Tag Archives: Cooking

Seven days in…..

SEVEN DAYS IN………please kind sir…a morsel of chocolate? Why all of the sudden I crave sweets….I am dealing with the lack of bread, slowly but sure this tortoise is winning that race. Now this dreaded craving….Maybe a grape jelly sandwich?? Huh, ?huh?……why does it have to be dark and chilly and rainy and ten thirty at night, not exactly good conditions for a junk food run. Not that I haven’t made the run in worse conditions but, I must forge ahead…and be strong.


I can thank my level headed husband for cutting a very tart Apple, it was delightful but being an Apple…it has already metabolized and I am left yearning. Seven days in and I now don’t like cheese anymore, who knew that was ever possible…sad. The turkey roll ups leave me wanting, sad. This is going to take some creativity.


It seems that when one removes all the crackers and bread and pasta and rice and little sneaks of sweets(okay maybe “big” not so sneaky sweets), one is left with healthier vegetables and meat/chicken


McKee Foods - Little Debbie logo
McKee Foods – Little Debbie logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


choices which makes one ..well….grossed out…..sad. I see this is gonna be an uphill climb…if I had a backpack with some Little Debbie cakes it might be doable!


Seven days in…..growling stomach, probably should not have skipped breakfast this morning…that was dumb and I will not make that mistake again. Time to go to bed and sleep fast so I can wake up to breakfast…… I wish the cook would forget and make pancakes!…I wish we had a cook….I wish I had a mounds bar!!!


Oh Lord help!


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This year my family traveled to visit our family for Thanksgiving in East Tennessee. This is never my first choice, to travel I mean, I am a home body as a rule and especially on a big holiday. I like to be the one doing the cooking. This year though, it worked out for us to go so we did.

My side of the family had a reunion a couple of weeks ago instead of the usual Thanksgiving celebration. We were blessed to have our precious Uncle Leon and Aunt Ornella as well as cousins John and Susan, which is always a special treat for us all. They have always lived far away so when they come home it is always a joy. My Aunt and Uncle are getting up in years and I have to catch myself when I hug them to not hug too hard because the thought always crosses my mind that this may be the last time. Morbid I know. Just trying to be prepared and enjoy them as long as I can.

It is not my intent, but I rarely get to see them and I just can’t bear the thought…..I as well feel this way about a lot of people in my life. We never know when this may be the last hug or laugh or words. Since my Mom has spent the last few years becoming less and less capable of knowing all of us, I am ever mindful of just how short life is.

Energizer Bunny

This became even more relevant to me yesterday during our visit to my mother in laws home. I don’t see here as often now and when I do, it is always shocking at the amount of “slowing down” she has done. If you had asked me if it ever would have happened I would have never believed it, she was the Energizer Bunny before the bunny was….she never knew how to rest, take it easy…..always doing something. Even at a time of relaxation, she would be embroidering.

I learned how to cook for the most part from her. When I married the preacherman and moved to his hometown and was thrust amongst all the good cookin’ church ladies and I was enlightened to the world of casseroles and some of the best in Southern cooking. I mastered the Thanksgiving Dinner from my mother in law, this was the first food of hers I had ever eaten….on a trip there with my room-mate(pre-marriage) to see University of Tennessee vs Vanderbilt. Reason number twenty-eight on why I went…got to see boyfriend and check out his hometown. Mission accomplished and some great food for us hungry college kids!

It was evident this week that she is slowing down, she was more frail and smaller…..just like my own Mom, although my Moms mind is failing her, my Mom in law is still pretty sharp. It is just her body that is tuckering out. But I swear if she still wont hardly let me help her….frustrating. What is it about the

English: at 955 Airport Boulevard, near , in .
English: at 955 Airport Boulevard, near , in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

elderly that makes them not stop or rather allow us to help. I hope I will be different, I hope I allow my kids to do all they can……or maybe that is how I feel now, sorry kids!

We had our lunch at a local, very popular restaurant, The Cracker Barrel. I was amazed at the amount of people who ate out for their Traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Do people not cook anymore? The over whelming part also was the amount of elderly people. I know this restaurant is a favorite of

the elderly as well as the Hardee’s breakfast, but it seemed there was mostly older folks. It actually made me sad and wonder…..where are all the children that go with these people. Did they choose to not be there with the Moms and Dads or maybe just like us went to the other side of the families dinner. I don’t know, it just seemed like of all the people there, ninety percent of them were older.

