Friday, March 27, 2009

The Lane Family

Here are some fairly recent pictures of my kids. They are either pictures that were emailed to me or ones I saved off of their web site. Stephen and Denise, owners of Boldly Going Coffee Shop in Enterprise, AL
Their very able and beautiful cashier, Rebekah-Elizabeth Noe'lani "Bekah". Bekah is named after both her tutu and her mother. Elizabeth is the second part of my hyphenated first name (Violet-Elizabeth) and Noe'lani is Denise's middle name. Nathan and Denise at the airport in Montgomery, AL. Nathan had stayed in Fayetteville instead of moving to Enterprise. He flew to Enterprise to spend a week with the family. This is Denise greeting her son upon his arrival. It is very evident she is happy to see her son!! Of course, he has since joined his family in Enterprise. Denise and Bekah sightseeing in Montgomery before Nathan's flight arrived. I believe this is the gift shop on the grounds of the Governor's home or state capitol.

Stephen and Denise on the beach in Florida. Stephen did a renewing of vows ceremony for a young Army couple who were part of their fellowship group. He cleans up rather nicely, don't you think? Of course, Denise always looks fantastic!! They celebrated their 20th anniversary this past February.
Denise, Bekah and Nathan. This picture is not a very recent one. It was taken while they still lived in Fayetteville. Probably the first day of school one year.
Being so far away from them is difficult, thankfully there are pictures to treasure, phone calls, email, Facebook and numerous other ways to keep in touch.

Nathanael Ray Lane "Nathan"

Denise emailed this picture to me this morning. It is one of the most recent pictures and it was used on the "Save the Date" announcements she sent out for Nathan's graduation. So here he is:
My grandson, Nathanael Ray Lane, soon to be Pvt. Nathanael Ray Lane, USArmy. He is a handsome young man who not only looks like both his dad and mom, he also has a combination of both their personalities. His almond shaped eyes show his part Hawaiian, Chinese heritage. And if you couldn't tell, his Tutu (grandmother) is very proud of him in a very loving way.
I don't know if he reads my blog, I hope this doesn't embarrass him. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nathan Enlists in the Army & What's For Dinner?

It was the usual Thursday, bible study, pick up Andy from school and lunch at McDonald's. He was hungry today. He gobbled down his hamburger, finished all his french fries and ate the rest of Granddad's fries. I asked him if he had breakfast and he said "yes". Usually he eats his hamburger and maybe some of the fries. He's a growing boy, I guess!!

We came straight home after dropping him off. We were home for a little bit and Gerry said he was going for a ride.

Just before he left, Denise called. She had called me back yesterday morning and when I tried to return her call she didn't answer her phone. She goes into the coffee shop and works on Wednesday afternoons so Stephen can have some study time to prepare for their Wednesday evening bible study.

Yesterday morning she sent an email to Gerry and I and another friend of hers that Nathan (my grandson) had been talking to an Army recruiter and had taken a test on Tuesday. One of his scores was the second highest of the 35 people taking the test. He spent most of the day with the recruiter. They talked about the different fields he wanted to get into. Denise and Stephen were hoping he would go into aviation and maybe stay close by.

He chose to go into being a Combat Medic. The recruiter called last night and told him she got a slot for him. He goes to Basic Training on August 10th at Ft. Leonard Wood Army Post in Missouri. Well, I'm assuming that is the post, Denise just knew it was in Missouri. I googled it and that was the only Army post that was in Missouri. After he is done there, he goes to Ft. Sam Houston Army Post in Texas for his AIT training for 18 weeks. After that he goes to Ft. Benning in Georgia for Ranger Indoctrination and then Ranger School. He'll also get EMT training and he could be attached to a unit at Ft. Benning or go elsewhere.

Today they had to go to the Social Security office to get a replacement card. His wallet got left in his car at the mall where he worked in Fayetteville, NC and got stolen. He hadn't gotten it replaced yet. I think Denise told me he leaves tomorrow to get sworn in but I don't remember where she said he was going. His birthday is August 16th so he'll be in basic training to celebrate it.

Stephen spent several years in the Army, Nathan was born in Germany while Stephen was stationed there. He has grown up around other kids both at school and church whose dads were in the Army. They lived in Fayetteville, NC where Ft. Bragg is located and where Stephen was stationed when he came back from Germany. So joining the Army would be a natural thing to do for him. He will be able to have the GI bill to go to college later if he wants to do that.

So being there for his graduation in May just got all the more important to me. It may be the last time I get to see him for a while. I haven't been able to be around him a whole lot during his growing up years, however, the visits I've made over the years have been very precious. He is a super fantastic young man and I know he will do a great job whereever the military takes him. I will just be praying more fervently for him that God will protect him and keep him out of harm's way. I sure do love him very much!!

I'll have to get a picture on here some time soon.

Well, I didn't do anything for dinner again. Thankfully we got some Spam yesterday when we were at Costco so that's what we had.
I cube it up and saute it in some butter. Then I add shoyu, sugar and some garlic powder. Mix it up real good and there you have it.

Serve it over hot rice and some of the Japanese pickles on the side and this is a great dinner. Gerry puts Korean hot sauce all over his. I know some of you are going "Yuck"!!
My daughter grew up eating Spam. I can tell you it was not her favorite meal. On one of my visits to see them, she decided that her kids were going to experience what she had to endure. They protested loud and long about eating Spam. Well, I fixed it. They were good troupers although they wholeheartedly agreed that they were glad they didn't have to eat it ever again. LOL!! I sliced the Spam, put it in a baking dish with slices of pineapple between the slices, sprinkled brown sugar over it all and added a little of the juice from the pineapple slices. Then baked it until the brown sugar melted and the spam browned up. I used to do something with carrots too but I don't remember what I use to do or I'd tell you.
Denise told me too that they had been under tornado warnings this morning and this afternoon there was a flood warning posted. They live in the southeastern corner of Alabama about 90 miles from the Florida panhandle in Enterprise. That area through there is called tornado alley. Last year there was a horrible tornado that went through the area and torn off the roof of the high school. Nathan's classes are held at the Community College. However, when a tornado is forecast they dismiss the kids from school. She said Rebekah was home by herself so she told Rebekah to go downstairs with her computer and the dogs and stay in the downstairs bathroom. Stephen kept checking on her and she was fine. He had to be at the coffee shop.
One more story to share with you and then I'm done for tonight. This has gotten to be a rather long post. After I got off the phone with Denise I noticed that she had a comment on Facebook. All it said was "Denise tried to burn the house down but she wasn't successful". Well, later after her mother and several friends wanted to know what happened, she put another comment on her FB. She was going to fix some sausage for dinner. She decided to put it in the oven instead of on the stove. Well, she set the pot holder down and went upstairs to talk to Rebekah. She smelt smoke and went downstairs. The burner was still on and the pot holder was on fire. I have gotten a pot holder too close to an open flame on numerous occasions and burnt a part of the pot holder. Thankfully, she didn't cause too much damage, just a burnt pot holder!!


