Friday, December 30, 2011

Dinner Tonight - New Recipe

I am always on the hunt for new recipes to try. I found this recipe on Pinterest. My Denise told me about this website some time ago. She sent me an invitation to join which I did. I set up several "boards", however did not know what to do from there. I was talking to her earlier this week and she helped me in "pinning" stuff to my boards. So instead of saving all the things I like, including recipes, I can "pin" them to my boards. You can also follow other peoples boards. So that is how I found this recipe. It sounded good and quite simple to put together. I made it for dinner tonight...we both enjoyed it...

It is called "Low Fat Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice CasseroleMy dinner plate.

Here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1/2 c chopped onion (1 medium)

1 T olive oil

1 package (6.9 ounce) chicken flavored rice and vermicellin mix (like Rice-a-Roni)

14 ounce can of chicken broth

2 c water

2 c chopped, cooked chicken (I parboiled 2 chicken breasts)

1 c chopped, seeded tomato (2 medium)

3 T canned diced green chile peppers, drained (I just scooped out 3 T's from the can)

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder (I only used 1 tsp)

1 tsp dried basil, crushed (I just scooped out a tsp)

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese ( used 1/2 of a bag of Mexican blend cheese)

1. In a saucepan cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in rice and vermicelli mix (including seasoning packet), cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and water. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).

2. Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, and seasonings. Transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish.

3. Bake, covered in a 425 degreen for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

I was afraid this would be too spicey for me, however it was not...Gerry would have liked more spice. I thought it needed some salt.

It was good and I will make it again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chayse Katherine

I just copied this photo off of Facebook. Megan's sister, Cameron posted it. She is sitting up...can't tell if by herself or with some help. She will be 4 months old on January 2nd.She is a beautiful baby!! Sure want to hold her and love on her!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Dinner

I forgot to take pictures of what I fixed for dinner tonight...oh well! It was yummy. We ate a lot later than I intended. I took the roast I was going to fix out of the freezer last evening and put it in the bottom of the refrigerator. I really thought it would begin to thaw...unfortunately, when I checked on it this morning, it was still hard as a rock. I put it in the sink and about 2 pm, it was still frozen. So I got out one of my non-stick pans, took the roast out of the wrapping and put it in the pan. It was finally thawed about 4:30pm.

So here's the menu:
Roast Beef
Boiled Red Potatoes
Steamed Fresh Green Beans
Rice Salad
Ambrosia (Fruit Cocktail, Pineapple Chunks, Mandarin Oranges, Miniature Marshmallows and Cool Whip) - my very favorite!!

Everything was so good and we stuffed ourselves.

Here's how I fix the roast:
I try to get a Cross Rib Roast or Sirloin Tip Roast, about 3 lbs. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put some kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder on a dinner plate and roll the roast in the mixture...patting it on so it sticks. Roast for 1 hour at 425 degrees. At the end of the hour, turn off the oven. Do not open the oven door. The recipe that I follow says to keep the roast in the oven for 2 hours, then heat the oven up to 300 degrees and warm the roast for about 20 to 30 minutes. I didn't do that tonight because it was so late. After the potatoes and green beans were cooked, I took the roast had been about 30 -35 minutes. It was a perfect tender, medium rare roast. It had a little bit of a thin tail on it and that got about medium. The crust that formed was so good.

I've had the recipe for the rice salad since the '70's. A girl that I worked with at the Fresno County Main Branch Library use to bring it for potlucks. I begged for the recipe and she finally gave it to me, making sure I promised that I wouldn't share it with anyone. I have pretty much held to that promise...Denise has it. I don't make it very often...usually just for Christmas dinner. I have seen recipes that are similar.

The Ambrosia is super easy...a large can of fruit cocktail, a 15 oz can of pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges, half a bag of miniature marshmallows and cool whip. Sometimes I put flaked coconut in it, also cut up red or green apples and sliced bananas. I made both of the salads Saturday night...they taste much better the next day.

I used some red glass dinnerware and we had Martinelli's to drink. Nothing, so yummy, though.

Hope you've all had a great day!!

Mele Kalikimaka - 2011

Merry Christmas to all of you in blogland who happen to read my blog. I so appreciate your interest in what I have to say. I hope you are having a great day with family and friends.

Here is one of the cards I made for this year. To see the others, visit my Elegant Reflections blog. The link is on my side bar.I used this picture to send with the Christmas cards. It was taken at Disneyland on Black Friday. We are standing in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle with our two youngest granddaughters, Katelyn Joy (almost 7 years old) and Emma Louise Yniguez (4 years old).

This is the Christmas letter that was also included:

"Joy to the world, a Savior has been born".

Christmas Greetings from our house to yours...another busy year is about's a few highlights from our year.

  • The big excitement was the birth of our first great grandchild...a precious girl. Chayse (pronounced Chase) Katherine was born on September 2nd in Fayetteville, NC. She weighed 8 lbs 6 oz, 20 inches long...with lots of dark hair. This is Denise and Stephen's first grandchild...son Nathanael is her daddy...her mom is Megan Elizabeth. Megan posts lots of pictures on Facebook.

