Saturday, January 23, 2010

Casserole

There are many things I enjoy doing, and one of them is trying out and creating new recipes. I was looking for something relatively easy tonight for supper, and threw this creation together. It was a big hit with the rest of the family so I jotted down how I made it but I haven't had time to think of something intelligent to call it. So if you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat combine:

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1½ cup rice
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp salt

Stir to evenly coat rice with oil and add

3 cups water

Cover and turn heat down and slowly simmer for approximately fifteen minutes or until water is absorbed.

In the meantime in another skillet combine:

2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion (diced finely)
¾ tsp black pepper
1½ tsp salt

Stir over high heat until evenly brown.

In a 15 x 10 pan spread the cooked rice in bottom. Spread meat over it, and add:

1 can Ragú Six Cheese pasta sauce (1lb 10 oz)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bake uncovered in a 350º oven until cheese is melted.

Serve with an optional dollop of sour cream on top.

A garden salad is excellent to serve with this casserole to complete your meal.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moments of Stupidity

I have had my share of moments of stupidity, but I made one that I won't be repeating if I can help it. This moment of stupidity began when I got this brilliant idea to spend the day at my mother-in-law's house.

She asked me if I would be interested to come and help her go through her books and all her craft things because she wants to get rid of most of them since they are remodeling their house. The hint of free books and knowing the many great ones she has I told her I would come.

Now comes the stupid part..... They live nine miles from us which isn't that bad if I would have my husband drop me off before he goes to his job in the woods as a logger. But being the ninny I am I got to feeling all young and energetic and told him since it warmed up to almost 40 it would be the perfect weather for me to take a walk. Cold enough that once you get warmed up from walking it's perfect. My husband looked a little dubious that I could do that, but I assured him I really want to, if he would come pick us up then in the evening. (Why don't I learn my husband really is a wise man?) I got up at 4 and did my morning things and then roused everyone else and stuffed some food into their mouths, bundled the children into their warm clothes, set Sunbeam in an old umbrella stroller we had stashed in the tack room in the barn. Hanging my purse on the stroller handle I started off.

It didn't take us long to discover that almost everyone in our area has several dogs and they all enjoy barking furiously at anyone stupid enough to take a nine mile walk. I am not a big fan of other peoples big dogs to begin with and the ones that barked around our feet didn't appear cute nor friendly.

Sailor and Rosebud had no problem with all their energy but a little more than a mile down the road I started wondering why I thought this was such a good idea, but pride kept me from reaching into my purse and getting my cell phone and calling my husband to come rescue me. And so I kept going. Six miles later I got to the post office in our little town where I wondered how on earth I'm supposed to make it the remaining three to their house. But I kept going. Sailor and Rosebud still had a bounce in their step as they enjoyed the slow pace and seeing things they never had the chance to by whizzing past at 50 mph. I was much to tired to help them enjoy anything as I plodded on pushing Sunbeam in her stroller.

We paused a moment on the bridge that passed over the 4 lane and watched as the traffic whizzed under us with people comfortably sitting in their vehicles. And I pondered a moment at my supposed sanity that I would willingly opt to walk instead of taking a vehicle.

We kept going, past the truck stop, past the sale barn that was crowded with farmers and ranchers from all over since this was their monthly special dairy sale. The thought of going inside and finding a seat to rest my weary bones was very appealing but I trudged on.

Once we finally got to the little dirt road my in-laws live on Sailor and Rosebud asked if they can run ahead. I gave them permission and they ran the remaining half mile. I was thoroughly envious at all their energy as I gasped for breath and wearily dragged one foot in front of the other. Once I finally got to their house I collapsed on a chair but my poor feet wouldn't quit throbbing. I finally took my shoes off and discovered huge blisters that were already popped on both feet.

I felt like going to bed and sleeping till the end of the month but I helped sort the books and stuff and secretly sent a text to my husband to please come get me as soon as possible. He came by late afternoon and then decided to let me buy a pizza at Wal-Mart before we go home. I got our favorite and then also a big box of creme filled Krispy Kreme donuts. I figured with all the calories I burned I had better replace them somehow. I want to lose weight but not that way and I didn't want to risk having my husband encouraging me to take another long walk.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter-Time Projects

I enjoy winter evening when you can relax and enjoy family times and watch as the children's creative side comes out.

Sailor spent hours creating the blueprint of a town he wants to build once he's old enough. He used a huge piece of paper and I'm wishing there was a way I could laminate and frame it for him. There are enough unique places on it that I think it's a shame to just let it get worn and ugly and discarded. The Museum of Leaves and Lake Fishing Hook are two of my favorite spots on it.

I'm not quite sure what to think of Rosebud's creation except that I'll be filing it away for chuckles in years to come.

