Thanksgiving Traditions

Posted in holidays on December 1st, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another holiday, come and gone…  seems like yesterday when I  told my husband that I would be on board to put up the Christmas decorations early.  Had we not done it then, they would be late now; how fast time flies.  Our Thanksgiving holiday was great, as always, and in this glorious season, I’m making sure to take the time to truly appreciate our blessings, thank God for everything, and to savor the family traditions  and memories we’ve been creating.

From the delicious spread on Thanksgiving Day (thank you to Hubby!) shared with great friends to the joyous ‘Welcome Santa!” parade we enjoy annually in our small town the day after Thanksgiving (though a tad bit nippy at the parade this year, but fun as ever!); with Black Friday bargains (Hubby took a few kids Black Friday shopping early in the morning this year while I slept in – always fun!) and a long, lazy vacation with the kids while they enjoy a break from school, our Thanksgiving weekend was happy, prayerful, relaxing, and full of traditions that I hope will last for years to come.

Hope your Thanksgiving was happy, safe, wondrous, and that you were able to have some time to relax and reflect upon your blessings…  may the rest of your 2010 holidays hold the same.

Yummy Healthy Snack

Posted in food on November 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My husband and I have been enjoying this snack lately, and it’s healthy and easy to make.  You’ll need:

Apples – Type is up to you – we think Granny Smith tastes best for this.  I also tried it with Gala apples which are good, but I  don’t recommend softer varieties like Red Delicious.

Peanut Butter – We highly recommend natural peanut butter – Smucker’s makes some.  It’s a little more expensive than the standard variety like Skippy or Jif, but it contains only peanuts and a little salt – none of that other junk like hydrogenated oils, sugar, and who-knows-what-else.  The taste of real peanut butter is amazingly better than the junky kind too!

Grape Nuts Cereal

Basically, you just slice the apples, cover them with peanut butter(less if you’re watching your fat intake), and sprinkle with Grape Nuts – it’s really good!  And it’s great for a snack or light lunch for diabetics also because the protein in the peanut butter lowers blood sugar that might be elevated from the apples and cereal.  If you decide to try it, let me know what you think in the comments section!

My Thanksgiving Curse :)

Posted in holidays on November 30th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think I was somehow cursed last Thanksgiving.  I fell ill the day after Thanksgiving, and just as I was starting to feel better a few days later, I felt another virus coming on.  This cycle continued until just before Christmas, and because I was pregnant and exhausted, I tried to rest a lot and get well during that time, but it was stressful because I had a 1½-year-old to chase after.  And while I was sick, I was unable to eat any Thanksgiving leftovers.  So then all during the year, foods like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even creamed onions (which I used to love) just haven’t seemed very appealing to me.  I think I subconsciously associate the Thanksgiving fare with being sick, but I thought I’d be over it by now – wrong.  Thanksgiving dinner was great and everything, but I’m just not as enthused about those leftovers as I want to be.  On Thanksgiving day, the turkey was delicious.  That leftover sandwich I had on Friday was pretty good.  The cold turkey snack on Friday night was ok.  I didn’t finish the turkey snack on Saturday night, and today for dinner, I will have anything but turkey or Thanksgiving leftovers.  And I am blue in the face from reassuring my husband that it was absolutely nothing he did wrong with the cooking or the fault of any of the guests who brought delicious side dishes.  It’s just my Thanksgiving curse, and I hope it’s gone by next year.  But even if it’s not, no biggie because my Thanksgiving will be made more special than food by the wonderful people in my life.  Maybe I should “train” my body to accept the Thanksgiving food by making turkey and creamed onions more often…

At any rate, the helpers in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day were adorable – check them out:

And below are my two oldest daughters waving to Santa at the Welcome Santa Parade from the day after Thanksgiving:

And if their names were numbers that ordered them by birth, below is a cute picture of #2 and #4:

The Scary Clown Sucessfully Sold Burgers

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On another blog, justj has been talking about cheeseburgers, namely White Castles and Burger Buddies (aka Burger Bundles), an ’80’s Burger King product.  I found an old Burger Bundles commercial on youtube and posted the link on his blog in the comments section of the cheeseburger post.  While I was looking around on youtube, I found this old vintage McDonald’s commercial where Ronald looks like something out of a horror movie.  Regardless of what his early incarnation looked like, the clown worked for them in helping to create one of the most successful companies of all time.

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More Recipes

Posted in Everyday Life on October 13th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

I sent some recipes to my sister and since I had to type them into the computer anyway, I will post them on my blog.  The first two are great for Thanksgiving, and the last one is a yummy version of lasagna that is great for moms to make because you can do the preparation while the kids are napping or eating lunch, and then it will cook all day in the crock pot.  Also, you make it with cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese which can be expensive.  Enjoy!

Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce
1 – 10 oz pkg red or white pearl onions, peeled according to package directions
3 TBL butter or margerine
3 TBL flour
1 1/2 cups milk, heated almost to boiling point
2 TBL cream sherry (optional)
1 drop tabasco sauce
dash ground nutmeg
white pepper and salt to taste
chopped parsley for garnish
To cook pearl onions, drop peeled onions intoboiling water.  Cook for 10 mins. and drain.  To make cream sauce, melt butter or margerine over medium-high heat.  When melted, add flour, stirring constantly with wire wisk, until all butter is absorbed.  Turn heat to low and add milk slowly (make sure to continue stirring with the wire wisk).  Add sherry, tabasco sauce, nutmeg, pepper and salt.  Fold-in cooked onions and mix well.  Before serving, garnish with parsley.  Variations:  When folding cooked pearl onions into cream sauce, add 3/4 cup cooked green peas.  Makes 4-6 side dish servings.

Sweet Potatoes With Blue Cheese and Pecans
4 lbs sweet potatoes
3 TBL olive oil
6 sprigs thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1 cup pecans
1 cup blue cheese

Combine sweet potatoes and oil in a roasting pan, sprinkle with thyme.  Roast for 30-45 min at 425 or until tender.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving bowl.  Gently toss with pecans and cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with remaining thyme.  Serves 6.

Crock Pot Lasagna
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 – 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt (approx.)
12 oz uncooked lasagna noodles
12 oz cottage cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese (approx.)
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is browned.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano and salt.  When sauce is thoroughly warmed, spoon a layer of the meat sauce into the bottom of the crock pot.  Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking to fit if necessary.  Top with a layer of each of the cheeses.  Repeat process until sauce, noodles, and cheeses are gone.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hrs.  NOTE:  My lasagna began to overcook a little before 4 hrs in the crock pot!

How Hot Is TOO HOT?

Posted in Current Events on September 29th, 2008 and tagged , , ,

I was working on my second post about my weekend at the farms, but my attention was diverted by the following news story.  Since I know a few people who really enjoy spicy food, I’m sharing this as a warning to you!

An aspiring chef died after eating a super-hot chilli sauce as part of an endurance competition with a friend.

Andrew Lee, 33, challenged his girlfriend’s brother to a contest to see who could eat the spiciest sauce that he could create.

The fork-lift truck driver, who wanted to cook for a living, prepared a tomato sauce made with red chillies grown on his father’s allotment. After eating it, however, he suffered intense discomfort and itching. The following morning he was found dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack.

Toxicology tests are being conducted to try to establish if he suffered a reaction to the food.

An inquest was told that Lee, from Edlington, England, was in perfect health and had just passed a medical examination at work. He was a keen cook and would often prepare meals for his parents. It is believed that Mr Lee had never prepared a dish as hot as the one he made the night before his death.

Lee’s sister, Claire Chadbourne, 29, said that he took a jar of the sauce to the home of his girlfriend, Samantha Bailey, and challenged her brother Michael, 29, to see who could eat it. “Andrew just ate the chillies with a plate of Dolmio sauce,” she added. “It was not a proper meal because he had already eaten lamb chops and potato mash after work.

“He apparently got into bed at 2.30am and started scratching all over. His girlfriend scratched his back until he fell asleep. She woke up and he had gone. It is incredible. Who would have thought he could have died from eating chilli sauce? We don’t know of anything else that could have caused his death. The postmortem showed no heart problems.

“He loved cooking for his friends. He always said he wanted to be a chef but didn’t want to start at the bottom.”

An inquest was opened and adjourned in Doncaster last week.

Thanks, But I Prefer a MA’AM-wich Post Revisited

Posted in Current Events on August 8th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

I was checking out and I came across a news story about a man who had an unfortunate experience at his local Subway restaurant…  seems they couldn’t get his sandwich the way he wanted, so he called 911 for help – not once, not twice, but 3 times.  It reminded me of the time I ranted on my blog about how I prefer sub sandwiches made by women, but apparently this fellow would not agree.  Check out my original post here.

And here is the summary of the man’s Subway mishap; scroll down for the link to the actual 911 calls he made:

Florida man busted for calling 911 over improperly prepared sandwich

AUGUST 5–If you’re wondering what the guy who called 911 to complain about his Subway sandwiches looks like, well, meet Reginald Peterson. The 42-year-old Florida man became so upset last Thursday when a pair of subs “did not include ‘everything’ as he had requested,” he called Jacksonville cops “so that the police could have his sandwich made to his specifications,” according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report. Peterson, pictured in the below mug shot, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of placing false 911 calls. A Subway employee told cops that an irate Peterson was “screaming at everyone in the business” because a worker could not seem to rectify the sandwich problem. As for the fate of the Subway grub, the sheriff’s report notes, “The sandwiches were placed in a trash can at the suspect’s request.”

