Potatoes Romanoff, Birdeye

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chloe on Christmas morning

Chloe was thrilled that Santa not only brought her an electric piano but the Gooch, Biscuit and Tu Jague gifts

Chloe made a homemade tip jar Christmas night because we all enjoyed her music so much...she collected a few dollars
December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!  This year the month of December flew by so fast.  The busy month started with a full 6 straight days of meetings and parties and ended with Kara and I's annual Christmas Party on December 18.  One thing I want to do every year is to be sure and have time to remind Chloe that Christmas isn't just about gifts and parties that it's about Jesus' birth and what that means.  I've spent time explaining this to her throughout the month.  This year's Christmas morning started at 7 am and the opening was over by 7:20.  I love that!  It's not about the gifts I say every year, it's about being together and celebrating Jesus' birth.

For lunch today, we went to Kara and Martin's at 1 pm for their annual Christmas lunch with her sister Emmy and Kara's parents (the bikers from my Big Dam Bridge post).  I loved that when we showed up at 1 with this potato casserole, no one was home but the standing rib roast that was in the oven.  I figured out it would be later when we ate.  We ate at 3 pm and I was soon headed out to get in nap before mother and Gary arrived.  Mother and Gary always bring such a nice Christmas and they both hand wrap every gift, yes, hand wrap every one to perfection.  It amazes me.  Chloe always enjoys MeMe and Matt's gifts and she did this year so much.

My mother gave me this recipe about 10 years ago.  I love it and it's a great way to use left over mashed potatoes.  I never have leftover potatoes so I just boil from scratch.

Potatoes Romanoff

12 russet potatoes, peeled and cooked (I boil for about 10-12 minutes till fork tender)
2 C. sour cream, I always use light
4 C. Sharp cheddar cheese, ALWAYS use sharp
1/4 C. finely chopped green onions, tops only
White pepper and salt to taste, I use about 1 t. pepper, 2 t. salt
Paprika for dusting

Mash potatoes (or use leftovers heated) and add all ingredients.  Bake in a 350 oven covered with foil.

This is always fabulous left over.

Jackie's Black Bean Salsa, Birdeye

The salsa

The pampering begins...

Biscuit patiently waits...wait, is he at the breakfast bar?  That's a yes...and it's against the rules...

It took us 30 minutes to get all four paws painted...good lord...

Biscuit did say that Chloe's homemade treat, the "pupcakes" were absolutely delicious!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh Boxing Day, Boxing Day.  Yes, it was this past Sunday, December 26.  After last year's horrible, detestable behavior, I swore I'd be in Memphis this year shopping.  I couldn't convince mother to go with me so I hung around and it was a very enjoyable party.  It was Jackie and Chloe's third party and the smallest crowd in its history.  A lot of people couldn't come due to Christmas gift openings and some didn't come because they didn't have a DD.  Yes, I am amazed too!  It was a great party nonetheless.  I'm sorry I didn't get photos of Boxing Day!

Yesterday Chloe and I opened one of mother's gifts, "Pamper your Pet" day spa kit.  We spent the morning giving Biscuit a bath and massage, painting his nails (good Lord) and making "pupcakes" for him.  It was a long day for the little fella but he made it, thank goodness.  See photos!

On Boxing Day, we had lots of food including Jackie's famous sausage, cheese and pickle platter with Rendezvous seasoning, Kara's excellent onion dip, my mother made wonderful tortilla roll-ups (that I need to publish) and I made this salsa from Jeanie's sister Jackie Boyd in Ponca City, Oklahoma.  It's super duper easy to make and keeps well in the refrigerator for later on.  BTW, I halved this recipe for the party and it made about 5 cups so a full making of it would make a ton!

Jackie's Black Bean Salsa

1 large bag frozen corn, thawed, I used one can drained
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed, I used two cans
3 cans rotel, drained, I used one
1 red onion diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches cilantro, finely chopped, I used one handful
1 green pepper, diced, I skipped this and substituted 1/2 c. diced jalapenos
4-5 ripe avocados, diced, I used 3 and added the juice of 2 limes which the recipe doesn't call for to keep the avocado from browning
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C. red wine vinegar

Mix and can be refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.  Serve with chips.  I served with Fritos Scoops and Tostitos.