Maybe they have just “been there done that”, cooked the big meals, had the big house destroying family get together’s, broke the bank on all the pretty foods and accessories……maybe they are happy going out to eat and just driving home, in peace and quiet. I just don’t know. I think I was the only one who even cared, probably because two of my brood were not with us, I missed them and I missed not cooking for them all. My romantic view of life tends to get the best of me when I miss my kids.

On a side note: …..I also do not even want to obsess over the amount of people who play with those little wooden games with the golf tees that are on every table; the ones that have been scattered on the floor a zillion times and put back on the table and never disinfected. Then, while I watched people over and over touch those germ laced games and then pick up their fresh hot biscuits and jelly and eat them with the same dirty fingers……ugh, STOP!   STOP I would think, yelling in my head…..then I notice my own people doing the same thing….just as I had also done before…..ewe, wish I had not remembered that part…….I must have been tired, obsessing about all that. Some days it just doesn’t help to think so much!

So in the end, I chose pork chops for my special holiday meal….seemed to be a good choice, it had to be made fresh and it was good… unlike the big piles of turkey and vats of gravy and pans of mashed potatoes that have been made for hours …there I go obsessing again! I also knew I had a great home cooked meal waiting for me in a few hours when we traveled back home at my own Mom and sisters house. Happy to report is was awesome!

Thanksgiving deems to be getting squished out with all the shopping deals….I have never shopped on this day, truthfully, I have never had a large supply of money to do shopping with and I am also pretty protective of sleep and I have large crows issues…someone always gets trampled…..it ain’t gonna be me, sista! I have great Thanksgiving memories….a day for slowing down, a long weekend, throwing a football. Watching the parades and dreaming of living in New York……oh to be a kid again, the truth is my days are numbered and I know it. Soon I too will be enjoying my meals where everyone knows my name…..not CHEERS!…but my local Cracker Barrel!

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“kickin it old school…..”

Just yesterday I was thrilled to make the connections and locate a dear friend from the old days. Gotta love that social media…no really I do love it for just this reason. Awful as it is, the bitter reality is that we grow up and grow on, on to new adventures and lives to be led. I have contemplated often, how sad this harsh reality is, harsh to me because I have a loyal streak and once I am your friend….I am. Not everyone feels that way. I was once told by a person who I adored that …”out of sight out of mind!” It crushed me and forever I have mourned the loss of that friend even though she was a bit of a snip and I still know her but I thought we had more than that. Friends come and go and I am a big girl now but still is an ouchy!

I am not going to go on a limb here and appear to say I am the best at the friend thing. I do try but just with everyone else I get bogged down with daily life. But people rarely leave my heart and this is the sweetness that comes along with re-connecting. That person who for no good reason except LIFE becomes a memory of days past. But in that rare moment when the rock is turned over and shazzam! you find them again….ahhh how sweet it is. It happened last year also when I found my friend Kim. She was the best of the best and it was a blessing to talk to her.

This friend was not one I grew up with from childhood but, I did grow up with him. During those crazy mystery years in college when it is all you can do to make it to classes and study between all the socializing, awful how the school part gets in the way ya know? The college scene is fun and scary all at the same time and this friend of mine made that time easier.

I can not even for the life of me remember how we even met…maybe the MTSU yearbook staff job I had….sad but true the memory is slipping. Once we became friends though that was that. He was the kind of guy that any girl would love to have as a friend. Never a dull moment and I always had a “date” although he was never a date…..not that there was anything wrong with that! but we were not each others type….in that arena that is!

On the friend subject, none were better. We spent so much time dreaming of going to New York and imagining loosing track of each other and then one day eating in a restaurant and seeing each other….He was a waiter of course and an aspiring writer and I was a starving artist living in a shabby apartment in “the village!” It would be old home week for sure. As usual our vivid imaginations were at work…..Then there were the times practicing our stand-up routine, yeah we were funny, two white southern kids talking about growing up in the south…white bread and all….. trying to crack each other up….lame for sure but we had a blast. He also taught me how to make the best chicken salad on earth….for which my husband and kids appreciate! now……yep we were a mess.

