Archive for February, 2007

~* It’s the Little Things *~

February 27, 2007


Keeping the love-lines humming is often in the little things…and so, I’m dedicating a new category to my honey…for all those “little” things he does (and he does a lot of not-so-little things, too!).
Today’s little thing:
His eyes flicking to the sweetener holder when I asked the server for unsweetened iced tea….to be sure they had my brand of sweetener available. I love how he watches out for me in the little and not-so-little ways!
Thanks, Babe!

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~* Slow-cooked Swiss Steak Recipe *~

February 27, 2007

Mmmm…this was sooo yummy…even with the improvisations. Yep, today wasn’t the smoothest day ever, so the dinner didn’t make it to the crockpot…but had to go into the oven instead. Yet is still came out so tender and delicious.
Also, I changed the soup amounts and noted the original and the change w/i the recipe.

Slow-Cooked Swiss Steak
Taste of Home’s Slow Cooker Recipes 2007

3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 – 2 1/2 lbs boneless beef top round
steak (we used very thin slices of lean beef and
only used just over one lbs.)
1-2 tbs butter
1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed cream of muschroom soup, undiluted
(we used two cans)
1 1/3 C water (we only used one can of water)
1 C chopped celery (optional) (we didn’t use the celery)
1/2 C chopped onion
1-3 tsp beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp minced garlic

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, pepper, and salt. Cut steak into six pieces;
dredge in flour mixture.

In a large skillet, brown steak in butter. (I also browned the onion w/the steak). Transfer to 3 qt. slow cooker.
Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over steak, Cover; cook on low 8-9 hours or until meat is tender.

(I put fingerling potatoes in the bottom of a large baking pan, added the browned beef, topped with the two cans of mushroom soup, poured one can of water over the top of that, then sprinkled the bouillon on top of the other layers. I then covered with foil and cooked in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for two hours)

~* Menu Plan Monday *~

February 26, 2007

    Monday

Slow Cooked Swiss Steak
p. 62 Taste of Home Slow Cooker Recipes 2007
fingerling potatoes
Green salad
Sour Dough Toast

    Tuesday

Creamy Italian Chicken
p. 110 Taste of Home Slow Cooker Recipes 2007
Green Beans
Lite Pears
French Bread

    Wednesday


Grandma R’s Special Meat Sauce & Pasta
(I don’t make this often as it’s very rich and a
true work of love in that the prep time is 4-5 hours!)
Green Salad
French Bread

    Thursday


Family night out

    Friday


Chicken Saltimbocca
p. 104 Taste of Home Slow Cooker Recipes 2007
(can you tell I bought a new cookbook?! 😉
Green salad
Dinner rolls

    Saturday


Meatball subs w/ Grandma R’s sauce
Green beans
Lite pears

I’ll be sure and share the new recipes that we love later in the week (except for Grandma R’s special sauce…that’s a family secret)
Be sure and drop by Laura’s at I’m an Organizing Junkie to see lot’s more menus. And if you enjoy reading these menus, be sure and drop her a “thank you”.

~* Another 5 lbs…G O N E! *~

February 25, 2007

The turtle continues the race….5 more lbs are gone! Still a long ways to go (65 more to be exact). It’s been a liveable journey and, actually, (most of the time), enjoyable. I definitely have those frustrating days, and on a couple of occasions, weeks, but overall, it’s been a pleasant journey! May it continue to be so! 😉

~* A Recent Guest *~

February 24, 2007

My sweet husband knows I thoroughly enjoy the cranes we often see at local waterways. Last week he came running into our room telling me to hurry and look out the front window. I rushed to look, and here was this beauty:


I wanted to get closer because even w/my telephoto lens, I couldn’t get a close-up from upstairs…so I ran downstairs to try to quietly go out front and get a bit closer, but by the time I got there, he/she was gone.

Oh!…I long to have one of those lenses that papparazzi use for all the wrong reasons! I love taking pictures of nature. I have a lot to learn photography-wise…but it’s a journey I’m enjoying taking step-by-step.

