I see no need to include a recipe. I mean, it's vegetable soup, you can't mess it up. You saute your carrots, onions, celery, add your browned beef cubes to the pot, some beef broth, tomatoes, a bay leaf, salt and pepper and one whole clove. After it has simmered a little, add the barley. If you like other veggies than what I have used, put them in the pot. Vegetable soup is really, just what you want to put in it. Simmering it brings out all the flavors. Instead of potatoes, I prefer barley. I also think it freezes better than potatoes. I also like to add just a little sugar to the soup when I use tomatoes. About 3/4 Tablespoon to the whole pot of soup.
Till next time.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Irish Herbed Mustard Chicken....

This is said to be an Irish dish; perhaps because of the Irish Mustard. However, the South also lays claim to this recipe. But whatever the ethnic background; it is good and something different to serve for supper. Aren't we all looking for that something different to serve our family. I get tired of the same old thing. So give this a try, I think you will like it. It's what's for supper at my house this evening.


                                                                                       
Irish Herbed Mustard Chicken
3 Tbsp Lakeshore Strong Irish Mustard (or Spicy Brown Mustard or Dijon Mustard)
3 Tbsp creamy Italian salad dressing
2 cups soft bread crumbs
4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 Tbsp melted butter
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine mustard and salad dressing in a shallow bowl. Mix bread crumbs, parsley and thyme in another dish. Toss with melted butter to mix well. Spread mustard mixture on both sides of chicken breasts, then pat crumb mixture onto both sides, firmly pressing. Bake 30 minutes. 6 servings.
Till next time.....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tzatziki Sauce

                                                                                                                    Tzatziki Sauce
2 containers of plain Greek yogurt
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic in a food processor. Process until well combined. Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour or more to blend the flavors.
Note: If using regular yogurt, it must be strained first to drain the liquid out of it.
Till next time.....

Lamb Meatball Sandwich....

Lamb Meatball Sandwich
1 1/4 lbs ground lamb
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 pita breads or flat breads, Greek Style.
In large bowl, combine the lamb, garlic; salt and pepper to taste. Divide the lamb mixture into 12 small balls. Cook until browned and done. Put lamb meatballs in the middle of the flatbread and top with 2 tbsp feta cheese crumbles and fresh mint.
Optional: Can flatten meatballs into patties and brown over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side on non-stick grill. Can top with Tzatziki sauce instead of the feta and mint.
Enjoy! Till next time....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Christmas!!!!!!

Santa stopped by when I was sleeping. Dropped off his gifts and went on his way!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Have a really super day.
This is a new journal I received. I always like to journal my little excursions around the area and my old journal was getting full.
Now I have a nice new one to start with this year.

Till next time....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One More Day Till Christmas............

Santa is having a final rest before taking off in his sleigh. The wind is blowing hard and snow is flying. He will really need Rudolph tonight to guide him.
Till next time......

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Days Till Christmas.....

The tree is decorated and candy is in the candy dish.
Till next time.......

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Days Till Christmas.....

The countdown continues, only three more days to Christmas! You better hurry or you won't be ready. These are not the fanciest cookies; but hey, at least I have cookies. How about you, or are you still baking.
Till next time......

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fruit Loop Clusters.......



Fruit Loop Clusters
16 oz. White Chocolate chips or Almond Bark (or a mixture of the two)
2 Tbsp shortening (for melting if using white chocolate chips)
5-7 cups Fruit Loops Cereal

Line a large baking sheet with Wax Paper or Parchment Paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl pour in 5 cups of Fruit Loops cereal, set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl place the white chocolate chips (and shortening) and/or almond bark. Melt for 1 minute and then stir. Continue to melt in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until the chocolate/bark is smooth.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate into the bowl of cereal and fold to combine.
Add additional cereal 1/2 cup at a time and fold into the mixture using a rubber scraper (spatula) until the cereal is well coated. Carefully spoon mixture into paper lined mini muffin pans. Allow to cool completely on counter or in fridge. Once cooled and completely set, store in airtight container in a cool dry place. Then watch everyone enjoy them on Christmas or whenever.

Till next time.......

4 Days Till Christmas......

Are the gingerbread men all decorated? Better hurry, only 4 more days till Christmas!
Till next time......

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Days Till Christmas......

Is the tree trimmed? Have you started the baking yet? Better hurry only 5 days left.
Till next time......

Monday, December 19, 2011

6 Days Till Christmas....

My countdown to Christmas. Have you got the presents all wrapped yet? Time is ticking away; faster than usual. You better get busy!!
Till next time......

Friday, December 16, 2011

My List for Santa......

