Saturday, January 29, 2011

Family News

I'm a great grandmother!

One night, a couple of weeks ago, Denise called. It is unusual for her to call at night; she usually calls during the day. She had some news to share...her son Nathanael had called her to say that he and Megan were going to have a baby. Denise told me not to say anything on Facebook or my blog. The pregnancy hadn't been confirmed yet and Nathan didn't want anything said as yet.

Then I called Stephen (my son-in-law) one day a week or so ago to ask him if he knew anything about the new Window cell phones. We chatted for a few minutes and then I asked how Nathan was doing. Stephen told me Megan had been to the doctor and the pregnancy was confirmed. Her due date is sometime in September so the pregnancy is very new.

This past week Nathan put on his FB status that he was going to be a daddy and changed his profile picture to a picture of the ultrasound that was done.

I'm excited that my 1st great grandchild will be born this year, however I must say it does not seem possible. I can still remember the first time I saw Nathanael in person. He was about 9 months old. It was at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. I had walked through the doors of the customs baggage area and there stood Denise and Stephen with Denise holding Nathanael. He came right to me when I put my arms out to him and had the biggest smile on his face. There was no crying or anything. And he's been "my baby boy" ever since. And now he is going to be a daddy. How time flies!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Return Doctor Visit

I went in to see the doctor yesterday about my persistent coughing. He had told me 2 weeks ago that if the coughing persisted to come back in 2 weeks. He'd have an xray taken to make sure there wasn't anything else going on. I had to wait for about 20 minutes before he came in to see me.

We talked about the xray and he informed me that their machine had gone down and the service technician couldn't make it out until the afternoon. He listened extensively to my lungs and determined that they were clear. He couldn't hear any rattling in the lower sections.

He told me that the viral bronchitis was taking longer to clear up and to give it a few more days. My coughing has improved, however, I still am experiencing episodes of heavy coughing. The codene cough syrup has helped. He told me to call him next Tuesday if the coughing still persisted. So for now, we'll just wait to see what happens. I feel fine, just the coughing that can be annoying.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tacos for Dinner and the Weather

I fixed tacos for dinner. Remember me saying I don't like Mexican food...I don't. My tacos are so good...there's no spicey stuff in them. I fix corn tortillas for me and Gerry likes flour tortillas. He actually made himself two burritoes then decided to have a corn taco.

Our weather continues to be crazy. Yesterday the sun came out and it was really nice...about 60 degrees. I went out to do an errand and had to take my jacket off and had the window down a little. Then this morning the clouds were back and it was in the 40's. The sun peeked out finally around noon. Then the wind picked up...the flags out front were really whipping around the flagpole when I went to get the mail around 4pm. It sounds quiet out there now.

Two weeks ago I saw the doctor for the cough I've had. It has gotten better although I still have bouts of heavy coughing. The doctor told me to call him and maybe have Xrays taken to make sure there wasn't something else going on. So I am going to call him in the morning and see about having the Xrays taken.

I didn't sleep very well last night so I think I'm going to head to bed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

I fixed a pot roast in the crock pot today. I started it about 11am and it was ready by 5pm. We, in fact, went up to the AT&T store and when we got back I turned the pot on warm. I put the rice on and fixed a vegetable.

I usually fix my pot roast on the stove...I thought it would be a nice change to do it in the crock pot. First I season the roast with Lawry's seasoned salt and McCormick's garlic pepper. Then I brown it on both sides in some olive oil. I turn the crock pot on while I'm doing this so it can warm up and I have a hot pot when the roast goes in. I sprinkle an envelope of Lipton's onion soup dry mix on the top of the roast and pour a small amount of water on top. That is to dilute the soap a tiny bit and make sure there is a thin layer of water on the bottom of the pot. Then I put a cut up onion on top of the roast. This one cooked on low for about 6 hours. It falls apart and its a challenge to get it out of the pot. Its so worth it is so good!!

