Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hearty Hamburger Soup

This is one of those recipes you throw together using your own preference for amounts and ingredients. I have not yet learned to appreciate various herbs and seasonings. [wink] I love the simple tastes of food so I rarely use them. You might want to add some to this recipe.
Hearty Hamburger Soup
Brown 1 - 1 ½ lbs. hamburger with chopped onions.
Drain if needed, and add to the following ingredients:
sliced carrots
stalks of celery, sliced
frozen corn
2-3 cans of beef broth
extra water and beef bouillon if desired
a sprinkle of dry, uncooked barley
1 28 ounce can of tomatoes, undrained
simmer in a crock pot or a cast iron Dutch oven
add peas when done so they don't cook overmuch
. . . . . . . . .
various other ingredients could include:
elbow macaroni, cabbage, kidney beans, potatoes, oregano, basil, shredded parmesan, shredded cheddar

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Enchilada Sauce

I wanted to mention we liked that enchilada sauce last night.  It was different, not hot at all like store bought even though it contained chili powder and cumin.  I might add more chili powder, but I also added a bit of brown sugar which gives tomato dishes that yummy caramel-ly taste.  Though it was different than we're used to, we all liked it so I'll use it again and maybe tweak it a little bit.  Here is the recipe from Steph's recipe site.

Enchilada Sauce
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Pinch pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Cool. Yield: 1-3/4 cups.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Trying Some New Recipes

I tried a new recipe this morning, Bacon, Egg & Potato Casserole, from a site called Steph's Country Kitchen Goodness.  I didn't have hash browns so used a bag of small potato chunks.  It might have altered the recipe enough I'll try it with hash browns before I make a final decision whether or not to keep making it.  The chunks made it more potato-y tasting than it might otherwise have tasted.  But it was very good.  It had green peppers in and that subtle flavor was really tasty.  I'm not even really a green pepper person, but I liked it.  I think I would add a bit more cheese.  It was not a fluffy sort of egg bake, more firm.  And I think wonderfully suited to those nights you feel like having breakfast for supper.  I was going to make chicken enchiladas for supper tonight, but I forgot the mozzarella cheese, so I'm going to try the Beef Stew recipe from this same site instead.  I hope it's good.  This site has 600+ of her family favorite recipes so definitely worth your time to go see!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thinking ahead

Jack and I have plans to build a closet along one wall of our bedroom.  Usually, I don't like a chest of drawers all that much, unless they're old and roomy.  They don't hold much otherwise.  I like shelves.  But it's hard to keep shelves neat.  I thought this was a really nice looking idea from Martha Stewart.

Organizing Tip of the Day: January 8th



mini_pencil I also found this at Martha  Simple things we might already do, but it's always nice to have a pretty list.  LOL

Six Things to Do Every Day

1. Make the Bed
Tidiness begets tidiness. A crisply made bed makes the whole room seem more orderly, which makes it less likely that you'll let other things -- such as clothes and papers -- pile up around it.

2. Manage Clutter
Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.

3. Sort the Mail
Take a few minutes to open, read, and sort mail as soon as you bring it inside. Keep a trash bin near your sorting area for junk mail. Drop other mail into one of four in-boxes: personal correspondence, bills, catalogs, and filing.

4. Clean as You Cook
Instead of filling the sink with pots and dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal.

5. Wipe Up Spills While They're Fresh
Whether it's tomato sauce on the cook top or makeup on the bathroom counter, almost anything is faster and easier to remove if you attend to it immediately.

6. Sweep the Kitchen Floor
Every evening once you've finished washing up after dinner, sweep the floor. This will keep tough-to-clean dirt and grime from building up, which will make the weekly mopping much quicker.


mini_pencil Here's another very fun Organizing Tip of the Day



 mini_pencil I've been working on my home management binder.  I intend to share it eventually, but for now, I finally got the cover done.   I just could not decide what I wanted.  I finally settled on using one of my old Mary Engelbreit calendars.  I'm real happy with it because this print and the Jane Austen quote is very me. not one care

"Ah! there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."

HMB cover

mini_pencilI have a plan to begin a Cumulative List of Tips.  This will be a post I'll add to.  I will list the origin of the tip or where I found it.  It will likely be jumbled at first, but I'll hope to categorize tips in some form.  And I hope it will grow to the point it will be real useful.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crazy, Exhausting Day

I caught on fire today. It's actually really humorous aside from the shocking fact of it.  I was standing making the kids grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.  I think I was daydreaming a bit.  I saw a little smoke, and then smelled something, which seemed weird to me.  I looked down at the bit of smoke and then saw that I had like sunlight dappled over the front of my little cardigan.  But then, I thought to myself...the sun is at my back. ??  And that was when I saw weird moving light climbing up my front.  Scream!  Honestly, I believe God spared me...had mercy on this silly woman because it just stopped and was gone.  I think it was the sweater maybe?? possibly flammable.  The brown singed-like color on my sweater stopped just short of my hair...what would have happened if it had reached my hair? 