It is always a hoot to run across someone from your past..that is why it is good not to leave a bad trail. When the past comes knocking it is sweet and not sorrowful. This is a sweet past friend and I would be honored if he felt the same way about me. Kickin’ it old school is fun and scary again and not always fun but it is sweet to find out your friends are alive and well. That is the important part considering I tend to live in my Pollyanna world of wanting everything to work out good and happy. If you wish it it will happen!

So to any of my dear friends from my distant past, I haven’t forgotten you….I might have forgotten some of the particulars but not your hearts. And this dear friend of mine I am happy we have touched base. You made my life richer for knowing you and I am the one blessed. You are writing for Broadway…kinda! and I am still a starving artist, so besides my huge batch of kids and the body to prove it…..not much has changed except I have yet to make it to New York yet…..maybe someday!!

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likes and dislikes

Boy o’ boy!

This has been the laziest of dayz for me…..not sure if I like it so much, not to say I don’t like having time to pile up and watch movies all day, but since I have had some place to be everyday on this first lazy day in a while I sorta miss it. I know I am silly…I go back and forth with my likes and dislikes, silly woman, silly mind! But our likes and dislikes are the road map in our lives.

Just recently I confessed to a new friend of my dislike of huge amounts of mayo and mustard….after her kind husband brought us lunch from Subway with a huge amount of both condiments. Because I am not, as a rule rude I ate the sandwich, thankfully it was only a six-inch sub and I squished and squished the goop farther down the bun…and by the way loaded with dill pickles on the bun (really! I am an on the side girl!) But I did eat joyfully because it was a moment of welcoming me to their family which I felt honored to be accepted. I never would have told him but of course later I did tell my friend, his wife…..only after I was sharing with her of my weird quirks (she might as well get used to them, they are many!) I know she will tell him…I am doomed to get embarrassed! Another like is that I can hold a conversation with also a huge dislike that I talk too much! No winning!

life “on the side”

That is a huge part of my likes and dislikes…stuff “on the side”, but also a part of my charm! At least I am consistent…salad dressing, usually never, but sometimes on the side to dip into, mayo/mustard always never except for a grilled Reuben for which NO DRESSING and only a sliver of mustard, ketchup ALWAYS on the side and yes I like just a bit with a steak…on the side to just mingle with the steak juices. I have been poo pooed by waiters in good steak houses for this one…oh well bring it on!

I like new magazines(the glossiness and the good smell) but will instantly be irritated when someone sits a drink on them, makes a ring! I like new books too, the smell is great but I can’t stand the smell in a clothing store, all the dyes and such. I dislike a lot of smells…. feet, B.O., salmon patties(disgusting food, as well as liver cooking and eating), other people’s kids dirty diapers(one common to all of course but my own babies I could stand, nuts I know), old cigarette smell(I can smell one burning, but the after smell is gross, clothes, house, etc), the musty smell(basements/old books/closed up rooms), puke!(just let a puke smell come along and I am right there with them), a newly opened bag of Lay’s potato chips and Parmesan cheese. I think the dislikes beat the likes!

Many smells I like…. new car, newly painted rooms, clean hair, dial soap, Clorox bleach, lemons/limes, Sunday dinner roast cooking, bacon or anything wrapped in bacon,  fresh-cut grass, fires burning, my husband wearing cologne…mmmm!, my babies feet!


The problem is I like what I like and I have grown old enough to like only what I like…..the days of going along to keep peace are mostly gone unless it is a new friend situation…then I will succumb to any dislike to give it a chance for a new friend. They aren’t that easy to come by.  There are times when I can suck it up and get along, anyone who has ever been in any long relationship is a pro at that. I am sure all those episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins have not been in my dear husbands LIKE list, but he watches with me and even helps me guess which they will pick. He can be a sport at times.Much better than me I must admit, I am a little spoiled.  But even he has chosen his own likes, that is what couples do I guess, eventually we kinda taper off to our own likes, space isn’t all bad and when I feel sorry for myself and feel left out, I try to remember that all that together time can be hard work! I need to pay him back by enduring the Sports talk shows…ugh! I don’t know if I have evolved that much!