The sun didn't come out today as the weather people said it would. Supposedly there was suppose to be wind this afternoon that would blow the clouds away. Unfortunately that didn't happen. I just don't like the dreary weather...I don't know what's worse...rain and/or freezing temperatures or the gloominess. Curious to see what tomorrow will be.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weather - Looking at a New Phone

Our weather is so yucky. The mornings have been cloudy and then some sun in the afternoons. Today was cloudy all day...there's probably some fog out there now. The temperature was in the 50's so not too bad. Tomorrow should have some sun. Sure hope so. I think it was this past Tuesday night that we had some rain; it didn't last very long.

I've been looking at new phones to upgrade the one I have now. Gerry got a new one this past week. He's had to go into the AT&T store to get things fixed, besides talking to customer service and his son. Hopefully now his phone will work. We looked at some phones in the store today and I spent quite a bit of time online looking at different ones. It gets rather confusing after a while. I found a couple that might work for me. I want to look at them in the store and compare.

Think I'll go watch some TV before going to bed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

All-in-One-Pot Saucy Pasta

This recipe was in the Kraft Foods email I got this week, so thought I'd try it. I can't say that I was very impressed. The recipe didn't call for any seasoning, however, it certainly needed some added to the pot.

I liked the idea that everything was in one pot including the pasta. It took about 30 minutes or so to put together.Here's my lazy way of fixing salad...some spring mix greens in a bowl, a little bit of cheese and some Red Wine Vinaigrette poured on it.
Here's the recipe:
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped (I used half of one)
3 cups rotini pasta, uncooked. (I used a 16 oz bag. If I do this again, I'll use maybe 3/4 of the bag)
3 1/2 cups of water
1 jar (24 oz) spaghetti sauce (I used a traditional sauce and rinsed it out for the water)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I used 4 medium size)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I only used half of it)
1 cup Kraft Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (I used the store brand and I think it just said Low Fat)
Brown meat in Dutch oven or deep large skillet; drain. Add onions; cook and stir 5 minutes
Stir in pasta, water and sauce. Bring to boil; cover. (I didn't do this). Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and red bell, cook 5 minutes longer, stirring.
Top with cheese. Also, add some Grated Parmesan Cheese along with the shredded cheese. Can use another kind of small pasta.
I was amazed the pasta cooked just fine. I may fix this again, however, if I do I'll doctor it up.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A few minutes before midnight, on Saturday January 13, 1962, I boarded a World Airlines plane at the airport in Honolulu, HI. My family and some friends from church were there to see me off. Thirteen hours later, Sunday January 14, 1962, about 1:30 pm, I landed at the airport in Oakland, CA. And so began my life as the wife of a young Marine.

I was a very young, immature, scared 19 year old who had not ever been so far away from family and things familiar. As I got to the door of the airplane and looked out, I really wanted to go back home. I remember the sun was shining, however, it was cold and there were no leaves on any of the trees I saw. Standing at the bottom of the stairs on the tarmac was the Marine I had married. I remember crying, partly from excitement in seeing him and partly because I didn't want to be in what seemed to me, a foreign place.

My mother had made me an outfit to was beautiful...a powder blue wool dress with a matching coat. My grandmother had given me some money to go shopping at Liberty House (a store that has been closed for many years) to purchase a black patent leather purse, black patent leather pumps, black gloves, nylons and a black hat that had a short veil. She wanted me to look "presentable" when I got off the plane. Actually I was very uncomfortable and could hardly wait to change into something else.

My grandmother had a sister that lived in Oakland and she had sent with me a box of red anthriums to give to her sister. I had her phone number and address and so we called to get directions. I walked into this grand aunt's house to meet members of her family. I only knew one of her daughters, the rest were strangers. I remember it was a very awkward moment for me...oh, did I say I was also very shy.

My first meal in California was tacos that were made by the wife of the Marine's uncle. They were so spicey, I couldn't eat them. They all laughed and thought it was so funny. To this day, I do not like Mexican food. I do eat tacos and even fix them sometimes. However, going out for Mexican food is not a favorite thing for me to agree to very often.

So for the past 49 years California has been my home other than a few months of living in Arkansas and Texas. I have lived in several cities in California, starting in Castro Valley. Hawaii will always be home and I still refer to it as such.