  • Gerry and Jason went on the annual Bogus Basin trip in February to ski and snowboard. Erik plans this get together every year...2011 was the 10th year. Plans are already in the works for the February 2012 trip.

  • In June I flew to Enterprise, Al for Rebekah-Elizabeth's high school graduation. Gerry and I were in Enterprise in 2009 for Nathanael's graduation. I spent 2 weeks there in hot, humid weather...typical weather for the south.

  • In October Gerry did the bicycle ride around Clear Lake in Lake County again...he did that ride for the first time 10 years ago. We spent two days in Lakeport...the weather was gorgeous...our hotel was lakeside.

  • November 1st we celebrated our 31st anniversary by going on an overnight trip to Lake Tahoe...beautiful daytime temperatures with cold nights...32 degrees the morning we left. We took a route back home that we had not been on before...Highway 89/88...up to Carson Pass at about 8000 ft...the highway closes during the winter time because of heavy was a beautiful drive.

  • We spent Thanksgiving in So. California with our daughter, Joyce, and her family. On Wednesday, we drove to Irvine to meet up with Gerry's sister, Jeanne, and her family...Jeanne lives in San Marcos (San Diego County)...her son Kim and his wife Robin were visiting from Connecticut, daughter Karie flew out from Arizona and son Kevin lives in Vista (5 miles from San Marcos). We had a great time visiting and catching up.

  • George (Joyce's husband) fixed the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner...what a feast.

  • On Friday we were going to go to Knott's Berry Farm for lunch. Instead we went to Disneyland...George works there...he had some extra passes so we spent the day. George joined us when he got off work. Gerry and I hadn't been there since our 10th anniversary, 21 years ago. Being with the girls (Katie and Emma) made it so much fun! We came home on Saturday, tired and in my case, hurting. I surprised myself by being able to walk all over the park. Being able to sit and rest helped...I did pay for it on Saturday.

  • The rest of the family is doing well. Stephen and Denise continue to minister in Enterprise...their business is doing well. Denise has taken up sewing and enjoying finding new projects to make. Rebekah-Elizabeth enrolled in the local community college and has a job at a spa/salon. Nathanael is still stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC.

  • Daughter Jenni was laid off from her job last year...she is going to a business school taking accounting classes. Daughter Elizabeth continues to homeschool Hannah and Emily. Ashley graduated this year. We see Jason occasionally...his step-son and girlfriend are expecting a baby early next that will be great grandchild #2...a girl. Erik was here earlier this year for a couple of weeks...he put a new roof on the house where Elizabeth and their mother live. Jason and Gerry helped. Grandson Seth (Erik's youngest) is going to Boise State...maintaining a 4.0 GPA...pretty impressive. Erik's 2nd son, Joshua, was married this summer. He and Mary Ann live in Dumas, TX. Keith didn't come out this year; Gerry will see him in February. Joyce and her family are doing great. So is Wendi. Wendi's job takes her to Riverside every day...a long commute for her. Granddaughter Katie is in the 1st grade...she has been taking Mexican Folk Dance lessons and is absolutely amazing...Joyce told us Katie reads at a 3rd grade level...Katie will be 7 in January...sweet Emma is quite amazing too...she celebrated her 4th birthday early November.

May this Christmas season be a blessed time for you and your loved ones.

Mele Kalikimaka & Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year),

Gerry & Betty Townsend

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sacramento Breakfast Club - 12/23/11

Today was the Friday for the Breakfast Club to get together. We went to a restaurant in Auburn called "The Breakfast Club". There were 10 of us today. I had French Toast with sausage. I was only able to eat 2 half slices. This was a huge meal, the bread was thickly cut. They soak it in a batter that tasted really cinnamonly. It was good, however I couldn't deal with more than I ate. The sausage was really large links also.Gerry wasn't able to finish his breakfast either. My usual breakfast at home is a muffin and a 16 oz glass of orange juice. That is what I have every morning. So to eat this much food is more than overkill. I'm going to have to figure out something else to order so I am not wasting so much food. The waitress would have boxed it up for me...I wasn't even interested in having her do that for me. It seemed all the breakfasts that were being served were large. It was a pretty busy place, small space for a restaurant.

Christmas Decorations

I thought I had posted these pictures. I did a little bit of Christmas decorating. I really wanted a tree this year...we don't really have room to put one up and Gerry won't deal with one.

I always set the table with my Christmas dishes. I got some new candle holders this year...they are a little too big. Funny story about finding the tablecloth...I have a round one, a rectangle one and an oblong one in this particular pattern...I have no idea why. Anyway, I took this one out of the linen closet, thinking it was the round one. Then I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't fit. I was pulling and tugging on it, getting very frustrated. Then Gerry tells me it is because it is oblong, not round. Well, I kept insisting I had a round one and where did it disappear to...I even looked in the drawers under the china cabinet...couldn't find it. So Gerry tells me we need to put the leaf in so the tablecloth would fit. So I get the table all fixed up and later I opened up one of the drawers to get the napkins out and guess what...there was the round one. Well, I wasn't going to take everything off. I'm glad we opened up the table because the candle holders take up quite a bit of room and especially after I put the candle rings around them.Gerry wanted to know who was coming to dinner after I got the table finished. I even polished the silverware.