I've often said, "I believe in Santa". It makes my world go round to believe in the magic of Christmas. So I have made my list for Santa.

My List for Santa
1. Better Focus: so that when I enter a room, I  can remember why I went there. Also, I would like to remember If I am entering the room or if I am leaving the room.
2.  A Bit More Ambition: so I can get things done quicker.
3.  Continued Good Health: so I can continue to enjoy life.
4. A Digital Alarm: To go off and show me where my eyeglasses or car keys are when I misplace them.
5.  A Bit More Motivation: Just in case you give me more ambition, I will need a bit of motivation to get things done as well.

I guess that about does it for this year, Santa. As always, I don't expect everything on my list, but one or two of the items would be greatly appreciated. Have a safe flight around the world. Merry Christmas, Santa. Hugs, MollyBee
P.S. I've tried to be really good this year.

Till next time......

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Relaxing Bubble Bath....

After all the stress of Christmas shopping, getting the cards ready to mail, wrapping gifts and baking all the goodies; if you are like me; you are stressed to the max. Well, I have a solution for you. No, I don't mean go to an expensive spa, like I have pictured. But you can fill your own bathtub with warm water and bubbles, grab a glass of wine and light a few candles in your own bathroom. After you have done that, slide into the warm water and RELAX, you have earned it. I generally stay in the bubble bath till the water gets cold and sometimes add hot water, so I can stay there a little longer.
Till next time......


Public Domain Pictures

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hoarfrost.......

I woke up yesterday morning and the world was a winter wonderland. Everything and I do mean everything was covered in heavy hoarfrost. It was absolutely beautiful!! I just had to share this beautiful frosty morning with you. I just learned this is Hoarfrost. Who knew...? Nice to learn something new, especially, at my age. It  was so pretty all over everything.
Till next time......

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Dieting..........Yuk!

Holiday Dieting, now there are two nasty words to be sure. Who is going to diet during the holidays? No one I know, that's for sure. But you can watch portion control. Eat everything you want to eat, but in moderation. You don't have to starve yourself, but neither do you have to indulge in great quantities of food either.
So kick back, enjoy Christmas, New Year's Eve and the season in between. After all, it is the holiday season, full of cookies, candies, pies, regular food, Lattes and those ever fattening egg nog drinks. Just remember, moderation is the key to NOT dieting after the holidays.
Till next time......

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Leftover" Soup.........

There is snow on the ground and the temperature has dipped into the teens. So my thoughts go to soup. I had some leftover roast beef, some sauce from an earlier meal of short ribs, some frozen peas and barley in the cupboard. So with a little help, that is my "leftover" soup. I often combine my leftovers to make a soup and somehow, it always turns out.
Today with a chill in the house, the soup will be yummy with a warm biscuit or two.
Till next time......

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snow and More Snow.......

And the snow fell....... We got our first measureable snow fall. It was a pretty snow as it stuck to the trees.
This was the tree outside my patio when it first started to cover the ground and stick to the trees. It was pretty to watch, but there were many accidents. The snow fall started out as sleet, so there was ice on the roads. It seems people forget how to drive in the snow from one winter to the next winter. Helloooo....it gets slippery. The police got so many calls they stopped answering the accident calls unless there was bodily injury. Be careful!
Till next time......

Monday, December 5, 2011

Letter to Santa Claus........

This is the time of year all the little children sit down and write a letter to Santa Claus. Telling him how good they have been and what they would like for Christmas. I was helping Santa go through some of the letters (as he gets so many of them he needs lots of help). Some of the requests were for very expensive toys or clothes. Others were simply "a job for my Daddy" or "more food, so Mommy won't worry so much." This little girl wants a sweater for her dog and a new or used baby doll. I have a feeling she will get her wish on Christmas morning.
What do I want for Christmas, well that would be telling. Santa knows, as I whispered in his ear when I picked up some more letters to read.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kruschiki

It's hard to think about the Christmas Holidays without thinking about old friends. Many years ago, when my children were small, I met this elderly lady from Poland. Every time she came to visit her daughter's family she would bring me a little "something". Sometimes it was a tin of Kruschiki, a ring of Kielbasa sausage or a Poppy seed roll. All of which, my family truly enjoyed. So this Christmas season, I am thinking of her where ever she may be and hoping she is having a nice Christmas season.