Oh...the marriage to that young Marine ended in divorce after almost 10 years of marriage. My daughter was born during that marriage. Little did I know that after almost 10 years of being single, I'd marry another Marine...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Savory Hamburger Vegetable Soup

I love homemade soups, however, I don't make them very often because I don't really know how. A stamp blog/Facebook friend posted this recipe a while ago. It sounded so good so I decided to make it tonight.

Oh my goodness, it was so GOOD! I fixed my 5 qt pot about half to three-quarters full and I must say there is not a morsel left in the pot. Not even a bit of juice.
I fixed some Marie Callendar's corn bread with it.
Here's the recipe:
1 lb hamburger (I used 7% so it had very little fat)
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 can Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups water ( I measured the water, then poured some in the can of diced tomatoes, rinsing out the can and then pouring the water into pot).
1 can French Onion soup
1 bag frozen vegetable medley (I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables)
Brown the meat...add garlic, oregano and basil. Drain meat (I didn't have to because there was no fat). Add to crockpot. Add rest of ingredients and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. I did it on the stove and simmered on low heat for a couple of hours. I did add a little bit of salt.
While it was cooking, I could smell the oregano. I'm not a big fan of oregano and I was hoping it wouldn't be overpowering. It wasn't...the flavors all blended very well together.
Korin lives in Pennsylvania and has a small stamp company called "Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps". I've purchased a few stamps from her. She is the mother of 3 boys and homeschools her boys. I actually "met" her through her sister's blog. Casey has a business making quilted handbags. I've purchased several bags from Casey. I've not met Casey either yet we have become very dear friends through blogging, Facebook and emailing. Casey is the mother of 3 girls and 1 boy. Korin and Casey are both Christians.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Orange Dream Cake

I made this cake this afternoon. I had intended to make it Christmas Day and then decided we didn't need a dessert. I had a piece of it a little bit is very good...I didn't think to take a picture.

Here's the recipe:
1 package orange cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 (4 serving size) package orange flavored gelatin
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup water
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup orange juice
1 (4 serving size) package instant vanilla pudding
1 T sugar
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I used Baker's Joy that is a combination of flour & oil - for baking)

In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, gelatin mix, eggs, oil and water until well blended. Pour into baking dish.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make frosting by beating cream cheese and orange juice. Add pudding mix and sugar; mix well.

Stir in pineapple until well combined then beat in whipped topping. (I folded it in rather than beat it in). Frost the cooled cake, cover loosely and chill at least one hour before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

To make it look pretty, decorate with some canned mandarin orange slices that have been drained well.

I thought it would be real orangey tasting, yet it wasn't. This recipe is similar to one called "Pig Lickin' Cake". I'll have to find that recipe and post it. If I can remember, I'll take a picture of a slice of the cake tomorrow and post it.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doctor Visit Today

I got a cold the first of December and since have had a lingering cough. At times the cough has been pretty bad. Gerry has been bugging me about going to the doctor. So today we went in.

As it turns out, my lungs are clear, I don't have a temperature and I feel fine. The doctor told me I probably have viral bronchitis for which there is no medication to take. It just has to run its course. He wants me to go back in to see him in a couple of weeks if the cough does not get better. He'll do chest xrays to make sure there isn't anything else going on. He asked me about smoking. I did smoke over 35 years ago, after I was divorced. Denise was about 8 years old when I quit cold-turkey. When I told him why I quit, he had a nice chuckle. Denise and I were on the freeway that runs between Escondido and Vista, CA in North San Diego County. I was wearing a dress that I really liked. Some ashes fell on my dress and burnt a hole. It made me so angry, I threw the pack of the cigarettes out the window. This was also after my hysterectomy and my doctor had advised that I quit smoking...I was already showing signs of having high blood pressure.

Anyway, he told me that even though it has been over 30 years since I quit smoking, sometimes symptoms of emphysema or COPD will appear. So I will wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. I do believe in God's healing powers so am trusting Him to heal the cough. The doctor gave me a prescription for some cough syrup with codene. I don't really like how codene makes me feel...I'll take the medicine to at least quiet the cough.

