Saturday, February 27, 2010

food update

To finish off the dinner of taco soup and cornbread, use up the bananas and feel somewhat productive I made a banana walnut cake with a cream cheese glaze. This morning I got the grocery shopping out of the way and the kids worked on their homework. Tonight I'm trying a new recipe with ham and cauliflower. I found it while looking through my aunt's recipe cards. I'll post it if passes the kid test.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day - Again

This is the third snow day this week. The first two could have been an early dismissal and a late opening. If it is going to snow I wish it would just snow. Lots and lots of snow and get it over with. So, instead of subbing for fifth grade today I am home puttering. The good news is that my bills are all paid and I am now caught up on my e-mails. I also harvested my farm. I admit I am really addicted to Farmville. It's crazy but I figure I can have worse problems. And it is the only FB game I play so.... see, here I am trying to justify it.

Oldest is off babysitting, hubby is tucked in bed and son and youngest are just finishing breakfast.

I'm making taco soup (sort of a chili) and cornbread for supper. Tomorrow I'm off to the grocery store. I have such big exciting plans for the week end. Sunday is Temple and my full moon songha group.

Taco Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15.5 oz.) can pinto beans
1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (10.75 oz.) can tomato soup
16 oz. bag frozen corn
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
Garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream, corn chips

In a large pot combine onion and hamburger. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned and crumbles; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Garnish with cheese and sour cream if desired.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Dare I say it out loud - youngest has asked if this could be her last year of Girl Scouts. She is tired of the unruly girls and wants to put them behind her. I'm glad she has participated in Girl Scouts and she has had fun over the years. I was willing (Goddess bless me) to be an assistant leader as long as she wanted to belong. But, I've really, really had enough and was dreading any more years. I was a little surprised when she said it - it came out of no where. So, it just looks like I have to cope with a few more months of meetings, field trips and over nights.

I have other commitments I plan to clear in the next few months but, I must talk with key people first before blurting out my departure in a blog.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm so Excited

Bouncing off the walls excited. I have been checking the website almost daily for the registration form. I e-mailed Sage Mountain and they said they would mail me one as soon as they were available. My form came yesterday. It is filled out and going in the mail tomorrow (Monday). What has me so excited - The 23rd Annual New England Women's Herbal Conference. This will be my fifth one. After my first conference (that my dear friend Rose brought me to) I vowed never to miss another one. Both girls are coming this year. They have a circle within a circle for girls 13 to 18. Oldest has participated in this the last three years. She loves it. I think these three days are the only time I ever see the REAL oldest. For girls younger than this they have a children's camp during class time. I have been selfish and refused to bring youngest so I can be fully present without worrying about watching her. She will be twelve this year and with oldest going to college next year it may be the only conference they can attend together.

I can hardly contain myself every time I think about it.

There are herbalists from around the world, great food, entertainment and music. 500 or more women come together to learn, share and celebrate.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bio-hazard Update

February 10, marked the one year anniversary of bio's departure across country. The kids have adjusted well. Stress levels have dropped, grades have improved (other than math but that is another story), they are physically healthier and they now all have active social lives. It has not been all peaches and cream since she left. We have our normal family squabbles but... and Son deals with a lot of anger over her abandonment. He strives to deal with everything on his own and that has caused problems in other areas (like math).

The 10th also marked bio's 44th birthday. Oldest was the only one to remember. She did call bio but, no one else talked to her.

A month before that bio spent time in the hospital and had stints put in. Maybe the poor diet, excess pounds and chain smoking along with a history of heart disease is not a good combination.

The phone calls from bio have slowed to once a month or less. The kids usually talk to her when their brother calls and they hear her in the background. They ask to talk to her which annoys brother as he was the one calling to talk. The other day youngest called her brother for advice on a DS game she was playing. Bio answered the phone and tried talking to youngest. Youngest kept asking for her brother - nothing comes between a 11 y/o and leveling up on her DS. Finally youngest asked when bio was coming for a visit because she has forgotten what she looks like. Bio said she would send a picture and handed the phone to brother.

When brother was here for a visit he said that their were no plans for anyone to get their own place - no one could afford it. Bio left because the job opportunities here were so bad. And if you have been fired from countless jobs in a small corner of the earth I suppose that would be the case. Only it took her almost 6 months to find a clerk position, working overnight at a convenience store. And their are 7 people still living in a 2 bedroom trailer. But, hey sometimes her oldest brother works night shift which means her younger brother gets to use the bed and my son gets the couch. That is a good night.

Yup, you got that right Grandma has all three of her kids (all in their 40's) and three of her grandchildren living with her. The two granddaughters stayed with their dad only because their mother is in jail. And bio is hoping someday all of her children will be grown and living with her.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

OK, so I am a romantic sap at heart. I spoil those I love on a regular basis but I do something special on the 14th of February to celebrate. It is a family celebration. And my type of celebration always involves food. Tonight is surf and turf. I have rib eye steaks and scallops. I'm not a scallop fan so I bought myself some mussels to steam with wine. My scallop recipe is one of my Hubby's (and my Dad's) favorites. I thought it time to introduce to the kids who like scallops and whose palettes have matured. For dessert I'm making molten lava cakes. Hubby asked if we had to have chocolate - the kid's screamed yes. For Hubby I am making blondies with carmel sauce. I'm also going to make a batch of banana ice cream because I have one lone overripe banana. One means ice cream, two means cookies and more than that means bread.