~* Where I’m From *~

February 20, 2007

May. 22, 2006 – ~* Where I am From *~

I saw this idea at Mother Hen’s and my past and present began to reel in my mind to form these words:

I am from a place filled with palm trees, ocean breezes, and bougainvillea. A place that melded honeysuckle, roses, and cow scents together. I am from barefoot days, long summers, library books, and root beer floats. I am from bicycles, swing sets, and roller skates. Baby dolls, dress-up, purses and make-believe. I am from mama cats, wild kittens, and the cutest pom-poo dog.

I am from public schooling. I am from rooms filled with the art work and written work of children. Rooms smelling of mingled scents of chalk, pencils, paste, and autumn. I am from cafeterias filled with the meshing aromas of tuna fish, waxy milk cartons, peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese.

I am from difference and alienation. I was one of those marching to a different drummer. Whether by choice or not, never really mattered. It was enough to be different. I am from mockery and ostracization which led much later in life to the strength of character to choose to be different, to choose not to be a mind-numbed robot following the crowd. I am also from compassion, compassion born of being different.

I am from beaches with strong, salty waves, undercurrents, and gritty sand that always ended up in our sandwiches and car. From happy memories spent at the zoo and at Disneyland. From treasured Thanksgivings, Easters, and Christmases.
I am also from sad childhood memories of never being sure what the weather inside our home would be: warm and sunny, frigidly chilly, thunder and lightening storms, or the equally frightening quiet before the storm.

I am from those who were from a generation of talking about the weather and current events, but not being able to talk about what was happening in a relationship. I am not from “Children should be seen and not heard”… but I am not far removed from that…in fact, I am from a place pretty close to that. I am from a “Spare the rod, spoil the child” and “Pride goeth before destruction” philosophy of child-rearing.
I am from those who didn’t have Dr. Dobson’s or Dr. Moore’s, or the many others who have taught how-to’s for marriage, child-rearing. schooling at home, and so much more.
I am from a father who was a Navy man in a world war. A man who became a carpenter working amongst wood shavings and sawdust that smelled delicious in an earthy way. I delighted, as a small child, in being swung around in his arms when he came home from work. A hard man who had soft moments. A man who didn’t seem to understand the necessity of give and take in relationships. He was a man, much like the wood he worked with: rough, hard, not very pliable. And like the word he handled, he was being slowly planed, chipped, whittled by the Master Carpenter. A man worked on lovingly and patiently, then called home after being completed by the Master’s hand. I am from a craftsman who himself was being crafted.

I am from a mother who baked and sewed, shopped and cooked, who loved and lived routine but who occasionally would agree to a game of Chinese Checkers. Not overly given to outward shows of tenderness, she showed her love through the thousands of daily acts of motherhood: cooking delicious, nutritious, varied meals; staying on top of the laundry; keeping a tidy home; packing bag lunches that were yummy; taking care to have the pantry and fridge stocked; making sure we made it to school, dr’s appts., music lessons; cleaning up after sickness without complaint, even after joining the work force. A woman who developed toughness from life’s hard knocks, sacrificing affections and dreams in the process. I am from a woman of velvet and steel.

I am from fig trees with Japanese beetles. Brothers who tied those beetles and flew them like kites. Brothers who teased me ’til I cried, who were my best friend and my worst enemy. Brothers who took me for rides in their cars and helped me buy mom and dad nicer presents than I could otherwise have afforded. Brothers who were and are talented musicians, artisans, and academics. Brothers who now have wives and kids of their own.

I am from weddings. Sisters who married while I was so young. Sisters who moved far away in distance, but with time became close-to-the-heart and best friends. I am from sisters who are skilled in homemaking, gardening, and hospitality and dressing so fine. Sisters who have that wonderful mystique of femininity that I somehow never quite grasped. Sisters who continue their education while being wives, mothers, and grandmothers. I am from late-night sister giggles and guffaws while our husbands look on in smiling bewilderment. I am from long telephone calls and all-too-short visits. I am from the side-splitting laughter that brings tears and aches. I am from all-too-real hurts that bring tears and aches of a different sort. I am from shared joys and shared sorrows, shared pasts and shared presents.

