Momma, Can I Have a Carry Out?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

 In exchange for my adult kids coming over to help me with heavy projects, I will “repay” them by making supper.  Actually, truth be told, I will never pass up a chance to cook for anyone who will sit at my dining room table.   A few weeks ago my son and his family and my daughter and her fiance came over and the men moved my old dryer to the berm, and picked up a “new” used one from a friend and hooked it up for me.  I made Mexican stuffed shells and my moms mac and cheese as a thank you to them.  The other night my daughter and finance came over again and took down our pool for the season and I made a pot of chili, and some BBQ and brownies.  I always tell them that Maddie and I won’t eat the left overs and they are to help themselves to anything they want to take home for lunch the next day.  Now I will admit that Maddie didn’t want to give up much chili, and Rick finished off the mac and cheese, so sometimes it is slim pickens for carry outs from mommas kitchen.  Often times they will call and want to come to dinner on a certain day of the week, and I will ask if there is anything special they want me to cook, which they usually have no problem giving me a menu.

I remember when I was newly married and going through nurses training and not working,  money was scarce .  We often times left my parents house on Sundays with left overs and packages of frozen meat, desserts and canned goods. My goodness, meals would have been pretty sparse had it not been for the good will of my folks.  When my 2 oldest kids were little ( about 4 and 6), they would each have a plastic grocery bag with their own little bag of sliced ham, cheese, fruit, a Little Debbie Oatmeal cookie and a few pieces of candy.  They sat in the back seat guarding those bags as if their lives depended on it. And believe me, they knew if someone got into their bag that Memaw gave them.  They didn’t need to worry because I had my own doggie bag too…duh 🙂

It’s probably funny to people when I try to explain the feeling I get when I am able to send a little bit of this and a little bit of that home with my adult children.  Perhaps I am trying to spoil them a little, even though they are gone from home?  I do know that I want them to have the same wonderful memories of me that I have of my mom.  I even find myself making 2 seperate main dishes to be sure eveyone has something they want to eat, just like she did.  They only complaint I have, mirrors the same one she had….bring back my Tupperware! ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Dum Dum Salad

1 number 2 can pineapple chunks- drained

1 can cherry pie filling

1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix and serve.  Refrigerate until chilled, then serve.

Nice quick dessert!

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IS MY TIARA ON STRAIGHT?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

cakecentral

  My daughter (number 3 as I call her since I seem to call her every other siblings name) has now been a newlywed for 3 months.  They have returned from their dream honeymoon cruising the Hawaiian Islands.  Daryl has accepted a new job with a new company.  Katelyn has returned to her job as a correctional nurse, and they have settled into their roles of husband and wife, tossing aside the old titles of boyfriend and girlfriend.  They have moved in with her father and his wife while they are saving money for a down payment on a home they are buying in February.  All in all, life is rolling along as it should be.  I have begun dating a wonderful man, which now involves “running” every weekend, here and there, with each weekend being a new adventure. Since Katelyn and I work together, every Monday we share with each other how our weekends went, where we had gone, etc.  After our share session this week she pouted and said “Wow, you guys are old and are doing more than we do.  We just sit and watch movies at home or go out to eat once in awhile!”  I told her that we are just in the dating phase that they were in 2 years ago, and quite frankly…HA HA HA….NANA NANA BOO BOO!!!!
Monday morning she came  into work and said that she and “D” had a fight before she came to work.  Of course being the mother bear that I am I was prepared to kick some son-in-law butt.  She then sat down in my office and told me what had happened.  She said that she asked him to go out and start her car in order to warm it up, and he was playing a video game that he couldn’t pause, so he told her he would do it in a minute.  She then became upset because he didn’t jump up and do as she commanded.  She said that she stormed out to the car, while saying a few sailor words, and left for work.  I just looked at her in amazement…and went “WHAT?????…..Kateyln! Shame on you!”  I told her that first off, it was 36 degrees out, so her car didn’t need to be warmed up for 10 minutes, and that her response to him was way out of line.  I went on to tell her that there was no reason that she could not have put on some shoes and start her car if it was that important to her.  She looked at me in stunned silence and informed me that she was a diva and he should have done as she asked.  With that statement came the usual motherly eye roll…except it was the monster of all eye rolls…one that could be mistaken as the start of a seizure…I swear I saw the bottom of my brain from the inside.  Where had this “diva” come from?  Where did she learn such behavior?  I knew that she didn’t learn it from me, as I am as far from a diva as they come.  We all knew that she was a self proclaimed princess….but a diva?

