Thursday, November 16, 2017

Perhaps It is All of These Things

 Do you have a favorite book or magazine that you use every year?  This is mine.  1967 Farm Journal Christmas Book. Despite the fact that the cover and back page have pulled away from the book, it remains intact and readable.  Take a look at what made me happy in 1967 and every year since.
This is my favorite recipe for anything cranberry, but nothing beats the basic relish recipe which I make each year.  I made 8 pints this week; ready for Thanksgiving and beyond.  Since it freezes, thaws, and refreezes well, a jar is almost always in my freezer.  A scoop of this delicious ice cold relish is always next to the turkey on my plate....and it is so pretty and red.  Make it, you will be amazed.  (You will need a grinder, but I bet you could use a food processor--not yet invented in 1967.)
That Yule Log Cake!  Need I say more.  I served this at my Christmas get-together way back in about 1978.  The room was warm even in December, but the cake was ice cold and refreshing.
 

I will admit I have never made the salad pictured here, but these type salads were the rage back in those days.  Thought I'd just throw this in for this look back.

This vegetable Christmas tree--I've made it many times over the years.  It is a pain to make, but it is quite cute.  If I make it again, I can see ways it could be improved. 
If you enlarge the photo, you will see the three dip recipes I made to have at the party when I served the cold cake. 

DIY was even popular in the 1960s.  Paper mache--remember?  1967 might have been the year my mom made a decorative item for my grandmother and herself.  I will try to describe it.  It was a pretty shaped larger vase, topped by a plate, another smaller vase, another smaller plate, and an even smaller vase--all covered by paper mache and painted.  It stood tall and majestic on the floor next to our front door.  It looked very expensive to me....back in the day.  The effect was quite nice.  Grapes and greenery adorned it.  I am still amazed at what a wonderfully talented woman my mom was.  I wonder whatever happened to it.  Probably threw it out.  Shame. 
And the candy...........safe to say I have made several of the recipes on these pages.  The Apricot Nugget was a pleasant change to all the chocolate.

I have bought many Christmas books much more elaborate than this thin little book, but none has brought me more smiles of satisfaction than this one.  Perhaps it is because the recipes were simple, perhaps it is because the pages remind me of certain parties, perhaps it is because I remember the day it arrived in the mail and my mother and me poring over it, perhaps it is all of these things.

I love you. 






Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cookie Baking Questions

Good mid-day friends.  Here it is almost lunch time and the hubby is going to lunch with a friend and guess where they are going.  Chinese food!  Ask me how often the hubs has suggested Chinese food in the last year.  Zero!  Exactly zero........but I digress......


This morning I made cookies for my grandchildren.......can't say grandboys as I now have a sweet granddaughter.  I have a few questions I want to ask you about cookie baking.


Question number 1.  Why does every tray take eight minutes to cook, but one?  Yes, one takes nine.  Why?


Question number 2.  Why does that one minute take so long when one year passes so quickly (thinking Christmas....it is approaching.........I can see it looming in the distance...or at any store in town........not to mention all websites.)?  Why?


Question number 3.  Where does the oven mitt go in between batches of cookies?  I mean between EVERY batch?  Seriously!  Where?


Question number 4.  Why does the last batch ALWAYS burn even with the timer set?  Every time?  Why?


Question number 5.  Why don't my grandchildren like nuts?  Seriously.  What's wrong with them?


Well, the hubby has left and I am here contemplating cookies and eating my gruel (okay, not gruel...cottage cheese and tomatoes). 


Hope you have a wonderful cookie-filled day.


I love you.



Thursday, September 28, 2017

So.....Your Dressing Never Met the Chicken Before the Plate

Hello everybody.  Just a little note to tell you about our meal last evening.  We were at our favorite local diner having some comfort food since it had been raining two days and nights.....cool and rainy = comfort food.  Nothing sounded better to me than the daily special:  ta-da  Baked chicken and dressing!! 


Let me just say..................they cannot make dressing like I do..............so my craving for Thanksgiving food is still lingering on the taste buds of my mind.  Can you say boxed dressing, boys and girls?   