We have too many miles under our belts to be worrying about such nonsense. He is one of my big likes, the biggest and I know I am his so even when we choose to be on the side from time to time it is okay…..makes it all the sweeter. That’s how we maintain in this life we ebb and flow with the times. When I was younger and my tastes were much more plain I never tried any thing new, stuck in a rut of foods that bored me and places and books and all the stuff we do for our life, but now I have lived outside that box and taken hold of new ideas. If I didn’ t have all this junk I would consider a minimalist life!

maybe someday

Someday maybe I will try beef jerky(the smell is the hold back with that one!) or Brussels sprouts(I let a plate of those sit and rot in defiance when I was a kid)or sugar beets(two words-slim-my)or sporting events(too big of crowd) or staying on the Interstate instead of taking a “short cut” on the back roads(probably not shorter but at least not stuck if there is a traffic jam) or video games! A fellow blogger wrote a post once about how she hated video games(I would link it if I could remember who it was, it has been a while)but one day she tried it and she clams it relieves stress( I don’t know about that one).

I suppose I will take my opinionated self on and try something new when the chance arises. I did taste a Caper the other day and found they were okay, nothing too weird so you never know what’s on the horizon in my likes and dislikes list. Oh yes, I like painting with Acrylics but can’t stand Oils……..random thought, sorry!

Feel free to compose your own list and fill me in.

There are plenty that I have left out here.

Give me a shout out!


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Quickie Dining a la hamburger

These days it is nearly impossible to come up with a new and fresh dinner idea every….single….night. Believe me I have tried…over and over. So for me, it is imperative that I have a few stand-by’s  to cook, in a flash when the time has slipped away and I am in a pinch.

Español: Latinhas de campbell estavam em promo...
Español: Latinhas de campbell estavam em promoção no pão de açucar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One easy meal is Hamburg Casserole. I call it this because a friend of mine years ago who was from Michigan called hamburger…hamburg and it has stuck ever since. Silly how little things like that stick in your head and vocabulary!

This dish is Oh so easy and to reference the title….OUICK! It is as follows:

1 lb. Hamburger  (leaner of course to save on fat)

1 can of cream of mushroom soup (less fat kind too is okay) Also–add some starch water from the noodles to keep moist, you can add water but why?

1 box of  Twirlie Noodles (yes they have a name, Rotini, but thats no fun!)

1 hunk of Velveeta Brand cheese (okay, I have begun to lessen how much I use because quite frankly it is starting

to gag me, that stuff!  So just enough to make it creamy, about an inch to one and a half inch chunk)

Cheddar/mozzarella/ etc to offset the lack of Velveeta


1.    Put on a pot of water, bring to a boil–then add twirlie noodles

2.    Brown Hamburg in a larger size skillet, breaking up in little crumbles

3.    Pour off any grease (sometimes I even rinse it a bit)

4.    Put back in pan and add soup and cheese

5.    Allow to simmer sloooowwlly! (do not let burn!)

6.    Drain Noodles (pleeease cook al dente’—mushy noodles are just gross!)

7.    Add Noodles to Hamburg mixture and blend

8.    Add in a bit more cheese on top as well as S&P to taste

9.    Cover and turn off–allow to melt cheese

10.   Enjoy!

green beans
green beans (Photo credit: Chasqui (Luis Tamayo))

This is a good one dish meal or steam up some broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or any other veggie. Green beans are a favorite of ours.

Speaking of that, you can make canned green beans great by cooking them kind of fast and add a splash of olive oil and pat of  butter, S&P and a bullion cube. Be sure to watch to not boil dry, and they are great!

Okay that is the easiest dinner you can make! This came from not liking those box meals with all the” helpers” added in. That stuff is just gross and has a really funky taste. Obviously one could change around the ingredients…better cheeses etc. One thing I caution…when using Hamburger, always use Mushroom Soup! Do not use cream of celery or chicken. DOES NOT WORK! You would be sorry!

Quick and easy for sure and I am sure those that can make it more healthy will! Feel free! I have changed a little bit from the originator of this recipe….for which my sister created, years ago!

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