I am from that awkward position of being the baby of the family.. I am from benefitting the years of parental mistakes that preceded me. I am from always scrambling to catch up with the others, always being puzzled at the mysteries that everyone else seemed to have the inside track too. I am from pampered to pushed away because of the pampering. I am from isolation of years and birth order. I am from confusion of the why’s to finally understanding some of the why’s of certain family dynamics.

I am from grandparents who were joint pastors in a church that was culturally diverse before it was fashionable. Grandparents who spoiled grandchildren with coffee and real cream and as much sugar as you desired. Toast with real butter. Restaurants after church. I am from those who knew true hospitality, who ministered to hundreds away from home and family during war and peace. I am from those who suffered through the depression, who hated waste, yet who indulged their grandchildren as only grandparents can. I am from those who loved freely.

I am from a great-grandmother who gardened, canned, and baked up a storm well into her 80’s. Who made the best pickled okra, banana nut bread, and lemon chess pie. I am from strong, stubborn stock.

I am from wedlock to wedded. From dreaming of sweet relationships to living sweet relationships. I am from moments of singleness to moments of two being one. From joys and heartaches born by self to joys and heartaches shared with that special someone. I am from the scent of aloneness to the heavenly perfume of snuggling with my love, my best friend on earth. I am from dreaming all by myself of my own dreams to shared dreams with another. I am from traveling alone to sharing the most wonderful, life-long, even eternal adventure with my soul-mate.

I am from being child to being parent. I am from being in the womb to having life in my womb. From viewing this side from that side. From being the baby to parenting the baby.

I am from sweet baby smells & toddly-tots to blossoming youth and young adult and the circle continuing again. I am from thinking I knew all the how-to’s of parenting, to wondering how any of us, parents or children survive.

I am from moments of first words and first steps of childhood, to first steps and choices of adulthood. I am from public school product to homeschool activist. I am from hospital gowns and caps to graduate gowns and caps. From princess dresses to wedding dresses. From play army men to real army men. I am from tied apron strings, to cutting the apron strings loose. I am from having a mother-in-law to being a mother-in-law.

I am from life’s ever-flowing, ever-changing, yet never-changing river of life.

I am from right choices and wrong choices. I am from forgiveness, mercy, grace, and abundant lovingkindness. I am from thanksgiving and blessings: family, health, country, and most importantly a Savior’s love.

I am imperfection from imperfection… imperfection that aknowledged and taught the need of a Savior and His perfection. I am from Perfection, placed perfectly where I needed to be at precisely the right time, in all the right places to be drawn back to Perfection.

I am from the Master Craftsman Who continues to work on me, Who will complete me as He is the Author and the Finisher.
I am on the journey from Creation to Completion.

~* Pork Cabbage Rolls *~

February 20, 2007

All but my picky eater loved this and even he said it was “okay” 😉

I came up with this recipe to use our leftover pork roast from Sunday…we STILL ended up with leftovers…sigh…

PORK CABBAGE ROLLS

Ingredients:
3/4 lbs cooked pork roast, finely minced
2 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce (for night before)
4 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce (for next day)
1 – 1 1/2 C cooked rice
1 head cabbage
6 provolone slices

Night before cooking:
Take:
3/4 lbs cooked pork roast finely minced
2 – 8 oz cans tomatoe sauce
1 – 1 1/2 C cooked rice
and place all in a zip loc freezer bag and mush to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

NEXT DAY:
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour 2 cans tomatoe sauce onto bottom of glass lasagna pan.
Cook head of cabbage in boiling water until leaves loosen
Cool until you can handle leaves w/o burning yourself
Separate leaves from head. Place 1 – 2 large tablespoons of pork, rice, tomatoe sauce
mixture on individual leaves and roll up.
Place on top of tomatoe sauce in lasagna pan. Repeat until pan is full.
Cover roll-ups with last two cans tomotoe sauce.
Cook 20 – 30 mins until thoroughly warmed through.
Place half slice of provolone on top of each cabbage roll and return to oven
until cheese is melted.
Enjoy!