K-Paul's, New Orleans

Saturday, December 4, 2010

K-Pauls on Charters

Jackie's Oyster Po-Boy along side his Abita Amber
Friday, December 3, 2010

Jackie and I came across this restaurant yesterday when we picked up our Abita Christmas Ale for Kara and I's Christmas party.  He suggested we eat there instead of our usual Acme Oyster Bar.  And I'm glad he did.  It's a "deli style lunch service", which means there are no waiters, you order at the bar and they call your name and you go get it.  They offer a simple menu with five appetizer offerings and eight items on the "Sandwiches and Plate Lunches" section.  Of course we both had a cup of the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo.  It was made from a different roux than we are used to, it was more of a deep broth base than the flour ones we'd had the night before.  It was good and spicy from the andouille.  It's our new favorite gumbo in New Orleans and I mean that.

For lunch Jackie ordered the Deep-Fried Oyster Po-Boy that's seasoned Fresh Louisiana Oysters lightly battered, fried until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside served on eight inch buttered french bread with oyster mayo, lettuce and petite diced tomatoes.  He loved it and went on about the freshness of his bread.  He picked the fried onion rings that were thin and super crispy.  I loved the onion rings, they had the right amount of salt and seasoning in the batter.  I got the Paneed Chicken Parmesan Po-Boy (but was supposed to be a panini but their panini maker broke).  I loved, loved it on that french bread Jackie went on and on about.  It was battered in Parmesan egg batter and bread crumbs, fried and layered with tomato basil sauce and Havarti cheese.  The chicken was super thin and hot and crispy.  We asked for Abita Christmas Ale but settled for an Abita amber instead.  I had the sweet potato fries and they were thick and just salty enough.  Jackie made a reference to me after our lunch that I have banty rooster in my blood.  He says that because of our heated conversation about family.  I looked up Banty Rooster on the web and it says and I quote, "banty is short for bantham rooster.  It's also a term to describe short men who may tend to walk with a swagger and adopt a somewhat exaggerated male posture.  Bantham Roosters are also called banty roosters because they can out-rooster a standard size rooster.  Banty roosters are about 1/4 size of a regular rooster."  Hahahahaha...

K-Paul's was a delightful find in the city with hundreds of lunch choices in the French Quarter.  It was a small, clean restaurant and our lunch rang up to $22 for our sandwiches plus $12 for our beer.  Keep in mind they are only open for this deli-style lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  They do boast to go orders from 10:45 am to 1:45 pm.  Get K-Paul's on your list when in the big easy, it's just a few blocks from Jackson Square.

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, 416 Chartres Street, New Orleans 877-553-3401 http://kpauls.com/  This website will get you up-to-date with Chef Paul Prudhomme (see my Blackened Salmon Recipe November 2009 from Terry Conlan's Fresh Lake Austin Spa cookbook).

Starlight and Skype, Birdeye

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Gooch Man

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm thrilled to report that Skype and Starlight went to homes today!  I'm so excited for them and thrilled for the warm weather today to get their kennel run clean and ready for more fosters.  I hope everyone has their holiday shopping done!  It's here!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chloe and I rescued these two Birdeye strays two weeks ago.  I've been meaning to get them on Facebook but she hadn't named them yet and I wasn't sure they would live.  They are about 6-8 week old Beagle mixes from the Birdeye Store, just 1/2 mile from our house.  Chloe's named them Sype and Starlight.  Great names from our 4th grader!  The brother and sister should be around 15 lbs as adults.  Their mother is the sweetest, most submissive momma ever.  The little female is crate trained, the little brother couldn't hold it that first night probably due to all the worms they came with. 

Skype and Starlight, look at my big ole hand...

