Friday, November 20, 2009

Trisha Yearwood Cookbook Review

If you are looking for a great cookbook as a gift for your favorite cook this Christmas, here is another one of my favorites. Trisha Yearwood, her mama, and her sister can cook! The recipes are mostly Southern, not too complicated, and absolutely delicious. One example is her Meatloaf. I've never really liked meatloaf, but I decided to try hers, and that was enough to change my mind. It is wonderful!

She has a recipe in here called "Cooked to Death Green Beans". Now I know that may not sound like the most nutritious way to eat green beans, but oh, so good. These are my kind of green beans. Her "Daddy's Biscuits" are wonderful, and even her hubby Garth Brooks has a recipe in there called "Garth's Pasta Salad", which I haven't tried yet, but it looks so good.

She also shares some sweet family stories that make this wonderful cookbook very personal and welcoming. She cooks the way I love to eat, and she makes you want to go have Sunday Supper at her house, or, according to her, even better would be to go to her mama's house and eat to your hearts content. If you get the book, don't forget to try the "Banana Pudding". You'll love it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Wish I Could Fall Asleep Anywhere

Okay, maybe I don't want to sleep in a planter, but I do envy a cat's ability (and my husband's) to fall asleep anywhere. This is what I found on my porch one day last week when I went out to water the plants.We call her "Paws". Can you see why? She has extra toes on her feet. She moved in with us about 12 years ago. We came home from church one night, and she'd given birth to 6 kittens in our garage. Up until that time, we didn't know she was our cat :-) She's never been a cuddly cat, but we love her anyway.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies...Delicious!

My youngest daughter Micaela, enjoys baking. A couple of years ago she found this recipe in a Rachel Ray magazine and made them for us. They were absolutely delicious. We BEG her to make them for us now. If you like pumpkin or cream cheese, you will love these!

Here is Micaela taking them off of the cookie sheet. As you can see, we don't use the parchment paper, as advised in the recipe :-)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, if desired. In large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 tsp. salt. With a rubber spatula, fold in flour.

Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 tsp. vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 min.

Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Watch them disappear!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, I've included some info on the history of it (straight from an old World Book encyclopedia) and a tribute to some of the veterans I've known personally, who have served and fought, and one who has given his life for our freedom. Thank you to all who have served, or or serving now.My dad, Jay, who served in the navy during WWII. He just celebrated his 84th birthday last week. When he was born, he was given the name J.C., yes, only initials, which was common in the South at that time. When he went in the service, he had to come up with a name, and he chose Jay. It made it easy!
Not a great photo, I didn't have the original, only this newspaper article, but it's my cousin Marlin, who was one of the few killed in Grenada. Although his family moved to Arkansas before his death, he actually went to school right here in our town, and his name is on a memorial here.
My Uncle Vic, a humble man, and a Purple Heart recipient, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He came home to become a teacher of developmentally disabled kids, and after he retired, he went to Brazil as a teacher to missionary kids. He is now 85, living in Washington, and still an encouragement to me in my homeschooling endeavor.And last but not certainly not least, this is my nephew Jordan and his son Jay, named after my dad, along with me. Jordan is currently serving in the Marines, and just returned from Afghanistan this week.

Veterans Day: commemorates the courage and patriotism of all the men and women who have served in the United States armed services. It is celebrated on November 11. Other countries, such as Great Britain and France, celebrate November 11 as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of fighting in World War I on Nov.11, 1918. Canada observes Remembrance Day on November 11.

Veterans Day celebrations in the U.S. include parades and speeches. Special services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day to remind Americans of the tragedies of war. A law adopted in 1938 made the day a federal holiday. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all United States veterans.

Thank you for our freedom!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Life's Embarrassing Moments

I wrote this up a few months ago, and thought I'd share it with you all. It's a little long, and I hope you can visualize it while you read it. This is our view of the mountain I'm talking about.

I was 14 years old and my high school ski club had gone snow skiing at Holiday Hill (now Mountain High) in Wrightwood California. I'd never skied, but was excited to learn. After a class for beginners, we were all anxious to get started. I felt I was catching on and each time I came down the hill I went a little higher up the hill the next time. However, I had not mastered stopping at the bottom of the hill.

Coming down one time I was picking up speed...and heading straight for a line of people waiting to go back up the hill. They were standing behind a rope connected by two poles. I crouched down trying to get below the rope, but now I was completely out of control, not knowing how to ski in a crouched position (okay, I didn't really know how to ski in an upright position either). I didn't get down low enough and my neck caught on the rope. Of course I was in motion, so the rope, the poles, and the entire line of people came down with me. Seriously, the entire line.

