Wednesday, June 30, 2010

She's at it again...

Maybe I should have a regular blog posting about stuff my mother says to me - it isn't entertaining or funny like that one the guy writes called "Shi* My Dad Says".  Its just things that leave me bewildered or tad aggravated.
Firstborn 2008
Background: This is my oldest on his high school graduation day.  He is humoring me taking a quick pic or two right before we head out to graduation ceremonies.  Handsome boy actually wore dress pants and a tie. 

It's not that he wasn't relieved or happy that day - he's just an introverted kind of kid.  I do think he was glad that high school was over - it was a hard won battle.  His dad and I literally pulled him through school and we are his biggest advocates.  Graduation was as much a celebration for us as for him.  He is a bright kid - but school held no charms. 
Today his grandmother remarked that she'd got a sweet thank you for the graduation money she'd sent to The Girl.  But hadn't gotten one from Firstborn yet, even though she noticed he'd cashed the check.  I told her I gave him a  Thank You card to fill out - it had been so long, we had already thrown out the special ones with the cap and diploma printed on them.  She said he would probably "throw it away".  (which he didn't, he filled it out and mailed it) Then she  said she didn't send a gift when he actually graduated because she "didn't feel like it".  But she sent a check to him TWO YEARS LATE.  And the only reason she did was that it "would look bad", she said, to send the girl one and not him.  And, of course he was going to cash the check - you wanted him to frame it??   And really, to say she "didn't feel like it"?  She didn't come to graduation, much less make a phone call to him on his day.  My mother isn't  interested in forging a relationship with my kids and that makes me sad.  So I guess she was making a point.  
Point taken.  

Meatball love

I love pre-made meatballs.  How great is it to just throw them in your crock pot with sauce? A jar of chili sauce and a jar of grape jelly make delish BBQ sauce for them.  A can of mushroom soup, some sliced mushrooms, and a little chicken broth make a nice sauce to simmer them, then spoon over mashed potatoes.  And marinara over them makes an easy sauce for pasta.
But I came upon a recipe for homemade that sounded good, and I wanted to make them myself. 
It called for pine nuts and raisins, which I am not likely to have success with.  People here will see a raisin in their meatball and wonder if I have lost my mind.  So here's what I came up with:

Mom's Meatballs
2 lbs. lean ground beef
4 slices bread
3 gloves minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. minced fresh onion
4 large eggs
1 1/2 t. salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c. dry breadcrumbs OR oatmeal

Pre-heat the oven to 325 and grease a piece of foil on a cookie sheet. Cover the bread slices with a little water and set aside.  Mix all else in the order listed, except dry bread crumbs. Squeeze the water from the bread and crumble it in.  Add the dry crumbs last and mix it all well.  Shape into meatballs and bake 25-30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate or freeze.
*Don't be afraid of dry oatmeal - it's actually pretty good in meatballs and meatloaf!

This made enough for 2 meals - tonight it's tomato basil sauce over spaghetti.
The rest I froze for another meal.
I like the fresh parsley and parmesan in them - they smell wonderful!  And baking them was a thousand times easier than doing them on the stove top which makes a big mess!
While they cooked, I cleaned up the  kitchen.  
And now the house smells soooo good...
Check it out!
I added them to my crock with the sauce, then cooked the pasta and stirred it in.
  It's easier to serve that way, I think.
Time to dig in!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My achin' head

Bubbie gets headaches, and when he does, he usually toughs them out until they throw him down.  Then he finds his favorite place to crawl into (mom and dad's bed), rolling up in a blanket or sheet, and staring at the wall until he either falls asleep, or the Motrin I gave him works it's magic.
Taking his picture doesn't exactly improve his mood...poor little guy.  I really feel for him, headaches are a real pain in the ...well....head.  It takes a whopper of a headache to slow him down, so you know he's having a rough go of it.  If I could, I'd bear it for him.  But all I can do is comfort him and hope he feels better soon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dinner, 2 nights

Have I ever mentioned before that I love my crock pots? I do! I have a large one which has a removable crock large enough to feed an army and which seems to cook everything on turbo, and a smaller one which is  the right size for side dishes,  smallish cuts of meat, and hot dips.   I bought one of those small (about $4) HEB pre-seasoned pork tenderloins to cook in the small one and went on about my day.  When it cooled I chopped it and this is what I made for dinner:
Jamaican Red beans and Rice! With mango pico de gallo!
What makes it Jamaican I have no idea - I don't even remember where I got this recipe from many years ago.  Make your red beans and rice, adding in one undrained can of petite diced tomatoes and juice and the chopped pork roast.  Top with pico de gallo and serve - leave out the mango if you don't like it.
**Disclaimer: Anyone with a cutting board and knife can make pico de gallo.
  Chop onion, tomato, cilantro,  and squeeze lime all over!**
And since I hate to waste even the smallest bit of 34 cent cilantro (seriously?)  I put together :
Boneless Pork Ribs with onions and cilantro - I'm on a cilantro kick... 
I sliced onions and cilantro and added to the greased crock with a few tablespoons butter.
Seasoned the ribs with Lowry's, plopped them onto the onions and seasoned the back.  Peppered them. Then added some of this sprinkled over the top:
It's sweet-hot.  You gotta love the art on the bottle - I have no idea where this came from, I just spied it in my fridge...I think it will go really well with the pork...we'll let the crock do it's magic...
I served it with potato salad and BBQ beans (another crock dish!) 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pantry improvement