Biscuit and the Gooch duking it out...
I hope everyone will realize the benefits of spay/neuter.  It's a small investment in an animal that gives back many benefits like better behavior in males and eliminating uterine infections in females.  In both male and female, having the surgery done helps with the many unwanted litters that roam the countryside with disease and malnutrition.  Chloe loves animals and being a rescuer.  We rescued the Gooch Man, a domestic longhair Russian Blue kitten, that was surrendered at the clinic for euthanasia.  We found the four litter mates homes within a week, I just grabbed this one out of the cage and brought it home to CoCo.  It took her equal amount of time to name this little fella.  The Gooch spends quality time catting around.  He loves balls and string.  His favorite toy though is a little, plastic green tree that came from a plastic animal set.  He grabs it, bats it, rolls around on the floor with it and attacks it.  He also spends his time jumping on Biscuit's back and playing chase and hide and seek with him.  Biscuit seems to enjoy the Gooch.  TuJague, my 12 year old show dog, totally ignores him except when the Gooch bites his tail when he's sleeping. 

Let's spay/neuter people!  It's a small investment but one that will leave a legacy and hopefully, eventually, make a difference in our animal population right here.

I added a picture from Chloe harvesting her carrots.  It's amazing that my garden is still producing after Thanksgiving!

They are so sweet!

Chloe's carrots are ready for harvest.  She planted them back in April
My poblanos and tomatoes are still coming on!
The Gooch

Mexico Joe's, Stillwater

At the Eskimo Joe's tent before the game, it's Big Chief, Jackie,
 Martino, me, and Jeanie....yes, that's two OU fans vs. 3 OSU alumni, just sayin....

I had to take shots of the T. Boone Pickens Stadium (Good God...)

Mexico Joe's

I love this shot of the take home cups hung up...

The rough, uncut mountain bike trail near mother's house in Edmond

Catching my breath on the trail I took this picture.
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bedlam, Bedlam.  Jackie and I've gone to this Oklahoma/Oklahoma State football game every year since forever.  It swaps from Stillwater to Norman every year and is always a good game.  Last year in Norman, OU killed OSU and it was an absolutely beautiful day.  But this year in Stillwater, it was cold and windy and the #13 Sooners beat the #9 Cowboys, 47-41.  Mother stayed at home with Chloe this year and Gary went deer hunting.  With all those extra tickets, mother and Gary generously shared with my Oklahoma State alumni in-laws.

It was after noon so Jackie and I ventured up the road to Stillwater via a new back way.  We were there in 40 minutes compared to the over an hour journey in games past.  We got to this Stillwater landmark after the lunch crowd at about 1:30 and were seated in the bar area near a big TV.  We were glad about the TV because that Arkansas/LSU game was about to be on.  Thankfully the Hogs put the smack down on LSU in Little Rock.

The complementary chips and salsa was on the table and we added some Coors Light and tea to it.  Martin joined us right as we sat down, he also bummed a ticket from mother (and BTW, this was the first time that I can remember my mother giving her tickets to an OSU fan, now that's impressive).  For lunch I had a hard time deciding between the Sonora Chicken Tacos, Chicken Fajitas, the Olde School Enchiladas or the Tamales.  With Jackie's guidance, I got the Sonora Chicken Tacos and added a chicken tamale with red and white cheese sauce.  The tacos come on hand made flour tortillas with grilled chicken, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes and Sonora sauce which is a ranch and avocado dressing and lemme tell you it was so good!  It's all served with rice and your choice of black beans, refried beans or you could substitute sweet potato or french fries.  Jackie and Martin got the same exact thing (which should be a crime in my book), Olde School Enchiladas and a taco with rice and beans, their favorite.  This is similar but not equivalent to our local Don Jose Mexican Restaurant's Speedy Gonzales that they have to specify they want rice AND beans not or beans, you gotta love it.

I really like Mexico Joe's and Chloe did too when two years ago when we dined there for the game.  It opened in this new location in 1993.  It's parent company is Eskimo Joe's, a hamburger dive and bar, is a few blocks from the football stadium and was voted the Best Post Game College Sports Bar in America. Now that's saying something in this part of the state, I mean really.