  At this point her co-worker Bonnie joined the conversation and said that her husband starts the car every morning without being asked, so it was fine for Katie to expect it to be done.  They then laughed and joked about being divas as I sat there with this stupid, bewildered look on my face.  Who were these fairy princess women?  Had I truly missed the boat during my former marriage by not declaring myself a diva?  After sitting at my desk contemplating what had just happened, I decided that my next question was “How does one become a diva, or at least a princess?”  So out of my office I go to have this all important question answered.  I then posed the question, and waited for guidance, because now that I was embarking into a new relationship, perhaps I too could be Cinderella instead of Ursela the sea witch?????  My beautiful, educated, funny, and loving daughter answered in all of her blond innocence: “Mom, NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE A PRINCESS….IT CHOOSES YOU!”  I just stood there with a pout on my face as the tiara slowly slipped off of my head and hit the floor with a gently ping….sigh. ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY  

 Six Minute Caramels

(shared with me by a new friend Jane)

Ingredients:

 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients.

2.  Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute.

3.  Stir and pour into lightly greased dish

 4.  Let cool

5.  Cut, wrap in wax paper & store in an air tight container

Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

My Blog

Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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May Day….days gone by…

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photocredit:tlc.howstuffworks

Growing up, May Day used to be one of my favorite days of the year, that is, after Christmas and my birthday.  In the seventies we still celebrated May Day in our small town of 1,100 people.  Mom would send us uptown with 2 dollars, and our job was to pick out 100 pieces of penny candy, plus some special candy.  Back in the “dark ages,” as my kids refer to my youth, there was a very nice assortment of penny candy available for stuffing the baskets.  There were those chewy cherry (or strawberry?) circular candies that had the appearance of a coin, Tootsie Rolls in a decent length, Pixie Sticks, Milk Duds, Nik-L-Nips, Candy Buttons on a strip of paper, Bit-O-Honey, Candy cigarettes, about 20 different suckers, Chicklets, candy bracelets, wax lips, Sweet Tarts, Dubble Bubble, Licorice, Lemon Drops, Black Jack Gum, Teaberry Gum, Necco wafers, Sugar Babies, Rasinets, Charms, Razzles, Chocolate coins, Pirates gold gum that came in a little sack, and it you had a little extra money you could get some Brachs candy too.  Now, not all of these candies sold for a penny, but they weren’t more than a dime each.  I can clearly remember going up to the Sweet Shop, money in hand, and beginning the task given to me.  As my sisters got older, they would come up too, and we were like the proverbial “kids in a candy shop.”  We would grab candy and set them in little piles, according to price, on top of the ice cream freezer (self-serve kind with 2 doors that slid both ways)  “Doc,” the owner would stand of the other side of the freezer and divide the piles into smaller piles, to make adding up our total easier.  It seemed like such a huge pile of candy….and we were in heaven.  We gladly gave over our money, while often times having to return some candy because our count was off, and left the store with our bags of happiness.  After the 2 block walk home we would begin making the baskets.  Mom would pop some popcorn on the stove, without butter, to be added to the baskets as a filler.  All we needed now was construction paper, scissors, some crayons for decorating the baskets, and a stapler. Sometimes she would have some paper doilies to make special baskets for family.  We always made them in to a cone shape, and cut an extra strip of paper for the handle.  It was imperative that you have a sturdy handle, because the baskets were to be hung on the door knobs of their front doors.  If it was a boy that you thought was cute, you could ring the door bell, then run…and if they chased after you, then  that meant they liked you.  unfortunately the only thing that chased after me were the family pets…….Sometimes we would go out in the yard and pick some of those little purple wild violets that grew close to the ground (actually, I think they were weeds) and add them to our mix of candy and popcorn.  It was truly one of the best days of the year.  Spring was making its appearance, the tulips were open, and the leaves were turning the trees green.  The long snowy cold winter was behind us.  If it was nice we would load the baskets on our bikes and make our deliveries, and if it was raining Mom would take us around.  Then you would anxiously return home to see how many baskets were left on the porch for us.  Truly magical 🙂

photo credit:peoplesumcnews.blogspot

I tried to continue the tradition when my oldest were in grade school a decade later, but many kids their age just didn’t know about giving out May Day baskets. They had a chosen few that got “special” baskets, including our neighbor Emma, their piano teacher Anne, and any other adults who touched their lives in a personal way.  One year we made them out of construction paper, and another year we used Dixie cups with pipe cleaners for handles.  They were always hand-made and decorated with the love and dedication that only a child can create.   I am a lover of traditions, and this was one that I hated to see die, but eventually we stopped making them as well……so to all of my friends and readers, I am sending you a virtual beautiful May Basket filled with any candy that you can fondly remember, popcorn that was popped on the stove, with a sprinkling little purple violets ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Red Cake

