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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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.

Hey Kelly…….Shamrock Shakes are Back!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

phot credie:flickr.com

  Yesterday, after a grueling day of shopping, my daughter asked if I would pull off of the interstate so we could stop at McDonalds.  I reminded her that we just had a big lunch a few hours ago, and she said all she wanted was to get a Shamrock Shake.  I don’t remember any of my kids ever requesting a Shamrock Shake…..who is this child? I reminded her that I just bought her a  movie, so she decided that she would pay for the shake out of her allowance.  That left me no excuse, so of course being the perfect mother that I am, I stopped so she could get a shake.  We pulled into the drive-thru and after looking at the prices, she decided she wanted a large shake.  I am quietly shaking my head because there is no way she will finish an entire large shake, but it was her money….so large Shamrock Shake it was.  She paid her $2.99 and they handed us this huge beautiful green shake, complete with whipped cream and a cherry.  She giggled with glee as I handed it to her, and then went to work enjoying the shake.

  As I was driving the rest of the way home, my memory wandered back to the time that my sister Kelly, and a Shamrock Shake had a face off…and the shake won!  My mom, two sisters and I had gone grocery shopping one Saturday in Streator.  The year was 1970, and I would have been 11, Kelly was 7,and Tammy was at the ripe old age of 3.  It was a treat to go out to lunch when I was young.  We never questioned it, we just knew that it was an unexpected treat.  The rule was that we could get a sandwich, and either french fries or a small coke.  Again, we didn’t question why, it just was the way it was…period!  It was early March and McDonalds had just introduced a new shake flavor, now well-known as a Shamrock Shake.  Kelly had decided that she wanted a shake, and she proceeded to beg and plead to get the shake. I can still remember my mom trying to reason with her, telling her that it was mint flavored and she would not like it.  Kelly insisted she knew what mint tasted like, and promised she would drink the whole thing. Of course I opted for french fries and a glass of water….there were no better fries on earth as McDonalds….and even at the age of 11 I knew my food.  We all get settled in and begin eating our lunch.  Kelly ate her burger and the took a big swig of the shake…and then gagged.  One of those honest to goodness gags…the ones that make your mouth open like a fish and you make a horrible noise that seems to come out of your mouth from the tips of your toes.  Your know the look: your  face turns kinda purplish red, and you appear to stop breathing for a few seconds. (excuse me a moment because at this point I am giggling so hard that the tears are running down my face just picturing her sitting at that table)

Anyway…I hurry to finish my burger and fries as fast as I can, while trying to ease away from her as we sit side by side in the booth….and of course I am near the wall.  She begs mom to let her throw away the shake, and mom is determined that she is going to sit there until she drinks at least 3/4 of it.  She tried to tell Kelly she wouldn’t like it, she tried to reason with Kelly….but NOOOOO Kelly knew what she wanted, and mom was not going to waste the $1.89.  I just wanted to die in horror as we sat in McDonalds for over an hour as Kelly continued to sip….gag….sip…gag….plead….sip….purple face……gag….plead….fish lips……gag…..plead…..until there was one-quarter of the shake left.   Kelly may have thought she was stubborn at the young age of 7,  but she was in the ring with the champ!  And to this day I remind her every single year when I see that Shamrock Shakes are back!  And since I am a christian woman, I won’t tell you what her reply to me is now that we are adults ♥

PS…Miss Madison drank 1/2 of her shake….which makes me wonder why kids refuse to listen to their parents line of reasoning…..we didn’t get to be this age by not learning  a thing or two……..duh!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

SHAMROCK SHAKES

DEDICATED TO KELLY JO!

2 cups of vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (don’t over do this…strong in flavor)

green food coloring (8-9) drops

Blend all together until the right consistancy.

Since we are no longer in the 70’s…add whipped cream and a cherry.