I added some pictures from the mountain bike trail just down the street from mother's.  It's an Edmond park and has 9 miles of trails.  We did the course this morning before the game, about an hour and a half.  Fun times!

Mexico Joe's, 311 E. Hall of Fame, Stillwater, 405-372-1169.  Check out their website http://mexicojoes.com/

Thanksgiving at Grandmother's, Weatherford, Okla

Grandmother's buffet in her new, updated kitchen

Her legendary frozen chocolate chip cookies (recipe follows)

Downtown Weatherford, Chloe remarked how much she liked the decorations

Another shot
Friday, November 26, 2010

When we're home (Oklahoma City) for Thanksgiving, it's been a tradition to go to Weatherford to my dad's parents house the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Grandmother and Grandad have had their farm forever, I wish knew the year on it but I'd say before 1945.  He farms several thousand acres of cotton and wheat and has 100 head of cattle.  In the 1970's Grandad used to do a lot of his farm work via horseback which is when I started my undying love of horses.  In junior high during the summers, I'd spend weeks and even a month in Weatherford.  I would ride around bringing up cattle and to the "mound" which I'm sad I didn't get a photo of, dang it.  I wish I'd have taken a photo of them too to put on this blog but I was too busy eating and socializing.  But those summers were wonderful for me.  I loved every minute on the farm.  I'd start my day before dawn, Grandad would already be out, Grandmother would have a little breakfast of eggs, toast and orange juice set out for me.  I'd go to the barn and saddle up Buck or Prince and run around doing chores.  Buck, a bay thoroughbred, was 16 or so back then and a gentle giant.  His only hang up was he was always ready to back to the barn for feed.  We'd ride around the lot, turn for home and he'd do a full sprint to get back to the barn.  Prince, a gray thoroughbred, was my Aunt Janet's horse and equal in age to Buck.  I didn't ride him as much because he was so darn fast and excellent and taking the bit in his teeth and controlling the rider, it worried my Grandparent's if I'd ride him.  I have fallen off both these horses numerous times through the years, thank goodness no harm done, and Buck stepped on my foot one time.  It hurt so bad but I was too embarrassed to tell Grandad about it so I just tried to walk normally but during dinner that night I burst into tears because the pain was so bad.  They both couldn't believe I kept it under wraps but I didn't want to not be trusted around Buck, I loved him.  I didn't ride for a few days after that and then I was back on.  If I had a scanner, I'd show you the photos of Buck and Prince.

But to today's wonderful dinner made by Grandmother and her sister Marge who lives across the street.  She had a good, moist turkey, oyster dressing, broccoli casserole, potato casserole, regular dressing, green beans with bacon, her homemade bread and Aunt Marge's noodles.  Both Grandmother and Aunt Marge are legends in the kitchen.  During those summers, Grandmother would make a great Taco salad , homemade cinnamon rolls, breads, pies (chocolate was my favorite with her homemade meringue) and I'd always go over to Aunt Marge's and get her blond brownies.  Thankfully Grandmother made Craig and I a cookbook of all her recipes.  I love that cookbook and she added some blank sheets in the back of it that I have used to add my own recipes I've found. 

For dessert, Grandmother had pecan and apple pie and a German chocolate cake that she said took forever and really dirtied up her kitchen.  This diabetic did have a half a slice of pie and a half of a half slice of that chocolate cake and can report it was divine.  I was surprised Chloe had some cake because of her dislike of coconut but she absolutely loved that cake.  Chloe is a big fan of the sweets just like her mom. 

We headed on out after a great game of spades between Kathy and I and notorious card cheaters my brother Craig and Jackie.  We won and they complained about our record keeping and I complained about their card counting.  Thank God for blind nill.

It was another great week spent in Oklahoma with my mom, my friends and family and the next day at the annual OSU/OU game.  My grandparents sent all three of their kids to OSU but that can be forgiven.  And 13th ranked OU beat 9th ranked OSU 47-41. 