4 (1/2 oz) bottles red food coloring

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. vinegar

3 Tbls. Nestle milk cocoa

1/2 cup Crisco

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Mix food coloring and cocoa together and set aside.

Combine flour and salt, sifting 3 times.

Cream sugar, crisco and egg.

Mix food coloring/ cocoa mixture to above.

Add buttermilk, flour, salt and vanilla.

Add baking soda to vinegar and stir well in to mixture.

Grease and flour pans (I use 2 heart-shaped pans) and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Frosting:

2 stick oleo

7-8 Tbls Crisco

3 Tbls flour

2./3 cup milk (room temperature)

1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla to taste

Cream the oleo, Crisco, sugar and flour (add flour one Tbls at a time)

Add milk and vanilla.

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.

Fourth of July Fun

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

me in my homemade floatGrowing up in a town of 1,000 people was just the right fit for me.  We lived almost in the center of town…2 blocks from uptown, 3 blocks from the school and 2 blocks from the park.  As most small towns do, we always had a full day celebration on the 4th of July.  It would begin with a festive parade, complete with fire engines, police cars, floats, tractors and horses.  The kids would stand at the edge of the road, bag in hand, ready to get a months supply of free candy that was thrown out to the crowd from the passing entries.  The parade started at the grade/ high school, went down main street, turned at the hotel and went straight down to the park.  It was always exciting because we only had to walk 1/2 a block to reach the parade route.  We would cross the street with our blankets and lawn chairs sit in my Aunt Doris and Uncles Shellys yard.  This was the meeting spot for the extended family to assemble.  For many years we would have a fish fry and potluck in that same back yard.  They would un-thaw the fish that the men and ladies had caught that previous summer when we all went on vacation together in Wisconsin.  After the parade, while the adults were cooking the food, the kids would go to the park for the awards ceremony so see who’s float was the winner, and then to play some kids games.

moms creationToday I began going through some photos that we kept in a trunk after my parents passed away.  It was too painful to look at them for the past 5 years, and I will admit I have shed a few tears in the last few hours.  I found these photos of floats my mom created when I was a baby, and  that continued throughout our grade school years.  I just look at these and I shake my head in total awe of my mothers creativity and spirit.  These were made with a wagon,  chicken wire and countless tissues.  This one is probably the best one that I could find.  The date on the photo is 1960, which means I was 2 years old as a passenger in the float.

Scan_Pic0034In this one, my sister Tammy was a baby, and my other sister Kelly was the one appointed to push her the short 4 block through the kiddie parade starting line, to the park.  I would have been about 12 at this time, so I am sure that I was following close behind in some sort of get up.  One year the town replaced the old water tower with a new one, and Kelly and I went as the old and the new water towers.  She was in the “old” one, which was brick and straight up and down in shape.  Mine was silver in color, and had the familiar shape of most water towers now..looking like a golf tee with a golf ball sitting on the top.  I am hoping to find that picture somewhere.  I know we were older, and I can even remember trying to walk inside my water tower, trying not to fall over.

mom and I 1959...her carousel creationl This is the one that shows this wonderful, amazing woman who I called “mom”….As I said before, I am in awe of the things she did as we were growing up.  Most things went unnoticed by her children, until after she was gone.  She made every holiday special, but the July 4th and Christmas were always the best.  Now I am in a new town, double the size…but the parade goes right by my house.  My kids sat for years, as we did, with their bags, ready to catch the bounty of candy.  I wasn’t as creative as mom, and we didn’t enter many kiddie parades, so perhaps I cheated my kids in a way.  I have no excuse, other than the shoes I had to fill were much too large ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

PATIO POTATO SALAD

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  •    1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 7 medium red potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves and paprika, optional

Directions

  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, mustard, salt and celery seed. Stir in the milk, vinegar and egg until smooth. Add butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Cool. Stir in onion and mayonnaise. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If desired, serve in a lettuce-lined bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