On the way home, straight-faced, the hubby says, and I quote, "So.......I guess it is safe to say that your dressing never met the chicken before the plate."  He always catches me off-guard with his humor every time which makes everything he says even funnier.  I burst out laughing...............and that's the reason I love him.  He has the most fantastic sense of humor which makes a marriage so enjoyable.


So...........I guess it is safe to say that your dressing never met the chicken before the plate.


I love you.   

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pampering at the Mall


Pampering at the Mall



Good evening.  Last post, the hubby and I had gone to the mall.  Last Saturday my daughter and I also had a trip to the mall alone...a very rare trip these days.  Just the two of us like the old days. 

Nothing like visiting and catching up with my daughter.  We have so much in common....wonder why?  We spent almost the whole afternoon just browsing through Dillard's, stopping to admire the shoes, the purses........
The hubby would find no thrill in that!  We only stopped our shopping for lunch at the Mexican restaurant right outside the store.  Oh what a fun, simple time.  We didn't even spend that much, we just browsed and talked about the fashion.  When a lady pulled my daughter aside and suggested a quick makeover, she had to take advantage of a little pampering.....doesn't get that much being the mother of three.  She certainly deserves it.

Pampering at the mall............  AHH

I love you.


 




Friday, September 22, 2017

He's One of the Good Guys

My hubby--he's one of the good guys.


Yesterday, the hubby and I went to the mall.  I had to pick up my wedding rings which were being repaired.  Wow, my engagement ring sparkled like a diamond, oh wait, it was a diamond.  I couldn't believe how pretty the set looked.  I kept admiring them all afternoon.


So.........being at the mall............we decided to take a look around since neither of us had been out there for months.  It was quite a treat and we both had a good time.  BUT I have to tell you going to the mall with my husband is NOT going to the mall with my daughter.  This is how it went with him and how it would go with my girl.


Hubby:  Man......what is that smell?  That stinks.  (This coming from a man who doesn't have the sense of smell anymore.)
Daughter:  Doesn't that smell wonderful, Mom?


Hubby:  Why are we going in Mrs. Sees?
Daughter:  Mom, let's get our free sample.


Hubby:  Hubby walks on by Pottery Barn not even noticing that I have stopped to window shop.
Daughter:  Mom, let's go in.


Hubby:  Why would they put tattered jeans in the window?
Daughter:  Look at those, aren't they cute?  Mom, you really should get you some.  We can find you some that are classic, but slightly tattered.


Hubby:  Nah, I don't want a frappe.
Daughter:  Mom, let's each get a different flavor and we can swap.


Hubby:  There are too many shoes in this store.  How do you weed through all this stuff?
Daughter:  I'm in shoe store heaven.


Hubby:  No, I'm not very hungry.  Let's split something at the food court.
Daughter:  Let's go to Pepperoni Grill and relax a bit.


Hubby:  I've seen all I need to see.
Daughter:  Mom, wouldn't it be fun to be locked in the mall overnight with all the stores open?


I love him, but he is not a girl.  He was sweet and let me browse around Williams-Sonoma for quite a while even admiring the new fall dinnerware and a new (to us anyway) brand of cast iron cookware called Staub.  Pretty stuff........you need to see it.  AND he insisted I buy a glass pumpkin at Pottery Barn that I was admiring.  HE'S ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS.


And happy fall, y'all. 


I love you.







Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tomato Basil Soup Recipe using Trader Joe's Organic Creamy Tomato Soup






One of my favorite grocery stores in the whole wide world is Trader Joe's.  I discovered TJs back in 2000 when I was traveling to the LA area on business trips.  At first I was confused because almost all the products are the Trader Joe's brand.  There were none in Oklahoma at that time and it was many years before they were even in Texas. Finally, they made it to Dallas and ever since when traveling to Texas there has been a stop at Trader Joe's.  

Finally, a couple years ago they made it to the Oklahoma City area.  Now I go there at least once a month.  A couple weeks ago I bought a carton of their Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.  While this soup is delicious heated right out of the carton, I wanted to up it just a little.  I experimented and found a WINNER!!!!  This is a keeper and both my husband I loved it.  Even reheated, it was delicious and a recipe I will making all winter.  Before I forget, I want to get it in print for my recipe box.  I thought I would share it here for all you Trader Joe soup fans.