Grandmother's Cookies

Mrs. Field's Cookies (that's the title of her cookie recipe)

Cream together:
2 C. margarine (1 lb), I always use unsalted butter, that's 4 sticks btw
2 C. sugar
2 C. brown sugar, packed

Then add:
4 eggs, I use at room temperature
2 t. vanilla

Then Mix together:
4 C. flour
5 C. Oatmeal, blended in a blender until it turns to powder, measure first then blend
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
24 oz. bag chocolate chips
1-8 oz. Hershey bar grated, I use my big cheese grater
3 C. chopped nuts, I omit this because of Chloe

Mix all ingredients.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheets.  For large cookies, make golf ball sized balls 2 inches apart and bake 375 degrees fro 6 minutes.  Makes 112 large cookies.  Store in freezer. 
Grandmother's note: I make mine smaller, baking about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Also, do not over bake.  Bake cookies on top rack of oven to prevent over browning of the cookie bottom.

Grandmother stores her cookies in the freezer and they are so good cold.  I freeze my own cookies because of her tradition.  She's always good too about sending a loaf of bread and a sack of these cookies.  What a nice tradition!

Chile Rellenos, Birdeye

I found this on Amazon.com

Before baking...yum!

The Roasted Red Pepper Salsa (all these ingredients are still coming out of the garden, amazing so close to Thanksgiving)
Friday, November 19, 2010

Today I was caught up in the office and Chloe had a substitute, so we stayed home pulling out the Christmas boxes and cooking. Chloe and I did our usual Peanut Butter balls (see blog post from Dec. 2009).  After rescuing the two strays in our neighborhood, I headed for my favorite cookbook again.  This recipe came from Terry Conlan's first cookbook Lean Star Cuisine from Lake Austin Spa.  I love, love many recipes from this cookbook.  Terry's a "fresh" genius and I love southwest food so much.  I had just plucked about a dozen poblanos from my garden this morning and saw this recipe.  This was a first time making this one and I loved it.  Jackie said he could tolerate it, he's been thrown so many southwest recipes from Terry this year that he has become somewhat gun shy but at least he's not mean about it, thank goodness.  The Roasted Red Pepper Salsa is so easy to make, the recipe calls for it do be done on a charcoal grill but I just roast at 450 degrees in the oven.  I know it would taste even better over a grill but my oven worked just as well.

Chile Rellenos, Lean Star Cuisine, Terry Conlan

"Visually striking, with the dark green chile nestled in a robust red sauce; and absolutely delicious, with the mild cheese and sweetness of the raisins providing a perfect counterpoint to the piquancy of the pepper.  Serve simply, with black beans, freshly made corn tortillas and Mexican beer for a meal to be remembered.  And repeated."

4 large poblano chiles, I used 12 small from my garden
4 oz cooked rice, I used brown rice
4 oz. low fat cheddar cheese, shredded, I used regular cheddar
1T. golden raisins, I used regular raisins (notice in photo!)
1 T. chopped cilantro, I used 1/4 cup
vegetable cooking spray

Roast the chiles over an open flame until blackened.  Dip into ice water, then peel off outer skin.  Carefully slit down one side and remove seeds.  I roasted on 450 in the oven on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine all other ingredients and use to stuff the chiles.  Arrange the stuffed chiles on a baking pan sprayed with vegetable spray.

Bake chiles for 10-15 minutes at 400 until cheese melts.  Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa in a wide soup bowl.  I also topped with cilantro and fresh chopped jalapenos.

Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

"Try this brick red, earthy Southwestern salsa over the eggplant enchiladas on page 151, under a chile relleno or with grilled meats or fish.  Charring the tomatoes, onion and pepper over an open flame gives this sauce its unmistakable, and enduring, rustic character."

Double this recipe for 2 cups which you'll need for either the Chile Rellons or enchiladas or for dipping like I do with tortilla chips.