It was so cold yesterday, it made going outside miserable.  I was so glad Jack was with me.  My first pressure check was very disappointing.  It was a point higher than a month ago.  I was so diligent this last month and really expected a better outcome.  It just left me feeling so blah and discouraged. We went to breakfast at Country Kitchen.  The coffee was horrible and weak.  The food was truly awful. My omelet tasted like eggs with too much water, and I'm sure the vegetables came out of a can.  Jack is adorable this way and insisted on trading breakfasts with me, but even at that, they had put this awful cheese sauce over his hash browns.  Needless to say we will never eat there again.  So then we went home for a bit.  We went back for the second pressures check.  It was the same.  I started feeling like I wished I didn't have to go for the other two checks.  What was the point?  The third check I didn't even ask.  She told me it was about the same as the other two.  So I was exhausted and discouraged by the time I saw my doctor in the afternoon, but he seemed very upbeat.  I am so thankful for this doctor.  He is a real blessing.  Firstly, he was very happy that he had the results from the four pressure readings because it gave him baseline information about me and how much or how little my pressures fluctuate throughout the day.  So there was real benefit in my going to the four checks.  Secondly, he told me that typically pressures for glaucoma patients are lower in the afternoon.  That last pressure check was three points lower than the morning checks and more what I had been hoping for. So, he was fairly pleased and seeing his reaction greatly reduced my discouragement.  Yet, since I usually see him in the morning, I still feel that my early pressures yesterday compared with past visits should have been lower to have been improved.  But, I am still glad he was pleased overall.  He did say that he would bump up my dosage on one of my drops to three times a day which I really didn't want to have to do.  I really don't like that drop.  I would love to replace it with something eventually.  I asked him if I could try a certain drop that we have passed over.  I've always been afraid it would darken the skin around my eyes so I had been ambivalent about trying it before, but now that things are getting more dicey and I don't have that many options left, I would hate to pass over a drop that might give me good results.  So I will try that drop in one eye to contrast it with what I am already doing in the other eye and see him again a month from now unless the drop reacts badly with my eye and I have to stop using it before then.  So all that to say, my long day yesterday ended better than it started.

Molly received her revised book cover today, and she is pleased with the changes they made.  So I think this is what the cover will look like.  You'll notice that she chose a pen name.  I had thought she was firm on just wanting to use her real name, but when we talked about it she said, no, she just hadn't given it any thought because she had no idea what she would do otherwise.  I encouraged her to use a pen name for a few different reasons, but then came picking one which seemed hard as nothing came to mind and how do you just pick some random last name?  So she began to pray about it and suddenly, just like that she thought of Evangeline.  When she first told me, I just didn't know what I thought but in the next little while, the more I thought of it the more I liked it!  It holds real meaning for her, and I think it really fits.  So this is exciting as it gets ever closer.


Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Treadmills, Podcasts, and Moss

I suppose I will lead with our disappointment with the game last night. It happened just as I hoped it wouldn't, and worse when it counted so much.  Just so sad.  We just did not play well.  And, actually it would have felt really awkward if we had won in the end because the Giants really deserved the win.  They played a very good game.  I would never have thought I'd say this because he has sounded so much the opposite in recent months, but I really wonder now if Brett Favre will retire?  I sure hope not, but for some reason now it would not surprise me.

Today seems like another new start since the start of the new year, like a new corner has turned.  I am wanting and trying to make some new habits.  I've really been struggling with ongoing neck/back problems the last several  months.  I am expecting regular exercise would really help that.  Yesterday, I spent some time putting some of my audio books on my iPod, and I downloaded some Podcasts too.  It's really kind of interesting what different kinds of programs you can listen to by Podcast, like old time radio shows, etc.  So, there really is a vast array of things I can watch or listen to on my iPod while on the treadmill.  I like the treadmill.  I don't know why I don't make it a point to get on.

I haven't been paying much attention to the news and the election in the last week.  Disappointment mainly.  I see McCain, who has betrayed conservatives, climb to the top of this motley crew of candidates, and I guess I get really disillusioned over it all.  There is talk Fred Thompson will withdraw his bid for the presidency tomorrow.  I really hope not.  I was just listening to a Podcast of Mark Levin talking  to Fred and it just made me wish so much that people would listen, hear what he has to say.  Once again, I fear it will be all the people who don't pay attention who will vote the most (and more than once ) and with the least amount of information guiding them.  Further, I hate how our media is able to control events instead of report them.