Some other good and bad news from the blood pressure was a little elevated which could have been from the apprehension of wondering what the doctor would say. The good news was...I've known for a while now that I was losing some weight, my jeans/slacks were feeling loose and baggy...I've lost between 10 to 14 lbs since the last time my weight was taken...that was over a year ago...I can't remember exactly what it was...and that was with my jacket and shoes on too. The awesome part of loosing weight is that I haven't been trying to do so which could also be not so good.

Today has been a cloudy, foggy, cold day. The sunshine got lost in the clouds. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Rain is not expected again until sometime next week.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Enchiladas for Dinner

I made beef enchiladas for dinner tonight. You probably won't believe this...this was the first time I've ever made them. There is a really easy recipe on the back of a can of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce. I would have made some spanish rice too...I didn't have a recipe and don't really have a clue how to make it. The recipe says it makes 10...I got 6. They were really good...Gerry ate 2 and a half enchiladas and I ate 1 and a half.

Here's the recipe for the Enchiladas:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 can (19 oz) Old El Paso enchilada sauce ( I used mild)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 package flour tortillas (6 inch)

Heat oven to 375 deg. Lightly grease 13x9 glass baking dish. Cook beef until thoroughly cooked, drain. Stir in 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce and 1 cup of the cheese.

Spoon enchilada filling onto tortillas; roll up and place seam sides down in baking dish.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.

I mixed in mild cheddar cheese in the meat and then sprinkled a whole bag of a Mexican mix of cheese over the top of the enchiladas. I also added a small can of sliced olives.

This was so easy...don't know why I've never made them before this. I'll be doing it again...only will try chicken instead.

Last night I made corn chowder. Mimi's Cafe has a really yummy corn chowder which we really enjoy. I've been wanting to make some so I googled it and found Mimi's recipe. It was really easy too and good.

Here's the recipe for the corn chowder:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
6 tablespoons chopped onions (I cut up half of a small onion)
3/4 cup celery (I chopped up 2 stalks of celery)
2 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups cubed potatoes (1/2 inch pieces) (I used 2 small potatoes cut in small pieces)
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed ( I put the corn on a dinner plate, spread out the kernels and microwaved for 2 minutes)
1 can creamed corn (14 oz)
2 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 dash white pepper (I used black pepper)
3 T flour
1 qt half 'n half cream (3 cups)

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add in flour and whisk until smooth and a roux forms. Add onion and celery and saute for a few minutes, just til they are soft.

Add water, potatoes, corn, sugar, salt and pepper, making sure water covers everything. (Add more water if not completely covered). Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add half 'n half and simmer until soup is thickened to a creamy consistency (about 15 minutes).

Add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Add more milk if too thick...if it is too thin, simmer for 10 minutes or so longer.

I get in such a rut and fix the same things for dinner over and over so am trying to find different things to fix.

Happy New Year 2011

I made it to about 11:30pm last night. It was raining and it hasn't it is a repeat of last weekend. It is pretty cold too. I'll take the rain any day over the horrible weather in other parts of the country. Read in the paper this morning that the midwest had some horrible tornadoes. Some friends of ours are visiting family in Mississippi and they spent quite a bit of time huddled in a hall closet as the sirens went off in the town they are visiting. Thank you...but no thank you. I can deal with the rain and cold.

I woke up before 8am this morning and watched the Rose Parade on HGTV. It is commercial free...that's a good thing. Once again there were some beautiful floats. Years ago, back in the early '60's I lived in Pasadena (I was married to my 1st husband). I worked for an answering service and some of the big name designers for the floats had service with us. I was able to visit the barns where the floats were built and decorated. It was pretty awesome. We also were able to have front row seats to view the parade. One of the years we slept on Colorado Blvd to insure we'd have our spots. The friends that we went with lived a couple of blocks from Colorado Blvd so we took turns going to their place to get warm. It was a lot of fun!!

I am going to be laying around today doing nothing. I should clean off my craft table. Maybe I'll do that...need to go get out of my jammies first.

Happy New Year!! May it be a year filled with many blessings and good health!!