2 tomatoes, charred
1 small onion, thickly sliced and charred
1 serrano pepper, halved and seeded and charred (or you can use 2 serranos and 2 japs and don't seed so it'll kick it up a notch)
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded, I used two small green today out of the garden
3 gloves garlic
2 T. cilantro, I used 1/4 c.
juice of 1/2 lime
1 t. ground cumin

To char in oven, put veggies on a cookie sheet sprayed with vegetable cooking spray and roast on 450 until skins are browned.  Let cool then slice and seed.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Yield 2 cups.  (Terry's wrong on that, you have to double above to get 2 cups)

Holy Moly! I'm ready for some Mexican food!

Old School Bagel Cafe, Oklahoma City

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lori Leiser Manning, me, Barbie Barton Greer and Mendi Rutledge Hawkins

Bagel shop on May and Hefner
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Over the last 5 years or so, I've tried to get some of my high school classmates together when I'm home over Thanksgiving.  This year was slated to be huge but we had a no show from Dagne Day Newcomb and a last minute "can't get away from work" excuse from both Angelia Pope Johnston and Leslie Johnson Williams.  The four of us had a great time nonetheless but missed the others.

Leslie told me about this Bagel shop over 2 years ago when I was in town for the Sheryl Crow concert in August of 2008.  We met here for lunch and Leslie had said classmates Danny Cowan and Wayne Hansen owned it.  We loved running in to them and catching up.  We didn't see them this year but certainly enjoyed our lunch today.  The place was packed but we found a booth for the four of us.  I love the style of the cafe, very modern and clean. 

I had a hard time picking out what to order as did Lori and Mendi.  I usually get the Pizza Bagel but I make these at home so much (the idea was from this store), so I ordered the Veggie Bagel on an everything bagel.  It's cucumbers, spouts, thinly sliced carrots, provolone and honey mustard that I substituted for spicy mustard.  I loved the bagels spices, it kept the sandwich from being bland.  I ate that whole thing!  I know Barbie got the Egg Salad and loved it.  You can order your sandwich on regular bread or make your own with lots of choices.  They also have several listed for breakfast.

I got 3 bagels sliced for Jackie and a huge chocolate chip cookie for Chloe.  The bagels are so fresh and made daily at 3 am I found out from their website.  You can also get your sandwich hot or cold and I love that they have sandwiches named for the Sooners, Cowboys, Bricktown, Old Smokey and Mile High.  When you're in this neck of Oklahoma City, go to the Old School Bagel Cafe, it's fresh, quick and affordable.  My lunch and extras was under $10.  Say Hi to Danny and Wayne for me while you're there.

This great restaurant has locations in Tulsa, Edmond and Stillwater.  Quail Creek Location 10946 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, 405-286-CAFE.  Check out their awesome website: http://oldschoolbagelcafe.com/

Thanksgiving at Mom's, Edmond

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mother's Dinner Table

I had to take this photo under the kid's table with everyones' feet

Kathy's Corn Casserole (recipe follows)

Erin, Corie, Chloe and Audrey

Mom had her buffet set up in her tv room

Mom's new, updated kitchen, that's Aunt Barbara

After lunch, Chloe and Audrey played dress up
(way too much makeup!)

One of the 6 clothes changes
 (they did a passing through the living room)

Edmond's Turkey Trot 5K, Jackie and I braved the 30 degree and high wind morning...burr...I set a near personal best trying to get back in the car...lol!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I was glad that this year I got to go home for Thanksgiving and bring Chloe to see all her Oklahoma relatives and cousins.  Mother is a master of cooking and planning and had our Thanksgiving feast rolling and dolled out to everyone that showed up.  Luckily she took my advice this year and ordered a cooked turkey.  Jackie suggested this two weeks ago when he heard an ad for our favorite BBQ restaurant in Memphis.  I told mom to order one up to take the heat off and it was an excellent and tasty decision.
Mom had Jackie, Chloe and I set the tables for our 15 people.  My cousin Krista was in charge of her delicious Broccoli Casserole, I did the green bean, Mom did the smart thing and bought frozen mashed potatoes then cooked them and added butter and milk (what a great short cut), she also had croissants, her legendary Spinach Salad, Barbara made her dressing that we had to wait 20 minutes on, Kathy made her Corn, recipe follows, and plenty of olives and the like.  (It does seem like I'm forgetting mentioning one of the many delicious dishes....)  We finally ate at about 1:30 and it was great!  We all enjoyed the three desserts Barbara brought which were chocolate pie, rum cake and a pumpkin pie.  But I have to confess this diabetic didn't have any desserts.  I just enjoyed my one, large plate of food, and it was wonderful!