Click here to listen to Peterson’s three 911 calls (MP3)

Pinata Pilgrimage

Posted in Kids, Uncategorized on April 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I didn’t blog all weekend because we made a few-hundred-miles trek to the Chicago suburbs for my nephew’s 5th birthday party.  We stuffed ourselves silly over there because as much as we love where we live, the restaurant choice can grow kind of boring.  So, being in a different area had us stopping for food every chance we got, but by the end of the weekend, we were a wee bit regretful…  I think that midnight case of White Castles are what did us in.  Since there aren’t any White Castles near us, we had to stock up and buy a whole case since they reheat pretty well.  We stopped there on the way out of the area, and then we had to smell them all the way home – yuck.  They taste good but don’t smell so great, especially when it’s time for bed…  So, as you can see, we did fit in a bit of culture on our trip.  For those who aren’t familiar with White Castle, it’s a fast food chain found in the midwest that specializes in mini-hamburgers, also known as “sliders”.  They aren’t just mini-hamburgers, though, they’re steam-grilled, and they have a very unique taste…  not to mention an, ahem, interesting side effect when you feed them to pets and small children.  I will not elaborate; let’s just say that my kids really like them, but the next day our noses were paying for it.

We also found time to stop at an ethnic grocery store for something my husband has been looking for called Halva, which is a Middle Eastern dessert.  I had never tried it before, and I really like to try ethnic foods, so we picked some up.  It is pretty good!  The halva we got was actually from Macedonia, and though it tastes nothing like it, I would best describe its texture as that of the ‘astronaut’ ice cream.  You know, the freeze dried ice cream that they sell at space museums?

And to round out our cultural experience, my nephew had a pinata at his birthday party.  Pardon my spelling it wrong, I can’t find the special n with the tilday over it they use in the spanish alphabet.  So in my blog, it will be known as a pinata.  Just in case you are not familiar with what a pinata entails, check out Wikipedia’s explanation:  

A succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding children try to break the piñata in order to collect the sweets (traditionally fruit, such as sugarcane) and/or toys inside of it. It has been used for hundreds of years to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Easter.

Seems that Wikipedia figured out how to do the tilday…  but anyway, yes you read that right – blindfolded, stick-wielding children!  Actually, it’s customary to use a baseball bat instead of a stick, yet oddly enough, I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a pinata party where a parent didn’t have to step in and break it open themselves – this one being no exception.  It went pretty well, though we did almost have a casualty – my nephew took his first whack at the pinata, and his dad had not cleared the area, so CRACK went the bat against the cell phone he was wearing…  but I guess all was well, especially since someone had talked them out of their original plan: giving a bunch of 5-year-olds an aluminum bat with which to whack at the pinata.  Thank goodness for the insight!  If you get a chance, you should check out the pinata scene in the movie Parenthood, it’s hilarious…  the kids at the party lose interest after not being able to get it open, so the scene cuts to Steve Martin beating the heck out of the thing as it lays on the floor.  Nothing like that at my nephew’s party, in fact, his pinata opened rather easily.  And when it did break open, there wasn’t the usual melee either…  the kids were actually quite orderly in picking up the pinata “guts”.  I was a little worried because the last time I was at a birthday party with a pinata, the kids all piled in a heap on top of each other, and the kid at the bottom ended up with a bloody lip.

So, overall, great weekend, even if it lacked sleep – lots of driving and we didn’t get home until 3:30 in the morning!  And I have a few weeks to decide whether or not we will be brave enough to attempt a pinata at my daughter’s 4th birthday party…  maybe that will be enough time for her to forget that her cousin had one…

One thing is for sure, if we have a pinata, we will not have an aluminum bat on the premises!

Thanks, But I Prefer a MA’AM-wich

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have yet to figure out what makes women so much better at making sandwiches than men.  It might sound funny, but it’s very true.  I’ve been to a number of Subway Sandwich Shops across a number of states, and every time without fail, if a male makes the sandwich, eating it is dreadful.  They don’t spread the condiments evenly, so the sandwich is either soggy or falls apart or both, and it definitely doesn’t taste very good when ingredients are all clumped together and not spread out correctly.  I can think of 4 possible reasons why females make better “sandwich artists” than males: 1.  organizational skills – Women tend to have better ways of organizing things and in a more efficient order.  Apparently, this holds true even when organizing sandwich ingredients.  2.  detail-orientated thinking – Women tend to think about and obsess over every little detail, just ask their husbands.  3.  patience – Women practice having lots of patience to put up with the men in their daily lives.  It takes lots of patience to make a perfect sub.  4.  compassion – Let’s face it, women have more of this than men.  And it takes an understanding woman to want to take the time to care about your sandwich.

Does this mean that having a woman in the white house is a better choice after all?  Probably not, I wouldn’t read that far into it.  But if I were you, next time you go to a Subway and a male worker says, “Can I help you?”,  you should say, “Thanks, but I prefer a ma’am-wich”.

HAHAHA!  Just kidding!  You’ll look like a big idiot if you say that!  If a man makes your sandwich, just wear a bib and don’t expect it to taste very good!