(Pictured above)
Regina's Almost Homemade Tomato Soup
(using Trader Joe's Organic Creamy Tomato Soup)

1 large clove of garlic (diced)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 carton Trader Joe's Creamy Organic Tomato Soup
1/4 to 1/3 cup garlic basil butter

In a medium saucepan, sauté the diced garlic in the olive oil; making sure to watch closely so it doesn't burn.  Yes, it happened to me.  Add the can of tomatoes, juice and all,  breaking up the tomatoes into small bits as you add.  Cook a bit to meld the garlic with the tomatoes.  Add the carton of TJs tomato soup.  Heat slowly.  Add the garlic basil butter.  Heat, but do NOT boil.

Ladle into bowls.
Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and basil leaves. 

(I had frozen garlic basil butter on hand that I made.  Just soften some butter, add shredded basil leaves and crushed garlic to taste.  Make into rolls, refrigerate until set.  Cut into slices, wrap and freeze for later use.  I will be making more garlic basil butter for soups this winter.  My basil still looks wonderful this year.)



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sweet Friend

I had lunch today with a sweet friend.  We had a nice time catching up on family and mutual friends.  Sometimes I forget how refreshing it is to visit with long-time friends.  I tend to get in a rut, almost a woe is me rut.  After a two-hour lunch, I immediately felt better about life, about my home, about my family, about my future, immensely better.


So don't forget your friends.  Even though you may have many friends, each friendship is unique to the two of you;  whether it be work related, family related, relationship related, school related......a friendship based on the experiences the two of you have experienced together.


Remember the old Girl Scout song?


Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other is gold.


So thank you, dear friend, for sharing, letting me share, and all the laughter.  I needed it.


I love you.


    

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Long Glimpse Back

We had a nostalgic night.  Johnny decided he wanted liver and onions so 4:30 p.m. off we went.  We pulled into the diner parking lot along with four other cars so I guess we aren't the only seniors that eat so early.  The waitress told us to seat ourselves which is right down my control freak alley.  The feature of the days was goulash and since L&O didn't sound all that great, I decided to try it.  What a kick back in time............and it was good...............reminding me of the good old days when macaroni and ground beef could make a great meal for a lot of people.  Simple times, simple meals.   


Still in this "nostalgic mood", a drive up to Heritage Park Mall seemed in order.  It was here that my little family spent many happy hours when our lives were ahead of us.  So much of Oklahoma City to explore and the world awaited us.  Now, the mall is no more and the only remaining store is Sears...........BUT WAIT...........WHAT IS GOING ON?  Tons of cars there.  We hadn't seen that many cars since Christmas, 1988.  We must go in!


Sadly, we found out that they were closing their doors forever on 3 September 2017 and I guess people suddenly thought they were going to discover the bargain of a lifetime, but my thought ran along these lines; if you people (we) had been shopping like this all these years, then the store wouldn't be closing.


We took a long glimpse back taking time just to look around, not for bargains, but looking back...remembering.  There was a display of folding trays and a lump formed in my throat remembering the time when my parents had them on their Christmas list.  What a wonderful memory.  Looking at the clothes I was reminded that when I was a child, Sears was pretty much the crème de la crème.  Another lump.  Craftsmen tools were purchased every Christmas for at least one man since I started shopping on my own.  Appliances were never purchased until we had compared them with the Kenmore.  A new Sears school coat was a must for our children until they got old enough pick out their own.  We poured over the Sears catalog for days at a time with my sisters and me picking one outfit per page.  Even mom had fun doing this.  We didn't start our Christmas wish list until we'd seen the Sears ad in the Thanksgiving Day paper.  When I was a child the Sears Santa was the best......and did I tell you that my Grandpa Dawkins knew him?  Huge lump!! 


Johnny said our little walk through Sears reminded him saying goodbye to an old friend who you no longer have much in common.  So with that we will say goodbye to our local Sears store. 


I love you.