On Wednesday I stayed home and tried to get some stuff done in my office. It is such a mess in here. Usually I do my bible study workbook on Wednesdays but I had done it on Monday so thankfully it was out of the way. There's actually a lesson for each day, I just do it all at once. We finish up the year with studying Colossians. It's going to be another great study.

I forgot to take anything out for dinner so since there was quite a lot of the pork roast left over, I just warmed up the meat in the gravy, fixed fresh cauliflower and that was dinner.

I did talk to Denise for a few minutes.

I think I mentioned that my asthma was bothering me. I am not coughing much at all so that's a good sign. It's still windy so I thought I should stay in and try to be productive here. LOL!

Pork Roast

On Tuesday we went to Sushi Masa's for lunch. Tomiko (the cook) returned from her trip to Hawaii, she said she had a great time just not long enough. Ron & Chiyoko were there too. Gerry had some errands to do looking for stuff for one of his bikes. We ended up going down to REI in Sacramento. Right across the parking lot from REI is one of our Costcos so we went over there to get a few things. He drinks soy milk and gets it by the case at Costco. Walking out he asked me if I wanted a berry sundae or something else. I love those sundaes but can't really eat the whole thing. Well, he ended up getting one for each of us. I managed to eat about a half of mine, he finished his and ate some of mine. I shouldn't eat diary, makes me sick, I was fine though so that was good.

I fixed a pork roast for dinner. Here it is all nice and golden brown.
I season it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I put it in a preheated 400 deg. oven for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 and leave it alone until it reaches 165 to 170 internal temperature.
Fresh asparagus again. It was $1.99 lb and it's now $1.37 lb.

Here's the gravy happily simmering away. I pour the grease out of the roasting pan into a skillet, get it hot then put some flour in the grease, incorporate it and cook the flour until it gets a light brown color. Then I add water until I get the mixture the consistency I want it to be, season it and its done.
For some reason this roast did not taste as good as they usually are. I always get a boneless pork butt. It was still good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Island Style Cooking

The rain stopped and Monday was a sunny day. However it was really windy and cold! I did a quick run to the grocery store. I do laundry on Mondays and I actually finished early compared to most Mondays.

For dinner I fixed a dish that my dad probably would have fixed for our family. It doesn't really have a name, its chinese cabbage and meat. I use napa cabbage and ground chuck. He might have used bok choy and pork or chicken. We didn't eat a lot of beef when I was growing up, it was too expensive, I'm sure. This is the type of dish that can be stretched to feed a large family. It is also very simple and goes together very quickly.

First I brown the meat in a large pot. I don't know if anyone does this, my dad told me to cook ground meat this way. I put some salt in the bottom of the pan, get it hot and then put the meat in. It browns very nicely and then I drain off the grease and/or water that accumulates. If I have it, I'll put some fresh ginger minced up and fresh garlic in the pan first, get it browned up before adding the meat. I dice up half of an onion and add that to the meat. Then I add salt, pepper, garlic powder if I didn't use fresh garlic, shoyu (its what we call soy sauce in Hawaii) and sugar. I don't measure the shoyu and sugar, I just put in what I think is enough. After that is all stirred together, I add the cut up cabbage. I also add more shoyu and sugar and a little water. Stir it up until its completely mixed, put a lid on the pot, turn the fire down and let it simmer until the cabbage is wilted.

I serve it over hot rice. We'll eat some of the Japanese pickles with it too and Gerry likes some hot sauce on it. We didn't do either last night. This is a dish that Gerry really likes.

I am still not feeling 100%. I think because of it being windy and everything blooming my allergies and asthma have kicked in. I have a bad cough and am short of breath some times. I can also hear wheezing in my chest when I cough. I had an inhaler but it expired so I need to probably do something about that.

The Sacramento Valley is a bad place to be if you have allergies!

Elephant Bar Restaurant

I didn't feel good on Sunday so stayed home from church. Gerry went to hear a group from a new church plant located in the south area. It is an Africian Church of the Nazarene. The people of the church are from Africia, they all spoke with an accent and wore their native dress which Gerry said was very colorful. The ladies wore a head piece that was also very colorful cloth.

After he got home we went up to the Elephant Bar Restaurant for lunch. This is one of our favorite restaurants to go to. Their food is very good and we especially like it because being "old folks" we get a 20% discount on our meals. :) The last time we were there was before Christmas when Andy, Susan and Jared Lyons came to visit a school friend of Susan's. Susan is Stephen's sister. Stephen is our son-in-law married to daughter Denise. Andy, Susan and Jared live in Canal Fulton, OH.

Andy had ordered the Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya and said it was very good. Gerry decided to try it. He liked it too. It's pretty spicey, not something I would want. I had the Crispy Teriyaki Chicken. I couldn't eat it all so brought left overs home.

After leaving there, we drove over to the Whole Foods store in Sacramento. While we were there, we saw Leon and Cheryl Skinner. Pastor Skinner pastors the Arden Church of the Nazarene in Sacramento. They are a neat couple and we hadn't seen them in a while. We had a nice chat with them. Pastor Skinner runs marathons with their daughter and also cycles.