Summer is a time when I look around and notice things to be done and
actually have the time to do them!
A couple of weeks ago I undertook the project of re-papering my pantry, cleaning it out as I went, and re-painting it to make it spiffy.  I couldn't find the original green and white checked shelf paper - so I went with red and white.  Red is OK with me.
I like to use baskets to help corral small things like ramen noodle packages and snacks. 
I have one for baking things, too - small containers of baking soda, vanilla, etc.
  I have used these large re-purposed pickle jars for years to hold flour and sugar. 
Can you imaging what happens if someone drops this on my tile floor? 
I have some old yellow Tupperware canisters  - but you can't see what's in them - so I don't use them. 
It was time to update my pantry storage:
My solution was these nifty Rubbermaid storage containers - unbreakable and stackable.  I printed my own labels and slapped them on with clear packaging tape.  The good thing about that tape is that it can be peeled off and replaced with another label, no problem.  And the red matched the shelf liner - WA-LA!
I really like the new containers and how easy it will be to get to my baking goods without having a huge disaster like dropping a large glass container.  Let's face it - I will probably never own a Cricut. Nifty as they are, I have to make myself happy printing labels and using clear tape to plaster them onto things. 
I'll probably buy one more container as I need it for rice. Then I will give my glass jars to my mom, along with the old Tupperware. Why didn't I do this sooner?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BBQ Chicken Salad

Every now and again, I stumble upon an idea for  a summer dinner that works beautifully.  It has to have these things:  a veggie, a protein, a yummy sauce, and make enough for six people.  If it's easy to fix, that's a bonus!  My new favorite: BBQ Chicken Salad.  So easy, and everyone loved it:
I bought pre-seasoned chicken quarters and threw them into the oven while we went to the pool.  (Hey - I can multi-task with the best of them!) When they had cooled, I shredded them and added 1 bag salad, 1/4 of a sliced red onion, a chopped avocado, some tiny red tomatoes, and some grated cheddar cheese.  As an afterthought, I added a can of black beans, rinsed and drained.
You could use a rotisserie chicken, too.  But baking it yourself is cheaper!  
The dressing is the special ingredient!  I mixed 1/4 cup honey BBQ sauce with 1 C. ranch dressing
and let everyone drizzle their own on their salad.
This was enough for two adults and two hungry kids....It was gone moments after I took this picture.
And it was de-lish-us.
When you come across a recipe everyone will eat,
it's a keeper!

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Summer thrifting

One of my favorite things to do is take the boys thrifting and "bopping around" as Scout calls it.  We visit St. Vincent de Paul, Thrift town, Thrift Land, Goodwill, and sometimes the shops on Burnet Rd.  Though Bubbie likes to say they have a lot of  "old lady stuff". 
   This week we scored these items:
4 VHS movies, a scary novel, a nice sized canning jar, a coffee mug, a terra cotta pot, and an ecru lace-edged table cloth.  Total spent: $6.47. 
 Not a huge haul for two hours of shopping, but it was fun, and we discovered another cute little restaurant to eat lunch at - Tacquerias Arandas.   Al Carbon tostadas, and beef delish.  No soda, boys.  I'm weaning you off Dr. Pepper.
They've gotten used to me taking photos everywhere we go...they can get used to iced water, too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Bloggy Friend!

Becca at The Texas Darlings is sponsoring  the second annual Bloggy Friend Flip Flop Exchange and I was so excited to receive my package today from Hallie at Our Broken Road.  I have been visiting her blog every so often to get to know her and she has such cute taste in flip flops. I was hanging out laundry on the patio when one of my dear ones brought me the package from the mailman. Look what I got:
Love the koozy for  keeping my Coke Zero cold at the pool while I lounge in my stylin' pink flip flops, then later, showering with this yummy smelling soap.  So fun!
Perhaps a pedi would be in order? (:
Thanks for hosting this, Becca!  It was so fun to get a little Christmas in June!  And Hallie, it's so great to get to know you - Ill be a Bloggy Flip Flop Exchanger for next year, too!

A work in progress

The Nester got me to thinking today with her post about motivation and inspiration.  It reminded me of a project that I had done -  very similar to hers.  Sometimes, you wait til inspiration hits. It may take me awhile to realize what I need to do, but when it comes to me - it usually works out. 
Take this project: empty walls over the couch
 (ooh - those curtains are no longer there - yuck.)
I had moved the framed art that was above the couch next to the mirror in the dining area.
Previously, these plaques were hanging next to the mirror:
But they were so blah there.  (This is a pic before I changed curtains and re-covered chair cushions.)
The "diamonds" were from my hubby's mom's house and had sentimental value.  So, I couldn't just get rid of them, but giving them a fresh coat of gold paint? No.
One day it occurred to me that I could paint over them, rub a little off, and achieve an antiqued sort of look.  So I did it!  I just used a creamy white wall paint - it was all I had at the time.

Each of the diamonds has a flower representing a season: Dogwood is Spring, Roses are Summer, Chrysanthemums are Fall, Holly is Winter.  Toning down the gold looks nicer in this room with the muted colors of the furniture, even tho I will still keep the gold of the lamp and lighting fixtures for now.
And the gold frames don't look all that bad next to the mirror.  Changing it all out would be such a chore...
I still have a few things to do to this big living and dining area - any and all suggestions are welcome!


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