We had a great time watching Chloe and Audrey's fashion show after lunch.  They loved getting makeup on and strutting around in heels and necklaces.  They were so cute.  We had a fun and heated spades game that lasted for two rounds during that pitiful Cowboys game.  It was my cousin Krista and me against legendary card cheaters my brother Craig and Jackie.  It got loud and unruly at times but full of laughter and accusations of cheating.  Fun times even though they beat us twice.  We repeated the game the next day in Weatherford with Kathy sitting in for Krista.  Luckily, she and I whooped the boys and we enjoyed every minute of it.

BTW, Jackie and I brought our mountain bikes because mom lives within a mile of Lake Arcadia and they have a 9 mile rough course called Spring Creek.  We rode bikes Wednesday and Saturday.  

Thanksgiving is always a great time, some more memorable weeks than others, but this year was a ton of fun.  Jackie especially likes the OU/OSU game.  He made the comment that this year he'd been on his most favorite football campuses, Ole Miss, Fayetteville and OSU.  We're hoping that this year we will get to go to the Sugar Bowl if the Hogs make it there.  That will be fun!  Mom did a great job on all the meals all week and did a great job once again on Thanksgiving.  There were lots of leftovers which is a blessing in my book.

Kathy's Corn Casserole

2 bags white/yellow frozen corn, thawed
1 8 oz package cream cheese, chopped up
1 stick butter, chopped up
1/2 c. milk
Salt and pepper

Spray a crock pot with Pam and cook over low for 4 hours.  Kathy said you can also bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  My note is I think you can use lite cream cheese, skim milk and half that butter, just sayin...

Jackie had us entered in the Edmond Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning.  We had planned on taking Chloe with us but it was 30 degrees that morning.  We left mom's about 7:15 to get our timing chip and get situated.  There were 700 runners for their first event, amazing! 

Benton's 36th Birthday, Jonesboro

Great cake Alexis

Cade Martin, Benton, Matt Boone, LB Vaught, Jackie and ?? Alpe

Chloe had a blast at Tom B's
Saturday, November 20, 2010

I think I was behind getting this party started!  Alexis and I got together the week before and ran the Upper Crust 5K at Craighead Forrest Park and I wondered what they were gonna do for Benton's birthday.  So she got his buddies together and we came up for the party.  We went on a 35 mile road bike tour before hand and socialized at Chuck and Lisa Blanton's house.  Then we loaded up the kiddos and headed to Jonesboro.  Benton had delicious, marinated pork tenderloin, potato casserole and I brought the spinach casserole (see Thanksgiving blog 2009 for recipe).  Alexis had the cutest cake too!  It's always so fun to be with Benton and Alexis, their children are darling and so well-behaved.  I brought Whit and Stella with us because Martin and Kara stayed home with Auggie who was running a fever.

Homemade Yogurt

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My best friend Wendy Koons Meir makes her own yogurt. This past March I spent a weekend with her and she showed me how easy it was. Yes, in the back of my mind too, I thought, Good Lord, who has time to do that? Kara gave me a yogurt maker for my birthday and I have made yogurt once a week now since May. And yes, it is that easy. When I take a moment and think about all the energy Danon and other yogurt makers take, from the maker, on the truck, to the grocery store, and when I buy it I drive it home. That's a lot of energy! We should all try to grow and make our own food. Plus there's no container to recycle. I just heard on CNN that there's two enormous plastic bottle piles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Wow, what a fat and lazy society we are. So here's how quick and easy it is to make yogurt for a week.