I’m Want to be a Salt of the Earth Person Too

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Aunt Doris, Erna, Grams and cousin Cher

(My aunt Dorrie, Grams, great-aunt Erna and aunt Lois)

       When I sit back and just reminisce about my childhood, most of my fondest memories revolve around my family and extended family.  I count myself blessed that I grew up surrounded by men and women who are what some people would call “salt of the earth” people.  Wikipedia describes salt of the earth people as “humble and unpretentious people.:  The Collins dictionary describes them as “a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind.”  They are hard working, uncomplicated, decent, dependable, and add value to those around them.  Wow, how can anyone lose when these people are in your lives as your ego and psyche are being formed?  I grew up in a small town of 1,000 people and most of my extended family lived somewhere on Hickory Street…with some a few blocks away “on the east side” of town.  I find this so funny now that I’ve grown up that we referred to it as the “east side of town” because our town was only about 10 blocks wide in any direction you looked.  Family was very important, and a holiday and vacation never passed without a get together.  As a child, you not only had a mom and dad, you had aunts and uncles who would step in and fill those shoes, especially if we were getting in trouble.  They all took responsibility for each other, and there was nothing that they wouldn’t do for each other.

(My uncle Shelly, Cousin Mosey and some of us “younger kids” banned to the front room)

Looking back, each and every one of my extended family members worked hard for the possessions they owned.  Many times they would share the cost of bigger ticket items, especially if is was something that everyone was going to be able to use.  They lived within their means, and I really think they appreciated the things they had.   The men and women of the family loved to fish, and it made economical sense to purchase an outboard motor to use on our annual family vacations every year.  So they all pitched in and bought that beloved boat motor.  I can vividly remember it all oiled up and wrapped in an old blanket ready to be hauled to Wisconsin for everyone to use every year.  The men would get up at the butt-crack of dawn to fish, and then the ladies would go out in the afternoon or early evening.  As kids we usually didn’t go out in the boat unless it was for a quick “ride around the lake” to look at houses that we knew we would never own.  We would sit on our assigned bench in the fishing boat, snuggly strapped into our moldy smelling orange life jackets, trying to dodge the spray coming up from the boat as it went faster and faster. You were usually soaked by the time you got back, but it didn’t matter, because you had no other worries in the world at that age.

hot game of cards at Christmas

(Aunt Doris, uncle Shelly, Grams, my mom, aunt Lois and great-aunt Erna)

Then there was the tiller that the “men” combined their money to buy.  Everyone had a garden somewhere, and a tiller just made the job so much easier.  So instead of one person buying one to use, they decided it would be easier to buy it together, and each spring everyone got to use it to start their garden.  If I close my eyes I can see it as clear as a bell, big, noisy, and brown and white.  It truly took a strong man to use it, as it was a beast.  But that’s what these salt of the earth people did.  They shared, they loved, they respected each other, and they passed down that respect and strong sense of family values to their children.  My mom and dad have passed away, my grandparents are gone, my great aunts and uncles are no longer here, but rest assured they, and my Aunts and Uncles who remain, have left behind a legacy of what it meant to be a “salt of the earth” person.  I cherish the memories that these people gave to me, even though at the time they were just going thorough the motions of every day life.  Did they know that the actions they displayed would affect so many of the next generation?  They set the bar high for those following them, but out of honor and respect  I will try to be true to my roots.  I will always treasure the things I have, I will try not to covet the things that others have, I will work hard for what I need in life, I will love those people who are close to me in my life, I will not hesitate to help someone in need, I will love God and my country, and  I will always try to  remember that family comes first.  For there would be no greater honor than to be remembered as a “salt of the earth” human being ♥

55 by 55

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

forums.comicbookresources.comA year ago my daughter became engaged to a wonderful young man.  She called me to share the news, and after I hung up I was surprised at my first thought.  My first thought wasn’t “I hope I can save enough money to help them pay for the wedding,” or “I hope she is making the right choice,” or “Thats three out of four now married,”…..no, my first thought was “Crap, I need to lose some weight!”  For my whole entire life I have been overweight.  The other day there was a conversation in our office about what the ladies weighed when they got married.  One was 125 pounds, one weighed in at  135, and the other tipped the scales at 115.  They then looked at me, and I just laughed heartily and said “I beat you all…I weighed all of those numbers by the time I graduated from eighth grade!”  We all laughed because they thought I was kidding….HA!  Actually, when I got married I weighed 195 pounds, and am 5 foot 9.  My mom thought I was overweight at that time, and always encouraged me to lose a little “for my health.”  We were raised eating meat and potatoes for supper 4-5 nights a week and snacked on buttery popcorn in the evening. I didn’t stand a chance…I just loved food!