We came home after leaving there. It was a rainy day. I spent the evening ripping all the CD's we bought at the Southern Gospel concert on my computer and then downloaded them to my Mp3 player. I have over 2700 songs on there now, that should give us several hours of music while driving on our trip in May.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Lazy Saturday and More Rain

The warm weather was nice while it lasted. It's been raining off and on today and it is suppose to rain tomorrow too. Gerry was going to ride down to Whole Foods, the rain changed that idea. I didn't even get dressed today. After I had my shower this morning, I put a robe on and have been in it all day. Feels good to do that once in awhile.

I warmed the rest of the leftover pot roast up and we had a late lunch, early dinner. We have our desserts we got at Denny's last night to eat yet. I think I'm going to do that when I get done here.

Gerry is watching Paint Your Wagon on TV. It is one of those classic musicals, during a time when outstanding movies were made. I've seen bits and pieces of it, but I don't think I've seen the whole thing from start to finish.

Well, it is church in the morning. Eric and Ann Vance and their kids will be at church. They moved to Ukiah last year after Eric got a job with Cal Trans over there. Ann's parents live in Roseville and Eric was going to be doing a bike race in Stockton so Ann and the kids were going to hang out at her parents. She emailed me and said they'd be at church. Ann is one of the special people in my life. She also scrapbooks and makes stamped cards too. She is a few months older than Denise. She knew Denise when they were in high school and part of the Sacramento District youth groups. They would see each other at summer youth camp and sometimes the youth from Roseville Nazarene would come over to Sacramento Liberty Towers youth group for fellowship. We were at Liberty Towers at the time and Ann was at Roseville.

Well, I'm done here for now. Will check in later.

Friday Lunch at Sushi Masa's & Southern Gospel Music Concert

I hadn't been to Sushi Masa's for lunch for a couple of weeks so decided to go on Friday. As soon as I walked in, Miyoko the waitress wanted to know where I'd been. Tomiko who does the cooking is in Hawaii for a week. A friend of her's from Japan was flying to Hawaii for a visit so Tomiko flew over to meet her. She'll be back next week. It is so telling when Tomiko is not there, the food doesn't taste the same. :)

My friends, Ron and Chiyoko were there too. They are part of the regular Tuesday group. They had a friend with them that I have met before. I told them about our new car so Ron went outside to look at it. Masa-san came out too.

Then Friday evening we went to a Southern Gospel Music Concert. I am on an email list for another group and on Wednesday they sent out an email saying that friends of theirs was going to be in Sacramento Friday night. The name of the group is "The Greene's". I went to their website and found out where they were going to be in Sacramento. I mentioned it to Gerry and he said, "yeah, let's go". The concert was at 6:30pm so we decided to get something to eat afterwards. He had gotten in late from his ride and ate some lunch and wasn't hungry.

Well, what I didn't know was there was a charge for the concert and there was another group singing too. The concert was at the First Baptist Church in Carmichael, however it was sponsored by the Sacramento Southern Gospel Music Association. I guess I should have called the church. Well, it was a good thing Gerry had his check book with him.

We had to chuckle to ourselves, the age of the majority of the people were probaby in their 60's and older. Its the generation that appreciate and love southern gospel music.

The concert was opened up by a young guy from Tennessee. He happened to be in the area for some concert dates. He was very good. Then a trio of guys from Sacramento were next. They were outstanding!! The Greene's are from Charlotte, NC. It's husband and wife and 2 other guys. TaRanda (the wife) got the Dove award for Best Female Vocalist in 2007. She sings with other groups too. Her voice was absolutely beautiful. They all had CD's to sell and we bought all of them, 10 CDs total and 1 DVD. I need to get the CDs ripped to my computer then put on my Mp3 player which we are taking on our trip. We have an auxliary plug in the van to play a Mp3 player, a lot better than having to wrestle with a huge CD holder. Ours is stuffed full and it's heavy. The Greene's were outstanding too.

The concert was over at 10 pm. We still had to eat and the only place that came to mind was Denny's for some breakfast. It was too late for a full blown dinner. Well, the Denny's was a disaster. They were short staffed, two waitresses and one waiter. One of the waitresses was also trying to be the hostess too. The manager was absolutely hopeless. He finally came over to ask us what we wanted to drink after we'd been sitting there for 5 minutes or more. Gerry was getting ready to stand up and leave when the waiter finally came over to take our order. Then when he went to put our order in, the manager went on a break. For some reason the computer gets shut down when he does that and by the time it came back up, one of the waitresses had a huge order to put in. So our order got pushed back even farther. Well, we got free desserts because of the exceptionally long wait. We got them to go. The waiter got a nice tip. It wasn't his fault.

As we were driving home, we realized there were some other options besides Denny's such as IHOP which is not too far from home. I told Gerry we are not usually out after 10pm, he laughed - said it was a little past our curfew!! LOL!!

It was about 1 am before I finally went to bed. I'm glad we went to the concert. It was absolutely outstanding!!

Pot Roast for Dinner

Pot Roast is comfort food at its best. When I was growing up, more often than not, it was Sunday dinner. There usually was company for dinner after church and Dad or Mom would put a pot roast on in the oven before we went to church and it would cook slowly while we were gone. Potatoes and carrots and onion would be added to it. When you walked in the house the aroma from that roast cooking was absolutely the best.

I use to fix pot roast for Sunday dinner a lot too. Well, until I decided I preferred to go out for dinner on Sundays after church. :)

I fixed this Thursday night for dinner. It was still a little frozen when I put it on. By doing this, the meat is so tender.

I season it first with Lawry's seasoned salt and McCormick's California Style Garlic and Pepper. Before I discovered this McCormick's, I seasoned it with Lawry's, regular pepper and garlic powder. This seems to be my choice of seasonings for just about everything I fix. I'm stuck in this rut and am not very adventuresome. Some people use all kinds of seasonings. A few times I've stuffed the roast with a few pieces of garlic.

Then I brown the roast in some olive oil. After its browned on both sides, I pour some water in the pan to about half way up the side of the roast and add 2 beef bouillon cubes. Then cut up half of an onion in wedges and add that to the top of the roast before covering the pan. It cooks with a low fire for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on how big it is. About half way through, I turn it over.