Baked Bay Scallops

1 Cup Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp. onion, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup white wine or sherry
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. onion, diced
1 ½ lbs. bay scallops
½ lb. mushrooms, sliced

Mix together first eight ingredients. Form into a roll and wrap with waxed paper. Chill garlic butter until firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450°. Grease shallow baking dish. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until soft but not browned. Add scallops and mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste and sauté briefly. Drain off liquid. Arrange scallop mixture in prepared dish. Slice garlic butter and arrange evenly over scallops. Bake until butter is hot and bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Friday I spent a delightful day with friends. In the morning I learned how to make lip balm with a dear friend. I am so excited and can't wait to add this gem to my product line. Then I had lunch with another friend. The sun was shining, spring was poking its head out and all was right with the world.

Saturday was grocery shopping day. I only shop every two weeks and the last two trips I got the bare minimums. Not this time. We were running low on staple items. Four hours and many dollars later I came home. The kids are trained. I come in the house as they carry in the totes (I don't use bags) of food. I sort by fridge, freezer and pantry. They put the sorted food away. A full car load is put away in under fifteen minutes. Team work really pays off. We ate lunch and then I went to my aunt's house. I spent the afternoon with my uncle so she could go grocery shopping. He is so damned cute. He was talkative this visit and we chatted as I warmed his coffee again and again. He just became a great grandpa again. My cousin welcomed his first baby a few weeks ago. He sent pictures and we looked at them and talked some more. He asked how I managed such a big family. I said it is the same as when his three were home. That was so long ago he said. And as I thought about it the last time all three of his kid's were living home was 47 years ago.

And we ushered in the year of the tiger with tacos. Youngest was born in the year of the tiger and she has been craving tacos for weeks. I made a huge chopped salad and let them adorn their tacos from that. It worked much easier than setting up a taco bar. And because son has been asking for mozzarella sticks we had those too.

And, I'm so excited for next Sunday. I was just reading how to properly cook a duck and what did I find at the grocery store? So, next Sunday I will introduce the kids to home cooked duck. Yum!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow ???

They started to panic at work yesterday as the weather reports came in. The company even said we could have a casual day. My boss planned to work from home as did her boss. The kids probably wouldn't have school and I could come in early or I could work from home. Hmm! Home it is because I can. They canceled school last night. So, I slept until 6, farmed my farm in Farmville and started on my briefcase. Working in my sweats with my music on and no interruptions is bliss. I have a few more hours to put in if I want to get paid for a full day. Oh, and at 1:40 it is just starting to snow. Nothing is sticking yet. I'm hoping for enough so we can skip the fire department meeting tonight. I'm so bad.

Monday I cleaned - deep cleaned my office. Hubby put in that extra shelf I'd been asking for and I can see clean empty surfaces. Ah, what a good feeling.

Egg salad is made for lunches tomorrow. Pork tenderloin with cherry sauce for supper tonight.
Life is good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Uncle

The afternoon spent with my uncle was charming. He sits a little, walks a few laps with his walker and eats a little. I warm his coffee in the microwave every few minutes. I brought a plate of chocolate almond cookies. I made a batch of big soft ginger cookies while I was there. My aunt showed me her recipe boxes and said I could look through them and write down recipes if I wanted. I sat looking at recipes. I smiled at the notes in the margins, the multiple recipe cards for the same recipe, the old familiar recipes and how ingredients have changed over the years. Oleo is a main ingredient in many of her cookie recipes. Some recipes I'm not sure she gave my mom or my mom gave her. A few she labeled "Red" so I know it came from my Dad. Ones she clipped from magazines she taped to index cards - most were labeled as to which magazine and the date. Some the tape was yellow and cracked. The recipes she wrote out have a list of ingredients and a temperature - nothing else. Some that call for a design or shape she drew pictures. I was in my glory. I wrote down a bunch of recipes in my journal I had with me.

I was able to talk to all three of my cousins who called for their Sunday check in. Weather reports from Colorado, North Carolina and Georgia. Work and kid updates were had. And Uncle was not walking all the way to the phone to talk to anyone.

I wore my new socks to their house. They are handmade in multiple colors. The colors used for each sock are the same but the design patterns are mixed up so they don't match exactly. My uncle told me I had two different socks on. I explained how they were made. He quietly said, "well, that is stupid." Hubby says he likes my uncle.

Uncle did fine for the first few hours and then he started to miss my aunt. He can't remember things and he forgot she was gone and where she went. I'd gently remind him. He couldn't get warm so I put a blanket over his shoulders, hugged him and rubbed his arms. I found a heavy fleece shirt for him to put on. Towards the end of our visit he whimpered softly, help, help, help. What do you need?
I don't know? Thank you.
I wrapped him in my arms and reassured him that auntie would be home soon. Oh, OK.

