Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mexican Meatloaf

Everyone seems to have an opinion about meatloaf - thankfully my family likes it!  I found this recipe somewhere and adapted it for us - it's so good with a salad or veggie, and mashed potatoes.
Mix 1 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs with 1/2 c. water.  Add to 2 lbs. lean ground beef, 1 c. mild salsa, 1 egg, and 1/2  small onion and a small bunch of cilantro, chopped.  At this point I put it in a zip loc and label it for the freezer.  (It was part of my Freezer meals stash)
 Flash forward to today, a little over a month after I put it together...I had a sewing day planned,
so this was handy!
It kinda fell apart a little, but take my word for it - it was very tasty!  I usually drown meatloaf in ketchup on my plate...yuuuum.  But this really needs no extra anything.  And the cilantro gave it a nice flavor.
I've always wanted to try meatloaf in a crock pot - anyone out there ever try that?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ring shopping

Hubby and I are coming up on 25 years.  A  feat!  25 years is a long time and a lot of work, no matter how happy you are and committed to being together.  To mark the occasion he told me I can go 'ring shopping' to upgrade my wedding ring.  Here it is on the left:
It's a miner's cut.  The stone was given to hubby by his mother.  I don't think the setting is doing it justice and the band used to be brushed gold, but now is shiny.  Underwhelming.  I also had two solid gold bands as ring guards on either side of it, but as time (and children) has gone by, the ring got tighter on my finger!  So, now I wear this one as my "wedding ring":
I got this as a gift from hubby for our 11th anniversary so it has great sentimental value.  At the time we only had 3 kids; can you see four stones?  They are tiny chips.  I asked him what the significance was for four and he hadn't even noticed there were 4...sheesh!
I don't wear them together, but I  headed over to the jewelry store where we'd had the diamond set and I bought his ring - a heavy nugget band.  I was looking for: a 3 stone semi-mount in yellow and white gold.
And this is what I found:
A new setting for my diamond, and a new wedding band!  Found it on Thursday, they set the stone on Friday, hubby picked it up on Saturday!  Quite possibly the most beautiful wedding set I have ever seen and the last one I ever plan on wearing...and something I will pass on to my own daughter or granddaughter someday.
  Thank you, hubby,
I love it, and I love you! 
Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Found, a sister

She was never really lost.  I just didn't know quite how to find her and I finally did - by google-ing another family member's name, that led me in a roundabout path to her...and this is what she looked like when I was 8; so she must have been 22.  And this is me at 22 as well.  From what I'm told, she and I looked a lot alike.  
But it's so hard for me to tell...
She's so cute.  And I rack my brain to remember her - singing to me, changing my diapers, letting me sit in her lap like I was her baby.  But I was too young to store those memories permanently so I rely on her to share them with me.  And she has. But to her, I am still a little sister.  I feel almost like I lost something.  Even though I found someone.  And it makes me a little sad, but also a lot happy.  Is it ever too late to find people out there, who share the same family as you, who you have a deep connection to, and who know things about you and your life that you don't?
Full of possibility.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oatmeal Cake

Hooray for the official start of Fall!
It was cloudy and bleak outside, not really cooler...but no matter.  It still made me want to bake a delish something for desert for my peeps!  One of the best things that ever came out of one of the worst jobs I ever had was this recipe for Oatmeal Cake.  A very nice girl brought it into work for a luncheon and I promptly wrangled the recipe out of her.  She frosted hers with Coconut Pecan frosting; this go round I used the leftover cream cheese frosting I had stored in the freezer. 

Oatmeal Cake

1 1/4 c. boiling water
1 stick butter
1 c. oatmeal - I used old fashioned oats
Aren't those egg pretty? They're from my mom's chickies in Brenham!

Put the oatmeal and butter into the boiling water and set off to the side for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 350, find a 13x9 baking dish, and mix the dry ingredients, which are:

1 1/2 c. sifted flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. each baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt

After 20 minutes, mix the wet ingredients with two eggs, then blend dry into wet.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
   Cool ,frost, devour.  Save some for the kids and hubby!
I wonder from time to time whatever happened to my Oatmeal Cake lady.  We spent time commiserating at a temp job that was arranged through an agency.  Those were the bad old days.  Hopefully she went on to a better job and is making this cake for her peeps on baking days, too!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Boy room before and after

This image causes me to stress out...
Yes, I realize the room is small for two growing boys, but the floor is not where we store things... much better!
Yes, I am guilty of cleaning the boys' room after they leave for school,.  But in my defense, let me just state that my mother was coming for a few days, and I know she doesn't give a flip, but I do. I'm in this house all day, and while I can close the door and walk away, it wouldn't help matters and I also know the boys cannot spend as much time cleaning and straightening up as I do.  And they do notice when it's clean....
And I just bet, I'm not the only one who does this for her kids!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I can get it for you wholesale...