I check it throughout the cooking time making sure there's still enough water in the pan. Towards the end of the cooking time, I'll check it to see if it's tender. Then it's taken out of the pan and put on a cutting board while I fix the gravy. The rice is usually cooked by then and I start the vegetables. We had fresh steamed carrots with it. I have put the carrots in the roast during the last 30 minutes or so.

To make gravy, I put some flour in a small bowl and mix in some water until its the consistency I want. I bring the liquid in the pan to a boil, turn it down a little and then add the flour mixture to it and keep stirring and adding the flour mixture until the gravy is how I want it.

Here it is all cut up on a platter.

And dished up. This was so tender and absolutely so good!!
I have fixed pot roast in the crockpot too. When I do it that way, I brown the meat and season it. Put it in the preheated crock pot and sprinkle an envelope of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix on top of the roast, adding a little bit of water to just cover the bottom of the pot. It's cooked on low for 5 or 6 hours. It is so tender, it just falls apart. I'll thicken the liquid too.
I think this is the way my daughter fixes her pot roast. When I visited 2 years ago, she fixed a pot roast the night I got in. It had been cooking all day and my son-in-law was calling it a "killer" roast and it certainly was!!

Thursday Bible Study

We completed our study of the book of Daniel this past Thursday. It was both a very interesting study and complicated. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The twelve weeks for the study seemed to go quickly. We start a study of Colossians next week which will take us to the end of this study year. There is a break during the summer and a new year starts up in September.

Thursdays is also "pick up Andy day". We then take him to McDonald's for lunch. After we dropped him off at Aunt Elizabeth's, we drove over to Folsom to do a couple of errands.

It was a beautiful day. I think the temperature was in the high 70's.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hamburger with Mushroom Soup and Fresh Asparagus

I stopped at Bel Air on my way home this morning with the intentiion of getting some tortillas to make tacos for dinner tonight. Well, I got the things I needed and forgot the tortillas. Bel Air had fresh California grown asparagus so I did get some of them. Anyway, I ended up making Hamburger with Mushroom Soup and steamed the fresh asparagus. I also like these Japanese pickles. Well, that's what I call them. I don't really know what they are called. They are cucumbers I think. With hot rice, they are so good!!! I buy them at Oto's Marketplace, the Japanese grocery store in the south part of Sacramento. I blogged in an earlier post about this being my favorite meal since I was a little girl. (I don't know how to put a link in so you click on it and it takes you to an earlier post. I have to find out how to do that. If anyone knows, tell me, ok. Thanks).

I didn't have a picture in that earlier post. So here it is. I like to put mayonaise on my asparagus. This is grown right here in the Sacramento Delta. We get asparagus all year long, however, it comes from Mexico or South America. The asparagus grown here in the delta is usually harvested from March to about May. We do get some from the Imperial Valley which is east of San Diego and I think some from Washington state.

This asparagus is so tasty. I've been told that the skinny spears come from more established plants, the asparagus that is thick and large come from newer plantings. I always thought it was the other way around.

In April there is an Asparagus Festival in Stockton. We have gone to it several years in a row. They have Asparagus Alley where you can get asparagus in all sorts of ways, including deep fried which is sprinkled with fresh parmesean cheese, pasta, ice cream, even an asparagus margarita. The ice cream and drink sound gross. We always get the deep fried and the pasta. They also have the fresh spears that you can purchase.

This is the brand label of the asparagus that is grown in the Sacramento Delta.

Oh, I forgot to mention, this morning Gerry did "show 'n tell" with the van to some of the bike club members. Such a show-off!! LOL!

Crepe Escape for Breakfast

Gerry's bike club ride on Wednesdays is a breakfast ride. They were going to the Crepe Escape on Freeport Blvd down by Sacramento City College today. He told me on Monday where they were going. He took me there one Saturday a couple of months ago or so. The bike club has gone there several times.

So I drove down and met him there. The food is very good, pricey and the portions are huge. Today we shared a Denver crepe breakfast. It was chock full of ham, bell peppers and cheese. Compared to the crepes I had at that restaurant in Woodland on Saturday, this crepe was fantastic. It came with country potatoes too. Even sharing the breakfast, we could not finish it all. I also had fresh, squeezed orange juice. Gerry had coffee.

I didn't count how many were there for breakfast. This restaurant has a covered patio and they line up several square tables and chairs down the middle of the area. Some of the riders pulled up a couple of small round ones too. There wasn't an empty spot. Gerry and I were sitting at the far end of all these tables and a couple of people pulled up chairs to sit at the corner of our table. It was a little cozy but okay. A few riders didn't stay for breakfast.

Of course, I forgot to take my camera. I got there a little before 10, Gerry said he'd probably be there by 10. Well, I sat in the van and watched the squirrels scamper up and down the huge trees across the street from the restaurant. I think they are so adorable, my daughter tells me they are rodents. :)

Oh, I have to tell you what happened - I saw him coming down the street towards the restaurant - I had the radio on. So I turned off the motor and pulled the key out of the ignition. Well, the car alarm started going off. I pushed every button on the clicker and it wouldn't stop. By that time Gerry was in the parking lot and rode up to the van. He's yelling at me to put the key in the ignition, the alarm is still going. Then he says "give me your keys". Well, he's pushing all the buttons too. Finally it stopped. Of course, the riders are looking at me, probably everyone in the restaurant too. I have no idea what happened. But talk about being embarrassed - mercy, that was about the time one would like to crawl in a hole and hide.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pork Chops and Mushroom Soup Gravy

This is another of my favorite meals to fix. It is also another dish that my grandmother fixed when she had company for dinner. I have fixed it for Denise and family when I've gone to visit. It is very easy to fix. I buy Rib Pork Chops. I put some olive oil in my 12" non-stick fry pan, dust the chops with flour and brown them on both sides. I season them with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and McCormick's California Style Garlic & Pepper. After the chops are browned, I remove them from the pan and drain off the oil, then put the chops back in the pan. I mix the soup in a bowl and add some water to it. I fill the soup can about 3/4 full with water. After I've mixed the soup so there are no lumps in it, I add it to the pan with the chops. I'll add a little more seasoning to the soup mixture. Then I put a lid on the pan, turn the flame down low and let the chops simmer for about an hour or so. Tonight these cooked for about an hour and 15 minutes. After about 3o to 40 minutes, I'll turn the chops over and make sure the gravy hasn't been reduced too much. If necessary, I will add a little more water. The soup will thicken a little so it's more a gravy consistency. When the chops are tender they are done. The meat should be like falling off the bone.