He was very happy to see her.

They will be married 66 years this September.

And as frail, sweet and confused as uncle is - Auntie sweeps in full of life and laughter talking about seeing her first strip tease. She saw the play The Full Monty and loved it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What to do with bananas

This was a favorite recipe as a kid and now my kids love it. I think they let the bananas go brown on purpose. I make it with whole wheat flour now. The kids prefer cinnamon chips - my dad always liked it with raisins.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

2 over ripe bananas
¾ Cup shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 ½ Cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 ¾ Cups oatmeal
12 oz. bag chips (chocolate or cinnamon) or 2 cups raisins

Beat bananas, shortening and sugar together. Beat in egg. Add flour, baking soda, spices and oatmeal. Mix well. Stir in chips. Drop by the spoonful on a baking sheet. Bake at 400º for 8 to 10 minutes or until starting to brown.


Mrs B is doing a retro month for February. I have agreed to help out and plan on posting a few recipes. I have to remember to take pictures. When I think of retro I think of staple cooking items from the 70's - crock pots, fondue and Campbell's soup. I changed my profile picture as well. This is vintage 1985. I was talking with friends the other day about going to see Motley Crue. They saw them "recently" and people dressed from the 80's. They thought that was silly. Here is a picture from October 16, 1985. I walked to Nassau Coliseum from my dorm at Hofstra University to see the concert.

Where have I been?

Time keeps on slipping, slipping....

Last week end we went to Vermont for our nephews college graduation from Middlebury. He is a Mid Feb - a special breed. The ceremony started at 9 so we were out of our house by 4 AM. I had made a quadruple batch of blueberry coconut muffins for breakfast. We met MIL and FIL an hour and a half North at a coffee shop. Coffee and cocoa in hand we munched on muffins and continued North. It was 4.6 degrees when we left, 0 at the coffee shop and 6 below at the graduation. From the ceremony the graduates head over to the ski slope on campus and ski, snowboard, slide or walk down the hill in full graduation gowns. From their we headed to lunch, Gardener's supply and a short (very short) nap. Dinner was at Shanty on the Shore in Burlington. I had escargot that was really good (oldest even tried one) and salmon baked with a crab meat stuffing and topped with a cheese sauce served with snap peas. I also tried the long trail ale made especially for the Shanty. It was really good - doesn't really go with salmon but how can you pass up one of the local brews? We were all back in the room and asleep by 8:15. The next day we went to BIL for a graduation brunch and then headed back home.

I've been working at home on my days off in between trying to keep the house clean, people fed and meetings attended. The last of the ingredients came in to make my baby powder so I've been experimenting with a new product. I love powder in the summer time and though I've tried it the real test will come when the weather warms up.

My uncle was in the hospital for a week while they tried to regulate his meds. I spent an afternoon with my aunt going to visit him. They are in their 80's and have been married 65 years. My aunt still does more than I do in a day. I get my love for cooking from her. My uncle is home now with no change to his medicine. He can no longer be left alone which is really hard on my aunt as she still volunteers at the thrift shop and goes to the Y. She also has a huge social network of girlfriends she visits with. The thrift shop and Y are on hold and now the girlfriends come to the house. Sunday I am staying with my uncle so my aunt can go to the theatre. She has season tickets to the Warner and is going to see The Full Monty. She says my uncle likes me. I always show up with a plate of warm cookies. He recognizes family and friends and enjoys company. He does not want strangers anywhere near him (translated - visiting nurses). The 26th he turned 88, my mom turned 39 again. I think it's cute that my Dad and my Aunt both married spouses with the same birthday - years apart.

Report cards came back. Son failed math. I as calmly as I could explained how that was unacceptable and that he would be pulling up his grade or going to summer school. I also informed him that his handling it on his own was obviously not working for him. Then hubby said I should not be sarcastic. That is when I lost it. Now, the voice was raised and my true displeasure was expressed. The grounding would come after hubby and I discussed it. Then I left to spend a joyous evening with my heathen friends at our wisdom gathering discussing planting fear. It was mentioned that the only intentional fear one planted was in their children - I agree.

So, on a week by week basis (I can check son's grades on line) he will no longer have phone or computer privileges (except for homework) and he will show us his math every day. If you do not spell things out specifically son will find a loop hole. I couldn't do my homework because I couldn't use the computer. My little lawyer. Maybe this will put the cabash on the girlfriend for a while.

Last night hubby asked what I called him on my blog. I had mentioned a pet name my girlfriend uses for her husband. He said hubby was as bad as wifey. I don't think so. What would you like me to call you? We don't really have pet names for each other. I call him good looking, sexy and arm candy but nothing as a true nickname. We batted around stud muffin and a few other names and he finally decided after learning that the kids were oldest, son and youngest that hubby was OK and that changing now might confuse my readers. So, my names are not very exciting. Maybe it should be LOMY - love of my life.