Sunbeam spends most of her evenings with her favorite Hello Kitty coloring book.

And I have been trying my hand at being creative too. I enjoy this type of thing, but since this is the first one I made after four years of setting my projects aside I'm a little rusty. My second one is looking much better but since it isn't quite done yet I'll just share a picture of my first attempt at making a beaded mobile.


So, do you have any projects you enjoy working on during the winter?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Asking For Help

Several years ago I found a window cleaner that I really like. It is everything that the label promised. Whenever I use it windows are so clear and spotless that you could think they aren't even there. I especially liked to use it for bathroom mirrors it kept them clear and clean for several weeks at a time.

My last bottle is almost empty and I have no idea where to buy some more. So that is where you come in. Do you know where I could find more Perfect Glass window cleaner? I would be willing to buy it mailorder if I have to. Or do you have a window cleaner that you really like or a recipe for homemade that actually works. I'm open to hear any recomendations.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thawing Out

Once upon a time when I lived in a different part of the country I used to look forward to winter, the thought of blizzards and snow storms was exciting. Our wood shed and coal bins would be filled with enough to keep us warm and cozy until spring arrived. The sound of snow plows, graders, and gigantic snow-blowers were heard regularly as they passed the house often, both night and day to keep the roads open.

Six years ago we moved to a place where winters were said to be nothing, compared to what we were used to. I have to agree with that. The forecast of snow and cold weather now gives us a feeling akin to mild terror. Snow removal equipment and techniques seem to be a foreign thing in this area. If we do have to venture out the roads are terrible and there is always the danger of being run into by a crazy person who thinks snow on roadways equals time to spin in circles and drive with recklessness unmatched at any other time of year. So we try to stay indoors as much as possible but even that isn't a pleasure when you feel like celebrating when the temperature indoors finally reaches 60. My days are spent poking at the wood in the fireplace coaxing and pleading with it to please burn a little hotter and checking and rechecking the heaters to make sure they are set on the highest setting possible. But with all that we still wind up bundling ourselves in coats and blankets dreaming of the day when spring arrives.


Last evening we were invited to one of my husbands brothers that live almost a hundred miles west of us. We jumped at the chance to have a reason to soak up the warmth from the heater in our vehicle. Since the main roads were snow free by then we headed out. It didn't take long until we were once again comfortably warm. The road we travelled took us through an Amish settlement and we met a number of buggies driving along the shoulder of the four lane. The sight of them huddled shivering under their buggy robes made me say a silent thank you that I no longer have to depend on a horse and buggy for my mode of transportation as I reached over and turned the heat up a notch.

Today my husband had to go to town on a business related meeting. When he came home with his arms full of boxes I nearly wept for joy as I helped unpack heaters and get them set up. The house is warming up and we're finally getting to thaw out a little.

It is snowing again right now. I'm still not excited about it at all, but at least I have hopes to no longer be fighting the risk of frostbite from walking through our house.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Odd Things About Me

There is this list of things circling around and I thought I'd join in today for a change.

1. Do you like bleu cheese? Yes.

2. Have you ever smoked? No.

3. Do you own a gun? No.

4. What color Kool Aid was your favorite? Pink Lemonade.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not really. It's not something I look forward to either.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? An occasional one is fine but I certainly wouldn't want to have to eat them often.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? Still searching for a good one. Any suggestions?

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water.

9. Can you do push ups? Who has time to do push ups when there are so many more fun and less strenuous things to do?

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I don't have any. (Yet)

11. Favorite hobby? Finding and trying out new recipes.

12. Do you have A. D. D.? No.

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? No.

14. Middle name? Ann

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. Wondering when I'll ever feel toasty warm again. I really should be getting the children to bed. Happy that tomorrow is Sunday.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, water, water. Yes really. I am that boring.

17. Current worry? I am actually getting pretty good at not worrying too much.

18. Current hate? Unannounced visitors. Okay hate is a pretty strong word for that but there isn't much that bugs me as badly as that.

19. Where would you like to go? Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls.

20. Name three people who will complete this: No idea. I guess anyone who wants to join in.

21. Do you own slippers? No, but I could use some.

22. What color shirt are you wearing? Mauve.

23. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No.

24. Can you whistle? Yes.

25. Where are you now? Kitchen.

26. Would you be a pirate? No. For numerous reasons.

27. What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever is going through my mind at the moment.

28. Favorite Girl's Name? I'll go with one I never got to use. I always liked the name Jennifer.

29. Favorite boy's name? I still like the name Samuel for some reason.

30. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing.

31. Who last made you laugh? My husband.

32. What vehicle do you drive? An F-350

33. Worst injury you've ever had? Broken ankle while doing carpentry work.

34. Do you love where you live? Not really.

35. How many TVs do you have in your house? None.