Then serve it with rice, making sure to put some of the gravy over the chops and rice and a fresh vegetable or whatever else you want. We had fresh steamed broccoli tonight. It is so good (ONO - Hawaiian style) and we both clean our plates.

I wanted to add a couple of pictures of my grandmother. I found a couple the other night when I was looking for something else in my pictures on my computer. However, Blogger would not upload them. It kept giving me an error message, probably because the pictures I have were taken many, many years ago and probably not in a format that Blogger will recognize. So, I'm a little bummed. I can't help thinking about her every time I fix these pork chops or the baked chicken that I posted last week. One of these days I'll write about her. She was a classy lady, at least I thought so!

Hawaiian Style Grill

When we got our van last week, there was one key and clicker for it. One of the employees found another clicker and another key was ordered. This morning we had an appointment to go down and get the ordered key cut and programed. Our appointment was for 10:30 am, we got there about 10:10 am. They took the van in right away, however, the person who had to work on the van, had another vehicle ahead of us. And the equipment they use to program the key had to be booted up, etc so it took longer than we anticipated. It was about 12:45 pm before we left the dealership.

The van had bugs all over the front of it from our Saturday drive and then Sunday it rained so we were going to run it through the car wash before we left there. The dealership has a quick wash on its premises. Well, they ran it through the car wash for us. I think they vacummed inside too. So that was very nice.

We were hungry so we drove up to the next exit, Laguna Blvd, (the Elk Grove Auto Mall is off of Elk Grove Blvd) and went to the Hawaiian Style Grill for lunch. It is like an L&L restaurant. It is owned by two guys who are from Waipahu, a town outside of Honolulu. Several people there were eating saimin, that looked good, so Gerry and I both had it. Gerry got his with spam, mine was plain and then I ordered a Spam Musubi. For those that don't know, saimin is a noodle soup dish. Back home just about every restaurant, including fast food places, have saimin on its menu. The Hawaiian Style Grill makes it like its made back home. There are strips of scrambled egg, chopped green onion and slices of kamabuko (or fish cake) on top of it. Gerry's had strips of grilled spam on top. A Spam Musubi is a block of rice, some sauce on top of the rice then a slice of grilled spam on top of that and all wrapped with a strip of black seaweed or nori. It is something else that can be found most anywhere in Hawaii including the 7-11's.

L&L has spam musubi and saimin on their menus too. You can't get the saimin plain and the spam saimin has a slice of spam on top of the noodles. I don't like it that way.

After a stop at Bel Air for a few groceries, we were home about 3:30 pm. I am making another of my favorite meals for dinner. I will tell you about it later.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Malasadas from L&L Hawaiian BBQ

After church on Sundays we always go out for lunch. Joyce and George gave us gift cards for The Olive Garden so we decided to go there. Afterwards, Gerry wanted to stop at Whole Foods and then Frys. Frys is a very bad influence, we can't ever get out of there without spending money. When we finally headed home, Gerry stopped at L&L Hawaiian BBQ for some of these. They are called "malasadas" which are Portuguese style donuts. They are rolls of dough that are deep fried and then rolled in sugar. L&L actually rolls them in a combination of sugar and cinnamon. They are ok, however, don't come close to the ones that Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu (Honolulu) makes. Leonard's has been in business for as long as I can remember and growing up, on Saturday mornings, my daddy would go get some fresh, hot malasadas for breakfast. Yum, yum!!!

They are also addicting. Gerry loves them. There are 10 in an order. I noticed today at lunch that five of them had been eaten between the time we got home and the time I had one at lunch time. I didn't have any last night so Gerry was enjoying himself with the malasadas!!

I have seen recipes where you can make them by using Pillsbury biscuits that come in the cans. You cut the dough in half, deep fry them and roll them in sugar while still hot. I haven't tried doing that, somehow it just doesn't sound right.

Saturday Drive of Over 200 miles

I wanted to go for a drive in the new van on Saturday. We started going west on I80 until we got to where I80 merges with Business 80 towards San Francisco. The traffic was at a standstill. We got off the freeway in West Sacramento and took the river road which goes along I5. It is a lovely drive along the Sacramento River. We followed a few older model Thunderbirds for a while then when it was safe, Gerry decided to pass them. We found out how much pep the van has, there was no trouble passing them. The river road ends in Woodland. We drove down the main street through the center of town looking for someplace to stop and have breakfast. It wasn't until we were out of town that we came upon Country Waffles. It was a very busy place. I got excited because they had crepes on the menu and I really like crepes. The breakfast I had was 2 crepes, scrambled eggs and sausage. I could have gotten the crepes with fruit if I wanted. I decided to have them plain. Well, I have to tell you, that was a huge disappointment. They were cooked too long and the edges of them were quite brown almost to the point of being burnt. Denise has a friend in North Carolina that makes the best crepes. I ate what I could of them, I won't do that again. From there we got back on Highway 16 and drove through Capay Valley. Alot of years ago we had driven through there when they were celebrating the Almond Festival. We saw signs along the way that the Festival was the next day, Sunday the 15th. The blossoms were all off the trees already. You past by the "town" of Madison first which is a 4 way stop. When we have heavy rains, this area floods a lot. Then you drive through Esparto which is a sizeable town, well, they have more than 2 streets. There is a bar there that bikers, as in Harley Davidson type bikers, like to congregate. There weren't any there on Saturday. Then it's through Guinda, Brooke; if you blink you've missed it kind of towns. Then it's past the Cache Creek Indian Casino which is now a gigantic complex, hotel, casino, the whole mega thing. The last town is Rumsey where there is a huge BBQ during the Almond Festival.