Kruschiki
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp rum or brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
Oil for frying
Confectioner's sugar for topping
Combine egg yolks, egg and salt in small bowl. Beat at highest speed for about 10 minutes until thick and piles softly. Beat in sugar, a little at a time. Then beat in rum/brandy and vanilla extract. Fold in flour by hand. Turn onto floured surface and knead for 8 -10 minutes. Divide dough in half and cover half to keep from drying. Roll as thin as possible. Cut into 2 inch by 1 inch strips. Cut a slit in the middle and pull end through the slit. Fry. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar. Can be stored in air tight container.
Till next time.......

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bird Nest.....

Not sure what kind of nest this is. It appears to be twigs at the bottom and then lined and built up with mud. If you know what kind of nest it is, perhaps you will be kind enough to leave a comment and let me know what it is.
Till next time......

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chili for a Snowy Day........

The weather man predicted snow and cold yesterday so I immediately thought of a nice pot of chili. So I got out the old slo-cooker and went to work on making some. It is a mild chili with not a lot of heat. So some of you may want to keep the chili powder handy to sprinkle a more on it.  Or taste it while it is cooking and add chili powder to your own taste.



 
Quick Chili
1lb of lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 small can of tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried chopped onions
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 can water, I use the tomatoes can to measure
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder, level, NOT heaping
1 Tbsp sugar, level, NOT heaping
Salt and Black Pepper
Brown the beef, sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper in a large pot. After browning the beef, add the tomatoes, garlic, onion, kidney beans, tomato paste, water, sugar and chili powder. Simmer for about one hour on the stove or 2-3 hours in slo-cooker.
Make yourself some cornbread or biscuits and enjoy.  As you all know, I like recipes with few ingredients. So this one works for me!
Till next time......

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gram's Recipe Box......

Gram's Recipe Box
This was one of my Gram's recipe boxes. As you can see, it is painted blue. Years ago, when I got married, she gave me one of her recipes boxes (which is pictured below), with some of her recipes in it. Needless to say, I was over joyed to have these treasured recipes. But mine was painted blue, just like the one in the first photo. So my husband, God love him, attempted to remove the paint for me, so I could have a natural wood box. After the first three layers of paint, he said, "how many more layers of paint are on here!" Well, it turned out to be 6 layers of paint! I forgot to tell you, she painted her recipe boxes to match her knife handles. Gram LOVED to paint. Believe me, there are more paint stories to be told.

On the inside of the lid, he could not get all the paint out of the corners, so that part got painted black. This is the recipe box that got the paint stripped off of it 54 years ago. It has served me well over the years and shows a bit of wear. But it is so much prettier in the natural wood color, wouldn't you agree?
Till next time.....
My Nice Paint Stripped Recipe Box
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gram's Knives......a Reflection

When I was little, I noticed my Gram's knives would get painted every so often. She would  do it to match her kitchen, sometimes green, other times, a shade of blue. I thought it a bit funny at the time. I mean, who paints the handles of knives!!
Well, today, I understand my Gram and her knives. You see, I painted the handles of 3 knives and 2 forks. And yes, I painted them to match my kitchen, why not. Why did I do that, very simply to preserve the handles. I put my knives in the dishwasher which has managed to take off the varnish over the fifty-three years of cooking and the handles were going to deteriorate if I didn't do something. So I painted them and put on some polyurethane to further protect the handles. NOW, I finally understand why my Gram painted the handles. "Too soon old and too late smart"  as the saying goes. I'm sure as knives sat in her dishwater over the many years, the same thing happened to her knives. So today, I became my Gram.
Till next time.......

Monday, November 28, 2011

Empty Nest........

When the temperature drops and the leaves fall; beauty seems to come in unsuspecting places. Here is an empty nest waiting for spring and some new tenants. Every season is amazing!
Till next time......

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Carcass.....Turn It Into Soup!

If you think this turkey carcass belongs in the trash, think again. You can get another meal out of this turkey for your family. If you have never made "carcass" soup, you are missing out on a delicious meal. Allrecipes.com (a recipe website) has this recipe for turkey carcass rice soup that I am sure you will find most delicious. The following link will take you to the recipe. It makes 10 servings and is ready in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Homemade biscuits go great with any homemade soup.
In today's economy, where everyone is looking to save a few pennies; this is perfect. Don't waste this special part of the turkey. It takes a little extra time and effort, but it is so worth it.
Till next time.......

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Greed on Thanksgiving Day - Appalling!


Here it is the day before Thanksgiving and I got a circular in the daily newspaper that several of the stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day!!!! Can you imagine that!! Money has gotten so important to the greedy corporate mongers that they cannot close for even a day to let their employees thank God for their many blessings. I am appalled that companies somehow think this is okay. You all know what stores they are. I, for one, don't plan on shopping at them in the future. Maybe a boycott is in order. We read about the protesters for other things, maybe we should stage a boycott of these stores, since they are so greedy. In the future, are you sure you want to shop at these insensitive stores? Maybe boycott them on Monday and give them a red Monday instead of a black Friday or Thanksgiving.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations......