In a saucepan, warm to almost boil, 4 Cups Skim milk with 1/2 Cup of Nonfat Powdered Dry Milk. This takes about 20 minutes. Heat it until it almost boils then let it hang out for about 30 minutes until it gets down to 110 degrees. I use my candy thermometer in the pan until it's cool enough. Then add 1/2 Cup plain, non-fat yogurt and stir until somewhat combined. Then pour in the 7 glasses the yogurt maker comes with and put lids on them. Turn on the yogurt maker and let it cook for 8-10 hours then refrigerate. I have over heated that milk in the first step and it was nasty, boiled yogurt. And I have also put the yogurt in too soon and it will flatten (or kill) the good stuff inside. So take your time and get good at it.

I added Chloe and Biscuit and Chloe and I from our local Kids Marathon. We had 146 kids entered on that 29 degree morning! It was a great day!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well it's been a while since I've talked about recycling. I just took about 50 hangers back to my local cleaners instead of throwing them in the garbage. I have done this for about 10 years now...one cleaners said they didn't do that way back. I just gently said I sure didn't want hangers in the landfill especially when they are basically brand new. After that, they started letting me bring shirt hangers back. My cleaners is thankful for them, I'm sure it doesn't cost them much to buy hangers, but at least they're not in the landfill.

Recently I had an idea about re-using those cups from my local Lenny's and McDonald's when I get their tea. Lenny's was always so easy with the idea of me bringing that cup back in and paying for a refill. Our local McDonald's drive thru could kinda handle it when I'd order two large, unsweet teas refilled in my two McDonald's cups. They'd usually mess it up at the second window and have one poured up but I'd show them my empty cup and they'd refill it. This went on for about two months every other week. Then last week, I ordered my two large, unsweet iced teas in my cups and a man interrupted and said, "we don't do refills in the drive thru." When I got up to that second window, I explained that I was just trying to be green. I realize now that it does take an additional 15 seconds to fill my cup with ice, tea, a lid and do it times two, that's 30 seconds. What a pain! Now it's up to me to park and take those cups inside. What a pain! I'll report back on what happens.

I have an out building where I store our glass. I should give Jackie the credit on glass, he started my obsession, just saying. We have a 20 gallon trash can we keep in the kitchen. I go to Memphis twice a year with a pickup truck packed full of glass. It's located at Harbor Town in Downtown Memphis. You can check out the City of Memphis website on recycling. I called them a year ago to see if they'd take the vet clinic's vaccine and medicine bottles and they do! www.cityofmemphis.org

We take all our cardboard and obviously, the clinic's, to our local Cross County Special Workshop. They crush the cardboard and send it on trucks to a big recycler. They also take paper. I have a container behind my desk in my office that I use for envelopes, magazines, post its, etc. Then at the clinic, we add all the paper and plastic into boxes and send it to the workshop. They charge $15 to come and pick up your recycling, we have it picked up every other month so it will fill up the trailer. Look at all those boxes! I'm proud the clinic recycles, we do the same thing at home.

The workshop also pays for your aluminum cans, we just send ours and let them keep the money. All our plastic also goes there too where they crush it and send it out to big plastic recyclers. Plastic is the rings and tabs on your milk jugs and cartons, saran wrap, shampoo bottles, drano bottles and on and on.

Batteries...yes, I recycle batteries. I have a bag of batteries that's four years old. I thought 4 years of batteries would be a bigger sack. You can take them to Batteries Plus in Memphis and they take them to a recycler. Yes, I did say that I saw that 60 Minutes show on computers in China that are in a landfill poisoning people instead of at a recycler. He assured me that they do send them to a battery recycler. You can also take your aerosol cans to the Memphis recycling bins at Harbor Town. That box is about a year old.

Ok...just sharing some ideas. Yes, my utility room is mainly recycling, washer and dryer and Chloe's hamster hut. But I don't mind, I really don't spend much time in there.