Friday, February 25, 2011

Crazy Weather Day

Starting yesterday afternoon and through this morning, we experienced some very heavy rain. I woke up this morning about 3am and it was quiet...the rain had stopped for a little bit...however it started up again. Then about noon the sun was out and it was quite pleasant although cold.

I drove out to Rocklin this afternoon to go to Green Tangerines Scapbook store. I've always been fascinated with the formations that clouds make. On the way home I noticed that the sky was so very blue with lots of puffy clouds. Then half way across the sky, in the area I could see, there was a very distinct line of blue sky and white clouds with very dark clouds. I wished I had my camera with me because it was beautiful. The dark clouds got darker towards the east. As soon as I got home I got my camera and went outside to get some pictures. It was hard to get some good pictures.

This is looking towards the east. Little did I know that these dark clouds were causing a horrendous thunderstorm over neighborhoods towards the east...hail included. These same clouds produced a tornado that touched down in an area northeast of Mather Field (a former Air Force air field) which is off of Highway 50.
This is looking south...beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds.
While I was outside, I took a couple of pictures of our tree in the front all blossomed out. Surprisely enough with all the rain and wind we had, the flowers are still on the tree. There are bits of green popping out so the flowers will be gone soon and the tree will be leafed out. Spring is not too far away. Yay!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Savory Hamburger Vegetable Soup

A few weeks ago I made a double batch of this soup. We ate it one night and then I froze the rest of it. Since today is a cold, rainy day I thought the soup would be great for dinner. I took it out of the freezer this morning. After I got home from doing some errands, I decided to put it in a pot, with a low fire, and let it thaw and warm up. I was really surprised that the vegetables didn't get all mushy after it was thawed and warmed up. The taste was still very good. I made some cornbread and we had it for dinner with the soup.

I think I am going to make another double batch and freeze it. This soup is so easy to make and it tastes so good.

I want to try some other recipes out of my new cookbook too. Most of the recipes in the cookbook were handed down from grandmothers, aunts and other family members of the singers that make up the Homecoming group. Every recipe has a story that goes with it...the stories are fun to read. I actually read the cookbook from cover to cover. :)

Well, we are going to have an interesting couple of days with the latest winter storm. The weather people are saying snow may be as low as a 1000 ft. If any "falls" here it will just be a dusting. We are suppose to have lows between 27 deg to 31 deg. One weather service said 27 deg with highs in the 40's. Too, too cold!!


We woke up this morning to a cloudy, dreary day. I was out doing some errands and on the way home it started raining. The paper this morning said there is a slim chance of snow in Sacramento and surrounding towns. A storm from Alaska will be passing through later today or tomorrow. We've had snow fall a few times. It doesn't stick and is gone rather quickly. There will surely be more snow in the mountains and maybe the foothills. Well, won't be expecting much other than rain.

If anything it is good hot chocolate weather...I just enjoyed a cup with some Oreo cookies. YUM!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Broccoli Casserole

Here's my new cookbook. I've tagged several of the pages. Broccoli Casserole

This is one of the recipes I tagged. I made it for dinner tonight. It was pretty good, we ate half of it. I pan fried a couple of pork chops to go with the casserole.
2 (10 oz) packages of frozen broccoli, chopped
1 (10.5 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs, beaten
1 medium onion, grated
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mayonaise
1 (14 oz) package herb seasoned dressing or stuffing
3 T butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease casserole dish (I used butter). In a large saucepan cook broccoli according to package directions (I used my double boiler). In a bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup, beaten eggs, onion, cheese and mayonaise; mix well. Put broccoli in a 2 quart casserole baking dish and pour soup mixture over broccoli. Top casserole with dressing or stuffing. Add pats of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until bubbly.
So here's what I did differently and what I will probably do if I make it again:
I used 1 16 oz and half of another 16 oz bag of broccoli cuts. I chopped the onion real fine instead of grating it and I bought a bag of grated cheese. I used Stove Top Cornbread dressing mix. I put several pats of butter on top of the dressing mix. I think the next time I make this dish, I will prepare the dressing according to the directions then put it on top of the casserole. I didn't care for the crunchiness of the dressing.

Snow Covered Mountains

On the way home from the grocery store earlier I had a beautiful view of the snow covered mountains. They sure are pretty. We have sunshine here in the valley with temperatures in the 60's. This will be short lived as rain is predicted for later this week.

Oh well, we can enjoy it while it lasts.

I got a new cookbook. It is called "Homecoming" by Gloria Gaither. The recipes are from different members of the Homecoming group led by Bill Gaither. Bill & Gloria are recording artists, their music is called Southern Gospel. We love their music. Anyway, while Gerry was gone I received an email announcing this cookbook. They are only available in Cracker Barrel restaurants. We don't have any of these restaurants in California. There is one in Boise, Idaho and so I asked Gerry if he would go by, if he could, and get me a copy. He did make a special trip to get me a copy when he took some of the ski trip group to the airport in Boise. I've read through the whole thing and marked a lot of the recipes.

Tonight I am going to make a broccoli cheese casserole, a recipe that is in the book. I'll take pictures and post later. I'm going to pan fry some pork chops to go with it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Won!!!