Along the way there are orchards and vineyards. A lot of the orchards looked like they weren't producing fruit. The trees were barren without any leaves, unless they leaf later in the spring. After you leave Rumsey, the highway climbs through the mountains and Highway 16 ends at Highway 20. Turning left on Highway 20 takes you to Clear Lake and the coast. Turning right takes you back to the Sacramento Valley. We turned right towards Williams and I5. We crossed I5 and headed to Colusa. Driving through here we saw more orchards and the trees were all leafed out. Don't know what kind of orchards they were as different kinds of fruits and nuts are grown in this area. Rice is also grown through here. From Colusa we drove to Yuba City where we stopped at a Starbucks so Gerry could get some coffee. He also got a couple of cookies which we ate in the car making sure that no crumbs got dropped. He gave me a bad time because there were a couple of crumbs and I didn't want them to get ground into the carpet.

Between Colusa and Yuba City, we took a cutoff and drove to the town of Sutter. There is a bike ride in April called the "Ride Around the Sutter Buttes". Gerry is thinking of doing the 100 mile ride.

We decided to take the road that went around the Buttes to see what it was like. It was a beautiful drive. We came upon this flock of sheep grazing in this pasture. The blue in the picture are wildflowers that were scattered through out this pasture.

These are the Buttes in the background. The road wound around until we were really close to them. I should have been using my zoom in these pictures, I was taking them from the car as we drove so I wasn't thinking about "what I should be doing". :)

Here we are getting closer to the mountains.

We came upon cattle, sheep and goats grazing in several different spots. Here a group of cattle were bunched together up against a fence.
Just past the cattle we drove next to this farm and I said to Gerry "there's a camel back there". He said "are you sure?" So we turned around to go see. He thought it was a llama or alpaca but I think it's a small camel. I should have used my zoom.
This was a pig over in the corner. Just happily eating! :)
There were also several miniature horses and donkeys in this one corral and grazing in the pastures behind the barn. They are so cute! As we started to pull away, one of them was on the ground scratching it's back in the dirt.
Way back there next to that blue pool was a dog that was so tall it looked like one of the miniature horses. Again, no zoom!
Aren't these just the cutest thing. Off in the distance there was a woman and young girl on horses. They didn't seem to be the least concerned that we had pulled up and were taking pictures. They probably get a lot of people stopping by.
Here's a donkey. He looked right at me, and did not seem the least concerned that someone was snapping pictures of him.
Leaving here we drove into Yuba City, Marysville, then down Highway 70 to the Highway 65 cutoff, then into Lincoln and Roseville. We stopped in Roseville at Arigato's and had sushi for dinner. By this time it was almost 5 pm. We had left the house about 11 or so. All of the rolls at Arigato's are half price so we got 4 rolls and shared them, nothing really exciting, a Philly roll, Alaskan roll, Chicken Teri roll and Teka roll. The Philly roll is smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado; the Alaskan is salmon and avocado, the Chicken teri has the chicken and avocado and the Teka roll is raw tuna. We were stuffed. It was after 6 by the time we finally got home.
All in all, a fun, relaxing day and the van did great.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

I spent a lazy day today. Gerry went on his bike club ride. I puttered around in my office/craft room. I need to do some card making. Those of you who visit my Elegant Reflections blog are probably wondering when I'm going to do something new.

I stopped at the Paper Garden the other day and got some new stamps. I need to come up with a card for the card swap I am going to in April. I also have a wedding card to do.

I didn't feel like fixing dinner tonight so I asked Gerry if he would fix waffles. He does a good job at making them. He prefers pancakes, I don't particularly care for them so he'll make waffles for me. Anyway, after some protesting, he fixed them. He also cooked some Johnsonville link sausages. I actually ate one whole waffle and a half of another one. Usually one is all I can eat. He also likes pure maple syrup which he warms up in the microwave. That makes the waffles so yummy. Gerry also likes peanut butter with waffles or pancakes. I thought that was the strangest thing when we first got married. Evidently it's a Townsend family thing, because his kids all do it, especially the boys.

After I got the kitchen cleaned up, we drove over to a bike club member's apartment to get a bike rack to put a bicycle on top of a vehicle. This guy was selling it and Gerry wanted one to use on our trip so he could take a bike with us. He's going to put the bike inside the van instead of on top. It would be too high up on top of the van and we don't have the cross bars on the rails that are on the van roof.

This rack looks like it hasn't been used at all, looks brand new.

We're thinking about going for a drive tomorrow. It's suppose to rain some this weekend, maybe Saturday night or Sunday morning.

So have a great weekend whatever you do and will talk to you all later.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baked Chicken for Dinner

This is another of my favorite meals. My grandmother use to fix this Baked Chicken when she was having someone over for dinner. She was a seamstress like my mother. Grandma did drapes, bedspreads, pillows and upholstry. My mother made clothes. They were both expert seamstresses. Grandma would have interior designers over for dinner once in awhile. Especially when they were working with her on a new job. This is one of the dishes she would fix.

After I was married, I asked my grandmother how she fixed this dish. It is so simple. I use chicken thighs which is what grandma used. First I rinse the chicken and take off the skin and as much fat as I can. Actually, Gerry doesn't like the skin on so I take it off some pieces for him. I drain it on some paper towels, pat it dry then roll it in some flour. I put it in an oblong baking dish, melt some butter, pour it over the chicken and then season the chicken with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and McCormick's California Style Garlic & Pepper. Put it in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake it for about an hour. After about 30 minutes, I turn the chicken over and season that side. I'll stick a fork close to the bone to make sure it is done. And that's it.

The only thing about fixing this is you have to disinfect the counter top and sink after preparing the chicken. I use the Clorox wipes to wipe everything down and then hot soapy water after using the wipes. I have to chuckle to myself everytime I do that because I know my mom or dad, whoever was cooking, didn't worry about doing that when I was growing up. And we didn't ever get sick! How times have changed!!

We had rice and fresh steamed cauliflower with it. So very yummy!!