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is that delicious bread stuffing. I love that you can make part of it ahead of time and get it out of the way.
 I make a sausage stuffing each year. It is a very popular stuffing in my family. Whether we have a lot of people or just a couple; I make a large pan of it. The leftovers are fantastic!
I freeze the bread as it makes cutting it a little easier and doesn't crumble up as much. Less mess, and I am all for that! Then I add a nice bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix to all the homemade parts and add some hot chicken broth. That makes it just perfection.
Hope all your Thanksgiving plans are starting to gel as well as mine are and that you have a great holiday with family and friends.
Till next time.......

Monday, November 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup.....

 Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups chicken stock
1 small Vidalia onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 nice butternut squash
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
Heat oil in pan, add onion, carrot, celery and sweat in pan 2 - 3 minutes over low heat. Peel squash, cut in half and remove seeds and stringy stuff. Add the seeds and stringy stuff to the veggie mixture. Cut the squash into 1/2 - 1 inch chunks and add to rest of veggies. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes then increase the heat and add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover pot and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. When the squash is fork tender, transfer half the soup to a blender and puree. Then puree the second half of the soup. (Hint: Put a towel over the blender cap and hold the cap down to prevent hot soup from going all over.) Always taste for salt and pepper. Before serving you can add just a tablespoon of heavy cream and a very light sprinkle of nutmeg to each serving. (just a small pinch, do not overdo the nutmeg.). Or you can leave the cream and nutmeg off; it will be just as good. Reduce down for desired thickness, if necessary. Serve hot with your favorite biscuit .

You can also wash some of the seeds and roast them to garnish the soup.

Till next time.......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bread Pudding?........I don't think so.

This was served to me as bread pudding. Now I don't know about you, but where I was raised, this is NOT bread pudding. This is a heavy, solid mass of bread with little or no flavor. I'm not sure what that white stuff is, but they could have saved money and not put it on it.
This is another view of the same piece, solid as a rock. I'm sure it would make a good foundation for something. Bread pudding should be light, airy and have a custard flavor. Unless you come from the Pennsylvania Dutch area. They seem to like this solid, heavy whatever. I would tell you where I got it, but I have emailed the Manager and would like to give him a chance to correct this error in quality control.
Till next time......

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Soft Pretzels........

If you have ever lived near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you have sampled these soft pretzels with a squeeze of yellow mustard on them. According to legend the Italian monks as far back as 610AD used the pretiolas, or "little rewards" to encourage the children to do well in their prayer studies. They soon became popular in Austria and Germany and were known as "bretzels". It was not until ten-plus centuries later they made their way to the United States in the hands of the immigrants who became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. If you have ever eaten them, you will never forget them. I spent much of my adult life in the East Coast area and I am almost ashamed to say it, ate my share of them. They are not readily available in the stores here except by frozen boxes. I have found that most of the frozen ones are not worth eating! However, I have found one brand that is as good as any vendor in Philadelphia. Sorry Philly, but it's the truth. Not too surprising, it is made in Pennsauken, NJ, right next door to Philly.
This brand is great! All you do is preheat the oven to 400°, run the pretzel under water and shake the pretzel salt on them that comes  in the package. Bake for 4 minutes and serve with yellow mustard. Yum! How simple is that to enjoy this fabulous treat? And if you want something really good, skip the salt and then after the 4 minutes in the oven; dip them in melted butter and then a cinnamon and sugar mixture. It's almost like eating a cinnamon roll straight from the oven.
Till next time.......

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Woodpeckers........

I've been having a fight with my local squirrel. I don't mind him eating the food I put out for the woodpeckers, but he is destroying my log feeder trying to get the last of the food. So now I have a wire feeder filled with peanuts and the squirrel tried his best to get them. He tried every way possible and could not get the job done. 
Now the woodpecker can eat his meals in peace! So for now; the score is: MollyBee -1 Squirrel - 0
Till next time.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Beauty.....

Here it is November 15th and the leaves are still hanging on! It is hard to believe the beauty of the trees this year. This lovely tree is just outside my patio and is gorgeous. The sun was shining on it yesterday and I just had to share it with all of you. You all know I love Fall and this year is exceptionally pretty. I am really enjoying all of the delicious reds, oranges, yellows and rusts of the leaves. Notice the red and yellow both on this one tree. I hope the Fall season is as pretty where you live.
Till next time.....