~* Menu Plan Monday *~

February 20, 2007

    Sunday

Garlic Pepper Pork Loin Roast
(recipe below)
Sunshine Salad
Potatoes Au Gratin


    Monday

Cabbage Pork Rolls
(will post recipe tomorrow if the family likes this)
Lite Pears
Dinner Rolls or French Bread


    Tuesday
    Sloppy Joe’s

Green salad
Corn

    Wednesday

Mexi-Cali ckn noodle casserole
Green beans
Lite Peaches
Dinner rolls

    Thursday

guys n gals night out

    Friday

Sirloin in Wine Sauce (p. 25 Mar/April
2007 Simple & Delicious)
Applesauce
Green beans
French Bread

    Saturday

Leftovers

GARLIC PEPPER PORK LOIN ROAST
2 – 3 lbs pork loin roast
1 tbs garlic (minced)
1/2 tbs dried minced onion
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
Pappy’s seasoning salt to taste
2 cans Swanson 99% fat free Chicken Broth

Place broth and pork in crock-pot. Spread garlic over top of roast.
Sprinkle minced onion, pepper, and salts over top of garlic.
Cover and cook on high 4 – 6 hours.
Very tasty!

Thanks Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie, for hostessing this. If you’d like to join Menu Plan Monday’s, just click on the MPM graphic link at the top of this post.

~* Wishing for Spring?*~

February 17, 2007

Looks very promising, don’t you think?

My sons and I saw these beautiful blossoms of spring and I had to take pictures to share.

Be encouraged….spring really is on its way!

~* Sharing our Valentine’s Dinner in Words and Pictures *~

February 16, 2007

Isn’t it funny how the more you give love away, the more it comes right back to you?
I was so excited this year to plan a Valentine’s dinner for my guys. Usually, my honey and I exchange cards and small gifts and then go out on a night other than Valentine’s to avoid the crowds. But this year, I wanted to treat all my guys to a special dinner, so I planned for days just what to do (not that any of it was complicated, I’m just one of those people who needs lists and plans to pull anything off).
I found some beautiful placemats and cloth napkins on sale that complimented our good china. Then, I found some inexpensive pink goblets that completed the place settings. I purchases some valentine ribbon to wrap around the napkins and silver. I bought some tulips that were specially priced and with candles I already had, the table was completed. Or so I thought….my sweet honey bought me some balloons and they officially completed the table.
I made heart mystery brownies and wrapped them for each place setting; bought sparkling cider for the occasion; and splurged with the grocery budget and bought the guys thick steaks. To complete the steaks, I sliced mushrooms and onions to saute’ in butter and serve on top of the steaks. Salad and a fresh french bread rounded out the meal.
Everything was (for once!) well underhand and going very smoothly. Then my honey insisted on cooking the steaks, onions, mushrooms. So I finished putting the salads together and putting the salad dressing into pretty little dishes, and buttering the bread.
When I got to the table, the guys had all bought me cards, and our sons had gone in together for a Starbucks gift card and my honey bought See’s candy.
I was so surprised and delighted! I thought how it happens that when we seek to bless and serve others, so often the blessings come right back our direction. Just seeing the delight on their faces, having fun with planning the day…those were gifts enough for me! But to see my honey and sons so sweetly try to surprise me back (which they did), was the proverbial icing on the already delicious cake!
Here’s some pics of the table:




(Yes, I do realize my camera dates are waaaay off! I keep forgetting to ask my son how to change it or turn it off…sad, huh? 😉