The mall has been closed for years now, but if you go to Sears before 3 September, you will see a glimpse of the mall through the curtains.  A tiny sliver that draws me......oh I wish I could go through that sliver, walk the mall even with the dust and cob webs before the cob webs cloud my memories.  So tonight we had our last glimpse of the mall, we had our last glimpse of the Midwest City Sears, we had our last glimpse back. Soon the curtain will be closed forever.



After we left Sears we drove slowly around the mall.  Why couldn't somebody save it?  The huge parking lot that used to be completely filled at Christmas now has grass and weeds in the cracks.  The glass windows and doors boarded up.  How could anything so vibrant now be just an ugly eye sore?  Sad. 


"But I also knew that there was no going back.  One can never go back; nothing and no one is ever the same.  All that remained was an occasional evening of sadness, the sadness that we all feel because everything passes and because man is the only animal that knows it."  "Shadows in Paradise", a novel by Erich Maria Remarque.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

She's Okay.. I Liked Her.

Have you ever wanted to tell someone something?  Have you ever wanted to tell someone that everything turned out okay?  Today I ran into my deceased friend's son and his new bride.

Joyce, she's okay.

So many times over the years my friend (especially after she was diagnosed with breast cancer) would lament about her son and fact that he hadn't married.  "Was he was ever going to find the right girl.  What would she be like?  Would she like her?  Would she be my daughter?  Would she love my son enough?"

Today I met her, Joyce, and I liked her.  No, I don't know anything about her, but she made a great first impression; a little shy, but charmingly so.  I liked her.

As I walked to the car, I told my husband that I just wanted to tell Joyce that everything turned out fine.  No way to do that, but I can write it down.

Maybe we (I) should stop trying to figure out the future, and concentrate on the here and now.  Everything will be okay.

I wish you could have met her, Joyce.  You would be proud.  She's okay.   I liked her.

I love you.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Road Trip


Good afternoon everybody.
Welcome to the Petrified Forest.

Can you say Road Trip?

We just got home from our Grand Canyon trip with Blaine, 13 years old, and what a trip.  I will be writing about it for the next few days.

Today I want to write about days gone by.  Look at the old car above.  Just beyond the car are the telephone lines that ran along Route 66, the ROAD, the mother ROAD.  From Chicago to LA.  We can only imagine what a journey people had making that long, hot trip in most dessert without air conditioning.  The hubby shared with Blaine some about his trip when he was 12, just about the same age as Blaine is now.  In a station wagon without air conditioning there were five adults, two 12 year-olds, and a baby, making their way from the middle of Arkansas to LA.  Coming back they added another adult and another baby.  Would you consider making a trip like that today?  I can answer that!  NO!  He said they planned their timing to cross the desert in the middle of the night.

Times are different these days....air conditioned cars, expensive, repeat, expensive hotel rooms, expensive gas, more expensive food.......or so it seems.........compared to the days when we were first married and taking road trips.

Johnny and I and our kids made a lot of trips over the years.  We saved and saved for these trips and thought they were important for the culture of our children.  We set aside our money each month, scrimping by just to make those trips.  (In fact, it was kind of amusing how I managed our money back then, but worthy of its own blog post so I will save that memory for another time.)

We looked for inexpensive hotels (motels as we knew them back in the day) and often we would find one for less than $30--remember this was in the 70s and 80s.  I'd fry chicken before we left and we'd have a picnic everyday along our route.  When the chicken ran out, we'd grab some luncheon meats and bread.  Those picnics gave the kids a chance to run and burn off a little energy before hitting the road again.  If it was too hot for a picnic at noon, then we'd hit up a restaurant and save our "picnic" for our evening meal (spreading out the tablecloth {oh yes, I packed a tablecloth} on the bed, piling on and enjoying the Olympics or a political convention on TV--they always seemed to be on at the time we were traveling.)

We traveled but on a thin dime, but nonetheless, the trips are etched forever in our memories and hopefully in our children.  Times were simpler back then or so it seems.  Maybe our expectations were less and our wonder greater. 

Take a road trip....they are the greatest............

I love you.









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