In grade school I was the one picked last for teams in PE (I just want to go on record and send up a plea to the teachers…please just count off the kids to avoid humiliating kids everywhere)  On the playground I would be on one end of the teeter totter, with 2 friends on the other end.  They loved me, so they would face each other and share the handle, even though the one without the seat had to be a little more careful, if you know what I mean.  My clothes were purchased in the “husky” section, now they call that section of the store the Pretty Plus section, so bless the kind human who thought up that name change.  If I situated myself on the outside of the Tilt-A-Whirl car, my friends could almost get whiplash from the spinning.

photo credit:amazon.comIn high school the  boys wouldn’t give me a second look when I stood next to my slim friends,but were seldom cruel to me.  We had a small high school, and these were kids I had known for my entire life, and fat was the only way they knew me.  My mom would give me a hug, wipe away my tears and tell me that they didn’t matter anyway!  She assured me that once I got into college the men would be different, and would love my personality instead.  I admit that it did happen as she predicted, and while I was still overweight, I could hold my own against the skinny-minnies.  I will admit that sometimes it is easy to hide behind the plumpness….I can flirt with the best of them, and have a lot of guy friends of all ages.  There is comfort in begin overweight because you know they wouldn’t be interested in you in a romantic nature, so you can be yourself and relax.  Of course there are drawbacks….the other night we were watching a trailer for “Pitch Perfect” and my daughter and I roared when we saw Fat Amy wearing a swimsuit just like mine.  “OMG…Fat Amy has my swimsuit on!!!!”  It was hilarious I will admit, and if a person can’t laugh at herself she will be a stick in the mud for sure.

There are the many misguided thoughts throughout the world when it comes to plump women.  Number one: No, we aren’t dirty.  Believe it or not, we take baths just like skinny people, and even put on deodorant AND perfume.  Number two:  We have no self-control or we wouldn’t be fat.  Well that one is partly true, but we must have some self-control or else we would have punched out a lot of skinny snobs who have looked down on us.  Number three:  We must not mind being fat, or else we would change that.  Again, that one for the most part is true, but I think that many overweight people have tried so many times to lose weight and failed, that it’s easier to just give up and live in shame.

The other day I went through the personal care section of Walmart and I passed the Dr. Scholls display for shoe inserts, stopping to look them over.  As a nurse I am on my feet during the day, so maybe they would be a great addition to my tennis shoes.  It instructed you to take off your shoes (right away…not a great idea to me), step on the footprints on the kiosk and push start.  Now, again, the first thing that came to mind was that a booming voice was going to yell at me from the kiosk, telling me to put down the small child in my arms….even though I was the only one around for 10 feet.  I actually laughed out loud, and thought that maybe I would pass on the inserts for now.

005This summer, I had to get off of a ride at a theme park, in front of my family, because they couldn’t bring down the bar far enough to securely hold me in.  Now, you would think with that humiliation I would do something to change my life?  I did, I went to the food stand while they enjoyed the ride, and ate a corn dog.  As I write this I am shaking my head in amazement…….I do want to go on the record as saying that even though I am overweight, I am healthy.  My blood pressure is good, cholesterol a smidge high, and blood sugars where they need to be….but when the day comes to a close,  I can say that I am unhappy with my body shape and size.

That brings me to this blog….January 1st decided that I was going to lose 55 pounds by the time I am 55 years old, which is September 24th.  So far I have gained 4 pounds 🙂 Perhaps it’s time to get serious about this! My beautiful daughter is getting married on September 21st, which is my moms birthday.  I am now going public with my top bucket list item…..and since I have readers throughout 28 countries, I will tell myself that the whole world is pulling for me.  I won’t share my weight, as I am not that nutso at this point, but I will faithfully give updates every Wednesday…good or bad.  I want to honor my daughter at her wedding, and also honor the memory of my mom on her birthday, hopefully 55 pounds lighter!  Then once I accomplish what will be the biggest hurdle of my life, I will start checking off more items on that bucket list.  Wish me luck ♥

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.