We pick up our grandson Andy from kindergarten on Thursdays. He sure thought the van was pretty cool. He had so many choices on where to sit and opening the doors were fun. It didn't take him long to figure how to close them. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sweet & Sour Spareribs

A month or so ago, my blog friend from Hawaii, Jalna, put a post on her blog about a dish her husband fixed for dinner, called Sweet & Sour Spareribs. The recipe is from a cookbook called "Hawaii's Best Local Dishes". Her husband had fixed something else from this cookbook and it looked so good that I ordered the cookbook. Sweet & Sour Country Pork Strips
I wanted to fix some of these spareribs, however, I ended up getting Country Pork Strips because I couldn't find spareribs at Bel Air. They don't cut them like they use to. We had to go back to the Nissan dealer this afternoon to take the pink slip for the Ford to them so I decided to put these in the crockpot. I cut the strips into smaller pieces and then I rolled them in flour, browned them in a saucepan then put them in the crockpot that I had preheated on low. I mixed up the sauce and poured it over the meat and covered it. It cooked on low for about 3 and a half hours and were so tender. They were good, however, didn't really have the sweet and sour taste that I remembered from my dad making these when I was growing up. I will have to experiment with the measurements of the sauce.
I served it with rice and fresh broccoli and put a little of the sauce on the meat and rice. Jalna, thanks for doing your post. There's a little leftover.
Here's the recipe if anyone wants to try this:
Sweet & Sour Spareribs
3 lbs of spareribs or country pork strips
1/2 cup flour for coating ( I just put some flour in a bowl, I don't measure)
3 T oil for browning ribs (I used olive oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 T salt (I seasoned the meat while it was browning, didn't measure)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 T sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Coat ribs with flour and brown ribs in hot oil. Drain oil. Mix rest of the ingredients and add to ribs. Simmer ribs for 2 hours, or until soft. Stir to prevent sticking.
Note: Can be cooked one day, refrigerated and the next day, remove the fat that has formed and warm up to serve.
This morning I drove the van to Bel Air. I discovered how sensitive the brake and gas pedals are. I was backing out of the carport and it wasn't going. So I gave it a little bit more gas and it shot out of the carport. Scared the living daylights out of me!!! So have to be careful and not use a lot of pressure on the gas pedal. Just one of many things to get use to. Oh, and I did the same thing Gerry did, I mistook the windshield wiper handle for the gear shift. The window washing solution went every where. :) It was very comfortable driving, I was able to reach the pedals without having the seat so far up that the steering wheel was up too close.
Oh, we found out today, we get a free car wash whenever we want for as long as we own the vehicle. We ran it through the car wash again! :)
I'll be driving it tomorrow to bible study and I take the freeway. The Ford had a lot of pep to it and this one does too.
Well, it's 11:45 pm and I get up early so I better get myself to bed. Talk at you all later!!

2008 Nissan Quest "S" Minivan

Here's our new wheels.
The dashboard. This is what I really liked in the Quest versus the Sienna. In the Sienna this went straight down and it was hard to reach from the passenger's seat. Everything is in easy reach here. That thing sticking up is the gear shifter. It was the same way on the Sienna except the Sienna had these grooves (and I'm probably not using the correct word here), anyway, in order to move the shifter to each position it had to go in the grooves. This one has a button on the side and you press the button in and move the shifter. The windshield wiper handle is on the steering column and several times Gerry used that instead of the shifter and the window washing fluid went everywhere, especially right after it had been washed. So that will be something to get use to.
The front has captains chairs, the driver's side only is power and it has a tilt wheel.
Other features: cruise control which is on the right side of the steering wheel. The volume control for the AM/FM radio are on the left side of the steering wheel. It has a single CD player. Rear a/c and heat controls. The side doors and rear door can be opened from inside with controls above the rear view mirror. Two storage compartments are located on the bottom of dashboard under the CD player and there's one on the left side of the steering wheel. There's compartments on each front door, lots of cup holders. Instead of a center console, there's a tray that can be folded down. There's cup holders in it too.
Captain's chairs in the middle. The third seat is a bench that seats 3 people. It will probably stay folded down unless we need extra seating.

Power rear door!! Yippee!!! This was a must. These doors are so heavy and high up there. I would have struggled trying to lower it if it wasn't power. So I am very happy about this feature!! Gerry will have lots of room to take a bike on our trip.

Front View

This is the sticker that was on the window. It says the interior is tan, looks more like a light gray to me. Whatever color it is, it is very clean and looks brand new.

Car Shopping Mission Accomplished

We now have a Nissan Quest mini-van sitting in our carport. We got it yesterday afternoon at Elk Grove Nissan. It is a used 2008 with 18k miles on it. The color is Pearl White, it has little specks in the paint that make it look shimmery. It has a light gray interior. Very nice looking vehicle, looks like brand new. No scratches or dings in it that I saw. Gerry said there are a couple really tiny scratches.

Monday we looked at a couple of Toyota Siennas that the Roseville Hertz Resale lot had. That's where we bought our Ford Taurus wagon from in 2002. They were both base models so didn't have the power rear hatch door. That was one of the musts.

Gerry needed to go down to a bike shop in Elk Grove where he bought some parts for one of his bikes. The part didn't work so he wanted to take it back. Before we left, he looked on the Internet to see if the Elk Grove Nissan dealer had any vans on the lot. They had 2 used ones. So after we ate lunch and went to the bike shop, we drove over to the dealer. They only had one left, the other one had been sold that morning.

I hadn't driven the ones we looked at on Saturday so Gerry wanted me to drive this one. It handles very nicely and comfortable to drive. Gerry drove it too.

It has the power driver's seat, power side doors and the rear hatch door is also power. Those features were must haves. We wanted the dual a/c and heat controls and the auto temp setting of the interior too, however, those features come on the more expensive models. This one is an "S" which is just above the base model.

Anyway, the whole process went very smooth. There was no haggling, everything was approved rather quickly, they washed it and even put a half tank of gas in it. After we left the bike shop, Gerry had stopped and filled up the wagon and showed the salesman the receipt.

I need to go take a picture of it soon as I get dressed. I'll post it later.

Our trip in May across country will be much more comfortable in the van than it would have been in the wagon.