I was very embarrassed, but I soon realized that I'd ended up near the front of the line, so I jumped up and got on, since everyone else there was also slightly confused. What happened next is proof that you should never take cuts in line!

This was not a chair lift, but it was a disk, which you pulled down and rode, with your skis going along on the ground. When you got as far up the mountain as you wanted to go, you simply slid off, and the disk went back up on something like a cable or spring. (Are you getting the picture?) You were supposed to be careful not to put your entire weight on this disk, but just ride it, holding on lightly. I however, was a little confused already and I made the mistake of putting my weight on it and trying to ride it. I only weighed about 100 lbs., but apparently that was too much. My bottom slid off, and as it did, my skis and poles got tangled up in the disk. Now I was riding along on my bottom, my arms, poles, legs and and skis straight up above me, stuck in the disk, and it seemed this lift was moving along at an ungodly speed.

I couldn't get myself untangled, and I'm sure the sight must
have been hilarious, but I was scared to death because I knew that if I didn't get off before I reached the top of what had now become an enormous mountain, I'd be hanging in the air when it headed back down on the other side. I started screaming for them to stop this thing, but they didn't. I'm not sure the operator knew what was happening, or maybe he was secretly a little thrilled to see this girl hanging there, the one that had just sent his entire line into such disarray. Finally, right before I reached the top I got myself unattached to the disk, counting my blessings that I didn't die on that thing. Now, I just had to get back down the hill, and from a much higher point than I'd ever been before.

It must
have taken me about 10 minutes to get my bindings back on (this was before the day of step-in bindings), but I finally did, and began my descent down the hill. Again, going down was not too much of a problem, but as I got to the bottom, I realized that I was headed straight for the same rope, poles and line of people I'd knocked down minutes before! This was too much; you really think you can die from embarrassment when you're 14. Stopping was something I just couldn't master, so again I crouched down, not knowing what else to do. I got lower this time,(my neck still smarting from the last time) and the people in the line saw me coming, so they separated, and I went under the rope and through the line, not knocking down a single person! I was thrilled....for a second. I was still not in control, and didn't know how to stop. Beyond the line was another little hill and then the parking lot. However, standing on the little hill, and directly in my path, was a lady.... with her back to me.

I did finally stop when I hit the parking lot, and the lady that had been standing in my path was now flat on her back, thanks to me. As I got up and went to check on her, I realized it was my typing teacher, one of the sponsors of the ski club! I apologized profusely, and while I'm sure she was a bit sore, she encouraged me not to give up on skiing, although I probably should've.

I went immediately to find someone who could teach me how to STOP.

I haven't been skiing in quite a few years, but I did finally learn to ski comfortably, and I have kids that snowboard on that same mountain :-) It makes for a funny story to tell, and it also makes you realize that there are some REALLY good things about growing up BEFORE the days of "America's Funniest Home Videos".


Friday, November 6, 2009

A Few Thoughts

We've been roasting pumpkin seeds, making applesauce, (both are so much better than store bought) and enjoying the last warm days before winter sets in. We've had beautiful, unseasonably warm weather, but it will change, the winds will come, and the cold nights will set in. I thought I'd share a couple photos of what we still have growing around here.

As I look at these flowers, I'm reminded that God grows my garden, I just tend it.
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28-29

My mother told me that this was her mother's favorite verse, and she used to quote it often. Raising 5 children during the depression, I'm sure she took much comfort in it. I pray that you will too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's 84th birthday. He was born in Arkansas during the depression in a house that was little more than a tent. He was the 3rd child born to my grandparents, and the first of 3 sons. His oldest sister had died on her 4th birthday, three years before my father was born. It was a different world than the one I was born into.

He served our country in the Navy during WWII, and then went to work in St. Louis where he met and married my mom. They celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in July! My father became an engineer and my parents moved to California in the early 50's. They waited 9 years to become parents before adopting my older brother. Three years later, my mom gave birth to me. We have been blessed with wonderful, loving parents. Look at them, they're still in love.
My father is one of those men who can fix just about anything. My son Randy, who looks alot like my dad when he was young, seems to have inherited that talent. My dad is also quite an artist. I did alot of artwork when I was in school and I was always proud of the fact that I'd gotten that ability from him.

I can only remember getting spanked by him once....and it was years before I ever stuck my tongue out at anyone again :) I'm sure this was truly a case of it hurting him more than it hurt me. I have rarely even heard my father raise his voice, let alone lose his temper. He's a quiet, hardworking, funny, and loving man. He lives his faith in God by his example. I grew up thinking that everyone had a father like him. He is truly a wonderful father, and I am blessed to call him Dad.
Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you!
Your Daughter,