I found these poinsettia napkin rings a few years ago and just love them.

This nativity set is on the buffet. I got it a couple of years ago at a California Backyards Christmas store.

When we were in Salado, TX 2 years ago, I found this pearl garland in a store there. I bought one roll of it and wished I had bought 2 of them. I forgot I had this and found it in the drawer too. It adds a nice touch to the nativity display.

I have a crystal candle holder with tapers on each side of the nativity. Those are tiny poinsettia candle rings.

This nativity set is on top of the entertainment center. I got it at a craft show several years ago.

Four angel votive holders

And lastly, these wood candle holders are usually on the entertainment center with some other candles. I put these red glass candle holders on them with more poinsettia candle rings. I use to use these on the table, I had 3 of them...I broke one of them last year.

So it looks a little festive in here for Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sacramento Breakfast Club

During the summer, Gerry and I joined a group called "Sacramento Breakfast Club". We use to go to church with the guy who coordinates the group and his wife. They meet every other Friday for breakfast. Everyone in the group either works for AT&T or retired from AT&T. There are usually 6 of us that get together...others join in...depending on their schedules. I don't know exactly when the group was formed, however, they would get together after they got off of work and go out to breakfast.

Since we joined, we have been to some places Gerry and I hadn't been to before...several of the places he and I do go to. We've gone to a restaurant in Auburn and one in Placerville and several around Sacramento.This is the breakfast I had 2 weeks is minced ham with scrambled eggs and melted cheese on the top. I substituted the potatoes for a bowl of fruit with wheat toast and a large glass of orange juice. I am not a coffee drinker, my beverage of choice for breakfast is OJ. This was at a place called "Waffle King" not far from the AT&T building.

We will be getting together this coming Friday and are going to a place in Auburn called "Breakfast Club". We have not been there before so it will be interesting to see how this place is with their breakfasts.

I actually took this picture with my phone...I really surprised myself that I was able to figure out how to get it on my computer... :). The real test will be to see if I can do it again. LOL!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Donut Hole

We left La Puente on Saturday (11/26/11) to drive back to Sacramento. Gerry took Katie and Emma to The Donut Hole to get breakfast. It was cute watching Katie help her sister get ready to go with Granddad.

The Donut Hole is a drive-through. They do have a walk-up window. I don't know how long this has been in business...its a fun place and we usually make at least 1 stop when we go to La Puente. Behind it is an old-fashioned McDonald's. I think across the street is an old fashioned In 'n Out burger drive-through.

We had an enjoyable visit and look forward to the next time. Joyce, Katie, Emma and Wendi will be in Sacramento after Christmas. Don't know if Geraldine will be able to come...she is home for the Christmas break from the college she attends in New York state. George will be working.

Disneyland - 11/25/11 - Part IV

Mrs. Claus's float

Enjoying the parade.

Winnie the favorite Disney character!!...along with Mickey, Minnie.... :)

And Tigger too...

So close!!!

Loved the faces on these snowmen!!

Oops...a float having to be towed...


These were so cute!!

The Princesses!!

Belle and The Beast dancing.

Here's Santa!!

Thank you to Joyce for taking the majority of these pictures...the battery on my camera had died...I did take a few on Gerry's camera...I will get those later.

As I've mentioned...this was a fun time, especially being with Katie and Emma. Hope you enjoyed the trip, too, through these pictures! Disneyland is an awesome place!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Disneyland - 11/25/11 - Part III

We are in Mickey's House in Toontown...waiting to see Mickey. Katie & Emma playing Mickey's piano.

We waited in line for over 30 minutes to spend less than 5 minutes with Mickey. :)

I don't know why I've got 2 pictures... :)

Emma wanted to ride the roller coaster ride in Toontown so Granddad went with her...standing in line waiting...

After the ride...Emma is all smiles...

Another picture in front of the castle...this was taken after Toontown and on our way to the plaza to wait for the flag ceremony. I used this photo to include with our Christmas cards this year.

The drum and bugle band at the beginning of the flag ceremony. When the flag is brought down every night, there is a very nice ceremony that takes place.

The barber shop quartet that sang several patriotic songs. They were awesome!

The honor guard ready to take the flag down.

That is Gerry in the tan colored cap. It was announced that as the song from each branch of the military was played, that veterans or active military in the audience step up to the flag. So, of course, when the Marine Corp hymn was played, Gerry joined the others gathered at the flag. It was so awesome!

The Christmas tree all lit was so pretty after it got dark.

We are waiting for the Christmas parade to start. Front row seats!!

I will have one more post of our Disneyland pictures.