I'm so excited!!! My Hawaii blogger friend, Jalna, had a prize giveaway on her blog last week. So I left a comment on her blog so she could enter my name. She was going to have her husband do the drawing this morning. When she was ready to do it, he was still asleep so she made a few noises until he woke up.

And guess what...he pulled my name!!! She was surprised it was me!!! I took a short break this afternoon from putting card kits together and checked my blog. I saw that she had put a new post on her blog about the prize giveaway so I checked it out. I couldn't believe what I saw. She had taken pictures of her husband getting a folded up piece of paper out of a container. So, so cool.

So check this out...

I forgot to show you what I got...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chess Squares or Gooey Butter Cake

I saw a recipe for Chess Squares on a blog I follow. I was talking to Denise a day or two later and told her about it. She told me it was a variation of a Paula Deen recipe and that Paula called her recipe Gooey Butter Cake. Denise makes this cake for their coffee shop and it is a big hit.

I decided to make it this past Monday when Candice and Karen came over to work on projects. I used the Chess Squares recipe. The difference between the two recipes is that butter is added to both the cake part and the filling part. This is very good and very rich.
Here is Paula Deen's recipe:
1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 T butter, melted (1 stick)
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
8 T butter, melted (1 stick)
1 16oz box powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, egg, butter; mix well with electric mixer.
Pat mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, butter and beat together. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes.
Don't overbake as center should be a little gooey.
Use a chocolate cake mix and add 3 to 4T cocoa powder and 1 cup nuts (optional) to filling.
Use a yellow cake mix
Add 1 cup almond or chocolate toffee bits to filling.
Use yellow or spice cake mix for the crust.
Add 15 oz can of pumpkin and 1 tsp cinnamon to filling.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Crazy Weather

Our weather has been so crazy lately. We had the wettest December than we've had in a long time. January was pretty dry. Then this month we have had nice sunshiney days with temperatures in the high 60's and days of rain...and it is only the middle of the month. Last week it was really nice. Then the rain came...

This past Wednesday afternoon I was cleaning our bathroom. It had been raining off and on most of the day. It was raining and then it sounded like it was raining really hard. So I walked out into the dining room and looked out the sliding door. Lo and was hailing...hard. I grabbed my camera and stepped out on our back porch and took this picture. Hail completely covered the street. The wind was blowing really hard too and it was cold. This is some hail that was on the front porch.
On Thursday Gerry needed to take some ski equipment up to Auburn. The equipment belonged to his kids' cousin and her husband. They were on the ski trip too. Gerry offered to bring their equipment home so they wouldn't have to lug it onto the airplane. It rained really hard all the way there and all the way back. Oh, and the temps were in the 30's. Brrrr!!
Then yesterday we went out to do a few errands and it rained hard again all day and all night. We've had a shower or two today. Right now the sun is out. There are dark clouds...hopefully any more rain will be held off for a while. Gerry wanted desperately to go ride his bicycle so he is out now. Tomorrow and Monday is suppose to be nice. Sure hope so.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Catching Up...Again

I don't know why I have such a hard time keeping my blog updated. I think about it, then when I think I have time to blog I'm too tired. I must say I do get tired of seeing the same post on my blog every time I log on. You'd think that would be motivation enough to update it. :-) I do admire my friends who update their blogs every day or at least 2 or 3 times a week.

So I included several things into one post.

This picture of Stephen and Denise was taken at Christmas time. Today they are celebrating their 22nd anniversary. Hard to believe that much time has gone by. Their marriage is strong and they are totally committed to each other and their children. This mom is very thankful. They met in high school at the end of their sophmore years and were married a year and a half after they graduated. Stephen spent one year at BIOLA University in Southern California, came home to enroll at Sacramento State and then decided to go into the Army. They were married after he finished his basic training and AIT. They began their married life in Germany. Stephen's next duty was at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, NC; they lived in Fayetteville for about 13 years before they moved to Enterprise, AL where they now live.
Gerry holding Emma (granddaughter) at Bogus Basin in Idaho. She got tired and after rocking her for a little bit, she went to sleep in Granddad's arms. Last Wednesday Gerry and Jason (son) left to drive to Boise/Mountain Home, Idaho to spend a week with some of the family to go skiing at Bogus Basin. This is the 11th year they've been doing this, Gerry went for the 1st time in 2005. He and Jason got back to Sacramento this past Wednesday. It sure was good to see him Wednesday night.
He took this picture with his phone...looking west after they left Winnemucca, NV. They had to chain up before they entered California and had chains on for 2 hours or so. It was whiteout conditions after they left Truckee and over the summit. With the chains on they couldn't go faster than 30 mph so it was slow and go.
Last week Saturday I had lunch with some of the people I use to work with at the Juvenile Courthouse. L to R: Darlene, our former supervisor (she's retired now), Sherri, Monica (she resigned a week before I retired and now works for the State of California), me. In the back L to R: Mark (he also resigned, went back to school and works in SF now), Winston (also retired), Rhonda and Alena. Sherri, Rhonda and Alena still work at the courthouse.
This past Monday I had lunch with a couple of friends from the stamp group I belong to. Then we came over here and worked on projects for a while. So I kept myself busy while Gerry was gone. I do okay during the day, however, I have a rough time getting through the nights. I sleep with lights on so the house is not completely dark. I know its silly.