The Fight: Round 1

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit: facebookThe tests are completed, the visits to the various doctors have been made, the diagnoses has been determined, and this week marks the beginning of my ex-husbands fight against cancer.  The final verdict is: Stage 2, T 3, N 0, M 0.  It is amazing how much information it available from those few letters and numbers.  Those words and letters have determined what game plan will be needed to rid the cancer from Bills body.  Basically his cancer is Stage 2, which means that the tumor has gone through the layers of the colon,  T 3 means the same as Stage 2 but it stages the tumor itself, N 0 means that there are no nodes involved at this point, and M 0 means that the cancer has not metastasized to any other organs of his body.  As a health care professional I know that it could have been much worse, but it means that Bill has a fight on his hands.  It was thought that surgery would be the plan, but now it seems that he will endure 6 weeks of chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor before it can be removed.  It will be much easier to remove the tumor if it is smaller because there will hopefully be more good colon wall available for a surgical anastomosis.

My children, realizing that their dad is going to go through some financial hardship from this “fight” have decided to organize a fund-raiser, or a benefit to help with the costs of his treatment.  The chemo alone, which is in tablet form, is $9,000 a month.  So it is overwhelming to even fathom how much he will be in debt 6 months from now, when he is cancer free.  Yes, he has insurance, and it is good insurance, but as with insurance co-pays and deductibles…the amount will still be staggering.  When we were married, he was a deputy sheriff, small town police officer and then Chief of Police for our town, until retirement 6 years ago.  Along the way he has made many friends and enemies….as is normal with anyone working in law enforcement.  Last June he remarried and has a wonderful wife, who has become my friend.  God certainly knew what he was doing, putting Mary in his life  so he would not have to fight this battle alone.  Yesterday the date and time for the benefit was posted on all of our Facebook pages, asking for ideas, help, possible donation, support and prayers.  The immediate response was overwhelming and so warming to my soul.  When my son initially told me about the benefit, I told him to put me down for the catering aspect of  the evening.  That was where I felt my talents could best be utilized.  I, myself, had 17 ladies volunteer to help me with the food within the first 2 hours.  We had 9 people donate various baskets and other goods to be auctioned off.  A friend of mine used to have a band, which I found out could not be resurrected, but he has some ideas and would get back to me.  Plus, I have had offers of help from people who have run fundraisers in the past.

This morning I checked each of my kids Facebook pages and started to write down names of their friends that have offered help, or are networking with people they know to get items for auction.  What started as a simple thought yesterday, has picked up steam, and it has snowballed into something wonderful.  It has restored my faith in mankind and hopefully has humbled Bill to his core.   This is the wonderful thing about small towns, we always put aside any bad feelings and pull together to help anyone in need.  It also proves to me that you should always be kind to those around you, because you never know when you may need their help.  People are more likely to remember an act of kindness, and will usually reciprocate those feelings in return. I am truly humbled by the responses we have received and am sure that the benefit will be a smashing success.  To anyone reading this, remember that donations are always welcome, especially any cool and unusual things we can auction off.  So, my friends, I will keep you posted about the progress of his treatments, and the super benefit that will occur in 2 short months.   And for the record, yes it is odd for the ex-wife to be as involved as I am, but all I can tell people is that “it’s the right thing to do”….and I will have no regrets either way.  My mom raised me well, as I have my children.  Please keep Bill in your prayers, and take the time to do something nice for those you love, or even a stranger in need…for that is  a wonderful feeling indeed♥

 

She’s Touching Me!!!!!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit:ericpetersauto.comAs I was easing onto the interstate Friday night, I fell into line with other cars and mini-vans traveling to parts unknown.  Some vehicles had one person, some had families.  I noticed that in some of the vans, there were small tv screens dropped down from the ceiling showing a movie or cartoon. I shook my head and thought of what a blessing those small screens were to the 2 occupants in the front seats. When our kids were little we didn’t have anything like that to keep the kids entertained.  I would pack a tote with coloring books, colors, small hand-held games, sticker books, and anything else that would distract them for a few hours.  After my mom died, my dad went on vacation with my sisters and I, and our families.  Since I only had the girls and I, he rode with me, and stayed in our cabin. It was going to be the first vacation after my divorce.  I can remember sitting in the driver’s seat of that tightly packed Durango with my dad as my “wingman”…praying my first solo trip would be uneventful.  My dad had bought a small hand-held DVD player for Maddie to use during the trip.  She tended to talk a lot, so I realized that the $80.00 he spent was going to be worth it’s weight in gold.