Oh...let's end with something cheery.  I got this in my Mary E. newsletter the other day.  It's a neat, really different idea!  They said:

“AGE” POTS with moss. Throw a small clump in the blender with a quart of buttermilk; paint pots with mixture to encourage moss growth.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Think I'll Spare You.

I'm feeling decidedly different today.  Eight years of a Clinton administration made me a news junkie.  The first four years of a Bush administration kept me that way because it was just so interesting.  I went to a Bush rally in 2004, almost front row standing, very exciting, one of my highlights.  Yes, he's not done things I wished he'd done or done things I wish he hadn't, and yes, there are droves of people living for the moment he leaves office [kind of like me when Clinton was president] but I'm still a George Bush fan.  Say what you will, I really like the man.  He's steady, and strong, and real.  And because of that, the last three years of this second Bush term, I haven't paid much attention.  I probably should have, but I felt safe.  That ended last night with the New Hampshire primary.  I feel like I saw our future last night.  There's so much I could say, so much I feel.  I get very passionate about politics.  I start to fuzz over  a little bit over politics.   So.  I think I'll spare you.  I expected I would probably end up blogging now and then during this year about the election, little tidbits, my thoughts, but then realized I might scare away my friends and readers.  I even thought maybe a separate blog so that if you wanted to read and participate, you could, but it wouldn't be in your face when you come to visit me.  See, I fuzz over a little bit, I don't have time for yet another blog!  So, I think I'll spare you, at least here.  If I actually can't help myself or behave doing it, I'll probably limit it to a separate blog.   If you do have thoughts on this, I would love to know...whether you would welcome the dialog over this coming election or be put off by it.

On a happy note, it's trying to be sunny today.  It's 25°F. (-4°C.) and it still feels like spring.  I'm feeling a little better each day...thanks so much for all your sweet good health wishes.

Oh this is fun!  I forgot to mention in my last post.  I went to visit Caroline at Cosmic Handmade a few days ago.  Aside from searching for homemaking helps, I don't get around online as much as I used to, so I had no idea that she had opened up a wonderful cross stitch pattern shop.  It's grand!  I told her that I am the type of person who knows instantly when I like/see something, little treasures to bring into my easy to pass over things that just don't jump out at when I began to look at her designs, a certain crow design just really grabbed me.    I love when that happens.  So I got her Crows In Love pattern and am so excited to get it made.  I think I will make it into a little pillow of sorts, maybe hanging.  It's just too cute.  So if you love to cross stitch, pop on over to Cosmic Handmade and see her patterns.

Also...and I think you will love this!  There is a great site/blog I've just been drooling over.  HELLOmynameisHeather  Amazing.  And she's so generous!  There are free ones.

Hot Caramel Chocolate And, to share...I found the most beautiful desktop wallpapers yesterday.  They are really good quality!  From Better Homes & Gardens.  I'm using this one now...and some of them come with recipes! Graphic Garden If clicking on the link doesn't work, try searching for "desktop wallpapers" on their site.


Well, I'm still catching up on things since being sick so I shouldn't dally.  Have a great day!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Helpful Web Tool

It's so easy to get sidetracked on the Internet.  I've been suffering a cold just miserable enough there's little else for me to do but sit here. LOL I've been wanting to resume working on my homemaking notebook which took a backseat to the holidays.  So I've started that, but I've also been perusing homemaking blogs and coming across a lot of neat items, bits of text, quotes.  And then someone led me to Martha, and I can't seem to close out the pages I've got going there.  What a neat site!  And then of course for now I subscribed to a slew of her newsletters.  I'm just a sucker for all the pictures.  I could sit and look at them all day long.  Give me a Mary Engelbreit magazine and Martha Stewart paint chips and I'm a happy girl.  So outside of the very nifty and helpful way you can "collect" all your treasures on Martha and have your very own page of collections, I thought I'd mention the Google Notebook I've also found real helpful in recent weeks.  Basically it's for when your bookmarks get out of control and you have so many that you no longer remember where you've been or where you want to go back to.  LOL But ideally it keeps all your little "clips" for you, complete with pictures and automatically includes the link you clipped it from.  You can add categorical tags and have as many different "notebooks" as you'd like, just a great tool for researching.  The makers have this to say about it:
That's why we built Google Notebook--to give you an online "notebook" where you can organize all your research, add personal notes to it, and share it with others. Google Notebook surfs along quietly with you as you browse, letting you clip and annotate whatever text, images, and links that help answer your question, all without ever leaving the web page you're on.
So have fun collecting all the wonderful info out there and one of these days I hope to have some of my notebook online.  I know I very much enjoy and appreciate seeing other homemaking binders.