April 2000
My mother is fond of saying all kinds of things, despite her audience.  She forgets to put in her filter.  She recently told the nurse at the eye doctor that I went in for motherhood '"wholesale". 
Now, what would you think that meant?
That I wanted children in large quantities?
That I began my family without careful discrimination?
That I ignored distinctions, focusing on quantity?
Or that I got them directly after processing? 
It could be all those things.  After all, I did want a large family, didn't care if the kids were  male or female as long as they were healthy, and got them handed into my arms almost immediately... 
But, I did give it careful thought...each one of them were planned and wanted. 
Hmmm...this comment from her is thought provoking as she had eight children herself....but I guess the difference is in how we see motherhood.  I see it as a gift, she as a burden.
And I'm really into it, wholesale.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Ruler of Death

See that back there?  Over behind the phone next to my cookbooks?
The Ruler of Death.
  Actually 4 of them.  You can never find a ruler when you need one, but here we have four.  These rulers used to have a special purpose.  Each makes a very loud sound as it is slapped against the counter when I am making the tail end of a threat or trying to get someone's immediate attention.
Back in the day, the slappy sound of a ruler perked up people's ears!
I don't think I've ever smacked anyone's behind with one of these, but by the time I pick one up they know I could...see, I do not spank my kids.  To me, it represents lazy parenting, and I hated it myself as a child not only because it hurt me to be spanked, but  also because it meant my parents weren't interested in working hard enough to teach me, not hurt me.  And they continued it long after it became too late in the game; I was old enough to have other consequences.  Of course, I've had to swat a leg or two in my time, to get their attention when the Ruler wasn't handy.  But my peeps are getting big, and  they've been pretty good kids who behave themselves.
So, nowadays, we use the rulers to measure things....
Imagine that.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book page leaves

 I saw this cute idea on the Mad in Crafts blog and, as usual,
had the harebrained idea that I could do it... 
I started with this paperback book - an old one from my daughter.  Have you read it?
It's pretty depressing.  I didn't particularly care for it, so I was ok with cutting it up!
I traced a silk leaf or two and cut them out of pages.  
Along the way I found treasure...
The Girl doodled during English class...but she always made such nice grades!
Several coats of modge podge later, a little hot glue, and...
I tucked the leaves into the wreath I already had hanging on the front door.  Hmmm...mine doesn't exactly look like a PB knockoff...but I think I could make a few more leaves to use elsewhere in the house...
Or maybe the wreath needs something else - whatcha think?  Mums?
 Personally, I think this is the last year for this straw wreath as it is trying to fall apart...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

As much as possible

I want him in the kitchen as much as possible.
Not just because he's nice to have around.  But because he is the little scientist.  And being in the kitchen helps him learn so many things.
Measuring, mixing, pouring, baking, creating...
Making things "just right".  
Because someday, he will have his own place in the world, and that might include a kitchen.  Think he might invite me over for brownies?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tacos Al Pastor

One of my favorite restaurants makes these incredible tacos!
Pork and pineapple with cilantro is such a great combo. I love 'em with sour cream and guacamole, a little rice on the mouth is watering as I type... Eating dinner out as a group is something we only do once in a blue moon, so I was thrilled to come across the recipe for these tacos from Southern Living:

Tacos al Pastor

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 oz. pineapple chunks (drained if you're using canned)
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T chili powder
1 t. each oregano, black pepper, cumin, chopped garlic
3/4 t. salt
canola oil
flour tortillas

Combine pork and next 9 ingredients in a large zip loc bag. (at this point you could freeze it for another day)  Seal and chill 12-24 hours. Cook pork mixture in batches so you don't crowd the pan. Using the canola oil and a large non-stick skillet cook on med-hi heat stirring often about 10 minutes or until pork is done. Serve in warm flour tortillas with sour cream, etc.

I made these a few weeks ago when I was getting the household ready for the onslaught of Back to School, and we enjoyed them last night.  I just pull the bag out of the freezer the day before I want to make them, and they cook up in a snap.  We almost never have leftovers and they are a hit with the kids.  
Try them and tell me what you think!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ridiculously Simple Banana Bread

I've had this recipe forever - you can tell it's old because the 3x5 card is splattered and oiled and just plain groddy.  But the recipe is great and keeps me from throwing out old bananas that I paid good money for!  Occasionally I will add a little extra something: this time it was butterscotch chips.  You can see them melting and oozing from the top of the loaf:
Firstborn ate the last piece this morning warmed in the microwave with butter. 
It's fair to say he loves this banana bread (:

Ridiculously Simple Banana Bread

1 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda

2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar (or less if your bananas are very ripe)
2 ripe bananas

1/2 c. chopped nuts-optional
1/2 c. chocolate chips- optional (I used butterscotch)

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture.  Then stir in the nuts and/or chips if you like chunky banana bread.  Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan in a pre-heated 350 oven for 50 minutes.

Warm banana bread and butter...yuuummm..smells like Fall...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Turning 19...

September 13, 1991

There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.
-- John Gregory Brown

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Redneck Candle

Ooohh...take a look at mom's Basil White Flower candle from Bath and Body Works...
She was enjoying the fragrance sooo much.  It had burned down to the last inch or so, but she wanted to improve on it and make it even more special.  So what did she do?  Here's her tutorial:  while vacuuming up in the kitchen, using a stick vac that you have to unplug and re-plug every 3 feet or so, get frustrated and yank the cord hard enough to knock the candle off the counter and shatter on the tile floor.  Kids will come running.  Except the one that is sitting on the couch, eating popcorn...
Curse the fates as you re-vacuum the kitchen, and at least be happy there wasn't a child underfoot.  Light what remains of your candle, set it on a dinner plate.  And go on about your day.  Keep calm and carry on.
And enjoy your new Redneck Candle. 
Isn't it lovely?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Toteally Cute

I made a tote bag for a girl at work who is expecting her first baby.
It came out huge...I really should have altered the pattern...but I figure she can use it for so many things, and not just for the baby..
I bought this cute green and brown fabric to make a pocket of sorts - it runs across one side of the bag on the inside.  I might get more of it to cover a small memories box for her.
It goes well with the lining and the straps - this is such a happy print.  I was thinking of cutting out some animal shapes to applique on onesies, too....we'll see.  Can you tell she is having a boy?
I'm going to fill the bag with gifts, so it will do double duty.  And since she is going to be a mother now, I will enclose one of my favorite poems in a card :

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Kahlil Gabran


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