Then my memory went back to when Kelly, Tammy and I were kids in the back seat of that white Pontiac on our way from central Illinois to Northern Wisconsin every July.  This would have been in the 60’s, when the cars were huge, there were only AM radio stations, air conditioning in the car was a treat, and there were only 2 lane roads, so the trip was 8 hours.  My mom would pack a huge bag of treats consisting of sandwiches, chips, grapes, homemade cookies, other assorted snacks, a gallon of juice, and 2 thermos of coffee.  One coffee was with cream for dad and one was with cream and sugar for her.  We left at 2 in the morning and would fall into line in the caravan with our other family members that stayed at St Johns Resort in Minoqua Wisconsin.  We were allowed to take our pillows for the trip, but you learned early not to take too much because that back seat got pretty cramped if we had much more than our bodies in there.  First off, there were 3 of us, and only 2 windows….fight number one.  Then someone had to sit behind my 6’2″ father who had the front seat set back as far as he could in order to be comfortable.  The driver was the top dog back then, and everyone did their best to be sure he was happy.  My sisters and I inherited our long legs from dad, to sitting behind him for 8 hours was torture. Somehow I got the seat behind him, Tammy in the middle (she was the baby) and Kelly behind my mom.  We would then trade places after we stopped for breakfast at the Oasis truck stop in Janesville Wi.  We had drawn imaginary lines down the back seat, dividing it into 3 areas that we claimed as ours. You could put all of your crap in your area, but stay out of your neighbors area.  It seemed to simple in the minds of youth.   Of course once Kelly got into position behind dad, she would begin shoving Tammy into my area in order to make room for her legs.  I would shove her back, Kelly would then shove her again my way……and so it began.  It would continue until my mom would get involved, to avoid my dad getting distracted.  “SHES TOUCHING ME!”…..over and over and over….. Then came the threats “Don’t make me pull this car over!”….Pretty soon my moms arm would fly over the front seat trying to make contact with someone…anyone…

About mid-morning she would break out the goodies that were stashed in the bags at her feet.  Looking back, we thought we were cramped, but it we could have seen into the front seat we could have seen mom squeezed into her seat with all of the food, coffee, juice, plates, napkins….WOWZA.  I don’t know how she got turned around enough to swat at us…probably why she never connected with flesh.  We would have our snack, and then settle in for a nap, since we had been up since 1 in the morning.  The air was heating up outside, so the air conditioning came one.  It had been on “vent” up until now because “the air conditioner used up gas!”  So now the windows were rolled up tight, and my parents would decide to have a smoke, without the windows cracked.  Pure torture…plus  they always seemed to smoke at the same time….and that air conditioner that was our savior…was now blowing the smoke right back to the back of the car.  AWFUL!!!!  One time I thought I would just crack the window just  a smidge to get some fresh air…bad idea!  So finally the cigarettes were done, and we could settle into our respective third of the back seat for a little siesta.  The car became quiet, and the radio would then be turned on.  But again, there were on only AM stations, which meant there were seldom stations with music, just talk.  Plus, we were traveling up into the woods, which made reception ever worse.  Somehow mom would find a station with some music and we would settle in…until I would notice the station was not quite tuned in….just a small turn of the tuner knob would get that tiny bit of white noise out of the music…but she never seemed to notice…and it made me crazy…..

So here we are, traveling in this car packed to the gills with food, clothes, cookware, towels, people, Tammy now practically in my lap as Kelly stretches out to be comfortable, mom humming softly, the radio playing quietly, just a little out of tune, air conditioner blowing full blast and cruising at 55 mph towards 2 weeks of fun in the sun with some of the best family in the world.  We didn’t need a DVD player that dropped out of the ceiling…we had each other…and what I would give to go back for one more vacation with mom and dad in that front seat  ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

DUMP CAKE

1 large can crushed pineapple with juice

2 cans cherry pie filling

2 sticks of butter

1 box cake (yellow or white)

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Grease 9 x 13 -inch pan

Dump in crushed pineapple with juice. Spread to fill corners.

Dump in cherry pie filling and spread to fill corners.

Dump in cake mix (dry) and spread to fill corners.

Spread nuts on top.

Cut butter into pats and place on top of dry cake mix.

Do not stir or mix ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until browned.

Can serve with a dollop of whipped topping.