So anyway, I am glad the car shopping is over with. We had looked at so many it was getting rather confusing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wendi and Katie

Wendi and Katie came by this afternoon around 3 pm to bring the van back. We then drove them out to the airport. Katie loves to play dress-up and whomever she decides to be, she becomes that character. Aunt Jenni bought her a couple of outfits and she wanted to wear this one home. Here she is wearing her Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz dress and her ruby red shoes. It is the cutest outfit.
She decided where she was going to stand to have her picture taken.

This dress is Glinda, the good witch from The Wizard of Oz. She insisted on putting this dress on so Granddad and Tutu could see it. Of course, I had to take a picture. She had wanted to wear it home, however, Aunt Wendi said no. It's a little long for her and she would have tripped on it and torn up the bottom of the dress.
She had a white sweater with her and we put it on before we got in the van to go. When we got to the airport, Granddad told her to hold my hand as we walked to the terminal. As soon as we got inside the terminal, she wanted to take her sweater off. Because you know you can't be Dorothy if you are wearing a sweater to cover your dress up. I chuckled to myself. She is a character, an absolute sweetheart and she is such a joy to have around. A lady getting on the escalator commented about how cute she looked. We will see Katie and her family when we go on our trip in May. LaPuente is our first stop going eastbound and our last stop coming home.
We went over to In-'n-Out Burger later on for dinner, then watched the DVD "Fireproof". It was made by the same people that made "Facing the Giants". Fireproof is a very good movie, it's about how to help strengthen and affirm marriages.
It's already 11:45 pm, think I should be heading to bed.

More Car Shopping

After Hannah's party, we came home for a few minutes then decided to go car shopping. We first went to the Honda dealership off of Business 80. We looked at a couple of used Honda Odysseys and a couple of Honda Pilots.

From there we drove over to Maita Nissan which is on Auburn Blvd, on the opposite side of the freeway from the Honda dealer. They had 2 2008 Quest vans. They were both fully loaded, except one had the DVD player and tow package and the other had a sunroof. We did take the one with the tow package for a drive, Gerry drove. I didn't drive it. They both are reduced in price because they are 2008's. They have leather seats and Gerry really wants cloth seats.

It was after 5 pm by then and after getting the salesman's card, we left to go get some dinner. So we are no closer to making a decision one way or another.

We went to Nagato's Sukiyaki for dinner. This restaurant has been in business for over 30 plus years by the same family.

There is a story with this restaurant. Long before I moved to Sacramento, my daughter and I would visit my younger sister and her family who lived in Sacramento. My sister, her husband and I would more than likely sneak away to Nagato's for dinner. Their neighbor would watch my daughter and my nephew while we did this. There was a waitress who worked there who appeared to be in her 60's or maybe younger.

After I moved here to Sacramento and met Gerry, we went to Nagato's for dinner one night. Denise had been invited to a birthday party at a school friend's and we had a couple of hours to wait until we picked her up. We were already engaged and were planning our wedding. So I said let's go to Nagato's for dinner. It was a test, if he liked Japanese food, we could get married. (LOL)! Well, he passed the test! That same waitress was still working there. And to this day, she is still there. She has got to be in her 80's at least. She is still very alert and knows what's going on. One night we were there, she was inside the kitchen area. There is a window in the door that leads from the sushi bar to the kitchen. She was on a stool rearranging some items up on this high shelving.

I always have the same thing, pork teriyaki with vegetable tempura. Gerry had Oyako Donburi last night. It was really busy. It's in a strip mall with a bar on one side of it and a car insurance office on the other side of it. I don't think there's been a time when we've been there that it hasn't been busy. The sushi bar is usually busy too. I've been in there at lunch time when I've gone to the Paper Garden for a class and it's been packed. The Honda dealer use to be across the parking lot from it and other businesses are around the area.

We didn't get up in time to go to church this morning. I am exhausted, didn't sleep very well last night. I got up about 3:30 this morning, read a little in a new book Gerry got me yesterday then went back to bed. Got up again about 9:30 am. Daylight savings time is always the pits at first. It takes some time to get use to it and then the car shopping is exhausting too.

Wendi and Katie fly back to So. California at 5:45 pm tonight so she will be by about 3 o'clock. Gerry let her drive the van yesterday, the car seat he took to Idaho for Katie to use is still in the van so she would have it to use. I don't think she was too excited to drive it. I don't drive it at all, it is too big for me, it doesn't have power seats so I can't reach the pedals. :)

Hannah's Birthday Party

March 4th was Hannah Marie's 15th birthday. She celebrated it yesterday, Saturday, with bowling at Mardi Gras Bowling Lanes on Madison Avenue. Aunt Wendi and Cousin Katie flew up from So. California. It was a family affair, the two friends she invited were not able to come. Aunt Jenni and cousins Melody and Andy were there, along with Granddad and Tutu, Hannah's sisters Ashley and Emily and great aunt Linda. Oh, and her mom too! Hannah and her birthday cake with a bowling theme. Mom Elizabeth is the family cake maker and it's always exciting to see what she comes up with for each one's birthday cake. Well, I should clarify, the family that live here in town.
A sweet picture of Emily
Sisters, Emily Ann (12) holding Cousin Kaitlyn Joy Yniguez (4), Hannah Marie and Ashley Elizabeth (16). Ashley's 17th birthday is May 27th.

Ashley bowling

Gerry/Granddad bowling

Kaitlyn (Katie) Joy Yniguez (4) eating pizza. She is wearing her 4th of July dress with ruby red sparkly shoes!

Andrew Nicholas (Andy) Crawford (6) eating pizza

We had cheese and pepperoni pizza and root beer to drink, and of course we all enjoyed birthday cake. The cake is always chocolate, that's everyone's favorite. Elizabeth tried a new recipe for making the frosting and it was good. After about 2 hours of bowling, everyone was tired and ready to go home for a nap.
I was a little disappointed. I was not able to get very many good pictures. I took my Canon Power Shot camera because I hadn't used it in a long time and it was not doing very well. Joyce, Katie's mom, had a newer model of the same camera and on the Idaho trip it completely quit. George, her husband, had to get her a new camera before he flew up to Idaho a day after they did. I should have taken my Casio Exilim.